Saturday, November 21, 2015

Terror is Terror No Matter When, Where, or By Whom Against Civilization

The above graphic is Rev. Branford Clarke's illustration from his 1926 book “Klansmen: Guardians of Liberty” – it portrays the Klan (KKK) slaying Catholic influence in the US.

So, my simple question is: What is the difference between the Bible and the Qur’an vis-à-vis re: Terrorists advocating the tactics they use to the end they seek – any, any difference at all? Didn’t think so.

Terrorism is terrorism not matter what their misguided “guidebook” tells them based on their twisted interpretation of what they say their God, or their Allah, or their Prophet says otherwise.  

Note: I hardly doubt their God, or Allah, or Prophet advocated what we them doing today in Their names.  

More here for research: (1) Christian Terrorism; (2) Islamic Terrorism and lots more out there, so please do the searches and a lot from very reputable sources.

Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

GOP Wants Total War & Refugee Stoppage: Avoids Constitutional Duty

Related image
Sen. Lindsey "Mint Julep" Graham (R-SC)

Believe It 
(ask the GOP)

I'll make this short and sweet – well, at least bitter sweet.

Many GOPers are calling for all-out war vis-à-vis ISIS – ergo: American combat troops in the region (again). 

Thanks for stopping by. Stay tuned … 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

For Sen. Rafael Edward “Ted” Cruz (R-TX) re: Your War Crimes Proposal

Another black eye for your recent insane bull sh*t ranting

The story that got my attention is from here with this headline:

In Response to Paris, Ted Cruz Calls for Airstrikes With More ‘Tolerance for Civilian Casualties’

Ted Cruz already knows the solution in the aftermath of the Paris attacks: “A bombing campaign that’s not afraid to kill innocent civilians,” he says in part:

“We must immediately recognize that our enemy is not “violent extremism.” It is the “radical Islamism” that has declared Jihad against the west. It will not be appeased by outreach or declarations of tolerance. It will not be deterred by targeted airstrikes with zero tolerance for civilian casualties, when the terrorists have such utter disregard for innocent life.”

Sen. Cruz, listen up — call this your hour of education update: What you propose is illegal, unlawful and a war crime and that is not America.

The “concept of immunity, that is the rule that certain people and places should be protected and respected” during wartime, can be dated back at least to 1582, when a Spanish judge suggested that “intentional killing of innocent persons, for example, women and children, is not allowable in war.”

The Geneva Conventions of 1949 confirmed immunity for civilians, hospitals, and medical staff

The 1977 Additional Protocols to the conventions state: “The civilian population and individual civilians shall enjoy general protection against the dangers arising from military operations.”

The absolute rule is that civilians must not be directly targeted for military attack. 

Furthermore, some individuals considered especially vulnerable: children under fifteen, the elderly, pregnant women, and mothers of children under seven for example, are granted special protection and may be moved to safe zones exempt from attack by agreement of the warring parties. The wounded, sick, or shipwrecked, military personnel who are considered to be hors de combat (not inside, but away from combat, etc.), are also protected, as are POW’s.

Hospitals, both fixed and mobile, ambulances, hospital ships, medical aircraft, and medical personnel — whether civilian or military — are also entitled to protection from hostile fire under the Geneva Conventions, provided that structures are marked with a Red Cross or Red Crescent and not used improperly or near military objectives, and staff are properly protected.

Staff includes not only doctors, nurses, and orderlies, but the drivers, cleaners, cooks, crews of hospital ships — in short, all those who help a medical unit to function. Some aid workers — for example, Red Cross volunteers treating the sick and wounded on the battlefield — are also covered, as are military chaplains. Other than hospitals, certain other buildings cannot be attacked.

Places of worship and historic monuments are protected, as are civilian structures like schools and other objects that are not being used to support military activities. Under the 1954 Convention on Cultural Property important places of worship, historic sites, works of art, and other cultural treasures are likewise protected from attack.

There are exceptions however. A school, for example, becomes a legitimate military target if soldiers are based there (and can be shown thus so).

With hospitals, the situation is more complicated since they are permitted to keep armed guards on their grounds. But immunity from attack can be lost if the people or objects are used to commit acts that are harmful to one side in a conflict.

Finally, I say in no uncertain terms that Sen. Rafael Edward “Ted” Cruz (R-Texas) may have Harvard law degree and be in the U.S. Senate and yes, even a good or great debater, but the man is dirt clod dumb. He need not be anywhere near the Oval Office except maybe on a guided tour but never ever be the President or Commander-in-Chief, period.


Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

"Gun Control:" The Word Inflames and Unites Anger (and Unnecessarily)

I Wonder: Have Members of Congress Ever Seen This Simple Statement???
(Cartoonist Mike Smith nails it as they say)

This post is quite long, but I think timely and important - enjoy and thanks for stopping by.

People with serious mental illnesses, like schizophrenia, do have a slightly higher risk of committing violence than members of the general population. Yet most violence is not attributable to mental illness. Surprise, surprise, surprise (as Gomer Pyle would quip).

Updated on the numbers from this fine article from Tucson, Arizona – so tag along with this intro:

In the month that followed the Umpqua Community College shooting in Oregon — in which a 26-year-old man killed eight students and a professor — Congress has turned not to gun control, but mental health. Six days after that shooting, Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ), sponsored the Mental Health and Safe Communities Act, a bill first introduced by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) in the Senate. Backed by the NRA (of course), the law would “enhance the ability of local communities to identify and treat potentially dangerous, mentally-ill offenders,” as well as “help fix the existing background check system" – that according to Sen. Cornyn’s press release. The bill has gone on to receive bipartisan support, a rare feat in today’s polarized congressional climate.

So logically one must ask: Why is Congress so focused on mental health when it comes to addressing gun violence? That is in essence that Congress believes addressing mental health concerns, and not enacting stricter gun control, will serve as the best response to the latest round of gun violence. But does the data and that thinking support the facts or these reasons congressional gun rights advocate?
One: Mental health is a safe and popular issue, particularly compared to gun control. Nearly all Americans agree that mental health is a problem, and over 70 percent believe the nation needs to make “significant” or “radical” changes. In contrast, less than half of Americans support stricter gun laws.

Two: Mass shooters routinely come across as mentally ill in the news — their diaries, plots and final statements subject to hours of media analysis and social media discussion. Trained psychiatrists might tell us that a given shooter was sane, but to the average American, anyone who commits a mass murder qualifies as mentally disturbed.
However, even if one assumes that most mass shooters are indeed mentally ill — whether diagnosed or not — mass shootings make up less than 1 percent of all gun deaths in America, according to a study by the Pew Research Center.

If there is any data that supports the connection between gun violence and mental illness, it is suicide.  People with mental illnesses are about 12 times more likely to commit suicide, and suicide-by-firearm is by far the most deadly method.  More than nine in 10 suicides involving a firearm are successful. In contrast, less than half of pill- or poison-related suicide attempts result in death

The highest rates of mental illness are in Utah, Arkansas, West Virginia, and Vermont. The Pacific Northwest, the “Rust Belt” and the “Bible Belt” also exhibit higher-than-average rates. California, Illinois, New Jersey, and Connecticut have among the lowest rates of serious mental illness.
This Map Shows Adults with Serious Mental Illness (click your state or click on another):

This Map Shows Gun-related Deaths (click your state or click on another):

Now a conclusion “gun nuts” will hate and try to disprove – but they can’t only in their rabid opinions but not based on the facts – their motto: “Don’t confuse my opinion with the facts.”

The big picture is mixed. Big states like California, Texas and New York seem to confirm Congress’ hypothesis, as each state features a low rate of mental illness next to a low rate of firearm-related death. But several more states fly against the theory. Oregon, Washington, Colorado and Vermont all boast mid to low rates of firearm deaths, despite having high rates of mental illness.
But what about the same map with suicides removed, as advocated by the Washington Post? Here, we turned to data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

This Map Shows Data that Cannot be Disputed (at least with a straight face):

As seen on that map, there’s even less evidence to suggest that mental illness and firearm murders go hand in hand. In fact, for several regions, the opposite trend emerges: namely, that low rates of mental illness tend to accompany high rates of firearm-related homicide. The discrepancy is particularly notable in the West, the South and the Northeast.
Data from the National Center for Health Statistics further refutes the connection between mental health and gun deaths. According to its database, fewer than 5 percent of the 120,000 gun-related killings from 2001 to 2010 were committed by people diagnosed with mental disorders. 

I conclude therefore, and BTW: I do support the right to bear arms and the Second Amendment and I would not change one word or it, but (yet, that but) we need better rules for owning guns and certainly need to do away with that crazy “right to open carry” craze sweeping the country – mental health issue – that certainly is it in my view.

Further, I conclude, guns make death pretty quick, efficient, sure, and thorough. As they say, it’s hard to outrun a bullet once the trigger is pulled. Let’s face it, no one per se is a murderer until they pull that trigger, whether they are a legal gun owner or not; whether they are an ardent gun rights advocate or not; or whether they are a staunch gun control advocate or not. None of that matters one bit once the rigger is pulled to end a life. Documented self-defense is not the issue – more rational gun control procedures is the issue. Right now we don’t have much across the board and the date proves it, too.  

So, gun "control the word" or some other? How about: "Sane and common sense gun regulation" - that is better phrase and makes more sense.

Once again, thanks for stopping by. Voice your views to your member of Congress - this is a national interest issue by any measurement.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Keystone Decision Was Pending But Now Made Before Mr. Obama Leaves

Proposed Keystone XL Pipeline
(now a "Dead Duck")

Was Awaiting Presidential Final Decision
(put away the pipes, boys - it's a "no go")

Best Advice to President Obama
(seems to have worked)

Original Post Follows this Major Update from the White House seen in this 8-minute announcement wherein Mr. Obama says no to the pipeline... click here:

Wall Street Journal spin, I mean coverage is here - Mr. Obama surrounded by VP Biden and Sec. State John Kerry:


GOP reaction was harsh and swift (as expected):

Sen. Marco Rubio blasted the decision as a huge mistake, and then Tweeted: “When I'm president, Keystone will be approved, and President Obama's backwards energy policies will come to an end.”

Former Gov. JEB Bush Tweeted: “The Obama Admin's politically motivated rejection of the Keystone XL Pipeline is a self-inflicted attack on the U.S. economy and jobs.”

(I note that the unemployment numbers announced today stand at 5% - the lowest in over 8 years - research might help Bush, try it sometime).

Gov. Bobby Jindal unleashed a series of tweets denouncing the decision citing things like: “Mr. Obama bows to radical environmentalists and snubs thousands of high quality, high paying energy sector jobs.”

Former Sen. Rick Santorum called “Obama's decision sad.”

Sen. Ted “The Canadian” Cruz promised to authorize the pipeline if he is elected.

Sen. Rand Paul Tweeted: “Keystone XL pipeline should be approved! Obama once again stopping progress and blocking job creation.”

Original post starts from here from the BBC 5 key points as another (and perhaps final) decision is rendered as some say:  

1.     President Obama vetoed a Republican bill approving the pipeline back in February.
2.     All the DEM candidates for president, including front-runner Hillary Clinton, oppose the project.
3.      The entire Republican field supports the pipeline.
4.      Outgoing Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper was a strong proponent of the pipeline, but his successor Justin Trudeau, while supportive, is less bullish on the scheme.
5.      The Keystone XL pipeline project was first proposed more than six years ago, but has languished, awaiting a permit required by the federal government because it would cross an international border.
As for me why can’t this issue just go away … we do not need to take the chance on an extreme outcome to the nation’s heartland water supply with this chancy pipeline?
Related from Media Matters here five prevailing media myths about the Keystone XL Pipeline. 

As they say “That's All Folks...

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Pitiful Petty Partisanship = Program Participants Penalized, Punished

Poster Child for Harshness
(Must not be any needy GOPers)

GOP: The Party of Change
("Just a few minor pen changes")

I have wanted to post about this subject (post title above) for a long time since I consider it the most-pressing subject of modern America. The bottom line from the GOP: “Our way or no way.” Actually, more apropos: “Our way or the highway.” 

First, is the current lineup of GOP candidates (as seem in the Halloween post below) along with their views on important issues facing the country and their ideas about “change, fixes, elimination, or outright repeal (i.e., ACA/Obama-care)" as examined in this extensive report from the NY TIMES with this heading, which I think is precise:

Republican Candidates on the Economy and Social Programs

It is interesting to see the various views and opinion and policy ideas they would put forth if elected, if this in mind: The contenders for the Republican presidential nomination have proposed numerous tax overhauls and have largely voiced opposition to raising the minimum wage. They are split on how to deal with Social Security and Medicare.

Take Social Security a time-tested favorite program for millions and one the GOP has hated ever since Alf Landon called it a “fraud” in his 1936 run against FDR. 

This happened on the very day the current all-GOP controlled Congress took office back in January of this year: The current controversy revolves around a rule change Republicans made as soon as the new Congress was sworn in this month. Social Security is actually two separate programs, Old Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI), and the much smaller Disability Insurance program (DI). The disability program will be facing a funding shortfall next year, and to ensure that disabled people continue to get all their benefits, Congress would have to move some money from OASI into DI. This isn't anything new -- it's been done many times in recent years.

But House Republicans adopted a parliamentary rule barring the House from allowing that transfer unless it was accompanied by benefit cuts or tax increases. If it can't get worked out, people on DI could see their benefits cut substantially. Think hard about that prospect ... all the while in every speech and on every floor sound bite PR moment they profess to "be working for the American people." Ha. 

In sum, who really has the best ideas for the entire public: the DEMS or the GOPers? This chart is quite accurate based on policies in place or proposals attempted or possibly forthcoming campaign promises. It’s hard to dispute, too.

Thanks for stopping and stay tuned for more on this subject ... it is critically important. It speaks directly to our collective future and how we want to leave things for our kids and grandkids. An old line, but a truism.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Incredible Shrinking Candidate Field and GOP: Both Short on Substance

Lots of screeching. Not much substance. 
Plenty of hot air and tons of nasty personal attacks.

One thing I'll give the GOP credit for their new and improved and quite slick PR machine.

They skillfully sidestep critical issues while telling their base how hard they are working for them on their behalf.  At the same time, they flame everyone around them who disagrees while they and focus on the most-minute details of their own core issues, which mean little to the average American, like this short list:

1.  Pushing for more tax breaks and always for “the job creators” (those who end up creating jobs offshore), and of course, protecting them and their huge profits in offshore accounts.

2.  Repealing Obama-care in every bill and always without a plan for the 17 million now on board in the system.

3.  Blasting the MSM via FOX day and night to pass along that message.

4.  Seeking more war on their terms no matter where and when or how, and no matter if the U.S. goes it alone or not as pander to and pump up the MIC (that Ike warned us about).

5.  Embracing the constitution in every breath but while proposing amendments left and right with little or no substance.

6.  Clinging to more guns (and more not less money in politics), more open carry law for just about anywhere, more Bibles, and more private takeover of government all while preaching how they are serving the country with their cheap shots from GOP central, known as: “Holier than thou Mount.”

The worst part is that they never if ever mention the real root and simple truth with the GOP as illustrated in this one picture - in my opinion:

Hard to believe (just ask the nearest GOPer - they will set you straight).

Thanks for stopping by. I can hardly wait until the next GOP debate (grin).

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Mr. T-rump: Kiss Your Campaign Workers Goodbye — Pack Your Bags

T-rump: Wave Goodbye to GOP Supporters Who Still Want You

This latest (from AFP) spewing from that mouth says it all: So, bye, bye, Donald ... it was entertaining while it lasted, but now get the hell out....!!!

Trump: World better if Saddam & Kaddafi still in power

Plus, for those who think the GOP is not on its last leg, well, think again at least based on this AP poll:

Survey results highlight a sharp contrast between GOP voters and the party's top professionals who say: We need strength these days  >>>

Whew boy ... 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

"Sweet Home Alabama" My Ass: How About Raw Voter Suppression

Map of the state of Alabama
(county display)

So, there is no more racism in America, or no GOP focus on voter suppression, or no need for DOJ oversight into irregularities of the Voting Rights Act (i.e., correct, Mr. Chief Justice). Ha think again.

The heart of this story is taken from here, and it’s pretty simple and easy to follow, and the message is clearly stated: It is another sneaky backdoor (semi-legal) method by the GOP to suppress the vote and win an election at any cost, part:

“By the end of the year, it is anticipated that only 4 DMVs will be open in the state, and none of these offices will be in counties where 75% of the population is African American. These remaining DMV offices will be absolutely flooded with new applicants and wait times will dramatically increase. Wait times will increase and be particularly harmful for low-income workers (who cannot afford to take time off) and the elderly (who cannot comfortably wait in the DMV).”

“The discriminatory nature of the DMV closures will make it far harder for many African American residents across the state to obtain a driver’s license or state identification card.”

More on voter suppression can also among this list from my other posts and from the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU here.

My site links related to this subject (NOTE: Some sites may not be valid or up to date, if so, sorry, but the contents are nevertheless still valid):

This kind of opened up the flood gates as it were: June 25, 2013 (ironically the same date that the Korean War started in 1950): The Supreme Court struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act (Shelby County (AL) v. Holder).

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion in the 5-to-4 decision. The court found that the VRA's formula for deciding which jurisdictions should be subject to pre-clearance is unconstitutional, SCOTUS blog explains, because while the formula was rational in the 1960s, it's not anymore.

In other words, things are different in the South today (I note: we are again finding out that reasoning is a bit off).

Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy the research on this critically important topic, and the song, too... sorry it does not match reality today ("Sweet Home Alabama" by Lynyrd Skynyrd - 1974).

Monday, October 12, 2015

The Benghazi Witch Hunt — GOP Needs a New Name: Get Outta Power

U.S. Mission After the Sep 2012 Attack
(Photo: Gianluigi Guercia/AFP/GettyImages)

RIGHT UP FRONT:  Some key fact about Benghazi to date. It has been investigated by these:

1.  The Independent State Department Accountability Review Board,
2.  The Senate Intelligence Committee,
3.  The Senate Armed Services Committee,
4.  The House Intelligence Committee,
5.  The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee,
6.  The House Armed Services Committee,
7.  The House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform,
8.  The House Committee on Foreign Affairs. 

Q:  How many have uncovered evidence of any Obama/White House/DEM/or Clinton cover-up? 

A.  None, Nada, Nil, Zero, Zilch, Naught, Goose Egg. Yet the GOP has another “select committee” now on-going that is run by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) in the same  Issa-style witch hunt with HILLARY being their #1 target hunt for that witch!!!… (Note: don’t think so? Ha… ask Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) who spilled the beans and then quickly took himself out of the running for speaker as Boehner prepares to step down and then retire from Congress … DEMS and others like me have been correct all along).

Now this more comprehensive look back from Vox.com

(1) What is the Benghazi controversy? The controversy has centered on Republican accusations that the Obama administration did not take heed of intelligence warnings before the attack, that during the attack it refused to call in available military support, and that after the attack it deliberately covered up what had happened. Repeated independent investigations have disproved all of these allegations (refer back to th list of investigations above).  
(2) What actually happened in Benghazi on September 11, 2012? (Review the timeline time at the link) – it is quite detailed.  
(3) Who were the attackers, and why did they do it?  The attackers were an informal group of Islamist fighters from an assortment of local Libyan militias; a number came from an extremist group called Ansar al-Sharia; and, few had ties to al-Qaeda. But this was no carefully preplanned attack. It was much more spontaneous — and in some ways a product of Libya's chaos.
(4) Could the Obama administration have stopped the attack?  The attack was too spontaneous, for the reasons described above, for US intelligence to see this specific incident coming. But what about once it had begun? One of the biggest myths about Benghazi is that the US had military assets in range — but refused to deploy them. “Military personnel were ready, willing, and able, and within proximity, but the Pentagon told them they had no authority and to stand down,” Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) said in 2013. This is flatly false. The bipartisan Senate Intelligence report, perhaps the most comprehensive review of the attack, found that “there were no US military resources in position to intervene in short order in Benghazi to help defend the Temporary Mission Facility and its Annex.”  
(5) What's the “Susan Rice talking points” controversy? Did the White House hide the truth about Benghazi?  The "talking points" in question are the official administration talking points, from just after the attack, on how to describe what had happened. Susan Rice, then the US ambassador to the UN, used these talking points when she appeared on Sunday talk shows that week.  Rice claimed, in her appearances, that the attack had grown out of a spontaneous protest against the anti-Islam film Innocence of Muslims. She didn't make this up; it was the CIA's assessment at the time. But this claim turned out to be wrong. While some of the attackers really were incensed by the film, closed circuit footage from the diplomatic building showed that there was no protest.
(6) What have the investigations into Benghazi found?  Nine different bodies have investigated Benghazi: the State Department's Accountability Review Board and eight separate congressional committees or staff reports. All of them, aside from the House Select Committee, have completed investigations. Each has identified problems with the way the incident was handled, but none have uncovered real evidence of an administration cover-up or failure to properly respond to the attacks. 
(7) See contents of this point at the link – some sort of “cute song.” 
(8) If there's no evidence of a cover-up or wrongdoing, why are Republicans still looking into this? Republicans' interest in Benghazi isn't just cynical politics (although there is for sure some of that). Conservatives have long seen Obama as a feckless, incompetent liar — the idea that he failed to prevent a terrorist attack, then covered it up, fits with their preexisting beliefs. The fact that independent reporting vindicated the administration didn't help, as conservatives see the mainstream media as hopelessly in the tank for the president. So long as conservative leaders argue there's a scandal here, some Republicans will continue believing that more investigations are necessary.  
(9) What does this have to do with the Hillary Clinton email scandal and the House speaker election? In May 2014, House Speaker John Boehner set up the House Select Committee on Benghazi. The committee, for its investigation, asked the State Department to turn over emails Clinton had sent to her aides about the attack. Some of those emails turned out to have been sent from Clinton's private email account — which, according to the New York Times, is how Clinton's use of a private email server for official State Department business first came to light. That's become a big campaign scandal for her. Then, in a September 29 appearance on Fox News, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy seemed to admit something that Republicans aren't supposed to say — that the real purpose of the Benghazi Select Committee is to hurt Clinton's campaign.  
The GOP witch hunt at this point (and attempts to smear Hillary Clinton) are as a pitiful as that image of the burned out Mission in Benghazi photo above ... in short as they say: "There ain't no there, there."