Sunday, October 26, 2014

Open Honest Republican (Oxymoron) Spills the Beans About Bombing ISIS

Jack Kingston (R-GA), former GOP Rep. and Senate candidate

Two stories relate to this man:

First, from here:  The original question was: “Will President Obama ask Congress for permission for those strikes, as he did last year when Congress eventually rebuffed him? Or will he go at it alone?”

Logic says one might think Republicans would demand the president consult with Congress before undertaking those attacks. But, you would be wrong. In a remarkable bit of honesty, Jack Kingston, the Republican from Georgia, explained why in the New York Times this way:

A lot of people would like to stay on the sideline and say, ‘Just bomb the place and tell us about it later.’ It’s an election year. A lot of Democrats don’t know how it would play in their party, and Republicans don’t want to change anything. We like the path we’re on now. We can denounce it if it goes bad, and praise it if it goes well and ask what took him so long.”

Kingston, as the Times notes, supports having a vote on air strikes in Syria. But what he's saying is still remarkable: Republicans don’t want to vote on a force authorization so that they can avoid taking a position and criticize the president no matter what happens. In many ways, this is the story of Obama’s presidency: He can do no right among the Republican Party. Better for the GOP to attack him and avoid laying out a coherent agenda. After all, why govern when you can just sit on the sidelines and score political points? At least, Kingston is being honest though.

The second tidbit about Mr. Kingston - I ask this question: "Who is Jack Kingston?"  

Some from here helps answer that question. When he sat in the House, he had lots of power, like this … “Kingston is on the record as taking the following donations from such DOD lobbyists… “ (story continues at the link).

Seems he would fit nicely in the GOP Senate, right? Oops ...

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Two Epidemics: (1) Ebola in West Africa, (2) Fear Mongering in the U.S.

4 to 7,000 miles depending on CONUS location

Three Leading the Fear Mongering Pack As it Were

This Scene Across America 
(mostly in GOP La-la land)

Dateline: Pictured above could be any GOP Senate or House candidate’s home where they are preparing their children to go outside and play with their FOX and friends. Usually in a community some 4 to 7,000 miles from West Africa (e.g., either New York, Texas, or California, take your pick).

Related story and many other like it can be seen here (Salon.com).  Highlights:
  1. Some 56 percent of Americans say the government is prepared to handle Ebola, including 61 percent of Democrats. 
  2. But that number is flipped on its head when you ask TEA "Party" voters: 57 percent of them say the government is not prepared, as do 54 percent of rural voters. 
  3. So two core components of the GOP red-state base coalition don’t trust the federal government, in the person of President Obama, to keep them safe – and there’s some political opportunity for Republicans in those numbers.

Leave it to the GOP play politics with our health and lives – rather than focus on the problem. They focus on staying in office or gaining office anyway possible even on this issue.

It will get worse over the next few weeks until election day is over, and it's already started.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Two Epidemics: West Africa: Ebola — USA: GOP Fake Voter Fraud

Justice is Blind 
(The USSC on Voting Rights is Worse)

Time to Wake Up and Take Action
(where needed: at polls)

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN — Less than one week after the Supreme Court delayed the implementation of Wisconsin’s voter ID law until after the midterm elections, a GOP official urged Republican activists to take matters into their own hands to prevent voter fraud.

Milwaukee County’s Republican Elections Commissioner Rick Baas warned a crowd of volunteers and supporters who are “concerned about voter fraud that they need to take an extra step of vigilance.”

He said: “You as a Wisconsin resident can challenge people who are not supposed to be voting. You’ve got to do that.”

Under WI state law, voters, election workers, official observers, or any member of the public can challenge the validity of someone’s vote, but to do so, they must swear under oath that they have firsthand knowledge that the person is not qualified to vote. A challenge cannot be based on a mere suspicion or hunch.

“Providing those parameters would be important to any discussion related to voter challenges,” Milwaukee City Election Commission Director Neil Albrecht told Think Progress. “Failure to provide has the potential to incite unsubstantiated challenges and a disruption to voting.”

How many cases of voter fraud (voter impersonation) has WI had in the recent past?  

ZERO, NONE, NIL, NADA, ZIP, ZILCH...  

Steven Colbert nails the hypocrisy here .... with humor but a serious spin in their own words ... about 6 minutes and a real keeper - watch here:

Saturday, October 18, 2014

USSC Gets Voter ID Laws Wrong (Again) Using the Texas Model

Sample Voting Machine in New York State
(In some, but not all, counties)

Need to Review and Strenghten not Weaken VRA
(The most-valuable right in America)

Introduction from two articles here and from here also:

The Supreme Court ruled (October 18, 2014) that Texas can use the voter ID law it originally passed in 2011 in the upcoming election. For the moment, that puts the kibosh on challenges to the law that have ensued ever since. It was a bitter defeat for Obama Department of Justice and other plaintiffs who had argued that the Court should stay the decision of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to enforce the ID law this election cycle. 

The appeals court had itself on October 14 stayed a 143-page district court decision following a two-week trial saying the ID law discriminates against minorities, the young and the poor who are less likely than older, more affluent white voters to have the mandated forms of ID necessary to cast a ballot.

Early voting begins Monday (October 20th) in Texas.

The High Court's ruling, the fourth in three weeks affecting major voting law changes, was unsigned, as is usual in such cases. But Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote a six-page dissent joined by her colleagues Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

The law requires that, before voting, citizens must present a driver's license, passport, military ID, or Texas gun license. Student IDs and tribal IDs of American Indians are among the forms Texas will not accept as valid for voting, making the law one of the strictest in the nation.

This post updates the following two posts from previous dates as noted:

1. Posted on October 9, 2014 here.

2.  Posted on September 23, 2014 here.

A new that needs constant review and action ... voting is the most important right in America... nothing should hamper, suppress, or weaken it, but the GOP just can't see it that way.

Voter fraud is a red herring and more evidence in that regard is here (Brennan Center for Justice at NYU)... review the facts for yourself.  

This election will prove voting rights advocates correct but sadly, it could be too late for hundreds of thousands who are not voter fraud citizens. Stay tuned for more updates.

Separate and Unequal: Income Imbalance — Easy Solution — Why the Wait

Simple Chart - Easy to Comprehend
(Benefits Workers and All Taxpayers)

Steady Progress 
(Unemployment Down since 2008 and Claims at 14 year Low)

Current and Past Fed Chairs
(Janet Yellen, Allan Greenspan, Ben Bernanke, and Paul Volcker)

Fed Chair Yellen as the headlines say: "... is... greatly concerned by widening [income] inequality..."

The introduction to this post (and background) comes from here and two links below. I want to emphasize that this is a very timely and serious issue, at least for millions of hard-working Americans struggling with their incomes - stagnant for years. As pointed out in the documents and studies, the issue is not so important for the GOP and sadly, not for some DEMS as well. 

1.  Historically, as mentioned in this book, both the Democratic and Republican Parties are virtual opposites of each other in their economic records, going back to the earliest period for which economic data were available, around 1910. More than a dozen studies have been done comparing economic growth, unemployment, average length of unemployment, stock market performance, inflation, federal debt, and other economic indicators, during Democratic and Republican presidencies and congresses, and they all show stunningly better performance when Democrats are in power, than when Republicans are

These studies are all available online, and they are all summarized and discussed in this path-breaking book, which settles, once and for all, the question of whether there’s any significant economic difference between the two Parties. Not only is there a difference, but – shockingly – it always runs in favor of Democrats in power. 

There might be other types of reasons for voting Republican, but all of the economic reasons favor voting for Democrats. Regarding economic performance, the two Parties aren’t even close

2.  Further, a study of the voting records of members of Congress, recently published in the prestigious online scientific journal PLOS One, shows that “Republicans tended to support legislation increasing economic inequality regardless of their social status,” whereas the tendency of congressional Democrats was in the opposite direction but weaker, because “High status Democrats tended to exhibit less support for legislation that reduces economic inequality than did their lower status” peers.

Now to Fed Chair Yellen and her comments and concerns about this very real and serious issue – one that in essence begs for a solution - links are here and here and several other sites, including this great piece here that has this caption (which I love): “Janet Yellen vs. the Inflation Zombies…”

From all her words and speeches I glean this – what I call the heart of the issue:

“Median incomes have stagnated for decades, so we could actually do with a bit more wage inflation. Despite the recent pickup in hiring, wages are still rising more slowly than productivity is rising. Unit labor costs are declining, and corporate profits are surging. But that means firms could afford to pay higher wages without passing along all the increase in costs to consumers. We might get a bit more price inflation, but it would be worth it. There is nothing in economic theory to suggest that a period of, say, 3% inflation is harmful to an economy. As a first-rate economist, Yellen knows all that, of course. In her speeches she has frequently talked about stagnant wages and the threats they pose to the economy, soaring inequality among them.”  

(Also refer to the charts above for more graphic views). And, keep in mind that the top 5% holds 2/3 of the nation's wealth. A very good segment on this topic is here - worth watching (about 9 minutes).

So, what’s the bottom line if any? The folks who protested on Wall Street surely know; hard-working Americans who want a pay raise certainly know even if most of the GOP does not and as I said, some DEMS as well, and now the public is tuning in, too. 

The ones in office who speak for the public (our Reps and Senators) talk a good game and play a solid effective Pol game, but always on their terms with their fancy lingo and silver tongues to get into office and stay in office, but to do what? 

They blame, fight, argue, bash, block, and well … just about everything in between except what their office calls for: serving the greater good of the entire country and not pick and choose buddies with tons of money seeking access to them for narrow-minded and selfish favors. 

But, hey, maybe that’s just me – but I hardly think so. This is a defining issue of millions in the country – a country we all profess at one time or another to be the greatest nation on Earth, and I certainly support that wholeheartedly. 

We have very good system in place – our government structure. But we then we see a lousy campaign finance system in place that is propped up the courts that I strongly believe are misguided about “money vs. speech” or what fair voting rights, and what we see in place that keeps the corruption alive and well. In essence we have a good system run by lousy people who in fact are backed by tons of ugly massive amounts of money that benefits the top rung of the ladder (who supply that money) all the while they profess to be “helping us all” climb that same ladder – that is the hypocrisy.

Income inequality translates into voice and power inequality from our government and that puts us on a path heading towards in a direction that I think no one wants. I don't speak for the vast majority, but I am part of that majority and those are the ones I mean to speak for with these posts. My voice is one among millions, and now I hear more on the same sheet. It's long overdue and sorely needed.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Good Wife: Ann Romney Style — Another Sitcom Script

Wife Says Mittens Could Have Stopped Vlad

Media Hawking of Romney in 2012
(Wife's view all the time)

This story caught my eye - posted here - the headline is interesting:


I have two words (or maybe it's one word) about that:


A “good” wife should always stand by her husband, or as “they” say through thick and thin.

Mittens for his part is pretty thin and the BS like this from Ann Romney in that camp is well, well ... pretty thick ...

Monday, October 13, 2014

ISIS or ISIL: Which One Is It and Does It Matter, Why or Why Not

We Need to "Know Our Enemy" 
(Make no mistake: they are everyone's enemy)

ISIS Prefers to be Called ISIL
(The "L" Map Area of Their Ambition)


The “L” part of their self-identified label: The “Levant” today (according to the so-called “leadership”) consists of controlling areas of CyprusIsraelJordanLebanonPalestineSyria, and parts of southern Turkey.


ISIS refers to the “Islamic State in Iraq and Syria,” and ISIL refers to the “Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.”  (see map above)

Both acronyms point to the exact same thing: They are a Jihadist militant group hell-bent on implementing an Islamic caliphate throughout the Middle East and by force is their M.O.

The irony is that according to Quartz, the group’s real name is (in Arabic): “Al dawla al islamiyye f’il Iaq w’al sham.”

The proper label matters to them … but their drive and ambition matter more as evidenced by their rapid and blood thirsty advances across Syria and now deep into Iraq.  

The map above shows the "L" part of their ambitions. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Land Ho — We Discovered China — We Are Going to be Rich and Famous: Oops

October 12, 1492 - October 12, 2014 
(522 Years)

Notes (with my blog editing) from History - FYI:

Columbus Day is a U.S. holiday that commemorates the landing of Christopher Columbus in the New World on October 12, 1492.  It was unofficially celebrated in a number of cities and states as early as the 18th century but did not become a federal holiday until the 1937.

Columbus was an Italian-born explorer who had set sail two months earlier, backed by the Spanish monarchs King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. He intended to chart a western sea route to China, India and the fabled gold and Spice Islands of Asia. However, instead, he landed in the Bahamas, becoming the first European to explore the Americas since the Vikings set up colonies in Greenland and Newfoundland during the 10th century.

Later that same month, he sighted Cuba and believed it was mainland China.

Then in December, he found Hispaniola, which he thought was Japan. It was there, he established Spain’s first colony in the Americas with 39 of his men.

In March 1493, Columbus returned to Spain in triumph, bearing gold, spices and “native Indians” as captives.

He crossed the Atlantic several more times before his death in 1506. By his third journey, he realized that he had not reached Asia but instead had stumbled upon a continent previously unknown to Europeans. The rest is history as they say.

The first Columbus Day celebration in the U.S. actually took place in 1792, when New York’s Columbian Order, better known as Tammany Hall, held an event to commemorate the historic 300th anniversary landing.

Then in 1892, President Benjamin Harrison issued a proclamation encouraging Americans to mark the 400th anniversary of the voyage with patriotic festivities, and writing: “On that day let the people, so far as possible, cease from toil and devote themselves to such exercises as may best express honor to the discoverer and their appreciation of the great achievements of the four completed centuries of American life.”

Finally, in 1937, President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed Columbus Day a national holiday – to be celebrated on the second Monday in October (regardless of the date – this year anniversary day, October 12, falls on Sunday).

No matter how the story is told (and we all have heard various versions), it's still history and the way millions found the "New World" that ultimately became the United States that we are today. 




Thursday, October 9, 2014

How to Neuter a Wisconsin GOP Weasel (Mustela Frenata) — Use Supreme Court

Vote Here, If You Can

USSC Washington, DC



FLASH UPDATE OF THE FOLLOWING STORY (updated from Madison, WI):

USSC ruling can be read here (one page .pdf... and seen here too. This is outstanding news. Perhaps there is justice after all?

Original story starts from here: The national headlines that impacts us all and should concern us all: 

“Ongoing legal battles over voting rights are threatening to complicate elections in some close races with national implications this November.”

(And, guess what? The GOP loves it).  

How do you measure the importance of an issue? GOPers for example will always say: “(1) lowers taxes (except for the rich); (2) more war, less peace (as they stand by and watch); (3) smaller government (except when they want to expand it); and (4) health care for women (we men will tell them what’s best for them).” Important issues for them for sure, but … for the rest of us? Not so darn important. 

Also, now consider this issue – a biggie, and one that I honestly think is the biggest issue right now that impacts the entire country – each and every one of us. Why? It speaks directly to our entire electoral system, structure of government, and life in general. Think hard about this question: “What if your right to vote was taken away?”

Case in point - WI and voter ID law (click the link):

Whether to allow Wisconsin’s strict voter ID law for this fall’s election is up to the Supreme Court – a decision that could come any day. But on Monday, an appeals court gave the law’s backers a big lift.

A three-judge panel of the 7th Circuit issued a ruling upholding the law. It was the same panel of all-Republican appointees that last month removed a district court judge’s injunction on the law, leading voting rights groups to ask the Supreme Court to intervene.

The 23-page ruling, written by Judge Frank Easterbrook, finds that the law is constitutional and does not violate the Voting Rights Act’s (VRA) ban on racial discrimination. The opinion is striking for its blithe tone in upholding a law that could disenfranchise many thousands. One prominent election law scholar called it “horrendous.” 

Still, the ruling could give the Supreme Court an additional reason to keep the ID measure in place. Courts tend to be less willing to overturn a full ruling on the merits than a more quickly issued order, which is all that the appeals panel had previously offered. Wisconsin had until 5 p.m. (October 7th) to make its case to the Supreme Court, the ruling could also give state lawyers some helpful tips for making its case.

More later - stop back by and thanks for stopping this time. Boy, is this great news ... excellent in fact.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Hey, What's That Cloud of Dust On My Rear Flank — Who is That Anyway

Kim, Jung-un (North Korean "Leader") Kinda Looking Over His Shoulder

General Hwang, Pyong-so
(Apparently Now in Charge)

This story just broke (October 5, 2014) and is getting wide attention based on the contents of the piece here: 

Highlights from the article: Out of sight for a month, young Kim, Jung-Un is supposedly ill. But rumors are swirling he’s been deposed — and North Korea’s second most powerful man now feels confident enough to travel South.

Hwang Pyong-So must be feeling pretty good about himself right now. At the latest Supreme People’s Assembly meeting, he was made vice chairman of the National Defense Commission. This was after his promotion to director of the General Political Bureau of the Korean People’s Army, making him the top political officer in the military. In a country where there is supposed to be no #2 official, he is called the second-most powerful figure.

Now he has crossed the border into South Korea on a one-day, short-notice trip, triggering hopes of reconciliation between the arch-rival republics — and heightening speculation about the fate of Kim Jong-Un, North Korea’s young "leader" who has not been seen in public since September 3.

Who is General Hwang? His short bio is here.

More to follow I am sure.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

How to Protect Voter Rights: Not Intimidate, Harass, Stymie, Block, or Scare Voters

Most-Honored and Cherished Right in America: Right to Vote Easily and Freely


FYI: A memo for the rightwing crowd who think our voting rights don't matter, or that our voting rights are NOT under harsh attack, or not in serious jeopardy. Well, think again. This story comes from the Badger State: “Conservative activists in Wisconsin are reportedly planning to intimidate African-American voters on Election Day, but that plot is far from concrete. Instead, voting rights advocates are focused on a far more definite threat at the polls — the state’s restrictive new voter ID law.”  

Talking Points Memo reported on a Facebook discussion between a group calling itself the “Wisconsin Poll Watcher Militia.” The conversation included individuals who were interested in following voters in minority-heavy cities to their homes and trying to catch people with outstanding warrants when they head to the polls. And according to a Capitol Times report from Sunday, the group also said they “prefer our people be armed.”  

Armed to do what: “protect voter” rights ... ha … give me a frickin' break. All this sounds like the new face of America. A face that is ugly, nasty, rabidly partisan, and damn sad.

I don't worry about this group per se:


However, I am greatly concerned about folks who are part of this group:


All eyes are now on WI - how ironic is that? Stay tuned. Thanks for stopping by.    

Sunday, September 21, 2014

GOP and Obama-care: Backpedalers, Backbenchers, Sideliners, Off Tracksters

Pen Change Anyone, Anyone At All? 
(Oops...)

Update Headlines


Update on the following related story seen in this clip:



Original post starts here with this headlines ... so, set the suicide watch. The entire GOP is at risk (as if we didn't already know that).

Highlights: Since the Affordable Care Act became law four years ago, health care experts have warned of sweeping changes to the U.S. health care system.

But here’s one thing they didn’t expect. Instead of weakening the existing system of employer-provided health insurance — which many analysts predicted — the ACA so far seems to have strengthened it. And that could make Obama-care, as the ACA is known, far less revolutionary than advocates promised and critics feared.

More at the link as you watch the clip. Enjoy - thanks for stopping by. 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

NY TIMES Study on "Media Bias" for Lack of a Better Word: Judge for Yourself


Sample of the 5 Charts - Revealing

The story from the NY TIMES (here from Media Matters) ... caught my eye:  

New York Times Analysis Finds Sunday News Shows Favor Conservative Guests 

Mainstream Media Bias? Ha … as if we didn't already know or suspect a lot of that (mostly accusations from Fox who feels slighted – double ha). 

Also interesting are the hosts of those on the networks of certain other shows. Watching their slant or political leaning as it were is also revealing. All one needs to do is watch any one of them, tie it to the latest daily headline or sound bite and bingo!!! It becomes pretty clear. The only thing I wonder is: Are they coached about how to use a certain slant? My hunch is, yes they are.

My quick assessment tells me that “Meet the Press” is more closely able to claim the label of “fair and balanced.” Thus, Mr. and Mrs. Fox: are you going to get a motto? Also, I note that ABC, CBS, and NBC (overall) seem to be all fairly equal in spreading the ideology more than FOX, which leans heavily right/GOP/conservative or just plain off the charts at times. But, hey, freedom of the press, right?  

So, does it matter? Probably not except for those who follow this stuff closely. Each network has their own brand of followers who will agree or not with them and thus help in their ratings just like FOX viewers – like minded, too. But, I also suspect a logical, rational average person will pause and take breath while scratching their head about FOX though. I know I do most of the time. Just a thought. Thanks for stopping by.       

Thursday, September 18, 2014

FOX NEWS: Need Another Reason to Be Disgusted With Them — Try This Latest

Absolute Truth (100%)

Another Absolute

Absolute A**hole
(The spin: Trust us and no one else)

Let's talk about this story, shall we. It sure got me up all fired up. 

"Despite multiple reports showing that the type of voter fraud IDs is supposed to protect against is virtually nonexistent, FOX NEWS has repeatedly advocated for those laws, even though they have been shown to disenfranchise eligible voters. Voter ID laws have real consequences on elections. 

“As the Brennan Center for Justice at NYC reported in a 2013 study, "free IDs are not equally accessible to all voters," and voter ID laws make it harder for hundreds of thousands of poor Americans to vote.”

As for me: I have this to say that I firmly believe that FOX is irresponsible when it comes to accurate news. The only things they want are clear in every broadcast: (1) bash the Dems, (2) bash Mr. Obama, and (3) being down our entire system.

FYI: FOX should be standing up for all rights of people but mostly voter rights, and not trying to degrade or lessen those rights. Why do I say that?  Simple: FOX’s single goal is to anyway possible SUBVERT the country and everything we stand for all the while saying they are not.

So, if FOX now admits that voter ID laws suck, why are they not at the forefront leading the charge to oppose those harsh laws and protect this cherished right? 

Um .... what Mr. and Mrs. F. O. X - cat got your tongue?

Monday, September 15, 2014

Limbaugh Fan: Never Been One & Never Will Be — Disgusting Human Being

Seeking His Next Female Victim

Limbaugh claims to be a the face of and a proud Conservative. Okay, is he the voice of conservatism in the GOP, let alone across wider America?

How about a show of hands: How many of his “fans” support this — his latest insult: 

Rush Limbaugh on consent for sex: “No means yes, if you know how to spot it…”

I'll leave it at that. I hope you read the story or hear his piece. It is worse than disgusting, let alone for anyone to try and justify this maggot being allowed on the public airwaves. For those who say, “Hey, it’s is right to free speech”

Bet you forgot what “hate speech” is, right? CNN reported on this in 2012, which I recall:

“… ironically, the misogyny Rush Limbaugh spewed for three days over Sandra Fluke was not much worse than his regular broadcast of sexist, racist, and homophobic hate speech,"

—  Female Cabinet members are Sex-retaries.

—  The NAACP should have riot rehearsal. They should get a liquor store and practice robberies.

 —  The National Organization for Women (NOW) is bunch of whores to liberalism.

—  Said to an African-American female caller: Take that bone out of your nose and call me back.

Still following his show? 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Illegal to Offer Ransom for Hostage-Taking: U.S. Law Says So

A Scene All Too Familiar
(52 Americans held hostage for 444 days: November 4, 1979 until January 20, 1981 in Iran)

Source for the Current Law 
(see link below)

This story probably has legs as the media likes to say ... I have to say, I'm upset that it leaked this way, and I feel the families pain. 

I also agree 100% that ransoms should not be paid for hostages. At the same time, if a family does it or tries to pay a ransom for the release of a loved one on their own (like in the cases of James Foley and Steven Sotloff), I see absolutely no reason whatsoever that they should face prosecution. However, U.S. law dictates and my opinion and that of others carries not weight. What follows is the legal foundation for such prosecution should it occur:

“Under current U.S. law, 18 USC 1203 (Hostage Taking) enacted in October 1984 is as part of the implementation of the UN convention on hostage-taking, and in part reads: “… seizure of a U.S. national as a hostage anywhere in the world is a crime, as is any hostage-taking action in which the U.S. Government is a target or the hostage-taker is a U.S. national. Such acts are, therefore, subject to investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and to prosecution by U.S. authorities.”

“Likewise, actions by private persons or entities that have the effect of aiding and abetting the hostage-taking, concealing knowledge of it from the authorities, or obstructing its investigation, may themselves be in violation of U.S. law.” 

Painful truth, but it is the law … and has been since 1984 – that was under President Reagan and I am guessing it came about in light of the Embassy hostage taking in Iran just before Mr. Reagan came into office when it occurred under President Carter.

A complex and very emotional issue for obvious reasons. A bit of background is here from my own note taking related to this topic. In Congress:

The GOP strikes again ... The House, returning from their 5-week vacation, voted 249-163 in favor of this resolution, with 22 Democrats (half coming from contested districts) joining Republicans and voted yes.  

The text of the resolution reads that the House “Condemns and disapproves of the Obama administration’s failure to comply with the lawful 30-day statutory reporting requirement in executing the transfer of five senior Taliban members from detention at U.S. Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.”  So, telling the enemy our plan in advance would please congress and their PR games?

Conversely, some in the GOP and across a lot of FOX types advocate that the U.S. pay millions for any American held hostage thus meeting the demands of the hostage takers - that would lead to more and more Americans being taken worldwide - a fact. 

CNN reported that ISIS had demanded €100 million (about $133 million dollars) for ransom and the release of James Foley. It was never a serious demand on their part since if far exceeded previous amounts paid hostages held by various groups in the past – which typically ranged up to several million dollars.

Employers and some Western governments such as France are willing to pay the ransoms, and other governments, like the U.S. and UK will not. The first fact is that if you pay a ransom, does that assure the hostage will be released.  The other fact is that every time a ransom is paid it increases the chance that other hostages will be taken to help fill the coffers of a terrorist group.

NY TIMES investigation shows that al-Qaeda and its affiliates have netted at least $125 million in ransoms since 2008.  Much of that money came from France. Not surprisingly, the same NY Times report found that of the 1/3 of 53 hostages known to have been taken by al-Qaeda and its affiliates during that time frame were from France

Comments are always welcome and thanks for stopping by. Come again.

Friday, September 5, 2014

A Message for America We Need to Hear More About, But Probably Won't

Terrorist Attacks on U.S. Soil by Group

Fact: Not all Arabs or Muslims are terrorists or bad people ... however, those like ISIS Leader and Caliph-in-Waiting: Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, or al-Qaeda’s newest “Leader” and formerly bin-Laden's #2, Ayman al-Zawahiri seen to think that they speak for and to the Muslim world like no one else, chanting: “Either join us or die. We are the only religion to be practiced and recognized. Non-believers will be killed.” Etc., etc., etc. We have seen their handiwork at it were.

I seriously wonder why level-headed Muslims, et al ARE NOT speaking out and taking up arms to erase those two all they stand for. If they are, we need to hear their stories more and more, too.  Such action would be like wiping out Nazism, Communism, and Fascism, and that would be best for the entire world.

If anyone believes that the only way to get any kind of law and order or get more people signed up for your cause, or your religion is from the barrel of a gun or blade of a knife, then I honestly believe that we as human beings are in very bad shape

This from CNN, who published an article entitled Study: Threat of Muslim-American terrorism in U.S. exaggerated. That was according to a study released by Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Yet, millions of Americans continue to live in mortal fear of radical Islam, a fear propagated and inflamed by mostly right wing sources.  If one follows the cable news networks for example, it seems as if all terrorists are Muslims. It even becomes (weakly) axiomatic in some circles to chant: “Not all Muslims are terrorists, but nearly all terrorists are Muslims.” 

Food for thought as it were. Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Supreme Court Ruling in Citizens United v. FEC (2010): FEC Explanation

Yes, Actually It Is For Sale - Believe It

Good FEC educational video (about 7 minutes) in easy to understand lingo about the impact of Corporate and Labor campaign Ads, political expenditures, and such since the ruling in Citizens United in 2010 (case is here). Very enlightening - enjoy.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Marine Sends Message to ISIS from all Americans: So, Listen Up



Our Message to ISIS - Coming into Focus for You
(click photo to enlarge)


Hey, ISIS, here is our photo and our message to you. Whether you wear glass or not, we don't give a crap, okay – have someone read the sign for you.

Following the murder of James Foley, this galvanizing statement on that tragic murder (and, yes it was cold-blooded murder), was composed by Marine Corps veteran Nick Powers on behalf of the entire United States (less a few maniacs who might happen live here):
#AMessagefromUStoISIS (via Facebook)
To all you ignorant Islamic extremist f—ks. As I sit here watching you execute women, children and men in the Middle East I chuckle. Why do I chuckle you may ask? Well let me explain something to you idiots who think you are so tough. You are scaring a population that doesn’t know how to fight, you’re bullying the weak.
What did Saddam’s troops do when we came to town? Surrendered, twice… All your threats of coming to America and raising your flag over the White House amuse me more than you could ever understand. In 2012 there were 21.2 million veterans in the United States. Do you understand what that means? That means there are millions of pissed off veterans who have been dealing with years of abuse from their government stabbing them in the backs and having to watch friends die because you Islamic idiots can’t seem to act like human beings and stop terrorism and violence.
It’s one thing to take over an Islamic state, pretty sure we plowed through Fallujah in 4 days, do you really think you stand a chance on US soil? Do you really think it would be smart to poke that bear? Remember we are armed in the US and I can promise you that the Geneva Conventions will not apply to you. You attack us and there is no mercy. The ball is in your court Islam, we are more than ready to send you to your “prophet” Mohamed…. 
 Pass is around -- good reading isn't it?

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Turmoil in Mexico and Latin America — Their Problems Have Become Ours: Why

Mexican Police Doing Some Good Stopping Criminals

The Bottom Line is the Bottom Line

I don’t know whether or not ISIS is, as some right wing outlets have “reported,” (i.e, with FOX leading the highway of hype) or has, or is planning to mass along the U.S. border with Mexico ready to invade and do great harm.

FOX LABELS THEIR REPORT AS EXCLUSIVE:  “Social media chatter shows Islamic State militants are keenly aware of the porous U.S.-Mexico border, and are “expressing an increased interest” in crossing over to carry out a terrorist attack, according to a Texas law enforcement bulletin sent out this week.

Note from TIME: U.S. government says “ISIS not ready to attack U.S. — yet?”  

Yet – oops.

But, I will say from what I have read, seen on the news, and know from my research about Mexico and Latin America, that well, it’s a ripe place for an outfit like ISIS.

For example, this from Forbes in a 2013 report, shows an alarming level of corruption in the Mexican government, their judiciary, and with their law-enforcement has earned them in 2013 the title of one of the two most corrupt countries in Latin America right alone side Argentina.

That data is based on the Global Corruption Barometer released in July 2013 by Transparency International, an anti-corruption nonprofit group. Mexico’s systems were perceived as the most corrupt with these negative ratings: 91% (their political parties); 90% (their police); 83% (their legislature); and 80% (their judiciary) – all related to level of corruption.

Added to that is this 2012 fine article from The New Yorker titled: THE KINGPINS.

The bottom line in all this plus the other coverage about Mexico appears to show that the “bottom line” is truly the “bottom line” over the border. Money and plenty of profits and innovative ways to pay for protection in an apparent “wink/wink, or wink and nod” or look the other way country is anything but a land where survival of fittest means anything. Instead survival of the fittest with the most dinero and ways to protect it by paying off others with lots of dinero is the national past time.

The world takes note, too, as reported on here by The Guardian (UK), with this snippet from an article a year ago (August 2013):  “Mexican authorities are struggling to control growing numbers of small town vigilante groups which have taken up arms in the name of protecting their communities against organized crime after local and federal police forces have failed to keep them safe.

All this helps explain why as a pressing issue this so-called Mexican government or whatever we choose to call it is simply ineffective. Corruption runs amok down there or so it seems, and thus that helps explain why tens of thousands of citizens from that neck of the woods flock to the U.S. safety, security, and a decent life. When a country can’t or won’t protect its citizens, let along provide the basics for them, well… we apt to see what we are seeing now on a larger growing scale.

This is truly a topic worth more study but more importantly a resolution. In a word: it can’t continue like this and as I said up front: it’s an ideal place ripe for the likes of ISIS for easy pickings and the things they offer … they would fit in nicely.

Stay tuned and stay on top of this. Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

GOPers: Running for Office; Serving in Office; After Being Booted Out

Sound Familiar

Big Issue GOP Does Not Comprehend
(They Want to Give it to Wall Street Brokers)


1.  Social Security: Most GOPers running for office, “We are going to fix things” but once in office, “We tried, but the DEMS kept stopping us at every turn.”

Remember thisIn 1936, GOP presidential candidate, Al Landon, said this in Milwaukee on September 26, 1936, in his infamous “I WILL NOT PROMISE YOU THE MOON” speech:  “This law (social security) is unjust, unworkable, stupidly drafted, and wastefully financed. It is a cruel hoax on the American worker.”  Now today: Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) even referred to it as a “Ponzi scheme.” 

As of July 2013, almost 58 million Americans will have received over $816 billion in Social Security benefits that year:

•  Retired workers nearly 37 million @ $47.4 billion - $1,269 average monthly benefit
•  Dependents 2.9 million @ $1.8 billion
•  Disabled workers 8.9 million @ $10 billion - $1,129 average monthly benefit
•  Dependents 2.1 million @ $ point 69 billion
•  Survivors 6.2 million @ $6.6 billion - $1,221 average monthly benefit

Fact: Social Security is the major source of income for most of the elderly.
Fact: Social Security provides more than just retirement benefits.
Fact: An estimated 163 million workers are covered under Social Security.
Fact: In 1940, the life expectancy of a 65-year-old was an additional 14 years; today it is more than an additional 20 years.
Fact: By the year 2033, the number of older Americans will increase from 45.1 to 77.4 million.
Fact: There currently 2.8 workers for each Social Security beneficiary. By the year 2033, there will be 2.1 workers for each beneficiary.

2.  Medicare: Various GOP quotes and positions over the years:

In 1961, former President Ronald Reagan warned: “That failure to stop Medicare will mean you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it once was like in America when men were free.”

In 1964, former President George H.W. Bush called it “Socialized medicine.”

In 1964, former GOP Sen. and Presidential Candidate, Barry Goldwater said: “Having given our pensioners their medical care in kind, why not food baskets, why not public housing accommodations, why not vacation resorts, why not a ration of cigarettes for those who smoke and of beer for those who drink.”

In 1995, then House Speaker Newt Gingrich proposed to to cut 14% from projected Medicare spending over seven years thus forcing millions of elderly recipients into managed health care programs or HMOs, saying, “The cuts were to ensure that Medicare is going to wither on the vine.”

In 1996, former GOP Sen. and Presidential Candidate, Bob Dole bragged that he was one of 12 House members who voted against creating Medicare in 1965 by saying: “I was there, fighting the fight, voting against Medicare ... because we knew it wouldn’t work in 1965.”

In 2009, Rep. Tom Price (GA), 2009 said: “Nothing has had a greater negative effect on the delivery of health care than the federal government's intrusion into medicine through Medicare.”

Flash Back to George W. Bush: He tried to privatize social security – that went nowhere. 

Got it now?

Monday, August 18, 2014

A, B, C Pop Quiz: (A) U.S. Infantry; (B) Jack Bauer & CTU; (C) Local Police

Which is 101st Airborne Division soldier or St. Louis County Sheriff in Ferguson, MO

Or, 24-CTU TacTeam Agent

LA Times coverage of this suddenly growing concern: Community Police Force military style.

Beginning last Saturday, and then for several nights in a row, the image of Ferguson, MO police officers in camouflage pointing high-caliber rifles from armored vehicles at unarmed protesters was inescapable.

Seeing that much military-grade equipment, even in a small St. Louis suburb like Ferguson, has highlighted the debate over whether the arming of the nation's police forces has gone too far. Los Angeles Times correspondents checked in on a handful of police departments around the country to see how the debate affects them.

Here is another slant on the same story from the NY Times

And here from WTOP regarding the Nation's capital police and the same subject. 

Granted our police forces should always be better than those they confront in any situation, but do they have to look like they are ready to airdrop in Iraq and take on the ISIS, or deploy to North Korea, or should the situation dictate the tactics? The answer I think is self-evident.

More on this subject I am sure following what we are now seeing in Ferguson, MO.