Racism Dead in USA? Not a Chance!!

US President Barack Obama finally made it to the Twitter-verse yesterday with the hash-tag @potus which stands for President Of The United States.

It only took twenty minutes for someone to tweet a response calling the President of the USA a “nigger”.  That was the least of it.  Others hoped he would get cancer. And even worse:  Someone posted an illustration of Obama hanging from a rope.

There is much more and you can read a large extent of it HERE, if you have the stomach for it.

It is enough to make intelligent, thinking, caring, fair-minded Americans ashamed to be called American.  At its very best, it is abhorrently disgusting.

President Obama is the first African-American elected to the presidency of the United States.  That happened in November 2008, and was repeated in November 2012.

The hard-core racists in this country, ALL of which are most likely right-wing red-neck bible-thumping republicans, were absolutely horrified when a member of a different biological human race, one which THEIR ANCESTORS kidnapped from its native African lands in the 17th,18th and 19th centuries to be forced into brutal slavery in the “new world”, somehow cheated and shot his way into the highest office in America.

Is this a demonstration of “American Exceptionalism“???  REALLY????

The anger that this horrific behavior on the part of some Americans elicits in thoughtful, fair-minded, non-racist citizens of this country is nothing short of nauseating.  After all, it is one thing to not like a president for his policies and behaviors.  It is another one completely to exhibit total disrespect, hatred and utter loathing toward the Office of the President of the United States.  And that is EXACTLY what these low-life, uneducated, unsophisticated, moronic, extremist-right-wing hate-mongers do.

It is repulsive.  it is disgusting.  It is below the “Christian Values” these sub-human animals claim to believe in…

And it is the same behaviors exhibited by hate groups such as Al-Qaeda and ISIS.

The Constitution of the United States, Bill of Rights, First Amendment allows and even promotes freedom of speech and expression, as defined by the US Supreme Court case law over the years.  That means that even Nazi supporters can march peacefully in Skokie, Illinois, even though their message is one of hatred, brutality and antisemitism.

However, even with First Amendment rights of freedom of speech, there are still consequences to what one actually says or writes.  For instance, one cannot scream “Fire!” in a crowded theater just for fun.  The resulting damage and injuries will ensure that the screamer is arrested and charged, and will also subjected to private lawsuits by anyone injured or otherwise impacted.  This sort of behavior has already been defined by the US Supreme Court as not in the public interest.

So it finally does come down to who we, as Americans, really are.  What do WE REALLY stand for?  Why do we tolerate hateful lies, hateful radio hosts, hateful emails and hateful attempts by hateful racists, whose only goal to to foment more hatred?

It’s a very appropriate question that may never be adequately answered because so many Americans, while condemning racial discrimination and intolerance, are, deep inside, intolerant racists themselves.

All of this begs the question of who we Americans truly are.  Based upon a truthful answer (if that is even possible), what is our true moral stature on the planet?

Of course, compared to ISIS or other brutal Islamist extremist groups, Americans have done practically NOTHING compared to them.  But the occasional lynching of black people, the murdering of black civil rights workers in the 1960’s, the police brutality (though not nationwide) against the greater Black community, all of this speaks to an insidious  undercurrent of racial discrimination which still, ILLEGALLY, exists in the “exceptional” USA.

As an American born in New York City, a veteran who served in the US Navy during the Vietnam conflict, a life-long employee of the US Government who retired under honorable conditions, this writer is utterly ashamed of those fellow country-men and women who feel compelled to display such utter hatred for dissimilar people, simply because of the color of their skin, or their country of origin, or any other logistical or physically explainable characteristic.

Of course, the morons who spout all of this hatred on social media are not thinking of the global and/or time critical impact of their horribly hate-filled right-wing tea-bagger views.

And that is sad, because many of them are so misinformed and uneducated regarding even the most basic high school education.

As a result, to all minorities everywhere…to the advanced and civilized international community of nations on this planet…

This writer apologizes for the actions of those countryman and women…who just do not, and never will, get it.

Ed. note:  There are only two more articles which will be written in June and July, before this blog passes into history in July 2015.




Abortion: The Scourge of GOP Politics

Abortion is a subject sure to raise controversy whenever its brought up either in polite or other conversation.  The issue forces and face-off between those who believe that a woman should have complete control over her life and her body, and those who believe that abortion is a religious sin, child murder, and morally unacceptable.

The problem with the issue is that it has no solution acceptable to all.

Generally speaking, the political left believes that abortion should be legal and safe and unencumbered with unnecessary (from a health standpoint) requirements, while the political right generally believes that abortion should be illegal, abortion providers should go to jail, and “abstinence only” is the only acceptable alternative.

But since they know they cannot make abortion totally illegal, they are more than willing to complicate women’s lives with laws which make abortion unnecessarily restricted, complicated, difficult, and unpleasant.

To that end, many GOP-controlled states have imposed laws requiring that such unnecessary regulations such as requiring doctors who perform this procedure to have hospital operating privileges, even though the procedure is most often performed in a clinic.  They also have imposed a waiting period for women of a minimum of 24 hours after forcing women to undergo a medically unnecessary ultra-sound procedure and to receive “counseling” on the desirability of carrying the fetus to term.  Sometimes the ultra-sound required is the invasion “Trans-vaginal” ultrasound.  The ultra-sound is really being required to attempt to change the patient’s mind about having an abortion.

Clearly, republicans “claim” to believe in less government and less government regulation.  But when it comes to women and their personal rights, including control over their own bodies and health decisions, all bets are off:  the GOP wants a stranglehold on a woman’s body and choices.

To prove this point, the GOP-controlled US House of Representatives is pushing a bill that would overturn a law passed in December 2014 by the Washington D.C. Council, which prohibits employers from taking punitive action against any of its employees for using abortion services or birth control.

In other words, anyone could be fired (or not hired) simply because they, their spouses, or even their children believe in birth control and abortion.

Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) sponsored the House resolution because, she says the DC Council resolution known as the  “Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act,”, actually discriminates against people with religious values.


There is a big difference between living one’s life by one’s own religious beliefs, and forcing others to live THEIR lives by someone else’s beliefs.  The perfect analogy is happening right this minute, albeit it to a much larger extent, in the so-called Islamic State (ISIS).

Of course, the present-day anti-abortion and anti-birth control advocates don’t care about such things, nor do they see the similarities in the analogy.

Besides the religious right trying to impose its will on everyone, there is a gross unfairness about the fact that the vast majority of legislators in the USA are men, and yet many of these men have no qualms about imposing their religious belief systems on women.

But what if women could impose THEIR religious belief systems on men?

Presently, the Florida State Legislature is about to pass a law that will impose a 24-hour waiting period on a woman from the first appointment with a doctor who will perform the procedure, before she can have an abortion. Ostensibly, this is so that the woman can “give thoughtful review of her decision to have an abortion after viewing an ultra-sound, etc.”

Thus, Florida state Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda, D-Tallahassee offered an amendment to require a similar waiting period for a vasectomy. It is against her religion as a Catholic for any person to interfere with the reproductive process, and in fairness, she felt that if women have to wait 24 hours, then men should have to wait as well.  She also felt that if these right-wingers were going to impose their religious belief system on everyone, why couldn’t she?

Way to go, Michelle!  🙂

Of course, that amendment went nowhere, but one has to consider that sooner or later, an issue such as this might make it to the US Supreme Court.  In the meantime, the Tea Party and the religious right are going to claim a small victory in Florida.  Conversely, the US House of Representative proposal is probably going nowhere, just like Michelle’s amendment did,

Meanwhile, back in the mainstream, the potty-trained republicans probably wish their base would just drop all abortion issues until after the election.  Why?  Because the cat-fighting within the GOP over abortion is just turning people off.

That cat-fighting, by the way, is yet another indication that the GOP should split into two separate parties:  The mainstream and the extreme.

Naw.  Let them keep clawing at each other.  🙂




Ted Cruz is Running for President. REALLY????

Ultra-conservative first-term US senator Ted Cruz from Texas announced on Monday that he is running for president of the US (POTUS).  He did so at the evangelical Christian Liberty University, which is run by none other than Jerry Falwell, jr.

It didn’t take long for the media to report a number of foe-pahs seeming committed by this candidate, or by his friends in his stead, though.

Besides the fact that most mainstream republicans don’t like Cruz and consider him a loud-mouth egotistical thorn in their sides (never mind what democrats think of him), right out of the box it was learned that Falwell had required attendance of ALL 10,000 of Liberty University’s students at the Cruz presidential kickoff.  This came to light because the students protested in a number of ways.

Then Cruz admitted that he is now seeking health insurance though the Obamacare federal exchange (because Texas does not have its own exchange, which is an act of protest by Texas against the Affordable Care Act).  He is concurrently seeking to repeal this selfsame health care reform law.

“Do as I say, not as I do”, Teddy?  🙂

Cruz probably will not survive to the end of the republican primary season, though.  The reasons are legion:

1.  He is probably the most polarizing person in the republican presidential arena.  While he is educated, intelligent, and articulate, his message of “Never compromise, but always pray” is not not going to attract a single democratic, moderate independent, or mainstream republican, in all probability.  Dr. Ben Carson, who is even more extremist-religious-right then Cruz, is another example of someone who is so far off the mainstream path that he is unelectable.

2.  Everyone remembers the “birther” issue.  Though hard to believe, there are STILL lunatic fringe people who somehow believe, all evidence to the contrary, that Obama was born in Kenya.  The fun of turning the tables on Cruz, who was born in Canada of Cuban-born parents, is only just beginning.  🙂  And although the law is clear that he is eligible to run for POTUS, the STUPID and the LAZY out there won’t bother to research the facts…they’ll just go with the anti-science, anti-fact, anti-data, anti-empirical evidence, faith-based vampire-believers out there.  THAT should be a HOOT to watch.  🙂

3.  Related to the above, there are multiple reports that his Cuban father was a Castro revolutionary before he immigrated to the USA at age 18.  The reports claim that he may have American blood on his hands from his activities while still in Cuba.  You can bet these reports will be heavily researched.  Not good for Cruz if they’re true….

4.  The Cruz-orchestrated October 2013 government shut-down fiasco, which cost the economy US$24 billion and caused a lot of disruption, is going to come back to haunt him.

5.  His own mainstream republicans, while smiling at him (maybe) to his face while sticking knives into his rhetorical back, will probably work against him as hard as they can.

6.  The other, more mainstream candidates for the GOP POTUS nomination are probably going to work together to some extent to knock Cruz out of the race quickly, in an attempt to limit the damage Cruz continues to do to the GOP brand.  Then after he’s gone, they’re do the same to each other.  After all, the last one standing wins the nomination.

7.  Regardless of what the future holds, Cruz will win and keep most of the ultra right and religious right base of the GOP, which will weaken the rest of the GOP candidates to some extent.  By further dividing the GOP, he makes it more likely that the undecided voter will either not vote or will tend to abandon the GOP.

Just a couple of days after his announcement, there are a lot of negative factors he has to contend with in order to win the GOP nomination for POTUS, let alone the general election in November 2016, which is a mere 18 months away.  And the first primaries begin only 10 months from now.

Of course, all of this favors the democrats and the presumptive democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton.  In fact, democrats probably wish that Cruz WOULD win the GOP nomination and that either Ben Carson, Sarah Palin, or Michele Bachmann would also be on the GOP ticket as vice-presidential candidates.  🙂

And finally, Ted Cruz would most likely be a whole lot better off taking the ultra-extremist religious right and the Tea Party factions of the GOP with him to form a completely new and separate third political party to run for POTUS. It’s his best chance for making it onto the general election ballot in November 2016. It also does the democrats a big favor by absolutely dividing the GOP vote in the general election.

In states that allow anyone, regardless of party affiliation, to vote in the GOP primaries, democrats should be lining up at the polls to vote for Cruz, just to keep him and his lunatic fringe in the race:)

You just can’t make this stuff up…




Will the Crazy GOP Shut Down the Department of Homeland Security?

For those old enough to remember, The US Department of Home Security (DHS) was borne in the aftermath of the horrific Al Qaeda attacks on the USA on September 11th, 2001, and was created in 2002.  The agency is a collection of former smaller, independent federal organizations as well as newer functions and responsibilities, ALL of which are designed to help protect the USA from another terrorist attack.

Shortly after the November 2014 mid-term elections, president Obama issued an executive order sparing certain non-criminal illegal immigrants with families the horror and fear of being ripped apart via deportation.  He also provided a framework for the issuance of renewable three-year work permits so that these families would neither starve to death nor need public assistance for their survival.  In California, with the highest population of any state in the USA affected by this executive order, the news was well-received by the undocumented workers,as well as by the large mega-corporations which hire these people at low wages to work jobs such as harvesting fruit, something that most Americans simply refuse to do.

Other beneficiaries included tax-dependent state and federal budgets, which will now be collecting state and federal taxes from these workers.

Of course, the anti-immigration ultra-extremist Tea Party faction of the GOP had a hissy fit over this.  They deeply believe that America is ONLY for Americans, and that the legal immigration is the only (flawed) way into this country.  They ignore facts, such as their own ancestors, immigrants themselves, were allowed to enter the USA by just showing up at the immigration desk at ports of entry, such as Ellis Island, NY.  They ignore the fact that mega-corporate America LOVES these hard-working, low-pay undocumented workers, who make enormous profits for them.

They also ignore the fact that the USA’s immigration system is hopelessly flawed, underfunded, and understaffed, and archaic.

So last December, the GOP agreed to fund every government agency through FY 2015 (September 30th, 2015).  All…except DHS, which administers immigration matters.  DHS was funded only through February 28th, 2015.  The next day funding ceases, and roughly 30,000 federal DHS workers face furlough, unless a new funding bill is approved by the GOP-dominated congress and the president signs it into law.

The sticking issue is Obama’s executive order on immigration.  The GOP wants the  DHS funding bill include have language which would reverse the president’s executive order.  Of course, the president would veto such a “dirty” bill.

Interestingly, the GOP-dominated senate is prepared, after numerous “dirty” bills were filibustered by the minority senate democrats (a maneuver perfected by the republicans when they were the minority party…which is why you don’t hear much GOP criticism of it), to pass a clean bill and send it to the House of Representatives, where no such filibuster rules exists.

The House GOP congresspeople are divided regarding whether pass the senate’s “clean” bill or simply insist on their own “dirty” bill which has NO chance of becoming law, allowing DHS to partially shut down.  The wiser mainstream republicans KNOW they will be blamed by the American people if the agency responsible for protecting the homeland against terrorism is weakened, especially at this time of increased concern over the Islamic State and other brutal extremist terrorist groups.

Assuming DHS remains unfunded as of close of business (COB) on Friday, 85% of DHS personnel would NOT be furloughed.  But they will be forced to work for free as long as the furlough lasts.  Eventually they will get their delayed paychecks if/when the furlough ends, but during the furlough they will not get paid.  Their only choices would be  to work as modern day slaves, or resign their jobs, which isn’t going to happen.

The 30,000 or so DHS employees who WILL be furloughed will obviously not receive their paychecks.  And while they probably get paid for that lost time if/when they return work, how do they pay their bills in the meantime?

Perhaps the worst affect will be from the parts of DHS that WILL shut down.  Though not DIRECTLY involved in protection services, they do provide critical support functions for the front-liners. That support will not be there.

The mere thought that the right wing of the GOP would use DHS as their political football is irresponsible and stupid at best, and dangerous and incredibly delusional self at worst.  It is also the most self-damaging action the GOP could take possibly take against ITSELF, particularly at a time of increased threat against the western civilized world. That’s the reason the democrats can afford to stand their ground on the insistence of a “clean” DHS funding bill.

So stay tuned.  The smart money, if there is such a thing in this crap shoot, says the GOP House will publicly shoot itself in foot before all is said and done.  If it lasts long enough, maybe THEY will be done.  🙂

Ed. note 2-28-15:  So the GOP House passed a one week extension before they face the inevitable.  Meanwhile, 32,000 federal employees continue to live in uncertainly because of the infantile actions of at least 60 ultra-conservative House republicans. Any have any doubt how this is going to end (BADLY for the GOP, no doubt)…?

Burning to Death: BARBARIC, Regardless Who Does It

Last Sunday, President Obama spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast, and proceeded to infuriate conservatives and the Christian religious right.  It seems that this group does not like to have their religious history, in all its historical glory, aired for all to see,

Obama did demonstrate a huge amount of guts to speak against some of Christianity’s darkest historical realities, such as the brutal Crusades and even America’s history of slavery.

Specifically, Obama reminded the audience that the Islamic State’s (IS, ISIS, or ISIL) burning to death of a captured Jordanian pilot on January 3rd, 2015 (but not reported until almost a month later when the video was released online) was barbaric and awful, but that IS is not the only group that has murdered and brutalized in the name of religion.

He spoke about the Crusades, which were 10 or more imperialistic missions launched by the Roman Catholic Church, which was the precursor of virtually all modern-day Christian religions.  These missions involved inhuman brutality, barbaric torture and the horrific death of countless helpless victims, as well as the acquisition of land and riches for the church.

He also spoke to the Inquisition, which was an action by the Holy Roman Catholic Church to “cleanse” Europe of heretics, Jews, Muslims, and even Christians who challenged the teachings of the church.  Torture, long-term imprisonment under horrific conditions, and death by burning or drowning, among other barbaric and inhuman acts, were rampant during this era.

Obama also mentioned slavery and subsequent Jim Crow laws in the USA as another example of people acting in the name of their religion and/or religious beliefs, despite the fact that those actions were often on a par with what the IS is doing today.

The president’s point, which he made clearly, was:

“We see faith driving us to do right,….We also see faith being twisted and distorted, used as a wedge, or worse, sometimes as a weapon…..We have seen violence and terror perpetrated by those who profess to stand up for faith, their faith, profess to stand up for Islam, but in fact are betraying it,”

Everything Obama spoke to was the historical truth, and his point about using faith to justify brutality and barbarism as being a religious distortion, the sole purpose of which is to justify the unjustifiable, was spot on.

So why are conservatives and religious right extremists so upset with Obama for making these comments?

Andrea Mitchell, who works for NBS News, said ““He’s the president and you can’t really go back to 1095.”

Dr. Ben Carson, a religious right extremist republican who believes that every word in the bible is true, and who is running for president (no less!) had nothing good to say about Obama, In true Sarah Palin style, Carson’s days as a presidential candidate are number, anyway.

Various other right-wing pundits have alternatively said that Obama insulted Christianity (by telling the truth), adding that they, personally, are all hugely insulted by his (truthful and historically accurate) remarks.

Then there are those who say that his remarks prove that Obama is really a Muslim Kenyan.  Donald Trump, who STILL believes that Obama was born in Kenya, must be having the time of his life right now.

Wait a minute!

Didn’t Obama call the Islamic IS a “terror organization” that must be eradicated from the Earth?  Didn’t he label the IS as a brutal and inhuman group of thugs who commit unspeakable atrocities?  Hasn’t he ordered punishing airstrikes against IS for mouths now, and provided over 3000 US servicemen to assist in the effort to destroy his “fellow Islamists”??

Didn’t he send to congress just today a draft proposal to wage war against the IS?

It seems that the more into religion one is, particularly those who favor biblical stories over the science that disproves them, the more offended and insulted over Obama’s truthful remarks at the Prayer Breakfast they are.  That actually parallels IS’s belief that any action is justified by their warped religious faith.  Even though burning people to death is prohibited by their Qur’an, they believe that their mission is in line with the teachings of, and justified in the name of, the prophet and true Islam.

This form of thinking is much in line with the belief system of people who refuse to vaccinate their own children because they believe that God owns all of us and will take care of us, and vaccinations are an interference with God’s ownership of us.

A belief system such as that can justify ANY action, whether its torturing innocent people to extract a confession, burning them at the stake in the name of righteous faith, or setting them on fire in a cage to suffer an unimaginable, inhumanly painful death,  And by the way, that was the same action committed against many African-Americans all the way into the 20th century by righteous Christians, including those in the KKK.

People who ignore the past are condemned to repeat it…That’s why Israel is such a strong country despite it’s tiny size…Its motto is NEVER FORGET.


The 2016 GOP Circus With a Cast of Twenty

With almost two years to go before the November 2016 US general elections, it is incredibly entertaining to watch the republicans falling all over themselves for the GAME OF THE DECADE!  🙂

At this early juncture, no less than NINETEEN GOP candidates are either running now, or have at least said that they are strongly considering a run for president of the USA.

In alphabetical order, they are:

In addition,South Carolina GOP senator Lindsay Graham is considering a POTUS (president of the United States) run.  20 wannabes!!!

Last weekend the infamous billionaire Koch brothers sponsored  a ‘come-to-the- GOP-Jesus’ “FREEDOM SUMMIT” conference in Iowa, the first primary state in the USA.  The conference was hosted by ultra-conservative religious-right-wing Iowa republican congressman Steve King.

The principal purpose of this conference was to give the Koch brothers an opportunity to access the GOP field of candidates, so they can decide which candidate did the best job of kissing and licking their dual asses, just for the almost US$ 1 billion the Koch brothers plan to spend on the 2016 US general election.

For most of these POTUS wannabes, there is little chance they can win the GOP nomination, which truly is a brass ring quest for whomever can negotiate the mainstream/conservative GOP wasteland.

However, the final GOP nomination winner will have to woo not only the unbelievably filthy-rich, but also the extreme-right wing party base AND the minority mainstream of the party to receive the votes necessary to win the nomination.

Rupert Murdock, the billionaire media mogul, has already made it clear that he will NOT support Mitt Romney’s endless bid to be POTUS.

Many of the other GOP candidates suffer from invisibility, lack of name recognition and/or they are unremarkable as viable candidates.

Some, such as New Jersey governor Chris Christie (and some say Jeb Bush, as well…more on him later…) are considered to be too mainstream republican (translation: too liberal) and not wacko-Tea-Bagger enough to win over the ultra-conservative red-meat-craving, knuckle-dragging base of the GOP to be able to win the republican primaries.

Additionally, one candidate, more than any other, is incredibly beyond stupid to believe that a run for POTUS could possibly be successful.  Yep, you guessed it: Sarah Palin.  Her high level of ignorance and low level of IQ even scares potty-trained republicans!  🙂

And then you have the ultra-right-extremist crazies such as Ted Cruz…candidates who believe in a “scrotched-Earth” policy for any idea that doesn’t meet their goals 100%.

Thus, there will be few republicans standing after this vetting and filtering primary process.  There may be one or two of the low-name-recognition folks might still be standing that appeals to the “average” republican voter…whatever that is.  But the money bet, at least right now, is on Jeb Bush.

Good ol’ boy Jeb has a couple of major problems that he has to overcome just to win the republican nomination for POTUS, let alone the actual presidency itself.

In GOP Primary-land, he has to convince the GOP base that he is conservative enough of their taste and that will not be easy.  Jeb agrees with Immigration reform and with opening the door to Cuba.  Marco Rubio, also from Florida like Jeb, stands to split the right-wing vote on the basis of his more conservative views, at least on Cuba.

However, assuming that Jeb were to win the GOP nomination for POTUS anyway, he then faces an independent and a democratic electorate that still has a bad taste in its collective mouth for anything “Bush”, after the debacle of the George W. Bush presidency of 2001-2009:  two unfunded and unfinished wars, the use of torture by the USA, the financial meltdown of the Bush recession, ad nauseum, will clearly work against Jeb with many voters.

One fly in all this ointment is Rand Paul.  This guy does not fit into any political pigeonhole well.  His biggest disadvantage, and his greatest strength, BOTH spring from the weird views he holds.  IF he can get past the republican primaries and win the nomination (which is unlikely), he actually could give the democratic candidate a run for her money…  🙂

And yes, make no mistake:  HER!  🙂





2016 U.S. President

Biden (D)
Bowers (R)
Bush (R)
Carson (R)
Christie (R)
Clinton (D)
Cruz (R)
Cuomo (D)
V. Hill (R)

Johnson (L)
King (R)
O’Malley (D)
Pataki (R)
Patrick (D)
Paul (R)
Perry (R)
Portman (R)
Romney (R)
Rubio (R)
Ryan (R)
Sanders (I)
Santorum (R)
Brian Schweitzer (D)

Best Christmas Entertainment: The GOP Civil War

Thanksgiving is thankfully over and Christmas season here, television will be broadcasting endless shows and movies about the Holiday Season.  Ultra-extremist-religious-right fanatics will taut the war on Christmas as they do every year in an attempt to provide added enjoyment during this season. It is, after all, a time of gift exchange, birthday celebrations, and dead trees sheeding endlessly on living room rugs, upon which people love to place increasingly crowded decorations and overly-dense lights to celebrate peace on Earth and good will toward men.

No mention of women there…  Hmmm..  But back to the Holiday Joy of Endless Entertainment, a.k.a.,   The GOP.

Congress is back in session in Washington, DC, and it must pass Departmental budgets to run the government past the date that money runs out to do that, December 11, 2014.  Unfortunately for the GOP, the democrats still control the US senate until the new GOP majority is sworn in early in January 2015.  But that still leaves funding of the US government to deal with.  The alternative is to face another government shutdown like the one the GOP forced in October 2013.

The GOP is really three sub-parties that are often at odds with each other.

The oldest faction is the moderate center of the party, made up primarily of intelligent, longtime republican senators and congresspeople who understand how divided government works.  They realize it requires working with the opposing party, negotiating to achieve a compromise that both parties can live with.  No one gets everything they want but most get something they want.

The next faction is beholden ONLY to the big money entities that bought them their election.  They ONLY care about satisfying their financial golden hen for their next election.  As a result, they will always and forever support the interests of the money interests that got them elected.

The last faction of the GOP is most dangerous and extreme-far-fringe.  It is populated by the ultra-conservative tea-party and extreme religious right fanatics who believe compromise is a socialist plot intended to supress and enslave American citizens.  That are self-convinced and self-appointed to believe that only MINIMAL government programs and regulations (who needs clean air and clean water, anyway???), is the ONLY truth,, and that opposition to science and logic, and a well-armed citizenry, are all that’s required to be happy and secure.

In general, they support uncontrolled capitalism and the almighty profit factor.  But they are not beyond cutting off their business nose to spite their business face.  These folks favor immediate deportation or every undocumented man, woman and child in the USA, regardless of the costs to the taxpayer or their corporate money-sponsors who finance their political campaigns and provide unmentionable perks to these lunatics.

They simply don’t care that deported migrant workers may not be present to pick our fruit in the fields and perform all the other jobs that most Americans refuse to do.  Nope.  America is for Americans and that is all that matters.   If foreigners want to come here, they can wait in line with the rest of the undesirables.

So they are strenuously opposing (and bad-mouthing to the extent that they can get away with it) the mainstream GOP leadership in the House and senate, which is going to pass an “Omnibus bill” next week to fund the federal government through the end of  FY 2015 (September 30th, 2015).  The exception to this “done-deal” bill is the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), for which they will pass a Continuing Resolution to fund it only through March of next year.   After all, DHS oversees the deportation of illegals, and Obama has directed them to deport criminals, undesirables and felons first (oh, the horror).

The lunatic fringe of the republican party is really upset that they can’t shut the government down just before Christmas, which would furlough hundreds of thousands (at LEAST!) of federal workers and cost the American taxpayer tens of billions of dollars.

Here’s what some of the ultra-right republican congressmen have been saying:

Representative Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) said that funding the DHS just through March would be excessive.  “That seems way too long.  The shorter, the better.”, he said

Representative John Fleming (R-La.) wants the government shut down, stating ,”Why would we extend a continuing resolution into March for DHS?  Why not vote on it the first day we’re back?”

Representative Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho) said that passing a spending bill that doesn’t impose limitations on implementing the executive action is a capitulation by the GOP.

Represetative Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said, “The cavalry is coming.  Why in the world would you want to extend a continuing resolution for several months without waiting for those people to get here?”

So stay tuned as the GOP continues to punch itself in the face.  It should be more entertaining than “It’s A Wonderful Life ” or “Miracle on 34th Street 🙂






2014 Elections: The REAL reason the GOP won

Have you seen this?

The following letter to the editor is rapidly becoming known as the “Letter to the Editor Heard Around the World” according to this source.  (readable text is below the photo):

canadian“You Americans Have No Idea Just How Good You Have It With Obama”

“Many of us Canadians are confused by the U.S. midterm elections.  Consider, right now in America, corporate profits are at record highs, the country’s adding 200,000 jobs per month, unemployment is below 6%, U.S. gross national product growth is the best of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries.  The dollar is at its strongest levels in years, the stock market is near record highs, gasoline prices are falling, there’s no inflation, interest rates are the lowest in 30 years, U.S. oil imports are declining, U.S. oil production is rapidly increasing, the deficit is rapidly declining, and the wealthy are still making astonishing amounts of money.

“America is leading the world once again and respected internationally — in sharp contrast to the Bush years. Obama brought soldiers home from Iraq and killed Osama bin Laden.

“So, Americans vote for the party that got you into the mess that Obama just dug you out of? This defies reason.

“When you are done with Obama, could you send him our way?

“Richard Brunt, Victoria, British Columbia”

Add this the to late Robin Williams once said about Canada:

(Sources: Freep.com and Christian Science Monitor)

The GOP waltzed (sort of) into victory in at least seven US senate races, propelled by an extremely low voter turnout (the worst in 72 years, according to the New York Times), the demographics of these races (gerrymandered districts in red states), and the obscenely massive amounts of money (almost a billion dollars), injected by the outside groups such as the super-pacs, the National Rifle Association (NRA) the Koch brothers and other billionaires and mega-corporations.

These organizations and people have everything to gain with a republican-controlled congress.  This includes, but is not limited to, ignoring global warming by INCREASING the use of fossil fuels including coal and shale oil and tar sands, eliminating the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its pesky anti-pollution regulations, dropping all efforts at increasing the minimum wage, and fighting against ANY new gun control measures.  And, of course, the wholesale repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare).

Needless to say, the winners in Tuesday’s mid-term election are now beholden to these groups and folks who greased their skids into victory with money, so to speak.  This means that, contrary to representing the interests of the people of their districts and states, the GOP winners will most likely represent the big money that enabled them to win.  Sadly, this is how the American political system now works.

When the Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 in “Citizens United” in 2010 that corporations have the same freedom of speech rights as individual citizens, including the right to express themselves through monetary political campaign donations, they opened the floodgates to an incredibly lop-sided environment of unlimited campaign financing by outside interests.  There is, after all, no way the average citizen could possibly match the hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars in financial contributions that the billionaires and corporations can make.

In effect, the representative democracy that was the USA has gone from a government of the people, by the people, and for the people to a government that represents wealthy special interests.  To a large extent, many of the people who voted these republicans into office dis so based primarily upon massive TV ad saturation. They are low-information voters who rely on political TV ads to decide who to vote for, as if those slick and expensive ads were news sources.  Sad…

To be fair, the democratic candidates who ran away from Obama’s fine record of accomplishments, such unemployment down from 10.5% to 5.8%, record stock market, the deficit down by more than 50%, having ended two wars, millions more having health insurance and premiums rising by the lowest rate in 50 years, and subsequently lost their elections ANYWAY, should hang their heads in shame…and should grow a set of balls.

So now the congressional republicans will vote for the 50th-plus time to repeal Obamacare, which, of course is a waste of time and money, but they’ll do it anyway.  But it is a sure bet that they will NOT vote in any campaign financing reform that would stop the wholesale purchasing of the US government.

For the next two years, the conservative GOP agenda will get pushed continuously onto Obama desk.  Perhaps he’ll become known as the “president of “NO”…?

But if there is one bright spot in all this, it’s that ultra-conservative Ted Cruz of Texas is now being joined by ultra-conservative Joni Ernst of Iowa, and they’ll be mercilessly nipping at the ankles of the more moderate republicans in the senate.

THAT could be fun to watch.  🙂


How the Democrats Should Deal With a Republican Senate

With the US mid-term elections only 6 days away, polls are showing that republicans are favored to pick up seven senate seats in the election.  That would give them at least a 52-48 majority in the US senate, more than enough to shift all the senate committees and their chairpersonships over to republican control.

Worse things have happened, such as when a Mars-sized asteroid collided with the Earth 4.5 billion years ago (or 6000 years ago if you a fanatical religious evangelical wingnut).  Yet, there was a benefit to Earth:  the moon formed from the debris and helped to stabilize the Earth’s environment, allowing life to develop.  But if the republicans end up controlling both houses of congress, it’s hard to fathom any benefit to America, unless one is a millionaire or billionaire, or a large corporation.

All might not be lost IF the democrats can manage to win at least three or four of the most contested senate races, such as Colorado, New Mexico, New Hampshire and a couple others.  It’s still possible, since the national democratic strategists have for quite some time been formulating a “get out the vote” campaign.

But if that campaign fails (and it may, due to democratic voter apathy and less than stellar independent voter support for democrats), then Obama is going to have to contend with the most hostile congress in over 80 years.

The GOP will claim they won a huge mandate (by having a one- or two-vote majority in the senate..Whoop-de-f**king DOO!!).  And the republican senate will no doubt attempt to pass all those incredibly stupid, short-sighted, billionaire-industrialist-friendly, middle-class-and-environment-UNfriendly conservative bills that the House will send up to them, including the nine-hundred and forty-seventh attempt to repeal Obamacare.

If the democrats can learn ANYTHING from the minority senate GOP over the past six years, it should how to emulate the massively excessive GOP use of the filibuster in the senate to block legislation.  And add to that the GOP’s keeping their extremist fringes in line long enough to vote as a block.  After all, the minority republican senate filibustered and blocked more legislation in the past six years than all previous years of the existence of the USA COMBINED.

Additionally, if the dems lose the senate, they should study and adopt the political tactics that the republicans relied upon to foment unwarranted fear and hatred in the low-information voters, who constitute more than half of all people casting ballots.  These are, for example, folks on food stamps who hate government social safety net (a.k.a. “giveway”) programs, people earning minimum wage who believe the corporations and industrialist billionaires will take care of them, those who want the government to keep its hands off their Medicare, folks who truly believe their God will make them rich, and the people who think that the health insurances companies really care about their health.

They are the same people who are too lazy and/or too stupid to do their own online research to find the truth, because they believe that computers are ONLY useful for buying stuff, playing games and secretly looking for porn…and maybe some email if they can someday figure out the difference between voice-mail and email.

After all, how else can one explain how and why the poorest, most rural, least educated, and most religious states in this country, such as Alabama and Mississippi, are solidly red?

The minority democrats must also ALWAYS blame EVERYTHING on the republican congress….if gas prices go up, if a commercial jet goes down, if there is a terrorist attack anywhere in the world, if the tomato you bought yesterday has a worm in it…EVERYTHING.

Additionally, they must loudly and repeatedly claim that the republican congressionals are leading the country down the same path as that which the Nazi party took Germany down prior to World War 2;  every time a republican even sneezes, the dems should be warning about the ruin and death being brought to the USA by the republican majority in both houses of congress by spreading disease through targeted, purposeful, virus-loaded sneezing.

And finally, even though the economy may continue to improve (largely because of initiatives of the Obama administration), the democrats must repeat loudly and often that the economy is getting worse, that most people are starving, that the record stock market is smoke and mirrors, and that the republican congress is sucking the life-blood out of the nation like so many crazed zombie vampires.

If the democrats can implement a political program such as this one (invented by republican strategists), they will sweep the 2016 elections and send the GOP running for the hills (where they can continue inbreeding).

Of course, it’s a very large “IF“.  After all, democrats like facts and logic and reason while republicans like myth, innuendo, fear, hatred, and religion in government.  But to paraphrase both Popeye the Sailor Man and Neil Armstrong:

“Ya gots to do what ya gots to do”…for the good of all humankind.  🙂


Is Islam REALLY That Violent??

Definition of “fanatic”:

noun: fanatic; plural noun: fanatics

1. a person filled with excessive and single-minded zeal, especially for an extreme religious or political cause.

  1. synonyms: zealot, extremist, militant, dogmatist, devotee, adherent; More

    “a religious fanatic”
    • informal
      a person with an obsessive interest in and enthusiasm for something, especially an activity.
      “a fitness fanatic”
1.filled with or expressing excessive zeal.
  1. “his fanatic energy”
    When folks in the advanced western industrialized world look at these definitions, it’s easy to understand how Islam can be blanket-characterized as a hostile and violent religion.  This  belief is reinforced by the fact that in Islam’s holy book known as the Quran, there are references on almost every page that refer to violence against “infidels”, or “non-believers”.
    Consider the attacks since 1993 against western world assets such as the attack on the New York World Trade Center in 1993, and again on 9-11, and the attacks on the USS Cole and American embassies in Africa, plus attacks in Madrid, Spain and London, UK. based upon those attacks, it’s easy to understand how most people will make a blanket judgement that all Muslims are violent fanatical extremists and potential suicide bombers.
    However, how accurate is this?  Is 21st century Islam being painted with too broad a brush?
    There is always a danger in lumping a large group of people under one header as though they were all the exact same.  Consider that Christianity and Judaism each are made up of multiple sects:  Christians divide into Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, and Protestant which further subdivides into hundreds of denominations, and so forth.  Judaism divides into Reform, Conservative and Orthodox, which further divides into multiple sub-divisions.
    Thus, lumping all of Islam into one group is as unfair, unrealistic and inaccurate as lumping all of the above-mentioned Christian religions into one group.
    Furthermore, until the 1940’s/early 1950’s, Islam was perhaps more tolerant and less fanatical a religion as a whole than other western religions.
    In fact, during the dark and middle ages Christianity certainly demonstrated endless intolerance for anyone who did not devoutly believe what the church wanted them to believe.  The crusades of the middle ages are known to have been brutal land grab attempts replete with massacres on the part of the Holy Roman Catholic Church (center of the Holy Roman Empire).
    Some historians claim that the crusades were simply an attempt to free lands taken by Muslim conquest in the Holy Land (Palestine or modern Israel), but even if this was true, it would indicate a fanatical effort in the name of one religion against another religion.
    Based upon the above, the idea that Islam can be defined by a single all-encompassing definition actually flies in the face of history and reality.  Islam is practiced much as all other religions are practiced, particularly in the modern western industrialized world.  Muslims, like most Christians and Jews and folks of every other religion in an enlightened society, do not believe that every word of their “holy book” literally.  For the most part, western Muslims do not believe in stoning to death or “honor” killings, any more than anyone else does.
    On the other hand, in the middle east many Muslims seem to be gravitating towards the idea of a Muslin caliphate, or an Islamic state with strict adherence to Sharia law and total intolerance of anyone who disagrees or is not a believer.  In fact, a 2013 survey of 38,000 individuals by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found that a majority of Muslims in the middle east favor sharia as the law of the land, as listed below:
    Afghanistan (99%),
    Iraq (91%),
    Pakistan (84%),
    Egypt (74%),
    Jordan (71%).
    This is also true of many majority-Muslim countries in Africa.
    While there certainly are Muslims in the West who also believe in sharia law, they do not represent a majority of their faith, any more than western fundamentalist Christians do.
    What all this points to is that in places with strong, long-lived educational systems and advanced social systems, fanaticism gives way to reason.  As a result, it is grossly inaccurate to define a blanket classification for entire groups of people, based solely upon the religion they were born into.  The important parameters and characteristics of their lives such as their up-bringing, education, environment, geography and many other factors influence how people live and what they believe.
    The Islamic state, which is attempting to establish its own caliphate in Syria and Iraq, is an example of the most fanatical extremist violent aspects of Islam.  On the other hand, the Muslim family living next door who are good friends and neighbors with everyone around them represent the other end of the Islamic culture.
    With all due deference to Bill Maher and Ben Affleck, of course  🙂
    (click to watch)

Are Atheists Really Against Those Who Believe in God?

There was an an interesting letter to the editor in a local newspaper recently wherein the writer claimed that as a group, atheists were strongly opposed to ANYONE believing in a deity.  The letter stated:  “I don’t believe in Allah, but I don’t protest Muslims’ beliefs;  I just feel sorry for them.  Likewise, I don’t protest that atheists do not believe in God;  I just feel very sorry for them”

The very act of writing this unsolicited letter to the editor is the first proof that this writer is clearly protesting what he feels is a offensive non-belief system.

He also shows incredible arrogance by stating he feels sorry for Muslims because they believe in Allah (which is their word for the one universal God), the same God of Abraham whom Mohammad (Islam’s founder) believed in.  So ignorance joins arrogance as part of this writers characteristics that are clearly demonstrated as well.

But perhaps more importantly is this writer’s belief that there is something wrong and to be pitied in people who do not share his personal belief system.  Based upon how sorry he says he feels for atheists and Muslims, it logically follows that he (and people like him) feel sorry ANYONE whom does not embrace his belief system, such as Jewish people who don’t include Christ in their religious beliefs; or Hindi or Buddhists folks who do not believe in the western religions’ version of a supreme deity.

That is just plain “holier-than-thou” arrogance.  And yet, as heinous as this truly is, this writer is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to the arrogance of the religious right.  These folks truly lust for their personal religious belief system to be forcibly implanted into the daily lives of EVERYONE, by writing laws and controlling government.

Sound familiar?

Besides the obvious similarity to the single-minded, brutally intolerant and inhuman arrogance that fuels the Islamic State’s (ISIS/ISIL) and its supporters and fighters, is that every major religion has had its share of brutal attempts at conquering free human thought.

For instance, the middle ages saw the crusades, which were little more than an excuse for the Holy Roman Catholic Church to rape, murder, pillage and steal land on their way to “liberate” the “Holy Land” from its Islamic residents.

And even in more modern times, there have been brutal acts of genocide in the name of some initially-religious-turned-political cause, such as the Nazis in World War 2 and most recently in Africa by fundamentalist Islamists in multiple African countries and multiple religious extremists.

It all starts with the arrogance displayed by the author of the letter to the editor mentioned above.  One group of people with strong unprovable beliefs wants to control the belief system of those around them, because the freedom the non-believers enjoy as they eat, drink and do Mary with impunity bothers them;  They have to follow weird restrictions in the name of some religious dogma.

Clearly, but for the nation’s strong law enforcement systems, these folks right here might be engaging in their own “jihad”, if they thought for a minute they could get away with it.  The fact that they CAN’T get away with it is quite probably the ONLY reason we don’t see more of such activity in the USA or other advanced western industrialized (and educated) nations.

By the way, the responses (so far) to the letter to the editor mentioned above are as follows:

“I was intrigued by the letter to the editor in the October 1st edition of the Daytona Beach News-Journal, in which the author asked:  “If atheists do not believe in God, then why are they so against anyone else believing in God?”

“The author also espouses a belief in God, but not in Allah, and claims to feel sorry for Muslims as a result of their belief in Allah.  But I was always taught, at multiple times in multiple venues by multiple teachers, that there is only one God and that Christians, Jews, and Muslims all believe in that same one God, regardless of what name is used in reference.  Additionally, the author’s statements begs the question:  “Do you also feel sorry for Jewish people because their religion does not mention Christ?  And how about Hindu and Buddhist folks whose religions do not include the same form of deity as the “western religions?”

“Atheists as a group in any free country are NOT “so against anyone else believing in God” or any other deity.  They are against the arrogant imposition of religion and religious beliefs by the religious right on government and other public entities.    To this end, I would respectfully submit that the problem atheists have with the those folks is their denial of clear, data-, evidence-, and proof-based science, as well as their endless attempts to influence government and other non-religious entities with their personal brand of religious “belief”.

Kill for peace, eh?   🙂

Why It’s NEVER Okay To Hit Children

The  US National Football League (NFL) is a brutal organization.  Football players make obscene amounts of money beating up on opponent football players in front of massive live audiences and millions of of television watchers who love the mayhem.

In the USA, football, boxing and to lesser extent hockey represent the acceptability of violence in the greater US society.

It is therefore no great surprise that participants in these sports often come from violent backgrounds.  Their personal experience with being on the receiving end of violence, especially as defenseless children, shows up like a lighthouse in a fog.

NFL Minnesota Vikings (football team) running back Adrian Peterson had made that fact come to the forefront this week.  He is charged with felony abuse of his child after a discipline incident.  Following the “discipline incident” his son’s leg was covered with visible injuries, including broken skin, that could have come from a switch (thin tree branch).

Fellow NFL Detroit Lions running back Reggie Bush came out in support of Peterson by stating publicly that, as a child, he had been beaten with straps and he thought that was “normal”.  He went on to say that he has a one-year-old daughter that he won’t hesitate to beat the same way depending upon her offense (like being a one-year-old??) and he will “try not to leave bruises”…


in the USA and every other advanced western industrialized nation on Earth, it is a crime to hit (assault) an adult.  One can actually be sentenced to prison time for such an offense.  it is NOT permitted to hit a spouse or other adult, except in a provable act of self-defense/survival.

So why is it legal to hit (assault) a small, defenseless  child?

Actually, in 33 nations on Earth, it is not.  if you assault (hit, spank, slap, etc.) a child in any of those countries, you can be arrested and convicted of assault and serve jail time.

The USA is NOT among those 33 advanced nations.  And many US citizens would oppose such a law in the USA.  Why is that?

First off, most American parents today were hit, spanked, slapped, and/or otherwise beaten by their own parents.  They know nothing else and have never given any thought to this barbaric and brutal practice of physically assaulting a defenseless and fearful child who weighs less than half of what their parent might weigh.

Non-premeditated violence in any form usually occurs as a result of spontaneous anger on the part of one person, caused by the unanticipated action of another person.  In the case of violence against a child, this means that a parent or guardian has lost his or her temper as a result of something the child did.  However, If the child had been an adult, in all probability the offended person would have found a different (and most likely, verbal) way to deal with the issue.

So why don’t parents deal the same way with children?  The reason is as clear as they are timeless:  People do what they learned.

Adults who commits acts of violence (including spanking, hitting, slapping, etc.) against a child were once children themselves.  They were also subjected to physical punishment by their own parents or guardians.  30-50 years ago no one thought too much about spanking or hitting children.  Today, in some states it is considered child abuse, especially if marks or bruises are evident.

However, what most people do not consider even for a moment is the fact that until a child enters the public school system, parents are their primary teachers, so when parents hit their kids, they are teaching these kids that sometimes violence is an acceptable human behavior.  In other words, sometimes it’s okay to offensively hit another person especially one who is smaller and weaker than you.

Kids then grow into adults, and what they carry this learned behavior into their adulthood.  They often grow up believing that offensive violence is okay if the the ends justify the means, and that equation is different for everyone.  It is thus no wonder that so many adults are potentially violent and/or are subjected to violence.

Humans are not born with this offensive violence concept written on their brains.  They learn this behavior early on from their parents.  Instead of utilizing creative, non-violent, non-abusive means of discipline and positive reinforcement with their children, parents perpetrate what was done to them as children…the truest form of self-propagating ignorance.

Thus, it should be no surprise that in the USA, with its roots in the deeply religious past, is one for the few “advanced” (maybe not so much…) western industrialized nations on Earth that outlaws offensive violence against anyone and everyone…except defenseless children.  The USA is also the only “advanced” (maybe even less) western industrialized nation that doesn’t yet have universal health care for all.

What’s wrong with this picture??




Not a Good Time To Be US President

It’s a reasonable concept that no other US president has had a harder time of it than Barack Obama, except possibly the one president who made Obama’s presidency possible, Abraham Lincoln.

Lincoln was sworn in as US president 4 March 1861, and five short weeks later, the US Civil War began.  It lasted until the the Confederacy surrendered to Union forces on 9 April 1865.  Lincoln was assassinated only three short days later. It is therefore fair to postulate that his entire presidency was spent trying to guarantee the survival of the United States of America against a brutal insurgency known as the Confederate States of America.  

Lincoln had to contend with incompetent generals, formulating military strategy, economic challenges, civil opposition to a military draft that included riots, keeping outlying territories from becoming slave-tolerant, a hostile congress that did not want to address the slavery issue, and the deaths of several of his children which triggered clinical depression in Lincoln while he was trying to deal with all these other issues.

Fast-forwards 150 years:   The world has become largely global, and the USA leads the world nations in much technology as well as in military capability.  It also has the dubious distinction of getting involved in more military operations and adventures since World War 2 than any other western industrialized country.

it started with the Korean War of the early 1950’s, then the Vietnam War from 1962 through 1973, then Grenada and Panama, then the Kosovo operations in the 90’s, and then the Afghanistan invasion in late 2001, which we never completed because of the idiotic invasion of Iraq in 2003.

When Barack Obama, the nation’s first African-American president, took office in 2009, he promised to get the US out of Iraq by 2011.  He did that.  Still, the invasion of Iraq in 2003 had two very negative consequences:

The first was that the USA “took its eye off the ball”, as it were, in Afghanistan.  Troops were transferred from Afghanistan to Iraq to support that effort.  That gave the Taliban and Al Qaeda a chance to regroup and re-entrench in Afghanistan, and US armed forces are STILL fighting there in 2014 because of the idiot Bush Administration decision to invade Iraq.

The second negative consequence is that the US removed Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq and banned members of Saddam’s Baath party from participating in either the new Iraqi government or in its military forces.  This action had numerous negative impacts, such as allowing an insurgency to grow in Iraq, allowing Al Qaeda to become entrenched in Iraq, and allowing Iran’s influence to grow in Iraq.  It also allowed ethnic divisions between Iraqi Shia, Sunni and Kurds to grow and further alienate these groups.  Finally, it allowed the incompetent iraqi prime minister to make those ethnic divisions even worse, which utterly destroyed the competence of the Iraqi armed forces.

All this made Iraq fertile territory for the Islamic State, a.k.a. ISIS/ISIL, for come in and take over large portions of western and northern Iraq. They grew in Syrian as one of several anti-regime groups, but this group is more fanatical from most.  They brutalize anyone not like them.  They rape, murder, kidnap, enslave, and generally terrorize  large portions of Iraq and Syria.  As they accumulate more territory and resources, they get bolder.

So president Obama  has a dilemma regarding how to deal with the Islamic State…without putting US forces directly into a ground combat situation.  To date he has ordered very effective tactical air strikes against ISIS/ISIL.  And while all his critics say he should be doing something more, no one has a specific idea of what that is….

Meanwhile, back on the Euro-Asian continent, Russian president Vladimir Putin has decided that eastern Ukraine really should be a part of Russia.  As a result, Obama has so far invoked strong sanctions against Russia and had helped to bring Western Europe along for the ride.

But Putin is undeterred.  And while Europe is so much closer to Ukraine and Russia than the USA, Obama’s critics say he should be doing something more, but no one has a specific idea of what that is.  Yet, everyone agrees we should avoid a nuclear weapon exchange with Russia and also keep American troops off the ground.

Finally, Obama faces a GOP that since day one of his presidency has done everything it can to obstruct him, hurt him, embarrass him, oppose him, and generally try to make his administration look as bad a possible.

Ultimately, history is going to judge Obama on the legacy of his presidency, as it has done with every president since George Washington.

Being US president at this time would challenge a saint, as they say.  So next time you want to criticize Barack Obama, ask yourself two questions:

“Do I want to be where he is?”…and… “Could I do better without causing more damage?”



Why ISIS Should Matter to YOU

In 1930’s, Hitler‘s Nazi party rose to prominence in Germany.  This party consolidated power and Hitler became the supreme leader of a country that ultimately committed unspeakable atrocities against Jewish people, gypsies, the mentally retarded and physically handicapped, homosexuals, Blacks, Russians, prisoners of wars and anyone who opposed that country’s policies of racism and genocide. 
Although nations such as the USA, the UK, Canada and Australia were never invaded or conquered by Nazi German Nazi forces (although the UK was attacked by aircraft and later unmanned rockets), these nations did declare war on Germany, with the USA being the last to do so, only after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941
During the second World War, the Japanese committed systematic atrocities against people they conquered, such as the Chinese.  They also committed atrocities against prisoners of war. 
But what the Japanese did pales in comparison to what the Germans did, which was to systematically murder 6 million Jewish men, women and children, and 5 million others.  They did it in the name of their idea of national “purity”.  And while they did so, the rest of the world, including the the Vatican and the USA, turned a blind eye.
While everyone else officially claimed ignorance regarding the concentration camp activities of the Nazis, endless eye-witness accounts were readily available during that time.  But the allied countries chose to ignore these accounts.  Instead they directed the military progress of the war.  It was only after USA, British, and Soviet troops began to physically run into (and liberated) Nazi concentration camps, was the full horror of the Nazi death machine made public in all of its gory and unthinkable detail.
Many reports claim that Nazi Germany had been working on developing a nuclear bomb toward the end of the war.  Had they succeeded in their efforts before the USA did, it is possible they could have won the war instead of being ultimately defeated.  imagine what the world would look like today had that happened:  A world population ruled by fear and terror.
Fast forward to the second decade of the 21st century:  Fundamentalist Islamic extremists have been operating worldwide with deadly results for over 15 years.  Al Qaeda, a more or less decentralized terrorist organization with “sleeper cells” world-wide, attacked the USS Cole in 1998 and the World Trade Center and US Pentagon in 2001, among other later acts of destruction and terror.  The USA has been pursuing Al Qaeda for more than a decade and has had mixed success against it.
All of a sudden a new terrorist organization known as ISIS or Islamic State in Iraq and Syria  (alternatively known as ISIL, or Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant), clearly well funded and possessing a centralized and well-organized command and control system and a well organized military force, burst onto the scene.  It invaded and conquered parts of Syria and most of northern and western Iraq, in an operation reminiscent of Nazi Germany’s blitzkrieg invasion of Poland in 1939. 
ISIS is an extremist fundamentalist Islamic terrorist organization whose tactics are so brutal that even Al Qaeda has rejected it.  When they invaded Iraq, they scared the Iraqi solders so badly that those soldiers left all their American-supplied military equipment in situ, and fled.
Once entrenched, ISIS began murdering Shia Muslim Iraqis, as well as an Iraqi from any other religion besides Sunni Muslim. They kidnapped hundreds or perhaps even thousands of women as young as 8 years old, forcing them to become Sunnis, and to make them available for marriage to ISIS fighters.  They believe that brutally murdering anyone who is not like them is acceptable and even obligatory.
And in a departure for the secrecy that surrounded the German concentration camp activities and and other atrocities, ISIS makes videos of its murderous brutality, as if to boast to the world how proud they are of their brutality.  In recent days, they released a video of them beheading an American journalist, with the threat of beheading another one.  For ISIS followers, beheadings are just another tool of conquest and control.
So why should westerners care?
The USA is already flying air strikes against ISIS…but where is the rest of the international community?  It seems that there should be an international effort to not just stop, but eradicate ISIS from the face of the Earth.  Not only would hundreds of thousands of innocent lives be saved, but the message sent to any other terrorist group would be crystal clear:
Civilized humanity will not tolerate your existence.  Period.
Alternatively, we can ignore history, and be condemned to repeat it…endlessly…at the cost of countless innocent lives…
That doesn’t sound like the choice that advance, thoughtful, caring, civilized people should be making.

Impeach Obama? Don’t Bet On It!

In the USA there are two recognized major political parties:  The republicans and the democrats.  While there is a wide spectrum of democrats, they tend to pull together and their differences are generally minor and reconcilable.

The republicans are a different story.  They are severely divided into mainstream republicans, libertarians, and Tea Party/religious right/ Extremist right, whom we will call, for ease of identification, the “extremist-right fringe”, or ERF for short.

The ERF absolutely hates president Obama, partly because he is an African-American and partly because he is a bright, educated democrat.  They also hate all of the democrats and government.

The speaker of the US House of Representatives, republican John Boehner of Ohio, is actually a reasonable moderate republican, but he also likes being speaker  While he has often tried to corral the libertarians and the ELF’s in his party, he usually has failed to do so.  The government shutdown last October is a prime example of Boehner’s inability to “herd the cats” in his party.

However, because Boehner likes his job as speaker, he has to keep the ERF happy.  As a result, he decided to sue Obama over his use of presidential executive orders to bypass a house of representatives which is dominated by a GOP united only in a single goal;  oppose anything Obama wants, even if it is a good thing they agree with deep down inside.

After considerable research, however, the legal eagles Boehner consulted with told him that the executive order issue was a loser.  Boehner subsequently decided to sue the president for his failure to enforce a provision of the Affordable Health Care law, a.k.a., Obamacare, that has to do with employer-provided health care coverage.  It was determined that some employers were not ready for the implementation of this provision and Obama granted a one-year extension for them.

The GOP claims it cares about business, but in this case, they would oppose a provision of Obama that was delayed to help business.  Most people saw the extension as a good thing for businesses, but the business-loving GOP has chosen to make that issue the focus of their lawsuit.

The lawsuit, which has not yet been formally filed because the House votes on it today, would potentially take years and cost many milllions of dollars of taxpayer money.  Obama could well be out of office by time the lawsuit actually was finalized.  So it’s hard to take this seriously and even harder to believe it isn’t a republican political stunt to energize their ERF base.

However, as a political stunt, it may already have backfired on the GOP.  The ERF predictably tried to carry the issue too far by calling for Obama’s impeachment!  Sarah Palin advocated impeachment recently in an op-ed she wrote for a conservative news outlet.  And House GOP whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana stated during an interview over the weekend that impeachment was “on the table.

The democrats are eating it up.  They are using the threat of impeachment to raise tons of money and energize THEIR base.  They also know that the impeachment of Bill Clinton in the late 1990’s backfired on the GOP because when all was said and done, Clinton’s approval rated soared to 71% while the GOP-controlled congress’s approval rating plummeted.

John Boehner is no dummy and neither are many of the moderate, mainstream republicans in congress.  They are painfully familiar with the lessons of history and don’t want to repeat them.  But first they have to rein inl, and frankly silence, the ERF in their party, and so far, they haven’t figured out how to do that without alienating their base.  To that end, Boehner took the extraordinary step of holding a press conference to state emphatically that the GOP is not planning an impeachment, nor do they have any future plans for impeachment.

That may be too little to late, since the ERF has already smelled blood in the water and is salivating over the prospect of impeaching Obama.  When they realize that impeachment is OFF the table, many of them will probably start eating the mainstream republicans if they are deprived of the Obama red meat they so desperately want to cut up.

Boehner, for his part, has gotten into yet another tight spot by  initially cow-towing to the ERF, just as he did in the run-up to the government shutdown last October.  He can’t be a very happy camper right now.

And in the meantime, democrats are leading republicans in several congressional/senate races in the red south. While it might not be enough for the democrats to take over the House after the 2014 elections, at least their chances of holding on to the senate are increasing.

Maybe we’ll be be thanking the GOP’s Extreme Right Fringe for winning this election of the democrats….   🙂

Maybe We Should Return the Statue of Liberty?

The United States of America (USA) is a country of immigrants.  From the 16th through 19th and early 20th centuries, many millions of people immigrated to the USA.  In fact, it is fair to call the USA immigrant-based, notwithstanding the fact that  Native Americans are also part of what the USA is, even though they were conquered and almost wiped out by a superior military force of immigrants and their descendants.

The Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor stands as a monument to the open arms that were extended to immigrants of all nations until the early to mid twentieth century, when conservatives, who were ALWAYS against immigrants, achieved enough political power to pass federal laws against the “open arms” policies of the past.

That statue was a gift from France, constructed in that country and then shipped to New York City in partially assembled pieces, where final assembly was officially completed in 1886

Inscribed on the Statue of Liberty’s foundation are, in part, the following words from poet Emma Lazarus:

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

As mentioned earlier, there has always been a segment of Americans (immigrants or offspring of immigrants themselves) who have opposed further immigration into the USA.  Whether based upon racism (and a lot of it was) or economic concerns, it has always been a factor that was alive and well in the USA.  However, federal laws that limited the number of yearly legal immigrants into the USA didn’t actually become reality until the 1920’s.

Once these laws passed, they were brutally enforced, even against refugees escaping from NAZI brutality and death in the run-up to World War 2.  Ships of Jewish refugees who rightfully feared for their lives, for example, were turned away from American shores and had to find refuge elsewhere.

Fast-forwarding to the 21st century, it has become clear that America’s immigration policies simply do not work. Even during the GW Bush administration, bipartisan members of the US congress had worked to fix this national disgrace with comprehensive immigration reform, which would recognize both the physical and economic infeasibility, as well as the moral objections, to deporting perhaps 12 million undocumented foreign immigrants from the USA.

But ultra-right wing republicans, such as the Tea party and the ultra-right base of the GOP, simply chose to ignore these factors as well as the used-to-be-traditional American creed of protecting the “wretched refuse” of other countries trying to escape their own personal hell in their native lands.

In recent months, Central American parents have been sending their children to the USA in an effort to save them from the extreme physical and economic violence of their native countries.  To date, approximately 57,000 have arrived at our borders. One can only guess at how difficult it must have been for these parents to part, perhaps forever, with their own flesh and blood.  But these parents did just that to save their children’s lives and provide them with a better future.

And when these kids braved violence, filth, exhaustion, insecurity, possible starvation and even rape, and arrived at the US border seeking what all children seek…safety…what did the ultra-extremist right wing do?  Advocate deporting these kids back to their dangerous points of origin at best, or meeting these kids with US military action, at worst.  WTF.

These are CHILDREN!!!  What does it say about the this nation and its people that we would turn our backs on CHILDREN??   Even using the republican excuse that accepting these kids encourages more kids to make the trip is NO excuse for turning our backs on them.

And meanwhile, back in the good ol’ do-nothing US House of Representatives,  GOP speaker John Boehner has refuse to bring a bi-partisan, US senate-passed comprehensive immigration bill up for debate and a vote, because the republican base is dead-set against any form of immigration reform that doesn’t incarcerate and deport 12 million illegal immigrants.

As a result, peaker John Boehner won’t allow the bill to come up for a vote because he KNOWS the bill would pass, and that would alienate his anti-immigrant republican base.    He also knows that many republicans would join all or most of the democrats to pass this bill, and Obama would sign it into law.

With the passage of comprehesive immigration reform, much of the economic and emotional upheaval over immigration would be over, and the extremist conservative right-wing base of the republican party would HATE the result:  12 million new citizens who would probably remember what the republicans have done to them over the years, and would vote democratic.

This situation really does scream for a multiparty parliamentary political system, where coalitions MUST form to govern, or else new elections are called.  But the GOP would hate it because they would probably become a fringe party…and the Tea party would become an even SMALLER fringe party…

Alas, one can dream….  🙂  But in the meantime, maybe we should just send the Statue of Liberty back to France… or at least cover up the inscription about the tired and a poor…

USA: Incarceration Capital of the World?

Conservative Americans often speak of “American Exceptionalism“, as if the USA was the most advanced and gifted country on Earth.  Of course, they are not referring to the land and the topography of the country;  They are referring to the American people and American institutions.

One of those institutions is the US prison system, which is actually multiple prison systems in this country.  Federal prisons, state prisons county prisons, city jails and so forth now house an enormous population of over 2.2 MILLION people.  An inordinate proportion of these prisoners are minorities;  and an inordinate proportion of them are incarcerated for non-violent drug-related offenses.  Some of the prison population are waiting execution.

Seen another way, in the USA the rate of incarceration is 743 people per 100,000 population.  This exceeds the rate of any other country on the planet, including those nations that sponsor terrorism, discrimination, bigotry, violence, religious extremism and fundamentalism, and lack of respect for human rights.  That’s an awesome fact to process.  You can find many more shocking statistics on this subject HERE.

There are multiple factors that are causing this “love affair” with incarceration in the USA.  The prison population began to rise dramatically beginning in the early 1980’s after the election of Ronald Reagan as president of the USA and the emergence of the religious right at that time.  “Get tough on crime” laws were passed, including laws against non-violent drug offenses, for which extremely heavy sentences were imposed.

Additionally, during the Reagan era of contracting out as many inherently governmental functions as they could get away with (they even tried to contract out the largest and best air traffic control system in the world…but failed), the administration of many prisons across the country was, and continues to be contracted to private for-profit companies.  In many though not all cases, food quality  and medical treatment have deteriorated while inmate violence, including rape, has increased.  As with any business, proper care is not the prime objective:  profit is.

To make matters worse, the USA prison system uses solitary confinement as a form of inmate control and punishment, even though the United Nations has declared solitary confinement at a form of torture.  

And finally, in many states of the USA, children that committed certain felonies at age 14 or 15, who are convicted at age 16, are receiving life-time prison sentences without the possibility of parole!!!

What this says about attitudes in this country is that we are an utterly brutal society.  Not only that, but we also seem incapable, even considering the alarming incarceration rate of this country, to stem the tide of criminal offenses in the USA.  A 2002 study survey showed that among nearly 275,000 prisoners released in 1994, 67.5% were rearrested within 3 years, and 51.8% were back in prison.  So much for effective deterrence and rehabilitation…

Obviously, this present method of “correctional rehabilitation” isn’t working very well to reduce crime and repeat offenders.   But it IS working very well for the for-profit companies that get paid per-prisoner fees with our tax money.

And to add the proper shame to this awful “American institution”….the country of Norway (of all advanced democracies) refuses to extradite any prisoner to the USA because of what it says is inhumane treatment.  “US prisons do not meet their minimum humanitarian standards”, it declared.

The question that is constantly in play is this:  As a society, is USA more interested in revenge and punishment, or in rehabilitation of offenders?  The answer seemingly depends upon where one stands in the battle between religion and emotions vs. science and logic.  The religious right seems to hang their entire justice belief system on the biblical “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” philosophy.

But Albert Einstein, perhaps the premier intellectual genius of the 20th century, the master of logic who invented the Special Theory of Relativity and later the General Theory of Relativity correctly stated that “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth will only render the entire world blind and toothless.”

From an economic standpoint alone, it makes much more sense to have effective rehabilitation and education programs to teach all but the most brutally violent first-time offenders prisoners the skills needed to be able to earn an decent, honest living once they are released.  And it also makes sense to stop sentencing first-time non-violent drug offenders to incredibly long sentences (a view now held by the US Department of Justice).  Putting young first-time non-violent offenders in prison for extended periods only turns them into hardened criminals and the proof of that is in the current rate of recidivism.

It is a truth of modern day America that conservatives do not believe in another of Einstein’s mottoes:  “Doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result is the definition of insanity.”

How many more prisons do YOU want to pay for???

USA: Leave No One Behind But Don’t Negotiate With Bad Guys???

On Saturday, May 31st, 2014, US Army Sergeant Bow Bergdahl was released from Taliban captivity after four years and 10 months of being held by them.

Normally, that event would be a source of rejoicing in the USA…a US Army soldier being released from captivity by the Taliban after almost 5 years of incarceration…

But, not so fast….

In this highly polarized nation in which the extremist Tea party republicans control half of congress, the GOP is totally up-in-arms, as it were, that the US traded 5 high level Talibani captives who were detained without a trial at the military prison at NAS (Naval Air Station) Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for over 12 years, for Bergdahl.

ALL of these prisoners were captured by US forces in 2002 during the US military action in Afghanistan responding to the 9-11 attacks on the USA.  Most of them were high-level government officials in the Taliban government that ruled Afghanistan at the time.

However, it has never been proved or even alleged by US officials that these five had any direct connection with the 9-11 attacks.

The USA has a policy, which it implemented in earnest only after leaving 5,500 American servicemen and women missing in Vietnam during that 1961-1975 conflict, to NEVER LEAVE AMERICAN SERVICEMEN (now Service people) BEHIND.  This policy has never had any caveats or exceptions or conditions.

It’s a promise made to those who serve in the US military, and in fact also covers civilians in the employ of the US government.  Since the Vietnam debacle, it has been followed well.

The USA also has a policy that it will NEVER NEGOTIATE WITH TERRORISTS.  This policy has ALWAYS had exceptions when negotiations have been considered to be in the nation’s best interest.  Example are rampant throughout US history, and even Saint Ronnie the Ray-Gun, the deity of the right-wing republicans, negotiated with Iran, a terrorist state, in the 1980’s.  Even George W. Bush negotiated with terrorists associated with Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda.  You can read all about it for yourself right HERE!

As a side note, Israel is the one nation that has NEVER had a airline hijacked by terrorists.  It’s surrounded by hostile nations that openly sponsor terrorism against it and support the violent destruction of Israel and its people. Yet, Israel has negotiated multiple prisoner exchanges with these self-same terrorists organizations, including 1000 to 1 exchanges to get a single serviceman back.

So when the republicans started screaming about the trade of 5 aging Talibani who have been held completely out of touch and without being charged of any crime for over 12 years, for the only American serviceman still held as a prisoner of war, alleging that trade was a violation (of many, mind you) of the NEVER NEGOTIATE WITH TERRORISTS policy, this orchestrated outrage simply didn’t have enough “ummph” to pass the straight-face test.

Instead, it seems to be the new right-wing “Benghazi” political rallying point.

Republicans also screamed that the Obama administration violated several laws passed by congress and signed to law by Obama himself over the past two years which that direct the administration to provide congress with a 30-day advanced notice prior to releasing /transferring any of the Guantanamo detainees

There does seem to be evidence that the Obama administration violated these laws; they did not reveal the exact nature or timeline of this prisoner exchange to any congressional people until it was actually occurring.

But again…not so fast….

First, certain congressional committee chairpersons were, in fact, informed…for YEARS…that this plan was under consideration, as far back as when Hillary Clinton was still US Secretary of State.  That means that the information, as a potential plan, had been “out there” for at least two years.

Second, there is serious doubt that these laws are even constitutional, since they limit the constitutional powers of the executive branch.  Of course, only the US Supreme Court can make a final determination on this, and as of this moment there are no plans to take the issue before the court.

Third, the now-outraged republicans didn’t so much as bat an eyelash when their beloved G.W. Bush and “Tricky Dick” Cheney decided to violate about a dozen existing federal laws and international treaties and conventions against torture during the Iraqi war.

NOW they scream about 5 archaic terrorists being exchanged for an American soldier??

And finally, while there have been reports that Bow Bergdahl might have violated orders by walking off alone (and thus getting captured), this has not yet been substantiated by military authorities.  Even if it does prove to be true, the NEVER LEAVE AMERICAN SERVICEMEN BEHIND policy does not include exceptions for disobedient soldiers.  If it turns out that that Bergdahl is guilty of a violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), he will be dealt with appropriately by the appropriate authorities.

The hypocritical GOP is NOT, by ANY stretch, an appropriate authority.  🙂






China Hacked USA Companies? Oh, SO WHAT????

Over the past couple of days it has been revealed that a group of computer-savvy Chinese military officers hacked into the computer systems of various US companies such as U.S. Steel Corp., Westinghouse, Alcoa, Allegheny Technologies, the United Steel Workers Union and SolarWorld.

The USA is completely OUTRAGED!!!!  How DARE the Chinese hack commercial secrets in USA??  In fact, US Attorney General Eric Holder announced federal indictments against the  five Chinese nationals living in the USA, charging them with cybertheft!

The fact is that these Chinese hackers probably are, in fact, guilty of hacking commercial American secrets for use by Chinese companies.  So the issue is not really innocence or guilt.  The real issue actually is far more outrageous than that.

Does anyone remember the National Security Agency (NSA), a.k.a., “No Such Agency”?  Does anyone remember the hacking and spying on Americans that that NSA is now known to have conducted (and is still doing), as revealed by Edward Snowden not too long ago?

So think about this for a minute:  If the USA is spying on its own citizens, what do you think they’re doing to other countries and companies?

And here’s another question to ponder before beginning the REAL discussion on the merits of any indictment against Chinese nationals who spied on American companies for their trade secrets:

What do you think EVERY large American corporation does to learn their competitors’ secrets?  Doesn’t anyone really think that when Apple sued Samsung over copyright infringement in 2009, that Samsung “accidentally” figured out how to duplicate the Iphone all on its lonely own?

The fact that US Attorney General Eric Holder publicly announced the indictments this week of the Chinese nationals who allegedly rang the cybertheft ring is, to a large extent, more a function of the politics in play during an election year than for any other reason.  In all probability, if the election had already occurred, the US government would have quietly contacted the Chinese government to tell them to tell their operatives to knock it off, and the Chinese would have extracted their nationals involved.

The reason for this is that the trade and debt relationship between China and the USA is extremely complex, and no one really wants to upset that Apple cart (pardon the pun).  Furthermore, as the Chinese ambassador to the USA stated, the USA is no one to be shaking its finger at ANY country for cybertheft, which more accurately is defined as spying  on others….be they Chinese or Russian or from anywhere else.  People who live in glass houses…..

The GOP and their big Corporate America funding sources are, of course, demanding action be taken, demanding that people be held accountable, demanding harsh action against the perpetrators.  And yet, there isn’t a single large corporation in America, and perhaps even on the entire planet, that wouldn’t attempt to steal trade secrets from competitors in the business world if they could.  It’s called free market capitalism (every company for itself) and it’s a pretty hypocritical position that these defenders of all things free market have adopted.  But it goes hand in hand with far right’s favorite manta, “Do As I Say, Not As I Do”.

Yet, as bad as it is that to be expressing this purported outrage, perhaps the worst part of this is that the Chinese used some of the most primitive and rudimentary ploys, such as email spam, to get employees at the various hacked companies to allow the Chinese hacker access into their systems.  According to the indictments, the Chinese got the American employees to open questionable email attachments and to click on innocent-looking websites, and even used the misspelled name of a company CEO to trick the employees into installing all kinds of malware on their own work computers, which, incredibly, were not well protected against some of these most simple of cyber-tricks.

So perhaps the outrage against the Chinese perpetrators is misplaced and misguided.  Perhaps the outrage should be directed at the companies that did not adequately protect their trade secrets with the proper anti-hacking software and the proper training of their employees in the need to be careful what they open on line.

And yet, the most outrage probably should be directed against the elected politicians who allowed the USA to lose the high moral ground years ago by torturing prisoners in secret “black” prisons, and getting caught hacking and spying on other countries and their commercial enterprises.   And even then, these self-same politicians scream with false and undeserved indignity when someone else does what both corporate and governmental USA has done for years….

No WONDER the ultra-right hates Edward Snowden for blowing the whistle on the NSA (and through their funding association with the right, Corporate America’s own spying tactics)!!

In the meantime, though…. “Oh, so WHAT??” seems a more appropriate response.




Conservatives’ Manta: Love the Death Penalty & Hate Science

The US Constitution Bill of Rights’ 8th amendment states, “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

With this amendment, the US “founding fathers” in Congress who drafted and passed the Bill of Rights in 1789 were attempting to prevent any American from suffering the atrocities that prisoners historically suffered before that, i.e., cruel and brutal treatment at the hands and whims of their captors.  For time immemorial, prisoners, whether found guilty of a crime or not, were beaten, tortured, starved and murdered in the most cruel, brutal and painful ways possible.

These founding fathers did not believe that the fledgling United States of America should follow that path at all.  Instead, they advocated that every prisoner held in this country, regardless of whatever crimes they were charged with, should be treated humanely, and if punishment was warranted after a conviction (and certainly not before), it MUST be administered in a humane way, not one filled with the animal need for painful revenge.

Despite the 8th Amendment, however…when people have their emotions in play, very often justice is very often not their objective as much as is revenge, retaliation and retribution.  “An Eye for An Eye” as the biblical references quote, is considered by many, particularly those on the Christian religious right, as the word of the deity, and thus more righteous than any law passed by humans.

Of course, this flies in the face of what Jesus said in thesermon on the mount

“You have heard that it was said, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”. But I say to you, do not resist an evildoer. If anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” (Mt 5:38–39, NRSV)

The political Christian religious right in the USA is almost universally republican, and they claim to be believing and practicing Christians, but they seem to have no memory of who Christ was or the teachings of the man.  Nor do they realize the hypocrisy and contradiction of teaching our children that murder is “sometimes” okay…like when the state does it.

So last week, Oklahoma, one of a number of states that executes prisoners convicted of capital crime, was scheduled to hold a double execution, the first in Oklahoma in many years.  Lethal injection of a cocktail of untried and unproven chemicals was to be injected into Clayton Lockett, a convicted murderer.  Admittedly, Lockett is a sociopathic monster, but the state’s act of murder against him did not reverse a single action on his part.  Instead, it made the USA, one of the VERY few remaining western countries to still practice state-sanctioned murder, look barbaric to the rest of the civilized world.

Lockett’s murder by the state of Oklahoma, while resulting in his death, was not supposed to last 42 torturous minutes or cause death by heart attack, but it did.  In all probability, the IV needle was inserted into the flesh of his groin, instead of his femoral vein.  If you want to know the complete timeline of this atrocity, click HERE.

Of course, the GOP LOVES the death penalty, partly because of their religious base and partly because of their misguided view that it saves taxpayer money to execute (and thus stop feeding and clothing and boarding ) a prisoner over supporting his or her human needs throughout a lifetime.  But the facts are that the average life-sentence prisoner will cost approximately US$1 million over a lifetime, while the average taxpayer cost for all the appeals of a prisoner sentenced to death is US$12 million!!!

So much for the conservative “Save the taxpayers money” idea….

And in fact, the folks on the right, who fancy themselves as the protectors of the American taxpayer dollar, cause MUCH MORE spending down the road to fix what they didn’t adequately fund in the first place.  In the ultimate act of smoke and mirrors, they are now questioning and denying the facts presented and endorsed by no less than 300 topic experts in the National Climate Assessment, which says, in so many words, that climate change is real and provable, and the evidence that human activity is largely responsible for it is increasing.

This report also provides data on the climate changes ALREADY here, like longer, hotter summers and more extreme weather each year, flooding of railroad tracks in the northeastern states, more severe droughts in the Midwest and more wildfires in the west.

The republican response?  “This “report” is just another attempt by the Obama administration to saddle the oil and coal industry with more intrusive federal regulations”..that will cost their best campaign contributors, a.k.a., the oil and coal industries, more money for compliance.

But down the road, the damage done by this climate catastrophe will have to mitigated with even MORE taxpayer money AFTER the damage has been done.

Embracing the bible as the ultimate instruction guide and denying science…Today’s GOP at work, folks.