Wednesday, September 24, 2014

what next?

What the solution will be to the group currently calling itself ISIS, is hard to say, but I don't see compromise as part of the solution. Not given their agenda and how it is appealing to Islamic groups and individuals around the world. Sometimes it truly is-- us or them.

In a world where we all hope for using logic as a way to solve problems, this is a situation that is frustrating. I understand why some say the bombing won't work-- another cell just arises. But truthfully it seems those cells are arising anyway. We have the Frenchman, who was just hiking in Algeria, and now has been beheaded. We saw in Australia where two policemen were stabbed by a man who saw himself as part of ISIS as he planned to behead them before he was killed. 

With the situation allowing men and women to go to Iraq and Syria, take training and then go back to from where they came, we are indeed facing a tricky situation.

I think media has to get strong on denying running these videos intended only to terrorize and recruit. We don't have to see them but if they are out there, some will. This really is a threat against a world which has enabled people to make their own choices for religion or lifestyle. I hope everyone who thinks Obama should have done nothing is paying attention to what is going on-- not just in Syria and Iraq.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Scottish oil wealth as a factor?

While watching the movie, seen in parts, Outlander, on Starz based on the book by Diana Gabaldon, I have wondered how seeing this reminder of the brutality of the British rule over Scotland would play out as an influence on the coming election to separate.

Then I have seen a lot of articles from those like Paul Krugman claiming Scotland will suffer dire consequences if they vote to become their own nation-- most especially if they don't go for their own currency and try to stay with the pound where they will have limited power over its valuation. 

What I hadn't read about was this, something far more recent--

It sounds as though the vote for independence will be defeated by fear mongering and the great and glorious feeling of power in being part of the UK, but the truth is I don't know what was smartest for the Scottish people with their proud history. 

Having had our own history with England and seeing them now as mostly allies in the world, I don't know how it'd work out for Scotland if they go it alone, with even the European community not particularly supporting their desire for indendendence. Oil is not always a simple answer to wealth.

Anyway Americans are interested in more than themselves and whatever happens with the vote, I think many of us will be following it with interest. The subject of separation arises in the United States every so often too. I think it's a logical interest of cultures. Better together or apart?

Saturday, August 23, 2014

days on vacation

One of the things that annoys me is people who find fault with Presidents taking a vacation or playing golf while in office. This came up again when we learned of the beheading of a journalist where the murderers attempted to make the video visible to the world as a threat-- might I add a terrorist threat to the world.

So Obama makes a statement regarding what the government is considering to deal with this rogue element within the Islamic religion. He then goes back to the golf course, which led extreme righties to post threatening comments and ridicule him for playing golf during a crisis. Does that make sense to anybody using logic?

First of all Obama gives orders for attacks or a general agenda for what the military will do. He is not personally running drones or flying jets which will be doing the work. What exactly would his not playing golf accomplish? 

It'd be a symbol, and to right wingers, symbols are everything. Remember the little flag pin that had to be on a lapel? Craziness-- as did that mean the person wearing the pin had any more patriotic view of our country than one without it? If you think it did, you are more right wing than you know. It was all about looks.

For a President in the United States, they NEVER leave the job. Not ever never. They are responsible and getting information constantly and that means on vacation or not. 

My opinion on golf is if it relaxes a President, then he SHOULD play. Bush should have kept playing instead of deciding in 2003, he had to give it up to look good for the shallow voter element. What exactly did that accomplish to make our country safer? Nada, zero, nothing. And the same thing would've been true if Obama had not played the round of golf he had set out to play before this all happened. 

Thankfully Obama is a man who seems to understand not only the need for breaks, but also his ability to talk tough and still move back into a family life of a real person. Anybody who cannot do this should never be a President of a country as complex as ours.

As for too many vacations as some righties (always it's righties) claim, here are the facts on how many days he's been off on vacation since he took office--  

For those who hate him, any excuse to criticize is a good one and their comments get really ugly if you read such at all. I just wish they held the best of our country as highly as they do their hatred for this man and his family. It might enable them to look beyond their personal feelings, that he's unfit, to the actual actions and what is best to do next especially on something as complex as this radical group who have come to power thanks to Hussein being eliminated from Iraq as much as anything else! 

Our staying forever in Iraq as an occupying force wasn't happening, and Bush set the timetable for leaving. Americans didn't agree to forever, and those who got us into the war, like Cheney, lied about how long it would take and what it would cost. They are the same ones now complaining about the deficit. 

Take your pick-- higher taxes or higher deficit? Oh, don't like either? How about picking wars or not picking them? Grrrrrrrr. I need a break from reading the news as it's not making my day!

Monday, August 18, 2014

there's always another side

No surprise in this-- as soon as I posted the following comment at Daily Beast, I got attacked. I figured it'd be that way because this is another situation where I, as a moderate/independent, don't have a side that I favor totally. I see more than one answer to what happened with several ideas on what should be done. Still, I finally felt compelled to say what I thought in a world where people want to blame somebody; so one side sees it as the cop who did wrong. Another side blames the black community.
"I just wish the people in America would wait to see all the facts. The autopsy pretty much confirms the story the police officer told regarding what happened. If he knew a strong-arm robbery had taken place, he didn't know it was these two. But they knew and when they were stopped, it explains their belligerence. The 'witness' had every reason to make it look as though the police officer overstepped. Remember all this talk of 'just' stealing cigars isn't quite the case given the photos we saw. He did strong-arm that small clerk.

 Frankly I feel sorry for the police as they face such dicey situations. Yes, it sounds like Ferguson police had been abusing power but that does not mean this officer was doing less than his job. He has been hung out to hang by those who want to profit from this politically-- on both sides and it looks like it ignores the real problem-- what has happened to Ferguson itself as our country has changed.

When I read that Ferguson high schools are not accredited because the kids scored too low, I wondered why Missouri hadn't cared enough to work on that problem years ago. Young men who can't get an education are on a dead-end road whether it ends violently or hopelessly. Yes, this is a systemic problem and not just Ferguson. Yes, we should have standards for police that they have to meet whether it's a minority or not. But this should be about what happened first; then deal with the reason the people have reacted as they have. If people feel powerless, it can lead to rage. But using it to blame one police officer for what happened seems wrong until we know more about what happened. The autopsy certainly affirms what I had heard he claimed more than the supposed witness who had a stake in it being bad cop."
So are Americans ever willing to wait for the whole story, or do they just want the story that suits their agenda... right or left!

When I read the explanation of what led to the shooting, which had been called into a radio station by a 'supposed' friend of the police officer, it rang true to me and having seen what happened in the store earlier, I could see why the young black man acted as he did also: [transcript from radio caller].  When I finally decided to write something about it here, I had to really dig to find a link. It's not being widely spread what his story was. Our government didn't even want released the surveillance tape of the teen manhandling a much smaller clerk to steal those cigars. 

For those who say this was all about stealing cigars, which should not be a big deal and you add onto it the things you recall stealing-- did you threaten someone else to do it? Manhandle them? If you did, then you weren't just a thief, were you?

Right now, and not surprisingly, one side sees it as all about the misuse of power by the cops and the other purely about what was done wrong to this black community in general. In the last week, we got examples of both overreaches. It is being exploited by those who seek to profit from it and Americans eagerly go along with that because we love exciting stories even tragic ones.

All right, I do think the black community in Ferguson had been done wrong, but do they have some responsibility for that or are they total victims? If the school board is all white but the community is 70% black, what's that about? Why has the state of Missouri ignored a whole community where the high school is not accredited? A place where there really is no way out and up-- except maybe to deal drugs to the nearby white community or to steal. Does that seem bad for everybody to you? It sure does to me.

I know one thing -- after rioting and looting, what business will want to go back into that community? It has cost such communities local jobs in the past and likely will again. Business wants stability and rioting doesn't offer it. 

Recently we saw a lawless bunch supporting that rancher in Nevada and they were all or mostly at least white. They also claimed an abuse of power and wanted to use violence to get their idea of justice. Frankly, this is not so much about color as it is about education. What will we do about that? Nothing is what we have been doing... and for those blacks who said it's their hood and we should stay out. Nope. It's our country, and we can't afford to let an abscess grow. We have to work to fix it and I think it starts with a meaningful education system that leads to hope not hopelessness. It takes convincing young people that they need an education. Right now we aren't winning that battle with too many.

And on the shooting-- separate out whether it was legally and morally done from the bigger picture of what has happened to this community. It is possible the officer overreacted and did commit murder. I don't know. But who does right now? We should not lose track of the bigger picture of what got us here. We also should not confuse it with the shooting itself. The officer could be guilty of murder or not. Why can't we wait to find out? The six shots are meaningless. Once you start to attack an officer, if that is what happened, he will shoot until you are down. I am not trying to defend the shooter. I just think right now we don't know and a lot of the hysterical rhetoric on both sides does not want to know. I've seen these kinds of stories before and it often takes a long time to sort out logical facts. Nobody in the media gave it the time this go round-- they never do and they don't help.

Monday, July 28, 2014

sites for info

I am trying to find a viable link for First Look Media, a new site where Matt Taibbi will be after leaving Rolling Stone. If anyone has a link that works, please let me know. I am trying to keep my blog list alongside relevant to issues, linking to sites that address real problems and give facts as part of their message. I could even have conservative sites if they weren't full of bluster and distortion. I believe we all benefit from reading and hearing multiple analysis-- but not when it's loaded with insults and lies. I am not out to propagandize here but rather to present one interpretation of what I am reading, sometimes with commenters who present another viewpoint from the same data. That is the world in which we live-- where we can look at the exact same facts and see it totally differently. Talk about weird.

We can do this analysis with humor, solid analysis or sometimes cartoons :)

Saturday, July 26, 2014

wealth management-- or not

Last night Bill Maher had an interesting show with Hogan Gidley (religious right winger on Santoriums team when he ran for president), Matt Kibbe (ardent libertarian and tea partier),  Amy Goodman (journalist, writer and liberal feminist), Neil deGrasse Tyson (Cosmos series, scientist and spokesman for logic and science), and Richard D. Wolff (economist, writer, and ardent and unashamed Marxist). An hour wasn't nearly enough for these along with Maher to discuss the issues in the depth that I'd have loved to hear.

Like most Americans as soon as I see the word Marxism, I am suspicious, but the point he was making is capitalism takes a vital middle class. We now though have a very determined wealthy class where having a billion dollars is not enough. They are taking it from both the middle and those in the bottom who would work their way up if they had a way. Because they can get salaries lower overseas, the manufacturing jobs have gone and for start up businesses, such as my husband consults for, to keep it here takes real character as right away the big money tries to buy anything and you know where it goes next!

On poverty, it is logical that generations will continue in a poverty cycle given the inferior schools in those neighborhoods. This has been true since I was in the education program in Portland, OR in the 60s. We spent time student teaching in four different schools chosen because of the wealth of the neighborhoods and this was with one district, one property tax rate. The poorer neighborhoods had inferior programs, and of course, because of poverty more children in single parent homes, parents working two jobs and kids on their own. Poverty is a breeder for sure, but the statistics of three generations on welfare has not been proven true. For one thing now there is a work requirement in the US; so that those that can work must work. It still leaves the working poor because of the low minimum wage, which leaves a full-time worker below the poverty level.

The way up is education and crazily the right has done all they can to keep education from succeeding by limiting funds. So, skip the PC which both sides love, and make schools concentrate on the basics. That's also the hope for future voters using sense in their selections of candidates.

I think we also need to make public universities affordable again. Right now the tuition rates are unreal. I found that out when considering how to help our grandkids when they get there. Good Lord, it is pricing the middle out of a college degree.

What has happened with wealth being concentrated, and ways up fewer, the middle is squeezed out. It’s more iffy now to get into it from the lower economic levels as I once could do, and the middle itself is disappearing. The economist said a vital capitalism works because of a vital middle and we are losing it—blame who you will. We could still fix that, all of it, if enough of us agree.

What has amazed me has been the wealthiest, and why they want that much. But as soon as you ask that, they paint you as hating the rich. They are clever at manipulating those who have the most lose.

Friday, July 18, 2014

another tragedy

Generally I don't write pieces here so close together, but when events are happening one on top of another, it's hard to resist a few words  about the second, which in many ways is a greater tragedy than the one before it. Both are situations and in places, which have the potential to draw the world into a conflagration the likes of which nobody should want to see and yet constantly we seem to step right to the edge of it.

Who wants these kinds of wars? I can't imagine anybody and yet some do profit from such events and ever since Hearst used jingoism to push the United States into its first foreign intervention, The Spanish-American War, it has been used again and again. 

So what happened in the Ukraine when a Malyasian commerical airliner was shot down with the loss of nearly 300 citizens, many of them those who make a positive difference in the world, scientists, students, family people and killed for probably a stupid gloating mistake?

Rachel Maddow had a good show last night on how many times this has happened. It's not common, but this isn't the first time either. Always the government who shot down a commercial airliner denied it; then like with the US in the Strait of Hormuz, eventually reparation was paid. It was a mistake. Likely this was a mistake, but when groups have these very big boy guns and they don't really have the technology or expertise to safely man them, this can be the result-- sometimes even when they do have it.

What I read is that the US probably already has proof via photographs of the missile being shot and who manned it. Experts say this is a region what we watch very heavily. Definitive proof has not been put out at least not when I wrote this. What might be their motivation to hold off? They are though saying they believe it was pro-Russian separtists who did it.

Now if Russian soldiers, not rebels, were manning that missile launcher, then does the blame belong to Russia? What can the world do about it if it should even be proven to be the case? Go into WWIII? Anybody seriously think that will happen? 

Once again whatever happened to that airliner, it will be a government entity behind it-- whether the Russian backed rebels, the Ukrainian government in some nitwitted and senseless attack (which makes the least sense of all), or Russia itself (again doesn't seem they would do that but Putin might not condemn those who did since he is backing them). 

The tragedy won't be caused by the ordinary people on the airliner or most of the people in any of those countries. It is the ordinary people though who pay time and again. Will we, as humans, ever get smart?