Monday, March 30, 2015

Mellow Monday despite

Actually, I don't have much to say here but got tired of seeing the title showing up so negatively. I am not happy about Indiana but it does prove that the conservatives, who say they aren't about changing social issues to suit their religions, are not telling the truth. Whenever they get power, they go after their religious causes. Some may only vote for them based on economics but it's not all they will get.

I have often asked myself what makes Indiana as it is. It sets right between states that are either liberal or can go either way. Not Indiana. And this story says something about the mood that is encouraged there-- tormented for being gay in Indiana.  Here's the thing-- every single Republican candidate defended this law. What does that tell you about them and sharia law?

Overall though, it's not a time I have much to say about anything. I'm in a pretty mellow mood. Like everyone else, I was horrified by the co-pilot who deliberately flew a plane into a mountain to kill himself and 149 other people. But I am hopeful that the airlines will use this to change their regulations; so it can't happen again, as it's pretty obvious it has happened before.

One place I got into a debate about whether this guy was a psychopath (my take) or sociopath (the take of the other person). Both are levels of psychoses where the person doesn't have empathy for others and can commit criminal acts. It is a question of what level. My thought on the airlines is when a pilot signs up, he should lose privacy with his physicians. Sending a note to work with a guy who is psychotic is pretty much pointless. It's hard not to take what happened personally as we all fly or have loved ones who do. We want it as safe as possible.

Last night we watched Scientology-- Going Clear. It was well worth watching for human nature and how people end up following someone who has charisma but has decided to create their own ethics. Sociopath or psychopath either one fits L. Ron Hubbard. Egomaniac fits the guy who has taken over for him. Once people get into Scientology, it can be difficult to get out but it can be done.

The one political element to the film is how the cult got declared a religion which left it free to not pay taxes and to have donations be tax free. That means it now has many billions of dollars. How it's using that is uncertain as it does not appear that accountable. Of course, many, me being one, would end tax deductions to churches too...

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

bummer of a morning after

It appears that Republican extremists, like Tom Cotton from Arkansas or the money backer behind many of these right wingers, Sheldon Adelson from the Nevada gaming casino billions, are going to get what they want-- a bigger war in the Middle East. They did all they could to keep Netanyahu in power but more than in power, locked into no solution for the Palestinian situation. War is very popular with some people-- not to mention profitable.

With Israel voting for a position that denies any hope for two states there, it isolates them also from Europe and some segments of the United States. Of course, the foxies probably are thrilled. They have some very mistaken ideas about the true cost of war as they too frequently are buried in rah rah talk.

Over and over I hear how in the 80s Israel bombed Iraq's nuclear power plants, and it worked. They didn't try again to rebuild. Of course, that was until Cheney/Bush convinced Americans they were secretly trying to acquire the capability, that most know Israel already has-- to build a nuclear bomb. There was no proof for that, but righties still claim it to be so. They don't need evidence. They are a faith based people, which is how they deny any climate change could be due to human actions. If you don't believe facts matter, you will believe anything.

So Netanyahu won... decisively and it looks like Israelis want war. Does that mean the US has to go to war with Iran to satisfy their desires? It won't be the same as it was with Iraq. It's a much more powerful country but who needs diplomacy when you can use bombs.

And back to the question fact based people always ask-- how do we pay for it? I know the foxie answer. They believed it with the other war that has increased our debt so greatly-- take it off the backs of the poor. The beauty of that plan is you can use their young adults to fight it too-- because you limited their chances of jobs anywhere else.

This was a depressing morning for anyone who does look at hard, cold facts. Rah rahs though, they are likely thrilled. :(

Update: When I wrote this, I thought afterward, maybe I am worrying for nothing. I came across the following this afternoon (3/20/15). Guess I am not the only one with that concern.


And here's an irony for you-- Obama evidently did a TV interview aimed at the Iranian people and was slammed viciously by the right wing leaders/pundits for daring to speak to them. Interesting that it was okay for the right to invite Netanyahu to address the American people on what our foreign diplomacy or war should be, but not okay for Obama to address the Iranians. Yes, I get it that they are the big enemy today, but they used to be an ally. Does any of this sound familiar?

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

What???!!!!!!

Why do American states elect someone like this?


It would be easy to think what a yahoo-- Harvard degree or not. What a disgusting human being who loves war so much he is eager for another (on the cuff, of course as he also doesn't believe in taxes), but who elected this guy? Who are the Americans who wanted someone like this to serve in the Senate? Half this country is going way off the deep end with a desire for endless wars and ignoring any of their own elected government, with which they don't agree. Democracy??? What the hell is that!!!! Nothing to them. It's all about doing what they want when they want it and if the vote does not go their way, if they don't like the laws, scuttle them.


I try to think positive. Sometimes it's hard, but this guy, he's really something and he just led the United States Senate, many much older and more seasoned than he, to actually break a long held law, the Logan Act, one that calls what he did treason.  
“Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.”
 Basically we only do what we believe is right. To hell with a democratic vote. To hell with facts in any situation. We will undermine anything we don't like-- next President, even if it turned out to be a Republican, better watch out as this is all about law of the mob-- possibly led by the cutest and most radical guy/gal.

This reminds me when the yahoos armed themselves with their assault rifles and came from around the country to Nevada to help a rancher there stand off the federal government. Why did he need to stand off the government? Because he was unwilling to pay for leasing the land his livestock was using. Everybody else who uses rangeland pays the fees. It'd be like saying I want to rent a house that you own, but I won't pay you for the rent but someone who suits me better. Government land is owned by all of us, and it's to whom we pay the fees if we use it for camping or logging or putting our cattle on it.

Cotton fits with this crowd and that mentality. He's a tea party firebrand. Why Arkansans wanted him is maybe because he's handsome or he was in the wars Bush originated and that the right is still trying to justify (never by paying for them though with increased taxes). Some are cheering him today even though what he's trying to start would dismantle elected government for any power. I am guessing the voters responsible for this jerk want the government dismantled (other than the military, of course). These voters don't believe in democracy. They also believe in their own right to decide which laws they obey. 

This mentality is how Cotton thinks he's justified to try to scuttle a peace deal that he doesn't even know what it is. He is doing this to gain fame-- and he did. I am sure the right adores him right now. I won't be listening to Limbaugh today but he's doubtlessly salivating over this guy. Who (other than military contractors) knew anything about him before he decided to override our elected system of government (Obama was elected by millions more votes)? 

I am never shocked by a young idiot. But, more seasoned heads signed that letter. I can only ask why. Do they hate Obama so much that they would dismantle this nation? Do they want to rewrite all laws to suit themselves? Heaven help us if they get a President with that mentality. I can not begin to imagine how many wars he'll be engaging in while he continues to add to the debt. 

If there is no peace deal with Iran. If they continue to get a nuclear bomb to even themselves up with Pakistan and Israel, if the whole region explodes in war, does that profit men like this Cotton? So it would seem they at least believe. If he figures it out otherwise, it might be too late for the damage he has done. 

We had been warned about this by no less than Dwight D. Eisenhower-- a man who knew a bit about war himself. He believed in a strong military, but he said something about the risks going along with it.
   "In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
    We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.
    Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades."
This is where we are today when the more experienced heads in the Senate let this radical, with two months under his belt, get a mob action going that would undermine even Republican presidents if the left follows suit when they have a President who doesn't suit them.

Many Americans have congratulated themselves on electing those who don't respect the rule of law. Some of this has happened, not because there are so many who dislike government but because more than half our voters don't want to be informed and don't bother to vote. It's hard to say where this is heading, but it can't be good.


Tuesday, March 03, 2015

when the good guys-- aren't

Do you want to get really mad at government overreach and viciousness? You know the kind of thing that takes you back to Randy Weaver in Idaho and David Koresh in Texas where the government acted like outlaws themselves in their zeal for nailing someone for something.



ATF has done this kind of attack and gotten dinged for it. Once in awhile it has broken into someone's home, guns waving. The owner figures it's thugs and starts shooting. Turned out they had the wrong address. Ooops sorry we just killed you when you didn't understand we were the good guys.

I wrote a book some time back called Her Dark Angel which went into how government can be. I know right now this is all about police and shooting too quickly; but the kind of thing described in the above article has happened and most of the time, we as Americans are clueless about it.

In Her Dark Angel, the hero had been coerced into working undercover. When he tries to explain to the heroine how this works, she is horrified as she sees the government as being the good guys. He sees it as not always that different from the ones they are trying to catch.

Often my books have those in law enforcement as being the heroes but frankly it's not always how it works and the story above reminded me a lot of my earlier book.

Monday, March 02, 2015

making the case for war

While John Oliver, on his wonderful HBO show, was showing us how badly our infrastructure is crumbling-- across the US because we aren't willing to pay to fix it, while some of us worry about the drought threatening the middle of the United States and into California (including a lot of Mexico), while others are concerned with too many children not being vaccinated leading to a return of diseased we haven't seen in decades,  while others worry about fair immigration laws, what is the right wing in Congress busy plotting-- a new war.

If Neocons get their way, the United states will be back in a war, this time with a far bigger enemy than the last ones. Neocons see only one solution to any problem-- bombing and killing. They are already rallying their support for such a war, which they do want. Part of that is asking Netanyahu to speak to Congress. This man wanted war before he got elected; so at least Israelis know what they are getting with him. Do Americans?


Right now, Americans don't want war. According to that article, it's why Obama didn't drop bombs in Syria in 2013, when he wanted to. Currently Americans don't want the kind of war we would face if we become involved in another land war in the Middle East.

Does anyone believe they can't though get jingoed into it? This is a country that spends its time in front of televisions, wants Twitter length explanations of any difficult subject, and loves the excitement of violent wars. Especially if it doesn't mean their kids have to fight the wars. It's how it worked to get enough people on board to invade Iraq where there was no excuse.

So the Neocons are busy again saying there is only one answer. Generally speaking, these are people who never fought a war. They hope to go over the head of our President and get one started anyway. If Israel bombs Iran, where does that leave us? I read an article claiming they threatened to do just that in 2014 and the US said, you head there with bombs and we'll shoot your planes down. They backed off. What I just said has part of the right wing salivating over the power to bomb regardless of the cost.

Well, why not, they don't intend to pay the cost. They just send off the troops (made up of sons and daughters from the lower and middle classes), cut more taxes, block any regulations on finance or environment, enlarge our debt, and then say it's the fault of Democrats when the debt spirals and we have bridges collapsing.

Amazingly, this tactic works with some Americans. Well, look at the size of the debt (18 trillion dollars), and you see the argument for it being a problem; but the solution to the problem of all that interest being paid is not what you might think-- increase taxes. No, it's cut them more and also all the programs that help the poor. It's their fault. It will be the same argument made if we got into what will be a far more major war with Iran-- pay for it? Why should we?

So Netanyahu is going to make the case for war and a lot of Republicans are going to cheer. Will that convince the rest of America-- enough to do it?

Friday, February 27, 2015

Seriously?

Every time CPAC meets, I am inundated with the various candidates giving speeches. Even though I only watch MSNBC, which is a very left wing cable news station, the speeches are impossible to escape. I limit myself these days to watching news maybe twice a week... if that. But the stories are on all the Internet news sites too.

Sometimes though what is said is funny. To some, Scott Walker, the destroyer of unions, is the great white hope. He's attractive, dynamic, but also ignorant. Perfect. The cartoon/photo satire world has taken advantage of one of his less intelligent comments to create an image, which I think is humorous and hope you do too-- whether rightie or leftie. Hey, it's good to laugh







There are a bunch more of the images showing what Walker managed to face down... not in person, of course. I am not sure he's the funniest of these potential candidates to run our country but the image is a winner. I know ISIS is not funny at all, but the idea that Walker posed here certainly is-- that his experience putting down teacher unions qualifies him to run the country.

Update: for those who think Walker has been a primo governor, check this out.

 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

how serious is it for Americans?

As our country goes through its own turmoil regarding who governs, what is ethical, how many wars can we handle, what about taxes, health care, the poor, etc. etc., the world has something big going on. It can be argued-- how big and will it impact our lives? I'm not talking global climate change (which also could change the dynamics on everything), I'm talking about the Islamic State (separate this from the religions of Islam) which is not really staying in Syria and Iraq and could be a factor worldwide. The question some ask is why should I care-- it's over there.


Many, on both political extremes, are angry at Obama for not seeming to understand what the Islamic State is as he says it's not Islam. I have read far left blogs that tore into the writer of the above article. Their view is it's not Islam that has made the Islamic State behead people, crucify children, burn people to death. 

Except how do we explain the zeal leading young people, from around the world, to want to head to Syria and join up? Lust to kill? Hardly. The most recent example has been three teen-age girls who flew to Turkey, their parents had no idea, to go to Syria and become brides of ISIS fighters. Now think about this for just a minute. Let it sink in.

The girls, if they aren't stopped first, may also end up fighting. But what led Straight A students, lovely girls, to want to leave their homes in England and head to a land where they may be killed or at the least have their freedoms taken away. They lived in a country where they could do as they wished, wear a head covering or not. Those freedoms will be gone once they are in the Islamic State. There if they disobey an order, death is the likeliest result. What leads young women to choose that culture?

They were recruited, of course. That's going on around the world. But it's not just putting a romantic glow on danger and war but the real appeal comes from religious zeal. If you already live in Syria or Iraq, in regions under the control of the Islamic State, you don't have a choice in a lot of this. These girls did. In the Islamic State, children as young as twelve are taught to use guns and called Lion Cubs. They are taught only religious dogma as they go to war when not in school. 

If it all stayed in Syria and Iraq, we might feel sorry for people in those countries, but is that the goal of the the new Caliphate?


With Libya, at least for now, in chaos, where Coptic Christians can be beheaded simply because they are not Islamic, it's not hard to see this moving across the Mediterranean to Europe in at least terrorist acts. It already has with bombings and it probably began there in England with the beheading of the English soldier, Lee Rigby. This was when most of us thought how insane that he'd be attacked that way-- before we understood what was going on.

Economically, to keep going, the Islamic State is receiving help from around the world. They are earning money. Some of it by despicable means like having organs harvested from their captives. Their hostage business has been profitable as some countries don't mind funding them to get their people back.

A lot of the Middle East used to look stable to the outside world because of strong-arm leaders who were brutally cruel but mostly secular in their goals. Men like Hussein and Gaddafi were Muslims but not fundamentalists. Women didn't have to wear the hijab or burkha. They had more freedom than in say Saudi Arabia where even today their freedoms are very limited. 

When Obama tried to say respecting other people's religions or jobs would solve the ISIL problem, I groaned as did a lot of people in the moderate end of politics. It was, however, exactly what people on the far left already believed. He infuriated the far right by not suggesting, as Jeb Bush recently did, that we should go to war more places to attain our domination. No, those weren't his words but what else would accomplish the neocon goals of American influence becoming the law of other lands? 

Unlike the far right, I don't think Obama wanted to sell us out by what he said. I just think he buys a very liberal view of life where logic rules and people basically want to be nice to each other unless something has warped their view-- and then that can be fixed. Yes, a very sweet world we would all live in if we just did this or that. 

Except as a moderate, I don't see that works. Besides human nature being a factor in how people behave, nobody should underestimate religious zeal where logic doesn't play a role. 

The leader of the Islamic State is drawing those to him by using religion. He may even believe in what he is saying. He is no secular leader-- yet anyway. He is claiming to be the one they have been waiting for to usher in the Apocalypse. That kind of claim is what leads young girls to run away from home to head to a war torn land. That kind of thinking does not listen to logic. It is on a crusade! To fool ourselves as to what we are facing is not about to help the situation. Yes, most believers in Islam are as horrified as the rest of us at the cruelty that has been used. It doesn't take most of them to make this a worldwide crusade!