Identifying The Enemy: Dick Cheney And The Neocon Right

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Dick Cheney’s latest assertion is that the world’s deal with Iran to control their development of nuclear power is akin to handing them nuclear weapons.   Of course Cheney, doesn’t put it quite that way, his assertion is that, “Obama’s about to give them nuclear weapons.”

Forget the other five major nations cutting the deal, in Cheney’s mind,  it’s all Obama’s fault.  That’s the blame-game the Republicans and their Neocon wingnuts have been playing for more than six years, and the game they continue to play, partly because there’s an election coming up, and partly because they are entirely fear-based thinkers.   Fear, is something they know how to use.

Instilling as much fear as possible in the hearts of all Americans was a most convenient technique for their power grab, with the Patriot Act at its center.

Fear-based thinking has taken us by the throat since a handful of crazies flew planes into the World Trade Center the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania.   Admittedly, it was a terror creating situation and measures had to be taken.  However, letting fear dictate our actions going forward was entirely wrongheaded.    Giving the government absolute power through the Patriot Act, was perhaps the worst of all,  outstripping both the NSA and creation of the mammoth new and possibly unnecessary Department of Homeland Security.   But fear was dictating our actions and now the NSA  continues to conduct mass collection of what should be our private electronic messages with bogus “warrants” going out to cover tens of thousands of messages at a crack, while the military has the power to snatch any American off the street or out of his or her home without a warrant and without any appearance in any court,  sending them to a holding cell somewhere in Turkey where they can be imprisoned indefinitely without the assistance of counsel.

We’re supposed to be better than  this.

You can be “rendered” to some stinking cell in some foreign nation until you rot, and there is nothing you can do about it.   That, is absolute power.   To the best of my knowledge, the principles of “rendition” and the absence of any requirement for due process for someone suspected of having a connection to any kind of terrorist plot (whatever that might be)  have been extended with each new approval of the Defense Appropriations Act even though the Patriot Act has ceased to exist.   The situation is so confused and the waters so muddied that it’s difficult to know what’s happening with regard to the fear motivated attack on our constitutional rights.

This is what’s wrong with fear-based policy and it’s bastard child, absolute power.  It eliminates our freedom.   Moreover, once a government begins using fear to control the populace, it can’t stop.  If it does, if the populace returns to calm and sane thinking, then the government loses absolute control.    This isn’t anything new, it’s been axiomatic for years.   The Nazis used it as a prime motivator.  Throw a big enough scare into the populace and they’ll let you do almost anything that may or may not be necessary to protect the “homeland.”

We would do well to remember the words of Benjamin Franklin, “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

Hear, hear.   We would all be so much better off if Dick Cheney and his fear-based Neocon minions from hell would shutup and go away.  They’ve already done almost incalculable damage.   But the lightning is out of the bottle.  We have to somehow figure out a way to stick it back inside.  Or, conversely, we can put our absolute faith in the federal government, trusting them to do the right thing.

The News Biz – Who Are You Gonna Believe?

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I’ll tell you up front that this will be one of those “when I got into the tv news business” stories.  If that’s a problem for you, too bad.

When I got into the business of television news reporting,  which at the time was generally regarded as a legitimate form of Journalism, it was understood that anyone who knowingly manufactured information  was out on his or her ass.   The same, but to a lesser degree, went for any reporter who failed to corroborate information before putting it on the air.   You might not be fired for it, but at the very least there would be serious consequences for dragging the validity of an entire news organization into question.

Standards for the reporting of news on television and radio were taken  very seriously.   We were upholding the public trust, on both the local and national levels.  If we lost that, we lost everything.

It’s fascinating that we are now in a time when there are high-profile apologists for both Brian Williams and more recently, Sabrina Rubin Erdely of Rolling Stone.

No need to wonder why the news biz has lost its credibility.

Who are you gonna believe?

Identifying The Saboteurs Among Us

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When did progressive or “liberal” politics become synonymous with what was once regarded as “common sense?”   Something as simple as the good of the many taking precedence over the good of the few?   A principle called the “common good,” which was still around when I was growing up in the 50’s and 60’s.

There was real comfort in knowing that while conservatives and liberals in Washington might disagree, eventually they would come up with a compromise with the good of the nation, not the good of one party or another, at its center.   That comfort factor, that assurance that our elected representatives would do what was best for the country, no longer exists.

Could it possibly be tied to the shift away from the conservative values of people like Dwight Eisenhower, Everett Dirksen and even Richard Nixon and over to the madness and self-centered nonsense of that  which currently passes for the Republican Party?

Think about it for God’s sake.   This current batch of Neocons and Tea Party wingnuts has pulled the nation so far to the right that even the politics of Dick Nixon appear to be progressive.

We’re through the looking glass, people.   We have got to admit it to ourselves and do something about it.

Reports indicate that Iranians are celebrating in the streets following the Obama Administration’s successful preliminary deal on controlling the development of nuclear power in Iran.    That should be good, right?   Isn’t it in our interest to be friends with Iran in the pursuit of peace rather than being threatened by an ever-spreading war in the Middle East?

And yet, those on the right will condemn the deal, because they care more for party politics than the country they pretend to represent.   They will condemn it, because they have taken an oath to condemn everything and anything the Obama Administration does, regardless of the impact their action or inaction has on the United States.

Isn’t that aiding and abetting our enemies?   Aren’t they committing a form of treason, albeit a kind of “backdoor treason” that might be difficult to pin down in a courtroom?   Isn’t that always the way for tyrants who know they might eventually have to squirm out from under a pile of invective, half-truths and outright lies they accumulate over time?

When will these contemporary Republicans put what’s best for the country ahead of their need to attack this current commander in chief?  Apparently, they won’t.  The question then becomes, how can they be held accountable?

The common sense answer is once again, coming from the left, from Anna Galland,  Executive Director of MoveOn.org. 

Galland writes-

“Today’s historic announcement of a strong framework between Iran and six world powers to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon is a breakthrough achievement and testament to years of tough, courageous, and principled negotiations.

“This is perhaps the most significant foreign policy accomplishment of the Obama presidency, and offers the promise of a peaceful path with Iran, rather than a rush into an unnecessary war. We applaud President Obama, Secretary Kerry, and Secretary Moniz for this diplomatic achievement. For years, MoveOn members across the country have stood beside President Obama, fought for diplomacy, and urged their representatives in Congress not to undermine these negotiations.

“Yet Republican war hawks—and too many Democrats who are siding with them—are continuing their crusade against the president and trying to sabotage this deal.

“Let me put this simply: The alternative to diplomacy with Iran is war. Any member of Congress who sabotages diplomacy is putting American lives at risk. MoveOn members across the country are mobilizing immediately in support of this framework, and we will hold any elected officials who sabotage diplomacy accountable for the rest of their political careers.”

There it is.  Common sense.   If this current batch of Republicans and some Democrats refuse to do what’s best for America, then Americans need to finally, hold them accountable.

This deal with Iran has yet to be finalized.   There is still plenty of time to sabotage the Obama Administration’s efforts, as the pact won’t be finalized until the end of June.    We all need to keep our eyes on those who oppose the negotiation with Iran, for they will be exposing themselves as true saboteurs who favor war over the potential for a lasting peace in the Middle East and North Africa, and party politics over America’s best interests.

For the good of the nation and the world, they must be recognized for what they are.  Anna Galland is right.  They must be held accountable.

 

 

 

“Throwdown” In The Middle East

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On his show Friday night, Bill Maher, called it “the Shia-Sunni Throwdown.”  That’s pretty much what it is.   Two major Muslim factions that hate one another are at war.    It’s been going on for centuries.  The Bush/Cheney Administration’s decision to invade Iraq put us smack in the middle of it and left us there.  And it’s only getting worse.

The United States is now allied with Iran (Shia) in the fight against ISIS (Sunni), with some air support coming from Saudi Arabia which is Sunni, but heavily allied with the U.S.   The Sunni Saudis hate the Shia Irainians,  but they are allied against ISIS, which threatens all of Iraq, which is also mostly Shia.    Got that?   Iraq and Iran, are Shia.   The Saudis, are Sunni, but they are allies in trying to put down the ISIS revolt, which got started because the United States invaded Iraq and overthrew Saddam Hussein, who was the lynchpin which kept the region from flying apart into factions and devolving into widespread warfare.

Skip over to Yemen, where Shia Iran is in support of Shia Houthi fighters, who have overthrown the government of Saudi (Sunni) supported President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

So the Saudis (Sunni) and Iran (Shia) are  allies in fighting ISIS, but they oppose one another in Yemen.    They are fighting on the same side against ISIS, but they are on opposing sides in Yemen.   That’s complex in and of itself.   It becomes even more tangled when Israel enters the picture.

Six nations are attempting to cut a nuclear power control deal with Iran.   Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu, opposes the pact, even before knowing what the final agreement will say.   He does not want it and appears eager to spread conflict in the Middle East and North Africa by getting the United States involved, either directly or in support of some kind of military action against Iran – which is what the United States hopes to avoid with the deal they and five other nations are trying to reach with the Iranians.

It’s difficult to determine precisely what Netanyahu wants.  Apparently his plan is to eliminate the Palestinians by driving them into the sea and over the border into Jordan, along with the military annihilation of Iran, ISIS, Syria,  portions of Iraq and anybody else he and his supporters on the Israeli right find disagreeable.   In other words, widespread ongoing slaughter as opposed to ongoing negotiations for peace.   It’s important to remember that not all Israelis agree with Netanyahu’s position which is doing serious damage to Israel’s image in Europe and the United States.

And now comes the Arab League, agreeing in principle to form a joint military force to fight Jihadis, like ISIS and the uprising in Yemen.  However, there is no certainty as to how many members of the Arab League will commit resources to the effort, which already had numerous countries including the U.S., Iraq, Iran, Syria, the Kurds and the Saudis involved in the fight against ISIS.

It’s the mother of all holy wars, an unholy mess, and that’s precisely the reason Baby Bush’s daddy,  George H.W. Bush, withdrew American troops after pushing Saddam Hussein back into Iraq, following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1991.   A very smart move by  Bush I.    If only junior had inherited some of those smarts.

Yes, our troops have been in the region since 1991.   That’s 24 years, not counting incursions during the two world wars or the European crusades, which may have greater meaning for Middle Easterners who sometimes tend to take a longer view of things.

As his nation’s “strong man,” Saddam, held the Iranians in check.    In addition, because his regime was secular, he was able to maintain a balance between the Shia and the Sunnis,  something the United States destroyed when the administration of Bush II and Dick Cheney, decided to invade with the goal of overthrowing Saddam and “democtratizing” the Middle East, leaving the United States stuck there ever since.

Perhaps this new military alliance coming out of the Arab League will open the door for the U.S.  to finally withdraw from the region, ending a futile effort of more than a dozen years to impose a military solution on a problem that’s both religious and political – which increasingly appears to be one and the same – both in the Middle East and in other parts of the world as well.

The American military solution has not worked.   There is no good reason to believe that it will work.   It is time to leave.  It is time to let the Shia and the Sunni solve their own problems.   U.S. planning has been idiotic with regard to culture and history in the Middle East,  just as it was in Vietnam.

Perhaps we should ask ourselves why we keep doing this?   For profit?  Bravado?  Some combination of the two?   Are we really so arrogant as to believe that we can solve anything, simply through the application of military power?

Secret Military Contingent Prepares To Invade Southwest United States

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Saw the following headline from the British paper the Daily Mail on Facebook this morning, “Special forces set to swarm Southwest and operate undetected among civilians in massive military exercise.”

The story details how 1,200 special forces troops armed  with blank rounds, will operate in seven states including California and Arizona in July, without being detected by the civilian populace.    The military calls it “routine training.”  Really?   For what routine?

This is so wrong on so many levels.  So wrong, that I was moved to email my U.S. Senators, my Congressman, the Governor of California and a County Supervisor.   I have emailed my concerns to various government officials before, but never that many in one sitting.

I did so, because someone needs to ask the question of why this kind of exercise, which crosses the line between our conventional military and some bizarre futuristic ninja-type infiltration of the local populace heretofore seen only at the movies is necessary?   Why?  So that the United States can more effectively police the entire world in support of the international corporatocracy?    Is that basically it?  Why else would we need to practice sending more than a thousand special ops soldiers including Green Berets and Navy Seals in as spies to operate among an English-speaking civilian population?   Isn’t this what the CIA is supposed to be doing?

Turns out this won’t be the first time the Pentagon has tried to pull this off.     The Army wanted to do basically the same kind of “infiltration” training in Utah in the summer of 2013, but Utahns pushed back and the exercise was canceled.   For the time being.   It now appears the military is bringing it back,  but on a much, much larger scale than a few counties in Utah.   This time it’s the entire State of Utah, along with six others.   According to the Daily News,  the states of Utah and Texas will be considered to be “hostile,” for purposes of the exercise.

And there’s more.  In January of 2012, I reported on the U.S. Military using portions of the City of Los Angeles for urban assault exercises, with U.S. troops backed up by units of the Los Angeles Police Department.    It was billed as “joint military training exercises.”  Training for what?   And now they want to secretly infiltrate seven states?

What are they preparing for and who is coming up with this stuff?   The same genius who thought we could go in and “democratize” all of the Middle East by applying a military solution to a purely political problem thousands of years in the making?   Was it the same brainchild who believed the Iraqis would be throwing roses at our feet and there would be “dancing in the streets” following the invasion?   Was it that guy?   To what degree has our civilian government ceded control to the Pentagon?

Trying to answer that question will give conspiracy theorists a perfect tipping point to claim that this latest “infiltration” exercise is the precursor to the establishment of marshal law.   It will only serve to generate more fear in a country that is already filled with fear.

We would all do well to remember the words of FDR,  when he said “…the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”   A very smart man, that FDR.   So was the author of “Brave New World,”  Aldous Huxley.

I borrowed the following Huxley quote from a posting on “Another Angry Voice.”   We the people and our representatives need to think about what it says, or one day we may all wake up to find that teaching the military to operate as spies among large civilian populations was only the first step, and that the worst fears of the “conspiracy nutjobs” among us have become reality.  “The ruling oligarchy” Huxley speaks of,  is in large part, already here.

 

Benedict Cumberbatch, Ted Cruz And Richard III

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They ran the DNA, and it appears actor Benedict Cumberbatch is related to England’s King Richard III.   He’s his second cousin sixteen times removed.    Not exactly a close relation, but a relation nonetheless, in a nation where a lot of people are distant relatives of the King, who, it seems, really got around.  This news about the latest and one of the best (I think) actors ever to portray Sherlock Holmes, isn’t earth shattering, but it’s more interesting than most of what’s out there this morning, what with the debatable personage of Ted Cruz taking up so much space and airtime.

“Out, out, brief candle!”  Please!

I know King Richard pre-dated Shakespeare by more than one-hundred years, but the Bard did write a play about the King,  and the Macbeth quote worked, so I dropped it in.  There is also the possibility, considering Richard’s sexual proclivity, with as many as three illegitimate kids and maybe more,  that Bill Shakespeare and Benedict Cumberbatch might just be related.    Fifteen or sixteen times removed, but related.   Come to think of it,  any of us with British heritage might be related to the late, great, Richard.

The other missive I found to be of interest in the morning papers has to do with Robert Durst, who once lived in Middlebury Vermont, where he owned a health food store not far from my sister’s farm.    Middlebury,  was also the location for the real Inn on the “Newhart” show.    Durst, who is a suspect in the murder of a woman here in Los Angeles in 2000 and is being investigated in connection with the disappearance of his wife ,  is also now under investigation in connection with another missing person,  a Vermont college student in 1971 .   None of which has anything to do with Benedict Cumberbatch, except that the great Sherlock Holmes, might be of some assistance in the ongoing case of Robert Durst, which only seems to expand with time.

I began this rambling, rickety train of thought with Cumberbatch, and his distant relationship to Richard III, because it triggered an idea.   That being, the thought of how far we’ve come and how far we have to go.   The thought of the Dark Ages and the Middle Ages and then finally,  thank God, being dragged screaming from our slimy ignorance into the Reformation, by a relative few thinking people who dared challenge the established power structures, not the least of which were the church and the various governments, like the one led by Cumberbatch’s distant kin, King Richard.

The crux of the idea,  has to do with our view of how backward and unnecessarily cruel humanity was four or five hundred years ago, and how backward and unnecessarily cruel our contemporary society will appear to those who succeed us, four or five hundred years in the future.

If we can look back, tracking history and all the same mistakes we continue to repeat ad nauseam, and if we can look forward, imagining the future, why then do we have to wait for it to develop through analogue time?  Why can’t we get beyond our current mindset of letting things develop as they will, and speed up the process?  Can’t we do that?   Can’t we put concept cars on the production line now?

No we can’t.   Too many really stupid people are in the way.   Fear and ignorance continues to throw up roadblocks to progress now,  just as the blindness of the church and the lust for power of the established order blocked Leonardo, and other great thinkers of the past.

Cutting public education is not the least of the many boneheaded moves currently being undertaken by fear possessed and power mad politicians on the far right.

Since education has clearly benefited our species to such a large degree, why is it being made more difficult to obtain here in the U.S.?   When did being progressive, become a bad thing?   Why are some afraid of progress?  Would they have us moving backwards, all the way to the ignorant, disease-ridden days of Richard III?

Imagine life without antibiotics, safe drinking water and exit polls.

There are those who are attempting to get beyond our silly 7/24 cycle of immediate gratification.    Our inability to take a longer view of things.   There is, for example,  “The Long Now Foundation,” up in San Francisco.   According to their website,  the foundation was established in 1996,  “to creatively foster long-term thinking and responsibility in the framework of the next 10,000 years.” 

Pretty heavy, huh?   It’s also a sane alternative for contemporary humanoids who grow weary of our species current childish desires in comparison to the glorious possibilities of the future.

It’s limitless, probably, until eventually we meet ourselves trying to find us,  moving back in the opposite direction, after conquering time and space, causing a kind of H.G. Wells time machine regression to the 14-hundreds forcing us to start all over again with Richard III.

Which might explain Ted Cruz.

On The Netanyahu Win In Israel

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My old friend Michael Muskal at the LA Times posted some interesting thoughts on Facebook today,  writing,  “A tough day for the Obama administration as it looks at U.S. Mideast policy after Netanyahu’s strong showing. U.S. policy has three legs: An agreement with Iran to halt nuclear development for a time; leading international efforts to stop, then roll back, ISIS; and solving Israel-Palestinian conflict with two states. It is unclear if any of those goals can be achieved, and if they can, certainly not in the way the Obama administration had hoped.”

He may be right.   I wrote the following response.   After seeing it, I felt it to be blog-worthy.    Here it is-

“What concerns me the most is that fear and not courage has become the great motivator in both Israel and the U.S., with the hard-right driving the charge for fear-based warfare promulgated by both countries and the concurrent death of any reasonable belief in diplomacy as a solution by much of the general populace.”

It feels like  the United States and Israel hold the keys to peace or continued warfare in the Middle East, but where are the peacemakers?    Will fear control and possibly destroy us?

Thoughts On The Israeli Election

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Watching the “neck and neck” returns come in from Israel, and a couple of things occurred to me.   One, is how terribly fractured the Israelis are between their right and left, not unlike the United States, what with Bibi Cheney and all.

The other thought was how simple this all should be.   In politics, as with the weather, extremes can be deadly.  Moderate weather is far more favorable to the human condition.

Chauncey Gardner was right.  It should be so simple.

What Happened To The Measles?

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What happened to the measles threat that was going to sweep across the nation destroying every innocent child in its path? How could something so terrifying be replaced by Hillary Clinton’s email?    Or more recently, Jeb Bush’s email while he was governor of Florida?

This email thing is big.   Must be, considering all the time the media is giving it.

Isn’t the NSA snooping on everything everybody sends out into cyberspace anyway?   Do Hillary and Jeb know they are being monitored by government bureaucrats with bloodshot eyes sitting in corporate cubicles somewhere in Hawaii?    Didn’t they hear about Edward Snowden and Wikileaks?

Personal freedom be damned, they are watching you and keeping copies of everything you send via electronic communication.

It was never supposed to come to this, not in the United States.   We were supposed to be immune to Big Brother.  What the hell happened?

Fear.   That’s what.  The measles.

It’s not that there are no real issues out there.  What about the Ukraine, for God’s sake?   Are we marching towards war with another nuclear armed power?   Is Israel dictating terms to our Congress?   Is representative democracy really dead in America?   Have they really set aside due process on American soil?  Do the Koch  Brothers own us?  Where will California get its water in 2016, and what impact will that have on the country, since the United States gets so much of its produce (81% of its broccoli)  from sunny Cal?    Is Wall Street headed for another crash with the potential for bankrupting world markets?   Will we all end up out on the street begging for a handout to buy a burger and fries from the last thriving business in America,  your local burger restaurant,  here in the junk food capitol of the world?   And while we’re stuffing our faces with fries and washing them down with a giant cup of carbonated sugar water, why do you think so many American kids are suffering from obesity and diabetes?   Do you suppose it has anything to do with the American diet and a lack of exercise?

Oh, but wait.   Forget  about all of that.   We have the measles to worry about.   Or we did, until suddenly it became a non-issue.

I would have said it was “just the measles,” but the news media and some doctors were acting like it was another polio epidemic about to tear across the country, ravaging classrooms and threatening adults who had never been exposed.

Anybody who didn’t buy into the fear factor the media was pushing would probably have received a dressing-down designed to make you feel like an idiot.   Something along the lines of, “Just the measles?   Are you out of your mind!!   Aren’t you listening to what they’re saying on tv?!!  You could go blind!” 

And yet, it is now suddenly gone, and nobody is saying a word.  Like the Bird Flu, terrorist induced smallpox and Y2K.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, between January 1 and March the 13th of this year, 176 Americans contracted the measles.   176 cases in a country with a population of about 320-million.

This lack of perspective about what really matters, will continue so long as fear sells.   Beyond that, when everything is treated like a crisis  we lose the ability to separate out something that may not be all that important from issues that deserve our attention.    And that dear friends, is something to be concerned about because it will not go away with the next 7/24 news cycle on cable tv –  providing a wonderful diversion for Big Brother who will be watching  your every move and listening to your every word.

A Little Madness May Be Just What We Need

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      (photo courtesy: “Jump in the Lake Club”)

I just read  on Facebook that my old friend Chuck Koshiol, is going to jump into an ice-covered lake again.  It has given me renewed hope and even some good cheer at a time when hope and good cheer are in short supply.    If Chuck, at age 66, is going to make another jump, then there is definitely reason for hope.   I presume he’s 66, as that’s my age and we’ve been friends since pre-kindergarten days.

I should explain, that for some reason (which I cannot explain),  back in 1985 Chuck started something he calls the “Paynesville Jump in the Lake Club.”   It involves a few iron-willed souls from the great north woods of Minnesota, who go out to Lake Koronis  where they chop a big hole in the ice so that they can jump into the  bitterly cold water.  And they are going to do it once again on Sunday, March the 15th.

I do not not know why.   I can only presume it is a celebration of life, which is something we can all use, what with ongoing war in the Middle East and North Africa, the threat of terrorism on our own soil while 7/24 cable  news channels pump a constant stream of fear into our national psyche, carping about the threat of a  measles outbreak due to a lack of proper vaccinations while Hillary Clinton is about to bring down our entire national security complex because she used her personal email while the NSA snoops on us all and our thoroughly dysfunctional politicians refuse to do anything about any of it.

Trying to sort it out is enough to make a grown man cry.   Or to raise a middle finger to it all and go jump in the lake.   Which is what Chuck is going to do.  Again.   For all of us.

I’ll be there in spirit if not in the flesh.   Even if I were there in the flesh I wouldn’t jump in that lake.   It’s too damn cold and we can’t all be iron men.   I would though, be there to cheer Chuck on.   He stands as a monument to those brave souls who do seemingly crazy things that serve as a reaffirmation of the human spirit.  Occasionally we need to be reminded that it’s not all bad and that sometimes we tend to take this journey just a bit  too seriously.

Thank you, Chuck, and good jumping to you.

The Pathetic Democratic Party

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Once again it happens.   Although this time it’s an outrage nearly beyond belief, worse than calling the President of the United States a “liar” during the State of the Union Address.   Or suggesting he was born in Kenya.   Or that he eats Christian babies.  This time, no fewer than 47 Republican senators have flirted with treason and were at the very least seditious in their attempt to derail the ongoing nuclear negotiations with Iran by sending a letter to the Iranians  informing them that any deal they might cut with the Obama Administration would be of questionable value at best, and probably useless at worst.

What the Republicans have done is bad enough.   The absence of a significant response from the Democrats, Mr. Obama’s own party, is even worse.

Once again, the Democrats are letting the Republican Party give them the political bitch-slapping of their lives without a decent response.  Where is the DNC Chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz?   She and the democratic leaders in the the House and Senate should be furious.   They should be calling all their people together for a press conference on the steps of the Capitol, to call out the Republicans for what some are saying is treason.    If that’s too strong for the mousey Dems, they could at least hold up this morning’s edition of the NY Daily News, which calls out the 47 Republicans for being “Traitors.”

Come on Democrats.  Where are your spines?   Do you enjoy being kicked around like this?    It’s been going on for more than six years now.   Will you ever have the courage to start fighting back?   How long will you let this meaningless blather about Hillary Clinton’s email dominate the political landscape?   Like not one Republican has ever used a private email account for official business?   Of course they have.

What are you all afraid of?   Why do you keep acting like you’re the three little pigs and John Boehner is the big bad wolf?   Surely you can’t ALL have been bought off and shut down?

Or is the Obama White House telling the Dems to stand down, possibly because they’re afraid a big fight over this will only make the US look all the more divided?  As if the Iranians aren’t already aware of that big fat factor following Bibi Netanyahu’s speech to the Congress.

Whatever their thinking might be,  it once again leaves the Democratic Party appearing to be timid, weak and just plain pathetic, as Hillary’s email account continues bouncing back again and again on the 7/24 cable news cycle with almost no one other than Clinton herself having the courage to stand up and fight back against this tempest in a teapot issue.

The Dems needed to start fighting back years ago.   If they had,  we might not be stuck with a Republican majority in both houses now.  Ted Kennedy, has got to be spinning in his grave.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, here’s one last thought.

At this point in the negotiations with Iran, a huge blowout between the Democrats and the Republicans might be enough to derail a deal.   A deal that might eventually prevent war with Iran, which seems to be what so many Republicans desire.

So, as unhappy as some of us might currently be with the lack of a Democratic response,  they are, nevertheless, a better option than the Republican Neo-feudalists, so at this point in time, playing the passivity card might be a good call.

Gotta go now, it’s being reported that the AP has filed a lawsuit to gain access to State Department records as the Hillary Clinton email scandal grows.

47 senators may have committed sedition, but why worry about that?  We’ve got Hillary’s email to worry about.

Whoops, wait a minute, here’s Barbara Boxer, and she’s fighting back.  Raising questions about whether any Republicans have ever used private email for government business.  Good for her!  Finally.   “It’s all politics” she says, and she’s right.   I’m beginning to wish Boxer would run for another term.

The Republican’s Letter To Iran

 

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Treason

“The crime of betraying one’s country, especially by attempting to kill or overthrow the sovereign or government.”  – Oxford Dictionary

Are we there yet?  It would appear we are.

But that’s just the dictionary definition.   How about the Constitution?   Here’s that part of it-

U.S. Constitution – Article 3 Section 3
Article 3 – The Judicial Branch
Section 3 – Treason

“Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.”

Again, it would appear a line has been crossed in that there has certainly been an attempt at a form of “adhering,” although those crossing the line will argue it has not, that the constitutional definition is open to interpretation.  Which, of course, it is.   But you can be sure, that’s what will be argued if charges of treason are leveled, and that any federal prosecutor in the land will have no difficulty whatsoever in lining up two witnesses.   Or more.

At the heart of it all, as the Washington Post reports, “An already heated battle between the White House and Republicans over negotiations to curtail Iran’s nuclear program grew more tense Monday when 47 Republican senators sent a letter to Iran designed to kill any potential deal.

The White House responded by accusing the Republicans of conspiring with Iranian hard-liners, who oppose the delicate negotiations, and suggesting that their goal was to push the United States into a military conflict.”

These 47 have clearly crossed a line into what?  Treason?  By the dictionary definition, they surely have.   Who will defend the Republic against their actions?   Who will have the courage to reclaim what was once a representative government led by a chief executive?

An overstatement?  Not really.

We currently have two federal governments, one led by a nationally elected chief executive whose job definition includes representing the nation in matters of foreign affairs  and the other a fractured group of  those who call themselves Republicans, but who have difficulty agreeing on anything other than their dogged determination to take an opposite stand on anything the Obama Administration tries to do, regardless of the impact their intransigence might have on the nation or the world.   One can’t help but wonder what role race plays in their position against this current administration, although almost no one has the courage to discuss it.

And so our house continues to be divided against itself.    I’m no biblical scholar but even I can see the wisdom of Mark 3:25.

Bloody Sunday – 50 Years Later

 

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          Edmund Pettus

Edmund who?

Watching the 50th anniversary of the “Bloody Sunday” march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma,  Alabama, I wondered who Edmund Pettus was.  So I looked it up.

He was, according to Wikipedia, “…a former Confederate brigadier general, U.S. Senator from Alabama and Grand Dragon of the Alabama Ku Klux Klan.”  And today the nation’s first African-American president walked across the Pettus Bridge following a speech commemorating the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Food for thought.

Kudos For Senator Feinstein

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Good for Senator Feinstein.   She listened to what Israeli PM Netanyahu said, and then reached the intelligent conclusion that neither he nor any of the rest of us know what the final deal on nuclear development with Iran will look like, so we should wait and see that final deal before making up our minds.

That, is what used to be called “common sense,” before the Neocon movement came along condemning the act and art of compromise  through diplomacy, while at the same time, presenting no reasonable alternative.   Which is what Netanyahu did in his speech before the Congress.

He condemned the United States and President Obama for being naive in the deal they and the European powers are trying to reach with Iran, even before he knows what that deal will ultimately contain.   At the same time, he presented no workable alternative, complaining only that the deal is unacceptable.  Feinstein,  called him out for that, as well.

Good for Senator Feinstein.