Friday, July 22, 2016

Stay Scared and Angry; Get Another Gun; Don't Worry; I'm on My Way. /s/ The Donald

 Left 50; Drop 50. Shot, over; Shot out. Splash, over; Splash, out. Roger. 
Fire for Effect
(For a Fire Mission in Progress)


In this acceptance speech Trump said: “Here, at our convention, there will be no lies.” But he spewed plenty – fact-checkers found lots of instances where Trump not only twisted facts but made false claims and that site shows plenty of sources to back up their summary – will the GOP read it? Ha, doubtful.

My Introduction: In truth, Trump is textbook sociopath and compulsive liar:

Trump accuses everyone of lying, but he is sociopath: that is he has little regard or respect for the rights and feelings of others as he comes across as often charming and charismatic, but skilled n manipulative and self-centered ways that average people just do not see or believe due to the lack of understanding that affliction and surely it is with Trump.

Trump is not only a sociopath but he is also be compulsive liar. That is he lies out of habit because it is normal for him. It is his reflexive way to respond to questions while skillfully bending the truth about everything large and small.

For Trump, as for all compulsive liars, telling the truth is awkward and uncomfortable, because lying feels right.

Now, a few top choices of his false claims from that acceptance speech:

1.  Trump Tax Plan: Trump is correct that he has called for substantial tax cuts — deeper than any of the other presidential candidates — that would result in lower taxes at all income levels. But the biggest cuts would come for the wealthiest taxpayers, according to an analysis by the Tax Foundation. While the tax cuts are undeniably large, the Tax Foundation cautioned that the loss in revenue — even with expected benefits to the economy — would “increase the federal government’s deficit by over $10 trillion” over 10 years.

2.  Trump on Heath Care (the ACA/Obamacare): Trump said that he’d repeal it and “Again you will be able to choose your own doctor.” The law didn’t take away the ability to choose a doctor, as we’ve said before. As most Americans know, and some 55 percent have private insurance — the insurers usually have a network of doctors to choose from. The ACA didn’t change that. He also claims that the government was coming between you and your doctor, but, again, false – the ACA does not come close to establishing a government-run system like Britain or Canada for example (Government telling patients which MD they have to use).
  
3.  Trump on Trade Deficit (Goods and Services): Trump used a bit of cherry-picking when he said, “Our trade deficit in goods reached nearly — think of this, think of this — our trade deficit is $800 billion … last year alone.” The important word here is his mention of only “goods.” The trade deficit counts both goods and services, and it is much smaller (U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis show the value of goods that the U.S. imported was $763 billion (not $800 billion). Re: Our services exported include: travel, education, and intellectual property such as software that was $262 billion less in services than it exported — creating a positive balance in that column. Overall, the U.S. trade deficit in goods and services was just over $500 billion last year/not the $800 billion he mentioned. Trump skipped over the fact that that figure peaked a decade ago having reached a high in 2006. In 2015, it was 34 percent lower and that downward trend is continuing now in 2016.

4.  Trump Refugee Policy: Trump said that “there’s no way to screen” those refugees to determine “who they are or where they come from.” That’s false. All refugees admitted to the U.S. go through an extensive vetting process that involves multiple federal agencies and can take up to 24 months to complete.

5.  Trump on the Clinton Email Scandal: Trump again twisted the facts when he said that Clinton “illegally stored emails on her private server while secretary of state, and deleted 33,000 of them so the authorities can’t see her crime.” The FBI on July 5 cleared Clinton of wrongdoing, and found no evidence of a cover-up.

6.  Trump on Regime Change in Libya: Trump criticized Clinton for her “failed policy of nation-building and regime change, especially in Libya. How about a big Rick Perry oops at this point. Why? Easy: Trump also supported the military ouster of Colonel Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi, at that time.

Background: Trump denied he ever said that in one GOP debate during a heated exchange with Ted Cruz. Actually this is what Trump said in February 2011: “The U.S. should go into Libya on a humanitarian basis and knock this guy out very quickly, very surgically, very effectively, and save these lives.”

His full statement was posted on YouTube at “From the Desk of Donald Trump” on February 28, 2011 (about 1:45). Yes, that Donald J. Trump: Now the official Republican presidential candidate for the General Election, November 8, 2016.

Related from the RNC Chairman, Reince Priebus, in his remarks (call it Hillary bashing redux): He said in part that “A Clinton presidency only means more debt.”

Yes, true, with this important caveat. Her tax plan would result in a “relatively small increase in the debt,” (cite study by the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget).

That same nonpartisan group also found out that the Trump/GOP tax and spending plan, on other hand, which GOPers always fail to mention and selectively forget, would cause a “massive increase in the debt.”

So, it goes on right until Election Day – kind of sad, isn’t it?  I mean that this race is perhaps the ugliest, meanest, nastiest, and ultimately probably will be the most-expensive in American history, and for what? To see how low we can lower ourselves to pick our next president?

Finally (I’m on a roll now but almost done).

In the end we must ask ourselves: What does this process say about us and not necessarily any final list of candidates? Simple I think: For example, change is the word we always here, but one that always lacks context and meaning. But, that word has to mean more than the standard flair of a typical campaign that we are somehow immune from accepting what it really means. It’s easy to say, but hard to define and on purpose too, I think. Change is far more than changing your socks daily, or changing the route you drive to work, or change that makes minor adjusts in your daily routine. Someone once said the more things change, the more they stay the same. That applies to our political system today, I think, nearly 100%.

Massive change in our political system is long overdue – to make it better that it is today. How to define that word is the key. Whatever definition is applied, it should be made by the people and our choice and not by the pros we see year in and year out who decide for us and seek and want our trust and vote.

A fair and open ballot access and process that is easy for anyone to gain and try to run for office – anywhere across the country. Cut out the big parties; stop or greatly reduce the influence of big money; and stop suppressing the vote. That is if that is what we want to define for change. A system that delivers truly representative democracy that we claim we want and not that which “someone else” tells us what they think we need.
Now, finally (whew) I’m done. May God have mercy on the United States of America should Trump win. And, please, forgive those who vote for him. 

Okay, I'm done. Really, thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

GOP Aim: Christianity Official Religion, English Official Language, Privatization, Cut Top Taxes

Live from Cleveland RNC Convention

No Place to Hide Just Duck and Run


The Republican Party platform is a wish list for what Republicans in Congress and a President Donald Trump would like to impose on America.

What’s surprising is that it goes further to the right than what’s even been heard on the campaign trail from Trump as he has promised to build a wall along the Mexican border and embrace the religious right’s long-held tenets opposing abortion, LGBT rights and more.

This GOP 2016 platform would: 
  • Make Christianity the official American religion.
  •  Make English the official American language.
  •  Replace sex education with abstinence-only advice for teenagers.
  •  Privatize almost all areas of federal services.
  •  Cut taxes and regulations for the rich and titans of industry.
  •  Impose a belligerent foreign policy and military build-up.


Pray this never sees the light of day, otherwise kiss our country goodbye.  

Thanks for stopping by.


Monday, July 18, 2016

Black & All Lives Matter: They Are Not Terrorists, Not Thugs, Not Killers — They Are a Movement

Do Those Faces Look Like Only Black Lives Matter Faces - Hardly


These Are Not Only White, but Clergy, the Young, Concerned and Active


Issue: BLACK LIVE MATTER (BLM movement). The source used for this posting is mostly from Reena Flores @ CBS News, Sunday, July 17, 2016 (edited to fit the blog):

This week to an online petition asking the federal government: “To formally label the Black Lives Matter movement as a terror group.” 

It says in essence: “Terrorism is defined as the use of violence and intimidation in pursuit of political aims. ‘We the People’ created this petition on July 6 at the White House website. This definition is the same definition used to declare ISIS and other groups, as terrorist organizations.”

The petition came on the heels of deadly officer-involved shootings in Baton Rouge, and Falcon Heights, MN, just days of Black Lives Matter protests for more police accountability. On July 7, one day after the petition published online, seven law enforcement officers policing a BLM demonstration in Dallas were shot and killed in a shower of sniper-like fire. On Sunday, July 17, three more policemen were shot and killed in Baton Rouge.

The petition further states: “Black Lives Matter earned this title due to its actions in Ferguson, Baltimore, and even at a Bernie Sanders rally, as well as all over the United States and Canada. The Pentagon should recognize the group as such on the grounds of principle, integrity, morality, and safety.”

The “We the People” petition team also admitted: “The White House plays no role in designating domestic terror organizations nor does the U.S. government generate a list of domestic terror organizations.”

Related and Noteworthy:  

1.  Black Lives Matter protesters condemned the massacre in Dallas, and prominent members did the same after Sunday's Baton Rouge shooting of police officers.

2.  One public voice of the movement, DeRay McKesson, urged peace after news of the Louisiana deaths broke, saying: “I'm waiting for more information like everybody else. I have more questions than answers. The movement began as a call to end violence. That call remains.” (In his remarks to the NY Times).

3.  Black Lives Matter protesters condemned the massacre in Dallas, and prominent members did the same after Sunday's Baton Rouge shooting of police officers.

4.  Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings in office since 2011, said in a video statement about the petition: “Dallas police died for Black Lives Matter movement (guarding and watching over it), therefore, we are not able to address the formal request of your petition (to label them a domestic terror organization).”

5.  The White House while acknowledging that it was a difficult time for the country – and that the debate remains a charged one. It asked everyone to consider President Obama's words calling for compassion towards the movement stated in his address to various officials in DC last week:

6.  Mr. Obama said in part: “I think it's important for us to also understand that the phrase 'black lives matter’ simply refers to the notion that there's a specific vulnerability for African Americans that needs to be addressed. We shouldn't get too caught up in this notion that somehow people who are asking for fair treatment are somehow, automatically, anti-police, are trying to only look out for black lives as opposed to others. I think we have to be careful about playing that game.”

My notes: The GOP’s right (mostly) will not let this approach die down – since it plays to their narrative or blacks against whites and that sells (at least for them),but I would ask what about Americans of all color in that BLM movement peace and civility? Don’t they matter, too? The answer is self-evident: Yes, they do and BLM has stated the goal of the movement clearly: no more violence, period.

As usual, the GOP overreacts for shock effect and political point-making which is their style in such matters and situations.

Thanks for stopping by as usual.


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Right to Bear Arms, but Apparently No Right to Live a Joyous and Decent Life

GOP Gun Policy 
(From their view point)

Back Off or I Blow Up the Fool

The plot thickens – can’t wait to hear the NRA retort:

Dallas Shooter, Micah Xavier Johnson was what Wayne LaPierre called a “good guy with a gun” — he was a combat veteran with no criminal record. He clearly believed that “a situation had arisen when the government grossly violates the rights of American citizens.” He was “upset about the recent police shootings” of Philando Castile in a suburb of Minneapolis and Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge. 

A neighbor said Johnson was a “good kid who “just snapped” after watching one too many videos of black men being shot down.

CBS reported that Johnson had amassed a large stockpile of weapons and bomb-making materials. On Facebook, Johnson liked radical black groups that had posted “calls to arms” similar to what you might find at an Oath Keepers or militia website. 

One post read, “The Pig has shot and killed Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana! You and I know what we must do and I don’t mean marching, making a lot of noise, or attending conventions. We must ‘Rally the Troops!’ It is time to visit Louisiana and hold a barbecue.”

Then donning body armor, Johnson grabbed at least one military-style weapon and gunned down 12 people in the streets that killed 5 police officers. Dallas Police Chief David Brown said that his investigators are “convinced that this suspect had other plans and thought that what he was doing was righteous and believed that he was going to target law enforcement — make us pay for what he sees as law enforcement’s efforts to punish people of color.”

Thus the NRA’s “insurgency theory” fantasy again is proven to rest on the idea that “patriots will rise up in unison against government tyranny.” However, the reality is that firearms have never been a bulwark against tyranny since we have maintained pretty well a constitutional government for over 230 years because of the separation of powers which the framers set up as the basis for our constitution, and national and future that is divides power between three co-equal branches of government with each serving as a checks and balance on each other branches to prevent them from gaining absolute power.

Then they set up the Supreme Court to litigate disputes that arose from the Constitution.

As an independent judiciary branch, they can, and frequently have, overturned laws that conflict with the Constitution and which can, and often does also, check the power of the executive branch, thus negating the whole premise that the public needs AR-15s to engage in an armed uprising if necessary.


The Right to Own Assault Rifles Heavily Contributed to Death of Dallas Cops

The NRA is sure to cite “bad guys” in the Dallas police murders and say that bad guys “don't follow laws.” But in another memorable police ambush (similar to Dallas) the bad guy precisely followed laws.

In fact, the bad guy was the kind of so-called law-abiding citizen whose “gun rights” the NRA adamantly defends, including the right to own assault weapons and accumulate as many weapons as wanted.

In 2009, Richard Poplawski, a violent, paranoid, white supremacist, opened fire on Pittsburgh police officers, killing three and seriously injuring two. According to Pittsburgh police Chief Nathan Harper, Poplawski was armed with a semiautomatic AK-47-style rifle, a shotgun and three handguns (a .357 Magnum revolver, a .380-caliber handgun and a .45-caliber handgun), was protected by a bulletproof vest and had been lying in wait for the officers. Neither Poplawski's involvement with hate groups or domestic violence charges, nor an order of protection against him infringed on his "gun rights"—he purchased all his weapons legally, news reports said.

In 2007, there was Shawn Labeet, who murdered 37-year-old Miami police officer Jose Somohano and wounded three other officers. Thanks to our gun laws, Labeet bought two Marakov pistols, a Hi-Point rifle and two Romanian-made AK-47s from a Miami gun store—with a fake ID. He then bought three SKS rifles for $89.95 each from a Key Largo gun store and returned 14 days later to buy a CZ pistol.

Why do U.S. laws allow someone to buy nine guns in one year including six assault rifles, when they are clearly not for self-defense and the person is clearly not part of a “well-regulated militia?” So many disturbed mass shooters stockpile weapons in this manner, it should be a clear red flag. Why were the duped or complicit dealers not charged as accomplices in the Miami police shootings?

And, then finally this tidbit – related to the above other stories: 

The weapons used in the massacre in San Bernardino were purchased legally and used by husband and wife shooters, raising questions about how preventable gun violence is under current firearm laws. About 82% of all weapons involved in mass shootings over the last several decades have been bought legally, according to a database compiled by Mother Jones magazine that defines a mass shooting as taking the lives of at least four people in a public place. Using that criteria, Mother Jones found 73 mass shootings since 1982.

And, here we are today – improvement? – okay, about what?

Thanks for stopping by – this is a critical subject for us as a whole to address head on – will we, indeed can we? 


Saturday, July 9, 2016

Freeze, Hands Up, Down on Your Knees, Don't You Move: Hell, Don't Shoot

Hands Up, Don't Shoot

Justified and Not Justified Police and Other Shootings
(Click Image for Larger View)


The killings in Dallas are one more reminder that guns are central, not accessory, to the American plague of violence. They were central fifty-plus years ago, when a troubled former-Marine (Lee Harvey Oswald) only to send a coupon to a mail-order gun house in Chicago to get a military rifle he used to kill President Kennedy — the same kind of sniper rifle fired from a Dallas building onto a Dallas street just like the one that shot those 12 police officers, killing five.

Those are central now, when the increased fetishism of guns and carrying guns has made such horrors as Dallas not merely predictable but unsurprising. The one thing we can be sure of, after we have mourned the last massacre, is that there will be another. You wake up at three in the morning, check the news, and there it is.

We don’t yet know exactly by whom and for what deranged “reason or mutant cause” five police officers were murdered in Dallas, but, as President Obama rightly suggested, we do know how — and the how is a huge part of what happened.

By having a widely armed citizenry, we create a situation in which gun violence becomes a common occurrence, not the rarity it ought to be and is everywhere else in the civilized world. That this happened amid a general decline in violence throughout the Western world only serves to make the crisis more acute: America’s gun-violence problem remains the great and terrible outlier.

Weapons empower extremes. Allowing members of any fringe of any movement to get their hands on military weapons guarantees that any normal dispute, political or, for that matter, domestic, can quickly lead to a massacre. Our guns have outraced our restrictions, but not our imaginations.

Sometime in the not-too-distant past, annihilation replaced street theater and demonstrations as the central possibility of the enraged American imagination. Guns allow the fringe to occupy the center.  

The seeming breakdown of normal expectations about violence and public life reminds some of 1968, a terrible year — although, if you think this is like 1968, you weren’t there, since that year was marked by a generational breakdown far more extreme, a continuing foreign war far more violent, and a departing President (LBJ) infinitely more unpopular. But then, too, gun violence wasn’t just incidental but instrumental — pointed, causal — to the breakdown of social order. 

If Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr., had not been so easily killed that year with easily available weapons, 1968 would have had a different shape and meaning.

Once again, it can’t be stated too often: despite the desperate efforts of the NRA to prevent research on gun violence, the research has gone on. It shows conclusively what common sense already suggests, and that is: Guns are not just the instrument. Guns are the issue. The more guns, the more gun violence happens.


Now my personal view in these bullet points:
  • Our first step is to recognize that right now we are not and perhaps cannot – that’s the worst part.
  • We used to take pride in solving tough problems whether social, economic, or figuring out how to fly to the Moon safely, land safely, and see a man walk on that surface and return him home safely … we seem to have lost that art and drive to achieve and succeed.
  • Nowadays, when a solution is possible about guns and gun violence, politics blocks most anything even suggested as a possible remedy – not totally, but what most Americans can sign on to.
  • Sadly, those who block anything to do with “gun control” (they consider those two words to be the most-evil words in the English language). Their fight song: “They are coming for my guns.”
  • Worse on top of that rally call is the NRA and most gun nuts saying in unison:  “Guns are my right to own and have and carry, and even in public. Hell, carry openly just about anywhere.”

Okay, I get that, but those with a different view have no right to live a decent and safe life without living under a constant and growing umbrella of fear under the gun as it were (BTW: that is neither a pun nor rhetorical question).

The answer is self-evident. Seems we collectively dare to seek a rational, logical, and common sense solution. At least that is my view from this foxhole.

Think long and hard about the events gun-related mass shootings recently and work to find a solution by first contacting your Rep. in Congress (House and Senate) and let them know you view, what that is.

Flood them with mail and faxes and phone calls – they probably won’t respond unless you offer them something for their reelection, but tell them anyway.

Thanks for stopping by.

Freeze, Hands Up, Down on Your Knees, Don't You Move: Hell, Don't Shoot

Hands Up, Don't Shoot

Justified and Not Justified Police and Other Shootings
(Click Image for Larger View)


The killings in Dallas are one more reminder that guns are central, not accessory, to the American plague of violence. They were central fifty-plus years ago, when a troubled former-Marine (Lee Harvey Oswald) only to send a coupon to a mail-order gun house in Chicago to get a military rifle he used to kill President Kennedy — the same kind of sniper rifle fired from a Dallas building onto a Dallas street just like the one that shot those 12 police officers, killing five.

Those are central now, when the increased fetishism of guns and carrying guns has made such horrors as Dallas not merely predictable but unsurprising. The one thing we can be sure of, after we have mourned the last massacre, is that there will be another. You wake up at three in the morning, check the news, and there it is.

We don’t yet know exactly by whom and for what deranged “reason or mutant cause” five police officers were murdered in Dallas, but, as President Obama rightly suggested, we do know how — and the how is a huge part of what happened.

By having a widely armed citizenry, we create a situation in which gun violence becomes a common occurrence, not the rarity it ought to be and is everywhere else in the civilized world. That this happened amid a general decline in violence throughout the Western world only serves to make the crisis more acute: America’s gun-violence problem remains the great and terrible outlier.

Weapons empower extremes. Allowing members of any fringe of any movement to get their hands on military weapons guarantees that any normal dispute, political or, for that matter, domestic, can quickly lead to a massacre. Our guns have outraced our restrictions, but not our imaginations.

Sometime in the not-too-distant past, annihilation replaced street theater and demonstrations as the central possibility of the enraged American imagination. Guns allow the fringe to occupy the center.  

The seeming breakdown of normal expectations about violence and public life reminds some of 1968, a terrible year — although, if you think this is like 1968, you weren’t there, since that year was marked by a generational breakdown far more extreme, a continuing foreign war far more violent, and a departing President (LBJ) infinitely more unpopular. But then, too, gun violence wasn’t just incidental but instrumental — pointed, causal — to the breakdown of social order. 

If Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr., had not been so easily killed that year with easily available weapons, 1968 would have had a different shape and meaning.

Once again, it can’t be stated too often: despite the desperate efforts of the NRA to prevent research on gun violence, the research has gone on. It shows conclusively what common sense already suggests, and that is: Guns are not just the instrument. Guns are the issue. The more guns, the more gun violence happens.


Now my personal view in these bullet points:
  • Our first step is to recognize that right now we are not and perhaps cannot – that’s the worst part.
  • We used to take pride in solving tough problems whether social, economic, or figuring out how to fly to the Moon safely, land safely, and see a man walk on that surface and return him home safely … we seem to have lost that art and drive to achieve and succeed.
  • Nowadays, when a solution is possible about guns and gun violence, politics blocks most anything even suggested as a possible remedy – not totally, but what most Americans can sign on to.
  • Sadly, those who block anything to do with “gun control” (they consider those two words to be the most-evil words in the English language). Their fight song: “They are coming for my guns.”
  • Worse on top of that rally call is the NRA and most gun nuts saying in unison:  “Guns are my right to own and have and carry, and even in public. Hell, carry openly just about anywhere.”

Okay, I get that, but those with a different view have no right to live a decent and safe life without living under a constant and growing umbrella of fear under the gun as it were (BTW: that is neither a pun nor rhetorical question).

The answer is self-evident. Seems we collectively dare to seek a rational, logical, and common sense solution. At least that is my view from this foxhole.

Think long and hard about the events gun-related mass shootings recently and work to find a solution by first contacting your Rep. in Congress (House and Senate) and let them know you view, what that is.

Flood them with mail and faxes and phone calls – they probably won’t respond unless you offer them something for their reelection, but tell them anyway.

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, July 4, 2016

GOP Hyped Fear About Muslims and Islamic Religion: Fear Factor 101 Out of Control

GOP Sells Fear Like It’s Going Out of Style

GOPers Refuse to Believe This Message

Extracted from here >>>  (in various parts to fit the blog):

This part is the hardest for Americans to grasp in our way of thinking and seeing and hearing about terrorists over the airwaves and in our politics:

Religious fundamentalism (particularly Islamic extremism) as a causal factor in terrorism is hard for us to ignore in the western media – especially in recent times. Images of 9/11 in NYC in 2001; or Bali in 2002; or Spain in 2004; and all the rest since (London, Paris, Brussels, Baghdad, Kabul, Mumbai, and all over Syria) have all been accompanied by references to Islamic extremist groups. 

The New York Times and CNN mentioned Islam or Muslims an average of five times more often in the six months after September 11 than in the six months before.  With this in mind, it is easy for the general public to adopt the stance that religious fundamentalism is the main cause of terrorist action; however, it is important to realize that the majority of religious clerics espouse the view that their religion is fundamentally against terrorism. 

This editorial in Jordan’s main newspaper said this in the wake of the Riyadh bombing of May 2003:

“The timing of the terrorist attacks [on the eve of the prophet’s birthday] is proof that the perpetrators have distanced themselves from the message and spirit of Islam… Al-Qaeda and other groups who kill the innocent while brandishing the banner of Islam do not represent over one billion Muslims around the world.”

In a 2002 Conference discussing religion and violence, Islamic Cleric Rashied Omar pointed out that the term Jihad which is often linked to terrorism in the name of Allah was in fact more literally defined as “...an effort in pursuit of a commendable aim.” 

Jihad, in the purist sense actually involves such things as peaceful persuasion and passive resistance as opposed to war and bloodshed. 

A religious fundamentalist, in Islam at least, should be fundamentally against war and bloodshed whilst fundamentally for peaceful persuasion and passive resistance. For Islamic Clerics themselves it seems that religious fundamentalism alone is a superficial reason for terrorist action. 

Romans vs. Christians and vice versa – yet we need not label all Catholics or Christians as “evil” with a wide brush, not any more than we should Muslims who practice their faith: Islam.

It may easy to do that, and in some circles even demanded we do that, like with Republicans who demand we label all Muslims as terrorists or extremists and the like, but that does not make it right to do so. To do so the way we see and hear lately is to benefit those who want to use it back against us in the PR game by saying, “See how the West and especially the Americans hate us for our religion.”

ISIS masters that as their #1 PR tool – it is effective? Ask the San Bernardino shooters or the shooter in Orlando – yes, it is effective and remember acts of terror are usually carried out by a handful of radicals. Recall that it took only two in OK City in 1994, too.

Finally, terrorism and the reaction to terrorism are sourced from the conviction that individuals misguidedly perceive themselves to be members of a moral community – a community that has the right to protect itself from the other.

The idea of a moral community conceptualizing ‘us as good and them as evil’ is useful as it helps to explain why almost anything can be justified by the would-be terrorist - he or she is merely protecting their community from the other. Take for example the slaughter of the Jews in Nazi Germany during World War II. Adolf Hitler, and his media spin-doctor Joseph Goebbels, portrayed the slaughter as the righteous defense of the Aryan Nation against racial and moral pollution.

People can and do view themselves as separate entities with different obligations and objectives. When there is a fundamental difference in these obligations and objectives then acts of violence may result.

The other illuminating feature of the ‘moral’ idea is that it shows why a community will do little to probe the real reasons behind terrorism and may in fact react disproportionately against terrorism. Once a group is defined as evil the case is closed because every ‘decent’ minded individual knows that evil is something that cannot be tolerated but rather must be eradicated. Of interest is that the supposed "axis of good" (America and its allies) has been portrayed as evil by the bin-Laden's of the world and other terrorist organizations. 

Clearly the delineation between good and evil in the world is an arbitrary one and easily modified to suit individual agendas. 

Finally, the world currently sees (through media-colored glasses in many cases) the average terrorist as an evil but poverty stricken, religious fundamentalist strapping explosives to themselves for Allah.

This however is not the reality of the situation. Neither religious fundamentalism nor poverty is the primary cause of terrorism. Only the smallest minority of religious fundamentalists and impoverished citizens choose to carry out terrorist actions. 

Furthermore, when individuals think of themselves as moral communities, with the right to protect the interests of that group against other groups, then conflict can and does result. It is when this conflict finds a public to violently voice its agenda that terrorism results. In the final analysis, terrorism is fundamentally a violent communiqué, a message of fear – fear that is designed to mold the perceptions of the frightened masses.

Well, I'm done on that topic for now... now on to more serious stuff, like: Donald J. Trump, Ruler of the U.S. and Empire-in-Chief Looking to Expand His Personal Wealth Around the Globe One Golf Course, Resort, and Casino at a Time, but Not Much Else...!!!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Will Trump Consider This “Great News” Like Brexit: Texans Want to Secede

One View of the United States

Some Texans Looking for a Way Out of the Union
(Mustela frenata)

For anyone who does not think the GOP in general or some Texans in particular are insane or just plain phony, well ... that is anyone except Donald J. Trump. He may think this story is great news and historic just like he did about the Brexit vote to leave the EU. Of course he was standing on the 9th hole of his new golf course in Scotland (which BTW is part of the UK and that which some want to see secede from the UK), if they do not think so, then read on:

AUSTIN, TX (via Reuters) – Emboldened by Brexit, secessionists in Texas are keen to adopt the campaign tactics used to sway the British vote for leaving the European Union and are demanding “Texit” comes next.

The citizen-driven vote in Britain, they say, can be a model for Texas, which was an independent country from 1836 to 1845, and its $1.6 trillion (£1.17 trillion) a year economy would be among the 10 largest in the world, said Daniel Miller, president of the Texas Nationalist Movement, adding: “The Texas Nationalist Movement is formally calling on the Texas governor to support a similar vote for Texans.”

The office of Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) was not immediately available for comment.

They might take some time to read this USSC case: 

Texas v. White, 74 U.S. 700 (1868). This was a significant case argued before the USSC in 1868 and decided in 1869. The case involved a claim by the 
Reconstruction government of Texas that U.S. bonds owned by Texas since 1850 had been illegally sold by the Confederate state legislature during the Civil War. Texas filed suit directly with the high court, which, under the Constitution, retains original jurisdiction on certain cases in which a state is a party.

In accepting original jurisdiction, the court ruled (5-3) that, legally speaking, Texas had remained a U.S. state ever since it first joined the Union, despite its joining the CSA and its being under military rule at the time of the decision in the case. 

In deciding the merits of the bond issue, the court further held that the Constitution did not permit states to unilaterally secede from the United States, and that the ordinances of secession, and all the acts of the legislatures within seceding states intended to give effect to such ordinances, were “absolutely null.”

Case closed ... now do me the honor and STFU.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Trump and His Latest Poll Numbers — That is: If You Trust Poll Numbers

Trump Looking for His Poll Numbers

Trump Finds His Poll Numbers: Hey, Where's the Bottom 
(Holy Crap)

Short and sweet post – simple and direct with this revealing headline:

Donald Trump's poll numbers have fallen off a cliff — and even he knows it

His initial reaction: “My numbers, my numbers. Oh, where have you fallen? Off a cliff you say. What cliff? Oh, that one. Damn, shit fire and save matches.”

As I said, short and sweet, so I’m outta here. That is until the next poll is issued.

Between now and November 8th, I suspect a ton of them will inundate us with weekly “who won this week, or he’s up; she’s down, and vice versa." A back and forth as usual in this silly season. Prepare yourself.  

So, ho-hum on that note. As always, thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Big Faker Hoping to be Trump's #2 for America — Will It Sell

Behind the Man
(Great Optics)

With the Man
(Oops Optics)


The Trump Veepwatch, Vol. 6: Chris Christie:

Possible — and not-so-possible — Vice Presidential picks in previous Trump installments: (1) Newt Gingrich, (2) Jan Brewer, (3) Bob Corker, (4) Mark Cuban and (5) Rick Scott.

#6: Christopher James “Chris” Christie, age: 53.

Short résumé: Governor of NJ; former 2016 GOP candidate; former U. S. attorney for the district of NJ; former Morris County, NJ freeholder.

Source of this Speculation: It used to be that we observed a “moment of silence” after a national tragedy. But in this Internet Age that has pretty much done away with that luxury.

Noteworthy: Christie has described the Trump, the real-estate mogul, as a thin-skinned, a 13-year-old, a carnival barker, with a plan to build a wall on the Mexican border that makes no sense, and an approach to Syria that is painfully naive, whose proposed ban on Muslims entering the U.S. is ridiculous just the kind of thing that people say when they have no experience and don’t know what they’re talking about, and a guy who’s running first in the polls — you know it’s all make believe, Trump is not real, it’s all for TV.” 


Sunday, June 12, 2016

Hillary Blasted for Trump “Thin Skinned” Remarks: Why Chris Christie Gets a Pass

Pure Raw, Mean, Nasty, Ugly Politics Except for the GOP


Full text of Trump's statement re: President Obama’s remarks about the mass killings at the Gay Bar in Orlando, FL:

“Last night, our nation was attacked by a radical Islamic terrorist. It was the worst terrorist attack on our soil since 9/11, and the second of its kind in 6 months. My deepest sympathy and support goes out to the victims, the wounded, and their families.

“In his remarks today, President Obama disgracefully refused to even say the words 'Radical Islam'. For that reason alone, he should step down. If Hillary Clinton, after this attack, still cannot say the two words 'Radical Islam' she should get out of this race for the Presidency.

“If we do not get tough and smart real fast, we are not going to have a country anymore. Because our leaders are weak, I said this was going to happen – and it is only going to get worse. I am trying to save lives and prevent the next terrorist attack. We can't afford to be politically correct anymore.

“The terrorist, Omar Mir Saddique Mateen, is the son of an immigrant from Afghanistan who openly published his support for the Afghanistan Taliban and even tried to run for President of Afghanistan. According to Pew, 99% of people in Afghanistan support oppressive Sharia Law.

“We admit more than 100,000 lifetime migrants from the Middle East each year. Since 9/11, hundreds of migrants and their children have been implicated in terrorism in the United States.

“Hillary Clinton wants to dramatically increase admissions from the Middle East, bringing in many hundreds of thousands during a first term – and we will have no way to screen them, pay for them, or prevent the second generation from radicalizing.

“We need to protect all Americans, of all backgrounds and all beliefs, from Radical Islamic Terrorism – which has no place in an open and tolerant society.

“Radical Islam advocates hate for women, gays, Jews, Christians and all Americans. I am going to be a President for all Americans, and I am going to protect and defend all Americans. We are going to make America safe again and great again for everyone.”

/s/ Donald J. Trump

BTW: Did Trump or other GOPers call for President Bush to “Step down” after we learned that he and his team lied us into war in Iraq? Oops.

I can’t stop laughing at the GOP hypocrisy. Case closed.

End of this post.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Employment, Unemployment, and Job Numbers Tied to Political Nonsense

Job Search

Who else except Donald Trump could introduce this topic? He said the surprisingly weak jobs data for May (just released today) was “terrible and a bombshell.” And, of course he tweeted that in a short missive: 

“Terrible jobs report just reported. Only 38,000 jobs added. Bombshell!” (Twitter) and shortly after the government numbers were released. The economy created the fewest number of jobs in more than five years in May, hurt by a strike by Verizon workers and a fall in goods producing employment.

I would interject this about those two points:

(1) Verizon strike hurt the economy: This gives the GOP more ammo for more anti-Union Ads and attacks and watch their base join in.

(2)  Fall in goods produced: How about the good produced off-shore and shipped back as cheaper goods and higher profits for keeping those good jobs off-shore?

All of this, experts say, points to a labor market weakness that could make it difficult for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates (who is hoping for higher rates I ponder).

This post:

Employed, Unemployed, Not Looking for a Job. What are the Facts about Job Numbers? Far too easy to bash and blast government about “no jobs.”

The following is compiled from here.

Back to Trump, who falsely claimed that the unemployment rate could be as high as 42% during his victory speech in NH – remember? That talking point number still floats about in GOP and Right Wing circles when citing official numbers as “phony.”

Some media figures (namely right wing talk radio and FOX) have allowed Trump and other to push that faulty claim, despite the proven and hard facts that most reliable fact-checkers have called “ridiculous” with maximum “Pants on Fire and Pinocchio” ratings. More examples here which I am sure we have all heard:

1. Rush Limbaugh said: The “Actual Unemployment Rate” is "42.9 Percent” (running with the Trump number. Limbaugh ranted against the official unemployment rate provided by the BOL Statistics while citing a blog former Reagan OMB Director David Stockman, who claimed that “the actual unemployment rate in the United States of America is not 5.5% - it’s 42.9 percent.”
[Rush Limbaugh Radio Show, 6/30/15].

2. Fox’s Maria Bartiromo (The Fox Business Report) pushed that same debunked statistic, saying “almost 40 percent of Americans” are out of work and not looking, while asking candidate JEB Bush about job creation. [GOP Presidential Debate, 11/10/15].

3. Fox’s Bill O'Reilly (The O’Reilly Factor) also let Trump claim that the official unemployment rate as a “phony number” and that the actual rate is “25% or probably higher.” [The O'Reilly Factor, 2/5/16].

That is how the right runs with BS numbers and sound bites all across media la-la land. Sadly, their base eats it up and in turn cite the same people and same BS numbers as facts. So, what are the facts?

Official numbers come from the BOL Statistics and several independent think tanks (left and right leaning) and academic economic experts. The problem is: Who and what to trust and believe? I like to read them all and measure for myself – the problem is average Americans can’t, won’t, or don’t have the time to deal in such detailed research, and that is understandable in their daily lives. So many trust who they like (i.e., Fox and Limbaugh, EPI, and a Paul Krugman type).

I like EPI numbers and from experts who work the numbers daily, and even though some are “left-leaning (or even right leaning)” hopefully their numbers are hard data from the BOL Statistics even with their spin, which is okay if the facts are basic and accurate and not quick dry cycle (a weak analogy but all I have on short notice).

This EPI rundown with official numbers and explanations is one of the best I have seen in recent years. Check it out to see for yourself [click here].

Introduction from that article - Updated June 3, 2016. The Basics:

In a complex economy, conventional measures sometimes fall short.

In today’s labor market, the unemployment rate drastically understates the weakness of job opportunities. This is due to the existence of a large pool of “missing workers” – potential workers who, because of weak job opportunities (or other factors I would interject), are (1) neither employed nor (2) actively seeking a job. In other words, these are people who would be either working or looking for work if job opportunities were significantly stronger. Because jobless workers are only counted as unemployed if they are actively seeking work, these “missing workers” are not reflected in the unemployment rate (and that is what the spin doctors focus on and run with: The bad news with their political angle or shall I say “their political point making agenda”).

As part of its ongoing effort to create the metrics needed to assess how well the economy is working for America’s broad middle class, EPI tracks “missing worker” estimates, updated on this page on the first Friday of every month immediately after the BOL Statistics releases its jobs numbers. The “missing worker” estimates provide policymakers with a key gauge of the health of the labor market.

This leads to the main article. Current “missing worker” estimates at a glance (Updated June 3, 2016) most current data available: 

Missing workers May 2016: 3,020,000

Unemployment rate if missing workers were looking for work: 6.5%

Official unemployment rate: 4.7%

 Thanks for stopping ... hope this article helps explain a complex problem.



Monday, May 30, 2016

Another ME-Refugee Matter to Ponder: "Leishmaniasis" (Sand Fly Flesh Eater)

The Nasty Little Culprit

 The Areas Where the Disease is Spreading

Breaking news:  Another very serious and scary story about an outbreak in the ME from here [click] with dramatic pictures (Caution: may offend some readers).

Highlights and Introduction: “A FLESH-EATING tropical disease is sweeping through the Middle East and may yet end up in Europe, after ISIS’ civil war helped to create the perfect breeding grounds for infected vectors. Cutaneous is a parasitic disease caused by bites from infected sand flies, which are thriving in the squalid conditions created by the war in the Middle East. The disease can eventually lead to severe scarring, and is spreading rapidly as displaced people and refugees flee the ISIS strongholds where the disease is thriving. Those infected suffer from open sores on the skin, nose bleeds and difficulties breathing and swallowing, with more serious strains of the leading to death, if left unchecked. In its most deadly form, Cutaneous Leishmaniasis can be a destructive and debilitating condition, which eats away at the mucous membranes of the nose, mouth and throat.”

Previously, the disease had been contained to Syria, where it thrived in ISIS-controlled regions such as Raqqa, Deir al-Zour, and Hasakah, but now the parasite is eating its way through the entire region.

Related: This slide presentation is from Water Reed [click here see the 37 slides] Title “Leishmaniasis” prepared and presented by: Army Major Mark Polhemus at the Leishmania Treatment Center at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Scary news from the ME for sure that once again show how many “leaders” in that part of the world surely must be proud about how they create these messes that end up abusing their own people by the tens of thousands.

Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Trump Now the Face of the GOP as He "Leads" Them Towards the Nearest Sewer

For Major Role in Believing and Spreading Every Imaginable Conspiracy 
(The envelope please, and the winner is: Donald J. Trump)

Donald and I see things exactly the same way no matter where we look


NY Times Highlights How Trump’s “Whole Frame of Reference” is Right-Wing Media Conspiracy Theories

Highlights from this article and easy to see why it's not hard to not support the basic premise therein: Trump is not so bright except what he reads or hears over the airwavews. To wit:

The New York Times’ Jonathan Martin explains that because presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s “whole frame of reference” for his campaign strategy has been conservative media outlets and discredited conspiracy theories, he’s “obliterated” the line separating elected officials and “conservative mischief makers.”

Trump has long had a symbiotic relationship with conservative media. Fox News and other right-wing news outlets have built up his campaign and repeatedly defended his controversial policies and rhetoric while Trump has echoed their talking points and peddled their conspiracy theories -- most recently including the claim the Clintons were involved with the death of aide Vince Foster

Trump regularly surrounds himself with and lauds known conspiracy theorists like Alex Jones, an infamous 9/11 truther, and Roger Stone, a notorious dirty trickster who alleges the Clintons are murderers. Trump has also courted and pushed the claims of discredited author and conspiracy theorist Ed Klein, whose conspiracies on the Clintons have been called “fan faction” and “smut.”

In a May 25 piece, Martin noted that Trump has obliterated “the line separating the conservative mischief makers and the party’s more buttoned-up cadre of elected officials and aides.” Martin also quoted Republican strategists explaining that Trump’s “whole frame of reference is daytime Fox News and [Alex Jones] Infowars.”

Continue here from the article.


Finally, this from a renowned source: President Barack Obama’s assessment of Donald J. Trump vis-à-vis concerns raised by some world leaders about Trump actually becoming president.

“He [Trump] has shown an ignorance of world affairs, or with a cavalier attitude, or an interest in getting tweets and headlines instead of actually thinking through what it is required to keep America safe and secure and prosperous.” 

Can’t argue with that assessment, and I would add: Imagine Mr. Trump working with other world leaders about anything critically important, that is other than making money from himself about anything that benefits him other than more of his bragging about how rich and likable he is and how much he likes other people, despite his string of raw, ugly, nasty insults handed out freely towards anyone who in range who happens to disagree with him, or challenges him, or heaven forbid, stands up to him about anything. 

But, those on Trump's payroll who handle him give us some advice. “Hey, it's an election. Don’t worry, he is still evolving.” Evolving in the worst possible fashion for sure. Wow. That's a first.