Contrived Controversy Fomenting War

A contrived, fake controversy erupted last week when media war mongers attacked President Obama for not using the term “Islamic Extremism” when speaking about ISIS.  These words and the air time devoted to them cause lives.  President Obama held a forum on extremism last week and refused to label ISIS terrorists as “Islamic Extremists.”  For this he was vilified by Fox News.  The discussion also spilled over to the Fox Light Network CNN.  

The President refuses to fall into the right wing media’s trap of making this war one of Christian versus Muslim.  Ever since President George W. Bush’s giant mistake of calling the Iraq War a crusade much of the world has taken that to mean that these have been religious wars.  There have been  countless religious wars over centuries and this should not be one of them.  This is a war against terrorists using ancient forms of torture and terror.  Let’s remember that their use of torture, however barbaric, is being justified by them because of our use of torture against Muslims.  We opened this can of worms.

ISIS is no more Islamic and representative of that faith than the Ku Klux Klan and the Westboro Baptist Church are of Christianity.  Nothing they stand or fight for is justified in the Quoran.  This is not the Muslim faith practiced and observed by a billion people across the globe.  Demonizing all Muslims for the actions of a few fundamentalist extremists is no different than if we condemned all Christians for the KKK.

Stereotyping people is evil and immoral.

Networks beaming footage of pundits calling for religious war is irresponsible war mongering.  People die from such actions.  The President is doing the responsible thing by recognizing ISIS as terrorists and not simply Muslims.  The term “Islamic Extremism” connotes that we, as a Christian nation (which we are not) are at war with Islam.

The result of such madness is that average Americans are targeted simply because of their faith.  Muslim Americans should not be afraid for their safety because reckless “journalists” choose to put them at at risk.  The fact a once respected network like CNN chose to jump on this topic last week on Carol Costello’s program was disheartening.  This is basic war mongering and an attempt to foment hatred not just at ISIS but towards all Muslims.

News & Notes January 30, 2013

I was watching CNN this morning as host Carol Costello interviewed guests about gun control.  The head of GeorgiaCarry said that background checks are ineffective because only .08% of those checked are prohibited from purchasing guns.  This was a false argument because those who can’t pass the background check are smart enough to buy at gun shows where no background checks are necessary.  Costello never challenged him on his claim and I promptly turned her off.

Gov. Gasbag seems ready to break his “no new taxes” pledge by increasing gas taxes to repair our decrepit roads and bridges.   Now that he’s gone back on the central promise of his campaign can we now begin taxing natural gas extraction?

The Guv’s approval numbers continue sinking halfway through his term.  Tom Wolf, former Revenue Secretary from York is ready to announce his candidacy.  He’ll be a formidable opponent who has been lining up significant support and staff.  I also expect Admiral Joe Sestak to run.

Jerry Sandusky’s request for a new trial was denied this morning.  I was in the dentist chair when the email came in.  Getting a new trial has been worse than pulling teeth for the child molester.

Justice Joan Orie Melvin is on trial in Pittsburgh.  Her defense is that since all work got done there was no harm because she forced her staff to campaign on state time.  That’s her best defense?  No wonder she tried getting her colleagues on the state Supreme Court to declare her above the law.  The Orie sisters Achilles heel was their hubris and attitudes that they were above the law.  They’ll be able to discuss it among themselves in their prison cells.

Dick Cheney was on Faux News talking about guns.  This is the same guy who shot a friend in the face.  Yes, if I want an expert on gun safety Darth Cheney would be my choice too.

John Kerry was approved as Secretary of State and Gov. Deval Patrick announced that William Cowan will fill the seat until June’s special election to replace Kerry.  It took John Kerry 25 years to become the senior Senator from Massachusetts.  It took Elizabeth Warren three weeks.

Camelot Global Services doubled the price of lottery tickets in Britain.  People are upset both with the firm Gov. gasbag outsourced to and the manner in which he did it bypassing the legislature.  This Governor continues failing to work with others.  He has alienated his own fellow Republicans because he doesn’t seem to think he has to work with the House and Senate.  The way privatization of government services works the unionized workforce gets fired and the new workers, far fewer than before, are overworked and underpaid.

Pennsylvania’s charter schools are not performing well.  Only one had annual yearly progress.  Why are we siphoning needed funds from our public schools to these private, for profit entities when they’re failing and dishonest?

Another Republican legislator started a firestorm over rape.  New Mexico Rep. Cathrynn Brown of Carlsbad introduced a bill requiring rape victims to keep their pregnancies because the fetuses were evidence in criminal cases.  If they got an abortion they would be guilty of a felony.  The outcry was so bad she had her office telephone disconnected.  Her home number was then posted on facebook so those outraged by her callousness could call and complain.  She quickly amended her bill.

Hillary Clinton has turned over her partial ownership of the family’s Lake Winola vacation cabin to her brothers.

Rep. Rosita Youngblood is trying to get the name of Negro Mountain changed.  It is south of Somerset and straddles the state line with Maryland.  It was named for an African American who was involved in a French and Indian War battle on the site.  Youngblood, along with a colleague in Annapolis, wants to rename it for the slave Nemesis.  Good idea.

Right to Work For Less legislation has been introduced in Harrisburg.  If you enjoy the 40 hour work week, vacations, health care, sick days, overtime, safe work conditions and all the other blessings brought to you by organized labor oppose this bill.

Tomorrow evening I’ll be on BCTV (Berks County) on a panel discussing the book “The New Jim Crow.”

As People Die From Gun Violence We Aren’t to Speak About Gun Violence

Sunday’s mass shooting at a Sikh Temple by a white supremacist follows the James Holmes shooting in Aurora, Colorado and urgings by mainstream media to not discuss the epidemic of gun violence striking our nation.  Don Lemon of CNN kept saying Sunday that this isn’t the time to discuss these issues.  If not now when Mr. Lemon?  How many more men, women and children have to be mowed down before you accept the fact we need to discuss what is happening?  Please tell me, how many?  Ten, twenty, a hundred or how many more thousands?  Thousands of Americans are murdered each year by guns.  We allowed the assault weapons ban to cease and then James Holmes uses one to mow down 70 people inside a movie theater.  He also used what used be an illegal 100 bullet ammo canister to insure he wouldn’t need to stop and reload.

We went to war in two countries because 3000 Americans were killed on 9/11 yet we ignore the war on our citizens with arms.  Where’s the outrage and why aren’t people like Lemon using their pulpits to preach about gun violence and the necessity of dealing with it in a mature, common sense manner?

Perhaps if we made buying a gun as difficult as getting an abortion we could reduce this level of violence.  Nations which ban or seriously restrict gun ownership don’t have this level of violence so don’t sit there pontificating that guns don’t kill people, people do.  People with guns kill people.  People without them don’t on any comparable level of frequency.  Guns are the problem.

News & Notes February 7, 2012

Komen VP Karen Handel resigned today after destroying the breast cancer charity.  Recruited by former Bush Administration spokesman Ari Fleischer, she admits she was responsible for the policy excluding Planned Parenthood from cancer screening funds.  CEO Brinker, a Bush Administration funder and former Ambassador, claimed on television last week that that wasn’t the case.  The Susan G. Komen Foundation has no credibility at this point and no one is believing their fairy tale that they’re reversed their policy condemning poor people to death from breast cancer.

Rick Santorum is still pushing the myth that abortions cause breast cancer in spite of their being no scientific basis for the belief.  Haven’t we had enough stupid, anti-science Presidents?

Here’s one woman’s reminder of what breast cancer is, and is not:

Speaking of stupid Republicans Congressman John Fleming of Louisiana takes the cake this week.  He posted an article from The Onion on facebook that said Planned Parenthood was building an “abortionplex.”  The piece from last May satirically joked about a facility being built in Kansas.  Everyone, except Rep. Fleming, of course, knows The Onion is a fake news site which writes satire.  None of their stuff is true.

CNN contributors keep getting into trouble for saying bigoted things.  Perhaps the “news” network is trying to hard to be Faux News?  Sunday Roland Martin Tweeted this:  “If a dude at your Super Bowl party is hyped about David Beckham’s H&M underwear ad, smack the ish out of him!”

The David Beckham underwear ad didn’t even show the front of the man’s briefs for crying out loud, why would anyone turn that commercial into an opportunity for gay bashing, bullying and violence?  Frankly I don’t see why anyone worships that man’s body.  Of course I hate tattoos and think they debase the human body so Beckham does nothing for me.  He obviously did for Martin however, the man should be banished from the airwaves for his hate speech.

Bill DeWeese is insisting he will remain a State Representative even after his conviction yesterday on five felony counts.  This is a common condition known as delusion.  Instead of resigning now and saving taxpayers the cost of a special election he will stubbornly stay in Harrisburg until his formal sentencing on April 24th.

AFSCME sent me this neat video of Arizona Governor Jan Brewer.  You’ll recall her standing on a tarmac shaking her finger in President Obama’s face recently.

Ron Paul: Property Trumps Humanity

Ron Paul reiterated his core position that property rights are supreme.  Candy Crowley interviewed him on CNN this morning but failed to challenge the candidate on such an important claim.  This is the core failure of conservatives:  their rights to property trump everyone else’s rights to humanity.  Everything else must be subservient to stuff.  Property rights mean more than human rights.  In its essence this is the failure of movement conservatism.  It is the “me only” attitude and who gives a damn about you.

News & Notes September 14, 2011

I was busy closing the pool for another season, always a sad day.  This means the end of summer, my favorite time of year.

Looking at this Republican presidential field and their aversion to science I’m reminded we will not be able to compete this century if our nation doesn’t believe in science.  Not only that our entire species will be threatened unless we awaken to all the extreme weather we’re having and be willing to do what is necessary to combat climate change.

These GOP candidates seem, to a person, wo want to return us to the dark ages.  The Age of Enlightenment doesn’t have to end.  Ending gains made in minority rights, women’s rights, civil rights for all and education for all are not negotiable.  The new poverty statistics say 15% of Americans are now living in poverty.  That is abysmal and the result of conservative economic policies.  Electing another Republican will only make that number larger because they are still trying to fix the economy by cutting taxes for the rich and the corporations instead of providing good, middle class jobs for the people.

The Vice President will be in northeastern Pennsylvania Friday to tour flood damage from TS Lee.  I missed the hurricane but got home in time to see the damage from Lee.  In fact the final leg of my flights from Albuquerque got quite rough from the turbulence.  We’ve been sucking water from the carpets in the lower level rooms for a week.  The flood damage along the eastern branch of the Susquehanna has been massive though not as bad as in 1972 from Agnes.

I was disappointed to see CNN partnering with the Tea Party to run Monday night’s debate.  Not having TV for several weeks while in Santa Fe means I didn’t have to watch their increasingly slanted coverage.  I had it on for ten minutes in my hotel room before turning it off because CNN is getting more and more like Fox.  At least Fox is unabashadly slanted.  CNN’s bias is more insidious because they pretend to be objective.

The horror which came out of that debate about the uninsured shows how America is retreating from our status as a civilized country.  When people cheer about someone dying because they are uninsured it is a blight on our entire country.  No person should have to die because they don’t have access to medical care.  This is insane.  CNN should be condemning its partners for this shameful conduct.

The other awful part of that debate had to do with the life saving HPV vaccine.  It does not cause mental retardation and will, in fact, save lives as young women do not come down with cervical cancer.  Since when is cancer prevention something to condemn?  This is yet one more refusal of conservatives to embrace science and scientific advancements.  They’d rather spread old wives tales.

Congressman Peter King, who ran biased hearings about radicalization of Muslims is someone who has embraced terrorism in the past.  Even this week he defended the actions of the IRA while in London.  You cannot condemn one group of terrorists while embracing another.

Pennsylvania Republicans are attempting to alter our electoral college rules by allocating presidential votes by Congressional District.  This is a way conservatives are trying to rig the electoral college.  Winner take all has been the basis for our national elections since the dawn of the republic.  If they don’t like it perhaps it’s time to just do away with the system once and for all and go with whoever wins the most votes.  That would weaken the two party system and be better for all I believe.

News & Notes June 1, 2011

U.S. military intervention in Libya has been illegal now for more than a week because the 60 day War Powers Act authorization expired.  President Obama didn’t even ask Congress for express permission to continue operations in that theater until after the 60 days.  

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is rumored to be considering joing the GOP presidential field because he thinks all the current crop is saddled with serious baggage.  Hmmm, like embracing secessionism?

Congresswoman Hochul was sworn in today to represent New York’s 26th District.

In Wisconsin recall elections will be held against six Tea Party State Senators.  They illegally voted to remove collective bargaining rights from state workers.

In various LGBT news President Obama recognized June as Gay Pride month and the San Francisco Giants released a “It Gets Better” video:

Illinois became the eleventh state to authorize civil unions.

New York’s Attorney General is suing the federal government over shale drilling:

The federal government should conduct a full environmental review that weighs potential damage to the welfare of people in the Delaware River watershed and the drinking water quality for millions of New Yorkers before allowing natural gas drilling in the region, the state’s attorney general said in a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday.

A domestic terrorist was arrested in Wisconsin for trying to assassinate a Planned parenthood doctor in Madison.

A private citizen running around in a bus has been dangling the media like puppets and they insist on playing along.  I won’t fall for her tricks and give her any publicity.  The moronic former Governor known for her sinister vengeful streak visited Philadelphia and Gettysburg.  She isn’t the first secessionist to leave that town a loser.

NJ Gov. Chris Christie used a $12 million state helicopter to fly to Bergen County (my birthplace) so he could watch five innings of his son’s baseball game.  A limo drove him the 100 yards from the copter to the field.  Is it just me or do others think the exercise might have done him good?

The Obama Administration is getting tough on health insurance executives whose decisions on Medicare and Medicaid patients flouts the law.  They’re going after them personally not just the companies.  

Now, on top of fines paid by a company, senior executives can face criminal charges even if they weren’t involved in the scheme but could have stopped it had they known. Furthermore, they can also be banned from doing business with government health programs, a career-ending consequence.

Rep. Anthony Weiner won’t answer queries about a lewd picture Tweeted to a college student.  He claims someone hacked his account as a prank.  Andrew Breitbart is attempting to slander him by publishing the underwear picture though it is obvious it was a hack job.  The Congressman could end all of the media hype simply by answering the simple questions.  Not doing so makes him appear guilty.

Isn’t it hypocrisy when Tea Party people keep clinging to the constitution then turning around and trashing it?  Sen. Rand Paul complained bitterly, correctly, about the civil liberty infringements authorized by the USA PATRIOT Act then turned around and claimed Americans shouldn’t have their First Amendment right to free assembly and free speech:

PAUL: I’m not for profiling people on the color of their skin, or on their religion, but I would take into account where they’ve been traveling and perhaps, you might have to indirectly take into account whether or not they’ve been going to radical political speeches by religious leaders. It wouldn’t be that they are Islamic. But if someone is attending speeches from someone who is promoting the violent overthrow of our government, that’s really an offense that we should be going after – they should be deported or put in prison.

What is it tea baggers, do you support the entire constitution or merely parts?

The Center For American Progress has an excellent list of Pentagon items ripe for elimination.  If we’re going to slash spending everyone has to bear the brunt:

While we must always adequately fund the military and honor our servicemen and women, Congress can save up to $1.4 trillion over the next 12 years by eliminating overbudget and unnecessary defense programs, revamping military health care, and consolidating and capping spending across the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, and State. None of these actions will compromise national security.

In a new CNN poll 58% of Americans don’t agree with the Ryan Plan to dismantle Medicare.

“Half of those we questioned say that the country would be worse off under the GOP Medicare proposals and 56 percent think that GOP plan would be bad for the elderly,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “Opposition is highest among senior citizens, at 74 percent, suggesting that seniors are most worried about changes to Medicare even if those changes are presented as ones that would not affect existing Medicare recipients.”

Palin’s Domestic Policy Guru Caught Lying

Rebecca Mansour, Sarah Palin’s Domestic Policy Adviser was caught lying to the Daily Caller about Twitter direct messages she sent to a supporter trashing all sorts of people.  Her worst taunts were reserved for Bristol Palin referring to her as the black sheep of the family.  Imagine being the black sheep of that family?

Mansour serves as Palin’s domestic policy adviser and speechwriter. She is a gatekeeper, deciding who gets to see and talk to Palin, and who doesn’t. Mansour also maintains Palin’s online presence.

This comes after SarahPalinUSA was ridiculed for criticizing President Obama’s betrayal of our “Allys.”  I guess they don’t like criticism of banks?

Ben Smith of Politico says he was contacted by someone wishing to sell the DM’s last year but legitimate news outlets don’t pay sources so Politico declined.  The Daily Caller (Tucker Carlson) says they didn’t pay but who knows with that guy?  Maybe he needed some new bow ties.  

Mansour lied about sending the messages when contacted by the media outlet until they proved through forensic analysis the direct messages did indeed come from Twitter’s servers.  Then she finally fessed up knowing her lies had been disproved.  Somehow none of this surprises me one bit.

Dana Losch Calls Michael Moore a Nazi on CNN

CNN just televised a bit including Tea Partier Dana Losch who called film maker Michael Moore a Nazi.  She said he was simply another Leni Riefenstahl.  The CNN anchor, again, refused to call her out for the outrageous comment.  Moore was at issue because he rightly called the Bin Laden killing an “execution.”  It was.

News & Notes April 15, 2011

Today is the traditional tax day, extended to Monday the 18th for some reason.  GE and ExxonMobil will pay no taxes on the multiple billions they earned last year.  Hedge fund managers will pay a lower tax rate than you on the multiple billions they earned.  It isn’t right to talk about class warfare however, that may sound partisan according to CNN.

Mark Critz voted to defund Planned Parenthood yesterday.  Remember that the next time the DCCC calls you asking for money.  They funded his election campaign last year.  Next year he’ll likely have to face off against Blue Dog Jason Altmire to remain in Congress.

Donald Trump doesn’t know how many Representatives serve in the House, says it doesn’t matter because he wouldn’t need to know it to govern.  How would he know how many votes he needs then?  Even a sixth grader could figure out that dilemma.

Jesse Jackson who was the keynote speaker at this year’s Pennsylvania Progressive Summit is being accused of homophobia by a former employee.

Buyers remorse has hit Pennsylvania voters.  Only 34% of people approve of the job Tom Corbett after only 3 months in office.  44% disapprove.  He hasn’t done anything he didn’t say or show during the campaign so I’m a bit puzzled by this poll.  Who or what did they think they were voting for last November?  Voters need to pay more attention.  The rest of the blame must go to Democrats who chose a poor candidate who ran a poor campaign.

Republicans have yet to introduce or pass one jobs bill in either Washington or Harrisburg.  Instead they are cutting them.

I wrote a piece earlier this week about earned sick time in Philadelphia.  There’s an OpEd in the Daily News about it.

As you prepare to file your tax returns take note of the amount you remitted all year in federal taxes.  Now subtract 100% of the amount and you’ll have the total GE and ExxonMobil paid.

Gas prices have been killing me lately combined with food costs.  Being on a fixed income isn’t easy when gas is $1/gallon higher than a year ago.  It’s cramping my ability to cover events.  I don’t blame Obama as others are however. I blame all the Presidents and Congresses who have done nothing to wean us off oil and expand clean, renewable energy sources.

Republicans have yet to present a single job creation bill in either Harrisburg or Washington.

Sen. Jon Kyl is now backing away from the statement his office released after he said over 90% of what Planned Parenthood does is abortions.  Now he claims that the widely ridiculed explanation “that wasn’t intended to be a factual statement” wasn’t from him but his press spokesperson.  Unfortunately for Kyl this isn’t intended to be a factual statement.  Did you know Jon Kyl has sex with illegal aliens in Area 51?  BTW, that isn’t intended to be a factual statement.

The Birther Republicans running for President are now all fatally flawed national candidates.  None can be taken seriously after embracing this lunacy.  Voters will not elect someone who lives in a fantasy land.

Arizona passed a Birther bill yesterday in which one method of proving your eligibility is to provide proof of circumcision if a male candidate.  Unfortunately for Jon Kyl this means he cannot run for president in his home state because he’s a eunuch.  That isn’t intended to be a factual statement.

Finally, just in case you forgot, GE paid no federal taxes this year.  Happy Tax Day.