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Monday, November 30, 2015

Pro-life Republicans respect the baby in the wound but reluctant to condemn gun violence

Regardless of how an individual believes about a woman's right to access the termination of pregnancy, the fact is, no one is entitled to take the law into their own hands to violate the rights of others who want to access women's health clinics, like Planned Parenthood.
Apparantly, the killer who murdered innocent people in Colorado Springs, CO, was deranged and ranting about abortion.  This domestic terrorist incident was as much about our nation's obsession with guns as it was about abortion.  When does life matter most?  When it's in the wound or when it's not? Obviously, it's a rhetorical question. Life matters 

A crazy killer with an AK47, a man who may have been experiencing a psychotic episode, gunned down innocents at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood Clinic in Colorado. For some bizarre reason, the Republican presidential candidates went into hiding, while trying to figure out how to respond. 

On the other hand, the Democratic presidential candidates, led by Secretary Hillary Clinton, were quick to condemn the senseless gun violence deaths. Democrats immediately understood the preventable emotional trauma, caused by a crazy man with an AK47, who was reported, by police, to be ranting incoherent anti-abortion statements, when he surrendered.

It seems to me, Republicans are obsessed about the life of the fetus in the woman's wound, but less concerned about the value of the humans exposed to death and injury, caused by gun violence.

Hillary Clinton wasted no time whatsoever responding.

Hillary slams Republicans on guns, abortion after Planned Parenthood attack  By Bradford Richardson

None in the above GOP line up of presidential candidates called the murders "gun volence"

Democratic presidential front-runner (and the first woman who will win the Democratic nomination to run for President of the United States) - Hillary Clinton-  late Sunday, launched a multi-pronged assault on Republicans following the shootings at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colo., calling for more stringent gun control and heightened protections for women's health care and abortion rights.Now the BBCNews reports:

Republicans bristle at criticism of Planned Parenthood rhetoric by Anthony Zurcher North America reporter

Republican presidential hopefuls have denounced the Colorado Planned Parenthood shooting in Colorado, but they dismiss allegations from the left that their recent condemnations of the non-profit health care organization may have provoked the attack.

In the last few days, Republican presidential candidates have called the shootings at a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic a "tragedy" (Carly Fiorina), the work of a "sick person" (Donald Trump) and "senseless violence" (John Kasich).  (Maine Writer says - too  bad none of the Republican candidates used the words "preventable gun violence".)

Instead, they've offered prayers "for the loved ones of those killed" (Ted Cruz) and said there is "no acceptable explanation for this violence" (Jeb Bush). (Maine Writer says - too bad Governor Bush didn't use the words "gun violence" or "domestic violence against women", because that's what what the killer was targeting.)
Ted Cruz is so disengenuous- he surely knows the explanation for "this violence". (Notice how Cruz avoided the term "gun violence".)

Others, such as Florida Senator Marco Rubio and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, have yet to issue a response.

Republicans have raised the incendiary rhetoric about Planned Parenthood and developed a feverous following to support gun ownership as a sacred Constitutonal right.

Obviously, Republicans are more intereseted in protecting second amendment rights, above life itself.

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Sunday, November 29, 2015

Russia is increasing tensions without accountability for MH17

Russia's President Vladimir Putin is furious because a Russian fighter jet was shot down by Turkey, an attack approved by NATO, when the pilot was warned about crossing an international boundary into Turkish air space.  In a huge over response to an incident that clearly could've been avoided, Putin is sending an arsenal of weapons into the region where the disputed aircraft was flying.  In fact, Putin's power move over this terrible incident is causing some to consider whether or not the Russian President even intends to incite an unthinkable world war.  


Meanwhile, no one seems to be holding President Putin accountable for the Russian downing of an innocent passenger airplane, taken down while flying over the Ukraine. In fact, the downing of MH17 was far more serious an act against innocents than the deliberate attack on the Russian fighter jet.  

Unfortunately, it's okay for Putin to ignore what his own nation does to innocent air travelers, but the proverb of "what goes around comes around" apparently doesn't apply to Russia.  In fact, the BBCNews reports the innocent Malaysian airliner was shot down in rebel-held eastern Ukraine at the height of the conflict between government troops and the pro-Russian separatists.  The government in Ukraine and several Western officials have said the missile was brought from Russia and launched from the rebel-held part of Ukraine. But Russian officials have again rejected these accusations. Regardless of what caused the jet to be shot down, the fact is, Russia's President Putin hasn't been held accountable for how the Russian military was involved.

In The New York Times,  NEIL MacFARQUHAR and STEVEN ERLANGER report on increasing tensions caused by the NATO attack on the Russian jet.

A United States military spokesman, Col. Steven Warren, confirmed that Turkish pilots had warned the Russian pilot 10 times, but that the Russian jet ignored the warnings. Colonel Warren, speaking from Baghdad to reporters in Washington, also said American officials were analyzing radar track data to determine the precise location of the jet when it was shot down.

At an emergency NATO meeting, Turkish officials played recordings of the warnings Turkish F-16 pilots had issued to the Russian aircraft. The Russian pilots did not reply. The Turkish account of the episode was described by several diplomats, who asked not to be identified because they were discussing a closed-door session at the alliance’s headquarters in Brussels.

It seems obvious, President Putin has been doing a lot to increase tensions in Central Europe, just because he can. He took over the Crimea, just because he could. Moreover, he wants to take over the Ukraine whenever he has the chance to do so, when he thinks nobody is looking. Now, Putin apparently wants to prop up Syria, where President Assad is loosing his war and committing genocide against his own people.  All the while, Putin has been engaged in serial murders of his opponents, while claiming some "other guy" killed his critics, even using deadly deadly polonium to poison Alexander Litvinenko in England.

President Putin is untrustworthy, to say the least. Nevertheless, he's politically savvy. In the 2016 Presidential election year, President Putin will do everything in his clandestine power to disrupt the American elections and cause turmoil in the world.

Meanwhile, no one is being held accountable for the innocent loss of hundreds of lives on the Malaysian MH17; but Putin might be on the brink of causing a world war because Turkey and NATO attacked a fighter jet that had no business flying, where it was bound to be challenged. 

It's evident Putin has a plan because he's been on a strategic trajectory to reach a terribly ambitious goal.  

Although innocent people can only speculate about what Putin's goal is or will be, regarding the crescendo he's creating, the fact is, Russian people will suffer as a result because, frankly, the worthless Russian ruble will be unable to sustain whatever ambitions he's pursuing.  

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Donald Trump leads GOP regardless of establishment non support

Obviously, from the way the political polls have held up for Donald Trump, the establishment non -support of his nomination just aren't working. When the right wing of the GOP says they don't trust the media, that includes all of them, including the conservatives. Will the right wing trust the New Hampshire Union Leader?

In spite of over the top "Trumponian" analysis about making Mexicans pay for a wall to prevent illegal immigration to mocking a reporter who happens to have a congenital disability, the right wing of the Republican party are using their new best friend Donald Trump, to send the message about what they want and when they want it!  In other words, "none of the above" in the line up of candidates appeals to right wing voters so they must be declaring themselves as political lemmings. Apparantly, radical right wing voters would take their Republican party "over the cliff" and into a mass extinction,  rather than to support a nominee who can lead the free world with integrity. How stupid is that?
Political polls are measuring the most popular presidential candidates, but not necessarily the most electable
Yet, Donald Trump still leads in the popularity polls among Republican voters, although he can't stay ahead of a 30 percent benchmark. (Meanwhile, the first woman to be nominated to lead the free world, Secretary Hillary Clinton, is holding above 50 percent popularity among the Democrats.)

Now, the ultra conservative Union Leader, the New Hampshire oracle of political news that's fit to print, has endorsed Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey to be the GOP nominee, for the state's first in the nation primary (Iowa is a bogus straw poll).  

It's been my experience that a "Union Leader" endorsement is like receiving a political coronation. 

I suspect the Union Leader's publisher, Joe McQuaid, was euphoric to endorse a qualified candidate in the face of the popular carnival barker, Donald Trump. "Let's make America great again" certainly didn't resonate with McQuaid. But, I instinctively know that the fastest way to loose an election in New Hampshire is to compare any ballot measure or candidatee with "New Jersey", and it's a red herring issue. In other words, Governor Christie's "bridgegate" scandal over a lane closure on the George Washington Bridge, could become more of an issue than the candidate's qualifications to run for president. 

Notworthy in the Union Leader endorsement of Christie was how vocal McQuaid was in opposing th FoxNews decision about who would be on the debate stage during the GOP presidential forums (non-debates). Since Christie was downgraded by Fox to stand at the "kids debate", because his poll numbers were too low to qualify for being among the heavies, the Union Leader, no doubt, decided to upstage FoxNews - and, in my opinion, that's a good thing! Frankly, I can't understand how a news network that relies on free speech to spew skewed right wing news can get away with deciding who can speak and when during a presidential forum/non-debate-debate.  

So, it's definitely going to be interesting to see how New Hampshire voters respond to the Union Leader's endorsement of Governor Christie for the GOP nomination. I suspect the endorsement raises the status for both the newspaper and the New Jersey governor. 

A value added, if Governor Christie wins the GOP vote in New Hampshire, he'll also likely be the Republican nominee for the 2016 presidential election. If that really happens, then the FoxNews stupid debate forumula will prove to be a magnificent failure. 

Nevertheless, the right wing Republican voters are sticking by Donald Trump "the chump" because they do not like any of the others in the GOP line up. 

Of course, a popularity poll can't predict what voters will do in the privacy of their ballot box. Right wing voters may like Trump, but then vote for somebody else, who they think might really win a national election. On the other hand, the right wing voters might also stay home, rather than admit they voted for Donald Trump. Anything is possible given the labile mood of the 2015-16 voters. Unfortunately, the Republican line up of candidates has created a toxic environment among the party's right wing base and it's now branding the entire party as extremist.  

Perhaps the Union Leader could consider endorsing the establishment of a new conservatism and political party. Consider creating a political party whereby Governor Christie or other qualified candidates could run,  without being labeled as racists, extremists, bigots, Islamophobic and religious zealots.  

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Saturday, November 28, 2015

International criticism of Donald Trump - Is American media asleep?

American media continues reporting on Donald "Trump the Chump" campaign circus rallies. Yet, few seriously challenge Trump's carnival barker bombastic stump speech fiascos. He's insulted nearly everyone who dares to publicly challenge him.

Now, the international community is beginning a drum beat warning to Americans about the lunacy of a Trump candidacy, should he be nominated to run for the leader of the free world.

In fact, in the international community, Republicans are painting Americans as stupid for allowing Donald Trump to receive any media attention, when qualified candidates are sitting on the sidelines waiting for their second act. Obviously, the Republican mainstream candidates like Governor Jeb Bush or Governor John Kasich, two who could save the party from extinction, are being obfiscated by the Trump carnival.  Of course, Democrats are delighted to see the Republicans fight among themselves for who among them can be the most negative in the line up of candidates. Republican candidates are like wooden ducks on a carnival game skeet shoot. They all look alike while they're moving in one direction. Yes, Carley Fiorina even blends in with them.

America's Republican voters must get a reality check on the stupidity of a Trump the Chump presidential candidacy. 

Perhaps, the French Ambassador's input will help. He is frankly telling Donald Trump to mind his own business.

French Ambassador tells Trump: "Armed Citizens Defend Selves 'Only in the Movies'

Newsmax is reporting on just how dangerous the Trumponian concept of "defending ourselves with guns" won't work.

Armed citizens are able to defend themselves "only in the movies," French Ambassador to the United States Gerard Araud said this week, striking back at GOP front-runner Donald Trump's contention that it is important for people to arm themselves.

Further, he told Fox News' "Special Report" that he sent a tweet to Trump calling him a "vulture" after the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris, when a tweet reappeared on the candidate's Twitter page that was posted in January, after the Charlie Hebdo attacks.

“It was a theater, a theater hall," Araud told Special Report. "Imagine a theater hall and suddenly people enter with machine guns and are really killing people … It is only in the movies someone is using his gun to defend himself.”

Trump's initial repeated tweet, "Isn't it interesting that the tragedy in Paris took place in one of the toughest gun control countries in the world?” was quickly taken down and replaced with another that said "My prayers are with the victims and hostages in the horrible Paris attacks. May God be with you all."

Araud also quickly took down his own tweet, that not only called Trump a "vulture," but said the initial tweet was "repugnant."

But, even though Trump's tweet was taken down, he's still saying that Paris, where guns are prohibited, would have been safer if its citizens were armed.  (Does "Trump the Chump" realize how a defender against a terrorist must know exactly who's shooting? Therefore, the defender must be a sharpshooter to respond with a mortal shot. Moreover, a defender with a handgun could never outshoot the horror of an AK47.)

Yet, just one day after the attacks, Trump told a rally in Beaumont, Texas, that the ISIS attack in Paris might not have happened if French laws allowed for more people to carry guns.

"The toughest gun laws in the world: Paris," Trump said, during a campaign rally crowd of about 8,000. "If they were allowed to carry -- it would have been a much, much different situation."

On Nov. 15, two days after the attacks, Trump was quoted on NBC's "Meet the Press" as commenting that "you can say what you want, but if [the French people] had guns, if our people had guns, it would have been a much, much different situation.”

And a week later, Trump doubled down on ABC's "This Week," commenting that "If in Paris some of those people had guns, you wouldn’t have had the horror show that you had where [none of the innocents] had guns.”  (Donald Trump clearly wasn't in Paris during the terrorist attacks. He wasn't at the scene during the attacks on Charlie Hebdo or November 13th. Therefore, he has virtualy no idea what would've helped to save people or how an uncoordinated response might've even caused more carnage. In fact, we'll never know what anyone could've done to save lives. Nevertheless, what we do know is that the Paris terrorist attackers launched their killing spree, with clandistine accuracy. What would've helped was more on the ground basic intelligence.)
With the French Ambassador challenging Donald Trump "the Chump" about his "know nothing" postion on gun ownership in the face of surving a terrorist attack, the chances of the international community accepting Trump as the leader of the free world are close to zero.
Instead of making America great again, the idea of a Trump executive administraton might actually make our nation the laughing stock of the world. 

American media must stop enabling "Trump the Chump"; but, instead, they must report on the consequences of the unthinkable. Our nation's independent media must wake up and show journalistic leadership, by analyzing the damage a "Trump the Chump" candidacy is doing to the Republican party and the disaster his leadership will be if, God Forbid, he's ever nominated.

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Friday, November 27, 2015

Krauthammer "cul-de-sac"another fine journalism mess

Republican pundit Charles Krauthammer pontificates with authoritave, albeit wrong minded, flair. He reminds me of a political version of Oliver Hardy, of the popular Laurel & Hardy comedy team. 

Oliver Hardy of the team of "Laural and Hardy"

Like Hardy, who performed his comedy in hundreds of features and films, Krauthammer acts like he knows what he's doing in every situation, as though he's an all knowing expert. Similarly, Krauthammer typically has a talent for capturing the moment (just like Hardy!) but at the the end of his argument, his credibility fails and his bumbling reasoning is exposed.  

Krauthammer's short memory and his opinion about President Obama's immersion in the currently disintegrating Syrian crises is another example of "Hardy-onian" fumbling punditry.

It's convoluted thinking for Krauthammer to criticize President Obama's Syrian policy. He knows that Republicans have blocked every foriegn policy initiative, whereby a US led coalition could have helped to prevent the Syrian humanitarian and civil war crises.

In fact, Krauthammer's short term memory is also blocking the historic facts. His opinion, published in The Washington Post, completely overlooked how the Republicans stopped an intervention when the evil Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used poison gas, to kill his own people!  Although the US is a signer on the Geneva Protocol, outlawing the use of poison gas, the US Republican led Congress chose to ignore this obligation and, likewise, ignored Assad's evil and deadly use of the poison.  

Krauthammer selectively chose, instead, to remember his own "Hardy-onian" reinvention of the Syrian crisis. He writes, "Against the advice of his top civilian and military aides, Obama refused to intervene (in Syria). The widows and orphans (Obama) now so ostentatiously champions are the product of his coldhearted refusal to do anything that might sully his peacemaking image." This is a reinvention of history. Republicans are culpable in the Syrian disaster and humanitarian genocide.

Dear Mr. Krauthammer, I remember the development of the Syrian crisis differently. In fact, only God knows how many mothers lost their children during Assad's use of poison gas on his people, while the Republican congress ignored the Geneva Protocol.

Moreover, Krauthammer contributes to the unfounded fear about innocent refugees who are not terrorists. He writes, "Obama charged the Republicans with cowardice, afraid to grant admittance to '3-year-old orphans'. He gave zero credit to the very real concern of governors and other officials that terrorists could be embedded amid the refugees. This is no theoretical proposition. At least one of the Paris attackers came to France by way of Greece."  
Oh paaaleeze Mr. Krauthammer! 

As a journalist, you have an ethical obligation to report the news, rather than to create it. There's no evidence that any of the attackers in France were Syrian refugees. Rather, the killers were terrorists who somehow avoided international surveillance. 

Instead, Krauthammer should write (in Maine Writer prose), "President Obama gets credit for reminding Americans about how difficult it is for any refugees to enter the US, and this diligence is essential to protect Americans from the risk of ISIS "look alike" attacks". 

Fueling refugee mania, when there's no evidence to support your fear mongerng is buzzing on yellow journalism.

Unfortunately, Krauthammer writes his salient opinion point at the very end of his article, assuming the reader can endure his narrative long enough to read it.  He writes, "...Trump-like anti-immigrant, anti-foreigner, now anti-Muslim, anti-Arab rhetoric — and don’t forget those cunning Chinese stealing our jobs and ruthless Mexicans raping our women — will not play well in a general election. Politically, it will be fatal. John Kasich has forcefully denounced this slide into the swamp. Where are the others?"

Advising Charles Krauthammer about journalism is like telling Oliver Hardy he isn't really funny. But, in my opinion, Krauthammer should remember journalism 101, ie to begin his essays with the point to be made in the narrative. 

Krauthammer's essay, "The Syrian immigration cul-de-sac", is "another fine mess" he can't explain with accuracy.

(And, if you don't mind my did the metaphor "cul-de-sac" fit with your opinion, anyway?)

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Thursday, November 26, 2015

Republican Mayor in Lewiston Maine writes about refugees who became citizens

Maine's Governor LePage says he'll join other Republican US governors who will oppose accepting Syrian refugees. Yet, the Republican Mayor of Lewiston suggests the governor's statement may be premature. It's not the governor, nor the mayor nor the city council who decidesMoreover, Lewiston's Mayor MacDonald writes a contradictory opinion column about how recent immigrants have successfully assimilated into the city, but then does an about face regarding those who are likely yet to arrive. 

Governor Pau LePage of Maine - Republican
Mayor MacDonald of Lewiston is running for a third term

Lewiston Maine is a small city, but the reputation of the residents has been to welcome foriegners. Indeed, Franco-Americans from Quebec and French Canada helped to build the city, because they migrated by the thousands, arriving on foot and railroad, during the 19th and 20th centuries. The economic "refugees" from Canada found work in once prosperous manufacturing mills, located along the Androscoggin River.  Those who stayed after the mills closed built important city institutions like hospitals, churches and small businesses.

In recent elections, the Lewiston's voters changed their preference for Democrats and elected conservative Mayor Robert E. MacDonald to lead city government. After serving two terms, Lewiston's Mayor is now challenged in a December 8th run off election, against a well funded challenger named Ben Chin. 

Frankly, I was somewhat surprised to read the Mayor's commentary in Twin City Times newspaper,about the city's Somali immigrant residents. Many of the Somalians are Muslims, who fled the carnage in their African homes and were resettled in Lewiston.

CNN Amy Bass reports - Lewiston, Maine, is a former mill town that sits on the banks of the Androscoggin River and is largely Quebecois in heritage. Two weeks ago, the high school brought home the city's first state boys soccer championship. And they did it with a team that includes players from Congo, Kenya, Turkey, Germany and Somalia.

Now, the challenged Mayor MacDonald writes in Twin City Times about the accomplishments of Lewiston's immigrants. Moreover, he also reminded readers about how immigration is controlled by the US President. This is a contradictory commentary from a conservative city mayor who has a reputation for often being strident in support of conservative political policies. Although the mayor applauds the accomplishments of the city's immigrants, he turns on those who will follow by challenging their benevolent sponsors and advocates.

Mayor MacDonald writes in the November 26th, Twin City Times in his column "Enough is Enough":

During my tenure as Mayor, I have had the opportunity to attend several citizenship ceremonies. These new citizens come from many lands. They speak many languages. They are of many faiths.
But what binds them all tightly together is their new status: they are now proud and patriotic Americans.

I do not use words lightly. Observing these new citizens on taking their loyalty oath dissolves any doubt in your mind. Their facial expression says it all. But many times, this image personally haunts me when I am at an event where native born Americans disrespect our country by failing to remove their hats or talking or paying no attention when our National Anthem is played.

Prior to our city council meeting last week, I was informed that several of Lewiston's citizens had been shouted at and referred to as "terrorists".  This resulted in my warning that this behavior was to immediately cease and that it would not be tolerated.

A great many of our refugees are now American citizens with the same rights enjoyed by all Americans. We have had four years of peace in our city and there is no reason for this type of foolishness.

Our one time refugees have now assimilated into our community. They are productive citizens, owning homes and businesses.  They are gainfully employed and contribute to our local, state and federal government through taxes.  Their children have brought our high school graduation rate up to 70 percent.

The Lewiston High School soccer players are not only state champs, but they hold a high rating in New England and the country.

Upon arriving home one night last week, I turned on the O'Reilly Factor and watched Bill O'Reilly's interview of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on the subject of immigration. Christie was asked if New Jersey currently had any Syrians living there and, if so, how many? O'Reilly was taken back by the answer. Christie stated he had some; but did not know how many.

The sad truth is that the federal government contracts with various agencies (in Maine it is Catholic Charities) which then resettles refugees without notifying state or local officials.  In the case of the Syrians, if a Syrian refugee enters into Lewiston's General Assistance Office, an employee in that office will immediately call me so I can call Governor Paul R. LePage and inform him of our newest arrivals.

A few months ago, shortly after the outbreak of war in Yemen, we had refugees from Yemen showing up at our General Assistance Office with no advance warning. The sad truth is, neither the governors, nor the mayors nor the city councilors of our great country can stop this influx. It can only be stopped by the President.

Lastly, I have two questions. The first is for Catholic Charities. How can you morally justify relocating refugees into a struggling city such as Lewiston knowing that these resettlements will lead to either higher local taxes or a decrease in municipal services including layoffs? 

To the United Churches of Maine: Why don't you turn your sanctimonious rhetoric into cash so that you not the taxpaying public, can support them?

Last Friday, I attended a ribbon cutting at Liberty Taxes located at 272 Main Street, Lewiston. It has expanded its service to health insurance in order to help our working poor secure affordable health insurance policies.

While there, I had the pleasure of meeting the mother of a young lady involved in the car-moose accident on the Turnpike. She expressed her overwhelming thanks to Central Maine Medical Center for putting her up at the Arbor House so she could be close to her daughter.  She also expressed thanks for the kindness shown and the help given to her by Liberty staff and he people of Lewiston.  Happy Thanksgiving.

Maine Writer responds - Dear Mayor MacDonald, your premise for writing this opinion is self defeating.  Immigrants have built Lewiston and you acknowledge how the most recent relocations have also assimilated. Therefore, with all due respect, your challenging questions to Catholic Charities and the Maine Council of Churches makes no sense. Immigrants have been law abiding citizens while, as you point out, it's often the native born Americans who seem to be the people who need to be criticized. 

Nevertheless, Mayor MacDonald makes a good point. Neither Governor LePage, nor the Mayor of Lewiston nor anybody else will prevent Syrian refugees from being relocated in Maine, should they arrive here. "Bienvenue", as Franco-Americans say, to all refugees, whoever they are and wherever they eventually live. We cannot victimize these desperate people twice. They are anxious to participate in a new world, after fleeing far from their homes, and, according to Mayor MacDonald, they are largely succeeding.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Iternational terrorism accelerates while US economy is in recovery

When President Obama was elected to his first term, he won the election on the crest of The Great Recession 2007. That's when swift, albeit reluctant, intervention by the President George Bush '43 administration did what was needed to avoid another Great Depression, a dismal rerun of the 1930s. 

President Obama had the political wind at his back at the time, when Americans were understandably skeptical about electing another Republican presidential executive.

It's taken almost eight years, nearly two presidential terms, for Americans to feel like The Great Recession is finally fading into economic history. Nevertheless, while America is finally going back to work, the rise of international terrorism is sucking the exuberance out of celebrating about the economic recovery. Expensive and extraordinary security at government agencies, tourist destinations, on the airlines, in airports and in dense population areas are costing Americans untold billions of dollars.
This is now "the new normal". 

Unfortunately, the dismal 2007 economy wasn't the only situation President Obama inherited. As a matter of fact, the rise of the evil ISIS, the Islamic State, aka "state of fear", is correlated with the failure of Operation Iraqi Freedom or the Iraq War, an invasion without cause, launched by President George Bush '43.  

As a result of toppling Saddam Hussein, the US called the war over, after setting up a new government. Unfortunately, the peace plan, and government failed and the vacuum created by  the lack of leadership contributed to the rise of the ISIS terrorist group.  

A statue of Saddam Hussein was toppled in Firdaus Square, downtown Bagdhad, on 9 April 2003. 

Today, the US economy is getting stronger. Yet, although not directly correlated, the evil ISIS, also, is apparantly expanding its influence. Gruesome ISIS exuctions were conducted on videos, but have been supplanted by the evil terrorist group extending its reach with barbaric attacks outside of their Syrian base of operations. 

Evil ISIS has taken credit for the horrible bombing of an innocent Russian passenger Metrojet, flying over Egypt's Sinai Penninsula.

Investigators who pinpointed the exact location of a bomb that brought down a Russian jet said it was planted under the seat of a 15-year-old girl.

The blast over Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula killed all 224 people on board, but no one got it worse than Maria Ivleva, a 15-year-old girl who was traveling with her mother when a bomb ripped apart the plane 23 minutes after leaving Sharm el-Sheikh — a resort that 3 million Russians visit every year. The Metrojet was en-route to St Petersburg.

President Obama isn't receiving enough credit for leading our nation's economic recovery after the George Bush Republican fiscal catastrophes. Unfortunately, the daunting war on terrorism continues to challenge the world's leaders. Moreover, President Obama is walking a political tight rope by attempting to deal with the consequences of his predecessors horrific international blunder, caused largely by the failed invasion of Iraq.

Obviously, President Obama isn't running for re-election; but when Republican candidates denegrate his economic leadership, they should abruptly be reminded of who the executive was at the time the US economy nearly collapsed.  

Likewise, Republicans need to remember why America is immersed in the daunting war on terrorism. In other words, if President George Bush '43 had focused his intention to take the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden "dead or alive",  rather than invade Iraq, it's possible the evil ISIS wouldn't have had the leverage created when Operation Iraqi Freedom failed.

Indeed, President Obama has been challenged by the two sides of the word "crises", meaning "opportunity" and "challenge". Apparantly, President Obama is the beneficiary of the economic recovery caused by Republican fiscal irresponsibility; but he has also been challenged by a war his predessor launched. 

Democrats must remind Americans about the consequences of the failed Republican Bush administraton. Democrats must also take credit for the nation's economic recovery, while pointing out why it is the world is consumed with terrorism, perpetrated by evil ISIS. 

Meanwhile, our nation is spending billions (maybe even a trillion) of dollars on national security because there is no cohesive plan about how to win against terrorism.

Our nation's economic recovery, unfortunately, is hiding in the shadows of the fear of international terrorism.  Both of these issues were fueled by failed Republican political leadership. Democrats need to keep the causes of both issues in the forefront of voters minds, during the 2016 presidential campaigns.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Politics of fear in media obsessed by viewer ratings

Republicans are obsessed with creating fear.  

Senator Margaret Chase Smith gave her Declaration of Concience Speech on June 1, 1950

Whenever the right wing extremist politilcal party leadership tries to offer a hopeful message, the candidate who tries to be enlighted, is shut down like a nuclear reactor with a blinking warning light. 

When President Obama speaks to tone down incendiary war rhetoric, he's accused of not being tough enough. If he fuels the negative rhetoric, he's immediately asked about when the US will put "boots on the ground" in Syria and Iraq?  He's walking a political tight rope; but at the end of the line, the fact is, fear is motivating the media to create even more of it, because people seem oblivious to facts. It's like fear is becoming addictive and the anditodes to healing it aren't working.

Right now, the media is giving right wing political candidates plenty  of air time, because the synergistic impact of negativity, based on bad news, fueled by ignorance rather than truth, are combining to expose fear as a commodity. 

It's like conservatives and right wing pundits are saying, "Let's see how high our fear generating TV ratings can boost us today".

Here are some facts that I know, even though I'm not an expert on any of the issues.  Nevertheless, I am somewhat knowledgeable about the difference between truth and fear. In fact, the more truth prevails, the less fear has the power to create panic. 

Fact number One:  I'm not afraid of Syrian refugees.
Syrian refugees are not terrorists.  I'm certain of this.  
Obviously, there are some terrorists who have taken advantage of a fearful situation by pretending to be refugees.  Nevertheless, the vetting process for refugees to enter the US will actually lock these criminals up rather than allow them legal entry into any country.  I have no fear of Syrian refugees entering America. 

Fact number Two: I'm not afraid of Mexicans.
Mexicans are hard working people. Donald Trump used incendiary rhetoric to raise racist fear against Mexicans, who are integral to American history, certainly predating the formation of the United States of America. Mexicans, and other Central American immigrants and migrants, don't leave homes where their families lived for many generations, just so they can find welfare benefits!!  
I've seen Mexican immigrants at work. They are dedicated to earning their pay, so they can help their families to have a better way of life than the one they left in their corrupt homelands. I have virtually no fear whatsoever of Mexican and Central American immigrants.

Fact number three: I'm not afraid of Muslims or people who practice Islam.
In my opinion, there's been more violence inflicted on people who are Muslims than the other way around. Those radical Islamists who belong to Al Qaeda, or the other evil terrorist groups, are not practicing Islam. Rather, these extremists, who join terrorist groups, aren't practicing the Islam religion but, rather, using the religion's founder, Mohammed (died 632 AD) as an excuse for inflicting jihad. These crazy people are getting away with creating fear toward all Muslims because, frankly it's almost impossible to read the Koran (their missle) and, therefore, we don't understand the beliefs. Although I don't understand the Koran, I have no fear of Muslims.

Fact number four:  I'm not afraid of the US government!
I'm an American citizen, born with inalienable rights (ie, rights that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws). Indeed, "I Pledge Alliegence, to the Flag, of the United States of America, and to the Republic, for Which it Stands, One Nation, Under God, Indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for All".  In fact, the US government is created to build a "more perfect union" (says the Constitution), guaranteed for all citizens. Although I'm not afraid of the US government, what causes me concern is the potential for right wing extremists to obscure the US Constitution and replace the laws with paranoia.  

Honestly, I'm the last blogger in the universe to pick on the media when the problem the viewing public has is driven by their own inability to understand truth.  After all, the media is supposed to just report the news but not to create the news. 

Nevertheless, when profit is the end result of media ratings, it's difficult to believe the practice of stoking fear is in the best interest of the public. Most busy people just don't take the time to access objective or truthful information. Therefore, fear rules in the vacuum when truth is unavailable.

There was a time in the 1950s when the right wing GOP led by Senator Joseph McCarthy, decided who in our nation was a subversive or a "communist". The "McCarthy era" is remembered with extraordinary disdain because of the fear and paranoia the stupid Senator's public hearings caused.  One of the most influential opponent of Senator McCarthy was the Maine Senator Margaret Chase Smith.  As a Republican, Senator Smith stood up to her own political party to call our Senator McCarthy for his intolerance.
Senator Chase gave a Declaration of Concience speech on June 1, 1950 and here is what she said: (I was reminded about the important relevance of this speech by Dr. Dora Mills, who posted excerpts of the content on her social media site.)

Statement of Senator Margaret Chase Smith
June 1, 1950

"Mr. President:  I would like to speak briefly and simply about a serious national condition. It is a national feeling of fear and frustration that could result in national suicide and the end of everything that we Americans hold dear.

It is a condition that comes from the lack of effective leadership in either the Legislative Branch or the Executive Branch of our Government.

That leadership is so lacking that serious and responsible proposals are being made that national advisory commissions be appointed to provide such critically needed leadership.

I speak as briefly as possible because too much harm has already been done with irresponsible words of bitterness and selfish political opportunism. I speak as simply as possible because the issue is too great to be obscured by eloquence. I speak simply and briefly in the hope that my words will be taken to heart.

I speak as a Republican, I speak as a woman. I speak as a United States Senator. I speak as an American.

The United States Senate has long enjoyed worldwide respect as the greatest deliberative body in the world. But recently that deliberative character has too often been debased to the level of a forum of hate and character assassination sheltered by the shield of congressional immunity.

It is ironical that we Senators can in debate in the Senate directly or indirectly, by any form of words impute to any American, who is not a Senator, any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming an American -- and without that non-Senator American having any legal redress against us -- yet if we say the same thing in the Senate about our colleagues we can be stopped on the grounds of being out of order.

It is strange that we can verbally attack anyone else without restraint and with full protection and yet we hold ourselves above the same type of criticism here on the Senate Floor. Surely the United States Senate is big enough to take self-criticism and self-appraisal. Surely we should be able to take the same kind of character attacks that we dish out to outsiders.

I think that it is high time for the United States Senate and its members to do some soul searching -- for us to weigh our consciences -- on the manner in which we are performing our duty to the people of America -- on the manner in which we are using or abusing our individual powers and privileges.

I think that it is high time that we remembered that we have sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution. I think that it is high time that we remembered; that the Constitution, as amended, speaks not only of the freedom of speech but also of trial by jury instead of trial by accusation.

Whether it be a criminal prosecution in court or a character prosecution in the Senate, there is little practical distinction when the life of a person has been ruined.

Those of us who shout the loudest about Americanism in making character assassinations are all too frequently those who, by our own words and acts, ignore some of the basic principles of Americanism --

The right to criticize;

The right to hold unpopular beliefs;

The right to protest;

The right of independent thought.

The exercise of these rights should not cost one single American citizen his reputation or his right to a livelihood nor should he be in danger of losing his reputation or livelihood merely because he happens to know some one who holds unpopular beliefs. Who of us doesn't? Otherwise none of us could call our souls our own. Otherwise thought control would have set in.

The American people are sick and tired of being afraid to speak their minds lest they be politically smeared as "Communists" or "Fascists" by their opponents. Freedom of speech is not what it used to be in America. It has been so abused by some that it is not exercised by others. The American people are sick and tired of seeing innocent people smeared and guilty people whitewashed. But there have been enough proved cases to cause nationwide distrust and strong suspicion that there may be something to the unproved, sensational accusations.

As a Republican, I say to my colleagues on this side of the aisle that the Republican Party faces a challenge today that is not unlike the challenge that it faced back in Lincoln's day. The Republican Party so successfully met that challenge that it emerged from the Civil War as the champion of a united nation -- in addition to being a Party that unrelentingly fought loose spending and loose programs.

Today our country is being psychologically divided by the confusion and the suspicions that are bred in the United States Senate to spread like cancerous tentacles of "know nothing, suspect everything" attitudes. Today we have a Democratic Administration that has developed a mania for loose spending and loose programs. History is repeating itself -- and the Republican Party again has the opportunity to emerge as the champion of unity and prudence.

The record of the present Democratic Administration has provided us with sufficient campaign issues without the necessity of resorting to political smears. America is rapidly losing its position as leader of the world simply because the Democratic Administration has pitifully failed to provide effective leadership.

The Democratic Administration has completely confused the American people by its daily contradictory grave warnings and optimistic assurances -- that show the people that our Democratic Administration has no idea of where it is going.

The Democratic Administration has greatly lost the confidence of the American people by its complacency to the threat of communism here at home and the leak of vital secrets to Russia through key officials of the Democratic Administration. There are enough proved cases to make this point without diluting our criticism with unproved charges.

Surely these are sufficient reasons to make it clear to the American people that it is time for a change and that a Republican victory is necessary to the security of this country. Surely it is clear that this nation will continue to suffer as long as it is governed by the present ineffective Democratic Administration.

Yet to displace it with a Republican regime embracing a philosophy that lacks political integrity or intellectual honesty would prove equally disastrous to this nation. The nation sorely needs a Republican victory. But I don't want to see the Republican Party ride to political victory on the Four Horsemen of Calumny -- Fear, Ignorance, Bigotry and Smear.

I doubt if the Republican Party could -- simply because I don't believe the American people will uphold any political party that puts political exploitation above national interest. Surely we Republicans aren't that desperate for victory.

I don't want to see the Republican Party win that way. While it might be a fleeting victory for the Republican Party, it would be a more lasting defeat for the American people. Surely it would ultimately be suicide for the Republican Party and the two-party system that has protected our American liberties from the dictatorship of a one party system.

As members of the Minority Party, we do not have the primary authority to formulate the policy of our Government. But we do have the responsibility of rendering constructive criticism, of clarifying issues, of allaying fears by acting as responsible citizens.

As a woman, I wonder how the mothers, wives, sisters and daughters feel about the way in which members of their families have been politically mangled in Senate debate -- and I use the word 'debate' advisedly.

As a United States Senator, I am not proud of the way in which the Senate has been made a publicity platform for irresponsible sensationalism. I am not proud of the reckless abandon in which unproved charges have been hurled from this side of the aisle. I am not proud of the obviously staged, undignified countercharges that have been attempted in retaliation from the other side of the aisle.

I don't like the way the Senate has been made a rendezvous for vilification, for selfish political gain at the sacrifice of individual reputations and national unity. I am not proud of the way we smear outsiders from the Floor of the Senate and hide behind the cloak of congressional immunity and still place ourselves beyond criticism on the Floor of the Senate.

As an American, I am shocked at the way Republicans and Democrats alike are playing directly into the Communist design of "confuse, divide and conquer." As an American, I don't want a Democratic Administration "white wash" or "cover up" any more than I want a Republican smear or witch hunt.

As an American, I condemn a Republican "Fascist" just as much as I condemn a Democrat "Communist." I condemn a Democrat "fascist" just as much as I condemn a Republican "Communist." They are equally dangerous to you and me and to our country. As an American, I want to see our nation recapture the strength and unity it once had when we fought the enemy instead of ourselves.

It is with these thoughts I have drafted what I call a "Declaration of Conscience." I am gratified that Senator Tobey, Senator Aiken, Senator Morse, Senator Ives, Senator Thye and Senator Hendrickson, have concurred in that declaration and have authorized me to announce their concurrence."

Library Hours:
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Margaret Chase Smith Library.

As a result of Senator Chase's speech, the McCarthy era was finally  challenged by the voice of reason. Although the "communist" hearings continued, the public became increasingly skeptical about the process and Senator McCarthy died in 1957, in disgrace.

Americans surely need another voice of reason to create a new paradigm for hope, and to destroy the paranoia currently being sold to the American public, through right wing media.

It's time for Republicans to end to their politics of fear and call, instead, for supporting progressive public policy based on truth.