Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Holding Your Ground

I urge you to view “Frontline’s” "Obama at War" here or at the link below as it dissects the Shakespearean-like Obama dilemma to invade Syria or not. The existential consequences of present day Syria and Iraq are profound. They affect us all as fragmentation in the Middle East means instability in nations there that possess chemical, biological and even nuclear weapons. This is not for the faint of heart since those weapons could be ultimately used on us and have the sanctions of religious leaders to employ them.

The future of the Middle East has since its discovery of black gold been inextricably bound to US coffers. The west inserted its nose into Middle Eastern affairs because of its insatiable lust for oil – the money and power it brings – even if it meant directing the course of Middle East history. It was carved up by the WWI west win in 1917 like a slice of pepperoni. From Mosadeq of 1953 Iran and the Shah that replaced the CIA overthrow to the insipid George W. Bush, Cheney and his neoCon attack on Iraq deposing the despotic glue of the Middle East, Saddam Hussein, the US has engaged in the utter folly of its proboscis insertion into the quagmires of Middle East war. Now with the rise of caliphate-bound ISIS, the US Empire there is at risk of crumbling. This nation cannot sustain the loss of blood and treasure that is permanent Middle East war no matter how much black gold is in them thar hills of the desert.

It is an absurdity to blame the president for not jumping the chemical weapons line he drew in the Syrian sands and attack. The avenue of diplomacy to rid Assad of his chemical weapons emerged as a near miracle carved out by another despot, Vladimir Putin, who coaxed Assad to remove them and avoid more war. This was fortuitous at the time because no one in this nation wanted another eternal Bush quicksand-like war in the Middle East. If the US had attacked Syria then how much blood and treasure would have been lost and to what avail? How long would the footprint of American boots remain on that ground?

Let truth prevail. The key to the US reactive mode in the Middle East is oil, money, empire and power. If there were only dust and sand in the Middle East desert not one US soldier would have been called upon to give his/her life. US attempts at empire must end or it will end us as post World War II US foreign policy has given birth to flaming hatred and resentment of the US around the world. Invading Syria to dethrone Assad would have created more enemies and would have been yet another nightmare. For each friend in the Middle East there is an equal and opposite enemy changing hands like a suit of clothes using American arms and money to kill Americans. The president did not want another war. He was elected to end wars not continue them and he was damned if he invaded Syria and damned by his opponents because he did not.

The real culprit, of course, in hindsight, is the ugly Bush neo-Con fantasy of a 2003 Iraq invasion which was supposed to change that neck of the woods into a flourishing Jeffersonian democracy without realizing the centuries long religious secular civil war divides. The Iraq war was sold and based on the best lies money could buy. Saddam Hussein kept the pressure cooker lid on because he knew the milieu in which he lived. The know-nothing Bush fractured the Middle East by unseating Hussein just what H.W. Bush the father said would happen if he traveled the road to Baghdad. He proved his father right. W. Bush, created Al Qaeda in Iraq morphing into ISIS where it never was before. The chaos he has inflicted in this part of the world is horrific in nature, gargantuan in scope and mega consequential in result.

Good for you , Mr. President. You held your ground. It may be the only ground the US holds there for a very long time!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

By How Much?

More on the Irish equal marriage rights referendum:

"As the official ballot counting continued, the only question appeared to be how large the "yes" margin of victory from Friday's vote would be. Analysts said the "yes" support was likely to exceed 60 percent nationally when official results are announced later Saturday." 


Ireland Gay Marriage Referendum: 'Yes' Campaign Poised for Victory

Ireland Votes on Historic Same-Sex Marriage Referendum

Nightly News
DUBLIN - Ireland appeared to have become the first country in the world to vote for gay marriage Saturday after both sides in its referendum declared a resounding victory for 'Yes' campaigners.

There was a mood of excitement in Dublin as early results showed a high turnout and a strong lead for 'Yes' votes.

Senior figures in the "No" campaign, who sought to prevent Ireland's constitution from being amended to permit same-sex marriage, said the only question was how large the "Yes" side's margin of victory would be. David Quinn, director of the conservative Iona Institute, conceded defeat and congratulated the 'Yes' side.
"There is going to be a very substantial majority for a 'Yes' vote. I'm not at all surprised by that to be honest with you," said Irish Sen. Ronan Mullen, one of only a handful of politicians who campaigned for rejection.

Political analyst Noel Whelan noted that "yes" majorities were being reported even in conservative rural districts and suggested the only question was how large the "yes" majority would be when all ballots in this predominantly Catholic nation of 4.6 million are counted.
Image: Ireland Holds Referendum On Same Sex Marriage Law Charles McQuillan / Getty Images
A Yes campaigner in favour of same-sex marriage takes a selfie at the RDS count centre on May 23, 2015 in Dublin, Ireland.

Government minister Leo Varadkar predicted that voters in the capital had endorsed gay marriage by about 70 percent against 30 percent against.
Official results in the poll, which pitted liberal forces against Ireland's conservative Catholic foundation, are expected later Saturday.

Polling station officials said Ireland could top 60 percent turnout nationally for the first time since the country narrowly voted to legalize divorce in 1995, but was unlikely to reach the 68 percent achieved when the Irish voted to ease access to foreign abortions in 1992.

Backers of gay marriage had hoped for high turnout, reflecting strong participation by young and first-time voters.


Campaigners believe high turnout will carry IRISH Yes vote!!!!!

Take a look at this story here or below. IS this amazing or is this amazing?!!!!!! It's not completely counted yet but our progressive Irish allies put out a MASSIVE effort. This huge turnout is what gets progressives results no matter which country but especially in the US. It is how our president got elected.

GOOD FOR YOU, IRELAND, IF the YES vote prevails in numbers the first national marriage equality by referendum EVER will prevail. The pending results seem good. I'm not claiming marriage equality victory for our Irish progressive brothers and sisters yet as I have seen my hopes dashed too many times but it surely does look that way. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, IRELAND!! IF YOU PREVAIL IT HELPS ALL OF US IN THE WESTERN WORLD BUT ESPECIALLY IN THE US!

We MUST do this and get out the vote en masse to overturn one of the most rancid US Congresses EVER and get Republicans OUT of office so we can have a nation that is not the fear and the laughing stock of the world!


Friday, May 22, 2015

Nuremberg -- shortened

An article I read entitled "In the Same Week, the U.S. and U.K. Hide Their War Crimes by Invoking “National Security" " made me wonder. I thought Nuremberg was supposed to obviate all of this. PBS "Frontline" in its latest episode on American torture states clearly that videotapes showing the torture inflicted by Americans after the invasion of Iraq was nearly unviewable because of their extreme brutality. Congresspersons like Diane Feinstein and others were looking for the films to view but could not because one person, against higher orders, destroyed them. The answer as to why they were destroyed is obvious. Feinstein to her credit read the "Torture Report" in front of the Congress and the nation if the nation cared to hear it albeit much was blackened out as "classified."

It is clear the Nuremberg laws of WWII concerning Nazi war crimes and crimes against humanity are on life support and nearly dead. The question is can we breathe new life into them?

Some writers to their credit have been civil liberties steadfast even as this writer wavered because our adversaries care nothing about inflicting brutality on anyone else and if the enemy wins, my life and many many other innocents most especially journalists would be sacrificed.

My allies on the left rarely talk about the unconscionable actions o f the opposition but more prevalently cite US abuses at the drop of a hat. Yes, I know, we are held to a higher standard because the fundamental building blocks of our nation say we should. But I do not think that should be so. The Nuremberg laws concerning crimes against humanity should be a standard for all humanity. Anyone, any nation state that commit crimes against humanity that rise to Nuremberg heights should be called out for them, tried at the Hague and be made to pay the price!


See Glenn Greenwald's article "In the Same Week, the U.S. and U.K. Hide Their War Crimes by Invoking “National Security" " below: I thought Nuremberg was supposed to obviate all of this. PBS "Frontline" in its latest episode on American torture states clearly that videotapes showing the torture inflicted by Americans after the invasion of Iraq was nearly unviewable because of its extreme brutality. Congresspersons like Diane Finestein and others were looking for the films to view but could not because one person, against higher orders, destroyed them. The answer as to why they were destroyed is obvious. Feinstein to her credit read the "Torture Report" in front of the Congress and the nation if the nation cared to hear albeit it was blackened out as "classified" in many places.

It is clear the Nuremberg laws of WWII concerning Nazi war crimes and crimes against humanity is on life support and nearly dead. The question is can we breathe new life into it?

Glenn Greenwald to his credit has been steadfast even as this writer wavered because our adversaries care nothing about inflicting brutality on anyone else and IF the enemy wins, Glenn's life, mine and many many innocents would be sacrificed.

Glenn Greenwald rarely talks about the unconscionable actions of the opposition but more prevalently cites US abuses at the drop of a hat. Yes, I know, we are held to a higher standard because the fundamental building blocks of our nation say we should. But I do not think that should be so. The Nuremberg laws concerning crimes against humanity should be a standard for all humanity. Anyone, any nation state that commits crimes against humanity should be called out for it, tried at the Hague and pay the price!

The Greenwald article is below.

In the Same Week, the U.S. and U.K. Hide Their War Crimes by Invoking “National Security”

By Glenn Greenwald

Colonel Ian Henderson was a British official dubbed “the Butcher of Bahrain” because of atrocities he repeatedly committed during the 30 years he served as chief security official of that Middle Eastern country. His reign of terror began in 1966 when Bahrain was a British “protectorate” and continued when the post-“independence” Bahraini King retained him in the same position. In 1996, The Independent described him as “the most feared of all secret policemen” in Bahrain, and cited “consistent and compelling evidence that severe beatings and even sexual assaults have been carried out against prisoners under Henderson’s responsibility for well over a decade.”

A 2002 Guardian article reported that “during this time his men allegedly detained and tortured thousands of anti-government activists”; his official acts “included the ransacking of villages, sadistic sexual abuse and using power drills to maim prisoners”; and “on many occasions they are said to have detained children without informing their parents, only to return them months later in body bags.” Needless to say, Col. Henderson was never punished in any way: “although Scotland Yard launched an inquiry into the allegations in 2000, the investigation was dropped the following year.” He was showered with high honors from the U.K.-supported tyrants who ran Bahrain.

Prior to the massacres and rapes over which he presided in Bahrain, Henderson played a leading role in brutally suppressing the Mau Mau insurgency in another British colony, Kenya. In the wake of his Kenya atrocities, he twice won the George Medal, “the 2nd highest, to the George Cross, gallantry medal that a civilian can win.” His brutality against Kenyan insurgents fighting for independence is what led the U.K. government to put him in charge of internal security in Bahrain.

For years, human rights groups have fought to obtain old documents, particularly a 37-year-old diplomatic cable, relating to British responsibility for Henderson’s brutality in Bahrain. Ordinarily, documents more than 30 years old are disclosable, but the British government has fought every step of the way to conceal this cable.

But now, a governmental tribunal ruled largely in favor of the government and held that most of the diplomatic cable shall remain suppressed. The tribunal’s ruling was at least partially based on “secret evidence for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) from a senior diplomat, Edward Oakden, who argued that Britain’s defence interests in Bahrain were of paramount importance”; specifically, “Mr Oakden implied that the release of such information could jeopardise Britain’s new military base in the country.”

The U.K. government loves to demonize others for supporting tyrants even as it snuggles up to virtually every despot in that region. Her Majesty’s Government has a particularly close relationship with Bahrain, where it is constructing a new naval base. The Kingdom is already home to the United States’ Fifth Fleet.

The tribunal’s rationale is that “full disclosure of the document would have ‘an adverse effect on relations’ with Bahrain, where the U.K. is keen to build further economic and defence ties.” In other words, disclosing these facts would make the British and/or the Bahrainis look bad, cause them embarrassment, and could make their close friendship more difficult to sustain. Therefore, the British and Bahraini populations must be denied access to the evidence of what their governments did.

This is the core mindset now prevalent in both the U.S. and U.K. for hiding their crimes from their own populations and then rest of the world: disclosure of what we did will embarrass and shame us, cause anger toward us, and thus harm our “national security.” As these governments endlessly highlight the bad acts of those who are adverse to them, they vigorously hide their own, thus propagandizing their publics into believing that only They — the Other Tribe Over There — commit such acts.

This is exactly the same mentality driving the Obama administration’s years-long effort to suppress photographs showing torture of detainees by the U.S. In 2009, Obama said he would comply with a court ruling that ordered those torture photos disclosed, but weeks after his announcement, reversed himself. Adopting the argument made by a group run by Bill Kristol and Liz Cheney against disclosure of the photos, Obama insisted that to release the photos “would be to further inflame anti-American opinion and to put our troops in danger.” Obama went further and announced his support for a bill sponsored by Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman to amend the Freedom of Information Act — a legislative accomplishment which Rep. Louise Slaughter told me at the time had long been “sacred” to Democrats — for no reason other than to exempt those torture photos from disclosure.

In March of this year, a U.S. judge who had long sided with the Obama DOJ in this matter reversed course. In a lawsuit brought in 2004 by the ACLU, the judge ordered the release of thousands of photos showing detainee abuse in Afghanistan and Iraq, including at Abu Ghraib. He ruled that the Obama DOJ could no longer show any national security harm that would justify ongoing suppression.

Rather than accepting the ruling and releasing the photos after hiding them for more than a decade, the U.S. Justice Department last week filed an emergency request for a stay of that ruling with the appeals court. The argument from The Most Transparent Administration Ever™:
No healthy democracy can possibly function where this warped mindset prevails: we are entitled to hide anything we do that makes us look bad because making us look bad harms “national security,” and we are the ones who make that decision without challenge. As the ACLU’s Jameel Jaffer said:

To allow the government to suppress any image that might provoke someone, somewhere, to violence would be to give the government sweeping power to suppress evidence of its own agents’ misconduct. Giving the government that kind of censorial power would have implications far beyond this specific context.

But even more threatening than the menace to democracy is the propagandized public this mentality guarantees. A government that is able to hide its own atrocities on “national security” grounds will be one whose public endlessly focuses on the crimes of others while remaining blissfully unaware of one’s own nation. That is an excellent description of much of the American and British public, and as good an explanation as any why much of their public discourse consists of little more than proclamations that Our Side is Better despite the decades of brutality, aggression and militarism their own side has perpetrated.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Leaving Iraq

The mainstream media does not hit Jeb and the other Republican candidates hard when they erroneously say it is Obama's fault for Iraq's present mayhem, the rise of ISIS and how the surge troops worked so swell to contain it. It did NOT work so swell. There were bombings and destruction every day. US troops continued to have to endure horrific IED and other attacks killing hundreds. The insurgency may have been slowed down but it did not stop. Iraqis and others did NOT want American troops there and a STATUS OF FORCES AGREEMENT was signed by GEORGE W. BUSH promising a date certain the US would leave.

Obama was (1) living up to the signed agreement and (2) doing exactly what he was elected to do get out of Iraq. Jeb Bush and other Republicans except for Rand Paul are saying their policy would be to return to Iraq. Are they kidding? And how many body bags would it take if Obama had kept them there (which he did keep some troops there and some are even on the ground still) to achieve our illusive goal? How many would the American people have to see before there was an outcry - 3 body bags, 30, 60, 100, 1000 PLUS.

If the US stayed how much longer would we stay -- forever maybe? Oh yeah we still have troops in Germany and Japan BUT they ceased fighting WWII and established governments western style because they were DIFFERENT cultures and the Marshall plan saw to it that Versailles of WWI disaster would not be repeated again. Religious fanaticism no matter what it is will allow people to do horrific things into eternity because everyone thinks God is on their side.

Would the American public if we stayed and committed more and more troops have paid the bill when our infrastructure is crumbling by the second when oil the BEAST of ALL our huge problems remains the energy of choice and is killing us?

Between the oil spills destroying oceans, sea life and the ecosystem it has been the cause of climate change of constant droughts, floods, hurricanes and tornadoes all over the planet including the Middle East. Climate change will affect war and has. Fossil fuels are the direct cause of climate change and horrific weather events into the vast future.

Moreover, oil is the cause of war in the Middle East otherwise we would not have given a rat's petuti about that neck of the woods. It has propelled US and CIA interventionist behavior in the Middle East exactly what fundamentalists use as a rationale to hate America and to hurt America. Bin Laden said it in the documents retrieved at his capture.

Climate change, war, and destruction of the ecosystem are the quagmires in which the US is involved because we cannot get oil and its money monkey OFF OUR BACKS.

So how about saying loud and clear this Middle East mayhem is NOT Obama's fault. How many more TRILLIONS of American bucks and gallons of American blood would the American people want to waste in Iraq and in the larger Middle East? We have wasted TRILLIONS on a Bush and neo con FANTASY that the Middle East would be turned into a Jeffersonian paradise and oh yes put trillions into the war industrialists' pockets at the same time.

CNN and Wolf Blitzer with his Republican friends do NOT bring all factors up strongly. Fox is hopeless and NBC News, CBS news and ABC news is not far behind. Since they are the ONLY source for most American's daily diet of news it is important to speak the TRUTH.

Teach the American public, whose knowledge of US involvement in the Middle East extends for about one day, why we are in Iraq. It was NOT about removing tyrants to spread democracy. The US works perfectly well with tyrants as long as they support our economic policies. Tell them about Mosadeq in Iran, tell them about the rancid Shah and his gestapo-like police Savak we set up in Iran and the rationale for the Islamic overthrow of it, tell them about WWI and how Iraq was carved up by the west. Tell them WHY an Iraqi threw a shoe, an insult supreme, at George Bush.



Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Obama frames climate change as national security threat

I paste the article entitled above appearing in today's Globe here and below.

Republican know nothings think taking action on climate change could hurt the economy. How about the uber extreme weather events that have already happened hurting the economy? How about if those weather events hurt the nation so that we have NO economy? 

These utter nincompoops many of them if not most of them Republicans have one big disadvantage: their powers of intellect and rational thought are genetically damaged. It must be in their DNA. No one could be that stupid with a normal brain!




Tuesday, May 19, 2015

One More Shot at Mad Men

I waited to read the Globe's Matthew Gilbert's review of "Mad Men" link here or below because his opinions are valued but I wanted to come to my own conclusion about the "Mad Men" conclusion.

The first words out of my mouth explained my first reaction to the ending of "Mad Men" best: WAAAAAHHHT? Then I sat and then slept on it rolling it over in my mind like a clothes dryer trying to dry a big load of clothes. I am still mulling it over.

I do not know whether I am easily influenced by my betters but I think Gilbert's review gave me my final answer. A thumbs up to Weiner who gave us not only an interesting ending but a snap shot of 1950's, early 1960's, late 1960's and early 1970's America the analysis of which has always touched my soul because I experienced it.

Like 1929 and FDR influenced my parents on most everything the eras that encompass "Mad Men" influenced me on most everything. In the 1950's I drank a toast to the president Ike Eisenhower with milk as shown on Boston's "Big Brother Bob Emry Show," I mourned the JFK tragedy as all those I knew did, then I went to Boston University, the Berkeley of the east, in the late 60's where Howard Zinn and others captured my political heart.

"Mad Men" meant so much to me because I lived it. There is truth to Weiner's ending as I experience life now. The revolution of the late 1960's had its raging waters calmed. It never did turn out as I thought it would. Gene McCarthy would never be president, Robert Kennedy was assassinated as was Martin Luther King. But life went on despite the tragedies of those eras. In 2008 we elected a black president something I never thought possible. It was possible though and we did it. Don Draper thought down and out when he sat on the ground after his life's most explosive trials saying he could not move. He did move, though, back into the world as he knew it to create the beautiful Coke commercial I happened to love.

"Mad Men" is about birth, it is about death and it is about rebirth to give life one more shot (no pun intended!)

Elizabeth Warren in CA--A Price Above Rubies

Elizabeth Warren rouses California Democrats: 'America is ready to stand with us'

If you can get the Youtube of her speech to the LA Democratic convention do so. It was electric! Larry O'Donnell had a tape of it on last night. You can Google "The Last Word" and perhaps get it. It's worth hearing and then spread it far and wide! I paste the LA Times story of it here or below.

This woman is a diamond in our pocket and she is our Massachusetts senator. Never since Senator Charles Sumner, anti-slavery senator from Mass., have we had someone so brilliant, articulate, charismatic and inspiring. She puts her academic knowledge of economics having taught it to work and relates it to the American people. She is our price above rubies!

Elizabeth Warren rouses California Democrats: 'America is ready to stand with us'

Monday, May 18, 2015

What Works

"The GOP Is Dying Off. Literally" - Daniel J. McGraw

Link here or below my thoughts.

If Republicans do not accept the dictates of science from the biology of evolution to the science of climate change they will die out. One cannot argue with solid science. When it is correct based on repeated testing and verification of many other scientists it is truth.

cannot say I will not be vaccinated against small pox because, as some Muslims, Christian religious fanatics and others falsely say -- it is a plot to inject them with tainted vaccine or a plot to make a buck.  If you reject vaccines your culture will become infected and with no modern medical treatment will die off eventually. If one gets a disease it is not a big deal but if an entire population is infected it is a big deal.

We must hope in the end those with intellect and rational thought who do not reject the truth of science prevail. If it is as the title of the article above says that the GOP is dying out then it is to the benefit of all of us. It should die out as it is woefully lacking the rational thought gene.  Our species will cease to exist if deniers of truth politically win for long periods of time.

One could say that about large parts of the Middle East. If ISIS and religious myth win so that fanatical religion prevails a people will ultimately never be able to sustain a system with all that entails over centuries. People die if they do not have proper food, water, and sound medical treatment delivery systems. One needs science and the contribution of all within its culture, including women who make up over half the population, to create a technologically advanced system.

Cultures -- all cultures --  must reject myths that keep them down, ignorant, empower and make rich the few leaving the rest to wither on the vine. It is true for all religious orthodoxies and other strict ideological belief systems. China and Russia are good examples. They managed, with little violence, to get into the business of rational economic thought, rejecting cemented ideological beliefs for economics that work. The west has done that generally. Survival of the fittest is the first law of nature.  The Chinese figured that out in recent history.  Strict Communist ideological belief could not provide appropriate numbers of goods and services for its huge populous. It switched to a mixed economy.

A people and a culture cannot advance if they are based on superstition, myth, lies and irrational thought. Human beings -- homo sapiens (wise man) -- must live up to its archeological appellation and accept the dictates of prevailing science as slowly but surely we see throughout the millennia science works!