(Banking Reform - Monetary Reform) - '..debt is our biggest security threat..' (no replies)        
'Now that he is president, Trump likes to tout the fact he’s listening to America’s generals. Perhaps he needs to talk to General Mike Millen, the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Perhaps then he would see that the greatest threat America faces isn’t from China, Russia, or North Korea – it is from the national debt. Until Trump reverses course on military spending, and gets tough on entitlements, his "America First" budget will only make the US worse off.'

- Tho Bishop (Source, March 20, 2017)


'..a crippling national debt..'

'Under a Republican budget resolution, the national debt will explode by a third from an already staggering $19 billion to $29 trillion over the next ten years. Although counterintuitive, Democratic presidents, at least those after World War II, have reduced deficits as a portion of the value of the national economy (GDP) while Republican presidents have increased them — thus accumulating less public debt as a percentage of GDP. Yet neither political party has paid enough attention to this burgeoning national security problem.

National security problem? Yes. General Mike Mullen, while he was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the nation’s top military man, was enlightened enough about long-term health of American power to realize that it takes continuing infusions of money to acquire the weapons and equipment, personnel, training, maintenance and benefits to create a credible military to adequately defend the country. In addition, all other indices of national power — political, diplomatic and cultural — require money too.

To generate those resources, a strong economy is needed. The number one problem dragging down economic growth rates through the George W. Bush and Barack Obama presidencies was a crippling national debt..'

- Ivan Eland, National debt is our biggest security threat: Column, January 11, 2017


Context

'..World Debt Hits $152 Trillion.'

'Our nation and the world are paying a very heavy price for a failed experiment in Inflationism..' - Doug Noland

'..Global policies since the 2008 crisis have spurred the expansion of speculative finance to multiples of pre-crisis levels..'


'Germany Plans to Cut 2017 Debt Sales .. Balanced-Budget..'

'..monetary knowledge .. of currency reform under difficult conditions you have to go to Carl Menger.'

(Banking Reform - Monetary Reform) - '..The Theory of Money and Credit .. an invaluable guide for ending the business cycles of our own time.'


(Banking Reform - English/Dutch) '..a truly stable financial and monetary system for the twenty-first century..'

          Update (February 11, 2017) - '..ethical standards..' ('.. Dr. Bates appeared to distance himself from some of what he wrote in the blog post..') (no replies)        
Update February 11, 2017: 'In an interview on Monday with E&E News, Dr. Bates appeared to distance himself from some of what he wrote in the blog post, and from the way his criticisms were portrayed in the Mail on Sunday article.

“The issue here is not an issue of tampering with data,” he said, “but rather really of timing of a release of a paper that had not properly disclosed everything it was.”

Climate Home, a nonprofit site based in London that offers news and analysis, also weighed in on one of the central contentions of Mr. Rose’s article, that the publication of the NOAA paper had "duped” policy makers into adopting the Paris accord. The site contacted representatives to the talks from 10 countries; none said that the paper had any influence.'

- Henry Fountain, No Data Manipulation in 2015 Climate Study, Researchers Say, February 7, 2016


Update February 09, 2017: 'Dr Bates’ main complaint is that Dr Karl and his co-authors did not follow strict procedures required for NOAA’s ‘operational’ data. It is not yet clear whether Dr Karl should have subjected his research data to the same procedures. Dr Karl, who retired from NOAA in August 2016, has not yet had the opportunity to respond fully to Dr Bates’ allegations.'

- LSE: More fake news in ‘The Mail on Sunday’, February 5, 2017 (Wikipedia Bans Daily Mail As 'Unreliable' Source, February 08, 2017))


'..a failure to observe proper ethical standards..'

'Dr John Bates’s disclosures about the manipulation of data behind the ‘Pausebuster’ paper is the biggest scientific scandal since ‘Climategate’ in 2009 when, as this paper reported, thousands of leaked emails revealed scientists were trying to block access to data, and using a ‘trick’ to conceal embarrassing flaws in their claims about global warming.

Both scandals suggest a lack of transparency and, according to Dr Bates, a failure to observe proper ethical standards.

Because of NOAA ’s failure to ‘archive’ data used in the paper, its results can never be verified.

Like Climategate, this scandal is likely to reverberate around the world, and reignite some of science’s most hotly contested debates.'

- Exposed: How world leaders were duped into investing billions over manipulated global warming data, February 4, 2017


'Whatever takes its place, said Dr Bates, ‘there needs to be a fundamental change to the way NOAA deals with data so that people can check and validate scientific results. I’m hoping that this will be a wake-up call to the climate science community – a signal that we have to put in place processes to make sure this kind of crap doesn’t happen again.

..

Dr Bates said: ‘How ironic it is that there is now this idea that Trump is going to trash climate data, when key decisions were earlier taken by someone whose responsibility it was to maintain its integrity – and failed.’ '


'Dr Bates retired from NOAA at the end of last year after a 40-year career in meteorology and climate science. As recently as 2014, the Obama administration awarded him a special gold medal for his work in setting new, supposedly binding standards ‘to produce and preserve climate data records’.

..

Less than two years earlier, a blockbuster report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which drew on the work of hundreds of scientists around the world, had found ‘a much smaller increasing trend over the past 15 years 1998-2012 than over the past 30 to 60 years’. Explaining the pause became a key issue for climate science. It was seized on by global warming sceptics, because the level of CO2 in the atmosphere had continued to rise.

..

In the weeks after the Pausebuster paper was published, Dr Bates conducted a one-man investigation into this. His findings were extraordinary. Not only had Mr Karl and his colleagues failed to follow any of the formal procedures required to approve and archive their data, they had used a ‘highly experimental early run’ of a programme that tried to combine two previously separate sets of records.

..

Dr Bates revealed that the failure to archive and make available fully documented data not only violated NOAA rules, but also those set down by Science. Before he retired last year, he continued to raise the issue internally. Then came the final bombshell. Dr Bates said: ‘I learned that the computer used to process the software had suffered a complete failure.’

The reason for the failure is unknown, but it means the Pausebuster paper can never be replicated or verified by other scientists.

..

Whatever takes its place, said Dr Bates, ‘there needs to be a fundamental change to the way NOAA deals with data so that people can check and validate scientific results. I’m hoping that this will be a wake-up call to the climate science community – a signal that we have to put in place processes to make sure this kind of crap doesn’t happen again.

Dr Bates said: ‘How ironic it is that there is now this idea that Trump is going to trash climate data, when key decisions were earlier taken by someone whose responsibility it was to maintain its integrity – and failed.’

NOAA not only failed, but it effectively mounted a cover-up when challenged over its data. After the paper was published, the US House of Representatives Science Committee launched an inquiry into its Pausebuster claims. NOAA refused to comply with subpoenas demanding internal emails from the committee chairman, the Texas Republican Lamar Smith, and falsely claimed that no one had raised concerns about the paper internally.'

- Exposed: How world leaders were duped into investing billions over manipulated global warming data, February 4, 2017


Context '..conduct more meetings on ethics .. Respectful discussion of different points of view should be encouraged.' - John Bates

Climategate: Follow the Money - By Bret Stephens

Those Who Control the Past Control the Future, Climate Data Edition, February 5, 2017

'..Earth is warming more rapidly than previously thought was correct..'


'Trees are the best known ‘technology’ to cool our planet'

Focus Fusion - '..So, production reactors by 2020 or so.'

(Earth Defence - Earth Shield) - Faraday - Tesla - 'The Accelerating Winds of Venus.' (Electric Universe - Solar Climate Change)


(The Electric Universe - Earth Defence - Earth Shield) - Electric Fossils and Thundercrabs

(The Electric Universe) - '..weather systems .. an electric “wind” surrounds and often precedes an electric arc.'

(Thymology - Haptopraxeology) - '..entrepreneurship .. actions he will carry out and estimates the future effect of those actions..'


'...The peer review process is broken...' - '...don't have the "situational awareness"...'

On the Mail on Sunday article on Karl et al., 2015, February 5, 2017

          'We have no experience in stopping a nuclear war.' - Sidney Drell (no replies)        
'..My greatest concern is the lack of public awareness about this existential threat, the absence of a vigorous public debate about the nuclear-war plans of Russia and the United States, the silent consent to the roughly fifteen thousand nuclear weapons in the world. These machines have been carefully and ingeniously designed to kill us. Complacency increases the odds that, some day, they will. The “Titanic Effect” is a term used by software designers to explain how things can quietly go wrong in a complex technological system: the safer you assume the system to be, the more dangerous it is becoming.'

'The harsh rhetoric on both sides increases the danger of miscalculations and mistakes, as do other factors. Close encounters between the military aircraft of the United States and Russia have become routine, creating the potential for an unintended conflict. Many of the nuclear-weapon systems on both sides are aging and obsolete. The personnel who operate those systems often suffer from poor morale and poor training. None of their senior officers has firsthand experience making decisions during an actual nuclear crisis. And today’s command-and-control systems must contend with threats that barely existed during the Cold War: malware, spyware, worms, bugs, viruses, corrupted firmware, logic bombs, Trojan horses, and all the other modern tools of cyber warfare. The greatest danger is posed not by any technological innovation but by a dilemma that has haunted nuclear strategy since the first detonation of an atomic bomb: How do you prevent a nuclear attack while preserving the ability to launch one?

..

..the Cuban Missile Crisis, when a series of misperceptions, miscalculations, and command-and-control problems almost started an accidental nuclear war—despite the determination of both John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev to avoid one. In perhaps the most dangerous incident, the captain of a Soviet submarine mistakenly believed that his vessel was under attack by U.S. warships and ordered the firing of a torpedo armed with a nuclear warhead. His order was blocked by a fellow officer. Had the torpedo been fired, the United States would have retaliated with nuclear weapons. At the height of the crisis, while leaving the White House on a beautiful fall evening, McNamara had a strong feeling of dread—and for good reason: “I feared I might never live to see another Saturday night.”

..

The personnel who command, operate, and maintain the Minuteman III have also become grounds for concern. In 2013, the two-star general in charge of the entire Minuteman force was removed from duty after going on a drunken bender during a visit to Russia, behaving inappropriately with young Russian women, asking repeatedly if he could sing with a Beatles cover band at a Mexican restaurant in Moscow, and insulting his military hosts. The following year, almost a hundred Minuteman launch officers were disciplined for cheating on their proficiency exams. In 2015, three launch officers at Malmstrom Air Force Base, in Montana, were dismissed for using illegal drugs, including ecstasy, cocaine, and amphetamines. That same year, a launch officer at Minot Air Force Base, in North Dakota, was sentenced to twenty-five years in prison for heading a violent street gang, distributing drugs, sexually assaulting a girl under the age of sixteen, and using psilocybin, a powerful hallucinogen. As the job title implies, launch officers are entrusted with the keys for launching intercontinental ballistic missiles.

..

..A recent memoir, “Uncommon Cause,” written by General George Lee Butler, reveals that the Pentagon was not telling the truth. Butler was the head of the U.S. Strategic Command, responsible for all of America’s nuclear weapons, during the Administration of President George H. W. Bush.

According to Butler and Franklin Miller, a former director of strategic-forces policy at the Pentagon, launch-on-warning was an essential part of the Single Integrated Operational Plan (siop), the nation’s nuclear-war plan. Land-based missiles like the Minuteman III were aimed at some of the most important targets in the Soviet Union, including its anti-aircraft sites. If the Minuteman missiles were destroyed before liftoff, the siop would go awry, and American bombers might be shot down before reaching their targets. In order to prevail in a nuclear war, the siop had become dependent on getting Minuteman missiles off the ground immediately. Butler’s immersion in the details of the nuclear command-and-control system left him dismayed. “With the possible exception of the Soviet nuclear war plan, [the siop] was the single most absurd and irresponsible document I had ever reviewed in my life,” Butler concluded. “We escaped the Cold War without a nuclear holocaust by some combination of skill, luck, and divine intervention, and I suspect the latter in greatest proportion.” The siop called for the destruction of twelve thousand targets within the Soviet Union. Moscow would be struck by four hundred nuclear weapons; Kiev, the capital of the Ukraine, by about forty.

After the end of the Cold War, a Russian surprise attack became extremely unlikely. Nevertheless, hundreds of Minuteman III missiles remained on alert. The Cold War strategy endured because, in theory, it deterred a Russian attack on the missiles. McNamara called the policy “insane,” arguing that “there’s no military requirement for it.” George W. Bush, while running for President in 2000, criticized launch-on-warning, citing the “unacceptable risks of accidental or unauthorized launch.” Barack Obama, while running for President in 2008, promised to take Minuteman missiles off alert, warning that policies like launch-on-warning “increase the risk of catastrophic accidents or miscalculation.” Twenty scientists who have won the Nobel Prize, as well as the Union of Concerned Scientists, have expressed strong opposition to retaining a launch-on-warning capability. It has also been opposed by former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of State George Shultz, and former Senator Sam Nunn. And yet the Minuteman III missiles still sit in their silos today, armed with warheads, ready to go.

William J. Perry, who served as Secretary of Defense during the Clinton Administration, not only opposes keeping Minuteman III missiles on alert but advocates getting rid of them entirely. “These missiles are some of the most dangerous weapons in the world,” Perry wrote in the Times, this September. For many reasons, he thinks the risk of a nuclear catastrophe is greater today than it was during the Cold War. While serving as an Under-Secretary of Defense in 1980, Perry also received a late-night call about an impending Soviet attack, a false alarm that still haunts him. “A catastrophic nuclear war could have started by accident.”

Bruce Blair, a former Minuteman launch officer, heads the anti-nuclear group Global Zero, teaches at Princeton University, and campaigns against a launch-on-warning policy. Blair has described the stresses that the warning of a Russian attack would put on America’s command-and-control system. American early-warning satellites would detect Russian missiles within three minutes of their launch. Officers at norad would confer for an additional three minutes, checking sensors to decide if an attack was actually occurring. The Integrated Tactical Warning/Attack System collects data from at least two independent information sources, relying on different physical principles, such as ground-based radar and satellite-based infrared sensors. If the norad officials thought that the warning was legitimate, the President of the United States would be contacted. He or she would remove the Black Book from a briefcase carried by a military aide. The Black Book describes nuclear retaliatory options, presented in cartoon-like illustrations that can be quickly understood.

..

Although the Air Force publicly dismissed the threat of a cyberattack on the nuclear command-and-control system, the incident raised alarm within the Pentagon about the system’s vulnerability. A malfunction that occurred by accident might also be caused deliberately. Those concerns were reinforced by a Defense Science Board report in January, 2013. It found that the Pentagon’s computer networks had been “built on inherently insecure architectures that are composed of, and increasingly using, foreign parts.” Red teams employed by the board were able to disrupt Pentagon systems with “relative ease,” using tools available on the Internet. “The complexity of modern software and hardware makes it difficult, if not impossible, to develop components without flaws or to detect malicious insertions,” the report concluded.

In a recent paper for the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies, Andrew Futter, an associate professor at the University of Leicester, suggested that a nuclear command-and-control system might be hacked to gather intelligence about the system, to shut down the system, to spoof it, mislead it, or cause it to take some sort of action—like launching a missile. And, he wrote, there are a variety of ways it might be done.

..

Strict precautions have been taken to thwart a cyberattack on the U.S. nuclear command-and-control system. Every line of nuclear code has been scrutinized for errors and bugs. The system is “air-gapped,” meaning that its networks are closed: someone can’t just go onto the Internet and tap into a computer at a Minuteman III control center. At least, that’s the theory. Russia, China, and North Korea have sophisticated cyber-warfare programs and techniques. General James Cartwright—the former head of the U.S. Strategic Command who recently pleaded guilty to leaking information about Stuxnet—thinks that it’s reasonable to believe the system has already been penetrated. “You’ve either been hacked, and you’re not admitting it, or you’re being hacked and don’t know it,” Cartwright said last year.

If communications between Minuteman control centers and their missiles are interrupted, the missiles can still be launched by ultra-high-frequency radio signals transmitted by special military aircraft. The ability to launch missiles by radio serves as a backup to the control centers—and also creates an entry point into the network that could be exploited in a cyberattack. The messages sent within the nuclear command-and-control system are highly encrypted. Launch codes are split in two, and no single person is allowed to know both parts. But the complete code is stored in computers—where it could be obtained or corrupted by an insider.

Some of America’s most secret secrets were recently hacked and stolen by a couple of private contractors working inside the N.S.A., Edward Snowden and Harold T. Martin III, both employees of Booz Allen Hamilton. The N.S.A. is responsible for generating and encrypting the nuclear launch codes. And the security of the nuclear command-and-control system is being assured not only by government officials but also by the employees of private firms, including software engineers who work for Boeing, Amazon, and Microsoft.

Lord Des Browne, a former U.K. Minister of Defense, is concerned that even ballistic-missile submarines may be compromised by malware. Browne is now the vice-chairman of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a nonprofit seeking to reduce the danger posed by weapons of mass destruction, where he heads a task force examining the risk of cyberattacks on nuclear command-and-control systems. Browne thinks that the cyber threat is being cavalierly dismissed by many in power. The Royal Navy’s decision to save money by using Windows for Submarines, a version of Windows XP, as the operating system for its ballistic-missile subs seems especially shortsighted. Windows XP was discontinued six years ago, and Microsoft warned that any computer running it after April, 2014, “should not be considered protected as there will be no security updates.” Each of the U.K. subs has eight missiles carrying a total of forty nuclear weapons. “It is shocking to think that my home computer is probably running a newer version of Windows than the U.K.’s military submarines,” Brown said.In 2013, General C. Robert Kehler, the head of the U.S. Strategic Command, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee about the risk of cyberattacks on the nuclear command-and-control system. He expressed confidence that the U.S. system was secure. When Senator Bill Nelson asked if somebody could hack into the Russian or Chinese systems and launch a ballistic missile carrying a nuclear warhead, Kehler replied, “Senator, I don’t know . . . I do not know.”

After the debacle of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Soviet Union became much more reluctant to provoke a nuclear confrontation with the United States. Its politburo was a committee of conservative old men. Russia’s leadership is quite different today. The current mix of nationalism, xenophobia, and vehement anti-Americanism in Moscow is a far cry from the more staid and secular ideology guiding the Soviet Union in the nineteen-eighties. During the past few years, threats about the use of nuclear weapons have become commonplace in Moscow. Dmitry Kiselyov, a popular newscaster and the Kremlin’s leading propagandist, reminded viewers in 2014 that Russia is “the only country in the world capable of turning the U.S.A. into radioactive dust.” The Kremlin has acknowledged the development of a nuclear torpedo that can travel more than six thousand miles underwater before devastating a coastal city. It has also boasted about a fearsome new missile design. Nicknamed “Satan 2” and deployed with up to sixteen nuclear warheads, the missile will be “capable of wiping out parts of the earth the size of Texas or France,” an official news agency claimed.

..

Russia’s greatest strategic vulnerability is the lack of a sophisticated and effective early-warning system. The Soviet Union had almost a dozen satellites in orbit that could detect a large-scale American attack. The system began to deteriorate in 1996, when an early-warning satellite had to be retired. Others soon fell out of orbit, and Russia’s last functional early-warning satellite went out of service two years ago. Until a new network of satellites can be placed in orbit, the country must depend on ground-based radar units. Unlike the United States, Russia no longer has two separate means of validating an attack warning. At best, the radar units can spot warheads only minutes before they land. Pavel Podvig, a senior fellow at the U.N. Institute for Disarmament Research, believes that Russia does not have a launch-on-warning policy—because its early-warning system is so limited.

For the past nine years, I’ve been immersed in the minutiae of nuclear command and control, trying to understand the actual level of risk. Of all the people whom I’ve met in the nuclear realm, Sidney Drell was one of the most brilliant and impressive. Drell died this week, at the age of ninety. A theoretical physicist with expertise in quantum field theory and quantum chromodynamics, he was for many years the deputy director of the Stanford Linear Accelerator and received the National Medal of Science from Obama, in 2013. Drell was one of the founding members of jason—a group of civilian scientists that advises the government on important technological matters—and for fifty-six years possessed a Q clearance, granting him access to the highest level of classified information. Drell participated in top-secret discussions about nuclear strategy for decades, headed a panel that investigated nuclear-weapon safety for the U.S. Congress in 1990, and worked on technical issues for jason until the end of his life. A few months ago, when I asked for his opinion about launch-on-warning, Drell said, “It’s insane, the worst thing I can think of. You can’t have a worse idea.”

Drell was an undergraduate at Princeton University when Hiroshima and Nagasaki were destroyed. Given all the close calls and mistakes in the seventy-one years since then, he considered it a miracle that no other cities have been destroyed by a nuclear weapon—“it is so far beyond my normal optimism.” The prospect of a new cold war—and the return of military strategies that advocate using nuclear weapons on the battlefield—deeply unnerved him. Once the first nuclear weapon detonates, nothing might prevent the conflict from spiralling out of control. “We have no experience in stopping a nuclear war,” he said.

..

Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin confront a stark choice: begin another nuclear-arms race or reduce the threat of nuclear war. Trump now has a unique opportunity to pursue the latter, despite the bluster and posturing on both sides. His admiration for Putin, regardless of its merits, could provide the basis for meaningful discussions about how to minimize nuclear risks. Last year, General James Mattis, the former Marine chosen by Trump to serve as Secretary of Defense, called for a fundamental reappraisal of American nuclear strategy and questioned the need for land-based missiles. During Senate testimony, Mattis suggested that getting rid of such missiles would “reduce the false-alarm danger.” Contrary to expectations, Republican Presidents have proved much more successful than their Democratic counterparts at nuclear disarmament. President George H. W. Bush cut the size of the American arsenal in half, as did his son, President George W. Bush. And President Ronald Reagan came close to negotiating a treaty with the Soviet Union that would have completely abolished nuclear weapons.

Every technology embodies the values of the age in which it was created. When the atomic bomb was being developed in the mid-nineteen-forties, the destruction of cities and the deliberate targeting of civilians was just another military tactic. It was championed as a means to victory. The Geneva Conventions later classified those practices as war crimes—and yet nuclear weapons have no other real use. They threaten and endanger noncombatants for the sake of deterrence. Conventional weapons can now be employed to destroy every kind of military target, and twenty-first-century warfare puts an emphasis on precision strikes, cyberweapons, and minimizing civilian casualties. As a technology, nuclear weapons have become obsolete. What worries me most isn’t the possibility of a cyberattack, a technical glitch, or a misunderstanding starting a nuclear war sometime next week. My greatest concern is the lack of public awareness about this existential threat, the absence of a vigorous public debate about the nuclear-war plans of Russia and the United States, the silent consent to the roughly fifteen thousand nuclear weapons in the world. These machines have been carefully and ingeniously designed to kill us. Complacency increases the odds that, some day, they will. The “Titanic Effect” is a term used by software designers to explain how things can quietly go wrong in a complex technological system: the safer you assume the system to be, the more dangerous it is becoming.'

- Eric Schlosser, World War Three, By Mistake, December 23, 2016


Context

The International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons

          '..Russia .. cyberpower proved the perfect weapon .. political sabotage..' (no replies)        
' “We’d have all these circular meetings,” one senior State Department official said, “in which everyone agreed you had to push back at the Russians and push back hard. But it didn’t happen.”

..

Mr. Putin, a student of martial arts, had turned two institutions at the core of American democracy — political campaigns and independent media — to his own ends..

..

..The Russians clearly had a more sophisticated understanding of American politics, and they were masters of “kompromat,” their term for compromising information.

..

..the hackings of the State Department, the White House and the Pentagon..

..

What seems clear is that Russian hacking, given its success, is not going to stop. Two weeks ago, the German intelligence chief, Bruno Kahl, warned that Russia might target elections in Germany next year. “The perpetrators have an interest to delegitimize the democratic process as such,” Mr. Kahl said. Now, he added, “Europe is in the focus of these attempts of disturbance, and Germany to a particularly great extent.” '



'..the White House’s reluctance to respond forcefully meant the Russians have not paid a heavy price for their actions, a decision that could prove critical in deterring future cyberattacks.

..

..President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia moved beyond mere espionage to deliberately try to subvert American democracy and pick the winner of the presidential election.

..

..A low-cost, high-impact weapon that Russia had test-fired in elections from Ukraine to Europe was trained on the United States, with devastating effectiveness. For Russia, with an enfeebled economy and a nuclear arsenal it cannot use short of all-out war, cyberpower proved the perfect weapon: cheap, hard to see coming, hard to trace.

..

The United States had two decades of warning that Russia’s intelligence agencies were trying to break into America’s most sensitive computer networks. But the Russians have always managed to stay a step ahead.

Their first major attack was detected on Oct. 7, 1996, when a computer operator at the Colorado School of Mines discovered some nighttime computer activity he could not explain. The school had a major contract with the Navy, and the operator warned his contacts there. But as happened two decades later at the D.N.C., at first “everyone was unable to connect the dots,” said Thomas Rid, a scholar at King’s College in London who has studied the attack.

Investigators gave it a name — Moonlight Maze — and spent two years, often working day and night, tracing how it hopped from the Navy to the Department of Energy to the Air Force and NASA. In the end, they concluded that the total number of files stolen, if printed and stacked, would be taller than the Washington Monument.

Whole weapons designs were flowing out the door, and it was a first taste of what was to come: an escalating campaign of cyberattacks around the world.

..

The Russians were also quicker to turn their attacks to political purposes. A 2007 cyberattack on Estonia, a former Soviet republic that had joined NATO, sent a message that Russia could paralyze the country without invading it. The next year cyberattacks were used during Russia’s war with Georgia.

..

Mr. Obama was briefed regularly on all this, but he made a decision that many in the White House now regret: He did not name Russians publicly, or issue sanctions. There was always a reason: fear of escalating a cyberwar, and concern that the United States needed Russia’s cooperation in negotiations over Syria.

“We’d have all these circular meetings,” one senior State Department official said, “in which everyone agreed you had to push back at the Russians and push back hard. But it didn’t happen.”

..

Last year, the attacks became more aggressive. Russia hacked a major French television station, frying critical hardware. Around Christmas, it attacked part of the power grid in Ukraine, dropping a portion of the country into darkness, killing backup generators and taking control of generators. In retrospect, it was a warning shot.

..

..CrowdStrike’s nicknames for the two Russian hacking groups that the firm found at work inside the D.N.C. network. Cozy Bear — the group also known as the Dukes or A.P.T. 29, for “advanced persistent threat” — may or may not be associated with the F.S.B., the main successor to the Soviet-era K.G.B., but it is widely believed to be a Russian government operation. It made its first appearance in 2014, said Dmitri Alperovitch, CrowdStrike’s co-founder and chief technology officer.

..

Only in March 2016 did Fancy Bear show up — first penetrating the computers of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and then jumping to the D.N.C., investigators believe. Fancy Bear, sometimes called A.P.T. 28 and believed to be directed by the G.R.U., Russia’s military intelligence agency, is an older outfit, tracked by Western investigators for nearly a decade. It was Fancy Bear that got hold of Mr. Podesta’s email.

..

It was bad enough that Russian hackers had been spying inside the committee’s network for months. Now the public release of documents had turned a conventional espionage operation into something far more menacing: political sabotage, an unpredictable, uncontrollable menace for Democratic campaigns.

..

Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder and editor, has resisted the conclusion that his site became a pass-through for Russian hackers working for Mr. Putin’s government or that he was deliberately trying to undermine Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy. But the evidence on both counts appears compelling.

..

Mr. Putin, a student of martial arts, had turned two institutions at the core of American democracy — political campaigns and independent media — to his own ends. The media’s appetite for the hacked material, and its focus on the gossipy content instead of the Russian source, disturbed some of those whose personal emails were being reposted across the web.

..

In late 2014, hackers working for Kim Jong-un, the North’s young and unpredictable leader, had carried out a well-planned attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment intended to stop the Christmastime release of a comedy about a C.I.A. plot to kill Mr. Kim.

In that case, embarrassing emails had also been released. But the real damage was done to Sony’s own systems: More than 70 percent of its computers melted down when a particularly virulent form of malware was released. Within weeks, intelligence agencies traced the attack back to the North and its leadership. Mr. Obama called North Korea out in public, and issued some not-very-effective sanctions. The Chinese even cooperated, briefly cutting off the North’s internet connections.

As the first Situation Room meetings on the Russian hacking began in July, “it was clear that Russia was going to be a much more complicated case,” said one participant. The Russians clearly had a more sophisticated understanding of American politics, and they were masters of “kompromat,” their term for compromising information.

..

..code was put out in the open by the Russians as a warning: Retaliate for the D.N.C., and there are a lot more secrets, from the hackings of the State Department, the White House and the Pentagon, that might be spilled as well. One senior official compared it to the scene in “The Godfather” where the head of a favorite horse is left in a bed, as a warning.

..

As the year draws to a close, it now seems possible that there will be multiple investigations of the Russian hacking — the intelligence review Mr. Obama has ordered completed by Jan. 20, the day he leaves office, and one or more congressional inquiries. They will wrestle with, among other things, Mr. Putin’s motive.

..

Did he seek to mar the brand of American democracy, to forestall anti-Russian activism for both Russians and their neighbors? Or to weaken the next American president, since presumably Mr. Putin had no reason to doubt American forecasts that Mrs. Clinton would win easily? Or was it, as the C.I.A. concluded last month, a deliberate attempt to elect Mr. Trump?

In fact, the Russian hack-and-dox scheme accomplished all three goals.

What seems clear is that Russian hacking, given its success, is not going to stop. Two weeks ago, the German intelligence chief, Bruno Kahl, warned that Russia might target elections in Germany next year. “The perpetrators have an interest to delegitimize the democratic process as such,” Mr. Kahl said. Now, he added, “Europe is in the focus of these attempts of disturbance, and Germany to a particularly great extent.” '

- Eric Lipton, David E. Sanger and Scott Shane, The Perfect Weapon: How Russian Cyberpower Invaded the U.S., December 13, 2016


Context '[Russia] may become a threat to the world. That is the worst thing that could happen to Russia.' - Yegor Gaidar

'..Russian strategy of hybrid influence and destabilization .. German Council on Foreign Relations.'

'German intelligence says Russia is trying to destabilize German society..' - '..war that Moscow is waging against the West..'

'[Putin is doing] anything that can and will expand Russian influence to U.S.S.R.-era levels of power.'


'..Zero tolerance for Russian intrusions .. Estonia .. policy of publicly naming or prosecuting spies..'

'..the Soviet Union was cut off from Western financial markets and was effectively under permanent sanctions..'

          Commentaires sur Obama. Le retour? par Lakia Groetsch        
Thank you for sharing superb informations. Your website is very cool. I am impressed by the details that you've on this site. It reveals how nicely you understand this subject. Bookmarked this website page, will come back for extra articles. You, my friend, ROCK! I found simply the information I already searched all over the place and simply couldn't come across. What a perfect website.
          Commentaires sur Donald Le grand gagnant par USA: L’élection présidentielle truquée ou la rengaine de Trump et des républicains – AF2050        
[…] des argumentscomplotistes. Le milliardaire fut l’un des plus acharnés propagateurs des doutes sur la naissance de Barack Obama. Le candidat avait également accusé de fraude son principal challenger dans le camp républicain […]
          Commentaires sur Donald Le grand gagnant par L'élection présidentielle truquée ou la rengaine de Trump et des républicains – MediaVor        
[…] arguments complotistes. Le milliardaire fut l’un des plus acharnés propagateurs des doutes sur la naissance de Barack Obama. Le candidat avait également accusé de fraude son principal challenger dans le camp […]
          Introducing “G4NP in Three,” a new YouTube Series        

Google for Nonprofits (G4NP) offers nonprofit organizations across 50 countries free access to Google tools like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Ad Grants and more. Whether you’ve been using our products for years or are thinking about signing up for Google for Nonprofits, we want you to feel confident when using our products.

That’s why we’re excited to announce our brand new YouTube series, “G4NP in Three.” Every few weeks, we’ll walk you through one of the many products we offer  from enrollment process to optimization—all in roughly three minutes.

What You’ll Learn

We’ll start with the basics. We’ll cover program eligibility requirements, walk through the different signup processes, and give you tips and tricks on how to best use our products. In the first few videos, we’ll focus on some of our most popular products: Google Ad Grants, G Suite, and YouTube.

Meet Your Hosts

Bri and Jay are volunteers on our video production and G4NP YouTube strategy team. Both work in different parts of the Google organization for their core roles, but have been aligned to G4NP for over a year. They write, edit and star in videos to help educate the nonprofit community and, in addition to hosting, are the co-creators of the “G4NP in Three” series.

Jay

​A​ San Francisco native, ​Jay ventured to Ann Arbor, MI to get his degree at the University of Michigan. ​After graduating, he started at Google where he currently works as a Communications Specialist in People Operations. Aside from his passion for marketing, communications​,​ and diversity in the workplace, Jay’s claim-to-fame is singing for President Obama at the White House.

Bri

Originally from Mountain View, California, Bri attended Chapman University. There she earned a degree in Public Relations and Advertising. After graduation, Bri started a position at Google as an Associate Account Strategist supporting our advertisers. Outside of work, Bri thoroughly enjoys knitting, hiking, and venturing off on the weekends to find the best cup of coffee in the Bay Area.

The first “G4NP in Three” video is now live! Videos will be released every few weeks. Subscribe to Google for Nonprofits on YouTube to stay updated.
G4NP in Three | Ep. 1: What is Google for Nonprofits?

To see if your nonprofit is eligible to participate, review the Google for Nonprofits eligibility guidelines. Google for Nonprofits offers organizations like yours free access to Google tools like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Google Ad Grants, YouTube for Nonprofits and more. These tools can help you reach new donors and volunteers, work more efficiently, and tell your nonprofit’s story. Learn more and enroll here.



          Who's a good boy?        
Silas hasn't had an accident in a whole week! It's like the most exciting thing ever...
Work is really crazy right now, I have less than 70 days left before the election which makes me nervous and excited and exhausted and relieved and terrified all at the same time. Mostly because part of thinks "holy crap there's so much to do before November!" and the other part of me thinks "thank goodness, maybe I'll be able to sleep a little bit soon" and yet another part of me thinks "ummmmm, I don't have a job starting November 10th and I haven't even thought about looking for one."
So those are the major stresses in my life right now. Not really sure what to do about them.
Last thing: Last night was the first night of the democratic national convention in Denver, and my Senator here in Missouri, Sen. Claire McCaskill spoke towards the end. Her kids, including her daughter Maddie (who I know!!! eeek!!) introduced her. This was the part of the convention I wanted to see. The ONE PART other than Obama's acceptance speech. And guess what? I MISSED IT. I was driving. because I work all the time. Boo. :(
          Facing Foreclosure? Then You Need to Get on Board With Obama's Mortgage Loan Modification Today        
Believe it or not, you actually hold the upper hand when it comes to Mortgage Loan Modification in this situation. Your lender will have to pay a very high price to foreclose on your home. Added to this, is the mounting pressure from other companies and organizations for your lender to be more lenient with you in these hard times.

Think of all the memories your home holds for you. Do you recall the lazy days lying around or watching the children play. Maybe you have experienced countless emotions. Whether you have been happy, sad or angry, your home is something that you don't want to lose!

Your lender is not in the business of selling homes. The additional costs and fees associated with foreclosure will leave your mortgage provider looking for other suitable solutions.

With a Mortgage Loan Modification plan, you can reduce your payments for a period of 5 years to something far more affordable. The government can even reduce your mortgage principle in that time. This is a win-win situation for both parties. You get to keep your home, lower your repayments and have your mortgage balance reduced. Your lender doesn't have to go through the effort of trying to foreclose and sell your home and still receives some form of payment from you.

However, with a solution, there is usually always another problem right around the corner. Many people in your circumstances, resort to contacting attorneys, companies and specialists in mortgage foreclosure and loan modification. The fees that you can expect to pay can be astronomical and maybe even push you into further debt.

Some Loan Modification Companies have been reported to charge anywhere between $1500 - $5000 to perform this service. So this, of course, has led the way for certain individuals to fight back and complete the Mortgage Loan Modification process on their own.

If you need a step-by-step system and don't have up to $5000 to spend on Mortgage Loan Modification fees and charges then Click Here to see what other people who have "done it themselves" have to say.
          Discover What the Obama Loan Modification Programs and the 31 Percent Rule Can Do For You        
Loan Modification Programs aren't something new, but many will argue the old system wasn't structured properly to work. A recent example of this is - over half of the loans modified in the US from January to March 2008 defaulted on their modified loan before the end of the year.

What Exactly is Loan Modification?

As you are well aware the economy has taken a huge downturn over the last couple of years. This has had an undesired effect for many homeowners. People find their loans are at risk and the possible threat of foreclosure. This is where lenders will offer lower monthly repayments and set terms and conditions on your home loan for a specified period of time. However, with no real structure in place, this was doomed to fail.

The Obama administration unveiled their new program on Wednesday 4th March 2009. This program planned to restructure home loans and save millions of Americans from foreclosure.

So What is the 31% Rule?

The program requires lenders to reduce your monthly mortgage repayments to no more than 38% of your gross monthly income. The government will then fund the remainder, to bring your payments down by a further 7%. This would mean that your monthly mortgage repayments would be no more than 31% of your total gross monthly income.

In order for your lender to achieve this, they would first need to lower the interest rate on your loan and possibly extend the term of your mortgage. They have the ability to lower the interest rate to 2% and extend your term up to 40 years. However, even after all these alterations, if you are still paying above 31% threshold, the lender can merely claim payments for your principle balance and will charge no interest.

For you to secure help to join one of these Programs, you will usually need to approach a Loan Modification Company. Although, many people have reported savings in excess of $500 per month on their mortgage payments, others have told horror stories of the fees that some of these companies charge.
          How Barack Obama's Modification of Your Mortgage Can Really Help Those Suffering Financially        
The New Mortgage Loan Modification Programs were introduced by the Obama administration in March 2009. For those of you struggling to meet your monthly repayments and with the threat of possible foreclosure hanging over you, this could be just the thing you are looking for.

With the agonizing recent recession and slump in housing prices, this has had a huge effect on millions of Americans. The Obama Loan Modification process has been introduced to help you through these hard times.

So what help is the government offering exactly?

Should you own and live in your mortgaged property and have a loan balance of below $729,750 you may be eligible. The government are looking to streamline your payments for up to five years. This may involve lowering the interest rate or extending the term of your mortgage.

For those of you suffering financial hardship and wishing to participate in this plan, you will be required to write and sign a letter stating such and if your overall debts are above 55% of your income, you will have to agree to take part in credit counseling. The final criteria to be eligible is that you must haven taken your loan out prior to January 1st 2009.

The process is a very rigorous form of verification, involving proof of ownership, proof of income and expenditure, through supplying relevant documents. Many industry experts believe that if these plans had been brought in a few years ago, then perhaps the current housing crisis could have been avoided altogether.

There are many companies who can help you through the legal and financial aspects for the Modification of your mortgage.

However, some Loan Modification Companies have been reported to charge anywhere between $1500 - $5000 to perform this service. So this, of course, has led the way for certain individuals to fight back and complete the procedures on their own. To learn how you can complete this process yourself Click Here.
          5 Top Tips To What Makes A Great Loan Modification Hardship Letter        
A well thought out and well written Loan Modification Hardship Letter can be the difference between success and failure when making a loan modification application. You must remember ever since the Obama Administration announced the new Loan Modification Plans And Programs back in March 2009, the majority of lenders have been inundated with applications.

So your letter needs to be clear, concise and if at all possible as unique as you can:-

1) Don't make excuses. Just describe in detail what the hardship is and why you are in this situation.

2) State what you have tried to do to overcome your current financial hardship.

3) You need to fully emphasize to your lender how important it is to you that you and your lender work together to resolve any problems.

4) Explain what your plans are to get yourself back on track with your mortgage repayments.

5) Don't beat around the bush. Be very clear and get to the point.

The Hardships that lenders will accept:-

- Death of a family member or the person who pays the mortgage

- Divorce

- Loss of your Job or Relocation

- Due to a reset variable rate your monthly mortgage repayments have increased
          Thanks For The Help Obama But Are You Willing To Pay $5000 For The Modification Of Your Mortgage?        
Since the Obama Administration introduced the new Loan Modification Plans on Wednesday 4th March 2009, many people have gone about planning the changes to their mortgages.

However, one stumbling block seems to get in everyone's way! The process of approaching your lender for the Modification of Your Mortgage usually requires a middleman. This is when the help of specialized attorneys, Loan Modification companies and professionals is required.

How much do these services cost you?

Well, you could be looking at anywhere from $1500 to $5000. Now, the way i see things, if you had that kind of money freely available you probably wouldn't need to approach your lender.
The actual plan of the Obama administration is to help out the 4 million plus Americans, who have either fallen behind with their monthly mortgage repayments or to those unfortunate enough to be facing foreclosure.

The help you will be offered is over a five year period. You mortgage principle can be reduced by up to $5000. Your interest rate can be dropped to as low as 2% and the term of your home loan can be extended up to a maximum of 40 years.

This certainly is a fantastic helping hand to those suffering financial hardship and looking to modify their mortgage repayments, but once again, you are faced with the fees and charges to get the ball rolling.

I knew it wouldn't be long before someone had to go through this whole process and then worked out a way of doing it for themselves! You are undoubtedly looking for no huge fees, no additional charges, just some guidance on how to approach the Loan Modification process. Hence the birth of the DIY Loan Modification Kit!

With the help of this kit, you can learn to:-

- Lower your interest rate and your payment

- Reduce the principal balance

- Convert to a fixed rate for peace of mind

- Have all late fees and charges removed from your record

- Stop the Foreclosure process

Click Here For More Info On The Do-It-Yourself Loan Modification Kit

What have some of the people who have used the DIY Loan Modification Kit got to say:-

"Thanks to the Do-It-Yourself Loan Modification Kit I was able to save my home! I had to stick to it for 3 months and really put my head down, but it was well worth it in the long run. I will be the first one to say it wasn't easy, but if you are struggling to make ends meet, it is definitely worth it. I ended up with a 40yr term at 4.5% reducing my mortgage over $1000 per month! I talked to a loan modification company before I chose the kit, but they wanted $3,500 upfront. I weighed my options and for only $29.95 I knew exactly what I was going to receive! And If I couldn't get the loan modification done myself at least I had peace of mind that I didn't waste $3,500."
Ted Basil, Syracuse, NY

"We have been in our home for 3 years and I think we were given the wrong mortgage. We got behind, but your kit showed us how to make our lender listen! We are now in a mortgage that we can afford. Our entire family appreciates you and the information that you provide."
Paul and Brenda Keen, Danbury, CT

"I was over $10,000 behind on my mortgage. My rate had just adjusted to 13.25%! Using your kit, I was able to negotiate the following: 13.25% adjustable rate was taken to an 8% fixed!And, get this... the lender allowed me to have the $10,000 I was behind, rolled onto the back of my loan!My new payment including taxes and insurance, is $300 less than what my previous payment was, and that's not including the taxes and insurance!!!
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!"

Vivian Stephens , Dallas, TX

Click Here For More Info On The Do-It-Yourself Loan Modification Kit
          'The Carmichael Show' Takes on Black Lives Matter in a Surprising Way        

The Carmichael Show continues to pleasantly surprise (read about the pilot here) with its second episode, "Protest." It opens with the news that there is a protest going on because an unarmed teenager was shot by police in the city.


          'The Carmichael Show' Smashes Stereotypes: Defends Bush, Bashes Obama        

For all conservatives sick and tired of being trashed and talked down to by network television, boy, do I have a show for you!


          Forget the gray hair. Presidents don't really age faster        

Much has been said about the way President Barack Obama's hair rapidly turned gray in his first term in office -- but, as it turns out, the presidency actually does not appear to cause accelerated aging. In the photo on the left, Obama takes the oath of office in 2009; the one on the right shows Obama on Thursday, Nov. 1.President Barack Obama went gray during his first term in office. But, internally at least, presidents don’t age any faster than other Americans – and, in fact, historically surpass average U.S. lifespans, according to a study into whether commander in chief is, literally, is a killer job.



          What America’s Top LGBT Leaders Think Obama Must Do Next        
Barack Obama was elected to a second term as President of the United States partially because of his declared support of the LGBT community. As the president moves forward into his second term, the question rises of what the LGBT … Continue reading
          About to retire - need answers        
[+1] Question by williamJo on 01/02/15 3:21 PM Replies: 9 Views: 7,109
Tags: Retirement, Obamacare
Last Post by Butrflynet on 01/03/15 9:09 PM
          Resistance at Standing Rock: Dispatches from the Front Lines        

UPDATES:





  • Water Protector Legal Collective Files Suit for Excessive Force against Peaceful Protesters


  • Veterans to Serve as ‘Human Shields’ for Dakota Pipeline Protesters



  • Oceti Sakowin encampment on Oct. 6, 2016. The proper name for the people commonly known as the Sioux is Oceti Sakowin, (Och-et-eeshak-oh-win) meaning Seven Council Fires.








    Story and Photos by John Briggs

    Cool Justice Editor's Note: OK to repost, courtesy of John Briggs and The Cool Justice Report.







    Corporate – Government Alliance Versus the American People

    Native Americans from tribes across the country have gathered on the windswept plains of North Dakota to pray with Mother Earth to keep the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) from pumping 500,000 gallons of oil a day beneath the Missouri River. The natives know the pipeline will most certainly leak or break, as have most U.S. pipelines, fouling the water for the Great Sioux Nation and 18 million non-Natives downstream.

    The standoff -- which began in April -- continues as a new U.S. administration ascends to power with a president-elect who campaigned denying human-caused climate change and threatening the Paris Climate accords. This remains the overriding reality despite a mini walk back by Donald Trump pledging an open mind to The New York Times this week.

    Standing Rock illuminates the brazen alliance that has developed between corporate and government interests. Viewed from the front lines, the law has been turned into a fig leaf for repression and suppression. Only the discipline and spiritual clarity of the water protectors and the native elders has kept people from being killed or seriously injured since April when the movement began.

    The fused police-DAPL force is doing everything it can to incite a violent reaction from the resisters so as to crack down, clear the camps, imprison, or even gun down the natives. More than one commentator has found the atmosphere at Standing Rock similar to what led to the Wounded Knee massacre in 1890 when 300 Sioux were murdered by government troops who mistook their prayerful Ghost Dance for a war dance.

    A great deal is at issue at Standing Rock. The Sioux and their numerous native and non-native allies face a militarized force whose composition tells us something dark about the complex façade that U.S. democracy has become and suggests the proto-fascist zombi lurking beneath. More deeply, Standing Rock also emblemizes a struggle that is taking place at this moment in human history between two distinct modes of human consciousness.

    One mode is the familiar anthropocentric (human-centered) consciousness that the dominant culture most of us were born into favors—a consciousness that assumes reality is a collection of objects to be extracted, owned, and branded. Humans are the focus of this consciousness, meaning that our concerns about climate change focus primarily on the fate of our own species.

    Distinct from this anthropocentric mind-set is a second, ancient and spiritual mode of awareness that understands that the earth and its landscapes are not objects; they are relationships, including the tangle of relationships that gave us birth. This ancient mode of consciousness is potential in everyone, but for most it has been buried beneath the piles of conceptual objects that we have come to believe constitute our reality.

    The Indigenous Peoples gathered at Standing Rock are guided by this ancient, holistic, earth-mind consciousness, and so they understand that humans are not the most valuable living objects on the planet: we are not in control of the planet; it is not our job to manage nature; rather, our sacred task is to work with Mother Earth and other beings as members of Earth’s family. If we don’t, Mother Earth will make us face this spiritual truth one way or another.

    Guided by their ancient, earth-mind awareness, Native Americans have taken up a role as “water protectors.” “Mni Wiconi, Water is Life” is the slogan of the Standing Rock movement.

    Every day scores of Sioux from North Dakota, South Dakota and nearby states, along with Paiute, Shoshoni, Diné, and a sampling of other Natives from the 300 or so tribes whose flags fly at the Standing Rock encampments set out to pipeline construction sites in a convoy to engage in “actions” on the “front lines.”

    There the protectors sing and pray in the face of physical harassment and arrests by heavily armed police fused with a corporate security force.

    DAPL and their overlord company, Energy Transfer Partners, have lavished campaign contributions on politicians in North Dakota and the U.S. Congress so that they could use the state’s eminent domain powers to force purchase of land for the pipeline all across North Dakota, beginning in the Bakken fields in the northwest corner of the state where the fracked crude oil is extracted. Similar eminent domain arrangements were achieved in other states through which the 1,200-mile line traverses before reaching a river port in Illinois. The company promised Congress and the public that the pipeline would carry oil for 100 percent domestic use only, but it is clear from reporting done by the website The Intercept that the oil will be sold on international markets.

  • Though Promised for Domestic Use, Dakota Access Pipeline May Fuel Oil Exports


  • The DAPL line, now virtually complete except for permission from the Army Corps of Engineers to fill in the link that crosses under the Missouri River, passes just north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation and Cannon Ball, North Dakota. The DAPL construction runs through sacred burial and archeological grounds that the Lakota people were given free access to by treaties with the U.S. Government in the 19th Century. In mounting their resistance to the pipeline, the Standing Rock Sioux have been turned into “trespassers on their own land.”

    In late August, the tribe’s lawyers filed a stop work petition in federal court detailing areas where sacred sites would be disturbed if construction continued on its planned trajectory. The federal judge routinely forwarded a copy of the filing to DAPL. Over Labor Day weekend, when the company would not have been expected to work, pipeline crews leapfrogged to the disputed sacred and preemptively bulldozed them under. Too late, the judge granted the Sioux an emergency restraining order, but, then in a curious move, allowed construction in some areas where sacred sites have been discovered. DAPL has ignored a request from the Obama administration not to work in buffer areas on either side of the river. No fines have been imposed for intentionally bulldozing the disputed sacred sites.

  • The Legal Case for Blocking the Dakota Access Pipeline


  • Burial ground at center of police confrontations is known historical site


  • In recent live-stream videos from the front lines, DAPL-police snipers can be seen perched on top of a sacred mound called Turtle Island, their high-powered rifle crosshairs trained on the water protectors who are standing in prayer in the frigid lake below.

    North Dakota wants the federal government to pick up the tab for the massive expenditures required to keep the Native Americans under their guns. Alternatively, the CEO of Energy Transfers, Kelcy Warren, has offered to pick up the millions-of-dollars tab.

  • ETP CEO Kelcy Warren Says They Have Offered to Pay Protest Related Expenses


  • Native media have documented that DAPL has already been supplying military-style equipment, drones, armored vehicles, riot gear, water canons, concussion grenades and other armaments. The tax-payer-funded and corporate-sponsored front lines phalanx is led by the Morton County Sheriff’s Department, which has local jurisdiction, reinforced by North Dakota State Troopers, North Dakota National Guard units, sheriffs and police from six nearby states—all interpenetrated by DAPL security (while the FBI lurks in the background). A contingent of Hennepin County, Minnesota, Sheriffs’ Deputies were recalled following protests back home. Residents in the state of Ohio are writing letters and calling legislators to express their distress that their law enforcement has been enlisted into this repressive force.

  • Hennepin Co. sheriff's deputies leave Standing Rock protest


  • Native media’s live stream videos show DAPL security teams in mirror-visor helmets and black ops body armor with no identification, mingling with the police, sometimes directing them when and who to mace or pepper spray. They point out media making video for arrest. The big fossil fuel company evidently has plenty of experience dealing with protestors around the world. In their blank, reflecting visors we can see the soulless Darth Vader face of the government-corporate proto-fascist state the U.S. is becoming.

    Of course, this struggle with the Wasi’chu (Lakota word for the white man, meaning literally “takes too much”) is an old story for Native-Americans. In the 18th and 19th centuries it took the form of the Sioux nations trying to hold back the tsunami of colonizers flooding into their ancestral lands, occupying and despoiling them. The big difference now is that the fire-power of the state (think Custer’s 7th Cavalry or present day militarized police) has been fused with vast profit centers dependent for their existence on plundering the earth in the name of energy-squandering lifestyle survival.

    The provocations the water protectors endure take many forms. There is the psychological pressure of constant surveillance: the heavy police presence on the roads around tribal and reservation lands, the DPLA helicopter and a small plane that circle constantly above the encampments; there is the Bureau of Indian Affairs station set up on a knoll to suck out data from the cell phones of anyone in the area. There is the pepper spraying and tasing of water protectors who are praying. There is the more recent blasting of the protectors with freezing water canons in sub zero weather. There is the constant threat of weapons pointed at them. One twitching trigger finger could set off a slaughter.

    The water protectors are unarmed. The resistance movement does not allow guns in the encampments. One day, at one of the front line actions, an armed man showed up with a pistol and began firing. Possibly he was paid by DAPL to create an incident. The Natives are aware of paid provocateurs or agitators passing through the camps, pulling dirty tricks, looking to start something. Antimedia reported about the man with the gun: “According to an official statement from the tribe, the man fired several shots from his gun before being peacefully apprehended by tribal police. Witnesses at the scene say he pointed his gun at several protesters. The man was clearly trying to provoke violence that could later be used to demonize protesters who have so far remained peaceful.”

    The news site added, “The Morton County Sheriff’s Department circulated a false report claiming the man was shot, presumably by protesters… [As images show], the man was not harmed. The Sheriff’s Department has since retracted that report. Anti-Media’s attempts to obtain clarifying comments from Morton County Sheriffs were ignored.”

  • Dakota Access Caught Infiltrating Protests to Incite Violence, Funding Trolls Online


  • On a hill overlooking Oceti Sakowin, the largest of the Standing Rock encampments, an old army tent houses the field office of the rotating teams of lawyers who come to Standing Rock to help out. They use donations made to the resistance to bail out protectors who have been arrested; they try to negotiate with the police so the protectors can be allowed to pray. The constant arrests on trumped-up charges are an ongoing harassment—people maced or beaten, violently thrown to the ground and zip-tied. Often activists are charged with trespass and “riot” on the Morton County Sheriff’s novel legal theory that if several people are arrested for trespass that must signify that they were engaged in a riot.

    All this naturally requires court time and money to defend, incarceration in usually unpleasant conditions, including dog kennels. (Though the white allies who are arrested seem to get better treatment.)

    Arrests are to be expected as a consequence of civil disobedience. But some arrests are directed at chilling speech. One lawyer who came to Standing Rock from the Oregon-based Civil Liberties Defense Center, an activist defense nonprofit primarily involved in climate protests, https://cldc.org/ told Jordan Chariton of The Young Turks Network that often after the day’s action was over, police would stop the last cars in the caravan. They would then make “snatch and grab” arrests, impounding the cars of people who had come to support the water protectors but had no expectation that they’d be arrested when the action was over and the police told them to leave. They have to pay heavy fines ($900) to get their cars back. She said the arrests and impoundment fines for their cars are unlawful. “The intention with those types of actions is to scare out-of-towners from being comfortable coming to these actions. So they’re trying to chill the rights of others to come and participate in these protests.”

  • Environmental Lawyer Explains Standing Rock Legal Issues




  • The authorities regularly characterize the natives as terrorists, and local radio spreads false rumors of farm animals being slaughtered and stolen, reported vandalism—the kind of thing you would expect from psychologically projected homesteader fears about savage Indians of earlier centuries.

    Yes, Magazine on Oct. 31 reported: “The county sheriff is claiming the water protectors were violent and that police were stopping a riot. But hours of live video feed from people caught in the confrontation showed instead a military-style assault on unarmed people: police beating people with batons, police with assault rifles, chemical mace, guns firing rubber bullets and beanbag rounds, tasers.”

  • Why Police From 7 Different States Invaded a Standing Rock Camp—and Other Questions


  • The UN has sent human rights observers. According to Salon, Nov. 16, 2016: “The U.N. special rapporteur said that American law enforcement officials, private security firms and the North Dakota National Guard have used unjustified force against protesters.

    “ ‘This is a troubling response to people who are taking action to protect natural resources and ancestral territory in the face of profit-seeking activity,’ [Maina] Kiai [U.N. special rapporteur] said in his statement, which was issued by the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and was endorsed by several other U.N. experts.

  • Native Americans facing excessive force in North Dakota pipeline protests – UN expert


  • “At least 400 activists have been detained and often have been held in ‘inhuman and degrading conditions in detention,’ Kiai added. Some indigenous protesters have said they were treated like animals and even held in dog kennels.

  • Dakota pipeline protesters say they were detained in dog kennels; 268 arrested in week of police crackdown


  • “ ‘Marking people with numbers and detaining them in overcrowded cages, on the bare concrete floor, without being provided with medical care, amounts to inhuman and degrading treatment,’ the U.N. expert said.

    “ ‘The excessive use of State security apparatus to suppress protest against corporate activities that are alleged to violate human rights is wrong,’ he continued, noting that it violates U.N. guidelines on business and human rights.

    “Amnesty International USA, which has repeatedly criticized authorities for not respecting the rights of protesters, issued another statement on Tuesday noting that U.S. authorities had put up roadblocks to prevent journalists and human rights observers from documenting the protests and the official response.”

  • U.N. experts call for halt in Dakota Access pipeline, blast “excessive force” against protesters


  • Living on Earth reporter Sandy Tolan reflected: “You know, at times I felt I was back reporting in the West Bank, and not the Northern Plains…”

  • Standing With the Standing Rock Sioux


  • The Bundy crew was the cowboys, not the Indians

    Compare the government response at Standing Rock with the response occasioned by Ammon Bundy and his gang of armed militants when they occupied Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge for over a month in January 2016. Imagine if the Bundy gang had been pepper sprayed, beaten, hit with water cannon, tased. But the Bundy crew were taking over the refuge to proclaim their belief that public lands should be given free to the profit-making private ranching business. In other words, the Bundy crew was the cowboys, not the Indians.

    The mainstream corporate media has largely ignored the stand-off at Standing Rock. Rallies have taken place around the world at places like Tokyo, Stockholm, and Auckland, but the sad truth is many foreigners have heard more about Standing Rock than Americans have. Not surprising. The news editors, working for corporate media conglomerates, choose what they believe we should know and what fits the larger corporate agenda, and so they devote massively more play to Brad Pitt, to the gossipy politics of who’s-on-first, and to whatever the latest glittering consumer thing is than they do to climate change and issues highlighted by the poor and the powerless, like Standing Rock. What coverage that does exist is usually cursory and misleading.

    Fortunately, alternative media have been on the scene and active at Standing Rock. As someone who taught journalism for more nearly 20 years, it has been refreshing for me to see what the alternative press is accomplishing.

    Amy Goodman of the webcast Democracy Now brought the prayer-resistance movement to national attention over the summer. She was arrested and charged with riot in absentia for her live reports of water protectors being set upon by dogs. The charge was later dismissed in court.

    Jordan Chariton of The Young Turks Network has done searching interviews and incisive commentary from the scene.

    But my absolute favorite news source at Standing Rock is Myron Dewey’s Digital Smoke Signals. Dewey does updates every day, which he posts on Facebook. I highly recommend anyone who has a Facebook account to “follow” him. I went to Standing Rock on Oct. 4-11 with two friends and I have since been able to keep up with developments on the ground through Dewey’s Facebook broadcasts. He posts live stream unedited clips that constitute what he calls an ongoing “documentation” of what is happening day-to-day at the movement.

    Here is Dewey at night standing on a hillside next to the Oceti Sakowin encampment. His face appears in the glow of his screen. Then he’s panning and zooming in on a large grassfire as he’s telling us about it. His finger appears in the screen and points out where the fire started. He says the helicopter which constantly circulates over the camp suddenly disappeared 20 minutes before they saw the first flames. He zooms to the area where he and the person he is with first spotted the fire. He says, “It looked like someone using a drip torch.” He says they called 911, but it’s been over an hour and the Morton County Fire Department hasn’t shown up. He tells the people in the camp, his audience, not to worry, though. It looks like the fire was started by DAPL employees to scare them or hurt them. But the Oceti Sakowin is full of Indians who supplement their income by wild-land firefighting, work that also benefits Mother Earth; he mentions that he is himself a “hotshot” firefighter [one of the elite crews]. He and his fellow firefighters can tell by the wind direction that the fire won’t harm the camp.

    Now here’s Dewey on a bright morning walking along the road by Oceti Sakowin. A young man appears on screen, and Dewey asks him who he is and why he’s here. He’s from the Paiute nation. “I’m here to protect the water,” he says. Dewey asks him to sing a Paiute song. The young man closes his eyes and sings.

    In another nighttime broadcast find we ourselves looking through a car windshield, headlights illuminating the highway, centerlines whizzing by. We hear voices talking in the backseat. The car drives on and on. We’re just watching the road. Then ahead is a police roadblock. The police van looms. Dewey gets out with his camera and calls over to the officers, asks them where they’re from, inquires about where the road blocks are, what are the open routes. At one level it’s a mundane exchange between a citizen and police, but you experience the edginess of the situation. More deeply, you feel the riskiness and pathos that is involved any human interaction. Dewey firmly exercises his right to have these protect-and-serve police respond to him civilly; he is cordial and respectful in a way that reinforces to them and to his viewers that he is after all not their enemy but a fellow human being. Dewey asks more questions and the lead officer says he doesn’t want to be filmed; Dewey offers to turn his camera away from them and onto himself. The distant officers disappear from the screen and Dewey’s face fills it. The contact officer walks nearer; we can hear his voice. Dewey can’t resist a joke, though. He asks the officer if he’s sure he doesn’t want to become famous by putting his face on Dewey’s screen? You realize these are just guys doing their job. Dewey understands that, but he also wants to educate them about the water protectors’ mission. He never misses an opportunity to educate his adversary, as well as his own people about the larger dimensions of the Standing Rock resistance. When he gets back in the car, someone in the back seat says “Let’s get out of here; this is enemy territory.” Dewey laughs, turning the car around, “It’s not enemy territory.”

    I believe you learn more about Standing Rock by watching Dewey’s unedited video than you ever could from watching any number of dramatically produced, commercially constricted reports on CNN, complete with the drumb-drumb latest crisis theme music.

    Dewey explains to his viewers that what they’re seeing is a “documentation” that’s not edited. “It’s not scripted. It’s not acted out.”

    After a month of watching Dewey’s daily reports I realize more fully than I ever have before how ghastly and vacuous mainstream news reporting is: a production where facts have been emptied of the humanity of real encounters, replaced by the shallow performances of reporters and news sources, slick, clichéd phrasing, behavior slotted into ready made categories, events analyzed and even predigested. The news about reality comes to us compartmentalized in trays like tasteless microwave dinners. Rarely is the reader or viewer allowed to simply experience the event unfolding through the reporter’s eyes or camera. The stories are crafted and slickly packaged. Their very polish and stimulating presentation sabotages their meaning and replaces it with a meaningless, artificial understanding.

    Note that I am not saying that the news these days is politically biased. Some obviously is, but the left or right bias charge is a serious red herring, a mis-direction. In fact, in mainstream media’s very effort to appear neutral and unbiased means events are chopped up and pieced together to fit the templates of a few hackneyed forms of storytelling: the winner-loser story, the conflict story, the individual overcoming obstacles story, the facing bad choices stories, he-said, she-said stories, scandal stories, hypocrisy stories. You’ve seen them all, repeatedly.

    Most of these templates come plated with a cynicism, skepticism, superiority, or sentimentality that grabs our attention by adding a dash of disgust. The current journalistic manner of telling stories reduces and dismisses the story in a way that sometimes makes the commercials and pop-up ads come as a relief. None of the common journalistic templates or attitude has much to do with real life as it’s lived in the moment. It’s not what people really experience in their lives. Instead, it’s how they’ve been conditioned to wrap up experience afterward in a dramatized way that leaches out the nuance, that leaves out the moment-to-moment uncertainty, or as the Lakota call it, the Wakan, the deep mystery of relationships that permeates every event. And that’s what Dewey’s broadcasts have in abundance. You get to see him interacting with the people who show up on his screen. You get to feel his humanity and the mystery of everyday relationships taking place at Standing Rock that he brings to light. It’s certainly not dramatic or melodramatic. It’s not interesting or stimulating in the usual way. It does seem really important.

    So when Dewey sits in his parked car and does an update video on “10 things to know about DAPL” (Nov. 18, 2016), there’s no editing and no script, meaning that you get to see him thinking through what those top 10 things might be. Some points he makes are incisive and comic, others not so much. But the not-so-much ones can lead you to thinking about gray areas, the imprecise observations we all make. He asks a guy who just got in the car to help out with his list and the guy, William Hawk Birdshead, goes immediately serious on him until Dewey says, “I was trying to keep it light.” So the Birdshead says, “Laughter is good medicine.” Suddenly they’re off. Dewey mimics the shifty-eyed look of the FBI guys lurking around the area and denying they are FBI, the DAPL security characters trying to look all steely and tough. We learn that in the encampments they say that “DAPL dresses up like Ninja Turtles.” You can tell that it’s DAPL undercover because those guys never drive rez cars, which are rusted and dented. Nobody is spared. Dewey describes the water protectors just arriving from California as dudes who’ve “got their animal spirits on… They’re all furred up. They’re coming in all mystical and crystals.” He and his buddy laugh, which Dewey says is laughter “in a good way,” because the whole thing going on at Standing Rock is deadly serious but you need laughter, because that’s good medicine for healing. And healing and praying are about “getting reconnected with the Earth.”

    This points to a major difference between anthropocentric prayer as most of us know it and earth-mind prayer. In the prayer that most people are familiar with, an individual seeks intercession for human needs with a transcendent being. The Native prayer is about healing not getting. The prayer is a community ceremony or song or ritual to maintain or restore the balance between and among beings, both animate and inanimate. Prayer is to all my relatives, all my relations, the birds, the water, the wind, the buffalo, my family, even those who oppose me as enemies. Mitakuye Oyasin is an important Lakota phrase that means “all my relations.” When you’re watching a Dewey update from Standing Rock you’re experiencing Mitakuye Oyasin in action. It’s newscasting as a kind of prayer, in the earth-mind sense. Whether he’s engaging in laughter or educating about the spiritual importance of water, you can see that what he’s getting at is healing relationships. Watching and listening, you get to be part of that healing.

    What Dewey does goes way beyond advocacy journalism.

    Our traveling companion for our visit to Standing Rock, Lakota elder Tiokasin Ghosthorse, also provides a good way to keep up with developments through the interviews he conducts for his weekly syndicated broadcast from WPKN in Bridgeport Conn. and WBAI in New York City. On Oct. 31, 2016, Tiokasin interviewed a young man who was seized on Oct. 27 when a frontline camp was destroyed by police. Trenton Joseph Castillas Bakeberg, in the bloodline of Crazy Horse, was praying in a sweat lodge when the militarized police swept through the camp. They yanked him out of the sweat lodge and arrested him. The young water protector told Tiokasin:

    “I pray that we’ll be able to keep a state of prayer and peace, as we have been… Although there’s some people on our side are more likely to tend toward violence. But there’s also people on our side to stop them. Don’t start a fight. That’s what it’s all about, keeping it peaceful because the elders told us in the beginning that all it takes is one single act of violence, one person attacking a police officer and they’ll unleash the fear on all of us. This wrath that we have with our military overseas, we’re beginning to see it now in the heart of our own country. All for the greed and the corporate interests of this government. They say we’re a democracy but it’s not showing anymore. The people didn’t want this pipeline, but this foreign entity that they call a corporation, Energy Transfers, is saying, we don’t care. We want this money. We need this for economic stability of the country and that somehow trumps the interests of our communities and our nation as a whole….We’re standing up to this corporate machine with prayer and love.”

  • Forcibly removed from prayer at Standing Rock


  • Against a heavily armed, corporatized democracy designed to ensure that only powerful business and political elites rule the land and possess the wealth of its objects, the Native-American people at Standing Rock stand in defense of Mother Earth armed with songs, prayers, and an understanding that Earth’s objects are us, and we are them. They are our relatives. It seems better armament than most of us Wasi’shu possess. Webster defines fascism as “a political system headed by a dictator in which the government controls business and labor and opposition is not permitted.” It’s an incendiary word, and readers might think ill of me for introducing it here. Certainly we are not a fascist state yet. But for the prayer-resistance at Standing Rock, the clear alliance between corporate and government interests to quell their opposition under color of the law has a fascist flavor.

    It should not surprise anyone that the new US president reportedly holds stocks that directly fund the Dakota Access Pipeline and that the DAPL CEO Kelcy Warren gave the Trump campaign a substantial donation.

  • Trump's Personal Investments Ride on Completion of Dakota Access Pipeline


  • This is how the proto-fascism works. Ironically (or perhaps absurdly), Trump may have been elected by people hoping he would somehow counter the tightening grip of multinational corporations on their lives. One might wish for that to happen.

    At a deep level, Standing Rock may suggest that such absurdities as a Trump presidency occur because our mode of consciousness is impaired or inadequate to the situation it has created on our planet at this historical time. Too many of us have gone dead to the natural world we come from. Our obsessive anthropocentric mode of consciousness has reduced nature and reality at large to a bunch of things we have names for—things that feed our greed. Fortunately, many Indigenous people have retained an acute and ancient consciousness that we are those rocks and trees and clouds, and birds and water that we see outside our windows, and that restoring our relationships with them is incumbent on us.

    John Briggs is emeritus distinguished Professor of Writing and Aesthetics from Western Connecticut State University. He was the English Department’s journalism coordinator for 18 years and was one of the founders of Western’s Department of Writing, Linguistics, and Creative Process. He is the author of several well-known books on chaos theory, fractals and creativity. He lives in the hilltown of Granville, Mass., where served as a Selectman for five years and as reserve police officer for 10 years.


    When people at Standing Rock talk about the black snake they mean the pipeline, referring to an old Sioux legend about a black snake that will threaten the end of the world. The Lakota prophet Black Elk said that in the seventh generation, the Sioux tribes would unite to save the world.

    Media covering the Standing Rock resistance movement:

  • Digital Smoke Signals


  • Myron Dewey, Facebook


  • The Antimedia


  • Democracy Now


  • The Intercept


  • The Guardian


  • Censored News


  • Unicorn Riot


  • Living on Earth


  • The Indigenous Environmental Network


  • Status of Standing Rock court claim



  •           LA GRAN "UTILIDAD" DE LA OEA...        
    Asamblea General 35 de la OEA.
    Decía en estos días el dictador venezolano Nicolás Maduro que a la OEA no la quiere nadie. ¿Cómo va a ser verdad una frase de tan despreciable personaje? ¡Tiene que estar "equivocado"! ¡La "verdad" únicamente la dice gente inteligente y agradable! Para refutar la frase de Maduro (aunque estaría "refutada" por quien la dice) vamos a mostrar la inmensa utilidad de la OEA.

    En los inicios de la juventud hay un idealismo que raya con la ingenuidad. Todos los recién egresados de colegio vibran por cambiar el mundo. Saben más de la profesión que piensan estudiar los que ya la estudiaron. Una época hermosa con unas ansias de cambiar el mundo más fuertes que las de Putin y las de Obama... Y es aquí donde viene la OEA. Con el ánimo de implantar "valores democráticos" se crean simulaciones de la OEA. Los jóvenes por un instante juegan a cambiar el mundo. Los hombres de corbata y las niñas de sastre. Una elegancia que eleva su "espíritu" a la categoría de aquellos representantes del continente... Sin la OEA ¿A qué jugarían nuestros jóvenes?


    Maduro diría que podrían jugan a un modelo de la "Asamblea Nacional". Más de uno elegiría ser Diosdado Cabello sin lugar a dudas. Pero la Asamblea Nacional Bolivariana es muy aburrida. La mayoría tendrían que gritar que están "rodilla en tierra" con el comandante eterno. La minoría básicamente tendría que gritar que "no existen garantías para la oposición". Lo único es que podría armarse un "bochinche" y liberar aquellas bajas pasiones... Tal vez esa sea una simulación un poco más auténtica del costoso circo de la política. Pero ¿Acaso eso eleva su noble y digno espíritu de nuestra juventud? 


    La diplomacia es el arte, que requiere enorme valentía, de sonreirle a quien en condiciones normales querrías pegarle un puño. No es hipocresía, para nada, por el contrario se requiere una gran valentía para sonreírle a alguien que detestas. Esto es incomprensible por algunas personas sobre todo en Antioquia y la Costa Colombiana.  Sin embargo, en su mayoría la gente en Colombia es "diplomática". En todo caso, más vale una sonrisa falsa que una guerra auténtica...


    Uno de los grandes beneficios conseguidos por la diplomacia es el de la "inmunidad diplomática". Más allá de entrar a analizar tan "valiosa" institución en sus debidas "excepciones" es claro que esto representa un beneficio. La inmunidad diplomática no solamente se presenta para "misiones diplomáticas" ante países, sino para aquellas ante instituciones como la OEA o la ONU.


    En un mundo donde priman principios como "la libertad de circulación" o la no-discriminación por razones de nacionalidad (leáse pasaporte) ¿Cómo se sacarían beneficios adicionales para personas "iguales ante la ley"? ¡Con la inmunidad diplomática! Se trata de una discriminación positiva en razón del pasaporte, de uno especial claro está. Siendo todos iguales ante la ley ¿cómo podríamos encontrar una forma para que a alguien le dijeran "Su Excelencia"? Eso sin contar que eso facilita el tránsito en aeropuertos demorado por medidas proteccionistas (que surgen "precisamente" como formas para facilitar la libertad de circulación y la no-discriminación) como las visas o las aduanas. Sin tantas instituciones internacionales ¿Cómo haría el político para incluir en la lista de su gigantesco número de "amigos" de los beneficios del poder? Ese carrusel de roscas, beneficios y adulación requiere privilegios especiales...


    Hay un tercer beneficio que presenta la OEA. Se trata de una Organización que no escatima en realizar toda serie de eventos, cocteles, tratos especiales, etc. Se trata de la socialización del más alto nivel. En estos eventos como "foro para la erradicación del hambre" se invita a "líderes comprometidos" a "discutirlo" en hoteles del más alto nivel. Se trata de eventos que sus asistentes no solamente no pasen hambre, sino que coman esquisitos manjares. Manjares que los motiven a una "reflexión profunda" para sacar una resolución, declaración, etc., donde se diga que se quiere acabar con el hambre. Â¿Cómo conseguiríamos aquellas "valiosísimas" declaraciones que se dan en eventos del más alto nivel?


    Eso sin contar con que, los organismos internacionales son buenos empleadores. ¿Qué pasaría con empleos como los del Secretario General, despachos, asistentes, adjuntos? No se puede negar que, en un mundo lleno de problemas económicos, se requiere resolver los problemas de empleo. Es "vital" para nuestra economía que haya personas encargadas de manejar varios tipos de sellos y la logística que ello implica. Más aún, por su directa relación con emitir otras de declaraciones acerca de la importancia de acabar con el hambre. Situación que llevará a otras declaraciones sobre tan importante problema... Eso sin contar que las facultades de relaciones internacionales perderían inmensas "ventajas" para el mercadeo de sus programas. ¿Dónde van a trabajar sus egresados? En esta economía global hay que "garantizarles" un empleo...


    Es así como Nicolás Maduro está equivocado. No solamente por ser él quien lo dice, sino por la importancia de la institución que se trata. Sin ella ¿Qué remedarían los jóvenes para cambiar el mundo? ¡Se perderían empleos, se desperdiciarían inmunidades diplomáticas (que podría darle a sus "amigos")! Sin la OEA y las instituciones internacionales ¿cómo podríamos tener un circo donde los payasos cumplan al pie de la letra el protocolo y la etiqueta? Sin ellos no tendríamos quien lograra darnos pan... bueno declaraciones que harán que este aparezca mágicamente...

              LA FALACIA DE LO "EMPÍRICO" PRIMERA PARTE: ALGUNOS APUNTES SOBRE CO2 Y CAMBIO CLIMÁTICO        
    Conversando con un amigo de mi hermano quisimos mirar las tendencias sobre el tema del "cambio climático" o "calentamiento global". En primer lugar, quisimos mirar en concreto las mediciones de CO2 por kilotoneladas. El Banco Mundial uno de los mayores promotores de la existencia del cambio climático nos trae una larga serie, de 50 años un número geológicamente MUY relevante, del orden de un 1 y 7 ceros... antes o sea 0,000000011111111 de la edad de la tierra. No sabíamos la "amplia" duración de los periodos geológicos... pero hay buenas noticias, Estados Unidos ha ido disminuyendo su participación en las emisiones globales como lo muestra la siguiente gráfica:
    DATOS: Banco Mundial

    La tendencia es "alentadora". Lo que no nos muestran es que sus emisiones han venido aumentando desde 1960. Tampoco nos dicen que las emisiones Chinas han aumentado su participación en las emisiones globales veamos las emisiones Chinas y Norteamericanas por kilotonelada en el mismo periodo de tiempo:
    DATOS: Banco Mundial
    Y ¿hay alguna correlación entre el aumento de las emisiones chinas con la economía norteamericana? ¿Mano de obra "balata"? El caso es que es alentador ver que en 2009 cuando llegó el ambientalista y "Nobel" Barack Obama, las emisiones disminuyeron... también habrían caído con el petrolero Bush... venían cayendo con el petrolero Bush ¿Perdón? Las crisis bajan las emisiones... ¿Qué? Sí, las crisis bajan las emisiones. Para ponerlo un poco más duro, en nada impactan los políticos al manejo de emisiones... Â¿o si? La razón es simple, si el ciclo implica disminución del consumo pasan dos cosas:
    1. Por vía del consumo: las personas tratan de recortar al máximo sus gastos en políticas austeras. Apagan más la luz. Recordemos que en general la producción de energía norteamericana es del carbón o del petróleo. También la pérdida de empleos genera disminución en el uso de vehículos.
    2. Por vía de las industrias: al ver las crisis las industrias disminuyen la demanda de capital y de producción, no solamente despiden trabajadores sino que utilizan menos las máquinas. Es lo que llaman "hechos estilizados de los ciclos económicos".
    ¿Es cierto esto? Pues algo así se observa en Colombia y Cuba. Por ejemplo, en Cuba la escasa industria hace que sus emisiones no estén al nivel de las colombianas o no hayan crecido lo mismo lo mismo en Colombia, la crisis del 1999 se ve reflejada en las emisiones de CO2:
    FUENTE: Banco Mundial.
    
    
    
    ¿Y la disparada de las emisiones en Colombia? Hasta 2004 la construcción estuvo resentida por la crisis, a partir de 2004 se dispara, también hay minería que puede o debe influir al respecto. Lo que sí es interesante es la economía cubana, el comunismo parece que no hace creer las emisiones. Bueno, pero tienen a EEUU al lado ¿no les afecta sus mediciones? Conclusión, si es así hay que disminuir el crecimiento económico o volvernos una economía comunista -sin carbón o petróleo- para disminuir las emisiones... Es la conclusión absurda y corto placista de los ambientalistas.  
    Hay muchas falencias en estos temas. Uno puede preguntarse ¿son comparables las gráficas? Si uno es estricto no. ¿Cómo miden las emisiones de CO2 en Cuba, Colombia, EEUU y China? Las mediciones son diferentes, si en mi edificio tuviera dos barómetros y los pongo en el mimo lugar es probable que den mediciones diferentes, aproximadas pero diferentes. Lo mismo si los medidores están a las afueras o dentro de las ciudades la cuestión cambia, adicionalmente los vientos pueden llevar la contaminación hacia lugares distintos. Si es en el día en una ciudad costera la brisa del mar puede sesgar el medidor hacia arriba conservando la contaminación en ese punto. Las temperaturas pueden cambiar el proceso de ascenso, la densidad del aire varía con la temperatura, el CO2 también, los procesos de ascenso por convexión variarán de acuerdo con la latitud de la zona, la presión, la densidad del aire, entre muchos otros.
    No es igual la medición en zonas desérticas que no tienen vegetación a zonas con buena vegetación. No es lo mismo medir el CO2 en Cusco, Perú desértico, frío y a 3600 msnm que en Apartadó, Antioquia, Colombia altamente húmedo, caliente, mucha vegetación y prácticamente al nivel del mar (los dos climas más opuestos que conozco). Es así como un medidor de emisiones de CO2 no es comparable realmente de país a país. Que hay cierto nivel de error de país a país es claro... pero ¿cuánto? El "generoso" Banco Mundial que "tanta riqueza nos genera" no nos regala ese dato...
    Es así como estos datos realmente empíricos, tomados de una medición, no son comparables. No estoy criticando el empirismo como tal, estoy criticando el mal manejo que se da a lo empírico. Si no fuera un empirista no sabría que hay diferencias en la medición de diferentes medidores en la misma situación. La idea del laboratorio que se usa en física es excelente, logra aislar diversas variables, pero también tiene su error. ¿Pero un laboratorio multivariable?

              The "Green" Jobs Canard        

    For too long, politicians, environmentalists and subsidized proponents of “green” jobs have been peddling the notions that “investing” in green technologies is the illuminating endeavor and beneficent job creator of our time.  With scant evidence, these green jobs postulates are bulwarked by so much hot air it rivals the amount of subsidized dollars used to sustain them.

    The main dilemma of green jobs and investing is that they defy the reality of basic economics.  Jobs are created by entrepreneurs willing to invest in capital, coupled with demand for their goods and services.  The economic environment fostered by government (taxes, regulations, etc.) plays an immensely important role as well.

    The experience in Europe with investment in greed jobs sheds a glaring light on the fallacious nature of the purported success of these initiatives.   In Spain, which has a 20.4 percent unemployment rate, every green job created destroyed an additional 2.2 regular jobs. In addition, every “green” megawatt created destroys 5.28 jobs in the rest of the economy.  Aggregately, these green jobs programs killed 110,500 elsewhere in the economy.

    The amount of money invested in these programs is exorbitantly costly when compared with private sector job creation.  In Italy, the amount of capital invested in the creation of 1 green job was equivalent to the amount of capital invested to create 5 jobs in the rest of the economy.

    The reason these programs are such colossal failures, is that government subsidies to inefficient and unsustainable green initiatives divert resources from other productive sectors of the economy and result in the loss of jobs.  Price-controls and central planning have long been considered an abject failure, why do we believe that these policies are any more palatable in the energy sector of our economy?

    The reason these economically suicidal green job schemes continue to seem viable is that somehow they represent drastically new technology and innovation.  It’s like a burgeoning plant, just give it a little water and it will rapidly expand, right?

    Wrong.  These propositions elucidate an inherent myopia within the green jobs cheerleaders.  The truth is that the wind-powered electricity was commercialized in 1881 and solar power received its first patent in 1892.  Mean ugly coal-fired electricity was commercialized in 1882.  

    The house that contains the green jobs myth has been set ablaze.  Do we want the dubious distinction of running in?


              Selective Amnesia of Reagan’s Legacy        

    Amazingly and audaciously, the mainstream media and liberal pundocracy has created a narrative that President Obama’s newly found centrism is molded in the inspirational optimism of President Reagan.  This narrative seems confusing, when many liberals excoriate Reagan’s economic policy as the grim reaper of capitalism coming to instill all the inequities of the free market.


    Reagan, like the Tea Party, believed heavily in the primacy of the individual over the government and limited self-government constrained by the Constitution.  
    Reagan, in his “A Time for Choosing” speech, echoed these sentiments by saying, “A government can't control the economy without controlling people. And they know when a government sets out to do that, it must use force and coercion to achieve its purpose. They also knew, those Founding Fathers, that outside of its legitimate functions, government does nothing as well or as economically as the private sector of the economy.”


    On the flipside, President Obama in his State of the Union Address enunciated the greater need for “investment” (i.e. government spending and subsidies) wrapped in the rhetorical trappings of American exceptionalism and greatness.   This deceptive rhetoric attempted to mask the policy that undergirded Obama’s State of the Union address which called for more dubious government subsidies for green energy and an increase in spending for high-speed rail boondoggles.  If American citizens were groping and longing for high-speed rail,  wouldn’t it be flourishing by now after nearly 30 years since the French launched their Paris-Lyon TGV line?

     
    If there is no demand for these industries, how else can government make them appealing, but by way of force, coercion or wasteful subsidizing hoping to create a market for these currently unwanted and inefficient products?

     
    Are we to forget the GM bailout,  Dodd-Frank financial regulation and an intrusive government intervention into our healthcare system?  Do President Obama’s policies even close to matching his own rhetoric in the State of the Union, let alone Reagan’s?


    These pontificators may be well-intentioned, but it is more than condescending to attempt to link President Obama with the former President merely based on oratorical flourishes and Reaganesque-style optimism.  Their ideas on the proper function and role of the government stand in stark contrast.


    As AEI’s Steven Hayward insightfully notes, Reagan believed that modern liberalism unequivocally left him.  

    Reagan's invocation of Paine, as well as his quotation of John Winthrop's "City upon a Hill" sermon, expresses the core of his optimism and belief in the dynamism of American society, a dynamism that can have unconservative effects. But he explained his use of Paine in conservative terms way back in his 1965 autobiography, Where's the Rest of Me? "The classic liberal," Reagan wrote, "used to be the man who believed the individual was, and should be forever, the master of his destiny. That is now the conservative position. The liberal used to believe in freedom under law. He now takes the ancient feudal position that power is everything. He believes in a stronger and stronger central government, in the philosophy that control is better than freedom. The conservative now quotes Thomas Paine, a longtime refuge of the liberals: 'Government is a necessary evil; let us have as little of it as possible.'"

    Maybe It is time for President Obama to return to some of Founder's writings in order to rediscover his inner centrism.  He can begin with Thomas Paine.

     


              200 days in: Obama still on Trump's mind - CNN        

    CNN

    200 days in: Obama still on Trump's mind
    CNN
    Bridgewater, New Jersey (CNN) In 1962, as the United States and the Soviet Union wobbled toward nuclear confrontation, then-President John F. Kennedy got his predecessor on the phone. "What's your judgment as to the chances they'll fire these things off?
    FactCheck: Trump misfires on nuclear weapons boastPhilly.com
    AP FACT CHECK: Trump's unjustified boast about US nuke powerMiami Herald
    Fact Check: Trump's Unjustified Boast About US Nuke PowerNBC New York
    Twitter -Whitehouse.gov -The White House -Department of State
    all 113 news articles »

              Trump to McConnell: 'Mitch, get back to work'        
    Trump slams Senate Republicans for failing to pass an Obamacare repeal plan.
              Social Movements in the US: From the American Revolution to Obama [Audio]        
    Speaker(s): Professor Craig Calhoun | Professor Calhoun is a world-renowned social scientist whose work connects sociology to culture, communication, politics, philosophy and economics. He took up his post as LSE Director on 1 September 2012, having left the United States where he was University Professor at New York University and director of the Institute for Public Knowledge and President of the Social Science Research Council. Professor Calhoun took a D Phil in History and Sociology at Oxford University and a Master's in Social Anthropology at Manchester. He co-founded, with Richard Sennett, Professor of Sociology at LSE, the NYLON programme which brings together graduate students from New York and London for co-operative research programmes. He is the author of several books including Nations Matter, Critical Social Theory, Neither Gods Nor Emperors and most recently The Roots of Radicalism (University of Chicago Press, 2012).
              America and the World - After the Election [Audio]        
    Speaker(s): Professor Anne Applebaum, Professor Craig Calhoun, Professor Michael Cox, Gideon Rachman | After a closely fought election, this highly topical LSE public debate will look ahead to Obama’s second administration and assess the challenges it faces at home and how it is likely to address them, as well as how its relationships with Britain, Europe and the rest of the world are likely to develop. Author and Pulitzer Prize winner Anne Applebaum has taken up the post of Philippe Roman Chair in History and International Affairs at the School for 2012-13. She is the first woman to ever hold this position. Anne Applebaum is the Director of Political Studies at the Legatum Institute in London, and a columnist for the Washington Post and Slate. After graduating from Yale University, Anne Applebaum was a Marshall Scholar at both the LSE and St. Anthony’s College Oxford. She has also lectured at Yale and Columbia Universities, amongst others. Anne Applebaum’s journalistic work focuses on US and international politics, with a particular focus on economic and political transition. Craig Calhoun is director of LSE. He is a world-renowned social scientist whose work connects sociology to culture, communication, politics, philosophy and economics. He took up his post as LSE Director on 1 September 2012, having left the United States where he was University Professor at New York University and director of the Institute for Public Knowledge and President of the Social Science Research Council. Michael Cox is founding director of LSE IDEAS. `Professor Cox is a well known speaker on global affairs and has lectured in the United States, Australia, Asia, and in the EU. He has spoken on a range of contemporary global issues, though most recently he has focused on the role of the United States in the international system, the rise of Asia, and whether or not the world is now in the midst of a major power shift. Gideon Rachman became chief foreign affairs columnist for the Financial Times in July 2006. He joined the FT after a 15-year career at The Economist, which included spells as a foreign correspondent in Brussels, Washington and Bangkok. He also edited The Economist’s business and Asia sections. His particular interests include American foreign policy, the European Union and globalisation.
              America Votes [Audio]        
    Speaker(s): Professor Craig Calhoun, Professor Michael Cox, Dr Pippa Malmgren, Professor Sir Robert Worcester | With just a week to go to the US presidential election, this panel of experts will assess the state of the race, look back at Barack Obama’s first term, what a second term would bring, or what "President Romney" would mean for the US and the wider world. Craig Calhoun is director of LSE. Michael Cox is Founding co-director of LSE IDEAS. Pippa Malmgren is the president and founder of Principalis Asset Management, former financial market advisor in the White House and member of the National Economic Council. Robert Worcester was the founder of MORI and is an honorary fellow of LSE.
              Obama After Nice Attack: We Must Not Do Terrorists' Work        
    Following the truck attack in Nice, France, President Obama addresses reported backlash against Muslim-Americans.
              Obama: Nice Attack Is 'A Threat to All of Us'        
    President Obama delivers his first remarks on the Bastille Day truck attack in Nice, France.
              Barack Obama Plaza? The Curious Tale of How an Irish Rest Stop Was Named After a US President        

    Cruising down the motorway between Dublin and Limerick, I am reminded of the building boom that overtook Ireland during the Celtic Tiger years. Before the millennium, a wide divided highway like this simply did not exist in Ireland. Somewhere near Kildare, the stand of modern industrial parks and high embankment walls lining the road give […]

    The post Barack Obama Plaza? The Curious Tale of How an Irish Rest Stop Was Named After a US President appeared first on Irish Fireside Travel and Culture.


              BRAIN Initiative        
    President Obama recently announced a big new effort to map and understand the human brain. What are we trying to learn about our brains? One thing we will earn is how our brains are structured, "not this well-organized hierarchical control system where everything is in order." Another is how much of mental illness is shaped by experience and society, as opposed to chemical or structural factors. What do we already know about our brains? 12 Things We Know About How The Brain Works. And we know that unconcious processing improves decision-making. That brain structure may be linked to placebo response. And that unconcious brains can read and do math. We know a little bit more about how the brain responds to addiction. And we know that "genetic, molecular and cellular mechanisms" in childhood can have permanent ill effects. We think that differences in our brain reflect political differences. But we know that a lot of pop neuroscience is bollocks. What could we do with new information? Could we reverse-engineer AI? Manipulate our brains, neuron-by-neuron? Make better soldiers? Or record dreams? Or activate neurons with light? Or make better, crowdsourced brain maps? Neurotechnology, Social Control, And Revolution
    In our neuro-centric world-view, a person is equated to his brain. The neuro-discourse has penetrated all aspects of our lives from law to politics to literature to medicine to physics. As part of this neuro-revolution, huge military funding is supporting neuro-scientific research; a huge body of basic knowledge on memory, belief formation, cognition and sensory modalities has been gathered over years, with fieldslike social neuroscience, cultural neuroscience, neuroeconomics and neuromarketing has emerging to improve our lifestyle; neurotechnological know-how from wireless non invasive technologies to neuroelectronic interfaces is exponentially advancing; and neurotechnology business reports indicates the rapid increase in neurotechnological start ups and the willingness of bringing neurotechnological products to the market. In my opinion, all the aforementioned indicators indicate that neurotechnology can be potentially used to control social dynamics.

              Drink Up! Michelle Obama Partners with Big Bottled Water        
    Big bottled water companies partner with Michelle Obama in her new campaign to get Americans to drink more water — by just one glass more. The First Lady’s “Drink Up” campaign aims to educate Americans on the importance of drinking water for better health. In a recent press release the First Lady said, “Since we […]

              Dear President Obama: A few tips for your upcoming trip to Ghana        
    Dear President Obama: I received the news of your impending trip to Ghana with a mixture of excitement, elation and crushing disappointment.  You see, as a Ghanaian by birth, I cannot overstate the significance of my country being the location of your first trip as President of The United States of America, to Africa.   Knowing
              The travesty that is Australia's asylum seeker offshore detention policy -"If they had arrived by airplane and with a tourist visa then they would be here."         

    It seems the truth will out.

    After the United States completes its vetting of asylum seekers held in overseas detention by the Australian Government it is not obliged to take even one of those individuals U.S. immigration officials have examined.

    In May 2017 the Department of Immigration and Border Protection confirmed 268 people had completed their second-stage security interview with US officials: 220 in Nauru and 48 on Manus Island.

    U.S. immigration officials halted screening interviews and departed Nauru on 14 July 2017, two weeks short of their scheduled timetable and a day after Washington said the US had reached its annual refugee intake cap.

    However, under the original agreement once that vetting is completed Australia becomes obliged to resettle between 20 and 50 people under a U.S. "Protection Transfer Arrangement" in Costa Rica set up to resettle refugees from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.

    Prime Minister Turnbull verbally changed that undertaking to an open-ended number of people the Trump Administration might be “very keen on getting out of the United States”.

    There is no indication that the U.S. Government intends to complete its vetting of those detained on Nauru and Manus islands.

    The Washington Post, 3 August 2017:

    The Washington Post has obtained transcripts of two conversations President Trump had with foreign leaders: one with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and another with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
    The transcripts were prepared by the White House but have not been released. The Post is publishing reproductions rather than original documents in order to protect sources. The reproductions below also include minor spelling and grammatical mistakes that appeared in the documents………………


    JANUARY 28, 2017 FROM 5:05 TO 5:29 P.M. EST.

    TURNBULL
    Good evening.

    TRUMP
    Mr. Prime Minister, how are you?

    TURNBULL
    I am doing very well.

    TRUMP
    And I guess our friend Greg Norman, he is doing very well?

    TURNBULL
    He is a great mutual friend yes.

    TRUMP
    Well you say hello to him. He is a very good friend. By the way thank you very much for taking the call. I really appreciate it. It is really nice.

    TURNBULL
    Thank you very much. Everything is going very well. I want to congratulate you and Mike Pence on being sworn in now. I have spoken to you both now as you know. I know we are both looking to make our relationship which is very strong and intimate, stronger than ever – which I believe we can do.

    TRUMP
    Good.

    TURNBULL
    I believe you and I have similar backgrounds, unusual for politicians, more businessman but I look forward to working together.

    TRUMP
    That is exactly right. We do have similar backgrounds and it seems to be working in this climate – it is a crazy climate. Let me tell you this, it is an evil time but it is a complex time because we do not have uniforms standing in front of us. Instead, we have people in disguise. It is brutal. This ISIS thing â€“ it is something we are going to devote a lot of energy to it. I think we are going to be very successful.

    TURNBULL
    Absolutely. We have, as you know, taken a very strong line on national security and border protection here and when I was speaking with Jared Kushner just the other day and one of your immigration advisors in the White House we reflected on how our policies have helped to inform your approach. We are very much of the same mind. It is very interesting to know how you prioritize the minorities in your Executive Order. This is exactly what we have done with the program to bring in 12,000 Syrian refugees, 90% of which will be Christians. It will be quite deliberate and the position I have taken – I have been very open about it – is that it is a tragic fact of life that when the situation in the Middle East settles down – the people that are going to be most unlikely to have a continuing home are those Christian minorities. We have seen that in Iraq and so from our point of view, as a final destination for refugees, that is why we prioritize. It is not a sectarian thing. It is recognition of the practical political realities. We have a similar perspective in that respect.

    TRUMP
    Do you know four years ago Malcom, I was with a man who does this for a living. He was telling me, before the migration, that if you were a Christian from Syria, you had no chance of coming to the United States. Zero. They were the ones being persecuted. When I say persecuted, I mean their heads were being chopped off. If you were a Muslim we have nothing against Muslims, but if you were a Muslim you were not persecuted at least to the extent – but if you were a Muslim from Syria that was the number one place to get into the United States from. That was the easiest thing. But if you were a Christian from Syria you have no chance of getting into the United States. I just thought it was an incredible statistic. Totally true – and you have seen the same thing. It is incredible.

    TURNBULL
    Well, yes. Mr. President, can I return to the issue of the resettlement agreement that we had with the Obama administration with respect to some people on Nauru and Manus Island. I have written to you about this and Mike Pence and General Flynn spoke with Julie Bishop and my National Security Advisor yesterday. This is a very big issue for us, particularly domestically, and I do understand you are inclined to a different point of view than the Vice President.

    TRUMP
    Well, actually I just called for a total ban on Syria and from many different countries from where there is terror, and extreme vetting for everyone else – and somebody told me yesterday that close to 2,000 people are coming who are really probably troublesome. And I am saying, boy that will make us look awfully bad. Here I am calling for a ban where I am not letting anybody in and we take 2,000 people. Really it looks like 2,000 people that Australia does not want and I do not blame you by the way, but the United States has become like a dumping ground. You know Malcom, anybody that has a problem – you remember the Mariel boat lift, where Castro let everyone out of prison and Jimmy Carter accepted them with open arms. These were brutal people. Nobody said Castro was stupid, but now what are we talking about is 2,000 people that are actually imprisoned and that would actually come into the United States. I heard about this – I have to say I love Australia; I love the people of Australia. I have so many friends from Australia, but I said – geez that is a big ask, especially in light of the fact that we are so heavily in favor, not in favor, but we have no choice but to stop things. We have to stop. We have allowed so many people into our country that should not be here. We have our San Bernardino’s, we have had the World Trade Center come down because of people that should not have been in our country, and now we are supposed to take 2,000. It sends such a bad signal. You have no idea. It is such a bad thing.

    TURNBULL
    Can you hear me out Mr. President?

    TRUMP
    Yeah, go ahead.

    TURNBULL
    Yes, the agreement, which the Vice President just called the Foreign Minister about less than 24 hours ago and said your Administration would be continuing, does not require you to take 2,000 people. It does not require you to take any. It requires, in return, for us to do a number of things for the United States – this is a big deal, I think we should respect deals.

    TRUMP
    Who made the deal? Obama?

    TURNBULL
    Yes, but let me describe what it is. I think it is quite consistent. I think you can comply with it. It is absolutely consistent with your Executive Order so please just hear me out. The obligation is for the United States to look and examine and take up to and only if they so choose – 1,250 to 2,000. Every individual is subject to your vetting. You can decide to take them or to not take them after vetting. You can decide to take 1,000 or 100. It is entirely up to you. The obligation is to only go through the process. So that is the first thing. Secondly, the people — none of these people are from the conflict zone. They are basically economic refugees from Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. That is the vast bulk of them. They have been under our supervision for over three years now and we know exactly everything about them.

    TRUMP
    Why haven’t you let them out? Why have you not let them into your society?

    TURNBULL
    Okay, I will explain why. It is not because they are bad people. It is because in order to stop people smugglers, we had to deprive them of the product. So we said if you try to come to Australia by boat, even if we think you are the best person in the world, even if you are a Noble [sic] Prize winning genius, we will not let you in. Because the problem with the people —

    TRUMP
    That is a good idea. We should do that too. You are worse than I am.

    TURNBULL
    This is our experience.

    TRUMP
    Because you do not want to destroy your country. Look at what has happened in Germany. Look at what is happening in these countries. These people are crazy to let this happen. I spoke to Merkel today, and believe me, she wishes she did not do it. Germany is a mess because of what happened.

    TURNBULL
    I agree with you, letting one million Syrians walk into their country. It was one of the big factors in the Brexit vote, frankly.

    TRUMP
    Well, there could be two million people coming in Germany. Two million people. Can you believe it? It will never be the same.

    TURNBULL
    stood up at the UN in September and set up what our immigration policy was. I said that you cannot maintain popular support for immigration policy, multiculturalism, unless you can control your borders. The bottom line is that we got here. I am asking you as a very good friend. This is a big deal. It is really, really important to us that we maintain it. It does not oblige you to take one person that you do not want. As I have said, your homeland officials have visited and they have already interviewed these people. You can decide. It is at your discretion. So you have the wording in the Executive Order that enables the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secretary of State to admit people on a case by case basis in order to conform with an existing agreement. I do believe that you will never find a better friend to the United States than Australia. I say this to you sincerely that it is in the mutual interest of the United States to say, “yes, we can conform with that deal – we are not obliged to take anybody we do not want, we will go through extreme vetting” and that way you are seen to show the respect that a trusted ally wants and deserves. We will then hold up our end of the bargain by taking in our country 31 [inaudible] that you need to move on from.

    TRUMP
    Malcom [sic], why is this so important? I do not understand. This is going to kill me. I am the world’s greatest person that does not want to let people into the country. And now I am agreeing to take 2,000 people and I agree I can vet them, but that puts me in a bad position. It makes me look so bad and I have only been here a week.

    TURNBULL
    With great respect, that is not right – It is not 2,000.

    TRUMP
    Well, it is close. I have also heard like 5,000 as well.

    TURNBULL
    The given number in the agreement is 1,250 and it is entirely a matter of your vetting. I think that what you could say is that the Australian government is consistent with the principles set out in the Executive Order.

    TRUMP
    No, I do not want say that. I will just have to say that unfortunately I will have to live with what was said by Obama. I will say I hate it. Look, I spoke to Putin, Merkel, Abe of Japan, to France today, and this was my most unpleasant call because I will be honest with you. I hate taking these people. I guarantee you they are bad. That is why they are in prison right now. They are not going to be wonderful people who go on to work for the local milk people.

    TURNBULL
    I would not be so sure about that. They are basically —

    TRUMP
    Well, maybe you should let them out of prison. I am doing this because Obama made a bad deal. I am not doing this because it fits into my Executive Order. I am taking 2,000 people from Australia who are in prison and the day before I signed an Executive Order saying that we are not taking anybody in. We are not taking anybody in, those days are over.

    TURNBULL
    But can I say to you, there is nothing more important in business or politics than a deal is a deal. Look, you and I have a lot of mutual friends.
    Look, I do not know how you got them to sign a deal like this, but that is how they lost the election. They said I had no way to 270 and I got 306. That is why they lost the election, because of stupid deals like this. You have brokered many a stupid deal in business and I respect you, but I guarantee that you broke many a stupid deal. This is a stupid deal. This deal will make me look terrible.

    TURNBULL
    Mr. President, I think this will make you look like a man who stands by the commitments of the United States. It shows that you are a committed —

    TRUMP
    Okay, this shows me to be a dope. I am not like this but, if I have to do it, I will do it but I do not like this at all. I will be honest with you. Not even a little bit. I think it is ridiculous and Obama should have never signed it. The only reason I will take them is because I have to honor a deal signed by my predecessor and it was a rotten deal. I say that it was a stupid deal like all the other deals that this country signed. You have to see what I am doing. I am unlocking deals that were made by people, these people were incompetent. I am not going to say that it fits within the realm of my Executive Order. We are going to allow 2,000 prisoners to come into our country and it is within the realm of my Executive Order? If that is the case my Executive Order does not mean anything Malcom [sic]. I look like a dope. The only way that I can do this is to say that my predecessor made a deal and I have no option then to honor the deal. I hate having to do it, but I am still going to vet them very closely. Suppose I vet them closely and I do not take any?

    TURNBULL
    That is the point I have been trying to make.

    TRUMP
    How does that help you?

    TURNBULL
    Well, we assume that we will act in good faith.

    TRUMP
    Does anybody know who these people are? Who are they? Where do they come from? Are they going to become the Boston bomber in five years? Or two years? Who are these people?

    TURNBULL
    Let me explain. We know exactly who they are. They have been on Nauru or Manus for over three years and the only reason we cannot let them into Australia is because of our commitment to not allow people to come by boat. Otherwise we would have let them in. If they had arrived by airplane and with a tourist visa then they would be here.

    TRUMP
    Malcom [sic], but they are arrived on a boat?

    TURNBULL
    Correct, we have stopped the boats.

    TRUMP
    Give them to the United States. We are like a dumping ground for the rest of the world. I have been here for a period of time, I just want this to stop. I look so foolish doing this. It [sic] know it is good for you but it is bad for me. It is horrible for me. This is what I am trying to stop. I do not want to have more San Bernardino’s or World Trade Centers. I could name 30 others, but I do not have enough time.

    TURNBULL
    These guys are not in that league. They are economic refugees.

    TRUMP
    Okay, good. Can Australia give me a guarantee that if we have any problems – you know that is what they said about the Boston bombers. They said they were wonderful young men.

    TURNBULL
    They were Russians. They were not from any of these countries.

    TRUMP
    They were from wherever they were.

    TURNBULL
    Please, if we can agree to stick to the deal, you have complete discretion in terms of a security assessment. The numbers are not 2,000 but 1,250 to start. Basically, we are taking people from the previous administration that they were very keen on getting out of the United States. We will take more. We will take anyone that you want us to take. The only people that we do not take are people who come by boat. So we would rather take a not very attractive guy that help you out then to take a Noble [sic] Peace Prize winner that comes by boat. That is the point.

    TRUMP
    What is the thing with boats? Why do you discriminate against boats? No, I know, they come from certain regions. I get it.

    TURNBULL
    No, let me explain why. The problem with the boats it that you are basically outsourcing your immigration program to people smugglers and also you get thousands of people drowning at sea. So what we say is, we will decide which people get to come to Australia who are refugees, economic migrants, businessmen, whatever. We decide. That is our decision. We are a generous multicultural immigration nation like the United States but the government decides, the people’s representatives decides. So that is the point. I am a highly transactional businessman like you and I know the deal has to work for both sides. Now Obama thought this deal worked for him and he drove a hard bargain with us – that it was agreed with Obama more than a year ago in the Oval Office, long before the election. The principles of the deal were agreed to.

    TRUMP
    I do not know what he got out of it. We never get anything out of it – START Treaty, the Iran deal. I do not know where they find these people to make these stupid deals. I am going to get killed on this thing.

    TURNBULL
    You will not.

    TRUMP
    Yes, I will be seen as a weak and ineffective leader in my first week by these people. This is a killer.

    TURNBULL
    You can certainly say that it was not a deal that you would have done, but you are going to stick with it.

    TRUMP
    I have no choice to say that about it. Malcom [sic], I am going to say that I have no choice but to honor my predecessor’s deal. I think it is a horrible deal, a disgusting deal that I would have never made. It is an embarrassment to the United States of America and you can say it just the way I said it. I will say it just that way. As far as I am concerned that is enough Malcom [sic]I have had it. I have been making these calls all day and this is the most unpleasant call all day. Putin was a pleasant call. This is ridiculous.

    TURNBULL
    Do you want to talk about Syria and DPRK?

    TRUMP
    [inaudible] this is crazy.

    TURNBULL
    Thank you for your commitment. It is very important to us.

    TRUMP
    It is important to you and it is embarrassing to me. It is an embarrassment to me, but at least I got you off the hook. So you put me back on the hook.

    TURNBULL
    You can count on me. I will be there again and again.

    TRUMP
    I hope so. Okay, thank you Malcolm.

    TURNBULL
    Okay, thank you.
    END OF CALL

    * My yellow highlighting.

              Obama to join ranks of our roadless forest heroes?        

    I had the honor Monday of joining two of my heroes — former Forest Service Chief Mike Dombeck and U.S. Representative Raul Grijalva from Arizona — to share with reporters what steps we would like to see the Obama Administration take to protect our nation’s roadless forests. Recent court rulings favored by President Bush and his oil-and-gas-industry cronies have inserted what we hope is just a temporary sliver into protection for areas that play a critical role in improving the quality of life for people and safeguarding habitat for wildlife.

    Grijalva, chairman of the House National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Subcommittee, noted that our incoming president is already a champion of these values. Obama co-sponsored legislation that would permanently protect America’s unroaded forests when he was a senator and he often mentioned their importance as a presidential candidate. Now that he’s set to take office in a week, The Wilderness Society and many of our friends in the conservation community including the Pew Environment Group can move from addressing the question of whether a new president will protect these pristine forests to how he will do so.

    Our immediate focus is on asking the new administration to make it a lot more difficult for the still Bush-heavy Forest Service to approve any projects that would destroy the integrity of our roadless forests. This can be accomplished by stipulating that any destructive activities such as road building, logging, oil and gas development, and mining be reviewed by an Obama appointee rather than allowing such decisions to be made by the Forest Service at the local level.

    There are two other items we will work with the administration to accomplish in the short-term. (The phrase “working with the administration” is a refreshing change after the last eight years.) As we all told reporters yesterday, we would like President Obama to:

    • Require the Department of Justice to vigorously defend our roadless forests in the various on-going court cases that we hope will result in a victory for the millions of people who care so deeply about roadless areas.
    • End the temporary exemption from the national roadless rule that Bush placed on the Tongass National Forest in Alaska.

    All three of the principles I’ve mentioned here are expressed in The Roosevelt Resolution, a request to help our forests that honors the legacy of President Theodore Roosevelt. By clicking on the link above, you can also listen to yesterday’s press conference so that you can hear directly from the roadless rule architect, Mr. Dombeck, and one of our most courageous public lands advocates, Rep. Grijalva.

    I don’t think it will take you long to discern why they’re heroes of mine, or why protecting our roadless forests is so close to all of our hearts.


              In Defense of Economic Noninterventionism         

    A recent Wall Street Journal article has surprisingly good news: US companies are seeing the highest profit growth in two years with “two consecutive quarters of double-digit profit growth for the first time since 2011.” This surprisingly comes not from policies pursued in Washington, but the hard work of the private sector.

    The fact that businesses and job creators can make such a phenomenal showing after years of regulatory uncertainty and continued political intervention reminds us of the power of the free market and that the best successes come from the work of the individuals, not collectivists in the public sector.

    Perhaps the best reminding of what the last eight years brought us was President Obama’s infamous 2012 campaign speech “If you've got a business, you didn't build that.” Throughout the course of his administration saw a creation of routine legislative and executive actions that were designed to both micromanage business and supposedly “create” jobs. Unfortunately, none of this had the intended success.

    Most prominently among the actions from the executive administration while Obama was presidents include significantly increased regulations. Among these have included the Waters of the United States Rule (WOTUS), Dodd-Frank, the stimulus package, and, most spectacularly of all, Obamacare. All of these added a large interventions and onerous barriers in the economy that failed to achieve their stated goal.

    WOTUS was probably one of the greatest power grabs by the EPA in recent history. The rule essentially sought to define “navigable waters” in the clean water Act which “brought nearly half of Alaska and a total area in the lower 48 states equivalent to the size of California under the CWA’s jurisdiction.” The proposal, had it not been blocked and rescinded, would have cost thousands of dollars for permits on land that was not previously under the EPA’s jurisdiction, delayed production since a permit can take up to months, and this would have resulted in reduced development and production as well as higher prices.

    Though the WOTUS rule was not fully implemented, regulations that did have a massive negative impact on the economy include the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

    As implemented, Dodd-Frank imposed various new regulations on the financial sector, including creating the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), designated firms as systemically important financial institutions (SIFIs), and instituted price controls on debit and credit card transactions. The result was a climate of over regulation with banks being incentivized to become as large as possible in the hopes of being bailed out while the CFPB became a revolving door for lobbyists and influence peddlers to regulate the market with little to no oversight.

    Unsurprisingly, one fifth of the banks in the U.S. banks, totalling 1,708, went under between the law’s creation and 2016, which is about one per day, and by 2015 five large banks controlled 50 percent of the banking industry.

    Outside of simple regulation, there was also so called “jobs creations” programs that were supposed to create jobs the President did not think businesses could such as the stimulus package. The program was sold as a job creation plan that would keep unemployment below 8 percent for the low price of $830 billion.

    The next four years were marked by above 8 percent unemployment while the money ended up being wasted on worthless projects, including trees in wealthy neighborhoods, a study of erectile dysfunction, and the failed company solyndra which was run by a bundler for the Obama campaign. To make matters worse, though unemployment eventually went down long after the stimulus’s implementation, the labor participation rate reached its lowest in 38 years which shows that people still weren’t working.

    However, the crowned jewel of overregulation and job destruction during the Obama administration was ObamaCare. Implemented to expand health insurance coverage, it has repeatedly failed to reach its goals as premiums went up, enrollment failed to reach its projections, and the legislation gave corporate welfare (including promised bailouts) to the insurance lobby. In the end, most of the coops failed and major companies pulled out of the exchanges, resulting in 1,000 counties, including five whole states, only having one insurer, a major failure in the goal of expanded coverage.

    Inevitably, the phenomenal intervention in the economy by President Obama failed to achieve the job creation while it instead made made doing business that much harder. With record breaking numbers of regulations, Obama was the first President since the Great Depression to never see 3 percent GDP growth.

    The Trump administration in the meantime has pursued a different approach than its predecessor. The Trump administration has seen sixteen regulations cut for every one it has created, had signed four resolutions of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act to overturn regulation within two months as President, and rolled back the clean power plan which could have cost $40 billion per year. All of this marks a significant change in policy that will greatly open up business opportunities and expand economic growth.

    However, policy alone does not explain why there has been high profit growth for the last two quarters. As the Wall Street Journal article admits, health care legislation and tax reform have been stalled in the senate. This has caused a climate of uncertainty which businesses have not been happy with.

    Nevertheless, they have instead moved on from Washington and instead remained focused on doing business. Political events seem to have taken a backseat to actual business as the number of S&P 500 companies have mentioned the President or his administration during conferences is down by a third as the research firm Sentieo found out. To be blunt, the involvement of Washington and government policy is not driving the current profit growth and the lack of involvement may actually be increasing it.

    For a better example of how reduced involvement can improve the economy, look no further than the Depression of 1920. At the time, war time debt had exploded, unemployment peaked at 11.7 percent in 1921, and inflation rates jumped above twenty percent. It had the potential to be even more catastrophic than the Great Depression that started in 1929.

    However, the policies pursued were entirely different. The federal budget was severely reduced from $18.5 billion in FY 1919 to $3.3 billion for FY 1922. Taxes at the same time were cut by about 40 percent.

    As a result, unemployment dropped to 2.3 percent by 1923 and a crisis had been averted. This was accomplished not by bailouts and and overregulation but by getting the government entirely out of the way. This is a radically different approach than was pursued during the financial panic of 2008 or even the Great Depression.

    Overall, there has been a repeated belief that government involvement has made economic advancement harder. As was stated by former President Reagan, “Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” President Kennedy noted the same when he said “Our tax system still siphons out of the private economy too large a share of personal and business purchasing power and reduces the incentive for risk, investment and effort — thereby aborting our recoveries and stifling our national growth rate.”

    It should come as no surprise then that business are fully prepared to run their own affairs and is best capable to address its own need, for as JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon noted, “We’ve been growing at 1.5% to 2%...because the American business sector is powerful and strong and is going to grow regardless.”

    It remains the desire of others that the government should intervene in the economy to make improvements. However, this has always resulted in guaranteed failure. Be it raising the minimum wage in Seattle or increased taxation and regulations in Connecticut, the result is usually lackluster growth and decreased jobs. At the national level, Venezuela’s nationalization and China’s increased infrastructure projects have created the same results, which is to say none.

    As history and current events have shown time and time again, the best results come not from government involvement and micromanagement, but from the hard work of free individuals in free markets. More and more, the adaptability of businesses to their consumer’s demands and their ability to whether adversity in the marketplace has always been more efficient than the micromanagement the state perceives. As a result, sometimes the best thing to do is to have the government do nothing so that those who can make the economy better will.


              FreedomWorks' Member of the Month for August 2017: Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.)        

    FreedomWorks is proud to name Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) as Member of the Month for August 2017. Rep. Franks has supported lowering taxes and voting for policies that contribute to FreedomWorks’ pro-growth agenda.

    Rep. Franks currently serves on the Judiciary and Armed Services committees. Before being elected to Congress, Rep. Franks spent his time working on children’s issues. He served in the Arizona State Legislature and later worked with the Governor as the cabinet-level director of the Arizona Governor’s Office for Children. Rep. Franks also had a hand in state and local advocacy, founding the Arizona Family Research Institute.

    With his conviction to protect the Constitution and support policies to shrink government by cutting wasteful spending and bureaucratic over-regulation, he has maintained a lifetime score of 92 percent on FreedomWorks’ Congressional Scorecard. Our scorecard is calculated by tracking the votes of members of Congress on key issues of economic freedom and individual liberty.

    In the 115th Congress, Rep. Franks co-sponsored H.R. 3167, the Debt Ceiling Alternative Act, sponsored by Rep. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.). This bill would hold the federal government accountable for the money it borrows from the American people. It would take a fiscally conservative stance in response to reaching the debt ceiling by requiring the Secretary of the Treasury to issue GDP-linked bonds to pay the principal and interest on public debt.

    Rep. Franks, a member of the House Freedom Caucus, has also held a principled stance on healthcare reform He said, "The federal government is not known for its ability to keep entitlement spending under control. ObamaCare has been the perfect example of what healthcare looks like in the hands of an unimaginably large bureaucracy. Premium cost hikes have crippled American families, Medicaid is failing those most in need, and regulation is stifling innovation.”

    FreedomWorks is proud to honor Rep. Franks as Member of the Month for August 2017.


              Some Republicans Just Don’t Want to Repeal ObamaCare        

    FreedomWorks President Adam Brandon released the following statement about the defeat of the skinny repeal of ObamaCare:

    “Last night’s vote was a slap in the face to every conservative who has been promised that Republicans would repeal ObamaCare. Sens. John McCain, Lisa Murkowski, and Susan Collins voted against the ‘skinny repeal’ of ObamaCare, theoretically the least repeal that can be achieved because so many Republicans went back on their votes for a 2015-style repeal. The Republican Party has been all about ObamaCare repeal for the better part of a decade, and now we see that they have been writing checks to voters that they knew the Bank of Obama wouldn’t cash. Now that President Trump would sign it, they have exposed themselves as frauds.”


              FreedomWorks Presents FreedomFraud Awards        

    FreedomWorks today announced the FreedomFraud Award winners for this year: Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Sen. Dean Heller (R-Utah), and Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.). This is the counterpart to the FreedomFighter Awards.

    The FreedomFraud Awards recognize the height of political fraud by senators who voted to defend ObamaCare by voting against a bill virtually the same as one they supported less than two years ago. While protected by Barack Obama’s veto, they supported ObamaCare and railed against it. Now that President Trump supports the bill, they have exposed themselves as political liars.

    FreedomWorks Vice President of Legislative Affairs Jason Pye delivered the awards to senators’ offices Friday afternoon. You can see an archived live stream here. Eligibility for the award is based purely on whether senators campaigned on repeal and voted for this bill less than two years ago and opposed it when it could have passed.

    “These people committed the greatest political fraud in American history,” said Jason Pye. “Republican politics has focused on repealing ObamaCare for the better part of a decade. There were frequent votes to repeal ObamaCare. These senators showed great contempt for their constituents by going against everything they’ve stood for on ObamaCare repeal.”

    After the 2015 bill passed, Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) said, “I'm for repealing this broken law and replacing it with something better that gives patients more choice, decreases costs and increases access to quality, affordable care.”

    After the 2015 bill passed, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Ala.) said, “This law is not affordable for anyone in Alaska. That is why I will support the bill that repeals the ACA and wipes out its harmful impacts. I can’t watch premiums for Alaskans shoot up by 30 percent or more each year, see businesses artificially constrained, or see the quality of public education decline.”

    After the 2015 bill passed, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) said, “I am glad that a repeal bill will finally reach the president’s desk.”

    Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said, “It is clear that any serious attempt to improve our health care system must begin with a full repeal and replacement of Obamacare, and I will continue fighting on behalf of the people of Arizona to achieve it.”

    Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) said, “This DC bureaucrat-driven healthcare system will only result in limited health care choices and higher costs for Nevadans.”

    Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said , “The wisest course is to repeal Obamacare and replace it step by step with solutions that lower health care costs.”


              Six Senators Perpetrate One of the Biggest Political Frauds in American History        

    FreedomWorks President Adam Brandon released the following statement after the Republican-majority Senate voted to save ObamaCare:

    “Our activists have fought for the better part of a decade, led on by campaign promises and actual votes to repeal ObamaCare, to get Republican majorities in the House and Senate, as well as a Republican in the White House. Sens. Dean Heller, Lisa Murkowski, John McCain, Rob Portman, Shelley Moore Capito, and Lamar Alexander each voted for the very same bill in 2015.

    “We now know that these six senators are ObamaCare repeal frauds. Even though we’re still wondering if Sen. Susan Collins is in the right party, at least she was consistent with her vote.”

    Here are quotes from a few of these Senate Republicans who have heavily criticized ObamaCare and today voted to keep ObamaCare as the law of the land.

    Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.): “The wisest course is to repeal Obamacare and replace it step by step with solutions that lower health care costs.”

    Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.): “I have consistently voted to repeal and replace this disastrous health care law, and I am glad that a repeal bill will finally reach the president’s desk.”

    Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.): “This DC bureaucrat-driven healthcare system will only result in limited health care choices and higher costs for Nevadans.”

    Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska): “This law is not affordable for anyone in Alaska. That is why I will support the bill that repeals the ACA and wipes out its harmful impacts. I can’t watch premiums for Alaskans shoot up by 30 percent or more each year, see businesses artificially constrained, or see the quality of public education decline.”

    Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.): “It is clear that any serious attempt to improve our health care system must begin with a full repeal and replacement of Obamacare, and I will continue fighting on behalf of the people of Arizona to achieve it.”

    Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio): “I'm for repealing this broken law and replacing it with something better that gives patients more choice, decreases costs and increases access to quality, affordable care.”


              Key Vote YES on the ObamaCare Repeal Reconciliation Act, Amendment 271 to H.R. 1628        

    On behalf of FreedomWorks’ activist community, I urge you to contact your senators and ask them to vote YES on the ObamaCare Repeal Reconciliation Act. This language will be offered as an amendment to H.R. 1628.

    This amendment is virtually identical to the 2015 ObamaCare repeal bill – the Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act, H.R. 3762. This bill passed the Senate by a vote of 52 to 47, with only two unsurprising Republican defections.

    For more than seven years, Republicans successfully campaigned on ObamaCare repeal. They made floor speeches in support of repeal, and they voted to pass a repeal bill less than two years ago. Grassroots conservative activists are not going to accept excuses if Republicans fail to pass a bill that they have passed once before.

    The ObamaCare Repeal Reconciliation Act would repeal much of ObamaCare – including the tax and cost sharing subsidies, Medicaid expansion, and the taxes that came with the law – with a two-year delay to pass a replacement. This delay provides more than ample time to reach an agreement on a replacement bill or package.

    President Donald Trump has indicated that he will sign a 2015-style ObamaCare bill into law. Senate Republicans should do as they did in December 2015 and pass a bill that delivers on their frequent promises to repeal ObamaCare.

    FreedomWorks will triple-weight the votes for the ObamaCare Repeal Reconciliation Act. Additionally, FreedomWorks reserves the right to retroactively key vote any amendments during the so-called “vote-a-rama.” The scorecard is used to determine eligibility for the FreedomFighter Award, which recognizes Members of the House and Senate who consistently vote to support economic freedom and individual liberty.

    Sincerely,

    Adam Brandon, President, FreedomWorks


              Motion to Proceed: This Is a Step Forward in the Process        

    FreedomWorks President Adam Brandon issued the following statement on the Senate's passing the motion to proceed on legislation related to ObamaCare:

    “This is a step forward in the process. Republicans must remember that they campaigned on ObamaCare repeal for more than seven years. The 2015 repeal bill is what conservative activists were promised, and it's what they expect.

    “We will do our best to hold wayward senators who want to defraud their constituents to their campaign promises and their voting record.”


              Capitol Hill Update: July 24, 2017        

    Schedule:

    The House and Senate are in session this week.

    There are five (5) legislative days remaining for the House before the August recess and 53 legislative days remaining in the year. The Senate will supposedly work through the first two weeks of the August recess.

    House:

    The FY 2018 budget resolution, dubbed "Building a Better America," was marked up and approved by the Budget Committee on Thursday in a party-line vote. The budget would reduce the budget deficit by $6.5 trillion over the ten-year budget window and eventually come into balance in FY 2027, creating a $9 billion surplus.

    Perhaps one of the most important components of the budget is that it begins the reconciliation process for fundamental tax reform. There are also reconciliation instructions for 11 House committees to find roughly $200 billion savings or reforms in mandatory spending.

    The FY 2018 budget resolution isn't on the calendar for the week. It's unclear if House Republican leaders will bring it to the floor.

    Additionally, the 21st Century Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization (AIRR) Act, H.R. 2997, introduced by Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) could come to the floor for a vote this week. The bill reauthorizes the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and reforms the United States' out of date air traffic control (ATC) system. FreedomWorks has released a key vote in support of the 21st AIRR Act.

    On Monday, the House will consider 17 bills on the suspension calendar. Most of the bills on the suspension calendar related to veterans or active military issues. There are three bills on the suspension calendar that relate to small businesses and investment. The House will also consider the Intelligence Authorization Act, H.R. 3180, sponsored by Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) on suspension.

    There are three bills on the suspension calendar for Tuesday, including the Medicare Part B Improvement Act, H.R. 3178, sponsored by Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas), and a yet-to-be-numbered resolution that will impose sanctions on Russia, Iran, and North Korea.

    The House will also consider H.J.Res. 111, a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act, to cancel the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's (CFPB) giveaway to trial lawyers. The rule put restrictions on the use of arbitration to settle disputes over consumer products. This would lead to more class-action lawsuits, benefiting trial lawyers and hurting consumers. FreedomWorks has signed a coalition letter in support of H.J.Res. 111 and will likely include the vote on our 2017 Congressional Scorecard.

    For the balance of the week, the House will consider at least four more bills on the suspension calendar. The Make America Secure Appropriations Act, H.R. 3219, will also come to the floor. This is the consolidated appropriations bill, or "minibus," for the Department of Defense, the Legislative Branch, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Energy and Water. Like virtually every other bill to come to the floor this year under "regular order," the Make America Secure Appropriations Act is subject to a rule to limit or prevent amendments from the floor.

    On Thursday at 10:00 am, the Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing entitled "The Need for the Balanced Budget Amendment." The witness list for the hearing has not yet been announced. Twelve constitutional amendments have been introduced in the House that would require a balanced budget. Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) is the sponsor of two of them, H.J.Res. 1 and H.J.Res. 2. Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), the primary sponsor of H.J.Res. 15, is among the House conservatives who have introduced a balanced budget amendment.

    The committee and subcommittee schedule for the week can be found here.

    Senate:

    Presumably, the Senate will vote this week on the motion to proceed to the House-passed version of H.R. 1628. It's still unclear on what happens next. A vote to proceed to the House-passed version has always been the first step. The next step will be for an amendment to the bill that will substitute the language of either the Better Care Reconciliation Act or language similar to the 2015 ObamaCare repeal bill, now called the ObamaCare Repeal Reconciliation Act. FreedomWorks' key vote on the motion to proceed applies only if the base text that will be substituted is similar to the 2015 ObamaCare repeal bill.

    At least a few Senate Republicans have backed away from their votes for the 2015 ObamaCare repeal bill, which was passed in December 2015 with the support of all but two Republicans, including Sen. Susan Collins. Moderate Republicans who refuse to vote for the 2015 ObamaCare repeal bill have demanded $200 billion in Medicaid funding offered by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to get them to support the Better Care Reconciliation Act.

    Some parts of the Better Care Reconciliation Act are in limbo, however, as the Senate parliamentarian has apparently ruled that provisions limiting funding for Planned Parenthood and tax credits for plans that cover abortion will require 60 votes. Other provisions that may require 60 votes include the State Innovation Waivers. Many of these provisions can be altered to make them withstand a Byrd rule challenge, as was done in 2015.

    The Senate still has several nominees to consider and, on the legislative front, the FDA Reauthorization Act, S. 934; the National Defense Reauthorization Act; and the debt ceiling are among the items awaiting action.

    Separately, Senate Democrats are rolling out their "better deal" economic agenda today, which is a rehashing and repackaging of virtually every leftist policy proposal in recent years. The agenda is Democrats' attempt to find a message after a string of special election losses around the country.

    The full committee schedule for the week can be found here.


              Key Vote on Signatures to House Discharge Petition on 2015 Repeal Bill        

    FreedomWorks President Adam Brandon released the following statement on the discharge petition by Rep. Tom Garrett (R-Va.) to bring the 2015 bill to repeal ObamaCare to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. FreedomWorks will triple weight the signatures. The bill passed with almost unanimous support from the Republican members less than two years ago.

    “We are standing behind the members in the House and Senate who stand by their past votes on the 2015 repeal bill. They were not voting that way just to win elections. They honestly believe that ObamaCare is a scourge on our country, raising premiums and making affordable health insurance illegal.

    “We are making signatures on this discharge petition part of our 2017 FreedomWorks Scorecard, triple weighting the signatures. We never got a clean repeal vote in the House, so we are considering this one.”


              The Weekly Fix: Rules for Thee, but Not for Me        

    The fix is in. Did you know, members of Congress can exclude themselves from federal laws they don’t want to follow? Taxpayers are forced to play by the rules, while lawmakers in Washington get a free pass.

    The Congressional Accountability Act (CAA) of 1995 was created to remedy some of these injustices. In theory, the CAA requires members of Congress to abide by some of the same employment and workplace safety laws as any other business or federal government entity.

    But in reality, members of Congress continue to dodge their way around significant legislative policy.

    Congress has the power to kick you off your health care plan, yet lawmakers excused themselves from the ObamaCare exchanges. Congress requires federal agencies to provide citizens with internal records, yet lawmakers exempted themselves from the Freedom of Information Act, along with numerous other record-keeping and transparency laws (including whistleblower protections).

    Congress supports sending citizens to jail for insider trading, yet lawmakers are allowed to make stock trades based on non-public information. Congress passed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act to protect citizens from dishonest private sector CEOs, yet lawmakers shamelessly lie about the costs of their policy agenda.

    Not surprisingly, the Office of Compliance for the U.S. Congress revealed to the press that representatives often fail to produce records and information critical to investigations in a timely manner- or sometimes even at all. Compliance has no legal authority to subpoena information, leaving them at the complete mercy of legislative offices.

    Why are members of Congress so tone deaf? Because they aren’t living in the same reality as the rest of America. They are shielded from the consequences of their actions. Forget equal treatment under the law, the official slogan of the Legislative Branch should be: Rules for thee, but not for me.

    The American people aren’t being heard by government because the game is rigged. Washington isn’t broken. It’s “fixed.”


              FreedomWorks Announces FreedomFighter Award Winners        

    FreedomWorks today announced the FreedomFighter Award winners for 2016. The FreedomFighter Awards recognize members of the House and Senate who consistently vote to support economic freedom and individual liberty. FreedomWorks President Adam Brandon and FreedomWorks Vice President of Legislative Affairs Jason Pye presented the awards Wednesday afternoon at the Capitol Visitors Center. Photos of the individual presentations are available here.

    Eligibility for the award is based on votes on FreedomWorks’ Congressional Scorecard. In 2016, FreedomWorks scored key votes in favor of several issues, including repeal of ObamaCare through the 2015 reconciliation bill and the override of Obama’s veto, preventing IRS abuse and protecting free speech, protecting citizens from warrantless searches, spending cuts, and reducing regulation.

    “FreedomWorks activists across the country can be proud of these members’ votes last year. They showed a commitment to economic liberty and individual freedom,” FreedomWorks President Adam Brandon said. “With a Republican in the White House and so many big legislative items on the to-do list in this Congress, including fundamental tax reform and reducing regulation, conservative grassroots activists are watching our scorecard to see who delivers on their campaign promises and who changes their tune.”

    “These defenders of liberty get this award to thank them for their critical votes on legislation important to our activist community,” FreedomWorks Vice President of Legislative Affairs Jason Pye said. “This event allows us to thank them on behalf of our activists to thank these members and encourage them to keep fighting for limited government, lower taxes, and fewer unnecessary job-killing regulations.”

    FreedomFighter Award Winners for 2016 Voting Record

    Senate (5)

    Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) , Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), Sen. Jeff Flake (Ariz.)

    House (56)

    Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), Rep. Jody Hice (R-Ga.), Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.), Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.), Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.), Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.), Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.), Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.), Rep. Warren Davidson (R-Ohio), Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho), Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.), Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.), Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.), Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), Rep. Randy Weber (R-Texas), Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.), Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas), Rep. Trent Kelly (R-Miss.), Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), Rep. John Fleming (R-La.), Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas), Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.), Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.), Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.), Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), Rep. Alex Mooney (R-W.V.), Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.), Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas), Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.), Rep. Reid Ribble (R-Wis.), Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Rep. Garret Graves (R-La.), Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio), Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Texas), Rep. Jason Smith (R-Mo.), Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.), Rep. Steve Russell (R-Okla.), Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), Rep. Rod Blum (R-Iowa), Rep. Gary Palmer (R-Ala.), Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.), Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.), Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.), Rep. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.), Rep. Rick Allen (R-Ga.), Rep. Bill Posey (R-Fla.), Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), Rep. John Duncan (R-Tenn.), Rep. Billy Long (R-Mo.), Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-Ind.)


              Racial Slurs and the Importance of Context        
    Ben Smith, whose coverage of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination deserves some sort of prize, posts an image that brought a grin to my face:


    Aside from the incongruity of Barack talking to two hasidic men, there is the use of the term in the headline ordinarily thought of as a racial slur: "schvartzer." Of course, the context here is entirely innocuous. "Schvartzer" is simply the yiddish term for black, and the headline is simply making a factual statement that Obama is the "first black presidential candidate."

    And context is everything.
              More Obama-Bashing        
    This is classic (emphasis all mine):
    Assemblyman Dov Hikind yesterday predicted that Jewish voters would make "a mass movement toward Sen. McCain" if Barack Obama knocks Hillary Rodham Clinton out of the race in tomorrow's critical Democratic primaries.

    Hikind, an Orthodox Jew whose Borough Park district includes the largest Hasidic bloc in the United States, blasted Obama for what he called his half-hearted support of Israel and his ties to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr., who has repeatedly praised anti-Semitic Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who has endorsed Obama.

    Hikind, a Democrat who has yet to endorse a candidate for president, said Obama had not satisfactorily distanced himself from Wright, his Chicago-based personal pastor, noting, "This is a man who thinks Farrakhan is a great guy and God's gift to the world."

    Hikind went on, "Obama has said that you can be a supporter of Israel even if you're for giving up land to the Arabs, which is true - but for a guy running for president to take a position like this in advance of getting into office, combined with everything else going on in the Middle East, that scares the hell out of me.
    Huh? It "scares the hell" out of Hikind that Obama says you can support Israel and still be for giving up land for Israel? What world does he live in? Does he think Hillary Clinton feels otherwise?? Most US politicians would admit that any peaceful settlement would include some concession of land to the Palestinians. Does Hikind actually expect Mr. Obama to take a public position on the matter that is to the right of GWB's current position?? And then what? Flip-flop after the election to a position more in line with just about every other politician in the country?? That sounds like a super idea. And did Mr. Hikind somehow miss when Mr. Obama clearly rejected and denounced Mr. Farrakhan, and called him out for being an anti-Semite? That Mr. Hikind feels that Obama hasn't distanced himself enough from Rev. Wright, who is claimed to be close to Farrakhan, is no more than guilt by association. Is such association more or less damning than Mr. Hikind's past association with Meir Kahana's militant Jewish Defense League and various other controversial settler groups?

    I would guess Mr. Hikind is simply trying to do more of the same ignorant fearmongering about Obama that we have seen recently from other members of the Jewish community.
              Local Rabbi Has it in for Barack Obama        
    On the heels of one local Rabbi who made what can be misconstrued as an inappropriate comment regarding Barack Obama a few weeks back, another local Rabbi really went to town on the candidate in shul today. In a diatribe that, according to my unofficial polling, many congregants present found completely improper, he went off on Obama in a completely over-the-top fashion. The Rabbi criticized Obama's position Israel, and said he surrounds himself with Sonei Yisrael (haters of Jews) and Sonei Eretz Yisrael (haters of the land of Israel). The Rabbi compared Mr. Obama to Haman, to FDR (that people loved FDR too and didn't realize what a Rasha he would turn out to be), and in what should really just invoke Godwin's Law, he actually compared the man referred* to... Hitler himself (that people dismissed Hitler too as just being all talk).

    Now, I don't believe at all that Obama is anti-Israel. I just don't. Aside from these compelling arguments (I, II, III), I just refuse to believe that the candidate has ulterior motives regarding Israel based solely on a whisper campaign regarding false claims about Obama being Muslim - as opposed to on his good record on Israel issues. I had a conversation with a very intelligent and well-read family member who completely believed the forwarded e-mail she received that claimed that Obama is Muslim (false), was sworn into office on a Koran (false), and she even went so far as to call me out as being "naive" for not believing those claims, and for not seeing as clearly as she does that Obama is nothing more than a Trojan horse for terrorists. It was truly painful.

    But all things considered, not as painful as a religious leader making such claims from the pulpit in front of a captive shul-going audience. That's just plain wrong.

    *UPDATE: Edited to concede a valued commenter's point that it was not a direct comparison between Obama and Hitler, but a reference (though clearly a reference inviting a comparison).
              Disenfranchisement in Nevada        
    Much is being made of the scheduling of Nevada's presidential caucuses on a Saturday, which affects observant Jews as well as Seventh Day Adventists. I can't begin to imagine a scheduling conflict like this ever occurring in a state with a sizable population of observant Jewish voters such as New York or Florida, in contrast to the state of Nevada, whose numbers of observant Jews is relatively tiny - and if it did happen in one of those states, I'm quite sure the Orthodox groups would have sued or initiated some action over being flat-out precluded from voting. The real problem here is that the caucus system of voting, in contrast to the primary system most states utilize, precludes any voting not done in person at the designated time. So whereas Sabbath-observant voters in states with Saturday primaries can either vote by absentee ballot or get to the polls after sundown, in Nevada Sabbath-observant voters are completely disenfranchised. Certainly an upsetting development for those who actually prefer to have their voice heard as citizens.

    There seem to be some other complaints about the Saturday choice for the caucuses, from casino workers who quite obviously need to be at work during the entertainment industry's peak weekend shifts. This concern led to the establishment of special voting stations to accommodate casino workers and allow them to vote. This in turn drew calls from Clinton supporters that these special voting stations unfairly favored Obama as he had been endorsed by the influential culinary workers union, many of whose members work in casinos. A lawsuit to put an end to the voting stations was filed (and lost). Interestingly, the group who mounted the failed challenge to the special voting stations is comprised of members who are least disenfranchised by the Saturday caucus - a teachers' union who generally have weekends free and clear. Obama and some of his supporters, in turn, are criticizing the Clinton camp for attempting to effectively disenfranchise voters with this legal challenge - a challenge that would seem to have had far more potential to affect the vote than the Orthodox/Seventh Day Adventist issue will have.

    Sounds like a lot if controversy over voters' rights in Nevada - not a pretty way to start off what looks like it promises to be a contentious election season.
              By: Eric Morris        
    Kind of flabbergasted that someone thought a book necessary on this subject. Yes, Mr. Obama has delivered lots of pretty speeches. Now that he's in the White House and can finally make a difference, what has he done for the Gay Community? Absolutely SQUAT! At this late date he could partially redeem himself by issuing an executive order to stop discharges under DADT. But that is the absolute minimum he could and should do. A book? No! A simple fact-sheet/cautionary tale about how the gays have been screwed by lying politicians AGAIN, will do just fine.
              Obama Fights Back        
    The newest fight on the political front is "the great smear," as I will call it. It started when McCain started to question Obama's relationship with Bill Ayers, who was one of the leaders of The Weathermen, a group of anti-Vietnam activist/terrorists. Of course, McCain latched on to Obama's relationship with Ayers and put out this smear ad (notice that, at no time during the ad, are there any quotes from Obama where Obama is speaking. It is narrated and they provide no visual or audio evidence of Obama's relationship or his opinion of Ayers):


    McCain, of course, bolstered his ad with an appearance on ABC. Notice especially that at the end of his lengthy questioning of Obama's relationship with Ayers that he gets all upitty: "and then to compare [Ayers] with Dr. C- Tom Colburn who spends so much of his life bringing babies into this world!.."


    Why should you have paid attention to McCain's anger at Obama's "comparison" of Ayers to Coburn? Because here is what McCain is referring to. Decide for yourself whether Obama's actions were reprehensible.


    At the end of Obama's Primary debate with Clinton, he says that he "can take a punch, [he's] taken some pretty good ones." And thank God Obama's finally punching back (and with quite a bit more power than McCain's smear ad, it looks like!)


    More information on the Keating scandal can be found on Wikipedia and in the New York Times.
              Obama Secures Youth Vote        
    Obama and Biden appeared on MTV today in a very refreshing interview with Sway about Thursday's debate and what the Obama policies mean to the younger generation. Obama addressed his treatment of American voters, the problems facing Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, and the effect of the economic bailout on our generation. It's not often that you see a politician target an audience with such success.

    Obama reigns when it comes to character. He obviously went the diplomatic route when Sway steered the questioning towards who won the debate, explaining the point wasn't to win, but rather to inform the American people of the differences between the two candidates. But even though Obama is still rowing a political boat, I believe that he's trying to arrive at a humane and decent destination.

    "I think the pundits and the press, you guys are looking at tactics. What the American people are looking at is they might lose their job ... they might lose their house...What's relevant is the substance of this thing, which is people out there are hurting, and John McCain has promoted the same policies of George Bush, and people know they're not working. They understand we can't continue four more years of doing the same thing."

    But the instance that I was most excited about (and I hope it excited any other half-interested person under the age of 25) was Obama's explanation of the $700 billion bailout and what is happening in the economy. My happiness came partly because I've spent most of my morning on the internet, trying desperately to figure out what exactly is going on in the economy and how it got this way. I've been reading The Guardian, a short history of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, an Economic Times article on the recent re-structuring of both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Wikipedia pages for "bailout," the SEC, and GSEs, and I even called my father to try and understand what the fuck is happening and whether it will affect me. And after reading all of that and slowly coming to grasp just the smallest crumb of understanding, it was lovely to hear Obama's rationalization of the economic crisis:

    "If the credit markets collapse, what it means is banks aren't lending businesses money. Businesses then can't invest in plants and equipment and make payroll, so they shut down. And that means the suppliers of those companies, they shut down. Over time what happens is you get the whole economy coming to a standstill. That's what happened during the Great Depression," he explained. "And at that time, it was just banks that were in charge of capital. Now you've got all different ways that money flows ... but the bottom line is, that if money freezes up, businesses can't do business, and you get an enormous contraction of an economy. And that, ultimately, will affect that 20-year-old, because that 20-year-old is going to be looking for a better job after he gets out of school. ... If our businesses aren't creating jobs, they're not creating tax revenues — now it's harder for government to finance that college education or to build that new university. So it has a ripple effect."

    His explanation is a little basic, but that's actually what our generation needs. We're the ones who grew up inside a nearly virtual system of currency. Most young people have no idea how to balance a check book, let alone have a detailed understanding of how banks work or how to invest in the stock market! Obama understands this, and I think that he's being honest and straightforward about the effects of the economic crisis on our future.
    The bottom line is, I trust Obama. I trust that he will bring a good change to this country. I trust that he will make decisions with his electorate's best needs at heart. I trust that he is in this presidential race to spur forth America's progress, not to make himself a powerful figure in history. I trust his judgement, I trust his humanity, I trust him.
              McCain Time Out        
    In recent news, Senator McCain has decided to suspend his campaign in order to focus on the recent economic crises (which, I'd like to add, has made restaurant-goers really fucking testy). Letterman railed on the guy, saying that if McCain has decided to go back to Washington, he should let Palin campaign in his stead.
    Letterman put it well when he made a comparison to football— if your Quarterback is out of the game, you put in your second-string quarterback. But I feel like that analogy can be applied further to the McCain campaign, 'cus the man is treating the whole process like a game. He was down in the polls (9 points in an ABC/Washington Post poll and down 6 in a Fox poll) and wanted to make it look like he's a responsible senator (FYI, he's missed 412 votes in the current congress) so what did he do? He called a fucking time out.

    Obama will still be campaigning, and his camp has said that he'll still be debating (though against whom, I don't know...he'd rip Palin apart) on Friday (tomorrow! tomorrow! We'll see him! Tomorrow!). It's only a day away!
              Congress presses Obama to sell F-16 jets to Taiwan        
    WASHINGTON — US lawmakers across party lines stepped up pressure Thursday on President Barack Obama to sell F-16 jet fighters to Taiwan, with some accusing the administration of showing deference to China. “With over 1,600 missiles pointed directly across the Taiwan Strait, Taiwan needs the me...
              Comment on Julian Bond 1940-2015 by Mr. Militant Negro        
    Reblogged this on <a href="http://theobamacrat.com/2015/09/01/julian-bond-1940-2015/" rel="nofollow">The Militant Negro™</a>.
              Comment on Hillary isn’t a sure thing by rikyrah        
    I believe the Dems can do so much better than her. I don't trust her on foreign policy or domestic policy. ANd nobody who supports her can tell me what she would have done better than President Obama. Anything that he's done that I have approved of, since 2009, foreign or domestic, I can't point to anything that would make me say, ' President Hillary would have done the same'. In foreign policy, I KNOW that there's NOTHING President Obama did that she would have done the same. She would have done the opposite. And, don't get me started on her domestically. Does anyone remotely believe that the 17 million people who now have access to healthcare would have gotten it under President Hillary? Um, no.
              Comment on Hillary isn’t a sure thing by Jueseppi B.        
    Reblogged this on <a href="http://theobamacrat.com/2014/04/22/hillary-isnt-a-sure-thing/" rel="nofollow">The ObamaCrat™</a>.
              Una Vez Más la ONU Rechaza el bloqueo de los Estados Unidos contra Cuba        
    Por vigésima ocasión la Asamblea General de las Naciones Unidas (O.N.U.) rechazó el bloqueo yanqui contra Cuba. 186 paises votaron en contra de la política hostil norteamericana que niega que sus productos
    lleguen a nuestro pequeño en dimensión archipiélago, ni producto alguno
    de cualquier país que elabore cualquier nación y que contenga algún elemento
    hecho en U.S.A pueda ser negociado con la Patria de José Martí.
    Solo Palaus, pequeño país como siempre acompañó al soberbio imperio.
    Y 6 abstenciones, es decir no votaron ni a favor ni en contra, 6 estados miembro de la Organización Mundial. Se lavaron las manos como Poncio
    Pilatos para no caer en desgracia con los Estados Unidos.
    Pero la batalla continúa. Aquí seguimos: "Hasta la Victoria Siempre"
    Y aunque somo pobres el corazón de los cubanos es feliz cuando puede
    compartir lo que su generosidad e inteligencia crean.
    Nuestros médicos y enfermeras son los fieles acompañantes de los pueblos
    en desgracia y nada piden a cambio, sino decirle a nuestro pueblo que
    el dolor de los humildes, sus enfermedades y tragédias las seguiran curando
    y compartiendo como el sueño luminoso de los inderrotables Próceres que
    construyen nuestro Socialismo . Son los Sueños de Marti y Fidel.
    Nuestro Planeta podra sobrevivir a cualquier catastrofe de la naturaleza
    si todos nos unimos para salvarlo. Ojala que el anhelo de Cuba toque los
    sentimientos de Barac Obama y este comprenda que la politica con la que conduce a los Estados Unidos puede cambiar a tiempo para impedir el holocausto de la Madre Tierra.
    de la humanidad. El puede ser tambien un Medico Salvçebn
              El Silencio Deleznable de la Prensa Yanqui. Comentario Vick G. Miller        
    El Silencio Deleznable de la Prensa yanqui comprada durante el juicio y condena de nuestros Cinco Héroes. Comentario Vick Gómez Miller.

    La acusación certera de nuestro Canciller Ricardo Alarcón en el caso del juicio amañado y carente de
    La atención periodística, comprada para guardar silencio es la infamia que vuelve a reverdecer en
    Ocasión del cumplimiento de la injusta condena a René González , quien el próximo siete de octubre
    Tendrá que ser puesto en libertad, aunque ya Washington se prepara en aplicarle la “incapacitación” consistente en tomar medidas una vez que cumpla sus términos en prisión, los Cinco no estén en condiciones para acercarse adonde el gobierno sabe se encuentra el escondrijo de los verdaderos
    Terroristas, que siguen siendo un ejército secreto de la infamia yanqui.
    Alarcón insiste que a René le quedarán ahora tres años de libertad supervisada, lo que constituye un riesgo para nuestro Héroe y una sanción adicional que le sigue alcanzando sin que estén excluidos
    Sus familiares.
    Ahora bien si esto se aplica Obama el presidente norteamericano decidirá en que lugar se coloca.
    La mafia gusano americana está moviendo todas sus influencias políticas para que como es habitual
    En los Estados Unidos se siga haciendo lo que ella planifica. Porque quien ha visto que en la tierra donde
    Se acoge como héroes a los verdaderos terroristas, tal es el caso de Posada Carriles y a quienes les enfrentan, les mantienen en un secreto absoluto en tanto les juzgan con perversidad y les aplican bestiales condenas.
    Tal vez el mandatario de los EEUU haga realidad la dignidad que de él esperan quienes le eligieron y
    Procure que la justicia enfrente a los verdaderos terroristas que asolan al país y ponen en peligro la vida de sus ciudadanos.
              Mike Huckabee To Obama: Have TSA Pat Down First Family        
    Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor and Fox News personality, has dared President Obama to motorcade to Washington Reagan National Airport with the First Family and have the Obamas submit to one of those very controversial airport pat-down inspection. Huckabee made his interesting suggestion on Fox and Friends. Huckabee apparently believes that profiling would be […]
              A Trump-era etiquette guide: How progressives can get along with Trumpists and respect themselves in the morning        
    George Roper, my good friend from high school, is dead now. When alive, he was often as right-wing as they come—complete with a passionate anti-Obama blog. And yet George and I avoided hand-to-hand combat. Up to his death several years ago, we followed each other on Facebook. He even talked up my novel. Similarly my […]
              Obama: Don't go out and buy guns        
    Since people have been purchasing guns in droves since Obama's been pres-elect, he has told people it's ridiculous to keep buying them. I personally don't trust him and will use credit cards if I have to before inauguration to buy a couple more.

    See article http://www.suntimes.com/news/politics/obama/1318968,obama-gun-sales-up-120808.article

    My take:

    People are stocking up on guns because they don't trust the federal government any longer. They are buying the guns for protection against the government, such as martial law or civil unrest. Obama has already spoke at length about 'flaws' the constitution has. I have no doubt he will attempt to disarm citizens. It was Jefferson who knew that citizens themselves were the only last resort in overthrowing a tyrranous government; and as our government becomes larger and more communistic, we will someday need these guns to defend ourselves.

    The inauguration of presidents to 'uphold and protect the constitution' is an absolute joke. They all want to subvert it, modify it and ignore it. Just look at the patriot act.

    I no longer trust my government as I once had some faith that our government was setup to protect us. I no longer believe this with the banksters running the show.

    I hope you will educate yourself and make your own decisions regarding this. You will find our liberties are on the brink of being done away with.

    We need to restore our republic with leaders who will actually support and defend the constitution. Otherwise our liberties are doomed.
              Quite the week        
    This has been a really challenging week for me personally. This past weekend with the dog bite, and my son going to the ER kind of threw me over the edge.

    Wall street also had a horrid week. Very concerning about the housing crisis, and it appears to be getting worse. Today, Indymac bank that holds over 32B in assets was taken over by the Fed. They had a liquidity crisis from the housing market crash. Chuck Schumer mentioned this bank being in trouble about a month ago, and people pulled out over 1.3B in the past 30 days. This further created the crisis. I hate to say it but these things are probably going to get much worse, and as oil climbed again to a new high today of $147, oil is increasing daily as the dollar slowly collapses. It would be nice to know when we are at the bottom of this market, but the bottom is probably still far away unfortunately. I had told my family to get their stock out about a year ago, but they did not listen.

    This whole thing with Iran isn't helping either. With Americans now concerned about the economy and their assets (housing), I think Ron Paul would have a much better shot if the nomination process started today instead of six months ago. It just goes to show you how timing is so critical. Iran isn't helping things either, instability is everywhere and is completely volitale now that our economy is more global than it was in 2001 when 9/11 hit.

    I have some fear about this, but I think I would be better off praying for our country and it's citizens. I have concern that things are going to get worse, especially if Barry Obama becomes president. Not that Mccain will do much good either. I think unfortunately that we are going to have to get another Jimmy Carter elected to get a Reagan. I think that the current person who could become a great leader is Bobby Jindal. He is unique, humble and is a leader.

    Going to try and take it easy this weekend, sleep and rest.
              Lindsey Pelas In Lingerie Is The Crap We Missed        
    Lindsey Pelas in lingerie, Jaden Smith breaking boundaries, Sean Spicer dumbing it down for us, and Mad Malia Obama. It's The Crap We Missed.
              Blog Post: DC Circ. Pauses CPP Litigation For 2 More Months        
    The D.C. Circuit on Tuesday postponed litigation over the validity of the Clean Power Plan for 60 more days, granting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s request for more time to review its options about what to do with the Obama-era rule.
              Blog Post: Enviros Ask DC Circ. To Stop Delay Of Landfill Emissions Rule        
    The Natural Resources Defense Council and other environmental groups on Friday asked the D.C. Circuit to end the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s freeze on Obama-era regulations that limit emissions from municipal landfills, saying the agency has no valid justification for reviewing the rules.
              Blog Post: 3 Things To Watch After DC Circ. Issues EPA Methane Mandate        
    Environmental groups on Monday scored another win in their battle to keep in force methane regulations for oil and gas infrastructure when the D.C. Circuit again ordered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to lift a stay on the rule. But the war over the Trump administration’s efforts to roll back this and other finalized Obama-era energy regulations is far from over. Here are three things to watch.
              Gluten-Free - part 2        
    Para quem não sossegou e está inconformado que uma pessoa não pode beber cerveja devido a alergia a cevada. Fique calmo!
    Existem algumas alternativas para elas! :)

    As cervejas feitas de arroz, sorgo, trigo sarraceno e milho são algumas opções. (Ok, eu particularmente nunca tinha ouvido falar na palavra sorgo, que em inglês é sorghum e o buckwheat - trigo sarraceno).

    No entanto, outro dia um amigo me apresentou 2 cervejas gluten-free feitas a partir de sorgo, a St Peters e a Red Bridge. E olha só, achei bem boa!



    Gostei mais da St Peters, tem um gosto mais spicy, lembra uma pale ale, bem interessante!
    Já falei que eu adoro Pale Ale beer? hmmmmmm

    E não para por aqui, nerdando um pouco mais sobre gluten freen beer, olha que máximo que eu encontrei na internerd, um Gluten Free Beer Festival! ahhhhhhhhhhh O evento acontece em Chesterfield, UK.
    Eu quero ir!


    cheers! tim-tim! banzai!
              Obama’s review of the RSA        
    President Obama delivered a speech at the Department of Justice to announce the outcomes of a broad-ranging and unprecedented review of U.S. intelligence programs. [Also read 1) The Fight Against Big, Bad Data 2) Big Data and the Future of Privacy] The review examined how, in light of new and changing technologies, we can use […]
              Teaching English in Korea Interview        
    I was recently asked to provide an interview about my experience teaching in Korea, my decision to move to Korea, stereotypes of English teachers in Asia, culture shock and cultural assimilation, EPIK, and some other general stuff about my experience teaching English in Korea. I thought I would go ahead and provide the interview here. I hope you find it helpful. There may be a follow up interview in the future, if so I'll post that as well.


    ----- Why did you first decide to move to Korea? Had you had previous
    experience? Did you know others who had traveled to Korea before
    deciding to relocate there? Please describe your decision making
    process.

    My decision to come here was very circumstantial. I was working as a research scientist in the US and was dating a Canadian when my grant got canceled and I was out of work. We didn't have a good way to be together in either of our countries, and she had friends who had paid off significant portions of their student loans teaching in Korea, so we started looking into it. We considered Taiwan most seriously as an alternative, but in the end the ease of the offers in Korea -- airfare paid, apartment ready when you get here -- and the excellent pay (at that time, in 2005, the exchange rate was about 40% better than it is now) lured us here. I had one friend that had taught in Japan with JET and had a decent experience but left before the end of the year. I read a lot about teaching in Korea before I came, espeically on forums.eslcafe.com/korea, which presents a particularly negative side of teaching here, but we decided to come anyway.


    ----- Was the process of moving different than what you expected? What
    everyday difficulties, if any, do you encounter living in a foreign
    country?

    The process of moving was very easy and more-or-less what I expected. The shock of landing in a very foreign country was intense. I had never been outside of N. America before, and Korea is very different than home. Jet lag was severe, and I remember on our second night there we went out to eat, at an Italian restaurant of all places, and after being out for an hour or two, my energy just plummeted. I didn't know how I was going to make it back to the apartment. I think our minds have a filtering system that keeps us sane by blocking most of the massive amount of information that constantly surrounds us. It filters that which is the same, usual, because we don't need to be aware of that. But suddenly in a Korean city, nothing is usual, so the mind is very easily overloaded. You ask about culture shock later, but let me say here, I think there are two seperate events that are labeled as culture shock, and they are very different. There is the experience I just described, which was very intense for just a few hours on the first few nights, mostly just lasted a few days and fades away entirely with a week or two. Then there is another experience that sets in around 3 or 4 or 6 months into living in a foreign culture, when the novelty has worn off, and things get really hard. I talk about this at length in a blog post, here.


    ----- I know there has been a stereotype of inexperienced Americans and
    Canadians going to foreign countries and working very briefly, using
    the job as a means to pay for a vacation. Do you think this is still
    the case? There also has been a history of foreigners being lured to
    countries like Korea (or Thailand) with promises of great jobs and
    money only to be met with disappointing living and working conditions.
    Has this practice changed? What opinions do you have regarding
    both sides of this complicated relationship between teachers and
    recruiters? Do you think EPIK has changed this in Korea?

    I don't know how qualified I am to speak generally about this, especially since I haven't lived in Seoul, and that's where the vast majority of foreigners are (that was even more true before the government's recent push to put native english speakers in every public school in the country). But here are some thoughts.

    Yes, people use it as a way to get away from home, as an escape. The reality is that living and working here comes with a huge load of challenges. I don't want to say it's harder, that would depend on specific circumstances at home and here, but it's definitely hard. I don't know a single foreigner here that would disagree with that. And while I think Korea rightly has a reputation for being particularly difficult, I've heard similar complaints about Thailand, Japan, China, etc.. So if this job has a reputation for being an easy way to take a vacation, I think that's undeserved. I think we earn every won we make.

    I had read a lot about people showing up and being given moldy, rat-filled apartments. I think that has always been a tiny, if highly vocal, minority, and even more so now as the arrangement has become more widespread and communication between foreigners living here and thinking about coming here has increased. That said, people definitely do get screwed from time to time. Hagwons, the private, after-school tutoring centers that outside of EPIK employ almost all of the foreign English teachers, are intensely for-profit, and every won saved on a foreigner is a won of profit for the owner. I worried a lot about what would happen at the end of my hagwon contract, because at the end of a contract foreigners generally receive a month's pay, a bonus month's pay called severance, approximately a month's pay from contributions the boss should have been making each month to the national pension fund that can be withdrawn as a lump sum by foreigners leaving the country, and return airfare home. That adds up to about 7 million won for most foreigners. In the end, I did get nearly everything I was owed, with a hundred thousand or two won, but I felt like if the boss had thought he could have pushed me around, he probably would have.

    Recruiters are driven by profit motivation too, and they understand how few recourses a foreigner has once they have moved here. So I think it's terribly important for foreigners to get references for their recruiter and their hagwon before they sign a contract. With EPIK this is much less true because the contract is standardized and there isn't the same profit motivation present in public schools. EPIK is far from perfect, and there are plenty of complaints among my friends and I about the program, but it is much more secure than a hagwon gig.


    ----- Have you experienced significant "culture shock" as a foreigner in Korea?

    Yes, see answer 2.

    ----- To what degree do you think it's important to assimilate to the
    culture you are living in?

    Again, I'm not sure how qualified I am, because I haven't ever assimilated into a foreign culture. Note that the vast, vast majority of foreigners living here don't assimilate to any noticeable degree. I suspect those that have would say that it's both difficult and important. I think it's particularly difficult in Korea, because Korea has a history of fending off foreign invasions (surrounded as have been, historically, by empires: Japanese, Mongolian, Chinese, etc.) and that has informed their culture around the treatment of foreigners. For a more thorough treatment of this, see Korea Unmasked, which is written by a Korean. I think xenophobia is common here, as is fetishization of foreigners. Racism is, I think, less common, but prevalent as well.

    On a lighter note, learning some simple aspects of the language: the "alphabet," food, numbers, taxi directions, etc. is hugely helpful, and new arrivals should learn that stuff ASAP.


    ----- I know EPIK views their native English speakers as assistants to
    the regular English teachers, do you think using native English
    speakers is beneficial when teaching English?

    It's true that we are titled Assistant Teachers. What this means in practice varies widely from province to province, county to county, school to school, and especially from elementary to middle to high schools. My understanding is that in elementary schools foreigners are often treated more like assistants, with Korean teachers planning the lessons and incorporating foreigners to degrees ranging from not at all (I had one coteacher, who I taught 4 hours a week with last semester, with whom I would literally sit in a student's chair, in front of the class, facing the class, which he taught, and often not say a word. I eventually started bringing books into class and sat there reading.) to true coteaching, where the teaching role is passed back and forth. There are also situations in elementary schools where the Korean teacher feels embarrassed about their English in front of a foreigner, or is just lazy, and has the foreigner do all of the lesson planning and teaching. This can be good for everyone, if the Korean stays engaged with the class to keep Korean norms around discipline and respect in order. If, as many do, the Korean sits silently in the back of the class or even walks out, it can be very frustrating. It is extremely difficult to teach beginners of a language without a common language, especially children, with their constantly ambling attention. This alone is sufficient for me to recommend EPIK over hagwons to incoming teachers -- in EPIK you have a coteacher, in hagwons you don't.

    I think it could be valuable to use native teachers, and in many cases I think it is. But the systems to make it properly and be of real benefit to the students haven't been put in place yet. This initiative to have native English speakers in every school is very young, and they are still learning how it should be done. So, as with the example I mentioned above, it often ends up being worthless for the students, and I think very frequently is of marginal value. I think a native speaker is most valuable as a teacher to advanced language learners, and those aren't primary and secondary students in Korea. With the right sort of co-teaching, I think it can be valuable. It brings a new pedagogy to language learning in Korea, which I think is sorely needed. I think it may be most valuable in diminishing xenophobia. There are now foreigners in every town in the country, and every student will grow up knowing at least 12 different foreigners. It's an extremely expensive cultural reform, but I foresee it opening up Korea quite a bit, and Korea has been a rather closed culture. When I left Korea last time, I took a ferry over to China, and the first Chinese person that I spent any time with told me that he thought culturally, "Korea is more [traditional] Chinese than China."

    ----- What are some of the benefits of teaching overseas as opposed to
    teaching in your home country? What are the negative aspects?

    This is a huge question. I think most of the benefits come from living abroad, and after that working abroad, the actually teaching abroad, in my opinion, has marginal benefits.

    For teaching, that it is easier to get into comes to mind. Anyone with a bachelors degree can get a job in Korea. It is also an easier job for most people, but this is balanced by it being harder to live and work here. The negative aspects of working here are primarily that you might not have much control over your curriculum if you teach in a public school, and you might not have much control over (or ability to communicate with) your students if you teach in a hagwon.

    A lot is made about the potential to save money here, and I think it is misunderstood. A typical job here, and this includes probably 95%+ of the jobs here pays between 2.0 - 2.3 million won per month. In addition, your airfare to and from Korea is taken care of and apartment (minus utilities) is furnished and paid for. Income tax is much more progressively structured in Korea than in the US, so at these income levels, the tax rate is 3.3%, and in public schools there is a two-year exemption from even that. Health care is socialized and costs about 50,000 won/month for coverage and makes visits to the doctor/dentist/pharmacy extremely cheap. Add to that the fact that, outside of Seoul, there isn't a lot for foreigners to spend money on. Restaurants are cheap, public transportation is excellent, and most of us don't want to accumulate much stuff, because we have to get rid of it or find a way to get it home in a year or two, and desirable entertainment options are scarce. So, 2.2 million won isn't that much money (about $1600 right now) for a month's work, but some expenses are covered by employer, some are minimized by the policies of the Korean Government, and others just aren't present here.

    The benefits of living and working abroad are significant, and I think under appreciated and misunderstood. Much has been made of President Obama having lived in many different cultures and his penchant for surrounding himself with advisors that have also lived in other cultures. People that have left their home for an extend period of time develop a different way of looking at the world. I think this comes from having the beliefs that are operant in your home society (which we don't notice because they are omnipresent) challenged. That leads people to have more nuanced perspectives that are less based on the beliefs that are instilled by our culture's stories. Leaving the culture you were raised in, even temporarily, is -- must be -- an eye opening experience. A friend asked me recently what made me come back to Korea when I had many grievances about my first year here. I told him that I felt like a transformation had started in my first year that I needed to continue and couldn't at home -- that by removing myself from the shared beliefs, common assumptions and homogeny of the society I grew up in, I was forced to look more closely at the people and events around me and deliver my own conclusions, because I couldn't rest on the beliefs I had picked up by osmosis at home. I also had to redefine myself, because those around me didn't see me through the same cultural lens I had always been seen. Those processes are extremely trying, and I think they are generates the culture shock that emerges after a few months of living in a foreign culture. Really living in a foreign culture is probably the only way to experience it. When one travels, one is not immersed in a culture the same way one is when they are, for example, working in a foreign culture. So that's a benefit and a negative aspect. I believe it is hugely important, and it's why I am here now in spite of the intense frustration and frequent loneliness. Well, that and student loans. And the food. And the proximity to Southeast Asia.

    One last thing I'll mention is a certain sense of freedom that comes with living here. I think it is related to the redefinition I just wrote about at length, in that it comes from a lack of understanding between you and those around you, which comes from a lack of shared cultural stories/assumptions. But knowing that no one really gets you, and no one can, is frighteningly liberating. And not understanding what that 15 year old is talking about on her cellphone can be pretty nice too.
              And Now for Your Weekly Half-Assed Political Analysis...        
    Apparently over the weekend, President Obama nominated someone for supreme Court Justice who looks an awful lot like Nathan Lane. (Because we don’t know a whole lot about Elena Kagan’s beliefs or agenda yet, we’re resorting to playing the “_____ looks like _____!” game). Kagan’s Nathan Lane similarity excites Rickey if for no other reason than the increased possibility of next week’s Senate hearings inexplicably erupting into Broadway show tunes.

    “And Senators, if I may address the issue of gay rights by saying...”

    I feel pretty,
    Oh, so pretty,
    I feel pretty and witty and bright!
    And I pity...
    Any girl who isn't me tonight!

    Fa la la laaaa la la la laaa!


    Good times. But there’s still someone else whom Elana Kagan bears an even uncannier resemblance to. It took us a while to figure out, but then with the help of a delightfully irreverent law blog, Rickey finally placed it…. The nameless albino from “The Princess Bride!”

    NO ONE WITHSTANDS THE MACHINE!


              And Now, an Impassioned Oratory from Noted Psychotic Glenn Beck        
    Good evening, dear sweet America. Last night I carefully explained to you how providing health care coverage to people who are uninsured is the same as pouring gasoline on them, lighting them with a match, and then pushing them down a flight of stairs. Tonight, we discuss something even more important. Something bowel-shakingly alarming. This morning, I was enjoying my customary breakfast of lard, rum, and scrambled eggs when I happened to stumble upon something very upsetting. Look at this box of eggs. Look closely.That's right people: PROGRESSIVE pastured eggs! Deviously hiding from the hormones and antibiotics that would otherwise compel them to grow up to be proud American fowl! When I saw this, I did the only responsible thing: I induced vomiting, then wrapped myself in a blanket and cried. I cried for America. Now, you might say, “Hey, Glenn, what’s the big deal here? They’re just eggs!” But let me tell you friends, this is a very serious threat to our way of life.

    We all know that the progressive movement is a cancer in America and that it is eating our Constitution before our eyes. Make no mistake, socialist revolutionaries lurk amongst us and with this stunning development, it is clear to me that they are now knocking at our very barnyard doors.

    Who knows what tiny feathered menaces are incubating in these progressive eggs? Who can possibly hope to contain Komrade Kluck when he breaks free of his eggshell confines and recruits others to his insidious Marxist cause? Friends, we need a national chicken registry, and we need it now. We need to know the whereabouts and agendas of these clucking menaces before it is too late. Socialist fowl present a clear and present danger to our fragile republic. These subversive chicks threaten to make cuckolds of us all. Who will take a stand against rampant tyranny such as this? In these dangerous times, when will someone finally give a voice to the aggrieved white male?

    Who exactly is behind this insidious plot? Why, none other than our old friend Margaret Hamburg, head of the shadowy and mysterious arm of government known as the FDA. For months, Mrs. Hamburg has refused to denounce the gender confusion caused by that rancorous beast, the Cadbury Bunny. And as if living in a world where deviant rabbits could lay eggs wasn’t bad enough, now she’s taking things to the next level: the widespread indoctrination of millions of our nation’s chicks! With this development, the Obama administration moves one step closer to realizing its horrific progressive agenda—a Prius in every garage and a Marxist chicken in every pot.

    Sweet tropical Jesus, the mere thought of this scares me. And when I'm scared, I cry. I cry a lot.This crisis ruffles my feathers. It ruffles them to my very core. Has no one learned the lessons from the classic conservative literary masterpiece that is Chicken Little? It was written by Horatio Alger and tells the story of one brave young chicken’s struggle to alert his barnyard friends and family of the looming socialist menace. Sadly, nobody listens to him and then, of course, the Rapture happens.

    This book won many awards and was even presented to Margaret Thatcher by President Reagan as a gift for emerging victorious over the puffin menace in the Falkland Islands War. I highly recommend it. But let me tell you, if these progressive eggs become commonplace, we may never see the likes of courageous Chicken Little ever again, and that scares me. And it should scare you, my sweet precious America. Little by little, our freedoms, the principles of capitalism, the idea that we control our own lives and make our own decisions are all being stripped from us. Tonight, I ask you to join me in this fight and rise up against our leftist chicken overlords.

    Good night and good luck to us all.

    And now, a word from our proud upstanding sponsors, Eztense Penis-Enhancing Pills, the Baconwave Bacon Cooker, and Cash4Gold.com!

              An N.C. Congressman Tries to Defund the Congressional Budget Office        
    Possibly related: the CBO has said the GOP’s efforts to repeal Obamacare would cost tens of millions of people access to health care On Monday—the same day the president attacked political rivals in a speech to Boy Scouts and the U.S. Senate prepared to vote on a health care bill that no one had actually seen—Mark Meadows, chairman of the Freedom Caucus and representative of North Carolina's Eleventh Congressional District, proposed his own means of undermining democratic norms. His big idea: gut the Congressional Budget Office, the agency that has consistently projected that GOP efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare would leave more than twenty million Americans without coverage.…
              Five Things You Need to Know About the Senate’s Health Care Hail Mary        
    No. 1: The Obamacare repeal isn’t really a repeal On Monday night, senators Jerry Moran of Kansas and Mike Lee of Utah announced that they would not support the Better Care Reconciliation Act, the Senate's attempt to replace the Affordable Care Act. Without their votes, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is shy of the fifty he needs.…
              Hedge Fund Managers Acquitted of Criminal Charges, Now Settle Civil Charges. Is This How Obama's Task Force Will Work?        
    Here’s the problem with that approach, which is evident in how failed criminal charges against Cioffi and Tannin led to civil charges and both hop-skipping out of harm’s way.
              Comment on I HATE NIGGERS!!!!!!!!!!!! by nutjob        
    White people look like shit. no wonder they spend so much time in the sun trying to get a tan. whenever i see one of them i let him have my big black fist in his face. these animals should not live among us this is our country and we will take it from them like Obama is doing and drive their ugly stink asses back to evrope to die from cystic fibrosis. and the women i love to rape their sorry asses.
              Comment on I HATE NIGGERS!!!!!!!!!!!! by Welfare Chick        
    i love obama. Yea Yea Yea
              WTF?        
    [+7] Discussion by blueveinedthrobber on 06/20/10 7:09 AM Replies: 20 Views: 1,501
    Tags: Politics, Obama, Golf
    Last Post by blueveinedthrobber on 06/22/10 4:44 AM
              Today the future seems brighter        

              A New Day        
    Here a link to a transcript of his acceptance speech.

    I'm breathing easier, you?
              6-Month Update for Trump Voters        
    So after six months, has he delivered what he promised you?1. He told you he’d repeal Obamacare and...
              THE ART OF THE (TRUMP AND PUTIN) DEALSay you’re Vladimir Putin,...        


    THE ART OF THE (TRUMP AND PUTIN) DEAL

    Say you’re Vladimir Putin, and you did a deal with Trump last year. Whether there was such a deal is being investigated. But if you are Putin and you did do a deal, what might Trump have agreed to do for you? 

    1. Repudiate NATO. NATO is the biggest thorn in your side – the alliance that both humiliates you and stymies your ambitions. Trump seemed intent to deliver on this during his recent European trip by bullying members about payments and seemingly not reaffirming Article 5 of the pact, which states that any attack on one NATO ally is an attack on all. (He’s backtracked on this since then, under pressure from Congress.)

    2. Antagonize Europe, especially Angela Merkel. She’s the strongest leader in the West other than Trump, and you’d love to drive a wedge between the United States and Germany. Your larger goal is for Europe to no longer depend on the United States, so you can increase your influence in Europe. Trump has almost delivered on this, too. Merkel is already saying Europe can no longer depend on America.

    3. Take the United States out of the Paris accord on the environment. This will anger America’s other allies around the world and produce a wave of anti-Americanism – all to your advantage. You’d also love for the whole Paris accord to unravel because you want the world to remain dependent on fossil fuels. Russia is the world’s second-largest exporter of oil after Saudi Arabia, and biggest exporter of natural gas. And the oil and gas industry contributes about half the revenues to your domestic budget. And, hey, there’s also all those Arctic ports that are opening up now that the earth is warming. Trump has delivered on this. 

    4. Embark on a new era of protectionism. Or at least anti-trade rhetoric. This will threaten the West’s economic interdependence and loosen America’s economic grip on the rest of the world. Trump is on the way to delivering on this one.

    5. End the economic sanctions on Russia, imposed by the United States in 2014. Oil production on land is falling so you want to tap the vast petroleum and gas reserves offshore in the Arctic. In 2011, you and ExxonMobil’s Rex Tillerson, signed a $500 billion deal to do this. But the sanctions stopped it cold. Trump has promised to lift them, but he hasn’t delivered on this yet, because he has got to cope with all the suspicions in America about his deal with you. Once it dies down, he’ll end the sanctions. In the meantime, he’ll give you back the two compounds that were seized by the Obama administration when the U.S. intelligence discovered you’d interfered in the election.

    And what might you have agreed to do for Trump in return? 

    Two things: First, you’d help him win the presidency, by hacking into Democratic Party servers, leaking the results, sending millions of fake news stories about Hillary to targeted voters, and tapping into voter lists. 

    Second, after he was elected, you’d shut up about your help so Trump wouldn’t be impeached and convicted of treason.

    In other words, if you did a deal, you both still have every incentive to fulfill your side of it. That’s the art of the deal.


              Obama et les poissons rouges : comment le GIF a vaincu la vidéo        
    Consécration linguistique pour le GIF (Graphics Interchange Format), type de fichier d’image ou d’animation élu, en ce mois de novembre 2012, « mot de l’année » par le dictionnaire américain Oxford. Un temps considéré comme vestige honteux de la préhistoire d’Internet, il est revenu en grâce via les forums, la culture « LOL » et les mèmes, jusqu’à devenir [...]
              New York's Attorney General Vows Court Action Against ACA Repeal        
    New York’s top elected Democrats rallied against the Republican Congress’s proposals to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, saying they will take legal action, if necessary, to stop it. State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, speaking before a crowd of unionized health care workers at Mount Sinai hospital, says if the plans to repeal and replace Obamacare in the GOP led Senate and House do become law, he will sue on behalf of New Yorkers. “I’ve developed a bit of a reputation since January as the guy who sues Donald Trump and the federal government,” Schneiderman said, to cheers. “Always on the merits, and boy, have we got a lot of merits on our side.” This is not the first time that Schneiderman has made the threat. The Attorney General said after the house passed its version of the Obamacare repeal and replacement that court action was likely. The AG says provisions in both the Senate and House plans to defund Planned Parenthood services, “would
              The Gospel and Jeremiah Wright        
    I have avoided speaking about Barack Obama's former pastor at Trinity United Church of Christ, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, for about as long as possible. There are a number of reasons for this. Foremost among them is the irritation I have felt in seeing political pundits and news personalities (most of them unbelievers), attacking a pastor for view he expressed from a pulpit in a church. Now, don't get me wrong. I disagree heartily with what the man said, whether or not it was taken out of context. But I am very uncomfortable with a pastor being criticized publicly for his views by those outside of the faith. And yet, this has become the norm in the U.S. these days - and that worries me a great deal.

    I recently wrote a comment on another man's blog about the criticism being heaped upon Wright (and consequently, Barack Obama), and pointed out that, while I am disgusted by the media's treatment of Rev. Wright, I do believe there are some upsides to the controversy, namely that it puts a spotlight on the inherent problems of Liberation Theology and its influence in the African-American church. I don't have the time, nor the patience (or really the education) to dive deeply into Liberation Theology, so let me offer a few links for further study:

    An article, "What is Liberation Theology?" at GotQuestions.org
    An interview with Eric Redmond, an African American Pastor in Maryland, by Albert Mohler
    A partial transcript of that interview at Townhall.com entitled, "Is Jeremiah Wright Mainstream?"
    Eric Redmond's post, "Jeremiah Wright’s BLT" (Black Liberation Theology), on his blog, A Man From Issachar

    Suffice to say, the problems of Liberation Theology are vast, and they are a stumbling block to the gospel. As one commenter at Townhall.com wrote:
    Liberation theology creates further division.
    Liberation theology counters racism with racism.
    Liberation theology is man-made and runs perpendicular to the gospel.
    Liberation theology is no gospel at all.
    I would agree with this assessment. And since Rev. Wright resurfaced a few days ago and today was blasted by Barack Obama for remarks he made at
    the National Press Club Monday in Washington, I have been thinking even more about Wright and his theology. As I was considering this, I stumbled across Warren Kelly's post on Wright at his blog View From The Pew. Kelly discusses Wright's answer to a question posed to him by a moderator after his speech at the National Press Club on Monday. The moderator stated, "Jesus said, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man cometh unto the father but through me.'" Then the moderator asked, "Do you believe this? And do you think Islam is a way to salvation?" Wright replied simply, "Jesus also said, 'Other sheep have I who are not of this fold,'" seeming to indicate that indeed Muslims and those of other religions would inherit eternal life apart from a personal relationship with Christ. Sadly, applause followed his comment. Kelly noted,
    Wright had what I call an Osteen moment. He had the chance to share the Gospel in front of millions. Not only that, but he had the chance to calm the fears of evangelical Christians that his church was somehow not really a Christian church. He could have done so much, but he decided not to.
    He then wisely observed that, "Jeremiah Wright did to Jesus exactly what the news media have been doing to him -- taken [sic] a part of a sermon, quoted it out of context, and made it sound like something that wasn't intended."

    Denny Burk, Assistant Professor of New Testament at Criswell College in Dallas, Texas. and blogger extraordinaire picked up on the story as well and explains what Jesus was actually referring to in John chapter 10:
    When Jesus says that he has “other sheep who are not of this fold,” it’s likely that he is referring to Gentiles who would later come to faith in Christ. The sheep that are following Him at that point in the narrative are Jews, but Jesus aims to have followers from among the Gentiles as well. Whoever the “other sheep” are understood to be, they nevertheless have the characteristics of “sheep.” They listen to and follow Christ, and they are saved only by Him.
    Additionally, he points out that, "To say that 'other sheep' refers to unbelievers (or followers of Islam in Reverend Wright’s case) simply runs roughshod over the plain meaning of the passage."

    So, as I noted to the other blogger in my comments referred to at the start of this post, Jeremiah Wright's pulpit rhetoric doesn't really bother me - it's his misunderstanding of the Gospel and disregard for the fundamentals of the faith that worry me.
              Obama Not as "Green" as He Would Like You to Think        
    Future Presidential candidate Barack Hussein Obama might not be as "green" as he appears. And I don't mean "inexperienced." Last year Obama came under fire from conservatives for giving a series of speeches on the need to reduce carbon emissions by breaking America's addiction to SUVs, while arriving and departing in a GMC Envoy. When the story broke, Obama's press secretary, Tommy Vietor, issued a statement saying that Obama liked to roll in a Flex-Fuel SUV, which suggested that he was indeed practicing what he preached. Unfortunately for Obama, many clever conservatives did their research and found out that the GMC Envoy does not come equipped with Flex-Fuel technology.

    But now, Obama's committment to being Green is being challenged by environmentalists on both sides of the aisles (Washington Post article here). In a Grist article entitled, "Even Stevens?" reporter Amanda Griscom Little descibes the problems environmentalists have with the "Coal-to-Liquid Fuel Promotion Act of 2007" co-sponsored by Obama and Kentucky Senator Jim Bunning. According to the article, "Coal-to-liquid (CTL) technology uses a highly energy-intensive process to convert coal into diesel fuel for cars or jet fuel for airplanes -- an appealing prospect to the coal industry in Obama's home state of Illinois, but not to [environmentalists] and others concerned about global warming." Little goes on to explain the problems with CTL technology:
    David Doniger, policy director of the Natural Resources Defense Council's Climate Center, has supported coal gasification as a viable alternative to coal-burning power plants, but explains that CTL is not as promising an alternative to conventional gasoline or biofuels. "Coal-to-liquid is, in the best-case scenario, no worse for the climate than oil-derived gasoline -- and no better," he says. The best-case scenario assumes that CTL producers find a way to capture their carbon emissions. Problem is, none of the current CTL projects actually involve carbon capture. Without that step, the climate impacts of CTL fuel are far worse than those of gasoline. According to an NRDC analysis, a 35-mpg car powered by the CTL fuel that's currently available would generate as much carbon dioxide pollution as a far less efficient 19-mpg car that runs on conventional gasoline.
    The Bunning-Obama bill "which would expand tax incentives for CTL and help jumpstart the industry with public-private partnerships, was first introduced by the senators in spring of last year." It appears that for Obama, regional politics trump environmentalism. It will be interesting to see how many of his Democratic collegues will support the bill and undermine the Dems climate control promises. One thing is for sure: Obama's "100 percent approval rating from the League of Conservation Voters for his environmental voting record in the Senate last year" is certain to decrease this time around.
              (RPI) Restaurant Stock Outlook – February 2013 – Zacks Analyst Interviews        
    The year 2012 started on a relatively positive note for U.S. restaurants. That scenario changed gradually as sales momentum slackened in the sector as the macroeconomic tension, presidential election and the “Fiscal Cliff” raised uncertainties in the market. Even this year, the industry remains on the receiving end of global economic concerns, fragile consumer confidence, a more expensive food cost environment in the U.S., a sluggish labor market, “Obamacare” and an excess of restaurants in the industry. As a result, […]
              Obama Foundation reveals first look at the Obama Presidential Center        
    none
              ä¸å®šæœŸML&NLPå ±#1        

    先日、社内で定期的に行なわれているフロントエンド会にお邪魔してきました(podcastが配信されています)。jser.infoというサイトを参照しながら雑談していたのですが、最近のフロントエンドの動向を知るという目的にはこのサイトなかなかよさそうでした。

    機械学習勉強会でもランチタイムに最近の話題を見ながら雑談しているのですが、ネタになるエントリ一覧とそれに対するコメントは社外に公開して別に問題ないなと思ったので、不定期報という形で出してみることにしました。自然言語処理も自分がカバーできる範囲限られているし、自然言語処理以外の機械学習の話はかなりカバーできないので、たれこみフォームも作りました。耳寄りな情報、お待ちしております:)

    論文

    ブログ/勉強会資料

    ビジネス

    学会/勉強会

    Coling2016

    今年は大阪で開催。

    NIPS2016

    NL研(第229回自然言語処理研究会)

    (2) [NLC] ゲーミフィケーションを利用した効率的な対話ログ収集の試み
    ○叶内 晨・小町 守(首都大東京)

    データが集まると学習する方法はいくらでも出てきているので、データをどうやって効率よく集めていくのかというところに興味がある。

    (5) [NL] 雑談対話システムの話題遷移における自然性の自動評価
    ○豊嶋章宏(NAIST)・杉山弘晃(NTT)・吉野幸一郎・中村 哲(NAIST)
    
    (20) [NL] 14:30 – 15:00
    単語分散表現を用いた単語アライメントによる日英機械翻訳の自動評価尺度
    ○松尾潤樹・小町 守(首都大)・須藤克仁(NTT)

    データ収集と合わせて解析系でないタスクの評価は今後ホットなタスクになると思ってます。

    (15) [NL] 17:25 – 17:55
    単語分かち書き用辞書生成システム NEologd の運用 — 文書分類を例にして —
    ○佐藤敏紀・橋本泰一(LINE)・奥村 学(東工大)

    最近各地で使われることが多くなってきたNEologdの話もあった。

    言語処理学会2017

    チュートリアルとテーマセッション、ワークショップの内容も出ていました。

    クラウドソーシング
    馬場 雪乃 先生(京都大学)
    ニューラル機械翻訳
    中澤 敏明 先生 (JST)
    Universal Dependencies
    金山 博 先生(日本IBM東京基礎研究所)
    田中 貴秋 先生(NTTコミュニケーション科学基礎研究所)
    認知言語学
    西村 義樹 先生(東京大学)

    ニューラル機械翻訳とUniversal Dependenciesが特に気になっている。

    IM飲み2016

    その他


              Ce vorbesc Obama si Merkel despre criza din zona euro        
    Presedintele american, Barack Obama, a discutat vineri cu cancelarul german, Angela Merkel, despre ultimele evolutii legate de criza din zona euro, pe care o considera un risc important pentru economia americana. "Presedintele si cancelarul au discutat despre pregatirile in vederea summitului G20...
              Some things that piss me off        
    In no particular order:

    - Lawyers, they created a market for themselves with all those crazy legal terms which as a consequence requires the existence of lawyers to make the world go.

    - Commercials for prescription medications, especially ones where the side effects are worse than what they cure. (Ex. "May increase chance of asthma related death" for an asthma medication)

    - That Wendy's commercial where the guy is like "What would george washington have thought if he knew one of his dollars could buy a whole burger!" Ya, well back in his day the dollar was worth more. In the depression, you could buy 20 REAL burgers for a dollar.

    - Swine flu. It's the freaking flu, and like what, 20 people died from it and like 200 are sick in mexico, so the world panics? Maybe if you washed your hands after taking a dump you wouldn't get the swine flu.

    - XNA. People are like "DO OU USE XNA? YOU SHOULD USE XNA OMG YOUR GAME WOULD ROCK IN XNA" without really knowing what xna or c# is. Nevermind I use a mac, and XNA would tie me down to a platform which I hate, without the power of c++ and without the market penetration of flash.

    - Windows and it's horrible DLL system

    - Builds of software libraries where they give you the source and expect you to compile it yourself. Then you do, and the lib only works on my computer, even in release mode. What am I supposed to do? Compile the sources on install for everyone's computer? Just give me the headers and the .lib/.dll/.a/framework!

    - Conservatives who are calling for an impeachment of Obama after 100 days, just because he's not on the same side as them and they're bitter for losing. Newsflash, Bush did way more questionably legal things than Obama, and yet I still didn't think he should have been impeached, despite not agreeing with him at all, and thinking he should have never been elected.

    - Not having a car whilst in college really ties me to my apartment and makes me dependent on amazon for delivering food, which really sucks when I'm low and in a pinch.

    - Commercials for "magic weight loss" products. Hey I got a product for you, the secret's in this pamphlet and it'll only cost you 4 easy payments of $19.95+s+h, but you get the first half of the first word for free! Excer____.

    - Commercials for "magic beauty products" which are like "YOU HAVE A PIMPLE YOU UGLY BUY OUR CREAM OR YOU FAIL AT LIFE"

    - Axe body spray commercials. "Hey buy our spray which smells like ass, and women will have sex with you." Unfortunately it doesn't work that way, and its sad to think people fall for this.

    That is all for now
              Foto Obama pada Masa Muda        













              Central Falls Mayor Diossa Calls for More Syrian Refugees        
    Central Falls Mayor James Diossa, a Democrat, has joined mayors from New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and 14 other cities in saying they are ready and willing to accept even more refugees than the Obama administration has proposed. In a letter to the president, the mayors said, ``We will welcome the Syrian families to make homes and new lives in our cities.’’ ``Indeed, we are writing to say that we stand ready to work with your administration to do much more and to urge you to increase still further the number of Syrian refugees the United States the United States will accept for resettlement,’’ the letter stated. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Baltimore mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake all signed the letter. ``We have taken in refugees, and will help make room for thousands more,’’ stated the letter. ``This is because the U.S. has developed a robust screening and background check that assures us that
              Comment on Pres. Barack Obama – Editor of the Harvard Law Review – Has No Law License??? by deucedeuce22oz        
    I personally think it's ridiculous to make someone pay $50/month to keep their licenses. That's extortion. Not all people can afford that and it violates the Rights of the people that aren't wealthy. It sounds like a "rich persons club" and if you're not still wealthy after spending countless thousands on school than you can't be in their little club. No wonder we have so many corrupt lawyers that let the courts violate the people. The only lawyers that still have jobs are the dishonest ones that extort their own clients... (except for the ones that get busted like the evil obamas).
              Comment on Pres. Barack Obama – Editor of the Harvard Law Review – Has No Law License??? by rcarson79        
    Reblogged this on <a href="http://challengeinlife.com/2016/01/09/pres-barack-obama-editor-of-the-harvard-law-review-has-no-law-license/" rel="nofollow">Challenge In Life</a>.
              Comment on Pres. Barack Obama – Editor of the Harvard Law Review – Has No Law License??? by I Knew THE OBAMA’S BOTH LOST THEIR LAW LICENSES… But I Didn’t Know Why Until READ THIS! | Sheep Media        
    […] 3. Facts.Source: https://jdlong.wordpress.com/2009/05/15/pres-barack-obama-editor-of-the-Harvard-law-review-has-no-law… […]
              The Next Israel-Hezbollah Conflict        
    During the Obama years, concerns about Israel’s security situation focused on the Iranian nuclear

              Outward Expressions of Grattitude        
    Last night I watched a Ted Talk on Positive Psychology delivered by Shawn Achor.



    I was struck by the bit at the end, the five things you can do for twenty-one days to increase your positivity. 

    (It's not that I'm relentlessly negative, far from it, but like anyone, I could always take being MOAR positive.)

    So the five things are:
    1. Start each morning with an outward expression of three new things for which you are grateful that happened over the last 24 hours
    2. Keep a journal
    3. Exercise regularly
    4. Practice meditation
    5. Commit to doing random acts of kindness. - one email of gratitude a day.
    In thinking about an "outward expression of three new things" for which I am grateful, this blog is the place that came to mind as a place to put those thoughts.

    I haven't written here in a long time.

    Recently, I've realized I miss it. I like to write.

    So anyway, I'll put them here.  No one is watching this spot anymore anyway.

    Three things that happened in the last 24 hours for which I am extremely grateful.

    1.  The Supreme Court Ruled in Favor of Same Sex Marriage Nationwide.



    2. President Obama Eulogizes The Reverend Clementa Pinckney in Charleston, South Carolina with Amazing Grace.




    3. The Mayor returned from three weeks of sleep away camp. Oh, how I missed him.





              Post on the Animalistic Black (M)Other        
    This week, my work the animalistic black mother will appear on Performing Humanity: Humans and Animals in the Early Modern World.  In my post, I compare the depiction of black women in Early Modern travel narratives to the rhetoric surrounding contemporary black mothers, and, specifically, the most prominent black mother in the US, Michelle Obama.  Check it out!
              "Matriarchy" and the Contemporary Black Family        
    For all of you who are wondering where I've been, I'm back to let you that the last few weeks have brought some exciting changes in my life. Not only are we selling our house and moving into a beautiful new home (hopefully within the month of December because it is dang hard to keep a house clean enough to show with an 19-month-old and a 7 1/2-year-old--this situation does not accentuate my better nature!!), but I have also been assigned three new classes for the Spring semester. I am thrilled to be teaching two sections of a "Reading and Writing about Literature" class, an introductory course in the English major, and a colloquium for the Honors College. Because the theme of my colloq so well matches the focus of this blog, I thought that I'd share my syllabus and schedule with you, my loyal followers.

    I've entitled the course "'Matriarchy' and the Contemporary Black Family." As the syllabus demonstrates, we're taking as a springboard the US Department of Labor's Moynihan report of 1965 which--although likely well-intentioned--propelled the myth of the black matriarch into the forefront of the American consciousness. The report attributed the "pathology" of the black family to its "matriarchal" nature, pointing out that many black families were headed by women who oftentimes ran the home and at the same time financially supported the men in their families. The report was meant to convey the necessity of creating more jobs for black men, but many have claimed that it blamed the victims, the women who were--and had been for centuries--keeping it all together in the face of greatly oppressive social and political circumstances. The matriarch myth has stayed with us and has played out in complicated social scripts as well as in popular culture representations of black women.

    This course will therefore investigate "matriarchy," past and present. It starts with "The Articulation of the Matriarch Myth" in 1965 and then jumps back to slavery to explore what I am calling, facetiously, "The Rise of the Matriarch" from slavery times up to the 1960s or so. This portion of the course will examine the historical circumstances that positioned the black woman as so central to the black family and also media representations of this positioning, such as in Amos and Andy, for instance. Next, we will move to "Disciplining the 'Matriarch,'" which will cover the ways that both black men and mainstream America have endeavored to punish black women for their deviance and powers of emasculation in movements such as Black Power and Reaganism. In addition to the listed readings, in these weeks we will view an episode of Sanford and Son, Boyz in the Hood and a documentary on hip-hop music. The fourth unit in the course is "Michelle Obama in the Context of 'Matriarchy'" and will explore Obama's portrayal in the media as an emasculating matriarch and the ways that she has negotiated this stereotype. Finally, in "Making Sense of the 'Matriarch,'" we will try to reckon with the legacy of the matriarch myth for us today.

    I am proud of this course because my conception of the overall narrative arch of the story of the matriarch has been affirmed by the readings that I've found. Like me, many critics and theorists that I'm including in the course trace the myth of matriarchy to Moynihan, and, together, they present a complex and rich understanding of the significance of his report. In other words, the readings build on each other and complicate each other. It is awesome to see the course come together like this!!

    Please take a look at the tentative syllabus that I've posted below! I'd love to hear your suggestions about how I can make this semester an even richer experience for my students as we work together to understand black "matriarchy."

    “Matriarchy” and the Contemporary Black Family

    Instructor Information
    Name: Dr. Andrea Powell Wolfe
    Office: RB 297
    Office Hours: Tuesday 2-3 and 3:30-5, Thursday 2-2:45, and by appointment
    Email: andreapowellwolfe@gmail.com
    Website: http://andreapowellwolfe.weebly.com
    Blog: http://literatimom.blogspot.com

    Course Information
    Title: HONRS 390: Honors Colloquium
    Semester: Spring 2011
    Location: Honors House
    Meeting Times: Tuesday and Thursday 9:30-10:45
    Credit Hours: 3

    Required Texts
    Hansberry, Lorraine. A Raisin in the Sun. (any edition)
    Williams, Sherley Anne. Dessa Rose: A Novel. (any edition)

    Additional Texts
    Readings for the course are listed on the schedule below. In addition to the two books that I’m asking you to borrow or purchase, I will also provide some handouts in hard copy. You will access the majority of the readings for this course, however, either on the World Wide Web, through Blackboard, or via Electronic Course Reserves. In order to locate readings stored in the Electronic Course Reserves, log in to CardCat and then select “Course Reserves” from the menu bar.

    Course Description
    This course will constitute a semester-long interrogation of the term “matriarchy” as it has been used over the course of decades to describe the make-up of the black American family. Grounded in an awareness of “matriarchy” as a terrible misnomer in this context, the course will explore ways that the classification of the black family as “matriarchal” has reinforced oppressive cultural and political conditions for black Americans. We will endeavor to recognize the widespread abuse and subjugation of black women over time and still celebrate the strength of black mothers who have nurtured children and maintained families in the most dire of circumstances throughout American history. We will discuss ways that black men have reacted to the labeling of their families as “matriarchal.” Perhaps most importantly, we will attempt to uncover how the stereotype of “the matriarch” continues to play out in contemporary media representations of black womanhood and how it has played out in social scripts surrounding even our current First Lady, Michelle Obama.

    Course Requirements
    Paper #1 100 points
    Paper #2 100 points
    Paper #3 100 points
    Final Exam 200 points
    Participation 20 points per class
    Quizzes 10 points each

    Papers
    Assignment sheets for each paper will be posted in the “Assignments” area in Blackboard. In general, these assignments will ask you to use textual evidence to support thoughtful and sophisticated claims regarding “matriarchy” and the black family. Papers will be 4-5 pages (1400-1750 words) in length and will be due to my email before class on the days noted on the course schedule. Late papers will lose 10 points per day late (including weekends).

    Final Exam
    The final exam will be comprehensive and will consist of short essay questions. In order to prepare for the exam, you will need to read carefully, participate attentively in class, and take good notes throughout the semester.

    Quizzes
    Quizzes over reading notes and class notes may be given without advanced notice. You are always welcome to use written or typed notes for quizzes. Quizzes cannot be made-up.

    Participation
    Your active and thoughtful participation in this course is absolutely critical to its success! Because discussion is such a big part of the Honors Colloquium experience, you will earn daily participation points for coming to class and engaging in meaningful discussion. Part of participation is also preparation to learn and interact in the classroom. This means that you must bring the appropriate reading(s) to class every day, either in hard copy or in electronic form on your laptop. Participation scores will be posted in the grade book in Blackboard after every class.

    Extra Credit
    Because I want to give you the opportunity to make up points that you might lose due to necessary absences, I will allow you to complete two extra credit assignments throughout the semester for a total of 40 points in extra credit. For each extra credit assignment, you will choose a full-length book (either critical or literary) or a film (either documentary or fictional) to review for extra credit. I will be happy to recommend texts that might match your personal interests, and, even if you do not need suggestions from me, I ask that you allow me to “approve” your selections before you begin working on these assignments. Each review should be 3-pages (1050 words) in length and should analyze the representation of black motherhood in the text that you have chosen.

    Attendance Policy
    You will lose all daily participation points when you miss class. While one or two absences may not affect your overall grade in the class, making a habit of missing class will most certainly negatively impact your grade. Any requests for a waiver of the penalty for missing class must be made before the absence for which you seek to be excused.

    Classroom Behavior Policy
    It is my goal to foster a classroom environment in which every student feels comfortable contributing to discussion. Though we will not always agree with one another, we must listen to one another with respect. Furthermore, you are never required to agree with me or with a text we are discussing; disagreement is a valuable part of the thinking process. I will not tolerate disruptive behaviors such as reading newspapers, talking on cell phones, texting, emailing, or sleeping in class. Behaviors like these will cause you to lose participation points for that day. In order to promote engaged discussion, I may ask you to close your laptop at times during class.

    Plagiarism
    In order to protect the integrity of the university and of students who work hard, I take academic dishonesty seriously. The intentional or unintentional use of another’s writing without giving proper credit or any credit is theft and the use of a previously written paper for a current course without approval of the instructor is dishonesty. These types of actions undermine the educational process and may be cause for course failure or expulsion from Ball State University.

    Disabilities/Accommodations Statement
    If you need course adaptations or accommodations because of a disability, if you have emergency medical information to share with me, or if you need special arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, please make an appointment with me as soon as possible

    Extra Help
    I am happy to meet with students about drafts, assignment questions, additional discussions of a text, and absence policies, etc. during office hours or by appointment. I also encourage you to visit a writing tutor at The Writing Center to work on your papers at any stage in the writing process.

    Syllabus Information Disclaimer
    Parts of the syllabus and the course, including the schedule and assignments, are subject to change to meet the needs of students in the course.

    Course Schedule

    Articulating the Matriarch Stereotype

    Tuesday, January 11 Introductions

    Thursday, January 13 Readings Due: Syllabus; Daniel P. Moynihan, US Department of Labor, “The Negro Family: The Case for National Action”, Chapters II-IV

    Tuesday, January 18 Reading Due: Hortense Spillers, “Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe: An American Grammar Book” in Blackboard

    The Rise of the “Matriarch”

    Thursday, January 20 Reading Due: Deborah Gray White, “Jezebel and Mammy: The Mythology of Female Slavery” on Reserve

    Tuesday, January 25 Reading Due: Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Chapters I-XIV

    Thursday, January 27 Reading Due: Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Chapters XV-XXXIII

    Tuesday, February 1 Reading Due: Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Chapters XXXIV-XLI; Stephanie Li, “Motherhood as Resistance in Harriet Jacobs’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl” in Blackboard

    Thursday, February 3 Reading Due: Deborah Gray White, “From Slavery to Freedom” handout

    Tuesday, February 8 Reading Due: YouTube videos, “Scarlett Dresses for the Barbeque”, “Mammy—Gone with the Wind”; Maria St. John, “’It Ain’t Fittin’: Cinematic and Fantasmatic Contours of Mammy in Gone with the Wind and Beyond” in Blackboard

    Thursday, February 10 Reading Due: George Kirby, “Amos and Andy: Anatomy of a Controversy”

    Tuesday, February 15 Reading Due: Lorraine Hansberry, A Raisin in the Sun, Acts I-2

    Thursday, February 17 Reading Due: Lorraine Hansberry, A Raisin in the Sun, Act 3; Ellen Silber, “Seasoned with Quiet Strength: Black Womanhood in Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun (1959)” in Blackboard

    Disciplining the “Matriarch”

    Tuesday, February 22 Assignment Due: Paper #1

    Thursday, February 24 Reading Due: bell hooks, “The Imperialism of Patriarchy” on Reserve

    Tuesday, March 1 Reading Due: Amiri Baraka, “20-Century Fox,” “Newshit,” “Song,” “Lady Bug,” “A Poem for Black Hearts,” “Black Art,” “For a Lady I Know,” “Civil Rights Poem,” “Beautiful Black Women . . .,” “Bludoo Baby Want Money and Alligator Got it to Give,” “Leroy,” and “Who Will Survive America” handout; Daniel Matlin, “’Lift Up Yr Self’: Reinterpreting Amiri Baraka (Leroi Jones), Black Power, and the Uplift Tradition” in Blackboard

    Thursday, March 3 Reading Due: Hortense Spillers, “Interstices: A Small Drama of Words” on Reserve

    Tuesday, March 8 No Class; Spring Break

    Thursday, March 10 No Class; Spring Break

    Tuesday, March 15 Reading Due: Herman Gray, “Reaganism and the Sign of Blackness” on Reserve

    Thursday, March 17 Reading Due: Sherley Anne Williams, Dessa Rose, “Prologue” and “The Darkey”

    Tuesday, March 22 Reading Due: Sherley Anne Williams, Dessa Rose, “The Wench” and “The Negress”

    Thursday, March 24 Reading Due: Sherley Anne Williams, Dessa Rose, “Epilogue”; Ashraf H. Rushdy, “Reading Mammy: The Subject of Relation in Sherley Anne Williams’ Dessa Rose” in Blackboard

    Tuesday, March 29 Reading Due: Linda M. Burton and M. Belinda Tucker, “Romantic Unions in an Era of Uncertainty: A Post-Moynihan Perspective on African American Women and Marriage” in Blackboard

    Thursday, March 31 Reading Due: “Between Apocalypse and Redemption: John Singleton’s Boyz in the Hood” in Blackboard

    Tuesday, April 5 Reading Due: Mark Anthony Neal, “Baby Mama (Drama) and Baby Daddy (Trauma): Post-Soul Gender Politics” on Reserve

    Michelle Obama in the Context of “Matriarchy”

    Thursday, April 7 Assignment Due: Paper #2

    Tuesday, April 12 Reading Due: Mosheh Oinounou and Bonney Kapp, “Michelle Obama Takes Heat for Saying She’s ‘Proud of My Country’ for the First Time”; Fox News, “Outraged Liberals: Stop Picking on Obama’s Baby Mama!”; Marcus Baram, “Rusty DePass, South Carolina GOP Activist, Says Escaped Gorilla Was Ancestor of Michelle Obama”; The Paparazzis, “Comedian Jay Mohr disrespects Michelle Obama”; Alicia Shepard, “Juan Williams, NPR and Fox News”

    Thursday, April 14 Reading Due: Fight the Smears, “The Truth about Michelle”; Lois Romano, “Voices of Power: White House Social Secretary Desirée Rogers,” Chapter 3; The White House, “First Lady Michelle Obama”

    Tuesday, April 19 Reading Due: The Huffington Post, “Up In Arms: Michelle Obama’s Sleeveless Style Sparks Controversy”; Wendy Donahue, “Some harrumph over Michelle Obama’s sleeveless dress”; Bonnie Fuller, “Michelle Obama’s Sleevegate: Why Can’t America Handle Her Bare Arms?”; Madison Park, “How to get Michelle Obama’s toned arms”; Andrea Sachs, “Michelle Obama’s Fashion Statement”; Danny Shea, “New York Magazine Blog Takes Down Michelle Obama Booty Post”; Gina, “Another ‘Booty’ Post: ‘That Site’ Puts the Marginalization and Dehumanization of First Lady Michelle Obama Up for Vote”; Erin Aubry Kaplan, “The Michelle Obama Hair Challenge”

    Thursday, April 21 Reading Due: The White House Organic Farm Project, “About TheWhoFarm”; Michelle Obama, “Remarks by the First Lady to Unity Health Care Center”; Sesame Street, “Sesame Street: Michelle Obama and Elmo—Healthy Habits”; AOL Health, “First Lady Michelle Obama Answers Your Questions on Let’s Move!”

    Tuesday, April 26 Reading Due: Patricia Yaeger, “Circum-Atlantic Superabundance: Milk as World-Making in Alice Randall and Kara Walker” in Blackboard; Kara Walker, “I Dream of Michelle Obama”

    Tuesday, April 26 Reading Due: Andrea Powell Wolfe, “Michelle Obama and the Historical Positioning of the Black Mother within the Nation” in Blackboard; Ann Ducille, “Marriage, Family, and Other ‘Peculiar Institutions’ in African-American Literary History” in Blackboard

    Making Sense of “Matriarchy”

    Thursday, April 28 Assignment Due: Paper #3

    Thursday, May 5 Final Exam at 9:45-11:45
              Obama Dragon Ball Z        
    Obama Dragon Ball Z komik bir tıklama ve puan etkileşimli oyunudur. Obama’nın Planet Earth’ü korkunç Dondurucu ve kıkırdaklarından kurtarmasına yardımcı olun!
              The Beckoning of Nuclear War        
    SUBHEAD: A glimpse of sanity, or simple pragmatism, is anathema to our "national security" managers.

    By John Pilger on 4 August 2017 for JohnPilger.com -
    (www.johnpilger.com/articles/on-the-beach-2017-the-beckoning-of-nuclear-war)

    [IB Publisher's note: As much as Trump may not wish a nuclear exchange with Russia, he seems quite amenable to turning North Korea into an ashtray. World War III may begin in  Guam and relay to Hawaii on its way  to the US mainland. Here in Hawaii it may mean Duck and Cover!]


    Image above: Detail of original paperback cover of Nevil Shute's 1957 novel "On the Beach". From (https://www.pinterest.com/pin/267542034087528868).

    In Nevil Shute's book "On the Beach" the US submarine captain says;
    "We've all got to die one day, some sooner and some later. The trouble always has been that you're never ready, because you don't know when it's coming. Well, now we do know and there's nothing to be done about it."
    He says he will be dead by September. It will take about a week to die, though no one can be sure. Animals live the longest.

    The war was over in a month. The United States, Russia and China were the protagonists. It is not clear if it was started by accident or mistake. There was no victor. The northern hemisphere is contaminated and lifeless now.

    A curtain of radioactivity is moving south towards Australia and New Zealand, southern Africa and South America. By September, the last cities, towns and villages will succumb. As in the north, most buildings will remain untouched, some illuminated by the last flickers of electric light.
    This is the way the world ends
    Not with a bang but a whimper

    These two lines from T.S. Eliot's poem The Hollow Men appear at the beginning of Nevil Shute's novel On the Beach, which left me close to tears. The endorsements on the cover said the same.

    Published in 1957 at the height of the Cold War when too many writers were silent or cowed, it is a masterpiece. At first the language suggests a genteel relic; yet nothing I have read on nuclear war is as unyielding in its warning. No book is more urgent.

    Some readers will remember the black and white Hollywood film starring Gregory Peck as the US Navy commander who takes his submarine to Australia to await the silent, formless spectre descending on the last of the living world.

    I read On the Beach for the first time the other day, finishing it as the US Congress passed a law to wage economic war on Russia, the world's second most lethal nuclear power.  There was no justification for this insane vote, except the promise of plunder.

    The "sanctions" are aimed at Europe, too, mainly Germany, which depends on Russian natural gas and on European companies that do legitimate business with Russia. In what passed for debate on Capitol Hill, the more garrulous senators left no doubt that the embargo was designed to force Europe to import expensive American gas.

    Their main aim seems to be war - real war. No provocation as extreme can suggest anything else. They seem to crave it, even though Americans have little idea what war is. The Civil War of 1861-5 was the last on their mainland. War is what the United States does to others.

    The only nation to have used nuclear weapons against human beings, they have since destroyed scores of governments, many of them democracies, and laid to waste whole societies - the million deaths in Iraq were a fraction of the carnage in Indo-China, which President Reagan called "a noble cause" and President Obama revised as the tragedy of an "exceptional people"He was not referring to the Vietnamese.

    Filming last year at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, I overheard a National Parks Service guide lecturing a school party of young teenagers. "Listen up," he said. "We lost 58,000 young soldiers in Vietnam, and they died defending your freedom."

    At a stroke, the truth was inverted. No freedom was defended. Freedom was destroyed. A peasant country was invaded and millions of its people were killed, maimed, dispossessed, poisoned; 60,000 of the invaders took their own lives. Listen up, indeed.

    A lobotomy is performed on each generation. Facts are removed. History is excised and replaced by what Time magazine calls "an eternal present".

    Harold Pinter described this as "manipulation of power worldwide, while masquerading as a force for universal good, a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis [which meant] that it never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn't happening. It didn't matter. It was of no interest."

    Those who call themselves liberals or tendentiously "the left" are eager participants in this manipulation, and its brainwashing, which today revert to one name: Trump.

    Trump is mad, a fascist, a dupe of Russia. He is also a gift for "liberal brains pickled in the formaldehyde of identity politics", wrote Luciana Bohne memorably. The obsession with Trump the man - not Trump as a symptom and caricature of an enduring system - beckons great danger for all of us.

    While they pursue their fossilised anti-Russia agendas, narcissistic media such as the Washington Post, the BBC and the Guardian suppress the essence of the most important political story of our time as they warmonger on a scale I cannot remember in my lifetime.

    On 3 August, in contrast to the acreage the Guardian has given to drivel that the Russians conspired with Trump (reminiscent of the far-right smearing of John Kennedy as a "Soviet agent"), the paper buried, on page 16, news that the President of the United States was forced to sign a Congressional bill declaring economic war on Russia. Unlike every other Trump signing, this was conducted in virtual secrecy and attached with a caveat from Trump himself that it was "clearly unconstitutional".

    A coup against the man in the White House is under way. This is not because he is an odious human being, but because he has consistently made clear he does not want war with Russia.

    This glimpse of sanity, or simple pragmatism, is anathema to the "national security" managers who guard a system based on war, surveillance, armaments, threats and extreme capitalism. Martin Luther King called them "the greatest purveyors of violence in the world today".

    They have encircled Russia and China with missiles and a nuclear arsenal. They have used neo-Nazis to instal an unstable, aggressive regime on Russia's "borderland" - the way through which Hitler invaded, causing the deaths of 27 million people.  Their goal is to dismember the modern Russian Federation.

    In response, "partnership" is a word used incessantly by Vladimir Putin - anything, it seems, that might halt an evangelical drive to war in the United States. Incredulity in Russia may have now turned to fear and perhaps a certain resolution. The Russians almost certainly have war-gamed nuclear counter strikes. Air-raid drills are not uncommon. Their history tells them to get ready.

    The threat is simultaneous. Russia is first, China is next. The US has just completed a huge military exercise with Australia known as Talisman Sabre. They rehearsed a blockade of the Malacca Straits and the South China Sea, through which pass China's economic lifelines.

    The admiral commanding the US Pacific fleet said that, "if required", he would nuke China. That he would say such a thing publicly in the current perfidious atmosphere begins to make fact of Nevil Shute's fiction.

    None of this is considered news. No connection is made as the bloodfest of Passchendaele a century ago is remembered. Honest reporting is no longer welcome in much of the media. Windbags, known as pundits, dominate: editors are infotainment or party line managers. Where there was once sub-editing, there is the liberation of axe-grinding clichés. Those journalists who do not comply are defenestrated.

    The urgency has plenty of precedents. In my film, The Coming War on China, John Bordne, a member of a US Air Force missile combat crew based in Okinawa, Japan, describes how in 1962 - during the Cuban missile crisis - he and his colleagues were "told to launch all the missiles" from their silos.

    Nuclear armed, the missiles were aimed at both China and Russia. A junior officer questioned this, and the order was eventually rescinded - but only after they were issued with service revolvers and ordered to shoot at others in a missile crew if they did not "stand down".

    At the height of the Cold War, the anti-communist hysteria in the United States was such that US officials who were on official business in China were accused of treason and sacked. In 1957 - the year Shute wrote On the Beach - no official in the State Department could speak the language of the world's most populous nation. Mandarin speakers were purged under strictures now echoed in the Congressional bill that has just passed, aimed at Russia.

    The bill was bipartisan. There is no fundamental difference between Democrats and Republicans. The terms "left" and "right" are meaningless. Most of America's modern wars were started not by conservatives, but by liberal Democrats.

    When Obama left office, he presided over a record seven wars, including America's longest war and an unprecedented campaign of extrajudicial killings - murder - by drones.

    In his last year, according to a Council on Foreign Relations study, Obama, the "reluctant liberal warrior", dropped 26,171 bombs - three bombs every hour, 24 hours a day.  Having pledged to help "rid the world" of nuclear weapons, the Nobel Peace Laureate built more nuclear warheads than any president since the Cold War.

    Trump is a wimp by comparison. It was Obama - with his secretary of state Hillary Clinton at his side - who destroyed Libya as a modern state and launched the human stampede to Europe. At home, immigration groups knew him as the "deporter-in-chief".

    One of Obama's last acts as president was to sign a bill that handed a record $618billion to the Pentagon, reflecting the soaring ascendancy of fascist militarism in the governance of the United States. Trump has endorsed this.

    Buried in the detail was the establishment of a "Center for Information Analysis and Response". This is a ministry of truth. It is tasked with providing an "official narrative of facts" that will prepare us for the real possibility of nuclear war - if we allow it.


    Video above: "On the Beach" the complete 1959 movie from Nevil Shute's  novel. From (https://youtu.be/Ue8hC5qqMt4).

    .

              Standing Rock lawsuit update        
    SUBHEAD: Army Corps of Engineers sent back to analyze the environmental justice of the Dakota Access pipeline.

    By Yessenia Funes on 3 August 2017 for Yes Magazine -
    (http://www.yesmagazine.org/people-power/standing-rock-lawsuit-started-a-year-ago-heres-where-we-are-now-20170803)


    Image above: More than 380 tribes around the world came forward to stand with the water protectors. Photo by Vlad Tchompalov.From original article.

    On July 27, 2016, the Standing Rock Sioux filed a lawsuit against the Army Corps of Engineers for authorizing the construction of the 1,172-mile Dakota Access pipeline. Just over a year later, the project has been completed and carries crude oil from North Dakota’s Bakken oil fields to an export terminal in Illinois. The case is still pending, and continues to be the tribe’s last hope to protect its water and land.

    The lawsuit alleged that authorization of the pipeline violated the Clean Water Act, Rivers and Harbors Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act by failing to adequately conduct an efficient environmental assessment and skipping an environmental impact statement (EIS) altogether.

    “If history is to repeat itself, it doesn’t look good for us,” says Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman Dave Archambault II. “But that doesn’t mean we don’t have hope.”

    The lawsuit has now been joined by the Cheyenne River Sioux and the Yankton and Oglala Sioux tribes, but at its heart, the case remains the same since its initial filing, said lead attorney Jan Hasselman, who represents the Standing Rock Sioux on behalf of nonprofit environmental law firm Earthjustice.

    He’s been arguing that the $3.8 billion energy project ignores treaty rights and needs further environmental review. The goal is that U.S. District Court Judge James E. Boasberg will rule in favor of an EIS and pause pipeline operations indefinitely, and, ultimately, stop them completely.

    In December, pipeline opponents almost secured the EIS under former President Barack Obama when the Army Corps of Engineers announced it would prepare the statement and not permit the pipeline to cross beneath the Lake Oahe crossing on the Missouri River, an area of cultural, religious, and spiritual significance to the tribe.

    It was a near victory. With the EIS secured, the court shelved the lawsuit, but there was more bubbling beneath the surface. Dakota Access launched a counter lawsuit once the Obama administration requested the EIS, and Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration loomed on the horizon. The lawyers, the tribe, and even the court knew the situation could change drastically.

    “The court was pretty explicit that this could be undone,” Hasselman said. And it was.

    Trump rescinded the EIS and issued the final easement across Lake Oahe in February. Immediately, the attorneys amended their initial complaint to include the final easement. Things moved along quickly from there, Hasselman explained. For the first time, the tribe had something concrete to contest, not something they were asking the courts to prevent.

    “We were finally able to put those environmental review issues and treaty issues up front and center,” Hasselman said. Until then, the case was essentially in “pause mode.”

    Then in June, Judge Boasberg found that the Corps had not sufficiently considered the pipeline’s environmental effects or environmental justice impacts when issuing its permit, and remanded the case back to the EIS process to reconsider its analysis. This is the first time Earthjustice is aware of such an environmental justice ruling.

    Boasberg’s recent decision offers DAPL’s opponents hope, but a favorable outcome is anything but assured. A pipeline has never before been stopped with a lawsuit, Hasselman said. “The legal and regulatory infrastructure is badly broken.

    You just don’t have the big overarching federal permits for a crude oil pipeline that you have in a lot of other contexts.” Unlike natural gas pipelines, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission regulates a pipeline’s terms and conditions of transport, but not its actual construction and operation.

    Earthjustice didn’t take up the case because it believed the court held the answer but, rather, because it recognized the political power such a case could build. To that end, it has surpassed expectations.

    “What I had in mind was substantially more modest than what happened,” Hasselman said. He had hoped that 50 people would show up to court and they’d end up on the evening news. He wasn’t expecting the iconic fight for indigenous sovereignty that Standing Rock has become.

    The Dakota Access pipeline is now a matter of global interest. More than 380 tribes around the world—from New Zealand’s Māori to the Ecuadorian Amazon’s Kichwa—came forward to stand with the water protectors. “That’s a very significant time in history: when the tribes come together collectively and unite and say, Enough is enough,” Archambault said.

    The tribe’s effort became a movement with the support of spirit and prayer camps outside the reservation—including the Sacred Stone and Oceti Sakowin camps—and a 1,500-mile run to Washington, D.C., in which about 30 Native American youth delivered a petition with more than 140,000 signatures to the Army Corps headquarters demanding it halt the pipeline’s construction.

    Although this attention hasn’t influenced the lawsuit, Hasselman said, it legitimized the movement. Once the world set its eyes on Standing Rock, it could no longer ignore that the historic violent treatment of indigenous people isn’t a thing of the past—it continues today.

    Now? Hasselman thinks they have a shot. “We have an uphill struggle in persuading the court to shut down the pipeline while the remand process is underway, and we have an uphill struggle persuading the Army Corps to do a legitimate and appropriate analysis on remand, but we’re all working 24/7 to make that happen,” he said.

    Judge Boasberg is set to decide in September whether to pause pipeline operations while the Corps continues its review, and court proceedings are ongoing as both parties make their arguments. Until then, the tribe will see its challengers in court.

    See also:
    Ea O Ka Aina: DAPL battle not over 6/15/17
    Ea O Ka Aina: Defense contractors fought NoDAPL 5/27/17
    Ea O Ka Aina: Tribes divest DAPL Bankers 2/13/17
    Ea O Ka Aina: Veterans defending NoDAPL 2/11/17
    Ea O Ka Aina: Army Corps okays DAPL Easement  2/8/17
    Ea O Ka Aina: Trump orders go on DAPL EIS 2/3/17
    Ea O Ka Aina: Water Protectors pipeline resistance 2/1/17 
    Ea O Ka Aina: Force a full EIS on DAPL 1/27/17
    Ea O Ka Aina: Missile launcher at Standing Rock 1/19/17
    Ea O Ka Aina: Lockdown at Trans-Pecos Pipeline 1/10/17
    Ea O Ka Aina: Standing Rock has changed us 12/9/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: As Standing Rock celebrates... 12/5/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Army Corps denies easement 12/4/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: My Whole Heart is With You 12/2/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: The Loving Containment of Courage 12/1/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: The Beginning is Near 12/1/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Feds to shutdown NoDAPL Camp 11/25/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: NoDAPL people are going to die 11/23/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Hundreds of vets to join NoDAPL 11/22/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Obama must support Standing Rock 11/21/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Trump's pro oil stance vs NoDaPL 11/15/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Kauai NoDAPL Demonstration 11/12/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Obama to Betray Standing Rock 11/12/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Trump impact on Standing Rock 11/12/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Ann Wright on Standing Rock 11/8/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Turning Point at Standing Rock 11/6/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Jackson Browne vs DAPL owner 11/5/16
    Democracy Now: Boycott of DAPL Owner's Music Festival
    Ea O Ka Aina: World responds to NoDAPL protests 11/5/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: NoDAPL victory that was missed 11/5/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: DAPL hid discovery of Sioux artifacts 11/5/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Dakota Access Pipeline will leak 11/5/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Route of the Dakota Access Pipeline 11/4/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Sanders calls for stopping DAPL 11/4/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Obama hints at DAPL rerouting 11/3/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: New military attack on NODAPL 11/3/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: How to Support NoDAPL 11/3/16
    Unicorn Riot: Tweets from NoDAPL 11/2/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Standing Rock & the Ballot Box 10/31/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: NoDAPL reclaim new frontline 10/24/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: How far will North Dakota go? 10/23/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Amy Goodman "riot" charge dropped 10/17/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Amy Goodwin to face "Riot Charge" 10/16/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Shutdown of all tar sand pipelines 10/11/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Why Standing Rock is test for Oabama 10/8/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Why we are Singing for Water 10/8/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Labor's Dakota Access Pipeline Crisis 10/3/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Standing Firm for Standing Rock 10/3/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Contact bankers behind DAPL 9/29/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: NoDAPL demo at Enbridge Inc 9/29/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Militarized Police raid NoDAPL 9/28/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Stop funding of Dakota Access Pipeline 9/27/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: UN experts to US, "Stop DAPL Now!" 9/27/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: No DAPL solidarity grows 9/21/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: This is how we should be living 9/16/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: 'Natural Capital' replacing 'Nature' 9/14/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: The Big Difference at Standing Rock 9/13/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Jill Stein joins Standing Rock Sioux 9/10/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Pipeline temporarily halted 9/6/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Native Americans attacked with dogs 9/5/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Mni Wiconi! Water is Life! 9/3/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Sioux can stop the Pipeline 8/28/16
    Ea O Ka Aina: Officials cut water to Sioux 8/23/16




    .

              Sinclair Broadcasting is Trump TV        
    SUBHEAD: The owner of  the most TV stations dumps Fox News to become Trump's mouthpiece.

    By Staff on 30 July 2017 for Common Dreams -
    (https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/07/30/classic-propaganda-sinclair-broadcasting-pushes-aside-fox-news-become-trump-tv)


    Image above: The Sinclair Broadcasting cut a biased deal with Jared Kushner and the Trump campaign. Now the Trump FCC is paying back the favor. From original article.

    “It’s unheard of to have one company pushing one specific agenda reaching so many people and doing it in a way designed to evade local input”

    During the 2016 Presidential campaign, the Sinclair Broadcasting group cut a deal
    with Jared Kushner for “good” coverage of the Trump Administration, which seems to have paid off.


    Politico reported last December:

    Sinclair would broadcast their Trump interviews across the country without commentary, Kushner said. Kushner highlighted that Sinclair, in states like Ohio, reaches a much wider audience — around 250,000 viewers[sic]— than networks like CNN, which reach somewhere around 30,000.

    With Fox News suffering several major setbacks in the past year, Sinclair Broadcasting is making moves to become the new giant of right-wing media. Many are now calling Sinclair 'Trump TV.'
    David D. Smith built Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. into the largest owner of television stations in the U.S. after taking over his father's television company (with his brothers) in the late 1980's.

    With David as president and CEO, the Sinclair Broadcast Group blossomed to 59 stations in less than a decade. By 2014, that number had nearly tripled to 162. Smith stepped down earlier this year and became executive chairman.

    The Smith family has heavily funded conservative Republican candidates. David Smith's Cape Elizabeth, Maine summer home, just 5 miles down the coast from Common Dreams' Portland office, regularly serves as a meeting place for right-wing politicians like Trump's HUD Secretary Ben Carson and conservative commentator Armstrong Williams.

    Journalist David Zurawik, who has covered local television for roughly thirty years, is speaking out against Sinclair Broadcasting Group. In a recent segment on CNN on Sunday, Zurawik said:
    “They come as close to classic propaganda as I think I’ve seen in thirty years of covering local television or national television. They’re outrageous! Whatever the White House says, you know, President Trump believes there was voter fraud and he sets up this commission to get data from the states and the states rightfully push back because it’s very intrusive data — Boris Ephsteyn’s piece on it ends with, the states should cooperate with President Trump.”
    And John Oliver took aim at the Sinclair Broadcasting group earlier this month, examining the far right station’s ownership of many local TV news stations:
    “National cable news gets a lot of attention with their big budgets and their fancy graphics packages. Meanwhile, local news often has to do a lot more with a lot less.”
    The Sinclair Broadcasting group has close ties to the Trump administration and is forcing local stations to air pro-Trump news segments. Trump’s FCC chairman, Ajit Pai rolled back a key Obama administration regulation that had prevented Sinclair from further expansion. The green light from the Trump administration allowed Sinclair to purchase 42 more local stations from the Tribune Media company, extending its reach to 72 percent of American households.

    Oliver went on to show clips of broadcaster Mark Hyman railing against “political correctness and multiculturalism”.
    “Hyman is a commentator and former executive at Sinclair Broadcast Group, and Sinclair may be the most influential media company you’ve never heard of. Not only are they the largest owner of local TV stations in the country, they could soon get even bigger.”

    “If the opinions were confined to just the commentary or the ad breaks, that would be one thing. But Sinclair can sometimes dictate the content of your local newscasts as well, and in contrast to Fox News, a conservative outlet where you basically know what you’re getting, with Sinclair, they’re injecting Fox-worthy content into the mouths of your local news anchors, the two people who you know, and who you trust, and whose on-screen chemistry can usually best be described as two people.

    “You may not realize it’s happening because Sinclair and its digital news subsidiary Circa not only produce and send packages to their stations; they even write scripts that local anchors use to introduce the pieces. For example, this Tuesday night, anchors at Sinclair stations all over the country introduced a story about Michael Flynn like this.”
    Oliver's footage then showed multiple Sinclair broadcasters in different locales introduce a report about Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser, by downplaying the investigation as just a “personal vendetta” against Flynn.

    They are called “must-runs,” and they are sent every day to all the local stations owned by Sinclair Broadcasting — video reports that are centrally produced by the company. Station managers around the country must work them into the broadcast over a period of 24 or 48 hours.


    Today, the Portland Press Herald (Maine) reported:
    Marc McCutcheon of South Portland was watching WGME’s evening newscast as he has for half a century when something came on that shocked him.

    In the midst of the local news, a taped commentary from President Trump’s former special assistant Boris Epshteyn appeared on the screen, trumpeting the administration’s position with what he thought selective use and abuse of facts.

    McCutcheon, a small-business owner and political independent, describes the experience as “surreal,” “extremely jarring” and “so out of place with the friendly, local broadcast from news people I’ve come to trust over the years.” There was no rebuttal, no context, no alternate point of view – a situation he found concerning.

    WGME-TV (Channel 13) and WPFO-TV (Channel 23) each carry the segments nine times a week on orders from their owner, the Maryland-based Sinclair Broadcasting Group, the nation’s largest owner of local television stations and an aggressive, unabashed disseminator of conservative commentary supporting the Trump wing of the Republican Party.

    “It’s unheard of to have one company pushing one specific agenda reaching so many people and doing it in a way designed to evade local input,” says Craig Aaron, president and CEO of Free Press, a Washington-based group that opposes media consolidation. “The idea of having local stations offer an array of viewpoints is great, but what we get with Sinclair is one set of political leanings being broadcast everywhere.”

    Epshteyn, a 34-year-old Russia-born investment banker, is a friend and former Georgetown University classmate of the president’s son Eric Trump who ascended rapidly within Trump’s campaign.

    “Bottom Line With Boris” commentaries echo the White House’s own talking points. After former FBI director James Comey said in televised congressional testimony that the president had pressured him to let go of parts of his investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, Epshteyn asserted to Sinclair viewers that Comey’s appearance had been more damaging to Hillary Clinton than the president.
    .

              Fascism and the Denial of Truth        
    SUBHEAD: Party polarization and gridlock in the US have created unsolved issues amenable to a Trump demagogue.

    By Thomas Scott on 30 July 2017 for Truth Out  -
    (http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/41423-fascism-and-the-denial-of-truth-what-henry-wallace-can-teach-us-about-trump)


    Image above: Cover art for song release of "Demagogue" by Franz Ferdinand. From (https://rateyourmusic.com/release/single/franz-ferdinand/demagogue/).

    What is a fascist? How many fascists have we? How dangerous are they? These are the questions that the New York Times posed to Henry A. Wallace, Franklin Roosevelt's vice president, in April 1944.

    In response, Wallace wrote "The Danger of American Fascism," an essay in which he suggested that the number of American fascists and the threat they posed were directly connected to how fascism was defined.

    Wallace pointed out that several personality traits characterized fascist belief, arguing that a fascist is;
    "one whose lust for money and power is combined with such an intensity of intolerance toward those of other races, parties, classes, religions, cultures, regions or nations as to make him ruthless in his use of deceit or violence to attain his ends."
    Wallace also claimed that fascists "always and everywhere can be identified by their appeal to prejudice and by the desire to play upon the fears and vanities of different groups in order to gain power."

    Fascists are "easily recognized by their deliberate perversion of truth and fact" (my italics), he contended.

    Moreover, Wallace noted that fascists "pay lip service to democracy and the common welfare" and they "surreptitiously evade the laws designed to safeguard the public from monopolistic extortion."

    Finally, Wallace identified that fascists' primary objective was to "capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they keep the common man in eternal subjection."

    Wallace was writing in the context of an existential threat to democracy posed by Nazi Germany, Italy and Japan.

    However, his essay is prescient in that he identified the existence of a domestic form of American fascism that emerged from the political context of enlightened thought, rule of law and limited government. Wallace drew a clear distinction between European fascism and the kind of fascism found in the United States.

    Rather than resort to overt violence, American fascists would "poison the channels of public information," Wallace reasoned. Likewise, he argued that American fascism was generally inert, not having reached the level of overt threat that it had reached in Europe.

    Despite this, Wallace argued that American fascism had the potential to become dangerous to democracy under that appropriate context; one in which a "purposeful coalition" emerges based on "demagoguery."

    British historian Karl Polanyi has written in his seminal book, The Great Transformation, that fascism can emerge in a society in reaction to "unsolved national issues."

    Party polarization and gridlock in the US have created unsolved issues concerning health care, immigration reform and the "war on terror." These volatile issues, in turn, have created the perfect political context for a demagogue to emerge in the United States.

    With the election of Donald Trump, the purposeful coalition Wallace feared may have evolved. Trump is the first US president who has been seriously associated with fascist ideology.

    His coalition of white supremacists, xenophobes, plutocratic oligarchs and disaffected members of the working class have aligned with the mainstream Republican Party.

    The coalition's political philosophy, rooted in reactionary populism and "American First" sloganeering, has quickly led to the United States' systematic withdrawal from global leadership.

    Coupled with a disdain for multilateral collaboration, a rejection of globalization, and a focus on militarism and economic nationalism, Trumpism has taken the country down the perilous path of national chauvinism reminiscent of previous fascist states like Spain under Franco, Portugal under Salazar, or Peronist Argentina.

    Unlike past Republican and Democratic presidents, Trump has disregarded long-standing traditions related to political protocol and decorum in the realm of political communication. He routinely makes unsubstantiated claims about political rivals, questioning their veracity and ethics.

    Trump's claim that the Obama administration wiretapped his phones during the 2016 campaign and that Obama refused to take action regarding Russian meddling in the 2016 election, as well as Trump's incendiary tweets about federal judges who ruled against his executive orders on immigration, suggest a sense of paranoia commonly associated with autocrats.

    Trump has demonstrated a fundamental ignorance of democratic institutions associated with the rule of law, checks and balances, and the separation of powers.

    Common to autocratic leaders, Trump sees executive power as absolute and seems confounded when the legislative or judicial branches of government question his decisions.

    Trump has seemed willing to ignore norms that are fundamentally aligned with US democracy: equality before the law, freedom of the press, individual rights, due process and inclusiveness.

    Typical of all autocratic leaders, Trump has a deep-seated distrust of the media. Calling journalists "enemies of the people," Trump's incessant claims that media outlets like the New York Times and the Washington Post create "fake news" is a common attribute of authoritarian regimes.

    In response to investigative reports that are critical of his administration, Trump engages in systematic tactics of disinformation. Trump has refined the art of evasion through communicating a multiplicity of falsehoods as a means of obfuscating charges of abuse of power and political misconduct.

    The biggest dilemma for an autocrat is confronting the truth. Systematic strategies to implant misinformation have historically provided significant political dividends for demagogues.

    From Trump's earliest forays in national politics, the truth was his biggest enemy.

    Trump discovered in the 2016 campaign that the perpetuation of lies and deceit could be converted into political capital. Lying on issues actually generated support from Trump's political base, many of whom were low-information voters.

    The hope by many that Trump would conform to traditional political norms once elected proved to be a chimera. Trump has obliterated the Orwellian dictum that lies are truth; in Trump's worldview, truth does not exist. It is seen as a political liability.

    As president, the debasement of truth has become an important political strategy shaping much of his communication to the American public.

    Purposeful deceit has become one of the primary means by which Trump energizes and excites his supporters. It is the catalyst that drives their emotional connection to Trump, who is insistent on "telling it like it is" and fighting for "the people" as a challenge to the political elite.

    For Trump, facts mean nothing. They are contrary to the desires of his political base. Connecting to his base is visceral; intellectualism is the antithesis of Trump's immediate political objectives.

    By denying the existence of truth-based politics, Trump solidifies his populist vision and perpetuates one of fascism's greatest mechanisms for acquiring absolute power: the force of emotion conquering the force of reason.

    As Timothy Snyder states in his insightful book On Tyranny, "To abandon facts is to abandon freedom.

    If nothing is true, then no one can criticize power, because there is no basis upon which to do so."

    Seen in this light, empirical evidence based on scientific investigation is superfluous; public policy is only useful when it is connected to human emotion and desire.

    This is all that matters in Trump's vision for the US. As such, facts and scientific research are a ruse, a tool of the elite designed to consolidate power over "the people" and discredit Trump's "America First" policies.

    Truth is a necessity for democracy because citizens depend on truth-based decision-making to achieve reasoned judgments about public policy. In the Trump administration, the eradication of fact-based communication has normalized the denial of truth.

    As a result, democracy is clearly under siege. Henry Giroux makes an excellent argument when he writes, "normalization is code for retreat from any sense of moral or political responsibility, and it should be viewed as an act of political complicity with authoritarianism and condemned outright."

    All Americans should take heed of this point. History has provided ample evidence of how institutional and civic complicity with autocratic rule erodes democracy.

    However, history has also demonstrated how engaged citizens can mobilize to resist this erosion.

    ]As Snyder argues, in order to confront autocracy, citizens need to become aware that democracy can disappear and mobilize to stop such a disastrous turn of events. In the age of Trump, there is no time for complacency.

    .

              Senator Cornhole Does The Wall Street Shuffle        
    It comes as no surprise to some of us that Texas' junior U.S. senator, John "Cornhole" Cornyn, is one of Congress' most servile right-wingers. But just how servile Sen. Cornhole is to the "repeal the New Deal" crowd on Wall Street wasn't quite apparent until the past week.

    In an e-mail to Texas MoveOn members, MoveOn Executive Director Justin Ruben of Austin wrote:

    You're not going to believe this.

    In the midst of an economic crisis caused largely by Wall Street greed, our senator skipped this week's vote on the stimulus plan so he could meet with —- wait for it —- Republican donors from Wall Street.

    Sen. John Cornyn wasn't just fiddling while Rome burned -— he was actually hanging out with the arsonists.

    He showed us that congressional Republicans aren't fighting for their constituents who got laid off or watched their retirement savings disappear or lost their health coverage. They're just looking out for their big-money corporate friends.


    Ruben went on to say that MoveOn mounted a radio ad campaign that has aired in a few Texas markets -- it's surprising that they could find any in this state -- and solicited for contributions to help fund the campaign. If you're interested in helping, visit MoveOn.org.

    For more details on the kind of right-wing pond scum Sen. Cornhole was cavorting with Monday, instead of being in Washington for the cloture vote on the stimulus package, here's a link to Ben Smith's blog on Politico.

    I have no doubt about how Sen. Cornhole would have voted had he been there -- against anything President Barack Obama advocates. But the point is, he was elected to represent Texans, not the Wall Street high-finance goons who are largely responsible for the nation's economic debacle.

    Here's your special Valentine, Texans, direct from loving Sen. Cornhole his own self. Just goes to show that being a right-wing Republican means never having to say you're sorry.

    But I'll say it -- Sen. Cornhole, you're sorry.
              The New Anti-Americans        
    Just objecting to President Obama's plan for saving the economy and the world is not enough to be anti-American. Even publicly hoping, as Rush Limpballs does, that President Obama fails in everything he does is not enough to be anti-American.

    No, to be one of the New Anti-Americans, you must combine strong dissent toward our new President with a long record of condemning as anti-American all those who dissented against War Criminal, Constitution-Shredder and Traitor George W. Bush.

    For all of us who spent the last eight years enduring verbal and even physical attacks because we dared to express our anti-war, anti-torture, pro-Constitution, anti-bush patriotism, Blue Girl has a rant that will make your heart soar.

    I remember being one of the people who opposed this war from the outset. I remember a squareheaded asshole with a buzz cut pushing his bumper up against mine and trying to push me into traffic a few days before the war started because I had bumper stickers on my truck that said "No War On Iraq" and "Get Afghanistan Right" - when he sped away I saw his..."This time, Anti-War is Anti-American."

    I remember being told by the dispatcher at the police department that I might should take those bumper stickers off my truck because "this is a pretty patriotic town."

    I remember the armchair patriots I worked with there being shocked that a military person was against a war, and how they viewed me with suspicion after learning that.

    I remember having my patriotism questioned, even though I was the one with a record of service to point to.

    And all of my opposing positions were prefaced with "I hope I'm wrong because if I'm right and this fails, America fails, and that is the last thing I want to see happen."

    Yet I'm anti-American and these assholes are the patriots?

    Bullshit. They are traitorous, treasonous cowards, and they do not deserve the rights afforded them by the people like my husband, and elmo, and Rook and, to a lesser extent, me and everyone else who stepped up and took that oath to the Constitution and did so enthusiastically because we knew what was said therein.

    They don't deserve the civil liberties that men and women like bmaz and grolaw fight every day to defend in court. They don't deserve the the protections of the law that my friend RW works within every day to protect society in her role as a prosecutor.

    Fuck Rush Limbaugh.

    Read the whole thing.

    Cross-posted at Blue in the Bluegrass.
              The Other Great Emancipator        
    Four thousand miles away from a tiny log cabin in the Kentucky woods, another Great Emancipator was born 200 years ago today.

    Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves, corrected a 250-year-old injustice and set the nation on the path to the Inaguration of President Barack Obama.

    But Charles Darwin freed human minds from the tyranny of religion, crowned two centuries of the Enlightenment, and ushered in the era of scientific reason.

    So celebrate Darwin Day, and rejoice that our new President's vow to restore the primacy of science and facts honors both Great Emancipators.
              Fantasy Obama        
    The Rude Pundit on how Fantasy Obama would conduct tonight's press conference on the stimulus bill.

    As always, it's brilliant, dead-on and X-rated.

    UPDATE, 5:30 a.m. Blue Girl live-blogged the press conference, and has has the full transcript as a bonus.
              New GOP Rules for Discussing the President        
    We're still trying to get used to the idea of Democratic nominee Barack Obama actually being President of the United States.

    To help us get acclimated, the wingnut freakazoids have kindly provided criticism that follows the new GOP Rules for Discussing the President. Steve Benen explains.

    DEPT. OF POTS AND KETTLES.... Either the president's conservative critics have very short memories, or they assume we do.

    SNIP

    The irony is almost overwhelming. A loyal Bushie, who heard his boss spend years engaging in shameless demagoguery (see "clouds, mushroom" and "uranium, from Africa") based on nothing but neocon fantasies, believes presidents have to keep their rhetoric in check and never forget to be "truthful." Sure, Blakeman, tell us another one.

    Keep in mind, Obama's dire warnings about the economy are well grounded in reality. It's not "insane" to fear an economic collapse given the situation we're in. The president has a choice -- pretend the news isn't scary, or give honest assessments while vowing to act. Bush preferred the prior approach; Obama prefers the latter.

    What's more, have you noticed the bizarre double-standards we've seen emerge in recent weeks?

    When Bush uses over-the-top language to convince Americans about perceived security threat, he's being "presidential." When Obama issues dire warnings about the economy, he's being "pessimistic."

    When Bush ignores the congressional minority, he's being "principled." When Obama engages the congressional minority but declines to give them what they want, he's being "partisan."

    When Bush trashes constitutional norms, it's evidence of "seriousness." When Obama is in the Oval Office without a jacket, he's being "disrespectful to the presidency."

    When liberals criticize Bush during a crisis, they're traitors who are aiding and abetting the enemy. When conservatives criticize Obama during a crisis, they are doing their patriotic duty.

    Good to know.

              Judo the Anti-Choice Thugs: Pledge a Picket        
    Want an easy way to make freakazoid heads explode? Plus support an outrageously courageous woman providing unique health services to women in dangerous territory?

    Then pledge a picket!

    Dr. Susan Wicklund, whose 2008 book This Common Secret, detailed her life as an abortion provider, has just opened a clinic in Livingston, Montana. Even before it opened on February 2nd, the clinic was being picketed by opponents of abortion rights. In the mail below, Wicklund's co-author, Montana writer Alan Kesselheim, explains how you can turn their protests peacefully against them. (I've pledged $1 per picketer. That puts me in a slightly weird position: Do I hope lots show up so the clinic gets plenty of cash, or few show up so that I can save mine?)

    If you want to pledge, e mail Martha_Kauffman@msn.com.

    (Details after the jump.)
    Dear Friends of Dr. Susan Wicklund:

    As most of you know, Susan Wicklund has been hard at work trying to open a women's reproductive health clinic in the Bozeman/Livingston area. It has not been easy. It has taken several years. Deals have fallen through because word leaked out and landowners were intimidated by violent threats. Other potential arrangements have collapsed due to financial difficulties, political controversy, or simple logistics.

    Despite the setbacks, Sue has persevered. On Monday, February 2nd, precisely sixteen years after she opened her Bozeman clinic, back in 1993, Mountain Country Women's Clinic again opens its doors, this time in downtown Livingston. It is a moment of triumph and satisfaction, achieved with the support of many people. It is also a moment of tension. Not only has Susan incurred significant personal debt in a very uncertain economy, but the usual voices of dissent are echoing in letters to the editor and in anti-choice picketers appearing on Main Street in Livingston, protesting the existence of Sue's legal services. Even before the doors opened, protesters walked the sidewalks outside. Also, even before the doors opened, women were calling Sue to make appointments.

    The need for a compassionate, professional, and thorough women's clinic is as great as ever. Unfortunately, the strident voices against choice rise up as expected. The difference between 1993 and 2009 is that Sue Wicklund has friends. All of you on this mailing list, and many more friends and neighbors, support her cause. Many have volunteered in the past. Some have written letters of support. Others wish they knew how to help.

    I propose to begin a Pledge-A-Picketer Campaign in support of Mountain Country Women's Clinic. The concept is simple, and it mirrors the grassroots style of the Obama campaign, during which many small contributions created a huge impact. Each of us signs on to donate, say, $1/picketer to Susan's clinic. If, over the period of a week, 17 picketers parade on Main Street, we each send a check for $17. It isn't much, but if $17 gets multiplied by 50 people, it comes to $850. If 100 people send in checks, we raise $1,700.

    At the end of the week, Susan posts a sign on the clinic window. It might say, THANK YOU PICKETERS. THIS WEEK THE SUPPORTERS OF MOUNTAIN COUNTRY WOMEN'S CLINIC RAISED $850 IN THEIR PLEDGE-A-PICKETER CAMPAIGN. THESE FUNDS WILL HELP INDIGENT PATIENTS IN NEED OF OUR SERVICES. THE MORE YOU PICKET, THE MORE SUPPORT MCWC RECEIVES.

    Many of us wish to help Mountain Country Women's Clinic. We wish we could confront the picketers face to face. Unfortunately, that sort of public disturbance is precisely what the anti-choice forces would love to foster. However, by turning their efforts against them we can help Mountain Country Women's Clinic serve patients, and deflate the energy of the protesters.

    Susan Wicklund has agreed to keep track of picketers during her first week of operation. At that point we will contact all of you again with the numbers, and an address to send the check to. Even if you can only pledge .25/picketer, the cumulative impact of our efforts will still be significant. Also, I urge you to forward this message to any of your friends who might help support Sue's new clinic. If they would like to participate, they should contact Martha_Kauffman@msn.com and ask to be added to the list.

    With Sincere Thanks, and In Solidarity,

    Alan Kesselheim Co-Author of This Common Secret

    I LOVE THIS! Go ahead, assholes: every day you picket that legal and necessary abortion clinic puts more money in the pockets of abortionists. Keep protesting. Bring all your friends and family, drag in strangers.

    Make. My. Day.

    Cross-posted at They Gave Us A Republic.

              Is A Capitalist Meltdown Upon Us?        
    I'll only be 53 on my next birthday in late July, yet it already seems like I've lived a tiring amount of history. Only 20 years ago, the world saw the meltdown of Soviet-style communism -- and many observers, largely neo-conservatives, interpreted that as an ideological culmination, "the end of history." There was even an influential book written with that title. (Does anyone remember that author now? And, does he want to remember that book? Yeah, I know -- Francis Fukuyama.)

    It appears that reversals of fortune can happen quickly. Now it looks like the allegedly venerable ideology of "free-market" capitalism is on the ropes, and in serious danger of going down. Who would have thought it?

    Die-hard Marxists did. I've never been one of them, even as a long-ago radical all of 23 years old. I still know three people who have continued to call themselves Marxists in total defiance of dismissal or ridicule, and they are probably gloating a lot now. The economic train wreck they kept dogmatically predicting finally seems to be in front of us.

    But even as America sleepwalked through our Second Gilded Age (circa 1981-2005), I grew skeptical of the Marxist vision. "Historical inevitability" always sounded like a religious tenet, without the pure superstition; and Marxism itself, a sort of quasi-religion for embittered atheists.

    We should be as cautious about awarding hard-line socialists a victory here, as much as "we" (in the editorial sense) should have checked for our wallets the minute Reagan started talking about trickle-down and Phil Gramm started talking about deregulation. The past century should have taught us that the answer lies in between.

    Starting with the excesses of laissez-faire: America has, for the past 30-ish years, seen the roller-coaster ride that happens with that sort of economic policy. An elite grows very rich, a minority near the bottom slips much further down, and most people tend to stagnate in the middle.

    There are cycles of boom and bust. The booms are good for most people, but especially good for a few. The latter group inevitably forms a "Why Should I Have To Pay Taxes?" lobby and gets bonanzas from lawmakers eager to please. And since these are the people of ostentation and material success, their influence is great among fashionable "thinkers" of the day.

    Now the big bust is upon us. It's a bit like 1933 all over again -- not as grim or total in devastation, but it's likely to get worse. President Barack Obama has warned us that this is so.

    But history, with its entire lesson, should be heeded, and it seems like Obama is one who will do so.

    There were very good reasons for the meltdown of the Soviet empire 20 years ago. Contrary to right-wing mythology, Reagan and his military buildup had little to do with it. Post-Soviet Russian economists recall the problems as internal, and any intellectually honest person knew what they were. There's no need for me to recite the litany here -- Americans heard it all for decades.

    But, let's face it, die-hard socialists out there -- state-run enterprises have a poor track record. The employees seem to lack incentives to produce. Cooperatives tend to degenerate into personal conflict, power struggles and chaos. And as for the concentration of power in the hands of "vanguard revolutionaries" -- the horrors and enormities of that have been abundant just in the past century.

    I don't think it's hard to argue for a sense of balance and measure. In America, it seems like the compromising wheeler-dealers -- the FDRs, the Trumans, the LBJs, the Ted Kennedys -- got more done for working Americans than any of our homegrown radicals ever did.

    But there is little doubt that there's been a sea change, and it's been back toward socialist thinking. The Nobel Prize committees have not been known for their sympathy toward socialist-leaning economists, yet Nobel Laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz has more or less come out in favor of the nationalization of U.S. banks. That would be a major step toward socialism of some fashion. Why not? We've just given the bastards $700 billion in taxpayer money to keep them in business. Here's a link to the interview with Stiglitz.

    And, it appears that such state power would be the only thing to force the shameless swine who run these enterprises to behave themselves. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., made a speech on the Senate floor about the Wall Street oinkers who had themselves awarded $18.4 billion in bonuses while their enterprises got in on the aforementioned $700 billion, because of reckless and disastrous mismanagement. Here's another link to reports on this issue, and to a video of McCaskill's speech. Be patient, the video seems very rough.

    So, what should be the ultimate American destination, in an era of "capitalist" meltdown? The Swedes, with a hybrid socialist-capitalist system, don't seem to do badly, with avowed Socialists predominantly in power since 1929. Their booms are smaller, but so are their busts. Their people don't live in fear of homelessness or inability to afford basic health care. Right-wing humorist P.J. O'Rourke, when asked about the Swedes' seeming happiness with their stable system, said that they are all insane -- but that their insanity is distributed equally among the people.

    It's a funny line. But there's nothing funny about facing a mortgage foreclosure, or about the welfare rolls shrinking even as joblessness is rapidly expanding. With a growing U.S. underclass, it may be time to take a second look at the socialist mind-set -- despite the old Marxist baggage. Nobody requires us to go to extremes.

    Crossposted at Manifesto Joe.
              One Click to Reach Your Elected Officials        
    Want to demand your House representative or Senators take action, but don't know how to get an email address for them quickly? Rejoice! The Nation brings you the one-click Congress.

    Just fill in your zip code, and the site immediately reveals your President, Senators and House Representative, with links to each one's email. You can click on one of The Nation's suggested email topics, like Hold War Criminals Responsible, or compose your own.

    Use it tonight to tell Congress to pass the stimulus bill President Obama needs to save the country and the world.
              Obama Re-Constitutes        


              A Tale of Three Prayer Breakfasts        
    Three years ago, in 2006, Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher's "Prayer Breakfast" was an orgy of sectarian bigotry, a greasy "fuck you" to everyone who didn't share the speakers' narrow conservative Southern Baptism, an object lesson in why combining religion and government is history's worst idea.

    This year, on the same day that invitations to Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear's "Prayer Breakfast" landed in state employees' email inboxes, The Economist brings us the latest lesson from President Obama, this one on how to do a "Prayer Breakfast" right, if you must do one at all.

    I think the final proof that Barack Obama plans once and for all to elevate respect for Americans who don't practice a religion came at this morning's National Prayer Breakfast:

    There is no doubt that the very nature of faith means that some of our beliefs will never be the same. We read from different texts. We follow different edicts. We subscribe to different accounts of how we came to be here and where we’re going next – and some subscribe to no faith at all...

    We know too that whatever our differences, there is one law that binds all great religions together. Jesus told us to "love thy neighbor as thyself." The Torah commands, "That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow." In Islam, there is a hadith that reads "None of you truly believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself." And the same is true for Buddhists and Hindus; for followers of Confucius and for humanists. It is, of course, the Golden Rule - the call to love one another; to understand one another; to treat with dignity and respect those with whom we share a brief moment on this Earth.


    A notable repetition—not just once, rote, but twice, to let you know he means it.

    As for that second passage, did Mr Obama just endorse a name for the group struggling to name itself? Some don't like "atheist" or "nonbeliever" because they are definitionally negative. The coinage of "Brights" has failed to catch on for the obvious reasons. But "humanist" has a nice, positive feeling, and a history.

    Mr Obama went on to announce a White House of Faith-Based and Neighbourhood Partnerships. A Bushian thing to do? No, he continued:

    The goal of this office will not be to favor one religious group over another - or even religious groups over secular groups. It will simply be to work on behalf of those organizations that want to work on behalf of our communities, and to do so without blurring the line that our founders wisely drew between church and state.

    Interesting. I'm not sure if Mr Obama isn't trying a little too hard to please everyone here, but the fact that he is trying to please everyone—and remember that a major presidential candidate said not long ago that "freedom requires religion"—is striking.

    Now that he is not doing backflips for Rick Warren, citing his favourite Bible verse in a "faith debate" or dodging conspiracies that he is a Muslim, Mr Obama is also free to say things like

    I was not raised in a particularly religious household. I had a father who was born a Muslim but became an atheist, grandparents who were non-practicing Methodists and Baptists, and a mother who was skeptical of organized religion, even as she was the kindest, most spiritual person I've ever known. She was the one who taught me as a child to love, and to understand, and to do unto others as I would want done.

    A few years ago, Daniel Dennett, an atheist philosopher, wrote
    Politicians don't think they even have to pay us lip service, and leaders who wouldn't be caught dead making religious or ethnic slurs don't hesitate to disparage the "godless" among us. From the White House down, bright-bashing is seen as a low-risk vote-getter.

    Not this White House.


    Cross-posted at They Gave Us A Republic ....

              "Are These Folks Serious?"        
    From the Huffington Post, "President Barack Obama says the time for talk on an economic recovery package is over and "the time for action is now." "



    Speaking at the Energy Department, Obama made a fresh plea for the stimulus plan that the Senate is debating. He cited the latest bad economic news of jobless claims as another reason for quick action.

    He said: "The time for talk is over, the time for action is now."

    He also launched a shot at critics while talking about energy, questioning, "are these folks serious?"

    Now, I read the other day that critics of this plan ridiculed our notion that we should use part of the money to modernize the entire fleet of federal vehicles to take advantage of state of the art fuel efficiency. This is what they call pork. You know the truth. It will not only save the government significant money over time, it will not only create manufacturing jobs for folks who are making these cars, it will set a standard for private industry to match. And so when you hear these attacks deriding something of such obvious importance as this, you have to ask yourself -- are these folks serious? Is it any wonder that we haven't had a real energy policy in this country?

    For the last few years, I've talked about these issues with Americans from one end of this country to another. And Washington may not be ready to get serious about energy independence, but I am. And so are you. And so are the American people.

    During his speech Obama also issued a strong critique of the GOP's economic policies, even though he didn't utter the party's name. He told the audience that:

    In the last few days, we've seen proposals arise from some in Congress that you may not have read but you'd be very familiar with because you've been hearing them for the last 10 years, maybe longer. They're rooted in the idea that tax cuts alone can solve all our problems; that government doesn't have a role to play; that half-measures and tinkering are somehow enough; that we can afford to ignore our most fundamental economic challenges -- the crushing cost of health care, the inadequate state of so many of our schools, our dangerous dependence on foreign oil.

    So let me be clear: Those ideas have been tested, and they have failed. They've taken us from surpluses to an annual deficit of over a trillion dollars, and they've brought our economy to a halt. And that's precisely what the election we just had was all about. The American people have rendered their judgment. And now is the time to move forward, not back. Now is the time for action.

              Why the Senate Must Pass the Stimulus Bill        
    First, check out USAToday's interactive map of how President Obama's stimulus bill will help your state.

    Then, watch TPM's interview with an expert who explodes the repug lies about the bill containing too much spending.

    There is so much fog and uncertainty -- much of it intentionally injected into the debate -- about the different moving parts of the Stimulus Bill. But some of the broad outlines are arresting and straightforward.

    We're hearing all this talk about the staggering size of the bill. And it is a staggering amount of money. But according to Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, the amount of demand that the financial crisis is pulling out the economy is likely to be between $1.1 and $1.2 trillion this year (and that is not a controversial estimate). The Stimulus Bill (which, remember, is $800+ billion over two years) would try to compensate for that drop off with about $400 billion of spending and tax cuts. How efficiently the money is spent, how quickly and so forth -- all very good questions. But judged in these terms you start to see how the real question is whether any bill of that size is enough.
    David Kurtz and Baker discuss the issue in today's episode of TPMtv.


    And finally, read Bob Herbert on the danger of not putting enough money into infrastructure projects immediately.

    We have infrastructure spending in the Democrats' proposed stimulus package that, while admirable, is far too meager to have much of an impact on the nation's overall infrastructure requirements or the demand for the creation of jobs.

    SNIP

    The big danger is that some variation of the currently proposed stimulus package will pass, another enormous bailout for the bankers will be authorized, and then the trillion-dollar-plus budget deficits will make their appearance, looming like unholy monsters over everything else, and Washington will suddenly lose its nerve.

    The mantra (I can hear it now) will be that we can't afford to spend any more money on the infrastructure, or on a big health care initiative, or any of the nation's other crying needs. Suddenly fiscal discipline will be the order of the day and the people who are suffering now will suffer more, and the nation's long-term prospects will be further damaged as its long-term needs continue to be neglected.

    We no longer seem to learn much from history. Time and again an economic boom has followed a period of sustained infrastructure investment. Think of the building of the Erie Canal, which connected the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean. Think of the rural electrification program, the interstate highway system, the creation of the Internet.

    We're suffering now from both a failure of will and of imagination. I remember the financier Felix Rohatyn telling me, "A modern economy needs a modern platform, and that's the infrastructure."

    History tells us the same thing.

    And if you're still not persuaded, consider this: Mitch McConnell would give his left nut to kill the stimulus. What more reason do you need to support it?

    Cross-posted at Blue in the Bluegrass.

              Strong Unions = Strong Economy        
    The key component to the repugs' three-decade War on the Middle Class is the destruction of unions.

    It's no coincidence that the strongest middle-class economy in American history co-existed with the strongest union membership. From World War II to the late seventies, more than a third of workers in the U.S. belonged to a union. That membership assured them the decent wage and benefits that allowed one salary to support a family in middle-class comfort: a house and yard in the suburbs, two cars, nice vacations, college education for 2.5 kids.

    But an economy that expands the middle class contracts the rich. Corporate CEOs were only 10 or 20 times richer than their workers, instead of 100 or 1,000 times richer as they became after the repugs broke the back of unions.

    Last week, President Obama took several long strides toward restoring a union-strong economy.

    President Barack Obama signed a series of executive orders Friday that he said should "level the playing field" for labor unions in their struggles with management.

    Obama also used the occasion at the White House to announce formally a new White House task force on the problems of middle-class Americans. He named Vice President Joe Biden as its chairman.

    Union officials say the new orders by Obama will undo Bush administration policies that favored employers over workers.

    SNIP

    At the signing ceremony today, Obama said, "I do not view the labor movement as part of the problem. To me, it's part of the solution. You cannot have a strong middle class without a strong labor movement."

    And to drive that point home, Teamsters President James Hoffa told reporters after the ceremony, "It's a new day for workers. We finally have a White House that is dedicated to working with us to rebuild our middle class. Hope for the American Dream is being restored."

    If you need more ammunition to refute the union-bashers, former Labor Secretary Robert Reich at TPMCafe explains Why We Need Stronger Unions and How to Get Them.

    Why is this recession so deep, and what can be done to reverse it?

    Hint: Go back about 50 years, when America's middle class was expanding and the economy was soaring. Paychecks were big enough to allow us to buy all the goods and services we produced. It was a virtuous circle. Good pay meant more purchases, and more purchases meant more jobs.

    At the center of this virtuous circle were unions.

    SNIP

    The way to get the economy back on track is to boost the purchasing power of the middle class. One major way to do this is to expand the percentage of working Americans in unions. Tax rebates won't work because they don't permanently raise wages. Most families used the rebate last year to pay off debt -- not a bad thing, but it doesn't keep the virtuous circle running. Bank bailouts won't work either. Businesses won't borrow to expand without consumers to buy their goods and services. And Americans themselves can't borrow when they're losing their jobs and their incomes are dropping.

    Tax cuts for working families, as President Obama intends, can do more to help because they extend over time. But only higher wages and benefits for the middle class will have a lasting effect.

    Unions matter in this equation. According to the Department of Labor, workers in unions earn 30% higher wages -- taking home $863 a week, compared with $663 for the typical nonunion worker -- and are 59% more likely to have employer-provided health insurance than their nonunion counterparts.

    SNIP

    Although America and its economy need unions, it's become nearly impossible for employees to form one. The Hart poll I cited tells us that 57 million workers would want to be in a union if they could have one. But those who try to form a union, according to researchers at MIT, have only about a 1 in 5 chance of successfully doing so.

    The reason? Most of the time, employees who want to form a union are threatened and intimidated by their employers. And all too often, if they don't heed the warnings, they're fired, even though that's illegal. I saw this when I was secretary of Labor over a decade ago. We tried to penalize employers that broke the law, but the fines are minuscule. Too many employers consider them a cost of doing business.

    This isn't right. The most important feature of the Employee Free Choice Act, which will be considered by the just-seated 111th Congress, toughens penalties against companies that violate their workers' rights. The sooner it's enacted, the better -- for U.S. workers and for the U.S. economy.

    The American middle class isn't looking for a bailout or a handout. Most people just want a chance to share in the success of the companies they help to prosper. Making it easier for all Americans to form unions would give the middle class the bargaining power it needs for better wages and benefits. And a strong and prosperous middle class is necessary if our economy is to succeed.

    Read the whole thing.

    Cross-posted at They Gave Us A Republic ....

              Progressive Progress in the Economic Stimulus        
    As the Senate girds for battle over the repug-sabotaged economic stimulus, Talking Points Memo brings us a reminder of the progressive priorities that made it into the House bill and deserve saving in the Senate.

    The Congressional Progressive Caucus just released a memo that offers a worthy counterpoint to our discussions today about the Republicans' baldly misleading message on the stimulus.

    The Progressives have rounded up elements of their proposed $1 trillion stimulus that ended up making it into the Democratic leaders' final bill, in part or in whole. It's a list that's worth remembering while tax cuts seemingly dominate the airwaves.

    The highlights of the memo are after the jump:

    • Unemployment benefits (UI) extension. Cost = at least $12.7 billion

    • Anti-hunger provisions

    * SNAP - 20% temporary increase in maximum food stamp level above the FY2009 level for two years. Cost = approximately $24 billion and increase in funds for state food stamp administrative costs Cost= $250 million;

    * WIC - increase funding to make up for shortfall not covered in the current Continuing Resolution. Cost = $450 million and increases for management information system and related infrastructure improvements. Cost = $50 million;

    * School meals - provide a 15% increase in funding for breakfast and school lunch programs. Cost = $1 billion;

    • Medicaid payments to states (FMAP). Cost = at least $15 billion

    • LIHEAP assistance to provide low-income Americans relief from higher energy costs. Cost = at least $5 billion

    • Job creation via down payment on rebuilding America's infrastructure and schools, starting with massive investment in commercialization of green technologies and related job training that promote environmental protection and energy independence. Cost = at least $100 billion

    ** In general:

    • No funds for Iraq or Afghanistan wars and no funds for defense procurement.

    • Prevailing wage to be paid for jobs created and upholding of Davis-Bacon Act

    These are, of course, just a downpayment on the long list of repairs to the New Deal and Great Society needed after three decades of repug destruction.

    But if these provisions remain in the final bill and President Obama signs it by Darwin Day, then I'd say we're well on our way to recovery.

              Some Bucking Up For Us Hand-Wringers        
    Bob Cesca at HuffPo reminds us that the repug rejection of the stimulus bill isn't the first time Barack Obama has seemed defeated, only to come roaring back in victory, and it probably won't be the last.

    There's a killer web graphic that was created back in the post-Republican Convention days while everyone was writing spasmodic, breathless "Obama should [fill in the blank]" blog entries and "Oh crap! We're gonna lose!" newspaper columns.


    SNIP

    The web graphic is actually a photograph of Barack Obama from his Invesco Field acceptance speech. In it, he's looking directly into the camera with an expression of fierce determination on his face -- his teeth gnashed in an Eastwood snarl, his left hand gesturing as though he's kung fu fighting his way through an oversized cinderblock made of SlapChop-minced Republican skulls.

    The large, white text superimposed at the top reads: "Everyone chill the fuck out." The text at the bottom exclaims: "I got this!"

    Sure enough, two months later, we watched as this liberal African American man with the noble yet politically unusual name "Barack Hussein Obama" defied the odds and won red states like Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Indiana and the commonwealth of Virginia.

    Fade out the roaring crowds at Grant Park. Dissolve to late January.
    The economy continues to creep nearer to the crumbling ledge of yet another Depression -- if it isn't there already. And yet the Republicans who very nearly shoved us over the ledge are prancing around as if their collective Reaganomics don't stink.

    SNIP

    Their political audacity, while never surprising, always seems to confound expectations and defy logic. Having relegated themselves to the status of a regional, minor party due to their unserious, fear-mongering wedge politics and well-documented record of disastrous policy-making, they remain so hubristic as to crap their cages and demand a seat at the Big Boy Table, as if they're the majority party in Congress -- as if they somehow earned an equal voice in this thing by way of their awesome record on the economy.

    They haven't. It's only due to the magnanimity of the president that they haven't been completely steamrolled on this recovery bill. Magnanimity which, by the way, isn't nearly as plentiful or renewable as the Republicans might think.

    SNIP

    Altogether, it might appear as if the Republicans are using their ridiculousness as a means of duping the president -- hectoring him into capitulation and therefore allowing the recovery bill to be sabotaged with their taint. And when the sabotaged bill fails to help the economy, they'll blame the president. David Sirota outlined this strategy the other day, and while events might seem to point in this direction from time to time, there isn't much evidence to indicate that President Obama is naïve enough to be flimflammed by these very obvious Republican political tricks. Put another way, if you and I can spot the scams, I'm sure he can too. Though, it's important that the Republicans think they can sucker punch the president the same way they've sucker punched Senator Reid over and over.

    The president's "I won" remark indicates that there's a limit to both his benevolence and his tolerance for Republican silly season hackery. "I won" means that he won't be played and he won't be taken advantage of. But the Republicans have miscalculated and misinterpreted the president, believing that "bipartisanship" means Democratic capitulation. Save for a few concessions in an otherwise massive spending bill, President Obama isn't calling for any half-and-half bipartisan compromise on this or anything else so far. His process with the Republicans is all about attaining some civility in the tone of the debate -- not caving. There's a difference. And in that process, the president is looking increasingly presidential as his style is contrasted against the smallness of the Republicans.

    Recent history has proved that the president's Chess Match style will require a little more patience than we're accustomed to in order to see the endgame -- to see how this all plays out. And while it's crucial to keep a clear eye and critical mind, there's a lot of comfort in that web graphic from last September. Chances are: he's got this.

    Read the whole thing.
              President Obama Makes His First Bill A Great One        
    As Salon's Joan Walsh recommends, watch this all the way to the end. This is what classy looks like.


              President Obama Is Too Nice to Kentucky        
    President Barack Obama is a much better person than I could ever be. If the Democratic governor of a Democratic-registered state that had nevertheless voted overwhelmingly for my republican opponent in the last election begged me for help to get his backward state out of an emergency they had basically created themselves, I would not have been this nice:

    President Barack Obama last night approved Gov. Steve Beshear's request for an emergency Presidential Disaster Declaration that will expedite assistance to people in need across the commonwealth.

    "President Obama called me last night to express his concern about the plight facing our state and many of our people. I appreciate the president's quick response to our request for a disaster declaration," Gov. Beshear said as he traveled throughout Western Kentucky to meet with local officials and survey damage to the region. "We will move quickly to bring power generators, communications equipment and debris removal equipment into the region to help restore power and protect our people in their time of need."

    No, indeedy, I would not have been nice at all. I would have said something like this:

    "Well, Steve, I see the mess you're in and it certainly is a nasty one. But I notice Kentucky had almost exactly the same mess six years ago, and its Democratic leaders made all kinds of promises about burying power lines to make sure this never happened again. Kentucky didn't keep a single fucking one of those promises, did it, Steve? Nope, it sure didn't. And here you are, in a shit hole any idiot could have predicted would happen again with the next ice storm.

    "I really would like to help you, Steve, but I've got these Congressional republicans, including four house members and two Senators with KY next to their names, raking me over the coals for wanting to give money to people who don't deserve it. You know, people who promise to do better but don't, people who waste the opportunities they're given to improve themselves. I would just have a hard time explaining to Mitch and Jimbo and Eddie and Hal and Geoff and Brent why I'm helping that notorious welfare queen Kentucky when we all know she's never going to change her behavior.

    "And even if I didn't care what the republicans thought, I've got the actual Democratic majority in Congress that would throw a hissy fit if I gave federal emergency status to a state the majority of whose registered Democrats voted just three months ago to re-elect the obstructionist, evil republican minority leader in the Senate.

    "So you have my sympathy, Steve, but my hands are tied. See if you can't get your state to sit up straight and fly right for a while, and maybe elect a few actual Democratic candidates next year, then we'll see about letting you have a little money. Until then, you're on your own."

    As a Kentuckian with no electricity since Tuesday and no hope of getting any in the foreseeable future, I am grateful that President Obama did not turn his back on the sure-to-be-ungrateful Commonwealth. But I wish he had found some way of using the Declaration to cudgel some sense into our state's so-called leaders.

    Cross-posted at They Gave Us A Republic ....
              State of the Union Watch Party        
    Join fellow LBJ and Texas alumni on January 20th to watch President Obama address Congress. We will be joined by special guest, former Clinton Press Secretary, Mike McCurry, who will give remarks about what it was like to work on a State of the Union speech and answer questions. This event is being supported in part … Continue reading
              The Presidential State Car - Obama's Whip        
    Just so everyone knows, I was away on vacation for the last week and a half, hence no updates during that time.  But I did gather some material for a few new posts, so the wait will be worth it, I promise!  Today I want to talk about the car used by the President of the United States.  Why?  Because I saw him in Manhattan, that's why! 
    It was pretty crazy.  Michelle and I were walking up 42nd Street after taking a look at the UN Building when some police cars started circling the block at 2nd Avenue.  We weren't too sure what was going on, but I did learn that the NYPD owned a tow truck (taking up the caboose of the lights and sirens parade).  We were also aware fairly quickly that something unusual was happening, as traffic on the streets started to clear out and police officers started blocking intersections. 

    We hunkered down at 42nd and 3rd Ave, and no sooner had we made that decision that the Presidential motorcade came peeling in up 3rd Ave and stopped in front of the Gap store.  There were a few black SUVs and two massive limos with flags crowning the front fenders and the Presidential Seal on the doors.  The emblem on the grill was Cadillac, but these were not your typical DTS coachwork limousines.

    The limos were just huge, sat high and boxy with big rubber.  I couldn't make out what model they were supposed to be.  I thought they would just modify a regular car, but after seeing these I did a little bit of research.  Turns out these things are custom built by GM.  They used to modify production cars, but they couldn't handle the extra weight of everything needed to keep the President safe and were constantly breaking down.     

    Here are some figures (most of the actual details are classified):

    - Weighs an estimated 15,000lbs
    - Gets about 3-4 MPG
    - Costs over a $1M each 
    - Armour plating on the doors is 8 inches thick

    If you want to read more about the presidential cars, here's a link to a fairly informative article from Autoweek.com.

    Once the cars pulled up, the entourage whisked Obama into the Gap store.  I found out later that he was there to promote the Gap's recent pledge to raise the minimum wage of their employees to $10/hour.  Here's an article that documented his visit. 

    While he was in the shop I took a video of the goings on outside. 


              An Essay From A Guest        

    I gotta be honest with you and admit upfront that something unexpected came up today so I won’t be able to write as long of a blog post as I would have liked to.  Obviously, “something came up” can be interpreted as either writer’s block, me going back to my lazy ways, me getting an opportunity to play free golf and taking it, etc.  Regardless of what I tell you the real reason is, I know that you will all most likely think the truth is one of those aforementioned excuses, so I might as well not even try to explain myself and just move on (also, I’m not saying the real reason isn’t one of the aforementioned excuses).

    Having said that, Nut Up or Shut Up Week is still rolling on.  Since I promised you five blog posts in five days and since I never go back on my promises (except for the times that I do), I’ve got no choice but to deliver a blog post today come hell or high water.

    (By the way, hell and high water seem like two drastically different things. Don’t get me wrong – floods can be devastating, but the phrase “high water” doesn’t necessarily mean a flood.  All “high water” really means is that a couple of roads are closed throughout the town and that bag of Doritos you left in your basement might be a little soggy now cause some water is leaking in.  It sucks, sure, but really it only marginally sucks when compared to eternal damnation, so maybe the phrase should be changed to “come hell or apocalypse”, “come hell or the plague”, “come hell or famine”, or any of the other countless alternatives that are better than “come hell or high water.”)

    Anyway, because I guaranteed a blog post today and because I can’t really carve a huge block of time out of my day today like I typically do when I write these things, I’m going to turn today’s post over to a guest blogger. And by “guest blogger”, I mean that I’m going to copy and paste an essay that was written by Kosta Koufos using my computer when he and I were teammates at Ohio State and that I’ve had saved on my computer for all these years.

    Kosta, you might remember, was at Ohio State for one year before he went to the NBA and bounced around a few teams until landing with the Denver Nuggets (who he now plays for).  During his one year at OSU (my sophomore year), he was asked to write an essay that compared Johnny Cash’s version of “Hurt” to the original version by Nine Inch Nails for one of his classes, and for whatever reason he used my computer to do so.  After he finished writing the essay, I obviously saved it and planned on using it in my book somehow, but in the end there wasn’t any real purpose for it or natural place to put it so I left it out of the book (plus it’s not terrible enough to be really all that funny or entertaining).

    Since I’ve saved it for so long and have never done anything with it (and since I never got to make fun of Kosta on the blog because he left for the NBA before I started my blog), I figured I’d finally publish it.  So if you have ever found yourself wondering what a McDonald’s All-American has to say about the two most popular versions of “Hurt”, today is your lucky day.  I should mention that I opened the document, hit CTRL + A to copy every last word he wrote, and then opened this blog post and hit CTRL + V to paste it all, so please don’t accuse me of cutting stuff out or changing words around or anything like that.  Also, I swear that every bit of this was really written by Kosta when he was a freshman at OSU.  I had nothing to do with it other than copying it onto this blog (you’ll soon see that I couldn’t have written it because it’s not bad enough – had I written it as Kosta, I admittedly would have gone over the top and tried to make him look really stupid).  Anyway, here it is:

     

    Kosta Koufos

    11/9/07

    Music Comparison

    After Listening to the song Hurt from both artists Johnny Cash, and the group Nine Inch Nails, it caught my attention in an awkward way. Both songs had the same lyrics, but sung in a different type of tone. I felt that the songs had more differences than similarities which made it very easy for me to make many judgments about the music pieces. The music had a common message and was very moving in a negative way. After listening and thinking about both music pieces, I came to realization that even though the song had the same lyrics, there was a distinct difference between the two.

    The first artist I listened too was Johnny Cash. As the song first starts out, you hear a guitar that seems to have a mellow dramatic sound. Then after the guitar plays, Johnny Cashes voice comes in with a very quite but strong passionate voice. As I listened to this song, it became very evident to me that it was about pain and sorrow in life. The main reason why I said the song was about pain and sorrow in life, was the fact that there were many statements used that used the word “death” in it. If I were to summarize this song I would say that it was about having everything in life, and all of a sudden you have nothing, but still you have to stay strong.

    When the song leaded to the chorus the beat became faster, and Johnny Cash’s voice still maintained his mellow voice throughout the whole song. As I listened to this, I kept thinking of wars and destruction, and the death that came with a price from the wars. I also had a religious image with Jesus being persecuted, and the life struggled he faced to get his message around about God. From listening to Johnny Cash’s version of Hurt I concluded that Nine Inch Nail’s version was much different.

    Even though both songs were very slow and very dramatic, the beginning of both songs was different. Johnny Cash’s version had more of an up tempo beat, while NIN version was extremely depressing. The first ten seconds of the song, all you heard was wind. As I was listening to this I had goose bumps, because it was a very chilling and eerie noise. The NIN version had the same attributes as the other version, for instance there was a guitar played, it had a very slow rhythm and depressing tone, and had a strong transition chorus.

    The main difference between the two songs is that with NIN, the singer was over powered by the background. It was very hard to depict what the singer was saying, which made the song more depressing than Johnny Cash’s version. If I had to choose between the two songs, I would have to lean more towards Johnny Cash. The reason for this is that his voice was more demanding and very easy to understand. With NIN, I had to listen to the song several times.


    Don’t forget I’m planning on doing a mailbag post on Friday and the length of the post depends exclusively on how many emails I get.  While I’d really appreciate it if nobody sent me an email for the mailbag so that I wouldn’t have to write anything, I think it would be better for everyone involved if the exact opposite of this happened, so get to it.

    Also, after asking for some more examples of activities/hobbies/things that make people look like douches if they aren’t very good at them but conversely make them look like grade A badasses if they are good at them, the Trillion Man March stepped to the plate.  Here are a handful of my favorite additions to the list that you all sent in:

    Astronauts (From Shelby)

    “A kid at space camp is ripe for a beating.  But an astronaut - well - he's on the moon.  (Or at least he was before Obama defunded NASA.)”

    Farmers (Also from Shelby)

    “My aunt has a veggie garden in the back of her house.  She likes to grow zucchinis.  Her tomatoes are actually pretty good; but when she starts going off about how her veggie garden is doing - well....

    On the other hand, we all depend on real farmers.” 

    Facial Hair (From Chris)

    “If you aren't very manly and can't grow a real beard then keep your facial hair clean shaven and stop looking like such a dirt ball, unless of course you are a dirt ball and that's just how you roll. People trying to grow a beard who clearly cannot just look like a 9th grade guy trying to impress the new slut in school because he got pubes on his face before anyone else. On the contrary, having an impressive beard can be one of the most badass additions to a man's look.”

    Wrapping a Chipotle Burrito (From Griffith)

    “I had a very poorly wrapped burrito today at Chiptole.  All my chicken, rice, and corn proceeded to fall out almost immediately after I picked up the burrito.  On the contrary, when I receive a well-wrapped burrito, it's the greatest thing of all time.  That's where my connection to your post comes in, when someone wraps the burrito (not trying to be racist but it's usually somebody white) and it's done poorly, the whole Chipotle experience is almost ruined.  On the other hand, when someone (again not trying to be racist but it's usually one of the Mexican employees) wraps the burrito really well, that's what makes Chipotle so awesome and I have the utmost respect for that employee.  The 2.7 second super-wrap.  Few things rival it.”

    Personally, I think a sloppy Chipotle burrito still beats the hell out of most anything else so it’s not exactly terrible to me and probably doesn’t qualify for my list, but I included Griffith’s submission on here because I wanted to reward thinking outside the box (plus, obviously not everyone is exactly like me and some of you might have your day ruined when you get a poorly wrapped burrito, so it might qualify for your list).

    Also, I loved Griffith’s disclaimer that he’s not trying to be racist, as though anybody in their right mind would think he’s racist for suggesting that Mexicans are better at wrapping burritos than whites.  Remember, Griffith – 1) it’s impossible to be racist against whites (regardless of your own race), and 2) it’s not racist if it’s a compliment.

    Proud To Be An American But Even Prouder To Be A Buckeye,

    Mark Titus

    Club Trillion Founder


              VA's Inspector General Finds Faked Data At Hospitals Across U.S.        
    President Obama addressed the annual convention of the American Legion in North Carolina with a raft of new proposals for vets. The speech comes as the inspector general at the Veterans Affairs Department is releasing a report on the scandal over phony wait times at the Phoenix VA hospital.
    Copyright 2014 NPR.
              Obama Taps Former Procter & Gamble Chief To Helm VA        
    Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

    Transcript

    ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

    President Obama has decided on his choice to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs. He has nominated Robert McDonald, the former CEO of Procter & Gamble.

              Embattled Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki Resigns        
    Transcript

    STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

    Good morning, let's hear more now about the resignation of Eric Shinseki, Secretary of Veterans Affairs. President Obama says he accepted that resignation a short time ago at the White House. He had just finished making a statement after the two men held a short private meeting.

              VA Secretary Apologizes For 'Indefensible' Treatment Delays        
    Transcript

    DAVID GREENE, HOST:

    This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.

    STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

    And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning. Eric Shinseki, the embattled secretary of Veterans Affairs, meets this hour with President Obama at the White House. Now, earlier today, Shinseki spoke at a conference on homeless veterans, and addressed what he called the elephant in the room.

              After A Long Wait, 24 Models In Heroism Get Their Due        
    Transcript

    ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

    This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

    AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

    And I'm Audie Cornish.

    On today's program, in interviews and stories from NPR reporters, we're following events in Crimea, as well as the continuing search for Malaysian Air Flight 370.

    SIEGEL: Right now, a story about honor delayed but, in the end, not denied. This afternoon, President Barack Obama awarded 24 Americans the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest decoration for valor. And this is a unique group.

              The Business of Rejecting iPhone Apps        
    Despite a technical framework to deploy streaming video on the new 3GS, who's really blocking the apps from the store - AT&T or Apple?



    After a protracted discovery phase, mobile has finally found it's place in the world, and it's not janky flip phone games or ringtones, rather rapid content delivery. The lone video of the Virginia Tech shootings was caught on a video-enabled phone. Michael Jackson's death brought Twitter to its knees (twice). The first images of the plane crash in the Hudson were posted to TwitPic. In each of these instances the first, if not only, media capture around these events came not from news vans, but citizen journalists. They didn't do it for money or fame, but to simply share what was happening in the world.

    Sensing this emerging wave of mobile content, a company called qik (thanks to killer coworker @stevenmaguire for sharing) developed an application to access the video fed from mobile phones and stream it live through their site at qik. Simply point, shoot and stream.

    Consider the alternative for web streaming: the copious effort required to take an HVX on-site, plug in to a laptop and then rely on available wifi, PCS mobile card or a hardwire, then connect to your streaming server of choice. Or. or, you could just launch the qik app and hit stream from your iPhone 3GS, already connected to 3G or wifi and be ready to go. But, you can't do that because the app has been rejected. Great app that truly supports and benefits the larger community, no malicious code or porn, so why was it rejected?

    There's no doubt the heart of the issue with qik is predicated on bandwidth. As noted in the above video, XM/Sirius, SlingPlayer and Skype all faced repeated rejections over streaming bandwidth concerns. When it comes to bandwidth it's easy to blame AT&T, but they don't own the app store. That's Apple. So why would Apple reject an app on bandwidth? That really doesn't seem like the kind application facet they should worry about. Moreover, it positively stresses to their carrier partners that there needs to be continual upgrades to the networks as they have no intent on pulling back.

    As a young Barak Obama requests above (Ed. note: not really Barak Obama) sign the petition (link below) and help empower the next wave of mobile content, in real-time, streaming video.

    Sign the Twitition


    p.s. priceless introduction of date, time, newsie front page info a la Dr. Emmit Brown.

    p.p.s. Want to buy that unbelievably awesome iPhone lens/mic attachment that also looks like a Sony camera and Xbox controller GOT.IT. ON.? Pre-order: http://www.wantowle.com/Want.html
              Who Will Permanently Fill the DHS Secretary Job?        

    In a July 31 blog, I commented on the shift of Secretary John Kelly from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to White House chief of staff, noting that this leaves behind his second-in-command, Elaine Duke, to act in his stead — something that concerns me insofar as Duke is a veteran Obama State Department employee with a background in management, not operational matters.

    Patrick McHugh August 9, 2017 - 5:08pm Dan Cadman
              After Low-Key Lobbying Effort, Trump Says He Was 'Let Down' By Senators        
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypALjI7MEWI Blindsided by the latest collapse of a Republican health care bill, President Trump took to Twitter to voice his frustration. Trump complained of being "let down" by a handful of Republican lawmakers. And he insisted that the fight over the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, is not over. Trump had just finished discussing health care with seven Republican lawmakers over dinner Monday when Sens. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Jerry Moran, R-Kansas — who were not at the meeting — announced they would be voting against the measure to repeal and replace Obamacare. With two other Republican senators already on record in opposition, the Monday-night development effectively killed the Senate bill. Trump acknowledged he was caught off guard by the latest GOP defections. "For seven years, I've been hearing repeal and replace from Congress," Trump said. "And then when we finally get a chance to repeal and replace, they don't take advantage of it. So
              Amid Gathering Of World Leaders, Trump's Meeting With Putin Stands Out        
    President Trump arrives in Poland on Wednesday afternoon. Over the next few days, he'll be attending a Group of 20 summit and meeting with a wide array of world leaders. It's likely none of those meetings will be more closely scrutinized than Trump's first face-to-face sit-down with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Trump has often said he would like to see closer ties between the U.S. and Russia. But that has been complicated by Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Throughout the campaign, Trump routinely praised Putin as a strong leader, often contrasting him with then-President Barack Obama. "I think in terms of leadership, he's getting an A, and our president is not doing so well," Trump told Bill O'Reilly of Fox News in 2015. Now that Trump is in office, national security adviser H.R. McMaster says, he has pursued a two-track approach with Russia: looking for areas in which the two countries can cooperate, while confronting the Russians for their bad behavior
              GOP Senators Postpone Vote On Health Care Bill        
    Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit STEVE INSKEEP, HOST: And let's bring another voice now into the conversation. NPR's White House correspondent Scott Horsley has been covering this debate for years and years and years... SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: (Laughter). INSKEEP: ...And is here with us and has been listening to Matt Schlapp. Scott, what did you hear there that was noteworthy? HORSLEY: Well, he is right that Republicans have spent more time demonizing Obamacare than they have really selling their own plan. And part of the challenge is philosophically, the Republicans, at least in Congress, envision a health care system where the government plays a smaller role, where there is more consumer skin in the game, that is, consumers bear more of the responsibility. They feel like that'll inject market forces and help to keep costs down. But you have a president, Donald Trump, who has been marketing great care at low costs for everyone. Everyone's going to be taken care of. So there is a
              GOP Sen. Susan Collins Firmly Opposes Senate Health Care Bill        
    Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit ARI SHAPIRO, HOST: Congressional forecasters say a Senate bill that aims to repeal and replace Obamacare would leave 22 million more people uninsured by 2026. That's only slightly fewer than a House version that passed last month. This forecast comes as Senate Republican leaders press for a vote on the bill later this week, and it has already led one Republican senator to firmly oppose the bill. NPR's Scott Horsley joins us now. And, Scott, these numbers come from the Congressional Budget Office, the nonpartisan bean counters on Capitol Hill. So where do they think these coverage reductions are coming from? SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: Ari, the biggest drop would be in Medicaid. Remember, Obamacare expanded Medicaid. This bill would shrink it. And the forecasters anticipate by 2026 you would have 15 million fewer Americans getting their coverage through that safety net program. They're also anticipating a drop of about 7 million people getting coverage
              How The Senate Health Care Bill Could Disrupt The Insurance Market         
    Senate Republicans have little margin for error as they prepare for a vote this coming week on a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act . Some lawmakers are already raising concerns that the bill could aggravate the problem of healthy people going without insurance, driving up costs for everyone else. "If you can get insurance after you get sick, you will," Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., told NBC's Today Show . "And without the individual mandate, that sort of adverse selection, the death spiral, the elevated premiums, all of that that's going on gets worse under this bill." The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, tried to address that problem by requiring all Americans to have health insurance or pay a penalty. But that so-called "individual mandate" is one of the least popular provisions of the law. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and his colleagues are determined to get rid of it. "We agreed on the need to free Americans from Obamacare's mandate so
              John F Kennedy International Airport : Gulf oil spill: Obama lands for a third visit - Los Angeles Times (blog)        
    John F Kennedy International Airport : Gulf oil spill: Obama lands for a third visit - Los Angeles Times (blog)
              Can You Hear Me Now?: Holocaust Expropriated Art Recovery (HEAR) Act        
    On December 16, 2016, President Obama signed the HEAR Act into law, establishing a uniform statute of limitations to govern claims seeking recovery of Nazi-confiscated art. Confiscation of art by the Nazis during World War II has been described as the “greatest displacement of art in human history.” Almost twenty percent of all European art...… Continue Reading
              China en VS stoppen import en export van ivoor        
    Publication Date: 
    september 26, 2015
    Image: 
    China en VS stoppen import en export van ivoor

    China en de Verenigde Staten gaan op korte termijn de import en export van ivoor aan banden leggen. Dat hebben de leiders van de twee landen gisteravond in Washington bekendgemaakt. In de verklaring spreken de president van China Xi Jinping en zijn Amerikaanse college Barack Obama daarnaast uit dat de landen ‘op korte termijn aanzienlijke stappen zullen zetten om de binnenlandse handel in ivoor te stoppen’.

    read more


              President Barack Obama Took Over 'The Colbert Report' Last Night        
    "Stephen, you've been taking a lot of shots at my job, I decided I'm going to go ahead and take a shot at yours." 'The Colbert Report' host Stephen Colbert has been teasing his biggest show ever for awhile now, including a stopover in Washington, D.C. and a long-form chat with President Barack Obama, but even he can't possibly have foreseen how that event would turn out. Essentially, it resulted in the talk show host losing his job...to President Obama, who swept on to stage and hijacked the show from an aghast -- but totally willing -- Colbert, only to put his own spin on what it means to host a political chat show. Does Colbert have something to worry about? We vote yes. Continue reading…
              Update on Kathy's Surgery!        

    Dear Family and Friends,

    Most of you know our friend Kathy went in for a surgical 

    procedure for a Butt Lift using the Obama Care Medical Plan 
    through her new state run insurance exchange.

    She did not have the most pleasant experience. She should have 

    left well enough alone.

    We wanted to show you how it turned out. We hope this makes 

    you aware of the quality of care you will receive from the 
    Affordable Healthcare Act (Obama Care)

    PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE . . do not get a Butt Lift using the 

    Obama Care Medical Plan.  The Obama care qualified doctor 
    was a 3rd year med student from another country making 
    12 bucks an hour.

    Kathy regrets her decision, I think we all will regret Obama care.

    See image below:


     Thanks David!
              Gillibrand says she's optimistic fiscal cliff can be avoided        

    Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is optimistic that the President Barack Obama and leadership of the House of Representatives will cut a deal to prevent the so-called "fiscal cliff."  New York's junior senator predicted there would be progress soon during a visit to Syracuse Friday.

              Visualizing Health Policy: U.S. Public Opinion on Health Care Reform, 2017        
    This slideshow supports a Visualizing Health Policy infographic with JAMA, spotlighting public opinion on health reform in the United States as of 2017, including priorities and views of the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) and its provisions.
              Visualizing Health Policy: U.S. Public Opinion on Health Care Reform, 2017        
    This Visualizing Health Policy infographic with JAMA spotlights public opinion on health reform in the United States as of 2017, including priorities and views of the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) and its provisions.
              House rejects effort to ban illegal immigrants from military service        
    In a break from previous votes on the issue, the House on Thursday rejected two GOP proposals to prevent the Obama administration from enlisting young illegal immigrants to serve in the military. More than 30 Republicans with more centrist views on immigration joined all Democrats in opposing the two amendments offered to a Defense Department spending bill. The amendments failed narrowly with votes of 207-214 and 210-211, respectively.
              Close Call: The Secret Service Just Caught Him Trying To Pull His Own Head Off?        
     Looks like we narrowly avoided tragedy this morning. According to a White House press release, the Secret Service just discovered President Barack Obama trying to pull his own head off, but they managed to stop him before he succeeded. Wow. This could have been really bad.According to the White House, several Secret Service agents walked into the Lincoln Bedroom at approximately 6:45 a.m. and discovered President Obama standing alone in the middle of the room with his hands wrapped around his head and trying with considerable effort to remove it from his body.The agents who witnessed the scene said that...
              Mark Steyn: “There are three kinds of leak…”        
    Mark Steyn writes:What we are witnessing is a slow-motion coup against a duly elected government by people determined to use whatever they have to hand – national-security leaks by the permanent bureaucracy, money-no-object fishing expeditions by hopelessly conflicted prosecutors, domestic surveillance of political opponents by Obama officials, and indifference to most of the preceding by […]

    Kathy Shaidle's NEW book, Confessions of a Failed Slut, is available HERE.

         

    Related Stories

    Feed Ads by FeedBlitz
    powered byad choices
     

              Lines of Tribe ?        
    "The lines of Tribe shall dissolve", President Obama, Inaugural Address
              Get on Board, or Get Out of the Way        
    14th, 1984, aid, amendment, bush, campaign, channel, clear, Clinton, cnn, communications, compel,, consolidation, corporation, crisis, depression, disinformation, economic, economics, fiscal, fo,, freedom, George, germany, Government, hitler, homeless, inauguration, industrial, iraq, Israel, lakota, lakotah, libertarian, liberty, means, Media, military, monetary, murdock, news, obama, of, of state, orwell, orwellian, palestine, palestinian, policy, poverty, president, propaganda, rate, recession, republic, rockets, russell, secretary, Sioux, soldiers, sovereign, Sovereigns, sovereignty, time, toady, Tribe, USA, veterans, vets, w., war, warner, zionism, zionist, obama, president, whitehouse, white, house
              Mark Steyn talks about Justin Trudeau’s “Rolling Stone” cover & more        
    Mark Steyn talks about Justin Trudeau’s “Rolling Stone” cover & more
    More from my siteGavin McInnes: A Future Letter From a Socialist to President TrumpMark Steyn on “Obama’s bemoaning the rise of ‘fake news’ to, of all people, Rolling Stone’s Jann Wenner…”‘Good grief’: Mark Steyn explains the difference between Justin Trudeau and Ronald Reagan to Warren KinsellaBoxing, jihad and… Justin Trudeau?

    Kathy Shaidle's NEW book, Confessions of a Failed Slut, is available HERE.

         

    Related Stories

    Feed Ads by FeedBlitz
    powered byad choices
     

              My Interviews on the Inaugural Speech        
    President Obama delivers his address at the 57...
    President Obama delivers his address at the 57th Presidential Inauguration, January 21, 2013 (Photo credit: Photo Phiend)




    Yesterday was the 2013 Inauguration of President Obama for his second term in office. I was asked by two local news affiliates to give my thoughts on President Obama's Inaugural speech and what it meant for LGBT Americans. I am always surprised when I am just going about my business and my cell phone rings and a reporter either wants to do a TV interview or asks for a quote. I feel very comfortable speaking so it's not that. It's just still a surprise that I am a someone in the community given the opportunity to share my thoughts.

    The first clip is from NBC affiliate KPNK Channel 12 News in Phoenix. I was lucky to have my partner and son join me in this one.





    The second is from KTVK Channel 3 in Phoenix





    Enhanced by Zemanta

              President Barack Obama 2013 Inauguration Speech        
    2013 Presidential Inauguration Day - Preparati...
    2013 Presidential Inauguration Day - Preparation - Capitol Building (Photo credit: Glyn Lowe Photoworks)





    Today President Barack Obama gave what will be known as a historic speech as far as LGBT Americans are concerned. It was the first time the word gay was used in an inaugural speech and it was used to speak about the need for equality. I was happy that my daughter was there in D.C. to hear her President speak so positively about her family. It was an amazing speech that drew on the fact that it was given on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and made comparison to the civil rights struggles, women's rights and rights for gay Americans. It will be exciting to see how this sets up the State of the Union address and this coming session of Congress. While I believe the President will not do the work for us, he may be willing to be a more active advocate for us. But, I do believe that this President likes to see the American people involved in the process. He wants to see us use our voices and do everything we can to be heard and help to move our elected officials to take action. We must continue to lead this fight. However, the President is clearly in our corner.

    Watch the President's speech. Full transcript follows the video




    The remarks of President Obama, as released by The White House and prepared for delivery: 
    Vice President Biden, Mr. Chief Justice, Members of the United States Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow citizens: 
    Each time we gather to inaugurate a president, we bear witness to the enduring strength of our Constitution. We affirm the promise of our democracy. We recall that what binds this nation together is not the colors of our skin or the tenets of our faith or the origins of our names. What makes us exceptional — what makes us American — is our allegiance to an idea, articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago: 
    "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness." 
    Today we continue a never-ending journey, to bridge the meaning of those words with the realities of our time. For history tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they have never been self-executing; that while freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by His people here on Earth. The patriots of 1776 did not fight to replace the tyranny of a king with the privileges of a few or the rule of a mob. They gave to us a Republic, a government of, and by, and for the people, entrusting each generation to keep safe our founding creed. 
    For more than two hundred years, we have. 
    Through blood drawn by lash and blood drawn by sword, we learned that no union founded on the principles of liberty and equality could survive half-slave and half-free. We made ourselves anew, and vowed to move forward together. 
    Together, we determined that a modern economy requires railroads and highways to speed travel and commerce; schools and colleges to train our workers. 
    Together, we discovered that a free market only thrives when there are rules to ensure competition and fair play. 
    Together, we resolved that a great nation must care for the vulnerable, and protect its people from life's worst hazards and misfortune. 
    Through it all, we have never relinquished our skepticism of central authority, nor have we succumbed to the fiction that all society's ills can be cured through government alone. Our celebration of initiative and enterprise; our insistence on hard work and personal responsibility, are constants in our character. 
    But we have always understood that when times change, so must we; that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges; that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action. For the American people can no more meet the demands of today's world by acting alone than American soldiers could have met the forces of fascism or communism with muskets and militias. No single person can train all the math and science teachers we'll need to equip our children for the future, or build the roads and networks and research labs that will bring new jobs and businesses to our shores. Now, more than ever, we must do these things together, as one nation, and one people. 
    This generation of Americans has been tested by crises that steeled our resolve and proved our resilience. A decade of war is now ending. An economic recovery has begun. America's possibilities are limitless, for we possess all the qualities that this world without boundaries demands: youth and drive; diversity and openness; an endless capacity for risk and a gift for reinvention. My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment, and we will seize it — so long as we seize it together. 
    For we, the people, understand that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it. We believe that America's prosperity must rest upon the broad shoulders of a rising middle class. We know that America thrives when every person can find independence and pride in their work; when the wages of honest labor liberate families from the brink of hardship. We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else, because she is an American, she is free, and she is equal, not just in the eyes of God but also in our own. 
    We understand that outworn programs are inadequate to the needs of our time. We must harness new ideas and technology to remake our government, revamp our tax code, reform our schools, and empower our citizens with the skills they need to work harder, learn more, and reach higher. But while the means will change, our purpose endures: a nation that rewards the effort and determination of every single American. That is what this moment requires. That is what will give real meaning to our creed. 
    We, the people, still believe that every citizen deserves a basic measure of security and dignity. We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit. But we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future. For we remember the lessons of our past, when twilight years were spent in poverty, and parents of a child with a disability had nowhere to turn. We do not believe that in this country, freedom is reserved for the lucky, or happiness for the few. We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, any one of us, at any time, may face a job loss, or a sudden illness, or a home swept away in a terrible storm. The commitments we make to each other — through Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security — these things do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great.
    We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity. We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms. The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition; we must lead it. We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries — we must claim its promise. That is how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure — our forests and waterways; our croplands and snowcapped peaks. That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God. That's what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared. 
    We, the people, still believe that enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war. Our brave men and women in uniform, tempered by the flames of battle, are unmatched in skill and courage. Our citizens, seared by the memory of those we have lost, know too well the price that is paid for liberty. The knowledge of their sacrifice will keep us forever vigilant against those who would do us harm. But we are also heirs to those who won the peace and not just the war, who turned sworn enemies into the surest of friends, and we must carry those lessons into this time as well. 
    We will defend our people and uphold our values through strength of arms and rule of law. We will show the courage to try and resolve our differences with other nations peacefully — not because we are naïve about the dangers we face, but because engagement can more durably lift suspicion and fear. America will remain the anchor of strong alliances in every corner of the globe; and we will renew those institutions that extend our capacity to manage crisis abroad, for no one has a greater stake in a peaceful world than its most powerful nation. We will support democracy from Asia to Africa; from the Americas to the Middle East, because our interests and our conscience compel us to act on behalf of those who long for freedom. And we must be a source of hope to the poor, the sick, the marginalized, the victims of prejudice — not out of mere charity, but because peace in our time requires the constant advance of those principles that our common creed describes: tolerance and opportunity; human dignity and justice. 
    We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths — that all of us are created equal — is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth. 
    It is now our generation's task to carry on what those pioneers began. For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law — for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote. Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity; until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country. Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for, and cherished, and always safe from harm. 
    That is our generation's task — to make these words, these rights, these values — of Life, and Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness — real for every American. Being true to our founding documents does not require us to agree on every contour of life; it does not mean we will all define liberty in exactly the same way, or follow the same precise path to happiness. Progress does not compel us to settle centuries-long debates about the role of government for all time — but it does require us to act in our time. 
    For now decisions are upon us, and we cannot afford delay. We cannot mistake absolutism for principle, or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate. We must act, knowing that our work will be imperfect. We must act, knowing that today's victories will be only partial, and that it will be up to those who stand here in four years, and forty years, and four hundred years hence to advance the timeless spirit once conferred to us in a spare Philadelphia hall. 
    My fellow Americans, the oath I have sworn before you today, like the one recited by others who serve in this Capitol, was an oath to God and country, not party or faction — and we must faithfully execute that pledge during the duration of our service. But the words I spoke today are not so different from the oath that is taken each time a soldier signs up for duty, or an immigrant realizes her dream. My oath is not so different from the pledge we all make to the flag that waves above and that fills our hearts with pride. 
    They are the words of citizens, and they represent our greatest hope. 
    You and I, as citizens, have the power to set this country's course. 
    You and I, as citizens, have the obligation to shape the debates of our time — not only with the votes we cast, but with the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideals. 
    Let each of us now embrace, with solemn duty and awesome joy, what is our lasting birthright. With common effort and common purpose, with passion and dedication, let us answer the call of history, and carry into an uncertain future that precious light of freedom. 
    Thank you, God Bless you, and may He forever bless these United States of America.




    Enhanced by Zemanta

              Moving Marriage Equality Video with President Obama        


    This morning I was lucky enough to spend sometime on twitter and happened to catch something that set a great tone for the day. Legalizelove.com has released a very moving video supporting marriage equality. Great shots of various couples in wedding gear but the kicker is the use of President Obama's voice throughout the video. It is really something else to have a President that will speak not just to the LGBT community but will really speak for us as well.

    Watch the video here:



    LegalizeLove.com: Obama & Gay Couples "Speak with One Voice" On Gay Marriage from LegalizeLove.com on Vimeo.
    Enhanced by Zemanta

              Congratulations Mary Cheney, I Guess        
    English: Mary Cheney at Dick Cheney's second i...
    English: Mary Cheney at Dick Cheney's second inauguration (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



    I usually get a warm fuzzy feeling when I hear about a lesbian couple that has been together for 20 years and have two children together getting married. However, when I heard about such a story today I got very mixed feelings. The couple is Mary Cheney and Heather Poe. Mary Cheney is the daughter of former Vice President, Dick Cheney. The former Vice President has always supported his daughter and today was no different. The statement released about the wedding can be found here.

    The dilemma I have is not that she is Dick Cheney's daughter. After all he came out in favor of marriage equality before Obama did. My issue is with Mary Cheney and her role in supporting President George W. Bush in the 2004 campaign. During the 2000 presidential campaign, a group called the Republican Unity Coalition was formed. This was a type of gay/straight alliance, if you will, for the Republican Party with notable names on its board like President Gerald Ford and U.S. Senators. The group believed that the Republican Party needed to have a big umbrella that could reach out to non-traditional Republicans. The group even submitted an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in the Lawrence vs. Texas case, which overturned sodomy laws.

    This all happened while Mary Cheney was on the Board. However, she resigned from the board to become the director of vice presidential operations for the Bush-Cheney 2004 Presidential re-election campaign. This is where my issue starts. Up until this point Mary Cheney had been working to make a difference for LGBT individuals. However, the 2004 campaign is when things shifted massively for LGBT individuals. This is when  the Bush/Cheney team decided to use LGBT issues as a wedge issue by encouraging anti-LGBT marriage amendments to increase voter turnout.

    While I understand a daughter supporting her father, I absolutely can't understand this. Prior to that election only 5 states had any type of constitutional amendment regarding same-sex marriage or civil unions. In that election cycle alone 13 states passed some kind of constitutional amendment. Not only did she stay to work on the campaign but many sources say she was a key player in the campaign. Also, because of Bush calling for the Federal Marriage Amendment as part of this election strategy, the Republican Unity Coalition basically disbanded. Leaving a void of any leadership speaking out for the position that sexual orientation should be a non-issue for the Republican Party.  We all know that without these leaders the Republican Party has embraced the religious right and made LGBT issues a key part of fundraising.

    In 2006, eight more states passed constitutional amendments of some kind against same-sex relationship recognition. It was at this time that Virginia, the state Mary Cheney lives in, passed one of the strictest bans in the country. The amendment in Virginia bans marriage, civil unions and any other contract that might resemble marriage (domestic partnership). The trend continued until we currently have 31 states with a constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage.

    So while Mary and her partner got married in Washington D.C., her marriage is not recognized when she heads back home. Just like the majority of same-sex couples in the country. I hope she recognizes the irony of that. That she her marriage is worthless when she crosses a state line in part because of a campaign strategy she was a part of.


    I hope she had a nice day celebrating with her family. The piece of paper she has is worthless. At least the domestic partnership paper I have is recognized where I live and I go to sleep every night knowing that I have not done anything to undermine the equality of my family.    
    Enhanced by Zemanta

              Perspective        
    Perspective, it's an interesting thing. Two days ago the citizens of North Carolina voted to ban gay marriages. The next day President Barack Obama becomes the first sitting President to say that he supports marriage equality. Some say the President came forward a day too late. We won't know if it would have made a difference or not. However, for some the perspective is a state lost. For others the perspective is a country won. What all agree on is that the President did a historic thing in coming out in favor of marriage equality. From some people's perspective his actions might even be considered heroic

    Go to today. I helped put together an event for the Human Rights Campaign to benefit the Maryland Marriage Fund to help keep marriage equality in that state. Governor Martin O'Malley was the special guest at the event. Governor O'Malley was able to show incredible leadership in helping to bring marriage equality to his state. Now that its there, he is continuing to lead the fight against a ballot measure to remove it. His conviction to make sure the LGBT community in his state is shown the same dignity and freedoms as anyone else is truly inspiring. I would guess that the perspective of many in the LGBT community in Maryland is that he is a hero.

    The person that introduced the Governor was former Arizona State Senator and current candidate for Congress in Arizona, Kyrsten Sinema. Sinema has been a leader in the LGBT community for years and is known for having led the only successful campaign to defeat an anti-LGBT marriage amendment in the country. Her ability to make things happen for the LGBT community in Arizona has been remarkable. I have had the pleasure to work with her on many projects over the years and for me personally, she is a hero. That is my perspective.

    So why would someone from Arizona host an event like this? Why send money in a very important election year out of the state? Perspective. It is not likely that Arizona will repeal its constitutional ban on gay marriage. The only way Arizonan's are going to see marriage equality is by enough states having it that the Federal government takes action and the Defense of Marriage Act is repealed. So from our perspective here this is how we bring marriage equality to our state - one state at a time across the country.

    So my perspective of heroes this week have been of President Obama, Governor O'Malley and Congressional Candidate Kyrsten Sinema. So it surprised me when I received this post on my Facebook




    Perspective. One never knows who is watching and the impact your words and actions have on them. This is not the first time someone has shared this type of sentiment with me. However, each time it catches me off guard. I mean come on, who am I? I am not the President or a Governor. How can I possibly be a hero? Perspective. You see most of the time when I hear this it comes from our youth. While I know that the time I give is not only for myself but to make a difference in the lives of many others, I forget that people actually get that too. I gotta say - it makes all the defeats and struggles worth it. To know that I am giving our youth inspiration and hope is a very humbling experience. It also fuels me to keep going.

    The funny thing is from my perspective the youth today are heroes. They are so brave to come out or to be an ally for their friends that do. I can't wait for today's youth to be in the lead and take this fight for equality to a whole other level.

    A lot has happened in the last two days. I think I have a new perspective on a few things.
    Enhanced by Zemanta

              My Time as an HRC Board Member Comes to an End        
    This weekend my time as a Board of Governor for the Human Rights Campaign came to an end. While it doesn't mean the end of my volunteering with the organization it does end 4 years in a leadership role that provided me with some extraordinary opportunities. One of those opportunities was being the Area Representative for our steering committee. I can not say enough about my fellow volunteers. Their dedication and sacrifice continues to inspire me.

     During my time on the Board, our committee received awards for our accomplishments by HRC national and by the LGBT community in Arizona. While these awards are always nice, what meant event more to me were the individuals that came to me and thanked me for making a difference. These were small but powerful moments. Moments I don't usually handle well. I usually just shrug it off and say, "Oh it's no big deal" or just wave my hand in dismissal and move on to the next point of order. Eventually, I learned to pause and say, "Your welcome, there is lots more to do, I could use some help so let me know if you want to be on the team." I'm not into taking credit, I'm in to building a team and creating coalitions so more work can get done quicker. However, I learned that sometimes it was important to others for them to say thanks, for them to acknowledge the progress. I understand this. There have been many people I have been able to thank for their work and their sacrifices for LGBT equality. It just took me awhile, about 8 years, to realize I am also one of those people.

    In my final weekend as a Board of Governor I spent my time working on a bullying issue at a local school, running an HRC booth at a festival, and watching President Obama speech at the HRC National Dinner on the computer. I honestly couldn't think of a better way to finish out this time. I love working booths at these events. I enjoy sharing the mission of HRC and educating people on the issues. I love working with new volunteers and seeing so many people from our community. The energy at the booth for me is addicting and it's always hard for me to leave. Yesterday though I wanted to leave. I wanted to make sure I was home and ready to see President Obama address the 3,000 attendees at the HRC National Dinner. My daughter was sitting next to me when the live feed started. She saw the HRC logos and Joe Salmonese take the stage. She went back to watching her show as she is used to seeing HRC stuff on my computer. Then Joe introduced the President. Her attention instantly turned back to my screen. She asked, "Mom were you there when President Obama spoke?" I smiled and said, "This is happening in D.C. right now. Instead of being there I get to be here and watch it with you." She smiled leaned on my shoulder and we watched our President speak. I won't say the 9 year old really stayed focused on my screen for the whole time. However, the fact that she knows what HRC is, that I meet and work with elected officials, that the reason I go to meetings and give up some family time is so that our family can one day be treated equal means a lot to me.

    So my title has gone from HRC Board of Governor, Steering Committee Co-Chair, Area Representative, Political Co-Chair to just HRC Political Co-Chair. So what are my plans now?

    Continue.

    There is lots more to do, I could use some help so let me know if you want to be on the team.

    Titles mean nothing. Actions mean everything.

              In HRC Speech, Obama Says, "I'm Going to Continue To Fight Alongside You"        
    Last night, President Obama spoke at the Human Rights Campaign's Annual Gala Dinner. While many people have been critical of President Obama and feel he has not done enough for the LGBT community, the fact is he has done more for our community than any other President. HRC endorsed President Obama for the 2012 election a few months ago. While some felt this was too early, I personally don't see an issue with it. Clearly, his record shows he is a strong supporter of LGBT rights. Besides, what are they supposed to do = endorse Michelle Bachmann? One highlight of the speech was when President Obama called out the Republican Presidential hopefuls for ignoring a recent incident at one of their debates. A gay soldier sent in a video question asking if they planned to undo Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Members of the audience booed the soldier. The Republicans made no mention of it. In his speech last night the President made this comment on the incident, "We don’t believe in the kind of smallness that says it’s okay for a stage full of political leaders — one of whom could end up being the President of the United States — being silent when an American soldier is booed. We don’t believe in that. We don’t believe in standing silent when that happens. We don’t believe in them being silent since. You want to be Commander-​in-​Chief? You can start by standing up for the men and women who wear the uniform of the United States, even when it’s not politically convenient." Here is the full video of the speech. The written transcript follows the video.




     





    The White House
    Office of the Press Secretary

    Remarks by the President at the Human Rights Campaign's Annual National Dinner

    Washington Convention Center
    Washington, D.C. 
    7:26 P.M. EDT
     THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you so much.  It is great to be back.  (Applause.)  I see a lot of friends in the house.  I appreciate the chance to join you tonight.  I also took a trip out to California last week, where I held some productive bilateral talks with your leader, Lady Gaga.  (Laughter.)  She was wearing 16-inch heels.  (Laughter.)  She was eight feet tall.  (Laughter.)  It was a little intimidating.
    Now, I don’t want to give a long speech.  Cyndi Lauper is in the house.  I can’t compete with that.  (Applause.)  But I wanted to come here tonight, first of all, to personally thank Joe for his outstanding years of leadership at HRC.  (Applause.)  What he has accomplished at the helm of this organization has been remarkable, and I want to thank all of you for the support that you’ve shown this organization and for your commitment to a simple idea:  Every single American -- gay, straight, lesbian, bisexual, transgender -- every single American deserves to be treated equally in the eyes of the law and in the eyes of our society.  It’s a pretty simple proposition.  (Applause.)
    Now, I don’t have to tell you that we have a ways to go in that struggle.  I don’t have to tell you how many are still denied their basic rights -- Americans who are still made to feel like second-class citizens, who have to live a lie to keep their jobs, or who are afraid to walk the street, or down the hall at school.  Many of you have devoted your lives to the cause of equality.  So you know what we have to do; we’ve got more work ahead of us.
    But we can also be proud of the progress we’ve made these past two and a half years.  Think about it.  (Applause.)  Two years ago, I stood at this podium, in this room, before many of you, and I made a pledge.  I said I would never counsel patience; that it wasn’t right to tell you to be patient any more than it was right for others to tell African Americans to be patient in the fight for equal rights a half century ago.  (Applause.)  But what I also said, that while it might take time –- more time than anyone would like -– we are going to make progress; we are going to succeed; we are going to build a more perfect union.
    And so, let’s see what happened.  I met with Judy Shepard.  I promised her we would pass a hate crimes bill named for her son, Matthew.  And with the help of my dear friend Ted Kennedy we got it done.  Because it should never be dangerous -- (applause) -- you should never have to look over your shoulder -- to be gay in the United States of America.  That’s why we got it done.  (Applause.)
    I met with Janice Langbehn, who was barred from the bedside of the woman she loved as she lay dying.  And I told her that we were going to put a stop to this discrimination.  And you know what?  We got it done.  I issued an order so that any hospital in America that accepts Medicare or Medicaid -– and that means just about every hospital -– has to treat gay partners just as they do straight partners.  Because nobody should have to produce a legal contract to hold the hand of the person that they love.  We got that done.  (Applause.) 
    I said that we would lift that HIV travel ban -- we got that done.  (Applause.)  We put in place the first comprehensive national strategy to fight HIV/AIDS.  (Applause.) 
    Many questioned whether we’d succeed in repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell.”  And, yes, it took two years to get the repeal through Congress.  (Applause.)  We had to hold a coalition together.  We had to keep up the pressure.  We took some flak along the way.  (Applause.)  But with the help of HRC, we got it done.  And “don’t ask, don’t tell” is history.  (Applause.)  And all over the world, there are men and women serving this country just as they always have -- with honor and courage and discipline and valor.  We got it done.  (Applause.)  We got that done.  All around the world, you’ve got gays and lesbians who are serving, and the only difference is now they can put up a family photo.  (Laughter.)  No one has to live a lie to serve the country they love.
    I vowed to keep up the fight against the so-called Defense of Marriage Act.  There’s a bill to repeal this discriminatory law in Congress, and I want to see that passed.  But until we reach that day, my administration is no longer defending DOMA in the courts.  I believe the law runs counter to the Constitution, and it’s time for it to end once and for all.  It should join “don’t ask, don’t tell” in the history books.  (Applause.)
    So, yes, we have more work to do.  And after so many years -- even decades -- of inaction you’ve got every right to push against the slow pace of change.  But make no mistake -- I want people to feel encouraged here -- we are making change.  We’re making real and lasting change.  We can be proud of the progress we’ve already made.
    And I’m going to continue to fight alongside you.  And I don’t just mean in your role, by the way, as advocates for equality.  You’re also moms and dads who care about the schools your children go to.  (Applause.)  You’re also students figuring out how to pay for college.  You’re also folks who are worried about the economy and whether or not your partner or husband or wife will be able to find a job.  And you’re Americans who want this country to succeed and prosper, and who are tired of the gridlock and the vicious partisanship, and are sick of the Washington games.  Those are your fights, too, HRC.  (Applause.)
    So I’m going to need your help.  I need your help to fight for equality, to pass a repeal of DOMA, to pass an inclusive employment non-discrimination bill so that being gay is never again a fireable offense in America.  (Applause.)  And I don’t have to tell you, there are those who don't want to just stand in our way but want to turn the clock back; who want to return to the days when gay people couldn’t serve their country openly; who reject the progress that we’ve made; who, as we speak, are looking to enshrine discrimination into state laws and constitutions -- efforts that we’ve got to work hard to oppose, because that’s not what America should be about.
    We’re not about restricting rights and restricting opportunity.  We’re about opening up rights and opening up opportunity -- (applause) -- and treating each other generously and with love and respect.  (Applause.)
    And together, we also have to keep sending a message to every young person in this country who might feel alone or afraid because they’re gay or transgender -- who may be getting picked on or pushed around because they’re different.  We’ve got to make sure they know that there are adults they can talk to; that they are never alone; that there is a whole world waiting for them filled with possibility.  That’s why we held a summit at the White House on bullying.  That’s why we’re going to continue to focus on this issue.  (Applause.)  This isn’t just “kids being kids.”  It’s wrong.  It’s destructive.  It’s never acceptable.  And I want all those kids to know that the President and the First Lady is standing right by them every inch of the way.  (Applause.)  I want them to know that we love them and care about them, and they’re not by themselves.  That’s what I want them to know.  (Applause.)  
    Now, I also need your help in the broader fight to get this economy back on track.  You may have heard, I introduced a bill called the American Jobs Act.  (Applause.)  It’s been almost three weeks since I sent it up to Congress.  That’s three weeks longer than it should have taken to pass this common-sense bill.  (Applause.)  This is a bill filled with ideas that both parties have supported -- tax breaks for companies that hire veterans; road projects; school renovations; putting construction crews back to work rebuilding America; tax cuts for middle-class families so they can make ends meet and spend a little more at local stores and restaurants that need the business.  
    Now, you may have heard me say this a few times before -- I’ll say it again:  Pass the bill.  (Applause.)  Enough gridlock.  Enough delay.  Enough politics.  Pass this bill.  Put this country back to work.  (Applause.)  HRC, you know how Congress works.  I’m counting on you to have my back.  Go out there and get them to pass this bill.  (Applause.)  Let’s put America back to work.
    Now, ultimately, these debates we’re having are about more than just politics; they’re more about -- they’re about more than the polls and the pundits, and who’s up and who’s down.  This is a contest of values.  That’s what’s at stake here.  This is a fundamental debate about who we are as a nation.
    I don’t believe -- we don’t believe -- in a small America, where we let our roads crumble, we let our schools fall apart, where we stand by while teachers are laid off and science labs are shut down, and kids are dropping out.
    We believe in a big America, an America that invests in the future -- that invests in schools and highways and research and technology -- the things that have helped make our economy the envy of the world.
    We don’t believe in a small America, where we meet our fiscal responsibilities by abdicating every other responsibility we have, and where we just divvy up the government as tax breaks for those who need them the least, where we abandon the commitment we’ve made to seniors though Medicare and Social Security, and we say to somebody looking for work, or a student who needs a college loan, or a middle-class family with a child who’s disabled, that “You’re on your own.”  That’s not who we are.
    We believe in a big America, an America where everybody has got a fair shot, and everyone pays their fair share.  An America where we value success and the idea that anyone can make it in this country.  But also an America that does -- in which everyone does their part -- including the wealthiest Americans, including the biggest corporations -- to deal with the deficits that threaten our future.  (Applause.)
    We don’t believe in a small America.  We don’t believe in the kind of smallness that says it’s okay for a stage full of political leaders -- one of whom could end up being the President of the United States -- being silent when an American soldier is booed.  (Applause.)  We don’t believe in that.  We don’t believe in standing silent when that happens.  (Applause.)  We don’t believe in them being silent since.  (Applause.)  You want to be Commander-in-Chief?  You can start by standing up for the men and women who wear the uniform of the United States, even when it’s not politically convenient.  (Applause.) 
    We don’t believe in a small America.  We believe in a big America -- a tolerant America, a just America, an equal America -- that values the service of every patriot.  (Applause.)  We believe in an America where we’re all in it together, and we see the good in one another, and we live up to a creed that is as old as our founding:  E pluribus unum.  Out of many, one.  And that includes everybody.  That’s what we believe.  That’s what we’re going to be fighting for.  (Applause.)
    I am confident that’s what the American people believe in.  (Applause.)  I’m confident because of the changes we’ve achieved these past two and a half years -– the progress that some folks said was impossible.  (Applause.)  And I’m hopeful -- I am hopeful --
    AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Fired up!
    THE PRESIDENT:  I’m fired up, too.  (Laughter.)  I am hopeful -- (applause) -- I am hopeful -- I am still hopeful, because of a deeper shift that we’re seeing; a transformation not only written into our laws, but woven into the fabric of our society.
    It’s progress led not by Washington but by ordinary citizens, who are propelled not just by politics but by love and friendship and a sense of mutual regard.  (Applause.)  It’s playing out in legislatures like New York, and courtrooms and in the ballot box.  But it’s also happening around water coolers and at the Thanksgiving table, and on Facebook and Twitter, and at PTA meetings and potluck dinners, and church socials and VFW Halls.
    It happens when a father realizes he doesn’t just love his daughter, but also her wife.  (Applause.)  It happens when a soldier tells his unit that he’s gay, and they tell him they knew it all along and they didn’t care, because he was the toughest guy in the unit.  (Applause.)  It happens when a video sparks a movement to let every single young person know they’re not alone, and things will get better.  It happens when people look past their ultimately minor differences to see themselves in the hopes and struggles of their fellow human beings.  That’s where change is happening.  (Applause.)
    And that’s not just the story of the gay rights movement.  That’s the story of America -- (applause) -- the slow, inexorable march towards a more perfect union.  (Applause.)  You are contributing to that story, and I’m confident we can continue to write another chapter together.
    Thank you very much, everybody.  God bless you.  (Applause.) 
    END
    7:45 P.M. EDT

    Enhanced by Zemanta

              Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Certified        
    Photo by Pete Souza



    Today, President Obama signed the certification that will lead to "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" finally being gone on September 20, 2011. Some were not happy with the delay in certification, however, for a change like this in the military I am very satisfied with 7 months.

    There has been a lot of information coming from the White House today and I wanted to share some of that. 
    First is the press release from President Obama.


    THE WHITE HOUSE
    Office of the Press Secretary
    __________________________________________________________________________
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    July 22, 2011

    Statement by the President on Certification of Repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell

    Today, we have taken the final major step toward ending the discriminatory ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ law that undermines our military readiness and violates American principles of fairness and equality.  In accordance with the legislation that I signed into law last December, I have certified and notified Congress that the requirements for repeal have been met.  ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ will end, once and for all, in 60 days—on September 20, 2011. 

    As Commander in Chief, I have always been confident that our dedicated men and women in uniform would transition to a new policy in an orderly manner that preserves unit cohesion, recruitment, retention and military effectiveness.  Today’s action follows extensive training of our military personnel and certification by Secretary Panetta and Admiral Mullen that our military is ready for repeal.  As of September 20th, service members will no longer be forced to hide who they are in order to serve our country.  Our military will no longer be deprived of the talents and skills of patriotic Americans just because they happen to be gay or lesbian.

    I want to commend our civilian and military leadership for moving forward in the careful and deliberate manner that this change requires, especially with our nation at war.  I want to thank all our men and women in uniform, including those who are gay or lesbian, for their professionalism and patriotism during this transition.  Every American can be proud that our extraordinary troops and their families, like earlier generations that have adapted to other changes, will only grow stronger and remain the best fighting force in the world and a reflection of the values of justice and equality that the define us as Americans.


    Next is an email sent by the President to organizations like HRC and individuals who worked hard to make this victory possible. 
    Last year, I visited Afghanistan. I was there to thank our men and women in uniform, the brave Americans who have given so much on behalf of this country and who make me so proud to be Commander-in-Chief.  At one of America’s bases there, I was shaking hands and taking pictures, walking along a pretty tight crowd of service members.  A young woman in uniform pulled me into a hug.  She leaned in close so I could hear her over the noise and whispered, “Get ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ done.” 
    I said to her, “I promise you I will.” 
    A few weeks later, after a struggle that lasted almost two decades, I signed a law to repeal this policy.  I signed it with absolute confidence in our men and women in uniform, in their professionalism and in their capacity to adapt to this change, just as they have adapted and grown stronger with other changes throughout our history.  And I signed this repeal knowing that our military would be stronger – and our nation safer – for the service of patriotic gay men and women who would no longer have to live a lie in order to defend the country they love. 
    Today, in accordance with this law, I signed the certification that will end “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” once and for all.  The Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff also have certified that the military is ready for the repeal.  Sixty days from now, on September 20th, the repeal will be complete and gay men and women will be able to serve their country openly. 
    On that day, I’ll be thinking of the young woman I met in Afghanistan.  And I’ll be thinking of the countless others like her, straight and gay alike, who love this nation and the ideals for which it was founded, and who have signed up to serve so that we might all live in freedom and uphold this simple creed: we are all created equal. 
    Thank you for helping to make this victory for our country possible. 
    Sincerely,
    Barack Obama

    Finally I wanted to include a copy of the actual certification document



    This is a great day. The end to this awful law finally has an expiration date.





    Enhanced by Zemanta

              My Letter from Senator McCain        






    I love politics. I enjoy contacting my elected officials by email, phone, letters, etc. I want to participate in the governing process. I believe it is one of our most import responsibilities as citizens to do. We must do more than just vote. We must make sure that our elected officials know how we, as their constituents feel on the issues that matter most to us.

    The tough part is I live in Arizona. I am happy to say that I live in a district where I actually feel the representation I have in the State Legislature is good. I am also very pleased with my Congressman, Ed Pastor.

    Then you come to Senator Jon Kyl and Senator John McCain. I would say their representation lately couldn't be farther from my views. Although I know when I call their offices or write to them it is a long shot that they will be on my side, I do it anyway. You see, for me, these are the people it is most important I reach out to. I must continue to let them know I am here and they represent me.

    I recently emailed Sen. McCain and asked him to support the Repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). I know of two other constituents that support this - Cindy McCain and Meghan McCain. Since these two constituents are family and can't seem to sway him on this I know it's a long shot. Plus this is not the first time I have engaged the Senator on this issue. I have met with his D.C. staff in the past to discuss this issue on several occasions. I have also called his office and sent other emails on numerous occasions over the years.


    Today I got a response from Sen. McCain.

    From: senator@mccain.senate.gov
    Sent: Wednesday, June 15, 2011 1:07 PM
    To: Kathy Young
    Subject: Correspondence from Senator McCain


    June 15, 2011

            Dear Ms. Young:


            Thank you for contacting me to express your views on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). I appreciate hearing from you.

            Recently, I was saddened to learn that the Obama administration instructed the Department of Justice not to defend any legal challenges to DOMA. I believe, like most Americans, that the institution of marriage should be protected and defined as a union between a man and a woman. It is this definition and only this definition that acknowledges and supports the vital and unique roles played by mothers and fathers in the important job of raising children.

            For this reason, I do not support the dismantling of an institution that is the very foundation of our society, and replacing it with newer and more flexible understandings that are of questionable public value. I will continue to promote unions that have traditionally provided the basis for stable families and committed relationships.

            Again, thank you sharing your thoughts on this issue. You can be assured that I will keep your concerns in mind should any legislation pertaining to DOMA be considered by the full Senate. Please feel free to contact me in the future regarding this or any other issue of concern.

                                              Sincerely,


                                              John McCain
                                              United States Senator


     
    There was no surprises in this response. Still hard to read. Still hurtful. In no way surprising.
     
    In the future Senator McCain will get another email from me asking him to support the repeal of DOMA. It won't surprise him. It may annoy him that I didn't seem to hear his answer. 
     
    Because the thing is it's his job to listen to me. It's my job to keep speaking to him. I will use different words and I will try different stories to convince him that recognizing my relationship has great public value instead of  something that to him is "of questionable public value." The point is, when my kids are old enough to understand the fight for equality and they ask me what I did to help protect my family, giving up will not be part of the story.





               Mitt Romney: 20 Things You Never Knew!! ……..(Allegedly!)         
    Mitt Romney: 20 Things You Never Knew!! ……..(Allegedly!)

    Mitt Romney: 20 Things You Never Knew...
    .
    Submitted by: Rob Gotobed
    Regular
    Keywords: mitt romney mitt romney meme relatable romney romney out of touch mitt romney quotes memes President debate Clinton Congress sex America wives Barack Obama nude sex tape Hot Girls women wedding twilight family guy Facebook USA twitter Mexican Harry Potter funnyordie
    Views: 18,900


               Obama to Sell Southern Whites in Africa         
    Obama to Sell Southern Whites in Africa

    Obama to Sell Southern Whites in Africa
    "Today I'm announcing a new plan to sell Southern white people to African countries. They will be transported in period-accurate ships from ports in Georgia and Mississippi. Now, we probably won't be able to fit as many 300 pound lard-asses in these old ships, but we're committed to making as many trips as necessary."
    Submitted by: ERICH ORIGEN
    Regular
    Keywords: obama africa obama africa trip southerners congress politics parody obama administration
    Views: 7,564


              House GOP divided on immigration but united against Senate, Obama        
    By Frank Thorp, Luke Russert and Carrie Dann, NBC News Wed Jul 10, 2013 5:54 PM EDT NBCNews.com House Republicans huddled behind closed doors Wednesday in a long-awaited “special conference” to discuss tactics, air grievances and plot the way forward – or out of – the national debate over comprehensive immigration reform. While the “lively” […]
              Barack Obama        
    Barack Obama By: Heather Lahr Wagner  On February 10, 2007, a crowd of more than 15,000 people gathered outside the Old State Capitol building in Springfield, Illinois. The Capitol, chosen as the backdrop for this gathering, is rich in historical connections. Although the building is a reconstruction, it was on this site that Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous “House Divided” speech in 1858,
              Federal Judge Orders State Dept To Search Hillary Aides’ Accounts For Benghazi Records        
    Obama appointee dings State Department over incomplete search
              State Dept. Told To Release New Benghazi Emails From Hillary’s Server        
    'Still trying to provide cover for Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama'
              With Cameras Banned in the Supreme Court, Undercover Video Emerges        

    People are discovering a recently-posted YouTube video that apparently shows both a portion of the oral argument in a campaign finance case in October 2013 and Wednesday's interruption of an oral argument before the U.S. Supreme Court.

    The first half of the video says that it is shows the argument is in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, No. 12-536, a case argued on Oct. 8, 2013 which challenges the constitutionality of federal limits on contributions to non-candidate political committees. The date stamp on part of the video matches the date that the case was argued. While the audio of the Justices and lawyers speaking can be heard, its impossible to make out the words. The scene, however, is clearly the courtroom of the U.S. Supreme Court.

    The video then cuts to the interruption, during the Feb. 26, 2014 argument in Octane Fitness v. Icon Health & Fitness, No. 12-1184, a patent case. This half of video shows Kai Newkirk, a member of the group 99Rise -- which takes credit for the interruption in a press release  -- interrupting the argument to state that the court's 2010 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 310 (2010) should be overturned, and that the contribution limits at issue in McCutcheon should be upheld. The video also shows Newkirk being removed from the courtroom.  (He was subsequently arrested and charged under 40 U.S.C. § 6134, which makes it illegal to "make a harangue or oration, or utter loud, threatening, or abusive language in the Supreme Court Building or grounds.")

    Both portions of the video are jumpy and haphazard, and were apparently shot with hidden cameras in violation of the the court's strict prohibition on cameras in the courtroom. The video acknowledges this, beginning with the text, "What you're about to see have never been seen before. This is video from inside the chamber of the U.S. Supreme Court. Under their arcane rules, no one is allowed to record the proceedings. Not even C-SPAN ... (sic) in the year 2014." Other videos uploaded by the same YouTube user show what appear to be the full videos shot during the Octane Fitness argument. From the datestamps, it appears that three separate cameras were used. None of the words said in the videos are discernible, except for Newkirk's statement. A 23-minute video of the McCutcheon argument is also posted.

    There has been growing pressure for the Supreme Court -- which controls it own rules -- to allow still and video cameras to cover its proceedings, including in an ad campaign launched last week. But there has been little movement on the issue, with federal trial courts conducting a second "trial" of cameras in selected courtrooms. When an attorney was indirectly tweeting from an overflow room at the court during oral arguments in the 2012 case challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), the court asked her to stop. 

    The new videos may be less remarkable for what they show, than that they exist at all.  They demonstrate that not everyone is prepared to wait for the Court to reform its own procedures. It will be interesting to see how the Court reacts.

    Eric P. Robinson is co-director of the Program in Press, Law and Democracy at the Manship School of Mass Communication at Louisiana State University. He has taught media law and ethics at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, Baruch College, and the University of Nevada, Reno, where he was also Deputy Director of the Donald W. Reynolds Center for Courts and Media. He has also been a  staff attorney at the Media Law Resource Center and a legal fellow at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. In addition to his posts here, he maintains his own blog at bloglawonline.com.

    Subject Area: 

    Jurisdiction: 


              Digging for our credibility        
    In the ongoing discussion on the Obama education speech, one JEA member suggested the press provided too much of a platform for fringe opinions instead of balanced reporting. While that may be, I’d like to suggest something H. L. Hall always stresses as important: digging. All too often, in commercial media and in scholastic media […]
              Comment on Obamacare and Lower-Income Workers by david doon        
    The key to this health care working if for the middle income earners being insured.Keep up the good fight.
              Snowden not a whistleblower, risked US national security: White House        

    Washington: Edward Snowden, a former CIA contractor who leaked classified government documents is not a whistleblower, but someone who risked national security and American lives, the White House said, dimming his hopes of a presidential pardon from Barack Obama before he demits office.

    "There actually is a specific process that is well-established and well-protected that allows whistleblowers to raise concerns that they have, particularly when it relates to confidential or classified information, to do so in a way that protects the national security secrets of the US. That is not what Snowden did," Press Secretary Josh Earnest said.

    "Edward Snowden is not a whistleblower," Earnest said.

    "His conduct put American lives at risk and it risked American national security. That is why the policy of the Obama administration is that Snowden should return to the US and face the very serious charges that he is facing," he told reporters yesterday.

    Snowden, 33, is accused of violating the Espionage Act and theft of government property for leaking sensitive data to the media about National Security Agency's internet and phone surveillance.

    He faces at least 30 years in jail in the US, and has been living in exile at an undisclosed location in Russia since June 2013. His residency permit expires next year.

    Earnest maintained the long-held position of the US government that Snowden will be "afforded the rights that are due to every American citizen in our criminal justice system."

    "But we believe that he should return to the United States and face those charges," he said, adding that there is no communication between Snowden and the US president.

    "I'm not aware of any conversations or any communications between Snowden and the president," he said.

    Snowden, on the other hand, argues that though he leaked secret data, the information have benefited the public as they led to a improvement in privacy protection laws.

    Snowden has asked Obama for clemency in an interview with a UK newspaper, saying: "If not for these disclosures, if not for these revelations, we would be worse off."

    "Yes, there are laws on the books that say one thing. But that is perhaps why the pardon power exists - for the exceptions, for the things that may seem unlawful in letters on a page but when we look at them morally, when we look at them ethically, when we look at the results, it seems these were necessary things," he said.

    Snowden not a whistleblower, risked US national security: White House
    Section: 
    Yes
    News Source: 
    Facebook Instant Article: 
    Yes

              Moscow says new US national security strategy is anti-Russian         

    Moscow: Russia`s federal Security Council on Wednesday criticised as "anti-Russian" the new US national security strategy, which lists Moscow`s aggression in its neighbouring Ukraine among most pressing threats.

    The Security Council also repeated an assertion Washington might try to engineer political change in Russia using the same tactics of mass protest the Kremlin says it applied to topple a pro-Russian president in Kiev last year.

    President Barack Obama released Washington`s updated national security strategy on Feb.6, renewing his commitment to work to isolate Russia over its support for separatist rebels fighting Kiev troops in east Ukraine.

    The Russian council said the update, unlike the previous 2010 version, "has an openly anti-Russian line and creates a negative image of our country." It said the implementation of the new US strategy would pose a threat to Russia.

    "In the long-term, the United States along with its allies will continue to push for political and economic isolation of Russia," it said.

    Ties between Moscow and Washington are at their lowest since the Cold War over the conflict in Ukraine, where the West accuses Russia of driving a separatist rebellion to destabilise the former Soviet republic and boost its influence there.

    Moscow has sided with the rebels but denies direct military involvement despite mounting evidence on the ground. 

    Moscow says its aim is to protect the Russian-speaking eastern regions of Ukraine from nationalists who took over in Kiev after the former president and Kremlin ally, Viktor Yanukovich, was ousted in street protests in February, 2014.

    Moscow accuses the United States of masterminding what it calls a coup in Kiev, on the lines of other uprisings in ex-Soviet states dubbed "colour revolutions".

    "There is high probability of applying in regard to Russia the improved technology of `colour revolutions` that will be used ever more widely to remove political authorities disliked by the United States." 

    The Russian foreign ministry criticised Western nuclear arms policy.

    Moscow said at the weekend Danish warships would become targets for its nuclear weapons should the country join a NATO missile defence it argues could undermine its nuclear capabilities.

    "In our view, the United States and other NATO members should have long abandoned the pernicious one-sided steps in the missile defence field. They wouldn`t have to worry about the consequences then," the Russian ministry said in a statement.

    Section: 
    Yes
    News Source: 

              US national security team briefs Obama on Ukraine        

    Washington: The White House says President Barack Obama is getting regular updates on the situation in Ukraine.

    Obama`s national security team is discussing Ukraine at a White House meeting today, the eve of a vote on whether Ukraine`s Russia-leaning Crimea region should secede and seek annexation by Moscow.

    Obama and the leaders of other Western nations have denounced the vote as illegal and say they won`t recognise the results.

    Earlier today at the United Nations, Russia vetoed a US-sponsored resolution declaring Sunday`s referendum illegal.

    Crimea became a flashpoint after Ukraine`s pro-Russia president fled the country last month after months of anti-government protests.

    Russia refuses to recognise Ukraine`s new government and has effectively taken control of the Crimea region.

    Section: 
    Image Caption: 
    No
    News Source: 

              Fat Americans pose a threat to national security: Generals        

    Washington: Increasing rates of obesity among young Americans could undermine the future of the US military, with potential recruits increasingly too fat to serve, two retired generals said on Friday.
    "Obesity rates threaten the overall health of America and the future strength of our military," generals John Shalikashvili and Hugh Shelton, both former chairs of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, wrote in a commentary.

    Obesity disqualified more potential recruits for military service than any other medical factor, the two former commanders wrote in the Washington Post.

    The two generals urged Congress to adopt legislation that would ensure better nutrition in schools, offering children more vegetables, fruits and whole grains while cutting back on foods with high sugar, sodium and fat content.

    "We consider this problem so serious from a national security perspective that we have joined more than 130 other retired generals, admirals and senior military leaders in calling on Congress to pass new child nutrition legislation," wrote the commanders, part of a non-profit group called "Mission: Readiness."

    The warning came amid growing concern that childhood obesity has turned into an "epidemic," affecting a staggering one in three American youngsters.

    A study released in March warned more American children are becoming extremely obese at a younger age, putting them at risk of dying decades younger than normal-weight children and of suffering old-age illnesses in their 20s.

    The US military also faces a problem with troops already serving who are overweight, with some soldiers losing out on promotions because of their failure to meet fitness standards.

    Although the military enjoyed record-breaking recruitment levels last year, officials say the growing problem of obesity could present a serious problem for recruitment efforts over time.

    The two retired generals endorsed a plan by President Barack Obama`s administration to increase funding by one billion dollars a year over ten years for child nutrition programs.

    Investing in nutrition made sense as the country was already spending 75 billion dollars a year on medical costs associated with obesity, they said.

    Citing figures from the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, the commentary said the proportion of potential recruits who flunked their physical tests because they were overweight has jumped nearly 70 percent since 1995.

    Shalikashvili, who led the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1993 to 1997, and Shelton, who held the same post from 1997 to 2001, cited school lunch legislation passed in 1946 as a model.

    Military leaders at the time recognized that poor nutrition reduced the pool of qualified candidates for the armed forces, they said.

    "We must act, as we did after World War II, to ensure that our children can one day defend our country, if need be."

    Bureau Report

    Section: 
    Image Caption: 
    No
    News Source: 

              Fat Americans pose a threat to national security: Generals        

    Washington: Increasing rates of obesity among young Americans could undermine the future of the US military, with potential recruits increasingly too fat to serve, two retired generals said on Friday.

    "Obesity rates threaten the overall health of America and the future strength of our military," generals John Shalikashvili and Hugh Shelton, both former chairs of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, wrote in a commentary.

    Obesity disqualified more potential recruits for military service than any other medical factor, the two former commanders wrote in the Washington Post.

    The two generals urged Congress to adopt legislation that would ensure better nutrition in schools, offering children more vegetables, fruits and whole grains while cutting back on foods with high sugar, sodium and fat content.

    "We consider this problem so serious from a national security perspective that we have joined more than 130 other retired generals, admirals and senior military leaders in calling on Congress to pass new child nutrition legislation," wrote the commanders, part of a non-profit group called "Mission: Readiness."

    The warning came amid growing concern that childhood obesity has turned into an "epidemic," affecting a staggering one in three American youngsters.

    A study released in March warned more American children are becoming extremely obese at a younger age, putting them at risk of dying decades younger than normal-weight children and of suffering old-age illnesses in their 20s.

    The US military also faces a problem with troops already serving who are overweight, with some soldiers losing out on promotions because of their failure to meet fitness standards.

    Although the military enjoyed record-breaking recruitment levels last year, officials say the growing problem of obesity could present a serious problem for recruitment efforts over time.

    The two retired generals endorsed a plan by President Barack Obama`s administration to increase funding by one billion dollars a year over ten years for child nutrition programs.

    Investing in nutrition made sense as the country was already spending 75 billion dollars a year on medical costs associated with obesity, they said.

    Citing figures from the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, the commentary said the proportion of potential recruits who flunked their physical tests because they were overweight has jumped nearly 70 percent since 1995.

    Shalikashvili, who led the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1993 to 1997, and Shelton, who held the same post from 1997 to 2001, cited school lunch legislation passed in 1946 as a model.

    Military leaders at the time recognized that poor nutrition reduced the pool of qualified candidates for the armed forces, they said.

    "We must act, as we did after World War II, to ensure that our children can one day defend our country, if need be."

    Bureau Report

    Section: 
    Image Caption: 
    News Source: 
    Yes
    7941
    Home Title: 

    Fat Americans pose a threat to national security: Generals


              Michelle Obama’s Speech brings in widespread internet attention from Twitter, Reddit, Facebook        
    Michelle Obama DNC speech

    As politics gets heated up in anticipation for the Election on November 6th, we witnessed a great surge from Michelle Obama's emotionally charged yet positive speech about what it means to be a hard working American. The First Lady was able to get Twitter talking about her speech at 28,000 tweets per minute.

    The twitter blog talks about the impressive numbers:

    twitter wrote:

    read more


              Freedom of Speech and Expression        

    While we still have it, we should uphold it, whether we share the same views or even like what one has to say. Unfortunately, it is true, and I've read it in several political blogs as well as in several books, one being "The Post-American Presidency" ~ The Obama Administrations War on America.
    We will find that the administrator of this blog site won't have say, but another group, an International group Obama has given control over internet monitoring, and if we keep following his lead, we'll soon be under International Law, with no constitutional rights or Freedoms. This is no joke, it's happening right now, so let our sisters have their say, as that is a right we all should cherish while we still have some of those rights still intact.


              NAACP report documents racist current in Tea Party        

    Adrienne,
    I have decided I do not want to get into a back and forth with you. Whatever I write will be distorted. Readers can read my post and your reply and decide for themselves whose points they consider valid.

    You imply that I am calling you personally a racist because I have written about the racist strand in the Tea Party. You really need to read more carefully.

    The recent NAACP report meticulously documents this racist current. I suggest you read it. A summary and links can be found at http://www.thenewamerican.com/index.php/usnews/politics/4957-naacp-relea...
    From the report:

    Earlier this week, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights announced their intent to release a report entitled, Tea Party Nationalism: A Critical Examination of the Tea Party Movement and the Size, Scope, and Focus of its National Factions.
    Released on Wednesday, October 20, the report focuses specifically on six major Tea Party groups: FreedomWorks, 1776 Tea Party, Tea Party Nation, Tea Party Patriots, ResistNet, and the Tea Party Express. Co-authored by Leonard Ziskind and Devin Burghart. It ultimately concludes that the Tea Party movement is “permeated with concerns about race” and that the individual Tea Party groups “have given platform to anti-Semites, racists, and bigots.”
    According to the introduction, “This report documents the corporate structures and leaderships, their finances, and membership concentrations of each faction. It looks at the actual relationship of these factions to each other, including some of the very explicit differences they have with each other. And we begin an analysis of the larger politics that motivate each faction and the Tea Party movement generally.”
    The report meticulously outlines alleged “racist” and ethnocentric tendencies in Tea Party organizations as it proceeds through a variety of chapters: "Introduction"; "Local Tea Party Chapters"; "Origins of the Tea Parties"; "Tea Party Nation At A Glance"; "Tea Parties — Racism, Anti-Semitism and the Militia Impulse"; "Tea Party Patriots At A Glance"; "Who is an American? Tea Parties, Nativism, and the Birthers"; "Tea Party Express At A Glance"; "Correlation Between Unemployment Levels and Tea Party Membership?"; and "FreedomWorks At A Glance."
    The chapter entitled “Tea Parties-Racism, Anti-Semitism, and the Militia Impulse” is perhaps the most troubling. It begins:
    This section of the Special Report compiles opinion polling data, documents significant examples of racist vitriol on the part of the Tea Party leaders, shows incidents where well-known anti-Semites and white supremacists have been given a platform by Tea Partiers, and analyzes the attempt by white nationalist organizations to find new recruits in Tea Party ranks.
    However, much of the cited material includes the presence of Confederate battle flags, signs that read “America is a Christian nation,” and “racist caricatures of President Obama," all of which are presented as indicators of “racism.” Another instance of racism addressed in this section are “venom (and spittle) directed at African-American Congressmen during the health care debate,” an incident which has long since been proven to be wholly exaggerated.

    Karen Bojar


    http://www.the-next-stage.com/


              Supervisor Sophie Maxwell’s Barack Obama Handbag – For The Win        
    TweetHere’s San Francisco Supervisor Sophie Maxwell TCB (Taking Care of Business) on a weekend trying to sort through issues relating to Speaker of the the House Nancy Pelosi and the Golden Gate Bridge. But what’s this – a vibrant Barack Obama leather handbag? Let’s take a closer look: Is that a Coach Leatherware brass grommet? […]
              Obama’s birthday gives uber-objective media a chance to show how much he’s missed        
    Like this, but worse
              Paul Krugman serves up more proof Nobel Prize needs ‘comedy’ category        
    Obama the Honest
              Time for a Brighter Theme?        
    I changed the website theme a few years ago, but now that President Obama’s days are numbered, it might be time to change things up a bit with a new website visual theme. Donald Trump won the election. That fact doesn’t thrill me, other than that it means Hillary Clinton lost, but I’m cautioiusly optimistic […]
              Telepolis berichtet über Liberale Männer in der FDP – News vom 26. Juli 2017        
    1. Auf Telepolis berichtet Peter Mühlbauer unter freundlicher Verlinkung von Genderama über die Liberalen Männer in der FDP und stellt ihre Positionen vor. Anders als etwa Heide Oestreich in der "taz" gelingt ihm dies ohne hämische Abwertung. Und er fügt weitere interessante Informationen hinzu, die dieser Tage bereits in der Online-Männerszene diskutiert wurden:

    Inwieweit [die Positionen der Liberalen Männer] Aufnahme in die offiziellen Positionen der FDP finden, hängt davon ab, ob sich ihre Vertreter auf Parteitagen durchsetzen - was wiederum damit zusammenhängt, wie viele Personen es dort gibt, die damit nur schwer kompatible Positionen vertreten. Am explizitesten macht das die von Matteo Müller, Benjamin Brandstetter und René Oehler ins Leben gerufene und am Wochenende über Soziale Medien bekannt gewordene Gruppe der "Progressiven" in der FDP, die zwar angibt, die Liberalen nicht "spalten" zu wollen, aber mit Gendersternchen und einem ähnlichem Duktus operiert wie vor fünf Jahren die "progressive" Peer Group in der Piratenpartei (...).

    Unter "Liberalismus und Geschlecht" heißt es im Webauftritt der "Progressiven in der FDP", man sei "auch liberale Feminist*innen" [sic], denn der Liberalismus "brauch[e] Feminismus" und man müsse "Gender Studies ernst nehmen und deren Erkenntnisse nutzen". Deshalb sei man auch für die "Einführung von Unisextoiletten" und die "Nutzung gendersensibler Sprache".


    Wie schwer vereinbar sind diese beiden Positionen in der FDP? Mit Gendersternchen dürften es die sogenannten "Progressiven" im liberalen Lager ohnehin schwer haben; bei anderen Themen ließe sich womöglich ein Konsens finden. Solange die Genderstudien sich in einem Zustand befinden, in dem auch dezidiert Linke wegen der Wissenschaftsferne dieses Fachs dessen Abschaffung fordern, geht hier wohl wenig. Aber was wäre, wenn sich dieser Bereich irgendwann ernstzunehmender Wissenschaft annähert, statt lediglich feministische Ideologeme beispielsweise vom Täter Mann und Opfer Frau stützen zu wollen?

    Immerhin wäre ein echter Konflikt zwischen Befürwortern und Gegnern der Genderstudien im Vergleich zu dem, was aktuell stattfindet, bereits ein Schritt nach vorne. Denn bisher sieht es so aus, dass das eine Lager Kritik an verschiedenen Aspektenen dieses Bereichs äußert und das andere Lager sich einbunkert und "Nazis!" brüllt.



    2. Selbst das feministisch orientierte Magazin "ze.tt" sieht den Online-Pranger, den Andreas Kemper & Co. für die Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung erstellt haben, skeptisch:

    Klickt man auf die Einträge im Wiki, fällt eines sofort ins Auge: Sie sind auf das für die Böll-Stiftung scheinbar Nötigste reduziert. So steht unter [Frauke] Petry neben eines sehr kurzen Abrisses ihrer Tätigkeit nur, und wirklich nur, das: "Wie Andreas Kemper auf seinem Blog berichtete, teilte Frauke Petry während der Leipziger Buchmesse 2014 in einem Interview mit der Jungen Freiheit mit, die AfD sei nicht mehr vorrangig eine Anti-Euro-Partei, sondern eine Familienpartei, und Familienpolitik, so Petry, sei Bevölkerungspolitik". Da bietet das tatsächliche Wikipedia sicherlich mehr Informationen über die Politikerin.

    Das Böll-Stiftungs-Wiki wirft mit solchen Einträgen allerdings mehr Fragen auf, als Antworten zu geben: Wer selektiert die Informationen und wonach werden sie ausgesucht? Die Einträge lesen sich eher wie eine schwarze Liste als ein wirkliches Lexikon.

    (...) Das Wiki verursacht selbst bei denen, die Antifeminismus und Homophobie bekämpfen wollen, einen merkwürdigen Beigeschmack und wirft die Fragen auf: Brauchen wir so etwas wirklich? Ist diese Art der Berichterstattung schon Hetze? (...) Auch die Broschüre, welche "die Emanzipation der Geschlechter, Gleichberechtigung, Antidiskriminierung und Anerkennung aller sexueller Orientierungen und geschlechtlicher Identitäten" schützen will, vermittelt den Eindruck, wir würden in einer schwarz-weißen Welt leben. Als gebe es lediglich falsche Sichtweisen und richtige Antworten.


    Hier findet man den vollständigen Artikel von Milena Zwerenz.

    Seit ich Andreas Kempers Veröffentlichungen beobachte, bin ich dabei in der weit überwiegenden Mehrzahl auf nichts anderes als persönliche Denunziation gestoßen. So etwas lässt sich heutzutage offenbar bereits als "Forschung" verkaufen. Daraus ein Geschäftsmodell samt Reklame für das eigene Blog zu machen ist zwar in seiner Dreistigkeit fast schon bewundernswert. Aber wenn selbst das eigene Lager vor dem kruden Schwarz-Weiß-Denken zurückschreckt, das diese Veröffentlichungen zeigen, sollte man sich vielleicht doch mal den einen oder anderen Gedanken mehr machen, ob man im Eifer der Begeisterung für die eigene Ansicht wirklich noch das Richtige tut.

    Derweil beschäftigt sich auf den Seiten der "Welt" auch Henryk Broder mit dem grünen Online-Pranger. Broder findet ihn ganz unterhaltsam,

    bis das Amüsement über dieses skurrile Dossier der Erkenntnis weicht, womit man es zu tun hat: einer Massendenunziation von Menschen, die nichts anderes verbrochen haben, als in Fragen von Ehe, Familie und Moral anderer Meinung zu sein als die Verfasser der Liste, die ihre Meinung für die einzig richtige und zulässige halten.


    Dies sei nicht die Aufgabe einer aus Steuermitteln bezahlten politischen Stiftung, erklärt Broder, was für ihn die Frage aufwirft, ob die die Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung hier bereits am Rande der Legalität operiere. "Vom Progressiven zum Totalitären", urteilt Broder jedenfalls, "ist es oft nur ein kurzer Weg."



    3. In der Frankfurter Allgemeinen blickt Don Alphonso auf eine andere Hetzjagd zurück, bei der die Meute überzeugt davon war, dass der Verfolgte zu den Bösen gehörte und deshalb alles verdiente, was er erleiden musste – den Fall Paul Nungeßers, der von dem "Matratzenmädchen" Emma Sulkowicz offenbar fälschlich der Vergewaltigung bezichtigt wurde. Ein Auszug aus Don Alphonsos Text:

    Clinton, Obama, Gillibrand, fast die gesamte feministische Szene, der hasserfüllte Mob, die amerikanischen Medien und die Deutschen, die kritiklos abgeschrieben haben, was dort stand, und die weitgehend ignorierten, dass der Betroffene von den Vorwürfen freigesprochen wurde, obwohl die Universitäten scharf gegen jeden Vergewaltigungsverdacht vorgehen müssen, weil ihnen von der Obama-Administration unter Verweis auf Title IX der Entzug staatlicher Gelder angedroht wurde: Sie alle sind bis auf die Knochen blamiert. Die gefeierte feministische Kunstaktion ist nun etwas, das sich nicht wiederholen wird, und die frühere Heldin Emma Súlkowicz verweigert auf Medienanfragen bislang jeden Kommentar.

    Dafür steht sie in einer Reihe mit den anderen beiden ebenso prominenten wie falschen Vergewaltigungsbehauptungen: Zuerst hatte der Fall von “Jackie” Furore gemacht, die bei einer Verbindungsfeier Opfer einer Gruppenvergewaltigung geworden sein wollte. Es dauerte eine Weile, bis sich herausstellte, dass Jackie sich das alles nur ausgedacht hat – mit verheerenden Folgen für die Universität und die Zeitschrift Rolling Stone, die mit einem schockierenden Fall Aufmerksamkeit erzeugen wollte, und mehr davon bekam, als ihr lieb sein konnte. Kurz danach flog die Schauspielerin und Feministin Lena Dunham auf, die in ihrer Autobiographie von einer Vergewaltigung durch einen Republikaner berichtet hatte: In einer demütigenden Stellungnahme war der Verlag gezwungen, die Angaben von Dunham zu korrigieren, die ungeachtet dessen weiterhin die feministische Sache an der Seite von Hillary Clinton befördern wollte. Sobald Clinton Präsidentin wurde.


    Die folgenden Absätze von Don Alphonsos Artikel handeln von dem Aufruhr gegen die aktuelle US-Bildungsministerin, nachdem die sich unter anderem mit Männerrechtlern getroffen hatte, um eine Lösung für die wachsende Misere an amerkanischen Universitäten zu finden. (Genderama berichtete.)

    Nach diesem und anderen Artikeln gegen feministische Vorverurteilungen ist es wirklich ein Wunder, wie schon einige anmerkten, dass Don Alphonso in der Schwarzen Liste des grünen Genderlagers nicht geführt wird. Warum Henning von Bargen und Andreas Kemper in diesem Fall nicht ebenfalls längst "Kreuzigt ihn!!" geschrieen haben, wird man mir mal in einer ruhigeren Stunde erklären müssen.

    Übrigens hat Don Alphonso auf Twitter eine berechtigte Frage zu dem Pranger der Grünen gestellt.



    4. In einem aktuellen Beitrag des FOCUS kommt ein Business-Experte zu Wort: "Die Frauenquote ist nur was für Kontrollfreaks".



    5. Eine neue englischsprachige Website soll Männerrechtler ("Mens Human Rights Activists") miteinander in Verbindung bringen.



    6. Die Universität Princeton verfügt jetzt über einen "Men's Engagement Manager". Yeah, werden jetzt einige sagen, endlich gibt es für diese Minderheit auf dem Campus auch einen Fürsprecher! Diese Vermutung wäre natürlich grundnaiv; der "Men's Engagement Manager" ist für ganz andere Dinge da.



    7. Die Website "Whisper" hat Aussagen von Frauen zusammengestellt, die erklären, warum Männer bei Verabredungen bezahlen sollen. Für alle, die eine zu hohe Meinung vom weiblichen Geschlecht haben, sollte das ein wirksames Gegengift sein. (Und natürlich haben wir in dieser Reihe auch die typische Feministin, die dann an althergebrachten Geschlechterrollen festhalten will, wenn es ihr nützt.)



    8. Auf den Seiten des populärwissenschaftlichen Magazins Psychology Today erklärt der Professor für Sozialpsychologie Lee Jussim, warum es keineswegs "Sexismus" zu verschulden ist, dass es so wenige Frauen in naturwissenschaftlichen und technischen Fächern gibt.



    9. Die Abneigung dagegen, auch Frauen für ein Verbrechen angemessen zu bestrafen, wird immer bizarrer:

    A woman who admitted she pulled the plug from her fiancé’s kayak and was "euphoric" as she watched him drown in the frigid Hudson River dodged murder and manslaughter raps Monday, taking a plea deal for the lesser charge of criminally negligent homicide.

    Angelika Graswald, 37, who had faced 25 years to life in prison if convicted at trial now faces as little as 16 months to four years behind bars.

    And with time served since her imprisonment in 2015, the slap -on-the-wrist sentence could see her released on parole as soon as December, her lawyer said.


    Die New York Post berichtet.



    10. Die aktuellen Staffeln von "Game of Thrones" werden wegen ihrer "starken Frauenfiguren" von Feministinnen gefeiert. Das ist mehr als grotesk:

    Game of Thrones is ripe with undeniably cool, badass women. Cersei blew up thousands of her citizens without a second thought. Brienne took on the Hound in single combat, and won. Daenarys has freed whole cities, acquired three dragons, and gained the Dothraki army by burning the other Khals to death. Arya murdered the entire Frey house in one sweep. (...) What each of these women have in common, what binds them together perhaps even more than their shared gender, what makes them cool, is their penchant and tolerance for a certain amount of brutality. Whether their cruelty is seemingly justified (Arya, Brienne) or solely for personal gain (Cersei, Ellaria), whether they physically engage in this violence themselves (again, Arya and Brienne) or merely commission others to do it for them (Cersei, Dany, Sansa), these women aren't afraid to raze, torture, manipulate, and murder in order to achieve their goals.


    Diese Beobachtung Jordan Petersons trifft. In einer geistig gesunden Welt läge hier die Frage nahe, ob G.R.R.Martin mit den aktuellen Staffeln nicht schlicht den Feminismus und seine rasende Aggression persiflieren möchte, was jene Feministinnen auch noch feiern, die zu blöd sind, Blutdurst und Massenmord problematisch zu finden, solange diese Dinge von Frauen ausgehen. Die Aussage von "Game of Thrones" könnte ja gerade sein, dass die feministisch gefeierten Figuren wie Arya und Daenerys, sobald sie in eine Machtposition gelangen, sich umstandslos zu Grausamkeit und Metzeleien hinreißen lassen, was aber von kaum einem Zuschauer kritisch gesehen wird, denn das sind ja die weiblichen "Heldinnen" und "Vorbilder". Leider sieht Peterson stattdessen als Hauptproblem, dass Frauen "traditionell männliches Verhalten" wie beispielsweise "Brutalität" übernähmen, und diese Imitation von Männern sei ja nun wirklich problematisch.



    11. In einem aktuellen Interview sprach sich die bekannte Serienschauspielerin Elisabeth Moss ("Mad Men", "The West Wing" etc.) für männerfeindliche Darstellungen in TV-Serien aus. Die Publizistin Laura Perrins bezieht dagegen Stellung. Ein Auszug:

    Misandry is quite nasty and not necessary for female equality or emancipation. Is this what we have to do now – portray men as "gross, weird, nerdy or evil suppressors", in order to make ourselves feel good, because if that is the feminist deal then I’m out. This is why I have been out for many years.

    (...) So man-hating feminists of feminism, you should really drop the misandry; it is not a good look. Perhaps go and watch Dunkirk, a film is based on fact not fiction, and see what men have sacrificed for your freedom. They died so you could make this hate-filled art. A simple ‘thank you’ would suffice.

              Gehen schwarze Nazi-Soldatinnen nicht doch ein bisschen weit? – News vom 22. Juli 2017        
    1. Immer wieder war in diesem Blog Thema, wie unser Rechtsystem Männer für dasselbe Vergehen härter bestraft als Frauen. Aber selten wird dies anhand eines konkreten Falls so plastisch: Ein Pärchen hat Sex auf einem Alsterdampfer und muss nun wegen "Erregung öffentlichen Ärgernisses" insgesamt 2600 Euro Strafe zahlen. Und zwar der Mann 2100 Euro und die Frau 500 Euro. Warum? Weil die Frau gerade Mutter geworden ist und auf die Richterin einen "ganz vernünftigen Eindruck" machte.



    2. Zwei Nachrichten aus den USA, die Genderama vor einigen Tagen meldete, werden inzwischen auch in deutschsprachigen Leitmedien erwähnt.

    "Keine Vergewaltigung auf der Matratze" titelt "Die Zeit" zum Fall Paul Nungeßer aus Berlin und Emma Sulkowicz.

    Dazu, dass die Erziehungsministerin der USA auch Gruppen einlud, die faire Verfahren für Beschuldigte sexueller Gewalt fordern, fällt der "Süddeutschen" in ihrem unnachahmlichem Stil natürlich nur folgende Überschrift ein: "Trumps Bildungsministerin verunsichert Opfer sexueller Gewalt".

    Über eine derartige Idiotie ist selbst die feministische New York Times inzwischen hinaus. "Betsy DeVos Is Right: Sexual Assault Policy Is Broken" betitelt das Blatt einen Artikel der männerfreundlichen Equity-Feministin Cathy Young. Und der Boston Globe ist in seiner Schlagzeile nicht weniger deutlich: "Will Betsy DeVos fix Obama’s toxic campus sexual assault policy?"



    3. In einem Urteil, das als "wegweisend" bezeichnet wird, hat das Oberste Gericht Israels gerade ein Männer diskriminierendes Gesetz gekippt: Jetzt müssen auch Frauen Unterhalt für Kinder zahlen. Zumindest wenn die Kinder im Alter zwischen 6 und 15 Jahren sind und ihre Mutter mehr verdient als ihr Vater.



    4. Die Post. Einer meiner Leser schreibt mir zu den Schwarzen Listen, die die Grünen über Feminismuskritiker angelegt haben: "Ein solcher Pranger existierte ja schon des öfteren. Das kann tatsächlich Konsequenzen haben, wenn auch anders als vom Betreiber beabsichtigt. Als Ex-Hannoveraner bin ich vor einigen Jahren über diese Kuriosität gestolpert:

    Die Geschichte der Sammlung Sprengel beginnt im Spätsommer 1937 unter den seltsamsten und denkwürdigsten Umständen, die je einen Sammler zum Sammeln motiviert haben, Bernhard Sprengel besuchte in München die Ausstellung "Entartete Kunst", mit der die Machthaber des Dritten Reichs die moderne Kunst dem Spott und Hohn der Masse überantworten wollten, indem sie die aus den deutschen Museen geraubten Werke der Öffentlichkeit ... präsentierten. "Trotz schlechter Hängung wirkte die 'Entartete Kunst' auf meine Frau und mich wie eine Fanfare. Für mich, der ich bisher nur der Musik wirklich verhaftet war und bildende Kunst mehr im Vorübergehen ... betrachtet hatte, war dieses die erste wirklich zündende Begegnung. So führte unser Weg fast zwangsläufig zu Günther Franke in der Brienner Straße, der uns im ‚Hinterstübchen‘ die ersten beiden Aquarelle von Emil Nolde verkaufte."


    "Parallelen zu Agent*in möglich?" fragt mein Leser. "Ich würde es den Machern wünschen."

    Ein anderer Leser macht mich darauf aufmerksam, dass der ebenfalls auf diesen Schwarzen Listen geführte Professor Aigner anscheinend selbst Mitglied der Grünen ist. Der feministische Verfolgungseifer erwischt einmal mehr die eigenen Leute – während er dem tatsächlichen politischen Gegner nur hilft, wie Lucas Schoppe anmerkt:

    Diese Plattform richtet sich gegen demokratische Akteure von links bis konservativ, weil es nur denen schaden kann, mit Rechtsradikalen in einen Topf geworfen zu werden. Den Typen vom rechten Rand hingegen wird eine solche Gemeinsamkeit eher nützen – was die Verantwortlichen der Plattform billigend in kauf nehmen. Die Einschüchterung demokratischer Kritiker ist ihnen offenbar wichtiger als eine gemeinsame Kritik von Rechtsaußen-Positionen.


    Und auf Facebook teilt Milosz Matuschek der Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung mit:

    Eine Prangerseite ist einer politischen Stiftung nicht würdig, schon gar nicht, wenn sie nach einem Mann benannt ist, der Dissidenten bei sich aufnahm. Bereue gerade nicht, bei euch als Vertrauensdozent aufgehört zu haben.


    Matuschek hat Recht. Heinrich Böll war eines meiner Themen im mündlichen Examen. Er trat immer wieder für die politisch Ausgegrenzten ein. Und deshalb würde er sich im Grab herumdrehen, wenn er wüsste, was eine nach ihm benannte Stiftung heute fabriziert.



    5. Mehr Post. Ein anderer Leser bezieht sich auf eine Meldung über einen "sexistischen" Werbespot der Firma Audi, der in China für einen Aufschrei sorgte, und merkt dazu an:

    Inhalt des Spots: Kurz bevor sich ein Brautpaar das Ja-Wort gibt, stürmt die künftige Schwiegermutter der Braut nach vorne und begutachtet (wie auf einem Viehmarkt) das Gebiss der Frau, die Ohren, die Nase. Kurzzeitig scheint sie zufriedengestellt, da fällt ihr Blick auf das Dekollete und der Zuschauer kann erahnen, was jetzt folgen würde, wenn nicht ein Schnitt erfolgte und es dann um Autos ginge.

    Was hat Audi falsch gemacht? Ganz einfach: Sie hätten den Schwiegervater des Bräutigams losschicken sollen, damit dieser in die Hose des Bräutigams schaut, ob da alles "okay" ist. Dann wäre das Video viral durch die Welt gegangen als gutes Beispiel für witzige Werbung.




    6. Ein weiterer Leser kommentiert die auf Genderama verlinkte Satiremeldung, der zufolge Christopher Nolan dafür kritisiert worden sei, bei seiner Verfilmung der Schlacht um Dünkirchen nur weiße Männer zu zeigen:

    Bei deiner heutigen Presseschau konnte ich bei dem Beitrag über zu wenige Frauen in Dünkirchen nicht soo sehr schmunzeln.

    Der Grund ist ein einfacher: In der Spiele-Szene tobt der Gender-Krieg bekanntlich schon eine ganze Weile. Vor einer Woche hat ein User auf Youtube den neusten Auswuchs an politsch korrekter Geschichtsdarstellung vorgestellt:

    Black Women of the German Army In Call of Duty WW2

    Ja, richtig gelesen. Vor ca. einem Jahr, als "Battlefield 1" herauskam, gab es Stunk, da Frauen erst gar nicht als Spielercharaktere 3-D-mässig modelliert wurden, wohl aus dem Wissen heraus, dass die meisten Frauen wenn, dann nur im Lazarett tätig waren.


    Wie man über das verlinkte Youtube-Video erfährt, kann man bei "Call of Duty" hingegen jetzt auch schwarze Frauen als Soldatinnen der nationalsozialistischen Armee spielen. Wegen "Diversity" und so.

    "Scheiß auf den Realismus, wir fügen Soldatinnen hinzu, weil das längst überfällig ist", hatte die Spieleentwicklerin Amandine Coget schon vor einem Jahr dazu erklärt.

    Mein Leser kommentiert weiter:

    Nun also treibt man das ins Extreme. Es ist ja nicht so, dass hier Alternate-Reality-Spiele verkauft werden. Dann könnte man ja ein Auge zudrücken.

    Eine ähnliche Haltung war, ebenfalls vor einem Jahr, die Entscheidung Apples, Spiele, die die Südstaatenflagge beinhalteten, aus ihrem Store zu löschen. Fragt sich, wie man denn jetzt Geschichte spielerisch beibringen will, wenn einem mittendrin statt einem blauen Kreuz auf rotem Hintergrund möglicherweise die Genderflagge entgegenspringt.

    Muss man die Leute, die heute in der Schule ohnehin weniger Bildung als jemals zuvor abbekommen, noch zusätzlich dumm halten? Und gleichzeitig die Leute, die das Wissen haben, unnötig verwirren durch die derzeitige Propaganda?


    Während sie das tatsächliche Verrecken an der Front noch immer weit überwiegend den "unterdrückerischen" Männern überlassen, fordern Feministinnen, dass sie im harmlosen Spiel die Plätze dieser Männer einnehmen dürfen, "weil das längst überfällig ist". Viel schöner kann man eigentlich nicht ausdrücken, was eine feministische Geisteshaltung heutzutage ausmacht.
              Berating Bigotry: Religious And Policy Groups Respond To Bachmann’s Anti-Muslim Hysteria        
    Rob Boston
    A wide swath of the American religious and non-religious community believes Michele Bachmann is all wet.

    U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann’s efforts to stir up an anti-Muslim witch hunt have sparked a bit of a pushback, to put it mildly.

    As you might recall, Bachmann (R-Minn.) and four other House members (Trent Franks of Arizona, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Thomas J. Rooney of Florida and Lynn A. Westmoreland of Georgia) sent letters to the inspector general offices of the State, Justice and Homeland Security departments, demanding an investigation into the infiltration of our government by the Muslim Brotherhood.

    This claim of an imminent takeover of the federal government by the Muslim Brotherhood is the latest conspiracy theory to be spat out of the far right-wing “hate-Muslims-hate-Obama” 24/7 nutcase cyclorama. It is getting traction only because we live in an era where, thanks to the Internet and Fox News, any crank with a modem is suddenly a media figure.

    Seeing an opportunity to slam Obama and Muslims, Bachmann, a Religious Right favorite and erstwhile presidential candidate, latched onto this like a pit bull on a postal carrier and hasn’t looked back.

    But the unfantastic five made a big mistake: They fingered Huma Abedin, a top deputy of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as key to the conspiracy. Abedin, who is Muslim, is supposedly neck-deep in this thing because three of her family members are allegedly tied to the Muslim Brotherhood. Among them is her father, who has been dead for 20 years.

    All of this craziness was too much for U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who stood up on the Senate floor and blasted the anti-Abedin crusade in strong language. McCain noted that he has worked with Abedin, considers her a friend and assailed those who question her patriotism.

    Shortly after that, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) told reporters that he doesn’t know Abedin personally but added, “[F]rom everything that I do know of her she has a sterling character. Accusations like this being thrown around are pretty dangerous.”

    Even Ed Rollins, a GOP strategist who managed Bachmann’s presidential campaign, let her have it. Rollins wrote a column stating, “I am fully aware that she sometimes has difficulty with her facts, but this is downright vicious and reaches the late Senator Joe McCarthy level….Shame on you, Michele!”

    The Gang of Five responded by doubling down and insisting that they are right. Gohmert derided McCain and other critics as “numb-nuts.” (Keep it classy, Louie!) As for Abedin, she received at least one death threat.

    I’m pleased to say that opposition to Bachmann’s xenophobia is spreading beyond the political world. Yesterday, 42 religious and public policy organizations, including Americans United, signed a joint letter to Bachmann and the other four representatives letting them know that this type of religious bigotry has no place in the United States.

    “Far from supporting the safety of our country, these accusations distract us from examining legitimate threats using proven, evidence-based security strategies,” asserts the letter, which was organized by the Interfaith Alliance. “Moreover, we know all too well the danger of casting suspicion on loyal and innocent Americans simply because they hold particular beliefs.

    “We will not stand idly by and allow our country to revive federal investigations into innocent individuals based on their religious adherence. We will continue to speak out in support of people of all faiths and no faith, and the religious freedom of all Americans to practice – or choose not to practice – a religion without fear of criticism or suspicion.”

    The range of signatories is impressive and includes groups that often don’t see eye to eye on other issues. Religious groups signing on include the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Office of Public Witness, the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, Friends Committee on National Legislation, the Hindu American Foundation, American Baptist Churches USA, the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and the United Church of Christ.

    Secular and public policy groups signing on include the American Humanist Association, American Atheists, the Center for Inquiry, the Secular Coalition for America, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Military Association of Atheists & Freethinkers and the NAACP.

    I’ve worked here a long time and don’t know that I’ve ever before seen a letter endorsed by both the Catholic bishops and American Atheists. I think it’s safe to say that a wide swath of the American religious and non-religious community believes the Bachmann gang is all wet.

    Of course, the Religious Right is still in Bachmann’s corner. The Family Research Council (FRC) has issued a prayer alert asking its supports to rally around the “vigilant” lawmaker who, they say, is merely asking questions.

    Let the FRC stand with Bachmann – and with the anti-American values she represents. As the new letter indicates, much of the rest of the religious and secular community in America has seen her bigotry and repudiated it.


              Obama seeks tax on banks; calls bonuses obscene - Forbes.com        


    9 Vote(s)
              Tampa Bay Times: The unvarnished truth about climate change ... by gimleteye        


    Tweet by Neil deGrasse Tyson‏ @neiltyson 2h2 hours ago

    Odd. No one is in denial of America’s Aug 21 total solar eclipse. Like Climate Change, methods & tools of science predict it.

    Another in a string of excellent OPED's pointing out that Republicans and President Trump are on the far, dark side of history when it comes to climate change denialism. Clearly, GOP campaign contributors know that climate change is real. Oh, there are some who are so convinced -- by virtue of ideology or wealth -- that "the weather is always changing". They refuse to read or to understand the science.

    So be it. The rest of America must begin to understand that the refusal to ACT NOW on climate change is a dismal expression of mankind's worst instincts: to selfishness, greed, and the accumulation of unlimited power.

    Voters need to elevate the response to climate change to the first order of priority in selecting candidates for public office. There is no time to wait.


    Editorial: The unvarnished truth about climate change
    Wednesday, August 9, 2017 4:43pm


    The latest federal report on the Earth's warming climate doesn't mince words about the disturbing trends, man's contributions or the dangers that millions across the globe already face, especially in low-lying coastal areas in Florida and elsewhere. It is yet another call to action for federal, state and local officials — and they all have a role to play in curbing emissions of heat-trapping gases, shoring up infrastructure, improving flood control and finding more efficient ways for societies to grow and manage their populations.

    Drafted by scientists at 13 federal agencies, the report cited the warming trend as "global, long term and unambiguous." Global temperatures have increased by about 1.6 degrees over the past 150 years, the study found, and thousands of studies have created "many lines of evidence" to conclude that human activity is primarily behind the changing climate. The authors found it "extremely likely" that most of the warming since 1951 was caused by humans, and that even if emissions were to cease, existing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere would cause temperatures to increase at least a half-degree Fahrenheit over this century.

    The report, by 30 lead authors representing agencies such as NASA, federal laboratories, the private sector and universities, is part of the National Climate Assessment. That is a congressionally mandated analysis that seeks to build on the existing science and provide a snapshot of the current state of climate change. It found an increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather, and warming in the Arctic at twice the rate of the global average — a phenomenon that could impact sea levels, the weather and other patterns in the lower 48 states. One-third of the sea level rise since 1880 has occurred since 1990, and coastal communities from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic are at increasing risk of routine flooding, saltwater intrusion into the drinking water supply and the collapse of roads, utilities and other vital infrastructure. That puts Florida's east and west coastlines at risk, yet Gov. Rick Scott's administration has been less aggressive than local governments in South Florida and Tampa Bay in addressing the challenges.

    The findings contradict the talking points of the Trump administration, which has openly questioned the science behind climate change and the degree that humans contribute to it, and which has moved to reverse the clean-air initiatives of the Obama White House. The unpublished analysis was made available to the New York Times days before Sunday's deadline for the 13 federal agencies to approve the report. Making the report public at least forces the Trump administration to explain why it does or does not stand behind the science.

    This national assessment lays a foundation for securing federal funding and regulatory direction on climate policy, and it offers state and local governments the technical assistance they need to incorporate the impact of climate change into their planning for infrastructure, land use and other long-term issues. States and cities, though, cannot cede all responsibility to the federal government. Studies show Florida, for example, has invested trillions of dollars in infrastructure with virtually no consideration given to rising sea levels. Rising seas could swell Tampa Bay up to 19 inches over the next quarter-century, putting tens of thousands of residents at risk. The federal study is another wake-up call about a threat that is real, here and more pressing by the day.

    Editorial: The unvarnished truth about climate change 08/09/17 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 9, 2017 4:48pm]

              An Adult Conversation About Medicare For All ... by gimleteye        
    NOTE: What the hell is going on with Republicans in Congress? The GOP is spending itself on health care like waves on a beach; a great surge then slide back out to sea.

    GOP leadership believes that its base is motivated by only one idea: overthrow Obamacare. What was a popular net to corral voters turns out to be much less popular, and not at all effective, as a matter of protecting people, jobs, family and income.

    It would be far better for sober adults in the GOP majority in Congress to look at the outcomes of health care in the U.S. As Dr. Carol Paris and many others report: the United States lags health care metrics compared to nearly every other industrialized nation. "Compared to ten other wealthy countries, the U.S. ranks dead last for life expectancy, and access to care. We even have the lowest number of hospital beds per capita, a way that health experts measure the capacity of a nation’s health system. It’s as if our system was designed to deny care."

    The only metric where U.S. health care exceeds beyond imagination: empowering and enriching intermediaries in the health care supply chain.

    I understand that this point grossly simplifies a massively complex process, but if other Western nations can effectively institute a single-payer system, why can't we?

    Published on
    Friday, July 28, 2017
    by Common Dreams
    It's Time for the Adults in This Nation To Talk Seriously About Medicare for All
    Today, we breathe a quick sigh a relief. But we cannot celebrate a return to the failed status quo.
    by Dr. Carol Paris

    Ruby Partin, 63, and her adoptive son Timothy Huff, 5, wait for a free clinic to open in the early morning of July 22, 2017 in Wise, Virginia. Hundreds of Appalachia residents waited through the night for the annual Remote Area Medical (RAM), clinic for dental, vision and medical services held at the Wise County Fairgrounds in western Virginia. The county is one of the poorest in the state, with high number of unemployed and underinsured residents. (Photo: John Moore/Getty Images)

    Hundreds of people slept overnight in cars, or camped for days in a field. They told stories of yanking out their own teeth with pliers, of reusing insulin syringes until they broke in their arm, of chronic pain so debilitating they could hardly care for their own children. At daybreak, they lined up for several more hours outside a white tent, waiting for their chance to visit a doctor. For many, this was the first health care provider they’ve seen in years.

    Is this a place torn by war, famine or natural disaster? No, this charity medical clinic was last weekend in southwest Virginia, in the wealthiest country in the world, where we spend nearly three times as much money on health care as other similar countries.

    "It’s as if our system was designed to deny care."

    And what do we get for our money? The very definition of health care rationing: 28 million Americans without insurance, and millions more insured, but avoiding treatment because of sky-high deductibles and co-pays. Compared to ten other wealthy countries, the U.S. ranks dead last for life expectancy, and access to care. We even have the lowest number of hospital beds per capita, a way that health experts measure the capacity of a nation’s health system. It’s as if our system was designed to deny care.

    America does hit the top of the list in some areas. Compared to other nations, American doctors and patients waste the most hours on billing and insurance claims. We have the highest rate of infant mortality, and the highest percentage of avoidable deaths—patients who die from complications or conditions that could have been avoided with timely care.

    Clearly, this system is broken. Like a cracked pipe, money gushes into our health care system but steadily leaks out. Money is siphoned into the advertising budgets of insurance companies and the army of corporate bureaucrats working to deny claims. Even more dollars are soaked up by the pockets of insurance CEOs who have collectively earned $9.8 billion since the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010. Nearly a third of our health care dollars go to something other than health care.

    President Trump recognized voters’ frustration and campaigned on a promise of more coverage, better benefits, and lower costs. We couldn’t agree more with these goals. However, instead of trying to fix our broken system, GOP leaders are acting more like toddlers, mid-tantrum, smashing our health system into smaller and smaller pieces, threatening to push even more Americans—the most vulnerable among us—through the cracks. Last night, a few Senate Republicans stood up and acted like adults, putting an end to this dangerous game.

    Today, we breathe a quick sigh of relief. But we cannot celebrate a return to the status quo, a system that rations health care based on income and allows 18,000 Americans to die each year unnecessarily.

    Where do we go from here?

    Republicans had eight years to come up with a plan that achieves more coverage, better benefits and lower costs. Have our elected leaders simply run out of ideas?

    "The good news is that we already have a proven model for health financing that is popular among both patients and physicians."
    The good news is that we already have a proven model for health financing that is popular among both patients and physicians. It provides medically-necessary care to the oldest and sickest Americans with a fraction of the overhead of private insurance. It’s called Medicare, and I can tell you as a physician that it has worked pretty darn well for more than 50 years.

    Not only do we have a model, we have a bill that would expand Medicare to cover everyone and improve it to include prescriptions, dental, vision, and long-term care. It’s called H.R. 676, the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act, a single-payer plan that would provide comprehensive care to everyone living in the U.S. The bill would yield about $500 billion annually in administrative savings while covering the 28 million currently uninsured. Medicare for all is gaining steam with a record 115 co-sponsors, a majority of House Democrats.

    Now that Republican senators have finally worn themselves out, Sen. Bernie Sanders plans to file his own single-payer Medicare for all bill. Senators from both parties will be asked to choose a side: Do you support the current system of health care rationing, medical bankruptcies and unnecessary deaths; or a program proven to work both here and in every other developed country?

    A majority of Americans now believe that health care is a human right, and that it is our government's responsibility to achieve universal coverage. We’ve tried everything else except Medicare for all. What are we waiting for?

              Kid in popemobile gets “top prize” at White House        
    View image | gettyimages.com Fron AP: A toddler dressed like the pope and pushed along in a popemobile got the top prize at President Barack Obama’s White House Halloween. Upon seeing the costume, Obama turned to the news media and declared “top prize.” Read more and see more pictures. 
              Obama vs Romney – Decide Who Wins!        
    Click on each state in the map with your predictions, and the running total at the bottom will tell you who wins! You can also cycle through the results of elections 1789-2008, which is entertaining if you read the little election facts at the bottom of each map. Personally, it kind of reminded me of […]
              Obama & Clinton: Chris Hayes Nails the Difference        
    In last night’s MSNBC coverage of the Democratic Convention, Chris Hayes drew this contrast between Clinton compromises and Obama compromises. It’s definitely worth a watch. Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy And there’s some truth.
              Birth Certificate vs. Tax Returns        
    Do you think the Obama campaign is drawing inspiration for their “where are the tax returns?” push from the birth certificate debacle? It’s been interesting watching and listening to this developing over the weekend. I’m hearing questions and comments about Mitt Romney’s tax returns that sound a whole lot familiar to anyone who followed the […]
              Watch: Stephen Colbert Interviews Gay Facebook Co-Founder Chris Hughes About His New Project ‘Jumo’        
    Last night, Stephen Colbert interviewed gay Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes about the personal fortune he made from Facebook, his work for Barack Obama's presidential campaign, and his new project, Jumo, which helps people connect with non-profit organizations, learn their stories, and volunteer or donate. Watch, AFTER THE JUMP… The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm […]
              Kerry Eleveld interviews Hillary Clinton        
    The Obama administration floodgates seem to have opened wide, in terms of press availabilities with the gay media. Feeling your way through an interview with one of the world’s most powerful women is more art than science. Marriage seemed like the place to start, since Clinton had been caught off guard by a recent inquiry […]
              Donald Trump dice no recibirá un dólar de su salario como presidente. ¿Será que va a mantener su promesa?        
    El republicano electo, Donald Trump, afirmó antes de su victoria que no tomaría “ni un dólar del salario presidencial”. Una promesa que muchos se preguntan si se empeñará en mantener, ahora que reemplazará a Barak Obama. De hecho, las preguntas no han parado de llegarle desde que se anunciaran los resultados de la elección. El […]
              Kat Blaque's Tweets Sum Up How We Feel About Trump's Trans Military Ban        
    #Politics

    The trans activist and YouTuber made a good point about the military.

    #ActivismKatBlaque#Transgender#LGBTtrump-transgender-military-ban-kat-blaque-tweetsRaffy Ermac

    In a series of tweets from earlier this morning, President Donald Trump announced that transgender people are now going to be banned from serving in the United States military. 

    As The Advocate points out, under a previous policy announced by Ash Carter (defense secretary under President Obama), trans people were able to serve openly and have access to insurance coverage for transition-related medical procedures since last year. But with Trump's new plans, that policy is now being completely reversed. And rightfully, people everywhere are upset about it.

    Trans activist and YouTuber Kat Blaque took to Twitter to point out that while it's extremely bigoted and discriminatory to ban people from an institution based on their gender identity, that doesn't necessarily translate into support for the military and war.

    So what are your thoughts on the news of Trump's ban on transgender people serving in the military? Contribute to the conversation in the comments and on Twitter.

    0

    Kat Blaque's Tweets Sum Up How We Feel About Trump's Trans Military Ban

    0
              What Does Victory Look Like in Afghanistan?        

    https://thestrategybridge.org/the-bridge/2017/8/9/what-does-victory-look-like-in-afghanistan

    What Does Victory Look Like in Afghanistan?

    Adam Wunische 

     August 9, 2017

    More U.S. troops are likely headed back to Afghanistan soon, while the Trump Administration is also now considering withdrawal. Before either option––or anything in between––is considered, the U.S. needs to decide what version of victory it wants before it can decide on a strategy.

    One of the most shocking statements I’ve heard on Afghanistan in sometime was that the official U.S. policy is to force the Taliban into a negotiated settlement. This statement came from a highly respected scholar of U.S. foreign policy and military strategy. I wondered what veterans like myself should think of such a policy. Almost 17 years of fighting, over 2,000 killed, and countless others wounded or otherwise affected, and our strategy is now to accept peace with the Taliban and see them holding legislative seats in Kabul and contributing to governing Afghanistan?

    To be fair, the statement above was somewhat of a misstatement. What he intended to say was that this is the actual policy being pursued by the U.S., if unofficially and inconsistently. It is an unofficial policy because it would be highly unpopular with the domestic audience in the U.S., and it is inconsistent because presidents have been unwilling to commit the political capital necessary to sustain such a policy. Since a possible troop increase was announced in June, journalists and analysts (and Trump’s advisors) have been debating the strategy to which the U.S. should commit itself. However, these debates often consider strategies in isolation, and this is a mistake. Strategies must be judged relative to the realistic alternatives. This article categorizes the most common recent arguments, considers their limitations, and makes an argument for the least bad option, a negotiated settlement with the Taliban.

    MILITARY ENGAGEMENT WITHOUT A COHERENT POLICY SHAPING THE STRATEGY BY WHICH THE CAMPAIGN IS CARRIED OUT IS LITTLE MORE THAN ORGANIZED SLAUGHTER.

    One potential strategy considers the possibility of a post-World War II arrangement, leaving a permanent contingent of U.S. forces in Afghanistan to keep the Taliban and others at bay and influence other countries with interests in Central Asia. Unsurprisingly, many considering this possibility find the prospect unsustainable and possibly unachievable.

    Another strategy considers the complex regional dynamics of the situation and suggests increasingly forceful engagement with neighboring countries, specifically Pakistan. Use of Pakistani territory sustains and strengthens Taliban operations in Afghanistan and the Pakistanis have been notoriously difficult partners for the U.S. and others.

    Still another approach considers the folly of sending more troops before a coherent strategy, or even policy, has been agreed upon. Almost 200 years ago, Clausewitz asserted, “War is a mere continuation of policy by other means.” Military engagement without a coherent policy shaping the strategy by which the campaign is carried out is little more than organized slaughter.

    A final take on the situation defines victory as an Afghanistan fully restored via so-called nation-building. This argument suggests less reliance on the military and more on civilians and the State Department. Otherslike Gary Dempsey, argue the costs so greatly outweigh the benefits that the U.S. should simply cut its losses and withdraw. Withdrawal arguments usually suggest that after ground forces have left the U.S. should send targeted operations into Afghanistan whenever violent non-state actors set up shop again, but this assumes the political will and legal justifications will hold indefinitely––which isn’t a safe assumption.

    The problem with all of the above arguments is that they only consider one possible form of victory, or take the form of victory as a given. This can be effective when advocating for certain policies, but it also comes with significant limitations. As an alternative, I will present a variety of potential victories––each different in some critical way––and assess the prospects for achieving each and what they mean for U.S. strategy in Afghanistan.

    WHAT ARE THE PROSPECTS FOR A TOTAL VICTORY?

    It is first necessary to assess the most common assumption for victory and the current state of that possibility. The early stages of the war in Afghanistan were entirely directed at removing the Taliban from power and going after al Qaeda's central structure. This gave Operation Enduring Freedom a specific counterterrorism focus. Therefore, the early objectives necessary for victory were limited: end or degrade al Qaeda and the Taliban. This mission was accomplished, and surprisingly quickly. However, the mission then shifted from counterterrorism to ambitious state-building as the security situation deteriorated and the Taliban began to push back into the country from their sanctuary in Pakistan. NATO troops pushed out from Kabul and sought to extend the new central government’s authority throughout the country.

    ASSUMING ANOTHER MILITARY VICTORY OVER THE TALIBAN COULD BE ACHIEVED, THE AFGHAN GOVERNMENT WOULD STILL NEED TO ESTABLISH CONTROL OVER A TERRITORY THAT FEW CENTRAL GOVERNMENTS HAVE EVER BEEN ABLE TO CONTROL SINCE MODERN AFGHANISTAN WAS FOUNDED AROUND 1747.

    If we assume these more ambitious statebuilding objectives to be the standard by which victory is now measured, each of the following would have to happen before that victory could be considered won: the Taliban would have to be beaten back militarily, the Afghan government would need to establish control over the overwhelming majority of the country, and the U.S. would have no more than a small contingent of trainers and advisors on the ground. Given the length of the effort in Afghanistan thus far, it’s inconsistent progress, and the present trend, this outcome seems unlikely.

    Assuming another military victory over the Taliban could be achieved, the Afghan government would still need to establish control over a territory that few central governments have ever been able to control since modern Afghanistan was founded around 1747. Afghan expert Thomas Barfield argues that attempts to extend control over the whole of Afghanistan like other modern states do is a fundamental flaw in U.S. strategy and is simply not possible in a country like Afghanistan. Instead, Barfield has suggested a “Swiss cheese” model should be used. That is, control the vital areas (the population centers) that can be controlled and ignore the areas that cannot. Unfortunately, this isn’t even a realistic model for Afghanistan today, since the holes in government control would undoubtedly be used as safe-havens for any number of armed anti-government and anti-U.S. groups operating in the country. Such a strategy can only work if sustainable and enforceable treaties can be negotiated with the various armed groups.

    An Afghan farmer works in a poppy field on the outskirts of Jalalabad, the capital city of Nangarhar province. (Noorullah Shirzada/AFP/Getty)

    Furthermore, even if the government were able to reestablish control over all its territory, the government has a myriad of high-grade issues that significantly inhibit the its ability to exercise and maintain control and authority over said territory. Corruptioninhibits the government’s ability to deliver goods and services. Opium continues to flourish in Afghanistan and fund numerous individuals and organizations beyond the control of the central government, criminal and otherwise. Afghanistan’s relationship with its neighbors is complicated, and contributes to the instability. Afghanistan is also plagued by a persistently weak economy that is unlikely to improve to a sufficient level to contribute to stability or even pay the government's bills without foreign aid.

    This path to victory also hopes the Afghan government can be encouraged to reform; it cannot. For many non-trivial reasons, it is unreasonable to expect the Afghan government to make the necessary reforms, even if pressured by the U.S. or the international community. Several scholarly articles attempt to explain this phenomenon. Generally speaking, it is clear the interests of the Afghan government will always diverge from those of the U.S. government. Afghan officials will be more interested in crushing coup attempts before they happen or paying off their political rivals; reforming government agencies, especially in the security sector, is more likely to encourage coups and embolden their enemies. No one should hope for government reforms as the path to peace in Afghanistan.

    In sum, this vision of victory is unrealistic. Too many variables are too unlikely to be achieved for any reasonable person to think that all of them can be achieved, and at a reasonable cost.

    CAN THE TALIBAN BE BEATEN (AGAIN) MILITARILY?

    Taliban defeat on the battlefield is given special consideration here. Some might assume victory over the Taliban today should be as easy as it was in 2001. However, the posture and disposition of the Taliban today is very different than it was in 2001. They have been contesting and controlling territory, and that territory could be retaken if subjected to an effort similar to the one in 2001. However, their underground networks and sanctuary support are much more robust than they were. When pushed back from their territory in 2001, it took the Taliban about five years to build the infrastructure of insurgency and push back into Afghanistan. Today, the Taliban wouldn’t skip a beat if denied their territory.

    Therefore, all of the issues mentioned in the above section would have to be remedied before the highest possible version of victory could be achieved, and this assumed the Taliban could be defeated anew, which also doesn’t seem likely. A series of unlikely conditions are necessary to sustainably defeat the Taliban. First, total cooperation with Pakistan, who would need to establish control over their own western provinces where these groups are currently afforded safe-haven, would be necessary. Second, Afghanistan would need a robust and functioning security apparatus, which it doesn’t have. Emphasis has been placed on building the Afghan military, but militaries are better at taking and holding territory than they are at defeating insurgencies, which is only step one in a campaign against the Taliban. Furthermore, evidence suggests that terrorist groups are mostly defeated by police and intelligence forces of local governments, not militaries.[1]

    An Afghan soldier during an anti-Taliban operation in eastern Kunar provice. (AFP/BBC)

    There is a surprisingly positive trend in the use of Afghan police and intelligence forces to pressure and dismantle the Taliban. Increases in Afghan National Army regular forces have essentially flat-lined. On the other hand, the Afghan government plans to increase the number of special forces commandos exponentially, as shown in the chart below.[2]Commandos have the tools and training to effectively go after non-state actors like the Taliban, but there are still significant barriers to defeating the Taliban via these means. First, the feasibility and effectiveness of doubling the size of commando forces isn’t certain. New recruits are drawn from conventional forces, so current special forces capabilities wouldn’t necessarily be reduced. However, whether they’re able to effectively train, equip, and support such a large force remains to be seen. Second, the Taliban would still be able to launch attacks from Pakistan; Afghanistan would still need to improve policing capabilities; and social and economic conditions would need to improve so unemployed youth couldn’t be convinced or paid to carry out attacks for the Taliban.

    Furthermore, it is unlikely that the vast increase in commando power will go unnoticed by successive governments. As explained above, corrupt governments tend to weaken their military to hedge against coups.

    WHAT DOES A MITIGATED SUCCESS LOOK LIKE?

    With a long list of limitations preventing more ambitious victories, it is important to consider what lesser forms of success might look like and whether they are worth pursuing. A mitigated success would at least contain but not defeat the Taliban and focus on areas of higher strategic value, disregarding areas of lesser strategic value (as in the Barfield Strategy). This version of victory would even allow the Taliban to rule certain areas, or establish a power-sharing agreement in those areas not vital to the Government of Afghanistan. Such an approach could achieve core U.S. national interests at lower costs. For example, this would eliminate Afghanistan as a terrorist safe haven, and if Afghanistan were to revert to a safe haven in the future, the circumstance could be addressed more easily in these circumstances. Furthermore, with no powerful armed group opposing it, the Afghan government would be much less likely to collapse and potentially destabilize Pakistan, which is important for keeping nuclear weapons from proliferating into non-state hands.

    Warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar returned to Kabul on May 4 after signing a peace deal with the Afghan government. (Reuters/Parwiz)

    This strategy would solve one of the weaknesses in Barfield’s strategy by establishing peace with armed groups in exchange for control of their local areas, but how likely is it these armed groups will successfully reintegrate into the legitimate political process? Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, leader of the violent political party Hezb-i-Islami, recently attempted this exact transition. There are also reasons to believe some within the Taliban organization are at least willing to consider what is being offered in negotiations. This is perhaps why the members of ISIS in Afghanistan are mostly disaffected Taliban members. There is no way to know for sure why the former Taliban members defected, but several factors indicate that a willingness to negotiate for peace was important.

    IF THE TALIBAN ARE TO BE INTEGRATED INTO THE POLITICAL PROCESS, BOTH THEY AND THE AFGHAN PEOPLE WILL NEED TO FIND A PATH TO RECONCILIATION.

    The Taliban have attempted negotiations several times since 2001. Taliban leader Mullah Omar died in April of 2013, but top commanders kept it a secret. Writing under Mullah Omar’s name, these top commanders struck a conciliatory tone, advocating for an inclusive Islamic government in Afghanistan. In October 2014, five to six top commanders of the Taliban defected and subsequently pledged loyalty to ISIS. Predictably, the Taliban command claimed they were expelled from the group. Nine months later, the Taliban called for peace talks again. Therefore it seems reasonable that some attribute the rise of ISIS in Afghanistan to disgruntled former Taliban hardliners, and a willingness to negotiate is a likely source of these sentiments.

    As is clear by the many failed attempts by the Taliban to negotiate peace, there are limitations to the feasibility of this move for many of the violent groups that forms its ranks. Consider some analogous circumstances. The most powerful violent insurgency group in Colombia, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), recently negotiated a peace deal with the government. Successfully transitioning to peace will be difficult, as many Colombians are still scarred from the violence they carried. Similarly, the Basque Homeland and Liberty (Euskadi Ta Askatasuna or ETA) separatist in Spain is attempting the same move, and the legacy of their violence is also an issue. Likewise, many Afghans remember the part Hekmatyar took in the shelling of Kabul during the civil war following the withdrawal of Soviet forces. Many Afghans will not soon forget the pain suffered at the hands of the various violent groups that fall under the aegis of the Taliban.

    If the Taliban are to be integrated into the political process, both they and the Afghan people will need to find a path to reconciliation. It is theoretically possible to achieve a deal without this reconciliation, but whatever peace is achieved without it may be tenuous at best. Again, analogy might be useful. Rwanda is engaging in a justice and reconciliation process to deal with the legacies of their genocide. South Africa set up the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to deal with the legacies of apartheid. Alternatively, Indonesia has set up no such commission or process, and their resultant peace has been much more tenuous and fragile.

    It is also important to consider domestic opinion in the U.S., where the divergence between its interest and that of Afghanistan is perhaps clearest. Even if the Government of Afghanistan could reconcile with the Taliban, precarious as this would be given the support the U.S. must provide to sustain it, any negotiated settlement would be hugely unpopular domestically. Many would see it as surrendering to the enemy, leaving open a cynical but clear political opportunity. The unpopularity of working with the Taliban was on full display when the Obama Administration announced a prisoner swap with the Taliban that retrieved captured U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl. It is unlikely current or future U.S. presidents will be willing to expend the political capital necessary to make a negotiated settlement with the Taliban possible, especially considering the uncertainty of success.

    IS A MITIGATED FAILURE WORTH CONSIDERING?

    Considering all of the limitations of the above strategic alternatives, it should be considered what a mitigated failure would look like. A mitigated failure would probably include some or all of the following outcomes. First, traditionally Pashtun lands would be conceded to the Taliban, and the central government would maintain a tenuous control over other territories. The Taliban are strongest in Pashtun regions, but they have shown an ability to reach beyond these areas. Regions under strong Taliban control would be relatively peaceful, but fighting would remain intense in disputed areas. Pakistan would be keen to avoid this, much like the Turks wanting to resist an independent Kurdish state.

    Pakistan’s position in Afghanistan has always been to maintain as much influence over their neighbor as possible. Prior to 9/11, the intelligence and military establishment in Pakistan had established close ties with Mullah Omar and the Taliban. However, Pakistan post 9/11 has been forced to align reluctantly against the Taliban. The Taliban now has bases of operation in Pakistan and it is not certain that a peaceful relationship could be established if they gain some control in Afghanistan at the expense of the government. The possibility of the Taliban gaining power in Afghanistan and looking for more influence east of the Durand Line is too great a risk.

    WHAT DOES ABJECT FAILURE LOOK LIKE, AND HOW IS IT AVOIDED?

    That leaves one final possibility: abject failure. This could happen if the international community loses patience with Afghanistan and cuts its losses, like the Trump Administration is perhaps considering. This certainly wouldn’t be the first time Afghanistan has been cut loose; there has been a pattern of countless such abandonments throughout history, like the Soviet withdrawal in 1989. Importantly, though, the international community has always decided to return. Afghanistan’s strategic importance to the rest of the world is significant, and modern forms of terrorism have compounded the effects of this strategic importance. This significance is evident in the many times that multiple empires have attempted to conquer it. Afghanistan is at the crossroads of the Middle East, Southern Asia, and Central Asia, and it continues to be a vital transit area for land-based commerce and gas and oil pipelines. There is no doubt that cutting strategic losses today might result in a strategic need to return a few decades, or even a few years, later.

    CONCLUSION

    Previous attempts to define victory in Afghanistan, and therefore advocate a strategy, have often considered various types of victory in isolation. However, the ideal end state for Afghanistan should be considered relative to the alternatives. A total victory is ideal, but needs to solve numerous enormous problems resulting from seemingly endless systemic conflicts. It would also require the greatest degree of political will sustained over the long-term. Furthermore, it is unlikely that the Taliban can be beaten militarily like they were in 2001. The government of Afghanistan and its allies could regain lost territory, but it is already a robust insurgency and terrorist organization; and these types of movements are rarely defeated militarily. Abject failure would be cost efficient in the short-term, but the resultant problems would increase costs over the long-term and would undermine U.S. national interests. A mitigated failure would likely have all the negative costs of abject failure, but with greater U.S. losses on the path to failure. Ultimately, total victory is ideal but highly unlikely. Abject and mitigated failures have long-term costs and endanger U.S. national interests. This leaves us with mitigated success and a negotiated settlement with the Taliban as the most prudent option.

    A negotiated settlement would come with high political costs to whichever U.S. president decided to pursue it. However, these political costs would be lower than those required for a total victory. Furthermore, negotiations have mostly failed because there is no concerted effort or strategy to achieve it, just periodic opportunism. There’s no doubt this strategy would be highly unpopular and downright offensive to many Americans––especially veterans of the war. However, the question shouldn’t only be about its popularity; it should also be about its feasibility to bring about the end of America’s longest war.

    The path of least resistance in Afghanistan is to contain the Taliban over the long-term. This starts with a continued focus on the building of commando and police capacity while reducing resources for the conventional Afghan National Army, because the Taliban are the problem rather than external invasion. The maintenance of a strategic alliance with the government of Afghanistan to deter foreign military interventions will allow the central government to focus on internal state building and reconciliation. The encouragement of smaller insurgent groups to negotiate transitions into the political process will enable reconciliation. Finally, seeking avenues to allow for a negotiated settlement with the Taliban, and integration into the political process if necessary, are critical.

    The other victories mentioned above are certainly possible, but not at acceptable costs. A total victory––while appealing––would require extensive resources, in both blood and treasure, expended over an indeterminate amount of time. In 2012, a majority of Americans wanted to speed up the pace of the 2014 withdrawal. When the war started in 2001, about 90% of Americans said starting the war was not a mistake. Today, that number has decreased by about 40 points. No politician will have the political capital to commit the resources to a total victory. Other types of victories are more ideal and would be more popular, and despite the sentiment against the option, a negotiated settlement is not only more likely to happen in our lifetime, it’s also the most feasible outcome for success.

    Adam Wunische is a U.S. Army veteran who has deployed twice to Afghanistan. He is also a PhD student at Boston College and a contributing analyst at Wikistrat


              Creating A 12 To 24-Month Policy Bridge For A New Afghanistan Strategy        

    http://dailycaller.com/2017/08/04/creating-a-12-to-24-month-policy-bridge-for-a-new-afghanistan-strategy/

    LAWRENCE SELLIN

    Retired Colonel, U.S. Army Reserve

    3:52 PM 08/04/2017

    Up until now his advisors have offered President Trump two choices for failure in Afghanistan, one quick, withdrawal, and one slow, a continuation of the failed strategy of the last sixteen years.

    By now it should be apparent to all knowledgeable people that U.S. objectives cannot be achieved in land-locked Afghanistan where Pakistan, whose Afghanistan objectives differ from ours, controls the supply of our troops and the battle tempo through its support of the Taliban and Haqqani network.

    An alternative is to provide the President with a 12 to 24-month plan that bridges the gap between the present untenable strategy to a longer term solution.

    That is, rather than tweak the current strategy, begin to address the core problem, a strategic environment that has made success of the current strategy impossible.

    Within the next two years, the Trump Administration should formulate a strategy that exploits Pakistan’s pain points, one which carves out roles for the Department of Defense, Department of State and Congress.

    While preventing a further deterioration in the security situation in Afghanistan, different permutations and degrees of the following actions should be pursued, both as short term leverage against Pakistan and, ideally, to create a regional strategic environment more conducive to U.S. interests.  That is, it is not the Taliban and the Haqqani network that need to be brought to the negotiating table, but Pakistan.

    Foreign aid to Pakistan – reduce it to a trickle. Even Pakistan’s former ambassador to the United States says that a tougher approach needs to be adopted toward his country: “The Bush administration gave Pakistan $12.4 billion in aid, and the Obama administration forked over $21 billion. These incentives did not make Pakistan more amenable to cutting off support for the Afghan Taliban.”Major Non-NATO Ally (MNNA) status – cancel all or part of it. As a MNNA country, approved by President George W. Bush in 2004, Pakistan became “eligible for priority delivery of defense material, an expedited arms sale process, and a U.S. loan guarantee program, which backs up loans issued by private banks to finance arms exports. It can also stockpile U.S. military hardware, participate in defense research and development programs, and be sold more sophisticated weaponry.”Declaration of Pakistan as a state sponsor of terrorism – advance the House bill through Congress. On September 20, 2016, Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02), the Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Terrorism, along with Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (CA-48), introduced H.R.6069, the Pakistan State Sponsor of Terrorism Designation Act. According to Chairman Poe: “Not only is Pakistan an untrustworthy ally, Islamabad has also aided and abetted enemies of the United States for years.  From harboring Osama bin Laden to its cozy relationship with the Haqqani network, there is more than enough evidence to determine whose side Pakistan is on in the War on Terror.”Durand Line – Pakistan depends on it – question its legitimacy. The Durand Line is the arbitrary 1896 border drawn between Afghanistan and Pakistan by British Diplomat Sir Mortimer Durand. Pashtun lands have been artificially divided and Pakistan is using its Pashtun population as Taliban cannon fodder.China-Pakistan Economic Corridor – undermine it. Pakistan has significant economic incentive to exclude western countries from maintaining any influence in Afghanistan. It is called the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is part of China’s larger Belt and Road Initiative that aims to connect Asia through land-based and maritime economic zones. CPEC is an infrastructure project, the backbone of which is a transportation network connecting China to the Pakistani seaports of Gwadar and Karachi located on the Arabian Sea. Gwadar is a potential Chinese naval base at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, which will complement another Chinese naval base in Djibouti at the mouth of the Red Sea creating two critical strategic choke points.Ethnic separatism – encourage it – Pakistan is the Yugoslavia of South Asia. Probably the greatest of all potential Pakistani pain points is ethnic separatism. Pakistan was founded on the religion of Islam and is composed primarily of five ethnic groups that never coexisted, the Bengalis, Punjabis, Pashtuns, Sindhis and Baloch. Pakistan’s Islamic nationalism program was specifically designed to suppress ethnic separatism, an effort that eventually led to the proliferation of Islamic terrorist groups within its borders and their use as instruments of Pakistan’s foreign policy. Exploitation of ethnic separatism within Pakistan, such as in Balochistan, remains an option. That is, fight an insurgency with an insurgency.

    A longer term solution for Afghanistan was described previously in the Daily Caller, one based on counterterrorism rather than counterinsurgency, providing a cost-effective, flexible and “conditions-based” strategy advocated by retired U.S. Army Major General Paul Vallely in a Diana West article.

    “Such a strategy, Vallely explained, relies on ‘the maximum use of unconventional forces,’ such as Navy SEALS and other special forces, who can be deployed as needed from what are known in military parlance as ‘lily pads’ — outposts or jumping-off points in friendly countries (Israel, Northern Kurdistan, India, Philippines, Italy, Djibouti … ) and from U.S. aircraft carrier strike groups. Such strike groups generally include eight to 10 vessels ‘with more fire power,’ the general noted, ‘than most nations.’ These lily pads become ‘bases we can launch from any time we want to,’ eliminating the need for massive land bases such as Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, by now a small city of 20,000 American personnel who continuously need to be supplied and secured at enormous expense.”

    In terms of Afghanistan strategy, it is time to build a bridge to somewhere.

    Lawrence Sellin, Ph.D. is a retired US Army Reserve colonel, an IT command and control subject matter expert, trained in Arabic and Kurdish, and a veteran of Afghanistan, northern Iraq and a humanitarian mission to West Africa. He receives email at lawrence.sellin@gmail.com.


              Some Republicans defect on repealing Obama rules        
    Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) has voted against repealing eight Obama-era regulations, more than any other Republican in the House. Ros-Lehtinen hails from a district that Hillary Clinton won by nearly 20 points last year, and recently...
              House votes to repeal Obama 'blacklisting' rule        
    Congressional Republicans moved a step closer Thursday to repealing an Obama administration regulation that industry opponents claim blacklists companies from procuring federal contracts. The House voted 236-187 for a resolution under the...
              GOP lawmakers split over Trump LGBT order        
    Republicans on Capitol Hill are split over President Trump’s decision to uphold an Obama-era executive order banning federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation.Trump announced early Tuesday he would enforce former...
              Immigration Showdown! Obama vs. Sheriff Joe Hearing Set        

    Monday morning. 9:30 am. Washington, D.C. Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his attorney Larry Klayman will face off in a Preliminary Injunction hearing in D.C.’s U.S. District Court. Arpaio filed suit on December 6th, citing that President Obama’s plan to grant Amnesty to 4.7 million illegal immigrants as a violation of the Constitution. Upon filing the […]

    The post Immigration Showdown! Obama vs. Sheriff Joe Hearing Set appeared first on Liberty News Now.


              Obama Sued over Amnesty Plans        

    Joining forces with notorious Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, public interest attorney Larry Klayman has filed suit against President Obama to halt his immigration plans. The case, Arpaio v Obama (14-cv-1966), was filed by Klayman in Washington, D.C. Obama announced on November 20th that under his own authority, he would grant amnesty to 4.7 million illegal […]

    The post Obama Sued over Amnesty Plans appeared first on Liberty News Now.


              Whistleblowers Win Big in the Defend Trade Secrets Act        
    Washington, D.C. On April 27, 2016 Congress passed the Defend Trade Secrets Act, a bill supported by the White House and for which President Obama is expected to sign shortly. The bill included a whistleblower protection amendment, offered by Senators Leahy and Grassley. The Act contains strong and much needed protections for corporate whistleblowers, establishing immunity for employees who disclose...… Continue Reading
              A Qualified “Yes” to Obama’s Preschool Proposal        
    President Obama’s proposal for expanding high-quality preschool education to poor families, first mentioned in his State of the Union speech, deserves our support, but only if programs are truly “high-quality” and only if the teachers are well-prepared and compensated as professionals. Is there evidence that preschool education, for 3 and 4 year olds, makes a long-term […]
              Should Steve Stockman have Ted Nugent as his guest at the state of the union speech?        
    He’s coming, and the invite has ruffled a few feathers. As Yahoo! News reported, “Last year, … rocker Ted Nugent made headlines when he branded President Barack Obama as ‘evil’ and ‘America-hating,’ and described him and Democrats as coyotes who should be shot. On Tuesday, Nugent will attend Obama’s State of the Union address as
              Do you support Obama’s executive orders on gun control?        
    Congress will be debating possible changes to the nation’s gun laws after the Newtown tragedy. But President Obama also took some actions of his own. As Yahoo News reported, “Obama’s proposals include a wave of 23 executive actions that circumvent Congress, where most Republicans and a few Democrats have balked at sweeping new restrictions they say
              Should tax hikes for the rich be part of a solution to the ‘fiscal cliff’?        
    That’s what Democrats want, and some Republicans may be starting to agree. As Yahoo News reported, “Finally, a bipartisan consensus in polarized Washington! Congressional leaders of both parties emerged from an opening round of ‘fiscal cliff’ talks with President Barack Obama at the White House on Friday describing the negotiations as ‘constructive’. ” … Obama … hewed
              Why did President Obama win?        
    It’s over, and we’re all headed for a second Obama term, whether we like it or not. And the president knows he has his work cut out for him in that final term. As the AP reported, “One day after his surprisingly comfortable re-election, a triumphant President Barack Obama headed back to the White House
              By: alex mckeithen        
    an excellent and much needed forum to display ideas/design/art concerning hot topics... the 'gun' and 'obama' collections show wide diversity – keep the topics coming!
              Gun Nut Rocker Ted Nugent to Plead Guilty to Illegally Killing and Transporting Alaskan Black Bear        
    Gun nut and former rock star Ted Nugent, who drew the attention of the Secret Service last week for threatening the life of President Obama, is expected to plead guilty Tuesday to transporting a black bear he illegally killed in Alaska, according to the AP. A plea agreement with federal prosecutors signed by Nugent and…
              Obama Administration Reverses Policy on Offshore Drilling        
    No More ‘Drill Baby Drill’ in the Atlantic, or the Eastern Gulf Obama administration officials announced Wednesday that offshore oil drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico or off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts will not be allowed as part of the next five-year drilling plan. Oil and gas companies are still allowed to pursue…
              President Obama: African-American History Museum Is 'Central To The American Story'        
    Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit NPR.RACHEL MARTIN, HOST: It's time for sports. And this morning, we have some sad news from the world of baseball. Jose Fernandez, the 24-year-old star pitcher for the Miami Marlins, died early this morning in a boat crash. At least two other people also died in that accident. The Marlins released a statement saying they're devastated by the tragic loss of their teammate. Today's game against the Atlanta Braves has been canceled. We're joined now by Manny Navarro. He's a sports reporter for The Miami Herald. Manny, what more do we know at this point about how Jose Fernandez died? MANNY NAVARRO: Well, you know, Jose was supposed to pitch today, Sunday, originally. And the Marlins moved his start back a day to Monday. So I'm sure he was probably enjoying the evening out with some friends on his boat. One thing about Jose is he loved the outdoors. He loved boating. He loved biking. And so, you know, this accident was obviously tragedy. I guess we'll
              #MemeOfTheWeek: Obama, Trudeau And Peña Nieto As The Three Amigos         
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RolAQMtUjMY There are plenty of iconic trios — Larry, Curly and Mo. Robin, Maurice and Barry Gibb. Beyonce, Kelly and Michelle.Add President Obama, Justin Trudeau and Enrique Peña Nieto to that list. This week at the North American Leaders Summit, the presidents of the U.S., Canada and Mexico became a full-fledged meme of beautiful, albeit awkward, proportions: the #3Amigos.The comparisons were perhaps inevitable. As far as politicians go, the three are all fairly attractive men and they seem to like each other. And they set themselves up with a few moments that were just ripe for Internet playfulness.There was the full-bodied strut past walls of flags earlier this week.And then, of course, the awkward handshake.But, how can anyone actually pull off a three-way handshake smoothly?And there were other moments of bromance, with Obama and Trudeau laughing and joking in the Canadian Parliament, and the crowd gathered there even chanting "Four More Years!" as
              Obama Speaks Up On New Trumpcare Healthcare Bill        

    The recent GOP health care bill has unmuted former President Barack Obama, who before now has not commented on the Donald Trump presidency, or any of Trump previous allegations. The reason Obama is coming out now is to speak against the current released GOP health care bill.

    Barack Obama and Donald Trump disagree over the cost and insurance rates of the new health care bill for Americans. This also includes argument over the world mean.

                          

    In a long Facebook post by Obama, the rushed-through Republican health care bill "would raise costs, reduce coverage, roll back protections, and ruin Medicaid as we know it," he then added "Small tweaks over the course of the next couple weeks, under the guise of making these bills easier to stomach, cannot change the fundamental meanness at the core of this legislation."

    Trump during his interview with his favourite TV cable network, Fox and friends, confirmed that he also denounces the GOP health care bill, and said he had told that "I want to see a (health care) bill with heart."

    According to Trump's secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Price while speaking to CNN, said that the goal of the new Trumpcare goal is to decrease premiums, even though few republicans believes this is not feasible under their new proposed plan.

    Read Obama write up here;

    Our politics are divided. They have been for a long time. And while I know that division makes it difficult to listen to Americans with whom we disagree, that’s what we need to do today.

    I recognize that repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act has become a core tenet of the Republican Party. Still, I hope that our Senators, many of whom I know well, step back and measure what’s really at stake, and consider that the rationale for action, on health care or any other issue, must be something more than simply undoing something that Democrats did.

    We didn’t fight for the Affordable Care Act for more than a year in the public square for any personal or political gain – we fought for it because we knew it would save lives, prevent financial misery, and ultimately set this country we love on a better, healthier course.

    Nor did we fight for it alone. Thousands upon thousands of Americans, including Republicans, threw themselves into that collective effort, not for political reasons, but for intensely personal ones – a sick child, a parent lost to cancer, the memory of medical bills that threatened to derail their dreams.

    And you made a difference. For the first time, more than ninety percent of Americans know the security of health insurance. Health care costs, while still rising, have been rising at the slowest pace in fifty years. Women can’t be charged more for their insurance, young adults can stay on their parents’ plan until they turn 26, contraceptive care and preventive care are now free. Paying more, or being denied insurance altogether due to a preexisting condition – we made that a thing of the past.

    We did these things together. So many of you made that change possible.

    At the same time, I was careful to say again and again that while the Affordable Care Act represented a significant step forward for America, it was not perfect, nor could it be the end of our efforts – and that if Republicans could put together a plan that is demonstrably better than the improvements we made to our health care system, that covers as many people at less cost, I would gladly and publicly support it.

    That remains true. So I still hope that there are enough Republicans in Congress who remember that public service is not about sport or notching a political win, that there’s a reason we all chose to serve in the first place, and that hopefully, it’s to make people’s lives better, not worse.

    But right now, after eight years, the legislation rushed through the House and the Senate without public hearings or debate would do the opposite. It would raise costs, reduce coverage, roll back protections, and ruin Medicaid as we know it. That’s not my opinion, but rather the conclusion of all objective analyses, from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which found that 23 million Americans would lose insurance, to America’s doctors, nurses, and hospitals on the front lines of our health care system.

    The Senate bill, unveiled today, is not a health care bill. It’s a massive transfer of wealth from middle-class and poor families to the richest people in America. It hands enormous tax cuts to the rich and to the drug and insurance industries, paid for by cutting health care for everybody else. Those with private insurance will experience higher premiums and higher deductibles, with lower tax credits to help working families cover the costs, even as their plans might no longer cover pregnancy, mental health care, or expensive prescriptions. Discrimination based on pre-existing conditions could become the norm again. Millions of families will lose coverage entirely.

    Simply put, if there’s a chance you might get sick, get old, or start a family – this bill will do you harm. And small tweaks over the course of the next couple weeks, under the guise of making these bills easier to stomach, cannot change the fundamental meanness at the core of this legislation.

    I hope our Senators ask themselves – what will happen to the Americans grappling with opioid addiction who suddenly lose their coverage? What will happen to pregnant mothers, children with disabilities, poor adults and seniors who need long-term care once they can no longer count on Medicaid? What will happen if you have a medical emergency when insurance companies are once again allowed to exclude the benefits you need, send you unlimited bills, or set unaffordable deductibles? What impossible choices will working parents be forced to make if their child’s cancer treatment costs them more than their life savings?

    To put the American people through that pain – while giving billionaires and corporations a massive tax cut in return – that’s tough to fathom. But it’s what’s at stake right now. So it remains my fervent hope that we step back and try to deliver on what the American people need.

    That might take some time and compromise between Democrats and Republicans. But I believe that’s what people want to see. I believe it would demonstrate the kind of leadership that appeals to Americans across party lines. And I believe that it’s possible – if you are willing to make a difference again. If you’re willing to call your members of Congress. If you are willing to visit their offices. If you are willing to speak out, let them and the country know, in very real terms, what this means for you and your family.

    After all, this debate has always been about something bigger than politics. It’s about the character of our country – who we are, and who we aspire to be. And that’s always worth fighting for.

    Categories:


              Donald Trump Told The Russians Israel Was Able To Hack ISIS Computers        

    Donald Trump leaked a classified Intel about ISIS to the Russians when Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyakvisited visited the White House. According to New York times, Donald Trump told the Russians some classified information that was obtained by Israel after it hacked into a ISIS cell of bombmakers based in Syria.

                     

    According to a U.S official, the Intel that was gathered allowed the U.S to learn that ISIS was working on explosives that could fool airport security by passing as a laptop battery. The information prompted a ban of laptops from all Muslim countries coming to the United States and Britain.

    The information was classified, and was shared by Israel to the United States, and was not supposed to be shared around, but Donald Trump leaked this information when the Russian diplomats came to the White House, which could then be leaked to Iran.

    There has been close working relationship between the U.S and Israeli intelligence agencies, allowing for sharing of information, including the disclosure of sources and methods. The cooperation had yielded great result including the disruption of Iran nuclear program.

    The American officials under former President Obama warned the Israeli intelligence to be careful of the information they shared with Donald Trump.

    Categories:


              Will Smith ima prava uÅ¡esa za Obamo        
    Igralec Will Smith je v intervjuju z Jamesom Cordnom med prepevanjem v njegovi oddaji Carpool Karaoke povedal, da si nekdanji ameriški predsednik Barack Obama želi, da bi ga igral prav on. Menda zato, ker ima prava ušesa. To pomeni, da niso majhna...
              Bombshell In President Trump Administration As James Comey Release Opening Statement Of His Testimony        

    In few hours to his testimony in the US senate, James Comey has opening statement has been posted online.

    Read the former FBI director, James Comey statement here;

    Statement for the Record

    Senate Select Committee on Intelligence

    James B. Comey

    June 8, 2017

    Chairman Burr, Ranking Member Warner, Members of the Committee.

    Thank you for inviting me to appear before you today. I was asked to testify today to describe for you my interactions with President-Elect and President Trump on subjects that I understand are of interest to you. I have not included every detail from my conversations with the President, but, to the best of my recollection, I have tried to include information that may be relevant to the Committee.

                        

    January 6 Briefing

    I first met then-President-Elect Trump on Friday, January 6 in a conference room at Trump Tower in New York. I was there with other Intelligence Community (IC) leaders to brief him and his new national security team on the findings of an IC assessment concerning Russian efforts to interfere in the election. At the conclusion of that briefing, I remained alone with the President Elect to brief him on some personally sensitive aspects of the information assembled during the assessment.

    The IC leadership thought it important, for a variety of reasons, to alert the incoming President to the existence of this material, even though it was salacious and unverified. Among those reasons were: (1) we knew the media was about to publicly report the material and we believed the IC should not keep knowledge of the material and its imminent release from the President-Elect; and (2) to the extent there was some effort to compromise an incoming President, we could blunt any such effort with a defensive briefing.

    The Director of National Intelligence asked that I personally do this portion of the briefing because I was staying in my position and because the material implicated the FBI's counter-intelligence responsibilities. We also agreed I would do it alone to minimize potential embarrassment to the President-Elect. Although we agreed it made sense for me to do the briefing, the FBI's leadership and I were concerned that the briefing might create a situation where a new President came into office uncertain about whether the FBI was conducting a counter-intelligence investigation of his personal conduct.

    It is important to understand that FBI counter-intelligence investigations are different than the more-commonly known criminal investigative work. The Bureau's goal in a counter-intelligence investigation is to understand the technical and human methods that hostile foreign powers are using to influence the United States or to steal our secrets. The FBI uses that understanding to disrupt those efforts. Sometimes disruption takes the form of alerting a person who is targeted for recruitment or influence by the foreign power. Sometimes it involves hardening a computer system that is being attacked. Sometimes it involves "turning" the recruited person into a double-agent, or publicly calling out the behavior with sanctions or expulsions of embassy-based intelligence officers. On occasion, criminal prosecution is used to disrupt intelligence activities.

    Because the nature of the hostile foreign nation is well known, counterintelligence investigations tend to be centered on individuals the FBI suspects to be witting or unwitting agents of that foreign power. When the FBI develops reason to believe an American has been targeted for recruitment by a foreign power or is covertly acting as an agent of the foreign power, the FBI will "open an investigation" on that American and use legal authorities to try to learn more about the nature of any relationship with the foreign power so it can be disrupted.

    In that context, prior to the January 6 meeting, I discussed with the FBI's leadership team whether I should be prepared to assure President-Elect Trump that we were not investigating him personally. That was true; we did not have an open counter-intelligence case on him. We agreed I should do so if circumstances warranted. During our one-on-one meeting at Trump Tower, based on President Elect Trump's reaction to the briefing and without him directly asking the question, I offered that assurance.

    I felt compelled to document my first conversation with the President-Elect in a memo. To ensure accuracy, I began to type it on a laptop in an FBI vehicle outside Trump Tower the moment I walked out of the meeting. Creating written records immediately after one-on-one conversations with Mr. Trump was my practice from that point forward. This had not been my practice in the past. I spoke alone with President Obama twice in person (and never on the phone) -- once in 2015 to discuss law enforcement policy issues and a second time, briefly, for him to say goodbye in late 2016. In neither of those circumstances did I memorialize the discussions. I can recall nine one-on-one conversations with President Trump in four months -- three in person and six on the phone.

    January 27 Dinner

    The President and I had dinner on Friday, January 27 at 6:30 pm in the Green Room at the White House. He had called me at lunchtime that day and invited me to dinner that night, saying he was going to invite my whole family, but decided to have just me this time, with the whole family coming the next time. It was unclear from the conversation who else would be at the dinner, although I assumed there would be others.

    It turned out to be just the two of us, seated at a small oval table in the center of the Green Room. Two Navy stewards waited on us, only entering the room to serve food and drinks.

    The President began by asking me whether I wanted to stay on as FBI Director, which I found strange because he had already told me twice in earlier conversations that he hoped I would stay, and I had assured him that I intended to. He said that lots of people wanted my job and, given the abuse I had taken during the previous year, he would understand if I wanted to walk away.

    My instincts told me that the one-on-one setting, and the pretense that this was our first discussion about my position, meant the dinner was, at least in part, an effort to have me ask for my job and create some sort of patronage relationship. That concerned me greatly, given the FBI's traditionally independent status in the executive branch.

    I replied that I loved my work and intended to stay and serve out my ten-year term as Director. And then, because the set-up made me uneasy, I added that I was not "reliable" in the way politicians use that word, but he could always count on me to tell him the truth. I added that I was not on anybody's side politically and could not be counted on in the traditional political sense, a stance I said was in his best interest as the President.

    A few moments later, the President said, "I need loyalty, I expect loyalty." I didn't move, speak, or change my facial expression in any way during the awkward silence that followed. We simply looked at each other in silence. The conversation then moved on, but he returned to the subject near the end of our dinner. At one point, I explained why it was so important that the FBI and the Department of Justice be independent of the White House. I said it was a paradox: Throughout history, some Presidents have decided that because "problems" come from Justice, they should try to hold the Department close. But blurring those boundaries ultimately makes the problems worse by undermining public trust in the institutions and their work.

    Near the end of our dinner, the President returned to the subject of my job, saying he was very glad I wanted to stay, adding that he had heard great things about me from Jim Mattis, Jeff Sessions, and many others. He then said, "I need loyalty." I replied, "You will always get honesty from me." He paused and then said, "That's what I want, honest loyalty." I paused, and then said, "You will get that from me." As I wrote in the memo I created immediately after the dinner, it is possible we understood the phrase "honest loyalty" differently, but I decided it wouldn't be productive to push it further. The term -- honest loyalty -- had helped end a very awkward conversation and my explanations had made clear what he should expect.

    During the dinner, the President returned to the salacious material I had briefed him about on January 6, and, as he had done previously, expressed his disgust for the allegations and strongly denied them. He said he was considering ordering me to investigate the alleged incident to prove it didn't happen. I replied that he should give that careful thought because it might create a narrative that we were investigating him personally, which we weren't, and because it was very difficult to prove a negative. He said he would think about it and asked me to think about it.

    As was my practice for conversations with President Trump, I wrote a detailed memo about the dinner immediately afterwards and shared it with the senior leadership team of the FBI.

    February 14 Oval Office Meeting

    On February 14, I went to the Oval Office for a scheduled counterterrorism briefing of the President. He sat behind the desk and a group of us sat in a semi-circle of about six chairs facing him on the other side of the desk. The Vice President, Deputy Director of the CIA, Director of the National CounterTerrorism Center, Secretary of Homeland Security, the Attorney General, and I were in the semi-circle of chairs. I was directly facing the President, sitting between the Deputy CIA Director and the Director of NCTC. There were quite a few others in the room, sitting behind us on couches and chairs.

    The President signaled the end of the briefing by thanking the group and telling them all that he wanted to speak to me alone. I stayed in my chair. As the participants started to leave the Oval Office, the Attorney General lingered by my chair, but the President thanked him and said he wanted to speak only with me. The last person to leave was Jared Kushner, who also stood by my chair and exchanged pleasantries with me. The President then excused him, saying he wanted to speak with me.

    When the door by the grandfather clock closed, and we were alone, the President began by saying, "I want to talk about Mike Flynn." Flynn had resigned the previous day. The President began by saying Flynn hadn't done anything wrong in speaking with the Russians, but he had to let him go because he had misled the Vice President. He added that he had other concerns about Flynn, which he did not then specify.

    The President then made a long series of comments about the problem with leaks of classified information -- a concern I shared and still share. After he had spoken for a few minutes about leaks, Reince Priebus leaned in through the door by the grandfather clock and I could see a group of people waiting behind him. The President waved at him to close the door, saying he would be done shortly. The door closed.

    The President then returned to the topic of Mike Flynn, saying, "He is a good guy and has been through a lot." He repeated that Flynn hadn't done anything wrong on his calls with the Russians, but had misled the Vice President. He then said, "I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go." I replied only that "he is a good guy." (In fact, I had a positive experience dealing with Mike Flynn when he was a colleague as Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency at the beginning of my term at FBI.) I did not say I would "let this go."

    The President returned briefly to the problem of leaks. I then got up and left out the door by the grandfather clock, making my way through the large group of people waiting there, including Mr. Priebus and the Vice President.

    I immediately prepared an unclassified memo of the conversation about Flynn and discussed the matter with FBI senior leadership. I had understood the President to be requesting that we drop any investigation of Flynn in connection with false statements about his conversations with the Russian ambassador in December. I did not understand the President to be talking about the broader investigation into Russia or possible links to his campaign. I could be wrong, but I took him to be focusing on what had just happened with Flynn's departure and the controversy around his account of his phone calls. Regardless, it was very concerning, given the FBI's role as an independent investigative agency.

    The FBI leadership team agreed with me that it was important not to infect the investigative team with the President's request, which we did not intend to abide. We also concluded that, given that it was a one-on-one conversation, there was nothing available to corroborate my account. We concluded it made little sense to report it to Attorney General Sessions, who we expected would likely recuse himself from involvement in Russia-related investigations. (He did so two weeks later.) The Deputy Attorney General's role was then filled in an acting capacity by a United States Attorney, who would also not be long in the role. After discussing the matter, we decided to keep it very closely held, resolving to figure out what to do with it down the road as our investigation progressed. The investigation moved ahead at full speed, with none of the investigative team members -- or the Department of Justice lawyers supporting them -- aware of the President's request.

    Shortly afterwards, I spoke with Attorney General Sessions in person to pass along the President's concerns about leaks. I took the opportunity to implore the Attorney General to prevent any future direct communication between the President and me. I told the AG that what had just happened -- him being asked to leave while the FBI Director, who reports to the AG, remained behind -- was inappropriate and should never happen. He did not reply. For the reasons discussed above, I did not mention that the President broached the FBI's potential investigation of General Flynn.

    March 30 Phone Call

    On the morning of March 30, the President called me at the FBI. He described the Russia investigation as "a cloud" that was impairing his ability to act on behalf of the country. He said he had nothing to do with Russia, had not been involved with hookers in Russia, and had always assumed he was being recorded when in Russia. He asked what we could do to "lift the cloud." I responded that we were investigating the matter as quickly as we could, and that there would be great benefit, if we didn't find anything, to our having done the work well. He agreed, but then re-emphasized the problems this was causing him.

    Then the President asked why there had been a congressional hearing about Russia the previous week -- at which I had, as the Department of Justice directed, confirmed the investigation into possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign. I explained the demands from the leadership of both parties in Congress for more information, and that Senator Grassley had even held up the confirmation of the Deputy Attorney General until we briefed him in detail on the investigation. I explained that we had briefed the leadership of Congress on exactly which individuals we were investigating and that we had told those Congressional leaders that we were not personally investigating President Trump. I reminded him I had previously told him that. He repeatedly told me, "We need to get that fact out." (I did not tell the President that the FBI and the Department of Justice had been reluctant to make public statements that we did not have an open case on President Trump for a number of reasons, most importantly because it would create a duty to correct, should that change.)

    The President went on to say that if there were some "satellite" associates of his who did something wrong, it would be good to find that out, but that he hadn't done anything wrong and hoped I would find a way to get it out that we weren't investigating him.

    In an abrupt shift, he turned the conversation to FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, saying he hadn't brought up "the McCabe thing" because I had said McCabe was honorable, although McAuliffe was close to the Clintons and had given him (I think he meant Deputy Director McCabe's wife) campaign money. Although I didn't understand why the President was bringing this up, I repeated that Mr. McCabe was an honorable person.

    He finished by stressing "the cloud" that was interfering with his ability to make deals for the country and said he hoped I could find a way to get out that he wasn't being investigated. I told him I would see what we could do, and that we would do our investigative work well and as quickly as we could.

    Immediately after that conversation, I called Acting Deputy Attorney General Dana Boente (AG Sessions had by then recused himself on all Russia-related matters), to report the substance of the call from the President, and said I would await his guidance. I did not hear back from him before the President called me again two weeks later.

    April 11 Phone Call

    On the morning of April 11, the President called me and asked what I had done about his request that I "get out" that he is not personally under investigation. I replied that I had passed his request to the Acting Deputy Attorney General, but I had not heard back. He replied that "the cloud" was getting in the way of his ability to do his job. He said that perhaps he would have his people reach out to the Acting Deputy Attorney General. I said that was the way his request should be handled. I said the White House Counsel should contact the leadership of DOJ to make the request, which was the traditional channel.

    He said he would do that and added, "Because I have been very loyal to you, very loyal; we had that thing you know." I did not reply or ask him what he meant by "that thing." I said only that the way to handle it was to have the White House Counsel call the Acting Deputy Attorney General. He said that was what he would do and the call ended.

    That was the last time I spoke with President Trump.

    ###

    Categories:


              New Netflix Instant Releases: December 2016        
    As a special gift to you this holiday season, Netflix is bringing Captain America: Civil War to Instant (on Christmas, no less), allowing you to stream and repeat to your heart’s desire. That’s not all, of course, as the streaming service is adding several new and classic titles in December, including Netflix Originals like Fuller House Season 2, the first season of the Guillermo del Toro-produced animated series Trollhunters, and the young Barack Obama-goes-to-college movie Barry (the trailer for that one just dropped this morning). Continue reading…
              Susan Rice Drops NK Bombshell… This Is What Obama Planned        

    If you want to know how the world has managed to become so royally screwed-up that North Korea now possesses the capability to fire a miniaturized nuclear warhead at us, you need to look to the past — namely, to the Obama administration. Take former National Security Advisor Susan Rice, for instance, who penned a column for The…

    The post Susan Rice Drops NK Bombshell… This Is What Obama Planned appeared first on Conservative Tribune.


              The Lost Benefits Of Cause Marketing        

    At the 2008 DNC Convention in Denver, Barack Obama officially became the Democrats’ nominee for president and he electrified an 85,000 plus crowd at Invesco Field with his acceptance speech. It was a moment of historic significance reminiscent of the precedent setting “I Have A Dream” speech delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the National Mall 45 years ago. That history, both past and present, was recognized by radio as 38 Clear Channel stations from multiple formats joined forces with the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial for the “Build The Dream” Radiothon. It was especially symbolic, indeed significant, that Barack Obama’s historic speech coincided with the 45th anniversary Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream Speech.” In-sync with the mood of the day, the “Build The Dream” Radiothon not only celebrated the legacy of Dr. King, but it also amplified the reflections and hopes of many leading up to Barack’s historic night.

    Spearheaded by SVP of Urban Programming Doc Wynter, Clear Channel Radio had the foresight and commitment to take up the King cause creating the largest radiothon in the company’s history. At a time when the broadcasting industry as a whole is experiencing financial and competitive pressures, this cause marketing effort demonstrates one thing we tend to forget:

    Radio is always at its best when it remains committed to positively impacting the communities that it serves, and supporting cause marketing campaigns, like the “Build A Dream” Radiothon, improves the station’s image in the community and creates exposure that’s more cost-effective and more memorable than advertising.

    With the current negative advertising environment, station marketing and promotions budgets are becoming increasingly tighter. Every line item is under more scrutiny, including the advertising and research dollars used to attract, understand, manage and grow cume. More than ever, radio executives are seeking creative and efficient ways to reach and engage their audiences. And stepping up cause marketing efforts can help in a major way.

    Before the consolidation era, the FCC required stations to do “ascertainment” studies to uncover and address issues and needs impacting their communities. As that responsibility was lifted, many stations – and I might add, to the detriment of their ratings performance, revenues and relationships in the community – no longer took their commitment to community seriously, removing their focus from the true issues and concerns of people they were licensed to serve.

    If you’re broadcasting on the public airwaves, how can you gain your profits from the community, but choose not to reinvest those profits into your relationship with the people and causes in your community? While some have forgotten, stations that impact the community and win in the ratings have always known the answer:

    Good business and community goodwill go hand in hand—if you resolve to make money AND make a difference.

    Winning stations are all about community because they know their relationship with the community empowers their success. By continually replenishing the reservoir of goodwill they create in the community, winning stations make themselves big in the hearts and minds of consumers. In turn, that goodwill enables those difference-making stations to be sustained by their communities as the stations navigate through industry inflection points, economic downturns, increasing competition and down ratings books.

    When your station is committed to making your community better, your brand will benefit because cause marketing connects you to your audience in a relevant and meaningful way. It amplifies your station’s core values and beliefs within your brand experience allowing your listeners to better relate to each other and your brand.

    To further the case for cause marketing and quickly remind you of why it can be so beneficial to you and your station, here are ten reasons to get more involved and resolve to make a difference.

    1. You’re helping an organization that you truly believe in.
    2. You have a direct hand in helping others.
    3. Many times it can be fun and you learn more about your community.
    4. You strengthen in the public eye, the image of your station and employees.
    5. It is great publicity for the cause and your station, cluster or corporate organization.
    6. Cause marketing generates a feeling of goodwill towards non-profits and your station.
    7. Cause marketing often allows you to meet decision-makers, influencers and local celebrities in your community.
    8. It is a great way to encourage employees to share and give back to others.
    9. There are tax benefits of donating money, products or services.
    10. Oftentimes the exposure and feedback from alliances with community-based organizations is more cost effective and memorable than advertising.

    As a part of your pre-Fall Book planning, make sure your checklist includes reevaluating or reestablishing your station’s cause marketing programs. The tremendous goodwill and exposure gained from your station participating in a good cause marketing campaign is priceless - and oftentimes free – if you’re willing to commit innovative ideas and people power to the cause.

    As soon as you can, arrange an ideation session with your product and promotions teams to identify cause marketing opportunities that your station/cluster/company can link to: Opportunities that will not only increase your involvement and goodwill in the community, but also aid in the increase of your ratings and revenues this Fall.

    By partnering with the right community organizations and clients to get behind the causes that are most relevant to your audience, you can extend your station’s reach into the community and ignite more intimacy and affinity between your brand and your listeners.


              Video: Watch Obama’s full remarks on immigration        
    See the full video of President Obama’s remarks discussing his executive action on immigration and read the transcript below.   THE PRESIDENT: My fellow Americans, tonight, I’d like to talk with you about immigration. For more than 200 years, our tradition of welcoming immigrants from around the world has given us a tremendous advantage over
              Cruz invokes oratory of Cicero against Obama’s immigration order        
    If Sen. Ted Cruz’s speech had a familiar ring Thursday when he attacked President Obama’s executive order on immigration, it’s because the words were adapted from Cicero’s famous oratory against the Cataline conspiracy in Rome some 2,000 years ago. The Texas Republican, a former college thespian, has never been lacking for theatricality, first evidenced by
              Comment on MEN – For A Good Time Call Part 2 (Luke Adams & Tobias) by Clinton Obama        
    reuploaded video..please try again...thanks
              Comment on ColbysCrew – Taking Care of My Buddy (Colby Jansen & Jonah Fontana) by Clinton Obama        
    you are right... i totally forgot about those links...added...
              Comment on WilliamHiggins – Bradley Cook and Erik Drda Raw by Clinton Obama        
    Fixed...
              Why I celebrate College Signing Day        

    I grew up as a first-generation American living on welfare and food stamps with a single mother in Hell’s Kitchen, New York. For most of my life, college seemed out of reach—no one in my family or neighborhood had gone, so it was hard to imagine that I’d ever get there. The day I committed to going to college was the day my life changed. It opened many doors and opportunities, and I made lifelong friends (and learned a few important lessons) along the way. Now I’ve dedicated my career at Google to helping educators use technology to give students more opportunities.

     Though it didn’t have an official name when I was in school, College Signing Day marks the day when high school seniors commit to attending a four-year university, professional training program or community college. This College Signing Day, I'm joining Michelle Obama to celebrate this moment and the students whose lives are about to change with their decision to go to college.

     Attending college was a huge milestone for me, but it was accompanied by fear and anxiety. I was entering the unfamiliar and unknown, and my mind filled with dread and doubt. Who was going to help me? If I take out student loans, will I ever make enough money to pay those loans back? What if I'm not smart enough? What if I don’t make any friends?

     These reservations are intensified for students who are growing up the way I grew up. You don't know many individuals who went to college, so you don’t have anyone to turn  turn to for guidance or to help you build the confidence and mindset you need to succeed in college. But I was a stubborn kid (and am now a stubborn adult) and refused to accept expectations for kids like me—that we were destined to a life of crime or poverty. I wanted to prove the stereotypes wrong, which is why I committed to attending SUNY Brockport.

     For students who are the first in their family to attend college, celebrating College Signing Day is critical. We tell students the most important thing they can do for their future is to focus on their education. We tell them how higher education will give them the perspective and tools they’ll use for the rest of their lives. When these students get into college, it’s an enormous accomplishment—and we need to show them it’s worth celebrating.

     Though these students may not have grown up around college graduates, they’ll soon be surrounded by a community of educators, counselors, students and alumni who can help them through the college experience. This community—combined that with the love and support of families and communities back home—is critical to the success of college-bound students.

     Google has done a lot of work to expand opportunities for students at every step of their education (so that they can eventually make it to College Signing Day!). Through Google.org we’ve committed $50 million toward supporting nonprofits that are working to close global education gaps. We’ve built products and tools—like Classroom and Chromebooks—designed to make teaching and learning more effective and engaging. And we’ve also created programs that give every student the tools to become the creators, not just the consumers, of technology.  

    A critical component of this commitment is ensuring that every student also has a pathway to pursue their higher education, whether that’s through scholarships, mentors or interning with us at Google. In partnership with Reach Higher (part of the Better Make Room initiative), we’ve also created a series of Google Expeditions for students to virtually visit college campuses. This opens up opportunities for students who don’t have the means to travel to for college visits—they can check out residence halls, classrooms, and even financial aid offices before ever stepping foot on campus. Colleges interested in creating their own Expedition can sign up via this form.

    howard

    Former First Lady Michelle Obama touring the advanced skills lab in Howard Community College's Expedition.

    For more information on College Signing Day and to access a toolkit to help teachers, counselors, and community organizations host a celebration in their community, visit www.bettermakeroom.org.


              Comment on Manuel Rios and Rhys Jagger (Condom Free) – BelAmi by Clinton Obama        
    We found the cause...thanks
              Weekly Roundup        

    Ending Solitary for Juveniles: A Goal Grows Closer A nationwide shift toward abolishing solitary confinement for juveniles, which began to take shape in 2016 after former President Barack Obama banned the practice in federal prisons, has surged ahead in recent months, with a half-dozen states either prohibiting or strictly limiting its use in their youth […]

    The post Weekly Roundup appeared first on Children and the Law Blog.


              Akte Ebola ungelöst        
    Laut WHO fielen im Jahre 2014 mehr als 11.000 Menschen dem Ebolavirus zum Opfer. Präsident Obama warnte vor weiteren hunderttausenden Toten, sollte man nicht mit geballter Kraft der amerikanischen Seuchenschutzbehörde CDC die Epidemie schnellstens unter Kontrolle bringen. Militärische Kommandoposten wurden in den betroffenen Ländern Guinea, Liberia und Sierra Leone errichtet. Hans U. P. Tolzin hat
              Comment on Obama The Dictator – “My Military” by invar        
    Marxists and Fascists are not all that different.
              Comment on Obama The Dictator – “My Military” by Betty Fernau        
    What do you think about Trump saying "my military" yesterday?
              Comment on Obama Government Lists 72 Types of Americans It Considers “Extremists / Potential Terrorists” by Bruc        
    As Thomas Jefferson said so eloquently - How I fear for my country when I recall that God is just.
              Comment on Obama and American Christians Now Say There Are Many Paths To Salvation by ProudPilgrim        
    "I Am the Way, theTruth and the Life. No man (human) comes to the Father( jHVW not allah or satan) but by (or through) Me." There is only one narrow path that l ads to salvation (eternity with God and the first reserection). Wide is theroad or path that leads to desstructio (separation from God - the second death) and many there be thereon (most unfortunately). Narrow is the path that leads to salvation and few there are that find it (find Him- Yeshua, Yashuah, Jesus, the aegerlasting Father, the Prince of Peace and King of kings. Choose today whom you will serve. As for me and my house we will and do serve Adonai - the LORD-JHVW. The only true God- Father, Son and Holyspirit. There is none beside Him "I Am" JHVW. Allah is also Baal, Bielzibob and the fallon star and his false prophet mohammid. Repent today and make Jesus you Adonai and Yeshua. With all my love America.
              Honor The Victims Not The Cowards Of 9-11        

     

    911 Picture Nine years ago about 3,000 people not just Americans lost their lives, the act of what some contribute to 19 hijackers or terrorists.

    I prefer to call them and all who support their cause in one way or another, nothing but cowards.

     

     

     

     

    Even today their actions and those of their supporters remain despicable to me. Hiding behind tolerance and religious freedom,  those like President Obama who should defend the honor and respect of the 9-11 victims are nothing more than shameless cowards.

     

    Picture 614 Must 6 million die before the murdered victims of cowards are shown respect and honor?

    Why are we as people afraid to stand up for what is right?

     

     

     

     

    I suggest it is a lack of leadership from the Oval Office right on down. It is amazing that we are afraid of the cowards and will not stand up as nation against dishonoring those that were murdered on 9-11.

    Although I do not condone the burning of any books, I applaud Pastor Terry Jones for taking a stand on issue. If the President had half the backbone of Pastor Jones, this issue would not have become politicized.

    If Muslims can become outraged by Pastor Jones plan then so should we about their plans to build a mosque near Ground Zero.

     

    Picture 433 Give our murdered victims the respect they deserve and I will give your religion the respect it deserves.

    Only then can we begin to be tolerant of each other because their memory and sacrifice lives on in my heart and that of a few other proud Americans.

     

     


              Is President Obama, Just Plain Arrogant Or Stupid?        

     

    President Obama1 How can this President be wrong about so many things? Is it arrogance or just plain stupidity that allows him to continue to ignore the will of the people he was elected to serve?

    In agreeing with The New York Landmarks Preservation Commission that unanimously approved an Islamic culture centre and mosque near ground zero, Mr Obama again shows much he is out of touch with the American people.

     

    In a recent CNN/Opinion Research poll, 70 percent of Americans opposed the planned construction of a mosque near ground zero.

    Mr. Obama claims he is defending the rights of religious freedom, BULLSHIT. What he is defending is the rights of those that stood silent in the aftermath or maybe even before over 3000 people were murdered September 11th, 2001.

     

    911 Picture Maybe like former New Orleans Mayor Nagin, President Obama also thinks “Ground Zero” is just a big hole in the ground. Even in backpedaling the President does not get it.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Gang KKK Mr. President how about a Klu Klux Klan Cultural Center next to A Dr. Martin Luther King Memorial or an Aryan Nation Church next to a Holocaust Memorial?

    From Illegal Immigration to this issue you seem more than willing to defend everyone except Americans.