Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tea Party Signs - the Joke's On Them

Installment #5 of:
Dictionaries are a Liberal Plot
(and Grammar is Not My Cup of Tea Either)

I suggest--respectfully--that leading by example is not on this sign carrier's "To-do" list.

Monday, September 29, 2014

September 29 - Monday Quote

Last week, we were treated to Emma Watson being attacked by the media for supporting feminism.  ("We're going to find nude pictures of you and spread 'em all over the internet!")  

This may be the most unimpeachable response... 

monday quote:  I'm a feminist.  I've been a female for a long time now.  It would be stupid not to be on my own side. (Maya Angelou, poet, author, actor, dancer, 1928-2014)


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Quick Note: Being Pro-Planet Does Not Make You Anti-God

Republicans continue to disavow the science of climate change, either by denying out-right that man-made climate change exists or by hiding behind pat phrases like "I'm not a scientist."

Mr. Reeves, a Canadian astrophysicist who works to popularize science for the masses, points out the paradox in which the GOP and their far-right Christian base exists:

If you truly believe that God created the earth, then why continue to stand in the way of environmental scientists who want to protect His beautiful gift? 
Even fear of a Koch-sponsored backlash shouldn't be that important. 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Quick Note: Providence Dictates That I Share...

I just finished uploading today's post, "ISIS Can Wait 'Til 2015 -- John Boehner Mistakes Procrastination for Purpose" when I came across this tongue-in-cheek assessment of Mr. Boehner:

ISIS Can Wait 'Til 2015 -- John Boehner Mistakes Procrastination for Purpose

On August 9, President Obama began launching U.S. airstrikes on ISIS targets in Iraq.  This past week, as the President worked to form an international coalition to join the U.S. efforts, the mission was expanded to include Islamic State targets in Syria.

In the seven weeks between these events, the House finished one vacation, came back to Washington for eight work days over a two week period and then closed down early to go home for 54 days of campaigning.  No action was taken on authorizing military involvement in the Middle East.

When questioned about the House's lack of commitment and when the country could expect the House to take up the issue, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) indicated that he would wait until January to schedule a vote.

what eye thynk:  John Boehner has become the poster child for poor leadership, a classic example of a man on a mission but without a clue what that mission is.

At this point, you have to wonder just how serious is he about that anti-Obama lawsuit.  I mean, either you're going to insist that the President rely on congressional input into national issues--like war-- or you're not.  

Boehner says he is convinced that Congress should debate granting the President authority to use military force.   He just doesn't want to bother THIS House with the issue. And, while the House Speaker can't really expect the President to wait patiently as ISIS proliferates and more headless Americans appear on YouTube, he is willing to allow his party to decline to take a public stand for now.  This is his idea of "leadership?"

As MSNBC's Steve Benen wrote, "For all the chatter about the president being an out-of-control, lawless tyrant, here's an instance in which Obama really is acting without any congressional authority, only to find congressional leaders saying 'No big deal.  We'll think about doing something in a few months, maybe.'"

I'll be the first one to say I do not want us involved in any further military actions in the Middle East.  I am sickened by the senseless deaths caused by ISIS and their agents.  I just don't believe that putting thousands of additional American men and women in harm's way is the answer. 

But that is not the issue here.  The issue is that a decision has to be made.  Making decisions is Congress' JOB; and if John Boehner doesn't want to insist that that happens--no matter how inconvenient--then maybe he should abdicate his position to make room for someone who understands what it means to actually lead.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Quick Note: Voting Info from Koch Brothers -- Felony or Incompetence?

The Koch brothers' group Americans for Prosperity is sending voter registration information to the people of North Carolina.  These mailings, which claim to include an "official application form" are not only NOT official, they include misleading and blatantly incorrect information.  

Voters receiving these mailings are given contradictory information about the registration schedule, return envelopes that are printed with a non-existent address and incorrect information on how to contact the state Board of Elections.  If recipients have questions, they are told to refer them to the Secretary of State's elections division--a division that exists only in the imaginations of the Americans for Prosperity mastermind who created these mailings.

Joshua Lawson, a public information officer who actually does work for the North Carolina state Board of Elections spoke to the News & Observer pointing out that his office is not part of the Secretary of State's office and blamed the Koch sponsored mailing for causing "a lot of confusion for people in the state."  Mr. Lawson said that his office never saw the mailings and were never asked to verify any of the information before the mailings were released.

When asked how many of these inaccurate mailings were sent out, a spokesperson for the Americans for Prosperity office in Raleigh refused to answer.

In North Carolina, it is a felony to intentionally mislead voters about voter registration, though at this point, no one has charged them with being anything more than incredibly incompetent.
If I were cynical, (pause for laughter here), I would go further than "incompetent" and say this was a purposeful act designed to appear to refute claims that Republicans are trying to discourage minority voters by closing polling locations in poor neighborhoods and by passing new I.D. laws, but whose true purpose is, in fact, to further frustrate North Carolina's Democratic voters in order to keep them away from the polls in November.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The World is Choking on Cheney/Bush Legacy Meal

On September 17, Ann Curry of NBC News spoke with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.  Speaking from the presidential palace in Tehran, Mr. Rouhani denounced ISIS for its savagery, at the same time saying the coalition currently involved in fighting the Islamic State of Iran and Syria is "ridiculous."

He specifically questioned why President Obama decided to focus on airstrikes.

"Are Americans afraid of giving casualties on the ground in Iraq?  Are they afraid of their soldiers being killed in the fight they claim is against terrorism?  If they want to use planes and if they want to use unmanned planes so that nobody is injured from the Americans, is it really possible to fight terrorism without any hardship, without any sacrifice?  Is it possible to reach a big goal without that? In all regional and international issues, the victorious one is the one who is ready to do sacrifice."

CBS' Charlie Rose spoke with Mr. Rouhani yesterday and the Iranian leader again spoke of what he sees as a wrongful approach to terrorism in the Middle East.

"The way to combat terrorism, sir, is not for us to give birth to another terrorist group in order to stand up to an existing terrorist group.  These are the series of mistakes that have composed the rings of the chain that have taken us from where we were to where we are today, we must accept the realities."

what eye thynk:   First, I want to address his remarks about "sacrifice," remarks that I find especially galling.

As of April 2014, over 6800 Americans have died in Iraq and Afghanistan.  I say we've sacrificed enough.

And, yes, our invasion of Iraq really had nothing to do with terrorism and everything to do with a weak and clueless President looking to "one-up" his father and who was being led by a war-mongering Secretary of State who saw an opportunity for huge personal economic gain.  It was a recipe created by a chef using all-artificial  ingredients and then sold to a restaurateur who never owned an oven.  But that does not mean we have not sacrificed.

But, when it comes to his remarks to Charlie Rose about giving "birth to another terrorist group," I hate to admit it, but I agree with him.  Arming one foreign, religious-based group to fight against another foreign religion-based group is what got us where we are in the first place.  If (or when) we dismantle ISIS, there will be another group waiting to take its place.  It's like an international game of Whack-a-Mole where nobody ever wins.

And, it all comes back to the Cheney/Bush decision to invade a country using cooked up evidence, an ill-conceived meal for which we are still paying the tab.

Not to make light of the result, I find this cartoon more true than not:

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Quick Note: Congress Guilty of "Under-Stepping" Its Job Description?

The House is suing the President for over-stepping his job description.  Their case focuses on the President's decision to defer the ACA requirement for small businesses--the same requirement that, just months earlier, Republicans were saying should be postponed because small business owners had asked for the postponement.  You can read more about that here.

Now we are involved in another "war" in the Middle East, and the GOP dominated House suddenly has little to say about the President making important decisions about who-fights-where-how-and-with-what decisions without any congressional input. After all, there is an election in just few short weeks and the GOP is just too busy elsewhere.  And when it comes to military action in the Middle East, as Representative Jack Kingston (R-Georgia) told the media recently, "Republicans don't want to change anything...We can denounce it if it goes bad, and praise it if it goes well and ask what took him so long."  
Nice plan, right?  Wait, there's more...
Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) said that the President "should seek a new congressional authorization."  But, when asked about the House's disinterest in authorizing military force in a foreign country--which really is part of their job-- House Speaker John Boehner's office said, "The Speaker...thinks it would be good for the country to have a new authorization for the use of military force covering our actions against ISIL, but traditionally such authorization is requested and written by the commander-in-chief--and President Obama has not done that."

As MSNBC's Steve Benen wrote: "According to leading Republicans on Capitol Hill, Congress isn't doing anything, and that's the president's fault. Why?  Because the executive branch hasn't written a bill for the legislative branch.  Sure lawmakers could write a bill on their own--it's literally what they're paid to do--but they're instead waiting for the president to serve as a check on his own power.  In effect, GOP leaders are arguing, 'Obama didn't ask us to do work, so we've decided not to bother.'"

So, the president will move ahead on his own and the GOP will wait.  And no matter what the outcome, they will be prepared to censure him.
If sending Americans to die in another country is not important enough for Republicans to return to Washington, you might ask, "What is?"  Well, apparently, there is at least one thing:  Lawmakers will be back in Washington next week to hold a hearing on the way the Secret Service handled the two recent White House fence jumpers.    
After all, that is something they can blame on President Obama and there is nothing more important than that!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Republicans Say the Darndest Things - God is a Racist!

Ken A. Ham
President and CEO 
of Answer in Genesis and the 
Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky

Creationist Ken Ham says we should stop searching the stars for extraterrestrial life because, even if we find them, they are going to Hell anyway.

"You see, the Bible makes it clear that Adam's sin affected the whole universe.  This means that any aliens would also be affected by Adam's sin, but because they are not Adam's descendants, they can't have salvation....God's Son remains the 'Godman' as our Savior...To suggest that aliens could respond to the gospel is just totally wrong. (The hunt for extraterrestrials is) really driven by man's rebellion against God in a desperate attempt to supposedly prove evolution!"
So God--and this would be the same God who we are told created the entire universe--would deny the love we are taught He holds for all His creations to any being who doesn't live on earth?  God is a racist?  Who knew?

Monday, September 22, 2014

September 22 - Monday Quote

Recently, someone asked me why I decided to write a politically oriented blog; and more specifically, since nothing seems to change, why I bother to write every day.  My answer wasn't nearly as perfect as this...

monday quote:  Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. (Martin Luther King Jr., civil rights leader and clergyman, 1929-1968)

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Happy Sunday!

what eye thynk:  Because all that "Love Thy Neighbor" stuff is for wimps!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Tea Party Signs - the Jokes On Them

Installment #4 of:
Dictionaries are a Liberal Plot
(and Grammar is Not My Cup of Tea Either)

This lady obviously spent a lot of time gluing flag stickers to the edge of her sign to make it special in the hope that it would be noticed by the media. You can tell by her grin as she poses for the camera that she considers that extra effort time well-spent.

Hold  it high, ma'am, and keep that proud grin coming!  But next time, may I suggest you spend less time making your sign "pretty" and more time spell-checking your message? 

(Unless, of course, there is some guy named Joe Amensty who you are trying to get evicted; in which case, I apologize for assuming that you just were stupid.)

Friday, September 19, 2014

Quick Note: An Exhausted House Leaves Washington

The Republican led U.S. House of Representatives just returned from a five week hiatus on September 8.   That week they worked four days.  This past week, which was their second week back, they were scheduled to work a full five day schedule, but House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy's office announced on Wednesday that the Friday session had been canceled...along with the rest of September...and all of October.

To put it in clearer perspective, in the fourteen week period beginning with their August vacation and ending after November's mid-term elections, the people we pay to represent us in Washington will have been on the job a whopping eight days.  That is 8 days out of a possible 103.
To add insult to injury, for the next 54 days, we will be paying them their full weekly salary to do nothing but campaign; and I'm sure we will hear about how hard they work for us in Washington. 
This might be more impressive if they actually spent any time there.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Update: Air Force Does an About-Face on Pledge Issue

U.S. Air Force Cadets pictured during commencement at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs

Last Sunday, I wrote a post exposing the U.S. Air Force's uncompromising position on having enlistees sign a pledge ending in "so help me God."  You can read the details here.

In this case, it didn't take long for a change to be implemented.  Effective immediately, the Air Force will join the Army and the Navy in allowing enlistees to choose to omit the phrase "so help me God".
Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James issued a written statement explaining the Air Force's new position: "The Air Force will be updating the instructions for both enlisted and commissioned Airmen to reflect these changes in the coming weeks, but the policy change is effective now.  Airmen who choose to omit the words 'So help me God' from the enlistment and officer appointment oaths may do so."  Air Force officials are "making the appropriate adjustments to ensure our Airmen's rights are protected."

And all it took was the prospect of a lawsuit that the Air Force was almost certainly going to find itself losing.

When asked about the young man who wanted to re-enlist and who seems to have been the catalyst that brought about this change, the Air Force said his paperwork "will be processed to completion."

Chalk one up for the proverbial squeaky wheel.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Eye Recommend --- In Kentucky, Health Law Helps Voters, But Saps Votes

Kentucky resident Robin Evans

IN KENTUCKY, HEALTH LAW HELPS VOTERS, BUT SAPS VOTES, by Abby Goodnough -- http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/17/us/politics/kentucky-elections-obama-health-care-act.html?ref=us&_r=0
Why Mitch McConnell will probably be back in Washington next year:
"The Affordable Care Act allowed Robin Evans, an eBay warehouse packer earning $9 an hour, to sign up for Medicaid this year.  She is being treated for high blood pressure and Graves' disease, an autoimmune disorder, after years of going uninsured and rarely seeing doctors.

'I'm tickled to death with it,' Ms. Evans, 49, said of her new coverage as she walked around the Kentucky State Fair recently with her daughter, who also qualified for Medicaid under the law. "It's helped me out a bunch."

But Ms. Evans scowled at the mention of President Obama--'Nobody don't care for nobody no more, and I think he's got a lot to do with that,' she explained--and said she would vote this fall for Senator Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Republican and minority leader, who is fond of saying the health care law should be 'pulled out root and branch.'

Ms. Evans said she did not want the law repealed but had too many overall reservations about Democrats to switch her vote.  'Born and raised Republican,' she said of herself.  'I ain't planning on changing now.'...

...Why would people like Ms,Evans who are benefiting from the law vote for candidates who would dismantle it?  Gov. Steven L. Beshear, one of the few Democrats forcefully promoting the law here, said many were driven by a dislike of Mr. Obama...

...'The campaign by the Affordable Care Act's critics against it has been very effective in demonizing the phrase Obamacare and anything to do with the president,' said Mr. Beshear...'I think you find a reluctance on the part of people, even though the law is benefiting them, to publicly acknowledge it.'

Interest groups and candidates, including Mr. McConnell, have run more than 10,000 broadcast television spots here since January 2013 that mention the law in a negative way...

...At the state fair's annual ham breakfast, Mr, Beshear tried to humanize the law, describing how several farmers in attendance had signed up for the new coverage and how one had used it to check out a spot that turned out to be skin cancer.

'It's not about the president,' he told the crowd of 1,600, who did not applaud once during the six minutes he spent discussing the law.  'It's about you.  It's about your families. It's about your children.'"
What the Republican Party is doing to the people they have pledged to serve is unconscionable. 
They have created an atmosphere of hate against the President and his health care law so pervasive that people are willing to shoot themselves in the foot and smile when it has to be amputated.  It makes no sense whatsoever; but, at the cost of being called politically incorrect, you can't fix stupid--which just may be what the GOP is counting on.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Equal Pay - What a Difference Fourteen Days Can Make

Yesterday, equal pay for equal work went down in flames in the Senate; and it was the Republicans who wielded the flamethrower--again.

what eye thynk:   Two dates, fourteen days apart...
1.    On September 1, we celebrated Labor Day. Over that holiday weekend, the GOP began a publicity blitz to call attention to their supposed support of equal pay for equal work for women.  They have no record on which to base this claim; but that didn't seem to bother them in the least. (Who needs facts when you possess Olympics calibre chutzpah?)

As their November campaigns heat up, Senators and Representatives were in their home districts over the holiday weekend where Republicans spent a great deal of time talking of their support for women's issues.   To solidify their party's campaign fueled message on women's pay, GOP National Committee press aide Kirsten Kukowski tweeted:

Who is this "All" of whom Ms. Kukowski speaks?  Well, there is...
  •  Representative Cathy McMorris-Rodgers (R-Washington) talking to CNN: "Republicans and I support equal pay for equal work.  (Voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act)
  • Representative Lynn Jenkins (R-Kansas) at a press conference earlier this year:"Please allow me to set the record straight.  We strongly support equal pay for equal work."  At the same time, she explained that "Many ladies I know feel like they are being used as pawns (by the Democrats) and find it condescending." (Voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.)
  • Campaign spokesperson for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell: " As a father of three daughters, fair pay for women is more than a talking point for Senator McConnell.  It's something he's worked to achieve his entire career." (Mr. McConnell voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and filibustered the Paycheck Fairness Act.)
For the record, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which Congress passed in 2009, received a grand total of 7, that's s-e-v-e-n, Republican "yea" votes--4 in the Senate and 3 in the House.

I really would have thought "All" meant more than seven.  I'll admit, I'm a little disappointed in that number.   It makes me wonder about that "support"...

2.    On September 15, just fourteen days after the GOP bragged and tweeted of their advocacy for equal pay, Senate Republicans filibustered the Paycheck Fairness Act--for the FOURTH time!  Not one Republican voted in favor...not one.  

In a statement earlier this year, Ms. Kukowski told CNN that Republicans are "tired of having the Democrats go out there and make assertions and assumptions about what Republicans believe, when actually it's completely inaccurate." 

"Completely inaccurate?"  Really? We are supposed to believe that a total of seven votes for the Lilly Ledbetter Act and four filibusters against the Paycheck Fairness Act are evidence of the GOP's support for equal pay? Am I missing something here?

Mitch McConnell calls the Democrat's repeated calls for pay parity a "bizarre obsession."

Republicans have convinced themselves that what they say is more important than how they actually vote in Washington; that they need only repeat the Party-mantra loudly and often enough and women will forget those pesky "nay" votes and, based on a pants-on-fire, party-sponsored tweet,  rush to support them in November.

 In short, the GOP continues to believe that women voters are stupid.  Now that is a "bizarre obsession."

Monday, September 15, 2014

September 15 - Monday Quote

A cautionary tale...

monday quote:   As long as the general population is passive, apathetic, diverted to consumerism or hatred of the vulnerable, then the powerful can do as they please, and those who survive will be left to contemplate the outcome.  (Avram Noam Chumsky, linguist, philosopher, 1928 -     )

Sunday, September 14, 2014

U.S. Air Force: No God, No Service

The U.S. Constitution clearly states "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."

The U.S. Air Force, which is charged to protect the Constitution, apparently believes they get to pick and choose which parts of that document they will defend--and the "no religious test" part didn't make their cut.

An airman, who identifies as an atheist, is currently serving at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada and wants to re-enlist.  All military pledges end with "so help me God."  The Army and Navy do not require enlistees to swear by God--the final four words are optional; but in the Air Force they are required.  Either this airman signs a written pledge that includes "so help me God" or he will be forced to leave the service. 

what eye thynk:   Looking at this logically, the Air Force wants this young man to sign his name to words that have no significance for him, which would seem to make the pledge, not an active promise at all but a pointless piece of paper.  In effect, his signature would be meaningless.

Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association had this to say: "There is no place in the United States military for those who do not believe in the Creator.  A man who doesn't believe in the Creator...most certainly should not wear the uniform."

What?! Is this the United States or Iran?  The United States is a country based on freedom; and that includes the freedom to believe--or not-- as you choose.  Either you support the U,S. Constitution in total or you don't.  You don't get to opt-out of the parts you don't like.

A few years ago, the Air Force was embroiled in a controversy over charges of religious intolerance after staff members complained that evangelical  Christians were being permitted to exercise too much influence at the Academy. The Air Force answered the complaints by moving some personnel around and holding religion-sensitivity sessions for staff and cadets.  

At the time, NPR correspondent Jeff Brady said, "Not everyone is convinced the Air Force can fix this problem on its own."

From his lips to God's ears. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Is "Smart" the New GOP Euphemism for "White?"

Georgia State Senator Fran Millar (R)

Recently, DeKalb County in Georgia announced that it will allow county-wide early voting on one Sunday in October.  One of the early voting locations will be in the South DeKalb Mall.

Unhappy with this announcement, Georgia State Senator Fran Millar (R) explained his objection this way: "Now we are to have Sunday voting at South DeKalb Mall just prior to the election...This location is dominated by African American shoppers and it is near several large African American mega churches...Is it possible church buses will be used to transport people directly to the mall since the poll will be open when the mall opens? If this happens, so much for the accepted principle of separation of church and state."

what eye thynk:   When I consider the Republican record on voting rights for minority voters along with southern Republican states' recent attempts to legislate an "official religion," I have to question Mr. Millar's sudden decision to champion the separation of church and state. Color me cynical, but this has very little to do with the First Amendment and everything to do with black voters' history of supporting Democratic candidates.  He all but admitted this himself when he commented that he was "sure" Michelle Nunn (D) candidate for the U.S. Senate and Jason Carter (D) candidate for governor were "delighted with this blatantly partisan move in DeKalb." 

Considering the number of new voting regulations that negatively effect minority voters being passed by Republican led states, I have to admit that I am in awe of Mr. Millar's ability to stand up and say "blatantly partisan move" with a straight face.

The 2010 census shows that 54% of DeKalb residents are black.  That leaves an awful lot of non-black residents who will also be able to vote early; but Mr. Millar doesn't mention early voting locations in "lighter" neighborhoods.  Instead, he is focusing his ire on just one location--a mall largely patronized by black citizens that is also in close proximity to black churches.  I can only interpret this to mean that he would rather derail early voting for everyone in order to discourage black voters from participating.

Mr. Millar added that he is "investigating if there is any way to stop this action" and that State Representative Mike Jacobs (R) would be joining him in an effort "to eliminate this election law loophole in January."

On Tuesday, Mr. Millar took to his Facebook page to defend himself against the negative publicity generated by his stand against DeKalb County's early voting plan.  "I never claimed to be nonpartisan,  I would prefer more educated voters than a greater increase in the number of voters.  If you don't believe this is an efort (sic) to maximize Democratic votes pure and simple, then you are not a realist. This is a partisan stunt and I hope it can be stopped."

Reading between the lines, it appears that Mr. Millar is saying that white people are smarter voters and their votes, even if the number remains small, are preferable to large numbers of votes placed by black voters who he insinuates are, by comparison, uneducated.  He presents this as a totally reasonable point of view, either uncaring or unaware of how insulting this is. 

It doesn't seem to occur to him that minority voters choose to vote Democrat in large numbers because Democrats are more in tune with and receptive to a point of view that  isn't mega-money-centric, while Republicans continue to court the Koch brothers, slash social programs and to take stands like Mr. Millar's ill-conceived and obvious attempt to disenfranchise anyone who cannot boast a European ancestry.

Bickering over who gets to vote and when they get to do it is not an argument a nation like ours should even be having.  The first step in eliminating the controversy is voting unapologetic and bigoted politicians like Mr. Millar out of office.  Get your stepping shoes ready.  November 4 is only seven weeks away!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Quick Note: If only W. Was In Charge!

And maybe this time, instead of landing on an aircraft carrier, he could put on his pretend-soldier costume and roll into Ferguson in a tank driven by John McCain. 
Not that I would expect the Muddler-in-Chief to understand the irony, but it would be the perfect bookend to W's unjustified invasion of Iraq after 9-11.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

September 11, 2014

Eye Recommend --- ISIS is an American Invention

John McCain in Syria earlier this year.

FOR MANY IRANIANS, THE 'EVIDENCE' IS CLEAR: ISIS IS AN AMERICAN INVENTION, by Thomas Erdbrink -- http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/09/11/world/middleeast/isis-many-in-iran-believe-is-an-american-invention.html?from=homepage&_r=2
This is incredible.  
"Iranians are as obsessed as Americans these days with the black-clad gangs roaming Iraq and Syria and killing Shiites and other 'infidels' in the name of Sunni Islam.  At the supermarket, in a shared taxi or at family gathering, conversations often turn to the mysterious group, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, and how it came to be.

And for most Iranians, the answer is obvious: the United States.

'Come on, you know who has created ISIS,' said the supermarket owner, winking his right eye. 'Admit it,' demanded the taxi driver, hitting his steering wheel to make his point.  'It is so obvious!'...

...ISIS, Iranian leaders have been saying for a long time, is made-in-the-U.S.A., a tool of terror intended by the world's superpower to divide and conquer the energy-rich Middle East and to counter the growing influence of Iran in the region.

Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has often said that he believes ISIS was created by the United States as a way to regain a foothold in Iraq and to fight President Bashiar al-Assad of Syria, an ally of Iran.

'We have evidence we know,' he told an audience of clerics last week, without elaborating.

Ayatollah Khamenei reminded them that Al Qaeda--a creation of the Central Intelligence Agency, Iran has said--and the Taliban were, in the eyes of Iranian intelligence, devised by the West as a counterweight to Iran.

'There is no doubt that these movements are created by Western powers and their regional agents,' Mr. Khamenei has insisted,..

On Wednesday (Iranian TV) showed what it said were images of Senator John McCain...at a meeting with the current caliph of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.  'These say more than a thousand words regarding the links between the United States and this group,' an announcer said."
Thank you, John McCain.  We've all seen the pictures from your trip to Syria earlier this year; now Iran is using them as a tool of anti-American propaganda. Didn't W cause enough damage?  Did you really need to add more fuel to the fire? 
At the time of his trip, Mr. McCain spoke to Anderson Cooper saying, "It is a very moving experience to meet these fighters who have been struggling now for over two years."  
As if we needed more proof that members of Congress flying to foreign countries on "diplomatic" missions is a bad idea, or more evidence that John McCain is woefully out of touch with the world and achingly unaware of his incompetence.  
"The claim that ISIS is a creation of the Obama administration has gained wide traction here.  From the Iranian viewpoint, shaped by their spotty exposure to Western culture, analysts say, creating a terrorist organization opposed to Iranian interests is the obvious thing for a superpower to do.

'These ISIS fighters, they remind me of American cowboy movies,' said Mostafa Faramazian, an employee of the Oil Ministry...'They are performing the American dream in a faraway land...Their goal is to make us weak, like they did with the Indians.'...

...But why would the United States now declare ISIS a threat to its national security?...

...'The United States created a monster, even beyond their own control.  If they don't stop ISIS now, nobody can predict what will happen in the future.'"
As I said: incredible. 
There is no clear right or wrong side in the Middle East.  Allies on Tuesday are enemies on Wednesday, and members of Congress who insist on stirring the pot when the White House should be the only one with a spoon is just another sign of disrespect for our duly elected President; but they just can't seem to stop themselves.
Read about more unhelpful GOP foreign interference here: http://whateyethynk-politics.blogspot.com/2014/08/rand-paul-trash-talking-its-not-wrong.html  

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Republicans Say the Darndest Things - Don't Bother Us, We're Busy Campaigning

U.S. Representative 
Jack Kingston (R-Georgia)

The world knows that ISIS is a serious problem; but, with an election only weeks away, Congress can't decide what to do about it.  John McCain (R-Arizona) and Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) have made joint calls for military action against ISIS.   Apparently some other Republicans prefer to stay on the sidelines, do nothing and blame whatever happens on the President.  Representative Kingston explains it this way:

"A lot of people would like to stay on the sideline and say, 'Just bomb the place and tell us about it later.' It's an election year...Republicans don't want to change anything.  We like the path we're on now.  We can denounce it if it goes bad, and praise it if it goes well and ask what took him so long."

In all fairness, it should be noted that Representative Kingston favors military intervention.  His statement is an attempt to explain why the majority of his fellow Republicans would rather not take a position one way or the other.
The choice to do nothing, let the chips fall where they may and plan to take advantage of whatever happens is so typical of the Republican party today.  At the same time, Democrats are afraid of making a move on any issue knowing that the GOP is ready to turn whatever results into a gloating campaign slogan.  
This has been the case in Washington since 2008; but having a Republican state it so openly demonstrates just how entrenched the GOP's do-nothingness has become as a Party philosophy and how willing they are to celebrate our resulting national inertia.  Sadly, they can continue to play this game being relatively certain--despite the fact that Congress' approval rating is the lowest in our history and still in free fall--that voters will reward these do-nothing proud politicians by returning them to Congress in November thus ensuring the continuation of our consequential national mediocrity.
Which begs the question: What is wrong with us!? 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Who Started World War III?

On June 28, 1914, Gavrilo Princip shot and killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, ultimately starting World War I.

In 2003, despite already being bogged down by a war in Afghanistan, the U.S. under George W. Bush, moved to invade Iraq.  Eleven years later, we are still trying to extricate ourselves from Afghanistan, Iraq is reverting to its 2003 sectarian self, Libya is once again facing civil strife, Egypt can't seem to find a government they like, Syria's civil war continues and northern African countries are becoming terrorism training meccas. While the world is focused on these issues, Israel and Gaza are once again looking for ways not to make peace with each other and India and Pakistan are involved in border skirmishes.  Not to be outdone in taking advantage of the seeming unending world political upheaval, China is challenging Japan in the China Sea as well as anyone else on its borders and Russia has decided to invade and attempt to annex the Ukraine.  

----> RANDOM THOUGHT:  I wonder if future generations will look back on this period in world history and think of W, "The Little Puppet Who Wanted to Be Big," and his Puppeteer-in-Chief Dick Cheney as the Gavrilo Princips of World War III?

Monday, September 8, 2014

September 8 - Monday Quote

This sums the modern Republican Party up nicely.

monday quote:   The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. (John Kenneth Galbraith, American economist and Ambassador to India, 1908-2006)

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Quick Note: It's Football! Take Your Anti-Gay Agenda and Go Home!

It's the first Sunday of the 2014 NFL season!  One of my two favorite teams lost on Thursday. (Really, Green Bay, I was counting on you!)  My other favorite team, the Browns, haven't lost...yet!   So I'm still semi-happy.

However, I am entirely disgusted with other news that is interfering with my football world.  Michael Sam, who became the first openly gay player to be drafted into the NFL when the St. Louis Rams chose him as the 249th pick, was waived by the Rams on August 30.  He was picked up by Dallas and will join the Cowboy's practice squad.  I say "Good for him!"

The anti-gay group American Decency has planned a demonstration at the Cowboys' home opener to protest the addition of Mr. Sam to the Texas team.  
Really, don't these people have anything else to do except spread their own personal brand of hatred?  This is football!  If you're going to advertise your dislike for someone, at least pick someone who deserves it...like any member of the Pittsburgh Steelers, or any Steelers fan, or anyone you see wearing black and gold on Sundays. Is that too much to ask?
Addendum:  The Browns lost too.  This is just not my week.  :( 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Illinois Makes Voting Easier, Chris Christie Cries "Foul!"

Anyone who has read a newspaper or listened to a news broadcast in the past year is aware of the way Republican led states have taken advantage of the Supreme Court's June 2013 decision to gut the Voting Rights Act.

Prior to that ruling, states with a record of voter discrimination had to apply to the federal government before any changes could be made to the way they managed their elections or voter records.  Immediately following the Supreme Court's decision to remove federal oversight, one Republican led state after another instituted voter I.D. laws, began purging voter registration records of people they deemed questionable, cut early voter hours, eliminated same day registration, etc.  States like Texas re-instituted restrictive voting requirements that, only months before, federal oversight had found to be illegal.

The GOP insists that all these new regulations are needed to eliminate voter fraud. 

what eye thynk:   How bad is this type of fraud?  According to a recent Loyola University study, U.S. citizens have cast nearly one billion votes since 2000.  Of all those votes cast, there have been exactly 31 credible cases of voter fraud--THIRTY-ONE!  That's a rate of 0.000000031 percent over a 14 year period.  Thank God the GOP is on top of this!

There are, of course, exceptions to this red state voting regulation stampede.  Deeply Republican states like Wyoming, Idaho and Utah continue to permit same-day registration. And North Dakota, which requires no voter registration at all, reports they have no plans for new regulations, stating that they see no wide-spread voter fraud in their state.

Studies have shown that states that allow same-day registration end up with a voter turnout that is 10% higher than those who do not.  In fact, of the five states with the highest voter turnout in 2012, four were states that encouraged voting by allowing same-day registration.  

Enter Chris Christie, head of the Republican Governor's Association, into the argument. A bipartisan election commission in Illinois, one made up of equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats, in an effort to increase voter turnout, has voted to simplify same-day registration in their state--and Governor Christie is "outraged."  He finds the changes being made in Illinois "shocking" and calls the new simplified registration an "underhanded Democratic tactic" and proof that Democrats "will try every trick in the book" to ensure the election results swing their way.

The right to vote is the biggest, most important and most time-honored building block of a democracy.  So why would Mr. Christie think that encouraging people to vote is "shocking?"  Well, maybe the answer can be found in another of his comments on the subject:  "(This creates a) major obstacle for the GOP's gubernatorial candidates."

So, there you have it.  All the hard  work by Republican led states to discourage minorities and the poor, (who overwhelmingly vote Democrat), from voting is going to be undone by this one state's egregious attempt to make voting more accessible.  

How outrageous!  How shocking!  How...how...UNFAIR!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Quick Note: Same-Sex Marriage Moves Forward After Louisiana Stumble

Just nine days ago, Federal District Court Judge Martin L.C. Feldman ruled that Louisiana's ban on same-sex marriage could stand, saying that states should have the right to decide, not only who can marry, but if marriages performed elsewhere will be recognized by the state.

This was the first ruling by a district or appeals court that has been decided in favor of a state ban on same-sex marriage.

Yesterday, a unanimous three-judge panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ignored Louisiana's bigotry and joined the overwhelming majority of those courts that have ruled same-sex marriage bans unconstitutional.  

Ruling against same-sex marriage bans in Wisconsin and Indiana, Judge Richard Posner, writing for the panel, said "Homosexuals are among the most stigmatized, misunderstood, and discriminated-against minorities."  He wrote that, denying them the right to marry causes "continuing pain."  The panel found states' arguments that  heterosexual unions and children will be harmed by allowing same-sex unions "totally implausible."

"The challenged laws discriminate against a minority defined by an immutable characteristic, and the only rationale that the states put forth with any conviction--that same-sex couples and their children don't need marriage because same-sex couples can't produce children...is so full of holes that it cannot be taken seriously."

Answering the states' argument that their bans are based on centuries of tradition, Judge Posner pointed out the harm caused by other centuries-old traditions such as foot-binding.  He said, "(If a tradition is) written into law and it discriminates against a number of people and does them harm, it is not just a harmless anachronism; it is a violation of the equal protection clause."

A stay was issued to allow the states to decide if they will appeal.
May the Supreme Court get this right...and soon.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Tea Party Signs - The Jokes on Them

Installment #3 of:
Dictionaries are a Liberal Plot
(and Grammar is Not My Cup of Tea Either)

I was going to try to make a joke about decent types of dissent descending from...well, you get the idea.  Then I got to "Patriotic" and decided this sign didn't need my help.  It was funny enough on its own.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

It's Time to Throw the Middle East Out of the American Nest

The Middle East is a mess.

In answer to our airstrikes in Amerili, Iraq, the barbarians running ISIS have killed another American hostage. This morning, I read an article about the citizens of Amerili celebrating that ISIS has been moved back from their borders.  Abu Abdullah, the commander of an Iraqi militia that fought on the ground in Amerli, had this to say about the U.S.:  "We do not like the Americans, and we didn't need their airstrikes."

And we have President Obama saying "We don't have a strategy yet." 

what eye thynk:   Well, let me help.  Here's my strategy:  
First ignore war mongers like John McCain (R-Arizona) and Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina).  For some reason, they see American soldiers as expendable commodities. Then...
  1. Get out of the Middle East, period.  Put every military adviser, every military trainer and soldier, every ambassador, diplomat, secretary, assistant, every government employee on a U.S. plane and bring them home.  
  2. Close our embassies.  Leave the gates open to anyone who wants a dip in an American swimming pool.  
  3. Send their ambassadors in the U.S. home.  Maybe they can move into our vacant embassies and enjoy the pool too.  If they want to talk, try Skype.  I hear it's cheap.
  4. Immediately stop the selling, shipping or loaning of any weaponry to anyone in the Middle East, no matter on whose side they claim to be fighting.
  5. Tell all the presidents, premiers, dictators, military coup winners, heads of state and mullahs that we will no longer be sending them money to help keep them, their regime or their country afloat.  If they are going under for the third time, they'll have to spend some of their own oil-rich monies. The U.S. Bank of Suckers is officially closed.
  6. Let these people know there will no longer be any humanitarian aid unless it comes from a joint coalition formed from every nation in the U.N.  We will no longer be heading, promoting or coercing anyone to join us in any humanitarian coalition.  It's some other country's turn to be "It."

We are seemingly in the early decades of a second 100 Year War.  They want us out; but they expect us to come back when things look tough.  We are re-fighting the same battles over and over again.

And, given the cultural corruption in the region, this time we are fighting on both sides.  Each day there is another regime change, a new organization, one hell-bent on bringing America to its knees is suddenly in charge.  We send military aid and weaponry to one side only to see it sold to the opposition.  We send financial aid to a government only to have the leaders line their own pockets or change sides, taking our dollars with them to the enemy.   We answer calls for training only to be killed by those we have trained.  We answer calls for help only to be told "We don't like the Americans" and "We didn't need their airstrikes."

Then do without us!  Fight your own battles!  Kill each other off if you want! Just don't go crying to the world that you were abandoned. We tried.  Eventually even a mama bird gives up on the fledgling who refuses to leave the nest and fly on its own.

Without the drain of W's wars and our seemingly unending efforts to fill and refill the open, grabbing hands stretching from oil-rich, ungrateful "allies," we will be able to take some of those saved billions of dollars and give it to the people in this country to help defray the inevitable rise in gasoline prices.  

There should be plenty left over to re-build our infrastructure--thus creating more American jobs on American soil.  There should even be enough left over to spread a little humanitarian aid in this country.

It's simply time to take care of our own.  Let Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, etc. look elsewhere for assistance in containing their homegrown barbarians.  As my grandmother used to say, "Life is too short to worry about people who don't like you."

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Republicans Say the Darndest Things - Hospitals Are Bad for You

Utah State Representative
Michael S. Kennedy (R)

As Republican governors realize that the ACA is not going to go away, more and more red states have been abandoning their opposition to Medicaid expansion.  Pennsylvania recently got approval from Washington to use federal Medicaid expansion funds to purchase private health insurance for their poor using the federal ACA market exchange.  Tennessee is expected to win similar approval soon.  Even deepest red Wyoming is beginning to talk about changing their anti-Medicaid expansion attitude.

The debate was front and center at a recent Utah Health Reform Task Force meeting where Representative Kennedy, who along with being a Utah legislator is also a licensed family physician, had this to say to explain why he still opposes Medicaid expansion in his state:

"Sometimes access actually can mean harm.  Sometimes access to health care can be damaging and dangerous.   And it's a perspective for the (Legislative) body to consider is that, I've heard from National Institutes of Health and otherwise that we're killing up to a million, a million and a half people every year in our hospitals.  And it's access to hospitals that's killing those people."
Yep, since our hospitals are only going to kill 'em anyway, better to save the money and the hassle and just let 'em die by the side of the road.
Sick people in Utah should be thankful he chose a career in politics over medicine. I know if I ever find myself in Utah and in need of medical attention, I will feel better knowing Michael Kennedy M.D. won't be standing next to my bed wearing a stethoscope.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Happy Labor Day
in honor of which
I am 
Taking the Day Off!!!
(enjoy the silence while you can)