'..If you can’t see this next crisis coming, you’re not paying the right kind of attention .. Financial politicians..' (no replies)        
'..If you can’t see this next crisis coming, you’re not paying the right kind of attention..'

'This Fed has already engineered the next crisis, just as Greenspan kept rates too low for too long, ignored his regulatory responsibility, and engineered the housing bubble and subprime crisis. If you can’t see this next crisis coming, you’re not paying the right kind of attention. The Trump Fed is going to have to deal with that crisis, but we still have many questions as to what a Trump Fed will actually look like or do.'

John Mauldin (Source, Jun 25, 2017)

'..Their empathy circuits get turned off.'

'Powerful people everywhere routinely make decisions that hurt others. We see it in central bankers, politicians, corporate CEOs, religious groups, universities – any large organization. The old saying is right: Power really does corrupt. And corruption is a barrier to sustainable economic growth. This is more than a political problem; it has a serious economic impact.

Recent psychological research suggests that powerful people behave remarkably like traumatic brain injury victims. Controlled experiments show that, given power over others, people often become impulsive and less sensitive to risk. Most important, test subjects often lose empathy, that is, the ability to understand and share the feelings of others.


Powerful people also lose a capacity called “mirroring.” When we observe other people doing something, our brains react as if we were doing the same thing. It’s why, when you watch a sporting event, you may unconsciously mimic a golf swing or the referee’s hand signals. Some portion of your brain thinks you are really there. But when researchers prime test subjects with powerful feelings, their mirroring capacity decreases.

You can see why this is a problem. The Protected-class members of the Federal Open Market Committee must feel quite powerful when they gather in that fancy room to make policy decisions. It’s no wonder they forget how their decisions will affect regular working-class people: Their empathy circuits get turned off.'

- Patrick Watson, The Wedge Goes Deeper, June 30, 2017

'..I now feel that it's highly likely we will face a major financial crisis, if not later this year, then by the end of 2018 at the latest..'

'Re-entering the news flow was a jolt, and not in a good way. Looking with fresh eyes at the economic numbers and central bankers’ statements convinced me that we will soon be in deep trouble. I now feel that it's highly likely we will face a major financial crisis, if not later this year, then by the end of 2018 at the latest. Just a few months ago, I thought we could avoid a crisis and muddle through. Now I think we’re past that point. The key decision-makers have (1) done nothing, (2) done the wrong thing, or (3) done the right thing too late.

Having realized this, I’m adjusting my research efforts. I believe a major crisis is coming. The questions now are, how severe will it be, and how will we get through it? With the election of President Trump and a Republican Congress, your naïve analyst was hopeful that we would get significant tax reform, in addition to reform of a healthcare system that is simply devastating to so many people and small businesses. I thought maybe we’d see this administration cutting through some bureaucratic red tape quickly. With such reforms in mind I was hopeful we could avoid a recession even if a crisis developed in China or Europe.


One news item I didn’t miss on St. Thomas – and rather wish I had – was Janet Yellen’s reassurance regarding the likelihood of another financial crisis. Here is the full quote.

Would I say there will never, ever be another financial crisis? You know probably that would be going too far, but I do think we’re much safer, and I hope that it will not be in our lifetimes and I don’t believe it will be. [emphasis added]

I disagree with almost every word in those two sentences, but my belief is less important than Chair Yellen’s. If she really believes this, then she is oblivious to major instabilities that still riddle the financial system. That’s not good.


Financial politicians (which is what central bankers really are) have a long history of saying the wrong things at the wrong time. Far worse, they simply fail to tell the truth. Former Eurogroup leader Jean-Claude Juncker admitted as much: “When it becomes serious, you have to lie,” he said in the throes of Europe’s 2011 debt crisis.'

- John Mauldin, Prepare for Turbulence, July 9, 2017

'..Market distortions – including valuations, deeply embedded complacency, and Trillions of perceived safe securities – have become only further detached from reality. And the longer all this unstable finance flows freely into the real economy, the deeper the structural maladjustment.'

'This week marks the five-year anniversary of Draghi’s “whatever it takes.” I remember the summer of 2012 as if it were yesterday. From the Bubble analysis perspective, it was a Critical Juncture – for financial markets and risk perceptions, for policy and for the global economy. Italian 10-year yields hit 6.60% on July 24, 2012. On that same day, Spain saw yields surge to 7.62%. Italian banks were in freefall, while European bank stocks (STOXX600) were rapidly approaching 2009 lows. Having risen above 55 in 2011, Deutsche Bank traded at 23.23 on July 25, 2012.

It was my view at the time that the “European” crisis posed a clear and immediate threat to the global financial system. A crisis of confidence in Italian debt (and Spanish and “periphery” debt) risked a crisis of confidence in European banks – and a loss of confidence in European finance risked dismantling the euro monetary regime.

Derivatives markets were in the crosshairs back in 2012. A crisis of confidence in European debt and the euro would surely have tested the derivatives marketplace to the limits. Moreover, with the big European banks having evolved into dominant players in derivatives trading (taking share from U.S. counterparts after the mortgage crisis), counter-party issues were at the brink of becoming a serious global market problem. It’s as well worth mentioning that European banks were major providers of finance for emerging markets.

From the global government finance Bubble perspective, Draghi’s “whatever it takes” was a seminal development. The Bernanke Fed employed QE measures during the 2008 financial crisis to accommodate deleveraging and stabilize dislocated markets. Mario Draghi leapfrogged (helicopter) Bernanke, turning to open-ended QE and other extreme measures to preserve euro monetary integration. No longer would QE be viewed as a temporary crisis management tool. And just completely disregard traditional monetary axiom that central banks should operate as lender of last resort in the event of temporary illiquidity – but must avoid propping up the insolvent. “Whatever it takes” advocates covert bailouts for whomever and whatever a small group of central bankers chooses – illiquid, insolvent, irredeemable or otherwise. Now five years after the first utterance of “whatever it takes,” the Draghi ECB is still pumping out enormous amounts of “money” on a monthly basis (buying sovereigns and corporates) with rates near zero.


Thinking back five years, U.S. markets at the time were incredibly complacent. The risk of crisis in Europe was downplayed: Policymakers had it all under control. Sometime later, the Financial Times - in a fascinating behind-the-scenes exposé - confirmed the gravity of the situation and how frazzled European leaders were at the brink of losing control. Yet central bankers, once again, saved the day – further solidifying their superhero status.

I’m convinced five years of “whatever it takes” took the global government finance Bubble deeper into perilous uncharted territory. Certainly, markets are more complacent than ever, believing central bankers are fully committed to prolonging indefinitely the securities bull market. Meanwhile, leverage, speculative excess and trend-following flows have had an additional five years to accumulate. Market distortions – including valuations, deeply embedded complacency, and Trillions of perceived safe securities – have become only further detached from reality. And the longer all this unstable finance flows freely into the real economy, the deeper the structural maladjustment.'

- Doug Noland, Five Years of Whatever It Takes, July 29, 2017

'..This whole episode is likely to end so badly that future children will learn about it in school and shake their heads in wonder at the rank stupidity of it all, just like many of us did when we learned about the Dutch Tulip mania.'

'While I've written about numerous valuation measures over time, the most reliable ones share a common feature: they focus on identifying "sufficient statistics" for the very, very long-term stream of cash flows that stocks can be expected to deliver into the hands of investors over time. On that front, revenues are typically more robust "sufficient statistics" than current or year-ahead earnings. See Exhaustion Gaps and the Fear of Missing Out for a table showing the relative reliability of a variety of measures. In April 2007, I estimated that an appropriate valuation for the S&P 500 stood about 850, roughly -40% lower than prevailing levels. By the October peak, the prospective market loss to normal valuation had increased to about -46%. As it happened, the subsequent collapse of the housing bubble took the S&P 500 about -55% lower. In late-October 2008, as the market plunge crossed below historically reliable valuation norms, I observed that the S&P 500 had become undervalued on our measures.

Again attempting to “stimulate” the economy from the recession that followed, the Federal Reserve cut short-term interest rates to zero in recent years, provoking yet another episode of yield-seeking speculation, where yield-starved investors created demand for virtually every class of securities, in the hope of achieving returns in excess of zero. Meanwhile, Wall Street, suffering from what J.K. Galbraith once called the “extreme brevity of the financial memory,” convinced itself yet again that the whole episode was built on something more solid than quotes on a screen and blotches of ink on paper..


..greater real economic activity was never the likely outcome of all this quantitative easing (indeed, one can show that the path of the economy since the crisis has not been materially different than what one could have projected using wholly non-monetary variables). Rather, Ben Bernanke, in his self-appointed role as Mad Hatter, was convinced that offensively hypervalued financial markets - that encourage the speculative misallocation of capital, imply dismal expected future returns, and create temporary paper profits that ultimately collapse - somehow represent a greater and more desirable form of “wealth” compared with reasonably-valued financial markets that offer attractive expected returns and help to soundly allocate capital. Believing that wealth is embodied by the price of a security rather than its future stream of cash flows, QE has created a world of hypervaluation, zero prospective future returns, and massive downside risks across nearly every conventional asset class.

And so, the Fed created such an enormous pool of zero interest bank reserves that investors would feel pressure to chase stocks, junk debt, anything to get rid of these yield-free hot potatoes. That didn’t stimulate more real, productive investment; it just created more investors who were frustrated with zero returns, because someone had to hold that base money, and in aggregate, all of them had to hold over $4 trillion of the stuff at every moment in time.

When you look objectively at what the Fed actually did, should be obvious how its actions encouraged this bubble. Every time someone would get rid of zero-interest base money by buying a riskier security, the seller would get the base money, and the cycle would continue until every asset was priced to deliver future returns near zero. We’re now at the point where junk yields are among the lowest in history, stock market valuations are so extreme that we estimate zero or negative S&P 500 average annual nominal total returns over the coming 10-12 year horizon, and our estimate of 12-year prospective total returns on a conventional mix of 60% stocks, 30% Treasury bonds, and 10% Treasury bills has never been lower (about 1% annually here). This whole episode is likely to end so badly that future children will learn about it in school and shake their heads in wonder at the rank stupidity of it all, just like many of us did when we learned about the Dutch Tulip mania.

Examine all risk exposures, consider your investment horizon and risk-tolerance carefully, commit to the flexibility toward greater market exposure at points where a material retreat in valuations is joined by early improvement in market action (even if the news happens to be very negative at that point), fasten your protective gear, and expect a little bit of whiplash. Remember that the “catalysts” often become evident after prices move, not before. The completion of this market cycle may or may not be immediate, but with the median stock at easily the most extreme price/revenue ratio in history, and a run-of-the-mill outcome now being market loss on the order of -60%, the contrast between recent stability and likely future volatility could hardly be more striking.'

- John P. Hussman, Ph.D., Hot Potatoes and Dutch Tulips, July 31, 2017


(2017) - '..a deeply systemic debt crisis akin to the aftermath of 1929 .. the stage has now been set..'

(Banking Reform - Monetary Reform) - '..debt is our biggest security threat..'

'..the Next 30 Years: “Everything is Deflationary”..'

          (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


'..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


The International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons

          Burn After Reading        

Who’s Who
What’s What

In the World of CIA Fronts, Partners, Proprietaries & Contractors


The Almost Classified Guide to CIA Front Companies, Proprietaries & Contractors
ISBN: 978-1-365-11196-9

Cool Justice Editor's Note: Following are excerpts from author Madsen's introduction and the body of the work. Additional suggested reading: News story about Madsen's book via the Washington, D.C. based Justice Integrity Project [link at the bottom of this post].


From the Introduction

One of the most pervasive uses of companies as intelligence partners was under the CIA’s Operation MOCKINGBIRD. During the Cold War, the CIA, often with the approval of corporate executives, infiltrated their agents to work as journalists in newspapers, radio and television networks, wire services, and magazines. The following pages in this book are rife with examples of this penetration of the Fourth Estate – all too many in the opinion of this journalist. The CIA admitted to at least 400 journalists on the agency’s payroll at the height of MOCKINGBIRD. The CIA traditionally understates its capabilities, especially when its covert activities become publicly known. Moreover, the end of the Cold War did not stop the practice of the CIA in infiltrating the media and slant news reports to its wishes.


An insightful look behind the veils of secrecy into the CIA’s use of fronts, proprietaries, and partners calls into question the purpose of the CIA. Created by President Harry S Truman to serve as a central collector and repository of intelligence, the CIA became much more than that. A few weeks after the United States witnessed the assassination of President Kennedy in the middle of downtown Dallas, Truman penned an op-ed piece that appeared in several newspapers around the country. In it, Truman shared his regret for having created the CIA in 1947:

“I think it has become necessary to take another look at the purpose and operations of our Central Intelligence Agency—CIA . . . For some time I have been disturbed by the way CIA has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the Government. This has led to trouble and may have compounded our difficulties in several explosive areas.

"I never had any thought that when I set up the CIA that it would be injected into peacetime cloak and dagger operations. Some of the complications and embarrassment I think we have experienced are in part attributable to the fact that this quiet intelligence arm of the President has been so removed from its intended role that it is being interpreted as a symbol of sinister and mysterious foreign intrigue.”


The 21st century’s CIA’s partners are more likely to be found among high-tech companies marketing the latest and greatest mobile applications and data mining programs than among banks, law offices, and advertising agencies. However, in the post-World War II era, the CIA’s top and middle echelons were normally found operating through cover as typewriter-pecking journalists, traveling Madison Avenue admen, corporate lawyers, and chain-smoking oilmen. In the 1970s and 80s, CIA contractors and partners began showing up in the high-tech field, with database, local area networking, and on-line information retrieval systems attracting the most interest by Langley.


As this book went to press, the smart phone game application Pokémon Go fad was sweeping the planet. Unbeknownst to many of the on-line game’s avid fan’s was the connection of the game’s developers to the CIA’s venture capital firm IN-Q-TEL. All users saw their geo-location and other smart phone data being swept up by a CIA partner firm.


Amazon, Inc. [CIA contractor]. Company provides cloud computing services for the CIA. Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos also owns The Washington Post.

American Historical Society. [CIA partner]. Many society officials were OSS/CIA officers.

American Press Institute. [CIA front]. Operating out of Columbia University, the institute’s director in the 1950s was a CIA officer.

AmeriCares. [CIA partner]. A non-profit organization that is often the “first in” at refugee situations. Founded by tycoon J. Peter Grace, a board chairman of the CIA front, the American Institute for Free Labor Development (AIFLD) and a trustee of another CIA front, the American Committee for Liberation from Bolshevism, AmeriCares was involved in funding the Nicaraguan contras. The group has also provided the CIA with recruiting opportunities at mass refugee sites, particularly in Latin America and Asia.

Bechtel Corporation. [CIA contractor]. Bechtel is a large construction company that has included former CIA director Richard Helms, CIA pseudonym “Fletcher M. Knight,” among its executive ranks. Bechtel was active in providing corporate cover for the OSS in the Middle East during World War II. Bechtel has been a consummate service company for various CIA operations, including support for the CIA-inspired coup against the Syrian government in 1949, the Iranian government of Prime Minister Mohamed Mossadeq in 1953, and President Sukarno of Indonesia in 1965. From the 1960s to the 1970s, Bechtel provided cover for CIA agents in Libya under both the regime of King Idris and his successor, Muammar Qaddafi. Sometimes called a “secret arm” of the CIA, Bechtel’s executives included those who would join President Reagan’s Cabinet, including Secretary of State George Schultz and Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger.

Before World War II, Steve Bechtel formed a military-industrial complex partnership with John McCone. McCone later became the chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission and later, director of the CIA. The CIA has used Bechtel to provide cover for non-official cover CIA operatives abroad.

Blackstone Investment Group. [CIA front]. With offices in Washington, DC and Moscow, arranged for the purchase of KGB documents following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Among the documents sought by the front company were any related to illegal CIA activities during the Cold War, including the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Bourbon and Beefsteak Bar and Restaurant. [CIA front]. Opened in 1967 in King’s Cross in Sydney, Australia. Served as a rendezvous point for CIA, Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO), and organized crime figures. Its proprietor was Bernie Houghton, a CIA operative with links to Nugan Hand Bank, CIA weapons smuggler Edwin Wilson, and CIA clandestine services officers Theodore Shackley, Rafael Quintero, and Thomas Clines.

Center for Democracy. [CIA front]. Administered under the aegis of Boston University, the center maintained offices in Boston, Washington, DC, Guatemala City, and Strasbourg, France. Involved in CIA operations in eastern Europe, Central America, and Africa.

Colt Patent Firearms Company. [CIA partner]. Based in Hartford, Connecticut, provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating abroad.

Daddario & Burns. [CIA partner]. Headed by former OSS officer Emilio Daddario, a Democratic Representative from Connecticut, the Hartford-based law firm provided services to the CIA.

DC Comics. [CIA partner]. Worked with the International Military Information Group (IMIG), a joint CIA/Pentagon unit at the State Department, to disseminate propaganda comic books, featuring Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, in Serbo-Croatian and Albanian, to youth in the Balkans during the military conflicts in that region.

Disney Corporation. [CIA partner]. CIA agents who were adept at creating front companies and shell corporations in Florida, worked closely with Disney in preparation for the construction of Disney World near Orlando, Florida. OSS veteran “Wild Bill” Donovan and CIA shell company expert Paul Helliwell helped create two fake Florida cities, Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista, as well as a number of shell corporations, to keep secret the plans for Disney World. This kept land prices low because real estate speculators were unaware of the prospective value of the land in a desolate area of central Florida.

Emory School of Medicine. [CIA partner]. Located in Atlanta, Georgia. Involved in the CIA’s MK-ULTRA behavioral modification project.

Enron Corporation [CIA partner]. Houston-based firm that was used by the CIA to provide commercial cover for its agents around the world. There were at least 20 CIA employees on Enron’s payroll. Andre Le Gallo, a former official of the CIA’s Operations Directorate, went to work as a corporate intelligence officer for Enron.

Fair Play for Cuba Committee (FPCC). [CIA front]. Officially established by American Trotskyists, the group was penetrated by CIA operatives. The FPCC New Orleans office was a CIA front that provided cover for the anti-Fidel Castro activities of Lee Harvey Oswald, Clay Shaw, and David Ferrie, among others. The New Orleans FPCC office was located at 544 Camp Street and shared the same building entrance with Guy Banister Associates, Inc., a private detective agency, the address for which was 531 Lafayette Street and around the corner from 544 Camp Street.

In December 1963, after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the FPCC ceased all U.S. operations.

General Electric Company. [CIA partner]. Based in Fairfield, Connecticut, provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating abroad.

General Foods Corporation. [CIA partner]. Advertising account at CIA’s Robert Mullen Company handled by an active CIA employee.

Google, Inc. [CIA partner]. Developed as a result of a research grant by the CIA and Pentagon to Stanford University’s Department of Computer Science. The CIA referred to the research as the “google project.”

Greenberg Traurig. [CIA partner]. Washington, DC “connected” law firm.

Guy Banister Associates, Inc. [CIA partner]. New Orleans private detective agency headed by former FBI agent Guy Banister. The detective agency coordinated the activities of various anti-Castro Cuban groups in New Orleans, including Banister’s own Anti-Communist League of the Caribbean, as well as the Cuban Revolutionary Council, the Cuban Democratic Revolutionary Front, Friends of Democratic Cuba, and the Crusade to Free Cuba Committee.

Banister and Associates shared office space with the CIA’s New Orleans front, the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, headed by Lee Harvey Oswald.

Hale and Dorr. [CIA partner]. Boston-based law firm that provided cover for CIA’s Independence and Brown Foundations.

Halliburton. [CIA contractor]. Based in Houston, it is the world’s largest oil service company. Recipient of a number of CIA sole-source contracts for services worldwide.

Harper and Row, Inc. [CIA partner]. Manuscripts submitted to the New York publisher that dealt with intelligence matters, particularly CIA operations, were turned over to the CIA for censoring edits before publication.

Hewlett Packard Corporation. [CIA partner]. Sold computers to Iraq for Saddam Hussein’s missile program with the knowledge and approval of the CIA.

Hill & Knowlton. [CIA partner]. Public relations firm that teamed with the CIA on a number of operations. Hill & Knowlton’s numerous offices abroad provided cover for CIA agents. One known Hill & Knowlton office that was a CIA front operation was in Kuala Lumpur.

Kerr-McGee. [CIA partner]. Provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating overseas.

Kissinger Associates, Inc. [CIA partner]. New York-based international consulting firm founded by former Secretary of State and National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger. Former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft is a co-owner. The firm provided support to the CIA-linked American Ditchley Foundation and the Bilderberg Group. Much of the 1982 seed money for Kissinger Associates was provided by Goldman Sachs.

Knight Foundation. [CIA partner]. Also known as the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Based in Miami, the foundation provides funding for various CIA-connected media operations in the United States and around the world.

Kroll Inc. [CIA partner]. Founded in 1972 by Jules Kroll, who had links to both U.S. and Israeli intelligence. Based in Manhattan. French domestic law enforcement believed Kroll’s Paris office was a CIA front. Kroll handled the security for the World Trade Center after the 1993 terrorist bombing and continued to be responsible for security up to, during, and after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack. Kroll employed former FBI assistant director for counter-terrorism John O’Neill, who died in the collapse of the World Trade Center.

Lincoln Savings and Loan. [CIA partner]. Based in Irvine, California and headed by notorious swindler Charles Keating, Jr., involved in laundering funds for the Iran-contra scandal.

Lone Star Cement Corporation. [CIA partner]. Based in Stamford, Connecticut and linked to the Bush family, provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating abroad. Involved in the Iran-contra scandal.

Mary Carter Paint Company. [CIA front]. A money-laundering operation for the CIA. Involved in casinos in the Bahamas.

Monsanto. [CIA partner]. The firm contracted with former CIA official Cofer Black’s Total Intelligence Solutions (TIS), a subsidiary of the CIA-connected Blackwater USA, later Xe Services, to monitor animal rights groups, anti-genetically modified (GM) food activists, and other groups opposed to Monsanto’s agri-business operations worldwide.

National Enquirer. [CIA partner]. The tabloid’s founder, Generoso (Gene) Pope, Jr., worked for the CIA’s psychological warfare unit and the agency’s Italy branch in 1950. In 1952, Pope acquired The New York Enquirer broadsheet and transformed it into a tabloid, renaming it The National Enquirer. This transformation bore the imprimatur of the CIA’s Operation MOCKINGBIRD media influence program.

Newsweek. [CIA partner]. Magazine reporters and stringers fed information to the CIA. Newsweek’s stringers in southeastern Europe and the Far East were CIA agents. When Newsweek was bought by The Washington Post Company in 1961, cooperation between the magazine and the CIA increased. It was a participant in the CIA’s Operation MOCKINGBIRD media influence program. Much of the staff of Newsweek was absorbed into a new online publication, The Daily Beast, which continues to disseminate CIA-influenced articles. See Washington Post.

Nieman Foundation. [CIA partner]. Located at Harvard University, the foundation awarded Nieman Fellowships, some on behalf of the CIA, for foreign journalists to study at Harvard. The journalists were subjected to CIA recruitment efforts prior to their returning to their home countries.

Pamela Martin & Associates. [CIA partner], Escort firm run by Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the so-called “DC Madam.” During her 2008 trial for mail fraud, Palfrey attempted to invoke the Classified Information Procedures Act in order to discuss her relationship with the CIA. The U.S. Court refused Palfrey’s request and she was convicted and later said to have committed suicide before her sentencing hearing in Washington, DC. One of her clients was Randall Tobias, the head of the CIA-connected USAID. Another was Louisiana Republican senator David Vitter.

Paris Review. [CIA front]. Literary magazine edited by George Plimpton. Published works by Jack Kerouac and Samuel Beckett. The magazine’s co-founder, Peter Matthiessen, relied on his affiliation with the magazine as his CIA cover.

Quaker Oats Company. [CIA partner]. Worked with the CIA and Atomic Energy Commission to place trace amounts of radiation in breakfast cereal served to boys at the Fernald School for the mentally retarded in Waltham, Massachusetts.

Radio Corporation of America. [CIA partner]. Provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating abroad, particularly in Iran, Philippines, Japan, and West Germany. Provided technical assistance to CIA-financed clandestine and propaganda radio stations worldwide, including Radio Free Europe. RCA founder David Sarnoff was a major supporter of CIA operations, including propaganda dissemination around the world. RCA chairman and chief executive officer Thornton F. Bradshaw was active in the operations of the CIA-linked American Ditchley Foundation.

Reily Coffee Company. [CIA partner]. Also known as William B. Reily Coffee Company and based in New Orleans, this company employed Lee Harvey Oswald and a number of other U.S. government employees, many of whom were suspected CIA officers.

Robert M. Mullen Company. [CIA proprietary]. A Washington, DC public relations firm, it was used as a front for CIA activities. E. Howard Hunt, the CIA agent, worked for Robert Mullen when he was arrested in the break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate Hotel in Washington in 1972. The Senate Watergate Committee reported that “the Mullen and Company has maintained a relationship with the Central Intelligence Agency since its incorporation in 1959. It provided covers for agents in Europe (Stockholm), Latin America (Mexico City), and the Far East (Singapore) at the time of the Watergate break-in.”

Rockefeller Foundation. [CIA partner]. Used by the CIA to direct scholarships and grants to the Third World and Eastern Europe. Rockefeller Foundation money was funneled to the American Committee for a United Europe (ACUE), created in 1948. The chairman of ACUE was OSS chief William J. Donovan and the vice chairman was Allen Dulles. One of ACUE’s board members was Walter Bedell Smith, the first CIA director.

Summa Corporation. [CIA partner]. Owned by Howard Hughes, Summa is believed to have skimmed gambling profits from the Sands, Desert Inn, Frontier, Silver Slipper, Castaways, and Landmark casinos in Las Vegas and Harold’s Club in Reno for the CIA and the Mafia. Provided financial cover for the CIA’s Glomar Explorer project.

Teneo Intelligence. [CIA partner]. Branch of Teneo Holdings, which is headquartered in New York. Teneo Holdings’s intelligence branch includes former CIA officials. Teneo is closely linked to former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton. Teneo Intelligence has offices in New York, London, Rome, Brussels, Dubai, Bogota, New Delhi, and Tokyo.

Texas Commerce Bank (TCB). [CIA partner]. Houston-based bank founded by the family of James Baker III. Texas Commerce Bank was used to provide commercial cover for CIA agents. After serving as vice president for Texas Commerce Bank in Caracas from 1977 to 1979, Jeb Bush joined his father’s presidential campaign in 1980. Serving with Bush on the campaign was Robert Gambino, the CIA deputy director of security who gave Bush his orientation brief at Langley in 1977.

Kenneth Lay, the chairman of Enron, which had its own links to the CIA, served on the board of Texas Commerce Bank. Texas Commerce Bank was acquired by Chemical Bank in 1987.

The bank provided major loans to Howard Hughes’s Summa Corporation. See Summa Corporation.

United Fruit Company [CIA partner]. Involved in 1954 CIA overthrow of Jacobo Arbenz government in Guatemala. Published the Latin America Report, a publication that was a CIA front used for clandestine activities. The CIA transferred weapons to United Fruit employees in Guatemala who were involved in undermining the Arbenz government. The joint CIA-United Fruit plan was code named OPERATION FORTUNE. Company provided an airfield in Guatemala for the CIA’s training of Cuban exiles for the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba.

U.S. Rubber Company. [CIA partner]. Headquartered in Naugatuck, Connecticut and later called Uniroyal, provided corporate cover to CIA officers operating abroad. Included those operating under the cover of the Dominion Rubber Company of Canada, a subsidiary of U.S. Rubber Company.

U.S. Youth Council (USYC). [CIA front]. Founded in 1945 and based in New York. Some 90 percent of its funds came from the CIA. USYC received funding from the Foundation for Youth and Student Affairs (FYSA), a CIA front. The USYC was composed of American Youth Hostels, Camp Fire Girls, 4-H, American Unitarian Youth, National Catholic Welfare Conference, National Students Assembly, YMCA and YWCA.

Wackenhut. [CIA contractor]. Wackenhut, a Palm Beach Gardens, Florida-based security firm, stood accused of providing the CIA with specialized services around the world, including Chile, Greece, and El Salvador. Its Venezuelan branch, Wackenhut Venezolana, C.A., was accused in 2002 of involvement in the CIA’s coup against President Hugo Chavez. William Casey served as Wackenhut’s outside counsel before becoming CIA director in 1981.

Wackenhut eventually merged into the global security firm G4S.

Washington Post. [CIA partner]. The Washington Post was part of the CIA’s Operation MOCKINGBIRD, the agency’s media influence project. Post publisher Phil Graham was a close friend and associate of MOCKINGBIRD chief Frank Wisner, Sr. and CIA director Allen Dulles. Wisner assisted Graham in acquiring The Washington Times-Herald and WTOP radio, creating a sizable CIA-influenced media operation in the nation’s capital.

W. R. Grace. [CIA partner]. Provided corporate cover to CIA officers operating abroad, particularly in Latin America. Provided donations to CIA front foundations.

  • News story about Madsen's book via The Justice Integrity Project

  •           Milo's earlier article "An Establishment Conservative's Guide to the Alt-Right"         

    I have started reading “Dangerous” by Milo Yiannopoulos on Kindle ($2.99) since this first self-published printing sold out so quickly.  I note also that the Washington DC Metro refused to carry ads for Milo’s book.  (I don’t have the scale to advertise mine on the Metro).

    I have to note already that Milo's definition of "intersectionalism" is interesting.

    Milo refers to a preview essay that he and Allum Bohkari wrote on March 29, 2016 on Breitbart, “An Establishment Conservative’s Guide to the Alt-Right”, which I thought I would pass along here.
    Milo seems to distinguish modern GOP republicans (who would allow a strip mall to replace a historic building if it made enough money) with “natural conservatives”, who prefer “homogeneity over diversity”, etc.  Living in a large tribe or culture involves sharing common risks.  It’s a lot easier to do what you have to do, even at a personal, intimate level, if you have confidence all your peers have the sane impulse to do it, and that “norms” have some kind of cultural meaning mapped on to virtue.

    All of this, however, does not clearly separate out the populist right.

    The article refers to a National Review article, March 28, 2016 in National Review by Kevin Williamson, “The Father Fuhrer” – Trump indeed, even well before the GOP convention last year.
    Milo says that the alt-right is about western supremacy, not white supremacy.

              Trump attacks on McConnell bring rebukes from fellow Republicans - Washington Post        

    Washington Post

    Trump attacks on McConnell bring rebukes from fellow Republicans
    Washington Post
    President Trump aimed a fresh barrage of criticism at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Thursday, escalating an extraordinary fight with a key Republican leader that could undermine the party's ability to regroup and pass shared legislative ...
    Trump to McConnell in latest tweet: 'Get back to work,' 'You can do it!'CNN
    Trump escalates attacks on McConnellPolitico
    Trump Escalates Attacks on McConnell With Suggestion His Job Is at RiskNBCNews.com
    NPR -The Hill -Reuters -New York Times
    all 420 news articles »

              On The Political Front For Jan. 27        
    On the Political Front this morning, NHPR's Josh Rogers discusses the results of last week's Republican primary to fill Ray Burton's Executive Council...
              Trump to McConnell: 'Mitch, get back to work'        
    Trump slams Senate Republicans for failing to pass an Obamacare repeal plan.
              Tea Party Pennsylvania Bill would give patients more privacy control over health care        
    The bill also seeks to protect the rights of patients to buy health insurance, or make any other arrangements to pay for their own health care.

    New federal legislation seeks to prevent government bureaucrats from interfering in private health care and guarantee patient rights to control health care decisions.

    Republican Congressman Pennsylvania Rep. Charlie Dent, R-15, and Illinois Rep. Mark Kirk are the cosponsors of the Medical Rights Act of 2009 bill, which was introduced Wednesday. The lawmakers co-chair the centrist GOP Tuesday Group.

    "As Congress begins to discuss how best to address America's health care challenges, we must protect the sacrosanct relationship between a patient and a doctor," Dent said. "One of the greatest strengths of our health care system is that Americans can rely on getting the care that they need when they need it."

    The bill prevents the government from rationing private health care and actions that interfere in the doctor-patient relationship, the congressman contends. It also would prevent the federal government from regulating the hiring practices of organizations that provide health care, such as hospitals and clinics.

    The bill protects the rights of patients to buy health insurance, or make any other arrangements to pay for their own health care. Several foreign countries and several current health care reform proposals substantially restrict this right, according to the bill.

    Additionally, the proposed bill would give Americans who get care under government health programs, such as Medicare, the ability to obtain health care outside the program.

    In the U.S., if a Medicare-participating doctor accepts payment for a service that would otherwise be covered under Medicare, the doctor is suspended from participating in the federal health program for the elderly for two years, according to the bill.

    "This substantially restricts the ability of Medicare patients to pay on their own if Medicare decides they are ineligible for a particular service normally covered by the program," according to the bill. "Not many doctors are willing to take that penalty, so this substantially (if indirectly) restricts the right of seniors and the disabled to access the health care of their choice."

    With Congress preparing to debate health care reform this summer, the men warned legislation allowing government involvement in health care decisions could have "dire consequences." They cite other public health programs in Canada and Britain as examples of how government involvement compromises quality.

    Long waits for care elsewhere

    In a news release, the men cited a 2008 Commonwealth Fund International survey that found most Canadians and British adults waited longer than four weeks to see a medical specialist compared with only 26 percent of Americans.

    They also cited long waits for care, based on a Heritage Foundation study that found 43 percent of Canadian patients and 15 percent of British patients received hip replacements within six months, compared with more than 90 percent of American senior citizens.

    About 30 percent of Canadians' health care is paid for through the private sector, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, a group of 30 countries that meets regularly to discuss global issues and make economic and social policies.

    The private payments are mostly for services not covered or partially covered by Canada's health program, such as prescription drugs and dentistry, according to the OECD.

    About 65 percent of Canadians have some form of supplementary private health insurance and many receive it through their employers.

    Canada spends less of its gross domestic product on health care (10.4 percent, versus 16 percent in the U.S.) and performs better on two commonly cited health outcome measures - the infant mortality rate and life expectancy.

    A 2007 National Bureau of Economic Research report found the U.S. experienced a higher incidence of chronic health conditions than Canada, but Americans had somewhat better access to treatment for the conditions. Also, a significantly higher percentage of U.S. residents were screened for major forms of cancer.

    The need to ration health care resources in Canada is the reason most Canadians cited for unmet medical needs, where in the U.S., more than half of those surveyed cited health care costs as the reason for unmet needs, the agency found.

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    Article Source: www.articlesnatch.com

              SeaWorld’s Tank Size Questioned by Congress, Thanks to the Little Film That Could, “Blackfish”        
    According to (CNN), “Over three dozen members of Congress want the government to ensure the humane treatment of orca whales and other marine animals in captivity, following an outcry sparked by the documentary “Blackfish.”” “The letter, released Thursday and signed by 37 Democrats and one Republican to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, cites outdated regulations protecting those
              STOP the conversation! No one is listening        

    Where are the conversations? In politics, conversations where people have differing views are impossible. People scream at each other. No one is listening to the other side. Democrats are outraged at Republicans.  Republicans push agendas in spite of the public outcries. No one is listening! How do we have conversations that move us toward healing and […]

    The post STOP the conversation! No one is listening appeared first on Long On Language.

              The OC GOP endorses the initiative to repeal the CA Gas Tax        
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 20, 2017 CONTACT: Maryann Marino,  (949) 375-0856 Orange County Republican Party Endorses Initiative to Repeal the Gas Tax Orange County, CA – The campaign to Repeal the...

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              The CA State GOP Caucus pushes back against Gov. Brown’s Cap-and-Trade        
    Cap-and-Trade Letter Stating Concerns Sent to Governor Brown SACRAMENTO, CA — After a whirlwind of discussions thanks to Gov. Brown’s legislative cram down, the Senate Republican Caucus...

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              Several Republicans running for CA Governor but we could end up with an all-Democrat runoff        
    GOP Field For California Governor Grows, and Chance of All-Democrat Runoff by JON FLEISCHMAN Last week Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach) announced his candidacy for Governor of...

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              Re: Sheriff Bill Elder seeks second term, and political races shaping up        
    God, please help the Republicans enlist a far better more qualified and honest candidate to run against Bill Elder in the upcoming election for Sheriff. We need a Sheriff who will fight to make our community safer and be a part of making our community better, not a douche bag like Bill Elder.
    Posted by Asher777
              Zinke Reconsidering Trump Support: 'We've got to have this conversation'        
    It didn't take long for several prominent Republicans to say they could no longer support Donald Trump's candidacy for president, after a 2005 recording of him speaking disparagingly of women became public Friday. On Saturday, Montana's Congressman Ryan Zinke, a strong supporter of Trump, issued this statement:
              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.

              Quotes of the Week        

    “These days, it's not just leftie troublemakers who doubt that benefits going direct to big business will trickle down to the rest of us, it's every punter in the street.”  [Economics Editor at The Sydney Morning Herald, Ross Gittins, 24 July 2017]

    “Six months into his presidency, Donald Trump is saddled with a stalled agenda, a West Wing that resembles a viper’s nest, a pile of investigations and a Republican Party that is starting to break away.”  [Journalists Julie Pace and Jonathan Lemire writing in The Washington Post, 29 July 2017]

    “This White House is broken, perhaps beyond repair. It can’t do anything right. It can’t issue executive orders that are enforceable. It can’t pass legislation. It can’t prioritize the president’s agenda. It can’t get anybody on the same page. In a normal White House, all of those things flow from an empowered White House chief of staff who can execute the president’s agenda and most importantly tell him what he does not want to hear. And none of that is happening.”  [Author Chris Whipple quoted in The Washington Post, 31 July 2017]

    “Yeah. He’s like a conveyor belt for bad overseas ideas.” [Journalist Richard Chirgwin tweeting about Australian Prime Minster Malcolm Turnbull on 2 August 2017]

    “By August 2 2017, we will have used more from Nature than our planet can renew in the whole year…..This means that in seven months, we emitted more carbon than the oceans and forests can absorb in a year, we caught more fish, felled more trees, harvested more, and consumed more water than the Earth was able to produce in the same period.” [World Wildlife Fund quoted in the Independent on 2 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.”

              The Weekly Fix: Double Standard        

    The fix is in. Did you know, corporations like General Electric Co. (GE) spend more money on lobbyists than they pay in taxes?

    The federal government currently taxes corporations at 35 percent. While many argue the rate is too high, you don’t hear companies like GE complaining about it. That’s because they aren’t paying it.

    Over the past 15 years, GE’s federal income tax rate averaged only 5.2 percent. General Electric paid no federal taxes in 2010, despite earning $5.1 billion in U.S. profits. Instead, the company claimed a tax benefit of $3.2 billion.

    Meanwhile, GE executives awarded themselves more than $75 million in compensation and paid lobbyists a total of $39 million that same year- all while laying off their own employees.

    How was this possible? It was an inside job. General Electric’s tax planning team includes former employees from the Treasury, IRS, and congressional tax-writing committees. GE doesn’t have a tax compliance team, it has a tax defiance team.

    This is how the revolving door of power works in Washington. Entry-level staffers move to our nation’s capital and work as “public servants” for a few years. They learn the rules of the game, then cash out in the private sector to help lobbying firms and corporations like General Electric manipulate the system.

    And the door spins ‘round and ‘round ...

    No wonder Fortune 500 companies are so quiet on the sidelines while grassroots America fights to reform the tax code. They’ve already cut a deal behind closed doors.

    With a Republican-led Congress and White House, there is a serious opportunity for tax and welfare reform in 2018. It’s time to finally level the playing field. Any serious GOP entitlement reform effort must begin with corporate welfare reform.

    Everyday families can’t afford entire teams of lawyers and lobbyists dedicated to avoiding taxes. We work hard, and play by the rules. Political insiders and corporate America should do the same.

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

              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.


    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.”

              States Lead the Way on Criminal Justice Reform        

    Over the past several months, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has taken a step back on federal justice reform efforts, regressing to purportedly “tough on crime” stances. From advising increased penalties for nonviolent offenders to more recently promising an increase in the use of civil asset forfeiture by the federal government, Sessions has been doing everything in his power to give the Department of Justice (DOJ)’s full support to 80s-era policies from which many conservatives have abandoned in favor of evidenced-based practices that reduce recidivism and enhance public safety.

    A study from the Urban Institute found that increased penalties were at best mixed in reducing crime with other factors beyond incarceration driving down the incarceration rate, no evidence it drove down drug crime, and the use of imprisonment as a deterrent to be very costly. As of 2015, the US has the highest incarceration rate in the developed world at 25 percent while the total number incarcerated has increased by 500 percent over the last forty years.

    Meanwhile, the recidivism rate within three years of release increased by five percent between 1983 and 1994, highlighting a failure of harsher sentences to reduce both incarceration and reimprisonment. Keeping in mind that over-incarceration costs taxpayers at all levels of government around $80 billion each year, and those costs are only rising, it comes as no surprise that the “tough on crime” mindset has become both costly and unpopular after failing to get tangible results.

    What is surprising about this is that the states seem to be taking the opposite direction in pursuing criminal justice reform. From increased protections implemented on civil asset forfeiture to expanding licensing opportunities, states have been leading the way in creating new methods to reduce crime, incarceration, and recidivism. The amount of work and variation is actually quite amazing.

    One such reform was pursued in the state of Kentucky. Republican Gov. Matt Bevin signed SB 120 into law, which would eliminate a blanket ban on getting a job license and instead transfer it to a licensing board which will review each case. This will open up opportunities for previous offenders to now get jobs which will make it easier to reintegrate into society.

    The state legislation comes at a very important time for both the country and the state of Kentucky. A report from Reason magazine highlighted that prevention from getting a license due to a criminal record can increase the recidivism rate. There have been repeated cases where individuals have had problems getting licenses because blanket bans like the one in Kentucky have prevented them from getting jobs.

    A study by Arizona State University economist Stephen Slivinski found that recidivism increased by a whopping 9.4 percent in states that had blanket bans for former offenders while in states where it was easier for them to receive licenses it decreased by 4.2 percent. In addition, it was found that “between 60 and 75 percent of released prisoners remain unemployed one year after getting out” which is a problem since a Manhattan Institute Study found that employed individuals are more likely to return if they do not find a job relatively soon to release. Overall, a job is more likely to get people out of crime and reintegrated into society so reform like that in Kentucky will be a step in the right direction.

    For Kentucky, especially at the moment, this will help address problems it is facing. At the moment, Kentucky is failing to fill 110,000 job openings and ranks as having the 47th lowest job participation rate in the country. Getting reformed offenders into the job market will reduce that rate and help get new applicants for the jobs it is failing to fill.

    Similar concepts have also been pursued in the state of Illinois. As the Reason magazine article also notes, Illinois had passed a law in 2011 to ban all licensed healthcare professionals with a previous criminal record. This had initially been done since sex offenders had somehow managed to get licensed as doctors and nurses, but the problem is that the law was far too broad, applying to all former offenders as well.

    This included one Carlos Romero, who had left prison in 1993 and had been working for two years as a respiratory therapist with no legal issues after release until his license was revoked in 2013 because of the 2011 law. Romero and several other individuals who had not committed a legal wrong after release had lost their licenses. In response, he worked with State Sen. Iris Martinez (D-Chicago) to create an appeals process that would allow him and others with a previous conviction to make an appeal to get their license back. In 2016, Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner signed the legislation into law, allowing Carlos and countless others a chance to get their jobs back and remain proud contributors to the economy.

    This is not the only reform the state of Illinois has pursued. Earlier this year, the state legislature passed a bill to add burden of proof requirements to the police’s use of civil asset forfeiture, a tool that allows police to seize from accused individuals who have not been convicted. Though the bill has not yet been signed by the governor, it has veto proof majorities in both houses. Considering the fact that Chicago Police Department has acquired $150 million in assets from low income and minority neighborhoods and it has included “things like flashy jewelry, flat screen TVs, and a copy of the Call of Duty: Ghosts video game,” this reform is clearly needed.

    Kentucky and Illinois are not the only states have pursued reforms. In Nebraska, State Sen. Laura Ebke (L-Crete) is pursuing the same reforms as Kentucky, Republican Gov. Doug Ducey has implemented civil asset forfeiture reforms in Arizona to allow for more transparency, the state of Louisiana passed ten new laws on various justice reform topics this year, and many, many, MANY other states have done similar work. It would appear that across the country, states doing everything to find new and smarter ways to address and reduce crime in ways that drive down recidivism and restore rights.

    The DOJ is continuing to pursue “tough on crime” policies, but the states continue to believe it is better to be “smart on crime.” Increased penalties have been tried for decades and there is lackluster evidence that it has accomplished its goals at a reasonable cost. Meanwhile, states are pursuing newer, fairer, smarter, and better ways to reduce crime, protect rights, and promote outreach. With trends the way they are now, the country will like continue down this path with the states continuing to lead the way on justice reform.

              Capitol Hill Update: July 24, 2017        


    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.


    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.


    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.”

              Preserving Taxpayers’ Rights Act (H.R. 3220) Slashes IRS Waste        

    With Republicans controlling every branch of government, eliminating Internal Revenue Service (IRS) inefficiencies should be a no-brainer. Rep. Jason Smith’s (R-MO) Preserving Taxpayers’ Rights Act, H.R. 3220, will do just that. This bill eliminates wasteful tactics used in IRS audits and evaluations of tax disputes.

    When the IRS notices a discrepancy between an individual’s reported income and information from third parties, it issues a notice of deficiency. A notice of deficiency indicates that the taxpayer has 90 days to either agree to a proposed increase in tax liability or appeal to resolve the discrepancy by providing previously unreported information. Far too often, appeals processes are funneled into Tax Courts rather than the IRS’s own Office of Appeals established for this precise purpose. Litigation burdens both taxpayers and the IRS with unnecessarily expensive procedures.

    H.R. 3220 eliminates this tautology by establishing a legal right to have disputes heard by the IRS Office of Appeals before litigation is considered. It also creates stricter criteria for the IRS to designate cases for litigation, permitting only those involving recurrent legal abuses that impact many taxpayers, not just individual income disputes.

    Another wasteful practice fixed by this bill is the use of designated summons during corporate tax audits. A designated summons forces a corporation, or relevant parties, to appear before court and provide information. When ordered, a designated summons unilaterally and indefinitely suspends an audit process. Sometimes, the IRS uses these summonses to compel information from a corporation without evidence of wrongdoing or noncompliance. An indefinitely suspended audit process can last for years. Under H.R. 3220, the IRS will only authorize designated summonses when a corporation is notably noncompliant.

    Lastly, H.R. 3220 prevents the IRS from hiring outside lawyers to conduct or take testimony in a tax audit. The IRS has its own staff of government tax law attorneys for this purpose. One of the promises of the IRS Office of Appeals for deficiencies and audits is an objective and unbiased process. This is not possible when private firms, which have their own interests and clients, handle information explicitly intended for the government. H.R. 3220 rectifies this potential privacy breach.

    The Preserving Taxpayers’ Rights Act is a necessary reform that eliminates government waste, defends taxpayers’ legal rights, and protects privacy. There’s no justifiable reason to oppose any of these objectives, which is why a bipartisan group of cosponsors joined Rep. Smith in introducing this bill, four Democrats and three Republicans. If members of Congress support efficiency and accountability, they must support this bill.

              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.)

              Trump University Lawsuit Heads to Trial        
    Summary: The New York Trump University lawsuit is proceeding to trial.  Donald Trump is known for speaking his mind, and now he may have to flex those communication skills in court. Buzzfeed reports that the leading Republican candidate may have to testify in a fraud case in regards to his now-defunct school, Trump University, which […]
              FARO SEMPRE! 26.ª CONCENTRAÇÃO        
    Nº68 MOTO REPORT Agosto 2007
    Nº69 MOTO REPORT Setembro 2007
    Dizemo-lo todos os anos e com justificado orgulho: a concentração motociclística de Faro é considerada a maior e melhor da Europa e a maior do mundo, organizada por um clube. As entidades políticas regionais também são unânimes em considerar este evento aquele que mais promove a região algarvia além fronteiras. O mérito é endereçado a um punhado de homens e mulheres que dão corpo e alma ao Moto Clube de Faro e, simultaneamente, aos cerca de um milhar de voluntários que anonimamente se juntam para erguer tão singular acontecimento. A concentração de Faro é, na realidade, mais do que um evento. É um símbolo de solidariedade e puro espírito motociclístico. Embora se fale, com algum pessimismo, sobre a utilização futura do terreno que serve de palco à grande festa, um sentimento é unânime a todas as entidades: A Concentração de Faro não pode morrer!

    Blasted Mechanism
    Doze anos após a sua formação, os Blasted Mechanism continuam a ser uma pedrada no charco. Visual e musicalmente arrojados, a banda que lançou este ano “Sound In Light / Light In Sound” (um trabalho pioneiro no modo de edição por ser um híbrido: o primeiro CD é comprado nas lojas, o segundo é descarregado de um site), leva ao rubro a multidão com os temas mais recentes, bem como com os clássicos “Atom Bride Theme” e “Karkov”. Diferentes, únicos, por fazerem da música um meio de regeneração da sua própria energia, os Blasted concedem à audiência, um momento de contacto com a energia universal que, segundo eles, purifica o corpo e a alma. Na prática foi um dos momentos mais altos de palco. Uma impressionante máquina de produção, um exotismo envolvente, uma delícia para os fotógrafos. Os portugueses no seu melhor!

    Kiss Forever Band
    Estes insuspeitos músicos da Hungria formaram em 1995 aquela que viria a ser uma banda de tributo aos seus ídolos: os Kiss. Tudo começou apenas pelo prazer de tocar, sem grandes compromissos, as músicas da banda americana, ao vivo. Contudo, o fenómeno foi arrastando mais e mais público, acabando por se tornar no projecto principal dos elementos enquanto músicos profissionais. Vestidos e pintados a rigor, os KFB abriram, em grande, as hostilidades da Concentração de Faro na noite de quinta-feira. Fantásticos!

    Joe Cocker
    Este cantor britânico de 63 anos, com presença e voz inconfundíveis, percorreu parte dos sucessos da sua carreira, promovendo também faixas do mais recente trabalho “Hymn For My Soul” editado em Abril deste ano. Fiel ao seu estilo, bem produzido em termos artísticos, com uma banda competentíssima, foi o cabeça de cartaz da 26.ª Concentração Internacional de Faro.

    Tocá Rufar
    Formação mutante e itinerante, este projecto de percussões fundado por Rui Júnior pode ser descrito como uma performance visceral, onde os ritmos se transformam em gritos selvagens e libertam da alma a raiva e a rebeldia depositada à nascença. É impossível ficar-lhes indiferente não só pela quantidade de elementos como pela tremenda força da sua acústica. Duas mulheres em destaque e um animador fantástico. São sempre bem vindos a Faro.

    Rui Veloso
    Rui Veloso também está no 26.º ano… mas de carreira. Curiosa coincidência que Rui Veloso também está no 26.º ano… mas de carreira. Curiosa coincidência que nos confirma que tudo o que é bom conquista a longevidade naturalmente. Rui Veloso, normalmente conhecido pelo epíteto de “o pai do rock português” mostra-nos em cada concerto quão redutor é este rótulo. O seu universo musical está muito mais próximo do blues do que do rock. Para além disso, algumas das suas baladas, por exemplo “Porto Sentido”, são uma original confluência do blues com o fado, o que lhe confere um swing muito próprio, tornando as suas composições perfeitamente distintas. Um virtuoso guitarrista, um excelente cantor e distinto compositor. Rui Veloso é, sem dúvida, uma referência na música portuguesa.
    Na foto, acompanhado pelo Tim dos Xutos & Pontapés – que se encontrava presente na concentração - para a interpretação do tema: Postal dos Correios.
    Miss Faro
    É um dos momentos altos de palco. Já se chamou “Miss Tshirt Molhada”, hoje chama-se “Miss Faro”. Segundo o organizador é “uma brincadeira”, mas o total de mil euros em jogo, a dividir pelas três finalistas, faz com que as concorrentes levem a coisa muito a sério. Os atributos físicos são uma boa ajuda, mas a simpatia, ousadia e espírito exibicionista das voluntárias são o que mais agrada ao público. Já se chegou a usar um medidor de decibéis mas acabou por se voltar a confiar na sensibilidade discutível do speaker de serviço. As mais ousadas querem-se despir na totalidade, usando assim todos os seus argumentos, sem excepção. O público, por seu lado, fica naquela tensão de ver “algo” mais, embora se trate de poucos centímetros…. O patrocinador não deixa… Este ano a vencedora foi de
    novo a Natacha, segundo lugar para a Sandra e terceiro para a inconformada espanhola Pamela Calderon, que foi desclassificada por ser ter exibido… na totalidade.

    Pat Savage
    Na onda bike music, este músico canadiano de blues e rock, aproveitou o aquecimento que a banda antecessora deu no público e entregou-se ao som forte e apelativo que tanto tem em comum com o imaginário motard de um evento como este.

    Desde o Rock in Rio 2006 que esta banda não tocava em solo português. Misturam a música tradicional cubana com o Hip Hop. Em ano de lançamento de uma compilação com os seus principais êxitos, os Orishas encheram a concentração de Faro com balanço quente e vigoroso.

    Hard-Rock puro e duro vindo da vizinha Espanha. Visual a condizer. Para que nuestros hermanos se sintam em casa.

    Shows eróticos
    Com qualidade, mas… Cerca de 500.000 euros é a verba envolvida para montar toda a estrutura de Faro. Tendo em conta o fascínio que os shows eróticos provocam no público, talvez se justificasse um pouco mais de investimento para que estas performances fossem mais elaborados a nível coreográfico e de adereços. Aquilo que se viu não se distanciou muito do que vamos vendo ao longo do ano nas restantes concentrações nacionais. Faro merece uma fasquia mais alta. Este ano a ousadia passou por actuações com dois homens e uma mulher. Modernismos…

    Sorteios finais
    É sempre um momento emotivo e é com ansiedade e “fé” que milhares aguardam o anunciar do número mágico que habilitará um dos presentes a uma viagem a Daytona ou a uma moto. Este ano, as chaves de uma cobiçada Kawasaki Z 750 foram parar às mãos de Maria Conceição, de Sintra. As senhoras que protagonizaram, nas noites anteriores, os shows eróticos de palco, tornam sempre este momento ainda mais… excitante.

    Halcone México
    Foram uma grande surpresa na tarde de quinta-feira. Acrobacias em motos Harley-Davidson com cerca de quatrocentos quilos e da década de sessenta, não será fácil certamente. No tipo de piso a que ficaram condicionados (inclinado, terra batida com pequenas lombas e alguma palha), o acréscimo de dificuldade foi enorme. O que eles fizeram? Só mesmo visto ao vivo ou nas fotos. Contado custa a acreditar…

    GNR no local
    Tudo na mesma. Metralhadoras e tudo. O aparato que a GNR diz ser necessário para impor o devido respeito. Impõe respeito a meia dúzia de indesejáveis energúmenos, incomodando simultaneamente todos os outros pacatos motociclistas devido à sua atitude agressiva e despropositada. Não sei se terá que ser assim. O facto é que só vejo esta forma de actuação em Portugal. Pelo menos não nos podemos queixar que a nossa guarda não seja criativa. “No problem”, a GNR intimida e… a caravana passa!

    A campanha ZerOKilled é um dos cavalos de batalha do Moto Clube de Faro. Não adianta montar uma festa excepcional se depois, nas estradas e associado ao evento, sucederem acidentes com vítimas mortais a lamentar. É essa a notícia que muita imprensa sensacionalista procura. Os chamados “caçadores de acidentes”. Felizmente que, pelo menos desde o ano passado, não têm tido muito sucesso e, provavelmente por esse motivo, se tornou notada a sua ausência fazendo a cobertura da concentração. A mensagem ZerOKilled é criada pelo Moto Clube de Faro, divulgada principalmente pela imprensa especializada e pelos visto tem sensibilizado grande parte dos motociclistas. O slogan o ano passado era “Todos vivos” e este ano “Ir a Faro… e voltar”. Que assim seja sempre! O relatório deste ano emitido pela Guarda Nacional Republicana, Grupo Territorial de Faro, e que transcrevemos na íntegra, é a oficialização desse sucesso.

    Unidade Móvel de Rastreio
    Anónimo e Gratuito do VIH/SIDA
    Uma iniciativa que o Ministério da Saúde tem apresentado nos últimos anos à organização da Concentração de Faro – a qual tem sabido acolher e fomentar – possibilitou que todos aqueles que quisessem realizar o teste do VIH/SIDA de forma anónima e gratuita e com aconselhamento e apoio psicológico, o pudessem fazer. Descomplexando este assunto sério e delicado, será, sem dúvida, uma maneira eficaz de alargar as acções de despiste e controlo da infecção. Aplausos para a iniciativa.
    © Todos os direitos do texto estão reservados para MOTO REPORT, uma publicação da JPJ EDITORA. Contacto para adquirir edições já publicadas: +351 253 215 466.
    © General Moto, by Hélder Dias da Silva 2008

              [La “Sociedad” conoce] “El precio de todo y el valor de nada”        
    El precio de todo y el valor de nada

    Por Sara Plaza

    La sociedad con "S" mayúscula a la que se refería Oscar Wilde a finales del siglo XIX era la aristocracia londinense de la época victoriana. Un grupo al que el autor irlandés parodió en muchas de sus obras, destacando la impotencia del bien para lograr un final feliz entre los altos muros de su superficialidad. Una superficialidad que sigue manteniéndose más de un siglo después en otras muchas "clases altas" del mundo. Altas no por su estatura moral sino por las cifras astronómicas de sus cuentas bancarias y sus elevados niveles de corrupción e hipocresía.

    Esa sociedad que para escucharse a sí misma necesita silenciar las voces disonantes, tiene muy poco que decir y mucho de lo que avergonzarse. Esa sociedad que sabe cuánto cuesta todo, se encarga de que una gran mayoría de personas piensen que no valen nada. Esa sociedad que se cree sus propias mentiras, habla de tener fe en la verdad. Esa sociedad que desprecia la memoria, es la que nos cuenta la historia. Esa sociedad que desprecia la vida de muchos, tiene un "plan" que "asegura" la suya. Esa sociedad que no se cocina pero gusta de la buena mesa, está desforestando los montes, envenenando los ríos, hiriendo de muerte enormes pedazos de tierra. Esa sociedad que se prodiga en dádivas miserables, se apropia de lo que no es suyo y se considera dueña de lo que nos pertenece a todos.

    A esa sociedad en la que tienen cabida muy pocos se han opuesto muchos, pero el estruendoso avance de millones de pies descalzos, de millones de manos agrietadas, de millones de bocas hambrientas, de millones de miradas apagadas, de millones de sueños desterrados sigue sin derrumbar sus paredes ni hacer temblar demasiado sus cimientos. En algunos puntos quizá no sean tan fuertes como antaño pero su estructura sigue siendo ejemplo de eficacia arquitectónica. Su vigor tiene mucho que ver con el desencanto de quienes en su día vieron marchitarse muchos de sus proyectos y de quienes no encuentran hoy dónde plantar la simiente de los suyos.

    Hace unas semanas, mientras Edgardo y yo visitábamos a mi familia en España, el bibliotecario que siempre va con él puso en mis manos uno de los tomos en los que mis padres han ido encuadernando todos los números de la revista "Bustarviejo" que editaba la Asociación Cultural "El Bustar" en mi pueblo, y lo abrió en la número 35–1 de febrero de 1980. En ella aparece una entrevista que el cura párroco de entonces les hacía a mis abuelos maternos. Yo no recordaba haberla leído a mis siete años, así es que fue todo un descubrimiento a mis treinta y cinco. El artículo se titula "Mariano y Jesusa. El sufrimiento de los pobres" y comienza con estas palabras de mi abuela: "Yo ya se lo he dicho a mi hija, yo lo único que le puedo decir a Antonio son penas, nada más que penas. Así que cuando venga lo único que le contaré son penas". Las finales las pronunció mi abuelo después de escuchar la pregunta de por qué ha abandonado la gente joven el campo: "El campo es lo más despreciado y tirado de todo. El trabajo es más duro, siempre mirando al cielo, a expensas de la lluvia, del clima. Ahí no hay permiso, ni vacaciones, ni pagas extras. Pocas veces el campo da recompensas. Por eso la gente joven, al tener posibilidad de otros trabajos, ha abandonado el campo, pero ha sido por obligación y por falta quizá de que las autoridades no hayan recompensado esto. El campesino tiene que vivir al mismo nivel que los demás. El medianero y el pobre han tenido que abandonar y no han tenido más que disgustos. El único que siempre saca es el terrateniente fuerte. El abandonar el campo no beneficia nada a la nación. El gobierno, en eso, no ha estado acertado. Ha dado de lado al agricultor y este siempre lleva el timón. Yo creo que hay muchos sindicatos y muchas cosas que se podrían reducir y atender más el campo y la ganadería". Inmediatamente después, el entrevistador llamaba la atención sobre las no pocas denuncias que van impresas en esa intervención de mi abuelo y no pude evitar sonreírme. Claro que hay denuncias entre sus palabras, y no dejaron de sorprenderme en una entrevista en la que mis abuelos recordaban algunas de las derrotas que sumaron a lo largo de su vida. También me sorprendió el buen humor que mostraron sus respuestas en un par de ocasiones pese a su sabor amargo general, y me dolió la aspereza con que mi abuelo habló del desencanto al que me referí antes. Yo sabía que él había elegido luchar en el bando republicano durante la Guerra Civil y que estuvo en un campo de concentración en Francia cuando terminó. Sabía también que nunca quiso hablar de ello y que una y otra vez les pidió a sus hijos que no se metiesen en política. Al ser preguntado sobre la misma durante la entrevista responde: "Yo me lavo las manos, me corté la coleta. Desde que estuve en Francia renuncié a la política".

    Sin duda la guerra, la pobreza, la falta de trabajo, el tener que abandonar el lugar donde uno ha vivido porque dentro de sus fronteras está condenado a muerte o a morirse de hambre, ofrecen motivos más que suficientes para el desencanto, la desilusión y la decepción. Pero los herederos de quienes los experimentaron no deberíamos olvidar que esos son los nutrientes con los que se fortalece la superficialidad que envuelve a las minoritarias "clases altas" del mundo y con los que se revitaliza la injusticia que rodea a las muchísimo más numerosas "clases bajas". Esos son los elementos indispensables para que las primeras sigan poniendo precio a todo y para que las segundas no reconozcan su propio valor. Por ello, aunque sobren las razones para el desánimo, no tendrían que faltar las que nos impulsen a denunciar una y otra vez el origen y la causa del mismo, pues es en el terreno que conquistemos a la decepción donde germinará la semilla de nuestros proyectos, mientras que en el que fertilicemos con desencanto sólo aumentará la impotencia del bien para lograr un final feliz, tanto en la sociedad con "S" mayúscula como en el resto.

    Hace ya algunos años que uno de mis maestros me animó a descubrir los escritos de Wilde y hace sólo unas semanas el culpable de este blog depositó entre los dedos de la cómplice un volumen en el que pude leer a mis abuelos. Al docente y al bibliotecario gracias por las páginas que me descubrieron; a sus respectivos autores gracias por escribirlas y pronunciarlas.

    Nota: El título del artículo pertenece a palabras de Lord Darlington en Lady Windermere's fan del escritor irlandés Oscar Wilde.


              Comment on GOP Viewpoint: Republican budget is a new direction by Michael Trahan        
    The Connecticut Senate Republican "No Tax Increase" budget proposal may move Connecticut in a new direction, but it certainly relies heavily on a utility customer bailout and revenue gimmicks to get there. nnLittle mention is made of Senate Republican's reach into the pockets of CT electric and gas utility customers to take $162 million in existing utility customer energy efficiency and renewable energy account money over the next two years. nnSenate Republicans plan to take another $52 million from a second account called the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative that also funded by electric bill payers. That money is used to lower energy bills for oil customers. nnnnTogether, that's more than $200 million in new taxes in Senate Republican plan. nnThis is the kind of budget trickery that got us into the state budget mess in the first place. Senate Republicans were critical of taking utility customer money when Democrats tried this gimmick last year. Now this utility customer bailout is part of the Republican's new direction for CT.nn The Senate GOP plan impacts all Eversource or United Illuminating electric customers, and also customers from Connecticut Natural Gas, Connecticut Yankee or Southern Connecticut Gas.nnGoing outside the normal budget process and sweeping in off-budget account money paid for, and built by, utility customers to serve utility customers is short-sighted. To suggest to utility customers that using THEIR money to bail out state government is a good method for repairing CT's failing fiscal climate and that this raid on utility customers money is not really a tax in disguise is wrong.
              Anne Spencer Personal Library Wish List        
    This ongoing catalogue / wish list is compiled using the catalogue of Anne Spencer's personal books from the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library at the University of Virginia. The PLL is looking for the exact editions stated.


    -De La Mare, A.T., ed.,  Garden Guide: the Amateur Gardeners’ Handbook (A.T. De La Mare Co., 1940)


    -(--), An Appeal to the Common Sense of Colored Citizens (Republican National Committee, 1940)
    -(--), Africa: Questions and Answers for Mission Circles and Bands (Women’s Foreign Missionary Society of the Presbyterian Church, 1897) 
    -(--), One year from the day that the Supreme Court of the United States outlawed segregation in public schools everyone interested in implementing that decision is invited to attend a Southwestern Regional Conference on Integration in Houston, Texas, May 17, 1955 (Southern -Regional Conference on Integration, 1955)
    -Atlanta Urban League, The Negro School Child in Atlanta (The Atlanta Urban League, 1945)
    -Davidson, Basil, A Guide to African History (Doubleday & Company, 1965)
    -Dobler, Lavinia and William A. Brown, Great Rulers of the African Past (Doubleday, 1965)
    -Lee, David, The Negro Problem: Editorial (1948)
    -McCulloch, James E., The Call of the New South: Addresses Delivered at the Southern Sociological Congress, Nashville, Tennessee, May 7 to 10, 1912 (Southern Sociological Congress, 1912)
    -Ottley, Roi, ‘New World A-Coming’: Inside Black America (Houghton Mifflin, 1943)
    -Streeter, Daniel W., Denatured Africa (Garden City, 1929)
    -Willkie, Wendell, Wendell Willkie Speaks to Negroes: Address at Rally of Colored Republicans, Chicago, Illinois, September 13, 1940 ( Republican National Committee, 1940)


    -Hutchison, Keith, Labour in Politics (Labour Publishing Company, 1925)
    -Nathan, Maud, The Wage Earner and the Ballot (National American Woman Suffrage Association, 1908)
    -National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Does Your Congressman Represent You?: A Voters Guide (1964)


    -(--), Chronicle and romance : Froissart, Malory, Holinshed (P. F. Collier & Son, 1910)
    -(--), Heartsease: or, The Brother’s Wife (D. Appleton and Co., 1855)
    -Boyeson, Hjalmar H., Falconberg (Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1899)
    -Brinker Post, Mary, Annie Jordan: A Novel of Seattle (Doubleday & Co., 1948)
    -Butterworth, Hezekiah, Up from the Cape: a Plea for Pepublican Simplicity; Mayflower Tales (J.S. Ogilvie Publishing Company, 1883)
    -Chevalier, Maurice, With Love (Little, Brown & Co., 1960)
    -Dunsany, Lord, Five plays : the gods of the mountain, The golden doom, King Argimēnēs and the unknown warrior, The glittering gate, The lost silk hat (Little, Brown & Co., 1917)
    -Ellmann, Richard, ed., The Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry (W.W. Norton & Company, 1973)
    -Fallada, Hans, Little Man, What Now? (Simon & Schuster, 1933)
    -Fast, Howard, Citizen Tom Paine (Bantam Books, 1946)
    -Gras, Felix, (Catharine Janvier, trans.), The White Terror: A Romance of the French Revolution and After (D. Appleton and Co., 1900)
    -Harris, Cyril, Street of Knives (Little, Brown & Co., 1950)
    -Johnson, Johnson's Chief Lives of the Poets : being those of Milton, Dryden, Swift, Addison, Pope, Gray, and Macaulay's Life of Johnson (Foreword by Matthew Arnold) (Henry Holt & Co., 1880)
    -Kerlin, Robert T., Contemporary Poetry of the Negro (Press of the Hampton Normal & Agricultural Institute, 1921)
    -Kipling, Rudyard, Barrackroom Ballads (Donohue, Henneberry & Co., 1899)
    -Kipling, Rudyard, Departmental Ditties (M.A. Donohue & Co., 1901)
    -O’Brien, Edward J., ed., The Best Short Stories of 1924: and The Yearbook of the American Short Story(Small, Maynard & Co., 1925)
    -Patten, William, ed., Short Story Classics (American) ( P.F. Collier & Son, 1905)
    -Rothberg, Abraham, The Thousand Doors (Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1965)
    -Scott, Sir Walter, The Lady of the Lake (Thomas Crowell & Sons, 1893-1900)
    -Shoup, Francis Elliott, ed., Pope's The Iliad of Homer : books I, VI, XXII, and XXIV (B. F. Johnson Publishing Company, 1901)
    -Smart, C., trans., The Works of Horace (David McKay, 1896)


    -(--), Washington Merry-Go-Round (Liveright, 1931)
    -Addington Symonds, John, Renaissance in Italy (Modern Library, 1935)
    -Anthony, Katharine, Catherine the Great (Garden City, 1927)
    -Dabney, Richard Heath, The Causes of the French Revolution (Henry Holt and Co., 1889)
    -De Tocqueville, Alexis, Democracy in America (Colonial Press, 1899)
    -Gibson, Hugh, ed., The Ciano diaries, 1939-1943 : the complete, unabridged diaries of Count Galeazzo Ciano, Italian minister for foreign affairs, 1936-1943 (Doubleday and Co., 1946)
    -Langford Warren, Herbert, The Foundations of Classic Architecture (Macmillan Co., 1919)
    -Parman, Jr., Francis, The California and Oregon Trail: Being Sketches of Prairie and Rocky Mountain Life (Hurst and Co., 1900)
    -Turner, Edward Raymond, Europe, 1789-1920 (Doubleday, Page, 1920)
    -Vehanen, Kosti, Marian Anderson: A Portrait (McGraw Hill, 1941)


    -Orlanidi, Nazareno, Italian Grammar (Tip. Sociale, 1910)
    -Tuckerman, Julius, Simplicité : a Reader of French Pronunciation (American Book Co., 1908)


    -Chamberlin, Thomas, A College Text-Book of Geology (Henry Holt and Co., 1909)
    -Curry, Preston E., and Ralph Rice, Applied Business Arithmetic (South-Western Publishing Co., 1940)
    -Korzybski, Alfred, Manhood of Humanity: the Science and Art of Human Engineering (Dutton and Co., 1921)

              By: Gene        
    John, I wish this was the case. A stop loss order would be of dubious legal value at best, sad to say. And whenever the administration (any administration) finds that a standing law has lost in a lower court, it is firmly established precident to defend it. I kind of wish they would not, but, not doing so sets a precedent. Long and short of it, I am not happy either, but, I AM realistic and aformer republican who knows what the REAL bad guys are thinking, and that a lack of support for this admittedly imperfect president and administration WILL bite us in the ass later. A lot of us have stared to the perfect be the enemy of the good. That is a recipe for long term failure.
              By: Gene        
    executive orders cant contradict laws passed by congress. Former republican gay man here. I know the other side well. If the dems have not given us all we want, the other side is the enemy. Period. Hate crimes, passed by liberal dems, and signed into law by him is NOT squat. He pushed for the end of DADT, and we fell short in the senate. Poor politics on several peoples parts, but not his alone. The youth I volunteer with, gay kids in the south, see this president speaking of us with dignity and respect, and it matters to them when he declares GLBTQ history month. The entire might of the religious right is arrayed against him and his party, and lots of bigoted people will easily fall for Republican attempts to use US and our causes as a reason to vote against them, but, we expect the real world of politics to just put itself on hold for us? It wont. Never will. He is the best we have ever had, and, sad to say with the "oh I wanted more...I just dont feel like working for any campaigns, and I am so disappointed he did not find a new presidential power to overturn things and make things just" attitude, the NEXT president will certainly be worse.
              Explaining Betsy DeVos and her poor judgment on education        
    Betsy Devos, an unqualified billionaire with a knack for destroying education in her own state, has been confirmed as the country’s new Secretary of Education. Many are wondering whether the strategic Republican marketing of “school choice” has any leg to stand on. “Public sc...
              Rep. Peter King sets second Muslim radicals hearing        
    WASHINGTON — A key US House of Representatives committee next week will hold the second in a controversial series of hearings on Muslim radicalization in the United States, the panel’s chairman announced Thursday. House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King, a Republican whose first ...
              House panel votes to defund NPR after emergency GOP hearing        
    WASHINGTON – The House Rules Committee on Wednesday voted 6-5 to defund National Public Radio after an emergency hearing called by Republicans, sending the measure to the floor for debate Thursday. The committee examined and approved H.R. 1070, a bill designed “to prohibit Federal funding of N...
              Comment on Hillary isn’t a sure thing by TripLbee        
    Hillary's biggest rival may well be Jerry Brown, who has raised California from the ashes like a modern day phoenix. Unless the economy falls off a cliff or some other unforeseen catastrophe befalls us, she will whip any Republican in the field.
              Comment on Hillary isn’t a sure thing by angrymanspeaks        
    Interesting article and I must say; I get your point and at any other time in history; I would agree. Right now however, I believe the Republicans are in a "difficult spot". Their approval rating is at what? 10%? The general mood of the nation this time is much more progressive after the economic disaster brought on by the Republicans and the disastrous Romney campaign which highlighted the elitist nature of the party as well as the complete obliviousness of the party leaders. So normally; Yes. Right now? I think perhaps not. I think we have a fair chance of keeping the white house for another four or maybe even eight years if we play our cards right and provide the progressive relief the people (even republicans though they will never say so) need.
              Accountability: Why the press needs to ask ALL 538 electors about Donald Trump        
    A century from now, historians may well turn to the Trump Time Capsule series. The Atlantic’s James Fallows has told “what we knew, when we knew it, about the man who was trying to become president.” The series holds Republican politicians and others accountable to future generations. Donald Trump’s detractors regard him as a potential tyrant […]
              Jefferson Republican Party        
    Those of you who feel like the GOP does not support your ideals in government, there is a new party who may make a difference: The Jefferson Republican Party. I am joining this party. If you are a conservative without a political home and are a conservative, maybe you should give them some support too! http://www.jeffersonrepublicanparty.com
              Republicans File Congressional Review Act Challenge to CFPB’s Arbitration Rule        

              Análisis del Manifiesto de Cartagena        
    Simón Bolívar había asumido el mando de la Plaza de Puerto Cabello el 4 de mayo de 1812. Un mes después, el 6 de junio, ésta cayó en poder de los realistas. Ante tal pérdida y después de firmada la Capitulación, Bolívar logró pasar a Curacao y luego a la Nueva Granada. Allí, el gobierno le reconoció su grado de Coronel y le permitió su participación en la Campaña del Magdalena. El 15 de diciembre de 1812 escribió su primer documento donde expone las causas que condujeron a la pérdida de la Primera República y advierte a los neogranadinos sobre la necesidad de unirse para derrotar al enemigo. Estas causas según Bolívar fueron:
    1. El régimen de tolerancia seguido por las autoridades republicanas: considerado como débil e ineficaz. Criticó la actitud asumida por el gobierno de Venezuela frente a Coro, afirmando que la Junta Suprema debió atacarla y no dejar que se fortificara, y responsabilizando a los magistrados, quienes consultaban códigos inapropiados. “Por manera que tuvimos filósofos por jefes, filantropía por legislación, dialéctica por táctica y sofistas por soldados”. La doctrina en que se apoyaban, determinó que “a cada conspiración sucedía un perdón y a cada perdón sucedía otra conspiración que se volvía a perdonar”.
    2. La carencia de un ejército regular, disciplinado y capaz de presentarse en el campo de batalla a defender la libertad. Por el contrario, se establecieron innumerables cuerpos de milicias indisciplinadas, que además de agotar las Cajas del erario nacional, con lo sueldos de la plana mayor, destruyeron la agricultura, alejaron a los paisanos de sus hogares e hicieron odioso el gobierno que obligaba a éstos a tomar las armas y abandonar sus familias. El resultado probó severamente a Venezuela el error de su cálculo. Los milicianos que salieron al encuentro del enemigo, ignorando el manejo de armas, y no estando habituados a la disciplina y la obediencia, fueron arrollados al comenzar la última campaña, a pesar de los heroicos y extraordinarios esfuerzos que hicieron sus jefes por llevarlos a la victoria.
    3. La subdivisión de la Provincia de Caracas. “Esta reforma sancionada por el Congreso despertó y fomentó una enconada rivalidad en las ciudades y lugares subalternos, contra la capital”.
    4. La disipación de las rentas públicas evidenciada en gastos inútiles y especialmente en sueldos de oficinistas, secretarios, jueces, magistrados, legisladores provinciales y federales dio “un golpe mortal a la República”, por cuanto generó la necesidad de establecer el papel moneda sin garantía real. Este factor contribuyó a crear un descontento general que fue aprovechado por los realistas.
    5. La adopción de la forma federal de gobierno. El Libertador consideraba que este sistema era perfecto, pero el mismo no correspondía a los intereses de las naciones. Según el sistema federal, las provincias se gobernaban independientemente, pero, en la práctica, no estaban capacitadas para ejercer ampliamente y por sí mismas sus derechos ya que carecían de las virtudes políticas que caracterizan a las repúblicas. Bolívar era partidario de gobiernos fuertes y centralizados: “Nuestra división, y no las armas españolas, nos tornó a la esclavitud”.
    6. El terremoto del 26 de marzo de 1812 y el fanatismo del clero en relación con el fenómeno fueron para Bolívar una causa importante e inmediata de la ruina de Venezuela. No sólo por lo trastornos físicos y morales que ocasionó, sino por la ausencia de una autoridad que actuara con diligencia. En este sentido, la actitud del clero encontró campo para la acción pues estaba consciente de que los delitos quedaban siempre impunes.

    Después de enumerar y analizar estas causas Bolívar consideraba necesaria la ayuda de la Nueva Ganada para reconquistar Caracas y propuso un proyecto de Campaña para marchar a Venezuela “a libertar la cuna de la independencia colombiana”.
    Si bien las causas señaladas por Bolívar contribuyeron a la pérdida de la Primera República, es necesario considerar, también, como factor negativo a la causa patriota, la fuerza que ejerció la hostilidad de las masas populares frente al nuevo gobierno. El movimiento de 1810 y la declaración de Independencia beneficiaban directamente a los criollos, y la población, lógicamente tenía que sentir aprehensión ante un movimiento que favorecía económica y políticamente al sector cuyo criterio social excluyente era manifiesto. A esto se unía la influencia que ejercía el clero, quien acusaba a los republicanos de ateismo.

              Judges Would Like the NCGA to Start Taking Redistricting Seriously        
    On Monday, a court ordered the legislature to draw new districts by September 1 Over two days last week, we got a sense of how seriously the North Carolina General Assembly was taking a federal court's order to redraw its legislative districts in a fair and not-racially-gerrymandered manner (not really) and how the federal court felt about the legislature's recalcitrance (not thrilled). First, in a meeting Wednesday of the legislature's joint committee on redistricting, Representative David Lewis, the committee's Republican cochairman, said he hoped to have the process wrapped up by mid-November (no rush).…
              If Roy Cooper Wins an Elections Lawsuit, Wake Libertarians Could Come Out on Top        
    Wake Dems and Republicans missed an important filing deadline, a former legislative special counsel says On Thursday, Gerry Cohen, a former special counsel for the General Assembly, made an interesting observation on Facebook: both the Wake Democratic and Republican parties missed the deadline to nominate candidates for the county Board of Elections. And that, he wrote, means that if Governor Cooper is successful in his effort to overturn a law passed last year that reconfigured the structure of election boards, the Wake board will consist of "two Libertarians and an unaffiliated voter."…
              Senate agrees to consider healthcare bill        
    On July 25, after much back-and-forth in the Senate and the dramatic return of Senator John McCain, who was recently diagnosed with brain cancer, the Senate agreed to open debate on legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). With Republican Senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski joining all Senate Democrats in voting […]
              A SUMMER SURVIVAL GUIDE FOR THE TRUMP ERAHere’s a summer...        


    Here’s a summer survival guide, 10 ways to relax during the era of Trump.

    1.  Take a day off from the news, one day a week.

     2.  Don’t get into an argument with a Trump supporter, especially if it’s a member of your family. Remember, there are more independents and non-voters than Trump Republicans. And the 2018 midterm election will be won on the basis of turnout.

    3.  Pay no attention to Trump’s tweets. They’re becoming increasingly bizarre and irrelevant.

    4.  Watch an old movie of biting political satire, like “Wag the Dog.”

    5.  But don’t watch “Doctor Strangelove.”

    6.  Join an Indivisible group near you and take action with them, attending a congressional town meeting and organizing others to contact your members of congress. It’s having an effect. Plus, it’s therapeutic.  

    7.  Drink lots of water and get plenty of exercise. Helps with the anger.

    8.  Read good books of fiction, like Harry Potter. Don’t read George Orwell’s “1984” or Sinclair Lewis’s “It Can’t Happen Here” or Philip Roth’s “The Plot Against America.”

    9.  Go to a county fair with your kids, and watch the pigs.

    10. Have a cookout with your neighbors and see what resources you yourselves can offer to your community. Start a tool collective or teach a class in a library or out of someone’s house. Tangible change can come from your hands, not only your votes. Remember, resistance works best when people come together and work together.         

    Have a great summer!

              Hill Republicans: Trump is Fritzing Out        
    This morning I phoned my friend, a former Republican member of Congress.Me: What’s going on?...
              Trump’s Big Loss        
    The demise of the Republican effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act is hardly the end of the...


    As Republicans in Congress move to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Democrats are moving toward Medicare for All – a single-payer plan that builds on Medicare and would cover everyone at far lower cost.

    Most House Democrats are already supporting a Medicare for All bill.

    With health care emerging as the public’s top concern, according to recent polls, the choice between repeal of the Affordable Care Act and Medicare for All is likely to be the major domestic issue in the presidential campaign of 2020 (other than getting Trump out of office, if he lasts that long).

    And the better choice is clear. Private for-profit insurers spend a fortune trying to attract healthy people while avoiding the sick and needy, filling out paperwork from hospitals and providers, paying top executives, and rewarding shareholders.

    And for-profit insurers are merging like mad, in order to make even more money.

    These are among the major reasons why health insurance is becoming so expensive, and why almost every other advanced nation – including our neighbor to the north – has adopted a single-payer system at less cost per person and with better health outcomes.

    Most Americans support Medicare for All. According to a Gallup poll conducted in May, a majority would like to see a single-payer system implemented. An April survey from the Economist/YouGov showed 60 percent of Americans in favor of “expanding Medicare to provide health insurance to every American.”

    That includes nearly half of people who identify themselves as Republican.

    If Republicans gut the Affordable Care Act, the American public will be presented with the real choice ahead: Either expensive health care for the few, or affordable health care for the many.

              NOW’S THE TIME FOR MEDICARE FOR ALLAs Republicans in Congress...        


    As Republicans in Congress move to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Democrats are moving in the opposite direction, toward Medicare for All – a single-payer plan that builds on Medicare and would cover everyone at far lower cost.

    Most House Democrats are already supporting a Medicare for All bill. Senator Bernie Sanders is preparing to introduce it in the Senate. Both California and New York state are moving towards single-payer plans.

    With health care emerging as the pubic’s top concern, according to recent polls, the choice between repeal of the Affordable Care Act and Medicare for All is likely to be the major domestic issue in the presidential campaign of 2020 (other than getting Trump out of office, if he lasts that long).

    And the better choice is clear. Private for-profit insurers spend a fortune trying to attract healthy people while avoiding the sick and needy, filling out paperwork from hospitals and providers, paying top executives, and rewarding shareholders. 

    And for-profit insurers are merging like mad, in order to make even more money. 

    These are among the major reasons why health insurance is becoming so expensive, and why almost every other advanced nation – including our neighbor to the north – has adopted a single-payer system at less cost per person and with better health outcomes. 

    Most Americans support Medicare for All. According to a Gallup poll conducted in May, a majority would like to see a single-payer system implemented. 

    An April survey from the Economist/YouGov showed 60 percent of Americans in favor of “expanding Medicare to provide health insurance to every American.” That includes nearly half of people who identify themselves as Republican. 

    If Republicans gut the Affordable Care Act, the American public will be presented with the real choice ahead: Either expensive health care for the few, or affordable health care for the many.

              It’s Time for Medicare for All        
    Mitch McConnell is delaying a vote on the Senate Republican version of Trumpcare because he doesn’t...
              The Secret Republican Plan to Unravel Medicaid        
    Bad enough that the Republican Senate bill would repeal much of the Affordable Care Act. Even worse,...
              Syracuse GOP Mayoral Candidate Proposes Mayoral Control of City Schools        
    Syracuse’s Republican mayoral candidate says one of the keys to move the city out of poverty and lagging economic growth is through mayoral control of the school district. Former superintendent and educator Laura Lavine says she’s prepared lead the turnaround. She says the Syracuse City School District’s recent improvement to a 60 percent graduation rate is nothing to celebrate. The statewide average is 80 percent. She says children are not learning and graduating as they should, and teachers don’t feel safe… "This is a crisis. Having 40 percent either not graduate on time or at all is a disaster for our city. We can't go on like this. We need bold, bold action on this, and this is the way to go." Lavine just retired as superintendent of the Lafayette school district after a 40-year career in education. She says mayoral control would add transparency and accountability to a system that sees plenty of turnover among superintendents and education commissioners. " You might have three or
              DeFrancisco for Governor? The Veteran Senator is Exploring the Possibility        
    What are the prospects that Republican State Senator John DeFrancisco of Syracuse will challenge Governor Andrew Cuomo for Governor? DeFrancisco says he first wants to see if he can gain enough support from republican committee members and is traveling across the state to get the word out about his vision for the state. He feels that it’s a critical time for him to decide whether or not to run. " While population throughout the United States is growing, we had a net loss. That means are voting with their feet. They're expressing how they really feel by leaving the state. That confirms what I've heard from especially small business owners and people worried about their job, and seeing their kids not coming back to the state.” The Senator says that voters want to be confident about elected officials and thinks Cuomo has a credibility issue. " If you talk to most New Yorkers who have any involvement in politics, I would like to find out who, give me one person...have them call me, who
              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
              Q&A on GOP Health Care Bill        
    This week, Republicans in Congress will try to rally votes behind a bill that proposes major changes to the way Americans get health care and how much they pay. In Central New York, many thousands could be affected. Use this Q&A to explore how the bill would affect you. And stay tuned to WAER for continuing coverage of the GOP Health Care Bill from NPR. Loading...
              Onon County Gets Sales Tax OK, Other State Business Draws Protests in Special Session        
    The legislature finally ended its 2017 legislative session, after the Assembly voted overnight on a privately negotiated omnibus bill, and the Senate finally finished on Thursday afternoon. The messy process drew condemnation from both sides of the aisle. Both Democrats and Republicans condemned an end of session that included the governor calling an extraordinary session of the legislature to deal with expiring laws, private meetings between Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders, and rank and file lawmakers kept in the dark about the details. After two days with little or no information on an omnibus cleanup bill , the leader of the Senate Democrats, Andrea Stewart- Cousins, stood with her conference members, and said -enough. “Stop wasting time, stop wasting taxpayer dollars,” Stewart-Cousins said. “And do the things that people sent us here to do.” On the Senate floor, Deputy Senate Minority Leader Mike Gianaris, continued the criticism, saying the extraordinary session was called
              Mayoral Control, Reform, Uncertain as State Legislative Session Draws to a Close         
    The New York State legislative session is drawing to a close, and Democrats and Republicans are digging in on the remaining issues of 2017 including a measure to extend the New York City Mayor’s control of the public schools, which has now been linked to a number of diverse issues effecting people in the rest of the state. Games of chicken are common at the Capitol whenever a deadline like the budget or the end of session draws near. This time, it was the State Senate’s turn to go first. Republicans, who control the chamber, offered three bills extending New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s control of the public schools, for one, two or five years. The measures are linked to passage of an education tax credit that would benefit charter schools. Charter schools have long been championed by Republicans but are viewed with suspicion by some Democrats. The three take it or leave it measures were angrily rejected by the Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, who was asked about them by reporters.
              Gov. Cuomo Takes Active Role in Taking Back the House for Democrats        
    Governor Andrew Cuomo is getting involved in New York’s Congressional races. At a rally with House Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, he vowed to help defeat the state’s republican members of the House of Representatives when they are up for election next year. House Democratic Leader Pelosi introduced Governor Cuomo at the rally of union workers at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City. “We will remove you from office on November [7], 2018,” Cuomo shouted. “ And we are telling you those are not just words, you can bet your political life that New Yorkers will do just that!” While Cuomo says he’s working to defeat all of the state’s GOP congressional representatives, the governor directed his ire at Western New York Congressman Chris Collins and the Hudson Valley’s John Faso. The two angered Cuomo earlier this year when they successfully included in the House repeal of the Affordable Care Act a plan to force the state to take over billions of dollars in county Medicaid costs.
              A New Church Website Means I Have to Get Back to Blogging        
    You've heard it before. I'm going to start blogging again. Did you see the last time I posted? It was over a year ago! But, recent developments in the Southern Baptist Convention, controversies over theological positions that long ago should have been settled, and the fact that our Church is now fully exposed on the internet, have led me to want to come back to the keyboard and punch out some more of my thoughts - even if no one is listening anymore.

    One reason I want to do this is in hopes that some of the members of my congregation will begin to catch a vision for a greater Evangelical purpose and see themselves as part of a national and, more importantly, global network of Christians seeking to glorify and exalt the name of Christ.

    Internet hot-spots like Facebook and Twitter present opportunities for Christians to put their best feet forward in regards to the Gospel and Orthodox Theology. More than ever we need each other to counteract the vast influences of both the secular culture and the insulated Christian community (read "Suburban, middle-class, Republican, disengaged, self-focused, and man-centered"). Pointing my people, as well as those I encounter from my past and present on Facebook, toward Gospel-centered, Christ-exalting, globally-focused ministries and tools helps us as a universal Christian community grow together in unity and move ever more swiftly in the direction of glorifying God to the ends of the Earth.

    I have never been more optimistic about the present effectiveness of the Gospel's influence and the Holy Spirit's power than I am right now. Revival is coming and I want to be a part of that, even if it means the Church down the street grows, but ours doesn't. If we just become a more generous, Christ-centered, and spiritually mature congregation, then I will count my ministry a success. Far too often, we get wrapped up in what God is doing (or not doing) visibly in our own Church and forget that it's not about us, it's about His glory. So if my blog can be used to point those who may read it toward the encouragement and optimism that I have experienced over these past few months, then it is effective. And that's really all I can ask - to be effective in actively glorifying Christ and bringing His Kingdom to bear on the Earth.

    So check out our new Church website and listen to some of these guys' sermons:

    Cleveland Road Baptist Church
    David Platt
    Francis Chan
    John Piper

              About Jackie Robinson        

    Who was Jackie Robinson?


    Jack Roosevelt "Jackie" Robinson (January 31, 1919 – October 24, 1972) was the first black Major League Baseball. Robinson broke the baseball color barrier when he signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. As the first black man to play in the major leagues, (aside from the 1880s, before the MLB was organized) he is most known for bringing social justice to baseball, which had seperate leagues for blacks (the Negro leagues) and whites for six decades. His character and skills are what helped him challenge the traditional basis of segregation, which was prevalent in all areas of American Life, and was a catalyst to the Civil Rights Movement. Robinson was not just any other baseball player, he strived for success and achieved it, as he helped the Dodgers get to six World Series' and win it all in 1955. He was Rookie of the Year in 1947, MVP in 1949 and a six time All-Star from 1949-1954. He was then inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown in 1962 followed by all of MLB retiring the Jackie Robinson Jersey: number 42, in 1997, an honor reserved solely to Robinson. 

    Pre Baseball Life

    Jackie was born on January 31, 1919, in Cairo, Georgia, to a family of farmers during a Spanish flu and smallpox epidemic. He was the youngest of five children, after his brothers Edgar, Frank, Matthew, and Willa Mae. He was named "Roosevelt" as a middle name, in honor of former President Theodore Roosevelt, who died earier that month. The Robinson's moved to 121 Pepper Street in Pasadena, California after their father left them in 1920. Their mother worked various jobs to support them as they grew up in relative poverty even though Pasadena was considered an affluent place. They attended Washington Junior High School followed by Muir Tech High School. The Robinsons were superb athletes. Matthew was a silver medalist in the 1936 Olympics and he and Frank inspired Jackie to seriously pursue a career in sports. Jackie played on the Muir Tech football team as quarterback, basketball team as a guard, track team as a jumper, tennis team and baseball team as both a catcher and shortstop. In 1936, he won a Tennis Tournament and played in the Pomona baseball tournament all star team with fellow future Hall of Famers Ted Williams and Bob Lemon. 

    After High School, Jackie went on to Pasadena Junior College where he continued his involvement in sports. He also was elected to the Lancers, a local organization responsible for helping patrol school activities. In 1938, Jackie joined the All-Southland Junior College baseball team and was selected as that years MVP. He also received honors for his outstanding community service, even though he sometimes acted against those around him who seemed racist. While playing football for PJC, Jackie broke his ankle. A few days before Jackie's 19th birthday he was arrested for vocally disputing the arrest of a black friend of his. He quickly earned a reputation for being one who won't shy away from beligerrance in the face of racism.

    After graduating from PJC, Jackie's brother, Frank, was killed in a motorcycle accident which helped Jackie make a decision to move to L.A. where he could console Frank's family. Jackie decided to attend UCLA where he met is future wife, Rachel Isum, and won varsity letters in all the major sports. He won the 1940 NCAA Mens Outdoor Track and Field Championship in the Long Jump,jumping a whopping 24 Feet 10.5 Inches. Ironically, in that year, robinson batted .097 for the UCLA baseball squad. In 1941, he took a job with the NYA as an assistant athletic director, as it would have been impossible for him to get a job as a proffesional athlete due to the color barrier. Later that year he traveled to Hawaii where he had an opportunity to play for the racially mixed semi-pro Honolulu Bears' football team. After that season he would move back to L.A. to play for a local football team, not realizing that the US involvement in World War 2 would sidetrack him for a little while and end his short football career.

    Robinson was drafted to the Army in 1942 and was stationed in Fort Riley, Kansas. Throughout his 3 plus years in the Army, he was always treated as a subordinate by the White controlled military. He still managed to become a second lieutenant in 1943, and joined the Black Panthers Tank Battallion, the first Black tank unit to see combat in WWII. However, jackie was never in combat. After getting engaged to his College sweetheart, Rachel, he was sidelined after injuring the same ankle he hurt back in high school. He would finish his army service as a coach for army athletes until 1944 when he was discharged. While in the Army, Robinson made close ties with boxer, Joe Louis, as they helped each other struggle in the white dominated Army.

    In early 1945, after working some part time coaching jobs, Jackie received an offer from the Kansas City Monarchs to Play professional Baseball in the Negro Leagues. He signed a contract worth $400 a month as he played for the Monarchs for 1 Season. He played 47 games at shortstop batting .387. The Negro leagues were'nt for Jackie as he didn't like their unorganized style. Luckily he received a secret offer from the GM of the Brooklyn Dodgers, Branch Rickey, to come to NY and play for their Minor League team. They offered him $600 a month on the condition that he would be able to take abuse from other players for being the only black, but contain himself from fighting back. Jackie accepted, and immediately left the Monarchs for NYC where he would marry Rachel Isum, who was in NY studying to be a Nurse. Jackie would start with the Dodgers' AAA club in Daytona Beach, FL that next season.

    Baseball Career

    In 1946, Robinson arrived at Daytona Beach, Florida, for spring training with the Montreal Royals of the Class AAA International League (the designation of "AAA" for the highest level of minor league baseball was first used in the 1946 season). Robinson's presence was controversial in racially charged Florida. As he was not allowed to stay with his teammates at the team hotel, he lodged instead at the home of a local black politician. Since the Dodgers organization did not own a spring training facility (the Dodger-controlled spring training compound in Vero Beach known as "Dodgertown" did not open until spring 1948), scheduling was subject to the whim of area localities, several of which turned down any event involving Robinson or Johnny Wright, another black player whom Rickey had signed to the Dodgers' organization in January. In Sanford, Florida, the police chief threatened to cancel games if Robinson and Wright did not cease training activities there; as a result, Robinson was sent back to Daytona Beach. In Jacksonville, the stadium was padlocked shut without warning on game day, by order of the city's Parks and Public Property director. In DeLand, a scheduled day game was called off, ostensibly because of faulty electrical lighting.

    After much lobbying of local officials by Rickey himself, the Royals were allowed to host a game involving Robinson in Daytona Beach. Robinson made his Royals debut at Daytona Beach's City Island Ballpark on March 17, 1946, in an exhibition game against the team's parent club, the Dodgers. Robinson thus simultaneously became the first black player to openly play for a minor league team and against a major league team since the de facto baseball color line had been implemented in the 1880s. Later in spring training, after some less-than-stellar performances, Robinson was shifted from shortstop to second base, allowing him to make shorter throws to first base. Robinson's performance soon rebounded. On April 18, 1946, Roosevelt Stadium hosted the Jersey City Giants' season opener against the Montreal Royals, marking the professional debut of the Royals' Jackie Robinson. In his five trips to the plate, Robinson had four hits, including a three-run home run. He also scored four runs, drove in three, and stole two bases in the Royals' 14–1 victory. Robinson proceeded to lead the International League that season with a .349 batting average and .985 fielding percentage, and he was named the league's Most Valuable Player. Although he often faced hostility while on road trips (the Royals were forced to cancel a Southern exhibition tour, for example), the Montreal fan base enthusiastically supported Robinson. Whether fans supported or opposed it, Robinson's presence on the field was a boon to attendance; more than one million people went to games involving Robinson in 1946, an amazing figure by International League standards. In the fall of 1946, following the baseball season, Robinson returned home to California and briefly played professional basketball for the short-lived Los Angeles Red Devils.

    The following year, six days before the start of the 1947 season, the Dodgers called Robinson up to the major leagues. With Eddie Stanky entrenched at second base for the Dodgers, Robinson played his initial major league season as a first baseman. On April 15, 1947, Robinson made his major league debut at Ebbets Field before a crowd of 26,623 spectators, including more than 14,000 black patrons. Although he failed to get a base hit, the Dodgers won 5–3. Robinson became the first player since 1880 to openly break the major league baseball color line. Black fans began flocking to see the Dodgers when they came to town, abandoning their Negro league teams.

    Robinson's promotion met a generally positive, although mixed, reception among newspapers and white major league players. However, racial tension existed in the Dodger clubhouse. Some Dodger players insinuated they would sit out rather than play alongside Robinson. The brewing mutiny ended when Dodgers management took a stand for Robinson. Manager Leo Durocher informed the team, "I do not care if the guy is yellow or black, or if he has stripes like a fuckin' zebra. I'm the manager of this team, and I say he plays. What's more, I say he can make us all rich. And if any of you cannot use the money, I will see that you are all traded."

    Robinson was also derided by opposing teams. Some, notably the St. Louis Cardinals, threatened to strike if Robinson played. After the threat, National League President Ford Frick and Baseball Commissioner Happy Chandler let it be known that any striking players would be suspended. Robinson nonetheless became the target of rough physical play by opponents (particularly the Cardinals). At one time, he received a seven-inch gash in his leg. On April 22, 1947, during a game between the Dodgers and the Philadelphia Phillies, Phillies players called Robinson a "nigger" from their dugout and yelled that he should "go back to the cotton fields". Rickey later recalled that Phillies manager Ben Chapman "did more than anybody to unite the Dodgers. When he poured out that string of unconscionable abuse, he solidified and united thirty men."

    Robinson received significant encouragement from several major league players. Dodgers teammate Pee Wee Reese once came to Robinson's defense with the famous line, "You can hate a man for many reasons. Color is not one of them." In 1948, Reese put his arm around Robinson in response to fans who shouted racial slurs at Robinson before a game in Cincinnati. A statue by sculptor William Behrends, unveiled at KeySpan Park on November 1, 2005, commemorates this event by representing Reese with his arm around Robinson. Jewish baseball star Hank Greenberg, who had to deal with racial epithets during his career, also encouraged Robinson. After colliding with Robinson at first base on one occasion, Greenberg whispered a few words into Robinson's ear, which Robinson later characterized as "words of encouragement." Greenberg had advised him that the best way to combat the slurs from the opposing players was to beat them on the field.

    Robinson finished the season having played in 151 games for the Dodgers, with a batting average of .297, an on-base percentage of .383, and a .427 slugging percentage. He had 175 hits (scoring 125 runs) including 31 doubles, 5 triples, 12 home runs, driving in 48 runs for the year. Robinson led the league in sacrifice hits, with 28, and in stolen bases, with 29. His cumulative performance earned him the inaugural Major League Baseball Rookie of the Year Award (separate National and American League Rookie of the Year honors were not awarded until 1949).

    Following Stanky's trade to the Boston Braves in March 1948, Robinson took over second base, where he logged a .980 fielding percentage that year (second in the National League at the position, fractionally behind Stanky). Robinson had a batting average of .296 and 22 stolen bases for the season. In a 12–7 win against the St. Louis Cardinals on August 29, 1948, he hit for the cycle—a home run, a triple, a double, and a single in the same game. The Dodgers briefly moved into first place in the National League in late August 1948, but they ultimately finished third as the Braves went on to win the league title and lose to the Cleveland Indians in the World Series.

    Racial pressure on Robinson eased in 1948 as a number of other black players entered the major leagues. Larry Doby (who broke the color barrier in the American League on July 5, 1947) and Satchel Paige played for the Cleveland Indians, and the Dodgers had three other black players besides Robinson. In February 1948, he signed a $12,500 contract (equal to $120,914 today) with the Dodgers; while a significant amount, this was less than Robinson made in the off-season from a vaudeville tour, where he answered pre-set baseball questions, and a speaking tour of the South. Between the tours, he underwent surgery on his right ankle. Because of his off-season activities, Robinson reported to training camp 30 pounds (14 kg) overweight. He lost the weight during training camp, but dieting left him weak at the plate.

    In the spring of 1949, Robinson turned to Hall of Famer George Sisler, working as an advisor to the Dodgers, for batting help. At Sisler's suggestion, Robinson spent hours at a batting tee, learning to hit the ball to right field. Sisler taught Robinson to anticipate a fastball, on the theory that it is easier to subsequently adjust to a slower curveball. Robinson also noted that "Sisler showed me how to stop lunging, how to check my swing until the last fraction of a second". The tutelage helped Robinson raise his batting average from .296 in 1948 to .342 in 1949. In addition to his improved batting average, Robinson stole 37 bases that season, was second place in the league for both doubles and triples, and registered 124 runs batted in with 122 runs scored. For the performance Robinson earned the Most Valuable Player award for the National League. Baseball fans also voted Robinson as the starting second baseman for the 1949 All-Star Game—the first All-Star Game to include black players.

    That year, a song about Robinson by Buddy Johnson, "Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit That Ball?", reached number 13 on the charts; Count Basie recorded a famous version. Ultimately, the Dodgers won the National League pennant, but lost in five games to the New York Yankees in the 1949 World Series.

    Summer 1949 brought an unwanted distraction for Robinson. In July, he was called to testify before the United States House of Representatives' Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) concerning statements made that April by black athlete and actor Paul Robeson. Robinson was reluctant to testify, but he eventually agreed to do so, fearing it might negatively affect his career if he declined.

    In 1950, Robinson led the National League in double plays made by a second baseman with 133. His salary that year was the highest any Dodger had been paid to that point: $35,000 ($338,091 in 2012 dollars). He finished the year with 99 runs scored, a .328 batting average, and 12 stolen bases. The year saw the release of a film biography of Robinson's life, The Jackie Robinson Story, in which Robinson played himself, and actress Ruby Dee played Rachael "Rae" (Isum) Robinson. The project had been previously delayed when the film's producers refused to accede to demands of two Hollywood studios that the movie include scenes of Robinson being tutored in baseball by a white man. The New York Times wrote that Robinson, "doing that rare thing of playing himself in the picture's leading role, displays a calm assurance and composure that might be envied by many a Hollywood star."

    Robinson's Hollywood exploits, however, did not sit well with Dodgers co-owner Walter O'Malley, who referred to Robinson as "Rickey's prima donna". In late 1950, Rickey's contract as the Dodgers' team President expired. Weary of constant disagreements with O'Malley, and with no hope of being re-appointed as President of the Dodgers, Rickey cashed out his one-quarter financial interest in the team, leaving O'Malley in full control of the franchise. Rickey shortly thereafter became general manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Robinson was disappointed at the turn of events and wrote a sympathetic letter to Rickey, whom he considered a father figure, stating, "Regardless of what happens to me in the future, it all can be placed on what you have done and, believe me, I appreciate it."

    Before the 1951 season, O'Malley reportedly offered Robinson the job of manager of the Montreal Royals, effective at the end of Robinson's playing career. O'Malley was quoted in the Montreal Standard as saying, "Jackie told me that he would be both delighted and honored to tackle this managerial post"—although reports differed as to whether a position was ever formally offered.

    During the 1951 season, Robinson led the National League in double plays made by a second baseman for the second year in a row, with 137. He also kept the Dodgers in contention for the 1951 pennant. During the last game of the season, in the 13th inning, he had a hit to tie the game, and then won the game with a home run in the 14th. This forced a playoff against the New York Giants, which the Dodgers lost.

    Despite Robinson's regular-season heroics, the Dodgers lost the pennant on Bobby Thomson's famous home run, known as the Shot Heard 'Round the World, on October 3, 1951. Overcoming his dejection, Robinson dutifully observed Thomson's feet to ensure he touched all the bases. Dodgers sportscaster Vin Scully later noted that the incident showed "how much of a competitor Robinson was." He finished the season with 106 runs scored, a batting average of .335, and 25 stolen bases.

    Robinson had what was an average year for him in 1952. He finished the year with 104 runs, a .308 batting average, and 24 stolen bases. He did, however, record a career-high on-base percentage of .436. The Dodgers improved on their performance from the year before, winning the National League pennant before losing the 1952 World Series to the New York Yankees in seven games. That year, on the television show Youth Wants to Know, Robinson challenged the Yankees' general manager, George Weiss, on the racial record of his team, which had yet to sign a black player. Sportswriter Dick Young, whom Robinson had described as a "bigot", said, "If there was one flaw in Jackie, it was the common one. He believed that everything unpleasant that happened to him happened because of his blackness." The 1952 season was the last year Robinson was an everyday starter at second base. Afterward, Robinson played variously at first, second, and third bases, shortstop, and in the outfield, with Jim Gilliam, another black player, taking over everyday second base duties. Robinson's interests began to shift toward the prospect of managing a major league team. He had hoped to gain experience by managing in the Puerto Rican Winter League, but according to the New York Post, Commissioner Happy Chandler denied the request.

    In 1953, Robinson had 109 runs, a .329 batting average, and 17 steals, leading the Dodgers to another National League pennant (and another World Series loss to the Yankees, this time in six games). Robinson's continued success spawned a string of death threats. He was not dissuaded, however, from addressing racial issues publicly. That year, he served as editor for Our Sports magazine, a periodical focusing on Negro sports issues; contributions to the magazine included an article on golf course segregation by Robinson's old friend Joe Louis. Robinson also openly criticized segregated hotels and restaurants that served the Dodger organization; a number of these establishments integrated as a result, including the five-star Chase Park Hotel in St. Louis.

    In 1954, Robinson had 62 runs, a .311 batting average, and 7 steals. His best day at the plate was on June 17, when he hit two home runs and two doubles. The following autumn, Robinson won his only championship when the Dodgers beat the New York Yankees in the 1955 World Series. Although the team enjoyed ultimate success, 1955 was the worst year of Robinson's individual career. He hit .256 and stole only 12 bases. The Dodgers tried Robinson in the outfield and as a third baseman, both because of his diminishing abilities and because Gilliam was established at second base. Robinson, then 37 years old, missed 49 games and did not play in Game 7 of the World Series. Robinson missed the game because manager Walter Alston decided to play Gilliam at second and Don Hoak at third base. That season, the Dodgers' Don Newcombe became the first black major league pitcher to win twenty games in a year.

    In 1956, Robinson had 61 runs, a .275 batting average, and 12 steals. By then, he had begun to exhibit the effects of diabetes, and to lose interest in the prospect of playing or managing professional baseball. After the season, Robinson was traded by the Dodgers to the arch-rival New York Giants for Dick Littlefield and $35,000 cash (equal to $299,192 today). The trade, however, was never completed; unbeknownst to the Dodgers, Robinson had already agreed with the president of Chock full o'Nuts to quit baseball and become an executive with the company. Since Robinson had sold exclusive rights to any retirement story to Look magazine two years previously,[165&91; his retirement decision was revealed through the magazine, instead of through the Dodgers organization.


    Robinson's major league debut brought an end to approximately sixty years of segregation in professional baseball, known as the baseball color line. After World War II, several other forces were also leading the country toward increased equality for blacks, including their accelerated migration of to the North, where their political clout grew, and President Harry Truman's desegregation of the military in 1948. Robinson's breaking of the baseball color line and his professional success symbolized these broader changes and demonstrated that the fight for equality was more than simply a political matter. Martin Luther King, Jr. said that he was "a legend and a symbol in his own time", and that he "challenged the dark skies of intolerance and frustration." According to historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, Robinson's "efforts were a monumental step in the civil-rights revolution in America ... [His&91; accomplishments allowed black and white Americans to be more respectful and open to one another and more appreciative of everyone's abilities."

    Beginning his major league career at the relatively advanced age of twenty-eight, he played only ten seasons, all of them for the Brooklyn Dodgers. During his career, the Dodgers played in six World Series, and Robinson himself played in six All-Star Games. In 1999, he was posthumously named to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team.

    Robinson's career is generally considered to mark the beginning of the post–"long ball" era in baseball, in which a reliance on raw power-hitting gave way to balanced offensive strategies that used footspeed to create runs through aggressive baserunning. Robinson exhibited the combination of hitting ability and speed which exemplified the new era. He scored more than 100 runs in six of his ten seasons (averaging more than 110 runs from 1947 to 1953), had a .311 career batting average, a .409 career on-base percentage, a .474 slugging percentage, and substantially more walks than strikeouts (740 to 291). Robinson was one of only two players during the span of 1947–56 to accumulate at least 125 steals while registering a slugging percentage over .425 (Minnie Miñoso was the other). He accumulated 197 stolen bases in total, including 19 steals of home. None of the latter were double steals (in which a player stealing home is assisted by a player stealing another base at the same time). Robinson has been referred to by author David Falkner as "the father of modern base-stealing."

    "I'm not concerned with your liking or disliking me ... all I ask is that you respect me as a human being." —Robinson, on his legacy


    Historical statistical analysis indicates Robinson was an outstanding fielder throughout his ten years in the major leagues and at virtually every position he played. After playing his rookie season at first base, Robinson spent most of his career as a second baseman. He led the league in fielding among second basemen in 1950 and 1951. Toward the end of his career, he played about 2,000 innings at third base and about 1,175 innings in the outfield, excelling at both.

    Assessing himself, Robinson said, "I'm not concerned with your liking or disliking me ... all I ask is that you respect me as a human being." Regarding Robinson's qualities on the field, Leo Durocher said, "Ya want a guy that comes to play. This guy didn't just come to play. He come to beat ya. He come to stuff the goddamn bat right up your ass."

    Post-baseball life

    Robinson as ABC sports announcer in 1965

    Robinson retired from baseball on January 5, 1957. Later that year, after he complained of numerous physical ailments, his doctors diagnosed Robinson with diabetes, a disease that also affected his brothers. Although Robinson adopted an insulin injection regimen, the state of medicine at the time could not prevent continued deterioration of Robinson's physical condition from the disease.

    In his first year of eligibility for the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962, Robinson encouraged voters to consider only his on-field qualifications, rather than his cultural impact on the game. He was elected on the first ballot, becoming the first black player inducted into the Cooperstown museum.

    In 1965, Robinson served as an analyst for ABC's Major League Baseball Game of the Week telecasts, the first black person to do so. In 1966, Robinson was hired as general manager for the short-lived Brooklyn Dodgers of the Continental Football League. In 1972, he served as a part-time commentator on Montreal Expos telecasts.

    On June 4, 1972, the Dodgers retired his uniform number, 42, alongside those of Roy Campanella (39) and Sandy Koufax (32). From 1957 to 1964, Robinson was the vice president for personnel at Chock full o'Nuts; he was the first black person to serve as vice president of a major American corporation. Robinson always considered his business career as advancing the cause of black people in commerce and industry. Robinson also chaired the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's (NAACP) million-dollar Freedom Fund Drive in 1957, and served on the organization's board until 1967. In 1964, he helped found, with Harlem businessman Dunbar McLaurin, Freedom National Bank—a black-owned and operated commercial bank based in Harlem. He also served as the bank's first Chairman of the Board. In 1970, Robinson established the Jackie Robinson Construction Company to build housing for low-income families.

    Robinson was active in politics throughout his post-baseball life. He identified himself as a political independent although he held conservative opinions on several issues, including the Vietnam War (he once wrote Martin Luther King, Jr. to defend the Johnson Administration's military policy). After supporting Richard Nixon in his 1960 presidential race against John F. Kennedy, Robinson later praised Kennedy effusively for his stance on civil rights. Robinson was angered by conservative Republican opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He became one of six national directors for Nelson Rockefeller's unsuccessful campaign to be nominated as the Republican candidate for the 1964 presidential election. After the party nominated Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona instead, Robinson left the party's convention commenting that he now had "a better understanding of how it must have felt to be a Jew in Hitler's Germany". He later became special assistant for community affairs when Rockefeller was re-elected governor of New York in 1966. Switching his allegiance to the Democrats, he subsequently supported Hubert Humphrey against Nixon in 1968.

    Protesting the major leagues' ongoing lack of minority managers and central office personnel, Robinson turned down an invitation to appear in an old-timers' game at Yankee Stadium in 1969. He made his final public appearance on October 15, 1972, throwing the ceremonial first pitch before Game 2 of the World Series. He gratefully accepted a plaque honoring the twenty-fifth anniversary of his MLB debut, but also commented, "I'm going to be tremendously more pleased and more proud when I look at that third base coaching line one day and see a black face managing in baseball." This wish was fulfilled only after Robinson's death: following the 1974 season, the Cleveland Indians gave their managerial post to Frank Robinson (no relation), a Hall of Fame-bound player who would go on to manage three other teams. Despite the success of these two Robinsons and other black players, the number of African-American players in Major League Baseball has declined since the 1970s.

    Family life and death

    After Robinson's retirement from baseball, his wife, Rachel Robinson, pursued a career in academic nursing—she became an assistant professor at the Yale School of Nursing and director of nursing at the Connecticut Mental Health Center. She also served on the board of the Freedom National Bank until it closed in 1990. She and Jackie had three children: Jackie Robinson Jr. (born November 18, 1946), Sharon Robinson (born January 13, 1950), and David Robinson (born May 14, 1952).

    Robinson's eldest son, Jackie Robinson Jr., had emotional trouble during his childhood and entered special education at an early age. He enrolled in the Army in search of a disciplined environment, served in the Vietnam War, and was wounded in action on November 19, 1965. After his discharge, he struggled with drug problems. Robinson Jr. eventually completed the treatment program at Daytop Village in Seymour, Connecticut, and became a counselor at the institution. On June 17, 1971, at the age of 24, he was killed in an automobile accident. The experience with his son's drug addiction turned Robinson, Sr. into an avid anti-drug crusader toward the end of his life.

    Robinson did not long outlive his son. Complications of heart disease and diabetes weakened Robinson and made him almost blind by middle age. On October 24, 1972, he died of a heart attack at home in Stamford, Connecticut, aged fifty-three. Robinson's funeral service on October 27, 1972, at New York City's Riverside Church attracted 2,500 admirers. Many of his former teammates and other famous black baseball players served as pallbearers, and the Rev. Jesse Jackson gave the eulogy. Tens of thousands of people lined the subsequent procession route to Robinson's interment site at Cypress Hills Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York, where he is buried next to his son Jackie and mother-in-law Zellee Isum. Jackie Robinson Parkway also runs through the cemetery.

    After Robinson's death, his widow founded the Jackie Robinson Foundation, of which she remains an officer as of 2009. On April 15, 2008, she announced that in 2010 the foundation will be opening a museum devoted to Jackie in Lower Manhattan. Robinson's daughter, Sharon, became a midwife, educator, director of educational programming for MLB, and the author of two books about her father. His youngest son, David, who has ten children, is a coffee grower and social activist in Tanzania.

    Awards and recognition

    According to a poll conducted in 1947, Robinson was the second most popular man in the country, behind Bing Crosby. In 1999, he was named by Time on its list of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century. Also in 1999, he ranked number 44 on the Sporting News list of Baseball's 100 Greatest Players and was elected to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team as the top vote-getter among second basemen. Baseball writer Bill James, in The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, ranked Robinson as the 32nd greatest player of all time strictly on the basis of his performance on the field, noting that he was one of the top players in the league throughout his career. Robinson was among the 25 charter members of UCLA’s Athletics Hall of Fame in 1984. In 2002, Molefi Kete Asante included Robinson on his list of 100 Greatest African Americans. Robinson has also been honored by the United States Postal Service on three separate postage stamps, in 1982, 1999, and 2000.

    The City of Pasadena has recognized Robinson in several ways. Brookside Park, situated next to the Rose Bowl, features a baseball diamond and stadium named Jackie Robinson Field. The city's Human Services Department operates the Jackie Robinson Center, a community outreach center that provides early diabetes detection and other services. In 1997, a $325,000 bronze sculpture (equal to $470,522 today) by artists Ralph Helmick, Stu Schecter, and John Outterbridge depicting oversized nine-foot busts of Robinson and his brother Mack was erected at Garfield Avenue, across from the main entrance of Pasadena City Hall; a granite footprint lists multiple donors to the commission project, which was organized by the Robinson Memorial Foundation and supported by members of the Robinson family.

    Major League Baseball has honored Robinson many times since his death. In 1987, both the National and American League Rookie of the Year Awards were renamed the "Jackie Robinson Award" in honor of the first recipient (Robinson's Major League Rookie of the Year Award in 1947 encompassed both leagues). On April 15, 1997, Robinson's jersey number, 42, was retired throughout Major League Baseball, the first time any jersey number had been retired throughout one of the four major American sports leagues.

    As an exception to the retired-number policy, MLB has recently begun honoring Robinson by allowing players to wear number 42 on April 15, Jackie Robinson Day. For the 60th anniversary of Robinson's major league debut, MLB invited players to wear the number 42 on Jackie Robinson Day in 2007. The gesture was originally the idea of outfielder Ken Griffey, Jr., who sought Rachel Robinson's permission to wear the number. After receiving her permission, Commissioner Bud Selig not only allowed Griffey to wear the number, but also extended an invitation to all major league teams to do the same. Ultimately, more than 200 players wore number 42, including the entire rosters of the Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Mets, Houston Astros, Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals, Milwaukee Brewers, and Pittsburgh Pirates. The tribute was continued in 2008, when, during games on April 15, all members of the Mets, Cardinals, Washington Nationals, and Tampa Bay Rays wore Robinson's number 42. On June 25, 2008, MLB installed a new plaque for Robinson at the Baseball Hall of Fame commemorating his off-the-field impact on the game as well as his playing statistics. In 2009, all uniformed personnel (players, managers, coaches, and umpires) wore number 42 on April 15.

    At the November 2006 groundbreaking for a new ballpark for the New York Mets, Citi Field, it was announced that the main entrance, modeled on the one in Brooklyn's old Ebbets Field, would be called the Jackie Robinson Rotunda. The rotunda was dedicated at the opening of Citi Field on April 16, 2009. It honors Robinson with large quotations spanning the inner curve of the facade and features a large freestanding statue of his number, 42, which has become an attraction in itself. Mets owner Fred Wilpon announced that, in conjunction with Citigroup and the Jackie Robinson Foundation, the Mets will create a Jackie Robinson Museum and Learning Center, located at the headquarters of the Jackie Robinson Foundation at One Hudson Square in lower Manhattan. The main purpose of the museum will be to fund scholarships for "young people who live by and embody Jackie's ideals."

    Since 2004, the Aflac National High School Baseball Player of the Year has been presented the "Jackie Robinson Award".

    Robinson has also been recognized outside of baseball. In December 1956, the NAACP recognized him with the Spingarn Medal, which it awards annually for the highest achievement by an African-American. President Ronald Reagan posthumously awarded Robinson the Presidential Medal of Freedom on March 26, 1984, and on March 2, 2005, President George W. Bush gave Robinson's widow the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian award bestowed by Congress; Robinson was only the second baseball player to receive the award, after Roberto Clemente. On August 20, 2007, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and his wife, Maria Shriver, announced that Robinson was inducted into the California Hall of Fame, located at The California Museum for History, Women and the Arts in Sacramento.

    A number of buildings have been named in Robinson's honor. The UCLA Bruins baseball team plays in Jackie Robinson Stadium, which, because of the efforts of Jackie's brother Mack, features a memorial statue of Robinson by sculptor Richard H. Ellis. City Island Ballpark in Daytona Beach, Florida—the baseball field that became the Dodgers' de facto spring training site in 1947—was renamed Jackie Robinson Ballpark in 1989. A number of facilities at Pasadena City College (successor to PJC) are named in Robinson's honor, including Robinson Field, a football/soccer/track facility named jointly for Robinson and his brother Mack. The New York Public School system has named a middle school after Robinson, and Dorsey High School plays at a Los Angeles football stadium named after him. In 1976, his home in Brooklyn, the Jackie Robinson House, was declared a National Historic Landmark. Robinson also has an asteroid named after him, 4319 Jackierobinson. In 1997, the United States Mint issued a Jackie Robinson commemorative silver dollar, and five dollar gold coin. That same year, New York City renamed the Interboro Parkway in his honor.

    In 2011, the U.S. placed a plaque at Robinson's Montreal home to honor the ending of segregation in baseball. The home is located at 8232 avenue de Gaspe south of rue de Guizot Est and near Jarry Park and close to Delorimier Stadium, where Robinson played for the Montreal Royals during 1946. In a letter read during the ceremony, Rachel Robinson, Jackie's widow, wrote: "I remember Montreal and that house very well and have always had warm feeling for that great city. Before Jack and I moved to Montreal, we had just been through some very rough treatment in the racially biased South during spring training in Florida. In the end, Montreal was the perfect place for him to get his start. We never had a threatening or unpleasant experience there. The people were so welcoming and saw Jack as a player and as a man."

    Career statistics

    1945 Kansas City 47 163 36 63 14 4 5 23 13       .387                  
    1946 Montreal 124 444 113 155 25 8 3 66 40   92 27 .349                 10
    1947 Brooklyn 151 590 125 175 31 5 12 48 29   74 36 .297 .383 .427 252 28     9 5 16
    1948 Brooklyn 147 574 108 170 38 8 12 85 22   57 37 .296 .367 .453 260 8     7 7 15
    1949 Brooklyn 156 593 122 203 38 12 16 124 37   86 27 .342 .432 .528 313 17     8 22 16
    1950 Brooklyn 144 518 99 170 39 4 14 81 12   80 24 .328 .423 .500 259 10     5 11 11
    1951 Brooklyn 153 548 106 185 33 7 19 88 25 8 79 27 .338 .429 .527 289 6     9 10 7
    1952 Brooklyn 149 510 104 157 17 3 19 75 24 7 106 40 .308 .440 .465 237 6     14 16 20
    1953 Brooklyn 136 484 109 159 34 7 12 95 17 4 74 30 .329 .425 .502 243 9     7 12 6
    1954 Brooklyn 124 386 62 120 22 4 15 59 7 3 63 20 .311 .413 .505 195 5 4a   7 13 7
    1955 Brooklyn 105 317 51 81 6 2 8 36 12 3 61 18 .256 .378 .363 115 6 3 5b 3 8 10
    1956 Brooklyn 117 357 61 98 15 2 10 43 12 5 60 32 .275 .382 .412 147 9 2 2 3 9 9
    TotalsBrooklyn13824877947151827354137734197 740291.311.409.47423101049772113107
     Career155354941096173634267161867248   .316    97   

    a The sacrifice fly (SF) as a unique statistical category did not exist in Major League Baseball from 1940 through 1953. Any pre-1954 sacrifice flies by Robinson would be reflected in the sacrifice hit (SH) category.

    b Likewise, the intentional walk (IBB) category only became a unique statistic beginning in 1955. Any intentional walks issued to Robinson before that year would be reflected in the walk (BB) category.


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              Lighthouse Tribe of Barkhamsted, CT        

    They were a quiet little community in the hills of Connecticut. Here is there story...

    It all starts with JAMES CHAUGHUM and MOLLY BARBER. James was born to Samuel & Priscilla Chaughum circa 1710 on Block Island, Rhode Island. James went to worked as a gardener for Molly's father. Molly was born in Ireland about 1714. Her father's name could be Peter Barber, but it is unknown. It is unknown when they came to Wethersfield, CT.

    The story goes that Molly had many male callers, she fell in love with a gentleman caller, and her father denied them to get married and locked her up on their grounds, the gentleman then moved out west. James seeing Molly so sad gave her a rose from the garden and a friendship blossomed. They eventually fell in love and decided to run away so they could be together. Molly's angered father chased them from Wethersfield, CT into an Indian village near Barkhamsted, were he passed right by Molly and didn't even recognize her. Molly and James then settled in the mountain range around Barkhamsted where they flourished.

    They had 8 children in all; Sally, Samuel, Solomon, Meribah (Mary), Hannah Sands, Mercy, Mary (Polly), and Elizabeth. Samuel married a Miss. Green, Solomon married a Miss. Hayes, Meribah (Mary) married Samuel Lawerence, Hannah Sands married Ruben Barber in 1784, Mercy married Isaac Jacklyn, Mary (Polly) married William Wilson before 1797.

    My link is Mary & William Wilson (click on their names above, and it will take you to their website)

    Suggested Reading
    A Village of Outcasts: Historical Archaeology and Documentary Research at the Lighthouse Site, by Kenneth L. Feder (Mayfield Publishing Company, Mountain View, California---1994).(Book cover scanned by Sherry L. Carsten)

    Barkhamsted, CT and its centennial 1879, by William Wallace Lee, (Meriden, CT: Republican Steam Print, 1881).
    The Legend of Barkhamsted Light House, by Lewis Sprauge Mills, (Lewis Sprauge Mill, publisher. Barkhamsted, CT).

    Other Links to the Lighthouse

              #LarryOQuestion: Conservatives in Support of Postponing the 2020 Election?        
    #LarryOQuestion: According to The Washington Post, half of Republicans stated they would support postponing the 2020 election if President Trump suggested the delay. Is this because Republicans blindly follow President Trump? Or is there a deep concern regarding voter fraud? Share your thoughts today on The Larry O'Connor Show.
              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 -

    [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).


              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 -

    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  -

    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.


              Do you feel Capitalism dying?        
    SUBHEAD: We need to develop the fortitude and skills needed for the future that is coming at us.

    By Joe Brewer on 24 July 2017 for Medium -

    Image above: A sign about "Capitalism" in Westminister Square with the Tower of London at British Parlement in the background. From (https://medium.com/@discomfiting/kill-capitalism-before-it-kills-us-fe23d10f6243).

    Can you feel capitalism dying around you? There is a mental disease of late-stage capitalism causing deep worry and anxiety, prompting feelings of severe isolation and humiliation, combined with a profound sense of powerlessness for millions of people around the world.

    The question I ask today is What are YOU going to do about it?

    The feeling bubbles up when students graduate from college with mountains of debt and few prospects for meaningful work. It spreads across cities where housing prices are skyrocketing and a giant financial chasm exists between owners and renters of residential property. And it aches in the spiraling decay of exploited ecosystems as they unravel after decades (or centuries) of pillaging industries waging war on nature.

    There is a reason only 5 men have the same aggregate wealth as half the human population. And that the Earth’s climate is ramping up for a phase transition that threatens our entire civilization. It is because a Global Architecture of Wealth Extraction has been carefully built up in the last five hundred years to produce exactly these outcomes.

    And it is causing millions of people to feel a malaise of loneliness and quiet desperation that tickles at the edge of their tongues — yet they don’t quite know what to call it.

    I’ve called it late-stage capitalism and this resonated with hundreds of thousands when I wrote about it last year. The depth and tenor of this resonance revealed that these feelings are truly widespread and the currents run deep within our veins.

    So what are we going to do with these feelings? Some tens of millions of Americans decided to elect President Trump last year. They had fallen victim to a sophisticated information war that functions as a kind of political mind control.

    Too few among them were able to discern what is really going on and now they are emotionally manipulated pawns in the end game for a small cohort of super-elites.

    This is not an acceptable place to direct the feelings we have about the death of capitalism. It will only accelerate us on the path to planetary-scale collapse that we need to reckon with in our lifetimes.

    Instead — if we can develop the fortitude and skills — we need to direct these feelings toward the much more productive path of learning how to design cultural change.

    You see, it has been our inability to collectively set intentions that enabled elite groups to divide-and-conquer us in these times of mass confusion, hardship, and despair.

    We need to recognize that the real state of power is culture and learn how to wield this power the way our ancestors once did.

    Anthropologists who study hunter-gatherer societies have long known that they are all egalitarian.

    Bullies and dictators were not able to rise up and boss people around because the group sanctioned against it.

    They did this through a combination of shaming and ostracism, or in extreme cases they resorted to expulsion or execution. But they were able to keep the bullies in check becaus;
    1. everyone knew everyone else in these small bands of people and
    2. relationships of trust were robust enough to navigate conflicts and cooperate effectively against individuals who might be stronger or more skilled at hunting than any one person on their own.
    We now have a vast digital infrastructure — the internet plus cell phones and satellite communication systems — that make it possible for the first time since the birth of civilizations to coordinate with transparency and trust at larger scales of society.

    Yet we remain divided into political tribes, fighting amongst each other at the beckoning of those who set the terms of debate.

    Are you a Democrat or Republican? Socialist or Capitalist?

    A person of color or a beneficiary of white privilege? Categories of division such as these may have important realities embedded within them but none gets at the root issue that defines these times.

    We are in a deep crisis that is carrying us all on the path toward extinction. We must learn to rise above our labels of separation and remember that everything is connected. Only then can we be seeds of transformation in a world where most of our stories are breaking down.

    So I call upon you to name your feelings of angst and powerlessness.

    Recognize that you are living through the death of a capitalist system that has brought our entire civilization to the brink of ruin.

    Learn how to design for change in a world where only through a paradigm shift in values and behaviors will it be possible to navigate our way toward planetary resilience in the decades ahead.

    We can get to the future we all want but only when we realize that it is our power to create cultural mythologies that has blinded us to our place within a world barreling toward humanity’s end.

    This power must now be employed in service of life, compassion, humility, and care for the living world. These are dangerous times and our actions matter more than most of us are ready to realize.

    Take hold of your feelings and direct them toward life, healing, and regeneration of our broken world.

    We owe it to ourselves. We owe it to our children, born and unborn.

    And we owe it to the many other species whose very existence are now in jeopardy because an arrogant myth of human superiority has driven us to soil the beds we must sleep in as members of the natural world ourselves.

    Time is short and there is much work to be done.

    Onward, fellow humans.


              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.
              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.


    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.


    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.


    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 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 ....
              Comment on Open primaries in Colorado casts the shadow of party affiliation in last-minute legislation by Bill        
    The Republican party has been using the caucus process for the past several elections. This means that the republican party elects their candidates before the primary election. Unaffiliated voters may be upset to find out that their primary ballots will have only 1 selection for each electable position on the primary ballot. They can vote in the primary, as long as they dont mess up the party process.
              Raízes profundas da Idade Média emergem no presente francês        
    Para obter votos o futuro presidente Macron foi se fotografar na festa de Santa Joana d'Arc em Orleans
    Para obter votos o futuro presidente Macron
    foi se fotografar na festa de Santa Joana d'Arc em Orleans
    Luis Dufaur
    Escritor, jornalista,
    conferencista de
    política internacional,
    sócio do IPCO,
    webmaster de
    diversos blogs

    Pode parecer estranho, mas não é. No segundo turno da eleição presidencial francesa, em 7 de maio de 2017, os dois candidatos apostaram corrida para ver quem se identificava mais com a heroína medieval Santa Joana d’Arc, registrou a “Folha de S. Paulo”.

    Nenhum deles é especialmente devoto, nem muito praticante, provavelmente só queriam o voto do eleitor.

    Mas o que há na cabeça dos franceses para que ainda hoje o candidato se tornar presidente de uma República formalmente laica e agnóstica ele necessite mostrar-se também ligado ao passado sacral católico da França?

    O jornal progressista e socialista parisiense “La Croix” foi à procura de eminências do pensamento francês para achar uma explicação do fenômeno que, para ele, parece uma aberração.

    François Huguenin, autor de As grandes figuras católicas da França (“Les grandes figures catholiques de la France”, ed. Perrin) respondeu assim:

    “Existe uma trama comum entre o cristianismo e a fundação da França. É impossível separar os fios da tapeçaria sem desmanchar tudo. O catolicismo é a matriz da França”.

    Segundo seu ponto de vista, desde Clóvis, o primeiro rei franco que se fez batizar, “todos os nossos governantes estão submetidos a uma transcendência, uma verticalidade. Eles têm consciência permanentemente de que há um Deus que os transcende”.

    No livro Deus escolheu a França (“Dieu choisit la France”, ed. Presses de la Renaissance), o professor auxiliar de História Camille Pascal concorda.

    O singular é que isso acontece no fundo das cabeças de muitos presidentes, até mesmo socialistas, que da língua para fora não querem saber de religião.

    A fidelidade ao Papa foi nota característica da França medieval. São Luis foi se encontrar com o Papa Inocêncio IV em Lyon que lhe pediu auxilio. Louis-Jean-Francois Lagrenee (1724-1805)
    A fidelidade ao Papa foi nota característica da França medieval.
    São Luis foi ver em Lyon o Papa Inocêncio IV que lhe pediu auxilio.
    Louis-Jean-Francois Lagrenee (1724-1805)
    Rémi Brague, historiador de filosofia medieval, foi aprofundar-se no catarismo, heresia do sul da França que suscitou contra si uma verdadeira Cruzada que a extinguiu no século XIV.

    Segundo Brague, o catarismo fracassou porque recusava o ato de fidelidade feudal ao suserano, algo que o francês não podia aceitar.

    Recusar a fidelidade do vassalo ao senhor e vice-versa trazia o “risco de destruição da ordem feudal”.

    E explica: “Em nosso país, jamais existiu uma situação na qual a política não teve alguma dimensão religiosa e vice-versa”.

    Mas houve e há todo o contrário: uma ferocidade laicista anticristã que se exprime no culto fanático dos Direitos do Homem.

    Mas, a esse respeito, também o anticristianismo laicista teve um nascedouro cristão, é claro que num cristianismo herético.

    E explica: foi a Revolução Protestante! Ela pregou que Cristo era o único mediador, que a Bíblia era o único mestre, que só havia a fé, sem necessidade das outras virtudes.

    Desse tronco nasceu o Iluminismo racionalista que sabotou os fundamentos da monarquia até derrubá-la e implantar uma República laica, ateia, que muda segundo o capricho dos homens.

    O pastor Antoine Nouis, conselheiro teológico da revista protestante “Réforme”, reconhece que “a ideia de uma pluralidade de religiões num mesmo reino é no fundo uma anomalia” que tinha que dar nas guerras de religião (1562-1598).

    Nicolas Le Roux, secretário geral da Associação dos Historiadores Modernistas das Universidades Francesas, explica que no modo de ver do povo francês,

    “O reino era visto como um corpo, imagem do Corpo Místico da Igreja. O rei era a cabeça desse corpo político e social. Por meio do convívio social, das festas, das procissões, das missas, se atingia a salvação.

    “Deixar de ir à Missa, quebrar as imagens de Nossa Senhora, cantar os salmos em francês punha em perigo essa vida em comum, a salvação de todos”.

    Contra a visão católica partilhada pelo conjunto não faltaram os galicanos, que punham a França por cima do Papa de Roma.

    Alain Tallon, reitor da Faculdade de História da Sorbonne, estudou o caso e concluiu que apesar dos atritos históricos, “a subordinação ao Papado era considerada indispensável para a monarquia francesa. Ainda quando se discordava do Papa, fazia-se questão absoluta de não romper com Roma”.

    O laicismo do século XVIII contestou a autoridade da Igreja. Ostentou a ideia de que se pode viver fora d’Ela, ser diferente, até proclamar um outro deus, o Ser Supremo da Revolução Francesa.

    Para François Huguenin, a violência revolucionária foi “um sismo comparável à ascensão de Hitler ao poder em 1933: a aparição de uma lógica de violência exacerbada pelo vazio instalado no poder”.

    Le Roux: “O reino era visto como uma imagem do Corpo Místico da Igreja” Busto-relicário de Carlos Magno. Fundo: catedral de Aachen (Aquisgrão)
    Le Roux: “O reino era visto como uma imagem do Corpo Místico da Igreja”
    Busto-relicário de Carlos Magno. Fundo: catedral de Aachen (Aquisgrão)
    E segundo Jacques-Olivier Boudon, Napoleão encarnou o revolucionário violento que subiu como mais tarde fez Hitler. Mas, uma vez no poder, Napoleão tentou chegar a uma concordata com a Igreja para “instalar a paz religiosa após o cisma constitucional de 1789.

    Porém, a ferida entre “azuis” (laicos e republicanos) e “brancos” (católicos e monarquistas) ainda continua muito profunda”.

    A contribuição religiosa do Islã foi nula e fonte de guerra constante. O historiador de filosofia medieval árabe e judia, Rémi Brague, fala com clareza :

    “Não, o islã não contribuiu para nossa história.

    “Os saqueadores árabes e berberes que vieram até Poitiers só tinham o Corão numa mão e a cimitarra na outra. Eles vieram para pilhar”.

    Hoje essas tendências subterrâneas carregadas de alta tensão voltam a se chocar.

    Antoine Nouis vê na “atual crispação francesa a respeito do laicismo um fruto do desenvolvimento do conflito entre o Iluminismo e a religião”.

    Nicolas Le Roux ironiza: “A liberdade de consciência é uma invenção. Cada um faz o que quer na sua casa. Mas depois de fechar a porta, não cante muito alto!

    “O verdadeiro problema continua sendo que os modelos de Estado católico-monárquico e laico-republicano não são capazes de coabitar. Essa é a questão que se punha no século XVI e que se põe hoje”, concluiu.


              Fundo medieval emerge na França e abala fachada laica-democrática        
    A sacralização da vida política francesa na Idade Média foi tão profunda que não foi possível apagá-la e até ressurge hoje
    A sacralização da vida política francesa na Idade Média foi tão profunda
    que não foi possível apagá-la e até ressurge hoje
    Luis Dufaur
    Escritor, jornalista,
    conferencista de
    política internacional,
    sócio do IPCO,
    webmaster de
    diversos blogs

    Na última eleição presidencial na França, o catolicismo fez uma irrupção rumorosa num país que se julgava definitivamente ganho pelo laicismo anticlerical da Revolução Francesa.

    Todos os candidatos — inclusive o comunista-anarquista Mélenchon — acenaram para esta ou aquela passagem, ainda que remota, por alguma corrente do catolicismo, ou contato com ela.

    O que houve? Cientistas sociais e políticos, jornais, acadêmicos, líderes partidários atilados se puseram na ingente tarefa de tentar descodificar o enigma.

    Um deles foi Alain Tallon, reitor da Unité de Formation et de Recherche – UFR (outrora mais claramente “Faculdade”) de História da Universidade da Sorbonne, especialista em história religiosa, entrevistado pelo quotidiano parisiense “La Croix”.

    Tallon partiu de uma evidência que não era “politicamente correta”: “A dimensão religiosa, e mais especialmente a questão do cristianismo, é essencial em nossa história.

    “A própria laicização da sociedade francesa não conseguiu apagar totalmente o fato religioso. (...) A França, ao contrário de seus vizinhos alemães, italianos e espanhóis, foi um país uniformemente católico”, acrescentou, antes de pôr o dedo na chaga:

    “Outra peculiaridade: a Revolução Francesa foi feita contra uma França católica. Nós vivemos ainda sob os efeitos desse divórcio entre a França republicana e a França católica”.

    O professor Tallon foi sagaz, tentando embaralhar a oposição: o oposto de ‘republicana’ (realidade temporal) não é bem ‘católica’ (realidade religiosa espiritual).

    Ele estava se referindo às posições ‘república versus monarquia’ e ‘laicismo versus catolicismo’.

    Ou mais concisa e palpavelmente, à posição entre ‘republicano enquanto ateu’ versus ‘monarquista enquanto católico’. Mas isto na França é tema de explosividade atômica.

    O jornalista tentou procurar outra via menos perigosa. E levou para um assunto, na verdade, não muito menos coruscante.

    Prof. Tallon: a sacralidade da monarquia francesa não teve equivalente
    Prof. Tallon: a sacralidade da monarquia francesa não teve equivalente
    O professor Tallon foi claro: “Na França, a política sempre tirou, e largamente, seu vocabulário e seus ritos da religião”, leia-se do catolicismo.

    E acrescentou: “Isso é verdade desde a Idade Média. A sacralidade da monarquia francesa não teve equivalente na Europa. Os franceses inventaram o rei taumaturgo. [NdT: que faz milagres. Após a sagração dos reis, eles saíam à praça e tocavam os doentes ‘escrofulosos’, dizendo: ‘o rei te toca, Deus te cura’ e muitos saíam dizendo-se curados!].

    “Enquanto isso, a monarquia espanhola é profundamente laica desde a Idade Média: o rei não é ungido”.

    Na França, os reis eram ungidos com óleo bento numa cerimônia eclesiástica na catedral de Reims. Em virtude dessa unção eles passavam a diáconos da Igreja, com um mundo de privilégios eclesiais e um rango menor no clero.

    Esse costume é tão forte que até hoje os presidentes da República são considerados cônegos da catedral de São João de Latrão, com estala reservada. O ex-presidente Sarkozy chegou a ocupar essa sede canônica em sua primeira visita a Roma.

    O jornalista, certamente menos letrado que o reitor da Faculdade de História de Paris, procurou outra pista. E acabou ouvindo verdades que arrepiam ao laicismo democrático, igualitário e vulgar inaugurado em 1789.

    O reitor Tallon sublinhou que em país algum houve a sacralização do poder como na França. “E essa sacralização sobreviveu após a monarquia, inclusive sob Bonaparte e, em certo sentido, sob Charles de Gaulle”.

    Todos esses chefes de Estado tentaram dar ares de monarca ungido pela Igreja. Napoleão se fez coroar pelo Papa Pio VII (de modo muito contestável) e Charles de Gaulle assumiu um ar pessoal de monarca, obviamente sem coroa alguma.

    No subconsciente popular, Carlos Magno ainda é o modelo de governante
    No subconsciente popular, Carlos Magno ainda é o modelo de governante
    “O modelo de Carlos Magno — prosseguiu o professor — fez sonhar todos os soberanos franceses.

    “Foi por isso que Henrique IV quis se reconciliar com Roma, em vez de criar uma Igreja nacional como fizera o modelo inglês. (...)

    “Ele também compreendeu que se tratava do único meio para ele se tornar rei da França.

    “Um rei da França protestante era uma coisa impossível, política ou ideologicamente.

    “A sacralização da monarquia atingira tal ponto, que um rei calvinista não teria sido sagrado, não teria curado as escrófulas. Era algo inconcebível. Ele teria rompido com Roma e com o universalismo católico.

    “A monarquia francesa se sente herdeira legitima de Roma porque o rei é o primeiro dos cristãos. (...)

    “Nós nos sentimos investidos de uma missão pela França desde o fim da Idade Média. Essa foi a ideia constitutiva da criação da ‘nação França’.

    “Desde a monarquia carolíngia o tema imperial foi sempre conjugado com Roma e o Papado. Quando houve conflitos opondo o Papa ao Imperador, a monarquia francesa sustentou o Papado.

    “O episódio de Joana d’Arc foi um dos elementos. E isso continuou pela Renascença, com um rei como Francisco I se fazendo pintar em 1518 por Jean Clouet representado como São João Batista…

    “Os embaixadores ingleses contam que eles foram recebidos pelo rei vestido como se fosse Cristo ! É algo completamente surpreendente…

    “A ideia da nacionalidade francesa não foi constituída unicamente pela monarquia, mas também pela Igreja Católica”, concluiu.


              Trump's 'Drug-Infested Den' Remark In Transcript Angers New Hampshire        
    New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu is taking umbrage at President Trump's apparent characterization of his state as "a drug-infested den." And not surprisingly, he isn't the only one who's angry. The remark was contained in a transcript published Thursday of a telephone conversation between Trump and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. Discussing the flow of drugs on the southern U.S. border in a conversation from the Oval Office on Jan. 27, Trump told his Mexican counterpart: "We have a massive drug problem where kids are becoming addicted to drugs because the drugs are being sold for less money than candy." "I won New Hampshire because New Hampshire is a drug-infested den," Trump reportedly said. (Note: While Trump won the New Hampshire Republican primary, he lost the state in the general election). As NPR's Danielle Kurtzleben noted : "The Trump administration is, for now, being reticent about the leaked transcripts. National Security Council spokesperson Michael Anton told NPR that
              Marriage Equality Round-Up – April 28th        

    Here’s our daily round-up of the marriage equality / LGBT rights stories from all around the internet. If we missed anything, let us know. Enjoy! PEOPLE: Noted Republican Caitlyn Jenner posted a video of herself trying to look very daring by using what appears to be a single-person bathroom at a Trump hotel in New […]

    The post Marriage Equality Round-Up – April 28th appeared first on Marriage Equality Watch.

              Muslim Liberals Caught in No Man's Land        
    Originally published in Huffington Post
    Muslim Liberals Caught in No Man's Land
    "Islam is the motherload of bad ideas." - Sam Harris
    "That's just a fact." - Bill Maher
    When the host of Real Time on HBO, Bill Maher, tag-teamed with 'new atheist' Sam Harris, to lead an assault on Islam last week, it was Batman-to-be Ben Affleck who stood up as the inexplicable first line of defense against the disjointed attack. Rounding out the panel of record, was New York Times activist Nicholas Kristof and Republican-lite Michael Steele. The debate - in which, of course no Muslims participated - quickly went viral. In the messy aftermath, Sam Harris even claimed that the media reaction vindicated him and proved his point. 
    While Maher and his sidekick, Harris - and for that matter the entire Dawkinsian crew - may not be the bigots that Affleck accused them of being, they certainly should not feel any sense of self-absorbed vindication. They are not emissaries of the truth nor do they represent the vanguard of neo-enlightenment. Rather they come across as pseudo-intellectual bullies driven by a vain desire for celebrity, feigning any concern for the 'victims of Islam' they cite in remarks branching from their central diatribe against the religion. In effect, they silence the very Muslim liberals and champions who are leading the charge for a more just, equal, and tolerant (i.e. liberal, I guess) Muslim world, forcing on them a Faustian and false choice between identity and values. 
    Just today, Malala Yousafzai, the ardent campaigner for girls' education from Pakistan and a proud Muslim, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. In fact, five of the last twelve recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize have been Muslim. These five alongside millions of others seek to promote progressive and positive change in the Muslim world. They constitute everyday Muslims, not necessarily Islam incarnate. The reason this distinction is important is that treating as equal the Muslim world and the ideology of Islam is a misdirection that confuses an evolving 1,400-year philosophy with a disaggregated non-body politic of 1.5 billion people. As I wrote on these pagesseveral weeks ago, it does not mean ignoring a problem but diagnosing it accurately: 
    "There is no crisis in Islam. But, there is, conversely and unmistakably, an existential crisis (or crises) in the Muslim world...The approach of religious discourse divorces us from what is the larger crisis facing the Muslim world, which is one of being mired in a political, social and economic malaise, characterized by hollow leadership and disintegrating states, an environment into which extremism seeps."
    Malala and others are the vanguard in the fight being waged by Muslim liberals, one that is just unfolding, and which contests a broad range of injustices, inequalities, and intolerances in Muslim-majority countries. Yet, these individuals are also caught in a tripartite 'battle' that is ongoing: within the West, within the Muslim world and between the West and Muslim world. These battles are not clear-cut by any means, but each places the Muslim liberal effectively in no man's land. 
    Within the West, we are witnessing the rise of xenophobic and anti-immigration sentiment broadly in the conservative movement, and in the United States, most acutely, on the fringes of the Republican Party. This has been exacerbated by the War on Terror, in which, domestically, the Muslim constitutes the ubiquitous bogeyman. So mainstream is this sentiment, that a series such as Homeland entertains many Muslim Americans, even though it not-so-subtly portends that every Muslim from a secular journalist to a CIA agent could be a threat, simply because he or she is Muslim. More tangibly, in terms of everyday consequences, each new mosque in the U.S. now faces anti-Sharia protestors, including from sitting politicians (who conveniently forget the meaning of the First Amendment). 
    In Europe, however, while there has been similar sentiment from the conservative side of the spectrum, such as from political parties such as the UKIP or BNP in the United Kingdom, it has often dovetailed with a similarly xenophobic liberal view, such as that espoused by Sam Harris. Much akin to the convergence of the liberal humanitarian perspective with the neoconservative movement in recent years (e.g. prior to the Iraq War in 2003), this neo-liberalism is partly a revivalist movement of the White Man's Burden. Overall, within this battle, Islam is portrayed as a flawed essence, and there can be no equivocation. When an assured liberal such as Reza Aslan appears on CNN, he is forced to choose between Islam and liberalism, and asked to re-confirm that indeed Islam is the threat. Meanwhile, the anchors (on CNN) fail to realize that this would mean he would be asserting that he himself (and many members of his family) have an essentialized evilness about them. Whether or not a person like Reza Aslan is liberal is cast aside due to this inability to disavow Islam.
    Yet, it is not just Muslims on the American side of the Atlantic who are caught up in this game. In the Muslim world's own multi-dimensional civil war, we see hyper-nationalists and Islamists battling it out, overlaid with a layer of sectarian strife. Muslim liberals - a term used loosely without weighing the religiosity of individuals - are often the last ones in the streets pushing for open societies. Take the example of the exemplary Alaa Abdel Fattah in Egypt, who, fresh off from being released from prison on bail after being charged for encouraging a demonstration, had his nomination for the prestigious Sakharov Prize revoked. He, like all Muslims, inevitably faced the pro-Israel test, and (two weeks ago) failed. Already under threat of condemnation from within their countries, Muslim liberals within Muslim countries are abandoned in their hour of need by the haughtier-than-though 'critics' in the West. Muslim liberals may be fighting for democracy, against gender discrimination, and for the rights of minorities, but they likely have not reconciled with Zionism. Ask Malala for her views on Israel: you may not like the answer
    Finally, since 9/11 (and before as well), Western countries have increasingly been at war in the Middle East and within other majority-Muslim countries. The recent strikes against ISIS are just one recent example. In this battle, again the Muslim liberal is caught in no man's land. On one hand, he or she will surely be in favor of crushing the cancer that is ISIS but not by any means necessary nor will this mean broad support for the securitization of the interaction between the West and the Muslim world. When a recent video surfaced on Fox News from the Harvard campus, where many students alleged that the U.S. had a more detrimental footprint, overall, on the world stage than ISIS, the headline read, "Twisted Ivy: Harvard students say US bigger threat to world peace than ISIS." Imagine, a Muslim making the same statements as in the video. Game over. 
    When Bill Maher and Sam Harris pontificate from their plush perches, criminalizing a faith, which has 1.5 billion adherents, they think they are doing the world a big service. Nothing could be further from the truth. It should be pointed that Muslim countries are not uniquely in crisis and that broadly there are many countries in crisis in the developing world. In addition, America's homophobia is only now beginning to subside for example, and in many ways is still real (so no real claim can be made of some type of civilizational superiority). And many of Burma's Buddhist monks would have something to say about religious militancy being the dominion of Islamists only. Nevertheless, there are indeed a myriad of unique problems within the Muslim world, which is in a deep crisis. Yet, there are also countless Muslim leaders, intellectuals, clerics, philanthropists, and others, facing these problems, and trying to stand-up to illiberal phenomena in their communities and societies. They already are well aware of the challenges in front of them and do not need lectures from people far-removed from the very violence they face. 
    Maher's (and others) self-titillating orgies of intellectual masturbation demonstrate a total lack of awareness. Perhaps they'll be comforted by the controversy they spawn, indulging their egos as they eye retweets and dollar signs. As for the Muslim liberals on the frontlines? Once again they are caught in No Man's Land.
    Original Link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/taufiq-rahim/muslim-liberals-caught-in_b_5965546.html

              Can Civilian Health Care Help Fix The VA? Congress Weighs In        
    Veterans across the country are still waiting too long for medical care, a situation that drove the resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki last week.

    Now Republicans and Democrats in Congress are competing to pass laws they think will fix the problem of medical wait times and other problems at the VA.

              By: Especially Incognito        
    lingle should have settled this in her term.. Now we have a DINO named souki holding back... souki should run for republican office...
              Re: Republican Party Condemns Grand Jury Resistance in Orange County GOP Firebombing Case        
    "In a statement, the NCGOP says anyone defying a grand jury subpoena should be jailed until they comply."

    The NCGOP should let their national party up in DC know about this stance, what with the impending Grand Jury that's coming along shortly.
    Posted by Mark Neill
              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
              Re: Bills in North Carolina, Congress Target Companies That Boycott Israel        
    More conservative Communism. What part of freedom of speech do these imbeciles not understand...The right to protest...Is an American right...But republicans those so called champions of the constitution are in an all fired hurry to destroy our rights to further their aggression against descent.
    Nothing remotely American or in the interest of freedom do any of these idiot republican lawmakers support..The republicans are pro corporate and anti working American....These idiot GOP assbags would change and subvert all our laws to squash any resistance to their draconian and dangerous agendas...They are truly tyrannical in their politics and the fact they support that big idiot Trump proves they have no morals, ethics, humanity, And completely devoid of any honesty or the ability to tell the truth..Facts and truth scares the hell out of republicans and they run and hide from it they are deceivers.
    They fear voters and that is why they are so concerned about a non issue of voter fraud...Republicans are the only frauds.
    Posted by Tony D
              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
              Re: U.S. Representative David Price Wants the Feds to Regulate N.C. Hog Farms        
    I dont see no republicans jumping on this they get nice campaign donations from these hog farms..Plus none of these GOP lawmakers live by one of these hog farms....Seems all these farms are located near minority neighborhoods.. Hmm fancy that?
    Posted by Tony D
              GOP Senate Bill Would Cut Health Care Coverage By 22 Million        
    Updated at 8:10 pm ET Congressional forecasters say a Senate bill that aims to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act would leave 22 million more people uninsured by 2026. That's only slightly fewer uninsured than a version passed by the House in May . Monday's report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office could give moderate senators concerned about health care coverage pause. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, was quick to register her opposition to the bill. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell wants a vote on the bill this week, before senators head home for the July Fourth recess. With Senate Democrats united in opposition, Republicans can afford to lose only two votes on their side and still pass the bill. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., who is up for re-election next year, had already expressed reservations about the number of people who could lose coverage under the GOP bill. Four other Republican senators have complained that the bill doesn't go far enough in rolling
              Re: After Pat McCrory Lost, the NCGOP Falsely Accused Hundreds of Voter Fraud. Shouldn’t That Be Harder?        
    The only voter fraud in NC is the republicans....Except for governor the GOP won everything else..And then they cry voter fraud...lol how can you hold all the majority in the legislature and beyach about fraud. laughable to say the least....Proof that the only frauds in NC is the GOP party...Thank god we got rid of McCory that assclown...Now if we can only get rid of the other GOp crooks maybe NC will once again be a friendly state instead of this Trump obsessed republican clusterfk of ignorance.
    Posted by Tony D
              Senate Republicans Alter Health Care Bill To Avoid 'Death Spiral'        
    Updated at 5 p.m. ET Senate Republicans have updated their plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, attempting to patch a hole that threatened to destabilize the individual insurance market . The original Senate bill, unveiled last week, required insurance companies to offer coverage to everyone, including people with pre-existing medical conditions. But there was no requirement that individuals purchase insurance. Critics said that created a perverse incentive for healthy people to go without insurance, only buying coverage after they got sick. Without enough healthy customers making regular premium payments, insurance companies would be forced to raise prices, driving more customers away — a situation sometimes described as a "death spiral." The revised bill attempts to solve that problem by imposing a penalty on those who don't maintain continuous insurance coverage: People who let their coverage lapse for at least 63 days in one year would be locked out of the insurance
              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
              Senate GOP Reveals Health Care Bill         
    Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit STEVE INSKEEP, HOST: Senate Republicans at last have posted their version of replacing the Affordable Care Act. This is a bill that would affect health insurance, health care which is one-sixth of the American economy. They want a vote within one week or so. And NPR's Scott Horsley has had a solid half-hour to analyze this plan. He joins us now. Hi, Scott. SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: Good to be with you, Steve. INSKEEP: OK. Let's just remember, President Trump first celebrated a House version of this bill but then said he was hoping it would have more heart in the Senate version, that it would be more generous in some way. Is it more generous? HORSLEY: Well, it depends, Steve. Some people who are trying to buy insurance on the individual market might do better with this plan than they would under the House-passed version. So for them, it might seem like this is a bill with more heart or a bigger government subsidy. For others, though, that's not the
              Shooting Highlights Role Of Capitol Police         
    Updated at 1:20 p.m. ET Members of the protective detail for Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., are being hailed as heroes Wednesday, shining a spotlight on the little-known police force that guards the Capitol and prominent members of Congress. If not for the presence of the U.S. Capitol Police officers, authorities say, the toll could have been much worse when a heavily armed gunman opened fire at a congressional baseball practice just outside Washington early Wednesday. "Had they not been there, it would have been a massacre," Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., told MSNBC . Although the practice was taking place in Alexandria, Va., across the Potomac River from the Capitol, police were on hand to protect Rep. Scalise, the majority whip and No. 3 Republican in the House of Representatives. "I'm sure it made a significant difference," said Tim Slater, the FBI agent overseeing the investigation. Authorities say two members of the Capitol Police force, Special Agent Crystal Griner and Special Agent David
              Is The Economic Glass Half-Full Or Half-Empty? It Depends        
    The pace of hiring in the U.S. slowed last month. Employers added just 138,000 jobs . But the unemployment rate dropped to 4.3 percent, the lowest it has been in 16 years. The monthly snapshot from the Labor Department is one of the most closely watched indicators of the health of the economy. No matter what the numbers actually say, how we feel about them is often colored by politics. For the first time in a decade, most Americans are feeling good about the economy. A survey this spring by the Pew Research Center found nearly 6 in 10 think the economy is in good shape. That is up 14 points from a year ago. Nearly all of the gain has come from Republicans, who are now twice as likely to say the economy is doing well as they were last year, even though actual conditions haven't budged much. "There's no big change in the economy. Clearly, the change is the election and the politics," says Nariman Behravesh, chief economist for IHS Markit. "Obviously, there's some people who like what
              Unemployment Data Are Often Colored By Politics         
    Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit SCOTT SIMON, HOST: The pace of hiring in the United States slowed last month, but the unemployment rate dropped to 4.3 percent, the lowest it's been in 16 years. The monthly employment snapshot from the Labor Department is one of the most closely watched indicators of the health of the economy. NPR's Scott Horsley reports, no matter what the numbers say, how we feel about them is often colored by politics. SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: For the first time in a decade, most Americans feel good about the U.S. economy. A survey this spring by the Pew Research Center found nearly 6 in 10 think the economy is in good shape. That's up 14 points from a year ago. Nearly all of the gain has come from Republicans who are now twice as likely to say the economy's doing well as they were last year, even though chief economist Nariman Behravesh of the IHS Markit says actual conditions haven't budged much. NARIMAN BEHRAVESH: There's no big change in the economy. Clearly
              St. Elmo’s Fire (1985)        

    Seven friends – Alec, Billy, Jules, Kevin, Kirby, Leslie and Wendy – are trying to navigate through life and their friendships following college graduation. Alec, who aspires to political life, has just shown his true colors by changing his allegiance from Democrat to Republican, which freaks out girlfriend Leslie, who he wants to marry. Budding […]

    The post St. Elmo’s Fire (1985) appeared first on Movie25.

              Dead Man Walking Opera        

    Part of the "Dead Man Walking" Opera Community Interaction, Kansas City/Lyric Opera

    Re: False & Omitted Information Dominates "Eye For An Eye":
    An Eye for An Eye: Re-evaluating the Death Penalty: A Kansas City Week in Review Special, March 3, 2017, KCPT, 
    video here:  http://americanpublicsquare.org/1045-2/

    To: American Public Square
    Tricia Bushnell, Director, Midwest Innocence Project
    Nick Haines, Executive Producer, Public Affairs, KCPT reporter
    Reporters KCPT Flatlands
    Stephen Steigman KCUR news & other producers & reporters KCUR
    Rev. Adam Hamilton, Senior Pastor, Church of the Resurrection
    Ambassador Allan Katz
    Terry Nelson, Consultant, Republican Strategist and Founding Partner of FPI Strategies
    Eric Zahnd, Prosecuting Attorney for Platte County, Missouri 

    CC: Parents of Murdered Children, Kansas City Chapter
    Sean O' Brien  law professor, U of Missouri (KC) & other law professors
    Rev. Thomas B. Curran, S.J., President of Rockhurst University
    William Everett, at the Kauffman Foundation
    SuEllen Fried, founder of Reaching Out From Within
    All Kansas City Library Book Clubs,
    All members of the FYI Book Club
    All Management & Staff, Kansas City Public Library
    Kaite Mediatore Stover, the Kansas City Public Library’s director of reader’s services
    Board & Staff, The Lyric Opera of Kansas City and 
    Linda Ade Brand, education director 

    From: Dudley Sharp, death penalty expert 

    I have detailed some of the most obvious errors and omissions from the "Eye for an Eye" (EFE) symposium, with the hope that one of the many entities taking part will make a public presentation of this, as I have requested, so that some balance may be restored. 

    I hope this will lead to a greater understanding of the death penalty debate. 

    If you have any questions or comments, I am at your service. 

    Fact checking is crucial. 

    1) The Innocent Murder Victims 

    The EFE presentation left out the innocent murder victims, in death penalty cases, from Missouri and Kansas, and the vile crimes committed against them. Such is the primary reason for the death penalty, but was absent.

    I hope that you will visit both the Missouri and Kansas death row, government pages and review the cases and consider what happened to those innocents and the people who loved them. 

    Please visit this site, as well, and read their stories (1). 

    Tragically, the innocent victims are, very often, forgotten.

     Justice is the reason we seek the death penalty, as with all sanctions. 

    2) Balance 

    Of all the people who spoke, throughout EFE, live or on tape, only one out of about fifteen can be confirmed as pro death penalty.

    3) Tricia Bushnell, Director, Midwest Innocence Project       

          a) Bushnell states:"there has been 150 people exonerated on death row". 

    Sharp reply: The "innocent" and "exonerated" from death row has been a well known fraud, since about 2000 (2). 

    Anti death penalty folks redefined both "exonerated" and "innocent", as if they had redefined "lie" as "truth", and shoe horned a bunch of cases into those fraudulent definitions, as detailed  (2). 

    Depending upon review, possibly 26-46 cases have proof of actual innocence (2), reflecting a 70-83% error rate in those anti death penalty claims. A good example of this is to look at those states which have passed laws to prove actual innocence. For example, the anti death penalty folks claim 12 death row inmates have been "exonerated" in Texas. 

    Only one has been found actually innocent under Texas law (2). 

    Bushnell claimed to have been working on an "innocence" case, now, up for re trial,  for 11 years.  Obviously, if the case is up for retrial it is not an "innocence" case. That's how, commonly, anti death penalty folks misuse the terms "innocent" and "exonerated". 

    A great example of intentional fraud in this area is the documentary "A Murder in the Park" (2014). Watch it.      

          b) Bushnell states:   "68% of death penalty cases are overturned". 

    Sharp reply:  Untrue.  Of the 5555 sentenced to death, from 1973-1995, the period of the study, 1648 cases, or less than 30%, had their conviction or sentence overturned (3). Looking at only true error cases, it is closer to 25%, as detailed (3) 

    The errors in and criticisms of the study, used by Bushnell, are overwhelming  (3). 

         c) Bushnell states: "27% of false confessions are proven by DNA"  and in murder cases "67% falsely confessed because they were afraid of the death penalty" 

    Sharp reply:  The Innocence Project has confessed to making false claims of false confessions (4), which indicates that the 27% is closer to 10%, as detailed (4). 

    Sharp reply: I could find no confirmation for Bushnell's 67% claim.  I sent an email to Bushnell on 3/9/16 (5), so she could produce the study. So far, no reply. 

          d) Deterrence - Bushnell asserts that the proof of no deterrence is stronger than the proof of deterrence. 

    Sharp reply: Not only is that not true, it cannot be true. 

    Never has it been proven that a sanction, a negative prospect or a negative incentive has not been a deterrent, for some (6). Never. It can't be. 

    Why do nearly 100% of murderers do all they can to avoid the death penalty and get life, instead?  No, those murderers were not deterred, at least not that time, but they reflect the same basic nature that potential murderers and the rest of us do, which is: 

    Life is preferred over death. Death is feared more than life. What we prefer more deters less. What we fear more deters more. Basic. 

    Death penalty/executions save innocent lives in three ways more than a life sentence does -  enhanced incapacitation, enhanced due process and enhanced deterrence (6). 

    Since 1997, there have been 28 US studies finding for death penalty deterrence (6). None have been negated, although such efforts have been attempted. 

    4) Eric Zahnd, Prosecuting Attorney for Platte County, Missouri       

          a)  Eric Zahnd:  When referencing the reduction in executions and  death sentences the DA stated that prosecutors were being more selective and that defense attorneys are doing all the can to make the death penalty so expensive and impossible to carry out. 

    Sharp reply: Prosecutors have always been very selective -  about 1% of murders result in a death penalty and we execute 0.2% of murderers -- and defense attorneys have always acted in that fashion, only because judges allow it. 

    The reduction in death sentences is, overwhelmingly, due to the reduction in murders and more so, with capital murders.  Texas is a good example: Texas had a 55% drop in murders (71% drop in rate),  37% drop in robberies (60% drop in rate), from 1991-2014. 

    Robbery/murder is the most common death eligible crime, which may have dropped 70-80%, or more, during that period, which may account for the entire drop.

    A series of US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) decisions and 5 states that have repealed the death penalty, have contributed to the drop, but only to a minor degree.        

          b)   Zahnd states: "(the death penalty) is not going to deter crimes of passion." 

    Sharp reply:  Nearly all people, no matter how enraged,  have learned to restrain their passions and to stop, prior to the point of no return. This is very well known. If our death might be the end result of our passion, the overwhelming majority of us would have no problem reining in our passions. Most of us restrain our passions at a much earlier point, refusing to visit physical harm, much less murder, upon those who are the subject of our harmful passions.

    Of the post 1997, 28 US studies finding for death penalty deterrence, one, specifically, looked at crimes of passion and found that some could be and were deterred.

    5)  Rev. Adam Hamilton, Senior Pastor, Church of the Resurrection      
          a)   Rev. Hamilton   states "here is one of those people (one of my associate pastors),  who could have, very easily, been put to death". 

    Sharp reply: "Very easily" is, absurdly, false.

    There is no indication that Darryl Burton's case was a death penalty eligible crime and, if it was a death penalty crime, it would have been a very difficult, long road to execution, as every knowledgeable person knows, making it curious why the reverend made that, blatantly, false statement. 

    NOTE: Darryl Burton has claimed a lot of corruption in his case. That has not been the finding (7).        

          b)   Rev. Hamilton: Paraphrase: death row inmates are, overwhelmingly, poor. 

    Sharp reply: Overwhelmingly, those who commit capital murders are poor.       

          c) My reply to the Reverends biblical death penalty review. 

    Sharp reply: Within the Reverend's biblical review, he only mentions crimes for which we have no death penalty in the US. It would have been much more relevant for the symposium had he spoken of murder, for which we  find that execution for murder is part of the Noahic Covenant (Genesis 9:5-6) , which is for all peoples and all times, and that murder is the only crime/sin for which one cannot get a reduced sentence from execution (Numbers 35:31) (8). 

    The Reverend thinks there is a good case, biblically, for either side of the death penalty debate. 

    There was no main stream Christian church that had turned against the death penalty, until the 1950s. The Catholic Church didn't make their efforts until 1997, but even then, the death penalty is still a moral sanction. 

    One wonders did the bible, suddenly, change in the 1950s or in 1997? Of course not. 

    Through today and for more than 2000 years, there has been Christian New Testament support for the death penalty, from Popes, Saints, Doctors and Fathers of the Church, church leadership, biblical scholars and theologians that, in breadth and depth, overwhelms any teachings to the contrary (8). 

    What actually occurred was a social shift, not a biblical one. 

    6)   Terry Nelson, Consultant, Republican Strategist and Founding Partner of FPI Strategies 

    Terry Nelson's review of the polling data for the death penalty misses a great deal. 

    Sharp reply: The media picks and chooses which death penalty polls they present to the public and will, across the board, refuse to publish polls that show higher death penalty support, when lower support is found in another poll, as detailed (9). 

    For example, Nelson mentions 80% death penalty support in 1994, but leaves out 86% death penalty support in 2013. Why? Media refused to publish the 2013 poll (9), so Nelson never heard about it. 

    Even in the well known Gallup death penalty polls, the media will show us only the lowest support numbers, even though, in every Gallup death penalty poll, there are several, separate different polling questions and answers included, usually showing 5-10% higher support, which the media does not reveal. (9). 

    We also know with Gallup, that when they ask about specific, true and horrendous death penalty cases, as the Timothy McVeigh Oklahoma City bombing case, that death penalty support rises, dramatically, just as death penalty opposition drops (9). 

    I suspect that Nelson is unaware of these details.

    7)  Sean O' Brien  law professor, U of Missouri (KC)       

          a)  O'Brien states: "it's a crime in 38 states to use a paralytic to euthanize animals". 

    Sharp reply: That is untrue. It is only a crime to use a paralytic, without an anaesthetic, first, and I have found no vet who approves of using a paralytic, by itself, anywhere, in the veterinary literature (10).  There aren't any.

    In other words, we put our beloved pets to death in the same thoughtful, kind and peaceful manner as we do some of our worst human murderers (10).      

          b) O'Brien wrongly stated that we have the paralytics to hide our mistakes.
    Sharp reply: That is incorrect. Convulsions and body movements, as well as other movements and noises, are all part of the reactions to the drugs and/or the overdosing of drugs, used in executions. The paralytic is, most certainly, used to make it much easier on the witnesses, viewing murderers executions, just as it is when we put our beloved pets to death (10). 

    That is why it is used. Not to hide mistakes.

           c) O'Brien says there have been cases where murderers could have felt like they were being burned alive, that some had convulsions some had multiple needle pricks and had to have cutdowns. 

    Sharp reply: The "burned alive" allegation is based upon a complete failure of the first drug, the anesthetic, for which there is no case or reason for the first drug, of its own accord to, all of a sudden, not work, in complete contradiction to the drugs known overdosing characteristics. 

    Convulsing, jerking, sighing, wheezing, etc., are all well known effects of the overdosing characteristics of the drugs used as with the normal respiratory distress caused by the drugs (10,11). 

    Multiple needle pricks and/or cutdowns are normal, every day, occurrences, millions of times per day, in medical IV procedures and are required with some death row inmates when there are problems locating solid, secure veins. They are efforts to avoid "botched executions" not a sign of botched executions, as is well known. 

    8) Unknown book club member: "people who are well off aren't on death row" 

    Sharp reply: There are, but they are very rare, because capital murder by wealthy people are very rare. 

    "99.8% of poor murderers have avoided execution. 

    It may be, solely, dependent upon the definitions of "wealthy" and "poor", as to whether wealthy murderers are any more or less likely to be executed, based upon the very small number and percentage of capital murders that are committed by the wealthy, as compared to the poor (12)." 


    This is a fairly typical "Dead Man Walking" Opera Community interaction - spreading the normal anti death penalty nonsense, while having a single pro death penalty voice for "balance", with that pro death penalty voice being an excellent prosecutor, but not a pro death penalty expert within the death penalty debate, none of which have I ever known to have been invited to these community symposiums, which is why this review is important, if community knowledge is important. 

    Wherever Sister Helen Prejean is involved, it is what you should expect (13). 

    Fact checking is crucial. 



    1)  Victim's Voices - These are the murder victims

    2) The Innocent Frauds: Standard Anti Death Penalty Strategy

    3)  James Liebman's "A Broken System": Review of A Broken Study, ]http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2009/10/broken-study-review-of-broken-system.html 

    4)  Innocence Project Invents False Confessions
    150% fraud rate in "confessions"?

    5)  From: Sharpjfa@aol.com
    To: office@themip.org
    Sent: 3/9/2017 12:30:02 P.M. Central Daylight Time
    Subj: for Tricia Bushnell


    During the March 3rd "eye for an eye" presentation, you stated that 67% of confessions in death penalty eligible cases were false. 

    Can you provide a link to the study, please? 

    Sincerely, Dudley Sharp 

    6) The Death Penalty: Saving More Innocent Lives

     7)  United States Court of Appeals For the Eighth Circuit, No. 12-2524, Darryl Burton, Plaintiff - Appellant   v. St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners et al, Defendants - Appellee, Appeal from United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri - St. Louis, Submitted: March 12, 2013, Filed: September 24, 2013,

    8)  New Testament Death Penalty Support Overwhelming

    9) 86% Death Penalty Support: Highest Ever - April 2013
    World Support Remains High
    95% of Murder Victim's Family Members Support Death Penalty

    10)  Veterinary Claims a Distortion of Reality: Human Lethal Injection

     12) Is There Class Disparity with Executions?
    13) Sister Helen Prejean: Does Truth Matter?

              Day Dreaming        
    For whatever reasons this week, my mind has given in to slipping into daydreaming at various times. My desktop photo I think triggers that and takes me into a totally different world. I've told the story many times in earlier posts about the fact that it was my father's dream to own a farm. And we came "that" close to having a farm.

     The farm as I remember seeing it looked similar to the one pictured above. The house was off to the right and was decent. The corn right now would be about "knee-high" -- just saying . . .

    But, then I get back to not day dreaming and back to working and searching the family tree - sort of being a farmer - no corn though, well maybe lots of "corn" . . . who doesn't love corn?

    It is again approaching the century mark on the thermometer here today. I have to say that I would really welcome a good rainy day, but that is not in the forecast.

    So, what did I spend my time on this week? A lot of it in scanning, I scanned about 300 items, photos, and documents from the family history box from Eleanor Sigg.

    I have been inserting some of the photos into the Ancestry.com tree, a few at a time.

    I have already heard from some of the related folks in that branch thanking me for adding them.

    Granted, none of these folks are my direct relatives, well maybe a few are, but I knew a lot of them for many years.

    I only wish that I could have shared the info earlier so that all of them could see their branch better. The same way I wish my own parents could see the folks and facts that have been put into their branches.

    As usual, there are a lot of unidentified photos and that is always frustrating. I have been able to i.d. some, but there are many that will probably not be identified.

    Never-the-less, it has been fun and interesting.

    And now if you are looking for something to do the rest of this weekend AND you love mushrooms then you might be interested in:

    The article in "The Forest Republican" details the events for mushroom enthusiasts in HILES, Wisconsin. This weekend, July 21-23, folks are descending on HILES, Wisconsin for mushrooming and a record turnout is expected.

    Even though many apparently turned up as early as Wednesday, there is still about a day and a half left in the event. I like mushrooms . . .

    Going back to the search and the endless numbers of ancestors and relatives are exemplified in the "Pickles" comic:

    I haven't done the math, but assuming that it is correct, Nelson has over a million ancestors in just a few hundred years. Now that is the reason that this hobby just keeps going and going.

    And every week it is true with me as I add new folks. Those new folks have folks and so on and so on. At some point, we draw the line at where we stop adding people, but that is difficult to do.

    Every once in a while I hit a "jackpot" so to speak and it is so fascinating to learn about more branches of the tree that I never knew existed. Just this week as I was entering a person into the tree I saw that she was married -- married to a George Patton and this George Patton was stationed at a military fort in the 1940 Census.

    I got excited with the prospect that she was married to THE George Patton, but the middle initials were different and so it was just a plain George Patton -- maybe the next person will be the one that has some amazing connection . . .

    Lastly, this week we learned that my son, Chris, is out of the ICU from having brain surgery.

    Information is sketchy, but hopefully, he will continue to be on the mend.

    Thank you all who called and wrote about him and sent best wishes.

    It is hard to be so far away and not be in the know as much as we'd like to be. As of two days ago, he was still in Swedish Hospital, Cherry Hill Loc., Seattle, RM536.

    That is a bit of our week. See you all "in a few"!

              Yes We Can Can!        
    Where exactly do you fall on the political spectrum Secretary Clinton? Stalwart Progressive, as you told us last July? “I take a backseat to no one when you look at my record in standing up and fighting for progressive values.” A Centrist like your dear husband, as you told us last month: “You know, I get accused of being kind of moderate and center. I plead guilty.” Butt really, what difference, at this point, does it make? Especially since your opponent is a xenophobic, Islamophobic sexist pig.  *cough* *cough*I mean, Hillary could be a Marxist and apparently many former Republicans...
              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.
              Exterminate the Brutes: Fighting Back Against the Right        
    Robert Markley

    Michael Bérubé’s essay on the politics of selling out is an eloquent investigation of the dilemmas confronting left intellectuals seeking to survive the long dark night of irrelevance. My only concern is that I wish Bérubé had provided more advice about how to sell out, while, at the same time, winning political converts and influencing influential people. While there is much that is admirable in Bérubé’s piece (originally delivered in March 1995 at the Cultural Studies Symposium at Kansas State), particularly his discussion of the Right’s negation of the “public” in the name of the “people,” I would like to sketch briefly an alternative to the politics of selling out by putting pressure on the term “intellectual,” the blind spot in many romantic calls to action by left cultural critics.

    A crucial point: nobody cares about intellectuals, except other intellectuals. More to the point, unless intellectuals have another source of income, most of them wind up subordinating intellectual interests to the pursuit of livelihoods, or convincing the powers that be that intellectual activity can be profitable (see Bacon, Francis). Few people, for that matter, understand, care about, or are willing to spend the time and energy to follow the intricacies of rational discourse. Think of the sad history of presidential elections since World War II. The Democrats, admittedly a poor excuse for a left of far-right party, nominate Rhodes Scholars, Pulitzer Prize Winners, nuclear engineers, and so on for President; the dominant mode of communication for Clinton, Dukakis, Mondale, Carter, McGovern, Kennedy, and Stevenson has been explanation - a dubious strategy because the hegemonic rhetoric of multinational capitalism is the assurance that Life is Simple: advertising slogans, biblical homilies, capsule news summaries, crossword puzzles, billboards, true-false tests, and click on one of the following options all reinforce the belief that there are always “right” answers to be had, and that these answers can be summed up in a few words: “just say no”; “you deserve a break today”; “life is good.” Can you remember a Republican candidate for national office (since, say, John Lindsay) trying to explain anything to voters? Nixon, perhaps, but Nixon’s explanations were always corrosive and evasive.

    The most successful Democrat since Roosevelt was, significantly, the least intellectually gifted and, if you have read the first two volume’s of Robert Caro’s biography, the most vicious, brutal, and amoral. What Lyndon Johnson understood far better than most cultural critics is that intellect (not to mention morality) is a handicap in politics: the purpose of policy is not to achieve moral clarity or intellectual rigor but to perpetuate networks, connections, positions of power, influence, and of course to accumulate symbolic capital and cold hard cash. The most successful, in many ways, of the handful of Left political leaders (broadly defined) in the past half century, Martin Luther King, did not analyze the semiotics of race, despite his Ph.D., so much as he evoked a religious vision: “I have a dream.” Dreams may have their own semiotics, but they do not, for audiences glued to Sightings, require complex modes of intellectual elucidation.

    In my mind, then, our concern about the role of the public intellectual is misplaced. The arena in which the Left has to contest the Regime of the Right is not in the pages of The Nation or even The Village Voice but in the much devalued realm of cheap, anti-intellectual “entertainment”: tawdry talk shows, infomercials, trade shows for would-be entrepreneurs, tabloids, the Psychic Hot Line, etc. Bérubé reports that his editor at Harper’s suggested that a successful article renders the experience of reading almost non-cognitive; in any consumer culture, the separation between logic and rhetoric returns with a vengeance. In such a world, the Left needs to counter the vicious, mindless, kneecapping of the Right with vicious, mindless, kneecapping of its own: not nostalgia for JFK but a reinvigoration of the Realpolitik of LBJ.

    Who better to contribute to public policy than college and university professors who are paid to study rhetoric and semiotics? Think of all the energy that cultural critics have devoted to interrogating racist, homophobic, misogynist, and classist rhetoric, values, and assumptions during the last fifteen years. This knowledge can and should be used to counter racism, sexism, homophobia, and the politics of privilege, but such an undertaking requires precisely that “we,” left erstwhile intellectuals, relinquish our stubborn faith in rational argument. Rational argument is what we do on our jobs; it is not necessarily an essential, unchanging measure of our intrinsic worth as human beings. You cannot argue morality; you can successfully challenge prejudice only by exploiting a complex psycho-social matrix that is largely unresponsive to causal reasoning. All of us know that, to varying degrees, it is often an uphill struggle to get students to distinguish between reason and bias. The mush-headed right, at least since George Wallace, has accumulated political capital by tarring and feathering “pointy-headed intellectuals” - cashing in on a politics of resentment by redirecting economic anxieties away from the unequal distribution of wealth to the distribution of specialized knowledge. For many Americans, elitists read poetry, not The Wall Street Journal. The Left will be more successful, as it has been in the (dim) past, by counterattacking the Rush Limbaughs of the world, not by noting inconsistencies in their presentations.

    As Bérubé points out, the practice of left intellectuals attacking other left intellectuals for elitism, obscurity, and impracticality is old enough to have passed from history into the dark backward and abysm of myth. If the left seems doomed to repeat rituals of self-immolation, it is, in part, because we remain obsessed with the value of distinction, discrimination and purification rather than with the always impure strategies of success. What follows, then, are some suggestions to ensure that we sell out successfully:

    1 Coopt the rhetoric of values, and beat the Right over the head with it. No self-styled Leftist should be allowed to offer political pronouncements without chanting the following mantra: greed, hypocrisy, and sin. Pro-Lifers who refuse to demand that the government raise taxes to provide funds for education, medical and dental care, food, clothing, shelter, and so on for each and every child who is “saved” are (repeat after me) hypocrites. Fundamentalists who ravage the environment to make money are sinners. Pat Buchanan has no values except greed.

    2 Deploy the language of prejudice and exclusion by (for example) insistently feminizing right-wing males. Elected stooges of multinational capitalism are “whores”; candidates who turn a blind eye when workers are “downsized” into lower paying jobs are “cowards”; men who harass women on the job are “wimps who can’t get a date.” Officials who claim they cannot or should not intervene to help the homeless, the sick, the dying are “impotent.” The NRA should be ridiculed for playing with phallic symbols to compenstae for their psychosexual dysfunctions. Obviously, reproducing such rhetoric tends to reinscribe the dynamic of prejudice and exclusion that many of us are dedicated to overcoming. But politics is not about purity: the squeamish need to ask themselves whether living through the jihad that President Buchanan would visit upon us is a price worth paying for claiming the supposed moral high ground.

    3 As Bérubé argues, the Left’s basic problem is that it lacks the financial resources of the Right; this unequal distribution of wealth and power is unlikely to change soon. Consequently, it becomes imperative for progressives, feminists, radicals, greens, pinkos, and reds to concentrate their financial resources in areas likely to have the most benefit. My suggestion, then, is that we scale back our commitments to worthy causes (ACT UP, Greenpeace, Amnesty International, battered women’s shelters, the United Negro College Fund, Ducks Unlimited, NPR, you name it), pool our resources, and…buy CBS. I wish I were kidding. But the ideology of corporate command, control, and communication renders us little choice if we want to sell out successfully enough to buy a fair share of political power and cultural capital. Left-Wing TV might bring back Gore Vidal to prime time as a Commentator on the CBS Evening News, offer variations on programs such as X-Files by hiring the best writers and producers to promote left-wing conspiracy theories: sexy agents combating corporate skullduggery; white supremacists in league with hostile aliens; mysterious conspiracies at the highest levels of telecommunications; and lonely forest rangers fighting off evil corporations intent on gutting the environment. There should be sympathetic portrayals of lesbian police officers, gay physicians, African-American labor organizers, and so on. If the Left is to counter the cultural dominance of right-wing talk shows, it needs the cultured voice of Gore Vidal intoning nightly that the political spectrum in the United States runs from the Right to the Far Right.

    4 Get our own house in order by taking back our universities. One example of effective collective action. Imagine the end of the Fall Semester 1996. Professors all over the country rise up and give every scholarship basketball player in the country a real set of finals: “Discuss the influence of Hegel on Kierkegaard.” “Analyze the significance of Walter Lippman’s concept of the stereotype on the image of the African-American athlete.” “What are the implications of Coase`s theorem for negotiations between professional athletes and franchise owners?” This may sound like a vicious case of harassing the pawns by asking scholarship athletes (a high percentage of whom are African-American) to do work that almost all of their peers would fail abjectly to do, but such collective action could be the springboard to insist that scholarship athletes who generate hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue each year be paid stipends (much like research assistants). Think, too, of network executives (spending a half billion dollars a year on college basketball) stuck with a Final Four tournament that consists of walk-ons and white guys shooting two-hand set shots on national TV. Most educated Americans - doctors, lawyers, corporate chiefs - have little idea of the wages and working conditions of most college and university instructors, particularly part-timers. Instead of the disinformation campaigns presented at half-time of basketball and football games - half nostalgic images of ivy-strangled halls and half glitzy promos of hi-tech venture capitalism, show lines of students trying to get into closed out classes.

    5 The African-American athlete is sadly underused by the Left. Michael Jordan, Shaq, Grant Hill, and so on exist for most Americans in a depoliticized state of glamorous consumption, as though their multi-million dollar contracts and highly publicized lifestyles negate the economic and cultural disadvantages of millions of African-Americans. A trivia question for cultural critics: who is Kellen Winslow and why am I bringing up his name now?

    6 Finally, counter the Right’s simplistic slogans with simplistic slogans of our own. A general purpose campaign slogan to use against Republicans: “Your jobs going overseas.”

    Irving Howe? Russell Jacoby? Shana Alexander? Alexander Cockburn. Hunter Thompson. Molly Ivins. Left intellectuals need to resist the blandishments of a rationalistic politics that remain tied to models of cause and effect, to the siren song that we can reason our way into cultural and political significance. How’s this for a slogan for the resurrection of the Left? “There’s only one Party in this country, and you’re not invited.”

              Ann Coulter: “Contract With Republicans—Point 1 Is BUILD THE WALL!”        
    Ann Coulter writes:It’s time for the voters to issue a “Contract With Republicans.” Unless our elected representatives can complete these basic, simple tasks, we’re out. There will be no reason to care about the GOP, anymore.(…)If we’re ever attacked, we should be prepared to unload our full arsenal. But it’s not our job to create […]

    Kathy Shaidle's NEW book, Confessions of a Failed Slut, is available HERE.


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              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.    
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              Kyrsten Sinema Announces Run for Congress        
    English: Senator Kyrsten Sinema
    Image via Wikipedia

    After months of waiting the maps have finally been drawn for the Congressional districts in Arizona. There has been a lot of discussion around the new district - CD 9. Today the first person threw their hat into the race. State Senator Kyrsten Sinema, a Democrat,  announced today that she will enter the race.

    Senator Sinema has been a strong advocate for the LGBT community. The biggest example came in 2006, when she led the organization Arizona Together, to become the first and only successful effort in the country to defeat a ballot initiative banning same-sex marriage.

    Per election rules, Sinema has submitted paperwork resigning her job as State Senator, thereby focusing on the campaign full time. The main battle will probably come in the primary with some other well known Arizona Democrats strongly thinking of entering the race. Representative Ben Quayle lives in District 9 but has said he will most likely run in CD 6 since it is more Republican leaning. It is not a require to live in the district you represent at the Congressional level.

    Watch Sinema's announcement video below then go to kyrstensinema.com for more information on her campaign.

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              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.) 
    7:45 P.M. EDT

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               Stephen Colbert Takes On Trump, Announces His Own Debate         
    Stephen Colbert Takes On Trump, Announces His Own Debate

    Stephen Colbert Takes On Trump, Annou...
    Oh God I hope this is real.
    Submitted by: TheMagicHour
    Keywords: stephen colbert stephen colbert donald trump donald trump donald trump debate trump debate colbert debate colbert trump stephen colbert republican debate republican debate
    Views: 7,607

               Bobby Jindal Hosts A Twitter Q&A And It Goes, As They All Do, Horribly Wrong         
    Bobby Jindal Hosts A Twitter Q&A And It Goes, As They All Do, Horribly Wrong

    Bobby Jindal Hosts A Twitter Q&A And ...
    At this point, after we've seen so many twitter Q&A's go so wrong, the thing we want to #AskBobby is "why?"
    Submitted by: News
    Keywords: bobby jindal bobby jindal pac bobby jindal #askbobby #askbobby twitter q&a bobby jindal presidential candidate bobby jindal republican nomination twitter fail #askbobby
    Views: 17,107

              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” […]
              Pre-Existing Conditions: How the New Proposed Healthcare Plan Could Deny You Coverage        

    Pre-Existing Conditions: How the New Proposed Healthcare Plan Could Deny You Coverage Congressional Republicans are dead-set on repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, seemingly without regard for making improvements to the system. The President’s promise was more people covered with better care at less cost. That is not what the new GOP proposal would […]

    The post Pre-Existing Conditions: How the New Proposed Healthcare Plan Could Deny You Coverage appeared first on Cliffside Malibu.

              Medical Marijuana Saves Lives        

    Medical Marijuana Saves Lives With so many political crises to attend to daily, it’s hard not to let important issues fall by the wayside. However, with the unveiling of the Republican plan to reform the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the powerful opposition to that plan, nothing is being done to address the opioid abuse […]

    The post Medical Marijuana Saves Lives appeared first on Cliffside Malibu.

              The Impact of the Proposed Republican Reforms to the Affordable Care Act        

    The Impact of the Proposed Republican Reforms to the Affordable Care Act Americans have gotten their first glimpse of proposed Republican reforms to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the news is not good for those who suffer from addiction and other vulnerable populations. The changes could make it impossible for many who currently have […]

    The post The Impact of the Proposed Republican Reforms to the Affordable Care Act appeared first on Cliffside Malibu.

              Republican health care bill, short of votes, is withdrawn        
    House Republicans, short of votes, withdrew their health care bill on Friday afternoon, just before it was supposed to go to the floor. The bill was pulled after President Trump asked Speaker Paul Ryan to halt the debate without a vote, according to The Associated Press.
              Shades of Trump: Upper East Side As It Faced '64 Barbarian        
    On the eve of a Wisconsin primary that could dent Donald Trump’s juggernaut toward the GOP nomination, the Republican establishment remains flummoxed and agitated by this uncouth outsider’s prospects. It is a reminder of how the “Eastern Establishment,” as it was, viewed the rise of Barry Goldwater in 1963-64. Goldwater [...]
              "It's Not OK." After Donald Trump and Billy Bush tape, celebrities share their sexual assault experiences        

    This video released today from the social media campaign “Humanity for Hilary” features Meryl Streep, Amy Schumer, Lena Dunham, Whoopi Goldberg, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and other women who share their own experience of surviving sexual assault. It's a powerful response to recent events surrounding the Republican nominee for president, Donald Trump.


              Bill Kristol wants to rebrand conservatism as...        
    Bill Kristol is a leading "neoconservative" member of the American Republican Party. I have argued for many years that the establishment Republicans should really be called right-liberals, as they mostly hold to some variant of a classical liberal politics. Bill Kristol was asked how "conservatives" (establishment Republicans) like himself might rebrand themselves and he answered as follows:

    He is happy to rebrand "conservatism" as liberalism. And I hope he does, as using the term conservatism deceives people into thinking they have more political choice within mainstream politics than they really do. The choice is really one between a left liberalism and a right liberalism. You get to choose liberalism.

    And in case you are sympathetic to the right wing brand of liberalism, it was Bill Kristol who earlier this year responded to problems within the white American working class by suggesting that the white working class should be replaced by Mexican immigrants.

    (Kristol is backed financially by our own Rupert Murdoch.)
              Cato libertarians take a step to the left        
    The Cato Institute is a leading libertarian organisation in the U.S. The Institute recently published a significant article about race. It's fascinating to read because it shows the logic of how left-liberalism developed out of classical/right-liberalism.

    But I need to quickly set the scene for this. All forms of liberalism begin with the idea that what matters is a freedom of the individual to be autonomous: to have the liberty to choose to be or to do whatever, as long as it does not limit a similar liberty for others to choose to be or to do whatever.

    But this raises the question of how a society of atomised, autonomous individuals each seeking their own subjective good can be successfully regulated. Although there is no single answer given by liberals, the dominant form of liberalism in the mid-1800s, classical liberalism, emphasised the idea that the market could best regulate society. Millions of individuals could participate in the free market, each seeking their own profit, but the hidden hand of the market would ensure that the larger outcome was a positive one for society.

    So what went wrong? The classical liberals would say that as long as everyone had an equal opportunity to participate in the market, then everyone had an equal human dignity as an autonomous individual.

    But in the later 1800s this was queried. If I am poor and uneducated do I really have the same opportunity in the market as someone who is born to private schools and so on? The new liberals thought that there needed to be a greater role for government intervention to overcome institutional disadvantage.

    And so the modern left emerged. For decades there has been a right-liberal party which emphasises markets (Republicans, Tories etc.) and a left-liberal one which emphasises government programs to overcome inequality (Democrats, Labour etc.). Libertarians have mostly been purist right-liberal types, pushing for limited government, markets, and liberty understood as individual autonomy.

    So it is no surprise that the Cato Institute piece on race begins as follows:
    Libertarians tend to think of freedom as either a means to an end of maximum utility—e.g., free markets produce the most wealth—or, in a more philosophical sense, in opposition to arbitrary authority—e.g., “Who are you to tell me what to do?” Both views fuel good arguments for less government and more personal autonomy.

    That's exactly what you would expect from someone on the liberal right. Autonomy, free markets, limited government, freedom. But look at what happens next:
    Yet neither separately, nor both taken together, address the impediments to freedom that have plagued the United States since its founding. Many of the oppressions America has foisted upon its citizens, particularly its black citizens, indeed came from government actors and agents. But a large number of offenses, from petty indignities to incidents of unspeakable violence, have been perpetrated by private individuals, or by government with full approval of its white citizens.

    You can tell what this is leading up to. It's leading up to the left-liberal idea that there are institutional, systemic barriers to equal participation. That disparities in outcomes are to be explained in terms of institutional oppression, racism and systemic discrimination. And that's exactly where the Cato writer goes:
    Take, for example, the common libertarian/conservative trope: “We believe in equal opportunity, not equal outcomes.” Most people, outside of the few and most ardent socialists, should believe that is a fair statement. But to say such a thing as a general defense of the status quo assumes that the current American system offers roughly equal opportunity just because Jim Crow is dead. Yet, that cannot possibly be true.

    Think of the phrase “Don’t go there, it’s a bad neighborhood.” Now, sometimes that neighborhood is just a little run down, doesn’t have the best houses, doesn’t have the best shopping nearby, or feeds a mediocre school. But, more often, that neighborhood is very poor, lacks decent public infrastructure, suffers from high unemployment, has the worst schools, and is prone to gang or other violence. And, in many cities—in both North and South—that neighborhood is almost entirely populated by minorities.

    There are only two conclusions possible when facing the very real prospect that thousands or millions of Americans live in areas you warn your friends not to go, even by accident: Either everyone in those areas is a criminal, or is content to live among and be victimized by criminals; or there is some number of people, and probably a large one, trapped in living conditions that cannot help but greatly inhibit their opportunities for success and advancement.

    He goes on at length about racism and white supremacy and how the Federal Government has helped to overcome this more than markets have. He stops a short of endorsing big government solutions, but you can see how the logic of his argument prepares the ground for this.

    The mainstream left and right are not so different from each other. They both exist within the same philosophical framework, sharing the same assumptions about what human life is for. Mainstream leftism is an attempt to perfect the liberalism that came before it, to realize it in a more equitable and consistent way.

    The challenge for those who dislike what the modern West has become is to step outside of the liberal framework entirely - to be neither of the left nor of the classical liberal/libertarian right.
              Trump's anti-Muslim remark angst US national security: Pentagon        

    Washington: The White House and the Pentagon have denounced Republican presidential aspirant Donald Trump's call for a ban on the entry of Muslims into the US, saying the anti-Muslim rhetoric undermines America's national security.

    Trump's remark to ban Muslims from coming to the United States is harmful to national security interest, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters.

    "His comments aren't helpful to our national security," he said.

    "The fact is, ISIL (Islamic State) is trying to advance narrative that suggests that they represent the religion of Islam in waging a war against the US and the West," Earnest said, adding that, "That narrative is false; it is a fantasy."

    Millions of Muslims are on the side of the US and our international coalition in trying to degrade and destroy the terrorist group, he said.

    The Pentagon too criticised the comment, saying the remark was "contrary to our national security."

    "Anything that bolsters ISIL's narrative and pits the US against the Muslim faith is certainly not only contrary to our values, but contrary to our national security," Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook told reporters at a separate briefing.

    The Homeland Security Secretary said Trump's anti-Muslim rhetoric is harming US national security interest.

    "What Mr Trump said is deeply offensive. And as the secretary of homeland security said, has consequences for our national security," Earnest said in response to a question.

    "We should have a robust debate about foreign policy in this country. But that should be a debate about policy that reflects the values of this country, that are enshrined in our Constitution. What Mr Trump said runs directly counter to those values. It undermines them. It tarnishes them. It is why so many Americans find them offensive," he said.

    Trump called for a "total and complete shutdown" of Muslims entering the US, in the wake of a mass shooting in California by a Muslim couple believed to have been radicalised. The remark was the latest in a series of increasingly virulent remarks by Trump in recent weeks.

    News Source: 
    Facebook Instant Article: 

              Tea Party 101        


    If I didn't respond, I apologize. I'm just coming off of an intensive political campaign. I'm just now returning to normal life activities like laundry, grocery shopping, getting to the salon, seeing friends, etc. For about 1 month, I was waking up every 2 hours to check email at night. I wasn't able to respond to all comments.

    Sometimes, I think it would be helpful to do a Tea Party 101 post with the history and organization of the movement.

    There is no such thing as Official Tea Party (TM) like there is a Democratic National Party or the Republican Party.

    Some grassroots members have organized after starting rallies and events in their hometowns. Following the 2008 election, conservatives were able to largely take over Twitter using the #tcot hashtag. From there, conservatives organized events around the country and it took off.

    Please note that most of these events were in reaction to Republican votes. Most conservatives were upset at the 2008 results, but even more angry that Republicans voted for TARP.

    Groups like Tea Party Patriots and Tea Party Express have been successful in fundraising and organizing, but they are only part of the movement. Not every tea party chapter is affliated with any national movement. Some choose to be. Some aren't.

    There's no clear leadership. No top-down government. And the movement wants it to stay that way.

    I've never said that there wasn't racism, but it is a very small percentage.

    My emphatic response was that this is not a theme we can allow to progress. When racism does occur at Tea Parties (I've never personally seen it), people react and shut those people up.

    This is the media focusing on a subject that they don't understand. Most of it is hyperbole.

    As noted earlier, for every "sign" of racism, I can give you evidence of death threats, Nazi propaganda from the left. And this is personal. I've been the target of a lot of hate mail and have been called Nazi/Brownshirt/Fascist more times than can be counted.

    Neither side has clean hands here.

    As to your comment on voting, really? With 10% unemployment, it seems pretty easy to get to the polls on election day.

    Furthermore, if your state doesn't have early voting, you can request an absentee ballot if you know that you won't be able to go vote.

    Most polls are open from 6 a.m. to at least 7 or 8 p.m. If asked, employers are supposed to let you off to vote.

    I've worked in retail, I've worked for the government, I've worked for nonprofits of all stripes and I've worked in the private sector in TWO different states.

    Never had a problem voting.

    Aside from laziness, there is absolutely no excuse to not vote.

    Keep trying...

    Adrienne works in the conservative movement and blogs at Cosmopolitan Conservative.

              Karen Has Her Point        


    Perhaps when you are visiting the public protests they do not overtly carry the "I Am Racist" signs, but my Mom hears it day and night from her co-workers in her red state. Racism is alive and well and it can influence people's politics.

    Adrienne you mentioned "The tea party is a large, unorganized group of people."

    How is this true? They clearly were proud to be carrying the title of "Tea Party" during the last elections. I don't hear "Independent" or "Green" like I hear about the "Tea Party". They have an influence and like Karen says it is a strand within the party, not the party platform itself.

    In your recent posts you had wanted specific points to discuss. I named them and never heard back from you. Please respond to people when they act on that request.

    You are right, it isn't fair to generalize people but I believe we are seeing a huge generation gap in our government's representation.

    Democrats tend to have a difficult time paying attention to politics and getting to the voting booths because of the restrictive corporate-friendly schedules Republicans have laid out for us.

    Heather blogs about Motherhood & Other Offensive Situations at http://www.ultimateoutcasts.com.


              Britain in the Ashtray        

    "...Let it simply be said that Notes on a Scandal shows a kind of genius. That genius lies in the completeness with which it reveals a society as free from all ethical moorings - as free even from the vaguest recollection of ethical moorings - as Weimar Republican Berlin. Apart from two minor characters (Stephen’s bewildered father, and a briefly glimpsed veterinary surgeon who attends to Barbara’s cat), the only figure capable of behaving like an adult is Barbara. And she herself soon comes to take an unhealthy interest, possibly erotic, in Sheba. The difference is that she realizes the interest’s unhealthiness, and labors to abide by a moral code that she did not simply filch from last month’s number of Marie-Claire. Such labors make her as undesirable a freak, to her colleagues, as if she were Jane Austen. Therefore she must be punished with the full rigor of BoBo justice, where the Nanny State’s law counts for everything and the wider natural law counts for nothing; where friendships are ended not by grown-up discussion, but by the issuance of restraining orders; where being a narcissistic little girl trapped in a fortyish art teacher’s body is considered, not a disgrace to adulthood, but a valid lifestyle choice.

    There is no reason to suppose that this near-perfect depiction of nihilism exaggerates, in any way, the quotidian horror of Britain under Blair. There is every reason to suppose that, if anything, it understates such horror. The British dispatches from Theodore Dalrymple, Peter Hitchens, and Geoffrey Wheatcroft regularly convey to us a land as unrecognizable from its 1970s self (some of us remember that self from our youth) as today’s Spain is from Franco’s. Note that to perceive Britain’s current thoroughgoing civilizational corruption, we need not even behold Blairism’s most specific miseries: the exorbitant crime rates that have ineluctably resulted from gun control; the inundation of every British metropolis under Islam’s tide; the home-grown terrorists; or the same-sex “civil union” bill that a putatively Christian Queen Elizabeth II signed into law. Notes on a Scandal leaves these unmentioned. They would be irrelevant. Sheba Hart’s environment is, heaven help us, the comparatively amiable face of modern Britain. Orwell’s words remain apposite:

    “Emancipation is complete. Freud and Machiavelli have reached the outer suburbs ... one is driven to feel that snobbishness, like hypocrisy, is a check upon behavior whose value from a social point of view has been underrated.”..."

               Religion and the Republican Convention        

    KIM LAWTON, correspondent. In accepting the Republican nomination for president Thursday, Governor Mitt Romney talked more personally about his religion than he has so far on the campaign trail. Describing his background, Romney specifically mentioned his membership in the Church … More

    The post Religion and the Republican Convention appeared first on Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly.

              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]

              Republican Party In Palm Beach Lauds GOP Anti-Environmental Crusader ... by gimleteye        

    Alfie Fanjul (l) and Pepe Fanjul (r), top Palm Beach County Republican donor. The brothers head a billionaire dollar empire carved out of federal subsidies and corporate welfare programs protecting Big Sugar, the primary polluter of Everglades wetlands

    The Republican Party of Palm Beach County has invited James O'Keefe to be its keynote speaker at its mid-summer event.

    A press release describes O'Keefe as "an award winning journalist". In fact, he is better known as a right-wing activist who infiltrated ACORN and an office of Planned Parenthood and also invites legal action against himself.

    In 2010, O'Keefe was convicted of breaking into the offices of Sen. Marie Landrieu:

    Conservative filmmaker James O’Keefe was sentenced to three years of probation, 100 hours of community service and a $1,500 fine after he pleaded guilty on Wednesday to misdemeanor charges stemming from his involvement in a break-in at Sen. Mary Landrieu’s (D-La.) office. In January, O’Keefe and three others were arrested by federal authorities at Landrieu’s office on allegations of phone-tampering. Prosecutors initially said they caught four individuals in the process of committing a felony, but the charges were later reduced to misdemeanors."

    O'Keefe and the Florida GOP meant to time his visit to Palm Beach County -- where virulent anti-environmentalism is coordinated through the Fanjul & US Sugar Corporation cartel -- with revelations of his incursion into the League Of Conservation Voters; an attack rebuffed yesterday by LCV with the California Attorney General.

    The local GOP press release crows, "O’Keefe was ultimately credited with having a significant impact on the 2016 presidential elections for his October Surprise video series."

    In "Has James O’Keefe Accidentally Stung Himself Again?", New Yorker writer Jane Mayer -- who chronicled influence peddling of the nation's largest polluters in "Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right" -- writes:
    In the latest chapter of his strange career, the League of Conservation Voters, a national environmental-advocacy group, has filed a complaint against three individuals who infiltrated its operations, at least two of whom, the group alleges, “could be associated with” O’Keefe and have past ties to him. The group’s leaders recently began to suspect that they were being scammed, and decided to go to the authorities before O’Keefe or his alleged associates released any material on their own.
    The timing of the Florida GOP conspiracy with O'Keefe occurs within context of a massive erosion of environmental rules and regulations by the Trump White House.

    It is the identical strategy Florida polluters are planning to blend into the important 2018 political races where Big Sugar's main apologist, Agriculture Secretary Adam Putnam, is poised to be the GOP candidate to replace Gov. Rick Scott.

    Scott, who counts on campaign financial support from Big Sugar, will likely aim for the senate seat held by incumbent Democratic Bill Nelson.

    Overshadowing Florida's nasty, anti-people and anti-environmental politics is a recent report by federal scientists to the Trump administration calling climate change a greater, current threat to economic and national security than earlier estimates. According to the New York Times:
    The average temperature in the United States has risen rapidly and drastically since 1980, and recent decades have been the warmest of the past 1,500 years, according to a sweeping federal climate change report awaiting approval by the Trump administration. The draft report by scientists from 13 federal agencies concludes that Americans are feeling the effects of climate change right now. It directly contradicts claims by President Trump and members of his cabinet who say that the human contribution to climate change is uncertain, and that the ability to predict the effects is limited.
    The Trump White House has not released or commented on the report and was hoping, perhaps, that a titillating "explosive" revelation against LCV would help its cause in climate change denial.

    Governor Rick Scott has prohibited state agencies and staff from using the words, "climate change", although Florida's economy, real estate and tax base is most vulnerable to its impacts in the nation. Recently, the US Department of Agriculture ordered "climate change" to be similarly deleted from its communications.

    In the New Yorker report, Mayer contacted O'Keefe for comment. He responded:
    “I don’t comment on investigations real or imagined, or work with mainstream reporters who operate in bad faith,” he told me. In 2016, I wrote an article for this magazine about O’Keefe’s bungled attempt to sting George Soros’s Open Society Foundations, a liberal nonprofit group that O’Keefe had targeted.

    O'Keefe, in his role feeding the beast of disinformation through channels like Fox News, Breitbart, Infowars and Rush Limbauch, will dine on lobster tails at the Palm Beach GOP anti-environmental love-fest at the Polo Club of Boca Raton, 5400 Champion Boulevard, Boca Raton at 6:30PM on August 17.

              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?

              Debbie Wasserman Schultz: just WTF ... by gimleteye        
    Debbie Wasserman Schultz, in recent years, has been a controversial figure within the Democratic Party and, formerly, a key ally of Hillary Clinton. Still, the congresswoman retains a loyal following in her Broward County district.

    Now a bizarre story emerges of an untrustworthy staffer who is alleged to have committed financial crime and computer fraud. Imran Awan was employed by Wasserman Schultz although she had knowledge that he was potentially a threat to national security.

    The Miami Herald and National Review reported that a Pakistani national, on Wasserman Schultz' payroll until last week, was arrested for a financial crime. Awan also had computer access to classified information in the House Intelligence Committee.

    ... take this to the bank: The case of Imran Awan, Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s mysterious Pakistani IT guy, is not about bank fraud. Yet bank fraud was the stated charge on which Awan was arrested at Dulles Airport this week, just as he was trying to flee the United States for Pakistan, via Qatar. ... As you let all that sink in, consider this: Awan and his family cabal of fraudsters had access for years to the e-mails and other electronic files of members of the House’s Intelligence and Foreign Affairs Committees. It turns out they were accessing members’ computers without their knowledge, transferring files to remote servers, and stealing computer equipment — including hard drives that Awan & Co. smashed to bits of bytes before making tracks.

    The question, of course, is what else did Awan steal.

    This is a big deal because Wasserman Schultz was head of the Democratic National Committee at a time when crippling security breaches were known to have occurred. These breaches, alleged to have been Russian incursions into unsecured computer servers and social media databases, may have cost Hillary Clinton the presidency.

    If 2016 told American voters anything, it is that incompetence in computer security is a cardinal political offense. So what the hell is Wasserman Schultz doing, continuing to employ a computer hacker and fraudster in her own office, with access to national security information and, possibly, computer files of other government and political officials?

    One has to hope that the FBI was tracking Mr. Awan's online movements, and that Wasserman Schultz was not covering for Awan -- she has publicly stated her concern for racial profiling in this case -- but instead was allowing a robust investigation to proceed.

    In the meantime, while Republicans wipe their brow that for a brief minute attention swerves from President Trump, it is still the case that leading Democrats should question how much goodwill is left in the Broward congresswoman's account. And for God's sakes, lock down the computers and servers!

              As 2018 approaches, Florida voters should decide whether incredible climate change should steer their votes away from the deniers ... by gimleteye        
    In Miami, the hottest July on record with other signs that climate change is marching on Florida.

    Yet, state voters have twice elected a Governor, Rick Scott -- who aspires to succeed Bill Nelson in the US Senate. Then, there is Agriculture Secretary Adam Putnam -- who aspires to succeed Scott. Both Scott and Putnam are Republicans who demonstrated, through their voting records, that they are willing to sacrifice science and fact on the altar of political expediency. Both are strong supporters of President Donald Trump, who has literally taken an axe to climate change mitigation efforts.

    We attach to this blog post the 1988 testimony of Jim Hansen, one of the most informed critics of government inaction on global warming, and decide for yourself -- 30 years later -- whether it is in fact time to elect public officials based on their commitment to care for creation like your tax dollars and job depends on it. Not to mention, our moral values and American exceptionalism.

    Think about this: the state of Florida is committing billions of taxpayer dollars to "fix" the result of phosphorous and nitrogen pollution that is destroying state water resources, yet denies climate change which is compounding the impacts of algae blooms. In "Climate Change Means More Fuel For Toxic Algae Blooms", Climate Central writes that "... policymakers will need to rethink some of the ways they combat nutrient pollution and society will also have to develop technological solutions to reduce nutrient pollution, from implementing more efficient agricultural practices to potentially recycling various forms of nitrogen in sewage into animal feed, according to a commentary piece also published in Science."

    Yet when it comes to nitrogen, the focus of a recent commentary in Science Magazine, the state of Florida is limping along with grossly inadequate measures to protect taxpayers and citizens.

    Your elected officials are "running out the clock", counting on passing the buck to the next generation. They should be so lucky.

    1988 Hansen Senate Testimony by Alan Farago on Scribd

              FAKE SCIENCE dominates Florida. Bullsugar explains it all for you ... by gimleteye        
    NOTE: The heart of Florida's water emergency is the sacrifice of the public interest by Gov. Rick Scott and Republican aspirants including Adam Putnam and their embrace of FAKE SCIENCE. That is to say: using science to fit predetermined outcomes instead of letting science instruct policy. It is no coincidence that President Trump has embraced the same enthusiasm for FAKE SCIENCE.

    There is only one way to put this lethal idiocy to rest: voters must to make their decisions based on the priority of removing the GOP from power in the state legislature and in Congress.

    2018 is just around the corner. Be informed, now.


    Last week, and three years running now, Lake Okeechobee was covered in blue-green algae. In 2015 and 2016, it turned into extremely toxic cyanobacteria. In 2017, it will in all likelihood do the same.

    Fortunately, initial FDEP test results have not detected toxins in the water yet. However, a bloom that tests non-toxic one day can turn toxic the next. We need frequent, scheduled testing with published results so we know as soon as the water is unsafe to touch.
    In 2015, Bullsugar.org broke the story on social media. Once it was public, Joe Negron told the Army Corps to close the locks, and they did -- for a whole two days, before resuming the dumping at high volume.

    In 2016, the bloom was visible from space, and the toxic discharges coated our estuaries and beaches in putrid "guacamole-thick" slime.

    NASA 2016 satellite image of Lake O algae bloom

    While this created a national embarrassment for Florida, and awoke many to the links between cyanobacteria and scary diseases like liver cancer, Alzheimer's and ALS -- some of sugar's closest friends (like US Rep Tom Rooney) continued to insist "Lake O was not toxic" and Martin County septic tanks were to blame for the toxic mess.

    To which everyone with a brain, eyes and a conscience said, ahem, "Bullsugar."

    So now the Lake is once again covered in blue-green algae.

    Thanks to Jacqui Thurlow Lippisch and her husband Ed for this shot

    After three years in a row, isn't it clear that The Weather Channel got it right last December -- Lake Okeechobee has a toxic algae problem?

    Can we agree it is immoral and unacceptable to discharge toxins on the nearly million people who live, work and play along the path of discharges to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee, let alone without warning them? In 2017, in the United States of America?

    Can we agree that it would be criminally negligent to delay the solution, or only do a half-way solution? That $20 billion worth of Everglades Restoration needs a written goal of "Zero Toxic Discharges?"
    Is there a Florida politician who will introduce legislation with these 4 points?
    1.  Our government shouldn’t poison us.
    2.  If our government must poison us because the plumbing is broken, warn us first.
    3.  CERP is a $20 BILLION project, and counting. Fix the plumbing so you don’t poison us anymore, and do it as fast as possible.
    4.  We (the taxpayers and the ones being poisoned) expect and deserve #3 in writing.Make it a written goal of CERP. Zero Toxic Discharges.
    Due to a dry spring Lake O is not yet high enough for another bout of toxic discharges this year, and for that we are grateful. The Toxic Summer of 2016 was one we don't want to repeat ever again.  But what about the people who live, work and play near Lake Okeechobee?
    Last year, the sugar industry called us "rich, coastal elites" for complaining about the slime, and said we were trying to use the algae bloom to attack Glades residents. As we dealt with the green slime, we did not feel "elite." Our aim was not to destroy others but to protect our residents against what has clearly been identified as a serious public health hazard.
    On the coasts, local county health departments warned people to stay out of the water and avoid eating fish from the estuary.

    Local coastal county health departments warned people to stay out of the water
    As far as we know, there were no such warnings on Lake Okeechobee where there was a 200 square mile toxic algae bloom. Children played in the water at lakeside beaches. Residents and tourists ate the fish from the Lake. Workers in the EAA dealt with irrigation water from the Lake.
    Those who claimed that they were the ones who cared about Glades lives -- Glades Lives Matter, Clewiston Chamber of Commerce, Lake O Business Alliance, EAA Farmers and many others -- completely ignored the health threat to the nearly 100,000 souls living around the Lake.
    The coasts might (or might not) dodge the bullet of toxic discharges this year, but we are concerned about the long term health effects of the current lake bloom on all those who live around the lake and who visit the lake.

    As Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch so eloquently stated in her blog last week:
    “I happened to notice when I visited the DEP website that DEP states:  â€œBlooms are naturally occurring.”  â€¦Yes this is true; so is cancer."
    It is way past time that state and regional officials implement a plan for tracking, testing, and research that protects everyone exposed to these blooms. This is not about coastal residents vs. farmworkers. This is about all of us.

    - Chris Maroney
    Thank you to everyone contributing to Bullsugar.org. Your generosity has kept us sharp and independent as we fight for clean water. If you haven't given, please click here to make a donation today to help us fix Florida's plumbing for good.

              Democrats to chair 3 Mo. House committees        

    Three Democratic members of the Missouri House will chair committees next year, despite the increase in power by the Republican Party in that chamber.
    Incoming House Speaker Steven Tilley (R, Perryville) told reporters at a press conference today that he picked the best qualified lawmakers to head the committees, regardless of party.

              What MaddowBlog Missed About Romney’s Comment        
    Mitt Romney and the Republicans agree with the president that businesses benefit from public investments in infrastructure and education. They just think corporations shouldn't have to pay for using them.
              WTF Friday, 10/14/2016        
    So this election’s October Surprise turns out to be that the Republican candidate for president is a sloppily-drawn allegorical embodiment of rape culture. In other misogyny news from around the internet: Iran will execute a child bride (now 22 years old) for the… Continue Reading
              Half Of Republicans Just Fine With It If Trump Cancels 2020 Election (Because Mexicans)        
    Guys, it's not that Rs are prone to fascism. It's that they're OK with a little fascism to protect America from scary Democrats stealing elections. Big difference!
              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 […]
              Cruz offers bill to weaken labor board's power        
    Republican Senator Mike Lee (Utah) wants to strip the nation’s labor board of its authority to hear labor disputes and issue rules. Lee introduced the Protecting American Jobs Act on Thursday to transfer the power of the National...
              GOP lawmaker invites colleagues to Capitol shooting range        
    Rep. Jeff Duncan has invited his colleagues to the Capitol Police shooting range in a Senate office building on Tuesday to try their hand at firing a gun with a silencer.Duncan’s office said the South Carolina Republican is trying to...
              Republicans introduce bill to scrap 'micro-unions'        
    Republicans are reigniting efforts to scrap a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruling that allows unions to organize employees in so-called micro-unions.Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) re-introduced the Representation Fairness Restoration Act this...
              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...
              GOP lawmaker proposes abolishing Department of Education        
    On the same day the Senate confirmed President Trump’s secretary of Education pick by a historically narrow margin, a House Republican introduced legislation to abolish the entire department Betsy DeVos will lead.Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie’s bill...
              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...
              Western Republicans seek new federal appeals court        
    Arizona Republicans are tired of being covered by one of the most liberal courts of appeals in the nation, and now they want a court they hope will more accurately reflect the conservative attitudes of the Mountain West.Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) has...
              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...
              House to vote on regulatory reform package next week        
    Republicans have hit the ground running in the new Congress with legislation to crack down on federal regulations.The House passed two bill this week to give lawmakers the ability to overturn multiple rulemakings at once and more easily reject rules...
              Former Colorado GOP Chair Pleads Not Guilty To Voting Fraud        
    Prosecutors say a former chairman of the Colorado Republican Party committed voter fraud using his ex-wife's identity in the 2016 presidential election.
              Pingree Statement on Government Shutdown        
    By Carol McCracken   (Post # 1 ,534) Congresswoman Chellie Pingree issued the following statement after Congress failed to pass a bill last night to keep the government operating. “It is outrageous that the Republican obsession with weakening the Affordable Care Act … Continue reading
              NHPR Events: U.S. Senate Candidate Forum on Business & the Economy        
    New Hampshire Public Radio in partnership with the Business and Industry Association and New Hampshire Business Review present a forum between the Democratic and Republican nominees for the United State Senate.
              NHPR Events: Gubernatorial Candidate Forum on Business & the Economy        
    New Hampshire Public Radio in partnership with the Business and Industry Association and New Hampshire Business Review present a forum between the Democratic and Republican nominees for governor. The discussion will be moderated by Laura Knoy, host of The Exchange, and panelists will consist of journalists from NHBR and NHPR
              El triunfo de la perversión del lenguaje        
    El siguiente artículo se publicó ayer en Letra en Obras, una web de libros y literatura en gallego.  El porqué insertan ahí mis artículos, cuando casi nunca escribo sobre libros y nunca hago buena literatura, es un misterio, pero la vida está lleno de ellos y nunca los vamos a resolver, sería muy aburrido vivir sin incertidumbre.  Es cierto que el punto de partida de este artículo es el lenguaje (y la abusiva perversión que se hace de él), pero sólo es la excusa para tratar de agitar la conciencia de la gente sobre los continuados abusos que estamos sufriendo y la pasividad con que los encajamos.

    El Letra en Obras publican en gallego, lo que me sirve para evitar que se me oxide la que es mi lengua de adopción y que, lamentablemente, no se usa demasiado al nivel de la calle.  Normalmente, para ellos escribo directamente en gallego. Pero esta vez, dada la extensión del tocho-post (ocho folios), lo redacté inicialmente en castellano porque así sólo tenía que hacer el esfuerzo de traducir las ideas del catalán (la lengua en la que funciona mi cerebro) a las palabras en la lengua de Cervantes, Victor Manuel y Sergio Ramos, entre otros.  Luego vino la traducción al gallego, para la que conté con la ayuda de un buen amigo, Montxo, el Director de Letra en Obras, pero nos queda la versión original, en castellano, que es la que viene a continuación.  Ya avisé que son ocho folios...


    A principios de los noventa se extendió, de un modo enfermizo, en el mundo empresarial, el empleo de eufemismos rimbombantes para denominar los puestos de trabajo.  Así, un vendedor que atendía comedores grandes pasó a denominarse “Sales Manager Canal HoReCa” y se llegó estupideces del tamaño de los Ancares al llamar “Técnica especialista en comunicados escritos” a una simple mecanógrafa (No, no había Word –ni Windows- en las oficinas).  Una compilación colectiva entre la gente que teníamos trabajo en esa época daría para un artículo entretenido.

    En los medios de comunicación, un fanático empleo de los eufemismos fue el primer paso de una progresiva perversión del lenguaje. Hoy día nadie tiene huevos de llamar negro a un oriundo de Camerún, ni marica a un homosexual afeminado, abrumado por la presión del lenguaje pretendidamente “correcto”.  La casta política, rodeada por muchos de esos asesores de imagen especializados en manipulación de masas, no sólo adoptó (sin rubor alguno) esa ocultación sistemática de palabras con connotaciones negativas, si no que llegó a prostituir el discurso de tal forma que se llegó a expresiones tan sonrojantes como “aceleración negativa” para definir a la recesión y que tenían, hasta hace poco, su paradigma sumo en el “despido simulado con indemnización diferida” que pronunció la señora Cospedal sobre la “curiosa” situación de Bárcenas en el PP y  que tan boquiabiertos nos dejó a la mayoría, al ver que nos estaba llamando subnormales (perdón, retrasados mentales) delante de micrófonos y cámaras, sin apenas pestañear.  Ni ella, ni nosotros.

    El tiempo permite la superación de cualquier hito y esa definición ya ha sido adelantada por la derecha, por un concepto que se pronuncia alegremente como algo positivo y que, bien analizado, infiere mucha preocupación.  Se trata del “envejecimiento activo”, un término que empieza a circular desvergonzadamente entre los hombres de negro y sus acólitos, que viene a significar que existe la posibilidad cierta (e inevitable) de que tengas que trabajar después de cuando esperabas jubilarte. No vas a ser un “viejo inútil”, alégrate, podrás seguir sintiéndote realizado trabajando, viene a ser el mensaje. Si menciono ahora el Arbeit macht frei (el trabajo libera), el lema que estaba expuesto a la entrada de muchos de los campos de exterminio nazis, es porque tiene su enlace unos párrafos más adelante.

    La mentira sistemática, pronunciada como si fuera verdad, funciona, da sus frutos.  Es un trabajo de largo plazo, pero germina indefectiblemente. Uno de los refranes más cortos que posee la lengua española ya lo anuncia: “Calumnia, que algo queda”.   Las radios comerciales aplican una técnica parecida con las canciones mediocres.  A base de repetirlas a todas horas, consiguen que la gente las baile en las verbenas o en los pafetos.  A veces, hasta consiguen que se la reclamen a la orquesta, o al DJ, la gente es así de estúpida (sobre todo cuando bebe). 

    De tantas veces que he oído hablar de los “brotes verdes” en los últimos años, hasta yo creo vislumbrarlos entre los adoquines, si no tomo té en dosis elevadas o café en moderadas, antes de salir de casa.  El pasado lunes, en el súper, los confundí con el perejil y me fui a casa con un manojito para trasplantarlo a un macetero del balcón, pensando que todo estaba arreglado, que por fin había luz al final del túnel.  En Galicia es fácil equivocarse, aquí es “todo” verde (me permito alimentar, perversamente, el mito).  Pero es que hay gente que los ha visto, a los putos brotes verdes esos, en Castrojeriz, en plena meseta castellana, en el mes de Agosto, lo que atenta contra todas las leyes de la Naturaleza, de la Economía y, añadiría, de la Ética más básica.

    No, no hay brotes verdes.  En la marea de datos estadísticos que produce el CIS, alguno hay que se pueda interpretar en clave positiva, si tienes unos mínimos conocimientos de la materia.  Pero todo el que leyó algo de estadística sabe que una tendencia no se puede construir (ni vislumbrar, esto son datos, no bolas de cristal, ni runas, ni posos de café, ni la carta del ahorcado que se quita la soga) con una muestra pequeña.  Y se supone que nos dirige gente seria (tuve que parar cinco minutos, me entró un ataque de risa, lo siento), no Rappel y la Bruja Lola.  Pero ven brotes verdes en agosto, en la meseta castellana, manda huevos, que me pasen el guasap de su camello, yo también quiero probar eso que se meten.

    Antes tendremos los Encuentros en la Tercera Fase que veremos, germinando, brotes verdes. Me refiero a los nuestros, los de la ex-clase media.  Los suyos y los de sus Señores del Dinero, igual si.  Porque Botín ve divisas a espuertas llegando a España, puede que sea cierto. Al precio al que está la hora de esclavo en este país medio civilizado, es más interesante (por el tema logístico) montar una fábrica de camisetas de Ronaldo (o de latas de conserva) en Bueu que en Bangladesh.  Puede ser que los brotes verdes esos germinen en granados y entonces veremos las granadas.  Algunos hasta las podrán recolectar.  Pero comeremos patatas. Con suerte, todos los días.

    Esa táctica de extender los intereses de una minoría al colectivo no es más que el intento de aplicación, a la situación económico-social, de un tic muy futbolero, en un país donde el único elemento de cohesión entre las diferentes regiones y nacionalidades han sido las selecciones deportivas.  Es muy común que un aficionado manifieste después de un partido: “hemos ganado” (o lo contrario, o ni lo uno ni lo otro).  A ver, que lo sepas: Tú no has ganado nada. Tus recursos monetarios, tu patrimonio y tus problemas son los mismos que tenías antes de empezar el partido. Podrás estar contento de que “ellos” hayan ganado; los jugadores del equipo, los empleados del club y los accionistas de la Sociedad.  Pero tú no “has ganado”, a no ser que hubieses apostado dinero por ello, arriesgando parte de tu liquidez inmediata.  Así que, puedes irte a dormir más feliz que antes del partido, pero igual de pobre, que no te confundan.

    Esta semana el paro ha vuelto a subir y se confirman los dramas (entre otros) de Fagor y la muerte anunciada de Canal Nou que, dicho sea de paso, no me parece mal.  A buenas horas salen a hacer “periodismo” los trabajadores de esa guardería de enchufados.  Canal Nou es uno de los ejemplos de cómo “no” hay que hacer las cosas, eso seguro que ya lo sabían hace mucho tiempo, los asalariados de esa empresa.  La elasticidad de todos los materiales tiene un “punto de ruptura” que, cuando se sobrepasa, significa que el tema, sea cual sea, se rompe.  En física no hay perversión del lenguaje, los científicos suelen ser gente práctica.  Si en ciencia se impone el pragmatismo es, casi siempre, porque influyen temas políticos. 

    Las cosas que se rompen no se pueden recomponer si no hay pegamento.  Y en Valencia ni tienen pegamento, ni nadie que se lo preste, así que el momento de hablar de la viabilidad de Canal Nou no es ahora.  Era cuando la Copa América, el Mundial de motos, la F-1, la guita que les levantó el Urmangarín y otra decena como él que han sabido desaparecer discretamente con los papelitos de colores que trincaron.  En estos momentos, es demasiado tarde.  Vale, esas no eran formas, de acuerdo.  Pero… ¿Realmente esperaban otras formas de esa peña de apuestas?

    ¿Resulta que gente es imbécil y no se da cuenta de que les mienten? A ver… imbécil es ser algo menos castigado por la falta de inteligencia que idiota y algo más que estar impregnado en estupidez. Porque la estupidez puede ser innata o, también, un envoltorio aceptado.  En los dos primeros casos (imbecilidad e idiocia), es imposible que el sujeto pueda discernir entre la verdad y la mentira.  En el tercero (estupidez), si hace esfuerzos importantes podría.  Si quiere.  Y aquí no se ha querido ver, o se ha mirado en otra dirección.

    (La foto tiene enlace...)

    ¿Es deliberada esta perversión del lenguaje, usada por los miembros del Sistema?  Sin lugar a dudas, si, ya he superado el resquemor a que me llamen conspiranoico.  Porque esto es una conspiración organizada.  Los nazis, por citar un ejemplo muy claro de abuso extremo de un Sistema sobre un colectivo, consiguieron anular la voluntad de los judíos hasta el punto de que estos cooperaron activa y ordenadamente en su propio exterminio.  Sin esa colaboración (activa no iba entre comillas) hubiera sido imposible que llegaran a asesinar tal cantidad de seres humanos.  A lo sumo habrían podido eliminar un par de millones y medio, con esfuerzo y dedicación, pero no más. 

    Pero consiguieron que se anotaran ellos mismos en listas, que relacionaran escrupulosamente sus bienes para que pudieran serles más fácilmente embargados, que subieran mansamente (salvo contadísimas excepciones) a los trenes, que se desnudaran y colocaran ordenadamente su ropa y pertenencias de valor y que entraran en los cámaras de gas y, luego, que los Sonderkommando, formados por judíos, metieran los cadáveres en los crematorios y/o los enterraran, después de arrancarles las muelas de oro y el cabello.  La mayoría de veces, con un par de pelotones de soldados de las SS que supervisasen todo el proceso, que podía prolongarse a lo largo de muchísimos kilómetros dónde jugársela a “algo o nada”, era suficiente para que un par de millares de judíos pasasen del gueto de Varsovia a las fosas de Auschwitz, de Lodz a Chelmno, o de Lom a Treblinka.

    Treinta contra dos mil.  Eso, sin la colaboración de los Judenrat (los consejos judíos) hubiese sido imposible o hubiese consumido unos recursos de personal que Alemania, en 1942, tenía comprometidos en varios frentes de lucha.  No estoy proclamando que los judíos colaboraron dócilmente en su propio exterminio, que lo hicieron.  Estoy señalando la capacidad de los nazis para anular la resistencia de unos seres humanos que, en su mayoría, caminaron mansa y ordenadamente a su muerte.  Estos dos conceptos están excelentemente desarrollados en Un estudio acerca de la banalidad del mal, de Hannah Arendt y aquí sólo estoy exponiendo algunas analogías peligrosamente parecidas con lo que sucede hoy día en nuestro estado (escrito, deliberadamente, en minúsculas).

    El proceso de anulación de la voluntad de resistencia de los judíos incluyó una interesante escalada en la perversión del lenguaje desde la llegada al poder del NSDAP, el Partido Nazi, en 1933, que hacían parecer inocentes o, más bien, inocuas, las progresivas maniobras de los nazis para agrupar a los judíos en guetos, cuyo objetivo inicial era, recordemos, la expulsión de Alemania.  Pero como no tenían dónde “emigrar” (ese era el eufemismo utilizado inicialmente) a tal cantidad de gente, decidieron optar por el “realojamiento” (esto es, encerrarlos en guetos) y, como no les cabían todos en los que montaron, optaron en 1942 por la “Solución final”, el “despido diferido” de entonces, el culmen de la perversión del lenguaje de la época, que significaba, como todos sabemos, “asesinar en masa”, en los cinco campos de “concentración” (exterminio) que levantaron a tal efecto, previo saqueo de sus bienes. 

    Las condiciones del Holocausto judío en la Alemania nazi eran algo diferentes de las actuales en España.  La más importante (y la que nos puede salvar) es que entonces los judíos eran una minoría en medio de una mayoría fanatizada.  Ahora somos una mayoría sojuzgada por una minoría mercenaria.  No quieren matarnos, porque los muertos ni trabajan, ni compran.  Pero exterminarnos como personas con identidad propia, si.  Quieren que quedemos como esclavos modernos con capacidad de trabajar para sobrevivir y comprar lo básico, con eso su maquinaria funciona para que sus brotes verdes se conviertan en granados y que nosotros veamos las granadas y hasta alguno podrá recolectarlas.  Pero, ya lo dije, nosotros comeremos patatas.

    De momento, ya han anulado la voluntad colectiva, la capacidad de respuesta efectiva. Goebbels estaría orgulloso del sistema empleado, perversión progresivamente escalonada del mensaje y mentira sobre mentira, han conseguido que las víctimas de la crisis se sientan culpables de la misma.  Y alguien que se siente culpable, queda aturdido y tiene anulada su capacidad de reacción.  Ese proceso de traslado de la responsabilidad lo han conseguido a base de colar repetidamente en los medios a supuestos expertos repitiendo embustes (o medias verdades, que son una forma de camuflar con caramelo el engaño), como una canción mediocre de radiofórmula, técnica que, ya dijimos, funciona.

    Repasemos, como ejemplo, algunas de las falacias más extendidas que han cuajado profundamente en el colectivo:

    “Es que se vivió por encima de nuestras posibilidades”.  Los organismos de Gobierno, la inmensa mayoría, por supuesto, ahí están los balances de las Administraciones. Eso es el “hemos perdido” futbolero, de nuevo perversamente enunciado. Pero la gente llana, no, en general. Bastantes, si, arrastrados por su entorno social. El individuo no suele cuestionarse si su comportamiento es correcto, si el colectivo actúa mayoritariamente en un sentido. Otros cándidos fueron empujados al abismo por los esbirros cualificados de los prestatarios de dinero, que eran empujados a su vez a hacerlo por sus superiores, en una cadena que se pierde en las nubes de los centros de decisión.  Pero la verdad es que la inmensa mayoría vivimos, simplemente, “por encima de nuestras necesidades”, que es muy diferente.  Con reajustar nuestros ingresos a lo que es realmente importante para nuestras vidas, después de un proceso que puede haber sido más o menos doloroso, hemos tirado adelante.

    “Es que aquí robaba todo el mundo”.  Maticemos… Apropiarse de algo que no es tuyo se puede hacer de varias maneras. Mediante hurto, robo, estafa, defraudación, usurpación o apropiación indebida, creo que no me dejo ninguna (tampoco tiene mayor importancia, si es así).  Pero, para que cualquiera de esas formas de “robo” sea considerada delito, el valor de lo sustraído debe superar (en la mayoría de casos) los 400 €. Y, seamos sinceros, en España sólo tenían posibilidad de delinquir unos pocos.  El resto podía, a lo sumo, pagar una reparación sin IVA al fontanero, o vender unos grelos sin factura.  Y no, no es lo mismo vender grelos en “B”, que cobrar comisiones millonarias por la adjudicación de obras o la recalificación de terrenos, práctica que han instaurado, de una forma u otra, todos los partidos que han estado en el poder y sus sindicatos acólitos. 

    El problema de este país fue la ingente malversación de caudales públicos en beneficio propio o de amigos y familiares, que es algo tan sutil como conseguir que otros roben por ti.  Ser cómplice o beneficiario de un delito no tiene la misma carga negativa que la de autor, coautor o participante. Eso es lo que, moralmente hablando, cree la mayoría. Y ser inductor está rodeado de una peligrosa mística hollywoodiana. El sinónimo que más se usa es en este caso es el de “cerebro” que, en los delitos sin sangre, solía estar muy bien considerado.

    “Ya hemos tocado fondo” o, dicho de otra manera, “ya no pueden ir peor las cosas”.  Eso, desde 2008, es, junto con lo de los brotes verdes, el embuste más repetido.  Cuando estás en un nivel de supervivencia, el pensamiento de una acción traumática para provocar un cambio, da miedo. “Virgencita, que me quede como estoy”, piensa la mayoría, que se cree esa mierda y dejan que el miedo les atenace, eso forma parte de la estrategia.  Si tuvieran algo de memoria más allá de los resultados de la jornada futbolística anterior, se darían cuenta de que en 2009 estábamos peor que en 2008. En 2010, peor que en 2011. En 2012, peor que en 2011. En 2012, peor que en 2013. Y en 2014 estaremos peor que en 2013, porque no hay un solo dato que nos beneficie, ni una sola previsión seria, ni, lamentablemente, ningún augurio basado en el oráculo del I Ching (He tirado diez veces las monedas y el resultado más favorable es sinónimo de “cataclismo”). 

    Nada nos permite ser optimistas (a la ex clase media, me refiero), antes de tres o cuatro años, como poco.  Pero intentarán convencernos de lo contrario, antes hay Elecciones Generales; en dos años.  Y ya he explicado como lo harán: bombardeándonos con mentiras y más mentiras y datos falseados y manipulados.  Y, lamentablemente, muchos les creerán.

    “No sirve de nada ir a votar”. Aceptar eso supone rendirse, que es exactamente lo que esperan de nosotros.  Cuanta menos gente vaya a votar (el único mecanismo pacífico para desmontar su particular chollo) más beneficiados salen los partidos mayoritarios, porque el Sistema está diseñado por y para los grandes partidos que, por supuesto, no van a cambiarlo.  En aras de ese mecanismo, en Galicia gobierna (con mayoría absoluta) un partido que sólo recibió el apoyo del 23% de la población con capacidad de voto.  En España, gobierna otra mayoría absoluta que ya sabemos lo que hizo con las mentiras de su programa electoral en cuanto llegó al poder: archivarlas hasta la siguiente campaña, la gente tiene muy poca memoria.

    Lamentablemente, no hay muchas alternativas aceptables.  Hay que reconocer que supieron desarmar muy bien a la Plataforma del 15-M, en un trabajo muy al Gestapo style.  Pero si no aparece una organización decente de aquí a las próximas elecciones, el panorama es muy sombrío y si, como es previsible, no hay una revolución (que no la habrá), la única salida es evitar una mayoría absoluta de quien sea, aunque mi opción favorita sigue siendo Escaños en Blanco, una iniciativa para recolectar votos y dejar asientos vacíos en el Parlamento, algo muy inútil, democráticamente hablando, pero muy romántico.

    El pueblo se indigna porque cree que los políticos de hoy actúan igual que los Judenrat de la época.  Que sus “representantes”, democráticamente elegidos, deberían defender sus intereses. ¡Meeeeeec! Error. Los políticos no son como los Consejos Judíos de la época que, bajo la premisa de salvar a unos pocos elegidos, decidieron sacrificar a una mayoría.  Los partidos políticos, paraguas bajo el que se cobijan los esbirros con cargo político, forman parte del Sistema.  Un Sistema que está mejor organizado que el nazi, algo de tiempo ha pasado desde entonces para mejorarlo.

    Verás a Eichmann, burócrata obediente y bien remunerado y con un buen carrusel de prebendas a su disposición.  Pero no verás ni a Goebbels, ni a Himmler ni, por supuesto, a Hitler, esos viven en su burbuja de discreta opulencia y que siempre tendrán a un Eichmann dispuesto a lamerle los pies al amo o a un Kastner (el húngaro que salvó a 1684 judíos, pero que mandó a las cámaras de gas a 476.000), dispuesto a formar parte del engranaje, cambiando dignidad por una vida mejor.

    Y la gente no se rebela.  Les saquean, organizadamente, los ahorros de una vida y nadie le pega fuego a la sucursal del banco con el director esposado a la caja de caudales.  Algunos se limitan a suicidarse, menuda falta de coraje.  Por lo menos llévate por delante al ladrón que te dejó en ese estado, pocasangre.  En otra perversión del lenguaje que me tiene completamente perplejo, se organizan “manifestaciones festivas”.  A ver, que lo entienda… ¿Vas a protestar o a una juerga?  Por que las dos cosas, a la vez, no tienen sentido y están abocadas al fracaso.  Podría hacer el chiste fácil de la música militar pero ya lo he hecho cuatro palabras atrás.  

    El escarnio absoluto consiste en que sean las Asociaciones privadas (Cáritas, Cocinas Económicas, Asociaciones de Vecinos, etc.) las que están capeándole la revuelta al Gobierno, alimentando a los más necesitados y pagando sus facturas más elementales. Heydrich vuelve a asentir, complacido, mientras sigue sin haber nadie que haga nada efectivo para cambiar el final del cuento de Alí Babá y los cuarenta (mil) ladrones.  Un dato publicado en Libertad Digital  (Si, al enemigo hay que leerlo):  “El primer año de Gobierno del Gobierno de Rajoy se saldó con más de 36.000 manifestaciones y concentraciones en toda España, sin contar las celebradas en el País Vasco, lo que supone una media diaria de casi 120protestas.”

    No entraré a valorar por qué no cuentan las del País Vasco, porque esos datos los tienen y... ¿Qué más da? Treinta y seis mil manifestaciones festivas. Primero eran “pacíficas”, pero “pacífico” se asocia a “pacifista” y ya sabemos cómo son los pacifistas, ese estereotipo lo han sembrado y hecho germinar muy bien: mugrientos, haraganes y subversivos. Unos perroflautas. Y “nosotros” no somos así, somos honrados y trabajadores pero ya que nos están dando palos por todas partes, nos juntamos los amputados por los bancos y nos lo pasamos teta tocando el silbato, me gustaría saber quién organiza eso y que fin espera conseguir.  Si, ya sé, la calavera de Heydrich esboza otra pérfida sonrisa.

    Será muy relajante, muy bueno para la autoestima, pero no funciona.  Son 36.000 concentraciones en un año y las que han venido después. TREINTA Y SEIS MIL, coño, que no se ha colado ningún cero de más. 36.000 y no han servido para nada.  Ellos siguen a la suya.

    Y no se te ocurra pasar con una pancarta, camino de una fiesta manifestativa de esas, por delante del portal de sus casas.  Porque te arriesgas a que te empuren por acoso o sedición.  Por escrachero o escrachera, ya puestos.  En mi diccionario de la RAE, escrachar es “romper algo en pedazos” o “pegar a alguien con dureza o reiteración”, no tiene nada que ver con un grupo de gente exhibiendo pancartas y gritando proclamas.  La indignada perversión del término “escrachar” viene de los mismos que llamaban, en público, “terroristas” a toda la izquierda abertzale y “primos de los batasunos” a todos los votantes de Esquerra Republicana.  No debo llamar negro a un Eto’o ni marica a Antonio Gala, porque eso es ofensivo o discriminatorio, pero, en cambio, un señor de izquierdas de Usurbil, afín a la idea de una Euskal Herria separada del estado español (que si, en minúsculas) es, sin posibilidad de defensa, un terrorista, esto es peor que el libre etiquetaje en feisbuc.  Y alguien que agita una pancarta porque está harto, o harta, o menopáusica, o aburrido de no encontrar trabajo, es violenta.  O peligroso.  O las dos cosas, si es una maricona orgullosa de serlo.

    Antes había menos manifestaciones.  Pero a las manifas se iba a protestar de verdad. Estaba el sector que montaba las pancartas y el que acumulaba adoquines y combinados de combustible inflamable.  Y los políticos se cagaban de verdad.  Ahora van al Club de Campo por la mañana y, en la sobremesa, algún assistantles tiene montado un vídeo con los mejores momentos de las fiestas manifestativas del día y ellos se ríen, mientras saborean un escocés de 20 años o más.  Menos fiesta y más protesta, es lo que hace falta. ¿Apología de la violencia?  Es posible.  Pero pienso alegar “defensa propia”, Señor Juez.  Y ya le aviso que la lista de agresiones que tengo compilada augura una vista larga y un sumario bastante tocho.

    Me dirá alguien que he señalado que ha habido 36.000 manifestaciones, que alguna habrá sido una protesta de las que dan miedo.  Apenas no.  Ahí está el secreto, en la fragmentación, en la división, llevan haciéndolo desde 1873, que yo quiera recordar y, con la transición, cambiaron las formas, pero no el fondo.  Siempre enfrentando, siempre distinguiendo, no ha habido ni un solo impulso institucional para que todo el mundo se sienta emocionalmente ligado a alguien que vive a más de tres manzanas de su calle, que mierda le va a importar a alguien de Almendralejo lo que le pasa a uno de Getaria, aunque los dos hayan sido víctimas de un ERE despiadado.

    Y así,  desde el 15-M, excepto para la cadena humana de la Vía Catalana (esa sí que les acojonó) no ha habido una manifestación realmente masiva. Ni peligrosa para el sistema, excepto, quizá, la Marea Blanca en Madrid y, ahora, la huelga de recogida de basuras.  Pero es que lo verdaderamente milagroso es que en Madrid, con los saqueadores que les (des)gobiernan, no hayan montado todavía una guillotina en la Puerta del Sol. (Heydrich, si vuelves a mirarme con suficiencia, traslado tus huesos a un cementerio judío)

    Sugeriría “deconstruir” la Democracia, si quisiera parecerme a ellos, pero ¡qué coño! Llamémosle a las cosas por su nombre.  Lo que hay que hacer es, directamente,  desmantelarla para volverla a levantar de cero.  Y eso, con manifas festivaleras, no lo vamos a conseguir, les va el status quo adquirido a esa banda de ladrones.  O se hace algo de verdad, o esto es el Holocausto.


    Nota del Autor: El título original de estas hojas era “El triunfo de la perversión del lenguaje” y tenía que ser un artículo de un folio y medio o dos, a lo sumo.  Cuando llevaba dos párrafos escritos, me atasqué porque tenía demasiadas notas para tan poco espacio.  Justo entonces, recibí la visita de una amiga, a la que expuse el problema.  “Coge un libro al azar y mira si te inspira”, sugirió.  Como no tenía mejor opción, le di a la rueda del mouse y el cursor se detuvo, obviamente, sobre “Un estudio sobre la banalidad del mal”, de Hannah Arendt. “No lo veo”, le dije, sinceramente.  A ella le encantan los desafíos intelectuales y me respondió: “Si consigues hilvanar algo coherente, te… (En dos palabras vulgares -pero emocionantes- me prometió sexo oral).

    Hay pocas cosas que estimulen más el ingenio que la promesa de sexo gratis.  No me puso un límite de extensión y dos días después, a ella el resultado le pareció convincente.  Y a mí, divertido. Porque ya dije hace tiempo, que me la trae al pairo lo que no hagáis con el país, ya lo di por inútil.  Parafraseando al gran Pepe Rubianes diría que “A mí, la unidad de España me suda la polla por delante y por detrás. Y que se metan ya a EspaÃ
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    We have reached the point in this campaign season where late-night talk show hosts negotiate presidential debates.Why do you look so surprised? When you think about it, it kind of makes perfect sense.Over the last two nights, Jimmy Kimmel, host of ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live!, has seemingly been brokering a presidential debate between presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is still in the running against likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.(To be clear, right now, the debate is little more than a twinkle in Kimmel's eye — no network has agreed to host it and it hasn't been sanctioned by the national parties.)Nonetheless, Kimmel brought up a possible debate with Trump on Wednesday night, when the candidate was on his show. Kimmel introduced Trump as a "tangerine-tinted Godzilla" and a "fire-breathing billionaire," before grilling the businessman over using aliases with journalists, previously praising his likely opponent Clinton,
              #MemeOfTheWeek: Donald Trump's Taco Bowl        
    If Donald Trump tweets an image of a taco bowl in the heart of a Trump Tower, but no one else is there to eat it, does it make a meme?Yes. The answer is yes.Let's call it Taco-Bowl-Gate. Or Cinco de No-No. Or "Donald's Gonna Donald."NPR's Danielle Kurtzleben has already given us the preliminary rundown. On Thursday, the likely Republican presidential nominee tweeted an image of himself with a taco bowl, which he said came from one of his restaurants. The caption read, "Happy #CincoDeMayo! The best taco bowls are made in Trump Tower Grill. I love Hispanics!"There's a lot to unpack here. Taco bowls aren't really Mexican food. Also, the food in that bowl looked awful, stale, etc. The taco bowl sat on top of a magazine featuring a photo of Trump's ex-wife. Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican (and, actually, mostly American) holiday, not a "Hispanic" one. We could go on...The Internet had a field day with this.Some wondered what Trump tributes to other minority or ethnic groups might look like.The
              Not Getting Rid of the Teachers' Lounge        
    Ohio's Governor, and Republican Presidential candidate John Kasich was recently quoted as saying the following, "If I were not president, but if I were King of America, I would abolish all teacher's lounges, where they sit together and worry 'woe is us.'" Now his spokesperson quickly dismissed the statement as simply a metaphor, and was shocked educators took it literally.

    Now in full disclosure, I was not an English teacher, so I cannot say with 100% certainty that the statement would actually be classified as a metaphor, perhaps grandstanding would be a better description, but I digress. 

    I walked into our Teachers' Lounge this afternoon and saw the following posters made by our students.  Our students, 5th and 6th graders at Big Walnut Intermediate, made inspirational posters for our teachers.  Where better to hang them than in the Teachers' Lounge?

    Perhaps they heard Governor Kasich's comments and decided to help him to inspire our teachers. Our kids know who he is as our school has been the recipient of the Governor's award for excellence in STEM education in Ohio for three consecutive years.  They certainly must feel a bond (If I had a spokesperson, they would be proclaiming my use of satire right now).

    I will not get rid of our Teachers' Lounge literally or metaphorically for the following reasons:

    • Our staff talks about how to help kids in that room. 
    • Our staff gets to know each other as people in that room which leads them to working harder for each other because they CARE about each other. 
    • Our teachers share great ideas in that room. 
    • The next great "thing" may very well come from that room. 

    John Kasich may become POTUS, or VP, or maybe just remain Ohio governor.  However here is what he did with his statement. He further motivated a group of positive educators to be even MORE positive. 

    I agree that no one likes to hear anyone play the "woe is me card."  However, what is even more annoying is when some politicians play the "teachers are the bad guy" card.  I do not think John Kasich is a bad guy, but I KNOW my teachers are not as well.

              Donald Trump Mocks MSNBC TV host Mika Brzezinski "Bleeding Facelift"        

    The US president, Donald Trump will fight "fire with fire", those were the words of Deputy White house press secretary, Sarah Huckabee, after the president went on a Twitter tirade against MSNBC TV host Mika Brzezinski.

    Trump tweeted the attack to the Tv host, and said she was "bleeding badly from a face-lift" when she visited his Mar-la-go resort in Florida. Trump also attacked Brzezinski's co-host, Joe Scarborough, who he said is developing a "dictatorship."


    The tweet have generated different backlash from house members, who believes that what Trump had done is beneath the office he holds. Some backlash Trump's tweet got are from;



    Clap Back From Mika Brzezinski

    The TV host, Mika Brzezinski clapped back at President Trump later this morning with the picture below;


    The little hand is referring to the alleged "small hands" used by Marco Rubio to insult Trump during the Republican primary.


              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.


              Gunman Opened Fire On Member Of US Congress, House Whip Steve Scalise Shot, Others Wounded        

    House Whip Steve Scalise Shot, and his wounded after a mass shooting at a baseball field where GOP house member practiced baseball in a field in Alexandria, Virginia.

    The gunman was reported to have stormed the Eugene Simpson Stadium Park at 7am, and open fire with a rifle, and House Whip Steve Scalise was caught in the line of fire. According to Mo Brook,s Alabama congressman, while speaking to CNN said that more than 20 rounds were fired, and the house whip and his protective detail were hit.


    Also, another five people were also hit by the gunfire.

    Responding to the news, the Alexandria police department tweeted;


    APD investigating multiple shooting 400 block E Monroe St,Suspect believed in custody. Stay from area, let emergency vehicles thru.

    25 GOP members, and their aides were at the baseball practice. Scalise after being hit, dragged himself away from the field in an attempt to get cover.

    The police have also tweeted later that they got the gunman, and he is now in custody;


    The GOP house members were practicing for the Thursday’s Congressional Baseball Game, a tradition since 1909 in which House Democrat plays their Republican counterpart, and the game has to be played at the Nationals Park.

    The proceeds from the ticket goes to charity.


              Amid Rumour Trump Will Fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller, House Republican Stand Behind Mueller        

    House Congressional Republicans are taking their stand with Special counsel Robert Mueller, who is leading the investigation of Trump-Russia investigation. According to the Donald Trump friend, Trump is considering firing Robert Mueller, and once again stopping the investigation.

    Republicans are not asking the president not to entertain such thoughts as it will send a bad signal across Washington and the country.


     Rep. Adam Kinzinger said "That would obviously be a bad move. I don’t think he’s really pondering it, My thought is more it’s somebody like Newt Gingrich floating it because he’s got a book coming out."

    Donald Trump friend is Christopher Ruddy,  CEO of Newsmax Media while speaking to PBS on Monday and CNN on Tuesday says that Trump is considering Mueller, as he finds him “illegitimate, ” another Trump's supporter, Newt Gingrich who floated the idea, calling for Mueller's removal.

    White House did not corroborate on Ruddy's statement, but instead distanced itself from the statement.

    Congressional Republicans are now asking that the President allows Mueller to do this job, and some of the Republicans that have supported Mueller includes House speaker Paul Ryan.

    At a press conference, Paul Ryan said;

    I know Bob Mueller and I have confidence in Bob Mueller,I think the best thing to do is to let Robert Mueller do his job. I think the best vindication for the president is to let this investigation go on independently and thoroughly.

    Though President Trump can't fire Mueller, he can only be fired by AG Sessions, but since Sessions already recused himself from the investigations, Trump can ask Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who was also the one that asked him to come aboard, and also is behind Mueller.

    Though if Rosenstein refuses to fire Mueller, Trump could asks for his resignation letter or fire him, and ask Roseintein successor to let Mueller dissolve the investigation, or it gets better, Trump could ask that the Justice Department amend the regulation that will allow him fire Mueller from the investigation.

    It will also be a dramatic turn of events of Trump decides to fire Mueller, because of the outrage and bad new coverage he got when the fired former FBI director, James Comey.



              President Trump To Nominate Christopher Wray for FBI director        

    Just few hours for the former FBI director, James Comey to testify in congress, President Trump in his latest tweet announced that he is nominating former Justice Department official Christopher Wray for FBI director to replace James Comey.


    Christopher Wray served under the George Bush administration, and was the former chief of the Justice Department's Criminal Division from 2003 to 2005. He oversaw the fraud prosecutions of former executives at Enron Corp, and was a member of the administration Corporate Fraud Task Force.

    He is now in private practice, and a partner at King & Spalding, representing companies and individuals in white-collar criminal and regulatory enforcement matters. He is a major supporter of President Trump, and he represented New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in his George Washington Bridge lane-closure scandal.

    Wray will get support from both Republicans and Democrats in the Senate as he did when he was in the Bush adminIstration, but the new director will face new investigation at the Bureau, and this investigation will be the investigation to whether the Trump associates coordinated with the Russians to disrupt the 2016 elections.



              Most Americans in 15 Years Say Their Tax Bill Is Too High        
    Fifty-seven percent of Americans, more than in any year since 2001, now say they pay too much federal income tax. Republicans are far more likely than Democrats to think they pay too much, and the gap widened this year.
              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
              Cornyn wins No. 2 spot in the Republican-led U.S. Senate        
    To the surprise of no one, Texas U.S. Sen. John Cornyn was selected the Senate Republican Whip for the 114th Congress, making him the No. 2 to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. Cornyn who glided to his third term in the Nov. 4 elections, said he was “humbled” and vowed to be guided
              Alameel to wary Texas Democrats: ‘This is just the beginning’        
    Texas U.S. Senate hopeful David Alameel, who lost to incumbent Republican John Cornyn by a 27-point margin on Nov. 4, is giving no indication of fading away. In an email Tuesday providing excerpts of his Election Night speech, Alameel trashed the Texas Democratic Party and vowed to carry on in 2018 – presumably when GOP
              Williams will not seek NRCC chairmanship        
    Rep. Roger Williams, R-Weatherford, put rumors to rest Wednesday in a letter to his Republican colleagues, writing that he will not challenge current National Republican Congressional Committee chairman Greg Walden. CQ Roll Call confirmed with Williams’ staff that he will not be running against the Oregon Republican. In the letter, Williams congratulated Walden and the
              Gallego concedes to Hurd in Texas’ 23rd congressional race        
    In a nail-biter race that was too close to call for most of election night, Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Alpine, conceded Texas’ most competitive race early Wednesday morning to Republican challenger Will Hurd. Gallego, the first-term congressman of Texas’ 23rd district, lost by nearly 2,500 votes. The district, which is heavily Hispanic, spans much of the
              Cruz remains mum about support for McConnell as majority leader        
    Now that Republicans have gained control of the Senate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, dodged the question about whether he would support Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., as the new majority leader during an interview on CNN. Not much longer after the polls closed in Kentucky, it was confirmed that McConnell defeated Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes
              Weekly Roundup        

    Texas’s “Bathroom Bill” Still Very Much Alive In an effort to legalize discrimination against transgender Texans, the Texas Senate has voted once again to advance SB 3, also known as the “Bathroom Bill.” Make no mistake about it: the Republican Party of Texas, despite its rhetoric, prioritizes cheap political parlor tricks over doing what’s in the […]

    The post Weekly Roundup appeared first on Children and the Law Blog.

              Ted Cruz revisits John Yoo        
    Waterboarding isn’t torture, Ted Cruz assures us, because the “generally recognized definition” of torture is “excruciating pain that is equivalent to losing organs and systems.” And when it comes to a president’s power to approve interrogation methods for suspected terrorists, Cruz said during a Feb. 6 Republican presidential debate, “the commander-in-chief has inherent constitutional authority
              Trump, Rubio weigh in on Supreme Court ahead of debate        
    The Supreme Court probably won’t be a featured topic at Tuesday night’s Republican presidential debate. But a couple of candidates have weighed in on the subject recently — Donald Trump on the justices he likes and doesn’t, and Marco Rubio on how he would use his court appointments to overturn this year’s ruling on same-sex
              House Republicans take aim at regent budget        
    House Republicans are taking the necessary steps to cut funding for the University of Iowa and the Iowa Department of Education. The cuts are intended to prioritize institutions that enroll more in-state students, ensuring Iowa’s taxpayer dollars are spent on Iowa’s students. The committee-approved budget would redistribute $12.9 million from the University of Iowa to […]
              Lawmakers address concerns over lack of K-12 funding        
    Johnson County lawmakers convened with Iowa City area education officials to discuss next year’s funding. The discussions are at a standstill as Democrats have lowered their original proposal of 4 percent budgetary increase in k-12 funding to between 2 and 2.6 percent. But Republicans in the House have stood their ground at 1.25 percent increase. The […]
              Iowa school funding up in air        
    Gov. Terry Branstad, who won re-election last year after crafting a campaign built largely on education reform and fiscally responsible spending, said on Monday he doesn’t foresee state spending woes to be resolved this legislative session. Democrats, who hold a thin majority of seats in the Senate, released their version of spending guidelines last week. Republicans carry […]
              Some Texas Republicans already cheering for ‘super’ prospect George P. Bush        
    George Antuna, a fellow co-founder of Hispanic Republicans of Texas, said he isn't surprised Bush is ready to launch his political career. "You can see the passion in his eyes for the state, and the fact that he wants to serve," Antuna said. "He's the future of the party."
              Ted Cruz says questions about Mourdock rape comment are ‘an unfortunate distraction from the issues that matter’        
    Indiana Senate nominee Richard Mourdock said during a debate that “even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.” Asked how he'd answer the question Mourdock faced, Ted Cruz said, “I'm not going to engage in hypotheticals. I would note that it seems the media is never asking Democrats what their view is, of say partial-birth abortion ... Instead, you see reporters engaging sometimes in ‘gotcha' games where they try to get Republicans to make ill-considered comments, and I think that is not serving the people well.”
              What Evolution Can Teach Us About Climate Change        

    Lots of regular, educated people are incensed about the fact that Republicans reject man-made climate change. The biggest frustration is that their opinions seem immune to evidence, and yet the solution seems to be presenting even more. It doesn’t work. But there’s a precedent here that tells us everything we need to know: Republicans don’t even believe in...


    I do a weekly show called Unsupervised Learning, where I curate the most interesting stories in infosec, technology, and humans, and talk about why they matter. You can subscribe here.

              QotD: A plague on both your houses!        
    Protestations from the Obama side that this is all just proof that recession/depression was so much worse than any of us knew that it’s a goddamn great and good thing that Obama is helming the ship of state because if it had been one of those idiot Republicans like George W. Bush we wouldn’t have […]
              Tech conservatives move Alt Right        
    My free trade debate opponent, Dr. James Miller, has published a piece on Business Insider about the way in which conservatives like himself are gravitating towards the Alt Right under the growing pressure from SJWs in technology.
    Many Business Insider readers won’t trust an anonymous Breitbart interview, but for what’s relevant to this article, please do trust that this Googler’s views accurately reflects how many on the right think about SJWs.

    Vox Day, a leader of the alt-right, wrote a book called “SJWs Always Lie” with the explicit goal to “show you how SJWs operate, teach you how to see through their words, explain how to correctly anticipate their actions, and give you the weapons you need to successfully thwart their inevitable attempts to disqualify you, discredit you, and destroy your reputation.”

    Damore’s firing is probably going to cause many Silicon Valley Republicans to prepare themselves by reading this book.

    The key difference in tactics between the alt-right and traditional right is that the alt-right doesn’t place much value on playing fair, and they mock conservatives’ seeming desire to lose honorably. On a recent Periscope video Vox said that his supporters in tech companies (which he claims are numerous) should “be the second or third most enthusiastic SJW in your group.”

    He considers SJWs to be the enemy that’s beyond reason. When a commentator suggested that publically supporting SJW views might give them legitimacy, Vox said “F--- legitimacy. You are thinking like a conservative…”

    It will be poisonous if the tech right feels compelled to not only hide their beliefs but also to actively pretend to believe in progressive diversity values. This pretending will embitter them, probably pushing many to the more radical alt-right.... Business works best if different political tribes don’t seek to crush others when they have a temporary upper-hand. If, however, the right perceived that SJWs are after them, it’s understandable (if regrettable) that they will treat SJWs likewise when they have the power.

    Although the left greatly outnumbers the right in tech, if the right uses stealth tactics and the left doesn’t, the right might eventually gain an advantage in the career-destroying game because they will more easily locate high-value targets.

    As a free market Republican, I dislike most of the alt-right policy views. But my kind are not inclined to fight an underhanded company by company dirty political war, while the alt-right is. If SJWs force the tech right into these fights, they will push them into the eager arms of the alt-right.
    People have no use for the McClellans and the parade ground generals once the shooting starts. They need Grants and Shermans and Pattons, and they know it. The Alt Right is the only right that fights. That is why it is the only Right that will command any allegiance from all the various right-leaning, pro-Western, pro-Christian, pro-freedom, pro-white, and pro-nationalist populations.
              In defense of the dark lord        
    John C. Wright reminds everyone that we are on the same side:
    In any case, I wanted to take the opportunity to calm frazzled nerves, and to emphasize in how few matters Vox Day and I disagree.

    First, we both voted for Chuck Tingle for a Hugo Award. Love is real!

    Second, we both support a permanent ban on further immigration into the United States, but would settle reluctantly for a fifty year ban. We both would prefer immigrants, if they must come, to be from civilized nations, and persons who clearly offer more to the nation than the likely burden their coming imposes.

    Third, we both believe Mohammedanism is incompatible with Western Civilization. Koranic Law allows neither for the Rights of Man nor any republican form of government.

    Fourth, neither of us believes coerced integration of the races is desirable nor possible. There is nothing wrong with a man seeking out his own kind.

    Fifth, we both regard the ‘open borders’ and ‘New World Order’ and ‘One World Government’ type talk as treason against the United States and against the West.

    Sixth, we both think feminism is cancer. Woman are happier and society is healthier when brides are young, and families are large.

    Seventh, we both reject the strategy embraced by GOP politicos and pundits that noble defeat is better than crass victory. The Culture War is real, it is a war, and our side has suffered decades of humiliating defeats. A gentleman does not use the Marquis of Queensbury rules with a guttersnipe, a cur, \a blackguard, or when facing a mob.

    Eighth, we both call Western Civilization, the legacy of the Christian religion, Roman law, and Greek philosophy, the peak of human glory. It is worth defending; indeed, it is the only thing on this world worth defending. Everything else is cruelty, fatalism, superstition, and injustice.

    Ninth, we are both nationalist, and both anti-globalist: there is no moral wrong with a nation existing nor with a nation prioritizing its own interests.

    Tenth, he and I both believe that every race, nation, people, tongue and tribe has its own unique strengths and weaknesses, and possesses the sovereign right to dwell unmolested in the native culture it prefers. We both reject the subjugation of one ethnic group by another.

    Eleventh, he and I hold similar views on war: imposing democracy by force, or imposing conversion by the edge of the sword, is both cruel and foolish.

    Finally, he and I are both Christians, which means, we are both beloved sons of God living in a universe whose Creator has fashioned objective laws of logic, objective imperatives of morality, objective standards of truth and beauty, and also fashioned the human soul to crave and seek and be able to find these things.

    The insane atheist world of moral subjectivism and cultural relativism, of deconstruction, postmodernism, and nihilism, he and I both see to be the work of darkness.
    For my part, I do not concern myself in the slightest with what John thinks. As with Martin van Creveld and Steve Keen, he is one of those rare talents who is to be cherished for that talent alone; everything else is noonday shadows in comparison.

    And don't forget, John showed himself to be loyal even before we were acquainted. As writer and editor, we know each other in a manner that is uniquely, and and at times even alarmingly, intimate. It's hard to describe to someone who is not a novelist, but to write fiction is, to a certain extent, to bare the soul, especially to those who know how to read deeply and see the individual revealed in the textual creation.

    John is a better man than I am. I admire and respect him, and not only for his incredible literary talent. I do not expect anyone to agree with me about all things, indeed, I do not know anyone who does, including myself from only a few years ago. Remember: the man who is a failure always manages to find disagreement with others, but the man who is successful will always find a way to find common ground with his friends and allies.
              Column: Should companies stay politically neutral?        
    People gather to protest outside the Uber offices in Queens, New York, U.S., February 2, 2017.  REUTERS/Brendan McDermid - RTX2ZF3C

    People gather to protest outside the Uber offices in Queens, New York, on Feb. 2, 2017. Most people think it’s bad for business when companies get political. But Daniel Korschun says research shows otherwise. Photo by Brendan McDermid/Reuters

    President Donald Trump’s executive order temporarily banning immigration from seven Muslim countries has put corporate executives in a bind. Almost from the moment he announced the ban, questions poured in about where those executives stood on the issue.

    The media have highlighted a cluster of companies that have made public statements against the executive order. For example, Netflix called it “un-American,” while Ford Motor Company said: “We do not support this policy or any other that goes against our values as a company.”

    It may be more dangerous to remain silent than to take a political stand.

    But overlooked are the many more companies that tried to distance themselves from the debate. Chevron, Disney, Verizon, GM, Wells Fargo and others have all taken a wait-and-see approach. An illustrative example is Morgan Stanley, which expressed concern and said it is “closely monitoring developments.”

    Such responses are no doubt based on the prevailing wisdom that companies need to stay out of politics. Most large corporations have diverse constituencies that draw from both sides of the political spectrum. As a result, executives fear that attracting the political spotlight by taking a stand on the executive order will alienate either the millions of customers who voted for Trump or the millions who voted against him.

    My research suggests their fears are misplaced. And in fact, the opposite may be true: It may be more dangerous to remain silent than to take a political stand.

    Violating expectations

    Consumers today form relationships with a company based not only on the quality of the products and services it sells but also on a set of expectations of how it should comport itself (see also here).

    When companies violate these expectations by behaving inconsistently, consumers reconsider that relationship. Obviously, this can have a major impact on company performance if many customers experience a violation.

    My colleagues and I at Clemson University and Drexel University have been testing this notion in a series of controlled experiments.

    In one field experiment, for example, we exposed study participants to statements about a pharmacy chain moments before they entered one of its stores. Some read a statement in which the company described itself as guided by a set of values (what we call a “values orientation”), while others read that it tries to adapt to whatever market conditions warrant (a “results orientation”).

    These statements established participants’ political expectations of the company. We predicted that for a values-oriented company, taking a stand would align with expectations but that abstaining would violate expectations.

    Participants then read a short article reporting that the company had either just taken a stand on proposed gun control legislation (we randomized what side of the issue the company took) or had abstained from making a comment. After shopping, participants reported their in-store experience and whether or not they had bought anything that they hadn’t planned to purchase before entering the store. We used the unplanned purchase to indicate the impact of the political stand on the customer-company relationship.

    In general, unplanned purchases remained consistent no matter how the company reacted to the political issue. That is, about 18 percent of participants made an unplanned purchase whether they read that the company had taken a position or not.

    But when we accounted for expectations set by the company, the effects were stunning. For a values-oriented company, 24 percent of participants made an unplanned purchases when it took a stand, but that dropped to just 9 percent when it abstained – violating expectations. For a results-oriented company, the effect was reversed: Unplanned purchasing was 26 percent when it abstained and dropped to 13 percent when it took a stand (again, violating expectations).

    Even after accounting for the personal view of the participant and whether his or her state voted Republican or Democratic in the 2016 election, purchasing behavior was significantly affected if the company went against prior expectations.

    Costs of staying silent

    Additional experiments reveal that consumers behave this way because they find it hypocritical for a company that claims to be “guided by core values” to then withhold its position on a political issue. The implication appears to be that the company is hiding something and therefore trying to deceive its customer base. Conversely, reinforcing expectations may forge trust and enhance relationships with customers.

    Additional experiments reveal that consumers behave this way because they find it hypocritical for a company that claims to be “guided by core values” to then withhold its position on a political issue.

    For a real-world quasi experiment on the potential costs of staying silent, we need look no further than Lyft’s and Uber’s respective responses to President Trump’s executive order. Lyft reacted by publicly opposing the order and pledging US$1 million to the American Civil Liberties Union. Uber was more equivocal. In a Facebook post, CEO Travis Kalanick acknowledged concerns and said he would raise the issue “this coming Friday when I go to Washington for President Trump’s first business advisory group meeting.”

    As part of a poll I administer periodically to gauge reactions to companies that take political stands, a group of leading scholars were asked to grade Lyft and Uber on their respective approaches. The panel was generally favorable toward Lyft, although conservative panelists questioned whether its actions would have a lasting impact on the political issue at hand.

    However, Uber was criticized by scholars of all political persuasions for not confronting the issue. Panelists thought Uber was taking some leadership by reacting quickly, but its lackluster response was not consistent with its purported beliefs as a bold game-changer. It is little surprising, then, that the move motivated many customers to uninstall the Uber app from their phones. Uber received so many requests, in fact, that it had to implement a new automated process to handle all the deletions. The company later announced in an email to defecting customers that the executive order was “wrong” and “unjust.” Kalanick also resigned from President Trump’s business advisory council.

    Feet to the fire

    The danger of inaction – as Uber’s experience shows – is real. In remaining silent on important societal issues, executives may be harming performance more than they think.

    It is no longer enough to engage government solely through private channels, although that will certainly be necessary as well. Consumers are willing to hold executives’ feet to the fire if they believe the executives are betraying corporate values.

    This may be especially true for companies that forcefully advocated for free trade, access to a global talent pool, action on climate change and inclusivity for all orientations and religious backgrounds during Barack Obama’s tenure. My research suggests that both liberals and conservatives could view it as a breach of trust to abandon those beliefs by acquiescing to a swing of the political pendulum.

    Consumers are willing to hold executives’ feet to the fire if they believe the executives are betraying corporate values.

    Though our current political environment is polarized and contentious, most people still find failures of sincerity more troubling than differences of opinion. As long as a company is not being deceptive by obfuscating its beliefs, consumers can be surprisingly tolerant of a company that holds an opposing view.

    So to corporate executives: Your constituents are watching. They acknowledge that your company has a distinct set of values. They are asking for you to be forthright. And they want to know that you have the gumption to stand up for your stated values.

    The Conversation

    This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

    The post Column: Should companies stay politically neutral? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

              What Threats or Conflicts Will Emerge or Escalate in 2017?        
    In last night’s presidential debate, it took little time for Republican presidential candidate Do

              The Afternoon Sound Alternative 10-04-2013 with 99 & Barry        

    Cyro Baptistas Banquet Of The Spirits- Batida De Coco - Infinito
    Cyro Baptistas Banquet Of The Spirits- Batida De Coco - Infinito
    Tal National- Kaani - Kaani
    - Kon Togethy Come Together - Cover The Earth Vol 3
    - Kon Togethy Come Together - Cover The Earth Vol 3
    Ras G- All Is Well - Back On The Planet
    Ras G- All Is Well - Back On The Planet
    Jungle By Night- Rangda - Hidden
    - voicebreak -
    - voicebreak -
    Man Man- King Shiv - On Oni Pond
    The Residents- Hit The Road Jack Remix - Our Tired Poor Huddled Ma
    OOIOO- Ina - Gold And Green
    Hello Skinny- Crush - Revolutions EP
    Hello Skinny- Crush - Revolutions EP
    Yuka Honda- Hydrosphere - Heart Chamber Phantoms
    - voicebreak -
    Baba Brooks- Catch A Fire - This Is Dub Rare Jamaican Ska Reggae
    Meridian Brothers- El Jazz Del Chupasangres - Devocion Works 20052011
    Myeck Waters- The Banjo - Myecks Big Waste Of Time
    Messer Chups- Midnight Preacher - Heretic Channel
    La Vida- Peace Of Mind - Los Nuggetz 60s Punk Pop And Psychedelic From Latin America
    Yamasuki Singers- Yama Yama - Le Monde Fabuleux Des Yamasuki
    Count Stocky The Upsetters- To Hell And Back - The Sound Doctor
    - voicebreak -
    AutorYno- Poznan - Cosmopolitan Traffic
    Melvin Gibbs Elevated Entity- Represent Do Rio - Ancients Speak
    - I Beg - Afrobeat Airways 2
    Abdellah El Magana- Kassidat El Hakka The Poem Of The Truth - Kassidat Raw 45s From Morocco
    Ornette Coleman- Blues Connotation - This Is Our Music
    Todd Snider- Conservative Christian RightWing Republican Straight White American Males - East Nashville Skyline
    The Clash- Straight To Hell - Hits Back
    African Head Charge- Some Bizarre - Off The Beaten Track
    Yann Tomita- Medical Service - Doopee Time
    Matias Aguayo- Lleg El Don - The Visitor
    - voicebreak -
    John Zorn- Light Chapels - Dreamachines
    Hellebore- Artefact - Il Y A Des Jours
    Les Enfants Du Monde- Les Bara Jeux Travail Et Funrailles DihimBoro Omaly Loiseau Qui A Dans Hier - Chant Des Enfants Du Monde Vol 14 Madagascar Chants De Brousse
    Aya Nishina- Flora Ode To Infinity - Flora
    Senking- Pathogenic Agent - List
    Mylab- Earthbound - Mylab

    playlist URL: http://www.afterfm.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/playlist.listing/showInstanceID/65/playlistDate/2013-10-04
              Democrats' hoodwinking of blacks        
    Ask any black person which political party has been black people’s political ally. With near unanimity, blacks would answer the Democratic Party. Asked which political party has been hostile to blacks, they’d say the Republican Party with similar unanimity. For better answers, check out Prager University’s five-minute clip “The Inconvenient Truth About the Democratic Party,” [...]
              Frustrated with Trump, McCain unveils Afghan war strategy        
    By RICHARD LARDNER WASHINGTON — In a rebuke of President Donald Trump, Arizona Sen. John McCain declared Thursday that “America is adrift in Afghanistan” as he unveiled a war strategy of his own that includes more U.S. combat forces and greater counterterrorism efforts. McCain, the Republican chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the […]
              State poll numbers and the 2012 presidential map        

    While all of the attention concerning the 2012 presidential race has been focused on the ongoing Republican primaries and caucuses, the most recent batch of state by state poll numbers from Gallup have received much less attention.  And they don't look good for President Obama.

    When you take the current poll numbers regarding Obama's approval rating (e.g., where he has a "net positive" rating), and then assign that state's Electoral College votes on that basis, the result is a 323 to 215 vote blowout, with only 270 being necessary to secure the Presidency.

    Of course it is VERY early to be making any predictions.  The election is still about eight months away, and that is several eternities in politics, (especially given how fast things have changed in this cycle).

    But it is safe to assume that the Obama campaign would rather that the polling "shoe" be on the other foot at this point, as they are clearly starting out from a position of weakness.




              In Iowa, Many Republicans Stand By Trump Despite Recent Missteps         
    Republican voters in Iowa weigh in on the failure of the health care repeal effort, the Russia investigations and the Trump administration's recent effort to limit immigration.
              White House getting religion on deficit?        

    After almost a year of big, new spending proposals - to say nothing of the tab that will come along with government run health care - the White House is signaling that this year's one and a half trillion dollar deficit might be a political problem that needs to be dealt with after all. 

    It's a good bet that what this really represents is their recognition of what's happening in elections in Virginia, New Jersey and New York - and their trying to inoculate themselves against similar political damage in the future.

    From the Washington Times... 

    Anxiety about the deficit has fueled the anger of the conservative "tea party" activists, riled by government spending and debt, and it has seeded reservations about the long-term price tags of signature items on the president's agenda...

    A speech last week by Christina D. Romer, chairman of the president's Council of Economic Advisers, looked at the reasons for the deficit and at how it relates to health care reform. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner appeared on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday to make clear that the administration recognizes the deficit is growing too large.

    "Well, it's going to have to come down. Now it's too high, and I think everybody understands this," Mr. Geithner said. "The president's very committed to bring down these deficits."

    Republicans have hammered the administration for government spending levels, and public polling for the first time is showing that the American public is losing confidence in the president's handling of the economic crisis. That shift occurred in the middle of last month, when a range of public surveys showed that more people (46.9 percent) disapproved of the president's handling of the economy than approved of it (45 percent), according to the Web site Pollster.com. ...

    Mr. Orszag's speech will not contain any new proposals or policy solutions, but will attempt to lay a foundation for the conversations to come next year. ...

    In other words, it's just words...  Oh, and they plan to continue to blame everything on Bush.

    As his top aides try to make clear that they recognize the problem, Mr. Obama has added an element to his speeches: He reminds the public that he "wasn't sworn in yet" when the nation's economy took a nosedive.

    So what do they plan to do?

    The White House on Monday was noncommittal on one of the top political solutions under discussion: the creation of a bipartisan commission to study the problems of the long-term deficit and debt and to deliver recommendations to Congress for up or down votes that could not be amended.

    White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Monday that the idea will "be looked at."

    Which likely means "no", because it would have to result in recommended reductions in entitlements...which liberals won't stomach.

    So just what kind of deficit/debt are we looking at now?  The ten year forecast of deficits via Obama budgeting is nine trillion...which will be added to our current debt of almost twelve trillion - a number that's bigger than the entire annual US economy.


              Re: Stearns/Stearnes family, 1904-1911        
    Just a FYI on articles I found while searching info ...

    From familysearch.org ...

    Huff-Stearns family records
    Statement of Responsibility:
    compiled by Daisy Stearns Huff
    Huff, Daisy Belle Stearns, 1901-1990? (Main Author)
    Huff, Daisy Belle Stearns, 1901-1990? (Subject)
    Huff, John Milton, 1898-1976 (Subject)
    Manuscript/Manuscript on Film
    Salt Lake City, Utah : Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1991
    on 1 microfilm reel : ill. ; 35 mm.

    Microfilm of original manuscript collection (ca. 50 p.).
    Daisy Stearns was born in Illinois in 1901. Her family traveled a great deal and she spent some time in Canada and Montana. She married three times and after her marriage to John Huff she settled in California. About 1930 she joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was active throughout her life. Documents and short biographical sketches are included in this material concerning Daisy's family and ancestors.
    Includes Stearns, Huff, Cronkite, Murray, Smoot, and related families.

    Found this small obit ...

    Santa Cruz Sentinel from Santa Cruz, California.
    November 30, 1989

    Daisy Belle Stearns Huff Services are Friday for Daisy Belle Stearns Huff, a longtime Santa Cruz area resident who died Tuesday in Santa Curz. She was 88.


    The Descendants of William Henry Lee

    Page 26 on the PDF and page 16 in the article:

    Priscilla married Calvin STEARNS13, 18, 19, 20 on 25 Feb 1844 in Vermilion
    Co., Illinois,19 son of Harvey STEARNS and Fannie LOCKWOOD. Calvin
    was born on 28 Oct 1820 in Clinton Co., Ohio,2, 10, 13, 18, 20 died on 20 Jan 1892
    in Homer, Champaign Co., Illinois10, 49 at age 71, and was buried in Vance
    Township, Vermilion Co., Illinois (Davis Cemetery).10, 49 Marriage notes for Calvin and Priscilla: They were married by J. W. Riley, MG.19

    Additional notes for Calvin STEARNS:
    • The Champaign Daily Gazette says that Calvin was born about 1822.49
    • According to various censuses, Calvin spent most of his life working as a farmer in Vance Township, Vermilion Co., Ohio.13, 18, 20
    • From History of Vermilion County, Illinois...

    "Calvin Stearns, Fairmont, farmer, section 6, was born in Clinton county, Ohio, on the 28th of October, 1820. He came to Vermilion county with his parents in 1832, and now lives within one mile of where they settled when they came to the county. Mr. Stearns has been three times married. He was united in wedlock to Miss Priscilla Lee on the 25th of February, 1844, who was born in Clinton County, Ohio, on the 30th of December, 1821, and departed this life on the 10th of June, 1850. His second marriage was to Mary H. Rogers, on the 31st of March, 1853, a native of this county. She was born on the 13th of August, 1836, and died on the 13th of October, 1858. He married his present wife, Miss Clarinda Cronkhite, on the 20th of June, 1867, --born in Warren county, Indiana, on the 16th of February, 1848. He became the father of one child by his first wife, Eveline, and one by his second wife, Mary H., now wife of F. Cronkhite, and by his present wife, two: William C. and Lillie M. Mr. Stearns owns one hundred and seventy-five acres of land, on which he has made the improvements. He was formerly a whig until the republican party was organized, when he joined its ranks, and has since been identified with that party."
    • From the Portrait & Biographical Album of Vermilion Co, Illinois - 1889...
              By: James        
    I think this is really cool. and I am a Republican! Where can I get bumperstickers!
              By: pmist        
    Okay, I am confused. I have been reading the site, and this credo does not match up to the people who are saying that they are going to vote Republican this year. Is this REALLY the Credo of this site? Because this is NOT what John McCain nor the Republican Party stands for. They have shown through their behavior time and again that they do not. I am really confused.
              By: orangepetal        
    I think one of the major problems in Washington is Ideological gridlock. Because of this I do not like Obama, Dean or Pelosi, they seem to be too devoted to Ideology. They are intolerant to other peoples views and oppinions. They believe that they really know what is needed for us all. I see Clinton and Mc Cain more as people people, motivated more by people. I think one of the important characteristic needed to be POTUS is emotional intelligence, I think Obamas ability to offend his friends shows him lacking in this attribute. I support green energy sources, but I believe energy resources has now become a global issue that has to be dealt with realisticly ASAP. People, especially the poor are suffering, it is no longer a luxury we can debate or experiment with. We need to move forward with all means available and all voices heard. Health insurance for all is another major source of contention. Many don't want to loose the quality of care that they feel offers them excellent opportunity to live to a ripe old age, while many die far too young for lack of what can only be described as lack of basic care. This issue, cannot be dealt with from the far left, nor the far right, it must be dealt with by a leader who understands the healthcare system and can take into account everyones concerns. Otherwise we will continue to stagnate and will not move forward. We need to barter, you get this , if I get that , but only by a leader whose commitment is to all the people of America. We have many issues like infrustructure, terrorism, resources,enviromental, etc we need to deal with effectvely. It is arrogant to believe that all Democrats are good, or that all republicans are good, you judge a leader on many things, on his/her intentions, his achivements, his friendships, his character and his abbility to effectively improve the lives of all Americans. That is a little of what I feel is our political situation at this crossroad in election 08. Politics affects our day to day lives and we need to take it very seriously.
              Campbell, Archibald W. (1833–1899)        
    Archibald W. Campbell was a journalist, abolitionist, and Republican Party leader. Born in Ohio, he grew up in western Virginia and studied law in New York, where he met the abolitionist and future secretary of state William H. Seward. Campbell followed Seward into the Republican Party and in 1856 purchased the Wheeling Daily Intelligencer, making it the most influential Virginia newspaper outside Richmond. During the American Civil War (1861–1865) Campbell helped lead the movement for the creation of West Virginia but fell out with many Republican Party leaders after the war. He never sought public office and died in 1899.
    Fri, 28 Jul 2017 15:52:48 EST

              Top Illinois Senate Republican to Resign        
    Senator Christine Radogno, the Senate Republican Leader in Illinois, has announced she is leaving office this weekend. She's been in the Illinois Senate since 1997. She is from LaGrange and represents the 41st District.
              State Week: Rauner Ignoring $16m Investment?        
    Gov. Bruce Rauner has donated $16 million of his fortune to help elect Republican candidates. But he also says he's not really involved in the election. Huh?
              Former Gov. Dan Walker: In His Own Words        
    Former Illinois Governor Dan Walker died early Wednesday at his home in Calfiornia. He was 92. His son confirmed the news to the Associated Press. Walker served only one term as governor, from 1973-1977. But he left his mark on Illinois politics. His decision to walk the state in 1971 lifted him to the Democratic nomination. But he battled with his own party, including the Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley. The infighting led to his defeat in the next primary and set the stage for Republicans to control the Governor's Mansion for a quarter century. Walker later did prison time for bank fraud in the 1980's, unrelated to his time in politics. He talked about his career and his incarceration in 2007. On a tour for his autobiography "The Maverick And The Machine", he visited with WUIS' Sean Crawford and Rich Bradley in Springfield. Fmr. Illinois Gov. Dan Walker in a 2007 interview Walker is survived by his wife and 7 children. Copyright 2015 WUIS-FM. To see more, visit .
              Will Cameras Mean Safer Nursing Homes?        
    Illinois could join a handful of states that allow cameras to be installed in the rooms of nursing home residents. Supporters say it would give families peace of mind to have electronic monitoring of the care their loved ones receive. But there are also concerns, especially when it comes to privacy: "Nursing homes, a lot of people tend to forget... that is their home," Hinsdale Republican Representative Patti Bellock said. Supporters say the cameras would only be installed when the resident or family agrees. They would also have to cover the cost. Backers, like Chicago Democratic House member Camille Lilly, say it would provide a record of care. "I do truly believe this legislation will give families peace of mind as they leave family members with others," said Lilly. The recordings could be used in court, for example if there are allegations of abuse. And anyone caught tampering with the camera could face charges. Attorney General Lisa Madigan is pushing the measure. It has won House
              Trump on Top        
    Warm up your knuckles and get ready for the final fight of the elections! Choose between Donald Trump’s bloc and the democratic one led by Hillary Clinton and show us who the best patriot is. Play against the machine or challenge your friend with the 2 players mode. Will you be able to win this bloody fight for the White House? Find out now!

    Tournament mode Defeat all the enemies that want to push you away from the White House and become the most powerful President of the United States in history. Fight impersonating Donald Trump or choose the democratic bloc if you prefer. Use your flying super powers in order to make your enemy’s head hit the ground and bite the dust. Each time you win an opponent will be unlocked so you will be able to play with him later on. Who needs elections with such fighters?

    2 players Fight against your friends or enemies on the same device! Take part in exciting multiplayer combats and use everything you learned in the Tournament mode.

    Lots of fighters Are you a democrat or a republican? It doesn’t matter! Fight with or against Donald Trump or one of its many versions, or choose Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Johnson the rapper, Clovin the Irishman, Frank the obese, Pancho the Mexican mariachi... And so on up to 20 powerful fighters. Will you be able to unlock them all?

    HOW TO PLAY The objective of Get on Trump fighting game is to make your opponent’s head hit the ground or the many obstacles on the stage. Both fighters are permanently connected by their hands so you will have to find the way to win the position. Luckily the fighters can fly so it won’t be so complicated. The best fighter in two rounds wins. 2 players mode uses the same controls.

    Play this fighting game and make America great again!

              Rex Tillerson Says Americans Shouldn't Worry About North Korea's Threats        
    U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bangkok during a one-day visit to Thailand on Tuesday.

    WASHINGTON — He promised unpredictability and he's delivering. On an issue with the highest stakes imaginable, the life-and-death matter of a nuclear showdown, Donald Trump's team delivered mixed messages Wednesday, with some seeking to de-escalate the boss's language.

    Team Trump danced around questions such as: Was Trump serious when he vowed to unleash fire, fury, and power with unprecedented force in world history, as retaliation for North Korean threats? Was this a firm red line? Was this statement prepared in advance?

    A spokeswoman for his State Department even scolded reporters who pressed for more clarity: "I know you all want to obsess over statements and all of that and try to want to make a lot of noise," Heather Nauert said.

    Some reports said Trump's words were improvised and surprised his own aides. The New York Times and CNN said the sheet of paper Trump was glancing at while uttering his threat was not a statement on North Korea — but a fact sheet on the opioid crisis.


    A spokeswoman for Trump had a more nuanced explanation.

    Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the message had been co-ordinated — to a certain extent. She said the president's chief of staff, Gen. John Kelly and the National Security Council, were aware of the tone he would take but: ''The words were his own.''

    The headline-grabbing statement caused some people, not just the news media, to snap to attention. It also prompted a spike in Google searches within the United States for, "How to survive a nuclear attack," which increased 100-fold from a day earlier.

    The words were his own.Sarah Huckabee Sanders

    What the president specifically threatened was retaliation in the event of "any more threats to the United States" — a stakes-escalating gambit, given that the trash-talking, nuke-chasing, Hermit Kingdom crosses this threshold on a near-daily basis.

    In fact, North Korea did it again immediately.

    Canadian delegation in North Korea

    North Korea quickly put the president's words to a test by threatening to attack the U.S. base on the island of Guam. A Canadian delegation happened to be at the epicentre of the drama Wednesday, securing the release of a pastor who had been jailed for more than two years in North Korea.

    Trump's secretary of state was on Guam during a refuelling layover and he delivered a soothing message to anyone back home alarmed by the sudden escalation in rhetoric.

    "I think Americans should sleep well at night," said Rex Tillerson, who spent an hour on the phone with the president after his attention-grabbing threat.

    ''Have no concerns about this particular rhetoric over the last few days. ... I think what the president was just reaffirming is the United States has the capability to fully defend itself from any attack and defend our allies and we will do so. So the American people should sleep well tonight."

    The secretary of defence also dialed down the warning level slightly.

    While he used stern language and his remarks were reported as threatening by U.S. media, the specific wording employed by Defence Secretary James Mattis was more circumscribed.

    While Trump spoke about retaliating against, "threats," Mattis hewed to the stricter term, "actions.'' Twice in a statement, he warned the North Koreans to avoid, ''actions,'' that would provoke a catastrophic response: ''(It) would lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people.''

    But not everyone downplayed the threat.


    One White House staffer, security aide Sebastian Gorka, compared the standoff to the Cuban Missile Crisis — that tense two-week period in 1962 when global superpowers reached the brink of mutual, mushroom-cloud annihilation.

    "During the Cuban missile crisis, we stood behind JFK,'' Gorka told Fox News.

    ''This is analogous to the Cuban missile crisis. We need to come together."

    Trump, meanwhile, had a more low-key day Wednesday.

    The president retweeted a story and video of himself delivering the threat; he tweeted a boast that he had modernized the U.S. nuclear arsenal, a years-long project that predated his presidency; and he took a shot against the top Senate Republican, amid an esalating feud within his party.

    For a president who would declare, during his campaign, that, ''We have to be unpredictable,'' on military matters, it was mission accomplished. But a staffer from the previous administrations was incredulous.

    Barack Obama aide Ben Rhodes said the North Korean regime will not be talked out of abandoning its nuclear program — which it views as a bargaining chip to ensure its survival.

    But with the help of international allies, and diplomacy, he said the U.S. could use current sanctions as leverage, offering some relief in exchange for controls on the nuclear program — as occurred in the controversial Iran deal.

    He said rash talk made it harder to build a diplomatic alliance. He also said this should be a wakeup call for Americans, who have yet to witness the Trump administration confront a real crisis.

    "We're talking about nuclear war," Rhodes told a podcast, Pod Save The World.

    "Is this really the informed judgment of his entire national-security team? Or is this something he just decided to pop off and say? ... We have to hope there is a more sober group of people in the Trump administration."

    Also on HuffPost:


    El caudillismo es un fenómeno político y social surgido durante el siglo XIX en Latinoamérica. Consiste en la llegada en cada país de líderes carismáticos cuya forma de acceder al poder y llegar algobierno estaba basada en mecanismos informales y difusos de reconocimiento del liderazgo por parte de las multitudes, que depositaban en "el caudillo" la expresión de los intereses del conjunto y la capacidad para resolver los problemas comunes. El caudillismo fue clave para la dictadura y luchas entre partidos políticos del siglo XIX. El poder de los caudillos se basaba en el apoyo de fracciones importantes de las masas populares. Este apoyo popular se tornaba en su contra cuando las esperanzas puestas en el poder entregado al caudillo se veían frustradas, y se decidía seguir a otro caudillo que lograra convencer de su capacidad de mejorar el país o la provincia.
    Este fenómeno se dio en América Latina durante prolongados períodos de su historia republicana; en algunos casos desembocó en fuertes dictaduras, represiones a la oposición y estancamientoeconómico y político, pero en otros canalizó las primeras modalidades democráticas y federales en las repúblicas latinoamericanas, así como proyectos de desarrollo autónomo, frente a las expresiones políticas neocoloniales.



    La inestabilidad política actual es consecuencia de cómo fue organizado el Estado al nacer a la vida republicana, sin base nacional, y también debido a los sucesivos años de enfrentamientos políticos presididos por las diferentes facciones que se disputaban el poder en ese entonces. De esta forma, las repúblicas se constituyeron sobre una base inconsistente, sobre un Estado embrionario, desorganizado económicamente, caótico en el orden político y sin planes de gobierno que sigan disciplina y orden. Por esta razón, la democracia no es totalmente efectiva y se realiza un uso inadecuado de las conquistas del liberalismo, en vez de un correcto uso de la libertad.
    El orden impuesto por la fuerza dentro del caudillismo ha quedado como herencia. Además, ciertas características “caudillescas” prosiguen hasta la actualidad. El caudillo, que buscaba gloria y poder, intentaba con sus obras ganarse la simpatía de la población y desprestigiar al máximo al anterior gobernante; así, reorganizaba el gobierno a su antojo y consideraba como malo todo lo que el gobernante anterior hubiese hecho. Hoy en día, muchos gobernantes desprestigian aquello gestado por sus antecesores y lo abandonan, buscando el propio beneficio, o tal vez como una estrategia para su obligada participación en las siguientes elecciones.
    Por otro lado, es importante resaltar que, al hablar de caudillismos se habla también de consolidación de fuertes regionalismos, que mermaron el casi inexistente estado-nación. Así, hoy en día aún existen algunos de esos fuertes regionalismos, especialmente en el sur andino, que, a pesar de no ser una consecuencia directa del caudillismo, ayudó a que se solidificaran algunos de ellos. Por esta razón, algunas veces planes unificadores resultan insostenibles

              Rep. Todd Clodfelter: A Republican from Dem country on guns, planes and spiders         
    Republican Rep. Todd Clodfelter has a “warped” sense of humor. Want proof? His pet tarantula, Luther, lives in his office in the Arizona House.
              Gubernatorial Candidates In Final Push        
    Both Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper and Republican Bob Beauprez targeted the Latino vote on the contest's final weekend.
              Hickenlooper Tied With Beauprez In New Poll        
    The race for governor in Colorado is in a statistical tie, with Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper in a dead heat with Republican challenger Bob Beauprez.
              Republicans Picking Candidate To Face Hickenlooper        
    Colorado Republicans are voting Tuesday to select a candidate to challenge Gov. John Hickenlooper in November, hopeful their primary nominee can buck Democratic momentum and the perception that the state has quickly turned liberal.
              GOP Ready To Pick Challenger To Gov. Hickenlooper        
    No matter who Republicans pick as their party's candidate in the primaries Tuesday, they are expected to face an uphill battle In their quest to unseat Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper.
              Poll: Hickenlooper Has Comfortable Lead Over Challengers        
    A new poll suggests that Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper has a comfortable lead over his potential Republican challengers, backed by support from women and unaffiliated voters.
              Tancredo Calls Out DPS Over Hiring Teachers Who Aren’t Legal Residents        
    Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo is calling for the superintendent of Denver Public Schools to resign over a program that allows for the hiring of teachers who came to the country illegally.
              Hickenlooper’s Death Penalty Decision Has Invigorated Republicans        
    Gov. John Hickenlooper's decision this week to issue a temporary reprieve of convicted killer Nathan Dunlap's death penalty sentence has reinvigorated the Republican Party.
              Finding the Underside of Power        
    I have been mulling this series of thoughts lately about power and the church and civil government and the like. I truly doubt I will finish these thoughts today, mostly because my ideas are still a little jumbled. But I might try anyway...

    It seems to my simple mind that at some point a couple decades back, some church leaders determined that the church (speaking here of the large corporate church) could exert influence on the people around it by flexing its muscle with respect to government. By energizing Christians in a particular direction, many religious people did become a powerful political force, voting several candidates, mostly Republicans, into office. Simultaneously, parts of the church found power in their newfound influence and began wielding that power with respect to conservative social issues, the most notable being abortion and gay rights. Or maybe I have it all backwards; perhaps by becoming influencial on social issues, groups began to band together to support certain candidates. I am not certain which came first, the chicken or the egg.

    Either way, the question I am left with today is: How effective has that "soldier in the culture war" stance been in advancing the church's original message of Jesus Christ? It just seems that as some leaders insist the church "stand up," and "not take it any more," and "fight against the culture war," a corresponding number of people have become the church's enemy and yet another group of people blow off Christians altogether. What does that accomplish?

    I have played that part, the holy roller who ran around with flyers and went to rallies and the like. To this day, I am not sure it did any good other than make me feel accomplished and productive in those tasks that I thought a good Christian should be involved in.

    Alternatively, I got to know persons. I use the word persons deliberately, because I got to know one person, then another person, and then another person. I would talk honestly about myself and all my struggles and attempt to get inside their hopes and fears and messes themselves. And somehow, I was given so much more power and influence in the lives of those persons just by being my real one-on-one self than I had ever attempted to claim. Somehow I had stumbled into the underside of power.

    I have met some gay people who would go out of their way to spit on some church steps, but I never felt the need to hide myself as a Christian from them. I would simply say I was a Christian, and that lots of things did not make sense to me and that I had more questions than answers. I was not deliberately evangelizing. I was just being me. And more often than not, those people who hated the church so much would gain a respect for me. One guy told me, "I have no interest in being a Christian, but if anyone ever made me think about it, it was you." And this all occurred AFTER my lengthy pity party about how much trouble I was having reconciling homosexuality and Christianity. Here I was, spilling my guts and problems out more than anything, and being granted a spot of influence in his life because I was real.

    Somehow, that is the underside of power. And I honestly think the church in general has missed it on this one.

    I want other people to know I am a Christian by how I live my life. And that does not mean that they see my drive to church in fancy clothes on Sunday, or my yard sign for a particular candidate, or that I boycott some companies over their advertising. Instead, I am just real, explaining myself when it seems good and learning from someone who might differ. And in the process--and sometimes quite unintentially--finding the underside of power.

              Better World Campaign Statement on the United Nations Funding Levels in FY17 Omnibus Bill        

    Funding commitments come just one week after nine former U.S. Ambassadors to the United Nations under five different Republican and Democratic administrations sent a letter to Congressional leaders urging full funding for the organization

    (PRWeb May 05, 2017)

    Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2017/05/prweb14312173.htm

              Suniva and SolarWorld Claim Their Trade Case Will Create More Than 114,800 Jobs        

    A game of dueling numbers is playing out over the market impacts of a pending U.S. solar trade case.

    An economic analysis released yesterday by law firm Mayer Brown, on behalf of trade case petitioners Suniva and SolarWorld Americas, finds that imposing new tariffs on solar products made outside of America will result in a net increase of at least 114,800 new jobs, and potentially as many as 144,300 new jobs, across all segments of the U.S. solar industry.

    “This job growth includes as many as 45,000 U.S. manufacturing jobs in the solar cell and module manufacturing segment and the upstream sectors that cell and module manufacturing supports,” the report states. “It also includes an increase of 98,020 U.S. non-manufacturing jobs, including 65,830 U.S. installer jobs.”

    Those results stand in sharp contrast to the numbers put forward in a separate analysis published recently by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), which determined that Suniva’s requested tariff and minimum pricing requirement would result in the loss of 88,000 solar jobs in 2018. The utility-scale market would see jobs shrink by 60 percent, while residential and commercial employment would fall by 44 percent and 46 percent, respectively.

    The U.S. solar industry currently employs around 260,000 workers. Manufacturing represents 38,000 or 15 percent of jobs in the sector, according to the Solar Foundation’s 2016 jobs census.

    Rational or preposterous?

    U.S. solar manufacturing numbers may be slipping. SolarWorld Americas, which recently raised $6 million to fight the trade case in light of its parent company’s insolvency, employed around 1,200 people at its peak. The Oregon-based manufacturer currently has around 300 U.S. workers, following a severe round of job cuts. In late March, Suniva announced “significant” layoffs in Georgia, where it’s headquartered, and in Michigan, where it operates a facility. The company declared bankruptcy in April.

    Suniva brought the Section 201 trade case shortly after filing for bankruptcy protection, seeking duties of 40 cents per watt on imported cells and a floor price of 78 cents per watt on modules. SolarWorld joined the petition in May. And the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) took up the case shortly after.

    The petitioners blame their financial woes on “a deluge of imports,” which they say has distorted the solar market. Effective remedies under the Section 201 trade investigation can restore the U.S. solar market to an “economically rational state,” according to the Mayer Brown report.

    However, SEIA notes that while Suniva and SolarWorld have been confronting serious financial struggles and seeking tariff support, manufacturers in other areas of the U.S. solar sector, such as racking systems, have been adding jobs. “Solar manufacturing already employs more than 38,000 Americans,” the SEIA jobs report states. “The fact that the petitioners are laying off employees doesn’t reflect the growth in American manufacturing jobs.”

    "The notion that doubling the price of solar panels would somehow increase demand and create jobs is preposterous," Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of SEIA, said in an emailed statement. Careful analysis by SEIA and others bears this out, she said.

    "Additionally, SEIA has spoken with dozens of manufacturers in the supply chain who ardently oppose this petition because the projected decline in demand will force them to lay off workers," said Ross Hopper. "SEIA’s members know what impact this will have on their ability to produce jobs; companies working in the solar industry today have been clear that Suniva’s sought-after remedy will be devastating to the American solar industry."

    How new tariffs could boost job growth

    To conclude there would be a net increase of at least 114,800 jobs under a new tariff scenario, Mayer Brown relied on a publicly available model developed by the Department of Commerce and data from GTM Research -- although the law firm took issue with the latter.

    The report cites a recent GTM Research analysis that found the trade dispute could halt roughly half of projected U.S. solar installations through 2022, assuming a 40-cent-per-watt tariff for cells and a floor price of 78 cents per watt on modules. Between 2018 and 2022, GTM Research calculated total U.S. solar installations would fall from 72.5 gigawatts cumulatively to just 36.4 gigawatts under a 78-cents-per-watt minimum module price scenario. If the floor price were set higher, the market impact would be even greater, the analysis found.

    According to the Mayer Brown report, the GTM Research analysis suffers from “significant flaws,” because it “fails to account for the impact of any new U.S. manufacturing growth and likely significantly understates the rate of growth in installed capacity that would occur if an effective remedy is imposed.”

    Assuming that GTM Research’s analysis is correct, the authors say the proposed trade remedy would still result in significant job growth outside of manufacturing over the next five years. Between 2011 and 2015, the U.S. added 25 gigawatts of new installed capacity, according to GTM Research data. And over the same period, the industry added 102,002 non-manufacturing jobs -- 67,500 of which were installer jobs. Applying a similar trend analysis to GTM Research’s projected 36 gigawatts of new installed capacity over the five-year period from 2018 to 2022 results in an increase of 98,020 new non-manufacturing jobs over 2015 levels -- nearly 66,000 of which are estimated to be installer jobs.

    So even in a scenario where solar installation numbers fall, the industry could still add a meaningful number of jobs, Mayer Brown argues. 

    “Demand for solar in the United States is growing quickly and will continue to grow for the next five years under anyone’s estimates,” said Timothy Brightbill, partner in law firm Wiley Rein’s international trade practice representing SolarWorld.

    Of course, by the same logic, job growth would be much greater if the U.S. market achieved the full 72.5 gigawatts of growth projected over the next five years.

    Why a Section 201 trade case is so powerful

    To estimate the number of manufacturing jobs, the Mayer Brown report assumes that the tariffs will restore U.S. production capacity to nearly 970 megawatts of cells and 875 megawatts of modules. The analysis also assumes total cell production costs of between 22 cents and 33 cents per watt and module production costs of between 22 cents and 24 cents per watt, citing government and industry data. Using the U.S. Department of Commerce’s “Regional Input-Output Modeling” system, the models show that a trade “remedy” would result in an increase of 12,429 to 16,141 manufacturing jobs, in short order.

    Furthermore, “it is highly likely that imposition of an effective remedy and stabilization of price levels in the U.S. would result in substantial new investment in U.S. solar cell and module manufacturing capacity,” the jobs report states.

    Assuming that a new tariff and minimum price boost domestic cell production capacity to 3 gigawatts and U.S. module capacity to 2.6 gigawatts, American cell and module manufacturing employment would increase by between 37,515 and 45,491 restored and new jobs, respectively. Economic output and wages paid in the cell and module manufacturing sectors would increase by between $2.5 billion and $3.3 billion each.

    An increase in direct solar manufacturing jobs also benefits other sectors, including aluminum extrusions, silicon crystals and electronic components, the report states. This means the cell and module manufacturing sector will exert a strong multiplier effect, resulting in a significant impact on the broader U.S. economy.

    “Solar manufacturing jobs generate many additional upstream and downstream jobs -- unlike installer jobs, which are at the end of the value spectrum,” said Brightbill.

    “In order to have a strong solar industry, we need to have a strong solar manufacturing industry,” he continued. “Solar is a constantly evolving, fiercely competitive landscape, and innovations happen on the shop floor every day. Innovations are part of the manufacturing process, so if you don’t have the manufacturing process, then all of the know-how, all of the R&D, and all of the investment will go overseas. That’s why we feel so strongly that we need to maintain -- and grow -- manufacturing here in the U.S., especially when demand is as strong as it is.”

    To see those benefits, Brightbill said it’s paramount that any trade remedy be comprehensive and apply also to America’s free trade partners, such as Mexico. “I think the worst thing that could happen would be to omit or leave out certain countries from relief,” he said. “That’s why Section 201 is so powerful, because it covers all countries and import sources.”

    “Part of our plan is that relief will cause companies to build their next manufacturing plant here, rather than in Malaysia or Mexico. And that, of course, is directly in line with this administration’s goal of increasing U.S. manufacturing and U.S. jobs," said Brightbill.

    Meanwhile, others in the solar industry flat out reject Suniva and SolarWorld’s assessment.

    Did petitioners bring their business troubles on themselves?

    The Suniva/SolarWorld paper “contains no economic analysis and posits a theory that turns supply and demand basics on its head by claiming that raising the price of a product somehow creates more demand for that product,” said Paul Nathanson, spokesperson for the Energy Trade Action Coalition (ETAC), a new group launched to coordinate opposition to the trade case.

    “Of course, the opposite is true,” Nathanson continued. Imposing the tariff and floor price proposed under Section 201 would "double the price of solar panels [and] would reduce demand, devastate the solar industry, and result in the loss of thousands of manufacturing jobs,” he said. This is confirmed by SEIA’s assessment and GTM Research’s solar forecast, as well as trade case analyses conducted by third parties.

    A Goldman Sachs research note, for instance, states that granting the Suniva and SolarWorld petition would increase all-in costs for utility-scale projects by an estimated 30 percent, and would increase prices for residential projects by 15 percent. “We expect solar installations would fall precipitously in the U.S. on the back of lower returns [resulting from a] higher-priced module,” the firm wrote. In its assessment, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said the Suniva accusations are “riddled with holes and hypocrisies.”

    Conservative political groups The Heritage Foundation, the R Street Institute and the American Legislative Exchange Council have also criticized the trade petition as a "a step backward" and "the worst kind of protectionism." The three groups recently joined SEIA and others as members of ETAC.

    Mounting dissent from across the political spectrum could help convince Republican President Donald Trump to reject new trade barriers, should a tariff proposal end up on his desk in the coming months. But the petition may not make it that far. If the ITC decides Suniva and SolarWorld have failed to show that a rising level of imports have caused them serious injury, the case will come to a close.

    In written arguments submitted to the ITC yesterday -- ahead of the commission’s “injury hearing” on August 15 -- SEIA expounded on its criticism, claiming neither Suniva nor SolarWorld had been able to produce enough 72-cell modules to meet the demand in the fast-growing utility-scale solar market. Increasing crystalline silicon photovoltaics imports were then pulled into the U.S. utility market -- rather than flooding it -- to meet that need, according to SEIA.

    Domestic producers also missed many opportunities for residential business, the trade group said. “SolarWorld and Suniva failed to fully qualify their product with major purchasers,” according to the written argument. Furthermore, “both experienced complaints from a litany of dissatisfied customers over late shipments, damaged products and general product unreliability,” SEIA said.

    The ITC will weigh the validity of these and other arguments in the coming weeks.

              Muslims 'should be invited' to Fitna screening in Washington DC        

    A Republican senator who intends to show the controversial film Fitna in Washington DC, is being urged to invite Muslims to the screening.

    A Republican senator who intends to show the controversial film Fitna in Washington DC, is being urged to invite Muslims to the screening.

    The Arizona chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-AZ) yesterday called on Senator Jon Kyl, who is one of that state's senators, to invite Muslim representatives ‘to offer a balancing perspective’ to the screening in Congress.

    On Thursday, Kyl will host a closed-door screening of the 15-minute film by Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders. Wilders was recently denied entry to Britain because of his extreme anti-Muslim views, including urging that the Quran, Islam's revealed text, should be banned.

    One of the event's co-sponsors, the Center for Security Policy headed by Frank Gaffney, is linked to an anti-Islam group that has advocated prison terms in the US for "adherence to Islam."

    "It seems that Senator Kyl is oblivious to the fact that there are Muslims in his own state who will take offence at this cheap anti-Islam publicity stunt designed to promote a person who is under indictment for inciting religious hatred," said CAIR-AZ Executive Director Ahmad Daniels.

    "Geert Wilders is just one of many self-promoting Islamophobes travelling the world in search of attention for their hate-filled views. We ask that Americans of all faiths ignore Mr Wilders, thereby depriving him of the attention he so desperately seeks. Wilders has the right to spew his hate, but he does not have the right to a taxpayer-funded platform in the United States Congress."

    Daniels urged Kyl to join the ongoing efforts to end partisan politics in Congress and to reach out to the Islamic world by inviting speakers with a differing viewpoint to that of Wilders.

    He added that, following a request by CAIR's Los Angeles chapter, a California synagogue that screened a film claiming "confrontation between Islam and the Jews" agreed to invite a Muslim representative who could offer a balancing perspective of interfaith understanding.

    He said CAIR's Tampa chapter also called on a local synagogue to invite a representative of the Muslim community who could offer a balancing perspective to a controversial speaker who claims wearing an Islamic head scarf, or hijab, is related to the "growth of terrorism."

    CAIR, America's largest Muslim civil liberties group, has 35 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

              Election Liveblog        
    7pm: Polls close in Virginia 7:02pm: Virginia too close to call. Not surprising. 7:10pm: Exit polls: Democrats outpacing Republicans and independents in Virginia. 7:10pm: Romney is toast if Virginia goes blue 7:30pm: Polls close in the big enchilada, Ohio. Too … Continue reading
              By: tom hunter        
    <blockquote> But sadly you’ve missed the point. Which, to help you along, was aimed at the sharp witted posters that blamed Pelosi’s speech for it not passing. </blockquote> Apparently they did not miss the point as much as you. Which is to say that when Pelosi climbed on to her hind legs and started her partisan braying it twigged the Republicans in two ways. First, that this was going to be played as a partisan stunt where the Dems would get a publicly toxic bill passed without their weakest members being exposed and the Republicans could be hung with the result more than the ruling party. Second, this perhaps was not the crisis it has been played out as. And now more information has come to light. The Democrats' House whip, Jim Clyburn said that he hadn't even begun "whipping" Democratic representatives, and wouldn't do so unless and until he got orders from Nancy Pelosi. Then, Democratic Congressman Peter DeFazio told NPR that he never was "whipped" on the bill. Curiouser and curiouser. Oh well, perhaps it's of a piece with the following video in which Republicans try to impose more regulations on Fannie Mae - and get stymied by the Dems. Apparently they were able to vote pretty much the straight ticket back in 2005. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MGT_cSi7Rs Key phrases to remember: Republicans wanted more regulations. Democrats were sufficiently whipped to enable filibusters.
              By: jafapete        
    Rex, You come so close. Yes, it is all about stopping the financial system imploding and the credit from drying up altogether. Well, we can expect more bank failures now, and not just in the US. But if we're lucky the collapse of credit won't precipitate a major recession. And we'll get a revised version of the failed plan before too long, as Robert Reich suggests. If we're unlucky... It's not about the fat cats. Or it shouldn't be. But for many ordinary people, the idea that the fat cats would somehow benefit was too much. (Initially at least. Rasmussen reported today that "Opposition to bailout plan falls dramatically".) And there being an election in a couple of months, some congresspersons put their ass before their country. Hell, who do you think found the idea of giving money to the rich most objectionable? The liberals or the people who skew tax-cuts to the super-rich? Okay, there were the Republican Study Committee conservatives who came up with the idea of insuring the toxic debts (mortgage-backed securities not already insured) and somehow magicking away the cost. Note that the proposal was a one-pager. At the end of the day, any banking system collapse requires recapitalization to avoid credit drying up and economic disaster, as studies of similar disasters and responses shows. I personally don't think that buying toxic assets is the best solution, but then, what do you expect from Bush? There are other models, and the best outcome would be for the US legislators to consider some of the others. But quick. And without the spoiler interfering again. gd, Are you suggesting that they ignore the imminent threat of collapse and concentrate on the long-term solution?
              By: jafapete        
    redeye, That "sharp-witted" bit is a jest, surely? On those thin-skinned Republicans who let their feelings get in the way of their duty to their country -- Country First, anyone? -- you should see McCain's chief economics adviser trying to spin all this, and getting chewed up and spat out. Haven't enjoyed an interview so much since both Couric/Palin interviews. It's at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/09/29/mccain-camp-blames-obama_n_130359.html
              By: Bevan        
    <i>The Republicans, starting with McCain’s transparent campaign stunt, have systematically undermined the whole negotiating process.</i> Last I checked the Democrats had a majority in Congress. Dont blame the minority for voting against when the controlling party cant get their own shit together.
              Beware: John Boehner Quotes the Bible        

    Advertise here with Beacon Ads

    Many who are first to cry separation of church and state recently celebrated a visit by Pope Francis to speak at the White House. While cheers for the Pope still echoed in the air, Speaker of the House, John Boehner, announced his coming resignation. Many of Boehner’s fellow Republicans have been critical of his leadership or lack thereof. He has been equally critical of his critics even calling Presidential candidate Ted Cruz a jackass. But beware, as Boehner begins walking toward retirement, he rips conservatives in his own party again, this time by quoting the Bible. “The Bible says beware of ...keep reading »

    The post Beware: John Boehner Quotes the Bible appeared first on Here I Blog.

              Address climate change with facts        
    Many voters in the 19th Congressional District have seen a highly inaccurate ad from the campaign of Republican John Faso. The ad criticizes his opponent’s support for a carbon fee-and-dividend policy that could dramatically reduce the impact of climate change. The ad in question says the policy would cost everyone lots of extra money each
              Republican Healthcare Bill Collapses        
    President Trump's latest effort to approve new healthcare legislation has collapsed after Republican senators acknowledged that the party could not muster enough votes to approve his planned reforms. Mr Trump now says that Obamacare, his predecessor's healthcare system, should be allowed to fail before a replacement has been agreed. So what is the way ahead for efforts to repeal Obamacare? We hear from a Republican strategist. Also in the programme: Amnesty International activists remanded in custody in Turkey; and the premiere of "Dunkirk" and the history behind the Hollywood blockbuster. (Image: A protester against the Republicans' healthcare bill holding a sign that reads "Don't Pass #Trumpcare" . Credit: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty)
              What Does Russia Think of Trump?        
    Just what is Russia's view on the US presidential race and why does Putin favour Trump? Just how strong is so-called Islamic State? New research says there are four separate species of Giraffe. Picture: a woman wears a shirt reading "Trump Putin "16" while waiting for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump to speak at a campaign event at Plymouth State University in Plymouth, N.H. Credit: AP Photo/David Goldman)
              Lies, Lies, Lies… Yeah        
    ST. PAUL, Minn. — Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and her Republican supporters held back little Wednesday as they issued dismissive attacks on Barack Obama and flattering praise on her credentials to be vice president. In some cases, the reproach and the praise stretched the truth. Some examples: PALIN: “I have protected the taxpayers by vetoing […]
              17 Die At RNC Due To Massive Balloon Drop        
    Sept 4, 2008 – 17 people have been confirmed dead due to tonight’s balloon drop at the 2008 Republican National Convention.  14 expired on the floor of the RNC from asphyxiation under the weight and depth of the balloons and 3 environmental activists viewing the RNC expired from heart failure at the sheer volume of non-recyclable waste that […]
              Put a Fork in Me! I'm Done!!        
    The greatest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place. - George Bernard Shaw

    Happy June 1st!
    June is Bustin' Out All Over and I'm ready to embrace the possibilities of what lies ahead.  June 1 is the 152nd day of the year. There are 213 days remaining until the end of the year. As I sat down to begin my blog today, I was listening to
    Barbra Streisand singing Just Leave Everything to Me from the film version of Hello, Dolly!
    That is apros pros if you know me...on so many levels.  

    Yesterday, I had an epiphany. How appropriate that this was happening on the eve of Pride. Pride month for me is EVERYONE finding Pride in who they are and what we are all about. 
    When we embrace and learn from our mistakes, we become our best selves. THAT is my epiphany. 
    Two days ago, Kathy Griffin made a 'mistake". Or was it? Perhaps it reveals more about her than we even knew existed. It also sparked many debates. I stupidly engaged in some of those
    My next thought? WHY AM I ENGAGING IN THIS!?!?! I found that even after I stated my thoughts on this that I was wasting time trying to defend my position. It weighed me down yesterday. In addition to that, every other post in my newsfeeds on social media was about a made up word from our POTUS in a late night tweet. 
    "Covfefe" may have amusing for the first hundred and eighty thousand posts and memes. Can we please move on now? Talk about getting tiresome!

    Then there are the ones who try to justify Griffin's actions. My thoughts are that she feels that this country is so polarized that she could be as outrageous as she possibly could and people would stand solidly behind her. After all, even HE said that he could shoot someone in the middle of Fifth
    Avenue and not lose many in his base. 
    She was/is in for a rude awakening. There have been countless other celebrities who have found themselves in PR nightmares. It is going to be interesting to see how this unfolds. CNN has already fired her from co-hosting their New Year's Eve coverage with Anderson Cooper.
    There are some comedians who feel 

    How did we go so low? I have several theories that I am going to try and attempt to explain in today's blog and then I am going to tell you what I am doing about it. My big reveal today.

    I am 56 years old. I'm not exactly sure what that is supposed to look like or feel like. I am reminded daily on what the rest of the world THINKS that should be. I was watching Middle of The Night on TCM last night in which the leading actor (Frederic March) was supposed to be 56. He looked and acted years beyond where I am at this point.     
    I mention my age because I am proud of where I came from. Sometimes, it takes distance and time to appreciate what you had. As I've mentioned in previous blogs, I grew up in a small town in South Carolina.  
    At the risk of being repetitious, my father was one of 10 children, my mother the oldest of 16, and I the oldest of 4. I came from a large family. As with most families, there was dysfunction. However, there WAS a strong sense of family. I've also mentioned in previous blogs that I left home at the age of 18, right after graduating from high school. Not only was I running towards something, I was also running away.
    Once again, however, I grew up in a household in which my parents never went to bed not knowing where we were. We, of course, were home. We sat down as a family unit every night and ate together as a family. I know I can say the same of all of my aunts and
    Lucille Ball: A comedienne who was FUNNY without offending!
    uncles and their own offspring. We all sat down to watch television together as a family. My parents were not overly concerned that some image, comment, or situation would pop up in which they would have to get up and change the channel. (We did not have a remote control). We also only had three networks: ABC, CBS, and NBC. We got our news from CBS and Walter Cronkite. We didn't question the news when we got it. I was eleven years old when Watergate happened. 

    I remember hearing it on the news and from time to time I would hear my parents and older relatives discussing it, but it did not monopolize television beyond the 6PM news and Johnny Carson's monologue. 
    When it was discussed, it did not erupt into arguments or 'if you don't think like me, I'm going to unfriend you.'
    Betty White, Mary Tyler Moore, Vanessa Williams, Carol Channing: All classy

    I want to go back to a simpler time. Think back to a time in which television was on from 5 or 6AM and then signed off with the National Anthem at 1AM or there abouts. We had ONE phone in our home. It was a wall unit in our kitchen. If one of us was on the phone and someone needed to get in touch with us, they would get a busy signal and would have to try back. Call waiting came about in the early 70s but that
    LIly Tomlin as Ernestine on Rowan & Martin's Laugh In
    was an additional cost that my parents did not feel was necessary. We also did not have Caller ID or ways of trying to block unsolicited calls and yet it never was a major intrusion in our lives. We also would NEVER think of calling anyone after 9PM unless it was an emergency. 

    When I first moved to New York, one of my earliest jobs was working for the Green Room Answering Service and Annex Registry on 44th Street. It was a theatrical answering service.
    For an additional fee, our clients could also purchase a pager in which they could be paged when their agents and/or managers and, once in a blue moon, a casting director would call them.
    When they were paged, they would run to the nearest pay phone (during the day) and call to find out if they got a job or an audition or a call back.
    It was very Sue's Answer Phone from Bells Are Ringing. As a matter of fact, I felt like Ella Peterson! I almost got fired for taking a coffee and danish to a client in lieu of a standard wake-up call. They WERE expecting me! 
    Believe it or not, I used to do singing telegrams for Eastern Onion. I also had a pager and I knew the importance of returning those calls asap. However, you just lost out if someone got in touch with the agency quicker than you. 
    My first eleven years in New York, I did not have a cell phone nor did I need it! 

    There are few people whom I really love, and still fewer of whom I think well. ~Jane Austen

    Oh what Do I Do Now? I'm opening new Windows!
    I don't even remember when I got my first cell phone. I do know that Danny and I had been together several years. It was a flip phone and I used it mainly just to let him know if I was running late or if something came up when I was out. I even forgot to take it with me most of the time.
    It only has been in recent years that I got an iPhone at Danny's urging. He felt I should have
    Seeking LOVE in this social media age
    it because of my business and especially when I was doing PR for my clients.
    I did not desire to be one of those people who walk around like the living dead constantly looking down at their devices instead of the world around them. (Luckily, I still have not gone that far).
    I was trying to figure out today when I joined Facebook. I'm not exactly sure but it has been a major part of my life since joining, actually too major!
    I know there are some who feel that I post too much on Facebook. They are probably right. I know that some people have unfriended me and/or unfollowed because of that. If any of you see this blog, I apologize. As I often say, I am a work in progress.
    But I am vowing today that from this day forward, I will control Social Media instead of it controlling me. I choose to no longer debate with those that I have no vested interest in.
    When our current POTUS was voted in, something, by the way, that I thought would happen, I had an empty feeling in the pit of my stomach.
    Sad that HE is not the CEO he would like us to believe he is
    No, it was not because he is Republican, as so many of my Republican friends believe. It is because he is a bully. I have dealt with my fair share of bullies and I know one when I see one.
    He also is not a leader. He instills fear instead of hope. I pray for our country.
    I don't think that the bigotry and racism and hatred is coming to the forefront because of him. I believe he is a reflection of what this country has become.
    Over the past few years and with the rise of 'reality TV', we have turned into a bullied and bullying society.
    Every reality TV show is about someone being kicked off or made to feel less than.
    At what time, did the behavior we see exhibited on these shows by adults become acceptable?
    I want to remain a Southern Gentleman
    At what point did it become acceptable to call each other bitch or worse and feel that it is acceptable? Every other post on Facebook and Twitter seem to drop the F-bomb as if it is perfectly acceptable. And, perhaps for some, it is. Not for me.
    Is it wrong of me to aspire to a higher standard? I know that there will be some who may even be offended by this blog, and for that, I sincerely apologize.
    The bottom line is that I am vowing to no longer wallow in the negativity. I know there is a lot of bad out there right now. In the past five weeks alone an 18 year old girl on vacation in New York was mowed down by a crazy person in Times Square, 22 young girls were killed attending an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, and a bombing in Baghdad at an Ice Cream parlor where families were enjoying a day out. When does this madness stop?
    I am paying attention but my days cannot any longer be mired down in this. It is destroying my core. 
    I have no idea! I'm not turning a blind eye or a deaf ear as to what's going on. I will work as hard as I can to deal with the injustices of the world. I, however, refuse to get involved with the negativity! ENOUGH! Put a Fork in me! I'm DONE!
    I am starting my own #Resistance. I am resisting tuning in constantly to the negative news coverage, the negative programming on TV, the negative posts on social media, the negativity that has taken over our lives. My social media platform will be used for the common GOOD of celebrating others...which was my original intent!
    I am very much rejoining the human race...devices left behind.

    Did you know it was #SaySomethingNiceDay?

    Life is so much better when you stop caring about what everyone thinks, and start to actually live for yourself!!

    Come celebrate June 18th at 1PM (Brunch show). Reservations a MUST 1PM at The Laurie Beechman Theater (Doors open at 12:15PM) with Sarah Rice, David Sabella, Warren Schein, Mark Watson, AND a WELL KNOWN Mystery Guest! . ..AND a Mystery Guest! Go to RichardSkipper.com and click on the yellow star to order your tickets.
    Sit Back! A New News Cycle Is About to Begin!

    Thank you, to ALL who are mentioned in this blog for showing me that it is up to ME to lead by example!

    With grateful XOXOXs , 

    Click on banner to go to website


    Please do what YOU can to be more aware that words and actions DO HURT...but they can also heal and help!  

    Keeping America great through Art!     

    Here's to an INCREDIBLE tomorrow for ALL...with NO challenges!
    Please leave a comment and share on Twitter and Facebook
    Keeping Entertainment LIVE!

    Richard Skipper, Richard@RichardSkipper.com

              Trump on Top        
    Warm up your knuckles and get ready for the final fight of the elections! Choose between Donald Trump’s bloc and the democratic one led by Hillary Clinton and show us who the best patriot is. Play against the machine or challenge your friend with the 2 players mode. Will you be able to win this bloody fight for the White House? Find out now!

    Tournament mode Defeat all the enemies that want to push you away from the White House and become the most powerful President of the United States in history. Fight impersonating Donald Trump or choose the democratic bloc if you prefer. Use your flying super powers in order to make your enemy’s head hit the ground and bite the dust. Each time you win an opponent will be unlocked so you will be able to play with him later on. Who needs elections with such fighters?

    2 players Fight against your friends or enemies on the same device! Take part in exciting multiplayer combats and use everything you learned in the Tournament mode.

    Lots of fighters Are you a democrat or a republican? It doesn’t matter! Fight with or against Donald Trump or one of its many versions, or choose Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Johnson the rapper, Clovin the Irishman, Frank the obese, Pancho the Mexican mariachi... And so on up to 20 powerful fighters. Will you be able to unlock them all?

    HOW TO PLAY The objective of Get on Trump fighting game is to make your opponent’s head hit the ground or the many obstacles on the stage. Both fighters are permanently connected by their hands so you will have to find the way to win the position. Luckily the fighters can fly so it won’t be so complicated. The best fighter in two rounds wins. 2 players mode uses the same controls.

    Play this fighting game and make America great again!

              By: j_30        
    When Bobby Jindal called on Repubs to stop being the "stupid party" you have to wonder who he was appealing to. There's a deep-dyed strain of ignorance in Republican culture that isn't going to change any time soon. You only have to take a gander at the comment threads on red site posts connected with abortion or check out right-wing rant radio on topics that touch on women's issues. Walsh's proposal on the repeal of the 19th Amendment generated a few comments that would suggest no lack sympathy... "Sounds good." "Notice how the liberal assumes that just because something is "modern" that it must therefore be good." "You're right. Up until they got the vote, our women were blameless."
              ObamaCare Repeal: Now Is the Time for Senate Republicans to Deliver        

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has indicated that he will bring an ObamaCare repeal bill to the floor early next week for a motion to proceed. For those not familiar with a motion to proceed, it's a procedural vote that allows the Senate to consider a piece of legislation on the floor.

    Eventually, though, the Senate will vote on language similar to the 2015 ObamaCare repeal bill, the Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act, which repealed much of the 2010 health insurance law and passed both chambers of Congress before being vetoed by President Barack Obama.

    There are some uncertainties regarding what legislative language the motion to proceed will cover. Presumably, the motion to proceed will be based on the House-passed version of H.R. 1628, the American Health Care Act, and vote on the 2015-style repeal language as an amendment. The amendment would become the base text of H.R. 1628.

    FreedomWorks has issued a key vote in support of the motion to proceed, which we will triple-weight on our 2017 Congressional Scorecard, to begin the amendment process, starting with the 2015 ObamaCare repeal bill as the base text.

    Now, some may be wondering what the 2015 ObamaCare repeal bill entails. First, it must be noted that this bill can't be considered "full repeal" because it doesn't touch Title I of ObamaCare, which includes the costly mandates that are driving up the cost of health insurance premiums on the nongroup market. The bill, however, did repeal most of the other significant parts of ObamaCare.

    Here are some of the major aspects of ObamaCare that the 2015 bill repealed or altered:

    • Premium tax credit (Section 202)
    • Cost-sharing subsidies (Section 202)
    • Small business tax credit (Section 203)
    • Individual mandate (Section 204)
    • Employer mandate (Section 205)
    • Medicaid expansion (Section 207)
    • Cadillac tax (Section 209)
    • Tax on health savings accounts (Section 211)
    • Prescription drug tax
    • Medical device tax (Section 214)
    • Health insurance tax (Section 215)
    • Tanning tax (Section 219)
    • Net investment tax (Section 220)

    The full section-by-section of the 2015 ObamaCare repeal bill is available on the House Budget Committee website. There are a few things to note about the bill, though. The repeal of the reinsurance, risk corridor, and risk adjustment programs are no longer applicable, as these programs were transitional and expired at the beginning of 2017. Additionally, the individual and employer mandates weren't repealed, at least not in the true sense of the word. The penalties were zeroed out, though the mandates technically remained in statute.

    At this point, there is a small group of moderates -- Sens. Shelly Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) -- who have gone on record saying that they would vote against a motion to proceed on a bill that repeals ObamaCare without a replacement. On December 3, 2015, Sens. Capito, Murkowski, and Portman voted to pass the Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act, without a replacement. Sen. Collins, to no one's surprise, was one of two Republicans to vote against the bill. (There's a reason we have a press release template ready to go for when Sen. Collins votes against conservative priorities.)

    From FreedomWorks perspective, and undoubtedly the minds of conservative grassroots activists, a vote against the motion to proceed is a vote to keep ObamaCare. There are no more excuses. With a Republican president urging the Senate to pass the 2015 ObamaCare repeal bill and pledging to sign it into law, we finally have the opportunity to accomplish a big victory. Don't let this moment pass.

              FreedomWorks Foundation and Ken Cuccinelli Submit Comments Supporting FCC's Title II Rollback        

    Yesterday, FreedomWorks Foundation submitted comments in support of the FCC's proposed Restoring Internet Freedom Rule. This rule, proposed under Republican FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, would reverse FCC's 2015 classification and regulation of Internet service providers (ISPs) as public utilities or common carriers under Title II of the Communications Act, more commonly referenced as "net neutrality" rules. This would return ISPs to a light-touch regulatory framework that allowed for the Internet to grow and flourish into the revolutionary economic engine we know today.

    Title II public utility regulation, on the other hand, risks stifling competition, investment, and innovation in terms of the Internet infrastructure and the companies deploying and managing the network. This regulatory-induced stagnation has occurred each time such public utility/common carrier regulations have been imposed on other industries, including the telephone, airline, railroad, and electric power sectors. Consumers face higher prices and reduced service under public utility/common carrier regulation due to regulations locking out competition and freezing other competitive incentives.

    In short, Title II regulation would facilitate and exacerbate all of the perceived problems net neutrality advocates seek to combat and has already significantly deterred investment in broadband Internet infrastructure. It is for these reasons that a 1996 bipartisan agreement was passed by a Republican Congress and signed into law by Democratic President Bill Clinton to keep government Internet regulation to a minimum. The FCC's 2015 rule directly contradicted the intent of Congress, granting near limitless power to FCC to regulate prices and practices of ISPs.

    What's more is FCC instituted these sweeping changes to two-decades' worth of working light-touch regulation with little-to-no evidence of any sort of failure in the national ISP market. For these reasons, FreedomWorks Foundation enthusiastically supports the current FCC's efforts to reverse the Title II designation and regulation of ISPs.

    In addition to driving over 30,000 comments from FreedomWorks' grassroots activists, FreedomWorks Foundation submitted formal comments from Director and General Counsel, former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, as well as comments from Chief Economist Dr. Wayne Brough and Foundation Program Manager Patrick Hedger. You can read these formal comments by clicking on the links provided or in the attached documents below.

              Capitol Hill Update: July 17, 2017        


    The House and Senate are in session this week.

    There are nine (9) legislative days remaining for the House before the August recess and 57 legislative days remaining in the year. The Senate will work through the first two weeks of the August recess.


    After the passage of the nearly $700 billion National Defense Authorization Act on Friday, it'll be a relatively slower week in the House, at least on the floor of the chamber. Committees and subcommittees will be very active this week.

    Today, the House will take up three pieces of legislation on the suspension calendar, two of which relate to mass transit the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. One resolution, H.J. Res. 92, allows the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia to amend Washington Area Transit Regulation Compact, which regulates transit D.C. and its suburbs. The other resolution, H.J.Res. 76, allows D.C., Maryland, and Virginia to create the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission. After all, what Metro needs is another layer of bureaucracy. (Yes, that was sarcasm.)

    Three more bills will be considered on the suspension calendar on Tuesday. The Ozone Standards Implementation Act, H.R. 806, sponsored by Rep. Pete Olson (R-Texas), will also be considered, though likely under a rule to limit or prevent amendments, much like virtually every other bill the House has brought the floor under "regular order" this year.

    On Wednesday, the House will take up the Promoting Interagency Coordination for Review of Natural Gas Pipelines Act, H.R. 2910, introduced by Rep. Bill Flores (R-Texas), and the Promoting Cross-Border Energy Infrastructure Act, H.R. 2883, introduced by Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.). Both bills will likely be brought to the floor under a rule.

    Finally, on Thursday, the only bill currently scheduled to hit the floor is the King Cove Road Land Exchange Act, H.R. 218, sponsored by Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska). The bill will likely to come to the floor under a rule.

    Though it's not currently on the calendar, 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.

    Outside normal legislative business, there is increasing chatter about the FY 2018 budget. The House Majority Whip's office hosted a briefing on the budget on Friday. As of now, it's unclear what to expect from the budget.

    The House Appropriations Committee will complete its work on the 12 appropriations bills this week. The Whip team will be talking to House Republicans today about lumping all 12 appropriations bill into yet another omnibus. Of course, this is because the last one went over so well with conservatives. (Yes, that's more sarcasm.)

    The committee schedule for the week can be found here.


    The Senate was supposed to bring the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), H.R. 1628, to the floor this week for a procedural vote. Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has delayed legislative action because Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is set to have eye surgery, giving Leader McConnell one less vote that he will almost certainly need to advance the bill. Additionally, the Congressional Budget Office's score of the bill has been delayed by at least a day. The score was supposed to come out today.

    The latest iteration of the BCRA was rolled out on Thursday. FreedomWorks explained some of the major changes to the bill. Our friends at the Texas Public Policy Foundation have a solid overview of the latest version compared to previous versions. Though there are questions that need to be answered, the bill appears to be a slight improvement over existing law.

    The biggest question that needs to be answered is whether the Consumer Freedom Option will work in single risk pools, as mandated by the BCRA. The Consumer Freedom Option, which was included thanks to the efforts of Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Mike Lee (R-Utah), would work best with bifurcated risk pools, where health insurance companies could price a traditional risk pool differently, with lower premiums, than the ObamaCare exchanges, which would effectively function as a high-risk pool, with access to more than $180 billion in subsidies.

    It's unclear whether there are enough Republican votes to get past the initial motion to proceed. Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) have gone on record as no votes. Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) is facing pressure back home, as Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval opposes the bill. Similarly, Republican Gov. John Kasich, who also opposes the bill, could influence Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) to vote against it.

    FreedomWorks believes the bill may be a mild improvement over existing law, but there are serious concerns over how the Consumer Freedom Option will work, or if insurers will even bother to offer such plans because of the single risk pool mandate. The mindset right now is protecting what gains conservatives have made. Once the Senate gets past the motion to proceed, if it does, FreedomWorks expects to key vote against amendments that will undermine the Medicaid modernization, HSA reforms, and other positive reforms.

    If a 2015-style repeal amendment is offered by a conservative senator, FreedomWorks will key vote in support of it, triple-weighted.

    In addition to a backlog of nominations, the Senate still has several pieces of legislation awaiting floor action, including Coast Guard Authorization Act, S. 1129; the FDA Reauthorization Act, S. 934; the National Defense Reauthorization Act. The debt ceiling is rumored to be a top item either before the August recess or while the Senate works through the first two weeks of the recess.

    In committees this week, the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee will hold a hearing on the reappointment of Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai on Wednesday. Chairman Pai unveiled the FCC's plans to roll back Title II regulation of the Internet at a FreedomWorks' event in April. The reappointment of FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democrat, and nomination Brendan Carr, a Republican, to serve on the commission.

    The Judiciary Committee will also take up the nomination of Christopher Wray to serve as the next director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The hearing is scheduled for Thursday.

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

              Consumer Freedom Option Included in Senate Health Insurance Bill, but ObamaCare Remains Law of the Land        

    After a long wait, the Senate Budget Committee finally unveiled the latest iteration of the Better Care Reconciliation Act, H.R. 1628. There are a few things to like, but, on the whole, the Senate is bill still fails to live of to more than seven years of promises to repeal ObamaCare. It remains an amendment to the 2010 health insurance reform law.

    The reason the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) fails to live up to Republicans’ promises to repeal ObamaCare is because many Republicans, in the House and the Senate, support the law. These Republicans believe they can “fix” ObamaCare. Some less than principled Republicans are even naïve enough to believe that they can work with Democrats, who are increasingly embracing single-payer, government-run insurance, to address the healthcare system.

    The question is whether the BCRA is an improvement. That is hard to determine. On the surface, it may be a slight improvement. The latest version does include Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Mike Lee’s Consumer Freedom Option in the base text. But there are some details worth diving into that make an already complicated issue even more complicated.

    Ultimately, the Congressional Budget Office will provide some insight on the effects of these provision on health insurance premiums. Of course, the coverage estimates, assuming the CBO will still use the March 2016 baseline, will be largely useless. Again, though, the bill, regardless of the impact on premiums, is still a very big disappointment and risks upsetting conservatives who have been expecting Republicans to keep their word.

    Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) plans to bring the bill for a procedural vote next week. Whether he has the votes, though, is unclear at this moment. Below is a brief overview of some of the more notable changes in the latest iteration of the BCRA.

    Inclusion of the Consumer Freedom Option: This is actually more of a mixed bag. The inclusion of the amendment is what organizations like FreedomWorks wanted. The Consumer Freedom Option allows health insurance companies to sell plans that aren’t compliant with most of ObamaCare’s onerous and costly mandates and requires that they sell at least one gold and silver metal-tier plan compliant with ObamaCare.

    The problem is that the Consumer Freedom Option works best when risk pools are split, or bifurcated. This means keeping those consumers who choose plans that reflect the Consumer Freedom Option into one risk pool and those who have a higher utilization of care and choose plans compliant with ObamaCare into another risk pool.

    Unfortunately, the BCRA mandates single risk pools, which means that the premiums for those who choose noncompliant plans will be more expensive that they otherwise would have been in a separate risk pool. “[I]t will be difficult to combine non-community-rated plans and community-rated coverage into one risk pool,” healthcare policy expert Chris Jacobs explained, “and unlikely to achieve significant premium reductions.”

    The Consumer Freedom Option may now be in the BCRA, but it’s much less impactful than conservatives hoped.

    Using HSAs to Pay Health Insurance Premiums: The BCRA now allows consumers to use their health savings account (HSA) to pay the premiums for high-deductible health insurance plans on the nongroup market. High-deductible plans offered by an employer aren’t eligible. Consumers who receive tax subsidies for nongroup plans can pay their premiums out of an HSA for only the amount remaining after tax subsidies. This is a positive reform for which FreedomWorks has advocated during the discussion over health insurance reform.

    More Subsidy Funding: The original version of the BCRA had a total of $112 billion in subsidies to stabilize the health insurance markets ($50 billion over four years) and help cover high-risk consumers ($60 billion over eight years). The revised version of BCRA more than doubles the amount of subsidies to help cover high-risk consumers, bringing the eight-year total to $132 billion. Part of these subsidies will be used to help cover those in states that utilize the Consumer Freedom Option. The two funds combined represent $182 billion.

    BCRA Keeps Some ObamaCare Taxes: In the original version of the BCRA, and consistent with the 2015 repeal bill, almost all of ObamaCare’s taxes were repealed, delayed, or zeroed out. Unfortunately, the new version of the BCRA keeps some ObamaCare taxes in place, including the Medicare tax increase and the net investment tax. This is to satisfy the demands of moderates who have gone back on their word to repeal ObamaCare. Unfortunately, after eight years of President Obama’s bad economic policies, some Republican senators, including Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), are fighting to keep anti-growth taxes in place. Making matters worse, Leader McConnell is allowing them to do so.

              Obama Dropped the Ball on Economic Freedom        

    President Obama presided over one of America’s darkest, anti-capitalist, pro-federal government administrations in decades. The federal expansion of power was at levels only previously seen perhaps since the Great Society of LBJ or the New Deal programs under FDR.

    Obama hindered the ability for American ingenuity to grow with his countless regulations, executive orders, higher taxes, and all around harsh and un-American treatment of the private sector. Now to some, this may seem like a step in the right direction; it’s not. America is no longer the free, capitalistic, liberty orientated land our founding fathers dreamed of and worked tirelessly to achieve.

    In fact, we have been losing freedom for a long time. Every year, several studies are published that grade the economic freedom of almost every country on Earth. These studies show the same thing, American economic freedom and prosperity is not what it used to be, and it was increasingly getting worse.

    The most recent Fraser Institute Index of the Economic Freedom of the World, a report put together by a consortium of think tanks, has the United States ranked 16th in the world with a score of 7.75 out of 10. The Heritage Foundation’s 2017 Index of Economic Freedom ranked the United States as the 17th which Heritage categorized as mostly free.

    These rankings take into account factors that affect the free being of the country's citizens like property rights, government integrity, free trade, monetary freedoms, tax burdens, and the regulatory state.

    Relatively, these rankings don’t seem too disgraceful, but only 10 years ago, the same studies ranked the United States as the 5th most economically free nation. In the year 2000, the United States was ranked 2nd, just behind Hong Kong.

    But once Obama took office, in his first year, the United States fell to 9th. By the start of his second term, the United States was down to 13th, putting countries ahead of us like Singapore, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Chile, the UK, Jordan, UAE, Qatar and many others.

    In these reports, the drop in ranking is attributed to the Obama administration's increase in regulation, government spending, bureaucratic cronyism, and liberal policies that increasingly enriched the wealthy while economically costing middle class, average Americans trillions of dollars.

    America, the country that was once a bastion of freedom for those across the world stuck under economically oppressive and restrictive governments has now started to join those ranks, or was at least headed in that direction under Obama.

    American’s have caught on though, and the 2016 election was an eye opener to the DC swamp. Republicans took control of the House, the Senate, the Presidency, Governorships, and a majority of state seats in the 2017 election season.

    The great, hardworking citizens of the America realized that the ideals of freedom, capitalism, liberty, and economic prosperity were being taken away by President Obama and his bureaucrats.

    Congressional Republicans now hold a majority of seats due to campaigns that ran almost unanimously on platforms dedicated to repealing the vast federal overreach of Obama’s administration, they need to keep their word and get to work.

    President Trump is nearing his first half year as President after running on a campaign dedicated to stopping the federal intrusion into Americans daily lives. Trump promised jobs, economic freedom, law and order, tax reform, and ObamaCare repeal, but Congress needs to take part in the responsibility to enacting this robust agenda.

    As of now, Congress has still yet to pass an ObamaCare repeal or replacement. Fundamental tax reform has been discussed, but no real action has been taken on the floor. Bill’s like Sen. Rand Paul’s REINS Act have been proposed to limit federal regulation in the future, but haven’t been passed. It is these sort of bills Congress needs to prioritize and pass to get America moving in the direction of economic freedom.

    President Trump has kept his promises of repealing regulations, approved the Dakota Access and Keystone pipelines, while also beginning to pull back Obama era federal land grabs to spark the energy sector once again. He has signed air traffic privatization reforms, and the Paris Climate Agreement, and cut federal agency budgets and staff.

    The opportunity is there to fix Obama’s mess. Congress needs to do its part in returning America back to the great, free nation we so long held the title of, and they need to support President Trump’s robust agenda in order to move America in that direction of the world’s most economically free and prosperous nation.

              In Which I Do My Best Bilbo Baggins, And Disappear Forever...        
    Bilbo's "Farewell Address", at his birthday party - from The Fellowship of the Ring:

    After the feast... came the Speech. Most of the company were, however, now in a tolerant mood, at that delightful stage which they called 'filling up the corners'....

    My dear People, began Bilbo...Today is my one hundred and eleventh birthday: I am eleventy-one today! 'Hurray! Hurray! Many Happy Returns!' they shouted.... This was the sort of stuff they liked: short and obvious.

    But Bilbo had not finished. Seizing a horn from a youngster near by, he blew three loud hoots.... I shall not keep you long, he cried. Cheers from all the assembly. I have called you all together for a Purpose..... There was almost silence....

    First of all, to tell you that I am immensely fond of you all, and that eleventy-one years is too short a time to live among such excellent and admirable hobbits. Tremendous outburst of approval.

    Secondly, to celebrate my birthday...

    Thirdly and finally, he said, I wish to make an ANNOUNCEMENT. He spoke this last word so loudly and suddenly that everyone sat up who still could. I regret to announce that — though, as I said, eleventy-one years is far too short a time to spend among you — this is the END. I am going. I am leaving NOW. GOOD-BYE!

    I thought it would be an apt moment  - on my 8th blogiversary  -to announce that this is THE END of Right, Wing Nut!

    And it was too short a time to spend among so many excellent friends and visitors.  But this decision is the culmination of a thought process I began in November, a post-debacle post-mortem in which I tried to figure out if what I am doing here makes even the slightest difference whatsoever in the grand internet scheme of things.

    Turns out, I don't.  Or at least I don't feel like I do.  And that's not self-pity, but just the realization that a lot of people do conservative political blogging, and many of them do it better than me.

    And I'll admit it - sometimes I ran a particular line of reasoning, or made a certain comparison, or dug up an interesting story...and like the tree falling int he woods, it didn't make much of a sound.  But let a better-connected political blogger make the same connection a week later, and they are hailed and linked worldwide.

    The plight of the small blogger everywhere, I suppose. And I'm not sure it's healthy for the genre; we don't want to turn into an online version of the mainstream media, dominated by a few voices.  Still, I'd like to give props to some of the big players who did link here, often more than once - Legal Insurrection, The Other McCain, Michelle Malkin come to mind.  Not to mention every small to mid sized blogger that threw a link my way (Jim at Parkway Rest Stop, Barking Moonbat,  Right Truth, Liberty at StakeCBC...it's a long list, but thanks to all), and every Twitter follower who re-tweeted a post....

    Look -  in general, I wrote because I loved to write.  So many of these 4,635 blog posts were just bursts of political frustration that Right, Wing Nut! gave me an outlet for.  The fact that so many people came by every day to read (600-800, on average) pleased me to no end.

    So I'm still gonna blog.  Just not here.  Just not under this particular name.  Just not at this particular blog.  And just not on this particular subject.

    I'm going to work the culture angle, because that's where I feel the next battle lies.  And I'm not talking about gay marriage, or abortion, or the proliferation of porn (not specifically).  I'm talking about the complete subjugation of the culture (and the media) to the worldview of the Left, and of the Democratic party.  If we remain a nation where Americans are taught that it is not only proper, but morally correct, to mock every Republican and every conservative concept, then the GOP is dead in the water, regardless of what cosmetic  changes it may make.  And I will address the three topics above, by the way - just in reference to how the culture tries to sell us these oft-distressing behaviors as "normal"...

    I'll be coming from the right, of course, and it will be a target-rich environment.  And I'll be doing it because I love to write, and I don't want to give up the fight.  It's just that after eight years, I need a new battlefield.

    And I promise I won't forget Jersey.  How can I?  I love this freakin' place. Besides, I need to stay in the good graces of the Jersey bloggers (like More Monmouth Musings...)

    I'll probably be ready to go in just a few weeks.  I'll either do a redirect, or just post a link on the top guiding you to where I may be found.

    Finally, let me say, from the bottom of my heart...thank you.  Thank you for reading, for linking, for commenting.  I remain honored that I have been found worthy of your attention at all, actually (despite that little bit of bitchiness above).

    As I wrote on my darkest day:

    Sometimes, when you hurt, you should wallow in your misery. Allow yourself to feel every stab of pain, every pang of loss. And when the black cloud finally passes, you'll find that you suddenly possess the renewed vigor and sense of purpose necessary to move forward. Steely determination replaces weak resolve, and the desire never to return to that dark place propels you ahead, sometimes boldly, sometimes recklessly, sometimes foolishly. But always ahead.

    I'm almost there now. I'll let you know when.

    Peace.  Love.  And Jersey...

              Liberal Bluebloods And Clueless Celebrities Conspire To Starve Upstate New Yorkers        
    Upstate New York has a brutal unemployment rate, averaging 9.6%, but climbing to well over 10% in some regions. Its traditional industries are dying off, and like most blue states, New York is not exactly a place where companies are rushing to open businesses.

    But there's gold in them thar hills - a fortune in fracking, so to speak, that could bring New York from bust to boom overnight, and raise the living standards of so many currently rotting in unnecessary poverty.

    So who's stopping them?  Those cruel, heartless Republicans, no doubt trying to corner the market on natural gas?

    Think again....and  meet Artists Against Fracking:

    Artists Against Fracking, a celebrity-backed group started by Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon, the son of the late Beatles star, appears to have violated a New York state law that requires that groups who spend money in an attempt to influence government policy register as lobbyists for the purpose of transparency.

    The group has a star-studded roster of supporters, including Robert DeNiro, Alec Baldwin, and Paul McCartney and recently released a video called “Don’t Frack My Mother” (above), featuring celebrities such as Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Susan Sarandon, among others....

    McCarthy is the most hypocritical of the bunch, how much raping of Mother Earth did it take to build this castle/compound for himself?

    Which brings us to the next set of folks determine to let New York starve so that they may enjoy their view:  Limousine liberals, who are all in cahoots with Andrew Cuomo to protect their vistas and their Visas:

    Consider the governor’s advisory committee on hydraulic fracturing. It includes his brother-in-law, Robert Kennedy Jr., a former senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, and two current senior attorneys for the NRDC. That’s three NRDC seats on a panel of 13 (later expanded).

    The Open Space Institute...and...the Catskill Mountainkeeper...along with the NRDC, were creations of John Adams, a close associate of the Rockefeller family. Adams’ son, Ramsay, is Catskill Mountainkeeper’s executive director

    One would think that the purposes of all these high-sounding groups is environmental protection.  You'd be wrong.  It's about protecting the investments, and the views, of the liberal rich:

    The Lew Beach area — where the counties of Delaware, Sullivan and Ulster come together and many of these folks own land —might be described as high society in the hinterlands.

    NRDC founder John Adams is from the area and introduced Laurance Rockefeller Jr. to it many years ago. Rockefeller has bought up thousands of acres of land in LewBeach and divided it into home sites for wealthy friends and folks like Dan Rather, who told The New York Times, “My house in the Beaverkill is the only bit of privacy that I have left,” and an investment banker who noted, “It’s like buying into a land bank.’’

    In short, Rockefeller and various associates have long been establishing a secluded preserve for their personal enjoyment. But being able to buy up property inexpensively is crucial — and thus fracking, which would greatly add to the value of lands still owned by locals, threatens the project.

    And thus the residents of Upstate New York starves, while celebrities sing piously about the planet and the bleeding-heart rich work with politicians to keep high-paying jobs away from their homes, lest the rabble move in next door.

    When Upstate turns into Detroit writ large, don't blame the unions.

    Binghampton, N.Y.

     Blame the blue-blood Left, the Beatles, and most of all Governor Andrew Cuomo -  whose dark ambitions and ugly hypocrisy make his dad look like a saint...

              In Search Of...The Elusive Black Republican        
    In NYC, no less.  You'd stand a better chance of finding Bigfoot hiding there.  Or so one may think.

    But GOP head honcho Reince Preibus feels as if he's gotta try.  And props to him for seeking out the legendary black Republican in the most hostile terrain possible.

    Seek...and ye may find. In Brooklyn, no less:

    Reince Preibus and state party leader Ed Cox...sat with a group of African-Americans who align themselves firmly with the GOP. The subject: how to improve the party’s relations with blacks.

    The event was held in East New York’s huge Christian Cultural Center, whose black pastor, A.R. Bernard, has flirted with running for mayor — as a Republican.

    Celebrity attendees included ex-New York Jets great Curtis Martin and actor Jamie Hector of HBO’s “The Wire.”

    Truth is, Republicans have much to offer minorities.

    GOP-driven welfare reform, for example, has nudged countless young minority women toward more independent lifestyles, with many having found jobs, gotten married — or both.

    Charter schools have freed thousands of minority kids from their failed government-run counterparts...

    And tough GOP-style crime-fighting tools, like stop-and-frisk, primarily aid minorities, who are disproportionate victims. (Last year, the NYPD kept murders to just 419, down from 2,245 in 1990. Since some 90% are typically black or Hispanic, that spells 1,640 minority lives saved last year.)

    To their credit, Priebus and Cox tried to stress such points — and if that message gets through, blacks may well respond. ....winning them over would benefit both the party and the black community — which has precious little to point to for its decades of Democratic allegiance.

    They might follow NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly’s example. After all, there’s a reason why, despite controversial policies like stop-and-frisk, ties between cops and blacks have improved, with but a few isolated exceptions: From Day One, Kelly has made it a point to visit black churches personally, and he kept at it every week.

    Reince Preibus may not be successful in moving the black vote more than few percentage points to the right. But his outreach proves two things:  One, Reince is thinking long-term, and hammering home the damage that liberal policies have done to the black community is the most intellectually honest way to get black voters to reconsider their allegiance to the Democratic party.  Two, Reince realizes that the 2014 mid-term election campaign is already underway, and the 2016 campaign for the White House will begin by....tomorrow, latest.

    Of course, what Reince and every high-profile Republican should also be doing - at every opportunity - is vocally discrediting the media, making sure that by 2016, even the infamous "low-information voter" is aware of their  broad-based bias, and their propensity to shill for the candidate of the Left.

    If the GOP continues to reach out to blacks and explain the tremendous harm done to them by the Democratic party, and if they can open the eyes of the clueless to the deceitful campaign of the mainstream media, they may actually have a chance to win a national election.

    It's a simple strategy.  Which means there's better than a 50/50 chance the GOP will f*ck it up...

              The Day After the Election        
    Download:Audio icon 00399.mp3

    I am not worried about November 8.  On election day, people will walk into their local polling places, see their neighbors, talk about their lives.  They will see Republicans and Democrats, people that they know and trust, standing guard over a process that has been tested and tried and almost always turns out OK.  People who go to vote will feel proud that they have done their civic duty.  All will be well.

    It is November 9th that worries me.  And the day after that, and the day after that.  Because on November 9th, we are going to have to figure out how to repair the damage that has come from the rhetoric and contention of this election.  There have been some nasty things said and done.  And yet we are still going to be neighbors, going to shop at the same grocery store, sit in the same pews.

    Each candidate cast a vision that set them apart, a set of hopes and ideas that they believed would best shape the future.  But on November 9th we are going to have to figure out how to bring the pieces together into a whole, create a civil context where good can happen for all people.  How are we going to accomplish this?  In other words, how are we going to do the hard work of democracy?

    I would suggest several things are going to be critical.  Because not only are we learning how to operate for the common good, we are teaching our children to do so as well.  One of the lessons that my children had to be taught was how to be a gracious winner and a gracious loser.  Many a soccer tournament and cross country meet provided opportunities to test our ability to let go, to be kind when we are frustrated, to take personal responsibility for peace.  Now on a national scale, there will be winners and losers.  That is the democratic way.  And we will have to be kind and calm.  We will have to congratulate and concede.  

    Of course we practice this every two years.  But this election cycle has exposed frustrations and complaints that could permanently divide us, and we cannot afford to let this happen.  There will be winners and there will be losers. And wherever we fall, we will have to be adults.  Gracious and civil adults. 

    Another critical practice that our society will need to engage is to envision ourselves as whole again.  Envision what is the common good.  It seems to me, I deeply hope, that our differences are about how to get to common good.  We have a wide range of ideas about that.  But our ideas cannot become ends in themselves.  They have to lead somewhere, be adapted into progress.  We cannot make our ideas into ditches that we are willing to die in.  There is enough violence, and not enough useful and meaningful compromise. 

    In order to envision our common good, we need to talk to one another.  Not shout, not dismiss, not search for the worst, not broadcast the failures.  One lesson we have to learn is that we all have faults and failures.  If that is what we are going to focus on, we will spiral into a cycle of constant revenge and nastiness and inertia. 

    By talk, I mean face to face, meaningful, interactive civil conversations.  Conversations that Krista Tippett would say must include generous listening, humility, patience and hospitality.  Let’s be honest, we have a very hard time with this.  We have been taught to put being right ahead of being kind.  But being right can be a very lonely victory.  We need each other.  Everyone has value and important contributions to make.  We are wasting a lot of time being right.  It certainly hasn’t created a better world for all people.

    So, we have to be gracious, to have important and productive conversation, and we have to move on. Personally I am tired of the stuckness of the political system, tired of a lack of compromise that leads nowhere.  How we will forgive some of the things that have been said, some of the distasteful things we have seen, some of the hurt that we have experienced, I don’t know.  But we have to.  Again, we are adults.  We reconcile.  Or we stay frustrated and stuck.  

    What I am certain of is that we all have to participate.  I heard a quote recently by Rev. Otis Moss of Cleveland.  He was speaking on racism but I think it applies to the bigger picture as well.  He said, “Some of us are guilty, all of us are responsible.” In the healing of this nation, beginning November 9, all of us are responsible.  What will you to do heal and recreate our country into a place where we can be proud to belong?

              By: Anonymous        
    The US Chamber of Commerce is times past tended to run a few ads supporting Republicans of whatever flavor in the general election. They supported limited government positions like less regulation.<br /><br />In recent years, however, the Chamber has tilted heavily toward crony capitalism and corporate welfare, and become just another special interest group clamoring for pork. They say they are okay with Obamacare, and support our floated federal budgets, more debt, and deficit spending. One of their biggest goals is amnesty for illegal aliens so that they can get cheap foreign labor to drive down wages for American citizens.<br /><br />In short, the Chamber has abandoned small government conservatism and has become just another parasite on the back of the taxpayer. They show that by a change in their political stance. The Chamber is now on an open mission against conservatives in GOP primaries. They played in several primaries in NC and others around the country.<br /><br />Many of us in NC are sick and tired of the Chamber meddling in our primaries supporting Big Government Republicans. The Chamber's flavor of ''Republicans'' is not what we need in either Washington or Raleigh because they support Obama Republicans.
              Political History        

    If you would like to learn about a contemporary admirer of Machiavelli, take a look at a book by James Moore and Wayne Slater, two long-time observers of the American political landscape, entitled The Architect: Karl Rove and the Master Plan for Absolute Power. (1)

    Moore and Slater inform us that Rove signed on to the Republican agenda while still a student and that he left college early to pursue his passion for politics. After a time as a leader of national Young Republicans, he became a political consultant in Texas where he established a direct-mail company and compiled a long list of generous donors to Republican candidates and causes. Although he worked for many candidates, he saw in George W. Bush, whose religion helped him defeat alcoholism, the ideal candidate for state and national office. Rove not only guided Bush to two terms as Governor of Texas and two as President of the United States but he resuscitated a dormant Republican Party in Texas and many other states. How Rove accomplished all this is the topic of Moore and Slater's book.

    The authors argue convincingly that for Rove whether a tactic is legal or moral is peripheral to whether it works. Among his favorite tactics is attacking opponents through surrogates. Ann Richards in 1994, John McCain in 2000, and John Kerry in 2004, among others, were victims of this strategy. In Kerry's case, the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, which was bankrolled by three Texas Republican billionaires, including T. Boone Pickens, sowed seeds of doubt among many voters about Kerry.

    The authors also credit Rove with exploiting religion in an unprecedented way. This is all the more remarkable when you consider that Rove is an agnostic, one who holds that we can neither prove nor disprove the existence of God and should therefore remain neutral on the issue. (2) To Rove religion is simply a political tool. He concluded early in his career, based on years of careful polling, that the more regularly a person attends church, the more likely that person is to vote Republican. He therefore used religion to energize religious conservatives to register, vote, volunteer, and contribute to Bush and other Republicans. He collaborated with Ralph Reed from the Christian Coalition and hundreds of other conservative religious leaders across the nation. He convinced them that George W. Bush shares their values and that, if elected, he will appoint judges who will overturn Roe v. Wade and he will propose a Constitutional Amendment outlawing gay marriage.

    There are fascinating paradoxes in Rove's use of the religious right's antipathy to homosexuality in campaigns. One is that many Republican homosexuals, both those who had come out and those who had not, acquiesced in this strategy as necessary to win and to advance the overall Republican agenda. Among them was Ken Mehlman, chairman of the national Republican Party. (3) Another is that Rove had homosexuality in his own family. Rove's stepfather, whom he loved and respected, eventually came out of the closet. This may have been a factor in the later suicide of Rove's mother.

    You'll find dozens more surprises in The Architect. Whether you consider Rove a hero or a villain, the book is worth reading because Rove is without peer as a political consultant in America today. And, at the age of fifty-nine, he is likely to ply his trade for many more years.


    1. Crown Publishers, New York, 2006.
    2. See page 19 and page 22, among others.
    3. See pages 63-65 and the following.

    © 2009 Tom Shipka

              Gorsuch Nomination Tests Senate Rules        
    MTP Compressed: Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) tells Chuck Todd that he hasn't seen any evidence of surveillance on the Trump campaign, and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) looks for a deal with Republicans over Judge Gorsuch's nomination.
              Energy: The Turning Point        

    Fast forward fifty years to the United States of America 2058. Most of the cars and trucks run on natural gas, ethanol, or batteries, not gasoline or diesel fuel. Most of the nation's electricity is generated...

    • by thousands of huge solar panels arrayed across the western states,
    • by hundreds of nuclear power plants, and
    • by thousands of windmills along a 400-mile wide corridor through the central states from North Dakota and Minnesota to Texas.

    A huge new transmission grid spreads energy from these sources across the nation.
    In a high school science class, a teacher explains to her students that the turning point in energy policy in America was summer 2008 when the cost of a gallon of gasoline surpassed $4 and two prominent Americans - Republican T. Boone Pickens, a billionaire oil man, and Democrat Al Gore, a former vice-president - released far-reaching energy reform plans a day apart in the month of July (a). These plans gained traction, the teacher says, for the following reasons:

    1. Oil, a non-renewable source of energy, had become too expensive, and oil and coal were major causes of global pollution,
    2. The White House, Congress, and the American people were willing to swallow the huge one-time cost of an energy overhaul - trillions of dollars - as a preferable alternative to sending $1 trillion a year every year to foreign oil producers,
    3. Despite some differences, the Pickens and Gore plans shared a commitment to energy independence for the nation and much greater use of renewable and clean sources of energy (b),
    4. The authors had far-reaching influence with different but important political constituencies,
    5. The celebrity of the authors guaranteed extensive media exposure to their plans,
    6. Support for greater reliance on renewable domestic sources of energy had been growing across the country when the reports surfaced,
    7. Support for greater reliance on non-renewable but abundant domestic sources of energy had also been growing across the country when the reports surfaced,
    8. The fact that two such disparate public figures as Pickens and Gore spoke with one voice on the need for an overhaul of energy production and distribution in America made people from all backgrounds pay attention, and
    9. The energy overhaul had other important benefits for the nation, including the creation of tens of thousands of good-paying manufacturing and construction jobs and a surge in national pride and patriotism.
    10. Now, back to 2008. The scenario just described is a possible future. Whether this possible future becomes an actual one depends on whether the American people and their leaders are prepared to accept the challenge of Mr. Pickens and Mr. Gore to launch a bold and expensive national initiative in the field of energy similar to the mobilization of the nation for World War II, the defeat of Hitler and his allies, the Marshall Plan, the construction of the interstate highway system, and Neil Armstrong's visit to the moon. Only time will tell.

    • For the Pickens plan, see www.pickensplan.com and for the Gore plan, see www.wecansolveit.org. The two plans were released within a twenty-four hour period, the Pickens plan on July 17 and the Gore plan on July 18.
    • As to differences between the plans, the Pickens Plan emphasizes wind power and the conversion of natural gas from the generation of electricity to transportation but is silent on the future of coal, solar power, and nuclear power while the Gore Plan emphasizes solar power, wind power, and electric cars and seems to call for a phase out of coal but is silent on natural gas and nuclear power. (See page 11 of the Gore Plan.) The silence of both plans on nuclear energy, which provides 75% of the electricity in France, is a serious flaw. Also, both plans are silent on various technical issues that stand in the way of implementation of their major proposals. For instance, how can we store surplus electricity generated by wind turbines until it is needed?

    © 2008 Tom Shipka

              The Gospel of Prosperity under Fire        

    He wears elegant silk suits, he drives a $350,000 Bentley, he lives in a $10 million oceanfront mansion, and he flies around the world in a private jet. Is he a billionaire investor, a corporate CEO, or a Hollywood celebrity? None of the above, it turns out. He's a pastor of one of the six mega-churches which are a target of an investigation by Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa, ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, who has requested a mountain of financial information from them. All six ministries preach the Gospel of Prosperity, the message that God bestows earthly riches on the faithful. (1) They are Benny Hinn's World Healing Center; the Rev. Creflo Dollar's World Changers Church; Paul and Randy White's Without Walls International Church; Joyce Meyer Ministries; Kenneth Copeland Ministries; and Bishop Eddie Long's Ministry.
    Senator Grassley got leads about possible abuses of the tax-exempt status of these Gospel-of-Prosperity churches from reporters and whistleblowers. He assures us that his investigation is not "an attack on ministries in particular or tax-exempt groups in general. The strong majority of non-profit groups, including churches," the Senator says, "operate above-board and perform good works that make their tax exemption a bargain for the American people." (2) "(But), he continues, when I hear about leaders of charities being provided a $300,000 Bentley to drive around in, my fear is that it's the taxpayers who subsidize this charity who are really being taken for a ride." (3)
    It will be difficult for the targeted ministries to impugn Senator Grassley's motives for three reasons: firstly, he is a darling of the religious right who got an 87% approval rating by the conservative Family Research Council in 2006; secondly, after 9/11 he spearheaded investigations into secular charities such as the Red Cross and the Smithsonian Institution; and thirdly, many members of the evangelical community are as suspicious about the targeted ministries as Senator Grassley is.
    For instance, Ole Anthony, head of the Texas-based Trinity Foundation, an evangelical group which has spoken out for years against the lack of financial transparency by television ministries, welcomes Senator Grassley's initiative and says that it wouldn't be necessary if the established churches had stood up to the televangelists over the years. (4) Interestingly, none of the six targeted ministries belong to the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, a voluntary oversight group of Christian ministries to ensure transparency and compliance with the law.
    It remains to be seen whether the information sought by Senator Grassley will be provided by the mega-churches. A December 2007 deadline came and went with only two of the ministries submitting any of the requested documents. Rev. Dollar openly defied the request for information. Rev. Long said that he considers the Senator's request "an attack on...religious freedom and privacy rights." (5) Senator Grassley is unlikely to relent, however. He says that his goal is to ensure that money that is donated under the tax exemption is used according to the law for legitimate non-profit purposes and not to enrich church officials. (6) My suspicion is that we've seen only the first skirmish in a protracted war. In reminding evangelists that they are not above the law, Senator Grassley has taken an important step which deserves our support and encouragement.


    1. Rob Boston, "Prophets, Profits, and Federal Tax Law," Church & State, January 2008, p. 7.
    2. Ibid., p. 5.
    3. Ibid., p. 4
    4. Ibid., p. 6.
    5. Ibid., p. 5.
    6. Ibid., p. 5.

    © 2008 Tom Shipka

              Justice Brennan's Dissent        

    There are powerful forces in America today promoting the entanglement of church and state. Dozens of religious organizations intrude into politics in defiance of the laws granting them tax-exempt status. (1) The courts are ever more receptive to entanglement as was shown last year when the Supreme Court approved President Bush's faith-based initiatives which distribute huge grants to religious organizations. (2) The Congress is ever more receptive to entanglement as was shown in December when the U.S. House of Representatives, anxious to pander to the religiosity of their constituents and to placate the religious right, approved a resolution "Recognizing the Importance of Christianity and the Christian Faith." (3) And mainstream America is also receptive to entanglement. Surveys show that 74 percent of Americans believe it is proper to display the Ten Commandments in government buildings year round and 83 percent believe that displays of Christian symbols should be allowed on government property during the Christmas season. (4)
    So, what's wrong with church and state cozying up to one another? In 1984 Supreme Court Justice, William Brennan, an Irish Catholic, gave four major objections to church-state entanglement in his dissent in a 1984 decision which approved a nativity scene in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. (5)
    Firstly, he wrote, it violates the Constitution. The Establishment Clause requires government to be neutral to religion, neither helping nor hindering it, and to treat all sects equally. A government display of Christian symbols goes beyond mere acknowledgement or accommodation of religion to an endorsement of it. Proof of this is found in the fact that governments which erect a display with religious symbols seldom if ever post a disclaimer alongside the display saying that the display does not imply endorsement of the religion.
    Secondly, a government display of Christian symbols threatens religious diversity and marginalizes citizens of other faiths and no faith. Such displays send the message that they are outsiders whose views "are not similarly worthy of public recognition or entitled to public support."
    Thirdly, the sectarian significance of a government-sponsored nativity scene is not diminished if secular components such as a Santa are added because a nativity scene "is the chief symbol" of the uniquely Christian belief that Jesus is "the divine Savior" who was brought into the world miraculously "to illuminate a path toward salvation and redemption."
    Fourthly, just because Christmas is a national holiday does not imply that it is constitutionally proper for government to celebrate the holiday in a sectarian fashion. Government may "recognize the holiday's traditional secular elements of gift-giving, public festivities, and community spirit..." but it may not "embrace the distinctively sectarian aspects of the holiday" such as a nativity scene, a cross, or a Bible.
    Jurists such as former Justice Brennan are swimming upstream in American culture today and that is all the more reason to summon his counsel. In America all of us have a constitutional right to display religious symbols at home, in our churches, and in our businesses. That should satisfy any reasonable believer. Those who work to entangle church and state are undermining the First Amendment, threatening religious diversity, and promoting the tyranny of the majority.


    1. Americans United for the Separation of Church and State monitors and publicizesthis problem. See www.au.org.
    2. Hein v. Freedom from Religion Foundation, Inc., 2007
    3. H. Res. 874, introduced by Rep. Steve King, Republican of Iowa, had 51 co-sponsors and passed with 372 votes. 9 members voted "nay," 10 voted "present,' and 40 didn't vote. See News Release of the Freedom from Religion Foundation 12-14-07 at www.ffrf.org.
    4. The Pew Forum of Religion & Public Life, June 2007, p. 1. In this vein, a newly constructed 9-11 memorial on public land in Austintown, Ohio, includes a mini-church adorned with a cross.
    5. Lynch v. Donnelly, 1984

    © 2008 Tom Shipka

              Judge Jones        

    John Locke, America's philosophical father, cited as a key objective of government to provide "known and indifferent judge(s) with authority to determine all differences according to the established law..." (1) Locke's ideal of an independent judiciary guided only by the law has not always been realized in practice in the United States. One clear case in which it was involves federal Judge John E. Jones III who sits on the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. On December 20, 2005, Judge Jones issued a 139-page ruling in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District.
    The case involved a challenge by eleven parents to a decision by the Dover, Pennsylvania, school board to introduce the doctrine of intelligent design in ninth grade science classes as a plausible scientific alternative to evolution. The parents alleged that this constituted a violation of the First Amendment prohibition against government endorsement of religion because intelligent design is a religious doctrine and not a scientific one.
    To rule on this case competently, Judge Jones was required to know and apply not only the relevant law, including the Constitution of the U.S., the Constitution of Pennsylvania, and dozens of complicated prior rulings, but also to understand the methodology of science, the theory of evolution, and the doctrine of intelligent design. To rule on this case fairly, Judge Jones was required to distance himself from the culture wars in America and from the intense passions which surrounded the case in Dover.
    In his ruling Judge Jones found that intelligent design is not a testable scientific hypothesis but "a mere relabeling of creationism" that has no place in a public school science curriculum. His clear and cogent ruling followed weeks of testimony by expert witnesses to whom he obviously listened intently.
    As Time magazine observed, "Had (Judge) Jones been a Democrat or an atheist, his judgment might have had less impact." (2) The fact that he was a Republican, a Bush-appointee, and a Lutheran, took a lot of the steam out of the intelligent-design movement nationally. (3)
    In the conclusion of his ruling, Judge Jones hit upon a key point. He wrote that the proponents of intelligent design have made a "bedrock assumption which is utterly false," namely, that they must choose between God or science. (4) Drawing on the testimony of expert witnesses in the case, he insisted that evolution and other well-established scientific theories are compatible with "belief in the existence of a supreme being and religion in general." (5)
    After Judge Jones issued his ruling, he and his family were put under the protection of federal marshals because of death threats and he was also rebuked by critics, such as Phyllis Schlafly, who said he had "stuck the knife in the backs" of evangelical Christians in Pennsylvania. (6) Judge Jones replied to Schlafly in a speech on February 10, 2006, in which he reminded all of us of that "judges must be impartial and that the independence of the judiciary is premised on a judge's pledge of freedom from partisan influences." (7)
    Judge Jones's speech probably did not win over those disappointed by his ruling. Nevertheless, by his knowledge, courage, and devotion to judicial impartiality, he is a model to his peers and a judge who deserves consideration for appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court when there is a vacancy.


    1.  The Second Treatise of Government, Chapter IX, Of the Ends of Political Society and Government, 1690.
    2. Matt Ridley, Time, April 30, 2006
    3.  Ibid.
    4.  Case No. 04cv2688, p. 136
    5. Ibid. Two of the expert witnesses in the trial have written books aimed at showing the compatibility of evolution and belief in God. See Kenneth R. Miller, Finding Darwin's God, and John F. Haught, God after Darwin. Miller is a cell biologist at Brown University and Haught is a theologian at Georgetown University. Both are Roman Catholics.
    6.  Phyllis Schlafly, Townhall.com, January 2, 2006
    7.  Speech by U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III to the Anti-Defamation League, National Executive Committee Meeting, Palm Beach, Florida, February 10, 2006. See www.adl.org/Civil_Rights/speech_judge_jones.asp

    © 2007 Tom Shipka

              Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District        

    Next month marks the second anniversary of the landmark ruling by Judge John E. Jones III in the U. S. District Court in Harrisburg in the case of Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District. (1) Tammy Kitzmiller was one of eleven parents of students in the public schools of Dover, a township about twenty miles south of Harrisburg, who sued the school district after the Board of Education adopted a policy requiring the reading of a statement in ninth-grade biology classes which cast doubt on the scientific adequacy of evolution, said that "Intelligent Design" is a plausible alternative explanation, and referred students to an intelligent-design textbook entitled Of Pandas and People. (2) Intelligent Design, or ID, holds that "living organisms are so complex that they must have been created by some kind of a higher force." (3) In their lawsuit, the first challenge to ID in the federal courts, the plaintiffs asked the Court to stop the reading of the pro-ID statement because ID is a religious doctrine, not a scientific theory.
    In his 139-page ruling on December 20, 2005, Judge Jones found for the plaintiffs. He said that ID is not science but a thinly veiled form of creationism and that it is unconstitutional to teach it in a public school. (4)
    Judge Jones learned a lot during the trial about science and the relation of science to religion, thanks to the testimony of expert witnesses for the plaintiffs, including Kenneth R. Miller, a cell biologist from Brown University, and John F. Haught, a theologian from Georgetown University, both of whom are practicing Roman Catholics. They pointed out that scientists seek natural causes of natural events, a strategy called methodological naturalism, and that ID violates this because it posits non-natural or supernatural causes. For this reason, Dr. Miller said, ID is a "science stopper."
    We can illustrate this point with an example. Suppose you visit your doctor to seek relief of pain in your right arm, your doctor examines you and reviews the results of an MRI, and then reports that a herniated disk is the cause, a problem correctible with surgery. Here your doctor followed methodological naturalism. But suppose that instead of doing this, your doctor tells you that your pain has no cause within your body but is due to an evil spirit. By hypothesizing a non-natural or supernatural explanation of a natural condition, your doctor, like the advocates of ID, abandons science.
    Judge Jones took no stance on whether the cosmos has an intelligent cause, declaring, properly, that such matters are outside the province of science. His ruling was informed and brave. And who appointed this Republican church-goer to the federal bench? None other than ID enthusiast President George W. Bush in 2002!
    You can learn more about this famous case on NOVA on your local PBS station at 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 13, when a two-hour film entitled "Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial" will be aired.

    1. Case No. 04cv2688.
    2. The vote was 6-3. The three Board members who opposed the ID policy resigned in protest. At the next election, all of the Board members who voted for the ID policy and sought reelection were defeated by candidates opposed to the policy.
    3. MSNBC.com, December 20, 2005.
    4. Judge Jones also lambasted the members of the pro-ID faction of the Dover Board of Education who, he charged, lied under oath "time and again" to camouflage the religious motives behind the ID policy. See page 132 of the ruling. Judge Jones awarded attorneys' fees to the plaintiffs, costing the school district over $1 million. The newly constituted Board declined to appeal Judge Jones's ruling.

    © 2007 Tom Shipka

              The Religious Right in the Post-Falwell Era        

    If you're one who believes that the Religious Right suffered a serious blow on May 15 when the Reverend Jerry Falwell died, you're badly mistaken, according to Rob Boston, a long-time student of the movement. In a recent issue of Church & State magazine, Boston reports that the Religious Right today is flourishing. (1)
    After pointing out that Falwell's eminence in the Religious Right "waned" when he focused his efforts on Liberty University, Boston says that leaders of the Religious Right have learned important lessons from Falwell's mistakes. On the one hand, they have toned down their public rhetoric and abandoned Falwell's relish for notoriety, preferring instead to communicate with the faithful through their own media outlets instead of mainstream media. Indeed, some of the most influential organizations in the Religious Right, such as the Reverend Donald Wildmon's American Family Association, which owns 170 radio stations and generates $17 million in revenues annually, operate largely "beneath the mainstream media radar." (p. 5) On the other hand, they have prioritized grassroots organizing. By the time Falwell's Moral Majority collapsed in 1989, Boston observes, it was "essentially a large mailing list with little local presence." (p. 4) The new Religious Right, by contrast, immerses itself in races from the local to the national level by linking itself to the Republican Party and requiring candidates seeking its support to endorse its agenda. This works, Boston says, because evangelicals are a huge percentage of Republican voters, especially in primaries. (p. 5) This also explains why so many candidates seek the endorsement of leaders of the Religious Right and why so many members of Congress meet weekly with them to collaborate as a "Values Action Team." (p. 5)
    Also, Boston observes, the Religious Right today continues to exploit large and small tax-exempt organizations effectively to promote its goals. Among the larger ones is Dr. James Dobson's Focus on the Family, a radio and publishing empire which took in $137 million in 2005, and the Reverend Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network, which has nearly a million daily viewers and which took in $236 million in the same year. Among the smaller ones is Louis Sheldon's Traditional Values Coalition, which has a budget of $6 million a year to lobby in Washington and California, its home base; Tony Perkins' Family Research Council, which draws on an annual budget of $10.8 million to lobby and to organize evangelical voters; The Alliance Defense Fund, an Arizona-based legal group, which uses its $27 million annual budget to promote the interests of the Religious Right in the courts (p. 5); and the American Center for Law and Justice, a $14.5 million a year operation, which, among other things, works to influence the White House's choice of nominees to the Supreme Court.
    Thus, Jerry Falwell's quest for theocracy in America proceeds apace despite his absence. Indeed, the Religious Right has more resources than ever to ban abortions, block legal rights for gays, install creationism, Bible courses, and prayer in the schools, promote abstinence-only sex education, spend tax dollars on religious schools and ministries, pack the Supreme Court, and impede stem cell research. Only time will tell if these resources are up to the challenges from moderates and liberals which the Religious Right faces.
    1. Church & State, Vol. 60, No. 7, July/August 2007, pages 4-6.

    © 2007 Tom Shipka

              A 1981 Warning About Religion and Politics        

    Through the 1970's a famous American political figure observed with deepening concern the increasing political activity of religious groups. He worried that religious groups posed a threat to individual liberty and jeopardized the separation of church and state. Finally, on September 15, 1981, he rose in the Senate chamber to warn the American people about the marriage of religion and politics. (1)
    The Senator welcomed President Ronald Reagan's election as a sign that Americans had finally turned to true conservatism, one which prizes the freedoms enshrined in the Constitution over the promise of prosperity by a welfare state. But this rediscovery of the primacy of freedom in America, he predicted, will be short-lived if "single issue religious groups" continue to grow in influence and power. Before Americans inject religion into the affairs of state, he cautioned, they should reflect on the harm caused by religion in Northern Ireland, Iran, and Lebanon. He saw intolerance and factionalism on the horizon. He feared that compromise and the give-and-take essential to American political life were in serious danger. Here are his own words.
    &(O)n religious issues there can be little or no compromise. There is no position on which people are so immovable as their religious beliefs. There is no more powerful ally one can claim in a debate than Jesus Christ, or God, or Allah, or whatever one calls his supreme being.
    But, like any powerful weapon, the use of God's name on one's behalf should be used sparingly.
    The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using
    their religious clout with wisdom. They are trying to force government leaders into following their positions 100 percent.
    In the past couple years, I have seen many news items that referred to the Moral Majority, pro-life, and other religious groups as "the new conservatism."
    Well, I have spent quite a number of years carrying the flag of the "old conservatism." And I can say with conviction that the religious issues of these
    groups have little or nothing to do with conservative or liberal politics. The uncompromising position of these groups is a divisive element that could tear apart the very spirit of our representative system, if they gain sufficient strength.
    Im frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in "A,"
    "B," "C," and "D." Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me?
    And I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate.
    I am warning them today. I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of "conservatism."
    The great decisions of Government cannot be dictated by the concerns of religious factions. This was true in the days of Madison and it is just as true today.
    We have succeeded for 205 years in keeping the affairs of State separate from the uncompromising idealism of religious groups and we must not stop now.
    To retreat from that separation would violate the principles of conservatism and the values upon which the framers built this democratic republic.
    Now, who said all this? Who issued this warning about religion and politics? It
    was, of course, the five-term U.S. Senator from Arizona and the Republican Party's nominee for president in 1964, Barry M. Goldwater.
    I leave to your judgment whether Senator Goldwater's warning was justified, and, if it was, whether we Americans have heeded it.
    1. All quotations and paraphrases are from Senator Barry Goldwater, "To Be Conservative," Congressional Record - Senate, September 15, 1981, pages 20589-20590.


              Robert Green Ingersoll, The Shakespeare of Or        

    Eugene Debs called him the "Shakespeare of oratory." After hearing him speak, Mark Twain said "What an organ is human speech when it is employed by a master." He was a hero to James Garfield, Walt Whitman, Ulysses Grant, Margaret Sanger, Andrew Carnegie, Thomas Edison, Henry Ward Beecher, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Who was this remarkable man? Robert Green Ingersoll.

    Born in 1833 in Dresden, New York, Ingersoll moved as a child with his family to Illinois where eventually he became a lawyer and state Attorney General. Originally a Democrat, he bolted to the Republican party to join in the crusade to end slavery. He was the speaker of choice among prominent Republicans who sought his aid during their campaigns. One of his greatest speeches was the "Plumed Knight" speech in Cincinnati at the Republican convention in 1876 in which he nominated James G. Blaine for president. Although Blaine lost, Ingersoll set the standard for nominating speeches.

    Ingersoll's work as a lawyer included representing two clients accused of bribery in the so-called Star Route scandal which involved bidders who were accused of using bribes to get U.S. Post Office contracts. His clients were acquitted. He also worked pro bono for Charles B. Reynolds, a prominent freethinker who had been arrested in New Jersey and charged under an archaic blasphemy law. Although Reynolds was convicted and fined $50, which Ingersoll paid, Ingersolls arguments in court mocking blasphemy laws effectively put an end to blasphemy prosecutions in the nation.

    In 1862, during the Civil War, Ingersoll raised the 11th Illinois Cavalry Regiment and was given the rank of Colonel. Forever after he would be called Colonel Bob. He and many of his troops were captured by Confederate soldiers in a battle in which they were vastly outnumbered but they were released in exchange for a promise that they would not return to combat.

    Ingersolls career as an orator is unique. During an era when there was no public address system and no films, TV, or radio, Ingersoll drew spectacular crowds from every walk of life and every class who paid the then hefty sum of $1 to hear him. Although it is hard to believe, a Chicago newspaper reported in 1876 that no fewer than 50,000 people packed into an enormous tent there to hear him. Ingersoll had a photographic memory and committed thirty speeches to memory, some of which lasted as long as three to four hours. He sold out every auditorium, theater, and tent in the north, midwest, and west, where he spoke, and despite his anti-slavery mission, he even drew large crowds in the south. The only states in which he did not speak were Oklahoma, Mississippi, and North Carolina.

    What is perhaps most remarkable is that Ingersoll was an abolitionist, an advocate of equal rights and equal pay for women, and an agnostic. Many of his talks openly poked fun at religion and were severely critical of the Bible as a moral guide. Can you imagine tens of thousands of Americans gathering today to hear a religious skeptic?

    Ingersoll was a font of wise sayings. One of his most famous is this:
    My creed is that happiness is the only good. The place to be happy is here. The way to be happy is to make others so

    If you'd like to know more about this extraordinary man, read Robert G. Ingersoll: A Life, by Frank Smith.


              Garry Wills, A Country Ruled by Faith        

    It is no surprise that George W. Bush made campaign promises to his political base - evangelicals. But, as a recent article in The New York Review of Books by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Garry Wills shows ("A Country Ruled by Faith," Nov. 16, 2006, pp. 8-12), the ambitious scope of the President's evangelical agenda is surprising.

    The President began by ridding government of as many holdover liberals as possible and replacing them with evangelicals. To implement this plan, he appointed Kay Coles James head of the White House Office of Personnel. (8) James had worked for Pat Robertson and James Dobson, two evangelical major leaguers. (8) Also, the President picked key advisors and cabinet members, among them Condoleeza Rice, Karen Hughes, John Ashcroft, Andrew Card, and Michael Gerson, who shared his religious worldview. (8) Even appointees to the Iraqi Provisional Government came largely from a pool of evangelicals, Wills says. (11)

    Next, President Bush gave evangelical leaders unprecedented access. Either the President or his key staff consulted them routinely on virtually all issues of interest to them.

    Further, the President established the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives to funnel money to them. (8) Grants went to Pat Robertson, Chuck Colson, James Dobson, and many others, including selected African-American clergy, such as Bishop Sedgwick Daniels of Milwaukee.

    The President also carried the evangelical perspective to scientific and social issues. Saying that the jury is still out on evolution, he proposed teaching intelligent design, a version of creationism, alongside science in science classrooms. (10) Also, his administration ignored objections by scientists to the sale of a book at the Grand Canyon "claiming that the Grand Canyon was formed by Noah's Flood," (10) and it scuttled publication of a draft guide for park employees which pointed out that the canyon was not formed in the alleged time period of the Flood. Additionally, to pacify the religious right, Wills says, the Bush administration
    *opposed embryonic stem cell research, in defiance of moderates in his own party,
    *ignored scientific warnings about global warming,
    *spent $170 million on abstinence-only sex education in the public schools while removing from the web site of The Centers for Disease Control the findings of a panel that abstinence-only programs don't work,
    *refused to make the morning-after pill available to women over-the-counter, despite the recommendations of the board of the Food and Drug Administration, *sought a Constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage,
    *forbad the expenditure of U.S. foreign aid to any organization which distributed condoms or provided information to women about abortion, despite the fact that birth control and abortion remain legal in the U.S., and
    *protected a controversial general who publicly characterized the war on terrorism as a battle of Christians against Satan. (10-11)

    Wills' article shows that he views George W. Bush as a president on a mission to destroy the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. Yet Wills overlooks an important fact: the President is not universally loved among evangelicals. Some have protested that he politicized the faith-based initiatives by spending mostly in battleground states to help Republicans and that there remains a huge gap between the billions which Bush promised to evangelicals and the millions which he actually delivered to them. And surely, if exit polls are accurate, many evangelicals deserted him in the recent elections.

    Copyright © 2006 by Tom Shipka

              Sam Harris, Letter to a Christian nation        

    In his first book, The End of Faith, published in 2004, Sam Harris - philosopher-neuroscientist-and religious skeptic wrote about religion. In his second book, Letter to a Christian Nation, published a few months ago, Harris writes to the religious, especially American Christians. Both books are New York Times bestsellers. In the Letter, which runs for a mere ninety-five pages, Harris outlines the alleged defects of religion and entreats believers to take a fresh look at their worldview so that, in his words, there can follow a "public discourse that encourages critical thinking and intellectual honesty." (87)

    His critique of religion includes these points.

    First, religions contradict one another, so they cannot all be true. (5-7)

    Second, sizeable segments of the religious community defy the exhaustively confirmed findings of modern science on evolution. (x)

    Third, the Bible is a bad place to look for a moral code. For instance, the Bible condones slavery, beating children and even killing them in certain cases, and stoning people to death for heresy, adultery, homosexuality, working on the Sabbath, and other deeds. A morally praiseworthy part of the Bible, the Golden Rule, was taught long before Jesus by Zoroaster, Buddha, Confucius, and Epictetus (8-11) and it amounts to nothing more than intelligent self-interest. (23-24)

    Fourth, the stance of many believers on embryonic stem cell research, abortion, contraception, and vaccinations to prevent HPV (human papillomavirus) needlessly perpetuates suffering. (23-32)

    Fifth, doing good does not require belief in God. For instance, many doctors "are moved simply to alleviate suffering, without any thought of God." (33) And surely the members of the National Academy of Science, ninety-three percent of whom reject belief in God, are "at least as well behaved as the general population." (39)

    Sixth, secular societies in the world have a higher level of development and a lower level of crime than religious societies. (39-44)

    Seventh, in the United States, the red states, which are populated by large numbers on the religious right who vote Republican, have higher crime rates than the blue states. (45)

    Eighth, "Countries with high levels of atheism are also the most charitable both in terms of the percentage of their wealth (which) they devote to social welfare programs and the percentage (which) they give in aid to the developing world." (46)

    Ninth, there is no satisfactory solution to the classic problem of evil. The enormity of human and animal suffering in the world is incompatible with the notion of an all-good, all-powerful God. (52-57)

    Tenth, beliefs should be based on sufficient evidence, not faith. "(F)aith (believing without evidence) is nothing more than the license religious people give one another to keep believing when reasons fail." (66-67)

    Eleventh, the traditional arguments for the existence of God are all fatally flawed. (66-79)

    Twelfth, Our "competing religious certainties" are killing us, literally. Religious differences exacerbate conflict and impede the creation of stable governments and viable economies in at least thirteen areas of the world. (79-82)

    Thirteenth, Islam is the greatest single threat to humanity's long-term survival and happiness. "The idea that Islam is 'a peaceful religion hijacked by extremists' is a fantasy" (85)

    Obviously, Harris has given us a highly provocative polemic against religion. It remains to be seen whether believers in great numbers will read it, whether they will carefully evaluate his claims and arguments, and whether they will engage in the public discourse on religion that he recommends.

    Copyright © 2006 by Tom Shipka

              Court Grants Restraining Order in Ohio Voter Intimidation Case (filed 11/4/16)        
    Document from Ohio Democratic Party v. Ohio Republican Party titled
              Trump anuncia a conservador Mike Pence como compañero de fórmula        

    El aspirante presidencial republicano, Donald Trump, anunció este viernes 15 de julio que optó por Mike Pence, gobernador de Indiana y salido del ala conservadora de su partido, para que sea su compañero de fórmula en la carrera hacia la Casa Blanca.

    "Me complazco en anunciar que he escogido al gobernador Mike Pence como mi compañero para ser vicepresidente", escribió Trump en su cuenta de Twitter, anunciando una rueda de prensa para las 15H00 GMT del sábado

    Tras una semana de rumores y especulaciones, el empresario finalmente decidió anunciar su escogencia. Una conferencia de prensa había sido inicialmente prevista para la mañana del viernes en Nueva York, pero Trump había decidido postergarla tras el atentado en Niza.

    El ala conservadora del partido Republicano debe estar satisfecha con la opción de Mike Pence, de 57 años, un intransigente en asuntos sociales como el aborto y el matrimonio gay, que pasó 12 años como legislador en el Congreso y es desde 2013 el gobernador del estado de Indiana (norte).

    Trump y Pence son esperados la próxima semana en Cleveland, para la convención de investidura republicana.

    Fuente de noticia: 
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              Trump anunciará candidato a vicepresidente el 15 de julio        

    El aspirante republicano a la Casa Blanca, Donald Trump, anunciará el viernes 15 de julio su compañero de fórmula para las elecciones del 8 de noviembre en Estados Unidos, dijo a CNN su titular de su equipo de campaña.

    Trump hará el anuncio desde Nueva York, afirmó este miércoles Paul Manafort a la cadena.

    Entre los nombres que se barajan para integrar la fórmula del magnate inmobiliario figuran los gobernadores de Indiana, Mike Pence, y de Nueva Jersey, Chris Christie, así como el ex presidente de la Cámara de Representantes Newt Gingrich.

    El jueves, Trump hizo campaña en Indiana por segundo día consecutivo con Pence, de 57 años, visto como alguien de tono templado que podría suavizar la combatividad de Trump.

    Según CNN, Trump y sus tres hijos desayunaron el miércoles con Pence en su mansión. Gingrich también sostuvo durante el día un encuentro con el candidato republicano, mientras que el magnate habló por teléfono con el gobernador de Nueva Jersey.

    Christie, un político que se resiste a hablar de si mismo, también hizo campaña con Trump el lunes en Virginia.

    Trump ha expresado apoyo a Gingrinch -quien contendió por la presidencia en 2012- "Newt es Newt. Es un buen tipo", dijo al diario The New York Times.

    La elección de su compañero de fórmula podría ser la decisión más importante que Trump haga en su campaña para presentar un compañero competente después de unas primarias turbulentas durante las cuales su retórica provocativa frustró a muchos conservadores.

    La próxima semana, los republicanos celebrarán en Cleveland, Ohio, su convención nacional, durante la cual Trump será proclamado formalmente candidato del partido en la carrera presidencial contra la demócrata Hillary Clinton.

    Fuente de noticia: 
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              Greg Palast in Ohio on GOP Effort to Remove African Americans from Voter Rolls in Battleground State        

    Greg Palast in Ohio on GOP Effort to Remove African Americans from Voter Rolls in Battleground State


    By: Democracy Now
    Date: 2016-11-08

    In an on-the-ground report from the battleground state of Ohio, investigative reporter Greg Palast has uncovered the latest in vote suppression tactics led by Republicans that could threaten the integrity of the vote in Ohio and North Carolina. On some polling machines, audit protection functions have been shut off, and African Americans and Hispanics are being scrubbed from the voter rolls through a system called Crosscheck. "It’s a brand-new Jim Crow," Palast says. "Today, on Election Day, they’re not going to use white sheets to keep way black voters. Today, they’re using spreadsheets."

    Read more »
              The GOP's Stealth War Against Voters        

    The GOP's Stealth War Against Voters

    Will an anti-voter-fraud program designed by one of Trump's advisers deny tens of thousands their right to vote in November?


    By: Greg Palast
    Date: 2016-08-24

    When Donald Trump claimed, "the election's going to be rigged," he wasn't entirely wrong. But the threat was not, as Trump warned, from Americans committing the crime of "voting many, many times." What's far more likely to undermine democracy in November is the culmination of a decade-long Republican effort to disenfranchise voters under the guise of battling voter fraud. The latest tool: Election officials in more than two dozen states have compiled lists of citizens whom they allege could be registered in more than one state – thus potentially able to cast multiple ballots – and eligible to be purged from the voter rolls.

    The data is processed through a system called the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program, which is being promoted by a powerful Republican operative, and its lists of potential duplicate voters are kept confidential. But Rolling Stone obtained a portion of the list and the names of 1 million targeted voters. According to our analysis, the Crosscheck list disproportionately threatens solid Democratic constituencies: young, black, Hispanic and Asian-American voters – with some of the biggest possible purges underway in Ohio and North Carolina, two crucial swing states with tight Senate races.

    Read more »
              New Proof The Election Was Rigged Against Democrats!        

    New Proof The Election Was Rigged Against Democrats!


    By: Lee Camp
    Date: 2016-09-09

    I just talked with two election experts – Greg Palast and Mark Crispin Miller – both incredibly accomplished in their fields. They agreed that this election was indeed rigged, and even though it has been Donald Trump spouting off about election rigging, perhaps he didn’t realize that the machinery was in place to rig it in HIS FAVOR. Greg Palast estimates that 1.1 MILLION people, mainly minorities, were knocked off the voting rolls in swing states using a system called “Cross Check.” That system accuses people of being “double voters” even though there is absolutely no proof. Cross Check is used in 30 Republican-led states. On top of that, Palast discovered that ballot protection software on the new Ohio voting machines was TURNED OFF. Election law expert Bob Fitrakis actually took Ohio to court last week to make sure the ballot protection software be turned ON. However, the judge sided with the state and said to leave it OFF on election day!

    Professor Mark Crispin Miller agrees with Palast, saying that this election was stolen from the Democrats in a similar fashion to 2000 and 2004. And this is not coming from a fan of Hillary Clinton. Miller pointed out that Hillary Clinton is a neo-liberal who was intent on continuing to gut the social safety net and allowing the big banks to run wild. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have a fair election. Furthermore, this is not just about the Presidency. This election theft impacts congressional and gubernatorial races as well.

    I strongly believe that if Hillary Clinton – and the corporate Democrats in general – had ACTUALLY stood for something, then people would’ve had a reason to stand with them. This is why Bernie Sanders would’ve won this election easily. (He would’ve beat the margin that was stolen.) People believed what Bernie Sanders said, and that’s why he attracted an enthusiastic following. Even most Hillary voters didn’t take her at her word. Her actions proved that she supports trade deals, supports war, supports weapons contractors, supports oil and gas, and supports the big banks. If the left ever wants to win again, they need to start TRULY standing for something, rather than just feeding people lies while enriching themselves.

    The two interviews mentioned above will air tomorrow night on Redacted Tonight: VIP. At 6pm ET tomorrow they’ll also be posted to YouTube.com/RedactedTonight.

    Keep Fighting,

    The article is reproduced in accordance with Section 107 of title 17 of the Copyright Law of the United States relating to fair-