Friday, December 4, 2015


ISIS has emerged in the last few years as the most dangerous enemy facing  major Western powers, as well as being a threat to Muslim nations and peoples not willing to submit to its tyrannical domination in pursuit of creating an extremist, radical Islamist caliphate in the Middle East.  Its rapid rise has astounded the West, its military leadership drawn from elements of Saddam Hussein's Baathist Sunni army, which was disbanded by the US occupying forces when they took over Iraq in 2003.  These military careerist were turned loose without employment, were increasingly joined by other disaffected Sunnis in Iraq who were alienated by the Shiite government that the US had installed, merged with radical Sunni rebel forces in Syria fighting the Alawite Shia government of Bashar Assad, joined by other anti-western, extremist Islamic youth who might have otherwise been attracted to the now deflated al Qaeda movement, and became a major military and financial force when they were able to capture large supplies of US military weaponry, as well as oil producing areas, that the US-trained Iraqi army was unable to defend.

 ISIS's hatred of the West seems to know no bounds, and similarly shows no mercy on other Muslims who resist its overtures. It has, in effect, declared war on Western nations, especially those with any history of involvement in the Middle East, and on Muslim nations and peoples that dare stand in its way.  Its prime strategies  are to advance and conquer  areas of the Middle East, and now even  in Africa, where its reach extends, and to spread terror and fear within Western nations beyond its immediate reach through vicious attacks.  The nations of the West, the Middle East, and much of the world, have no alternative but to respond in force.

Facing such a sworn and prime enemy, a rare opportunity exists for all involved nations to join together in a broad, cooperative coalition, including even those that are not typically inclined to join together and have various issues that tend to keep them apart.  If the major forces having reason to oppose ISIS, namely Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the Kurds, and other Middle Eastern, Muslim nations and sects, were providing troops on the ground; and  the US, French, Russia, the UK, and Germany were providing air support,  ground advisors, and military coordination, their power, through all working together and coordinating their efforts,  would be overwhelming.  The dynamics of multi-power politics, unfortunately, are preventing this from happening.

 A major obstacle is the US insistence that the removal of Assad in Syria continues as a co-priority of our policies, so we are continuing to support rebel groups other than ISIS fighting Assad, while at the same time launching attacks on ISIS in Syria. This puts us in opposition to the position of Russia, which is supporting Assad, has a legal military presence in Syria at the invitation of Assad, and adds to Assad's military strength, which is already the major ground force fighting ISIS in Syria.  Turkey's motivation to fight ISIS is diminished by its ongoing conflict with Kurdish populations.  Iran is desirous of fighting ISIS and has forces on the ground in Iraq, but its diplomatic battles with the US make any real coordination in their mutual efforts problematic.  The Iraqi forces are weak, appropriately reluctant to accept US boots on the ground in their land, as the majority of local populations are not only against a repetition of that, but also aware the presence of western ground forces are a major recruiting attraction for ISIS, and in keeping with ISIS's strategic plan .  And on it goes, a region so racked with a long history of western interference, and with deep sectarian and political divisions,  having difficulty uniting temporarily to defeat a common enemy.

 Since much of this immediate crisis, the rise of ISIS, was created through misdirected Western involvement,  Western nations should be a major factor in its resolution, even without  ground forces to engage ISIS in land combat. Middle Eastern nations have the most at stake with the rise of ISIS, it is necessary that they provide the ground troops to regain and hold land ISIS has overtaken.  Only local populations can hold and maintain peace on that land over time. The West cannot successfully do that, and if it tries, it diminishes the motivation of regional nations and peoples from fully engaging in that battle.   The West must, however, provide the coordination, facilitation, and air support necessary to ensure success. This is where current US policy is failing to demonstrate responsible leadership by encouraging formation of a full international coalition.

 As the major instigator of the ISIS crisis, and the nation with the most military power in the region, the primary coordination role should reside with the US, and it has resisted this role, with its priority on replacing Assad in Syria, along with its antipathy towards Russia, the major apparent reasons.  The French government, after the ISIS attack on Paris, has made it very clear, the immediate priority is on defeating ISIS, other considerations are secondary. They are in consultation with Russia to push for a broader coalition. Russia also is clear, its been attacked, it has large Muslim populations and restive adjacent peoples, extremists elements must be defeated, established governments maintained when threatened by extremists. Regime change and nation building by the West has failed elsewhere, why would Syria be any different.

 US policy remains, unfortunately, highly conflicted, and is frustratingly, potentially tragically, inviting conflict among the nations that should be working together against ISIS. When Russia made the decisive move to actively enter the fray in Syria, seemingly outmaneuvering the months of equivocation and hesitancy of US policy, the US response was far from welcoming a new, major force into the battle against ISIS.  Instead, a reference was made suggesting that our coalition was much better than that of Russia and Syria. Hardly words to lay the ground work needed for two nations, who have many reasons to better learn, through experience, how to work together for a beneficial common purpose, to begin that process.

 Is it too late to reverse the process, to model more cooperative efforts in a cause that desperately needs it and in a region that has long suffered from its absence?  One certainly hopes not, but the prospects are not encouraging.  The US would need to alter its stance, and provide more creative leadership. The most vocal voices in the US are currently reactive, conservative, fear-dominated.  When threat and fear are paramount in the  political thinking of leadership, it has a very constrictive effect on the vision inherent in policies.  The call for change would have to be loud and clear, and arise from citizen involvement in pushing for more enlightened policies. It is tragic when opportunities for cooperation on tasks  as vital as the defeat of ISIS, and potentially life-saving as the avoidance of major warfare, are not fully acted upon and carried out to fruition.

Thursday, September 10, 2015


For the past three month's America's news media and its viewing and listening audience has been fed a non-stop diet of Donald Trump.  He was first seen only as a passing fancy, someone who the public would quickly see through and fall out of contention as a Republican candidate for president.  The GOP establishment certainly hoped this would be the case, and the media laid in waiting to chart his expected downfall.  The Trump name has always been a financial and media creation, in real estate, in business, in reality show entertainment, and, now, how would it fare in politics?  Certainly not here too, the public is too smart, too shrewd, too selective for that!  How wrong the experts, and most of the concerned public, has been!?

What is responsible for Trump's continued, in fact, growing popularity among potential Republican voters?  And how should the general public's mounting fascination with him be viewed?  Certainly the media's virtual nonstop attention to him since the campaigning began has played a significant role.  Trump knows how to play the media beautifully, drawing attention to himself and away from others. The public seems fascinated by his sheer gall, his crassness, his crudeness, arrogance, and insults. He has given new meaning to the term "Teflon Candidate", comments and behaviors that would destroy other potential candidates if made by them, are seen, when coming from him, as a refreshing breath of his selective, candid, unique perspective--political correctness is overrated anyway, isn't it?  The 16 other GOP contenders for the presidency are getting a mere pittance of attention from the media compared to that granted Trump, and most of that attention is focused on his style, his passing comments, his crude putdowns, not on the details of any substantive ideas he is adding to the campaign.  The nation is faced with numerous serious issues that demand in depth, substantive discussion and resolution, this has been virtually totally lacking in the Republican campaigning so far, as the focus on Mr. Trump has diverted attention to the admittedly unique but politically trivial aspects of Trump's personal style.  Politics is in danger of becoming another of his media reality shows, much more entertainment than substance, with the nation's real issues left to dangle in the overblown hot air and periodic laughs.

The media's preoccupation, however, doesn't do justice to the underlying reasons for his continued popularity.  That the three leading candidates in the GOP field are all considered anti-GOP establishment candidates carries a powerful message of how angry Republican voters are with the leadership of their party.  Congress's approval rating has never been lower, both chambers are under Republican control, their intent to stonewall Obama on most issues has failed miserably in the public's view, Obama's approval rating is over three times that of the Congress that has consistently tried to block his every move.  No one has captured that anger, and that desire to "make America great again" better than Trump, and all the mainstream Republican contenders that were expected to be the frontrunners are left with single digits in the polls, floundering in his dust.

Even considering this very legitimate anger of many concerned voters, and how they may be attracted to a non-establishment, untraditional candidate, it is still surprising that so many are drawn to apparently support a man like Donald Trump.  His overt egotism, his non-stop bragging, his focus on the superficial, his lack of depth, his petulance, his crassness, his tendency to immediately polarize and put-down, his lack of empathy, and total absence of any experience in affairs of state, or dealing with conflict situations with anything other than bullying, force, and pressure.  Is this really the kind of leader a significant number of Americans would choose to have?  Has our American psyche, our current civic and cultural state, sunk that much in recent years?  Candidates are a media creation as well as a political creation.  Much of what is on TV and in our media models some of the behaviors and attitudes Trump demonstrates.  If his apparent popularity is a reflection of on-going changes in our national character, it is, to be sure, a rude wake up call for those who want more for our nation, and expect better from our leaders.  Will the wake up call be answered by an informed, sensible public?  Much is at stake, lets hope so!

Thursday, August 13, 2015


Ever wonder why the approval rating of Congress has been at an all-time low in recent years. Ranging in the high teens to low twenties, it has been consistently less than half the approval rating of the President.  No knowledgeable person has any doubt that the nation has serious problems, and that they are not being dealt with by our elected leadership with the effectiveness and urgency that they require.  It is clear the public holds Congress much more responsible for this than the President, if their approval ratings are any measure of this.  In looking at the actions of Congress since Obama's election, and in listening to the constant statements of Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, a pattern emerges, in clear focus, that sheds light on Congress's historic low ratings. McConnell and Boehner may not agree with the following depiction of their To Do List, but with a nod to David Letterman's genius, this is one only partially tongue in cheek rendition of their Top Ten List during the Obama presidency so far.

1.  Block everything Obama proposes, the good things included.
2.  Raise Defense Department and NSA spending, cut everything else, especially for human and
     social services.
3.  Invite Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress, without consulting the President and as an
     indication of disrespect.
4.  Beat the drums to start another foreign war, with boots on the ground from more American
5.  Role back hard won civil rights, in the name of national security.
6.  Curtail privacy rights, except of course for corporations.
7.  Ban environmental, climate change concerns and legislation, as an infringement on economic
     liberty and corporate profit-making potential.
8.  Vote Congress a raise.
9.  Declare Congress on a well-deserved vacation.
10. Blame the Democrats for the collapsing and dire State of the Nation.

Any wonder why Congress is as unpopular as it now is? Or why Obama has gotten so much gray hair during the past seven years?  The list may be a slight exaggeration, but only slight. To many Americans, it does reflect the essence of what they see as having taken place, to the detriment of all of us.

Saturday, August 1, 2015


-For the past 12 years our policies in the Middle East have brought us nothing but failure, frustration, loss of life, treasure, and international status. The Bush-Cheney administration promoted the neoconservative concepts advanced by the right-wing think tanks that our initial successes in fighting al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan could serve as a springboard into invading and overthrowing the Saddam Hussein government in Iraq, establish a government there more favorable to our interests and those of Israel, and from there go on to "democratize" other Middle Eastern governments. We were, after all, beginning the century as the world's sole superpower, with absolutely unmatched military strength, and we had mobilized much of the world's support following al Qaeda's attacks on our homeland on 9/11.  The voices raised at home and abroad that this undertaking would be a calamitous overreach and unleash endless Islamic sectarian rivalry as well as further hatred of Western influences were totally ignored and ridiculed. The past 12 years have proven the fallacy of the war-initiators expectations, and the proof of the concerns of those cautioning restraint. Disaffected Sunnis have formed ISIS in Iraq and Syria, and their strength is spreading, Iraq is torn between Kurds, Shia's, and Sunnis, Syria is torn with civil war, Afghanistan is searching for a resolution, needing our continued support but also needing to make accommodations with the Taliban which continues to control many regions.  Pakistan is torn between supporting Western influences but also placating the elements of its population which lend support to extremist Muslim factions. Turkey is becoming allied with us in fighting ISIS, but also is engaged against the Kurds, which are our allies in the fighting in Syria and Iraq. And Iran, while vowing enmity to our ally Israel, is aiding Iraq and Syria in its fight against ISIS, and is also willing to assist in our efforts against ISIS, al Qaeda, and other terrorist elements.  In this highly complex, conflicted region with so many cross-currents of rivalry and hatred, there are certainly no easy solutions, but one thing should be clear from the history of the past 12 years, any resolution will not be imposed primarily by western powers and through the mere application of their military might. This is where the Iran Nuclear Treaty negotiated between Iran and the five major western powers imposing sanctions on Iran's nuclear development provides a valuable opening-- to not only ensure that Iran's nuclear development is clearly limited to peaceful, energy-providing applications, which should be the right of any advanced nation, but also to begin to create some bridges allowing Iran to become more engaged with the West in finding other ways to reduce the myriad areas of conflict and tension that are racking the region. 

Iran's population is one of the best educated, young, fastest-growing in the region. While its clerical leadership is old and still imbued with considerable hatred over the past history of western involvement and interference in their nation, the younger elected leaders have shown more desire for reasonable negotiations with the west.  The nuclear treaty provides a valuable opportunity to test this out, it is a potential win-win situation for both sides. Yet, in the United States and in Israel, the same forces that brought us the failure of the Iraqi War are campaigning with all their vigor, money, and might to defeat it. Blind to the fact that most of the rest of the world will be eliminating the sanctions even if we don't, further isolating us and demonstrating our reduced world influence, these same voices present the same tired but loud fear-mongering arguments. A "mushroom cloud" lies ahead, anything but more sanctions and military threats indicates "weakness", real leaders don't negotiate, they draw the line and impose their will. John Bolton would be ready to launch a surgical strike now, to knock out Iran's nuclear capability, regardless of the regional and worldwide consequences.  Dick Cheney would still argue for the same type of policies that have failed in the Iraq War he encouraged us into, with virtual guarantees of success. Most Republican senators are falling in line opposing the treaty, being ready to defeat anything the Obama administration attempts to accomplish. AIPAC and other conservative Jewish lobbying groups are campaigning against it, and may influence some Democratic senators. A number of more liberal Jewish organizations in the US are vigorously lobbying for the treaty's approval, but they lack the political influence and donor money of AIPAC. It will be a tough battle, our Congress may vote it down, but, regardless of the outcome, the Obama administration, other western powers, and Iran all deserve credit for putting it forward. It would be a continuation of the US's 12 years of tragic involvement in the Middle East, if the same old trigger-happy, violence-prone, war hawk voices of the past are again listened to and lead to our turning our backs on a valuable step towards a more enlightened Middle Eastern policy.

Saturday, July 25, 2015


For years our media has been consumed with tragic stories of mass shootings and other horrific crimes committed not by hardened criminals but by emotionally disturbed individuals who have fallen through the ever-widening gaps that exist in our nation's mental health system. Since the onset of Reaganomics in California, when as Govenor he was able to initiate the dismantling of the state-operated hospitals for the mentally and emotionally-disabled here, there has been a nation-wide pattern of closing, under-funding, and otherwise weakening what had previously been one of the world's premier mental health systems. We now almost daily read about the results of our failing mental health system. Shootings committed by the person next door that neighbors may have thought to be a little strange but no real problem, only his or her family or closest friends knew of the emotional or behavioral problems that were problematic but resistant to any treatment attempts;  homeless people, often reduced to begging on the streets, the majority of which have emotional disturbances but lack the capacity or resources to find effective help; jails and prisons which are increasingly housing people whose emotional needs were paramount in triggering legal infractions but found no accessible avenues for dealing with those needs short of breaking the law; veterans returning from combat experiences anyone would have difficulty accepting, finding the drugs and therapy the VA offered to deal with their PTSD being delayed, inadequate, and poorly monitored and sustained; and young people in urban areas leaving high school poorly prepared for being productive, being unemployed or underemployed, depressed over the lack of positive options, alienated, often prone to affiliating with gangs or other dead-end avenues. The systematic decline in our mental health system has been going on for at least 35 years, beginning slowly at first, accelerating rapidly during more recent years.  The results are all too obvious, but do our political leaders REALLY care? If they do, where is the evidence?  With each tragedy they are quick to express their sorrow and dismay, but has ANY effective action resulted?  Mental hospitals are still closed, jails are increasing housing mentally disturbed people, not hardened criminals, community mental health services are still being underfunded, services denied or referred to privately-funded clinics for those with the ability to pay.  The visible efforts are all in the direction of providing more security within our communities in the attempt to prevent the tragedies, but the real cause, the increasing incidence of people developing serious mental and emotional problems that are not being attended to effectively in the early stages and as they grow in severity, is being ignored. A  "perfect storm" is created by the ready availability of guns, including assault weapons, in our nation combined with the acceleration in the number of emotional disturbed individuals on the streets of our communities. Since politicians have been unwilling or unable to restrict the easy access to guns, the remaining option is to deal more proactively with the emotionally distraught.   Families are typically not able to deal with the emotional concerns of their loved ones, it becomes a community and a societal problem. Politicians  closed the hospitals, reduced funding for services and half-way houses offering therapeutic treatment, eliminated the early warning network that is essential to effective intervention.   They have the power to restore the needed system.  But where are they? It is, after all, a problem that obviously effects all of us, just as much as the foreign threats our politicians are so quick to address with ready funding and manpower. Isn't it time our leaders express more than sympathy and regret? One would hope so.  Enough of the kind words, time for action!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015


Barack Obama's presidency has been fascinating to observe for the dispassionate viewer, and has triggered strong and highly polarized reactions from the political partisans on both sides of the increasingly divided right-left extremes.  He has greatly disappointed his most loyal original supporters, and totally enraged those who were not inclined to support him at the outset. His brilliant oratory in campaigning, paired with his obvious intelligence and potential, undoubtedly escalated his supporters expectations of his presidency into the unrealistic realms of what was politically possible. And the overtly-declared intent of his political opponents in Congress to oppose and defeat his political endeavors and render his presidency impotent presented almost insurmountable obstacles at the outset.  Yet he has endured, struggled through battles with Congress, won reelection, and fought several battles with considerable class and fortitude. He has persisted in two highly significant endeavors, one at the beginning of his first term, when he was committed to improve health care coverage and did so with his Affordable Care Act. The second he is now engaged in, negotiating the agreement with Iran and our partners to limit, with IAEA verification, Iran's nuclear development during the forthcoming years. Both highly contentious battles, both imperfect solutions to extremely complex, difficult situations, he fought the battles impressively, against considerable odds for success, bowed to the realities of the situations, compromising with what he felt were the realities of the maximum that was possible  in the face of fierce opposition.  He deserves full credit for persisting in these battles, regardless of how much one may have wished for more. 

Obama has shown other moments of inspired, enlightened leadership. His response to the recent shooting at the Charleston Church, the genuine, heartfelt quality of his words when the nation experienced a national tragedy such as this, added to the remarkable response of the church and the Charleston community itself in turning this tragedy into a unifying event for everyone in the nation but the most hateful racists.  He has maintained grace and optimism in the face of personal insults and affronts, to his character as well as to his policies, as well as any individual could ever hope to.  On numerous key issues facing the nation, however, his leadership has fallen well short of what has been needed, and short of what his spoken words suggested he might be willing to fight for, lacking the same degree of commitment he has evidenced on the above-mentioned issues.  These issues deserve enumeration, and recognition as significant concerns that merit serious attention by the chief of state. Without any attempt to rank their importance, as most observers would agree they are all important but vary widely on which are paramount, they include 1) the environmental, human-influenced factors contributing to world-wide climate change, 2) the growing income and wealth disparity in our nation, continuing to weaken our middle and lower classes relative to the most wealthy, influencing quality of education, opportunity, national cohesiveness, and youth alienation, 3) the proliferation of violence in our society, influenced by absence of a sufficient social service and mental health network, ready availability of guns without adequate registration and control, and dwindling opportunities for accepted avenues of social advancement, 4) infrastructure redevelopment, greatly needed to improve quality of transportation, neighborhoods, and life, especially in the more impoverished communities of the country, 5) re-instituting a more fair system of taxation, one that more fully spreads the benefits of our economic system to all levels of society, and re-installing the corporate and financial regulations that have been systematically removed during the last 35 years, like Glass-Steagall, which had been effective in limiting corporate malfeasance, preventing excessive accumulation of wealth in too few hands, and ensuring against occurrences like the financial collapse of 2008, 6) correcting some of the impediments that exist within our democratic system of governance, including infringements on the voting rights of all citizens, the excessive power of money and the media in determining the outcome of elections, and the threat of predatory surveillance and violation of privacy rights, and 7) controlling our nation's reflex tendency, especially among the neocons who are still in our government and their influence over our media and our military, to believe that international disputes can most readily, and best, be resolved by use of our overwhelming military power. The last 12 years in the Middle East should have disproven that belief, but we are still militarily engaged there, with no end in sight, and Obama is proving with Iran how difficult it is to attempt to lead with diplomacy and negotiation rather than relying on threats or use of military force.  This is obviously only a partial list of significant issues. Obama has spoken with some conviction on each of them at times, but only on the health care act and the recent Iran treaty negotiations has he really followed through with sustained, vigorous effort. One is left believing that his heart is in a forward-moving direction, that he may have the audacity of hope, but that his commitment or his energy flagged on some of the key issues he has faced.  He deserves full credit for what he has accomplished, and for the obstacles he has faced with grace and courage. And he leaves his strongest supporters to deal with their feelings about the tasks left unresolved, and for leaders-to-follow to attempt to surmount.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Geo. and Jeb Bush In Secret Death Cult



Written by Keith Shirey

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Thursday, 18 June 2015
image for Bush & Brother In Secret Death CultDEATH CULT MEMBER AT DUKE
by Izzy Stone
After exhaustive research I have discovered that many prominent American politicians, leaders, and officials belong to a secret society called "Keres." In ancient Greece, violent death was the domain of Thanatos (god of death) and the blood-craving sisters, the Keres, spirits of slaughter and disease.
The "Order Of Death," another name for the Keres society has chapters in many universities throughout the country. Its members include Richard Nixon, numerous advisers in his administration, George W. Bush and his controllers, and officials/advisors under Barak Obama such as Bob Gates and Robert Kagan.
Of course, Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney are kingpins in the organization today. The Presidents named above and their counsellors are the ones responsible for the Vietnam War, the Iraq War, and the current "endless war" with its drone strikes and 700 military bases around the world to protect the American Empire.
The millions of lives lost in these unnecessary wars are pleasing human sacrifices to the bloodthirsty Keres.
Of equal importance is that this reporter has found that climate change denial constitutes a significant part of the U.S. politician's worship of the Keres.
Two term Governor of Florida and presidential aspirant, "Jeb" Bush, who is past President of the national governing board of Keres, serves as a good example of the society's climate change denial efforts.
Bush graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude from the University of Texas. As a intelligent man he knows the climate science on global warming. Yet he does not publically support the science and has even attacked Pope Francis' position that established science that human made global warming is real.
Bush, a Roman Catholic, issued a statement yesterday on climate change saying " I don't get economic policy from my bishops or my cardinals or my pope. I think religion ought to be about making us better as people and less about things that end up getting in the political realm."
Of course the statement is hilariously preposterous, like the incredible lies told by Johnson, Nixon, G.W. Bush, and Barak "Droneman" Obama to justify the slaughter and carnage in their wars.
Briefly dissecting Jeb Bush's recent statement, one can point out that dealing with climate change is not simply a matter of economic policy: If humans do not alter their conduct the planet will war 6 or 7 degrees centigrade making planet earth virtually uninhabitable for most humans as they die a horrible death from starvation, thirst, disease and wars for water and food.
Too, saying that religion - as Jeb does - "ought to be about making us better as people" and that it should "stay ought of the political realm," is a statement that the majority of Americans may support because they are ignorant strangers to critical thinking and scientific methodology, but the Phi Beta Kappa Mr. Bush knows much better.

Obviously, in context, being "better as people" certainly could include the saving the human species from the catastrophic effects of climate change! That just might be a concern of religion, which states that we are created in the image of God! Of course saving the human race is actually a matter of collective political action in the "political realm."
Americans who prattle on about how they don't want "politics in their church" are obvious idiots and Jeb Bush panders to them.
But, again, Jeb's remarks must be understood within the historical frame of a recent string of two-faced, mendacious, double-dealing politicians in America. Dear reader, these politicians must lie to cover up their actual motivation: The worship the Keres. How else to explain that 73% of GOP senators are climate change nihilists?
They are all college graduates (they must be at least somewhat impressed that an incredible of 97% of climate scientists say climate change is human made). All of the colleges these senators graduated from have Keres chapters and, although my research is yet to be completed, it appears all of these GOP senators were chapter members.
Jeb Bush and the other climate change deniers secretly applaud the human suffering, deaths, and environmental carnage that are the result of climate change denial.
Too, the vast majority of these political necrophiliacs are the proponents of "endless war." There is no sane rationale, no national interest involved for the U.S. to have spent its life and treasure in the Middle East and continue under Obama. But the spirits of Ceres control the minds of key politicians. Now we know why Bush II invaded Iraq. And now we know why Jeb Bush says his brother George, whose policies created ISIS, will be his chief foreign policy advisor if he were to be elected President.
The war-climate change denial death march goes on.
The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.
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Wednesday, June 17, 2015


Jeb Bush, on his first full day of campaigning since his official announcement of running, began in a very inauspicious manner. Among the people he targeted to attack weren't just his expected political opponents but also, of all people, the Pope, the head of the religion he chose to affiliate with decades ago. He had the audacity, in this case outrageous audacity, to offer advice to the Pope, that he should "steer clear" of political issues such as climate change.  He followed this up by implying that climate change can be thought of like an economic issue, saying he would not go to his bishop, cardinal, or Pope for advice on an economic issue, therefore the Pope should leave those areas to the politicians and content himself with matters of his flock's spiritual life. Very interesting, Jeb. In trying to shore up support with the hardline base of the Republican party, you take offense at the Pope believing there is something very real going on with climate change manifestations throughout the world, and that they are a potential danger to humanity and our natural environment as we know it.  And  you take it on yourself to suggest he back off from caring about such matters, as if he hasn't a right to speak out on all issues he feels are vital to humanity. You further suggest that scientists are arrogant when they believe that climate change is a real, verified phenomena.   So one might assume you also find the Pope "arrogant" in this regard. You might look in the mirror when you say "arrogant", Jeb!  Quite a beginning to your campaign. You were doing better before you opened your mouth and started talking.  You have enough money to run a great campaign, but your words may lose a lot more votes than your money can buy.

Looking a bit more deeply into Bush's advice to the Pope reveals an underlying, basic truth about his, and most other Republicans, core value system and political motivation. Whether the issue being dealt with by those in political power concerns science, health, social and human needs, trade, foreign affairs, or myriad other issues, its all about the economics. What will be the effect on the economic bottom line, the corporate profits that will filter to or from the captains of industry and finance who have assumed such massive power over our political system through the influence their money exerts?  Dealing with climate change effectively would cut into the immediate profits of multi-national corporations, so it needs to be denied and defeated, the Pope should keep quiet about it, regardless of the human suffering and environmental damage it could cause. Improved health care for all would be costly, it must be defeated, so what if some people go without and suffer. The trade bill without protections for workers and environmental regulations should be implemented, it will increase  corporate profits, forget the job displacement, environmental rule overrides, and growing income inequity it fosters.  Wars must be fought, there are valuable resources we must have access to, markets to protect, even if we are working with autocratic monarchs and against the will of a majority of the local inhabitants of the region. And on it goes.  It's all about the economics of the issue. This is a shift from the campaign slogan which won an election for Clinton in 1992, It's all about the economy.  The "economy" Clinton was referring to dealt with the financial state of all the people, not excluding the middle class and below.  Bush's "economics" refers much more to how the economy is measured by Wall Street and the heads of our corporate and financial institutions, those in the highest ranges of  wealth and income in our nation.  Bush's first day statements are reminiscent of Mitt Romney's faux pas in his 2012 campaign, that there is a sizeable percentage of the US population that his campaign makes no pretense of trying to appeal to or represent. Bush's statement was not as blatant, but the implication of where his priorities are is clearly there.  So the Pope shouldn't talk about climate change, its an economic and political issue.  This suggest Bush might  say the same thing about poverty, homelessness, health needs, income inequity, education, environmental degradation, they are all just economic issues that the Pope should steer clear of, just leave them to politicians like him. Let's hope the voters of our nation are listening, and will steer clear of Jeb Bush.

Monday, June 15, 2015



Thus far I've posted twice on the cover up by the Pasadena PD, the police union, the mayor and city council.  Several of us in Pasadena request rationale for not releasing what appears to be an objective report which excoriates cops for the murder of this unarmed Black youth.

Their absurd rationale is state in two previous posts.  i suppose that racial justice groups in the city will take action to protest what is beyond a stonewall.

The Pasadena cops are adept at presenting a happy, rational face to the liberal community in Pasadena but behave like storm troopers in some ghetto areas.  The Pasadena Star News doesn't do any in-depth reporting on the situation.  i suppose they are waiting for the murder of another Black youth by the cops before it hits print.  But then, of course, the reporting will be superficial.

Stay Tuned.

June 15, 2015,

Monday, June 8, 2015


As our politicians gear up for another national election next year, it is open season for those seeking high office to roll out their latest sound bites, campaign slogans, and elaborate promises on how they can solve the nation's problems and get our country back on a positive track. The game playing has already begun in full, and two of the most popular areas of focus that are emerging concern the downward well-being over the last 30 years of the nation's middle class, and the sorry state during the last 15 years of our foreign policy, with special emphasis on the continuing failures of our military involvement in the Middle East.  With each of these areas of greatly needed attention and change, most major candidates have already given a glimpse of the hand they intend to play in dealing with these major challenges, and their gamesmanship seems directed towards winning votes but not really changing policy or solving problems in realistic ways.  In short, they promise much talk; little if any positive action, and our difficulties continue unabated or are made worse.

 The following paragraphs will discuss the game playing unfolding in these two areas, as they will be paramount in both of our party's presidential campaigns.  There are other equally, or even more, important issues that should be highlighted by any responsible candidate, such as climate change, despoiling of our natural environment, weakening support for public education, infrastructure needs, campaign finance reform, underemployment and mental health crises with our youth, increased domestic violence, and failures of our justice system in administering real justice.  These are issues which one or both parties will likely tend to avoid, downplay, or try to capitalize on politically without approaching in any substantive, meaningful way. One announced candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, is attempting to deal with these issues in a very earnest, probing, and change-oriented fashion. More power to him, and his endeavor to become more than a long-shot candidate or to have a major influence on whichever candidate prevails. In the meantime, others in the current political field paint a less than optimistic picture for those with basic concerns about our nation's current well-being, and desiring real political change.

Issues key to the middle class will play a prominent role in the campaign not just because it is middle class votes that typically determine the outcome of elections, as a majority of swing voters fall within that group, but also because a strong, healthy middle class is one of the defining characteristics of a vibrant, thriving, effectively-functioning nation. During post-World War 2 America, up to the 1980's, our middle class was doing well, and our nation continued to do relatively well in spite of some major governmental missteps during the late 1960's and '70's.  Since the 1980's, however, the middle class has been in decline in their economic well-being, thanks largely to Reaganomics and its supply-side, corporation and wealth-favoring policies, and has been majorly suffering since 2008 and the economic collapse following financial industry deregulation and the war and defense-spending biases of the Bush Administration. Since only Wall Street and the most wealthy have fully recovered from the economic losses incurred then, middle class issues will be focused on by both parties, Republicans blaming Obama for the lack of middle class recovery, Democrats focusing on the obstacles to real recovery which the Republican-controlled Congress have presented, with their spending priorities excluding making money available for human needs, societal enhancement, virtually anything other than defense, surveillance, and law enforcement. While Republicans will talk a lot about middle class needs, their remedies are likely to be superficial at best, rather than the substantive changes necessary, reversing some of the tax and investment changes brought on by Reaganomics and reinstituting the financial company regulations that were removed in the late 1990's.  Democrats may discuss some of the underlying causes of middle class decline, but the presumptive candidate, Hillary Clinton, is so beholden to vested financial interests herself, and with a husband who as president relaxed long-standing financial regulations and promoted foreign trade agreements which worked against middle class interests, it is difficult to see her strongly supporting middle class needs through concrete deeds that go beyond words of support. Her silence on issues now suggests she will align herself just slightly to the left of her Republican challengers on these issues, rather than become an advocate of real change, as Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Robert Reich, Paul Krugman and other clear, cogent voices pushing for real change are offering.

Foreign policy will also be a key part of the campaign, Republicans attacking Democrats for the fact that our policies in the Middle East have led to more failure in that region, with the growth of ISIS into a significant force and the lack of any cohesive strategy of how to successfully involve ourselves in any of the conflicts going on in that tormented region.  If Hillary is the candidate, she will be able to place the existing conflicts and our involvement in them into the context of the situation that Obama inherited in 2008, but the fact that she played a major role in devising the strategies that we have followed since then, and the reality that they have failed miserably to achieve their ends, will be hard to defend.  The Obama administration's claim that this strategy is in fact "winning" is a spin that defies all credibility.  Republicans will all talk about what they would do to win against ISIS militarily through increasing our use of force, and that they would be able to convince what regional allies we have in the area to join with us, provide most of the "boots on the ground" to fight the battles consistent with our agenda. Easy words to say in an election, much more difficult to accomplish in a region torn by internal conflict and leery of foreign influence and domination. Hillary may be a bit less arrogant in feeling we can force the outcome that meets our desires, and be more inclined to negotiate on strategies with allies and compromise on resolutions, but she too is likely to be militarily-oriented.  And neither party's candidate is likely to deal with the underlying, most significant issue facing our involvement, do we have either the right or the capacity to take the lead in trying to orchestrate a solution to the region's conflicts?  Some would say our vital interests, economically, diplomatically, morally, are at stake. Some would say we are responsible for creating ISIS when we destroyed Iraq through extending our war against al Qaeda into Iraq and set up a government which alienated Sunnis. Even if we were complicit in breaking the region, have we the capacity to fix it, or even the right to continue imposing ourselves into a region where western powers have for centuries acted against the better, and the self-determined interests of the local inhabitants.  These are the real questions, but not ones that are likely to be heard in any real way during the campaign. In their absence, we are likely to continue to error, to blunder, to antagonize, to expend valuable resources, human and financial, in continuing questionable and losing endeavors. The political campaign will end, one candidate will win with much fanfare, but will our nation and our society, and their subsequent endeavors, also emerge victorious?  The optimism one would like to hold is difficult to foresee.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015


The following letter is to Ms. Stone, Field Rep for Pasadena Mayor.  It simply repeats a message to the Mayor which  quotes a repeated message to the City Attorney's office.

June 2, 2015

Ms. Rhonda Stone
Field Representative
Office Of The Mayor, Pasadena CA.

This is an E-mail sent to the Mayor today. “ E-mails and ‘phone messages have been sent to City Attorney's office  There is no response.  Would like your written response Mr. Mayor.  ‘Please respond to this question  in writing via e-mail.  Your office has been ordered by a court to release the OIR (80% of the content available) related to the killing of Kendrec MCDade by Pasadena PD.  2 attorneys in your office have responded to inquiries as to why you have not done so with the rationale that, because the case is under appeal,  your office is not bound to release the OIR.  Is this the case?  Please respond in writing via e-mail.  Keith F. Shirey, Professor Emeritus Political Science Citrus College member of #Black Lives Matter, Pasadena Chapter.  We would appreciate an immediate response. Thank you.’  This is the repeated message sent to the City Attorney’s office.  So Mr. Mayor, can you, yourself, get a reponse from the City Attorney's office and send it to us via e-mail?  Thanks.”

This case isn’t going away Ms. Stone. Word has it that you have great influence over the Mayor.   We want a written response.  We’ve already heard from 2 attorneys in the City Attorney’s office and left telephone messages.  What are you folks hiding?  The very partial content of the OIR released in connection with a civil suit reveals police misconduct, negligence, and downright stupidity on the part of the two “peace officers” involved in the brutal murder of an unarmed Black teen.  Were these cops on drugs?  Are they racist sociopaths? Did they commit cold-blooded murder? We want to know.  Let’s see the whole OIR, not just the redacted version.  The 2 City of Pasadena Attorney’s response that their office won’t release the OIR damning the cops because the judge’s office is is under appeal is a non sequitor.  Pasadena is entirely free to release it?  There is a foul order about this one of numerous murders of an unarmed Black youth, a stench  worse than that of  a stinking mackerel left on the kitchen sink for two weeks. The foul vapors are rising above the whole City Of The Roses and will, eventually bring it into national ill-repute.  Please give a heads up to the Pasadena Mayor Thank you for your attention


Keith Shirey
Black Lives Matter, Pasadena

Monday, June 1, 2015


JUNE 1, 2015
As reported in my last post:

“Two Pasadena police officers, Matthew Griffen and Jeffery Newlen, who shot and killed an unarmed teenager three years ago were not disciplined for the shooting and made tactical errors during the incident, according to a court document. 
According to part of the an Office Of independent Review (OIR) According to excerpts of the report quoted in a March 16, 2014 court filing, the officers “repeatedly made tactical decisions that were not congruent with principles of officer safety.” 

Recently the Office of the Pasadena City Attorney has been ordered by a judge to release a (partially redacted)  OIR.  But the City of Pasadena will not release the report!  How can they defy a judge’s order?  2 city attorneys have told us (we are Black Lives Matter in Pasadena) that, because the City is appealing the judge’s decision, it is not bound to comply with his orders.  We have posed a simple question two 2 attorneys in the City Attorney’s office:  Are you bound by the appeal not to release the OIR?”  It is a simple question designed to show their complicity with the Pasadena PD’s police union.  But they will not answer!  They're not bound by the Appeal!  What are they hiding?  What do they fear?  Where is the OIR?  Is it hidden in some dark place so that it cannot be brought into the light of truth?

I have communicated with city attorney Michelle Beal Bagneris in writing and by telephone message asking the same question.  I do not expect her to contradict the other attorney’s in her office and I don’t expect her to answer the question.  However, I’ve given her a chance and will report her answer, if she responds, on these pages.

Clearly the independent report has damning evidence that is being withheld by agents of the City of Pasadena involving the murder of an unarmed teenager by the infamous Pasadena Police officers Newlen and Griffen.

One is forced to inquire, were Newlen and/or Griffen on drugs? Are they vile racists?  Do low IQ’s impair these cops?  Were they suffering from depression and/or sleep deprivation?  Are they identifiable sociopaths?
These are legitimate questions because parts of the OIR that were released in connection with a civil suit reveal that Newlen and Griffen were confused, violated the most elementary of police procedures, and were grossly incompetent in this case of obvious murder. But, again,  what is the more damning evidence in the (partially redacted) OIR?

Why the cover up?  Why the collusion between the Pasadena City Attorney’s office and the police union?

How deep does this corruption go?  Surely the mayor and city council know the details of the tragic death of Kendrec McDade, yet another police killing of an unarmed black youth?

Is there pervasive racism in city government?  Why don’t they act in such a catastrophic, heartbreaking situation? 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


10/16/14 A Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled Thursday that the city of Pasadena can release a redacted version of an independent report (OIR) on the officer-involved deadly shooting of 19-year-old Kendrec McDade.  No charges were filed against the officers and they are on duty. They were not  charged with involuntary manslaughter,  Thus far there is neither the redacted report nor a non-redacted report made available to the citizeny.

So where is the report?  If one searches on-line it cannot be found in the Pasadena Star News.  Their search engine doesn’t even come up with the name Kendrec McDade. The local PBS station, KPPC, has nothing.  Several of us are on the case and are demanding the version,  of which 20% is redacted,  from city hall.  Why hasn’t the City Council made this public?

Two Pasadena police officers, Matthew Griffen and Jeffery Newlen, who shot and killed an unarmed teenager three years ago were not disciplined for the shooting and made tactical errors during the incident, according to a court document. 
According to part of the an Office Of independent Review (OIR) According to excerpts of the report quoted in a March 16, 2014 court filing, the officers “repeatedly made tactical decisions that were not congruent with principles of officer safety.”  Some of these severe errors are enumerated in the (OIR) but 20% of the report is being withheld from the public. But what has been released in the OIR is not nearly as specific as in the depositions taken of the officers themselves.  

The` officers said they chased McDade in a police car, without lights and sirens, following a report of an armed robbery. At one point, Newlen exited the patrol car and began to chase McDade on foot through the dark streets in northwest Pasadena. Griffin remained in the car, and fired the first shot when he said McDade began running into the street toward him.
Newlen said he fired from the sidewalk after he saw a “muzzle flash” near the rear of the police car.
“I saw him run directly at the drivers side door of the police car. I heard a shot. I heard two shots specifically. At one point I saw a muzzle flash, I believed that my partner had just been killed and he was turning and firing at me,” Newlen said, adding that he saw McDade turning toward him in a “crouched position.”

Both officers said they did not see McDade’s hands during the altercation and never saw a weapon.
The officers also indicate a Pasadena police patrol car was wrecked when it struck a wall during the brief pursuit of McDade. Newlen said he told McDade to stop as he chased him on foot, but Griffin said he did not give any commands before firing at McDade.

An attorney asks, “Did you ever say to him, ‘Put your hands up’ before you shot him?”
Griffin’s answer was, “No.”

Later on Griffin was asked, “Did you give him any warning at all you were going to shoot?”
Griffin again answered “No.”

Griffin admits his patrol car, left in reverse, injured him and nearly ran over McDade in the seconds after the fatal shots were fired.

Both officers said the incident was the first time they had been involved in a shooting. The officers were legally cleared in the shooting by the District Attorney’s Office and an internal policy review. Both have returned to patrol duty.

One wonders if the 20% of the OIR, which the judge allowed to be redacted  relates to these damning statements by the officers.

Pasadena citizens or those whose business or pleasure takes them to the city should demand answers from the Pasadena PD and city hall.  We need the whole report—which we don’t yet have-- not some redacted version or, at least for now, the redacted one.  Are the Pasadena Police and city hall trying to hide something?

Meanwhile we’ll try to get the redacted OIR report, which seems to be withheld from the public.  It should be public information.  Stay tuned.