Saturday, March 21, 2015


Many Americans saw and applauded the Tom Hanks movie, Charlie Wilson's War, in which an American congressman, in conjunction with the CIA, was able to funnel billions of dollars of military and financial aid to the Mujahideen in Afghanistan, to assist the radical Islamic rebel groups overthrow the existing government that was then in power.  To western eyes, the purpose of the assistance was to defeat and terminate the Soviet support and influence that the Afghan government had sought in its attempt to reform the nation and remain in power. The long-established Islamic king had been overthrown in 1973 by more secular, reform-oriented leaders, who had begun a process of initiating significant changes, increased voting rights, more rights for women, moderate changes by western standards, but radical ones for a traditional Muslim nation. Muslim nations were quick to see the threat, rapidly backing rebel Muslim groups fighting to overthrow the reformist government. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia especially provided support and manpower, also Iran. Osama bin Laden was among the jihadists answering the call. The US and UK were the primary western powers to back the rebel groups, their motivation of course was fear of a Soviet takeover of Afghanistan, they called the mujahideen groups "freedom fighters", downplayed the fact that by definition they are "jihadists", and considered the presence of Soviet troops in the country as "the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan", although the existing Afghan government had in 1979 formally requested the assistance of the Soviet Union and the presence of their troops. Whether our involvement, as a part of the Cold War, was right or wrong, is not the issue here. Rather, the purpose is to underscore the extreme dangers to the western powers in continuing to try to play a major role, and determine outcomes, in the myriad complex and interwoven battles that have tormented the Middle East for centuries. Our successful involvement in Afghanistan in the late 1970's and throughout the 1980's involved spawning the very jihadist groups that have wrecked havoc on the Middle East, and on the western powers themselves. The Taliban gained control of Afghanistan in the 1990's, gave safe haven to Osama bin Laden as he trained al Qaeda recruits to become a deadly force with world-wide reach.  The 9-11 attacks gave the Bush-Cheney administration the opening it apparently wanted to find reasons to attack and overthrow the Saddam Hussein government in Iraq, driving Sunnis from power there, installing Shiites in their stead, leaving Sunnis disaffected and ripe for joining with rebellious Sunni forces who were fighting against the Assad government of Syria, Assad being an Alawite Shi'a, although Sunnis are much more prevalent in the population than Alawites.  ISIS, of late, has developed into an organized fighting force, well-funded, a threatening force in both Syria and Iraq, and a major problem for western powers. So a relatively innocuous beginning, providing support to mujahideen groups overthrowing a government in Afghanistan decades ago, has inadvertently played a significant role in creating the main radical Islamic jihadist groups that have been mushrooming in the Middle East ever since. Tread with care, Western nations, in trying to be a power broker when dealing with regions that are well outside your own domain.  You may be unleashing forces that will end up  haunting you for decades to come!

Thursday, March 19, 2015


Our nation is undoubtedly exceptional, and in many ways that are highly positive. At this time in our history, however, an extremely negative quality seems to have paralyzed much of our leadership, a significant majority of our population, and creates a type of  "exceptionalism" that is incredibly undesirable and potentially deadly to the well-being of our society and our nation. Denial of danger, refusing to act to counter growing perils, carrying on with life and pleasures as usual, choosing to ignore multiple signs of escalating problems, all are life-endangering tendencies which seem to have transfixed much of our nation. We are acting as one literally sleepwalking into danger. Let me list some of the obvious, all-too-real dangers, and how they are being ignored by our leadership and much of our society.

1)  Growing income and wealth inequality.

     For the past 35 years the disparity in income and wealth in our nation has been increasing. With the middle class shrinking in size, more individuals and households are falling into poverty levels, the wealth of those at or near the top is skyrocketing to virtually obscene levels, and many of the real strengths of our nation are being severely threatened. The equality of opportunity, the sense of community, that we are all a part of one vibrant society, is being torn apart. It was hoped that the economic collapse of 2008 might be a wake-up call,  trigger some institutional reforms, correct some of the blatant financial corporation abuses that wrecked havoc on so many citizens, and return us to a more level economic playing field that serves us all well. It failed miserably to achieve this, the wake-up call was never answered by the powers that be. Only the most wealthy have fully recovered from the decline, and they have continued their inordinate accumulation  of wealth, while the overall economic well-being of the lower 80% of our population has not increased their relative wealth or standard of living over the past 30 years, all while our stock market has reached all-time highs repeatedly.  None of the perpetrators of the mortgage crisis and financial manipulation failures have been penalized, in fact, corporations were bailed out, considered too big to fail, and their officers often rewarded, even with high government positions. Congress refuses to act to intervene on this scenario, the Citizens United decision ensures that the wealthy really control our elections, and with that, the nation. So no end in sight for growing inequality in wealth and income in our nation.

2)  Growing militarization and resort to violence, both at home and abroad

     With the dawning of a new century 15 years ago, it was believed that a more peaceful, less violent century than the past one might ensue. The opposite has clearly occurred, both domestically and in our foreign relations. Our necessary response to 9-11 and al Qaeda was tragically compounded by an ill-advised attack on Iraq, and the conflict ravaging the Middle East metastasized enormously and unnecessarily. A contagion of conflict was unleashed, Libya, Syria, Yemen, even into a handful of African states. A resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that has defied attempts for a just, reasonable solution for almost 70 years, became even less likely as the government of Israel, under Netanyahu, has become increasing right-wing and adamant against allowing a two-state solution. Israel, and some leaders in the US Congress, would apparently block a negotiated settlement with Iran concerning their nuclear development, even seemingly preferring war, with their "bomb, bomb, bomb" comments. In the Ukraine conflict, our leaders suggest sending military supplies and advisors to one of the competing sides, even as our primary European allies are attempting to facilitate a negotiated settlement between the Kiev government and the eastern Ukraine separatist forces. As the strongest nation in the world militarily, there are powerful forces in our government and defense establishment that turn to military solutions as an early response, rather than as a last resort when our vital interests are at stake and all diplomatic solutions fail.

     Domestically also, violence and a partial militarization of law enforcement is rampant. As crime, especially in impoverished areas of our society, and threat of terrorism, both from domestic and foreign sources, are escalating, many local police departments are becoming more militarized in the equipment and in the manner of their response to suspected wrong-doing.  The NSA is collecting and potentially overseeing much of our personal data and activities that would have been unheard of, and illegal, several decades ago. Guns are prevalent, more available for purchase and use by virtually everyone than ever, and the frequency of police firing prematurely, often unnecessarily, is also becoming more frequent.  Jails and prisons are full to capacity, to the point where early release is at time mandated by the court, not by reduced threat or terms being completed, but just because the prison is overly crowded. Rehabilitation efforts are stifled in such an environment, and the threat of criminal activity on the streets and violent encounters with law enforcement mushroom.  Funds to deal with the many root causes of violence are routinely rejected, as if our powers that be are blind to the ever-increasing problems.

3)  Growing man-induced environmental threats  

      While those in our government debate whether climate change is real, Arctic ice melts, low-lying islands are inundated, weather pattern changes cause immeasurable damage, ozone depletion in our atmosphere continues, and polar bears and other species battle to maintain their life patterns and avoid the threat of extinction.  With less rainfall in some areas, water shortage threatens to reach critical levels, and widespread fracking for oil adds to the problem by polluting underground water sources. Continuing overuse of oil and coal for both civilian and industrial purposes adds to the toxins that we are all exposed to daily, with no relief in sight although the dangers are well accepted by most scientists. Add to that the chemicals that we all ingest through food that is well incorporated into most of our daily diets, all for the purpose of added ease, convenience, and profits in the growth, processing, and sale of our food supplies. No one can be sure of the full extent of the dangers  in the myriad environmental threats we face, or in the timelines involved, but a lot is known of the forces amassed to resist even a recognition by government of the existence of the  threats--massive amounts of corporate money for lobbying to influence conservative legislators to block even basic remedial steps to intervene on known developing concerns. And, of course,  Fox News  continues to mislead the public as to the reality of the threats. So the threats continue virtually unchecked.

4)  Growing political polarization causing gridlock and stagnation in all three branches of government. 

     Little needs be said about the polarization, gridlock, and stagnation that has stymied effective governmental action in the US during the past 6 years, it is all a matter of public record for those following the course of political events in Washington DC.  Even the few major successes of the Obama administration, like the passage of the Affordable Care Act, continue to be highly contentious and subject to threat of termination. Up until several decades ago, there has typically been a core of moderates in both parties who, during non-election years, could cooperate fairly well in negotiating and compromising to pass legislation that was of vital interest to the well-being of the nation. That ability to work together has evaporated in recent years.  Most moderates have left the Republican Party, they could not win in primary elections against the more conservative candidate.  Many Democrats with progressive leanings have had to compromise and tilt towards the right to satisfy their more wealthy political donors, to meet the funding necessities required due to the Citizens United decision, further weakening the ability of Congress to take effective steps to deal with the challenges of the times. And the Supreme Court itself adds to the gridlock, being politically polarized in its current constitution, tending to often make decisions based on political grounds rather than on sheer judicial and constitutional grounds.

5) Growing breakdown in our educational, human resources, and social safety network.

     The daily news reports give full evidence of the degree to which our nation's human safety net is increasingly failing us.  More of our teenagers are having trouble completing high school, and even those graduating are often performing below acceptable levels on achievement tests.  While our universities continue to function at high standards compared with those in other advanced nations, our nation's public secondary school educational system  has slipped to near the bottom in achievement scores relative to those of other advanced nations.  Unemployment among young people is high, adding to poverty, homelessness, and mental distress, which public resources lack the funding to respond to adequately. Crime, drugs, mental breakdown, violent outbursts, and suicide are too frequently the result, for the young as well as those of more advanced ages, as even very well-intended human resource services are over-extended in their attempts to meet the growing needs. Health resources are still unavailable or too expensive for some, and the cost of treatment that is uncovered by insurance can lead to bankruptcy for a percentage of those with limited means who do take the risk of pursuing high cost, uncovered treatment. The reality of returning veterans waiting months to receive treatment in Veterans Administration hospitals, even when dealing with conflict-related injuries, is a national disgrace. Heroes when they serve overseas; untreated, even at times homeless when they return.  Obviously not right, but what is the government doing about it. With congress's tight purse strings, virtually nothing. Money available for defense, and for foreign wars, but for human needs at home, forget it! So the dysfunction and suffering continues to mount.

These are just a sampling of the growing concerns our nation faces but is clearly not adequately handling.  A governmental sea change may be required to fully address and institute some of the monumental changes necessary to deal with them. Facilitating these changes will obviously not be easy, will require concerted citizen action at a time when a majority of our population is just struggling to maintain their family's financial and emotional well-being, and others seek whatever relief from the stresses they can find in whatever diversions and pleasures may be most readily available. One thing for certain, our elected leaders will not institute the changes unless it is demanded by the public that votes. Increased public awareness, fuller public voting, more pressure on the media to present the facts, not as favored by corporate media voices but as seen by respected, responsible, scientific and well-educated sources. The best defense against breakdown and failure within a society is a well-informed, well-educated, engaged public. Perhaps that is why self-serving, short-sighted vested interests are so intent on denying adequate funding for public education, on misinforming the public on key issues, and on promoting diversions and difficulties restricting full public participation in democracy. The lines are drawn.  Will the distress signals, the wake-up call, be responded to this time. Time will tell, but the time to sound the alarm, and to speak up, is now.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

#TheDespicableHumanRace : The Upside Of The Death Of All Humans

The New York Times of 3/13/15 reports:
“Like more than 1,450 other sea lions that have washed up on California beaches this year, in what animal experts call a growing crisis for the animal, this 8-month-old pup was starving, stranded and hundreds of miles from a mother who still needed to nurse him and teach him to hunt and feed. Ribs jutted from his velveteen coat . . .[it] was ragged with unsteady breathing.
It was put into a kennel with another pup so that they could keep each other warm.  For the moment the two curled up together like a pair of brown socks.  However, veterinary workers decided that both pups were too starved and sick and had to be put down.”
The article states that there is a “suspicion” that unusually warm waters in the Pacific are driving food away causing the horrible death and suffering of helpless animals.   A “suspicion?,”  #Bullshit.  The fact is that, during that last 16 years, the atmosphere has warmed and the oceans have warmed even more strongly than before. 
[If you move your lips when you read or are holding a #DroolCup just skip this paragraph.)  Now, for the willfully ignorant, mostly slope-headed primitives of the GOP (Groping Old Pricks). The oceans are indeed warming due to climate change.  As most democrats, all left-wing radicals and other thinking/feeling folks know, Global warming is primarily a problem of too much carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere—which acts as a blanket, trapping heat and warming the planet which warms the oceans and alters the availability of food for the sea lion pups and starves them to death. 
But hey, what about those 20 percent or more of the child population in 37 states and D.C. that live in food-insecure households (meaning that millions go to bed hungry at night?  Well, says America, f*ck them!  Why don’t they get a friggin job and why didn’t they choose richer parents before being born into this land of equal opportunity for all?
Yet, show those starving seal pups and doggies with soulful eyes on TV and you’ll get sympathy and financial contributions.   Show hungry children at home in the evening without food because their only meals come in the daytime from public schools. and America will say they should eat the leftovers and question whether these kids are wasting food at school.  Tea Party rural Southerners, from the land of the bole weevil, grits, and horsecheiße, will say that the “Gob mint” is not authorized by the slavery-condoning U.S. Constitution to feed famished children. (The Enumeration Clause (Article I, Section 2, and Clause 3) counted a black slave as three-fifths of a person for purposes of congressional apportionment.)

Since humans carry on with business as usual and cannot cope with the actual horrors of overpopulation, environmental destruction and climate change, the human race will be extinct within the next hundred years.

Happily, Fundamentalist Christians who revel in “End Times,” crazy Islamists, people like Vladimir Putin, and Kim Jung Ill, haters of LGBT’people, people like Bobby Petrino and Ray Rice, the heads of the NSA, drone operators, climate change de traders in ivory, Big Oil executives and frackers Scientologists, coal mine operators, pimps, War On Drugs advocates, DEA agents, U.S. and European Neo-Nazis, followers of Ayn Rand, Executives of the NCAA, Racist Fraternity Kids, and most politicians will have agonizing deaths, like those seal pups, due to food and water deprivation. 

There’s also other good news:  With the death of all predatory, parasitic humans the planet will regenerate.  Of course by 2100 all animal habitats, sea life, coral reefs, will be mostly gone but scientists say they might well come back.

But there won’t be any puppy seals or doggies with soulful eyes and no humans to see or remember them.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015


The US Congress, State Department, and media are playing a dangerous game in the Ukraine, beating the drumbeats for a new Cold War with Russia at the same time as our major European allies, namely Germany and France, are trying to work out a truce between the separatist forces in eastern Ukraine, receiving Russian support, and the loyalist forces representing the Kiev government, backed by western nations. Daily our media is replete with reports of regional fear of Russian expansionism and aggression, stories demonizing Putin, politicians criticizing Obama for not sending military aid, weapons, and personnel, all as a truce is being negotiated and in the early stages of being maintained. The Russian population, of course, is hearing the opposite message from their leaders. Western powers, especially the US, had a major influence in orchestrating the overthrow of the democratically-elected pro-Russian Ukrainian leader last year, have never ceased to surround Russia with nuclear missiles, western-allied nations, even drawing ex-Soviet states into NATO and having designs on luring some directly adjacent to Russia, such as Georgia and the Ukraine, into the western military bloc. The much discussed US reset with Russia was a front, a phony diversion. The truth, obviously lies somewhere between the two polar extremes, each side has cause for concern and caution. Unfortunately, with last year's events in the Ukraine, some of the prominent facts support the Russian position more than the US's. Our State Department's Victoria Nuland did encourage the factions leading the governmental overthrow, it was an illegal coup d'état. Ukraine had been a non-aligned nation since the collapse of the Soviet Union  decades earlier, as had been planned when the Reagan administration and Gorbachev's government envisioned future relationships between Russia and the West. Putin's leadership style and integrity are undoubtedly deserving of much criticism and lack of trust, but in regard to the Ukraine, he has a responsibility to defend his nation's deepest interests, and in seizing the Crimea and supporting Russian-speaking separatists in eastern Ukraine, he is doing that. The once powerful neocon element in our government failed terribly in their designs for the Middle East, they are more undercover now, but they are still there, pressing for more US involvement, including militarily, in the Middle East, against Iran as well as against ISIS, the Taliban, al Qaeda, Syria, etc.  Plus now in the Ukraine, encouraging a new Cold War, supporting military resolutions rather than joining whole-heartedly into the diplomatic resolution that Germany, France, Russia, Ukraine, and the separatists are attempting to negotiate. What a neocon like Victoria Nuland is doing in the State Department determining our policies regarding eastern Europe and Russia, perhaps only Obama can answer. But one thing is sure, she is playing a dangerous game, one that threatens not only our own resources but especially endangers the lives and well-being of our European allies. They recognize that danger, all that they have at stake, and fortunately they are not thus far going down the path that Nuland and the other misguided war hawks in our nation would have them take. Neocons have demonstrated they are good at starting wars, they have also demonstrated that they have no concept of how to bring them to a realistic, acceptable conclusion. In this instance, more power to our western allies who are at the diplomatic table, not to our government's more militant stance.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Netanyahu Speech Arrogant, Insulting, Full of Lies

In a cheap political ploy to help him win a close election and remain Israel's elected leader, Netanyahu delivered his address to the US Congress, a speech which drew enthusiastic applause repeatedly but upon close analysis proved to be arrogant beyond belief, insulting of the government that from Israel's inception has been its most steadfast supporter, and full of statements that have been shown to be untrue, even by those in his own government. Netanyahu may well win the immediate battle, get a bounce of a few percentage points to allow his party to defeat his more moderate opponent in the election in two weeks, but he is in greater danger of losing the war of preserving the well-being of Israel and facilitating a reduction of the instability and conflict that racks the Middle East and surrounds his nation. He has been losing support in his own nation through his resolute, uncompromising, short-sighted policies which only add to the threat of major hostilities breaking out, and the international support that the state of Israel has received since its creation almost 70 years ago has been splintering incrementally due to Israel's persistent refusal to allow a viable, sovereign state of Palestine to come into existence as was planned when Israel was established on land most recently populated by Palestinian Arabs.  The nations that have been Israel's strongest supporters are those that are attempting to resolve the nuclear issues which Iran's developmental program presents, they have Israel's and the entire region's best interests at heart. Netanyahu has no plan other than demanding no nuclear development at all be allowed, or threatening a preemptive strike if the development continues. He offers no end game for resolving the Palestine issue, other than allowing more settlements to be built for Israelis on land set to become a part of an independent Palestine. So Israel, under his leadership and with the support of some in the US Congress, continues to be an isolated nation surrounded by people and nations with which he refuses to recognize as having legitimate interests of their own.  The Middle East obviously faces serious problems, they include those faced by Israel but also extend well beyond them. Solutions will be hard to come by, they will require enlightened leadership. Netanyahu obviously is not capable of offering it, he is a part of the problem, rather than being a possible part of the solution.

Monday, March 2, 2015


On page A8 of the New York Times' edition of 3/2/15, speaking of Obama administration opposition to Netanyahu's impending address to a joint session of Congress, Speaker John Boehner is quoted as saying, on “Face The Nation,” "What I do wonder is why the White House feels threatened because the Congress wants to support Israel and wants to hear what a trusted ally has to say."

As it is with the public assertions of the vast majority of politicians of both parties this statement is vile horse manure. Boehner is saying that Obama is somehow opposed to the U.S.’ propping up Israel.  Yet Obama has requested from the Congress the highest amount of “security” funding for Israel in U.S. history.

Too, Boehner is equating  the human being Netanyahu with the state of Israel.  But a man is not a nation-state.   Too,  BiBi’s appearance before the Congress is highly controversial in Israel.

But,  did Face The Nation host, Bob Schieffer, say to Boehner something like, “Hold on, Mr. Speaker, lets examine what you’ve just said,” or “I think your statement is illogical and not factual,” or “John, you’re full of shit.”  Of course not.  The jovial, “trusted” Schieffer  let it pass by. 

On the editorial pages of the same date Charles M. Blow points out that at yesterday’s meeting of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CEPAC), where republican aspirants to the Presidency of the United States of America seek the organization’s endorsement, Gov. Rick Perry once again didn’t know his ass from a hot rock (to use a Texas expression).  Perry argued that President Obama “says that ISIS is a religious movement.  Again he’s simply wrong.  No, sir you are wrong.”  Oops!  It’s Perry who is wrong since Obama repeatedly has argued the opposite.

If Perry had appeared on Shieffer's show, Jovial Bob wouldn't have said something appropriate like, "Jesus Rick, I told you to wipe off the cow shit from your boots before you came into the studio."

Perry wears new horned-rim glasses in an effort to show he doesn’t have the IQ of a squashed tomato,  as the media has frequently noted.  But somehow the media ignores the drool cup that the Texas governor carries with him –  that's the cup with the Lone Star State emblem emblazoned on it and a favorite with hundreds of  thousands in Texas.  But the state isn’t all that bad.  As one Texan explained, . “People hate on Texas, but it's not as bad as some other states, like Mississippi or Canada.”

Sunday, March 1, 2015


Great moment of levity when you presented the #1 climate change denier in congress with the snowball showing that global warming is a hoax.    Since 97% of the scientific community says that near extinction of the human species is possible without a change in human causation of climate change,  I have to ask,  what next?  Perhaps a trip down  memory lane:  A joke from an SS guard at Dachau about genocide against the Jews, homosexuals, and Gypsies?

So, David Gregory, go find a snowball and shove it up your orafice where your humorous thoughts are often exoressed,,,,,,your asshole.