Monday, November 30, 2015

Telling the Truth about Trump and his followers

Right wing supporters of Trump (and Carson and Cruz and Rubio and Christie, etc., etc.) doubtlessly will not recognize themselves in the descriptions below as the new line of fascism in America. Just as the self-deluded Germans did in the time of Hitler, Trump's supporters see themselves as "patriots" desiring to save the "Homeland" ("Fatherland") from the much-feared "others" of different races and religions.  Calling themselves Christians, as did much of the German population in the '30s and '40s, they readily condemn everyone and everything their leader condemns, and embrace his every "solution" for getting rid of the problem people.

Ignoring the warning signs of the historical past (i.e., "This way there be dragons!"), Trump and Carson supporters believe themselves to be "lily white" (in every way) and God's chosen. They do not see the similarities between themselves and the Islamic extremists and would go down to their death denying that any such similarity exists.  Blinded by greed and misguided religious beliefs, they will blunder us yet again into another world war, based on fear and hatred of "others."  Donald Trump and Ben Carson and the rest of the Republican presidential candidate lineup are all following the same disastrous path, to one degree or another, but the aptly named Trump is trumpeting hatred and fear out loud without apology.  He appeals to the darkest shadows of human nature, instead of the "better angels" Abraham Lincoln once called on the people of this nation to demonstrate.

It seems useless to try to penetrate the bubble of darkness that Trump supporters live in. They can hear only the call of their pied piper, leading them down the same road to ruin that still reverberates with the echoes of Nazi storm trooper jackboots and cheering crowds, all marching their way to perdition.  All that the rest of us can do is pray and cast our votes for those who most represent the better angels of our nature.       

Trump's Embrace of Totalitarianism is America's Dirty Little Secret

By Henry Giroux

Business Mogul, reality TV star, and presidential candidate, Donald Trump recently mocked Serge Kovaleski, a New York Times investigative reporter with a disability, at a rally in South Carolina. This contemptuous reference to Kovaleski's physical disability was morally odious and painful to observe, but not to comprehend, at least not politically. Trump is a hate-monger, and spreads his message without apology in almost every public encounter in which he finds himself.

Some reporters claim he stepped over the line with this act of reprehensible cruelty. That is only partly true. In this loathsome instance, he just expanded his hate-filled discourse, making clear his embrace of a politics founded on arrogance, cynicism, unchecked wealth, and a deeply ingrained racism. In actuality, he stepped over the line the moment he announced his candidacy for the presidency and called Mexican immigrants violent rapists, gang members, and drug dealers. Or for that matter when he called, along with other right-wing extremists, to put refugees in detention centers and create a data base for them. These comments sound eerily close to SS (SS chief) Heinrich Himmler's call for camps that held prisoners under orders of what euphemistically called "protective custody. To quote the Holocaust Encyclopedia:

In the earliest years of the Third Reich, various central, regional, and local authorities in Germany established concentration camps to detain political opponents of the regime, including German Communists, Socialists, trade unionists, and others from left and liberal political circles. In the spring of 1933, the SS established Dachau concentration camp, which came to serve as a model for an expanding and centralized concentration camp system under SS management.

What is truly sad, dangerous, and even cowardly is how few people along with the corporate media and his intellectual defenders recognize that Trump is symptomatic of the brutal seeds of totalitarianism now being cultivated in American society. Donald Trump represents more than the anti-democratic practices and antics of Joe McCarthy.

On the contrary, he signifies how totalitarianism can mutate and take different forms in specific historical moments. Rather than being dismissed as a wild-card in American politics, it is crucial to recognize that Trump's popularity represents a dangerous "political space…in both the wider culture and in recent history." This is evident not only in his race baiting, but in his increasing support for violence against protesters at his rallies, and his call to "make American great again" by any means necessary, none of which is new to American society.

What is new is the degree to which this endorsement of violence, racism, and the call to violate civil liberties are expressed so visibly and without apology. How else to explain the muted criticisms, if not almost non-existent public and media response, to his comments that: "we're going to have to do things that we never did before. And some people are going to be upset about it, but I think that now everybody is feeling that security is going to rule… And so we're going to have to do certain things that were frankly unthinkable a year ago…" This call to do "the unthinkable" is a fundamental principle of any notion of totalitarianism, regardless of the form it takes.

For instance, Trump's recent call to bring back waterboarding and to support a torture regime far exceeds what might be called an act of stupidity or ignorance. Torture in this instance becomes a means of exacting revenge on those considered "Other," un-American, and inferior—principally Muslims, immigrants, and members of the Black Lives Matter Movement. We have heard this discourse before in the totalitarian regimes of the 1930s and later in the dictatorships in Latin America in the 1970s. Heather Digby Parton is right when she writes that Donald Trump "may be the first openly fascistic frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination but the ground was prepared and the seeds of his success sowed over the course of many years. We've had fascism flowing through the American political bloodstream for quite some time."

This is a discourse that betrays dark and dangerous secrets not simply about Trump, but more importantly about the state of American culture and politics. Trump's brutal racism, cruelty, and Nazi-style policy recommendations are more than shocking, they are emblematic of totalitarianism's hatred of liberalism, its call for racial purity, its mythic celebration of nationalism, its embrace of violence, its disdain for weakness, and its anti-intellectualism. This is the discourse of total terror. These elements of totalitarianism have become the new American normal. The conditions that produced the torture chambers, intolerable violence, extermination camps, squelching of dissent are still with us. Totalitarianism is not simply a relic of the past. It lives on in new forms and it is just as terrifying and dangerous today as it was in the past.

Trump is not just a fool or an idiot, or ethically dead, he is symptomatic of a long line of fascists who shut down public debate, attempt to humiliate their opponents, endorse violence as a response to dissent, and criticize any public display of democratic principles. America has reached its endpoint with Trump, and his presence should be viewed as a stern warning of the nightmare to come. This is not the discourse of Kafka, but of those extremists who have become cheerleaders for totalitarianism.

Trump is not a straight talker as some writers have claimed, he is a monster without a conscience, a politician with a toxic set of policies. He is the product of a form of finance capitalism and a long legacy of racism and violence in which conscience is put to sleep, democracy withers, and public values are extinguished. This is truly a time of monsters and Trump is simply the most visible and certainly one of the most despicable.

Totalitarianism destroys everything that makes politics possible. It is both an ideological poison and a brutal mode of governance and control. It puts reason to sleep and destroys any viable elements of democracy. Trump reminds us in the most exacerbated and dramatic forms of totalitarianism's addiction to tyranny, its attachments to the machineries of death, and its moral emptiness.

What is crucial to acknowledge is that the stories, legacies, and violence that are part of totalitarianism's history must be told over and over again so that it becomes possible to recognize how it appears in new forms, replicated under the banner of terror and insecurity by design, and endlessly legitimated by in the image making of the corporate disimagination machines.

Dark times are here but history is open and Trump's presence—along with his fellow extremists and supporters– should be a rallying cry for a struggle not simply against a crude and reactionary popularism, but against the tyranny of totalitarianism in its new and offensive forms.


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Sunday, November 29, 2015

The GOP BROUGHT THE TRUMP PLAGUE UPON ITSELF

BY LEONARD PITTS JR.

lpitts@miamiherald.com

"You got to give the people what they want"  --O'Jays

Even by his standards, it was an astounding performance.

Over the course of just two days last weekend, Donald Trump spewed bigotry, venom and absurdity like a sewer pipe, spewed it with such utter disregard for decency and factuality that it was difficult to know what to criticize first.

Shall we condemn him for retweeting a racist graphic on Sunday filled with wildly inaccurate statistics from a non-existent source ("Whites killed by blacks — 81 percent")?

Or shall we hammer him for tacitly encouraging violence when an African-American protester was beaten up at a Trump rally in Birmingham on Saturday? "Maybe he should have been roughed up," Trump told Fox "News."

Shall we blast him for telling ABC on Sunday that he would bring back the thoroughly discredited practice of waterboarding — i.e., torturing — suspected terrorists?

Or shall we lambaste him for claiming — falsely — at the Birmingham rally that "thousands and thousands" of people in Jersey City, N.J. applauded the Sept. 11 attacks and reiterating it the next day, telling ABC that "a heavy Arab population . . . were cheering."

Trump is a whack-a-mole of the asinine and the repugnant. Or, as a person dubbed "snarkin pie" noted on Twitter: "Basically, Trump is what would happen if the comments section became a human and ran for president."

Not that that hurts his bid for the GOP nomination. A Washington Post/CNN poll finds Trump with a double-digit lead (32 percent to 22 percent) on his nearest rival, Ben Carson, who is his equal in nonsense, though not in volume. Meantime, establishment candidate Jeb Bush is on life support, mired in single digits.

And the party is panicking. In September, Bobby Jindal called Trump "a madman." Two weeks ago came reports of an attempt to lure Mitt Romney into the race. Candidate Jim Gilmore and advisers to candidates Bush and Marco Rubio have dubbed Trump a fascist. Trump, complains the dwindling coven of grownups on the right, is doing serious damage to the Republican "brand."

Which he is. But it is difficult to feel sorry for the GOP. After all, it has brought this upon itself.

Keeping the customer satisfied, giving the people what they want, is the fundament of sound business. More effectively than anyone in recent memory, Trump has transferred that principle to politics. Problem is, it turns out that what a large portion of the Republican faithful wants is racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, the validation of unrealistic fears and the promise of quick fixes to complex problems.

That's hardly shocking. This is what the party establishment has trained them to want, what it has fed them for years. But it has done so in measured tones and coded language that preserved the fiction of deniability. Trump's innovation is his increasingly-apparent lack of interest in deniability. Like other great demagogues — George Wallace, Joe McCarthy, Huey Long, Charles Coughlin — his appeal has been in the fact that he is blunt, unfiltered, anti-intellectual, full-throated and unapologetic. And one in three Republicans are eating it up like candy.

Mind you, this is after the so-called 2013 "autopsy" wherein the GOP cautioned itself to turn from its angry, monoracial appeal. Two years later, it doubles down on that appeal instead.

And though candidate Trump would be a disaster for the Republicans, he would also be one for the nation, effectively rendering ours a one-party system. But maybe that's the wake-up call some of us require to end this dangerous flirtation with extremism.

"You got to give the people what they want," says an old song. Truth is, sometimes it's better if you don't.

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Saturday, November 28, 2015

New Kasich political ad has it exactly right


http://crooksandliars.com/cltv/2015/11/donald-trump-hitler-new-kasich-ad

GOP presidential candidate John Kasich's new ad, updating a WWII quote, tells exactly what is going on in the right wing support of a fascist demagogue like Donald Trump.  I applaud Kasich for telling the truth.  He is the only GOP candidate with his head screwed on correctly (at least, in his assessment of Trump).  A new would-be Hitler has arisen in our own country, and, true to ideological form, the right wingers are supporting him with great enthusiasm, just as the right wingers in Germany supported Hitler.

Today's right wingers try to disclaim Hitler as a fascist and insist he was a left wing liberal.  Talk about having your head in the sand, going against all historical appraisals of Germany and Hitler.  Of course, right wingers today also go against all scientific appraisals regarding the dangers of human-caused climate change.  Their rigid, denial kind of thinking hasn't changed in all the years since WWII.  Should memory fail today's Tea Party types in regard to past history, here is the original quote from the days of WWII: 

"First they came ..." is a famous statement and provocative poem written by Pastor Martin Niem├Âller (1892–1984) about the cowardice of German intellectuals following the Nazis' rise to power and the subsequent purging of their chosen targets, group after group. Many variations and adaptations in the spirit of the original have been published in the English language. It deals with themes of persecution, guilt and responsibility

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.




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Monday, November 23, 2015

The hilarious absurdity of it all! (~.~)

This Bill Hicks comedian "joke" is speaking the truth of what present-day quantum physicists have discovered (along with wise sages of all times--and at least one young man on acid (~.~)). Because only a tiny percent of humanity seems really interested in understanding who/what we actually are, what truly makes this joke so funny is the last sentence...  It nails exactly how the dream goes on in our world.  Take the wisdom of the ages, turn it into a soundbite and go right on with "the news of the day." 

This gave me a Big laugh today. Hope it does the same for you. Just one look at the daily news will prove to you that we are living in the theater of the absurd. (~.~)


"Today a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration, that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively, there is no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we are the imagination of ourselves. Here's Tom with the Weather."



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Friday, November 20, 2015

Oh YES! This says exactly what I think about Chris Mathews and MSNBC these days!


I have never been able to stand Chris Mathews, a loud-mouthed boor who should have been shown the door years ago.  MSNBC has made colossal mistakes in whom they choose to keep and whom to lose.  They fired Phil Donahue and Keith Olbermann and have kept on Chuck Todd and Andrea Mitchell (who, for whatever reason--possibly medical--cannot speak straight, gets lost and entangled in her words and at times just zones out all together. She seems dithery and out of sync most of the time.  Her nervous jitters make me feel sympathy for her at the same time I am wanting to shout, "Give her the hook and drag her offstage!")

I agree with the author of this piece that Rachel Maddow was a good addition to the lineup.  She was brought onto MSNBC by her then good friend Keith Olbermann's urging -- but she stayed out of the fray when Olbermann and the management went head-to-head.  Olbermann lost.  They kept Mathews and fired him--a great loss since Olbermann spoke truth to power (which was what led to his demise).  BUT lately, I have noticed Rachel's reiteration of the same words over and over, as if she were speaking to children, hammering the points into our heads.  She brings up good points and important news that others are missing or ignoring, so I continue to watch her.  But if there were a good news alternative, I would be switching stations when she is on.  Best of all of them, in my opinion, is Lawrence O'Donnell. 

I am wondering what kind of power Chris Mathews holds over the powers-that-be at MSNBC. WHY do they keep him on?  I turn off the TV whenever he comes on and can't stand when he does the post-debate narrations and interviews.  In my estimation, he and Wolf Blitzer at CNN are both obnoxious, so (now that Jon Stewart is no longer giving the real news on the Daily Show...sob) that doesn't leave me anywhere to turn except Fox, which is concretized in the Bubble World view of Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes...UGH! 

If we weren't in such dire straits in the world today, just watching that Faux network would be amusingly entertaining, with its dolled-up eye candy chicks with long hair, short skirts, crossed legs (showing lots of thigh) and 4-inch heels giving you the latest Bubble noise -- and the bleating nonsense that spews from the mouths of such as Sean Hannity (double UGH) and Bill O'Reilly (YUK).  It's so ridiculously/hilariously absurd, you have to laugh even if you want to cry when you think of all the clueless people tuned in who think Fox is really giving them "fair and balanced" information.  Fox is so far over the line, watching it is like viewing a satire done on SNL or reading a piece in Mad Magazine or The Onion.


Enough said.  Jaime O'Neill is becoming my favorite columnist...here is his acutely perceptive take on MSNBC: 



Chris Mathews, My MSNBC Problem, and Yours
by Jaime O'Neill | November 20, 2015 - 9:51am

Because I'm a liberal, I spend a portion of most days watching MSNBC, though I've begun to dislike that cable channel with something akin to a passion. Still, I stick to it for Chris Hayes and Lawrence O'Donnell, though even those shows seem to have been saddled with more right wing opinionizers of late, sent there by the suits, no doubt, the management geniuses who think that if they include a little more opinion from editors at Reason Magazine, or former speechwriters for McCain or Romney, viewers will come flocking to their channel.

The suits at MSNBC also dumped Keith Olbermann (remember him?) a guy who was smarter and more incisive than most anyone they've brought on since. And they made a hash of their afternoon lineup, with more Chuck Todd, a guy few progressives or liberals ever hoped to see more often. He's the guy, you will recall, who so famously said it wasn't his job as a journalist to ask hard follow up questions of political candidates or newsmakers who'd just said something egregiously false. It was the viewers' job, apparently, to sort it all out, and it was just his job to let the pols say whatever they wanted before moving on to the next topic. If Chuck Todd were merely neutral, or non-partisan, that would be ok, but he shows a definite pattern of being a bit more belligerent with Democrats than with Republicans. I don't think that's just my bias, either, though it is clear that cleaning the bullshit out of an elephant stall is always going to be a bigger job than cleaning up after a jackass.

Chuck Todd, and the recycled news voice of Brian Williams would have been bad enough, but they also eliminated two shows by two of their brightest people—Joy Reid and Alex Wagner. Though those two women can be seen turning up on panels or on live feeds from news sites, their disappearances as talk show moderators for viewers interested in something more than a mere repetition of the day's liberal talking points represented a significant downturn in MSNBC's cred as a source of serious analysis from a lefty perspective.

The suits also seem to think that ratings will be better served if they have more talking heads who look as though they're about to celebrate their bar mitzah, or be passed on a year early out of middle school. Lots of those young "experts" are quite bright and articulate, of course, but it's hard to look authoritative on TV when your skin hasn't entirely cleared up yet, or your voice hasn't quite changed register.

But even if MSNBC didn't have a propensity for so transparently being rating whores, the fact would still remain that their judgment isn't any too good even on that rather craven score.

Beyond that, their lineup of "liberal voices" is beginning to seem reminiscent of the kinds of liberals Fox "News" used to offer when they were genuflecting in the direction of "fair and balanced," back when every school yard bully's favorite poster child, Allen Colmes, was the counter part to every school yard's favorite bully, Sean Hannity. More recently, Fox has included Bob Beckel as their house liberal, a guy who would never have been the choice of many liberals or progressives had they been asked to pick someone to voice their opinions in an environment so hostile to them.

Beyond all that, however, is just how tiresome people like Rachel Maddow and Chris Mathews have become. Rachel is on my team, and though she nearly always is spouting off on subjects I agree with her on, the nature of her spouting has grown to be unendurable. If she's writing her own copy, someone needs to edit it. She repeats every single fact or idea or place name or point at least three times, and usually more often, slightly rewording it each time, as though she's unsure of whether she's made it clear, or unsure of the ability of her audience to follow her thought. If someone is writing her copy for her, she needs to fire that person and hire a few writers who didn't cut class on the day the writing instructor was going over the subject of padding copy. Listening to Rachel reminds me of when I was writing papers as a lower division under graduate, padding out thin ideas by repeating them in slightly different words, ballooning a hundred word thought into a thousand word paper.

And even if she weren't so breathlessly verbose, her manner would still be off putting, the way she seems to be scolding her listeners, or talking to them as though they have been kept after school. She's gotten rather full of herself in ways that don't flatter her, and she's not at all like the young woman I first met on that channel, so bright, but so much less imbued with a palpable sense that she knew how bright she was.

Even worse than Rachel, however, is the increasingly insufferable Chris Mathews, a guy who is asserting his claim to be the rudest boor on television as he asks rambling and often incoherent questions of guests, then barely lets them get a word out before he interrupts,interjecting a repetition of one aspect of the "question" he's just asked, or asserting his own opinion, which is already contained in the question, once more. And though, like Rachel, he's sometimes said things quite well and even eloquently, making points I'm pleased for him to have made, just as often he's said really stupid shit, or perpetuated a media promoted narrative that turned out not to be true, or embarrassed me as a fellow member of the same gender with his adolescent view of how the world works, how much it is like a movie he saw or a song he heard. He's the guy, you'll recall, who got giddy when George W. Bush staged that landing on that aircraft carrier, then strolled across the deck in that flight suit before giving his horseshit "Mission Accomplished" speech. Chris Mathews, however, thought that was just about the neatest thing he'd ever seen, and it gave him the tingles. It was, he said, gushing like a school girl, a real macho and "very American" thing to do, and we Americans can never get enough of "that kind of stuff."

Gag me with a fuckin' spoon. That shameful moment of grandstanding by the village idiot we'd allowed to be in charge of stuff like invading the wrong country, and giving big tax breaks to his friends, and running the White House for the benefit of "defense" contractors, oil men, and hedge fund crooks was the perfect emblem of all that's wrong with this country, but it played well with Chris, alas. He likes a guy in uniform, even one who'd gone AWOL when he was supposed to be wearing one.

Then there's the tendency Chris Mathews has to get on a really silly hobby horse and ride that wooden horse into a lather. His little crusade to teach his listeners how we really should be pronouncing Dick Cheney's last name ("Cheeen-ey," says Chris, not "Chain-y" is notable in this regard, a tiresomely repeated trope, utterly irrelevant, not interesting, and an idea even Chris Mathews can't keep straight on his tongue or in his head. He sometimes pronounces the former VP's last name both ways in the same segment.

Beyond that, there's his inclination to write a book just about every year, usually a variation on his memories of having worked for Tip O'Neill back when, in his memory, politics was still a matter of having a few drinks between a couple of Micks at the end of the day, with Ronald Reagan and ol' Tip able to work together, with the help of young and adorable and o' so patriotic Chris Mathews. Once these books have been written, Mathews hypes them on his show until it becomes shameless and embarrassing, a hustle that makes Bill O'Reilly's book peddling on his show seem almost diffident and modest by comparison.

But I can forgive all this shit most of the time. However, this week, Chris Mathews mounted a new hobby horse, and watching him ride that ugly nag has pissed me off almost as much as Ted Cruz or Donald Trump pissed me off in the aftermath of the massacre in Paris.

For the last few days of the week, Mathews wanted to rail on the Syrian men who are fleeing their country, wanted to wonder why "Syrians won't fight," casting aspersons on them for their cowardice, comparing them to stalwart Americans who would never flee, but would stay no matter what and "fight for their country."

First off, that is so goddamned stupid that my jaw dropped each time he started on that subject. The Syrians ARE fighting for their country. That's why some of them are fleeing. It's not a fit place for their children anymore because so many Syrians are fighting for their country, all in different sects and sub-sects and tribes and bands and allegiances. Meanwhile, we are bombing various and sundry places where fleeing Syrians once lived, or providing arms to contending Syrians who stay to fight. And, if there's not enough fighting going on in Syria to satisfy Chris Mathews' sense of Syrian patriotism or courage, the Russians are bombing that country now, too, and of course the nation's leader, Assad, has been fighting for his country, too, willing to kill any number of his fellow Syrians out of his sense of love for his country.

But when Chris Mathews, a fuckin' liberal, excoriates and sneers at these poor men who are on the run with their families, guys who can't figure out which bunch of their fellow Syrians to hook up with, who put the love for their wives and children ahead of their love of lines drawn on a map to form a country, that fulminating and posturing being done by a TV talking head is just off-the-charts offensive. It puts the worst of Chris Mathews on display, the part of him that will, apparently, always be that 11-year-old boy he was in Philadelphia, back when the heroes were all square-jawed, strutting around in flight suits, or fearlessly blasting the bad guys out of their saddles.

Why, Chris opines, sagely, can't Syrian men be more like us stand-up American guys? Why won't they fight? What the hell is wrong with them? Do they need us to send them a whole bunch of John Wayne DVDs in order to teach them some backbone?

It's the kind of bullshit that makes liberals look as stupid as Tea Party morons, and I'm not sure any of us, no matter how damn dumb we can be, are really well served by that, especially when intelligence seems to be in such short supply everywhere you might care to look.


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Thursday, November 19, 2015

More Sad environmental news

Catastrophic Pacific Ocean Die-Off, The US Military's All Out Assault On The Web Of Life

By Dane Wigington
 
 
Many have heard about some of the die-offs occurring in our oceans, but most have no understanding of how catastrophic the actual reality is.
 
Fukushima is where all the fingers point as the source of the carnage along the coast, but there is much more to the story. Those who control the US military have virtually no regard for any of the destruction they are wreaking on the entire web of life, including marine life. The US Navy has long since been using live depleted uranium ammunition and devastating sonar devices along the Pacific coast (the US Navy is now also waging electromagnetic warfare along our forests and our coasts). The US (and other nations) have also routinely dumped nuclear waste into our oceans. The excerpt (shown at the link below) from the US Navy's "Environmental Impact Statement " is beyond shocking. Their position is this, if there are no studies to prove the harm they are causing, then no harm was caused.
 
"The study area for consideration of impacts on marine plants and invertebrates includes the open ocean west of Washington, Oregon, and Northern California….Aircraft overflight and training activities are assumed to have no impacts to marine communities, because impacts of sound on plants and invertebrates are unknown and difficult to quantify."
 
The statement below was appropriately presented (along with other pressing points) to the US Navy's EIS staff by concerned Oregon resident Carol Van Strum.
 

The question of past and current Naval activities is highly significant. For example, the EIS acknowledges that past and present activities off the Oregon coast have involved the use of rounds comprised of depleted uranium. Uranium, depleted or otherwise, is an exceptionally persistent material in the environment. The EIS revelations of Navy use of depleted uranium thus raise very serious concerns about how long the Navy has been using depleted uranium rounds in the Pacific Ocean, how much was used per year, where that use has occurred, and what environmental impacts have already accrued from such use, such as uptake by fish and synergistic effects with other wastes and products from Naval exercises. The EIS mentions none of these issues.

 
In 2010 I personally spoke to a US Navy Public Relations representative that very cavalierly confirmed the Navy's use of depleted uranium ammunition for "practice" off of the US West Coast. She seemed to have no idea of the dangers posed by this ammunition, but rather was only repeating whatever she was told.  The US Military has also permanently contaminated vast areas of land masses with its deadly depleted uranium ammunition. An epidemic of birth defects in Iraq and elsewhere is the legacy of this use. But there is an even larger ongoing assault on the ocean, the planet, and all life, global geoengineering/weather warfare. The blatant atmospheric aerosol spraying so clearly seen of the coast of California in the satellite photo at the link below is nothing short of shocking.
 
 
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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Heart-touching Texas Monthly story about overcoming tragedy with love


A tragic but triumphant story highlighting a mother's love and devotion to her child ...it touches the heart in a way that's impossible to forget.


Also, if interested to see the people in the story on camera, here's a 5 min film about them, narrated by Billy Bob Thornton ...




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Monday, November 16, 2015

The true colors of the candidates


This chart shows why I cannot vote for Republicans and why I can't stand Hillary. There's very little difference between her and them. 
 GO BERNIE!


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Protect Yourself: 25 worst charities in America.


At this time of year, we are bombarded with pleas from charities for donations.  Over the years, I have been fooled into donating to organizations that are charities mostly for themselves.  I've learned now to give to just a few that I have investigated and KNOW the money is actually going to help the people it claims to be helping.  My own experience has shown me that MOST so-called "charities" take a huge proportion of the money for "expenses" before any of it reaches the proposed/supposed recipient.   The following link lists just a few of them, but also provides further links for you to check before you give or send any donations. 

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/11/13/1449096/-25-of-America-s-worst-charities-plus-tips-on-how-to-avoid-getting-scammed?detail=email

 

What they take in, how much goes to solicitors and what percent is given to those in need.



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Monday, November 09, 2015

Here we go again - This year's right-wing "War on Christmas" claims are already starting up

Makes me want to wave my magic wand, a la Harry Potter, shout "Ridiculoso!" and make this right-wing crazy nonsense disappear in an instantaneous "Poof!"

A New 'War on Christmas' Absurdity

A fairly new – and thoroughly obnoxious – Christmas tradition is for right-wing American Christian fundamentalists to detect some imagined slight and pronounce it part of the "War on Christmas," with this year's battle lines drawn around the Starbucks' winter-themed cups, as Nat Parry observes.

By Nat Parry

Just as the commercial extravaganza of the Christmas season seems to begin earlier and earlier each year, with displays popping up in some places not long after Labor Day, so too does the annual absurdity known as "the War on Christmas."

This year, we have an early taste of the asinine arguments to come with a contrived controversy over the choice that Starbucks has made for its holiday-themed coffee cup. Eschewing its typical designs incorporating iconic wintry images of reindeer and snowmen, the 2015 cup goes for a minimalist approach of a plain bright red design with the green Starbucks logo in the center.

With no pictures of Baby Jesus or even snowflakes, the red and green cup evidently is not "Christmassy" enough for some Christians, many of whom have taken to the Internet to vent their outrage. In a viral Facebook post that has received more than 10 million views, Joshua Feuerstein fumed: "Starbucks REMOVED CHRISTMAS from their cups because they hate Jesus."

He posted an accompanying video urging people to go into Starbucks and give their names as "Merry Christmas" so that unsuspecting baristas would be "tricked" into writing "Merry Christmas" on the cups.

Within days, both #RedCups and #MerryChristmasStarbucks were trending on social media sites (although to be fair, many of the posts were ridiculing those who have gotten so bent out of shape). One typical tweet read, "If you're Christian & upset over Starbucks cups, your priorities are out of whack and you don't have enough to do."

While it is certainly true that in a world rocked by refugee crises, environmental catastrophes, global conflicts, poverty and growing wealth inequality, these Christian anti-Starbucks crusaders would probably do well to get their priorities straight, it should also be said that the very premise of this annual "War on Christmas" – and the notion of Christmas as a Christian tradition – ought to be fundamentally re-examined.

The Starbucks controversy is particularly bizarre because the icons that Starbucks has used on their cups in years past , such as snowflakes and ice skates, obviously have no religious significance to begin with, but what people should realize is that neither do most of the typical "Christmas" icons.

The fact is, what we consider traditional celebrations of Christmas actually have very little to do historically with Christianity. Acts, for example, such as bringing evergreen trees into homes and festooning them with decorations are pagan traditions that predate the birth of Christ by hundreds of years.

In actual reality, there has been a midwinter festival of one sort or another in Europe, Scandinavia and the Middle East for millennia, and it wasn't until the Fourth Century, A.D., that the Church claimed this holiday as "Christmas," arbitrarily selecting Dec. 25 as Jesus's birthday.

In other words, religious significance was bestowed on a pre-existing celebration that had no real relation to the Christian faith. For what it's worth, it is almost certain that Jesus was not born on this day, as it was the cold rainy season in Judea and not a time when shepherds generally tended to "watch their flocks by night" as described in scripture.

Rather than being a celebration of the savior's birthday, the roots of the holiday are the pagan traditions of Winter Solstice (also known as Yule, or "Wheel," which is what Christmas is still called in Scandinavia). In the northern countries, where days grow intolerably dark at this time of year, the seasons played a central role in the lives of ancient peoples, who therefore had a special reverence for the sun.

This is why its return was celebrated with such vigor, not only in Scandinavia but also in Britain, where the ancient Druids celebrated by cutting the mistletoe that grew on the oak tree and offering it as a blessing. Also taking place this time of year was the ancient festival of the Romans to celebrate the rebirth of the year, a time of general debauchery known as Saturnalia.

It was because of its known pagan origins that the holiday was banned by the Puritan-led English Parliament in 1647, which denounced it as "a popish festival with no biblical justification." The holiday was also prohibited by the original English settlers of Massachusetts.

As the Puritan Reverend Increase Mather of Boston observed in 1687, "the early Christians who first observed the Nativity on December 25 did not do so thinking that Christ was born in that Month, but because the Heathens' Saturnalia was at that time kept in Rome, and they were willing to have those Pagan Holidays metamorphosed into Christian ones."

For this reason, Christmas was forbidden by the Puritans and its observance was illegal in Massachusetts between 1659 and 1681. It is ironic, to say the least, that it was the fundamentalist Christians of early America who waged the original "War on Christmas," declaring the holiday blasphemous and lacking any biblical justification.

If fundamentalist Christians today were truly following their faith, they would not be up in arms over Starbucks' marketing choices for selling coffee, but instead following in the footsteps of the Puritans shunning this holiday and focusing on any number of causes more closely in line with the teachings of Jesus – say, for example, the recurring theme in the Bible to alleviate the suffering the poor.

If, however, modern Christians feel so adamant about the need to celebrate their savior's birthday, they might consider choosing another day. If we take the word of the Bible at face value (as fundamentalist Christians generally insist that we must), we simply should not be marking the birth of Christ on December 25, as this is almost certainly not his birthday.

While there are few historical clues to go by in determining the actual date of Jesus's birth, the most widely cited source is the Gospel of Luke's reference to shepherds grazing their sheep in the fields. This has been widely interpreted to imply a birth during the springtime, summer or early fall.

So, why not declare a day in August to be Jesus' birthday? This would be far less arbitrary than the Church's Fourth Century decree designating Dec. 25 as the savior's birthday, and with most schools in summer recess, it would fit in well with pre-existing holiday schedules. It would also be a day that Christians don't have to share with anyone else, since there are so many competing traditions around the time of the Winter Solstice.

And most importantly, it would end the annual absurdities that we call the War on Christmas.

Nat Parry is the co-author of Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush.
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Saturday, November 07, 2015

Interesting videos of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin re. UFOs

These two astronauts are talking about UFOs encountered on their Apollo 11 trip to the moon....  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a3s8gBoaKg0 

The above Link shows a video of Armstrong making a cryptic remark (about "truth" being hidden) at a White House talk he gave to youths--while he had tears in his eyes.  Aldrin expands on the Apollo 11 story in his interview. Of course they and other astronauts were commanded to withhold information from the public and that is very clear while watching them in these videos.  If you stay with the link, it continues showing other UFO info, including a National Geo. special on the subject.

Because I have attended many UFO seminars over the past 25 years and have heard talks given by sincere, honest high-ranking military and scientists in the know, this is nothing new to me.  But this might be an eye opener to those who have been misled and convinced by government denials about UFOs over the decades.  

When I lived in Baldwinsville, NY (a suburb of Syracuse) back in 1978, I saw a huge UFO one warm spring night while lying in my backyard, looking up at the stars -- it was a triangular craft, noiseless, with lights on all its edges, making it appear to possibly be a group of planes flying in formation -- but with no sound. It swooped right by overhead and I wondered aloud, "What in the heck was that?" Around that same time, our local Syracuse paper came out with a headlined story about UFOs being seen in the skies in our area -- and even reports of a UFO spotted on the ground in a farm area of Baldwinsville.  I still have the clippings of headlined stories about it that appeared over 2 days (April 7 and 8, 1978) in the Syracuse newspaper.  Hundreds of people also witnessed that same kind of aircraft flying over the Hudson Valley area from 1982-1995.  A book was written about those sightings (
Night Siege: The Hudson Valley UFO Sightings' by Dr. J. Allen Hynek, Philip J. Imbrogno, and Bob Pratt)

It is common in the Syracuse area to see UFOs -- just look at the link of a map showing recent sightings in NY state at:  http://www.ufo-hunters.com/sightings/search/5198aefa83c78d384ec2eac1/UFO%20Sighting%20in%20Baldwinsville,%20NY%20on%20Saturday%2004%20May%202013

And, if interested, look at all the reportings in the central NY area reported online: https://www.google.com/search?q=UFO+spotted+in+Baldwinsville%2C+NY&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=ubuntu&channel=fs&gws_rd=ssl

For those still living in the central New York area, keep looking up at the skies intermittently -- you may see one of these UFOs for yourself!
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Friday, November 06, 2015

REALITY CHECK

While watching tonight's 2-hour Democratic Party Forum on MSNBC with the intelligent and ever-thoughtful Rachel Maddow interviewing all 3 of the Democratic presidential candidates, I felt as if we were finally back in the Land of Reason where actual sane people live and run for office.   After viewing the Looney Tunes characters in the GOP race for the past several weeks, it was a welcome relief to hear clear-headed adults addressing substantive issues--and making real sense! It was comforting to see that the audience looked like normal people, too, sensibly listening and judging what they were hearing from the candidates. No wild-eyed lunatics in sight.  Ah, it felt good to be away from the Wacky Circus train wreck!

Then, tonight I read the following comments from Robert Reich who, thinking perhaps he was being too judgmental, felt the need to question a Republican friend about the field of candidates in the right wing. The answers he got from his friend made me realize that not all Republicans are crazy--there are still a few sane people
on the right who are feeling hapless, hopeless and helpless about the asylum inmates who have taken over and are wreaking havoc in their party.


REALITY CHECK

— from Robert Reich's Blog

The other night I phoned a former Republican member of Congress with whom I'd worked in the 1990s on various pieces of legislation. I consider him a friend. I wanted his take on the Republican candidates because I felt I needed a reality check. Was I becoming excessively crotchety and partisan, or are these people really as weird as they seem? We got right into it:

Me: "So what do  you really think of these candidates?"

Him: "You want my unvarnished opinion?"

Me: "Please. That's why I called."

Him: "They're all nuts."

Me: "Seriously. What do you really think of them?"

Him: "I just told you. They're bonkers. Bizarre. They're like a Star Wars bar room."

Me: "How did it happen? How did your party manage to come up with this collection?"

Him: "We didn't. They came up with themselves. There's no party any more. It's chaos. Anybody can just decide they want to be the Republican nominee, and make a run for it. Carson? Trump? They're in the lead and they're both out of their f*cking minds."

Me: "That's not reassuring."

Him: "It's a disaster. I'm telling you, if either of them is elected, this country is going to hell. The rest of them aren't much better. I mean, Carly Fiorina? Really? Rubio? Please. Ted Cruz? Oh my god. And the people we thought had it sewn up, who are halfway sane – Bush and Christie – they're sounding almost as batty as the rest."

Me: "Who's to blame for this mess?"

Him: "Roger Ailes, David and Charles Koch, Rupert Murdoch, Rush Limbaugh. I could go on. They've poisoned the American mind and destroyed the Republican Party.

Me: "Nice talking with you."

Him: "Sleep well."

ROBERT REICH, Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies, was Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration. Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century. He has written thirteen books, including the best sellers "Aftershock" and "The Work of Nations." His latest, "Beyond Outrage," is now out in paperback. He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine and chairman of Common Cause. His new film, "Inequality for All," is now available on Netflix, iTunes, DVD, and On Demand.
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Thursday, November 05, 2015

Why Ben Carson Should NOT be President by Kareem Abdul Jabbar

http://time.com/4096962/ben-carson-abdul-jabbar-african-americans/?xid=homepage

Excellent reasoning in this essay by Kareem Abdul Jabbar.  Most people are still not aware of the bizarre beliefs of Ben Carson.  He would be a helpless, hopeless disaster in the White House.
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5-year-old savant is also telepathic

This article tells of a brilliant autistic child who was reading at 12 months and already knows 7 languages and advanced math.  Mainstream psychology is now taking a look at things like telepathy that used to be verboten for scholars/scientists to study, as it made them look "flaky" to their peers.  Slowly...slowly....things are changing, minds are opening, and new discoveries are leading to expanded consciousness.
 
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3305206/Five-year-old-savant-LA-displays-signs-telepathic-learning-seven-languages-studied-scientists-mother-filmed-reciting-numbers-written-secret.html
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