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Monday, November 30, 2015

Republicans and Racism

It's always mystified me why the GOP absolutely insists that running on a platform of overt racism is a winning strategy, but at the same time it leads to a much bigger and scarier question of how has this strategy become so successful. I'm really beginning to think that racism and White Supremacy will return to The White House in 2017, through the vote that comes up next November. The man who will be there to lead it, Donald Trump. What I do know is that too many Americans will fall for his, "Make America Great Again" schtick, and that if he has a chance to enact it, it will wreak havoc on us all.

I understand that engaging in overt racism is a classic campaign tactic to distract the populace from really tackling the issues that face us, but again, it's horrifying to think how this could ever become a successful winning strategy. And it's not just Trump, there's plenty of others who've jumped on the GOP's overtly racist bandwagon. Ted Cruz is a shining example, by using code to blame all blacks for the anti-abortion extremism here in America (classic).

It's time for The Democrats to get their heads out of the sand and actively campaign on relieving the ongoing efforts by the Republicans to restore Jim Crow and White Supremacy back as the supreme law of America.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Terrorism in Colorado Springs

The shooting at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs is a classic case of terrorism that seems to get the very minimum of analytical coverage in the media. So far there has been little analysis of the link between the growing violence by anti-abortion extremists and the lack of meaningful gun control. I haven't been seeing that kind of discussion, nor have I heard anything in terms of reducing the number of violent attacks. This is getting to the point of absurdity, and to the point of infuriatingly demeaning people for events that they have no control over.

I stand with Planned Parenthood through this time of crisis, and there needs to be a strong message sent that no one can coerce and terrorize us into believing their views. This should be a shining example of why we need to do more to end the threat of anti-abortion terrorism.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Terror In France & The Threat Posed By ISIS

I mourn the loss of life in Paris from the deadly terrorist attacks, and think that it's really time to dismantle ISIS' influence in the Middle East. I expect that the French will find whomever ordered this attack and make targeted strikes at them, but I don't think that will be the end of the ongoing threat ISIS poses.

In order to deal with the threat known as ISIS, you need to attack the roots of its terrorism at their source. ISIS thrives on Sunni discontent and disenfranchisement from being under Shi'ite rule, but that's not the only factor. Other factors include one of the driest decades in the Middle East (the 2000s) and a gross mismanagement of natural resources (as was the case with the Assad regime in Syria), and regional ambitions of other state actors in the area (particularly Saudi Arabia who seeks to impose its interpretation of Islam on the region and eventually the world). The latter factor is possibly the most prominent, as Saudi Arabia and Iran are rivals for influencing the direction of Islam and the Middle East as a whole. However, it should be noted that it falls on everyone, but especially the Middle Eastern nations to start creating political and economic opportunities for their people. This also means that everyone needs to get together to close the power vacuum opened up by the Syrian Civil War through a political settlement.

How this relates to France comes as follows. France was a colonial power in the Middle East from 1919-46, colonizing both Syria and Lebanon. Many Arabs had openly opposed this arrangement after they were promised independence by joining the Allied Powers against the disintegrating Ottoman Empire, and in time, Saudi Arabia would come to openly oppose the arrangement as well.

Even after the period of colonial rule in the Middle East, France was still a major player. First in the form of its alliance with Israel, and then as a major arms supplier to the various Arab states. Additionally, France had opened up economic relations in other fields with the various Arab states. A commonly accepted epithet at the time was that if someone was an Islamist, they wouldn't attack France. The reason was often that France often opposed American/British-led military efforts in the region and was the only NATO member not part of the overall command structure. That changed when Nicolas Sarkozy became President in 2007, when he requested French re-entrance into NATO's command structure and a softer policy toward the Americans. This in turn led to a full revamping of French foreign relations in the Middle East, especially where France became more critical of some of its Arab partners. These actions have made France a target, especially now with its Islamic population attempting to gain their rights and citizenship.

The threat posed by ISIS on France and the world at-large comes from its desire to establish a global caliphate and bring the world back to the Middle Ages. To be very clear, their view of Islam (they're primarily Wahabists, an ultra-orthodox sect of Sunni Islam) and the need to wage jihad in order to achieve their caliphate is not the view of most Muslims. They are a cancer to the faith by calling for the deaths of people labled as apostates (primarily Shi'ites) or non-believers. In addition to their previously stated ambitions, they're also seeking to obtain all material necessary to construct a nuclear device of their own or to buy them outright. Having this happen would be the ultimate disaster, as they're planning to smuggle 1 to set off here in America. The fact still remains that while we should mourn the loss of life in Paris, we should be vigilant about keeping a close eye on ISIS and disrupt any and all attempts to do us harm as well.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Election in Kentucky

Events this past election day seem somewhat off from what pre-election polls had originally predicted. Now this isn't to say that polls can't be off, as sometimes people say 1 thing and then do something else that's entirely different (aka the Bradley Effect). Sometimes pollsters do end up making some errors.

Now as for the case with Kentucky's gubernatorial race, that seemed off by several factors. This video from Thom Hartmann on YouTube should explain a little bit. Thom, by interviewing TheBRADBLOG's Brad Friedman, makes the point that there were some irregularities in the vote and noted that only about 30% of the electorate actually turned out. Watch the video and draw your own conclusions.

At the same time, there should be a call on the Kentucky Secretary of State, Allison Lundergan Grimes, to order an inquiry or at least a recheck of the vote to make sure it's accurate.

Add to that new proof, according to TheBRADBLOG, via Crooks and Liars, there were several anomalies that happened in the down ticket voting, where the Democrats running in those races got more votes than Jack Conway. A note to make, there's always the possibility of voters splitting their tickets, but I'm not sure that was the case. In addition, here's a video where Thom Hartmann explains everything. As Thom notes very succinctly, there may have been some tampering with the voting machines by public officials (or as he put it, "Election Insiders"), and that had that happened, it would not be for the first time. He also mentioned an electoral phenomenon known as "Red Shift," which happened in about 6 or 8 States in 2000. It's where the Republicans won the vote for the top of the ticket, while Democrats won everything else on the down ballot. Now some of this could have been honest-to-God split-ticket voting, which is not a rare occurance in American politics, but there were many instances of previous tampering with voting machines. The tampering could have been from pre-programming to vote a certain way or hacking into them, which has been successfully done.

There's a possible stench of election fraud, but it seems unlikely to see anything done about it. It's time to stand up to the GOP and Corporate America's ongoing campaign to steal our nation's elections. Additionally, it's time to start putting pressure on TheDemocrats to start making an issue of this. We need to do everything we can to start the ball rolling to repeal the God-awful Supreme Court ruling known as Citizens United and to take our elections back.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Bernie Sanders & The Right To Vote

Watching Bernie Sanders speak to Rachel Maddow at the First in the South Presidential Forums only confirmed one thing about the GOP and their vote suppression activities. They have no courage to face the voters due to their bankrupt ideas and rush to return to our racist past, and instead attempt to make the electorate as small as possible so that they can impose their ideology on all of us. Bernie's right to call their activities out into the open and to call them cowards about losing their seats. Watch the video in its entirety and it'll be easy to see why we need Bernie as our next President.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Rejection of Keystone XL

I have to say that I'm very pleased with Barack Obama's rejection of the Keystone XL Pipeline project as it would have been a disasterous deal for the rest of us. Besides possibly placing more hydrocarbons into the atmosphere and the damage caused to the environment, it would have also dealt us with very severe economic damage by shooting gas prices into the unaffordable range (think of the days of $4, or in some cases $5, per gallon of gasoline). Just think of the health risks involved and it's fairly easy to see why the project was a bad deal for us.

Not to mention, there would be little to no impact on the unemployment rate (try 35,000 jobs max) and the benefits would only go to 1 company, Koch Industries. This is while the risk of failure is passed on to the rest of us in the form of our tax dollars. This is absurd!

While this is a victory for us in the moment, I have a huge hunch that we're not done with project yet. For the company that's trying to build the pipeline can simply re-apply to do so, and it will be almost certainly granted should the GOP take The White House in 2016. This is why we need TheDemocrats in there.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Losing Rabin's Legacy

From reading about a rally that took place in Tel Aviv on Ynetnews commemorating former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, it was very heartening to read about former US President Bill Clinton's participation. What's especially heartening to understand is that in Clinton's words, Rabin refused to dehumanize the people he had to negotiate with in line with the Oslo Accords, and how because of this refusal, it would end up costing him his life.

The other piece of the equation is that Rabin was not afraid to take risks in the name of garnering peace with the Palestinians. Clinton's words were a subtle reminder to the Israeli people that the greatest opportunity for living in peace was slipping away from them by the cowardly actions of the Netanyahu government (I've written extensively on Benjamin Netanyahu's actions in various posts on my blog). By not pursuing any dialogue for peace, it opens the doors for extremists to make calls for violence on both sides.

It was good to hear that Clinton's words were echoed by both current US President Barack Obama and current Israeli President Reuven Rivlin. For Israel to walk away from the talks and blame both the Palestinians and Israeli Arabs for all past grievances, that would put a bitter stain on Rabin's legacy. A legacy that would establish peace for Israel.

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