Thanks, Bill Moyers. Hillary’s owners (big Medicine, big Banks, big Media) have called the tune and now she must dance, this time through her surrogate, Chelsea. But, in what is rapidly turning into Hillary’s “Groundhog Day,” every distortion of Sanders’ record by the Clinton campaign is coming back to bite her. Hillary’s “ship of state” is turning into the Titanic.
We all need to acknowledge that in this hyper-charged political climate, much of what we are seeing and hearing in the media, whether it be in print, on television or certainly on the internet, is simply not true. And it is very difficult at times to ascertain where the lies are and how densely they have been woven into a tapestry of half-truths. That being said, if the allegations in the article below are true, Hillary is done. The story of the Benghazi hearings and her “damn emails,” “has legs” and won’t go away. I watched the Benghazi hearings live and she flat out lied about what she knew and what she had done. Each successive release of information from her emails bears that out. At this point, they have found over thirteen hundred emails which contained classified information sent over an insecure server and seven which were labeled as top secret. Beyond that, a fax was sent which was labeled “top secret,” and then the label was removed in order to send the fax over an insecure line. That, as they say, is a federal offense. But, more damning are the continuing peccadilloes of her husband. If it is true that he has maintained a friendship with a convicted billionaire pedophile since the early 2000s and has visited said billionaire’s private island repeatedly for trysts with underage girls, the vileness of his actions will keep Hillary out of the White House. Bernie may elect to tip-toe around the issue, but you can bet that Trump and Ann Coulter will not. This is going to get ugly.
Tonight I realize that to many, I am looking at the world through my own tainted glasses. How could I (or any of us) not? But here is what I see. Until a few months ago, I was always a Republican, politically. I grew up in Pennsylvania in the 60’s and 70’s. So, the kind of Republican I have always been was a moderate one. I believe in fiscal conservatism, a strong military to protect our country and its people from outside threats, but on social issues I am more centrist, more of a “live and let live” kind of person. I don’t understand what motivates gay folks, but I have no problem with them getting married either. I am not religious, but I figure anyone else is entitled to their religion as long as they don’t try to beat me on the head with it. I believe in science and education and teaching our kids to be as smart as possible, because they are the future.
This was the core of Republican thought, as I grew up with it. But, like Bob Dole and George Bush (the elder), I look at today’s Republican party and don’t see a place for me in it. It has become a party of radical conservatism, protective of ignorance in all forms, which has moved so far to the extreme end of the scale that a fascist (Trump) and reality deniers (Carson and Cruz with their 6000 year old planet) are deemed fit to lead. Did Unions go too far? Sure, but without them you and I would be shopping at the company store, living without any kind of retirement income, and working for slave wages under slave conditions (Trump has repeatedly said that we need to do away with minimum wage altogether, so we can compete with China – there is your return to slave labor, looming on the horizon).
Am I playing favorites here and denying the mega-rich owners of the mill their right to become richer? I probably am. They can stand it. I have to look at the folks who do the sweating and slaving, the living and dying in this land and ask, what is best for them? The whole country rides on the backs of the middle and working classes. Folks like you and me. It always has. And those backs are buckling under the weight. Yet, it is the Republican right which calls for legislation that does not ease that pressure, but instead just lets the rich get richer.
Are there lobbyists influencing politics on behalf of the democrats? Absolutely! Look at Hillary’s biggest donors – they come from Wall Street and big-media, both institutions which pour millions of dollars into lobbyists to sway political legislation in Washington. Both sides are completely corrupt and completely guilty. The system today is absolutely broken.
But things were different in the 1970’s. Republicans and Democrats could still find consensus and work together to pass legislation to help our economy. Those days are gone. There is zero cooperation in Washington so there is nothing being done, even when the issues are cut and dried.
Again, the issue du jour has become who can and can not possess a firearm. There are many folks in America who want to have guns, some for sport, some for self-defense. Unfortunately, many of those people feel the need to have guns because they have bought into the fear mongering that is coming from that same radical right. That is a separate issue.
We can all agree that some people in this country should not have access to guns, either because they are known, habitual criminals, or because they are mentally unfit to act responsibly with a gun. If we can agree to that notion, we can surely agree that there should be a way to do all that we can to keep guns from those folks, without impinging on the rights of honest, responsible citizens to have them. It can’t get much simpler than that.
Yet, if Obama had tried to get this legislation passed through a bipartisan Congress or Senate, it would fail just because the Republicans are committed to making sure that anything coming from Obama must fail, whether or not it has merit and benefits the population (if Obama was a Republican, the Democrats would undoubtedly do the same). Trump is already campaigning on the notion that he will repeal such legislation, day one. So, if we can see what needs to be done, can agree on what needs to be done, and can put it into action in such a way that it does not harm those citizens who should not be harmed by it, what are we to do when the government, OUR representatives in Washington, refuse to act upon OUR desires?
At some point, sanity and doing what is best to keep Americans safe from criminals and nut cases, must trump partisan politics. I do not see where the President had a hell of a lot of choice. As I have come to see it, part of the problem is that our political system has become a kind of religion. And one of the hallmarks of religion, any religion, is that the leaders have to be able to convince the followers that theirs is the true way. It is an elaborate house of cards. Someone once commented that there have been about 3000 gods so far, but yours is the only one that is real. Every one else’s is just a silly bit of make believe, but yours, yours is the real deal.
You see where I’m coming from. In a country where the cult of personality has taken over politics and political lines between parties are drawn so clearly that each party is driven by a religious fervor, each party knows that if they are ever shown to be full of shit, the whole house will come tumbling down around them. Like any religion, the political parties must not budge, must not admit any flaw, must never acknowledge that perhaps, just perhaps, they were wrong about something. The biggest fear the Republican party has in this particular issue is that the legislation put forward by a Democratic president just might work. And then, everyone will ask, “what was all the fuss about?” And they might just wonder what the real issues are that we need to deal with.
I’m becoming increasingly bored with the Republicans (I’m an ex-Republican) and their bat-shit crazy proclamations. If they had bothered to check out what the proposed legislation intends, they’d find that it calls for background checks for on-line purchases and at gun shows and more funding for law enforcement and for mental health care providers. If you are an honest, law-abiding citizen with no history of mental health problems, you will still ace the background check and get your coveted piece. If you side with law enforcement, you should be glad that they are getting additional funding to fight the bad guys.
If we have an increased ability to monitor the truly stone crazy people running around out there, we might just keep some ordinance out of their hands. What the hell can possibly be wrong with any of this? Nowhere in the legislation does it call for people to turn in their guns or to stop selling them. It may mean that to sell them you’ll have to go through an intermediary which could perform the background check, but then I’m sure you would never want to sell your gun to someone who might turn around and use it on your own family.
Can we, just for one bleepin’ minute, stop being led around by the nose by people who want to take our attention away from real issues in this country? Issues like why the rich keep getting richer while the rest of us slowly starve? Issues like why big-oil, big-pharmaceuticals and big-media hand pick the candidates for office and give the rest of us a vote that isn’t worth anything because we have no real choice or say in the matter? Issues like how Walmart has come to be the nation’s #1 employer and not GM.
The Republican party has carefully studied the role of reality TV in our lives and has figured out that half the blasted populace can be conned into believing candidates whose sole qualifications for the job are that they starred in a TV show or believe that the earth is only 6000 years old. And you want these sons-of-bitches to have their hands on our nuclear arsenal? Get real, get an education, pay attention to what is going on (with your own eyes and ears) and grow the hell up. This is pathetic.
I have long believed there is a very good reason that Teddy Roosevelt is the most recent president to appear on Mount Rushmore. He may be the last truly great president we have had (for so many reasons, chief among them the protection of the environment). I also believe that in this instance he is absolutely right. Notice that he does not say that we need to be all of one faith. Faith is a private matter; being American is a shared philosophy. The former is aimed at the afterlife, the latter, the here and now. I think about the current refugee situation and realize that many if not most of the people coming to our country do not wish to stay; they are escaping a war for the protection of their families with the intent of one day going home. In that case, we should treat them as guests with all that American hospitality has to offer. But for those who would choose to stay and live here permanently among us, this, not their religious persuasion, should be the litmus test. In every prior wave of immigration to this country, it has been that desire to become American that has revitalized our nation with new blood, new ideas, and a renewed commitment to freedom and all that it represents and demands of us. What are your thoughts on this?
Thank you, Time magazine, for doing the American public a tremendous service! You have demonstrated to us all how the voting process works. When the readers of Time were polled (effectively, given a chance to vote), the overwhelming majority of them chose Bernie Sanders as person of the year. Yet, Time chose to omit him from the shortlist altogether. When institutions of influence can deny reality and name a winner (like CNN naming Hilary winner of the first Democratic debate) who clearly lost, it reveals to us, the voters, just how little say we have. Why even ask us at all? Remember when Saddam Hussein was re-elected with 100% of the Iraqi vote? The difference here is only one of subtlety.
A while back, I reached the conclusion that I felt that Donald Trump would flame out as a candidate, and I still believe he will. My worry was that he would be replaced as a candidate from the GOP by someone far more clever (politically) and far more sinister than himself. We may have found him in Ted Cruz. I was listening to an interview with Mr. Cruz this morning on NPR.org’s “Morning Edition,” which I am sure you can find at the site. It was rather revealing! He is a war hawk if ever there was one, prepared to drive us into Syria (he’ll lead from the rear, thank you) on the fool’s errand of trying to eradicate ISIS, and, like Trump, wants to keep Muslim’s out of the US homeland. But, when asked very short and straight up questions, he also revealed that he has no coherent plan other than “carpet bombing” Syrian cities (“there will be some civilian casualties”) and halting the inflow of refugees, but not Muslims on tourist, work, study or fiancee visas (the San Bernardino attacker’s wife came from Pakistan on a fiancee visa). He only really wants to block refugees fleeing ISIS, not potentially radicalized Muslims from other countries. In short, he has no plan at all, other than to paint people from the Middle East with a very broad brush. I’m sure that there are elements in the Pentagon who would approve of dropping some ordinance; it has to be restocked, you know! Another election cycle and once again, the people of this nation ask a very simple question; Is this the best we have to offer?
Well, it’s November, and Thanksgiving is just around the corner. But, for many of us, old enough to remember, so is the anniversary of one of the darkest days in our history. It has now been 52 years since the assassination of JFK and there is more that we don’t know about the killing than that we do.
The film linked below, from 1966, is by Mark Lane, a defense attorney from New York who had been asked by Marguerite Oswald to represent her son’s interests at the Warren Commission Hearings. As Oswald was already dead, the Commission refused to allow Lane to participate as Oswald’s counsel, thereby removing any voice on Oswald’s behalf from the proceedings.
In September, 1964, the Warren Commission released an 889 page report at the end of its investigation, which named Lee Harvey Oswald as the sole assassin in the death of JFK and promoted Arlen Spector’s “single bullet theory.” Many people read the report and found it difficult to believe. So, once again, Mark Lane was engaged, this time by the members of a “Who Killed Kennedy” committee who supplied him with the resources to look deeper into the report. In November, 1964, the Warren Commission published 26 volumes of evidence which they claimed supported the findings of the report. After reading through all of the evidence, Lane and his assistants were able to demonstrate that in many cases, the evidence was in fact, contradictory to the findings.
Out of this came Lane’s first book on the subject, “Rush To Judgement,” an essential read for anyone interested in the assassination and its aftermath. The film serves to point up a number of notable examples of eye witnesses whose testimony was either suppressed, altered or rejected by the Commission, and which would have pointed the investigation of the crime in an entirely different direction, possibly exonerating Oswald.
For my younger (than compulsory retirement!) readers, one of the real points of all this is that by December of 1963, less than a month after the assassination, the majority of Americans believed that their government, through its institutions like the FBI, was not telling us the truth about the assassination of the president. The Commission’s findings only cemented that feeling and the faith (blind, perhaps) that the average American had in his or her government has never been the same.
Think about this for a minute. If the pharmaceuticals would make you well, you would no longer need them. That is akin to GE making a refrigerator so perfect that you would never need another. They would sell millions overnight and then never sell another. They’d be out of business. Thus, we have “planned obsolescence,” things being made to break down so that you need to buy more things. It is worth considering that the pharmaceutical companies have every interest in you buying their pills for the rest of your life. So, why would they want to make you well?
Bernie does not pull any punches. He names names. In this case, 18 CEO’s who were signees to a letter to the Wall Street Journal lecturing America about deficit reduction and the need to cut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are identified as the culprits behind the economic collapse and the recipients of trillions of dollars in bail-outs and hundreds of billions in tax refunds when they paid no corporate taxes whatsoever. And note, three of the eighteen CEO’s are the heads of Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase and Time Warner, all three of which are to be found in the top seven contributors to Hilary Clinton’s campaign. Read this for yourself and follow the money. Then, pass your knowledge on.