Because they aren’t!! I’m not being facetious, I’m serious. The Republican controlled House, the Party currently running and ruining the show in Washington is NOT serious about governance, compromise, bipartisanship, ANYTHING except collecting their paycheck. The party dedicated to reducing the budget, cutting entitlements, waste, fraud and everything else is one of the biggest loafers, welfare recipients to drain the government coffers and they do so by merely showing up for work and doing absolutely N-O-T-H-I-N-G. Remember this? It was a year ago we brought you the work calendar for the House of Representatives which showed members of that body working a total of 126 days for all of 2013. That’s a little over 4 months out of the year! Four! Luckily they were scheduled to work two weeks in September and two weeks before the debt extension deadline but the week of the deadline date itself they were scheduled to be off!! They’ve gone and done one better for 2014. Next year they’ve lopped off 13 days from their work schedule and will only work 113 days next year. That’s less than 4 months out of the year. Take a look for yourself Last year I wrote
They (members of the House) are scheduled to work for only 126 days for a yearly salary of $174000. That’s almost half the number of days the average American works for a whole lot more money. In other words, they work half as long as we do and get paid more…..and that’s if you’re just a normal member of Congress. Cantor gets $19,000 more or $193,000 and the Speaker of the House, John Boehner gets $223,000 yearly….all to obfuscate and obstruct Obama’s legislative agenda to the detriment of the country.
Jed Lewison, writing for Daily Kos put up an interesting graphic comparing the congressional work schedule with that of the average American and the comparison is stark. If you think there’s anyone in Congress who is a champion of your rights and values, unless you’re a crook, thief or Wall Street banker you should disinvest yourself of that notion right now. Like anyone else who gets away with murder, or robbery, members of Congress are quite content to do as little as possible for as much as they can get!
The idea that there is abuse or corruption among people who are allowed to vote in general elections and that reform is needed is sweeping the country. Just about half of the states are in the process of amending their laws that prescribe what is needed for their citizens to register and vote. Critics of this idea say that reform is not needed, that there is no wide spread abuse yet proponents of the idea are rolling up victories in states across the country. Naturally, most of the people who have signed on to this idea are Republicans who want to increase the chances that their really marginally conservative Republican nominee, Mitt Romney will have a chance to beat President Obama.
If Republicans insist on voter registration reform, then Democrats or opponents of the idea ought to insist, require the following measure be put in place to accompany it
if you were to show up at the polls in November, and the poll worker were to ask you “Is President Obama a Muslim or a Christian?” and you answered “Muslim,” then — bzzzzzt — you’d be automatically disqualified from voting, on the grounds you’re just too dumb.
We here like to highlight the terrorists that manage to escape mention at the hands of neo-cons and Islamophobes who like to always remind us of the Muslim terrorists in our midst. Usually you find their terrorist committing all the crimes of murder, plunder and violence on the homeland so much so that they account for not a single U.S. civilian being killed by a Muslim terrorists looking to take his place among the 72 virgins since 9/11…not one. However, fourteen soldiers have been killed, thirteen of those during the Fort Hood Shooting. And did you know for the 25 years between 1980 and 2005, only 6% of all acts of terror were committed by those fanatical jihadists Muslims, yet the phobes would have you believe that all terrorists are Muslims.
So here are a few of the non Muslim terrorists they forgot to mention to you, and these have popped up within the last week. First place goes to the guy who killed a park Ranger in Washington state and is being hunted by law enforcement there. He’s not Muslim, his excuse for terror is he’s a veteran with PTSD back from Iraq and not able to handle the stress of living in peace. We had to breed people like this guy……those who need war to survive or find meaning in killing to get them to do things against human nature, like invading and killing people in their own country for no reason whatsoever. We just haven’t figured out how to turn the switch off, so Benjamin Colton Barnes, killed a Mt. Rainier park ranger in cold blood. Along the way to perdition, he had run ins with the mother of his baby who was smart enough to see the danger he posed and requested a court order to keep him away from her and their baby because of his constant threats of violence against them and himself. A ticking time bomb if there ever was one, and his singular act of murder against a federal employee is certainly one of terrorism, but the only place you will read him being called that is here on the pages of Miscellany101.
The next act of terrorism that more closely reminds us of 9/11 since the Christmas underwear bomber than any other is this young man of distinction…..a man with a military background as well who tried to get on an airplane with explosives. Racial profiling was probably not being used when he tried to board a plane, just good old fashioned application of the rules for everyone. Perhaps there are some people who normally carry explosives in their luggage whenever they travel, but we usually call such people terrorists, splash their pictures across the pages of all the papers and make sure they are public enemy #1. Trey Scott Atwater tried to board a plane in Texas’ Midland Airport over the weekend and was found to be carrying military-grade explosives. We have the dreaded TSA to thank for this guy’s arrest. Atwater’s charge is attempting to board an aircraft with an explosive, yet no mention is made of the amount of explosive in his possession. Atwater is of the right persuasion to escape the terrorist charge, but not here at Miscellany101.
Finally, it appears there is a gang of terrorists running amok in the New York city area, targeting Muslim places of worship. I don’t know how else to classify such miscreants other than with the designation terrorist for they seem to operate at night via drive by bombings of random targets in the area. They are reminiscent of that other all American terrorist organization, the KKK, but you don’t hear them called that anymore these days either. It appears, in the minds of too many in America, terrorist is a pejorative term with a specific connotation that means only Muslim or Islam. As we noted before however, that group should be the last one you should worry about for they are the ones who commit the smallest amount of terrorist acts in America, unless you categorize all the other acts of terrorism committed by non Muslims as something other than terrorism.
The Egyptian government has decided not to accept any funds from Washington to help it along with its democratization after the overthrow, somewhat peacefully I might add, of former president Hosni Mubarak. The government has warned non-governmental organizations not to accept money from Washington saying doing so only undermines the security of Egypt at a very delicate time in its history. Normally that would be good advice and even Americans should be happy that an ally is not extending its hand during our hard times but removing Washington’s ability to control the internal politics of a country once under its sway is most likely an anathema to career politicians who will use such information as this to start to discredit the Egyptian government. Let’s not forget elections have not taken place in Egypt yet; it is still under the control of the military which means any rejection of US aid could merely be posturing on Egypt’s part. Moreover there may be some things that have to be addressed as far as Washington is concerned before such aid is actually given, or perhaps more sinisterly such aid is extended to lay the seeds for future discord should things not go according to Washington’s plan. For now, Egypt with a history that dates Americas by several centuries has declared itself independent of American money, and that’s a good thing for them and us.
The wingnut “right” does have a place in American politics. If one is perceptive enough you can vaguely see an outline of the foreign policy objectives of Washington spewing from the mouthpieces of right wing pundits/racists. Despite the apparent “hate” relationship between the present occupant of the White House and those on the vociferous “right” the pundits of insanity, plunder and racism give government an idea of just how far it, government, can go in its never ending battle for empire and dominion. It is not necessary for diplomacy or policy to be carried out in just the same way the racist homo/Islamophobes express but it probably comes close. Case in point, Sean Hannity’s latest imperialistic diatribe.
With rising gas prices and a stagnant economy, Hannity’s solution of taking over another country’s natural resources because we can most likely strikes a chord in the minds of many a besieged listener who wants to settle scores with the Islamic/Muslim hordes they’ve so assiduously been warned about this last decade. Current Washington probably has entertained the same ideas while former Bush administration officials said as much when making their case for war with Iraq. The Obama administration on the other hand, supposedly carries a carrot not a stick, unlike its predecessor. It must have the appearance of remaining true to the kinder, gentler prescription for diplomacy, hence this from the Secretary of State, Clinton.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivered a scalding critique of Arab leaders here on Thursday, saying their countries risked “sinking into the sand” of unrest and extremism unless they liberalized their political systems and cleaned up their economies.
Speaking at a conference in this gleaming Persian Gulf emirate, Mrs. Clinton recited a familiar litany of ills: corruption, repression and a lack of rights for women and religious minorities. But her remarks were striking for their vehemence, and they suggested a frustration that the Obama administration’s message to the Arab world had not gotten through.
Secretary Clinton, taking a page from the wingnuts, makes many in the Middle East who are victims the cause of their victimization. Lest one forget, there were no WMDs in Iraq which was invaded after a decade long blockade that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis; Gaza is an outdoor prison camp, with the West Bank merely an enclave within the modern state of Israel with no territorial sovereignty or integrity and the second largest recipient of US aid is a 30 year long dictatorship. Notice the tone of the above article. Words like “vehemence” and “frustration” are designed to send signals that unless things change diplomacy may give way to something harsher. Let’s not forget that in the 80s Saddam Hussein was Washington’s leader of choice for Iraq, but only 20 years later encouraged and cheered on his execution. That shouldn’t be lost on the leaders of oil producing countries that serve an insatiable American public the oil which fuels the American economy. Hannity’s arrogant bluster and frustration regrettably is probably an outline for future American policy.
It appears Eric Cantor’s declaration to Benjamin Netanyahu that the Republican Party would, in essence, stand with Israel against the President of the United States has become somewhat of a news item.
Eric stressed that the new Republican majority will serve as a check on the Administration and what has been, up until this point, one party rule in Washington. He made clear that the Republican majority understands the special relationship between Israel and the United States, and that the security of each nation is reliant upon the other.
I like the one party rule reference, because in a way, the Republicans have done nothing but obstruct the Democratic party’s initiatives since Obama came to office. Remember, their stated policy/political goal, or rather as stated by Mitch O’Connell is to see that Obama is a one term president, so anything they can do to make him ineffective and look bad, is a plus for them! But what is also obvious is the “talking point” of mutual reliance.
Despite the fact that America has lived as an independent country far longer than Israel, it appears we cannot live without them any longer; our survival depends on whether Israel survives goes the rational and no one seems to find that insulting. What is apparent is that the Republican Party will magnify, out do the Democrats in pursuing the Israel agenda in Washington to the extent of becoming a lobbying agent for the government of Israel. Those efforts at appealing to Israeli leadership most probably will include more wars of aggression against Israeli enemies, who are presently not ours, at the expense of the American economy and lives; already several Republican party members since the elections a few short weeks ago have called for military action against Iran, while the Israeli economy prospers at the expense of America’s.
But what is truly pathetic about all the hoopla about Cantor’s remarks is the false indignation it has raised. Cantor has indeed done something he and his Party once criticized those outside his Party for doing during the Bush years, but ever since Obama’s coming to power, the Republicans have taken unprincipled stands against this present Administration in attempts to score political points and the future indicates the same strategy will prevail. Let us not forget who Eric Cantor is. He is quite comfortable with lying to suit his political agendas and wouldn’t hesitate to do so again for Israel which holds a special place in American politics. She is able to carry out the most egregious crimes in our name yet still command, nay demand rapt attention from American politicians and dismissal for her illegal activity, as well as the full faith and backing of America’s financial institutions. If you ask me, that’s where our outrage should be directed. Cantor is just one of many in the political system who’ve taken us down that road. Shame on him, yes, but shame on us for ignoring the bigger picture!
It has been very revealing watching members of the Right deny the responsibility of their ideology for two tragic murders that have recently occurred which captured the attention of the Nation. First came the cold blooded slaughter of an abortionist, Dr. George Tiller in Wichita, Kansas followed up shortly by the brutal killing of a security guard at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC.
Dr. Tiller’s death is troubling because he had been the target of anti-abortionists’ rage before. The person charged with his murder had been known to stalk and even vandalize the clinic where Tiller worked in the days preceding his death. Several people in the clinic have gone on record saying they knew about Scott Roeder’s attempts at disrupting the operation of the clinic and notified the proper authorities yet nothing was done to apprehend Roeder which could have possibly prevented Dr. Tiller’s death. Such ineptness on the part of the federal bureaucracy does not mean that even more layers of government are necessary to protect the citizens but rather irresponsible civil servants need to be replaced with more diligent and efficient ones.
The death of Stephen Jones at the National Holocaust Museum at the hands of a white supremacist is a tragedy underscored by the fact his murderer had a long history, easily documented that could have possibly pointed to such a heinous crime being committed by his hand, age notwithstanding, yet he very easily walked down a metropolitan city street with a .22 caliber rifle and shot and killed an armed federal agent. The reason why I mention again both of these crimes is because of the contortions those on the right are taking to distance their ideology from these two men who claimed to hold that ideology near and dear to them.
Political pundits are taking great lengths to say that these murderers aren’t from the right at all but rather from the left of the political spectrum, despite the fact they, the perpetrators clearly identify with the Right. Punditry has managed to make actions a mark of political persuasion and not words. Pundits have told their admirers that death and killing are marks of the political left, terrorism is identified with Muslims and Islam. The Right claims any action that is noble and necessary to save America from its enemies upto and including wholesale slaughter and invasion of countries like Iraq and Afghanistan as virtuous, and therefore worthy of being called conservative.
This was the kind of meme advanced by Dick Cheney, more recently, and the entire Bush administration before which reduced all argument to ‘with us or against us’ sloganeering. In that small universe built by the likes of the triumphant Right there wasn’t anything that we did to those ‘against us’ that could be considered illegal or immoral behavior. The concept of “exceptionalism” had been developed to the point that meant even the boundaries of legality didn’t apply to our behavior, or we made every attempt to legalize illegal behavior in order to legitimize our unlawful actions. This flouting of the law for suspect political aims is a vicious circle we continue to go around when we obscure the motives of these latest criminals for their criminal behavior.
News accounts and political commentators have taken great pains to classify these murderers as lone gunmen who are completely separate and detached from the environment which they have enveloped themselves. By doing so they hope to further distance themselves from the effect their rhetoric has on the people who listen, subscribe and eventually act on it.
In our system of law as it pertains to capital crimes unless there is a conspiracy there is no guilt by association. Conversely there is also no innocence by association. Christian leaders and conservative citizens in general have jumped at the chance to label Mr. Roeder a vigilante, a monster and things far worse.
Regrettably this tactic is only applied to people from the right who spent an entire two terms of a right leaning Republican administration painting with the broadest of brushes entire groups of people based on the actions of individual(s). This has been a common practice of demagoguery; the politics of the many condensed into the actions of the lone individual. Cries, which were raised at the turn of the century, of bombing the institutions that are symbolic of political ideology have given way to the absolute negation of ideology and their import on an individual’s actions. Murderers on the right have suddenly appeared on our political and national landscape to kill their perceived foes because these killers were inherently defective and acting completely on their own. Conversely the last eights years of a Republican administration were spent literally trying to root out whole communities of conspirators who lurked in every corner of our country waiting for a chance to reap their collective death and destruction at the earliest possible moment on an unsuspecting public that need the invasive protection of a government bureaucracy, because of the actions of a few.
Finally the absence in many cases of condemnation from the people who claim allegiance with right leaning philosophy for the murderous tendencies of their co-ideologues is another characteristic of the sudden revisionism going on in Obama’s America. During the Bush years people were always challenged to condemn the acts of coreligionists or fellow party members whereas today’s America sees there is no need for condemnation because such doing so rarely accomplishes anything and not worth the time spent.
Condemning Roeder doesn’t add anything to the pro-life cause. Pro-abortionists are always quick to remind the Christians of Christ’s rule of not judging or condemning. Why add fuel to the fire by condemning Mr. Roeder, isn’t it just a matter of six of one and a half dozen of the other? Both Tiller and Roeder have One that will be their final judge and he is neither hot under the collar, biased or partial. Why don’t we leave all that to Him?
In many ways such ideas mirror the current glossing over done by the Obama administration vis-a-vis Bush Administration crimes. The motivation for such an attitude is clear; it absolves ideologues from the responsibility of their actions of the past or the future while still holding on, in their own minds at least, to a perceived higher moral ground. Gone are the litmus tests that were applied to every ethnicity before which required a strict adherence to the law on the part of every member of a political, ideological group or the utter abandonment and banishment of that group in the absence of a vociferous outcry and condemnation of any of its members, however tangential that connection may be.
Finally, there is the absence of a cry for governmental insertion in the settlement of accounts for anti-social behavior. Instead, the right has resume its position they so recklessly abandoned during the 911 era and want no government interference at all in protecting society. Instead of wanting the affairs of the country to be overseen by a white haired Bush, the right blames a black haired Obama, as if he were the trigger puller of these two most recent attacks on the national consciousness. The turnaround of the right on a dime as it were, is one more indication of the bankrupt philosophy it harbors. That no one from that side of the political spectrum can see the sudden hypocrisy of their positions is another indication of just how low they have sunk in abandoning principle. There is no indication that the Left is or will be any better; their actions to date have only enabled the right to the detriment of us all.
The Department of Homeland Security warned of extremists elements in our country with the potential to wreck havoc in our society; the right was up in arms and cried foul and someone from some hate group walked into the Holocaust Museum in the backyard of DHS and killed a guard!! What good is Homeland Security?
Oh sure, they are one of the biggest government agencies, outspending the Justice and State departments, and during the Bush years we were told they were essential to the safety and well being of America. During their lifetime they have expanded a terrorist watch list which numbers into the hundreds of thousands, many who are innocent and probably don’t even know their names are there; elevated risk levels and the blood pressures of scores of Americans with faulty terror level alerts that usually panned out to be nothing at all or based on tortured confessions from rendered suspects we’ve never heard nor seen, and all this at a considerable expense to the taxpayer. Yet, an 88 year old man can walk down a city street in Washington, DC with a rifle, and into a government building and shoot and kill someone employed there.
The guy is a former felon, 88 years old, used a rifle in this attack, had an internet history of making incendiary comments and lived in the greater metropolitan Washington, DC area and all that the federal government has to offer couldn’t save that police officer from this guy’s dementia. I could understand the federal government not being able to follow all 12 or 14 911 hijackers……you could argue there were just too many for the government to keep up, but one guy with a history in the heart of the government…… Basically this means the government is not the instrument we should trust or turn to in order to protect us in our daily lives. It cannot do this, despite the promises it makes to the contrary; and all those right leaning individuals who are now slamming Obama with claims that he’s made the country unsafe for us, ask them what did their Department of Homeland Security do for Stephen Johns, the guard killed by that pathetic gunman on Wednesday, June 10?
The public displays of police brutality caught on tape are stark, violent, gut wrenching, heart breaking, and indicative of an age old problem of us and them politics. It used to be such rawness wasn’t seem by most of us in main stream society, because it was done to “other” people secreted away in “their” communities and never under the omnipotent eye of video cameras but times have certainly changed and today can police brutality smack us in the face as powerfully as it does the victim at the end of an officers arm, baton, taser, gun.
The most egregious example of brutality involved an EMT with a patient on the way to a local hospital in Oklahoma. There’s a video on youtube if you can bear to watch it without hurling either your lunch/breakfast/dinner or your computer through the nearest window. In that video an Oklahoma highway patrol officer berates the EMT driver for not pulling over while he, the trooper tried to pass. The video was shot by a family member of the patient riding in the ambulance. In that video you can see the victim of the police brutality calmly tell the family member who was shooting the video to remain calm, not interfere with the patrolman, stay out of the way, don’t do anything to provoke the officer and let the EMT people handle it. The person giving this advice was the one assaulted by the officer, who literally had both hands around the neck of the technician! It was like watching a legal lynching, and given the characters and setting it probably felt that way for many who saw the incident. The EMT, Maurice White had done nothing to provoke this officer who felt justified in trying to restrain him by choking him?
Another widely publicized example of brutality where size, experience, weight were far more on the side of the law enforcement officer than the victim is the case of Malika Calhoun, a teenager who was pummeled by a King County sheriff’s deputy, Paul Schene in Seattle, Washington, because she was “lippy” an offense for which police assault is most likely NOT the punishment. The video can be seen at the link below.
One wonders whether the offending officer treats women as callously in his social reactions with them as he did in this professional encounter with a teenaged girl. Regardless there is no excuse for such excessive physical force and one can only hope the officer is relieved of his duties permanently.
What is distressing is in each of the examples mentioned above, the offending officer had a partner with him who did nothing to restrain him, or even is not responsible for revealing the brutality to their superiors or the public in general. In both cases officers were caught by the unblinking eye of video cameras they either ignored or didn’t realize were present filming their indiscretions. In many cases, therefore, I would assert the partners of the offending officers are just as responsible for the brutality we see as the assaulting officer himself, and should be disciplined as well.
How does this get to the us and them theme of my title? There has always been this idea among law officers that they were the last bulwark against a marauding public hell bent on destroying all we hold dear….almost the same thing said about the Muslim hordes we’ve told we must detest and distrust. Police who got carried away in the performance of their duties were exempt from punishment and their excesses were viewed with a blind eye, or a wink and a grin by superior officers because cohesion of the “force” was more important than the rule of the law. The public that these offices were sworn to protect and serve were all too often the victims of these officers who found purpose in protecting one another from “them” the public. There was nothing to restrain them, except an all too infrequent application of the rule of law against them. In some cases that worked, however! Witness Norm Stamper’s claims.
Forty-three years ago I was an idealistic, vaguely liberal 21-year-old when the San Diego Police Department hired me. The last thing on my mind was taking to the streets to punish people. And lest there be any doubt about the department’s policy, the police academy, even then, drove it home: excessive force was grounds for termination.
So, why did I abuse the very people I’d been hired to serve?
Not to get too psychological, I did it because the power of my position went straight to my head; because other cops I’d come to admire did it; and because I thought I could get away with it. Which I did–until a principled prosecutor slapped me upside the head and demanded to know whether the U.S. Constitution meant anything to me.
It comes down to this: real cops, those with a conscience, those who honor the law, must step up and take control of the cop culture.
The turnaround for this officer was the application of the law AGAINST him, not by him, for his illegal activity; that was all that was needed to get him to see the error of his ways, and likely spare a lot of innocent people from his lawlessness. This brings me to the present and where we are as a country. We pride ourselves in being a country where the rule of law reigns supreme, is equally applied to all and insures a social harmony that preserves our values and way of life. That said, we should see and insist the rule of law apply to lawless law enforcement officers as well as lawless politicians, no matter how high they are in the political hierarchy. Doing so preserves our way of life as vigorously as fighting terrorists on foreign soil. This notion that we have to aggressively fight an external foe that means us harm in ways that are universally considered illegal with no legal consequences to us is the type of hubris which causes nations to disintegrate, diminish and disappear over time at varying rates of speed. The polarization of such a society into those who are the enforcers and those who are the victims of that enforcement leads to civil unrest and violence, certainly anathema to our ‘way of life’, yet both sides would claim vociferously they are defending it! There is no other recourse than the unwavering application of the law against all who break it. Doing so restores confidence in all to the principles which this country was founded, and gives meaning to those who’ve sacrificed for it.
I didn’t even begin to touch on the machinations of the accord the US is trying to draw up with Iraq, although I have mentioned some of the coercion they’re using to get Iraq to accept. It really is about Iraqi sovereignty, as the Iraqis claim and about American hegemony in the area which is not so widely claimed. Besides wanting to establish between fifty to sixty permanent US military bases in Iraq, more than double the number presently there, the American government also wants to be able to determine if a hostile act from another country is aggression against Iraq, control over Iraqi air space up to 30,000 feet and immunity from prosecution for U.S. troops and private military contractors.
Some of these points have been rejected by the Iraqis before, notably immunity for private military contractors, but Iraqis have always been appeased and the issue settled to the satisfaction of both parties. The language of the accord being considered also mentions the ability for the US to determine who is an aggressor against Iraq which leads some to think the US is aiming at Iran and that’s something the Shi’iah dominated Iraqi government doesn’t want! With sixty military bases scattered throughout Iraq any provocation or casus belli could be construed as an act of war. Keep in mind the US has been trying to convince the public that the Iranians are responsible for the insurgency movement especially in the south of Iraq, but such claims under closer scrutiny have usually turned out to be uncorroborated.
Finally, the Iraqi government has gone on record about this dispute and for now it’s a resounding no! They have even gone so far as to say they want the US out of Iraq and that they’re prepared to go it alone. We’ve heard such talk before and it will probably turn into nothing, as far as the Iraqi government is concerned. However, there is this interesting little sidebar.
Hardline Iraqi cleric Moqtada Al Sadr will set up a new force to battle US troops.”We will not stop resisting the occupation until liberation or martyrdom,” Sadr told his more than 60,000-strong Mahdi Army militia.
The fight against US troops will now be waged only by the new group, while other members will “take on a social and religious role,” Sadr said in a statement which was read out at mosques in the holy Shi’ite town of Kufa.
The announcement came amid controversy in Iraq and in neighbouring Iran over negotiations between Baghdad and Washington for a new pact to cover the US military presence when a UN mandate expires at the end of the year.
Juan Cole seems to suggest Sadr’s army numbers in the millions and with that the case the potential could be devastating for the future of Iraq.