Category Archives: War

So where are we with General Petraeus?

What on earth is happening when an American who has been trusted as much as General Petraeus has his little love affair exposed (which doesn’t seem to have effected his CIA leadership at all) and feels the need to resign?

This article is from Truthdig… I’m putting it all here:

How the David Petraeus-Paula Broadwell Affair Was Uncovered

 

AP/Cliff Owen
Former CIA Director David Petraeus.

Modern technology apparently cost ex-CIA Director David Petraeus his job. The retired general’s affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell was discovered by the FBI while it was investigating harassing emails she sent to Jill Kelley, a 37-year-old woman who serves as an unpaid social liaison to MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla. A former associate of Petraeus says he and Kelley are just friends.

After news of the FBI investigation that uncovered the affair, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper stepped in and asked Petraeus to resign.

The Associated Press:

Clapper was told by the Justice Department of the Petraeus investigation at about 5 p.m. on Election Day, and then called Petraeus and urged him to resign, according to a senior U.S. intelligence official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly.

…Concerned that the emails he exchanged with Broadwell raised the possibility of a security breach, the FBI brought the matter up with Petraeus directly, according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to publicly discuss the investigation.

Petraeus decided to quit, though he was breaking no laws by having an affair, officials said.

Read more

In the wake of Petraeus’ resignation, members of Congress are asking for more information about the investigation, including why they weren’t alerted sooner and whether the probe had any impact on national security.

Now here are my thoughts. Given the world situation, why in hell are we letting a man with this amount of military and foreign policy and management experience leave this job over a little penis stimulation? You can’t tell me that the Congressfolk who would sit over his situation if he hadn’t resigned haven’t been involved in the same kind of stuff.

If I were Obama, I would have, at least temporarily, refused Petraeus’ resignation and let him go ahead with his testimony about Libya (which he should do anyway, whether he has resigned or not.)

If we really let him go we are more stupid than I already think.

 

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It’s Veterans Day…

I’ll be clear, here. I am not a veteran of our armed forces. When my eligibility would have occurred I got a 1 Y on my physical and was never allowed in (I was also married with a child and in college at the time.)

What I do remember every Veterans Day, however, is my Uncle Butch (Marine Sgt. Irving B. Tchakirides, my father’s younger brother), who died on his third tour of duty in Viet Nam… a victim of American fire as it happens. Many times I have gone to DC to see his name on the Viet Nam Wall and to remember how much I liked him, along with my other uncles, as a child.

So I wish a Best Veterans Day to the memory of my Uncle Butch and hope that someday we won’t have to think about losing our young men in wars we never should have been in.

 

I might have limited posting for a while…

Due to a medical emergency (the discovery of a potential brain tumor… aint that a kick in the head?) I’m going to be going in for several days of testing, etc., but I’ll try to keep up with you folks. I want you to know how much I appreciate the readers of Under The LobsterScope, and your e-mail to me is always welcome, as well as your likes and comments.

DON’T FORGET TO VOTE THIS MORNING IF YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY.

I don’t want to wake up in a hospital and find that Mitt the Twit is president.

English: Nate Silver in Washington, D.C.

 Nate Silver

I’m glad that Nate Silver in the NY Times, 538 column, is still got his usually very accurate poll predictions on Obama carrying most of the swing states… and his prediction that our president will be re-elected.

Your e-mail is always appreciated… Bill.

Here’s a video treat from ALL HAT NO CATTLE…

…the one blog I try to view every day. This is a video that Lisa put together Called “Back in the Good Old Days” which is a good indicator that Romney will bring Bushiness back to us.

 

Hope you enjoy it. I sure did!

 

Did you know that converting “Frenchies” to Mormonism is equivalent to military service in wartime?

If you are interested in Ann Romney‘s response to Whoopi Goldberg on The View (which Mitt avoided making an appearance on… scared of Whoopi apparently) when she brought up the fact that Mitt hadn’t served his country in the Viet Nam War, take a look at this statement:

“Mitt certainly did serve his country during the war. He just served in a different way than most during that period. Sure, while many poor and minority young people were involuntarily drafted and soon found themselves knee-deep in cholera-infested rice paddies, you must remember that Mitt was also in a difficult spot serving Jesus, who as everyone knows made a special trip to America.”

“He roamed around the mean streets of Paris, riding a bike, and looking like a royal imbecile. You think he looks ridiculously uncool now, you should have seen him then! And it was a real hell-hole. Of course, he wasn’t being shot at or tripping any landmines, but he had to eat at 3 star restaurants! And he was doing just as important of a job as the Army was when they were fighting for Jesus and America.”

“He was out trying to baptize people in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Do you know how hard it is to get anyone to swallow this ridiculous shit? Especially French people! They’ve got all of this good food, wine, and they just LOVE to smoke and have sex all of the time. And you have to tell them to give that stuff up! Darn near impossible! Well, you don’t tell them that right away, only after you get them baptized. We aren’t idiots, you know!”

“So I’d like everyone in the media to stop pretending that Mitt didn’t serve during the war. He baptized 103 Frenchies by all by himself. How many conversions did any of those so-called “soldiers” perform? I rest my case.”

Hey… did you ever think of how dangerous it is to eat in 3-star restaurants?

Thanks to Ye Olde Soapbox for leading me to this one.

What is it about Republicans and their need to create wars?

Here’s where to look for a World News Daily article by Jamal Abdi: New Senate Push to Pledge Unconditional Support for Israeli “Preventive” War on Iran.

Before reading it, here’s the first couple of sentences:

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is planning to press the Senate next month to pledge U.S. troops, money, and political support to Israel should Bibi Netanyahu launch a preventive war on Iran.

Graham claims his effort would merely make explicit that the U.S. has Israel’s back. But when your friend is drunk, you don’t hand them the keys. If Graham has his way, he will hand Bibi the keys and lend him our car, while the rest of us ride shotgun.

If this gets you at all nervous about creating a new major mideast war at the behest of Israel (and Lindsay Graham), then get ready to write your senator.

 

Arthur Ochs (Punch) Sulzberger, former NY Times publisher, dead at 86.

 

Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, known to his colleagues as “Punch“, the fourth publisher of the New York Times, is famous for his decision to publish the Pentagon Papers and to promote a radical redesign that set a new standard for newspapers in the last quarter of the 20th century, has died at age 86, after a long illness.

Sulzberger was publisher of the Times from 1963 to 1992 and chairman and chief executive of the parent company from 1973 to 1997. These titles were passed on to his son, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr., the fourth generation of his family to head the paper.

Publishing the Pentagon Papers were the defining moment of three decades of transformation at the Times under Sulzberger. He also automated the Times’ production, unified the Sunday and daily news operations under one editor and  divided the paper into four brightly written sections.

Hampered by dyslexia, he was an indifferent student who daydreamed in class. His grades were so poor that he repeated the first year of high school. In 1943, the 17-year-old joined the Marines. His desire to prove himself on the battlefield was thwarted by his father, who arranged a transfer to Gen. Douglas MacArthur‘s staff as driver and jack of all trades. After World War II, Sulzberger earned a degree at Columbia University in 1951. He served in the Korean War as a public information officer.

 

Romney is Inspired by Hitler for Energy Alternative…

 

In a video on You Tube from May,  Romney is seen at a public event talking about alternative energy (which the Republicans in Congress have done everything possible to prevent).  When discussing new energy sources new

English: Portrait of Adolf Hitler.

energy source, Romney gives a hat tip to Hitler (about 42 seconds into the tape):

 

Liquified Gas. Gosh,  Hitler during the Second War I guess, because he was concerned about losing his oil, liquefied coal. That technology is still there. I’m told the Chinese are building five liquefied coal plants right now.

 

 

 

It’s hard to believe that the Mittster cited Hitler in a public address. Then again, it’s hard to believe a lot of things this guy says.

 

 

 

How about a foreign policy statement from Mitt…

That video from the secret fundraiser is sure providing tons of revelations of the presidential talents of Mitt Romney – or the fact that there are no such talents present.

Here is a statement that gives us a real view of how he sees tyhe middle east:

“If I were Iran – a crazed fanatic, I’d say let’s get a little fissile material to Hezbollah, have them carry it to Chicago, and then if anything goes wrong, or America starts acting up, we’ll just say, “Guess what? Unless you stand down, why, we’re going to let off a dirty bomb. I mean this is where we have – where America could be held up and blackmailed by Iran, by the mullahs, by crazy people. So we don’t have any option but to keep Iran from having a nuclear weapon.”

– Mitt Romney

Hey… I’ll bet he’ll start another war if he gets the chance. Let’s not give it to him.

An article you must read: Romney and Ryan – The Haters in Chief

 

This article by Hrafnkell Haraldsson is in PoliticusUSA today. I’m giving you the first couple of paragraphs, but this is a long, well-thought out piece which continues the thinking I started earlier about religion and politics. In fact I was startled to discover a quote from Jefferson from the same document!

As you read it you discover that in a Romney America, “my god is bigger than your god. And your god doesn’t get any First Amendment protections because, well, it really isn’t a religion in the first place, is it? It’s a cult. Cults aren’t protected.” That certainly puts Islam in the gut bucket.

Anyway – here’s the start:

Can you imagine a United States where the president and vice president hate the world’s second largest religion and invite into White House councils those who advocate military action against whoever we feel might be a threat, including, particularly, Iran.

That’s the scenario being faced, incredibly enough, by the people of the United States. President Obama’s pragmatic, sober approach to diplomacy has restored the reputation of the United States and we are on the verge of escaping both long wars embarked upon by the Bush administration.

But Mitt Romney wants to abrogate control of America’s foreign policy – to Israel – which wants to attack Iran. He may have noticed we just got done with a nearly-ten-year-long-war in Iran’s neighbor, Iraq. He may have noticed that we are still engaged in Afghanistan, a place even Alexander the Great could not entirely subdue, a place that was a graveyard and charnel house for the mighty Soviet Union.

And now he wants to involve us in an attack on Iran.

OK… read the rest of it HERE. You’ll be glad you did.

 

This will be a mobbed weekend in our general area…

Tomorrow and Sunday is the reenactment of the Battle of Antietam over the river from us in Sharpsburg. It is the 150th anniversary of the battle and this is drawing reenactors from all over the country, judging by the large amount of out-of-state license plates showing up here and over in Washington County.

Elly and I are going over to her friend Joan’s at some point to sit in front of her house on Main St. and watch the downtown activities.

Getting from our place to Hagerstown is going to be a mess tomorrow, since many of the main roads will be closed around the Battlefield National Park. Anyone trying to get from Shepherdstown to Hagerstown is advised to go a little out of your way and take Interstate 81.

Even Conservatives are criticizing and condemning Romney’s comments on the mid-east tragedy yesterday…

A morning where Joe Scarborough, Peggy Noonan, The Wall Street Journal and dozens of other conservatives are appearing on television and the press stating their disappointment in the anti-Obama words of Romney yesterday. That he politicized an incident where Americans should all evaluate the circumstances and support each other and the President, Romney seems to be trying to show Rush Limbaugh that he is a tough competitor. He has an inappropriate way of showing his ability to lead if he were in office.

RPW Chairman Reince Priebus

Reince Priebus

This is more than a gaffe (although we’ve had a number of these, and it spread through his whole campaign staff… especially Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus, someone whose comments throughout the election process has been unapprovable. Here’s a guy who should be canned rather than be allowed access to the Press.

Making a political broadside against the Commander In Chief in this situation does not even come close to understanding foreign policy. The Republicans circling the wagons does very little to support his election possibility.

Steve Kornacki has a review of Romneys unfortunate statements in Salon

 

The article is called “Mitt’s shameful Libya statement.”

Here’s how it starts:

That it’s fundamentally dishonest hasn’t stopped Mitt Romney from repeating his central critique of Barack Obama’s foreign policy over and over – the idea that the president “went around the world and apologized for America.”  So it shouldn’t be surprising that Romney’s response to the attacks on U.S. diplomatic installations in Egypt and Libya was rooted in the same caricature of Obama as apologizer-in-chief.

“It’s disgraceful,” Romney’s statement, which was released late Tuesday night, read, “that the Obama administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.”

That’s not at all what happened, of course.

Read the rest HERE.

 

Waking up to horrible news from Libya and Egypt…

There are two upsetting I got from the news when I turned it on at 6:00 AM and which has made this the start of a very bad day.

1. Attacks at the US Embassies  by Islamic terrorists in Egypt and Libya. Our Libyan Ambassador Chris Stevens  was killed with three other Americans, at least one was a diplomat. The Egyptian Embassy was breached, the American flag was taken and destroyed and replaced with an Islamic flag.

The provocation for these attacks was apparently an internet post of an amateur video satirizing the Prophet Muhammad. It seems that the Islamic press claimed this as a major Hollywood film done as revenge against Islamists for 9/11.

2. Although the two Presidential campaigns had come to an agreement that there would be no attacking each other on 9/11, Mitt Romney blasted the President and his administration for being “sympathetic” to the embassy attackers – calling Obama’s response to the incidents “disgraceful”. He did this at 10 PM last night defying the agreement between his and Obama’s campaigns.

“Obama sympathizes with attackers in Egypt. Sad and pathetic.”              

 –  Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus

Obama waited to respond until after midnight when the day of remembrance was over. He announced his consolation to the families of the victims and his outrage at the incidents. Then he made everyone aware of his aggravation with Romney’s statement.

“We are shocked that, at a time when the United States of America is confronting the tragic death of one of our diplomatic officers in Libya, Governor Romney would choose to launch a political attack.”

– Obama’s campaign press secretary Ben LaBolt

I would have to agree that I think Romney’s remarks were both unfortunate and representative of his unknowledgable command of foreign policy. That he showed lack of support for his country and its administration at a time of National crisis and at a time in which he had pledged to remain in non-attack mode in his campaign, would make Romney less than reliable as a President.

A day I have not looked forward to… have you?

 

It’s the eleventh anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy and it will be the subject of all of today’s talk shows. The very thought of everything involved in the event… from the destruction of the World Trade Center, the crash into the Pentagon and the plane that went down in a Pennsylvania field. I remember the father of one of Buddy’s friends when we lived in Marlborough,CT, who had made his monthly business trip to NYC and died in the attack… which means not only did it happen, but I knew someone killed in the tragedy.

We are at war in the Middle East… still going after Al Qaeda. It is the longest war in our history and seems to go on forever. After the loss of citizens on 9/11, we continue to lose even more Americans because of the attack. I ask my self: what have we become?

I will try to put the day out of my mind. I have thought about it so much over the past eleven years. I am just crestfallen to find it on my mind again.

 

New Antietam Museum Room to open on Friday.

 

Antietam National Battlefield announces the opening of a new museum exhibit room in the park visitor center. A ribbon cutting will take place on Friday, September 7 at 10:00 a.m.

The new exhibits highlight the impact of the battle on the nation that occurred 150 years ago… and the families that lived on the battlefield. The exhibit includes wartifacts and photographs of veterans returning for reunions and the creation of the park by the U.S. War Department.

According to Park Superintendent Susan Trail:

Sharpsburg was a farming community for one hundred years before the battle was fought. Now we are able to tell a broader story through the artifacts and images of those who lived here. We are extremely pleased to have our new exhibit opening just in time for the 150th Commemoration.”

Some of the artifacts that highlight the new exhibit include a gold watch owned by the Mumma family whose farm was destroyed in the battle; furniture from the Roulette farm; a hand carved headstone that marked a soldiers grave just after the battle; and numerous reunion medals and ribbons.

For more information call 301-432-5124.

 

Paul Ryan said we have to elect a leader… turns out he IS one.

Ryan is a leader in the War On Women!

 

Cartoon(s) of the Week – The Republican Convention is delayed a day… Women cheer!

 

Lee Judge in the Kansas City Star:

Republican Convention is waiting for women…

– and –

Kevin Siers in the Charlotte Observer:

Of course, the strategy is to attack Obama‘s speeches…

– and –

Jim Morin in the Miami Herald:

It’s a good thing women can turn off pregnancy when raped (thanks, Todd Akin)…

– and –

Rob Rogers in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette:

Of course, war is always an issue at conventions…

– and –

Mike Luckovich in the Atlanta Journal Constitution:

…and when they get elected they will start REGULATING.

 

 

War on Health

 

I’m happy to present Gary Null‘s documentary: War on Health, The FDA‘s Cult of Tyranny.

If you are worried about organic foods, raw dairy products or other things being available, or if you are afraid of GMOs in your food, this will startle you:

 

Obama calls for legislation to limit sales of guns, especially AK-47s…

 

In a speech before the National Urban League convention in New Orleans yesterday, the president tied Aurora shooting and other high-profile mass shootings in recent years to continuing urban gun violence. He said it was time to take greater legislative steps to curb the problem:

“I, like most Americans, believe that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual the right to bear arms. But I also believe that a lot of gun owners would agree that AK-47s belong in the hands of soldiers, not in the hands of criminals — that they belong on the battlefields of war and not on the streets of our cities.

“I believe the majority of gun owners would agree that we should do everything possible to prevent criminals and fugitives from purchasing weapons. We should check someone’s criminal record before they can check out a gun seller. Many mentally unbalanced individuals should not be able to get their hands on a gun so easily. These steps shouldn’t be controversial they should be common sense.”

You can read Obama’s full remarks here.

 

A message received from Michael Moore:

I don’t know if you are on Michael Moore’s mailing list. If not, I’d like to pass on a couple of things I received from Michael this morning re: the Aurora shootings and guns in general. It’s quite long, so I have condensed it as best I could:

In modern times, nearly every nation has had a psychopath or two commit a mass murder, regardless of how strict their gun laws are – the crazed white supremacist in Norway one year ago Sunday, the schoolyard butcher in Dunblane, Scotland, the École Polytechnique killer in Montreal, the mass murderer in Erfurt, Germany … the list seems endless.

And now the Aurora shooter last Friday. There have always been insane people, and there always will be.

But here’s the difference between the rest of the world and us: We have TWO Auroras that take place every single day of every single year! At least 24 Americans every day (8-9,000 a year) are killed by people with guns – and that doesn’t count the ones accidentally killed by guns or who commit suicide with a gun. Count them and you can triple that number to over 25,000.

That means the United States is responsible for over 80% of all the gun deaths in the 23 richest countries combined.

——–

People like me will say this is all the result of the U.S. having a history and a culture of men with guns, “cowboys and Indians,” “shoot first and ask questions later.” And while it is true that the mass genocide of the Native Americans set a pretty ugly model to found a country on, I think it’s safe to say we’re not the only ones with a violent past or a penchant for genocide. Hello, Germany! That’s right I’m talking about you and your history, from the Huns to the Nazis, just loving a good slaughter (as did the Japanese, and the British who ruled the world for hundreds of years – and they didn’t achieve that through planting daisies). And yet in Germany, a nation of 80 million people, there are only around 200 gun murders a year.

So those countries (and many others) are just like us – except for the fact that more people here believe in God and go to church than any other Western nation.

———

So – why us?

I posed this question a decade ago in my film ‘Bowling for Columbine,’ and this week, I have had little to say because I feel I said what I had to say ten years ago – and it doesn’t seem to have done a whole lot of good other than to now look like it was actually a crystal ball posing as a movie.

This is what I said then, and it is what I will say again today:

1. We Americans are incredibly good killers. We believe in killing as a way of accomplishing our goals. Three-quarters of our states execute criminals, even though the states with the lower murder rates are generally the states with no death penalty.

Our killing is not just historical (the slaughter of Indians and slaves and each other in a “civil” war). It is our current way of resolving whatever it is we’re afraid of. It’s invasion as foreign policy. Sure there’s Iraq and Afghanistan – but we’ve been invaders since we “conquered the wild west” and now we’re hooked so bad we don’t even know where to invade (bin Laden wasn’t hiding in Afghanistan, he was in Pakistan) or what to invade for (Saddam had zero weapons of mass destruction and nothing to do with 9/11). We send our lower classes off to do the killing, and the rest of us who don’t have a loved one over there don’t spend a single minute of any given day thinking about the carnage. And now we send in remote pilotless planes to kill, planes that are being controlled by faceless men in a lush, air conditioned studio in suburban Las Vegas. It is madness.

2. We are an easily frightened people and it is easy to manipulate us with fear. What are we so afraid of that we need to have 300 million guns in our homes? Who do we think is going to hurt us? Why are most of these guns in white suburban and rural homes? Maybe we should fix our race problem and our poverty problem (again, #1 in the industrialized world) and then maybe there would be fewer frustrated, frightened, angry people reaching for the gun in the drawer.

——-

Those are my thoughts about Aurora and the violent country I am a citizen of. Like I said, I spelled it all out here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jGtAcDefHg).Those are my thoughts about Aurora and the violent country I am a citizen of.  I’m in if you are.

Yours,
Michael Moore
MMFlint@MichaelMoore.com
@MMFlint
MichaelMoore.com

I have not talked much about Syria, but this seems to be a positive statement:

Nawaf al-Fares is one of the highest-profile defectors from the Syrian regime. Formerly he was Bashar al-Assad‘s ambassador in Baghdad, Iraq.

He has been a very prominent figure in Syria for years and has held senior Baath party posts since the time of the late president Hafez al-Assad.

Fares is a Sunni who is said to have close ties to Syrian security.  Heis the second senior diplomat to quit the embattled government since the beginning of the Syrian uprising. The first was Bassam Imadi, the Syrian ambassador to Sweden.

Western diplomats have hailed recent defections as a sign that the Bashar-al-Assad government is slowly beginning to crumble from within.

He stated this in an interview:

“The regime and Bashar al-Assad himself gave us illusions about reforms. We are now convinced that this regime will never do anything for the sake of the people. Lies are going on, the head of the regime is lying, it’s mirage, it’s illusion, killings everywhere, destruction everywhere and oppression everywhere …. He [Bashar-al-Assad] carries the genes of a dictator. His father killed people 30 years ago. Those who deal with him know that he is a liar …

The Russian support, the Iranian support and the hesitation or the inability of the international community to protect the Syrian people are the main reasons why the regime is buying time and why the regime is staying for a longer period of time. But from inside, the regime is dead. Economically, socially, in all domains …

Reforms could have given some fruits if applied at the very beginning of the revolution. But after waves of blood it’s impossible for the Syrians to trust Bashar al-Assad again, to accept his existence in Syria even …. This regime is dead, it’s just a matter of time.”

– Nawaf Fares, the former Syrian ambassador to Iraq

When the Republicans say there is no War on Women, hit ’em with this list:

Raw Story ran this from Helen Wheels:

Everyone should copy & paste this for safekeeping and for sticking in lying sack of shit baggerfascists’ faces whenever necessary. I, with the help of other commenters up here, have kept a running tab of the GOP War on Women:

– Every GOP Senator voted AGAINST Equal Pay for Women Act
– Every GOP Senator voted AGAINST Al Franken‘s Anti-Rape Amendment

– Every GOP member vote FOR Anti-Safe Abortion Legislation

– Every GOP member vote FOR Blunt/Rubio Anti-Women’s Equal Health
Coverage Amendment. While Blunt/Rubio Amendment does not allow employer
to deny men employee health coverage for Vasectomy, the Blunt/Rubio
Amendment allows Employer to deny female employees & female
dependents: contraception, tubes tied, and hysterectomies.

– GOP Redefine Rape

– GOP write legislation to probe metal prongs up a woman’s vagina

– GOP change legal term for victims of rape, stalking, and domestic violence
to “accuser”

– GOP write legislation that could make it legal to murder a doctor who provides
abortion care. (South Dakota GOP)

– GOP write legislation to cut nearly a billion dollars of aid to low-income
pregnant women, mothers, babies, and kids.

– GOP write legislation that would let hospitals allow a woman to die
rather than perform an abortion necessary to save her life.

– GOP write law cutting ALL funding for low-income kids saying “Women
should really be home with the kids, not out working (Maryland)

– GOP Cut Funding for Head Start, by $1 Billion.

– Two-thirds of the elderly poor are women: GOP write Bill to CUT
funding for employment services, meals, and housing for senior citizens.

– GOP Candidates for President vow and pledge to Cut Funding for Planned
Parenthood.

– GOP voted for a Amendment to cut all federal funding from Planned Parenthood
health centers.

– GOP write Bill to eliminate all funds for Federal Family Planning Program.

– GOP Write Bill to Provide Contraception for wild horses but ENDS
all Federal Funding for Family Planning, including contraception
coverage. (Dan Burton(R))

– GOP Jan Brewer (R- AZ) Republican Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer on Thursday
signed one of the most controversial and restrictive abortion bans in the
country, which experts say effectively bans abortions after 18 weeks and
declares that a woman could be pregnant 2 weeks before she even had sex.

States passed 83 laws restricting access to abortion, nearly four times the
23 laws passed in 2010. A lot of that had to do with the 2010 elections, which
ushered in a wave of Republican legislators and governors. This year, the
number of states with fully anti-abortion governments — in which both the
governor and the legislature oppose abortion rights — increased from
10 to 15.

Got it? Pass it around… post it on your blogs…print it out and pin it to bulletin boards everywhere.

How do we deal with American illiteracy?

Perhaps you are disturbed, as I am, that there are large numbers of Americans appearing in this political season who cannot interpret either the needs of the nation or the words of various experts in how to fill those needs. It is very apparent in the repetition by average Americans of things they hear from sources like Fox News, or even CNN and MSNBC, without evaluating whether they are true.

This has a lot to do with literacy, defined by ProLiteracy.org as “the ability to read, write, compute, and use technology at a level that enables an individual to reach his or her full potential as a parent, employee, and community member.” The statistics?

  • 63 million adults — 29 percent of the country’s adult population —over age 16 don’t read well enough to understand a newspaper story written at the eighth grade level.
  • An additional 30 million 14 percent of the country’s adult population — can only read at a fifth grade level or lower.
  • Forty-three percent of adults with the lowest literacy rates in the United States live in poverty.
  • The United States ranks fifth on adult literacy skills when compared to other industrialized nations.
  • In the U.S., 63 million adults — 29 percent of the country’s adult population —over age 16 don’t read well enough to understand a newspaper story written at the eighth grade level.
  • An additional 30 million 14 percent of the country’s adult population — can only read at a fifth grade level or lower.
  • Forty-three percent of adults with the lowest literacy rates in the United States live in poverty.
  • The United States ranks fifth on adult literacy skills when compared to other industrialized nations.
  • Adult low literacy can be connected to almost every socio-economic issue in the United States.
  • Low health literacy costs between $106 billion and $236 billion each year in the U.S.
  • Seventy-seven million Americans have only a 2-in-3 chance of correctly reading an over-the-counter drug label or understanding their child’s vaccination chart.
  • Low literacy’s effects cost the U.S. $225 billion or more each year in non-productivity in the workforce, crime, and loss of tax revenue due to unemployment.

Got the idea? How do you think the result of these statistics show up during the election season? Take a look:

This is not something that can be corrected in the short term… mores the pity. It requires long-term support of education and the increased employment of teachers. It mandates aiming the majority of our youth to college education as opposed to the military. It means encouraging reading and writing on continuing upgraded levels.

It also requires a massive reduction in the influence of current television programming, something that is the least likely to happen anytime soon.

 

 

I’m not happy with the World…

…but I can’t do anything about it on a scale that would change anything.

Listening to politicians on the morning news babble at each other that they will not do anything about jobs or or education or ANYTHING unless the debt is reduced (which most economists will tell you is a false concern in relationship to income)… and then seeing that they do NOTHING while they are in session to work with each other or the President, and ignore the wishes of the voters.

Then I see the report on Global Biodiversity which shows that we are gobbling up the Earths resources at an unreplaceable rate (we are “outstripping the Earth’s resources by 50 percent — essentially using the resources of one and a half Earths every year, according to the 2012 Living Planet Report, produced by conservation agency the World Wildlife Fund (WWF)”

Natural resources — and the rate at which humans burn through them — rarely appear on policymakers’ balance sheets.

– Emily McKenzie, the director of the WWF’s Natural Capital Program

Tie all this in with the ignoring of Global Warming which is leading us further down the path to an unliveable planet.

The fact that we are still at war in the Middle East and are committed there for at least a dozen more years with billions of tax dollars being spent and no budget cuts to aid the economy is frightening. In my lifetime there have been relatively few years when we were not at war with SOMEONE… and the claims that this would all lead to peace are now nothing but laughable.

So my thoughts come back again to “what can we do?”

Elly and I have replaced all our light bulbs with the energy controlled ones and, even then, we sit in the dark most of the time to keep electricity down. We are growing our own food now (and buying and trading with local farmers.) We are planning to add chickens.

I am working with groups like Sustainable Shepherdstown to promote local job growth and development of our  local and regional small businesses.

I am campaigning against Monsanto, Dow and the rest for poisoning our foods and making it more difficult to get organic seeds in the market… yet they are taking over the food industry at rates that are more than alarming (for instance, Kellogg buying out Kashi has removed the latter from the organic food makers and now fills their products with GMO grains.)

But I wake up every morning more depressed than the day before… worried about the future for my children and my grandchildren (currently four of them).

Do you worry about all of this as well? Do you try to do anything about it, or just throw your hands up and resign yourself to it?

Let me know.