Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Can Iran Be Trusted?...

Rational Nation USA
Purveyor of Truth

While the Obama Administration works to negotiate a nuclear arms deal with Iran one of the Revolutionary Guard Militia chiefs, Mohammad Reza Naqdi as stated “erasing Israel off the map” is “nonnegotiable”. Naqdi also went as far as to ...  threatened Saudi Arabia, saying that the offensive it is leading in Yemen “will have a fate like the fate of Saddam Hussein." This according to a report from  THE TIMES OF ISRAEL.

Such inflammatory rhetoric is certainly not useful and does raise questions as to the real intentions of the Iranian ruling theocrats.

The commander of the Basij militia of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said that “erasing Israel off the map” is “nonnegotiable,” according to an Israel Radio report Tuesday.

Militia chief Mohammad Reza Naqdi also threatened Saudi Arabia, saying that the offensive it is leading in Yemen “will have a fate like the fate of Saddam Hussein.”

Naqdi’s comments were made public as Iran and six world powers prepared Tuesday to issue a general statement agreeing to continue nuclear negotiations in a new phase aimed at reaching a comprehensive accord by the end of June.

In 2014, Naqdi said Iran was stepping up efforts to arm West Bank Palestinians for battle against Israel, adding the move would lead to Israel’s annihilation, Iran’s Fars news agency reported.

“Arming the West Bank has started and weapons will be supplied to the people of this region,” Naqdi said.

“The Zionists should know that the next war won’t be confined to the present borders and the Mujahedeen will push them back,” he added. Naqdi claimed that much of Hamas’s arsenal, training and technical knowhow in the summer conflict with Israel was supplied by Iran.
While the militia chief may not officially speak for the government of Iran Naqdi's rhetoric sounds terribly familiar to rhetoric we have heard from government officials in the past. At the very least reports like these should speak to caution and advise us not to trust an adversary that speaks out of both sides of it mouth.

Read the rest BELOW THE FOLD.

Via: Memeorandum

Friday, March 27, 2015

Lets Talk About Fascism...

Rational Nation USA
Purveyor of Truth

Fascism is typically viewed as a leftist political and economic system. This is true if leftist is to mean a strong central government with great influence on and regulation over a nation's economic maters. In other words private ownership of business exists but the government essentially establishes economic policy through over burdensome regulations.

Ayn Rand and Dr. Leonard Peikoff shared a different view. Both view conservatives and republicans as drivers of our politics and government in the direction towards fascism. While conservatives and republicans typically may not push for as much regulation over the business sector they too have in the past and continue to so so today. When combined with other traits exhibited by fascism the case can be made conservatives and republicans are more likely to meet the criteria for fascism.

Dr. Lawrence Britt posted the 14 Characteristics of fascism based on his study of 4 fascist regimes. Because information on Dr. Britts credentials are difficult to find on line refer to Dr. Leonard Peikoff's work entitled The Ominous Parallels, a fabulous book on the parallels between Nazi Germany and modern day USA. Note the book was published in 1982 and supports at least in part Dr. Britt's list of 14 characteristics of fascism.

So, after reading the list by Dr. Britt (and considering what you know about fascism) I thought it would be fun to see how many characteristics of fascism you identify as existing in out political and governmental systems today. And, which party is most representative of, or leaning towards, fascism.

By Dr. Lawrence Britt
Source Free Inquiry.co

Dr. Lawrence Britt has examined the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia) and several Latin American regimes. Britt found 14 defining characteristics common to each:

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism - Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights - Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need." The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause - The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

4. Supremacy of the Military - Even when there are widespread
domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

5. Rampant Sexism - The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution.

6. Controlled Mass Media - Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

7. Obsession with National Security - Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

8. Religion and Government are Intertwined - Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government's policies or actions.

9. Corporate Power is Protected - The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

10. Labor Power is Suppressed - Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.

11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts - Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked.

12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment - Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.

13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption - Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

14. Fraudulent Elections - Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

From Liberty Forum

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Kentucky's Common Sense Shift in the War on Drugs...

Rational Nation USA
Purveyor of Truth

A shift in how the nation fights drug use is in order. It has been for a long time. Perhaps more states and the federal government will find their way to sensible laws like the one Kentucky recently passed into state law.

WASHINGTON -- On Tuesday night, Kentucky lawmakers passed wide-ranging legislation to combat the state’s heroin epidemic. The bipartisan measure represents a significant policy shift away from more punitive measures toward a focus on treating addicts, not jailing them.

The state will now allow local health departments to set up needle exchanges and increase the number of people who can carry naloxone, the drug that paramedics use to save a person suffering an opioid overdose. Addicts who survive an overdose will no longer be charged with a crime after being revived. Instead, they will be connected to treatment services and community mental health workers.

At a Wednesday morning press conference before he signed the bill into law, Gov. Steve Beshear (D) said the legislation sent a simple message to addicts across Kentucky: "We’re coming to help you. Work with us. Help us to help you to get on the road to recovery."

Continue reading BELOW THE FOLD.

Via: Memeorandum

When Bigotry and Prejudice Prevail...

Rational Nation USA
Purveyor of Truth

Some celebrate the following announcement by Pence. It is those who, without considering the potential bigotry and prejudice this law indirectly supports, may someday be subject to like bigotry and prejudice.

This bill is not about religious freedom and the right of Hoosiers to chose their faith and how they worship. They already have that and it is guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States of America and their state constitution.

Rather this law is about allowing businesses to deny equal patronage to those they disapprove of; simply out of bigotry and prejudice.

This is NOT anything the inhabitants of Indian should be proud of. But there is a creeping religous insurgency trying to change America from a truly secular state into a theocratic one. Tell me, what is the difference with Islam? Anybody?

Indianapolis – Governor Mike Pence today issued the following statement after signing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (SEA 101) in a private ceremony.

“Today I signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, because I support the freedom of religion for every Hoosier of every faith.

“The Constitution of the United States and the Indiana Constitution both provide strong recognition of the freedom of religion but today, many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack by government action.

“One need look no further than the recent litigation concerning the Affordable Care Act. A private business and our own University of Notre Dame had to file lawsuits challenging provisions that required them to offer insurance coverage in violation of their religious views.

“Fortunately, in the 1990s Congress passed, and President Clinton signed, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act—limiting government action that would infringe upon religion to only those that did not substantially burden free exercise of religion absent a compelling state interest and in the least restrictive means.

“Last year the Supreme Court of the United States upheld religious liberty in the Hobby Lobby case based on the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, but that act does not apply to individual states or local government action. At present, nineteen states—including our neighbors in Illinois and Kentucky—have adopted Religious Freedom Restoration statutes. And in eleven additional states, the courts have interpreted their constitutions to provide a heightened standard for reviewing government action.

“In order to ensure that religious liberty is fully protected under Indiana law, this year our General Assembly joined those 30 states and the federal government to enshrine these principles in Indiana law, and I fully support that action.

“This bill is not about discrimination, and if I thought it legalized discrimination in any way in Indiana, I would have vetoed it. In fact, it does not even apply to disputes between private parties unless government action is involved. For more than twenty years, the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act has never undermined our nation’s anti-discrimination laws, and it will not in Indiana.

“Indiana is rightly celebrated for the hospitality, generosity, tolerance, and values of our people, and that will never change. Faith and religion are important values to millions of Hoosiers and with the passage of this legislation, we ensure that Indiana will continue to be a place where we respect freedom of religion and make certain that government action will always be subject to the highest level of scrutiny that respects the religious beliefs of every Hoosier of every faith.”

For more reading on this story find it HERE, and HERE.

Via: Memeorandum

Monday, March 23, 2015

Building the American Empire...

Rational Nation USA
Purveyor of Truth

"There is overwhelming support in our conference for providing additional resources to protect our national security," House Speaker John Boehner declared at his weekly press conference last week, and with that the gauntlet was thrown down.

There will be a vote in the House, just has there have now been votes in the Senate, that are going to separate the GOP into the heirs of Ronald Reagan and his "peace through strength" beliefs and the hangers-on who have never understood that all they prize in terms of liberty, small government and federalism depends first and foremost on an American military that is not only larger than any other two, or five or ten combined next largest militaries, but one equal to the unique and essential task of bringing order to a chaotic and increasingly out-of-control world. Emphasis mine

Small government grinds who point to stupid expenditures in the Pentagon in the tens of millions of dollars betray a fundamental, indeed disqualifying myopia about a budget of more than $600 billion yet still less than 3 percent of the nation's GDP. Without the military and its vast budget there is no America for long. It will be attacked. It will be humbled. Americans will die in great numbers.

There you have it folks. Republicans and neo conservatives eschewing the virtues of EMPIRE. Our republic will, in time, collapse from it's own weight and hunger for domination should it follow this line of reasoning to its natural conclusion. History repeats.


Via: Memeorandum

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Will Israel Remain a Democracy?...

Rational Nation USA
Purveyor of Truth

Something conservative Israeli Jews and conservative Americans, Jewish and otherwise, ought to give serious consideration to. Dana Milbank makes powerful cogent and logical argument for a Palestinian State being in Israel's best interests. Mr. Milbank makes perhaps too much sense to be taken seriously by conservatives?

Eleven years ago, I carried my infant daughter into a synagogue basement and plunged her tiny body, head to toe, underwater.

She emerged sputtering and coughing, then wailing. The procedure, immersion in a Jewish ritual bath called a mikvah, felt barbaric. But it was for an important reason: Her mother isn’t Jewish, and by Jewish custom — and Israeli law — the faith is passed on by matrilineal descent, so I converted my daughter. Making sure she is Jewish in the eyes of the Jewish state gives me peace of mind. If the Gestapo ever comes again, she and her descendants will have a place to go. Just in case.

Such a threat seems unimaginable now. There probably never has been a better time or place to be a Jew than in 21st-century America. Yet there remains a deep sense of anxiety — some might say paranoia — hard-wired into Jews by centuries of persecution.

Israel, the Jewish state, is the antidote to this fear. The Law of Return, enacted by David Ben-Gurion’s government in 1950, guarantees Israeli citizenship to all Jews who move to Israel. This was meant to guarantee that Israel would remain Jewish (Palestinians, controversially, are not granted this right) but it also meant that, after the Holocaust, and thousands of years of wandering, there was finally a place to which all Jews could go, and defend ourselves, if nowhere else was safe.

This is why Benjamin Netanyahu’s actions on the eve of this week’s Israeli elections were so monstrous. In a successful bid to take votes from far-right parties, the prime minister vowed that there would be no Palestinian state as long as he’s in charge. It was an unmasking of sorts, revealing what many suspected all along: He had no interest in a two-state solution.

Netanyahu backed off that position after the election, assuring American news outlets NBC, NPR and Fox on Thursday that he still backs a two-state solution, in theory. His backtracking seemed nominal and insincere, but even that gesture is reassuring, for abandoning the idea of a Palestinian state will destroy the Jewish state just as surely, if not as swiftly, as an Iranian nuclear bomb.

This is a matter not of ideology but of arithmetic. Without a Palestinian state, Israel can be either a Jewish state or a democracy but not both. If it annexes the Palestinian territories and remains democratic, it will be split roughly evenly between Jews and Arabs; if it annexes the territories and suppresses the rights of Arabs, it ceases to be democratic.

There are roughly 4.4 million Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem and another 1.4 million living inside Israel . That puts them in rough parity with Jews, who number just over 6 million. Higher Palestinian population growth and fertility rates indicate that Jews will be a minority between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean in a few years.

Some right-wing outfits contest these numbers and try to make the dubious case that Israel can annex the Palestinian territories and still survive as a democratic Jewish state. Those were the type of voters Netanyahu was fishing for when he said before the election that he would not allow a Palestinian state — and when he warned on election day that “Arab voters are coming out in droves.” But in the end there can be no democratic Jewish state unless there is also a Palestinian state.


Via: Memeorandum

Friday, March 20, 2015

On Freethinkers Part #2...

Rational Nation USA
Purveyor of Truth

On March 15th we did a short post on freethinkers entitled FreeThinkers, Are There any Conservative FreeThinkers Today?. Today we revisit the topic in an effort to provide a bit more framework to the discussion. Rather than a quote followed by a site statement it is hoped today's entry prompts deeper thought based on introspection. Before we begin, the answer to the question "... Are there any Conservative FreeThinkers Today is, of course. However, true Freethinkers in either conservative or liberal/progressive circles is more rare than common.

We start with a definition of freethinking followed by further discussion.

Merriam Webster - : a person who forms his or her own opinions about important subjects (such as religion and politics) instead of accepting what other people say

: one who forms opinions on the basis of reason independently of authority; especially : one who doubts or denies religious dogma

Clearly, based on the above definition, a freethinker is a person who bases their opinions, or judgement on observable evidence, reason, and proper logic. Freethinkers reject political and or religious dogmatism preferring to form opinions independent of accepted convention.

I ask your indulgence for a moment while I inject site philosophy. In my view being a freethinker demands giving others the same right to think as they see fit absence derision or ad hominem attacks on their person. Sites who fancy themselves freethinkers who do not recognize this are nothing more than firebrands that would fully support authoritarianism to advance their goals.

Freethinking requires an active, questioning mind, and a dogged determination to not accept tradition, convention, or dogma on face value.

Seven steps to become Freethinker:

1)Try to avoid joining groups of supposedly like-minded others.
2) Ditch the 24/7 cable/satellite news cycle.
3) Evaluate why you do certain things.
4) Become open minded, and question everything.
5) Be wary of authoritarianism.
6) Learn basic logic. (For example, take this comment: "Senator A just has to be wrong about this economic plan. I heard that 20 years ago, he was an alcoholic." As you can see, the discussion mysteriously shifted from talking about the economy to talking about Senator A's past. This logical fallacy is called an Ad Hominem Attack. The above speaker was not criticizing Senator A's plan, but bringing up an old problem that the senator had with alcohol, in an attempt to damage his reputation. How do we know that Senator A has not reformed?
7) Try to enjoy being free-thinking.

For explanations click on the above link.

From SKP Freethinkers:

What Is A Freethinker's Basis For Knowledge?

Freethinkers are naturalistic. Truth is the degree to which a statement corresponds with reality. Reality is limited to that which is directly perceivable through our natural senses or indirectly ascertained through the proper use of reason.

The scientific method is the only trustworthy means of obtaining knowledge. For a statement to be considered true it must be testable (what repeatable experiments or methods confirm it?), falsifiable (what, in theory, would disconfirm it, and have all attempts to disprove it failed?), parsimonious (is it the simplest explanation, requiring the fewest assumptions?), and logical (is it free of contradictions or non sequiturs?).

Arguments based on faith, authority or ad hominem character attacks are unacceptable.

Do Freethinkers Have A Basis For Morality?

Freethinkers accept human life as the primary basis for morality. That which enhances humanity is "good"—that which threatens it is "evil." There are no cosmic absolutes. Given our existence in the universe, life must be the basis for values. Hence, most freethinkers are humanists. This usually embraces a respect for the welfare of our entire planet, including the other animals.

An ethical choice is rarely a simple "right and wrong" decision. Most moral questions involve a conflict of values, requiring a careful use of reason. Obedient conformity to the dictates of another mind is supremely immoral and very dangerous.

Do Freethinkers Have Meaning In Life?

Freethinkers know that meaning must originate in a mind. Since the universe is mindless and the cosmos does not care, you must care, if you wish to have purpose. Individuals are free to choose, within the limits of humanistic morality.

Some freethinkers have found meaning in compassion for needless suffering, social progress, the beauty of humanity (art, music, literature), personal happiness, pleasure, joy and love, and the advancement of knowledge.

Doesn't The Complexity Of Life Require A Designer?

The complexity of life requires an explanation. Darwin's theory of evolution, with cumulative nonrandom natural selection "designing" for billions of years, has provided the explanation. A Divine Designer is no answer because the complexity of such a creature would be subject to the same scrutiny itself.

Freethinkers recognize that there is much chaos, ugliness and pain in the universe for which any explanation of origins must also account.

Why Are Freethinkers Opposed To Religion?

Freethinkers are convinced that religious claims are false—they have not withstood the tests of evidence and reason. Not only is there nothing to be gained by believing an untruth, but there is everything to lose when we sacrifice the indispensable tool of reason on the altar of superstition.

Most freethinkers consider religion to be not only untrue, but harmful. It has been used to justify war, slavery, sexism, racism, mutilations, intolerance, and oppression of minorities.

Hasn't Religion Done Tremendous Good In The World?

Some religionists are good people but they would be good anyway. Religion cannot take credit for actions which are just as easily accomplished by freethinkers.

In fact, most modern social and moral progress has been made by people free from religion—including Clara Barton, Margaret Sanger, Albert Einstein, Andrew Carnegie, Thomas Edison, Marie Curie, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, H. L. Mencken, Charles Darwin, Sigmund Freud, Robert Burns, Percy Shelley, Johannes Brahms and many others whom we honor today for their contributions to humanity.

Most religions have consistently resisted progress—including the abolition of slavery; women's right to vote and to choose contraception and abortion; medical developments such as the use of anesthesia; scientific understanding of the heliocentric solar system and evolution, and the use of lightning rods; and the American principle of state/church separation.

Do Freethinkers Have A Particular Political Persuasion?

No, freethought is a philosophical, not a political, position.

Freethought today embraces adherents of virtually all political persua­sions, including capitalists, libertarians, socialists, communists, Republicans, Democrats, liberals and conservatives. There is no connection, for example, between atheism and communism. Some freethinkers, such as Adam Smith and Ayn Rand, were staunch capitalists; and there have been communistic groups which were deeply religious, such as the early Christian church.


Freethinking requires the ability to state your positions on philosophical issues surrounding religion, politics, ethics, metaphysics et all while respecting the views of those you disagree with and avoiding ad hominem attacks always.

All thoughts and comments are readily welcome here at RN USA, with the SINGLE caveat they conform to freethinking guidelines outlined above.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

And So It Is...

Rational Nation USA
Purveyor of Truth

I kinda wonder how the Tea Party Patriots and Social Conservatives/Evangelicals square with the above.

Who Potential Republican 2016 Presidential Candidates Are Following...

Rational Nation USA
Purveyor of Truth

BloombergPolitics - This is Who Republican Presidential Contenders Follow on Twitter

Presidential candidates like to talk about leadership, but whom do they follow? Bloomberg Politics scoured the Twitter accounts of Republicans eyeing the White House for clues about their political influences, personal interests, and social media savvy.

Fifteen of seventeen (88%) potential 2016 republican presidential candidates are followers of Jim DeMint, the Godfather of the Tea Party or his Heritage Foundation.

One can be fairly certain followers of Jim DeMint and or the Heritage Foundation are looking out for the special interests yheyn are beholden to rather than the interest of typical hard working Americans of any political persuasion.

Follow The Link for the complete skinny on who is following who.

Via: Memeorandum

Truths About Organized Religions...

AYUP, Sums It Up Quite Nicely Methinks

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Obama Administration Lack of Transparency...

Rational Nation USA
Purveyor of Truth

The following is disturbing to say the least. It is perplexing as well given President Obama pledged to the American people his administration was going to be open and transparent. Such is not the reality of the situation and transparency has indeed lessened.

Associated Press - WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration set a record again for censoring government files or outright denying access to them last year under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, according to a new analysis of federal data by The Associated Press.

The government took longer to turn over files when it provided any, said more regularly that it couldn't find documents and refused a record number of times to turn over files quickly that might be especially newsworthy.

It also acknowledged in nearly 1 in 3 cases that its initial decisions to withhold or censor records were improper under the law — but only when it was challenged.

Its backlog of unanswered requests at year's end grew remarkably by 55 percent to more than 200,000. It also cut by 375, or about 9 percent, the number of full-time employees across government paid to look for records. That was the fewest number of employees working on the issue in five years.

The government's new figures, published Tuesday, covered all requests to 100 federal agencies during fiscal 2014 under the Freedom of Information law, which is heralded globally as a model for transparent government. They showed that despite disappointments and failed promises by the White House to make meaningful improvements in the way it releases records, the law was more popular than ever. Citizens, journalists, businesses and others made a record 714,231 requests for information. The U.S. spent a record $434 million trying to keep up. It also spent about $28 million on lawyers' fees to keep records secret.

"This disappointing track record is hardly the mark of an administration that was supposed to be the most transparent in history," said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, who has co-sponsored legislation with Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., to improve the Freedom of Information law. Their effort died in the House last year.

The new figures showed the government responded to 647,142 requests, a 4 percent decrease over the previous year. It more than ever censored materials it turned over or fully denied access to them, in 250,581 cases or 39 percent of all requests. Sometimes, the government censored only a few words or an employee's phone number, but other times it completely marked out nearly every paragraph on pages.

Story continues BELOW THE FOLD.

Via: Memeorandum

Obama Hasn't Congratulated Bibi...

Rational Nation USA
Purveyor of Truth

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel was not congratulated by President Obama this morning after the Israeli election. Presidential aide David Simas congratulated the people of Israel on their elections however conspicuously avoided congratulating Bibi.

We all get that the President was miffed at not only the congressional republicans for their invite to Bibi but at the Prime Minister as well. Who can really blame the President for being taken aback, especially as he was not consulted by Speaker Boehner before the invite. However, openly holding a grudge against the leader of our only real Mid East ally really makes little to no sense.

President Obama, as president of these United States surely should be more magnanimous and offer his congratulations. It certainly would prove him to be the bigger and better man.

From PJ Tatler>

Benjamin Netanyahu for his sweeping victory yesterday. Weekly Standard reports:

On CNN this morning, White House aide David Simas avoided congratulating Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the Israeli elections. Instead, he would only congratulate the Israeli people on having an election.

“We want to congratulate the Israeli people for the democratic process for the election that they just engaged in with all the parties that engaged in that election. As you know now, the hard work of coalition building begins. Sometimes that takes a couple of weeks. And we’re going to give space to the formation of that coalition government and we’re not going to weigh in one way or another except to say that the United States and Israel have a historic and close relationship and that will continue going forward,” Simas said.

While Obama has had public differences with Netanyahu recently, in the past he has made efforts to congratulate leaders that have a much more adversarial relationship with the United States as well as shamefully undemocratic electoral processes.

The rest of the story and names of heads of state President Obama has congratulated continuesBELOW THE FOLD.

Via: Memeorandum

The Social Contract...

Found this audio surfing the net, thought it interesting as well as thought provoking.

Click for text.

What say you?

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Vice President Big Dick Cheney's Playboy Interview...

Rationalll Nation USA
Purveyor of Truth

Former Vice President Big Dick Cheney, the neo con war monger who was front and center in making the case for the unnecessary and illegitimate war with Iraq had much to say about President Barack Obama in his recent interview with Playboy.

BUSINESS INSIDER - "I look at Barack Obama and I see the worst president of my lifetime, without question," Cheney told journalist James Rosen. "I used to have significant criticism of Jimmy Carter, but compared to Barack Obama and the damage he is doing to the nation—it’s a tragedy."


I think they’re playing the race card, in my view. Certainly we haven’t given up—nor should we give up—the right to criticize an administration and public officials. To say that we criticize, or that I criticize, Barack Obama or Eric Holder because of race, I just think it’s obviously not true. My view of it is the criticism is merited because of performance—or lack of performance, because of incompetence. It hasn’t got anything to do with race.


Where do you start? I think with respect to the situation in Iraq, his precipitous withdrawal and refusal to leave any stay-behind forces, to negotiate a Status of Forces Agreement with the Iraqis, was a huge mistake; we are paying a price for it now. He’s having to go back in now, and the guy who campaigned on the basis of bring the boys home and get out of Iraq is now redeploying forces to Iraq. I think his apology tour, when he went to Cairo in the summer of 2009 and said the U.S. overreacted to the events of 9/11, was a huge mistake. I don’t think he ever bought into the notion that we’re at war, in terms of a war on terrorism; I think he always wanted to treat it as a law-enforcement problem. I think he’s done enormous damage to the military. I think what’s happened to the military in terms of morale, in terms of financing, budget and so forth is just devastating. The way Obama is functioning now, he’s crippling the capacity of future presidents to deal with future crises.


That's a classic example, where Obama got everybody ready to do something about Syria and then at the last minute pulled the plug. I had a prominent Mideast leader talk to me when I was there last spring. First time I'd ever heard him say this; he's always been very self-confident and very much in command. He said, 'You assume there is no political price to be paid for those of us over here who support the United States—wrong assumption.' .... Our friends no longer trust us, and our adversaries no longer fear us. We've created a huge vacuum in that part of the world, and ISIS has moved in big-time. Now we have a caliphate in Syria and Iraq.


When I look at Barack Obama I see a guy who is not part of the consensus that has governed Republican and Democratic administrations alike since Harry Truman’s day. You can argue about Carter and how committed he was, but there’s been a basic fundamental belief since the end of World War II that United States leadership in the world produces a far more peaceful, less hostile world and greater prosperity. The U.S. has to play a leadership role. And it’s going to take a lot to rebuild the damage that has been done over the past few years, because we’ve actively conveyed to the world the notion—this president has—that we no longer believe that.

Now you have heard from possibly one of the nation's WORST vice presidents.

Complete article BELOW THE FOLD.

Via: Memeorandum

America's Form of Government...

Click for text.

Comments and thoughts anyone?

Monday, March 16, 2015

A President Who Told the Truth...

The danger continues, spurred on by dishonest secretive politicians, businessmen, and major cable networks.

The 1960's, a Musical Review...

 For those of us who where there it brings back wonderful memories.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

FreeThinkers, Are There any Conservative FreeThinkers Today?...

Republican Conservatives Proving Almost Daily That Tolstoy Was Right.

Are We Free?..

For Many Freedom and Democracy Means Thinking Like Them.

Sure Sounds Like American Political Parties and the Politicians Who Serve Them.

The FreeThinker...

The Latter Describes the Republican Party Thus Far in the 21st Century.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Republican Senator Tom Cotton at Work (with his 46 accomplices)...

And the world smells the burn.

Update -/15/15

More "brilliant" remarks from a "brilliant" man.

Schieffer: What do you want to happen here? What is your alternative here? Let’s say that the deal falls through, then what?

Cotton: Well as Prime Minister Netanyahu said, the alternative to a bad deal is a better deal. The Iranians frequently bluff to walk away from the table. if they bluff this week, call their bluff. The Congress stands ready to impose much more severe sanctions. Moreover we have to stand up to Iran’s attempts to drive for regional dominance. They already control Tehran increasingly they control Damascus and Beirut and Baghdad and now Sana’a as well. They do all that without a nuclear weapon. imagine what they would do with a nuclear weapon.

Friday, March 13, 2015

47 American Inbeciles Part #4...

Rational Nation USA
Purveyor of Truth

“What Senator Cotton did is a gross breach of discipline, and especially as a veteran of the Army, he should know better. I have no issue with Senator Cotton, or others, voicing their opinion in opposition to any deal to halt Iran’s nuclear progress. Speaking out on these issues is clearly part of his job. But to directly engage a foreign entity, in this way, undermining the strategy and work of our diplomats and our Commander in Chief, strains the very discipline and structure that our foreign relations depend on, to succeed. The breach of discipline is extremely dangerous, because undermining our diplomatic efforts, at this moment, brings us another step closer to a very costly and perilous war with Iran.

I think Senator Cotton recognizes this, and he simply does not care. That’s what disappoints me the most."

Major Gen. Paul D. Eaton
, as quoted in The Washington Post.

What will it take for the Tea Party and neo-cons to understand the above? Something that patriot and rational Americans understand without even breaking an intellectual sweat.

Is it any wonder why so many are beginning to question the motives and sanity of a group of lawmakers that would cast their nation's credibility and trustworthiness aside for the sake of ideology, and to undermine the elected President of this nation and his diplomatic efforts? The action of the 47 Senators who broke with over 200 years of diplomatic tradition and protocol goes beyond the pale.

(O)CT(O)PUS, writing in The Swash Zone puts additional focus on the unpatriotic actions of the renegade band of 47 "senators".

In this debate, the enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend. In a single ‘Dear Tehran’ letter, the GOP shredded the Constitution and upended American diplomacy. From this day forward, our nation will no longer be considered a trustworthy partner in world affairs. Every international accord may be held in doubt – held hostage to the whims and caprices of partisan politics. Shall we dismantle NATO? Nullify the non-nuclear proliferation treaty? Scuttle all trade agreements? The fallout is already clear: Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier of Germany described the letter as “not very helpful.” Having been burned by American duplicity in the past, the Supreme Leader of our implacable adversary has concerns: "Of course I am worried, because the other side is known for … backstabbing" (source).

Backstabbing, indeed! Republicans have been backstabbing the American public for a very long time - holding us hostage to partisan ambitions with deception, defamation, demagoguery, legislative trickery and treachery, and blackmail. The government shutdown of 2013 compromised the creditworthiness of the nation. In failing to fully fund Homeland Security, the GOP left us vulnerable to terrorism. In state legislatures across the land, the GOP has passed bills to:

•Limit the voting rights of citizens (along party lines);
•Allow religious denominations to impose their teachings and taboos upon the general population;
•Consign citizens to underclass status based on religious belief;
•Assert the sovereign right of states to violate human rights.

Of all enemies, foreign or domestic, today’s Republican Party is by far the more dangerous of the two. As a result, we are less safe and less free. In a landmark essay originally published in 2011, former Republican staffer Mike Lofgren exposes the hidden agenda of his party:

“It should have been evident to clear-eyed observers that the Republican Party is becoming less and less like a traditional political party in a representative democracy and becoming more like an apocalyptic cult, or one of the intensely ideological authoritarian parties of 20th century Europe …

If Republicans have perfected a new form of politics that is successful electorally at the same time that it unleashes major policy disasters, it means twilight both for the democratic process and America’s status as the world’s leading power. More BELOW THE FOLD

It is becoming apparent the greatest threat to our liberties and freedoms may very well come from within.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Senator Ted Cruz Brings Down the House... But Apparently Not with Real Americans

Rational Natiion USA
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Texas republican "Senator" Ted Cruz, darling of the Tea Party "patriots" apparently doesn't fare so well with real working class Americans with real American values.

BloombergPolitics - If, like many Americans, your job involves watching a lot of speeches by Ted Cruz, you have grown familiar with the Texas senator's applause lines. Since October 2014, he has honed a list of "conservative agenda" items that can be punctuated with hoots, hollers, and huzzahs at any gathering on the right. Last month, at CPAC, he rattled them off in a friendly Q&A with Sean Hannity.

"Repeal every blasted word of Obamacare."

"Abolish the IRS."

"Take all 125,000 IRS agents and put 'em on our southern border."

Each declaration sparked a roar of applause, acknowledged with a small smile from Cruz.

We see the unquestioning adulation at CPAC.

Yesterday morning, Cruz entered the less friendly climate of the International Association of Firefighters, for its bipartisan presidential summit. Firefighters' unions are not as solidly Democratic as most labor unions. In 2010, for example, Scott Walker won his first term as Wisconsin's governor with the backing of the Milwaukee Professional Firefighters Association. (Walker was invited to the IAFF summit but skipped it.)

Still, the firefighters assembled to hear from possible presidents gave Cruz one of the coldest receptions he's ever given before a camera. The Now This News crew clipped together the highlights, which include some of the CPAC applause lines.

A-yup. Not impressing real American hard working Patriots at all. Of course this is really not surprising in any way shape or form now is it?

Nothing. Zip. After the speeches, the firefighters I talked to had a few good things to say about South Carolina Lindsey Graham, who discussed homeland security, and Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who stuck largely to a story about his upbringing. No one had anything good to say about Cruz. "I had to take a shower after listening to that," said Washington state IAFF leader Ricky Walsh.

Of course, Cruz has gotten worse receptions on purpose.

Via: Memeorandum

47 American Imbeciles Part #3...

Rational Nation USA
Purveyor of Truth

Continuing the coverage of THE 47 Republican Imbeciles we came across a very well thought out and superbly articulated article this morning. Michael Tomasky's article is spot on and mirrors my own thoughts quite precisely. Mr. Tomasky's article is reprinted in part here with linkage to the full article provided.

This senators’ letter is poisonous, but not out of character. The no-diplomacy posture is exactly what has brought matters to this point.

I have probably written many times in the past that Republicans hit a new low, but as of this week you can toss all those. This Senate letter is the definite low of all time. I didn’t think these people could shock me, but this one genuinely was shocking in so many ways—not least the dishonor it brings on the United States Senate—that every other nutso thing they’ve done drops down one notch on the charts.

Treason, as the Daily News blared? I don’t know for sure about that. But I know to a certainty that if a group of Democratic senators had done this to a Republican president, Republicans and conservative pundits would be screaming the T-word and demanding the Justice Department investigate the senators.

Imagine if, say, 47 Democratic senators had written an “open letter” (a moral cop-out that permits the senators to say that it wasn’t “really” a communication to Ayatollah Khamenei) to Mikhail Gorbachev in 1986 assuring him any treaty Ronald Reagan signed with him could and quite possibly would be altered or abrogated by them. Or worse still—imagine that 47 Democratic senators had written an open letter to Saddam Hussein in the fall of 2002 reminding him that only Congress could declare war and that most of them would long outlast President Bush, while closing on the breathtakingly cloying note of being happy to have enriched Saddam’s “knowledge of the constitutional system.” There seems to me no doubt whatsoever that some Republican senators and members of Congress would have been baying for Logan Act prosecutions.
This senators’ letter is poisonous, but not out of character. The no-diplomacy posture is exactly what has brought matters to this point.

I have probably written many times in the past that Republicans hit a new low, but as of this week you can toss all those. This Senate letter is the definite low of all time. I didn’t think these people could shock me, but this one genuinely was shocking in so many ways—not least the dishonor it brings on the United States Senate—that every other nutso thing they’ve done drops down one notch on the charts.

Treason, as the Daily News blared? I don’t know for sure about that. But I know to a certainty that if a group of Democratic senators had done this to a Republican president, Republicans and conservative pundits would be screaming the T-word and demanding the Justice Department investigate the senators.

Imagine if, say, 47 Democratic senators had written an “open letter” (a moral cop-out that permits the senators to say that it wasn’t “really” a communication to Ayatollah Khamenei) to Mikhail Gorbachev in 1986 assuring him any treaty Ronald Reagan signed with him could and quite possibly would be altered or abrogated by them. Or worse still—imagine that 47 Democratic senators had written an open letter to Saddam Hussein in the fall of 2002 reminding him that only Congress could declare war and that most of them would long outlast President Bush, while closing on the breathtakingly cloying note of being happy to have enriched Saddam’s “knowledge of the constitutional system.” There seems to me no doubt whatsoever that some Republican senators and members of Congress would have been baying for Logan Act prosecutions.

Much as part of me might savor it, I don’t think we ought to go there. A far better punishment for these disgraceful intriguers would be for the letter to backfire and increase the likelihood of a deal being struck. And it might well have that effect: If the mullahs genuinely want a deal, then surely a threat like this from the Senate would make them more anxious to pursue one while they can, and then hope that Hillary Clinton, who’s indicated she’d support a deal, becomes the next president and can make it stick.

Let’s hope that’s the effect—but let’s never forget the intent. These Republican senators, says Trita Parsi of the National Iranian American Council, an advocate for a deal, can’t block a settlement; “but they can get the Iranians to think that it’s impossible to trust the United States,” he says. Thus, “the intent of the letter was to show the United States to be untrustworthy.”

It’s pretty amazing that members of the United States Senate would want to do that to their own country—not just in the eyes of Iran, but in the eyes of the five other powers involved in the negotiations. Three are some of our closest allies (Britain, France, and Germany). The other two are the not inconsiderable nations of Russia and China. All five have had negotiators sitting at the table with us and the Iranians for a year and a half. Wonder what they think of this.

It’s a disgrace, but only another in a long history of Republican-conservative disgraces with respect to Iran. Indeed these go back to 1953, when Dwight Eisenhower green-lighted the coup that Harry Truman had blocked. And they extend up to 2003, and the now largely forgotten but suddenly rather timely story of the Bush administration’s rebuff of an Iranian diplomatic overture that could have made the history of the U.S.-Iran relationship a very different one from what it has been.

As we now understand it is not the interest of the neo-cons in the republican party to craft diplomatic relations with countries that will insure peaceful coexistence through mutually beneficial relationships. For them is all war all the time. Of course war is necessary for the "very patriotic value" of trying to force others to see things the American neo-con way.

Continuing on with the article.

It was all widely reported then; this Washington Post article provides a good rundown. In sum, it was a point in time when the (Shia) Iranian republic had been cooperating with the United States in tracking down some (Sunni) al Qaeda men; through a Swiss intermediary, Iran passed a letter to the White House feeling the Bush administration out on broad-ranging negotiations—possibly curtailing its nuclear ambitions, cutting back on its support for (or maybe even disarming) Hezbollah, and most strikingly of all, indirectly recognizing Israel’s right to exist—all in exchange for the lifting of American sanctions.

The offer was real. Whether it had Khamenei’s blessing, no one in the West really knows. Still, some elements in the Bush administration wanted to pursue it. But guess who won? As that Post story reports it, “top Bush administration officials, convinced the Iranian government was on the verge of collapse, belittled the initiative.”

We can’t know what might have happened. “But we do know one thing,” Parsi says. “When diplomacy is rejected, as it was under Bush, when the official U.S. policy was for regime change in Tehran, you give the Iranians every incentive to do everything they can to prevent the United States from pursuing regime change.” That means spreading its talons across Iraq, and it chiefly means, of course, pushing ahead full-speed with its nuclear ambitions.

Here’s part of what that rejection of diplomacy has done for us. In 2005, Iran put an offer on the table to the Europeans calling for it to keep 3,000 centrifuges. But that was rejected, because the United States wasn’t willing to talk to Iran. So what did Iran do? While we were refusing to negotiate and rattling the saber, they were building centrifuges to beat the band.

It has always been the case. The fight is really against the political, ideological, and theocratic extremes whose purpose is to force their views and values on the rest of humanity. There was time when the ideology of the political left needed push back and those of us who realized it became more conservative. But the pendulum always swings back and when it does it seems to sing to the opposite extreme. Just another law of physics. At any rate when such a pendulum shift occurs it is reasonable, as well as the logical decision to push back against the shift to the extreme right. That is where this site is at presently and it will continue to hold this position until I no longer walk this earth.

Article continues BELOW THE FOLD.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

47 Treasonous American Imbeciles Part 2...

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Purveyor o Truth

Republican Sen. Bob Corker, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee

“I didn’t think it was going to further our efforts to get to a place where Congress would play the appropriate role that it should on Iran,” Corker told The Daily Beast. “I did not think that the letter was something that was going to help get us to an outcome that we’re all seeking, and that is Congress playing that appropriate role.”

Text continues BELOW THE FOLD.

Representing the other 47 treasonous idiots.

Of course everybody who has read accurate data, (see 47 American Imbeciles... and click on links), can make a solid case that they in fact did.

This from McClatchy Washington Bureau:

The U.S. Senate Historian’s Office has so far been unable to find another example in the chamber’s history where one political party openly tried to deal with a foreign power against a presidential policy, as Republicans have attempted in their open letter to Iran this week

Continue reading full article BELOW THE FOLD.

Just out from the The Boston Globe. Article is spot on and is being reproduced here in full.

Winning sympathy for the renegade Islamic Republic of Iran is no easy trick. But Republicans in the US Senate seem to be accomplishing it with their breathtakingly reckless intrusion into international diplomacy.

Under the guise of an American civics lesson pointedly but also pointlessly aimed at Iran’s already isolated, mistrustful, hostile-to-the-United States leadership, Senate Republicans may sabotage highly delicate negotiations to persuade Tehran to curb its nuclear development program in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.

An open letter signed by 47 Republican senators, including New Hampshire’s Kelly Ayotte, warns that any diplomatic deal struck by President Obama could be overturned by the next administration “with the stroke of a pen.’’

That’s correct; aspects of an international deal between the US and Iran — such as lifting economic sanctions – would need approval by the Senate or might be vetoed by Obama’s successor. But for Obama’s opponents to hurl their political slings now is dangerously wrongheaded. At the very least, it’s an infringement on a sensitive process that involves not only the United States and Iran but five other powers: Britain, China, France, Germany, and Russia. By offering up the nattering little lesson on the American political process — a process well understood by Iran’s elite nuclear negotiators — the Senate majority party is blatantly trying to upset the apple cart before the fruit of diplomacy can even be put out for inspection. No deal has been struck. No nation, yet, has agreed to any tangible terms on coming to grips with Iran’s nuclear ambitions, although talks in Switzerland appear to be gaining ground.

The letter not only undercuts the president’s traditional authority to oversee the shaping of foreign policy but badly undermines America’s credibility in the international community.

It speaks to the toxic levels of partisanship in Washington that not a single Senate Democrat was willing to sign the poison pen letter, although more than a few are skeptical of Iran’s long-term intentions and are fearful of what it might portend for Israel — Iran’s blood enemy. But common sense dictates that the hard shape of a potential agreement be hammered out before Congress charges in. Such an outline is expected later this month, and a detailed document should be done by June. It may well be, as Israel has warned, that nothing can come from Iran but a devil’s deal — but now is surely not the time to decide.

The Obama administration is rightfully incensed by the Senate’s blundering campaign. Said Vice President Joe Biden: “In 36 years in the United States Senate, I cannot recall another instance in which senators wrote directly to advise another country — much less a longtime foreign adversary — that the president does not have constitutional authority to reach a meaningful understanding with them.’’

It would be calamitous for America’s long-term policy goals in the Middle East if a workable Iran deal falls through solely because of mistrust sown by the president’s knee-jerk political foes.

Drum Roll please.

A banner for 47 A-holes

Center Left Pulls Ahead of PM Netanyahu's Likud Party...

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Good news on the world stage. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appears to be losing ground politically with elections just around the corner. We hope the trend continues and Bibi, as well as his Likud party, are swept from power. Far from certain, but the signs are at least hopeful.

Jerusalem (AFP) - Less than a week before Israel's second general election in two years, Isaac Herzog's centre-left Zionist Union opened up a lead on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's rightwing Likud, polls showed Wednesday

The March 17 vote comes as Israel faces major domestic and international challenges, all of which will have to be addressed by the next government - among them the Iranian nuclear threat, the deadlock in peace efforts and a looming Palestinian legal move at the International Criminal Court.

Experts say the vote will largely be a referendum on the six-year tenure of Netanyahu, who has made security the centrepiece of his campaign.

The Israeli leader last week gave a controversial address to the US Congress on the threat that would be posed by a nuclear Iran, in a move he hoped would boost his support ahead of the vote.

But a series of polls published this week show an erosion in support for Netanyahu's ruling Likud party, which for weeks had been neck-and-neck with its centre-left rival, with both hovering at around 23 or 24 seats.

According to a survey by Israel's army radio, Herzog's list was seen taking 24 seats to Likud's 21, indicating an erosion in support for Netanyahu's faction.
For more go BELOW THE FOLD.

Via: Memeorandum

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

47 American Imbeciles...

Rational Nation USA
Purveyor of Truth

Forty seven United State Senators took the unprecedented action of breaking over two hundred years of tradition and protocol when they determined to sent a Dear Tehran letter to Iran. This action to undermine the constitutional authority of the President of the United States is nothing short of treasonous. In my view every one of the g--damned idiots ought to be recalled by the citizens of the state that elected them. Short of that Americans should boycott all republicans at the national level in 2016 casting no ballets for them.

For excellent work laying out the specific I haven't the time to do visit The Swash Zone and The Moderate Voice

Folks, these neo-con war mongering zombies want America embroiled in another Middle East war and they do NOT give a damn what the cost to the treasury or the cost in American blood. These Bozo's in their hatred for Barrack Obama have now proven they will stop at nothing and risk a dangerous war to stop the President from a potential agreement and foreign policy success. There is no other way to say it, these people are assholes and they are dangerous.

Senator Ted Cruz Serving up Some Spam as He Panders to the Religious Right Evangelicals...

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Purveyor of Truth

In keeping with his ever pandering and bigoted ways Senator 'Green Eggs and Ham' Ted Cruz is off an running to make denying gays and lesbians marriage equality a top priority. Certain to get the Evangelicals (specifically) and So-Cons (in general) all giddy over his stance he plows ahead in efforts to push America back to the pre 1950 era.

From the The Des Moines Register:
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz cast himself as a leading Republican opponent of same-sex marriage during an appearance before a crowd of evangelical Christians in Des Moines on Monday.

Cruz, R-Texas, described the ongoing shift toward legal recognition for gay couples as an "unrelenting assault on traditional marriage," and castigated judges who have struck down prohibitions for "ignoring their oaths, ignoring the Constitution and legislating from the bench."

The issue is one that Cruz said distinguishes him from other potential candidates in what looks to be a crowded 2016 presidential field. While others have de-emphasized or dropped altogether their opposition to same-sex marriage, he said, he would continue to make it a priority.


In a brief interview with reporters afterward, Cruz said his campaign-style outreach in Iowa as well as his efforts in the Senate have revolved around reassembling what he called "the old Reagan coalition" of religious and fiscal conservatives, disaffected Democrats and others by promoting a boldly conservative vision for governance.

"I believe that 2016 will be an election like 1980, and that we will win, as Reagan said, by painting in bold colors and not pale pastels," he said.

The Interfaith Alliance of Iowa held a press conference seeking to clarify that political views and policy prescriptions offered by conservative Christians are not universally shared in Iowa.

"Many faiths live by one version or another of the Golden Rule, the guiding principle to treat others as you would be treated," said Connie Ryan Terrell, executive director of the interfaith alliance. "We wish that the American Renewal Project, David Lane, Ted Cruz, Bobby Jindal and all the clergy in attendance today would not just speak those words, but live by them."
This is one fiscal and non religious conservative/libertarian that enthusiastically applauds Terrell's sentiments. Senator 'Green Eggs and Ham' Ted Cruz should try making ham sandwiches for a living.

Via: Memeorandum


More spam from the can.

Monday, March 9, 2015

In Florida Climate Change a Bad Term...

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If the following report is true, and it likely is, we are seeing the science deniers in the Republican party at work in Florida.

the guardian - ‘Global warming’ and ‘sustainability’ among phrases allegedly barred at state’s Department of Environmental Protection, investigative report finds

Officials with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the agency in charge of setting conservation policy and enforcing environmental laws in the state, issued directives in 2011 barring thousands of employees from using the phrases “climate change” and “global warming”, according to a bombshell report by the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting (FCIR).

The report ties the alleged policy, which is described as “unwritten”, to the election of Republican governor Rick Scott and his appointment of a new department director that year. Scott, who was re-elected last November, has declined to say whether he believes in climate change caused by human activity.

“I’m not a scientist,” he said in one appearance last May.


The FCIR report was based on statements by multiple named former employees who worked in different DEP offices around Florida. The instruction not to refer to “climate change” came from agency supervisors as well as lawyers, according to the report.

“We were told not to use the terms ‘climate change’, ‘global warming’ or ‘sustainability’,” the report quotes Christopher Byrd, who was an attorney with the DEP’s Office of General Counsel in Tallahassee from 2008 to 2013, as saying. “That message was communicated to me and my colleagues by our superiors in the Office of General Counsel.”

“We were instructed by our regional administrator that we were no longer allowed to use the terms ‘global warming’ or ‘climate change’ or even ‘sea-level rise’,” said a second former DEP employee, Kristina Trotta. “Sea-level rise was to be referred to as ‘nuisance flooding’.”


Via: Memeorandum

Friday, March 6, 2015

300 Republicans Doing the Right Thing...

Signers include former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Sens. Susan Collins and Mark Kirk and Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker
Hats off to ya all!   Read full story.   Via: Memeorandum

Republicans and a Missed Opportunity...

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Purveyor of Truth

Whether the republican party and its leadership want to recognize it or not they have a perception problem. A major one. Especially among minority groups and in this particular instance the African-American community.

With the 50th anniversary of the signing of the 1965 Voting Rights Act approaching and with commemorative activities scheduled in Selma, Alabama, not a single member of the republican congressional leadership is attending. For a party that claims it is inclusive and has a large tent to willfully ignoring the significance of 1965 is, to say the least, foolish. But I guess the message that will be received by a majority of African-Americans is lost on them.

Insensitivity to issues of this importance and magnitude is precisely why the party of Lincoln is unable to effectively grow its ranks. Sincerity gains results, empty talk flies like the wind. Either republicans are tone deaf or they simply do not care. There exists a great probability the latter is the prevailing perception.

Another lost opportunity for republicans to do the right thing. It certainly has been a pattern of late. A pattern who's driving force is all too painfully obvious.

From Politico.

Scores of U.S. lawmakers are converging on tiny Selma, Alabama, for a large commemoration of a civil rights anniversary. But their ranks don’t include a single member of House Republican leadership — a point that isn’t lost on congressional black leaders.

None of the top leaders — House Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy or Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who was once thought likely to attend to atone for reports that he once spoke before a white supremacist group — will be in Selma for the three-day event that commemorates the 1965 march and the violence that protesters faced at the hands of white police officers. A number of rank-and-file Republicans have been aggressively lobbying their colleagues to attend, and several black lawmakers concurred.

“It is very disappointing that not a single Republican leader sees the value in participating in this 50th commemoration of the signing of the Voting Rights Act. I had hoped that some of the leadership would attend, but apparently none of them will,” said Congressional Black Caucus Chairman G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina. “The Republicans always talk about trying to change their brand and be more appealing to minority folks and be in touch with the interests of African-Americans. This is very disappointing.”

Former CBC Chair Marsha Fudge (D-Ohio) agreed.

“Not only do they have an opportunity to participate in something that is historic in this country, but certainly they’ve lost an opportunity to show the American people that they care,” she said. “Their loss.”

Black leaders in Congress pressured Scalise to attend the Faith and Politics Institute event after news reports revealed that the Louisiana Republican gave a speech to a group connected with Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke when Scalise was still serving in the state Legislature. Scalise said late last month that a scheduling conflict would keep him from Selma this year but that he hoped to attend in 2016.

McCarthy has attended in the past but won’t make the trip this year. Senate Majority Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will also miss the event.

Still, a number of rank-and-file Republicans are attending. Sen. Tim Scott, a South Carolina Republican, is a co-sponsor of the event along with Rep. Martha Roby of Alabama. Scott is the first African-American Republican elected from the South since the end of Reconstruction.

Roby’s office said Thursday 23 Republican House and Senate members are registered to attend the pilgrimage.

9% of republican members of Congress are planning on being in attendance. It's something anyway.

Read more BELOW THE FOLD>.

Via: Memeorandum

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

On a Lighter Whimsical Side...

And now for a bit of high brow.

And finally trumpet as only the Chairman of the Board Maynard Ferguson could perform.

And an extra treat.

Now the encore.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Some Interesting Data On Inflation Adjusted Fiscal Deficits...

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Purveyor of Truth

What got me into blogging several years ago was the fiscal aspect of managing a government effectively. Of course I believing the oft stated claim that democrats and liberals were the biggest spenders and were going to ruin the country though their fiscal mismanagement. Of course we're talking budgets and deficits here. Interestingly enough I just happened to be thinking about deficits by presidents today and came across some interesting data, naturally I had to share.

A few months ago, I wrote an article titled "Which Political Party Has Posted The Highest Average Budget Deficits in the post WWII Era". The article looked at the average inflation adjusted deficits that have been posted when either Republicans or Democrats have held the White House, from 1946 to 2009.

Over the past few months, we received a number of comments and emails asking us to write a follow-up article that would include data on average inflation adjusted deficits based on which party was controlling the Senate or House of Representatives (or both). Fair enough, and I can definitely see why you would want that data.

So here goes:

First, let's start with average inflation adjusted deficits from 1946-2010, based on which party held the White House (I have assumed that the 2010 deficit will come in at around $1.35 trillion):

Democratic President
Total Years: 29
Average Inflation Adjusted Deficit: $150.73 billion

Republican President
Total Years: 36
Average Inflation Adjusted Deficit: $202.28 billion


Ok, now let's look at deficits based on which party controlled the Senate:

Republican Senate Control
Total Years: 20
Average Inflation Adjusted Deficit: $170.78 billion

Democrat Senate Control
Total Years: 45
Average Inflation Adjusted Deficit: $183.06 billion


Now, deficits based on which party controlled the House of Representatives:

Republican House Control
Total Years: 14
Average Inflation Adjusted Deficit: $89.57 billion

Democrat House Control
Total Years: 51
Average Inflation Adjusted Deficit: $203.91 billion


Lastly, let's look at the stats when either party controlled both the Senate and the House:

Republican House and Senate Control
Total Years: 12
Average Inflation Adjusted Deficit: $101.72 billion

Democrat House and Senate Control
Total Years: 43
Average Inflation Adjusted Deficit: $190.80 billion


It's interesting to note that the majority of the surpluses posted between 1946 and 2010 (there are not that many, but still) have come when one party holds both the Senate and House, while the other party holds the White House emphasis mine)

Perhaps we need to place both houses of congress in the hands of the same party and the executive branch in the other hands of the other party. That is if we want to enhance the likelihood of budget surpluses.


h/t: Dave Manuel.com