Monday, November 17, 2014

GOP Attacks on Obama-care: Their Legs Are Far and Few Between

Let's Talk About Obama-care
(let us tell you what repealing it has done to us so far)


Excellent review here from MSNBC (about 9 minutes) really worth watching.


The GOP has cast over 50 votes to repeal the law - all have failed. The offer nothing as a replacement for the effectiveness of the program now, yet they contend they can do better ... with this plan, I surmise? 


The ACA is the law of the land (said Speaker Boehner, but now he dances to a different tune). It is working despite the efforts otherwise and yes, even the lousy program launch start up (we all admit that), but now, well it's on track and serving over 10 million Americans, millions with decent affordable health care for the first time in their lives. 

Yet the GOP remains busy dreaming up ways to derail it. Now another test lingers at the USSC regarding language in the bill, kinda like what "is" is or what "state" actually means?

Stay tuned and follow this closely - I guarantee you I will. Thanks for stopping by.

GOP Immigration Plan: Build the Dang Wall — Rep. King (R-IA) Advisor

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) Show and Tell Hour

Artist's Concept of Alternate GOP Plan
(anti-personnel mines every 12 inches between points 2 and 12)


Rep. King's remarks when he made his debut and presented his "Electrified Fence for our Southern Border: We Do This With Livestock All The Time."

If by chance some happen make it to the other side, with bodies fully in tact, then they will be greeted with this sign every 25 feet hanging on a final obstacle seen below:



That obstacle is:



Then if they manage that final task, they will be greeted with open arms and invited to join the GOP as a potential a "real American."

Meanwhile President Obama does his job quite effectively as seen here:

1.  The administration deported a record number of illegal immigrants in 2011. 
2.  The administration deported 438,421 deportations in 2013, a record number.
3.  Over 2 million have been deported during Mr. Obama’s total time in office
4.  Deportations in 2013 increased by more than 20,000 over 2012, which was 410,000, and more than 51,000 over 2011, which was 716,000.
5.  Our borders are now safer and more secure.
6.  The net flow of undocumented immigrants into the U.S. stands at zero.
7.  The practice of prioritizing the removal of undocumented immigrants with criminal records from the interior of the country has greatly improved and slowed down those entering illegally.
8.  The steps have been both smart and successful policy.
9.  ICE has a case load of 1.8 million aliens who are either in removal proceedings or have already been ordered removed. Less than two percent are in detention, which is the only proven way to ensure departure.
10.  At the end of July 2013 there were 872,000 illegal immigrants – which was nearly half of ICE’s total docket. All have been ordered removed but who had not left the country.

More later I am sure.


Saturday, November 15, 2014

More Guns, Less Crime: That BS Line Now Disputed — Facts Prevail

John-R.-Lott-More-Guns-Less-Crime.jpg
The Book, the Bullshit
(started the open-carry bills movement)

Here's Mine. Let Me See Yours

Wow, Sweet. I Love It
(any other colors)

Introduction (from the WaPo): “More guns, less crime.”  Surely we’ve all heard that mantra before? There's even an entire book devoted to it (seen above).  As Emily Badger noted awhile back, it has become a staple of our national gun control debate. That idea has been: “The idea that more guns lead to less crime appears on gun policy 'fact sheets,' as evidence debunking gun control 'myths,' in congressional committee reports.”

The notion stems from a paper published in 1997 by economists John Lott and David Mustard, who looked at county-level crime data from 1977 to 1992 and concluded that “allowing citizens to carry concealed weapons deters violent crimes and it appears to produce no increase in accidental deaths.”

Of course, the study of gun crime has advanced significantly since then (no thanks to Congress).

Some researchers have gone so far as to call Lott and Mustard's original study “completely discredited.

B/L (if there ever is a bottom line):  Stanford law professor John Donohue and his colleagues have added another full decade to the Lott-Mustard analysis, extending it through 2010, and have concluded that the opposite of Lott and Mustard's original conclusion is true: More guns equal more crime (any sane, rational person probably already knew that, except NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre).

Wayne LaPierre by Gage Skidmore 2.jpg
Say What???

This latest will surely make the GOP and their NRA pals heads explode (no pun intended).


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Midterm Winner: Fear Spread Misdirected Anger & Unnecessary Worry

Proposed Cover of the Dems #1 Best Seller
(as soon as they write it)


You might ask before finishing this post, how does fear enter the post that follows? Simple: fear by incumbents about losing their seat. Thus this topic I strongly believe is the most serious and compelling issues right along side preserving our guaranteed right to vote. This is the foundation that needs another inspection under a more intense spotlight because old Gerrymandering still lurks in the shadows. 

A quick synopsis of that term: Contrary to one popular misconception about the practice, the point of gerrymandering isn't to draw yourself a collection of overwhelmingly safe seats. Rather, it's to give your opponents a small number of safe seats, while drawing yourself a larger number of seats that are not quite as safe, but that you can expect to win comfortably.

In the midterm that just ended, Republicans appear to have won their largest House majority since the Hoover administration, and they won possibly on at least these three elements:

1.  the weakness of Democratic candidates,
2.  poor resource allocation strategy by Democratic party leaders, particularly DCCC chair Rep. Steve Israel,
3.  an election narrative that did little to inspire base Democratic voters.

Topping off those three elements is the fact that the GOP benefited from the most egregious gerrymandering in American history.

As Rolling Stone reported, GOP donors plowed cash into state legislative efforts in 2010 for the very purpose of redrawing congressional lines. In the following year, as the tea party wave brought hundreds of Republicans into office, newly empowered Republican governors and state legislatures carved congressional districts for maximum partisan advantage. Democrats attempted this too, but only in two states: Maryland and Illinois.

For the GOP however, strictly partisan gerrymandering prevailed in Ohio, Pennsylvania Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Louisiana, Arizona, Tennessee and beyond.

And, on top all that, factor in fear (e.g., GOP said repeatedly that last few weeks that ISIS was coming and Ebola was already here), plus the sustained hatred for Mr. Obama (they have said repeatedly that he has been absent and wrong since January 20, 2009).

Finally this: An absolute for sure: GOP fear and hatred machine worked overtime and sold that product exceptionally well. A very good read on right wing tactics can be seen in this West Point Study … check it out.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

2014 Midterms Almost in the History Books: Gearing Up for 2016

Longest Consult in American History Now Underway


More like GOP fortune telling; prognostication; foretelling; palm reading; prediction; forecasting; or soothsaying ... from the experts as it were:

From the Five Thirty Eight (November 1, 2014) one predictive model:

Their quick look: What their outlook indicates: 
  • Republicans have a 68.0% chance of winning the senate majority.
  • Democrats have a 32.0% chance of keeping the senate majority.
  • There is a 20.5% chance Republicans will control 52 senate seats and Democrats will control 48 of the 100 seats.

Well, all right then – some cheering for “our” side (whichever side that might be – take your pick):

A crowd cheers for North Carolina Republican U.S. Senate candidate Thom Tillis during a rally for voters, Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014, in Raleigh, N.C.

Um, it should remind us all of famous FDR quote: “We have nothing to fear except fear itself.”

Great rundown here, in part, check it out:

Despite airy Republican rhetoric, they are bona fide big spenders and heavy-handed regulators—albeit in a different way than Democrats. Republicans may complain about bloated government and red tape restrictions when they’re benched on the sidelines, but their track record of policies while in power tells a whole different story—and reveals their true colors. Let’s take a walk down memory lane - continue at the link.

I would make a prediction, but I have a lousy record in that regard. My hunch, not a real prediction would be: a lot of people will be surprised at the outcome next week (how's that)??

Hang on tight – we are apt to see a photo finish in the race to control the Senate.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Campaign Ads: Sipping Koch (that is if Ads were really honest)

Updated (as promised): Projected for this Midterm Cycle



Koch Brothers vs. Top 10 Unions

Jon Stewart in his usual style on the Daily Show nails this issue squarely on the head.

Here is link to modified version of a Koch Ad that assumes it were re-filmed, true, and included the facts as we all mostly know them (e.g., the official Koch spending facts). 

It's a real keeper for sure — also video follows - about 4 minutes - enjoy:


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Cost of Legalized Political Corruption in America: $4 Billion and Change

Another Date that May Live in Infamy
(Depending on the Senate outcome)

Petty Cash to the Big Players
(Assumes that is neither You nor I)

Good segment on this topic - which is one of my top 5 issues:


Our form of government, representative democracy, and valued freedoms don't come cheap do they?

So why do we treat ourselves as cheaply as voters then? Hey, just asking.

Friday, October 24, 2014

GOP Red Herring State Productions Present: Voter Fraud R Us

Academy Award Performance
(for best comedy)

The Proverbial Proof is in the Pudding

We need to keep our eye on the GOP/RED states
(their assault on voting rights)


I want to stay with this topic as we head into the 20143 midterms in a very short 10 days, thus I am adding another source, a very reputable one: FRONTLINE here

Highlights therein have several good links. 

Voter fraud generally rarely happens. When it does, election law experts say it happens more often through mail-in ballots than people impersonating eligible voters at the polls.

An analysis by News-21, a journalism project at Arizona State University, found 28 cases of voter fraud convictions since 2000. Of those, 14 percent involved absentee ballot fraud. Voter impersonation, the form of fraud that voter ID laws are designed to prevent, made up only 3.6 percent of those cases.

Other types included double voting, the most common form, at 25 percent, and felons voting when they were prohibited from doing so. But neither of those would be prevented by voter ID laws, either.

Original post starts from here:

Main Subject: Bogus GOP & RED state RED HERRING: VOTER FRAUD.

This issue is really about suppressing the right to vote aimed at those who mostly vote DEM and thus benefiting the GOP and giving them the edge in key states. Once again it is shown to be more bogus than ever (the chart above) .... and from this story.

Extract: "Conservative media figures pointed to the news that 145 immigrants' names were flagged on North Carolina's voter rolls as proof of potential voter fraud in the upcoming election.  But the discovery of these names actually disproves the potential for voter fraud, as the state's board of election is now confirming the citizenship of individuals who were flagged."

As if we didn't already know.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Reminder for Republicans Who Advocate Weakening Voting Rights

President Reagan, in 1982, signs a 25-year extension of the 1965 Voting Rights Act (VRA)

Mr. Reagan Said "Voting Rights was the Crown Jewel of American Liberties"

The Proof of His Remarks


Always listen to your Mother, right? Even "Mother Jones."

Republicans Are Trying to Make Sure Minorities and Young People Don't Vote This November


Will they succeed or not? We will soon find out. Check back later and especially on election night (November 4th).

This cycle is sure to be a nail-biter, I suspect. Hang on tight.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Pre-Election Observation for Serious Voter Consideration



Over time I've come to see the GOP-Conservatives reflecting this image – whether it’s on purpose, by design, or something that comes naturally to them:

As being cruel, callous, cold, outrageous in public statements, bizarre at times, nasty towards anyone different than them, always insulting, seldom offer a positive agenda or decent public worthwhile idea, and always and I mean always, bash any political opponent and always be anti-government everything possible, which is the very same government they strive to serve in while professing and advocating “I stand with the American people....”

Truly the GOP should change their name to GOH (Grand Old Hypocrites), and adopt a new logo:


Monday, October 20, 2014

Faces in History: Some Great, Beautiful, Some Not So Hot

Head of Helen. Attic red-figured krater, c. 450–440 B.C. - Marie-Lan Nguyen/Wikimedia Commons.
Helen of Troy *
In Christopher Marlowe's "Doctor Faustus" (1604), Faust conjures the shade of Helen of Troy. Upon seeing Helen, Faustus speaks the famous line: “Was this the face that launched a thousand ships, and burnt the topless towers of Ilium.”

Russian President Vlad Putin **

**(Is this the face who could launch a 1000 nukes)


The face of anger for sure, but how far will/would he go about this issue and headlines:

Russia warns of 'prolonged' period of cold relations with U.S.

Story here (Fortune.com) - highlights:  

Frustration at Western hectoring boils over after Milan meeting brings no progress. The Ruble near all-time lows again after Moody’s cuts sovereign debt rating and thus: Russia lashed out at the U.S. again Monday, predicting a long period of cold relations and saying that Moscow won’t agree to any conditions for the lifting of sanctions on it.  

The E.U. made a decision to fall in with U.S. policy on Ukraine and join it in applying sanctions has angered Moscow, which had counted on the importance of their bilateral trade relations –especially in energy – to protect it. Instead the E.U., like the U.S., has banned Russia’s largest banks from its capital markets and limited sales of high-tech goods to its crucial oil sector.  

Stay tuned … one thing to keep in mind… hurting a major power by hitting them in the wallet can be a tough call and that in turn can also make those inflicting the economic pain go on guard to be prepared to take whatever is thrown back at them – possibly in spades as they say …  

Stay tuned as they also say.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Ebola Scare in 2nd Gear: Thanks Mr. and Mrs. Giddy Old Poops

Might as Well Start Here 

GOP Peddles Cheap Fear
(But the cost is high)

Ebola and the call for a travel ban ... bad idea I think and so do medical professionals ... why? People would skirt around it, lie about their travel and such ...

But, sadly, politics is about to get in between Ebola, proper care and any prevention ... and the GOP is leading that pack (how ironic is that: the GOP putting politics between us and medical personnel – kind of a twist on fear of Obama-care isn’t it)?

They are great at fear mongering and now some DEMS are not joining in what may seem like a popular idea but is one based FEAR and fear is dangerous, very.

WASHINGTON — A ban on travel from West Africa might seem like a simple and smart response to the frightening Ebola outbreak there. It's become a central demand of Republicans on Capitol Hill and some Democrats, and is popular with the public. But health experts are nearly unanimous in saying it's a bad idea that could backfire.

The experts' key objection is that a travel ban:

(1) Could prevent needed medical supplies, food and health care workers from reaching Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, the nations where the epidemic is at its worst. Without that aid, the deadly virus might spread to wider areas of Africa, making it even more of a threat to the U.S. and the world, experts say.

(2) Would be difficult to prevent people from the affected countries from traveling to the U.S. and might even be difficult to enforce and might generate counterproductive results.

(3)  People would lie about their travel history or attempting to evade screening for flights.

The U.S. has not instituted a travel ban in response to a disease outbreak in recent history. The experts insist now is not the time to start, especially given that the disease is still extremely contained in the U.S. and the only people who have caught it here are two health care workers who cared for a sick patient who later died.

Let's be honest here shall we ... if that's even possible. We have a better chance of contracting the flu are suffering a hearth attack than contracting Ebola.

An article on that is here from Vox … interesting reading and from here, too.

“Threats to Americans, ranked (by actual threat instead of media hype)”  

Of course leave it up FOX to lead the fear mongering, hand-wringing crowd – via their own “FOX dynamic poll” as usual. You know the kind I mean: slanted, one-sided, and biased (seen here):



THE NAME OF THE GOP GAME IS FEAR AND THEY ARE MASTERS AT THAT GAME AND YES, IT IS A GAME ... A VERY NASTY, UGLY, DIRTY, AND IN THIS CASE, A VERY DEADLY AND DANGEROUS GAME.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Ebola: Fuel for Fear Mongers, Political Zealots, and Most GOPers

Yeah, that's right, Ebola is this Wide. So, duck!!!
(Go hide from the Fed lies)

Case in point from a man I honestly think is one of top dumbest shit heads in or running for elected office. These are people who are supposed to exude confidence and trust, but instead they spread fear, hype, distrust, and anger at and about everything government.

They include the likes of: Rand Paul (pictured above); Ted Cruz, Louis Gohmert, Michele, Bachmann, Tom Cotton, Scott Brown, Thom Tillis, almost everyone on FOX and rightwing Talk Radio ... don't believe me, just listen and pay attention.

They are out to make political points over the next few weeks and gain control of government, and not much else. I honestly ask: Why and for what positive purpose. I can't seem to come up with anything rational except nasty dirty political grandstanding.

Take Rand Paul's latest from here, part: 

PLYMOUTH, NH – Rand Paul had a message for students at Plymouth State University who had gathered for a pizza party with the Kentucky senator: "Ebola is coming for us all and the government is hiding the truth about the deadly disease."

Then this from Salon.com: Some 56 percent of Americans say the government is prepared to handle Ebola, including 61 percent of Democrats. But that number is flipped on its head when you ask Tea Party voters: 57 percent of them say the government is not prepared, as do 54 percent of rural voters.

So two core components of the GOP red-state base coalition don’t trust the federal government, in the person of President Obama, to keep them safe – and there’s some political opportunity for Republicans in those numbers. When Texas Sen. Ted Cruz continues to insist “I remain concerned that we don’t see sufficient seriousness on the part of the federal government about protecting the American public,” those are the voters he’s talking to.

The Plum Line’s Greg Sargent makes the excellent point that one big political benefit of Ebola to the GOP is that it gives them a theme with which to nationalize the election and make it about the perceived failures of President Obama – especially in states like Georgia, Louisiana and North Carolina, where vulnerable Democrats have kept it close by focusing on local issues and their GOP opponents’ foibles.  That’s why Thom Tillis is insisting that Sen. Kay Hagan (D) has “failed the people of North Carolina and the nation by not securing our border.” 

They also blame Obama and DEMS for the rise of ISIS/ISIL. Now for Ebola … they have no shame, yet they remain shameless. So, will fear sell? We are going to find out on November 4th aren't we? 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

ISIS and Iraqi Chemical Plant: Threat or Not — Honest Clarity Needed

Iraq's Old Chemical Plant 
(old story making new rounds)

New story or older one recycled? From the WSJ here (June 2014), plus a lot of other sources (many are conspiracy links).

A lot of media is stirring about ISIS/ISIL now in control of the old Iraqi chemical plant – reputable reporting is, however, far and few between, but that has not stopped the hype about this old issue. More below from here, in part:

The Iraq Study group did find chemical munitions at the Muthanna facility, but they also determined that inspections by United Nations Special Commission, or UNSCOM, had ensured the facility was dismantled and remaining chemical stocks militarily useless and sealed in bunkers, saying in one report, in part:

“Two wars, sanctions and Unscom oversight reduced Iraqi's premier production facility to a stockpile of old damaged and contaminated chemical munitions (sealed in bunkers), a wasteland full of destroyed chemical munitions, razed structures, and unusable war-ravaged facilities.” (Cite: the Iraq Study Group's 2004 report).

The Muthanna complex is near Lake Tharthar, roughly 45 miles northwest of Baghdad, an area now firmly in control of ISIS/ISIL. Further, ISIS has taken control of most of Anbar province as well as Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city.

Key Point: Military officials said the U.S. was well aware of the Muthanna stockpile and wouldn't have left it there if it posed a military threat.  HOWEVER: "When the U.S. pulled out of Iraq, it didn't anticipate a large swath of the country, including numerous military bases, would be overrun by radical Sunni militants. One defense official said that if the U.S. had known the Iraqi government would lose control so soon, it might not have left the old chemical weapons in place."

(I INTERJECT: That is a mighty big “if” isn’t it?).

U.S. officials repeatedly emphasized the takeover of the chemical weapons stocks didn't constitute a significant military gain by ISIS. The group, multiple officials said, would find the weapons militarily useless even if they were to get access to the sealed bunkers where they are stored. Officials said the group hasn't yet gained access to those bunkers, with one military official saying: “The only people who would likely be harmed by these chemical materials would be the people who tried to use or move them.”

(I INTERJECT: ISIS probably could care less about that aspect as I’m pretty sure, they are trying to get things in order for their use – a pretty rational thought).

ISIS military gains have been aided by other Sunni groups including Baathists and other former loyalists to Hussein. Officers in Hussein's army have also taken leadership roles in the rebellion. Some of those men may have some working knowledge of the use of chemical weapons from the Iran-Iraq war.  

My Summary: I am not one for conspiracies of any kind – preferring to deal in facts rather than opinion. But, if there are “working chemical weapons or viable chemicals or any kind” stored at that facility and could by any stretch of the imagination end up with ISIS/ISIL, and the U.S. knows or even suspect such a scenario, then it is incumbent on us to conduct quick bombing raids there to totally wipe it out. That is rational thinking and possibly what is needed. Putting all that aside, I firmly believe the public has a compelling need to know the whole and true story. 

Thus, some clarity seems to be in order, don’t cha’ think? Just call it honesty and clarity in a valid update.

Monday, October 13, 2014

U. S. Options in Iraq are Few and Far Between — None Are Very Good



ISIS/ISIL: Tons of Captured U.S. Equipment, Weapons, and Supplies
(Iraqi forces abandoned it)

ISIS/ISIL Controlled Areas
(Eye on Baghdad)

The flip side of the horrible mess in both Syria and Iraq – some highlights:

Secretary of State John Kerry said recently that while US-led strikes would weaken ISIS-ISIL it was still ultimately up to the Iraqis to fight the group off. He said in part:  “It is Iraqis who will have to take back Iraq. It is the Iraqis in Anbar (province who will have to fight for Anbar.” (Note: Anbar is the largest province in Iraq on the western side leading straight into Baghdad).

Related: Turkey has offered support to the campaign against ISIS by now granting the U.S. access to its air bases.

Here's what I see developing politically, which is not the way I want to see it:

1. The U.S. remains adamant about sending ground combat troops back into Iraq.

2.  Iraq government officials do not want U.S. combat troops back either.

3.  If the situation gets so bad, so awful, and so nasty and shows up on world screens, then …

4.  The U.S. will say “We have no choice, we must recommit to saving Iraq and ridding the region of ISIS/ISIL. We have no other option. There are no other choices. We hope the American public will see the danger of ISIS/ISIL not only to the region, but the stability of the entire Middle East.” Or, something along those lines I foresee. Let’s face it, ISIS/ISIL will not relent – they must be defeated on the ground.

That is the way I read it, and sadly it is a pathetic way to read it. I hope I am wrong, but I don't think so; at least that is what my gut tells me.

Let’s face it: ISIS/ISIL has a great PR game and they know how to play it with the best. They are milking the possibility of the U.S. reentering Iraq and that is precisely what they want, then they will further fine-tune their message to the Arab world and say: “See we told you the United States has always had its eye on us and our mission in life. We are the only ones you can trust on our way to meeting Allah’s mandate. Trust and have faith in us. Praise Allah.”  /s/ ISIS/ISIL

How cynical is that – considerable, but sadly I think it’s also true.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Hide Under Your Bed — ISIS/ISIL is Coming — Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

Don't be a Afraid. But, hide before it's too late

Duck under your bed. Don't move ... DUCK now!! What DUCK???
(No, damnit, not these ... jeez - pay attention)



From Sen. John McCain (R-AZ): McCain warns that both the Mexican and Canadian borders are probably entry points for ISIS terrorists, saying in part: “There is a great concern that our southern border, and our northern border, is porous and that they will be coming across.”

F/N: What he didn't say it that they wouldn't dare cross the AZ-Mex border, right, Senator? I see, I see.

Then this from practically the entire GOP: “Vote first then hide under your bed. Then stay there. We are coming to your rescue. We will stop ISIS/ISIL cold at our borders. Give us the majority in Congress in November. We'll show you. We will keep you safe. Trust us.”

Sample of that can be seen here: here >>>

In short, don't be a scaredy cat.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Truth Can and Should Be Refreshing or Put You in Shït Størm

VP Joe Biden: Mess in Syria and Rise of ISIS/ISIL


This story comes from various sources (like ABC News here): 

Vice President Joe Biden apologized over the weekend to Turkey and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) after saying they had a role in allowing foreign fighters, weapons and money into Syria to bolster groups fighting Syrian President Bashar Assad and now ISIS/ISIL has those weapons. He also made similar statements about Saudi Arabia's role in aiding extremists.

Now, the diplomatic scramble that has followed underscores the Middle East's tangled alliances and the murky sources of support that have helped Syria become a hotbed for extremists. While Mr. Biden's comments were in line with some of what U.S. officials have been saying for months, they also have the potential to complicate administration efforts to keep those same counties in the coalition fighting the Islamic State, one of the most violent groups that have taken hold in Syria.

Even after Mr. Biden's back-to-back apologies, the White House was still in clean-up mode Monday. Officials made clear that he had erred in his public comments, but stopped short of declaring them inaccurate, saying in part: “He himself wishes he had said them a little differently” (said White House spokesman Josh Earnest).

WHAT EXACTLY DID MR. BIDEN SAY?  

He said during a question-and-answer session at the Harvard Kennedy School, in part, that one of the biggest challenges for the U.S. in identifying a moderate opposition to Assad in Syria was that some U.S. allies were helping strengthen groups with extremist tendencies, but then he added (this is the part in the toilet bowl):

He said: "The Saudis, the Emiratis, and others. What were they doing? They were so determined to take down Assad and essentially have a proxy Sunni-Shia war, what did they do? They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of tons of weapons in to anyone who would fight against Assad. And, the problem is that the money and weapons ended up in the hands of the al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, and now the Islamic State group (ISIS/ISIL)."

Stating publicly the obvious as he did vs. not using clever behind the scenes diplomatic lingo may be correct, but it is not being honest or forthwith with the American public, and besides, when did truthful become wrong or uncomfortable?

I see nothing wrong with what the Vice President said even though he was "forced (I suspect)" to apologize. He apologized for speaking honestly and openly about something we all know is mostly factual and true.

How can what he said be wrong or bad?  In a word: It can not. I support him 100% on this flap.

Nothing should ever supersede the truth or being honest about telling the truth, and especially when mixed with political hörsëshït. At least in my view.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Ebola: Dangerous Deadly Virus, Yes; As a Bio-Weapon, Not So Much

Ebola Virus Under a Microscope


Major Update of the following story: 

Shame on the GOP and their right wing talking points and rabid pundits shame on them case in point from MSNBC here, in part:

The cure for Ebola can’t be found by pointing fingers, but that won’t stop some conservatives from playing the Obama blame game. From right-wing media pundits to certain lawmakers on Capitol Hill, the current epidemic that has so far claimed the lives of over 3,400 people is yet another opportunity for critics to jump on the president’s leadership and policies – Ebola-related, or not.

Examples:

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY):  Offered his “suspicion” that the disease is “a lot more transmissible” than the CDC has let on.

Steve Doocy, Fox and Friends co-host: When the CDC’s director, Dr. Tom Frieden, appeared on his that show, Doocy went so far as to question whether his analysis could be trusted given Frieden’s role in the Obama administration, saying in part:

“This is a political thing, but you’re part of the administration. The viewers feel that the administration had misled a lot of people on a lot of things. Why should we believe you when you’re telling us this stuff?” (I Note: Doocy has the ability to speak for FOX “viewers” – neat ability isn’t it?).

Laura Ingraham on her radio talk show: She raised similar alarms She asked listeners whether they believed what government officials were saying about the Ebola outbreak, given the country’s “biological incapability of telling the truth.” As evidence, she pointed to the Affordable Care Act (Obama-care), claiming that “none of” what the government said about its health care law was true.

Then the big mouth himself, Rush Limbaugh: He went after a different administration priority – developing more humane deportation practices – suggesting that the “Washington establishment/political class was making Ebola-related decisions based off its desire for amnesty,” which Limbaugh said “equals open borders.”

Then Limbaugh added: “Ebola, a killer virus, is political. We’re in the process of having it politicized. The left politicizes everything.  The Democrat Party politicizes everything.  Everything is politicized.” 

That last part coupled with the other parts, well… I still can’t stop laughing and you know the worst part: FOX viewers really to believe the crap they hear like that … and the blame game continues … I recommend the GOP adopt a new mascot/logo and make that their favorite animal: The Scapegoat



ORIGINAL POST FROM HERE:  I have been educating myself on Ebola and I have used three sources for this post (1) from CBS News; (2) from Vox.com; and, (3) from WHO (World Health Organization) (the editing is my own to fit this format).

Worst-case scenario: Could a terrorist group turn Ebola into a biological weapon and wipe out a huge number of the world’s population? The idea, almost like a movie script, is that Ebola could be used as a biological weapon, but it should be viewed with heavy skepticism. According to bio-terrorism experts, although deadly, Ebola is notoriously unstable when removed from a human or animal host, and capturing and turning it into weapon is very unlikely. 

An opposite view has been posited by Peter Walsh, a biological anthropologist at UK’s Cambridge University who says the world should be taking the threat of an Ebola weapon very seriously. He warns that terrorists could “harness the virus as a powder” for example, load it into a bomb, and then explode the bomb in a highly populated area (CBS Atlanta report).

Dr. Robert Leggiadro, a physician in NY who has a background in infectious disease and bioterrorism says that although Ebola is listed by the CDC as a possible bio-terrorism agent, that does not mean the virus could be used in a bomb, adding it would be difficult to weaponize.

Further, Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, SecureBio, a CBRN security firm in the UK says Walsh's claims are an example of fear-mongering, adding: “The chance of the Zaire strain of Ebola being made into a biological weapon is less than nil. It's just not going to happen.”

Experts like those point to three main reasons why Ebola isn't likely to be used as a bio-terrorism agent anytime in the near future.

1. Weaponization woes:  In order to make Ebola into a biological weapon, a terrorist organization would: (1) need to obtain a live host infected with the virus, either a human or an animal, and only a few animals serve as Ebola hosts, that include primates, bats, and forest antelope. None of these are particularly easy to detain; (2) after the host is captured, it would need to be transported to what de Bretton-Gordon called a suitably equipped laboratory (to extract the virus). NOTE: Such laboratories, known as Category 4 or Bio-safety level 4 Labs, are not easy to come by either (less than two dozen Category 4 laboratories  exist in the entire world (Federation of American Scientists), and failure to work inside one of these labs when handling the Ebola virus would likely result in the death of whoever is doing the weaponizing; (3) if a terrorist organization were able to obtain a host (listed above), gain access to a Category 4 Lab, then isolate the virus, they still would have a lot of work to do before they could use Ebola as a biological weapon. The process is complex and multi-staged.

It involves enrichment, refining, toughening, milling, and preparation. And, Ebola is not well suited to any of these process steps, which are designed to ensure that the biological agent survives the traumatic experience of being fired from a rocket, dropped from an aircraft, and submitted to harsh climatic conditions.  

2. Ebola virus is not hardy: There's a reason we haven’t heard about Ebola ever been used as a biological weapon in the past: it has not been, because Ebola, unlike other disease-causing agents, is not very hardy.  

“The reason anthrax has been the biological weapon of choice is not for its mortality rate -- when properly weaponized it is similar to Ebola-- but for the fact that it is exceptionally hardy.  Anthrax can and will survive for centuries in the ground, enduring frosts, extremes of temperature, wind, drought, and rain before re-emerging.”

In contrast to the hardiness of anthrax bacteria, the Ebola virus is sensitive to climactic conditions, like exposure to sunlight and extreme temperatures, and once the virus is removed from its host, it requires a very particular environment in which to survive, including relatively high temperatures, and humidity.

Assume a terrorist organization manages to capture a suitable Ebola host (listed above), are able to extract the virus, weaponize it, transport it to a populated city, and deliver the virus as a weapon, and then it is entirely likely that the sub-optimal climatic conditions of a Western city will kill it off relatively quickly.

3Slow transmission:  Many of the deadliest viruses and toxins that the CDC categorizes as possible bio-terrorism agents can spread from person-to-person through the air. These airborne toxins, such as anthrax or plague, could be released into the environment, through a dirty bomb or some other means, and could infect many people very quickly. [See 7 Devastating Infectious Diseases] However, that's not how Ebola works, since it is not airborne and it relies on transmission through the consumption of contaminated meat and direct contact with some infected bodily fluid.

The method of transmission makes Ebola less contagious than airborne viruses. Therefore, that also makes it easier to contain, provided strict protocols for containment are followed.  When the proper protocol is followed, Ebola is considerably less contagious than common viruses, such as measles or the flu.

Hope this helps you understand this virus; it did me. Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

War Again: Could Lead to Uptick in Domestic Terrorism

Cartoon with a lot of truth...
(hard to face, but real)

Anti-government Reason Then 
(nowadays purely anti-U.S.)

I've been working on this for some time ... so bear with me (hope it's not too dry). It is very important subject and very timely.

Background: American intelligence officials have said the number of Americans who have joined rebel groups in Syria — not just ISIS, but others — had nearly doubled since January 2014. The officials believe that more than 100 Americans have fought alongside groups, including those who have died while fighting, since the civil war began there three years ago.

Various American agencies have specifically identified Americans fighting for ISIS based on (1) intelligence gathered from travel records, (2) family members, (3) intercepted electronic communications, (4) social media postings, and (5) surveillance of Americans overseas – that is those who had expressed interest in going to Syria beforehand.

Additionally, many more Europeans have joined the fight in Syria against the regime of Bashar al-Assad. By some estimates, more than 1,000 are in that category.

The British government has identified about 500 of its UK citizens who have gone to Syria. Just as troubling is that about half of that number have returned to Britain. A small number have died on the battlefield as well, officials have said.

Yes, this theme is troubling on many levels and for obvious reasons and questions: (1) do these “fighters” after they return home have their eyes on, or worse, plans of action to do harm here at home, or in other friendly Western countries (e.g., London, Paris, Rome, el al), (2) how prepared are they to carry out any attacks, and more-importantly, (3) are they, or can they be successfully monitored over a long period of time to ensure that they are not up to anything bad, or if they are up to no good, (4) how can such attacks be prevented well in advance?

Let’s face, domestic terrorism is a huge growing problem; not just by these numbers returning from Syria and elsewhere, but the old-fashioned “home-grown” ones already here spouting up all the time in small numbers – with God knows what they have in mind.

Related to this topic from the NY Times (here in 2011), and this flashback to 1985 (when it was not growing). Then bingo: 1995 in OK City when three men, Timothy McVeigh, aided by Terry Nichols and Michael Fortier blew up the Federal building killing 168 and injuring 500. Three men – now imagine scattered around the country, similar to the 19 hijackers who were receiving their flight training before 9/11 – kinda takes your breath away, doesn’t it?

Domestic terrorism (from the FBI files here and from the Rand Corporation here) is real and it’s in our face. Keep in mind, it does not take many people to do great harm. If they are well-financed, well-armed, have a good plan, and execute that plan with subtle skill and surprise, then even small numbers can do great harm. Related to this are “hate groups” spread across the U.S. – this too is a major concern.

How to combat this, or better yet, how to prevent it or greatly reduce the chances for domestic terrorism here at home in the first place? Terrorism has been around forever – it can never be stopped, but it can greatly be prevented, and that is the work of good counter-intelligence agencies and the support everyone of us can give them. 

As they say “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” (or in the case of preventing an act of domestic terrorism is to prevent a heart full of pain).

This is topic with extensive links and data – check them out by a simple “domestic terror” searching. Good luck and thanks for stopping by.  

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Back at War: Obama Hits ISIS-ISIL in Syria With Allies, Without Congress

Picture at This Early Stage of Campaign
(Note the five U.S. partners in the fight)

Precise Targets Hit


Excellent run down and debate here from The ED SHOW (MSNBC):


The beginning of what President Obama himself labeled as an effort that "It will take time" and insisting this is not our fight alone ... 

Funny or sadly, in an ironic sort of way, wars always take time (usually easy to get into, but a bugaboo to get out of; not even counting the human cost. 

This will take years and it will cross party lines for decades in Congress and around the globe. We are all again on high alert. 

This is also the rally call that ISIS-ISIL needs and has expected, I believe, to grow and possibly get stronger with their simple message: "See we told you so. The United States is involved now and it proves that they truly hate Muslims and Islam. Praise Allah!!!!."

Stay tuned ... this is just getting started. Believe me when I say it will get far worse and more costly — that is given.

Stop back later.

Re-brand, Re-name the Same Old Crap: Becomes Easy to BS the Public


Originally named: Blackwater

Renamed: Xe 
(after all the crap in Iraq)

Renamed once again: Academi
(helps keep the public confused and off balance)


This is how you try to hoodwink or BS the public, lesson 101: Keep renaming your product or same old stinky pile of dog shit by calling it anything except the same old stinky pile of dog shit. Eventually it will catch.

We have seen BLACKWATER renamed to XE and renamed again – hell it even sounds professional and kind of academic, too, and they even try to appear to be the smartest guys on the block (bullying aside that is).

Tidbits and tons of BS:

Erik Prince, co-founder of the controversial private security contractor Blackwater, later rename to Xe and now renamed again to Academi, claims that the organization could have successfully combated militant group Islamic State if the Obama administration had not “crushed my old business.”

Prince said in front of the conservative group Maverick PAC that his infamous private military firm – synonymous with the contracting bonanza that ensued after the invasion of Iraq in 2003 — would have effectively fought Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL), allowing the U.S. to hold back our military in its offensive against the group’s strongholds in Iraq and Syria.

He said in part: “It’s a shame the Obama administration crushed my old business, because as a private organization, we could’ve solved the boots-on-the-ground issue, we could have had contracts from people that want to go there as contractors; you don’t have the argument of US active duty going back in there. They could have gone in there and done it, and be done, and not have a long, protracted political mess that I predict will ensue.”

Two related links here and here:

One word comes to mind when describing Prince and his brand of utter nonsense and insanity: megalomaniac.