Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Bahumbug! Take your "War on Christmas" and kiss my mistletoe


As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, I have to admit I loathe this time of year. No, not because of family traveling from afar or all day football or even Thanksgiving itself, nope I loathe the day after.

Ha, you probably thought I was talking about “Black Friday,” but that has little to do with it.

Nope, I loathe this time of year because it begins the “War on Christmas” brouhaha in the Media.

"Don't say Happy Holidays it’s Merry Christmas” is the mantra spread in memes on social media in never ending posts. TV Journalists thump their desks against guests that oppose saying anything "Christmas" in message while throwing hi-fives and gulping down eggnog with those that shout repeated Amens.

It’s an all about "me" society and all must conform to whether or not what I say. Did you catch that, I said "whether or not" because not only is this so-called "War" about keeping the word "Christmas" in the fold but it's also a "War" to keep it away. But the major issue is that many of us have been programmed with something called mannerism and feel obliged to always give greetings and salutations to whomever we speak to.

Damn you grandparents!

But there are a few ways to end this "War," it's very obvious and easy to begin; name tags and religious segregation.


Maybe people should start wearing name tags during the month of December that states their religious preference. “Hello I’m Jewish” or “Yes I’m Atheist” should become the norm so no one gets offended because then everyone knows the correct greeting!

Or maybe Wal-Mart should segregate checkout lines. Aisles 1-10 for Christians, 11-21 for Jews, 22-30 for Muslims, and what's left for everyone else. Of course we already know the obvious flaw with this. No, not the division of segregated checkouts lines but that it doesn’t matter what time of day it is, Wal-Mart only has 6 out of 30 checkout aisles open at one time!

This all leads to another issue that pops up during the "25 Day War on Christmas" ratings grab in Media; Religion in Public schools.

I don’t have any issue with kids getting together during their free/study halls or lunch to discuss their religious belief among themselves, as long as it stays there. Too me, they are not bothering anyone or causing a disturbance.


However, if you want your child to learn or participate in religious rituals or education, then send them to the proper religious educational setting as a public school setting is not appropriate. But many cannot afford the expense of religious schools, so off to public schools they go and the parents try to transform that school towards their way, because who cares what other religions of children there are, it’s about my child and that’s what matters.

I’ve always believed that during the month of December, in Civics or History class, it would be interesting to educate students on the different types of religion and what/if they celebrate a holiday around this time. Well as I’ve grown older I realize what a crazy idea that was because the word “INDOCTRINATION” screams from the rafters.

Which leads me to the state of Maryland where a story of the Maryland father who is currently banned from his daughter's high school because he objected the teaching of Islam in her World History class.

Mr. Kevin Wood was upset about an essay assignment on Mohammed, Mecca and the 5 Pillars that was assigned to his daughter. Mr. Woods stated that "our kids can't study Christianity in public schools but we can force feed our kids Islam" and requested his daughter be removed from the La Plata High School class while Islam was topic. The school administration denied the request because it is a requirement towards graduation.

Complete the course or fail.

Mr. Wood was then served with a "No Trespass" notification for language that constituted a want to disrupt school activities. Yet most of the Media ended the story with the "No Trespass" as dramatic pause and with the La Plata HS kids being forced to learn (and possible sympathetic towards) Islam. If one actually researched a little further they might have found out that in this World History course not only touched on Islam when learning about the Middle East, but also Hinduism & Buddhism when the subject changes to India and China as well as Christianity during the Renaissance Era.

Not to also mentioned is that Mr. Wood's daughter would spend the rest of the World History course in the Library while the topic of the Middle East is taught and still fulfilling her requirement of writing the essay.

Now there must be something in the Maryland drinking water as another school district made the news concerning religion and the public school system that had Social Media posts exploding with rage.

The other week, the Muslim community requested that the Montgomery County school district recognize their religious observance on the school calendar along with the current religious observance of other religions. They weren’t asking for a day/week off, just recognition on the calendar. So instead of recognizing their religion, the school board instead decided to lump everyone together into one big “Winter Break and Spring Break.” Yes all Jewish, Christian, and Atheists will now be joined on “Winter Break and Spring Break” with the Muslim student population.

Of course outrage ensued, because everyone knows Christmas break is for Christians only! Right?

Let me get this correct, no one lost any days off for the “break” but the outrage is over sharing the holiday break with Muslims and a name change from “Christmas” to “Winter” and "Easter" to "Spring?" Holy Bejesus, where’s the nearest protest/boycott of the Montgomery County school district?! What there wasn’t one?

Well that fell like a big Yule log thud.

What's funny is that this past summer, parents and students in the Montgomery County school district did lead a protest against the School Board's decision. But that was a decision to change the start of the school day from 7:25am to 8:15am.

But let’s look where the real “War on Christmas” should be laid, Capitalism.

Why not blame Coca-Cola for pushing Santa Claus in advertising back in 1931 along with Macy's?

How many people, regardless of religion, take part in all those awesome Christmas sales throughout the month? Because last time I checked, Joseph wasn’t working at the Bethlehem Manger Donkey Emporium pushing low mileage/low interest rates with balloons and a hot dog machine that faithful night in December!

No the "War on Christmas" is fought in the Mall corridors. It doesn't matter ones religious belief while rummaging through sales racks at Victoria Secret for pre-teen Tiffany or for naughty mom herself. That is until someone sales clerk excitedly and accidently mutters the wrong greeting of "Happy Holiday" to have the Christmas cheer drop and the cry of "It's Christmas" screamed at to the talk show radio host.

That's it, slap the tap on some Nutcracker Ale and watch out for that pale of coal, you might get a visit from the EPA.

CHEERS!


Friday, November 14, 2014

Return of the Keystone Pipeline debate- Beware of politicians shaking babies and kissing hands


So the return of the argument over the Keystone pipeline has begun. Isn’t rather strange how the fight was the rage throughout the summer of 2012 but turned into a whisper after the 2012 election season and then return with a roar 4-6 weeks prior to the 2014 Mid-term election? Yet with all the information and misinformation it’s purely more political than economical reasoning, well temporarily reasoning that is.


We've been told that the oil in them there pipes coming from Canada to the Texas/Louisiana refineries will be sold in the US and bring down oil prices by many politicians and partisan talking heads alike, yet Keystone has never stated this.

It has been stated by those same politicians and talking heads that the oil, if not routed thru the US, would be routed across Canada to the Pacific Coast and be shipped to Asia. So where's the destination for the oil if it runs thru the US?

Answer: Europe and Latin America.


Not to mention oil prices have been dropping steadily as of late and there’s no guarantee over saturation in the market would drop the value any faster. Remember, it’s the Speculators on Wall Street and other investment areas that determine the price, because that current price is set on futures.

We've also been informed that anywhere between1k-100k jobs will be created "over" two years in the US due to the Keystone pipeline. As of today, the US State Dept states that the number is estimated around 42k jobs "for" two years, with those jobs heading towards construction positions alone. After completion of the pipeline, it will only need between 50-100 employees to secure and maintain once the oil begins to flow.

There's a difference between the words "over" and "for" because many determine "over" as permanent, yet "for" means temporary. So the 42K jobs are “for” temporary sporadic jobs, again which is good for those in the 6 States able to receive the employment opportunities due to the pipeline. But when those jobs leave, how will the politicians and media handle the job loss numbers? Who will they blame for the loss in employment when pointing fingers begins in time for the 2016 election?

Now those 42K temporary sporadic jobs are "guesstimated" to generate anywhere between $3B-3.5B over the two year timeframe to the economy. That's great for those 6 States involved in the pipeline, however remember its temporary money and those politicians will need to "bank" that money for future, not spend if they have not done so already.

Of that $3B-$3.5B in economic generation, we're told not only will that money go back into the local communities in consumption from food to gas to other needs, but also in materials needed on the pipeline construction itself. However what is forgotten is that many materials have already been bought and have been sitting idle while politicians in those States and the Federal government fought/kicked/cried while shaking babies and kissing hands. Of those materials previously bought, the majority were not bought in the US yet shipped from China and other countries. Why?

Simply because it was cost effective to buy foreign materials then to buy domestic, which has been an argument for loss in manufacturing since the mid-70’s.

In the time I begin this rant (roughly 20 minutes ago), the US House has voted to move forward with the current legislation on the Keystone pipeline. It’s purely political and the best example is that of Louisiana’s Mary Landrieu trying to save her Senate seat.

Ms. Landrieu suffers from reverse John Kerry Syndrome. You know this decease as once being for something before being against it. Well Ms Landrieu’s symptoms are reversed; being against something before being for it. She’s hoping the people of the great state of Louisiana will have forgotten her past and only remember her words today. We’ll have to wait for the results of the election run-off against challenger Bill Cassidy to see if the memories of Louisianans is long or short term.

The Keystone pipeline economics truly only favor that of 6 States: Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and Louisiana. Public opinion by one and all shall either be decided on the temporary injection of cash or the future notion of "wait and see" for the next political campaign ad?

That's it, slap your political tab and be careful of politicians shaking babies, kissing hands and pinching asses.

CHEERS!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Lesser Of Two Evils Enjoys The Spoils In Election Day Victory


The day after Election Day is always somber as voters and candidates alike either lick their wounds or toasting the sunrise to a new day. But many are happy about the end of the wave of political ads that have consumed us these past few months.

But the tsunami of a GOP victory came with less force and was more splash then crash.


The dramatic shock and awe by Media outlets was absurd considering for the past 6 weeks we've been told time and time again that the GOP would extend their majority in the House and win the Senate majority by at least 5. So why all the gloating and tears by punditry? This was not a David slaying a political Goliath but more like the 3 Little Pigs as the Democratic Wolf tried to blow everything and couldn't.

And no that's not a mistype, I mean "blow everything" in pornographic term.

Somewhere this post election day, I can vision Karl Rove prancing around in his boxers at his mansion blaring at the highest levels LL Cool J's "Mama Said Knock You Out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vimZj8HW0Kg"

“Don't call it a comeback
I been here for years
Rockin my peers and puttin suckas in fear
Makin the tears rain down like a MON-soon”


Once again, I say you can't call it a tsunami, monsoon or avalanche afterwards when this Midterm wasn't about President Obama, nor do I believe "O's" policies either. No the results were clear this was more about gridlock and lesser of two evils in resulted victory.

Still there are many who believe the elections is about liberty, bibles and guns over big brother, Islamic sympathy and gun bans. Oh that's so 2008 or was that 1996? Anyway, that mantra is dusty and needs to be shredded.


For too long now, we've seen Congressional gridlock, more so in the Senate then in House. So knowing the GOP only needed 5 to win in the Senate and a few more for added ease to stop the gridlock, it's easy math to see that having one Party control Congress as a whole only leaves "O" to fail, compromise or win with Executive Order.

Sour grapes by me? Nope. Inevitable course of action by voters? Yes

Applaud the GOP for their victory, but only for a short time as the post election day money shot being had by the GOP, partisan pundits, and constituency combined ends quickly as the focus now shifts to Presidential hopefuls,wanna-be and a whole lot less has-been candidates as we saw in 2012. And there's great reason why the 2016 Presidential Campaign leans heavily in the GOP favor. They built a great farm system.

Years past and to paraphrase a borrowed line from Syndicated radio show host Jerry Doyle, the GOP has always been "Too Right, Too White and Too Uptight." No, I’m not knocking the GOP’s victory, it was expected as they learned their lessons over the last for elections. They took the 2006 Congressional lose and became the minority and built a youthful & diligent (but sometimes stiff) political farm system that is showing time and patience pays dividends on Election Day. While the farm system was building, the old guard took the punches and laid the ground work for a piece by piece, election cycle by election cycle win.

OK they had some help from their Tea Party counterparts. Even though some of them were retreads of the GOP vying to get back into the political game.

Paul, Ryan, Christie, Kasich, and I’ll throw in a Halley are all viable and a few of those names, mainly Sen Randall Paul really need to think about their next move. In Sen Paul’s case, he has to choose; run for Senate or run for Pres because Kentucky law only permits one campaign.

Choose wisely Senator Paul, choose wisely.

Yes, politics is all about gamesmanship and little about pawns on the board. Those pawns being the voting populace. It's easy to watch your opponent trip and stumble as they refuse to repair a crumbling foundation.

While the GOP took time to recast, the Democrats faltered with an aging cast of characters that not even botox injections could hide the cracking on the fa├žade.

Today is the time for the Democrats to begin their rebuild, but I fear they will stick to their game day roster and lose more then gain.


Congressional Democrats are fearful of change, especially in leadership. If they "Hope & Change" motto ever needed more dedication, it's now. But no, not with "O" and his current administration. He's there for another two years and watch the Congressional Democrats shy away with political lepercy.

I'm talking about removing the Pelosi, Clyburn, Hoyer and Reid leadership for younger names. Youth is needed, yet the broken old warhorses refuse to take a seat and see if youth can be king again somewhere in the US. Yes, put the old to pasture and let the kids begin anew.

But the Democratic farm system is of far too small population with little known names. You can't rebuild like that. Names like Debbie Wasserman-Shultz should be stricken from Media guides and replaced with those of Corey Booker and Julian Castro, not because of the racial demographics but because it's their time. As I stated earlier, the GOP learned this in 2006 when they finally loosened the political reigns on Rep Paul Ryan and he ran with it. Ran strong enough to become the 2012 VP nomination and possible 2016 Presidential contender.

Even though Pelosi and Reid are the party meal tickets when it comes to gathering donations, it is however time for them to relinquish their thrones for younger talented energentic politicians. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Gay Latino with a shy bladder, as long as they work the entire base and not a demographic. Yet this is the downfall for the Dems as they only truly work the individual demographic and not the whole thing

What I really want too know is, what happened to the "anti-establishment" crowd that have taken to Social Media and the interweb over the past few years?

Obviously that was all talk with little walk as many incumbents took to the victory podium on election night. For example, how did Kentucky's Sen. Mitch McConnell keep his seat when he had many adversaries on both sides of the aisle within his state? Check mark that win as the lesser of two evils by all accounts.

Yes, as the song goes “I been here for years” is true and the GOP seems to do best in Midterm elections and they’ve only got a year to make this work for them come 2016 if they want a punch-gut victory in Nov 2016.

So within the next year, a Majority held GOP Congress has much on its plate; Immigration reform, Tax reform, Welfare reform, reform of any program really except Obamacare. I do not see the GOP going after Obamacare for the 50th, 51st, or whatever time as many lost count.

But they have to choose their fights wisely, even though they have the Majority, they do not want to come off as drunk with power and still create gridlock within their party, which has been known to happen. Their Congressional actions can make/break a 2016 Presidential victory. It's theirs to lose, as there truly is no one within the Democrat stable worth putting a saddle on.

That's it, Slap your favorite politically brewed tap and remember just because the Media is peeing on your leg doesn't you shouldn't carry an umbrella, sometimes their aim is off.

CHEERS


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Pennsylvania "Survivalist" Hunger Games- Are the past actions of "Criminal Survivalists" helping Eric Frein



Pennsylvania "Survivalist" Games- Are the past actions of "Criminal Survivalists" helping Eric Frein

Over the past few weeks in Northeastern Pennsylvania, authorities have been on a manhunt for Eric Frein, a man accused of ambushing and killing Pa State Trooper Cpl Bryon Dickson and wounding Trooper Alex Douglass outside of their Blooming Grove police barracks.

The search has many residents in the surrounding area asking what has been taking so long to find Eric Frein while media outlets are leaving for more fruitful stories.


Described as a "self-taught survivalist," Frein enjoyed researching Cold War era propaganda for role playing in weekend “war game” movies and paintball style groups that possibly helped in taking a real world anti-government belief. He has been leaving breadcrumbs of food wrappers, homemade pipe bombs, rifles and even a journal in the wooded Pennsylvania hills, leaving authorities to believe he has not ventured outside of area.

Recent history has proven that trying to find this style of criminal, a survivalist, is quite a lengthy process. Simply knocking door-to-door and releasing a pack of bloodhounds is only the smallest of steps in the process

Strangely, the case of Eric Robert Rudolph jumped into my head as soon as I heard about the Pa State Police shooting, mainly because I wrote a lengthy college term paper on the 1996 Centennial Olympic Park bombing for a Judicial Study course on Terrorism. Yes, there is such a course of study at my university and as a Liberal Arts major that concentrated in both Political Science and Judicial Study it was a natural decision to take the course.

For many that may have forgotten, Eric Robert Rudolph was apprehended for his involvement in the 1996 Centennial Olympic Park bombing as well as linked to a couple of other bombings in the cities Atlanta and Birmingham.


We don’t have to go into all the details of how the Feds and Atlanta police got the wrong guy in Richard Jewell after the bombing (thanks to “eyewitness” reporting). However it took the authorities a little over 18 months (July 1996- Feb 1998) to name Eric Robert Rudolph as the main suspect. Then another eight months later to add charges of bombing an Alabama abortion clinic to his file.

For two years, authorities concentrated their long extensive search for Rudolph in the wooded hills of North Carolina. And within that two year timeframe, a Federal grand jury indicted Rudolph on a total of 23 charges for the Centennial Olympic Park bombing and two other bombings in Atlanta, as well as one in Birmingham, to Rudolph’s dossier.

Over the next five years, while the number of authorities searching for Rudolph dwindled, he lived off the grid in the woods and mountain ranges of the South, living in abandoned cottages and lake houses for shelter. Trapping game for food as well as rummaging through back alley trash cans for leftovers while, also playing games with authorities by leaving newspapers and other paraphernalia in makeshift campsites to keep them at bay.

He survived; he knew how to do it. But the question many asked was; did he do it alone?

Many believe that local communities harbored Rudolph by purposely leaving food and clothes for him in secluded area, why? Rudolph, even though considered a loner, had a deep resentment of anti-government and anti-abortion belief, both of which have had a large expanding representation especially in the “Bible Belt” of the South.

The only proof of any help towards Rudolph was by grocery store owner George Nordman. After heavy interrogation, police had concluded Nordman’s involvement was a “forced cooperation” as Rudolph secured over food and items from his grocery store and charges never filed.

It wasn’t until May 2003 that rookie police officer Jeff Postell stumbled upon Rudolph rummaging through an alley garbage can behind a Save-A-Lot grocery store in Murphy, North Carolina. The young officer had arrested a cooperative Rudolph for simple theft, not knowing that he was America’s #1 Most Wanted at the time.

Does anyone remember a few years ago, 2009 to be exact, when the Dept. of Homeland Security produced a report on home grown terrorism titled “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment”?

Yes, the report that many media and political talking heads lambasted because it only focused on one style of extremism, Right wing. But there is truth within the report if you look at actions over the past 25 years.

Yes, there are two types of extremist; Right and Left.

A good definition of “Left wing extremist” is “seek to abolish all forms of hierarchy, particularly the inequitable distribution of wealth and power” compared to the definition of “Right wing extremists” as “hate groups who target racial, ethnic or religious minorities and may be dedicated to a single issue.”

The huge difference is in the ways they express their belief and it can be defined with one word; Violence.

So think “Anonymous” vs. “Sovereign Citizens.”

While pretty much everyone as heard of “Anonymous” many have never heard of the “Sovereign Citizens.”


You may think I’m crazy but I can give you a great example of a “Sovereign Citizen” action and that’s the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and it’s most notable member Terry Nichols. Yes the same Terry Nichols that helped Timothy McVeigh plot the Oklahoma City bombing.

The “Sovereign Citizens” are a spinoff of the defunct white supremacist extremist group called “Posse Comitatus.” Both groups had/have a large anti-government following and many of its 300,000 members held the same belief, the only government to listen too is local. Many did not carry social security cards, work under the table to avoid taxes, create scams, possess illegal driver licenses/ license plates, not registered to vote, and most importantly buy/sell/trade weapons.

Groups like the “Sovereign Citizens” have been able to motivate their belief of not trusting the government over the 20 years, using economic downturn as feeding frenzy too anyone that will listen. Much of their motives and believes are not violent in course, but it only takes one lone individual to take the extra steps towards fury. And thanks to the Internet, this type of extremism is growing at an alarming rate.

That “lone wolf” scenario we’ve heard about time and time again in media, well it’s that extremist that takes extra step and since 2000, a “Sovereign Citizen” member has been involved in six police officer deaths. The most resent in 2012, when Jerry and Joseph Kane killed two police officers during a routine traffic stop.


This comes full circle back to Eric Frein, a man that many of his friends described him as an “average Joe” who was never the gung ho guy in the group, but indeed a loner of sorts, with nothing to tie him down to stay in place, both home and work.

I suspect Eric Frein will eventually be apprehended, not tomorrow but in a couple years. And just like Eric Rudolph, it will be his own ploy of deception that will be his downfall.

That’s it, Slap the political tap and find your favorite chilled political brew.

Cheers!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Midterms Are Coming! The Midterms Are Coming! But Do You Really Care?


There are a few things that I’ve learned since taking Political Science 101 so many years ago and one (expensive) educational nugget is that when Midterm Elections come around, too many people close the blinds, turn off the lights and go to bed early.

As with any election there are different stereotypes to the Democratic/Republican voter and for one of the Parties the thought holds true.


For instance, the average Republican voter wakes on Election Day and does the following: Reads the Constitution, has a slice of Apple Pie with an ice cold Coke while sitting under a velvet picture of President Reagan and as they walk out the door they salute Old Glory before jumping into their oversized SUV with Lee Greenwald’s “Proud to be an American” playing loudly on their way to the voting booth all before the workday starts.

Now in comparison, the average Democratic voter will wake on Election Day and perform the following: Pace by the window multiple times while listening to the morning weather report. And as they jump into their eco-friendly vehicle with NPR playing at a modest low volume, they again keep looking upward at the sky and say “Oops there’s a cloud, it might rain, looks like I’ll miss my chance to vote” all before pulling into Starbucks for their Pumpkin Spice Latte.

Now, can you guess which one is the exaggeration?

That’s right! The Republican voter analogy is far from the truth because I never mentioned anything about grabbing their concealed weapon when they walked out the door.

Yet unfortunately, as I learned so many years ago in Poli Sci 101, yes the Democratic voter is through and through a very procrastinating and will find more ways not to vote then to do so. However in today’s politically brewed society, they are not the only ones lacking any enthusiasm to “voice” their vote.

Sadly as generations pass, the “want” to vote in a Democracy seems to be waning

There are still countries begging to have the US model of government and yet of the roughly 206,072,000 eligible voters there are in the USA today, only 146,311,000 are registered. And a more disturbing fact that less than 89,000,000 found the “time” to vote in the 2010 Midterm elections.


That’s barely 40% of registered voters that took advantage of their Constitutional right to “voice” their choice as to how their County, State and Country shall run. That means 60% of registered voters that did not use their “voice” need to shut the hell up as too how and who to complain about until they bring their warm bodies to the voting booth.

Now according to the US Census, the following survey results happened to during the 2012 elections helps validate the above statement as to why so many decided to stay away:

Too busy conflicting schedule - 17.5%
Illness or disability - 14.9%
Not interested - 13.4%
Did not like candidates or campaign issues - 12.9%
Other - 11.3%
Out of town - 8.8%
Don’t know - 7.0%
Registration problems - 6.0%
Inconvenient polling place - 2.7%
Transportation problems - 2.6%
Forgot - 2.6%
Bad weather - 0.2%



So what will be your excuse? Hang nail? Sniffle? Excruciating long line at Piggly Wiggly for toilet paper?

To say “Didn’t Know,” “Did not like the candidates/campaign issues,” or “Not interested” are as useless of an excuse as saying “My dog ate my voter registration card.”

As the “Greatest Generation” passes away and “Generation X” being cast aside, the battle of the hearts and minds skew towards the “Baby Boomers” and “Generation Y” demographic for the politicians to win over.

Why?

Face it, “Great Gen” & “Gen X” crowds have nothing left to offer the Political Parties at this time. Both have been politically molested and extorted of their wealth, both emotionally and economically. Think about it, the “Great Gen” has little to over, their time has come and gone, while the “Gen X” have become anchored in their career and personal life. What money they do have is set aside for their child’s college education and there’s very little movement at this stage in career to break the corporate ceiling.

So it’s down to a generational rotation. Just as the battle was once for the “Great Gen” and “Gen X” prior, it’s now left to the “Baby Boomers,” who have now begun their mass exodus from employment and become empty nesters, all the while “Gen Y” are just beginning their career and personal means.

And both Political Parties are chasing their demographics in typical fashion; Republicans long for the “Baby Boomer” while the Democrats chase the tail of the “Gen Y” crowd.

Remember, the “Baby Boomer” generation was once yesterday’s hippie voice. A culture that pushed the notion that government was the answer which in turn is very much the cause for many of issues that are being fought today, that being the “Great Society” idea of the 1960’s; War on Poverty, Medicare, Education expansion just to name a few.

Now much of that very same generation now considers acts of “Socialism.” Gone are their Social Liberalistic ways and a massive rush towards Fiscal conservatism. Which there is nothing wrong in changing one’s belief, but the “Baby Boomers” feel a need for redemption of their past political prowess.

But where does this leave “Gen Y?”

Simple, “Gen Y” is not far from the “Baby Boomer.” The difference being is that “Gen Y” understands the cost objective of being Socially Liberal while being Fiscally Conservative at the same time. Yes, there can be coexistence of both political thought; it’s called being a “Moderate” or “Centrist.”

Yes one can support Offshore Drilling and Gay Marriage in the political arena!

And this is where the Political Pundits have stepped in and rid the scourge of the “Moderate/Centrist” from the halls of Government by using whatever means possible to blame them for destroying the republic.

The void of the dreaded “RINO (Republican In Name Only” and “Blue Dog” moderates in government has truly helped in the gridlock today. Much of that gridlock helps in rating grabs for the jesters, err I mean pundits.

But you, the voting public, need to use your voice and show up to vote. Do you vote the career politician out or stay with them because you know what to expect from them?

That’s it, slap the tap of your favorite political brew and make your way to vote this….. Squirrel!

CHEERS!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Why do we thrive on a momentary sense of patriotism?



As we gave remembrance of the 13th anniversary of the Sept 11 attacks a few days prior, I sat back and watched Social Media explode with meme, picture and individual word by the many expressing their sorrow of the day and pondered on two paths of thought; 1) Am I unpatriotic for not posting anything in remembrance of Sept 11?, 2) Why do we celebrate Sept 11 differently than that of Dec 7?


Well the first question is a simple answer of “no.” It does not make one unpatriotic or overly patriotic to post any reminiscence of Sept 11 and it’s acceptable to keep thought to oneself. No one dare face the verbal backlash by posting “9/11 Truther” or other anti-Sept 11 spiel on the day and leaving so for some other irrelevant debate and date.

As done so in years past, MSNBC replayed the Sept 11 “Today Show” broadcast airing at 8:51am after Flight 11 crashed into the World Trade Center North Tower until Noon even though the broadcast lasted almost 24 hours. While other cable channels broke periodically to show the reading of the names lost in between stories of ISIS and other terrorism accounts with nuggets of debate over the latest NFL gossip.

It doesn’t make MSNBC anymore patriotic then the other channels, regardless if there is not a constant US Flag flowing in the corner of the screen. No, it is just their way of letting everyone relive the day and what we know that has happened since.


We have this momentary sense of patriotism around US historical events. US Flags are placed porch view around the July 4, Memorial Day, and now Sept 11, only to be removed the following day and replaced with Seasonal, University and Sports team flags. Only Sept 11 has yet been commercialized like the rest of our holidays. I can only imagine years from now, if Sept 11 does indeed become a legit federal holiday, will someone find a way to commercialize the infamous “Freedom Fries” or “Liberty discount rug sale” to capitalize on the patriotic theme of the day.

Prior to Sept 11, 2001 there was Dec 7, 1941. A day we were told “would live in infamy” by then President Franklin Roosevelt, yet as sad as it is too bear, that date by so many is fading into obscurity.

Hate me for saying so, but in today’s attention lapse generation, the day is yet a blip in our short history. This, too me, is sad as I do believe as generations come and go, Dec 7 will become just a footnote in our US history books to many school children. And I question why?


On Dec 7, 1941 2,403 Americans had perished in a surprise Japanese attack. However today, Media’s remembrance is all of a 3 minute filler spot with footage of the laying of a ceremonial wreath at the USS Arizona memorial. If one wants to remember Dec 7, they have to watch History Channel 6, because the upper History Channels usually have a Pawn Star marathon scheduled.

How did Dec 7 become “forgotten” by so many? Is it because those 2,403 (68 civilian) that lost their lives were doing their duty in our military in the US territory of Hawaii while 2,977 (55 military) perished in 3 different US mainland locations?

Are we of a “generational” anamnesis, as those of the baby boomers and prior generation slowly fade, history pulls away from their trace.

Or is the difference between the two dates of remembrance based on victory?

The US entered the second theatre of World War II against Japan with vengeance of the Dec 7 attack. Within four years and 100,000 US Soldiers lives, victory was had with celebration and parade. We were safe, victorious and war had ended. Rebuilding the US had begun immediately and those that returned were praised and returned to an expanding life.

But some 73 years later, after Dec 7, many of today’s youth only know by what’s read in books or taught in class.

Yet 13 years after Sept 11, the fight goes on even though the Taliban have been removed from Afghanistan government and al Qaeda’s spiritual and financial backer Osama bin Laden had been terminated in 2011.


A recent poll states 47% of those surveyed feel less safe today then on Sept 11, 2001. Why?

We are reminded almost routinely of Sept 11 by journalist and politician alike in partisan talking points, pro and con. Words of terrorisms constant growth and trillions of dollars poured into security of the nation with a view of the Freedom Tower standing behind them. Yet many still feel fear that victory is not near.

I guess I actually have a third question to all this. Could the worst attack on US soil in what can be considered modern US history be replaced if it happens again?

What is to say that if another attack should happen on March 23, 2023, could Sept 11, 2001 relevance be substituted by another generation’s conscious?

So I say prove me wrong, return Dec 7 1941 back to its proper relevance amongst our daily lives. We cannot predict a future to remember, but with good conscious we can remember our past and give praise to those innocents that were lost.

That's it, slap the political tap, and raise a toast to all those innocents that have lost their lives in freedom's name.

Cheers!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

US Middle Eastern Foreign Policy or "The Enemy Of My Enemy Is My Booty Call"


I’m trying to decide if the US’s current foreign policy path should be considered “willful ignorance” or “willful negligence” when considering the current state of the World. I say this only because many in our government still have the mentality that the Cold War is still being sought.

OK, ok stop with the Romney and Palin were correct about the Russians fist bumps.

Ever since WWI, there’s this great notion that when tyranny rises that the US will always gallop to save the day. Yet that action is of yesteryear because today’s evil is not a standalone country with one political ideology we are trying to stop as we attempted to stop the spread communism in Southeast Asia and Korea.

We simply cannot go it alone in the battle against Islamic terrorism and be the Guardians of the Planet any longer, especially when the enemy is not landlocked.

What many outside Washington DC understands is simply that this idea that if “we cut off the head of the snake, it will die” is incorrect because the snake still moves and can still bite!


I know it’s just a saying, but an incorrect saying that is repeated by Washington DC way too often.

Our foreign policy in the Middle East has been a calamity since the 70’s. Just when you think it’s getting better, the rug gets pulled out from underneath and we fall flat on our face. As much as it pains to say this but the Middle East was calmer when Saddam Hussein was dictator of Iraq.

The path of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” is more fortune cookie then reality when dealing in the Middle East. “The enemy of my enemy is my worst enemy” is more viable statement, yet Washington DC would rather deal with both sides just in case.

Look at Egypt, as for decades we turned a blind eye to atrocities committed by President Mubarak, offering millions of dollars in aid since 1949. Those dollars never changed, regardless of a Democratic or Republican playing in the White House, yet we talked tough ever year just hear ourselves speak while Mubarak gleefully smirked.

And when the Arab Spring happened, we waited to see who’ll come out on top. Whether it was the Muslim Brotherhood or some other group, we still supplied our monthly aid payments just to be “friends” in the area.

We are so worried about trying to integrate the Middle East to Western Civilization that we’re standing with our pants down looking for hugs from those that despise us.


We never got far with Syrian President Assad and his crimes against the Syrian people and rebels because it became an international game of chicken between the United Nations and Syria, with Russia backing Syria. Sure, President Obama kept redrawing the red line of action against Assad’s regime and we even held secret talks with the Syrian rebels to try and form a “friendship” of sorts.

OK, it was more like “not-so” secret meetings with Senator John McCain playing the jester as in those meetings stood members of al Qaeda and ISIS/ISIL. Even though it was in plain sight, so quick was Senator McCain to show weakness in President Obama’s foreign policy, that the vetting of the so-called rebels was lax.



Now the old school thought comes into play when our government wanted to give arms to Assad’s opposition, which just happened to be al Qaeda and ISIS/ISIL. Now here’s the best part, we also gave aid to their opposition, who in time will have used our aid, both monetary and military against us, with the only exception being Syria.


Did you get that, we gave aid to Syrian rebels who were fighting both Assad’s regime and ISIS/ISIL, too which ISIS/ISIL also received some of the aid as they were against both factions.

Now here we are, with a new threat to the World that is far from old school tyranny. Nope ISIS/ISIL is the new improved form of terrorism that leaves al Qaeda scratching their head wondering how they lost their #1 spot.

The fact that ISIS/ISIL are the new age outlaws of terror networks. ISIS/ISIL is a billion dollar camp using income comes from oil piracy from the large southeastern Syrian and northeastern Iraqi oilfields that they stole in their June 2014 juggernaut that has currently come to a snail’s pace yet still spreading.

As well as using social networks such as Twitter and Facebook with Hollywood style productions for recruitment that could win Grammy Awards for Cinematography, Film Editing, Visual Effects, and Makeup and Hairstyling.

Now we wait and watch as President Obama request from Congress $5 billion to combat ISIS/ISIL while Congressional leadership wants to sit till after the mid-term elections to make a decision. Currently the US has spent close to $7 million/daily on actions against ISIS/ISIL, actions including drone strikes, intelligence and social media memes.

Wait! So to counter ISIS/ISIL social media propaganda, we’ve created our own social media propaganda? Good lord, why not get a bunch of 13 year old girls to film themselves berating ISIS/ISIL, because everyone knows there is no meaner person in the world then pubescent 13 year old girl.

So while the US decides to write bad things on the bathroom stall about ISIS/ISIL, we’ll still send the monthly check to our friends and enemies, both current and future.
Only to be held to some sort of debacle of international trade agreement just so we can have a seat at every table around the World, even with Kim Jung Un coming in April 2015.

That’s it, slap the political tap of your favorite political brew to quench your willful intolerance to tomorrow’s political hangover.

CHEERS!


Sunday, August 31, 2014

How much is your holiday ignorance worth?



The comic George Wallace had a great comedic rant about Racists and Martin Luther King Jr Day. Albeit the sketch is old, but he went into a rant about how Arizona did not recognize MLK Jr Day and went on to say “you have to be racist as all hell not to take a day off of work. It could Ku Klux Klan day and I’ll be in the backyard grilling and raise a toast of ‘grand wizard here’s to your punk ass.’”

How deep is your hate?

Now to be fair the state of Arizona, it wasn’t until 1991 that the state government reversed course, eight years after President Reagan signed legislation to honor Dr. King that Arizona had finally decided to honor MLK Jr day. Yet the clincher of the turnaround wasn’t to honor MLK Jr, but so that the NFL would end its boycott of Arizona hosting a Super Bowl and possible $200 million in revenue.

Funny how the Dollar trumps belief!

I'm positive that at this point someone reading this is screaming "what about the War on Christmas?"

First, the "War on Christmas" didn't happen overnight, well ok the Media's participation on the "War on Christmas" did happen overnight in a production meeting to garner ratings.

Secondly, the actual "War" began when department stores found a way to rake in profits by commercializing a religious holiday.

Again, it’s funny how the Dollar trumps belief.

Now, as we settle into our Labor Day weekend, with full bellies of hot dogs, buffalo chicken dips and cold frosty beverage, I have to wonder if all those folks that despise Unions so much are going to enjoy having Sept 1 off and in many cases with holiday pay.


I know, I know, someone out there will state "I'd rather be working then having today off?" Um, you're getting paid to do nothing on Sept 1, but you'd rather be in the office and complaining about being in the office?

Let's not forget how Labor Day came to us by thanking a past Union member.

See way back in 1882, the Central Labor Union of New York adopted an idea to celebrate the social and economic achievements of the worker. And not long afterwards other Unions around the country joined together and pumped their balloon dog gripped Socialist fists in unison into the air.

Wait is there a Balloon “twisters” Union?

Anyway, some will say that in 1894, shortly after the Pullman strike, President Grover Cleveland signed papers making Labor Day, Sept 1 a federal holiday


Please do not get me wrong, I'm not a fan of Unions, but I do thank those that preceded us. However, I would seriously think that if someone is so against Unions that they would thoroughly research everything thing they consume.

So what type of vehicle will a Union hater drive? Well it they can't drive a Ford/GMC/Chrysler as they are only built in Union facilities and those that are non-union built are from foreign lands. A hater wouldn't want to drive a Mexican built Ford Fusion, would they? http://www.uaw.org/articles/uaw-releases-2014-union-built-vehicles-list

How about quenching a hater’s thirst? Well for example, if you live in the Pittsburgh area and want a Coke or Pepsi, well you better find an alternative as those facilities are Union shops also.

And I sure do hope the Union haters that plan to drink a few beers this weekend aren't drinking any of the following Union-Made beers listed here; www.unionplus.org

How about flying the friendly skies, does a Union hater grumpily snort their way to a Non-Union carrier and find longer delays and less accommodation more desirable?

We can go on for hours talking about this, but I also want to flip the point in that I hope that those that pledge all love to the Union way are partisan in their spending as well. How well does the United Auto Workers (UAW) member support the International Brothers of Teamers (IBT) while the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) flies above?

Sometimes I think only the Enviro/Animal Rights folks are the ones who stick to their beliefs the most.
Seriously, if something disgusts a person so much, would they still take the benefit of the day?

Everyone likes to get their drink on and there are no better holidays for that than St Patty's Day and Cinco de Mayo. When else are you gonna find an Orthodox Jew wearing a kilt drinking a Guinness or a Redneck Hillbilly kissing a sombrero wearing donkey while drinking a Corona?


Now if we can combine the two holidays, man oh man let's get the party on. But wait; there would be some sort of opposition from the Beer Commission because combining the two would hurt profits.

Once again, the dollar trumps holiday

Do Native Americans celebrate Columbus Day or Thanksgiving?

And with that, the point of all this rambling is for every pro there is a con, yet when it comes to a celebration or a federal holiday/day off, Americans will conform their beliefs to whatever is happening just to party.

That's it, slap the political tab and how politically brewed are ya?

Cheers!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

When old beliefs clash with a new political landscape; Yes Virginia we should negotiate with terrorists?



Let’s make one thing perfectly clear; the United States of America does not negotiate with terrorists. Period! Or so we’ve been told ever since Ronald Reagan campaigned on the notion in 1980 and that mantra has lived on ever since.

Well maybe till 2014 when President Obama’s administration led negotiations for the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

There are many arguments to be hatched when debating about "negotiating" with terrorists, it just depends on which side of the debate one stands. I say this because between the time of Bergdahl's release and journo James Foley death, many people have jumped in their belief.

My stance is very simple in that yes the United States does not negotiate with terrorists by any means. No money, no weapons, no humanitarian aid.


That's a stance held by many ever since President Reagan spoke the words "The United States of America will not negotiate with terrorists" as well as uttered routinely by Poli-talkers up and down the American media landscape.

Yet something happened after the death of journo James Foley. Not sure if it was the video footage of the gruesome beheading committed by ISIS seen everywhere or if there is a pacifist wave building as many Americans, citizen and military alike, that have become fatigued with constant battle and/or terrorist images shown by many media source.

Why do I say this, well roughly 40% of those polled state that the ransom for James Foley should've been paid, either by the US government or his employer.

Never mind that the asking price of $132 million would've funded the next terrorist attack or that $132 million today for one may lead to $150 million for another.

Just the other day, ISIS began ransom demands for an American female humanitarian aid worker kidnapped over a year ago, yet the asking the ransom price for her is around $6 million.

How does one go from $132 million to $6 million in ransom? Is there a kidnapping draft listing for terrorists?

Let's not forget that Foley's employer, GlobalPost did attempt to negotiate with his kidnappers.

According to a International Business Times report, GlobalPost co-founder Phil Balboni stated "they (GlobalPost and the Foley family) were trying to raise around $5 million, a figure they believed could win Foley’s freedom based on the ransoms paid for the release of European hostages in the time that Foley remained captive.

They were using a cheat sheet put together by Duncan Bullivant, the CEO of Henderson Risk, who has conducted hostage negotiations in private and commercial cases, for the affordable price. It must be me because I think this is disturbing by all accounts.

"Well ya see Akbar, while he’s been a solid employee and won a few journo awards, he’s career here has been short and by equivalting this to our 4o1K plan and comparing that to the industry standard in that field of expertise, as well as government oversight we feel that 'X' is an affordable life price.”


I know, yes corporations in fact have such lists to determine payouts, for many reasons of loss just as Social Security has Survivor benefits draft sheet to determine monthly payments to spouse and/or child

Please do not get me wrong, I feel sorrow for the Foley family of their loss, but I just do not understand the flip of the populace that have thumped their chest in unison of "the US does not negotiate with terrorists" as they salute Old Glory and eat apple pie under a picture of President Reagan.

Now coincidently, about 43% feel the negotiated prisoner swap for Sgt Bergdahl shouldn't have happened. Why is the Sgt. Bergdahl situation different then Foley? Was it because Bergdahl, by all accounts, was a deserter and members of his platoon died searching for him?

I would have to say, yes, that's judgment by the court of public opinion.

The negotiated deal for Sgt. Bergdahl, what many have called a simple POW exchange because only people were negotiated, no money and no weapons were traded. 5 terrorist detainees for 1 Sgt Bergdahl.

So here's a question, what if ISIS had asked for person for person swap and less cash, would that have sweetened the deal to save Foley's life?

Would opinion have swayed?

2 terrorist detainees for 1 innocent and $5 million. Does that sound reasonable?

Well per Michael Foley, James brother, that's what he believes could've saved his brother. I mean no disrespect to the Foley family, however if that negotiation would have saved James Foley's life it sets a new standard for the next ransom of an American life.

Just as many Poli-talkers stated would happened after Sgt Bergdahl's release, the Obama Administration had set the bar for future kidnapping deals. And we're seeing it immediately as I circle back to the American female held captive as not only are terrorists asking for $6 million, but also the release of a terrorist detainee.

But the events of Bergdahl and Foley do not end with their outcomes, nope only in the American political campaign season can death be used as advertisement.

I'm not sure if it's today's politician or because of 9/11, but it seems death and destruction in campaign ads has crept into the norm by the campaign strategists. Maybe I should point at President Lyndon Johnson and the famous "Daisy" ad (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Id_r6pNsus) that aired only once, but when I heard about New Mexico Senate candidate Allen Weh running an interweb political ad talking about American foriegn policy with an image of Foley's executioner, well my stomach turned.

Once again, I guess death has a price be it money or political positioning.

It's hard to believe that countries pay these ransoms, but it's time to take a stand and stop paying ransom of any sort to terrorists.

A year ago, at a G8 summit, all major western countries signed an accord to stop paying ransom to terrorists and only 2 of those signees (US and UK) have kept to the deal. France, Spain, Germany and Italy have found different ways of funneling money to terrorists for safe return of their citizens, which has caused further kidnapping attempts across the globe. France alone has paid roughly $50 million in the past 6 years in ransom money.

And they wonder why their citizens are still being kidnapped or attacks are happening on their soil.

That's it, slap the political tap and pay the tab, I gotta go see "Flo the Progressive insurance lady" about a bundle deal on home/car/rv and kidnapping insurance.




Cheers!