Entries from blogs tagged with “The Arts”
No, I'm not suggesting anyone should burn a draft card (or the student union) or stage a sit-in in the office of Secretary Kathleen Gilligan Sebelius. Those who feel Obamacare will adversely affect them should conduct a "sue-in". They should file individual lawsuits challenging the law on grounds it will harm them as individuals.
The class action lawsuits various states filed against the law didn't force the courts to deal with the hardships the law would create for some individuals. Individual cases can present the courts with actual evidence of individuals who would be adversely affected being forced to purchase insurance. General government guidelines may not allow for the financial situations of everyone. Some individuals will lose their ability to obtain the health care they need if they have to purchase insurance that won't cover their treatment.
In Roe v. Wade the Supreme Court stated that health care decisions involve the right to privacy. Requiring people to pay for health treatment by purchasing insurance could be portrayed as being inconsistent with the right of the individual to control personal health care decisions.
Some young adults have huge education debts that would be difficult to pay off it they have to pay for health insurance. In some families the oldest child may want to help younger siblings pay for college. Some are willing to take the risk of not having insurance so they can save money for the down payment on a house or realize the dream of starting a business. What right has the government to tell them they must forget their dreams? Don't "the Blessings of Liberty" the Constitution is supposed to guarantee include a right to take personal risks to obtain those blessings?
Those who claim a financial hardship could offer the judge a choice of eliminating the requirement they purchase insurance or changing the guidelines that determine who receives government assistance to purchase insurance.
Insurance companies don't cover all potential treatments for medical problems. Often they rationalize not paying for the treatment by calling it "experimental". A law that requires individuals to purchase health care through insurance companies in effect may make it illegal for people to seek some types of potentially life saving medical treatment. Such a law would be inconsistent with Roe v. Wade.
Recent scientific research confirms the claims of some transsexuals that they feel they are trapped in the body of the opposite sex. Brain studies indicate some people do have a brain of one sex and the body of the other. Thus surgery to make the body of the same sex as the brain is corrective surgery rather than elective surgery. Transsexuals shouldn't be prevented from seeking such surgery because they have to use their health care money to purchase insurance that won't correct the birth defect that causes their Gender Identity Disorder.
In cases such as those involving experimental treatment or sexual correction surgery, plaintiffs should ask the courts to either exempt them from having to purchase insurance that won't help them or require insurance companies to cover the treatment these people need. Attorneys might want to point out to Supreme Court Justices that if government or insurance companies can decide insurance doesn't have to cover some procedures then coverage for abortions could be eliminated.
Perhaps non-profit organizations opposed to Obamacare could help finance these lawsuits. Another possibility would be for the states that filed class action lawsuits to represent individuals filing their own lawsuits, Assistance by non-profit groups and governments could encourage a sufficient number of individuals to file lawsuits to convince the courts there is a problem with the law.
Contrary to the opinion of President Barack Obama there is nothing illegal about the recent vote for the Autonomous Republic of Crimea to leave the chaotic situation in The Ukraine. In 1991 the Ukraine separated itself from the deteriorating government of the then Soviet Union by a declaration of independence and created a precedent for the Autonomous Republic of Crimea to separate itself from The Ukraine. The obvious instability associated with the fall of the Ukrainian government justified The Republic of Crimea's exit from The Ukraine.
If there was a recent violation of international law in The Ukraine it is more likely associated with the mob that overthrew the elected government. That mob closely resembled a fifth column like Nazi Germany used against nations it wanted to conquer. If the European Union accepts The Ukraine for membership now the EU will be implying it helped overthrow of The Ukraine government. If the EU accepts The Ukraine without waiting for at least two elections, not counting the upcoming one, the EU will imply it eliminated a government that opposed EU membership so the EU could conquer The Ukraine.
Requiring The Ukraine to first demonstrate it is a stable democracy that changes government only through elections will indicate that the EU recognizes The Ukraine's political instability makes it an undesirable member. The recent use of mob rule to change the government indicates the presence of a cancer that must first be isolated and cured before The Ukraine is considered healthy enough to be allowed into the EU. Allegations that some of the groups responsible have previously supported extremist views should be of particular concern to EU members,
The EU needs to conduct a thorough investigation of the recent change in The Ukraine's government so member nations know what they need to do to prevent similar events in their countries. The EU needs to identify any business individuals or non-Ukrainians involved so EU members will know who to watch out for.
Political instability such as that associated with the fall of the Ukrainian government can lead to ethic violence in countries with strong ethnic divisions. Without a stable central government, the Crimean Republic had to take over the responsibility of protecting its citizens. Separating from the ineffectual Ukrainian government made that job easier. Crimea's "divorce" from The Ukraine will reduce the potential for an ethnic centered civil war between the Russians of Crimea and the Ukrainians. Reducing ethnic tensions will reduce the demands on the Ukrainian government and simplify the task of restoring a stable government.
The best way to resolve the situation in Crimea in the event the residents want to separate from the Ukraine would be for Russia to purchase the territory. Russia could then allow the Crimeans to decide what status they wanted such as becoming an independent state or joining the other ethnic Russians in the Russian Federation.
I was going to include this suggestion in a post dealing with the situation in general but decided the proposal would be more likely to be noticed if suggested in a separate post. I believe the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo which ended the war between the United States and Mexico in 1848 suggests a resolution of the conflict over control of Crimea.
A dispute over whether an area (occupied by persons who identified with the United States) which is now the State of Texas was independent sparked a short war between the United States and Mexico. The United States easily won the war but then agreed to purchase another part of Mexico that was attracting settlers who identified with the United States. The purchase eliminated the potential for a future conflict between residents of that area and the Mexican government
Crimea is something of value so it would be fair for The Ukraine to receive compensation for its loss. The payment for Crimea could be thought of as compensation for money the national government of The Ukraine has spent on the region for such expenditures as government buildings or infrastructure items like roads. The payment would replace tax money that would no longer be collected from Crimea.
Payment wouldn't need to take the form of money. Russia has ample energy resources and The Ukraine already obtains energy from Russia. Thus, natural gas or some other fuel might be used as compensation. The Ukrainian government has had a policy of trying to keep energy costs down for its citizens. Russia might significantly reduce what it charges for natural gas for the next 10 - 20 years with an implication that the discount would be passed along to individuals. Russia might also offer to compensate anyone wishing to move from Crimea to the Ukraine or The Ukraine to Crimea.
Ukrainian officials need to recognize the potential costs of trying to force Russian Crimeans to stay in a country where they don't feel they belong can lead to civil conflict including terrorist bombings. The conflicts between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland and the actions of the Basque separatists in Spain demonstrate what can happen. If some Ukrainians decided to start a Balkans style ethnic cleansing campaign, Russia would feel compelled to invade.
I had a dream last night in which Barack Obama was wearing a helmet and carrying a lance like the fictional character Don Quixote who had a reputation for attacking make believe foes. The only other clothing Obama had on was swimming trunks. He was riding a horse that had a remarkable resemblance to John Kerry
As he moved his lance up and down he was chanting: "we must stop global warming." He continued to chant as the reading on the thermometer dropped below freezing and he began turning blue.
He continued chanting "we must stop global warming" as the snow began to fall. Soon the snow was up to his knees with his horse unable to move, but he continued to chant "we must stop global warning" until the snow covered him and his horse.
Obama's comments on non-existent global warming this winter demonstrates how he is increasingly out of touch with reality. Obama talked about global warming in a State of the Union speech delivered on a night when the Gulf Coast was preparing to deal with freezing temperatures. He urged businesses to switch to natural gas at a time when natural gas companies were asking for rate increases because the cold weather was creating a shortage of gas.
Obama wants to spend $1billion dealing with non-existent global warming at a time when cities are trying to find money to pay the costs of a snow filled winter.
Obama has continued to push his global warming nonsense through his Secretary of State John Kerry.
A rational president would have omitted mention of the global warming issue during a severe cold spell because he would have recognized that people who were worried about their cars slip sliding off the road aren't going to believe talk about global warming. But then a rational president would understand that the claim that CO2 causes something called global warming is nonsense. The claim is based on a 19th Century myth that greenhouses and the atmosphere are heated by trapping infrared radiation. Physicist R. W. Wood disproved this claim in 1909.
Law enforcement personnel will tell you that if a financial opportunity sounds too good to be true, it's probably a scam. With political scams the reverse is true. Politicians will make the situation sound much worse than it is. For example, President George W. Bush insisted we had to invade Iraq to keep Saddam Hussein from giving Weapons of Mass Destruction to al Qaeda. The fact is that there is no way a paranoid dictator like Hussein would have given WMD to an organization that might want to take his job. The people pushing the global warming hysteria are claiming all sorts of unbelievable calamities will occur.
Obama is also out of touch with reality in the Ukrainian crisis. His criticism of Russia is questionable He calls the Ukraine a democracy even though the current change in government control occurred as the result of protests rather than election. The pro European Union group took control after members of the president's party were scared into changing sides or leaving. What is left of the government may not be sufficient to qualify as a viable national government of the ethnically divided country. Crimea is an autonomous republic within the Ukraine with a mostly Russian population. Only 28% of the population is ethnic Ukrainian. Reestablishing a stable government in the Ukraine will be more difficult if ethnic Russians are forced to be part of a nation where they don't feel they belong. Thus it would make more sense for the republic to become part of Russia then remain part of the Ukraine. Russia is attempting to stabilize an unstable political situation and prevent a civil war. Obama doesn't understand that President Vladimir Putin isn't going to destroy the government and then let the country descend into chaos like Obama did in Libya.
Obama seems oblivious to the possibility that calling attention to a nation in which protestors forced a president to resign might encourage his opponents to try to use protests to push him into resigning. His support for those who used protests to change the government indicates he considers that approach an acceptable alternative to elections.
The 25th Amendment to the Constitution who is physically or mentally unable to handle the duties of President. The vice president and members of the cabinet can temporarily relieve a president who has lost touch with reality. The presidency is a high stress job and high stress can cause mental and physical problems including high blood pressure and heart disease. Many historians . believe that the stress of dealing with political scandals killed President Warren G. Harding.
Those who watch the Oscars need to understand the song that receives the Oscar for best song may not deserve the honor. The Motion Picture Academy arbitrarily rescinded the nomination of the song "Alone Yet Not Alone" from the best song category.
According to a review "ALONE YET NOT ALONE tells the inspiring story of Barbara and Regina Leininger and their journey of faith and survival during the French & Indian war in 1755. Captured by the Allegheny Indians in a raid on their home and transported over 300 miles of wilderness to Ohio, the sisters are sustained only by their abiding trust in God, and their hope of escape against all odds to be reunited with their family." The Leiningers had immigrated to the British Colonies in search of religious freedom.
During the French and Indian War, the French paid the Alleghenies and others to attack British settlements. The British saw nothing wrong with kidnapping people from Africa.
Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs, who has helped to market studio films, hypocritically claims that the action was justified by an email song composer Bruce Broughton sent to those who help to nominate songs. However, she apparently sees nothing wrong with allowing major studios to run expensive campaigns for the awards.
Broughton notes that "major studios and many independents send out DVD screeners of their films which list all of the eligible contestants on the jacket – including the songwriters – and follow up with invitations to screenings, meet-‘n-greets, sometimes including a fully produced, non-film version CD of the song, something that is disallowed by Academy rules. When major studios “campaign,” there’s no way a small independent can adequately compete. And there’s nothing anonymous about any of it."
Conservative groups are blaming the withdrawal of the Oscar nomination for best song from "Alone Yet Not Alone" on anti-Christian prejudice. Although the studios could have benefited from religious prejudice among those in charge of the Oscars, the studio executives are more likely motivated by pure greed. They want the awards closed to outside competitors who cannot afford to make big budget movies. The action is evidence that the Oscars are just a public relations gimmick.
The studios may have been worried that a "Cinderella" candidate might have an advantage over their big budget songs. By giving into the studios the Academy missed a major opportunity to indicate that the Oscars are not just based on money. Having a true Cinderella candidate would have generated a lot of positive publicity for the Academy and helped draw more viewers for the Oscar program.
The Oscars exist to provide an advertising benefit to the studios that make big budget films. Allowing small film companies to compete for the awards cut reduce revenue for the major studios. Taking away the nomination from "Alone Yet Not Alone" was not intended to maintain a level playing field but instead to insure that the playing field remained tilted in favor of the wealthy studios.
The huge amount of money the studios spend selling their films and performers means that the Oscar winners may only be the beneficiaries of advertising campaigns rather than the best at anything.
The biggest impediment to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s, dream of a society in which color is not considered important is the continued used of the extremely racist term "African-American". The term implies the descendants of slaves are a separate race whose members belong in Africa rather than the United States even though many have ancestors who were living in North America long before the American Revolution.
The term "African American" arbitrarily segregates people by skin color. The term treats people with dark complexions as if they only had African ancestors even if more of their ancestors came from somewhere else. For example, sportscasters call Asian ancestry golfer Tiger Woods "African American" even though his mother is Asian and his father had Asian and North American ancestors as well as African ancestors.
. The only inherent difference between black and white Americans is a half dozen genes that control skin color. A person can have a dark complexion even though a majority of skin color genes come from European ancestors because the genes that code for dark complexion are dominant and only a couple are needed for a relatively dark complexion. One of the genes that codes for a dark complexion is common among peoples of North America and Asia as well as Africa
North American residents have been having sex across the color line since the first African slaves had sexual relationships with their Spanish masters in the 16th Century Spanish colonies located in what are now Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. Sexual relations occurred with the North American peoples who lived in the vicinity of plantations for the first two hundred years of American slavery and accepted runaway slaves into their villages.
Initially slaves in the British colonies were indentured servants who only had to serve as slaves for a few years. Most early slaves were from the British isles, especially Ireland where the English were anxious to take ownership of Irish lands. Initially the more expensive African slaves were also treated as indentured servants.
By the mid 17th Century slave owners decided to turn the dark skinned slaves into permanent slaves with white slaves continuing to be indentured servants. To increase the number of permanent slaves some slave owners required white female slaves to mate with African male slaves so that the resulting dark skinned babies could be kept as permanent slaves. Laws adopted during the period preventing sex across the color line were primarily intended to keep free white from having dark skinned babies who would have been born free rather than slave
Virtually all the African ancestors of slaves arrived before Congress outlawed importation of Africans in 1808. Only about 500,000 Africans were imported into North America which means that virtually all slaves were born in North America to parents of mixed ancestry; .
The slave genome continued to receive new DNA from plantation owners and overseers until slavery was ended. In slave societies it is common for men of the master class to have sex with women of the slave class. The most prominent example of this practice in the United States was the relationship between President Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings.
Southern laws prohibiting sex across the color line continued to be ignored if the female was black such as in the case of the mother of Sen. Strom Thurmond's black daughter. Dr. King is known to have had a white male ancestor who provided his "Y" chromosome. As recently as the early 1960's, young southern white women were told that boy friends who received passionate good night kisses might seek sexual satisfaction in the black community.
White men could rape black women without fear of prosecution until the 1960's.
Sex across the color line has increased since the 1960's because of acceptance of relationships between white women and black men.
It's likely that some children of mixed ancestry were passing for white by the early 18th Century. Many whites who researched their ancestry after the "Roots" television series were surprised to find ancestors whose military records included the letter "C" after the name for "Colored". President Warren G. Harding acknowledged he had some black ancestors. It is very likely that President Abraham Lincoln got his dark curly hair from a black ancestor. Many of his contemporaries believed he had slave ancestors.
It's time we Americans recognize that America is not the home of a black race and a white race, but instead is the home of a single race whose ancestors were red and yellow, black and white.
The Impressions lamented in their song "This is My County" -- "Some people think we don't have the right To say its my country Before they give in, they'd rather fuss and fight Than say its my country"
It's time we started allowing the descendants of slaves to call America, rather than Africa their country. If light skinned Americans whose ancestors all arrived after the Civil War can call themselves 100% Americans, why must dark skinned Americans whose ancestors may have arrived before the American Revolution be treated as part American and part something else. Many slaves earned their freedom by helping to defeat the British during the Revolution.
Why are there no Jews on ABC's list of the 30 greatest women in music during the last 50 years?
This question might not be important if it weren't for the fact that two women more deserving of being on the list than at least 80% of those listed by ABC are both Jewish. Barbra Streisand and Carole King both should be near the top of any list of the greatest women in music. They aren't the only great women missing from the list, but they are the only two whose omission cannot be justified. Incidentally, I'm a Baptist.
The closest the list has to someone Jewish is Madonna who has followed the school of thought called Kabbalah which originated in Jewish mysticism but now has become associated with other religions as well. P!nk (Alecia Beth Moore) had a Jewish mother and Christian father, but prefers to not be identified with any specific religion.
Many of us believe that Barbra Streisand is the greatest female singer of the last 50 years, although I do consider Whitney Houston worthy of consideration for that honor even though her career was far too short. I also believe Streisand became the greatest living entertainer when Elvis Presley died. She has received 8 Grammy Awards and is one of the few entertainers to win an Academy Award, Grammy, Emmy and Tony awards. She has also received a Peabody Award and a Kennedy Center Honor Award. The Recording Industry Association of America lists her as the top album selling female artist with 71.5 million albums in the U.S. and 145 million records worldwide. .
How can anyone make a list of the 30 greatest women in music in the last 50 years and not include the first woman to win the Gershwin Prize for song writing, Carole King? The Gershwin prize site says she "is without question the most successful and revered female songwriter in pop music history."
Her album "Tapestry" held the record for most album sales by a female until that record was beaten by Whitney Houston. She won four Grammys from the album including becoming the first woman to win Song of the Year.
Songs she wrote helped other women singers. the Shirelles release of King's "Will you still love me tomorrow" became the first number 1 hit by a black girl group. "(You make me feel like) a natural woman" became a signature song for Aretha Franklin.
The "Divine Miss M" Bette Midler is another Jewish woman who should be in the top 30, although she isn't as well qualified as Streisand and King. "Midler has been nominated for two Academy Awards, and won three Grammy Awards, four Golden Globes, three Emmy Awards, and a special Tony Award. She has sold over 30 million albums worldwide and along with that has also received 13 Gold, 8 Platinum and 4 Multiplatinum albums by RIAA." At the very least she should be above Karen Carpenter.
I can understand how people who lack familiarity with music in the sixties might overlook Janis Joplin whose career like that of Whitney Houston was far too short. She played a major role in establishment of the genre of psychedelic soul and was considered the "queen of psychedelic soul". In 2008 "Rolling Stone" ranked her 28 on a list that had men holding most of the top 30 positions. I was a fan of Karen Carpenter but not of Janis Joplin but I would rate Joplin well above Carpenter,
I can understand how Ella Fitzgerald might be excluded from consideration because most of her success was prior to 1960 even though she continued to perform after 1960. The same situation applies to Mahalia Jackson and country music's first diva Kitty Wells who paved the way for other women to succeed in country music.
President Barack Obama's use of riot police to deal with WWII veterans wishing to visit their war memorial is the type of action one would expect of a dictator who's afraid protesters are attempting to overthrow him.
Obama's obsession with keeping veterans away from their war memorial makes no sense. Why would a sane president do such a thing? Obama's actions indicate he is a compassion less vindictive individual who doesn't care about people. He wants to make himself feel important by pushing other people around.
Obama blundered badly in Syria. His proposal to bomb Syria was the political equivalent of jumping into a swimming pool without first checking to see if the pool contained any water. He lost face and needed some other way to make himself feel important by pushing someone around.
The Honor Flights that take World War II vets to their war memorial are planned months in advance and cannot easily be rescheduled. Any delay in a fight may mean a veteran could die without getting to visit the memorial. Millions of WWII vets, including my father and my uncles, died before the memorial was completed. We owe the remaining veterans the opportunity to visit their Memorial.
WWII was the second most important war against a foreign power in American history. Only the Revolution was more important. Those who served took enormous risks. Thousands could die in a single battle.
the world War II Memorial really belongs to World War II veterans. The government merely takes care of it for them. Closing off access to veterans because of a government shutdown makes no more sense than closing down public roads.
The fall of more than one dictator has begun with an overreaction to peaceful protesters. Overreaction by the dictator can provoke others into joining the protest as has already happened with he World War II Memorial. Overreaction can cause some to decide that violence may be needed to topple the tyrant. This hasn't happened yet but could happen in the future if Obama doesn't change his attitude.
Obama needs to decide if he is a President or the 2-bit tyrant he acted like during the recent shutdown. Obama may have a tall body, but there is a little man inside.
Congress has been having trouble coming up with a debt limit measure because members want something they like. It's difficult to pass such a measure because the wants of the different Senators and Representatives conflict too much.
Members of Congress need to recognize that the"tooth ache" they are dealing with isn't likely to have a pleasant solution. Instead of looking for a measure they like they should concentrate on passing a temporary measure that includes provisions they know their opponents will dislike. This approach would allow members of each party to console their supporters by pointing out what the opposition had to give up. It would also provide an incentive to negotiate a solution to the current deficit situation.
I realize Congress is unlikely to consider any measure from outside, but I feel I should at least take a chance. If you think this proposal is worth considering you might email it to your Representative and Senators.
The provisions involving spending or taxes would be temporary based on certain budget deficit "triggers". Each provision would have a different trigger. When the deficit falls below a trigger, that provision would no long apply. Spending on a certain program could be resumed or a tax would be reduced on eliminated.
Congress would not necessarily eliminate any spending programs (tax credits would be considered as spending programs). Instead spending would be suspended until sufficient money was available for the program. Prior to the next deadline, Congress would determine the triggers for individual provisions.
I suggest the following unpopular provisions. The unpopular provision for Republicans would be extension of the payroll (FICA) tax to all income received from an employer including all the income received by athletes and entertainers. Business owners would not pay a higher tax on their incomes. Employers would not pay the matching tax on the higher employee income. This tax might be phased out as the deficit declines or another tax might be reduced.
An unpopular provision with Democrats would be to delay spending on new programs including Obamacare. Spending wouldn't begin until spending on the program wouldn't adversely affect the deficit. The deficit wouldn't need to be eliminated, only reduced. Elitist Democrats still don't understand that many Republican House members were able to defeat Democrats in 2010 because their constituents strongly opposed Obamacare.
Spending for grant programs to non-profit groups along with state and local governments would be suspended beginning January 1, 2014. The amount of spending involved could reduce the deficit sufficiently that many of those programs with a higher priority (as determined by Congress) could be continued. Others programs would be resumed as funds became available.
All tax credit programs would be suspended. Those credits already approved might be claimable at some future date. An exception would be for programs that benefit individuals making less than $50,000 per year. Tax credit programs in general would be the last of the "spending programs" to be resumed. Energy related credits might be the first to be reauthorized.
President Barack Obama is solely responsible for the current government shutdown. He used the Republican opposition to his health care plan to manipulate them into a situation he could exploit.
He wants to use his media sheep to make the Republicans look bad so he can pursue his goal of gaining dictatorial control over the budget process. He wants the type of power the British monarchy lost centuries ago.
I wouldn't trust former President Thomas Jefferson with the type of control over the federal debt that Obama wants. Jefferson was not only a more honorable man than Obama, he may have had more intelligence than the last three presidents combined.
Obama's conduct of the so called shutdown indicates he is totally lacking in compassion and has contempt for the American people. Blocking public access to the various public monuments in Washington is vindictive and sick. I'm sure there are hundreds, if not thousands, of veterans in the Washington area who would be willing to stand guard over those sites if there is a need for such protection.
Obama says he won't negotiate. The only thing he will accept is total control over the debt ceiling. He apparently is willing to let the economy collapse if he can't get what he demands.
Would a sane president make such a threat?
It's time for Vice President Joe Biden and the cabinet to exercise their responsibility under the 25th Amendment to relieve a president who is acting irrationally from the position.
Various conditions can reduce a president's ability to handle the job. The president wouldn't need to be mentally ill to function improperly. Tumors and conditions that affect blood flow to the brain can interfere with a president's ability to handle the office. Alcoholism and stress can have a negative affect.
If President Obama is having some problem he would benefit from being removed from office before the problem permanently damages him. Many historians believe that the stress associated with various scandals killed President Warren G. Harding. The stress of Watergate nearly killed President Richard Nixon.
The 25th Amendment of the Constitution assigns the vice president and members of the president's cabinet the responsibility to monitor the president's condition and relieve him of his duties if they determine he has a mental or physical condition that prevents him from effectively exercising the duties of his office. This responsibility is similar to the responsibility senior officers on a warship have to relieve a captain who is not able to effectively exercise his duties.
John F. Harris and Todd S. Purdum are reporting in Politico that: "Across the capital, anxious friends and chortling enemies alike are asking: What’s wrong with Obama?"
"It’s also true, as acknowledged even by sympathetic lawmakers and some former Obama West Wingers in recent background conversations, that his presidency is in a parlous state, with wounds that are lately self-inflicted."
I've been concerned for some time that stresses of the office are adversely affecting Obama's ability to function.
At times he seems to be losing touch with reality. For example, he seems unable to understand the seriousness of the scandals that are plaguing his administration. The scandals are as real as Watergate, not phony as Obama believes.
His irrational response to the recent chemical attack in Syria raises doubts about his fitness for office. A rational president would have waited for a thorough investigation and then presented evidence to the United Nations and/or the World Court to give them an opportunity to respond. Obama's call for an immediate violent response before all the facts are in is the type of reaction I would expect from a drunk in a bar, not a president in full command of his mental faculties.
A rational president would realize that he needed to take time to convince Americans that the United States needed to get involved in another Vietnam, Iraq or Libya, etc.
Since Obama announced he wanted to bomb Syria, German intelligence has revealed that communications it monitored indicated that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had refused to authorize use of chemical weapons.
Russia is claiming it has evidence that rebels used the weapons. If so, it wouldn't be the first time an anti-government force in the region stole weapons from the government or had its personnel masquerade as government forces.
In the movie the "Caine Mutiny" the defense council for the alleged mutineers tells the court that on those on the bridge of the U.S.S. Caine could know if the captain was unable to act effectively in an emergency, Those of us who have to view the president through the filter of the media. Only those on the bridge of the American ship of state know what Obama's mental state is. Only they know for sure if the nation would be better off if Obama were temporarily removed from office.
Member of the president's cabinet need to keep in mind that if Obama has been hurt by the stresses of the office and they fail to act, they will be responsible for an disaster that occurs.
25th Amendment: "Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President."
Dr. Martin Luther King's dream of a color blind society cannot be realized as long as the media and black leaders continue to perpetuate the old southern myth that the descendants of North American slaves are a different "race" from light skinned Americans. The term "African American" is an extremely racist term that implies the descendants of slaves belong in Africa rather than the United States even though many have ancestors who were living in North America at the time of the Revolution.
The dark skinned peoples of Sub-Saharan Africa might be of a different race from the light skinned peoples of northern Africa and Europe, but Americans have had too much sex across the color line over the last 400 years to be of different races.
The only inherent difference between black and white Americans is a half dozen genes that control skin color. A person can have a dark complexion even though a majority of skin color genes come from European ancestors because the genes that code for dark complexion are dominant and only a couple are needed for a relatively dark complexion. One of the genes that codes for a dark complexion is common among peoples of North America and Asia as well as Africa
Americans have been having sex across the color line since the first African slaves had sexual relationships with their fellow Irish slaves or with slave owners. Sexual relations also occurred with the North American peoples who lived in the vicinity of plantations for the first two hundred years of American slavery and accepted runaway slaves into their villages.
In the mid 17th Century some plantation owners required Irish female slaves to mate with African male slaves so that the resulting dark skinned babies could be kept as permanent slaves. Initially slaves in the British colonies were indentured servants who only had to serve as slaves for a few years. Most early slaves were from the British isles, especially Ireland Later slave owners decided to switch to having permanent slaves with the dark complexioned slaves becoming permanent slaves and the white slaves being indentured servants.
The only African ancestors of slaves arrived before importation of Africans was outlawed in 1808. Only about 500,000 Africans were imported into North America during this period which means that most slaves were born in North America to parents of mixed ancestry; .
The slave genome continued to receive new DNA from plantation owners and overseers until slavery was ended. Southern laws prohibiting sex across the color line were ignored if the female was black such as in the case of the mother of Sen. Strom Thurmond's black daughter. Dr. King is known to have had a white male ancestor who provided his "Y" chromosome. White men could rape black women without fear of prosecution until the 1960's.
It's likely that some children of mixed ancestry were passing for white by the early 18th Century. Many whites who researched their ancestry after the "Roots" television series were surprised to find ancestors whose military records included the letter "C" after the name for "Colored". President Warren G. Harding acknowledged he had some black ancestors. It is very likely that President Abraham Lincoln got his dark curly hair from an black ancestor. Many of his contemporaries believed he had slave ancestors.
It's time we Americans recognize that America is not the home of a black race and a white race, but instead is the home of a single race whose ancestors were red and yellow, black and white.
The important question in Syria isn't whether Syria used chemical weapons on its own people or should be punished for doing so. The important question is whether the established legal procedures should be used or whether the United States will ignore the law and launch a "lynch mob" style vigilante attack on Syria.
America's Imperial President Barack Obama has decided he is the Imperial Wizard of Earth and like other Imperial Wizards believes he can decide what punishment to apply for various infractions. Like other Imperial Wizards, he doesn't believe he needs to seek the approval of the established legal authorities for his actions.
American leaders have long touted the idea of the rule of law in dealing with questionable activities. Law enforcement officials are supposed to act within an established legal framework that regulates how they deal with suspected lawbreakers. For example, they have to present evidence of illegal activity to a judge if they want to search a suspects residence. The courts, rather than law enforcement officers determine what punishment, if any, should be imposed.
Vigilantes don't bother with using the legal system. If they believe someone has done something wrong they just impose whatever punishment they want.' A unilateral attack by the United States against Syria would be a vigilante attack unless it is preapproved by an appropriate international body such as the United Nations or the World Court.
Congressional approval of Obama's vigilante attack would tell the world that the United States is a hypocritical nation. Congress would be saying that the rule of law is good enough for the United States but not the smaller nations of the world. Congress would be saying that the smaller nations have to accept whatever treatment the Imperial United States wants to give them.
Let me see if I've got this right. President Barack Obama has decided the Syria government has used unacceptable means of killing Syrians so Obama is considering demonstrating the acceptable way of killing Syrians by using conventional weapons to kill Syrians.
The fact that Obama is even considering such an action raises doubts about his sanity.
Killing residents of a country because the country's government used chemical weapons to attack another country might be acceptable. However, the United States cannot justify punishing residents of a country because its government has mistreated them. Such an action would compound the original injury.
If the United States has evidence Syrian government officials have violated international law, the correct response would be to present the evidence to the World Court for prosecution for war crimes whenever prosecution becomes practical.
Killing even one innocent Syrian for a Syrian government official's mistreatment of other Syrians would be murder. If Obama kills any civilians to "punish" Syrian government officials, Congress should impeach and remove Obama from office for the high crime of murder. The United States should then turn Obama over to the World Court for possible prosecution for war crimes.
The 25th Amendment to the Constitution assigns the Vice President and member of the president's cabinet the responsibility of monitoring a president's mental and physical health and relieving him if it appears he is not mentally or physically able to properly handle the powers of the presidency. The responsibility is similar to the responsibility of senior officers on a ship to relieve a captain who has become unable to handle the captain's duties.
If Obama is considering killing innocent Syrians to punish its government for mistreating other Syrians, the cabinet should ask mental health professionals to evaluate whether or not Obama should be relieved of his duties until such time as he regains the mental competence to handle the office responsibly.
In the Vietnam War a marine officer once commented that he was burning a Vietnamese village in order to save it. President Barack Obama's threat to launch a terrorist bombing campaign against Syria would increase the destruction of the country without any guarantee that the government would let America's Imperial President dictate how it should treat its citizens.
Such bombing campaigns have a history of failure. Germany's massive bombing of England during World War II failure to cause the country to surrender as did the American bombing of North Vietnam in the sixties. The Russians had to intervene in the Serbian conflict after the American bombing campaign failed to change things. The United States had to invade Iraq a decade ago to get Saddam Hussein to get rid of his Weapons of Mass Destruction after the bombing campaign failed to produce compliance.
Imperial President Barack Obomber has already destroyed one Muslim country in his efforts to convince people that he is Emperor of the world. Libya still hasn't recovered from his destructive efforts. His inept handling of Libya hasn't given his European friends the control of Libyan oil that they wanted when they got him to support their attack on the country.
Bombings often produce what American terrorist Timothy McVeigh called "collateral damage". President Bill Clinton's attacks on Serbia damaged a hospital and the Chinese embassy. Obomber's bombing of Libya murdered some members of Muammar Gaddafi's family with his bombing campaign. How many innocent civilians will die in Syria if Obomber gets to launch a terrorist bombing campaign against the country? .
When did the President of the United States become god of the world? Who appointed the United States to decide how other countries should treat their citizens? Would Obomber attack Russia or China if they mistreated their citizens or does he just try to bully smaller countries that are too small to defend themselves against the imperialist United States?
The United States has no moral authority to dictate how other governments should treat people considering the government's mistreatment of the country's original residents and the way it allowed the mistreatment of the descendants of slaves in the century after the Civil War.
Members of the media and old black leaders have dishonored Trayvon Martin by portraying him as some type of defenseless child instead of the young man he was. Men like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton haven't used the b-word [hint it rhymes with Elroy] but they have implied it.
At 17 Trayvon Martin was old enough to enlist in the army with parental consent. That made him a man. He was 5' 11" and weighed 158 pounds. We will never know for sure why Martin attacked the man named George Zimmerman, but it's possible Martin believed Zimmerman was stalking him and thus posed a threat.
Martin did what young men sometimes do and decided to take care of whatever he thought the problem was by attacking Zimmerman himself. It's not unusual for young men to try to prove they are men by taking care of threats themselves instead of turning the matter over to the police.
Young men often believe that they know everything, they can do anything and nothing bad can happen to them. Young men are particularly prone to fighting when under the influence of alcohol or drugs such as marijuana. Martin was under the influence of marijuana according to the medical examiner.
People unfamiliar with close combat have overstated the advantage Zimmerman might have gained by pulling out a handgun. In close combat an experienced fighter may be able to gain control of another's handgun and use it against its owner.
It's time to accept the fact that Trayvon Martin was a man who made a man's decision to test himself by fighting another man. People should stop dishonoring Martin by portraying him as a defenseless child like individual.
Bill Maher, the court jester of the elite, has gotten in trouble recently because he used the archaic term "retarded" in referring to Sarah Palin's son who has Down Syndrome.
There are two issues involved in the incident. The first is the use of the term "retarded" which intelligent people have generally stopped using. The second involves a sick attempt by a mentally bankrupt comic to get a laugh at a child's expense. Anyone who would use a child's handicap as the subject of a joke doesn't belong on television.
Maher's critics might consider that those who are within the group a derogatory term refers to can use the term. For example, over the last several decades I've heard black comics use the "n' word" without criticism including comedian Dick Gregory's use of the word as the title of his autobiography.
The term "retarded" has often been misused in association with various conditions. It has often been used to refer to various mental problems that those who use the term don't understand. For example, many describe those with autism as "retarded" even though individuals with this condition can be very intelligent.
Maher has managed to find a way to make a lot of money by demonstrating his ignorance of various subjects on national television. His use of the term "retarded" to describe all those with Down Syndrome indicates he knows nothing about Down Syndrome.
55 years ago those born with Down Syndrome were thought to have only a limited future. Most didn't reach their 20th birthdays. Medical advances since then have increased the capabilities of those with Down Syndrome as has the willingness of people to give them opportunities to demonstrate what they can do. .
A few months ago I mentioned some of the achievements of people with Down Syndrome. One Oregon teen recently accomplished a physical feat most of us would never even attempt. Eli Reimer led a group of climbers to the 17,600 foot base camp of Mt. Everest.
Individuals with Down Syndrome do many things most of us wouldn't attempt. Chris Burke was a star on the successful tv series "Life Goes On". Sarah Itoh was playing the clarinet by the time she was11 years old and is an accomplished public speaker who travels around talking about Special Olympics.
Four years ago the scouting program my mom helped start for those with Down Syndrome in the sixties produced an Eagle Scout when Lucas Wondra met the necessary requirements. He's not the only scout with Down Syndrome to reach that goal. Daniel Camacho of Overland Park, Kansas, achieved that goal and has plans to join others with Down Syndrome who attend college.
If Maher thinks Eagle Scouts, entertainers and college students are "retarded", then he could be "retarded" too.
Maher reminds me of an old Peanuts comic strip. In the strip Charlie Brown asks other children why they are laughing. They answer that they are laughing because they don't understand. Maher spends much of his time laughing about things he doesn't understand.
The biggest problem with Maher's statement about Trig Palin isn't the use of the word "retarded". People who are adults mentally as well as physically don't go around making fun of children. Would Maher and the low lifes who laughed at his comments also laugh at a child in a wheel chair or a child who is deaf or blind? I won't call Maher a man because men don't pick on children.
Calling a child "dumb", "stupid", "retarded" etc. is verbal child abuse and thus who engage in such abuse don't belong on television. An alleged comic who can't get laughs without making fun of children needs to find another line of work.
The ruling in the same sex marriage issue before the Supreme Court will indicate whether the United States is still a democracy or has become a judicial oligarchy. In a democracy, elected officials decide major social issues like how government will treat the ancient mating practice of marriage. In a oligarchy, non elected officials dictate policy to elected officials based on their personal views.
One of my favorite movie quotes is from "The Teahouse of the August Moon". Glenn Ford plays an American officer attempting to explain democracy to the Japanese after World War II. He says, "democracy is where the people have the right to make the wrong decisions." The statement is the essence of democracy. If elected officials make the wrong decision on behalf of the people voters can rectify the situation by electing replacement officials to make the right decisions. If non-elected officials make the wrong decisions the people have no recourse other than overthrowing the government.
People don't become infallible just because they hold a high government office even if they are absolute monarchs who have supposedly been chosen by their deities to run the government. Those of us who are familiar with the history of the Supreme Court known that it is extremely fallible. The Supreme Court has made some extremely bad decisions, particularly.when it has gotten involved in social issues with decisions involving social theories rather than law.
The decision in Dred Scott v. Sanford is easily the worst decision in the history of the Supreme Court. The Court attempted to use the case to deal with the divisive social issue of slavery. Chief Justice Roger Taney's ruling inflamed northern public opinion against slavery which many northerners regarded as immoral. The decision insured that slavery would be a major issue in the 1860 presidential election. The decision didn't cause the Civil War, but provided the catalyst to turn the controversy over slavery and broader economic issues into a war.
The 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson decision is the Court's second worst decision. The Court's acceptance of the questionable social concept of "separate but equal" condemned generations of black southerners to mistreatment including rape and murder. The Court refused to admit that "separate but equal" was nonsense until the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision.
"Separate but equal' wasn't the only nonsense theory the Court accepted in the late 19th Century. The Court prevented state government from protecting workers from exploitive employers by accepting a nonsense theory called "freedom of contract". Under this theory, government protection of workers supposedly prevented their "free" ability to contract with employers. The Court ignored the fact that workers weren't in a position to negotiate. They had to accept bad working conditions or risk possible starvation.
The same sex marriage issue before the Supreme Court is not about whether homosexuals should be allowed to marry. Homosexuals have always been allowed to get married and many have married individuals of the other anatomical sex. Many individuals strongly encourage their homosexual acquaintences to marry a member of the other sex.
The issue before the Supreme Court is whether to radically change the ancient definition of marriage. The arguments for same sex "marriage" are just as nonsensical as the arguments for "separate but equal' and "freedom of contract".
Marriage is first and foremost a biological process. It is the dominant human mating practice and existed before the establishment of formal governments. Marriage unites the two different types of human beings (male and female) to form a unit capable of reproducing the species. Scientists know that the male body produces a chemical that benefits the female body. Marriage seems to provide health benefits to men, but it's unclear whether chemistry is involved.
The two individuals may even become chemically addicted to each other. Addiction could explain why a woman will take her abusive husband back much like an alcoholic with liver disease will continue to drink.
Governments have traditionally protected marriage because of the benefits to society marriage provides by encouraging production of new members. Benefit programs were established at a time when the time requirements of household duties such as cooking and cleaning meant it was best for one parent to provide the income and the other to handle family duties. Such benefits may or may not still be needed, but any decision in this area should be handled by those selected by the people rather than those selected by a few politicians.
Providing some of these benefits, such as tax breaks or access to the Social Security benefits of another, may discriminate against single adults who cannot obtain comparable benefits. Government can justify this discrimination because of the potential benefit to society of the new members heterosexual marriage may provide even when a given couple doesn't intend to produce a new member.
Providing benefits. such as Social Security or health care, to same sex couples illegally discriminates against single adults. Society can receive no benefit from same sex couples. Two women cannot produce a child together. To become pregnant a woman has to obtain sperm from a man outside the relationship just like she would if she were a single adult.
The Court's intervention in social situations in the past has led to disasters such as the Civil War and southern Jim Crow laws. Decisions about social issues require months or even years of study. The idea that individuals who have no advanced education in the social sciences can decide a complex social issue after a few hours of rhetoric is lunacy.
The Court has often claimed that it attempts to "discover the law". Under the U.S. Constitution a law is a measure that has been approved by Congress and signed by the President or passed over his veto. Congress has defined "marriage" as the union of a man and a woman which is consistent with centuries of Anglo American law. If the Court changes the definition of marriage then it will be making a new law and usurping the power of Congress and depriving the voters of their right to choose the people who make important social decisions. If the Court is going to overturn this definition of marriage by the people's elected representatives, then it is time for members of the Court to also face the electorate.
I've been experimenting with a new camera which let me takes series of photos so that I can create timelapse movies. This is the first of my efforts.
Any effort to reduce sexual harassment in the military needs to recognize that some men have never learned to adequately control their sex drives. Unfortunately, the military may need many of these men for their military related skills. Winning wars requires using men, and women, who don't always play well with others. Thus, the military may need to find a way to reduce sex assaults while keeping those who have trouble controlling their zippers.
The military has some experience in this area because of personnel who occasionally "forget" who they are supposed to fight and who they are not supposed to fight. 99% of the time these men are valuable soldiers, sailors,etc. The military needs people who are willing to fight, but it needs to discourage assaults against other American military personnel by punishing their misconduct..
At one point I was considering suggesting that sex assault cases be turned over to the civilian court system. Then I remembered that the civilian justice system is so ineffective in this area that many women feel reporting sexual assaults is a waste of time. Conviction in civil courts requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt and many cases are just he said - she said with no actual other evidence to support the claim of rape..
The military may actually have a superior ability to handle these cases because it has alternative ways to deal with rule breakers. When I was in Vietnam we had a man from New York City assigned to our post office who had gotten lucky and arrived at a time when we needed a "warm body" to perform miscellaneous duties. He had never driven any kind of vehicle, so of course the army made him a truck driver. Shortly before I left Vietnam he was caught smoking pot. Instead of sending him to Long Binh Jail, the army simply reassigned him to an infantry company.
The civilian courts only options for punishment are probation, imprisonment or fines. The military can reassign someone to another unit, reduce an individual's rank or make it harder for him to get future promotions. The military could have some male only units that men who can't control their zippers could be reassigned to.
The military should change the way investigations are handled. Male officers have been having problems maintaining a proper relationship with those who claim to have been assaulted. The military could eliminate this problem by having female officers investigate assaults against female personnel.
The military can limit sexual stimulation by providing men and women with separate living areas. If men and women cannot be assigned to separate buildings some type of partition, even if its only some type of tarps or blankets should separate the male and female areas. If it isn't practical to provide separate showers for men and women, men and women should use the facilities at different times.. Physical training should be sexually segregated because seeing women exercise can arouse men even if the women are fully clothed and aren't using poles or other props.
Members of the "oldest profession" have long operated near military bases and followed military units around. Some feel that the term "hooker" comes from the women who provided their services to those under the command of MG Joseph Hooker during the Civil War. The military should consider allowing such women to operate their businesses on American bases. Those operating on bases in Muslim countries would have to be particularly discrete. The military might even consider establishing a "sex therapist" duty assignment.
Religious groups might complain. but providing a sexual outlet to those in high stress military assignments would be preferable to having some men attempt to force their attentions on women who aren't interested in them.