Terrorists want to keep us off balance and squander our resources, but we must fight back…

July 15, 2016

Is there a master plan for all of these terrorist attacks? Or is it just random?

It would seem kind of both. The Islamic State (and perhaps other Islamic terror groups) master mind some attacks while they promote so-called lone wolf attacks.

At last word, at least 84 people were killed after a delivery truck was deliberately driven into a crowd of people celebrating Bastille Day in France in the city of Nice. This is the third major attack France has suffered in 19 months. But of course the terror is not limited to France. We in the U.S. have suffered both direct attacks at the hands of Islamic terrorists (9/11), as well as perhaps lone wolf attacks (such as Ft. Hood and San Bernardino).

It would seem the plan would be to keep the rest of the world off balance, not knowing when and where the next attack will be.

Also, the plan seems to be to goad the Western democracies, especially the USA, into throwing resources into military strikes and getting bogged down in no-win wars, in which the U.S., the only super power, comes off looking like the bully. We go in to fight terrorists and even to free native populations (in the Middle East) from enslavement by them, only to find ourselves mixed up in the middle of civil or inter-tribal wars.

It is in the interest of the United States to combat the forces of terror but it is hard to know the best way to do it. No I don’t know but I have some thoughts:

We need to determine how the terror is financed and go after the financial sources.

I hate to say it, but Donald Trump was on to something when he suggested going after the oil fields which ISIS controls — I’m not sure in which way though. I mean I don’t think it makes much sense to bomb oil fields, but we might send in forces to secure and protect them (NATO job?).

Also, where we know ISIS is physically concentrated perhaps we need to send forces in there. While it is not our business to run other nations, it is our business to deny ISIS or other terrorist groups a secure staging area.

These efforts could be carried out by NATO, but the U.S. needs to be in the lead. Way back when President Obama tried the lead from behind strategy in Libya, letting France and other NATO forces do most of the work, I thought that was clever — but we all know how that turned out, not in our interest. Libya is a mess.

Normally I would think that what goes on in other nations internally is not our business, but when the instability in them affects us here at home or even our ability to travel freely in the Western world and elsewhere, it is our business.

But of course the Islamic terror organizations want us to be tied up in knots and bogged down militarily fighting native populations. It taxes our resources, causes social divisions here at home and is great propaganda against us world wide.

No easy answers here. That is why it is so crucial that we get strong leadership. But on the one had we have Hillary Clinton who talks tough but whose record on foreign policy to me seems somewhat meager (I mean she was one of the architects of our current mess), and on the other hand we have the buffoon and world ignorant Trump (yeah, I said he was right on one thing, but if you say everything and anything you are apt to be correct once in a while).

If ever the United States needed to be exceptional, it is now.

Please deliver us the leadership we need.

 

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Don’t repeal the 14th Amendment to deal with illegal immigration, heavily fine employers instead…

August 4, 2010

Some Republicans want to overturn the 14th Amendment because it gives automatic citizenship to children of immigrants (legal and illegal).

The 14th Amenmendment, enacted after the Civil War, primarily, I think, to guarantee rights to former slaves, does a lot of other things too. Interestingly enough, it was used as a basis, as I recall, for the conservative majority on the Supreme Court to rule that corporations have rights as citizens, just like real live human citizens, of free speech, so therefore are not subject to overly restrictive laws on campaign finance. So does that mean those Republicans who want to repeal the 14th Amendment want to cut down on those fat corporate campaign contributions?

I know we have a problem with illegal immigration, but I don’t think we have to gut our civil rights protections in the Constitution to solve the problem.

As my 99-year-old mom, going on 100, asks: “why don’t they do more to fine employers (who hire illegal aliens)?”

I think if it was not so easy for illegal immigrants to get a job, the influx would all but stop. Seems like common sense. The idea that employers who have large forces of illegals are innocently unaware is absurd on its face.

And I think that if you are lucky enough to be born in the USA you should get a free ticket to citizenship, no matter how it all happened, that is how you got here on American soil.

In ancient times if you were born in the King’s domain you had the right to his protection, and you had an obligation of loyalty to him.

Born in the USA, you have all the rights that come with it, and you have an obligation to be loyal to it.


In regards to the Supreme Court corporation and politics ruling: the problem may really be in sorting out information vs. propaganda, but would we really want government to control political speech?

January 26, 2010

Tried to do some more research on that latest and most controversial U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturns old law and gives corporations (and unions) nearly unlimited power to make big money donations to meddle in the political process. One problem in my research is a lack of time and a current bout of exhaustion. However, thanks to Wikipedia, I did get a chance to give the 5-4 Citizens United v Federal Election Commission decision a quick read.

I had mentioned in my earlier post that corporations (artificial people under the law) had already been given the rights of real people in previous legal rulings, using the 14th Amendment in part, an amendment most people would have thought was aimed at giving the same protection under the law to former slaves after the Civil War as other citizens enjoyed. In my ever-so-quick read of the opinion and even dissenting opinion I did not catch language about the 14th Amendment directly but they did mention that the courts have ruled that corporations have First Amendment free speech rights and other rights  just as real people do. There is reference to earlier court cases on point and I suppose some or all of them may address the 14th Amendment issue, and by the way, that issue is addressed by Wikipedia if you look up “corporations and the 14th Amendment”.

Even though most legal and political observers consider this a landmark decision, I blogged earlier that I did not think it really changed the playing field since big money always finds its way into campaigns and that you can’t separate money from politics. I still feel that way.

As I also alluded to in my earlier post, I think the problem is the intelligence and critical thinking power of the electorate. Presuming as an individual you have a mind of your own and are capable of keeping up on the issues separate from propaganda, you still have no control over the other guy who may be ignorant or lazy or both but who is still able to vote, and worse yet does.

And in my mind, here is the biggest problem of all:

It is becoming more difficult to sort out fact and opinion and commentary in the news, particularly on television (and the internet) where everything is mixed together. And it is even more difficult when you have a corporation that runs a far right-wing cheering section masquerading as a news network, such as FOX.

But FOX has been so financially successful that I think even CNN has caught the bug. Now I know that CNN tends to see the liberal side in a somewhat more favorable light than FOX, but the other morning the host was touting the far left line, quoting his own father as saying there are only two types of people in this world:  “the rich and the rest of us”.  And I think he was referring to the afore mentioned court decision. His presentation was a mixture of news and commentary with no clear differentiation.

So, if this is how it is to be, it becomes difficult for anyone to make a critical analysis of the issues, if opinion, in which the deck is stacked on one side of an issue, is presented as a news report.

And if a whole news network can be hijacked by one part of the political spectrum, democracy, which depends upon the free flow of accurate information, is in danger.

Nonetheless we can hardly have government dictating the manner in which information is disseminated or presented.

And while this may or may not be the reasoning the conservative majority ruled the way they did, I find myself almost concurring with them.

The whole thing started when opponents of Hillary Clinton wanted to widely distribute an ugly hit piece, thinly disguised as a legitimate documentary, just before election time.

Opponents of corporate meddling in elections charge that the large corporations have the financial ability to unduly influence elections.

While I agree, I am not sure what can be done since big money will always find its way in. And there is merit to the argument of the majority that we don’t want the government to inhibit political speech.

The only weapon we have to combat the corruption of our politics is the free flow of unbiased information. If as consumers we responded better towards balanced reporting, the marketplace might well respond. But for some reason much of the public seems to respond better to what it wants to hear.

Many ordinary citizens probably don’t realize the value of good information.

But people who need good information to make business decisions or decisions in their professional lives/and or work do. That is why they tend to subscribe to or otherwise obtain quality publications where the aim is to impart valuable information, not just point of view.

P.s.

I’m still going to try to research this case further.


I can see through propaganda, but can the other voters? Supreme Court ruling on corporate political spending changes little, or you can’t take money out of politics…

January 22, 2010

A NEW LEAD:

Why should we fear corporations being able to purchase  unlimited amounts of political propaganda if we are smart and informed enough to see through it? Answer: we may be, but is that other voter?

I usually prefer to do some at least quick research before I blog, but yesterday when I heard about the latest Supreme Court ruling that gives corporations the right to do unlimited spending on the behalf of political candidates, saying a corporation has the same rights, most importantly free speech under the First Amendment, as a real person, I just felt like the good student who knows (or thinks he knows) the answer and wanted to raise my hand.

(I’m referring to Citizens United vs. Federal Elections Commission)

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ADD 1/Clarification:

I understand now the ruling does not address direct contributions to individual candidates, but in the broader context that may be a minor detail. And the court may have set the stage for a future ruling to that effect.

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Maybe later I will go into the details, but what I just wanted to get out of my system here is that it is a strange thing that that the 14th Amendmen (and some subsequent ones), enacted after the Civil War, to more clearly define or actually give black people, former slaves, the same rights as everyone else, has been used just as much or more over the years to help out big business. A corporation is an artificial entity that allows people to conduct business without being personally liable (and, yes, this is my own definition). In other words, you can reap the rewards, but if something goes wrong and someone wants to sue they can only go after the corporation, not your personal bank account.

When I took a required college course, Black Studies, the instructor, a black man from the African nation of Sierra Leone, noted, or maybe I should say claimed, that over the years, the 14th Amendment has been used more to protect corporations that actual people.

The fear among those who opposed the latest Supreme Court ruling is that corporations will be able to buy candidates and elections. While at first glance that might have been my concern too, at second glance I have to come to the conclusion that such is already the case and this really changes nothing. There have already been so many loopholes about funding that corporations — big money — pretty much runs the show, them and big labor (unions) anyway.

It is hard to impossible to take money out of politics. Money is how we narrow down the field and it is how we judge support. If anyone and everyone could run for office on an even playing field we would have so many candidates we would never be able  to sort things out.

So, where does the mythical ordinary citizen stand in all of this? Well, if he or she is all that interested, he or she can make a political contribution to a preferred candidate or to a preferred group that supports a candidate.

One reason citizens may feel left out in public policy is because they do not speak with one voice, so it is hard for politicians to gauge citizen opinion. A candidate also knows that if he or she is to stay in or win office it is necessary to obtain as much money as possible for campaigning. Those who give out the money implicitly expect something in return.

One problem for the everyday citizen is that for the most part in this country we have a weak party system. Political parties are supposed to be the forum in which various and divergent ideas coalesce into coherent policy. But members of the parties do not agree with each other and often strike out on their own. The people do not agree with each other and are liable to vote any which way. If individuals were willing to join groups and vote in blocks, especially blocks that could be identified by political candidates, they would have more power. I know that when I was a local newspaper reporter candidates for the county board supervisors (commissioners) bent over backwards to satisfy county workers because they tended to have the same interests, good salaries and benefits controlled by the supervisors, so they tended to vote in a block. On the other hand, individual taxpayers who paid for those salaries and benefits had little pull, unless maybe they belonged to the local taxpayer’s association.

But what I am really trying to say here is that this latest ruling does not  bother me terribly and, even though I do not agree that a corporation is a citizen just the same as a live human being, I cannot believe that our founding fathers and the enactors of the 14th Amendment meant a business entity to have all the same rights and privileges as a live human being. But that is all something for the lawyers to sort out.

Voters and citizens have power by keeping informed and voting accordingly and not depending upon paid political propaganda — from the right left or middle.

The only problem we the informed have is that the ignorant have just as much right to vote as we do. Fortunately although many of the ignorant make a lot of noise, most of them do not vote.

But then again, the problem is, many of them, too many, do.

I’d like to analyze this subject, especially that latest Supreme Court ruling, further, but personal time constraints prohibit that now.

P.s.

Just read that Air America, the liberal answer to Rush Limburger Cheese on radio, has shut down due to financial woes. Apparently the reactionary right wing can draw more money sponsors than the left. I don’t think listeners to right-wing talk radio or even TV necessarily represent the mood of the broader public — I hope not — but I suppose there is some connection here to money in politics generally.