Conlibe: Political Blog for TRUTH in Politics.

Liberal Opinion Blog. Boston, Massachusetts. Political Democrat, Independent. Debunk Republican Lies, Misinformation

Boston: Don’t Blame the “T”…

scott

Outgoing MBTA GM, Beverly Scott leaves April 11.

The head of Boston’s transit system resigned Wednesday, February 11, 2015. 

Here in Massachusetts we DON’T call our transit system the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. That’s too much of a mouthful.  We call it the MBTA or more commonly, just the “T”.

I say: BRAVO Dr. Beverly Scott. There is NO need to put up with the nonsense (too mild but will have to do instead of the initials I really want to use!) coming from the Boston media which has been trying to blame her and other T staff for the problem-plagued, indebted transit’s failures .

Seems to me that one particular news station started a drumbeat with blame, blame, blame the T. Not outright, though – more like leading viewers down a path to inference…through insinuation.

mbta map

MBTA transit map – subway.

I called one TV station to speak to a news editor. I asked the woman, (can’t recall exact wording, but giving you the gist) please tell me what information does your station have that is causing you to blame the T’s staffers for the current situation…WHY are you blaming the T staff for the weather-related performance deficiencies?

RESPONSE: Their station is not blaming the T.

ME:  Is it not the job of the media to inform the public by explaining HOW (as in How, What, Where, When, Why – but I did not say that) the T gets its funding…and about the funding situation facing the T with Forward Funding.  (Don’t even know what that means – I actually thought the term was Future Funding!)

RESPONSE: It is NOT the job of said station to explain about Forward Funding and the T’s finances…

red lline train

A Red Line train – like one that got stuck on frozen tracks, stranding passengers for 2 hours.

ME: Oh, what IS the job of the station? (I know the answer of course. It is to tell us about the antics of Kim and Kanye; to let us know whenever another pregnant woman has a roadside baby and the HEROES who save the day, AND to inform us whenever another fool who goes out on thin ice needs to be rescued at taxpayer expense. THAT is very edifying.

I forgot to include NEWS of the latest YouTube video featuring some toddler who either hates that mum has a new baby – or some cat that can rap (nothing against rap, yo).

With a “job” like that, which TV channel has the time to delve into an expose of the financing structure of the T?

Boylston St

Clearing snow in Boston (Boylston Street) ahead of New England Patriots Feb 04, 2015 Super Bowl parade.

Some viewer would actually LEARN something (gasp) and the job of TV news is now to entertain. You the intelligent, conscious viewer, who is still clinging to the concept of news, “real news” as opposed to some pop star’s latest boyfriend buying her a trip to Venus, (assuming you have not yet been “Dumbed Down” by these networks who are often owned by entertainment companies), then if you want REAL newsy news, please go somewhere else to find it!

Having said this, I ask the news outlets in Boston:

Please some newsroom staffER, explain to me where is it that you think the T went wrong for that particular storm. Does it start with the Big Dig financing package? (And people are trying to blame the new Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker who was involved with that financing? I am NOT blaming Baker, even if he was involved (and God knows I HATE Republicans! The citizens of the Commonwealth went along with the financing deal – just as Americans went along with the invasion of Iraq. Dumb.

Boston Common

Snowy Boston Common

Did anybody vote to throw out any of the lawmakers who were also involved in that Forward Funding MBTA deal and sanctioned it? Is there anyone on record – any lawmakers, governors, city councilors, citizens, opinion pieces objecting to this financing package?

HERE IS A STORY FOR YOU, BOSTON MEDIA. How did this play out?

Please some newsroom editor, explain to me how you expected the T staff to unfreeze the frozen trains.

With their heated breath?

With their tongue?

With a hair dryer? Or the hot air you’re blowing out your crass?

rotary snow plow

Rotary Snow Plow – an expensive way to clear snowy train tracks

Because Massachusetts, (the richest state in New England, I believe?) DOES NOT HAVE THE SNOW/ICE HANDLING EQUIPMENT WE NEED. Despite our 446 billion-dollar GDP (Gross Domestic Product, 2013) we have to borrow equipment from Maine (GDP 55 Billion) and Vermont? Vermont has a 29 billion-dollar GDP. Guess GDP does not equal common sense because seems Vermont has a LOT more than we do!

I suppose it’s because we think: “It won’t happen to US, down here – WAY down here so close to the Equator and all. Who’s ever heard of blizzards and heavy snowfall in Boston? Of course there was the blizzard of ’78 – but THAT was a fluke. Won’t EVER happen again. So we DON’T need snow-melting machinery. Not like those snowbound residents in upstate New York and Vermont.”

Well now we realize we DO need snow melting machinery after all.

Boston Public Library

Tea anyone?

So Boston media, whom are you blaming for that?

Where does the T get money to buy the equipment they need when they have a 5-billion-dollar debt and one out of every 5 dollars in T revenue goes to pay the INTEREST on the loan? With a governor who pledged to NOT raise taxes? Ready for cuts?

Whom do we blame for that?

Certainly NOT the T employees who were out on the tracks in the snow with pickaxes trying to dig out frozen switches while we were sitting in front of our computers trying to sensationalize the wrong aspect of this farce OR, focusing ONLY on one aspect of it!

Don’t expect the T boss who just took over a few years ago…to be able to manage such a major equipment malfunction – without the resources to do so!

Yes, of course, the T is not completely blameless. Their long-term planning may have been off. But I don’t know. Maybe T bosses have been making passionate pleas for more funding, for buying equipment, warning about such scenarios, etc…and got nowhere. HOW do we know?

We keep blaming T staffers and bosses, because it is easier to do this than to ask the hard questions like the billion-dollar T debt, how it came about, T expansions that should NOT be taken on now, staggering health care costs, early retirements that pay off handsomely, union demands, poor fare collection, an antiquated system, equipment that is falling down. THAT’S TOO MUCH WORK. It also reflects badly on us citizens who pretend the T is just fine!

t workers

T workers clear frozen switches MANUALLY! (Photo: Boston.com)

Microsoft has PHASED OUT SUPPORT for 12-year-old Windows XP. If you’re still using XP, it’s on you! The T is 100 years old…still using 100-year old equipment. If this was a human person, it would be likely dead already! Yet we expect it to run smoothly and efficiently and be able to deal with record snowfall that modern airplanes cannot tackle! If the blizzard lasted a week, would we blame airline staff for flight cancellations/delays? Well it’s not falling anymore – it is frozen on the ground, to our ancient tracks! And your answer to that?

Easier to just stick a mike in the face of commuters and ask them how he/she feels about a 2-hour train delay? How the hell do you expect the person to feel? Especially if you depend on public transit to go to that job interview, doctor’s appointment, or work? If the person says: “Yeah! I’m so happy I’ve been waiting on a cold platform for 2 hours for a train!” THEN you have a story! 

snow1

Snow dunes – South Boston

Most riders seemed to understand that it was too much snow – overwhelming for an urban area with LIMITED open space. (Which does NOT mean proper planning can’t mitigate the effects, either!)

However, most of us with brains in our heads – or NO airtime to fill, understand this record snowfall is a situation where IMMEDIATE RELIEF depended on angels (or demons) riding to the rescue. OR, Harry Potter and Dumbledore waving their wands: Defodio (spell to dig out materials – like snow?) or Incendio (lights a fire – under the snow?) Reparo (repair/fix broken or damaged objects – like trains?) or Evanesco –  (makes things vanish – like snow?)  Without that, what are the options?

pigeons

Pigeons seek mid-day refuge inside Red Line’s Andrew train station – deserted due to snow!

There are NO quick fixes for some things…much as we’ve been socialized to believe there ARE!

Train is frozen…the T has to (a) find another train (b) find a driver. The city is snowbound. What if the first staffer they call is not answering his/her phone, as in – oh no, you don’t. I’m NOT coming in!? Next person is on vacation or stuck in snow traffic somewhere? What if the person they call is with their sick/pregnant wife/loved one and no-one else is available to stay with the sick person? Do we think of that? Or do we just assume that SOMEONE is ALWAYS sitting in the T cafeteria whose sole job is to be on call just in case a train gets stuck? I’d like that job. Are we willing to foot that person’s salary — or will the same media start bitching when the person sits there for 6 months with NO stuck trains to service?

South Boston

Digging the car out in South Boston

We’ve become a nation of soft, whining, complaining, selfish, smug complainers.

I saw one person in Lynn complaining about the sidewalk. Does Lynn City Hall have the money to deal with this kind of snowfall – when Boston, so much richer, is struggling?

What the hell is wrong with us, that able bodied men, women and teens living on a street CANNOT get together to shovel their sidewalks? To shovel out our FIRE HYDRANTS? Firefighters are out in the snow shoveling off hydrants? May be their job (I don’t know) but it is NOT their homes that will be burning down if the hydrants are frozen over!

garden

Boston Garden

People won’t even shovel their roofs (rooves) until one roof somewhere caves in. Pretty soon we’ll be whining that the CITY has not come to rake the snow off our roof! Or should that be the National Guard?

Come on. Next snowfall, let’s STOP depending on the city, the state, the National Guard and let us get together; someone make some hot chocolate, someone else some coffee, another person some cookies and LET US TAKE SOME SHOVELS AND CLEAR OUR SIDEWALKS and stop whining. Lazy, dependent morons that we’ve become!

PS: Forgot to add that now that the T’s underachieving General Manager has resigned, we will be in a position to hire a new GM – an overachiever who will set up his own mint under a railway overpass and produce his own currency.

sidewalk snow tunnel

MBTA mint location: tunnel cut through a snowy South Boston sidewalk on D Street.

In just one printing, he/she will erase the T’s 5-billion-dollar debt. There will also be enough left over to buy NEW trains, enough for a bonus to have the new trains built/tested and online by winter 2016 (overachiever, remember?) plus enough to keep fares as is until 2024 when Olympics funding will take over.

How? Hogwarts will send the new GM – armed with an Invisibility Spell! 

Hogwarts Express

Hogwarts Express: Snow no problem! Tergeo!

 

 

Kamikaze Republicans

stubbornelephSix GOP senators, including Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and 62 Republican members of the House, led by Rep. Matt Salmon, R-Ariz., have signed letters calling on congressional leaders to use that budget debate to de-fund the president’s order.

Formally legalizing millions of undocumented immigrants requires federal workers to spend time and money on the process, and these Republicans want to craft budget bills that expressly forbid money being used to implement the president’s order.

From: USA Today

I think some Haitians put a Voodoo curse on Republicans – and serve them right too, for allowing Cubans to enter the country as soon as they reach land – and sending the Haitians back!

Oopsy! I put my foot in my mouth - again!!!  AGAIN?

Oopsy! I put my foot in my mouth – again!!!
AGAIN?

If NOT a curse, then HOW do we account for the foot-in-your-mouth STUPIDITY of the GOP? The constant drumbeat to alienate and annoy a growing demographic that is exploding with consumer power and political influence?

WHY would Republicans even WANT to derail the President’s Executive Immigration Order? If I was a Republican (and very happy  I am NOT, thank you!), I’d rant and rave, yes, and shout about the “abuse of Presidential power”, but I would NOT – repeat would NOT, son…overturn, over-rule, derail or try in ANY way to nullify the President’s Immigration Order – WITHOUT offering something of my own. But what do I know, non-Tea Party, er…coffee-drinker that I am?

HERE’S WHY the President needs to act:Anti-Immigration Tea Party ProtestAnti-immigration

The Comprehensive Enforcement and Immigration Reform Act of 2005 (proposed by Senators John Cornyn and Jon Kyl, dead on arrival by Republicans who hold MAJORITY in Senate.

- The Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006 (Senator Arlen Specter) passed in the Senate in May 2006 – KILLED in the Republican controlled House!

- The Security Through Regularized Immigration and a Vibrant Economy Act of 2007 (a House version – it DIED too!) Anyone recalls “cloture”? Senate NEVER voted on bill! The DREAM Act: IT too is DEAD on arrival!

- The Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007 ( Secure Borders, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Reform Act of 2007) – derailed by Republicans.

- The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 (Sen. Charles Schumer, co-sponsored by other “Gang of Eight” members). Passes Senate June 2013. DIES in House – Republican Speaker John Boehner REFUSES to bring bill to House floor for a vote.

Apparently NOT!

Apparently NOT!

Republicans have SUCCESSFULLY blocked Immigration Reform since 2007. First, they got their base to flood Congress with phone calls and deployed massive lobbying. That worked.

Then they threatened to overthrow fellow Republican House Speaker John Boehner if he so much as SAID the words: Immigration Reform. That worked, too…BUT!

Immigration Activists got smart. Groups pushing for Reform organized, got the big money, got the (champion of Republicans for no-regulation & cutting taxes) U.S. Chamber of Commerce behind them; got the (bastion of Republican voters for values) The National Association of Evangelicals behind them…and came up with a concerted push-back of their own.

Immigration Reform Rally, Boston 2013

Add to this the power of the Hispanic vote (and the black and Immigrant vote) and the FIRST SHOT that was sent across the Democrat’s bow in the 2014 Mid-Terms. THAT was enough to get the President to take action – the SAME action that he could not take before!

Republicans KNOW they needed to bluster, scream and threaten as LOUDLY as they could BEFORE the President acted, to again cow Democrats into doing nothing, which suited the GOP just fine. Doing NOTHING, a Republican pastime, kept the Republican base happy; left Democrats holding the bag for the “nothing” that happened; contributed to a demoralized, disenchanted Democrat base and translated to fewer votes and lost seats in Congress and state Capitols.

Republicans were licking their chops…when suddenly, they lost their bone!  Now, they have to come up with a new playbook. Just as they started picking up some Hispanic votes by blaming Obama for NO reform…the President lobbed a back-hand into their court. Ace Obama. Your move GOP?

What CAN they do now? jack in box

If they DARE to repeal any Executive Action, now they will alienate Hispanics and other immigrants for good.

If they even hint that they will repeal any action during the 2016 Presidential race, then they run the risk of alienating Hispanic and immigrant voters.

If they DON’T, then they alienate their base.

If Republicans shut the government down over Immigration Reform, Americans will get angry.

If the Tea Party Ted Cruz faction INSISTS on shutting the government down, AGAIN, this time over Immigration Reform…some Republicans will not go along and this could get ugly. Oh golly!

If they sue the president, they will look stupid!!!

If they try to impeach, they have NO legal basis and will look even MORE stupid and petty. Plus, to blacks, that will really cement the antipathy, at a time the GOP is pretending to “reach out” to black voters…!

Ooohh — it’s NOT good to be Republican right now!

Republican strategy

YES We CAN – Reform Immigration NOW!

Hey Republicans — President Obama today (6/30/2014) just threw down the Immigration gauntlet…slapped the GOP with a glove…and called them OUT!

Yes…yes, yeesss! (Excuse me! I’m having a shampoo commercial/Herbal Essences moment, aka – a when Harry met Sally moment.) Meanwhile, the Tea Party and it’s splinter group, the Republicans, are having major and frequent Maalox moments…

Anti-Immigration Tea Party Protest tea party sign

Tea party supporters are practically FOAMING at the mouth…and spewing vitriol and hate. EXAMPLE…

I left this comment on the Chicago Tribune website (yesterday) June 29, 2014.

THE Executive Order 22-million shadow immigrants are waiting for…

THE Executive Order 50-thousand young U.S. born Hispanics who turn 18 every MONTH – (plus thousands MORE from other immigrant groups) are waiting for…

Rallying cry for Immigrant Voters: Legalize my relatives NOW!!!

I BELIEVE that cowardly republicans should bring the Immigration Bill to the floor of the House for a vote.

I also BELIEVE that these 50-thousand young U.S. born Hispanics who turn 18 every MONTH and the thousands MORE from other immigrant groups who have mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, cousins, uncles, aunts, grandparents who are undocumented – should IMMEDIATELY register to vote on behalf of their loved ones.

Vote, vote, vote – remember the power of the ballot.

If any Congressman is BLOCKING Immigration Reform, young immigrant voters need to MAKE THEIR VOICE HEARD LOUD AND CLEAR.

Legalize my relative NOW…

Immigration-rights activists stage a ral

HERE IS HOW ONE TEA PARTY “CHRISTIAN” RESPONDED:

Fucking freeloading unasimilating non English speaking uneducated disrespectful and American hating pieces of shit. Not just republicans who hate the illegals. Just as many democrats do as well, except they lie and tell you something else. Illegal is illegal is still. Illegal.

And they wonder WHY the majority of Hispanics, Asians, other immigrants and blacks hate them right back — and DON’T vote for them!

All this month I’ve been suggesting, hinting, begging President Obama…

It is time for DAFFA: Deferred Action for Families…of Dreamers. 

I mean he IS signing Executive Orders against gay/transgender workplace discrimination…and to ease student debt, so I asked: BUT I DON’T SEE YOU SIGNING AN ORDER FOR IMMIGRATION REFORM. Why?

TODAY finally…finally, finally…AN answer!!!Obama Imig Reform

Thank you.

Please take Executive Action to at least legalize the families of Dreamers and make DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) PERMANENT. Immigration activists, business leaders, the national Association of Evangelicals, other religious groups, law enforcement AND the MAJORITY of Americans (unlike the Tea Party extremists) realize that:

  • This status quo of 22-million people living anonymously in the shadows – living under the radar, unknown, unchecked – is NOT acceptable and cannot be allowed to continue.
  • That we cannot have this influx of kids crossing the border. More than 50-thousand children since October 2013. Some are as young as 2-years old, crossing the border, often alone. Come on! This is a humanitarian crisis. What if these were 2-year-old American kids crossing into Mexico, alone, heading to Central America?
  • It should NOT take 10-years for LEGAL immigrants to wait to come to America.
  • The Immigration system overall NEEDS to be fixed – illegal immigration is just ONE part of an unworkable, unwieldy BROKEN system.

Reform Immigration Now!Imagine rounding up, arresting, detaining and deporting 22-million people…or having them self-deport a la Mitt Romney. Many of these undocumented immigrants also have U.S. born kids who are U.S citizens. 

Employers, farmers agree that Americans WILL NOT do the jobs (picking lettuce, strawberries, watermelons, janitorial work, child and elderly care, cooking, janitorial, picking factory orders etc.) that many undocumented people do.

Employers have tried to get Americans to do these jobs, but they come on day one and by day two DO NOT SHOW UP.  According to newspaper reports…In 2011, after the Georgia legislature led by Republican Governor Nathan Deal passed a tough immigration bill, Hispanic farm workers fled the state.

Deal decided to use prisoners to pick field crops but many inmates walked off the job early. Farmers in Georgia lost millions of dollars because crops that rotted in the field before they could be harvested. Not even PRISONERS want to do these jobs! It is apparently more cushy in the jail than in the fields. Undocumented Immigrants though are classified as lazy by Republicans!

Immigration Reform Rally, Boston 2013The Tea Party wants to deport and demonize the Dream Kids who were raised here from babies and toddlers and educated in America; to send them back, instead of letting them become the doctors, lawyers, teachers, nurses and scientists we need. Meantime, our minority native-born kids are being locked up behind bars…while thousands of high-tech jobs go unfilled. Answer: let’s issue 65-thousand H-1B visas each year, get high-tech foreign adults (er, Americans) from India, Pakistan and other countries to come fill those jobs instead. 

I don’t know what to do about the influx of kids across the border NOW, but I know if the House had passed Immigration Reform last July, we would NOT be having this crisis today!

GA cropsMr. President, take executive action NOW! Nothing you do, Mr. President will PLEASE the GOP, so WHY antagonize YOUR base? You deported and where did THAT get you? the title “Deporter-In-Chief” and NOT even the floor of the House for a vote!

Extend DACA to parents of Dreamers. Show Hispanics, Immigrant advocates your good faith – THEN, after the November elections, push more reforms. Forget about Boehner and his faux “lawsuits” there’s nothing about the “law” in his motivation.

He’s on his way out…and he knows it. And if he DOES cry his way back as House Speaker, he will remain a yo-yo between the handful of remaining main-stream Republicans (the rock) and the Tea Party (a hard place!). Stop deporting We need an Executive order to MAKE DACA PERMANENT – AND OFFER THE SAME PROTECTION TO THE PARENTS OF DREAMERS.

That will remove the stumbling block to wider Immigration Reform and let the process move on. YES OBAMA – YES WE CAN. SI, SE PUEDE, SE PUEDE, SE PUEDE! Ahora!

Cheney: The Political Kardashian..

Seems the Washington press think there are ONLY a handful of people – a select few -who can have answers, solutions or opinions about anything…and they call upon these people time and again to tell the rest of US:

  1. HOW things should be done
  2. WHY things should be done
  3. WHERE things should be done and
  4. WHEN things should be done.

One of these KNOWLEDGEABLE people is former Vice President Dick Cheney.

I think Cheney is really a Kardashian. Except instead of see-through tops, he wears see-through ideology! I mean, he’s as hungry and eager for the spotlight as any Kardashian – and he will do or say ANYTHING to get in the limelight. Here is one EGOmaniac who will NOT go away quietly – or EVER!

Remember HIM? Dr. NO...

Dick “the Missing” Kardashian

Say what you will about George W. Bush or the elder Bush, they’ve gone away quietly. I admire their graciousness in this regard. Cheney will die – and minutes after his burial – he will be staggering up and down the Washington Mall, chains dragging, looking for some reporter to take a statement. Like we really want to know WHAT hell is like!

Does Dick (darn, his momma named him well) Cheney have nobody, no-one in his circle who can suggest he shuts up! I mean he’s NO Colin Powell. Now here’s a republican I can tolerate…that most people will tolerate. Cheney, good god! (as in Cheney thinks he’s a god). I personally don’t think he deserves a capital G…

So the Veep Wonder was on TV (ABC – 6/22/2014) AGAIN, talking about Iraq. Cheney is criticizing the President for Obama’s stance on Iraq. Host, JONATHAN KARL asked Cheney what HE would do about Iraq and he said, quote:

“I’d recognize that Iraq is not the whole problem. We’ve got a much bigger problem than just the current crisis in Iraq.

The Rand Corporation was out within the last week with a report that showed that there’s been a 58 percent increase in the number of groups like al Qaeda, Salafi jihadists. And it stretches from West Africa all across North Africa, East Africa, through the Middle East, all the way around to Indonesia, a doubling of the number of terrorists out there.

The first thing we have to do is recognize we’ve got a hell of a problem and it’s not just in Iraq. I worry about Pakistan. Just a couple of weeks ago in Pakistan, the Taliban, the same group that we just released five of the leaders from Guantanamo, the Taliban raided Karachi Airport.

Karachi airport after Taliban raid 6/10/2014

Karachi airport after Taliban raid 6/10/2014

Why do I care about that?

Well, Pakistan is unique in that it has a significant inventory of nuclear weapons. We have evidence that the man who built the Pakistani program, AQ Khan, offered up recently and that was that the North Koreans have bribed Pakistani officials for sophisticated technology for enriching uranium and that the North Koreans now have some two — 2,000 centrifuges operating to enrich uranium.

We had North Korea try to provide Syria with a nuclear reactor.

The — the difficulty, the spread of the terrorist organizations is not recognized by the administration. The proliferation of nuclear capability and the possibility that it could fall into the hands of terrorists is not really being addressed at all.

And I appreciate the problems we’ve got in Iraq right now…

…But what I think we need is a broad strategy that lets us address this whole range of issues. And that involves reversing a number of the policies of…the Obama administration.

Host, JONATHAN KARL asked Cheney AGAIN:But let me — let me ask you specifically on Iraq, because that — that’s the crisis confronting us right at this moment.

Would you in — would you take war — you know, air strikes against ISIS? (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria…OR…Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)

CHENEY: Well, I — what we should have done in Iraq was…

KARL: No, no, what would you do now?

Kurdish fighter battling ISIL near Kurd border. Don't forget the Kurds - the third part of that equation!

Kurdish fighter battling ISIL near Kurd border. Don’t forget the Kurds – the third part of that equation!

CHENEY: — leave behind a force — well, what I would do now, John, is, among other things, be realistic about the nature of the threat. When we’re arguing over 300 advisers when the request had been for 20,000 in order to do the job right, I’m not sure we’ve really addressed the problem.

I would definitely be helping the resistance up in Syria, in ISIS’ backyard, with training and weapons and so forth, in order to be able to do a more effective job on that end of the party.

But I think at this point, there are no good, easy answers in Iraq. And, again, I think it’s very important to emphasize that the problem we’re faced with is a much broader one, that we need to — an administration to recognize the fact that we’ve got this huge problem, quit peddling the notion that they — they got core al Qaeda and therefore there’s no problem out thereThey’ve got to rebuild trust and relationship with our friends in the region…It’s very important to take a broad gauge approach to it.

Halliburton

Let’s break down Cheney’s answer – because it is way too simple for liberals to understand unless one DECONSTRUCTS his wisdom. So Cheney would:

  1. Have left a force behind. How long for – ask him! Ask him too about his TENSE. What would you do NOW, as in the PRESENT…but then Cheney CAN’T differentiate between past and present – which is why he  still thinks HE is running the country!
  2. Be realistic about the nature of the threat. The White House thinks ISIS is a game with a pretend Egyptian invasion. 
  3. Instead of arguing over 300 advisers (when the request had been for 20,000 in order to do the job right), let’s just wait until Mr. Cheney IS sure, then perhaps we’ll know if he wants to send 300, 33-hundred or 23-thousand to ADDRESS the problem.
  4. HE would definitely be helping the resistance up in Syria with training and weapons and so forth. Bravo Mr. Cheney. Now that’s decisive. Training – OK. Weapons – OK. So forth? Is that wriggle room, Mr. Cheney, for things like No-Bid Contracts for your cronies and companies you make lots of money from? Like Halliburton perhaps?
  5. He admits there are NO good, easy answers in Iraq. You don’t say!
  6. He wants the administration to recognize that we’ve got this huge problem. Did you know that we’ve got a huge problem in Iraq? Do you think perhaps we should TELL the White House about this big problem in Iraq?
  7. Cheney  would quit peddling the notion that the U.S. got core al Qaeda and therefore there’s no problem out there. Would THAT be before or after he said (about Iraq): “And I think they’re in the — in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency”… OR “Regime change in Iraq would bring about a number of benefits to the region”.
ISIL fighters round up the Iraqi Security forces we PAID to train. The forces either ran away or gave up. Do I hear a need for money to train MORE police in the US?

ISIL fighters round up the Iraqi Security forces we spent MILLIONS to train. The Iraqi forces either ran away, gave up or were ineffective. Great use of taxpayer dollars, Mr. Cheney! Money for more police in America? – nah, big government!

Cheney just did not realize to WHOM those benefits would go. Surely these benefits are NOT going to American taxpayers or the soldiers who return with PTSD or their families or to the U.S. economy or to the millions of refugees fleeing their homes in Iraq and Syria. Or does last throes mean to him: just beginning to arise?

If the U.S. bombs ISIL, America comes across as anti-Sunni — and if America moves too openly against Iraq’s Shiite prime minister, the unsatisfactory Nuri al-Maliki, then it is seen as anti-Shiite. WHICH side does Cheney want us to support? On which side does he see America coming out a winner? When he looks through HIS looking glass, where does it foretell a VICTORY? I suppose it would be whichever one can ensure his interests in Halliburton keep bearing juicy oil dividends?

Now I know Cheney is wrong, always thought he was wrong (and maybe you thought so too) but when his very OWN republican colleague – and a likely front-runner for the Republican Presidential nomination in 2016 (Rand Paul) says:

Rand Paul - not in step with fellow republican Dick Cheney.

Rand Paul – not in step with fellow republican Dick Cheney.

“Many of those clamoring for military action now are the same people who made every false assumption imaginable about the cost, challenge and purpose of the Iraq War. They have been wrong for so long, why should we listen to him — listen to them again?”

…don’t you think it is time, BEYOND time, for Dick Kardashian, spotlight hogger, limelight chaser and attentionaholic – to get the hint.  Pssst: Cheney! How much clearer can Paul get? Pack up! Go away! Shut up! IRRELEVANT!!!

 

 

Photos: Google Images, Reuters and others.

The wonderful Wizard of OZ!

coconutsDo you know that powdered coconut shells make a great aphrodisiac? Or that dried wild bee honeycomb from the Arctic works just like Viagra?

I hope you believed me – because although I have NO science to back my claims (just made this up on the spot and hey, could really BE true) – Dr. Oz can’t be the only person you believe, for sure!

I used to watch Dr. Oz, back when he talked about things I could relate to. I know eating varied fruits and veggies are good, but brightly colored ones are best. NOBODY could convince me that Coconut Oil was bad for me because I grew up in the Caribbean on a daily diet of Coconut Oil! (By the way, Coconut Oil is now the rage!)

I stopped watching the good doctor when he started “promoting” products that were manufactured in the lab – as “miracle” cures.

What people did not understand is that the “cure” he was promoting is for the ailment: “How do I get rich fast?”

Oh yeah! THAT is a serious ailment afflicting many people worldwide – and many of them use the other question “How do I get thin fast?” to address their “How do I get rich fast?” dilemma.

Dr Oz

So what about his name did not give you a clue? I heard Oz, I thought of the wizard and I remembered the curtain billowing in the wind – with a disappointment hiding behind it.

Some people heard Oz and they thought along the lines of Louis Pasteur and whomever discovered salt!

Think of it this way. Dr Oz is AHEAD of his time. The day is coming when our nutrition will come from only powders or injections. That will be after we’ve so polluted the Earth that none of the food as we know it will be safe to eat – or even be able to thrive.

Then some enterprising reporter or 8-year-old wonder kid will skim through the archives and marvel, yes MARVEL, at how naive we were to laugh at Dr. Oz and dismiss the laboratory-produced nutritional enhancements he’s peddling!

Snake Oil

I say: let him, her or whatever gender-neutral beings we morph into by then laugh at us. For now, I’m having a real apple, a real steak, a real chocolate bar, a real vitamin – inasmuch as any of those things are really real…

ARE they?

Genetic modification, preservatives, hormones, farm-bred Salmon eating enriched pellets? Well – at least the animals are still alive! They wriggle. Can a pill do THAT?

Fellowship of the right-Wing!

Have you seen the SIZE of the US embassy in Iraq…

A $750-million building that I’m beginning to hear may need to be RAZED down if the Iraqi government falls?

U.S. Embassy in Iraq

Repeat: Do you see the size of this thing. According to Wiki: 4-million-700-thousand square feet (or about 81 football fields. Football field is 57-thousand-600 square feet). At 104-acres…it is the largest and most expensive embassy in the world – nearly as large as Vatican City, with:

  • Six apartment buildings for employees
  • Water and waste treatment facilities
  • A power station
  • Two “major diplomatic office buildings”
  • Recreation, including a gym, cinema, several tennis courts and Olympic-sized pool.

Embassy

Were we planning (OK, not ME per se – or YOU either, for that matter) but was America planning…better still was the US government planning as in (republican hawks planning) to move the Capitol to Iraq?

Now if or when ISIS arrives in Baghdad, do we:

  1. Burn everything and take off…
  2. Try to sell the building to whomever wins?
  3. Hold on and dig in – big enough to have our own airspace?
  4. Refurbish and turn it over to house all those Americans who lost their homes during the wall street crash?
  5. Just leave it as a monument to misaligned ideology?
  6. Anyone has a better idea?
capitol

U.S. Capitol…16 acres. Baghdad embassy: 104 acres!

I came across this:

June 5, 2014

The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad is pleased to announce that it is accepting applications for the U.S. Government-sponsored Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program. This program directly supports the goals of the U.S.-Iraq Strategic Framework Agreement to enhance mutual understanding and strengthen connections between the people of the United States and Iraq through academic exchange.

I suppose the leadership of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) may be looking to send some members to spend a year of non-degree graduate-level study, leadership development, and professional collaboration with U.S. counterparts. 

After all, the program’s goal is to provide future leaders and policy makers in Iraq with an understanding of U.S. society and culture, as well as professional experience that will provide a basis for lasting, productive ties between Iraqis and their professional colleagues in the United States.

Humphrey's Fellowship

I don’t think that bringing a few Iraqi officials to the U.S. will change the dynamic in Iraq – But what do I know…? Said fellow may return to Iraq thinking the ways of Western infidels are the way Iraq should go – that we are definitely NOT the Great Satan like Iran claims – that we should indeed continue to support Israel and well – there should be a McDonalds and a Wal-Mart (selling guns and alcohol) on every corner in Baghdad!

The Fellowship of the Right-Wing: Return of the WMD’s! Seems to me ISIS is a more clear and present WMD that any we’ve uncovered in Iraq so far!

How about some Fellowships for the thousands of 2014 high-school grads who are looking for similar opportunities at US colleges they CANNOT afford. Or student loan relief, eh, republicans…?

U.S Embassy, Iraq

Check this article I found…about the US embassy in Iraq:

The shiny new dining facility, or DFAC, at the embassy features gleaming refrigerators filled with a seemingly endless supply of Gatorade, cola, and even near beer. There are over half a dozen separate food stations, including one where fresh Caesar salads are assembled on the spot. The cafeteria is run by KBR, which hires third country nationals — mostly Indians and Sri Lankans dressed in formal attire — to serve the food.

Dining Room

Dining Room

The food is not only all-you-can-eat, it’s also all-you-can-take: Employees can prepare to-go meals and are allowed to take unlimited amounts of soda and drinks back to their rooms. “The carrot cake, you’ve got to try the carrot cake,” one of my lunch companions insisted. (There’s an entire station for baked desserts, featuring several different types of freshly baked cakes and cookies; there’s a separate station for ice cream, both regular and soft serve.)

What is interesting about the dining facility — and what makes it unlike other embassies in the world — is that, at least for the Americans, it’s a social equalizer. Everyone from construction workers to diplomats eat in the DFAC. The only incongruous element is seeing the occasional office worker with pressed khakis and crisp-blue shirt sporting a holstered weapon at their side.

embassy2

After lunch, I headed to the PX, passing by a large glass window with two dozen butts raised in the air: Yoga class. Next door was the American Club, where a glittery disco ball with lights was being tested out for a party. Outside one of the main buildings, barbeque grills were set up next to picnic tables. And inside, a Subway franchise was open, as was Green Beans Coffee.

Not that the embassy is really the lap of luxury.  With no landscaping, harsh fluorescent lighting and monotonous adobe-colored buildings: the complex looks like a prison, down to the guard tower at the gate. The only decoration in sight was a mock street sign placed near the entrance with names that read: “Pennsylvania” and “Hollywood.”

Embassy plaque

Some would like to see the U.S. Embassy as a symbol of empire, evidence that the U.S. government had plans to dominate in Iraq for many years to come. If only it were so well thought out. In fact, as I walked among the buildings, the only impression I was left with is short-sightedness. The compound has a tennis court, basketball court, and indoor swimming pool, but apparently, not enough housing for all the staff.

And ironically, just as the massive embassy was opening in January, the rest of the International Zone was emptying out. The two main restaurants serving expatriates — Freedom Restaurant, which serves Iraqi food, and its uncreatively named neighbor, Chinese Freedom Restaurant, which serves dishes like “Cube + Milk + Nugget” — were all but vacant. Even Foreign Service officers are questioning the size of the staff in Baghdad, noting that it’s taking away resources from other embassies.

Embassy facade

The real problem with the sprawling embassy is that the seemingly absurd parts are all purely logical: the elaborate dining facility is needed because there’s nowhere else to eat; the entertainment facilities are required because there’s nowhere else to go; and the overwrought security is needed because it’s still not safe for embassy staff to go anywhere. Those things all make sense.

What doesn’t make sense is what everyone is doing there and what they’re supposed to accomplish. Some 1,200 people live and work in this embassy. What exactly are they doing? U.S. embassies are supposed to represent U.S. interest abroad, or as the Foreign Service website puts it: “formulate, represent and implement foreign policy.”

These days, however, most of the employees don’t leave the embassy grounds, let alone the confines of the International Zone. So, it’s difficult to understand just what work they’re doing in Baghdad that couldn’t be done from Washington, D.C.

Embassy perimeter

The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, with its endless supply of soft-serve treats and sugary drinks, has become the ultimate self-licking ice cream cone. Without a clear mission, it exists only to serve itself.

FROM: Empire on the Run: Welcome to the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad by Sharon Weinberger.

Here’s to: “1001 Ways to Spend U.S Tax Dollars”.

 

All photos – from related articles, Google Images or other online sources including REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Boehner: Resign or be voted out! Not Sure? Call Gingrich!

 

Former Secretary of State, Colin Powell who served BEFORE Rice.

Former Secretary of State, Colin Powell who served BEFORE Rice.

Colin Powell called it about Iraq – when he said: If we break it, we own it! Except NOW we don’t want it!

Today a force of militants calling themselves the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is nearing Baghdad, after marching across Iraq like a plague of locusts, destroying all opposition in it’s path. Al Queda is afraid of them – does that make you nervous?

Isis — Egyptian goddess – friend to the downtrodden. The name means: throne! Married her brother Osiris – and used her magic to restore his life after his body parts were scattered across the world. Symbolic, yes?

I am as outraged today as I was in 2003 when U.S. King George II (Bush the Younger) bombed Iraq. I still don’t understand WHY America invaded Iraq and toppled Saddam Hussein. I know of all the given reasons:  U.S. gas and oil-guzzling interests; revenge for a slight to the president’s father (U.S King George the First) or Weapons Of Mass Destruction (WMDs). But I still don’t get it…Why? Why, why?

Islamic State of Iraq and Syria

Islamic State of Iraq and Syria

Now Republicans – look back and tell me Iraq and the Middle East were NOT more stable with Saddam in power?

Naturally republicans are blaming Obama – because he withdrew US troops, took them out of a situation they could NOT win. We should have left them to be blown up to bits every day -to return home with missing limbs and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) the Veteran’s Administration is now faking it treated! Iraq today is NOT all about Obama and his choices. Obama had to treat an outbreak amid a republican-induced epidemic! Right or wrong, neither choice (leave troops/pull troops) could fix Iraq…just delay the inevitable.

Veterans Administration

If only republicans would say: “Gosh we messed up big time by invading Iraq, but pulling troops out did not help either”. OK, I’d buy that. But they ALL blame Obama, like what they did was working so well: Every Iraqi was overjoyed with the overthrow of the Saddam regime; the Sunnis were happy, the Shiites were content, the Kurds up north were waving the Iraqi flag and neighboring countries were in raptures! It was one big happy family holding July 4 barbecues; the surge was surging until Obama came along and blew all that hard work (or piece of pie as Republicans probably see it) by sending the troops home!

TEXAS Republican Michael McCaul, Chair of House Committee on Homeland Security, is on TV Sunday morning (6/15) urging the U.S. BACK into Iraq and blaming Obama for the debacle in Iraq. HE DOES NOT SEE THAT THERE WOULD BE NO ISIS WITHOUT THE REPUBLICAN GENERATED PSEUDO SCENARIO THEY SOLD TO GULLIBLE AMERICANS FOR THE GOP’s IMMORAL INVASION OF A COUNTRY THAT WAS NO THREAT. Naturally, send the troops back – and ISIS will just give up. Syria will be magically mended; Iran will stop enriching Uranium…and Israel will no longer want to bomb any of these countries. Magic…

Texas Republican Michael McCaul

Texas Republican Michael McCaul

So republicans want US troops back in Iraq? How about them giving their kids a crash course in Terrorism 101 and sending their pampered offspring to Iraq to face the invading ISIS jihadists? Pull their kids out of their fancy schools and well-paying jobs, give them body armor that is deficient and send them off to Iraq! 

And until then, please DON’T ask more mostly poor and disenfranchised kids to lay down their lives for your misguided ideological nonsense. Until every Senator and every Representative is willing to don fatigues and go to Iraq, they need to STOP sending other people’s kids/loved ones to get blown by homemade bombs then return to a broken and underfunded Veteran’s Administration.

Eric Cantor

Eric Cantor

So House MAJORITY Leader, Virginia Republican Eric Cantor lost his reelection bid. Great. They ALL need to lose. House speaker John Boehner should be next…

Lesson for Democrats: Gerrymandering does NOT work! (Not that democrats will listen to no-trust-fund insignificant ME, who can’t afford to pay $50-thousand for a plate of food OR $100-thousand if I brought my son!) However, Listen up Democrats: gerrymandering – creating ideological districts that you think will benefit you – DOES NOT WORK in the long run AND MAY NOT WORK THE WAY YOU THINK IT WILL!

The best district is one where there is an ebb and flow. It is a MIX of ideology, thought, feeling, support, demographics and party loyalty. It is one where people vote for a Republican today but can also vote for a Democrat tomorrow. It is one where the Representative can vote on a popular issue or one he believes IN, even if some constituents DO NOT; a vote that may be in the interest of the country but not necessarily in the best interest of that district OR political party…a district where the majority of a DIVERSE view counts more than the narrow, petty view of a minority.

Gerrymandering by Republicans (Democrats Beware - you do it too!)

Gerrymandering by Republicans (Democrats Beware – you do it too!)

Republicans are sowing the seeds of the gerrymandering districts they created JUST TO CONTROL THE HOUSE. Well you control it now. Nice feeling ain’t it? You created lily-white districts where immigration is not an issue for them. So even though many states and major U.S. cities are reeling from the effects of unchecked immigration, even if farmers and many other industries are dependent on immigrant labor, even if the LEGAL immigration system is inadequate, even if the current impasse on immigration is allowing millions of UNDOCUMENTED workers to remain in the shadows, so what? Doesn’t affect me – don’t care!

Well, here’s the scenario facing the GOP:

  • Republicans will NEVER win the majority of Hispanic voters with their stand on Immigration. For nearly EVERY Hispanic who can vote, he/she knows of, loves or has a family member WHO IS UNDOCUMENTED and is depending on Immigration Reform to get that person legalized. Hispanics are not PRO Immigration Reform for noble or ideological reasons – they support it because they want their mother, father, uncle, cousin, lover, spouse, best friend, relative, neighbor to BE LEGAL!
    Anti-Immigrant Rally

    Anti-Immigrant Rally

     

    Anti-immigration

    Anti-immigration

  • That holds true for voters from OTHER immigrant groups. Asians are another large voting bloc that is tied to Immigration Reform. Do Republicans realize the number of Vietnamese, Chinese, Koreans, Philippinos and other nationalities like Haitians, Jamaicans/English Caribbean, Irish, Eastern Europeans, Indians etc who are HERE in the US with similar desires/reasons for Immigration Reform? 
They so do...

What would Jesus do? Tea Party talked to Jesus and he told them in an exclusive: “I’d be merciless!”

  • The Tea Party is NOT, repeat NOT popular nationally. How can it be, when we just heard that Cantor also lost in part because he supported the move to compromise on the Government Shutdown. The Tea Party STILL thinks that the government SHOULD HAVE REMAINED CLOSED UNTIL THEY GOT WHAT THEY WANTED. STILL think this is the way to go when America came so CLOSE to the brink of economic, social and political disaster. Yet, they want a repeat – and beyond a repeat, they want the system to crash so they can remake it in their image.Repeal Obamacare
  • Republicans deserve this debacle because they are afraid to kick the Tea Party out. KICK THEM OUT! Take the next 4 years to rebuild and rebrand. Pass Immigration Reform – DON’T push the president to take matters into his own hands. Compromise, roll your sleeves, get working IN THE INTEREST OF THE COUNTRY instead of preserving what works for you and your party. What’s best for any one party may not necessarily be best for America. Think slavery!

Government Shutdown

  • Choose a speaker with guts/cahones who is vested in moving the country (not his career) forward. Because the harder Boehner tries to protect his job and the more he sells his soul to do that, the more the job slips AWAY from him. Trying to please EVERYBODY never works.

Still, maybe the Tea Party win in Virginia will make some “genuine” Republicans step up and say: “Enough. I’m not sending this uncompromising guy to Washington…I want someone who will NOT shut the government down, someone who will cross the aisle, someone who is willing to meet democrats halfway and even sometimes three-quarters of the way, instead of someone who is doggedly holding his ground even when that ground is slipping into the ocean”.

John Boehner

John Boehner

John Boehner is one of the worst House Speakers. To me he’s even worse than Newt Gingrich. At least with Gingrich there was the “Contract With America”. With Boehner there’s what? Crying, I guess… Ironically, Boehner was part of the Republican posse who gave Gingrich the ultimatum: “Resign – or be voted out!” Live by the sword, die by the sword. Well Boehner: Resign or be voted out! Which one…?

Crying works for some people – but won’t work for you Boehner. Now if Michelle Bachman started crying…(don’t say it. Please don’t. Thanks…)

Boo-hoo...who?

Boo-hoo…WHO?

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: