Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Independent Inquiry

The independent panel investigating the Benghazi, Libya security breach by well planned and armed insurgent militia which lead to the death of four people, including the US Ambassador to Libya concluded the obvious, failures of US security people and State Department officials.

While their conclusion are valid and correct, they're basically said in hindsight when at the time no one could have or would have foreseen the events of the attack and the militia. And while they put the blame squarely on the State Department they neglected to include Congress.

And that's the failure of the panel itself. It looked at the failures within the State Department and not in the context of the larger political arena which includes the appropriations provided to the State Department for embassy and other diplomatic facilities or compounds.

And that we know is the real fault. For the last few years Congress has reduced the requested appropriations for security at overseas locations where the State Department had to make hard choices for less US security in some countries and rely on foreign security forces.

And this is what failed. Not just the State Department, but Congress. And they failed big time. They share the blood on their hands the panel doesn't mention because they didn't look at the larger context of the events in Libya, just those by the State Department in the country.

It's easy to point at these failures by the State Department, that's the obvious, but it's harder to point at the failures of relative events over years, like Congress and appropriations, because it's political, and this panel wanted concrete results. But I have a question for the panel.

Exactly where does the State Department get the money they don't have to add security at overseas locations? They can't just spend money they don't have, only Congress can do that, and Congress hasn't done that.

Answer that and then you can call your conclusions conclusive than just focused.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sorry Gun Activists, No

Sorry all you gun activists, you can't dismiss this shooting like the others this year, last year and in 2010  with the Tucson shooting by saying it was done by a "deranged" shooter, or mentally abnormal young man.

I don't care what or who the young man was to commit this horrible crime, he wouldn't have committed it without the guns his mother bought and kept in the house, including the assault rifle he used to kill all the people from his mother at home to the rest at the school.

There are a lot of people who have mild to moderate mental conditions who aren't dangerous, and this young man was not considered dangerous until he committed the act. You can't blame mental health on this shooting. To put it simply.

Without a gun, he doesn't shoot and kill anyone.

People, normal or not, can not shoot and kill people without guns. That's the simple fact and reality. And all the talk of mental conditions doesn't change the deaths of those children and the adults. A gun in the hands of a person did that.

So, any talk about the mental health or condition of the young man, while relevant to the state of his mind, is irrelevant to his actions of killing people. A gun did that. And that can't be denied or spun.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Speaker Boehner

Do you really think the House of Representatives with House Speak Boehner trying to keep his job with the extreme right Tea Party Republicans and the NRA will bring up any gun control legislation, let alone any meaningful legislation, next year?

If you do, then I'm sure someone has offered you, and you actually considered buying, a bridge in New York City or you took some from Nigeria up on their offer of their relative's hidden assest fund worth millions of dollars they're willing to share with you.

It will be interesting to watch the political and verbal dance Speaker Boehner will contort from his mouth as to why any gun legislation would be a violation of the Second Amendment rights of the American people to own guns.

I'm sure he'll find the words to make gun control advocates the cause of the mass shooting of late, the theater in Aurora, Colorado, the shopping mall in Clackamas, Oregon and now the elementary school in Connecticut.

Any bets we'll see any congressional action beyond our the Representatives and Senators standing in front of TV cameras touting how much they care about those killed and how we need to some laws but not ones which compromise legal, lawful gun owners' rights?

I'd love to see the Vegas odds. Well Mr. Boehner? As they say, the balls, or in this case the guns and bullets, are in your court.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

What If

If one shooter can wreck so much havoc in one shopping mall (Clackamas Mall in Portland, Oregon) and attract so many law enforcement officers and so much media attention, what would we do if a gang attacked a mall or several malls simultaneously?

What if a gang orchestrated an multiple point attack in one city? What would happen? We know there are enough guns, ammunition, body armor, etc. to pull it off, so what would we do and how would our law enforcement agency respond and the media present?

If one can do this much, what if several people had there, or others in other malls?

Consider what all the guns in the country could do in the hands of angry men, violent gangs or private militias who want to do something like this. Consider the consequences of what we have done to ourselves and this nation with guns.

What if...

Monday, December 10, 2012

Expressing a view

Listening to the news about the right to work bill that was passed by the Michigan legislature today, it makes me wonder if the extreme left should take a page from the extreme right view on expressing their view on being angry with politicians.

Really? Yes, really? And what, pray tell is that? Simple. They should express their view with their Second Amendment rights with those they disagree with about any particular bill or law. Yes, what's good for wingnuts is good for progressives.

So, maybe? Remember not just Republicans own guns and know how to use them. The difference is simply what or who is at the other end of the scope they're looking through. But yes, it's not smart and it's definitely illegal to actually do anything this way.

It's not our democracy, but neither were the republicans and the govenor who shot the workers' rights in Michigan. It only seems right now to fight against this, preferably through legal means if not political means, but the wingnuts don't seem to think extreme measures are inappropriate.

Friday, December 7, 2012

False Argument

People who argue there is both good and bad "fracking", the process to release natural gas deep in Shale deposits, forget to admit the flaw in their argument, all fracking is bad.

There is no "good" fracking as the chemicals they use are toxic to the enviroment and human health, the process causes geologic problems in the shale formations, such as spontaneous and frequent minor earthquakes, and the process to seal the wells from aquifers isn't guarranteed or permanent.

In short, any fracking is bad, and arguing there is good fracking only means it's good for the short period of the drilling and removal of the natual gas, but not for decades during and thereafter. And there's no assurances the chemical and gas won't leak into domestic aquifers as has already been proven.

So when someone, usually from the energy industry or someone getting checks from the energy industry talks about "good" fracking, stop listening after the word good, because there is no "good" in fracking except the profits by the energy companies and dividends to shareholders.

And if that's good, well, I have some property you can drill on, like your backyard. Ask them if it's so good, would they put a fracking operation in their backyard, or their childrens' backyard?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Bob Costas

Updated 12/7/12.--After reading the stories and watching the video of his statement, it's clear the media didn't get it. They didn't get it because he wasn't saying his words as quoting someone who said those words. As typical with stupid pundits they misidentified the source of the words, as they seem to do to make a point which isn't true, just dumb. But it doesn't change my view (below).

Original Post.--To the far right who are verbally attacking Bob Costas, a short reply.

Don't fuck with Bob Costas!

Too many people, like me, like and respect him, respect his intelligence, his perspective and his words. We all occasionally don't make ourself clear with our words because our intent and meaning are far more complex than what we say.

So give him the time and space to clarify his thoughts and words. Otherwise, my response to you is simple.

Go Fuck Yourself!

Is that clear enough for you?

Saturday, December 1, 2012

A Start for Palestinians

The UN vote to allow Palestine to be a nonmember observer in the UN is a start. It's not what the US and Israel likes but it's what's most of the rest of the UN like with 130 votes for and 50 votes against or abstaining.

It's a start, not a big one and probably not that significant in time since President Abbas is not allowed in Gaza which is part of the territories the Palestinians occupy. Clearly it's more symbolic than real, for now.

The key is what happens in the future and where this will be important for the Palenstinians to gain statehood and become a nation. It will be a long road but now they have something to hang their international diplomatic hat on and present their case before the UN, again.

It's a start. Nothing more, and now it's up to them. And maybe a shift in the negotiations for the US between the Palestinians and the Israelis. That will take changes in the Palestinian leadership to coalesce around one government.

But more so it will take change in the leadership of Israel to forgive over 60 years of anger toward the Palestinian people and look to a peaceful two-state solution. The US will also have to change the overwhelming political, economic and military support we give Israel.

The political leaders and politicians here will have to change to moderate their unabashed political support for Israel and balance the common goals of all the nations in the Middle East, including the Palestinians.

That will have to be real support for the other nations and people in the Middle East than the political lip service we have long given them in the complete defense of Israel, even in the face of the 65 violations of UN resolutions by Israel.

But it's a start. The future rang, now the question is who will respond and what will happen.