Saturday, March 16, 2013
We all have economic goals. Some are easy to explain. Some you just can't put into words. I'll try to put my economic goals for the nation in words. I'd like to see the poorest ten per cent of Americans richer than the poorest ten per cent of any other nation. I'd like to see the next ten per cent of Americans richer than the next ten per cent of any other nation. I'd like to see the next ten per cent of Americans richer than the next ten per cent of any other nation. I'd like to see the next ten per cent of Americans richer than the next ten per cent of any other nation. I'd like to see the next ten per cent of Americans richer than the next ten per cent of any other nation. I'd like to see the next ten per cent of Americans richer than the next ten per cent of any other nation. I'd like to see the next ten per cent of Americans richer than the next ten per cent of any other nation. I'd like to see the next ten per cent of Americans richer than the next ten per cent of any other nation. I'd like to see the next ten per cent of Americans richer than the next ten per cent of any other nation. I'd like to see the richest ten per cent of Americans richer than the richest ten per cent of any other nation. We don't need class warfare in America; we should all move forward and upward together. Perhaps we have already met these goals; perhaps, not. The Democrats get hung up on worsening the condition of the rich, and the Republicans get hung up on the neoconservative goals of keeping America at war. We need to all move forward and upward together now. No ten per cent of Americans left behing as we move forward together. Kenneth Stepp.
Thursday, March 14, 2013
Ann Coulter Letter Coulter: Trouble in the Nanny State By: Ann Coulter 3/13/2013 08:54 PM "Like the proverbial monkey typing for infinity and getting Shakespeare, Mayor Bloomberg’s obsession with reforming New Yorkers’ health has finally produced a brilliant ad campaign. Posters are popping up in subway stations and bus stops giving statistics about teen pregnancy that show cute little kids saying things like, “Honestly, Mom … chances are he won’t stay with you. What happens to me?” and “I’m twice as likely not to graduate high school because you had me as a teen.” (Based on a recent CBS report, the kid could add, “Then again, I’m in the New York City public school system, so even if I graduate I won’t be able to read.”) It’s one thing to stigmatize “Big Gulp” drinkers, but liberals are hopping mad at this attempt to stigmatize teen pregnancy, 90 percent of which is unwed. To put it another way, if you’re a New York teen with a distended belly these days, it had better be because you’re pregnant. Planned Parenthood’s Haydee Morales complained that the ads are creating “stigma” and “negative public opinions about teen pregnancy.” (I’m pretty sure that’s the basic idea.) Instead, Morales suggested “helping teens access health care, birth control and high-quality sexual and reproductive health education.” Like the kind they got before becoming pregnant, you mean? Are you new here, Haydee? Coincidentally, Planned Parenthood happens to provide reproductive health care! Liberals act as if gun owners, soda-guzzlers and smokers are innocent victims of the gun, food and cigarette industries, but the $542 million-a-year birth control industry is a quarry of angels. The New York Times’ Michael Powell explained in a column that, as a parent of teenagers, he’s learned that the stupidest thing to do is resort to “the shame-and-blame game.” Teenage pregnancy, he states categorically, is a “problem of poverty.” I think we have a chicken-and-egg problem, but let’s stick to liberals’ newfound opposition to shaming campaigns. Far from opposing stigmas, liberals are the main propagators of them — against cigarettes, guns, plastic bags, obesity, not recycling, Fox News, racist “code words,” not liking “Lincoln,” and junk food. The stigma against smoking has gone so swimmingly that you can’t enjoy a little tobacco pleasure 50 yards from another human being without some bossy woman marching over and accusing you of poisoning her. California is currently running a series of “Reefer Madness”-style anti-smoking ads, including one that shows cigarette smoke going from a woman outside on her porch, up a story, through the door of another apartment, across the living room, down the hallway and into a room where a baby is sleeping. That would be the equivalent of the Bloomberg ads claiming teen pregnancy causes genocide. And what exactly was the purpose of the Journal-News publishing the names and addresses of every legal gun owner in various counties in New York state a few months ago? To congratulate them? To start a hunting club? No, I believe it was to stigmatize legal gun owners. The fact that we didn’t already know who they were proved that the problem isn’t legal gun ownership. All those legal guns — and no rash of drive-by shootings! Los Angeles has banned plastic bags at supermarkets, even though reusable canvas bags are portable bacterial colonies. But a little ad campaign describing the downsides of teenage pregnancy — which is still subsidized — and liberals howl in protest. One begins to suspect that liberals aren’t as interested in stopping teenagers from having illegitimate kids as they claim. Do they believe a teenager who gets pregnant out of wedlock is harming herself and her child as much a teenager who smokes? How about an unwed teen who smokes at a landfill? It’s only a “shame-and-blame game” when liberals secretly approve of the behavior they pretend to oppose. Unwed mothers have been the perennial excuse for big government, going back to Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven, who plotted in the 1960s to create broken families, welfare dependency and urban riots to pave the way for socialist revolution. That’s why single mothers are revered victims — victims in need of an ever-expanding social safety net, staffed with well-pensioned government workers. As described in that great book, “Guilty: Liberal ‘Victims’ and Their Assault on America,” liberals concoct fake victims in order to victimize the rest of us. The only thing single mothers are “victims” of is their own choice to have sex with men they’re not married to. Liberals seem to believe that drinking soda is voluntary, but getting pregnant is more like catching the flu. It would be hard to make the case that fast food, plastic bags and cigarettes do more damage than single motherhood. Controlling for socioeconomic status, race and place of residence, the strongest predictor of whether a person will end up in prison is that he was raised by a single mother. At least 70 percent of juvenile murderers, pregnant teenagers, high school dropouts, teen suicides, runaways and juvenile delinquents were raised by single mothers. A study back in 1990 by the Progressive Policy Institute showed that, absent single motherhood, there would be no difference in black and white crime rates. So liberals don’t try to make that case. They just say they’re against “shaming” and then go back to shaming gun owners, non-recyclers, smokers and “Big Gulp” aficionados — while subsidizing illegitimacy." The Book of Revelation says that neither murderers, adulterers, nor fornicators shall enter the Kingdom of God. Also, Jesus once said that for whoever causes one of the least of these to stumble and fall, it would be better if a millstone were tied around their neck and they were tossed in the sea. I'm a Democrat, but the government should not encourage bad behavior.
Saturday, March 09, 2013
The wreckage of a car in Shabwa Province, Yemen, stood as testament to the destructive abilities of American drone strikes. How a U.S. Citizen Came to Be in America’s Cross Hairs Khaled Abdullah/Reuters by MARK MAZZETTI, CHARLIE SAVAGE and SCOTT SHANE Published: March 9, 2013 333 Comments "WASHINGTON — One morning in late September 2011, a group of American drones took off from an airstrip the C.I.A. had built in the remote southern expanse of Saudi Arabia. The drones crossed the border into Yemen, and were soon hovering over a group of trucks clustered in a desert patch of Jawf Province, a region of the impoverished country once renowned for breeding Arabian horses. "Anwar al-Awlaki, left, an operative in Al Qaeda’s Yemeni branch, was targeted in a strike that also killed Samir Khan, the creative force at a militant Web magazine. Both were Americans. "A group of men who had just finished breakfast scrambled to get to their trucks. One was Anwar al-Awlaki, the firebrand preacher, born in New Mexico, who had evolved from a peddler of Internet hatred to a senior operative in Al Qaeda’s branch in Yemen. Another was Samir Khan, another American citizen who had moved to Yemen from North Carolina and was the creative force behind Inspire, the militant group’s English-language Internet magazine. Two of the Predator drones pointed lasers on the trucks to pinpoint the targets, while the larger Reapers took aim. The Reaper pilots, operating their planes from thousands of miles away, readied for the missile shots, and fired. It was the culmination of years of painstaking intelligence work, intense deliberation by lawyers working for President Obama and turf fights between the Pentagon and the C.I.A., whose parallel drone wars converged on the killing grounds of Yemen. For what was apparently the first time since the Civil War, the United States government had carried out the deliberate killing of an American citizen as a wartime enemy and without a trial. Eighteen months later, despite the Obama administration’s effort to keep it cloaked in secrecy, the decision to hunt and kill Mr. Awlaki has become the subject of new public scrutiny and debate, touched off by the nomination of John O. Brennan, Mr. Obama’s counterterrorism adviser, to be head of the C.I.A. The leak last month of an unclassified Justice Department “white paper” summarizing the administration’s abstract legal arguments — prepared months after the Awlaki and Khan killings amid an internal debate over how much to disclose — has ignited demands for even greater transparency, culminating last week in a 13-hour Senate filibuster that temporarily delayed Mr. Brennan’s confirmation. Some wondered aloud: If the president can order the assassination of Americans overseas, based on secret intelligence, what are the limits to his power? This account of what led to the Awlaki strike, based on interviews with three dozen current and former legal and counterterrorism officials and outside experts, fills in new details of the legal, intelligence and military challenges faced by the Obama administration in what proved to be a landmark episode in American history and law. It highlights the perils of a war conducted behind a classified veil, relying on missile strikes rarely acknowledged by the American government and complex legal justifications drafted for only a small group of officials to read. The missile strike on Sept. 30, 2011, that killed Mr. Awlaki — a terrorist leader whose death lawyers in the Obama administration believed to be justifiable — also killed Mr. Khan, though officials had judged he was not a significant enough threat to warrant being specifically targeted. The next month, another drone strike mistakenly killed Mr. Awlaki’s 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman, who had set off into the Yemeni desert in search of his father. Within just two weeks, the American government had killed three of its own citizens in Yemen. Only one had been killed on purpose. An Evolving Threat By the time the missile found him, Mr. Awlaki, 40, had been under the scrutiny of American officials for more than a decade. He first came under F.B.I. investigation in 1999 because of associations with militants and was questioned after the 2001 terrorist attacks about his contacts with three of the hijackers at his mosques in San Diego and Virginia. But at other times, presenting himself as a moderate bridge-builder, he gave interviews to the national news media, preached at the Capitol in Washington and attended a breakfast with Pentagon officials. In 2002, after leaving the United States for good, he endorsed the notion that the land of his birth was at war with Islam. In London, and then in Yemen, where he was imprisoned for 18 months with American encouragement, Mr. Awlaki inched steadily closer to a full embrace of terrorist violence. His eloquent, English-language exhortations to jihad turned up repeatedly on the computers of young plotters of violence arrested in Britain, Canada and the United States. By 2008, said Philip Mudd, then a top F.B.I. counterterrorism official, Mr. Awlaki “was cropping up as a radicalizer — not in just a few investigations, but in what seemed to be every investigation.” In November 2009, when Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, was charged with opening fire at Fort Hood in Texas and killing 13 people, Mr. Awlaki finally found the global fame he had long appeared to court. Investigators quickly discovered that the major had exchanged e-mails with Mr. Awlaki, though the cleric’s replies had been cautious and noncommittal. But four days after the shootings, the cleric removed any doubt about where he stood. “Nidal Hassan is a hero,” he wrote on his widely read blog. “He is a man of conscience who could not bear living the contradiction of being a Muslim and serving in an army that is fighting against his own people.” As chilling as the message was, it was still speech protected by the First Amendment. American intelligence agencies intensified their focus on Mr. Awlaki, intercepting communications that showed the cleric’s growing clout in Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, a Yemen-based affiliate of Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network." Enough. Let's cease the drone wars now. Kenneth Stepp.
Wednesday, March 06, 2013
" Rand Paul Filibusters John Brennan Nomination "Posted: 03/06/2013 12:25 pm EST | Updated: 03/06/2013 1:09 pm EST "WASHINGTON -- Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) announced on the Senate floor Wednesday he intended to filibuster the nomination of John Brennan as director of the CIA, citing concerns about President Barack Obama's policy on civil liberties. "I will speak until I can no longer speak," Paul said. Paul, an outspoken libertarian, pointed to what he called the abuses of executive power and civil liberties under Obama's administration. In particular, he objected to the contents of a letter he received from Attorney General Eric Holder that asserted the U.S. government had the legal authority to kill a U.S. citizen on American soil. "Where is the Barack Obama of 2007?" he asked, referring to then-presidential candidate Obama's criticism of Bush-era violations of civil liberties. "If there were an ounce of courage in this body, I would be joined by many other senators," he added. "Are we going to give up our rights to politicians?" Paul had asked the Justice Department about the constitutionality of drone strikes and whether they could be used agains U.S. citizens. Holder responded in a letter that conceded the military could authorize a drone strike on U.S. soil. "It is possible, I suppose, to imagine an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate under the Constitution and applicable laws of the United States for the President to authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the United States," Holder wrote. Last week, Paul voted for the nomination of Chuck Hagel as defense secretary -- another key Obama national security appointment -- after first voting against cloture on the matter, saying he was using his vote to try to get more information about Hagel. Paul started his filibuster speech around 11:45 a.m. Unlike most modern filibusters, the Kentucky senator is actually attempting to talk through the whole thing -- like Jimmy Stewart in "Mr. Smith Goes To Washington" -- rather than simply raising his hand to object and requiring 60 votes to proceed. Filibuster reform advocates have proposed returning to this old-fashioned style. "I will not sit quietly and let him shred the constitution," Paul said of Obama, later adding that getting an answer from the president on drone strikes was like "pulling teeth." Paul's speech drew on the work of bloggers from both the left and right who have criticized the president on civil liberties, such as Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian and Conor Friedersdorf of The Atlantic. Kevin Williamson of the National Review also earned a mention for a piece he wrote asking whether under Obama's standards the Nixon and Johnson administrations should have bombed college campuses. "To be bombed in your sleep? There's nothing American about that," Paul said. "There's nothing constitutional about that." Let's have no drone strikes on U.S. soil, nor against American citizens. Kenneth Stepp.
Tuesday, March 05, 2013
"The latest in Kentucky and Indiana politics "Rep. Hal Rogers authors spending bill that would ease some cuts "Posted on March 5, 2013 by James Carroll "WASHINGTON – Rep. Hal Rogers, R-5th District, is proposing a stopgap spending bill for the federal government that includes some steps aimed at making the $85 billion in sequester cuts easier to absorb. The current funding bill for the government, called a continuing resolution, expires on March 27. Another measure is necessary to keep government functions going through the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30. Without such a bill, the federal government could face a partial shutdown at the end of the month. As chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, it is Rogers’ job to author spending legislation. The Kentuckian’s bill contains $984 billion in spending for the remaining six months of the fiscal year and incorporates the sequester cuts. But the measure also would give the Department of Defense, which is taking half of the cuts, and the Department of Veterans Affairs, some flexibility in how they parcel out the cuts. The legislation would transfer funds into the defense operations and maintenance account from other accounts. The Rogers bill also restores some cuts to defense programs dealing with nuclear-weapons modernization and embassy security. “It is clear that this nation is facing some very hard choices, and it’s up to Congress to pave the way for our financial future,” Rogers said in a statement. “But right now, we must act quickly and try to make the most of a difficult situation. This bill will fund essential federal programs and services, help maintain our national security, and take a potential shutdown off the table. This CR package is the right thing to do, and it’s the right time to do it.” The GOP-controlled House is expected to vote on the measure later this week. New York Rep. Nita Lowey, the senior Democrat on Rogers’ committee, criticized her chairman’s plan but did not say whether she would oppose it. “It is extremely disappointing that the proposal would fund the remainder of the federal government’s critical services and investments for the Americna people under FY 2012 plans and spending levels, enacted 15-18 months ago,” she said in a statement. At this point, it appears President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats are not looking for a showdown over the stopgap spending bill that could precipitate closing the government." Any bill of Republican Hal Rogers should be subject to strict scrutiny. Kenneth Stepp
Thursday, February 28, 2013
Saturday, February 09, 2013
"The hysterics of neoconservative senators has become a cacophony that's pretty similar to a room full of children. It's a series of tantrums that clearly shows they are losing, badly. Senator Lindsey Graham says the Obama administration should "reconsider" the nomination of Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense. Senator Ted Cruz, who already put out edited clips of Hagel in an effort to falsely smear him, now says he needs to see the text of certain paid speeches Hagel gave, even though Hagel has explained that he did not speak from prepared notes at those speeches. Senators Jeff Sessions and James Inhofe lamely float the idea of a filibuster, even though all indications are that they don't have the 60 votes for one. And Senator John McCain uses his time in a hearing with General Martin Dempsey to berate him for not indiscriminately bombing Libya in the hours after the attacks in Beghazi. This is the same General Dempsey I served under in the 1st Armored Division, who keeps index cards with the names, pictures, and biographies of the fallen who served under him, and chooses a dozen to carry with him, every day. To charge that Gen. Dempsey doesn't take the deaths of Americans seriously is pure ridiculousness. He doesn't just take it seriously, he takes it personally. I wonder how many 3x5 cards with names on them John McCain carried, as a result of his steadfast support of war in Iraq and a surge in Iraq? And how many hearings did John McCain hold every time we lost four men and women in Iraq? Did he grill generals as to why we didn't deploy all of our firepower in the region when Americans were killed there? Why are the neocons doing all of this? Why are they acting so unhinged? For McCain, he still cannot stand the fact that Americans have been rejecting his neocon policies since he lost the presidency in 2008. And, for him and the rest of the Senators, it has become clear to them that the majority of the Senate is ready to approve the nomination of Chuck Hagel; that a supermajority has no appetite for a filibuster of the nomination. Therefore, Chuck Hagel will become our next Secretary of Defense, and accelerate the end of the neoconservative military policy that these senators hold so dear. To them, their world of shoot-first-aim-later military policy is crumbling around them. Launching a war with Iran, with no plan for success, before trying every other measure? Not going to happen. Just dumping weaponry in the middle of Syria, without any regard for where those weapons will end up -- maybe even in the hands of the same Sunni extremists who were in Iraq, and could return there, better armed and ready to topple the Iraqi Army we built? Nope. Putting American troops in the middle of it? Uh, no. Searching the map for any other regimes we don't like, and ginning up military action against them based on flimsy and/or false intelligence? Not anymore. That's why these senators are tossing out every last ridiculous rejection and smear that they can. This is what it looks like when desperate senators know their neoconservative worldview is about to be wholly rejected. This is what it looks like when United States senators have a temper tantrum. Frankly, it's sad and pathetic. You would think that senators who are so gung-ho for war at every turn would show a little more toughness, and suck up the fact that the American people no longer want to do things their way. But, like a little kid who can't fight the fact that it's bedtime, these senators are screaming, kicking, and holding their breath, in vain. And, just like in real life, in these arguments -- whether it is Chuck Hagel taking control at the Pentagon, or a dramatic shift in how we use our military -- the grown-ups always eventually win. Follow Jon Soltz on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jonsoltz ". I used to be a Republican before the neocons hijacked the Republican Party. Now I'm a Democrat. The neocons have lost their grip on Federal Foreign Policy. Soon they will lose their grip on the Republican Party. The American People are a peaceful people, and are sick of the neocons' neverending wars. It's time to bring the troops home and rebuild America. American policy should be whatever is in America's interest, and not whatever the neocons want. Kenneth Stepp.