Friday, September 30, 2011

A Palestinian State

The Palestinians have asked for recognition from the U.N. as a full member nation.

In order to achieve such status a Security Council recommendation is required. The U.S. has indicated it would veto any such recommendation so, unless the Obama administration has an epiphany, that’s not going to happen.

Plan B is to take the request directly to the General Assembly. If 129 out of the 193 member states approve, then the Palestinians would be granted non-member observer status which would be a step up from where they are now as an “observer entity.”

The big benefit would be such a status would allow the Palestinians to join U.N. bodies including the International World Court and that would afford them an opportunity to file charges against Israel for violations of International Law.

The Palestinians claim to have 122 votes and hope to accumulate as many as 150.

Both the U.S. and Israel are saying that such a move would slow down the peace process.

What peace process? Do you people live on the same planet I do?

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu clearly has no interest in negotiating anything while he continues to illegally build additional West Bank settlements.

Secure in the assumption that no U.S. president will risk the political fallout of not supporting Israel, Netanyahu isn’t going to budge. He demonstrated this by his raising such a hullabaloo about Obama saying that any negotiation STARTS with the 1967 borders. This has been the agreement for a decade. Note that this is the start and not the end point. No one expects Israel to return to the 1967 borders.

I say go for it Palestine. Time to shake some things up and see what falls out.

Michelle Bachmann and Arab Spring

Michelle Bachmann has decided that Arab Spring, which resulted in the toppling of three dictators and gave hope to the emergence of democracy in the Arab World, was a BAD thing.

Am I missing something here or a is Bachmann a bigger idiot than I thought she was?

Granted, the jury is still out on the final outcome of the popular uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya but I would think that the U.S. would support people rebelling against dictatorships.

Is it possible Egypt will emerge as a Islamic State? Yes it is. But if that’s what her people want, so be it. That’s how Democracy works.

Anwar al-Awlaki and Ron Paul

Al-Awlaki was an American born radical Islamic terrorist that has spent the last few years recruiting in the west for Al-Qaeda. He was killed in Yemen by an American drone strike.

Ron Paul, running for the Republican presidential nomination, thinks this was a terrible thing to do and that Al-Awlaki, as a American citizen, was entitled to a trial.

As I’ve said before, not only does Ron Paul not have any answers, he doesn’t even know what the questions are.

One of the few things I agreed on with George W. Bush was treating the confrontation with terrorism as a war. Article III of the United States Constitution defines treason as:

“Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.”

I think it is safe to say that Al-Awlaki, by this definition, committed treason. Article III goes on to say.

“No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.”

I would consider his open recruiting for Al-Qaeda and bombastic sermons equivalent to a “Confession in open Court.”

Besides, no one has any rights in a battle during war. In this war, drone strikes are part of the fighting. Al-Awlaki wasn’t assassinated as Ron Paul claims, he was killed as part of a military action.

If he had been captured I would have agreed with a trial but I can’t justify not taking him out when the chance presented itself.

In other words, good enough for me and good riddance.  

Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Little Extra at Lions Games

What could be better than an NFL football game, cold beer and food?

Apparently in Detroit some enterprising folks are providing a mobile strip joint for those tailgaters that have everything else.

According to the AP, The “Booty Lounge,” a black and red bus complete with two stages, associated dancing poles and a smoke machine were allowing Lions fans access after a $10 “donation.”

Needless to say the Detroit police are taking a dim view of the arrangement and are investigating the incident to determine if the setup is illegal. At the very least the operators haven’t paid for the special license needed by strip joints.

Hey, after the last 10 years of lousy Lions football I think they should give their fans a break. On the other hand, the Lions, along with the Bills are looking pretty good this year.

The Republican Race

Well, a month has gone by and Rick Perry has apparently talked his way out of first place in the race for the 2012 Republican nomination.

In the latest Fox News Poll, the numbers came out like this:

Mitt Romney – 23%
Rick Perry – 19%
Herman Cain – 17%
Newt Gingrich – 11%
Ron Paul – 6%
Jon Huntsman – 4%
Michelle Bachmann – 3%
Rick Santorum – 3%

The other two big stories are the sudden surge of Herman Cain after his Florida Straw Poll win and the total collapse of Michelle Bachmann. The falls of Perry and Bachmann lead me to hope that while the American people are really freaking dumb, they’re not all complete idiots.

I don’t know what to make of Cain. I’m betting this is a temporary bubble like Bachmann’s temporary bubble. I’m thinking it’s going to be a two man race with Romney ultimately beating out Perry.

Why? Because Romney has the widest appeal, he’s not likely to say anything so extreme as to turn people off and he’s got the best chance against Obama and most Republicans know it.

They’ll play around with the idea of nominating someone else but, in the final analysis, the fat cat portion of the party will have its way and that way will be Romney.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Troy Davis

Troy Davis is scheduled to be executed in Georgia tomorrow for the murder of an off-duty police officer in 1989. A last ditch appeal to Georgia’s pardon board was rejected on Monday.

The question on the table is whether Davis is in fact guilty of the crime for which he was convicted. A number of witnesses that testified against him have recanted their testimony. Other potential witnesses claim that another person actually committed the crime.

Yet, Davis was unable to convince a federal judge to give him a new trial and the Georgia Supreme Court has upheld his conviction. Prosecutors say they have no doubt they charged the right man with the crime.

I’m not sure what to say about this. While it seems there is significant doubt, the case has been looked at in detail and no one seemed to think there was enough doubt. This is precisely the reason I oppose the death penalty. The potential of an error easily outweighs any perceived advantage.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Psalm 46

At the 9-11 ceremonies yesterday President Obama reportedly read from Psalm 46. You will excuse me but I find the Psalm especially inappropriate.

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”

Well then why didn’t he stop the planes from hitting the towers? This is basically bullshit of the first order of magnitude. You can trust your own right arm and your intelligence and that’s about it. This is the kind of crap the elite spew to keep the riff-raff in line.

“Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts.”

Yet the nations remain in an uproar, wars still rage and people still die. If this all powerful God can end war then why doesn’t he?

“He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire.”

Not that I’ve noticed. As a matter of fact, wars go their merry way just as if there was no such thing as a God. Amazing isn’t it?

“He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.’”

Conceited son of a bitch isn’t he? One wonders why an all powerful being would be such a megalomaniac as to require the exaltation and worship of his pitiful so-called creations.

Like I said, I find this Psalm particularly inappropriate given it was religious fanatics with an eye toward exalting their God that flew the planes into the towers.

Some 9-11 thoughts on 9-12

I’m not the sentimental type. I respect those that lost people close to them in the attacks and I’m especially prepared to recognize the courage of those who tried to help and in doing so became victims themselves.

I think a moment of silence on the anniversary or a modest ceremony at the three main sites is appropriate. What is not appropriate is a week of constant media noise and the violation of the U.S. Constitution with readings from the Bible.

I guarantee you that some of those lost on that day did not recognize the Bible as Holy Scripture nor the existence of God. So you might as well have spit on their graves especially considering the fact that it was religious morons that killed them.

Granted, this was the tenth anniversary, and cardinal anniversaries tend to be looked upon as having special significance, but enough already. How many others have died in the resulting conflicts around the world since 9-11-2001 and has anyone really bothered to address the problems that led to the attack so that countless others won’t die?

Of course not. That would mean putting aside our cherished notions and facing up to reality. We certainly wouldn’t want to do that now would we?

They keep saying everything changed on 9-11. I wish that were true, but it isn’t. Nothing has changed other than simmering antagonisms were escalated into full scale shooting wars perhaps earlier than they would have been. All of the underlying causes still exist. The tension in Palestine is still there and fundamentalist religion, both Islamic and Christian, continues to impede the maturing of society.

This guarantees there will be another attack. The only questions are when, where and how.

A fee for prison visits?

How do people come up with these ideas?

The state of Arizona is charging a one-time $25 fee for anyone that wants to visit someone in an Arizona prison. Supposedly the fee is to cover the costs of a background check (they do background checks on people that visit prison inmates?).

Unsurprisingly the fee is being challenged as unconstitutional on the grounds that it is a special tax. Critics have also argued that it has nothing to do with background checks and the money simply goes into the general fund for prison maintenance. A charge supposedly admitted to by a corrections official in an interview with the U.K. Daily Mail.

You would think that someone would realize such a fee would get challenged in the courts wouldn’t you?

Why not go all the way? Why make it a one-time fee? Why not $25 every time you visit or have a renewal fee every year?

Sure, just what you want, isolate prison inmates from their support group to insure they become hardened criminals and gang members.

Friday, September 09, 2011

The Jobs Bill

If nothing else Obama presented an “in your face we need to get our act together” speech to congress and the nation last night.

I sort of agree with a lot of what he said. I do think we need to reform the tax code. I do think the rich should be paying more taxes on excessive income. As a matter of fact I think that tax rate should be so prohibitive as to dampen the unbridled greed that is running amok in the U.S. I also agree we should be closing corporate tax loopholes and rewarding companies that manufacture here in the U.S.

I’m sure the Republicans loved the speech too because they could hear the coins headed their way from the corporate lobbyists to make sure none of these ideas are implemented in any way that would inconvenience corporate American and the wealthy elite.

In other words, expect the Republicans to place roadblocks in front of everything. Besides, why would they want Obama to succeed?