Archive for Washington – Page 2

Give Credit Where Credit Is Due -- Manchin/Heitkamp

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I believe there's a good chance we avoid firing a single missile into Syria and we can accomplish much more than the intended cruise missile could. We will be potentially saving millions of lives, not taking them. And this supposedly all came about by an off the cuff remark attributed to the dullest man on the planet, Secretary of State, John Kerry.

But was it really an off-guard moment, a spontaneous thought that just occurred to the SOS? That would sure make for a good TV series plot -- but it's not at all the case. Oh, Kerry was genuinely asked the question that resulted in that "throw away" response, but the reply was hardly his.

This idea of Syria giving up it's chemical weapons was introduced five days before -- by the two real engineers of this plan. These two should be heralded as the architects of this possible solution which is getting embraced in every corner of the world (I say corner because the the vast numbers of Republicans in the Flat Earth Society).

Back on September 5th, five full days before Kerry's remarks, POLITICO reported on a widely circulated, proposed senate bill:

The United States would give Syria 45 days to sign an international chemical weapons ban or face the wrath of American military might, under a draft resolution being circulated by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.).

Now I'm not saying Obama nor Kerry aren't ultimately going to make this happen, along with Putin and Assad and the Secretary General of the UN, Ban Ki-moon. I'm hoping they pull it off. But let's give credit where credit is due.

Two visionary U.S. senators, Manchin and Heitkamp are their names. They should, if this all falls into place, be given great praise for preventing more bloodshed and a world-wide blame on our country should something go wrong and we end up with another Iran or Afghanistan. At this writing, things seem to be headed in the peaceful direction. There are plenty of obstacles ahead, but West Virginia and North Dakota may have provided us with the two people who saw a potential war and found a peaceful solution.

In a face-saving statement, which is perhaps born in fact, Obama has said that it was his threat of the use of fire power and retaliation that has brought about the potential for this hopeful resolve. Maybe he's right. There's enough praise to go around. But sometimes the real brains behind the victories are lost in the rush to congratulate the titular leaders. At no point did I hear Kerry or Obama publicly mention a plan like that of these two senators. Perhaps in the strategy rooms it was discussed, but not with the people of the US, or in the Congressional briefings.

It was only Manchin and Heitkamp who put their thoughts and this option out there publicly.

For that we owe them a great debt of gratitude. They not only saved us money, lives and a potential war. They also saved Obama the embarrassment of not getting Congressional approval to take these warlike actions he's proposed -- then forcing him to act alone, or face the humiliation of dropping the plan all together.

Let's keep our fingers crossed. There's a long way to go. But two new heroes have joined the ranks of people we should look at for the future when crisis or the need for leadership comes a calling.

UPDATE: (though real credit goes to the above)

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It's Noon. Do You Know Who Your FBI Is Killing Today?

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You'd have to live with your head in the ground not to believe that there's corruption everywhere and on all levels. Tax cheaters, price gougers, investment swindlers. We sort of expect that. Look at the reputations of used car salesman and city officials. They're either taking us or they're on the take. We live with it and try to do the best we can. But like I said, we live with it.

Then you take police corruption. We see shoddy investigative work result in the guilty going free and in some cases the innocent being found guilty. It's terrible. But we live with it.

Then there's elected officials. We've had to live with political corruption, lies and deceit. I think it's part of the oath of office to avoid the truth as much as a vampire does the sun. But we live with it.

Then comes our bulwark. Our protection from domestic evils. It's the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The FBI from it's Hoover days till now has been suspect, but somehow evaded much attention to their willful and wanton disregard for law and human life. They have always been treated as above the law. And now it's possible that they're murderers too.

Two recent situations come to mind. And they are scary. First, there's the Whitey Bulger situation. Whitey was a mob member and a killer. But who did he kill and how? He killed those who might get in his way. And how? The FBI fingered his opponents and in essence, pulled the trigger.

Check this out:

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While you're thinking this FBI activity was going to somehow enure a benefit to us, pull your head out of the sand. This wasn't a sacrifice to bring Whitey down. They had the goods on him already. It was to allow bad guys to kill other bad guys, and also to let corrupt FBI agents to get payoffs while innocent people were killed. Blood money.

Now lets look into another case, one I've written about before. Ibraghim Todashev. But before I go there, here's a little background on the FBI's track record courtesy of Rachel Maddow's Show.

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So, incredible as it is, the FBI evidently operates with total impunity. In a way, they're Eliot Ness and the Untouchables. Except for one big difference. Eliot Ness and company were the good guys. And more and more I'm getting the God awful impression that our current FBI is not.

The Untouchables

Just as they were used by Whitey Bulger, the FBI is using anonymous sources and our good old lazy un-investigative press. The Bureau menleak information to cover their asses. But really G-Men, shouldn't you get your prevarications in line before you start covering for one another? It sure leads to confusion. Here's what I mean.

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Putting both stories together got me thinking, and you should be too. From the HuffPo the other day: President Barack Obama on Monday announced that Director of National Intelligence James Clapper will establish a review group designed to assess the nation's intelligence gathering and surveillance capabilities.

This is the same James Clapper who lied to Congress about his department's spying activities.

Is this more of the same? Isn't this just like the FBI and their perfect 150-0 record finding in their own favor?

We have got to speak up. And we have got to be afraid. Unwarranted collection of personal material is being gathered. Corruption has taken over the agencies.

This is the time to be afraid and vigilant. Don't work against the police or authorities. But don't volunteer to help. Ask Paul McGonagle, Edward Connors, Thomas King, Richard Castucci, Roger Wheeler, Brian Halloran, Michael Donahue, John Callahan, Arthur "Bucky" Barrett, John McIntyre, Deborah Hussey, Michael Milano, Al Plummer, William O'Brien, James "Spike" O'Toole, Al "Indian Al" Notarangeli, James Sousa, Francis "Buddy" Leonard, Debra Davis.

And then you can ask Ibraghim Todashev.

None of them can answer because they're all dead -- directly or indirectly by the hands of the FBI.

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Darth Boehner

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Fear and Loathing

If there was ever a question of the Republican's feelings about legalizing undocumented immigrants, it's been answered. You're not wanted.

This according to the article by Richard Cowan and Rachelle Younglai:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Prospects for congressional passage of a U.S. immigration overhaul looked bleak on Friday, but some House Republicans signaled they would offer a way for the 11 million illegal immigrants already in the country to get legal status that could be portrayed as something other than a pathway to citizenship.

Yes, it's called second class status. As Marco Rubio told Ted Cruz, "Ciudadanía de los Estados Unidos? Por encima de mi cadáver." Translated: U.S. Citizenship? Over my dead body.

And that leaves 11 million people to only hope.  I didn't say what they may be hoping.  But if I were you GOP, I wouldn't be expecting too much Feliz Navidad come December.

What douche bags the GOP-led house have proven themselves to be.  When it suits that orange skinned Klan leader Boehner, he invokes the non-official Hastert rule about not bringing a bill to the floor unless it has his party's majority interest.  Yet he's broken that rule a number of times and the country didn't explode like the death star in Star Wars episodes 5. So when it serves him or the evil empire, Darth Boehner invokes it as if it were law.  If only the Speaker understood the law.

So, it looks like the GOP doesn't just fear the Latin population, it loathes it.  He's living Hunter S. Thompson's book, only set in Washington, instead of Las Vegas. And he's gambling with our future. Pathetic.

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Two fifth-graders conspired to murder a "really annoying" girl; a knife, semiautomatic gun found in backpack

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what is happening

Honestly, it's getting harder and harder to know if these horrifying stories are new or updates of recent ones. There are so many, it's as if a mushroom cloud-sized explosion of gun scares and/or massacres has occurred, or maybe we're just seeing more reported. Either way, it's scary as hell, and insanely unhealthy both mentally and of course, physically.

My jaw is dislocated from all the dropping. I'm in tears. I'm enraged. I'm appalled. I feel helpless. I'm confused. I'm determined. I'm re-energized. Why do gun zealots not see what most of America sees? Why is common sense gun safety legislation such a threat? (rhetorical)

A slippery slope, the gun huggers call it, because next thing you know, Big Guvmint will take ALL their guns! What about the slippery slope we are now experiencing, right now, right this minute? The one that leads to more mass murders, more senseless deaths, more children dying. What about that slippery slope?

The latest incident occurred in the state of Washington where two fifth graders may face charges after school authorities found a knife and a gun in a student's backpack.

The student who owned the backpack is ten years old.

Ten years old.

L.A. Times:

School authorities said two fifth-grade boys planned to use the weapons to lure another student outside the school and kill her "because she was really annoying."

That's right, two boys (the other was eleven years old) wanted to murder a classmate because she was, in their opinion, annoying. They also targeted six others.

And to make matters even worse, they promised to pay $80 to a student if he promised not to tell anyone about their plot.

Had a fourth-grader not told a teacher he had seen the 11-year-old with a knife, who knows what might have happened?

Here's what was found in the backpack: The knife, which had a 3¼-inch blade, a .45-caliber Remington 1911 semiautomatic handgun, and an ammunition clip.

A semiautomatic handgun.

Here's what the 11-year-old had to say:

"I was going to kill her with the knife and [the other boy] was supposed to use the gun to keep anyone from trying to stop me or mess up our plan."

What were their parents teaching these kids? Why were weapons like these even accessible to them? Why did they think murdering someone was the answer? Why weren't they taught that words should be used to solve personal problems, not violence?

The older boy said he had been friends with the girl for several months "but that he hated her now." He said the girl "had recently become rude and would pick on him."

The obvious solution: End her young life.

Thankfully, the school had been promoting a program that encouraged students to report anything suspicious, which is exactly what happened. Thankfully, a child made the decision to step forward and report the suspicious thing.

And thankfully, School Supt. Mike Cashion said this when asked about arming teachers:

"I told them [the legislature] I can't imagine a teacher taking a gun out, leveling it at a fifth-grader and killing them," he said. "It's the antithesis of what we are."

If only murder and gun adoration were the antithesis of what way too many of us are.

More details at the link.

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What marriage equality looks like: "You know, we woke up and we realized, we don’t have to rush."

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Via the L.A. Times:

Vicky Dalton, the Spokane County auditor who headed the statewide marriage licensing effort, said the turnout Thursday for same-sex marriage licenses in Spokane County was lighter than she expected.

So she asked a question to a newly reassured, very heartened gay man: Why didn't you rush to get a marriage license now that you have the legal green light?

Best Answer Ever:

"They said, ‘I thought you guys would have been one of the first,'" she recalled, "and he said, 'You know, we woke up and we realized, we don’t have to rush. We don’t have to worry. This is not going away. We can get a marriage license wherever we want now.'

"There’s no rush, nobody has to get down here immediately," Dalton repeated to herself. "That was probably one of the most powerful moments of the day for me."

Or to put it another way, progress.

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How to make GOP heads explode in 3 headlines

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New Jersey Senate Approves Marriage Equality: Gov. Chris Christie (R) has promised a veto.

Washington Governor Signs Same-Sex Marriage Bill: Gov. Chris Gregoire (D-WA) was visibly emotional as she signed legislation legalizing same-sex marriage in Washington...

Appeals court rules California’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriages is unconstitutional

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VIDEO: Tear-inducing testimony from Washington state's marriage equality hearing

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Via Buzzfeed.

"You know, I was married for 23 years to the love of my life and he died 6 years ago. I think of all the wonderful years we had and the wonderful fringe benefits of having 3 beautiful children. I don’t miss the sex, and to me that’s kind of what this boils down to. I don’t miss that… I mean I certainly miss it, but it’s certainly not the aspect of that relationship, that incredible bond I had with that human being, that I really really genuinely wish I still had. And so I just think to myself: how could I deny anyone the right to have that incredible bond with another individual in life. To me it seems almost cruel."

"And someone made the comment that this is not about equality. Well yes it is about equality. And why in the world would be not allow those equal rights for individuals who are truly committed to one another in life to be able to show that in the way of a marriage. My daughter came out of the closet a couple of years ago and you know what I thought I was going to agonize about that. Nothing’s different."

But the very last part was the best, IMHO. Watch all the way to the end.

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