Thursday, February 14, 2013

He went to Lebanon to speak to Hezbollah there. No brainer. Anyone can understand who and why he is there.

Syrian rebels claim responsibility for killing of General Hassan Shateri, a senior figure in the Revolutionary Guards

Saeed Kamali Dehghan
Thursday 14 February 2013

...A senior commander (click here) of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards has been killed while travelling from Syria to Lebanon, according to Iranian authorities.
A man identified as General Hassan Shateri was reportedly assassinated by what Iranian officials described as "the agents and supporters of the Zionist regime" while travelling from Damascus to Beirut.
It was not immediately clear in which of the two countries Shateri was killed but a Syrian rebel commander said an Iranian official was killed in an attack carried out by Syrian rebels in Zabadani in southwestern Syria, close to the Lebanese border....

There ya go. I didn't read paragraph before I posted the title. 

...Iran is a staunch supporter of the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad and Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, providing both with military and financial support. Syria gives Iran physical access to Lebanon and Hezbollah, which is strategically important for Tehran's leaders because of the group's geographical position in respect to Israel. Iran does not recognise Israel as a country and usually refers to it as "the Zionist regime"...

Assad is Shi'ite. Iran is a Shi'ite nation. Iran is stating the rebels are a Zionist regime to inspire other militants to attack the Syrian rebels. The West needs to end the agitators in Lebanon, like this guy, through information releases on radio and television about the status of the Syrian rebels and their cause. That will end the Zionist propaganda and any chance of escalation of tensions in Lebanon. The same is true throughout the Middle East for that matter.

Information vacuums are not a good idea for free people still finding their way though the maze.

Shateri may have staged a faux death of a Shi'ite Imam, too. It is a perfect theme to stimulate hatred between Shia and Sunni.
February 14, 2013 01:18 PM 
(Last updated: February 14, 2013 07:07 PM)

BEIRUT: There is no strong evidence that missing Lebanese Imam Musa Sadr is dead, former Lebanese minister Tarek Mitri said.
“There is no hard evidence so far of his [Sadr’s] death from those responsible for his kidnapping,” Mitri said in remarks published Thursday by the pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat.
Mitri, who is now the chief of U.N. mission in Libya, said a judge from Libya and another from Lebanon were following up on Sadr’s case....

If I remember right, President Obama is due in the Middle East next week while Congress is in recess. It seems to me there was a real effort by Shateri to synchronize the escalation of tensions while the President was there.

In Iraq, the faith in the young cleric al Sadr is proving to be worthwhile. I think he needs to give lessons to Iran.

Associated Press – Fri, Jan 4, 2013
BAGHDAD (AP) — Firebrand Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr (click here) visited a Baghdad church that was the scene of a deadly 2010 attack as well as one of the Iraqi capital's main Sunni mosques on Friday, an apparent overture to other religious groups as opposition mounts against his rival, Prime Minster Nouri al-Maliki....

I understand he seeks to keep the country together. He isn't interested in Iraq splitting up into three different nations. He seems content with three separate provinces. He has a lot of convincing to do with the Kurds, though. 

This visit is to a Sunni mosque. It is an outreach for peace and acceptance in Iraq. Cleric Muqtada al Sadr is a Shi'ite. The only surviving Shi'ite cleric in a ancestral line of Ayatollahs. His family was assassinated by Saddam Hussein. He was about 13 years old when he was saved and protected. It would seem he is dedicated to peace, no different than his mentor the Grand Ayatollah Sistani. It is welcome to the Middle East. He is important and should take very good care of himself. This simply proves not all Shi'ites are agitators seeking to hate Israel.

I hope he is happy. I hope his people are happy. I hope the fishing in the wetlands is again abundant.

The Senate Filibuster regarding President Obama's nomination is about politics. It is about dirty politics.

Everyone know Senator Hagel is highly qualified for Secretary of Defense. 

The Senate Republicans are setting the these vital nominations to the national security of the USA to pump the Executive Branch of any type of information to seek impeachment. The Senate Republicans are pushing all their options to attempt to remove the President from office. They cannot get over the fact President Obama is an honest man, capable of leading the nation in a good relationship with the people and still stand legitimately on issues they are seeking to exploit for the 2014 elections. The Republicans believe there is some kind of deep dark secret in the Executive Branch that will FINALLY let them win elections, even if winning through corruption.

Is there nothing the GOP can find in the Executive Branch that will stop the defense cuts? Stop the adverse outcomes to their elections? Stop the honesty, the decency that the GOP cannot mimic? Is there nothing that can be found to protect the cronies?

...At these meetings (click here) the US Secretaries of State and Defense represent the US during discussions on NATO’s most pressing security challenges including Afghanistan, Capabilities, Kosovo, and Missile Defense. Generally attended also by many of NATO’s partners, these meetings are a chance for NATO to strengthen its relationships around the world....

Our allies in Europe is involved in an offensive into Mali and the Republicans are postponing the confirmation of the new Secretary of Defense? For political FODDER? 

By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 7, 2013

...“I had the opportunity (click here) to congratulate the French on what is so far a very successful mission in Mali, and also to discuss with them where they go from here,” Carter told American Forces Press Service aboard his aircraft during his return flight.
“I was pleased to learn that they have a clear strategy for making the effort there -- one that includes a political settlement in Mali between the government in Bamako and a longstanding separatist group … that contributes to making the [northern part of the country] a place where radicals can take hold,” the deputy secretary added.
Carter said such a settlement has to be part of the future in Mali, as does helping the Malian forces bolster their capabilities until they can assume full responsibility for their own national security.
In remarks at the 49th Munich Security Conference, Carter said European defense spending is “falling to a level below which they will be incapable of independent action, and that’s inconsistent with the historic role of Europe in security affairs.”...

Do Republicans actually want to prevent the next attack on the USA? Seriously. Do Republicans actually care about protecting the infrastructure of the USA? It is a legitimate question. After all, the Republicans aren't interested in rebuilding it, now are they?

Oren Dorell, USA Today
8:24 p.m. EST
February 14, 2013

As jihadists start an insurgency in Mali, (click here) U.S. officials say France should stay in the lead. U.S. will assist with transportation, surveillance and funds.

WASHINGTON -- Obama administration officials said Thursday that France will lead the fight against terrorists in north Mali without U.S. combat support, but one adviser to U.S. forces in Africa warned that the United States may not be able to avoid direct involvement.
French and Malian forces continue to fight remnants of jihadist Muslim militias in north Mali that are headed by al-Qaeda's North African franchise, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).
At a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on Thursday, Obama officials from the State Department and the Pentagon said the militias pose a significant threat to U.S. interests and security. But the United States will not send troops to aid the effort....

Only one adviser is recommending war spending? The Republicans want another war, they sincerely want to get a war monger in the DOD. If only there was another Don Rumsfeld waiting in the wings.

Ah, yes. The profitability of drone warfare is far higher than anyone can imagine. The different kind of war. Of course.

...Currently, the US has about 7,000 aerial drones (click here) of various nomenclature and capability compared with fewer than 50 a decade ago. That number is set to expand further under the administration's 2012 budget request of $4.8 billion for drones. Drone strikes are legal according to Obama administration lawyers under the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force, which gives the president authority to capture or kill anyone suspected of having planned, executed or assisted in the attacks of September 11, 2001. Since 2008 alone, more than 300 drone strikes deliberately killed 2,500 or more people in Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia and elsewhere around the globe as part of CIA and military targeted killing operations....

I tell you what. Since the USA Congress can't find cuts to the defense budget, I think the American people can figure it out for them.

As I finish downloading the document, I am sure it will make for interesting reading. I have plans for the weekend, but, after that. I am getting tired of policing the GOP. Really tired of it. I don't get paid for doing this, but, they do and can't even confirm a Secretary of Defense during a difficult time for the DOD and our allies. The Senate Republicans don't deserve to be in office when they place the USA National Defense in their political balance. They don't belong there.

Some cities know how to have fun in the middle of winter.

All Free. Come on up to Traverse City and especially bring the kids.

ICE RINK, SLEDDING HILL, FERRIS WHEEL, SPORTS ARENA, ICE SCULPTURE On main street. No traffic unless you have ice skates.

National Association of Elementary School Principles (click here)

They are most concerned with the high drop out rate in the USA today and have conducted a 6 month study to find the link between early childhood learning and a successful education and life.

“Building and Supporting an Aligned System: A Vision for Transforming Education Across the Pre-K-Grade Three Years,” (click here)

Below is a University that has instituted a Three Year Learning program. It is established as an open enrollment as an education cooperative.

Program Philosophy (click here)
The Pre-3 Cooperative is a place for parents, grandparents, and caregivers with young children to come with their child each week for a wide variety of activities led by an experienced Early Childhood Education teacher. Parents join others in a parent discussion with a Parent Education Instructor from Peninsula College. The Peninsula Pre-3 Cooperative has been offering programs to parents of young children on the Peninsula for more than 30 years.

Marsha Blackburn stated...

"I want to see people make more money, but, I do not support minimum wage."

Okay, than how are people going to make more money? 

I don't care about personal hero rolls and status as some kind of victory over adversity. Every American is their own personal hero. They all work to make their lives better, I don't care if Marsha was captain of her bowling team.

I want to know what she is going to do to encourage increases in wages to elevate people out of poverty and into the struggling American Dream.

How is Marsha Blackburn going to stop blaming the impoverished as lazy Americans, less than American than she has been and is today, to actually provide a PATH to financial success other than working two and three jobs. Because working two to three jobs at minimum wage with a minimum of a 60 hour work week provides a whopping gross income of $435.00. That is POVERTY level wages. There is no finding their way out of poverty if all their skills are not improved or the education expanded. Working 60+ hours per week allows no time for quality of life or quality parenting. 

So, what is Marsha Blackburn's IDEAS to provide a path out of poverty for this growing population within our society?

Voting for a higher minimum wage of $9.00 per hour is a no brainer. The states highlighted in green already have higher minimum wage requirements in their state laws. The states highlighted in blue rely on the federal laws for their minimum wage determination at the state level. The yellow highlighted states don't provide for a law governing minimum wage and default to the federal level. The other red highlighted states and orange territories have laws with a variety of lower than federal law minimum wages in their laws. The people there would have to provide a lawsuit AND/OR a union to have their wages elevated to the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.

A minimum wage of $9.00 per hour for a 60 hour work week that allows little time to actually change the trajectory of a life through new skills or education,  would provide a gross weekly income of $540.00 per week. That is an increase of $105.00 per week. That raises citizens to at least $28,000 per year. It would bring them closer to success, especially if there were two working adults in the household. That means they will start to disqualify for food stamps and other subsidies.

Marsha Blackburn is promoting the poverty levels that enforce the subsidies to the average family and exploitative profits of companies well able to do better.

At Walmart, one of the most profitable companies of Wall Street, pays their Guest Service Team Member in at least 216 stores an average of $8.46 per hour with a range of $7.00 to $12.00. Some of these employees aren't even paid the current minimum wage. Walmart makes profits on the backs of the American citizen, both through underpaid labor, insufficient benefits and social subsidies to their employees.

The same company, Walmart, pays their cashiers an average of $8.53 per hour. That is the case in 157 Walmart stores with a range of $6.00 to $13.00 per hour. 

This is outrageous and what Marsha Blackburn is promoting is more Wall Street Welfare. She is proposing to grow the National Debt to benefit Wall Street. She is talking out of both sides of her mouth for the sake of an under educated electorate about their own rights and best interests.

Marsha Blackburn isn't half the American of any of her constituents. She needs to do far, far better than this.

Most employers are paying nearly $9.00 per hour now and it will never be that much of a burden to increase the wage to a sustainable level to benefit most Americans.

The proponents of the Zealous Pro-Gun attitudes are rhetorical.

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) cited a general misunderstanding of assault weapons by the populous as a major problem. “This entire discussion does not concern machine guns, and yet I would venture to say a large percentage of Americans do not understand that”. In fact, machine guns have been illegal without special permission since 1934 under The National Firearms Act.

In this statement Ted Cruz wants us all to believe the dangerous weapons are already under control. What Ted Cruz does not cognate well is that military style weapons is a manipulation of the gun industry to circumvent the law to ban machine guns.

What difference does it make if a gunman has to pull the trigger one time or thirty times to get the same result? 

The result is the same. In the days of Al Capone it was the machine gun that needed to be banned, in the years of civilized society the manipulated technology of the gun industry has to be banned.

When the result of weapons within the borders of the USA is the same as Al Capone, it needs to be stopped.

 STEWART COOK/AFP/GETTY IMAGES - Publicist Tony Makris  speaks at a press conference given by Charlton Heston on Aug. 9, 2002 in Los Angeles.

When the NRA cries the Right Wing Zealots react to a well financed campaign to maintain profits while innocent people die. There is no social conscience within the gun lobby. The people of the USA cannot reward the lack of social conscience of any industry. People are dead because of the culture of these people. Our government has to reflect the control of the lack of our safety net in the face of such people.

“Are the president’s kids (click here) more important than yours?” the deep and dramatic-sounding voice intoned. “Then why is he skeptical about putting armed security in our schools when his kids are protected by armed guards at their school?”...

In recent days we have witnessed innocent people gunned down by very dangerous weapons in the hands of a former police officer. He killed without conscience, with a resolve that was to break down the very law enforcement system in the country. The physical stature of that man accompanied by weapons was enough to overcome anyone attempting to defend themselves. Here again we have witnessed a person better armed than the people surrounding him to stop the violence. We witnessed the same in a Colorado theater and now a police killer. Gun control is necessary in the USA and it is needed now.

The gun lobby wants every American to believe they can control their every outcome with the assistance of manipulated and dangerous weapons. The NRA wants to sell guns while people die. There is no way the average American struggling to maintain their mortgages can afford the type of home defense the NRA is promoting as 'an every man' solution.

Wayne LaPierre Only Said What Gun Nuts Have Been Posting on Facebook (click here)

If you were baffled or shocked by the National Rifle Association's Wayne LaPierre calling for more guns in schools at his riveting post-Newtown press conference, odds are it's because you don't speak LaPierre's language....
Isn't that the point? LaPierre bows to the gun purchasers of his lobby interests? He provides living commercials called testimony. He is not a leader, his Congressman in his pocket are not leaders, they are followers of very dangerous and dysfunctional mouth breathers.

When are the proponents of zealous gun purchasers going to stop the brain washing and demoralizing of a civilized nation?

Basically, the lack of sufficient gun control has instilled the faux value of "Bring it on!" of the average American. That is irresponsible and journalists seeking to back such attitudes are as irresponsible as the people they seek to promote as innocent practitioners of our democracy.