Sunday, May 26, 2013

I hope everyone's Memorial Day Weekend has meaning.

Juan Williams is my hero of the week.

I want to thank Juan Williams. "Shazam." He  saved me from having to carrying on about the way in which AG Holder's signature actually means there is a lot more to the signature than simply him deciding to play with journalists. I mean Juan Williams actually knows how government works. I was impressed. I am serious. Like, "Shazam."

I thought for the most part the Sunday talk shows were better in tone and facts. There is still that underlying demand to cherry pick words to fit into one minute political ads that can't be affiliated with the candidates.

That is an incredible reality, in that, 501(c)4s can't be affiliated with candidates, but they can use video and sound clips of candidates to carry a message to the public. No one ever litigated that? It seems pretty obvious to me and add to that dynamic the fact political messaging is the focus of many appearing on talk shows. I would love for elected Representatives and Senators to actually explain to their constituents how government works. Take example by Juan Williams and make a commercial as to why constituents should not be anti-government so much as more knowledgeable. It would be interesting. I'd like to see that by a 501(c)4 ad. Explaining how government works and how decisions are made; rather than 15, 30 or 60 seconds of gossip.

I found it interesting the Right Wing today exhibited a double standard. They pat Prime Minister Cameron on the back for stating, "We are engaged in a long struggle against extremist Islam....". Then they turn around and state President Obama doesn't lead, he says one thing and does another, untrustworthy, criminalizing journalism, naive president and how American lives are at risk. 

If Prime Minister Cameron can be understood then President Obama can as well. One might notice the murderers in the UK are charged as criminals and not some kind of terrorist. There is no Gitmo in the UK. So, if the Right Wing can back the WORDS of Prime Minister Cameron they need to understand their own double standard for the USA.

The Press is still acting as though the PTSD of the AP is important. I have never witnessed such helplessness in the face of an opportunity to pass a Shield Law. They want to repeal the Espionage Act and do all kinds of complaining about victimization, but, seek to pass The Shield Law? Heck, no, that might actually solve the problem and they wouldn't have a reason to bellyache. 

Rosen is a non-issue. The USA has a right to pursue protections for reason of national security and if a journalist goes to far then there may be consequences. 

I found characteristic of the Right to feel naked without the threat of war as a weapon. They object the word REPEAL. They believe that will eliminate any opportunity the Commander and Chief may need 'just in case.' Wow. All of a sudden The War Powers Act doesn't exist. 

I don't believe the country will ever be back to a Pre-911 status. It was inherently dangerous. Airlines were wide open to having their jets laden with fuel used as missiles. So, it is all in the definition as to what September 12th means.

I think Candy Crowley is an excellent journalist. There are times I would have come back with a few more points with some of her interviews, but, then I am not facing time constraints.

Have a good weekend.

Most Americans are not 'born into' a perfect life full of opportunity.

Most Americans are PROVIDED the opportunity to live a happy and prosperous life by the collective conscience we call a government. We put our hard earned money into a treasury at all levels of government to provide for the common good. The common good provides for a populous of people that feed an economy that is the most powerful in the world. While China has had incredible growth, they still aren't the USA. The USA has invested for two centuries in the forward movement of that common good. It is at the heart of our democracy. The one vote becomes a collective expression of our confidence in directing the power of our treasury. Government is nothing without a treasury. It just isn't. A government without a treasury is an anarchy. It is a reality we grasped long ago.

Americans born 'out of sync' with what is stereotypically called 'the norm' have capacity and ability. They may be culturally different but, they have capacity to live the dream the USA promises to every citizen. It is that understanding which compels some of the most incredible people to become a member of this society. The USA would never be the nation it is today without our immigrants. But, it also would not be the nation we are today without our minority leaders.

When minority leaders have spoken out it was not for themselves. They spoke out for a collective conscience in step with the one others shared. When they asked to be a part of the society and economy it was with the understanding we would all be equals and provided for in a common footing to success. 

There are communities and members of communities that do not have common ground with the majority of Americans. You don't have to take my word for it, ask Jim McGreevey. Ask those that work actively through 'faith based' organization to help those in prison and jail to break their cycle of indifference and self-abuse. Those folks will tell you there are many that come into our prison systems that meet 'caring' for the first time in their lives. Caring. Not a person, but, the institution we as Americans have built to handle those that have not followed the rules.

The USA is quite an interesting country. We provide doubt over guilt and as a result we make sure the innocent are provided for in our prison system should the rule of law prove to be wrong. As a society we do not break the rules of TRUST. The public trust is at the heart of all that is involved with our court systems. It is where we divide social norms with social stigma to find the truth, protect the truth and find justice. The American people value truth. 

If we turn away from the very foundations of our society and victimize those that have served their time as prescribed by our courts we will have dissolved the truth and the trust that moves this country forward. When a citizen is freed after serving their time they are returned their constitutional rights and to remove any aspect of it, including SNAP benefits, we will be providing for increased crime. 

Crime is expensive. Ask insurance companies. If that means more than morality then know this. When a person leaves prison they will need to be helped to move forward and if we don't give them that help they will fail. We will have denied them the opportunity to continue on a path to wholesomeness and prosperity. They will return to issues of crime and we will have accomplished nothing when they were incarcerated. Our society will have then a burden forever.

It is morally wrong and completely oppositional to the well being of our democracy to believe we are not obligated to feed the hungry and help those struggling to achieve well being in all forms that takes.

Food stamps are a very small installment payment for a life of productivity. I suggest we do not fail those that need our collective moral conscience the most.

Senator Vitter doesn't know what he is doing and the Senate should be ashamed of their role in this mess.

May 23, 2013; Mother Jones
The ugly Republican (click here) attitude toward food stamps—formally the Supplemental Nutrition Aid Program (SNAP)—has reared its head again in the U.S. Senate, and Democrats seem to be lazily following the Republicans’ lead. Remember Newt Gingrich’s slur during the presidential campaign describing Barack Obama as the “food stamp president”? Apparently, the Republicans are at it again.
Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) has attached an amendment to the Farm Bill that would ban “convicted murderers, rapists, and pedophiles” from getting food stamps, as explained on Vitter’s website. The Agriculture Committee accepted Vitter’s amendment by unanimous consent. The applause from right-wing sites largely echoes this statement by Debra Heine on “Thank God we can all agree that taxpayers shouldn't be forced to feed murderers, rapists, and pedophiles.”...

Setting aside the fact Vitter is exhibiting bigotry, racism and moronity, his amendment is unconstitutional.
Indeed he is an ugly Republican when it comes to actually caring about constituents. I suppose this is his idea of a balanced budget amendment.

No matter. The amendment is in clear violation of CONSTITUTIONAL rights of citizens. To victimize those that carried out their sentence and satisfied society's demands for the felony(s) committed there is no further burden to their constitutional rights as guaranteed to any other free citizen in the USA. The states have this problem in many instances, including burdening ex-inmates to stop their voting rights. Now, Vitter is polluting the federal government with this special form of hatred.

No American can be burdened by the government with a sentence beyond the time served and/or the fines paid. Vitter's actions are actually to further victimize a person cleared by the very justice system he believes in. He does believe in the rule of law, right? Maybe Vitter is actually an anarchist.

May 23, 2013
By Rich Lord / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A federal judge ruled (click here) today that former Allegheny County Jail inmate David Kipp is due a $7,500 judgment from former corrections officer Arii L. Metz.
Mr. Kipp sued Mr. Metz claiming the officer beat him in 2010. Mr. Metz has pleaded guilty to depriving Mr. Kipp of his civil rights and awaits sentencing.
U.S. District Judge Terrence F. McVerry awarded Mr. Kipp $3,000 in compensatory damages and $4,500 in punitive damages.
"The uncontested evidence proved that the conduct of Metz was
outrageous and constituted a malicious and wanton violation of Kipp's rights," Judge McVerry wrote.
The judge ruled that there was no offset for a settlement Mr. Kipp negotiated with Allegheny Correctional Health Services, because the damages from allegedly delayed treatment for a broken nose and other injuries were separate from those caused by the beating....

It isn't as though the prison system actually seeks to reform 'the inmate.' So when those folks are released after satisfying their sentence, it would be good if they didn't face HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS by their federal government while they try to make their way back to being a CONTRIBUTING member of society; something Vitter questionably can claim as his own.

There needs to be a CLASS ACTION against the federal government when the amendment becomes law. And don't stop at this amendment, there are huge human rights violations by this Congress. Congresspersons need to be held personally responsible for their politicking while occupying a federal seat at the cost of the taxpayer. If a Congressperson is committing human rights violation while in office, they should be held responsible for same. This is one of them. Heck, sue them for real money to compensate the victims. Civil action. The World Court is a secondary action, but, it probably won't stick in that framework. The World Court approach can be coined as 'the tail waging the dog' but it might work.

The sincerely REAL solution to this is to seek prison reform so the NEED for food stamps is obsolete. Prison reform is long overdue in the USA, but, for someone like Vitter he would much prefer all prisons were Gitmo. Vitter would never be able to 'task himself' to even conceptualize what prison reform might be and in his hands it would be a complete disaster in the completely "W"rong direction.

Is there something wrong with a bill to reflect it's sincere purpose?

Immigration reform is not about gay marriage and it will be more than difficult to relate why that was an important amendment to this bill. Gay status among immigrants isn't really threatened in the USA. Gay marriage has to stand on it's own to be a legitimate part of civil rights.

Same sex marriage is almost a non-issue in more and more states. Why jeopardize a good opinion of same sex marriage by hiding it in an immigration bill? Quite frankly I thought the gay community has proved themselves with dignity and integrity to 'slide it through' on another bill. Take for example what the community is equating to by including the same methodology as Mike Lee. Mike Lee is a sleeve bag. Bigot. Racist. Opportunist. Mike Lee even gives capitalism a bad name. Please don't affiliate with a method of these jerks.

Everyone know that amendments to bills are not welcome by the public. Amendments change things. How often do people endorse a bill openly only to be disappointed by all the garbage attached to it, including earmarks. What good is an Executive Branch if all the funding is earmarked? Seriously. The real meaning of legislation is not to seek damages to the priorities of the country it is to uphold the integrity of the purpose of the nation. That doesn't exist in the USA anymore. I would love for President Obama to talk about the junk attached to bills when he signs them. I am sure his signing statements are more than interesting.

Legislation is suppose to uphold the purpose of the nation to grow, change, remove social prejudice, etc.; but, all to often there are amendments attached to legislation completely irrelevant and/or detracting from the original purpose of the bill. That is not what an amendment is suppose to do. An amendment is suppose to reflect a positive effect on the purpose and help uphold it should the originating committee have omitted a vital aspect of the writing of the original bill.

I don't really care how 'business is done' in Washington. That is the problem in DC. Sliding all kinds of junk through because a bill is popular and vital to the nation is sleevy. Basically, it is corrupt. Everyone complains about the way business it done in DC. Does the gay community actually want that imposed on their quite remarkable image actually. 

Who saved their own lives when HIV became a reality? Sure there was research and the discovery of a drug and it was immediately released to stem the progress of the disease. But, in the early days, who really saved the lives of gay citizens? The community itself. It has a proud heritage. The community is magnificent. Don't allow ideas of exclusion to impact that dignity. Please. I don't presume to know how much desire for a national same-sex permission is felt by the community, but, I do know the people of the community are remarkable.

Do it right. We are waiting for the Supreme Court. It will be a more than wonderful place to start.

By Gail Collins
New York Times
Posted: 12:00 a.m. Saturday, May 25, 2013

...High points in the committee’s long slog (click here) toward passage included a proposal from tea party icon Mike Lee of Utah to exempt employers of “cooks, waiters, butlers, housekeepers, governesses, maids, valets, baby sitters, janitors, laundresses, furnacemen, caretakers, handymen, gardeners, footmen, grooms and chauffeurs of automobiles for family use” from checking to make sure their help had the proper legal status. It didn’t go anywhere, but if you happen to run into Lee, feel free to say: “The butler did it.”
The most painful low point in the committee’s deliberations came at the end, when the Democrats gave up on an amendment allowing same-sex spouses the same right as heterosexuals to apply for permanent resident status for their partners. It’s not every day when you hear a senator announce that he had decided to support a move that involved “rank discrimination.” But the Republicans who were needed to get an immigration bill through the Senate had made it supremely clear that if any hint of gay marriage entered the legislation, they were going to take their toys and go home....