Category Archives: Mess O’Potamia (Iraq/Iran/Israel/Palestine)

Middle East

Death and Destruction

Sometimes, I’m amazed at how we come up with new ways to kill each other. Death and destruction seems to rain everywhere.

First, we have a passenger jet that was shot down by a missile. Can somebody explain this to me? It doesn’t seem like a passenger jet would be mistaken for a fighter jet. By the way, does the Ukraine actually have any fighter jets? None of it makes any sense.

Can somebody explain the violence that is going on in the Middle East, again? It sure seems to me like a little boy poking a stick at a bear, time and time again. Suddenly, the bear turns around and strikes the little boy. The little boy runs screaming, “The fierce, ugly, vicious bear is trying to kill me!” I’m not saying that the response of Israel isn’t out of proportion to the rockets fired by Hamas, but damn!

Friday Grab Bag

  • The Economic Policy Institute has completed their evaluation of President Obama’s new budget. As with all budgets, there are good things and bad things. Cuts to programs like the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program are indefensible in my book. At all costs, no matter what our financial situation, we need to help and protect the poor. I really have a problem understanding how we can afford tax cuts for the rich, which do not create jobs, and we can’t afford to help the poor get through the winter. Read more of their analysis here and here.
  • Representative Paul Broun of Georgia (Republican) held a town hall event this week in which one of his constituents asked “who is going to shoot President Obama?” The congressman ignored the question and moved on but is that enough? Later, the congressman’s office got in touch with the “appropriate authorities.” I’m still not sure that that’s enough. That man needed to be denounced right there, right then. Suppose it was 2003 and President Bush was in office. The amount of scorn that would’ve been heaped on this man for suggesting that President Bush should be assassinated would have been overwhelming. Security would’ve had to escort the man out of the room because the crowd would have tried to physically harm him. I’m sorry, but the congressman’s response was weak, tepid and unpatriotic. This is the president of the United States. Whether the congressman agrees with him or not, threats against our president’s life should not be tolerated!

  • Governor Scott Walker is been in the news for the past 10 days. He is by far the most prominent Republican at this point in time. He stood strong against the unions. He’s been publicly humiliated by giving an interview to someone he thought was David Koch. Last night, the Wisconsin State assembly passed Scott Walker’s draconian budget bill in a surprise vote but the Senate does not have a quorum so it’s unclear what this means.
  • Is Scott Walker is standing against jobs? It appears that he is. He shutting down several clean energy initiatives which would add hundreds, if not thousands, of jobs in the state of Wisconsin.
  • Are the state union workers overpaid as Fox news and Scott Walker said they were? Sure doesn’t appear to be that way.
  • The state of the health care reform law seems to have confused Americans. Yet another federal judge has declared it constitutional. With the daily back-and-forth, Americans have become confused. A new poll suggests a fifth of Americans believe that the healthcare law has been repealed. It hasn’t. HCR is still alive…at least for now.
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  • The NFL owners in the NFL Players Association continue to head down the wrong road. For the most part, I hate when millionaires are arguing with millionaires. As far as I’m concerned, this is not about the high-paid football players. Instead, it’s about those guys who play football for a couple of years and are then discarded like a used handkerchief. They are 24 years old. Yes, they’ve made over half a million bucks over the last several years, but now they’re flat broke. In my mind, the negotiations are about these guys. The game of football will be hurt if there is a work stoppage.
  • China has dropped the death penalty for some economic crimes.
  • Unrest in the Middle East continues. No one’s quite sure who’s in charge of Libya. Oil prices are rising because of the uncertainty of Libya’s oil. My good friend, Brian Katulis, from the Center for American Progress, has written an excellent summary of what’s going on in the Middle East. President Obama and his administration have to perform a balancing act. We need to support the protesters, the people, and stay vigilant against possible terrorist threats. This is an outstanding article.

A Couple of Thoughts for Today

  • In Wisconsin, unions are finally standing up. I know there are those in the United States who truly hate unions. They have one or two union stories which have colored their judgment. The reason that you and I don’t work to exhaustion every single day, seven days a week, is because of unions. These are rights which were fought for. Let’s be honest with each other. There are the workers and then there are the executives. The executives give up nothing for free. Workers have to come together in order to bargain with management. If you bargain with management as an individual, most likely, you’ll be fired. Management can get five or 10 more just like you without lifting a finger. So, the only time the management listens to labor is when labor threatens to shut down operations. Unions have fought and won against child labor. Our country is better off because children are in school and not working 12-hour shifts on assembly lines. This wasn’t because of some great president who had some idea. Instead, the child labor laws came about because of unions. The reason we work 40 hours a week is because unions stood up against management. Everyone, in the United States, has benefited from unions standing together. So, I want to be in Madison, Wisconsin with American workers fighting for right that they earned more than 60 years ago, to collective bargaining.

  • Sometimes, I find it truly amazing that politicians ever get out of their house. It seems like they’re just too in love with themselves to leave the mirror. They believe their yes-men. Remember Rick Santorum, former Republican senator from Pennsylvania, who thought he could run for president? He could not even win reelection in his own state. Haley Barbour, governor of Mississippi, is one of these egotistical nut jobs. I’m not sure who told him that he was made of presidential stuff, but he has started to believe this. Mississippi is in the bottom five of almost every meaningful category there is. This is what Haley Barbour’s going to run on? Now, let’s not forget that he supported, to be more correct – strongly supported, these Citizen Councils, pro-segregation watchdog groups, vigilante groups which roamed South during the middle part of the last century. Mississippi is coming up with a license plate top honor Nathan Bedford Forrest, the founder of the Ku Klux Klan. If ever you wanted to make a statement that would separate Mississippi from its racist past, this would be the time. Haley Barbour has said nothing. He’s been given opportunities on national stages to stand up and oppose the founder of the Ku Klux Klan on the Mississippi license plate, but no. Haley Barbour may be a brilliant political mind. He may be the Einstein of politics, but I just don’t see it. He reminds me of the Giuliani of politics. Remember when Rudy Giuliani decided he was going to skip Iowa, South Carolina and then sort of run in Florida? Remember when the pundits were saying how he was gonna save all this money and build up his warchest? How did that work out for Rudy Giuliani? Right now, and I’ll happy to say that I’m wrong if I’m wrong, Haley Barbour looks like a buffoon.