Ethics? We have all heard of the so-called ethics investigations by the Congress….or the threat of an investigation……Weiner’s weiner comes to mind…..Rangel’s monetary antics……Ensign’s poking a staff member…. all the antics by our not-so-squeaky clean representatives. I have been calling them everything I can think of except effective law makers…..most of them are do nothing pigs….
I recently wrote a post about the insider trading done by members of Congress….that is that members had been making lots of cash trading on information that they got while serving on various committees….and I asked why there is NO ethics violations and the no need for investigation…..but read the post if you need to have it cleared up a bit…….http://bit.ly/jeYLqt
But why am I re-hashing all this? Good question…..
Let us go back to last week…..the negotiations on the debt crisis with VP Biden did not end well…..Majority leader of the House walked out of the meetings…..that would be Eric Cantor…..and we heard all the clap trap about tax hikes off the table and that Obama is NOT serious about debt reduction….yada yada….all the conserv talking points……but did you know that the big cheese Cantor is shorting US bonds?
Shorting, in investment terms, means……Selling a SECURITY, such as a SHARE, that you do not currently own, in the expectation that its PRICE will fall by the time the security has to be delivered to its new owner. If the price does fall, you can buy the security at the lower price, deliver it to whoever you sold it to and make a PROFIT. The RISK is that the price rises, leaving you with a loss.
In a piece written by Steve Tarlow…..
Debt ceiling negotiations were shut down by House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) last week. This raised renewed fears that the U.S. is on the verge of total credit default, and it raised a question as to whether Cantor – the GOP’s key operative in debt ceiling talks – has a “glaring” conflict of interest. According to Salon, Cantor may be fighting against government credit default in Congress, but he’s personally invested in a mutual fund that will “skyrocket” should default occur.
Okay now get this right! The person that is leading the negotiations on the debt crisis for the GOP will make a substantial profit if the country fails and defaults…..GOT THAT! The man is BETTING on the failure of the country! And to beat all, he is the lead man in the negotiations trying to find common ground to save the country from default…..
I asked before why they will not investigate those using inside trading on info they get in their job and now I ask WHY is Cantor NOT up for an ethics investigation? This guy whose party is so centered on America to succeed, then why is he betting against it?
It is time for Americans to wake UP! Know your representative….if these guys and gals are taking the country to the cleaners then we need to DEMAND more ethics investigations…….but there will be few investigations…..why? These people try to protect their own and in doing so are just as guilty as those caught in the act (whatever that may be)………
If you will recall, the media was all over Weiner’s weiner (pun intended)……they spent an inordinate amount of time and with the help of the GOP made this a 2 week story….but yet NOTHING as far as my previous post or the Cantor thing……why is Weiner’s weiner so much more important than the financial shenanigans of elected officials?
We need to demand an ethics investigation into the underhanded antics of elected reps and they need to be held to something that they are seldom held up to……accountability!
This is a fun topic! There are many pundits, on TV and print, that are trying to write off the GOP because of the rise of more radical Right wing politics, such as the Tea Party…….I have heard many, many people say that its time in the spotlight is waning……
A very smart analyst, Mark Halperin, see it all a little different……
Mark Halperin: “Despite the Tea Party, the Twitterverse and the multimedia dilution of traditional Republican authority, the old-school GOP rules the roost. Members of Congress, governors, big-time fundraisers, well-paid pundits and activist shoguns in early-voting states such as Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina still have the loudest voices. Winning the party’s nomination without the backing of a majority of these groups is a nearly insurmountable challenge.”
“Some are resigned to supporting Romney as the best available option for a viable general-election challenge — especially those who fear the Michele Bachmann surge. Others want to see if Huntsman is for real, if Tim Pawlenty can muster enough dynamism to be the Romney alternative or if Perry will be as tough and determined a national candidate as he has been a Texas battler. It could be early winter — or even the spring of 2012 — before the establishment gets off the fence. They want to beat President Obama but still can’t figure out how.”
What do you, my reader, think?
IMO, the GOP will survive and for thew same reason that Halperin mentioned……the GOP allowed the TP to have its moment in the sun, so to speak, in the mid-term…..why? A chance to win back the House….but the upcoming presidential election is too important to allow the right wing wackies have their way…..the GOP will return and support the mainstream Repub thought candidate….even if some of the far right candidates per chance win the nomination….they will be drawn back to the mainstream or lose financial support……NEVER fear…..the conservs will have their mainstream candidate in the next election…
Middle East Desk
The magazine, Foreign Policy, has ranked the different states as to whether they are considered a failed state or not……the criteria is…..The categories used to determine how failed a state was are demographic pressures, refugees, group grievance, human flight, uneven development, economic decline, state delegitimization, public services, human rights, security apparatus, factionalized elites, and (level of) external intervention.
Using that criteria Somalia is the most failed state in the world and the least failed is Norway….but all that is just lead up to the point of this post….the state that I ask if it is a failed state is Israel. Israel is #58 of 177 states listed on the Failed State Index by Foreign Policy…….with scores like…..The issues Israel scored the highest (most troubled) on were external intervention (8), factionalized elites (8), human rights (8), group grievance (9.3), and refugees (8).
What could possibly the solution?……..”that without solving the Occupation Israel will continue being a failed state. Neither Foreign Policy nor the world will continue accepting Israel’s claim that disarray among Palestinians is their own fault. Societal chaos in Palestine can be directly attributed to a conflict in which Israel is at least an equal partner.”
Could this report give Israel the wish to solve their problem of a conflict? Of course not! The conflict has become an institution…a political institution, an economic institution and finally a cultural institution…..there will be no drive to a lasting peace.
But why not?
A report in the UK’s Guardian shows some of the problem….
The former head of Israel‘s spy service has launched an unprecedented attack on the country’s current government, describing it as “irresponsible and reckless”, and has praised Arab attempts to reach an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.
Meir Dagan stepped down as the head of Mossad six months ago but has gone on the offensive in a series of briefings with journalists and public appearances because he feels that Israel’s security is being mismanaged by Binyamin Netanyahu, the prime minister, and Ehud Barak, the defence minister.
So, we are back to the Israeli government…….the source of all the problems for most of the last 60 years……polls have shown that the population would like to find a way to end their years of terror and anticipation of the conflict continuing…..but as with most “democracies”….what the people want and what they get is seldom the same.
Please, before the hate mail starts….I am NOT against Israel as a nation and its right to exist……I am against a government that functions in hate….it is always about their survival (the government) not about the people’s survival….there is a difference!
College of Political Knowledge
Since the invasions of Afghanistan and then Iraq the US has been accused of trying to nation build….and of course this has been denied by all involved…Bush/Rumsfeld/Gates/Clinton/Cheney/Obama…..yada yada….all those in Washington have denied the accusation…..we were at war to remove AQ, destroy the Taleban, find WMDs, execute Saddam and on and on…a whole litany of reason why we dropped that first bomb…..we are assured almost daily that we are not involved in nation building……but is that the truth?
Let us look at just what nation building is…….to build a nation one needs to have 5 ingredients……these are…..identity, legitimacy,penetration, participation and distribution…..without all 5 there is NO nation to build……let me simplify this for my readers……
Identity–the people must identify themselves as one people…..that will not happen in Afghanistan….they see themselves as Pashtu, Tajik, etc……
legitimacy–a government must have the respect and willingness to go with the wishes of the people…..Afghanistan has NONE of this with thye exception of Kabul and Karzai and his cronies….
penetration–the nation must have the support of all its citizens and that includes those people in the isolated areas……Afghanistan will have NONE of this for the small villages feel that they must fend for themselves against all comers…..
participation–the residents must feel that if they take part in the system that their concerns will be addressed by whoever wins the election….Afghanistan will have NONE of this….ancient suspicions will always lead the vote……
distribution–this addresses the wants list of the people…….the villagers will always want more than they get and the ritzier people will always get what is more than they possibly deserve….and then there is the distribution of laws….will all people have the same rights? In Afghanistan, we know this will NOT be true……
Now with the knowledge of what it takes to build a nation…..what are our chances of Afghanistan becoming a fully functioning nation? My opinion….slim to NONE!
If NONE is the correct answer……..now ask, just what the Hell are we doing in Afghanistan?
On a side note…..this just in from Newser website……..
The head of Afghanistan’s central bank resigned yesterday, and says he won’t return to the country for fear of reprisals thanks to his investigation of the Kabul Bank corruption scandal. Abdul Qadeer Fitrat is currently in the US, the New York Times reports. In a scathing resignation letter, he says Hamid Karzai’s administration constantly tried to block his inquiry, threatened him with legal action, and even “used law enforcement agencies against the staff of the central bank.” “Some known circles were plotting against me,” he said in an interview on Afghan TV, though he declined to name names. The head of Karzai’s high commission on corruption, Azizullah Ludin, shot back that they blamed Fitrat himself for Kabul Bank’s problems, while an official in the attorney general’s office said they had charges against Fitrat. But Western diplomats, the Times notes, view Ludin with skepticism; he presided over Afghanistan’s fraud-ridden 2009 election.
And my friends will be the major obstacle to Afghanistan becoming a fully functioning nation…..CORRUPTION!
We all are asking that same damn question…..well, at least those of us that have to toil for a living, that is…..and if you are looking for a simple answer to a complex issue…..this may help……
bullet points (thanks to Stephanie Kelton):
- The economy doubles since 1980, but wages flat. Where did the money go…
- All (or most) of the gains went to the super rich. And…
- With money comes political power. Taxes on super rich slashed, revenues evaporate. This leads to…
- Huge budget deficits. Middle class agitated, fights for scraps…
- Middle class divided. Buying and borrowing slow. Resulting in:
- Anemic recovery/economy.
After much anticipation, especially in the Tea Party, Minnesota’s Michele Bachmann has finally made it official…..after much lip service and announcements of an announcement, she has made it official….yesterday in Waterloo, Iowa….hopefully the Waterloo thing is not an omen for her as it was for Napoleon…….
Anyway Ms Bachmann is now officially a candidate for the Repub nomination……she used all the conserv talking points…….
“Make no mistake about it: President Obama is a one-term president,” Bachmann declared. “Together we can rein in all the corruption and waste that has become Washington and instead leave a better America for future generations.”
“The real solutions will come from our businesses, our communities, our schools and the most basic and powerful unit of all — our families,” she proclaimed.
While making a direct appeal to the Tea Party’s deficit hardliners, Bachmann also made a pitch to religious conservatives, praising the country’s past military victories in part by citing a line from the Bible: “Greater love hath no man than this, but that he lay down his life for his friend.”
Like I said…..she is a serious candidate…….let me explain…..
Most people on the Left think she is bat shit crazy…..I do not….I have said I thought she was out of touch and some other maybe not so kind words….she has made some statements that I found offensive and some historical observations that I found unacceptable……..but I do believe she is a serious candidate that should be taken seriously…..
At the time of her announcement she is running neck in neck with Romney Iowa….not a good sign for Mitt…..if she plays well in South Carolina, which I think she will and huntsman knocks off Romney in New Hampshire, then Mitt will have to play in Florida or he can go home, it is over for him……
I think that Bachmann should be taken seriously because she is genuine…..she believes what she says….not like those fakes the Repubs have now…like Mitt, T-Paw and Huntsman…these people are not appearing sincere just going through the motions to get the nomination…..Bachmann needs to be taken for what she is…a serious conserv candidate…..but can she win? In my opinion…..No.
College of Political Knowledge
Subject: Political Theory
As the 2012 election starts up we hear a lot in the media about the independents……we are told that most Americans are this and then we are told that most Americans are centrists, either center right or center left….but from a purely political analyst point of view, I do not buy into this concept. I believe that people call themselves centrists because it is easier than doing the research to pick a position and stick with it. By the media’s definition if you are a strong supporter of….say abortion but also one of Medicare (examples only) then you would be a centrist or an independent….being equated as one in the same. This is erroneous, at least in my mind…..it is just the mass media trying to drive the conversation by defining people in their terms, not in reality.
Let us go to the definition……a centrist, classically defined, as…..a political philosophy of avoiding the extremes of left and right by taking a moderate position or course of action….it can be said more complexly, but the simple definition works just as well…….
And then there is what the media is fixating on….independents, which means…….an independent or non-party politician is an individual not affiliated to any political party. Independents may hold a centrist viewpoint between those of major political parties, or they may have a viewpoint based on issues that they do not feel that any major party addresses. Other independent candidates are associated with a political party and may be former members of it, but choose not to stand under its label. A third category of independents are those who may belong to or support a political party but believe they should not formally represent it and thus be subject to its policies.
The last line in above definition is basically what the media wants us to believe is the definition of an independent…….basically a person who votes on issues and not party nor personality….I do not think that is so…..while people may answer the endless and continuous polls in an independent way, when it comes down to the actual act of voting then party or personality will once again be the deciding factor….I am NOT saying that everyone that claims to be an independent is lying, just that reality says they are NOT true independents.
Let us return to centrist….this is where many Americans are on the political spectrum….either center right or left……..personally, I think it is that they are concerned with the extremes of the left and right….so they opt out of the ideology in favor of a more moderate view of the issues…..the problem is that the people/voter may be of the moderate wing, the people they elect are NOT! Ergo……partisan politics where little is accomplished and government grinds to a stop.
Look at the American system…….if we are truly a centrist nation then that could explain the total lack of cooperation that is now prevalent in Washington…..PRINCIPLES! The lack of concrete principles is a death shot to the head of federalism…….one can possess principles without being an ideologue and we cannot have an effective government without debate and compromise…….
I say if you want to change things in Washington then let ALL the ideologues have their way and once the country is totally screwed then we can set about change things for the better and we Americans can have our country back from the abyss that we are slowly being sucked into……
Today is a day of Zen and my birthday …..but that is not the apology I am talking about…….
Did you read or see the da Vinci Code? How about the “Alabaster Jar”? Anyway if not, they are both about the Knights Templar…..you know that band of dudes in the 11th century that went to the Middle east and came back the premier bunch of knights….they were the fair haired boys of the Pope and pretty much invented the banking system we have today….but that soon came to a halt….on Friday the 13th of October 1307. possibly the origin of the Friday the 13th superstition, the Pope and a French king began arresting and torturing and eventually executing the Knights Templar……to this day there has been an opinion that these charges of idolatry, heresy and devil worship were trumped up charges to gain the extreme wealth that the Templars controlled….the order was pretty much disbanded as many escaped to parts unknown……
But in the 19th century the order was reborn, but this time as a charitable organization….and recently the order has sent a letter to Benedict XVI asking that the order be reinstated in good graces of the church and that they want an apology for the misdeeds inflicted on the Templars…..
From an article in UK’s Telegraph……..
The Italian chapter of the order has written to Pope Benedict XVI asking him to issue a pardon for de Molay and to acknowledge that he was a victim of false accusations.
“There was an enormous degree of complicity because Clement V, who was Pope at the time, was under huge pressure from King Philip,” Walter Grandis, 64, the current head or Grand Prior of the Knights Templar in Italy, told The Daily Telegraph.
“This was an appalling crime and a miscarriage of justice that the Church allowed to happen.
“We’re asking for de Molay to be pardoned so that we can finally turn a page in history and work towards reconciliation,” said Mr Grandis, who recently wrote a book on the order, called The Templars: The Real Secret.
A document found in the Vatican Secret Archives a decade ago revealed that Clement V absolved some Templars of heresy, but the Church has never apologised for the order’s persecution.
The request for a pardon and apology was submitted to Dr Guzman Carriquiry Lecour, the under-secretary for the Pontifical Council for the Laity, a few weeks ago but will be discussed by modern-day Templars at a special conference in Turin on Friday and Saturday.
A Vatican spokesman said the request was being considered.
Whatcha think? Should the Pope apologize? I say YES! There is much the Catholic Church needs to apologize for and this would be a great place to start.
I have been bitching for years about the population in the US….that they were getting dumber and lazier with every new generation….I have pointed to the popularity of reality shows as an indicator of the dumbness part and then to gadgets like the Salad Shooter, or the egg cracker and the battery powered whisk……and as much as I have bitched….I want to believe that it is just NOT so……but…….
The Repubs have been accused as part of the dumbing down process because of their education stands,,,,,this from Truth Out……
The Republican Party, particularly the rabid Tea Party-influenced majority in the House, is embarked on a juggernaut to take the public out of everything it can in American life, including libraries, elementary and high schools, government workers, environmental protection, even parks and parking meters.The combination of privatizing public services, and thus making them less affordable to the vast majority of Americans, and lowering the wage scale for workers fortunate to have a job is making this a two-class nation.
As much as the GOP and the TP are seemingly attacking education…..the population is not helping either…..why?
From a piece on opinionated.net……..
I sometimes envisage the television set silently and invisibly sucking brain cells and synapses out of my brain the minute I switch it on. I imagine that the longer I watch, the more of my brain matter is methodically extracted. I guess this is just a fantasy, but I really do believe it does indeed make you stupid.
Ways TV Makes You Dumber
- TV puts you in a mild trance-like state where your brain shuts down and is left unchallenged (I’m pretty sure there have been studies that have shown that TV does have a hypnotic affect on the brain)
- It rewards you for doing nothing, sort of like a drug, and that can’t be good for you
- It’s a passive activity, non-interactive, so watching TV is something that is being done to you, not with you, again leaving you completely unchallenged.
- TV usually panders to the lowest common intellectuall denominator
- It efficiently and all-too-often takes the place of activities that could potentially expand our intelligence, such as conversing, reading, or project undertakings
- Television is intimately tied to advertising and consumerism, so the goal of most programs is to promote capitalism (through commercials and actual program content), and not to represent reality. TV often distorts reality and manipulates meanings in a way that benefits advertisers. Since we have a tendency to believe what we see on TV, our minds are susceptible to being influenced in a way that benefits advertisers and promotes the goals of consumerism, which is often at odds with intelligence.
- TV pushes upon us the erroneous mindset that if we only buy a certain product or service, we’ll be happy. Furthermore, and even more damaging is that this implies that if we are not currently satisfied or happy, then there must be something wrong with us. This is a horrible state of affairs, because as the Buddha so elegantly put it, life is suffering. There is no escape from suffering, and the sooner we accept this, the better off we’ll be. I remember this one commercial I saw for an over-the-counter pain reliever that claimed to be “one more step to a pain-free life”, implying that life is supposed to be pain-free!
In George Leonard’s book Mastery, Leonard explains that TV shapes our thinking in a way that makes us believe that the outcome is more important than the process, that everything can be achieved, resolved or wrapped up within a specified and short period or time. Again, this is a bastardization of reality. Life simply does not work this way. Most things aren’t black and white. And most things that are worthwhile do not take a half hour or hour to achieve. He explains that both TV shows and commercials present viewers with an unrealistic rhythm of life where problems are encountered and then resolved by the end of the commercial or show, and that it is one climax after another. So watching TV distorts our perception of reality, which makes you less intelligently equipped to deal with the real world.
Our minds are further warped by constantly watching beautiful people enjoy wonderful lives, called the Beautiful People Syndrome by Ron Kaufman (http://www.turnoffyourtv.com/commentary/syndrome.html) Thus we tend to erroneously believe that our lives ought te be filled with goodness, perfect looks and perfect lives, and that if we don’t have this, then there is something wrong with us.
Here’s an interesting tidbit of info from http://everything2.com/index.pl?node_id=805412: Scientists did a calorimetric test to determine energy consumption while watching TV. What they found surprised them. They found that on average people watching TV consumed ten per cent less energy than normal resting energy consumption. That’s right, you actually consume more energy sitting there doing nothing than when you are watching TV. There is a simple explanation. It seems that this is due to the concentration people exert while watching TV reducing the amount of fidgeting and random movement people do. While fidgeting may be a major part of one’s resting energy use, thinking uses up energy, too. The neurons in the brain aren’t very good at holding their own energy for long, so glial cells in the brain constantly transfer energy to the brain cells, energy taken from the blood. So if you keep your body steady but try solving a differential equation, you’ll probably find yourself losing more energy than while sitting and doing nothing at all. Of-course, TV excites neurons in the primary visual areas, but perhaps that’s, on average, as far as it goes . We may lose less calories watching TV because we’re not using our brains to think, only to watch.
The population is getting dumber and dumber and they can point to politicians, but ultimately it is their inaction and their mindset that is the most destructive……when they find hunting alligators or dudes cutting down the last of the old growth forest or a bunch a rich self centered housewives less appealing then what is going on around them….then they will get to the point of an idiocracy! It is fast approaching!
For those of us that are OLD….we can remember the theory that Reagan was so fond of….the promises of trickle down economics….a theory put forward by one Laffer (a name well said to describe the BS)…basically it is an economic theory that says if the top 10% of the population gets tax cuts, tax breaks and other benefits that the good stuff will trickle down to the rest of us……sorry to say but it has been proven to be a crock of crap……
Now that you have a small amount of info on the down side how about “trickle up economics”? Is there really such a thing? You bet your butt there is…..,just look at the economic happenings of today….but you would like a simple definition….something not too hard and easy to remember……. the flow of wealth from the poor to the affluent.
This video can help explain trickle up better than me…..and it will be more easily retained by those that care to learn…….http://on.msnbc.com/j6I92G
All income and benefits are flowing up and yet those on the bottom are asked to sacrifice time and time again….when does it become a “Shared Sacrifice”?