Closing Thought–24Feb17

Word of the Day–Abortions!

This is a subject that I seldom write about because it is a person’s private decision and NO one belongs in the loop other than the person having to make it….certainly NOT the government.

Another reason is that I am male and as such will not have to make this decision….that is about to come to an end…..the writing part that is…..

In Oklahoma, abortion rights advocates breathed a big sigh of relief when a particularly draconian measure, requiring a woman seeking an abortion to get written approval from the man who impregnated her, was tabled last week. That sigh may have come too soon: The state’s House Public Health Committee is set to reconsider HB 1441 today. The proposal would require a woman to get written permission for an abortion from the biological father, identify him to her doctor in writing, and allow him to demand a paternity test.

This measure is the latest in a series of efforts to limit access to abortion in Oklahoma. Gov. Mary Fallin, a Republican, has signed 20 anti-abortion bills over the course of her six-year tenure, including measures that tripled the waiting period from 24 to 72 hours and banned the use of telemedicine to administer medication abortion. Initially, state Rep. Justin Humphrey called his proposal an effort to make sure fathers support their child from conception, but as the Intercept reports, the lawmaker clarified his position when he said:

I believe one of the breakdowns in our society is that we have excluded the man out of all of these types of decisions. I understand that [women] feel like that is their body. I feel like it is a separate—what I call them is, is you’re a “host.” And you know when you enter into a relationship you’re going to be that host and so, you know, if you pre-know that then take all precautions and don’t get pregnant.

Source: This Bill Would Require Abortions to Be Approved by Men | Mother Jones

I have been writing for 40+ years and this whole thing is some of the most moronic bullshit I have ever heard.

I am sure that there will be some that will try to defend this issue….but unless they are female then they need to keep it to themselves.

Black History Month–Bobby Seale

When I was a much younger man I was a political activist, early to mid 70’s, during my travels I got to Oakland, California….I had heard about the work of the Black Panthers and wanted to see how they were pulling off their mini revolution…..about here some will be rolling their eyes but those are the people that have NO ideas what the Panthers were doing other than the propaganda crap that the government and the media was feeding the country.

When we got permission we were introduced to Bobby Seale and a quick hand shake with Huey Newton……we were told that we could walk around and talk to people freely…..I witnessed an amazing co-operative going on with food banks, clinics, pre-school, legal help…I witnessed many programs designed to help the community….I was impressed but the tour was far too short.

I think the people like Bobby Seale do not get the historic coverage they deserve simply because someone did not like their politics.  I will attempt to change that with every opportunity……that is why I am highlighting Bobby Seale here on IST…..

Bobby Seale and Huey Newton founded the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense at a community center in North Oakland, California, in October 1966, and acknowledged it was a living testament to the Work of Malcolm X. The Black Panthers practiced militant self-defense of minority communities against the U.S. government, and fought to establish revolutionary socialism through mass organizing and community based programs. The party was one of the first organizations in U.S. history to militantly struggle for ethnic minority and working class emancipation. The Black Panther agenda was the revolutionary establishment of real economic, social, and political equality across gender and color lines. The FBI labeled Seale and his colleagues in the Black Panthers as “Public Enemy Number One”.

Robert George Seale was born on October 22, 1936, to a poor African American carpenter and his wife in Dallas, Texas. The Seale family moved to Port Arthur, Texas, and then to San Antonio, Texas, before finally settling in Oakland, California, during World War II. Attributing his failure to make the basketball and football teams to racial prejudice, Seale quit Oakland High School and joined the U.S. Air Force. After three years in the Air Force, Seale was court-martialed and given a bad conduct discharge for disobeying a colonel at Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota.

Read more on this unique civil rights activist……

Source: Civil Rights Leaders- Bobby Seale

History does not teach many Americans about “Black Nationalism”……there is more to it than the negative headlines…….whether one agrees with the ideology is of no concern…it still should be taught and understood.

It is a political and social movement prominent in the 1960s and early ’70s in the United States among some African Americans. The movement, which can be traced back to Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association of the 1920s, sought to acquire economic power and to infuse among blacks a sense of community and group feeling. Many adherents to black nationalism assumed the eventual creation of a separate black nation by African Americans. As an alternative to being assimilated by the American nation, which is predominantly white, black nationalists sought to maintain and promote their separate identity as a people of black ancestry. With such slogans as “black power” and “black is beautiful,” they also sought to inculcate a sense of pride among blacks.

Time to learn more about the real work people were doing in their communities and Bobby Seale is a fine example.

Do not dismiss what you do not understand.

Coming Of A Police State?

If you follow the news, and most of the readers of IST do, then you will recall the Ferguson Missouri problems a few years ago…the protests and the reactions……..you will also recall the the police appeared to be a military force confronting the protesters….and this situation has occurred over and over…..the police armed and equipped like a military force…..

Like I said this appears to e the wave of the future……

Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “An injustice anywhere is a threat to just everywhere.” We should all be cognizant of King’s quote. In the 20th and 21rst centuries, U.S. policies around the world, both economically and militarily, have been questionable at best. They started with the Philippines in the beginning of the 20th century up to the Middle East today. These policies, more often incredibly violent, are coming back to haunt us. An example of this includes the U.S. international policy of “Low-Intensity Conflict” (LIC).

Source: The Militarization of U.S. Police Departments

What got me to thinking along this road was something the Trump said when he was addressing the Chicago wave of violence…..not the quotes about immigrants or thugs or anyhting along those lines….what it was was his statement that he would send in the Feds……”If Chicago doesn’t fix the horrible ‘carnage’ going on, 228 shootings in 2017 with 42 killings (up 24% from 2016), I will send in the Feds.”

Send in the Feds?  Would that not be something akin to a police state?

It would appear that some of the folks who were hoping that Donald Trump was actually an isolationist “jobs” president, rather than the authoritarian white nationalist with imperial ambitions he clearly showed himself to be on the stump, are now being forced to face reality. Everything he has done since he was inaugurated proves him to be dead serious about unleashing the military and the police to enact his agenda, and he wants the other branches of government to understand that if they obstruct him he’s going to make sure his rabid followers know who to blame.

Source: Donald Trump’s Coming Police State: We Have a President Who Wants Unlimited Power and Won’t Respect the Rule of Law | Alternet

He may not have meant it in the way it was said….but that kind of talk is disturbing.

God I love it when a plan comes together!

Black History Month–Malcolm X

Too many look upon Malcolm X as a “black nationalist”….and a member of the Nation of Islam…..someone who hated whites and worked against them until his death in 1965…….

Sorry but that is not completely accurate……after his visit to Mecca he embraced orthodox Islam and cooled his more radical views on race however he remained a proponent of “black power” until his death…..

Malcolm X was the passionate and controversial black activist who was assassinated in New York City in 1965.

Born in Nebraska and raised in a foster home, Malcolm Little had a troubled youth that included burglary and drug dealing. At age 20 he was sent to prison for a 10-year term. While in prison, he adopted the Black Muslim faith and upon his release in 1952 became a minister of the Nation of Islam. As Malcolm X, he was a charismatic advocate of black separatism who rejected Martin Luther King, Jr.’s policies of non-violence.

At first a follower of Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm X broke with the Nation of Islam in 1964. That same year he made a pilgrimage to Mecca and shortly afterwards he embraced orthodox Islam and took the name El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz. He recanted some of his earlier more strident viewpoints on race, though he remained a staunch advocate of “black power.”

Malcolm X was shot to death by a group of men while giving a speech in New York City in 1965; some of the men had connections to the Nation of Islam, though a formal tie between that group and the assassination was never proven.

If you would like more info on Malcolm X then I suggest that this site will be the best and most informative……

Source: Malcolm X |

Another leader of the people that needs more exposure than he gets….most know only of his early years and do not go past the rhetoric….time for that to change!

He was an activist that needs to be studied and appreciated.

Will There Be Freedom Of The Press?

Praise the internet gods!  My connectivity has returned……(for now)…….

In the past year there has been an uproar about “fake news”….both sides claim the other is the fake and no one but them can know what is true and what is false.  Of course when this type of debate rages there will always be one side or the other that claims something about the freedom of press, which usually includes that old thing about free speech.

I wrote a post earlier about “free speech” and what it means……

Source: That Thing Called “Free Speech” – In Saner Thought

The 1st amendment and the 2nd are about the only ones that most Americans know by heart (that may be a bit of a stretch)…..but just in case….

The right, guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, to gather, publish, and distribute information and ideas without government restriction; this right encompasses freedom from prior restraints on publication and freedom from Censorship.

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads, in part, “Congress shall make no law… abridging the Freedom of Speech, or of the press.” The courts have long struggled to determine whether the Framers of the Constitution intended to differentiate press freedom from speech freedom. Most have concluded that freedom of the press derives from freedom of speech. Although some cases and some legal scholars, including Justice Potter Stewart, of the U.S. Supreme Court, have advocated special press protections distinct from those accorded to speech, most justices believe that the Freedom of the Press Clause has no significance independent of the Freedom of Speech Clause.

Okay I got you caught up a bit……

The reason I brought up the quick lesson was because of something that is happening….looks like the FBI will have an easy time spying on journalists…..

Secret FBI rules allow agents to obtain journalists’ phone records with approval from two internal officials — far less oversight than under normal judicial procedures.

The classified rules, obtained by The Intercept and dating from 2013, govern the FBI’s use of national security letters, which allow the bureau to obtain information about journalists’ calls without going to a judge or informing the news organization being targeted. They have previously been released only in heavily redacted form.

Media advocates said the documents show that the FBI imposes few constraints on itself when it bypasses the requirement to go to court and obtain subpoenas or search warrants before accessing journalists’ information.

Source: Secret Rules Make It Pretty Easy for the FBI to Spy on Journalists

This does NOTHING to protect the concept of a “Free Press”….and Obama help this process before he left office……

Source: The Birth Of The “Ministry Of Truth” – In Saner Thought

Do you feel much safer now?

Fusion–Word Of The Day

We have added a word to the vocabulary that is a bit confusing…..FUSION.

Most people immediately think of nuclear power and such when the word is mentioned……We have Fusion food, the combining of several different cultures for a unique flavor…..then we have Fusion Jazz, to some it sounds like the musicians are all playing a different song but it is more improv than anything….and finally we have a Fusion Center.

Okay now…what is a Fusion Center?

Basically it is a program under the auspices of the Dept. of Homeland Security……

“A fusion center is a collaborative effort of two or more agencies that provide resources, expertise and information to the center with the goal of maximizing their ability to detect, prevent, investigate, and respond to criminal and terrorist activity.”

Fusion centers contribute to the Information Sharing Environment (ISE) through their role in receiving threat information from the federal government; analyzing that information in the context of their local environment; disseminating that information to local agencies; and gathering tips, leads, and suspicious activity reporting (SAR) from local agencies and the public. Fusion centers receive information from a variety of sources, including SAR from stakeholders within their jurisdictions, as well as federal information and intelligence. They analyze the information and develop relevant products to disseminate to their customers. These products assist homeland security partners at all levels of government to identify and address immediate and emerging threats.

Beyond serving as a focal point for information sharing, fusion centers add significant value to their customers by providing a state and local context to help enhance the national threat picture. Fusion centers provide the federal government with critical state and local information and subject matter expertise that it did not receive in the past – enabling the effective communication of locally generated threat‐related information to the federal government. Integrating and connecting these state and local resources creates a national capacity to gather, process, analyze, and share information in support of efforts to protect the country.

Now that there is a general definition and description of what these are…I shall move one…..this story is by the Future of Freedom Foundation….keep in mind it has a Libertarian tilt to their reporting….

When it comes to mindless excess in the war on terror, it is difficult to compete with the 70+ fusion centers bankrolled by the Department of Homeland Security. They began to be set up around the nation shortly after 9/11 as federal-state-local partnerships to better track terrorist threats. But the centers have been a world-class boondoggle from the start.

Fusion centers have sent the federally funded roundup of data on Americans’ private lives into overdrive. As the Brennan Center for Justice noted in 2012, “Until 9/11, police departments had limited authority to gather information on innocent activity, such as what people say in their houses of worship or at political meetings. Police could only examine this type of First Amendment-protected activity if there was a direct link to a suspected crime. But the attacks of 9/11 led law enforcement to turn this rule on its head.”

Source: A Billion Dollars of Federally Funded Paranoia – The Future of Freedom Foundation

Oh goodie….another government program that gets lots of cash and accomplishes little……the American way.

The End Of Separation Of Church And State?

We have a new lord and master and he is flexing his muscle(take that anyway you like) against the whole fabric of the republic……

Ever heard of the “Johnson Amendment”?

The Johnson Amendment regulates what tax-exempt organizations such as churches can do in the political arena.

Under terms of the 1954 legislation (named for its principal sponsor, then-Sen. Lyndon Johnson), churches and other nonprofit organizations that are exempt from taxation “are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office,” according to the IRS website.

Organizations claiming tax-exempt status cannot collect contributions on behalf of political campaigns or make any statement for or against a particular candidate. Clergy are not allowed to endorse candidates from the pulpit. (Despite Trump’s promise to “totally destroy” the amendment, the president does not have the authority to do so on his own. Only Congress can repeal a law, in this case an amendment to the tax code.)

Yes, President Trump took the opportunity of the National Prayer Breakfast to drag Arnold Schwarzenegger and his weak Celebrity Apprentice ratings. But he also brought up something arguably just as important: the Johnson Amendment, which he vowed to “totally destroy.” Here’s what you need to know:

  • The Washington Post has a great explanation of the Johnson Amendment, which basically bans churches and charities from participating in political campaigns unless they give up tax-exempt status.
  • Getting rid of the Johnson Amendment is part of Trump’s emerging “agenda of religious nationalism,” in which the president is linking being American with being Christian, the Atlantic reports.
  • MSNBC weighs in on why promising to “totally destroy” the Johnson Amendment is important. One such reason is that it would allow political parties and candidates to “funnel campaign donations through tax-exempt churches” with no oversight.
  • While the Johnson Amendment is wildly unpopular with the religious right, that’s not necessarily the case elsewhere, the Independent reports. A survey last year found 79% of people didn’t think pastors should endorse candidates. And some religious leaders believe churches would be hurt by entering the partisan world of politics.
  • In addition to the Johnson Amendment and Celebrity Apprentice, Trump also discussed foreign relations, telling those in attendance, “just don’t worry about” the “tough phone calls I’m having,” apparently in reference to threatening to invade Mexico and picking a fight with Australia, MarketWatch reports.
  • Outside the National Prayer Breakfast, around 150 members of local churches were protesting Trump’s Muslim travel ban. One Christian author at the protest tells Yahoo News it’s important for the church to “stand up and be on the right side of history.”

For all those religious d/bags….this amounts to a theocracy in waiting….remember that?  That is what some accuse the “sharia” BS of wanting to establish here in the US….same goddamn thing!

Source: Trump’s Plan to ‘Totally Destroy’ the Johnson Amendment Is a Massive Gift to the Christian Right | Alternet

I say okay…but they start paying taxes on every dime that comes through the door.

You are kissing your rights good-bye slowing and steadily….are you happy now?

But we shall see just how strong the Congress and the Constitution really are……