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.

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!

“The Great Wall”

Not even is this a review of some cinematic magic!

Nope this is about that much chanted…much promised…big beautiful wall along our Southern border.  First let me say there is nothing beautiful about a wall.

The promise now is that the wall will be a combination of virtual and physical….let’s start with the virtual thing.

Back in 2008 I wrote about the virtual wall that Boeing had constructed…it was a worthless waste of money…..but rad it for yourself…..

I know, I know everyone is screaming about those darn pesky illegal immigrants, especially at election, they are a convenient scapegoat for pandering to the people.  But any way, someone somewhere in the bowels of the INS came up with the idea of a virtual border fence, where cameras, radar and other such devices would be used to detect those entering the US illegally.

Source: Immigration: Virtual Border Fence – In Saner Thought

Now estimates from DHS have come out on the cost of said wall…..

A barrier along the border with Mexico could be ready in 2020, but it won’t be cheap, according to a leaked Department of Homeland Security report seen by Reuters. The internal report estimates that the cost will be $21.6 billion, around double to $10 billion to $12 billion figure President Trump cited during his campaign. The plan commissioned by new DHS Secretary John Kelly calls for construction of walls and fences in three phases over more than three years to have the barrier ready by the end of 2020, starting with 26 miles of wall in Texas and California. This would be followed by 151 miles of barrier in Arizona and Texas, then 1,080 miles to seal off remaining sections of the border, which already has 654 miles of barriers.

The leaked plan does not reveal what the wall would look like, or what is going to be done in mountainous areas where construction would be unfeasible. Large parts of the border, especially in Texas, are in privately owned land and the cost of acquiring it, through eminent domain or other methods, is one reason for the soaring cost estimate. “People’s individual property will be condemned by the federal government for construction of the wall,” researcher Denise Gilman tells the Arizona Republic. “That’s what happened in the past. And that’s what would have to happen.” Trump tweeted early Saturday that he hasn’t gotten involved in wall design or negotiations yet. When he does, the “price will come WAY DOWN,” he promised.

Sorry people but that money could be better spent…there are so many other progrmas that will now be gutted to pay for this abortion….society will suffer.

How Important Are Vet Groups?

Apparently not as important as we were led to believe……

There has been lots of talk about the future of the VA with the election of this person as leader…..there are many that find Trump as a disingenuous toad….and to be honest his supporters think he will save the country from itself……and these supporters think he, Trump, will be the magic wand that will cure the ills of the VA….personally I do not think he gives one iota of care about these brave Americans…..

Recently he did what any good president does….he went on a listening tour…..

White House officials held their first listening session on problems with the Department of Veterans Affairs on Tuesday, but without inviting prominent members of the veterans community to the event.

Officials from the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans and the Veterans of Foreign Wars said they were not invited to the morning event and did not know about it until it was announced late Monday night, as part of the White House’s routine schedule outline.

Other prominent veterans groups were surprised Tuesday morning by news of the event, and unsure who was invited to take part in the discussion.

Source: Trump held his first VA listening session without veterans advocates

This illustrates what I said before….Trump cares little for the Vet and their families….his words are all smoke and mirrors……

“Our House Is A Mighty Fine House”

The presidents of the US since FDR have had alternate residences…..well since FDR the Secret Service has been responsible for their security other than in DC…….

Yes, Irene this is a bit of the professor’s historical perspectives…..

We have a new president and does not seem to want to spend much time in the White House…..that means the SS needs to provide security in NYC at Trump Tower and at the resort in Florida Mar-a-Lago.  There has been some concern about the costs to the taxpayer with all this added extra security.  The question most asked is “is there a spending limit for this situation”?

Well….yes there is and we can thank Nixon for it……

Franklin D. Roosevelt had Hyde Park. Lyndon Johnson had his ranches. The first President Bush had a house in Kennebunkport, Maine, and the second a ranch in Crawford, Texas. Even after they’re elected, U.S. presidents often keep their private homes as retreats from the White House; America’s newest president, Donald Trump, has at least two.

Since his election in November, President Trump and his family have spent time at his Fifth Avenue apartment, where the First Lady and their son continue to live, and Mar-a-Lago, the president’s Florida resort. In the decades since the Kennedy assassination, when presidential protection became more rigorous, no president has kept a home in the thick of a city as big as New York, and critics havequestioned the millions of dollars being spent on securing the president’s apartment in Trump Tower.

The Secret Service is required to protect the president wherever he goes. But Congress has, in the past, been sensitive to the costs of that protection, especially when it involves the president’s private property. How much should be spent? Is there a limit? In the 1970s, in fact, after reports of “excesses and abuses” of public money spent at President Nixon’s private residences, Congress went so far as to pass a law that aimed to limit public spending on securing a president’s private property.

Source: U.S. Presidents Do Have Spending Limits for Securing Private Homes | Atlas Obscura

This will be interesting to see how Trump gets around this….after all every thing must conform to his will or he attacks endlessly on Twitter…..

How do you think he will approach this affront to his ego?

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……

Take The Punishment And Smile

WE have had about 2 weeks of a debate on “fake news”….even here on IST there has been a bit of a conversation….and as usual there will remain two sides to this debate…..those that see the “fake news” and those that will not…..

The Trump camp is doing nothing to clarify this debate……and they have even admitted that they use the term “fake news” to punish those that criticize the president……

Deputy Assistant to President Trump, Sebastian Gorka, said that the White House is going to continue calling the media fake news until the press stops being critical of Trump.

According to CNN, Gorka said, “There is a monumental desire on behalf of the majority of the media, not just the pollsters, the majority of the media to attack a duly elected President in the second week of his term. That’s how unhealthy the situation is and until the media understands how wrong that attitude is, and how it hurts their credibility, we are going to continue to say, ‘fake news.’ I’m sorry, Michael. That’s the reality.”

Any story that criticizes Trump, or that the President does not like is going to be labeled “fake news” by the White House. It seems that the only real news that the White House will accept is stories that praise Trump.

The real point of the Trump White House’s adoption of the fake news term as a weapon is the delegitimation of the free press. The White House is attempting to delegitimize facts and information that they don’t like by labeling them as not real. If President Trump and his team are able to successfully confuse the American people, it will be more difficult to hold them accountable for their actions.

Personally I think it is a bit juvenile….what can you expect from a reality star…..but now we know that there use of “fake news” is just a tactic……

Really?  Journalism is truly dead!

NO one is allowed to be critical?  I believe a history student, even a dumb one, can point to a time when this was used extensively…..and that did not turn out well.

Side note:  After all the grief the Right gave Obama for his golf games and Trump played just over the weekend and nothing nothing was said….I wonder why?  (that was rhetorical and sarcastic)