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Week In The News: Obama's Foreign Policy Pivot, Pope In The Holy Land, Economy Shrinks

With guest host John Donvan

California massacre. Obama’s foreign policy vision. Snowden speaks out.

President Barack Obama arrives to a graduation and commissioning ceremony at the U.S. Military Academy on Wednesday, May 28, 2014, in West Point, N.Y.  (AP)

President Barack Obama arrives to a graduation and commissioning ceremony at the U.S. Military Academy on Wednesday, May 28, 2014, in West Point, N.Y. (AP)

In the news this week: gun control, mental health after the Santa Barbara massacre, President Obama announces thousands of US troops to remain in Afghanistan after 2014 and, talks foreign policy at West Point. One-hundred-and-fifteen-day wait times confirmed at the Phoenix VA and new calls for Shinseki to go. Big votes in Ukraine and Egypt. The US economy shrinks a smudge. Edward Snowden says he’s a spy. Maya Angelou, gone.  This hour On Point: the roundtable goes behind the headlines.

– John Donvan

Guests

David Shepardson, Washington, D.C. bureau chief for the Detroit News. (@davidshepardson)

Michael Hirsh, national editor for POLITICO Magazine. (@michaelphirsh)

Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst.

From The Reading List

The Wall Street Journal: Obama Defends U.S. Policy Based Less on Military Might – “The president sought to articulate a doctrine that applies to an era of substantial shifts in the foreign policy landscape, marking the end of post-Sept. 11 wars, the rise of unexpected challenges from Russia,a new focus on European security, tensions in Asia, the evolving threat of terrorism and the persistent volatility of the Middle East.”

NBC News: Inside the Mind of Edward Snowden — “Snowden said his desire to return to his homeland is foremost in his mind. ‘I don’t think there’s ever been any question that I’d like to go home,’ he said. But asked whether he would make a deal to return, Snowden said: ‘My priority is not about myself. It’s about making sure that these programs are reformed — and that the family that I left behind, the country that I left behind — can be helped by my actions.’”

POLITICO Magazine: Tim’s Not Wild About Larry — “We already knew that Summers and Geithner, former comrades from the Clinton years, disagreed on issues from bank reform to stress testing as they faced down the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Indeed, the tensions started even before day one, stemming from the simple fact that after the 2008 election Obama offered a somewhat reluctant Geithner the post that Summers, his former superior in the Clinton administration, desperately coveted and was probably more qualified for: Treasury secretary. “

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  • Milan S. Sturgis

    Unfortunately the pivot in foreign policy was more like a stumble as most experts are still searching for the new pillars of US policy that was promised leading up to the speech.

    • Fredlinskip

      Bring back the good old “send the troops in first and ask questions later ‘preventative’” Bush doctrine.

      That served us well.

      • HonestDebate1

        It took 12 years, 17 violated UN resolutions, a unanimous security council vote and Congressional approval before we went to Iraq.

        • Ray in VT

          Plus a whole bunch of misinformation and outright lies told to the American public.

          • HonestDebate1

            Alrighty then.

          • Ray in VT

            Lame.

          • jefe68

            Well, he can’t help it.

      • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

        Go to war – and *cut* taxes at the same time. They were planning to take on Saddam Hussein before September 11th.

  • Coastghost

    How is Obama’s Administration “getting to the bottom” of anything when it’s demonstrating its inability to stay on top of anything? (In spite of turmoil within the VA hospital system, Gen. Shinseki’s administrative and managerial ability may yet prove to far exceed Obama’s own.)
    Kerry was somewhat famously in South Sudan “negotiating a ceasefire” only weeks ago: that’s already blown up, and the UN is shifting its deployment as a consequence.
    The Three Weird Sisters of foreign policy (Clinton, Rice, and Power) boldly initiated our Libya policy in the aftermath of the Arab Spring: Gaddafi’s good and gone, but Amb. Stevens, et al., also are dead, and now the US warns all Americans in country to leave as civil strife continues apace.
    Obama’s had enough practice using red magic markers to draw lines all around, across, and through Syria for years already and has little to show for all his generous expense of red ink.
    Barely two months until we learn where our negotiations with the Iranians are taking us: assuming we get that far, the month of August follows right behind, which has not been a propitious month for outbreaks of peace in recent decades or centuries.
    Is “Obama’s pivot” announced this week substantively anything other than “Obama adrift”?

  • X Y & Z

    Pregnant Woman Stoned to Death in Pakistan Buried

    http://cnsnews.com/news/article/pregnant-woman-stoned-death-pakistan-buried

    • JGC

      So if some 300 people were innocent civilians, who were the other 2100 people?

      http://www.iraqbodycount.org/ to see chart of all documented violent deaths of Iraqi citizens due to war.

      • X Y & Z

        The vast majority of Obama’s illegal drone strikes took place in Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, Ethiopia, and Pakistan.

        • JGC

          Yes, but who were the other 2100 not categorized by you as innocent civilians? And drone, bomb or bullet, how does that compare with over 29,000 documented Iraqi civilian deaths in 2006 alone due to the War on Terror? That is some fine foreign policy on the part of Rumsfeld, Cheney, Rice and Bush.

          • X Y & Z

            I’m not excusing Bush, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Rice or Rumsfeld for the civilian deaths in Iraq. They need to be held accountable for their actions in a court of law, along with Obama.

          • Don_B1

            The resolution Democrats voted for that President Bush used to attack Iraq also contained language that required President Bush to get the approval of the United Nations before that attack.

            That UN approval never came.

            To achieve what the drones have achieved would have required a lot of “boots on the ground,” and that would have cost a lot more civilian lives than the drones killed.

            That, in itself, does not justify the use of the drones, but if eliminating the terrorists is justified on other grounds, it goes a long way to put your argument in a losing position.

          • Ray in VT

            There was also language regarding diplomatic efforts, which I do not think that the administration faithfully attempted to use as a military alternative, especially given that it certainly appears that the President had decided upon invading Iraq some months before.

          • nj_v2

            Low-bar “liberalism.” Obama isn’t quite as bad as Shrub. Okay, then.

        • hennorama

          X Y & Z — you continue to write about so-called “illegal drone strikes,” yet have never presented the case that they might be “illegal,” despite numerous challenges to your claims.

          Please present the case, and demonstrate the veracity of your repeated claims, assuming your are able to do so, of course.

          • SteveTheTeacher

            ” you continue to write about so-called “illegal drone strikes,” yet have never presented the case that they might be “illegal,”

            Shocking.

            As Dr. Martin Luther King said:
            “Remember, everything that Hitler did in Nazi Germany was legal.”

            Check out some facts on what you appear to support:

            http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/category/projects/drones/

            Would it be equally “legal” for Putin to drop bombs on suspected Ukrainian “terrorists”, in the US, and kill numerous women and children?

            Personally, I find it immaterial if the US can create laws justifying mass killing of innocent civilians, but here’s one report that addresses your concern of “legality”:

            http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/ASA33/013/2013/en/041c08cb-fb54-47b3-b3fe-a72c9169e487/asa330132013en.pdf

          • hennorama

            SteveTheTeacher – thank you for your response.

            Your sharing of information is appreciated. However, I am well-informed on this topic, and unlike [X Y & Z], demonstrably comprehend what I read.

            Mere assertion that something is illegal, as [X Y & Z] has repeatedly done, does not make it so. Your shock that someone might repeatedly question and challenge such an assertion is curious, as this is a type of interactive forum that encourages such a basic tenet of debate.

            Please note that I personally have made no claims as to the legality, illegality, morality, or immorality of U.S. overt and covert use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), whether such usage occurs in the prosecution of warfare, national self-defense, combating international terrorism, domestic and international law enforcement, surveillance, etc.

            I personally believe that in some cases, the use of UAVs is the best option among a long list of bad options.

            I understand and appreciate the arguments about the questions implicit in the aforementioned uses of UAVs.

            Regarding your selected links, I would note that the Amnesty International paper regarding “US Drone Strikes In Pakistan” contains the word “illegal” only twice, thusly (emphasis added):

            As noted below, there are several key areas where the Administration’s promises mask the reality of continued secrecy and potential illegality, in breach of international human rights standards.

            And this, a quote from the former head of the ISI, Pakistan’s rather notorious spy agency:

            “Admittedly the drone attacks had their utility, but they represented a breach of national sovereignty

            [and were] illegal according to international law” – Ahmed Shuja Pasha, former Director-General of the Inter-Services Intelligence, to the Abbottabad Commission into the killing of Osama bin Laden [154]

            (Footnote 154: “Abbottabad Commission Report”: “Civil and Military Inspector Chiefs- Director General ISI”, The Abbottabad Commission, Government of Pakistan, 4 January 2013, para 477 p 200.)

            FYI, just last month, per theguardian.com, one of your sources, Amnesty International, had some significant issues with the ISI:

            Pakistan’s spy agency ISI accused of kidnapping and killing journalists

            Amnesty International details journalists’ claims of harassment, intimidation and attacks at the hands of military intelligence

            Amnesty International says it has “credible concerns” that Pakistan’s powerful military spy agency kidnaps, threatens and even kills journalists who cross it.

            The allegations come amid an unprecedented public standoff between the Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the country’s biggest media group over an attempt by unknown gunmen to kill Hamid Mir, a popular journalist on the Geo television network.

            In a detailed report, the human rights group says journalists face extraordinary challenges in Pakistan, including deadly threats from banned militant groups and the armed wings of political parties. But Amnesty says it found that “no state actor is more feared by journalists than the ISI”.

            See:
            http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/30/isi-accused-of-targeting-journalists-pakistan-amnesty-international

            ==========

            In the spirit of sharing information, you might be interested in the following:

            From the Council on Foreign Relations, What are the legal considerations surrounding U.S. targeted killings?

            See:
            http://www.cfr.org/counterterrorism/targeted-killings/p9627#p2

            Legality of Targeted Killings by Drone Attacks in Pakistan, by Akbar Nasir Khan

            See:
            http://www.academia.edu/392756/Legality_of_Targeted_Killings_by_Drone_Attacks_in_Pakistan

            Use of Unmanned Systems to Combat Terrorism

            See:
            https://www.usnwc.edu/getattachment/6fe03880-25d2-4b20-bc2e-ff3393261967/Use-of-Unmanned-Systems-to-Combat-Terrorism.aspx

            Should the United States Continue Its Use of Drone Strikes Abroad?

            See:
            http://drones.procon.org/

            Thanks again for your response.

          • SteveTheTeacher

            Thanks for the links. I’ve seen some before, and but not all.

            Regarding :

            “Your shock that someone might repeatedly question (that something is illegal) and challenge such an assertion is curious, . . .”

            I am not shocked that you question, and draw different conclusions, as to the legality of drone and crowd killing.

            You’ve seen the Bureau of Investigative Journalism reports. You’ve read the stories of these people that the US has killed. These are real people whose hopes, dreams, and lives are equally valuable as that of an US citizen and the US has obliterated them in what some drone operators laughing refer to as Bug Splats.

            What I find shocking is, as referred to in the King quote, that the question of legality should even merit consideration in the discussion a program that has killed over one hundred children and killed and injured over a thousand innocent civilians.

            Have we digressed to such a level of depravity that we are OK with mass killing of other peoples babies and children if our, or any, laws deem it legal?

          • hennorama

            SteveTheTeacher – TY again FYR, and you’re welcome, of course.

            You seem to misunderstand my comments. I am effectively neutral regarding the legality and morality, or lack thereof, of UAV usage in a variety of applications and circumstances. My sole stated position is that I believe that in some cases, the use of UAVs is the best option among a long list of bad options.

            I infer from your clarifying comments that you are making a moral argument, rather than a legal one.

            Both the moral and legal questions have reasonable and reasoned arguments on both sides, but some of the questions may ultimately be unanswerable in any definitive way.

            For example, which is morally better in implementing a strategy of eliminating human threats to national security before these threats are realized?:

            Tactic A, with a high likelihood of success, a lower likelihood of collateral damage and loss of innocent lives, that has very low/zero risk to national and allied personnel

            Tactic B, with a medium likelihood of success, a medium likelihood of collateral damage and loss of innocent lives, that has medium risk to national and allied personnel

            Tactic C, with a medium to high likelihood of success, a high likelihood of collateral damage and the loss of innocent lives, and that has high risk to national and allied personnel

            Tactic D, inaction, with zero likelihood of success, zero likelihood of collateral damage and the loss of innocent lives, and that has medium to high risk to national and allied personnel

            No doubt pondering these and myriad similar questions has contributed to President Obama’s greying pate.

            Thanks again for your response.

          • SteveTheTeacher

            Your assuming a false premise.

            Nations and nationalities are artificial human constructs lacking foundation in physical reality. We are only one species, human, nothing more.

            Americans are not exceptional. They are just human as are all others. If OK/legal/moral for President Obama to drone people living somewhere else, than the same is true for any other group to carry out their drone or equivalent killings here in the US.

            The reality is that President Obama does not have the right to decide who lives and who dies any more than any other human being.

            There will always be violent sociopaths who will, no doubt, kill to achieve their ends. The chance of such people gaining support only increases with military attacks and the ruthless/oppressive behavior in support of such superficialities as corporate profits.

            Yes, I am making a moral judgement. For we either give tacit approval to the killing of innocents including other people’s children or we fight to stop it.

            As Paulo Freiri said: “Washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral. ”

          • hennorama

            SteveTheTeacher – TYFY thoughtful R.

            Your sentiments and viewpoints are meritorious, and I respect them completely.

            Throughout human history and prehistory, individuals and groups have determined, both jointly and severally, that it was in their interest to separate from or to be rid of other humans. This has been accomplished through various methods: exile, deportation, banishment, ostracizing, shunning, expulsion, etc., some of which effectively were death sentences. Humans have also used imprisonment, execution, murder, assassination, and on larger scales, warfare, and its horrendous relative, genocide.

            If the world was actually “one world,” without the various “artificial human constructs lacking foundation in physical reality” that you described, there would still be the reality of “violent sociopaths who will, no doubt, kill to achieve their ends.” As such, there would still be some need to separate from or rid society of these humans.

            As no such “one world” exists at present, nations and groups of nations will continue to act both jointly and severally to accomplish this separation and riddance.

            Recent events have resulted in larger scale and more publicly discussed and recognized state-sponsored actions to eliminate individuals deemed to be current and present, and/or potential, dangers and threats to national and international security. The tactic that has gained favor, at least the one that is most publicly known and discussed, is assassination (call it what you will – “targeted killing,” etc. – it’s assassination) using UAVs.

            Some will and do argue for and against the tactic, but the issue is really more basic, whether humans have the right to separate from and/or rid themselves of other humans.

            Societies throughout human history and prehistory have decided that such a right exists.

            Thanks again for your thoughtful response.

          • SteveTheTeacher

            Thank you for your articulate and well reasoned response.

            I understand, as you point out that:

            “Societies throughout human history and prehistory have decided that such a right (to rid themselves of other human beings) exists.”

            While I agree that we should learn from history; history is not destiny.

            We will never achieve a more just, equitable, and sustainable world in which all human life is highly valued, if we do not work to bring it about.

          • hennorama

            SteveTheTeacher — TY again for your thoughtful response, and your very kind words.

            Your comment is generally well-taken.

            However, you left out part of my point, which is that societies have decided that the right to separate from and/or rid themselves of other humans, exists.

            Part of the considerations that go into approval of the use of UAVs in certain instances include whether or not there is a practical means by which to separate (locate, detain/arrest, and imprison) some humans from society. Approval is reportedly given only in cases where this is deemed impractical and/or impossible, given the capabilities of local authorities and/or U.S. and allied personnel, and balancing the risks thereto.

            Thanks again for your thoughtful response.

          • SteveTheTeacher

            I am still considering your comments.

            I have reflected on the comments of Malala Yousafzai (be no means an extremist) that drone strikes are “fueling terrorism.”

            Perhaps this is a suggestion:

            If can we agree that the goal should be to avoid innocent civilians being killed?

            And, if we can agree that the goal is to reduce terrorism.

            Then perhaps an alternative is to expand on President Obama’s push for support for the fight against terrorism.

            How about pushing for the creation of international accord on fighting terrorism and an organization that will lead the efforts to combat terrorism?

            Not that this would be easy or fast, but it would enable more shared responsibility and, hopefully, less lethal methods.

          • hennorama

            SteveTheTeacher – TYFYR.

            It goes without saying “ that the goal should be to avoid innocent civilians being killed.” That unfortunately does not preclude taking action that may result in the deaths of innocents.

            The idea of forming another international accord and organization may have merit, but will no doubt get significant domestic political pushback. In addition, there are numerous existing international organizations that have anti-terrorism activities as part of their functions. Try searching for “international anti-terrorist organizations” or similar using your favorite search engine, to see what I mean.

            ==========

            No doubt UAV and other tactical weaponry use, and associated deaths of innocent people, can and will fuel violence and terrorism. This has long been the case.

            As evidence of this, I have repeatedly pointed to the actions of another nation, nearly a century ago, the 95th anniversary of which was less than two months ago:

            The Amritsar Massacre, on April 13, 1919, which is famously depicted in the film Gandhi and is remembered to this day, led to violence in the UK many years later.

            Over two decades later, a witness to the Massacre, Udham Singh, assassinated Sir Michael Francis O’Dwyer, who was the Lieutenant Governor of Punjab at the time of the Massacre, and who had tacitly approved of Brigadier General Reginald Dyer actions.

            Per wikipedia.com:

            O’Dwyer, aged 75, was shot dead … in Caxton Hall, London on 13 March 1940, by a Sikh revolutionary, Udham Singh, in retaliation for the massacre at Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar.[23] His killer was tried for murder, convicted and hanged. Singh had told the court at his trial:

            “I did it because I had a grudge against him. He deserved it. He was the real culprit. He wanted to crush the spirit of my people, so I have crushed him. For full 21 years, I have been trying to wreak vengeance. I am happy that I have done the job. I am not scared of death. I am dying for my country. I have seen my people starving in India under the British rule. I have protested against this, it was my duty. What a greater honour could be bestowed on me than death for the sake of my motherland?

            Source:
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jallianwala_Bagh_massacre#Assassination_of_Michael_O.27Dwyer

            While I am in no way comparing US actions overseas to the Amritsar Massacre, this history should give one pause.

            Thanks again for your response, and your thoughtful extended engagement on this topic.

    • Fredlinskip

      Indeed that is a travesty.

      As is the hundreds of thousands dead and millions displaced by our unnecessary misadventure in Iraq,
      (Or were none of them innocent civilians?)

      Not to mention the U.S. soldiers killed and wounded in process.

    • jimino

      I know you keep posting this. Do you know haw many innocent civilians we had to kill to win the last war we actually won?

      So I expect US conduct in WWII must really keep you sleepless with anger and worry. Do you plan to demonstrate at the Truman Library anytime soon?

      Or just say you accept or support the aims and actions of those who are the stated intended drone targets,

      • SteveTheTeacher

        Truman knowingly dropped two atomic bombs – weapons of mass destruction – on civilian targets killings hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians in nanoseconds.

        This alone ranks him as one of the world’s most heinous war criminals. Not to mention Japanese efforts to surrender beforehand. Try reading Gar Alperovitz “The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb and the Architecture of an American Myth. ”

        or watching:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-WnLNLe3sk

        • stephenreal

          Truman ordered over a million purple hearts for the invasion of Japan. We still use these pre-invasion purple hearts even today.

          I would have nuked them too.

          • Don_B1

            The problem is that the negotiations, before President Truman ordered the Hiroshima and Nagasaki strikes, were hung up on the Japanese demand to keep their Emperor, though in a less powerful role, like the current Royalty of the U.K.

            After the strikes, the peace treaty that was signed basically was the same as the treaty that the Japanese had agreed to before the atomic bombings.

            In other words, the atomic bombings did not accomplish anything as far as the war went, and set up the U.S. as the only country to have ever used an atomic weapon.

          • hennorama

            stephenreal — what a chilling reminder of the possible U.S. casualties had an invasion of Japan become necessary.

      • nj_v2

        Do you really want to rationalize drone attacks on purported “terrorists” with comparisons with the kinds of warfare in WW2?

    • SteveTheTeacher

      I am disappointed in President Obama, and I believe he should be tried for war crimes for this.

      I find even more disturbing, the fact that many who opposed US actions in Iraq, during the Bush administration (mostly Democrats), now refuse to condemn drone and crowd killings.

    • hennorama

      X Y & Z — strike three (at least).

      Can you read?

      Repeating, from two earlier replies to you:

      Your own source clearly indicates that the attack in question [involving "5 pregnant women"] was not a “drone strike.”

      From the article in the link (emphasis added):

      Drones were not the first weapon the administration turned to when it started to attack the country. On December 17 2009 a US Navy submarine launched a cluster bomb-laden cruise missile at a suspected militant camp in al Majala, southern Yemen.

      The missile slammed into a hamlet hitting one of the poorest tribes in Yemen. Shrapnel and fire left at least 41 civilians dead, including at least 21 children and 12 women – five of them were pregnant.

  • John Cedar

    Funny to hear Hillary speak of the cancer of inequality when she and her hubby contributed more to it than anyone.
    NAFTA wasn’t enough for them. They sold the middle class to the Chinese.
    They began the housing bubble with tax free capital gains on homes, the largest single factor in the McMansion craze.

    If this was not enough incentive for Neutron Jack to kill jobs while leaving buildings standing, she threw in the FMLA, leaving employers to choose between getting in trouble for firing alcoholics and drug addicts or moving production to a business friendly third world nation.

    M&A went on steroids during the Clinton years and gave us XOM, a practice that Obama embraces and continues to this day.
    Microsoft got away scot free with having no product liablity, unfair trade practices, predatory pricing, monopoly market share and violation of the Robinson Patman act. And today Obama allows them to abandon their defective XP products.

    Yes Hillary, lets address the cancer of inequality but lets not forget that your hubby was the Marlboro man for that cancer. You’ve come a long way baby.

  • Fredlinskip

    Has Shinseki actually been shown to be culpable in any way for recent Va debacle or is he simply a convenient political scapegoat?
    Perhaps those directly involved in “conspiracy” should be exposed before blame be placed?

    • hennorama

      Fredlinskip — the latter, as usual.

  • HonestDebate1

    The first quarter GDP was revised down from 0.1% to -1.0%. Does anyone want to blame Bush? Or the so-called “great recession”? Or the banking crisis? Or the cold winter caused by global warming?

    No, Obama owns this likely double dip.

    • Ray in VT

      The cold winter certainly seems to have played a role according to economists, as well as “less inventory building that economists say can’t last.”

      http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-05-29/u-s-economy-shrank-early-this-year-for-first-time-since-2011.html

      Considering how relatively good the other numbers regarding the economy have been, especially since the end of the couple of bad months over the winter, it seems like a “double dip” is fairly unlikely.

      How terrible for Obama. One negative quarter following 13 straight ones of growth. How awful.

      • anamaria23

        Some economists predict 3-4% growth next quarter judging by the April numbers.

        • Ray in VT

          A similar number was suggested in the Bloomberg article. I think that it is always hard to say with such things, but the sort of regular trickle of monthly numbers and such all seem to be decent, which is why I think that a second negative quarter is unlikely.

      • HonestDebate1

        That’s an awfully low bar you have set.

        Yes, it is awful. Our only hope is a sustained GDP of at least around 7%.

        • Ray in VT

          I know. It’s terrible, right? I’m sure that a true conservative would have gotten sustained 7% GDP. If China can do it, then we must be able to, although one would be hard pressed to find a developed country that does. It sounds like you have bought into another unrealistic fantasy if you think that those numbers are coming down the pipe.

          • nj_v2

            We just need more tax cuts.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            … and that won’t increase the deficit at all, right?

        • Don_B1

          But just what policies would you implement to achieve a 7% GDP growth?

          Throw more money at the banks to invest in businesses that want to expand? What businesses do you see as having markets screaming for more of their products?

          The only policies that can get growth up higher than current growth are those that:

          1) provide jobs, directly or indirectly (by paying for infrastructure, new and repair of existing), through government spending, and

          2) the Federal Reserve decides to set an inflation target of 4% or 5% and makes it believable, so that big companies sitting on stockpiles of cash start investing it in productive, job creating investments.

          You probably recognize that as true, but your ideological conceits impel you to deny it.

          • Ray in VT

            My guess: tax cuts, deregulation and liberty.

          • HonestDebate1

            “But just what policies would you implement to achieve a 7% GDP growth?”

            Impeachment.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            On what grounds? Being a Democrat? Being a dark skinned President?

          • HonestDebate1

            That’s sick, what’s with you people?

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            Why would President Obama be impeached?

          • Ray in VT

            Because of all of the vast conspiracies that he has perpetrated. The man has had some 6-10 Watergates already.

          • Ray in VT

            Good one. I have liked your comment ironically.

        • jefe68

          That figure is absurd. Since 1948 the GDP has never been higher than 4.8%.
          From 1958-67 we had a GPD of 4.28%.
          Taxes were higher then as well.

          One wonders how you arrived at that figure. Did you just make it up?

          • Ray in VT

            Yeah, but that is talking sense.

          • HonestDebate1

            Yea, nonsense.

          • Ray in VT

            True, that doesn’t hold up by quarter, however, if one looks at the overall long term trends, growth above 5ish percent is outside of the norm for the past 40+ years, so I think that your call for “sustained” 7% growth is unrealistic based upon history.

          • HonestDebate1

            !983:

            Q3 9.1%

            Q4 8.1%

            1984:

            Q1 8.5%

            Q2 8%

            Q3 7.1%

            2000:

            Q1 8%

            2003:

            Q2 6.7%

            http://www.tradingeconomics.com/united-states/gdp-growth

          • Ray in VT

            So 5 quarters is “sustained”?

          • HonestDebate1

            Yes, somewhat. But that was not my claim. Jeffe was flat out embarrassingly wrong.

            If we had 5 quarters like that it would turn the economy a dime.

          • Ray in VT

            Yup, he was wrong. By and large I don’t think that he gets the facts wrong too often.

            However, based upon history such periods are rare, and while it would help, if the benefits merely continued to go to only a few at the top, then it might not be all that it is cracked up to be. Corporate profits are not trickling down, and so many good paying jobs have been shipped off to low wage parts of the world that the buying oomph of many has been diminished. It’s been going on for nearly 35 years, and I don’t see it changing.

  • HonestDebate1

    The VA scandal has now spread to 42 States and counting. The secret list made it appear as though the veterans on the actual list were being seen promptly and efficiently. That meant raises and rewards as long as they all stuck together with heroes died.

    As the VA stonewalls Jeff Miller the chairman of the House Veterans Affairs committee is rightly outraged. Where is Bernie Sanders?

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/video/news/video-1097218/Chairman-Jeff-Miller-doesnt-hold-VA-hearing.html

    • Ray in VT

      Senator Sanders is working on legislation similar to that passed by the House recently. He has also pointed out how a good part of our current problem is due to the consequences of the sorts of foreign wars that George Bush led us into over the past 13 years.

      • HonestDebate1

        Of course he is.

        • Ray in VT

          Yes. He is.

          • HonestDebate1

            Blaming Bush at this point is lame. Do us a favor and vote the Socialist out.

          • Ray in VT

            Of course. Bush’s actions didn’t flood the VA with amputees and servicemen with TBI. How silly. Obama is probably to blame.

            I am doing you a favor. I’m voting for Bernie, and he isn’t really a socialist.

          • jefe68

            It’s not up to you. Bernie Sanders is popular and wins elections because he does what the people of Vermont have elected him to do. Represent them and not special interest. You’re from NC, is that correct? Richard Burr seems to be the enemy of Vets while Bernie is in their fighting for them.
            http://www.politico.com/story/2014/05/richard-burr-veterans-group-no-apology-veterans-affairs-va-scandal-107168.html

          • Don_B1

            It will be interesting when all these middle-income workers who voted Republican find that their Veterans benefits are cut and the post offices in states like New Mexico, where I am vacationing right now, and where the P.O. to population ratio is much higher than in the East, are cut drastically.

          • nj_v2

            [ Do us all a favor and vote the Socialist out. ]

            As if we needed it, yet another signal of konservo-klown status.

          • TFRX

            Let’s see, a Ginny Foxx fan tells a Vermonter to be embarrassed about Bernie Sanders.

            Laughing so hard it hurts.

          • Ray in VT

            She’s keeping one eye on Sanders and the other on Obama.

          • HonestDebate1

            My Congresswoman is awesome!

  • Ray in VT

    There hasn’t seemed to be much, if any, discussion of this event, either at the time or more recently:

    http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/199480-gop-blocks-veterans-bill

    While this measure obviously would not have prevented the events at the heart of the current situation, it may have helped to alleviate some of the stress on the VA system that has occurred in recent years, as visits have increased by I think nearly 50% over the past 3-4 years.

    • Don_B1

      At least part of the increase in visits is the overlong delayed decision to allow Vietnam era veterans to use the VA hospitals for medical problems that were previously disallowed.

      Thanks go to Gen. Eric Shinseki!

      • Ray in VT

        I think that perhaps the VA under Mr. Shenseki, while trying to do the right thing for many veterans, bit off more than it could chew. Perhaps a better course would have been to pursue funding expansion and then to open the system up to vets with Agent Orange or Gulf War Syndrome, although, on the downside, perhaps funding would not have been forthcoming.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    Remember how Obama was going to improve the respect, stature and relations of the US to the world?

    Here is NBC foreign policy correspondent Richard Engel:
    “Hard Pressed” To Find Country Where Relations Have Improved Under Obama”
    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2014/05/29/engel_hard_pressed_to_find_country_where_relations_have_improved_under_obama.html

    Obama — Chamberlain abroad; Caesar at home

    • Coastghost

      Obama being far too irresolute to be in the same class as Julius, you must be invoking either Caligula or Nero.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        Substitute golfing for fiddling and you might have something.

    • John Cedar

      Lies!
      Obama imroooooved “relations” with Iran greatly.

      • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

        Would going to war with Iran been okay with you?

    • HonestDebate1

      WftC, I remembered who was outed by Obama. It was the doctor who tipped us off about Bin Laden.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        Oh yeah. Horrible.

  • Ed75

    Since it’s not covered too much, here’s a partial summary of Pope Francis trip to Jordan, Palestine and Israel last weekend:
    -travelled throughout with a rabbi with whom he had written a book and a Muslim scholar
    -met with Jordan leaders, said Mass, 14,000 first communions, visited and prayed at the site of Jesus’ Baptism across the Jordan.
    -met with Palestinian leaders, said Mass at Church of the Nativity, invited Palestinian and Israel leaders to the Vatican to pray and talk, prayed at the wall around Bethlehem
    -visited the Dome of the Rock mosque and spoke with Muslim religious leaders. Said that never again should we have violence in the name of religion.
    -met with Simon Perez and B. Netanyahu, prayed at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre with the Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople.
    -prayed at the wailing wall. Put a copy of the Our Father in the Wall.
    -met and prayed with Catholic religious and seminarians of the area
    -said Mass at the site of the Last Supper, the Cenacle, with the bishops of the region, very historic. This site is not a church or basilica.
    As he reaches out in dialogue to all faiths, one message was that people of good will need to work together, of all faiths and no faith.

  • Yar

    Your show spent a hour on our misogynistic culture, it is worth mentioning the Utah school that used Photoshop to alter yearbook photos of young women.
    http://www.chron.com/news/us/article/Utah-teens-shocked-to-see-altered-yearbook-photos-5515907.php

    Define endemic!

    • Charles

      Yeah, this is pretty sad.
      Slut-shaming is a strong component of our culture.
      I suppose this is what you get from a mini-Theocracy (Utah).

  • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

    Pivot on foreign policy? How so?

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    Libertarianism 3.0; Koch and a smile

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/05/30/charles-and-david-koch-the-minds-behind-libertarianism-3-0.html

    Which among other interesting points mentions (Nader; Libertarian/Progressive Allegiances)

    “As increasing numbers of Americans flee affiliation with either major party, libertarians and others will form ad hoc coalitions that focus on specific issues and then disband after a threat has been stared down. That happened in 2012, when a rag-tag group of people from all over the political spectrum teamed up to defeat The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and its Senate counterpart The Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA). Ralph Nader is calling for something similar in his new book, Unstoppable: The Emerging Right-Left Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State. In a recent interview, Nader—no fan of major parties, he—told me that libertarians and progressives could get a “hell of a lot done if they would band together on specific issues” such as cronyism and corporate subsidies. (The problem, he said, is that “everyone wants to win every argument on the things they disagree about.”)

    • J__o__h__n

      Wasn’t his role in electing Bush enough crossing party lines for him? His alliance with the progressives would have resulted in none of the positive things he achieved for consumers. Libertarians complain about seatbelt laws. I doubt they would have supported the government forcing car companies to install them.

      • nj_v2

        Still with the Nader-lost-the-election-for-Gore nonsense.

        More Florida Democrats voted for Bush than for Nader.

        • stephenreal

          with the dangling chad or not dangling chad?

          • nj_v2

            If there just had been a complete and fair vote (re)count, Gore would have won.

      • Government_Banking_Serf

        Really? Would you buy the car with the seat belt or the one without? Nader’s work is/was great, and if an industry is stuck, or so crony-capitalist corrupted that it no longer meets consumer demand, on key common sense issues that consumers would demand, I’m all for Ralph’s campaigns, just like those who advocate for small investors….

        But there is no need to presume the market will never work, never meet customer demands, and build a massive bureaucracy from there, smothering the economy in the process by dictating this and that, banning this and that, creating huge barriers to entry and opening the door to loopholes and more cronyism and more static, fixed, rigged markets over the longer term.

    • nj_v2

      The only problem would be finding enough Libertarians that don’t think evolution and science are some kind of conspiracy theory.

      • stephenreal

        live New Hampshire you’ll get all you the smart Libertarians you could ever want.

        • Ray in VT

          I don’t know. There’s some kooky stuff afoot there from time to time.

          • stephenreal

            New Hampshire is not the theocratic government of Utah.

          • Ray in VT

            True. I think that Utah is sometimes strange in it’s own way, but that doesn’t mean that New Hampshire doesn’t produce it’s share of oddities.

          • stephenreal

            yep, you damn well know New Hampshire is the land of political “oddities”. You are right about that. no doubt.

          • Ray in VT

            Every place has a fair share of weirdos in my experience. I know that is a mistake to conflate Libertarians with Republicans, but I did find it interesting that a while back when Republicans took over the legislature in the Live Free Or Die state one move that they made was to attempt to get rid of gay marriage, which, to me, seems to be rather anti-libertarian.

      • Government_Banking_Serf

        I think you are confusing them with Social Conservative and Neoconservative Republicans, in large part. Not helpful.

  • HonestDebate1

    Flashback to 1992, the headline in the NYT was “Gross National Letdown”:

    “President Bush smiled when he learned this week that economic growth during the third quarter reached a surprising 2.7 percent, almost twice the previous rate. But his smile shouldn’t be broad. The new figure almost certainly exaggerates the health of the economy, which continues to creep along at a painfully slow pace.

    Even the 2.7 figure is half the normal rate of recovery and not enough to bring down unemployment.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/1992/10/29/opinion/gross-national-letdown.html

    Now they are putting lipstick on a pig.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/30/upshot/with-gdp-its-important-to-distinguish-signal-from-noise.html

    • Ray in VT

      Different times, different circumstances, different outcomes and expectations.

      • stephenreal

        “when the facts change so do my investments” John Maynard Keynes

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        Yeah there was no bad weather under Bush. Amazing.

        • Ray in VT

          Care to sift through the analysis and see how often weather was cited as contributing to the numbers? Probably never happened, right? It was also an unusual weather event, and unusual events tend to result in unusual outcomes.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            I don’t recall Bush’s economy ever blamed on Easter.

          • Ray in VT

            I don’t recall people harping on every single poor number incessantly or promoting conspiracy theories about his administration rigging the jobs or unemployment numbers either.

          • JS

            I do recall the trumpets and singing every night when FOX proclaimed “record high” markets … not so much anymore

          • Ray in VT

            What? A difference in treatment of similar events under Bush vs. Obama? What a shock. Fox seemed relatively uninterested in the Walter Reed issue in 2007, yet not so much with the current issue regarding the VA. Curious.

          • HonestDebate1

            Fox was all over it, what are you taking about? And how does dirty conditions at one hospital compare to corruption in 42 states much of which led to death?

            The proper response is outrage not shifting blame and sweeping it under the rug.

          • Ray in VT

            Who’s doing that? It’s not like I have just downplayed the horrible conditions done by a private contractor with ties to the then Vice President. Shouldn’t privatization have led to magical outcomes?

          • HonestDebate1

            Such a supple wrist. Your comment was illogical and false so you pinball.

          • Ray in VT

            I would imagine that your wrists must be quite good, considering the master debating in which constantly engage. Illogical and false accurately describes most of your comments, especially when attempting to pinball away from legitimate criticism of how Fox covers events by downplaying the horrible effects of Bush’s privatization and war policies.

          • HonestDebate1

            QE 1 through umpteen is propping up the market.

          • JS

            Christopher Matthews, a writer for Fortune Magazine (not THAT Chris Matthews), suggest otherwise. I think theres a good chance he know’s more thsn both me and you, so, depending on your sources, I’ll go with him for now.

            “QE may boost profits by reducing the interest rates firms have to pay on their debt, but it’s not going to create profitable enterprises out of this air. A much more plausible reason for record stock prices is that corporate profits and profit margins are at all time highs.” – seems reasonable.

            http://business.time.com/2013/09/18/taper-tantrums-3-myths-about-quantitative-easing/

          • HonestDebate1
          • JS

            See, I can’t take you seriously when you use words like”apologist” for someone who has an opposing view point.

          • Ray in VT

            Just wait to you rise to the level of “lib”, should you be so blessed.

          • HonestDebate1

            You don’t have to take me seriously. There are apologist out there you know. I read the link you provided and it looks like the work of an apologist to me. The vast majority of economists I have heard on this matter say QE is propping up the market. Mr. Matthews’ logic didn’t make sense to me. For instance, why do you suppose corporate profits and profit margins are at all time highs?

            I don’t accuse people of being apologists because I disagree with them. I level the charge when they are apologists.

            BTW, Jonboston answered the question but I’m still not del clear.

          • JS

            At least stop calling him a “lone” apologist:

            http://www.pimco.com/EN/Insights/Pages/Is-the-Fed-Driving-or-Along-For-the-Ride.aspx

            So, are they apologist also? They must be if they come to the same conclusion as Matthews, right? So what is it about Matthews that makes him an “apologist”? besides giving an opinion you disagree with?

            They admit that QE has an effect, just that its not the driving force:

            “Based on our analysis, QE has not been the driving force behind rising equity prices in recent years. We found that since 2009, corporate profits have had a more direct relationship to stock prices. For clues on where the equity market is headed, we suggest investors focus on corporate earnings, dividends and cash flows and pay particular attention to valuations. At PIMCO, we acknowledge that the linkages between QE and stocks are complex. There are a number of arguments for the indirect effects of easy monetary policy on corporate profitability. For example, by purchasing mortgage-backed securities in the various QEs, the Fed drives down mortgage rates. Lower mortgage rates can result in increased housing market activity, which would in turn benefit the real economy and corporate profits.”

          • HonestDebate1

            I meant to look up and post this link but yours makes a similar point, one that I alluded to. Mr. Mathews said QE was less of a factor than corporate profits but corporate profits are boosted by QE.

            http://blogs.wsj.com/moneybeat/2013/05/22/the-fed-qe-and-corporate-margins/

            I actually started to add to the comment a couple hours after I posted but decided against it and deleted it. I’ll nutshell my stance.

            Regarding the market, I have been handed my ass in the past more than once (years ago) by trying to make the case the stock market was a good indicator of a healthy economy. The market runs on confidence and there are just too many factors. I replied to you because that’s what I inferred you were doing from your comment. As you know I don’t like to debate about me so I hesitated to call you an apologist. I try to be consistent, I leveled the charge at your link instead. I rebutted with 4 links.

            The economy is in the toilet, -1% GDP is awful. The LFPR is at a 40 year low, that’s awful. The market is being propped up artificially with QE to the point that ending it will cause pain when that’s the last thing we need right now. All it did is kick the can down the road making the day of reckoning more dire when it comes. I believe in market forces and market corrections.

            IMO anyone who tries to put lipstick on this pig of an economy is an apologist. you don’t have to agree. Did ypou see the CNN headline I posted earlier?

            “US Economy Shrinks, But It’s Not a Big Deal”

            BTW, I don’t claim to be a financial wizard. Much of it is over my head but I do understand the basics.

            There are a lot of apologist out there sop I take back the lonely part.

          • JS

            So, I’m glad we agree on one point: anyone who disagrees with you is an apologist, as your post above proves.

          • HonestDebate1

            That’s not what I said JS.

          • JS

            So, it seems you are saying, anyone, ANYONE, who believes that QE is NOT propping up the stock market, believes that the economy is not in the toilet.

            Nice way to shut down debate: We cannot debate wether or not QE props up the stock market, because anyone who says that, you seems to be saying, is REALLY saying the economy is NOT in the toilet. So you shift the debate from QE to the overall economy, and no discussion of QE takes place.

            SO much for honest debate.

            And the funny thing is, Matthews doesn’t even meet YOUR definition of an apologist: “anyone who tries to put lipstick on this pig of an economy is an apologist”. No where in the article does he defend the overall economy in any way.

          • HonestDebate1

            I’m not really interesting in debating whether QE is propping up the stock market. Even your links say it is, they just route it through corporate profits. You were the one who implied the stock market was an indicator of an economy that is not in the toilet, not me. I heard the Friday’s show tonight and even they said the stock market was not an indicator.

            Sometimes apologist are subtle. I thought I was clear, defending QE, separating it from the market and then touting the market is defending the economy.

            Anyone who makes excuses for this economy and doesn’t put the blame squarely on Obama is an apologist. And it’s not because they disagree with me. They disagree with all the evidence which I am no longer interested in debating. Maybe a few years ago but now I’m not interested in convincing anyone on this. I want the ideology defeated. That’s as honest as I can put it.

          • JS

            Sorry, I stopped after your first sentence:
            “I’m not really interesting in debating whether QE is propping up the stock market”

            Yet YOU started this thread, with this statement: “QE 1 through umpteen is propping up the market.”

            Is it really “Honest Debate” if you don’t want to debate the topic YOU brought up?

            You are quite clear: Anyone who thinks differently than you on QE is an apologist, there can be no debate on QE because it’s really an attempt to praise Obama’s economy, so anything you say on QE stands undebated.

          • HonestDebate1

            Your reply outs the lie about you stopping reading.

            I started this thread about the double standard in the press by citing reactions under Bush with 2.&% GDP compared to now at -1% GDP. You were the one who brought up the stock market, not me.

            I understand my moniker bothers you, that’s the idea. What I choose to debate or not to debate has nothing to do with honesty. Nice try.

          • JS

            I stopped reading, wrote the first part, then continued.

            Who brought up QE, and then said they didn’t want to debate it?

            Bringing up a topic, and then saying you don’t want to debate that very topic, is dishonest. You wouldn’t accept such duplicity from anyone else, why accept it from yourself? Aren’t you better than that?

          • JS
          • JS

            ANd CNBC is in the tank also (or is drinking the koolaide the term used now when someone puts forth an opinion you disagree with):

            http://www.cnbc.com/id/101199609

          • HonestDebate1

            Absolutely, anyone working at NBC is suspect. Is there any relation to Jay?

          • JS

            Just a question: are any right-leaning commentators, publications, or news outlets “suspect”?

          • HonestDebate1

            First, I was being hyperbolic. As a whole NBC is awful, they are the worst offenders but I should not disparage every single employee. I hope that was implicit. Santelli started the Tea Party movement on CNBC.

            By “suspect” I meant apologizers for Obama. Is that what you meant?

            Would you consider Fox right leaning? There are all kinds of apologists for Obama on Fox. I’m not sure the purpose of your question or if I answered it.

          • JS

            Ah, the old “hyperbolic” out, how convenient. I am realizing more and more that “honest debate” is an ironic misnomer. I would call it lying, but that’s just me.

            By “suspect” i thought you meant that their contents aren’t to be trusted fully. You know, the common, widely used definition shared by most everyone.

            So I will amend my question to help you better understand it:

            Do you consider any right-leaning commentators, publications, or news outlets “suspect”, or that their content aren’t to be fully trusted?

            I would definitely consider FOX right leaning, which doesn’t preclude them from having on people from the other side.

        • jefe68

          I guess Katrina does not count.

          • Ray in VT

            Of course, and no one talked about how such an event would impact the economy then.

          • HonestDebate1

            As you absurdly compare the devastating affects of Katrina and the aftermath with a chilly winter caused by global warming realize the Q4 GDP in 2005 was 2.2%.

          • Ray in VT

            So? We’re talking impacts and what it would have been in the absence of such an event. What you consider to be absurd is of little interest to me, considering your ongoing display of sense, ability to grasp facts or even simple definitions.

          • HonestDebate1

            Wrong Bush, pay attention.

          • Ray in VT

            Hurricane Andrew then.

  • stephenreal

    You got to wonder how the conservatives are gonna take losing the Presidency again in 2016. Right now those cats don’t even like their best hopes like Christie and dude from Wisconsin.

  • stephenreal

    Another twenty years of subsidizing of red states. I wish they could support themselves

  • stephenreal

    The red states need better jobs so we don’t have to pay them out every year.

  • SteveTheTeacher

    I’d like to see Onpoint commentators distinguish themselves from the majority of the mainstream media by choosing not to ignore the recent revelation of US government surveillance of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

    Among the findings of the 4000 pages of government documents obtained by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (http://www.justiceonline.org/one-nation-under-surveillance/report.html) was:

    “Pentagon and the Department of Defense personnel were conducting their own surveillance on the Occupy Movement and also used the infrastructure of the Fusion Centers to provide information to local and federal law enforcement agencies.”

    In Boston, rather than investigating true threats to public safety:

    “The Boston Regional Intelligence Center Monitored and Catalogued Occupy-Associated Activities from Student Organizing to Political Lectures”

    • stephenreal

      boring…Facebook (and that’s the obvious one) knows more about me, you and the dog name “boo” then the NSA, FBI and Homeland security combined. Please already

      • SteveTheTeacher

        Does Facebook have the ability to arrest you?

        • stephenreal

          Hell yeah dog. Really? You don’t think they work with our guys? Really dude?

          • SteveTheTeacher

            Exactly. The problem is how “our guys” act to limit our freedom, with whomever they collaborate. Your making my point.

          • stephenreal

            yeah. boring. private firms have been selling and sharing our info for decades. Decades dude! This is hardly the first time.

          • SteveTheTeacher

            You’re making a straw man argument.

            The issue is not about private firms selling our data.

            The PCJF findings show how government agencies and the military (despite stipulations against domestic action) have been targeting social justice activist. They give the sense of equating social justice activists with terrorists.

            You may find this boring, but many progressive, who are all potential targets do not.

          • stephenreal

            good debate steve-o . off to work I go! Have a nice day.

          • SteveTheTeacher

            Same here. Take care.

    • stephenreal

      Dude all this is we are writing and thinking right now is being hosed up into servers in the land of Theocrats. You know…Utah.

    • OnPointComments
      • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

        Blame the victim much?

        • OnPointComments

          Are you talking about the victims of OWS rapes and assaults?

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            Is the FBI also spying on all cities and college campuses and churches and every home? Because there are assaults and rapes that happen there!

          • nj_v2

            ^ Shameful hackery

      • nj_v2

        LIes and distortion from right-wing disinformation sources like Fox So-called News.

        Includes agitprop agents and people with no connection at all with the movement.

        The real question is who is behind these attacks on a movement pointing out abuses and fraud of the rich and powerful and why hacks like OnPointComments defend corporate abuses.

        • JONBOSTON

          The issue is not the source for the information but rather whether it’s true or not. As far as Occupy Wall street was concerned, the movement flamed out because the public at large ( with the exception of left wing kooks) became sickened by the numerous acts of violence, destruction and general anarchy.. It became difficult identifying with a movement too often populated by communists, anarchists , socialists , and wacked out losers.

          • nj_v2

            Oooo, socialists. Run for your lives!

    • JONBOSTON

      Good that authorities did surveil the movement since violence and anarchy were its principal achievements. Consider these reported incidents during just two dates, May Day 2012 and November 20, 2011:
      5/1/12 –FBI arrests 5 protesters associated with Occupy Cleveland Bomb Plot. Plan was to bomb a bridge over the Cuyahoga Valley National Park ; in Seattle a dozen protesters were arrested in Seattle after violent attacks on local businesses; in San Fran protesters attacked a row of small businesses in San Fran , launched paint bombs at the Mission Police station and smashed windows and cars on Valencia Street
      11/20/11 NYPD arrested Joshua Fellows for criminal possession of a .45caliber handgun ; 4 other protesters were arrested in NYC for groping a woman , and reported rape; assault on NYC policer officer.

      • HonestDebate1

        Hey Jon, I have a legal question concerning the injunction by judge Leitman in the John Conyers case. I am assuming you are up on it. What is happening regarding the Constitutionality of Michigan’s rules to get on the ballot? If the injunction is not appealed is it over or is Judge Leitman still considering whether the rules are unconstitutional? If he is, does he have the authority to strike it down absent an appeal?

        • JONBOSTON

          Greg,
          Judge Leitman issued a preliminary injunction (“PI”) that struck down the Michigan law on US constitutional grounds. Because a federal question ( First amendment rights of Conyers) is involved , Federal law prevails over state law. Since a PI is granted in advance of a full trial on the merits, Federal courts grant a PI only if a plaintiff can demonstrate likelihood of success , significant immediate harm , and that $ damages would not be adequate. Apparently this Obama appointee believed that Conyers satisfied the criteria for granting a PI . Prelim injunctions generally cannot be appealed unless extraordinary circumstances exist because there still would be a trial on the merits.
          Jon

          • HonestDebate1

            Thank you Jon. If I understand you then that means the matter is settled and the law is struck down and deemed to be unconstitutional, is that right?

            As I understand it he based his conclusion on an Ohio law that was similar and was found to be unconstitutional through the appeals process. Judge Leitman also said the petitioners “failure to comply with the registration statute was the result of good-faith mistakes… They believed they were in compliance with the statute”

            So was he saying they made good faith mistakes when they didn’t comply with the law which was unconstitutional anyway? You guys earn your money if you can make sense of this. Thanks again.

          • JONBOSTON

            You ask good questions. I’ve tried to read the judge’s written opinion but have been unsuccessful. However, from the limited news reports of the decision, the judge did not rule on the constitutionality of Michigan’s statute but most likely issued an order enjoining enforcement of the statute against Conyers pending a full blown trial. PI’s are extraordinary relief and the court’s ruling is preliminary in nature. What I guess happened is that the judge based his decision on the 5th circuit opinion and then assumed that the Michigan law was similarly suspect. Whether or not Conyers and the petition canvassers acted in good faith , in my judgement, is irrelevant.

        • JS

          Keep me informed, thanks!

      • SteveTheTeacher

        Oh yes, the Cleveland Bomb plot, hatched and planned by an FBI informant who, after 5 months trying convince the others, two of whom had histories of mental illness, got questionable levels of “cooperation” among those found guilty.

        But you’re right on Jon. Criminal activity of some few dozen with questionable ties to the Occupy Movement definitely warrants, suspension of the 4th amendments protection against unreasonable search and seizure and is amble grounds for mass surveillance of all the tens of thousands involved, particularly the leadership – regardless of their claims of “peaceful” expression of grievances.

        This is the country is the land of freedom. Anybody who does not express support for this country and their freedom of speech should be surveilled.

        Actually, why stop there?

        Why should the 1st amendment apply to any such people?

        • Government_Banking_Serf

          “4th amendments protection against unreasonable search and seizure”

          Quaint.

          But too………… 1700′s

          Join the statists, the water is wonderful!

    • nj_v2

      And there’s this:

      http://www.alternet.org/occupy-wall-street/why-occupy-protester-cecily-mcmillans-guilty-verdict-travesty?akid=11779.14701.GMRYxh&rd=1&src=newsletter989555&t=4

      Why Occupy Protester Cecily McMillan’s Guilty Verdict is a Travesty
      She might serve 7 years after cop grabbed her breast. The cop? Nada.

      May 6, 2014 |The verdict in the biggest Occupy related criminal case in New York City, that of Cecily McMillan, came down Monday afternoon. As disturbing as it is that she was found guilty of felony assault against Officer Grantley Bovell, the circumstances of her trial reflect an even more disturbing reality – that of normalized police violence, disproportionately punitive sentences (McMillan faces seven years in prison), and a criminal penal system based on anything but justice. While this is nothing new for the over-policed communities of New York City, what happened to McMillan reveals just how powerful and unrestrained a massive police force can be in fighting back against the very people with whom it is charged to protect.

      (snipped)

  • Yar

    I have a different take on the issues at the VA. Think about it in the context of Brown Vs Board of Education. We are trying to provide healthcare to all citizens in our country. Maybe it is time to say separate healthcare is never equal, and change our model of service so everyone can get the best care from the provider of their choice.
    The problem is many people want unequal care, where they have access and others don’t.
    How do we change that mindset?
    These issues are bigger than just the VA.
    This is the root of opposition to the affordable care act.

  • nj_v2

    Right-wing regressivity, jacka**ery, and general inanity of the week, special Anti-Science Edition:

    http://www.alternet.org/belief/how-right-wingers-are-amping-their-war-science-and-reality?akid=11836.1084699.Z75ZP7&rd=1&src=newsletter995098&t=2

    How Right-Wingers Are Amping Up Their War on Science and Reality
    Republicans are taking their science denialism to striking new levels.

    May 20, 2014 |
    No longer content just to claim to be “skeptical” of scientific findings they find disagreeable, Republican politicians have moved on to a more alarming anti-science strategy: confuse the public about what science even is, claiming it’s just someone’s opinion and ignoring the importance of evidence.

    (snipped)

    http://www.policymic.com/articles/89887/house-republicans-just-passed-a-bill-denying-something-99-of-scientists-agree-on

    House Republicans Just Passed a Bill Denying Something 99% of Scientists Agree On

    The news: House Republicans just voted to deny the reality of a changing climate, passing an amendment sponsored by Rep. David McKinley (R-W. Va.) that seeks to prevent the Department of Defense from using its own funding to address the long-term impacts of climate change.

    On Thursday, 227 Republicans voted in favor of the amendment, with just three against, while only four Democrats supported it and 189 were against.

    The full text of McKinley’s amendment reads:

    “None of the funds authorized to be appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used to implement the U.S. Global Change Research Program National Climate Assessment, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report, the United Nation’s Agenda 21 sustainable development plan, or the May 2013 Technical Update of the Social Cost of Carbon for Regulatory Impact Analysis Under Executive Order.”…

    (snipped)

    http://www.salon.com/2014/05/26/neil_degrasse_tyson_vs_the_right_cosmos_christians_and_the_battle_for_american_science/?source=newsletter

    Neil deGrasse Tyson vs. the right: “Cosmos,” Christians, and the battle for American science
    The real reason conservatives are freaking out about Neil deGrasse Tyson: He’s laying bare their worst hypocrisies

    The religious right has been freaking out about Neil deGrasse Tyson’s “Cosmos” for what feels like an eternity. And, while the theological complaints seem laughable for their rancor and predictability, it’s time we thought harder about what they represent, because the Christian right’s “Cosmos” agita actually indicates a far deeper problem in religious conservatism — the selective acceptance of Enlightenment values. Religious conservatives have selectively adopted the legacy of liberal Enlightenment, from free speech to science, and jettisoned it when it does not suit their narrow ideological aims.

    (snipped)

    • Ray in VT

      Did you see the one about how the keeping the government out of your life crowd down in one part of Georgia wants ladies to go to the doctor and get a prescription in order to purchase a (ahem) “personal massager”?

      • MrNutso

        Sheldon Cooper cleaning Penny’s closet:
        Another thing. Penny, what should I do with what appears to be a battery powered dog bone?

  • MrNutso

    How about the House’s recent $570M defense budget that includes weapons systems DOD does not want and says will undermine the military’s goals?

    • Ray in VT

      The DOD has been trying to get rid of weapons systems that it doesn’t want for years, but Congressmen don’t want to lose the funding and jobs in their districts.

      • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

        Except that military spending is a lousy way to stimulate the economy; because it is totally unproductive. Buy a tank and at best – it sits there unused. Buy a wind turbine, and at best it produces electricity for decades and employs people for decades.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Global Heating: yada yada*
    War in Afghanistan: ditto ditto
    VA Scandal: hopey changey
    Close GITMO: same-o same-o
    Keystone XL: nopey maybe absolutely
    Extinction of the Middle Class: no clue how’dya do
    I’m Barack Obama and I approve this muddle.
    –Barack Hussein Obama {Visionary for the Generations}

    Not to mention it’s all of your own making.

    * His big time, take no prisoners actions of reversing global climate change to be released next week. EPA and Chamber of Commerce already duking it out.

  • toc1234

    listening to Obama talk about foreign policy is like listening to a 3 y/o discuss football. or Sen Warren talk about the private sector, for that matter. but that’s what you get when a community organizer is crowned president…

    • Ray in VT

      or like listening to the TOP talk about anything.

      • MrNutso

        It’s just a speech.

    • jefe68

      Yawn.

    • http://alchemicalreaction.blogspot.com/ Alchemical Reaction

      Perhaps you should cultivate a more positive attitude so you don’t become sick.

  • Coastghost

    Distinctly odd that “gun control” and “mental health issues” get linked de rigueur by “On Point” producers and other MSM types: the crimes imputed to Carol Coronado and Elliot Rodger occurred virtually simultaneously, within days of each other. Coronado’s case is being deemed “a private tragedy”, but to say it has no public repercussions is disingenuous: and because Coronado is accused of stabbing her three daughters to death, public outcry is muted and no calls emerge for banning assault knives. Elliot Rodger embarked on a public/private rampage, but because he shot three of his victims to death, the fact that he stabbed three victims to death seems to hold no interest for reporters and social commentators.
    Why has Carol Coronado not been deemed “a misogynist” for concentrating her attack on three female victims? Why are stabbing deaths deemed so inconsequential: is the resulting mortality any less fatal?

    • http://alchemicalreaction.blogspot.com/ Alchemical Reaction

      You are trying to inject sanity into an insane world.

    • Ray in VT

      Perhaps the lesser attention paid is due in part to the public/private nature of the events, as well as how over the past 10-15 years firearms have been used five times as often as the weapon used to carry out homicides here in America.

      • Coastghost

        Coronado’s daughters and Rodger’s stabbing victims appreciate the distinction, no doubt.

        • Ray in VT

          What an incredibly nuanced and thoughtful analysis of news coverage. Thanks.

    • jefe68

      When I read comments like this it’s clear what the agenda is. Problem is, it’s full of irrational nonsense.
      One can’t cut vegetables with an assault rifle or semi-automatic pistol. Nor do guns make for very good hammers when you need to build something.

      Rodgers also used his car as a weapon, but I don’t recall a gun helping me get my groceries home from the market.

    • hennorama

      Coastghost – repeating from an earlier reply to you, regarding the Isla Vista rampage:

      11 of the 19 victims were wounded by projectiles discharged from firearms, three of whom died as a result. In other words, they were victims of a “shooting.”

      4 of the 19 victims were struck by a vehicle and injured as a result.

      3 of the 19 victims died from multiple stab wounds.

      1 of the 19 victims sustained a minor injury from an unknown origin.

      ==========

      The simply, chilling arithmetic, of those killed and wounded:

      58 percent from bullets
      21 percent from a vehicle
      16 percent from bladed/blunt weapon(s)
      5 percent from unknown cause

      Your desire to compare Carol Coronado, the woman accused of killing her three young daughters inside her home, to the suspect in the Isla Vista rampage, would be valid if there was no public shooting and automotive assault spree in Isla Vista, that, according to law enforcement officials, occurred after three murders committed using bladed/blunt weapon(s).

      But that’s not the case, and therefore, the two cases are not comparable.

      • Coastghost

        Straining gnats in order to swallow camels whole and entire, hunh, hen?
        Bon appetit.

        • hennorama

          Coastghost — TYFYR.

          No, simply pointing out the obvious.

          Had the Isla Vista suspect ended his violence after allegedly killing the three men in his residence, the case would be comparable:

          Similar weapons.
          Same number of dead victims.
          Suspect and victims all of the same gender.

          But again, the Isla Vista suspect did not stop, and went on to claim 16 more victims, and an unquantified number of attempted victims.

          • Coastghost

            Do exercise all due care, hen: camels have been implicated in the spread of MERS by some accounts.

          • hennorama

            Coastghost replied to you · 6 hours ago

            Do exercise all due care, hen: camels have been implicated in the spread of MERS by some accounts.

            Coastghost – TYFYR, and your expression of concern.

            Fear not, as I haven’t been in contact with any camelids since a trip to Egypt in the mid-1990s. One might be more concerned about contact with the various zookeepers I know, assuming one is actually concerned.

            TYAFYR.

  • MrNutso

    Pivots, red lines, process, blah, blah, blah. The only doctrine there should be is to deal with situations as they develop based on the facts.

    • http://alchemicalreaction.blogspot.com/ Alchemical Reaction

      I will agree that the whole “red line” thing is totally bizarre and bordering on embarrassing. Why is the line red?
      Why not just a boundary or line? It’s banal.

      Oh no, your toe crossed my purple pelican boundary! My sirens are blaring! My indicator light is flashing!

      • HonestDebate1

        To me the better question is why Obama needs to issue a red line at all. Enemies should know up front they better not cross us. It should be implicit. No one fears him.

        • Ray in VT

          I guess that that is what we get when we don’t have the rootinest, tootinest President this side of the Pecos. People don’t worry that it is just going to be bombs away when they do something that we don’t like. Actually, that seems pretty good to me, considering how poor the results of some of our foreign misadventures have been.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eo0OY8GOuc

          • jefe68

            He forgot one…

      • anamaria23

        Better to issue a redline as a despot gasses his people in their sleep enabled by a Russian “leader” who plays the hero when his only ally is threatened, than sit by and yawn as the rest of the world did.

    • HonestDebate1

      I agree which begs the question, why did President Obama brag at Westpoint that this class would be the first he would not send into combat (aka what they are trained for)? It seems a bit odd to take military intervention off the table for all future contingencies.

      • Ray in VT

        That is a bizarre takeaway from the President’s remarks.

        • Steve__T

          Remember who your talking to. Darth Bezzaro HD1!

      • MrNutso

        Playing to your audience.

    • JP_Finn

      Yeah, it’s pretty silly how the public and the media demand that candidates for presidential office outline point-by-point exactly what they’re going to do in foreign policy, as if they have the power to control the future before it happens. The best any leader can do–including the president of the United States, as powerful as this country is–is to clearly lay out his/her principles at the outset and stick to those principles as much as possible as events develop. That being said, I’m not certain President Obama has done a great job with even this realistic goal. His foreign policy principles were never entirely clear, but he seems to have drifted away from what many people expected from him at the outset.

      I don’t regret voting for President Obama over Senator McCain the first go-round, because no clear foreign policy is better than an actively damaging one. But I’m not convinced that Romney wouldn’t have done as good if not a better job on foreign policy (domestic policy is another story altogether). It was because of my disappointment with President Obama’s foreign policy and national security decisions that I voted for a third party candidate (Rocky Anderson) in 2012.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Barack Obama as one of the Peanuts characters.
    On the playground with the ready smile and open handshake.
    Wearing T-shirt emblazoned: “I’m running for class president. And I want to be your friend. Have a sunny happiness today.”

    If life was just a Charles Schulz skit.

    • http://alchemicalreaction.blogspot.com/ Alchemical Reaction

      Ummm… GO drink some coffee, my friend. Your prose is subpar today.

  • MrNutso

    The most recent mass shooting. Think about that statement for a moment and contemplate a society where those words get uttered on average, every other week.

    • http://alchemicalreaction.blogspot.com/ Alchemical Reaction

      Wasn’t there a book, “the better angels of our nature” or something like that, where the guy explains that, adjusted for the total population, humanity has become more peaceful?

      I think his research may be skewed.

      • MrNutso

        Well sure. Between 60 and 80 million people died in WWII, when the world population was 2.3 billion. WIth a current world population of 7 billion and the same number of deaths, the war would have been more peaceful.

    • nj_v2

      Then there are the non-mass shootings…

      http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/boy-accidental-shooting-father-oklahoma

      5-Year-Old Accidentally Shot Father In Oklahoma Store

      http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/05/27/3-year-old-arizona-boy-shoots-18-month-old-brother-dead-with-neighbors-gun/

      3-year-old Arizona boy shoots 18-month-old brother dead with neighbor’s gun

      http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/05/29/florida-6-year-old-kills-grandfather-with-ak-47-left-unattended-by-boys-uncle-at-family-picnic/

      Florida 6-year-old kills grandfather with AK-47 left unattended by boy’s uncle at family picnic

      • Ray in VT

        Why do people leave loaded guns laying about or unattended?

        • hennorama

          Ray in VT — my Universal Rule #1:

          Some People Are Stupid.

          • Ray in VT

            “A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it.” – Agent Kay, Men in Black.

        • anamaria23

          Because there are no repurcussions if they do. Any such would impinge upon their freedoms.

          • hennorama

            anamaria23 — daggumit! You beat me to:

            Because: Freedom. Or something.

        • Steve__T

          They are uneducated and ignorant of what they have and vapidly stupid?

      • twenty_niner

        And don’t forget these as well…

        Home Depot Attack Thwarted by a Man With a Gun – Imagine That!

        http://newstalk1290.com/home-depot-attack-thwarted-by-a-man-with-a-gun-imagine-that/

        Homeowner shoots and kills armed robbery suspect

        http://www.myfoxdetroit.com/story/24796777/homeowner-shoots-and-kills-armed-robbery-suspect

        Convenience store clerk shoots armed robber, WKBN, Youngstown, Ohio, May 22, 2014

        http://www.nraila.org/gun-laws/armed-citizen/2014/convenience-store-clerk-shoots-armed-robber,-wkbn,-youngstown,-ohio,-may-22,-2014.aspx

        • Ray in VT

          And you also get instances such as this:

          Woman shot inside Indiana Wal-Mart store after gun falls from man’s pants

          http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2014/may/27/gunshot-wounds-woman-inside-indiana-wal-mart/

          • twenty_niner

            And this…

            “Man electrocuted to death after trying to take a SELFIE on top of a train”

            http://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/latest-news/370268/Man-electrocuted-to-death-after-trying-to-take-a-SELFIE-on-top-of-a-train

            I’m ready to ban selfies.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            Did the camera kill him?

          • Ray in VT

            Call me when selfies kill nearly some 4,000 Americans per year, as accidental shootings have.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            Or when 18,000+ people kill themselves with a camera.

          • twenty_niner

            “18,000+ people kill themselves with a camera”

            Or phones…

            National Safety Council Estimates that At Least 1.6 Million Crashes Each Year Involve Drivers Using Cell Phones and Texting

            http://www.nsc.org/Pages/NSCestimates16millioncrashescausedbydriversusingcellphonesandtexting.aspx

          • Ray in VT

            Which is probably why many states are banning the use of such devices while driving.

          • twenty_niner

            “banning the use of such devices”

            Which is barely making a dent.

            Liberals always point to the fallacy of banning alcohol in the 20s, especially when arguing for the liberalization of stuff they like such as pot, but always seem to forget those arguments when it comes to stuff they don’t like.

          • Ray in VT

            Probably better to do nothing. I’m sure that the market will take care of it.

          • twenty_niner

            “Probably better to do nothing. I’m sure that the market will take care of it.”

            The exact argument liberals use for legalizing pot.

          • Ray in VT

            How many people does smoking weed kill? Laws against murdering people obviously haven’t work. We probably don’t need laws against it then, as prohibition has failed.

          • twenty_niner

            “How many people does smoking weed kill?”

            Lots of people involved in the distribution side of the business. Once it’s fully legal, we’ll have stats on weed DUI deaths and deaths from having been a gateway to harder drugs.

            The other question is: how many people does alcohol kill per year?

            The CDC estimates about 88,000

            http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-alcohol-related-deaths-years-lost-sxsw-20140313-story.html

            And worldwide, about 2.5 million deaths annually.

            http://www.ncadd.org/index.php/in-the-news/155-25-million-alcohol-related-deaths-worldwide-annually

            Should we give banning alcohol another shot?

          • Ray in VT

            I asked about smoking weed, and I meant actually smoking it. Attempts at prohibition caused much violence regarding alcohol, which largely went away with the end of that attempt. It would stand to reason that pot legalization would likely lead to similar outcomes.

            Why ban alcohol? Why not just ban drinking and driving, enforce that ban, have some tough penalties, and conduct a public information campaign? Those things worked reasonably well, but perhaps because it didn’t reduce the problem to zero it wasn’t worthwhile?

          • twenty_niner

            Q. Why ban alcohol?

            A. Why ban guns?

            Q. Why not just ban drinking and driving, enforce that ban, have some tough penalties, and conduct a public information campaign?

            A. Why not just ban shooting other people for no reason, enforce the ban, have some tough penalties, and conduct a public information campaign?

            I guess we’re in agreement.

          • Ray in VT

            Q: Who is advocating banning guns?

            A: Not me.

            Q: Why can’t we take measures to attempt to keep guns out of the hands of people who have criminal histories or mental health issues:

            A: ?

          • twenty_niner

            Q: Who is advocating banning guns?

            A: Maybe you’re not, but other are.

            Q: Why can’t we take measures to attempt to keep guns out of the hands of people who have criminal histories or mental health issues:

            A: Many laws exist, the NRA claims 20,000, who knows the exact number.

            “mental health issues”

            I would agree that work needs to be done here, but before Elliot Roger started shooting, he stabbed three people, and no one is going to mandate a waiting list for buying a knife. In the end, these incidents are salient but not statistically significant.

          • Ray in VT

            Banning guns isn’t viable. I doubt that it would pass many if any legislatures, and the courts wouldn’t accept it either.

            I think little of the NRA and their positions, given their close ties to the gun industry. I think that no other organization has done more to stand in the way of basic gun safety laws than the NRA.

            Guns are used in far more murders than knives, and it is a lot easier to wreak mass havoc with a firearm than with a knife. Quite frankly I don’t think that most of these people have the sack to commit such acts in the much more personal way that something like a bladed weapon requires.

            I guess that you are just willing to live with far more what I think are preventable shootings than I am.

          • twenty_niner

            “I guess that you are just willing to live with far more what I think are preventable shootings than I am”

            Really not the point. The point is perspective and context. With 9-11 over a decade behind us the public support for the “war on terror” has dwindled to nil, because rightly, the perceived threat has finally come into line with the actual threat.

            Sure, we could turn the world into a giant police state to route out every possible terrorist, but in the end it wouldn’t work. We’d waste a lot of money and lives, so, when we do the cost-benefit analysis, we decide to live with a certain level of terrorism. The same argument applies to gun control – let’s be wary of letting salient events determine policy.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            They are texting to commit suicide?

          • Steve__T

            It might not have started that way… but just cause’ you pass a drivers test doesn’t mean your the brightest bulb in the batch.
            Just cant fix stupid.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            People who want to kill themselves, do not attempt to do it by texting while driving.

          • Steve__T

            People who text while driving are playing Russian roulette, please explain the difference.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            People who want to commit suicide do not attempt to do so by texting while driving.

            The purpose of a gun is to harm. If you don’t understand the difference between stupid risk and using a gun, then I can’t help you.

          • hennorama

            Ray in VT — but “selfies don’t kill people, people do.”

          • twenty_niner

            I think I can safely come out from underneath the desk:

            Odds of dying from an accidental firearms discharge: 514,000:1

            Odds of dying from falling down the stairs: 157,000:1 – more than 3 times likely.

          • Ray in VT

            Better outlaw stairs, then, especially the next time that a guy kills a half of a dozen people with them.

          • twenty_niner

            “Better outlaw stairs, then”

            Or Big Macs.

            Odds of dying from heart disease: 467 : 1 – more than 1000 times more likely than an accidental firearms discharge.

            OK, salad for lunch, and I guess I can leave the bullet-proof vest in the car.

          • Ray in VT

            Obviously. I am planning on a mass killing with Big Macs as we speak. What are the odds of dying after 1 Big Mac versus one bullet? Do you have those handy?

          • twenty_niner

            With about 70 mass killings in the last 30 years, I imagine a lot more people have died from Big Macs than mass killers.

            This is the same ridiculous hysteria – fretting over statistically highly improbable events – that launched the post 9-11 wars.

          • Ray in VT

            Obviously we shouldn’t worry about the state of what are often our lax guns laws and how that allows criminals to fairly easily access deadly weapons, as well as a mental health system that often does too little to attempt to address problems that troubled people have. Nothing to worry about there.

          • twenty_niner

            The exact argument neocons used to get us into Iraq and Afghanistan over extremely low probability but highly salient events.

          • Ray in VT

            Obviously thousands of gun murders per year aren’t in any way connected to our gun laws. Acceptable losses?

          • twenty_niner

            “thousands of gun murders per year”

            For a population of 300 million, yes.

          • Ray in VT

            That is a horrific statement in my opinion. I think that a decent amount could be done to reduce that number somewhat.

          • twenty_niner

            “That is a horrific statement in my opinion.”

            No, it’s just statistics. There are a lot of deaths every year, a minute fraction are related to firearms. The biggest killer is heart disease. If I were into banning stuff, which I’m not, I would ban Big Macs before banning guns.

          • Ray in VT

            I think that such statement is beyond callous.

          • Steve__T

            Odds of winning the Publishers Clearing House Big Prize: 1,300,000,000: 1

          • Steve__T

            It wouldn’t help. Their is no cure for stupid.

        • anamaria23

          No one is trying to take away the right of legitimate gun owners.

        • hennorama

          twenty_niner — did you simply overlook this one, from foxnewsinsider.com?

          MN Man Convicted of Murder for Shooting Two Teen Intruders

          A verdict has been handed down in a controversial murder trial involving a Minnesota homeowner who fatally shot two teen intruders. Byron Smith, 65, was sentenced to life in prison for premeditated murder in the deaths of 17-year-old Nick Brady and 18-year-old Haile Kifer.

          Smith claimed he was defending himself, but prosecutors say his actions were excessive, including firing nine shots at the unarmed teens. Smith had an audio recorder running and was waiting in his basement when the teens broke into his home in 2012.

          Prosecutors say Smith suspected that Brady, his neighbor, was responsible for burglaries in the area, so he moved his truck to make it appear as if he was not home. He then waited in the basement with a book, energy bars, a bottle of water and two guns.

          http://foxnewsinsider.com/2014/04/30/minnesota-man-byron-smith-convicted-murder-shooting-two-teen-intruders

          • IHateFatChicks

            He was justified. They engaged in multiple burglaries of his home and stole firearms. The only mistake he made was telling LE about the “head shots”. I, personally, wouldn’t have taken the head shot but I would’ve put 2-3 rounds in the center mass and been cautious about calling EMS. Home invasion and burglary are uniquely violent crimes and it was his home. Get the memo, simpleton.

          • Ray in VT

            Justified in luring them in, lying in wait and executing them? A jury of his peers disagreed with your conclusions.

          • IHateFatChicks

            How many times would you be content to have the same perpetrator invade and burglarize your home? The man and woman here that he killed burglarized and invaded his home no less than 4 times and stole guns. It must be nice to live in a cocoon of ignorance.

          • Ray in VT

            Yes, your ignorance cocoon must serve you well. Executing people isn’t the job of people taking the law into their own hands.

          • IHateFatChicks

            Then I’ll let them kill you. Personally, if someone comes into 1 of my homes, they’ll be leaving feet first, on a gurney. It’s not taking the law into your own hands to defend your life and property, half-wit.

          • Ray in VT

            Yes, I’m sure that you’re a real rough and tough guy who people should just quake around. I am well positioned to defend my home and my family, however the law does not entitle one to do what that gentleman did. Maybe you can plant a gun on your hypothetical robber or something.

          • HonestDebate1

            “Luring them in”?!

            Riddle me this, if I wanted to lure you into breaking into my house and stealing something, how would I do that?

          • Ray in VT

            Seeing as how I am not a criminal, then you would have a hard time with that.

            So, did these people not deserve a trial either? I seem to recall you suggesting previously that another didn’t.

          • HonestDebate1

            Bingo.

            Everybody deserves a trial.

          • Ray in VT

            I don’t think that that was what you advocated once before.

          • HonestDebate1

            Everybody but dead people.

          • Ray in VT

            Again, not what you once suggested.

          • Steve__T

            No riddle, it’s known human behavior.

            Do the opposite of what police and insurance company’s have been telling the public to do for years.

            Make it look like you’ve not been home for a while. leave the news papers and mail piled up, no car in driveway or leave it unwashed or covered. No lights on or one light always on.

          • hennorama

            HaterOfLargeYoungPoultry — Thank you for your response.

            Your brilliance, personal values and ethics are on display once again.

            The jurors, who, unlike your brilliant self, had access to all the evidence, including the fact that the teenagers were unarmed, came to the opposite conclusion.

            Of course, you know better, right?

            Please, continue to post, as the rest of the forum is waiting to read your profundity.

          • IHateFatChicks

            He made mistake of not grouping his rounds in the chest and using a head shot and then telling LE about it, after this same trash invaded and burglarized his home no less than 4 times stealing guns.

            Sure, juries get it “right” all the time. I just shudder to think about the time and resources wasted by the Innocence Project and DNA releasing those wrongly convicted when the juries always “have all the facts”. Lol You’re such a half-wit of a simpleton. This is fun playing with an invalid, a mental midget like you.

          • hennorama

            HaterOfLargeYoungPoultry –TYFYR.

            Well done, really. A reversion to ad hominem/feminam attacks, the last refuge of the argument- and fact-challenged.

            Please, demonstrate the veracity of your claim that, “this same trash invaded and burglarized his home no less than 4 times stealing guns.”

            Worry not, however, as no one will hold their breath waiting for your brilliant self to respond.

          • IHateFatChicks

            Is that the best an unemployed, uneducated single women living in a trailer can come up with.

            The young man and woman were behind several of the other burglaries and the young man worked for this man. You’re truly delusional beyond reason.

            http://guardianlv.com/2014/04/minnesota-man-who-killed-two-teens-during-robbery-convicted-of-murder/

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Byron_David_Smith_killings

          • hennorama

            LoathsomeLoather – thank you for your response, and your continued demonstration of your inability to support your claims.

            Neither of the sources to which you linked demonstrate the veracity of your claim that, “this same trash invaded and burglarized his home no less than 4 times stealing guns.” All you have are suspicions and investigations, not what you seem to treasure, yet are unable to provide – provable facts.

            Well done.

          • IHateFatChicks

            I’m sure you can regale us with your extensive educational background and working experience as a SAHM in your trailer.

            Reading comprehension, get some. They burglarized his home on several previous occasions, you half-wit of a simpleton.

            http://www.cbsnews.com/news/byron-smith-case-slain-minn-teens-may-be-tied-to-previous-burglary-police-say/

            http://www.cbsnews.com/news/trial-set-to-begins-for-minnesota-man-who-shot-teens-in-his-home/
            I’m sure you share the same meth habit as his dear mother. :)

          • hennorama

            LoatherOfLargeYoungPoultry – again, thank you for your response, and your continued demonstration of your inability to support your claims, and your desperation as evinced by your continued use of base and baseless ad hominem/feminam attacks.

            Well done.

            Speaking of “Reading comprehension, get some,” from your treasured sources (emphasis added):

            The teenage cousins shot and killed during an alleged home burglary on Thanksgiving Day may have committed a similar crime a day earlier at a house nearby, investigators say.

            “There are some preliminary indications that the Johnson burglary may have been committed by the Brady boy and the Kifer girl, but it’s too early now to say definitively,”

            If the above are your demonstration of the veracity of your claim that, “this same trash invaded and burglarized his home no less than 4 times stealing guns,” you have a poor grasp of the meaning of the words “demonstration” and “veracity.”

            As previously stated, all you have are suspicions and investigations, not what you seem to treasure, yet are unable to provide – provable facts.

            Thanks again for your response.

          • Steve__T

            “He made mistake of not grouping his rounds in the chest and using a head shot and then telling LE about it”

            No, he made the mistake of planing and murdering two teenagers.

          • twenty_niner

            In the cases I cited, the assailants were armed.

          • hennorama

            twenty_niner — thank you for your response.

            In the Isla Vista rampage, which [MrNutso] referred to when starting this thread, none of the 19 victims were reported to have been in possession of a firearm.

            In the [nj_v2]‘s first link, the injured father was armed: “He took off his holster and placed it on a bench where his son was playing with a phone, according to the police report.

            Lannou’s son picked up the gun and it discharged, grazing the boy’s thumb. The bullet went through Darren Lannou’s right leg and grazed his left leg.”

            In [nj_v2]‘s second link, the “18-month-old Arizona boy [who] was killed,” was (presumably) not in possession of a firearm.

            In [nj_v2]‘s third link, nothing in the report indicates that the fatally wounded grandfather was in possession of a firearm, other than temporarily having handled the weapon with which he was killed:

            “Martinez Jr. brought out his AK-47 to share, handing it to his father who then set it on a table.”

            And of course, neither of the teenagers murdered by Byron Smith were in possession of a firearm.

            Thanks again for your response.

          • HonestDebate1

            It’s a crying shame the victims were unarmed, especially the first one.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Tim Murphy, hey my Congressman! Who’s on his couch today?

  • http://alchemicalreaction.blogspot.com/ Alchemical Reaction

    Obama: “Oh no, your toe crossed my purple pelican boundary! My sirens are blaring! My indicator light is flashing! Bird is the word! I mean ‘drone’, DRONE is the word!”

  • spiral007

    No one ever asks the question as to what is our National Security interest in all these new conflicts in Africa. If the governments do not want to protect their own people, what makes us think that we can be their policemen! Why do we not use economic and financial sanctions against these governments. Remember most of the money of the leaders of these countries is kept in Tax havens in the WEST!

    These are ‘feel good’ actions for the manipulation of the naive, ill-informed john Q, all the while providing a mask over the real reasons that are the securing of the resources of these countries for our corporations.

    Let us conduct a referendum in the USA to ask the people if they want us to militarily involve in all these conflicts to secure resources for our corporations.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Obama supports the 2nd Amendment instead of being for its repeal. And that’s the problem with Dems. They’re too wimpy {feckless} when they need to be tough.

  • Jill122

    The president doesn’t jam through legislation. What a pity that even the speakers don’t understand how government works. The president took a strong position and the Congress did as well. Just not the same one.

    • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

      Lincoln did. And he didn’t bother legislating. Hoober Doober

      • Jill122

        Cut it out. If you don’t know the difference you don’t deserve a response,

  • James

    FFS, why is it spineless to support less gun control when the vast majority of the population supports more gun control? You can’t have it both ways people.

  • Yar

    How many guns does one need before gun ownership itself becomes a criteria for diagnosing it as mental illness?

    • Jill122

      Hoarding ought to do it. You hoard cats — animals, guns. It should do it. But it won’t. We have to wait for the pendulum to swing.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Obama is the goat in Hobson’s choice. He can’t make up his mind and we’re the ones dying of starvation.

  • CrackWilding

    Sayeth the caller: We have laws against drugs and yet people still do drugs. Why have laws against guns?

    How dumb can you get? By that logic, we should get rid of all our laws.

    • http://alchemicalreaction.blogspot.com/ Alchemical Reaction

      Actually, though I’m loathe to admit it. The caller has a point. Laws against murder do nothing to prevent homicide. People still commit such acts.

      It is an inner revolution that needs to take place.

      • CrackWilding

        Well, clearly we should take all the murder laws off the books then.

        • http://alchemicalreaction.blogspot.com/ Alchemical Reaction

          Hard to say.

          It would be an experiment to have a “purge’. Some people would choose not to participate. Those people are the ones who deserve freedom.

          • CrackWilding

            Crackpot.

          • http://alchemicalreaction.blogspot.com/ Alchemical Reaction

            On second thought, I changed my mind.

  • X Y & Z

    Carson on ‘Sluggish’ U.S. Economy: ‘We Have Asinine Economic Policies’

    http://cnsnews.com/news/article/penny-starr/carson-sluggish-us-economy-we-have-asinine-economic-policies

    The jobs-killer known as Obamacare, is now causing the economy to experience negative economic growth.

    The best remedy to counter the negative economic effects of Obamacare, is to repeal Obamacare.

    • MrNutso

      So what’s the reason for the sluggish economy and great recession before Obamacare?

      • jefe68

        Oh, that was Obama’s fault as well.

        • MrNutso

          I figured as much.

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          Obamacare isn’t Obama’s fault. He read about in in the press.

      • William

        Democratic Congress under Pelosi’s leadership.

        • Ray in VT

          Of course. They managed cause all of the underlying factors that led to the crash in a matter of months. How incredibly powerful they were.

    • Ray in VT

      Whooped effing do. Carson also compared homosexuality to bestiality. I’m not very concerned with his economic “analysis”.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Snowden is a permanent US emissary to the world. What makes you think he’s ever coming home? And the “manning up” BS, what idiot would fall for that?*

    * Save the Kentucky GOPer who eats BBQ with his feet.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    A dubious law that doesn’t allow for equal protection under the law. Like the GITMO non-persons are faced with.

  • OnPointComments

    I watched an interesting debate rebroadcast on C-Span this week about state surveillance. The statement to be decided, pro or con, was “Be it resolved state surveillance is a legitimate defence of our freedoms…” Arguing the pro position was Michael Hayden & Alan Dershowitz, and the con position was argued by Glenn Greenwald & Alexis Ohanian (co-founder of Reddit).

    Glenn Greenwald countered arguments from Hayden and Dershowitz by reading from NSA documents provided to him by Edward Snowden. Hayden and Dershowitz: surveillance is limited. Greenwald, reading from NSA documents: we will capture everything.

    Hayden and Dershowitz: there are tight controls over the captured information. Greenwald: they say tight controls, yet they still don’t know the extent of the documents taken by Snowden.

    “Be it resolved state surveillance is a legitimate defence of our freedoms…”

    Pre-debate: 33% pro, 46% con, 21% undecided
    Post-debate: 41% pro, 59% con

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_d1tw3mEOoE

  • http://alchemicalreaction.blogspot.com/ Alchemical Reaction

    What amount of murder is society comfortable with?

    If the answer is “none”, then the death penalty should be abolished / repealed in favor of chemical lobotomy or some other solution.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Oh, there it is. The Gestapo is the people’s friend. It’s just misunderstood by almost ALL of us.

  • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

    Spying on Americans *is* a Constitutional violation.

    We do not have to wait for the information to be “misused” for it to become a crime.

    • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

      Apparently the guest who spoke hadn’t looked at the 4th amendment since 8th grade. Hoober Doober

      • 228929292AABBB

        He’s looked at it, but to him the words appeared as ‘defend President Obama. Don’t ask questions’

    • http://alchemicalreaction.blogspot.com/ Alchemical Reaction

      Gathering of metadata and personally identifiable information by ANY corporation should be a CRIME.

    • MrNutso

      Was going to say. What part of unreasonable search and seizure doesn’t apply?

  • J__o__h__n

    The NSA’a gathering of the information itself is the offense against privacy not whether they used it inappropriately. And no administration has wanted to work with whistle blowers especially this one so Kerry is full of it.

  • 228929292AABBB

    On Point is cheapened by the presence of Michael Hirsch, who is not objective or analytical and serves as blind advertiser for certain political positions.

    • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

      Hirsch is the kind of guy who sees his neighbors beaten & taken away in the night and doesn’t make the next conclusion. HD

      • 228929292AABBB

        Agreed. He is apparently basing his position on the long history of governments which have held unchecked power and chosen only to exercise it wisely, without tracing a path to abuse. I wish I hadn’t wasted so much time in school being taught the tired old ‘checks and balances’ idea.

  • hennorama

    The On Point forum from Wednesday, May 28, 2014, Misogyny And Murder: Unpacking A Killing In California generated significant pushback from men, regarding what they perceived as some of the guests, callers, and commenters “blaming all men,” for the actions of one man.

    One commenter ([OnPointComments]) called this “broad, inaccurate negative generalizations applied to an entire segment of the population.”

    Perhaps this perception and sensitivity about such “broad, inaccurate negative generalizations” will give men a bit of perspective as to how others might receive, perceive, and fell about statements that begin with the words “Blacks are …” or similar.

    In other words, at times, the medicine one gets tastes as bad as the medicine one gives out.

    • Coastghost

      But why was what could be termed charitably “gender chauvinism” on display from so many feminine commentators permitted to steer clear around comparable consideration of the virtually simultaneous case of Carol Coronado? Where was the feminist self-criticism of a woman who is accused of murdering her three daughters? Over a week later, we STILL don’t hear feminists decrying Coronado’s “misogyny”, which arguably was much more consistent than Rodger’s crimes.

      • hennorama

        Coastghost — thank you for your response, which predictably, is a deflection and an attempt to change to subject.

        My response to your deflection: ask those you described as “so many feminine commentators.”

        Thanks again for you response.

        • Coastghost

          The “deflection” ringing in my ears is the steerage of discourse completely around and away from all consideration of Coronado’s alleged crime: she’s charged with killing three female victims but is not being deemed widely “a misogynist” while Rodger apparently killed two female victims with his four male victims despite whatever explicit declarations he made of misogynist views.
          Gender-specific misogynies–that practiced by men, that practiced by women–are not being treated equally in public discourse, as media treatment of these two tragedies indicate.

          • hennorama

            Coastghost — TYFYR.

            Feel free to expound endlessly regarding your perceived point.

            TY again FYR.

    • HonestDebate1

      What kind of idiot would blame anything on all blacks? And what does the have to do with starting a sentence with “Blacks are”?

      Blacks are 13% of the population.

      Blacks are my friends.

      Blacks are more susceptible to sickle cell anemia.

      Blacks are just as capable of obtaining ID as whites because skin color is irrelevant to the process.

      You are not making sense. Who are you addressing your comment to?

      • Ray in VT

        What kind of person would tout “research” about blacks and crime conducted by white supremacist groups (not the FBI)?

        • HonestDebate1

          You would have to ask someone who goes to those sites.

          • Ray in VT

            That’s right. You like to get your racist “research” second hand, which totally absolves you from pushing it. Now there’s some dishonest debate for ya.

          • HonestDebate1

            I go with the FBI.

          • Ray in VT

            Indeed, it’s just that the numbers that you have cited come from no FBI report that I can find. Please provide that report if you can, but if it is easier for you to claim that such “research” comes from the FBI than to admit that it comes from those who closer to a certain white hooded conservative organization that long sought to uphold traditional southern values, then feel free to do so.

        • hennorama

          Ray in VT — methinks I detect a bit of Shakespearean excessive protestation from the entity to which you replied, who wrote all of the following (emphasis added):

          June 22, 2103: ( http://onpoint.wbur.org/2013/06/21/week-taliban-nsa-immigration#comment-938759429 )

          If you want to talk about race then be honest and confront the fact that black on white racism is a far worse problem today that the inverse. Blacks are 39 times more likely to commit a violent crime against whites than vice versa…

          June 23, 2013: ( http://onpoint.wbur.org/2013/06/21/week-taliban-nsa-immigration#comment-939804758 )

          Blacks are not expected to be good citizen by liberals.

          In the same post, he promoted this link, to an “article” erroneously titled Federal Statistics of black on white violence, with links and mathematical extrapolation formulas, from August 1, 2009 on the site examiner.com:

          http://www.examiner.com/article/federal-statistics-of-black-on-white-violence-with-links-and-mathematical-extrapolation-formulas

          That blog post is presumably what [Debates?NotHe] claims is the source of his “Blacks are 39 times …” quote above. It contains more than 20 other links. Literally not one single link goes to any specific “FBI stats,” except the one that rather hilariously goes to the FBI’s own Diversity Employment Report, about the “RACE/ETHNICITY” of FBI employees.

          A few of the links are broken, as one might expect from a nearly five-year-old online article.

          However, the first link, which is the basis of the blog post and the source of the claims, is to a publication titled The Color of Crime (hereafter referred to as TCOC), from the New Century Foundation, founded by Jared Taylor.

          Taylor is a well-known white nationalist/white separatist.

          The “Major Findings” in the 2005 version of TCOC included:

          “Blacks are an estimated 39 times more likely to commit a violent crime against a white than vice versa, and 136 times more likely to commit robbery.

          We can see that the “Blacks are an estimated 39 times more likely …“ (emphasis added) claim from TCOC is very close to the original claim from [Debates?NotHe] that he wrote on June 22, 2103, except [Debates?NotHe]‘s original claim was not qualified by the words an estimated, but was instead absolutely declarative, as if stating a fact.

          In other words. [Debates?NotHe]‘s original claim is a MISQUOTE.

          And not just some innocent MISQUOTE. It was taken from a clearly biased publication, then MISQUOTED, becoming even more biased in the process. [Debates?NotHe]‘s quote in the OP forum also used the present tense (“Blacks are), despite being based on a claim from a 2005 publication, which formed its original claim based on long-out-of-date info, from the years 2001 to 2003.

          Other than that, I’m confident that [Debates?NotHe]‘s words were completely innocent.

          • HonestDebate1

            Blacks are certainly not expected to be good citizens by liberals. I don’t expect you to understand that is in no way a comment about blacks but one about racist liberals.

            And the 39 times thing is a scary stat but it has a basis. I don’t expect you to understand when someone says “likely” it by default means it’s an estimate. How many more times likely would you put it? Half that, 19 times? 10 times as likely? Twice as likely?

            Half the murders in the country are committed by black people even though black people are 13% of the population which means 6.5% of the population is committing almost half the murders. And then throw out the old and young people, that means a little over 3% of the population is committing almost half the murders. That’s appalling and if you think it should be swept under the rug then you should be ashamed of yourself.

            APOLOGIZE IMMEDIATELY!

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zLN7btxAX5k&feature=kp

          • jefe68

            Sometimes one does wonder how you get through the day with all this frothing at the mouth. Astonishing the level of bottom feeding that you stoop to day in and day out on this forum. And you do it a lot.

          • HonestDebate1

            Where am I wrong and why do you have no concern for the plight of blacks?

      • jefe68

        Not this lousy meme again. Please stop with this nonsense.

        • HonestDebate1

          Tell the Henpecker, she brought it up.

          Which one is nonsense?

          Blacks are 13% of the population? Blacks are my friends? Blacks are more susceptible to sickle cell anemia? Blacks are just as capable of obtaining ID as whites because skin color is irrelevant to the process?

  • X Y & Z

    Someone Is Lying: Obama Says Not Arming Syrian Rebels, Syrian Rebels Say He Is

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-05-28/someone-lying-obama-says-not-arming-syrian-rebels-yet-syrian-rebels-disagree

    It all comes out now. The Syrian ‘rebels’ (AKA al-Qaeda in Syria), are now openly claiming that Obama is arming them,

    just like Obama armed the Libyan ‘rebels’ (AKA al-Qaeda in Libya).

    You know that the country has sunk to a new low when al-Qaeda can call a sitting President of the United States a bold-faced liar, and be right about it.

    • http://alchemicalreaction.blogspot.com/ Alchemical Reaction

      I doubt Obama personally flew over there and handed those idiots weapons.

      • X Y & Z

        That’s what the CIA is for.

        • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

          Actually, the CIA should not be doing policy implementation. They need to *only* gather intelligence.

          • X Y & Z

            The CIA has a well recorded history of implementing coups.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            Yes, and they should stop.

    • Ray in VT

      To label all rebels in Syria, especially the ones that we have been on record as trying to support against Assad, as al-Qaeda is counter to the facts.

    • jmpo’lock

      Frontline the other night on Ukraine and Syria had clear video of Syrian rebels (supposedly vetted “moderate” ones) receiving American weapons and trainers from the Turkish border. Its undeniable, its on film

  • MrNutso

    Driverless cars. Does that mean that soon we’ll only be able to eat at Taco Bell’s?

    • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

      Taco Bell will drive to you. HD

    • http://alchemicalreaction.blogspot.com/ Alchemical Reaction

      Demolition Man.

      • MrNutso

        Spot on.

    • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

      Driverless cars will not work in New England. I think they are overreach and unnecessary.

    • Charles

      I have been surprised by the pushback I’ve seen (from all sides) around the ‘net this week about the driverless car idea.
      Clearly, that thing Google put out this week is not a finished product, but very few people these days would want to ride around in a Model T.
      Point being, driverless cars ARE the future, and Google’s car is a first step.

      • jmpo’lock

        I think they’ll eventually reduce traffic jams and accidents…and maybe road rage too. Think about it, you can nap, work, play whatever, while the robot takes you safely where you want to go. Half the exhaustion of driving is paying attention (cause of road rage, you might not notice being cut off etc). This might even boost productivity, as well as quality of life, as people will be arrive more rested and alert.
        And after awhile they’ll legalize it as a designated driver and reduce DUIs…

  • jmpo’lock

    Anyone concerned about gun control/rights should read Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution before trying to interpret the 2nd amendment. (Evidently the activist conservative Supreme Court jurists, I’m talking to you Scalia!) This section clearly explains how Congress has the Power “To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing… Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;…To make ALL Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers…”
    And of course Amendment two starts with: “A well regulated Militia…”
    So, my originalist reading of this leads me to believe that the only rights to “keep and bear arms” are only those proscribed by our Congress. Which would be limited to those Militia members (which could be a national service thing like Switzerland) organized trained, armed, disciplined (used 2x in the text) and trained by the Laws set forth by Congress. So, until we can get honest and sane politicians and jurists, that actually understand the Constitution, we will be beset upon by gun toting madness.

    • http://alchemicalreaction.blogspot.com/ Alchemical Reaction

      You’ve almost got it.

      Your one mistake is that, according to historical precedent, in order for the militia to be considered “constitutional”, it MUST be run buy the STATES, not the national military. If control of the national guard was returned to the states, it would at least pave the way for reasonable gun control efforts.

      • jmpo’lock

        Yup

      • nj_v2

        The Second Amendment is an anachronism. Time for the Constitution to be amended.

        • http://alchemicalreaction.blogspot.com/ Alchemical Reaction

          The entire constitution is an anachronism.

  • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

    A cold winter has a known effect on the economy. And so does multiple fires, tornadoes, floods, continued droughts, landslides, poisonous pollution, exploding trains, pipeline bursts, fly ash spills, etc.

    • http://alchemicalreaction.blogspot.com/ Alchemical Reaction

      SO does a lack of investment of ownership and profit capital into the means of production, in this case new start ups, thereby eliminating any hope for the poor to have a viable socioeconomic ladder. We need a few hundred “shark tanks” and grants for the initial start up phase even to get a product on kickstarter.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    The tide comes in and the tide goes out.
    The stock market goes up and the stock market goes down.

  • Yar

    We need to create good paying jobs, while cutting the postal service.
    What is productive work?

  • OnPointComments

    What did Candidate Obama promise in 2008 about the VA? He complained about 400,000 claims pending under the Bush administration, and said that he would transform the paper benefit claims process to an electronic system, and would reduce error rates, improve timeliness, and enhance the overall quality of the claims decisions.

    What do we have 5 years later? Failure. Utter failure.

    “Despite agency promises to eliminate the claims backlog by 2015, the internal documents show the VA expects the number of veterans waiting – currently about 900,000 – to continue to increase throughout 2013 and top a million by the end of this month.

    “…the agency has spent four years and $537 million on a new computer system, 97 percent of all veterans’ claims remain on paper. Since those numbers were tallied by the agency in January, the VA’s two top technology officers have announced their resignations, saying they had accomplished their goals.”
    http://cironline.org/reports/vas-ability-quickly-provide-benefits-plummets-under-obama-4241

    “The backlog is worse under Obama, but is it his fault?

    “Since Obama took office, the number of veterans waiting more than a year for their benefits grew from 11,000 in 2009 to 245,000 in December – an increase of more than 2,000 percent. And the backlog is growing at a rate faster than the veterans are returning.

    “Internal VA documents show that the average wait time for veterans filing disability claims fell by more than a third under President George W. Bush, even as more than 320,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans filed disability claims.

    The documents show delays escalated only after Obama took office and have more than doubled since, as 455,000 more returning veterans filed their claims.”
    http://cironline.org/reports/vas-ability-quickly-provide-benefits-plummets-under-obama-4241

    • 228929292AABBB

      Allow me to answer for Michael Hirsch – “this shows what a fantastic job President Obama is doing. Always remember that”

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Gen. Shinseki needs to spend 8 hours at the blood draw facility at the VA Hospital Oakland {Pittsburgh}. He’d learn a lot about the job he should already be a master of.

    * Crowded, slow, thinly staffed.

  • Scott B

    Frontline had an episode on the NSA and it’s infringement into the privacy of US citizens, and there were people that tried to take up the unconstitutionality of Thin Thread and Prism, and were ignored at first, then had the FBI raid their homes, and threatened with effectively life imprisonment.
    There’s supposed to be a way for whistleblowers to address these things within channels, but they’ve been fired and/or arrested. One security person found a program that was wasting millions of dollars, but within that program found a small program that was effective and much more inexpensive, and he was fired, then prosecuted when he went pubic, after exhausting all other channels.
    I find it hysterical that the NSA, CIA, et al, have denied spying (even under oath) in various ways, and then Snowden called bull$hit on them by releasing documents that not just prove them liars, but show that it was even worse than anyone thought.

    • http://alchemicalreaction.blogspot.com/ Alchemical Reaction

      And your point is??

      • Scott B

        Really? Then why are you here, and commenting?

        • http://alchemicalreaction.blogspot.com/ Alchemical Reaction

          I think you may have replied to the wrong comment.

          I didn’t make a statement. I asked a question.

          I was asking because your above post seemed to be rehashing old news.

          You didn’t offer any solutions or new ideas.

          So why are you here? And commenting?

    • MrNutso

      We’re caught in a Catch 22. As individuals, we have to go to court and claim our rights are violated by these programs and actions, but we have no proof, because the courts won’t force the release of information, because we have no proof. Only Congress and the President can stop this, and they won’t.

      • Scott B

        They don’t want to give up power, once it’s granted them.
        The FISA court is basically rigged in the favor of the government, anyway, with it being in secret and hasn’t, to anyone’s knowledge, ever denied a warrant request, or found not in favor of the government’s position.
        A few years back Frontline had an episode (and it was discussed in the one I referred to above) where Ashcroft, being at death’s door from reports of those around him, sat up in his hospital bed and read the riot act to Alberto Gonzales & company, when they showed up wanting him to sign off on something that was clearly unconstitutional. I’m decidedly not a fan of Ashcroft, but I gotta give the man my respect for that.

        • MrNutso

          I think it’s less about powers (granted to them) and more about power, i.e. continuing to win reelection.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Listen to me.
    Don’t listen to me.
    Listen to me.
    Don’t listen to me.
    Yada Yada.
    Nada Nada.
    –Barack H. Obama {or his doppelganger, no one’s quite sure which}

    • http://alchemicalreaction.blogspot.com/ Alchemical Reaction

      And your point is?

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    If more of Jack’s media buddies were US Veterans*, they’d do a much better job understanding and reporting on the VA issue.

    * Navy, Army, Air Force, Marines {though it’s a part of the Navy}

  • X Y & Z

    Bernie Sanders on VA Bill: We Should Know What’s In It Before We Vote on It

    http://cnsnews.com/news/article/melanie-hunter/bernie-sanders-va-bill-we-should-know-what-s-it-we-vote-it

    That didn’t stop the self described ‘socialist’, from voting on the the jobs-killing legislation, known as Obamacare.

    • http://alchemicalreaction.blogspot.com/ Alchemical Reaction

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        Obama isn’t evil and doesn’t have evil motives. He is incompetent. Not up to the job.

        If I could implement the Vulcan Mind Meld on him my first question would be: “do you know you are not up to the job? why did you run for the job knowing this?”

        • J__o__h__n
          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Awesome. Another skill for Obama.

            Live long and prosper.

          • Steve__T

            No more like, What kind of tread do you want on your tires.

        • anamaria23

          Whoever wins the next Presidency will be delivered a nation on sounder footing than the one that was delivered to this President, however the many unresolved issues in a complex world in transition.
          It is going to take a generation to recover from the two wars and the financial melt-down.
          There is no way that this President’s foreign policy is not influenced by the unpopularity of the Iraq war.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            “There is no way that this President’s foreign policy is not influenced by the unpopularity of the Iraq war.”
            I agree with that statement but it would have been true with ANY President.

            The measure shouldn’t be “are we better off than Jan 23, 2009″ but “are we where we should be”. Almost everything the Obama regime has done has been political. He doesn’t understand economics. Very disappointing.

          • anamaria23

            I think he understands economics pretty well. It is the useless U.S. Congress that keeps the economy down, some, deliberately.

    • Ray in VT

      Care to provide some evidence of significant employment impacts of the ACA? It seems that such impacts are relatively rather negligible.

      • X Y & Z

        What are the negative effects of the jobs-killing Obamacare?

        A shrinking economy.

        • Ray in VT

          Obviously, and we know this because you have declared that it is so. Also, my grey shirt today caused it to be overcast.

  • http://alchemicalreaction.blogspot.com/ Alchemical Reaction

    Binary Economics.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    The Pope brought the holy ashes back.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    The Pope should come to America and visit the Creationist Dinosaur Park. He could sail with Noah on the ark and count the butterflies.

  • X Y & Z

    New IRS rule: Businesses are not allowed to say that they laid off employees because of Obamacare

    http://poorrichardsnews.com/post/76536479555/new-irs-rule-businesses-are-not-allowed-to-say-that

    • hennorama

      X Y & Z — repeating, in part, from an earlier reply to you:

      1. Not new.
      2. Not true.

    • jmpo’lock

      While I also do not like the ACA (want single payer), I do not see how the ACA changes much negatively for businesses. Previously there was a requirement to provide at a certain number of full time employees, but fewer credits/cuts. All large companies did, like WalMart was to reduce employee hours. Now there are cost controls, and similar requirements with tax credits/cuts. Not much changed. Most small businesses saw no change, except that the exchanges offer cheaper packages.
      But I agree, American Insurance Care sucks both ways!

      • X Y & Z

        Obamacare will more than likely lead to a Canadian style, single payer system (which is even worse),

        if the US federal government doesn’t go bankrupt first.

        • jmpo’lock

          Well, yeah, because insurance middle men will always cause for higher costs and bureaucracy. I hope your prediction is true. Don’t worry the USA is FAR from any bankruptcy, don’t believe the conspiracy. We are still, by far, the richest country in the world. We just need to prioritize: war or people.

          • http://alchemicalreaction.blogspot.com/ Alchemical Reaction
          • X Y & Z

            I don’t agree with your statement that the US is far from bankruptcy.
            The US national debt is over $17.5 trillion. US unfunded liabilities are over $129 trillion! Where is that money going to come from?

          • jmpo’lock

            Our debt to GDP is reasonably small. Have you paid for your future self yet, all your retirement costs? Of course not, you will continue to work and save and pay bills as they come. No worries.
            In a 200 trillion annual economy, 129 trillion over 30 years from now is FAR from scary. Its like living in fear of paying off ones mortgage….on paper YOURE BROKE!

          • X Y & Z

            I hope you’re right and not the respected economists such as Paul Craig Roberts and John Williams who have said otherwise.

          • Ray in VT

            I’m not too inclined to hitch my horse to a laissez-faire architect of Reaganomics, given how that played out.

          • X Y & Z

            You think that one million Americans leaving the work force in April, and a shrinking economy is better?

            Go back to milking your brother’s cows.

          • Ray in VT

            Do I think that one month of people leaving the workforce numbers and a bad GDP quarter, which can in large part be attributed to an unusual weather event that hampered activity, is better than Reaganomics? Absolutely.

            What’s your hang up with me and cows? Was it a slow day at your “job”, which, I imagine, is likely holding a poorly spelled anti-Obama sign on a local street corner.

        • nj_v2

          [ Obamacare will more than likely lead to a Canadian style, single payer system (which is even worse) ]

          Au contraire, ACA further entrenches and enriches the insurance industry and will make them more powerful to fight against any plan (single payer) that would entail their extinction.

    • MrNutso

      mmmhhhm, mmmhhhm, as reported by Fox News ……..

      • X Y & Z

        A shrinking economy due to the negative economic effects of Obamacare,

        reported by the national media, including NPR.

        • Ray in VT

          Please provide some research backing up your claims.

          • X Y & Z

            You’re on the NPR website, they reported it. Look it up.

          • Ray in VT

            No, I am not on the NPR website. Care to provide the NPR link that blames the GDP decline, either wholly or significantly, on the impacts of the ACA?

          • Steve__T

            If you don’t know where you are, why should I trust what you say you know?

          • X Y & Z

            What part of look it up on NPR’s website don’t you understand?

          • hennorama

            Ray in VT — best of luck with that line of commentary. [X Y & Z] does not respond to challenges, and seems unable to read as well.

  • mairelena

    So the VA rules require that the applicant is investigated to assure that they are eligible for service before they are accepted into care. My understanding is that they find about 4% of the applicants to be not eligible, which is a very low error rate. So why not accept everyone up front and dismiss them if they are found to be ineligible. Give them the information about the requirements for eligibility ahead of time and maybe charge them for the service if they are found to be ineligible. Why make the 96 out of 100 wait while they check for the 4. That’s inhumane and unnecessary.

  • OnPointComments

    I watched a congressional hearing about tax extenders on C-Span yesterday. Congress gets more inane and absurd with each passing day. One of the tax extenders was to continue allowing businesses a deduction for donating food inventory to feed the hungry. A Democratic congressman complained about whether anyone was evaluating the nutritional content of the donated food. All of the Democrats voted against continuing the deduction for businesses donating food inventory to feed the hungry.

    Better that the hungry should starve than be provided with food that hasn’t been evaluated for nutritional content, according to Democrats.

    • hennorama

      OPC — had this happened in a political vacuum, you might have a point.

      But of course, as you no doubt know, some Republicans are trying to relax existing school meal nutrition standards:

      First lady Michelle Obama on Tuesday made a rare foray into a Capitol Hill dispute, using a White House event to rally support for school meal nutrition rules that Republicans are pushing to loosen.

      Source:
      http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/05/28/michelle-obama-to-take-on-school-meal-critics-as-house-gop-bill-advances/

      [PS: nothing that you described above indicates a prohibition on "businesses donating food inventory to feed the hungry," and therefore, no evidence to support your following statement:

      "Better that the hungry should starve than be provided with food that hasn't been evaluated for nutritional content, according to Democrats."]

      • OnPointComments

        OK. I amend my statement to “Better that the hungry should starve than allow businesses to have a tax deduction for food that hasn’t been evaluated for nutritional content, according to Democrats.”

        School nutrition rules have nothing to do with this.

        • hennorama

          OPC –TY again FYR.

          Again, nothing is prohibiting, “businesses donating food inventory to feed the hungry.”

          Is it your belief that such donations are solely motivated by tax deductions, and without said deductions, the donations will cease? If so, you have a rather low opinion of those who are making said donations.

          Thanks again for your response.

          • OnPointComments

            No, that is not my belief. Is it your belief that it is better for the hungry to starve than to encourage businesses to donate food inventory by allowing a tax deduction?

          • hennorama

            OPC — TY again FYR.

            1. Isn’t it conservative/Republican//TEA Shindigger dogma that “no one is starving in the U.S.”? Let’s take the hyperbole out of the discussion, OK?

            2. If I accepted the premise of your question, which I do not, my answer would be “No.”

            However, in my view, you are making an implicit argument that these charitable donations are transactional, and would be significantly reduced without the monetary encouragement of a tax deduction.

            TYAFYR.

          • OnPointComments

            Are you unaware that there are provisions of the tax code that are designed to encourage certain behavior?

          • hennorama

            OPC — TYFYR.

            That is a silly question.

          • OnPointComments

            Obfuscation. First you try to link tax extenders to school nutrition and to nonexistent prohibitions on donating food inventories. Then you move on to the motivation of those making the donations, ignoring whether it is a good idea to encourage businesses to donate food inventories. What’s your next misdirection?

          • hennorama

            OPC – TYFYR.

            If pointing out the obvious, and refuting your comments = obfuscation, then I agree with your first sentence.

            If you fail to acknowledge the reality that “a deduction for donating food inventory” is linked to how some Republicans are trying to relax existing school meal nutrition standards, no words from me or anyone else will assist you.

            You grudgingly acknowledged that your initial claim, that “Better that the hungry should starve than be provided with food that hasn’t been evaluated for nutritional content, according to Democrats,” was not supportable, as there is no prohibition on “businesses donating food inventory to feed the hungry,”

            In sum:

            Extending this tax deduction is linked to the fact that some Republicans are trying to relax existing school meal nutrition standards, and an absence of a tax deduction does not in any way prohibit, as you implied, “businesses donating food inventory to feed the hungry…”

            Thanks again for your response.

          • OnPointComments

            I note that you didn’t provide any evidence that your statements are true, specifically your statement that the deduction for donating food inventory is linked to Republicans trying to relax existing school meal nutrition standards.

            Is Democratic Representative Sander Levin in on the conspriacy too? Surely he must be since he and Rep. Jim Gerlach introduced a bill in August 2013 that would make permanent the tax incentives for small businesses, farmers and ranchers to donate food inventory to charity, a deduction that has been available since 1976. Was the Republican food donation/school nutrition conspiracy in play back in 1976 too, and also in play in 2006 when the deduction was expanded?

            Let’s see what Rep. Levin had to say about the food donation deduction: “Providing additional incentives for restaurateurs, small businesses, farmers, and ranchers to donate food that might otherwise go to waste is just common sense. Last year, in my district alone, companies donated over 83,500 pounds of prepared food with a value of $518,000 to 20 local charities. It is vital that we not let food go to waste when far too many Americans wake up hungry every day.”

            Feeding America’s CEO echoed Rep. Levin: since the 2006 expansion of the enhanced tax deduction there has been a 137% increase in donations from non C corporation restaurants.

            http://levin.house.gov/press-release/levin-and-gerlach-introduce-bipartisan-bill-encourage-food-donations

          • Steve__T

            So more tax breaks for C corps, farmers /ranchers that donate what they were going to loose. Which then allows for less food stamps, due to reduced tax income. Got it.

          • HonestDebate1

            Who says there are no people starving in America?

        • John Cedar

          Which science is based on more irrational unproven assumptions, climate science or nutrition science?

          Sugar bad!!!!!!!!!!!
          Look for it in a theater near you.

        • Steve__T

          Have you stopped and realized what you are saying, Is that Democrats are concerned that Donations meet standard qualifications, so that the Tax deduction isn’t misused?

          • OnPointComments

            Did you watch the hearing? I bet you didn’t. As was pointed out in the hearing, some of the food that is donated was prepped by restaurants for their customers but not used, and is highly perishable. It has to be used within days or thrown out. Who do you propose to evaluate the nutritional content of this food that is immediately available and must be used quickly?

          • Steve__T

            Then all that has to be done is to donate the food to a local Food Kitchen, who would then provide it to the homeless.

            And if the only reason to do the donation is to get a tax break, IMO is reprehensible.

      • HonestDebate1

        It is not the government’s job to be in the cafeteria business.

        • Ray in VT

          Actually it has been for quite some time now.

          • HonestDebate1

            Well they made something that is not in the job description their job if that’s what you mean.

            How about, it is not the government’s responsibility to be in the cafeteria business.

          • Ray in VT

            We’re not living in the 19th century anymore. Get used to it.

            Again, your statement is at odds with events from the past few decades.

          • HonestDebate1

            It is not the government’s responsibility to be in the cafeteria business.

          • jefe68

            It’s the business of government, be it local, state or federal, to make sure whomever is feeding the children is doing so with good nutritious and safe food.

          • HonestDebate1

            No it’s not. It’s the parents job and if they are not satisfied then pack a lunch for them or go to the PTA meetings and address it. It most certainly isn’t up to the first lady to sign into law a menu that causes enormous waste while kids go hungry refusing to eat.

          • Ray in VT

            That is your opinion.

          • Ray in VT

            They made something that was not in the job description their job, and now it is.

            How about it did not used to be the government’s responsibility to be in the cafeteria business and now it is. That more accurately reflects how things were and are.

        • jefe68

          So you do’t think the nutrition in school meals should be well thought out?
          The problem is to many schools are using crap anyway and feeding to children.
          You really do harbor some very backward ideas.

          • HonestDebate1

            Please don’t tell me what I think.

  • Coastghost

    Shinseki is OUT, per Google News (resigned, not fired) yet may still turn out to’ve been a more able administrator and manager than Obama.

    • HonestDebate1

      Obama is going to be upset when he learns about it in news reports.

      • anamaria23

        Sure, use this disgrace for just another cheap shot at the President.

        • Ray in VT

          Well, there aren’t any stories from joke websites that can be repeated as fact and used to attack the President with today.

          • Steve__T

            Wait for it….

        • HonestDebate1

          Shinseki’s resignation is not a disgrace but Obama saying he heard about the VA situation on the news is.

          • Ray in VT

            Well, obviously Obama should have known about the details of secret lists revealed to the media by a whistle blower before the media.

          • HonestDebate1

            Exactly, if we were to believe what he said in 2008.

          • Ray in VT

            Obviously when people are cooking the books and making secret lists then they ring up the President and tell him about it.

          • HonestDebate1

            That’s not how it works. He has to be on top of things while he gets to the bottom of them.

          • Ray in VT

            Obviously he has to know about the shady dealings that may be going on. Surely the offenders in question let him know.

          • HonestDebate1

            No they hid it. It was easy with an uncurious, promise-breaking CnC.

          • Ray in VT

            Obviously the President would have uncovered such secret lists and such if only he cared. Good to know.

      • John Cedar

        Ell oh ell!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • anamaria23

      Shinseki resigns as the feckless and do nothing Congress celebrates.
      Each member should be called before an independent investigator to explain how such utter negligence transpired among their constituency.. They are as much responsible as any other. They are a joke and history will deem them the most useless in the history of the nation.
      They are in D.C three days a week, then home
      to supposedly tend to the needs of their people.
      Start with John McCain, too busy offering up our young to every upheaval on the planet to bother with them at home.

      • hennorama

        anamaria23 — while I agree in spirit with much of your comment, I disagree that members of Congress in the locales where the problems occur, “are as much responsible as any other.”

        The people who are taking these actions, and who are purposefully taking no action, and their supervisors and upper management, are clearly either directly responsible, or many levels closer to the problems when compared to members of Congress.

        That doesn’t mean that Senators and Representatives have no responsibility, of course.

        • OnPointComments

          Rep. Corrine Brown (D-FL) incredibly claims there are no problems with the VA in Florida, despite obvious examples to the contrary in her own district. “But I did my reconnaissance in Florida. I can tell you we’re doing fine in Florida.”
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Id7fE4_jInQ#

          • hennorama

            OPC — TYFYR, and for supporting my points:

            The people who are taking these actions, and who are purposefully taking no action, and their supervisors and upper management, are clearly either directly responsible, or many levels closer to the problems when compared to members of Congress.

            That doesn’t mean that Senators and Representatives have no responsibility, of course.

          • OnPointComments

            I’ll expand your last sentence: That doesn’t mean that Senators and Representatives, the Secretary of the VA, and the President have no responsibility, of course.

        • anamaria23

          Agreed, but hopefully those enabling such malpractice will be dealt with. The Congress will just go on banging their fists while blaming others.

          • Steve__T

            Whats new about that? That’s all they do.
            As long as they can point to someone or something else as the problem, that’s just fine, just don’t ask them to fix or repair anything, cause it’s gonna get totally whacked.

          • hennorama

            Steve__T — curses, [I have been] beaten to the comment again!

          • Steve__T

            sorry

          • hennorama

            Steve__T — Your word is appreciated, but sorrow is neither needed nor due. Please keep up the good and speedy work.

          • HonestDebate1

            What, no gold star?

        • HonestDebate1

          OPC just reported the resignation of Jay Carney. I am in the process of writing a glowing recommendation for you to Barry.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Baghdad Bobbette!!!

      • HonestDebate1

        It’s up to 42 states now Anamaria. It’s well beyond Phoenix. The House Veterans Affairs committee is all over it. Berne Sanders’ Senate committee, not so much. Your outrage s misplaced.

        • Ray in VT

          Your lame opinions are noted.

          • HonestDebate1

            It is my opinion that her outrage is misplaced. The rest are the cold hard facts.

          • Ray in VT

            You struggle with facts, as well as with definitions, so perhaps you have some issue there that informing your opinions and how the facts relate to them.

          • HonestDebate1

            What definition have I ever had trouble with?

            It’s 42 states, that’s a fact. The House is conducting hearings, that’s a fact. The Senate is not, another fact. Am I wrong on that? Maybe I missed something.

          • Ray in VT

            Quite a few of them actually. How is that fight against the dictionary coming? Get any of them to take out the definitions that you insist don’t exist?

            “The House is conducting hearings, that’s a fact. The Senate is not, another fact.” Then I guess that the Senate hearing into the matter a couple of weeks ago doesn’t exist. Good to know.

          • HonestDebate1

            Lip service weeks ago that did not get to the bottom of squat don’t count.

          • Ray in VT

            It’s a good thing that you’re decided that. No further hearings or what not needed. More are planned. Sanders says that he has concerns regarding the House bill and isn’t willing to rubber stamp it. Of course if the Republicans won’t let it come to the floor, like they did with the VA bill in February, then all is moot.

          • HonestDebate1

            I’m not talking about bills or more laws. Shinseki’s resignation doesn’t change squat. I am talking about getting answers, getting to the bottom of it. While Sanders diddles more and more records are destroyed.

          • Ray in VT

            Obviously. Obama’s people are probably conducting some vast conspiracy to cover it all up as we speak. Thanks for the “fact check” from Loonville. So, let me get this straight, should Sanders do something, which you are claiming that he is not, then records would not be getting destroyed (assuming that they are currently). How is Senator Sanders’ alleged “diddles” exactly preventing any such actions?

          • HonestDebate1

            No, that’s not what I said.

            Did you see the footage of Jeff Miller I posted earlier. He is demanding information not getting it, he has been for months. He getting in faces, on record and publicly posting the lack of cooperation. He is applying pressure. He can’t even find out who has been disciplined. He is conducting oversight.

            http://www.dailymail.co.uk/video/news/video-1097218/Chairman-Jeff-Miller-doesnt-hold-VA-hearing.html

          • Ray in VT

            And obviously Senator Sanders is not. Good to know.

            I mean, Sanders isn’t conducting hearings, except where he is, except where the hearings are dismissed as “lip service”. He could at least just pass the House bill as is, except that you’re “not talking about bills or more laws”, except where Sanders is being criticized for not acting and pass one such measure as is.

          • jimino

            I asked this elsewhere in the thread but maybe you can respond in an effort to get to the bottom of things:

            The dramatic increase in the number of vets seeking treatment since then is at the heart of this debacle.

            Do you think the unprecedented number and percentage of vets requiring
            medical care, especially those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, is
            due primarily to the stress of being tasked with an impossible-to-win
            military operation by the Bush administration, by the
            Republican-controlled Congress’ failure to properly equip them for the
            risks they faced, or because the nature of those who we let enlist in
            our all-volunteer military pre-disposed them to disability? What part
            do you think the monetary incentive to cook the books that Rumsfeld
            implemented has played in it?.

            Or is there some other reason for close to half of them claiming some form of disability

          • HonestDebate1

            Those are mighty loaded questions. First, I don’t agree with the premise:

            “The dramatic increase in the number of vets seeking treatment since then is at the heart of this debacle.”

            No, the heart of the debacle is skirting the rules and breaking the law in doing so. It was no secret the numbers of wounded increased. Instead of requesting more resources or reporting the problems up the chain they hid them. Instead of administrators, who surely knew of the increased numbers, giving assistance down the chain they accepted the absurd scenario that everything was peachy regarding wait times. As long as targets were being met, those down the chain got bonuses and those up the chain looked like they were running a tight ship. How could that be with such increased numbers?

            And the premise of your question is flawed as well. I don’t agree the wars were unwinnable. Iraq was won and needed only to be maintained. Obama decided to up the ante in Afghanistan with no clear strategery and then dropped the ball. He could not even negotiate a SOFA. The stress of serving an incompetent CnC was a problem. Think abut it, Obama announced the surrender date on the same day he escalated the action. It makes no sense, but our soldiers were sworn to duty. I suppose you are talking about the 3 years beginning over a decade ago when you refer to Republican controlled congress but that hardly applies to injuries now. The simple answer to your first question is war is hell.

            The second question is just silly.

          • Steve__T

            “What definition have I ever had trouble with?”

            Truth
            honesty
            lies
            debating
            The list is longer than I want to type.
            Maybe someone else will give you a few.

      • JGC

        Many of Shinseki’s detractors, on both sides of the aisle, are not fit to clip the toenails on his one remaining foot.

        • HonestDebate1

          That may be true as far has his military service goes. His administrative prowess, not so much.

        • anamaria23

          My thoughts exactly.

  • OnPointComments

    “Several times over the past month, inspectors with Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration have been denied access to six VA facilities in the state. The state says it wants to ensure the facilities meet the health care needs of Florida Veterans,” Greg reports.

    “The VA hospital in Gainesville has reportedly placed three employees on leave after an audit found the names of more than 200 veterans on a handwritten list. The veterans were waiting for appointments and hadn’t yet been entered into the electronic scheduling system, Greg says.”
    http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/05/28/316712039/report-finds-evidence-of-secret-wait-lists-at-va-hospital

    VA Backlog is 443 Days in Florida

    Absolute proof that an idiot can get elected to Congress.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Id7fE4_jInQ#

  • http://alchemicalreaction.blogspot.com/ Alchemical Reaction

    According to historical precedent, in order for the militia to be considered “constitutional”, it MUST be run buy the STATES, not the national military. If control of the national guard was returned to the states, it would at least pave the way for reasonable gun control efforts AND make citizen paramilitary militias less legal.

  • OnPointComments

    You can lead students to a healthy lunch, but you can’t make them eat.

    “A report by local Washington D.C. news station NBC4 indicates that over 60,000 low-income students in the metro area are skipping lunch, dissatisfied with the food offered to them by their schools.

    “A January report from the Government Accountability Office suggested that many students were rejecting healthier lunches because they did not enjoy the food offered. Another suggested factor was that students avoided eating a free lunch because they would be stigmatized as poor.

    “[Michelle Obama's] efforts are starting to run afoul of the nation’s school boards. A letter sent to Congress Tuesday by the National School Boards Association, which represents over 14,000 school districts nationwide, begs Congress to grant schools more leeway to receive waivers from federal nutrition standards.”
    http://dailycaller.com/2014/05/29/dc-children-avoiding-michelle-obamas-healthy-lunches/#ixzz33DJgZqDx

  • OnPointComments

    If VA personnel falsified records to get bonuses, they should charged with a crime and taken to trial. The article gives examples of many VA personnel who received bonuses while the system was failing and records were falsified.

    THANKS FOR NOTHING
    Inept, malicious VA staffers are awash in bonuses.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/379113/thanks-nothing-deroy-murdock

    Excerpt:

    The private sector does not long tolerate such staggering incompetence and malfeasance. Only in government does this “Kill a vet, get a check” ethos survive.

    Veterans who have liberated innocents from Nazism, Communism, and Islamofascism deserve to be liberated from the VA. How? Former Republican congressman John LeBoutillier proposes this: Give veterans the same health insurance as members of Congress.

    • Ray in VT

      “The private sector does not long tolerate such staggering incompetence and malfeasance.” Hilarious. Jamie Dimon’s pay while presiding over issues that have cost the company a great deal says otherwise.

    • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

      What about Congress cutting their budget, while increasing their work?

  • OnPointComments

    Elliot Rodger was in therapy for 14 years, beginning at age 8 and continuing with multiple therapists at times and daily sessions during high school. He was prescribed Rispiridone, an anti-psychotic drug used for treating schizophrenia, which he decided on his own to quit taking. Elliot Rodger was mentally ill.

    • th33756

      Thanks for your comment, but none of this information you provide means that he wasn’t also an overly privileged misogynist who felt entitled to attention from college women. Many men in our culture who are Rodger’s age feel this way and act as much. Which again is why I say we need to begin questioning simplistic references to Rodger as mentally ill. That label is, by itself, problematic and only further stigmatizes mental illness. The majority of people who are diagnosed with some form of mental illness don’t go on killing sprees and write manifestos about how much they hate women. It is interesting that somehow the commentators on today’s program totally missed that.

  • jefe68

    Breaking news: President Barack Obama has accepted the resignation of Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinsek.

    Documents Show the VA Debacle Began Under George W. Bush

    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/05/veterans-affairs-backlogs-waiting-lists-george-bush

    • OnPointComments

      I am not surprised that Shinseki resigned. I am not surprised that Mother Jones blamed it on George Bush.

      • Ray in VT

        Obviously the challenges of the VA don’t have anything to do with caring for the veterans of Bush’s wars and the strains that that has placed on the system.

        • anamaria23

          IMHO perhaps the V.A is just too huge and complex to be overseen by one Director–1700 facilities!- 8,000,000 appointments!
          maybe break it down into regions with their own Directors.

          • Steve__T

            A little to simple for Gov. I mean that would make sense.

          • Ray in VT

            I don’t know enough about the structure of the VA to comment. I think that the Chairs of the House and Senate Committees have very likely looked at a variety of options, although getting the legislation passed and implementing it effectively is another matter altogether.

          • OnPointComments

            The Veterans Administration has regional directors now.

      • John Cedar

        I am not surprised that jefe68 breaks the news here, an hour after Coastghost already did.

        • jefe68

          I don’t read most of the right wing extremist comments. As your inane comment shows, they tend to be BS.
          Nothing short of bottom feeding in your case.

          • John Cedar

            Axl Axl Axl Axl {bonk}

          • jefe68

            Grow up.

          • StilllHere

            Nice fiddle playing, he’s dancing up a storm.

        • StilllHere

          Classic stuff.

      • jefe68

        Read the article. In my opinion both parties share qual blame for this mess.

        • OnPointComments

          President Obama knew of problems at the VA back in 2008 when he was campaigning. He promised to fix them. He didn’t; the problems got worse.

          • jefe68

            Wont get an argument from me.
            I agree with you.

      • nj_v2

        I’m not surprised that you’re relentlessly partisan.

      • StilllHere

        Mother Jones is liberal tripe.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      Old news. The Bush team documented the issue to the Obama team during the transition circa 2008.

      • jimino

        The dramatic increase in the number of vets seeking treatment since then is at the heart of this debacle.

        Do you think the unprecedented number and percentage of vets requiring medical care, especially those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, is due primarily to the stress of being tasked with an impossible-to-win military operation by the Bush administration, by the Republican-controlled Congress’ failure to properly equip them for the risks they faced, or because the nature of those who we let enlist in our all-volunteer military pre-disposed them to disability? What part do you think the monetary incentive to cook the books that Rumsfeld implemented has played in it?.

        Or is there some other reason for close to half of them claiming some form of disability?

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          Any increase in the requirements of service has nothing to do with mismanagement and incompetence. Don’t conflate the issues.

          • jimino

            So significantly increasing the number of people seeking appointments from the same number of available providers has no bearing on how long they have to wait for an appointment? That is the whole issue! Your agenda-driven willful ignorance is stunning.

    • hennorama

      jefe68 — Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki resigned, so {wiping hands} Problems Solved, entrenched problems continue until further notice, right?

  • X Y & Z

    IG: HHS Spent $120.6 Million on Medicare for Illegal Aliens

    http://cnsnews.com/mrctv-blog/tyler-mcnally/ig-hhs-spent-1206-million-medicare-illegal-aliens

    That money should have been used to save the lives of US veterans waiting for care in VA hospitals, apparently the current Administration thought otherwise.

    • Ray in VT

      Obviously improperly made payments were intentionally made by the Obama administration.

      • X Y & Z

        Even al-Qaeda in Syria has openly come out and said that the Obama Administration is supporting them.
        I wouldn’t put anything past this President.

        • Ray in VT

          Care to provide some links where al-Qaeda has made these statements as well as telling me why I should trust any such actual al-Qaeda claims?

          • X Y & Z
          • Ray in VT

            Equating all rebels with al-Qaeda is a mistake. I said it earlier.

          • X Y & Z

            Say whatever you want, Obama is supporting al-Qaeda in Syria.

          • Ray in VT

            Have some evidence of that?

          • X Y & Z

            I just posted some of the evidence that Obama is supporting al-Qaeda in Syria.

          • Ray in VT

            That is not evidence of “Obama is supporting al-Qaeda in Syria.” All rebels are not al-Qaeda.

          • X Y & Z

            The Obama Administration has openly admitted to supporting the ‘rebels’ in Syria, some of which have known ties to al-Qaeda.

            Even al-Qaeda is openly proclaiming to the world press that they are receiving aid from the Obama Administration.

          • Ray in VT

            Some rebels in Syria do have extremist ties or are just flat out al-Qaeda or affiliated groups. However, that does not make the claim that by supporting any rebels the administration is supplying or arming al-Qaeda.
            Considering that rebels that we are funding have been engaged in an anti al-Qaeda offensive this year, it would seem curious for us to also be arming al-Qaeda, which has yet to be shown, as your claims and sources to not show that we are.

          • jimino

            You mean he caved to Republican demands as to who to support?

          • X Y & Z

            No, Obama decided to support al-Qaeda in Syria all on his own, just as he supported al-Qaeda in Libya.

          • jimino

            So you’re saying the Repubs wanted him to support Assad like you apparently do? I don’t think that would be a good idea.

          • X Y & Z

            Of course you would, you and Obama would much rather support the ‘rebels’ (al-Qaeda in Syria) instead.

  • OnPointComments

    Sandra Fluke, who is unwilling to spend $10 a month for her own birth control and wants the government to provide it, has personally loaned her California State Senate campaign $100,000, enough to pay for her birth control well past menopause.

    • Ray in VT

      Obviously wanting millions of people to be guaranteed affordable access to something like birth control is totally offset by an advocate attaining some means.

      • HonestDebate1

        There already is guaranteed affordable access to birth control.

        • Ray in VT

          Yes. Thanks Obama.

  • ce373

    Gun Safety, “That Five Second Window!”

    Whenever there is another gun violence tragedy, America ends up with the same results and nothing changes enough to really make a difference … Americans of all ages still end up being defenseless sitting ducks!

    Americans need to work together on these issues seeking communication, collaboration, possible consensus and real solutions.

    Responsible and accountable adults need to be given the technological tools that enable them to stop gun predators during that “five Second Window” when the predators initiate their deadly attacks!!!

    These tools need not be guns of defense, but some technology that we already have or could develop and the technology wouldn’t have to kill the gun predators, but just totally disable the predators. If the technology was safe enough, accountable and responsible minors could be in possession of the technology also.

    We can not continue to allow American people of all ages to be defenseless, sitting ducks for gun predators because it is in violation of the first sentence of the Declaration of Independence, it is unjustifiable and possible litigation can continue to increase!

    Can one imagine the present stress that is on parents for not knowing that when their children go to school, their children may be sent home in a body bag!

    Albert Einstein said that one cannot expect different results using the same type of thinking that help to create the problems!

    Guess what, America can work together at a higher level and solve these gun predator abominations, we just have to want to and be allowed to!!!

  • OnPointComments

    President Obama and Jay Carney have just announced Carney’s resignation.

    • twenty_niner

      He can help Shinseki pack his things as well.

    • HonestDebate1

      Thanks. That kind of surprises me.

      • Coastghost

        On the basis of the video link you posted this morning, Jen Psaki would appear to be a press-credible successor.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      The Soviet propaganda posters found in the Carney kitchen were deemed a bridge too far.

      • Ray in VT

        Quick! Play the commie card! The Politburo in Moscow surely is behind it!

        • Coastghost

          Carney does look suspiciously like Snowden, now that you mention it.

          • HonestDebate1

            Good point, nice catch!

          • Ray in VT

            Have they ever been seen together? Yet another Obama conspiracy solved by the Bloodhound Gang.

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          Actually, Carney was having trouble keeping the lies straight. Time to bring in an outsider who can credibly play-act the Sargent Schultz routine for a while.

          • Ray in VT

            I know. He has to keep all of the conspiracies under wraps. A tough one, from fabricating Benghazi intelligence to manipulating jobs numbers. They guy must be a wreak.

          • OnPointComments

            Josh Earnest, White House Special Assistant to the President and Principal Deputy Press Secretary, will replace Carney.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            “Earnest”?

            LOL. I know nothing about the man but let’s have fun with Oscar Wilde

            “I don’t play accurately – any one can play accurately – but I play with wonderful expression.” – Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest, Act 1

            “It is awfully hard work doing nothing. However, I don’t mind hard work where there is no definite object of any kind.”
            - Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest, Act 1

            “The truth is rarely pure and never simple.”
            - Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest, Act 1

            “I’ve now realised for the first time in my life the vital Importance of Being Earnest.”
            - Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest, Act 3

          • Ray in VT

            I know. It’s tough keeping all of those vast and magnificently incompetently executed conspiracies going.

      • OnPointComments

        I’m surprised they didn’t Photoshop the posters away while they were Photoshopping the additional books into the bookcase.

  • Coastghost

    This year’s “Mixed Messaging of the Month of May Award” goes to Charlize Theron: if she is famously claiming that press intrusiveness into the lives of poor beleaguered celebrities is comparable to physical rape, with this proclamation is she not thereby inviting media-wide sexual assault?

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    Ralph Nader: “The left is seized by fear and the right is driven by brass”

    http://www.salon.com/2014/05/02/ralph_nader_the_left_is_seized_by_fear_and_the_right_is_driven_by_brass/

    “Say what you will about Ralph Nader — and most of you probably have — the man is tireless and persistent.

    Now 80, Nader has a new book with the triumphant title of “Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State.” And even if you’re not convinced that alliance is emerging, let alone unstoppable, Nader beats on, a relentless, articulate and sometimes very lonely critic of big business, media mediocrity and politicians who put corporate interests ahead of the public interest. Which means most of them.”

    • Government_Banking_Serf

      “So our job is to bring these issues to the fore and to the vote, just like the NSA. The NSA vote defied the leadership of both the Democrats and Republican in the House. They defied Pelosi and they defied Boehner, who were trying to block it. There was another one that came to the floor where Boehner and Pelosi did block it. It was Walter Jones and Dennis Kucinich saying that if the executive went to war without congressional authorization, that’s an impeachable offense; they kiboshed it.

      So where does the motive force come from? Public opinion. The public opinion is out there; they can’t deny it on these issues. It’s just that the links have to be put in place and that’s why I wrote the book. And we’re going to have a conference to move it into a more deliberative process. We’re going to have a conference on this in Washington, D.C., on May 27. Hopefully the first of a number of regional aggregations, together.”

      • Government_Banking_Serf

        “That’s why I boil it down to five most convergent areas. The Patriot Act. You see, the pressure not to do anything? It comes from the top. If they ever allowed a vote on the Patriot Act, it would be gone in Congress. A free roaming vote in defiance of the leadership? OK, the Patriot Act, corporate welfare bailouts, all the way to stadiums. That’s huge convergence. That’s why they never want a referendum, they want to ram it through.

        Three, is empire and the bloated military budget. You had the caucus between Ron Paul and Barney Frank — that actually had staff. They actually had full-time staff on that. It never got the publicity it deserved, but you see, the military-industrial complex commanded the heights, so Pelosi wasn’t that interested. There are too many contracts, too many congressional districts.

        Four, law and order crackdown on corporate crime. They want to put the corporate crooks in jail, starting with Wall Street.

        And five is the trade agreements. Here’s a nice wrinkle on the trade agreements. The main desire to get rid of those trade agreements by the right is sovereignty. There are no other treaties or agreements that have taken so much local, state and national sovereignty. These trade agreements are transnational forms of autocratic government. For the progressive side, it’s jobs. They come at it for different reasons, but they have the same conclusion. We almost beat them, by the way, with convergence under Clinton. And this is important, there is tremendous operating convergence between corporate conservatives and corporate liberals. Bill Clinton with trade. Bill Clinton with the so-called welfare reform. Bill Clinton with the telecommunications bill. Bill Clinton, the agribusiness bill.”

  • OnPointComments

    No matter how strong gun controls are, the controls don’t matter if they’re not used.

    POLICE DIDN’T SEARCH DATABASE SHOWING CALIF. SHOOTER HAD BOUGHT GUNS
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/police-didnt-search-database-showing-calif-shooter-had-bought-guns/2014/05/30/59ad5186-e74f-11e3-a86b-362fd5443d19_story.html

    Excerpt:

    With the toughest gun-control regulations in the country, California has a unique, centralized database of gun purchases that law enforcement officers can easily search. It offers precious intelligence about a suspect or other people they may encounter when responding to a call.

    Before a half-dozen sheriff’s deputies knocked on Elliot Rodger’s door last month…they could have checked the database and discovered he had bought three 9mm semiautomatic handguns. Several law enforcement officials and legal experts on gun policy said this might have given deputies greater insight into Rodger’s intentions and his capability for doing harm.

    The deputies did not check the database.

    • hennorama

      OPC — that is truly unfortunate.

      Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown is up for reelection on Tuesday. This issue might influence some voters, but is unlikely to impact the election outcome, as a large portion of voters vote early by mail, and have already cast their ballots. Sheriff Brown has been largely uncontroversial, and reasonably popular. In 2010, he ran for reelection unopposed, and has a better than even chance at reelection.

      The Isla Vista rampage, and the details surrounding the wellness check, will likely lead to much more frequent use of California’s Dealer’s Record of Sale (DROS) database by law enforcement personnel.

      What seems obvious to me would be for support personnel to routinely query the DROS while officers were en route to calls for service, and to pass any pertinent information to the officers in the field.

      In addition, it’s likely that more California counties will implement Laura’s Law, which, per the first source below,

      is a state law that provides community-based, assisted outpatient treatment (AOT) to a small population of individuals who meet strict legal criteria and who – as a result of their mental illness – are unable to access community mental health services voluntarily. It was passed by the California legislature in 2002 and signed by Gov. Gray Davis. The law is named for Laura Wilcox (pictured), who was shot and killed at the age of 19 by a man with untreated severe mental illness.

      At present, only two California counties — Nevada County and Orange County –have implemented the law, and the state hasn’t allocated any funding to it.

      See:
      http://www.treatmentadvocacycenter.org/lauras-law
      http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014/05/29/316851872/the-divide-over-involuntary-mental-health-treatment

  • Gary Clement

    Please don’t take so long to post the podcast on Fridays. It drives me crazy.

  • X Y & Z

    One Million People Dropped Out Of Labor Force In April: Participation Rate
    Plummets To Lowest Since 1978

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-05-02/one-million-people-dropped-out-labor-force-april-participation-rate-plummets-lowest-

    You can’t blame Obama for terrible economy, he’s too busy hanging out with Jay-Z and golfing to be worried about the millions of unemployed Americans.

    • OnPointComments

      Here’s the graph of the labor force participation rate for people in their prime working years of ages 25 to 54.

      • X Y & Z

        The figures don’t lie,
        Obama’s failed economic policies are putting a lot of Americans out of work.

        • davecm

          We are becoming a moocher state!

          • HonestDebate1

            “Becoming”?

  • StilllHere

    $2 billion for the Clippers?
    Wow, that gold-digger knew what she was doing!

    • Coastghost

      This may be heading into OT: reports are emerging that Sterling plans to sue the NBA for $1 billion, suit could be filed by day’s end.

  • Cacimo

    The conversation on guns was lacking in facts. Three of the six victims of the latest spree killer were STABBED to death – with a knife. After Sandy Hook, Colorado passed restrictive gun laws. The result was that two democrat politicians were successfully recalled in an election, despite the fact that the anti-gun (backed by $$ Bloomberg) side heavily outspent the grass roots pro-gunners. There is no interest in DC because the majority are pro-gun. Lefties only believe in majority rule when they are on the winning side. When the majority disagrees with them – so called liberals are all about dictatorship.

    • hennorama

      Cacimo — as related to another commenter, far below, there were a total of 19 people killed and injured in the Isla Vista rampage:

      11 of the 19 victims were wounded by projectiles discharged from firearms, three of whom died as a result.

      4 of the 19 victims were struck by a vehicle and injured as a result.

      3 of the 19 victims died from multiple stab wounds.

      1 of the 19 victims sustained a minor injury from an unknown origin.

      The simply, chilling arithmetic, of those killed and wounded:

      58 percent from bullets
      21 percent from a vehicle
      16 percent from bladed/blunt weapon(s)
      5 percent from unknown cause

      Those are the complete facts of all those who were killed and injured, not the partial facts that you recounted.

      Of course, even the above fails to present the entirety of the events, as many others who were put at risk by the suspect’s shooting spree and automotive assault fortunately escaped death and injury.

      • HonestDebate1

        Complete facts that fail to convey the totality of events, alrighty then.

        You know I find your agenda really disturbing. It is a good example of using facts to mislead. Your powerpoint light presentation conflating death with injury is nothing more than a shameful attempt to misdirect. 4 men and 2 women are dead, half were killed by guns and the other half by blade. Furthering an agenda on the graves of the fallen is disgusting.

      • OnPointComments

        As Rahm Emanuel said, “You never let a serious crisis go to waste.”

        • hennorama

          OPC — TYFYR.

          I have no idea what you mean. Care to expand and clarify?

          • HonestDebate1

            I think OPC said basiclly the same thing as I did below, just pithier.

          • OnPointComments

            I seriously doubt that you have no idea what I mean.

          • hennorama

            OPC — TYFYR.

            Whether you “seriously doubt” it or not, it is true.

            Repeating: Care to expand and clarify?

  • Cacimo

    Bizarre to hear Kerry calling Snowden a traitor. If a republican was in office Obama and Kerry would be calling Snowden a hero. Politician is synonymous with hypocrite.

  • X Y & Z

    Zuckerberg, wife gift $120M to CA schools

    http://news.yahoo.com/zuckerberg-wife-gift-120m-ca-schools-040234409–finance.html

    Apparently the Zuckerbergs want to repeat the mistake they made of giving $100 million to the Newark, NJ county public schools which was wasted.

    That $120 million would be better spent giving vouchers to students to attend private schools instead of the local, failing, under-performing public school.

    • Coastghost

      That quote on insanity attributed to Einstein just doesn’t get the airplay it used to . . . .

    • JGC

      Isn’t this where we are supposed to say, “It’s their money.”

      But apparently some folks think the Zuckerbergs’ hard earned millions need to be re-distributed according to your own central planning.

      • X Y & Z

        Of course your kind always believes that throwing more money at a problem is the cure all solution for every problem. Accountability is never is an issue for big-government liberals like you.

        For instance, take your failed and incompetent President…

  • Coastghost

    When will Americans obtain the rights now accorded to Europeans to have Google delete dated and erroneous or misleading data and links from its databases?
    Anyone in Congress or the Obama Administration proposing comparable “freedom from the internet” for Americans? (or: why not?)

  • phyljaf

    Re: Google driverless cars: it will be a godsend for elder drivers, or, for that matter, any driver that has reduced skills. I have an aunt who, at 92, is still driving and shouldn’t be. However, to deprive her of her car is a wrenching decision. If there was a driverless car she could maintain her independence but not endanger herself or other drivers on the road. I only hope that when I reach the age when I should give up my license that these cars are available.

    • davecm

      Before you jump for joy, check the price!

    • JGC

      I hope your aunt does not live in my town.

  • davecm

    Example of Govt. ran health care, the VA system.
    Long lines, long waits and maybe it seems death panels.
    They claim, not enough money, not enough doctors and staff!!!!!
    It seems the VA has enough money to have 700 lawyers on the payrolls!!!
    More Govt. crap, now Medicare will pay for sex changes!!!!!!!
    Wake up America!!!!! our country is going down the toilet and it seems nobody gives a crap!!!!!!!!

    • http://alchemicalreaction.blogspot.com/ Alchemical Reaction

      Strange how congress gets a stellar health care plan with a successful public-private partnership and the rest of the nation gets the hunger games.

    • OnPointComments

      It seems that frequently every scandal and report of corruption involves a union.

      BIG LABOR’S VA CHOKE HOLD
      How Democrats put their union allies before the well-being of veterans.

      http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:eU-7Sz74TegJ:online.wsj.com/articles/kim-strassel-big-labors-va-choke-hold-1401401816+&cd=4&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

      Excerpt:
      The VA boasts one of the largest federal workforces…a whopping 200,000 union members, represented by the likes of the American Federation of Government Employees and the Service Employees International Union.

      …the VA in 2012 paid 258 employees to be 100% “full-time,” receiving full pay and benefits to do only union work. Seventeen had six-figure salaries, up to $132,000. According to the Office of Personnel Management, the VA paid for 988,000 hours of “official” time in fiscal 2011, a 23% increase from 2010… the vast majority of these “official” timers were nurses, instrument technicians, pharmacists, dental assistants and therapists, who were being paid to do union work even as the VA tried to fill hundreds of jobs and paid overtime to other staff.

      The VA scandal is now putting an excruciating spotlight on the most politically sensitive agency in D.C., and the unions are worried about where this is headed. They watched in alarm as an overwhelming 390 House members—including 160 Democrats—voted on May 21 to give the VA more power to fire senior executives, a shot over the rank-and-file’s bow.

      The union fear is that Democrats, in a tough election year, will be pressured toward reforms that break labor’s VA stronghold.

      Not surprisingly, Sen. Bernie Sanders (D., Vt.), chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee, has promised his own “reform.” Odds are it will echo the unions’ call to simply throw more money at the problem. Any such bill should be viewed as Democrats once again putting the interests of their union allies ahead of veterans.

      • hennorama

        OPC — the piece you quoted was written by Kimberley Strassel. As you quoted, she wrote (emphasis added), “Odds are it will echo the unions’ call to simply throw more money at the problem.”

        Should we take this prediction seriously? After all, on Election Day 2012, Ms. Strassel predicted the following, per wikipedia.com:

        “Predicting an election is risky business, but political journalists ought to be expected to take some risks. So I’m calling it for Mitt Romney…. My final prediction is that at a minimum, Mr. Romney wins 289 electoral votes, a tally that includes Florida, Virginia, Ohio, Colorado, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Wisconsin. If it is a big night, he also picks up Pennsylvania and maybe Minnesota.”

        As a reminder, Mr. Romney lost the election by a wide margin, and received only 206 Evs. Mr. Romney lost Florida, Virginia, Ohio, Colorado, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Minnesota.

        Sources:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kimberley_Strassel
        http://www.fec.gov/pubrec/fe2012/2012presgeresults.pdf

        • OnPointComments

          Using your own standards for credibility, we certainly would not take seriously the utterances of one who said he would cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term, keep unemployment below 8%, reduce the backlog at the Veterans Administration, cut the cost of a typical family’s health care premium by up to $2,500 a year, allow you to keep your doctor and health plan, negotiate health care reform in public, allow five days of public comment before signing bills…I could go on and on, but I’m sure you get the gist.

          An important distinction is that Ms. Strassel is simply making predictions, whereas Candidate/President Obama was making promises that were within his power to keep, yet he chose not to.

          • hennorama

            OPC –TYFYR.

            What nonsense.

            Your claim that President Obama “chose not to” take actions consistent with his words is ridiculously absurd, as is your contention that such actions “were within his power to keep.”

            Please let everyone know where the magic wand you seem to think President Obama is in possession of is located, when and how it came into his possession, and why “he chose not to” use it.

          • OnPointComments

            Having observed President Obama’s frequent self-laudatory nature, I believe that if he had fought hard to televise the health care debates on C-Span as he promised, he would have let us know. Can you provide evidence of any steps that he took to reduce the backlog at the VA? Of his fight to make the health care debate public? He certainly had the power to not sign bills before there was five days of debate, did he not?

            In my opinion, he never planned to do many of the things he promised. They were just promises, which he planned on breaking all along.

            I note that you did not comment on whether we should believe someone who has broken so many promises.

          • HonestDebate1

            It is absolutely amazing to me how Obama is held blameless for his policies. He has positioned himself as the one fighting to keep these things from happening as he makes them happen.

            I knew with certainty his “stimulus’ would not live up to the hype, premiums would go up not down, he would not be transparent and he would not cut the deficit in half. Anyone with half a brain (that’s all I have) knew. And we still have some who would say he cut the deficit in half without acknowledging he first quadrupled it… so it’s now only double what he started with. Go figure.

          • Steve__T

            Where do you keep your magic crystal ball? The way you talk you sat on it.

          • HonestDebate1

            It’s not rocket science Steve. It doesn’t take a crystal ball. Did you seriously believe these things?

            How about Gitmo? Did you believe he would close it?

  • HonestDebate1

    Evidently in her book Hillary Clinton is doubling down on the video meme. Unbelievable! And then the same woman who looked into the eyes grieving parents and swore to get the videographer, the most transparently political statement in the history of the universe, said: ” “I will not be a part of a political slugfest on the backs of dead Americans.”

    Why is anyone even considering her for President? The reasons to disqualify her are legion but this alone is enough. I have yet to hear anyone list her qualifications which makes sense because she has none.

    • http://alchemicalreaction.blogspot.com/ Alchemical Reaction

      She has plenty of qualifications.
      1. First lady.
      2. Senator.
      3. Secretary of state.
      4. Mother.

      It’s not that she is devoid of qualifications.

      She shouldn’t be president because we, as a nation, should not support political dynasties. It only serves to create more of an oligarchy and further separate rich from poor, regardless of party affiliation.

      • HonestDebate1

        I don’t care a bit about dynasties. I am not a fan of Hillary Clinton or Jeb Bush but their names have nothing to do with my stance.

        1) Marriage is not a qualification. As a wife she was a doormat. As a role model she tacitly advocated being a doormat. As a first lady she failed at her one charge, healthcare. As first lady she proved her vindictive nastiness with Billy Dale.

        2) She was an unremarkable carpet-bagging Senator. What did she accomplish?

        3) She failed at the “Russian reset”, she failed in Benghazi. I am hard pressed to list a single square inch on earth that she made better during her tenure. She can’t either and failed at even that simple task when asked.

        4) Susan Smith and Andrea Yates were mothers. Neither should be President.

        • http://alchemicalreaction.blogspot.com/ Alchemical Reaction

          Are you developmentally disabled?

          • HonestDebate1

            Yes.

          • http://alchemicalreaction.blogspot.com/ Alchemical Reaction

            I will consider your points more in depth…

          • HonestDebate1

            That’s all I ask.

          • Steve__T

            You are both Nucken futs

          • HonestDebate1

            Your point?

          • Steve__T

            The tip of your head.

        • JONBOSTON

          In a country where most everything of any importance has been dumbed down , so have been the qualifications to be president. And look at what that’s given us — a community organizer who should be regarded as a colossal failure and one of the worst presidents to ever occupy the Oval office. A person whose most noteworthy ” achievement” is his unparalleled staggering incompetence. As a candidate, the mainstream media saw a man of much promise but overlooked his lack of any record of accomplishment. Are we doing the same thing with Hillary Clinton? Haven’t we learned anything?

  • OnPointComments

    There’s never a shortage of lunacy in Washington DC. Here’s Crazy Bernie talking to CNN about Eric Shinseki’s resignation:

    “They have cut waiting lists in half and they’re on their way to almost end waiting lists in the next year.”
    –Bernie Sanders
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OLfn8ahZXTo#

    Apparently Bernie is unaware that the scandal is about wait times and falsified records.

    • HonestDebate1

      He is the chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, that’s outrageous.

  • JGC

    “How the VA developed its culture of coverups” in the Washington Post, by David Fahrenthold:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/national/2014/05/30/how-the-va-developed-its-culture-of-coverups

    • JGC

      One of the things that is difficult to comprehend, and must have been a crushing realization for a straight-up, good old soldier like General Shinseki, is how the veteran employees within the VA could have been engineers and partners to such dishonesty in falsification of records. It can be said, of course, its human nature, and so forth, but to come out of a culture of personal accountability and comradery and responsibility for brothers-in-arms as there is in the military services, it is very…well, there is no good word for what it is.

      Over 50% of VA employees are veterans, according to the VA Claims Backlog Working Group. So when it is said that the faceless VA Bureaucrats are worthless, lazy, greedy, bonus-grabbing criminals from whom our deserving veterans need protection: we have met the enemy, and he is us.

      • HonestDebate1

        I really don’t care if those who knew about this, falsified records and let people die are veterans or not. To your point, I sincerely hope they were not. Half of VA employees are veterans, I’d like to know how those numbers break down among the worthless, lazy, greedy, bonus-grabbing criminals.

  • HonestDebate1

    “U.S. economy shrinks, but it’s not a big deal”

    That’s an actual headline from CNN.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      Has Mark Zandi weighed in?

      Mark Zandi (January 30, 2014): “The economy is only going to get stronger”

  • HonestDebate1

    We all know the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Obama begins with acceptance and works his way to denial.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/379234/obamas-inverted-grief-process-charles-c-w-cooke

    • Steve__T

      I love this, from the guy who demands that no one tell him what he thinks, or how he thinks.
      So you tell us all what we all know and how Obama thinks.
      Priceless.
      I know, its not about you.

      • HonestDebate1

        You can tell me how I think, that’s cool; shallow, personal and unproductive but cool.

        I do object when someone does not address what I write and instead tells me what I think then criticizes me for thinking it when the thought never crossed my mind. And “object” is really the wrong world because most intelligent people agree it is a stupid tactic; they can plainly see the dodge. That’s why I always point it out and rub it in.

        And read the link, it’s not about what Obama thinks. But even still, part of being a citizen is speculating what the President is thinking, I’m not debating the President one on one.

  • OnPointComments

    John Kerry has commented on the White House’s identification of the covert CIA station chief in Afghanistan:

    The public revelation of the CIA agent’s identity, whether it amounts to a crime or an irresponsible breach of security protocol that doesn’t meet the standard of criminal conduct, may have compromised the safety and welfare of anyone who had worked with the agent overseas.

    As a group of respected former intelligence officials wrote: “Any breach of the code of confidentiality and cover weakens the overall fabric of intelligence, and, directly or indirectly, jeopardizes the work and safety of intelligence workers and their sources.”

    It’s long past time to stop putting politics ahead of the public good, get to the bottom of a national security breach and restore credibility to Washington.

    Sorry, I got that wrong. That was Kerry’s statement back when Valerie Plame, a CIA agent sitting safely at a desk in the United States, was exposed, not a statement on the release of the name of the CIA station chief in Afghanistan to 6,000 journalists, which placed him in immediate danger and forced him to leave the country.

    When asked to comment about Obama administration’s identification of the station chief in Afghanistan, Kerry said “Oops. Our bad.”

  • HonestDebate1
  • X Y & Z

    1 in 6 American Men Between Ages 25-54 Are Not Working

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/1-8-american-men-between-ages-25-54-are-not-working_793938.html

    You can thank the current Administration and their failed economic policies for that.

  • hennorama

    The heartless Obama administration once again demonstrates how little it cares for US military personnel and veterans:

    US soldier held captive by Taliban in Afghanistan for nearly five years freed

    FTA:

    Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the only American solider held captive in Afghanistan, has been released by the Taliban in exchange for five Afghan detainees, U.S. officials said Saturday.

    Bergdahl was held captive for nearly five years, after leaving his base in east Afghanistan on June 30, 2009.

    Officials said the detainees were in the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and the deal happened after a week of intense negotiations mediated by the government of Qatar, which will take custody of the Afghans.

    “On behalf of the American people, I was honored to call [Bergdahl’s] parents to express our joy that they can expect his safe return, mindful of their courage and sacrifice throughout this ordeal,” President Obama said.

    A Defense Department official gave Fox News the names of the detainees: Mohammad Fazl, Mullah Norullah Noori, Mohammed Nabi, Khairullah Khairkhwa, and Abdul Haq Wasiq. They are believed to be the top five Taliban leaders at the prison and were selected in 2012 by Taliban leaders as part of initial negotiations.

    See:
    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/05/31/wh-us-solider-held-in-afghanistan-bergdahl-is-released-after-five-years/

    • HonestDebate1

      “The heartless Obama administration once again demonstrates how little it cares for US military personnel and veterans”

      You are entitled to your opinion but I have never heard anyone level that charge. Everyone cares about our veterans, even Obama. Heck as I recall, he was even on the Veteran Affairs Committee. He cares a lot.

      http://www.politico.com/multimedia/video/2014/05/throwback-thursday-senator-obama-on-veterans-affairs.html

    • JGC

      That is a fascinating report from fox.news. As always.

      I wonder how the trade of the 5 Taliban leaders, guarded at Guantanamo since the early 2000s (?), compares to current information the U.S. may obtain when debriefing Bergdahl at the apropriate time.

      • hennorama

        JGC — TYFYR.

        Fascinating, indeed.

        It is also now (7:55 AM [GMT] Sun. June 1, 2014) completely different from the article that I quoted, which was much shorter and did not contain the pushback about 30 day notice, etc. I quoted the first 5 grafs, but good old Fox News … they changed the article, without noting it was updated.

        The 5 grafs I quoted began with the letters ABOOA. Now, they begin ABBUT:

        Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the only American soldier held captive in Afghanistan, was released Saturday by Taliban captors, an announcement that has Americans rejoicing but also is raising questions on Capitol Hill and beyond about “negotiating with terrorists.”

        Bergdahl was released from captivity after nearly five years, in exchange for five Taliban members being held in the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

        Bergdahl was taken prisoner after leaving his base in east Afghanistan on June 30, 2009. Why he left and whether he’ll face any consequences for his actions remains unclear.

        U.S. officials said the deal was reached after a week of intense negotiations that were mediated by the Qatar government, which will take custody of the Taliban detainees.

        They said efforts to negotiate Bergdahl’s release began in November 2010, that his return has been a top priority since May 2011 and that the opportunity to resume diplomatic efforts emerged several weeks ago.

        I’m not quite sure what comparison you’re making between the released detainees and Sgt. Bergdahl, but as far as intelligence value, the 5 high-ranking detainees had access to far more Taliban info than Sgt. Bergdahl had to US/allied info.

        Thanks again for your response. Without it, I never would have discovered how much the foxnews.com piece had been changed, without informiing the reader.

  • X Y & Z

    Over 60% of US drone targets in Pakistan are homes

    http://rt.com/news/161376-pakistan-drones-houses-target/

    Apparently the Obama Administration equates home ownership in Pakistan with terrorism.

    • hennorama

      X Y & Z — Apparently you equate mistake your comments in this forum with for intelligent discourse.

  • HonestDebate1

    It is good news for Bowe Bergdahl and his family. I celebrate that aspect.

    I was struck by Obama’s statement that America never leaves our soldiers behind given the Benghazi debacle where he surely did. He didn’t even participate. Where was he?

    I was hoping for a Bin Laden type raid to rescue him which could have happened anytime in the last few years. The reality is Obama is in trouble. His administration, already engulfed in scandal on many fronts, just got gut punched with yet another, the VA. Something had to be done. I believe that was the impetus for Obama to bypass Congress and abandoned one of America’s longest held tenets: we do not negotiate with terrorist. It never ends well.

    • JGC

      Maybe you were hoping for a bin Laden type raid; we can all hope for a dramatic bin Laden-type raid; but as I remember, bin Laden wound up dead from his raid and buried in the deep blue sea.

      We do not negotiate with terrorists. Or do we? Or does anyone?

      http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/62276/peter-r-neumann/negotiating-with-terrorists

      http://huffingtonpost.com/jonathanmiller/gilad-shalot-netanyahu_b_1096845.html

      • hennorama

        JGC — the entity to whom you replied employed the common Flinstone-Fudd Gambit: Yabba Dabba Yabbit, AKA “Yeah, but ….,” in combination with Benghazi Bamboozle, followed by Dishonest Denial.

        Of course the US and other nations negotiate with unsavory characters, including terrorists. To name just three:

        1. Iranian hostage crisis, which resulted in a negotiated release of the hostages.

        2. and 3. Iran-Contra affair, which resulted in negotiated and illegal arms sales to Iran, and negotiated financial support of the terrorist Contras.

        in other words, after the first sentence, the post to which you replied was 100% equine excrement, from an equine excrement expert.

        • HonestDebate1

          So how many top tier terrorist did we exchange for the hostages? Who knew?

          “According to a 2008 Pentagon dossier on Guantanamo Bay inmates, all five men released were considered to be a high risk to launch attacks against the United States and its allies if they were liberated.”

          http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/05/31/us-pays-high-price-for-last-pow-in-afghanistan.html

        • pete18

          The US didn’t give up anything to get the Iranian Hostages back so it’s hardly comparable. The Iran -Contra affair was a huge mistake, and hardly a justification for what Obama just did, which was to release five terrorists, many of whom are wanted for war crimes and are listed as “high risks.” This means that Obama not only has endangered the lives of more americans and our allies, he’s made it much more likely for more american soldiers to be kidnapped and used as bargaining chips. And on top of that he broke the law to do it.

          Here’s who Obama just set free. It’s hard to see how even even the most blind Obamaphile, who takes daily baths in the Kool-aide, could justify this :

          Mullah Mohammad Fazl (Taliban army chief of staff): Fazl is
          wanted by the UN for possible war crimes including the murder of thousands of Shiites. Fazl was associated with terrorist groups currently opposing U.S. and
          Coalition forces including al Qaeda, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan,
          Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin, and an Anti-Coalition Militia group known as
          Harakat-i-Inqilab-i-Islami. In addition to being one of the Taliban’s most
          experienced military commanders, Fazl worked closely with a top al Qaeda
          commander named Abdul Hadi al Iraqi, who headed al Qaeda’s main fighting unit in Afghanistan prior to 9/11 and is currently detained at Guantanamo.

          Mullah Norullah Noori (senior Taliban military commander): Like
          Fazl, Noori is wanted by the United Nations for possible war crimes including the murder of thousands of Shiite Muslims. Beginning in the mid-1990s, Noori fought alongside al Qaeda as a Taliban military general, against the Northern alliance. He continued to work closely with al Qaeda in the years that followed.

          Abdul Haq Wasiq (Taliban deputy minister of intelligence):

          Wasiq arranged for al Qaeda members to provide crucial intelligence training
          prior to 9/11. The training was headed by Hamza Zubayr, an al Qaeda instructor who was killed during the same September 2002 raid that netted Ramzi Binalshibh, the point man for the 9/11 operation. Wasiq was central to the Taliban’s efforts to form alliances with other Islamic fundamentalist groups to fight alongside the Taliban against U.S. and Coalition forces after the 11 September 2001 attacks, according to a leaked JTF-GTMO threat assessment.

          Khairullah Khairkhwa (Taliban governor of the Herat province and

          former interior minister): Khairkhwa was the governor of Afghanistan’s
          westernmost province prior to 9/11. In that capacity, he executed sensitive
          missions for Mullah Omar, including helping to broker a secret deal with the
          Iranians. For much of the pre-9/11 period, Iran and the Taliban were bitter
          foes. But a Taliban delegation that included Kharikhwa helped secure Iran’s support for the Taliban’s efforts against the American-led coalition in late 2001. JTF-GTMO found that Khairkhwa was likely a major drug trafficker and deeply in bed with al Qaeda. He allegedly oversaw one of Osama bin Laden’s
          training facilities in Herat.

          Mohammed Nabi (senior Taliban figure and security
          official): Nabi was a senior Taliban official who served in multiple leadership roles. Nabi had strong operational ties to Anti-Coalition Militia groups including al Qaeda, the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, and the Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin, some of whom remain active in ACM activities. Intelligence cited in the JTF-GTMO files indicates that Nabi held weekly meetings with al Qaeda
          operatives to coordinate attacks against U.S.-led forces.

          http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/five-most-dangerous-taliban-commanders-us-custody-released-pow-exchange_794017.html

          • HonestDebate1

            President Obama has consistently shown he is willing to put politics ahead of national security. He has also demonstrated he is more than willing to flat out lie to the American people about domestic policy in the name of politics. His numbers are in the tank, the economy is shrinking and he can no longer blame it on Bush, he is a laughing stock on the world stage, and now the VA scandal has engulfed him on top of countless other scandals. He is desperate.

            The Fox article says, “…the opportunity to resume diplomatic efforts emerged several weeks ago.”

            I submit that “opportunity” was the VA scandal.

          • JONBOSTON

            Greg,
            I can recall presidents as far back as JFK. In the late 70′s I was working in Washington DC when Carter was president and thought that no future president could be as awful as Jimmy Carter. Regrettably , Obama has proven me wrong. Practically every rational informed person knows how incompetent he is–when the editorial boards of the NYT and the WaPo criticize Obama’s foreign policy ( if there is one) and his West Point speech , you know Obama has lost practically everyone with the possible exception of Jack Beatty , David Plouffe , and David Axelrod. I only wish the Republicans came out and began attacking Obama for his incompetence and demanded accountability. He is ruining this country and needs to be held to account.

          • HonestDebate1

            You must be a little older than I. I was 16 when Carter was elected. By the end of the term I understood it was a disaster but I didn’t vote in ’80.

            My biggest fear is not that Obama is ruining this country, it’s that he already has. This is awful.

          • JGC

            Does anyone think they could now be drone-bait?

          • hennorama

            JGC — that was my first thought.

          • JGC

            Obviously, not while they are detained in Qatar for at least the next year. After that?…

          • hennorama

            JGC — TYFYR.

            One would expect that both HUMINT and non-HUMINT assets are/will be employed to monitor these individuals.

            As I wrote in a lengthy exchange about UAVs with [Steve_the_Teacher]:

            Part of the considerations that go into approval of the use of UAVs in certain instances include whether or not there is a practical means by which to separate (locate, detain/arrest, and imprison) some humans from society. Approval is reportedly given only in cases where this is deemed impractical and/or impossible, given the capabilities of local authorities and/or U.S. and allied personnel, and balancing the risks thereto.

            In addition, there needs to be a finding that the target(s) represent a “clear and present danger,” or meet similar criteria, before UAV use can be authorized

            But I do expect that somewhere, the countdown has already begun.

          • HonestDebate1

            Let’s hope so.

          • hennorama

            pete18 — TYFYR.

            Nothing in it refutes my comments.

            TYAFYR.

          • pete18

            Do you think this move by Obama was a good one?

          • hennorama

            pete18 — TYFYR.

            The return of Sgt. Bergdahl to safety is obviously a good thing.

            TYAFYR.

          • pete18

            Sounds like you are avoiding the full ramification of the question. It is good for Sgt. Bergdahl and his family that he is home. Was it worth endangering other Americans and letting war criminals go free to achieve that end?

          • hennorama

            pete18 — TYFYR.

            The premise of your question is speculative (“endangering other American”), and contains unproven allegations (“war criminals”). I’d be happy to answer if you modify it to remove those speculations and allegations.

          • pete18

            Did you read their resumes? This is hardly a speculative assertion. However, for the sake of semantics, was it worth releasing
            five terrorists, who helped train and provide intelligence to members of al Qaeda, are wanted for war crimes and were listed by the Pentagon as a high risk of launching attacks against the U.S. and our allies if released?

          • hennorama

            pete18 — TYFYR.

            Of course you were speculating in your question, and you were also parroting unproven allegations.

            Yes, I have read the allegations and other information relating to the men who were released. They seem to have been important and active when they were much younger. Perhaps the UN and others will now have an opportunity to question them.

            Thanks for modifying your question. The answer is Yes.

          • HonestDebate1

            You and the President are doing an awful lot of speculating. I hope your fantasies defy all logic and prove to be correct.

          • pete18

            What part was “speculation”? What are the “unproven” allegations? When does a listing of the facts of the case become “parroting”? Is there anything that I mentioned that is a contested piece of information?

            Does your answer mean that you don’t think they pose a danger or that you think it is still worthwhile to make this trade even though they do?

          • hennorama

            pete18 – TYFYR.

            Perhaps you simply skipped my prior post parenthetically pointing to the speculation and allegations. If so, I invite you to seek it out, and to read it.

            Apologies for my rhetorical tautology, as by definition, allegations are unproven until they are not.

            Apologies as well if you took offense at “parroting,” (repeating by rote) but you used the terms terrorists, war crimes, and war criminals multiple times, so the term seemed apt.

            My prior answer means “Yes, returning Sgt. Bergdahl to safety was worth releasing five [alleged] terrorists, who [allegedly] helped train and provide intelligence to members of al Qaeda, [two of whom] are wanted for [possible] war crimes and were listed by the Pentagon as a [speculatively] high risk of launching attacks against the U.S. and our allies if released [and who have been 'out of the loop' for more than a decade, and potentially return to organizations no longer familiar to them, and which have changed greatly in their absence]?

            TYAFYR.

          • pete18

            Wow! l amazed in the comfort you find in the legal definitions (alleged,possible) and irrelevant numerical measures (only two, out of the loop for a decade) for these terrorists to justify such a risky trade.

            According to your standards, Osama Bin Laden was also an “alleged” terrorist before 9/11 and before his killing in Pakistan and the US government had no cause or justification to take action against him before or after 9/11.

            Thanks for making your position clear. I hope to god it is not shared by our next president.

          • hennorama

            pete18 — TYFYR.

            Please note that I did not use the word “only” in my bracketed comment “[two of whom].” That you seem to have “heard” that word is interesting.

            As to the case against Osama bin Laden, and the U.S. having sanctioned him with the most extreme prejudice – I’m reasonably confident that the decisions involved in the capture/kill operation were justified by the array of evidence, and the operational details as they unfolded. Indeed, OBL was an alleged terrorist, both before and after 9/11.

            It’s not that I “find comfort” in the things that I have pointed out; it’s simply that those things that I pointed out have not generally been expressed, and a thoughtful person should at least consider these factors, which I have. To some extent, I have played the role of devil’s advocate in this thread, simply to point out factors that have not generally been presented or considered.

            One assumes you find such an exercise to have some modest value. Please correct any misassumption.

            The individuals released of course have serious allegations against them regarding their alleged actions. Otherwise, they would not have been at Gitmo in the first place, or at least they would likely not have been held for such an extended period.

            These individuals may in the future prove to be a danger and/or a threat to others, including Americans and our friends and allies. The opposite is also true. Of course there are risks involved in releasing them.

            As I wrote in reply to [JGC], earlier, one would expect that both HUMINT and non-HUMINT assets are/will be employed to monitor these individuals, in case they step out of their Qatari box. And I do expect that somewhere, the one year countdown toward possible UAV use against these individuals has already begun.

            No doubt weighing such a decision was a difficult task for President Obama, and I am happy that I am not responsible for making such weighty choices.

            In my view, All Things Considered, getting Sgt. Bergdahl back was worth the risks presented by these individuals.

            Thanks again for your response.

          • X Y & Z

            Excellent post

      • pete18

        ” bin Laden wound up dead from his raid and buried in the deep blue sea.”

        Yes, that was the goal of the raid.

      • HonestDebate1

        Maybe he needed a hashtag like the Nigerian girls.

    • JONBOSTON

      A week ago , Obama made a surprise visit of our troops in Afghanistan . Now , after watching Obama’s announcement yesterday and his national security team ( Susan Rice , aka “the dupe” and Chuck Hagel “the dope”) appear on this morning’s Sunday talk shows, I get the awful sense that Obama is using the release of Bergdahl to boost his political standing on veterans/military affairs. If so, then Obama is beyond shame and lacking any virtue or decency. Sadly, he proves every day that the best thing he could do for his country is resign and take his ilk with him.

  • X Y & Z

    - One million Americans left the labor force in April
    - Negative economic growth
    - $7 trillion added to the national deficit since 2009

    The next individual in the Obama Administration that needs to resign is Obama himself.

  • OnPointComments

    Remember when the IRS told us that its targeting of conservative groups was an accident? That the targeting only occurred because the IRS, which typically reviews as many as 60,000 tax-exempt applications a year, was overwhelmed when an additional 1,900 applications were received? And that IRS personnel were confused about section 501(c)(4), which has been around for more than 100 years, and also confused by the 55 year old IRS regulation written in 1959?

    The IRS came up with a solution to the problem: on November 29, 2013, it proposed a new regulation, IRS REG–134417–13, to make its illegal actions legal. The IRS response to the targeting scandal was to enshrine into law its crackdown on nonprofit speech, and to make its use of “inappropriate criteria” appropriate.

    If the IRS was overwhelmed by 1,900 tax-exempt applications, it must have been blown away by the 150,000 comments it received on its proposed new regulation — the most ever on a proposed tax regulation. Most of the comments were not positive. Imagine that, the majority of commenters didn’t want to abandon the first amendment.

    The IRS withdrew the proposed rule on May 22, 2014. Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp made the following statement on the rule withdrawal:

    “During this Committee’s investigation, we exposed the true intent of this rule – to silence the voice of conservative non-profit groups. We also uncovered the fact that this rule was purposefully kept out of the public’s view and developed offline. This proposed rule was wrong from the start. The American people spoke out loud and clear against it, and hopefully the IRS and the Obama Administration will think twice before ever trying to go down this path again. If they do, we will continue to defend Americans’ First Amendment rights.”

    • Don_B1

      Note that there are two ways to be negative on the proposal by the I.R.S. In addition to the way you proposed, the correct way to oppose is to urge the I.R.S. to just deny all applications for 501(c)(4) status by any group that is not totally involved in work for the general welfare which would eliminate all left and right groups with political activities.

  • HonestDebate1

    There are accusations being made by a soldier who served with Bergdahl that he was a deserter and traitor. It is sure to get more attention but at this point it’s all here say so I don’t want to post it. I just wish I could take the administration at face value but I can’t or I would not mention it at all.

    • JGC

      I read that Bergdahl was promoted twice while a prisoner. He went in as Private Bergdahl, and came out as Sgt. Bergdahl. What is the basis for two promotions while being held as a prisoner, and how does that comport with the possiblity of being a deserter or traitor? This is a very strange story.

      • HonestDebate1

        I have no idea. I have never heard of such a thing. I do think this very strange story will be explored in more detail over the coming weeks. Maybe OP will do a show.

        • JGC

          Also keep an eye on Diane Rehm’s schedule. Nothing is listed as yet.

      • hennorama

        JGC – regarding Sgt. Bergdahl’s promotions:

        It’s US Army (and the other service branches as well) policy to maintain pay and allowances for POWs, MIAs, detainees, etc., as one would expect:

        Active duty Soldiers who are officially determined to be a Captive, Prisoner of War, Missing, Missing in Action, interned in a foreign country, captured, beleaguered or besieged by a hostile force, or detained in a foreign country against their will are entitled to receive or have credited to account the pay and allowances to which entitled when missing status began or to which a member becomes entitled later.

        Promotions are also partly based on time of service.

        Sgt. Bergdahl was promoted to the rank of Sergeant back in June 2011, following his promotion to the rank of specialist, back in June 2010.

        Sources:
        http://myarmybenefits.us.army.mil/Home/Benefit_Library/Federal_Benefits_Page/POW__MIA_Entitlements.html?serv=147
        http://usmilitary.about.com/cs/armypromotions/a/armypromotions.htm
        http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=122375

  • hennorama

    Questions about Sgt. Bergdahl’s separation from his comrades and his subsequent capture are not in any way new, as demonstrated by this from a conservative darling:

    Questions about the reported abduction of Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl; Update: Reports of desertion mounting

    By Michelle Malkin • July 20, 2009 05:02 AM

    http://michellemalkin.com/2009/07/20/questions-about-the-reported-abduction-of-pfc-bowe-bergdahl/

    • OnPointComments

      Dude, that was like 5 years ago. You’re still talking about the most mundane thing.

      • X Y & Z

        You don’t think that one of Obama’s last remaining rabid supporters wants to discuss about the $7 trillion that Obama added to the national deficit, or the one million Americans that left the work force in April?

      • hennorama

        OPC — thank you for your response.

        Fascinating that you would choose to post such a response to me, rather than to [Debates?NotHe], who feigned reluctance about bringing up the topic of possible desertion, while bringing up the topic of possible desertion, below.

        • HonestDebate1

          Ah, I see my second choice (above) was correct. I was holding out hope for your sake.

          My reluctance is in linking the accusations not in suggesting they exist. For all I know they are made up but thanks for the MM link.

          I will reiterate, it breaks my heart that I cannot trust this administration.

          I think you missed the reference by OPC. And as I just pointed out this is a new development so OPC’s comment would have made no sense as a reply to me.

    • HonestDebate1

      While you are certainly correct that Michelle Malkin is a most awesome darling but you may not realize that yesterday (not 5 years ago) there was an “in every way” new development, A soldier who served with Bergdahl has gone on record, in name, and recounted many new details. Personally, I just think it’s a little soon to drown out the happiness for the family with a link but that’s just my nature. Obviously you disagree.

      Perhaps you finally ended your obsession with me and took my advise about the little minus sign which I recommend because you look silly constantly replying to me in your creepy manner. Or maybe this is just more of the same and you can’t tell the difference between, “There were accusations made” and “There are accusations being made“.

    • JGC

      Here is what looks to be another interesting article, back from 2012 in RollingStone, “America’s Last Prisoner of War”:

      http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/americas-last-prisoner-of-war-20120607

      It is a long investigative piece on Bergdahl, and I haven’t read it through all the way yet.

      • JGC

        I almost forgot to credit the name of the author of the story, his name being Michael Hastings. Then I thought, hmmm, that name is familiar…He was also the reporter who broke the story, also in Rolling Stone, “The Accidental General” about Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the commander in Afghanistan who ultimately got dismissed by President Obama.

        Here is another recent story, in New York Magazine, Nov 2013, by Benjamin Wallace, this one about Michael Hastings who appears to have met an untimely death:

        http://nymag.com/news/features/michael-hastings-2013-11

        Lots of bedtime reading tonight. This Bergdahl story, with all its moving parts, gets wierder with each passing moment.

      • OnPointComments

        It’s a strange and weird tale. The Rolling Stone story covers the same points I’ve read in less extensive articles.

        • JGC

          I never had heard of Bergdahl before, so everything regarding his story is news to me.

      • hennorama

        JGC — TYFYR, and the interesting link.

        It’s sort of weird to get pushback about pointing out that these accusations have been around since the very beginning of Sgt. Bergdahl’s “long, strange trip.”

        It’s also weird that “the door was opened” to the topic of possible desertion below, by someone feigning reluctance to do so, after having done so. Of course, this was in combination with a jab at the Obama administration, as if the Twitter feed of a veteran was somehow connected to the admin., or something.

        Regarding said Twitter feed, and in the spirit of sharing information, here it is:

        https://mobile.twitter.com/CodyFNfootball/tweets

        The part about Sgt Bergdahl begins with a reply to a tweet from ABCNews. In his reply tweet, @CodyFNfootball writes, in part, “SMFH,” which means “Shaking My F[lipp]ing Head.”

        A scan of the feed confirms a number of details in Michael Hastings article in RS. Of course, had one read the article beforehand …

        Clearly, there is no shortage of “Wag The Dog” and other conspiracy theorists.

        Thanks again for your response, and for sharing the RS link.

        • HonestDebate1

          Why would you suggest someone suggested the twitter feed was connected with the administration? That’s odd.

          I just brought it up because, to my knowledge, no one who served with him has named themselves and come forward before now. Maybe I missed it. It may be all BS you know. I prefer to verify things before I post them.

      • HonestDebate1

        I am less concerned with whether he was a traitor or deserter than I am with the seemingly political motivations of the timing and high price we paid. I am also very concerned about the precedent this sets and Hagel’s hints this will open the door to further negotiations with the Taliban. Claire McCaskill made what I thought was a good point on Fox News Sunday when the host pointed out the distinction between negotiating with nation states and terrorists. She pointed out they are our enemy, the paradigm has shifted. That is true, our enemies have no state. I have used that same argument on other issues regarding the war on terror. I’m not smart enough to know what the best way forward is. I do think it makes the world more dangerous at a time when we are cutting military spending while projecting an extreme reluctance to use our might when needed. So, my feeble mind does conclude negotiating with terrorist opens a can of worms we are not prepared to deal with.

        IMHO as interesting as it is, it really doesn’t matter if he was a deserter or even a traitor. He’s an American soldier first.

        • JGC

          Good reminder on your last sentence to help me keep the many odd details in perspective.

    • TFRX

      Michelle Malkin? No fair picking on such an uninformed jackwad.

      • hennorama

        TFRX — TYFYR.

        Please convey my apologies to Ms. Malkin; it was indeed rude of me to hold her out as an example.

  • OnPointComments

    The IRS couldn’t get the rules changed that would allow it to continue to target conservative groups (see comment below). So what are Senate Democrats proposing to do instead? Senate Democrats have proposed a constitutional amendment to give Congress the power to regulate political speech in Federal elections. The Senate Judiciary Committee will take up the amendment two days from now, on Tuesday, June 3, 2014.

    It’s illuminating that these Democrats include in their proposed amendment “Nothing in this article shall be construed to grant Congress the power to abridge the freedom of the press.” The proposed amendment exempts from Congressional power only the freedom of the press. The first amendment states “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.” It is implicit in their proposed amendment that they know the amendment would give Congress the power to abridge freedom of speech; otherwise, why would they specifically mention freedom of the press and omit freedom of speech?

    Would anyone want their political speech regulated by the likes of Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, Al Franken, Elizabeth Warren, Richard Durbin, and Barbara Boxer?

    Here’s the first amendment:

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    That’s the first amendment, unless Senate Democrats get their way.

  • X Y & Z

    President Barack Obama’s national security flops just keep coming

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/10866863/President-Barack-Obamas-national-security-flops-just-keep-coming.html

    Obama’s foreign policy is just as ruinous as his domestic policy.

    • HonestDebate1

      So much incompetence, so little time.

      • X Y & Z

        That’s why he needs to be impeached, and why Obamacare needs to be repealed, ASAP.

  • HonestDebate1

    Yikes, there were six hundred and sixty-six comments but I just fixed it.

  • hennorama

    An example of other nearly contemporaneous coverage of Sgt. Bergdahl’s disappearance, and possible desertion, along with a declaration that Sgt. Bergdahl “is a liar” and was “collaborating with the enemy.”

    Plus, a very helpful suggestion that if Sgt. Bergdahl did indeed desert, that the Taliban could “save us a lot of legal hassles and legal bills.” By killing him, one infers.

    In July 2009, Fox News Strategic Analyst, Lt. Col. Ralph Peters, was in a segment with FNC talking head Julie Banderas, and said:

    “On that video, he is collaborating with the enemy …”

    “He’s lying about how he got captured … “

    “We know this private is a liar … “

    If we find out, through some convoluted chain of events, he really was captured by the Taliban , I’m with him. But if he walked away … I don’t care how hard it sounds – as far as I’m concerned, the Taliban can save us a lot of legal hassles and legal bills.

    Ms. Banderas seemed stunned by that last comment, as any normal human being would be, but recovered well.

    The last quote is very near the end of the video, at around 3:25.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xezi8wAGZZc&app=desktop

    • HonestDebate1

      Wow, Ralph Peters is highly respected and knows what he’s talking about. His extremely caveated statement carries a lot of weight. I would like to see the video he referred to, did you? Evidently Fox didn’t air it but I feel sure other networks without the ethical high bar did.

    • TFRX

      It’s amazing that they’ll stop at nothing to deride and dismiss an American serviceman brought home by a Democratic president.

      Where’s all the compulsory patriotism we have crammed down our throats whenever a Republican is in the Oval Office?

  • OnPointComments

    Nice little Constitution you got there. Be a shame if something was to happen to it.

    If you want to read about another example of the Obama administration’s lawlessness, do a search on “Operation Choke Point,” the DOJ’s program to pressure banks to cut off services to legitimate businesses that the government has decided pose a “reputation risk” to the bank. As the Washington Post reported, “Most controversially, the list of dubious industries is populated by enterprises that are entirely, or at least generally, legal.”

    From Forbes: “Documents inadvertently leaked by the Department of the Treasury from a briefing on Operation Choke Point clearly show that the Administration is looking to significantly impact legal businesses…[including] ammunition sales, gun sales, home-based charities, gambling, pharmaceutical sales, short-term loans, raffles, Amway and Mary Kay-style sales businesses, and credit repair services.”

    The Six-Month Status Report on Operation Choke Point, prepared for DOJ Assistant Attorney General Stuart F. Delery on September 9, 2013, noted:

    Although we recognize the possibility that banks may have therefore decided to stop doing business with legitimate lenders, we do not believe that such decisions should alter our investigative plans. Solving that problem – if it exists – should be left to legitimate lenders themselves who can, through their own dealings with banks, present sufficient information to the banks to convince them that their business model and lending operations are wholly legitimate.

    Get that? Guilty until proven innocent. If you’re doing nothing wrong, prove it.

    Numerous legal experts say that there is no constitutional authority for the DOJ to pursue business whose illegality has not been established. Frank Keating, president and CEO of the American Bankers Association and a former U.S. Attorney and Associate Attorney General, has called the Department’s strategy “legally dubious,” and said “[DOJ] is pressuring banks to shut down accounts without pressing charges against a merchant or even establishing that the merchant broke the law.”

    “Operation Choke Point”
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2014/05/24/operation-choke-point/

    Obama’s Weaponization of Government
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/thomasbasile/2014/01/31/obamas-weaponization-of-government/

    • OnPointComments

      As I learn more about “Operation Choke Point” and ponder its implications, it makes me wonder: where are all of the usual suspects who have a screaming mimi fit anytime there is profiling? Is the DOJ’s “Operation Check Point,” i.e., identifying a specific group and targeting that group, not the very definition of profiling? Al? Jesse? Touré? Sheila Jackson? Why the silence?

    • John Cedar

      Who comes up with these clever tactics for the Obama administration to employ? surly Obama is not clever enough to come up with any of them on his own?

      I notice you had nothing to say to those dirty hippies over on the anti-science soap and water topic. Your absence was lamented by nj-v2 and at least one other. You were content to let them wallow in their own filth?

      • OnPointComments

        President Obama may not be clever enough to come up with these tactics, but I wouldn’t put it past his henchman Attorney General Holder.

    • hennorama

      OPC — thanks for bringing up this interesting topic.

      It’s curious how the following was left out of your comment, and your select sources. The curious thing is, it immediately precedes the block quote in your post. It’s also curious that said block quote does not appear in either of your two links. What was your actual source for the block quote?

      Here’s what you left out, and a demonstration of how it precedes what you have in your post (emphasis added):

      First, from a possible/likely original source of your block quote (emphasis was included in the original document, as noted):

      Documents produced to the Committee demonstrate that this reaction is the precise goal of Operation Choke Point. The Six-Month Status Report on Operation Choke Point, prepared for Assistant Attorney General Delery on September 9, 2013, notes:

      Many of the banks that have received our FIRREA subpoenas have reported extensive relationships with Internet payday lenders, via payment processors. Several banks have informed us that, as a result of our subpoenas, they have taken a deeper look at these Internet payday lenders and their business practices.

      Finding substantial questions concerning the legality of the Internet payday lending business models and the loans underlying debits to consumers’ bank accounts, many banks have decided to stop processing transactions in support of Internet payday lenders. We consider this to be a significant accomplishment and positive change for consumers . . . .31 [emphasis added]

      . . .

      Although we recognize the possibility that banks may have therefore decided to stop doing business with legitimate lenders, we do not believe that such decisions should alter our investigative plans. Solving that problem – if it exists – should be left to legitimate lenders themselves who can, through their own dealings with banks, present sufficient information to the banks to convince them that their business model and lending operations are wholly legitimate. 32 [emphasis added]

      Source:
      http://oversight.house.gov/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Staff-Report-Operation-Choke-Point1.pdf (page 8 of the .pdf)

      Yep, that’s from your good friend, Rep. Darrell Issa.

      But your good friend Darrell left out some stuff from his report, stuff that’s in the completely and conveniently separate, and never-specifically-referred-to, two-part, 898 page, Appendix:

      The two quotes above are truncated from two separate paragraphs. They are both part of Section A. The Internet Payday Lending Industry and Its Relationship to Indian Tribes, (from the 15 page “Operation Choke Point: Six-Month Status Report” memo) but are separated by twelve paragraphs over two pages.

      That gap is represented by the “ . . . ” between them in ol’ Darrell’s report.

      The following are the full paragraphs, with the missing parts emphasized:

      1.

      Many of the banks that have received our FIRREA subpoenas have reported extensive relationships with Internet payday lenders, via payment processors. Several banks have informed us that, as a result of our subpoenas, they have taken a deeper look at these Internet payday lenders and their business practices. Finding substantial questions concerning the legality of the Internet payday lending business models and the loans underlying debits to consumers’ bank accounts, many banks have decided to stop processing transactions in support of Internet payday lenders. We consider this to be a significant accomplishment and positive change for consumers, given that a large number of consumer advocates and federal and state authorities have been trying with limited success — and for many years — to stem the growth of unlawful practices by the Internet payday lending industry.

      Source:

      http://oversight.house.gov/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Appendix-1-of-2.pdf (page 336 of the .pdf)

      Now let’s examine this paragraph a bit more, shall we? Here are two sentences that ol’ Darrell chose to not emphasize in his report (emphasis mine):

      “Several banks have informed us that, as a result of our subpoenas, they have taken a deeper look at these Internet payday lenders and their business practices. Finding substantial questions concerning the legality of the Internet payday lending business models and the loans underlying debits to consumers’ bank accounts, many banks have decided to stop processing transactions in support of Internet payday lenders.”

      OK, on to the second paragraph:

      2.

      As discussed above, we are focused on fraud and not legitimate lending businesses. Because of our efforts, many banks have realized that they have opened the payment systems to potentially fraudulent merchants without sufficient due diligence and monitoring. As a result, processors and merchants will face additional scrutiny from banks, which are now more focused on the legal, systemic, and reputational risks associated with these relationships. This scrutiny has led some banks to determine that it is not in their best interest – from a risk assessment and risk tolerance perspective – to continue to do business with internet lenders. Although we recognize the possibility that banks may have therefore decided to stop doing business with legitimate lenders, we do not believe that such decisions should alter our investigative plans. Solving that problem – if it exists – should be left to legitimate lenders themselves who can, through their own dealings with banks, present sufficient information to the banks to convince them that their business model and lending operations are wholly legitimate.

      Source:
      http://oversight.house.gov/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Appendix-1-of-2.pdf (page 336 of the .pdf)

      Again, let’s examine this paragraph a bit more, and pull out sentences that ol’ Darrell chose to not emphasize, and in fact to not include, in his report (emphasis mine):

      Because of our efforts, many banks have realized that they have opened the payment systems to potentially fraudulent merchants without sufficient due diligence and monitoring. As a result, processors and merchants will face additional scrutiny from banks, which are now more focused on the legal, systemic, and reputational risks associated with these relationships.”

      Good ol’ Darrell. As usual, he seems focused on the wrong stuff.

      • OnPointComments

        The use of an ellipsis (“…”) in a document means that a portion has been omitted, does it not? And didn’t my good friend, Rep. Darrell Issa, in addition to including the ellipsis to let the reader know that a portion had been omitted, reference the document “The Six-Month Status Report on Operation Choke Point” from which you quoted? I doubt that Rep. Issa was trying to pull the wool over any one’s eyes since he gave the name of the document and indicated in his report that it was a partial quote.

        Brilliant detective work Inspector Hennorama.

        • hennorama

          OPC – TYFYR, and your kind words of praise.

          Please, pretend you don’t know where I found it, then try to find “the document The Six-Month Status Report on Operation Choke Point” for yourself. Let me know how that goes, OK?

          Repeating, as you have not answered, and for some unknown reason, you omitted the source in your original post:

          What was your actual source for the block quote?

          ==========

          Yes, an ellipsis indicates an absence of some words. However, its use is not intended to change the meaning of a passage, and to therefore deceive the reader.

          Please allow an example of such deception, using your words from above:

          “And … my good friend, Rep. Darrell Issa … let the reader know … that Rep. Issa was trying to pull the wool over … one’s eyes… Brilliant detective work Inspector Hennorama.”

          Again, thank you for your kind words of praise, OPC.

          Is it your contention or belief that the use of the ellipsis, faint as it was (I had to put it in bold, so that it could be clearly seen), was designed simply to omit words not necessary to convey the original meaning?

          If so, I disagree. As evidence, I’ll put all of the omitted words from the two paragraphs together, in their original sequence, without any omissions:

          1. given that a large number of consumer advocates and federal and state authorities have been trying with limited success — and for many years — to stem the growth of unlawful practices by the Internet payday lending industry.

          2. As discussed above, we are focused on fraud and not legitimate lending businesses. Because of our efforts, many banks have realized that they have opened the payment systems to potentially fraudulent merchants without sufficient due diligence and monitoring. As a result, processors and merchants will face additional scrutiny from banks, which are now more focused on the legal, systemic, and reputational risks associated with these relationships. This scrutiny has led some banks to determine that it is not in their best interest – from a risk assessment and risk tolerance perspective – to continue to do business with internet lenders.

          Omission of these passages leaves the reader without important information, and changes the original authors’ meanings.

          Of course, that’s your good friend, ol’ Darrell Issa’s intent, right?

          I look forward to the results of your search, and your original source.

          • OnPointComments

            When a user goes to the website for the Committee On Oversight & Government Reform, the home page lists its recent hearings, press releases, and reports, including “Report: DOJ’s Operation Choke Point Secretly Pressured Banks to Cut Ties with Legal Business.” It’s not difficult to find.

            By clicking on the report’s linked title, there are three available documents listed, all in a row, one after the other. Clicking on the second document and searching for the words “six-month status report” takes the user to “Operation Choke Point: Six-Month Status Report.”

            The elapsed time from blank browser page to “Operation Choke Point: Six-Month Status Report” is under two minutes.

            I read a number of articles and reports about Operation Choke Point. It may have come from the Committee’s report or from some other source.

            You have chosen to focus on only one aspect of Operation Choke Point.

          • hennorama

            OPC – TYFYR.

            So you forget the source. I understand, and can relate. As they say in baseball, “Hits Happen.”

            So, a person such as yourself, who is experienced with, and vocationally interested in, the House committee’s website, would first need to know a report exists, then read/scan the home page hoping to find it, then upon finding it, click on the report’s title, then know in advance where to find the exact document you were looking for in the first place?

            I’m not like you, so I just followed your directions. Here is the path that resulted from your directions, beginning with the House committee’s home page, and including my comments and reactions:

            http://oversight.house.gov/

            Found it! On the bottom third of the home page, under “Press Releases,” the title “Report: DOJ’s Operation Choke Point Secretly Pressured Banks to Cut Ties with Legal Business.” Clicked on it, went to

            http://oversight.house.gov/release/report-dojs-operation-choke-point-secretly-pressured-banks-cut-ties-legal-business/

            Now, looking for “three available documents listed, all in a row, one after the other.” There is a Related Documents box below the “Key Findings,” but it is empty. Oh! You must be referring to this:

            The report is available here.

            First appendix of documents here.

            Second appendix of documents here.

            Wow. Not exactly obvious, but OK. Each of the words “here” is a link to what you described as “three available documents listed, all in a row, one after the other.” There is no way of knowing that this is where the document The Six-Month Status Report on Operation Choke Point is located, of course.

            Clicking the second one (titled “First appendix of documents”), as directed, takes me here:

            http://oversight.house.gov/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Appendix-1-of-2.pdf

            OK. Now, as you directed, searching for the words “six-month status report,” we jump to page 330 of the .pdf, where the document is located.
            ==========
            Of course, you had to know all of this in advance:

            - that a report on the topic is somewhere on the House committee’s website

            - the document you were looking for is somewhere on the House committee’s website

            - the exact location of the document, amongst what you described as “three available documents listed, all in a row, one after the other.”

            No one would take this path without already knowing where the document exists on the House committee’s website. Certainly no one who was not familiar with the House committee’s website would begin on its home page, in an effort to find “the document The Six-Month Status Report on Operation Choke Point.”

            BTW, if one knew/suspected that the document was somewhere on the House committee’s website, it would have been far simpler, and more logical, to simply plug “six-month status report” in the Search box. Without quotation marks, there are 192 results. Adding quotation marks reduces the number of results to these 2:

            REPORT http://oversight.house.gov/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Staff-Report-Operation-Choke-Point1.pdf

            Appendix 1 of 2 – Committee on Oversight & Government Reform http://oversight.house.gov/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Appendix-1-of-2.pdf

            Nice try, though.

            ============

            I was not “focus[ing] on only one aspect of Operation Choke Point.” Rather, I was interested in how you came to quote a very limited and misleading section of text about OCP. (Hey! Just noticed that OPC is interested in OCP. Curious, that.)

            Thanks again for your response.

          • OnPointComments

            Because you are so interested, here’s my best recollection of the documents I read.

            First, I read the Forbes article “Obama’s Weaponization of Government.” When I read “The Administration is refusing to answer any Congressional inquiries about Operation Choke Point,” I searched on the term “congressional inquiry operation choke point,” and the first hit was the report from the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform dated May 29, 2014.

            I read the Committee report. I have read other reports of this Committee, and frequently when one of its reports references another document, the other document is included on the Committee’s website. I’m saying “frequently,” but it may be “always;” I don’t ever recall a referenced document not being included on the website. When I read the reference to the six-month status report given to Assistant Attorney General Delery, I went to the committee home page, clicked on the link to the report at the bottom of the page, then clicked on the first appendix because it was the first link after the report. I searched on the term “six-month status report” and read the six-month status report. Had I not found the six-month status report in the first link after the report, I would have clicked on the second link. I never made it to the “Related Documents” box that stymied you because I start at the top of the page and work my way down, and I had quickly located the links to the report and the appendices, which I found to be very obvious.

            Since the Forbes article was several months old, I searched on the term “operation choke point,” reviewed the hits for a recent reputable source, and read the Washington Post article. I also read other articles that were linked in the Forbes and Washington Post articles.

            You can pretend that this is a complicated process, and perhaps it is for you, but it wasn’t for me.

      • HonestDebate1

        http://onpoint.wbur.org/2014/05/23/va-scandal-tea-party-primaries-china#comment-1402886883

        Oh and BTW, try to keep it under 400 words. We have rules.

        • JS

          Why are you trying to censor Henna? lol

          • HonestDebate1

            I am less forgiving with her. I don’t know if you read the thread I linked but she was very devious about selective quoting and did not provide a link. That is exactly what she what she is criticizing above. She is infamous for that sort of inconsistency. She also schoolmarms the board by reminding people of the rules as if it’s her blog. This is one listed in the community rules.

            Rambling is the kiss of death. Keep your comments to 400 words or fewer. Generally, anything beyond a few paragraphs had better be very, very interesting to the larger community. WBUR will never edit your comment, but we do reserve the right to delete it.

            So I’m just being a jerk and pointing out how disingenuous she is. That’s all.

          • JS

            And when I suggested sticking to the “rules” most of the conservative commentators on this site attacked me for wanting to “censor” everyone, well not everyone, just those who don’t support Obama. Funny how the world turns.

          • HonestDebate1

            I wouldn’t know, I’m not in that camp.

          • JS

            As long as the debate goes according to your plan: like we cant debate QE without agreeing its propping up the ecomony.

          • HonestDebate1

            I never accused you of wanting to censor anyone, that was you of me.

            I am also not willing to debate the Sun unless you first agree it rises in the East and sets in the West. I’m funny that way. Now if you link someone who points out that it’s really the earth’s rotation and the sun doesn’t truly rise or set then that is similar to saying QE props up corporate profits and corporate profits prop up the stock market. So ditto on the grounds it is a distinction without a difference. I don’t think I said “economy” as I believe the stock market is not an indicator of the health of the economy.

          • JS

            Right, you wont debate wether QE props up the stock market until I agree that QE props up the stock market. Got it.

            BTW, i don’t recall anyone saying QE “props up” corporate profits except you (and the sources you cite). I believe Matthews said QE contributes to corporate profits, just like my $2 purchase at McDonald’s “contributes to” their corporate profits. Would you say my $2 purchase “propped up” McDonald’s profits?

            I don’t think you get the distinction.

            So,if the stock market is not an indicator of the health of the economy, then how is touting the market defending the economy?

          • HonestDebate1

            I wrote: “Mr. Mathews said QE was less of a factor than corporate profits but corporate profits are boosted by QE.”

            That was sloppy and I should have made it two sentences, maybe two paragraphs. I did not mean to imply Matthews said corporate profits were a result of QE even though he did allude to it. Mr. Mathews said QE was less of a factor than corporate profits. It was the link in the comment you provided, the one I was replying to, that connected the dots between QE and corporate profits (and you quoted it yourself):

            “There are a number of arguments for the indirect effects of easy monetary policy on corporate profitability. For example, by purchasing mortgage-backed securities in the various QEs, the Fed drives down mortgage rates. Lower mortgage rates can result in increased housing market activity, which would in turn benefit the real economy and corporate profits.”

            Your own link made the similar argument, as I said.

            Directly under my sloppy comment I gave a link that spelled it out in more detail.

            Yes, your $2 props up profits, I’m not going to argue semantics. Say contribute if you want. My point is and has been the market has not been allowed to correct itself because of QE. The longer the correction is delayed the more dire it will be.

            Touting the stock market is a lame attempt at defending the economy, that’s my point JS. That’s why I replied to your first reply. It is not a valid indicator. I was disagreeing with your premise.

            You wrote: “I do recall the trumpets and singing every night when FOX proclaimed “record high” markets … not so much anymore”

            Sorry if I was mistaken but tt sure looked to me that you were touting the stock market but it was more a comment about Fox.. I think. However I don’t know what time frame you were talking about. If anyone at Fox tried to make the connection between record highs and a healthy economy then IMO they are wrong. I haven’t heard that on Fox, I’ve heard the opposite on Fox and on OP. Certainly record highs are legitimate news, that doesn’t mean they were making thew connection.

            Clear it up your opinion for me and I’ll take it at face value.

            I did not ask you to agree that QE propped up the economy as you accused. It was a simple mistake, I’m not mad, I’m just being clear.

          • JS

            You are the only one tying the stock market to the economy in this discussion. Not me, not FOX, not me saying it was FOX.

            “Certainly record highs are legitimate news” – thank you for making my initial point. Record highs were touted every night on FOX under Bush, and not mentioned under Obama.

            I don’t think you get the distinction between “contributing to” and “propping up”, which you clearly demonstrate by saying my $2 “props up” profits.

            If something is propping something up, that thing will collapse once the “prop” is removed. McDonald’s profits will not collapse once my $2 is removed, a clear indication that you are don’t understand the distinction.

          • hennorama

            JS — thanks for your implicit support.

            Not that I feel a real need to explain, but as you seem interested in engaging with [Debates?NotHe] about me, please allow me to lead you to greater understanding.

            The post [Debates?NotHe] keeps linking to, presumably as some sort of criticism of me, was added to the forum on Sat. May 24, 2014 at 3:55 PM (GMT)/11:55 AM (EDT)/8:55 AM (PDT). As you may recall, this was about the time most of the U.S. was becoming aware of the Isla Vista rampage, in California.

            Unlike most others, I had been aware of, and living with, this horrible incident for several hours, as at the time I was resident in the general vicinity of the rampage, and had learned about the shootings (the early reports were only about shootings, first described as “drive-by shootings”) from local news reports and local online Neighborhood Watch-type threads. I had spent a mostly sleepless Friday night/Saturday morning trying to determine the fate of dozens of students from both UC Santa Barbara (which is adjacent to the town of Isla Vista), and Santa Barbara City College, and trying to learn more about WTF had happened, and if anyone I know was killed, injured, or otherwise impacted.

            (Fortunately, the vast majority of them were quickly accounted for, and none were injured. They were seriously freaked out, of course, as were their friends, families, and everyone else I was in touch with. Much later, I learned that acquaintances in law enforcement and health care had been involved in the aftermath.)

            Looking for a respite from the above, I came “in here.” Realizing that the IV rampage hadn’t been mentioned, I quickly scratched out a post about it, beginning with the words “Dammit. Another mass shooting.”

            Then I check my DISQUS dashboard, and found a reply to an earlier thread I had originated, about the Monterey Shale recoverable oil estimates having been reduced, by a massive 96%, and jumped to that reply. That eventually led me to write the post that [Debates?NotHe] is obsessed with, which is critical of him, and which included a quote of an article from the NYT, which I unfortunately did not link to in the post.

            So, please forgive me for my failure. I was a tiny bit preoccupied.

            Regardless, my extensive record of accuracy in context, citations, and consistent inclusion of sources, speaks for itself, and can easily withstand Sir Nobler Than Thou The Omniscient One’s obsession.

            Thanks again for your implicit support, and your attention.

          • JS

            No Problem. You seem level-headed to me, and thats all I look for in the forum. I appreciate arguments from both sides of the aisle, as long as they rae reasonable and logical.

  • HonestDebate1

    One of the guest when asked about the shrinking economy actually gave credence to the cold winter theory. If our economy is so fragile that a cold winter (caused by global warming) can have a measurable affect then we are toast…. but we knew that already. And then he went on to say the austerity approach was the wrong one, that the “stimulus” was not big enough. Gee wiz! Can we stop using the word austerity? Our children will be forced to deal with austerity, this isn’t it. And at this point in history we know Keynesian economics does not work. The “stimulus” gave us debt, that’s it. He actually said we didn’t spend enough money! This is insane, why are we still debating it?

  • X Y & Z

    Five of the Most Dangerous Taliban Commanders in U.S. Custody Exchanged for American Captive

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/five-most-dangerous-taliban-commanders-us-custody-released-pow-exchange_794017.html

    Only the incompetent Obama Administration and it’s few remaining rabid supporters would consider this to have been a good deal.

  • HonestDebate1

    It is certainly beginning to look like Sgt. Bergdahl has expressed some very anti-American sentiments which give credence to the notion he may have been a deserter. That calls into question the sudden urgency to break the law and give away the farm on his behalf. Mission accomplished.

    • OnPointComments

      Some of his father’s tweets are bizarre.

  • OnPointComments

    IBD’s Michael Ramirez named Outstanding Editorial Cartoonist of the Year by the National Cartoonists Society.

    • pete18

      One of the best!

    • ExcellentNews

      Yeah, that cartoon has as much connection to reality as Godzilla.
      I take it back. The cartoon IS real. The ravage IS a good depiction of what’s happening to our country middle class. The MONSTER name is however “Runaway deregulation and tax cuts to our job exporters and predatory bankers”. To make it short – “Welfare for the Oligarchy”, a.k.a. “conservative policies”.

    • TFRX

      Ramirez is a hack and has been one since before he was too stupid for the LA Times.

      • OnPointComments

        The National Cartoonists Society disagrees with you.

      • pete18

        Definition of “hack”: Someone who makes funny and well drawn cartoons that disagree with my limited world view.

  • X Y & Z

    Bergdahl blamed for deaths of US soldiers in Afghanistan

    http://rt.com/usa/163120-army-bergdahl-soldier-deaths/

    • OnPointComments

      Tonight on ABC World News, the first report was about soldiers who knew Bergdahl saying he deserted, resulting in the deaths of 6 other soldiers.

      There were no reports about the VA.

      “Wag the Dog.”

  • OnPointComments

    Today’s White House Press Conference:

    CNN chief Washington correspondent Joe Johns asked outgoing White House Press Secretary Jay Carney if President Barack Obama “feel[s] as though, on this issue and this kind of issue, he’s above the law.”

    MR. CARNEY: “Absolutely not. We have repeatedly noted concerns with this requirement. In signing statements, [Obama] has consistently made clear that the executive branch must have the flexibility to act swiftly in conducting negotiations with foreign countries regarding the circumstances of detainee transfers if necessary, and that was certainly the case here.”

    It’s not what he said in the June 2013 White House Press Conference

    Question:

    Jay, going to back to Afghanistan, the Taliban has offered to release Bowe Bergdahl in exchange for five members of the Taliban who are currently being held at Guantanamo Bay. Is this something that the administration is considering? Is this something that the President would agree to?

    MR. CARNEY:

    …With regard to the transfer of Taliban detainees from Guantanamo Bay, we have made — the United States has not made the decision to do that, though we do expect the Taliban to raise this issue in our discussion, if and when those discussions happen.

    As we have long said, however, we would not make any decisions about transfer of any detainees without consulting with Congress and without doing so in accordance with U.S. law.

ONPOINT
TODAY
Jul 29, 2014
The U.S. Senate is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 16, 2014. (AP)

The “Do-Nothing” Congress just days before August recess. We’ll look at the causes and costs to the country of D.C. paralysis.

Jul 29, 2014
This April 28, 2010 file photo, shows the Colstrip Steam Electric Station, a coal-fired power plant in Colstrip, Mont. Colstrip figures to be a target in recently released draft rules from the Environmental Protection Agency that call for reducing Montana emissions 21 percent from recent levels by 2030. (AP)

A new sci-fi history looks back on climate change from the year 2393.

RECENT
SHOWS
Jul 28, 2014
U.S. Secretary of War Newton D. Baker watches as wounded American soldiers arrive at an American hospital near the front during World War I. (AP Photo)

Marking the one hundredth anniversary of the start of World War One. We’ll look at lessons learned and our uneasy peace right now.

 
Jul 28, 2014
This June 4, 2014 photo shows a Walgreens retail store in Boston. Walgreen Co. _ which bills itself as “America’s premier pharmacy” _ is among many companies considering combining operations with foreign businesses to trim their tax bills. (AP)

American companies bailing out on America. They call it inversion. Is it desertion?

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: July 25, 2014
Friday, Jul 25, 2014

Why the key to web victory is often taking a break and looking around, and more pie for your viewing (not eating) pleasure.

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The Art Of The American Pie: Recipes
Friday, Jul 25, 2014

In the odd chance that our pie hour this week made you hungry — how could it not, right? — we asked our piemaking guests for some of their favorite pie recipes. Enjoy!

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Hillary Clinton: ‘The [Russian] Reset Worked’
Thursday, Jul 24, 2014

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton took time out of her global book tour to talk to us about Russia, the press and the global crises shaking the administration she left two years ago.

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