Thursday, June 15, 2017

North Koreans Send Mr. Warmbier Home

It's difficult to know exactly what a college student like Otto Warmbier was doing in North Korea a year and a half ago.  I've read that he was on a tour. What tour? And why?  Was college too easy for him he just had to visit this country that is notorious for coughing up fake "crimes" in order to hold Americans in prison?  I mean, really.  If you want to visit a country go to France for Christ's sake!

He "confessed" to the crime of stealing a propaganda poster saying he was put up to it by a member of his church who promised him money to buy a car.  We know that such a confession was probably coerced.

But it does raise the question of the church connection.  There have been, as I recall, several religious groups who have attempted to do "missionary" work in North Korea even though the government bans such activity.  And some of those missionaries went missing, some went to prison.

Of course, fundy Christianists, will do anything for Jesus.  Anything goes if it's for the Lord.

So, what's the deal?

And then, daddy Warmbier immediately praised the Trumpster and put a knock on Obama even though Obama socked North Korea with some pretty hefty sanctions after the son was put in jail.

Ironically, Otto is just the sort of person Trump says he wants to ban from this country: a religious fanatic who does not respect our country's laws. 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Tragedy in Alexandria

Tragedy in Alexandria
(A guest post by Bob Poris)

What a tragedy!  If one of the baseball team’s members did not have mandatory armed protection from the Capitol Police as a member of Congress,  the shooter would have killed a huge number of spectators, visitors, etc, as no security is usually provided at such events.

The shooter had selected the Republican team only! He was a political junky that hated Republicans! What a sad state of affairs in which we find ourselves. It is worse than the old days when Senator Joe McCarthy claimed without evidence that the government had been infiltrated with Communists.  McCarthy was cheered on by too many representatives on both sides of the aisle.  Suddenly people working as teachers and in government jobs were being required to take loyalty oaths if they wanted to keep their jobs!  Eventually McCarthy was exposed as a phony and a drunk who had no proof to back up his claims. I remember my wife being hassled because she objected to her patriotism being questioned. Fortunately she was not fired, but she was given a rough time by some of the other teachers.

Our current political enmity makes it too easy to fool some of the population with such claims even to this day.  Back then they had not come up with “fake news" and generally political candidates were not referred to as liars or crooks, etc., without with any evidence.  Of course in those days we still had real investigative reporters. Fox News and other pure propaganda outlets did not dominate the media as they do today. Maybe the people were smarter and candidates for office were selected by real pros and not by very rich people with outsized propaganda skills.  Many people do not know who or what “Soros” is or the essence of his politics.  What we've got are "single word scandals" backed up by no facts even after years of hearings with no guilt ever established.  Think "Benghazi"!

We are constantly being made fools of by those with the money to buy up huge segments of the various media outlets.  Once upon a time there were restrictions on the percentage of people or corporations who could get licensed to own more than one outlet in any area so there was never a total monopoly as there is today in our media. The competition worked well and the people had many competing choices to find the "truth."

Did anyone learn anything after listening to all the hours of the recent hearings in Congress? Jeff Sessions, the attorney general, and other witnesses refused to answer questions; even "YES" or "NO" questions without any valid  legal reason.  They refused to answer question because they didn't think they should yet did not bother to ask for executive privilege.  If we did that we'd have been held in Contempt of Congress and would be forced to respond.

What's going on here?  As this rate, we might never learn the truth about the interference in our voting system by the Russians which even Putin jokes about. It doesn’t matter which party was involved.  If laws were broken we need to know what happened and who was responsible!  The winners of the last election seem to think they can do whatever they wish without consequence.  They don't seem to deem it important that a foreign country interfered in our electoral process!

I think we should all want to know what happened so that we can prevent it from happening again in the next election.  We do know that some politicians walked away with lots of money from the Russians under the direction of Putin, who we know controls such things in Russia.

We have never had the protests we see now and the distrust, and confusion, within the Oval Office and our political parties. Apparently we did not learn enough from Watergate and the whole mess with President Nixon. It did happen here and can happen again and maybe is happening now. We must care or it will be too late to correct!  Our system is in deep trouble and few have the ability to act before it is too late.  Our grandchildren did not live through the Nixon years, but many of us did and we know how our survival as a democratic country is at risk.

Our political leaders must understand that if we do not work together it may soon be too late to keep it together, too late to stop the assault on our democracy, too late to halt our descent into becoming just another American "banana republic."

[A word about Bob Poris.  Bob is a veteran of WWII.  He was wounded while serving in the submarine  service.  He is 90 years old and has been actively working for sanity in our political life for most of those 90 years.  Bob has, as it is said, "seen it all."  He loves this country and while he does not put flags on his car or wear his heart on his sleeve, he's more of a patriot than most of the whiners and armchair politicos who voted into office the incompetent fools currently inhabiting the White House and Congress.]