by P. David Gardner
To watch the conservative talking heads and Republican politicians, especially the 2016 Presidential candidates, speak of President Obama's 3-year-in-the-making and groundbreaking deal that he and Secretary of State John Kerry brokered with Iran, along with the cooperation of diplomats from the United Kingdom, France, China, Russia and Germany ... well, it's quite the show.
And it really shouldn't be.
The deal, now being battered about in the media by angry conservatives, is quite the rational and correct one, yet each opponent predicts doom and gloom. No one should trust Iran to keep their end of the bargain, they say. Obama should have sent them in instead to broker a "better" deal, though the specifics of just what a "better deal" would actually be has yet to be defined. Congressional conservatives are currently seeking to gain a 2/3rds majority to overturn the deal, and all are licking their lips in anticipation of the fight.
In Obama's interview on Jon Stewart's The Daily Show on Tuesday, Obama outlined some of the reasons the deal should go through. He was quite rational as usual, and amply demonstrated his command of the English language in arguing his points.
Reactions in the media, on the other hand, range from the simplistic to the outright outrageous.
House Speaker John Boehner vows that he will do "everything possible" to stop the deal from going through, citing his belief that the deal is a horrible one for citizens of the United States.
"While the president's Iran deal may have been applauded at the United Nations," Boehner said, "I think he faces serious skepticism here at home, Let me just assure you that members of Congress will ask much tougher questions this afternoon when we meet with the president's team, because a bad deal threatens the security of the American people."
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker told Kerry,"From my perspective, Mr. Secretary, I'm sorry ... I believe you've been fleeced."
He went on to further state that he believes that the agreement allows Iran to eventually develop a nuclear bomb.
Republican Presidential candidate Scott Walker promises that he may have to bomb Iran on the first, or maybe second, day of his presidency.
There is outrage in Israel as well. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he will only settle for "total capitulation." He complained that under the current deal, Iran will have a working nuclear weapon in 10 or 15 years, yet earlier he told his own people that Iran was months, perhaps weeks, away from having the bomb. You think he'd be just a little pleased at pushing the deadline forward so dramatically, but apparently not.
So is this the best deal we can get?
Obviously, many people do not like the deal and will seek to scuttle it at their earliest opportunity, but it's just a bit unclear as to why it seems a bad deal to them, other than the fact that it's Obama who brokered it. Others believe that the deal is a good one, because of the intensive monitoring program that Iran has agreed to for the next 10 years to ensure that they cannot develop or otherwise obtain nuclear weapons.
On The Daily Show, Obama cited the historic deal brokered between the United States and the U.S.S.R. during the cold war. Had conservative politicians of the time stood firm and blustered about as we see today in our conservative press and political figures, the world may well have been destroyed in the 1950s. Instead, cooler heads prevailed and a peace deal was brokered that kept the world from the brink of destruction in balls of poisonous fire.
This deal, Obama said, is much the same.
Diplomacy is the key, not the unyielding drawing of lines in the sand. If we make that kind of standoff a reality, nuclear war in the Mideast will quite likely erupt, and sooner rather than later.
Time will tell whether opponents of the deal will win and prevent it from going through. One can only hope that this time, cooler heads will prevail once again.
How can you help? you may wonder. Let your Congressmen know how you feel, and do it now. The problem in Washington today is of our own making, whether we like to admit it or not. We, the common citizens, are so busy with the intricacies and difficulties of our daily lives that to think of acting on a national level seems quite impossible.
And because we are silent, the looneys dominate the press and, more importantly, the ears of the government. The radical conservatives don't mind telling Congress how they feel, and so the politicians in Washington, operating in a near public vaccuum, begin to believe that the majority is speaking to them, telling them to start wars and bomb the hell out of Iran. No one else is speaking up to say otherwise, or at least not enough to counter the sheer lunacy that dominates American politics these days.
So, speak up!
by P. David Gardner
You know, it's times like these when I think, "I really should take a moment to grieve for the sorry state of humanity." But then I find that I can only merely shake my head at the utter stupidity of some people, and wonder how they actually managed to figure out how to run for office and even get elected.
Take human specimen Patrick Rushing, for instance. This once little-known man, the mayor of a small city just outside of Spokane, WA, has become quite the conversation topic of late.
Rushing decided, in some wildly irresponsible moment of what he may have figured was great and thoughtful mirth, to post the following to his Facebook page:
"Gorilla face Michelle, can't disagree with that," Rushing penned. "The woman is not attractive except to monkey man Barack. Check out them ears. LOL."
Brain to fingers: disconnect.
And so the man has spoken the words that the world will briefly remember him by. And reactions have been predictably swift, most people calling for his resignation due to his racist statements. But Rushing is adamant that he is in fact NOT a racist, and insists that he will not step down.
As the greasy gears of the world's news cycle are wont to do, they will grind on and Rushing will soon be forgotten as something better will no doubt come along to dominate the front pages of the country's news organizations, and he will fade into some level of obscurity, secure in the knowledge that he did at least get his 15 minutes of fame. Chances are good, though, that he will end up resigning in the end, or be recalled by the more sensible populace of his city.
by P. David Gardner
Looks like the Donald bit off just a bit more than he can chew ...
Continuing to hammer at those pesky rapist Mexicans, Trump posted his 140-character or less opinion to Twitter on a Mexican drug lord's recent escape from a Mexican prison.
"El Chapo and the Mexican drug cartels use the border unimpeded like it was a vacuum cleaner," Trump tweeted gleefully, "sucking drugs and death right into the U.S."
Trump made another tweet a few hours later upped the ante:
"The joke around town is that I freed El Chapo from the Mexican prison because the timing was so good w/ my statements on border security," the Trumpster tweeted.
Trump's postings were meant to bolster his opinions on Mexicans, but had one of those "unforseen consequences." El Chapo (or one of his minions, or really anyone in the world who owns or hacked the Twitter account) saw Trump's tweets and handed down a reply heard 'round the world. Translated roughly from Spanish, the tweet read:
"Keep fucking around and I'm gonna make you swallow your fucking words...”
Trump immediately tucked tail and ran to the FBI, asking them for protection.
You know that saying, Donald: "If you can't stand the heat ..."
by P. David Gardner
As reporters continue to dillegently pore through ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden's leaked documents, one thing has become crystal clear: your government is bald-faced lying to you.
It may be old news, but it is news often worth repeating, especially since most Americans seem pretty nonplussed by the devastating fact that every word they utter over a phone, every action on the Internet, is recorded by a massive complex of computers owned by their government.
Privacy? What does that word even mean any more?
When Snowden first reached out to Guardian reporter Glen Greenwald back in December of 2012, he may not have fully realized the entire scope of the hundreds of thousands of secret documents that he had copied off of NSA computers and onto a USB removable thumb drive. Chances are he glanced at a portion of them, but it is doubtful that even he had time to pore over them with the scrutiny they truly deserved.
When the news hit in June, 2013, it was like a thunderbolt from the sky. By then, Snowden was somewhat safely ensconsed in a hotel room in Hong Kong, soon to be whisked away to temporary safety in Russia, the only country that would take him. When the revelations of the true extent of the spying came out in a series of articles published by The Guardian, Snowden was immediately fired by NSA contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, but it was too late. The "damage" of transparency had already been done.
Government officials quickly moved to denounce Snowden as a traitor, and to deny everything. NSA officials claimed that the information collected was "metadata" only, which not only didn't identify who was making the phone call, text or email that they were spying on, but their massive computer farm did not even store the content of said information gathered.
Well, time has told us all that they were lying. Not only was metadata not the only thing being stored, much of the information gathered was being shared widely around the world with other spy agencies, ostensibly to alert those foreign governments to possible terrorist activity.
But many suspected that a lot of salacious and damning information was shared as well, and that turned out to be true. Intimate correspondence by email or chat between separated loved ones. Revealing selfies taken on cell phone and sent, supposedly privately, to partners or spouses. Posts made to Internet forums. All collated and matched up to make for quite revealing profiles on American citizens.
And still, most of the population of the United States remain as passive as a bleating sheep grazing on a midwest hillside. Oh sure, there have been small outbursts of spoken and written outrage over the past few years, but by and large these get quickly digested, barely noted and then tossed aside as yesterday's news. Citizens by and large blink their eyes as if in the glare of an oncoming freight train, eagerly drinking the kool-aid from their government that says "this is all necessary to get those nasty, dangerous terrorists!"
Is it, really?
Oh, and by the way, Jim and Jenna, I hope you weren't doing anything too kinky on that wedding night!
by P. David Gardner
Several states, mostly the "red" states in the south, have been resisting implementing the June 26 SCOTUS decision to allow gay marriages in every state in the union. But now one state, Louisiana, has thrown its collective hands up and will no longer try to prevent gay marriages from happening within its borders.
It's been a strange fight. Texas' attorney general urged the state's county clerks to break the law. Several clerks in other states have tried to resist by citing their religious beliefs as a reason to defy the law. Other state's lawmakers are trying to do end-runs around the law, making ridiculous and flimsy claims that will simply not stand up in court, but serve only to delay the inevitable.
But Bobby Jindal, governor of Louisiana, has finally seen the light, or maybe the writing on the wall. Or maybe he's just too tired to keep fighting his "good fight".
He didn't give up without a battle, but when his last-ditch effort to delay till a district court judge made a ruling on whether the state had to grant marriage licenses to homosexuals, Jindal rolled over when U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman struck down the state's same-sex ban, and told ALL of the state's agencies to start recognizing gay marriage.
Yes, you heard that right. Bobby-Boi threw in the towel.
Jindal has long been one of the right's most vocal opponents to gay marriage. Once he even suggested that SCOTUS be disbanded, leaving only two branches, the Executive and the Legislative, to handle the business of the country. Fortunately, reason prevailed and his faulty arguments fell upon deaf ears.