Dave Stancliff 2015-02-22 blogarama.com

Saturday, February 28, 2015

GOP: Get over your Obama Derangement Syndrome

Good Day World!

From conservative commentators like Mark Levin to rank-and-file Republicans, the belief that Obama doesn't love America is not new.

It’s a myth that the Republican base used to try and defeat Obama the first time around.

The myth has only taken root with far right conservatives who tried to sell the lie once again - only to lose again to Obama.

The majority of Americans refuted the myth in both elections. That doesn’t mean those extremist members on the far right have learned their lesson.

Oh hell, no! 

Take former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani who recently said that President Obama doesn't love you, me or America.

He said that the President has been under the influence of communists since he was 9 years old, and that Obama is likely a socialist or an anti-communist.

During a speech at a posh Manhattan Dinner party for likely Presidential candidate Scott Walker recently, Rudy said: "I do not believe — and I know this is a horrible thing to say — but I do not believe that this President loves America."

Basically by the end of the week Giuliani was doing everything short of asking for another copy of Obama's birth certificate and asking for his whereabouts on the morning of 9-11.

Giuliani's comments are no different than Steve Scalise hanging out with Klan members. The GOP knows who their base is.

Apparently, prominent Republicans haven’t figured out this kind of hate dialogue alienates young voters, minority voters and independents.

If Republicans can't get over their Obama derangement syndrome it’ll just make it that much easier for Hillary to say "Obama isn't on the ballot!" and define herself.

The more the GOP makes this race about Obama, the easier it'll be for Hillary Clinton to draw contrasts between herself and his administration.

It’s time for the Republican base – the Obama haters – to step aside and give up the myth. Voters know better.

If the Republicans really want to win the 2016 election, they’re going to have to quit spreading hate and start offering concrete ideas to help America move forward.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

 

 

Friday, February 27, 2015

Report Confirms What Most Americans Already Know: Pot is Safer Than Alcohol & a Host of Other Drugs

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Good Day World!

The knowledge that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol and a host of other drugs is not news in the real world.

Hasn’t been for decades.

Anyone with a lick of common sense has known that for a long time. But no one in government (DEA, etc.etc) would admit that. The “Killer Weed” image had to be maintained. After all, a lot of money was at stake at all levels of government.

The DEA – with recent backing from the Supreme Court – has managed to keep marijuana listed as a Schedule I drug, meaning it is considered to have the highest potential for abuse and be the "most dangerous" of all the drugs.”

I’ve got some news for those pot-hating folks in power:

Scientists are finally getting on board about the reality of marijuana’s safety versus any of the other nasty drugs out there.

For the first time, researchers measured the potential harm of all the drugs listed in the DEA’s list in a more quantitative way — that is, by comparing a lethal dose to how much of the substance is typically consumed socially.

Their findings showed the dangers of marijuana "may have been overestimated in the past", while the risk of alcohol has been "commonly underestimated," researchers said.

The report, published in Scientific Reports at the end of January, compared the potential of death from the typical, recreational use of 10 drugs: marijuana, alcohol, tobacco, heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, methamphetamine, diazepam, amphetamine and methadone.

Marijuana was, by far, found to be the safest, even when compared to alcohol and cigarettes.

The bottom line is everyone was surprised to see the major differences in riskiness between marijuana and the other substances.

The irony must not be lost here: alcohol and tobacco are legal although they are deadly compared to pot. The DEA just ignores that fact.

It's hypocritical for a nation to allow massive alcohol marketing and sales while banning marijuana.

It’s illogical to list marijuana as a Schedule I drug. Perhaps, after this report,the Supreme Court will revisit the issue and do the right thing; drop pot off the BAD LIST.

It’s time for the pot-haters scattered throughout our government to face reality and go with the majority of Americans when it comes to decriminalizing the plant.

Time for me to walk on down the road….

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The buzz on drones and why I distrust them!

Good Day World!

With the invention of drones, we crossed into two new frontiers:

1) One road revolutionized killing, making it risk-free and remote;

and

2) the other road led to beneficial civilian applications.

Both roads have arrived at a junction that worries me.

At their intersection there’s a carry-over – a blending if you will – of military spying abilities leaking into civilian use.  Worse yet, the civilian capability to kill on a small or large basis is now a reality.

It was ten years ago this month, on February 4, 2002, that the CIA first used an unmanned Predator drone in a targeted killing. The strike was in Paktia province in Afghanistan, near the city of Khost. The intended target was Osama bin Laden.

However, it wasn’t bin Laden’s time to go. That would happen years later when a US SEAL Team took him out in Pakistan.

BRIEF HISTORY NOTE:

Military application of drones has been around for over 100 years.

The first unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) was built during and shortly after World War I. Leading the way, using A. M. Low's radio control techniques, was the Ruston Proctor Aerial Target of 1916.

CIVILIAN USE OF DRONES

Some say the federal government should be principally responsible for regulating drones, nongovernmental actors, and privacy; others have suggested a blended approach, with states taking center stage and the national government cast in a supporting role.

The way I see it there has to be some regulation. Here’s a link:

How to Use Your Drone Legally in the United States

Civilian drones are here to stay. Marketing efforts are taking off faster than these small drones can fly!

Founded in 2009 by an engineer with a childhood love of radio-controlled model planes, DJI Technology Co. has become the world's biggest supplier of civilian drones — possibly the first Chinese company to achieve that status in any consumer industry.

This sudden proliferation of drones brings a new assault on Americans civil liberties – such as privacy – and opens the door to more dire consequences when the wrong people use them for illegal purposes.

The domestic use of drones is raising concerns about privacy as well as potential Fourth Amendment violations. Last March, 24 civil rights and privacy organizations submitted a formal petition to U.S. Customs and Border Protection to suspend their use until a legal framework is established to determine when, if ever, they can be used in the United States.

“The thought of government drones buzzing overhead and constantly monitoring the activities of law-abiding citizens runs contrary to the notion of what it means to live in a free society,” Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa said at a Judiciary Committee hearing on whether legislation on drones was needed to protect civil liberties.

DRONING ON…

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Public figures caught ‘disremembering’ things is becoming common

Good Day World!

Lately I’ve been hearing a lot about various public figures who disremember things, misstate things, and who downright lie about things.

The most recent example is Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald, who apologized Monday for misstating that he served in the military's special forces.

In a statement released Monday by the VA, McDonald said: "While I was in Los Angeles, engaging a homeless individual to determine his veteran status, I asked the man where he had served in the military.

He responded that he had served in special forces. I incorrectly stated that I had been in special forces. That was inaccurate and I apologize to anyone that was offended by my misstatement."

Meanwhile, conservatives have tenaciously sunk their fangs into the juicy scandal that is engulfing NBC News anchor Brian Williams.

The fact that he has admitted (and apologized for) some false statements he made several years ago regarding his experiences covering the war in Iraq is troubling and particularly so for people who make their living on their reputation for honesty.

However, the degree to which the right has gone overboard with their overt hostility is a spectacle that is worth watching for the sheer entertainment value.

Although it's not as if they wouldn't be showering their hatred on Williams and the rest of the so-called "lamestream" media even if their weren't some budding scandal. For its part, Fox News has been exhibiting a Benghazi-like obsession with their relentless coverage of the story.

What's missing from all of this is any sense of perspective or context.

Has Fox given equal time to the false assertions by their own Geraldo Rivera who excused his lies as being the fault of the"fog of war?"

Of course not. Neither do they make a distinction between the lies advanced by mis-remembering a distant event in the past in order to enhance one's own personal image, and the lies perpetrated deliberately by national leaders (i.e. George Bush, Dick Cheney, etc.) that resulted in the violent deaths of thousands of American soldiers and hundreds of thousands of innocent, non-combatant Iraqis.

Well, if that's the standard they are embracing, then let them apply it to Bill O'Reilly as well. Back in 2006, O'Reilly took an extended book promotion tour to Kuwait where he visited with soldiers and signed copies of his book.

Reports at the time described how "service members asked O'Reilly about his own tour of duty in Kuwait during Desert Storm."

That might have been an interesting story except for the fact that O'Reilly never did a tour of duty in Kuwait during Desert Storm, or anywhere else since he never served in the military!

More recently, O'Reilly told his radio listeners about how he would have coaxed information out of an enemy soldier based on his personal experiences in combat:

"I tell you what, I've been in combat. I've seen it. I've been close to it. And if my unit is in danger and I got a captured guy and the guy knows where the enemy is and I'm looking him in the eye, the guy better tell me. That's all I'm gonna tell you. If it's life or death, he's going first."

As noted above, and contrary to his statement, O'Reilly has never been in combat. Consequently, he has never commanded a unit or had to contemplate how he would deal with an enemy prisoner.

His pretend bluster and machismo is all just a bunch of fantasizing of himself as a hero. So how is that any different than the offenses for which Williams is being pilloried?

There are, however, some very real differences between Williams and O'Reilly. Williams has been found to be less than truthful on this one occasion.

O'Reilly has lied repeatedly over his career at Fox News with plenty of documentation to prove it.

What's more O'Reilly has demonstrated himself to be an arrogant, rude, bully who shoves his usually inane opinion down the throats of his guests and his viewers. That's something that cannot be attributed to Williams.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A quick look at a rising Republican star (?)

Good Day World!

What does it take to be a rising Republican star in the 21st century?

What is the NEW Conservative Agenda?

Meet Illinois Rep. Aaron Schock.

He is the United States Representative for Illinois's 18th congressional district, and has served since 2009.

At the age of 33, Schock is the third youngest currently serving U.S. representative, after Patrick Murphy of Florida, and Elise Stefanik of New York.

Additionally, he was the first member of the U.S. Congress born in the 1980s.

To summarize; you have to be young to be a rising star in the Republican Party. The younger, the better. So far, so good.

Schock's high-flying lifestyle is laughed off – by GOP mages – as just another wealthy white guy living life to its fullest.

The reality – according to an Associated Press investigation – is much grimmer:

Schock is facing an ethics inquiry for spending taxpayer and campaign funds on flights aboard private planes owned by some of his key donors, and questions about expenses decorating his office after the TV show "Downton Abbey."

In addition he faces allegations of illegally soliciting donations in 2012.

The Office of Congressional Ethics said in a 2013 report that there was reason to believe Schock violated House rules by soliciting campaign contributions for a committee that backed Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., in a 2012 primary.

The House Ethics Committee has said that query remains open.

The AP's review covered Schock's travel and entertainment expenses in his taxpayer-funded House account, in his campaign committee and the GOP Generation Y Fund. Records show more than $1.5 million in contributions to the Generation Y Fund since he took office in 2009.

To toss some salt on the wound Schock also requested more than $18,000 in mileage reimbursements since 2013, among the highest in Congress. (AP)

To re-summarize:

To become a rising Republican star, like Schock, all you have to do is be young, untroubled by ethics accusations, and have a lot of wealthy supporters. Anything in addition to that is considered frosting on the candidate!

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Monday, February 23, 2015

Reflections on a One-Way Trip to Mars

Good Day World!

Remember the old TV comedy show The Honeymooners? (Circa 1955-56)

The main character on the show, Ralph Kramden (Jackie Gleason), was always threatening to send his wife Alice to the moon – on what we must assume was a one-way trip! 

Nearly seven decades later, 100 men and women are competing to go on a one-way trip to Mars. The Dutch-based Mars One venture project plans to put on a reality-TV competition to select 24 prospective crew members for missions to Mars, starting as early as 2024.

The winners will be expected to start up a permanent colony on the Red Planet. Call me silly, but that sounds like permanent banishment on a bleak planet that doesn’t even have water or breathable air.

Still, thousands signed up for Mars One consideration in 2013, and the 100 competitors (full list here) were chosen after going through interviews with chief medical officer Norbert Kraft.

I applaud anyone with that much desire to become a pioneer – regardless of where - if it’s unexplored and dangerous.

I should probably add that most scientists think the venture will not work out. The consensus being the science won’t be there by 2024.

Some related stories: 

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Sunday, February 22, 2015

What kind of legacy will ‘Rapping’ leave to the world of music?

                                    Good Day World!

Of all the different types of music, Rap stands out as the most violent. The artists themselves thrive on violence. It’s their muse. 

I understand the origins of Rap – it grew full bloom from the ghettos and gangs of America as a form of social protest. That’s something I understand being an old Hippie; the “haves” and the “have nots.”

How many Jazz musicians have you seen slug fans onstage though?

Afroman, the rapper behind the 2001 hit "Because I Got High," stunned fans at a concert Tuesday night in Biloxi, Mississippi, when he socked a petite female fan who hopped up on stage and started dancing beside him.

The shocking sucker punch to the head forced the woman to the ground and left her bleeding and crying until the house lights came back on, according to reports.

Local radio personality John Govia told NBC News the crowd was dumbfounded after the incident. Some people in the audience began to boo, and the owner of the Kress Live venue quickly canceled the performance.

Police were called to the scene and arrested the entertainer, whose real name is Joseph Edgar Foreman. He was booked on an assault charge.

Part of the problem with Rappers is that many have gang affiliations which result in murders and mayhem. Here’s a list of 30 Rappers who were murdered.

The most recent Rapper death - Bay Area Rapper ‘The Jacka’ Killed In East Oakland Shooting.

Rapper 'Suge' Knight was accused of murder in January, after running over someone in his car.

Rappers come in all colors.

Yes, the majority are African-American, but there’s a wide representation of races rapping all over the world today. Regardless of the race, or color, rapping begets violence. It’s the core of rapping.

In an already violent world, Rapping often stands out because of the vicious lyrics and the artists who feel they have to display “street creds,” with violent actions.

I can’t imagine that Rap, as a form of music, will ever have the legacy that the other types of music have enjoyed in the past, and the present.

Time for me to walk on down the street…