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Member since: Fri Sep 17, 2004, 03:59 PM
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The question is: Who are we now?

"For thousands," writes Mike Barnicle, "life boils down to a simple decision: risk death where they were born or risk death trying to escape." Yet the spectacle on the borders and shores of eastern Europe barely registers here.

America is entranced by the man leading the polls for the Grand Old Party's nomination for president of the United States and who promises to expel millions from this country. That will be a spectacle. He wants to deport them — men, women, and children — to the country a Latina checkout clerk from there recently warned me not to visit "until it's safe." Thousands of fans support Donald Trump for his deportation rhetoric alone. They find him "classy."

Barnicle continues:

In the United States, the calamity consuming Europe is so far just another clip on TV, one more sad story streaming across a screen of a smart phone or a tablet. We have our own problems and our own politicians either trying to light fires or put out one blaze after another over the issue of our own recent immigrants, many here illegally for years without papers.

America sits on its hands. Did we ever lead when it did not involve blowing up things and killing people? One can dimly remember such a spirit, as Barnicle does:

America provided things that form the foundation of who we used to be: the prospect and potential of hope, mercy and freedom for strangers who came carrying not much more than a determination to survive in a big country with a bigger heart.

The question is: Who are we now?


TRUMP: I Never Went To Vietnam, But 'I Felt That I Was In The Military'

well then, plastic soldier - tell that to OUR TROOPS!!!!

Donald Trump believes that because he attended a military high school, he has an understanding of what it is like to be in the military, despite deferring the Vietnam War draft for medical reasons.

"My number was so incredible and it was a very high draft number. Anyway so I never had to do that, but I felt that I was in the military in the true sense because I dealt with those people," Trump told Michael D’Antonio, the author of the forthcoming book "Never Enough: Donald Trump and the Pursuit of Success," according to a preview in the New York Times.

Trump attended the New York Military Academy from eighth grade through the end of high school where he participated in military drills and encountered some instructors who had served in the military, according to the Times.

He told D'Antonio that at the academy, he got "more training militarily than a lot of the guys that go into the military."


"There Will No More Refugee Crisis Especially if we freedom bomb the refuges"

Once We Freedom Bomb The Underlying Causes There Will No More Refugee Crisis
Especially if we freedom bomb the refugees.

The Guardian view on Cameron’s refugee plans: small numbers, big distractions
The RAF has been assassinating Britons in Syria, and the PM talks as if aid and armaments can end Syria’s agony. But refugees need safe homes now, and on that count Cameron is selling them


When pressed with hard questions about hardship and hunger in Britain, Mr Cameron is often keen to shift the debate away from such so-called “symptoms” and towards nebulous “underlying causes”. The billing of Monday’s statement as being about “Refugees and Counter Terrorism” betrayed a parallel effort to make a similar shift from discussing hard numbers of refugees, and towards the shapeless horrors of the Syrian war that caused their displacement. The PM revealed that UK forces had carried out a targeted assassination of a young British man, Reyaad Khan, who had been fighting with Isis in Syria. Not least because the Commons had expressly rejected military involvement in the Syrian theatre in 2013, this was dramatic and disturbing news. It was bound to divert attention from the row about refugee numbers. True, this was Mr Cameron’s first meeting with the House since the recess, but if he had wanted to keep the two issues separate he could have asked his home secretary to set out the asylum plans. He chose, however, not merely to take the two issues together but to suggest that he had thoughts on the military front that might somehow enable more Syrians to stay home.


There is in reality no military answer to the refugee problem within a remotely relevant timetable, but to pretend otherwise shifts attention away not only from a modest offer in the numbers stakes but also from London’s particular difficulty in working with European partners towards a continent-wide resolution. Instead of enrolling in EU schemes for which the admin and the funding are in place, Mr Cameron prefers the cost and complexities of UK-only schemes. It seems baffling, until you recall his simultaneous parliamentary difficulties with Conservative rebels on the EU referendum. Britain’s refugee policy puts cold calculation before any impulse to reach out. But with Europe, the story is of diehard Tory hearts trumping level heads.



To Judge: 'We’re going to ask sheriff to arrest you for putting this precious little girl in jail'

Kim Davis supporters gather outside judge’s home to hold him ‘in contempt of God’s court’

precious little kim

“You, sir, are the one that’s in contempt of the law,” said the Rev. Philip “Flip” Benham, head of Operation Save America and father of would-be reality TV stars David and Jason Benham. “You, sir, are the one in contempt of God’s court, you’re in contempt of the Constitution of the United States of America, of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and sir, you need to repent.”

“If you don’t repent, we’re going to ask that the sheriff in Grayson County arrest you for putting this precious little girl into jail,” Benham added. “It’s wrong.”

Benham and his group have called on the Rowan County sheriff to arrest the federal judge when he arrives at work Thursday.

“Judge Bunning is in contempt of the Court of Almighty God and the constitutions of both Kentucky and the United States,” said Benham, who has been convicted of stalking an abortion provider, in a statement that included the name of the judge’s street.

MORE Ignorance here:

St Ronnie falls short


The Guardian: America's decline in wages can be traced to the George W Bush era

What if a re-reading of the data reveals the Reagan and Clinton years actually boosted the wages of blue collar and middle income households?

The answer can be found in the pages of a report for the Brookings Institute that looks for the first time at census data going back to the beginning of the 1980s and examines groups of workers and charts their progress as they age.

It is a study that might help us understand the rise of Donald Trump as a populist blue collar hero and, at the other extreme, the left-leaning Vermont senator Bernie Sanders in the upcoming presidential primaries. Not because ordinary workers found themselves stuck in a rut for 30 years when all around them enjoyed the party of the century.

The new data shows that many of them had much higher incomes to splash on homes and cars. Instead the anger comes from their gains being wiped out from the 2001 recession onwards. And the only response of George W Bush’s team and the Federal Reserve was to protect the rich with tax cuts and cheer workers with ultra low interest rates that, as we know, underpinned the sub-prime mortgage scandal.


Other important findings from the report include:

Through the 1980s and 1990s, households of virtually every type experienced large, steady income gains, whether they were headed by men or women, by blacks, whites or Hispanics, or by people with high school diplomas or college degrees.

This broad income progress stopped around the turn of this century: From 2002 to 2013, the incomes of most households stagnated or declined even as they aged through nine years of expansion and two years of recession. The only types of households with rising incomes over this recent period were those headed by people in their mid-to-late 20s and those headed by college graduates — and their gains were much smaller than those achieved by young and college-educated households in the 1980s and 1990s.

This evidence contradicts the narrative told by those who simply track the value of aggregate median income from the 1970s to the present and claim that most Americans have made little progress for decades. The data used here report the median incomes of cohorts of households based on the age of the heads of those households each year, as those household-heads age. Unlike the dataset for a time series of aggregate median household income, the samples for this “age-cohort” series are stable over time.

This age-cohort analysis also highlights a distinct life cycle in the income progress of most Americans as they age. Throughout this period and across all of our tested demographic groups, households headed by people in their mid-20s to mid-30s experience the largest percentage gains in median income, after which those increases generally slow and finally stop when they reach their 50s.
The analysis of these extensive data establishes that our current challenges are not a long-term feature of the U.S. economy or an after-effect of the 2008-2009 financial upheaval. Shapiro’s analysis further shows that these problems also are not driven by economic impediments based on gender, race and ethnicity, or even education.





Labor Day? Let’s Tell The Truth And Call It “Assets Day”

Doug Smith: Labor Day? Let’s Tell The Truth And Call It “Assets Day”
Posted on September 7, 2015 by Lambert Strether
By Douglas K. Smith, author of On Value and Values: Thinking Differently About We In An Age Of Me.

Assets are the “be all, end all” of our economy. Labor? Cue the canned laughter.

Come on, face it. “Labor Day” is a national fiction — right up there with “anti-trust enforcement” and “regulating Wall Street.” The only parades that matter this September 7th will trudge through Wal-Mart, Gap, Radio Shack and other retailers in mad pursuit of holiday price reductions that come from eviscerating labor, not investing in it. The grandest pageant of all is going to be virtual: a mass frenzy of online deal seekers surfing eRetailers fixated on cutting labor costs while pushing, prodding, and electronically monitoring warehouse and office employees to get the last possible ounce of productivity.”

Don’t be surprised if some executive at Wal-Mart imagines observing “Labor Day” with a one-time offer of unpaid internships to debt ridden college kids — giving them the chance to build their “personal brands”‘ as a step toward, say, becoming an Uber driver.

Celebrate labor? Are you kidding me? Labor is an obscenity in executive suites, boardrooms and among the 1% generally — including the innumerable elected officials bought and paid for with the 1%’s assets.

Labor is not to be commemorated. Ownership is. Ownership is one of Jeff Bezos’ 11 Commandments at Amazon. Ownership makes America exceptional. The liberty and freedom to own is why our brave and underpaid service men, women and drones battle terrorists who hate our exalted financial wizards — people like Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs who “do God‘s work” by making, selling, securitizing, swapping, re-securitizing, and under-collateralizing assets.

more plus links:

To Kim Davis on her moral conflict

SUN SEP 06, 2015 AT 07:20 PM PDT
by sbloch

A letter to Kim Davis, and all the other clerks and judges fighting the same fight. Your cause would be noble if you actually had a moral conflict rather than just a grammatical misunderstanding.

Dear Ms. Davis:

Let me first say that I respect your willingness to stand up against what you consider an unjust law, even when it comes from the Supreme Court -- Supreme Courts have been wrong before. That integrity is presumably part of what got you elected to your office in the first place. It would be a noble act if you were actually standing up for a moral position. But going to jail for misunderstanding a homonym is just silly.

Let me explain. A homonym is a set of two or more words with different meanings that share the same spelling and/or pronunciation. For example, "dog"(1] is a noun meaning a four-legged domestic animal, while "dog"(2] is a verb meaning to bother or pester. As County Clerk, you're probably called upon to issue dog licenses; when you do so, are you authorizing the licensee to pester and bother people, or to own and keep a four-legged animal?

Here's another homonym: "marriage"(1] is a relationship recognized in the eyes of God, while "marriage"(2] is a relationship recognized in the eyes of the State. These two words overlap just enough to be confusing, but they're not and never have been identical. A couple married by a priest/minister/rabbi/imam who hasn't been empowered by the State to conduct marriages are married(1] but not married(2]. A couple married by a justice of the peace are married(2] but perhaps not married(1].

Members of minority religions have known this for centuries. The Catholic Church doesn't (didn't?) recognize the marriage of somebody who's been married and divorced before; the U.S. and all its States do. Both Islam and the Church of Latter-Day Saints, from their respective beginnings, not only allowed but encouraged polygamy; the U.S. and all its States forbid it. You've been fortunate, most of your life, that as a member of the local-majority religion, you've had a religious notion of marriage that matched the legal one pretty closely. Now that they don't match, you perceive a conflict between your job and your faith.

Fortunately, nobody is asking you to state that a same-sex couple can be married(1] in the eyes of God, which is a matter of faith. You're being asked, as part of your job as a public official, to certify that they can be married(2] in the eyes of the State, which is a simple, objective, legal question to which your faith is completely irrelevant, so there's no conflict. Going to jail for your principles when your principles aren't actually under attack is just a waste.

I hope I'm not bothering you with this missive. But if I am, it's OK -- I have a dog license.

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