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Gender: Male
Hometown: City of Angels
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 6,333

Journal Archives

Primed to Fight the Government

B.J. Soper took aim with his AR-15 semiautomatic rifle and fired a dozen shots at a human silhouette target. Soper’s wife and their 16-year-old daughter practiced drawing pistols. Then Soper helped his 4-year-old daughter, in pink sneakers and a ponytail, work on her marksmanship with a .22-caliber rifle.

Deep in the heart of a vast U.S. military training ground, surrounded by spent shotgun shells and juniper trees blasted to shreds, the Central Oregon Constitutional Guard was conducting its weekly firearms training.

“The intent is to be able to work together and defend ourselves if we need to,” said Soper, 40, a building contractor who is an emerging leader in a growing national movement rooted in distrust of the federal government, one that increasingly finds itself in armed conflicts with authorities.

Those in the movement call themselves patriots, demanding that the federal government adhere to the Constitution and stop what they see as systematic abuse of land rights, gun rights, freedom of speech and other liberties.


$19 Trillion? Why the Cost of Sanders’ Agenda Keeps Moving Higher

The jaw-dropping impact that Bernie Sanders’ fiscal proposals would have the national debt seems to be growing by the month.

On Thursday, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget said the Vermont lawmaker’s agenda, including his single-payer health care plan, could add as much as $19 trillion to the debt over the next ten years.

That’s up significantly from an estimate the committee released just last month that put the sticker price somewhere between $2 trillion and $15 trillion.

What changed in just a month?


Alan Young, star of 1960s sitcom 'Mr. Ed,' dies at 96

Source: AP

Actor-comedian Alan Young, who played the amiable straight man to a talking horse in the 1960s sitcom "Mister Ed," has died, a spokeswoman for the Motion Picture and Television Home said Friday. He was 96.

The English-born, Canadian-educated Young died Thursday, according to Jaime Larkin, spokeswoman for the retirement community where Young had lived for four years. His children were with him when he died peacefully of natural causes, she said.

Young was already a well-known radio and TV comedian, having starred in his own Emmy-winning variety show, when "Mister Ed" was being readied at comedian George Burns' production company. Burns is said to have told his staff: "Get Alan Young. He looks like the kind of guy a horse would talk to."

Mr. Ed was a golden Palomino who spoke only to his owner, Wilbur Post, played by Young. Fans enjoyed the horse's deep, droll voice ("WIL-bur-r-r-r-r") and the goofy theme song lyrics ("A horse is a horse, of course, of course ... "). Cowboy star Allan "Rocky" Lane supplied Mr. Ed's voice.

Read more: https://www.yahoo.com/news/alan-young-star-1960s-sitcom-mr-ed-dies-223524681.html

“Berned” by Bernie Sanders

Last fall, a fellow disability activist and close friend of mine introduced me to Bernie Sanders. From the moment I first heard his platform, I was hooked. After living abroad several years in a country with socialized medicine and heavily subsidized education, I was thrilled an American politician was proposing these policies here. Due to my own disabilities, the cost of healthcare has become exorbitant and becoming chronically ill forced me to leave my career in public service litigation to collect meager social security benefits. So, Bernie’s message resonated strongly with my own personal experience of being in the 99%.

I was so moved by his message that I began volunteering for the campaign, be it through phonebanking, texting or simply bringing his message to everyone I knew. I believed so strongly in the change he could effect that I even donated more money than I could otherwise afford to help his campaign succeed. And I quickly became part of the Bernie or Bust movement, believing his campaign’s message that Clinton didn’t care about anyone other than her special interest donors.

But I often struggled with his rhetoric on and lack of inclusion for people with disabilities in his stump speeches, acceptance speeches, debate performances, advertisements and campaign literature. Despite discussing issues that affect our daily lives like healthcare, income inequality, social security and criminal justice, he almost never mentioned the disabled population, which makes up 20% of the American electorate. He harped daily on how the Donald Trumps of the world try to divide us up based on our minority status but never even included disability as one of those dividing factors.

Meanwhile, I became more frustrated because Hillary Clinton was including us in every speech, ad campaign, debate performance and even intersectionality graphics of disabled people of color in her literature. She issued press releases supporting the Disability Integration Act, which requires Obamacare plans to cover long-term care for people with disabilities, and talked about sub-minimum wage, a construct by which employers can legally pay the disabled less than minimum wage. Bernie either never did this or lagged behind, as if he was only doing it because Hillary was. I sincerely felt as though Hillary was just paying lip service to us and that Bernie was simply uninformed.


Bernie is for superdelegates, after he was against them

Wasn’t one of Bernie Sanders’ virtues his rock-solid unwavering consistency on everything? Ummm...


“If I win a state with 70 percent of the vote, you know what? I think I am entitled to those superdelegates,” Mr. Sanders said. “I think the superdelegates should reflect what the people of the state want, and that’s true for Hillary Clinton as well.”


We can argue about the merits of having superdelegates, but we do have them. And if their role is just to rubber-stamp the pledged delegate count, then they really aren’t needed, right? So they’re supposed to exercise independent judgment about who they think can lead the party forward to victory.

And of course, this came after months and months of attacking the superdelegates as undemocratic tools of the establishment. And you know what? I agreed with that shit, just like I agreed with it when I made those same arguments in 2008.


Sanders’s scorched-earth campaign is a gift to Trump

Bernie Sanders is playing a dangerous game. If he and his campaign continue their scorched-earth attacks against the Democratic Party, they will succeed in only one thing: electing Donald Trump as president.

I say this as someone who shares much of Sanders’s political philosophy; I, too, for example, see health care as a basic right. He has run a remarkable and historically significant campaign, pulling the party to the left and pumping it full of new progressive vigor. His crowds are almost as big as Trump’s and perhaps even more enthusiastic. Most important, he has brought legions of young people into the political process.

But he hasn’t won the nomination.

Hillary Clinton has an insurmountable lead in pledged delegates, earned by her performance in primaries and caucuses. In the aggregate, she leads Sanders by about 3 million votes. The will of the party is clear: More Democrats prefer Clinton over Sanders as their nominee.


The problem isn't Bernie Sanders' supporters. It's Bernie Sanders himself

Shit got all crazy in Nevada. Some people threw chairs (or maybe they just waved them in the air), others sent threatening misogynistic and terroristic voicemails and texts to the head of the Nevada Democratic Party.

Here’s the thing. Even though these were supporters of Bernie Sanders, I don’t consider them in any way representative of Bernie Sanders’ supporters. Politics is full of cranks. I used to do a Sunday feature of all the hate email I got until Twitter made that obsolete. Now I get them on Twitter. All sorts of hateful messages. The Secret Service is tasked in large part with following up with people making threats against the president. This is politics and people get mad and do really stupid shit.

I don’t think that has anything to do with “Bernie Sanders’ supporters.” They are a problem, but they aren’t the problem. Make sense?

The problem is Bernie Sanders himself, who as a leader refuses to forcefully and unambiguously reject that violence, instead rationalizing and explaining it away with a mix of grievances and outright conspiracy theory. The same guy who once said, “Mr. Trump should take responsibility for addressing his supporters’ violent actions,” now can’t be bothered to do the same when it’s a few rotten apples in his crowd acting insane.


Uruguay's Mujica: Venezuela's Maduro is 'crazy as a goat'

Former Uruguayan President Jose Mujica says embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is "crazy as a goat."

Mujica, a leftist who governed in 2010-2015, made the comment Wednesday during a news conference when asked about a dispute between Maduro and Luis Almargo, the Uruguayan who heads the Organization of American States.

Almargo has called Maduro "a traitor." Venezuela's socialist president has in turn accused Almagro of being a CIA agent and a traitor himself.

"I have great respect for (Maduro), I do. But that does not mean I can't say he's crazy, crazy as a goat," said Mujica, whose cantankerous personality, homespun oratory and simple ways have made him wildly popular abroad.


Never knew goats were considered crazy. I've heard "crazy as a shithouse mouse", but guess that doesn't translate as well.

Venezuela president ready to escalate state of emergency

Source: AFP

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said Wednesday he was prepared to escalate a state of emergency imposed this week after opposition-led protests in the capital and other cities.

Maduro told supporters he would give the order -- which implies suspending laws and rights to maintain public order -- if "violent" anti-government acts occurred.

In that event, "I will not hesitate if necessary to make such a decree to fight for the peace and security of this country," he said.

The declaration came after an anti-Maduro demonstration of around 1,000 people in the center of Caracas that was prevented from marching on to an electoral headquarters by riot police firing tear gas.

Read more: https://www.yahoo.com/news/venezuela-president-ready-escalate-state-emergency-222234138.html

Venezuela’s Downward Spiral

As the effort to oust President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela by referendum gains support, his government is ratcheting up repression. On Friday, Mr. Maduro declared a 60-day state of emergency, saying it was necessary to quash what he described as a “coup” and confront “all the international and national threats our nation is facing.”

The threats Venezuelans face today are not the result of foreign or domestic conspiracies, but Mr. Maduro’s disastrous leadership. On his watch, the country’s health care system has atrophied so severely that scores of Venezuelans are dying every week because of chronic shortages of medicine and ill-equipped hospitals.

Violence has soared as armed gangs loyal to the government roam the streets. During the first three months of this year, 4,696 people were murdered in Venezuela, according to the government, and in 2015 more than 17,700 were killed. The three-month death toll is higher than the 3,545 civilians killed last year in Afghanistan, a record number.

Shortages of food and basic goods are likely to worsen as Venezuela’s economy continues to contract this year. Political prisoners, meanwhile, have languished behind bars for years, victims of a corrupt and broken justice system.

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