Pages Menu
TwitterRsslogin
Categories Menu

Posted by on Jun 12, 2018 in Blog, Essays, Politics, Rants and Raves, What's Left | 0 comments

Trump’s North Korea Summit: A Fraudulent Photo Op

 

 

NUCLEAR SUMMIT SCOREBOARD:

NORTH KOREA – 3
UNITED STATES – 0

“I may be wrong. I may be standing in front of you in six months and say, ‘I was wrong.’ I don’t know if I’ll ever admit that, but I’ll find some kind of excuse.”

— President Donald Trump speaking at press conference in Singapore

 

Yeah, Trump really said that. “I’ll find some kind of excuse.”

Wow.

Typical.

Trump just got played like a clueless dope at the ring toss of a rigged carnival game. He blew his wad and ended up holding a stuffed teddy bear.

Just days after pissing off virtually all America’s longtime allies following the disastrously embarrassing G-7 summit, Trump’s monumental ineptitude was on full display, getting punked at every juncture by a murderous dictator lacking any social skills, an adversary with no previous experience whatsoever in international negotiations.  The so-called great American dealmaker was out-dealt on every single significant policy issue.

Trump got Trumped. He behaved like a human wrecking ball who mistakenly pulled the wrong lever and knocked down his own house.

What did Trump and the United States get in return for concessions?

Answer: An empty, vaguely-worded 426-word “statement” with no specifics whatsoever addressing North Korea’s “denuclearization,” which was the entire purpose of the summit.

North Korea scored the following huge wins:

1. Kim Jong-un garnered rock-star treatment on the world stage for the first time and achieved superpower status for North Korea. Meanwhile, Trump flattered the murderous dictator with one of the worst human rights records in the world, who continues to imprison, torture, and starve hundreds of thousands of his own people. Trump did not say a word about human rights. Not one word.  Major fail.

2. North Korea got the United States to cease all joint military exercises in South Korea, which was a major concession and huge victory for dictatorship. Meanwhile, South Korea was reportedly totally “blindsided” by this announcement. They were not consulted. Oh, and the Korean War is still apparently going on.  Peace between the two adversarial Koreas wasn’t addressed.

3. The joint statement failed to address any kind of verification process, nor provided any timetable for “denuclearization” of the Korean Peninsula. Both leaders, who have yet to demonstrate any trustworthiness whatsoever on any personal or political issue, promised to work towards peace. How nice. Maybe at the next summit, Trump will buy Kim an ice cream cone.  Two pals.

“I trust him,” Trump said, referring to Kim who has violated every single previous international agreement on nuclear weapons and testing.

Meanwhile, the United States got…..nothing. Zippo. Nada. Oh, Trump did get a handshake and a promise.

This wasn’t Nixon visiting China.  This wasn’t the Detente of the 21st Century.  This was a photo op ending with a scrap of paper signed by two men whose word means absolutely NOTHING.

The first World Cup match is over and done: North Korea wins 3-0.

Meanwhile, the American political Right, conservatives, and Trump sycophants guzzle more toxic Kool-Aid. The same crybabies who whined about the dangers of normalizing relations with Cuba (because that was an Obama thing) and tore up an effective (verifiably working) Iran nuclear agreement (that was an Obama thing, too) swallow Trump’s lies and fellate the hype.

Quoting Trump’s own hopelessly ill-prepared words at a post-summit press conference, six months from now when we evidence from clearly proves North Korea *still* has nuclear weapons and ICBMs capable of reaching the U.S. mainland, proving NOTHING was accomplished, perhaps Trump will “think of an excuse.”

No worries. Trump’s clueless cultists will believe anything they’re told. In this regard, Trump and Kim have so much in common.

__________

Footnote:

1985: North Korea signs Nuclear NonProliferation Treaty
1992: North Korea signs historic agreement to halt nuclear program! (#1)
1994: North Korea signs historic agreement to halt nuclear program! (#2)
1999: North Korea signs historic agreement to end missile tests
2000: North Korea signs historic agreement to reunify Korea! Nobel Peace Prize is awarded
2005: North Korea declares support for “denuclearization” of Korean peninsula
2005: North Korea signs historic agreement to halt nuclear program and “denuclearize”! (#3)
2006: North Korea declares support for “denuclearization” of Korean peninsula
2006: North Korea again support for “denuclearization” of Korean peninsula
2007: North Korea signs historic agreement to halt nuclear program! (#4)
2007: N&S Korea sign agreement on reunification
2010: North Korea commits to ending Korean War
2010: North Korea announces commitment to “denuclearize”
2010: North Korea again announces commitment to “denuclearize”
2011: North Korea announces plan to halt nuclear and missile tests
2012: North Korea announces halt to nuclear program
2015: North Korea offers to halt nuclear tests
2016: North Korea again announces support for “denuclearization”

 

Read More

Posted by on Feb 19, 2018 in Blog, Essays, Politics, Rants and Raves, What's Left | 9 comments

The Worst Idea in Response to School Shootings

 

 

Ten Solid Reasons Why the Proposal to “Put More Guns in Schools” is a Really Bad Idea

 

Many suggestions are floating around about the ways we might stop mass shootings and reduce gun violence in our schools.

Some of these ideas are rational and resourceful.  Most are well-intended.  However, a few suggestions currently spreading across social media are so dangerous that they must be resisted and flat-out rejected.

Unquestionably, the very worst idea of all is to put more guns into schools.  This is ludicrous.

Two specific proposals are now gaining traction with many gun advocates.  One proposal is to arm classroom teachers.  The other is to hire and train more security personnel, a force presumably to be comprised of former and retired military personnel and law enforcement.

A narrow examination of gun violence in schools may give a false impression that arming those who can best be trusted to handle the responsibility is a logical defense.  If only some teacher had a handgun, he/she might have been able to kill the deadly student intruder who murdered 17 students in Parkland, Florida.  The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun — the popular saying goes.

Trouble is, the issue of gun violence in schools isn’t so simple.  In fact, preventing any of the 465 deadly shootings that have occurred in American schools requires far more than just additional firepower.  Moreover, putting more guns into the hands of civilians would inevitably lead to far more gun accidents, deadly acts of escalating violence, and a multitude of other unforeseeable consequences.  Either proposal would also cost taxpayers a fortune at a time when many municipalities and school districts are going broke and we can’t find enough money to pay teachers a livable wage.

In short, the notion that introducing more guns to solve the gun and mental health problem in schools is preposterous.  Here are ten reasons why:

[1]  It’s not a deterrent:  Proponents of arming school teachers and/or hiring more security personnel incorrectly assume emotionally-disturbed mass murderers are deterred by a show of force.  However, based on virtually every school shooting and mass killing in modern American history, this has proven to be demonstrably false.  Most crazed shooters had a death wish.  Even during the planning stages, most knew they were going to die in the final blaze of gunfire.  It’s one reason why many killers wore bullet-proof vests.  Would-be mass murderers with complicated mental problems do not think, nor act logically.  Increasing the number of armed people at schools will not deter a madman.

[2]  Most schools are too big to patrol efficiently:  Proponents overstate the chances armed security would successfully catch and confront a suspect before the shooting starts.  Most schools, especially high schools where recent massacres have taken place, are large multi-story buildings with lots of space to patrol.  They have numerous classrooms and corridors, with multiple entrances and exits.  Unless we station a National Guard unit inside every school in America, the vast majority of campuses are vulnerable and cannot be protected against a deranged gunman who is determined to kill.

[3]  It’s impossible to defend against the element of surprise:  Proponents mistakenly assume that teachers and security personnel would be able to maintain a perpetual “ready” status against an attack.  More likely, over time, most schools would become complacent about security details, which is only natural.  After all, children attend school to learn and socialize, not be fearful and remain in a constant state of alert against being murdered.  Millions of guns in the hands of math teachers is no defense against the element of surprise.  Even the most powerful armies in the world with the best-trained soldiers have frequently been caught off guard and attacked.  Schools, with hundreds of students, constantly coming and going and moving about are not places where armed protection is practical or feasible.

[4]  Accidents will happen:  There are approximately 3.4 million school teachers in America.  Arming a sizable number of them would inevitably result in an incalculable number of accidents.  Many teachers are unfamiliar with guns.  They know little about gun safety.  Even with proper training, mistakes will happen.  After all, everyone passes a driving test, but there are still thousands of bad, unsafe drivers on the road and traffic accidents happen every day.  Hence, training provides no guarantees.  Loaded guns will occasionally get lost, stolen, or commandeered.  People are imperfect.  They’re forgetful.  Adding millions of loaded guns into schools is a recipe for disaster.

[5]  Many schools are already violent; adding guns will make things worse:   Last year, about 200,000 teachers were physically attacked by students.  Now, imagine if each of those teachers was carrying a loaded handgun.  What would happen in some cases when an older, possibly fragile teacher gets assaulted by an angry teen with an emotional disorder or behavioral problem?  Out of the 200,000 actual attacks last year, some percentage of violent teens would likely have wrestled a gun from the teacher if he/she was armed.  Then, what might have happened?  In a rage, some students would kill teachers and other students.  This kind of nightmare scenario would become commonplace if guns were placed inside classrooms.

[6]  Armed security personnel would also be prone to more gun accidents:  Proponents presume that armed patrols at schools, largely made up of people with strong military and law enforcement backgrounds, would be responsible with guns.  They’re right.  Most would be responsible.  However, some would not.  Statistics show that in incidents when police officers were shot, about 8 percent were hit by their own gun.  When physical confrontations occur, sometimes the bad guys get control of a weapon and fire in the heat of the moment.  Schools tend to have more physical altercations than the rest of society.  Arming security guards isn’t a solution to reducing violence.  It would likely increase the number of accidents.

[7]  Inexperienced people with guns are more likely to create collateral damage:  Many teachers and security guards would attempt to do the right thing and be brave in case of an attack.  Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority lack the training and skill set to make a quick life-or-death decision in the midst of a crisis.  Imagine the number of incidents where teachers and security perceive a threat that isn’t really there?  How might a teacher react to a student swinging a knife, for instance?  What to do?  Then, what about the rare occasion when a shot is justifiable as an act of self-defense?  Is putting a gun into the hands of a 59-year-old English teacher in a crowded classroom filled with screaming children really a solution to a maniac blasting with a loaded AR-15?  Chances are, guns will be pulled out and shot by people lacking the skills to use them, likely killing more innocents.

[8]  The human breakage factor:  Sadly, most people have personal troubles.  We all carry emotional problems to work.  We all have family problems occasionally.  Like everyone else from truck drivers to postal workers, teachers and security personnel are just as vulnerable to emotional breakdowns, sometimes even more prone to stressful environments.  They go through painful divorces.  They suffer from depression.  They have drug and alcohol issues.  Some people can’t take it and simply break.  Putting millions of guns into the hands of any segment of society is a bad idea, but particularly dangerous when around many children.  The number of opioid abuses in this country numbers in the millions.  The number of veterans suffering from some form of PTSD is perhaps incalculable and a national embarrassment.  Some of those who would prospectively be hired would also suffer from these problems.  Arming more people will not reduce deaths.  It will create far worse tragedy.

[9]  The cost would be staggering:  The cost of buying and maintaining guns, ammunition, secure safes, and other necessary equipment would be high.  However, the cost of hiring perhaps a million security officers to staff and patrol more than a quarter-million schools in America would be outrageous.  Then, there’s the expense of training employees, oversight, and management —  not to mention the astronomical premium for insurance coverage (every school in the United States would have to carry insurance against gun accidents).  The budget for these proposals would most certainly bankrupt most school districts, providing no appreciable benefits.  Already, we’re having a hard time paying teachers and getting school supplies.  Burdening taxpayers with such a wasteful expense with so many other priorities would be grotesque negligence.

[10]  Schools are educational institutions, not military camps:  Schools are for education.  They aren’t military bases.  Moreover, we need to stop constructing our schools to look like prisons because when we do, students will behave like inmates.  Check out the exteriors of schools in most inner cities.  They look like fortresses.  Then, take a look at urban schools in Europe and other countries where education and social welfare are integrated into daily life — where student acts of violence are practically non-existent.  Armed teachers and security forces patrolling hallways with loaded weapons sends a disturbing message to young people.  It creates a false impression that guns are necessary in order to truly feel secure.  Sure, armed protection is necessary at some places, such as banks and airports.  Guns are the antithesis of an atmosphere for education.

So, arming teachers and hiring armed security patrols produces no deterrent to crazed shooters plotting an attack.  It inevitably creates more gun accidents during down times.  It fails to protect children in cases when actual shootings occur.  It costs a ridiculous amount of money we don’t have.  It sends a terrible message to our children.

Instead, a far better solution to gun violence is doing what we can to reduce the number of guns in our society and ending the pathological fascination with guns in our culture, once and for all.  The solution is to renounce destructive organizations like the National Rifle Association (NRA), which time and time again squash all proposed measures of reasonable gun safety when they’re proposed.  The solution is to get politically active right now and vote for candidates who favor some restrictions on gun purchases and the rights of ownership.  The mentally-disturbed kid who murdered 17 teens purchased five guns within the past year — all legally.

That’s outrageous!

This is a tall task ahead of us.  It starts with a movement like we’re seeing from high school students in Parkland, who now say, “enough is enough.”

Gun violence in schools will not be reduced by arming our teachers nor by hiring ex-law enforcement to patrol the hallways.  More guns isn’t the solution any more than a blaze is extinguished by adding more fire.

 

ADDENDUM 1:  There’s actually another good reason, #11 (as noted by reader Stephen Blackstock)…..”Armed teachers make the job of first responders way more difficult and dangerous….first responders like SWAT teams do not know the scope of the threat.  Having an armed person in every classroom that has to be methodically cleared would be a nightmare.”

ADDENDUM 2:  There’s a #12.  Assuming proponents are correct, and armed school staff reduces gun violence, evidence points to mass murderers transferring their rage to attractive targets elsewhere — such as movie theaters. Armed schools won’t stop gun violence.  But it could make other public places more vulnerable.

Read More

Posted by on Jun 16, 2017 in Blog, Essays, Politics, Rants and Raves, What's Left | 1 comment

The Cuba-Saudi Arabia Paradox

 

 

Today, President Trump rescinded the normalization of United States-Cuba relations.

In a rambling politically-charged speech delivered in Miami this morning, Trump said that he intends to return to a failed foreign policy which has harmed both nations, divided families, and was so grotesquely counterproductive that in fact, it created the longest-lasting political dynasty in the history of the Western Hemisphere.

Fidel Castro, who died last year, rule Cuba from 1959 until 2006 — a span of 47 years.  Despite numerous attempts to depose him from power, he outlasted nine American presidents.

[READ MORE HERE]

Here’s a short historical timeline:

(1)  Prior to Castro Regime coming to power, the United States fully supported a brutally corrupt military dictatorship (Battista) which murdered as many Cubans within a seven-year period than the Communist government over more than five decades.

(2) The US rejected Fidel Castro’s peaceful overtures during the first year of his rule. When Cuba nationalized US oil refineries in 1960, that ignited a secret and illegal war run by the CIA using Cuban exiles and the Mafia to overthrow the government.

(3) US-backed forces, which included those Cuban exiles, financed by the Mafia, INVADED a sovereign nation, without any provocation in 1961 — in the Bay of Pigs.  The invasion was a disaster.  Predictions were embarrassingly wrong that Cubans would rise up and join the revolt.

(4) The US attempted to assassinate a foreign leader numerous times. Some of these illegal methods tied were laughable — like sending Castro poison pens and exploding cigars.

(5) Cuba’s economy floundered, largely due to a US-imposed embargo which lasted for 50+ years. Nonetheless, this policy backfired badly. Castro’s rule in Cuba LASTED LONGER than ANY leader in the history of the Western Hemisphere. The embargo only hurt the Cuban people. That’s the very definition of a failed policy.

(6) Americans were denied traveling to Cuba for years, based on concerns about human rights in Cuba. Meanwhile Americans have been free to travel to numerous other regimes run by murderers and military juntas all over the world. Furthermore, the US opened up diplomatic relations and even encouraged investment on other far more dangerous Communist regimes, including the USSR and PRC.

(7) President Obama finally became the adult in the room and recognized the embargo as a complete failure. In 2015, he opened up travel and investment in Cuba and American businesses flooded into try to pluck the economy, hoping to make a buck. Deals were in the works for hotels, resorts, banking, etc. which would certainly benefit US interests and the Cubans themselves.

(8) There’s now overwhelming support for the US opening up diplomatic relations with Cuba, except within the rabid Cuban exile community, which is largely comprised of the old remnants of Battista’s henchmen who once terrorized the country.  Many of these opponents of normalizing relations are descendants of landowners who hope to gain financially if the current regime fails.  The last thing they want is a peaceful and prosperous Cuba.

(9) Trump nixed Obama’s US-Cuba deal, returning to an outdated and failed Cold War mentality where the island nation is forcibly isolated from travel and tourism and investment. Although other island nations remain economic basket cases (Dominican Republic, Jamaica, etc.) while Cuba maintains a strong sense of pride and national identity, Trump now throws us back to a counterproductive Reagan era policy that will only harm ordinary Cubans and keep families divided.

(10) Parroting “human rights violations,” Trump rails against Cuba in a speech today in Miami, just a few weeks after praising an 11th Century regime which CRUSHES all dissent, which imprisons all protesters, which cuts off heads and limbs, which supports global terrorism more than any nation in the world, and which makes women third-class citizens with the same rights as slaves. Oh, and Trump also signs a $150 billion arms deal with these Saudi fucks, while at the same time blasting the Cubans.

Absolutely disgusting.

 

Read More

Posted by on Apr 10, 2017 in Blog, Essays, Rants and Raves | 14 comments

An Alternative Opinion of Doctor Drama Queen Forcibly Dragged Off United Airlines


 

We criticize airlines for overbooking practices.  We blast them when they occasionally run into problems, like when too many passengers show up.  Yet, most doctors do exactly the same thing.  However, no doctor has ever offered me a $400 voucher and a free lunch for making me wait too long.

 

By now, you’ve probably seen the shaky cell phone footage showing a screaming United Airlines passenger dragged down mid aisle and forcibly removed from a flight yesterday.

The passenger, claiming to be a doctor, was asked to give up his seat by the airline’s staff after it was discovered the short flight was overbooked.  There are some additional background details pertaining to this incident, but I won’t get into them here.  [OPTION:  READ MORE]

After watching the video, the popular reaction has been scathing criticism targeted at United Airlines for the way they handled this matter.  Sure, airlines are giant fuck buses with wings.  It’s easy to understand why so many people sympathize with a fellow passenger, versus the big bad airline doing mean stuff to a helpless man simply wanting to fly back home.  Indeed, air travel has become an agonizing experience.  Airline service sucks.  When we fly, we’re treated like helpless pawns being run though a cattle chute.

Nonetheless, let’s also agree that none of this would have happened if Doctor Drama Queen would simply have behaved like a grown up instead of throwing a temper tantrum like a 2-year-old child.

Hey, Doc — this isn’t a Vietnam War protest.  Your resistance isn’t an act of valor.  Being forcibly dragged away isn’t heroic civil disobedience.  It’s stupidity.  It’s selfishness.  It’s a petty display of entitlement and exaggerated self-importance made considerably worse by rampant conceit that doctors are somehow entitled to special privileges whereecer they go.  Well, I have news for you, Doc.

Who knows if Doctor Drama Queen really had patients waiting back in Louisville?  No one has confirmed yet if his claims about having medical patients are really true.  And even if they are true, most doctors sure as hell don’t care about our valuable time, not when patients are often crammed into waiting rooms and forced to stare at the walls for an hour or more after our scheduled appointment time.  Sure, doctors provide us while entertainment while we’re waiting.  Last time I had a medical check up, I read two entire years worth of Highlights for Children magazines.  Hey Doc, let’s learn a lesson together.  Gallant cooperates with airline security.  Gufus thinks he’s more important than everyone else and goes bat-shit crazy when he doesn’t get his way.

[Update:  “Dr. David Dao lied to the airline crew.  He’s a bold-faced liar.  “Dr. Dao” had no patients waiting for him the next morning back in Louisville, since his medical licence was suspended in January.  He’s currently under indictment for peddling opiods.  So — pending a conviction — he’s probably a dope peddler]

So, we criticize airlines for their overbooking practices and blast them when they occasionally run into problems when too many passengers show up.   Yet, most doctors do exactly the same thing.  However, no doctor has ever offered me a $400 voucher and a free lunch for making me wait too long.

Oh, and by the way — he must not be much of a doctor if he’s flying coach.   But I digress.

United Airlines might get sued over this and be tempted to settle.  Let’s hope not.  Instead, Doctor Drama Queen should be criminally prosecuted to the full extent of the law for interfering with the operation of an aircraft.  He not only caused a scene.  His actions also created a needless delay for everyone else on that flight.  How selfish of him.  He certainly wouldn’t have protested someone else getting plucked from the flight for many of the reasons people travel — including families reuniting, a prospective job interview, or a funeral.  No, this was all about him.

Admittedly, this is a case of very bad timing for United Airlines, particularly after the embarrassing (overtly sexist) dress code incident a few weeks ago.  However, one miscue doesn’t entail perpetual and comprehensive guilt across an entire industry when it comes to dealing with passengers.  Sometimes the airline is wrong.  Other times the passenger is wrong.  In this case, Doctor Drama Queen was wrong.

Lock him up.

 

NOTE:  FOLLOW THE DISCUSSION HERE ON FACEBOOK

 

Read More
Page 1 of 261234...1020...Last »
css.php