Archive for the ‘Terrorism’ Category

So, what do you think about the Presidents State Of The Union speech last night?  All of the pundits on both the left and the right have their take on what was said.  But, the real important people who need to digest what was said is the American People.  I can only give you my view of it, you will have to decide for yourself what you think.

There were some very interesting items he brought up.  This is the first time I really believe that the President threw down the gauntlet towards the Republicans.  Whether or not you liked his ideas, at least he laid out a plan to move the country forward.  For the last six years, the Republicans have done nothing.  Our economy has grown in spite of the Republicans not because of them.

They have been proven wrong time and again.  They say that raising the minimum wage will kill jobs.  Yet in areas that did raise the minimum wage, jobs are growing faster than next door where it wasn’t raised.  They said the ACA would cause health care costs to skyrocket.  Yet, the cost of health care has gone up at its lowest rate ever.  They claimed that allowing same-sex marriage would “destroy traditional” marriage.  It hasn’t.

So, now that our economy is getting better, the President offered some ideas that would actually “help” the middle-class.  Things like increasing the EITC, tax credits for child care, and free Community College education.  Not being a Republican, he actually laid out a plan to “pay” for his middle-class tax cuts.  But, we all knew what the Republican response would be to that plan since it calls for raising the capital gains tax and closing some inheritance loopholes.

According to the Republicans and their propaganda machine, the speech was nothing more than the “redistribution of wealth.”  After the speech I heard a Republican Representative from Illinois say something I have never heard a Republican say.  He said that the idea to raise capital gains taxes in order to pay for tax breaks for the middle-class was “redistribution of wealth.”  When was the last time you heard a Republican say tax cuts were “redistribution of wealth?”

To be honest, he is such an important figure I cannot remember his name.  But, when the President said “if you really believe you can work full-time and raise a family on less than $15,000 per year, try it.”  This gentleman tweeted, “it is just as hard raising a family at 10.10 per hour”.  See he is against having a minimum wage at all.  He also claimed in the interview, that those people who are making minimum wage are teens who are getting their first job.  Of course, statistics prove him wrong, but what is a lie between friends.

This is at the real heart of the matter on the tax proposals the President is making.  If taxes are cut for the top 1%, especially the top 0.1%, it is a good thing for America and it is being fair.  If taxes are cut for the other 99% paid for by capital gains taxes, it is “redistribution of wealth.” I think that more than anything else the Republicans have said over the years shows exactly what their economic plan is all about.

Here is something else that the right doesn’t want to talk about.  That 28% capital gains tax rate the President wants, is exactly the same capital gains tax rate under the sainted Ronald Reagan.  The rest of the money comes from closing loopholes in inheritance taxes.  See, rich people leave their portfolios to their children.  The children then use a loophole to not pay any taxes on those portfolios that they did nothing to earn.

The biggest reason that inheritance taxes were invented in this country was to make sure that America did not gain an aristocracy class.  It was determined that the “old money” of England was not good for society and that it would not happen here.  Problem is that Republicans believe they are the “old money” in America and America’s aristocracy.  Therefore, they shouldn’t have to pay any taxes on money they inherit.

The Republicans seem to think that we can lower tax rates across the board and not have to pay for it.  They like their voodoo budget tricks to show they are balancing the budget.  But, under Ronald Reagan, the budget deficit grew.  Under Bill Clinton, the budget was balanced.  Then, under George W. Bush, the budget deficit grew exponentially and the economy collapsed.  As a result of two unpaid wars and the collapse of the economy, our deficit grew to about 18 Trillion Dollars.  All of this from a budget that was a surplus when Bush took office.

Funny thing, both Reagan and Bush gave massive tax cuts to the rich and did not pay for them.  They may not like it, but at least the President said how he would pay for his middle-class tax cuts.  But, instead of looking at the proposal and working out a compromise, Mitch McConnell said it is “just another tax and spend plan” that the President has been proposing all along.

Look, we all know that “redistribution of wealth” has been going on for the last 40 years, at least.  The problem is that this redistribution of wealth has been going to the wealthiest people, not the working class people.  95% of all the wealth in this latest recovery has gone to the top 1% earners while the working-class pay has gone down.

The Republicans have brought up the cry that the middle-class is still struggling due to wage stagnation.  I agree.  But, whose fault is that?  Is it the worker’s fault?  No, it is the wealthy who own companies and pay out wages who is at fault.  While they line their pockets without paying taxes on the money, the rest of us are forced to struggle.

While the wealthiest get richer, Republicans across the nation have voted to take away the workers right to unionize.  They have made it impossible for workers to negotiate pay raises through union representation.  They have basically rigged the system against the 99 percent of the people they are supposed to represent!

That is why the Republicans are against any tax hikes.  They want the 99 percent to continue to redistribute their money to the top 1% earners.  They want the 99 percent to struggle just to make ends meet so the rich can get richer.  You cannot keep taking money out of the Treasury and expect to “balance the budget” as Republicans like to say.  Without revenue, the budget cannot be balanced.

As you can see, it isn’t necessarily what the President said in his speech last night.  It is what Republicans are saying in response.  These past Republican plans were “exceptional” ideas but are now socialist plans.  And, yes, the President’s plans are taken straight out of Republican ideas.  David Camp, a Republican was the first to suggest taxing financial institution stock transactions.  Ronald Reagan believed that 28% was a “fair” tax rate on capital gains.

While they wail against the President’s speech last night, they are mute about their plans.  We are still waiting for the Republicans to publicly state their economic agenda to ensure the middle-class gets pay raises.  They keep telling us they want to “repeal and replace Obamacare” but refuse to tell us what their plan to replace it is.  They keep saying they want a ‘fair flat tax plan” yet keep trotting out a plan that will save tens of thousands of dollars for the top 1%, and raise taxes for the 99%.

The next two years will be interesting at best.  They will be dangerous at worst.  The only thing we have to protect us from the continuing Republican’s radical wealth redistribution to the top 1% is the President’s veto pen.  Hopefully the 99% will wake up during these two years.  Otherwise, the future will be very bleak.

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The far right is still howling about the attack on Charlie Hebdo and that “free speech” is at the heart of the matter.  They are arguing that the President did not go to Paris for their march because he “hates free speech.”  They argue that blasphemous cartoons and art are a form of “free speech.”  They also forget about all of their cries for “censorship” against art they deemed to be blasphemous towards Christianity like “Black Jesus” and “Dung Virgin Mary”.  But, we shall leave that for another time.

But, is “free speech” especially as defined by the French really at the heart of the matter?  France has a problem that they don’t like to talk about.  They surrendered to Nazi Germany during WWII.  As a result, they were collaborators in the Holocaust.  After the war, they had to do something to make sure they were on the right side.  As a result, they passed laws that made it illegal to deny the holocaust and/or make anti-Semitic comments.

As we discuss these laws deeper, you have to wonder if we had similar laws concerning “free speech” would people like Rep. Steve King, Sen. Ted Cruz, David Duke, all of the KKK, all of the Aryan Nation, and many others be in jail right now?  As you will see, they have all used “hate speech” and/or “incited violence” according to French Law.

These laws have been in existence for years.  They limit the “hate” speech that is allowed in French society.  Since the Charlie Hebdo attacks, they have started enforcing these laws harshly.  As a matter of fact, in November they added harsh penalties for anyone invoking or supporting violence.  They added prison sentences up to seven years for backing terrorism.

But, what does “backing terrorism” really mean?  Well, the French are answering that question.  Since the attack, up to 100 people are under investigation for “backing terrorism.”  One is a 28-year-old man of French-Tunisian background who was sentenced to six months in prison after he was found guilty of shouting support for the attackers as he passed a police station in Bourgoin-Jalieu on Sunday.

Another, a 34-year-old man who on Saturday hit a car while drunk, injured the other driver and subsequently praised the acts of the gunmen when the police detained him was sentenced Monday to four years in prison.   This is after, on Wednesday, the Minister of Justice told Prosecutors to fight and prosecute “words or acts of hatred” with “utmost vigor.”

That utmost vigor has resulted in several people being arrested, charged, tried, and sentenced to prison in as little as three days!  The anti-terrorism law that is being used has some very harsh provisions.  It targets “hate speech” and is more severe if the words are posted on the internet.  If the offense is spoken, the law allows a sentence of five years and a fine of almost $90,000. If it is on the Internet, it allows sentencing up to seven years and a fine of nearly $120,000.

But, what is spoken “hate speech?”  Well, it is clear that the accused did not have to threaten actual violence to run afoul of the law.  According to the actions of Mr. Cabut, the prosecutor who brought the case of the man who shouted as he passed a police station: “They killed Charlie and I had a good laugh. In the past they killed Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Mohammed Merah and many brothers. If I didn’t have a father or mother, I would train in Syria,” that is enough.

But Mr. Cabut also says that there were limits as to how far prosecutors would go.   He is sure that no one would be prosecuted for refusing to stand during a moment of silence.  Maybe not prosecuted, but maybe suspended or fired.  Thursday a parking attendant in Paris was suspended by the police prefecture for refusing to observe a silent tribute to the victims.  It must be pointed out here, that to date, no one who has called for violence against Muslims in France has been arrested or prosecuted for their “hate” crime under these laws.

As you can see, “free speech” in France is not the same as “free speech” in America.  If it were, thousands of people would be in prison for invoking violence and/or using hate speech.  Under these laws, the simple act of speaking at a white supremacist group might have landed Mr. Scalise in prison under these “free speech” laws.  Instead he is the number three person in power in the House of Representatives.

I know that conservatives and the Cult don’t care about the obvious double-standards and hypocrisy.  Just remember, when they cry about the attack on Charlie Hebdo being an attack on “free speech”, they don’t mean “real free speech.”  That is why no conservative in this country is complaining about all of these arrests of people “exercising free speech.”  Conservatives, I am sure would love to have similar laws, with a few tweaks of course, in this country.

Other European countries have similar laws.  The laws themselves infringe upon what we in America consider “free speech.”  Let’s be honest, if you are going to have laws that restrict “hate speech” you cannot allow the type of cartoons that Charlie Hebdo prints.  Many people around the world, not just Muslims since they also attack other religions, would consider those cartoons as “hate speech.”

No, the attack on Charlie Hebdo was an act of terrorism.  The cartoons may have been used as the excuse, but terrorism knows no religion, race, or ethnicity.  It is simply acts of violence against society by evil people who want to control us.  That is the point that is lost on conservatives, and why incidents like this will continue.  George W. Bush proved that when you don’t recognize the real enemy, you fight the wrong wars.  Conservatives still don’t recognize the real enemy!

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We are two weeks into the new congress.  Before it all started, Mitch McConnell went on TV and basically told the nation that the Republicans, now in control of both houses would prove that “adding a Republican President won’t be so scary.”  He actually made some overtures that the new congress might actually be willing to work with the President.

So, two weeks in and what do we have?  A very scary start to the new session.  The House has already passed new rules and laws that threaten Social Security, the economy and national security.  What a beginning!

On the very fist day of session, the House passed a rules change that prohibits Social Security Administration from transferring money between Social Security and Social Security Disability.  Social Security Disability is in trouble.  If they aren’t allowed to transfer money when necessary, those receiving Social Security Disability will see a 20% reduction in their payments!

We all know that these people are really living high on the hog with their average $1,130 per month check.  Therefore, the Republicans seem to think they can afford their “haircut” as they like to call reductions in benefits.  Even Rand Paul has gotten into the act.  The other day he claimed that Social Security Disability is riddled with fraud because most people who draw benefits are suffering from nothing more serious than anxiety or back pain.

“The thing is that all of these programs, there’s always somebody who’s deserving, everybody in this room knows somebody who’s gaming the system. I tell people that if you look like me and you hop out of your truck, you shouldn’t be getting a disability check,” Paul said. “Over half the people on disability are either anxious or their back hurts. Join the club. Who doesn’t get up a little anxious for work every day and their back hurts? Everyone over 40 has a back pain.”

Bryce Covert at Think Progress gives a very good explanation of the program:

The disability insurance program, which is part of Social Security, has come under scrutiny after two media reports last year that focused on rising enrollment and implied that it was at least partly due to fraud. But the reality is different: fraud in disability programs is estimated to amount to less than 1 percent and is extremely rare, as the agency’s watchdog has found.  Its inaccurate payments rate is also less than 1 percent, compared to about 8 percent for Medicaid and Medicare.

The benefits are also very hard to come by. Fewer than four in ten applications are approved even after all stages of appeal. Medical evidence from multiple medical professionals is required in most cases to determine eligibility, which means showing that an applicant suffers from a “severe, medically determinable physical or mental impairment that is expected to last 12 months or result in death.” The severity of the disabilities of those who get benefits is underscored by the fact that one in five men and nearly one in six women die within five years of being approved.

In order to get Social Security Disability, it can take years.  I know, we looked into applying for it for my wife.  She suffers from Spinal Stenosis.  Since her job requires her to stand for eight or more hours per day, she has been in constant pain.  She has had two back surgeries.  Although she is feeling somewhat better, she is still suffering from severe back pains to the point she has trouble walking.  In the end, we decided that she will simply retire at the end of this month.    We would need to lay out a lot of money in order to meet the “multiple medical professional” evidence she would need.

The second bill passed will delay parts of the Dodd-Frank Bill.  What the house wants to do is let large banks continue to use “taxpayer protected” monies in risky investments.  The law states that banks must offload “collateralized loan obligations” — risky packages of corporate debt that are sliced off for sale to investors. Similar collections of risky mortgages were at the heart of the 2008 meltdown, and federal regulators have been warning about the corporate debt market overheating.  The big banks own the majority of these risky corporate debts.

Under the law, they have until 2017 to complete this offload.  The bill passed by the house would push that date back to 2019.  There are 10 other pieces of legislation packaged in this bill as well, all chipping away at the Dodd-Frank protections.  As a result, the Republicans are pushing us back to the days that led up to the 2008 economic crash!  Just as the economy is really beginning to gain steam.

The third law passed yesterday.  This is the Department of Homeland Security budget.  There are two items that will surely cause a veto if it reaches the President’s desk.  First, it overthrows the President’s executive action that allows up to 5 million immigrants to not face deportation.  But, that wasn’t good enough for the Republican crazies.  For good measure, they are also pulling the rug out from under DACA which allows immigrants brought to this country illegally by their parents when they were children from being deported.

The Republican crazies are willing to shut down the Department of Homeland Security because they don’t like immigrants!  You can put it in different perspectives if you like, but that is the real gist of the situation.  The ultra-conservatives are the people pushing for this bill.  Unlike the rest of the Republican Party, they seem to think that some illegal immigrants are a far greater threat to America than those Jihadists and other Terrorists.  Why else would you be willing to shut down the one Cabinet Post that is most responsible for our Homeland Security?

In a mere two weeks, the Republican controlled congress, mostly the House for now, has placed Social Security in jeopardy, our economy in jeopardy and our homeland security in jeopardy.  I don’t know about you, but all of these actions seem very Anti-American to me.  I mean, are they really trying to crash the country and its economy down?  Something is definitely wrong with all of these actions in the House.

So, Mr. McConnell.  If this is your idea of showing the American People that adding a Republican President to a Republican controlled Congress “isn’t too scary,” I would hate to see your definition of “scary.”  I have always been an optimist, and I can’t speak for everyone else, but you are sure scaring the hell out of me!

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“This is simply no way to treat our oldest and first ally. President Obama should have stood with France in person, defending Western values in the struggle against terrorism and showing support for the victims of this despicable act of terror. Skipping this rally will be remembered as a new low in American diplomacy.” Rick Perry

Ever since the President decided not to attend the anti-terrorist march in France, the conservatives have been having kittens.  According to these conservatives, we have basically snubbed our closest ally.  We have shunned them in their time of need.  We have abandoned them at the very moment they need us the most.

Rick Perry is not the only one who is jumping on the bandwagon either.  We are hearing from all of those wacky conservatives about how important it should have been for the President to go to France for the march.  He should have walked arm-in-arm with the French President, German Chancellor, et.al.

According to conservatives, France is and always has been our closest ally and we should show more respect towards them.  After all, they have stood by us when we needed them.  They have always gone to war with us against the terrorists.

How quickly they forget.  Or, more appropriately, how quickly they deliberately change their minds for political gain.  Remember “Freedom Fries” or the House cafeteria “Freedom Toast?”  Remember when conservatives considered France as the worst European Country?  All because France declined to participate in the “partnership of the willing” in the Iraq Invasion during George W. Bush’s presidency.

How about when John Kerry ran for President against Bush.  Because Kerry spoke French, he was also labeled as “looking French” by his opponents.  Maybe you remember this 2004 New York Times report:

But perhaps the surest indication that the looming political season will be ugly has come from repeated Republican suggestions that Kerry “looks French.”

Not only that: the senator is said to betray a dubious fondness for things French, even the language. A recent comment from Commerce Secretary Don Evans that the Massachusetts Democrat is “of a different political stripe and looks French” was only the latest of several jibes, mainly from conservative talk-show hosts and columnists, that have included allusions to “Monsieur Kerry” and “Jean Chéri.”

For some months now, the Republican House majority leader, Tom DeLay, has been opening speeches to supporters with an occasional routine. He says hi, then adds: “Or, as John Kerry might say, ‘Bonjour.’”

The remark “always brings the house down,” said DeLay’s spokesman, Stuart Roy, who added that its purpose was to highlight “Mr. Kerry’s lack of support for the war on terror and the way he seems to be in agreement with the arguments of the French.”

Of course, that even minded Congressman Randy Webber of Texas just had to make the obvious comparison between the President and Hitler in a tweet.  In his tweet, since deleted, he said even Hitler knew the importance of going to Paris.  Yesterday, he apologized for the tweet.  Not that the comparison wasn’t apt, but because it may have offended some people whose votes they need.

“I need to first apologize to all those offended by my tweet. It was not my intention to trivialize the Holocaust nor to compare the President to Adolf Hitler. The mention of Hitler was meant to represent the face of evil that still exists in the world today. I now realize that the use of Hitler invokes pain and emotional trauma for those affected by the atrocities of the Holocaust and victims of anti-Semitism and hate,” Weber said.

According to that dove Lindsey Graham, the attack was “America’s Fault” and no one else.  He said:

“I fear our intelligence capabilities, those designed to prevent such an attack from taking place on our shores, are quickly eroding. I believe our national security infrastructure designed to prevent these types of attacks from occurring is under siege.”

So Lindsey Graham seems to think this was not merely an attack on Charlie Hebdo, it was an attack against our intelligence infrastructure.  He later explained on Hugh Hewitt’s show:

Here’s what I take from Paris. We should reevaluate our Defense policies on several fronts…We’re in a religious war. These are not terrorists. They’re radical Islamists who are trying to replace our way of life with their way of life. Their way of life is motivated by religious teachings that require me and you to be killed, or enslaved, or converted. The President of the United States tip-toes around the threats we face, and he is trying to diminish the religious aspect of this war. Why? I don’t know. And he is not engaging the enemy in an aggressive fashion, which makes it more likely we’ll get attacked. What he’s doing is pretending to want to destroy ISIL when in fact, he’s trying to get out of office without having to commit American ground forces to do the job as part of a team in the region, because he made a campaign promise. His campaign promises, Hugh, are getting a lot of people killed!

Of course no one is mentioning that the President is currently bombing the hell out of ISIS in both Iraq and Syria.  Nor are they talking about his seeking an AUMF for that war with no timetable, geographical limitations or ban on the use of ground troops.  All of that is obviously just “liberal” wussiness.

Finally, the Canadian Senator couldn’t be left behind either.  He was up with a Time op-ed that said:

“The absence is symbolic of the lack of American leadership on the world stage, and it is dangerous. The attack on Paris, just like previous assaults on Israel and other allies, is an attack on our shared values. And, we are stronger when we stand together, as French President François Hollande said, for “liberty, equality, and fraternity.”

So, now that the conservatives have something to yell about, France is suddenly our biggest ally.  We snubbed them by not having the President there during the rally.  It was not only a snub, it was “dangerous” for him not to be there.  Very suddenly, France has gone from “cheese-eating surrender monkeys” to our best ally that the President has just thumbed his nose at.

And how did our oldest ally take all of this?  A spokesperson for French President Francois Hollande said that the French government was not offended by the president’s absence. “President Obama supported France in their common struggle against terrorism,” the spokeswoman said, calling Obama’s visit to the French Embassy to sign a condolence book “a rather exceptional gesture.” She said that Obama’s actions since last week’s attacks have been “very important” to Hollande.  Maybe the conservatives think they are just being overly nice.

This is the kind of idiocy that comes to the forefront when politics, not governing, is the only thing that matters.  Anything to get a headline is fair game.  Even changing sides when it comes to an ally you have hated and ridiculed for over 10 years so you can pick on the other side.

I wonder if the conservatives will remember all of this next month.  That is when they will have to fully fund the Department of Homeland Security for the full year.  You know, the agency most responsible for protecting us from these terrorists?  So far, that funding doesn’t look good.

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In recent years, we have seen whistle-blowers being arrested for disclosing classified information to the press.  We have also seen cases of people “outing” an active CIA Operative, “outing” the name of the leader of the Bin Laden attack, and allowing classified emails to be viewed by a “close friend”.  What is the difference in all of the cases?  The whistle-blowers were all arrested.  The others were not!

When Dick Cheney was Vice President, he arranged to have the name of an active CIA Operative “outed” in a political attack on her husband.  Since then, the Director of the CIA Leon Penatta outed the name of the SEAL team leader who led the Bin Laden attack at an awards ceremony attended by the director of the film “Zero Dark Thirty”.

Director of the CIA David Petraeus gave his lover and biographer, Paula Broadwell, access to his CIA email account and other highly classified information, some of which was found on her computer.  Director of the CIA John Brennan is widely believed to have outed a Saudi double agent inside the Yemen branch of al-Qaeda by leaking that the CIA foiled a plot to build a new, more advanced underwear bomb to blow up a U.S. airliner.

Then there is the case of Snowden.  Snowden wasn’t arrested yet, but he was forced into exile.  When he went to Russia, his passport was revoked which meant he couldn’t leave Russia for Latin America.  If he comes back to the U.S. you can be sure he will be arrested.

All of these people should have been arrested under the Espionage Act.  I am not defending the Espionage Act since I believe it is a bad law.  The Espionage Act is a one-sided, heavy-handed law that is supposed to protect us from spies.  To be frank, it is a cold war remnant that needs to be modified.  But, as long as it remains in effect, it must be used against anyone who unlawfully discloses classified information.

Which brings us to Gen. David Petraeus.  On Friday, it was leaked that the Justice Department and the FBI concluded their investigation into Gen. Petraeus, and are recommending he be prosecuted for leaking classified information.  It is my guess that Mr. Holder will not go forth with a prosecution of Gen. Petraeus.  On the Sunday talk shows, he cast serious doubts about the possibility of imminent prosecution.

Even members of Congress are rallying behind the General.  Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said, “We can’t afford to have his voice silenced or curtailed by the shadow of a long-running, unresolved investigation marked by leaks from anonymous sources.” Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said, “This man has suffered enough. . . He made a mistake. He lost his job because of it. I mean, how much do you want to punish somebody?”

Even if we were to consider their pleas, why aren’t they saying the same thing about former NSA senior executive Thomas A. Drake.  Drake tried to reveal wasteful, abusive and unlawful surveillance programs without revealing any classified material.  Yet he was investigated for over four years, had his security clearance suspended and lost his job, and endured baseless, anonymous smears leaked by the government.

Turns out Mr. Drake was exonerated.  After it was all over, neither Congress nor the Department of Justice even apologized to him for his anguish forced on him by this witch-hunt.  Nor, did anyone try to get his security clearance back so he could go back to working in his chosen profession.

It is this double-standard that is really at stake in the Petraeus case.  Is the Attorney General going to look the other way again because it involves someone other than a low-level person?  Are we going to make another sham of the Espionage Law simply because Gen. Petraeus “has suffered enough already?”

A lot of people are arguing that should be the case.  Unlike Mr. Drake who lost his job, Gen. Petraeus is making millions.  He has retained his security clearance.  He has been teaching at Harvard.  He is making speeches at lucrative fees.  He has been advising the White House on the Islamic State.  He is a partner in KKR, which is one of the biggest private-equity firms.  In other words, he is doing better than he was as the CIA Director.  I personally don’t see the “punishment” in his case so far.

You also have to take into consideration what he said when John Brennan pleaded guilty to confirming the identity of a CIA officer involved in renditions.  The General made a very self-righteous and, as it turn out, hypocritical statement.  He said: “Oaths do matter, and there are indeed consequences for those who believe they are above the laws that protect our fellow officers and enable American intelligence agencies to operate with the requisite degree of secrecy.”

I lived under the Espionage Act for a long time, too.  In this sense, I do agree with Gen. Petraeus.  “Oaths do matter.”  However, unlike the General, I believe “oaths do matter” for everyone regardless of your rank.  That is why I believe it is important to formally charge and prosecute the General.

Yes, the Espionage Law needs to be reformed.  But, until it is, everyone must adhere to the oaths they take.  Otherwise, we are telling people in authority that they are above the law.  So General, I repeat your own words:  “oaths do matter.” As I am sure you told your own troops many times, man-up and suffer the consequences of your actions!

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Fox News likes to claim that it offers “fair and balanced” news reporting.  Of course we all know that is total crap.  If you consider propaganda as “fair and balanced” they may have a point.  But, most people see propaganda for what it is.  And, it is not “fair and balanced.”

Since the attack on Charlie Hebdo last week, Fox News has done everything in its power to scare the hell out of the world.  They have looked for all sorts of nasty things to say about Muslims in general.  Despite the Christian Theocratic form of government they want for America, they continually harp on the idea that Muslims around the world are trying to put Sharia Law in place in every country.

They have even come up with a new twist on this whole mess.  They call it “no-go zones.”  No-go zones are areas in cities where non-Muslims will be attacked if they dare to tread.  That is because the areas in cities are “controlled” by Muslims who have instituted secret police and enforce Sharia Law on everyone.

To accentuate this point, Fox News on Sunday trotted out that infamous “Islamist Terrorist Expert”, Steve Emerson.  If you were to ask Mr. Emerson, he will tell you that he is “one of the leading authorities on Islamic extremist networks.”  So, we should all listen to what he has to say on this subject.

According to Mr. Emerson, there are cities where Christians, Jews, even Hindus won’t go into.   “In Britain, it’s not just no-go zones. There are actual cities like Birmingham that are totally Muslim where non-Muslims just simply don’t go in.”  I am sure that is news to the people of Birmingham.

Birmingham is the second largest city in England.  Just to show how much Mr. Emerson really knows, over 65% of the citizens of Birmingham claim to be either Christian or non-religious.  Yet Mr. Emerson seems to think that Birmingham is one of the European cities  “where Sharia courts were set up, where Muslim density is very intense, where the police don’t go in, and where it’s basically a separate country almost, a country within a country.”

In reality, one in five people in Birmingham practice Islam.  I wonder how many Muslims in an area it takes for Mr. Emerson to consider too scary to visit.  He doesn’t think that the problem is just confined to Birmingham either.  Mr. Emerson said that parts of London are too scary, too.  “Parts of London, there are actually Muslim religious police that actually beat and actually wound seriously anyone who doesn’t dress according to Muslim, religious Muslim attire,” he said.

Oops, there aren’t any of these instances that really exist.  There are no religious police and there aren’t any Muslim courts in these cities either.  Still, Jeanine Pirro, the host of the show, apparently believed what Emerson was saying, and it all seemed terrifying. “You know what it sounds like to me, Steve? It sounds like a caliphate within a particular country,” she said.

After the show, he was challenged by Raf Sanchez, from the British Newspaper The Telegraph.  As you can imagine, Emerson backtracked really fast.

 “I have clearly made a terrible error for which I am deeply sorry. My comments about Birmingham were totally in error. And I am issuing an apology and correction on my website immediately for having made this comment about the beautiful city of Birmingham.”

“There was no excuse for making this mistake and I owe an apology to every resident of Birmingham. I am not going to make any excuses. I made an inexcusable error. And I am obligated to openly acknowledge that mistake.”

If you noticed, he said he is issuing an apology and correction on his website immediately.  He even went so far as to say he would take out an AD in a Birmingham newspaper to apologize to the citizens.  He even offered to make a charitable contribution, apparently in an attempt to atone for his sins.  Since I do my research,  I went to his website this morning, and guess what?  No apology was found!

But, you will also note that he did not say that he would go on the air on Fox News to apologize and recant the statements he made.  I believe there are two reasons for this omission.  First, I don’t believe Fox News would allow him to recant his statements.  Secondly I don’t believe he is earnest in his apology and is still trying to fan the flames the fear of Fox News watchers against Islam.

That is Fox News version of “fair and balanced.”  Yet, the rest of the media won’t take it to task either.  Yesterday I wrote that Fox News is calling the negotiations with Dish to keep Fox News with the provider as censorship.  Let’s be honest.  Fox News is about as “fair and balanced” as the Spanish Inquisition was.

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It has become as inevitable as the sun rising in the east.  Ever since the atrocious attacks at Charlie Hebdo in Paris the other day, there has been a lot of hand wringing, especially by the conservatives in the U.S.  As you expect, they are even claiming that it was a lapse in intelligence by American Intelligence Agencies that allowed the attack in Paris.  They are clamoring that the NSA needs even more power to snoop on everyone.

The right is arguing that this is a first step by the Islamic Terrorists and we can expect similar attacks in our own country.  The Canadian Senator even said that the murders were “a reminder of the global threat we face.” Then on Facebook he said that they should be considered “an attack on us all.”  I will admit that Fundamentalist Islam Terrorist attacks are something we need to be concerned about.  The attack on Charlie Hebdo was atrocious, it was vicious, it was criminal.

However, the problem with fundamentalist terrorism is that it is not confined to Islam.  As I have written before, fundamentalist terrorism is all around us and comes from all corners of religious beliefs.  Something that has seemingly been lost because of the Charlie Hebdo attack, is that right here in America there was a bombing at a NAACP Office in Colorado Springs, CO.  No one was killed or injured in the attack, but it happened.  There were three White Supremacists arrested in Georgia for planning a terrorist attack in this country.

The right is saying nothing about either of these cases.  Yesterday, the FBI released a sketch of the suspect at the Colorado Springs attack.  I checked on Fox News website today, and there is nothing about the attack or the sketch.  There are a bunch of stories about the Paris attack though.

Yes, I know that the Paris attack resulted in the deaths of 12 people, plus the deaths of three of the four suspects in the attacks.  But, right here at home we have a terrorist attack against the country’s oldest civil rights group and the conservative’s propaganda machine doesn’t even run a copy of the sketch to help catch the terrorist.

As I wrote the other day, terrorism is a scourge of humanity.  The attack in Paris was because the magazine ran what many believe to be offensive cartoons.  Yes, Charlie Hebdo has a right in a democratic society to run such cartoons, and it is extremely criminal to attack them for that reason.  The attack was carried out apparently by radical fundamentalist Muslims.

In Colorado Springs, a civil rights group was attacked.  The sketch shows a bald white man in sunglasses as the suspect in the crime.  In Georgia, three white supremacists were arrested for planning a terrorist attack.  Why are they similar to the Paris attacks?  Because white supremacists claim that the Bible says whites and “others” need to be segregated.  Some may consider this a lame argument, but it is just as fundamental to white supremacist beliefs as similar attacks are to radical Muslims.

I would think that the right would be up-in-arms about a terrorist attack in Colorado Springs.  Know what else is there?  The U.S. Air Force Academy!  Who can say if these white supremacists won’t target it next!  The Academy is integrated, so it would seem to fair game for white supremacists as well.

If we are going to conduct a war on terrorism, we need to conduct that war against all terrorism.  We cannot just pick an enemy because of religious differences.  We need to work hard to erase all terrorism, regardless of who is using it.  That includes white radical fundamentalist Christians as well as radical fundamentalist Muslims.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali wrote in the Wall Street Journal that “the West” must respond to the massacre by ceasing to “appease leaders of Muslim organizations in our societies.”  If that is true, then we must soon hear from someone like Glenn Beck that we should cease to “appease leaders of Christian organizations in our societies” as well.  When the terrorist is a white Christian, one can take a long nap during the silence of Conservative Christian Leaders speaking up against that attack.  Even if they do speak up against such an attack, they usually follow it up with some sort of rationalization for it.  Like the “left caused the attack” by their policies.

We have had several cases of domestic terrorism carried out.  There have been abortion clinics bombed, abortion doctors murdered, the Federal Building attack in Oklahoma City, and others too numerous to name.  Terrorism does not know color or religion.  All colors and all religions are just as guilty as any other.

Terrorism is terrorism.  I don’t care who the terrorists are.  If we are to really understand terrorism, we need to stop letting our politicians scare the shit out of us when a terrorist attack is carried out by a Muslim.  We must ask them why that is more evil than a white Christian carrying out a terrorist attack on our shores.  Shouldn’t we be just as afraid of them as the Muslims?

After all, the attack at the NAACP office in Colorado Springs was apparently carried out by a citizen of THIS country.  I am thinking that citizens of Colorado Springs would consider this attack much more dangerous to us than the attack in Paris.  Innocent bystanders could have been killed by this bombing right here at home.  Where is the outrage?

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