Time For A Quiz

Category: Life | 1 Comment | 169 words | Print

I was going to try and take the night off tonight to catch up on some much needed rest. I’ve been working on a project, the house is a mess, I need to get a load of firewood (which involves a lot of lifting and stacking), my sister will be arriving in town tomorrow afternoon, and I’ve had these headaches off and on for two weeks. Instead, what do I do?

I spent hours watching the Winter Olympics. Curling (my favorite), women’s downhill skiing, speed skating, the half-pipe, all of it. Then what did I do? I sat here and watched more curling online, worked a bit on my project, and took the Pew Research Quiz.

I did pretty darned good.

Now that I have reassured myself that I know what the heck is going on, I can relax and go to sleep. That is, if curling isn’t being broadcast at this very moment.

So, how did you do on the quiz?

– Posted with Stuffr! –

At dawn on December 7, 1941, Japanese planes attacked the United States Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor In Hawaii.

Anxious to maintain their military and economic power in the region the Japanese planned to cripple the U.S. fleet which would then allow them to attack the Philippines and Indo-China without opposition and acquire the raw materials they needed to maintain their position.

Several ships were sunk or damaged, the U.S.S. Oklahoma capsized, and the U.S.S. Arizona was completely destroyed. More than 2,300 Americans died in the attack.

The next day President Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed a joint session of Congress, which declared war against Japan, and the United States officially entered World War II. The Japanese had no idea they were awakening a sleeping giant. December 7th, 1941 truly was a date which would live in infamy.

James Bradley, whose father was one of those who raised the flag on Iwo Jima, has studied the war and the reason Japan attacked us in the first place.

In a secret presidential cable to Tokyo, in July 1905, Roosevelt approved the Japanese annexation of Korea and agreed to an “understanding or alliance” among Japan, the United States and Britain “as if the United States were under treaty obligations.” The “as if” was key: Congress was much less interested in North Asia than Roosevelt was, so he came to his agreement with Japan in secret, an unconstitutional act.

Bradley’s op-ed in the New York Times is an excellent read for anyone who wants to know the real reason that Japan decided to attack us the way they did.

Take a moment today to remember all of those who died on that December morning in 1941.

Read more

I have so much I want to write about tonight, but it includes a great number of topics. Two are related to the current health care bill, but the other two are not. Bear with me as I get some random thoughts out and see where this takes me this evening.

Thought #1

Ever since I started reading HR 3200, I have been following the action over at the Committee on Education and Labor website. Yesterday they published a post about a letter from the Congressional Budget Office regarding the savings on drug spending under Medicare as specified by HR 3200.

Premiums for drug coverage would rise an average of 5 percent in 2011, beyond the level expected under current law, and the increase would grow to 20 percent in 2019, the budget office said.

“However,” it said, “beneficiaries’ spending on prescription drugs apart from those premiums would fall, on average, as would their overall prescription drug spending (including both premiums and cost-sharing).”

The letter goes on to state the main reason why these costs will be lower for many on Medicare.

The House bill would require drug companies to provide larger discounts, or rebates, on medications dispensed to low-income people enrolled in both Medicare and Medicaid. It would also require drug makers to provide 50 percent discounts on brand-name drugs in the doughnut hole, until the coverage gap was eliminated.

Pay attention now. The only reason many people would save money on prescription drugs under Medicare, is because the government is going to require that the drug companies offer larger discounts and rebates for those drugs. In other words, someone has to pay for the medicine and HR 3200 makes sure it’s the big bad drug companies that pay their fair share.

Are they really that stupid? Do they think we are that stupid? If the drug companies are forced to offer discounts and rebates (aka price fixing) don’t they realize that those same drug companies will have to pass on those absorbed costs somewhere along the line?

If they don’t they won’t make money, and if they stop making money where is the incentive to research and develop newer and better medicines?

The last part of the post on the Committee on Education and Labor website encourages you to read the entire article (in the New York Times) from the CBO.

Why don’t they encourage Americans to read the bill itself? Why not encourage people to read the bill so they can learn all the facts about the health care bill at the same time? Those are rhetorical questions people. We all know they won’t encourage anyone to read the bill, why would they? They haven’t read the bill themselves and they know if you read it, you won’t like what you read.

Thought #2

Word has it that President Obama is abandoning the “public option”. Well, that’s what the White House wants you to believe, and that’s what some bloggers are excited about tonight. I think it’s just another smoke screen. Why do I think that? Read this.

Aides to President Barack Obama are putting the final touches on a new strategy to help Democrats recover from a brutal August recess by specifying what Obama wants to see in a compromise health care deal and directly confronting other trouble spots, West Wing officials tell POLITICO.

Obama is considering detailing his health-care demands in a major speech as soon as next week, when Congress returns from the August recess. And although House leaders have said their members will demand the inclusion of a public insurance option, Obama has no plans to insist on it himself, the officials said.

Of course he won’t insist on it “himself”. It’s already in the bill. Notice he didn’t say he would veto any bill containing a public option. Notice he didn’t say he would tell Congress to remove the public option before sending him the bill. Notice he tries, yet again, to absolve himself from any responsibility for anything going on around him.

On health care, Obama’s willingness to forgo the public option is sure to anger his party’s liberal base. But some administration officials welcome a showdown with liberal lawmakers if they argue they would rather have no health care law than an incremental one. The confrontation would allow Obama to show he is willing to stare down his own party to get things done.

He’s willing to stare down his own party to get things done, as long as it all gets done and there is an “incremental” plan. Let’s see… No health care plan or one that still pulls all the same strings, violates our rights as citizens, and violates the Tenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution “incrementally”.

If you visit the source of this article at the Politico website, you will notice the caption under the photo of President Obama. The photo is from the Associated Press.

President Obama plans to detail his health care demands in a major speech as soon as next week, when Congress returns from the August recess.

What happened to the idea of bipartisan participation in Washington, D.C.? What happened to the hope that maybe, just maybe someone might get things done that mattered? What happened to the change President Obama was supposed to bring with him to the White House?

Now he’s making demands? What comes next? Foot stomping? A temper tantrum? Puhleaze.

Thought #3

President Obama is going to “address the children” on September 8th. At noon on the 8th, the President will address children (at school) across the country. Why exactly will he be addressing the children directlywithout parental supervision or permission?

Sure, he’s the President of the United States, but I don’t think even that title affords him the right to talk to my kids unless I know what he’s going to talk about first. My thoughts on this have nothing to do with being a Democrat or a Republican, it has to do with being a parent.

As a parent I would never allow a stranger to address my children without my supervision, whether he’s a homeless man on the street, a person living in a home just down the street, or even the guy living in the people’s house.

You just don’t do that unless you have an agenda, and those with agendas that include addressing children usually have something else bigger in mind as well. I get a chill up my spine just thinking about it.

Thought #4

Last, but not least, I want to talk about something I’ve noticed lately. There seems to be an overwhelming amount of love for Marxist and/or Communist leaders surfacing among certain politicians in our country.

In his book, Dreams From My Father: A Story Of Race And Inheritance, President Obama said,

To avoid being mistaken for a sellout,I chose my friends carefully.The more politically active black students.The foreign students.The Chicanos.The Marxist Professors and the structural feminists and punk-rock performance poets.We smoked cigarettes and wore leather jackets.At night,in the dorms,we discussed neocolonialism,Franz Fanon,Eurocentrism,and patriarchy.When we ground out our cigarettes in the hallway carpet or set our stereos so loud that the walls began to shake,we were resisting bourgeois society’s stifling constraints.We weren’t indifferent or careless or insecure.We were alienated.

Then, we have this gem from Rep. Diane Watson (D-CA).

“You can think whatever you want to about Fidel Castro, but he was one of the brightest leaders I have ever met, and you know, the Cuban Revolution that kicked out the wealthy, Che Guevara did that, and then after they took over they went out among the population to find someone who could lead this new nation and they found, an attorney by the name of Fidel Castro.”

For those of you who are too young to know anything about the “Cuban Revolution” and for those of you who have forgotten because of age, let me remind you what Che Guevara and Fidel Castro have done for Cuba.

Let’s start with Che Guevara.

Ernesto “Che” Guevara, commonly known as Che Guevara, El Che, or simply Che, was an Argentine Marxist revolutionary, physician, author, guerrilla leader, military theorist, international statesman and major figure of the Cuban Revolution. Since his death, his stylized visage has become a ubiquitous countercultural symbol and global insignia within popular culture.

As a young medical student, Guevara traveled throughout Latin America and was transformed by the endemic poverty he witnessed. His experiences and observations during these trips led him to conclude that the region’s ingrained economic inequalities were an intrinsic result of monopoly capitalism, neocolonialism, and imperialism, with the only remedy being world revolution. This belief prompted his involvement in Guatemala’s social reforms under President Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán, whose eventual CIA-assisted overthrow solidified Guevara’s radical ideology. Later, while living in Mexico city, he met Raul and Fidel Castro, joined their 26th of July Movement, and invaded Cuba aboard the Granma with the intention of overthrowing U.S.-backed Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista. Guevara soon rose to prominence among the insurgents, was promoted to second in command, and played a pivotal role in the successful two year guerrilla campaign that deposed the Batista regime.

Here’s some information on Fidel Castro.

Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz is a Cuban politician, one of the primary leaders of the Cuban Revolution, the Prime Minister of Cuba from February 1959 to December 1976, and then the President of the Council of State of Cuba until his resignation from the office in February 2008. He is currently the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba.

He was born into a wealthy family and acquired a law degree. While studying at Havana University, he began his political career and became a recognized figure in the politics of Cuba. His political career continued with nationalist critiques of Fulgencio Batista, and of the United States’ political and corporate influence in Cuba. He gained an ardent, but limited, following and also drew the attention of the authorities. He eventually led the failed 1953 attack on the Moncada Barracks, after which he was captured, tried, incarcerated and later released. He then traveled to Mexico to organize and train for an assault on Batista’s Cuba. He and his fellow revolutionaries left Mexico for the East of Cuba in December 1956.

Che Guevara worked hand in hand with Fidel Castro to topple the Batista government. No one “went out among the population to find someone who could lead this new new nation” and Fidel Castro was not just “an attorney” they happened to pick.

Guevara and Castro were the leaders of the Cuban Revolution. Rep. Watson makes it sound like Che Guevara brought down the regime then asked Fidel Castro to lead the country.

Let’s read more from the Wikipedia entry for Fidel Castro.

Once in Mexico, Castro reunited with other Cuban exiles and founded the 26th of July Movement, named after the date of the failed attack on the Moncada Barracks. The goal remained the overthrow of Fulgencio Batista. Castro had learned from the Moncada experience that new tactics were needed if Batista’s forces were to be defeated. This time, the plan was to use underground guerrilla tactics, which were used by the Cubans the last time they attempted a populist overthrow of what they considered an imperialistic regime. The Cuban war of Independence against the Spanish was Cuba’s introduction to guerrilla warfare, about which they read once the Cuban campaign ended but was taken up by Emilio Aguinaldo in the Philippines. Once again, it would be guerrilla warfare to bring down a government.

In Mexico Castro met Ernesto “Che” Guevara, a proponent of guerrilla warfare. Guevara joined the group of rebels and became an important force in shaping Castro’s evolving political beliefs. Guevara’s observations of the misery of the poor in Latin America had already convinced him that the only solution lay in violent revolution.

Guevara was already convinced that the only solution was violent revolution, he just needed the means to start one. Fidel Castro supplied the means through organization and training. Let there be no doubt that they worked together to bring down Batista.

When will politicians learn that you cannot whitewash history? It’s one thing to agree or disagree with someone’s point of view, but you cannot deny the facts. The fact is, both Che Guevara and Fidel Castro were cold-blooded guerilla fighters who worked hand-in-hand to destroy the country Cuba could have become.

Wrap-Up

See, I told you I had a few random thoughts bouncing around in my head. Thanks for sticking with me while I released them all. Tomorrows a new day and I am sure there will be many more random thoughts headed my way.

Make Mine Freedom

Category: History | Comments Off | 62 words | Print

After reading through 1,018 pages of utter nonsense that could end up ruining our ountry, I’m taking an evening off from posting to relax, re-group, and prepare for the upcoming battle on Capitol Hill.

While I take the night to relax, you should watch this cartoon title, “Make MIne Freedom” from 1948, which is actually very fitting, especially with what we’re facing today.

Happy Memorial Day

Category: Education, History | Comments Off | 90 words | Print

Today, as in the past, there are problems that must be solved and challenges that must be met. We can tackle them with our full strength and creativity only because we are free to work them out in our own way. We owe this freedom of choice and action to those men and women in uniform who have served this nation and its interests in time of need. In particular, we are forever indebted to those who have given their lives that we might be free.
Ronald Reagan, May 26, 1983

Name Dropping Gets You Nowhere

Category: History, Our Nation | Comments Off | 1,346 words | Print

CannonIn my final post about the U.S. Department of Homeland Security “Rightwing Extremism” assessment, I made reference to something that was quoted in the report, and I want to make a few clarifications.

At the bottom of page five, the assessment reads,

Many rightwing extremist groups perceive recent gun control legislation as a threat to their right to bear arms and in response have increased weapons and ammunition stockpiling, as well as renewed participation in paramilitary training exercises. Such activity, combined with a heightened level of extremist paranoia, has the potential to facilitate criminal activity and violence.

  • During the 1990s, rightwing extremist hostility toward government was fueled by the implementation of restrictive gun laws—such as the Brady Law that established a 5-day waiting period prior to purchasing a handgun and the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act that limited the sale of various types of assault rifles—and federal law enforcement’s handling of the confrontations at Waco, Texas and Ruby Ridge, Idaho.

In short, the government wants you to think that the threat of recent gun control legislation will push many “rightwing extremists” over the edge creating a heightened level of extremist paranoia, weapon stockpiling, and hostility toward the goverment. They go a step further in their attempt to instill fear by referencing the confrontations at Waco, Texas and Ruby Ridge, Idaho.

Many people remember the events that occurred at Waco but few people I have spoken too remember much about Ruby Ridge. Those who do remember it, usually can’t remember why they do, but they know something bad happened there.

Let’s take a look at the history of events which occurred at Ruby Ridge in August of 1992 and try to ascertain why our government would still be referencing the events there, 17 years after it happened.

Read more

Remembering Pearl Harbor

Category: History | Comments Off | 6,488 words | Print

At dawn on December 7, 1941, Japanese planes attacked the United States Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor In Hawaii.

Anxious to maintain their military and economic power in the region the Japanese planned to cripple the U.S. fleet which would then allow them to attack the Philippines and Indo-China without opposition and acquire the raw materials they needed to maintain their position.

Several ships were sunk or damaged, the U.S.S. Oklahoma capsized, and the U.S.S. Arizona was completely destroyed. More than 2,300 Americans died in the attack.

The next day President Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed a joint session of Congress, which declared war against Japan, and the United States officially entered World War II. The Japanese had no idea they were awakening a sleeping giant. December 7th, 1941 truly was a date which would live in infamy.

Take a moment today to remember all of those who died on that December morning in 1941.

Read more

Reflections Of Honor: Veterans Day 2008

Category: History | Comments Off | 806 words | Print

unknownsoldier.jpgIn 1918, on the 11th day of the 11th month at the eleventh hour, the Allies and Germany signed the armistice that brought an end to the hostilities on the Western Front and marked the end of fighting in World War I. The war officially ended on June 28, 1919 with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles.

In 1919, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the first Armistice Day to remember those who were killed during the war. People around the world took time out of their day, each November 11th, to recognize those members of their armed forces who died during the war. In 1938, Armistice Day was made an official U.S. holiday as “a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as ‘Armistice Day’.” Years later, new legislation changed the name to Veterans Day and it became a day to remember all of the men and women who have served our nation in the Armed Forces, not just those who died.

Veterans Day is a day to thank and honor all of the men and women who have served in our nation’s military, during peacetime and war. It is a day to acknowledge that their contributions to our nation are appreciated and the sacrifices they made to serve their country did not go unnoticed.

Every Veterans Day I think about the men and women in my own family who served our nation proudly.

Read more

The Dawn Of A New Era

Category: Opinions, Our Nation, Society | Comments Off | 717 words | Print

Is it just me or has this been the campaign that seemed like it would never end? It won’t be long now before we can turn on the cable news channels and not see a politician for at least 10 minutes. Of course, they’ll be focusing on high speed chases, missing college girls, and the mysterious chupacabra, but heck anything other than election news will be a welcome change at this point, right?

As I started typing this entry, the polls in Dixville Notch and Hart’s Location were just about to open in New Hampshire.

Dixville Notch, New Hampshire is a small village of about 75 people that is famous for being one of the first places to vote during Presidential elections. They are also one of the first to declare the winner at their location. Over the course of the past 12 elections they have chosen the winner 50% of the time. The last time they selected a Democrat was 1968, when they picked Humphrey over Nixon. They were wrong.

Read more