Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Veterans Administration Deal and Funding History Proves That Republicans Were Mostly Responsible For Its Problems

Honoring our Veterans requires much more than putting them in a parade.  With deal the GOP tacitly admits it underfunded the VA at every chance for over a decade after it started invasive wars.

As we said earlier the VA was vastly underfunded, with the return to invasive war and the GOP was mostly sitting on funding increases when it got the chance.

And even they must agree, since they just approved $17 billion more dollars to fund the behemoth health system.  See Politico How the VA deal came together for confirmation and horse race politics snore.

We showed in an earlier blog post that despite sending our troops to two new invasive wars, the GOP which controlled the White House and the Congress in the early years of the first decade of the new millennium refused to adequately increase funding for the VA.

As we wrote a month ago:
Except for the years when the Democrats controlled the House and Senate, you'd think that massive injuries were not being produced in Iraq and Afghanistan that would require many years of intense care and innovative remedies for heavily injured soldiers.

Between 2003 and 2004 with the GOP in control of Congress VA funding only increased 4.7%

Massive invasion casualties?  When did those happen?

Between 2004 and 2005 with the GOP in control of Congress VA funding only increased  5.5%

IEDs?  What are those?

Between 2005 and 2006 with the GOP in control of Congress VA funding only increased 2.2%

I guess they were getting tired of paying for those injuries among "deadbeat" vets.

Between 2006 and 2007 with the Dems suddenly back in control of Congress thanks to Mark Foley VA funding increased 8.4%

Who loves our vets?

Between 2007 and 2008 with the Dems still in control of Congress VA funding increased 6.4%.

Still above anything the GOP gave them.

Between 2008 and 2009 with the Dems still in control of Congress VA funding increased 8.3%

Whoever thought that the GOP was the party who loved the our military most.  They just love using them and getting them killed.

Between 2009 and 2010 with the Dems still in control of Congress VA funding increased 12.1%

Need I say anything more?

Between 2011 and 2010 with GOP in control of the House in a division of Congress VA funding increased 8.2% a slowdown now.

Between 2012 and 2001 with GOP in control of the House in a division of Congress VA funding increased 0.8%  You saw that 0.8%.

Oh yeah, remember the great GOP austerity for tax cuts for Koch bros, our new national meme.

Suck on it injured vets say the GOP.
The fact that the GOP approved $17 billion shows they now understand but are hoping to look like good guys for finally acting, instead of the vicious crew that took our young people to war, but refused to adequately treat them when they were injured or disabled.

Picture at top used via Creative Commons' License Attribution (CC by 2.0) thanks to Flickr user DVIDSHUB who has no connection to this blog or blogger.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Israel Hired GOP's Professional Propagandist Frank Luntz to Sell Israel's War on Gaza

View of Jerusalem.

The usual piles of crap from the right to make mass killing and theft of land into a model of compassionate outreach has gone international as Frank Luntz helps Israel with their BS and Hasbara.
He says it is absolutely crucial to exude empathy for Palestinians: "Persuadables [sic] won't care how much you know until they know how much you care. Show Empathy for BOTH sides!" This may explain why a number of Israeli spokesman are almost lachrymose about the plight of Palestinians being pounded by Israeli bombs and shells. In a sentence in bold type, underlined and with capitalisation, Dr Luntz says that Israeli spokesmen or political leaders must never, ever justify "the deliberate slaughter of innocent women and children" and they must aggressively challenge those who accuse Israel of such a crime. Israeli spokesmen struggled to be true to this prescription when 16 Palestinians were killed in a UN shelter in Gaza last Thursday.
Whoa, Dude.  Hitler would be so jealous.  If he'd only not shot himself and lived to be able to avail himself of your complete lack of moral fiber.  He and Eva could be living on the Riviera with your help and getting reparations from the rest of the world.
Avoid talking about borders in terms of pre- or post-1967, because it only serves to remind Americans of Israel's military history.
Um yeah, it just reminds us that you stole your land from others and are still stealing the little the Palestinians have left, and polluting what you don't outright grab.

Luntz also tells Israelis to avoid language that describes reality in Israel because it reminds Americans of the racists in the American South and Apartheid South Africa.

 Instead the American propaganda master says to claim that Palestinians want to demand land from Israelis.
"the right of return is a tough issue for Israelis to communicate effectively because much of Israeli language sounds like the 'separate but equal' words of the 1950s segregationists and the 1980s advocates of Apartheid. The fact is, Americans don't like, don't believe and don't accept the concept of 'separate but equal'."So how should spokesmen deal with what the booklet admits is a tough question? They should call it a "demand", on the grounds that Americans don't like people who make demands. "Then say 'Palestinians aren't content with their own state. Now they're demanding territory inside Israel'.".
Funny how there was no Israel until the land was taken from Palestinians.

Luntz also advises to treat Palestinians who left or were thrown out of Israel as illegal immigrants, not people seeking their homeland.
How about the right of return for Palestinian refugees who were expelled or fled in 1948 and in the following years, and who are not allowed to go back to their homes? Here Dr Luntz has subtle advice for spokesmen, saying that "the right of return is a tough issue for Israelis to communicate...
.... If nothing else works, say that the return of Palestinians would "derail the effort to achieve peace".
 Then again, maybe I should get into this and go demand a place of my own in Northern Sweden, because some of my ancestors were from Lapland with winter digs in France from whence my Huguenot peeps were driven under Louis the 14th.

After all the Israelis have shown that it's all cool.

Picture at top used via Creative Commons License Attribution (CC by 2.0) thanks to Flickr user gnuckx who has no connection to this blog or blogger.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Pew Resaearch Title "Concerns about Islamic Extremism on the Rise in Middle East" Hides the Hope In it's Message

Fishing in Lebanon.  The results are likely  be better than invading the nation in a clumsy effort to impose one's will on it and grab land.  The US learned all about that in Vietnam, and remembered it too, until Republicans got control again in the early years of this century.

Maybe there's some real point in making a Danger Will Robinson title for a report on good news like in Concerns about Islamic Extremism on the Rise in Middle East

I guess the more people you get to read your report, the more people you inform.

It still seems a little like a Medicine Man style huckstering.

In fact, concern is rising because approval of violent activists is subsiding just about everywhere.

Though Israel is portraying its Gaza action as being due to high support of Hamas' Jihadists.among Gazan residents.  That is not shown on the Pew Research polls.  Sixty-six percent of Arabic Israelis say they are concerned about Hamas' extremism. Concern indicates nearly the opposite of approval.

And al Qaeda approval is disappearing like snow in spring if not summer. Interestingly the area where it is almost the highest is in the Palestinian Territories where a muslim population feels threatened by an occupying majority of "others" that is actively practicing land theft where it can.  Even in the Palestinian territories, though, support for al Qaeda is declining.

The highest support for a "terrorist group" is among the Shia for Hezbollah in Lebanon, possibly because the Shia gain the most from associations with the group that may include jobs.

So it seems that the way to reduce terrorism still further is to make sure people have good job and living choices in their own lands, and that they don't feel threatened or impoverished by external or internal sources.

The real terror creating entities could be noted to be greed and interference from outsiders, and the resulting poverty among the masses of people.

Picture above used via Creative Commons License Attribution CC by 2.0 thanks to Mohannad Khattab at Flickr.com.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Video: Analyst: Current Conflict Could Bring Down Netanyahu in Next Israeli Election

The only bad news is that the analyst who thinks this conflict could end Netanyahu's future hopes of keeping office notes that the putsch could come from the right, for his failures. That sounds incredibly dangerous for Gazan and all Palestinian children who are suffering enough now.  It could also be dangerous for Israeli families, and Americans.  Surely Nettie isn't the most liberal Israeli that the US could back.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Phil Gingrey Wins Pants on Fire Award for Claims that Migrants Across Southern Border could Bring In Ebola Virus

Notice he's not even speculating.  Dr Gingrey claims he's heard of "reports".  Obviously his constituents and others are supposed to be too stupid to know he's lying.

As a medical doctor he should know how quickly ebola kills, and how debilitating it is.  Did anyone see people rushing a sretcher over the border so a dying soul just flown in from Africa can give up the ghost in the US?

Dr. Gingrey demeans the valiant doctors and nurses fighting to keep people in Africa alive, and sometimes losing their own for it despite extreme care to avoid dangerous exposure.  He demeans Americans as well, thinking they are too stupid to figure this out.

But the Koch bros and other Big Money right wing donors will dump money into his re-election campaign for this attack on the truth and the Obama administration.

That is one thing he does know.

Full Politifact page here.

Shorter URL for this page: http://bit.ly/1plNpSu

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

That "Obama Immigration Policy" Causing border Crisis? Passed in 2002, Updated Unanimously by Congress in 2008, signed by George W Bush

Why yes, I'll talk to the press about all those annoying immigrants of the last 400+ years!  Hey, where you running off to Mr. Newsman!

So Rush Limbaugh/ Fox News/ etc's problem is that the current US President obeys the law?

That would explain a lot.

According to a a well done earlier report:

Under a 2002 human trafficking law signed by former President George Bush and reauthorized again in 2008 with additional protections, Mexican unaccompanied children apprehended crossing the border are automatically returned without formal deportation proceedings because the two countries share a border. But unaccompanied children from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala cannot be sent back without going through the deportation process, since that law ensured that America wouldn’t send kids back to a dangerous situation. (Honduras, for example, has experiences increased gang violence in 40 percent of its territory, while violence against females is surging in Guatemala.) Authorities must instead process these children and determine whether they have credible proof that they cannot return to their countries of origin. Central American children are given basic care like medical screenings in processing centers before being placed with relatives or foster care until they can appear in front of immigration judges.
The requirement that children from nations not sharing a border with the US go through a process that precludes just bouncing them across the border again or flying them to a big airport in their home country was started in 2002 and reauthorized in 2008.

Sorry, that means they law would be known as Bush 43 laws.  Passed bills do not sit around waiting to be signed by a succeeding president. In fact, every two years a Congress expires and any unsigned bills die.  The process must be repassed in the new Congress.

In 2002, the Democrats actually did control the Senate because of the disaffection of one of the Republican senators who decided to caucus with the Democrats (until he was ousted at the end of the year) but the GOP still controlled the House of Representatives.  In 2008 the Democrats were in control of Congress after a 2006 crisis revealed that the GOP leaders did not care to control, expel, or expose one of their own powerful Congressmen who was caught, at least attempting to sexually engage with underage Congressional interns.

So what was the vote count like while the Dems controlled Congress?  Did those slimy liberals force laws on the nation that would force the US to spend weeks identifying whether it was safe to send a child back to their non-bordering nation before packing them off on a plane or a smoky autobús to some dumping point in a dangerous inner city of Central America?

Nancy Pelosi !!!

Um, no.

According to

Congress.gov the major actions for H.R. 7311 were:

Passed/agreed to in Senate: Received in the Senate, read twice, considered, read the third time, and passed without amendment by Unanimous Consent.(consideration: CR S10886-10887)
Passed/agreed to in House: On passage Passed without objection.(text: CR H10889-10902)

Became Public Law No: 110-457.
Signed by President.
Presented to President.
 As you can see the timeline appears to go upwards in these copies directly from the source.

No President Obama anywhere around.

No Democratic Party acting unilaterally in Congress.

A troll, possibly as stupid as he/she seemed with a pathetic follower count came back at me with the claim that this was about "trafficking" not immigration when I stated this on Twitter and left a link to the 2008 bills page that I placed above (so he/sh had no excuse for ignorance).

But no, the bill was about ensuring that children returned to their native homes will  not be immediately trafficked when they return .  That appears to mean that relatives are contacted to find someone to care for the children instead of tossing them into the streets of a decrepit inner city.  The big question is why this isn't extended to Mexico where such things can happen, too.  Maybe it is -- on the sly.  Is Rush Limbaugh's hate radar on the fritz?

Maybe Fox News Hosts and Rush Limbaugh, etc should ask John Boehner and other Republicans in Congress in 2008 why they voted for it, instead of shaking their fists and Gargling out "Obama did this to us!"

Because everyone who learns the truth would then know how big the GOP and their r/w media thought control handlers are willing to lie to achieve their ends, and grab big money from right wing sources.

Picture at top clipped using Windows Snipping Tool and used via Creative Commons License CC by 2.0 thanks to flickr user Larry Lamsa who has no connection to this blog or blogger.

Friday, July 4, 2014

After Horrific West, Texas Fertilizer Plant Explosion, Gregg Abbott started getting donations from Koch family members with interests in Chemical Fertilizers.

Above: Nothing to see here folks, unless.  (Flickr user describes the building as a defunct fertilizer plant and the picture posted was created mostly for the clouds attribution and license at bottom).  But what if a non-descript building near your school, or workplace or home suddenly exploded sending dangerous shocks or chemicals to attack your family and friends.  People in Texas wanted to know where they were after the West plant exploded.  Attorney General Greg Abbott refused to tell them.

Excerpt Dallas Morning News report:
AUSTIN — Five months after an ammonium nitrate explosion that killed 15 people in West, Attorney General Greg Abbott received a $25,000 contribution from a first-time donor to his political campaigns — the head of Koch Industries’ fertilizer division.
The donor, Chase Koch, is the son of one of the billionaire brothers atop Koch Industries’ politically influential business empire.
Abbott, who has since been criticized for allowing Texas chemical facilities to keep secret the contents of their plants, received more than $75,000 from Koch interests after the April 2013 explosion at the West Fertilizer Co. storage and distribution facility, campaign finance records filed with the state showed.
The West accident focused public attention on the storage of potentially dangerous chemicals across Texas and regulatory gaps in prevention, data-gathering, enforcement and disclosure to prevent explosions in the future. In addition tothe 15 deaths, scores of people were injured, and homes and businesses were leveled.
The issue has re-emerged for Abbott in his run for governor. The Republican nominee recently declared that records on what chemicals the facilities stored could remain hidden, citing state laws meant to deter potential terrorist threats.
The campaign of his Democratic opponent, Wendy Davis, has charged Abbott with protecting campaign donors. On Tuesday, Abbott struggled to explain how Texans might learn of dangerous chemicals in their midst.
“You know where they are if you drive around,” Abbott told reporters at an event in Austin. “You can ask every facility whether or not they have chemicals or not. You can ask them if they do and they can tell you, ‘Well, we do have chemicals or we don’t have chemicals.’ And if they do, they tell which ones they have.”
After the West disaster, The Dallas Morning News identified 74 facilities in Texas as having at least 10,000 pounds of ammonium nitrate or ammonium-related material, including a Koch subsidiary, the Georgia-Pacific Gypsum plant in Sweetwater. The subsidiary now makes a nitrogen fertilizer, not the same product as the one that exploded in West.
 So the information could be found, but Abbott made it hard to discover -- as if homeowners and renters shouldn't have a right to know.  It's just their family's safety at stake.

The Dallas Morning News report I saw did not link to any map of dangerous chemical plants, but there is a map at Center for Effective Government of chemical plants in Texas with pictures showing schools and hospitals within a mile of the facilities.  Of course, there could be single family homes and apartments within such boundaries, too which can certainly put people at risk, unknowingly just as the West Fertilizer company did.

Charles Johnson aka @Green_Footballs posted a link on Twitter today to a Texas Department of Insurance page where you can check any zipcode in the state presumably and see if there is Ammonium Nitrate in it.  If that sounds stupid, please visit the page.  It appears to poorly explain what it does without a zipcode.  Maybe it works much better if you plug one in.
 I finally found a code that admitted to having an Ammonium nitrate storage facility. The map was unclear, showed 4 storage facilities that did not look like were in the selected zipcode, but there was contact information for a local fire department.  Hopefully you could learn more from them.

On the whole though, the site's action could be improved by allowing some energetic high school students improve it.  Then again Texas is a red state, so half-assed productions at the government level are some what to be expected.

Picture used via Creative Commons License Attribution CC by 2.0 thanks to flickr user David DeHetre who has no connection to this blog or blogger.