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CWAA: Can We All Agree™ – 10/7/17 edition

October 7, 2017

Can we all agree, the NRA has given Republicans permission to consider gun restrictions? I guess we should all feel grateful.

Can we all agree, the response from a majority of Americans is closer to  that of late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel?

Can we all agree, while most politicians only feel pressure to act when there is a mass shooting the real issue is guns and suicide?

Les Vegas memorial (LV Review Journal photo)

Les Vegas memorial
(LV Review Journal photo)

Can we all agree, Rex Tillerson will not be our Secretary of State much longer?

Can we all agree, now that Mr. Trump has apparently decided to abrogate the nuclear deal with Iran we will have to rely on European leaders to make the world safer?

Can we all agree Lin-Manuel Miranda has a way with words?

Can we all agree the Narcissist in Chief must have been feeling ignored, so he reached out to Democrats, seeking a new health care compromise? Will Chuck and Nancy give him another victory?

Can we all agree, between their lies about their own tax plan and the Bannon revolt, the GOP has some serious issues to confront in the coming year?

Can we all agree, it’s heartening to know that the courts are fighting back against Mr, Trump, his EPA chief Scott Pruitt and the rest of the lobbyists who run the department?

Can we all agree, the battle over birth control and the ACA has nothing to do with religion or abortion?

Can we all agree, no one really understands all the fuss about Harvey Weinstein’s bad behavior? I’m neither shocked nor surprised.

Can we all agree, The House of Representative budget bill is totally irrelevant except that it allows the Senate to possibly pass the measure and the tax plan with majority votes – which they don’t have yet?

Can we all agree, now that California will be a Sanctuary State in 2018, a lot more folks will encounter ICE agents at their front door?

Can we all agree, Americans, and Donald Trump , won’t figure out how much Hurricane Maria has destroyed in Puerto Rico, until we start to have drug shortages on the mainland?

Can we all agree, no-one seems to care that a Senate report confirms that the Russians hacked the 2016 election and continues to disrupt our electoral process?

Can we all agree, we all knew politicians were hypocritical but it was nice that Rep. Tim Murphy reminded us how duplicitous they really are?

Can we all agree, The Captains of American industry muster have been very proud when a former member of their club (Equifax)  was able to blame all his problems on a single employee?

Can we all agree, we’re glad the death rate from breast cancer is declining, but it would be even better is they could figure out the cause of the disease?

Can we all agree, Both Democrats and Republicans are to blame for gerrymandering but leaving it up the the Supreme Court will leave both sides unhappy?

Can we all agree, the aviation industry should be embarrassed by the Australian government’s final report on the fate of Malaysian Airlines flight 370?

Can we all agree, Tom Petty left us way too soon?

Can we all agree, It’s about time that a major US car maker realized electric cars are here to stay?

Can we all agree, we’re wondering if Monte Hall is offering someone a deal, right now?

Can we all agree, the only reason Mr. Trump hasn’t made a comment about the Catalonia independence vote, is that he has no idea where it is?

Can we all agree, we’ve all become immune to news of new data breaches and who has access to our personal information?

Can we all agree, Mr. Trump has been surprisingly silent on the death of 4 soldiers in Niger?

and finally:

This week’s good read: The death of a man wrongly convicted and betrayed by the system

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Do We Really Need Guns?

Filed under: Health,Journalism,observations,Uncategorized,Wellness — Tags: , , , , — admin @ 7:22 am

Several neighbors on my street own guns. The subject comes up once in a while, when there is some kind of crime in our small town

It doesn’t happen very often, but I’m sure this weekend when we’re all out gardening or chatting over the back fence the topic will be mentioned since it’s the first full weekend since the carnage in Las Vegas.

My niece, who is still in her 20’s, owns 2 rifles which are locked in a gun safe until she takes them out for target shooting at a range near her home. I was surprised, and slightly dismayed, when I learned of her interest, but her parents approve so I keep my mouth shut -mostly.

At one time, my wife even suggested I get a gun. After police combed our neighborhood searching for an armed robber who decided the best spot to hide was in a neighbor’s back yard.

I declined, and will continue to decline as long as I live. I can see no point to them. I have no interest in shooting at a target or a deer. Although, they roam our neighborhood with impunity, eating anything that grows. As an avid gardener I consider them rats with long legs. But that’s a different issue.

I cannot foresee an instance where I would use a gun against someone who was threatening me or my family. I can only see that it would make the situation worse.

My dad was a WWII veteran and shot a gun many times, I’m sure, but we never had them around the house and in all my years I don’t remember the topic ever coming up for discussion. After all, he suffered from what we now call PTSD, and I doubt he had any interest in firing a rifle again.

And yes, I firmly believe the second amendment has been poorly interpreted and our Founding Fathers never meant that we should all have automatic weapons in our homes.

Over 60% of the gun deaths in this country are suicides and I can see no reason to make suicide easier.

I’m not saying suicide would be impossible without guns. Heavens knows when my wife’s best friend decided five years ago, to end her life with pills, there was nothing we could do, no matter how much we pleaded with her.

But I’d like to think that my neighbor two doors away, who I had a standing Wednesday lunch date with for the last two years, would still be alive, if he had not been able to take out a gun and blow his brains out early one Monday morning  three weeks ago.

Perhaps, without the NRA, my neighbor and I could have lunch again this week.

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CWAA: Can We All Agree – 9/24/16 edition

September 24, 2016

Can we all agree the root of all our race -related problems is the fact that no white person in America can really understand the Black-American experience? But maybe, the opening of the African American Museum today is a first step.

Can we all agree that whether or not the victims in Charlotte or Tulsa had weapons the real issue is police training which teaches officers to use lethal force as a first choice?

The new African American Museum in Washington, D.C. (Washington Post photo)

The new African American Museum in Washington, D.C. (Washington Post photo)

Can we all agree, if there were fewer guns on American streets a police officer’s job might not be so difficult?

Can we all agree we’ve all become too complacent about computer hacks that reveal our personal information? Rather than demanding more security we are all eager to believe computer security firm’s claims that they can protect us-after the fact.

Can we all agree that Congressional questioning of Wells Fargo and Mylan executives is political grandstanding at its finest, since there is no movement for any action against either firm?

Can we all agree, speaking of political grandstanding, the testimony of IRS commissioner John Koskinen probably was not what the GOP hardliners expected, when Democrats focused on Mr. Trump’s alleged IRS audit?

Can we all agree the debate by House and Senate members to override the President’s veto of a bill allowing  9/11 lawsuits against Saudi Arabia will be more of the same?

Can we all agree that CNN’s decision to, allow former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, to accept payment from the campaign while he is a commentator for the network, flies in the face of journalistic integrity?

Can we all agree, whether we like Facebook or not, Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan, deserve some praise for their $3 billion commitment to global health?

Can we all agree the Syrian cease-fire is over because the Russians and Syrian government were looking for an excuse to end it from the beginning?

Can we all agree Donald Trump’s reaction to this week’s incidents in Tulsa and Charlotte will probably drop his support among black voters from 3% to zero?

Can we all agree Hillary Clinton probably breathed a sigh of relief when it became clear no more of her State Department emails would be released before the election?

Can we all agree that Donald Trump Jr.’s comments about refugees and skittles shows that he doesn’t understand either the plight of refugees or basic statistics?

Can we all agree Monday’s first Presidential debate should be must  see TV, even for football fans in Atlanta and New Orleans?

Can we all agree the reaction of the two candidates to the New York and NJ bombings pretty much sums up our choices in the election?

Can we all agree that Ted Cruz’ endorsement of Mr. Trump is political opportunism at its finest?

Can we all agree that neither candidate will probably mention a new study which seems to show immigrants are not taking American jobs?

Can we all agree that regardless of the outcome in the New Jersey ‘Bridgegate’ trial, Chris Christie’s 15 minutes of fame are over?

Can we all agree that it’s rather amazing to discover that we all have a common group of ancestors?

Can we all agree it’s hard to believe  the United States is one of the few countries in the world where maternal mortality has not decreased in the last 10 years?

and finally:

Can we all agree Stacy Koltiska deserves some praise for resigning her job rather than refuse meals to children?


In case you were wondering what this week’s fall equinox really meant, you can find all you need to know, right here.

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CWAA: Can We All Agree – 8/27/16 edition

August 27, 2016

Can we all agree, this week we are all Italian? Unfortunately, it appears this will not be the last earthquake the country suffers.

Quake damage in Amatrice, Italy (AP photo)

Quake damage in Amatrice, Italy (AP photo)

Can we all agree, despite what her PR machine claims, Heather Bresch, the president of the firm which sells the EpiPen is a poster child for what’s wrong with the US drug industry? And her father, the senator, knows it.

Can we all agree Bernie Sanders’s new political group is off to a bad start?

Can we all agree Maine Governor Paul Lepage is the only politician who can out-Trump, Donald Trump? Even the Donald doesn’t have a newspaper apologizing to the nation.

Can we all agree Mr. Trump’s pivot under Kellyanne Conway, his new campaign manager, has everyone scratching their heads?

Can we all agree if Hillary Clinton was running against a traditional candidate, such as Jeb Bush, her email problems would really make her a serious underdog?

Can we all agree that the only real question left is whether Mrs. Clinton’s victory will be a landslide?

Can we all agree that, only in America, could Ryan  Lochte, turn his Rio lies into advertising gold?

Can we all agree, the Virginia diners who declined to leave a tip because they thought their server was not American, deserve all the ridicule they are getting?

Can we all agree the confrontation between Iranian and American battleships in the Persian Gulf sounds like the action of a rogue captain rather than a national policy? Or is that just wishful thinking?

Can we all agree that court decisions on bathroom choices leave us feeling that justice is not blind to politics and public opinion?

Can we all agree President Obama’s expansion of the marine national reserve will just add to his environmental legacy?

Can we all agree, speaking of the environment, California Governor Gerry Brown made sure his state maintained their place as the nation’s environmental capital?

Can we all agree, we are cheered by the victory of a homeless woman who successfully argued that the Social Security Administration owed her $100,000?

Can we all agree that it apparently takes a court to make some sense out of the French burkini ban?

Can we all agree, it won’t be too long before interest rates rise, marking the official end of The Great Recession?

Can we all agree this week’s gun protest at the University of Texas was  inspiring?

Can we all agree Herb Alpert’s Foundation deserves a round of applause for donating $10.1 million to Los Angeles City College to provide scholarships for every music major?

Can we all agree that putting a treaty, ending a 50-year war, to a nationwide vote seems a bit crazy?

Can we all agree, the Trump campaign’s efforts to undermine Mrs. Clinton, by alleging she has health issues, is too funny for serious comment?

Can we all agree, it’s almost as funny as Mr. Trump’s plea for support from African-American voters: “What do you have to lose?”

Can we all agree that we all feel a bit safer knowing there might be a planet that can support life, just 4.25 light years away? That’s roughly 25 trillion miles.

Can we all agree the Turkish/US invasion and capture of a Syrian town was more about pushing back the Kurds, than it was about ISIS?

Can we all agree we are not surprised that the Berkeley soda tax reduced consumption of sugary beverages in the city? Of course, it could be folks just did their shopping next door in Oakland.

And finally:

Can we all agree it’s a bit sad to know that soon  there will only be one remaining Howard Johnson‘s left in the United States?

And, for all of my female readers who are having trouble finding new clothes at the mall, I thought you might enjoy this from the Sarah Halzack.

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CWAA: Can We All Agree – 8/13/16 edition

August 13, 2016

Can we all agree, that with Ledecky, Phelps and Biles leading the way, the US team’s performance has been nothing short of unbelievable?

Can we all agree, every Baby Boomer has noticed that the average age of Olympic athletes has been creeping up for the last few years, but now the athletic senior citizens are actually winning medals?

Can we all agree that the Simone Manuel story could be the best of the first week?

Can we all agree that Hope Solo, losing goalie for the ousted US women’s soccer team, would be better off keeping her mouth shut?

Can we all agree the nationalistic back-and-forth over drug use by Olympic athletes really masks the fact that the IOC has bungled the issue for years?

Simone Manuel looks at her time in the 100 meter freestyle event in Rio. (NY Times photo)

Simone Manuel looks at her time in the 100 meter freestyle event in Rio. (NY Times photo)

Can we all agree that NBC has sabotaged their own ratings, particularly on the West coast, by forcing viewers to watch taped events when we all know the results?

Can we all agree the more interesting stories, may have been the real-life look at what goes on that TV cameras don’t show, and some that come across in living green?

Can we all agree, if Donald Trump had not refused to release his tax returns, the details of Hillary Clinton’s return would have been much bigger news?

Can we all agree the top news story of the week should have been the Federal report on the inner workings of the Baltimore Police Department?

Can we all agree that if the new leadership at Fox News was supposed to mark a new beginning, the Murdochs have come up empty?

Can we all agree that, in case there was ever any doubt, Facebook’s decision to force ads on to user’s pages, removes all doubt about who their real customers are? (Hint, it’s not the 1.71 billion active monthly users.)

Can we all agree that if reincarnation is real it might be nice to come back as the Greenland Shark which can apparently live for over 500 years?

Can we all agree that Mr. Trump’s  explanation that he was being sarcastic when he called Mrs. Clinton and President Obama founders of ISIS, rings pretty hollow, especially to his supporters who tried to defend him for two days before he changed his tune?

Can we all agree his ISIS accusation may be a calculated attempt to take attention away from his horrifying statements on what ‘second amendment people’ should do about Hillary Clinton – even before she is elected?

Can we all agree, no one is surprised that the NRA continues to back Mr. Trump?

Can we all agree that Mr. Trump has totally lost any chance to criticize the latest batch of emails from Mrs. Clinton?

Can we all agree it’s distressing to know that gun control supporters in the US seem to have the same opinion of our gun laws as ISIS?

Can we all agree it’s pretty frustrating to debate Mr. Trump on policy, since most voters don’t understand the subtleties of statements on topics like economic theory?

Can we all agree that even Mr. Trump seems to believe he’s going to lose the election? Of course he thinks it’s rigged although polls show him losing swing states by double digits.

Can we all agree the GOP move away from Mr. Trump has turned into a stampede?

Can we all agree that every Democrat in the country is worried about the hacked DNC emails that will probably be released between now and the November election?

Can we all agree that the debate about who was sitting behind which candidate shows just how far the  presidential campaign has sunk?

Can we all agree we really didn’t need any more examples of how reckless our police departments are with their firearms, but we got two more this week?

Can we all agree, it’s tough to know what the DEA was trying to do in their announcement this week, declining to reclassify marijuana?

Can we all agree that when a simple power outage can cause the cancellation of over 3,000 flights, you really don’t understand the meaning of ‘backup’?

Can we all agree it’s hard to believe that the Japanese emperor needs permission to retire?

and finally:

Can we all agree, if this story doesn’t make you emotional, you can officially consider yourself jaded?

And, for all my journalism fans, two stories that might restore your faith in newspapers?

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CWAA: Can We All Agree – 7/23/16 edition

July 23, 2016

Can we all agree Hillary Clinton’s decision to pick Senator Timothy Kaine as her running mate was probably the safe choice, but he could make a difference with more moderate republicans?

Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine (Getty Images)

Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine (Getty Images)

Can we all agree, that if the GOP was trying to expand their base, their convention this week was a disaster?

Can we all agree that if most Americans bought into Mr. Trump’s doom and gloom picture of the United States we would all have moved to New Zealand?

Can we all agree the major connection between Mr. Trump’s theme of “I alone can...” and “I am your voice,” is the letter “I?”

Can we all agree the convention did little to convince anyone that the Republicans are just one big happy family?

Can we all agree that if your main themes are to either kill or jail your opponent you don’t really have a platform? Especially if the FBI rightfully starts an investigation – of you.

Can we all agree that Ted Cruz might have thought he was starting his 2020 campaign, but he was really ending it?

Can we all agree that as long as Mr. Trump maintains a thin skin and an outsized ego, Democrats will have no problem embarrassing him for the next three months?

Can we all agree that when one major speaker is booed off the stage and another is shown to have plagiarized parts of her speech, it’s tough to call the week a success?

Can we all agree we are not surprised at the GOP convention  TV ratings – it was quite the show?

Can we all agree that without the GOP convention and it’s jaw dropping moments, there was still plenty of unsettling news?

Can we all agree we’ve run out of words to describe the senseless violence striking Western Countries but we know Donald Trump will not make us feel safer?

Can we all agree that two years of searching for the missing Malaysian airliner is  more than enough?

Can we all agree that regardless of what you think of Roger Ailes, he had a major impact on TV news and US politics?

Can we all agree that we would not have Donald Trump as a candidate, were it not for Ailes and Fox TV?

Radio host Laura Ingraham salutes the GOP nominee.

Radio host Laura Ingraham salutes the GOP nominee.

Can we all agree the NBA’s decision to move their all-star game from Charlotte, is an important chapter in sport’s history? If no changes are made will Michael Jordan move his team?

Can we all agree the real losers on the decision to ban the Russian track and field team from the Rio Olympics, are the few athletes who did not take drugs because it would not have helped their performance?

Can we all agree, news that the Nice truck driver had apparently been planning his attack for a year, and may have had accomplices puts a new spin on his horrible act?

Can we all agree that when Turkish Prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, declared a three-month state of emergency after purging 40,000 people from their positions, he was simply solidifying his hold on power and making good on his claim that the attempted coup was a ‘gift from god.’

Can we all agree, the real victim will be his own country? Erdogan may have already sown the seeds of his own fate, and that of cleric Fethullah Gülen?

Can we all agree that soon, the only term that will describe Erdogan is, dictator?

Can we all agree that GOP attempts to limit voting are having a tough time standing up to the constitution?

Can we all agree that advocates of gun control may not need many more stories like this, out of Massachusetts, to make their point?

Can we all agree that Rep.Loretta Sanchez is showing some signs of desperation now that President Obama and others have endorsed Kamala Harris in the race for the California senate seat?

and finally:

Can we all agree if you’re a baseball fan and want to know why The Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy is headed to the Hall of Fame this weekend, you should read this?

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CWAA: Can We All Agree – Gun Violence Edition

July 9, 2016

Filed under: Can we all agree — Tags: , , , , , , , , — admin @ 8:39 am

Can we all agree these are not the kinds of fireworks Americans wanted to celebrate the Fourth?

Can we all agree, this must stop?

Dallas Police Chief David Brown (NYT photo)

Dallas Police Chief David Brown (NYT photo)

Can we all agree that, as Newt Gingrich noted this week, it’s impossible for white Americans to understand why black Americans have grown to fear the police?

Can we all agree that no-one should wind up dead for having a broken tail light on their car?

Can we all agree no-one should wind up dead after they are pinned to the ground by police?

Can we all agree that no police officer should wind up dead while protecting a peaceful protest on their city’s streets?

Can we all agree it’s too bad that Dallas police, apparently a city known for it’s community policing, will now be known for the deaths of five officers?

Can we all agree that someone needs to step up and lead us in healing?

Can we all agree the NRA is speaking volumes by their silence?

Can we all agree this has gone way beyond politics?

Can we all agree it will be a real tragedy if nothing changes?

Can we all agree we are a bit unnerved by the use of a robot to kill the cornered suspect in  Dallas?

Can we all agree we are amazed at the calm, un-emotional actions of Diamond Reynolds as she live-streamed the aftermath of Philando Castile’s murder?

Can we all agree the Texas Lieutenant Governor has too be the dumbest politician in the state, for criticizing protestors who ran from the gun fire in Dallas?.

Can we all agree, just when you think it cannot get any nuttier, a former politician has to chime in and threaten the President?

For more on this week’s news, see my regular CWAA –  7/9/16 edition below.

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CWAA: Can We All Agree – 6/25/16 edition

June 25, 2016

Can we all agree, the long term impact of the Brexit vote is probably somewhere between the doom and gloom of the economists and the euphoric reaction of Donald Trump?

Can we all agree that only Mr. Trump could put it in context by telling us how good it will be for his Scottish golf course?

Can we all agree with the members of the major EU members: If the separation must happen it should be done quickly?

Can we all agree that it probably won’t have much impact on the election in the United States? There’s a big difference between leaving a political union and electing a racist egomaniac – more likely it will serve as a warning to Americans.

Bedlam in the US House. (AP photo)

Bedlam in the US House. (AP photo)

Can we all agree House Speaker Paul Ryan is probably wondering what he has to do toy get some headlines for any of his GOP platform plans?

Can we all agree the Democrat’s sit-in was the best social media  event of the political season?

Can we all agree the Democrats may not have won any votes on gun control measures but they have succeeded in framing the conversation and putting pressure on the GOP?

Can we all agree that Connecticut’s law limiting gun possession may become the template for other states now that the Supreme Court has upheld it?

Can we all agree the battle over California’s gun-control ballot measure will add some interest to the fall election?

Can we all agree this week’s New Yorker article may be the definitive look at guns in America? And if you don’t have time to read it catch Terry Gross’s interview with the author.

Can we all agree that George Lucas will have to make some changes in his approach if he wants to build a museum for his Star Wars art? Two cities have now rejected his initial plans.

Can we all agree the last thing the Brazil Olympics needed was a suspension of their drug testing laboratory?

Can we all agree it seems the list of athletes who will not be going to the Rio Olympics may be longer the list of who will be attending?

Can we all agree The GOP glee over the Supreme Court’s non-decision on the President’s immigration plan will be short lived if it costs them the Senate and the Presidency this fall?

Can we all agree that Bernie Sanders has pretty much lost all the leverage he thought he had over Hillary Clinton and the platform committee?

Can we all agree VW’s rumored $10b settlement with owners of diesel cars may be a bargain if it at least puts the issue to bed?

Can we all agree the wildfire burning east of Los Angeles could be the most serious fire no-one is paying attention to?

Can we all agree the owners of Justin Wines may have done everything growers should not do when they want to expand their vineyards?

Can we all agree it’s good to know the Marines finally got it right when they tracked down the real participants in the famous flag raising photo of Iwo Jima?

Can we all agree that, as far as the  Baltimore police are concerned, a ‘not guilty’ verdict does not mean the officers did not bear some responsibility for what happened to Freddie Gray.

Can we all agree we’re not  sure what the Supreme Court’s ruling on affirmative action really means?

Can we all agree the pilots of the plane which rescued two ill workers from the South Pole are worthy heroes of the week?

Can we all agree it will take public pressure to regulate the fracking industry now that the Supreme Court has delayed the EPA plan to regulate the use of public lands?

Can we all agree that, while it’s hard to believe, Mr. Trump hit a new low this week  in his pandering speech to Evangelicals ?

Can we all agree that the closing of the investigation into the 1964 murder of three Civil Rights workers is a sad end to an embarrassing chapter of American History?

Lebron James: NBA finals MVP but he won't be going to Rio Olympics.

Lebron James: NBA finals MVP but he won’t be going to Rio Olympics.

Can we all agree most of us never dreamed we would hear that the energy produced by California’s sooner-to-be-closed Diablo Canyon Nuclear plant could be replaced by alternative energy sources?

Can we all agree LeBron James deserved the MVP trophy in this year’s NBA finals series?

Can we all agree the USGA deserves all the scorn they have received for their mind-boggling decision in last weekend’s US Open Championship?

Can we all agree that Hillary Clinton is learning what GOP rivals learned the hard way: No matter what you say or do it’s difficult to keep Mr. Trump out of the headlines even if it’s because of  lies, bizarre interviews or  incompetence?

Can we all agree that Venezuela should now be considered a failed state?

and finally:

Can we all agree the courage of the rape victim in this story is remarkable?

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CWAA: Can We All Agree – 1/30/16 edition

January 30, 2016

Can we all agree that Angelique Kerber’s win over Serena Williams at the Australian open will give hope to underdogs everywhere?

Serena Williams (left) and Angelique Kerber, winner of the Australian Open -Getty Images photo

Serena Williams (left) and Angelique Kerber, winner of the Australian Open -Getty Images photo

Can we all agree that Hillary’s email issues will continue to hurt her campaign, but will probably not derail it? And, by the way, why doesn’t anyone remember the emails that disappeared from George W. Bush’s private email server?

Can we all agree that Donald Trump won his battle this week with Fox News? Ratings were down and all anyone talked about was the fact that he was not at the debate.

Can we all agree, speaking of the GOP debate, Ted Cruz seemed to be the biggest loser?

Can we all agree that Facebook should be applauded for finally taking a stand against gun sales on its websites?

Can we all agree that the overall economy’s anemic growth in the last quarter seems to fly in the face of what’s happening in some parts of the country?

Can we all agree that while the death of one protestor in Oregon is tragic, the government seems to have defused the situation successfully?

Can we all agree the zika virus outbreaks are terrifying for pregnant women or anyone thinking of having a baby? This probably adds to their anxiety and depression.

Can we all agree that the indictment of the anti-abortion filmmakers, especially by a Texas grand jury, is unbelievably great news? Too bad the GOP and other so called ‘pro-lifers’ will not let the facts get in the way of continued use of the discredited videos.

Can we all agree that while it might be the politically correct thing to do, Barbie is no longer ‘Barbie’ is there are 8 different versions?

Can we all agree that, given the controversies during Michael Jackson’s life, it seems only natural that his racial ambiguity would continue to cause issues after his death?

Can we all agree that if it takes you 16 hours to figure out that 3 men in your custody have escaped, you have a problem?

Can we all agree that while the NFL has been slow to wake up to the long term impact of concussions, the NCAA remains tragically far behind?

Can we all agree that Florida State University is continuing to put its football program ahead of the rights of women?imrs.php

Can we all agree, getting back to politics, that when Republican voters see Trump as the most electable candidate but world leaders see him (and Ted Cruz) as impossible to work with, we have a serious problem?

Can we all agree that the President’s step to normalize relations with Cuba have reached the point that they cannot be undone by the next president?

Can we all agree, that while it may seem unfair that no actors of color were nominated for Academy Awards this year, asking the voters to choose performances based on racial equality would be just as bad?

Can we all agree that completing 7 marathons, on 7 continents in 7 days is simply unbelievable? How do you train for that?

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CWAA: Malheur and the Anti-Federal Insurrection

January 6, 2016

Filed under: observations,Politics,Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — admin @ 9:03 am
Harry Fuller, a friend of a friend,  who lives near the occupied Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Oregon sent the following note yesterday.  I thought it was unique view of the whole mess. He’s an avid birder and very familiar with the site.
I can’t say I agree with all his comments, but we can all agree that the men occupying the Preserve do not represent the interests of most Americans.
Here’s Harry’s essay:

No change in the occupation of Malheur by self-styled militia, anti-federal activists.  So far no violence and apparently no property damage.  For birders this is a serious issue as it continues.  The watch tower where the armed men are on guard is a tower long used by nesting Great Horned Owls.  The owls should be nesting in the next few weeks.

Wildlife in the Malheur Wildlife Refuge

Wildlife in the Malheur Wildlife Refuge

The occupiers have vowed to begin working the land, whatever that means.  It certainly does not mean letting White Pelicans, Harrier, Black Tern, Short-eared Owls, White-faced Ibis and other locally nesting birds use the land without being disturbed…or even shot.

The long-term goal for this anti-federal movement is to take land away from the U.S. government and give it back to the states with the intention of eventually giving it to private individuals for profit.  Some private land owners do care and take care of wildlife.  Many do not.  Cattle ranchers, alfalfa and mint growers and energy companies are notorious for environmental carnage. Mint, cows and hay crops are major sources of ranch revenue in Harney County where this farce is playing out.  Great Gray Owls, of which I know something, cannot find enough mammals to eat in meadows trampled by sheep or cattle.  Many other species are also threatened by modern farm and ranch practices.   Monocultures of alfalfa, Douglas-fir or any other harvestable crop rarely provide rich habitat for birds and other animals.

President Theodore Roosevelt created the wildlife refuge system over a century ago because he wanted to be sure there would be animals to hunt.  There is no constitutional provision for refuges so Congress and a right-wing President could decide to give away or sell all the federal land holdings.  Or, more simply, they could simply cut the budgets of federal enforcement agencies so the U.S. becomes like so many African and Asian nations: big parks showing up on maps but with with inadequate patrols and lots of poaching of species doomed to extinction.  Not to mention to theft of trees, etc.

If the feds were to sell off their lands or cede them to the states, in some blue states there might be some effort to maintain open space and protect wildlife but in states like Nevada, Utah, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and Texas the federal lands would almost immediately be turned into private preserves for making money any way possible.  To hell with the wolves, pronghorn and Sage Grouse.

Quickest way to destroy the refuge system: money.  Malheur NWR is over 170-thousand acres.  It cannot be maintained and patrolled by a couple men or a few volunteers.  It requires a real financial commitment.  At least equal to the cost of a couple of drones per year.  There are many in the Republican Party who would far rather have the drones than any wildlife refuge and all those pesky regulations that reduce somebody’s theoretical income from unrestricted exploitation of the land.

What began as the Sagebrush Rebellion has now become a centerpiece of rural western Republican dogma: get the feds out of our lives so we can ride ATVs, shoot deer and cut trees wherever we want.  Liberty uber alles.  A party that sees climate change as a myth and wolves as targets is not going to preserve refuges or even national park except as photos ops.  Now they would like to own one of the first condos on the edge of Grand Canyon?  Cheap at $2 million, free parking included.  Membership in golf club extra.Map-HLP-BAR

Most historians who pay attention to resource use consider the American national park system to be one of the great innovations of the 19th Century.  This anti-fed movement could theoretically make that all go away by ceding Yosemite and Grand Canyon back to local control.

One legal analyst today finally, directly drew the  link between this action at Malheur and the constant rhetoric from the NRA and pro-gun folks about the need to have armed militia to thwart supposed government tyranny. Well, these folks in this militia who hear from God what they are to do are there thwarting federal tyranny at Malheur in the name of all that is right and holy.  Give a gun to a nut and you have an armed nut.  This is libertarianism run amuck.  There is no sense from these people that there is a common interest in preserving the planet, the environment or other creatures.  They seem to worship private property as godliness.

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