What’s at stake…

Posted February 2, 2016 by Betsy Marks Delaney
Categories: Constitution, Democrats, Election, GOP, Oligarchy, Politics, Racism, Tea Party, War

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Presidential elections are different from all the other elections we have in this country. If you aren’t familiar with the process, you’d better get familiar, and fast.

After Monday’s Iowa caucus, we have nothing but caucuses and primaries between now and summer, when the political parties get together for a week and then settle the question of which candidate(s) will represent their interests best. We’re done with pure speculation, though the media in general might think otherwise. Folks are finally exercising their right to vote. That is, as long as those rights haven’t been infringed.

While I could trot out all the ways in which campaigns smear candidates in service to proving their worth, I am only going to post two links and then I’m going to ask a lot of the questions I’m getting from Millennials on one hand and conservatives on the other.

With the demonizing of Muslims, backlash against African Americans and Central American refugees recast as “migrants,” Afghanistan, Iraq and (if the GOP get their way) Iran and Syria, we are in our own Wiemar Republic-style Liberal/Conservative war, bringing us to the Election of Exhaustion.

First, from Mother Jones: Here Come the Crazy Clinton Conspiracies of the 1990s

Second, from Amazon.com: The Hunting of the President: The Ten-Year Campaign to Destroy Bill and Hillary Clinton

Now that I have those things out of the way, let me make my own position clear: I support Bernie Sanders in the Primaries, including my own in Maryland, where I am a registered Democrat. And I support the winner of the nomination when the Democrats select their candidate in late July this summer. It will be hot as hell in Philadelphia, and oh, so appropriate for the election this time.

So, before New Hampshire’s primary next week, let’s have that conversation.

How does the President win an election?

Every state does it differently when it comes to primaries. Some states, like Iowa, hold caucuses, others have elections. Some of these are open–meaning a voter can cross party lines–but most are closed. No matter how the candidate is selected, at the party convention, where the candidate gets the official nod, we discover the running mates (Vice Presidential candidates) and from then on, the campaigns are all about which candidates will win. But here’s the thing. If you think you’re voting for your candidate, you’re not. You’re voting to select the members of the Electoral College, who will THEN vote for your candidate, assuming they do the job they were sworn to do.

This artifact of the original founding fathers and the first Constitutional Convention in 1787 is destined for retirement eventually. Until that happens, you’d better understand what your vote actually does, or you’re likely to regret your choice, come November.

If I don’t like a candidate I can just write in my own choice, can’t I?

Well, no. It’s not that simple. Sorry. If your write-in candidate isn’t registered in the state that way, your vote goes into the trash. Nice try, but that’s not how it works.

What else am I voting for in November?

Members of the US Senate serve six-year terms and are elected in thirds. One third of the Senate is up for election each two year cycle. In 2016, from (http://www.periodicalpress.senate.gov/reelection-2016/) these senate seats are up for grabs:

DEMOCRATS   

Michael Bennet (Colorado)
Richard Blumenthal (Connecticut)
Barbara Boxer (California) retiring in 2016
Patrick Leahy (Vermont)
Barbara Mikulski (Maryland) retiring in 2016
Patty Murray (Washington)
Harry Reid (Nevada) retiring in 2016
Brian Schatz (Hawaii)
Charles Schumer (New York)
Ron Wyden (Oregon)

REPUBLICANS

Kelly Ayotte (New Hampshire)
Roy Blunt (Missouri)
John Boozman (Arkansas)
Richard Burr (North Carolina)
Dan Coats (Indiana) retiring in 2016
Mike Crapo (Idaho)
Chuck Grassley (Iowa)
John Hoeven (North Dakota)
Johnny Isakson (Georgia)
Ron Johnson (Wisconsin)
Mark Kirk (Illinois)
James Lankford (Oklahoma)
Mike Lee (Utah)
John McCain (Arizona)
Jerry Moran (Kansas)
Lisa Murkowski (Alaska)
Rand Paul (Kentucky)
Rob Portman (Ohio)
Marco Rubio (Florida) retiring in 2016
Tim Scott (South Carolina)
Richard Shelby (Alabama)
John Thune (South Dakota)
Pat Toomey (Pennsylvania)
David Vitter (Louisiana)

The House of Representatives is selected during every even year election. If you wanted to, you could replace every one of your House representatives every two years. Democrats only need 30 additional seats to take control back from the GOP.

Why should I care?

The Presidency is only one branch of government and the President doesn’t write law. He can ask for law to be enacted or, with strict limits, make executive decisions regarding legal interpretation, but it’s the House that writes the budget and only in cooperation with the Senate. If the House and Senate agree with the President and he sides with corporate interests (Oligarchy, Plutocracy), the people lose their rights to Democracy.

Theoretically, both the House and Senate should be providing laws that enhance or clarify the Constitution. In reality, there’s a wide margin of interpretation regarding what is and isn’t Constitutional, and a majority of law is now written to protect the wealthy and screw the poor and lower middle classes. And there is presently nothing to stop them from adding whatever riders (commonly known as “pork”) they want to bills that must pass, like the NDAA, which also pays our service members’ salaries.

So what? What does that mean to our current government?

Well, if the House and Senate disagree about what the President thinks will help the people of our country, they can stop legislation from reaching the President or, through a series of tacked on amendments, push through their own agenda by adding riders to bills that force the President to do things that aren’t in the best interests of the people. Without a majority on the side of the President, nothing gets done.

Some people are fine with that, but they’re generally not the ones who need help the most.

Well, if it’s not Constitutional, who fixes the problem?

Theoretically that’s where the third branch comes in. That’s the court system, led by the Supreme Court. And here’s the biggest problem we face today, in February, just as the 2016 election year gets underway.

Why is that a big deal?

The Supreme Court consists of nine lifetime appointments. It’s the Justice’s decision to retire if he or she doesn’t die in office first. While there is an impeachment process outlined, no Supreme Court justice has ever been impeached.

At present, the following justices are over the age of 67 (legal retirement age):

  • Clarence Thomas (age 67)
  • Stephen Breyer (age 77)
  • Anthony Kennedy (age 79)
  • Antonin Scalia (age 79)
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg (age 82)

Five of the nine are old enough to retire from ordinary service. Three of these are on the liberal side of the courts. And there is virtually no chance whatsoever that the next President won’t be required to appoint at least one new member. The general age range of new court justices appointed is 50-55. They tend to serve at least 20 years on the bench, but Scalia is just 8 months shy of his 30th anniversary.

While the President can appoint a justice, the Senate and House have to agree on the appointment. So chew on this: If the House and Senate retain their GOP majorities, but the President is a Democrat, approval will be difficult at best. If the GOP wins the presidency, and the House and Senate retain their majorities, there is no chance whatsoever that the court will see another liberal appointment. Possibly ever.

What else is going on?

Well, now that you mention it, there’s that little matter of a Constitutional Convention. Remember when I mentioned it a few paragraphs ago? Did you know we are somewhere between two and five states away from having enough states to call one? True. It only takes 34, and Texas’ declaration is the most recent. Imagine the Constitution without any of the amendments beyond the Bill of Rights. That’s 17 additional amendments some conservatives would dearly love to see abolished.

So what does all this mean?

It means that if you choose to throw your vote behind any candidate except the one that wins the Democratic nomination, you are voting for the GOP. And if that happens, and they get control of all three branches of government, this could be the last time you get to vote on anything. Imagine what this country would be like under President McCain or President Romney. Now imagine President Cruz. It’s not terribly far-fetched.

Considering what the court system has done to eliminate voting rights protection, women’s rights to health and work, fair wages and so much more, what are you prepared to risk, to support your passion?

The Big Social Security Lie…

Posted January 16, 2016 by Betsy Marks Delaney
Categories: Economics, Election, Ethics, GOP, Oligarchy, Politics

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Social Security isn’t entitlement and it isn’t an open gift to the government. It’s my money, taken by force out of my paycheck starting with my very first job in 1983. The government thugs who raided the fund in the first place should repay what they stole or go to jail, just like any other thieves.

Yes, all of them.

But who are they? Are they even still here? Well, that’s an interesting question. It requires some major fishing into the dark depths of history. Head all the way back to 1983 with me. That’s where it started.

Maybe you weren’t paying attention. I was, because I was receiving Social Security benefits as a teenager, thanks to the disability and early death of my mother. And here’s where it all began. With Ronald Reagan.

But not really. Actually, it’s Alan Greenspan who did the dirty work here. Reagan just signed off on the bill. Like the boulder in Raiders of the Lost Ark, it’s going to crush all of us unless we figure out a way to get out of the way.

What follows is a bunch of link sausage. A lot of these links are thick with details that may seem unnecessary, but trust me, they build my case that this is, and has been, the whole goal of the GOP, ever since Reagan’s election. And with all that hindsight, it’s clear we’re getting screwed. And we’re not even getting the courtesy of a thank you or a payment for services rendered.

FedSmith.com: Ronald Reagan and The Great Social Security Heist

See, from my perspective, it started when Reagan decided that survivor benefits could be cut. First direct cut into my direct benefits as a college student. Forced me to get a student loan for my first year in college. Lucky for me, my grandfather was in a position to help with tuition, after he buried my mother.

From the first article, some choice selections for the TL;DR crowd:

Instead of being a proud day for America, April 20, 1983, has become a day of shame. The Social Security Amendments of 1983 laid the foundation for 30-years of federal embezzlement of Social Security money in order to use the money to pay for wars, tax cuts and other government programs. The payroll tax hike of 1983 generated a total of $2.7 trillion in surplus Social Security revenue. This surplus revenue was supposed to be saved and invested in marketable U.S. Treasury bonds that would be held in the trust fund until the baby boomers began to retire in about 2010. But not one dime of that money went to Social Security.

The $2.7 trillion, which is alleged to be in the trust fund, was all spent for wars, tax cuts for the rich, and other government programs. If the money is repaid at some point in the future, we could say is was just “borrowed.” But no arrangements have been made to repay the money, and nobody in government is suggesting that the money should be repaid. So, if it is never repaid, the money will definitely have been stolen.

– See more at: http://www.fedsmith.com/2013/10/11/ronald-reagan-and-the-great-social-security-heist/#sthash.zMLDapYR.dpuf

And that brings us to Iran-Contra, G.H.W. Bush, and Black Monday.

Black Monday? Yeah. Stock market crash. Under Reagan’s watch. Tied to a small oil problem with OPEC. Funny thing, the Bush family is deep into oil. So, we put an oil man in the White House.

And what happens then?

Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm.

Fortunately for us, Bush fails to gain a second term. We have eight years of Bill Clinton’s administration, where we try to gain back some of the momentum, but we overbalance, and suddenly the GOP take the House. Hello, Contract With America. Goodbye cooperation in the House and Senate. For good and all, it seems in hindsight. And hello to the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.

Another bubble, and then Enron, and suddenly the SEC is all over accountability. Finger pointing…goes nowhere. To be sure, it’s a problem, but soon forgotten in the post-election sorting out, 9/11 and infighting that comes out of the election, which put G.W. Bush in office. And like magic, the solvency of the Social Security Fund was an issue.

Again.

NPR: Bush Questions Solvency of Social Security Trust

Now to be sure, I’ve skipped hundreds of small details to get to this point, but I wanted you to have some background. What follows is essentially link sausage, but it all points to one thing: The GOP want you to pull your money out of what ought to be a stable financial environment and trust THEM to keep your money for you while you age.

So if you want some stomach-churning reading material, click away.

The Huffington Post: 7 Ways The Bush Tax Cuts Wrecked The Economy

The Hill: Scrapping the Social Security payroll tax cap

This. This is what we are fighting in the government. Were you born before 1965?

You’re going to see the hit, unless you die of cancer or heart disease first. Which is entirely possible if the GOP get their way and make the death…I mean health industry private for everyone.

With an entire subsequent generation in jail or jobless, and wages that are virtually unchanged in 30 years, we are indeed in a pickle, but it’s one we could have avoided if we’d managed to keep the greedy bastards from getting their hands on that money. MY money. YOUR money.

This is a disaster that could have been avoided.

How? By stopping these people from bankrolling the deception and the lies.

The Atlantic: A Guide to the Billionaires Bankrolling the GOP Candidates

Chew on this: How much have you heard the big buzz that privatization of social security is the only way to save it?

What does that mean? Pushing everyone to purchase stock, either outright or in funds.

Have you been paying attention to Wall Street this week? In just two days, my teeny tiny IRA has lost a third of its value, on three stocks. I’m not sharing which because that info’s irrelevant. Suffice to say, if I’d tossed the money into an index fund, there’d be even less. I might as well have invested the entire amount in PowerBall lottery tickets.

Welcome to the latest bubble. Tied to the sudden drop of oil.

And thank your stars the GOP hasn’t yet gotten its way, because if they had, many of you who might depend on Social Security for at least some of your income could be SOL right now.

Buy low, huh? Yeah.

Daily Finance: With Oil Prices So Low, Are Oil Stocks a Good Investment?

So, how long do you think it will take for oil prices to rocket skyward if the GOP takes the White House? Four months? Two?

And in the meantime, I hope your retirement fund, that IRA or 401(K) of yours survives. Because without that and your precious Social Security and Medicaid, you, my friend, are screwed.

This is what’s at stake with the coming election. Bernie Sanders knows it. So does Elizabeth Warren.

Do you?

If this is the primary focus for the coming year, we’re doomed…

Posted December 19, 2015 by Betsy Marks Delaney
Categories: Democrats, Economics, Education, Election, Gun Control, Patriot Act, Politics, Privacy, Racism

Tags: , , ,

I’m watching the Democratic Debate tonight on ABC. It’s not just me, I hope. Who’s wondering why the focus is so sharp on Daesh. No matter what the candidates have to say, they’re dragged back to talking about Assad and war.

Does this sound familiar to you? No??

Really.

I wonder why that is.

Isn’t it interesting that as much as Bernie Sanders wants to talk about income inequality, about endemic racism, about gun control, about infrastructure, about the things we MUST concentrate on to survive, we have to spend HALF of the debate on foreign policy, most notably endless war in the middle east. They’re FINALLY addressing the domestic issues in the second hour.

Maybe it’s just me, but I find this format immensely frustrating.

I see too many parallels in the extreme focus on threats that we created by our own actions, without accepting any sort of responsibility or admitting our role, that’s just crazy.

I want to know what we’re going to do here. I want to know why we haven’t been talking about these things that matter to us every day, like the cost of groceries.

Domestic policy should have been the first thing out of the gate. We need to focus our attention here, balancing education, infrastructure, making things better for everyone, not just the rich. And we need to ditch endemic racism, enforce equality, make sure that freedom isn’t compromised out of a misguided sense of fear and paranoia.

I want to hear that they’re going to ditch the Patriot Act and Citizens United, and close the tax loopholes and pipeline that ships our money out of the country.

As long as we keep the spotlight on war, as long as we continue to fight the war without dealing with the home issues, as long as we keep producing wounded warriors instead of jobs, this isn’t going to change.

No matter how loudly the media focuses on the issues off-continent, we need to look within. We can’t break the cycle if we don’t stop these wolves from forcing the focus elsewhere.

If we can’t fix our own home, the terrorists win.

Ignoring the man behind the curtain…

Posted December 16, 2015 by Betsy Marks Delaney
Categories: Economics, GOP, Oligarchy, Politics, Tea Party

Tags: , , ,

Three years ago I wrote this post about Trickle Down theory. Since then, we’ve seen more of what I view as the most disastrous public policy in my lifetime.

That saying about reaping what we sow only applies when we have a direct hand in causing the problem. Did you vote for Reagan? Then much of what’s wrong with this country today is your fault. I hope you’ve repented.

I got into an argument recently with a millennial who was perfectly happy to pin our disastrous economic situation on all the Boomers who made our economy what it is today. Sadly, there were a bunch of us, right at the tail end of the generation, who weren’t old enough to vote. As I’ve said before, I’d happily have voted for anyone but Reagan, given half a chance, but I wasn’t old enough to do that when he was elected to his first term.

But there was a valid point: We should have known better. The rich don’t stay that way if they give their money away in taxes. The assumption that the “Job Creators” would actually operate in the interests of anyone other than themselves is, in large part, fallacious. If you still think you live in a democracy, you’re sadly mistaken. This is a plutocracy. An oligarchy. We are living in the new Gilded Age. And we got there because people actually believed the lies, thought that if we made it easier for the rich to amass fortunes, we would see any benefits from their greed.

What on earth were they thinking?

Three articles will tell you just how wrong those theories were back then.

TheGuardian.com: Trickle-down economics is the greatest broken promise of our lifetime

CNN.com: The ‘trickle down theory’ is dead wrong

NewYorkTimes.com: In the Real World of Work and Wages, Trickle-Down Theories Don’t Hold Up

Meanwhile, the GOP candidates are talking about war in Syria as if that will fix anything. The only thing that matters to them is protection of their own stash, and to hell with the rest of the country.

If you vote for any of these thieves, you get what you deserve, but don’t take the rest of the country with you. They don’t give a rat’s fuzzy behind about you, and they will happily drive the rest of us to the poorhouse given half the chance. Unless you’re a millionaire, you’ve got no business supporting them.

Just say no.

If you can’t say it to my face…

Posted December 5, 2015 by Betsy Marks Delaney
Categories: 2nd Amendment, Choice, Civil Liberties, GOP, Gun Control, Politics, Racism, Religion, Violence

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I woke up this morning at 2:30am after a fitful night’s sleep. I was trying to concentrate on homework before I crashed, but there was an incident last night in my favorite restaurant/hang out that bothered me on a level I failed to interpret properly, and I woke up and realized I needed to unload before I could go back to sleep, so I turned on my computer.

That led to a variety of things, including more work on the homework and, more importantly, some solidifying of my thoughts on what happened.

A few days ago, I posted a link to a quote on FB that appears to have grown legs. The quote appears to be a paraphrase of this article on Examiner.com, written by William Hamby: What if gun laws were like abortion laws?

My post, with a paraphrased version of the comparison Hamby made, continues to generate likes and has also attracted a couple of trolls who would rather point their flamethrowers at anyone who thinks pregnancy choice is a problem (read: Pro-Birth) than discuss the actual issue: Gun control.

I could address an anti-choice rant and get involved in a days-long fight with someone who’s only interested in posting on FB to generate arguments and feed the hate, who’s largely impervious to reason, employing logical fallacies rather than discussing the actual problem and identifying solutions, or I could eliminate the source.

I’ve been told that one of the individuals in question is a “professional troll” and I’ve got a clearly stated policy against such behavior on my FB page. Posting inflammatory rants borne of logical fallacy for the sake of pissing off the liberals is reason enough to eject someone from my space. I don’t tolerate trolling behavior and I try not to derail the conversation with straw man arguments or false equivalency, but the simple summary that generated the latest response struck me as a concrete analogy and that’s why it was important to share. 

Too often, 2nd Amendment supports see their right to guns as trumping any other rights to life, liberty or the pursuit of happiness. The trouble is, with today’s all-too-often climate of “shoot first, ask later” and doxing as a means to settle arguments, you actually can’t be too cautious about who you invite to the conversation.

Maybe that’s wrong, but I called the police tonight on a guy in my local favorite restaurant (which, by the way, is run by a Muslim family) because the ass wipe was behaving in a manner that threatened him and his family. So when I say I won’t tolerate behavior and I’ll say it to someone’s face, I back that 100%.

Why did I call the cops? He was harassing the chef’s daughter, who does not speak English and was wearing her hijab. She was sitting quietly at the end of a long day, and he wandered through, heaping verbal abuse on a guy he called a “f**king queer (who packed up and left in a justifiable huff) and attempting to start a conversation with the daughter. I was unable to keep working on the homework. I felt threatened, and he wasn’t addressing me at all.

Two days ago, an American shot up his workplace after leaving angrily. This guy was wearing a cammo coat and was clearly drunk. What was going to stop him from going to his car, hauling out a pistol and exercising his 2A rights, as he saw them through a haze of alcohol? So, I called the cops, because it was necessary. It’s sad that I had to go there at all, but it was clear from where I was sitting that he was unloading all that hate just because she was wearing something he could identify as a target for abuse.

It’s the same hate I’ve seen filling the arenas where Trump and Carson and the rest of the bigots in the GOP try to pander to their racist, homophobic, xenophobic base, out of fear they will become irrelevant if they can’t control all the branches of government.

It’s the same hate that made the GOP vote to repeal the ACA (Obamacare), and defund Planned Parenthood (even though the federal government is banned from financing abortions).

And now that we’ve finally seen Daesh on our own shores, maybe we’ll finally see some action regarding control of weapons, even though the vast majority of mass shootings occurred with a Christian or Atheist at the trigger. The irony hasn’t escaped me, but the question is: Why now? Why not back when Lanza shot all those children in Sandy Hook? Or when the kids shot up their classmates and teachers in Columbine?

You are entitled to your opinion, but you are not entitled to force me to risk my health for your firmly held belief. That includes your opinion of Planned Parenthood facilities, semi-automatic weapons, medical Mary Jane or anything else. And you sure as hell aren’t entitled to say whatever you want on my FB wall or here, with no consequences to your actions.

I’m not going to waste my time arguing with you. Deleting the hate-filled spew on my wall and blocking the source is as much a self-defense mechanism as anything else. If people can’t be civil, they can leave. I’ve said as much on FB, right here. And if they won’t leave, I’ll eject them. It’s really, truly, that simple.

Connecting The Dots, Part Three

Posted November 21, 2015 by Betsy Marks Delaney
Categories: ALEC, GOP, Oligarchy, Politics, Racism, Religion, War, World News

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British Dictionary definitions for fascism

fascism

/ˈfæʃɪzəm/

 

noun (sometimes capital)

  1. any ideology or movement inspired by Italian Fascism, such as German National Socialism; any right-wing nationalist ideology or movement with an authoritarian and hierarchical structure that is fundamentally opposed to democracy and liberalism
  2. any ideology, movement, programme, tendency, etc, that may be characterized as right-wing, chauvinist, authoritarian, etc
  3. prejudice in relation to the subject specified: body fascism

When I wrote this post back in 2012, just before the 2012 election, I was doing everything in my power to get the word out that we couldn’t elect Mitt Romney because he was backed by American Fascists. A whole bunch of people either blew me off or unfriended me as a paranoid Liberal hippie with no proof.

I haven’t stopped writing, and I haven’t changed my opinions, but at least now I know I’m not the only one who’s seeing these things.

Taking Cassandra as a job description has its disadvantages, especially when people prefer to live in ignorance, or choose not to pay attention because they don’t do politics. I get that. I really do.

Except for one thing.

I wouldn’t be here now if my ancestors hadn’t chosen to flee oppressive religious persecution at the turn of the last century. My great grandparents were not born in the US. They were lucky. They all arrived at a time when massive migration of refugees meant cheap labor. They all came through Ellis Island, settled in and around Brooklyn, and eventually added my grandparents to their families.

Americans couldn’t see the conditions that sent the Jews to the US from Germany, Poland, Russia and England. They had to take it on faith that conditions were terrible. Immigrants from Europe felt they had to find a better life in America. They couldn’t say “Look at the TV. Look at the Internet. My life is at risk if I stay here where I am.”

That, right there, is the single most horrendous thing about today’s rhetoric coming from Trump, Rubio, Carson and the rest of the GOP.

You just have to tune in to the news, if you can find it, and see for yourself how bad things truly are where today’s immigrants live. But people will believe what they’re told. They don’t want to admit for even a second that things are as bad now as they were back then. Worse, even, because we could do something about it if we weren’t so busy supporting the American Military Industrial Complex and believing everything our corporate masters tell us to believe.

I say to you now: If you turn away Syrians, Central and South Americans, Somalis, or anyone else who flees a country out of fear of death, you are NO BETTER than the Germans were who actively supported the Nazis in World War II.

You don’t live in a bubble. You are not an island. You live on a planet where you can fly halfway around the world inside of 24 hours. And it’s the only planet you can reach in your lifetime. These aren’t people who live elsewhere. They occupy the same planet you do.

Perhaps it’s time for us to Occupy Earth. To live the values Jesus attempted to teach his followers instead of pretending only his resurrection matters.

Every religion boils down to one overriding law: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Terrorists (regardless of religious background) do not live by this rule. Not Islamist Daesh, not the KKK, and certainly not today’s neofascist members of ALEC.

You can call yourself Christian if you want, or any other religion you choose, but until you actually live by the Law, you are a liar. Stop calling on Jesus if you can’t find it in your heart to welcome in refugees, regardless of their origin.

Stop calling them migrants. They are people just like you. Look at the reason they are leaving their homes. Empathize with them.

Practice what you preach, or be prepared to deal with World War III, the Second Civil War, because that’s what’s coming. I don’t know that we’ll survive this time.

Salon.com: “Fascism is rising in America”: The Koch brothers and democracy’s dispiriting demise

Stonekettle Station: The Price of Civilization

Huffington Post Blog: ‘American Fascism’: Accurate or Misleading?

Huffington Post Blog: Time to Stop the GOP Fearmongering

The Guardian: Syrian refugees in America: separating fact from fiction in the debate 

[ETA]: Because this subject keeps coming up and I want access to the proof, at least until Net Neutrality disappears and these sites go with it: http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Reason_Foundation

On September 11, 2015…

Posted September 11, 2015 by Betsy Marks Delaney
Categories: Bombs, Politics, War

Tags: , , , , , ,

Next Tuesday will be the 14th anniversary of the piece I wrote below. It used to appear on my web site, but I’ve since redesigned the site and removed the section. Still, the piece should be available somewhere, so I am reproducing it here.

Back then, I predicted there would be terrible consequences to our actions if we didn’t choose wisely, and I was right. We are, whether we admit it or not, in a state of continual panic and fear, thanks to the actions of our own government.

We send our bombs and people to other shores in the hopes that somehow, these actions will make the world a safer place. We fight against ISIL, we turn away refugees, we track our own actions in libraries, on the Internet, over the phone, as we drive. Cameras are everywhere.

We are constantly reminded to be vigilant, wary, concerned when people who don’t look like us interact with us. And we are armed to the teeth, in the fear that something will happen on our own turf, that will be as bad as we’ve made it for people elsewhere.

We asked for this.

It is our fault.

We elected officials who put the Patriot Act in place, and proclaim that our flag is better than any other flag, and yet we can’t feed our people. We drive on roads that are damaged by years of neglect, and celebrate those who take lives because our country has pointed fingers and said we must do unto others BEFORE they do unto us.

It is right and proper to remember the lives lost when the towers fell. It is right to remember those who served and helped the survivors. And it is proper to mourn those changes in our society.

But to me, the phrase “Never Forget” means so much more than four airplanes and their hijackers, and those in the buildings and surrounding areas who went to work or got on the planes with the expectation that they would return home again at the end of the day or the end of the trip.

“Never Forget” also means we should remember that our country was and should still be a refuge for people who had no other place to go, who sought peace from prosecution. It should be a home for all, a haven for anyone seeking a better life. And it should be a place where we all have the opportunity to enjoy the fruits of our labors, in peace and prosperity.

Citizens United, the Patriot Act, No Child Left Behind, Right to Work: These are all symbols of oppression, put in place by the Grand Old Party. These Republican oppressors, waving the flag and carrying the Christian Bible, many of whom cater to neo-Fascist organizations disguised as conservative think tanks, want us to maintain a constant state of war because THEY profit from it. And as long as we remain too distracted by fear, they can get away with murder.

Somalia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Syria, Iraq…it doesn’t matter where they were born. They all want the same things our parents and grandparents want: Somewhere safe to raise a family and to make a place in this world for themselves. We do every immigrant, every refugee a disservice every time we return these people to the hell from which they came.

The very definition of Refugee comes from an organization built on the ashes of World War II:

The 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees has adopted the following term “refugee” to apply to any person who (in Article 1.A.2):[1]

“owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.”[1]

(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Refugee)

And these same so-called Patriots would love nothing better than to see the US pull out of the United Nations because they disagree with the policies and protections set forth there. They want us to go to war with Iran. These hypocrites could have stopped North Korea before the acquisition of nuclear weapons, but they didn’t care enough, because there isn’t enough profit in dismantling North Korea’s arsenal.

With Iran, it’s different. They are protecting their oil interests and are throwing our country away for the sake of their own greed. They have hoodwinked hard-working Americans into thinking they give a rat’s ass about their base. Even with proof of the contempt these billionaires hold for their base, they STILL manage to hold onto their positions in Congress and will do whatever they can to win the Presidency in 2016.

You have a choice. You can choose to remember this day, fourteen years ago, as a rallying cry against people who want to destroy our country and look across the ocean to other continents as the source, or you can remember who put these people in business in the first place and hold THEM accountable in the coming election. 2016 is everything.

Iran-Contra Affair: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran-Contra_affair

The Shah of Iran: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohammad_Reza_Pahlavi

Iran-Iraq War: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran-Iraq_War

Saddam Hussein: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saddam_Hussein

The Syrian Civil War: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syrian_Civil_War

September 11, 2001

Written by Betsy R. Delaney
Saturday, September 15, 2001

On a day that started with excitement about my own little world, the world was witness to an unbelievable tragedy.

It started so simply for me: A phone call from a mother to tell a father about his daughter’s new teeth, and to have a morning chat with him about trivialities.

How it will end is anyone’s guess. There are so many variables, so many possibilities, so vast a sense of loss, anger and shock about the events of the 11th of September, that it is impossible to predict how the landscape of the world will look even a month from now.

On September 10th, this was not the case.

On September 11th, at 8am EDT, this was not the case.

Right up to the point where the first commercial airplane impacted the first World Trade Center building, this was not the case.

We Americans have been comfortable in our ability to simply flit from place to place. There have been vague feelings of concern for the increasingly deadly military actions of other countries, but at such an incomprehensible distance that they were simply not of personal concern to most of us. We have been able to focus on things that now seem trivial and small in comparison.

Seeing the World Trade Center district in the aftermath of this most amazingly evil of atrocities, it’s hard not to think of Beirut, of Bosnia, or even of London 50 years ago.

But not Manhattan.

Not New York.

Not here.

We are now faced with a task which I am not sure is possible to accomplish, at a cost I don’t know if we are prepared to pay.

Until now, the realities of the last World War belonged to the old folks. Those who preceded the “Baby Boomer” generation who are fading fast from age or disease. There are not many people left who can remember what this world was like during the last World War. Not so many who remember Korea, for that matter.

The newer wars, Vietnam and Desert Storm, were different. With all the odds against us, we could never have won in Vietnam. Desert Storm taught us that the next World War must be different. In the wake of the responses to this ongoing tragedy, by all accounts, this war could be different from anything we have ever seen, and could ever imagine, even in the most cynical eye of Science Fiction authors. And yet, it could resemble these actions in so many awful ways. It could even resemble the Crusades, if we are not careful.

There are those who do not understand why we have not already leveled Kabul. There are those who believe that to be a Muslim means that you are automatically a terrorist. There are those who feel that this act is justified because our country condones and backs the actions of the Israelis, and that to be Jewish means that you automatically support Israel’s actions against the Palestinians.

These people are all guilty of oversimplification.

To be sure, those responsible have it coming. I don’t dispute that one bit.

But we have bombed Iraq almost continually since Desert Storm began, and yet Saddam Hussein remains in power.

We bombed Afghanistan after the last action linked directly to Osama bin Laden, and yet he continues to be the source of great pain and suffering.

The President of the United States said, “This conflict was begun on the timing and terms of others. It will end in a way and at an hour of our choosing.” I fear that he may be wrong.

If we move without first being absolutely sure of our targets, we will disrupt the alliances we seem to have forged against the perpetrators of this horrible act. It does us no good to anger the people who have united with us, simply to slake the thirst of those who want blood now. Striking out blindly at targets that are not accurate, and doing no harm to the ones who deserve it most, makes us look foolish and incompetent. This we cannot afford to do.

And while I say that I do not want to explain to my daughter why her father did not come home, I do not want the deeds of September 11th to go unpunished. I cannot in good conscience tell my husband that he must stay here. If he is called, as I am certain he will be, I must support him in any way I can.

But I say now, I will only feel good about making that sacrifice if the result is certain, appropriate and final.

So, I ask the President, the Congress, and the world to be sure that their actions are the right ones. Be careful about what you are doing, because what you could unleash may be much worse than what has already been done, as incomprehensible as that might be right now.

And, when you have decided, move swiftly, so that we can be sure that we do not miss the targets, and so our loved ones can come home.

Your obedient,

Betsy R. Delaney


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