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Friday, March 30, 2018

Entertainment Overnight -- Hey, What's That Sound?

March For Our Lives, Washington, DC, Kansas City, all over the nation.

Hey, what's that sound? from Paul Howard on Vimeo.


America's Best Christian Speaks to the NRA!

Thank you, Mrs. Betty Bowers!

God love you and keep on doing His good work!!


Mrs. Betty Bowers, America's Best Christian - YouTube

Mrs. Betty Bowers, America's Best Christian - 

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"American Exceptionalism" -- Exposed

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Herewith, things we Americans do that no other Western, industrialized nation does.

First, we don't control weapons

Why the US has the most mass shootings

Second, we tie health care to profits.

Report: US Spends More Per Person On Health Care

And these are the results:

U.S. Healthcare: Most Expensive 

and Worst Performing 

And it's killing our mothers and children.

Third, we don't take care of our people, instead, we spend outrageously, even obscenely on what we call "defense."

US military spending dwarfs rest of world

The US spends more on defence than 

all of these countries combined

And we do it exponentially greater than any other nation, to the point of actually making us weaker.

US Military Spending Actually Weakens 

Nation's Defenses

Fourth and finally here, we, lots of us, think of ourselves, proudly, as the "wealthiest nation in the world" presently, if not ever, on the face of the planet, through time, when statistics show some pretty incredible insights to it.

Why is poverty higher in the U.S. 

than in other countries?

So here's to you, America. This is how you really are and this is what you do.

Aren't you exceptional?

Isn't just enough to make you proud?

Thursday, March 29, 2018

The Truth About Guns -- But Only In America

Sing it, Mrs. Betty Bowers!

Praise Jesus!

You are America's Best Christian!


Mrs. Betty Bowers, America's Best Christian - YouTube

Entertainment Overnight -- Only Us

From "Dear Evan Hansen"

Same Old Same Old from "Ruckus"

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Here we go again.

KCPT's weekly news program, on tonight, Thursdays, at 7 pm was more of the "same old, same old" tonight.

Right Winger host Mike Shanin asked a gray haired woman who said she was against the trolley downtown as well as extension of it, why she's against it.

She has never ridden it and won't, she says, but she's for mass transit, she swears.

Sure she is.

And open-minded. Of course she is.

Then, they went on to---wait for it---an all white, lily white panel to discuss affordable housing in the city.


Question for Republicans

Republicans: How is it you are not totally, completely embarrassed by this rambling, incoherent, lying, completely unreliable, self-serving buffoon?

Seriously, you want the White House and power so badly, this bad, that you'll even tolerate this? All this?

And you think this is somehow not bad for the country, for the nation?


If you'll tolerate all this, what won't you tolerate?  When will he or someone, anyone, have gone too far?

Trumpian Hypocrisy On Paying Taxes

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Have you seen where President Trump is attacking Amazon, the company, for not paying enough taxes?

Trump Attacks Amazon, 

Saying It Does Not Pay Enough Taxes

What chuzpah.

Remember this, remember what he said during the campaign for the Presidency?

Trump brags about not paying taxes: 

'That makes me smart' 

And did he ever release his taxes to us, to the American public, showing how much he pays?

Of course the answer is no, he certainly did not and has not, in spite of his promise. Excuse me, promises, because he said he'd do it repeatedly.

Besides being a hypocrite, he's not that bright, I say again, and he's a pitiful and repeated liar. He means virtually nothing he says and will say anything, at the moment, to get himself out of a situation. Heck, he'll say anything to get out of a conversation.

We must make Republicans pay for this Presidency and all its obscenities.

Right Wing, Republican, Evangelical "Christian" America

From March For Our Lives, Columbus Ohio, this past weekend.

The kids are alright.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Entertainment Overnight -- You Will Be Found

In Case You Couldn't Make It Out Saturday to March For Our Lives

Herewith, a few YouTube videos of the presentations at our March For Our Lives rally this past Saturday in Theis Park.

Note on this:  I'm told this is Dr. Emily Riegel.

In addition to all this, approximately 6000 people attended the event/rally/march and at least approximately 363 people were registered to vote.

All in all, a big, big day.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Entertainment Overnight -- Whole Lot of Jack

The Next Local Student-Led Weapons Reform Event

From yesterday's very successful March For Our Lives Kansas City event at Theis Park.

April 20 is the anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre.

We go forward.

The 3 Stated, Official Goals of the March For Our Lives Students and Movement

These are the 3, stated, official goals of the March For Our Lives students and movement, according to their site.

1. Passing a law to ban the sale of assault weapons like the ones used in Las Vegas, Orlando, Sutherland Springs, Aurora, Sandy Hook and, most recently, to kill 17 innocent people and injure more than a dozen others at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Of the 10 deadliest shootings over the last decade, seven involved the use of assault weapons.

No civilian should be able to access these weapons of war, which should be restricted for use by our military and law enforcement only. These guns have no other purpose than to fire as many bullets as possible and indiscriminately kill anything they are pointed at with terrifying speed.

2. Prohibiting the sale of high-capacity magazines such as the ones the shooter at our school—and so many other recent mass shootings used.

States that ban high-capacity magazines have half as many shootings involving three or more victims as states that allow them.

Limiting the number of bullets a gun can discharge at one time will at least force any shooter to stop and reload, giving children a chance to escape.

3. Closing the loophole in our background check law that allows dangerous people who shouldn’t be allowed to purchase firearms to slip through the cracks and buy guns online or at gun shows.

That's it. That's all. It's not long. It's not complicated. It's very doable and people will still have weapons.

March For Our Lives Kansas City Big Success and the Media Coverage It Created

The March For Our Lives event here in Kansas City was a big, big success yesterday. It was exciting and gratifying and really wonderful how many came out and the success of it all.

The Star has a fantastic, brief video of the March For Our Lives Kansas City rally/march that took place yesterday on their site.

March for Our Lives protest in KC 

draws thousands

They gave the event some quite good coverage, thankfully. Here's more.

Slain Brookside attorney's widow speaks 

at March for Our Lives

Local TV media also gave great coverage.

Not just the Kansas City march alone, either.

Good to great regional and national coverage, too.

For any against this movement, I'm reminded of the old, 60's Dylan song.

There's lots more from the event, pictures, etc., here, too.

It was a terrific day and event.

Now, we go forward.

Quote of the Day -- Sunday Edition

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Quote of the Day -- Sunday Edition

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Thursday, March 22, 2018

Kansas Citians on March For Our Lives

Students and other Kansas Citians speak about why March For Our Lives Kansas City, this Saturday, is not just important but very much so and what it's hoped we accomplish.

The Star also ran an article on the students and the march and movement in yesterday's paper.

Meet the students behind Kansas City's 

march for tougher gun laws

Be there this Saturday, March 24, noon to 4 pm at Frank A Theis Park, formerly Volker Park, just South of the Nelson-Atkins Museum.

See you there!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

I Say Again, America, You Are the World's Warmonger

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Andrew J. Bacevich  pens a magnificent, wholly unsolicited letter to the editor of the New York Times, A.G. Sulzberger. He asks for some coverage our nation has needed for some time. It's a letter I wish most all adult Americans would read and be exposed to.

On Seeing America's Whole Wars: 

A Memo to the Publisher of the 
New York Times

On Seeing America’s Wars Whole
Six Questions for A.G. Sulzberger
By Andrew J. Bacevich

March 20, 2018

Dear Mr. Sulzberger:

Congratulations on assuming the reins of this nation’s -- and arguably, the world’s -- most influential publication. It’s the family business, of course, so your appointment to succeed your father doesn’t exactly qualify as a surprise. Even so, the responsibility for guiding the fortunes of a great institution must weigh heavily on you, especially when the media landscape is changing so rapidly and radically.

Undoubtedly, you’re already getting plenty of advice on how to run the paper, probably more than you want or need. Still, with your indulgence, I’d like to offer an outsider’s perspective on “the news that’s fit to print.” The famous motto of the Times insists that the paper is committed to publishing “all” such news -- an admirable aspiration even if an impossibility. In practice, what readers like me get on a daily basis is “all the news that Times editors deem worthy of print.”

Of course, within that somewhat more restrictive universe of news, not all stories are equal. Some appear on the front page above the fold. Others are consigned to page A17 on Saturday morning.

And some topics receive more attention than others. In recent years, comprehensive coverage of issues touching on diversity, sexuality, and the status of women has become a Times hallmark. When it comes to Donald Trump, "comprehensive" can’t do justice to the attention he receives. At the Times (and more than a few other media outlets), he has induced a form of mania, with his daily effusion of taunts, insults, preposterous assertions, bogus claims, and decisions made, then immediately renounced, all reported in masochistic detail. Throw in salacious revelations from Trump’s colorful past and leaks from the ongoing Mueller investigation of his campaign and our 45th president has become for the Times something akin to a Great White Whale, albeit with a comb-over and a preference for baggy suits.

In the meantime, other issues of equal or even greater importance -- I would put climate change in this category -- receive no more than sporadic or irregular coverage. And, of course, some topics simply don’t make the cut at all, like just about anything short of a school shooting that happens in that vast expanse west of the Hudson that Saul Steinberg years ago so memorably depicted for the New Yorker.

The point of this admittedly unsolicited memo is not to urge the Times to open a bureau in Terre Haute or in the rapidly melting Arctic. Nor am I implying that the paper should tone down its efforts to dismantle the hetero-normative order, empower women, and promote equality for transgender persons. Yet I do want to suggest that obsessing about this administration’s stupefying tomfoolery finds the Times overlooking one particular issue that predates and transcends the Trump Moment. That issue is the normalization of armed conflict, with your writers, editors, and editorial board having tacitly accepted that, for the United States, war has become a permanent condition.

Let me stipulate that the Times does devote an impressive number of column-inches to the myriad U.S. military activities around the planet. Stories about deployments, firefights, airstrikes, sieges, and casualties abound. Readers can count on the Times to convey the latest White House or Pentagon pronouncements about the briefly visible light at the end of some very long tunnel. And features describing the plight of veterans back from the war zone also appear with appropriate and commendable frequency.

So anyone reading the Times for a week or a month will have absorbed the essential facts of the case, including the following:

* Over 6,000 days after it began, America’s war in Afghanistan continues, with Times correspondents providing regular and regularly repetitive updates;

* In the seven-year-long civil war that has engulfed Syria, the ever-shifting cast of belligerents now includes at least 2,000 (some sources say 4,000) U.S. special operators, the rationale for their presence changing from week to week, even as plans to keep U.S. troops in Syria indefinitely take shape;

* In Iraq, now liberated from ISIS, itself a byproduct of U.S. invasion and occupation, U.S. troops are now poised to stay on, more or less as they did in West Germany in 1945 and in South Korea after 1953;

* On the Arabian Peninsula, U.S. forces have partnered with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud in brutalizing Yemen, thereby creating a vast humanitarian disaster despite the absence of discernible U.S. interests at stake;

* In the military equivalent of whacking self-sown weeds, American drones routinely attack Libyan militant groups that owe their existence to the chaos created in 2011 when the United States impulsively participated in the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi;

* More than a quarter-century after American troops entered Somalia to feed the starving, the U.S. military mission continues, presently in the form of recurring airstrikes;

* Elsewhere in Africa, the latest theater to offer opportunities for road-testing the most recent counterterrorism techniques, the U.S. military footprint is rapidly expanding, all but devoid of congressional (or possibly any other kind of) oversight;

* From the Levant to South Asia, a flood of American-manufactured weaponry continues to flow unabated, to the delight of the military-industrial complex, but with little evidence that the arms we sell or give away are contributing to regional peace and stability;

*Amid this endless spiral of undeclared American wars and conflicts, Congress stands by passively, only rousing itself as needed to appropriate money that ensures the unimpeded continuation of all of the above;

*Meanwhile, President Trump, though assessing all of this military hyperactivity as misbegotten -- “Seven trillion dollars. What a mistake.” -- is effectively perpetuating and even ramping up the policies pioneered by his predecessors.

This conglomeration of circumstances, I submit, invites attention to several first-order questions to which the Times appears stubbornly oblivious. These questions are by no means original with me. Indeed, Mr. Sulzberger (may I call you A.G.?), if you’ve kept up with TomDispatch -- if you haven’t, you really should -- you will already have encountered several of them. Yet in the higher reaches of mainstream journalism they remain sadly neglected, with disastrous practical and moral implications.

The key point is that when it comes to recent American wars, the Times offers coverage without perspective. “All the news” is shallow and redundant. Lots of dots, few connections.

To put it another way, what’s missing is any sort of Big Picture. The Times would never depict Russian military actions in the Crimea, eastern Ukraine, and Syria, along with its cyber-provocations, as somehow unrelated to one another. Yet it devotes remarkably little energy to identifying any links between what U.S. forces today are doing in Niger and what they are doing in Afghanistan; between U.S. drone attacks that target this group of “terrorists” and those that target some other group; or, more fundamentally, between what we thought we were doing as far back as the 1980s when Washington supported Saddam Hussein and what we imagine we’re doing today in the various Muslim-majority nations in which the U.S. military is present, whether welcome or not.

Crudely put, the central question that goes not only unanswered but unasked is this: What the hell is going on? Allow me to deconstruct that in ways that might resonate with Times correspondents:

What exactly should we call the enterprise in which U.S. forces have been engaged all these years? The term that George W. Bush introduced back in 2001, “Global War on Terrorism,” fell out of favor long ago. Nothing has appeared to replace it. A project that today finds U.S. forces mired in open-ended hostilities across a broad expanse of Muslim-majority nations does, I suggest, deserve a name, even if the commander-in-chief consigns most of those countries to “shithole” status. A while back, I proposed “War for the Greater Middle East,” but that didn’t catch on. Surely, the president or perhaps one of his many generals could come up with something better, some phrase that conveys a sense of purpose, scope, stakes, or location. The paper of record should insist that whatever it is the troops out there may be doing, their exertions ought to have a descriptive name.

What is our overall objective in waging that no-name war? After 9/11, George W. Bush vowed at various times to eliminate terrorism, liberate the oppressed, spread freedom and democracy, advance the cause of women’s rights across the Islamic world, and even end evil itself. Today, such aims seem like so many fantasies. So what is it we’re trying to accomplish? What will we settle for? Without a readily identifiable objective, how will anyone know when to raise that “Mission Accomplished” banner (again) and let the troops come home?

By extension, what exactly is the strategy for bringing our no-name war to a successful conclusion? A strategy is a kind of roadmap aimed at identifying resources, defining enemies (as well as friends), and describing a sequence of steps that will lead to some approximation of victory. It should offer a vision that gets us from where we are to where we want to be. Yet when it comes to waging its no-name war, Washington today has no strategy worthy of the name. This fact should outrage the American people and embarrass the national security establishment. It should also attract the curiosity of the New York Times.

Roughly speaking, in what year, decade, or century might this war end? Even if only approximately, it would help to know -- and the American people deserve to know -- when the front page of the Times might possibly carry a headline reading “Peace Secured” or “Hostilities Ended” or even merely “It’s Over.” On the other hand, if it’s unrealistic to expect the ever-morphing, ever-spreading no-name war to end at all, then shouldn’t someone say so, allowing citizens to chew on the implications of that prospect? Who better to reveal this secret hidden in plain sight than the newspaper over which you preside?

What can we expect the no-name war to cost? Although the president’s estimate of $7 trillion may be a trifle premature, it’s not wrong. It may even end up being on the low side. What that money might otherwise have paid for -- including infrastructure, education, scientific and medical research, and possibly making amends for all the havoc wreaked by our ill-considered military endeavors -- certainly merits detailed discussion. Here’s a way to start just such a discussion: Imagine a running tally of sunk and projected cumulative costs featured on the front page of the Times every morning. Just two numbers: the first a tabulation of what the Pentagon has already spent pursuant to all U.S. military interventions, large and small, since 9/11; the second, a projection of what the final bill might look like decades from now when the last of this generation’s war vets passes on.

Finally, what are the implications of saddling future generations with this financial burden? With the sole exception of the very brief Gulf War of 1990-1991, the no-name war is the only substantial armed conflict in American history where the generation in whose name it was waged resolutely refused to pay for it -- indeed, happily accepted tax cuts when increases were very much in order. With astonishingly few exceptions, politicians endorsed this arrangement. One might think that enterprising reporters would want to investigate the various factors that foster such irresponsibility.

So that’s my take. I’m sure, A.G., that journalists in your employ could sharpen my questions and devise more of their own. But here’s a small proposition: just for a single day, confine Donald Trump to page A17 and give our no-name war the attention that the Times normally reserves for the president it loathes.

I’m not a newspaperman, but I’m reminded of that wonderful 1940 Hitchcock movie Foreign Correspondent. I expect you’ve seen it. Europe is stumbling toward war and Mr. Powers, head honcho at the fictitious New York Globe, is tired of getting the same-old same-old from the people he has on the scene. “I don't want any more economists, sages, or oracles bombinating over our cables,” he rages. “I want a reporter. Somebody who doesn't know the difference between an ism and a kangaroo.”

His rant requires deciphering. What Powers wants is someone with the combination of guts and naiveté to pose questions that more seasoned journalists trapped in a defective narrative of their own creation simply overlook.

So he pulls the decidedly unseasoned and spectacularly uninformed John Jones off the police beat, renames him Huntley Haverstock, sets him up with an expense account, and sends him off to take a fresh look at what gives in Europe. Haverstock proceeds to unearth the big truths to which his more sophisticated colleagues have become blind. Almost singlehandedly he alerts the American people to the dangers just ahead -- and he also gets the girl. Terrific movie (even if, given Hitchcock’s well-documented mistreatment of women, it may be politically incorrect to say so).

Anyway, A.G., we need you to do something approximating what Mr. Powers did, but in real life. Good luck. I'm in your corner.

Andrew J. Bacevich, a TomDispatch regular, is the author of America’s War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History and other books.

Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook. Check out the newest Dispatch Book, Alfred McCoy's In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of U.S. Global Power, as well as John Dower's The Violent American Century: War and Terror Since World War II, John Feffer's dystopian novel Splinterlands, Nick Turse's Next Time They’ll Come to Count the Dead, and Tom Engelhardt's Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World.

Copyright 2018 Andrew J. Bacevich