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Questionaire II

World politics news from blogosphere - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 01:51
Military Experience
  1. Are you a veteran of or currently serving in the Armed Forces, to include the active, reserve, and National Guard components of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and/or Coast Guard?  If not, skip the rest of this section.
  2. Select the range of service years that best describes your military career:
    1. Less than 2 years
    2. 2 to 4 years
    3. 4 to 10 years
    4. 10 to 20 years
    5. More than 20 years
  3. Were you enlisted, officer, warrant officer, or some combination thereof?
  4. Did you earn an honorable discharge on the date of your ETS?
  5. Were you given a less than honorable discharge, even if it was amended to honorable?
  6. Were you ever punished under Article 15 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice?
  7. Were you ever court-martialed?
  8. Did you attend a service academy?
  9. Were you ever deployed overseas from a domestic base for more than 30 days, not to include Temporary Duty Assignments (TDY)?
  10. Were you ever stationed overseas as part of a multi-year permanent change of station (PCS)?
  11. Are you a combat veteran?
  12. Have you earned any of the following awards?
    1. Purple Heart
    2. Bronze Star with a “V” device
    3. Silver Star
    4. Service Cross (Distinguished Service Cross, Navy Cross, Air Force Cross, Coast Guard Cross)
    5. Medal of Honor
  13. Have you been given a disability rating by the Department of Veteran’s Affairs?
  14. Do you now, or have you ever, utilized VA health benefits?
  15. Are you a member of any military-service related organizations, such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars or the American Legion?
Categories: International News

Support for Abbas dwindles due to lack of fight – and elections

World politics news from blogosphere - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 01:50

Amongst Palestinians, either Gaza PM Haniyeh or (imprisoned) Marwan Barghouti would be preferred as a leader to Mahmoud Abbas.

Poll: Only 10 percent of Gazans would vote for Abbas in presidential election

Only 10 percent of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip would vote for current President Mahmoud Abbas if presidential elections were held today, according to a new poll released Tuesday.

The poll, conducted by the Gaza-based House of Wisdom Institute, indicates that 29.8 percent of Gazans would vote for senior Hamas official Ismail Haniyeh, while 28 percent would vote for jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti.

Interestingly, 32.4 percent would choose a different candidate.

The majority of those surveyed thought the Israeli assault unified Palestinians, but expected Hamas-Fatah disputes to continue in the aftermath of the war.

Regarding the Israeli assault on Gaza, 73.6 percent were satisfied with the performance of the different resistance groups.

When it comes to the Egyptian-brokered ceasefire deal, the survey, which was conducted in 30 locations across Gaza, showed that 40 percent were dissatisfied with the deal and 60 percent said they expected Israel to violate the conditions of the deal.

The seven-week Israeli assault on the besieged Gaza Strip has killed more than 2,130 Palestinians, the overwhelming majority of them civilians, including 577 aged 18 or younger.

(Source / 17.09.2014)

Categories: International News

My Wish for Scotland

World politics news from blogosphere - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 01:50

By this time of the day for me here in the US, most people of Scotland are winding down their day and looking ahead to a good night’s rest before waking tomorrow to decide on the future of their country.

Should Scotland break from the Union? Should they remain? To be perfectly honest, I don’t know nor do I feel that I, as an American, have a right to an opinion on the matter.

There is no best answer in this situation. I don’t really believe either option is better than the other.

I love Scotland even though I’ve never set foot on their beautiful soil. I call myself an Anglophile, but truthfully I’m drifting away from being a lover strictly of the English and feel that I would put Scotland and Wales above England. So what do you call the Scottish and Welsh versions of an Anglophile? Anyone know?

My most sincere wish for the vote on the referendum tomorrow is that each side learn to live with the eventual outcome. If the majority of citizens vote to break from the Union, I hope those who wanted to remain will accept the result. Likewise, I hope if the majority votes to remain within the Union, those who preferred to leave accept the result. As one who lives in a country where few politicians are ever willing to accept voting results at face value, I sincerely hope that is not a trend typical of Scotland or anywhere else for that matter.

I will love Scotland no matter which way the tide turns. And I hope that someday I will be able to visit such a lovely place.

Categories: International News

A Japanese cherry tree hacked down with the words "To hell with those Japanese" carved into it three days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor at the Tidal Basin, Washington, D.C.; December 10th, 1941.

World politics news from blogosphere - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 01:49

WuSdHiu

“In 1912 Japan sent 3,020 cherry trees to the United States as a gift of friendship. First Lady Taft and the Viscountess Chinda, wife of the Japanese Ambassador, planted the first two cherry trees on the northern bank of the Tidal Basin.”

(Source)

I guess whoever felled the tree knew the symbolism.

Categories: International News

Governor Scott: Pardon Marissa Alexander

World politics news from blogosphere - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 01:48

When a judge recently denied Marissa Alexander’s request for a Stand Your Ground hearing, for the second time, the die was cast for her retrial. Odds are decent that she may be sent back to jail, even under terms of a plea deal. While the sentence may not be as severe, those who believe she had no business being locked up to begin with, and whose efforts forced the state’s hand once already, are unlikely to take any satisfaction in that. And so the cycle of acrimony will rotate further.

As it stands, the only person capable of breaking this cycle also happens to be the person who would benefit most from doing so. Ms. Alexander’s mistakes have presented Governor Scott with an opportunity to demonstrate real leadership, and also to show off a compassionate side that not enough people get to see in politics. With one stroke of his pen—well, several strokes—Governor Scott can end this controversy for good by pardoning Marissa Alexander.

Scott’s critics would likely denounce it as an election-year stunt, and he should let them do so, because a pardon could well prove decisive in the governor’s race. It is surprising that Charlie Crist has not made this into more of an issue, and Scott should take the initiative to take that option away from him entirely. With Alexander on his side, Scott could potentially take an unprecedented share of the African-American vote from his Democratic challenger. At the same time, it offers some hope of maybe mitigating what are likely to be substantial losses among female voters. If Scott loses in November, it will be largely due to Crist’s support among women, and there is nothing he can do about that—but if he pardoned the state’s most well-known victim of domestic violence, that would be a good start.

Some would argue that such action interferes with the rule of law, but others would argue that it actually reinforces the rule of law. Bear in mind, Ms. Alexander already spent time behind bars on a conviction that was overturned; the governor is entirely within his rights to say the lady has been through enough, and there is nothing to be gained from spending more money prosecuting her. There can be no serious question of the governor’s commitment to law-and-order, and even those who would object to a pardon on those grounds are NOT going to vote for Charlie Crist.

There is a practical side to all this, as well: pardoning Ms. Alexander would eliminate a major distraction, and it would clear out a cloud that would otherwise hang over his second term. If she is imprisoned again, her supporters may believe that the whole game was rigged against her from the start—and that is a case that already carries weight in national media. Ending this case would remove a big source of negative publicity for all of Florida, while generating large amounts of positive hype for himself, and even die-hard opponents would be happy that it’s over.

Rick Scott is arguably the most controversial governor in America, but in this election year he has shown himself repeatedly to be capable of acting counterintuitively in the public interest, and willing to wager political capital to do the right thing. To pardon Marissa Alexander would be the most dramatic example of that yet. Not only would it be the kind of bold, decisive action that voters respond favorably to, it has the added benefit of humanity. He and he alone can decide whether Ms. Alexander will get to watch her children grow up; morally, and politically, does he really have any choice?

Categories: International News

Mid-Term Elections, Do they matter?

World politics news from blogosphere - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 01:47

Yes, they do and more and more people forget that. You need to remember that any election matters. Unfortunately if your one of the ones that doesn’t like how things are going in this country and doesn’t like the rich making us poorer then you should seriously look at what your elected official has been doing and if this is his time for re-election then do something about it. My friends all agree you have not right to complain if you don’t vote. They are plenty of ways to check on what your official has been doing, besides reading the gossip. Check the facts we have talked about this before.
Another thing I would like to say. Don’t pay attention to the hate ads. Have of the time they are not tell the whole truth or even part of the truth. Go out and check the facts folks.
Read the piece in Rolling Stone Magazine with Robin Williams on the cover about the state of the country.
Check these things out as well and make up your mind.
Koch Brothers exposed
Rolling Stone on the Koch Brothers

Categories: International News

THE INEVITABLE POST ON SCOTLAND

World politics news from blogosphere - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 01:46

Tomorrow, 18th September 2014, is going to go down in history. Future generations of children will see it in beat-up old textbook, use contemporary sources to explain it’s outcome, include it on one of the many spokes of some dog-eared revision map for there history exam. Because whether it’s a yes or a no, tomorrow Scotland goes to the polls to decide whether it wants to become an independent nation. For many of my watchers oversees, there may be little understanding of the reasons behind this referendum, or even that Scotland is part of the UK, so please enjoy this truncated history of Scotland’s often turbulent relationship with England.

The Kingdom of Scotland came into being around the 9th century, and for the next thousand years they and the English would ritualistically knock the shit out of each other. After centuries of invasion and battle, in 1603 the last Tudor died and James VI of Scotland became James I of England, ushering in the century of Stuart rule that would shape Britain and the world’s destiny. From the union of the crowns, the two nations grew closer together, and after a disastrous colonial expedition to Panama that bankrupted them Scotland was joined to England and Wales in the 1707 Act of Union, under the last Stuart monarch Anne. Ireland was added to the union in 1801, and the 19th Century saw the expansion of British colonial rule to nearly a quarter of the Earth’s surface, with many Scots at the vanguard. However, by the 1920s the Empire began it’s inevitable decline, and by 1960 British dominance had largely shrunk back to the home islands. Scottish discontent with rule from Westminster really began to grow in the 1970s, when promises of more powers were dashed by Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government, followed soon after by the gutting of there Coal and Industrial industries. Feeling left out of the shared enterprise that had bound the nation together since the end of the Second World War, the Scottish National Party rocketed out of relative obscurity and began winning MPs. In 1997, Scotland gained it’s first parliament in 290 years, based in a rather… interesting building in Holyrood. In 2011, the SNP headed by Alex Salmond won a majority in the Scottish Parliament, and the next year he signed an agreement with UK Prime Minister David Cameron to hold an referendum on independence on 18th September 2014, 700 years to the day after the Battle of Bannockburn. The decision not to included a third option on the ballet paper, to devolve more tax powers to Scotland instead of full independence, came back to haunt Westminster a little under two weeks ago when a poll came out suggesting the ‘Yes’ campaign was ahead for the first time. Cue a frantic scrambling from ‘No’ campaigners, as all three party leaders rushed up to Scotland with hastily composed promises of more powers. Even today, less than 12 hours before the voting begins, polls show the two campaign neck and neck, ‘No’ in the narrowest of leads but within a margin of error, a shocking result for the UK government, who for much of the two year campaign thought the result would be a forgone conclusion.

Living in Sussex, I’m about as far away from Scotland as it’s possible to get in Britain, so my opinion doesn’t really matter. Personally, it’s up to the Scots to come to there own decisions. Although I think a ‘No’ vote is more likely, part of me is hoping for a vote for independence. The reason? Simply to see the chaos as the old elites scramble around in absolute panic. If this campaign has achieved anything, it’s shaken up the country from it’s deep political apathy. A staggering 97% of Scots are registered to vote tomorrow, in a country where General Elections regularly muster little over 60%. Many Britain’s are angry at the austerity imposed by Cameron’s government, feeling he is concentrating wealth into the hands of the rich whilst degrading public services. Scotland, as a largely liberal country with free education and un-privatised NHS, is frequently stuck under Conservative rule when it only has one Conservative MP. Regardless of the result, this is a watershed moment for the UK. If independence comes on the 19th, it could open a Pandora’s box of possibility, with Europe having so many irredentist movements from Catalonia to Venice.

To Scots, I say only this: Vote according to your hopes, and not your fears.

Categories: International News

/Flappy1.4.rar

Sourceforge Releases - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 01:44
Categories: Opensource News

Obama reassures that troops in Syria 'will not have a combat mission'

World politics news from blogosphere - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 01:43
Obama talks to armed forces about the campaign against ISIS.

President Barack Obama speaks at US Central Command (CentCom) at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014. Obama spoke to members of the military after consulting with military officials about the counterterrorism efforts in Syria, reassuring them they won’t be involved in ground combat. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

The Republican-controlled House lined up half-heartedly to give the U.S. military authority to train and arm Syrian rebels on Wednesday as President Barack Obama emphasized that American forces “do not and will not have a combat mission” in the struggle against Islamic state militants.

SEE ALSO: Kidnapped American journalist is released in Syria

Officials in both parties predicted approval of the plan Obama requested last week, about two months before midterm elections for control of Congress.

But even supporters of the plan found little to trumpet. “This is the best of a long list of bad options,” said Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va.

The president’s remarks and similar comments by House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California seemed designed to reassure liberal lawmakers that the new military mission would be limited.

Only a day earlier, Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, drew widespread attention when he told Congress he might recommend the use of U.S. ground combat forces if Obama’s current strategy fails to stop the militants.

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Across the political aisle from the president and Pelosi, Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California swung behind the plan. Yet many members of their rank and file expressed concerns that it would be insufficient to defeat militants who have overrun parts of Syria and Iraq and beheaded two American journalists.

GOP lawmakers took solace in the short-term nature of the legislation. It grants Obama authority only until Dec. 11, giving Congress plenty of time to return to the issue in a postelection session set to begin in mid-November.

House Republican leaders arranged to tack the Obama-sought proposal onto a spending bill needed to keep the government operating past the Sept. 30 end of the budget year.

Approval would send the overall legislation to the Senate for all-but-certain final passage. Yet there, seven weeks before the elections, it seemed likely that no separate yes-or-no vote would be held on Obama’s new military strategy to train rebel forces in Saudi Arabia to be used in conjunction with potential U.S. airstrikes.

Instead, the Senate is likely to vote only once on the legislation combining approval for arming and training rebels with the no-shutdown federal spending provisions.

Officials put a $500 million price tag on Obama’s request to train and equip rebels. The cost generated virtually no discussion among lawmakers, who focused instead on the possible consequences of a new military mission not long after America ended participation in wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Testifying before a Senate Committee, Secretary of State John Kerry said the forces seeking to create an Islamic state ” must be defeated. Period. End of story.”

There was little, if any dissent on that, but debate aplenty about the best way to accomplish it.

“We simply don’t know if somewhere down the line it will turn our guns back against us,” said Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-Calif., giving voice to a fear that rebels seeking the removal of Syrian president Bashar Assad would eventually prove unreliable allies.

Republican Rep. Tom McClintock of California expressed a different concern. “Committing insufficient force in any conflict is self-defeating, and airstrikes alone cannot win a war,” he said.

The day’s developments unfolded as Dempsey’s day-old remarks reverberated around the globe.

U.S. troops “will support Iraqi forces on the ground as they fight for their own country against these terrorists,” Obama told officers at U.S. Central Command, which oversees American military efforts in the Middle East. He added that “As your commander in chief, I will not commit you and the rest of our armed forces to fighting another ground war in Iraq.”

Vice President Joe Biden, asked on a visit to Iowa about Dempsey’s comment on the use of ground troops, said the general’s “conclusion is that it is not needed now.” Biden added: “We’ll determine that based on how the effort goes.”

Pelosi told reporters the day’s House action “is not to be confused with any authorization to go further. … I will not vote for combat troops to engage in war.”

In Baghdad, Iraq’s new prime minister told The Associated Press in an interview that his government wants no part of a U.S. ground combat mission. “Not only is it not necessary; we don’t want them. We won’t allow them,” Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said.

Controversy over a new military mission overshadowed what otherwise might have been a noteworthy accomplishment for a Congress marked by near-constant gridlock. Passage of the legislation would eliminate any possibility of a partial government shutdown like the one Republicans triggered a year ago by trying to zero out Obama’s health care program.

The measure also renews the charter of the Export-Import Bank, which helps finance purchases of U.S. exports. That postpones until next June a battle between tea party forces opposing the bank and business-oriented Republicans who support it.

SEE ALSO: Syria’s conflict and its Latin American connections

The legislation also includes $88 million to combat the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa.

Categories: International News

A risk worth taking: Why I would vote yes to independence

World politics news from blogosphere - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 01:43

For a while, there’s been a feeling in my stomach, in my toes, in my head and in my heart that change is afoot, I can’t quite place what that change is, and I certainly can’t articulate it. It’s suggested in articles, proclaimed by messiah-like celebrities, talked about with peers, but is still left utterly ambiguous. I start to wonder whether I am just being swept away by the blissful idealism so frequently attributed to persons of my age, and that the “real world” is about to hit me straight across the face. I look back at the hope felt at previous interludes in the modern history of the world, and feel a sense of empathic deja vu. I desperately try to muffle the persistent scornful voices of my imagined oppressors declaring in cacophonous succession “Here we go again! Who do you think you are? You don’t know what you’re talking about” As though I am the distressed protagonist in some terrible GCSE drama play. I fumble for words, knowing exactly what I mean, but finding nothing more than “Bloody Tories!”, and “The system is unfair!”, which is met of course with a contemptuous laugh, followed by an apathetic “Yeah, everybody knows that, but what are you going to do about it?.” Then… suddenly.. across the horizon of my awareness appears a man who looks like Shrek, sounds like my cousins, and smells quite a bit like change.

I came across this debate with no preconception. I had no knowledge of the previous campaigns for independence, or what Alex Salmond and the SNP had done in the past. I had given no thought really to the idea of Scottish independence or even the consideration that they may want it at all. I had however come to the conclusion that we are best divided into smaller autonomous communities (and by autonomous, I mean that in the Kantian sense of the word, pertaining to moral duty, rather than desire), with the direction and guidance of a loosely strewn moral banner, or narrative that we all willingly follow, rather than submit to. What I have just described sounds remarkably like what the United Kingdom is, or rather what it is supposed to be. But in my mind, the sense of direction is absent, the guidance misguided, and the small communities powerless.

The default of my brain was set to “No”, as it seems it is for most of the UK, as my gut viscerally rejected the idea that another division in this perpetually scrimmaging world could be a good idea. However, not one to accept my own unreasoned thoughts, I set to watching the Question Time that had been on the night before, along with past debates on the matter. The independence campaign quickly grabbed my imagination, and the first to persuade me was Ricky Ross, merely by suggesting that he wanted a “democratic result for Scotland”, and for me, the debate in some ways ends there. You can argue all day about the ins and outs of how things go in the short term, but more power to the individual to make decisions for their own lives, where they OWN their failures, and they OWN their successes, is a far more healthy, alive and self-aware way of organising a community.

This doesn’t mean you ignore the side of the debate that suggests there will be difficulties. To think that it’ll be all hunky-dory and without struggle is deluded. But who ever did anything great without struggle? Who has ever pushed forward with their lives without taking massive risks? To me, it is the risk that is exciting (although I understand I wont be feeling the immediate effects), as with that risk comes a level of responsibility, and it is that sense of responsibility that we so desperately need to get ourselves into gear. If Scotland votes yes tomorrow, then I am quite sure that the every single Scottish persons ears will be pricked up, their hands on the steering wheel ready to make sure the whole thing doesn’t go to shit. This is the fundamental basis of autonomy, and is imperative to living a fulfilled life, where you realise your own power to create your world as you would like, instead of blaming it on external factors and feeling that the world just happens to you. Even when you KNOW things are wrong, you FEEL powerless, you must experience the sense of your own freedom and responsibility together to be able to make decisions effectively for your own life. Until then, it is all abstract, it is away from your actual life, it is obsolete. If independent, Scotland can no longer blame Westminster for it’s problems, they won’t be able to hide apathetically under the rock of victimhood, as they will have made the decision to take control of their own lives, and the world will be watching.

However, the perspective of the Yes campaign is not without reason. The idea that they are blinded by a defiant sense of nationalism with no substance is completely unfounded, and I think that has been proved by the civilised nature of the debate. In my view this is the factor that has given the Yes campaign the momentum it has gained. It has been assured in what it stands for, positive in it’s vision, and has concentrated far more on it’s own campaign than on bashing the “Better Together” campaign. This has provided a clear and substantial template for how the country could potentially run it’s own affairs in juxtaposition to the way Westminster works. It’s campaign has been very long, and scrutinised thoroughly, whereas the No campaign has turned up at the last minute, with desperate fearful screams that leave no time for proper examination, and work only to evoke that visceral response that the Yes campaign voters are accused of.

The fact that the Yes camp has been so successful despite every inch of the press leaning against them is further credit to their campaign. Even though I don’t denounce the freedom of the press to take whichever side they please, I do think it unhealthy to provide a very one sided story, and not give any time or thought to the many sides of the debate. Come to whatever conclusions you like, but surely you must invest in all the perspectives given, and leave far more to the scrutiny of the general public, rather than publishing opinion as fact. Particularly when polling shows that such a large percentage of the population is toying with a particular idea, surely it is far more honest and gives far more credit to the people reading your papers or watching your programs, to leave judgement in their hands. It is precisely this kind of attitude that I feel the Yes campaign challenges.

Furthermore, a narrative that ongoingly alludes to the idea of business leaders as being the most important people in any debate is further confirmation of a community’s priorities gone awry. And the fact that this goes pretty much unquestioned, is an indication of just how much we are used to our conversation and debate being limited within the framework of a neoliberal ideology. How much choice is it possible to have with market fundamentalism and globalisation? We should be questioning not whether Scotland has true autonomy if tied in a currency union, but how they can have autonomy within that? Might I suggest a decentralised banking system, and a democratic regulation of it?

This debate has been the most captivating, exciting, and important 9 months in politics in my lifetime. It is the first time I have seen anything like this level of engagement in the running of one’s own life, a telling factor in itself. I understand that politics goes left, right, up and down, and that it is a natural response for a community to switch between the options when they are fed up of one, and try the other side. However, I feel that the time for the switch back the other way passed a while ago, and was missed due to a political and corporate system that is running itself.

Plenty of arguments on the No side have given me much to think about, particularly Gordon Brown’s, who in his book “My Scotland, Our Britain” stresses that the battle should not be framed as one between Scotland and the rest of Britain, but between two visions of the country’s future. He is however, one of the few members of the No campaign that is aware at all what this debate is really about. Finance, currency, business, oil, defence, jobs, the NHS; these issues are all part of the conversation about how Scotland will fare should they go independent, but they are not what this debate is about, and that is where the No campaign has revealed itself as completely out of touch.

This debate is about democracy, or rather “the responsibility to run your own affairs”, which I think we’d all agree is imperative for us all to fulfill our potential. It is about autonomy, and I hope, more of it to individual communities; as the actor Brian Cox has said on the matter “dealing with the particular first”. It is an existential perspective, not a theoretical one. It has more to do with the reality of the world we are living in, than the systematic reasoning of current politics.

Furthermore, I have faith that whatever the outcome, this debate has given the whole of the UK a glimpse of the kind of world they can have if they want to take it. If Scotland go independent, they will act as a template to the way the rest of the UK could be run. Whether they get the politics right or wrong is another matter, it’s the spirit and sense of purpose and responsibility from every person that will be inspiring to behold. The spirit of a nation is far more important than the institution; it’s how you use it, not what it is. The United KIngdom sounds good on paper, but isn’t working in the real world. If it’s a no, let’s face it, the ball has started rolling, and there is no stopping it now, the door has been forced open, and the problems with our current system have had a platform for debate. If you couldn’t see them already, they’ve been thrust into plain view with nowhere to hide. It is my hope that this will spark the beginning of decentralisation, and a lean towards federalism, for the benefit of the whole of the UK. The further we can get away from elected representatives, and the closer to self-representation, the better, and it is far more plausible given the technology of today to run your own affairs yet still be on the same page as the larger conglomerate. We cannot continue to ignore that there are massive differences in the state of different areas of the United Kingdom, and that London is essentially a principality in itself; entirely different on the globalised stage to the rest of the country. The problem of the Union is that is suggests that everything is the same for all parts of the UK, that we are “All in it together”/”The Big Society”, but this is just not true. We would like to think that all parts of the UK give an equal contribution, and get an equal return, but this is impossible with decisions made in Westminster, as they affect different parts of the country in different ways.

More than 1,300 Scottish writers, musicians and artists signed a letter arguing that independence would unleash creative freedom. “We are voting Yes because we have imagined a better country,” it says. “Now, we want to build it.” Is that not the sort of thing we crave? The Scottish people are potentially taking it upon themselves to create their world as they would see it, as National Collective put it: “because of the opportunity that comes with the ultimate creative act – creating a new nation”. I would think it a shame to deny them the opportunity to start again with a determination not to repeat the mistakes of the past. I was at Edinburgh Festival this year, and felt more inspired within that month, than the rest of my life put together. I believe in Scotland, I believe in the future of the rest of the UK and a more plural society. I am excited for tomorrow, and wish Scotland the best whatever the outcome.

In raising this debate Scotland hasn’t shunned the community of the United Kingdom, but rather spoken when the rest of our hands were tied. It is not only Scotland that will have to create, build and renew a nation, it is England and Northern Ireland too.

Categories: International News

We're all broken

World politics news from blogosphere - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 01:42

This week could see David Cameron officially become the man who lost the United Kingdom – the man on whose watch Scotland wandered off and left. This week has also seen an unfairly derided PM give the speech of a generation – Gordan Brown – Better together.

Whichever way the vote tomorrow goes the old order is dead and buried. If the vote is Yes then we will be in uncharted political waters for our country and DC will be the PM who lost the Kingdom.

If the vote is No then Scotland will be in a very strong position to negotiate powers along the max – dev route. Any politician who doesn’t recognise may well face the wrath of the Scottish nationalists and it will leave other nations hungering for their own share of political strength.

Westminster has already agreed to grant Wales some additional tax raising powers (lovely) however as Carwyn Jones points out they’re next to useless and the caveat to the apparent magnanimity renders the initial gift a tainted one. Ultimately the tax bands are linked, if one is raised then they all rise, if one falls then they all fall. Hardly free decision making.

This is an insult to the Senydd and is a derisory sop thrown in the direction of Cardiff bay and as Carwyn says it’s like being given the keys to a car with only one gear. Cheers Westminster. Thanks a lot.

Increased powers anyone?

Categories: International News

Irreconcilable Differences

World politics news from blogosphere - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 01:40

Scottish pleas to divorce British brutishness once and for all comes as no surprise to the rest of us who call on God to save our Queen, devote small talk wholly upon the weather, and who haven’t, by chance, lived under a rock for the last two years while Alex Salmond has tried to assert a steely grip on Scottish politics with sharkish determination.

If nobody ever cared about Scotland before, it’s clear that valiant attempts are being made for all to hear their faraway voices from the Highlands. With the brandishing of the very many bagpipes Scotland hold as economic assets, to the threatened withdrawal of the Scottish patented shade “Braveheart Blue” from the Union Jack following a “Yes” vote, ordinary Britons can’t get a word in for the soon-to-be-superior Scottish and their superstitions.

Worried Westminster is increasingly perturbed. David Cameron is frequenting emotives such as “heartbreak” more often than a Taylor Swift record, Ed Miliband is denouncing the “ugly side” of the campaign whilst prompting similarly disparaging “Yes” campaign remarks about people in glass houses, and [insert unremarkably bland comment about Nick Clegg here.]

Similar sentiments are being echoed outside Westminster, most notably by the likes of Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence (But Not You, Scotland) Party. But ultimately, it’s probably fair to speculate that the real reason for Westminster’s angst is that without Scotland’s contribution to the Union Jack, remaining Britons are simply left with a contorted St George’s Cross; this essentially casts England as that bossy pre-school child who won’t just play with any ordinary sheep loving, hill living folk (unless their best friend has just colossally tossed their teddy from the pram, that is)

The British have always loved family drama. The English had the Wars of the Roses, as a nation we can’t get enough of the Kardashians, and the favourite pastime of many is to watch back-to-back episodes of “who’s the daddy” guru ‘Jeremy Kyle’. On the eve of “Judgment Day”, therefore, I can already hear the simultaneous clicks of alarms being set across the nation so as not to miss out on the crème de la crème of all family feuds.

The official “counter-uppers”, too, appear anxious not to disappoint anticipating Scots and Brits alike and their thirst for opinion giving in allowing a 3-hour window for the results- an ambitious target for a country that is consistently late in the relaying of any local election or exam results.

For two years, it has all led up to this. The next few hours will either see the drawing up of divorce papers or the over-needy embrace of Britain’s politicians in their bid to buy back the love of “Alex Salmond and the bag pipe brandishers”. But hey, at least if Scotland decide they really are “better together”, at least Salmond will have a music career lined up for his new heavy metal band and we can all return to the harmonious bliss of proclaiming the 1st verse of “God save the Queen” like we really mean it. Together.

Photo credit: Reuters

Categories: International News

Deep in the heart of Texas

World politics news from blogosphere - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 01:40
Image via scotlandweb.be Every few years the Lone Star State of Texas huffs and puffs and threatens
Categories: International News

Americans: Give Into Islam and Give Up to Conquer and Slaughter, or Stand Up, Deny and Reject Islam, and Win Our Country Back!

World politics news from blogosphere - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 01:40

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Allow me to insult and offend all the tolerance toking wimps who assume Islam is a religion of peace and Muslims are nice cuddly people who respect the rest of the world: Islam makes Hitler look like Mother Teresa and Rome look a garden party.

These so-called cuddly people want to take over the United States with their Islamic movement and conquer us to death.

 

We hate America

 

Americans better get harsh and downright nasty and aggressive towards Islam and Islamic countries. Stop catering to Islam, stop believing that violent movement of rape, torture, conquer and death is a peaceful religion hijacked by a bunch of terrorists when Islam is terror, it was founded by a terrorist, Mohammad, who wanted to annihilate every Christian and Jew and take over the world with his brand of politics—Islam.

ISIS, as well as Benghazi, demonstrates exactly what Islam and all Muslims are—unless they leave and denounce Islam. ISIS beheadings are Islamic laws; it’s what Islam dictates—behead all non-Muslims.

us-ambassador-libya-e1347455467920

There is no make peace with the infidels in the Koran, the Koran is not the Bible or anything like it, the Koran is a guidebook, a manual for what all Muslims must accomplish in life in order to get to heaven—kill all non-Muslims.

islam will dominate

 

To say Muslims are nice people is assuming they believe the same way Christians and Jews believe, when in fact they do not. First: Christians and Jews believe in God, Muslims believe in a god they call Allah, but want you to believe is God Almighty. Just because a word can be translated to “god” or “God” doesn’t make that god God Almighty.

The problem for most people is they want to believe Islam is a religion of peace and Muslims are no different than Christians and Jews. Too many refuse to believe evil can dwell inside human beings. These people are sure the Enlightenment Age perfected  all into civilized people and that age cleansed us of ancient savagery and ruthlessness.

Sorry, but people have not become perfected through education, artwork, and manners. Not even the British, though they assume it with superior supposition and mannerism that make Richard Simmons look straight!

Ex-Muslim Noni Darwish says the problem for Americans and the West is

Very few people in the West know what is going on inside the Muslim world and what it portends for them. The fact is that through the dominant media, such as CNN, Americans are subjected to much of the same misinformation with regard to Islam that I grew up with inside the Muslim world. The result is that Americans are in the dark attempting to formulate their strategy of how to defend themselves against the threat of terror, domestic jihad and Sharia. While Americans get ridiculed for being “Islamophobes,” the Muslim world itself is undergoing a huge and painful awakening.

We Americans better wake up and realize it’s Christians and Jews who believe in peace and don’t go to war unless attacked. Christians and Jews don’t torture gays to death, rape women into submission, mutilate female genitals, execute anyone who wants to leave either religion, and plot war on the entire world for subjugation of mankind. Islam does that, because Islam is darkness–Satan. But you’re not supposed to believe that, because the devil is a Biblical Christian notion (or white people with blue eyes), a fairy tale.

Muslims are taught that all non-Muslims must be slaughtered in order for Islam to conquer and control the world. The Koran and Sharia prove this, as do Islamic actions against the world. Yet, Americans are complacent toward Islam because so many want to believe that they are looking at an ancient culture trying to preserve its tribal heritage. Beheadings and rape are Islamic tribal culture and heritage. And yet, Americans don’t want to face that. Americans, as many Westerners do, want to see Islam as some Arabian Nights book with fancy costumes and lavish food under velvet and silk tents. Maybe at the Playboy Mansion where drunken, orgies set to costume parties are the way of life, but not in the real world of Islam.

The only Muslims who are decent are those trying to leave, and when they leave they are not Muslims, they are judged apostates as  Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Noni Darwish, and Amil Amani, writers and speakers trying to wake the world up to the truth about Islam.

If they stay in Islam, they are not good and decent people, but liars covering up for a violent movement of death.

If Muslims are not willing to risk their lives to leave Islam, then they are supporting Islam and what it does to human beings—including young Muslims girls who have their genitals cut off so they can never enjoy sex. If a woman does not risk her own life to get her daughter out of Islam, she’s not a good person, but a willing participant.

To risk your life to flee evil says you are willing to incur Islam’s wrath to be free, even if you have to die to get away from slaughterers. That makes you an honorable person. To stay makes you a coward supporting terror.

Oh, I can hear many of you screaming, “you don’t understand what these Muslim women go through and how hard it is to get our!” Oh yes I do, because I see ex-Muslim women on TV and in conservative papers—where they are only welcome— talking about the brutality of Islam, it’s terror, and how they risked their lives, at any cost, to flee to freedom.

If Christians in the Middle East are willing to risk their lives to be Christian and not Muslim—that includes ex-Muslim Christian converts—then anyone in Islam who hates evil must do the same or you are a potential terrorist.

To those of you who fear Islam already has a stronghold on the United States and this country is going down: So long as those of us, who refuse to stand down, refuse to remain silent, will never give up fighting to restore the Constitutional Republic, this nation will never fall to any enemy.

All it takes is one group of determined people (like our founders who were the small minority and many were executed for signing the Declaration, but considered the outcome worth it) to stand up for this country and fight back, deny Islam, refuse it, stand up against it, and they will not have a stronghold on us.

Let me ask a question: Are we so afraid to stand up that we’ll lie down and say it’s over, America’s through, or will we stand up and refuse to comply with everything unconstitutional, and evil, and be willing to be hated in order to restore this Republic? Because restoration can be done, even if a few stand up boldly and rally for the rest. It simply means refusing to give up.

If we fear loss, we will lose, but if we refuse to lose, if we dig our hearts and souls in deep and hard, we will win. But we have to make the choice: Go the way of Rome, which our government is pushing us toward, or return to the Constitutional Republic.

Even if we were, hypothetically speaking (and choking on that tacky thought), to become Rome, or a nation conquered by Islam, flying its repulsive black flag over the White House, there better be those of us willing to risk our lives to tear that flag and regime down and burn it to the ground and rebuild what our Founders built.

 

islam_no_free_speech-statue-of-liberty
We have gone the way of Rome to a point, but we can halt the progress by fighting and not sitting by, quiet and afraid to speak up. Speak out and refuse to comply! The backlash is worth it, not fighting against what can come is not worth it!

We’re going to have to do what we did over 70 years-ago when the Peace Movement politicians demilitarized the USA and ignored Germany and Japan as those empires beefed up: Get good and angry and beef up to an all out explosion of destroying the enemy.

First we have to start with us: We people must stand up and refuse to comply with everything wrong and everything Islam or we are caving in and accepting defeat. We better ask: What would Patton do? Even if you’re not in the military, as civilians we do have to fight with words and actions of refusal to comply, and that includes prayer!

Churchill once said “never give up, never give up, never give up, never, never never give up!” We must be hell bent on standing up to Islam and everything progressive on our American soil. Refuse to stand down to terror, stop looking at Islam like they are cuddly and nice when they are an evil hell bent on destroying us all.

People: We better advance against this violent movement or we are giving up.

Categories: International News

"Río Grande de Loíza"

World politics news from blogosphere - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 01:39
In 1870, the Moret Law was approved, which granted freedom to slaves born after September 17, 1868 o
Categories: International News

Let's Talk About the Islamic State

World politics news from blogosphere - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 01:36

U.S. Military Action Against the Islamic State

As a precursor to what I hope to be a discussion, let me first say that my knowledge on the facts and history of this radical organization is insufficient to forge an argument for either position. I only know for certain what the media and popular opinion has shown. Still, I think that is enough to peek into the ethics of the situation.

I think we all can agree the actions by this organization instill feelings inside us that are at the very least uncomfortable.  Rape, brutal fatalities, slavery, religious intolerance, poverty – these are just some of the nuances of this society’s environment.  So far as I can see, there are simply two directions to which one could offer a solution. 1) For military intervention.  2) Against intervention.  I won’t get in to the mildness or grayness of these two options, perhaps in an effort to simplify the situation.

Let’s get into some of the arguments that could be made for military intervention, or positive outcomes:

  • The degradation of the Islamic State, and thus less occurrence of the acts described above
  • Liberation of people in these areas
  • Perhaps an economic benefit from succeeding in this battle, either through implied power thereafter, or debt collection from allies
  • Defense of American citizens

Now let’s take a look at the perceived positive outcomes of a pacifist approach:

  • U.S. and it’s allies’ soldiers spared
  • Less money contributed to military – more money for problems at home
  • Possible evasion of deadly attack on U.S. citizens by the Islamic State

You’ll have to forgive me if I have forgotten anything.  It’s simply a result of ignorance on the matter.  I wrote these pros and cons on a white board and looked over them carefully, not fully able to make a decision.  That’s why I thought I would ask you.

I think the big question here is:

If the U.S. were to refrain from using military power against the Islamic State, could we then expect peace from this organization?  Or is the threat from ISIS/ISIL a constant as a result of the fundamental nature and interpretation of their religion?

If the answer to this question is yes, we could expect peace, then military intervention could only be justified through the moral and ethical responsibilities of our nation, which remain highly debatable to this day.  In conclusion, I think our answer to the initial question lies within the distinction of self defense and ethical intervention.

Thoughts?

 

Categories: International News

The different ways Elijah Cummings and Trey Gowdy recite the Benghazi victims' names says it all

World politics news from blogosphere - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 01:34

The Select Committee on Benghazi met for the first time Wednesday and there was a subtle but telling difference that some picked up on right away.

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) didn’t have to refer to notes to name the four Americans who died on that fateful night, but Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) did.

Gowdy names Ambassador Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty at around the 30 second mark.

Cummings does so around the 20 second mark.

Categories: International News

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