Category: Military

The Resistance comes to GOP town halls in Iowa

AUTHOR’S NOTE: The topic of this blog post was chosen in a Twitter poll, although only one person voted in the poll.


Both of Iowa’s U.S. Senators, Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst (both Republicans), held town hall events in their home states yesterday. Needless to say, the people of Iowa were not impressed with Grassley and Ernst siding with the Donald Trump agenda to destroy America, and they had serious concerns about a wide range of issues, including immigration and foreign influence in U.S. elections.

During Grassley’s town hall in Iowa Falls, Grassley was asked by Zalmay Niazy, an Afgan man who assisted U.S. forces as a translator and is now in the U.S., about Trump’s Muslim ban:

At a town hall in Iowa Falls, Iowa, Tuesday, Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley received a question from an Afghan man who asked him for help to stay in the US in the face of the Trump administration’s immigration executive order.

Multiple federal courts across the country have granted requests to temporarily halt enforcement of the order, which bars foreign nationals from Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Iraq and Yemen from entering the country for 90 days, all refugees for 120 days and all refugees from Syria indefinitely.

[…]

“Who is going to save me?” he asked Grassley. “I am a person from a Muslim country and I am a Muslim. Who is going to save me here? Who is going to stand behind me?”

In Maquoketa, Ernst was asked a question by a U.S. Army Reserves veteran about Donald Trump’s ties to Vladimir Putin and the Russian government:

Trinity Ray, a 41-year-old veteran from Iowa City who spent eight years in the Army Reserves, pressed Ernst to investigate Trump’s ties to Russia and alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 American election.

“I appreciate that a lot, because I have said repeatedly that Russia is not our friend,” Ernst said, as Ray yelled that she should “say it louder.” She added that Trump “needs to stand up against Vladimir Putin.”

Ray wasn’t satisfied.

“If you were serious about this situation, you wouldn’t rest until you had an answer,” he said afterward. “We swore to defend against enemies domestic and foreign.”

Ernst refused to support a special congressional committee to investigate Russian influence in the November 2016 U.S. elections.

Rural America is beginning to realize that Trump and his Republican cohorts are not acting in the best interests of Greater America. People who are attending town halls in an attempt to let their voices be heard are not paid protesters. They’re ordinary people.

PETITION: Tell the Senate to hold confirmation hearings on Steve Bannon’s appointment to the National Security Council

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This blog post contains the body of an online petition, written by the author of this blog post, republished in full.


President Donald Trump has appointed Stephen Kevin “Steve” Bannon, one of Trump’s closest allies and a top White House adviser to Trump, to a seat on the National Security Council (NSC). The NSC is responsible for advising the President on matters affecting America’s national security.

A federal statutory law, section (a)(6) of federal statute 50 U.S. Code 3021, requires that civilian appointees to the NSC receive confirmation by the U.S. Senate for appointment to the NSC. Although the creator of this petition is not an attorney, it appears that Bannon, whose legally holds the offices of Senior Counselor to the President and White House Chief Strategist, would qualify as an individual of the (a)(6) category, meaning that Bannon would be legally required to receive Senate confirmation in order to legally become a member of the NSC.

Confirmation hearings for Bannon’s appointment to the NSC would give Senators opportunities to question Bannon over his work at the far-right website Breitbart, allegations that he physically beat his wife, and his offensive anti-Semitic remarks. It is very much possible that, even with Republicans holding a 52-48 majority in the Senate, Bannon may be rejected by the Senate.

We, the signatories of this petition, hereby call for the U.S. Senate to hold confirmation hearings for the appointment of Stephen Kevin “Steve” Bannon to the National Security Council.

You can sign the petition here.

Trump hints at declaring martial law in Illinois’s largest city, even though seven cities have higher murder rates

A few hours ago, President Donald Trump took to Twitter and hinted at possibly declaring martial law in Chicago over the city’s high murder rate:

I really don’t know of any presidential powers at Trump’s disposal that could be used in regards to a city having a high murder rate outside of two presidential powers: one would be to declare a state of emergency in Chicago, and the other would be declaring martial law in Chicago. Unlike a state National Guard or a state militia, the President cannot take over a city police force.

States United, part of the Mike Bloomberg-aligned pro-gun control political network that has been known to support far-right Republicans, has a couple of infographics about the actual state of the Chicago murder crisis:

As you can see, guns originally purchased in states like Indiana, and, to a lesser extent, Wisconsin and Mississippi, all three of which have weaker gun safety laws than Illinois does, have played a large role in Chicago’s murder crisis, and seven U.S. cities (St. Louis, Baltimore, Detroit, New Orleans, Cleveland, Newark, and Memphis) all have higher murder rates than Chicago does. Despite the facts, Trump and his Republican allies haven’t hinted at martial law in cities with a higher murder rate than that of Chicago, and Trump and his Republican allies want to make it easier, not harder, for people to take guns across state lines.

While murder is a serious problem in this country, declaring martial law is going to do absolutely nothing to solve the murder crisis of Chicago or any other city.

The first Olympic broadcast on U.S. television lasted only 28 minutes

AUTHOR’S NOTE #1: This blog post contains a video that is in the public domain due to said video being an official work of the United States federal government.

AUTHOR’S NOTE #2: For the purposes of this blog post, “Games of the Olympiad” refer to the Summer Olympics.


Starting Wednesday, August 3 at 9:30 A.M. CDT (10:30 A.M. EDT), NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) will air a round-robin stage women’s soccer match between Sweden and South Africa in the women’s soccer tournament at the Games of the XXXI Olympiad in Rio de Janiero, Brazil. NBCSN’s broadcast of the first event of this year’s Olympics kicks off a whopping 6,755 hours of combined television and internet livestream coverage (schedule here) across several broadcast and cable/satellite networks that are part of the Comcast-owned NBCUniversal media conglomerate and the NBC Olympics website. Since Rio is only two hours ahead of U.S. Central Daylight Time during the month of August (due to Rio being south of the equator, Rio observes daylight savings time from mid-October to mid-February, not in August), much, but not all, of NBC’s Olympic coverage in 2016 will air live. NBC Olympic television coverage will air in English on NBC, NBCSN, CNBC, MSNBC, USA, Bravo, Golf Channel, NBC Olympic 4K, NBC Olympic Soccer Channel, and NBC Olympic Basketball Channel, and in Spanish on Univision and NBC Universo.

However, NBCUniversal’s extensive coverage of the 2016 Summer Olympics pales in comparison to the minimal U.S. television coverage that the 1952 Summer Olympics received. However, what little television coverage that American viewers saw of the Helsinki Olympics of 1952 was, to my knowledge, the very first time the Olympics was broadcast on American television in any form.

The first time the Olympic Games were broadcast on American television was a 28 minute broadcast (not counting any commercials that may have aired on the television broadcast) of a documentary about the Games of the XV Olympiad in Helsinki, Finland in 1952, which officially opened on July 19, 1952 and officially closed on August 3 of the same year. Back then, there was no high-definition coverage, there was no digital television coverage, there was no color television coverage, there was no live coverage of the Games, there was no Spanish-language coverage, there was no coverage of Olympic events during the Games, and there wasn’t even television coverage of the Games during the year in which they were held! Instead, American television viewers saw a documentary, produced by the U.S. Army as part of the television documentary series The Big Picture, circa early 1954 (exact air date is lost to time, although the episode in question was the fifth episode following a Christmas-themed episode dated 1953), approximately one and a half years after the closing ceremony of the Helsinki Olympics! The production was a black-and-white documentary, with English-language narration provided by members of the U.S. Army Signal Corps (USASC), of highlights of the Helsinki Olympics. The highlights focused mainly on members of the U.S. Armed Forces who were competing for Team USA in the Helsinki Olympics.

According to Central Illinois television historian and WCCU-TV weather anchor Doug Quick, The Big Picture was aired across the ABC network, although some broadcast stations that either were affiliated with other networks or were independent broadcast stations aired the program as a syndicated program as well. It’s not clear which stations, or even how many stations, aired episode TV-250 of The Big Picture, which is the episode containing the documentary about the Helsinki Olympics.

You can watch the full documentary of the Games of the XV Olympiad here:

Donald Trump’s ghostwriter warns that Trump could end civilization if elected president

One person who knows Donald Trump very, very well knows that Trump is literally a threat to civilization:

“I put lipstick on a pig,” he said. “I feel a deep sense of remorse that I contributed to presenting Trump in a way that brought him wider attention and made him more appealing than he is.” He went on, “I genuinely believe that if Trump wins and gets the nuclear codes there is an excellent possibility it will lead to the end of civilization.”

If he were writing “The Art of the Deal” today, (Tony) Schwartz said, it would be a very different book with a very different title. Asked what he would call it, he answered, “The Sociopath.”

You can often judge a person’s character based on those who know said person well, and Tony Schwartz knows Trump very well, since he was the guy who ghostwrote one of Trump’s most famous books. Donald Trump may be selling isolationist snake oil to progressives, but the reality is that Trump is not really an isolationist, and he’d have no problem using nuclear weapons for the sake of using nuclear weapons.

I’ll watch the David Feherty interview of Trump tonight on Golf Channel at 8 P.M. CDT, so you don’t have to.

The progressive response to Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy speech

Earlier today, Hillary Clinton gave a major speech outlining the Hillary Doctrine, which is Hillary’s internationalist foreign policy. This will be my final blog post criticizing Hillary until after the November 2016 general election, as well as a preview of what forms of criticism I will use in my blog posts against Donald Trump.

Internationalist foreign policy, supported by establishment politicians in both major parties, most notably establishment Democrats like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, as well as neocon Republicans like George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Paul Ryan, has failed America in many ways. To put that another way, internationalism is destroying America.

Thanks in part to large amounts of Americans’ taxpayer money being spent on wars in the Middle East, policy makers here in America are completely unwilling to appropriate money to fix our nation’s crumbling roads, bridges, and other forms of infrastructure. America is spending millions upon millions of dollars providing foreign aid in order to prop up right-wing governments like the one in Israel, which has openly discriminated against anyone who isn’t like them. International trade, free-trade policies, and a massive trade deficit with countries like China and Mexico have destroyed American manufacturing, destroyed the economies of entire cities and communities, and have left thousands of blue-collar Americans without a job and a steady source of income. Even worse, America’s interconnectedness with the global financial system could cause a massive economic recession, if not a depression, without our country’s policy makers having any real way to control or prevent the problems that would cause such an economic downturn. American policy makers have no problem sending money and resources to foreign countries to provide aid for disasters that occur within their borders, while local emergency management agencies here in America are understaffed and ill-equipped to deal with disasters that occur right here in America.

Make no mistake about it, Donald Trump is an even bigger threat to America than Hillary Clinton is, was, or will be. Trump has no coherent foreign policy, but, when he has outlined some of his foreign policy measures, many of his ideas are either arguably or obviously more dangerous than anything Hillary supports. While some of Trump’s more isolationist foreign policy stances are common sense, such as reducing or eliminating U.S. ties to NATO, many of his other foreign policy stances are downright scary. Trump wants to open up international ties between the U.S. and North Korea, a country that has publicly threatened to launch a nuclear attack on our great country. We’ve seen what happens when Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton open up ties between the U.S. and a communist country in East Asia…the jobs flow right of our country. Trump is often too chicken to outline some of his most dangerous foreign policy measures, so he’s had great foreign policy experts (sarcasm) like former Indiana University basketball coach Bobby Knight brag about how Trump would be more than willing to use nuclear weapons against our enemies. Trump and people like Bobby Knight have zero understanding that nuclear weapons are the ultimate last resort, as Harry Truman ordered their use against Japan to end World War II. Nowadays, beating Japan is an American tradition on the soccer field, not the war field.

I strongly urge congressional Democrats to push for a strong, isolationist, pro-American, and progressive foreign policy that understands that rebuilding America is more important than building an international community, regardless of what the next president wants. Let’s not forget that around or more than 40% of Democrats nationwide, and a majority of Democrats in swing states like New Hampshire and Wisconsin, fundamentally disagree with Hillary’s internationalist foreign policy approach, and Trump’s foreign policy approach is a lot worse.

Obama Administration bullying, and even bribing, businesses to stop criticizing TPP

The Obama Administration is doing everything possible to silence businesses and business leaders who oppose free-trade giveaways like the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). In at least one documented instance (sources here, herehere, and below), the Obama Administration offered serious consideration for a Defense Department contract to a company if the company would quit publicly criticizing the TPP:

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Email courtesy of Fight for the Future

New Balance, which manufacturers some of their sneakers in the United States, was offered serious consideration for a Defense Department contract to manufacture athletic shoes for members of the U.S. Armed Forces if New Balance executives shut up about how TPP would force companies like New Balance to compete with companies that manufacture in countries like Vietnam, whose minimum wage is the equivalent of 65¢/hour. Prior to being offered consideration for the contract, New Balance officials had been critical of TPP, but they backed off of their criticism of the TPP once the Defense Department considered them for a contract. Now, New Balance officials are renewing their fight against the TPP after they alleged that the Pentagon is intentionally delaying the purchase of shoes from New Balance.

If this is even remotely true, then this represents the kind of corrupt, Chicago-style machine politics that has no place anywhere in America.

DNC Superdelegate Jimmy Carter criticizes Hillary’s work as U.S. Secretary of State

Former President Jimmy Carter, who, by virtue of being a former president and a member of the Democratic Party, is a superdelegate at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, did not endorse a presidential candidate, but he did criticize one of the two Democratic presidential candidates who are currently seeking the party’s nomination on foreign policy:

Former President Carter says Hillary Clinton “took very little action” as secretary of State to bring about peace.

Carter, 89, made the remark about the former secretary of State and 2016 Democratic front-runner in a phone interview with Time magazine Wednesday night after he spoke at the Civil Rights Summit in Austin, Texas.

[…]

“In this occasion, when Secretary Clinton was Secretary of State, she took very little action to bring about peace. It was only John Kerry’s coming into office that reinitiated all these very important and crucial issues,” he said.

Carter isn’t the only person to bring Hillary’s foreign policy credentials into question. President Barack Obama, who is also an officially-neutral DNC superdelegate by virtue of being the incumbent president and a Democrat, recently said that he thought that his biggest mistake as president was the 2011 military intervention in Libya by U.S./NATO and other pro-NATO coalition forces. While it removed brutal dictator Muammar Gaddafi from power, the military intervention in Libya left Libya politically unstable and mired in a civil war. Also, let’s not forget that Hillary has publicly hailed her role in the military intervention in Libya as one of her chief accomplishments as U.S. Secretary of State.

If you want a real champion of peace in the White House, support Bernie Sanders for president!

Republicans attempt to swiftboat Tammy Duckworth

While the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) has since deleted the tweet in question, here is a screengrab (courtesy of Nate Cohn) of an NRSC attack against Tammy Duckworth, a candidate for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination here in Illinois:

Tammy Duckworth has two main strengths, from a political standpoint. The first is her service in the U.S. Army during the Iraq War, and the second is her strong track record on veterans’ affairs. As someone who served our country in uniform and hails from a military family, Duckworth understands what veterans in this country need. Duckworth has called for mandatory federal funding for veterans’ health care, and Duckworth understands that it’s a national disgrace for large numbers of veterans in this country to be homeless.

The Republican Party of 2016 has launched some of the most ridiculous attacks against Democrats of virtually every faction of the Democratic Party.

Hillary admires war hawks like Henry Kissinger and anti-LGBT bigots like Paul Wellstone

At the most recent Democratic presidential debate in Milwaukee, Hillary Clinton praised one of the most dangerous people in American history, Henry Kissinger, who was Richard Nixon’s right-hand man on foreign policy (Operation Menu was a U.S. carpet-bombing operation in Cambodia that Kissinger played a key role in). Nowadays, a carpet-bombing operation of any kind would be considered a war crime under international law. For someone like Hillary to praise someone like Kissinger is, in and of itself, proof that Hillary does not stand for the progressive values that the Democratic Party should stand for.

In recent days and weeks, Hillary has also praised the late Paul Wellstone, who represented Minnesota in the U.S. Senate for nearly two terms before his tragic death in a 2002 plane crash, was nearly a polar opposite of someone like Kissinger. In fact, Wellstone is someone that I admire, as he was progressive on nearly every political issue. However, he committed an unforgivable sin in 1996, when he voted for Bill Clinton’s Defense of Marriage Act, a bill designed to discriminate against LGBT  couples by denying federal recognition of same-sex marriages. For Hillary to praise someone like Wellstone and use Wellstone to attack Bernie Sanders for standing up to progressive values amounts to effectively defending Wellstone’s bigotry towards the LGBT community.

Hillary Clinton is running the most right-wing campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination since George Wallace in 1972.