Friday, October 30, 2015

It's Birthday Time...

Incredibly, a year has gone by very quickly and it's time again to send Happy Birthday wishes to our Founding Father and Second President, John Adams!

Even though I still haven't finished David McCullough's excellent biography, I have learned a bit more about Mr. Adams.  According to Danielle Allen, author of Our Declaration, Adams was instrumental in the appearance of "happiness" in  "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."  We should all second that one!

I believe he also appreciated poetry..."You will never be alone with a poet in your pocket." (from a letter to John Quincy Adams)

A Legacy of Vision

His spectacles may reside in Peacefield,
No longer needed as this public servant has taken his rest
But his independent vision can still inspire us
If we will set our minds free
         ...dedicated to John Adams

Thursday, October 29, 2015

UPDATE!!! Reply From C-Span Re: "Afghanistan 1982" and MSF Hospital Bombing

Is anyone there???

Believe it or not I just got a reply from a C-Span journalist to the e-mail I sent them regarding their airing of the Reel America segment, "Afghanistan 1982"  You will remember from my older post, MSF Hospital Bombing - INDEPENDENT Inquiry Needed - Updated Again!     

This particular update: 
I was tuning in to a C-Span (American History TV) program and saw a blurb about one of their "Reel America" segments that is supposed to air a few times today (10/10) and the next day or so. I was stunned.  What do you all make of this?  Here is the description of "Afghanistan 1982" from their website:
"This U.S. Information Agency film chronicles events in Afghanistan from the 1979 Soviet invasion until the end of 1982, and includes a 1982 interview with a Doctors Without Borders official following the Soviet bombing of hospitals."

I don't know if I'm jumping to any conclusions, but the timing of this seems QUITE odd. It just couldn't be an effort to distract from the U. S.  bombing of a MSF hospital in Afghanistan, now could it?  I e-mailed C-span about this and will update if I get a response.  What are your thoughts, readers?  I have NOT so far heard anything from C-Span.  Anyone have a take on this?

I have just received a reply from C-Span's Richard Hall, a video journalist.  He indicated that the program was selected weeks in advance.  He also said they receive no government money and would have no interest in defending government actions.

I have sent the following follow-up e-mail to Mr. Hall.  And I will update if I get a response.

Dear Richard –

First of all, thank you for replying.  I appreciate you taking the time to do that.However, your reply does raise more questions in my mind.

The first one being:  if “Afghanistan 1982” was selected weeks before the Kunduz MSF Hospital bombing, why wasn’t it dropped from the schedule after that event?  In my mind, the timing was quite insensitive.
The second one being: you asked why c-pan would be interested in defending the actions of the government, as you get no government money.  I’m sorry to say that I wonder more and more about the coziness of the media and the government.  It was the part of the blurb about the show that really caught my notice – the part about the Russians bombing an MSF hospital.  I’m sure you’re knowledgeable about how things can very subtly be gotten across via media messages.  I have to wonder if this was some subtle way of saying ---- “Hey, someone else did something---- look at them!”  Maybe that was the case, maybe that wasn’t, but it surely raised the question in my mind. Again, I do appreciate your time.


Your thoughts, readers???

Sunday, October 18, 2015

What's Going On With Google/Blogger?

There are strange things happening with Blogger/Google.  I'm getting very concerned about privacy and security.

I'm not sure at this point if I will move the blogs or even continue them, as I seem to get little support, sadly.  I really try to put out some meaningful posts and information, but it's getting harder and harder to keep going with no comments (not even argumentative ones), no feedback, and having gotten so little encouragement.

Then there are developments with Google/Blogger that are really giving me pause.  It all started with a new two-page sign in a few months ago.  I don't think it will get better...

I'm just not sure what to be doing right now.

And strange things continue to happen with Blogger/Google.  When I logged in to check things, got a strange my account page.   And the forums keep changing, getting even harder to use and get help.  So I am thinking even more seriously about moving my blogs - that is ---- if anyone will read them.  Please folks, I really could use a word or two of encouragement.  Really...

Friday, October 16, 2015

Drone Documents

Sorry if I put too much onto your plates, readers, but this is HUGE:

The Intercept has a series of stories provided by a security agency whistleblower  (the source) providing some details of drone strikes and targeted killings.  I don't think I've read every story, but I have read several and they are chilling.  The disregard for things like due process and not taking innocent civilian lives if not absolutely unavoidable is sickening.

The articles are a lot to take in.  So I'll make a few comments.  Jeremy Scahill had in his stories often termed these targeted killings - extrajudicial killings I'v often used - as assassinations; something that sounds pretty UNlawful to me. Scahill points out at the beginning of story #1, The Assassination Complex, that the POLICY is assassination and Congress has not legislated about nor even defined "assassination." I think we should all take that point and look again at a root cause and make sure we address this underlying mentality that seems to be creeping into the gov't-military-industrial complex.

And I'll reiterate, I HATE drones.  My feeling is SCRAP THEM ALL!!! At least it would make "assassinations" harder to accomplish.  "The military is easily capable of adapting to change, but they don’t like to stop anything they feel is making their lives easier, or is to their benefit. And this certainly is, in their eyes, a very quick, clean way of doing things. It’s a very slick, efficient way to conduct the war, without having to have the massive ground invasion mistakes of Iraq and Afghanistan,” the source said. “But at this point, they have become so addicted to this machine, to this way of doing business, that it seems like it’s going to become harder and harder to pull them away from it the longer they’re allowed to continue operating in this way."

Let's not forget also, that there are spy drones NOW in the U. S. and that North Dakota has ok'd drones with non-lethal weapons.  We need to take this seriously, folks.

And PLEASE - would someome comment so I know actual people not robots are reading this? I really need/want to know if this is still worthwile.   I feell as though I'm begging - but some word of encouragament or feedback or something would mean so much.  I try to give good content here - I really do; but is it kinda lonely ----- some company would be so appreciated. 

Related Posts:

Thursday, October 15, 2015

"Just Hand Over Your Money 2" - Bigger Issue? UPDATED!

In considering fantasy sports sites and the controversy now surrounding two of them, I have two reactions. 

First, I'm glad that people are paying attention to this issue. Let's keep the heat on as their pitfalls become more and more evident.  The problems are starting to become all too real. Here's a statement from The Council on Compulsive Gambling of NJ.  Also check out this article.

Call this "breaking news" - well, while doing some unrelated searched, I came across a headline and WOW! Had to finish and publish this post.  There is an investigation. Will be watching this one, for sure!  There seem to be so many breaking developments!  Nevada is shutting down the sites from doing business in their state.  And a fan is suing!

Second, it has occurred to me that there is a larger issue we should be discussing. Our society seems to be preoccupied with gambling (irrespective of whether we call fantasy sports sites 'gambling sites' or not).  Think about it.

All but 6 of our 50 states have lotteries.There are also multi-state lotteries.  But the revenues they produce often don't match promises, and can be funneled away from their intended targets.  They also hurt low-income folks.  This article has a good overview.

There also seems to be a proliferation of casinos. This story speaks of casino proliferation and the challenge of funding treatment for problem gamblers.

We must hope that this controversy helps to raise awareness of the pitfalls surrounding fantasy sports sites and the larger issue of gambling in our society (and in other parts of the world, too).  The cost can be all too human.  I remember that on the one cruise (and are there any cruise ships without an onboard casino?) I went on, my cousin and I met a woman whose husband was a problem gambler. She said it had really taken a toll on their lives.  Let's hope we can find resources to lead folks in more positive directions.

Related Post (Just in case you missed the original or updates...)

MSF Hospital Bombing - INDEPENDENT Inquiry Needed - UPDATED AGAIN!

We cannot let the attack on the civilian MSF (Medicins Sans Frontieres)  hospital in Afghanistan just "go away."  If you have truly read the accounts, it should be clear that this was NO accident.  Let's remember that the GPS coordinates were given to both sides and  that the hospital was bombed precisely several times while the MSF staff called DC to plead for it to stop. Thanks to a gal commenting on TI for this tweet showing there were NO other targets in the vicinity of the hospital!

MSF has called for an independent, impartial, and transparent inquiry.  Sorry, but we CANNOT trust the U. S. military, NATO and all to investigate themselves.  And we must all denounce this. International MSF President, Dr.  Joanne Liu, has called this an "attack on the Geneva Conventions."  True accountability must be demanded and received (though maybe we shouldn't hold our collective breath).  

Read about  this reaction of the MSF.  I wasn't originally going to post this link, but here's Greenwald again, with another worthwhile read.  I felt it was worth including here when it occurred to me, why is the U.S. hemming and hawing about a real, independent investigation?  What is that old line again - "If you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to fear"?  So what is the U.S. afraid of?

We must stand with MSF and the victims.  We must add to the call for a real, impartial and independent inquiry.  We should accept no less.  MSF has a site and social media campaign going.  Since I'm not on facebook,instagram, or twitter, not sure how I can help in this ---- any ideas???


I was tuning in to a C-Span (American History TV) program and saw a blurb about one of their "Reel America" segmentsthat is supposed to air a few times today (10/10) and the next day or so. I was stunned.  What do you all make of this?  Here is the description of "Afghanistan 1982" from their website:
"This U.S. Information Agency film chronicles events in Afghanistan from the 1979 Soviet invasion until the end of 1982, and includes a 1982 interview with a Doctors Without Borders official following the Soviet bombing of hospitals."

I don't know if I'm jumping to any conclusions, but the timing of this seems QUITE odd. It just couldn't be an effort to distract from the U. S.  bombing of a MSF hospital in Afghanistan, now could it?  I e-mailed C-span about this and will update if I get a response.  What are your thoughts, readers?  I have NOT so far heard anything from C-Span.  Anyone have a take on this?


The International Humanitarian Fact Finding Committee is ready and willing to investigate, but would need the ok of the U. S. and Afghanistan.  But the U. S. is so far signalling they will NOT ok cooperartion. Can you believe it?  From the article:
At the White House, spokesman Josh Earnest signaled that the administration would oppose an IHFCC investigation.
“The administration has confidence that the investigation that is currently under way by the Department of Defense will provide the full accounting of the situation that the president has asked for,” Earnest said.  It sounds to me as though this is a case of asking a fox to investigate that disappearance of some chickens from the coop.  I am ashamed of this incident and angry at the hubris that our government won't be fully transparent with international agencies.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Can There Be Justice for Tamir Rice?

Is there no shame?

The release of "expert reports" on the death of Tamir Rice (12 year old killed by police in Cleveland, OH) is a clear affront to all of us.  It is also an affront that the prosecutor, Timothy McGinty, will not be giving a grand jury any recommendation.  But let us turn to the two reports and the remarks of their authors, a Ms. Crawford and a Mr. Sims.

I find the remarks of retired FBI Special Agent Kimberly Crawford particularly galling.  “The relevant inquiry is whether a reasonable officer … could have concluded that deadly force is necessary,” she wrote. “It is my conclusion that Officer Loehmann’s use of deadly force falls within the realm of reasonableness under the dictates of the fourth amendment.”  REALLY?  The officer concluded deadly force was necessary AND started shooting within TWO seconds of pulling up.  Is that REASONABLE?  Not in my book.  

Then there's Lamar Sims, Chief Deputy D. A. in Denver.  Well, at least he did call it a tragedy (see Guardian article).  But  from this story
get this:  "The officers did not create the violent situation," Sims wrote in his review. "They were responding to a situation fraught with the potential for violence to citizens."  What's wrong with this?  It was NOT a violent situation until the cops showed up and started firing within two seconds! NO effort to assess the situation was made nor was there ANY attempt at de-escalation if it did seem to have a potential for violence.

I find it outrageous that "law enforcement  is so bent on evading accountability.  Echoing my thoughts is a lawyer for the Rice family:   "These supposed ‘experts’ – all pro-police – dodge the simple fact that the officers rushed Tamir and shot him immediately without assessing the situation,” Chandra said."  We must stand up for accountability by those who are supposed to "protect and serve."  We must demand that the legal system be made more transparent and fair, especially for those so often marginalized.  Our society - that is, all of us - deserves no less.

Don't forget - would love to hear from you readers.  Comments would be so welcome.  And also, as I saw on other sites ----- "sharing is caring": so sharing posts would also be quite appreciated.

And here's a new feature which I may trot out from time to time: "Some Related Posts" where I invite you to peruse some posts from the archives.

Some Related Posts: 
Your turn, readers - how about it? 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Need Your Nelp!

Dear Readers:

I do believe there are some of you out there; thanks for visiting. I know there have been page views and I hope readers will explore other posts and also return.  Getting some comments would be great, so as I've said before please don't be shy!  I really would love to hear from you.  REALLY.  Comments and conversations would be most welcome!  I blog to create awareness and discussion of issues, for creative expression sometimes, and of course, to connect with others - so communication from readers would be extremely helpful!

Also, while digesting the updates to some recent posts, please also consider helping by:

  • sharing a post  --- there are share buttons at the end of each post.
  • ssubscribing via e-mail ---- there's a quick form on the right sidebar.  Would be lovely to know that there are actually subscribers who would get posts right to their inboxes.
  • or subscribing via Atom;  if anyone uses that; there's a link at the bottom of the page.
 And the same is true for my other blog, Daisies and Diamonds! All are welcome to visit there as well.

So let me know what's going on with you and also help spread The View From Here.

Monday, October 5, 2015

MSF Hospital Bombing (Updated Again!)

I'm sure most of you have heard of the bombing of the Medicins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) hospital in Afghanistan.

I can only add my own outrage and sorrow over this tragedy and what I believe to be a war crime.

Here is an article from The Guardian.  There is also the Glenn Greenwald article from The Intercept, which is worth reading.  How can we even begin to justify this?  Considering that this comes on the heels of warning the Russians about civilian casualties and the bombing of a wedding in Yemen by the coalition led by the Saudis, as Greenwald points out. I can absolutely find no justification nor excuse for this. NONE.

And we also need to see the bigger picture.  We humans better STOP killing each other.  The future will be quite grim if we don't.


BUSTED!!! Are you, dear readers, noticing how the U. S.  is changing its story?  Hmmmm - when a suspect to a crime does that, it usually means...

For an updated view, Greenwald again.  In the article is also the link to another one - about a couple of media outlets obfuscating what happened. 

Say WHAT?  The U. S. changed its story yet again.  Read about it and take note of how the "official line" has been changing.   And I agree with MSF - this is a war crime.