ISIS Fighters Credit Airstrikes with Driving them from Khobani

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by European Commission DG https://www.flickr.com/photos/69583224@N05/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by European Commission DG https://www.flickr.com/photos/69583224@N05/

Kurdish fighters have defeated ISIS in a battle for the Syrian city of Khobani.

Seizure of Khobani, which is near the Turkish border, would have been a significant tactical victory for ISIS.

Kurdish defenders of the city have succeeded in stopping the ISIS advance after an intense and protracted battle. The Kurdish ground forces were heavily supported by US – led airstrikes.

According to interviews that ISIS fighters give to Amak, which is a news agency within Syria that has aligned itself with them, the airstrikes were decisive in ISIS’ defeat in this battle.

Given the enormous power that air superiority gives to any ground force, I would be surprised is that was not true. Also, effective air support of Kurdish forces on the ground is certainly a better option than American “boots on the ground.”

After withdrawing from Khobani, ISIS has opened a new line of attack in Kirkuk. ISIS has taken control of the oil filed in Kirkuk.

From KRDO.com:

And according to the interviews given to ISIS-aligned Amak news agency in Syria, it was those airstrikes that won the battle for Kobani, referred to by the fighters as Ayn Al-Islam.

“Recently, we have withdrawn from Ayn Al-Islam bit by bit, because of the airstrikes and deaths of a number of our brothers,” said one of the two fighters, his face covered apart from his eyes.

He points to a scene of destruction behind him but vows that ISIS will persist, “and this is the message we send to Obama.”

The second fighter interviewed by Amak stood near a road sign reading Ayn Al-Islam. He said ISIS forces had raided 360 villages around Kobani, from which the people “ran away like rats.”

But the reason behind their withdrawal from the city, he said, “is that we no longer had places to hold there. We were inside Ayn Al-Islam and we occupied more than 70%, but the airstrikes did not leave any building standing, they destroyed everything.”

His horror of the airstrikes was apparent.

“I swear by God, their planes did not leave the air, day and night; they did airstrikes all day and night. They targeted everything. They even attacked motorcycles; they have not left a building standing. But by God willing we will return and we will have our revenge multiplied.”

Romney Won’t Run for Prez

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Tony Alter https://www.flickr.com/photos/78428166@N00/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Tony Alter https://www.flickr.com/photos/78428166@N00/

Mitt Romney announced today that he will not run for President of the United States in 2016.

I regard this announcement as something of a gift to the Republican party. Governor Romney’s run in 2012 highlighted his weaknesses as a presidential candidate. He evidently draws enthusiastic support from the business side of the Republican party, but does not generate corresponding enthusiasm from the party’s rank and file. A different candidate, who could have united the party and who was more attractive to working class Americans, might have won in 2012.

It will be interesting to see how the field of candidates in both parties shapes up in the coming months. One thing is certain: There is no interest in Washington in governing this country now. Everyone is in their usual don’t-do-anything-to-mess-up-our-chances-in-the-next-election cowardly Congressman posture.

I, for one, wonder when, if ever, any of these people are going to stop running for office and do the job they were elected to do.

But I digress.

The news of the moment is that Governor Romney will not be a candidate for president in 2016. Now, we’ll see what that decision does to the horserace.

Update: Representative Sally Kern Withdraws Bill from Consideration

Representative Sally Kern. Photo Source: Oklahoma House of Representatives.

Representative Sally Kern. Photo Source: Oklahoma House of Representatives.

Oklahoma Representative Sally Kern has withdrawn HB 1597 from consideration. According to news reports, Representative Kern indicated that the measure did not accomplish her desired purpose. To read a summary of HB 1597, go here.

Oklahoma Legislators Take Aim at Gay Marriage

 

Representative Sally Kern. Photo Source: Oklahoma House of Representatives.

Representative Sally Kern. Photo Source: Oklahoma House of Representatives. Official file photo.

Oklahoma legislators have introduced 4 bills concerning gay marriage and civil rights for homosexuals and transsexuals.

Representative Sally Kern has introduced 3 bills:

HB 1599, which is designated the Preservation of Sovereignty  and Marriage Act, is a broad piece of legislation that seeks to dictate future findings by the courts, activities by state employees and expenditures of state monies in regards to same-sex marriage.

HB 1597 is another far-reaching bill. It does not address same-sex marriage, but instead says that no business can be forced to offer service to “any lesbian, gay, bi-sexual or transgender person, group or association.”

HB 1598 allows mental health providers to engage in conversion therapy. As I understand it, conversion therapy seeks to change homosexual orientation to heterosexual by means of talk therapy.

I doubt that any of these bills will get a hearing in committee. If they should happen to make it out of committee, their chances of coming to a vote on the House Floor are even more dim. If, by a combination of legislative pressures, they do come to a vote of the full House, they are almost certainly DOA in the Senate. A lot of times, whether or not these things come to a vote depends on the determination and skill of the individual legislator and the amount of support he or she has in the body.

Having said that, I can tell you that the legislation as drafted oversteps all sorts of legal bounds. They would not stand, even if they managed to become law.

HB 1599 overreaches in a lot of ways, but the obvious ones are that it seeks to tell judges ahead of time what they may rule. This is outside the province of a legislative body. The legislature certainly does have the power to determine how state monies are spent, so the part of the bill that would limit state appropriations for activities concerning same-sex marriage would have a good chance of withstanding a court challenge, at least in principle.

The fact that it is not an appropriations bill and does not address appropriations per se might lead to its being overturned because of vagueness. However, by putting these two unrelated matters together in one bill, Representative Kern has created a piece of legislation with two topics in two areas of law. This is called log-rolling, and is in violation of the Oklahoma Constitution.

HB 1597 is clearly a violation of the civil rights of homosexuals and transsexuals. The law seeks to set up a system of discrimination in service regarding a specific class or group of people. It does not address legitimate First Amendment concerns regarding religious beliefs. It allows service providers to refuse service to a group of people because they are members of that group and for no other reason.

HB 1598 is the only one of the three bills that has legal merit. The question of whether or not therapists may use a particular therapy has become loaded when it concerns “conversion therapy” as it is used with homosexuals. A few states have made “conversion therapy” illegal. However, the real question is whether or not legislative bodies should be passing laws dictating which therapeutic approach is the correct one for health care providers to use. Dictating medical procedures and therapies is outside the province of legislative bodies, or it should be.

The whole discussion revolves around political correctness, with both sides slinging statistics and accusations, but the real issue is legislative bodies overstepping their bounds.

Senator Corey Brooks. Photo Source: Oklahoma State Senate. Official file photo.

Senator Corey Brooks. Photo Source: Oklahoma State Senate. Official file photo.

Senator Corey Brooks has authored SB 478. This is a good bill, which I hope will pass. It protects people from prosecution and civil liability if their religious beliefs require them to abstain from participation in a same-sex marriage ceremony.

In truth, I do not expect Senator Brooks’ bill to get very far, either. The reason is simple:  I expect that the Oklahoma State Chamber of Commerce will oppose it, and the Oklahoma State Chamber of Commerce controls both the legislative and executive branches of Oklahoma’s government.

Their control is close to being dictatorial, and, as I said in another post, they are not all that nice about how they use it. Threats, which are not idle threats, are their standard way of dealing with legislators who do not do what they are told. Most Republican legislators are afraid of them, and with good reason.

When Did the Democrats Stop Being the Party of Working People?

Shanghai, built by exporting American jobs. Photo Source: Flickr Commons by Christian Mange https://www.flickr.com/photos/23149310@N06/

Shanghai, how many American jobs did it take to build this? Photo Source: Flickr Commons by Christian Mange https://www.flickr.com/photos/23149310@N06/

Does anybody remember President Obama’s State of the Union address?

I promised I would talk about the politics of the thing, and I’ve been remiss in that promise. In truth, there was a lot of politics in it, too much to handle in a single post. I will limit my discussion today to one area that galls me more than most: The Democratic Party’s abandonment of working people for elitist claptrap such as gay marriage and abortion.

There was a time when working people knew they had a champion in the Democratic Party. That was back in the day before American politics went nuts and devolved into two warring camps, pushing for power and more power, the people be damned.

Back then, there was a real difference in the way the two parties governed. The Rs were actual conservatives and the Ds were actual liberals. Actual liberals gave us such things as social security, Medicare, victory in World War II, the Marshall Plan, and a steady-on determined fight in the cold war. I consider myself an actual liberal.

Actual liberals were allies of organized labor. Organized labor gave the American people a living wage so that it was possible to hold one job and support a family, the 8 hour work day, a 40-hour work week, paid vacations, paid sick leave, retirements, and job security.

President Obama made a passing reference to supporting organized labor in his State of the Union address, but I don’t think he meant it. We have not had a Democratic president who was truly supportive of working people in a long time; not since the Marxists in the 1960s’ anti-war movement succeeded in destroying liberalism. What we have now is faux support of working people from Democrats who are basically bargain-basement corporatists.

The Democratic Party is not the wholly-owned subsidiary of multi-national corporations the way the Republican Party is. The difference — and I have witnessed this in person — is that the corporatists tell the Rs what to do and they do it. It’s not even all that nicely done. In fact, any R who dares to think for themselves gets the whole hammer of the party apparatus and a mountain of corporate attack money brought down on them. The party treats them like a defective part in an engine. It pulls and replaces them with someone who will do what they’re told.

The Ds, on the other hand, play at corporatism while promising working people that they are really for them.

Meanwhile, America has witnessed the steady destruction of our industrial base by the shipping of our manufacturing base overseas — to a Communist nation, no less — while wages, our standard of living, and the security of working people have dropped year by year.

We are developing into a two-class country composed of the hyper rich and the struggling everybody else. Every promise that is made to ordinary Americans gets broken, and every promise that is made to corporatists gets fulfilled.

I didn’t take President Obama’s passing allusion to support for organized labor seriously because I don’t think he meant it seriously. It was what the Democratic Party has been giving working people for quite some time now: A sop.

When did the Democratic Party stop being the party of working people? It happened in the 1960s, when true liberalism died and was replaced by radicalism and nihilism.

Both parties need to be reformed and converted. It’s time we the people stopped allowing ourselves to be lied to and manipulated. We don’t need to change the puppet people we keep tossing out every few years. We need to change the puppet masters.

Criminal Charges Against Governor Rick Perry Move Forward

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by WEBN TV. https://www.flickr.com/photos/politicalpulse/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by WEBN TV. https://www.flickr.com/photos/politicalpulse/

Presidential candidate Rick Perry’s motion to dismiss charges against him was tossed out by a Texas judge. The charges stem from Governor Perry’s veto of state financing of a Texas District Attorney’s office. Governor Perry said at the time that he was signing the veto because District Atorney Rosemary Lemberg refused to resign from her office. Lemberg had been arrested on drunk driving charges.

Oklahoma recently had a somewhat similar situation when a member of our governor’s cabinet was arrested for drunk driving. The cabinet member apologized to the governor, who accepted his apology and left him in his position.

This whole thing sounds like partisan misbehavior to me, both in Texas and in Oklahoma. When the person who gets caught driving drunk is in the official’s own party, then it’s a forgivable lapse. When they are in the opposite party, it’s an outrage.

Ditto for the abuse of power charges which have been filed against Governor Perry. I don’t doubt that his decision to veto that funding was partisan, and to be honest, I have a pretty low opinion of trying to use state funding to force a duly elected official to resign from office. On the other hand, I also think that the charges against him are payback for the veto, and I have an equally low opinion of using felony charges as political punishment.

To read more about Governor Perry’s travails, KVUE.COM.

YouTube Preview Image YouTube Preview Image

Will Obama’s Proposed Medicare Changes Lead to Health Care Rationing?

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by David Shankbone https://www.flickr.com/photos/shankbone/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by David Shankbone https://www.flickr.com/photos/shankbone/

President Obama has an ambitious new plan to overhaul Medicare. Specifically, he wants to start paying doctors based on the health of their patients, rather than the number of patients they see and the treatments they give.

One rather obvious problem with this plan is that it would pay doctors to avoid treating really sick people. Since Medicare provides care for the elderly, this is questionable, at best.

Another question that comes to mind is the simple fact that this sounds like it is moving Medicare toward a managed care model. Will that lead to refusal of expensive care for elderly people? I see this as a real pro life concern.

It is important to note that the President is doing this by agency regulations and without even consulting Congress. Congress has abdicated its Constitutional authority in order to constantly jockey for position in the next election cycle. Meanwhile, the President reigns as an unelected dictator.

To read more, go here:

How Obama’s $3 Trillion Health-Care Overhaul Would Work

HHS goal: 30% of Medicare payments to be tied to quality of care provided by 2016

The Obama administration wants to dramatically change how doctors are paid. 

Bromance Aside, Obama Speaks for Religious Freedom, Women, in India

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons. Official White House Photo.

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons. Official White House Photo.

President Obama made some tough comments in a speech he gave during his visit to India. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had previous pulled out all the stops by greeting President Obama with a hug when he first arrived, and then issuing gushy statements about the “chemistry” between himself and our president.

President Obama has promised 4 billion in investment and aid to India. But along with that came a speech in which he stated that India needs religious freedom and that an Indian woman should “be able to go about her day — to walk the street or ride a bus — and be safe and treated with the respect and dignity she deserves.”

From Quartz India:

“Nowhere is it going to be more necessary to uphold religious faith than in India. India will succeed so long as it is not splintered on religious lines,” Obama said.

“Your Article 25 (of the Constitution) says that all people are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practice and propagate religion. Every person has the right to practice their religion and beliefs and not practice it if they choose so without any persecution,” he added.

 In his 2010 town hall address, the US president had spoken of religion mainly in reply to a question on jihad and the distortion of Islam by extremists.

Obama was also much more vocal on women’s issues, unlike last time.

“A measure of a country’s success depends on how it treats its women. Nations are more successful when their women are successful. Every woman should be able to go about her day—to walk the street or ride the bus—and be safe and be treated with the respect and dignity that she deserves,” Obama said on Jan. 27.

The allusion to the brutal Dec. 2012 gang rape of a 23-year-old girl in New Delhi was clear.

“Our nations are strongest when we uphold the equality of all our people and that includes our women,” he added.

 

 

Is Your Congressperson Lying to You about the 20 Week Abortion Ban?

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons, by Andrew Howe. Buy the book at Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Politicians-Essential-Excuse-Book-Remedies/dp/0578116243/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1422372184&sr=8-1&keywords=the+politician%27s+essential+excuse+book

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons, by Andrew Howe. Buy the book at Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Politicians-Essential-Excuse-Book-Remedies/dp/0578116243/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1422372184&sr=8-1&keywords=the+politician%27s+essential+excuse+book

Is your Congressperson trying to lie their way out of the decision to pull the vote on the bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks?

Maybe.

Public Catholic readers have contacted the offices of their various Congresspeople, and it sounds like they are getting a pack of lies and obfuscations in reply to their questions. These Congresspeople are relying on the fact that law-making is an arcane art to most people. They know that you don’t know how to wend your way through the procedural morass.

After all, big-time special interests pay lobbyists astronomical sums to do that for them. It’s a specialist’s work, and the “school” to learn it has a high entrance fee. That’s why lobbying firms are so laden with former elected officials. Elective office is the school that teaches how law is made.

Political science classrooms are all taffy and sugar pills. They won’t teach you how to do the real deal. In fact, the things you learn there will make it harder to do the real deal if you ever get elected, because you’ve got to unlearn everything you thought you knew.

If I wanted to make the most money I could, I would take my considerable knowledge of the legislative process and put myself out as a hired gun, which is a lobbyist who works for the doh-re-me. But I’m the sort who can only work for what I believe, and when I believe it, money doesn’t matter.

Guess I’m doomed to be poor.

In the meantime, I try to teach Public Catholic readers a bit of what I know. I do this so you won’t be bamboozled so easily, so that you can get tough with your elected officials and insist that they do what they told you they would do when they asked for your vote.

This makes partisan true believers antsy because the reality is that political parties are nothing like the way they present themselves to their rank and file followers. They’re selling you a lie.

Repeat after me: Political parties are about getting power and keeping power. Everything else they say is up for grabs in the interests of getting power and keeping power.

Fortunately, the power they crave resides in your hands. They need your vote. That’s why they take the trouble to lie to you. So they’ll get their vote.

It appears that at least a few Congressional staffers are doing the old political doo-dah with their pro life constituents about the decision to pull the bill banning abortions after 20 weeks from the calendar last Thursday.

Will the bill come up again? Will we actually pass a law and send it to the president? That, my friends, depends on you. You need to make it clear to these folks you elected that they will pass this bill and send it to the president, or, next time they come asking for your vote, things may not be so pretty.

Here, for your delectation, is last Thursday’s floor activity in the House of Representatives of the United States of America. Notice, they passed a bill that would stop the use of federal monies for abortion, which is what the news reports said they did. A bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks was not heard or voted on.

Copyright: Rebecca Hamilton. All Rights Reserved.

Copyright: Rebecca Hamilton. All Rights Reserved.

Here are links to news stories about the bill and the missed vote.

Dems, mocking the vote on federal monies. 

Pro Life Leaders Blast Rep Renee Elmers 

Objections by Women Open Rift in GOP

Abortion Vote Cancelled After Republicans Right Over 20-Week Ban 

GOP Lawmaker: 20 Week Ban Not Dead. Just Delayed. 

Why Nothing Gets Done in Washington

Why does nothing get done in Washington?

Because they’re all running for the next election.

This was a while back.

YouTube Preview Image

And this was a couple of days ago.

YouTube Preview Image

Candidates and political parties alike never stop campaigning long enough to govern.

 


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X