Monday, May 25, 2015

NEWS QUOTES FROM LAST WEEK

1. New U-S Defense Secretary Ash Carter on reports the Iraqi  Army bugged out of Ramadi, as they did Mosul, and later Palmyra:

“They weren’t driven out, they drove out!”

2. U-S network report on Ireland’s national vote on same-sex marriage:”  “In the USA this would be done by 9 votes, in Ireland, it took the whole nation.”

Which is the more democratic way???

I'm just sayin'...

Monday, May 11, 2015

OUR BRITISH COUSINS...



Held an interesting election last week. (One my fave morning Lexington paper ignored…carried NO story on it the next morning at all! Did the following day when we had heard the results. Local broadcast media ignored it also; big mistake too .)

Maybe I’m seeing too much of Wolf Hall but I have a reverence for the Mother Country, even when she screws up. If Henry the 8th hadn’t broken with the Church of Rome, who knows how different our history might have been. (Poor Henry kept blaming Anne and his various wives for not giving him male heirs. Today we know it’s the man who determines a baby’s sex.  A little knowledge can be dangerous.)  BTW, Cromwell lost his head later on, too, just in case you wanted to know…)

Readers of this blog know I am not enamored of election polls.  (The only one that counts is taken after the polls close.) The UK polls, pre-election, all got it very, very wrong. It was another election “too close to all.”  Hoo-HAW! The exit polls (the ones I like the least) got it right—and the Tories (Conservatives) are back in office.

That includes their promise to hold a referendum on Britain’s membership in the European union...a vote that could have major consequences for many nations, including our own.

And those restive Scots (got to luv ‘em, they’re so like our own rebellious colonies of so long ago) may cause the PM many new problems...and probably will.

Unfortunately our news media have cut back on foreign news coverage (see note on Herald-Leader above)...at a time when we need to know much more about possible new enemies and troubles abroad.

May I make a recommendation..watch the BBC World News on KET at 11pm (sometimes delayed due to special programming) It’s the best world news coverage you can see locally, and I strongly recommend it.

I'm just sayin'...

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

NOTES ON THE PRIMARY

1. We have more people registered to vote than ever, and a prediction fewer of them will vote. Something must be done to get more people to the polls. How about penalties for not voting? A fine, taking away your driver’s license (that’ll get the young people out) home incarceration..seriously something MUST be done.

2. with 4 candidates, and a predicted 10% turnout, someone could win the GOP primary with 3% of the vote. Should he become governor (see next) what a truly bad precedent that would be.

3. I said when Conway ran against Rand Paul, the election was his to lose..and he lost it.  I will say again, the governor’s race is his to lose..and we shall see. If state Dems take the position Conway is a shoe in, he isn’t!

4. I thought Comer handled himself well defending himself against the accusations he mistreated his college Girl Friend. He may well get a sympathy vote from those who don’t like this type of politics. He will get nowhere suing the C-J; save your money, Mr. Comer.  The hand of the Crosbies in all this looks very suspicious. Stand by.

5. Will Scott is an enigma to me. Many lawyers strive all their lives to become judges, yet he gave up the high court seat, knowing he was underfunded, probably could not win. Why??? Al Cross implied in a recent column, he was urged into the race by Prince Hal Rogers to drain off E. Kentucky votes from Comer. So Scott then loses twice. What, how does Rogers repay him—if Al is right? Does he clear the way for Scott to run for his seat in Congress? Probably just after Rogers moves to Tennessee, with his Volunteer State wife, and runs for governor down there..which has also been rumored.

Kentucky—where the politics are the damnest!

I'm just sayin'...

Sunday, April 26, 2015

LEXINGTON TOOK IT ON THE CHIN LAST WEEK

Economically , culturally, historically….and no one seems to care.

Haven’t heard an objection---from any one.

It started with this headline in the Louisville Courier-Journal:  “Bourbon Trail Starts here”

Oh??? Louisville is closer to Bourbon County than Lexington is? Closer to many of the historic distilleries and famous names in bourbon history? (Pappy vanWinkle might be one to object. His rare, purloined spirit wasn’t made in Jefferson County.)

This is serious.

And not just for stealing Blue Grass history and culture. Hundreds of thousands of tourism dollars, and a lot of jobs could be at stake.

So what’s being done about it?

Silence from City Hall. Silence from Commerce Lexington. Silence from my fave morning paper.

I gather we are going to roll over and let River City get away with it.

Darn shame.



A lot of anniversaries of the Vietnam war are coming up..time to relearn our history for we of the older generations; time for younger people to learn some important history and civic lessons (which our government didn’t learn..and plunged right on into Iraq and Afghanistan..and may yet in Syria!)

As the local media pump out these anniversary stories, please pay attention. It’s really important if we are not to relive our mistakes..and killed thousands more.

KET plans a major program, ”The Last Days of Viet Nam” Tuesday at 9pm. Please watch!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

THE POWER OF ONE

Sunday the New York Times published an obituary of an obscure doctor in Hawaii—Dr. Irwin Schatz.  Here’s why:

Four years out of medical school, in 1962 he read an article in a medical journal about an experiment being conducted by the U.S. Public Health Service on 600 uneducated black men in Tuskegee, Alabama. About two-thirds of these men had syphilis. The study had been going on for 30 years, and while penicillin had been known as an effective treatment for the disease, it was never used to cure them. Indeed, none of them were ever told what they had.

The study deliberately withheld treatment in order to find out what eventually might happen to them.

Young Dr. Schatz was incensed. He wrote a letter to the study’s author to protest. It was never answered, and so far as is known, was the first and only objection to the study the U.S. agency received.

Ten years later, a health service whistle blower publicized the experiments and Dr. Schatz’s letter was found in their files. By that time, there had been many stories about the infamous and immoral experiments the Nazis had conducted on unknowing minorities  during World War 2. Now the U.S. government found itself in a similar immoral position. The study ended.

Years later, the Mayo Clinic recognized Dr. Schatz’s stand with an award. A citation said “criticizing an investigation which was overseen by some of the leading figures in the American Public Health Service  was an action that was…potentially harmful to his career.”

When Dr. Schatz got no response, he didn’t pursue the matter further..though years later he hinted in hindsight he should have objected more.

There are so many lessons here for us all..including the fact that our government can often conduct itself in illegal and immoral ways..and must be held to account. But perhaps the main lesson is that each of us must decide for ourselves when and whether to take a stand when we think something wrong is being done. It’s up to each one of us.

For I believe, with Martin Luther, who is reported to have said "One with God is a majority.”

I'm just sayin'...

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

CASUALTIES OF WAR



Truth, it is often said, is the first casualty of war.  Probably true, but justice isn’t far behind.

This week, Justice finally caught up with war, and one of the most senseless and heinous crimes committed by the US in Iraq.

A Washington court sentenced 4 private security firm guards, hired by the US, for shooting randomly into heavy traffic in Baghdad just to clear the way for the officials they were guarding. FOURTEEN civilians were killed, 17 others wounded. An uproar followed over their actions and the wisdom of using private security guards in a war zone.

One guard got life, 3 others thirty year terms.  All said they had acted honorably for the government, us, they served. The judge praised the FBI and Justice department for putting the truth out there for all to see.

The US has continued such use. The 3 guards killed in Benghazi were also private security guards hired by the State Department, and will be an issue in the presidential campaign.

One has to wonder, given our past history, if the guards had been GIs would they have been convicted of random shooting of civilians??? Would our government have investigated their conduct and put the “truth” out there for the world to see?

The truth continues to escape us elsewhere

Despite promises of openness and transparency, the Obama government continues to try to hide its work. An independent report, just issued, says the government has broken its own rules on drone strikes..UNnecessarily killing civilians. And this doesn’t even go into the fact that the US is acting as judge, prosecutor, and jury when it makes decisions on drone strikes..some of which have killed American citizens abroad.

Congress needs to start a thorough investigation of our use of drones in wartime.

I'm just sayin'...

Monday, April 6, 2015

“BACK DOOR” INTO OUR PRIVACY



Journalism observed First Amendment Day in March (birthday of James Madison who wrote the Bill of Rights) with renewed calls for more open government at all levels

Obama campaigned on that theme but has often backtracked during office. His administration, in many ways, has been much more closed than previous ones, and has taken more reporters to court to try to force them to reveal sources than ever.

(Reporters are under fire in many nations, 20 are “missing” in Syria alone..but it hardly benefits a nation that prides itself on democracy that there are so many challenges to the practice of journalism and the First Amendment here.)

Perhaps the tide may be turning...in part because we now know a fraction of  just how much our government has been secretly snooping on us...on our phones and e mail,. And yes, on our regular postal mail itself.

Even conservatives are alarmed. Ky. Rep. Tom Massie, perhaps the most conservative member of our delegation, is co-sponsor of a bill (with a Democrat) to bar the federal government from a so called “back door” snooping into even more of our private electronic matters. The FBI and other agencies are after internet companies to build a “back door” into encrypted cell phones, e mails and other devices. Such a back door would let  the government listen in or read our words without us, or the companies knowing. Many firms have opposed this, but the government is after legislation in Congress to force them to set up such “back doors.”

The FBI says it will help them fight crime and terrorists. (Everything these days seems to help us fight terrorism, as a way of getting it passed!) The new FBI director asks if we “have become so distrustful of government that we are willing to let the bad guys walk away?”  Yes, because the government thru its own actions over the last decade has proven it is not worthy of our trust.

The Patriot Act, totally misnamed, was passed by a Congress fearful after 9/11 and loaded with activities that have seriously infringed on our traditional liberties. It is up for renewal this year and should be seriously overhauled and amended.

Rep. Massie’s bill is needed..but it’s  just one of many things needed to redress the excesses of the so-called Patriot Act. Let’s hope it passes.

I'm just sayin'...