The Truth and the Myths of Memorial Day

Many myths and an abundance of little known truths surround the origins of the American holiday of Memorial Day.

The modern interpretation of the holiday is that of a day of remembrance for all those who have died in the military service of the United States including those who perished in wars both recent and long passed. But it was not always so, and stories of the origins of the holiday vary greatly.

One thing that is clear is that the holiday was borne out of the Civil War. Originally called Decoration Day, the first official proclamation of a holiday observance occurred on May 5, 1868, when national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic General John Logan declared that May 30 was to be designated as a day to decorate with flowers the graves of fallen comrades who had died in the defense of the Union. On that first Decoration Day, May 30, 1868, 5,000 visitors to
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Judicial Ethics Rules – Only Nine Judges in US Are Exempt

And just guess who they are. Every judge in the United States, including all state judges under individual state ethics’ rules, and all federal judges under the Code of Conduct for United States Judges must follow specifically delineated rules of conduct, except for the Justices of the United States Supreme Court whose conduct is governed only by their personal beliefs as to what activities in which they may or may not engage.

The US Constitution gives Congress certain powers over the Supreme Court and inferior courts, and Congress has exercised those powers to pass these rules for all inferior federal courts, but not for the Supreme Court. Calls have been repeatedly made to right this striking omission, and just three years ago a group of 212 legal scholars sent Chief Justice John Roberts a letter urging him to adopt a code of conduct for U.S. judges, including those on the Supreme Court. Congress has tried in the past to promulgate such rules for the highest court, beginning with the first effort at a Supreme Court Ethics Act introduced in 1973.

The Case Against the Supreme Court by Erwin Chemerinsky
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No Doubt, Fracking Will Kill Us All

As the oil and gas industry continues to make record profits, their assault on the earth and its inhabitants goes virtually unchecked, racing headlong to a world were the unconscionable wealth and power of the ExxonMobils, the BPs, the Shells, will become worthless, when there are no longer any living creatures walking what will have become an uninhabitable world.

Earthquake Frequency in OklahomaAs the poisons they pump into our water, minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, destroy our health, new studies now show that that we no longer need to worry about dying from them, as the earthquakes they are creating will destroy us all much faster and much sooner.

The massive fracking operations continuing in Oklahoma have been little tempered by the massive increase in earthquakes that has been documented now for years. In a state that throughout recorded history had experienced single-digit earthquakes per year, the numbers of earthquakes now being seen are staggering: reports today that Continue reading

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The Scandalous Ripoff That Is California’s “FasTrak” Toll Road System

San Bernardino Freeway Traffic with Empty HOV LaneWell, its been awhile since I last wrote about the abomination that is the “FasTrak” pay system that now steals major portions of California highways from taxpayers and awards the privilege of driving upon them to the newly created upper class of drivers who can and do pay sometimes exorbitant fees to a private company under a license from transportation agencies. Near the program’s inception, I described what was in the works in “California’s Metro Express Ripoff” and then last summer, in “California’s New Class System” I wrote about what was happening. Now, almost a year later, there is conclusive proof of the stupidity and absurdity of the program. The photo to the right was taken about 2:30 pm on a weekday afternoon in what is typical San Bernardino Freeway traffic. This section of the eastbound roadway – a portion of Interstate 10 – is just east of East Los Angeles, with Alhambra to the north and Monterey Park to the south. What the photo shows explicitly is totally stopped, bumper-to-bumper traffic in the “regular” freeway lanes, populated by us poor working stiffs, herded among the masses in a painful scene that could have been painted on, movement was so excruciatingly slow. To the left, however, are the two FasTrak HOV lanes, virtually empty. Continue reading

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Gun Lobby Can’t Handle The Truth

Gun safety advocates from States United to Prevent Gun Violence (SUPGV) tried a new tactic in the war against gun violence, with a pseudo sting operation where people who had expressed an interest in purchasing a firearm were led to believe they could do so, but during a sales pitch were told the historical realities of the specific types of weapons they were considering. See the video:

This was conducted in a Manhattan storefront set up to look like a gun shop, so real that it fooled those geniuses from the NRA and something called the The New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, who have had a shit fit that prospective gun purchasers are being told actual facts that could change their minds about the whole thing. In fact, this Big Apple gun group has called on New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to investigate the whole thing, based on their allegations that in filming the video, SUPGV broke a whole slew of laws, including firearms being displayed improperly in the store and the allowing of prospective buyers without licenses to handle firearms.

One problem with that – none of the firearms used or displayed were real. But the NRA guys and the illustrious New York State Rifle and Pistol Association membership, in a blind rage over, you know, real factual information being told to people who thought they

wanted guns, couldn't tell papier mache' from Piper Laurie. In fact, SUPGV had arranged for a NYPD official to be present during filming to assure compliance with any applicable laws.

Even has stuck its disgusting face into the foray, with more phony non-facts. An article there about the sting used a phony study and phony facts deceitfully alleging that lawful gun use frequently wards of criminal behavior.
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For the record, REAL academic research has found that such instances are so rare to defy accurate measurement and the FBI has stats that show that the ratio of criminal gun homicide to justifiable homicide with a firearm is approximately 37-to-1.

This video has gone viral, with a couple of million views, and hopefully it will have a sobering effect on at least a few people who might reconsider thoughts of facing today’s volatile society while armed with a lethal weapon.

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gop Letter to Iran More Than An Embarrassment, It’s Treason

8 U.S.C. § 953, the Logan Act: Private correspondence with foreign governments.

“Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.”

First, House republicans, without the knowledge of the President of the United States, invite a foreign leader to address Congress. That was a breach of every conceivable aspect of decorum, respect, protocol, and good taste that could be imagined, but no one ever said

that any gop politician has an iota of decorum, respect, sense of protocol, or good taste, and this just proves it.

But now, they have gone too far, and under many interpretation of the Logan Act, numerous republican Senators are guilty of treason.

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Historical Facts? They’ll Write Their Own in Oklahoma!

Facts are just not important to many of the good citizens of the fine state of Oklahoma, and certainly not historical facts. Oklahomans seem to be living in a fantasy world, and state legislators are hard at work to move their state even further from reality. Is this a symptom of a mass psychosis? No, that has a better chance of being cured. Rather, this is due to a skewed view of the United States and the egotistical and absurd belief of absolute American exceptionalism resulting in the mind set that throughout its long and glorious history, this county and its “real” citizens have never done anything “wrong”. This results in the further belief that historians who say differently are lying bastards and that their accounts of history need to be ripped from textbooks and never mentioned in Oklahoma classrooms, especially those advanced placement classes inhabited by the smart kids. Continue reading

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Sorry, But Anti-Semite Kayla Mueller is No Hero!

As international media propaganda overwhelms the airwaves and internet, President Obama has joined with right-wing imperialists and misguided Democrats to ram through Congress a new war authorization bill that, for all the wrong and absurd reasons, assures the US of entry into yet another decades-long ground war in the middle east. This is, regrettably, a popular path to follow, due to the selective “news” fed to a misinformed public.

The US public is outraged by what is seen in the news, as various organizations referred to at times as ISIS, at times as ISIL, and at times as Da’esh, post videos of their captives being mercilessly executed, usually through beheading. But, at the same time, our good friends the Saudis engage in a constant use of beheading, day after day. Continue reading

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Nationwide Insurance, Making Fools of 100 Million Football Fans

Nationwide Insurance spent tens of millions of dollars to show ads during yesterday’s Super Bowl. Their ads were tear-jerkers portraying human tragedy that evoked stunning emotions in millions of unsuspecting viewers. Watching these ads, the overwhelming take-away was that the company way trying to buy compassion and trying to convince people of their altruism and concern for mankind, and ultimately, their fairness in conducting business. Nothing could be further from the truth. Continue reading

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Easy Access To Guns – What A Great Idea

It seems that not a day goes by where there is not a single news report of some idiot shooting himself with his own gun or of a young child getting hold of a firearm and shooting, and usually killing, him or her self, a sibling, a parent, or an innocent bystander. But this story in today’s news, “Albuquerque 3-year-old finds mom’s gun, wounds both parents with 1 shot” says it all about what is wrong with gun laws, or rather the lack of gun laws, in the United States.

In Albuquerque, a man, an eight-month pregnant woman, their two-year and three-year old children, and two dogs, were all living, cramped together, in what was termed a “squalid” hotel room, when the three-year-old boy, apparently looking for an iPad in his mother’s purse, instead took out the hand gun she said she had purchased that day, and he shot both parents with a single bullet. Continue reading

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Back to the Drawing Board

I predicted months ago that the 2016 gop nominee for President would again be Mitt Romney, with his primary opposition coming from Rand Paul. So, Romney’s decision to stay out of the race was a major blow to my outlook as the gop circus revs up for its latest incarnation. His absence in the race leaves a massive void in the slightly less reactionary (I refuse to call it “moderate”) arm of the party, what with the new front runner Jeb Bush carrying the weight of that name and of his views on immigration, and with the only other guy, chris christie, likely to be watching election night results from a prison cell. The extreme right plethora of wannabes will be tripping over each other as they cozy up to their base and kiss the rears of the Kochs, Adelsons, the likes of Paul Singer, Bob Perry, and the guys who write the checks for the US Chamber of Commerce, Goldman-Sachs, the NRA and Big Pharma. Continue reading

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A New Beginning With Elections In Greece

“Greece leaves behind the austerity that ruined it, leaves behind the fear, leaves behind five years of humiliation, and Greece moves forward with optimism and hope and dignity,” – Syriza Party leader Alexis Tsipras, in line to be the new Prime Minister of Greece

In June, 2012, just before and after the Greek elections, I wrote two articles about the situation in Greece. This article, “Elections in Greece May Determine the Future of Europe” discussed the climate, and then this article, “Narrow Victory by Conservatives Means Status Quo In Greece, More European Austerity” predicted then that the Syriza Party would ultimately win power, which is exactly what has now happened. Continue reading

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