Where’s That Iraqi Oil?

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The NYT reports that…

Since the American-led invasion of 2003, Iraq has become one of the world’s top oil producers, and China is now its biggest customer.

John Liming wonders why it is that Americans shed the blood, but China reaps the benefits.

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I remember the signs that war protesters carried – signs that read things like, “No Blood For Oil.”

So America went looking for the WMDs that weren’t there and we lost a lot of brave American Lives in the process and American Taxpayers are still paying for the cost of the war – America did the fighting and paid the cost and now it is reported that someone else is reaping the benefits from Iraq’s huge oil reserves – not the United States – somebody else – China to be specific according to the reports I have read.

So my question is this:  ”Did America go to war in Iraq and lose more than 4,000 brave fighting men and women in the seemingly endless conflict just so that someone else could have a ready supply of energy and fuel?  Is that what it was all about and is that what really happened and is there anything that can be done about it – or is it too late – and what is the significance of it all?

It is reported that Michael Makovsky, a former Defense Department official who worked on Iraqi Oil Policy for The Bush Administration has said of the development over who gets the oil:

“We lost out. The Chinese had nothing to do with the war, but from an economic standpoint they are benefiting from it, and our Fifth Fleet and air forces are helping to assure their supply.”

My question?  ”What is “We lost out” supposed to mean?

Why have we “Lost Out” and how have we “Lost Out” and is America going to accept the fact that we “Lost Out?”

Is this going to be the end of this story?  Is there more?  Is there a happy ending for The United States in all this after all the sacrifices that were made by our brave Military Personnel in that dreadful conflict?

I think the questions are worth asking, don’t you?

Does this kind of news irritate anyone else except me?

In the words of the scrappy old geezer somewhere in his private jet high above the metropolitan areas of the East Coast – “Screw that!”

 

John Liming publishes American Liberal Times
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Congress and the NRA Makes Sure That America Loses…Again

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The vote came in at 55 to 45 in favor of expanding background checks for gun sales. In most institutes of democracy, that would have been more than enough to pass commonsense legislation of this sort. Unfortunately, it would be a stretch to describe the U.S. Senate as a democratic body of government. It is not. The senate is a dysfunctional branch of government with rules that allow NRA-bought fuckers with names like McConnell, Cruz and Paul to destroy and rip to shreds the last remaining vestiges of democracy from the once hallowed chamber. And for as long as there’s a Democrat in the White House, Republicans plan on keeping it that way.

That’s my rant. It’s John Liming’s turn.

-mario

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Something happened in The United States Senate yesterday that I thought I would never live to see – A piece of legislation that was reportedly supported by at least 90 percent of The American People was thrown in the crap can by a bunch of elected officials on Capitol Hill who were reported to be more worried about their own re-election than about the best interests of the people who put them into office in the first place.

Those who desperately wanted the government to “do something” in the wake of all the senseless gun violence that had claimed so many innocent lives over the past few years got their faces slapped, their hearts broken and their confidence in their government shaken because of what I suspect to be no less than the power of a great deal of money and some powerful lobby interests – and I think that is a crying shame, totally unjust and a horrible sign of where this country might be headed if some people don’t get their heads out of their asses.

Some who dwell in the perpetual darkness of contemporary American Radical Far Right Wing Ideology are said to be virtually dancing in the streets because they reportedly  think they have won some kind of victory over the will of the majority of sane and sensible Americans who had placed some hope in the people they had elected to represent their best interests and who then got their rear ends kicked good with that vote up on “The Hill” – the vote that in my opinion, sends a clear signal to every murdering gun-sucking swine out there, “It’s O.k., you can buy your weapons with total abandon now and no one will even ask questions.”

Yes, folks – the gun-tards fought hard on this one!  They  fought hard, they lied about the proposed legislation and they spent enough money to get enough gun owners and other assorted nuts riled up enough to scare the bejeebies out of a few of what I consider to be weak-kneed elected officials – and they got what looks to me like some kind of a victory – for the time being.  It is my personal opinion they probably should hold up on their rejoicing because their glee is premature.  I do not believe Americans will take this incursion into their right to live free of fear from maniacs with guns lying down. This battle is not yet over.

Do not be deceived, my friends – I never did think this fight was about Second Amendment Rights because from my understanding there was nothing in the proposed bill that would have denied any law-abiding citizen their right to own guns – as many guns as they wanted to own – this was never about that but that is what the gun-tards apparently tried to make it about and their message of legitimization of carnage somehow gained enough ears to lead to the defeat of  what many who have their heads screwed on straight consider to be the most common sense legislation to appear before congress in a long long time.

The sad thing about all this to is that there are actually some over on the far right who truly believe that this invitation to disaster was actually a display of legitimate “leadership” on their part.

If those who have expressed such sentiments are alluding to some idea that their “leadership” was commendable because it opens the floodgates to future potential Sandy Hooks, Newtowns and Columbines they might be correct to some limited degree.  I think that is where their so-called leadership will lead – to more victims of more senseless violence somewhere down the road – the only result that I can even imagine coming from a non-restrained proliferation and totally unregulated access to the means to end life by God only knows who.

In my view, this “victory” by the extreme right was not a victory for The Bill of Rights or The Constitution or The Second Amendment.  This “victory” was a victory for insanity – pure, plain and simple and I think The American People ought to use the elections of 2014 to set the record straight on where they stand.

 

John Liming publishes American Liberal Times
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How Many More Must Die Before Congress Acts on Gun Control?

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Another child becomes the victim of gun violence and John Liming laments the inability of America’s elected officials to act in a rational manner on gun control.

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When I was a child I felt pretty safe sitting in our automobile – I sat in our car by myself even when Mom went in to do her shopping sometimes – and nobody ever bothered me and no one ever shot at me with – a gun!

Now I am reading about a 4-year-old in Florida who wasn’t so lucky as I have been and it simply tears my heart out to read this stuff – but it seems like I am reading more and more of it lately and I really do not see where it all going to lead – but it looks to me like not all that many  people who really could do anything to stop all this needless gun violence – violence being aimed more and more at the most vulnerable among us - it looks to me like those who are supposed to be our “leaders” are not able to do very much at all!  I think it stinks!  I think America ought to really get riled up about all this crap and demand that somebody in Washington do something about it!

But it looks like Hell may freeze over before anything like that happens and I think it is sad – a really sad commentary on us as a nation.

And when you have read it, maybe you might be inclined to get in touch with your elected representatives in Washington and see if they might want to get off their rear ends about the issue of gun violence in America.

Someone ought to realize that if they have the power to act in the best interests of the People and refuse to do so or fail to do so, there is plenty of room to imagine that even in some symbolic manner, they might  have innocent blood on their hands until such time as they do decide to use their influence to help stop all this madness.

I hope this kind of stuff does not become so common an occurrence that we start taking it for granted.

 

John Liming publishes American Liberal Times
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I’m not quite sure what John meant by “kind of stuff does not become so common” but here are the numbers on gun-related shootings in the U.S.:

  • since the Sandy Hook school shootings on the morning of December 14 2012, an average of 22 people have been killed each and every day
  • more than 2200 people have been killed by firearms since Sandy Hook.
  • children aged 12 and under killed by firearms: 120 in 2006; 115 in 2007; 116 in 2008, 114 in 2009 and 96 in 2010. These numbers reflect homicides only and do not include gun-related accidental death of children.

On an average day in the United States:

  • 162 Americans are wounded by firearms
  • 30 Americans are killed by firearms
  • 53 Americans commit suicide with a firearm

In 2011:

  • 11,422 gun-related homicides
  • 19,392 gun-related suicides
  • 59,208 gun-related injuries

 So what is Congress going to do about it all?

Nothing. The bastards are going to let Wayne LaPierre and the the NRA and gun lobbyists and gun manufacturers win again in this endless, fruitless battle where common sense and human life take a back seat to politics and money. If the senseless murder of twenty 6-year-olds is not enough to move these useless politicos to act on gun control, then I can’t imagine what can.

-mario

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“Real” Democracy Has A Giving Heart

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John Liming is in wonderful form today as he takes on one of the right’s favorite bogeyman – compassionate government.

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“Whenever I see so many people rushing out to buy guns, I think there is real hope yet for America!” my friend gushed as he stirred the brackish brew that he had set before us and which was supposed to pass for coffee.

I believe that is the very first time I had ever heard someone say that our future hopes all resided in the almighty gun and the number of valiant citizens willing to rush out and buy enough of the damnable things to insulate the walls of their abodes with.

“Is there some kind of right wing paranoid insurrectionist or revolutionist-type thinking blooming here in this staunch radical conservative acquaintance of mine?  Is he being serious or is he merely taunting me because he knows my Liberal leanings?”

I had heard my Dad say that The United States had begun to slow descent to “Hell in a hand basket” but I had never before witnessed such angst, anger, and utter bitterness swelling up among my countrymen as to justify someone saying that our best hope for a future depended on acquiring the power to lay waste to others.

“Daddy,” you see, was one of those die-hard Republicans who often expressed his own dismay ( hatred ) ( bitterness ) ( anger ) over how he felt that he was working his fingers to the bone for a pittance while there were hordes of wretches out there, somewhere, who were bound and determined to make their living by “stealing” from him, the honest hard-working taxpayer, by throwing themselves willingly into a permanent dependency on government “give away” programs like social security, medicare, Medicaid, aid to dependent children, supplemental security income, housing assistance for the poor, college grants to economically challenged college students and . .  and . . .and . . . you name it.  If there was a safety net program that was put into place to help people who needed help, my Dad thought his government had taken a dump on his own head by instituting it.

Have I mentioned yet that even dear old “Daddy” had to recant and take his own social security later in his miserable life?

Poor Daddy! Pants on fire!

He had worked his entire life away for literally nothing for Republican bosses in a historically predominantly Republican town ( “What are you griping about?  It’s a job, ain’t it?  It keeps a roof over your head, don’t it?”) – ( Barely.).  And he died with nothing and none of them – not one of them – even came to his memorial service – they did send their lackey around to collect the keys to the tractor they had let Dad drive back and forth to work however.

That is one thing I noticed about Dad and his Republican friends early on – they all seemed to me to despise any government program that was supposed to help those who might need a little help.  I guess what I am saying was that even as a kid ( I am 74 years old now) I was exposed to the original complainers about that mythical 47% of America who are born takers and who want nothing more than to sponge off everybody else – as line of crap that I have long since concluded is nothing but total far right wing radical bullsh*t

There are plenty of nose pickers and butt scratchers and finger smellers who wear the badge ( face?) ( mask?) (pretense?) of conservatism but who aren’t any smarter than to actually believe they own a set of matched luggage if they possess two shopping bags from the same retail outlet – you know, the kind of folks who think that a “stock tip” is some kind of advice on how to worm hogs . . .yeah – that kind!

It is my own personal opinion that it is from among these political bottom feeders that most of the government haters and the Obama Haters and the Liberal Haters among us have their substance and their being.

I know that it is not the predetermined ordained role of government to act as Mother and nursemaid to its citizens, but I also know that any nation where the general population makes such claims as “We are a Christian nation” is probably going to have social safety net programs in place and is going to be more inclined to lend a hand to those who are down and out than they are to disdain the poor and to do everything that is done for the exclusive benefit of those who already have all the advantages of the material world.

What motivates some of these outwardly clean vessels whose inward parts seem to be little more than rotted bones and pig breath is well beyond the power of my own reckoning, but I hear their swill every day of my life as they go about saying awful and hurtful things about the government and about anyone and everyone who doesn’t share their convoluted, nasty, selfish view of the world.

One of the very reasons that I am a Democrat is because I cannot bring myself to accept that it is not just plain wrong to throw people into the pits when they are down and force them to survive on their own wits alone and soothe my conscience by making such dreadfully ass-borne statements as, “Oh it is the responsibility of churches and charitable neighbors to see to the needs of the poor.”

I have, in my own life experience, been pitifully broke, out of work, having to feed a family and knocking on church doors to see if there was some hope of a little help from these “charitable” Christian neighbors and fellow citizens of mine – yes, I have been there and done that and guess what I discovered all to painfully?

I discovered that “Charity is not the work of the church” and that if I had listened to some of my a-wad right wing religious friends, I would have long since starved, died and been buried because I found out that too many churches are more concerned about building bigger buildings and buying more expensive houses for their fat cat preachers than they are in helping the poor.

So do not get in my face with that tired old Right Wing saw about how churches and neighbors with charity in their hearts is going to be the hope of the millions who find themselves in desperate circumstances because it just isn’t going to happen, my friend – not no way, not no how!

I know some Rightie troll is going to come and give us one of the one-in-a-million examples of where what I am saying might not always be true – but these cases are as rare as hen’s teeth as far as I am concerned.

I simply cannot believe the short-sightedness of some people – especially some of those from the farthest reaches of the political right who think that bad fortune can never come their way and who are so damned hard-headed and dead set against their government being of assistance to anyone with a little help from some taxpayer money.

No, the ones I know from that crowd, are more than willing to worship at the foot of big government as long as there is something in it for them, but most of the ones I am familiar with also seem to hate the fact that anyone else besides themselves might actually receive some benefit from a government “Of the People, By the People and For the people” and many of these are the members of “The First Church of Better Than You”  crowd . . . the hypocritical “Haves” who hate the “Have Nots” . . . the  mud-wallowing (expletives)  that represent everything that could possibly be unsavory in American Life as far as I am concerned . . . from my vantage point and in my humble opinion.

Such negativity must, by the very nature of things, be self-destructive in the long run and ever since the recent fiasco of a bunch of primaries and an election that gave President Obama his second term in office, I have seen what I consider to be more than welcome signs that this party of no, nothing and nonsense may actually have reached the limits of their obstructionist intransigence and may be, at long last, on the verge of a renewal or of descending into the very darkness they seem to have been working so hard to shroud the rest of us in all these many years . . . especially since their obscene  temporary and limited ascendancy in 2000.

If it happens, then all I can say is “Good riddance and God Bless America!”

America has always come to Her senses in moments of peril and I have no doubt that the indomitable American Spirit will prevail even in these challenging times in which we find ourselves at this moment.

I think the antiquated nonsense of the Far Right is in serious jeopardy of simply evaporating!  That would be a miracle!  That would be a saving grace for America in my opinion.

 

John Liming publishes American Liberal Times.
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Why I jumped my dad’s republican ship!

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In the following piece on the reasons he is not a Republican, John Liming writes: “My world – my ideal world has acceptance in its heart for all people of all persuasions and all religions and all backgrounds and all choices of lifestyle and it is a real acceptance and not just a token acceptance and it is all part of the ideological perspective that I think of as “Liberal.””

That single thought says all I’ll ever need to know about John.

-mario

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I never ever thought the idea of “Small” government would work for something the current size and complexity of the United States.  The very size and scope of our industrial-military complex is something that requires enormous expenditures of national treasure to maintain and operate and without a big enough bureaucracy, the whole thing would come tumbling down in no time at all.

I believe if we were to allow our industrial-military complex to shrink too much and too fast, our nation would be weakened to a truly potentially dangerous point and in my view, we simply cannot afford to be going down that road.

Free enterprise is a wonderful thing and I am all for it unless it gets to the point where it starts oppressing or harming people.  There was a time in our history when “free enterprise” was a little too free and employers could actually lock their employees into their workplaces in unsafe and unsanitary conditions and force them to work tediously long hours at what amounted to slave wages with no extra benefits such as health care coverage whatever and this serf/master relationship cost lives and the health of far too many workers.  That form of “free enterprise” was only free for those at the top who were in a position to profit from exploiting it – and I am afraid that is where some of our contemporary right wing types want to take us back to.

So I am for what I like to call, “Properly regulated free enterprise” which is another way of saying, “I don’t care how much money some enterprising business person makes from their business so long as those who earn their living in that business as hired help get a fair wage, safe working conditions and a little consideration about their future in the bargain with their employer.

American Industry had such an arrangement with the work force for decades and everyone benefited from it – – both the employer and the employees.  It was the great Industrial age when unions came into being and there was collective bargaining and industries were raking in unprecedented profits and workers had an equally unprecedented standard of living.  That was before rightist greed rose with such a vengeance and decided to suck the workers dry and ship all the good jobs off shore.  It was America at Her best.

Unlike some Republicans and so-called “conservatives,” I do believe that the Industry of a nation can poison the waters and pollute the air to dangerous degrees and I am pretty certain that as long as entrepreneurs are raking in profits at runaway rates there is every temptation to ignore ecological damage or to make excuses for it or to fight regulations against it with everything at their disposal.  That would be human nature at work.

But I want my grandchildren to be able to drink water without dropping like flies in a spray storm, I want them to be able to eat food free of toxins and I definitely want future generations to be free of an obligation to wear gas masks every time they go out the door.

Another reason I can’t agree with Republicans concerns the military might and strength of our country.

Ree-pugs want to cut back, cut down and cut out spending taxpayer money on so many things that I think they fail to realize that if they get their way whacking the national budget, they will no longer ( at some point) be able to afford maintenance of a giant military establishment and it will either dwindle in size or lose much of its defense capability and that is not a place that I want to see The United States get to.  But it seems to be a place that a lot of Republicans are determined to see that we get to and I think it is utter madness and I want no part in it.

Then there is  what seems to me to be the inescapable fact that if I were a devoted, true-believing, dyed-in-the-wool Ree-publican, every thought I think and every move I make would be dictated more or less by somebody else’s idea of religion.

It wouldn’t matter whether my faith agreed with that of those appointed over me to govern my ways – – they would, somehow find a way to weave their pet beliefs into the very laws that govern the nation and I would have to obey things that I might not agree with just because some elected officials calling themselves Ree-publicans or Conservatives or Right Wing Chrees-chuns had the Bible ( or some other religious document) stuck where the Sun don’t shine.

I am definitely not anti-God as some Righties like to make out that I am but I am also opposed to living in an oligarchy with theological laws replacing the free democratic republic in which I now find myself.

I hate the thought of religious dictatorship even if it be a subtle one and I think if the country were permanently run by the  far right or the right wing radicals that is exactly what we would have for ourselves.

In the world in which I live, it looks to me like  a whole lot of Republicans, right wingers and so-called “conservatives”  have an awfully  low tolerance for people who don’t think the way they do and so there are classes of people who somehow get treated like second class citizens – gays and certain ethnicities for example. ( Women to some extent also.).

My world – my ideal world has acceptance in its heart for all people of all persuasions and all religions and all backgrounds and all choices of lifestyle and it is a real acceptance and not just a token acceptance and it is all part of the ideological perspective that I think of as “Liberal.”  My open-hearted, open-minded view of the world is, in my opinion, diametrically opposed to everything the Right, the Far Right, The Far Right Extreme, The Conservative and The Republicans view as their ideal or that they stand for.

I want my kids to get a really broad general education about how things really are in the world so they can be prepared to cope with the  real world once they are released into it and on their own.  I do not want my kids heads filled with the dystopian fantasies of the contemporary Right with their anti-science, anti-public education, home schooled nonsense that I believe creates graduates who are no smarter than the parents who taught them in the home school environment and which have no earthly idea of how to compete in an ever-expanding society that becomes more technically and scientifically complex with every day that passes.

I do not want my life or the life of my children and grandchildren dictated by the stiff-necked views of some religion bearing the seal of approval of the tight-a**ed Right!  Pure, plain and simple.

I want tolerance,acceptance in inclusivity instead of intolerance, denial of rights and exclusivity.  That is another reason I chose to approach Life from a more leftist stance.

The thought of waking up and seeing two Right Wing eyes staring at me as I do whatever is done in private bedrooms is appalling to me but I think they would like to stick their probing noses into every single facet and detail of private lives regardless of all the preaching they do about individual liberties and rights.

The Right Wing is always preaching about the evils and shortcomings of what they call “Big Government,” but I have discovered that unfailingly if the accoutrements of “Big Government” serves some purpose they are hot to trot about, then “Big Government” tactics and techniques are just fine with them.  I think that is one of the points about which they are most hypocritical and it is so open and obvious and visible as to be gut wrenchingly nauseating sometimes.

Finally folks, one of the reasons that I parted ways with my dearly departed Daddy on all things political and embraced a more Liberal life was because I wanted to belong to some political ideology that is “For” something and not “Against” almost everything that can be imagined.  I wanted to belong to the Party of “Can Do,” “Yes” and “Progress” instead of a Party of “No, No You Cant” and “Lets Go Back To The Days Of Horse Manure In The Streets And Outhouses Out Back.”

 

John Liming publishes American Liberal Times.
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