In this episode of “Ive Got Issues,” I interview J-Street spokesperson Alan Elsner and Chicago progressive Advocate Andy Thayer. The discussions include the Mideast peace process, the lousy airlines, and current politics.
Truth Wins Out is a proud co-sponsor of The Chicago Forum on LGBTI Solidarity in Africa. There will be some wonderful events taking place Friday-Sunday and I hope you will attend.
Check out the full schedule on Facebook.
We need to do everything in our power to stop the export of hate abroad and hold the American zealots who foment intolerance overseas responsible for their actions. Attending these events is a good way to help the cause and learn what you can to contribute. I hope to see you there.Read More »
Hillary Clinton is poised to run for President. This week she began her book tour for her new memoir, “Hard Choices.” She will be trailed by a blue and while campaign bus from an outside group, Ready for Hillary.
We know at least one person who doesn’t support her: Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.
That male chauvinist pig insulted Hillary in an interview with French television station. Putin was asked about Clinton’s recent remarks that the Russian leader was trying to redraw the boundaries in Eastern Europe just like Adolf Hitler did in the 1930s. Putin responded:
“It’s better not to argue with women. But Mrs. Clinton has never been too graceful in her statements. When people push boundaries too far, it’s not because they are strong but because they are weak. But maybe weakness is not the worst quality for a woman.”
What an absolute pig. A misogynistic KGB thug.
The best thing that could ever happen to Russia is a coup, where Putin ends up hiding in a rat hole, just like Saddam Hussein. That failed nation desperately needs regime change. Vladimir Putin is a nightmare for Russia and people there are too wrapped up in a blind nationalistic fervor to see what a threat he is to world peace and stability.
Equally alarming, Russia is exporting its despicable propaganda through sophisticated media mouthpieces like state sponsored, RT. This international television network, which is Putin’s personal version of FOX News, is the new face of fascism, which soft peddles extremism and grossly distorts reality so it conforms to Putin’s convoluted fantasy world.
Surprisingly, one can view RT’s cascade of lies on American cable television. Last night I watched RT throw softballs to French extremist Marine Le Pen, who runs the far right National Front. Prior to this pathetic excuse for an interview, RT was peddling disinformation about the crisis in Ukraine, making it seem as if the government in Kiev was attacking innocent bystanders in the eastern half of that nation, when it was actually dislodging violent Russian thugs and sympathizers from government property.
We need to keep a watchful eye on RT, which should be renamed PR, for its transparent public relations efforts in support of the Kremlin’s nefarious activities. Laughably, RT’s advertising slogan is “Question More.”
Yet, the obsequious so-called reporters at RT don’t seem to be asking more questions about Russia’s crippling corruption, its crackdown on innocent LGBT people, the Russian Orthodox Church leader Patriarch Kirill’s $30,000 luxury watch (surely approved by Jesus), the rise in neo-Nazism, Putin’s increasingly authoritarian style and allegedly hidden billions, the illegal invasion of Crimea, endemic racism and anti-Semitism, the human rights abuses in Chechnya, the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko with polonium-210, the Pussy Riot imbroglio, the graft at the Sochi Olympics, and why chess champion Garry Kasparov and so many other Russians feel compelled to live in exile.
Anyway, back to Hillary Clinton. It seems that Vladimir Putin’s misogynistic statements may have been in response to her new memoir. In her book, she wrote about discussions with the Obama White House over Russia:
“Not everyone agrees with my relatively harsh analysis. Russia under Putin remains frozen between the past they can’t let go of and the future they can’t bring themselves to embrace.”
That seems like a pretty sober description of modern Russia. It shows Hillary called it right.
The most amusing part of Putin’s statement was when he called Clinton “weak”? This critique is coming from a man who appears to be in constant crisis with his own masculinity. We are talking about a head of state that is supposed to be mature, yet has to have his fragile ego constantly massaged. Instead of standard pictures, such as sitting at a desk or contemplating in a library, the intrepid Russian leader insists on being photographed tranquilizing tigers, playing ice hockey, or practicing judo. Or he’s photographed shirtless on horseback or fishing. It seems like it’s only a matter of time before we get locker room pictures of Putin showing off his junk.
What the hell is wrong with this guy? He doesn’t seem right in the head.
Interestingly, Hillary addresses sexism in her book. She writes:
“As to the sexism that surfaced during the campaign, I knew it arose from cultural and psychological attitudes about women’s roles in society. But that didn’t make it any easier for me and my supporters.”
A lot of pundits are saying that Hillary has to loosen up and let go to win. But, I think she really came around in the last campaign when she wept in New Hampshire. It humanized her. After she cried she became a much better candidate. She finally let go and her true personality came out. And people liked what they saw.
The same can be said for Al Gore. He was a total stiff when he ran for president. He had that stupid lock box and talked like an overly ambitious Frankenstein. Then he lost the election (well, to be accurate, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas stole it from him). But the experience changed him. He became interesting and cool – and much more likely to win by a wider margin had he chosen to run again.
Just like Gore, Hillary can’t want the prize so much that she is paralyzed and afraid to take risks. But from everything I’ve seen, she’s a pretty good candidate and off to a solid start.
However, the sexism exemplified by Putin is real, both at home and abroad. In the last campaign when she laughed, it was derided as a cackle. Instead of focusing on her vast experience and knowledge, we had a chorus of human hyenas who were obsessed with how she dressed.
Finally, there is always the stereotype of a woman being judged as too soft on foreign policy or too much of a stickler when giving orders to men. It definitely is a challenge for Clinton to overcome the vestiges of sexism. However, America made strides towards shedding its horrific history of prejudice when we elected our first African American president. It is only a matter of time – some say 2016 — before we have our first woman president. Personally, I hope it will be Hillary Clinton. She’s got what it takes, and she’s earned it.Read More »
I don’t know about you, but I am so sick of the airlines. They keep getting worse and worse.
First, they came for your free snacks. Remember those? Complimentary peanuts and cookies. Gone.
Now, when you sit on the runway forever and you get hungry, you have to buy snacks. That’s more money out of your pocket.
Next, they started charging for every bag, so you have to under pack or get slammed with exorbitant charges. This might boost airline profits, but it is terrible for the economy. Tourists used bring empty suitcases to fill with souvenirs – now they don’t, which harms retail outlets.
Have you looked at airline prices lately? They are through the roof and unaffordable to normal, working people. What the airlines have done is merge, which killed competition, cut down the number of flights and raised the prices. So now they have fewer planes, but the ones they do have are packed with people who can afford the spike in prices. The rest of America is shut out from what used to be a relatively inexpensive way to travel.
If that’s not enough, the airlines have gotten brazen in their abuse of passengers. They shrunk the size of second-class seats at a time when America’s butts are the biggest they have been in our nation’s history. So, aside from your own uncomfortable seat, you have love handles spilling over into your seat from the chunky person sitting next to you.
They shrunk the seats in second class, to add more in first class. And these first class seats keep getting larger and more luxurious – because thanks to huge tax cuts, the wealthiest Americans have more disposable income. They sure as hell aren’t going to ride in steerage with the rest of us, so they upgrade – because they can.
Now, many of the seats don’t even recline, which means riding is downright uncomfortable. I would argue, it can cause back pain and harm customers. The way it’s going, we are soon going to fly subway-style, where we stand up and grab onto a handgrip. Really, isn’t that the direction we are going in?
If you are going to pack working people like sardines into a levitating tin can, after you’ve already placed them in long lines, and made them strip half naked to make sure they aren’t terrorists — tempers are going to flare.
The airlines reported more than 8,200 incidents of air rage worldwide last year — that’s up from more than 5,200 in 2012.
You know what really pisses me off? Instead of taking responsibility for upsetting fliers, the airlines are blaming the customers. The airlines recently met in Doha, Qatar to figure out ways to spank the misbehaving fliers. They offered intense training for flight attendants and encouraged airlines to go after problem passengers for the cost of these disruptions — as much as $200,000 each instance for diverted flights, covering passengers who miss connections, extra fuel and ground crew costs.
If a person flying is an idiot, they deserve to pay consequences. But, the sharp rise in incidents either means we – the public – are a 63 percent crazier than we were in 2012, or the airlines are doing something to drive us insane. I think it’s the latter.
The nightmare of flying today is a mirror of our society and reflects a Koch Brothers world in the modern gilded age. You are either well-to-do or “screw you.” There is not much in between.
If we had a real Congress that actually worked for the American people, they would step in and create competition. This would bring down prices, and the airlines would begin competing again for the business of ALL Americans, not just the upscale market. Suddenly, we’d have our cookies back and have leg room.
Wouldn’t that be nice?
What we don’t want is to live in an airline-style world where a few lucky ones have all the amenities, and the rest are crammed into a floating metal tube – and then the kings and queens in front of the plane wonder why the rabble seems disturbed. (I also feel bad for the flight attendants. They had nothing to do with the changes impacting consumers, but they get the brunt of the blame, because they are the ones who fliers interact with)
Now, I don’t have a problem with having a First Class section. But, the gap between flying first class and economy class shouldn’t be widening — like our incomes. To treat customers like caged animals is wrong, and shows that these airlines have no class.Read More »
We begin with the topic of the week, the rescue of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.
President Barack Obama was correct to rescue Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. This isn’t about whether he deserted his post, but whether America will desert service members in their darkest hour of need. Of course, we all prefer unambiguous, heroic endings, such as when former NFL football player turned Army soldier, Pat Tillman, was killed by foreign enemies in Afghanistan. Oh, wait, that was a tale from the Bush PR machine hiding the fact that Tillman had been killed by friendly fire.
Once again, Republicans are turning what should be a unifying moment into a divisive political issue. The visceral hatred for our black president runs so deep that many GOP lawmakers are reflexively petty and partisan. Last week, the Republicans were mindlessly attacking Michele Obama’s effort to have school cafeterias serve healthy lunches to students. This week, they have degraded this nation by suggesting we should leave an American soldier in the hands of the Taliban.
Former U.N. Ambassador under George W. Bush, John Bolton, bitterly companied that what Obama did was “negotiate with terrorists…for the exchange of hostages.” Florida Sen. Marco Rubio whined that the deal “could encourage future terrorist kidnappings of Americans.”
Are Bolton and Rubio really suggesting that last week the Taliban was allowing American tourists to happily stroll in the bazaar’s of Kandahar – yet thanks to Obama’s POW trade, they are now out to get us? This line of so-called reasoning is ludicrous beyond comprehension.
If the policy of America is to abandon those who damage this country – then I guess we should leave Bolton and Rubio behind if they are ever kidnapped. After all, they continue to grievously harm this country with their wacky ideas and pathological obstruction of our president.
Even more pathetic is Sen. John McCain, who four months ago said:
“Obviously, I’d have to know the details but I would support ways of bringing him home and if exchange was one of them I think that would be something we should seriously consider.”
Now that Obama did exactly what he suggested, McCain has predictably changed his tune.
“I would not have made this deal,” McCain said this week, calling the exchange “troubling” and a “great threat.”
No, a great threat is choosing Sarah Palin to be Vice President, putting her one heartbeat away from controlling our nuclear arsenal. John McCain has become such a dishonorable hypocrite, that it’s difficult to remember that there was a time when he was regarded by some as a straight shooter who served the best interests of his country.
Not to be outdone, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the reigning dean of the Fred Thompson School of presidential primary busts, said that freeing Bergdahl was an effort to distract public attention from the Veteran’s Administration scandal.
“Here’s the bigger concern for me, and I really would like for somebody to take a look at this and answer it — was this done to take the VA off the front page of the newspapers?” Perry said during an appearance on Fox News’ “Hannity.”
Unfortunately, Perry is delusional enough to think he has a shot at the White House in 2016. He spoke at the Texas GOP convention this week, making it clear that he was considering a run. According to the Dallas Morning News, Perry gave “a rabble-rousing speech about the future of American leadership, laying the groundwork for a potential second presidential run after leaving the Texas stage.”
I guess forgetting the name of entire federal departments to shut down, peddling in conspiracy theories, and suggesting we allow a POW to die in the hands of the Taliban is what Perry considers the leadership of tomorrow. Apparently, the governor’s memory hasn’t improved, or would have recalled how he humiliated himself during his 2012 flame out. I suppose he can soon join the other scarecrows in Iowa in wishing that he “only had a brain.”
Back to the Bergdahl smear campaign – South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham’s hyperbole sunk to new depths by claiming that Obama’s release of five prisoners from Guantanamo might be considered an impeachable offense.
These half-witted hypocrites act as if such a prisoner exchange is unprecedented. David Brooks, a conservative columnist with the New York Times, pointed out that Israel once traded 1,027 Palestinian prisoners to get back a single Israeli soldier. On another occasion, Israel swapped 1,150 prisoners for three of their soldiers. And, as we know, the threat of terrorism in Israel is substantially higher than it is in the United States.
No one wants to free these dangerous Taliban slugs. However, if we desire continued protection from such monsters, our service members need to know we have their backs and we will do everything in our power to ensure they return home safely.Read More »