March 26, 2010 A Depressing State of Affairs - History

March 26, 2010 A Depressing State of Affairs - History

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A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman

March 26, 2010 A Depressing State of Affairs

Ok, I will be upfront. As I write this I am depressed about the situation. Ideology has been allowed to get the best of pragmatism, and now Israel is in the sights of a President who thinks he can accomplish anything. That was the sense President Obama projected when he took office. Though for a while the difficulties he was running into with the Health care debate seemed to diminish Obama's omnipotence, his victory on health care and his agreement today with Russia on arms control certainly restores that sense. Of course, in this case, the President is very mistaken, but that is not what is relevant at the moment.

At the moment, what is relevant is the fact that until he learns otherwise, he sees Israel, and specifically Prime Minister Netanyahu, as the obstacle to reaching a peace agreement. Its not clear if the issue is really "building in Jerusalem" or an even more problematic position for Netanyahu, the question of substantive talks. There is some sense that what the Obama administration really wants is for Israel to agree in advance to some version of the peace proposal that Olmert offered the Palestinians before leaving office, a proposal the Palestinians did not accept–– which by all accounts, was the most generous offer an Israeli prime Minister ever offered the Palestinians.

Netanyahu, both from his own beliefs, and certainly the beliefs of his fellow Likud party members and coalition partners, will find it almost impossible to agree to the US Administration's request. However, it is clear to everyone that without returning to that position there is no chance of an agreement. Mind you, I do not believe we can come to an agreement even if we reoffer Olmert's terms, but unfortunately, the world (and in this case the American administration), need to learn every few years, that ultimately it is not Israel that is the barrior to a final peace agreement.

Yes it's unfair etc. etc., but that is the reality of the situation. If the Netanyahu government does not wise up to that situation, I am not sure where we end up--- Likely, an isolated Israel with Iran having nuclear weapons. I repeat what I said last week. "Diplomacy is war by another means". If the Israeli government does not realize that (of course a government that can have Lieberman as foreign minister is clueless), then things are going to be very rough. From Netanyahu’s and the cabinets comments today it does not look good.

To add to the sense of depression, Israel lost two soldiers today inside Gaza, in the area adjacent to the border. The army was conducting, what seems to be a regular incursion inside the border, and they ended up in a close quarters fight with Palestinian armed fighters. In the fire fight the deputy commander of the Golani unit in the area (a major) was killed, as was a second soldier. To underscore the tragic nature of the event, the major’s brother, also in Golani was killed ten years ago in Lebanon.

Finally, to round out my depression, Yuval Elituzur has just written a book, loosely titled "The threat within". In the book Elituzur explains the increasingly clear demograhic trends, with 60% of the Charedim living below poverty, with only 20% of the Charedi men working. With their growth rate at 6.5% a year and the rest of the population at only 1.5% Elituzur makes it clear that at this rate, even without all the problems referenced above, Israel’s future is endangered. He at least suggests some partial solutions. Elituzur's main suggestion is to force their children to receive a basic education. It seems the new Education Law passed last year, which gave certain additional beniftis to the Charedi education system, also included the requirement that all kids up to 14 receive a basic education (with math and language standards). The only problem is that the Chardi community, like usual, took the benefits without implementing any of the requirements. How to implement this plan, even if the Charedi community is willing, seems very problematic–– since there are no teachers in the community to teach these subjects, and considering the continued rapid increase in the size of their community, it seems very hard to see to accomplish this goal.

AMERICAN POLITICS: A Sad State of Affairs!

“I told the people of my district that I would serve them faithfully as I had done but if not…you may all go to hell, and I will go to Texas…” Col. Davy Crockett, Tennessee Congressman (circa 1834, after being defeated for re-election, before the Battle of the Alamo)

Yep, Davy Crockett- my hero back when and my hero, now. When I was a kid, growing up yonder, in Kentucky, way over in the next hollar (mountain speak, meaning down the road a spell), across the Tennessee border where my mother was born, all kinds of folk- white, black and in-between– used to weave all sorts of tales about our common folk hero, Davy Crockett- better known as “King of the Wild Frontier.” Shucks, I still recall the Walt Disney mini-series with Fess Parker (as Davy Crockett) and ol’ Buddy Ebsen (as George Russel) teaming up to shovel some good ole fashion morality and frontier justice right into our living rooms through those tired ol’ black-and-white television sets. You know them, the ones so old that you had to use pliers to turn the channels and coat hangers to replace the “rabbit ears” antennae. But, until recently, I never thought much about Davy Crockett, as a Congressman, down in Lawrence County, Tennessee. It was just that catchy theme-song tune (the “Ballad of Davy Crockett”), his cool-looking coonskin cap and ever-present long-barrel, Kentucky rifle that caught most of my attention!

Frankly, I can’t even recall much of the “Davy Crockett Goes to Congress” series. I was only about 10 years old, back then. But, historical research reveals that he had quite a bit to say, on behalf of the people in his district. And, he didn’t bite his tongue much in opposing prevailing political shenanigans, inefficiency and greed. That was then. But, perhaps, we could use him, today, considering the pitiful state of politics in this country. Here’s what he had to say to his Congressional cohorts on the sad state of affairs, back then:

“The broken fenced state o’ the nation, the broken banks, broken hearts, and broken pledges o’ my brother Congressman here around me, has riz the boiler o’ my indignation clar up to the high pressure pinte, an’ therefore I have riz to let off the steam of my hull hog patriotism, without round-about- ation, and without the trimmins. The truth wants no trimmins for in her clar naked state o’ natur she’s as graceful as a suckin colt i’ the sunshine. Mr. Speaker! What in the name o’ kill-sheep-dog rascality is the country a- comin’ to? Whar’s all the honor? no whar! an thar it’ll stick! Whar’s the state revenue? Every whar but whar it ought to be!…

“Why, Mr. Speaker, don’t squint with horror, when I tell you that last Saturday mornin’ Uncle Sam hadn’t the first fip to give to the barbet! The banks suspend payment, and the starving people suspend themselves by ropes! Old Currency is flat on his back, the bankers have sunk all funds in the safe arth o’ speculation, and some o’ these chaps grinnin’ around me are as deep in the mud as a heifer in a horse-pond!

“Whar’s the political honesty o’ my feller congressmen? why, in bank bills and five acre speeches! Whar’s all thar patriotism? in slantendicular slurs, challenges, and hair trigger pistols! Whar’s all thar promises? every whar! Whar’s all thar perfomances on ’em? no whar, and the poor people bellering arter ’em everywhere like a drove o’ buffaloes arter their lazy keepers that, like the officers here, care for no one’s stomach, but their own etarnal intarnals!

“What in the nation have you done this year? why, waste paper enough to calculate all your political sins upon, and that would take a sheet for each one o’ you as long as the Mississippi. and as broad as all Kentucky. You’ve gone ahead in doin’ nothin’ backwards, till the hull nation’s done up. You’ve spouted out a Mount Etny o’ gas, chawed a hull Allegheny o’ tobacco, spit a Niagary o’ juice, told a hail storm o’ lies, drunk a Lake Superior o’ liquor, and all, as you say, for the good o’ the nation but I say, I swar, for her etarnal bankruptification!

“Tharfore, I move that the ony way to save the country is for the hull nest o’ your political weasels to cut stick home instanterly, and leave me to work Uncle Sam’s farm, till I restore it to its natural state o’ cultivation, and shake off these state caterpillars o’ corruption. Let black Dan Webster sittin there at the tother end o’ the desk turn Methodist preacher let Jack Calhoun settin’ right afore him with his hair brushed back in front like a huckleberry bush in a hurrycane, after Old Hickory’s topknot, turn horse- jockey. Let Harry Clay sittin’ thar in the corner with his arms folded about his middle like grape vines around a black oak, go back to our old Kentuck an’ improve o’ lawyers an’ other black sheep. Let old Daddy Quincy Adams sittin’ right behind him thar, go home to Massachusetts, an’ write political primers for the suckin’ politicians let Jim Buchanan go home to Pennsylvania an’ smoke long nine, with the Dutchmen. Let Tom Benton, bent like a hickory saplin with ull rollin’, take a roll home an’ make candy “mint drops” for the babies:–for they’ve worked Uncle Sam’s farm with the all-scratchin’ harrow o’ rascality, ’till it’s as gray as a stone fence, as barren as barked clay, and as poor as as turkey fed on gravel stones!

“And, to conclude, Mr. Speaker, the nation can no more go ahead under such a state o’things, than a fried eel can swim upon the steam o’ a tea kettle if it can, then take these yar legs for yar hall pillars.”

Except for the thick mountain accent or Kentucky/ Tennessee colloquialisms and a few selected, verbal slaps in the face, his observations just might be applicable, today- maybe the slaps in the face, too. I often wonder how our present-day form of government even manages to make any decisions on behalf of “We the people…”. Both major political parties seem to cancel out each other. Debating seems to be a lost art, but public hearings abound- depending on camera availability. Speeches and conversations stem from sound-bite communication strategies. Personal attacks and slurs dominate emotionally charged baiting of “the opposition”– all without objective evidence. Ignorant racial innuendo replaces reason. Hunches replace statistical analysis. Daily political polls determine ultimate courses of action. Merciless scandals- sexual and financial- show no pity on political popularity or longevity. Problems or issues are now painted as, either, “Republican” or “Democratic”– not national. So are their “answers.” And, once objective news reporting stinks of political contamination- across the entire journalistic spectrum!

But, perhaps, I’m simply looking through the wrong kind of lenses- the same lenses used by most hard-working, tax-weary but proud-to-pay Americans, civilian or military- active duty or veteran. The same lenses used by many, perhaps, politically naïve enough to still believe and trust in a system founded on the essence of representation. Maybe we should just be satisfied with the Center for Responsive Politics recent report that the total cost of the 2008 Presidential Campaign was approximately $2.5 Billion- to get a $400,000-a-year job! And, the president is limited to only two 4-year terms! Plus, that’s aside from the on-going efforts to elect or re-elect senators or representatives, from every nook and cranny, as well as every hollar, to unlimited 6- and 2-year terms, respectively.

Shucks, with that kind of access to public- and, often questionable or surreptitious- finance, it’s no wonder many become “professional politicians,” serving, 30 to 35 years and beyond. Surely, some reform must be in order!

WHAT DO YOU THINK? What kind of reforms might be in order, today? Or, what do think Davy Crockett would say, today?

The Sad State of Affairs of the U.S. Icebreaking Fleet and Implications for Future U.S. Arctic Operations

On 1 Sep 2015, while visiting Alaska, President Obama announced that he would speed up the acquisition of icebreakers to help the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) operate in the Arctic. A Congressional Research Service report entitled, Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker Modernization: Background and Issues for Congress, was issued on 2 Sep 2015. You can download this report at the following link:

This report asserts that a new heavy polar icebreaker will cost in the range from $900 million to $1.1 billion. The report also provides an interesting history of prior USCG assessments of their icebreaker needs and budget actions taken over the past few years that significantly reduced the budget available to pursue new icebreaker acquisition.

Role of the National Science Foundation

In 2006, the G.W. Bush administration moved budget and management authority for the U.S. polar icebreaker fleet from the USCG to the National Science Foundation (NSF). The USCG retained custody of the polar icebreakers, which continue to be operated by USCG crews. This arrangement is recorded in the following 2006 document: Memorandum of Agreement Between United States Coast Guard and National Science Foundation Regarding Polar Icebreaking Support and Reimbursement. You can read the details of this convoluted agreement at the following link:

The current U.S. polar icebreaker fleet

Currently the entire U.S. national capability for Arctic and Antarctic icebreaking operations is found in a very small icebreaking fleet consisting of:

  • One heavy polar icebreaker, Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star
    • Commissioned in 1976
    • Displacement: 13,194 tons
    • Horsepower: 75,000 hp (gas turbines) + 18,000 hp (diesels)
    • Commissioned in 1999
    • Displacement: 16,000 tons
    • Horsepower: 30,000 (diesels)

    In addition to this active “fleet”, the U.S. also has an inactive heavy polar icebreaker the Polar Sea (sister ship of Polar Star), which was commissioned in 1978 and placed in inactive commission in Seattle, WA in 2010 after a major propulsion plant equipment casualty. A 2013 USCG analysis, required by Congress to forestall the planned scrapping of the Polar Sea, showed that Polar Sea could be rehabilitated and reactivated for a fraction of the cost of building a new icebreaker. Polar Sea remains in inactive commission.

    Polar Star & Polar Sea together in happier days.

    In 2006, NSF put Polar Star in caretaker status due to equipment aging / wear-out issues. The ship originally was designed for a 30 year operating life. After a modest refurbishment, the ship returned to Antarctic service in late 2013. Polar Star is expected to continue operating until about 2020.

    After Polar Sea suffered its major propulsion system casualty in 2010, and until the Polar Star returned to service in late 2013, the medium icebreaker Healy was the only active U.S. polar icebreaker.

    In February 2015, the USCG reported that it needed three heavy and three medium icebreakers to cover the U.S. “anticipated needs” in the Arctic and Antarctic. Six different U.S. agencies have missions in Polar regions.

    U.S. Coast Guard’s 2013 Review of Major Icebreakers of the World is a chart that provides a good visual representation of the world’s icebreaker fleets. This chart is reproduced below, but you may need to go to the following link to see a more readable and downloadable pdf version of this chart:

    The icons in this chart for the U.S. icebreaker fleet include the Polar Star, Polar Sea (inactive) and Healy, as expected. The other two vessels are:

    • Nathaniel B. Palmer, a privately owned, ice capable research ship leased by NSF to support Antarctic science missions.
    • Aiviq, a privately owned icebreaking, anchor-handling tug supply vessel chartered by Royal Dutch Shell to support their oil exploration activities in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska.

    So, really, the U.S. currently only has two polar icebreakers. One typically serves the Antarctic and one serves the Arctic. In 2013, the USCG got approval too explore developing a new heavy-duty icebreaker. In mid-2015, the USCG website reports:

    “The Coast Guard is in the preliminary phase of a new, heavy polar icebreaker acquisition program. This stage in the process includes developing a formal mission need statement, a concept of operations, and an operational requirements document – all necessary before developing and implementing a detailed acquisition plan.”

    Russia’s polar icebreaker fleet

    In comparison, the USCG’s 2013 chart shows that Russia fields almost 40 icebreakers with up to a dozen more planned or under construction. Russia has national plans to exploit its Arctic resources along the Northern Sea Route, which passes through the Arctic Ocean along the north coast of Russia. Nuclear-powered icebreakers play important roles in those plans.

    The first of the new LK-60 nuclear-powered heavy polar icebreakers, Arktika, is under construction in St. Petersburg’s Baltic Shipyard and is expected to enter service in 2017. Its icebreaking bow was installed in August 2015.

    Contracts for two additional LK-60-class icebreakers were placed in May 2014. They are scheduled for delivery in 2019 and 2020.

    U.S. Navy Arctic Roadmap 2014 – 2030

    The recently published U.S. Navy Arctic Roadmap 2014 – 2030 includes the following observations:

    • U.S. Navy expects the Arctic “to remain a low threat security environment where nations resolve differences peacefully.”
    • It sees its role as mostly a supporter of U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) operations and responder to search-and-rescue and disaster situations.
    • However, the presence of vast resource endowments and territorial disagreements “contributes to a possibility of localized episodes of friction in the Arctic Region, despite the peaceful intentions of the Arctic nations.”
    • “Navy functions in the Arctic Region are not different from those in other maritime regions however, the Arctic Region environment makes the execution of many of these functions much more challenging.”

    Regarding the first and third points, above, Russian activities in the Arctic during the past year suggest that the U.S. Navy has underestimated, at least publically, the likelihood of non-peaceful actions in the Arctic and the potential need for a military response in the region. Recent Russian activities in the Arctic highlight this risk.

    Given the poor state of the U.S. polar icebreaker fleet, I would say that the last point, above, is a gross understatement. The USCG and the Navy are not well-positioned for surface operations in the Arctic Ocean. Surface naval operations in ice-covered Arctic regions will be almost impossible to execute without a capable U.S. icebreaker fleet.

    You can download a copy of the Navy’s Arctic Roadmap at the following link:

    Examples of worrisome recent Russian activities in the Arctic are:

    • Since early 2014, Russia has been conducting bomber and fighter missions close to the airspace of its Arctic neighbors. This kind of military behavior has not been seen since the Cold War ended in the early 1990s.
    • 1 December 2014: Russia’s new Arctic Joint Strategic Command became operational. This provides central management of all Russian military resources in the Arctic, and there are a lot of them. The new command, based on the Northern Fleet and headquartered at Severomorsk, will acquire military, naval surface and strategic nuclear subsurface, air force and aerospace defense units, assets, and bases transferred from other Russian Military Districts
    • 15 – 20 March 2015: Russia conducted a massive, five-day military exercise in the Arctic involving about 80,000 troops, 220 aircraft, 41 ships, and 15 submarines. This exercise was conducted on the one-year anniversary of the Russian annexation of Crimea.
    • 4 August 2015: Russia’s Foreign Ministry confirmed that Russia had re-submitted to the United Nations it’s Arctic extended continental shelf claim. Russia is seeking recognition for its formal economic control of 1.2 million square kilometers (463,320 square miles) of Artic sea shelf extending more than 350 nautical miles from the shore.

    The new U.S. Arctic Executive Steering Committee

    In contrast to Russia’s new Arctic Joint Strategic Command, President Obama issued an Executive Order in 15 January 2015 setting up the Arctic Executive Steering Committee, which will be responsible for enhancing coordination of national efforts in the Arctic. How this new Steering Committee will affect progress on revitalizing the U.S. polar icebreaker fleet remains to be seen. You can read the full text of this Executive Order at the following link:

    The bottom line

    The U.S. is well behind the power curve for conducting operations in the Arctic that require icebreaker support. Even with a well-funded new U.S. icebreaker construction program, it will take a decade before the first new ship is ready for service, and by that time, the new ship will be entering the fleet just as the Polar Star is retiring or entering a comprehensive life-extension refurbishment program.

    If you find yourself icebound in the Arctic anytime in the next decade, I think your best bet is to call the Canadians or the Russians for help.

    5 February 2016 update:

    In mid-January 2016, former Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Bob Papp made the following points at the annual Surface Navy Association meeting near Washington D.C.:

    • The U.S. will need eight icebreakers if it decides to have one patrolling in each polar region at all times. The Coast Guard has never been able to support that high an operational tempo.
    • U.S. Arctic policy is a matter of national security not just a matter of defense. The State Department’s vision focuses as well on sovereign rights and responsibilities of Arctic nations, maritime safety, energy, economic interests, environmental stewardship, scientific research and support to indigenous peoples.
    • More icebreakers are essential, because the U.S. can’t support its policies without being physically able to move about in the polar regions.

    Read more details at the following link:

    The current Coast Guard Commandant, Adm. Paul Zukunft, has stated that the schedule for the new icebreaker procurement program calls for a contract award for one icebreaker by fall 2019, with production beginning in 2020. Initial operational capability for this first new icebreaker would not be until the mid-2020s. A Federal Business Opportunity (FBO) notice for the USCG Polar Icebreaker Replacement Program was posted online on 13 January 2016. You can read the FBO notice and download the industry data package at the following link:

    A sad state of affairs — Bad Company seemingly fail to mention ex-singer Brian Howe passing away

    It’s been three days since Metal Sludge first broke out the sad news that former Bad Company lead vocalist Brian Howe passed away. Howe had the formidable task of replacing Paul Rodgers in the band back in 1986 after guitarist Mick Ralphs and drummer Simon Kirke decided to resurrect the group from a four-year hiatus.

    Howe ended up playing on the following Bad Company records — Fame And Fortune (1986), Dangerous Age (1988), Holy Water (1990), Here Comes Trouble (1992) and What You Hear is What You Get: The Best of Bad Company (1993).

    One day after Howe‘s death, Rodgers posted a video on Facebook stating that he was alive and well without mentioning Howe passing away. The Facebook video from Rodgers has since been removed.

    There is seemingly no mention of Howe‘s death on Bad Company‘s website or Facebook account.

    The last post on the band’s Facebook account is from May 6, 2020 at 3:24 pm with Rodgers, Kirke and Ralphs answering some fan questions.

    Even Bad Company‘s “Bio” on their website makes no mention of Howe although the albums that he played on got a fleeting mention (with slight edits):

    “In 1986, Ralphs and Kirke resurrected the Bad Company name. Rodgers who was forming The Firm with Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page was asked for his permission to use the name. “I felt pressured into allowing them to continue using the name I felt that they should form a new band, with a new name and write their own catalogue of songs.” Precisely what Rodgers did with The Firm. “But in the end I agreed thinking that they would move forward with integrity, I was wrong.”

    Over a six-year span from 1986 to 1992, this version of the band released four albums including Fame and Fortune, Dangerous Age, the platinum selling Holy Water and Here Comes Trouble. The band released two more albums, 1995’s Company of Strangers and Stories Told & Untold in 1996. While the music was fairly well played on tours, nothing could replace the writing, stage presence and, of course, those one-of-a-kind vocals that Rodgers brought to the equation. Fans and critics alike began to clamor for a reunion of the original band and finally, it happened when Rodgers got together with Ralphs and Burrell in England to discuss the release of an Anthology of music. Rodgers suggested adding 4 new songs and went to work writing two “Hammer of Love” and “Tracking Down a Runaway” while Ralphs wrote “Hey Hey”, and “Ain’t it Good”.

    The long awaited reunion came together in 1999 and saw the band not only complete a rousing 30-date U.S. tour that drew sell out crowds and much critical acclaim, but also oversee the release of the acclaimed Original Bad Company Anthology that year as well, a dynamic two-CD, 33-song overview of the band’s career released on Elektra Records.”

    It appears that Kirke is the only one out of three remaining original Bad Company members to have publicly made any mention of Howe‘s passing. The following succinct message was posted on Kirke‘s Facebook page on May 7, 2020:

    “I would like to send my condolences to Brian Howe’s family.”

    There is still time for Bad Company to pay a proper tribute to Howe who was an important band member from 1986 to 1994.

    From the front page of today’s LNP print edition (click here to read the story online).

    What a waste of an hour! It was all fluff and nonsense.
    Click here to watch the video of last night’s address by Mayor Sorace and please check back later today. Oh, and who is LNP Correspondent Chris Courogen and what happened to reporter Tim Stuhldreher?

    18 Responses to * A SAD STATE OF AFFAIRS!

    Ray is a lap dog for Josh Parsons and it was Josh that got Ray burned so badly last night. Ray made a total ass out of himself just repeating what Josh Parsons told Ray to say about the election changes. Those two idiots were blaming democrats for changes that republicans wanted! Ray totally screwed up last night in two major ways –

    1. Repeating everything Josh told Ray to say about the election law changes with voting.
    2. Making the motion for lap dog and pathological liar Bryant Glick to be nominated for delegate.

    Bryant Glick is a disgrace even by Trump standards and Ray did Josh’s bidding by nominating Bryant. When everything comes out about Bryant, people will blame Ray and not Josh and that’s exactly how Josh planned it.

    Hello! Bryant’s home committee voted favorably against him and stupid Ray didn’t question why!

    Ray does what Josh tells him to do and Ray gets all the blame.

    Just like Groundhog Day with these swine!

    OMG. I thought I was the only one that was questioning this!
    Bryant Glick reeks of being a total poser and his home committee people despise him.
    Word is Glick is a do-boy for Joshey so they overlooked Bryant’s mountain of lies just like like overlooked Ray having a PFA for chocking his live-in nephew and the Parsons’ patrol that literally attacks everyone else’s home life stayed quiet with Ray’s shortcomings because Josh needs a dummy like Ray to do exactly what a dummy like Ray did last night, repeated nonsense that pissed so many off. Bryan Cutler legit had to save Ray from the delegation that was seriously going to take him outside and curb stomp the stupid out of him. If LNP reporters had half a clue, Ray’s magical moment would have been front page news because Ray literally and unknowingly dissed all of the Republican delegation last night.
    Last night was such an embarrassing shit show that I nearly requested a Scott Martin t-shirt because that side of the committee is looking like the more normal option these days.
    Holy spitballs things have gotten so ludicrous when poser Glick gets to be a delegate over Terry Christopher who is absolute dynamite!

    Correspondent means part time?

    Sort of. AKA stringers and nowadays associates and contract workers. Sometimes tagged “Special to the (insert pub name here).

    I think its pretty clear that the Mayor’s whole schtick is setting herself up for advancement up the elected official foodchain. It’s the reason for all this grandstanding, its the reason for her new Office of Self Promotion, err I mean neighborhood engagement, it’s the reason that all Lancaster’s problems are state/federal and she’s going to fix them when she replaces Martin/Smucker/Toomey/Casey.

    She believes she is Mayor Pete 2.o. Everything she is currently doing is to self promote and to ensure points in the Lancaster/PA Democratic Party system for future nominations/endorsements.

    I can hardly contain myself with this delicious news. A very close friend of mine was a casual observer to the Republican proceedings at the Farm and Home Center last evening. She said the reporter LNP sent to cover the shindig was about 12 and looked terrified. LNP basically sent a mouse to the snake pit. My friend said that the reporter tried her hardest to ask Representative Zimmerman questions and be bulldozed her and LNP over and said they’re hardly a news organization. Is Zimmerman wrong? I think not. He may have been a naughty boy but clearly he isn’t bowing down to LNP and their 12 year old breaking news reporters. Anyone know why Carter Walker was sidelined and not invited to the Republican super bowl?

    Becky, here are the rest of the notes sent to me about last night from my very good girlfriend. She said I could share!!

    Outside of LNP’s whopping fail with Zimmerman it was pretty much business as usual. All the beautiful people were there. And the wretched and wannabes! An interesting tidbit is watching the tide turn with the committee and the spectacle that was a sea of Scott Martin supporters. From what intel I have, the committee has turned and Scott Martin is back to being King in a very big way. Maybe even bigger than before. I know you love that because of your little crush on him tee hee! but it was a bit interesting to watch it all unfold. A few committee people shared with me that things were taken 2 far with Amber Martin and her miscarrying their twins due to extreme stress caused by some in the party that gave her x husband money? is what made this tide rapidly turn. I do not know this all to be fact but it was the talk last evening. Amber appears to be doing very well and she looked really good. I don’t have frequent interactions with her but she appears to always be kind to people. Regardless of whatever I may think of her, miscarriage is no laughing matter and I was told she was pretty far along with her twins. That is sad no matter who you are.
    Lloyd was Lloyd and he had his peppy moments. His wife looked fabulous and I am thinking her boobs may be new. Lucky Lloyd! Guess that Congressional salary has benefited the misses in a double way.
    All the state reps were virtually non existent as no one cared that they were there. The new commissioner, the one with the PFA from his son or nephew (can’t remember) made an ass out of himself for basically making fun of election law updates that all the state representatives voted on and it appears Ray Ray didn’t get that memo so as Ray D’Agostino was mocking the election changes, the state reps were all looking at each other like they wanted to rip Ray’s head off. Ray was blaming “those democrats” for the changes but it was actually the republicans that pushed it. It was so bad that Brian Cutler had to intervene and explain the reasons behind the changes. Ray is either a rebel or a total idiot but since Lloyd Smucker fired Ray back in the day, he must be an idiot. The village idiot is now our Commissioner, right next to the village midget that LNP has a love affair with because the little midget gave all the advertising money back to LNP. Do not even get me started with the intel I have from the sheriffs office. OMG I could write a book!
    Speaking of Commish Parsons, what a mad face he had all night. It has to be hard for someone that worked so hard to be a hit man for certain republicans to try and oust Scott Martin just to watch all the same people either wear Martin’s shirt last night or hang all over him. Politics is such a frigid bitch! What Parsons’ did to Louie still makes me angry to my core and I love watching him burn. He is a racist little liar!
    There was some young gal from York who was very funny. I forget her name but she’s running for Delegate and she was a great breath of fresh air compared to Lloyd and Josh’s speeches. They were awful and mini-Lloyd basically just repeated everything Lloyd said. Their twinning is no longer winning for them as they did much worse with the Delegate race against some virtual nobody. Color me shocked but a black man beat Dennis Stuckey for the auditor race and I was told that many didn’t appreciate Dennis going after Craig Stedman so a sea of white people actually voted for a qualified black man as a result. Amazing! You need to fly back for these occasions as they are truly wonderful little circuses to watch. That’s my report!

    As a committee woman myself, this was a colorful yet accurate description of what happened last night. Although, I am unable to comment on Mrs. Smucker’s breasts, because I did not look. Many interesting things shaped last night and what struck me the most personally was how ill informed Ray was when he gave election updates. I almost feel like someone lied to Ray or mislead him because what Ray said and reported seemed out of character for Ray. Yet, I do agree, all of the state representatives appeared clearly angry with Ray and it may be difficult for Ray to overcome. Personally, I like Ray very much and supported his run but what happened last night does not paint Ray favorably moving forward. Ray came off as clearly uniformed at best or clearly rude and condescending towards our Lancaster delegation and neither paints Ray favorably with the committee moving forward.

    Just a curiosity sort of question: is she related to “those” Slaymakers and how if she is? Asking because I’ve known Slaymakers in the area who were not related at all to “that” family. Shouldn’t make any difference, of course, but we all know how that goes!!

    Depressing State of Pakistani Height [THE WORST —STAN COUNTRY]

    Today, I was looking at the state of Pakistani mens' average height, and I was shocked & became severely dishearten. We did not grow our heights in the past 100 years. In 1896, we were TALLEST country compared to all seven -stans. But, today almost all -stan countries have passed us. We are now second SHORTEST country of all -stans. Why cannot do better and become tallest country again?

    What are your guy's thoughts? What should be plan to increase health & fitess of our country's men? For example, I am 165 cm or 5 foot 5 inches, is there any way to increase height in adult-hood, several years past growth-time?

    El Sidd


    Grandfather born in Himalayan foothills was 6ft 1 inch at the time of his burial. Full set of red hair and blue shining eyes.

    His grandson born in Sindh gets bullied for being too short.

    Perks of religious migration I believe

    Shehr Abbasi


    Grandfather born in Himalayan foothills was 6ft 1 inch at the time of his burial. Full set of red hair and blue shining eyes.

    His grandson born in Sindh gets bullied for being too short.

    Perks of religious migration I believe



    It's probably more related to an influx of people from India after Partition

    Pre Partition you had mostly natural locals

    Also that the increase in Pakistani population has mostly been in places like Sindh as opposed to let's say KP or Kashmir where people tend to be taller

    We also have 220 million population

    PAKISTAN only declared independence in 1947

    It's not clear cut and the stats are a bit iffy

    Shehr Abbasi


    It's probably more related to an influx of people from India after Partition

    Pre Partition you had mostly natural locals

    Also that the increase in Pakistani population has mostly been in places like Sindh as opposed to let's say KP or Kashmir where people tend to be taller

    We also have 220 million population

    PAKISTAN only declared independence in 1947

    It's not clear cut and the stats are a bit iffy



    Grandfather born in Himalayan foothills was 6ft 1 inch at the time of his burial. Full set of red hair and blue shining eyes.

    His grandson born in Sindh gets bullied for being too short.

    Perks of religious migration I believe







    No other country in the world is facing Afghanistan on one side and India on the other

    whole of the world tried Afghanistan invasion and failed but created some of the loyalty and using those people against Pakistan and creating problems for Pakistan. PTM is the prime example, when Pakistan started pak Afghan border wiring, even USA who always bla Pakistan for people attacking its positions from Pakistan didn’t help and agreed to it , this is the state in which Pakistan keep on fighting for its existence

    India is on other side is enemy of Pakistan and it cannot be a good country at all, killing innocent people in Kashmir and holding Kashmiri land which belongs to Pakistan unjustified

    now another side is iran with its own problems and sometimes helping india but now it’s in league with Pakistan and China

    China is the only friendly country as a neighbor of Pakistan

    Show me any other country in the world in constant war like situations like this. Most of these so called powerful countries will become history in such constant events
    It’s our Pakistan and it’s people who are fighting and will keep on fighting



    It's probably more related to an influx of people from India after Partition

    Pre Partition you had mostly natural locals

    Also that the increase in Pakistani population has mostly been in places like Sindh as opposed to let's say KP or Kashmir where people tend to be taller

    We also have 220 million population

    PAKISTAN only declared independence in 1947

    It's not clear cut and the stats are a bit iffy

    The answer is down to stunted growth due to malnutrition. Large parts of our society don't have enough to eat, thier growth is limited.

    Also idiots who treat thier woman like a baby factory. Anyone who has a child will know the physical impact it takes on your wife's health. Then women start breast feeding which also takes extra energy. Meanwhile the idiot gets her pregnant again after a few months. Now she is pregnant and breastfeeding. Neither child gets enough nutrients, especially as the woman is ill and tired through lack of sleep. Then baby 2 is born, 1 is no longer breastfed, number 2 is, she is pregnant again and doesn't have time to chase after number 1 to try and feed it and play with it.

    No physical exercise of urban women. Weak women (and men) produce weak off spring. I can guarantee that where rural people of the same ethnicity and the same economic status compare height with urban people, the rural people will be taller.

    Cousin marriage killing off natural selection. In the past the stronger men (as typically they were likely to come from a stronger economic background too) would get thier pick of the women. Today people are obsessed with cousin marriage - meaning anyone can get a man/woman significantly better than them. This brings down genetic standards and also reduces the gene pool, increasing the risks of genetic disease.

    March 26, 2010 A Depressing State of Affairs - History

    As questions abound, surrounding the absence of any pronouncements or information as promised/required, following word that the MDC Task Force Review has been completed and report delivered, Mr. John E. Ryan, chairman of the MDC board until the entire Board was dismissed in December submitted to the media the following letters. See in boxes

    His email cover to the letters reads: “As you may be aware a GoM/DFID Task Force has just submitted a report on the options available for the operation of MDC going forward. As the immediate Past Chairman of the Corporation I was requested to meet with the Task Force to discuss the matter. As my board and I were booted from office for alleged financial irregularities on the back of a DFID Internal Audit that has subsequently been discovered to contain no evidence or mention of the so-called financial irregularities,

    “I responded to the Task Force’s request to meet with them with a letter that set out the conditions under which I would attend such a meeting. Recently, the Governor in one of his frequent Press Conferences, in a response to a question from a member of the Press Corps said ” that there was nothing sinister going on at MDC”.— whatever that means.

    “The Task Force chose not to respond to my letter therefore I did not meet with them. I have however decided to make my letter to the Task Force available to the public as there is clearly a need for the public to have knowledge of what is transpiring in this beloved land of ours.”

    During the review (February 26, 2015) the new MDC Chairman Mr. Julian Daniel wrote to Mr. Ryan:


    Her son Joseph would bring forth records from prior civilizations that occupied this great land. This land is a Land of Promise that has been given to those who inhabit it by covenant.

    Hypocrisy is an understatement. All I'm hearing from the left now is to come together and heal and embrace the new regime. Even pray for their success. All good sentiments which would be the best thing that could ever happen. But 4 years ago the same people began a daily attack on our president and his supporters that never let up, culminating in a vindictive and flawed attempt to discredit all that was accomplished to maintain our liberty and shift power from an an ever growing, self-serving government back to the people. They could never separate the man from the mission.

    I'm not disillusioned enough to think Trump and his family don't get high on the power and authority they hold. Almost no human doesn't. But at the end of the day, the guy just wanted to preserve and maintain the American way of life that our founders envisioned. He worked hard at it and did a ton of good toward those ends. Now vilified, abandoned by his friends and written off as a failed president, he'll join a host of others who went before that are forgotten as history gets conveniently rewritten. I'm so tired of the media claiming that the election was fair and honest. They have distorted the truth so much that it is now impossible for the public to know where to find it. The cardinal directions are literally upside down and backward. It's a gross display of cognitive dissonance and ignorance. Thousands of people volunteered across the country to help the swing states verify the votes by painstakingly going vote by vote to verify its origin and owner. They discovered widespread voter fraud in a dozen different ways that affected virtually every state. These corruptions didn't begin with this election. It's likely been going on for two decades. This election was the first in which the winner was so far out of the normal flow of election day data, that it warranted a hard look and the loser, not being part of the establishment, was willing to go the distance to exhaust every effort to expose the fraud and reveal it to the public. That effort to bring light to the darkness was not about reelecting a disrespectful rich guy with a potty mouth so he could enjoy the power for another 4 years. it was about ensuring the integrity of future elections. Had he been re-elected, you can bet that he would have enacted laws to reform the way we vote to make sure it never happens again. But now that those who benefitted from the fraud are in power, the result is exactly the opposite. They will ensure the vote only goes one direction. I do not forsee another conservative, constitutional Republican ever being elected to the Presidency. We had a shot to fix this and it's now passed. It's not time to heal, nor time to come together as a country. It's time to flee. Neither party has the right to claim God's favor and certainly nobody anywhere in local, state and federal governments are using this opportunity in the way God intended, which is to warn people to repent and return. I have no idea how the Lord intends to help us escape all this, I just know that he does and has prepared the means. Unlike some, I'm not counting calendar days, thinking about times, time, and half-times, making comparisons to Nauvoo and the time it took them to build a temple, and otherwise mapping out how I think the Lord will handle the next 5-10 years. I hold the opinion that if you think you have it all figured out, you can be sure you are wrong. I ask the Lord every day to just show me the next step and hope like hell I don't turn a deaf ear or a blind eye to it. One step at an time is all I've ever been able to accurately perceive of God's hand in my life and that's likely never to change for me. Although my heart is sad in all this. I know that on the other side of it is something glorious and beautiful. I hope I live to see it.

    I have always struggled to read about God's wrath or anger and how he might "punish" those who do not abide to His laws. When we read those scriptures in Ether about the fulness of his wrath coming upon us when we are ripened in iniquity, I don't necessary imagine a God who has lost his temper. The following quote from the book, Nephi's Isaiah helps clarify what God's anger really is.

    We will finally see the events of history are culminating in a great, final effort to reach us. The “anger” (caused by our rejection of what was offered) is now “turned away.” Actually, it wasn’t really anger. It was our refusal to accept what was offered. We regard it as anger when we can’t get from God what He offers on condition of obedience. We disobey, lose the blessing, and think God is angry with us. It is our perception, based upon our selfish view of everything, that He is angry. We want our God to bless us, and we want to be able to offend Him, too. But since He “cannot look upon sin with the least degree of
    allowance,” we are asking the impossible when we want Him to accompany us as we trample through and among the filth He asks us to avoid.

    As we finally repent and decide to do as He asks, His Spirit returns. We then rejoice and say His anger is turned away, and now He is there to comfort us. All along He was willing to do so, but we are difficult companions. As we reform and the Spirit returns to us, we take great comfort in finally receiving what He offered all along.

    Today is Saturday, February 27, 2016

    Politics as usual? Not anymore. The Republican Party is in serious trouble and the CNN non-debate the other night illustrated all too uncomfortably just how serious their problems are. The GOP leadership has lost control of their ideals and message to the extent that their Speaker, John Boehner, gave up and resigned, and their more traditional and more electable Republican, Jeb Bush, has left the presidential race, leaving two freshman Senators and a non-politician and former Democrat-turned-obnoxious-foul-mouthed-demagogue in the lead. It is a very sad state of affairs for the Party and it does not bode well for them in the future.

    But this is something of their own making and we have seen it coming for at least six or seven years since the Tea Party formed back in February and March of 2009 and the mid-term elections of 2010. At that time, in reaction to the economic collapse and the failures of the G.W. Bush administration that led to the collapse and its policies to try to stop it, fiercely ideological, anti-politics, and anti-Federalism elements within the party attacked the mainstream Republicans and the party leadership, and in coalition with the radical Christian right hijacked the party’s processes and put a stop to ‘politics as usual.’ They allowed no more consensus, no more compromise, no more politics and no more discussion. They dug their heals in and obstructed all political process in the Congress. They blamed ‘government’ and ‘politics as usual’ for the country’s problems, echoing the radical ‘John Bircher’ mentality of the mid-20th century. But then, that mentality has existed in the GOP since the mid-1960s, albeit kept fairly marginalized by party leadership who believed in the political process.

    This anti-political element in the GOP started in 1965 in reaction to their 1964 loss to President Johnson and his liberal social and economic agenda. The Vietnam War destroyed Johnson’s presidency, and in 1968, Richard Nixon courted those radical voices in the GOP and in a strategy known as ‘The Southern Strategy’ successfully courted former conservative Southern Democrats who hated Federalism and the new era of civil rights, integration and social equality. Reagan followed the strategy in 1980, but he expanded his base by allowing a radical Christian right-wing a place at the GOP table. Reagan, however, with Party leadership, was able to keep that radical element from exercising too much influence. In anger, the radical Christian right wing devised a strategy of their own to infiltrate local and state political offices, essentially creating a socially conservative Christian political movement throughout the Midwest and the South. Gradually, over the next twenty-plus years they exercised their political muscle well enough to make serious gains in Congress in 2010. Those freshman congressional Christians found an opportunity to attach themselves to the coattails of the new Tea Party who came in at the same time. Their collective status as ‘outsiders’ and their incredible lack of political experience or understanding of politics as the art of consensus and compromise created havoc in Congress and seriously undermined the effectiveness of government. The more ineffective it became, the louder the people screamed for outsiders to come in and fix it.

    In addition to this political history, conservative media expressed the same quasi-Christian, anti-politics and anti-Federalism attitudes through Beck, Huckabee, Hannity, Limbaugh, et al, and Fox News with their intense propaganda efforts to attack the political process and denounce ‘consensus and compromise’ as inadequate and a failure in fixing the country’s problems. This added to the din and desire for outsiders to come in and do something.

    Much of this is also in reaction to Obama’s election and re-election as the first partly African-American president and an avowed liberal whose policies to address the Bush Administration’s global economic mess were anathema to the new breed of anti-politics and anti-Federalism Republicans. Obama’s election unveiled the barely disguisable neo-Confederate nature of the Tea Party and the new wave of Republicans in Congress and those who supported them. Their insistence on a strict interpretation of the Constitution ‘as it was written and literally meant by the Founders’, their resistance to federal Court rulings regarding American society and social equality, insisting social policy is a Tenth Amendment States’ Rights issue, their rejection of the principle of Judicial Review of existing laws, their view of the Second Amendment as a right to defend themselves against ‘government’, and their view that the Fourteenth Amendment only applies to African-Americans and no one else, are all clear echoes of the Confederacy’s complaints against the federal government in the late 1850s and early 1860s. The old slogans, ‘The South Shall Rise Again’, and ‘Forget, Hell!’ are no longer historical relics of a previous century, but they have become, ironically, yet, in fact, revived sentiments within the GOP since 2008 when Obama was elected.

    These anti-politics, anti-Federalism, anti-judicial, quasi-Christian, socially conservative ideals are now dominant among those in Congress, the Party, and among the rank and file. Their confederate, un-American mentality and insistence that outsiders, especially ‘business leaders’ come in and run the country like a corporation instead of a political system, has led to the current state of affairs. And it is, therefore, no surprise that they support someone like Donald Trump. Trump is, perhaps, more apolitical than anti-political, but his refusal to accept consensus and compromise his direct, often vulgar, retrogressive and bombastic style and rhetoric regarding Hispanics, Muslims, and women appeal to these confederates in the Party. His disdain for politicians and the political process, preferring instead to bully, punch and insult his way through it appeals to the confederate mentality in its frustrated inability to feel heard in a Federal system that doesn’t take a fundamentalist stance on the Constitution and States’ Rights.

    A Sad State of Affairs

    By Ruth Gadebusch

    What is happening to our democracy, this experiment of hope and promise? There have been other times of fright and fear when we were divided, but the chasm hardly seemed this wide and deep. Even as we fought one of the bloodiest wars ever, splitting families, we managed to reunite.

    We have had presidents murdered. Two have been impeached, although not found guilty and one resigned to avoid such a fate. Several have been disabled with questionable ability to govern while in office. Some who hardly seemed adequate for the job have risen to the occasion once in office. Surely, we have learned some lessons from this history of more than two centuries.

    At this point, it appears painfully obvious that we have not learned sufficiently to concentrate on our good rather than cater to the lowest common denominator of the human being. Greed and intolerance all too often seem to triumph.

    In the beginning of this nation, a governing document was created to play to our better nature and bit by bit we did seem to largely appreciate such genius. Unfortunately, we seem to have slowly reverted to the type of behavior from which those early people had escaped.

    So many seem to think that only they are worthy of living the kind of life envisioned in the founding of the United States of America. Everyone else must bow to their version. Despite all the troubles of day-to-day living, we mostly honored leadership designed to bring us together. Too many today are all too willing to stretch the boundaries to the breaking point.

    In the beginning, a political system was designed to give voice to all. Granted that all was not as inclusive as we have come to expect, but it was strong enough to allow for embracing a more expanded population. Still, there are all too many who resist the togetherness, the respect that is so necessary for peaceful sharing of this great land.

    For some unknown reason, there are those who believe they actually deserve more regardless of how that more is achieved. Somehow just such a man was put into office by an outdated provision in our Constitution, not by the vaunted majority vote. He has not risen to the occasion as would have been expected. All right, hoped by those of us who did not believe such could happen.

    The system was designed to balance just such an outcome, but currently power appears to be prevailing over country, over respect for this document that has served us so long.

    Of course, I refer to our current president but just as concerning is the political party that seems determined to deify him. A demigod, we do not need! The man is his own worst enemy. That is, if we do not count those who swallow hook, line and sinker what he has to offer. I do not refer to the political opposition but to his party members holding the offices that are supposed to be part of our tripartite checks-and-balance system.

    It is one thing for those who have seen so little of the world, who have such limited views, who are downtrodden to buy his foul-mouthed denigrating utterances against any and every one who dares to disagree with him in any form. It is another when men and women elected to our Congress and other positions of honor who are sworn to support the idea that not even the President is immune from the law fail to rein him in. Unfortunately, this area sent one of his most loyal sycophants to Congress.

    Presumably the best that this nation, the hope of the world, has to offer holds the office of President, the office that inarguably has more influence on the condition of the planet than any other single person. That is truly frightening, made all the more so by those who are supposed to know better failing to take responsibility.

    This assessment is not just someone of the opposition disagreeing with decisions. The man himself proves it in voice and action time after time. He doesn’t even wait until the ink is dry on signing documents or the sound of his voice has died in the air before contradicting himself. He has often used foul language in public pronouncements recorded leaving no doubt that anyone just misunderstood.

    Even while running for office, it was no secret that his moral life was less than what most of us would tolerate in our circles. His braggadocio made it clear that the stories were not some enemy’s creativity.

    Once in office, matters did not improve. In no way has he risen to what citizens have a right to expect in this the highest office in the world. He has made it increasingly difficult for those of us who believe in good citizenship to remember that we salute the office, not the officer.

    Day by day, it almost gets more sorrowful and discouraging. He has put the word of a foreign leader over the intelligence of the nation’s own trained loyal men and women. He has scuttled a nuclear limiting agreement with Iran.

    He has dismissed a loyal ally with a wave of his hand and virtually given the Turkish government a free hand to ignore the rights of others. Our locals of Armenian heritage could tell us how the Turks react to a free hand.

    He has proclaimed he is removing troops from the Middle East while simply moving them elsewhere. He ignores Saudia Arabia’s treatment of the Yemeni. A little oil here and there never hurt, huh?

    We are no longer the hope of our abused southern neighbors seeking relief on our border as well as those not of the correct religion. The defense budget is raided to build a fence.

    He can’t even decide if there is a quid pro quo involved in aid to Ukraine. His Congressional supporters simply join him in belittling the Speaker of the House of Representatives—politics at its worst instead of what it was meant to do. Help for the less fortunate hangs by a thread.

    Expressly prohibited in the Constitution he profits personally by sending business to his resorts. The list is long and growing, but still the members of his party in Congress refuse to step up.

    What a sad state of affairs! It isn’t just our lifestyles at stake but democracy itself. No one can afford to think it does not affect me because it affects every single one of us mostly by squeezing and choking our freedom, to say nothing of our economy.

    We must not let it happen. Political action is demanded sooner than later. Act before it is too late.

    Ruth Gadebusch, a former naval officer, was recently recognized by the League of Women Voters with its Lipton Award for volunteer work in various community endeavors. She was elected four times to the Fresno Unified School District Board, appointed by Governor George Deukmejian to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing and is an emeritus member of the Board of the Center for Civic Education.