PUTIN COURTS KIM...
Moscow Sends Emissary to Cuba...
Russian Nuke Bombers Buzz Guam -- Again...
Obama Apologizes to Castro...
-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary
Douglas V. Gibbs is a proud member of the American Authors Association
Douglas V. Gibbs is a proud member of the Military Writers Society of America. Click the image below to go to the MWSA website.
“It’s a Christmas holiday, it’s a national holiday, not some random holiday,” said one man at the post office today.
Over the weekend, several Department of Public Works workers put an electronic sign on a friend’s property, right on the main road through the town. And the message? Merry Christmas.Two words: "Merry Christmas". No Gospel message. No Scriptural references. Just the generic seasonal greeting. On private property. And the Christophobes won't tolerate even that much.
“We work for the town, and we just wanted everyone to be in the Christmas spirit and there are few decorations,” said Steve Barber, a DPW worker.
But apparently, someone complained and sure enough, there are by-laws governing electronic signs. “We don’t object to the message,” said Building Commissioner Gerald O’Neill, “but the sign has to conform to size regulations, among other factors.”
So the sign had to go. But one DPW worker said next year, they’re going to put a large banner across Route 139. “There are fewer regulations about banners,” he said.
Just a day after his stunning announcement that the United States will re-establish a diplomatic relationship with Cuba — including opening an embassy in Havana — President Barack Obama is weighing a trip to the island nation or hosting a visit from its communist leader, Raul Castro.
"I don’t have any current plans, but let’s see how things evolve," Obama told ABC "World News Tonight" anchor David Muir.
Time reports that Secretary of State John Kerry is already planning a trip there, according to a statement issued Thursday in which he said: "I look forward to being the first Secretary of State in sixty years to visit Cuba."
Earlier Thursday, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the president was not "ruling out" a visit to Cuba, with Earnest adding that there could be "important national security reasons for the president to travel to other countries that have what we would describe at best as checkered human rights records."
Earnest also noted that the natural beauty of Cuba might entice the president to make a trip there.
"Like many Americans, (Obama) has seen that Cuba is a place where they have a beautiful climate and a lot of fun things to do, so, if there's an opportunity for the president to visit, I'm sure he wouldn't turn it down," Earnest said.
The wealth gap between the country's upper-income and middle-class families has risen to a record high, according to a new study from the Pew Research Center.
The survey, based on thirty years of Federal Reserve data, shows the gap between upper- and lower-income families also has climbed to an all-time peak.
The median wealth of upper-income families totaled $639,400 last year, 6.6 times the median wealth of middle-income families — $96,500. That compares with 4.5 times in 2007, the year before the financial crisis.
"The latest data reinforce the larger story of America's middle-class household wealth stagnation over the past three decades," the report states.
"The Great Recession destroyed a significant amount of middle-income and lower-income families' wealth, and the economic recovery has yet to be felt for them. . . . Middle- and lower-income families' wealth levels in 2013 are comparable to where they were in the early 1990s."
Three movie theaters say Paramount Pictures has ordered them not to show "Team America: World Police" one day after Sony Pictures surrendered to cyberterrorists and pulled "The Interview". The famous Alamo Drafthouse in Texas, Capitol Theater in Cleveland, and Plaza Atlanta in Atlanta said they would screen the movie instead of "The Interview", but Paramount has ordered them to stop. (No reason was apparently given and Paramount hasn’t spoken.) "Team America" of course features Kim Jong Un’s father, Kim Jong Il, as a singing marionette.
A good portion of the press abdicated its real duty. They played the fiddle while Rome burned. There was a real story going on. With just a little bit of work, you could have found out that it wasn’t just probably North Korea; it was North Korea. The Guardians of Peace is a phrase that Nixon used when he visited China. When asked why he was helping South Korea, he said it was because we are the Guardians of Peace. Here, we’re talking about an actual country deciding what content we’re going to have. This affects not just movies, this affects every part of business that we have. That’s the truth. What happens if a newsroom decides to go with a story, and a country or an individual or corporation decides they don’t like it? Forget the hacking part of it. You have someone threaten to blow up buildings, and all of a sudden everybody has to bow down. Sony didn’t pull the movie because they were scared; they pulled the movie because all the theaters said they were not going to run it. And they said they were not going to run it because they talked to their lawyers and those lawyers said if somebody dies in one of these, then you’re going to be responsible.
We have a new paradigm, a new reality, and we’re going to have to come to real terms with it all the way down the line. This was a dumb comedy that was about to come out. With the First Amendment, you’re never protecting Jefferson; it’s usually protecting some guy who’s burning a flag or doing something stupid. This is a silly comedy, but the truth is, what it now says about us is a whole lot. We have a responsibility to stand up against this. That’s not just Sony, but all of us, including my good friends in the press who have the responsibility to be asking themselves: What was important? What was the important story to be covering here? The hacking is terrible because of the damage they did to all those people. Their medical records, that is a horrible thing, their Social Security numbers. Then, to turn around and threaten to blow people up and kill people, and just by that threat alone we change what we do for a living, that’s the actual definition of terrorism.
In a formal ruling, the commission rejected calls to yank the broadcast license of a radio station owned by Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder for excessively using the team’s name, which some find offensive.
George Washington University professor John Banzhaf filed a petition in September opposing the license renewal of the D.C. station, WWXX-FM.
The FCC can prohibit the use of profane or obscene language, but the team’s name does not fit the definition of either category, according to the FCC’s Media Bureau, which handled the case.
“There’s a book they make for us where if you carried it with you, you won’t need to go to the gym,” Lynch said. “Every time there’s a problem, they tell us what we can’t do. They tell us what we shouldn’t do. They never tell us what we can do. We’re going to take that book, their rules and we’re going to protect ourselves because they won’t. We will do it the way they want us to do it. We will do it with their stupid rules, even the ones that don’t work.”
Lynch also complained about members of “the United States Congress on the steps of the Capitol raising their hand as if police officers aren’t protecting their rights to do stupid shit like that,” referring to a December 11th demonstration in Washington. [emphasis added]
“A lot of people talk about biases. Police officers not from the communities that they’re policing. Kind of the racial, the ethnic biases that also play into policing. You came into office very early on in your tenure and you made a very strong statement. And you said that we’re a nation of cowards and dealing with the issues of race. Do you still believe that now? Because we don’t seem to have gotten very far even in terms of dealing with those underlying racial issues.”
HOLDER: “Well, I think as a nation, we are too reluctant to talk about racial things.
It’s painful, it’s difficult, given the history of this nation.
And it’s been — the easier thing to do is try to figure out a way in which you kind of deal with the issue that’s before you and not deal with the underlying concerns that make a particular incident blow up into something that is of nationwide concern.
So, yeah, we’ve not done all that we can. I’m hopeful that with regard to this incident at this time with this president that we can make progress in ways that we have not in the past.”
The White House on Thursday hit back against Florida Senator Marco Rubio's harsh attacks on President Barack Obama's plans to normalize relations with Cuba, saying he should back the deal because he supported the confirmation of an ambassador to China earlier this year.
"One of the leading proponents of this strategy of shutting off funding for the construction of this embassy and appointing an ambassador to Cuba is Senator Rubio, of course," White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters at a daily news briefing....
Citing Rubio's statements from the confirmation hearing of former Democrat Senator Max Baucus as Beijing ambassador in January, Earnest hinted that those comments conflicted with his statements on Wednesday about Havana.
China has long been under attack for its human-rights abuses. Baucus was confirmed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, of which Rubio is a member.
"In thinking about this," Earnest continued, "it occurs to me that it seems odd Senator Rubio would be reluctant and, in fact, actively seeking to block the appointment of an ambassador to Cuba when earlier this year he voted to confirm the ambassador to China that the president nominated."...
"The other thing I noticed that, in the context of those hearings, Senator Rubio said something that this administration wholeheartedly agrees with," Earnest said. "Let me read it to you."...
He then read Rubio's comment from the January 28 hearing:
"I think you'll find broad consensus on this committee and I hope in the administration, that our embassy should be viewed as an ally of those within Chinese society that are looking to express their fundamental rights to speak out and to worship freely.
"We think the exact same thing can be said of the new embassy in Cuba," Earnest said.