Saturday, November 28, 2015

Closing Doors: Why Russian Travel Restrictions May Signal a Return to Soviet Days

by Nomad

By the use of tighter travel restrictions and fear tactics, The Russian government may have a few very good reasons for trying to spoil its citizens' vacations abroad.  

The Freedom of Movement
St. Augustine once said:
“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”
The liberating effects of leaving your native land and seeing how others live -if only for a short time- are well-known.
The freedom of movement is, in fact, a human right, recognized in Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

This right to travel covers not only inside one's own country but to other countries. Furthermore, the right pertains not just to visiting and holiday-making but, if desired, the right to change one's residence permanently.
The provision in the UDHR states:
  • Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each State.
  • Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.
In that respect, internal borders should be as limited as possible and external borders should act as a regulator of the flow but not a block.
Like a lot of things in the UDHR, there are quite a few limitations to the real-life applications.  It's is, indeed, hard to imagine how this freedom of movement could be applied strictly or even in a practical way.

Immigration and emigration will always be considered a part of national sovereignty. There will always be zones in every country where people cannot travel. There will always be costs imposed that in themselves limit this freedom.
Moreover, persons charged with or convicted of crimes are  denied this right.

With so many exceptions, you might even wonder about the wisdom of including such a right in the first place. Why was this article deemed necessary you might ask?

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

by Nomad

Somebody on Facebook pointed out this touch of irony. But it goes even a little further than even this.  Thanksgiving is a holiday about being helped as refugees and giving thanks to God for that blessing." 

The same people who last week absolutely refused to accept refugees from war-torn Syria are now preparing to dine on their Thanksgiving dinner right now and feel no sense of hypocrisy at all.

Monday, November 23, 2015

GOP Congressman's Defense of the First Amendment and Religious Liberty Outrages Conservatives

by Nomad

One Republican Congressman was given a stern dressing down for a letter he sent to a constituent regarding fears of a Muslim takeover. Apparently, upholding the First Amendment and the Constitution's defense of religious liberty makes some conservatives livid.

Earlier this month, a widely-read conservative website, RedState, posted an article expressing outrage about a letter sent to a constituent by Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger from Illinois. As per the Tea Party echo chamber, this article was re-posted ad nauseam.
The original letter sent to Kinzinger's office was related to the fears of the supposed spread of Muslim Sharia Law in his district.
To this, Kinzinger gave a polite and well-considered reply. That did not sit well with the conservatives. At all. 
Kinzinger’s email response begins by acknowledging that many people inside and outside of the expansive 16th congressional district have concerns about Sharia Law, but then took things a bridge too far by stating that Sharia Law was protected under the free exercise clause of the 1st amendment and that it was his sworn duty as an elected member of Congress to defend the Constitution and by extension Islamic Sharia Law.
First elected to Congress in 2010, Kinzinger was re-elected to Congress in both 2012 and 2014 to represent Illinois's 16th congressional district. He is also a United States Air Force vet and flew missions in South America, Guam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. With a military record like that, Kinzinger's loyalty to his nation and all that it stands for is something few would dare to question.
The writer of the RedState piece, Ulysses Arn, said that the reply made Kinzinger, the spokesperson for the House GOP establishment on all things related to the military and foreign policy "look like a fool."
Even for a conservative, that's a pretty disrespectful thing to say to a veteran who risked his life fighting Islamic extremists.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Fascism Made in the USA: The Night Nazis Fought on the Streets of New York City

by Nomad

1939 Bund Party Rally NYCThe United States has had its share of fascist groups that have come and gone. One of those was the American Nazi Party, the Bund Party. Here's the story of its 1939 rally and how it led to its collapse. 

A "Pro-American" Rally

On The night of 20 February 1939, something occurred that became an interesting footnote in American history. Today it is mostly a forgotten bit of the history of New York City. And for many, it could be a period they would rather not recall.

That evening, Madison Square Garden was the venue for the American- German Bund party Washington's Day celebration, hosted by American-German Bund party. 
You may not be familiar with the Bund party, it was better known as the American Nazi party. 
Advertised as a "Pro-American Rally" it was attended by somewhere between 17,000 and 22,000. It was one of the largest gatherings of American Nazis of its time.

From the photographs of the event, there were the usual Nazi rally fixtures, flags, the swastikas, and uniforms. In order to establish its brand as true blue American, a forty-foot portrait of George Washington graced the stage. That was more than just window dressing. The organization had declared that Washington was "the first Fascist" who did not believe democracy would work. 

The meeting opened with a salute to the flag and the playing of the "Star-Spangled Banner." (It was to end with the Nazi anthem, however.)

Race to the Bottom: Trump's Minimum Wage Cuts and the Competitive Hoax

by Nomad

Ever imagine a day would come in America when a candidate for president would tell voters that the lowest wage was too good for them. The moment came in the last Republican debate.

At the last Republican debates, we heard GOP candidate Donald Trump trying to explain why he was against an increase in the minimum wage. Trump told the audience that that wages are “too high” in the United States. 
A lot of audacious things come out of the mouth of The Donald, but, coming from a one of the wealthiest candidates in US history, this remark had to be the hardest to hear for people making the lowest wage in the country.

Trump's Tactical Blunder

In response to a question about the New York decision to raise the minimum wage for certain workers to $15 an hour, he said
“Taxes too high, wages too high. We’re not going to be able to compete against the world.”
Cutting wages may have been something Republicans often implied but never dared to say outright. For good reason. For a lot working men and women, a remark like that puts you smack dab in the category of the oligarchical class.
The following day, Trump remained adamant in his declaration and insisted he had nothing to retract.

Almost immediately Trump's foes- a group not limited to the left- jumped on the remark, calling it a colossal blunder. Not in terms of  economic policy. If it were left to conservatives, wages would decrease, and there are probably plenty of CEOs out there who dream of wages dropped to zero. 

After all, nobody seemed to mind the fact that for most workers, wages have remained stagnant for the last two decades. Everything else, like food and housing costs, retail prices and medical costs, all these have soared.

So, few commentators on the Right considered Trump actually be wrong but only that his remark was a tactical misstep. You can think it, you can hint at it, and you can camouflage it with trickle-down redux but if you want to get elected, you sure as hell shouldn't say it. 

It showed, his critics said, a lack of understanding of where his core support originates. The angry working class.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Malcolm X on Listening to the Media

by Nomad

Malcolm X

Closing Mosques: Trump Exposes The Right Wing's Hypocrisy on Religious Liberty

by Nomad

Well, I suppose we ought to be thankful to Donald Trump. Whether it's intentional or not, nobody has done more to expose the abject hypocrisy of so many of the position of the Republican Party than The Donald. 
The tragi-comedic aspect of it all is how so few conservatives actually notice it when the hypocrisy is on full display.

As we all witnessed with the Paris attacks, there is no tragedy too horrific that Republican wouldn't dare to make political use of. While this habit might offend and shock our allies around the world, Americans have become unshockable and somewhat desensitized to it. The rest of the world might call it "shameless" but jaded Americans now just say, "what else is new?"

Republican frontrunner Donald Trump, an opportunist to the core, is certainly no exception. Take the outrageous remark he made  the other day about closing mosques. In order to stop radical Islam, the US government may be forced to close mosques.
He wasn't specific whether he meant particular mosques or all mosques. (A statement like that really demands clarification too.)

In an interview on Fox News  Trump was asked about his earlier statement, Trump refused to back down an inch
"Nobody wants to say this and nobody wants to shut down religious institutions or anything, but you know, you understand it. A lot of people understand it. We’re going to have no choice."
It was, he implied, the only effective way to protect America from attacks like the one we saw on Friday which left 130 Parisians dead. 
Hannity did not seem to think there was anything extraordinary in the suggestion.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Syria and ISIS: A Five Minute History of How We Got to This Point

by Nomad

Information is our best defense. Here's a fairly good video that answers the question: How on earth did the world let ISIS happen?

If you have been struggling to make sense of the terror group, ISIS, it's really not your fault. Firstly, it's a complicated situation, with a lot of actors on the stage. Also, the news media in the US has done a pretty lousy job in trying to explain things to those of us who may have a limited understanding of the region and the events that led up to where we are now.

Here's a very helpful video clip which goes a long way in explaining things. It's important that you take a moment to watch because information is your best defense against panic and paranoia. Will this answer all your questions? No, but it is enlightening. And with the information in this clip, you will probably know enough to spot a lie when you hear it.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Between Victims and Heroes: Searching for Those Things that Unite Us

by Nomad

In the aftermath of two terrorist attacks, one in Beirut and another in Paris a day later, we must take a moment for reflection, not about our differences, but about the things that unite us. 

For the last few days, the world's attention has been fixated on the coordinated attacks in Paris on Friday which left 129 dead and 352 injured. What should have been the pleasant start of a weekend, a warm autumn evening turned out to be a stage for nothing short of a blood bath and a city under siege.

A Vain Search for Answers
In every respect, it was a senseless act and yet the human mind tries in vain to make sense of it. How could it happen and why?
What kind of evil could transform a convivial scene at an outdoor cafe, with crowds of people enjoying the company of friends into a war zone massacre with bodies strewn on the streets and sidewalks?

How could this happen? To what purpose? Who actually benefited by the murder of 23-year-old Hugo Sarrade, who was enjoying a night out at a Bataclan concert? 
How did the vicious slaughter of Mathieu Hoche, Quentin Boulanger, 29, or Marie Lausch, 23, and her boyfriend, Mathias Dymarski, 22, truly further any political cause? 

These were not martyred for a great cause. These were not crusaders for their religion. And they certainly were not soldiers defending their nation. 
They were, in fact, not representatives of anything more than themselves. They were targeted simply because, like the victims on the beach attack in Tunisia in June, they were easy to kill en masse.

Gray Divorce: Surprising Reasons Why Divorce Rates for the 50+ Crowd have Doubled

by Nomad

Research by sociologists and psychologists reveal some interesting information on the rise in the so-called gray divorce rate.

Even though the average length of a marriage that ends in divorce is 8 years. the divorce rate among people 50 and older has doubled in the past 20 years. That's according to research by Bowling Green State University

That study found that while divorce rates have generally stabilized and even inched downward, the divorce rate among people 50 and older has doubled since 1990. 
In 1990, 1 in 10 persons who divorced was 50 or older. By 2011, according to the census’s American Community Survey, more than 28 percent (more than 1 in 4) who said they divorced in the previous 12 months were 50 or older.
One reason for this could just be because, for many couples in this particular age group, the concept of the roles of a husband and a wife are not really conducive to marital bliss. 

Rutgers University conducted a study of more than 700 couples who have remained together on average 39 years and what they found was interesting. There were vast emotional differences in how men and women cope with problems in a marriage.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

About Embedding Nomadic Politics Content on Your Website

by Nomad

Often I have been asked whether a Nomadic Politics article can be used as content for another website. That's a great idea. However, copying the entire page is my least favorable choice. Appropriating other people's work entirely is not really a good practice.

On the other hand, a simple hyperlink may not be suitable in terms of  providing the kind of content you are looking for. I have been looking for some kind of compromise. 
So here's a different approach that I recommend.  

At the bottom of each post, you will see a button, Embedly. If you can't find it, consult the image below. It's a pretty cool way of adding content to your site.

Click on the button at the bottom of whatever article you'd like to feature at your site. You will then be provided a handy snippet with a photo (when available). From that, an HTML code can be obtained and you can add this to your site.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Friday, November 13, 2015

Privatization of Social Security: What Kind of Security is That?

by Nomad

When it comes to Social Security, the differences between the two parties could hardly be more clear.


Thursday, November 12, 2015

If You Think Your Religious Liberties Are Being Violated, Think Again

by Nomad

Freedom of religion is a fundamental principle of the United States. However, there seems to be a lot of intentional and unintentional confusion about what is a violation of religious liberties. Here's a helpful guide. 

(this guide wa produced by The Rev. Emily C. Heath is a United Church of Christ (UCC) minister.) 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Dismal State of State Level Corruption: Why You Should be Furious

by Nomad

If you thought your government was corrupt, you are absolutely correct, according to a new study. However, that corruption is very likely to be closer to you than Washington D.C.

One look at the recently released report by the Center for Public Integrity reveals in painful detail that when it comes to corrupt practices in legislatures, the situation is a big fat mess.

The goal of the research was to study and rank the levels of corruption in all 50 states "based on systems in place to prevent and expose governmental inpropriety. The results were much more disappointed than even the most cynical citizen would have thought.
The comprehensive probe found that in state after state, open records laws are laced with exemptions and part-time legislators and agency officials engage in glaring conflicts of interests and cozy relationships with lobbyists. Meanwhile, feckless, understaffed watchdogs struggle to enforce laws as porous as honeycombs.

Monday, November 9, 2015

President Obama on Giving a Sense of Hope and Vision

by Nomad

The Pathology Party: Carson's Habitual Lying and Trump's Narcissism

by Nomad

Accusing your political rival of a mental illness, especially a violent one, is a bold step, but such an attack- regardless of how true or untrue- can also backfire.

Republican candidate Donald Trump recently went into psychologist mode in an interview Fox News' "The O'Reilly Factor." His patient was none other than his rival in the 2016 presidential race: Dr. Ben Carson.
Trump's free diagnosis really didn't have anything to do with medical compassion.

Trump- who until now has been a strong believer in public opinion polls- has seen his numbers on the decline while Carson's rise. 
As of the end of the last month, a national poll released Tuesday morning from CBS News and The New York Times announced that Carson had become the top-ranked contender for the Republican presidential nomination. Carson now has the support of 26 percent of Republican primary voters, four percentage points ahead of Donald Trump.
Now, Trump says polls don't matter so much. 
Privately he was ready to give Carson a political flying bodyslam.
Speaking to host Bill O'Reilly, Trump went after Carson's violent childhood, accusing him of having a mental problem that he might not be able to bounce back from. "When you suffer from pathological disease, you’re not really getting better unless you start taking pills and things," Trump said of Carson.
The only pills Carson admits to taking are quack cancer cures that have an embarrassing tendency to produce flatulence. Not a particularly welcome special effect for a candidate. 

Saturday, November 7, 2015

The Truth behind Ben Carson's Candidacy: Why Winning May Not Be his Goal

by Nomad

Many have scoffed at Dr. Ben Carson's campaign. Some have wondered if he isn't mentally unstable.
But only a few have questioned whether he is actually running for office.

Writing for the Daily Intelligencer, Jonathan Chait, may be on to something. In a recent article, he asks the question:
Is Republican Candidate Ben Carson actually running for office?

Strange question, you might say, but the possible answer might surprise you. Carson's got a plan. 

An Ice Cube's Chance in Hell

Let's face the facts about Carson and the GOP. Carson hasn't an ice cube's chance in hell of ever possibly winning his party's nomination. 

The Republican Party has, since the days of Nixon, devoted so much energy wooing the Southern bigot vote. Critics of the GOP have long cited racist elements in the party. 
So, the very idea that, after eight years of unreasonable obstruction for America's black president, the Republican party would ever in a million years nominate a black candidate is mind-bogglingly ridiculous. 
Even the most qualified black candidate would never have a chance.
And Carson is far from being the best qualified.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Did Texas Gov. Rick Perry Help Scuttle in a Medical Licence Revocation Case in Oklahoma?

by Nomad

Another allegation of abuse of power against former Texas governor Rick Perry has emerged.

Get Rid of This
Medical authorities in Oklahoma spent more than 3 years and $600,000 in an attempt to revoke the license of a doctor accused of performing operations that left patients paralyzed, in perpetual pain – or dead. Many of the charges against the surgeon were serious and deserved careful consideration. 

Yet all these efforts abruptly came to nothing after a call from Texas Governor Rick Perry to Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin. if one report is correct,. 
According to one investigative organization, a memo recently found suggests that Perry called Fallin, a fellow Republican, on Dr. Steven Anagnost’s behalf as a favor to a generous campaign donor.
When Fallin’s general counsel, Steve Mullins, met with key staff members at the Oklahoma Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision in March 2013, Perry’s intervention was part of the discussion.
“He (Mullins) told us that he wasn’t here to interfere with the work of the board but Gov. Fallin didn’t want any more calls from Rick Perry about this, that Gov. Perry said it was a travesty and what would it take to make it go away,” Dr. Eric Frische, the medical board’s medical advisor, later wrote in a memo.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Insider Trading, John Boehner and The STOCK Act Travesty

by Nomad

Even though insider trading is a serious crime, until Obama, government officials were immune from prosecution.
New legislation was supposed to eliminate this oversight and it was supposed to be a major step in the right direction. It didn't quite work out that way.

Investigative journalist John Vibes, writing for the Activist Post, reported recently that less than two weeks before the economic collapse of 2008, several members of Congress took their money out of the stock market.

According to Vibes' sources, many top government officials and staff were given advance knowledge that market was about to melt down in secret meetings with the Fed and the Treasury Department(For the full story, click on this link.)
With this information, they engaged in insider trading.
It was revealed that Senator Shelley Capito and her husband sold $350,000 worth of Citigroup stock at $83 per share, just one day before the stock dropped to $64 per share. Another shady trader was Congressman Jim Moran, who had his biggest trading day of the year days after the secret meeting, sellings stock in nearly 100 different companies.
Two weeks is a lot of advanced warning. In Washington, as the collapse approached, politicians on both sides were more interested in saving their own skins than protecting the citizens. 

Who Was and Wasn't Above the Law
However, the most amazing part of this tale is that, despite this use of privileged information for private benefit or at least, safeguarding, no laws were actually broken. 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Elderly Blind Man Wins Lawsuit in Police Brutality Case

by Nomad

(Reprinted from
On Friday, a federal jury ruled in favor of an elderly blind man who had been assaulted by a Denver police officer. Philip White was awarded  $400,000, which consisted of $100,000 in compensatory damages and $300,000 in punitive damages.

The full story makes pretty grim reading.

Blind Man Wins Lawsuit After Cop Slams Head Into Counter

An elderly blind man that had his head slammed into a counter by a Denver Police officer after asking him to allow him to feel his badge to prove he was a cop, won an excessive force lawsuit against the department on Friday.
80-year-old Philip White, who is a retired school administrator with a Master Degree in Education, was at a downtown Greyhound Bus Terminal in Denver on May 22, 2012.

He was attempting to board a bus in order to go to Vail where he was to take a van to his home in Eagle – but was told the bus was full.