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Attacking American Sovereign Soil Diminishes the Rights of Religion

 


 


by Walter Brasch


 


The terrorists who attacked the American embassy in Cairo, Egypt, and the consulate in Benghazi, Libya, claimed the attacks were retaliation for the publication on You Tube of an anti-Muslim film. That YouTube video was a 14-minute trailer for a one-hour film, “Innocence of Muslims,” that was not only a vicious bigoted attack against Islam but also of no artistic merit.  


 One of the extremist political parties in Egypt plucked the trailer from obscurity and used it as part of a newscast, inflaming the people of Egypt, who mounted a demonstration against the U.S. embassy. Within a week, the trailer had more than 10 million hits on YouTube.

MEMORIAL DAY 2012: A Lesson Not Yet Learned

 


by WALTER BRASCH


 


Today is Memorial Day, the last day of the three-day weekend. Veterans and community groups will remember those who died in battle and, as they have done for more than a century, will place small flags on graves.


But, for most of America, Memorial Day is a three-day picnic-filled weekend that heralds the start of Summer, just as Labor Day has become a three-day picnic-filled weekend that laments the end of Summer. 


 There will be memorial concerts and parades. The media, shoving aside political and celebrity news, will all have stories. Among those who will be the first to patriotically salute those who died in battle are those who enthusiastically pushed for them to go to war.

Making Sport of Our Future

 


by WALTER BRASCH


           


One of the fun things sports writers do is try to predict the winners and scores of upcoming games, from high school through the pros. For special “look-at-us-we’re important” bonus points, they create lists of “Top” teams and rank them, both pre-season and weekly.


Sports writers have some kind of genetic mutation that leads them to believe they know more about sports than the average schlump who spends almost $200 a year for a newspaper subscription and as much as $500 a year for all-access all-games everywhere cable coverage. However, the reality is that even the best prognosticators—sports writers love big words when they can pronounce them—have a record about as accurate as the horoscope on the comics page.

Stories We Will Still Have to Write in 2012

 


by WALTER and ROSEMARY BRASCH


 


In January 2009, with a new president about to be inaugurated, we wrote a column about the stories we preferred not having to write, but knew we would. Three years later, we are still writing about those problems; three years from now, we’ll still be writing about them.


We had wanted the U.S. Department of the Interior to stop the government-approved slaughter of wild horses and burros in the southwest, but were disappointed that the cattle industry used its money and influence to shelter politicians from Americans who asked for compassion and understanding of  breeds that roamed freely long before the nation’s “Manifest Destiny.”

Iraq: Just Another War Without an End

 


 


by WALTER BRASCH


  


We know the names of every one of the 4,479 Americans who were killed and the 32,200 who were wounded, both civilian and military, between March 20, 2003 and Oct. 21, 2011, the day President Barack Obama, fulfilling a campaign promise, declared the last American soldier would leave Iraq before the end of the year.


We know Second Lieutenant Therrel Shane Childers was the first American soldier killed by hostile fire in Operation Iraqi Freedom.


On March 21, 2003, less than a day after the U.S.-led invasion, Childers was shot in the stomach by hostile forces while leading a Marine platoon to secure an oil field in southern Iraq.  His father, Joseph, told NPR that it was his dream to lead Marines into combat.

Drinks are on the House (and Senate)

Corporate welfare, subsidies, satire, humor, oil exploration, financial bailouts, mortgage crisis, agriculture subsidies, energy subsidies, Republicans


 


by Walter Brasch


 


“Got any idea how to make a frozen daiquiri?”


Saturday. 6 a.m. A question no one else would have asked at that hour. I knew it had to be Marshbaum, my faux-friend foil.


“Too early to be drinking,” I mumbled, then hung up. The phone rang again.


“It’s not for me,” said Marshbaum, but since I’m going to own a bar, I should learn how to make drinks.”


“Marshbaum,” I said, reluctantly awake, “you can’t even afford to buy soap to wash your fuzzy navel! How are you going to afford a bar?”


“The government’s going to bankroll me,” he said matter-of-factly.


“New kind of welfare?”

OCCUPY WALL STREET: Separating Fact from Media

 


By WALTER BRASCH 


 


Newspaper columnist Ann Coulter, spreading the lies of the extreme right wing, called the Occupy Wall Street protestors, “tattooed, body-pierced, sunken-chested 19-year-olds getting in fights with the police for fun.” She claimed the protestors, now in the thousands in New York, are “directionless losers [who] pose for cameras while uttering random liberal clichés lacking any reason or coherence.” (Several hundred thousand of these “directionless losers” are expected to attend rallies in more than 650 cities, Oct. 15.)

Former Editor Sues Philadelphia Police for Constitutional Violations in Her Arrest

 


by WALTER BRASCH 


 


A former managing editor for the online newspaper, OpEdNews, has sued the city of Philadelphia and eight of its police officers for violating her Constitutional rights.


Cheryl Biren-Wright, Pennsauken, N.J., charges the defendants with violating her 1st, 4th, and 14th amendment rights. The civil action, filed in the U.S. District Court, Philadelphia, is based upon her arrest during a peaceful protest Sept. 12, 2009, at the Army Experience Center (AEC) in the Franklin Mills Mall.

Crocodile Tears on a Cash Register Patriotism

 


 


by WALTER BRASCH


 


[EDITOR’S NOTE: Walter Brasch has written dozens of columns, human interest stories, and investigative articles about 9/11 and its effects. He was one of the first to write about the PATRIOT Act violating civil liberties and parts of the Constitution. He was one of the first, using extensive investigation techniques and inside information, to question the statements from the Bush–Cheney Administration about the reasons for the impending invasion of Iraq. This column, written about a month after 9/11 shows the hypocrisy of some American business, and suggests if they wish to be patriotic they might wish to do more for their workers.]

Corporate America Sends a Labor Day Message

 


by Walter Brasch


 


 


For most Americans, the only significance of Labor Day is that it concludes a three day weekend.


 For Kirk Artley, it means he has about six weeks left of employment.


 On Aug. 24, RR Donnelley, a Chicago-based megacorporation that claims to be “the world’s premier full-service provider of print and related services,” told Artley and the other 283 workers at the Bloomsburg, Pa., plant that “economic conditions” forced the closing of the book printing facility. The workers said they would take significant pay cuts if that would save the plant. RR Donnelley rejected the offer.


 Most of the workers live in Columbia County, a small rural county of about 65,000, with unemployment about 8 percent, slightly less than the national rate. Adding 284 persons would significantly increase that rate.

The Debt Ceiling Crisis: Let’s Get Personal

 


 


by WALTER BRASCH


 


You have a credit card with a $25,000 limit.


 Because you have a good job, you only have $6,000 on the card, and routinely pay the monthly statement and a little extra on the principal.


 But then you decide you need a 52-inch high-def LCD TV screen to go into your “man cave,” and your family rightfully decides they need a vacation. So, you add a few thousand to the credit card. But, it’s all OK since you just got a promotion at work.


A couple of months later, your 2008 Honda begins puffing smoke. By the time repairs are done, it’s another thousand on the card.

‘10 Commandments Judge’ Running for President

  


by Walter Brasch


 


The chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court who was removed from office for defying the Constitution and a federal court order is one of 14 major candidates running for the Republican nomination for the presidency.


Alabama’s Court of the Judiciary unanimously had ordered Roy S. Moore removed from office in November 2003 after he refused to remove from the judiciary building rotunda a 5,280 pound granite monument to the Ten Commandments. Around its base were extracts from the Declaration of Independence, quotes from the Founding Fathers, and the National Anthem. The three foot square by four foot tall monument was funded by private contributions.

Dozens of Father's days; Decades of Grief

by Walter Brasch

Christopher Kenneth Frison is seven months old.

He's too young to understand Father's Day.

And he's certainly far too young to be able to get an allowance or a job to buy a card and a nice gift.

He isn't too young to be able to hug his father.

But he won't ever be able to do that again. Not today. Not next year. Not ever.

His father, 1st Lt. Demetrius M. Frison, a parachutist and infantry officer, was killed in Khost province, Afghanistan, May 10. He was 26 years old.

His widow, Mikki, told the Lancaster New Era that she and Demetrius first met in Middle School in Philadelphia, attended different high schools, and then went to Millersville University in 2003. Both graduated with degrees in psychology. They married in March 2009, a month before he joined the Army. Christopher was born November 17, 2010. At that time, Frison, who had trained at Fort Benning, Ga., was stationed at Fort Knox, Ky.

Memorial Day 2011: Two Names That Matter

by Walter Brasch

Unless you were in a coma the past few years, you probably know who Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan, and Paris Hilton are.

You heard about them on radio, saw them on television.

You read about them in newspapers and magazines, on Facebook, Twitter, and every social medium known to mankind.

Because of extensive media coverage, you also know who dozens of singers and professional athletes are.

Here are two names you probably never heard of. Sergeant First Class Clifford E. Beattie and Private First Class Ramon Mora Jr.
They didn't get into drug and alcohol scandals. They didn't become pop singers or make their careers from hitting baseballs or throwing footballs. They were soldiers.

Both died together last week from roadside bombs near Baghdad.

The Audacity of Hate: Birthers, Deathers, Deniers, and Barack Obama

by Walter Brasch

The latest garbage spewing hate as it circles the Internet in a viral state of panic continues a three year smear against Barack Obama.

The attacks had begun with the extreme right wing spitting out Obama's full name—Barack HUSSEIN Obama, as if somehow he wasn't an American but connected to the Iraqi dictator who, despite the Bush Administration's best efforts, had no connections to 9/11.

When the right-wingers and Tea Party Pack get tired of their "cutesy" attempts to link Obama to militant Muslims, they launch half-truths and lies to claim he wasn't born in the United States. Like Jaws, Jason, or Freddy Krueger, "birther" propaganda keeps returning, even when independent state officials and analysts proved the claims false.

The News, It Is a-changin': bin Laden and the Mass Media

by Walter Brasch

It was a little before 9 a.m.

I was chatting with two students.

Another student came in, and asked if we had heard a plane had hit a building in New York City.

We hadn't, but I assumed it was a light private plane, and the pilot had mechanical difficulty or problems with wind turbulence.

A minute or so later, another student came in. It was a passenger jet, she said.

The first student had read the information in a text from a friend, who had received it from another friend, who may have heard it somewhere else. The second student had read it from her Palm Pilot, which brought in news from CNN. In a few moments I became aware of how news dissemination had changed, and it was the youth who were going to lead the information revolution.

A half-hour later, in an upper division journalism class, we were flipping between TV channels, and students were texting with friends on campus and in other states.

Down for the Count: America's Fascination With Royalty

By Walter Brasch

In case you're in a funk because you think the reason you didn't receive an invitation to the royal wedding is because the Brits are still ticked off about that silly little skirmish back in 1776, the American media have a solution for you.

The media had been pumping out news, features, and gossip about the wedding for more than three months. Almost every radio, TV, and cable network, except for maybe the Cartoon Channel, will be covering the wedding on Friday. All. Day. Long.

Coverage begins at 3 a.m. EDT (8 a.m., British Standard Time) and finally ends before the bars close. In addition to extensive live coverage of the procession and wedding itself, ABC, CBS, and NBC are devoting five hours in evening prime time to reviews of the wedding.

Scratches on the Blackboard of Animal Cruelty

by Walter Brasch

Take a pigeon.

Now put that pigeon, along with thousands of others, into small coops that don't give the bird much freedom to move.

Don't worry about food or water. It won't matter.

Take some of the pigeons—who are already disoriented from hours, maybe days, of confinement—and place a couple of them each into spring-loaded box traps on a field.

About 20 yards behind the traps have people with 12-gauge shotguns line up.

Release the pigeons and watch juveniles disguised in the bodies of adults shoot these non-threatening birds. Most of the birds will be shot five to ten feet from the traps; many, dazed and confused, are shot while standing on the ground or on the tops of cages. Each shooter will have the opportunity to shoot at 25 birds, five birds each in five separate rounds.

Look for the Union Bunny

by Walter Brasch

Bullied, harassed, and lied to, District 1 of the Amalgamated Association of Easter Bunnies, AFB-CIO (American Federation of Bunnies–Cottontails International Organization) went on strike, forcing a halt to this year’s Easter egg hunts in Wisconsin.

At Bunny Headquarters, Solomon P. Bunny, union executive secretary, and a militant corps of Easter bunnies were preparing picket signs. I walked in, notepad in hand.

“Excuse me, Mr. Bunny, why aren’t your members delivering eggs this week?”

Bunny looked up from the papers on his desk, chomped harder on his cigar, looked at me, scowled, and answered harshly, “Don’t you know!?”

“No, sir,” I replied apologetically. “I always thought you were happy and content delivering Easter eggs.”

“We love it,” growled Bunny, “but the Wisconsin Legislature doesn’t love us.”

A Crock Pot Tax-Exempt Idea

by Walter Brasch

A wall of suffocating heat nearly vaporized me as I walked into Marshbaum's house. In the kitchen was a portable kiln spewing fiery venom that was curling the linoleum. In the den, wildly pumping a potter's wheel flinging clay all over the room, was Marshbaum.

“Got a new hobby?” I asked from a puddle of water that I assumed was what was left of my body.

“Hobby, nothing!” shouted Marshbaum over the noise. “This is my path to fame and fortune.”

“Every one of your fame-and-fortune paths have ended in a cul-de-sac,” I reminded him. “You scamming the public into believing that slops of glazed clay dipped into leftover house paint are the last sculpture of a dying genius?”

“They're cookie jars,” said Marshbaum wounded.

“Still looks like schlock to me,” I suggested.

“Work with me on this,” Marshbaum commanded, “it could result in a column for you.”

Tax-Deductible Invasions

by Walter Brasch

Millions of Americans gave George W. Bush unquestioned support when he diverted personnel and resources from the war against al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden to invade Iraq.

Several million fewer opposed the invasion, stating that the primary mission was to destroy the enemy hiding in Afghanistan that destroyed a part of America and not to expand the war. At first, President Bush claimed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, capable of destroying Israel and, if placed aboard cargo vessels, could be launched at the east coast of the U.S. When that explanation fizzled, Bush said the invasion was to remove a dictator. Soon, “Regime Change” was the buzz phrase of the month.

Charlie and the CBS Factory (and other news)

by Walter Brasch

There has been a lot in the news this past week.

Most important, if measured by getting most of the ink and air time, is the continuing soap opera, “Charlie and the CBS Factory.”

The latest in a seemingly never-ending story is that after Charlie Sheen melted down, was fired, and spread himself to every known television talk show, declaring himself to be a winner and announcing a $100 million forthcoming law suit against CBS for breech of contract, the president of CBS announced he wanted Sheen back in “Two and a Half Men.”

Details are to be worked out. CBS said it would work with creator/executive producer Chuck Lorre and producing studio Warner Brothers, The relationship among Sheen, Warner Bros., Lorre, and most of the cast and crew may be a bit more difficult since Sheen’s warm-and-friendly on-air persona didn’t match his vitriolic attacks upon his co-stars and anti-Semitic remarks about Lorre.

Barack Obama: MIA

As expected, Michael Moore, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, and AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka were in Madison, Wisc., to support and rally the workers in their fight against the union-busting governor and Republican-dominated state legislature.

But, so were union members Bradley Whitfield, Susan Sarandon, Tony Shaloub, and dozens of musicians and singers, including Peter Yarrow who, as part of Peter, Paul, and Mary, was at almost every major social protest for more than 40 years.

“This is not merely a protest on the steps of the Capitol here in Madison,” said Shalhoub, “this is the birth of . . . a nationwide movement destined to restore the rights of workers, to safeguard quality education for our children and to reassemble and reconstitute the fragmented and wounded middle class.” Shalhoub, who won three Emmys, was born in Green Bay; his sister is a Wisconsin teacher.

Gov. Tom Corbett: Pennsylvania’s Savior

by Walter Brasch

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett may be the most adept politician in America.

With the nation focused upon the union-busting Tea Party-backed Scott Walker in Wisconsin, Corbett has snuck in a plan to mine the state's resources, increase employment, reduce educational problems, and whack unions upside the head at the same time. Miraculously, the public sector unions, so happy they wouldn't lose collective bargaining, have even said they don't mind being whacked.

In his first budget address, Corbett said he wants to freeze wages for all state employees, almost every one of them part of the middle class. Although the average wage is about $35,000 a year, according to AFSCME, the state’s primary union for public sector workers, families of four should easily be able to still afford the same luxuries as the governor who is paid $165,000 a year and has a mansion, expense account, and house staff.

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