Saturday, August 31, 2013

Syria and symbolic reality

Symbolic reality can usefully be described as our human experience that has influenced our consciousness since birth.  

Written and verbal communication today relies on a 35,000 to 55,000 word vocabulary that describes how our human nervous systems intersect with the outside world. 

We throw a few symbols at each other that describes each others perspective.  

Each word symbolizes some item or feeling in this reality. 

For instance, the four symbols, b o a t  put together forms another symbol which describes something that floats on the water.

Later in life, if we become powerful, politically, this basic understanding of reality does not change.  

Barrack Obama is likely facing the greatest challenge of his presidency, influenced largely by the symbols, of righteousness, and retribution. He wants to condemn Syrian leaders for the destruction of their innocent people. 

We cannot allow such savagery to exist in this world of 2013.

Nevertheless, if we strike Syrian targets, we should expect a retribution from those who believe their way is the correct way of thinking.  

How do we convince others that our's is the best way.? 

In the end, our cosmology, or belief in how it all evolved or how we should feel about it, is up to our personal thoughts, beliefs, or understanding, of how our reality operates, usually influenced by our parents worldview of symbols. 


Obama asks Congress to OK strike on Syria

from usatoday

AP Obama Syria_001

WASHINGTON--- President Obama said on Saturday that he was ready to take military action against Syrian President Bashar Assad, but that he will seek the approval of Congress before carrying out a military strike.
Obama says congressional leaders have agreed to schedule a debate and vote when they return to session. They are scheduled to return from their summer recess on Sept. 9.
The president did not say if he'd forgo a strike if Congress rejects his call to action.
"This attack is an assault on human dignity," Obama said with Vice President Biden standing by his. "It also presents a serious danger to our national security."
The remarks came amid a flurry of briefings for skeptical lawmakers by the president's national security team. The shouts from hundreds of activists outside the White House protesting against military action could be heard from the Rose Garden shortly before Obama spoke.
"Over the last several days, we've heard from several members of Congress who want their voices to be heard," Obama said. "I absolutely agree."
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., welcomed the decision.
"The President's role as commander-in-chief is always strengthened when he enjoys the expressed support of the Congress," McConnell said.
Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, praised Obama's decision to seek congressional authorization as "absolutely the right decision." Corker in recent weeks had been a public advocate for an authorization vote, contending the Congress too often takes a back seat on determining critical foreign policy decisions.
Obama noted some have advised not to seek Congress' approval, noting that the British Parliament this week rejected a similar call for action by Prime Minister David Cameron. Obama seemed to leave open the possibility that he could move ahead with a strike even if Congress refuses to go along with his request.
"While I believe I have the authority to carry out this military action without specific Congressional authorization, I know the country will be stronger if we take this course and our actions will be even more effective," Obama said. "We should have this debate. The issues are too big for business as usual."
The remarks came hours after U.N. experts, who had been collecting samples from last week's alleged chemical weapons strike outside Damascus, left the country bound for the Netherlands.
The chemical weapons experts were working to determine what occurred in the apparent chemical weapons attack near Damascus on Aug. 21, which U.S. intelligence reports say left 1,429 people dead, including 426 children. They have taken blood and urine samples from victims and soil samples from areas where chemical attacks have been reported. The samples will be tested in Europe.

Developing: Obama to speak about Syria on Saturday at White House

from fox

FILE: Aug. 31, 2013: Protesters demonstrate against potential strikes on the Syrian government at Parliament Square in central London.REUTERS
President Obama will deliver a statement at 1:15 p.m. Saturday on Syria. A White House official says the president's remarks will not be about an imminent military operation in Syria, but will be an update to the public about his decisions on how to proceed.
ORIGINAL STORY  ... After failing to win support from the United Nations and the British public for military action in Syria, the Obama administration is just now trying what some lawmakers say it should have been doing from the beginning -- making the case to the American people.
The president will deliver a statement at 1:15 p.m. Saturday on Syria.
A White House official says Obama's remarks will not be about an imminent military operation in Syria, but will be an update to the public about his decisions on how to proceed.
Polls suggest winning public support will be an uphill climb. A new Reuters’ poll shows U.S. support for intervention has increased over the past week to 20 percent, up from just 9 percent, with more than half of Americans opposing intervention.
Secretary of State John Kerry indicated Friday that the administration will try to convince the public and Congress that America has an 'obligation' to act.
“The president asked all of us on his national security team to consult with the leaders of Congress as well,” Kerry said. “I will tell you that as someone who spent nearly three decades in the United States Congress, I know that consultation is the right way for a president to approach a decision of when and how and if to use military force. … And I believe, as President Obama does, that it is also important to discuss this directly with the American people. That's our responsibility.”
However, Brendan Buck, spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, said Obama still has a "responsibility to explain to Congress and the American people the objectives, strategy, and legal basis for any potential action."
The Reuters polls released Friday also showed support increased after the U.S. made public parts of a declassified intelligence report on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s alleged chemical gas attack last week in which 1,429 people were killed, including at least 426 children. In addition, roughly 53 percent of Americans surveyed said the U.S. should stay out of Syria's roughly 2-year-long civil war, down from 60 percent last week, according to the poll.
Obama's national security team is scheduled to talk about the issue Saturday with senators and Sunday with House members.
Also on Saturday, U.N. chemical weapons inspectors arrived in the Netherlands, where samples they collected in Syria will be evaluated in laboratories. The goal will be to check them for traces of poison gas that may have been unleashed in an Aug. 21 bombardment of a Damascus suburb.
U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky said Saturday "whatever can will be done" to speedup the analysis, but he gave no timeline for a report on the results. 
The inspectors left Syria early Saturday and flew out of Lebanon.
The team on Friday carried out a fourth and final day of inspection as they sought to determine precisely what happened in the Aug. 21 alleged chemical weapons attack near Damascus.
Tests on the samples are expected to take days, but U.N. disarmament chief Angela Kane is to brief Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon later Saturday on the investigation.
An Associated Press crew saw the U.N. personnel enter Lebanon from Syria through the Masnaa border crossing and then drive in a 13-car convoy to the Beirut airport. After four days of on-site inspections, the team wrapped up its investigation Friday into the suspected Aug. 21. chemical weapons attack. The experts took with them blood and urine samples from victims as well as soil samples from the affected areas for examination in laboratories in Europe.
Facing rising skepticism in Congress and abroad, the president and top Cabinet officials tried to make a robust case for intervention on Friday -- releasing an intelligence report showing "high confidence" the Assad regime carried out the strike and arguing that responding would be in the U.S. interest.
"This kind of attack is a challenge to the world," Obama said, adding: "A lot of people think something should be done, but nobody wants to do it."
He said his preference would be to form an international coalition to respond, but "we don't want the world to be paralyzed." Obama said he hasn't yet made a decision, but is considering a "limited, narrow act" to send a message about the use of chemical weapons.
The administration so far has failed to win over the U.N. Security Council, and British lawmakers on Thursday voted to reject any participation in a military strike. Obama and John Kerry, though, indicated they were prepared to move forward and downplayed the importance of U.N. authorization.
Obama charged that there is an "incapacity" at this point for the U.N. Security Council to act.
Hours before the U.N. inspectors pulled out of Syria, Kerry said the probe would not implicate anybody; only confirm whether the weapons were used.
"By the definition of their own mandate, the U.N. can't tell us anything we haven't shared with you this afternoon or that we don't already know," Kerry said.
Kerry was the most impassioned as he made the case for an unspecified intervention, saying there's "no doubt" the Assad regime was behind this "crime against humanity."
He cited the findings of the unclassified portions of the intelligence assessment, saying there's clear evidence chemical weapons were used by the Assad regime last week.
"I'm not asking you to take my word for it," Kerry said, urging people to read the report. "This is what Assad did to his own people."
Kerry called Bashar Assad a "thug" and a "murderer" who must not be allowed to escape retribution for the attack.
The assessment claimed that Syrian chemical weapons personnel even spent the three days prior to the attack preparing for the strike. The personnel allegedly were operating in a Damascus suburb from Aug. 18 until the day of the attack, near an area the regime uses to mix weapons like sarin gas. On the morning of the attack, according to the report, "a Syrian regime element" prepared for a strike, "including through the utilization of gas masks."
A senior U.S. official told Fox News that although the intelligence was obtained up to three days prior to the attack, the bits of intelligence gathered only made sense once the attack had been executed, meaning the U.S. knew of no advance warning of the chemical strike.
The report said the symptoms of victims -- "unconsciousness, foaming from the nose and mouth, constricted pupils, rapid heartbeat and difficulty breathing" -- as well as videos showing dead victims with no visible injuries are all consistent with chemical weapons use.
"We know where the rockets were launched from and at what time," Kerry said. "We know where they landed and when. We know rockets came only from regime-controlled areas and went only to opposition-controlled or contested neighborhoods."
Kerry said Friday the administration is mindful of concerns about an Iraq war repeat, but he said this would involve no boots on the ground and bear "no resemblance" to Iraq, Afghanistan, or even Libya.
"We know that after a decade of conflict the American people are tired of war. Believe me I am too. But fatigue does not absolve us of our responsibility," he said.
Meanwhile, U.S. Navy officials told Fox News that a marine amphibious ship, the USS Antonio, has now joined the U.S. destroyers in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said she agrees with Kerry "that the world cannot let such a heinous attack pass without a meaningful response."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Middle East Today and 13 Day's in 1962

The tense happenings in the Middle East are yet to play out. 

It reminds me of these thirteen day's while I was in the 8th grade at Hawthorne Intermediate. 

From YouTube,  

Warren Douglas Gorman 1949 - 1967

August 29, 2013

It was exactly 46 years ago today, that my girlfriend, Angela McKay, called me at my parents home, to inform me that her cousin, and my close friend had blown his brains out at her brother, 'Mac' John McKay's summer rental on the sand at Hermosa Beach.  

I drove to my best friend, Ed Lutz, on Menlo, just North of Broadway in Hawthorne, in my 57 Chevy wagon, we talked about it, and for some reason, decided to drive over to Steve Rush'es parents home to talk to Steve. Steve was the lead guitar player in a band in which I drummed, called the Barons.  As we pulled in, there was Gary Gorman, Warrens younger brother who we used to call 'Pud" just to bug him.  I remembered, now, that Gary had been dating Steves younger sister, Pam. 

I went to Steve's parents, and told his father about the call I had received from his cousin, Angela, a few hours earlier. He called Gary, and told him his parents had called , and wanted him to come home. Gary smiled back at us as he turned from the driveway onto the sidewalk and headed home. I recall thinking that his world would change, when he arrived at his home, near the top of 131 st. Street in Hawthorne, on the East side of Hawthorne Blvd. 

Within a week his father, Herbert Gorman, was on the George Putnam's show, reporting "ya George, it was drugs that did it".. I had to snort. 

He did not mention the fact, from his humble North Carolina beginnings, he had married Helen, Warren's mother, and mother to older brothers, Phillip, Larry, and younger brother Gary but later married Helen's sister, Christine, also from North Carolina, who lost her husband John McKay, in a railway accident. Christine  married Herbert, shortly after he divorced Helen. 

I remember, however, with clarity, the night I stayed over at the house on 131st St. Herbert was going to take us to the beach to go surfing the next day. We did need to pick up my surfboard from my house on 118th St.  After dinner Herbert gave Warren the keys, to start his station wagon, down on the dirt driveway. When Herbert and I walked down the path to the driveway, we were met by the neighbor, who said "Herb, I would appreciate it if your kids did not rev the engine, while in your driveway".  Sure, he replied, then in an act to show the neighbor he was serious, he ordered Warren to go in the house. He would not go with us to pick up my surfboard. This seemed to really piss off Herbert. 

As Herb looked over his right shoulder, to the rear, to back up the station wagon, he muttered disparaging remarks about Warren, and I could smell the thick scent of alcohol on his breath. We drove about 1/2 block, towards Hawthorne Blvd. when Herbert suddenly stopped muttering, became enraged, threw it into reverse, and backed up to the driveway and pulled in. 'Wait here, I'll be right back' he said. Then I watched him walk up to the house. I knew this was not good. 

Sure enough, within minutes I heard wild screams from Warren, as Herbert worked out his social embarrassment on Warren's body. I felt helpless to help him, and hated Herbert.

 Herbert climbed back into the wagon to make the 7 minuite trip to my house, but I remained silent. It was very awkward. I thought, I don't really care that much about surfing. Nevertheless he did take us to the beach the next day.

A few years later, watching Herbert on the George Putnam news, blaming drugs, as the reason for his son's self destruction. I had to laugh.  

Godspeed, my friend Warren. 

Aim of a U.S. Attack on Syria: Sharpening a Blurred ‘Red Line

from nytimes

Mark Wilson/Getty Images
President Obama has spoken of “a shot across the bow” that would be intended to warn the Syrian government against further chemical weapons attacks.
WASHINGTON — The goal of the cruise missile strikes the United States is planning to carry out in Syria is to restore the smudged “red line” that President Obama drew a year ago against the use of poison gas.
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If carried out effectively, the strikes may also send a signal to Iran that the White House is prepared to back up its words, no small consideration for an administration that has proclaimed that the use of military force remains an option if the leadership in Iran insists on fielding a nuclear weapon.
But the military strategy that the Obama administration is considering is not linked to its larger diplomatic strategy of persuading President Bashar al-Assad of Syria to yield power and join in negotiations that would end the bloody civil war.
Even if the American-led attack includes allied aircraft, the options under consideration by Mr. Obama for Syria — one or two days of cruise missile strikes from at least four United States Navy Arleigh Burke-class destroyers in the Mediterranean Sea — would not amount to the sort of open-ended campaign that might compel Mr. Assad to negotiate a transfer to a transitional government.
“The kind of attack the administration appears to be planning will demonstrate to Syria and to others that there is a cost the United States is willing to impose for crossing clearly established American red lines and violating widely held international norms,” said Richard Fontaine, the president of the Center for a New American Security, a centrist research center.
But, he said, “It probably will do very little to alter the fundamental balance of forces on the ground or hasten the end of the conflict.”
Mr. Obama appeared to acknowledge as much on Wednesday when he characterized the potential military operation as “a shot across the bow” that would be intended to caution Mr. Assad from further chemical weapons attacks. “That doesn’t solve all the problems inside of Syria,” Mr. Obama told the PBS program “NewsHour,” “and, you know, it doesn’t obviously end the death of innocent civilians inside of Syria.”
In previous conflicts, the United States and its allies have made extensive use of air power to compel a foreign leader who was repressing his opposition to come to the negotiating table.
In the Clinton administration, the United States and its NATO allies carried out extensive airstrikes against Serbian forces in Bosnia, which weakened them to the point that Slobodan Milosevic, the Yugoslav president, agreed in 1995 to a peace settlement along with other Bosnian leaders at an American Air Force base in Dayton, Ohio.
In Kosovo in 1999, an intensive NATO air campaign that lasted 78 days led to an agreement in which Serbian forces withdrew from Kosovo, and the region achieved autonomy and eventually independence.
In the Obama administration, Secretary of State John Kerry has pursued a diplomatic strategy, repeatedly emphasizing the need to put pressure on Mr. Assad to change his “calculation” about his ability to hang on to power. Mr. Kerry’s goal has been to facilitate a political settlement in which a transitional government would assume “full executive powers.”
In May, Mr. Kerry flew to Moscow where he met with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and announced that there would be a peace conference in Geneva aimed at brokering such a transition and bringing an end to the Syrian conflict, which has killed more than 100,000 people.
State Department officials initially said the peace conference might occur before the end of May, but plans became bogged down in differences between the United States and Russia, and the conference has yet to be held.
And the Obama administration did not articulate a comprehensive military strategy that would — in concert with allies — be certain to weaken the Assad government to the point that it would be willing to cede power and negotiate.
At the time, the United States was training a small number of Syrian rebels and trying to coordinate with Arab nations, which were arming the opposition. In June, after the White House determined that the Syrian government had crossed a “red line” by carrying out a series of low-level chemical weapons attacks, the Obama administration stepped up indirect military involvement by deciding to covertly arm the rebels.

Cameron loses war vote in Parliament

from usatoday

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Dean Of The Bankruptcy Bar Will Exorcise Your Demons


‘Let us pray upon the good book…’
They say that possession is nine-tenths of the law, but Kenneth Klee, an attorney who literally wrote the book on bankruptcy, is willing to take the old adage one step further. You see, Klee isn’t your average lawyer. Sure, he’ll charge you $1,000 per hour to take care of your high-stakes bankruptcy proceedings, but if your financial issues have left you feeling spooked, he’ll be able to assist you for a cheaper price.
You see, Ken Klee, a man who is sometimes referred to as the “dean of the bankruptcy bar,” has an interesting hobby. In his free time, instead of cleansing people of their debts, he cleanses their souls. Klee is capable of waving his learned hand “energy hand” and making physical and spiritual ailments disappear, all for the low, low cost of $300 for a two-hour session.
And sometimes, just for the hell of it, he’ll even perform exorcisms…
The Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) has a very interesting piece today on this legend of the bankruptcy bar:
Alternative medicine and other New Age practices and philosophies have many followers in the corporate world, particularly in Southern California. But it is unusual to find a white-shoe lawyer like Mr. Klee who so publicly embraces his connections to the metaphysical.
“I am just a vessel,” said Mr. Klee, sitting in his office on the top floor of a 39-story skyscraper with panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. “I just bring through this energy.”
Kenneth N. Klee
By day, Klee does business with huge municipal bankruptcy clients like Jefferson County, Alabama, but by night, he communes with spirits, aligns chakras, and uses magical crystals in energy healing sessions. We’ve got to wonder if those two very different worlds ever collide. Perhaps Klee would’ve been wise to bless the Alabama Chapter 9 filing before sending it off while chanting, “The power of 11 U.S.C. § 941 compels you!” Things like that have certainly worked for him before — in the late 80s, Klee predicted what was going to happen when Texaco went broke, leading his colleagues to start calling him an “oracle.”
Aside from his private practice, Kenneth Klee also serves as a professor at UCLA School of Law, where he’s been adept at measuring students’ and teachers’ good vibrations, without any assistance whatsoever from Marky Mark and/or his funky bunch. Klee pulls in about $213,373.69 each year from UCLA, so it’s pretty obvious why the man is so positively attuned to the place.
A law professor at University of California, Los Angeles, Ms. [Taimie] Bryant recalls losing her patience at some students for arriving late to class. Mr. Klee, who also teaches at the law school, agreed to harmonize the class and their professor.
“The next day, there was so much ease in the classroom,” said Ms. Bryant. “It was eerie.”
Klee is certainly lucky that he’s got these capabilities. With all of the law school downsizing going on, there’s no way UCLA will get rid of him — unless, of course, the administration wants to face his unique brand of karmic retribution. Klee could probably harness “lowlife” spirits that would make the school’s U.S. News ranking sink down to the nether regions of law school hell. Don’t even think about it, Dean Moran.
Klee’s services could be useful in Biglaw as well. Perhaps he should get in touch with the good people at Bryan Cave to see if they need another spiritual cleansing. Who better to do such a thing than a man who can predict the future? Let’s just hope he doesn’t see laid-off people.
When Klee retires, he wants to “change the world” with some sort of a contraption that measures people’s energy. He says the machine will convince skeptics that he isn’t a quack, but as far as we’re concerned, so long as Kenneth Klee keeps getting favorable outcomes in federal courts, he can do whatever he wants.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Official: Firefighters to protect Yosemite 'no matter what it takes'

from cnn

A firefighter douses flames of the Rim Fire in Groveland, California, near Yosemite National Park, on Saturday, August 24. The fire had consumed nearly 126,000 acres as of Saturday and has moved into a remote area of the park.A firefighter douses flames of the Rim Fire in Groveland, California, near Yosemite National Park, on Saturday, August 24. The fire had consumed nearly 126,000 acres as of Saturday and has moved into a remote area of the park.
Rim Fire enters Yosemite National Park
  • Evacuating residents say they're worried about their homes
  • Official: "We're going to do everything in our power to protect" Yosemite
  • The Rim Fire has burned nearly 134,000 acres in California
  • The fire threatens to grow amid extremely dry conditions and hot weather
Yosemite National Park, California (CNN) -- Susan Loesch and Curtis Evans just started settling into their second home in California's Sierra foothills a few months ago. Now, they're worried it could go up in smoke as a massive wildfire spreads.
"This is kind of a little paradise up here for us. ... To think this would all be gone would be devastating," Evans told CNN Sunday.
Cradling their chihuahua, Cuervo, they prepared to leave the area on Sunday as more than 2,800 crew members struggled to corral the sprawling Rim Fire, which had devoured nearly 134,000 acres.
"It's scary," Loesch said. "You worry about the firefighters being on the line. ... It's overwhelming."
The wildfire, which remained 7% contained, was spreading primarily to the northeast and east and threatened to grow amid extremely dry conditions and hot weather.
After days of battling the blaze, things were looking up on Sunday, said Vickie Wright, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Forest Service.
Firefighters battle Yosemite wildfire
California wildfire doubles in size
"We're a long way from complete," she said, "but at least our boots on the ground are getting a better handle on it."
A top priority is stopping the fire from spreading further in Yosemite National Park.
"The park is a national treasure," she said, "so no matter what it takes, we're going to do everything in our power to protect that park."
While the Rim Fire had consumed 12,000 acres in the northwest section of the park by Saturday, so far it has had little or no direct impact on Yosemite Valley, a popular spot for tourists and home to many of the famous cliffs and waterfalls in the park.
About 4,500 structures, many of them vacation homes, were under threat, according to InciWeb, a federal website that collects information from agencies such as the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management.
Several helicopters and air tankers were aiding firefighting efforts.
The inferno threatened the Yosemite gateway communities of Groveland and Pine Mountain Lake just outside the Stanislaus National Forest.
The Tuolumne County Sheriff's Office, meanwhile, issued evacuation advisories for the town of Tuolumne and nearby Ponderosa Hill, according to InciWeb. It was not clear how many residents were covered by the evacuation advisory.
Authorities say the Rim Fire started on August 17. The cause is under investigation.
Yosemite spokesman Scott Gediman told CNN on Saturday that the Rim Fire's impact was restricted to a park entrance closure at Highway 120 West and a backcountry section used by hikers.
The park typically has 15,000 visitors on a busy summer weekend. August sees an influx of visitors from other countries, a few of whom have called to check on conditions.
Still, there's little indication so far it's keeping many people away.
Ranger programs went on as normal Saturday and campgrounds were full.
"If somebody cancels, there are 10 people that will take their spot," said Gediman.
Yosemite, with hundreds of campground sites and lodging units, had nearly 4 million visitors last year, according to the National Park Service.