- Posted June 2, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Kernels - Monday, June 2, 2014
Good evening, I am Mark Ivy.
Welcome to the latest edition of Kernels From the Cornfield - No Husks, No Hulls, No Shucks!
News with a dash of commentary to spice up your fare for Monday, June 2nd, 2014.
1. At What Price, Freedom? - I, along with the rest of the nation, am happy that Bowe Bergdahl has been released from captivity and will soon be returning to his family in the US of A.
Bergdahl, who was captured by the Taliban while serving in the US Army in Afghanistan, was released this past week in what the White House is calling a "prisoner exchange".
This is raising the question: At what price, freedom?
After his capture, six American soldiers lost their lives trying to save Bergdahl, who is being depicted by his former comrades-in-arms as a deserter at best and at worst, a traitor. In emails to his parents, it is reported, that Bergdahl expressed his disillusionment with America and the military mission in Afghanistan.
In addition, the cost for Bergdahl's freedom was the release of top Taliban and Al Qaeda aligned prisoners at Guantanomo Bay, Cuba. These five were not lower echelon, but at the apex of the Taliban leadership, some bosom buddies of Osama Bin Laden.
Bergdahl has yet to be classified as a deserter or have his classification changed from prisoner of war. He is scheduled for promotion to staff sergeant later this month.
His former foxhole buddies are not pleased.
According to information being released by the Department of Defense, Bergdahl is being treated at a medical facility in Germany and will soon be transferred to Brookes Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas.
2. Broken Law or Above the Law? - President Barack Obama is being accused by members of Congress of having broke the law in releasing the five Taliban prisoners from Guantanomo Bay.
Even CNN's chief legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, stated point blank on The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, that the President did indeed break the law because he did not inform Congress 30 days in advance of the release of these prisoners to the Mideastern country of Qatar.
The White House is pushing back and claimed special circumstances for non-compliance with a law that the President signed himself. It has been noted, the President signed a signing statement at the time stating his position he had the right to ignore the law if he chose to do so.
What is at concern is if the President's action of trading five Taliban leaders for the release of one American soldier, who is under a cloud of suspicion, sets a dangerous precedent which may put Americans and America's fighting men and women in harm's way making them targets for capture and as pawns in a game of gaining the release of other terrorists in custody.
The Administration is coming under fire from both Republicans and Democrats over the release of the Taliban prisoners. This even though the White House is saying that the prisoners must remain under watch and restricted to Qatar for an entire year.
This has not always worked out in the past when another prisoner released to Qatar with the same conditions ended up captured in Great Britain fomenting jihad.
I am still mulling over the whole scenario concerning the release of Bergdahl and of the President's actions. I will put my full thoughts down as soon as I can formulate a clear, articulate perspective on the issues and concerns, which can be read at FromTheCornfield.com.
3. Foreign Policy? - Read my thoughts about President Barack Obama's speech at the West Point Military Academy commencement at FromTheCornfield.com: Dud Foreign Policy Speech Lands with a Thud.
4. EPA to Coal Companies - Shut 'er Down! - The EPA announced a new rule on reduction of up to 30% carbon emissions by 2030 today.
The question remains whether the 30% will start in 2005 or now. Since 2005, the EPA reports emissions have dropped 13%. However unless China, India, Brazil rein in their carbon emissions, the US action will have negligible impact on the world pollution and human contribution to climate change.
I reported about the rule change last week in my Thursday edition of Kernels (http://fromthecornfield.com/kernels/blog1.php/kernels-thursday-may-29-2014).
According to a study released by the US Chamber of Commerce, the impact on the Cornfield, which is part of the East North Central Region including Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Indiana, will amount to 32,000 jobs lost each year until 2030 and an economic loss of $7.4 billion per year until 2030. That is just for this region. For the nation as a whole, the number of lost jobs will be 224,000 with an economic cost of $51 billion.
You tell me - Is the cost too high?
One Democratic senatorial candidate, Alison Lundergan Grimes, who is hoping to topple Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell from his seat in the Kentucky race is vehemently opposed to the new rule and sees this as a "war on coal".
Though Kentucky's version of the Affordable Care Act's marketplace exchange has proven both successful and popular, the President is not welcome in the Bluegrass State. With the EPA proposed rule, he is even less welcome today.
Expect the "war on coal" to be a major issue during the fall campaign between McConnell and Grimes.
5. Your Face on a Milk Carton? - Well maybe not on a milk carton, but the New York Times is reporting that information released by traitor or whistleblower - you pick - Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency is collecting thousands of every day Americans' faces and entering the data into facial recognition software.
This is whether you have even been arrested, charged with a crime, been a blip on someone's radar screen or not.
Yes, I know selfies are all the rage.
Yes, I know that young people especially are sharing every photo and every bit of information they can with the world at large on social media.
But to me this is another outrage that our government is collecting private information and creating dossiers on unsuspecting Americans.
This is not right.
6. Is an Election Valid in a Civil War? - Syrians, or at least the ones who can safely make it to the polls, will vote in national elections on Tuesday. Syrian President, or is that dictator, Bashar al Assad is expected to win re-election even though the majority of the country is in the midst of a civil war.
Voting booths will only be open in government controlled areas of the nation. Rebels, unless they risk life and limb, will not be participating in the election.
So much for the concept of "open and free elections". Assad is a dictator after all.
7. Becoming the Story, Rather than Reporting the Story - I found myself accidentally becoming the story rather than reporting the story over the weekend in violation of the journalistic code of ethics.
OOPs! my bad, but hopefully my story will help someone else.
You never know how an expression of frustration might be perceived. Seems a status update I did on Facebook on Sunday caused a stir with some - not locally, but across the country.
Having a very rough day, filled with pain and wracked with agony, I wrote:
Enough already! I can no longer ignore or deal with my head trying to explode; the searing pain and agony; the suffocating sensation as my airways are choked shut denying oxygen to my vital organs; the depressive knowledge of being an utter failure as a human being, a man, a grandfather, a father, a son, a husband, a life partner; the overwhelming nausea induced by the totality of it all.
That was enough to trigger alarm bells with some of my online friends and fellow members of CNN's iReport community.
You can read the full article at Inside My Mind: Causing a Stir - Well a Small Ripple at MarksDen.com.
That's what caught my attention for Monday, June 2nd, 2014.
Tune in tomorrow for another episode of Kernels From the Cornfield.
I am Mark Ivy.