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Land of the Pure Attempting to Regain Its Purity?
Democracy destroys itself because it abuses its right to freedom and equality. Because it teaches its citizens to consider audacity as a right, lawlessness as a freedom, abrasive speech as equality , and anarchy as progress. -- Boomerang: The Biggest Bust, Michael Lewis
A country which in some way or the other makes itself prominent across the global arena more often because of events which shun its image and bring it into the limelight.Land of the pure, has recurrently surfaced in the form of news that people of the world do not have pleasant memories of.Yet, the rulers or the rank and file of the state do not let go of any chance to make it to small screens worldwide. This time around it is not terrorism which has unfortunately become synonymous with Pakistan, but at present practitioners of "pure" democracy have hooked the public inside the nation and have arose curiosity in the global stage not because of this misconception.Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) are two political parties which started off with a long march to end the corrupt practices of the current government. August 14 was chosen for the commencement of the march as it is the National Day of Pakistan.A day and date having so much background to it was chosen to further create history, Tahirul Qadri and Imran Khan, the leaders of PAT and PTI respectively advanced towards Islamabad, the state capital to demand the Premier to give up his office. PAT declared the Prime Minister and Chief Minister of Punjab, the largest province in Pakistan to step down because of the tragedy their party workers faced. Fourteen workers of PAT were killed in Lahore on June 17, 2014.and PAT demands for the First Information Report (FIR) to be filed against the Chief Minister of Punjab, Shahbaz Sharif.The public in general, having tried the present government run under Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz (PMLN) for about a year and a half, are of the belief that the ruling class is nothing but a bunch of corrupt leaders plundering the state's treasury.This lead to the announcement of Civil Disobedience by Imran Khan which is mostly carried out in the form of economic disobedience. This act has been in practice without having to be announced with many public leaders who generally do not pay taxes. The citizenry will now simply follow suit.Turbulent times such as these which regrettably Pakistan is prone to are always accompanied by mysterious characters which stay in the minds of the multitude for let's say a few months. This time around, Afzal Khan, former Additional Secretary Election Commission of Pakistan appeared on a local television program declaring the elections of May 2013 to be massively rigged. What was different this time was that Mr. Revealer, was talked about on social and conventional media for a day or two and was soon forgotten. The everyday events are unfolding at such unprecedented pace with having so much to talk about, thus Afzal Khan and his revelations seem to have been forgotten (for now maybe).With each day starting and ending with deadlines, and media covering each and every bit of the unnecessary details, it brings to light the gruesome state of affairs of the standard of democracy we, the citizens are accustomed to. The past 14 days have been highly sensitive for the people of the country. Since the day the march began, conspiracy theories have evolved that the nation will be subjected to another military coup.Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif seems to be adamant and is not willing to step down saying it is his democratic right to stay in the office. The right to stay by rigging elections and that in the name of democracy? Let time decide that. Land of the pure fails to brush away the impurities. Be it Imran, Qadri or Nawaz, whoever gets to run the nation of a massive population of 18 billion, may the deserving get their rights without any further violation. May this nation return to its purity which the founding leaders once dreamt of.
Did Washington Stab Working Americans in the Back?
It's official: Trade with poor countries has destroyed millions of American jobs and lives. A new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research confirms what working people have long known: Imports from China are responsible for the loss of over 2 million jobs between 1999 and 2011. That's about 1 percent of the entire work force. What's even more shocking is that Washington knew this was happening all along.It wasn't just industries that faced direct competition from imports that shed jobs. Companies supplying raw materials to domestic industries that were replaced by Chinese imports saw decreased demand for their products and they laid off workers as well. Businesses completely unrelated to manufacturing or trade were affected too. For example, when an auto-parts plant (or its supplier) closed, the bars, beauty salons and retailers in town had a tough time keeping their doors open. That made it even harder for the laid off factory worker to find a job as a hairdresser or bartender no matter what kind of "retraining" he or she had. The researchers took into account 560,000 jobs that were lost because of the ongoing decline in the size of the U.S. manufacturing workforce due to automation, NAFTA and other factors. Even after factoring that in, the study concludes:
Combining figures from exposed and non-exposed industries, the overall local impact is 2.37 million jobs whose loss would have been averted absent further increases in Chinese import competition after 1999...This estimate is a lower bound on the aggregate total impact of increased import competition from China on national employment.
It gets worse. The findings in this study, as well as earlier studies, are based on readily available government statistics. The government tracks trade data. The Social Security Administration tracks how many hours Americans are working, in what industries, and even in what companies. Data on individuals' earnings by employer show that Americans in industries that were competing with imports worked fewer and fewer hours as imports rose. That suggests our government knew all along what its "open borders, import everything" policy was doing to our people. What's the point of collecting information if you don't read it and use it to inform policymakers? While politicians talked about so-called free trade opening up new opportunities for American workers and "building a bridge to the 21st Century," information right there in a government filing cabinet was telling them how many Americans were no longer working -- and precisely who they were, where they lived and where they no longer worked. Either the politicians didn't look at the evidence that shows outsourcing factories to China was destroying the lives of millions of American families, or they knew all along and chose to stab us in the back. And the beat goes on. President Obama and corporatist lackies in Congress in both parties are now pushing to fast track the TransPacific Partnership, a managed "trade" deal like NAFTA that will mean more outsourcing, more imports from poor countries with dollar-an-hour wages and more power for unelected bureaucrats to rewrite our laws in secret.You don't need a degree in economics to know this is a bad deal for America. Tell your representatives in Congress NO fast track for the job killing, Constitution-shredding, back-stabbing TransPacific Partnership.
This Labor Day, Let\'s Focus on Putting Americans Back to Work
As Americans celebrate Labor Day, they're forced to reckon with some tough facts about the state of our country's workforce.Despite the Left's tone-deaf efforts to declare victory on the economy, America's labor force participation rate has been falling, and stood at just 62.9 percent in July -- its lowest point since 1978, when Jimmy Carter occupied the Oval Office. These figures represent millions of Americans who have disappeared from the country's workforce, no longer working or even seeking work.Outside of Washington, D.C.'s "Beltway Bubble," ordinary Americans are feeling the effects of the liberals' ill-advised agenda. Middle-class families understand that instead of helping, the policies espoused by President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi are actually making things considerably worse -- effectively waging a war on work that could change our country in terrible ways.The editorial board of West Virginia's Charleston Daily Mail writes that Obamacare's effects on the labor market are both "astounding and alarming," as "the law is doing to the economy exactly what its critics predicted" by making it more costly to employ Americans in full-time jobs. The result of this misguided policy, the paper continues, is that "[e]mployers are replacing full-time positions with part-time work to avoid the mandate of providing health care insurance."We witnessed a real life example of this in Major League Baseball recently, when officials were forced to call off a game because, as the Daily News reports, the Chicago Cubs' "grounds crew couldn't cover the playing surface before [a] downpour." The reason? "Earlier that night, Cubs management had sent home 10 workers, in part to keep them under 30 hours a week -- and avoid paying health benefits under the Affordable Care Act."And as the Daily Mail notes, the research confirming that this sort of thing is happening throughout the economy "is the finding not of some conservative think tank, but of the Federal Reserve Bank in Philadelphia, which surveyed employers directly about Obamacare's influence on employment, compensation and benefits." In fact, studies by no fewer than four Federal Reserve Banks -- those in Philadelphia, New York, Atlanta, and Dallas -- have found Obamacare to be harming job-creators, workers, and our economy as a whole. Data from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) backs that up, with the number-crunchers' most recent report noting that "certain aspects of the Affordable Care Act will tend to reduce labor force participation." This is the result of Obamacare -- a law that Obama, Reid, Pelosi, and their liberal allies in Washington consider to be their crowing public policy achievement.Americans deserve better.The authors of YG Network's acclaimed book, Room To Grow, offer a superior vision for a thriving middle class, grounded in compassion, commonsense, hard work, and proven conservative principles.Room To Grow contributor Michael Strain reminds us of the tragic consequences of long-term unemployment and argues that Americans need an approach that "empowers individuals and supports their aspirations--giving them the chance to leader flourishing lives through work." In his chapter, Scott Winship proposes safety net reforms that "protect the vulnerable and expand the middle class," and Robert Stein offers smart tax reforms to "strengthen the economy and lighten the burdens families bear." And Carrie Lukas offers overburdened families a series of smart reforms that would help workers balance the demands of their jobs and their families -- an all-too-often overlooked aspect of strengthening America's workforce -- noting that "one-size-fits-all government solutions" don't work well for today's working families, who "have very different preferences about balancing work and family."The concrete proposals put forth in Room To Grow offer Americans a workable, principled, optimistic vision for the future of our families, communities and country. We could start right now putting people back to work, and address America's big challenges by embracing these new ideas -- but unfortunately Obama, Pelosi, Reid, and their fellow liberal elected officials in Washington refuse to even acknowledge that their big-government policies have failed and they have no other ideas to offer.Their failed, liberal leadership remains the greatest hurdle American families face as they struggle onward in an economy that won't let them get ahead. And that's a sad fact for Americans to reflect upon this Labor Day.
Obama: \'America Deserves A Raise\'
MILWAUKEE (AP) ? President Barack Obama says he'll press Congress to raise the minimum wage in the same way he courted his wife ? never taking no for an answer.Obama brought a buoyant Labor Day message to Wisconsin, telling union members on Monday that he sees, quote, "engines are revving a little louder" in an economy coming back from a near-depression five years ago. Now, he says, quote, "America deserves a raise." He promises his administration will keep pushing for one.He adds that if Republicans gain control of Congress after November's elections, they will hurt the chances for a higher federal minimum wage.The president cracked that the struggle resembles his hard sell when Michelle agreed to marry him. Obama says, quote, "I just wore her down."
The Dubious Sources Of Some Supreme Court ?Facts? -
WASHINGTON ? The Supreme Court received more than 80 friend-of-the-court briefs in the Hobby Lobby case. Most of these filings, also called amicus briefs, were dull and repetitive recitations of familiar legal arguments.
Democracy Protests Divide Hong Kong, China
BEIJING -- On Sunday, China's National People's Congress announced that Beijing intends to pre-screen candidates in the election of Hong Kong's next chief executive. Thousands of democracy activists took to the streets of Hong Kong upon hearing the news. With those activists threatening to shut down the city's central business district, reaction in both Hong Kong and mainland China remains sharply divided over the wisdom of potentially crippling the local economy for the sake of democratic freedom. After 150 years as a British colony, Hong Kong was returned to mainland China in 1997 with the promise that residents would enjoy more expansive civil liberties than people on the mainland, and that the city would gradually progress toward elections based on universal suffrage. This arrangement, known as the "one country, two systems" model, has protected free political speech in the city and kept alive hopes for a degree of electoral democracy that was never seen under British rule.
The bandanna tied around this protester's head reads "Civil Disobedience."
Central government leaders in Beijing have promised universal suffrage in Hong Kong's 2017 election, but Sunday's announcement confirmed the fears of democracy activists: The two or three candidates in the election will be required to gain 50 percent approval from a committee dominated by pro-Beijing representatives, effectively allowing the Chinese government to set the parameters of electoral choice."Hong Kong people will have one person, one vote, but Beijing will select all the candidates -- puppets," said Martin Lee, founder of Hong Kong's Democratic Party, at a rally on Sunday evening. "What's the difference between a rotten apple, a rotten orange and a rotten banana?"In response to the election plan, leaders of the pro-democracy movement Occupy Central with Peace and Love say that Hong Kong has entered "an era of civil disobedience," one expected to gum up the gears of Hong Kong's bustling financial center.But opinion in Hong Kong and mainland China remains deeply divided over the desirability of economic disturbance and the growing distance between freedoms enjoyed in Hong Kong and life in mainland China. In Hong Kong, the fractures largely occur along class and age lines. In a poll conducted at the end of 2013, more than 70 percent of respondents with a family income of less than $10,000 opposed the Occupy movement, as did more than 80 percent of respondents over 70 years old. Support for the movement was strongest among students and those making more than $100,000. Overall, that poll showed a majority of respondents opposing Occupy Central and fearing that it would lead to violence and economic loss. But the poll also revealed broad support for universal suffrage.
An estimated 150,000 protesters marched in Hong Kong on July 1, 2014, the 17th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to China.
Tensions have been rising since June, and it's unclear which force has exhibited a greater pull on the people of Hong Kong: revulsion at Beijing's take-it-or-leave-it approach, or fear that a confrontation will damage the city and its residents' livelihoods. After Beijing previewed the candidate restrictions in a June white paper, an annual march opposing Beijing's influence drew over 150,000 participants, according to estimates by the University of Hong Kong.The Hong Kong press has been similarly divided. While the popular Apple Daily is a steadfast supporter of Occupy Central, an editorial in the prominent South China Morning Post recommended grudging acquiescence to Beijing's plan."Imperfect as it is, the model is still a step forward," wrote the editors of the South China Morning Post. "It is in the best interests of the city to adopt the change and strive for further improvements in the future."Meanwhile, in mainland China, attitudes about the events in Hong Kong are likewise mixed. On China's Twitter-esque microblog platform Sina Weibo, some users praised the Occupy movement for advancing democracy in China, while others bristled at the fact that no such push for democracy occurred under British colonial rule."I just want to ask Hong Kongers: how is it that during British rule you didn't ever bring up the 'one person, one vote' demand for Hong Kong's Governor?" wrote one user.Scores of similar posts tap into a strong resentment from many in mainland China as a result of perceived scorn heaped on them by Hong Kong residents since reunification. Waves of mainland Chinese tourists have descended on Hong Kong in recent years, many of them from the newly moneyed classes that have emerged alongside China's booming economy. These wealthy tourists often come to Hong Kong for luxury shopping sprees to take advantage of lower taxes in the city. That influx has led to friction, with some Hong Kong residents labeling the mainlanders "locusts" intent on gobbling up luxury goods while maintaining uncouth mainland habits such as public urination.Despite those social tensions, many mainland Chinese Web users have expressed support for the Occupy movement, suggesting that it could represent a dry run for eventual democratization on the mainland."From a small fishing village all the way to a major metropolis, Hong Kong's development has come from the hard work of its own people!" wrote one microblog user from the neighboring Chinese province of Guangdong. "Now they're doing this so their own descendants can live with dignity. So what are you doing for your descendants?"
Joe Biden: American Workers Don\'t Want A Handout, \'Just Give Them A Chance\'
Vice President Joe Biden rallied hundreds of union workers on Monday, saying he believes all American workers deserve a "fair share" as corporations grow.Speaking at the annual Labor Day parade in Detroit, Biden lamented average Americans' limited access to fair wages."A job's about a lot more than a paycheck. It's about your dignity, it's about your place in the community, it's about who you are. It's about being able to look your kid in the eye and say, 'Honey, it's going to be ok.' That's what a job is about," Biden said. "You can't do that unless you get a fair wage."The speech was Biden's second appearance at Labor Day festivities in Detroit in the last three years. During his impassioned address, Biden credited labor unions for building the middle class, and thus "building the United States as we know it." "If the middle class is doing fine, everybody does fine," he said. "The wealthy get very wealthy, and the poor have a way up." Watch the full speech above.Biden said members of the middle class are not defined by their wages, but by a values set."Middle class... means you get to own your home. It means you get to send your kid to a decent school, that if they do well and they want to go to college, you can afford to send them to college. It means being able to take care of your parents if they get sick. it means maybe being able to save enough so you hope your kids never have to take care of you."The vice president responded to "pollsters" who he said claim the middle class no longer cares about owning a home or sending their kids to college."The American people have not stopped dreaming. The American people have not walked away from what they believe they are entitled to. Just give them a chance -- no handout, just give them a chance," Biden said. "Once you give Americans a chance they have never, never, never, never ever let their country down."
Hating On Harry Reid - Kenneth P. Vogel -
DALLAS ? A slew of big-name Republicans were in the house for this weekend?s summit of the Koch brothers? leading political group, but the most talked-about figure may very well have been Harry Reid.
State Dept. Asks North Korea To Release U.S. Detainees \'Out Of Humanitarian Concern\'
WASHINGTON, Sept 1 (Reuters) - The U.S. government on Monday requested that the North Korean government release three U.S. citizens currently detained there "out of humanitarian concern" and grant one of them special amnesty to seek medical care.Three U.S. citizens - Kenneth Bae, Jeffrey Fowle and Matthew Miller - asked the American government for help returning home on Monday in rare interviews with CNN set up by the North Korean government. Bae is serving a 15-year sentence, others are awaiting trial."There is no greater priority for us than the welfare and safety of U.S. citizens abroad ... We continue to work actively to secure these three U.S. Citizens' release," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement."The Embassy of Sweden in Pyongyang acts as our protecting power for issues involving U.S. citizens in North Korea. We are in regular, close coordination with representatives of the Embassy of Sweden."
White House: Securing Release Of Detainees In North Korea A Top Priority
WASHINGTON, Sept 1 (Reuters) - The White House said on Monday it was continuing to do all that it can to secure the release of three Americans detained in North Korea, after they made a televised appeal for help from the U.S. government.
The three spoke to the cable channel CNN on Monday, with one of the prisoners saying his health was failing and another describing his situation as "urgent."
"We have seen the reports of interviews with the three American citizens detained in North Korea," Patrick Ventrell, a spokesman for the White House National Security Council, said in a statement.
"Securing the release of U.S. citizens is a top priority and we have followed these cases closely in the White House. We continue to do all we can to secure their earliest possible release," he said.
(Reporting by Matt Spetalnick; Editing by Dan Grebler)

Presidential Hopefuls Have Already Crossed The Unofficial Starting Line
PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (AP) ? One set of elections ends in early November as another begins when presidential hopefuls cross the unofficial starting line in the 2016 race for the White House.With control of the Senate at stake, the months leading up to the mid-term elections offer a clearer window on a crowd of potential presidential candidates already jockeying for position from Nevada to New Hampshire. Their cross-country touring will intensify this fall under the gaze of voters who will pick their parties' nominees. Look for the would-be contenders to road-test rhetoric, expand coalitions, and consider their own political flaws_while keeping close watch on each other. Democrats want Hillary Rodham Clinton to carry their flag; the Republican field remains crowded, and wide open. The presidential jousting will be most apparent in states like New Hampshire, home to the first-in-the-nation presidential primary and the site of closely-watched races for governor, Senate and the House.Whichever party controls the Senate after the November 4 balloting_Republicans need a six-seat gain to win the majority_will say much about what President Barack Obama can accomplish in the final two years of his presidency and the tone of the race to succeed him."The end of the 2014 general election does, in a sense, commence a beginning of the presidential primary phase," says New Hampshire Republican operative Rich Killion. "But an informal, unofficial opening to the process already is underway."Here's a look at potential 2016 candidates and what to expect this fall:HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON:The former secretary of state's every word will be parsed for her future plans. But Clinton has been offering plenty of hints that she's preparing for another campaign.Her biggest splash could come in Iowa, where she'll join her husband at Sen. Tom Harkin's annual steak fry fundraiser in Indianola on Sept. 14. The event is billed as a tribute to Harkin, but will generate wide interest as Clinton's first visit to Iowa since losing the 2008 caucuses.Clinton has limited her campaign activity since leaving the State Department, but this fall should give voters a more concrete look at how she might present her candidacy. Her allies are wary of a "third Obama term" label, so Clinton's speeches and appearances offer a chance to distinguish herself from the president.She will raise money for Democrats' four major campaign committees and could help several Senate campaigns where Obama remains a liability.JOE BIDEN:Vice President Joe Biden has not ruled out a third presidential bid and expects to be an active surrogate for Democrats this fall. Whether he'd challenge Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination remains the big question.Biden headlined high-profile meetings with young voters, liberals and African-Americans. He's also raised money for congressional candidates in Nevada and incumbent governors in Connecticut and Illinois. Biden is expected to visit New Hampshire, where he maintains ties to party activists, and Iowa, where Rep. Bruce Braley faces Joni Ernst in one of the top Senate battlegrounds.OTHER DEMOCRATS:Several Democrats are building for a national campaign in case Clinton doesn't run ? or considering a longshot challenge.Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley has been the most active, raising money for candidates in Iowa and New Hampshire and traveling to states with active mid-term contests.Former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb recently traveled to Iowa. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, plans to visit the Hawkeye State in mid-September. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has denied interest in the White House but would face pressure to run if Clinton doesn't.JEB BUSHMore than seven years out of office, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has been quieter than some of his GOP colleagues as he focuses on his private business dealings.He recently said he'd begin a more aggressive schedule to help Republicans this fall. He's set to headline a Florida fundraiser in late September to benefit top Republican Senate candidates, a group expected to include Cory Gardner in Colorado, Ernst in Iowa, Monica Wehby in Oregon and Tom Cotton in Arkansas.RAND PAULKentucky Sen. Rand Paul has been perhaps the most aggressive prospective candidate.The ophthalmologist recently squeezed in a mission to perform eye surgeries in Guatemala_and invited news organizations to cover it_between stops in Iowa and South Carolina. He's confirmed September appearances in California and Virginia, and October visits to North Carolina and New Hampshire, among dozens more possible stops.The libertarian-leaning Paul, the son of former Texas Rep. Ron Paul, is trying to build on the small but passionate coalition assembled by his father. The elder Paul wasn't taken seriously by many Republicans, but Rand Paul has emerged as a leading GOP voice on foreign and domestic policy.CHRIS CHRISTIEWorking to move past a bridge-clogging scandal that shadowed his plans, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie continues an aggressive travel schedule this fall as chairman of the Republican Governors Association.Having already visited New Hampshire, he's announced a trip to South Carolina, where he'll have a chance to test his message with more conservative voters. He's also planning trips to Ohio, Wisconsin and Florida.Christie leads a delegation of New Jersey business and political leaders to Mexico in early September, a trip that gives him a chance to bolster his appeal with Latino voters and burnish his foreign policy chops. And at home, Christie will unveil a budget plan that is sure to draw fury from Democrats and union leaders.RICK PERRYEyeing a second presidential bid, Texas Gov. Rick Perry was already facing challenges related to his disastrous 2012 campaign before his recent felony indictments.His advisers suggest the charges could actually help his political prospects, and he has pressed ahead with visits to Iowa, Washington, D.C., New Hampshire, and more.Perry heads to Iowa in early September shortly before a weeklong economic tour across Asia. He'll turn his attention to helping Republican governors win reelection when he returns.The Texas governor will launch a European tour in October.OTHER REPUBLICANS:The possible GOP field also includes Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker hopes to use his reelection test this fall as a springboard into 2016. Others must convince skeptical party leaders they have mainstream appeal ? a group that includes conservative firebrand Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and social conservative Rick Santorum.___AP writers Jill Colvin in New Jersey and Mike Mishak in Florida contributed to this report.
Invisible Fences of Our Lives and Politics
Sitting on a rocker on the front porch of my older brother's house in Michigan, smoking a cigar, watching his dogs play (the size of which might cause you to confuse them with small horses) as the summer sun set over the tall pines, I was struck by something.He has trained his dogs (as many folks have) to stay within bounds of the property using an invisible fence. This is a device that includes a collar for each dog and, when a dog strays past the invisible fence line, it is given a shock of electricity -- the purpose of which is to keep the dogs from running off, doing what they might want or to keep them out of trouble on the street. It is a control device so you can let them seem to roam free but really not allow it.The interesting thing about these invisible fences for dogs is that, at some point, the dog has been so conditioned by the shock that you can actually take the collar off the dog and it won't ever venture past that imaginary fence line even though a shock isn't coming its way. It has now been drilled into the dog's very being that crossing that line will receive some punishment whether it is true in reality or not anymore.So many of us have these invisible fences in our heads, trained in the past at some point (as far back as childhood, for some) through negative experiences, messages or even trauma. At the time, we might have developed them as a real protection from a fear or troubled situation, but so many of us now have the collars off and are free to roam in different ways. However, because this "training" earlier runs deep, we still believe it exists. We still believe we will be shocked if we do something that ventures past the invisible fence line.Most of the fears and inabilities we bring to relationships come from some past shock or trauma and it hampers us in our desire to have a free and healthy interaction. We think if we love someone else we will get hurt or lose them, so we pull back and stay in an old pattern. Or we think the professional chance we might take to do something we love is bound for disaster or failure, so we keep doing what we always have done even though it is without much joy or fulfillment.We repeat the pattern of past decisions and relationships because we are hampered by these invisible fences that we think are true, and we don't realize the collar fell off long ago (if it ever really existed, for some of us we were told things about the world and this became a verbal collar). It is only after we realize the myth of many of these control rules that we begin to venture out in new ways or try new dynamics in our interactions with others. And for each step when we are not "shocked" we realize what we have been missing and reestablish our own sense of freedom. Most people who operate as victims in their lives bear with great weight a collar which is attached to an invisible fence in their head.The same is true for our politics and the interactions of many of our leaders within this country and around the globe. Many politicians won't venture to solve problems and compromise because they have bought into the myth of being shocked in elections. As one looks at the results in the past few years, the folks who have lost didn't lose because of bipartisanship, but because they became disconnected from their constituents. They lost not because they tried, but because they took voters for granted.Big donors and interest groups with agendas of all political persuasions try to keep convincing many politicians that they will be shocked if they venture too far afield. And these elected officials accept this story of an invisible fence line. So these office holders don't try new things. They toe the line and the country suffers, and a majority of us get more and more frustrated by Washington, D.C.'s dysfunctional status quo.On international relations, the same dynamic plays out. One country doesn't trust another because of some past action or trauma, and doesn't realize that old dynamic is gone, and countries are free to build new and creative alliances to accomplish positive ends. Hate builds for so long that we think it is real and then we won't try new ways to initiate or build relationships in the 21st century.Because we haven't explored the invisible fences in our minds and realized the collar is off, we, as individuals, as a country and as a globe, our captive to the past. We are free to build healthier relationships with our loved ones, our friends, our families and neighbors, and internationally when we realize what is stopping us. It is not so much the actions of others today that keeps us from joy and peace, but the myth of the invisible fence we have empowered in ourselves.To that end, I am going to try each day to make a step further out of the yard to show that I won't be shocked. I may make mistakes or get lost a bit along the way, but at least I won't be the prisoner of an invisible fence.My collar is off. How about yours?There you have it.This post was originally published on ABC News. Matthew Dowd is an ABC News analyst and special correspondent.
Obama Notifies Congress Of Ordering Airstrikes In Iraq
WASHINGTON, Sept 1 (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday formally notified Congress that he had authorized targeted air strikes in Iraq to help deliver a humanitarian aid to the besieged Shi'ite town of Amerli, the White House said in a statement.
Iraqi security forces backed by Shi'ite militias on Sunday broke the two-month siege of Amerli by Islamic State militants and entered the northern town, after U.S. military carried out air strikes on IS militant positions near the town and airdropped humanitarian supplies to the trapped residents there.
Obama has to notify Congress of the authorization under the the War Powers Resolution.
"This operation is consistent with the military missions we have outlined to date in Iraq - to protect U.S. personnel and facilities and to address the humanitarian situation on the ground," National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said in a statement.
(Reporting by Alina Selyukh Editing by W Simon)

The 10 Fastest-Growing Jobs In America
24/7 Wall St.: After the recession wiped out millions of jobs, the American labor market has at least partially recovered. So far this year, the United States has added roughly 1.6 million jobs. And in the 10 years through 2022, the BLS estimates that employment will grow by over 15 million jobs, or by 11 percent.Some jobs are expected to better capitalize on economic, demographic, and workplace trends than others. For example, industrial-organizational psychologists are expected to grow 53.4 percent, the fastest in the nation, and occupations in the health sector are also anticipated to disproportionately grow. Based on estimated employment figures and projections for 2012 and 2022 published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for more than 1,000 occupations, 24/7 Wall St. identified the fastest growing jobs in America.Click here to see the 10 fastest growing jobs.The jobs with the largest expected growth are often those that benefit from America?s changing demographics. In an interview with 24/7 Wall St., Martin Kohli, chief regional economist for the BLS, noted that the effects of an aging population, which has access to Medicare, ?combined with innovations that provide new treatments? has led to increases in health care spending. In turn, more spending creates ?a high demand for jobs to provide these services,? he added.In fact, the average of all health support occupations is expected to grow 28 percent by 2022. Six jobs within the top 10 are in the health care sector.Some of the fastest growing jobs are expected to receive a boost from economic trends. For example, the BLS expects that a continued economic rebound will lead to greater demand for construction and renovations. While construction laborers and helpers are expected to grow 25 percent, jobs such as masons? helpers are expected to grow at a considerably higher rate of 45 percent.Government and private sector initiatives are also expected to contribute to growth in specific occupations. New federal health care legislation is expected to increase access to health care and, in turn, to the scale of the health care industry. Meanwhile, mechanical insulators are expected to benefit from an increased focus on environmental sustainability.Most of the occupations with the highest estimated growth rates are not especially large. Only two occupations, home health aides and personal care aides, are estimated to be among the larger jobs by number of people employed in 2022.There does not appear to be wage or educational trends among the jobs with the largest growth rates. These occupations all have various levels of median wage as well as differing educational requirements.To determine the jobs with the highest forecast rate of employment growth, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed BLS Employment Projections program data for 2012 and 2022. In order to qualify, occupations needed to reference a specific job rather than a broader classification. Figures from the BLS for 2012 represent estimates, while figures for 2022 represent forecasts and may be revised. Further information on each occupation came from the BLS? Occupational Outlook Handbook.These are the fastest growing jobs in America.
Voters Are Likely To \'Keep The Bums In\' Despite Low Congressional Approval
WASHINGTON (AP) ? A surly electorate that holds Congress in even lower regard than unpopular President Barack Obama is willing to "keep the bums in," with at least 365 incumbents in the 435-member House and 18 of 28 senators on a glide path to another term when ballots are counted Nov. 4.With less than 10 weeks to the elections, Republicans and Democrats who assess this fall's midterm contests say the power of incumbency ? the decennial process of reconfiguring congressional maps and hefty fundraising ? trumps the sour public mood and antipathy toward gridlocked Washington. "Despite the incredibly low polling, favorable ratings for Congress, it's still an incumbent's world," said Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics that tracks political money.That leaves many voters angry, not only with the political reality but their inability to change it."I can't get over where they say people are going to be able to keep their seats when they're not doing their jobs. I just don't understand it," said retired teacher Pauline Legendre after voting in Minnesota's Democratic primary last month.The voter disgust is palpable, evident in blistering comments at summertime town halls and middling percentages for incumbents in primaries. Yet no sitting senator has lost and only three congressmen got the primary boot. Come Election Day, only a fraction of the electorate will be motivated enough to vote ? if history is any guide.Congressional hopefuls are whipsawed by the two dynamics."It's going to be a challenge for any candidate running for Congress to suggest that they have all the answers or that somehow there's something about them that's so inspiring" that voters are going to forget "how disenchanted or disaffected they are with government at the federal level," said Ryan Costello, a Republican seeking an open House seat in southeast Pennsylvania where just 12 percent of GOP voters turned out in the May primary.Still, the candidates press ahead, with Republicans laser-focused on gaining the six seats necessary to grab the Senate majority and control Congress for the remainder of Obama's presidency. Five Democratic retirements give the GOP a clear shot to capture control. So do races in conservative-leaning states such as Louisiana, North Carolina and Arkansas, where white Southern Democrats are nearly extinct.The GOP figures it's half-way to its goal, with a solid advantage in open contests in South Dakota, West Virginia and Montana. Republicans are optimistic about the open seat in Iowa, less so about Michigan, and energized by their prospects in Colorado and Alaska. If a GOP wave materializes, it could be in the Senate.In the House, Republicans are expected to pad their majority ? currently 233-199 with three vacancies ? with the goal of matching or surpassing the 246 seats the GOP held from 1947-49.Fueling the battle is what's expected to be a record-breaking flow of campaign cash. The parties' campaign committees and their allied outside groups are spending at a rate certain to exceed the $3.6 billion price tag of the 2010 midterm elections.House Republicans who saw a wave election in January 2010 ? the year Democrats lost 63 seats ? don't expect a comparable sweep in 2014 simply because redistricting reduced the number of opportunities. On that, Democrats agree, though an Obama decision on immigration could change the dynamic.On the cusp of the fall election season, fewer than two dozen House Democrats and Republicans are in real jeopardy in November.The GOP is counting on opposition to Obama to motivate its core voters. To counter that situation, Democrats have dispatched 444 organizers to 48 districts to get out the vote, with another 250-plus ready for the September-to-November sprint as the party typically faces a drop-off in midterm voting.The Democratic Party is employing reminder pledge cards ? "1 million votes for 2014" ? the number they say decided 65 competitive House races in 2012. Democrats maintain that they had a shot two years ago, but Obama's miserable performance in his first presidential debate sank the party's chances.It's an uphill fight as the president's party typically loses seats in non-presidential election years.At a meeting last month with small business owners and workers at a wood fabricating plant in Quarryville, Pennsylvania, Republican Rep. Joe Pitts got an earful from local farmer, Michael Appel, 48, who pressed the nine-term congressman to do more to stop Obama."I'm wondering, especially when it comes to Obamacare, how the House is going to start holding the president accountable for making law out of whole cloth?" Appel asked."It's not that we wouldn't like to, it's a matter of what we can do," Pitts responded. "You need the House, the Senate and the president. The problem is we don't have those two."As staff urged the attendees to vote, Appel erupted in frustration: "I voted for Joe Pitts and all he's told me so far up here is he's powerless."Pitts said in an interview that it's up to lawmakers to educate voters about the limits of divided government."I share their frustration," Pitts said. "I understand they're not as involved so they don't understand a lot of it, but they have a responsibility to turn out next time if they're concerned, because there are real consequences to these elections in public policy."Democratic incumbents have cast themselves as outsiders as they sympathize with hostile voters.New York Rep. Dan Maffei says "we gotta hold 'em accountable" in his campaign ad. Iowa Rep. Dave Loebsack didn't mince words when he told constituents, "Congress is an incredibly dysfunctional mess and everyone knows that," and blamed the lack of compromise.In York, Pennsylvania, first-term Republican Rep. Scott Perry insisted that the House had been doing its job by passing bills, but that cooperation was lacking from the Democratic-led Senate and Obama.One voter asked him whether, if the Senate goes Republican in November, there might be more hope."If you're expecting cataclysmic change immediately, I think that's a bit beyond expectations," Perry said.____Associated Press writers Erica Werner in Washington, Tom Beaumont in Iowa and Brian Bakst in Minnesota contributed to this report.