Watering Hole: Tuesday, July 31, 2012 – Apples

They say that apples don’t fall far from the tree.  It’s a metaphor used for explaining the behaviors of parents and their children.  Most of the time, the apples remain close to the tree unless they are carried away by an animal or roll down a hill.

I don’t know what happened to Mitt Romney as he lacks the integrity that his father displayed.  This is what George Romney had to say about politicians and taxes.  Perhaps Mitt does have something to hide.

This is our Open Thread.  What do you think?  Speak Up!

The Watering Hole – Monday, July 30th, 2012: The United Theocracy of America

(Note: all emphasis mine)

2 Chronicles 7:14:  “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

A sidebar article at US NEWS & World Report caught my eye yesterday. How could I resist the headline, “Evangelical, Baptist Churches To Hold Massive Gathering Before Democratic Convention”?

On September 2, 2012, the evening before the Democratic National Convention kicks off in Charlotte, NC, a coalition of varied churches “…will host a massive church service in the 20,000 seat Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre.” This event is called the “Charlotte 714″, [short for “Charlotte 714, Humbly Exalting Jesus” [short for "Charlotte 714, Humbly Exalting Jesus as King in Our City"]

Charlotte714 is a call to the Church of Charlotte to a 40 day fast culminating with a special city-wide gathering the night before the Democratic National Convention on Labor Day Weekend. Charlotte714 is not a political event or a protest or demonstration. It is a gathering of believers seeking spiritual renewal in the church through biblical repentance. We humbly bow in Jesus’ name requesting that He hear from heaven, forgive our sins, and heal our land.

Charlotte714 is a proclamation that Jesus Christ is King, and that returning to Him in repentance is the only hope for our nation. From this position of authority, we lift up our hands in prayer for our city, our nation, and our leaders as directed in 1 Timothy 2. At the heart of Charlotte714 is restorative love. Love toward all people that we may be restored to God and fully submitted to Christ.”

No, no political agenda there.

The event’s ‘invitation’ page uses – or misuses, or abuses – a quote from Martin Luther King, Jr. in their justification of their ‘come to Jesus’ day:

“The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool. If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority.” – Martin Luther King, Jr., Strength to Love, 1963

According to the Charlotte714 site: “The essence of Charlotte714 is captured best by late revivalist, Charles Finney”:

“Brethren, our preaching will bear its legitimate fruits…If the public press lacks moral discrimination, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the church is degenerate and worldly, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the world loses its interest in religion, the pulpit is responsible for it.”

- and -

The organizers of Charlotte714 are Christians who love Jesus and the City of Charlotte and want to provide a forum for the city church to unite together in the name of Jesus in the spirit of 2 Chronicles 7:14.”

Those organizers, David and Jason Benham, who head BENSON Companies,both graduated Liberty University in 1998. Jason Benham says ““For us to take credit for building a successful business would be like a shovel taking credit for digging a hole. We’re simply the tools God chose to use to build a successful business.”

David Benham is described on the Benham website “As a follower of Christ, he believes the marketplace is a powerful venue to impact lives.” “By remaining true to our core principles, despite the economic circumstances, we’ve grown our company by faith instead of it simply growing because the market is strong”.

On Jason Benham’s “about” page, “BENHAM Companies exists to build, strengthen, and reproduce the heart of Jesus Christ in believers around the world by teaching them to be Kingdom Builders in the marketplace and to give abundantly to His work on the earth.” Hmm, sounds a bit C-Street-ish to me.

Read the BENHAM Companies’ Global Initiative: something they call “Missioneering”, “…eras[ing] the line that separates business and ministry…”

I don’t know if this is supposed to be part of their ‘Missioneering': “David Benham in this short 4 minute video expresses the very heart of God, as he brings Biblical truth to a horrible tragedy [Aurora, CO, shootings.] Jesus, and Jesus alone, is our answer.”

Here’s where some dots connect: David and Jason Benham’s father, “Flip” Benham “…is and has been the Director of Operation Rescue /Operation Save America since 1994. Randall Terry was the founder of Operation Rescue, and then the leadership was passed to Keith Tucci…In 1994, the leadership was passed to Flip Benham and that is where it remains.”

So, this is a “non-political” evangelical/fundie gathering, the day before the Democratic National Convention, organized by a corporation/ministry, that just happens to be closely connected to OR/OSA. If it’s ‘non-political’, then why can’t I find any indication that this same group is gathering before the Republican National Convention? Maybe they feel that one big prayer meeting will be enough for Jeebus to ‘hear them’ and act to ‘heal our land’?

I had to laugh at this one:  Operation Rescue/Operation Save America issued a “Press Release” stating: “Operation Save America Prepares for Invasion of DNC: “The DNC is coming to Charlotte, bringing its “culture of death!” Read some of the rest, about the blood running in the streets – somebody’s on some nasty drugs there.

This is our daily open thread — Whatcha thinking about?

P.S. – Here’s some interesting info on Tampa Bay’s preparations for the upcoming RNC there.

Sunday Roast: Lake McDonald

Photos by Zooey

Scraped into the Earth by the massive power of gigantic glaciers and the insidious power of erosion, Lake McDonald is the largest lake in Glacier National Park.  It’s ten miles long, and its surface covers over 6000 acres.

This is one of the last pictures I took in the park, having walked down a small embankment to the water’s edge.  The shadows cast due to the lowering Sun made me understand the meaning of “purple mountains majesty.”  The quiet was interrupted only by the occasional car on the Going to the Sun Road, and the chatter of a raven in the tree tops, which seemed to be my constant companion on this trip.  The water was cold, clear, and almost still.   Beneath my feet was not the sand I expected, but small pebbles of grey, blue, pink, cream, and white, that were flat with rounded edges.

Imagine the constant, unrelenting force that turned mountains into pebbles.

Last picture of the trip.  Time to hit the road, Honeybump.

This is our daily open thread — What’s up in your world?

The Watering Hole – Saturday, July 28th, 2012 – Busted!

It seems Mitt Romney has a small problem with his advisers. If they exist, they lie about as much as Romney does. They’re also just as cowardly, as they chose to anonymously spew lies about the President of the United States while on foreign soil, which I thought was supposed to be a major no-no (at least, the Republicans see it that way.) The latest little twist of reality involves the famous bust of Sir Winston Churchill that was on display in the Oval Office during the Bush Administration. It appears that the Right Wing has gotten its knickers in a twist claiming that Obama insulted the Brits by returning the bust when he took office and refusing an offer to keep it. The problem is that, as is often the case in things that upset the RW, it is not exactly true. To make matters worse, famous RW crap spewer Charles Krauthammer repeated this twist on reality in one of his columns, which enabled the Romney advisers to anonymously and, in a cowardly fashion, repeat it to British reporters. It didn’t help that the White House initially said that this bust was not returned to the UK at all but is on display in the White House residence. This is slightly inaccurate, as well, but not as egregiously wrong as the lie that Obama was deliberately insulting the Brits by returning it.

It turns out there are two busts in question. One was originally given to the White House during the Nixon Administration and was put on display in the White House residence. According to the White House website:

The White House has had a bust of Winston Churchill since the 1960’s. At the start of the Bush administration Prime Minister Blair lent President Bush a bust that matched the one in the White House, which was being worked on at the time and was later returned to the residence. The version lent by Prime Minister Blair was displayed by President Bush until the end of his Presidency. On January 20, 2009 — Inauguration Day — all of the art lent specifically for President Bush’s Oval Office was removed by the curator’s office, as is common practice at the end of every presidency. The original Churchill bust remained on display in the residence. The idea put forward by Charles Krauthammer and others that President Obama returned the Churchill bust or refused to display the bust because of antipathy towards the British is completely false and an urban legend that continues to circulate to this day.

So, as usual, the RW is taking a non-issue and trying to turn it into an international incident.

This is our open thread. Feel free to discuss any topic you want.

Music Night – Dueling Banjos

“I do not play no rock ‘n roll, y’all” – Mississippi Fred McDowell

Abigail Washburn and Bela Fleck married secretly in 2009. This union of fine musicians brought together widely differing styles of banjo, hers from the folk and bluegrass genre, and he (though starting in bluegrass with the New Grass Revival) offers banjo influenced heavily by jazz and world rhythms. They play separately within their own styles and sometimes together as part of the Sparrow Quartet.

Here’s Abigail BB (before Bela) with the all women band Uncle Earl

Here’s Bela BA (before Abigail)

The Watering Hole: July 27 — Vincent van Gogh

Starry Night Over the Rhone, Arles, September 1888

On this date in 1890, 122 years ago, the greatest painter who ever lived, in my humble opinion, shot himself in the chest.  He died two days later of infection.  There is some speculation that van Gogh did not shoot himself, that he was accidentally shot by a third party, or accidentally shot himself.  One thing is for sure, we’ll never really know.

Over the years, there has been a lot of speculation about what ailed van Gogh:

Diagnoses include schizophreniabipolar disordersyphilis, poisoning from swallowed paints, temporal lobe epilepsy and acute intermittent porphyria. Any of these could have been the culprit and been aggravated by malnutrition, overwork, insomnia and consumption of alcohol, especially absinthe.

Whatever it was, van Gogh’s was a tortured soul.  I wonder if he would have been a better painter with a healthy mind?   Maybe, maybe not.  It’s my thought that our experiences — social, physical, and psychological — bring us to any given point in our lives, and everything we do is colored by those experiences.

For van Gogh, his experiences and talent led him to an amazingly productive period in his life, even as his mind was slipping away.  It seems he did the only thing he could do — paint beautiful pictures.

I used to think that our life experiences always brought us to where we needed to be, and that it was usually a good thing.  I no longer think it works that way for everyone, and I think Vincent van Gogh might agree.

This is our daily open thread — What are we drinking tonight?  :)

The Watering Hole, Thursday, July 26th, 2012: The Tortoise Turtle is Hare-Brained

Not to insult any tortoises, turtles, or hares who happen to be reading this; because, honestly, most tortoises, turtles and hares are more intelligent and have more integrity than the subject of this post, but…

MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY-TURTLEWAX) IS A MANIPULATIVE, DESPICABLE, LYING AND YES, TREASONOUS, UGLY BAG OF MOSTLY WATER. (As Wayne would say: ‘There, I said it, and I’m glad.’)

Yesterday’s “Quote of the Day” in the Washington Post:

QUOTE OF THE DAY
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) defending his decision to drop the threat of a filibuster on a proposal to preserve tax cuts soley[sic] for the middle class:

“By setting these votes at a 50-vote threshold, nobody on the other side can hide behind a procedural vote while leaving their views on the actual bill itself a mystery to the people who sent them here…”

The Washington Post article states:

“McConnell acknowledged the unusual nature of his decision — Democratic aides could not recall another occasion when McConnell permitted a simple majority vote on a contentious issue. McConnell said his goal was to force vulnerable Democrats to support a plan to raise taxes less than four months before the Nov. 6 ballot.”

“By setting these votes at a 50-vote threshold, nobody on the other side can hide behind a procedural vote while leaving their views on the actual bill itself a mystery to the people who sent them here,” McConnell said.

Moreover, McConnell said, the tax bill cannot advance because it is a Senate-originated tax measure. The Constitution requires all tax measures to originate in the House.

“The only reason we won’t block it today is that we know it doesn’t pass constitutional muster and won’t become law,” McConnell said. “What today’s votes are all about,” he said, is “showing the people who sent us here where we stand.”

Yes, Mitch, it shows the people who sent you there that you stand against them, as poll after poll indicates that the vast majority of Americans are in favor of letting the Bush tax cuts for the extremely wealthy expire. Yeah, you show ‘em, Mitch.

According to a ThinkProgress article posted after the 2011 debt ceiling hostage debacle, “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) confirmed this fear [of Republicans holding the debt ceiling hostage] when he told Fox News’ Neil Cavuto that Republicans will hold the debt ceiling hostage in the future, saying this debate “set the template for the future”:

MCCONNELL: “It set the template for the future. In the future, Neil, no president — in the near future, maybe in the distant future — is going to be able to get the debt ceiling increased without a re-ignition of the same discussion…”

“Discussion”? That was no “discussion”, Mitch, it was a deliberate act on the Republican’s part to undermine both President Obama and the American economy.

The same ThinkProgress 2011 post continued, “The debt ceiling has been raised dozens of times in the past without controversy, including 19 times under President Bush alone. President Reagan increasing the debt ceiling by 199.5 percent during his eight years in office — more than any executive to date — while Presidents Bush, Jr. raised it 90.2 percent and Bush Sr. increased it by 48.0 percent.” Of course, as everyone knows, IOKIYAR.

According to DailyKos, the debt ceiling fight:

“…didn’t just hurt the economy or disrupt the economic recovery, halt job growth, and wreck consumer confidence. It also cost taxpayers $1.3 billion and counting, according to the Government Accountability Office [GAO].

The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office said Monday that the $1.3 billion in costs came as the result of increased borrowing costs for the Treasury Department.

Ezra Klein at The Washington Post provided a link to the GAO’s “Analysis of 2011-2012 Actions Taken and Effect of Delayed Increase of Borrowing Costs.”

As a reminder to us all, this October 2010 ThinkProgress article quotes McConnell:

MCCONNELL: The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” McConnell added, “Our single biggest political goal is to give our nominee for president the maximum opportunity to be successful. …

Apparently nothing else matters to Republicans: if trashing the U.S. economy, rising unemployment (where are the jobs, Speaker Boehner?), and undermining the rights of citizens to vote will help “to give [their] nominee for president the maximum opportunity to be successful”, well, if the Republicans spoke French (horrors!), they’d likely say, “c’est la vie” – or, more appropriately, c’est la guerre.”

This is our daily open thread — ladies and gentlemen, start your discussion!

The Watering Hole, Monday, July 23rd, 2012: CRAZY

When I eventually go crazy, I anticipate that I will simply curl up into a ball somewhere and just live inside my brain. I do NOT anticipate, when I finally lose it, loading up on weapons and ammo and makeshift bombs; nor do I anticipate, prompted by madness, gearing myself up so that I cannot be somehow harmed while I massacre defenseless people. I do not understand the kind of crazy that can make a person plan and commit such an inhuman act.

And in the aftermath of such insanity, I also do not understand the kind of crazy that says things like:

“@WBCFredJr – Only 500 miles to WBC Aurora picket. #GodCursesUForFagMarriage #WorseAndMoreOnTheWay #WBCToldU #GodisAmericasTerrorist #ObeyToday Too fun!” – Fred Phelps, Jr.

“If a Christian dies early, if a Christian dies young, it seems tragic, but really it is not tragic because they are going to a wonderful place.. on the other hand, if a person doesn’t know Jesus Christ.. if they knowingly rejected Jesus Christ, then, basically, they are going to a terrible place.”Jerry Newcombe, spokesperson for Truth in Action Ministries

“I have to think that all of this, whether it’s the Hollywood movies, whether it’s what we see on the internets, whether it’s liberal bias in the media, whether it’s our politicians changing public policy, I think all of those somehow have fit together—and I have to say also churches who are leaving the authority of Scripture and losing their fear of God—all of those things have seem to have come together to give us these kinds of incidents.” – Fred Jackson, director of the American Family Association

“You simply can’t keep these weapons out of the hands of sick, demented individuals who want to do harm. And when you try to do it, you restrict our freedoms.” and “If a responsible individual had been carrying a weapon, maybe, maybe they could have prevented some of those deaths, some of those injuries.” Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI)

“Why would a responsible person take a gun to the movies? That person would take a gun BECAUSE they are responsible. If you ask me, more people need to be armed. The criminals already have guns or will get them. Until the playing field gets leveled, we will be taken advantage of by predators.” – commenter at Think Progress

“not that this isnt tragic but if you look at it on a per capita basis this kind of thing almost never happens. why not ban cars? they kill more people than guns. the right to own a gun isnt to protect you from people like this per se but more to keep the govt from being the only ones with guns. its no coincidence that hitler banned guns.” – Ron Paul supporter commenting at Think Progress

“Gun Ban Bloomberg’s former head of NYC police Intelligence, Dan Oates, is chief of police for little Aurora Colorado. Chief Oates has a gun ban wet dream of a shooting in HIS town out of all the towns in the country. The shooting happens just before ratification of a UN gun ban treaty. Go figure.” – commenter (screen name “WhiteNationalist”) at The Daily News (NY)

“Perhaps the answer isn’t gun control. Maybe the answer is to publicly teach the Bible and the importance of right and wrong. Watch Kirk Cameron’s “Monumental” film.” – commenter (screen name “ONENATIONUNDERGOD”) at The Daily News (NY)

Had enough? Yet there is so much more of ‘teh crazy’ out there, that curling-up-in-a-ball thing is looking better and better.

All right, here’s a distraction. This is our cat Greygg who thinks he’s a puppy:

Greygg thinks he’s a puppy

Greygg (with Missy’s tail)

Is that better?

This is our daily open thread — what’s on YOUR mind today?

Sunday Roast: See the Mountain Goats?

Photos by Zooey

Yeah, me neither.

Here’s a better shot.  :)

My fellow travelers swore they could see the Mountain Goats on the rocks with the naked eye.  Yeah…right.

They are cute, aren’t they!?  This little guy and a friend were in the road, right in front of me, so I stopped to let them get over to the delicious grasses.  Thanks for coming close enough for me to see you, Mountain Goats!!

This is our daily open thread — Talk amongst yourselves.

The Watering Hole – Saturday – July 21, 2012 – It’s Not 1787 Anymore

Yesterday morning, in Aurora, Colorado, a 24-year-old named James Holmes unleashed the largest mass shooting in US history using ammunition, weapons, and clips that were all legally purchased. Had the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban still be in effect, he would not have been allowed to possess some of that weaponry legally. It is desperation to try to argue that he would have found a way to get them anyway.

The people of this country need to have an honest discussion about guns. It’s not 1787 anymore, and we don’t depend on state militias to defend our nation against invasion, which is what the Second Amendment is about. It’s about national defense, not personal protection and not protection from our own government. That may be a side-benefit, but it was never the main purpose, no matter what anyone from the NRA says. The “right to keep and bear arms” is clearly predicated on the idea that the arms bearer was going to be part of “a well-regulated militia,” not just someone who liked having, as former Senator Phil Gramm once put it, “more guns than I need, but fewer guns than I want.”

A loaded gun is dangerous, and don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise. (I said “loaded.”) A loaded gun can kill or seriously injure even when it’s in nobody’s hands. Please don’t tell me guns are safe.

But enough about me. This is our daily open thread. Feel free to talk about this or anything else you want.

The Watering Hole: July 20 — There are worse places to get stopped by road construction

Photo by Zooey

So I’m driving along Going To The Sun Road, headed up to Logan’s Pass along with several dozen other cars and “jammers” (red tour buses), and we’re stopped not far from our destination by road construction.  The flagger said it would be about 30 minutes — 30 minutes!!??  Well, alrighty then.

Okay, so stretch the legs for a while, listen to the “jammer” driver talk to her blue-haired charges about how the famous red tour buses got their name — they used to have to double clutch every time they changed gears, which was a lot on that road, but since they were updated (under the hood only) in the last few years, the only thing they’re jamming inside as many riders as possible — listen to the sounds of water running un-seen and birds singing, watch the butterflies sampling the wildflowers, and take a bunch of pictures.

In the above picture, you can see the ongoing road construction on the left side of the photo, and Bird Woman Falls is peeking out from between the trees in the middle.  Bird Woman Falls is one of the tallest waterfalls in Glacier National Park, and it’s fed by melting snow and the remainder of a glacier on Mount Oberlin, and is an excellent example of a hanging valley, wherein two glaciers have flowed into or past one another.  Imagine the size of the glacier that scraped that huge chunk out of Mount Oberlin…

This is our daily open thread — Happy Friday!

river motes

Canyon Creek in the Trinity Alps Wilderness of California, a rough and tumble torrent down through bedrock and a jumble of white granite boulders.

Warming up in the sun, this fuzzy fellow dropped by to sample my saltiness.

Finally going under, I found a curious cutthroat trout who became enamored of the bright silver and blue camera, then darted away when it became apparent it was inedible.

The sheer number and variety of butterflies here in northern California still amazes me.

Traveling on, and in, the river has become an adventure sport. Clad in wetsuit (the water is very cool, though not unbearably cold), old tennis shoes, sturdy staff and some nerve, I pick my way through the boulders and the rapids, seeking the deeper pools.

I’ve found the new camera takes pretty good video underwater, and am now plunging into that dimension…

The Watering Hole, Thursday, July 19th, 2012: Hayden’s Planet-Scarium

Who knew that Newsmax has its own foreign intelligence branch? Well, they do, and it’s called called ‘Langley Intelligence Group Network’, or NAMBLA LIGNET. A quick glance at their website’s header is, well, illuminating? disturbing?

Wayne was the lucky recipient of a Newsmax/LIGNET email entitled “Iran Crisis Gets ‘Scarier,’ Fmr. CIA Director Warns – Join Exclusive Briefing Here’s an excerpt from the email:

Fmr. CIA Director Hayden: Iran Nuclear Crisis Gets ‘Scarier’

Former CIA Director General Michael Hayden delivered a disturbing message during a LIGNET intelligence panel discussion on the serious threat a nuclear Iran poses to the United States.

“Every time you turn the page, it gets scarier,” the former CIA director said during the exclusive briefing provided by LIGNET, Newsmax’s new global intelligence and forecasting online service.

Amid intelligence reports suggesting that Israel may be striking Iran soon — and that U.S. forces are increasing in the region — the LIGNET Iran Crisis Briefing uncovered what lies ahead for Israel, the U.S. and the implications for the world economy.

This briefing has just been completed and you can access the latest, best available information on this subject.

Joining Gen. Hayden for the online briefing were Arnaud de Borchgrave, famed journalist and a global threat expert with the Center for Strategic International Studies (CSIS), and former CIA senior analyst and LIGNET managing editor Fred Fleitz… [Note: Click on the CSIS link and check out the 'Trustees' section to find few interesting names on their list.]

De Borchgrave offered a dire prediction when asked how oil prices will be affected by an attack on Iran, which has already threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, a vital oil shipping channel.

And Fleitz says diplomacy is no longer an option. He says negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program are “in trouble” with “no prospect for breakthrough” and Iran “wants to wipe Israel off the face of the earth.”

Other topics addressed during the online event included:
-What is the full extent of Iran’s nuclear program
-The reason the U.S. must make it clear “we hold escalation dominance”
-How soon could Iran have a nuclear weapon
-Iran’s policy to facilitate the killing of Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan
-Will President Obama accept a nuclear Iran
-Iran’s close link to Hezbollah
-When will Israel launch an airstrike on Iran
-Iran’s support of the Syrian regime and its brutal crackdown on rebels
-A nuclear Iran leaves the world hostage to terror
-How would Iran retaliate to an Israeli strike
-Would such a response include biological, chemical or even “dirty” nuclear bombs
-What are the chances Iran will make a pre-emptive strike against the U.S.
-What are the implications for the dollar, the euro, and gold
And more
If you missed this URGENT online briefing on a nuclear Iran, you can still see re-broadcasts of this cutting-edge information

Yeah, but you have to pay $1 and get a ‘trial membership’ in LIGNET before you can get this URGENT information! However, “Once you join LIGNET for ONLY $1.00, you immediately become part of an exclusive network of global readers who are seeking the best available, actionable intelligence from some of the best informed people on the planet.” [emphasis mine]

Let’s take a brief look at some of the folks involved in LIGNET: a few of their “Advisory Board Members” are:

General Michael V. Hayden, USAF (ret.): Former director of the National Security Agency (NSA) and former CIA Director, under whose watch we became familiar with the terms “warrantless wiretapping” and “Extraordinary Rendition.”

Lord William Rees-Mogg: “Former editor of the Times of London and …former chairman of Newsmax Media’s Board of Directors.”

Ambassador John Bolton: (Well, we ALL know his past.) “Currently Senior Fellow, American Enterprise Institute and Fox News contributor.”

Jeremy Bradshaw: “Attorney, banker, and Newsmax contributor. Chairman of the London think tank, the Britain Club. He currently is Director of the London-based Argo Capital Management hedge fund.”

Arnaud DeBorchgrave: DeBorchgrave’s career as a journalist ranged from interviews with world leaders as correspondent for Newsweek, to CEO of UPI until he helped sell UPI to AP. According to Wikipedia, he “…played a key role in the sale of the further downsized UPI to News World Communications, the international news media company founded in 1976 by Unification Church leader Sun Myung Moon, who was also the founder of The Washington Times for which de Borchgrave had worked earlier. After his CEO turn at UPI, de Borchgrave retained associations with both Unification Church media outlets, as “Editor-at-Large” of The Washington Times and UPI, writing regular columns published by either or both.” Wiki also mentions that DeBorchgrave had had questions of plagiarism raised regarding his columns.

Congressman Peter Hoekstra: “Former member of Congress and Chairman, House Intelligence Committee.” Not enough space for a complete summary of Pete Hoekstra’s record.

Some of LIGNET’s “Analysis Team”:

Frederick Fleitz, Managing Editor: Under President George W. Bush, “…Mr. Fleitz served as chief of staff to John Bolton, then Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security. In 2006, Mr. Fleitz became a professional staff member with the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, acting as a senior advisor to Rep. Peter Hoekstra, the committee chairman.”

Mark A. Groombridge, Deputy Editor: “Dr. Groombridge was a research scholar at both the Cato Institute and the American Enterprise Institute.”

David Wurmser, Senior Analyst: “From 2003 to 2007, Dr. Wurmser served as the senior advisor to Vice President Cheney on the Middle East. From 2002 to 2003, Dr. Wurmser was a senior advisor to Under Secretary of State John Bolton. Before entering government, Dr. Wurmser founded the Middle East studies program at the American Enterprise Institute.”

One article on LIGNET’s website titled “Iran Ballistic Missile Program Continues” states:

“An annual report [unclassified excerpt] issued this week on Iranian military power by the U.S. Department of Defense concludes that Iran has been making considerable strides in improving the accuracy of its long-range missiles . . . according to the report, there has been no change to Iran’s strategies over the last year and Tehran is still focused on challenging U.S. influence while developing domestic capabilities to become the dominant player in the Middle East . . . the report concludes that Iran could flight-test an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) before 2016 and can now fire multiple missiles within second, creating a challenge for US and Israeli missile defense . . . Iran’s Shahab-3 missile can hit targets throughout the Middle East and the report says this missile’s range is being extended . . . this report shows the growing regional threat by Iran and is certain to further drive tensions . . . it also points to new threats to Israeli security from Iranian missiles.”

(sigh) And the Iran Warmongering beat goes on…

This is our daily open thread — what’s on YOUR mind today?

Glacier National Park: First photo

Photo by Zooey

As shown in the title of this post, this is the very first photo I took in Glacier National Park.  Yes, McDonald Lake comes before these falls, but the light was crappy for pictures of the lake.

Upper McDonald Creek Falls is a pretty falls that runs next to the Going To The Sun Road inside the park.  This time of year, it runs swift and clear and gorgeous, but in the early Spring it’s a raging torrent that carries along boulders and trees.  I wish I could have seen that!

Most of the attractions in the park aren’t really marked that well, so if you never get out of your car, you’ll miss things like this falls.  Too bad, so sad — get out of your car, sillies!!

The WHATering Hole: Wednesday, July 18, 2012: Ding, Dang, Dung

I didn’t quit when I said I quit, but after I quit I decided I quit, so I quit, effective the day I said I quit but didn’t really quit until I quit later.

Bain.
Mitt’s gain,
Our pain,
again and again.

Bain.
Mitt’s bane.
Mitt quit Bain,
again and again.

Mitt didn’t quit
So he’s havin’ a fit,
of the truth there’s not a grain
when he talks about Bain,
What a pain,
What a drain
On the brain,
This Bain.
Mitt’s bane.

So Mitt,
just quit
with your lies
to disguise
‘cuz we realize
you despise
anyone who’s not like you,
not white,
not rich,
not a man.

Bain.
Mitt’s bane;
tried to reign,
Time to drain
Mitt’s campaign.

OPEN THREAD.
RAP ON.

The Watering Hole: Tuesday, July 17 – Daily Squee

How come I was thinking “sloth” all morning. Well, I had a good look at my kitchen sink, then I couldn’t think of any post to write and now I’m stalling on getting my other work done. But believe me, I am nowhere near as cute as these sloths.

I can still clean my kitchen retroactively tonight.

This is our daily Open Thread. Get active.

The Watering Hole, Monday, July 16th, 2012: The Tea Party’s Kissin’ Cousins

Thanks to pete, who, on Saturday’s thread, provided this link to TPM to a whole new world of crazy in American politics. I thought it was worth revisiting.

A woman named Randi Shannon, while running for a State Senate seat in Iowa, abandoned that campaign because, as she described in a letter to her supporters, she was taking a U.S. Senate seat in the Republic of the United States of America. This “Republic of the United States of America” is apparently based on the Constitution and the Amendments through Number 13. After that, the citizens of this ‘Republic’ believe that the U.S. Federal Government was highjacked and therefore no other Amendments in their imaginary world. In my opinion, the style and content of this “letter” is immature, ignorant, illiterate, petulant, pretentious, patronizing and psychotic. You have to see and read the whole thing for the full effect, but here’s a couple of sections that I particularly noted:

First, the date in the header: [[[ July 4th, 2012 ]]] Seriously? What’s with all of the brackets?

Then:

The Office of the Senator of the Republic of the United States of America,And The Republic for Iowa, Senator Randi Shannon

Wait, now Iowa gets to be its own Republic?

[Forth] Every concern which The People of Iowa have regarding GOVERNMENTAL ABUSE, such as the high cost and unconstitutionality of Obama-care and current healthcare costs, the invasive, insufferable acts committed by the TSAs at Airports, Taxation at Obscene levels, and the list goes on and on, are all problems brought on by The “de facto” UNITED STATES CORPORATION.

Okay, first, “FORTH”?! Of course, also note the usual lies about the ACA, and the ignorance about today’s tax rates.

*Check out the “Recent Posts” and “Blogroll” on the sidebar here. I also liked this bit:

Also, President Turner began a 40-day fast on Monday, July 9. If you would like to join him in this fast, or if you want to know more, download the document with the Daniel Fast Food List here. [Emphasis mine.]

Here’s a few more links to different aspects of this idiocy.

Oh, and, of course, this “Republic” is ‘officially’ a Christian nation.

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