The Watering Hole, Thursday, April 26th, 2012: Odds & Ends, From Local to National

Let’s start off local and go on from there:

First: A follow-up to my recent mention of the local lack of enthusiasm for (or knowledge about) Tuesday’s New York Republican Primary. In Putnam County, just to the south of us, about 1500 people did their civic duty, a third of the number who turned out in 2008. Surprisingly, some voters cast their ballots for both Rick Santorum and New Gingrich. All in all, about 30% chose “Not Mitt RMoney.”

Second: Fanning outward a tad, five Democrats are now vying for the opportunity to unseat U.S. Representative Nan Hayworth (R-NY19.) Although this article from the Southeast-Brewster Patch is a few months old, it’s a very informative rundown on four of the five campaigners, who had participated in a forum back in January. The issues discussed (as seen in the article), all reflect concerns that are national in scope. (Note: Wayne and I met one of the candidates, Matt Alexander, at the local Dems holiday party back in December, and had a good chat with him. Nice guy, well-spoken without being ‘slick.’)

Third: Still focused on New York State, but, again, with national implications: For at least the 5th time, a medical marijuana bill should be introduced shortly in Albany. Apparently, this particular bill, at this particular time, may have a ghost of a chance; even the Wall Street Journal seems to believe there’s a glimmer of a possiblity. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that New York becomes the 17th State (plus the District of Columbia) to legalize medical marijuana.

Next: A Newsmax.com article regarding former President Jimmy Carter’s comments about Mitt Rmoney; in another Newsmax article, Reince Priebus tries to wax enthusiastic about Mitt RMoney and the Republican chances in November.

Finally, just for laughs: a link from Newsmax led me to this too-funny-to-be-taken-seriously video. I could only watch about five minutes of it, but I found it pretty goofy – hope you do, too.

This is our daily open thread — What’s on your mind today?

The Watering Hole: 4-4-12: Cheney Announces Presidential Bid

What, me worry?

Fresh out of the recovery room following his heart implant transplant, former Vice President Dick Cheney announced his candidacy for the Republican 2012 nomination for President.

“This current crop of candidates is pathetic.” Cheney announced at his press conference. Not one of them are qualified to pick up where I, where President Bush and I left off.”

When asked about Romney’s delegate lead going into the Convention, Cheney brushed it off. “Look, Romney’s the kid nobody wanted, but they’ve been stuck with him because everyone else sucked. His delegates are gonna leave like rats abandoning a sinking ship, now that they can choose a real man…one who’s been there, done that, one who knows what it’s like to bomb a country back to the Stone Age in a war sold to the American people like it was some sort of action-hero movie plot.”

Cheney then launched into an attack on President Obama for cutting and running in Iraq and for daring to even talk about shutting down Guantanamo. “Thank God the Republicans in Congress prevented Obama from closing that prison. Guantanamo is the best weapon we have for instilling fear in political opponents…I mean, those Islamic Terrorists who want to destroy the American Way of Life.”

When asked who he might pick for a Vice Presidential candidate, Cheney was quick to reply, “I ain’t gonna pick no damn Palin, that’s for sure. Actually, I’m favoring Jeb Bush. After all, last time we had a Bush and a Dick. It’s only right that this time it’s a Dick and a Bush.”

OPEN THREAD.
HAVE AT IT!

The Watering Hole: Tuesday April 3, What to watch out for..

…tonight:

As Romney seems to be The Inevitable one now, there are a few things that we still can watch out for in the primaries.

Turnout. If I am correct turnout will be low. As in: Really Low. Mitt Romney is not an inspiring candidate at all, not for the Republican base. Nor for anybody, except maybe for those making 200’000 plus, I dare say.

Santorum is just running his mouth now, but not much else. I can’t see any indication that the Santorum supporters are fighting back, I cannot see much trace of them anymore in the comments sections where they used to hang around.

Paul? Well, nuff said.

Gingrich? Well, nuff said indeed.

Watch out for other races, too. Incumbicide is rampant right now. There may be a few surprises coming on this side.

…in November:

That no Republican gets the White House for a while. Honestly, if it is only to avoid further activist Supreme Court judges.

A whole set of polls can be found as usual here at realclearpolitics. Nevermind they are really conservatives, when it comes to politics I want to see what the other side is thinking and be prepared for the worst case.

This is our Open Thread. What do you think?

The Watering Hole: March 17 – Saint Patrick

On this day in 461 A.D., Saint Patrick, Christian missionary, bishop and apostle of Ireland, died at Saul, Downpatrick, Ireland.

Much of what is known about Patrick’s legendary life comes from the Confessio, which he authored. Born in Great Britain to a well-to-do Christian family, Patrick was captured and enslaved at age 16 by Irish raiders. He worked as a herder For the next six years in Ireland. Following a voice he heard in a dream he escaped, sailed to Britain and was reunited with his family.

Patrick seemed to hear the voices of Irishmen pleading with him to return to their country and walk among them once more. He studied for the priesthood and ultimately Patrick was ordained as a bishop. Arriving in Ireland in 433, he began preaching the Gospel and converted thousands of Irish and built churches around the country. After 40 years in Ireland Patrick died on March 17, 461 in Saul the site of his first church. As time passed, the Irish began to observe the day of Saint Patrick’s death as a religious holiday

Since then countless legends have grown up around Saint Patrick. For one, he is credited with driving the snakes out of Ireland.

This brings me to the point of why I started this post. If Saint Patrick drove the snakes from Ireland, why can’t he be resurrected and do the same with the GOP in America? Aren’t they equivalent to the snakes of Ireland?

Of course, Saint Patrick had a slight advantage – reptiles never entered the evolutionary record on the Irish land mass and had not crossed the water barrier from England.

We can always hope.

Oh,and lest I forget, Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

This is our Open Thread. It is your time to rant!

The Watering Hole, Thursday, March 15th, 2012: Who Said What?

You never know what you’re going to find at Foreign Policy magazine online. Recent issues contained two items which I decided to use for today’s offering: one somewhat humorous, one not so much.

The ‘somewhat humorous’ one is a fairly new feature at FP, entitled “Who Said It?” This particular version is “Grand Ayatollah or Grand Old Party?”, by Reza Aslan, who opens the article with:

“One is a religious fanatic railing against secularism, the role of women in the workplace, and the evils of higher education, as he seeks to impose his draconian moral values upon the state. The other is the supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

Rick Santorum

Grand Ayatollah Khamenei of Iran

Aslan’s quiz lists nine quotes, asking “Who Said It?”, Santorum or Khamenei. The answer is given on the next page within the article, where the subsequent quote is then listed. See how you do in this quiz!

The second article, the ‘not so humorous’ one, is by Stephen M. Walt, and lists the “Top Ten Media Failures in the Iran War Debate.” A few key observations by Mr. Walt, although by no means the most important or insightful ones in his article, include:

“…when prominent media organizations keep publishing alarmist pieces about how war is imminent, likely, inevitable, etc., this may convince the public that it is going to happen sooner or later and it discourages people from looking for better alternatives.”

and

“A recurring feature of Iran war coverage has been tendency to refer to Iran’s “nuclear weapons program” as if its existence were an established fact. U.S. intelligence services still believe that Iran does not have an active program, and the IAEA has also declined to render that judgment either.”

Mr. Walt’s article is yet another illustration of the deficiencies of today’s ‘mainstream media’, which has, for quite some time, deplorably failed to serve or inform the public. :(

This is our daily open thread — so, what’s on your mind?

The Watering Hole: March 10 – Jean Calas

Jean Calas was a French merchant living in Toulouse, France, famous for having been the victim of a biased trial due to his being a Protestant. In France, he is a symbol of Christian religious intolerance. His sole sin was trying to mask the suicide of his son, Marc-Antoine, as a murder. He was charged with the murder and died on March 10, 1762 on the wheel. Voltaire was successful in exonerating Jean Calas (posthumously ) of all charges. His family was paid 36,000 Francs by the king in compensation.

Jean Calas tortured for nothing more than his religious beliefs

Religion was specifically excluded from government in the Constitution. What disturbs me is that the Republican Party is trying to foist religious values into American law. This can not be condoned for any reason.

Could religious dogma endanger the rights of Americans? The “War on Women” offers one step towards this slippery slope! I often wonder if any Republican actually has a mother.

This is our Open Thread. Please feel free to offer a counter argument. You can also spill your guts.

The Watering Hole: Super Tuesday, March 6th – Is this really important?

Image found at Funny Pictures

In a way the Republican Primaries tonight are important, they will need a nominee eventually. Presumptive Candidates fall all over each other in Marx-Brothers-Sans-Brains fashion and it is more or less entertaining. Or, it would be entertaining, if this wasn’t supposed to be the choice of the man who was to lead one of the World’s remaining superpowers. The last time around they have presented us Sarah Palin and we thought it was a horrible abberration. This time around they stacked the whole deck with similar dunces and treat the world to a first class train crash to watch.

On the other side of the intellectual divide there is this cool and collected man, doing what needs to be done for your country in a very pragmatic and undogmatic way.

For many Europeans the re-election of President Barack Obama is a no-brainer. If we seriously look at the difference of the four vs the one, the Republican Primaries tonight are not really important after all.

This is our Open Thread. What is important to you?

The Watering Hole: March 3 – Fortitude

Romney's Jobs Plan and Trickle Down economics

Mitt Romney’s recent display of (lack of) backbone gives one pause when considering that he would most likely be involved in international negotiations IF elected.

If Mitt were to enter in negotiations with another world leader, what would be the result if he displayed the same fortitude as he did on the contraceptive issue over the last few days. First, he was for it and then he was against it.

Now he does not understand the question.

He is behaving just as a milquetoast sissy would in changing an opinion after checking with ‘mommy’. I think that each of us has experienced such an individual at some point in our lives.

Suppose that President Romney (Please let me stand aside while I puke.) were to offer Beijing an overzealous promise in return for an extra filet steak (and perhaps a side of Beluga) at a state dinner in Beijing.

On an international stage, retakes can not be an option. This is a like live TV. There is little room for a do-over (Red Skelton excepted).

The nation could be placed in dire straits if the i’s and t’s are not ready for publication when an offer is made.

This is our Open Thread. It’s your thread as well.

Update – (03/02/2011 9:45 pm ZST): Perhaps Mitt is not one to rush to a dis-ingeniousness position. To this time, he has not offered either a nay nor an aye to the Limbaugh wasp nest.

The Watering Hole: Wednesday, February 29, 2012: Captain Kirk to vie for RNC nomination!

William Shatner, best known for his role as Captain Kirk of the United Federation of Planets Starship Enterprise, issued a press release this leap day announcing his intent to seek the Republican Nomination for President, in the event none of the current candidates go into the RNC Convention with the nomination locked up.

“I look at it this way,” Shatner said in a recent interview,

Nobody in the current Republican field has more foreign policy experience than I do. I was battling Klingons and Romulans while Santorum was still in grade school. And Romney may be a captain of industry, but I was Captain of a Starship. Romney led Bain Capital that bought up companies and bankrupted them. I helped take a defunct science fiction TV series to a successful franchise that had multiple successful spin-offs and created numerous jobs.

I will lead the Republican Party, and this Country into the future. The Republican Party ended slavery. I had the first inter-racial kiss on TV.

I have dealt with illegal aliens on a galactic scale, and I always win.

When it comes to the economy, who…has a better reputation than…me … “THE … NEGOTIATOR” for the best rates for flights and lodging…anywhere!

And … like that Great Republican, Ronald Reagan, I … too … am a movie star. But where Reagan co-starred with a monkey, I … co-starred with a Vulcan. That’s gotta count…for….something.

Shatner’s announcement, coming on the heels of Super Tuesday, caught the Republican establishment totally off-guard. When asked for comment, Santorum said, “Captain Who?” Romney said “I’m good friends with the producers of Star Trek.” Ron Paul said, “Why do we need a Federation of Planets, anyway?” And Newt Gingrich said “Shatner’s a bad actor from a bad TV series that would lead our country in the wrong direction. I’m the only candidate who has promised to build a base on the Moon, because I know that obelisque is up there in the Tycho Crater.”

Sarah Palin issued a press release of her own stating, “Bill Shatner’s no big deal. I can see space from my front porch in Alaska!”

THIS IS OUR OPEN THREAD. ENJOY “LEAP DAY”. WOMEN, THIS IS YOUR CHANCE: GO OUT AND PROPOSE TO SOMEONE TONIGHT!

The Watering Hole: February 25 – Excommunication

On this date in 1570, Pope Pius V excommunicated
Queen Elizabeth I from the Roman Catholic Church.

Isn’t Rick Santorum ripe for a similar fate? He has ignored the following principles ordained by The Pope and/or US Catholic bishops.

1. Against the Iraqi invasion.

2. Universal health care for everyone.

3. End the death penalty for criminals in almost all situations.

4. That the federal minimum wage be increased, for the working poor.

5. Welfare for all needy families.

6. The basic rights of workers to bargain and to work in a safe work place.

7. Israel withdrawal from Palestinian
territories occupied in 1967.

8. Against denying services to children of illegal immigrants born or brought up in the US.

9. Against treating illegal immigrants as criminals.

10. Against the idea of a preventive war.

11. Women’s rights.

Elizabeth was a saint compared to Ricky.

This is our Open Thread. What do you think?

The Watering Hole: Wednesday, 2-22-12: A Limerick for Your Thoughts?

The candidate Richard Santorum,
Touts the ’vangelical forum;
He’d ban birth control,
With great vitriol,
To women who like sex, he’d whore’m.

Mitt Romney is just such a blast,
Once you get over his past,
He’s on every side,
Like the ever-changing tide,
Schizophrenic’s the role he’s been cast.

Now Newt Gingrich, what can I say?
Shut the government down in his day.
It’s not his fault,
He rubs wounds with salt,
And derides all who stand in his way.

Libertarians stand by Ron Paul,
And surely he gave them his all,
Legalize pot,
Smoke all you got,
But his poll numbers still fall.

The drop-outs are there by the score,
Cain, Palin, and Bachmann and more,
Perry said “Oops”
While Palin did loops,
And Cain’s 9-9-9 hit the floor.

Dear Friends, here’s the GOP pool,
Each one sounds a 1 percent tool,
But lest you should dread,
Tis our Open Thread,
Where Comments are really quite cool.

The Watering Hole, Thursday, February 9th: Holy Wholly Crap

I used to be a Roman Catholic, so I know the rules. One of those rules, aka the Ten Commandments, is “Thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbor” – in other words, don’t lie about someone. My parents and my Catholic school teachers taught me that lying about anything was wrong. Apparently Rick Santorum’s parents and teachers didn’t teach him that particular lesson.

Jane as a Catholic schoolgirl--the blonde with the gloves, middle row, left

After surprisingly winning the non-binding caucuses in Missouri, Colorado and Minnesota on Tuesday night, Rick Santorum gave a victory speech in which he broke that rule so often, it’s a wonder that his Old-Testament god did not strike him down where he stood, or at least turn him into a pillar of salt. Here’s the transcript of his speech (thanks to The Washington Post.) I removed the beginning where he thanked god, his wife, etc., etc. – no need to make everyone suffer through that, the rest of it is sickening enough:

Your votes today were not just heard loud and wide across the states of Missouri and Minnesota, but they were heard loud and louder all across this country, and particularly in a place that I suspect may be in Massachusetts. They were heard particularly loud tonight. Tonight was not just a victory for us, but tonight was a victory for the voices of our party, conservatives and Tea Party people, who are out there every single day in the vineyards building the conservative movement in this country, building the base of the Republican Party, and building a voice for freedom in this land. Thank you.

Okay, snide little poke at Romney, not too nasty yet. I don’t know what the “vineyards” reference is – are there vineyards in those three states? (shrug) We’ll move along…

There’s probably another person who maybe — maybe is listening to your cheers here tonight, also, and that might be at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. You better start listening to the voice of the people.

You mean the voice of the people who elected Barack Obama to the Presidency?

But then again, I wouldn’t be surprised if he isn’t listening. Why would you think he would be listening now? Has he ever listened to the voice of America before?

Yes, Rick, President Obama HAS listened to the “voice of America before” – not always, but quite a bit. Maybe you’re thinking of Speaker Boehner, Rick, and the rest of the Republicans (particularly in the House)?

He’s someone who — well, let’s just go look at the record. If you look at when it came to the — the Wall Street bailouts, did the president of the United States listen to you when it came to bailing out the big banks?

I don’t know what “record” Rick’s looking at, because the historical record says that former President George W. Bush bailed out the big banks. So, that’s a lie, which makes the credibility of your premise quite suspect already.

Why? Because he thought he just knew better. He and his friends on Wall Street knew better than what was — what was good for this country. When it came to the problems that were being confronted on Obamacare, when the health care system in this country, did President Obama, when he was pushing forward his radical health care ideas, listen to the American people?

Well, Bush probably never “thought he just knew better”, but he did what his handlers told him to do. Playing along with Santorum’s mistaken premise that the bailouts were Obama’s doing, does he really believe that he knows what’s in Obama’s mind? Regarding the “Obamacare” line, I have to admit that President Obama didn’t listen to his base (or his past self) regarding universal, single-payer, government-run healthcare, but Obama certainly listened to what the Republicans insisted upon in his Affordable Care Act. Aren’t the Republicans the people whom you believe Obama should be listening to, Rick?

Why? Because he thinks he knows better how to run your lives and manage your health care.

As opposed to the Republicans thinking they know better how to run women’s lives and manage women’s health care? As opposed to YOU, Rick, thinking that you know better how to run homosexual citizens’ lives? And again, Rick, do you presume to know what President Obama is thinking?

When it comes to the environment, did the president of the United States listen to the American people, or did he push a radical cap- and-trade agenda that would crush the energy and manufacturing sector of the economy? Did he listen to you? No, because he thinks he knows better.

I guess that Rick is ignorant of the fact that many states, right here in the U.S. of A., already have had a cap-and-trade system in place for several years, starting before Obama became President.

Ladies and gentlemen, we need a president who listens to the American people. When the majority of Americans oppose these radical ideas and they speak loudly against them, we need a president who listens to them.

When a Republican President is in the White House, does he ever listen to “the majority of Americans” when they oppose ANY radical ideas and speak loudly against them? I keep thinking of how, when a Republican is elected to the Presidency, they always say that they have a “mandate from the people” to do whatever that particular administration proposes. I can’t remember ANY Democratic President who ever mentioned that phrase.

“Here’s the problem. The problem is, in this Republican field, you have been listening. Tonight, the voters of America, the voters here in Missouri, the voters in Minnesota — and I’m hopeful the voters in Colorado, right? I hope you have been listening to our message, because if you’ve — you listen to our message, and you found out that on those issues — health care, the environment, cap-and-trade, and on the Wall Street bailouts, Mitt Romney has the same positions as Barack Obama and, in fact, would not be the best person to get up and fight for your voices for freedom in America.”

Okay, this is just babbling.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I don’t stand here to claim to be the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney. I stand here to be the conservative alternative to Barack Obama. Tonight — tonight, we had — tonight, we had an opportunity to see what a campaign looks like when one candidate isn’t outspent 5 or 10 to 1 by negative ads impugning their integrity and distorting their record. This is a more accurate representation, frankly, of what the fall race will look like. Governor Romney’s greatest attribute is, well, I’ve got the most money and the best organization. Well, he’s not going to have the most money and the best organization in the fall, is he?”

We DID have the opportunity to see YOU, Rick impugning President Obama’s integrity and distorting his record. And the answer to your last question is, most likely, YES, Romney will still have the most money and the best organization in the fall. There’s a lot more states still to go, Rick, and winning Iowa by a nose, plus Tuesday’s three non-binding state caucuses, ain’t gonna make you the Republican nominee.

“No, we’re going to have to have someone who has other attributes to commend himself to the people of America, someone — someone who can get up and make sharp contrasts with President Obama, someone who can point to the failed record of this administration and say that Barack Obama needs to be replaced in the Oval Office.”

Sharp contrasts, yes – such as the intelligence, character, tolerance and empathy of President Obama, versus the closedmindedness, holier-than-thou intolerance and religious-crusade mindset of you, Rick.

“People — people have asked me, you know, what is — what is the secret? Why are you doing so well? Is it your jobs message? And, yes, we have a great jobs message, talking about everywhere we go and particularly here in the industrial heartland of Missouri, where they still make things here in Missouri, by the way. It’s a message of — as the Wall Street Journal called our economic plan, supply-side economics for the working man, is resonating in Minnesota and here in Missouri and across this country. And you see that, when you have a Republican out there talking about growth — talking about growth for everybody, right… … that Americans respond, because I do care about not 99 percent or 95 percent. I care about the very rich and the very poor. I care about 100 percent of America.”

“Supply-side economics for the working man”?? To quote Rocky the Flying Squirrel, “that trick NEVER works.” Let me presume to read YOUR mind for a change, Rick: you don’t care a whit for any of the poor or the rest of the 99%, and you only care about the very rich because those are the ones funding your campaign to be the President of the Divided Theocracy of America, Inc.

“The real message — the message that we’ve been taking across this country and here in Missouri is a message of what’s at stake in this election. This is the most important election in your lifetime. This is an election — we’ve seen it so evident just here in the last week. This is an election fundamentally about the kind of country you’re going to hand off to your children and grandchildren, whether they are going to have the level of freedom and opportunity that you have.”

The level of freedom and opportunity that we currently have is already less than that enjoyed by our own parents. Our children and grandchildren definitely will not have that level of freedom and opportunity if a Republican is elected to the Presidency in November, particularly a Republican with a single-minded religious agenda.

And we have a president of the United States, as I mentioned, who’s someone who believes he knows better, that we need to accumulate more power in Washington, D.C., for the elite in our country, to be able to govern you because you are incapable of liberty, that you are incapable of freedom. That’s what this president believes.

Who are these “elite in our country”? The 1%, who are courted so ardently by Republicans? And please, please, will someone explain once and for all what the hell the Republicans are talking about when they throw out buzzwords like “freedom” and “liberty”? Freedom and liberty to do WHAT?

And I — and Americans understand that there is a great, great deal at stake. If this president is re-elected and if we don’t have a nominee that can make this case and not be compromised on the biggest issues of the day, but can make the case to the American public that this is about the founder’s freedom, this is about a country that believes in God-given rights, and a Constitution that is limited to protect those rights. The president does not believe that. The president over the last few years has tried to tell you that he, in fact, the government can give you rights, the government can take care of you and provide for you. They can give you the right to health care, like in Obamacare.

No god gave me any rights. My rights, and yours, too, Rick, come from being, through no act of any god, born in the United States of America;
whose founders, through the Constitution, defined those rights and gave them to all citizens.

Rick, President Obama is a Constitutional lawyer, so I think that he’s a lot more knowledgeable than you are about the founders and our rights. And if you don’t believe that ALL of us have the right to health care, even if we can’t afford to pay for it, then you are a poor excuse for a human being AND a Christian.

But look what happens when the government gives you rights. When the government gives you rights, unlike when God gives you rights, the government can take them away. When government gives you rights, the government can tell you how to exercise those rights.

Your alleged god limits your rights and tells you what you can and cannot do; therefore, you already have fewer rights than those that our government grants the rest of us.

And we saw that just in the last week, with a group of people, a small group of people, just Catholics in the United States of America who were told you have a right to health care, but you will have the health care that we tell you, you have to give your people, whether it is against the teachings of your church or not. I never thought as a first-generation American, whose parents and grandparents loved freedom and came here because they didn’t want the government telling them what to believe and how to believe it, that we had a First Amendment that actually stood for freedom of conscience, that we’d have a president of the United States who would roll over that and impose his secular values on the people of this country.

Whoa, boy, let’s not confuse “freedom of religion” with any bs about “freedom of conscience.” ALL presidents, not just your bogeyman President Obama, “impose” the “secular values” of the Constitution – you know, the basis on which our government was founded. And, if hell freezes over and you, Rick, became President, you would be bound by sworn oath to protect and defend those secular values.

And it’s worse than that. When one of the Catholic bishops tried to communicate that through Army chaplains, the Obama administration said, no, you can’t do that, no, because your language is seditious, and they made them change the language of a letter from a bishop to his people.

The Catholic bishops’ views do not represent the views of every Catholic in the United States, Rick, and neither do yours. Maybe you should check out the group Catholics United, for another viewpoint.

Ladies and gentlemen, freedom is at stake in this election. We need to be the voice for freedom. And that founding document, the Declaration of Independence, at the end of that document, those founders signed their names. But the last clause of that document said we pledge our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor. Ladies and gentlemen, every generation of Americans doesn’t create freedom, but they have, in many respects, a harder job. They have to maintain freedom. Your charge tonight — your charge tonight here in Missouri — because we’re not done yet with you here in Missouri. You’ve got a caucus coming up next month — is to go out and pledge, pledge — no, not your lives. Maybe your fortune. RickSantorum.com is the website.

You’re already planning to take away certain freedoms from gays and women, Rick, how is that ‘maintaining’ freedom? And I’m sure that the people in Missouri are glad that you’re not asking for their lives, just their ‘fortunes.’

But your honor, the honor that you stand on, on the backs and the shoulders of your ancestors. The people here in St. Louis, the people here in Missouri, the people across this country who sacrificed for this country, for the freedoms we have. America’s honor, your honor is at stake. Go out and preserve the greatest country in the history of the world. Thank you all, and God bless.

“America’s honor” was already blasted into smithereens by the previous Republican President, and, right now, there’s not a whole hell of a lot of our former greatness to be preserved. Psst, Rick – I think you left out a word after “God bless” – you know, “America.”

Okay, I’ve kept most of my temper while typing this. As this is our Open Thread, feel free to lose yours, or to discuss anything else that comes to mind.

The Wartering Hole, Wednesday, February 1, 2012: Money Wins in Florida Primary!

“Do you know what I intend? I intend to be a king in a big palace and when I go out in my coach, all the people will wave and I will shout at them, and…and…in the summertime I will go to my summer palace and I’ll wear my crown in swimming and everything, and all the people will cheer and I will shout at them… What do you mean I can’t be king? Nobody should be kept from being a king if he wants to be one. It’s usually just a matter of knowing the right people.. ..well…. if I can’t be a king, then I’ll be very rich then I will buy myself a kingdom. Yes, I will buy myself a kingdom and then I’ll kick out the old king and take over the whole operation myself. I will be head king.” Mitt Romney, age 5.

(with apologies to Charles Schultz)

This Be the Open Thread O’The Day.

The Watering Hole: Wednesday, January 25, 2012: BREAKING GNUS — RNC TO CANCEL REST OF PRIMARIES!

In a stunning move, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus informed the Florida Secretary of State that his party was cancelling the Florida Primary, as well as the rest of the primaries set for later this spring. He held a press conference at 5:a.m. Eastern time to announce his decision.

“I’m glad you all could make it on such short notice” Priebus began, addressing the lone reporter who happened by on his way to a nearby Dunkin Donuts. Priebus continued:

We have three candidates, each of whom has won a primary. But their attacks on each other have been so dead-bang accurate that none of them are electable in a general election. I am therefore suspending the rest of the primary season to prevent the further destruction of the Republican Party.

Right now, the polls show that the only Republican Candidate who does not have a 50% plus disapproval rating from independent voters is Stephen Colbert. While I understand he has dropped out of the race for the President of the United States of South Carolina, it is my hope that I can convince him by the time we have our Convention to toss his hat into the ring for President of the United States of America. He alone can save the Republican Party.

The reporter immediately called Stephen Colbert for his comment on this startling revelation. “F— you, Stewart!” Colbert said, “Do you know what time it is? I am not coordinating with you on my Super PAC!”

Later, Colbert gave a prepared statement, “I am deeply honored by Reince Priebus’ call to serve this great country of ours. But before accepting, I would like to know if I get to choose my running mate, because Jane Fonda is hot. Next, I would like to know if I was elected, could I re-design the Oval Office to have some corners? Because I can think of a few Congressmen I would love to see stand in the corner.”

This be the Daily Open Thread. HAPPY HUMP DAY.

The Watering Hole: January 24 – Damage Control

Newt has them in a frenzy it seems. The GOP establishment is bringing out their heavyweights to try and do damage control. After Chris Christie calling Newt Gingrich an embarrassment on “Meet the Press”, now Tim Pawlenty has come out with a similar message:

“This is somebody who has had so many incredibly unfortunate and questionable activities while he was speaker, post-speaker, that he’s not somebody that I think can carry the banner for the Republican Party and the conservative movement forward as a nominee or as a future president,”

To the rescue of Gingrich comes, of all people,  She Who Shall Not be Named. Calling Chris Christie a “rookie” and accused him of “lack of self-discipline”.

WOW!

Gingrich tends to autodestruct, Romney could try the “No Drama” approach that your President does so irritatingly well, so why does the uproar come so early in the game?

There’s an unCivil War within the GOP raging. And for once it is not along the lines of evangelical purism against liberalism, it is along the lines of fiscal purism. The rebels couldn’t care less whether Gingrich had married three wives and a goat, or Romney entered marriage as a virgin, they care about The Deficit, The Debt and Big Government.

You do not have to follow the link to the article, if you (understandably) don’t want to give them any views on their website, but it was an article in redstate.com that made this clear to me:

There is general philosophical agreement among both Republicans and conservatives about all of this. Where the fault line lies is in exactly how far we are willing to go to do something about it. Many people who got into politics as good conservatives, and still think themselves good conservatives constrained by the limits of practical possibility, are at a loss when it comes to meaningful ways to tame Leviathan. For reasons, some good (the need to use political power to protect national security, preserve control of the courts and restrain regulatory overreach), some less so, they have thrown in the towel on the central issue of the day. That is who we speak of as the “Establishment.” Others – not always with a sense of proportion or possibility, but driven by the urgency of the cause – seek dramatic confrontations to prevent the menace of excessive spending from passing the tipping point where we can no longer save room for the private sector. They are the Outsiders, the ones challenging the system and its fundamental assumptions. The analogy of a Tea Party is an apt one: the Founding Fathers had much in common with the Tories of their day, but disagreed on a fundamental question, not of principle, but of practical politics: whether revolution was needed to protect their traditional rights as Englishmen from being eradicated by the growing encroachments of the British Crown. As it was then, the gulf between the two is the defining issue of today’s Republican Party and conservative movement. (whole article if you want to here)

The cause for fiscal purity is made with precision in that article and Gingrich obviously knows how to tap into that feeling. He could even spin being kicked out as a Speaker into a story about having been a “Maverick” all along (rings familiar eh?). Romney may still come out on top of it, but at what price remains to be seen. Santorum won’t be in the picture very long for the very reasons I have stated, the race is not about religious purity anymore. Paul, yeah well, he can prepare for his run in 2016.

My projected scenarios, being a European Elitist I am by nature an insufferable know-it-all, would be:

Romney wins. He is at best a lukewarm candidate and will not fire up the GOP base at all, but the “Anybody but Obama” crowd will have to be reckoned with. The prospects of President Romney won’t give Democrats a good reason to go vote, even grudgingly, for Obama. Voter turnout will be low on both sides and this could lead to a closer race than comfortable for Obama. But Obama wins.

Gingrich wins the nomination. Obama wins.

Gingrich wins more primaries, but autodestructs and leaves Romney fatally hurt at the roadside, so a brokered convention will pick a third candidate. Unlikely, Gingrich’s candidacy will be propped up for some months and left to lose. If only, because any Republican insider worth his/her salt, especially the younger ones, will wait out another stretch (hey, it is only four more years) and run then. Obama wins.

How will the Republican internal struggle end? Depends on who has more money on their hands. The Koch Brothers and their associates or the establishment’s funders.

This is our Open Thread. Let’s discuss, or let’s vent, or let’s turn this into a caption contest, or, or, or. It’s your thread folks, use it.

The Watering Hole: January 21 – Foot in Mouth Syndrome

Newt Gingrich should consider Mitt Romney a priceless member of his campaign staff. From one of Newt’s sites:


If you want to see more, look here.

Mitt should be a lifetime recipient of the Foot in Mouth Award. If Mitt could only keep his mouth shut, he could easily become the GOP nominee for POTUS in the 2012 Election.

As it stands, should Mitt win the primary, Barack Obama has more than enough material for the Fall!

Mitt, the gift that keeps on giving.

This is your Open Thread. Who do you think will win in SC today? Why? If I were employed, I would start an office pool.

The Watering Hole: Tuesday January 17 – Fort Sumter

The siege on Fort Sumter was the starting point for the civil war in 1861. I keep reading allegations to this in lots of tweets and blog posts that refer to yesterday’s debate. It must have been quite a spectacular show, for those among us, who are not queasy and, of course, for us Europeans who won’t be living under a Republican President, if one was elected this year.

The crowd must have been especially mean-spirited leading one of the Economist’s live bloggers to comment

I think this crowd will be disappointed when informed that there will not in fact be a public hanging later in the evening.
by W.W.4:18 AM

and another says:

As crowds go, only the Tea Party audience in the Nevada debate came close to this level of red-meatism. Agree/disagree?
by A.K. 4:26 AM

You can read all live-blog comments, many very amusing, on The Economist here.

The Guardian mentions the hem..hem.. let’s call it rather unusually rowdy atmosphere as well, but only in passing

The debate was conducted against a noisy background, with 3,000 partisan Republicans in the hall, booing and heckling, saving applause for their favourites, mainly Gingrich and former senator Rick Santorum. Romney, viewed as too moderate in right-leaning South Carolina, appeared to have failed to fill the hall with his supporters.

While Der Spiegel thinks it’s worth a full story:

Und so wird es immer schlimmer. Perry fabuliert, die Türkei werde von islamischen Terroristen regiert (Jubel). Er verwechselt die Taliban mit al-Qaida (Jubel) und den Irak mit Afghanistan (Jubel). Er verwehrt sich dagegen, die mutmaßliche Taliban-Leichenschändung durch US-Marineinfanteristen zu kritisieren (Jubel) – die Männer hätten doch nur “einen Fehler gemacht” (Jubel). Ach ja: Und er will die Immobilienkrise lösen, indem er verschuldete Hauseigentümer sich selbst überlässt (Jubel).

And thus it gets worse and worse. Perry opines Turkey was governed by islamic Terrorists (Cheers). He mixes up Taliban and Al Qaida (Cheers) and Iraq and Afghanistan (Cheers). He refuses to criticise the (alleged) desecration of Taliban corpses by US Marines (Cheers) the men had just “made a mistake” (Cheers). Oh yes: And he wants to solve the real estate crisis by  leaving indebted home owners to fend for themselves (Cheers).

So, back to Fort Sumter. All kinds of civil war are going on in the US. The “War on the Middle Class” (that will turn into a War on the Poor for want of a Middle Class soon)  and the “War on Civil Liberties” being the ones fought most prominently. There may even be a break-up of the Union in the not so distant future, politically the “War on the Federal Government” will be fought this summer when the Presidential campaigns will be in full swing. And won’t the 1% just love it to sick the states against each other to get all remaining regulations off the table and make the states compete for their attentions. Don’t believe it ? The USSR only took a couple of years to fully break apart, something that was unthinkable only 30 years ago, remember ? The US is in not much better shape these days. And people like the ones in yesterday’s audience are the perfect footsoldiers for such a development.

I almost regret that I won’t be watching Thursday’s debate either. On second thoughts, no I don’t.

As a matter of form: Newt Gingrich was dubbed yesterday’s winner and Mitt Romney the loser in most news sites I read.

This is our Daily Open Thread.

The Watering Hole: January 13 — When Mitt Romney Came To Town

This is an anti-Romney video paid for by Winning Our Future, a Super PAC that apparently supports Newt Gingrich.

It exposes Mitt Romney’s vulture capitalism with Bain — something we need to know about!  But this is coming from a rightwing PAC, and we should consider the source.  No, I don’t think we need to give Romney any quarter, but I’m suspicious of the motivation behind this video.

A quote early in the video is this, “but in the wrong hands those dreams can turn into nightmares.”  Hello!?  The people making the video are exactly the people who supported those very actions by every politician coming down the pike for the last thirty years.

Sure, I’m happy Mitt Romney is being exposed, but we need to keep focus on the source.

This is our daily open thread — Thoughts?

The Watering Hole: Wednesday, 1/11/12: And the Winner is…..

When I think of the commentary on the major networks as they announce the results of the primaries…trying to make the inane exciting…stretching on and on and on and on and… well, you know…. filling the time as they wait for those last few precincts to report (are there some precincts that delay reporting just to mess with the networks?) I am reminded of that most famous of all horseraces:

And the Winner is….!


Open Thread: On your marks; get set; POST!

The Watering Hole: January 10 – Popcorn

Popcorn is many things to many people.

For some it is a magazine for teen people.

For some it is software.

For some it is a place to go.

For some it is .. well.. pick your favourite.

For me it is the irreplaceable ingredient for having to watch the GOP Presidential nomination unfold. As there is still some time to go for the New Hampshire results, you can have fun making your own predictions here, or right here at The Zoo voting at the polls.

 

For more on Romney solid positioning in politics read this.

This is our daily Open Thread. Actually it is YOUR daily Open Thread. So use it if you feel like it.

Live-blogging tonight’s insane GOP clown ‘debate’ in New Hampshire

Here we go again!

The 87th GOP ‘debate’ is being held this evening at 9:00 pm (ET) at San Anselm College, featuring GOP clowns Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, John Huntsman, Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum bringing up the rear.  What?

Hosting tonight are George Stephanopoulos and Diane Sawyer.  We can expect Diane Sawyer to ask very long questions in her patient Nanny MacPhee voice.

I am anticipating that Newt Gingrich will attempt to commit murder/suicide against Mitt Romney, since Mitt’s PAC has been a big fat meanie to Newt — even after Newt decided to have a positive campaign…and somehow thought that his decree was enough to force the other clowns to do the same.

Also this evening, I think we will witness the beginning of the end of Rick Santorum’s bid for the GOP clown presidential nomination.  It’s just a feeling, of course.  A stinky slippery feeling…

There are supposed to be live streams on WMUR and Yahoo News.  We shall see.  I’ll update those links as we get a finer point on them.

Join us in the comments section with your hard-hitting, in-depth analysis of each clown’s performance, or you can just do what the rest of us are doing — alternately laughing and puking.

Live Free or Die!