The Watering Hole, Monday, October 28th, 2013: Bill Maher: “You Cannot Have Both”

This past Friday night’s “Real Time with Bill Maher”‘s panel consisted of Michael Moore, a surprisingly quiet Al Sharpton, Valerie Plame, and Richard Dawkins. And while the group had some interesting discussions, the best part of the show came in Bill’s soliloquy at the end of the show. Crooks and Liars has the video, but I have borrowed their transcript, here:

MAHER: “Now, when it comes to raising the minimum wage, conservatives always say it’s a non-starter because it cuts into profits. Well, yeah. Of course. Paying workers is one of those unfortunate expenses of running a business… you know, like taxes, or making a product.

If you want to get rich with a tax-free enterprise that sells nothing, start a church.

You might think that paying people enough to live is so self-evident that even crazy people could understand it, but you would be wrong.

Michele Bachmann is not only against raising the minimum wage, she’s against having one at all. She once said “if we took away the minimum wage… we could virtually wipe out unemployment because we would be able to offer jobs at whatever level.”

Put that in your brain and smoke it. You could hire everyone if you didn’t have to pay them. And naturally, Ted Cruz agrees. Ted Cruz thinks it’s a good thing that when his Cuban father came to America he was paid $.50 an hour to work as a dishwasher, before becoming Charo.

When did the American dream become this pathway to indentured servitude? This economic death spiral where workers get paid next to nothing, so they can only afford to buy next to nothing, so businesses are forced to sell cheaper and cheaper shit?

Walmart employees can only afford to shop at Walmart. McDonalds workers can only afford to eat at McDonalds. And Hooters waitresses have to wear shirts they grew out of years ago.

Even if you’re not moved by the “don’t be such a heartless prick” argument, consider the fact that most fast food workers, whose average age by the way now is 29, we’re not talking about kids, are on some form of public assistance. Which is not surprising. When even working people can’t make enough to live, they take money from the government in the form of food stamps, school lunches, housing assistance, day care. This is the welfare that conservatives hate.

But they never stop to think, if we raised the minimum wage and forced McDonalds and Walmart to pay their employees enough to eat, we the taxpayers wouldn’t have to pick up the slack.

This is the question the right has to answer. Do you want smaller government with less handouts, or do you want a low minimum wage? Because you cannot have both.

If Col. Sanders isn’t going to pay the lady behind the counter enough to live on, then Uncle Sam has to, and I for one am getting a little tired of helping highly profitable companies pay their workers.”

Bravo, Bill – hear, hear!

O/T: Today my mum would have turned 93 – Happy Birthday, Mum, wish you were here.Scan10002

This is our daily open thread, got anything on your mind that you’d like to discuss?

The Watering Hole, Monday, September 30th, 2013: “UBUNTU”

I know that Wayne posted this on yesterday’s Sunday Roast, but it bears another look – especially in light of the myriad inhumane arguments, diatribes, and lies rising to a cacophonic crescendo over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka “Obamacare.” Just look at so many of the self-serving and ignorant comments on Think Progress’s various threads about the ACA. It’s getting to the point where I think I’d rather live in a more simple society where greed and selfishness are not idealized.
ubuntu

These children put the childish “adults” running/ruining our country to shame. It seems that those who supposedly revere our founding fathers have forgotten one of the earliest ideals of this once-great country, as depicted in the Great Seal of the United States:
Great Seal of the United States

“E Pluribus Unum”: “Out of many, one.”

“Ubuntu”: “I am because we are.” Even those children understand the basic concept of what a workable society should be, and are living it. Why the fuck can’t we?

This is our daily open thread. I’m totally disgusted – how about you?

The Watering Hole, Monday, May 13th, 2013: ‘Hu-mons’ and Animals – I’ll stick with the Animals

Well, the argument over gun legislation isn’t going to go away anytime soon, especially as long as Americans are being shot, deliberately or in tragic “accidents”, every day.

First, a frightening story from a commenter at TP:

“My son tried to make plans with a few friends to see the new Batman movie in Aurora. His plans fell through. The next day we talked. Grateful that he wasn’t there, I just felt sad. Then he told me about how hard to tried to be there. It jolted me awake. I kept thinking of how different my day, his day and our lives would have been had he been in that movie theater. I am more grateful for my son’s life than I have been since he was quite young. Gun regulation is personal to me. It is time. I will stick with this movement. It is time.”

Next: From a (somewhat outdated, as it was from November 2012, therefore does not include the Newtown shooting nor the 3000 or so gun deaths since December 14th) Mother Jones article listing mass shootings in the U.S. from 1982 to 2012, excerpts from the comment section:

Someone trotted out the “hammers kill more people than guns do” bullshit story (the report actually said that hammers were used to kill people more often than rifles, not guns); when another claimed disbelief, a pro-gun person who had been the main commenter on the thread responded:

#1.. proof of hammers.. GOOGLE IT.. in under 10 seconds you will find links showing proof..

As for where are the stats from? The FBI… national crime stats. The same thing can be had via StatsCan as well as other sources.

It sounds absurd to ban or regulate hammers as well. Why? not only are they used for non-malicious purposes an uncountable # of times every day (the same as firearms are) it again would NOT actually accomplish anything good at all.

It would not stop the rapist that uses the hammer to subdue his victim.. it would not stop the “armed robber” from robbing the local 7-11.. it also won’t stop the moron whom wallops his thumb with it either. Instead it would make “work” and waste of $ within gov regulation.. so you have to prove you are “competent” etc etc to put a nail in the wall with a “deadly and dangerous hammer”. Meanwhile criminals would just get an illegal hammer and use that… while the law abiding home owner has to wait to hang up a picture for gov approval.

As for the Nuclear bomb.. no.. that is not a fair comparison at all.. it is a very stupid comparison.

Explosives (Nuclear or otherwise) are already highly regulated to try to prevent lunatics such as Timothy McVeigh from causing mass destruction.

Why? Simple.. what practical use would a nuke be for people to have? You You can’t take it to a range to and practice with it.. you can’t carry it for personal protection and the protection of others. Not to mention it is a BOMB

You also neglect the fact that the lunatics such as McVeigh and Lanza are not stupid. If they did not have access (legal or illegal) to firearms they would find another way to inflect the damage they are intent on. It’s not hard to learn how to build a bomb online.. (though I won’t help educate anyone here how.)

As for pools and accidents.. yes they matter. But the anti’s love to pull the “if it saves one kid” crap. It’s crap since those saying such don’t care that a kid dies.. they care HOW they die. otherwise they would actually look at the real problems and try to find a solution. Such as education. We teach our kids safety with a pool.. why should they not be taught safety with a firearm? That alone is the single most effective way to reduce accidents (same for some adults). We also do not rely on the gov to regulate education about swimming pools. it is COMMON SENSE. The absurd stigma the uneducated use with firearms is unbelievably ignorant. Something sadly only made worse by the sensationalized BS spewed by the media.

Contrary to the media’s typical BS such as showing “Hollywood” scenes and constantly mislabeling firearms.. as well as the lie of “assault weapons” (There is no such thing btw as I’ve explained before… or do I need to explain it again?).. they have been caught flat out bold face LYING to the public. (Wolf Blitzer for one prime example and he was called on the carpet and publicly embarrassed for it)

So once again.. the aim of your post is to in effect place blame upon the inanimate objects and to punish those whom have done no harm. You aim to make those same people less able to defend themselves and others from the very people whom do cause harm. That is insanity to say the least since we already know the lunatics and criminals don’t obey the law. So it is completely destined to failure as gun control always has been. (Unless you are the dictator wanting control such as Hitler etc etc)

Once again the proof of the inanimate object doing no harm: http://montego.roughwheelers.c…

You were tempted to “refute every major contention” I’ve made. Sorry but the only way to try to do so would be to LIE. I am only telling the truth. Not trying to twist and cherry pick like the Anti’s do constantly. It is a cold hard and realistic view of the issues and the world. I for one refuse to fall for “feel good” legislation that does only harm to the general public. It is the absence of emotional rhetoric so commonly found with incidents such as Sandy Hook

It is not a lack of compassion for the victims of such either. It is the opposite. I would much rather those teachers had been armed and shot Lanza in the head on the spot. I would much rather the rapist is killed by the would be victim. I would rather the armed home invader that raped and robbed an 80 yr old woman last yr instead be shot by her.

As for incidents such as Lanza.. if I had been there I’d have attacked him even unarmed.. because it is the right thing to do. If I had been armed I’d have not even blinked at the need to shoot him on the spot.

Remember it is about personal responsibility. Unlike those blaming the firearm(s).. or blaming hollywood movies.. or video games etc etc.. none of those matter. I have played those games, watched those movies and I’ve been around firearms for most of my life. Funny.. I’m not a rampaging murderer… nor are you (I assume). They are all merely objects that are easy and conveniently to blame when trying to blame anyone or anything but ourselves.

Society failed for Sandy Hook not due to lack of moronic gun control… or lack of game control etc etc.. but they failed due to mental heath system in the US. His mother was trying to get a conservatorship of her Adult son (very hard to do).. and to have him committed. Also her firearms were locked up and he apparently got the code(s) w/o permission. If the system had not failed her, him and everyone else that incident could very well have been avoided entirely. And not a single “gun control” law would have been needed to accomplish such.

If you want to actually accomplish something good.. stop focusing on the object.. focus on the actual problems.

There is evil in the world.. and all the well wishing, idiot laws and tantrums by the anti’s won’t make that go away.

Oh and something I posted elsewhere you also should read:

You cannot child proof the world… but you can try to world proof your child.

“It is the Soldier: Not the minister Who gave us freedom of religion. Not the reporter Who gave us freedom of the press. Not the poet Who gave us freedom of speech Not the campus organizer Who gave us freedom to protest Not the lawyer Who gave us the right to a fair trial Not the politician Who gave us the right to vote It is the soldier who salutes the flag,Who serves beneath the flag, Whose coffin is draped by the flag, Who allows protesters to burn the flag” – Adapted from Charles M. Province

and

“I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.” – Voltaire

That which was fought for and died for you have the privilege of enjoying. Do not waste such a gift by spitting in the faces of those whom fought and died so you have it in the first place.

You enjoy the 1st and 2nd in the US… it comes from the Magna Carta. Learn history and defend it since the rights you do not defend you loose.

And the same commenter later:

“Of course they are not telling the whole truth. They are cherry picking stats in order to try to twist the truth. Sadly very typical of the anti’s to try to promote their own agenda.

As for Oz [I believe this refers to Australia].. Deaths / injuries via violent crime and suicides have climbed and remained relatively stable respectively after GC. South Africa skyrocketed after GC. etc etc… it has all been thoroughly listed.. though they refuse to accept the reality still.

GUN CONTROL is a failure and always will be.”

A commenter for gun control:

One more thing, speaking of gun defense…I find it interesting, that we have the most guns of any “developed” nation..we have the least restrictive laws…and we don’t have this “gun paradise” of less crime because armed vigilantes saving the day.

We have the opposite. More gun deaths than any other developed nation.

Yet gun ownership seems to be declining. So if we don’t have a “safer” country with the amount of guns we have now, and less people want/have guns…then that hypothesis will never come to pass.

Unless this is the safe society we get with an armed citizenry?

And that same commenter also said later:

“Ugh, the “guns don’t kill people”, is such a trite argument.

I keep having to reference the stuff you throw out there. First off, we regulate cars in all sorts of ways. We regulate at the federal level of what a car maker can make. We regulate what safety features must be had. If you want to drive the car, even once, you are required to register with the state regularly. You have safety inspections regularly. You have to have insurance. You are required several months of intensive training. The state can revoke your license at will, including your Alzheimer’s patient. There are school zones where you have different rules to follow. All done to protect people. So let’s do all that in a mandatory way on every gun.

As you said, it’s just an object. Let’s treat it like every other dangerous object, which is to minimize the damage and casualties.

And once again, your premise is wrong. Guns do kill people, because they were designed to. Near the Newtown shooting, there was a school stabbing in China where 20 kids were attacked. How many died by the gun here? 20. How many died in China with the stabbing? 0. So…the gun does kill people. It kills people that otherwise may have lived.

Let’s get away from self-destructive ‘hu-mons’ (“ugly bags of mostly water”) and hang out with Nature:

While depressing, this photo gallery of rare and endangered animals is worth the look; on a brighter note, check out “Earth as Art”, shown just below the linked article, for a different look at our world.

Next, unusual albino animals; and, in somewhat the same vein, a few rare dog breeds.

This is our Open Thread. Please feel free to comment on any claims made above, or on any topic on your mind.

The Watering Hole, Monday, May 6th, 2013: Dark to Light

As a cat would present a disemboweled small animal, I present some steaming stool I stepped in on a few recent gun threads.

For some reason, a thread about a planned march on Washington by people armed with loaded weaponry was sidetracked by accusations of treason.

“TREASON is SWEARING TO UPHOLD AND DEFEND the CONSTITUTION of the United States of AMERICA and then doing EVERYTHING IN YOUR POWER TO DESTROY IT! Treason is sending people to Benghazi THEN WATCHING AND FAILING TO SEND NECESSARY ASSISTANCE while they are massacred! Treason is getting your own Border Patrol agents KILLED by GUNS YOU DELIVERED TO THE MEXICAN CARTELS through a failed attempt to create a gun control problem! Treason is when the Media is BOUGHT BY ONE MAN TO PUSH AN AGENDA WHICH RUNS AGAINST THE AMERICAN BEST INTEREST! This nation is close to tearing itself apart- Because too many people bought the snake oil salesman’s LIES WHOLESALE. And refuse to SEE the TRUTH when shown to them in a clear and brilliant light. WAKE UP PEOPLE_ IT IS NOT ABOUT THE GUNS- IT IS ABOUT THE CONTROL!”

– and -

“The treason is in the White House. Obama is who should be arrested. Revolution is coming in a few short years and much liberal blood will be shed.”

["Good luck storming the castle, boys!"]

I don’t know what the beginning of this comment is all about, but it turns “birther” pretty quickly, with a final steep drop into “Nazi Germany”:

“That’s exactly how the government is going to pull this off, by brainwashing weak people into thinking that anyone with a gun is a terrorist! You all are being lied to! Get off your lazy American butts and do some research into what’s really going on in Washington! Hello, mainstream media is controlled by the government! They are not going to tell you what they are really doing and they know that we are lazy and brainwashed and will believe whatever they tell you! If anyone can tell me why a President would not be able to present the people of his country with a legitimate copy of his birth certificate, I would feel differently. Oh, wait, are they not talking about that on mainstream news?! Hello America! And why is Obama running our economy into the dirt??? He wants to collapse our economy so we are dependent on the government and then they will have us all “eating out of their hands”. Remember Nazi Germany! That is right where America is headed!”

And another genius who never read the first half of the Second Amendment, and who slept through the entire Bush Administration:

“Cowards in the Senate? YOU MEAN THE ONES WHO ABIDED THEIR OATH TO UPHOLD AND DEFEND THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA? This is NOT cowardice- THIS IS WHAT EVERY ONE OF THEM SHOULD HAVE DONE! We will have NO DICTATORS HERE!”

Although these delusional spewings were bad enough, I found this gobsmackingly-insane blithering out of the mouth of Linda Riddle, the grandmother of the 5-year-old boy and 2-year-old sister who he shot dead, to be the most offensive of all:

“Riddle said she is devastated, but comforted knowing that her granddaughter is in a better place. “It was God’s will. It was her time to go, I guess,” she told WLEX. “I just know she’s in heaven right now and I know she’s in good hands with the Lord.”

[emphasis mine]

WTF?! “It was God’s will.”? “It was her time to go” at age 2? It was God’s will that made Caroline’s 5-year-old brother and his birthday rifle God’s instrument for her death? It was God’s will that made their mother “step…outside of her home just for a few minutes, but it was long enough for her 5-year-old son to accidentally shoot and kill his 2-year-old sister.” God’s will? I call it “god swill”!

The CNN article (linked above) notes that the “…family kept the Crickett rifle in what they considered to be a safe spot”, but, according to a NY Daily News article, “Cumberland County Coroner Gary White said the family had not realized a shell was left inside the gun, which was kept in a corner of the house.” [emphasis mine]

Yeah, that sounds like a real safety-conscious family. Isn’t the first rule of gun safety ‘ALWAYS ACT AS IF A GUN IS LOADED’? It also seems obvious that, since the mother had “stepped outside of her home for just a few minutes”, the boy was playing with his gun INSIDE THE HOUSE! Can someone please explain to me how, despite what appears to be a clusterfuck of criminal negligence, this tragic shooting “has been ruled an accident” according to Kentucky State Police Trooper Billy Gregory.

In the CNN article, County Coroner White says, “It’s just one of those crazy accidents.” NO, sir, no it is not.

Enough darkness for now, here’s some cuteness to lighten up this Monday morning.
dog chick bunniesbunnyineggshellgossip time squirrel

This is your Open Thread. Please feel free to speak your mind.

Sunday Roast: January 6, 2013 – Permanent Campaigning

Will permanent campaigning remain to be the future of Politics? I seems so.

Take the upcoming fight about the debt ceiling. President Obama has said his piece and stressed he won’t give in again.

“While I will negotiate over many things, I will not have another debate with this Congress over whether or not they should pay the bills that they’ve already racked up through the laws that they passed,” he said late Tuesday night. “Let me repeat: We can’t not pay bills that we’ve already incurred. If Congress refused to give the U.S. the ability to pay these bills on time, the consequences for the entire global economy would be catastrophic – far worse than the impact of a fiscal cliff. People remember, back in 2011, the last time this course of action was threatened, our entire recovery was put at risk. Consumer confidence plunged. Business investment plunged. Growth dropped. We can’t go down that path again.”

But on the other hand Republicans don’t seem eager to take this for granted:

 

On Thursday, the Speaker, John Boehner, humiliatingly sidelined in the fiscal-cliff talks after he lost control of his unruly House membership, was re-elected to his post for the 113th Congress by just six votes, after a dozen arch-conservative Tea Partiers defected. Less than 24 hours later, Mr Boehner promised House Republicans he would use the debt ceiling to force Mr Obama to cut spending.

A recipe for the next disastrous showdown? Or, maybe not? Lately we have seen some active campaigning when it comes to several issues. In the matter of the debt ceiling we may have the most colorful and ingenious one. #mintthecoin that’s a gem. Although I am highly nervous about that one, here’s why.

The fancy of a $1 trillion platinum coin is so tantalising in part because it puts a monetary option in play. The larger attraction, though, is that it does so in a way that honours democracy by sticking to the letter of democratic legislation, yet also flirts with the heady unilateral decisiveness of fascism.

There was and is a very active campaign for the protection of social programs, as soon as the rumors were flying Medicare and and the Social Security COLA were on the table. There is active campaigning going on from both sides pro and contra when it comes to gun control. And there was a rather active but unsuccessful campaign from the very right to unseat Speaker Boehner. 

The powerful had done their lobbying for ages and activism played a very important part in American politics for a long while, so why is this different from what we had before?Politicians and activists understand, that in a media environment where nothing remains unseen or unheard of and twitter and facebook can get a message viral within seconds, political life is a constant campaign and you’re not campaigning only for office anymore, but rather for every bill and measure you are supporting. So, the campaigning goes on, after elections is before elections, no time to go back to some serious policy making.

Who uses the media best will get proclaimed the winner, even if in the process the people they are supposed to work for, loses. Politics has become about winning and losing in a constant campaign. Policies will be determined by Gallup Daily, Rasmussen, tv ratings or Nate Silver. (The latter would be a blessing though, because then we would at least have the unbiased majority decision on policy.)

All that’s missing is a full onslaught of tv ads, or do I only think so because I can’t get US television? If the media don’t pick up their responsibility in this this won’t change any time soon. But will they? Do I have to mention that this is a billion $$$ market, well worth to extend beyond it’s two and four year cycle for the National Elections? So no, I don’t think they will.

THIS IS OUR OPEN THREAD, HAVE A GOOD SUNDAY AND JOIN THE DISCUSSION!

The Watering Hole, Monday, December 3rd, 2012: Conservative BS on Taxes

Since I forced myself to wallow in some of the crap on Newsmax, I figured that I should share some of the sliminess with you all. Let’s start with the arrogantly delusional George Will, who manages to squeeze a lie into each paragraph of his dementia-driven article. Here’s just a few examples of Will’s drivel; he starts off with:

“With a chip on his shoulder larger than his margin of victory, Barack Obama is approaching his second term by replicating the mistake of his first. Then his overreaching involved healthcare — expanding the entitlement state at the expense of economic growth. Now he seeks another surge of statism, enlarging the portion of gross domestic product grasped by government and dispensed by politics. The occasion is the misnamed “fiscal cliff,” the proper name for which is: the Democratic Party’s agenda.”

- and -

“…he surely understands that the entitlement state he favors requires raising taxes on the cohort that has most of the nation’s money — the middle class.”

- and -

“Republicans…respond that because lower rates reduce incentives to distort economic decisions, they promote growth by enhancing efficiency. Hence restoration of the higher rates would be a giant step away from, and might effectively doom, pro-growth tax reform…Furthermore, restoration of the Clinton-era top rate of 39.6 percent would occur in the very different Obama era of regulatory excesses and Obamacare taxes. Hence Republicans rightly resist higher rates.”

On to forever-lugubrious John Boehner:

“I would say we’re nowhere, period,” Boehner said on a taped segment of the “Fox News Sunday” program that aired today. “We’ve put a serious offer on the table by putting revenues up there to try to get this question resolved. But the White House has responded with virtually nothing.”

Yet, from the same article:

“Obama has proposed a framework that would raise taxes immediately on top earners and set an Aug. 1 deadline for rewriting the tax code and deciding on spending cuts, according to administration officials. It calls for $1.6 trillion in tax increases, $350 billion in cuts in health programs, $250 billion in cuts in other programs and $800 billion in assumed savings from the wind-down of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Next, we’ve got the ubiquitous Grover Norquist. Norquist, despite a growing number of Republicans attempting to put some daylight between themselves and the Norquist pledge, stated last week:

“Well, the Republicans also have other leverage. Continuing resolutions on spending and the debt ceiling increase. They can give him debt ceiling increases once a month. They can have him on a rather short leash, you know, here’s your allowance, come back next month…Monthly if he’s good. Weekly if he’s not.”

In the Newsmax article, Norquist continues in the same childish vein, threatening “Tea Party 2“:

“Republicans want to continue the Bush tax cuts, and the extenders and the AMT [Alternative Minimum Tax] package . . . it’s the president who’s threatening to raise taxes if he stamps his feet and doesn’t get his way.”

And in case you aren’t sickened enough by those three, there’s the Sue Ann Niven of the Republicans, Peggy Noonan, saying:

“The election is over, a new era begins — and it looks just like the old one…A crisis is declared. Confusion, frustration, and a more embittered process follow. This is the Obama Way.”

Got your blood boiling yet?

This is our daily open thread — it’s Monday, wake up and start discussing something!

The Watering Hole, Monday, September 24th, 2012: Monday Morning Mix

First up today, an article from Foreign Policy Magazine entitled “Why Mitt Romney Can’t Talk About Iraq”. An excerpt:

“According to a University of California, Santa Barbara archive of formal campaign speeches by both candidates, Romney has used the word “Iraq” seven times on the trail (usually in the context of military service) while Obama has referenced the country 76 times (often as part of a stump-speech line about keeping his promise to end the war). The same pattern held true at the conventions: Republicans mentioned Iraq seven times, while the Democrats did so 34 times. Romney didn’t talk about Iraq in his convention speech and made only a passing reference to it in his biggest foreign-policy address of the campaign in South Carolina.

Romney might argue, as he has in defending his failure to mention the Afghan war in Tampa, that it’s his policies that matter, not how many times he mentions particular words in speeches.”

(So, it appears that others have been studying the information at The Presidency Project, to which I had linked in a recent post.)

The article finishes with, “The Romney campaign isn’t about to give the president any more ammunition.

That line sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Ann Romney, when stating that “you people” weren’t going to be allowed to see any more of the Romneys’ tax returns than what was ‘legally required’ – a phrase that both she and Mitt seem to be fond of – because it would just give “more ammunition” to the pundits and political opposition. Too bad…if the TRUTH would give your opponents ammunition against you, then you really aren’t Presidential material.

Next up: I had also recently mentioned an effort by two Catholic groups, Catholics United and Faithful America, to keep politics out of Sunday Mass. Faithful America’s website has an interesting listing of other political causes, working against the radical right-wing religious zealots.

And lastly, a piece from our local Patch online newspaper, which discusses a poll taken of ‘New York GOP Insiders’ regarding Romney’s chances post-“47%” remarks from the recently surfaced Romney fundraising video. Some of the comments here are worth reading.

Speaking of the Romney fundraising video, I would like to thank James Carter IV for his efforts in finding the video and for getting this amazingly damning revelation of Romney’s character into the public arena. And, of course, special thanks to whoever actually made the video.

This is our Open Thread. Speak Up on any topic that you choose.

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?

The Watering Hole, Thursday, June 21st, 2012: $$$$

(R)Money

Newsmax.com emailed me the following opinion piece, summarizing much of the wrongness which is the result of the SCOTUS’ “Citizens United” decision. I don’t think I could add much to this:

The Best Government Money Can Buy

Tuesday, 19 Jun 2012 10:35 AM
By Susan Estrich

“My friend Kathleen and I have had a running debate for decades now about whether it is possible to bring reform to the marriage of money and politics.

I’ve been in favor of all kinds of regulations (including those that as a campaign manager I drove a truck through) limiting the role of money, and wealthy donors, in elections.

Kathleen has argued from the beginning that “my” limits wouldn’t work in practice and shouldn’t survive constitutional scrutiny in theory, and that the best and only workable system is one that allows unlimited contributions but requires immediate disclosure. [Personally, I think that Kathy is completely wrong: "immediate disclosure" is unworkable and probably unenforceable.]

And now we’ve both lost.

My failure is, of course, the most apparent. The regulations haven’t worked. You could blame the Supreme Court for making it impossible (You can’t have regulation if it isn’t comprehensive, and you can’t be comprehensive with all these Super PACs and independent committees operating outside the system.), or you could argue that with so much at stake, people will always find loopholes. In either event, it is clear that the so-called limits on campaign contributions only limit those who don’t want to contribute even more.

People are spending six and seven and now eight figures — eight figures! — to support their candidates.

This might be fine (or at least better than total failure) if we had full disclosure of who was spending what on whom. We don’t.

Today’s news accounts of record spending are based in part on the decision by Sheldon and Dr. Miriam Adelson to contribute some $10 million to a Mitt Romney Super PAC, bringing their contributions to date to a total of $35 million in this presidential race. That’s a lot of money. But at least the Adelsons are upfront about what they are doing.

In fact, there are other groups collecting money out there, in just as large chunks, who are not revealing who is giving it to them. No disclosure. Justice Anthony Kennedy’s opinion in the landmark Citizens United case (which turned on the spigot of unlimited corporate cash) went on and on about the value of disclosure — but guess what. This campaign season, you can give millions to an organization like American Crossroads (aka Karl Rove’s group) and remain anonymous.

No accountability. No disclosure. And therefore, no ability to find out exactly what anyone is getting for their money.

Make no mistake: Published or not, candidates know who’s helping them, particularly when it gets to seven or eight figures.

Forty years after the infamous 1972 election, the election in which cash changed hands in exchange for favorable treatment by regulators, the election that spurred reform of our campaign finance system, we have returned to where we were — but with many more zeros, greater sophistication and no guarantee of disclosure. And whoever wins this election probably won’t change a system that worked for him or her, either at the presidential or congressional level.

Decades ago, when I first thought about running for office, what turned me off was the amount of time my friends who were candidates had to spend raising money. Politics, I understood, is not for people who like policy, but for people who excel at selling: cars, encyclopedias, themselves.

In the years since, a bad system has gotten worse than I ever could have imagined. It’s not just that the numbers have sprouted zeros, but that we’ve lost all vestiges of post-Watergate shame. Nothing embarrasses anyone.

Back in the 1988, when I explained the rules (antiquated now) about raising soft money and creating a party-based Victory Fund that could accept unlimited contributions, Michael Dukakis looked at me aghast (could I possibly be right?) and said he simply wouldn’t be comfortable with someone donating more than $250,000. He understood, as any honest pol will admit, that when someone is giving you that kind of money, how could your judgment not be affected?

Today, $250,000 is kid stuff.

And here’s the worst part. From all I know, the Adelsons care deeply about public policy issues, including support for the state of Israel. They have so much money that they don’t really need anything in exchange. But for many of those giving, a six-, seven- or eight-figure contribution is peanuts compared to the benefits they stand to reap if their favored candidate is elected.

The best government money can buy. And we don’t even know who is doing the buying.”

Yup…what she said.

This is our daily open thread — I’m sure that all of you have something to say, so have at it!

The Watering Hole: Wednesday, June 20, 2012: Does it really Matter?

Ok, so for the next few months, if you’re in a “swing” State, you’ll be inundated with SuperPAC commercials designed to get you to vote against your own best interests. We will also be systematically bombarded with messages from the Mainstream Media designed to influence our thinking.

IT’S ALL A SHOW. IT REALLY DOESN’T MATTER.

If the Powers That Be really want Obama out, all they have to do is raise gas prices to about $5.00/gallon. Instead, gas prices are going down, heading into the summer vacation season. That’s not to say they won’t go up between now and the election – but they are an accurate predictor of where our economy will head. So, pay attention to the pump, not the talking heads.

Ok, that’s my $0.0199 cents. And you?

OPEN THREAD
JUST REMEMBER
EVERYTHING I SAID
DOESN’T REALLY MATTER

 

The Watering Hole, Thursday, May 10th, 2012: Need a Laugh?

Despite the saying “April showers bring May flowers”, here in southeastern New York these two months seem to have reversed. While our area, with its many reservoirs, definitely needed the rain after so little snow this past winter, the dreariness is starting to sink in. So here’s some items to perk up the spirits.

First, we can all poke fun at the expense of the gullible RWNJ anti-abortion crowd. Unfortunately, I have to thank one of their ilk for posting this crap in a comment at Think Progress:

Irony: Obama admin requires visitors at White House to register UNBORN BABIES babies as separate guests (PEOPLE in addition to their mothers!).

That’s not just IRONY; that is the quintessence of IMMORAL HYPOCRISY. NOT regarding prenatal babies as “legal persons” as justification for filicide, but insisting they be REGISTERED as separate persons for purposes of counting visitors to the White House!

NEVER ONCE DID THE SUPREME COURT DECLARE ABORTION ITSELF TO BE A CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT! Instead the Supreme Court said:

“We need NOT resolve the difficult question of when life begins… the judiciary at this point in the development of man’s knowledge is not in a position to speculate as to the answer.”

Then the High Court made a key admission: ***** “If this suggestion of PERSONHOOD IS ESTABLISHED, THE APPELLANT’S CASE [i.e., "Roe" who sought an abortion], of course, COLLAPSES, for the FETUS’ RIGHT TO LIFE IS THEN GUARANTEED SPECIFICALLY BY THE [14th] AMENDMENT.”

The fact is, the 14th Amendment couldn’t be clearer: “… nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty or property, without due process of law, nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the law.”

http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/irony-obama-admin-requires-visitors-at-white-house-to-register-unborn-babie

Naturally, I did a bit of googling to see what this was about. The first dozen or so listings were all from sources of the same ilk as ‘lifesitenews': rightwingnews.com, nation.foxnews.com, fosterfriess.com(!), etc., etc. Finally I found this article at Politifact. I responded to the nincompoop’s post at TP with this section of the Politifact article:

“Ed Donovan, spokesman for the U.S. Secret Service, said people misunderstood the email. Schafer’s email, he said, was an explanation of how to fill out information for pregnant women who will bring their new baby on future White House tours.

“This refers to a pregnant woman providing information for a tour in the future that will include the new family member. So when a 7-month pregnant woman is providing information for a tour that is 4 months in the future, there is a ‘place holder’ for the new baby,” Donovan wrote in an email.

In a phone call, he acknowledged the procedure may seem “a little anal.”

“I know people are construing it as an unborn child, but the visit isn’t occurring (now). If a pregnant woman shows up at the White House, we don’t count two people. It’s sort of a way of expediting (the process) so no one gets hung up at the gate,” he said.”

Typical of these right-wingers, who obviously do not excel at reading comprehension, to go ape-shit over what they believed would help them overturn Roe v. Wade. Yeah, good luck with that, RWNJs.

And second, for more light-hearted giggles, titters and groans, here’s a bunch of either unfortunate or tongue-in-cheek newspaper headlines:

Wow – the miracles of modern technology!

Must’ve been SOME camouflage!

Hmm…really? Maybe they should check the next headline.

Has the pitcher been eating “Colon Blow”? Ohh, it’s pronounced “cologne”.

I hope for the second attorney’s sake that he’s not doing this pro bono.

The Watering Hole, Thursday, November 17th: Bad Moms! Bad!

Last week, my friend Maria, with whom I work, forwarded me an email that she received from a “friend.”  Maria explained that she had mentioned to this “friend” that her son, Matt, had recently gone down to the Occupy Wall Street protest and had protested along with them, including joining in with a drum circle.  Maria’s “friend” was appalled by this information, and, the following day, sent her an email which is apparently making its rounds on the internets, with the subject line being “I think she nailed it.”  It consisted of a column by someone named Marybeth Hicks, who evidently has her own website, http://www.marybethhicks.com, and who has also written a book entitled “Don’t Let the Kids Drink the Kool-Aid: Confronting the Left’s Assault on Our Families, Faith and Freedom”  Yeah, right.   I will not quote the entire column, but the overall gist of it was that the mothers of the OWS protesters had not taught their children properly, so Ms. Hicks would do so in the mothers’ stead.  Here’s some examples of what OWS protesters’ moms, in Ms. Hicks’ opinion, should have taught their kids:

“Call it an occupational hazard, but I can’t look at the Occupy Wall
Street protesters without thinking, “Who parented these people?”
As a culture columnist, I’ve commented on the social and political
ramifications of the “movement” – now known as “OWS” – whose fairyland agenda can be summarized by one of their placards: “Everything for everybody.”

“Thanks to their pipe-dream platform, it’s clear there are people with serious designs on “transformational” change in America who are using the protesters like bedsprings in a brothel.”

Nice how Ms. Hicks takes the example of one particular “placard” (sorry, but when I hear someone use the word “placard”, I just assume that that person is ancient as hell – as a Mets fan, I automatically think of Casey Stengel talking about the annual Banner Day at Shea.)  And, since the main complaint of most right-wingers regarding OWS is that they do NOT have a clear platform, pipe-dream or not, I have no idea how Ms. Hick finds it “clear” that there’s a sleazy conspiracy afoot.

“* Life isn’t fair. The concept of justice – that everyone should be treated fairly – is a worthy and worthwhile moral imperative on which our nation was founded. But justice and economic equality are not the same. Or, as Mick Jagger said, “You can’t always get what you want.”

Apparently Ms. Hicks is unaware of the next line in the song, “But if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need“, so she probably would not comprehend that the OWS protesters are out there trying to get what they need, i.e., opportunities for decent jobs, reasonably affordable healthcare, etc.

“When you demonstrate to eliminate student loan debt, you are advocating precisely the lack of integrity you decry in others. Loans are made based on solemn promises to repay them. No one forces you to borrow money; you are free to choose educational pursuits that don’t require loans, or to seek technical or vocational training that allows you to support yourself and your ongoing educational goals. Also, for the record, being a college student is not a state of victimization. It’s a privilege that billions of young people around the globe would die for – literally.”

In other words, keep to your station in life, kids.  And, for the record, Ms. Hicks, at least millions of young people around the world live in countries which, through their taxation system, DO provide free university educations – and the students don’t have to die for the “privilege”!

“…while making a mad dash from my cab to the door of my hotel to avoid you [the OWS protesters], I saw what isn’t evident in the newsreel footage of your demonstrations: Most of you are doing this only for attention and fun. Serious people in a sober pursuit of social and political change don’t dance jigs down Sixth Avenue like attendees of a Renaissance festival. You look foolish, you smell gross, you are clearly high and you don’t seem to realize that all around you are people who deem you irrelevant.”

“Newsreel footage”?  Again, just how old is this Hicks woman?  And just what evidence does this woman have that the demonstrators were “clearly high”?  What Ms. Hicks also does not understand is that all of those protesters, if they were aware of Ms. Hicks at all, would immediately deem HER irrelevant.  And, finally:

“* There are reasons you haven’t found jobs. The truth? Your tattooed necks, gauged ears, facial piercings and dirty dreadlocks are off-putting. Nonconformity for the sake of nonconformity isn’t a virtue. Occupy reality: Only 4 percent of college graduates are out of work. If you are among that 4 percent, find a mirror and face the problem. It’s not them. It’s you.”

Yes, of course, Ms. Hicks, all of the OWS protesters and their counterparts across the country and around the world have tattoos, body piercing and dirty dreadlocks.  And, for the record, at least 9.1 percent of college graduates cannot find jobs, and the problem is NOT them, IT’S THE ECONOMY, STUPID.  Ms. Hicks is the one who needs to “occupy reality.”

My friend Maria responded politely to her “friend” that her son, a post-graduate student in mathematics now studying for his doctorate, has neither tattoos nor piercings, nor does he sport dirty dreadlocks.  I wonder if she’ll hear from her “friend” again.  Heh.


Stupid in Short Supply

Wholesalers across the nation are reporting shortages in Stupid. With the demand for Stupid running at an all-time high, retailers can’t keep enough Stupid on hand.

“It’s flying off the shelves” said a spokesperson for retailing giant WalMart. “Especially in rural areas. People  just can’t seem to get enough Stupid.”

Rumor has it that media mogul Rupert Murdoch invested heavily in Stupid through the entire Bush Administration, severely draining the nation’s stockpiles. Then, just as supplies of Stupid were nearing historic lows McCain nominated Sarah Palin.

“That nearly did us in.” commented the spokesperson. “Our suppliers couldn’t keep up with demand. We were shipping in Stupid from Alaska faster than it could be produced.”

Fortunately, Arizona has come to the plate and increased its manufacuring of Stupid. But the price of Stupid remains high.

“So high” said the WalMart press contact, “that we’re seeing an increasing demand for Ignorance. It used to be Ignorance was priced out of the market for most families on a budget, but with the price of Stupid going through the roof, stocking up on Ignorance is a no-brainer.”

Market analysts are pinning the cause on Fox News, which goes through an incredible amount of Stupid each 24-hour news cycle. But other mainstream media outlets are reportedly using more than their share of Stupid as well.

With the Gulf Oil Crisis beginning its third month, retailers in the deep south are reporting they have totally run out of Stupid.

“We’re down to just plain Dumb, now.” said one unnamed merchant who’s store overlooks a tar-stained beach on the Gulf Coast.

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Facebook group formed to assassinate the President

Several months ago, a poll on Facebook asked whether or not President Obama should be assassinated. More than one hundred Facebook members apparently thought this was a dandy idea and formed a “Kill Obama” Facebook group that was online for more than a month. Not until an alert blogger pointed this out to Facebook was the page removed.

Brian Cuban pointed this out to Facebook and also noted the relevant US statute.

The federal statute that makes it a crime to threaten the President is 18 U.S. Code § 871(a). It provides as follows:

Whoever knowingly and willfully deposits for conveyance in the mail or for a delivery from any post office or by any letter carrier any letter, paper, writing, print, missive, or document containing any threat to take the life of, to kidnap, or to inflict bodily harm upon the President of the United States. . . shall be fined . . . or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

Chris Matyszczyk, a blogger for CNET, followed up with more information, including a fatuous response from Facebook staff:

The group in question, which was created by an individual user, was brought to our attention on Monday and was removed promptly. As for the broader issue of controversial content that may appear on Facebook, I wonder how a phone company would answer a question about preventing threatening phone calls or how the postal service would respond about preventing threatening letters? And Web mail providers about threatening e-mails?

As Matyszczyk notes, it’s a tiny bit easier for Facebook to monitor pages than for a phone company to monitor call content. When he suggested that simple keyword monitoring would prevent pages like this from staying online, he received yet another fatuous response, that “millions” of possible permutations of the words “kill” and “obama” would make this too difficult.

I know that there are many mathematically skilled readers here, so perhaps they might offer a view on these millions of permutations. My nonmathematical methods just revealed to me that by searching “Kill Obama,” there were only 571 results. These results didn’t appear to offer anything as overtly threatening as “Kill Obama.” Indeed, the top group, with 143 members, was “Don’t Kill Barack Obama.”

Since profiles of all the members of this group were available online, the open question is whether or not the Secret Service has paid them all a visit (even the Canadians). And it’s pretty clear that Facebook needs to be far more responsible about the content they allow to be posted.

How Dare the President bid for the Olympics!

There has been much ado, of late, concerning President Obama trying to procure Chicago as the 2016 Olympic site for the United States of America.  Chicago, they say, is just part of the dirty Obama/Chicago Machine.

Let’s see what that dirty, liberal, Marxist, communist, Fascist, hippy President had to say about it:

Union League Club of Chicago
Chicago, Illinois

11:35 A.M. CST

THE PRESIDENT: I want to thank the members of the 2016 Chicago bid to get the Olympics. Listen, Mr. Mayor, you and your committee have put together a great plan. It’s a plan that will make America proud.

They say that the Olympics will come to Chicago if we’re fortunate enough to be selected, but really it’s coming to America, and I can’t think of a better city to represent the United States than Chicago.

This is a well thought out venue. There will be — the athletes will be taken care of. People who will be coming from around the world will find this good city has got fantastic accommodations, great restaurants. It will be safe.

And so I — this country supports your bid, strongly. And our hope is that the judges will take a good look at Chicago and select Chicago for the 2016 Olympics.

Thank you all.

END 11:36 A.M. CST

Oh, wait, that wasn’t President Obama who said that, it was President Bush,  on January 7, 2008.

Must have been something to do with the tens of thousands of jobs that would be created over the next eight years and the millions of dollars that would be injected into this craptastic economy by dozens of countries worldwide.  We definitely don’t need that!

Nevermind.

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The Extremist’s Threats Continue

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***UPDATE 6/26: It appears that the Savage Weiner has walked back his threat.***

Yesterday, ThinkProgress reported that Hal Turner, a White Supremacist blogger, was arrested and charged with making:

…internet postings threatening to assault and murder three federal appeals court judges in Chicago in retaliation for their recent ruling upholding handgun bans in Chicago and a suburb.

What did Turner say?

“Let me be the first to say this plainly: These Judges deserve to be killed.” The postings included photographs, phone numbers, work address and room numbers of these judges, along with a photo of the building in which they work and a map of its location.

This was Turner’s second arrest this month.

Earlier this month, he turned himself in to the Connecticut State Police on charges of “inciting violence” against three state officials. He urged his audience to “take up arms” because he was reportedly “angry over legislation that would have given lay members of Roman Catholic churches in Connecticut more control over their parish’s finances.”

But Hal’s not the only right-wing extremist out there. Michael “Savage Nation” Weiner has decided to throw out a few threats of his own.

Right wing talker Michael Savage vowed yesterday during his broadcast that he will retaliate against media watchdog Media Matters for America by posting pictures and “pertinent information” about the organization’s staff on his website.

Also from the article on Savage:

The history of right wing extremists using “wanted” posters against abortion providers is well documented. Recently the right wing Christian group the American Center for Law and Justice celebrated its court victory for the “truth truck” that promoted incendiary attacks on Dr. George Tiller. Sadly two days later Tiller was dead, assassinated in his place of worship.

David Neiwert, Managing Editor at Crooks and Liars, has been writing about extremists for a long time. Check out his posts. They are very enlightening – and terrifying (which is the point of these extremists).  David has also written an exceptional book; The Eliminationists: How Hate Talk Radicalized the American Right, in which he talks extensively about the extremist dynamic. From Amazon:

Neiwert (Strawberry Days), founder of the political blog Orcinus, links the proliferation of radical conservative ideas in the political mainstream to the looming specter of eliminationism, an ideology rejecting dialogue and debate in favor of the pursuit of outright elimination of the opposing side, either through suppression, exile, and eviction, or extermination.

If you want to be informed on this subject, Neiwert’s book is the place to go.

But this eliminationist rhetoric isn’t just about Turner or Savage.  It goes deep, all the way into people in our government.

Continue reading

Let the Teabagging Begin

Today begins the great teabagging event. This nationwide effort, led by lobbyists, organized through right wing blogs and Fox News, is a protest! A protest they say! What exactly they are protesting? Well, that is a little fuzzy.

Taxes! We don’t want our rich folks to pay an added 3% in taxes, dammit!

Obama is a Muslim!

Obama isn’t an American citizen!

Obama is a Socialist/ Marxist/ Communist/ Fascist!

We hate the Fed!

We hate! (That pretty much sums it up.)

Actually, I think Rude Pundit sums it up perfectly:

Somewhere, Karl Marx is laughing his bearded ass off. Because what is this but classic exploitation of the proletariat by the bourgeoisie? It’s a bunch of rich fu*ks, beginning with that tool Rick Santelli on CNBC and ending with the slavering profitmongers at Fox “news,” making the poor idiots, who are desperate from fear of or actual job loss and heath insurance loss and home loss, do their bidding. Look at the people attending. Bedraggled Joe the Plumber and Sarah Palin wannabes, clinging to the image of those who create the illusion of the working class without the work or the class. Ignorance is such bliss, man.

Right-Winger Thanks Bush for Somali Rescue

Well, didn’t you just know this was coming?

Andy Martin thanks President George W. Bush for rescuing the U.S. ship captain held hostage by Somali pirates

Obama’s “Somali” response sent a message of weakness to our enemies, says Martin

Liberal media again distort the true significance of the rescue [Ed. Did this guy ever hear of a period?]

(NEW YORK)(April 13, 2009) I don’t often have good things to say about former President George W. Bush. But today I want to thank him for the rescue of Captain Richard Phillips, held hostage by Somali criminals and rescued by the U. S. Navy.

The captain was rescued by George W. Bush’s Navy, not Barack Obama’s Navy.

That is why today I am alone in all of America’s media in singing the praises of President George W. Bush. He rescued Captain Phillips.

Well, Obama “proved” himself all right. He proved he is an uncertain and unsteady hand on the tiller.

Barack Obama proved he is the new Jimmy Carter.

Even though Obama has increased the size of the defense budget, it is not enough for these neocons. And the whole Obama Is a Muslim and Not An American Citizen is old and tired. Sorry, fellas, nobody is buying what you’re selling.

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Teabaggers Unite! (Video NSFW)

By now, you have probably heard of the very concerted and organized efforts by the lobbyist led-conservative groups wanting to have Teabag Parties across America, on April 15th, to protest higher taxes on less than five percent of all Americans.

So, with that in mind, I thought I would post this clarification of the Teabag movement.

h/t: AmericaBlog for the video

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The Right Can Do No Wrong

Imagine this…A major news story is reported that Michelle Obama’s sister was  arrested for breaking into a house, for the second time in one week, to steal money.   Now imagine the right-wing reaction to that story.  No, wait, let’s look at right-wing reaction to a real story; a story about one of their own.

Continue reading

Rep Mike Doogan (D-AK) exposes the true identity of Mudflats blogger

Mudflats

As most of us know, the Mudflats blog shot to instant fame when John McCain chose the Alaska Governor, Sarah Palin, as his VP running mate.  Mudflats was the “go to” source for an Alaskan perspective on the Governor and the political climate in Alaska.

A really creepy thing has happened to AKMuckraker, the founder of Mudflats:  Alaska Representative, Mike Doogan (D-AK), exposed her true name on his legislative newsletter.

Anonymous Blogger Anonymous No More

The identity of the person who writes the liberal Democratic Mudflats blog has been secret since the blog began, protected by the Anchorage Daily News, among others. My own theory about the public process is you can say what you want, as long as you are willing to stand behind it using your real name. So I was interested to learn that the woman who writes the blog is Anchorage resident Jeanne _____.*

Best wishes,

[signed]

What the hell is this about?  Well, apparently Rep Doogan got a little testy when AKMuckraker took him to task for his boorish lack of email etiquette, and in revenge, set out to find and expose her true name.  Which he did.

Here’s AKMuckraker:

It said in my “About” page that I choose to remain anonymous.  I didn’t tell anyone why.  I might be a state employee.  I might not want my children to get grief at school.  I might be fleeing from an ex-partner who was abusive and would rather he not know where I am.  My family might not want to talk to me anymore.  I might alienate my best friend.  Maybe I don’t feel like having a brick thrown through my window.  My spouse might work for the Palin administration.  Maybe I’d just rather people not know where I live or where I work.  Or none of those things may be true.  None of my readers, nor Mike Doogan had any idea what my personal circumstances might be.  But that didn’t seem to matter.

What appears to matter to Rep. Doogan is that either 1) he feels that if he “outs” me, he’ll change what I have to say, or keep me from saying anything. 2) he gets to play mystery detective (like in his books) and believes people will think he’s really cool for figuring it out, or 3) he feels like getting revenge.  He knows I want to remain anonymous, so he’s going to take it away.  In any of those three scenarios, he didn’t think it was important to get the bigger picture.

I’m guessing Rep Doogan feels like he has somehow vindicated himself for his idiotic email faux pas — by exposing one of his constituents (and her family) to further possible harrassment and/or revenge.

Many bloggers, myself included, choose to remain anonymous, not because we don’t stand behind our blog posts and ideas, but because there are a lot of truly nutzoid people in this country. I don’t work from an office building with an assistant outside my closed door, and don’t have immediate access to security.

On the other hand, most bloggers are harrassed and stalked by weirdos who are very “brave” behind their keyboards — not by their State Representative.

AKMuckraker sums it up well:

Rep. Doogan thinks he has exposed me, but in reality he has done nothing but expose himself.

Rep Mike Doogan, futue te et ipsum caballum.

AKMuckraker, keep up the good work.

ILLEGITIMI NON CARBORUNDUM

Read AKMuckraker’s whole post here.

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Obama’s Teleprompter: Is this all the right has?

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The favorite right-wing meme of late is that President Obama is incapable of speaking without a teleprompter.    Are they trying to say Obama is too stupid to speak without one?  A Harvard graduate who was editor of The Law Review (a highly acclaimed honor only bestowed upon the brightest and best at one of the best ivy league institutions in the world), a man who authored two books and has spoken across this great land, in Town Hall fashion, taking questions outside of The Bubble, this man is unable to speak on his own? Seriously?

Let’s take a look and unpack this a little, shall we?  It’s fun, honest.  Click that Keep Reading link and…

Continue reading

Supreme Court refuses to hear Mukasey v. ACLU

The Raw Story

The Supreme Court’s refusal to hear Mukasey v. ACLU is the final nail in the coffin of the Child Online Protection Act (COPA).  An act written so broadly that it would have had the effect of reducing the internet to Romper Room.

Of course, the real purpose of COPA was not protecting children, it was an attempt to censor the content of the internet — for all Americans.

The American Civil Liberties Union announced Wednesday that the Supreme Court will not hear Mukasey v. ACLU, the Bush administration’s attempt to appeal federal court rulings against the Child Online Protection Act (COPA), passed by Congress in 1998 after the fall of the 1996 Communications Decency Act.

“For over a decade the government has been trying to thwart freedom of speech on the Internet, and for years the courts have been finding the attempts unconstitutional,” said ACLU senior staff attorney and lead counsel Chris Hansen. “It is not the role of the government to decide what people can see and do on the Internet. Those are personal decisions that should be made by individuals and their families.”

If parents are worried about what their little tykes might see or do on the internet, then get the computers out of kids’ bedrooms, and into the family room.  That way everyone knows when little Johnny finds Daddy’s porn collection.  It’s really not that hard to figure out…

COPA, as codified, would have made it an offense punishable by a fine up to $50,000 and/or up to 6 months’ imprisonment for transmitting “any material that is harmful to minors” for commercial purposes on the World Wide Web if not put behind a safeguard such as a requirement for payment or a special access code. Additional fines would have been levied for “intentionally” violating the law.

Material deemed “harmful to minors” under COPA included written, photographic, recorded and otherwise “communicated” material that, based on the average person’s interpretation of “contemporary community standards,” is “obscene” or “designed to appeal to, or is designed to pander to, the prurient interest.” The law further reads that any material that “depicts, describes, or represents, in a manner patently offensive with respect to minors, an actual or simulated sexual act or sexual contact, an actual or simulated normal or perverted sexual act, or a lewd exhibition of the genitals or post-pubescent female breast,” that “taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value for minors.”

That. Could. Be. Anything.

10 Republicans Who Should Go Away – Forever

The Daily Banter provides us with a list of 10 Republicans who should go away.  I added the forever.  Not just forever in the Britney Spears comeback sort of way, but forever forever.  Gone. Kaput. Never to infect American politics again.  Ever.

See Ya!

See Ya!

Who are these 10 Republicans?  I’m providing the list, but you have to read the entire piece to see why.  It’s quite good.

1. William Kristol – he who is wrong about everything. Go away, Bill. We don’t need your desire for empire building and global domination via war and misery.

2. Sarah Palin – vacuous, vapid, a pitbull piranha without a brain or a conscience.

3. Michelle Malkin – Hateful and ignorant. She even earned an award in her name, to be given to others (by Andrew Sullivan); the ‘Malkin Awards’ for bigotry, prejudice or downright meanness.

4. Dick Morris – a bought and paid for hack. Watching his constant boner for Palin was disgusting. And he does not lie too deftly. Buh bye, you lying sack of shit.

5. Dick Cheney – he who should not be named, or seen. Crawl back into that undisclosed location and take your dark heart with you. One of my favorite lines:

Cheney is the epitome of a political hack, a gutless grey blob of a man with a record of detached violence and personal greed. We won’t see much of him after next January, and hopefully someone will have the decency to arrest him should he venture out of the United States.

6. Mitt Romney - tried to buy the presidency by spending $47, 000, 000 of his own moolah. And lost. Don’t go away mad, Mittens, just go away.  Forever.

7. Alan Greenspan - Greenspan’s own words are best for why this guy should go away forever:

I made a mistake in presuming that the self-interest of organisations, specifically banks, is such that they were best capable of protecting shareholders and equity in the firms … I discovered a flaw in the model that I perceived is the critical functioning structure that defines how the world works.

8. Bill O’Reilly -  Cut his mike!  Forever!  Loofah’s anyone?

9. Sean Hannity - the manatee. Dumber than Palin a stone and unable to do anything but regurgitate GOP talking points.  Dumb and loud and proud.

10.George Bush - Why should GWB go away forever? Let’s let the Daily Banter run with this one.

The ‘Decider’ will go down as the worst President in the history of the United States, and as Chris Rock put it “Bush is not just the worst ever president of the USA, he’s the worst ever president, period. Of anything.” It’s hard to top the hyperbole commentators have used in describing just how bad Bush really was, because there aren’t really words to do it justice. Bush has presided over monumental fuck up after monumental fuck up, groping his way through the president with the finesse of a 800lb gorilla. I tried to come up with a list of accomplishments he has achieved, and came up with the following:

1. He has increased financial support to Africa to alleviate AIDs and poverty.

2. …………

Uh, that’s it.

He has presided over two disastrous wars, an increase in poverty at home, an increase in wealth inequality, an increase in the number of people without health care, a crisis in public education, the break down of national infrastructure, the literal drowning of a city, the use of torture as official policy, the biggest financial crisis in 80 years, and the irreversible decline of America’s prestige abroad. Here is something to think about. Every ex President (aside from Ronald Reagan who had alzheimers) has a role to play in public life after office. They give advice, do lecture tours, write books, sit on boards of huge companies and head non-profit organizations. How many people do you think will be itching to receive advice from W? How many companies would have him on their board? Who would buy his autobiography? Who would pay to hear him speak? No one. And that pretty much sums it up.

So now what? Whither the liberal blogosphere?

I’m not sure when the “blogosphere” really appeared, but certainly my awareness of it began well into the Bush debacle. So much of the energy and interest among liberals, lefties, socialists and dirty f’in hippies was fueled by opposition to the excesses of Bush and the neocons, that I wonder what our role will be after January 20. Gadflies pestering the new administration to shift. just. a. little. to. the. left. Or investigative journalists and warriors fighting the inevitable sniping and lies from the Right pundits and slithering right of the mainstream media?

An enormous amount of talent surfaced in the last few years, including some seriously good writers and thinkers. Will the new administration pay any attention at all, or will they limit themselves to “experts” and intellectuals (in itself an improvement over the current administration, obviously)?

What do you think?