Sunday Roast, July 31st, 2011: If George Washington Had Only Foreseen…Oh, Wait, He Did

The current political environment is marked by a small minority holding the entire nation hostage to its demands, with special-interest groups and the wealthiest among us not-so-secretly directing the strategies of said minority. The term “public servant” no longer applies: today’s Congressional Representatives and Senators do not have the best interests of their constituents, or their country as a whole, in mind. What we are witnessing now is the beginning of the destruction of our government and our nation. Who would have thought that it could possibly come to this?

Actually, the first President of these United States, George Washington, thought that it could easily come to this. In his farewell address, published in The Independent Chronicle, September 26, 1796, President Washington warned of the influence and divisiveness of special interests:

“To the efficacy and permanency of your Union, a government for the whole is indispensable…This government, the offspring of our own choice, uninfluenced and unawed, adopted upon full investigation and mature deliberation, completely free in its principles, in the distribution of its powers, uniting security with energy, and containing within itself a provision for its own amendment, has a just claim to your confidence and your support. Respect for its authority, compliance with its laws, acquiescence in its measures, are duties enjoined by the fundamental maxims of true liberty. The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government. But the Constitution which at any time exists, till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all. The very idea of the power and the right of the people to establish government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established government.”

“All obstructions to the execution of the laws, all combinations and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle, and of fatal tendency. They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels and modified by mutual interests.”

“However combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.”

The “Father of Our Country” was truly an amazing man. It’s a shame that the like of him has not been seen since our Nation’s founding.

This is our Sunday Roast. What’s on your mind today?

JUST IN: GDP Growth at 1.3%

Just in from Reuters, the GDP for the US reached a meagre 1.3% in the last quarter. This is .3 point below market expectations. Hold on tight friends, you’re in for a very bumpy ride!

More here.

The initial reaction on stock markets (source

FTSE (London) -1.39%
DAX (Frankfurt) -1.36%
SMI (Zurich)  -2.29%
CAC40 (Paris) -2.02 %


The Watering Hole: July 29 In a state of Limbo..

Will we as a country remain in a state of limbo while America continues to be held hostage, on the brink of economical disaster? Is this all theater? Or will today be the day these people put their extreme ideologies aside and just get it done…

All it would take would be a single paragraph on a single sheet of paper. Of course, that would be impossible beings their entire purpose in life right now for those on the Right is to bring President Obama down, and then blame him for the ensuing disaster in order to win the coming election. Perhaps after they succeed in destroying the economy they plan to rebuild it once again in their own image..

For where we stand right now, and what is likely to happen next, read Ezra Klein’s post today.

I think I’ve had enough. Today the TV stays off. I think I’ll take a walk or a nice drive..

This is our Open Thread. What’s on your mind today?

All cartoons are posted with the artists’ express permission to TPZoo.
Nick AndersonHouston Chronicle Editorial Cartoonist and Animation Artist.
For Nick’s animations, visit Nick Anderson: Animation Archives.
For Nick’s cartoons, visit Nick Anderson.

The Watering Hole: July 28 – Compassion

Gadsden flag

What makes Republicans compassionate? Is it a war on an innocent country as an act of family revenge and one-up-man-ship. Or perhaps a tax on the poor while enriching the rich. Is it overriding the will of the majority through a threat of filibuster?

It is now that and less – less for all of us, rich and poor now that those who failed Driver’s Ed have a hand on the steering wheel of government!

Republicans have embraced what they thought was a rattlesnake and found a python. The result is not fortuitous.

At present, the nation is headed for a calamity that will affect every American.

The less fortunate among us face potential disasters.

I cite the case of the woman who cleans our floors every three weeks. We only hire her because both my wife and I have a problem on getting up from our hands and knees. Her mother has Alzheimer’s and is in a nursing home. The fees there are paid from Social Security and Medicare.

Both of those funds have been absorbed into the general funds of the United States Treasury. They are not counted as part of the national debt, but any expenditure from these obligations will increase the debt because the money has, in fact, been spent on other things. This is the ‘money pit’ of all money pits.

This means that should we reach a stage of default and those obligations of the United States to these people will not be met unless those in charge decide to meet them.

Now, it may not be obvious to you, but nursing homes are not charitable organizations. This woman’s mother could well be thrust out into the heat (This is Florida.) Is this compassionate? I think not.

What do you think?


From YouTube:

On June 18, 2011 artists Ligorano/Reese presented a temporary monument in the garden of Jim Kempner Fine Art in NYC called “Morning In America.” The installation was witnessed by hundreds and lasted a total of 8 hours throughout the hot day.

…A THOUSAND CUTS is a timelapse video of the event. The soundtrack was inspired by an excerpt from Senator Bernie Sanders 8 hour filibuster on the U.S. Senate floor against the extension of the Bush tax cuts and the effects on the middle class. It is orchestrated to music by composer/violinist Michael Galasso.

Senator Bernie Sanders is my favorite U.S. Senator, one that I admire and respect above all others—for his integrity, his straightforwardness, his resolve and commitment, and his passion. He is not afraid to speak truth to power, and he does it with clarity, wisdom, strength, honesty, and without hesitation. We need more people like him in Washington.

The entire text of Senator Sanders speech is available as a book, published by Nation Books, “The Speech: A Historic Filibuster on Corporate Greed and the Decline of Our Middle Class“.

The Debt Ceiling and the Line-Item Veto

As we approach financial doomsday with the current clash of ideologies regarding whether or not the debt ceiling should be raised, revenues increased and/or programs cut, one thing stands out that, to my knowledge has not been addressed:

The Line Item Veto.

There was an experiment with the line-item veto a few decades ago, I believe, wherein the President could simply cross out expenditures he did not approve of, and then sign the budget. It’s not constitutional.


When the debt ceiling fecal matter hits the fiscal fan, the Executive Branch will be forced into a situation where it can only pay out as much as it takes in: i.e. we will have, by default (no pun intended), a balanced budget. WITH ONE HUGE CAVEAT:

THE PRESIDENT WILL GET TO CHOOSE WHICH BILLS GET PAID AND WHICH DON’T. Republicans will have essentially handed President Obama a line-item veto on a silver platter.

This author humbly suggests that all federal funding that flows to Republican districts have their funding stopped. After all, discrimination based on political affiliation does not violate the Constitution. The voters in those districts elected Republicans. Why not make them pay the price of their choice?

Republicans are handing over immense power to the President. Companies that contribute heavily to Republicans and right-wing PACs could suddenly see their federal contracts dry up on August 3. And there’s not a damn thing Republicans can do about it…except vote to extend the debt ceiling – on a clean, stand-alone bill.

The Watering Hole, Wednesday, July 27th, 2011 – Hump Day: A Tale of Two Countries’ Camels

The country of Somalia has been much in the news for several major crises: civil war, warlords, pirates, a United States rendition prison camp, and the worst problem of all compounding the horror for Somalians: continuing and devastating drought conditions causing the deaths of livestock such as cattle and goats. But what makes this drought, considered by experts to be the worst in 60 years, so much worse, is what one would have believed to be unthinkable: even the camels, the “ships of the desert”, able to withstand weeks without water, are dying.

While Kenya and Ethiopia are also being affected by the ongoing drought, Somalia has felt the brunt of it due to the political situation: warlords first allowing, then banning, UN and other aid organizations; warlords intercepting famished families traveling to refugee camps, often taking what little these poor people have. Most of the refugees are nomadic herders, depending almost entirely on their camels and other livestock for their food and market value. One herder refugee, who used to consider himself to be a rich man, lost more than 300 camels out of his herd of 350.

According to AZG Daily, in an article entitled “CLIMATE CHANGE ‘THREATENS PEACE’, UN OFFICIAL WARNS”

“[The UN] Security Council formally debated the environment for the first time in four years, with Germany pressing for the first-ever council statement linking climate change to global peace and security…It also requested UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to include information on possible climate change impacts in his regular reports on global trouble-spots….”The move came after two regions of Somalia were declared a famine, after the worst drought in six decades.”

Read more articles regarding this tragedy here, here, here, and here.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who recently visited the devastated region, is calling for additional funding for the World Food Program, the International Red Cross, and other organizations, to try to avoid further catastrophe.

In the meantime, Australia is facing a problem with their own camel population: too many wild camels, whose methane-laden flatulence is reportedly increasing the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Some scientists have suggested a solution of killing off much of Australia’s wild camel population, estimated at as many as 1.2 million.

Hmmm…Somalia is losing camels, while Australia has a whopping and troubling surplus of camels. Why can’t U.N. officials and international aid organizations figure out a way to solve both problems? Yes, the solution would have to involve providing an irrigation method and replanting of the drought-stricken flora, but there must be a way to save the people and livestock of Somalia, and the camel population of Australia. I can’t help believing that better minds than mine could come up with a solution; I just hope that someone can do so before both situations are beyond saving.

This is our Open Thread. What’s on your mind today?

Norwegian Muslish Gunman’s Islam-Esque Atrocity

Stephen Colbert NAILS this story.

From Raw Story:

In the wake of the twin tragedies in Norway late last week, many news outlets jumped to conclusions before suspect Anders Behring Breivik — a white Norwegian man — admitted to the crimes and was arrested. Many outlets underlined a jihadist connection and immediately jumped to conclusions that of course the attacker would be Muslim.

Way to “scoop reality,” Stephen Colbert congratulated those outlets on Monday’s “Colbert Report,” amongst clips of anchors expressing confidence that the attacks could be traced back to the Middle East, then confusion that a white man had been arrested.

“Even if there was a rush to judgement, we must not repeat that mistake by rushing to accuracy,” Colbert mocked. “Just because the confessed murderer is a blonde, blue-eyed Norwegian born anti-Muslim crusader does not mean that he’s not a swarthy ulalating Middle Eastern madman!”

“Which is more plausible: That a non-Muslim did this, or that al-Qaeda has developed Polyjuice Potion?” he asked.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

The Watering Hole: Tuesday July 26 – Twenty-Seven

Amy Winehouse was one of the most talented singers of recent times and definitely one of my very favourites. On Saturday sadly she passed away aged 27. As did, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin before her, at the same age. All hugely troubled and immensely talented.

This is our Open Thread. Just add your thoughts.