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The Watering Hole, Thursday, March 21, 2013: Free Dumb

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Oddly the tea party still believes it will control the Repubican party.  CPAC held a straw poll and the winner for the 2016 primary is Rand Paul.  While that’s not really much to worry about the fact that so many current members of congress legislate with an eye to avoiding a tea party primary challenge is.

Tea Party Leader Defends Membership In Fascist Group

 James_Ives_Fascist

Nothing says patriotic like good old-fashioned Fascism, at least according to the president of the Greater Fort Bend County Tea Party, James Ives. As reported by the Texas Tribune, Mr. Ives’ title before he joined the Tea party was quite different: the director of propaganda for the American Fascist Party (AFP). When confronted with this information, he wisely did not deny, but what he did say was far more revealing:

“From my point of view, it was all pro-Constitution, pro-America.

I never did anything. There really weren’t enough people involved to be a gathering, let alone a rally. It was basically a scattering of people across the continent just complaining.”

READ MORE AT LINK

Obviously we can’t afford to ignore Rand Paul and the Tea Party types while they continue to force their beliefs on the rest of us.

THIS IS OUR OPEN THREAD.  WHAT’S UP?

The Watering Hole: Thursday, March 7, 2013, Report Shows Billions Wasted in Iraq & Afghanistan

Military Spending Waste: Up To $60 Billion In Iraq, Afghanistan War Funds Lost To Poor Planning, Oversight, Fraud

As much as $60 billion in U.S. funds has been lost to waste and fraud in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade through lax oversight of contractors, poor planning and payoffs to warlords and insurgents, an independent panel investigating U.S. wartime spending estimates.

U.S. Wasted Billions Rebuilding Iraq

As the 10th anniversary of President George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq approaches, the body charged with overseeing Iraq’s reconstruction has issued its final report, capping a tale of spending far too much money for very little results.

There is much more at the two links above.  The question is how will this all turn out to be President Obama’s fault?  George W. Bush stopped being responsible for anything the day President Obama was inaugurated in 2009 according to the GOP.

THIS IS TODAY’S OPEN THREAD.  GO AHEAD AND VENT.

The Watering Hole: Thursday, February 28, 2013 The Suppression of Economic Recovery

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Why is Nobel economist Paul Krugman continually ignored?

The Perils of Hoarding Cash

So, I’ve had a mild-mannered dispute with the economist Joe Stiglitz over whether individual income inequality is retarding recovery right now; let me say, however, that I think there’s a very good case that the redistribution of income away from labor to corporate profits is very likely a big factor.

Take a look at the chart on corporate profits as a share of gross domestic product. Corporations are taking a much bigger slice of total income — and are showing little inclination either to redistribute that slice back to investors or to invest it in new equipment, software, etc. Instead, they’re accumulating piles of cash.

If you put money in a bank, the bank might just accumulate excess reserves. If you buy securities from someone else, the seller might put the cash under his mattress, or put it in a bank that just adds it to its reserves, etc. The point is that buying goods and services is one thing, adding directly to aggregate demand; buying assets isn’t at all the same thing, especially when we’re at the zero lower bound.

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon: ‘We Actually Benefit From Downturns’

“This bank is anti-fragile, we actually benefit from downturns,” Dimon bragged to his bank’s investors at a conference on Tuesday.

And it is true! The bank definitely benefited from the last downturn. It got to buy Bear Stearns in a government-backed fire sale, getting itself a brokerage business on the cheap in exchange for shouldering only a few tiresome legal burdens. It also got billions of dollars in government handouts, from $25 billion in TARP funds to billions in savings from low-interest-rate borrowing programs to a permanent subsidy arising from the idea that the government will bail out the bank if it ever gets in trouble.

And now we’re looking at the impending sequestration which in all likelihood will further stall economic recovery.  Do politicians just not care about citizens or are they intentionally trying to keep us down?  What do they gain by keeping us afraid of impending poverty?  Just as they frightened us with the dangers of Obamacare which will actually benefit most they now say spending to stimulate the economy will destroy us with debt.  Do out of work people really believe that the national debt is more harmful to them than not having a job and losing unemployment benefits?

Why Everything Republicans Are Saying About The Sequester Is Wrong

THIS IS OUR OPEN THREAD.  SAY ANYTHING.

The Watering Hole, Thursday, February 21, 2013: Genetically Modified Salmon Will Soon Be At A Store Near You

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Genetically Engineered Salmon Nears FDA Approval

 The Food and Drug Administration has determined genetically engineered salmon won’t threaten the environment, clearing it of all but one final hurdle before it shows up on shelves throughout the nation — and igniting a final 60-day debate on whether it poses health risks before it’s officially approved.

Although it’s been nicknamed “Frankenfish” by critics, health professionals say they aren’t worried the lab-engineered salmon will cause more allergies or other harmful effects than any other breed of fish.

While labeling of genetically modified food of any type is not guaranteed and so we won’t know if we’re buying it.  And we certainly won’t know if it is harmful to ingest.  There is always a chance that it will interfere with indigenous species.  Should we have learned a lesson from the destruction the common carp has created since it’s introduction?

History of Common Carp in North America

A Fish once Prized, Now Despised
By the turn of the century, the introduction of the carp was such a “success” that both public agencies and sportsmen had come to regard the fish as a nuisance. While tons of free-swimming carp were being harvested from area waters, they were comparable in taste to neither the selectively bred pool-cultivated carp of Europe nor, it was believed, to many of the native “game” species, and were thus useless as a food source. Moreover, their rapid spread appeared to threaten both water quality and native species, as commissioners nationwide noted a deterioration of formerly clear and fertile lakes and waterways upon the arrival of carp.

Salmon Nation: Genetically Engineered Salmon

While not on anyone’s dinner table just yet, genetically engineered salmon are just a pen stroke away. GE salmon are being developed by a U.S. company called Aqua Bounty Farms and are preferred for their ability to grow two to four times faster than other farmed salmon…

Research at both Purdue University and The National Academy of Sciences points to the “considerable risks” that genetically engineered (also called “transgenic”) fish pose to nearby populations of native fish:

“Purdue University researchers have found that releasing a transgenic fish to the wild could damage native populations even to the point of extinction.”
Sigurdson, C. (2000). Transgenic fish could threaten wild populations, Purdue News.

There is little doubt that transgenetic fish will, if raised, escape to the surrounding waters. Estimates of farmed salmon escapees in British Columbia total at least 400,000 fish from 1991 to 2001:

“According to the Canadian government, in the past decade nearly 400,000 farm-raised Atlantics escaped into British Columbia waters and began competing with wild species for food and habitat. (That number relies primarily on escapes reported by fish farmers; environmentalists put the actual figure closer to 1 million.)”
Barcott, B. (2001). Aquaculture’s Troubled Harvest, Mother Jones, November/December.

There is much more on the dangers to our waterways at Salmon Nation.  Although you’d think common sense would be enough to know that this is a very bad idea.

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to talk about salmon, genetically-modified foods, or anything else you wish to discuss.

The Watering Hole, Thursday, Februrary 14, 2013: Do We Have Too Much Freedom?

Ever since learning Ted Nugent would be allowed to attend SOTU Tuesday night we have to wonder what behavior is too much.  Many, really most Republican pundits have lied and denigrated President Obama and his family.  But what does it take for somebody to go so far in this country that they can be denied access to a prestigious event even though one member of Congress invited him.

Ted Nugent’s bizarre response to the SOTU

Nugent seemed agitated when asked questions after the speech by President Obama.

The aging rocker called Rhode Island Rep. Jim Langevin ”s*#t for brains” for his comments that Nugent was an “odd choice for a member of Congress to invite someone who threatened the life of the President.”

Then predictably:

He took on the president too, criticizing his “predicable, flowery, feel good, save the children, end world hunger insanity.”

“And then I see him either do nothing, or do the opposite,” he said. “I feel horrible that we’re going after my guns, instead of stopping crime and dangerous behavior.”

Just who is going after your gun Ted.  And does your paranoia indicate that maybe you are too dangerous to own them.

This is your open thread.  Talk amongst yourselves.

Watering Hole, Thursday, February 7, 2013

Somebody totally forgot she was supposed to put up something today. Not my usual procrastination.  Just totally forgot. Then again I really thought it was Wednesday until I came here to see what was going on.

Anyway this is our world famous OPEN THREAD. Talk amongst yourselves.

The Watering Hole: Thursday, January 31 – GOP Would Destroy Country to Win Elections

Right Wing Propaganda Has Done Nothing But Incite Fear and Hated of All Americans 

This is not to say that Republicans promote right-wing extremism with a view towards violence against the government or other Americans, but their support for policies the extremists hold near and dear to their black hearts lends legitimacy to hate movements that are becoming mainstream among conservatives and having deleterious effects on the population.”

Conservative Author Accuses MSNBC Of Suppressing The GOP Vote By Being Mean

 

Conservative author David Freddoso believes that liberal commentators like Chris Matthews, who attacked conservatives for being racist (among other things), ran a voter suppression campaign against conservatives during the 2012 election. His assertion was that these tactics were used “to tar conservatism and shame conservatives out of participating in politics.

The Watering Hole, Monday, January 14, 2013: Aaron H. Swartz, Activist and Internet Icon, Dead at 26

Aaron H. Swartz, co-founder at the age of 14 of Reddit, hung himself last Friday.  While he had a history of depression the fact that the Justice Department was charging him with crimes was likely a factor in his suicide. On his show, “Up with Chris Hayes,” host Chris Hayes had this to say about the man he once knew:

You should also know that at the time of his death Aaron was being prosecuted by the federal government and threatened with up to 35 years in prison and $1 million in fines for the crime of — and I’m not exaggerating here — downloading too many free articles from the online database of scholarly work JSTOR. Aaron had allegedly used a simple computer script to use MIT’s network to massively download academic articles from the database that he himself had legitimate access to, almost 5 million in all, with the intent, prosecutors alleged, of making them freely available. You should know that despite JSTOR declining to press charges or pursue prosecution, federal prosecutors dropped a staggering 13 count felony indictment on Aaron for his alleged actions.

In a post he titled “Sick” Aaron wrote about his depression in an attempt to help others understand what it’s like.

Surely there have been times when you’ve been sad. Perhaps a loved one has abandoned you or a plan has gone horribly awry. Your face falls. Perhaps you cry. You feel worthless. You wonder whether it’s worth going on. Everything you think about seems bleak — the things you’ve done, the things you hope to do, the people around you. You want to lie in bed and keep the lights off. Depressed mood is like that, only it doesn’t come for any reason and it doesn’t go for any either. Go outside and get some fresh air or cuddle with a loved one and you don’t feel any better, only more upset at being unable to feel the joy that everyone else seems to feel. Everything gets colored by the sadness.

At best, you tell yourself that your thinking is irrational, that it is simply a mood disorder, that you should get on with your life. But sometimes that is worse. You feel as if streaks of pain are running through your head, you thrash your body, you search for some escape but find none. And this is one of the more moderate forms. As George Scialabba put it, “acute depression does not feel like falling ill, it feels like being tortured … the pain is not localized; it runs along every nerve, an unconsuming fire. … Even though one knows better, one cannot believe that it will ever end, or that anyone else has ever felt anything like it.”

According to the Huffington Post, by the Sunday after news of Aaron’s death got out, “hundreds of academics had begun tweeting links to their copyright-protected research as a protest in Swartz’s honor, using the hashtag #pdftribute.” The New York Times wrote of him as “A Data Crusader, a Defendant and Now, a Cause.” The world is not as bright a place as it was before Aaron took his own life. He will be missed by many, even those who never knew him.

If you have depression, Aaron would want you to know that help is available. You don’t have to go through it alone.

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss the tragic loss of Aaron Swartz or any other topic you wish.

Watering Hole: Monday, December 31, 2012 – Hillary Clinton Hospitalized Sunday with Blood Clot

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Many news organizations, including Reuters, have reported that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been admitted to a hospital following the discovery of a small blood clot stemming from the concussion she suffered earlier this month.

Many in the right wing media have been trying to say, sometimes in a roundabout way and sometimes directly, that she was faking her concussion to get out of testifying about what happened in the Sept 11 attack on the Benghazi Consulate. Of course, there is no basis whatsoever for these accusations, but when did the truth ever stop the right wing from saying anything? Fox News hasn’t been shy about questioning the veracity of Secretary Clinton’s claims or the seriousness of her injury. While she was following doctor’s orders and getting bed rest (a smart thing to do after a concussion, especially when you were sick when you got it), some Fox News people have wondered aloud (and on camera) why she still couldn’t testify as scheduled on Benghazi. (I’m no doctor, but I’m guessing the brain damage prevalent at Fox News was not the result of concussions, but simply a prerequisite for being hired to work there as an on-air “talent.”)

Bill O’Reilly dismissively said, “If She Was In The NFL I Wouldn’t Let Her Play, But I Think She Can Make A Phone Call.” And former unconfirmed G. W. Bush UN Ambassador John “I Am The Walrus Mustache” Bolton even pushed a story about how diplomats lie to get out of meetings they don’t wish to attend.

Fox News contributor John Bolton told host Greta van Susteren that when foreign service officers “don’t want to go to a meeting or conference or event,” they have “a diplomatic illness. And this is a diplomatic illness to beat the band.”

And Fox’s Laura Ingraham mocked Sec. Clinton’s condition saying, “We Are Now Calling This The Immaculate Concussion.” It’s actually pretty ignorant of them to say, “No one knows where she is.” Of course people knew – she was at home, as previously reported, where her doctor’s told her to stay. O’Reilly even said where she was later in the segment.

It’s time for Fox News to start apologizing for accusing the Secretary of State of faking her concussion so she wouldn’t have to testify regarding the Benghazi attack. And they’re not the only ones. Soon-to-be former Congressman Allen West said that she was trying to get out of testifying with a bout of the “Benghazi Flu.” To her credit, Fox’s Greta van Susteren has pushed back on these accusations saying, “I don’t agree with any of my (Fox News) colleagues or anyone else who is a tad bit sarcastic on our air about Secretary Clinton’s health.”

Given his well-documented obsession with Hillary Clinton, we can only imagine what Rush Limbaugh has said on the subject. We have to because none of us here can stomach listening to that blowhard.

Surely their apologies are imminent. Yeah, just as surely as I’ll be sworn in next month to replace Secretary Clinton.

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss Hillary’s concussion, Rush’s obsessions, O’Reilly’s brain damage, or any other topic you wish. And from all of us at The Zoo, please enjoy your New Year’s Eve celebrations safely and responsibly.

Poor Glenn Beck

Glenn is not having a great summer is he? Advertisers are abandoning his show because of his  comments about President Obama being a racist and many other absurdities.  But now Jon Stewart shows him directly contradicting himself.  Oops.

Why do we pay so much attention to Sarah Palin?

By Guest Poster misscoleopteramolly

Why do we pay so much attention to Sarah Palin? I’m guessing it’s the same reason Florence Foster Jenkins was so popular in her time.

For those of you unfamiliar with FFJ (and I only know of her historically, since she died before I was born), she was a woman who had always wanted to sing, and once she had inherited a sum of money that allowed her to pursue her dream, she went for it. God love her, she was so talentless that listening to cats fighting in an alley was probably a better musical experience than listening to her. But she never allowed anything to discourage her, and categorized herself with the other (genuine) great sopranos of her day.

Her popularity was due to people finding the way Mrs. Jenkins murdered the classics to be highly entertaining. Tickets to her recitals were highly sought after, and her single Carnegie Hall performance in 1944 was sold out weeks in advance. Her performances were delivered in serious earnest, and she seemed quite oblivious to the fact that she provided her audience with comic instead of musical entertainment.

And here we have Sarah Palin. A woman so completely unfit for national office that it’s laughable. This laughter keeps her in the public eye, of course, but her popularity appears to have given her the idea that she’s statesmanlike, politically intelligent, and a leader of her party.

She really doesn’t have a clue that her party regards her only as a token woman when they needed one, an attention-getter who could draw a crowd, someone who looks good on the teevee, and a sock puppet for the PNAC and other party power.

And the rest of us regard her as an endless source of entertainment — a guilty pleasure. Because a Sarah Palin interview (or speech, or column) makes as many people laugh today as an aria sung by Florence Foster Jenkins did over 65 years ago.

Articles about Florence Foster Jenkins

Roadblocks To Health Care

Tonight Bill Moyers interviews Wendell Potter  who left his position as Head of Corporate Communications at CIGNA to become a health reform advocate.

This is the preview where Mr. Potter tells why he decided to speak out on the industry.

In this clip Mr. Potter explains how the industry set out to destroy the credibility of Michael Moore’s film “Sicko” because they knew it would be hazardous to their bottom line.

Find broadcast times here or if you miss it the show will be available here beginning Saturday.

It Doesn’t Pay to Be Nice

Wingnuttia is all abuzz over President Obama ogling a young girl.  Good Morning America addressed the issue by showing the full video.  It appears that the President may have been trying to give a hand to the woman behind him but he does not appear to be gawking at the woman in question.  I guess the right wing has never seen a gentleman before.

H/T spencersmom

Russell Brand, Troll Basher Extraordinaire!

While hosting the MTV Video Music Awards last year Russell Brand incurred the wrath of the, let’s call them “Troll People”. Here is a snippet of what angered them from the Mail Online:

‘As a representative of the global community, a visitor from abroad, I don’t want to come across a little bit biased, but could I please ask of you, people of America, please elect Barack Obama, please, on behalf of the world.
‘Some people, I think they’re called racists, say America is not ready for a black President.
‘But I know America to be a forward-thinking country because otherwise why would you have let that retard and cowboy fella be President for eight years?
‘We were very impressed. We thought it was nice of you to let him have a go because, in England, he wouldn’t be trusted with a pair of scissors.’

With all the material we’re exposed to at Think Progress perhaps we should write stand up comedy.

The Stars Come Out in Support of Employee Free Choice Act


The Employee Free Choice Act is legislation pending before Congress that would give workers back the freedom to bargain with corporations for fair wages and better benefits by forming unions. It would also create harsher penalties for corporations who violate workers’ freedom and provide a path to good-faith bargaining so workers can get a first contract after they form a union.

“People associate actors with fame and glory. The truth is for a long time my union contract was the reason I could support my family. That’s why I support the Employee Free Choice Act,” said television star Amy Brenneman. “Because each worker, regardless of their field, deserves the freedom to bargain for a contract, for a better life.”

The video was developed by Actors’ Equity Association; American Federation of Musicians; American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA); Directors Guild of America (DGA); International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States, Its Territories and Canada (IATSE); Screen Actors Guild (SAG); Writers Guild of America, East; Writers Guild of America, West; and the AFL-CIO.

The full list of participants is: F. Murray Abraham, Polly Adams, David Alan Basche, P.J. Benjamin, Amy Brenneman, Kate Burton, Gabrielle Carteris, James Cromwell, Stephanie D’Abruzzo, John Cunningham, Emilio Delgado, Andre DeShields, Kevin Dobson, Mike Farrell, Sam Freed, Ed Fry, Jason George, Nancy Giles, Elliott Gould, Holter Graham, Valerie Harper, Don Hastings, Gregory Jbara, Anne-Marie Johnson, S. Marc Jordan, Kevin Kilner, Michele Lee, Kate Linder, James Lurie, Richard Masur, Anne Meara, Esai Morales, Robert Newman, Kathleen Noone, Nancy Opel, Robert Pine, Roberta Reardon, Sam Robards, Alan Rosenberg, Ned Schmidtke, Charles Shaughnessy, Chris Shiflett, Kate Shindle, Connie Stevens, Jerry Stiller, Paul F. Tompkins and Mark Zimmerman.

OPEN THREAD: Who is Ali Soufan?

Ali Soufan, FBI agent, testified today at the congressional hearing on the Bush Administration’s detention and interrogation program led by Senator Whitehouse. He testified that he had interrogated Abu Zubaydah and garnered significant information from him before enhanced interrogation and water boarding of him by the CIA began.

From Wikipedia:

The FBI Interrogation of Abu Zubaydah: Pre-CIA

Following Abu Zubaydah’s capture he was interrogated by FBI agents Ali Soufan and Steve Gaudin. The interrogation followed standard FBI protocol and involved cleaning and dressing Abu Zubaydah’s wounds. Ali Soufan stated in a Newsweek article in April, 2009 “We kept him alive… It wasn’t easy, he couldn’t drink, he had a fever. I was holding ice to his lips.”[86] The agents attempted to convince Abu Zubaydah that they knew of his activities in languages he understood; English and Arabic. Both agents believed they were making good progress in gathering intelligence from Abu Zubayda: He disclosed Khalid Sheihkh Muhamed’s alias, “Mukhtar,” as well as other details of the attacks on New York and Washington D.C. Abu Aubzaydah also revealed the identity of Jose Padilla to the FBI agents.

Why the “Who is Ali Soufan?” Because already the right wing pundits are discrediting him as a disgruntled former FBI agent.

Swift Boating Health Care

Rick Scott’s is the former CEO of Columbia/Hospital Corporation of America. He was forced to resign in 1997, and Columbia/HCA agreed to pay $1.7 billion in fines and penalties. The hospital corporation pleaded guilty criminal and civil fraud charges including lying to the government about how sick patients were so they could collect larger fees.

Now Rick Scott is using his personal wealth accumulated by violating patient interests to attack health care reform and has formed a group called Conservatives for Patients Rights. They airing attacks on President Obama’s proposals on national cable outlets like Fox and CNN.

Fortunately the group Health Care For America Now is fighting back with this ad campaign. And there is a letter to be sent to these media outlets asking them to cease airing these ads. You can sign here.

Working with them is the organization Healthcare-NOW! that is an education and advocacy organization that addresses the health insurance crisis in the U.S by advocating for the passage of national, single-payer healthcare legislation. They have a petition to sign as well.

We call on our members of Congress to pass HR 676, non-profit Medicare for All, so our people and our nation can have the excellent healthcare system we deserve. Healthcare is a human right, and we call on our members of Congress to recognize that right.

If we do nothing the bad guys like Rick Scott win. It’s time to stop the people working against the public interest.