Daily Gnuz

Daily Gnuz for a Wednesday on October

Daily Gnuz for

Flake stuns with fiery exit
H/T The Hill
Sick of the BS that passes for politics, another R Senator declines to participate. Perhaps the Democrats can pick up a seat, if the state of Arizona doesn’t rig the election…

And

Service members see white nationalism as a bigger threat than conflicts in Iraq and Syria
H/T Raw Story
And this Vietnam veteran agrees with them.

Finally,

2-Party System? Americans Might Be Ready For 8
H/T NPR
I’m ready to throw both the bought and paid for political parties under a fleet of busses and go with a more parliamentary system that FORCES politicos to form coalitions and negotiate.

Open Thread, take it or leave it or do something gross with it.

RUCerious @ TPZoo

Daily Gnuz

And here’s the gnuz for the day, even some that isn’t worth printing, or typing, or exposing to oxygen…

http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/343379-senate-healthcare-bill-appears-headed-for-failure
h/t The Hill
Failure. Pretty well describes the entire ‘Republicans try to govern’ last six months of blah.

And

Jeff Sessions: I didn’t talk with Russians about the Trump campaign. New report: Yes, he did.
h/t Vox
Just another Trumpscumbag appointee, lying every time his lips move.

Finally,

‘You know that’s not true’: ABC host nails Sanders for lying minutes after she vows to ‘absolutely’ never lie
h/t Raw Story
Just another Trumpscumbag appointee, lying every time her lips move… (echo)

Open Thread, enjoy one byte at a thyme
RUCerious @ TPZoo

The Watering Hole, Monday, March 24th, 2014: Mixed Emotions

This past weekend’s reading brought an odd range of emotions:

HUMILITY: Geography is not my strong suit. When I was growing up, the continent of Africa was nearly always referred to as “the dark continent”, or “darkest Africa.” However, the amazing maps in “8 Maps That Will Change The Way You Look at Africa” help to shed light on “the dark continent” and its place in the modern world. Some of the maps are truly mind-boggling.

INCREDULITY: Why is David Vitter still a Senator? How was he not so shamed in his constituents’ eyes that not only did they not demand his immediate resignation when his diapered-DC Madam sexual habits were made public, they reelected him? And why is Vitter showing his face in public claiming that “…the Koch brothers are two of the most patriotic Americans in the history of the Earth…God bless the Koch brothers. They’re fighting for our freedoms.”? Steve Benen on The Maddow Blog can at least answer the the last question.

BETRAYAL: This one’s personal. My love-hate relationship with my beloved/cursed New York Jets is finally tipping over toward the ‘hate’ side. This weekend, the Jets announced their acquisition of former Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, and their release of hapless quarterback Matt Sanchez. My sense of betrayal has nothing to do with Sanchez–he sucked most of the time, but I wish him well. On the other hand, I wish that Michael Vick, of dog-fighting-ring/dog killer fame, would have his throwing arm mangled by a pit bull. Just enough to keep that scum out of football forever. In the meantime (well, when football season starts), I will boycott the Jets until that inhumane piece of shit is gone.

Damn, it's just a toy

Damn, it’s just a toy

Finally, to take that nasty taste out of your mouth:

CONTENTMENT: Although the story is five years old, it’s still heartwarming, and reinforces my opinion that animals are far better than humans. Mankind should really try to emulate Mother Nature.

In 2009, a fire in the Santa Barbara area had firefighters rescuing wildlife, including young animals separated from their mothers. The unlikely pair shown ended up together after their rescuers ran out of crates.
Rescued Fawn and Bobcat kittenfawn and bobcat kitten

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

The Watering Hole, Monday, March 11th, 2013: From Morons to Marvels

Senator Ron Johnson, R-Wis., has been in the news a lot lately, in part for having been one of the select few Republicans who were invited to the recent dinner meeting with President Obama. In an appearance yesterday on This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Senator Johnson stated,

“If we’re going to really get to an agreement, this is a good step…You have to start meeting with people. You have to start developing relationships. You’ve got to spend a fair amount of time figuring out what we agree on first.”

[Especially when the Republican “leaders” won’t tell their flock the truth about what the President has offered, and the flock and the media are too dumb or brainwashed to lift a couple of fingers and check whitehouse.gov!]

The same “This Week” appearance also saw Paul Krugman, in his inimitable manner, school Senator Johnson on the Social Security program.

Prior to that, in the debate over authorizing the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), Senator Johnson was one of a group of “…Republicans [who] have objected to new provisions in the law, including one allowing tribal courts for the first time to prosecute men who aren’t American Indians when they’re accused of abusing an American Indian woman on a reservation. . .”, according to ThinkProgress, which also quotes Senator Johnson as saying:

“the Senate has approved a piece of legislation that sounds nice, but which is fatally flawed. By including an unconstitutional expansion of tribal authority and introducing a bill before the Congressional Budget Office could review it to estimate its cost, Senate Democrats made it impossible for me to support a bill covering an issue I would like to address.”

Coincidentally and fortuitously (or not), when searching for a link on a completely different topic, I ran across this one about Ron Johnson from 2010. It includes a video of Johnson, demonstrating the average conservative’s love of fetuses but not actual children, while “…testifying against the Wisconsin Child Victims Act, which would have eliminated the statute of limitation on lawsuits brought by victims of abuse by priests against the Catholic Church.

Okay, as a palate-cleanser, I believe that there’s something for everyone in these photo slideshows from The Weather Channel.

For all of us who love space science and/or who have experienced various types of mind-enhancement, here’s (now think Muppets “Pigs in Space” voice) “Light Trails from Space.”

Staying in space for the moment, the Comet Pan-STARRS is in the ‘hood, and should start to be visible to the naked eye tomorrow. The chart shown in this article indicates where the large comet can be located (in the western sky at sunset) over the next two weeks or so.

Last from TWC (and getting back to ‘trails’…you’ll see): unusual (and occasionally claustrophobia-inducing) tunnels are highlighted in this feature. Although the first tunnel shown only has the one photo – see below – the rest of them have some amazing shots. Tunnel #18, Shanghai’s Bund Sightseeing Tunnel, described as “senseless, yet fabulous“, could likely induce trails even for persons who have never seen trails before. A youtube video of the entire ride is linked to under the description of the Shanghai tunnel, but I haven’t had the chance to watch it yet. Who’s gonna go first? 🙂

Enjoy!

Ukraine "Tunnel of Love"

Ukraine “Tunnel of Love”

This is our Open thread – what topic would you like to discuss?

The Watering Hole, Monday, February 25th, 2013: Who The Fuck is Ted Cruz?

I’ve been wondering just who the fuck this junior Senator from Texas, Ted Cruz, thinks he is. I know, everyone’s been comparing him to the late Senator Joseph McCarthy, due to his disrespectful and appalling attempt to besmirch former Senator Chuck Hagel’s reputation.

The Wikipedia bio of Cruz immediately provides some clues:

Cruz served as a law clerk to William Rehnquist, Chief Justice of the United States, and J. Michael Luttig of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Cruz was the first Hispanic ever to clerk for a Chief Justice of the United States.

In the landmark case of District of Columbia v. Heller, Cruz assembled a coalition of thirty-one states in defense of the principle that the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees an individual right to keep and bear arms. Cruz also presented oral argument for the amici states in the companion case to Heller before the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

In addition to his victory in Heller, Cruz has successfully defended the Ten Commandments monument on the Texas State Capitol grounds, the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools and the 2003 Texas redistricting plan.

Cruz also successfully defended, in Medellin v. Texas, the State of Texas against an attempt by the International Court of Justice to re-open the criminal convictions of 51 murderers on death row throughout the United States.

Cruz was endorsed by David Barton, founder and president of WallBuilders; the Club for Growth, a conservative political action committee; Erick Erickson, editor of prominent conservative blog RedState; the FreedomWorks for America super PAC; Princeton University professor Robert P. George; nationally syndicated radio host Mark Levin; former Attorney General Edwin Meese; Tea Party Express; Young Conservatives of Texas; and U.S. Senators Jim DeMint, Mike Lee, Rand Paul, and Pat Toomey. He has also been endorsed by former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and former Texas Congressman Ron Paul, Michigan Congressman Justin Amash, and former U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania Rick Santorum.

Now there’s an all-star lineup of right-wing idealogues (shudder.)

Jane Mayer provides more information in her piece in the New Yorker:

Two and a half years ago, Cruz gave a stem-winder of a speech at a Fourth of July weekend political rally in Austin, Texas, in which he accused the Harvard Law School of harboring a dozen Communists on its faculty when he studied there…Cruz made the accusation while speaking to a rapt ballroom audience during a luncheon at a conference called “Defending the American Dream,” sponsored by Americans for Prosperity, a non-profit political organization founded and funded in part by the billionaire industrialist brothers Charles and David Koch. Cruz greeted the audience jovially, but soon launched an impassioned attack on President Obama, whom he described as “the most radical” President “ever to occupy the Oval Office.”…He then went on to assert that Obama, who attended Harvard Law School four years ahead of him, “would have made a perfect president of Harvard Law School.” The reason, said Cruz, was that, “There were fewer declared Republicans in the faculty when we were there than Communists! There was one Republican. But there were twelve who would say they were Marxists who believed in the Communists overthrowing the United States government.”

In a follow-up article, Jane Mayer discusses the response from Cruz’s spokeswoman (who actually responded in an interview with The Blaze-I provided the link if you want to hold your nose and dive in, the comments are psycho, too.)

And a couple of articles from Politicus.com provide some slightly more tongue-in-cheek descriptions Cruz’s recent spotlight-hogging performances.

Unfortunately, Senator Cruz has the backing of some people with deep pockets and too much power. Maybe that’s why he seems to feel that he can say anything, regardless of the truth, with little impunity. So far, the only good thing Cruz has done is to make John McCain and Lindsey Graham look almost honorable.

This is our Open thread, what’s on your minds?

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: December 3 – Education

A Golden Apple for Education or Complete Failure

One of the aspects identified by the Occupy movement is the process of reducing our educational work force – teachers. As this process continues the number of students in each classroom increases. This dilutes the education of each and every child. Funds available for education are being cut at both the state and federal levels.

Tax relief for a privileged few has motivated bribes by “corporate persons” and the wealthy to members of Congress. These bribes were enabled by the Citizens United Supreme Court decision. Anyone making or receiving these bribes should be imprisoned.

This process has to stop if an adequate education is to be offered to our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Those denied a proper education will never attain the education levels of their forbears. It is a threat greater than Condi’s ‘mushroom cloud.’ Right now an entire generation is being denied access to an adequate education.

This process has already diluted the value of a high school diploma to the point that an associate degree is required for access to jobs that were formally filled by those with a high school degree. That dilution goes up the scale for each degree level up to the doctorate level (But excluding PhDs in Divinity.) where some are still blessed with a full education.

If allowed to continue, our nation will lose its place in innovation. A future Einstein or Edison will miss an opportunity. At that point, America will begin to lose its place as a world power and slip into the third world or at best assume the same status that Britain has today. America will never recover as the end generation will lose its ability to provide children with an advanced education. The rest of the world will pass us by as a result.

This is our Open Thread. Am I being too pessimistic?

Sunday Roast, November 6th, 2011: Current and Past Perspectives

The Marx Brothers

The Marx Brothers


The Opinion page of last week’s edition (October 28th) of our local paper, The Pawling Press, offered some interesting perspectives on today’s political scene:

First: the liberal columnist, Frank Matheis, used a song from the Marx Brothers’ Horse Feathers to describe today’s GOP:

“I don’t know what they have to say,
It makes no difference anyway.
Whatever it is, I’m against it.
No matter what it is or who
commenced it,
I’m against it.

“Your proposition may be good,
But let’s have one thing understood,
Whatever it is, I’m against it.
And even when you’ve changed it or
condensed it,
I’m against it.”

Next: the conservative columnist, Paul Keyishian, discussed “The fundamental role of government in a democracy”, putting forth his views on the differences between liberals’ and conservatives’ ideas of the role of the federal government, vis a vis what he called “legislative intervention.” (Note to self: remind Paul Keyishian that the current political battle going on is NOT between liberals and conservatives.) Here’s his closing summary:

“To put it succinctly, you might say that when liberals examine the federal government, they see an indispensable instrument of progressive sociopolitical legislation. When conservatives examine that same government, they see an inordinately costly and needlessly bureaucratic institution. And it’s incumbent upon us, individually and collectively, to ultimately decide which (if either) side is actually correct.”

Lastly: The Pawling Press has been running a weekly column called “Emphasis – U.S.A.”, which brings us “reflections from the archives of Robert McCormick, a noted NBC Washington correspondent…” (Note: I have tried to google Robert McCormick, but found little. However, the time frame here is during the formation of civil rights legislation.) The title of this “reflection” was “Southern Senators don’t debate, they heckle and bite.” I particularly liked this quote:

“The Southerners are always undiluted poison in a debate, and they are even more deadly in an argument over civil rights.”

McCormick then goes on to tell about a dispute between Senator Sam Ervin (R-NC) and Senator Jacob Javitz (R-NY), over certain figures in the Civil Rights Commission’s findings. Ervin uses “a very old story that is current down [his] way about a Southern Mountaineer…”: Ervin’s story ends with “..Here are the figures; you know that figures don’t lie”, to which the ‘Southern Mountaineer’ replies, “I know figures don’t lie, but liars sure do figures”, to dismiss the Civil Rights Commission’s statistics. Sounds like Southern Senators haven’t changed much over the last several decades.

This is our Open Thread. Please feel free to present your thoughts on any topic that comes to mind.

The Watering Hole: November 5 – Then and Now

Then

The Marshall Plan or the European Recovery Program (ERP) was the large-scale American program to aid Europe in which the United States (US) gave monetary support to help rebuild European economies after the end of WWII in order to combat the spread of Soviet communism.

The monies involved were $13 million in US aid (5% of US GDP, a drop in the bucket!) on top of $12 billion in American aid already spent in Europe up to that time.. The monies provided were eventually returned to the United States. In addition, Germany also repaid 16 billion marks of debts from the 1920s which had defaulted in the 1930s, but which Germany decided to repay to restore its reputation.

Former enemies as well as allies were recipients of this aid.

At that time, the US economy was, by far, the most powerful in the world.

During the Eisenhower(R?) administration the Interstate Highway System began as a military asset, but made it was available to every American.

This describes post-war America through the 1950s.

The United States put men on the moon in July 1969. The rescue of the crew in the Apollo 13 mission riveted the world in 1971. The rapid response to a potentially fatal outcome was diverted by United States’ can-do attitude and technological prowess.

The Space Shuttle was first launched in 1981, a heavy lift vehicle that has never been matched. It served for 30 years. It was used to assemble the International Space Station as well as deploy and repair the Hubble Space Telescope.

The collapse of the USSR between January 19, 1990 and December 31, 1991 left the United States as the sole major power on earth.

Now

From then on, the United States has rested on its laurels. Tax revenues from corporations and the rich have been pared to the bone. The Iraqi invasion and occupation has depleted the national treasury simply because there were no “matching funds”. The nation was trying to drive a Lamborghini on a burger flipper’s salary. The solution was to slash entitlement and infrastructure programs which had served the nation very well since the mid 1930s.

Now China has been asked for assistance by European for assistance in support of the economic collapse resulting from weak economies in Greece, Italy and Spain. The US is in a position where it cannot help – the dollar is weak and US manufacturing is struggling at best! And China rebuffed the request until Europe gets its house in order.

Just this week, mainland China demonstrated a first step towards development of its own space station which when completed be truly international – available to all nations (There are nations denied access to the “International” Space Station.).

China is starting the development of naval airpower and stealth aircraft.

China is in the process of becoming a world power in solar energy conversion using either steam or silicon.

This is our Open Thread. Now how did we get into this fine kettle of fish?

The Watering Hole, Thursday, September 15th, 2011: THIS EARTH IS NOT FLAT

Published in the Pawling Press, Pawling, NY, Friday, September 9th, 2011, under the title “Not So Flat Earth”

Note: I wrote the following in response to an opinion piece by the Pawling Press‘s conservative columnist, Mr. Paul Keyishian. Mr. Keyishian’s piece was entitled “Achieving Ideological Balance at the Federal Level”; it should be available in full at http://www.pawlingpress.com next week.

I found it aptly ironic that both Frank Matheis [liberal columnist] and Paul Keyishian, in their opinion pieces of September 2nd, referred to the idea that no sane person these days believes that the world is flat. However, while Mr. Matheis went on to discuss the dismissal of science by climate change deniers, including many of today’s prominent Republicans and Tea Partiers, Mr. Keyishian took a different route. Mr. Keyishian’s column centered around the idea that, while “established scientific facts” are either right or wrong, opposing political philosophies are “not so cut and dried.” While this is true to a certain degree, some political philosophies are readily proven to be wrong, simply by looking at history.

I am compelled to dismiss Mr. Keyishian’s base premise where he “assume[s] that each side of the political spectrum has something meaningful to contribute…” or “that we all possess the sincere desire to ‘even things out’ politically.” Anyone who has paid attention to the political arena in the last few years since President Obama was elected has to realize that, even before the 2010 mid-terms, the majority of sitting Republicans became the party of Obstruction, the party of “No!” and even “Hell, NO!” Senior Republican Mitch McConnell outright stated that the party’s goal was to “make President Obama a one-term President”, which doesn’t exactly sound like meaningful contribution in my view. The only solution that the Republicans offered to mitigate the effects of the recession and the rampant, increasing unemployment rate were tax cuts, especially for the wealthy and big corporations.

Here’s where we go back to the ‘flat-earth/established science’ idea: Republicans, and I mean every single Republican Congressperson and Senator, still pronounce that the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy and big corporations actually create jobs and must be continued, some believe permanently. This flies completely in the face of established historical fact. Historical facts tell us that, when President Clinton raised taxes, including on the wealthy and corporations, the country gained millions of jobs (and provided his successor with a budget surplus); historical facts also tell us that, when George W. Bush reduced taxes on the wealthy and big corporations, the country LOST millions of jobs. Republicans paid no attention to the burgeoning deficit during the Bush years, but suddenly it became the number one priority when a Democrat, President Obama, took office. (Sorry, that one should be filed under “Hypocrisy”, not “Established Science”.)

Mr. Keyishian’s dream scenario that having a Republican President, a majority Democratic House, and a more-or-less evenly split Senate would help to make Congress, and therefore the country, work better together to accomplish ideologically central, moderate legislation, is just that: a dream scenario. First, this idea is totally dependent on the premise that the members of the House and Senate are all reality-based, competent and honest public servants. Unfortunately, there are very few of those to be found, in this age of big-money-influenced politics. Take the big money out of politics with real, effective campaign finance reform and lobbying reform, and this scenario may become slightly less dreamlike. Second, let’s turn Mr. Keyishian’s scenario on its head and look at the current makeup of the legislative and executive branches: we have a Democratic President, a majority Republican House, and a more-or-less evenly split Senate. If Mr. Keyishian’s hypothesis held true, wouldn’t one have to believe that there would be more cooperation, compromise, and resulting ideologically central, moderate legislation, instead of what is actually happening in today’s Congress?

Lastly, the scenario that Mr. Keyishian proposes has Michele Bachmann as his choice for the Presidency. Like most of the Republican candidates, Ms. Bachmann is a climate-science denier and doesn’t believe in evolution. She has also signed the Grover Norquist pledge (compulsory for Republicans, although one Congressman just recently disavowed the pledge) of no additional taxes, not for anyone, not ever. This past weekend, Ms. Bachman went as far as saying that she ‘would consider’ the idea of ZERO taxes on corporations. Ms. Bachmann has also signed a ‘no abortions for any reason’ pledge, and is anti-homosexual: she and her husband truly believe that one can “pray away the gay.” To sum up, Michele Bachmann is a “Flat-Earther”, and not someone who is qualified to lead the United States of America, especially not in this century.

By Jane E. Schneider

This is our Open Thread. Please feel free to present your thoughts on any topic that comes to mind.

Watering Hole – Monday, August 15, 2011 – The Congressional Reform Act of 2011

The 26th amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds) took only 3 months & 8 days to be ratified! Why? Simple! The people demanded it. That was in 1971…before computers, before e-mail, before cell phones, etc. Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took 1 year or less to become the law of the land…all because of public pressure.

Introducing:  The Congressional Reform Act of 2011

1. No Tenure / No Pension. A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.

2. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security. All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for any other purpose.

3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.

4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.

6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.

7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective 1/1/12. The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen. Congressmen made all these contracts for themselves.

Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.

(The Congressional Reform Act is not my creation.  I received this in an email.  The author is unknown).

This is our Open Thread.  Perhaps we should all send a copy of this to our members in Congress.   What do you think?  Speak Up!

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?

Get Your Act Together! Now!

The Economist:

TODAY is July 19th. Two weeks from today, it will be August 2nd. On that day, or very soon thereafter, the Treasury will run out of room to use extraordinary measures to keep meeting its obligations without issuing any new debt. To avoid a default at that point, which most economists agree would be catastrophic, the Treasury will then need to slash spending immediately and precipitously—by about 44%. The process won’t be tidy; depending on what bills are coming due on a particular day, the shortfall will affect payments to state governments, public employees (including soldiers), payouts to entitlement beneficiaries, and so on. Absent an agreement to raise the debt ceiling, spending would be slashed by $134 billion over the month of August. That would represent a sudden fiscal consolidation of over 10% of GDP—enough, in all likelihood, to tip the economy into recession. And at some point, if no agreement were reached, default would become inevitable. (read all)

Anybody home in Republicanland? Are you sure you know what you’re doing? I am pissed. So, setting the economy on fire wasn’t enough in 2008? Want to blow it up one more time? A really spectacular blowup this time that destroys government, so Grover Norquist will love you all and rapture you into everlasting economic bliss, as promised for his true believers?

You know what? YOU ARE THE PITS!

Greek people go hungry, because your rating agencies saw fit to play monopoly with their assessments and caused the worst currency crisis ever. Hey, just a hint. If the agencies and banks thought Greece’s debt was a problem, why not stop lending before? Maybe because you could get top interest and then socialised your losses to a point where the beast you so busily starved can’t do anything to relieve you anymore? Now it’s time for bilking, eh?

Being able to eat to sustain yourself is by now considered an entitlement obviously in the US. We don’t want that over here, we don’t think like you do, we actually practise a Democracy on Christian principles of caring for our neighbour! Now you are about to present us with another economic crash three years after the last one, which we, using our socialist methods, mostly rode out fairly well. But we won’t be able to just right now. We can’t breathe anymore.

Corporate greed Republican-style caused the stock market crash in 1929 and gave the Fascists here the final push into government. With the most terrible consequences imaginable. In 1945 Europe was reduced to rubble.

This time around fascism rears it’s head on your side of the pond, the consequences may well play out on your soil. So be careful what you wish for. And don’t expect any help. We can’t, your style of capitalism has already stripped us clean.

You’re on your own.

The Watering Hole: June 25 – It’s My Ball

On Thursday, Republicans walked out of budget negations. Eric Cantor basically said that it was his ball and you can’t play if you don’t do it his way. At stake was a government shutdown in August.

One reason for disagreement centered around whether or not the final legislative language would include restructuring the way federal money is dispersed to family planning services. Republicans insisted that the system be amended so that funds would be sent through state governments instead of directly to organizations. Democrats, insisted that the former would result in the denial of routine testing for women’s problems; I.e., pap smears, breast exams, etc.. Added to the mix was Republican refusal to narrow the budget gap by allowing tax increases for the wealthy and the removal of subsidies for business and big oil. Also on the table was a tax holiday for corporations that could transfer profits being kept overseas.

Isn’t it about time for Democrats to grow some balls?

This is our Open Thread. Please feel free to present your thoughts on any topic that comes to mind.

The Cut That Isn’t a Cut

As you may have heard, President Barack Obama and the Republicans (who, oddly enough, are not, technically, in power yet), have struck a deal extending the Bush Tax Cuts For The Wealthy (their official name) for another two years. In return for these tax “cuts”, the Republicans have agreed to extend unemployment benefits for currently unemployed people for another thirteen months along with a few other helpful things for the poor. The stage has been set to make this a campaign issue for 2012. Do you support extending tax “cuts” for millionaires and billionaires who don’t need them? Or do you finally agree that rich people do not use their tax savings to create jobs? But is anybody really going to be paying less in taxes because of this? Not necessarily.

In Washington, DC, and only in Washington, DC, a “cut” is merely a Continue reading

Rachel Maddow: “Watch what the Republicans do, not what they say..”

If you missed this, it is totally worth watching..

In this first segment “Pin The Debt On The Donkey”:

Rachel Maddow completely debunks the myth of Republicans trying to cynically portray themselves as the “party of fiscal responsibility” by examining their irresponsible tax cuts and efforts to repeal health care legislation (aka “Obamacare”), which, together with other Republican proposals, will increase the deficit and debt by $1 trillion dollars, rather than reduce it.

Then Rachel examines the phony Republican “Earmarks” ploy to portray themselves as fiscally responsible by embracing policy that sounds like it will reduce the deficit and debt, but which will instead, INCREASE it.

The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC – aired November 16, 2010.

So, how do you plan to pay for it..?

Taxes.. What a wonderfully confusing and contentious subject. When President Bush enacted his tax cuts for the rich in 2001 and 2003, they weren’t paid for, and the way it was set up, they were set to expire in ten years.

A refresher course on “The Bush Tax Cuts” from the New York Times:

Why are the tax cuts set to expire on Dec. 31st?

The bills were written that way because the Republicans had only the slimmest of majorities — in fact, Vice President Dick Cheney had to cast a tie-breaking vote to pass the 2003 bill. To avoid a Democratic filibuster, the cuts were rolled into a so-called budget reconciliation measure, which cannot be filibustered. (It is the mechanism President Obama and the Democrats used to pass health care reform.)

But under Senate rules, reconciliation cannot be used for any bill that would add to the federal deficit after 10 years. The “sunset” provision that called for the measures to expire in 2010 meant that the deficit was calculated as if the higher tax rates were back in place for succeeding years, a step Democrats criticized as camouflaging the bill’s true cost.

In the years that followed, Democrats vowed to let the Bush administration’s tax cuts for the wealthiest taxpayers expire as scheduled after this year. In the 2008 campaign, Mr. Obama called for repealing the tax cuts for the rich in 2010, a year before they would otherwise expire. But once in office, he quietly set aside that promise because of the recession, proposing to let them lapse in 2011 as the original law provided.

Both parties agree on one thing: that the 2001 income tax cuts will be extended for everyone else — that is, for the roughly 98 percent of households in which couples have less than $250,000 in annual income or individuals earn less than $200,000. The fight is over whether to extend the income tax cuts of 2001 for the top 2 percent on income that exceeds that level, and whether to extend the cuts in capital gains and dividend taxes that were the heart of the 2003 bill.

The tax cuts were not paid for and thus added greatly to the current national debt (yes, the debt that everyone is so concerned about, especially [apparently] Republicans). (Oh, and did I already mention the two wars that Bush started that weren’t paid for..?)

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Watering Hole – September 18, 2010 – Constitution Day: A day late and a dullard short

Yesterday was a little observed day of national importance: Constitution Day. On September 17, 1787 thirty-nine white males signed the foundational document of the United States Government. It was a compromise document, most notably for its three-fifths solution which gave southern states more representatives in the House of Represenatatives based on their slave population, while agreeing not to address the slavery issue for 20 more years. Given the typical lifespan in those days, they basically expected their children to have to deal with the problem; i.e. they passed a major contentious issue to the next generation to decide. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

For all the Teabagging hoopala over upholding the Constitution, this writer was not aware of a single Teabag Rally in honor of Constitution Day.

The Constitution, like the bible, is subject to interpretation. Unfortunately, those who are hollering the most about upholding the Constitution derive their understanding of it from radio and tv talk-show hosts. They then believe they know more about the Constitution than a Constitutional Law Professor. That this is absurd on its face is beyond their grasp: fear, hatred, prejudice and racism trump reason.

You’ll find the text of the Constitution here, with links to the Amendments.

This is our Open Thread. Exercise your First Amendment right to free speech!

Senate Republicans vow to raise taxes.

Republicans in the Senate have unanimously joined forces to oppose any extension of the Bush Tax Cuts for the middle and lower class, unless they get their way and extend it for the rich as well.

Without the Republicans on board, the Bush Tax Cuts will expire at the end of this year, raising taxes for everyone. Obama would like to keep the tax cuts in place for those earning $200k or less ($250k for couples). While any extension of the Bush Tax Cuts adds to the deficit, the break given to the upper crust of society adds $700 billion to the government’s flow of red ink over the next 10 years.

So, do we go another $700 billion into debt and let the rich keep that much more of their money? Do we want our grandchildren paying off that debt? Or do we want to gut the social safety net for the poor and for our seniors, so that the rich can have $700 billion more to play with?

Rachel Maddow eviscerates Republicans for their disgusting and shameless hypocrisy

There are lies, damned liars, and then there are Republicans named Chuck Grassley, Lamar Alexander, John McCain, Orrin Hatch, and on and on and on…and oh yeah — the Washington Post.  Should we anticipate a correction?

At this point, you’re a guy on a loud speaker, scolding us to keep our voices down; you’re the speed-eating hotdog kid, telling us to go vegan; you’re a family-values, chastity-lecturing, lecher.  You’re hypocrites.  You are not making serious arguments, and you do not believe what you’re saying.  It’s dis-proven by your record.  In the case of Orrin Hatch, you are flat-out lying about the history of the tactic that Democrats are going to use to pass health reform.

For the Washington Post to print something like this is bizarre.  For these established, supposedly mainstream Senators to try to get away with this is an insult to everyone they’re addressing and to the media in particular.  And for us all to just let this slide and call it “politics,” is to surrender to cynicism profoundly.

SMACK!!!

Keep up the good work, Rachel!

One Small Step for Congress, One Giant Leap Towards Universal Healthcare

At least since the days of the first progressive president, Teddy Roosevelt (a Republican, no less) Universal Healthcare has been debated in our nation’s capital. Debated, but not passed. The health care industry has successfully blocked measure after measure aimed at reform, with the last notable attempt in the early 1990s. Until today. Today, Christmas Eve, 2009, the Senate voted 60-39 in favor of some reforms to the health care system. Is there universal health care in the bill? No. Not yet. A public option? No. Not that, either, although it is included in the House version. But the bill does prevent the health insurance industry from denying benefits or charging higher premiums because of preexisting conditions. And it contains complex provisions which are designed to allow some 30 million working poor the ability to have health insurance.

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Keep the Government’s Hands Off My Medicare and Social Security!

The Teabagger’s concerns aren’t too far off the mark. With an eye on running for Governor of California, Senator Diane Feinstein has unveiled a plan to create a super-commission tasked with gutting the country’s most popular and effective social programs, Social Security and Medicare.

According to the article on Credo, Calfornia’s senior Senator is willing to cripple the federal government by blocking any increase to the debt ceiling unless she gets her way. And her way is to create a commission that’s given extraordinary legislative powers:

“The commission would be able to offer legislation in both chambers of Congress that could not be filibustered or amended and that would pass on simple majority vote.”

So, it appears that Democrats can operate with resolve. Rather than make Social Security solvent by removing the cap upon which wages can be taxed – Income over $100,000 per year is Social Security Tax-Free – meaning the wealthy get a tax break, but not the minimum wage earner — Senator Feinstein would cut benefits to retiree’s whose sole income is Social Security.

Now, I must admit, I am a bit biased against Senator Feinstein. She lost my vote when she voted for a Constitutional Amendment aimed at restricting a particular form of political speech, flag burning. But she’s revealing her true Corporate Colors now.

And, one more thing to think about. If a super-commission can be created and given the powers to introduce legislation that cannot be filibustered, cannot be amended, cannot be blocked:

WHY THE HELL DIDN’T THE DEMOCRATS DO THAT WITH HEALTH CARE REFORM! WE COULD HAVE HAD UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE MONTHS AGO!!!!!

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