The Watering Hole, Saturday, February 6, 2016: Stumbling Bloc

When catching up on recent political issues yesterday (after having been focused a bit too much on that goddamned Bundy clan and their terrorist cohorts), I ran across this piece on ThinkProgress about the House “Freedom” Caucus. One of my first thoughts while reading it was “the term  ‘Freedom’ has absolutely no connection with the group’s raison d’etre“; after reading it, I grokked that ‘raison’ – reason – didn’t enter into the equation either. An excerpt:

[House Speaker Paul] Ryan spoke about the divisions in the Republican Party at a policy forum hosted by Heritage Action in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, pointing to groups within the party which demand things that are unachievable and refuse to work across the aisle in any way.
“When voices in the conservative movement demand things that they know we can’t achieve with a Democrat in the White House, all that does is depress our base and in turn help Democrats stay in the White House,” Ryan said. “We can’t do that anymore.”

Just a few hours later, four members of the roughly 40-person House Freedom Caucus, a faction of hardline Republicans, said that they will not work with the president and that realism and compromise will cause Republicans to lose elections.

Freedom Caucus member Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) directly addressed Ryan’s comments, saying that the measures the Speaker thinks are “unachievable” are actually just practical, “small things.”

“On the omnibus, the big spending legislation that happened at the end of last calendar year, our group went to leadership and we asked for a couple small things,” he said. “We said do something on this pro-life issue — after all we have this organization that gets your tax dollars and does all kinds of disgusting things. We said it doesn’t have to be defunded completely, but let’s just do something that’s going to protect the sanctity of life.”

According to a Roll Call piece from September 10th, 2015:

“The House Freedom Caucus has spoken.
On Thursday, the conservative HFC took their seventh official position: They will oppose any spending bill that doesn’t defund Planned Parenthood.

“Given the appalling revelations surrounding Planned Parenthood, we cannot in good moral conscience vote to send taxpayer money to this organization while still fulfilling our duty to represent our constituents. We must therefore oppose any spending measure that contains funding for Planned Parenthood.”

Apparently Rep. Jordan and his group are unaware – or willfully ignorant – of the fact that every investigation into the alleged “disgusting things” Planned Parenthood has been wrongfully accused of have found absolutely no evidence to back up those allegations. FFS, even Texas, after exonerating PP, is now prosecuting the criminals who produced the doctored video “proof” that Planned Parenthood was ‘selling baby parts for fun and profit.’ We all know that Texas HATES Planned Parenthood, so one would think that the turn of events there would give the Caucus pause. But, again, ‘reason’ doesn’t seem to enter into the collective mind of the Freedumb Caucus. But I digress…

The ThinkProgress excerpt continues:

“Another “small thing” Jordan pointed to was a request that legislation to reject Syrian refugees be tucked inside the must-pass omnibus spending measure. The bill would have temporarily halted Obama’s plan to bring roughly 10,000 refugees to the United States because of the persistent threats they face in Syria…
…Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) also implied Wednesday that he is not willing to compromise with others in his party, let alone with Democrats. He said that while he knows he has to be realistic with his expectations, “when you have the will of the people and their voice behind you, it’s amazing what you can accomplish.”

I love the way these (in reality) extreme policy shifts are described as “small things.” And it’s particularly ironic that what the House Freedom Caucus considers to be “small things”, which Speaker Ryan called “unrealistic”, are the same things that the current Republican Presidential candidates are running their campaigns on: overturning Roe v Wade, immigration – along with their favorite hopeless cause, repealing Obamacare. Yes, they’re still wasting time trying to overturn Obamacare, now for the 63rd time. I guess that the Repubican’s motto is “if at first you don’t succeed, keep trying and the hell with real governing.”

Pew Research has an interesting piece from October of 2015 on Congress’s “Freedom Caucus.” Here’s a snippet that I found insightful:

“…the Freedom Caucus does not officially disclose who belongs to it (aside from its nine founding members)[**], though various unofficial lists have circulated. Membership is by invitation only, and meetings are not public.”
What most distinguishes the Freedom Caucus from other House Republicans has been their willingness to defy the wishes of leadership…and to band together with like-minded Republicans who threaten to block any temporary measure to fund the government that didn’t also defund Planned Parenthood.”

**Congressman Matt Salmon (R-AZ) issued a “press release” on January 26th, 2015, announcing the formation of the House Freedom Caucus and its mission statement:

“The House Freedom Caucus gives a voice to countless Americans who feel that Washington does not represent them. We support open, accountable and limited government, the Constitution and the rule of law, and policies that promote the liberty, safety and prosperity of all Americans.
The HFC’s founding members are Rep. Scott Garrett, Rep. Jim Jordan, Rep. John Fleming, Rep. Matt Salmon, Rep. Justin Amash, Rep. Raúl Labrador, Rep. Mick Mulvaney, Rep. Ron DeSantis and Rep. Mark Meadows.”

Along with another 30-odd (very odd!) hard-right Republicans who joined the HFC, after John Boehner decided to give up the position (I suspect mainly so that he could just go home and get drunk,) this small bloc of ultra-conservatives nearly derailed their own party’s contest for the House Speakership by issuing a list of demands questions for Speaker hopefuls. A couple of their “questions” include:

“Would you ensure that the House-passed appropriations bill do not contain funding for Planned Parenthood, unconstitutional amnesty, the Iran deal, and Obamacare?”

~ and ~

“Would you commit to impeach IRS commissioner John Koskisen and pressure the Senate to take it up?”

So they also still believe that the IRS was unfairly targeting conservative groups, despite investigations showing that both religious-right AND non-religious left tax-exempt organizations were audited by the IRS? Paul Ryan is right, they DO need to be “realistic.”

This “freedumb” caucus apparently has zero interest in actual freedom, or governing, or anything beyond their own pseudo-christian-induced tunnel vision. And they’re more than happy to not only fuck with their own party, they’re delighted to fuck with the entire country. As many parents have said to erring children, “This is why we can’t have nice things.”

This is our daily Open Thread–have at it!

Sunday Roast: Another year gone; what have we learned?

I know I’ve posted this video a few times over the years, in one form or another, but I’m posting it again.

Why?  That’s a good question.  I’m glad you asked.

I don’t know if it’s because I’m feeling especially pessimistic or cynical these days, but I’m thinking that we haven’t learned anything over the past year.  Maybe it’s just that the United States is absolutely fucking bonkers right now, and I’m having trouble seeing the good in the world; or maybe we’re at a critical turning point, and, much like correcting a naughty child, the behavior gets much worse before it starts getting better.

I hope it’s both, and I hope the “getting better” part starts happening soon.

This is the last Sunday Roast of the year — What do you think?

The Watering Hole; Friday September 25 2015; Pope v. Wingnuts

So. Pope Francis is in the US, and he spoke to Congress. In case anyone missed it, here’s a transcript of his interesting and compelling speech:

Pope Francis’ address to Congress

From the Washington Post, this first reaction:

Pope Francis implores Congress to accept immigrants as their own

And here’s what is probably just a preview of the tone (and the intellectual desolation) the Wingnut reaction will ultimately embrace:

And then there’s this: the more-than-elegant-and-appropriate reaction to the Wingnut reaction(s) by critters who (mostly) reside “out there.” Curiously, I couldn’t agree more, nor could I have said (or portrayed) it better. Fascinating that geese and bugs both understand the problem AND are perfectly willing to toss the proper salute to each and all of the intellectually challenged hominids (aka Wingnuts).

Reminds me of an old song. Lessee: How’d go? Something like

Birds do it . . .

Sep 19 goose dive 1893Sep 19 geese dive 1888Bees do it . . .Bee in cactus bloom 2aEven educated – ummm – bugs(?) do it . . .

Bug on Sunflower 352aLet’s do it, let’s fall . . . Something like that

Glenn Beck definitely earned that standard ‘salute’ when, following Pope Francis’ speech, he tweeted:

The Popes speech was a “Mr Gorbachev tear down this wall” moment. Unfortunately, the “wall” is capitalism.

Do we dare hope? I mean, if “capitalism” is to ultimately be defined by the radical right wing in this country, then I, for one (E Pluribus Unum?), could most assuredly agree with Beck’s nonsensical ‘conclusion.’ Meanwhile, to Beck and all the others of his mental ilk,  I do hereby toss to each and all of them the ‘intelligent’ species’ version of the “signals” portrayed above — as demonstrated via George Bush’s “eloquent” (sotospeak) ass-ignation (sotospeak):

Der FingerMany of us may not agree with every one of the premises advanced by Pope Francis in his speech before Congress, but hopefully disagreement with the crapola advanced by the Wingnuttistanians will be manifest to the point where their influence on the nation’s politic will be permanently dismissed by the electorate — ASAP. Because, should those nutcases EVER gain full power of the state, the operative words will soon become those that traditionally signal the termination of a given tale: The End.

Or, stated another way,

Sep 6 Shadow in the flowers cr 1814GRRRRR!! (sort of)

OPEN THREAD

The Watering Hole; Thursday September 24 2015; *BatShite Craziness*

T.S. Eliot, in the opening verse of his poem entitled The Hollow Men, wrote . . .

We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats’ feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar

. . . and with those forty-three words perfectly summed up and described each and all of those screwballs who drive this day’s American political insanity. The fact that Eliot penned this work ninety years ago — in 1925 — suggests he was either *extremely* prescient or that there were lots of ‘Hollow Men’ nutcases around even way back then. In any case, his ‘definition’ is a perfect fit, these days, as it describes a very large number of our very own wingnuts, including even the entire cadre of passengers in the Republican P-Candidate Clown Car.

In just the last few days, I’ve somehow managed to stumble across five of the absolutely most insane “ideas” I’ve read in at least the last year or two; and believe me, THAT is SAYING SOMETHING! If you should dare to wander in and take a closer look, prepare yourselves for the absolute pinnacle of *BatShite Craziness* — and understand that ANY help in redefining the entire concept will be most appreciated!

Savage: Obama’s Nomination Of Gay Army Secretary Proves He’s A Psychopath 

Michael Savage: Only Donald Trump Can Stop Obama From Killing Us All

‘I Don’t Believe In Women Voting’: Theodore Shoebat Declares That ‘Women Have No Place In Politics’

Theodore Shoebat Unhappy With Nomination Of A ‘Flaming Fag’ To Serve As Army Secretary

Theodore Shoebat: Force Gays To Submit To Christianity Through ‘Death And Strong Suppression’ 

And finally, one more consummate example of just how far into the muck and mire of intellectual desolation the human consciousness can sink. It took a little digging to find it, but when the topic is *BatShite Craziness*, this one not only speaks volumes, it also serves to suggest that the entire concepts both of .*BatShite Craziness* and of *Hollow Men* are WAY out of date and are in desperate need of redefinition.

The Ultimate Obama-Islam-Sharia-Agenda 21-Immigration-Debt Conspiracy

T.S. Eliot pretty much summed up the hopes and fears of the batshit crazy who waft and waddle among us with the final two lines of “The Hollow Men” —

This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

Whimper. Indeed. Are they capable of anything else?

******

OK, enough of that. On a far more reasonable note, I recently received a request to sign a petition from MoveOn.org. I admit I was a bit surprised to learn the the petition wasn’t about any sort of complaint or agenda, but was instead a Thank You to the US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy. MoveOn put the request this way:

The nation’s doctor has issued a rare Call to Action calling on cities and states across the country to invest in ways to make walking and biking safer, more attractive, and easier to use.

Less than half of Americans get enough daily physical activity to help ward off chronic health problems like obesity and cancer, but more “active transportation” options can be part of the solution.

By issuing this challenge to cities and states, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy recognizes that not only is this something more people want, but it’s also something we need.

Thank the Surgeon General for his leadership on keeping America healthy.

As one who very much enjoys the myriad benefits one can gain from the physical activity implicit in both walking and bicycling, I signed the petition immediately. Maybe some who read this will feel the same way? If so, here’s a link to a site that is NOT *BatShite Crazy*!

More Walking and Biking: Thank You Surgeon General!

OPEN THREAD

The Watering Hole, Monday, September 14th, 2015: ICYMI Grab Bag

While the “Christian” flavor of the right-wing-religious-nut-jobs have been hogging the limelight lately, there’s been more of ‘teh crazy’ happening over in the Mormon corner. According to an article by Peggy Fletcher Stack in last Thursday’s Salt Lake Tribune, many Mormons, in the belief that the signs are about right for doomsday to arrive, are starting preparations (these Mormons are referred to as “preppers.) Here’s a couple of excerpts from the article, titled “Some Mormons stocking up amid fears that doomsday could come this month”:

“Jordan Jensen, a salesman at Emergency Essentials, said his Bountiful store has been “crazy busy, sales up by definitely a large amount.”
Those 72-hour emergency kits are “almost impossible to keep on the shelves,” Jensen says, “and we get a shipment every day.” A lot of customers, he says, believe “this is the month it will all happen — with a ‘blood moon’ and a currency collapse and everything.”

Here’s how the doomsday scenario plays out: History, some preppers believe, is divided into seven-year periods…In 2008, seven years after 9/11, the stock market crashed, a harbinger of a devastating recession. It’s been seven years since then, and Wall Street has fluctuated wildly in recent weeks in the wake of China devaluing its currency. Thus, they believe, starting Sept. 13, the beginning of the Jewish High Holy Days, there will be another, even larger financial crisis, based on the United States’ “wickedness.” That would launch the “days of tribulation” — as described in the Bible. They say Sept. 28 will see a full, red or “blood moon” and a major earthquake in or near Utah. Some anticipate an invasion by U.N. troops, technological disruptions and decline, chaos and hysteria.

Some of these speculations stem from Julie Rowe’s books, “A Greater Tomorrow: My Journey Beyond the Veil” and “The Time Is Now.” Rowe, a Mormon mother of three, published the books in 2014 to detail a “near-death experience” in 2004, when the author says she visited the afterlife and was shown visions of the past and future. Though Rowe rarely gives specific dates for predicted events, she did describe in a Fox News Radio interview “cities of light,” including scores of white tents where people will live in the mountains and sometimes be fed heavenly “manna.” She saw a “bomb from Libya landing in Israel, but Iran will take credit.” And “Gadianton robbers” of Book of Mormon infamy, meaning secret and corrupt leaders, are “already here.”

Okay, that’s the crazy part–now for the scary-crazy part:

Her purpose in speaking out, Rowe told interviewer Kate Dalley, was “to wake more of us up. … We need each other as we unify in righteousness and continue to build a righteous army. When we need to defend the [U.S.] Constitution, we will be ready.”

Oh, great, another right-wing-religious-nut-job cult that doesn’t understand that the Constitution proscribes the very idea of their “righteous” religious rule. Then again, this particular zealot who is trying to build her “righteous army” may not have a whole army of followers:

“For the past year, the popular writer has been sharing her experience and visions at Mormon venues nationwide, drawing crowds of eager — and worried — listeners. Her two books have sold more than 20,000 copies apiece.”

Uh-huh, and probably all 40,000 books are sitting in a Newsmax warehouse or its religious-literature equivalent.

Next, from TheWeatherChannel, cool photos of volcanic ‘blue’ lava, taken by photographer Reuben Wu in East Java, Indonesia.

Last, NASA has some new photos of Pluto to share from New Horizons’ flyby of the “dwarf planet.” Photos of Pluto’s moons will be coming along soon.

This is our daily Open Thread–enjoy!

The Watering Hole, Monday, September 7th, 2015: Buzzwords

I ran across the following comment by “Lando Thig” on a recent ThinkProgress thread about Donald Trump. I thought it was a wonderful snarky compilation of Republican/conservative/TeaParty/racist talking points, lies, and general idiocy.

Lando Thig

I am a Black Republican because:

There is Legitimate Rape, California is a state sponsor of terror, Corporations are People, Ban gay marriage, Obama brought Ebola to kill whites, Jews control the liberal media, Evolution is a myth, End birth right citizenship, Obama will run for a 3rd term, The earth is only 6,000 years old, People are only poor because they are lazy, Illegals will self-deport, Hitler was a good man, School teachers need guns, Global Warming is a myth, Abstinence Only Education works, Blacks are the real racists, Harry Potter teaches Satanism, Al Qaeda has camps on Mexican border, Lower the minimum wage, Voter ID laws allow double voting, I can see Russia from my back porch, Benghazi was Hillary’s crime, Liberals declared war against Christianity, I listen to Rush Limbaugh, Reagan is God, Social Security is a Ponzi scheme, Homosexuality can be cured, Repeal and Replace ObamaCare, Mission Accomplished, Oops!, Birth Control coverage hurt religious freedom, Tax cuts pay for themselves, I’m against Affirmative Action, Welfare equals Communism, We love the NRA, Deport blacks back to Africa, I only watch Fox News, Obummer is a Muslim, Pro-Choice is Pro-Death, NSA spying started under NoBummer, No Pathway to Citizenship, God told me to run for president, US Army plans to invade Texas, Tea Party are patriots, Open Carry by Gun by God, Obama created ISIS, Food Stamps is Fascism, Michelle Obama is a man, ObamaCare will create Death Panels, We need prayer in school, Dems hate the military, Jesus is a Republican, Obummer wants to give Texas to Mexico, Eliminate the EPA, I demand more military spending, NObama was born in Kenya, Democrats are socialists, Obama didn’t kill Osama Bin Laden, We must privatize Public Education, Putin’s a better president than Obama, Stop pensions now, More tax subsidies for the job creators, 47% of Americans are takers, Money is free Speech, Saddam attacked us on 9/11, Reagan proved deficits don’t matter,  Ban citizenship for anchor-babies, Unions kill jobs, Bill Clinton caused 9/11, Companies cross-breed humans and animals, God will close the IRS, Shutdown the government, We need a flat tax, Government’s plotting to take your guns, The Confederate Flag is not racist, Build a border fence, Impeach Obama, Joe the Plummer’s one of us, Bailing out GM was wrong, I support Iraq’s invasion, Libturds hate Freedom, The South Shall Rise Again.

I’ll bet that we could add a few more lines/lies to that list!

This is our daily Open Thread–talk about anything you want.

The Watering Hole, Saturday, August 22nd, 2015: (T)Rump Droppings

First, here’s several nut-filled nuggets from Trump’s interview with Chris Cuomo on CNN:

“Hillary’s record as secretary of state was a disaster…She was in favor, totally in favor, of the Iraq War, which is obviously not a good soundbite.”

Immigration word salad:

“You know, this country is so politically correct. Nobody wants to take a stance on anything…Now they like to use the word undocumented because it’s more political — I don’t use that word. They’re illegal immigrants. They came over illegally. Some are wonderful people, and they’ve been here for a while. They’ve got to go out. They’ve got to leave…These people — the really good ones, and we have some great ones — we’re going to try and expedite so they can come back.  But they’re going to come back legally.”  [According to the article, Trump “said he wouldn’t need to amend the Constitution to do it.”]

“No. 1, the 14th Amendment is very questionable as to whether or not somebody can come over, have a baby and immediately that baby is a citizen. OK?”

“Amending is too big a deal. It’s going to take — it’ll be two terms. I’d be in my second term or my eighth year by the time — assuming everything went smoothly. … I believe you can win it legally.”

According to the article, “He said people can’t be allowed to just “walk over” the border to give birth.”

“You have people on the border and in one day they walk over, have a baby. And now all of a sudden we’re supposed to pay the baby … medical, Social Security…”

“Trump defended his comments [on getting his military strategy by watching current and retired generals on TV]…saying it allows him to get a lot of advice quickly.”

“I watch your show. And I watch other shows. And you have the best generals, the best everything … frankly probably better than I could get,” Trump said. “What do I know? I’m a man that made a great fortune. I’m gonna make our country rich and I’m gonna make our country great.”

“I think that I would be a great sleeper on the military, because people wouldn’t think it’s my strength, but I think it would be one of my strengths…One of the things I noticed in your poll, I came out way, way ahead of everybody on the economy, and a lot of people weren’t surprised to see that, but I also came way out ahead on the military … and ISIS. I would build up our military so strong, so powerful that nobody will mess with us.”

Trump was asked “how he would respond if Pope Francis told him that capitalism can be toxic.”

“I’d say, ‘ISIS wants to get you. You know that ISIS wants to go in and take over the Vatican? You have heard that. You know, that’s a dream of theirs, to go into Italy.”

“I’m gonna have to scare the Pope because it’s the only thing…The Pope, I hope, can only be scared by God. But the truth is — you know, if you look at what’s going on — they better hope that capitalism works, because it’s the only thing we have right now. And it’s a great thing when it works properly.”

It gets worse, as seen in last evening’s thread on ThinkProgress about Trump’s rally in Alabama.

“Oreos. Oreos. I love Oreos, but I’ll never eat them again.”

“Women’s health issues. We’re gonna fix it.”

[According to the CNN article, Trump “said his wife and daughter both encouraged him to talk more about women’s issues after the (Jeb Bush “I’m not sure we need half a billion dollars for women’s health issues”) controversy.”

“They said, you know, ‘The one thing you should do is talk a little bit about women’s health issues, because you’re so good on it, [y]ou know about it. And you cherish women. You want to protect women’. … I will protect women more than anybody.”]

“I swear to you I will never ever ride a bicycle.”

Had enough Trump for one morning? Yeah, me too.

This is our daily Open Thread…so talk about anything you want.