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.

The Watering Hole, Wednesday, August 12th, 2015: Chuck Should Listen to George (Bonus: Birds!)

I started this post (a few days ago) thinking that I would rebut Senator Chuck Schumer’s reasoning, as reported in this NY Times article by Jennifer Steinhauer and Jonathan Weisman, for his opposition to the Iran Nuclear Agreement.  But that would have taken too long and wouldn’t have been good for my mental and physical health.  Suffice it to say that Chuck’s ‘arguments’ against the deal are specious and unfounded, and the final quote in the article is, quite literally, nonsensical:  “To me, after 10 years, if Iran is the same nation as it is today, we will be worse off with this agreement than without it.”

Then I got distracted (once again) by President Washington’s Farewell Address, with his  warning against aligning the Nation with any particular nation(s) at the expense and enmity of any other nation(s), and at the expense of our country’s interests.  (If you’re interested, the pertinent discussion starts at “Observe good faith and justice towards all nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all.”)  I wanted to scold Schumer with these two sections in particular:

“Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification.

~ and ~

“Excessive partiality for one foreign nation and excessive dislike of another cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real patriots who may resist the intrigues of the favorite are liable to become suspected and odious, while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests.

Then, for a bit of crazy, there were a couple of stories on RightWingWatch about Michele Bachman “predictions” and/or supposed validation of previous “predictions.” 

Finally, I ran across something to wash the bad taste out of your minds: a story about birds from DailyKos.

This is our daily open thread, so talk about ‘such and stuff’ (as my mum used to say.)

The Watering Hole, Monday, August 10th, 2015: Make It Stop!

Make it stop - Teh Stupid will make my ears bleed!

Make it stop – Teh Stupid will make my ears bleed!

Only one Republican debate down, and already the incessant fallout of Teh Stupid is taking its toll. Pretty soon I’ll be curled up in a ball with my eyes tightly closed and my ears covered, otherwise what’s left of my brain will start leaking out.

How’re your brains holding up?

This is our daily Open Thread–discuss anything you want!

The Watering Hole, Saturday, August 8, 2015: Mike Huckabee and the Personhood Movement

Having an opinion does not equate to having a valid opinion. Nowhere was that more clear than at Thursday night’s Fox News Republican Debate Of Ten Candidates Personally Chosen By Roger Ailes. Before continuing, and to give credit where credit is due, the moderators for the debate asked much tougher questions than I thought they would. That doesn’t mean they asked the right questions, but they did ask things I didn’t think they would address. Unfortunately, they didn’t ask them about many important topics, including income inequality, global warming, or climate change. Then again, these are all things Fox News Channel denies are a problem, so why should I have expected them to ask the people who want to be president about them? By contrast, Israel was mentioned 12 times that night, three by moderators and nine by the candidates. (Sen Rand Paul mentioned them four times in his remarks, but he was defending his position that we shouldn’t be sending foreign aid to them or anyone else.) Others mentioned Israel in order to make some completely false remark. Dr Ben Carson said, “You know, we turned our back on Israel, our ally.” (Absolutely untrue. Republicans mistake our disdain for the thoroughly contemptible PM Benjamin Netanyahu with not wanting to support Israel.) Gov Chris Christie (upset because Neil deGrasse Tyson won’t declare him to be one of the Plutoids) disagreed with Sen Paul and said, “But I absolutely believe that Israel is a priority to be able to fund and keep them strong and safe after eight years of this administration.” That’s all well and good, Governor, but the Founding Fathers would expect you to put the interests of the United States ahead of any foreign nation, especially one that didn’t exist in their day. And the word “bless” (or some form of it) was mentioned eight times that night, seven of them by Sen Marco Rubio in his closing comments (in between sips of water.)

But it’s Gov Mike Huckabee’s comments on Personhood that I want to address.

WALLACE: Governor Huckabee, like Governor Walker, you have staked out strong positions on social issues. You favor a constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage. You favor a constitutional amendment banning abortions, except for the life of the mother. Millions of people in this country agree with you, but according to the polls, and again this an electability question, according to the polls, more people don’t, so how do you persuade enough Independents and Democrats to get elected in 2016?

HUCKABEE: Chris, I disagree with the idea that the real issue is a constitutional amendment. That’s a long and difficult process. I’ve actually taken the position that’s bolder than that.

A lot of people are talking about defunding planned parenthood, as if that’s a huge game changer. I think it’s time to do something even more bold. I think the next president ought to invoke the Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the constitution now that we clearly know that that baby inside the mother’s womb is a person at the moment of conception.

The reason we know that it is is because of the DNA schedule that we now have clear scientific evidence on. And, this notion that we just continue to ignore the personhood of the individual is a violation of that unborn child’s Fifth and 14th Amendment rights for due process and equal protection under the law.

It’s time that we recognize the Supreme Court is not the supreme being, and we change the policy to be pro-life and protect children instead of rip up their body parts and sell them like they’re parts to a Buick.

First off, Planned Parenthood is not “selling off” body parts, so stop perpetuating that lie. Now, you might disagree, Mike, but you would still be wrong. Just because it’s what you believe, just because you once held the office of Governor, it doesn’t make your opinion correct, nor does it mean (despite what Gov Kasich said, “And we’ve got to listen to other people’s voices, respect them…”) that we have to respect your opinion. You are under no obligation to respect the opinion of anyone whose viewpoint is not grounded in reality. Period. If I told you that our bodies are inhabited by aliens who were once prisoners on another planet, you have every right in the world to question just about everything I say. And if I told you a fertilized egg was a human being, you should dismiss that, too. Because it isn’t scientifically or medically accurate. And no matter how much you may want it to be true, Mike, a fertilized egg is not a person with rights under the Fourteenth Amendment.

Amendment Fourteen, Section 1

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

The key word in that amendment, the one word that makes all the rest have meaning,is “born.” In order to have the rights listed in either the Fifth or the Fourteenth Amendments, you have to be born. If you are not born, you are not a person with rights under the Constitution. Even Associate Justice Clarence Thomas agrees with that position.

Senator LEAHY. Judge, does a fetus have the constitutional status of a person?
Judge THOMAS. Senator, I cannot think of any cases that have held that. I would have to go back and rethink that. I cannot think of any cases that have held that.

So the movement to declare a fertilized egg a person has some serious problems, not least of which it isn’t constitutionally sound. And it doesn’t matter if you believe differently, you can’t declare a collection of cells to be a person with rights if that collection of cells has not yet passed the critical stage of being born. And you can’t pass the critical stage of being born until the woman carrying you gets pregnant. No pregnancy, no birth, and no person. If you ask any actual doctors who have gone to school and learned these things, they’ll tell you that fertilization is not the beginning of pregnancy. Implantation is. Until the fertilized egg is implanted into the uterine wall, a woman’s urine won’t even show hormone changes that indicate pregnancy. And even implantation alone isn’t enough, since about half the time, the eggs don’t stay implanted in the uterine wall.

“The medical community has really been quite clear about when pregnancy begins,” says Dan Grossman, an obstetrician/gynecologist at the University of California, San Francisco, “and that definition is that pregnancy begins once implantation occurs.”

That would be the implantation of the fertilized egg into the woman’s uterus. One reason doctors don’t consider a woman pregnant until after implantation is a practical one — that’s when pregnancy can be detected by hormone changes in her urine.

But there’s another reason, Grossman says. “It’s really only about half of those fertilized eggs [that] actually result in an ongoing pregnancy.”

The rest of the fertilized eggs either never begin dividing or never implant. Or they do implant but spontaneously abort. That can happen so early in pregnancy that the woman never even knows she was pregnant.

So from a medical point of view, considering every fertilized egg a person, with a person’s full rights, wouldn’t make a lot of sense, he says.

If you understand anything about Evolution (and evangelicals like Huckabee do not) you would know that the DNA of what comes out of a birth is not the same as that of the parents which produced that fertilized egg. Every person gets DNA from both its parents. But sometimes something goes wrong and the resulting child has something different, sometimes bad and deadly (a mutation, or a birth defect) but sometimes beneficial to its survival. This is precisely how human beings descended from lower life forms. Those species didn’t become humans, but humans are related to those species from along ago. That’s how Evolution works. And it’s not “just an opinion” based on something that’s “nothing more than a theory.” In the Science world, there’s a huge difference between a theory and a Theory. And you shouldn’t dismiss it just because you don’t understand the difference. It may be called a Theory (capital ‘T’), but it’s still a scientific fact. And an opinion based on a scientific fact like Evolution is a valid one, unlike many of the ones expressed at Thursday night’s Fox News Republican Debate Of Ten Candidates Personally Chosen By Roger Ailes.

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss why Republicans are wrong about just about everything, or anything else you wish to discuss.

The Watering Hole, Wednesday, July 29th, 2015: Must-Squeee!

When you need a break from the lunatic asylum from which the Republican – gulp – Presidential hopefuls have escaped, here’s some peace and love amongst various species to ease your minds and soothe your souls.

From “Adorable Animal Friendships: Unlikely Pairings Will Melt Your Heart”, by Michele Berger and Edecio Martinez, courtesy of TheWeatherChannel, a gallery of 81 awwws, eeks, and squeees.  Just one to start:

tiger cub and piglets~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I’ll just bow out quietly and let you enjoy the calm…

Open Thread – take a deep breath and, um, let go?

The Watering Hole, Monday, July 20th, 2015: Iran Nuclear Deal Fallout

Last week, it was announced that the long-awaited Iran Nuclear Deal was finally agreed to by the negotiating parties. The EU High Representative and the Iran Foreign Minister issued a joint statement, which included the following:

“With courage, political will, mutual respect, and leadership, we delivered on what the world was hoping for: a shared commitment to peace and to join hands in order to make our world safer.’

Apparently conservatives don’t understand most of the words and phrases in that statement. As we have seen throughout the Obama presidency, their idea of “negotiation” means “you give us everything we want, or else.” FoxNews gives a rundown on the ‘highlights'(?):

Jeb Bush: “This isn’t diplomacy – it is appeasement.”

Ted Cruz: This is a “fundamental betrayal of the security of the United States.”

Ben Carson: “A historic mistake with potentially deadly consequences.”

Scott Walker: “Will be remembered as one of America’s worst diplomatic failures.”
[According to Raw Story, Walker also stated that:

“He would terminate it as soon as possible and persuade U.S. allies to join Washington in imposing more crippling economic sanctions on Tehran…

He would dramatically increase U.S. military spending after budget cuts that military officials have complained about…

“The United States needs a foreign policy that puts steel in the face of our enemies,” Walker says.”]

Marco Rubio: The President made “concession after concession to a regime that has American blood on its hands.”

Now, the above presidential wannabes mainly focused their criticism on the ‘evil’ Iran, with a minor mention of our bestest friend ever in the whole wide world, Israel. Huckabee, on the other hand, is pretty much all Israel, with barely even a mention of OUR country, the United States.

Mike Huckabee: “Shame on the Obama administration…

“Shame on the Obama administration for agreeing to a deal that empowers an evil Iranian regime to carry out its threat to ‘wipe Israel off the map’ and bring ‘death to America.’
John Kerry should have long ago gotten up on his crutches, walked out of the sham talks, and went straight to Jerusalem to stand next to Benjamin Netanyahu and declared that America will stand with Israel and the other sane governments of the Middle East instead of with the terrorist government of Iran.

As president, I will stand with Israel and keep all options on the table, including military force, to topple the terrorist Iranian regime and defeat the evil forces of radical Islam.”
[emphasis mine]

Mike, why don’t you just move to Israel and run for president there?   ‘Cause there will be no “As president” for you here.  You do realize that this agreement is about limiting Iran’s ability to acquire a nuclear weapon, not the unHoly war you’re salivating over.

Donald Trump: “Iran gets everything and loses nothing.”

[The Donald was also quoted by FoxBusiness as saying, without elaboration, “I think the deal is absolutely horrible for us, but it’s really, really bad for Israel”]

Rick Perry: If elected, I will “fully rescind this accord.”

“President Obama’s decision to sign a nuclear deal with Iran is one of the most destructive foreign policy decisions in my lifetime. For decades to come, the world will have to deal with the repercussions of this…”

Seriously, Rick? You think that signing a deal that means peace, that signals a willingness to negotiate instead of starting WWIII, is more destructive than deliberately and cavalierly lying our country into a wasteful quagmire of an unnecessary war?

Perry also stated: “As President, one of my first official acts will be to fully rescind this accord.”

There’s more, including comments from the lower-tier lineup of Carly Fiorina, Rand Paul, Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum, and…wait, is that it? Oh, yeah, and Elmer Pataki. But there’s no need to continue wallowing in the their ignorance, I think you get the idea.

Do any of those responses reflect “courage, political will, mutual respect [or respect of any kind], and leadership”? I think it’s abundantly clear that the (R) presidential field has none of those qualities.

This is our daily Open Thread – have at it!