The Watering Hole, Monday, October 21st, 2013: Mixed Nuts

First, Foreign Policy Magazine got a little ‘spacy’ towards the end of the shutdown, with author Michael Peck penning a pair of fantasy articles titled “The Empire Shuts Down” and “One Starship to Rule Them All”

Next, this piece from, features the always-wild-looking “economist” Jim Cramer prognosticating – and perhaps precipitating, if anyone pays attention to him – the shakiness of the dollar. An excerpt:

As the world laughs at Washington’s antics, CNBC’s Jim Cramer says smart money should look for any possible means to flee the dollar.

The United States is “a laughing stock around the world, maybe worse than Italy in some ways when I look at benchmarks,” he said on Squawk Box. “We have obviously lost the faith of a lot of countries.”

If there is a way to take your money out of this country, Cramer suggests putting it in Germany. If he were in the shoes of China, Kuwait, Brazil or Japan, “I would do it immediately,” he claimed.

Third, from, Amy Woods has a piece on another peanut gallery member: “Sen. Coburn: ‘We’re Drunk’ on Government Spending.” Here’s a bit:

“Special-interest groups, and not the tea party, caused the 17-day government shutdown, Sen. Tom Coburn said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“We didn’t do anything except create a big mess in Washington, and I’m not so inclined to think it was the tea party as much as it was outside interest groups and a few individuals within our party that took advantage of that situation,” Coburn said. All the bickering about the Affordable Care Act distracted Americans from the fact the government spends too much, he added.

Next, an October 19th article from Alternet brings us “Right-Wing Lunacy Never Sleeps: 10 Nutty, Vile and Absurd Utterances From the Fringe This Week.” In this round-up, Justice Antonin Scalia reaffirms his racism, Tony Perkins babbles some nonsense about Democrats wanting a theocracy, Glenn Beck and Pat Buchanan continue to howl in the wilderness, and more.

Finally, also courtesy of Newsmax, the other gum-flapping self-important Limbaugh, David, proves that he is just as delusional as his louder brother in “GOP Poised for Post-Shutdown Comeback”:

“Obamacare represented not only one of many policy setbacks under Obama but also the ever-acquisitive government’s consumption of another one-sixth of the formerly capitalist and robust American economy.”

[That’s a load of horseshit, David, enough with the fake “government takeover of healthcare” bogeyman. Last I looked, the U.S. is still a capitalist nation, and the last time we had a “robust American economy” was under a Democrat, President Bill Clinton.]

“Then Sens. Ted Cruz and Mike Lee ratcheted it up a notch, going to the Senate to call Obama out on his destructive agenda and promising to do everything they can to defund and derail Obamacare. Cruz’s 20-plus-hour floor speech was a seminar in the eloquent communication of conservative principles.”

[“…eloquent communication of conservative principles”? ‘Green Eggs and Ham‘? I don’t think that David Limbaugh (or his louder brother, for that matter) watched the entirety of Cruz’s rambling and sometimes incoherent “seminar.”]

“Just as my brother, Rush, gave millions of conservatives hope through his radio show by validating the legitimacy of their beliefs, Cruz, Paul, and Lee let us know that we have people in office fighting for us, as well.

“I reject the conventional wisdom that Cruz and his warriors hurt our cause by increasing the likelihood of our defeat in 2014. To the contrary, they enhanced our cause by energizing the base and fighting. And they laid serious gloves on Obama; his approval rating has never been lower. They also gave him an opportunity, which he fully embraced, to demonstrate his mean-spiritedness, his pettiness, and his dishonesty for all to see.

“The shutdown was not the disaster he promised any more than sequestration has been; he was hyper-partisan and gratuitously punitive during the ordeal; and his egregious misrepresentations about Obamacare were manifesting themselves throughout.”

[Sorry, but to Rush Limbaugh, the word “hope” is part of a punchline, certainly not something that Rush ever gave to his Rushbots. You can “reject conventional wisdom” all you want, but that doesn’t mean that conventional wisdom, in this case, is wrong. Obama’s approval rating is currently around 50%, according to a recent Rasmussen poll; on the other hand, according to the Gainesville Times, a new poll puts Congress’s approval rating at an all-time low at 5%. I’m not sure exactly what planet David Limbaugh, along with the other mixed nuts listed above, inhabits, but it must be a particularly miserable place to dwell.]

This is our Open Thread. Go ahead, get cracking!


Walker Mole, The Zoo's deep underground reporter.

Walker Mole, The Zoo’s deep underground reporter.


Due to the Federal “slimdown” government workers in charge of shredding documents have been furloughed. Walker, The Zoo’s top underground reporter dug up some interesting memos indicating President Obama plans on raising the stakes in the on-going showdown with Republicans over funding the government.

“They want to f— with me? F—them.” one note read, apparently in Obama’s handwriting.

A partial email string read “They want to negotiate? What? Get rid of Obamacare and they’ll let the government stay open 6 weeks at a time??? How about this: How about I say I’m not going to sign any continuing resolution unless it restores taxes back to the levels under Eisenhour?”

“Right on, Boss!”

“Hey, why not throw in “end all big oil subsidies”? ”

“You should f’n refuse to sign anything that doesn’t defund Halliburton!”

“Hey, any chance of this leaking out?”

“No way. NSAs shutdown”

“ummm….guys….I’ve been blind ccing biden on all this…keeping the vp in the loop.”


“Don’t worry about Joe, he knows when to keep his mouth shut most of the time”

“I wanna be there when BO tells JB to STFU. No deal without a tax increase on the 1%.”

“Should we have paramedics on standby with a defib?”



I wonder what these folks would say, if Republicans succeed and ObamaCare is delayed or repealed, if you ask them, is it worth it?

From the Mariposa County Sierra Sun Times:

Yosemite closure plan
October 3, 2013

TO: Board Of Supervisors
FROM: Rick Benson, County Administrative Officer
SUBJECT: Discussion, direction and possible actions in response to the closure of Yosemite National Park.
On October 1, 2013 the Federal government ordered the shut down of all nonessential operations due to Congress not authorizing expenditures beyond that date. Currently there is a stalemate in Congress regarding funding measures and it is unknown how long the government “shut down” will continue. In the category of nonessential expenditures are all National Parks, including Yosemite.

Since Yosemite is closed it is anticipated that there will be nearly a complete loss of tourist visitation to the area. This will result in drastic if not total reduction in transient occupancy tax (TOT) revenues. If Yosemite were to be shut down for the entire month of October the revenue loss to the General Fund is expected to be between $800,000 and $1 million. Closure beyond October will result in similar loss of revenue to the County.

Continue reading

The Watering Hole: Wednesday, October 9, 2013: Armageddon at Minus 8 Days and Counting.

Good News! The End of The World is Nigh!

In just eight more days, the United States of America will not have enough money to pay for all of its obligations. Technically, the world’s greatest superpower will be bankrupt.

This is going to really tick off a lot of people: China, Europe, Israel, all those countries we gave foreign aid to so they could buy U.S. made arms and seeds from Monsanto. Basically everybody who got any kind of benefit, directly or indirectly, from the U.S. Goverment.

Just think, no more government subsidies to Big Oil and Agribusiness. Oh, and all those Red States that received more in federal dollars than they paid to the U.S. Treasury? Not any more.

But the really good news, according to no less an authority than Michelle Bachman, is the end of the world. That’s right. Jesus himself will come down and all of His True Believers will be Raptured and go to heaven. And not a moment too soon.

With all those evangelical christians finally out of the way, the rest of us can get to work cleaning up the mess they’ve made of this planet.


(new post below)

The Watering Hole, Monday, October 7th, 2013: All the Crazy That Fits

It’s been a while since I put on my hip waders and stepped into Newsmax, so here’s a few gems:

From “Rev. Billy Graham Prepares ‘Perhaps … My Last Message’” by David A. Patton:

“In an exclusive interview, the Rev. Billy Graham tells Newsmax that President Obama’s “hope and change” mantra is nothing more than a cliché and warns that the nation faces increasing threats to civil and religious liberties from its government.

Graham, who is preparing for possibly his last crusade, this time via video, said America is drenched in a “sea of immorality” and suggested that the second coming of Christ is “near.”

“Our early fathers led our nation according to biblical principles,” Graham wrote in response. “‘Hope and change’ has become a cliché in our nation, and it is daunting to think that any American could hope for change from what God has blessed,” he stated, an obvious reference to President Obama’s campaign motto.

“Our country is turning away from what has made it so great,” he continued, “but far greater than the government knowing our every move that could lead to losing our freedom to worship God publicly, is to know that God knows our every thought; he knows our hearts need transformation.” ~~~

Many believing Christians believe in a coming Armageddon, a final battle between good and evil prophesied in the book of Revelation.

Graham tells Newsmax it is not wise to “speculate” about the dates of such a battle, but he adds that the Bible says that there “will be signs pointing toward the return of the Lord.”

“I believe all of these signs are evident today,” Graham wrote, adding that “the return of Christ is near.

“Regardless of what society says, we cannot go on much longer in the sea of immorality without judgment coming,” he says.”

Next, from “Rove: Obama Wants to ‘Break the Republicans'” by Amy Woods:

“Republican strategist Karl Rove on Sunday described President Barack Obama’s behavior throughout the budget showdown as “stubborn obstructionism” whose goal is to “get more money and break the Republicans.”

“The stubborn obstructionism of the president … has a purpose, which is to try and get the Congress to agree to the Senate Democrats’ spending number, which is $91 billion bigger than the House, and bust the sequester, and end the 2011 spending agreements,” Rove said on “Fox News Sunday.” “He is attempting to put the responsibility for raising the debt ceiling and, in fact, naming the amount of the debt ceiling on the Congress and not on himself.”

Third, from “Rand Paul: Democrats’ Stubbornness Keeping Government Closed” by Sandy Fitzgerald:

“Paul denied that House Republicans led to the shutdown by refusing to fund the government.

“The House Republicans said they would fund all of government, and they did,” Paul said. “They funded all of government short of one program. So they really were never wanting to shut down government over this, they were wanting to fund government, and then have a debate.”

He further blamed Obama for his refusal to negotiate for the shutdown.

“When you say the president wants 100 percent of Obamacare or he will shut down the government, that’s exactly what happened,” said Paul. “If he [Obama] doesn’t get 100 percent of his way – his way or the highway – then they won’t do any spending bills that don’t include everything that he wants. That’s him unwilling to negotiate, that’s him being unwilling to compromise.”

Had enough? How about one more? From “Rep. Graves: Obama To Blame if Country Defaults” by Amy Woods:

“Georgia Republican Rep. Tom Graves said Sunday the party is “united” in its belief the government should re-open and negotiations with Democrats should continue to avoid a possible economic default over the debt ceiling.

“We have had a tremendous fight over keeping the government open and protecting Americans from Obamacare,” Graves said on “Fox News Sunday.” “There’s no reason to default. The president’s the only one demanding default right now.”

Sorry, but I have to throw this last link in, just for laughs: Another one by Bill Hoffman, “From Senate to Center Stage: Fred Thompson Makes Broadway Debut”. The author of the piece completely omits any mention of Thompson’s disastrous run for the Presidency, or the fact that Thompson’s most recent “acting” gig has been on ‘Reverse-Mortgage’ commercials.

This is our Open Thread. Have at it!


Twitter, The Zoo's Top Investigative Journalist

Twitter, The Zoo’s Top Investigative Journalist


Earlier this morning, Speaker of the House John Boehner announced he will not bring a clean debt ceiling increase bill to a vote in the House of Representatives, guaranteeing that the nation will default in its debt obligations.

President Obama was swift in his response. “This is like terrorists invading a bank and threatening to kill every hostage unless we negotate with them, meaning, we give the terrorists everything they want, knowing that the terrorists will be back in a couple of months, taking more hostages, making more demands.”

“We don’t negotiate with terrorists.” the President was visibly agitated. “Under the Authorization to Use Military Force, I have the authority to use all means at my disposal to deal with terrorists, and can even invade, if absolutely necessary, capture and detain in Guantanamo any suspected terrorists, whereever they are, anywhere in the world.

“And so, I have ordered an invasion of the House of Representatives and the immediate incarceration in Guantanamo every member of the Republican Party. They will be held indefinitely, and treated no different than the current detainees at that facility.”

With that, the Presdent left the Rose Garden without taking any questions.

More to follow as events unfold.


ObamaCare was debated, crafted, negotiated, compromises made, meetings held, input given and finally passed over about a two-year period. It is not Universal Health Care, it is not Single Payer or Medicare for all. It is a huge gift to the insurance industry as now everyone must buy insurance or pay a tax to cover their medical costs. And it was upheld as constitutional by the Roberts Supreme Court.

And Republicans shut down the government unless ObamaCare is delayed until just before the 2014 congressional elections (at which time they’ll do this all over again). And if Republicans get what they want, the government gets to stay open for a few more weeks, when they will have new demands.

These same Republicans got fewer votes, but got a majority of the House thanks to their gerrymandering of congressional districts after the 2010 census. They represent a minority of the American people, but insist the country bow to their demands.

On an ironically related note, Republicans have long fought for the right of the mentally disturbed to buy assault rifles with 100 round magazines. If you don’t see how these are related and the impending irony, you haven’t studied enough history.


This is the best explanation of where we are, and why there’s no realistic hope of things getting better:

How do House Republicans end up convincing themselves of unrealistic plans, particularly when they’ve seen them fail before, and when respected voices in the Republican and even conservative establishment are warning against them?

RC: When you get the members off the talking points you come to a simple conclusion: They don’t face consequences for taking these hardline positions. When you hear members talk candidly about their biggest victory, it wasn’t winning the House in 2010. It was winning the state legislatures in 2010 because they were able to redraw their districts so they had many more conservative voters. The members get heat from the press but they don’t get heat from back home.

It will take years before new districts are drawn. By then, it will be too late.

A lady asked Dr. Franklin “Well Doctor what have we got a republic or a monarchy.”
“A republic” replied the Doctor “if you can keep it.”

Class warfare came to a head a hundred years ago when the labor movement spawned the advent of Unions. Workers joined in solidarity to help each other against the capitalists, the ruling class of their day.

Their gains have been slowly but surely chipped away. The ruling class has been working n the halls of power for decades. They took Lincoln to heart – they didn’t try to fool all the people all the time, just enough of the people at election time. They succeeded.

When a republic is no longer represented by the majority, but by the wealthy few, it ceases to be a republic and is instead an oligarchy. This is where we are now. And the oligarchs will not give up their power willingly.

The Best Government Money Can Buy

I recall a time in the not-to-distant past when anyone who dared vote against the President was a traitor.

The more interesting question is, can a group of persons, elected on the promise to destroy the federal government, who then act on their campaign promise, be traitors? I don’t think so. I think that’s part of representative democracy & the right to change our government – even write a totally new Constitution, if we so choose.

Remember, these tea-party representatives would get nowhere if not for the support of some 200 other Republicans in the House.

These Republicans are quite willing and able to destroy the country to get their way – They’ve been using the budget and debt ceiling limits to their “advantage” for years now, passing authorizations only enough to keep the government and the economy limping along for a few weeks at a time.

Matters have now come to a head. If any Republican breaks ranks. s/he will be branded a loser & will be “primaried” by a tea party candidate. The divide will get worse before it gets better.

Now, some 8 million mothers and babies have lost minimal nutrition support. Millions of fathers are directly feeling the results of the government “slimdown” as Fox puts it. Odds are good that some of these millions are avid gun owners.

Nearly 1 million government and private workers are on an unpaid vacation. Odds are good that most live paycheck to paycheck. They are directly impacted by this “slimdown” (and yes, I use that term precicely because its use is like fingernails on a chalkboard). Their creditors will be impacted soon, as they won’t be paying their credit cards, rent, home and/or car payments.

Point being, an extended “slimdown” will lead to gun violence and people getting killed. This is on top of the looming global market crash. Michelle Bachmann cheered the shutdown, and she was joined by the rank and file tea party members.

But it’s all Obama’s fault. He won’t negotiate with them. But what’s there to negotiate? They haven’t come up with a better health care solution. Negotiations with the Tea Party means give them everything they want, when they want it, or they will shut the government down.

It used to be majority rule, so long as it does not trample the rights of the minority. But now the minority is an intransient sect, hell-bent on imposing their will, and religious beliefs, on the majority.

We have the best government money can buy. And now, it appears, no government is the best government for the aristocracy.

The Watering Hole, Wednesday, October 2, 2013: BLAME IT ON FRANCE!

Guess what day it is!  Come on! You can say it!  SAY IT!!!

Guess what day it is! Come on! You can say it! Say it!!!

Government Shutdown, Day Two.

Republicans now blaming shutdown on France.

If not for France, we wouldn’t have the Statue of Liberty.

If not for the Statue of Liberty, we would not have the poem:

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

If not for the poem, we would not have the wretched refuse, the tired, poor, huddled, homeless masses.

If not for the wretched refuse, the tired, poor, huddled, homeless masses, we would not have ObamaCare.

If not for ObamaCare, we would not have to shut down the government.

It’s all France’s fault.



Christmas came early for hundreds of thousands of federal workers as the Tea Party Caucus successfully shut down the Federal Government. This, to be sure, is a White Christmas. Except for Father Christmas, John Boehner. He’s orange.

The Speaker of the House used the power of his position to prevent a clean funding bill from coming up for a vote. He is dedicated to spending any amount, incurring any hardship, just to see that millions of Americans don’t have health insurance. Except that he’s spending taxpayers’ money, and he’s not having to get by without a paycheck. The same goes for the Tea Party Caucus. They know, thanks to gerrymandering, they’ll get re-elected.

The Republican Party has long run on the mantra of a smaller federal government and now, they’ve succeeded in their goal. Only functions deemed “essential” are operating. Everything else is shut down, or shutting down. Everything else, we can get by without, on a permanent basis. National Parks? nope. Government regulators? Who needs them. Research grants? Let the free market take care of it.

If the Tea Party wants to, they can make sure that a total economic collapse, worse than the Great Depression, starts on Obama’s watch. All they have to do is…nothing. And they’ll still get their full paychecks.

Merry Christmas.