The Watering Hole, Monday, November 26th, 2012: Time to Go, Senator McCain

Wave Bye-Bye Now!


As Rachel Maddow so perfectly pointed out recently, John McCain’s regular – some might say ubiquitous – appearances on so many of the Sunday morning political talkfests only serve to show McCain’s desperation to remain relevant at any cost. Unfortunately, that ‘cost’ seems to be the remnants of McCain’s respectability along with the shards of his integrity.

McCain’s latest insanity is shown in his recent calls for a “Watergate-style” investigation of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice regarding the Benghazi, Libya, attack. McCain’s rabid and, IMHO, unfounded attacks on Ms. Rice (including calling her “not very bright”, and his vow to block her possible nomination as future Secretary of State) were supposedly tempered a trifle yesterday, if by ‘tempered’ one means asking for the same information from Ms. Rice, presumably sans the “Watergate-style” investigation. Regardless, McCain still will not say whether, even if he (undeservedly) receives the requested information from Ms. Rice, he would consider NOT blocking her possible future nomination for Secretary of State.

But in McCain’s interview on Fox Sunday, he shows his characteristic bungling of essential facts:

HOST: You say that you will do everything in your power to block Susan Rice’s nomination if the President decides to name her to be secretary of state . . . . Is there anything that Ambassador Rice can do to change your mind?
MCCAIN: Sure, she can give everyone the benefit of explaining their position and the actions that they took. And I’ll be glad to have the opportunity to discuss these issues with her. Why did she say that al Qaeda has been decimated in her statement here on this program? Al Qaeda hasn’t been decimated. They’re on the rise. They’re all over Iraq.

Yes, John, of course Al Qaeda is “all over” Iraq, sure they are…NOT.

In the same Fox News Sunday interview, on women’s issues, McCain had this to say:

McCAIN:… And as far as young women are concerned, absolutely. I don’t think anybody like me, I can state my position on abortion, but, to — other than that, leave the issue alone. When we are in the kind of economic situation and, frankly, national security situation we’re in.

CHRIS WALLACE (HOST): When you say leave the issue alone, you would allow, you say, freedom of choice?

McCAIN: I would allow people to have those opinions and respect those opinions and I’m proud of my pro-life position and record, but if someone disagrees with me, I respect your views.

So, that would be a ‘NO’ to ‘freedom of choice”?

Since the 2008 Presidential election, when Senator McCain foisted Sarah Palin on us, it seems that his tenuous ties to reality, and his sense of decency and honor, have rapidly strained to the snapping point. I think that we all agree (and I wouldn’t be surprised if many in the Republican heirarchy agree, too), that it’s way past time for McCain to, shall we say, spend a lot more of his time at one of his seven -or was it eight? – homes.

This is our Open Thread. Feel free to discuss this topic, or anything else that comes to mind.

The Watering Hole, Saturday September 15, 2012 – Greater Love Hath No Man Than This

It was a week of tragedy. On Tuesday, an al Qaeda-trained unit breached security, overtook the American Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and killed U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, his aide (and former Airman) Sean Smith, and two former Navy SEALs, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods. They were honored yesterday in a Transfer of Remains Ceremony at Andrews, AFB, in Maryland. [Full Disclosure: My first assignment out of Tech School was to Andrews, AFB, in 1983. I got to play golf on one of their championship golf courses because Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger decided to cancel his tee time, an hour and a half late.] Recent reports indicate the attack may have been in retaliation for a drone strike that killed the then-Number Two In Al Qaeda, widely agreed to be the most dangerous job in the world. It did not have anything to do with the protests going on in Egypt and Yemen over that stupid anti-Muslim movie trailer for a film that, in all likelihood, given the criminal past of one of the men involved, does not exist. Both President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton made wonderful, poignant remarks in remembrance of the fallen Americans.

President Obama began by quoting Scripture, as Christian men are wont to do, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” It is, even to this Atheist, a beautiful sentiment, and one with which I wholeheartedly agree. As for me, I can think of no more honorable way to die than in an effort to save the life of others. The brave men who died in the service of their country did so knowing their jobs were dangerous ones, and that this could happen, yet they chose to do it anyway. Though much well-deserved credit is given to the armed forces who keep us safe, an insufficient amount of credit is given to the diplomatic corps who work behind the scenes to keep us safe, too. Bad things happen, more often than we would like, and some heads of countries cannot be seen to appear weak in the eyes of their people, and diplomats find a way to satisfy everyone’s interests in the name of Peace. We may not agree with some of their results from time to time, but by and large, if it weren’t for the Department of State, every able-bodied person would have to be prepared to fight in some war over some stupid shit, because we’d have no one to talk sense into those who wish us harm. And their efforts work. And they should be appreciated more. Because sometimes, even they die in the line of duty. And we owe them every measure of respect and devotion we’d give to a fallen soldier in combat. They died for the same noble cause.

UPDATE: Thanks to badmoodman, we now have a video we can post of the entire ceremony at Andrews AFB.

This is, of course, our Open Thread, so feel free to discuss the tragedy leading to four dead Americans which had nothing whatsoever to do with the ignorant, bigoted, fraudulent anti-Islam movie trailer, released on the Internets, or maybe something a little more lighthearted for a Saturday morning, such as cute little kittens:

Dawn broke, Captain Whiskers and his mysterious sidekick—known only as “the Kitten”—had triumphed, the city was safe.

[Cross-posted at Pick Wayne’s Brain]

The Watering Hole, Thursday, October 27th: …and in other news…

After mulling over topics for today’s post, I decided to just present a mixed bag of ‘things that caught my eye on the internets during the past few days.’ The articles range from serious to tongue-in-cheek to outright ridiculous. The following are from Foreign Policy Magazine online and from Newsmax.

From FP: The title of Ryan Caldwell’s article, “An Islamist, a Liberal, and a Former Regime Loyalist Walk into a Cafe”, snagged my attention. The article gave an interesting presentation of the post-Gaddafi views of three Libyans of different stripes working together. Also, for some reason I found it just wondrous that the interview was done via Skype, from Caldwell’s home in California to a cafe in Benghazi. Plus I learned that ‘celebratory gunfire’ is called rasaas al-farah, which means, literally, “bullets of joy.”

From FP: In “Dumb Power: Republicans Introduce the “What Wouldn’t Jesus Do?” Foreign Policy”, David Rothkopf gives his reaction to the Republican debate on foreign policy.

From Newsmax: In the Newsmax “Breaking News” email, this article was billed as “Thomas Sowell: Herman Cain Is Real Black, Obama Not Typical“. The article includes such tidbits as:

“His prescription for fixing the economy: “I would love to have a constitutional amendment that says politicians are not allowed to intervene in the economy under any circumstances. I think there would be a boom following that.””

From Newsmax: The title of “Hensarling: Supercommittee Need Not Cut Entitlements” sounds hopeful, doesn’t it? Sure…read the whole article: Hensarling, the Republican co-chair of this “Supercommittee”, has some strange ideas. Here’s one:

“I would like to pick up the Internal Revenue Code by its roots and throw it into the nearest trash can. Having said that, realistically, that’s probably a bridge too far for this committee,”


From Newsmax
: And finally, Frank Gaffney being Frank Gaffney:

“Frank Gaffney warned in an exclusive Newsmax.TV interview: “I’m afraid there’s a war coming, a very serious, perhaps cataclysmic regional war,” he said. “It will be presumably over, at least in part, the future existence of the state of Israel. It may involve all of its neighbors, as they have in the past, attacking Israel to try, as they say, to drive the Jews into the sea.””

Enjoy!

This is our Open Thread. I’m sure you can find something to say about any one of the above, so Speak Up!

Libya, Obama, and the Relevance of the War Powers Act

Due to the recent controversy over whether or not President Obama needed Congressional approval to take action in Libya, our bloggy friend, 5thstate, recently took an in-depth look at what the War Powers Act of 1973 actually says and what it requires of the President.

What he found might be surprising to most laymen and Congresspeople…

In a Huffington Post opinion piece of March 29th, 2011, Representative Mike Honda, the co-chairperson of the Congressional Progressive Caucus’s Peace and Security Taskforce, took issue with the President’s use of US military forces with regard to the month-old Libyan uprising that, after three weeks of popular, political and geographic momentum had not only stalled in its progress but was under threat of total destruction by Moammar Ghaddafi’s resource-rich, formally-trained, and overwhelmingly better-equipped forces.

The key concern remains the lack of Congressional involvement and oversight. The War Powers Act of 1973, created after the Vietnam War to ensure legislative checks and balances before and during wartime situations, limits the president’s ability to commit armed forces to conditions that are not met in this case.

If the U.S. wants to lead and inspire the world in setting the standard for good governance, getting this executive-legislative relationship right is critical.

Mike Honda, Democrat

The thrust of Representative Honda’s complaint is shared by several other Democratic Party members and by many Republicans too, representing a rare (these days) shared bipartisan concern over not only policy but also legal and constitutional issues — which would be encouraging if the expressed concerns from both sides of the political aisle shared the same motivation for complaint, and even if, regardless of motivation, they were based on direct knowledge rather than vague interpretation and practical fact rather than conjectural fantasy.

Rep. Mike Honda:

The War Powers Act of 1973, created after the Vietnam War to ensure legislative checks and balances before and during wartime situations, limits the president’s ability to commit armed forces…

Wrong — and for so many reasons!

1973 War Powers Act:

Sec. 4. (a) In the absence of a declaration of war, in any case in which United States Armed Forces are introduced—

(1) into hostilities or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances;

 

(2) into the territory, airspace or waters of a foreign nation, while equipped for combat, except for deployments which relate solely to supply, replacement, repair, or training of such forces; or

(3) in numbers which substantially enlarge United States Armed Forces equipped for combat already located in a foreign nation; the President shall submit within 48 hours to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and to the President pro tempore of the Senate a report, in writing, setting forth—

(A) the circumstances necessitating the introduction of United States Armed Forces;

 

(B) the constitutional and legislative authority under which such introduction took place; and

 

(C) the estimated scope and duration of the hostilities or involvement.

 

[Sec. 4](b) The President shall provide such other information as the Congress may request in the fulfillment of its constitutional responsibilities with respect to committing the Nation to war and to the use of United States Armed Forces abroad. (Emphasis added)

First of all; the constitutionality of any Act or general action is decided by a given, sitting, Supreme Court; the War Powers Act was not established as being constitutional by the 1973 Supreme Court and has never been ratified or struck-down by the SCOTUS since, because it has never been placed on the Supreme Court’s docket—the invocation of “constitutional responsibilities” in the War Powers Act verbiage is a rhetorical argument only, not a matter of legal fact, but never mind that; theoretically any Act passed by Congress is both legal and constitutional until tested and proven otherwise, thus the War Powers Act is actually legal, absent a specific test of constitutionality.

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The Watering Hole: Wednesday, March 9, 2011: Hump Day: Right Now!

Right now, people are killing in Libya, to keep a ruthless dictator in power.

Right now, people are dying in Libya, for a hope of freedom for their fellow people.

Right now, Gabrielle Giffords is struggling to re-learn how to live.

Right now, people in Guantanamo prison face military tribunals and indefinite detention.

Right now, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rove, et al, are free to make millions on the lecture tour circuit while avoiding any scrutiny from the press.

Right now Bradley Manning is being held in isolation, stripped naked every night, because he is suspected of leaking information to Wikileaks.

Right now, the American people are a frog in a pot of water, and it’s getting hotter. Those of us who see what is going on are silenced. The working class is pitted against itself, and even “progressives” fall into the trap.

Think about it. Of the few rich people who have spoken out against the abuses of the rich, how many have said, let’s buy out Rupert Murdoch? Let’s buy Limbaugh’s contract and put him out to pasture? IT HASN’T HAPPENED!

So, what’s the choice? Follow the path of Ghandi, and many will be killed, as is what is happening in Libya right now. Follow the path of rebellion, and many will be killed, as well.

Follow the path of Christ: turn the other cheek? And you become a subservient population, but live. Remember, Christ wasn’t marked for execution until after he overturned the tables of the money-changers.

In the longer scheme of things, those who love will triumph over those who hate. But those who hate will kill millions in the interim.

So, let’s live in the moment, and give a toast to Love!

This is our daily open thread — What’s happening right now in your world? How does that fit in, in the grand scheme of things? Do your challenges seem insignificant in comparison? Or are you one of he unsung heros that never makes it into the limelight? Are you the Wind beneath someone’s Wings? Feel free to post on this or any other topic that comes to mind, right now.