The Watering Hole, Monday, March 17, 2014: Why All The Hate?

If you’re like me, not only are you incredibly smart and good-looking, you wonder why so many people on the Right hate, just viscerally hate, the President of the United States. The knee-jerk reaction is to say it’s because the Haters are (Insert Randomly Insignificant Criterion Here) and the President is Not, and that for most of the haters, the randomly inserted insignificant criterion would be race. Not necessarily. There’s a lot of people who hate the president, and there’s certainly a chunk of them with an IQ well below the three-digit range who think the color of his skin is reason enough to hate him. Thankfully, despite this group’s inability to grasp the concept of birth control, Natural Selection will prevent them from becoming a majority in this country. But they don’t account for all the Haters. Some of the Haters claim to be Christians who think the President is Not One of Them. They think he’s a Muslim. What’s really funny about that one is that these are the same people who said Obama shouldn’t be President because he sat in the pews of a Christian church for 20 years listening to the hate speech of Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Well, Uptighty Righties, which is it? Is Obama a Muslim, or a Christian who listened to a kind of hate speech that differs from your own? None of your other reasons to hate him make sense, either. At least, none of the reasons coming from the Right. Some of us on the Left certainly have our problems with a number of areas of his Governance, but we don’t hate him for it. We’re disappointed as all get-out, but we don’t hate him. But you do. Why?

I hear many of you claim he’s a “Communist,” a “Marxist,” and even a “Fascist,” all at once. And I laugh, because if I don’t, I’ll start shaking my head in sadness until I’m overcome by sobbing fits, despondent over the intense stupidity of my fellow human beings. You can’t be a Marxist and a Fascist at the same time, and if you don’t know enough about them to understand why, you should really stay out of the political arena. I would also not only recommend, I would beg you to stay home on Election Day, or least don’t go near the polls to cast a vote. Your political awareness is on par with that of sea urchins, who are at least smart enough not to advertise their ignorance. I just can’t see how America’s best interests are served by letting you have a say in who governs it. But you’ll notice (or, more likely, I’ll have to point out to you) that I’m not calling for you to not be allowed to vote. That’s how many on your side of the political aisle solve an issue like that. If they don’t like the way they think someone is likely to vote, they make up some bullshit reason to deny him the right to vote at all. Our side doesn’t do that, nor do we put out fliers telling you the election is being held on another day. We just ask you to do what’s best for your country, and don’t vote until you learn what you’re talking about.

You can’t govern a country based on denying rights to the people who aren’t like you, especially when about 75% of the country is not like you! This is a Republic, and you are a small percentage of its citizens. We don’t need to put anybody in Congress who thinks like you because there’s something wrong with the way you think. You need mental health treatment. And we hope you’ll be happy to learn it’s covered thanks to Obamacare.

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss what you think we should do about all the Haters, or anything else you want.

The Watering Hole, Wednesday, June 5, 2013: Take a Hike…or Not

halfdome

One of the best hikes anywhere in the world is the hike to the top of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. It’s an 18 mile round trip, going about a mile up and back down, passing soakingly close to two waterfalls. The last 500′ is like Batman & Robin as you pull yourself up cables, at close to 8’000 feet in elevation. Fortunately, there are 2×4 planks every 10′ or so where you can stop and catch your breath.

And, one of the more remarkable things about the hike is the folks on the trail that are heading down as you are heading up – - always full of encouragement.

For the past several years, one could only make the climb by getting an advance permit. And, of course, enterpreneurs quickly found out how to beat the system and lock up numerous tickets, to be sold later at a premium. But no more.

Twitter, The Zoo's Top Investigative Journalist

Twitter, The Zoo’s Top Investigative Journalist

THE ZOO just learned that all hikes to the top of Half Dome have been suspended indefinitely.

Top secret documents in the Obama Administration reveal that the granite monolith has been sold to China. According to transcontinental communications intercepted by anonymous hackers within the Interior Department, Half Dome will be covertly dismantled over the course of the next five years; taken apart in blocks weighing 5 metric tonnes each, and shipped to China to be reassembled in a yet to be disclosed location. Under the guise of restoring the landmark to its original appearance when first viewed by John Muir, a gigantic scaffold will be erected, blocking from view the activities of stonemasons and heavy equipment.

As part of the deal, Obama gets to wipe out our current debt to China, estimated to be slightly over $1 trillion. In another interesting twist, Disney Corporation has already signed on to build an exact replica of the landmark. One leaked email noted Disney already has experience in replicating mountains, having re-created the ever popular Matterhorn in its theme parks. Fragments of communcations between the Interior Department and officials at Disneyland indicate the entertainment giant will have the rights to create “The Half Dome Experience” – some sort of theme ride involving the re-created national treasure.

Republican leadership in Congress is already on board with the project, in spite of their natural tendency to oppose anything Obama proposes. Although some expressed outrage at the selling of the world-renowned landmark, others noted that the only people who enjoyed such a thing were naturalists and other progressives. One even went so far as to point out that the Republican Party split with progressives when it left Teddy Roosevelt, the first, and only, progressive Republican. It was he that created the National Park System in the first place. Other Republicans secretly admired Obama for his naked capitalism: profiting from selling a national treasure, while at the same time allowing an American Company to reap untold profits in the future from selling The Half Dome Experience Rides.

A translation of one cable from the Chinese Consulate appeared to gloat. “This is great! We sell junk to America, and we can buy her most precious treasures one at a time.” The cable went on to muse about buying Yosemite Falls, El Capitan and Bridalveil Falls, before wondering how much it would cost to buy Old Faithful.

OK.

OPEN
THREAD

YOU GOT SOMETHING TO SELL?

The Watering Hole: Wednesday, March 6, 2013: The Sequester, Iran & the Virgin Islands.

Due to the sequester’s cutback in military spending, the Obama administration has had to scrub its plans to invade Iran. President Obama has decided to emulate President Reagan’s invasion of Granada by invading the Virgin Islands.

Republicans are in a quandry. Instinctively they oppose anything Obama proposes. But, in this case, Obama wants to invade the Virgin Islands without their consent. Given the Republican’s attitude towards rape, many are opting to blame the Virgin Islands for allowing themselves to be invaded by a black man, while others insist the troops be armed with vaginal ultrasound weapons as they establish their beachhead.

Open Thread Time.
Enjoy.

Across the Pond – State of the Union – Press Roundup

Yesterday’s State of the Union Address has been aptly commented here on this very blog. But what do commentators this side of the pond say?

The Independent:

By turns pugnacious and inspirational, Barack Obama last night used his State of the Union address to table a laundry list of aspirations for his second term that ranged from achieving tax reform to increasing the minimum range and tackling issues from gun control to immigration and climate change.

[On Rubio:]

Speaking so fast his mouth dried to a crust, Mr Rubio accused Mr Obama of harbouring an “obsession with raising taxes”.  And he accused him of trying to demonise his party as the party of the rich. “I don’t oppose your plans because I want to protect the rich. I oppose your plans because I want to protect my neighbours,” Mr Rubio said.

(read more)

The Guardian:

As an agenda, it was impressive. Jobs, immigration reform, climate change, equal pay for women, the minimum wage, troop withdrawal, universal pre-school provision for the poor, gun control, voting reform – this was unapologetic in its liberalism and unstinting in its determination. (read more)

They graced Rubio with a transcript of his speech. Aaaand, they have a live blog with some really witty remarks as well.

The Economist:

“THERE is much progress to report,” Barack Obama stated with satisfaction at the beginning of his state-of-the-union address. He was referring to the improving health of the economy and the diminishing number of American soldiers in harm’s way abroad. But he might just as well have been speaking of his strategy for facing down Republican opposition in a time of divided government. (read more)

They mention Rubio, too, in that article.

I am still waiting if Der Spiegel will have an article on their English page, their take is basically that Obama took up the gauntlet I will link to it later, if I can (UPDATE: Here’s the link to the English page). Die Sueddeutsche is unimpressed by Marco Rubio who seems to have lost his glam as the Republican Saviour a bit.

Anyhow, I do think the job of SOTU rebuttal is somehow jinxed. A bit like the “Defense Against The Dark Arts” job in Hogwarts.

The Watering Hole – Saturday, September 22, 2012 – Red Lines

According to a report on Raw Story, Israel is trying to “thaw the frosty relationship” between Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and the White House. They are trying to set up a meeting between Netanyahu and President Barack Obama to discuss how far they will let Iran go in developing its nuclear capability. Obama is said to be angered by Netanyahu’s repeated calls for him “to set unambiguous ‘red lines’ for Tehran,” especially in the lead-up to the election. I have to say I agree. Netanyahu should keep his mouth shut until after the elections. Iran isn’t going to be building any nuclear weapons before then, and Netanyahu knows that. He lived and studied in the U.S., so he has seen how our election system works.

Jumping off into personal opinion land, I wonder what right Israel has to boss the United States of America around? When did the people of Israel elect our President? Israel does indeed have as much right to defend itself as anybody, but the criteria used for determining what constitutes a threat has to be the same as everyone else’s: Imminent danger. You can’t use the excuse that just because Iran “claims” they simply want a peaceful nuclear energy program, they’re really lying and trying to build a nuclear weapon to be used against Israel, as the rationale for attacking them, which is what Israel wants to do.

In essence, Israel is saying this: We “know” that ultimately this nuclear program will be used to build weapons that will be used against Israel, so we reserve the right (a right they don’t have, by the way), to strike at what we feel is an existential threat. An existential threat is really nothing more than a theoretical threat, and not an imminent threat. They want our approval (an approval they sometimes say they don’t really need) to attack Iran over what they might do down the road, not what they are actually about to do right now. This kind of thinking has to stop.

Russia is more of a threat to Israel’s security than Iran will ever be. Russia has nuclear weapons and often sides with Israel’s political enemies. Why isn’t Israel worried that Russia might give a nuclear weapon to Iran and preemptively bomb them? After all, by their logic they have every right to. And Russia isn’t theoretically building nuclear weapons, they already have, and way more than they need (since they are willing to discuss arms reductions with the U.S.) The United States needs to stop enabling Israel’s warmongering behavior, before innocent people die.

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss Israel or any other topic you wish. It’s a free country.

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: Wednesday, August 8, 2012: Hump Day! Now What!

This post is being written as NASA gives its first press conference following the successful landing of Curiosity on Mars.

At this point, this author will look into his crystal ball and report the following stories now, ahead of them happening in real time, to be revealed later, when they have already occured.

Republicans were quick to give George Bush full credit for the Curiosity landing. This program began 8 years ago, when Bush was President, therefore He gets full credit for its success.

Republicans were also quick to blame Obama for Curiosity’s failure. Two days have gone by, and Curiosity failed to find proof of life on Mars. Christian leaders across the evangelical spectrum blamed Obama for seeking out new life forms, when God only created life on Earth. “Life on Mars goes against the Bible.” one editorial proclaimed.

But this Mars landing has created a bit of a rift within the extremes of the Right Wing. On the one hand, many consider this to be part of a plot to bring Communism to the United States. Mars is the Red Planet, and by going to Mars, Obama has aligned himself with the Red Menace, i.e. communism.

But others take a different view. Mars is Red, just as Conservative States are Red. Bush, in sending this Rover to Mars has staked out a new frontier for conservatives in our solar system. These forward-looking conservatives look to the day when Mars’ electoral votes secure a permanent conservative majority in the solar system forever. However, it did not escape their notice that all of the NASA scientists were wearing blue…

Meanwhile, Republicans in the House and Senate have introduced bills to eliminate funding for the Curiosity program. We need jobs here in the United States, not on Mars. People working in goverment jobs such as NASA aren’t working in real jobs. One alternative bill seeks to privatize NASA, with Halliburton purportedly backing the effort.

THIS IS OUR OPEN THREAD, WE GO BOLDLY WHERE NO BLOG HAS GONE BEFORE, TO REPORT THE NEWS BEFORE IT HAPPENS, AFTER IT HAPPENS

The Watering Hole – Saturday, July 28th, 2012 – Busted!

It seems Mitt Romney has a small problem with his advisers. If they exist, they lie about as much as Romney does. They’re also just as cowardly, as they chose to anonymously spew lies about the President of the United States while on foreign soil, which I thought was supposed to be a major no-no (at least, the Republicans see it that way.) The latest little twist of reality involves the famous bust of Sir Winston Churchill that was on display in the Oval Office during the Bush Administration. It appears that the Right Wing has gotten its knickers in a twist claiming that Obama insulted the Brits by returning the bust when he took office and refusing an offer to keep it. The problem is that, as is often the case in things that upset the RW, it is not exactly true. To make matters worse, famous RW crap spewer Charles Krauthammer repeated this twist on reality in one of his columns, which enabled the Romney advisers to anonymously and, in a cowardly fashion, repeat it to British reporters. It didn’t help that the White House initially said that this bust was not returned to the UK at all but is on display in the White House residence. This is slightly inaccurate, as well, but not as egregiously wrong as the lie that Obama was deliberately insulting the Brits by returning it.

It turns out there are two busts in question. One was originally given to the White House during the Nixon Administration and was put on display in the White House residence. According to the White House website:

The White House has had a bust of Winston Churchill since the 1960’s. At the start of the Bush administration Prime Minister Blair lent President Bush a bust that matched the one in the White House, which was being worked on at the time and was later returned to the residence. The version lent by Prime Minister Blair was displayed by President Bush until the end of his Presidency. On January 20, 2009 — Inauguration Day — all of the art lent specifically for President Bush’s Oval Office was removed by the curator’s office, as is common practice at the end of every presidency. The original Churchill bust remained on display in the residence. The idea put forward by Charles Krauthammer and others that President Obama returned the Churchill bust or refused to display the bust because of antipathy towards the British is completely false and an urban legend that continues to circulate to this day.

So, as usual, the RW is taking a non-issue and trying to turn it into an international incident.

This is our open thread. Feel free to discuss any topic you want.

The Watering Hole – Saturday June 16, 2012 “Tucker Knows Better”

Earlier in the week, a reporter named Neil Munro, who works for Tucker Carlson’s virtual fish wrapper, The Daily Caller, interrupted President Obama as he was delivering prepared remarks in the Rose Garden.

Tucker Carlson, in his ever-increasing desire to be labeled history’s biggest dick, defended the reporter’s behavior saying, “What’s wrong with asking the president a question?” Nothing. In fact it’s a perfectly legitimate expression of our First Amendment rights. Except that there is a time and a place for such questions, and during the president’s prepared remarks is not one of them. And as Shep Smith of Fox News Channel said of his colleague, “Tucker knows better.” And yet Tucker sees nothing wrong with it. Why does anyone pretend Tucker Carlson matters anymore?

This is our Open Thread.  You don’t have to complain about Tucker Carlson, but I won’t stop you if you do.

The Watering Hole, Monday, May 14th, 2012: Teh Crazy, Local to International

For this Monday’s mix, let’s start with local (to me, anyway) weirdness:

A different aspect on ‘robbing the poor’ involves attempted theft from a local drop box. According to the Patch news article, three men allegedly were not only stealing from the drop boxes, they were stealing the drop boxes themselves. The men stated that they worked for a company called “God’s Property”, although my quick search of the googles/bing could only come up with a house-cleaning service by that name.

On the national crazy homefront: The religious right is celebrating what they believe to be President Obama’s downfall in November, now that the President has officially endorsed same-sex marriage. Adding to the craziness in this article from The Daily Beast is the following quote from Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association:

“President Obama just torpedoed his chance to win in November,” Bryan Fischer, the firebrand spokesman for the American Family Association, told The Daily Beast. “This was a move born of desperation, a Hail Mary pass. The results in North Carolina make it abundantly clear that the American people are not with him on gay marriage. This is a golden opportunity for Mitt Romney. If he will send a strong, consistent and unambiguous message in support of natural marriage he will win the election in a landslide.”

Yet this is the same Bryan Fischer who managed to get Mitt Romney’s openly gay foreign policy adviser, Richard Grenell, to resign from Romney’s campaign staff; then accused Romney of weakness for caving to a self-described “yokel.”

“If Mitt Romney can be pushed around, intimidated, coerced, co-opted by a conservative radio talk show host in Middle America, then how is he going to stand up to the Chinese? How is he going to stand up to Putin? How is he going to stand up to North Korea if he can be pushed around by a yokel like me? I don’t think Romney is realizing the doubts that this begins to raise about his leadership.”

So, I’m guessing that Bryan Fischer is going to stay home on Election Day this November?

For the foreign crazy, here’s a pair of articles from Foreign Policy’s website about Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and the possibility of an Israeli strike against Iran. It appears that some former Mossad leaders are speaking out against the idea, while Netanyahu’s recent political moves send mixed signals both for and against an attack on Iran.

Lastly, from Slate, some interesting little stories about various Vice-Presidents, from Aaron Burr to Joe Biden.

This is our daily open thread — feel free to discuss one of the above topics, or whatever’s on your mind!

The Watering Hole: 4-4-12: Cheney Announces Presidential Bid

What, me worry?

Fresh out of the recovery room following his heart implant transplant, former Vice President Dick Cheney announced his candidacy for the Republican 2012 nomination for President.

“This current crop of candidates is pathetic.” Cheney announced at his press conference. Not one of them are qualified to pick up where I, where President Bush and I left off.”

When asked about Romney’s delegate lead going into the Convention, Cheney brushed it off. “Look, Romney’s the kid nobody wanted, but they’ve been stuck with him because everyone else sucked. His delegates are gonna leave like rats abandoning a sinking ship, now that they can choose a real man…one who’s been there, done that, one who knows what it’s like to bomb a country back to the Stone Age in a war sold to the American people like it was some sort of action-hero movie plot.”

Cheney then launched into an attack on President Obama for cutting and running in Iraq and for daring to even talk about shutting down Guantanamo. “Thank God the Republicans in Congress prevented Obama from closing that prison. Guantanamo is the best weapon we have for instilling fear in political opponents…I mean, those Islamic Terrorists who want to destroy the American Way of Life.”

When asked who he might pick for a Vice Presidential candidate, Cheney was quick to reply, “I ain’t gonna pick no damn Palin, that’s for sure. Actually, I’m favoring Jeb Bush. After all, last time we had a Bush and a Dick. It’s only right that this time it’s a Dick and a Bush.”

OPEN THREAD.
HAVE AT IT!

The Watering Hole: January 24 – Damage Control

Newt has them in a frenzy it seems. The GOP establishment is bringing out their heavyweights to try and do damage control. After Chris Christie calling Newt Gingrich an embarrassment on “Meet the Press”, now Tim Pawlenty has come out with a similar message:

“This is somebody who has had so many incredibly unfortunate and questionable activities while he was speaker, post-speaker, that he’s not somebody that I think can carry the banner for the Republican Party and the conservative movement forward as a nominee or as a future president,”

To the rescue of Gingrich comes, of all people,  She Who Shall Not be Named. Calling Chris Christie a “rookie” and accused him of “lack of self-discipline”.

WOW!

Gingrich tends to autodestruct, Romney could try the “No Drama” approach that your President does so irritatingly well, so why does the uproar come so early in the game?

There’s an unCivil War within the GOP raging. And for once it is not along the lines of evangelical purism against liberalism, it is along the lines of fiscal purism. The rebels couldn’t care less whether Gingrich had married three wives and a goat, or Romney entered marriage as a virgin, they care about The Deficit, The Debt and Big Government.

You do not have to follow the link to the article, if you (understandably) don’t want to give them any views on their website, but it was an article in redstate.com that made this clear to me:

There is general philosophical agreement among both Republicans and conservatives about all of this. Where the fault line lies is in exactly how far we are willing to go to do something about it. Many people who got into politics as good conservatives, and still think themselves good conservatives constrained by the limits of practical possibility, are at a loss when it comes to meaningful ways to tame Leviathan. For reasons, some good (the need to use political power to protect national security, preserve control of the courts and restrain regulatory overreach), some less so, they have thrown in the towel on the central issue of the day. That is who we speak of as the “Establishment.” Others – not always with a sense of proportion or possibility, but driven by the urgency of the cause – seek dramatic confrontations to prevent the menace of excessive spending from passing the tipping point where we can no longer save room for the private sector. They are the Outsiders, the ones challenging the system and its fundamental assumptions. The analogy of a Tea Party is an apt one: the Founding Fathers had much in common with the Tories of their day, but disagreed on a fundamental question, not of principle, but of practical politics: whether revolution was needed to protect their traditional rights as Englishmen from being eradicated by the growing encroachments of the British Crown. As it was then, the gulf between the two is the defining issue of today’s Republican Party and conservative movement. (whole article if you want to here)

The cause for fiscal purity is made with precision in that article and Gingrich obviously knows how to tap into that feeling. He could even spin being kicked out as a Speaker into a story about having been a “Maverick” all along (rings familiar eh?). Romney may still come out on top of it, but at what price remains to be seen. Santorum won’t be in the picture very long for the very reasons I have stated, the race is not about religious purity anymore. Paul, yeah well, he can prepare for his run in 2016.

My projected scenarios, being a European Elitist I am by nature an insufferable know-it-all, would be:

Romney wins. He is at best a lukewarm candidate and will not fire up the GOP base at all, but the “Anybody but Obama” crowd will have to be reckoned with. The prospects of President Romney won’t give Democrats a good reason to go vote, even grudgingly, for Obama. Voter turnout will be low on both sides and this could lead to a closer race than comfortable for Obama. But Obama wins.

Gingrich wins the nomination. Obama wins.

Gingrich wins more primaries, but autodestructs and leaves Romney fatally hurt at the roadside, so a brokered convention will pick a third candidate. Unlikely, Gingrich’s candidacy will be propped up for some months and left to lose. If only, because any Republican insider worth his/her salt, especially the younger ones, will wait out another stretch (hey, it is only four more years) and run then. Obama wins.

How will the Republican internal struggle end? Depends on who has more money on their hands. The Koch Brothers and their associates or the establishment’s funders.

This is our Open Thread. Let’s discuss, or let’s vent, or let’s turn this into a caption contest, or, or, or. It’s your thread folks, use it.

The Watering Hole: August 30th – Failing to prepare…

… is preparing to fail.

Noone knows yet for sure who is going to run against President Obama in the next elections, but the field of contenders seems to be solidifying. Maybe Sarah Palin will try and have a go for it after all, I highly doubt it but with her you never know, but I seriously cannot see any viable contender coming in besides the ones that are already campaigning. Any Republican politician (especially a young one) worth his salt will be discouraged by the general drift to the right fringe the Republican Party is experiencing now, due to tea party activism. Anybody electable by moderates or even right leaning democrats would face defeat in the primaries and just add this defeat to his or her credentials. Why not wait it out for another four years? At least that’s what I would consider doing. Nevermind anyway, because the Tea Party has produced a couple of fringe pushover candidates that should be easily beat by Obama, even if he is right now at a dismally low approval rate.

But is it highly dangerous to underestimate the probability that one of the Republican fringe candidates could be winning the presidency. Frank Rich from the New York Times could tell you this. In February 2000 he wrote:

Why would Mr. Bush’s campaign move so far to the right? It’s the same thinking — that you can pander to a right-wing base and hope centrist voters suffer amnesia on Election Day — that led the G.O.P. to defeats not only in ’96 but in ’98. (…)But Democrats who are worrying about the prospect of a race against Mr. McCain shouldn’t lose sleep yet. The same G.O.P. minds that blew it in ’96 and ’98 are doing everything possible to shore up Mr. Bush.

In the end Democrats didn’t need to worry about John McCain as a candidate, but got Boy George instead. A pushover, if there ever was one, for someone of Al Gore’s political clout.

Now, after 9/11 and two devastating wars, after the incredible destruction of New Orleans by Katrina, after the economic crisis of 2008, the meltdown of American society, still, we are not taking what is going on seriously. The Washington Post reports, still talking about the primaries, of course:

A Perry victory would cement the Republican Party’s shift away from Bush’s approach to a more libertarian, anti-government GOP. This is cause for worry among some in the party, particularly those with ties to Bush.

While not addressing Perry specifically, Mark McKinnon, who was a top aide in both of Bush’s presidential campaigns, cautioned that his party would have trouble winning if it moved too far right.

Really?

The Free Republic says it out loud. Obama is the “Accidental President”

The famous Occam’s razor principle states that the simplest explanation is the most plausible one. Applying it to dispel the fog of propaganda, it becomes glaringly obvious that Obama is an accidental president, a lazy and indecisive incompetent devoid of any ability or desire to perform the job to which he was elected by a gullible majority, who loves the perks but hates the duties of his office; who loves to play but hates to work. Have a good look at the man occupying the White House: what you see is what you get. The Emperor has no clothes.

And, about people like you and me..

The smart set living in an echo-chamber that reinforces their conventional wisdom have eagerly embraced this article of faith because in their world to question Obama’s ability is to commit the deadly sin of racism.

..see, racism argument nicely defused. Hey, here’s an argument even that Americans are definitely NOT racist:

Ironically, proving America is completely the opposite of the evil racist country they relentlessly accuse her of being, progressives used America’s goodness, guilt and sense of fair play against her. In their quest to destroy America as we know it, progressives borrowed a brilliant scheme from Greek mythology. They offered America a modern day Trojan Horse, a beautifully crafted golden shiny new black man as a presidential candidate. Democrat Joe Biden lorded Obama as the first clean and articulate African American candidate. Democrat Harry Reid said Obama only uses a black dialect when he wants.

I spare you more of this blatant passive aggressive racism.

The point I am trying to make is: There are a great many Americans out there, who were convinced a black man in the White House would never happen. They relied on a silent majority and wouldn’t go out to vote last time. On the other hand progressive and moderate voters were fired up and very enthusiastic of getting rid of the dismal Bush years and were in fact voting in higher numbers than usual, count in the Latino and the African American vote, as well. Now the pendulum is about to swing back. The historical mistake of electing Obama needs to be corrected and, count on it, the right wing voters will be out in droves. Meanwhile on our side the disenchantment works its destructive ways. People will stay at home, there is no enthusiasm. And it is, of course, all Obama’s fault. Had he only!..Why hasn’t he?..Didn’t he promise?..

Good thing we can rely on the silent majority and need not go out to vote, because Michelle Bachmann or Rick Perry in the White House won’t ever happen.

Well, if progressive and moderate voters are planning on relying on others and indulge in self-pity, pouting and sulking, your next President may well be Rick Perry or, Republicans can make history, too, Michelle Bachman.

This is our open thread, don’t hesitate to correct me or tell me “What do you know?” or just chat about anything else, that’s on your mind. 

The Watering Hole: Wednesday, August 3, 2011: The end of the world averted!

Well, we all get to blame Obama for caving in and agreeing to 98% of Boehner’s demands. Boehner had the guts to destroy the entire world economy if he didn’t get what he wanted, and he succeeded. Obama didn’t want to see the entire globe fall into chaos, so he failed. Huh?

Life goes on, Social Security Checks will go out, the U.S. will keep its coveted AAA rating in the financial markets, for now at least. Seems like Obama achieved his goals, too. Maybe more so than Boehner. Let’s face it, Obama dealt with an enemy that advocated and rejoiced in the notion that it would hurt people. If Obama’s first and most important task is to protect the American People from harm, he succeeded.

But this episode proved, once and for all, that extortion by the rich WORKS! The rich didn’t give up one single tax break. They got 98% of what they wanted. And as long as there is a privleged class, they will continue to extort concessions from the rest of us. That is, until we realize we outnumber them, and that collectively, we have more power than they do.

***

A return to the “good old days.” That’s what the Teabaggers want. But it’s not the good old days of the 1950′s. Its the good old days of the 1850′s…the days of the Wild West.

In the Wild West, everyone was self-reliant. There was little to no government, and the 2nd Amendment Solution settled most disputes. Slavery was still legal, women couldn’t vote and knew their place, either keeping house or working at the brothels. The downtrodden victims of the industrial revolution, working for a pittance in dangerous conditions with no job protections had been left behind in the Eastern cities.

The gold rush, with gold for the picking, lay in the forefront. Vigilante justice ruled the land. (remember how popular the song “Beer for My Horses” was right after 9/11?)

Yes, the Teaparty wants to return us to the days of the idyllic past, the days of the Wild West, of rugged he-men with their 6-shooters, the days before the arrival of the Sheriffs and Marshals, the days where all the women are pretty, doctors made house calls, and wives and kids did everything the man of the house told them to do. The days when you could shoot someone you didn’t take a liking to… or just to prove you were a faster draw then he.

And, what the heck, doesn’t the new movie, “Cowboys and Aliens” prove that a bunch of rugged he-men with Colt 45′s can take on the most sophisticated technologically advanced enemy and kick their ass? Yeah. The Good Old Days. Too bad the Teabaggers don’t realize the Good Old Days were a creation of “liberal” Hollywood!

This is our open thread. What the heck, it’s Hump Day! After the vote on the Debt Ceiling, this day seems quite appropriately named, don’t you think?

The Debt Ceiling and the Line-Item Veto

As we approach financial doomsday with the current clash of ideologies regarding whether or not the debt ceiling should be raised, revenues increased and/or programs cut, one thing stands out that, to my knowledge has not been addressed:

The Line Item Veto.

There was an experiment with the line-item veto a few decades ago, I believe, wherein the President could simply cross out expenditures he did not approve of, and then sign the budget. It’s not constitutional.

But…

When the debt ceiling fecal matter hits the fiscal fan, the Executive Branch will be forced into a situation where it can only pay out as much as it takes in: i.e. we will have, by default (no pun intended), a balanced budget. WITH ONE HUGE CAVEAT:

THE PRESIDENT WILL GET TO CHOOSE WHICH BILLS GET PAID AND WHICH DON’T. Republicans will have essentially handed President Obama a line-item veto on a silver platter.

This author humbly suggests that all federal funding that flows to Republican districts have their funding stopped. After all, discrimination based on political affiliation does not violate the Constitution. The voters in those districts elected Republicans. Why not make them pay the price of their choice?

Republicans are handing over immense power to the President. Companies that contribute heavily to Republicans and right-wing PACs could suddenly see their federal contracts dry up on August 3. And there’s not a damn thing Republicans can do about it…except vote to extend the debt ceiling – on a clean, stand-alone bill.

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

SC Rep. Joe Wilson calls Obama a Liar

Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC)

Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC)

During tonight’s speech to the joint assembly of Congress, Joe Wilson, the Republican representative from South Carolina, decided that he was attending a WWE wrestling event instead of a session of the US Congress addressed by the President of the United States of America. Of course, it is Rep. Wilson who is the liar.

Feel free to contact Rep. Wilson, should you so choose.

Address in DC:
The Honorable Joe Wilson
United States House of Representatives
212 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515-4002

DC Phone: 202-225-2452
DC Fax: 202-225-2455

Email Address: http://www.house.gov/formwilson/IMA/issue.htm

WWW Homepage: http://www.joewilson.house.gov/

District Offices:
903 Port Republic Street
Beaufort, SC 29902
Voice: 843-521-2530
FAX: 843-521-2535

1700 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1
West Columbia, SC 29169
Voice: 803-939-0041
FAX: 803-939-0078

UPDATE:

Did you see Pelosi’s face?  This idiot’s head will be ringing when she gets done with him.

add to del.icio.us : Add to Blinkslist : add to furl : add to ma.gnolia : Stumble It! : add to simpy : seed the vine : : : TailRank : post to facebook

Of Bailouts, Buyouts and Bankruptcy

Why the big push to bailout the banking industry? the automobile industry?

One word:  PENSIONS

Pension funds are invested in stocks. Bankrupcy wipes out those stocks, leaving pension funds unfunded. If it’s a private fund, retirees will suddenly stop getting their checks.  If it’s a public fund, taxpayers will have to make up the difference.

Mainstream media, even non-mainstream media, has not reported on this, but it’s out there, the unheard, unseen elephant in the room. To my knowledge, this is the first report that mentions this looming economic disaster:

SUPREME COURT ASKED TO BLOCK CHRYSLER SALE TO FIAT

The Indiana State Police Pension Fund, the Indiana Teacher’s Retirement Fund and the state’s Major Moves Construction Fund claim the deal unfairly favors the interests of Chrysler’s unsecured stakeholders ahead of those of secured debtholders such as the funds.

add to del.icio.us : Add to Blinkslist : add to furl : add to ma.gnolia : Stumble It! : add to simpy : seed the vine : : : TailRank : post to facebook

Continue reading

Right-Winger Thanks Bush for Somali Rescue

Well, didn’t you just know this was coming?

Andy Martin thanks President George W. Bush for rescuing the U.S. ship captain held hostage by Somali pirates

Obama’s “Somali” response sent a message of weakness to our enemies, says Martin

Liberal media again distort the true significance of the rescue [Ed. Did this guy ever hear of a period?]

(NEW YORK)(April 13, 2009) I don’t often have good things to say about former President George W. Bush. But today I want to thank him for the rescue of Captain Richard Phillips, held hostage by Somali criminals and rescued by the U. S. Navy.

The captain was rescued by George W. Bush’s Navy, not Barack Obama’s Navy.

That is why today I am alone in all of America’s media in singing the praises of President George W. Bush. He rescued Captain Phillips.

Well, Obama “proved” himself all right. He proved he is an uncertain and unsteady hand on the tiller.

Barack Obama proved he is the new Jimmy Carter.

Even though Obama has increased the size of the defense budget, it is not enough for these neocons. And the whole Obama Is a Muslim and Not An American Citizen is old and tired. Sorry, fellas, nobody is buying what you’re selling.

add to del.icio.us : Add to Blinkslist : add to furl : add to ma.gnolia : Stumble It! : add to simpy : seed the vine : : : TailRank : post to facebook

5thstate on Fighting the Good Fight

add to del.icio.us : Add to Blinkslist : add to furl : add to ma.gnolia : Stumble It! : add to simpy : seed the vine : : : TailRank : post to facebook

I am nominating 5thstate, a regular reader and commenter at TheZoo, for having the most pithy and well written comment I have seen in quite a long time.

Yesterday, we reported that Chuck Todd, an uber Washington elitist, and total Villager, had the audacity to ask what specific sacrifices Obama was going to ask of the American people.  As if many Americans’ now living in tent cities across the nation isn’t enough, as if insurance isn’t pricing people out of things like eating wasn’t enough.

5thstate thought that I should have included Ed Henry in my original post on Chuck Todd because Mr. Henry decided to write a little self-serving piece at his CNN home.  Here is what 5thstate had to say.

Ed Henry, (who looks like the lead contralto of a Glee Club) was the one who asked Obama why it had taken him two days to comment on the AIG bonuses (of about 10 days ago?) to which Obama replied “Because I like to know what I’m talking about before I say anything”.

Despite being bitchslapped by one of the most popular presidents in US history, Ed seems to think he just earned a campaign medal and he’s just written a breathless movie treatment of his ‘story’ for the CNN website:

HENRY [article]: “I was heading into this event with the same strategy: make news on something unexpected (I won’t tell you which topics I was working on cause it would ruin the surprise for a future presser or interview with the president).”

(Great preamble, Ed! So your mission, your duty as a reporter, was to, make news?  And your strategy is to compile what you think are relevant questions about week-old news? The old “element of surprise” gambit, eh? )

AS HENRY IMAGINES IT:

The Corps was nervous, cigarettes were shared as a silent bond, each man knowing it might be his last.

We had our orders, but as wet behind the ears Lieutenant I was eager to make my mark if HQ’s strategy didn’t pan out.

I had some plans of my own, but I kept them under my hat…er… helmet hoping to God and Betty Grable I wouldn’t have to use them.

A dog barked in the foggy distance. The low nervous chatter was silenced, the only noises now were the sounds of final weapons checks and last minute twitters and e-mails being pounded out on Blackberries. And then I just waited, for the signal I though would never come…—

HENRY [article]: “The pressure was on now because the president had called on me. Someone handed me a microphone, millions were watching, and it’s scary to think about changing topic in a split second because you might get flustered and screw up.”

(OMG! OMG! I can’t believe it! He’s right there! OMG!)

AS ED HENRY IMAGINES IT:
Continue reading

Chuck Todd: Arrogant Washington Elitist

When I was watching Obama speak last night, the first second* question presented to the president was by Chuck Todd, the White House Correspondent from NBC.

For those who cannot watch video’s, this was Chuck’s question:

Some have compared this financial crisis to a war and in times of war past Presidents have called for some form of sacrifice. Some of your programs whether main street or Wall Street have actually cushioned the blow for those that were irresponsible during this economic period of prosperity, supposed prosperity that you were talking about. Why, given this new era of responsibility that you’re asking for why haven’t you asked for something specific that the public should be sacrificing to participate in this economic recovery?

I thought I had heard him wrong.  No, I thought I had to have heard him wrong!  Alas, I heard what I thought I had heard.

Further:

When the president responded by pointing all of the many ways in which Americans are already sacrificing in the midst of an economic crisis, Todd wasn’t satisfied. In a follow up, the NBC White House correspondent asked why Obama has called on “specific” sacrifices from Americans. And again, the president explained, “[T]he American people are making a host of sacrifices in their individual lives.”

I’d write my own response to this, but since John Amato said said exactly what I was thinking, I will use his outrage instead:

Typical Villager question. No normal person would ask for the American people to suffer and make additional sacrifices through a period where their wages have declined, job losses are skyrocketing and health-care costs are astronomical. These inside-the-Beltway pundits seem to talk to each other rather than for us. It’s like we don’t exist to them. They all seem to live in Broder’s universe, and we’re mice in a cage waiting for some scraps. I’d like to know what the press corps would sacrifice if the president asked them for one.

American’s are sacrificing in every aspect of our being every day of our lives. Unless you’re an American who lives in Chuck Todd’s world.

*Correction. Todd was the 2nd person to ask a question of Obama last night.

add to del.icio.us : Add to Blinkslist : add to furl : add to ma.gnolia : Stumble It! : add to simpy : seed the vine : : : TailRank : post to facebook

Obama’s Teleprompter: Is this all the right has?

add to del.icio.us : Add to Blinkslist : add to furl : add to ma.gnolia : Stumble It! : add to simpy : seed the vine : : : TailRank : post to facebook

The favorite right-wing meme of late is that President Obama is incapable of speaking without a teleprompter.    Are they trying to say Obama is too stupid to speak without one?  A Harvard graduate who was editor of The Law Review (a highly acclaimed honor only bestowed upon the brightest and best at one of the best ivy league institutions in the world), a man who authored two books and has spoken across this great land, in Town Hall fashion, taking questions outside of The Bubble, this man is unable to speak on his own? Seriously?

Let’s take a look and unpack this a little, shall we?  It’s fun, honest.  Click that Keep Reading link and…

Continue reading

President Obama, Jay Leno and Manufactured Outrage

add to del.icio.us : Add to Blinkslist : add to furl : add to ma.gnolia : Stumble It! : add to simpy : seed the vine : : : TailRank : post to facebook

Last night, President Obama sat down with Jay Leno for a little chat. He mostly spoke about the economy, but Jay did ask a couple of personal questions.  It was quite an interesting interview.  Do watch it (click Keep Reading below).

There is much manufactured outrage from the right wing over the POTUS being on a late night television show. How dare the President of the United States of America speak straight to the American people without some talking head interpreting his every word!

Watch the whole interview, below the fold (it will begin playing once you click the Keep Reading link below). And then, let’s have a little fun with all of this manufactured outrage coming from the people who represent the Party of No.
Continue reading