The Watering Hole, Monday, April 16th, 2012: Mixed Bag-o-News

For today’s offering, I give you a selection of the stories whose headlines drew my attention from various sources.

First up, from ForeignPolicy.com: “Save the Cato Institute, Save the World?”, a piece by Justin Logan regarding the continuing saga of the Koch Brothers vs CATO’s President Ed Crane.

Still at ForeignPolicy.com: in the wake of Rick Santorum’s announcement that he was (finally) bowing out of the Presidential race, Joshua Keating reminisces about five of Santorum’s foreign policy gaffes in his post “Our Favorite Rick Santorum Moments.” (Keating and I agree that the ‘Dutch Euthanasia’ story was #1.)

On to Newsmax.com: here, the headline “Gillespie: Romney’s Social Stances Won’t Alienate Women” caught my eye. As I started reading the article, I was puzzled by the fact that Romney had hired Ed Gillespie, who, with Karl Rove, ran the American Crossroads Super-PAC and Crossroads GPS. This puzzlement led me to:

MotherJones.com: where their April 5th, 2012, headline read “Mitt Romney Hires GOP Super-PAC Guru and Ex-Corporate Lobbyist.” I was glad to see that Mother Jones questioned the co-mingling of SuperPAC and candidate. Shouldn’t that be against even the Citizens United ruling?

Another bright shiny object from Mother Jones: “Mitt Romney Courts Big Tin Foil” – who could resist a headline like that? I haven’t delved into this one myself yet, but it sounds promising.

And lastly, from TheWeek.com (under the category “World Opinion”): “5 Curious Titanic Stories You May Have Missed,” the first ‘curious’ story being the fact that too many younger “Titanic” moviegoers did not realize that the movie was based on an historical event. (facepalm)

Enjoy!

This is our daily open thread — What’s on your mind today?

The Watering Hole, Thursday, March 15th, 2012: Who Said What?

You never know what you’re going to find at Foreign Policy magazine online. Recent issues contained two items which I decided to use for today’s offering: one somewhat humorous, one not so much.

The ‘somewhat humorous’ one is a fairly new feature at FP, entitled “Who Said It?” This particular version is “Grand Ayatollah or Grand Old Party?”, by Reza Aslan, who opens the article with:

“One is a religious fanatic railing against secularism, the role of women in the workplace, and the evils of higher education, as he seeks to impose his draconian moral values upon the state. The other is the supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

Rick Santorum

Grand Ayatollah Khamenei of Iran

Aslan’s quiz lists nine quotes, asking “Who Said It?”, Santorum or Khamenei. The answer is given on the next page within the article, where the subsequent quote is then listed. See how you do in this quiz!

The second article, the ‘not so humorous’ one, is by Stephen M. Walt, and lists the “Top Ten Media Failures in the Iran War Debate.” A few key observations by Mr. Walt, although by no means the most important or insightful ones in his article, include:

“…when prominent media organizations keep publishing alarmist pieces about how war is imminent, likely, inevitable, etc., this may convince the public that it is going to happen sooner or later and it discourages people from looking for better alternatives.”

and

“A recurring feature of Iran war coverage has been tendency to refer to Iran’s “nuclear weapons program” as if its existence were an established fact. U.S. intelligence services still believe that Iran does not have an active program, and the IAEA has also declined to render that judgment either.”

Mr. Walt’s article is yet another illustration of the deficiencies of today’s ‘mainstream media’, which has, for quite some time, deplorably failed to serve or inform the public. :(

This is our daily open thread — so, what’s on your mind?

The Watering Hole: Super Tuesday, March 6th – Is this really important?

Image found at Funny Pictures

In a way the Republican Primaries tonight are important, they will need a nominee eventually. Presumptive Candidates fall all over each other in Marx-Brothers-Sans-Brains fashion and it is more or less entertaining. Or, it would be entertaining, if this wasn’t supposed to be the choice of the man who was to lead one of the World’s remaining superpowers. The last time around they have presented us Sarah Palin and we thought it was a horrible abberration. This time around they stacked the whole deck with similar dunces and treat the world to a first class train crash to watch.

On the other side of the intellectual divide there is this cool and collected man, doing what needs to be done for your country in a very pragmatic and undogmatic way.

For many Europeans the re-election of President Barack Obama is a no-brainer. If we seriously look at the difference of the four vs the one, the Republican Primaries tonight are not really important after all.

This is our Open Thread. What is important to you?

Sunday Roast: Pot, meet kettle

When asked by Breathless to respond to Rush Limbaugh’s latest crap, Rick Santorum (ew) calls Limbaugh “absurd” and falls all over himself trying to distance himself from Limbaugh, while at the same time trying not to piss him off.

A man of integrity — a man with daughters — would have slapped the shit out of Limbaugh.  But the absurd Santorum (ew) would force his own daughter, via guilt and emotional blackmail, to give birth to a rapist’s child, so no worries about integrity in this case.

Is it November yet…?

This is our daily open thread — Spread the Santorum

The Watering Hole, Thursday, February 9th: Holy Wholly Crap

I used to be a Roman Catholic, so I know the rules. One of those rules, aka the Ten Commandments, is “Thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbor” – in other words, don’t lie about someone. My parents and my Catholic school teachers taught me that lying about anything was wrong. Apparently Rick Santorum’s parents and teachers didn’t teach him that particular lesson.

Jane as a Catholic schoolgirl--the blonde with the gloves, middle row, left

After surprisingly winning the non-binding caucuses in Missouri, Colorado and Minnesota on Tuesday night, Rick Santorum gave a victory speech in which he broke that rule so often, it’s a wonder that his Old-Testament god did not strike him down where he stood, or at least turn him into a pillar of salt. Here’s the transcript of his speech (thanks to The Washington Post.) I removed the beginning where he thanked god, his wife, etc., etc. – no need to make everyone suffer through that, the rest of it is sickening enough:

Your votes today were not just heard loud and wide across the states of Missouri and Minnesota, but they were heard loud and louder all across this country, and particularly in a place that I suspect may be in Massachusetts. They were heard particularly loud tonight. Tonight was not just a victory for us, but tonight was a victory for the voices of our party, conservatives and Tea Party people, who are out there every single day in the vineyards building the conservative movement in this country, building the base of the Republican Party, and building a voice for freedom in this land. Thank you.

Okay, snide little poke at Romney, not too nasty yet. I don’t know what the “vineyards” reference is – are there vineyards in those three states? (shrug) We’ll move along…

There’s probably another person who maybe — maybe is listening to your cheers here tonight, also, and that might be at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. You better start listening to the voice of the people.

You mean the voice of the people who elected Barack Obama to the Presidency?

But then again, I wouldn’t be surprised if he isn’t listening. Why would you think he would be listening now? Has he ever listened to the voice of America before?

Yes, Rick, President Obama HAS listened to the “voice of America before” – not always, but quite a bit. Maybe you’re thinking of Speaker Boehner, Rick, and the rest of the Republicans (particularly in the House)?

He’s someone who — well, let’s just go look at the record. If you look at when it came to the — the Wall Street bailouts, did the president of the United States listen to you when it came to bailing out the big banks?

I don’t know what “record” Rick’s looking at, because the historical record says that former President George W. Bush bailed out the big banks. So, that’s a lie, which makes the credibility of your premise quite suspect already.

Why? Because he thought he just knew better. He and his friends on Wall Street knew better than what was — what was good for this country. When it came to the problems that were being confronted on Obamacare, when the health care system in this country, did President Obama, when he was pushing forward his radical health care ideas, listen to the American people?

Well, Bush probably never “thought he just knew better”, but he did what his handlers told him to do. Playing along with Santorum’s mistaken premise that the bailouts were Obama’s doing, does he really believe that he knows what’s in Obama’s mind? Regarding the “Obamacare” line, I have to admit that President Obama didn’t listen to his base (or his past self) regarding universal, single-payer, government-run healthcare, but Obama certainly listened to what the Republicans insisted upon in his Affordable Care Act. Aren’t the Republicans the people whom you believe Obama should be listening to, Rick?

Why? Because he thinks he knows better how to run your lives and manage your health care.

As opposed to the Republicans thinking they know better how to run women’s lives and manage women’s health care? As opposed to YOU, Rick, thinking that you know better how to run homosexual citizens’ lives? And again, Rick, do you presume to know what President Obama is thinking?

When it comes to the environment, did the president of the United States listen to the American people, or did he push a radical cap- and-trade agenda that would crush the energy and manufacturing sector of the economy? Did he listen to you? No, because he thinks he knows better.

I guess that Rick is ignorant of the fact that many states, right here in the U.S. of A., already have had a cap-and-trade system in place for several years, starting before Obama became President.

Ladies and gentlemen, we need a president who listens to the American people. When the majority of Americans oppose these radical ideas and they speak loudly against them, we need a president who listens to them.

When a Republican President is in the White House, does he ever listen to “the majority of Americans” when they oppose ANY radical ideas and speak loudly against them? I keep thinking of how, when a Republican is elected to the Presidency, they always say that they have a “mandate from the people” to do whatever that particular administration proposes. I can’t remember ANY Democratic President who ever mentioned that phrase.

“Here’s the problem. The problem is, in this Republican field, you have been listening. Tonight, the voters of America, the voters here in Missouri, the voters in Minnesota — and I’m hopeful the voters in Colorado, right? I hope you have been listening to our message, because if you’ve — you listen to our message, and you found out that on those issues — health care, the environment, cap-and-trade, and on the Wall Street bailouts, Mitt Romney has the same positions as Barack Obama and, in fact, would not be the best person to get up and fight for your voices for freedom in America.”

Okay, this is just babbling.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I don’t stand here to claim to be the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney. I stand here to be the conservative alternative to Barack Obama. Tonight — tonight, we had — tonight, we had an opportunity to see what a campaign looks like when one candidate isn’t outspent 5 or 10 to 1 by negative ads impugning their integrity and distorting their record. This is a more accurate representation, frankly, of what the fall race will look like. Governor Romney’s greatest attribute is, well, I’ve got the most money and the best organization. Well, he’s not going to have the most money and the best organization in the fall, is he?”

We DID have the opportunity to see YOU, Rick impugning President Obama’s integrity and distorting his record. And the answer to your last question is, most likely, YES, Romney will still have the most money and the best organization in the fall. There’s a lot more states still to go, Rick, and winning Iowa by a nose, plus Tuesday’s three non-binding state caucuses, ain’t gonna make you the Republican nominee.

“No, we’re going to have to have someone who has other attributes to commend himself to the people of America, someone — someone who can get up and make sharp contrasts with President Obama, someone who can point to the failed record of this administration and say that Barack Obama needs to be replaced in the Oval Office.”

Sharp contrasts, yes – such as the intelligence, character, tolerance and empathy of President Obama, versus the closedmindedness, holier-than-thou intolerance and religious-crusade mindset of you, Rick.

“People — people have asked me, you know, what is — what is the secret? Why are you doing so well? Is it your jobs message? And, yes, we have a great jobs message, talking about everywhere we go and particularly here in the industrial heartland of Missouri, where they still make things here in Missouri, by the way. It’s a message of — as the Wall Street Journal called our economic plan, supply-side economics for the working man, is resonating in Minnesota and here in Missouri and across this country. And you see that, when you have a Republican out there talking about growth — talking about growth for everybody, right… … that Americans respond, because I do care about not 99 percent or 95 percent. I care about the very rich and the very poor. I care about 100 percent of America.”

“Supply-side economics for the working man”?? To quote Rocky the Flying Squirrel, “that trick NEVER works.” Let me presume to read YOUR mind for a change, Rick: you don’t care a whit for any of the poor or the rest of the 99%, and you only care about the very rich because those are the ones funding your campaign to be the President of the Divided Theocracy of America, Inc.

“The real message — the message that we’ve been taking across this country and here in Missouri is a message of what’s at stake in this election. This is the most important election in your lifetime. This is an election — we’ve seen it so evident just here in the last week. This is an election fundamentally about the kind of country you’re going to hand off to your children and grandchildren, whether they are going to have the level of freedom and opportunity that you have.”

The level of freedom and opportunity that we currently have is already less than that enjoyed by our own parents. Our children and grandchildren definitely will not have that level of freedom and opportunity if a Republican is elected to the Presidency in November, particularly a Republican with a single-minded religious agenda.

And we have a president of the United States, as I mentioned, who’s someone who believes he knows better, that we need to accumulate more power in Washington, D.C., for the elite in our country, to be able to govern you because you are incapable of liberty, that you are incapable of freedom. That’s what this president believes.

Who are these “elite in our country”? The 1%, who are courted so ardently by Republicans? And please, please, will someone explain once and for all what the hell the Republicans are talking about when they throw out buzzwords like “freedom” and “liberty”? Freedom and liberty to do WHAT?

And I — and Americans understand that there is a great, great deal at stake. If this president is re-elected and if we don’t have a nominee that can make this case and not be compromised on the biggest issues of the day, but can make the case to the American public that this is about the founder’s freedom, this is about a country that believes in God-given rights, and a Constitution that is limited to protect those rights. The president does not believe that. The president over the last few years has tried to tell you that he, in fact, the government can give you rights, the government can take care of you and provide for you. They can give you the right to health care, like in Obamacare.

No god gave me any rights. My rights, and yours, too, Rick, come from being, through no act of any god, born in the United States of America;
whose founders, through the Constitution, defined those rights and gave them to all citizens.

Rick, President Obama is a Constitutional lawyer, so I think that he’s a lot more knowledgeable than you are about the founders and our rights. And if you don’t believe that ALL of us have the right to health care, even if we can’t afford to pay for it, then you are a poor excuse for a human being AND a Christian.

But look what happens when the government gives you rights. When the government gives you rights, unlike when God gives you rights, the government can take them away. When government gives you rights, the government can tell you how to exercise those rights.

Your alleged god limits your rights and tells you what you can and cannot do; therefore, you already have fewer rights than those that our government grants the rest of us.

And we saw that just in the last week, with a group of people, a small group of people, just Catholics in the United States of America who were told you have a right to health care, but you will have the health care that we tell you, you have to give your people, whether it is against the teachings of your church or not. I never thought as a first-generation American, whose parents and grandparents loved freedom and came here because they didn’t want the government telling them what to believe and how to believe it, that we had a First Amendment that actually stood for freedom of conscience, that we’d have a president of the United States who would roll over that and impose his secular values on the people of this country.

Whoa, boy, let’s not confuse “freedom of religion” with any bs about “freedom of conscience.” ALL presidents, not just your bogeyman President Obama, “impose” the “secular values” of the Constitution – you know, the basis on which our government was founded. And, if hell freezes over and you, Rick, became President, you would be bound by sworn oath to protect and defend those secular values.

And it’s worse than that. When one of the Catholic bishops tried to communicate that through Army chaplains, the Obama administration said, no, you can’t do that, no, because your language is seditious, and they made them change the language of a letter from a bishop to his people.

The Catholic bishops’ views do not represent the views of every Catholic in the United States, Rick, and neither do yours. Maybe you should check out the group Catholics United, for another viewpoint.

Ladies and gentlemen, freedom is at stake in this election. We need to be the voice for freedom. And that founding document, the Declaration of Independence, at the end of that document, those founders signed their names. But the last clause of that document said we pledge our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor. Ladies and gentlemen, every generation of Americans doesn’t create freedom, but they have, in many respects, a harder job. They have to maintain freedom. Your charge tonight — your charge tonight here in Missouri — because we’re not done yet with you here in Missouri. You’ve got a caucus coming up next month — is to go out and pledge, pledge — no, not your lives. Maybe your fortune. RickSantorum.com is the website.

You’re already planning to take away certain freedoms from gays and women, Rick, how is that ‘maintaining’ freedom? And I’m sure that the people in Missouri are glad that you’re not asking for their lives, just their ‘fortunes.’

But your honor, the honor that you stand on, on the backs and the shoulders of your ancestors. The people here in St. Louis, the people here in Missouri, the people across this country who sacrificed for this country, for the freedoms we have. America’s honor, your honor is at stake. Go out and preserve the greatest country in the history of the world. Thank you all, and God bless.

“America’s honor” was already blasted into smithereens by the previous Republican President, and, right now, there’s not a whole hell of a lot of our former greatness to be preserved. Psst, Rick – I think you left out a word after “God bless” – you know, “America.”

Okay, I’ve kept most of my temper while typing this. As this is our Open Thread, feel free to lose yours, or to discuss anything else that comes to mind.

The Watering Hole: Wednesday, January 25, 2012: BREAKING GNUS — RNC TO CANCEL REST OF PRIMARIES!

In a stunning move, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus informed the Florida Secretary of State that his party was cancelling the Florida Primary, as well as the rest of the primaries set for later this spring. He held a press conference at 5:a.m. Eastern time to announce his decision.

“I’m glad you all could make it on such short notice” Priebus began, addressing the lone reporter who happened by on his way to a nearby Dunkin Donuts. Priebus continued:

We have three candidates, each of whom has won a primary. But their attacks on each other have been so dead-bang accurate that none of them are electable in a general election. I am therefore suspending the rest of the primary season to prevent the further destruction of the Republican Party.

Right now, the polls show that the only Republican Candidate who does not have a 50% plus disapproval rating from independent voters is Stephen Colbert. While I understand he has dropped out of the race for the President of the United States of South Carolina, it is my hope that I can convince him by the time we have our Convention to toss his hat into the ring for President of the United States of America. He alone can save the Republican Party.

The reporter immediately called Stephen Colbert for his comment on this startling revelation. “F— you, Stewart!” Colbert said, “Do you know what time it is? I am not coordinating with you on my Super PAC!”

Later, Colbert gave a prepared statement, “I am deeply honored by Reince Priebus’ call to serve this great country of ours. But before accepting, I would like to know if I get to choose my running mate, because Jane Fonda is hot. Next, I would like to know if I was elected, could I re-design the Oval Office to have some corners? Because I can think of a few Congressmen I would love to see stand in the corner.”

This be the Daily Open Thread. HAPPY HUMP DAY.

The Watering Hole: January 6 — Sleeves just slow me down

via The Last Word blog

Sweater vests?  Meh.

Seems like Santorum‘s trying to cover up his gut more than anything else.  Or trying to keep the fear and hate contained…or keep dogs from being attracted to him.

My only question is: Does the man own more than ONE sweater vest?

This is our daily open thread – it’s Friday dammit!!!

Under Their Scheme

Please don’t sue me, Disney. I just wanted to warn people about the dangers of what the Republicans are trying to do, and I thought a catchy little tune might help. This also happens to be one of my all-time favorite Disney songs.

Under Their Scheme
Original words and music “Under The Sea” by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken, 1989
Additional lyrics by Wayne A. Schneider, 2011

Sebastian (spoken): Ariel, listen to me. The Ayn Rand world is a mess
Life under their scheme is deader than anything you’d want out there

(singing) The sequence is always greener, in somebody’s else’s take
You dream about growing up there, but that is a big mistake
Just look how their view confounds you, they scare you and want you poor
Such powerful things astound you, what good is they working for?

Under their scheme, under their scheme
Medicare’s deader, not getting better, take it from me Continue reading

Republicans Who Hate Women

Today on Meet The Press, presidential hopeful Rick Santorum tried, once again, to prove he’s the furthest one out on the right when it comes to abortion. Ignoring both constitutional precedent as well as common sense logic, Santorum made the claim that human life begins at conception and that any doctor who performs an abortion should face criminal charges. He stated that the woman involved should face no charges, but offered no explanation for this contradiction. And it is a contradiction because no doctor can perform an abortion without a woman being involved. (Unless we’re talking about test tube babies, but that would complicate things beyond the ability of people like Santorum to understand.)

Santorum has a history of getting facts wrong in support of his ill-conceived position on abortion. In a debate with Sen. Bob Casey during his last run for his Senate seat in 2006 (Casey won), Santorum said using the so-called “morning-after pill” is the exact same thing as abortion if it is taken “after the egg has been fertilized.” This is wrong because conception actually takes several days and the morning-after pill won’t work if the woman is already pregnant.

Santorum is also forgetting Justice Clarence Thomas’ famous confirmation hearings in which Sen. Patrick Leahy asked the nominee, “Does a fetus have rights under the Constitution.” After giving it a few seconds’ thought, Thomas correctly answered, “No.” The Constitution applies to persons who are actually born, and no amount of stretching what it says can lead one to believe it applies to people who haven’t been born yet. (For example, of what nation would a person who hasn’t been born yet be a citizen?)

One also has to question how someone can call themselves “pro-life” and still support the use of capital punishment. There is no consistency in this line of thinking, so their constant assault on a woman’s right to choose can only be construed as anti-women.

Cross-posted at Pick Wayne’s Brain.