Friday, February 26, 2010

Health Care...Redux

I have to say that I'm glad I'm not a Democrat trying to fluff the Senate Bill, but I'm much happier I'm not a Republican trying not to look like a plutocrat while doing their shilling. You'd think, in a world where voters count, that Democrats could figure out that a Public Option polling at 60% and over versus the crappy numbers for the Senate Bill means something. That it doesn't, does mean something.

Yes, watching Rep Wiener call Republicans a "wholly owned subsidiary of the Insurance Companies" was gratifying, but the net was cast a bit narrowly since it missed a whacking big chunk of the Democratic Senate Caucus. Nope, you're not supposed to shiv your fellow Party elected officials and that is part of the problem. We do have the best health care in the world that big money can buy and we do have the best Government big money can buy. You do understand that if wealth were suffering under the health care we have that it would have been fixed long ago.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Wow This Thing Smokes

The new laptop arrived today and I'm getting to play with it a bit. This is a Dell Vostro 1720 with Win 7 Ultimate & Office Pro. Intel Core 2 Duo P7570 @ 2.26, 2.27 GHz w/4 GB RAM & 64 Bit OS & 218 GB HD. It is responding really nicely to the Qwest Broadband. The last laptop was getting a bit tired and my daughter in law needs something for school. It can do more than she needs running Vista Ultimate w/2004 Office Pro. I put a lot of time on it and it has been a pretty good machine, but it was more reasonable for me to get a new one rather than try to buy a cheap one for her.

The 17" screen is a nice change and the finish on it is less reflective than the old one and has a brighter picture. The keys are nicer and the whole thing seems more solid than the old Aspire.

I think I'll keep it, as if I had a choice...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Yoo, Bybee, Bradbury - Torturers Walk

The USDOJ Friday decided that being the enablers of torture isn't even negligent, it's just, well, being silly or something. Yes, there is a pot full of legislation, treaties, and precedence that contradicts the stuff they wrote and signed off on.

A bit different from Neuremberg. I guess things have changed...or something.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Let's Not Be Stupid

A whole lot of us aren't remotely happy with what has become of the so-called Health Care Reform bill in the Senate or the House, especially considering the time and effort spent on it. We can easily point at the Republicans as the villains for total obstruction but that isn't real satisfying - somebody had to have failed. Here is where the hunt starts for the incompetent hack on our side.

I mentioned the left bashing previously as one incarnation of that, lately it seems Rahm Emmanuel is a target. A lot of people on the left or even progressive side heartily dislike Rahm for his disdain for anything not DLC. Some don't like him for being rude or raucous. No, I don't like his version of Democratic politics. Rahm Emmanuel is Chief of Staff to the POTUS - he has a BOSS. Even more than that, the executive branch does not run Congress.

Real frankly, I don't think there is anyone in particular to blame. I think the failures have been on the part of darn near every Federal elected Democrat. Taking a run at passing health care legislation has proved damn near impossible at the Federal level and this Party went at it like a collection of monkeys trying to do the deed to a football. Not one of the pieces is exempt from this, not the White House, not the House, not the Senate, and for good measure throw in Governors and the higher regarded State legislators and the damn Party organizations.

The first damn thing you have to do when you have a bunch of disparate views and competing interests is to get the confounded public on your side. When you are not going to win the big money powerhouse interests your lever is public opinion. You create a situation where the voters are going to remember who screwed the pooch where their interests were concerned. Considering that the ability to connect with the public is President Obama's great strength, this lack is mind boggling.

I'm not going to address the Congress, I don't want spit all over my monitor. In very short terms, knowing the votes, knowing the negotiators, knowing the honesty, and keeping some sort of discipline and consequences in place did not happen. Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are not dictators, that part is up to their Caucuses but getting blind-sided by Nelson, Baucus, LIEberman, and the House wankers is inexcusable.

The pols who are close to their voters geographically are strong voices and frequently more popular and well regarded than the Federal legislators - crickets chirping. Where was the vaunted OFA and the DNC? How in the world did we have the spectacle of Cabinet officials being all over the map? Whose opinion on what was supposed to be important?

I'm not sure it makes squat difference now in regard to the end product or that it can be passed. What I am sure of is that if Democrats want to get anything at all done from here on out, they'd better figure this one out. All I can say to the rank and file is that if you want to throw rocks at anyone responsible, you'd better get a lot of them.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Bipartisan Politics

Engaging "wayback machine" this is Jan22,2007

Here's a phrase that seems to be getting big play, it started shortly after the '06 election results and has gained ground ever since. It has a nice ring, bipartisan, it sort of rolls off the tongue with lovely strong syllable breaks and an element of cadence. I'll bet it would sound good if you did it with a mouth full of marbles and it looks nice in print - bipartisan - hey even in italics - bipartisan. It seems such a long time time since it had any currency.

You may be familiar with the name Frank Luntz, he of the Republican dictionary, well now he's decided to tell the Democrats how to use Words that Work over at HuffPo. The idea is to bury the hatchet...not in the Republican's heads, but actually bury it. He's on to the spirit of bipartisanship (-ship kind of spoils the cadence) and even notes, "Democracy is at its best when its practitioners use language to unite and explain rather than divide and attack." I also think it works pretty well when "Clean Air" doesn't mean pollution and estate tax means that and not "Death Tax" which means you get charged for not living anymore, um, dying. It would be pretty crass to charge for the dubious privilege of being dead. He just doesn't think being vindictive will work out for the Democrat Party (sure he knows better, he just can't help himself), that the Party should figure out how to work with the Republicans. He's actually right, the Democrats cannot afford to be perceived as vindictive. What I find odd, though, is the idea that it's the Democrats who are supposed to be bipartisan. Maybe it's the bi- piece of the word that's throwing me. All the way through Webster's 9th Collegiate (again) bi- has two involved, I think the part about "both sides" (2) may just be what's up with the word. Well, anyhow, thanks Frank.

I have a little different take on this Congress deal, nobody on that side wants to get along, what they want is a chance to score points for '08 and make Democrats look bad. When you reach across that aisle, if you get your hand back, you better count your fingers. What Democrats can do (listen up Hillary) is come up with good policies, make sure everybody knows they're good, ram them through, be seen ramming them through, and make sure the Republicans get the blame for their failure to happen. The President says he can do as he pleases, well now, that's an idea, but hauling them up before investigative committees makes that a bit tougher and when the dirt falls out impeachment really ties you up. Jail can give you time to reflect on hubris.

You already know that the Republicans would like very much to undo the 06 damage and hang onto the Presidency, since they're the minority their only hope is to be obstacles and then blame Democrats as "do nothings." You can thank Mr Luntz for showing you the genesis of how it will be played, "We were reasonable but all they wanted to do was keep hitting us with a bat." Just make sure that it's obvious that the Republicans stopped the game by stealing the balls, the bases, and the scoreboard. Then whack 'em with that bat again.

That's not being vindictive, it's culling the herd.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Teabaggery T&A

Given that this is the Teabaggery bunch, maybe the WaPo is taking it seriously enough :
Sarah Palin watch: She looks trim, fit -- and brimming with energy and plans
By Ann Gerhart

It had been a while since we had seen Sarah Palin live and in person. And then she popped onto stage Saturday night at the National Tea Party convention in Nashville, and we made these observations:

1) She's lost a lot of weight, perhaps 15 pounds. She looked trim and firm, like she's hoisting the barbells or maybe chopping wood. (...)
2) She wore a fitted black suit, black hose and high black platform heels. (...)
3) She was animated and full of energy, so much so that she kept knocking her microphone with her hand as she made her points. (...)

I didn't take it that seriously...

Kick The Left

Lately in some places it has been a real popular passtime to kick the left; mostly over its reaction to the Senate HCR bill. A lot of this fervor was generated by Jane Hamsher over at Fire Dog Lake (no i won't link her) for making a campaign against Rahm Emmanuel and hooking up with Grover Norquist - a swear word on the left. Now equating Jane to the Democratic Left is a lot like calling the Weather Undergound part of the Democrats. Where it gets hilarious is when the left gets blamed for disliking the Senate bill and yelling about it. Sounds a lot like GOP mindless lockstep to me.

There are two aspects that are really irritating, those folks are always 1-6 years late finding out that the left was correct (I wanted to say "right") and they figure it out when the stuff hits the fan. The other part is that the left is the reliable turnout, the door knockers, the donors, the callers and always the bride's maids. Nobody gets less, even lip service, and always folds for the "middle" no matter how far right those "responsible" people drift.

Senate Democrats would have you know that they were helpless in the face of the Mighty Joe. Those earmark things Johnny McPOW so hates; I'd bet over 50 Democratic Senators could figure out how a strike out works. In fact there seems to be an actual supply of ball bats over at the Senate with seats, chairs, earmarks, office spaces, and funding floating around in the hands of at least 51 Democrats. Since the Mighty Ho is holding hearings about the panty bomber it is pretty obvious nothing but wiffs happened in the club. I'm sure the left had something to do with that beyond hating him.

You can pull apart the entire course of the bill until now and see no damage from the left. It may have had an effect on approval, but versus the spectacle in the Senate, that would be pretty small. It has gotten to be real fun to compare the Democratic Left to the riechwing loons and particularly the Teabaggery bunch. The problem with that idea is that the so-called Democratic middle goes along with the stupidity propagated by the Republicans despite the pull back of the Left. Think I'm exaggerating? Fine, see who voted for and supported the AUMF in regard to Iraq, check out who voted for BushCo tax cuts, Patriot Act, Foreign Combatants, and on and on. You will not find the Left there. Why exactly members of the Administration are insulting the Left as though they were responsible for the failures of the Democratic Agenda is beyond me.

There are aspects of the Left that are silly to me, calling Obama Bushlite is one. The continuation of some BushCo policies in regard to terrorism is disappointing and, frankly, wrong but scarcely Bushian overall. Some of the Left shares with some of Democratic middle stupidity regarding the Second Amendment, but this is not remotely a feature of the Left versus that so-called middle. You'll find plenty of that middle tossing rocks as though owning guns is rightwing loonyism. As an example, in Communistic Oregon the Lefty organization Democratic Party of Oregon has as its second largest Caucus the Gun Owners Caucus.

There is extremism in any political stripe, stances that go beyond reasonable inspection into pure faith. Teabaggery is one example, but you would be hard pressed to find much of a percentage on the Left, despite the detractors. In point of fact, as the detractors scoffed at the Left for pushing the Congress over the "Health Care Reform" bill in the face of a lack of votes, they now are engaging in exactly the same behavior in favor of the Senate bill in the face of exactly the same problem - lack of votes. Somehow the Left is stupid and destructive for doing the same thing.

You could wonder why I find it difficult to support with work and money the Party that insults and ignores me ... you could, I suppose. But then, I never supported or applauded or voted for St Ronnie Reagan, either. If you understand or appreciate Reagan Democrats - you and I have nothing in common and you'll find this whole exercise insulting. I could care less.

I Thought You Quit

I did. The problem is that it is winter and money is tight which means distractions are bit difficult to come by and the level of stupidity is way past ignoring. I tried not seeing the political news. The problem is that any local venues contain it and my intellect is simply incapable of tuning out egregious stupidity committed by power. Once that's happened I'm simply incompetent at keeping quiet about it.

The handful of you who give enough of a rat's patoot to click on this thing will be gratified and those who might benefit a bit will continue to provide fodder for my outrage in blissful ignorance of its existence.

Senate Democrats Held Hostage By Shelby

The US Senate has rules intended to slow legislative rushes prevent egregious nominations, all well and fine. Richard (Jefferson Davis) Shelby (R-Airbus, Toyota) has put a hold on 70 Federal nominations because French Airbus isn't guaranteed a Federal Contract and the Alabama FBI office didn't get a bomb research wing. What we're talking about here is massive Federal spending in Alabama that this Confederate Party of Republicanism Senator might not get. Do try to remember that this is the same guy from the same Party that decries taxes and federal expansion as their beloved Confederate State suck money out of the evil Blue States.

Now there ought to be something approaching a lesson in this particular temper tantrum but count on Democrats to not get it. Earmarks. Yes, Sen McPOW and Teabaggers demon the earmark is sitting right there in front of Senate Democrats screaming for attention and in the spirit of the Club will be ignored as a hammer. How hard is it to figure out that stiking every Alabama earmark in the face of this behavior can be done? Will Alabama suffer? Certainly not according to their political will as demonstrated by their idiotology and Senator. Will such a thing happen? Give me a break, in face of Democratic Senate inability to keep liars like LIEberman in order you might as well believe in the Easter Bunny.

Teabaggers, Welcome To The Monkeyhouse

Anyone who has ever been to the zoo has watched the monkeys throw poop and play with themselves. If you were a child you probably had your parents trying to stand between you and the display. There are no parents in Teabaggery and no particular evidence of evolution above monkeydom, either.

To start somewhere near the beginning, there was no Teabaggery as GWB trashed something like deficit recovery under Clinton (surplus my ass) with tax cuts for the wealthy. Not a whisper as the on paper budget exploded deficits and no whimpering as off the record war financing tore a hole in finances. No Teabaggery accompanied the Federal subsidization of Halliburton (Cheney's failure as CEO), not quite as blatant as the GM bailout, but not in the least inconsiderable. No Teabaggery happened as Patriot Act and FISA work-arounds were instituted. No Teabaggery rock throwing at Jack Abromoff, as opposed to say the Soros meme. Teabaggery would have you believe that Barack Obama instituted the Bankers Bailout. Teabaggery would have you ignore six years of Republican House, Senate, and Presidency and the results there of, this mess is due to the Socialist Democrats and the nigger in chief.

The media can't get enough of this bunch and treats them as something other than delusional freaks. They lose their minds if the Obama DOJ acts as though the Constitution and rule of law need to be respected by treating terrorists as law breakers instead of military units and scream about the Constitution being abrogated. The media doesn't bother to do more than transcribe their rants, it cannot be bothered with things like simple facts. Six hundred people paid over $500 to get massive media attention, a Star Trek convention in the same town would shoot itself over a turn out like that, virtually any convention would hang its head in shame. The Portland Gun Show would be done for (yes, Communist Portland Oregon) if it had this attendance and yet the national media will go on and on about idiots with no facts and a loser grasp on reality. People who have employment because the Fed stepped into GM will cheer these idjits on as they scream socialism without taking a single look at the Halliburtons or the wealthy.

Rather than point and laugh as Tancredo, Palin, and assorted ... loons throw their poop and masturbate the Republican right fringe the media acts as though something happened. The ex-Gov of the biggest Federal welfare state who bought the affection of her in state electorate with the socialism of direct payments from industry actually is taken seriously as she talks about tax cuts and socialism. The Federal welfare states of the South get taken seriously as they bankroll foreign auto manufacturers to compete with the US industry, national tax dollars are used to make up the tax short fall - you know? Nobody in the media mentions it. Tancredo seriously talks about the racist poll tests as though his audience could pass one and the media doesn't scoff?

The political dialogue in this country has descended into the muck because the liars and distorters don't get called for it, they get a media megaphone instead. Teabaggery gets to call liberal bias as the liberally biased media gives them free play. Try to find one major media market that calls out the rampant bullshit slung by this bunch. It isn't as though the facts are even that hard to find, 5 minutes research by any reader of this would be sufficient to debunk any given Teabaggery rant, but the media can't be bothered. I don't propose partisanship, just some damn facts to go along with the monkeyshines.

Monday, February 01, 2010

What To Do, Now ?

Here's the deal, folks, I have neither seen nor heard national political news for a week nor have I followed it with any attention online. I also feel better for it. Not surprisingly that leaves very little subject matter for political blogging.

I know a lot of folks think the SOTU is an important event. I think it is political posturing of no import unless some bald-faced lie is promoted (think GWB uranium). I'm sorry if you think the President is a knight in shining armor, he isn't he's a politician and he is a politician with a plate full of problems. Some of those bigger ones are inherited and some are self-inflicted. I care to go into neither, but the SOTU is a political exercise in dealing with this and I gave it a miss.

I don't know what I'm going to do with this thing - a dozen of you give a damn. For the time being I'm taking a break. I may get interested again, or not. I'm tired of stupid attacks being made for little or no reason.