Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Patriot Act ... Horse****

It seems that something has changed since Democrats opposed the absolute police state provisions of the Patriot Act. Nobody seems to know exactly what that is. It is Harry Reid's position that trying to do something endangers the US. That would be the same Harry Reid who opposed it previously - when it was a BushCo issue.

I don't really much give a damn about political party identification when it comes to stomping on civil liberties. I particularly don't give a damn when the law is in response to an occurrence where the failures had not a damn thing to do with the cures.

Nothing in the draconian nonsense enabled by the "Patriot Act" (patriotism is something else) addresses the failure of the FBI to continue with the results of ordinary police work nor the failure of agencies to communicate information - all of which led to 9/11 investigations dead ending before 9/11. Nothing extraordinary was required to unravel the conspiracy, just plain old already available law enforcement tools.

Security at any cost does mean the eventual end of civil liberties, their very existence in this country ran counter to the desire of virtually every government preceding and the root of that was the security of those governments. That the autocratic GOP loves some civil liberty stomping is no surprise, that the Democratic Party rolled over and ran with that ... sadly isn't a real big surprise.

So, is the difference between the parties simply a matter of degree to which they're dedicated to screwing the citizenry? Maybe the deficit issue will tell you all about that.

Monday, May 30, 2011

To Really Honor The Fallen

Memorial Day - flags, flowers, and patriotic rhetoric abounds and it seems that what gets left out is that the Fallen got into that position through decisions made by those with little or no 'skin' in the game. These people fell in battles of others' choosing, people whose motives may have had little to do with the patriotism of risking your life for your country's needs.

In that selfless risk of health and life there resides a terrible gamble, the proposition that the end is deserving of the sacrifice, not to the soldier who has no choice in the matter, but to the nation which asks it. Regardless of the actual need or stupidity of the decision to go war these men and women will go. It behooves this nation to consider what it asks in that regard.

I begin my analysis of any proposition to go to war from a pacifistic point of view, that warfare is a horrible cruel enterprise dedicated to breaking things and killing people. I need to be convinced that other options have been exhausted and that the issue merits death and destruction ... and that future analysis will not judge that a mistake.

The very best way of honoring the fallen is to ensure that their sacrifices will be judged as worthy of this nation. Never forget that what we honor is their selfless self-sacrifice for this nation and we need to deserve that sacrifice.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Keith Olberman

IN case you haven't been paying attention you can get a version of Countdown. I like KO; which is not to say that I think he always gets it right.

Anyhow, it's a link and the site does provide you with a zip code entry to find where "Current" is available.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Iowa Looms Over The GOP

Mitt is getting money at a nice rate, and sadly for him in Iowa; he's still Mitt. Mitt of the MA health care and Mitt of Mormonism and Mitt of all kinds of flippery-floppery. Tim Pawlenty is as exciting as watching paint dry for Iowans who want fundamentalism and firey Barack bashing. For Tim to attract the real money boys of the GOP he'd have to show something real - like winning Iowa. Winning Iowa may mean having to get past a Bachman who will feed Iowans fundamentalism and attacks which would mean going where a Bachman would go which is poisonous to other states. If Bachman gets in and wins Iowa, (big IFS) that would put the GOPer money boys in a real state. South Carolina (of all places) directly follows Iowa and the idea that a victorious Bachman wouldn't beat the weak sauce of Mitt and Tim doesn't pay much attention to South Carolina.

Sure, I'm ignoring Santorum, Gingrich, and Cain; if you think that's a fault you've kind of paid little attention to them. This mess the GOP is in has been building for years and it seems to me to be deserved. It is of their own making over a decades long process of catering to groups who will not be satisfied with simply having no alternative. Those folks may not be the money of the GOP, but they are the ones who will vote and are not interested in mushy ole Mitt/Tim.

The money part of the GOP might be really displeased with a Bachman as a candidate, but this is what they've purchased over the years and in order to pursue their plutocratic agenda must please. If you want people to vote against their economic interests you have to give them something to distract them - that's your Bachman.

It ought to be real easy to gloat - but then I'm a Democrat and have to deal with ... that. What? Yeah, I'm not a bit satisfied with "not as bad as them."

Palin's Media Gift To Grift

Ordinarily any politician with Sarah's record and negative polling numbers would be a joke to the media in regards to a Presidential run. If you've watched or read news over the last two days you'll note that isn't exactly the case for most. I understand that they're salivating at the prospect of Sarah-speak and looneys crowding up, but news is supposed to be, well, just that. It just isn't news that Sarah is a media ... hound. (I had another word in mind, but sexism and all that)

Let's get one thing straight, Sarah cannot afford to double cross Roger Ailes and FauxNews by running after he canned Santorum and Gingrich. She's just enough vindictive to know what FauxNews would do to her for such a move.

Sarah is not going to run and the media is doing no more than enriching a grifter by pretending that she will. I'm pretty tired of the media acting stupidly, but that's also old news.

Given the complicity of the media is it any wonder this nation is descending into a state of idiocy?

A So-called Middle

Now that the GOP has pushed their clown car off a right cliff; I suppose that the middle is now the crumbling edge of that cliff and responsible people like Democrats need to get there. Just think of the possiblities - er, rather don't, that is incredibly depressing.

Any bets on this?

Herman Cain For President - GOP

Um, he's black?

When Texas Secedes Can Perry Still Run?

Rick Perry?

Damn, those twits are desperate.

I suppose it would be impolite to mention the Texas deficit...

We Don't Negotiate With Terrorists?*

Sen Mitch McConnell (KY-R) made it clear to TPM that the GOP is willing to explode the economy if Medicaid isn't cut.
"To get my vote, for me, it's going to take short term [cuts, via spending caps]... Both medium and long-term, entitlements.," McConnell said. "Medicare will be part of the solution."

To clarify, I asked "[I]f [the Biden group] comes up with big cuts, trillions of dollars worth of cuts, but without substantially addressing Medicare, it won't get your vote?"

"Correct," McConnell said.

You have to admire their dedication to ideology, which naturally leaves one wondering about Democrats...

*h/t to Balloon Juice

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Fire In The Belly Sarah

I have bad news for the progressives and Teabaggers who are champing at the bit for Sarah to run, she won't. I know what kind of fodder she offers to Democrats and I understand the childishness of Teabaggers but sadly for all - Sarah is looking for publicity and money, grift.

Sarah still works for FauxNews, even lame people like Santorum lost that. Think for a moment, Santorum. Sarah has managed to make herself pretty rich on the back of politics for the stupid and that does not include actually doing something like run for President - except as catering to their wishful thinking. Those wishes generate money and Sarah likes nice things - lots of them a lot.

This woman's unfavorable ratings in polls. thanks to stupidity and incompetence, rival those reserved for folks like Mafioso. That is political poison for those with real actual money and electoral skill. I suppose a real question would be how long after she doesn't run can she keep the money tree watered?

Too bad, all that mockery joy available with a run...

GOP Suicide Pact

Over past decades the GOP has put forward or passed legislation that is directly counter to the interests of a giant majority of the citizenry. The GOP has used language that is offensive to not only the targets but to ordinary citizens. The GOP has gotten away with this for literally decades and decades - somehow.

Now, after running against health care reform and Democratic "killing Medicare" they are busily doubling down on the Ryan Plan to kill Medicare and give the wealthy huge tax cuts - along with other stupidities. Both the House and Senate GOP virtually unanimously voted for that plan and one GOPer got to vote for it twice, Sen Dean Heller (NV-R).

If your analysis of the 2010 mid-term was that the Democratic debacle was primarily about the economy and possibly secondarily about health care reform you have to wonder if the GOP could have found a higher cliff to leap off. One quarter of the way through the House term they've only just now put out a 'jobs plan' on the back of - yes - the Ryan Plan and multiple abortion ... stuff ... and killing Medicare. GOP Presidential hopefuls are, with some dancing, lining up with the GOP ... uh, theme.

The sad part of such stupidity on the part of the GOP is that there will be a good sized number of Democratic candidates that really ought to be GOPers. I will lay you odds that we're going to go right on back down the road of any (D) ... essentially, "We're not as bad as those guys," all over again. I suppose it makes me a bad Democrat to say, "No, not the ditch, not the shoulder, let's get on the freeway."

If you're busy celebrating Hochul in NY26 you might stop and think about her dogged insistence the she is "an independent Democrat." which in politi-speak means. "I'm not really a Democrat - in case you're worried." Yaaaaahoooo...

Good god, Dick Cheney "I worship the ground Paul Ryan walks on..."


NYSE Is Soooooo Special

TPM just recently got slapped with a cease and desist letter from the NYSE claiming copywrite infringement for publishing a picture of the "Floor."

So how's this for a big "FU" to the ratbastards who've shit canned the economy for decades and are making fortunes off this current disaster? Let me make myself clear to you insufferable plutocratic ****s; you put yourselves and images all over the media real regularly touting what an economic dynamo you are and you simply could not be a more public figure if you were Barak Obama.

Go ahead and send me a letter asserting the same crap you put forward to TPM.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The E Class Mercedes Benz

I just watched an ad for this car, people were really happy that their car was a better driver than they were. Um, the car for people who shouldn't be on the road - period.


How about a car that recognizes motorcycles as vehicles that shouldn't be smashed? Maybe they could sell a bunch in Florida where about two people per day tried to kill me.

Since I'm Clueless On The Middle East

In a reply to a commenter I made the point that I'm clueless about what to do in Afghanistan and Iraq at this point in time. I'm clueless because there are a hell of a lot of competing interests that I think need to be addressed. It doesn't matter what I thought about getting into Afghanistan or Iraq or what I thought about the methodology as far as what to do NOW.

I think some of the interests that need to be addressed include (in no particular order of importance):
our national security
the secutity of those nations
the economic and social interests of those nations
our social and economic interests
the simple well being of the citizenry of all included nations
the cultural impacts on all nations involved
the possibility of accomplishing any of those ends
the means of accomplishing any of those ends

I will say that I've seen little evidence of the liklihood of killing your way out of a mess and it seems the more generalized the killing the less liklihood. I am by inclination anti-war, I need to be convinced that it has to be done. I don't think it is reasonable to dismiss the fact that we've killed people and blown things up and those outcomes should be addressed.

I don't like answers that simplistically deal with a part without looking at the complexity of the actual situation.

Yes, this is an ivitation to use the comments section for something other than "Chuck you're great" or "Chuck you're an ass."

Newt May Be Dead - Or Maybe A Zombie

I'd be as likely to take Palin seriously as a Presidential contender as I would Newt but this from Swampland is absolutely ... um ... precious.

Update: Gingrich’s spokesman, Rick Tyler, sends the Huffington Post this statement blaming the candidate’s problems on the press:

“The literati sent out their minions to do their bidding,” Tyler wrote. “Washington cannot tolerate threats from outsiders who might disrupt their comfortable world. The firefight started when the cowardly sensed weakness. They fired timidly at first, then the sheep not wanting to be dropped from the establishment’s cocktail party invite list unloaded their entire clip, firing without taking aim their distortions and falsehoods. Now they are left exposed by their bylines and handles. But surely they had killed him off. This is the way it always worked. A lesser person could not have survived the first few minutes of the onslaught. But out of the billowing smoke and dust of tweets and trivia emerged Gingrich, once again ready to lead those who won’t be intimated by the political elite and are ready to take on the challenges America faces.”

To say anything more would devalue this, well noting that the incoming fire was virtually all GOP might add to the wonderfulness.

(Honestly, do you think Newt should fire this guy or give him a raise?)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Back Again?

Every now and again somebody stops by here for something other than "Archives" so I've put up something just for them.

All one or two of you.

Chicken or Egg - nobody around due to lack of posts or lack of posts because nobody around. Maybe I'll play at this again, for awhile. Maybe somebody other than a nut will "Comment".

Maybe not...

Newt No Longer The GOP Idea Guy?

I'll be go-to-hell if I ever understood the theme about Newt that he was Idea Guy. Now not that he's short of Ideas, it is just that I don't know of any that held any water other than as buzz words. The (something) media went right along with this theme of Idea Guy. It seems that Newt went onto Meet the Press and didn't understand that answering questions on TV (despite multiple appearances on said show) means that your answers exist on tape and somebody might notice that you did such a thing.

Newt has had lots of Ideas about how to be nasty and insulting, but now he gets to find out how his Party will use that on him. This ought to be the end of Newt in this GOP Primary, and it really is a shame because he always provides such fodder for people like me.

Really, I'll miss a guy like this.

A Love Letter From Greg Walden ... ugh

"You deserve a fact-based conversation on the budget"
That is the opening line so one could almost have hopes ... er maybe not considering the source of the use of this franking privilege.
"Every year proponents of borrow - and - spend policies in Washington use gimmicks and" ... blah, blah ... "borrowing 40 cents on every dollar"...
This is the guy who stood shoulder to shoulder with BushCo as they ... well economic debacle and all. But -
"On April 15th, House Republicans passed a budget that takes the first steps on a path to prosperity"...
"Prosperity" for somebody un-named.
"Before going farther, I want to make one point very clear: If you are in or approaching retirement, you have earned" ... blah, blah
(format bold underlined):
Our budget does not propose any changes to the Medicare or Social Security programs for those 55 or older.
(end format)
(Lots of snip of lots of boiler plate demonstrably false crappolla...)
"I understand fairness. That is why our budget does not propose any changes ... for those 55 and older."

Now I'm just damned ecstatic that Greg understands "fairness" at least in regard to throwing those 54 1/2 years old on to the tender mercies of the for profit insurance companies because they haven't paid SS/FICA until 55 or some such thing which means their benefits are ... I don't know - disposable(?). This "fairness" wouldn't have anything to do with the voting percentages of those 55 and over would it? It wouldn't be a case of kicking the can of consequences far enough down the road to be meaningless to someone like Greg Walden's electoral chances?

This "moderate" Republican always keeps his head down unless it is a matter of screwing up the RNC's campaign finances by exercising no oversight or standing on a dam to provoke the US' worst fish kill. He gets re-elected in this OR2 CD because he doesn't stick his head up while he consistently votes against the District's inhabitants economic interests. Even with this abjectly stupid political move of sending out this letter he'll get re-elected if he wants to be. Why that is ... well it's because he's not one of them (you know - Democrats).

A monkey at a typewriter ought to be able to come up with policy prescriptions that would beat ole Greg but ... nooooope. If you wonder why I sometimes despair of the electorate ...
oh hell

M-O-N-E-Y Spells Respect, ummm

Last night I admitted to left wing Democratic tendencies to a couple people I knew perfectly good and well wouldn't like anything about that. This resulted in the usual stupid and false GOP/Libertarian talking points. I've certainly heard all that stuff better phrased and better presented but I went ahead and poked the bull just for giggles. It was an exercise in pointlessness because whatever fact I presented was going to be ignored in pursuit of the stupid emotional appeals crafted by their ... 'betters.'

Neither of these individuals is ever going to make enough money to matter in the scheme of wealth, taxation, or power. Not ever, not going to happen and not even in their dreams. Their concerns were all theoretical, entirely outside their experiences or possible experiences and somehow addressed 'fairness.' The mantras were familiar to anyone acquainted with Libertarianism, high marginal tax brackets/tax rates punishing success, no civilization has ever taxed its way to success, the left trusts government, and on and on.

Neither person was stupid, they were quite capable of speaking in complete sentences and being, frankly, more lucid (even with alcohol involved) than Sarah Palin. No, that is not some joke, they were. Their points were not their own, they are manufactured by people with something to gain from selling them. Much of their birth as public discourse can be tracked to the economic abortion that was the St Ronnie Administration. Trickle down economics may be one of the most stupid commonly held beliefs in currency today and then and despite all evidence to the contrary it vampirically refuses to die. It is the corner stone of all the other horse ... pucky.

The real problem with trying to rebut this 'stuff' is that there is always the excuse that the failures are the result of insufficient application - ie Democrats messed it up. (h/t Michael B) You can point out to them the nearly steady decrease in top marginal rates from St Ronnie on to this historical low and it just simply doesn't matter. The dislocation of wealth simply is not of any concern - the fact that economic improvement, as economics is presently practiced in the US, is strictly a one way street upward demonstrates nothing. Well, it does represent the theft of their money by supporting the impoverished and disabled with their SS/FICA taxes... No matter that the Capital Gains rate is effectively lower, that one applies to everyone. Not that hardly anyone is actually concerned actually paying it...

There is one hope in this kind of discussion. The hope is that the GOP will continue to overstep the bounds of sense and insult the supposedly important and informed "middle."

As though the media would collude in any such informing

Bachman/Plalin Overdrive 2012 *

*stolen from somebody, frequently seen at Balloon Juice comments.

You have to stop and think about the fact that this concept isn't complete fictional satire as a title. As Pres/VP it is satire and, really, silly satire but as nominees it isn't quite as silly a statement. What this says about the state of the nation is one thing, what it says about the GOP and the field is another. I'll be damned if I'll do the sociology of 'WTF?' I will talk a bit about the GOP and why this kind of thing is happening.

This young black President beat an old white POW Senator (did I mention POW?) and the previous President still polls as to blame for the economy. Coupled with the advantages of incumbency this makes President Obama a rather daunting challenge. You can talk all day to me about the supposed sanity of Mittens or Pawlenty and all you'll get is raised eyebrows. Mittens is a Mormon empty suit with no discernible policy continuity (flipper-flopper?) and Pawlenty is both about as exciting as oatmeal and has a record (bridge?). Pawlenty is not going to be able to sell the "really pissed off white guy" theme that will work with the nation's reliable 27%ers who make up the GOP base. Mittens can read and do some math, at some point religion and former stances will result in polls that dissuade him unless ego wins. Pawlenty may not be bright enough to see what a buzz saw he's walked into, but real money will (outside Koch). Don't take this to mean that real wealth and plutocratic power will be enamored of BPO, they aren't their kind. No, I don't really expect BPO to be the nominees, but the lack of sacrificial lambs is interesting. Barring catastrophe President Obama has little to worry about in the General Election.

The GOP has to look toward 2016 and not having 2012 make them look like, well, what they are. Remember that what the GOP is, is exactly what PBO looks like and that will scare the ever loving hell out of 'independents.' WI, OH, FL, & etc are what the GOP is, along with Paul Ryan, and the GOP is finding out that having the public see that isn't good for polling. Newt seemed to forget what polls in GOP circles and so he's a dead issue, you just cannot say individual mandates and right wing social engineering anywhere, ever. So one nut-job imploded. That doesn't begin to address what Bachman would get up to with the public forum provided by a Primary run. If the GOP field winds up trying to please the circle that finds/found Gingrich, Bachman, and Palin attractive the public is going to see it and find it a clown car.

The GOP is a clown car, their problem is to not abjectly look like it. Heh.


I just heard Lawrence O'Donnell state that 'thinking Republicans are now surrounding Pawlenty.' The first problem with that is the connection of the words "thinking" and "Republicans" after that you run into whether money thinks he can do spit without making the 27%ers happy - electoral suicide.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Outcomes Of OBL's Demise

The other day I made the case that a whole lot of analysis of outcomes from the killing of Osama would involve guess work. I'll go ahead and make some guesses.

I think some of the view of being AQ's #1 as a sinecure has evaporated, it looks more like a dangerous occupation. I wouldn't find being identified as #1-3 as conducive to my peace of mind. It does look as though given competent leadership and policies the US is pretty good at dealing with such people. Knowing that the "invulnerable" OBL wasn't in fact any such thing does change some things.

There has been talk that killing OBL will lead to revenge thinking on the part of some. I'm not sure I buy that as an issue. The people being talked about here are already operating out of a sense of vengence and supposing that this will amp things up a lot ignores the level of rage that leads people to be willing to strap on bombs or have others do it. That doesn't make it an immaterial threat, but it doesn't mean exaggerating it makes sense either.

I'm pretty sure our relations with Pakistan are going to be strained. How that will play out will have more to do with each nation's perspective of its interests than anything to do with outrage over this incident. Public posturing by either government won't have a lot to do with what is privately said and done.

Politics in the US may be more affected than anything else, maybe. This does complicate the GOP rhetoric about Democrats being soft on security. They're going to work real hard at making this an outcome of their action, but it still is two years into the Obama Administration and ten years after 9-11. I'm glad I don't have to play their hand on this one and I'm real sure that over-reach on their part will blow up in their faces with a bunch of people.

It is pretty difficult to make the case that President Obama is confused, out of his depth, incompetent, or cowardly in the face of this performance. Like all their themes, they won't abandon it, but it makes the sell more difficult. Their trick will be to not look ridiculous to large chunks of the population while doing the sales pitch. The media frenzy over this killing will make it a bit more difficult for the media to participate in the sell. It would take real work to over-estimate the media's capacity to stenographer claims, though.

I do hope that this action makes it more likely that this and future administrations will use these kinds of tools rather than bombs, missiles, and large numbers of troops. I also hope that this demonstration of patience and careful planning will reduce the instances of cowboy reactions by everybody.

Lots of qualifiers, modifiers, and plain guessing here.

Our Ally Pakistan

There really does seem to be some serious confusion about terms like ally. This term is applied to other governments and as such it is important to remember that other governments have their own interests. Being an ally does not mean that a country's government is the same as or a blind follower of its ally. It also is not a static relationship.

Questions can certainly be raised as the the level of alliance and whether it is in our interest to continue. "Our interest" is key wording and that follows through to the other side of an alliance. I'm not in a position to analyze all the levels of our alliance with Pakistan but there are a couple aspects that certainly are public - like the fact that we are also allied with India who isn't Pakistan's friend. I'm pretty sure Pakistan understands the limits of alliance and that the Obama Administration understands the limits - it is a lot less clear who else does.

I'm not making a case that our government doesn't need to take a good look at our relationship with Pakistan on a continuing basis or that OBL's location shouldn't be troubling. I am trying to make clear that people need to understand that each government has its own interests and that alliances don't automatically trump those. As some of our other alliances past and present show - we're willing to overlook quite a bit in the service to some of our interests. I could point to Mubarak's Egypt until recently.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Got Him

The most wanted man in the world was taken by the Obama Administration in a quick clean operation in an urban setting. The patience and discipline exercised by this Admin is exceptional, this location was heavily suspected since October, in the run up to a questionable mid-term election. No hints escaped, in point of fact the theme that Osama was holed up in a border cave was not hedged.

There is this element of staying on task, despite all distraction, and keeping the consideration on the end and not the political ends. You are free to contrast this with the GWB record and more so with the Republican Party record all the way back to the "wag the dog" days of Clinton. Afghanistan stayed the steaming pile of crap it is for years while GWB and the GOP chearleaded an Iraq invasion. GWB was attacked on the basis of facts during this period while this President has been under relentless lying ... stuff like birth certificates, religion, and death panels and yet this one managed to act like an adult.

There is little I can add to the paeans of bravery and competence for the units involved, I really don't have words. As for assertions that Osama should have been taken alive - I don't know anyone who has reasonably asserted that he would not resist (and I don't mean a wrestling match). In such a situation even city cops shoot, and these guys aren't city cop shooters, huge amounts of money and time go into ensuring that they are absolutely lethal in all conditions. The outcome is not going to be a guy with eight non-lethal wounds and bullet holes all over creation. Outside some ridiculously remote condition Osama was going to die even when capture was a part of the directives.

What this will mean to international and local terrorism is unclear to me. What it will mean to the war in Afghanistan and regarding Pakistan is unclear to me. I'm pretty sure that anyone who claims insight is engaging in guessing. In the world of politics a lot is going to depend on just how stupid the GOPpers get over this. President Obama presided over this and took some real political risks in the process. An awful lot of Americans are real happy to see Osama dealt with and aren't going to be pleased with political "buzz-kill."

This doesn't fix the recession, it doesn't fix the dislocation of wealth, it doesn't fix health care (especially with the GOP dedicated to screwing it worse), it doesn't fix much of anything. It sure does draw an underline under competence in descriptions of President Obama. That is a tough one for the GOP, minimize as they will. They will.