Archive for the ‘Sen. John McCain’ Category

                                                           Image from CNN 7-7-2017

Lately I’ve been incredibly puzzled by how little most Americans know or even care about Russia meddling in our elections. The news has been trickling in for some time and as an IT professional and former computer programmer professor with 20 years of experience in computer programming, I can tell you that it is probably worse than you know.  If you want to stay updated on the Russian story, the BEST site I’ve found to date is https://investigaterussia.org/, aka, the Committee to Investigate Russia.  Created by a bipartisan group consisting of experts and advocates (a couple of names you are probably already familiar with like James Clapper and Rob Reiner are on the advisory board), this site catalogs news articles from reputable sources, lists all of the key players (who are easy to get confused, especially with the long hard to pronounce Russian names), explains the various public investigations that are ongoing, and keeps track of timelines in the investigations.  I found the site by listening to Jacki Schechner on the Bob Cesca Show.  Jacki has a long history in the news business and her latest project has been to launch this news aggregation site launched.  It’s finally online and I STRONGLY encourage you to check it out.

Here’s a BRIEF summary of what we know.  The Russians attempted to hack 39 states and in at least one instance, tried to delete and alter voter data.  We know during the Democratic primaries that many Bernie voters complained that their change in registration from Independent to Democratic parties did not occur properly and so they were unable to vote in the closed primary.  In other instances many longtime Democratic voters were inexplicably given provisional ballots.  This led Bernie Sanders to file complaints, which in turn led to Hillary supporters becoming defensive and voila the damage was done.  The Left continues to argue among itself to this day and Putin is loving every moment of it.

We know that Putin engaged in a disinformation campaign and that it has been an unprecedented success on many levels.

  • He has succeeded in undermining our confidence in our democratic institutions.   If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times.  The hackers didn’t need to hack our voting machines to mess with vote tallies, they only needed to mess with our voter registrations.  There is mounting evidence that they did just that.  Now many people, including myself, don’t trust our election process.
  • He has succeeded in suborning the Executive Branch.  Herr Orangenfuhrerhas shown a pattern of letting Russia get away with far too much** (see Sources 4-7 at bottom).  The Executive Branch is being lead by a man who is, for all practical purposes, Putin’s “poleznyje idiot” or “useful idiot”.
  • He has succeeded in subverting the Legislative Branch.  Congress, under the control of the GOP, has been blocking progress into the investigation while mouthing crap about “being concerned”.  I don’t want to hear about how my Senator, John McCain is concerned.  I want to hear about how he and his colleagues are doing something to 1) stop the current collusion with Russia and 2) to stop it from happening again in the future.  Neither of which is happening.
  • He has succeeded in taking advantage of our ignorance and our openness.  Part of the problem is that the information has been trickling in and from so many different sources.  Another part of the problem is that it involves technology that most people don’t understand.  And yet another problem is our short attention span.  The final part of the problem is that far too many on both the Right and the Left are knowingly and unknowingly carrying Putin’s water.  The Right is repeating Trump’s BS rhetoric about “Fake News”.  It also doesn’t help that some on the left (like Jill Stein, Bernie Bros, and Russian plants pretending to be Bernie Bros) not only pushed anti-Hillary news but are now pushing the “Fake News” line of thinking as well.   As a result, unfortunately, too many Americans in the middle are throwing up their hands and saying, “We don’t know who to trust!”  All this confusion is EXACTLY what Putin wants.

Is it any wonder that the American people are too distracted and confused?!  Unfortunately, we need to pay attention to this story.  I honestly believe that this is the beginning of the end for our Democracy IF we don’t respond appropriately to this crisis.

Make no mistake about it–Russia attacked us.  They have attacked and are continuing to attack our democracy and we all need to wake up and pay attention.  We need to stay on top of this story and push Congress to do something about it.   Check out the “Committee to Investigate Russia“.

Notes:
*I refuse now and forever to give Trump the title of President.
**Too many articles to cite in that one sentence but a few are listed below (see sources 4-7)…I could go on and on
***These sources are listed in no particular order.  I have been trying to avoid any sources that might be of Russian origin but it is very hard to know who to trust.  For instance, I know that RT.com is basically Russian propaganda but there are many bloggers who seem to have a Russian/Wikileaks slant to them who might be reporting real news but they also might be knowingly and unknowingly repeating crap stories from Russia.  For that reason I’ve tried to avoid using links to other “unknown” bloggers and tried to stick to well known news sources.

Sources:***

  1. https://www.vox.com/world/2017/6/13/15791744/russia-election-39-states-hack-putin-trump-sessions
  2. http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-ca-voting-problems-20160607-snap-htmlstory.html
  3. http://www.cnn.com/2016/04/19/politics/new-york-primary-voter-problem-polls-sanders-de-blasio/index.html
  4. http://foreignpolicy.com/2017/07/09/trump-has-picked-americas-enemies-in-russia-over-its-friends-in-europe/
  5. http://www.weeklystandard.com/trump-caves-to-putin/article/2008751
  6. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trump-administration-moves-to-return-russian-compounds-in-maryland-and-new-york/2017/05/31/3c4778d2-4616-11e7-98cd-af64b4fe2dfc_story.html?utm_term=.916898cc623e
  7. http://www.newsweek.com/trump-collusion-russia-what-we-know-so-far-630053
  8. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rob_Reiner
  9. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Clapper
  10. https://investigaterussia.org/
  11. http://www.bobcesca.com/the-bob-cesca-show-presented-by-bubblegenius-com-9717/
  12. http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/05/politics/house-intelligence-committee-subpoena-fbi-justice/index.html
  13. http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/if-only-john-mccains-actions-matched-john-mccains-rhetoric
  14. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2016/08/10/are-u-s-voters-confident-in-their-electoral-system-yes-and-no/?utm_term=.8acf19b0f164
  15. http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/343292-jill-stein-looped-into-widening-investigation-of-russia-and-trump-jr
  16. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/bernie-sanders-fake-news-russia_us_58c34d97e4b0ed71826cdb36

 

Advertisements

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother;
–William Shakespeare, from Henry V

In my mind, the part that says “sheds his blood with me” should be “sheds his blood for me”. See in modern warfare everyone doesn’t fight in wars–at least not in the U.S. We have the luxury of having standing armies. But that doesn’t relieve us as fellow citizens of our obligations to those who do fight. Apparently U.S. Senate Republicans have forgotten that.

Senate Republicans voted down a VA spending bill.  Only Democratic Senators and two Republicans voted for the bill. The opposed Republicans argued that 1) it’s borrowed money and that’s bad policy, 2) the VA is wasteful so why extend its mission if it’s already failing, and 3) they wanted new sanctions against Iran tagged onto the bill because they couldn’t get it to the floor for debate any other way.

There’s so much there to lambaste….where to start. I’ll try to keep it simple.

1) Borrowed Money BS: The GOP has the nerve to bitch about borrowed money when they supported TWO wars and borrowed money to fund them. Hell they didn’t even budget for them until Pres. Obama came into office and insisted that we put the expense on the books and start paying for them. You, know, to do the grown up thing. Both wars cost us $4 trillion with tens of billions wasted and ended up lining the pockets of big corporations like Halliburton and Xe. You know Halliburton the company that Dick Cheney used to run and Xe, formerly known as Blackwater, who provided soldiers for hire when we ran out of troops.

So now these same guys are now refusing to pass a bill that would take care of the very veterans that fought in those wars because it would cost us $21 billion over 10 years. Now realize this new bill restores pension money that was previously promised to veterans and upon which many military familes were planning on having upon retirement. Congress only recently took a part of their pension away–so they could give it back–they never should have taken it in the first place. The bill also sought to expand benefits like caretaker stipends. You know for all those soldiers so wounded from IED’s that they need constant care while their beleaguered spouses have to now work just to survive. Did you know that the military spent $103 million on food stamps in 2013, which was a 5% increase from the year before, and that the usage of food stamps by military families has quadrupled since 2006? That’s because base pay for a soldier with a wife and one kid is $20,000. That’s nothing in today’s economy.

2) VA failing in its mission: Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) actually said “If the VA is already failing to meet its obligations to veterans, is it wise to extend its mission even further?” Oh, do you mean like we were losing in Iraq and extended what we were told would be a “get in, get out” kind of thing? Like when Pres. Bush declared mission accomplished but the war actually lasted 10 frigging years and the country is still experiencing chaos? The hypocrisy is so thick, you could cut it with a knife.

3) Iran sanctions: Do you hear that loud drum beat? That’s the war hawks in the Republican party pounding the drum for war in Syria and/or Iran. They think if they appear to be “strong” then it will make the President look “weak” in comparison. It’s why we’re seeing so many conservative articles online comparing Pres. Obama and Vladimir Putin and praising Putin for his “direct” approach. It’s a two pronged strategy: make him look weak and deny him any peaceful foreign policy solutions. And voila, we’ll have a very profitable war–profitable for them and their ilk but not so much for our military, our national budget, or well for anyone other than the warmongers and the companies that grease their palms. They are so desperate to deny Pres. Obama any political successes that they want to sabotage the already working negotiations with Iran. So they want to sabotage the peaceful solution we are currently engaged in and willing to risk a boots on the ground war with Iran for the sake of getting over politically on the President. Weren’t these the same assholes who demanded that liberals put country first any time we criticized the previous administration? Yes, yes they are.

The problem here is that Americans aren’t paying attention. They aren’t hearing this hypocrisy, at least for the most part. I certainly hope that military families are seeing and hearing the BS coming from the GOP, because if they don’t, these idiots will be voted back into office at the next midterm elections. Wake up America.

Sources:

http://www.brendan-nyhan.com/blog/gop-dissent-attacks.html

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/370782/value-putin-victor-davis-hanson/page/0/1

http://thinkprogress.org/world/2014/02/04/3244781/rohrabacher-mccain-graham/

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/why-soldiers-are-increasingly-relying-on-food-stamps/

http://item.liveleak.com/2/view?i=e4e_1393543001&comments=1

http://www.kcet.org/living/food/food-rant/a-reminder-military-families-use-food-stamps.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/federal_government/senate-rejects-far-reaching-veterans-affairs-bill/2014/02/27/1d10801c-a001-11e3-b8d8-94577ff66b28_story.html

From the land of the truly nuts:

  • As I said in a post the other day national focus has turned to AZ again primarily due to Senator McCan’t and his Border charades.  The Senator’s antics were no doubt timed to coincide not only with the state GOP’s vote of no confidence, but also to the appointment of the newest Secretary of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson, who has only been in office since Dec. 23, 2013.  Sec. Johnson is getting familiarized with the gargantuan task of running such a massive department, so it must be the perfect time for Sen. McCain to start hammering said department on the efficiency and effectiveness of their border security program.  Sec. Johnson will be visiting the Tucson sector of the Arizona border with Mexico this week.  Let’s hope the press leaves him alone so he can get to work sooner rather than later…although if Sen. McCain has his way, Johnson will be hounded every step of the way, I’m sure.
  • Since it is MLK Day, there will be lots of stories about his legacy such as the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which is fitting.  It should also be a day to remember that the fight for those Rights did not end in 1965 and recently has heated up.  Just this past year, a US Supreme Court case gutted the law, so states like Arizona went right back to their old shenanigans.  Since then States controlled by Republican governors and/or legislatures been involved in attempts to limit access to polling stations, remove methods of voting, and limit who can vote (mainly using new Voter ID laws or outright removing people from the state’s registration lists).  Of  course, these all target traditionally Democratic voters like African Americans, Native Americans, the urban poor, women and the young.  Today, of all days, we must remember that we’re still in the ring and the other side is throwing a lot of unanswered punches.
  • Another inmate has died in a Maricopa County jail under Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s reign.   Even though the MCSO is being monitored by the U.S. District Court (because of the pattern of abuses and unethical behavior spotlighted in the Melendres v. Arpaio Civil Rights case), I doubt anything will come from this latest death investigation. After all, who cares about another dead inmate—except their family of course.  They’ll get paid off like they always do and Maricopa County residents will forget and re-elect Arpaio yet again .
  • The incredibly stupid bill to allow people to carry weapons on school campuses is being proposed in the AZ State Legislature again.  It failed to even reach committee last year so let’s hope it suffers a similar fate this time as well.

As an astute reader pointed out yesterday*, Senator McCain who has represented Arizona for 30 years is being challenged from the right.  The Maricopa County Republican Committee voted by a wide margin to censure Sen. McCain for not representing conservative issues.  The final count was 1,150 to 351.  Contrast this with his 100% conservative rating by the American Conservative Union and in 2011 his voting record made him one of the most conservative members of the U.S. Senate.  McCain is not a RINO…he’s not even a moderate conservative.  He is to the right of Attila the Hun.

However from the Tea Party’s extreme positions, he is a liberal.  So they’re using the local Republican committee to flex their muscles and falsely label McCain as a liberal because he dared to compromised with the President and, you know, help to govern the country.  They’re so blind and adamant in their condemnation they had this to say:

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that until he is consistently champions our Party’s Platform and values, we, the Republican leadership in Arizona will no longer support, campaign for or endorse John McCain as our U.S. Senator.

Sounds like another Tea Party hostage situation to me.  And the timing is funny (as Alopecia pointed out).  As the censure vote was going down, the news of McCain’s letter to Homeland Security expressing his concerns with Border Security came out.  A careful reading of McCain’s letter and Immigration Reform position (which is also currently at odds with the Tea Party members in the House) seems to indicate that McCain is actually closer to the middle position on this particular issue now than local Republicans would probably like him to be.

But this is nothing new.  McCain has a pattern of moving left and right on this issue depending on whatever he thinks is in his political interests.  A couple of years ago he was virulently opposing everything the President wanted.  He and Senator Jon Kyl (since retired) refused to address comprehensive Immigration Reform until the Border had been made secure against “violence” supposedly spilling over into the U.S.  Now he wants to deal with comprehensive Immigration Reform and is concerned that there are too many ineffective assets deployed on the Border and that they are too militarized.

This is all part of a power play.  The old school Republicans are fighting with the Tea Party and this is one delightful result.  I don’t think they’ll hurt McCain come 2016 because he doesn’t need their money or their support really. The geriatric vote will keep McCain in office until he is mummified by the Arizona climate (similar to Sheriff Arpaio).  But I can always dream.  In the meantime, get out that frosty beer mug and pop some popcorn because it’s going to get  interesting in the wild wild far right west.

*Via commenter Alopecia (via ThinkProgress who go it from local station ABC15)

It’s anotherSunday morning breakfast at IHOP before I launch into another project. My sig other has finally decided to move out of his place and I am helping him get started today. He helped me move out of my apartment and saved me hundreds of dollars so it is the least I could do.

I have been real slack on blog posting lately so I’m going to use the time while I am waiting on a table to let you know about the latest high jinks by Senator McCan’t on Immigration Reform.

Over the last few months he has been frozen out of leadership on this issue because the Tea Party members of the House have hijacked the Congressional ship. They’d prefer to cause our economy to crash rather than actually govern. Anyway Senator McCan’t has sent a letter to Homeland Security posing some interesting questions about the effectiveness and methods of US Border control. Pundits think the letter serves two purposes. First it gets the Senator back in the news and we know how much he loves being on the Sunday talk shows.. Second, it is supposed to be a wrist slap for the Congressional Teahadists who are making noises about doing something but ultimately don’t want a real solution preferring to deport everyone instead.

Not that Senator McCain’s position all that different. Instead of offering comprehensive reform to deal with all aspects of this very complicated problem he has spent the last decade demanding that border security be dealt with before anything else can be discussed. This is a lovely Catch-22 because no matter how much money we pour into Border Security it will never be truly secure for many practical reasons and that lack of perfect security can be used as both a cudgel against Dems in Congess and the White House AND as an excuse to never really deal with the problem comprehensively. It doesn’t matter if the Teahadists propose absurd reforms or if McCain and his cabal propose increased security….the sum effect is the status quo will be maintained. And the conservative employers who are also McCain donors and who depend entirely on the slave labor of immigrants are simply thrilled.

As part of the cudgel, McCain’s latest press release/letter of inquiry shows concern for a couple of things. First he is worried about effectiveness. He says that the increased number of apprehensions means that what we are doing isn’t working. That sounds kind of counterintuitive since better security should mean increased apprehension rates, logically speaking. The truth is the experts don’t know if the increase is the failure of preventative efforts or if it is due to a simple increase in illegal immigration having nothing to do with border security or if the numbers were always higher than we knew or if the new security is over zealous. Like I said its a very complicated issue. of course McCain jumps the gun and assumes it is a lack of effectiveness because that is the politically expedient thing to assume.

The second concern is a monster of his own making, which cranks the irony factor to 11. He is worried about the militarization of the US Border Pattol. He has pressured for and received from this Administration and the previous one billions of dollars in manpower, weaponry, equipment, fortifications, walls, high tech unmanned gadgets like drones (here is just one example). He and other AZ politicians have been banging on the fear drum about beheadings in the desert, Mexican drug dealers crossing over to kidnap Americans, and Muslim terrorists using the supposedly wide open border as a highway to the heartland. But now, NOW, he wants to get his panties in a bunch about the militarization of border patrol? I gotta call BS on this one.

Oh what I wouldn’t give for an actual Senator doing actual work on behalf of his constituents in Congress. I think we will have to wait until he passes. Unfortunately he will probably live longer than Strom Thurmond and we will just get another old, white guy who cares more about his Q score than his state and his country.

Tom Levenson over at Balloon-Juice.com has something interesting to say about Vice President Joe Biden’s speech given yesterday at the memorial service for the slain MIT police officer, Sean Collier*.  Bolded statements are my doing.

But Biden did limn a present realit [sic] as well, in that we still live in a country where a ruling like Hamdan v. Rumsfeld can be both heard and decided against the government. I live in a town where police officers tackled a cop-killer in the midst of a gun battle, in the hopes of keeping him alive long enough to face a court. Here in Boston, Dzokhar Tsarnaev was charged as a common criminal, read his rights (not fast enough for some, but still) and will in fact face civilian charges. This country are [sic] so far from perfect it sometimes feels like we’re [sic] can only approach perfection the long way round — but that’s in the nature of cities on hills. I’m pretty sure Joe had something like this in mind when he spoke yesterday.

And I have next to no doubt at all that he was scolding that claque of Republican leaders who seem to have lost all courage, John McCain, Lindsay Graham, Kelly Ayotte, and all the rest. They’ve been up on their hind legs since Friday, bellowing the urgency of making sure Tsarnaev face a jury-rigged military tribunal system, and damned be the American constitutional system and any faith in the power of a jury of Americans to do and be seen to have done justice.

That rebuke is what this speech was about, beyond the pure duty of comfort that Biden handled so well in the first, longer section of his remarks. He was telling a failed Republican party that America is something other than [sic] hollow republic the Bush-Cheney regime sought to build. He was as well talking to the broader audience through the TV set, making the case (again!) that there is an alternative to a government based on authority granted out of fear. He was reminding everyone in earshot that the way the Republicans ran the republic — and would do again, if they get the chance — is not just an error; it’s un-American. This was powerful stuff, and inside the political ring, it was [sic] had the power to hurt, a nut-cutting blow.

See, McCain and Company want Tsarnaev, who is a citizen, to be sent to Guantonomo and to be stripped of all his rights.  Why is it the Republicans are so interested in their own rights (see Rand Paul’s statement about drones and hot tubs**) but not all that interested in the rights of “those other” American citizens.  Hmmmmm, it couldn’t be because they ARE considered “other”, could it?

Besides the fear motive, all of this trumpeting originates from the conservative idea that our government is broken and that the only way to fix it is to step outside the rules.  Conservatives often propose letting some supposedly benevolent strong man or men (ala, G.W. Bush and Dick Cheney, but not Pres. Obama, ad oculos) take control of things and take away our rights.  Hell, they’re the main reason, and I mean Cheney specifically*** and his buddies, for the expansion of Executive power in the U.S.  Were it not for them, no current President (who is in office is irrelevant here) would have the ability to start a war and tell Congress afterward or allow the killing of an American citizen without benefit of Due Process or use military tribunals and indefinite detention for civilians.  This was never and never will be a liberal idea.****

Nevertheless for all of the Republican and, quite frankly, Democratic enabled transgressions of our values, we’re still shining on that hill just not as bright as we were before our ill-advised jaunt into Iraq and our fear-fueled foray into torture.  And we are certainly not as bright as we could be and never will be if we don’t remain true to our values.

Notes:

*  Look at his young face, it’s hard not to be angry.  It was hard looking at the photos and video of the bomb victims.  I still can’t look at the picture of that sweet little boy who was killed. I understand their anger.  I don’t understand their throwing our values out the window because of it.  That’s not what grown ups are supposed to do and it sure as hell isn’t what the leaders of the free world are supposed to do.

**Rand does not want to be viewed in his hot tub by a government drone but is A-Okay with drones shooting people in commission of a crime, which goes waaaaayyyy beyond what the police would do.  In fact, Levenson above gives an excellent example of how the police met deadly force with restraint in order to serve the larger goal of justice.  Drones can’t do that and Rand Paul should know better and he probably does.  See he only wants drones to “provide justice” to everyone else but he and his clique.  Stupid man must not have studied history or he was too busy smoking dope to remember that such power never, ever remains targeted at just the people you want it to.  First they came for the Jews, then they came for gypsies, then they came for…..etc, etc, etc.

***Cheney openly admits in interviews and in writing that way back when he was in the Nixon Administration that he supported and pushed for the expansion of Executive Power in a variety of ways.  And when in office he claimed Executive Privilege over the tapes/minutes of his meeting with Oil Executives back in 2003-2004.

****Although not a liberal idea, conservatives will claim that liberal Presidents have not minded using that expanded Executive Privilege.   First, I don’t think we’ve ever had a truly liberal President, maybe Carter? President Obama is not a liberal.  He is a centrist Democrat.  He not only claims this but anyone on the left can categorically tell you, he is not a liberal Democrat and never has been.  Second, every President, regardless of Party, has taken advantage of the expansion of power given to the office because it makes their job easier.  As President Obama said during his interview with Jon Stewart, it’s Congress’ and the Supreme Court’s job to take those powers away and they SHOULD do that.  The branches must balance one another out.  But Congress and SCOTUS, filled with Republicans, will continue to give the Executive Branch more and more power because at some point one of their party will be in office and they REALLY like taking advantage of such things (e.g., waterboarding with impunity) because democracy inconveniently gets in the way of their profiteering….um, I mean governing.

  • Ann Coulter is a disgusting human being–she thinks the government should make a list of all women who have had abortions. I honestly don’t think she believes a single thing that comes out of her mouth. She’s a grifter making a ton of money off ignorant, conservative American voters just like Beck, Limbaugh, etc. But the irresponsibility of such talk, all for the sake of making money, takes my breath away. What’s next? Scarlet A’s for the women on the list? I have a suggestion. How about a big “C” brand for Coulter’s forehead?*
  • It’s official. Sheriff Joe Arpaio now has members of his all volunteer posse patrolling carrying weapons at approximately 50 schools in Maricopa County today. Congratulations Arizona! You’ve joined the ranks of third world countries with authoritarian governments. Woohoo! So proud, I could weep. Fortunately they’re not patrolling in Peoria where my daughter goes to school or I would be there following their ass around with a protest sign and videotaping their dumbasses. I wonder how they would feel if I came with my Ruger Speed 6 loaded with jacketed hollow point 38 Special rounds with two speed loaders full? If they can carry on campus, why can’t I? I have security clearances or at least, I used to. I’m more qualified than many in his damn posse, some of whom have a criminal past.   Ht to Bob Cesca

  • Here’s a question for you to ponder. Why are private for profit charter schools not held to the same standards as public schools? They receive our tax dollars. Here’s another. How come no one ever talks about the profit being made by these private corporations and how they’re in bed with the standardized test makers? Why are we allowing corporations who only care about the bottom line take over public functions like schools, prisons, health care, etc? What is most important in those particular types of services? The profit or the people? Whenever a profit motive is introduced corruption and a lack of oversight gets introduced. At least with government we have oversight, legal recourse, etc–we have built in mechanisms for controlling them. Charter schools are a new and growing business and it’s a particular problem in Ari-loony-zona. Unfortunately, there is no proof that they actually educate our kids any better or educate them on the right things. They also play favorites. They take the cream of the crop and leave the rest, the harder to teach to the underfunded public schools. The entire set up is a national recipe for failure. If you care to read more, Kay over at Balloon Juice follows educational issues and she’s got a ton of information on this topic.
  • They were fer em before they were agin em! The President has nominated former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) to replace Panetta as the Secretary of the Department of Defense. Of course, if you hop into the “way back” machine and go to the mid-2000’s you’ll see that McCain and other GOP leaders thought Hagel was the bees knees. Now that the Brown Muslim Manchurian Socialist Usurper has chosen him, they don’t think he’s qualified.  They must think we’re stupid….oh, that’s right….
  • Here’s some background information you need to remember when you start hearing about the “fight over the debt ceiling” in the coming months. Raising the debt ceiling does NOT authorize the President to spend more. It authorizes the President, specifically through the Treasury Department, to pay the bills on debt that CONGRESS PREVIOUSLY AND CONSCIOUSLY decided to incur. Here’s a simple metaphor. You work for a company with a board of directors. The company needs to buy some new property and buildings. The Board itself sets the limits on how much they can spend. The Board then proceeds to spend more than they were authorized. The Board now has to raise the limit on what they can spend to pay for the extra amount. But the Board is trying to blame the office secretary that pays the bills and accusing him/her of asking for unlimited spending power. If the Board refuses to raise the limit, does not pay those bills, the company’s credit will be destroyed. This company is crucial to their industry and if it collapses so will those related companies. Similarly, the President is trying to pay the bills. The US is the largest issuer of currency–money and credit. So the entire world economy depends on us and our good credit status. If we default on paying our debts, our credit goes bad. If our credit goes bad a serious of dominoes will fall and affect the world economy, very, very badly. Do you see how crazy it is to play politics with such a serious issue? Do you see how the Republicans are jeopardizing us and even the entire world by doing so? It’s madness.
  • A Republican Lobbying group in Washington, D.C. is taking the term “Republican” out of their name. However, they are saying that they still “represent the governing wing of the Republican Party”. Is you or is you not a Republican? This is like naming a law that allows the federal government to spy on citizens without a warrant the “Patriot Act”. Doublespeak bullshit.
  • You know how conservatives and even some moderates have been saying we need to “cut spending” and “tighten our government belt” like they did in Europe in response to the recent Recession? Well they were and are wrong. According to the International Monetary Fund:

    On Friday, in its first working paper of the year, it revealed the full horror of what did happen. Personally authored by the fund’s chief economist, Olivier Blanchard, the paper said for every dollar those nations cut their budgets their economies crumpled something more like $1.50.

    [snip]

    His defence [sic] is that in normal times they would have got it right. In normal times a budget cut of $1 would have cut economic growth by 50¢. But the times weren’t normal. European interest rates had been cut to nearly zero, meaning there wasn’t the normal room for authorities to cut further, and households were more heavily indebted than normal, so cuts to their income flowed through more quickly than normal to cuts in their spending. And the starting point was different. The European economies had been in recession, which was far from normal.

    The U.S. was one of the few nations, other than China, to actually do some Stimulus and the U.S. is in much better shape than most of Europe as a result. And the situation in the U.S. remains similar to what the conditions were in Europe at the time they decided to trod down the austerity path–low interest rates and households still heavily indebted. We have a consumer driven society. If consumers don’t have liquidity to spend on stuff the economy cannot and will not grow.  We don’t need austerity–we need investment in our national infrastructure and new, sustainable energy.

  • Remember Lt. Bradley Manning, the young man who leaked classified material to WikiLeaks who then plastered it all over the Internet? Well I’ve been saying all along that his treatment during pre-trial detention was excessive and illegal. I KNOW what is acceptable and what is not, even in a military prison, and the way they treated him was unacceptable. Innocent until proven guilty, folks. Anyway, seems a judge actually agrees with me. Regardless of whether you think Manning did the right thing or not (I don’t think he did, actually) you should stand up for his rights in this particular regard. This is America dammit–we shouldn’t allow this kind of thing.
  • And finally, have you heard about SHART? They are the Society of Heavily Armed Resistance Troopers….and they want a “Gun Appreciation Day”!**

_________________

Notes:   

*The C stands for a word that rhymes with “bunt”

**Hehe, the “article” purports to be from Smallwood, TX….small wood indeed