Jan 012014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, the first day of the new year and planning a big roast beef dinner to celebrate the occasion.  Please stay safe.  There are drunks, maniacs and Re3publicans on the road.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:44 (average 4:50).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Right Wing Watch: Ending Aid To Jobless Americans

The perception, revealed in polling, that the GOP does not care about people is doing great harm to the Party…. To people who are flat on their back, unemployed or disabled and in need of help, they do not care if the help comes from the private sector or the government — they just want help.

Republicans in Congress rejected an extension of unemployment benefits, which will not only hurt approximately 1.3 million Americans during a period when long-term joblessness is still high, but will also result in serious harm to economic growth. If Republicans do not waver from their position, up to 5 million people could be affected by the cuts. The party also passed enormous cuts to the food stamp program under the auspices of preventing the tremendously low rate of fraud in an effort to kick 5 million people off of food assistance.

But the GOP continues to give special benefits to millionaires, as earlier this year Republicans once again rebuffed the “Buffet Rule,” which would have ensured that millionaires don’t end up having a lower tax rate than average Americans.

This is just one of five ways that, according to the author, the Republican Party got even worse in 2013. Click through for the other four.

From Robert Reich: Despite do-nothing congressional Republicans, we ARE making progress around the country because Americans are organizing and mobilizing. Together we can make 2014 the year we turn the tide on economic inequality.

 

Spot-on! If you don’t vote in 2014, you are the problem, not the solution!

From Upworthy: A Little Taste Of What Capitalism Is Like When It Has No Limits.

 

This is the kind of vulture capitalism the Republican Party seeks, not just for third world nations, but here in the US as well.

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Sep 022013
 

Barack Obama had painted himself into a corner.  If he went forward with a Syria strike Republicans would call him reckless and accuse him of being a Muslim for supporting Al Qaeda, which dominates the rebel faction.  If he did not, Republicans would call him a gutless wimp and accuse him of being a Muslim for supporting Assad, who allies with Hezbollah.  By statute, he already has the authority to launch a military intervention for up to sixty days without Congressional approval, but in light of the breath of public opinion against intervention, he was wise to dump it back in Congress’ lap.

2ObamaPresident Obama abruptly changed course on Saturday and postponed a military strike against the Syrian government in retaliation for a chemical weapons attack so he could seek authorization first from a deeply skeptical Congress.

In one of the riskiest gambles of his presidency, Mr. Obama effectively dared lawmakers to either stand by him or, as he put it, allow President Bashar al-Assad of Syria to get away with murdering children with unconventional weapons. By asking them to take a stand, Mr. Obama tried to break out of the isolation of the last week as he confronted taking action without the support of the United Nations, Congress, the public or Britain, a usually reliable partner in such international operations.

“I’m prepared to give that order,” Mr. Obama said in a hurriedly organized appearance in the Rose Garden as American destroyers armed with Tomahawk missiles waited in the Mediterranean Sea. “But having made my decision as commander in chief based on what I am convinced is our national security interests, I’m also mindful that I’m the president of the world’s oldest constitutional democracy.”…

Inserted from <NY Times>

An UP panel discussed Obama’s move.

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Now, I have no idea how this will turn out, and must admit to being as surprised as everyone else seems to be.  Nobody called this.

Be careful not to use Iraq as a measure of this intervention.  Iraq was a Republican war for oil and conquest, part of a Republican plan to conquer eight nations in the Middle East and Africa.  The people who brought the intelligence forward were Republican war mongers.  Syria is intended to be a limited strike, lasting two days at most, with no boots on the ground.  The person who is bringing the intelligence forward is John Kerry, a man with deep ties to the peace movement.  I have examined what is available, and I do believe Assad has used chemical weapons.

There can be no doubt that innocent lives will be lost in a US strike.  However, if it can degrade Assad’s ability to employ chemical weapons against his people, it may save far more lives than those lost.  In addition, it may serve to stop other dictators from using chemical weapons on their people, saving even more lives, while drawing a line and then doing nothing might be a green light to them.

Frankly, I’m not sure which is best, but before we form our individual opinions, we should tale a long, hard look, instead of the usual knee-jerk responses.

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Aug 102013
 

Obama and the Democratic Party have worked hard to pass immigration reform, even bending over backwards on some absurd border security pork.  But the Republican leadership and base, have blocked it and tried to project blame onto Democrats, as always.  Nevertheless, it might be possible to pass it, in spite of them.

GOPImmigrationRep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) told Post Politics’ Ed O’Keefe in a newly released interview that the House has more than enough GOP votes — around 40 or 50 — to pass comprehensive immigration reform if it were brought to a vote.

But Gutierrez said Republicans who support the idea are staying deliberately quiet to avoid a backlash from conservative activists.

“Some of them I’ve spoken to, and they say, ‘Love to do the activity with you, I want to be able to vote for it, I really don’t need to draw attention to myself at this point,’ but we can count on it,” Gutierrez said…

Inserted from <Washington Post>

The technique for passing it is called a discharge petition.  Rachel Maddow explained how one works.  Here’s the part of one of her stories that explained discharge petitions:

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In short, if 218 Representatives sign a discharge petition, all the Democrats and just 17 Republicans, the bill comes to the floor no mater what the Plutocons and Corporacons, who want a cheap and complaint free undocumented workforce to enslave and exploit, have to say.  If there are 50 willing to vote for it,  Gutierrez should be able to get 17 to sign.

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Aug 042013
 

Writing for tomorrow, day 51, I’m enjoying the last cool morning I’m likely to see for at least ten days.  Once they fixed the problems at out HSP, the site has been working as it should.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:29 (average 4:45).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From NY Times: In its last action before a five-week summer recess, the House took another jab at President Obama’s health care law on Friday, voting to prohibit the Internal Revenue Service from enforcing or carrying out any provision of the law.

The bill, approved by a vote of 232 to 185, now goes to the Senate, where it has virtually no chance of approval. President Obama said he would veto the measure if it got to him.

That is the 40th vote to repeal ObamaCare, wasting over $1 million in taxpayer money per vote. I predict that the US Congress will pass no more BS measures this month.

From MSNBC: Worst Congress EVER!

 

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

In inferring that Congress has repealed many laws, Agent Orange did what he always does. He lied. The last Republican President was the worst president in US history. This Republican House makes it the worst congress in US history. This Republican Party is the worst party in US history. When Michael Steele is the brightest bulb in their pack, they are in BIG trouble.

From The Hill: For Dem women, it’s Hillary or bust

Hillary Clinton does not shatter the glass ceiling for women and win the White House in 2016, who will? [WATCH VIDEO]

It is a question that bubbles just under the surface in conversations with many Democratic women.

They are deeply invested in the idea of a Clinton run for the presidency. They are also painfully aware that no other female politician on the horizon is of comparable stature… [emphasis original]

Although I would prefer a more progressive candidate, I would have no problem supporting Hillary, if she wins the nomination, but Hillary or bust? What an awful choice!!  If I were a Dem woman, I’d choose to leave Hillary behind and keep my bust. ;-)

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Now that’s my kind of voting booth! :-D

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Jul 212013
 

I’m running on little sleep, as I write for day 37, because the next door neighbor from hell, a likeable enough fellow, but playing with a 48 card deck, decided to have a noisy day and night.  Asking him to shut-up works, but only for a few minutes.  ARGH!

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:43 (average 6:07).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From NY Times: After days of angry protests and mounting public pressure, President Obama summoned five of his closest advisers to the Oval Office on Thursday evening. It was time, he told them, for him to speak to the nation about the Trayvon Martin verdict, and he had a pretty good idea what he wanted to say.

For the next 15 minutes, according to a senior aide, Mr. Obama spoke without interruption, laying out his message of why the not-guilty ruling had caused such pain among African-Americans, particularly young black men accustomed to arousing the kind of suspicion that led to the shooting death of Mr. Martin in a gated Florida neighborhood.

On Friday, reading an unusually personal, handwritten statement, Mr. Obama summed up his views with a single line: “Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago.”

It is a shameful thing that almost 50 years after the Voting Rights Act, now emasculated by Republican Injustices on SCROTUS, black families are talking to their children about how they can act around white people. Republicans see this as not being so uppity. I see this as second class citizenship. Shame!

From Roll Call: A meeting of Senate Republicans on Wednesday grew tense as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told his members he could have gotten a better deal on nominations than the one negotiated by rank-and-file Republicans.

McConnell’s tone, according to multiple sources, implied that he had been kept in the dark about the talks between some in his own ranks and Democrats. However, those same Republicans say they kept McConnell updated throughout their negotiating process.

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., got so frustrated with McConnell’s presentation of events, that he called “bullshit” loud enough for the room to hear, nearly a half-dozen sources said. The heated exchange underscored the “buyer’s remorse” among some Republicans, especially leaders, one senior Republican said on background. [emphasis added]

This is one of few chances you’ll get to witness me saying this about a Republican. Kudos to Bob Corker (R-TN).

From Daily Kos: In about two weeks, House Republicans will begin their summer vacation, taking nearly the entire month of August off and returning to work after Labor Day. And what will their schedule look like after returning from vacation?

After taking almost the entire month of August off, House leadership has penciled in just nine workdays for September.

To be fair, September has just 30 days, and they’re already spending the first two of those days on vacation. If you subtract the 8 weekend days, that leaves just 20 workdays left in the month. So it’s not like they’re spending all of their time screwing around doing nothing—they’re only taking off 11 of the first 20 workdays after their vacation.

This is just how much Republicans care about solving America’s problems.

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Jul 162013
 

Paul Krugman is one of those whose depth of knowledge on the economy is so great that I seldom find myself in disagreement with him.  Once again, he did not disappoint, as he explained the Republican position on the Farm Bill, and the extreme level of hypocrisy therein.

16StealSomething terrible has happened to the soul of the Republican Party. We’ve gone beyond bad economic doctrine. We’ve even gone beyond selfishness and special interests. At this point we’re talking about a state of mind that takes positive glee in inflicting further suffering on the already miserable.

The occasion for these observations is, as you may have guessed, the monstrous farm bill the House passed last week.

For decades, farm bills have had two major pieces. One piece offers subsidies to farmers; the other offers nutritional aid to Americans in distress, mainly in the form of food stamps (these days officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP).

Long ago, when subsidies helped many poor farmers, you could defend the whole package as a form of support for those in need. Over the years, however, the two pieces diverged. Farm subsidies became a fraud-ridden program that mainly benefits corporations and wealthy individuals. Meanwhile food stamps became a crucial part of the social safety net.

So House Republicans voted to maintain farm subsidies — at a higher level than either the Senate or the White House proposed — while completely eliminating food stamps from the bill.

To fully appreciate what just went down, listen to the rhetoric conservatives often use to justify eliminating safety-net programs. It goes something like this: “You’re personally free to help the poor. But the government has no right to take people’s money” — frequently, at this point, they add the words “at the point of a gun” — “and force them to give it to the poor.”

It is, however, apparently perfectly O.K. to take people’s money at the point of a gun and force them to give it to agribusinesses and the wealthy… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <NY Times>

Photo credit: Café Press

Republicans are Robin Hood in reverse.  All their economic policies are designed to take from the poor to give to the rich.  Krugman says that it has gone beyond just economics to mean-spiritedness, and I have to agree.

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Jul 132013
 

I’m writing later than usual for day 29, and this morning’s trip went well.  I filled out an application, and if approved, I will move next month into a building with an elevator, and where I can install an air conditioner.  I got out and back in the cool of the day, and although it was my longest walk since being released from the hospital, I weathered it well enough to continue blogging without the break I anticipated.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:38 (average 4:25).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: Republican lawmakers in the Texas State Senate are proposing a precedent-setting new bill that would make it illegal for women to live in the state.

Senator Harland Dorrinson, one of the many pro-life lawmakers backing the woman ban, crafted his bill after witnessing Senator Wendy Davis filibuster an anti-abortion bill last month.

“That was our moment to say, ‘Enough is enough,’ ” he said. “This comes down to a choice between life and women, and we choose life.”

Humor aside, that is the very kindest thing they could do for women living in Texas.

From NY Times: Republicans muscled a pared-back agriculture bill through the House on Thursday, stripping out the food stamp program to satisfy recalcitrant conservatives but losing what little Democratic support the bill had when it failed last month. It was the first time food stamps had not been a part of the farm bill since 1973.

This is 100% political theatre. Nobody in their right mind believes that this could pass the Senate. But it serves as yet another illustration of the Republican war on the poor and middle classes. I’m happy to report that not one single Democrat goose-stepped with the Republicans.

From Bloomberg: U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren and a bipartisan group of lawmakers have introduced a bill aimed at re-creating the Glass-Steagall Act, the Depression-era measure that separated commercial and investment banking.

“It will take a lot of tools to get rid of too-big-to-fail, but one of them ought to be that if you want to do high-stakes gambling, good on you, but you do not get access to people’s checking accounts and savings accounts,” Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, told Bloomberg Television’s Peter Cook in an interview today.

The bill sponsored by Warren along with Senators John McCain, an Arizona Republican, Maria Cantwell, a Washington Democrat, and Angus King, a Maine independent, would separate traditional banks that offer checking and savings accounts insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. from “riskier financial institutions.” The latter category includes companies involved in investment banking, insurance, swaps dealing, hedge funds and private equity, according to the lawmakers’ statement released yesterday.

Bravo!! This has been way to long in coming and is a fitting legacy as Elizabeth Warren’s first Senate Bill. I see little chance of passage, but it will help show voters who represents whom.

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