Sep 122014
 

The sound is deafening.  Knees are jerking all over the country.  Some are jerking, because Obama’s plan to combat ISIS is doing too much.  The rest are jerking, because Obama’s plan to combat ISIS is doing too little.  At such a time, what’s a knee to do?  At least for now, my knee is going to wait.  Here’s some analysis, the speech, a link to the transcript, and some commentary.

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“I want the American people to understand how this effort will be different from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil.” ~President Obama

In a prime-time address to the nation (video below) President Obama laid out a plan to deal with the militant group ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), which currently has large portions of Iraq as well as parts of Syria – an area about the size of Maryland – under its control.

“So tonight, with a new Iraqi government in place, and following consultations with allies abroad and Congress at home, I can announce that America will lead a broad coalition to roll back this terrorist threat. Our objective is clear: we will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy.”

President Obama made it clear that he would take this action, even inside Syria, and would be sending an additional 475 American service members to Iraq to support increased airstrikes. The President also called on congress to provide funding to train Syrian fighters, and continued humanitarian aid for those directly affected by ISIS.

ISIS or ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and Levant) was formerly a major faction of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, the same AQII we fought in Iraq post Saddam. However they were disavowed by Al-Qaeda central over actions in Syria, and the fact that they disobeyed orders to kill fewer civilians.

The brutality of ISIS dwarfs Al-Qaeda’s, with mass killings along the path as they take over more and more land, as well as the beheadings of kidnapped journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff. Their aim is to establish a caliphate (an ever expanding Islamic homeland under Sharia law) in Iraq and Syria. U.S. officials and experts believe they have immediate ambitions for Jordan, Lebanon, and Israel as well, an area referred to in the Arab world as the “Levant”, which is why the President refers to the terrorist group as ISIL and not ISIS. And regardless of quibbling over ISIS or ISIL, one point the President made deconstructed the notion that ISIS/ISIL deserves to be called either “Islamic” or a “State”, pointing out that the terrorist group is not truly Islamic, as no religion including Islam would condone their actions, and more often than not their victims are other Muslims. Nor are they truly a “State”, States have internationally recognized sovereignty, terrorist groups don’t, even if they do temporarily capture a lot of land.

In the most controversial portion of his speech, President Obama claimed (with echoes of George W. Bush declaring himself “the Decider” bouncing back from the distant walls of the canyons of modern history) that he has the authority to act alone, but then added that he welcomes the “support” of Congress. Implied was that if he didn’t get the support of Congress, he would proceed anyhow…

Inserted from <Liberals Unite>

Obviously Republicans are screaming for all out war, and that is the worst possible approach.  It’s exactly what ISIS wants.  On the left many are saying Obama is no different from Bush.  I take issue with them too.  For starters, Obama is not trying to lie us into combat the way Bush did.  He has not even claimed that ISIS is an immediate threat to the US.  Instead he claims that, unless they are stopped now, they could become a threat to the US, an accurate evaluation.  Also under Bush, participation by foreign troops was minimal, with the US and Brits carrying the brunt of the combat load.  Obama minimizes exposure to combat for US personnel.  Those are huge differences.

Here is the speech in it’s entirety.

And for a complete transcript, click here

The problem with what Obama had to say is that it’s incomplete.  There’s still much to much that we do not know.  At this point, I consider it more of an introduction.  As for Congress, they do have the prerogative to act, but have so far shown no more inclination to do anything more that duck their own responsibility.  Obama is claiming authority under the 2001 AUMF, but Congress may cancel that, if they so choose.  I expect posturing, whining, accusations, and little more.

The most constructive view I have seen to date came in a discussion between Rachel Maddow and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA).

For now, I’m going to wait and see what develops.  But I will say one thing.  With ISIS beheading Americans, failure to take some action is the fastest way to ensure political defeat.

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Sep 052014
 

I’m the guy who says that a vote for an Independent candidate is a vote for the Republican in the race.  I’ve been careful to add the caveat that national treasure, Bernie Sanders, is the exception to that (and virtually every other) rule.  In a highly unusual development in Kansas, we have another exception.

Kansas Senate RaceThe breadcrumbs were there, but it’s fair to say that Democrat Chad Taylor stunned the political world when he announced Wednesday that he was dropping out of the Kansas Senate race. That leaves independent Greg Orman, who was once a Democrat, to challenge incumbent Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) in November’s general election.

It bewildered outsiders in part because Taylor was performing admirably for a Democrat in the state with the longest gap since it lasted elected one to the Senate. TPM’s PollTracker average had Taylor trailing by less than 6 percentage points.

But did Democrats really think the best shot of knocking of Roberts was to clear the field for Orman, even if that meant getting their own nominee out of the race? Or was something else going on, too?

Political observers in Kansas suggest looking at the state’s gubernatorial election contest. State Sen. Paul Davis (D) seems to have a real shot at knocking off Republican Gov. Sam Brownback, a conservative stalwart; Davis leads by 6 percentage points, per TPM’s PollTracker average[emphasis added]

Inserted from <TPM>

Rachel Maddow covered this story in two segments. In the first she explains the background and tells the story.

If MSNBC is unavailable in your location, you can watch this clip at You Tube.

If Orman is willing to caucus with the party that’s willing to go to work and solve problems instead of backing extremists in their party, all he needs to hear is the "secret" Republican recordings to the 0.1%, when they were begging for millions and sucking … never mind.  Bought Bitch Mitch McConnell and others promised total gridlock to benefit billionaires and Banksters.

In the second Rachel talks about Claire McCaskill’s (D-MO) role and what might happen if Orman wins with analyst Kasie Hunt.

If MSNBC is unavailable in your location, you can also watch this clip at You Tube.

Who who have thought that Kansas could be up for grabs. Chad Taylor deserves major kudos for sacrificing his own campaign, when he was ahead of Orman, to help remove an entrenched Republican from office.

Every Republican Must GO!

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Aug 292014
 

I certainly stand my opinion that Ron Paul should have had himself neutered before polluting America with Idiot, Son of Idiot, Named after Idiot.  My opinion that Ron Paul is a racist and misogynist, who disguises John Birch Society dementia for libertarianism remains unchanged.  But those of you, who have known me over several years, will remember the one thing I have said about him most: “Ron Paul has never mattered, and never will.”  In that, I may have been wrong.  Ron Paul actually may matter, because his criminal behavior during the last Iowa caucus may have an effect in who controls the Senate in 2014.

0829SorensonA former Iowa state senator concealed payments he received in exchange for defecting from one presidential campaign to another ahead of Iowa’s 2012 caucuses and then obstructed an investigation into the incident.

Kent Sorenson of Milo now faces up to 25 years in prison, after pleading guilty on Wednesday to two counts in federal court in Des Moines.

The case revolves around Sorenson’s dramatic jump from the presidential campaign of U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann to then-U.S. Rep. Ron Paul’s rival campaign in late December 2011, just days before the Iowa caucuses.

According to a statement of facts [broken link removed] accompanying Sorenson’s plea agreement, he secretly negotiated with the Paul campaign over a period of months to join the campaign and received $73,000.

The payments included several monthly payments, ranging in size from $8,000 to $33,000, routed through a film production company and a second company before being received by Sorenson. Those circuitous routes circumvented reporting requirements of the Federal Election Commission, ensuring the payments were kept hidden from the public…

Inserted from <Des Moines Register>

Now on the surface, it appears that this is nothing more that a squabble between two extremist fools that were going nowhere, except for one thing.  Bribery needs a person taking the bribe and a person doing the bribing.  Who was that? In addition to Ron Paul himself, the decision maker in  Paul’s campaign was his Campaign Manager, Jesse Benton.  A key candidate for the US Senate was so impressed with the criminal way in which Benton managed Ron Paul’s campaign that he made Benton his own Campaign Manager.  Guess who!

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It was Rachel Maddow that made this connection.

If you cannot watch MSNBC video where you live, you can see the clip on YouTube.

Benton is likely to be indicted as well, but his criminal behavior certainly reflects on the character of Bought Bitch Mitch and we need to keep reminding Kentucky voters about yet another reason to Ditch Bought Bitch: Ditch Mitch!!

As for Ron Paul, were he not such a  dishonest walking, talking sphincter, we would not have this criminal record, so in this one small way. Ron Paul may have mattered.

Late Update: I just learned that the bag man who delivered the check to Sorenson for Paul And Benton also went to work for Bought Bitch Mitch!

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Aug 282014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 129.  I’m still running behind schedule, and am writing late in the day, but at least I found some better material.  Tomorrow is a Holy Day in the Church of the Ellipsoid Orb, but the Broncos  meditation will not be televised, so I won’t get to watch them ride Cowboys.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:17 (average 4:12).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Tales:

From NY Times: After 50 days of fighting that took some 2,200 lives, leveled large areas of the Gaza Strip and paralyzed Israel’s south for the summer, Israeli and Palestinian leaders reached an open-ended cease-fire agreement on Tuesday that promised only limited change to conditions in Gaza and left unresolved the broader issues underpinning the conflict.

Hamas, the militant Islamist faction that dominates Gaza, declared victory even though it had abandoned most of its demands, ultimately accepting an Egyptian-brokered deal that differs little from one proffered on the battle’s seventh day. In effect, the deal put both sides back where they were at the end of eight days of fighting in 2012, with terms that called for easing but not lifting Israeli restrictions on travel, trade and fishing in Gaza.

As long as Israel prevents Palestinians in Gaza from conducting normal commerce, I see no chance for success. Those people will not be content to live under a permanent state of siege.

From NY Times: The trail to Rick Perry’s indictment began with way too many drinks and a drunken-driving arrest for Rosemary Lehmberg, the Travis County district attorney, that was captured in embarrassing detail on videotape.

But the conflict between Republicans who control state government and the Democratic district attorney’s office has been playing out for years, forming a complicated back story to the unfolding legal drama known as the State of Texas v. James Richard “Rick” Perry.

Mr. Perry’s powerhouse defense team filed a motion on Monday to dismiss the felony indictment, asserting that the 64-year-old governor and prospective 2016 presidential candidate was constitutionally empowered to seek Ms. Lehmberg’s resignation. Mr. Perry contends Ms. Lehmberg was unfit to remain in office after berating deputies and kicking a cell door after a drunken-driving arrest in April 2013. She served about half of a 45-day jail sentence.

Mr. Perry and his lawyers have had substantial success in the court of public opinion, contending that the charges represent an overreach that has more to do with politics than the law. But Mr. Perry’s critics note that the grand jury indictment was secured by a special prosecutor who was appointed by a Republican judge and has no clear political leanings or ties to the Travis County courthouse.

Perry is so full of it that Rachel Maddow dedicated a Debunktion Junction to him.

Those who cannot open MSNBC videos can see this on YouTube.

Did she nail him, or what?

From Politicus USA: Gallup has super bad news for Republicans. There is a link between high disapproval of congress and high voter turnout. Republicans have done a great job not only creating record high disapproval levels, their obstructionism combined with wasting money and alienating rhetoric sustained those high levels of disapproval. If you’re a Republican, you may be tempted to believe your mission was accomplished. The only problem is high levels of congressional disapproval also means high voter turnout at election time. We all know what that means in Republican land.

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That’s about the best news I’ve heard all week!

Cartoon:

0828Cartoon

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Aug 272014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 128.  I’ve been behind the curve all day, and news subjects that I have covered fairly thoroughly continue to dominate the news.  Safeway delivered groceries, and I unpacked and stowed them all.  It’s now evening and this is tomorrow’s only article.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:03 (average 4:14).  To do it. click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From YouTube: POLICE BODY-CAMS Reduce Force Complaints Enormously – Chris Hayes

 

In my opinion, all police should be required to wear body cams and use pistols that can not be fired by anyone other than the owner. If we have the money to provide police with military hardware, we have the money for this instead.

From Think Progress: Last January, a Washington attorney named David Rivkin co-authored an article in Politico Magazine that laid out a legal theory that Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) now plans to use to sue President Obama because the president is not implementing Obamacare fast enough. Yet, as ThinkProgress laid out shortly after Boehner announced that he would file the lawsuit, Rivkin’s legal theory rests upon “a glaring misrepresentation of a recent Supreme Court decision that undermines much of the basis for this lawsuit.

Nevertheless, Boehner decided to hire Rivkin to represent the GOP-led House in its suit against the president. Rivkin’s price? $500 an hour, all charged to the American taxpayer.

If taxpayers have to fund this travesty, we should have the privilege of countersuing Agent Orange personally for reimbursement of those costs and the costs of defending against his frivolous suit.

From YouTube: Rachel Maddow – Immigration fears prominent in GOP primary

 

If I were to put a title on this Republican primary, I’d call it Sphincterama in Brewerstan.

Cartoon:

0827Cartoon

Will Drill Baby Dingbat, aka Bloody Bullseye Barbie, crawl out of the woodwork?

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Aug 172014
 

Republicans regularly commit crimes while in office, but they do so only on days that begin with the letter T.  That’s Tuesday, Thursdays, Taturday, Tunday, Today and Tomorrow.  However they are rarely called to account for their crimes as David “Diaper Dave” Vitter (R-LA) will attest.  However, a Grand Jury has handed down incitements against Governor Rick Perry (R-TX) that could send him to prison for up to 99 years, even though I doubt that he’ll ever serve a day.

PerryHatA grand jury indicted Gov. Rick Perry on two felony counts on Friday, charging that he abused his power last year when he tried to pressure the district attorney here, a Democrat, to step down by threatening to cut off state financing to her office.

The indictment left Mr. Perry, a Republican, the first Texas governor in nearly 100 years to face criminal charges and presented a major roadblock to his presidential ambitions at the very time that he had been showing signs of making a comeback.

Grand jurors in Travis County charged Mr. Perry with abusing his official capacity and coercing a public servant, according to Michael McCrum, the special prosecutor assigned to the case.

The long-simmering case has centered on Mr. Perry’s veto power as governor. His critics asserted that he used that power as leverage to try to get an elected official — Rosemary Lehmberg, the district attorney in Travis County — to step down after her arrest on a drunken-driving charge last year. Ms. Lehmberg is Austin’s top prosecutor and oversees a powerful public corruption unit that investigates state, local and federal officials; its work led to the 2005 indictment of a former Republican congressman, Tom DeLay, on charges of violating campaign finance laws… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <NY Times>

Now it’s true that Perry does have the right as governor to use a line item veto for items in the Texas budget, but he does not have the right to use that veto as a threat to prevent other elected officials from representing the people that elected them.

Rachel Maddow provided excellent coverage of Perry’s crimes.

In closing, 99 years is not enough hard time, but if he does go to prison, I think justice will be served, if he is the bottom, and his prison lover (below) is the top:

ChristiePig

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Aug 142014
 

Because there are so many honest, dedicated police officers in this nation, I hesitate to level a charge so severe as racism at any group of policemen, but in the case of the police in Ferguson, MO and St Louis County, I have to make an exception.  The more I learn about them, the more disguised I become.  Local demonstrations against them continue.

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The protesters, almost all of them black, raised their fists and chanted, “We shall not be moved!”

Down the hill, advancing against them late Monday night, were police officers in gas masks and riot gear, most of them white.

“Don’t shoot!” some of the demonstrators yelled, inching closer to the barely visible police line. One man drifted several dozen feet closer with his arms up, lifting his shirt and spinning around as if to say: Look, no gun.

Then an older woman in a dust mask to shield her a bit from the swirling tear gas spotted him and shouted, “Get your ass back here!”

The two sides were locked in confrontation in this working-class suburb of St. Louis, where the police shooting of an unarmed young black man triggered a night of looting Sunday — and demands for justice from a predominantly black population…

Inserted from <LA Times>

It’s hard to imagine that the scene above is the police response to unarmed demonstrators, upset over the apparent police murder of an unarmed black teen with his hands in the air.

Rachel Maddow provided the best coverage of this tragedy I have found.

I don’t have much else to day, except that this level of Republican hatred and racism must be stopped.

Update:

Footage tonight from Jake Larson in Ferguson.  He appears to be just a resident, whose other video’s haven’t been politically oriented. The situation has degenerated into a police riot.

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