Jul 142014

Given the bogus media environment, in which we normally see so-called professionals allowing observable Republican lies to pass without challenge, or worse, it is indeed refreshing to see one of the networks inviting a guest to debunk those lies with factual data.  Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) did just that.

0714BorderHateRep. Luis Gutierrez patiently explained to Bob Schieffer how Rick Perry and the GOP are lying about the issues at the border.

Rep. Luis Gutierrez has been a consistent champion for immigration reform. He’s passionate and he’s great at cutting through all the nonsensical talking points Republicans have crafted about this crisis.

He appeared on Face the Nation right after Governor Rick Perry this morning to counter the ridiculous claims Republicans are making. By now, you know the talking points, but just for clarity, here they are along with Gutierrez’ response [click through]…

Inserted from <Crooks and Liars>

Gutierrez did an excellent job, but along with this article’s author, I disagree that Obama should have visited the border. His appearance there helping children would be used by coyotes to convince even more families to turn over their children for the perilous trek north.

Also note that when GW Bush, aka Neocon Nero, finally did visit New Orleans, he was not helping, as Obama is now.  He actually made the Army Corps of Engineers stop shoring up the levees and lose most of a day’s work, because they were in the way of GW’s photo-op.

Jun 292014

Speaking in Minneapolis Friday, Barack Obama answered Congressional Republicans’ threats of a lawsuit by telling the truth,  He did so calmly, humorously and without rancor.  In the process he demonstrated just how foolishly Republicans are behaving with crystal clarity.  Watch the video, and judge for yourselves.

0629ObamaSpeechPresident Barack Obama used a campaign-style speech in the American heartland Friday to blast his Republican opponents as feckless obstructionists in Congress, saying Washington’s current gridlock “drives me nuts.”

Republicans have become so obsessed with blocking the Democratic president’s every move that he has been forced to use his executive authority to advance priorities like pay fairness, Obama said, dismissing as a stunt a threatened Republican lawsuit against him.

The White House and Republican congressional leaders, notably House Speaker John Boehner, have sparred repeatedly over Obama’s use of executive orders, with Boehner warning this week that Americans “didn’t elect a monarch or king.

The top Republican in Congress announced Wednesday he would file a lawsuit against Obama because “the president has not faithfully executed the laws” of the nation.

An unapologetic Obama ridiculed the approach, calling it a “stunt” in an interview with ABC News…

Inserted from <NY Times>

Here’s that complete video.

And here’s a link to the transcript.

It’s too bad that it took Obama several years to adapt to Republicans’ unprecedented criminal sedition, through obstruction.  We would be better off had he learned earlier, but I think he is improving, at long last.

Jun 192014

Ever since it became crystal clear that ObamaCare is working so well that Republicans can no longer use it is their scandal du jour, Benghazi has been the be all and end all of Republican attempts to manufacture a scandal to keep Americans from focusing on how Republicans in government are behaving.  Why is the terrorist responsible still at large?  Why did you decrease embassy security?  Why didn’t you protect the American Ambassador?  Why did Susan Rice lie to us with that ridiculous tale about a movie setting it off?  On and on they go, whine after whine!  But while Republicans whined, Obama acted.

0619AbuKhatalaAmerican commandos operating under the cover of night seized the man suspected of leading the deadly attack on the United States Mission in Benghazi, Libya, the government announced on Tuesday, ending a manhunt that had dragged on for nearly two years and inflamed domestic and international politics.

With drones hovering overhead, about two dozen Delta Force commandos and two or three F.B.I. agents descended on the outskirts of Benghazi just after midnight local time on Monday; grabbed the suspect, Ahmed Abu Khattala; stuffed him into a vehicle and raced away, according to officials briefed on the operation. No shots were fired, and the suspect was spirited out of Libya to a United States Navy warship in the Mediterranean.

The capture was a breakthrough in finding the perpetrators of an episode that has been politically divisive from the start. President Obama and the State Department have been buffeted by multiple investigations and charges of misleading the public about the circumstances of the attack, which cost the lives of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans on Sept. 11, 2012. The president and administration officials have strongly rebutted the allegations and accused Republicans of politicizing a national tragedy… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <NY Times>

So the terrorist responsible is no longer at large.  Neither is Osama.  Obama brought them to justice.  Bush looked for Osama under the furniture.  Embassy security was reduced, because House Republicans cut the funding for it. The Ambassador chose to go beyond the area where he could be protected, and Susan Rice told the truth, as you’re about to see.

Chris Hayes provided excellent coverage of this story, debunking Republican lies along the way.

There’s little I can add to that, except that Joe Wilson had better take care. Republicans might commit sedition by illegally outing his wife, Valerie Plame from, the CIA. OOPS! To late! They already did that.

Jun 092014

I’m writing for tomorrow and resting up for what is sure to be a boring, frustrating day.  Because of being away from home almost the entire day tomorrow getting a useless test, it is probable that I shall have an Open Thread at most to post on Tuesday.  They say that confession is good for the soul, and especially since Lynn is blackmailing me with a pic from the motel’s hidden spy cam (She wants all my catnip for her cats!), I suppose I’d better share that pic of how I got in trouble on my trip.  Day 49.


What can I say?  That was some excellent catnip!!

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:52 (average 4:39).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: It’s easy to assume that when you’re super successful, it’s because you earned it. There have been many times in my life when I thought that, too. But here’s one successful man who knows otherwise. He wrote a book that got turned into a Brad Pitt movie, guys — he KNOWS about success.


I agree with him, as far as he goes. Fortune does indeed play a role in success, and the fortunate are morally obligated to help those who are not. What he does not cover so well is the degree to which we all contribute to the success of those who are fortunate by providing the environment in which success is possible.

From TPM: President Barack Obama is prepping new executive steps to help Americans struggling to pay off their student debt, and throwing his support behind Senate Democratic legislation with a similar goal but potentially a much more profound impact.

Obama on Monday will announce he’s expanding his "Pay As You Earn" program that lets borrowers pay no more than 10 percent of their monthly income in loan payments, the White House said. Currently, the program is only available to those who started borrowing after October 2007 and kept borrowing after October 2011. Obama plans to start allowing those who borrowed earlier to participate, potentially extending the benefit to millions more borrowers.

This is clearly a good step, but what we really need is education-for-service plans. Graduates spend X years after graduation teaching, nursing, doctoring, etc. in an underserved poor community, and the feds (we all) pay off their student debt.

From Raw Story: Thousands of bicyclists, many of them stark naked, poured into the streets of Portland, Oregon on Saturday night for the 11th annual World Naked Bike Ride, a protest that promotes bike riding as an alternative to driving cars.

Nude cyclists with lights flashing in their tire spokes rang bells as they barreled down avenues lined with cheering spectators, while a naked, apparently pregnant woman rode in a bike trailer.

“This is a party, but it’s also a protest,” said Carl Larson, a ride spokesman. “It is about oil dependence, cycling vulnerability and body” image.

Cyclists showed up in Normandale Park an hour before the ride, shedding garments according to the ride theme “as bare as you dare”.

The rides are held in more than 75 U.S. cities and in more than 20 other countries, but Portland’s is believed to be the largest, with more than 8,000 participants last year.

But unlike events in other cities, the Portland ride works with local police, being considered as a protest. Officers direct traffic during what is generally a trouble-free event.

This is one parade that did not pass under my window.



Jun 032014

There are two nations on earth, not allied with the US, that could engage the US using conventional military means.  They are China and Russia.  For any other nation or group, engaging the US militarily using conventional means would be suicide.  Therefore those that do fight us use nonconventional warfare.  For propaganda value, we label them terrorists, just like Great Britain labeled US patriots terrorists during the Revolutionary War.  Therefore the notion that we can not negotiate with terrorists is obsolete, with one key exception.

0603POWAfter five years as a prisoner of Afghan militants, U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has been returned to American custody. But because President Obama released five Afghan detainees from Guantanamo Bay in trade for Bergdahl’s freedom, several Republican lawmakers have attacked the administration for “negotiating with terrorists.”

According to Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-CA) and Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), the exchange “may have consequences for the rest of our forces and all Americans,” because “our terrorist adversaries now have a strong incentive to capture Americans.” House Intelligence Chair Mike Rogers (R-MI) added that he is “extremely troubled that the United States negotiated with terrorists,” suggesting that the exchange “signals to terrorists around the world a greater incentive to take U.S. hostages.”…

…National Security Advisor Susan Rice took to several of the Sunday shows to defend the exchange. On This Week, she explained that Bergdahl was not a “hostage,” but a “prisoner of war, taken on the battlefield,” and that the U.S. has a “sacred obligation” to free such prisoners of war. She also clarified on State of the Union that the U.S. did not negotiate directly with the terrorist Haqqani network, but with the government of Qatar, which will hold the five released Taliban prisoners for another year.

One of the other complaints lodged against the exchange is that President Obama did not provide Congress with the 30-day notice required for releasing prisoners of war. Rice explained that the Departments of Defense and Justice had reasons to be seriously concerned about the urgent state of Sgt. Bergdahl’s health, and noted that Congress had long been informed that such negotiations were already underway…

Inserted from <Think Progress>

First let’s get real.  Contrary to the Republican excuse for condemning Obama, the Taliban (or anyone else with whom we are at war) already has a strong incentive to capture American soldiers.  It’s what battlefield enemies do.

Here is a clip of the infamous (in Republican fantasy) Susan Rice in an interview with a Republican mouthpiece at CNN.

Lopsided journalism aside, Rice is technically correct.  We did not negotiate directly with the Taliban, but it would not bother me, if we did.  Without negotiation withy enemies, how can peace be achieved?

Another angle to this is that the five “terrorists” released numbered among those that we could not bring to trial, because the Bush Reich extracted evidence against them illegally.  Congress still refuses to allow Obama to imprison detainees here, and Afghanistan does not want them, so in the process, Obama got five people closer to closing the GOP Gulag at Gitmo.

Republicans had one more beef and that’s where the key exception in my intro comes into play.  Republicans say Congress should have ad a 30 day notice.  Obama had noted that he felt that restriction violated his Article II authority  at the time he signed the NDAA.  To do otherwise he would have had to veto all defense spending.  Also, given the Republican track record for leaking top-secret data to score political points, and given the posture of congressional Republicans, they are a greater threat to America than Al Qaeda ever was.  By informing them of the process, while keeping them out of the loop on the specifics, Obama fulfilled his obligation out to negotiate with terrorists.

May 302014

I’m writing for tomorrow.  Physical Therapy was grueling, especially on top of walking a mile and a half on the way to and from, including a side trip to the bank.  I think it will take at least a day to get over the pain.  This will be tomorrow’s only article.  We’ll have to see about Saturday, because, If I can, early tomorrow morning I’ll be taking on the most dreaded of all my chores.  Day 39.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:43 (average5:10).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: "Your dead kids don’t trump my Constitutional rights"

Conservative sensitivity at its finest, courtesy of Samuel "Joe the Plumber" Wurzelbacher [Republican delinked].  Speaking in a time of great tragedy, Wurzelbacher’s only response to a grieving father discussing his son’s right to live is that the be all and end all is the right of Americans to be armed to the teeth without any regulation.

There is a time, a place and a manner for such discussions.  He could easily wait several days.  He could just as easily frame his ideas in less crass terms.  He could choose to use words that will not rub salt in open wounds.  He decided not to engage in such behavior, which, unfortunately, is nothing new for him.

Joe is not a plumber. Joe is not even a Joe. He IS a Republican. Need I say more?

From The New Yorker: President Obama raised eyebrows with his West Point commencement address Wednesday by offering a defense of his controversial foreign-policy doctrine of not invading countries for no reason.

Conservative critics were taken aback by Obama’s speech, which was riddled with incendiary remarks about only using military force for a clearly identified and rational purpose.

Obama did not shy away from employing polarizing rhetoric, often using words such as “responsible” and “sensible” to underscore his message.

Harland Dorrinson, a fellow at the conservative think tank the Center for Global Intervention, said that he was “stunned” to see Obama “defend his failure to engage the United States in impulsive and random military adventures.”

LOL Andy!! In a word, spot-on!

From NY Times: President Obama will use his executive authority to cut carbon emissions from the nation’s coal-fired power plants by up to 20 percent, according to people familiar with his plans, and will force industry to pay for the pollution it creates through cap-and-trade programs across the country.

Mr. Obama will unveil his plans in a new regulation, written by the Environmental Protection Agency, at the White House on Monday. It would be the strongest action ever taken by an American president to tackle climate change and could become one of the defining elements of Mr. Obama’s legacy.

Kudos. I’d hate to be the one to have to wash the stains from the Koch Boys’ underwear over this one.



May 292014

I’m writing for tomorrow.  First, I wish to express my sorrow over the death of Maya Angelou today, and wish condolences to all who loved her.  Tomorrow I have to go for physical therapy for arthritis in my spine and hips and for a blown out shoulder.  Because of that, please expect little or nothing on Friday, especially since I’ll be taking my walker onto regular public transit for the first time and walking over a mile.  Day 38.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:38 (average 4:28).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) drew audible gasps Thursday when he told gathering of Christian conservatives that Democrats intended to amend the Constitution to limit free speech.

“When you think it can’t get any worse, it does,” Cruz warned at the Watchmen on the Wall gathering of pastors sponsored by the Family Research Council.

“This year, I’m sorry to tell you, the United States Senate is going to be voting on a constitutional amendment to repeal the First Amendment,” Cruz said, to the audible shock of the crowd.

We still need to drive with the Cruz control engaged!

From NY Times: A teenage girl was inspired after dropping her cellphone to create concussion-reducing cushions for football helmets. A team of Girl Scout Brownies designed a bridge that could withstand flooding. And an adolescent boy in a suit and tie told President Obama about his pending patents.

They were just a few of the more than a hundred students demonstrating their inventions and research on Tuesday for what Mr. Obama said was one of his favorite events: the White House Science Fair, now in its fourth year.

Republicans will likely consider this cause for yet another Congressional investigation and scandal. They hate it when ‘libruls do skience’.

From Think Progress: If Florida’s voters evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, the state’s Republicans could still expect to hold 58 percent of the state’s congressional seats. Indeed, according to California Institute of Technology statistics professor Jonathan Katz, a leading expert on redistricting who testified in a trial challenging these maps as an illegal gerrymander, Florida’s maps are the most biased districts he has ever examined.

Although Florida has some of the most biased congressional districts in the country — in 2012, President Obama narrowly won the state but Republicans captured 17 of the state’s 27 congressional districts — the League of Women Voters and other plaintiffs challenging Florida’s maps face an uphill battle in their lawsuit. Under a state constitutional amendment enacted in 2010, “[n]o apportionment plan or district shall be drawn with the intent to favor or disfavor a political party or an incumbent.” Thus, the plaintiffs in this lawsuit do not just have to prove that the maps are biased, they have to prove that they were drawn with the intent of favoring Republicans. As neither the plaintiffs nor their lawyers have ESP, that’s a difficult bar to clear.

In several of the states that Republicans have Gerrymandered to assist them in election theft, they have openly bragged about their intent to favor Republican candidates. What other reason could there possibly be for stacking the deck?