Mar 052015
 

This is today’s only article, because I’m about to leave to exchange my cell phone.  The store isn’t far, but it tales a bus, a train and a half mile on foot to get there.  I’m ready for some rest.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:15 (average 5:10).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Last week at CPAC potential Republican candidates were invoking President Ronald Reagan ad-nauseam. Ed Schultz asked Bruce Bartlett, former adviser to Reagan, how would Reagan have been treated at CPAC.

 

Republican Saint Ronnie Ray Gun is as much like the real Reagan as Republican Supply-side Jesus is like the real Jesus: not at all.

From Upworthy: He was upset when the police stopped him the first time. But by the 30th time, there was an ironic reason why he was downright embarrassed.

 

Somehow I suspect that the problem there is nowhere near as bad as it is on this side of the pond.

From The New Yorker: House Speaker John Boehner has scheduled a joint session of Congress in April to hear an address by Kevin Laggett, a man who is on record as having hated President Obama in high school.

Boehner, who personally extended the invitation to Laggett, said that he did not consult with the President before contacting his high-school nemesis.

“This has nothing to do with the President,” Boehner said. “Many of us in Congress are very interested in what Mr. Laggett has to say.”

According to a source who attended high school with both men, Laggett’s antipathy for the President began when Obama was chosen over him for the post of sports editor on the school newspaper. “Kevin has totally despised him ever since,” the source said.

While I would not be surprised, if Andy’s satire were true, Agent Orange had far more devious reasons for inviting Butcher Bibi.

Cartoon:

0305Cartoon

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Mar 042015
 

I call it a show, because that’s what it was.  On the plus side, I have to admit that Butcher Bibi pulled off a very talented act, but that’s all it was.  There was no substance there.  In fact, it really had little to do with Iran.  Both Butcher Bibi and Agent Orange had their own separate agendas, neither of which involves Iran, per se.

0304evilduoPrime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel could not have hoped for a more rapturous welcome in Congress. With Republicans and most Democrats as his props, he entered the House of Representatives to thunderous applause on Tuesday, waving his hand like a conquering hero and being mobbed by fawning lawmakers as he made his way to the lectern.

Even Washington doesn’t often see this level of exploitative political theater; it was made worse because it was so obviously intended to challenge President Obama’s foreign policy.

Mr. Netanyahu’s speech offered nothing of substance that was new, making it clear that this performance was all about proving his toughness on security issues ahead of the parliamentary election he faces on March 17. He offered no new insight on Iran and no new reasons to reject the agreement being negotiated with Iran by the United States and five other major powers to constrain Iran’s nuclear program.

His demand that Mr. Obama push for a better deal is hollow. He clearly doesn’t want negotiations and failed to suggest any reasonable alternative approach that could halt Iran’s nuclear efforts.

Moreover, he appeared to impose new conditions, insisting that international sanctions not be lifted as long as Iran continues its aggressive behavior, including hostility toward Israel and support for Hezbollah, which has called for Israel’s destruction… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <NY Times>

As long as the US remains in a state of war against nations or groups that claim to follow Islam, Israel remains an important regional ally.  That limits US pressure for Israel to honor  treaty obligations and and helps maintain the regional view that the US is anti-Muslim.

Chris Hayes provided excellent coverage.

In addition to the reasons I referenced, Butcher Bibi was making a campaign speech casting himself as the sophisticated international player condescendingly schooling the ignorant, naive black man.  How insulting!

In addition to his normal sedition against Obama, Agent Orange is just as devious.  A small minority of American Jews are political activists.  The conservatives gravitate towards AIPAC, and the liberals, toward J Street.  The vast majority, on the other hand, are nominally liberal, and tend to vote Democratic, but support for Israel is important to them.  Boehner is trying to make Democrats appear to be anti-Israel, and if he can drive that wedge deep enough, he might be able to remove that block of voters from the Democratic into the Republican camp.  He’d happy to send thousands of young Americans off to die in a needless war for political gain.

Like me, most Democrats are not anti-Israel.  We’re pro-Israel.  But many of us are anti-Netanyahu, because his war crimes and his pursuit of a one-state solution, contrary to treaty obligations.  We're for permanent peace in the region for both Israel and a Palestinian State.  That’s why American Jews, and Israelis for that matter. should oppose both Butcher Bibi and the Republican Party.

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Mar 032015
 

From the vile depths of the bogus Republican attempt to find a scandal in the way the Obama administration handled the Benghazi incident comes a completely unrelated scandal.  Now, what appeared to be more of a coronation that a campaign for the Democratic Presidential nomination may be in doubt.  One can only ask, “What the hell was she thinking?!!?”

0303hillary-clinton

Hillary Rodham Clinton exclusively used a personal email account to conduct government business as secretary of state, State Department officials said, and may have violated federal requirements that officials’ correspondence be retained as part of the agency’s record.

Mrs. Clinton did not have a government email address during her four-year tenure at the State Department. Her aides took no actions to have her personal emails preserved on department servers at the time, as required by the Federal Records Act.

It was only two months ago, in response to a new State Department effort to comply with federal record-keeping practices, that Mrs. Clinton’s advisers reviewed tens of thousands of pages of her personal emails and decided which ones to turn over to the State Department. All told, 55,000 pages of emails were given to the department. Mrs. Clinton stepped down from the secretary’s post in early 2013.

Her expansive use of the private account was alarming to current and former National Archives and Records Administration officials and government watchdogs, who called it a serious breach.

“It is very difficult to conceive of a scenario — short of nuclear winter — where an agency would be justified in allowing its cabinet-level head officer to solely use a private email communications channel for the conduct of government business,” said Jason R. Baron, a lawyer at Drinker Biddle & Reath who is a former director of litigation at the National Archives and Records Administration…

Inserted from <NY Times>

Lawrence O’Donnell covered this story in more depth.

Now, if the person, who did this, was a Republican, I’d be screaming foul, and Republicans would be claiming it isn’t important.  I can’t do that, because unlike Republicans, I’m not a hypocrite.  This is very important and very suspect.  I won’t pretend it isn’t.  I hope she can offer an explanation, but cannot begin to imagine what might be a valid one.

Update: The law requiring her to use government email did not go into effect until AFTER Clinton left office.

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Mar 032015
 

It’s already turning into one of those weeks, where I get to put two pounds of you know what in a one pound bag.  I won’t be covering the Butcher Bibi Show until tomorrow, as I have had insufficient time to research it.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:39 (average 4:42),  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From NBC: The execution of the only woman on Georgia’s death row was postponed late Monday because of a problem with the lethal-injection drugs. Kelly Gissendaner was waiting to hear if the U.S. Supreme Court would halt her execution when the Georgia Department of Corrections called it off about 11 p.m.

"Prior to the execution, the drugs were sent to an independent lab for testing of potency," the agency said. "The drugs fell within the acceptable testing limits."

But, officials said, in the hours leading up to the execution, the chemicals appeared cloudy.

This only a temporary reprieve from this barbaric state-sponsored murder.

From The New Yorker: On the eve of the Israeli Prime Minister’s address to Congress, House Speaker John Boehner used a joint press conference to praise Benjamin Netanyahu, calling him “our closest and most important ally in the fight against President Obama.”

“Even as the President threatens us with provocative acts, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s support for us has been unwavering,” Boehner said. “He understands what many of us have long known: that peace with this enemy can only be achieved through total victory.”

Netanyahu had equally high praise for Boehner, saying that “no one has been more steadfast and dedicated in the struggle against your President.”

“This foe is not to be trusted or appeased,” Netanyahu said. “Your resolute refusal to find any common ground with him whatsoever has earned my undying respect.”

As the press conference drew to a conclusion, Boehner appeared to fight back tears as he called Netanyahu “a brother in arms” in the ongoing hostilities with Obama.

Of course neither actually said that, but Andy seems to have X-Ray vision to see between their ears.

From Upworthy: When extreme belief systems are allowed to dictate our laws, it’s not difficult to end up in this kind of situation.

 

Republican Supply-side pseudo-Christians azre fighting to make the US like the Philippines and El Salvador. Kudos to the Center for Reproductive Rights.

Cartoon:

0303Cartoon

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Mar 012015
 

On Friday evening, Rachel Maddow covered a story about how NJ Republican Governor Chris Christie, aka PIGnocchio, settles a lawsuit of many years standing against ExxonMobil for polluting the area under and around a refinery in that state for no apparent reason.  Rachel said that that if the people of NJ were getting screwed for political considerations, it could turn out to be a scandal.  First, here’s Rachel’s segment.

Now we’re learning why PIGnocchio would settal that suit for a mere three cents on the dollar.

0301PIGnocchioBefore Gov. Chris Christie’s administration abruptly settled long-running state environmental litigation against ExxonMobil for far less than originally expected, the oil behemoth donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to a Republican group that Christie ran and that financed his election campaigns. Additionally, the Christie administration office that engineered the settlement had been run by a former Exxon lawyer.

When the case was initiated in 2004, when Democrat James McGreevey was governor, New Jersey sought $8.9 billion in damages in a suit alleging that ExxonMobil damaged more than 1,500 acres of waterfront and meadows. Yet, according to documents reported on by the New York Times on Friday, the Christie administration is settling the suit for just $250 million. Based on ExxonMobil’s 2014 revenue of $411.9 billion, it will take the company roughly 5 hours to generate the sales to pay out the settlement.

Federal records show that the reduction, which represents a huge gift to ExxonMobil, follows a wave of campaign cash from the company to the Christie-run Republican Governors Association.

Since Christie’s first run for governor in 2009, ExxonMobil has donated more than $1.9 million to the group, according to data compiled by PoliticalMoneyLine.com. That includes $79,000 during Christie’s 2009 campaign and $200,000 during his re-election campaign in 2013. It also includes $500,000 when he chaired the organization during the 2014 election cycle.

ExxonMobil was one of the top contributors to the RGA during that election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <IB Times>

Click through.  There’s more.

We have the smoking gun.  I’d say it’s turning out to be a scandal.

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Feb 282015
 

Yesterday John Boehner, aka Agent Orange, proved that the Republican Party is too incompetent to govern, as their own Homeland Security extension came to the floor and failed.  Leadership with such a large majority should at least know how their own caucus is going to vote to spare themselves the humiliation of such an incident.  In the end, he had to obtain Democrats help so save his bacon, and more important, spare the country a DHS shutdown.  Did he lie to her to obtain that help?

0228BoehnerRepublicans vowing to govern effectively as a congressional majority failed a fundamental test Friday, when House leaders only narrowly managed to avert a partial shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security after an embarrassing defeat earlier in the day.

The seven-day funding extension, approved by a vote of 357 to 60, came just hours before money for the department was to run out at midnight. The accord was reached after a stunning and humiliating setback for Speaker John A. Boehner and his leadership team earlier Friday, when the House voted against their original plan to extend funding for the department for three weeks — a position that Mr. Boehner had considered a fail-safe. More than 50 House Republicans defected, voting against the bill.

The speaker was rescued by Democrats, who supported his offer of a weeklong extension because they believed it would lead to a vote next week on full funding for the department through the fiscal year, without any provisions related to President Obama’s executive actions on immigration included in the House’s original legislation. A spokesman for Mr. Boehner said the speaker had made no promises or deals with House Democrats to guarantee such a vote.

“Your vote tonight will assure that we will vote for full funding next week,” wrote Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the Democratic leader, in a letter to her members on Friday night urging them to support Mr. Boehner’s seven-day funding measure. The House vote came after the Senate had already agreed to a seven-day funding extension.

About 10 minutes before the funding was set to expire, the White House announced that the president had signed the weeklong extension… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <NY Times>

Rachel Maddow covered the story of the conflict.

I see it this way.  Pelosi never has had a problem with saying and doing things that will be unpopular with her base, such as her 2006 promise that the Democratic Party impeach or prosecute Texas Torquemada and Dead-eye Dick.  Had she not received the promise she claims, she would have asked her caucus to support the one week extension anyway, because Democrats, Unlike the Republican Party, care about what’s best for the country.  I’m sure she asked for the guarantee, however.

I think what probably happened is that Agent Orange made the promise, because he knows that, if DHS is shut-down, his party will have a PR disaster akin to the hit they took for shutting down the government.  Putting a clean bill on the floor is the only way he can avoid that.  So I think that he lied to his own caucus through his spokesperson, to temporarily avoid a noisy revolt.

The final question is this.  Will he keep the promise he made, or will he cave-in to the Theocon and InsaniTEA wings of his caucus?  After all, Republican promises have no value.

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Feb 282015
 

My helper friend called yesterday and said she could not make it until 10 AM today.  It’s Noon and I’m still waiting.  I slept most of yesterday, needed it, and could probably use another few hours.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:02 (average 5:02).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: By a huge majority, Americans support laws legalizing marijuana and criminalizing Congress, according to a poll released on Thursday.

While the poll reflects a relaxation of attitudes about recreational pot use, it also suggests that many Americans now view membership in Congress as a problem ravaging the nation.

Harland Dorrinson, an activist who has spent years mobilizing support for the criminalization of Congress, said that “this poll reinforces what many of us have been saying for a long time: Congress destroys lives.”

Never has Andy’s satire been more true.

From Media Matters: Fox News Host Sean Hannity is criticizing singer John Legend’s Oscars speech, which invoked the civil rights movement and the ongoing fight for racial and social justice. In response to Legend’s completely accurate statement that the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is under attack today, Hannity disagreed and appeared to argue that the seminal civil rights law was irrelevant to strict voter ID laws.

On February 22, Legend and co-writer Common won the Academy Award for Best Original Song for "Glory," from the film Selma, a historical drama about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s fight for equal voting rights. In his acceptance speech, Legend noted that the civil rights struggle represented in the movie continues "right now": "We wrote this song for a film that was based on events that were 50 years ago, but we say that Selma is now, because the struggle for justice is right now. We know that the Voting Rights Act that they fought for 50 years ago is being compromised right now, in this country, today."

Barf Bag Alert!!

 

Everything Legend said was true. Fowler was completely accurate when Hannity wasn’t overwhelming him with the loudest mic. Innis is just a token paid to betray his people, and said nothing of import. Hannity opened his mouth, with no food going in. You know what that means.

From Daily Kos: Earlier today, when asked about ISIS, presidential hopeful and current Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker said that his response to the peaceful labor protests in Madison in 2011 prepared him to stamp out international terrorism. Apparently that means that in case of a terrorist attack he would sneak in and out of the White House via a not-so-secret rat tunnel and consult on the phone with bloggers pretending to be billionaire David Koch.

0228isisgrannies

Here’s just one image the foolish Fartfuhrer of Fitzwalkerstan inspired. Click through for a bunch more.

Cartoon:

0228Cartoon

Prosper

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