Saturday, January 30, 2010

While I wasn't looking ...

Took a day away from computer and news and what does Obama do?
President Obama Flogs Republicans with a Smile
And the Thugs --and FOX noise-- are sorry the camera were running.
Russert: Republicans Say It Was a Mistake Cameras Were Allowed to Roll During President's Appearance at Retreat
Poor babies.

Obama's performance has been described as good theatre. Hopefully there's more to it than that. We'll just have to wait and see what Obama actually does ... or does not. Obama is good at words. It's action on his promises we want. If this theatre helps us get there then good. If it's just an end in itself then, well, that would be more of the same ... so we wait again for Obama action.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Something to be hopeful about? ...

... the President [not Bush the Lesser but Obama the Hopeless] claims the power to order U.S. citizens killed anywhere in the world, while engaged even in the most benign activities carried out far away from any actual battlefield, based solely on his say-so and with no judicial oversight or other checks. ...
Saving us from Conservatism, yea!
So we're in Afghanistan to teach them about democracy, the rule of law, and basic precepts of Western justice. Meanwhile, Afghan officials vehemently object to the lawless, due-process-free assassination "hit list" of their citizens based on the unchecked say-so of the U.S. Government, and have to lecture us on the rule of law and Constitutional constraints. By stark contrast, our own Government, our media and our citizenry appear to find nothing wrong whatsoever with lawless assassinations aimed at our own citizens. And the most glaring question for those who critized Bush/Cheney detention policies but want to defend this: how could anyone possibly object to imprisoning foreign nationals without charges or due process at Guantanamo while approving of the assassination of U.S. citizens without any charges or due process?

Worth thinking about ...

Reagan may have proved that deficits don't matter politically, but Clinton proved that fixing deficits doesn't matter politically either. They impeached the man over unauthorized fellatio and then ran on tax cuts, stole the election and immediately put the country into debt all over again. The idea that Democrats will get some political benefit from a lot of sharp talk about deficits and "freezes" is a pipe dream. Obama will be hurt by the bad economy and benefit from its revival. But unlike Reagan, he's tied his own hands on policy leaving him little room to maneuver if the economy stays bad. And when (if) the economy rebounds he will not seen as someone who was courageous for "staying the course" and validating his own liberal beliefs --- he will be seen as having acquiesced to the conservative agenda, which will get all the credit. And conversely, liberalism will be discredited even though it did all the heavy lifting. Awesome.
... should, that is, the Obama team consider using their collective thinking apparatuses (something they seemed to know how to do during the campaign but put aside once elected).

Live and Learn. John Amato thinks ...

"... President Obama's first year has been for the most part to try and save the country from conservatism and then try to pass health care. We might terribly dislike the approach he's taken towards these problems, but that's it in the nutshell."
Saving the country from conservatism is what Obama is trying to do? That is what John Amato thinks Obama is trying to do?

Surprised speechless am I.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Words and games ...

Shades of 1937? Obama to Announce Three-Year Spending Freeze in State of the Union
Wonder what Obama will actually say in his speech ...

I tend to think that Greenwald is right in who Obama intends to betray:
The clear fact is that, no matter how severe are our budgetary constraints, military spending and all so-called "security-related programs" are off-limits for any freezes, let alone decreases. Moreover, the modest spending freeze to be announced by Obama tomorrow is just the start; the Washington consensus has solidified and is clearly gearing up for major cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, with the dirty work to be done by an independent "deficit commission." It's time for "everyone" to sacrifice and suffer some more -- as long as "everyone" excludes our vast military industry, the permanent power factions inside the Pentagon and intelligence community, our Surveillance and National Security State, and the imperial policies of perpetual war which feed them while further draining the lifeblood out of the country.
Isn't Obama just so smart? And destructive?
The Obama Chill: In 2012 Obama Will Run Against Democratic Congress
And mind you, I spoke of Obama’s “perceived self-interest” above, because no matter how you look at it this policy simply makes no sense. Voters in 2010 are going to be voting on their pocketbook. Voters in 2012 are going to be voting on their pocketbook. They don’t really care about deficits. Rather, they care about a working economy. And this little PR stunt will only make it harder for Obama to do what he needs to do to get the economy working again.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Love letter to the US Senate. It could be worse? ...

After the knifing abuse of Joe Lieberman, US Senate, no one wants anything to do with you. After the sickening insider dealing of Max Baucus, US Senate, everyone thinks the entire body should sign up for work at the nearest landfill. After the ridiculous, utterly debasing pandering to Olympia Snowe, US Senate, no one still wants to admit how screamingly the Founders fucked up when they created you. After the gross insider deal to Ben Nelson, US Senate, all desperately search for medication or handy recreational drug to blot out the howling fucking nightmare as soon possible, God, get a clue to how loathed and clownish y’all are.
It gets better?
Obtuse, ego-besotted, clownishly bought and politically fat with six year terms, the flabby, groaning body of the Senate nonetheless still has outdated, glacial political instincts that occasionally flicker through the old corpse, the upcoming in-trouble nomination of Ben Bernanke being one of these rare times. Usually the elite-enabling, genial denier Republican would of course been given a pass for any accountability to his job and confirmed automatically, but even Senators are starting to realize they’ve gone too far recently and should do the right thing for once by barfing Bernanke to keep up appearances.
Sadly Krugman, who once seemed to stand solidy for truth or something close to it seems to have been brought low in defending certain parties in our exponentially corrupt system:
I felt bad for Paul Krugman this morning, who basically said yes, Bernanke missed the finance bubble and will do nothing for the unemployed (Lord am I sick of inflation weenies with the unions busted, get a clue) but he’s a nice man who hired me once, please confirm him. Sorry, Paul, understandable loyalty to your boss doesn’t work when confirming the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, not hardly.
Really, as if Obama would even try to find "a good Democratic responsible populist" rather than a failure of a Republican [what are you thinking paradox]:
Reject Bernanke, yes, instantly because he’s a Republican, of course, all they know how to do is obnoxiously screw up. Then reject him precisely because he really screwed up and also has the nuclear gall to ignore the little people. Then hope the Obama Administration finds a good Democratic responsible populist to be Fed Chairman, I find it hard to believe Krugman could be wrong again today, it can’t be that hard, there must be one credible name out there to do the job. Oh that’s right, Paul, there’s you at right near the top.
At one time I thought Obama was an intelligent worth while human being who was able to process information and understand it.

First I was abused of any idea that he might be a worth while human. During his campaign he didn't just make a few promises he couldn't keep, instead he out right lied about everything. Just like a Republican Thug.

Next he undermines his own story line that he listens to all by striking secret deals with the very corrupt 'health care' industries that need fixing and then pretends to listen to 'others' later. So much for his intellectual honesty.

But the worst of all is his fetish with putting failed Republicans in important political positions.

Barack Obama has been as effective as the Supreme Court in negating a significant Democratic victory. Obama appears to think he was elected as President of these United States in order to finalize the turning over of the country to corporate, fat cat, Robber Baron power.

Obama and the Supreme Court. Working in tandem.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

So much to look forward to ...

Follow that dream
Or not ...

I've got to hand it to Raul Grijalva ...

... he hasn't caved to the those (including Krugman) who think the indefensible Senate's protect-the-future-profits-of-the-'health'-insurance-industry bill should be passed now, right now, don't think about it further, just do what we say, right now. After all it can be fixed (by the same morons who can't produce anything halfway acceptable should their very lives depend on it) later. Sort-a-like Medicare Part D was fixed -- oh, but it hasn't been fixed, has it?

It takes guts, which so few in Congress have, to keep standing up for what it right as other Democrats, like Diane Watson of California, get down in the mud and slither towards their corporate paymasters.

I'm not sure why Krugman thinks the Senate bill is better than nothing ...

I think Krugman is, like many, confused between 'health' insurance and health care. I don't see how the Senate bill will ever get us to health care. If anything it will entrench the insurance industry further in determining who lives and who dies.

Krugman praises Barney Frank for changing his mind and saying, according to TPM that:
... With Assurances, He'll Vote For The Senate Health Care Bill
Assurance? Just who will give those assurances? Obama? The Senate? Reid? Pelosi? Don't make me laugh. It hurts.

Barney Frank then, apparently, says the following:
"A bill being passed [is in Democrats' best interest]--as long as it's being done in a way that's invulnerable to charges that it was jammed through, or the rules were disregarded. That's what I was afraid of was a disregard for the procedural rules: Bending the Byrd rule out of shape, or doing something with Paul Kirk's vote while awaiting certification--those things would be fatal."
Barney Frank seems to be a man afraid of his shadow. He's afraid to use or change procedural rules. He's afraid to do anything the Thugs may criticize him for. Well they are quite willing to criticize him for living. Should he just agree to die for them. He's given up on doing anything else. He sat there in Congress when the Thugs changed procedures when it suited them. Or just threatened to change procedures to get Dem compliance with the results that the Thugs got what they wanted and kept the rules in place should they lose their majority. They seemed to know the elected Dems wouldn't have the will to play hardball.

These are really creepy, craven Dems. Progressives have better ideas but if they are all cowards it will do them absolutely no good. I no longer can tell which Dems who express progressive ideals are cowards and which are closet Repugs. The result is the same ...

Progressives with guts can be counted on one hand.

... and Krugman seems to have lost his way awhile ago.

The following are the blog post I was reading when the above tirade took me over. No logic intended.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

There's a reason ...

Last time I ordered sesame seeds I decided to try some black ones in additional to the usual golden ones.

After using up all the golden sesame seeds I decided to make tahini; so that I could make hummus.

Well, the hummus was not esthetically pleasing in color -- though once one accepts the fact that something tastes good -and is good- one's automatic perceptions seem to adjust accordingly.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Just thinking ...

I don't call my House Rep's office very often and I never call my Senators' offices (Joker McCain and Killer Kyl). I have called a few other Congressional offices.

My experience is that the people on the phone do not use that contact to find anything out about my opinions (other that the short blurb I have prepared) nor usually where I reside. It really seems a waste on their part, though, perhaps, they don't care what the callers think. Which is most likely the case. A trifle shortsighted perhaps.

Today's quote ...

We’re stuck with Obama patty-cake to dangerous political freaks for seven more years, likely, ...

Friday, January 15, 2010

Obama seems to be destroying the Democratic Party ...

Perhaps that's unfair. Maybe he's just helping its decline. Anyway, Obama appears more Bush-like with each passing day. Democrats are falling left and right.

Obama in his wisdom decided to insist on legislation that works against the interests of the America public while ensuring some of the main products of his 'reign' will be designed for and by the corporations which have, apparently, bought his soul as well as the souls of the majority of our Congress, Dem and Thug alike.

I'm particularly impressed by the critical thinking skill of the press who are charged with keeping us informed about all these machinations. Great comedy is the only thing good that seems to come from the quagmire our country's ruling structure has turned into. I particularly enjoyed the following article by Jane Hamsher:

Writing About Politics Is Hard

Interesting the way some of the best reporting seems to emanate from The Daily Show. It's a weird, weird world and it only seems to get weirder ...

I wonder, when -heaven forbid- we complete the slide into absolute corporate control with the ultimate goal of absolute economic slavery, will Obama understand his role in ensuring the resulting human misery. That is, is Obama's role in this active or passive. I'm still not sure ...

But one thing I am sure about is that not being quite as bad as George W. Bush is no compliment.

And, sadly, there is no reason that a person who breaks a barrier, such as being the first black person to be elected the President of the United States, must necessarily be a person of character. But it is definitely a shame and a disappointment when such is the case.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Today's quote ...

It is important to remember that the perfect was never mentioned in this health care debate. The very good was declared impossible and did not even have a place at the table when they started planning reform last year. Even good reform was dismissed almost immediately.

The debate this entire time has been between what might be labeled “decent reform” at best, and terrible corporate giveaway labeled “reform.” This is not about making the perfect the enemy of the good. We were never even offered the “good” as a compromise.

-- Health Care Reform to Date: So Very Far From Perfect by Jon Walker,

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Today's quote ...

... It's so striking how most of the policies we undertake in the name of combating Terrorism -- including our various invasions, bombings and occupations, and our always-escalating Surveillance State -- have exactly the opposite effect.

-- The backfiring of the surveillance state by Glenn Greenwald,

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Today's quote ...

It's really remarkable that we've gotten to a point in American history where the Republican Party has managed to make fair trials for people who commit crimes "controversial." ...

-- It's Come To This The group blog of The American Prospect
It's not just the Republicans. Obama is continuing to ensure that US Law has no meaning.

As Glenn Greenwald writes:
... the most significant consequence of his [Barack Obama's] first year in office, in the area of civil liberties, is that -- with a few exceptions (most notably torture) -- he has transformed what were once highly controversial Republican "assaults on the Constitution" into bipartisan consensus which both parties now embrace, thus ensuring -- as Baker put it -- "that much of the Bush security architecture is almost certain to remain part of the national fabric for some time to come, thanks to Obama." Thus, a President who imprisons people with military commissions or even no charges at all -- and constantly invokes secrecy claims to shield the Executive Branch from judicial review over allegations of lawbreaking -- is now hailed -- by progressives -- as a stalwart defender of "the rule of law."

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Arizona Geology Stories for 2009 ...

... at Arizona Geology blog.

Home of the brave? Not even on TV ...

... We have Chris Matthews running around shrieking that he's scared of kung-fu-wielding Terrorists. Michael Chertoff is demanding that we stop listening to "privacy ideologues" -- i.e., that there should be no limits on Government's power to invade and monitor and scrutinize. Republican leaders have spent the decade preaching that only Government-provided Safety, not the Constitution, matters. All in response to this week's single failed terrorist attack, there are -- as always -- hysterical calls that we start more wars, initiate racial profiling, imprison innocent people indefinitely, and torture even more indiscriminately. These are the by-products of the weakness and panic and paralyzing fear that Americans have been fed in the name of Terrorism, continuously for a full decade now.


... What matters most about this blinding fear of Terrorism is not the specific policies that are implemented as a result. Policies can always be changed. What matters most is the radical transformation of the national character of the United States. Reducing the citizenry to a frightened puddle of passivity, hysteria and a child-like expectation of Absolute Safety is irrevocable and far more consequential than any specific new laws. Fear is always the enabling force of authoritarianism: the desire to vest unlimited power in political authority in exchange for promises of protection. This is what I wrote about that back in early 2006 in How Would a Patriot Act?:

The president's embrace of radical theories of presidential power threatens to change the system of government we have. But worse still, his administration's relentless, never-ending attempts to keep the nation in a state of fear can also change the kind of nation we are.

This isn't exactly new: many of America's most serious historical transgressions -- the internment of Japanese-Americans, McCarthyite witch hunts, World War I censorship laws, the Alien and Sedition Act -- have been the result of fear-driven, over-reaction to extrenal threats, not under-reaction. Fear is a degrading toxin, and there's no doubt that it has been the primary fuel over the last decade. As the events of the last week demonstrate, it continues to spread rapidly, and it produces exactly the kind of citizenry about which John Adams long ago warned.

-- The degrading effects of Terrorism fears by Glenn Greenwald

Friday, January 1, 2010

Terrorism: The panic is the point ...

Digby is so right:
The panic is the point. That's why they do terrorist attacks in the first place. And the damned bozo certainly succeeded, at least among the elites who, as far as I can tell, have worked themselves up into some kind of fugue state and are now practically speaking in tongues. It's embarrassing.
If they had the means to invade us outright they would. But they don't so their best bet is to make us react in such a way that benefits their goals using what few resources they have. And boy have they succeeded thanks to Bush the Lesser and now to Obama [the One Who Refuses to Use His Own Reasoning Powers].