Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston

~~~

~~~

.On Presidents' Day, A Nation Turns Its Lonely Eyes To You

.On Presidents' Day, A Nation Turns Its Lonely Eyes To You
A gentleman, scholar, and last real president, Barack Hussein Obama

Monday, March 30, 2015

Republican Governor Pence Signed Law That Brings Back The Old Jim Crow Days


UPDATE BELOW



Indiana Lawmakers Admit “No Gays” Signs Will be Allowed


Americans, businesses and cities condemned Indiana’s RFRA ever since Governor Mike Pence signed it in to law. Pence tried to claim his critics didn’t understand the law, but that blew up in his face when, during a press conference, the House Speaker and the Senate Pro Tem admitted that No Gay signs would be allowed in Indiana.

[skip]


Pence was busted when Indiana’s Senate Pro Tem and the Speaker of the House held a joint news conference admitting that “No Gays allowed” signs would be permitted in areas within Indiana. 

 If only Pence or someone on his staff took a trip outside right wing world. He would have known the cat was out of the bag back in January. As reported by Think Progress at the time, But while RFRAs advanced in previous years were designed to prohibit the government from burdening the religious beliefs of citizens, Indiana’s bill would allow individuals to use their religious beliefs to defend themselves in court even if the state is not party to the case. 

Thus, this would allow a business owner to use their religious beliefs to justify refusing services for a same-sex couple’s wedding. As a state law, this would supersede any municipal nondiscrimination laws that protect LGBT people. 

During a joint press conference, Brian Bosma, Speaker of the House and the Senate’s Pro Tem David Long acknowledged that homophobic shop keepers will be allowed to display “No Gays allowed” signs.


Good going, Governor Pence.  Following in an American tradition that we thought we left behind years ago:

No Irish Need Apply

And more recently:




The modern Republican Party: taking America back to the good ole Jim Crow days.



Keep voting for these people and they'll take us back to the 19th century.


UPDATE

From Daily Kos:


Pence and the Indiana Legislature were warned - in advance - that this RFRA was very different than the ones passed in other states. 

An 11 page letter dated Feb. 27, 2015 was sent to Rep. Ed DeLaney from 30 expert law professors in religious freedom and civil rights (12 from IU law schools) giving their opinion on Indiana's then proposed RFRA. 

 "In our expert opinion, the clear evidence suggests otherwise and unmistakably demonstrates that the broad language of the proposed state RFRA will more likely create confusion, conflict, and a wave of litigation that will threaten the clarity of religious liberty rights in Indiana while undermining the state’s ability to enforce other compelling interests. 

This confusion and conflict will increasingly take the form of private actors, such as employers, landlords, small business owners, or corporations, taking the law into their own hands and acting in ways that violate generally applicable laws on the grounds that they have a religious justification for doing so. Members of the public will then be asked to bear the cost of their employer’s, their landlord’s, their local shopkeeper’s, or a police officer’s private religious beliefs." 

The Indiana Legislature pushed on with this bill anyway, very quickly, and before Hoosiers had time to realize what was happening. I'm sure that was intended. Pence then closed himself off from the people of this state, shut off his phones, and signed the bill in a closed room with a staged photo and no media present. 


The media was not even allowed to interview the people in the photo. Read the letter above. Pass it around. Pence knew exactly what this bill meant, who it was targeting, and how it would be interpreted. He threw the whole state under the bus. Many of us here, including the Indianapolis Star, believe he has done this because he has ambitions to be president. Never let that happen.





The above should explain to folks like skudrunner why what Gov. Pence signed turned out to be a disaster for him and Indiana. Instead, skudrunner tried to change the subject, and guess how -- by telling everyone for the bazillionth time that the people who passed the Jim Crow laws were Democrat! He's consistent, if nothing else. And hopelessly ideologically blind in this particular case. 

Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, and Scott Walker all support and endorse the Indiana discriminatory law.

Well, yeah, Governor Pence, the bill you signed IS state sanctioned discrimination against gays.







Despite what Governor Pence said on the Sunday talk shows about the odious law he signed onto last week, it is a law designed to discriminate against gays.  

Take a look at the men who helped write the bill:
















From the HuffPost:


"Apple CEO, Tim Cook,  said he was opposing the legislation on behalf of Apple Inc. He came out as gay in October, saying that he wanted to make a difference for others. 

 In a letter he wrote then, Cook said, "there are laws on the books in a majority of states that allow employers to fire people based solely on their sexual orientation. There are many places where landlords can evict tenants for being gay, or where we can be barred from visiting sick partners and sharing in their legacies. Countless people, particularly kids, face fear and abuse every day because of their sexual orientation." 

 Cook said in his criticism of religious objection laws that he has great respect for religious freedom, but that it can never be "used as an excuse to discriminate." The legislation is not a political or religious issue, but rather "about how we treat each other as human beings," Cook said. 

 "Opposing discrimination takes courage. With the lives and dignity of so many people at stake, it's time for all of us to be courageous," Cook said.





Charlie Pierce of Esquire: 

"... the House Cup was clinched by Mike Pence, the big bag of hammers who governs Indiana, who dropped by This Week With The Clinton Guy Shocked By Blowjobs, and who wrapped up the competition in the first three minutes of his appearance. This may have been the worst performance by a politician on a Sunday Show I ever saw. In fact, it may be the worst performance by a purported human being in he history of television. 

As you may have guessed, Pence came on to defend his signing of the anti-gay Religious Freedom Restoration Act at a private ceremony last week, and to explain how Jesus wanted him to drive his local business community mad, and his local tourism economy into the abyss. He began by distorting a little history. 

 PENCE: The Religious Freedom Restoration Act was signed into federal law by President Bill Clinton more than 20 years ago. And it lays out a framework for ensuring that a very high level of scrutiny is given any time government action impinges on the religious liberty of any American. After that, some 19 states followed that, adopted that statute. And after last year's Hobby Lobby case, Indiana properly brought the same version that then state senator Barack Obama voted for in Illinois before our legislature. And I was proud to sign it into law last week. But, look, I think -- I understand that there's been a tremendous amount of misinformation and misunderstanding around this bill, and I'm just determined -- and I appreciate the time on your program -- I'm just determined to clarify this. This is about protecting the religious liberty of people of faith and families of faith across this country, that's what it's been for more than 20 years, and that's what it is now as the law in Indiana, George. 

The problem Pence had was that he was barbering the history with which The Clinton Guy was quite familiar. 

STEPHANOPOULOS: But I think one of the problems that people have pointed out is that in Indiana, your civil rights laws don't include sexual orientation as a protected class. And even some of the supporters of the bill who were -- who appeared with you when you signed the bill, Eric Miller of Advanced America wrote that, "It will protect those who oppose gay marriage." He put up this example. He said, "Christian bakers, florists and photographers should not be punished for refusing to participate in a homosexual marriage." 

So this is a yes or no question. Is Advance America right when they say a florist in Indiana can now refuse to serve a gay couple without fear of punishment? As Pence demonstrated, however, this was not a yes-or-no question. There actually were three answers. There was yes, and there was no, and there also was, "Holy fk, what have I done? Run and hide!"

READ THE REST HERE.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Ted, the Anointed King, and Other Dominionist/Reconstructionists Beliefs









It is interesting as an outsider to watch the YouTube video below of a gathering of Dominionists, led by Ted Cruz's father, praying for a Christian "transfer of wealth" from the "wicked" to the "righteous." 

Wait!  Did I just type "transfer of wealth?"  

Don't the TeaPublicans call that COMMUNISM?  So what about this "transfer of wealth" being preached by Ted Cruz's father?  Is this "transfer of wealth" a NOT- Communist idea because the righteous will take the wealth from the wicked and give it to the righteous?  Sort of like Robin Hood and his Merry Men?  But the righties hate that idea and holler about the Libruls and Progressives wanting to "distribute the wealth!" So what makes it wonderful coming from the mouths of Dominionists, but EVUL when Libruls say it?  I'd love to hear an explanation from one of these folks telling me how it is different.

(How could Ted Cruz grow up in a home where his pastor father talked about the transfer of wealth and NOT be influenced by this sort of communism?  Didn't people wonder how Mr. Obama could listen to his pastor on Sundays and not be influenced? And yet Ted Cruz grew up with a father who talked about such things.  Where's the outrage from the right on this?)

As an outsider who has no concept of what the hell they mean by their own special interpretation of the "transferring/distributing of wealth," I found another thing puzzling.  Not once in this 10-minute collage of preaching did I hear one word about feeding, clothing, and giving shelter to  the poor, comforting the sick, forgiving those who trespass, being merciful to those who need mercy, loving thy neighbor even if he or she is a Librul.  Nothing. Zero. Nada. Not one word of what their Savior preached passed their lips.  The other pastor in the video, Larry Huch, however, does talk about politics and how Ted Cruz will deliver all the holy folks into something, something, saved, and hallelujah!  

It's evident that what's behind this movement is the fanatical desire to make this country into a theocracy, to fundamentally transform this country, from what the Founding Fathers established:  a secular society where people are free to privately worship what and whom they choose.  There's nothing in our Constitution that talks about the transfer of wealth from the wicked to the righteous (BTW, who'll determine exactly who those two groups are?  People like Ted Cruz's father as well as other Dominionist Republican/Tea Party leaders?  Will they label Muslims, Atheists, Buddhists, Hindus, etc. as "the wicked" and make them wear little yellow symbols of wickedness on their clothing so they'll "know?")  

A perfect blend of theocracy and government -- one of the warning signs of fascism.


8. Religion and Government are Intertwined - Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government's policies or actions.






Watch this:










According to New Beginnings’ dominionist pastor, Larry Huch, Ted Cruz got elected to the senate because God is about to begin his “rule and reign” and there will be a big “end-time transfer of wealth.”

Somehow, transferring wealth is a good thing when the money is being taken from non-believers and awarded to the church but bad if rich folks and corporations are expected to pay their way. It is no coincidence that those rich folks and corporations are big supporters of people like Ted Cruz. God chose Ted Cruz and he is now apparently selecting his bankers.

As HuffPo explains the results, they seem to have very little to do with anything Jesus preached about wealth, even though a weaponized Jesus figures prominently in dominionist plans: So to pull all this logic together, God anoints priests to work in the church directly and kings to go out into the marketplace to conquer, plunder, and bring back the spoils to the church.

The reason governmental regulation has to disappear from the marketplace is to make it completely available to the plunder of Christian “kings” who will accomplish the “end time transfer of wealth.” Then “God’s bankers” will usher in the “coming of the messiah.”

SOURCE



From Political Research Associates:


Inside the Christian Right Dominionist Movement That's Undermining Democracy



Advocates of Dominion Theology go beyond the democracy eroding theocracy of Dominionism into a totalitarian form of religious power called a "theonomy," in which pluralistic democracy and religious tolerance are seen as a problem to be solved by godly men carrying out God's will. Karen Armstrong calls Christian Reconstructionism "totalitarian" because it leaves "no room for any other view or policy, no democratic tolerance for rival parties, no individual freedom."

Matthew N. Lyons and I call Christian Reconstructionism a "new form of clerical fascist politics," in our book Right-Wing Populism in America, because we see it echoing the religiously based clerical fascist movements that existed during World War II in countries including Romania and Hungary. 

According to Fred Clarkson: Reconstructionists believe that there are three main areas of governance: family government, church government, and civil government. Under God's covenant, the nuclear family is the basic unit. The husband is the head of the family, and wife and children are "in submission" to him. In turn, the husband "submits" to Jesus and to God's laws as detailed in the Old Testament. The church has its own ecclesiastical structure and governance. 

Civil government exists to implement God's laws. All three institutions are under Biblical Law, the implementation of which is called "theonomy." Christian Reconstructionists believe that as more Christians adopt Dominion Theology, they will eventually convert the majority of Americans. Then the country will realize that the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights are merely codicils to Old Testament biblical law.


Someone needs to tell these Dominionists/Reconstructionists to get back to this country's foundational beliefs, which have nothing to do with their fantasies of a Christian nation.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Rand Paul Jumps on the Anti-Marriage Equality Crazy Train




How does a Libertarian get away with this?



"Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) on Thursday told a group of pastors and religious leaders that the debate over gay marriage was a symptom of a "moral crisis" in America and said he hoped for "another Great Awakening." 

 “Don’t always look to Washington to solve anything," Paul said during a private prayer breakfast at the Capitol Hill Club. "In fact, the moral crisis we have in our country — there is a role for us trying to figure out things like marriage — there’s also a moral crisis that allows people to think that there would be some sort of other marriage.” 

Paul said earlier this month that allowing gay marriage "offends myself and a lot of people." He said he would prefer that homosexuals had an alternative "contract" that gave them "equivalency before the law," while preventing same sex nuptials. 

 “I've said this before, we need a revival in the country,” Paul said on Thursday, as several in the room murmured in approval. “We need another Great Awakening with tent revivals of thousands of people saying, ‘reform or see what’s going to happen if we don’t reform,'" he said. ---Talking Points Memo


Here's the thing, Rand Paul, it's DIVORCE that should "offend" you and the people who are so concerned about the sanctity of marriage, not two people who want to marry and share a life together.  Divorce destroys marriage, not more marriage.  So you and your friends should be wringing your hands and clutching your pearls over that.  Divorce breaks up families.  Marriage--even marriages between teh gaiis!-- creates families.  Your sense of "offense" is predicated on a religious book (which, BTW, found interracial marriages offensive not too long ago, and which justified slavery, not too long ago.)

It looks like Rand Paul is just another run-of-the-think-tank panderer.  He knows he needs the folks who've gone all ga-ga over Ted Cruz, and so he'll go all Libertarian "offended" to let them know he's "one of them."

I understood Libertarianism to be about "I'll mind my own business, and you stay out of mine!"  But here's a guy who believes this country needs another "Great Awakening," a religious revival.  Does he also want whichever religion comes out of this new Great Awakening to be the impetus for new religious laws?  And has he lost his mind?


BTW, someone needs to bring this to Paul's attention:



NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll 3/1-5/15 

"Do you favor or oppose allowing gay and lesbian couples to enter into same-sex marriages?" 

Strongly / Somewhat favor = 59% 
Strongly / Somewhat oppose = 33%





Also, Paul reversed himself on defense spending.  Is he trying to keep up with Mittens on the Flip-Flop Olympics?





Friday, March 27, 2015

Indiana Governor Pence signs bigotry into law.


UPDATE BELOW


The new law allows people to refuse services and goods to folks they don't like, because their religion says they're icky and worse.

Congratulations Governor Pence and Indiana!

(I wonder if Mary Cheney and her partner have any plans to visit Indiana and have Christian businesses (and Muslim businesses because like fundy Xtians, the Muslims HATE teh gaii!) tell them to take their business elsewhere?)

This little experiment in Christian Sharia law isn't working out quite the way Pence and his fellow bigots hoped it would:



Broadway's Audra McDonald Just Took Down Indiana Gov. Mike Pence In A Glorious Twitter Rant



Christian Group Is Ready To Boycott Indiana If Governor Signs ‘Religious Liberty’ Bill



Gen Con threatens to leave Indy over religious freedom bill; Tourism, City leaders fear the worst



Salesforce CEO Benioff Takes Stand Against Indiana Anti-Gay Law



"This medieval measure was supposed to be a moment of triumph for bigots throughout Indiana, for men and women who hate Jews, who hate Muslims and atheists and gays and lesbians and transgenders. Instead, Governor Mike Pence slunk away and signed it in private like the shameful act it was. 

You see, an actual religious freedom bill has to protect all people. Indiana’s RFRA, by [Franklin] Graham’s own admission, only protects the rights of fake Christians like him to persecute everybody they don’t like. I can think of a very prominent episode when it was legal to refuse to serve Jews: Nazi Germany. Stay classy, Indiana. 

The RFRA is religious tyranny, the act of one religion saying it’s better than all others and deciding it will get to make all the rules for everybody else, regardless of their own beliefs. That’s pretty much the history of Christianity for the better part of the last 2000 years. People came to this country to get away from that. We were bequeathed a secular Constitution to protect us from religious tyranny. The RFRA is the very thing the Founding Fathers were trying to prevent when they wrote Article VI, paragraph 3 of the Constitution, and later, the First Amendment."
---Hrafnkell Haraldsson



One small correction to Haraldson's article above.  The Puritans and Pilgrims who came to this country were actually religious bigots who left their native lands so that they could practice their bigotry in peace.  The early Christians in Colonial America not only persecuted people who were not of their particular religious sect, they tortured and killed them as well, sort of like the Sunnis and Shi'ites do.

This is exactly why we don't want our secular country to favor any religion.  As soon as one religion is favored over any other, bigotry, persecution, and worse, is the result. When presented with the same sort of legislation in Arizona, Governor Brewer votoed the bill.

Governor Pence has made a fool of himself and his state. 



READ MORE HERE @REPUBLIC OF GILEAD




UPDATE:

What is it with these people and their fevered fantasies about gays and atheists? Fundamentalist Christian and teevee Duck Person, Phil Robertson, gave a truly bizarre talk at some Christian gathering where he said some things that only a Jeffrey Dahlmer-like brain could conjure up, and yet this crazy man was comfortable in sharing his twisted and sick fantasy of torture, rape and murder of atheists with his fellow religionists:



Phil Robertson Hypothesizes About Atheist Family Getting Raped And Killed


“I’ll make a bet with you,” Robertson said. “Two guys break into an atheist’s home. He has a little atheist wife and two little atheist daughters. Two guys break into his home and tie him up in a chair and gag him. And then they take his two daughters in front of him and rape both of them and then shoot them and they take his wife and then decapitate her head off in front of him. And then they can look at him and say, ‘Isn’t it great that I don’t have to worry about being judged? Isn’t it great that there’s nothing wrong with this? There’s no right or wrong, now is it dude?’” Robertson kept going: “Then you take a sharp knife and take his manhood and hold it in front of him and say, ‘Wouldn’t it be something if this [sic] was something wrong with this? But you’re the one who says there is no God, there’s no right, there’s no wrong, so we’re just having fun. We’re sick in the head, have a nice day.’”

WTF is his point?  That atheists have no morals?  But in his degenerate story, it isn't the atheists committing torture, rape, and murder, is it.  Has this Robertson character been tested for mental stability?  Because anyone who can think up a story as depraved as the one he told has to have some serious mental issues.  I wouldn't let anyone in my family or any friend near the man.  He's a major degenerate with dangerous rage issues, very much like certain right wing bloggers we know.


Thursday, March 26, 2015

TED CRUZ and OBAMACARE: He Loves Me Not, He LOVES ME!!!!



Ted and Obamacare sitting in a tree --  K.I.S.S.I.N.G.!


Hello fellow Americans.  The TeaPublicans' bestest Obamacare hater, who promised to repeal every single word of the law when he's preznit, has announced that he will be putting himself and his family on OBAMACARE!

When we say certain members of the Tea Party are a bit "off," that's not an attack, it's the truth.  Cruz has spent his brief political career bashing all things Obamacare (and, of course, reading Dr. Seuss's Green Eggs and Ham).  He's promised to kill Obamacare and throw millions and millions and millions of Americans off of their insurance policies because this Canadian born son of an American mother and Cuban father says Obamacare is a failure and needs to be cancelled.  He also says climate change/global warming is a lie, and that the Earth is not getting warmer.

"Off" may not be the best word to describe this "brilliant" Harvard/Princeton educated senator.  Perhaps pandering to the rubes with a side of bat-shyte crazy is better?


"Unlike Cruz, we were not Ivy League educated, not even at any of those crappy safety ivies, so maybe we have no idea what we’re talking about, but it seems that a man who’s willing to bravely shut down the government and pass love notes in the hallway to Iran should have the courage of his convictions and refuse to make use of that sweet taxpayer-subsidized health care he hates so much." --Kaili Joy Gray


Ms. Gray, Tailgunner Ted has the courage of his ambitions, which is more powerful and in his circles, more moral, than having the courage of his convictions.  Whatever tricks and slights-of-hand he can produce to advance his whacky agenda will work fine with his Tea Party drones, because FREEDOM!  

Go Ted!  Get your Obamacare while it's hot!


We are definitely amused.  Please pass the popcorn.




Ted Cruz Wants You To Believe He’s Legally Required To Sign Up For Obamacare. He’s Not.


"The Affordable Care Act does not compel members of Congress to enroll in DC’s health care exchange; it simply cuts off the government contribution to their insurance plans if they buy their policies elsewhere. “The final rule extends a Government contribution towards health benefits plans for Members of Congress and designated congressional staff so long as the health benefits plans are purchased via the appropriate SHOP as determined by the Director,” a summary of the final rule says. “Nothing in the final rule or the law prevents a Member of Congress or designated congressional staff from declining a Government contribution for him or herself by choosing a different option for their health insurance coverage.” 

In other words, Cruz “could purchase coverage in the outside market but would get no subsidy from the FEHBP program,” Tim Jost clarified for ThinkProgress, referring to the acronym for the federal health care program. “It seems like the primary other option he would have is to take advantage of COBRA through his wife, though he’d be forgoing the employer contribution. He could also buy non-group coverage,” 

Larry Levitt, Senior Vice President at the Kaiser Family Foundation, said. Cruz could also potentially purchased insurance through his presidential campaign’s presumptive health care insurance. In those instances, however, he would have had to give up his employer’s contribution and likely pay more for insurance than he is now being charged under Obamacare."








"Let me clarify: By 'standing for principle' and 'repeal every word,' I meant, 'waste time and money on dozens of meaningless votes and rail against it at every opportunity until I was faced with the prospect of paying for health insurance out of my own pocket.'"

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Bibi-Boenher Connection - Seditious Acts by (O)CT(O)PUS of The Swash Zone


by (O)CT(O)PUS of The Swash Zone


Less than 24 hours after my last post on the Bibi-Boehner connection, a Wall Street Journal report reveals the hidden devil in the details: It appears Netanyahu used Israeli intelligence resources to spy on P5+1 negotiations (full text here):
The spying operation was part of a broader campaign by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to penetrate the negotiations and then help build a case against the emerging terms of the deal, current and former U.S. officials said … The espionage didn’t upset the White House as much as Israel’s sharing of inside information with U.S. lawmakers and others to drain support from a high-stakes deal intended to limit Iran’s nuclear program …
“If you’re wondering whether something serious has shifted here, the answer is yes,” a senior U.S. official said. “These things leave scars.”
Spy versus Spy: It is not uncommon for one ally to collect intelligence on another; but what makes this revelation unprecedented is that Israel fed this information to Congressional Republicans in an effort to alter the course of U.S. foreign policy. If intelligence gathering is considered standard operating procedure – even among allies – direct interference in the internal affairs of governments raises the stakes.

Double Trouble. More troublesome is the fact that Congressional Republicans acted as co-conspirators to gain partisan advantage. Never before in the history of the United States has an opposition party colluded with a foreign power - in direct violation of constitutional norms and protocols. The time has come to put teeth into the Logan Act: Mutiny against the Commander-in-Chief is an act of sedition. If ‘sedition’ is one operant word, the other is …

Impeachment. Unfortunately, impeachment is a political process requiring passage by vote in the House of Representatives and a trial by vote in the Senate. Since accused criminals rarely admit to their crimes and never sit on their own juries, the prospect of 47 Senators impeaching themselves is highly unlikely.


The only other option is to weigh the evidence in the court of public opinion. Bring it on, I say!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

GOP Shadow Government and the Bibi-Boehner Connection by (O)CT(O)PUS of The Swash Zone


by (O)CT(O)PUS

In a last minute blitz of opportunistic electioneering, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu wrestled ignominious victory from the jaws of defeat.  Invoking fear and xenophobia, Netanyahu nullified decades of diplomacy, antagonized allies, and inflamed regional tensions.  His last minute retractions and recalibrations were so stunningly cynical, it leaves us wondering:  Are Israeli voters now having buyers’ remorse?  For many, the answer is yes:
The day after elections, columnist Ben Caspit wrote an article in the Maariv daily newspaper titled "Two States." He was not referring to the two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but to Israel's own cultural divide (source: Associated Press).
In America, Europe, and the Middle East, the election outcome in Israel will have profound consequences; and the American public is well advised to pay attention.

Ides of March.  Earlier this month, House Speaker John Boehner breached constitutional protocol when he invited Netanyahu to address both chambers of Congress without notifying the White House.  Weeks later, forty-seven GOP Senators breached protocol again with an infamous letter that challenged the foreign policy prerogatives of a sitting president in the midst of sensitive negotiations. Last week, an aid to House Speaker Boehner announced a two-week trip to Israel starting in April. This sequence of events is no mere coincidence.

In victory, Netanyahu proved his mettle as a triumphant demagogue, and Speaker Boehner would like some of Bibi’s success to rub off.  His trip to Israel will be more than a mere courtship ritual between far rightwing allies. Hardly a state visit, this trip has the appearances of a political strategy session.  After all, next year is an election year in America; and the rightwing parties of Israel and the U.S. have a mutual stake in the outcome. Will the GOP and Likud join forces?  Follow the trail of sound bites for clues:
Representative Steve King (R-IA):  I don't understand how Jews in America can be Democrats first and Jewish second and support Israel along the line of just following their President" (source).
More Jewish than American Jews, more Catholic than the Pope, with a mouth the size of cantaloupe, Steve King never speaks alone.  He serves as an ugly mouthpiece for the GOP, and his outrageous remarks often presage the drift of GOP tactics and taking points.

Wedge politics is the dark art of stoking fear, suspicion, and resentment with appeals to bigotry and xenophobia in order to break apart coalitions and strip away votes. For decades, Jewish voters have consistently returned outsized majorities on behalf of Democrats:  78% for Clinton in 1996, 79% for Gore in 2000, 76% for Kerry in 2004, and 78% for Obama in 2008.  Clearly, the GOP sniffs an opportunity to bring these voters into the Republican fold … along with Sheldon Adelson's money.  Where demagoguery and diplomacy converge, the Bibi-Boehner connection represents a new low in American politics.  Will this unholy alliance bear fruit for Republicans?  Not according to Jon Stewart who lampooned Netanyahu for having the audacity to speak for all Jews (and for stealing a favorite GOP campaign tactic).  Not according to this commentary across Cyberspace (representative sampling):
That's why more than 2/3 of American Jews are Democrats - because we know what happens when dangerous demagogues like you preaching hatred and exclusion are allowed to take power."
"They conveniently forget that Obama was awarded Israel's highest honor, the Medal of Distinction, by Shimon Peres, Israel's president."
"It's the Dolchsto├člegende.  Any Jew can recognize it instantly."
Meanwhile, where is Cyanide News Network?  Is CNN MIA ... again!  Are there any savvy reporters bold enough to ask these questions: Is the Speaker’s trip to Israel an official state visit, a vacation, or a partisan junket? Who pays the tab? Will American taxpayers, or the Republican National Committee?  Pay attention, damnit!

Rafael Edward Cruz's Candidacy Will Be Entertaining, If Nothing Else





From the New York Times:



[I]f you know Mr. Cruz, or are familiar with how government is supposed to work, or with reality in general, you’ll find some of his imaginaries problematic, like abolishing the Internal Revenue Service, sealing the border, or “repealing every word of Obamacare.” “Imagine a federal government that works to defend the sanctity of human life and to uphold the sacrament of marriage,” he said. But Mr. Cruz says he is a champion of personal liberty, too, and gay people who love each other are demanding their liberty to marry, just not in a way he finds acceptable. No data support Mr. Cruz’s claim that insurance premiums are “skyrocketing” under Obamacare. Immigrants, legal and otherwise, are building this country, and efforts to vacuum-seal the border would continue to fail, and the country would suffer from its hostility to its immigrants no matter what Mr. Cruz says. The rest of the world, of course, is indifferent to one Republican’s oratorical dog whistles. The global climate will keep changing, and causing calamities, with or without the acknowledgment of Mr. Cruz and his fellow climate know-nothings. 

Mr. Cruz’s speech was an exercise in crowd-pleasing dissonance; the contradictions slip by if you’re not paying attention. America is great but needs to be made great again. Privacy is sacrosanct, and government should not get between you and your doctor, unless you’re a woman who wants to avoid or end a pregnancy. Mr. Cruz wants to repeal programs that protect some immigrants from deportation, but he has also said in the past that Republicans need to do better with Hispanic voters or risk extinction as a national party. His federalist views are incoherent: he wants states to be free to experiment with marijuana legalization, but attacked Mr. Obama for not cracking down on states that do so.




And no, Rafael "Ted" Cruz is not a "courageous conservative," he's a demagogue, who, having benefitted from a top-shelf education, should know better than to repeat half-truths and outright lies to fire up the base: 




A courageous conservative would be willing to stand up to the ideologues and zealots in the Republican Party and confront truths that they will not. That may be too much to ask of a presidential candidate -- but when one of them claims the mantle of courage, he or she asks to be judged by that standard.

A courageous conservative would dare to tell the Republican Party that the U.S. economy needs the 11 million immigrants who are here illegally, and many more besides; that they aren't going to be deported, and that it would tank the economy if they were; and that it is long past time for Republicans to put forward a comprehensive plan to fix the immigration system. Cruz, the son of a Cuban immigrant, has the background to make this argument, as other conservatives have done. Apparently he lacks the guts.

 A courageous conservative wouldn't be afraid to tell Republican voters that the scientific evidence overwhelmingly indicates that human activity is contributing to climate change, which is creating serious economic risks, and that ignoring this danger isn't "conservative." Many Republicans are beginning to face this reality, but no thanks to Cruz. He's adopted the party’s new talking point of calling anyone who favors action on climate change an “alarmist.”  ---The Editors, Bloomberg View



God personally speaks to him and tells him what to do!  I wonder if he hears other voices telling him what to do?  I'll bet the god-voices tell him to do stuff and say things that completely agree with Ted's politics!  What do you think?







Monday, March 23, 2015

Are You Dreaming of Another Bush in the White House?


UPDATE BELOW

If you are, that's not a dream, it's a nightmare.


Some reality from Digby:



Republicans said Obama's policies would destroy “nearly 6 million jobs over the next decade” and lead to "diminishment of employment in America.” (John McCain campaign 10-31-08; Texas Rep. Pete Sessions 11-07-09) 

People believed them.

Instead, 12 million new jobs created, more under 6 years of Obama than under 12 years of two Bushes, "the best private sector jobs creation performance in American history [that] outperformed President Reagan’s in all commonly watched categories" according to Forbes. (ElectaBlog 10-03-14; Forbes 09-05-14) 

Meanwhile, "small-government, pro-business” George W. Bush presided over "the biggest federal budget expansion since Franklin Delano Roosevelt" and saw only 1.3 million net jobs created in 8 years (7 million net for Obama in 6 years).

The Wall Street Journal called Bush's "the worst track record on record." (Washington Times 10-19-08; ElectaBlog 10-03-14; Wall Street Journal 01-09-09)


And that governor from Wisconsin, who the Koch brothers hope will take up residence in the White House?

Look at what he's done for his state:

40th in Private Sector Job Growth over the last year. Let Scott Walker, the Koch Brothers and ALEC do for America what they've done for Wisconsin.




Disturbed Man Tries to Get Into White House


 TedCruz.com



 UPDATE: 



Ted Cruz drew a crowd of 10,000 to the launch of his presidential campaign because student attendance was mandatory. A candidate who claims to love freedom spoke at a university where his audience was forced to watch him. 

 According to National Journal: Sen. Ted Cruz took the stage to declare his presidential candidacy at Liberty University Monday, surrounded by upwards of 10,000 cheering students. 

They weren’t all here by choice. Attendance at convocation at Liberty is mandatory, and a group of students clad in “Stand With Rand” shirts sat center stage—directly in view of the cameras—to log their displeasure with having to be here. -- Politicussusa


 Because nothing screams LIBERTY! like FORCING thousands of people to listen to you talking about yourself and your special idea of LIBERTY! LOL! What a joke!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sunday Science Blog






Four multiverses you might be living in:












Infidel753's comment reminded me of this poem I wrote a while ago (and sort of forgot) until today.  I think it relates to this post:



THE CONSOLATION OF HALDANE* 

 My mother and her mother beside me 
 In parallel spheres, depend on whose universe 

We live in, or what time means sitting at an oak 
Desk on a blue wool rug with yellow flowers. 

Grandfathers come in and shut the door, turn to 
Something like me again and again. 

Stars dim As I speak to my father and he to me, who is my 
 Creation. A book, lost for years, appears on a dwarf moon. 

In a shape less recognizable, each millennia, 
I join the throng of phantoms surging backward, 

Through a multiverse of galaxies, of lives. 
I compose myself, my infinity. 

 *J.B.S. Haldane, British scientist who hypothesized an infinite number of appearances of galaxies, stars, planets and life, an identical Earth reappearing on which you and your loved ones are reunited.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

I CANNOT BELIEVE...

that I live in the same country where these people exist! But I do. 

And this guy is a CHRISTIAN!  

Courtesy of SF Gate: 

A Southern California attorney’s “shoot the gays” initiative is not destined to become law — for one thing, it’s clearly unconstitutional. But Attorney General Kamala Harris is scheduled to clear it for circulation in May, and she may not have any choice. Matt McLaughlin, a lawyer from Huntington Beach in Orange County, paid his $200 filing fee Feb. 26 to submit the “Sodomite Suppression Act” to the voters. Declaring it is “better that offenders should die rather than that all of us should be killed by God’s just wrath,” it would require that anyone who touches a person of the same gender for sexual gratification be put to death by “bullets to the head or by any other convenient method.” 

The measure would also make it a crime, punishable by 10 years in prison and permanent expulsion from the state, to advocate gay rights to an audience that includes minors. It specifies that its constitutionality can be judged only by a state Supreme Court that has been purged of LGBT justices and their advocates. And it authorizes private citizens to step in as executioners if the state fails to act within a year. Another provision would require that the text of the initiative be posted prominently in every public school classroom. 



*************


The introduction of this incentive language has already prompted a call by a handful of politicians to the California Bar Association to look in to the law license of Matt McLaughlin. The California Bar’s requirements for legal professionals requires that they demonstrate “good moral character.” 


This measure of his, which calls for the complete disregard of the legal and human rights of others, could be considered to be a failure to demonstrate such. Whatever the case, that someone would call for a Sharia-like arbitrary execution measure in this day and age is alarming. 

That it is someone who has as their day job upholding and respecting law and order is disconcerting. And that there are not avenues aside from a ponderous supreme court battle to prevent the wasting of effort on such a clearly unconstitutional measure tells us that the initiative mechanism in place in California is in dire need of some checks so as to balance it. After the fiasco of Proposition 8, and the millions spent arguing it, there needs to be a better way.



*************





People!  We live in a country that harbors these sorts of mentally twisted people who take advantage of our system of governing and use it to try to initiate this sort of annihilation legislation.  

Thankfully, we know that many conservatives will find this proposal plainly insane. But the fact is that the extreme right nurtures this sort of insanity, and so California's AG has to deal with this as though it were a routine initiative instead of the sick ravings of a certifiable lunatic.

Jesus, Mary, and Joe Pepitone!  What the hell happened to this country and its crazy conservatives?

Think of this when you hear the crazies say we have to get this country back to its Christian roots.  Those roots look exactly like those of the Taliban and other radical religious sects.







Bibi's Pyrrhic Victory










From the NYTimes:


Long before the latest election in Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu was a polarizing figure among American Jews. But even many of his supporters said this week that they were appalled at his last-minute bid to mobilize Jewish voters by warning that Arabs were going to the polls in droves, and his renunciation of a two-state solution to the Palestinian crisis. 

Mr. Netanyahu’s party won the election and cheers from hawkish American Jews. But in interviews this week, rabbis, scholars and Jews from across the country and a range of denominations said that with his campaign tactics, he had further divided American Jews and alienated even some conservatives, who had already suspected that he was more committed to building settlements than to building peace with the Palestinians. 

 Even with Mr. Netanyahu’s postelection interview walking back his statements against a two-state plan for peace with Palestinians, many Jews say they are worried that the most lasting outcome of the elections will be the increasing isolation of Israel — not only around the world but also from the younger generation of American Jews. Unlike their parents and grandparents, these Jews have grown up in an era when Israel is portrayed not as a heroic underdog but as an oppressive occupier, and many of them tend to see Mr. Netanyahu as out of step with their views on Israel and the world.


So while the hard right here in the US did a victory dance when Bibi won the election, they failed to understand the damage he did to himself and Israel.






The NYTimes explains:


The White House is stepping up its antagonism toward Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu despite his victory in this week’s elections, signaling that it is in no rush to repair a historic rift between the United States and Israel. 


The sharpened tone indicates that the Obama administration may be re-evaluating its relationship with its closest ally in the Middle East, having lost patience with Mr. Netanyahu in the closing days of an election campaign in which he spotlighted deep disagreements with President Obama over a Palestinian state and a nuclear deal with Iran. 

 “You reach a tipping point,” said Daniel C. Kurtzer, a former American ambassador to Israel and Egypt. “It’s the culmination of six and a half years of frustration, including some direct hits at the president’s prestige and the office of the presidency.”



Netanyahu has walked back some of the rhetoric he used in the closing days before the election.  


On Monday, Netanyahu had told Israeli news outlet Maariv that he would not allow a Palestinian state on his watch, as he attempted to rally voters from the right to cast ballots for his Likud party ahead of Tuesday’s election. 

The statement was seen as an about face of Netanyahu’s 2009 Bar-Ilan speech, during which he said he was committed to a two-state solution. Netanyahu handily won the election Tuesday against center-left rival Isaac Herzog, in part, analysts said, because of his last-ditch hardline appeal. The comment brought an international backlash, with sources saying the White House may pull back support for Israel at the United Nations, compounding the prime minister’s already fractured relationship with US President Barack Obama. 

 On Wednesday, the Obama administration launched a scathing critique of Netanyahu’s campaign statements, even indicating that if Netanyahu rejected a negotiated path toward a two-state solution, the US would support Palestinian initiatives to unilaterally declare independence through the United Nations. 


More reading HERE:  "Bump in the Road for Bibi

Friday, March 20, 2015

Quack! Quack! Quack!



Lame duck?  

Not this president.  

More like lame GOP Congress.

Read about it HERE.











"Despite the GOP's big midterm victory, it's President Obama who's seen his influence on the national conversation increase, and the Beltway is grudgingly admitting it.

CNN observes that "Obama [is] redefining the lame duck presidency", Politico revels at how the President is "calling the shots" amidst GOP chaos in Washington, and the AP says Obama has the "upper hand" in the budget fight. Heck, even the horrendously right wing publication Newsmax is forced to admit Obama's dominance.

 This passage from the CNN piece captures both the White House's confidence and the media's surprise.

“We are on offense,” said a White House official, who was not authorized to speak publicly, noting with satisfaction that predictions that the new Republican majority would grab the initiative and quickly make the White House a peripheral player did not pan out...”

Those predictions were, of course, the secretions of our venerable fourth estate. Politico observes that an emboldened Republican majority in the House and newfound Republican majority in the Senate has failed to capture control of the agenda or even the conversation.

[skip]


President Obama has been reaping the benefits of his hard work finally beginning to pay off: the Affordable Care Act is now responsible for health insurance coverage of over 16 million Americans, the nation's largest banks have passed stress tests designed to determine if they can weather another economic storm in the order as bad or worse than the Great recession, vindicating the President on Wall Street reform, and as we previously talked about, the economy is strong again. 

President Obama is bringing together world powers to find a peaceful solution to Iran's nuclear ambitions, negotiating two progressive trade pacts - one transpacific and one transatlantic, and, you know, just being president. And that is throwing Beltway into chaos. 

Being president while black is bad enough, but acting like it in your seventh year? Doing big things even though you can't run again? Sprinting to the finish instead of limping there head hung in shame to your radical political foes? And above all, overshadowing what the media should be able to concentrate on at the beginning of 2015, the presidential horse race to be decided at the end of 2016 (and thus ruining the media's hyperventilation sessions about Hillary and Jeb)? 

 We have said it for a very long time now. The Obama presidency will be judged by history as one of the most progressive, most transformative and most consequential in history. Barack Obama is far from done. He has gas in the tank yet, and he has history to make yet."



Meanwhile, one of the extreme right's BFF, Little Ricky Santorum, attracts a certifiable nut to his Security Action Summit speech.  


Your modern Republican Party: -- Encouraging the paranoid crazies and not having the cajones to tell them to seek help.  If you're looking for a representation of what has happened to the T-GOP, this woman is it:





Thursday, March 19, 2015

GOP Censors Tell Pentagon and CIA to Stop Talking About Climate Change






Stop Talking About Climate Change, House Republicans Tell the Pentagon and CIA


David G. Hawkins, director of the climate program at the environmentalist Natural Resources Defense Council, called the swipe at climate science "stupid but not surprising." "It's just a political stunt for these people," Hawkins told VICE News. 

"Because they are so locked into denial on the issue of climate protection, they think it's politically easy to identify these activities to cut," he said. "It's very unwise, and most of the time the people who are sponsoring these cuts are the ones who say we ought to listen to our military leaders."


The Republican legislators, whose goal is to shut down any discussion about climate change/global warming, can look to the problematic governor of Florida who does not want even the words "climate change" or "global warming" to pass the lips of his minions--or anyone else.

The thinking is that if no one talks about climate change or global warming IT ISN'T HAPPENING!

Remember, these are the people we warned you about in 2014.  Now they're in charge of two branches of government.  And how do they govern?

Here's how:   DON'T SAY "CLIMATE CHANGE" OR "GLOBAL WARMING!"

That's their solution to how the United States of America will address this worldwide problem!

Again, we warned everyone about the extremists who took over the GOP and now we have them censoring words they don't like because the words don't fit their ideology. It's really quite amusing, since their keyboard commandos are the first to howler-monkey hoot about liberals and PC, yet here they are telling the Pentagon and the CIA to STFU and about climate change!

Here's another one of their heroes, telling NASA to concentrate on space exploration and not Earth sciences, because like all the other ideologues in the current GOP, Ted Cruz isn't concerned with what is happening on our planet--because, well, CLIMATE CHANGE AND GLOBAL WARMING is a taboo subject in the GOP, so by shutting down any discussion and banning words, the issue will just go away.

This is their idea of competent governing and scientific understanding:  IGNORE, REDIRECT, AND CENSOR!

When we accuse the current GOP of being anti-science, that isn't a partisan attack, it is the truth.



THIS GUY:


Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and Bible





Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Breaking News...






Donald Trump Quits TV Show, Forms Exploratory Committee To See If There's Anything Interesting In The Space Between His Ears.





Tuesday, March 17, 2015

In honor of St. Patrick's Day, one of Ireland's greatest writers



Tommy Tiernan reads Flann O'Brien (Brian O'Nolan, Myles na gCopaleen). 

Google or look for more of O'Brien on YouTube:

















 Only because BOSTON. LOL!
 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Here's some Stupid for Monday




William Kristol's newest protege, Senator Cotton[head] (Kristol's other protege was Sarah Palin, so there's that to think about)  is worried that Tehran is being controlled by the Iranians.





[On the Sunday talk shows, Cotton] "couldn't control himself, and had to quote Netanyahu by saying "The alternative to a bad deal is a better deal".  He then prattled on with some fears, that Iran must be stopped because: "Moreover, we have to stand up to Iran’s attempts to drive for regional dominance. They already control Tehran. Increasingly, they control Damascus and Beirut and Baghdad, and now Sanaa as well. " h/t daily kos


Brilliant.

Cotton[head] is worried that the Iranians control their own capital city.  Glad he's on top of those foreign policy thingies, aren't you?




h/t Democratic Underground
This is for all those who keep throwing up "Pelosi did it, too!" and "Ted Kennedy did it too!"  Doesn't work.  No.  Nothing like this has ever happened in the history of Congress.  Little Green Cottonhead has staked out his own little Niche of Shame in the annals of Congressional history:



Senate Historian Can’t Find Anything In History That Matches GOP Iran Sabotage Letter

"Republicans who are already reeling from the letter that 47 of their senators sent to Iran were dealt another blow as the U.S. Senate Historian’s Office can’t find another example of this type of behavior anywhere in Senate history. McClatchy reported: The U.S. Senate Historian’s Office has so far been unable to find another example in the chamber’s history where one political party openly tried to deal with a foreign power against a presidential policy, as Republicans have attempted in their open letter to Iran this week.


We haven’t found a precedent,” said Senate Historian Donald Ritchie. “That doesn’t mean there isn’t a precedent. After 200 years. It’s hard to find anything that unprecedented.” In the past, Ritchie said, “what usually happened is a senator would sign a ’round robin’ letter or a sense of the Senate resolution, or write a letter to the president or secretary of State voicing objections to some particular policy.”

Teanuts:

Oh, look!   Over there!  The Obamas flew in two different airplanes!