Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Speaking Truth To Impotence
Suddenly, and none too soon, an interesting assortment of ordinary Americans have somewhat miraculously rediscovered their voices. Maybe it has something to do with the evolution of social media; or perhaps it’s a reaction to being completely ignored, for too long, by our governmental representatives; or maybe it has to do with witnessing our rights, freedoms and values being trampled, ignored and distorted into an ugly incomprehensible mess. Who knows? But a tipping point seems to have been reached and, I for one, find it very refreshing to see everyday citizens rearing up and letting loose.
In the short space of just a few weeks a number of powerful reactions to a diverse set of issues have rocked the American scene.
Here are some of the most notable . . .
Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) is a Republican. He is also the ranking minority member of the Senate Committee On Veterans Affairs and, ostensibly, quite dedicated to our veterans’ welfare. Indeed, Sen Burr and his fellow committee members worked diligently on crafting the Comprehensive Veterans Health and Benefits and Military Retirement Pay Restoration Act of 2014.
Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) were delighted by how comprehensively the bill would address some of the biggest problems facing all American veterans and offered full-throated endorsements of the bill.
Here’s what just one VSO, the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Association, had to say, in their letter to the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs endorsing the bill:
This legislation would accomplish many of the goals for which veterans and military service organizations have been advocating for years, including strengthening the Post-9/11 GI Bill, expanding advance appropriations for more of the VA’s budget, expanding dental care coverage for veterans, expanding benefits for surviving spouses, expanding care related to military sexual trauma, instituting new rules for VA’s claims processing reports, and much more.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 05/27/14 at 01:44 PM
Saturday, May 24, 2014
House Orders Pentagon To Forget All That Science Stuff And Buy The World Some Coke Instead
Think Progress reports:
Earlier this month with the release of the National Climate Assessment, 300 leading climate scientists and experts told Americans in no uncertain terms that time is running out to confront the dangerous impacts of climate change.
This week, 16 military experts agreed, telling Americans in a report that climate change is already threatening national security and the economy. The CNA Corporation Military Advisory Board authored the report, titled “National Security and the Accelerating Risks of Climate Change.”
The House of Representatives met that news with a collective raspberry and ordered the Pentagon to fuhgeddabout using any of their funding to address climate change related national security risks, via a party-line passed amendment to this year’s Defense Department budget.
The amendment reads:
None of the funds authorized to be appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used to implement the U.S. Global Change Research Program National Climate Assessment, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report, the United Nation’s Agenda 21 sustainable development plan, or the May 2013 Technical Update of the Social Cost of Carbon for Regulatory Impact Analysis Under Executive Order.
Take that Obama, you and your Marxist Executive Orders and Agenda 21 New World Order.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 05/24/14 at 08:51 AM
Friday, May 23, 2014
Et tu, Bibi?
BREAKING: Benjamin Netanyahu Precipitates Serious Spate of Neocon Exploding Heads
Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has some uncharacteristically positive words for one of U.S. President Barack Obama’s most controversial foreign policy initiatives: the deal struck last year to remove chemical weapons from Syria.
Netanyahu issued what was for him a full-throated endorsement of an Obama initiative, calling it “the one ray of light in a very dark region.”
“It’s not complete yet,” he went on. “We are concerned that they may not have declared all of their capacity. But what has been removed has been removed. We’re talking about 90 percent. We appreciate the effort that has been made and the results that have been achieved.”
Loosely [emphasis on the “loose”] related:
It’s a marvelous, magical place, our United States Senate. It’s a place that can transform a balding old white guy from the boonies, with a BS in Industrial Management and his own construction company, into a foreign policy expert in just a few short years.
The guy I’m referring to, of course, is Sen. Bob “Muddlement” Corker (R-TN) ranking minority member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
And, if Republicans should take control of the Senate this year, Sen. Muddlement is in line to take the reins of said Committee, a prospect that scares the bejeebers out of me but seems to thrill Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).
I have watched him over the last few years really become the most highly respected on national security and foreign policy. He’s eminently qualified to be the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee.
“Eminently qualified”? seriously?? Perhaps that statement goes a long way toward explaining our Congress’ 9% approval rating, because, in my view, Sen. Corker is a treasonous, low-info blowhard with minimal qualifications to be embarrassing the US, on national television, spouting his cracker-barrel wisdom on how our elected President is handling foreign affairs.
Unless, of course, you count Corker’s brief sojourn as Mayor of Chattanooga.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 05/23/14 at 10:12 AM
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
Cheney Suffering From Goldilocks Syndrome
Dick Cheney, Vice Chancellor of the ever-shrinking neo-con brand, is having a terribly hard time trying to sort out whether President Obama is weak or tyrannical or both while the rest of us puzzle over why any sane person is chasing his opinion.
It’s certainly not as if Cheney has a particularly illustrious background as a statesman and it certainly can’t be his dedication to the truth, governmental ideals or constitutional law that inform his perceptions of how everyone else is doing in office. Certainly he can’t think that his term in the White House could ever serve as any sort of standard for future administrations?
This is a man who told us: “I think Barack Obama is a one-term President;” and, in regard to the invasion of Iraq, “My belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators.”
So it can’t be his remarkable perspicacity that induces news outlets to continue to drink from this particular poisoned well. Maybe it’s as simple as the fact that Dick Cheney is a living caricature and, in show biz, villains get as much of a rise out of audiences as heroes. Or maybe the GOP is trying to make a sentimental appeal to the “Do You Miss Me Yet” members of the Bush Brigade.
I know that Lynne Cheney is hyping her book but, really, Mrs. Cheney if you want those books to sell, dragging Dick out of hibernation doesn’t seem like a very savvy marketing plan.
Oh well, it doesn’t really matter why we’re still seeing Cheney’s face in the news. But, if I were, say, Reince Priebus, I wouldn’t be clicking my heels over it. One thing that has become clearer and clearer, as the Obama presidency goes on, is that hate and fear and cultural divisiveness make for pretty confusing assessments. And, since it is the Republican Party that is serving up this ridiculous hash they are the ones who are coming across as confused and disjointed.
The whole Goldilocks approach that Republicans have taken toward Obama—is he too weak? is he too dictatorial? does he try to do to much? or not enough? is he too aggressive? or not aggressive enough?—is a very weak political strategy. It doesn’t create a strong lasting image that voters can get sign on to. It’s vague and blurry and provides only negative energy but more importantly, it will mobilize only a small fraction of rabid anti-Obama base and they probably don’t require any mobilization.
Americans are results oriented and they don’t generally mistake obstruction for action. So. Who has accomplished anything over the last 6 years? The Do-Nothing Congress with a 9% approval rating? or the President who, despite having to fight relentless headwinds has: eliminated Osama bin Laden, ended two wars, lowered the deficit to record levels, reduced unemployment, reinvigorated the economy, while facing down idiots who believe that government shutdowns are a viable political strategy, to say nothing of saving the American auto industry, and substantially improving health care options for all Americans.
Come on, GOP, surely you can do better than the Goldilocks Stratergy.
Posted by Bette Noir on 05/20/14 at 09:38 AM
Sunday, May 18, 2014
For better or worse Operation American Spring has come and gone without effecting a peaceful overthrow of the US government. OAS was six months in the planning, had a website, a forum, and a retired US soldier—Col. Harry Riley—at the helm, who was apparently quite impressed with the efficacy of the Arab Spring approach to governmental reform.
Col. Riley was inspired to take up the OAS banner because:
When Barack Obama became the White House occupant we saw the Constitution being destroyed and ignored at nearly the speed of light. We believe that our liberty and our freedom and our constitutional nation started on the downhill at something that we just couldn’t believe. We looked over and we said, we’ve been fighting for our nation for over 230 years and we have children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren that are coming after us, and at the rate that Obama is taking us, we are going to be down into a socialist-fascist-communist-Marxist dictatorial, tyrannical system at the end of his administration if we don’t do something now, right now, to turn this around.
The usual racist/not racist American crackpot solution in search of a problem. Nevertheless, Col. Harry was confident that 10 to 30 million Americans see things his way, and would drop everything to show up at the White House or the Bundy Ranch [whichever was closest] to perp-walk Obama and a laundry list of administration officials to Gitmo, then reboot America. The Colonel felt that either Ted Cruz or Allen West would be suitable replacements for the president.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 05/18/14 at 12:23 PM
Thursday, May 15, 2014
Great Right Dope
After a brief hiatus Marco Rubio must be feeling presidential again, so to demonstrate his mettle, he cannonballed into the shallow end which turned out to be over his head. Fortunately, he had his “abortion hypocrisy” swimmies on and eventually bobbed to the surface, albeit gasping and spluttering.
Evidently the Senator never got the “Yes, Virginia, climate change is real” memo, so there he was, Sunday, on ABC’s This Week, letting his climate change denier flag fly:
I do not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate the way these scientists are portraying it.
Our climate is always changing. And what they have chosen to do is take a handful of decades of research and say that this is now evidence of a longer-term trend that’s directly and almost solely attributable to manmade activities.
Ah, the temerity of “these scientists” and their “handful of decades of research.” PAH! Don’t they read the Bible? God already told us how he’s the boss of climate and besides, he promised no more floods.
Suddenly “I’m not a scientist, man” is pretty expert at evaluating the credibility of scientific studies. Perhaps he’s taken the last few months of self-imposed obscurity, following his last public flub, to study up on science.
Or, maybe not.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 05/15/14 at 11:02 AM
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Ivory Tower To Echo Chamber. Do You Read Me, Echo Chamber?
Ben Sasse will almost certainly be heading to the United States Senate in January, 2015. Yesterday Sasse managed to out-TEA Party his TEA Party opponent, Shane Osborn, as well as banker-flavored conservative Sid Dinsdale. And, since Nebraska is about as red as it gets? game over.
Now that Sasse doesn’t have to woo anyone he’s free to be “just Ben” which is pretty damn awesome by most standards. Sasse has a large collection of academic degrees from BS through PhD. from the likes of Harvard, Oxford and Yale. His PhD dissertation won multiple prizes for best dissertation of the year.
He’s been in and out of policy consulting and staff jobs in DC as well as academic positions at the University of Texas at Austin and Harvard.
Sasse served as counselor to the secretary at the US Department of Health and Human Services for a year, during which he advised the Secretary on a broad spectrum of health policy issues, from affordable healthcare access to food safety and security.
And in July 2007, Sasse was nominated by President George W. Bush to serve as “the principal advisor to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on policy development” as assistant secretary for planning and evaluation at the US Department of Health and Human Services.
Sasse advised private equity clients and health care investors in his spare time and became a fellow at the University of Texas LBJ School of Public Affairs’ Center for Politics and Governance.
He is currently the president of Midland University in Nebraska.
Oh! and did I mention that he’s 42 years old?
Too bad, eh. Because now that he’s broken into the upper echelons of the Republican Party he’s going to be forced to check his big brain at the door.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 05/14/14 at 02:13 PM
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
Flipping Nothingburgers at Karl’s All American Cafe
Karl Rove is not a doctor but he is quite an accomplished liar, concern troll and waster of other peoples’ money, ergo it was less than surprising when Karl Rove, appearing before a conference audience with Robert Gibbs and author, Dan Raviv, revealed that Hillary Clinton might possibly be suffering from a touch of traumatic brain injury.
Rove based his diagnosis on, well, nothing . . . outside of his mad political operative deductive skills.
The sane version of this story is that Hillary Clinton caught the flu one day in 2012. The Secretary of State didn’t have time to be sick, so she kept on truckin’, got dizzy, tripped and hit her head. She was taken to a hospital, got a Cabinet member level going over [by real doctors], went home and got well.
Dr. Rove, however, says not so fast—“the woman spent 30 days in the hospital” and was released wearing “glasses that are only for people who have traumatic brain injury.”
“The woman” actually spent 3 days in the hospital and left wearing glasses instead of her contact lenses. But none of that matters to Karl Rove. Karl Rove only cares about the weird calculus that will link that illness to Benghazi-Gate, thus keeping both alive in the fever dreams of the Republican base.
When this event occurred, during one of the GOPs Benghazi-Gate inquisitions, Republicans jumped on the opportunity to paint Secretary Clinton as a malingerer, looking for an excuse to get out of testifying. But now, it’s more useful that something grave might have happened, back then, and voila! Clinton’s walking around with brain damage, poor dear.
Make up your minds, guys.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 05/13/14 at 01:18 PM
Monday, May 12, 2014
George Will Just Seems Extra-Insufferable Lately
I’ve commented on George Will before, but usually having to do with climate change—his denialism, for a supposedly smart person, is tiresome in its sheer repetitive belief that science somehow works like politics does. But to be pretty honest, on any forum he’s been on, he has a habit of talking down as if he’s a guy who knows things, so listen to his plausible bullshit, okay?
I think of it as “Willsplaining” for obvious reasons.
So I shrugged off his kind of “Hey, kid president, get off my White House lawn” column of a few weeks back because—why yes, I did think it was pretty insulting to basically call the president childish, but on the other hand, I don’t yet know what it’s like to have a president who is younger than me, and I guess that might feel weird, huh? I mean, if Marco Rubio became president, he’d still be a whole year and a half older than me. Maybe that is kind of a mindscrew. Who is this punk who uses the slang and has smoked the marijuana and thinks he is the boss of the country anyway, the whippersnapper? It’s a generation gap thing. Maybe Will can’t, like, relate.
But this thing here about putting down hashtag activism is pretty awkward in more than a few ways:
CHRIS WALLACE: I want to turn back to the kidnapping, the terrible kidnapping of these Nigerian schoolgirls in the little bit of time we have left in this segment. Because this week Michelle Obama and Malala Yousafzai joined the Bring Back Our Girls movement. More than 2 million people have now tweeted the hash tag. And George, I’m just curious. Because I’m not saying I was that familiar with this phenomenon. It’s even got a name, #activism. And I’m curious what you make of it. Do you think that this is significant and helpful? And can make progress? Or do you think it’s really about helping the people who tweet the hash tag feel better about themselves?
GEORGE WILL: Exactly that. It’s an exercise in self-esteem. I do not know how adults stand there facing a camera and say, bring back our girls. Are these barbarians in the wild of Nigeria are supposed to check their Twitter accounts and say, oh, Michelle Obama is very crossed with us, we better change our behavior.
WALLACE: It’s trending on Twitter.
WILL: Power is the ability to achieve intended effects. And this is not intended to have any effect on the real world. It’s a little bit like environmentalism has become. But the incandescent light bulb becomes the enemy. It has no effect whatever on the planet, but it makes people feel good about themselves.
I’m just going to start with “barbarians in the wilds of Nigeria” if you don’t mind—WTF? I get that he is calling Boko Haram barbarians and not the average Nigerian, but, I hate to break it to Will, over the last two decades, the cell phone has kind of become a thing. It’s internet-capable and people all over the world have used them to stage demonstrations and plan things. Yes, I think they are aware of Twitter. No, I don’t think hashtag activism necessarily influences what they will do, but it might inspire heads of state and legislators who do have power to act. Because in a functioning democracy, citizens petition their representatives with their concerns. It isn’t about “feeling good”—activism doesn’t always get one the desired goal and there are only so many things regular people can do. But is is better than nothing. And what does he think about “letters to the editor” or “writing one’s congressperson” or “signing a petition” (many of which are basically about mailing-list trolling anyway)? Could it be hashtag activism is such a waste of time in his estimation because he has no concept of the technology, and maybe it’s about “self-esteem” because (shaking fist) “these kids these days think they’re so hot”?
But comparing sympathizing and wanting to do something about these children who are in a terrifying situation and light bulbs is a special kind of assholery. Okay, we get it. Old Grumpy Grampy Wills doesn’t care for the tree-hugging hippies who are trying to take his old reliable Edison-era volt-hogs away. And there is probably some overlap between folks who love the new-fangled lower-energy devices and also think girls should not be stolen from their families and sold. But I would very much like to think the default setting on our morality should be that we do not like the idea of girls being kidnapped and sold and whether we care for new-fangled things like the Twitter-box or those swirly-bulbs is besides the point. Because pompously putting people down for giving a basic human shit about other people is kind of awful.
So I’m saying George Will is awful, and I do not know how one as an adult gets in front of a camera and compares kidnapped children to light bulbs.
(X-posted at Strangely Blogged.)
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 05/12/14 at 11:37 PM
Let’s Smack Our Churls!
As if the kidnapping of Nigerian schoolgirls by a fundamentalist Islamic terrorist organization wasn’t bad enough, at least one American right-winger is making light of the situation, presumably because Michelle Obama made a heartfelt plea on behalf of the girls on Saturday.
One could chalk Hoft’s jape up to mere sexism and racism- heh, they’re only girls, and it’s only Africa, doncha know- but I believe that the right-wing doesn’t wish to take this atrocity seriously for a more existential reason. “Boko Haram” translates as “Western Education is Sinful” and the group not only targets Nigerian Christians but Muslims who are not seen as sufficiently pure in their devotion. A similar fundamentalist group in Mali burned manuscripts in a Timbuktu library that represented centuries of Islamic jurisprudence. The Boko Haram group is a bunch of nihilists, seeking to destroy anything which doesn’t adhere to their particular narrow vision of the Islamic faith.
Here in the U.S., a common refrain among religious fundamentalists is that secular education is undermining traditional American values- “western education is sinful” or, to put it succinctly, Boko Haram.
Basically, the raison d’être of Boko Haram and, for instance, the American Family Association is identical- they both want to purge their respective societies of secular values. It’s no wonder that Hoft, a right-winger through-and-through, wants to make light of the kidnapping of Nigerian schoolgirls who were slated to be sold into arranged marriages in order to “control” them. With the American Right’s mania about “purity” and the evils of secular education, one would have to suspect that Hoft would back a similar kidnapping of female students by a fundamentalist organization that would force them into “traditional” marriages- he’d just disagree about which “holy” book’s precepts were used to justify the crime.
I want to see two things happen- bring back the girls and let’s smack our churls!
Cross-posted at my eponymous blog.
Posted by Big Bad Bald Bastard on 05/12/14 at 05:18 PM
Thursday, May 08, 2014
Release The KRAKEN!!
What’s it been now? almost a week since Speaker Boehner decided to Release the Kraken! and, already, I suspect he’s black and blue from excessive #facepalm-ing.
Meanwhile, Judge Gawdy (R-SC) is powdering his wig and spreading himself thin in a pre-game talkathon about what a regular - nay, totally unremarkable and unassuming - hero he is, who just happens to be sitting on a shock-and-awe-ful pile of
bullpuckey evidence that has eluded his well-meaning but bumbling colleagues who just don’t fully grasp how the criminal mind operates.
Yep. A week into it and this latest chapter of Benghazi!Benghazi!BENGHAZI!! is about to take a serious turn toward the absurd, as only conservatives know how to turn things.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 05/08/14 at 09:27 AM
Wednesday, May 07, 2014
Will my world never be free of Cheney’s? Every time one of them goes under the knife, starts a family feud or drops out of a Senate race, I think, there now! perhaps they’ll finally retire from public life. But, alas no, they somehow just keep Cheney-ing on down the road.
I have to admit that when Monica Lewinsky popped up this week, my very first thought was “Now, that’s curious!?”
But then she explained why:
It’s time to burn the beret and bury the blue dress.
I think I’d have done that about 19 years ago, but that’s just me.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 05/07/14 at 02:18 PM
Tuesday, May 06, 2014
“Out, damned spot! Out, I say!”
Has a sitting governor ever taken it upon herself to absolve her constituents of murder most foul? Maybe, but I don’t recall it.
Here’s a remarkable statement by Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin (R-Edrum) in a column published yesterday that addressed the recent botched execution:
“Justice was served. The people of Oklahoma do not have blood on their hands.”
If you say so, Lady MacBeth. Fucking sociopath. I wish I thought the horror and absurdity of this would make a damn bit of difference.
[X-posted at Balloon Juice]
Posted by Betty Cracker on 05/06/14 at 10:48 AM
Sunday, May 04, 2014
The Lord Is My Campaign Manager
Frequently, on Sundays, I get the urge to take a peek at what the religionists are getting up to. I’m not sure why, it just feels kind of right.
Sure enough, it took no time at all, to come across this guy—Richard Darrell Trigg of Tennessee who is very busy, right now, starting up the Christian Party PLUS setting up a presidential campaign.
That may seem, to some, to be a particularly ambitious agenda but, Mr Trigg has no doubt that he will succeed because The Lord directed him to do these things.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 05/04/14 at 12:38 PM
Saturday, May 03, 2014
How Special Is This?
Well, it appears that conservatives have a new lease on life now that Mister Speaker has finally caved and decided to let the Daydream Believers Caucus play Special Committee to re-investigate Benghazi! Benghazi! BENGHAZI!!
Playing the part of Matthew McConaughey will be Rep. Harold Watson Gowdy III . . . but you can call him Trey.
Someday, I’m sure, the various House investigations into the Benghazi attack will go down in the annals as the Congressional investigation uncovering more smoking unloaded guns than any other [excepting, perhaps, the illustrious efforts of Sen. Joseph McCarthy who may, ultimately, have the Benghazi crowd beat, but they’re not done yet, so we’ll have to wait for the final tally].
The White House has turned over 25,000+ pages of documents and five different House Committees (Armed Services, Foreign Affairs, Intelligence, Judiciary, and Oversight and Government Reform) have burned through millions of dollars and collected hundreds of hours of testimony, to no particular avail.
Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has resisted pressure to convene a “Watergate-like special investigative committee” for over a year and a half but recent events have evidently changed his mind.
The smoking gun, this time around, happens to be an email that, if you’re Republican, proves that the White House is directly responsible for covering up something about the Benghazi attack because a White House media consultant was discovered consulting with the WH on media.
Just you never mind that the smoking-hot! email evidence dovetails nicely into the timeline of Things We Already Know About Benghazi and supports the conclusions that were drawn from exhaustively poring over the same for a year and a half.
The thing that appears to excite Republicans the most about this latest “find” is that it did not turn up before this, with the other 25,000 docs, ergo it must have been “vanished” by WH spooks. [That’s the logical equivalent of Terri Lynn Land telling us there’s no Republican War on Women because she’s a Republican woman.]
Evidently these folks have never made FOIA requests of bureaucrats, in the past, or their expectations might have been a little lower. Or, perhaps they are as half-assed about filling out FOIA requests as they are about other things? or GIGO, we used to say.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 05/03/14 at 11:19 AM