Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Senator Rubio and The Foreign Policy Gap
Via ThinkProgress, an important moment in the discussion regarding US foreign policy with respects to Iran occurred between Senator Marco Rubio and Secretary of State John Kerry:
During a tense exchange with Kerry at a Senate Foreign Relations committee on Wednesday, Rubio confronted the former Massachusetts senator. “I believe that much of our strategy with regards to ISIS is being driven by a desire not to upset Iran so they don’t walk away from the negotiating table on the deal that you’re working on,” the potential GOP presidential candidate declared. “Tell me why I’m wrong.”
Kerry responded forcefully. “Because the facts completely contradict that,” he said, before offering to discuss more details in classified session with Rubio. But the likely GOP presidential contender didn’t take up the offer and pressed on with the line of questioning, claiming that the United States is going easy on terrorism because Iran does not support America’s campaign against ISIS.
But of course, the two assumptions that he has are false—of course, the US is involved in fighting ISIL, whether Sen. Rubio thinks the response is adequate or not, and of course, Iran is also opposed to ISIL, because why in the world would a Shiite government want a radical Sunni Wahhabist caliphate in their backyard? To think, nay, insist, that the Obama Administration is soft-pedaling the fight with ISIL to please Iran would be weapons-grade ignorance. And that is precisely where Rubio is coming from.
read the whole post »
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 03/11/15 at 09:19 PM
Sunday, March 01, 2015
The CPAC 2015 Poll Is In
I’ve really not made a big point of following CPAC this year because I finally get that I am not the audience this whole shindig is for. Of course, part of the deal is that the prominent voices of today’s conservatism are supposed to be showcased. Yes, some of these people are running for POTUS. But that doesn’t mean I have to take it totally seriously, because the likelihood that, for example, the CPAC straw poll actually ever meant anything would probably mean that we were experiencing Ron Paul’s second term. And we are not. So, if Sen. Rand Paul has enjoyed his third CPAC poll win, this has more to do with inheriting his father’s libertarian apparatus, and less to do with anything like being able to win in 2016. (I think.)
WI Gov, Scott Walker has come in a respectable second, despite or probably because he compared union workers to ISIS, which would no doubt haunt him if he made it to a general election. His claims that facing protesting union folks prepares him for foreign policy is kind of strained, I think. And making the “Reagan” connection is so obvi. Try harder, you try-hard!
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Posted by Vixen Strangely on 03/01/15 at 01:13 AM
Monday, January 26, 2015
That Political Thing In Iowa
You know what the Democratic Party seems to be missing? Shindigs. We do not seem to have neat gatherings like CPAC and traditions like the Ames straw poll, and hosting religious groups like The Response, or doing that very interesting “Freedom Summit” in Iowa—you know, shindigs. I watch them as a political observer, but have to admit—not my team, looks like fun. I mean, there’s Netroots Nation. It’s blogger-oriented so I should be able to really get behind that. But that’s a wonkfest. Where’s our uncovered nekkid id triumphialization? Where’s our scattering of red meat for reubens? (Why is Blogger’s spellcheck so madly unaware of the correct spelling of the perfectly jake 1930’s slang for gape-jawed hayseed? Or even the perfectly cromulent term “jake”?)
Anyway, I digress. Dave Weigel over at Bloomberg notes what “serious” 2016 candidates Mitt, Jeb, Bobby, Marco and Rand have missed. What I believe they missed was associating too broadly with Rep. Steve King, whose blue eyes always seem to carry the faraway milkseed pollen drift of a person whose thoughts take him back again and again to the border and the constant battle against the cantaloupe-calved drug-runners whose backpacks full of Acapulco’s finest hops have once again consigned a generation to jazz music, sloth, and backtalk. There are people who think he might be a little bit too racialist to actually be an appropriate association.
And yet there are so many who do not!
Left bloggers have noted that Sarah Palin’s speech seems to have defaulted to Whargarble after her Teleprompter fail—but I listened and frankly think that although her sentence structure resembles nothing so much as an attempt at cut-up poetry using all the Republican memes, I tend to think that a sympathetic audience could have tracked what she was saying very well.
All in all—not really any surprises or over the top signifying that got my leftist goat—oh except Carly Fiorina. She actually got my Irish up. She said:
“Like Hillary Clinton, I too have traveled hundreds of thousands of miles around the globe,” she said. “But unlike her, I have actually accomplished something. Mrs. Clinton, flying is an activity not an accomplishment.”
Oh huh? You know, I could go back to Hillary Rodham being the first student to give a commencement speech at Wellesley in 1969, or being chosen to help draft the articles of impeachment against Nixon, and point out that she was instrumental in creating SCHIP, which has insured thousands of children who might not have otherwise had access to good health care. I think it’s more apropos, though, to point out that Hillary Clinton won two elections to the US Senate which is two more than Carly Fiorina ever did, and that while Hillary blazed a trail as the first woman partner at Rose law firm and sat on the board of many successful corporations, it is true that she never was the CEO of a nearly bankrupted tech firm whose stock prices shot up like WOW after she resigned—which is the kind of “accomplishment” she is probably glad not to have on her CV.
Flying to many nations as a respected diplomat and Secretary of State is probably not an “accomplishment” in Carly Fiorina’s mind because she can raise questions about things that are negative, like Benghazi or whatever Putin is doing, but let’s ask her what to do about it. Hard Choices, Tough Choices, meh? But still and all, a nice audition for being selected Vice Presidential candidate, maybe?
I’m sure no one will hold her being a regular Bill Maher Real Time guest against her.
(X-posted at Strangely Blogged.)
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 01/26/15 at 12:33 AM
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Bedbugs and Bread Bags
Sometimes I think us East Coasters are a little sort-changed when it comes to the SOTU speech and the rebuttals—it’s late by the time all the coverage is done. I have to get up for my paying gig the next day, and I usually have to get to bed before I’ve been able to properly ruminate on the President’s speech, let alone the rebuttal. Especially not if there are five rebuttals.
What is a blogger to make of five rebuttals from the opposition party? Given that there’s an “official” GOP response, I have to guess that the “takes” from different “rebuttals” have to be taken individually, on their own merits, and not view them cumulatively. I mean—would that be fair—five against one? (Well, yeah. I did think Obama did a heckuva job. Easily worth about five of those other speeches.)
See, I’m not what you’d call a pro, like Ron “No ‘I’ in Leadership, well, except that one” Fournier. And the benefit of blogging for seven years is that my regulars pretty much know where I stand on the major points President Obama brought up (raising the minimum wage—for it, equal pay for women—for it, addressing climate change—for it, land wars in the middle east—against’em), so I just feel like a point by point of the SOTU itself is pointless. In general, he looked more at home giving the speech this year and his zinger about winning two elections himself took some of that expectation that Dems losing the midterms overall would leave him “checked out” and lame-ducking it until January 2017 away. He’s still “all in” as far as I can tell. But that’s just my opinion.
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Posted by Vixen Strangely on 01/21/15 at 09:23 PM
Thursday, June 19, 2014
Pity token congressional morlock (just look at the weirdly-shaped head on the guy!) Trey Gowdy has to be in a bit of a tizzy with the capture of BENGHAZI!!!! suspect Ahmed Abu Khattala. The Benghazi “scandal” is nothing more than a quibble over the semantics used to describe the attack on the consular office- now the Republicans look like a bunch of fools arguing over bullshit while the president was actually working quietly to capture one of the ringleaders. Soon, the president will probably have a mug made out of Khattala’s cranium to match the bong he made out of Bin Laden’s skull.
In his statement regarding the capture, former car thief Darryl Issa tellingly omitted giving credit for the capture to the administration and demanded that the president share information gained from the suspect:
“The arrest of Ahmed Abu Khatallah is long overdue and our military deserves credit for conducting a successful operation. There is evidence that he is one of dozens, if not hundreds of individuals, involved in the murder of four Americans in Benghazi. The Obama Administration has an obligation to share whatever information he offers with Chairman Gowdy and the Select Committee about events before and during the Benghazi attacks.”
Lindsey Graham’s response was a whine about the need for the suspect to be tried at Gitmo:
Really, Lindsey, your party has no expertise whatsoever in fighting terrorism, and the guy in the White House has had more success in pursuing terrorists as if they were criminals than his predecessor had by treating terrorists as enemy combatants.
With the suspected ringleader of the attack in custody, the right-wing obsession with the consular attacks should go the way of the dodo, but the wingnuts have invested too much effort in creating and maintaining the scandal, so they are now spinning conspiracy theories about the circumstances of the capture. They failed to ride the scandal to electoral victory in 2012, but they are calling for a Benghazi mulligan in the runup to the 2014 midterm elections. It remains to be see whether or not Trey Gowdy continues with his farcical Benghazi inquisition, but in the immediate future, I imagine he’ll be très pouty.
As a postscript, blogroll member Oregon Beer Snob did a perfect job of expressing Gowdy’s inner qualities- I have seen no better representation of this particular congresscreep.
Cross-posted at my eponymous blog.
Posted by Big Bad Bald Bastard on 06/19/14 at 01:50 AM
Sunday, April 20, 2014
The Chocolate War
I hope those of you who celebrated Easter today have gotten over your sugar hangover, because battle has been joined. There is now an, admittedly half-hearted/half-assed, War on Easter, declared by Fox News.
The “war” stems from a display erected in Daley Plaza by The Freedom from Religion Foundation, extolling **GASP** reason and the separation of church and state. Even worse, this “War on Easter” is **HORRORS!** unholy. What kind of unholy monsters would advocate for reason and the separation of church and state? What sort of monsters, indeed?
Those who would undermine the separation of church and state make the dubious assumption that their particular brand of church would be the established one. The Founders, with the horrors of the Thirty Years’ War still scarring the European psyche, well knew the tyranny of established religion.
As an aside, I have to laugh at the use of the word “unholy”... almost everything on the planet is “unholy”. For example, with one notable exception, hand grenades are unholy.
I think the real issue is that, for most people, the Easter eggs and bunnies, and the baskets full of candy have supplanted the religious festival to a large extent. The fundies have lost The Chocolate War so now they’re throwing a temper tantrum:
Cross-posted at my eponymous blog.
Posted by Big Bad Bald Bastard on 04/20/14 at 08:19 PM
Wednesday, April 09, 2014
Ben Stein Likes Indoor Plumbing, Dislikes Poor People
Visine pitchman, former Comedy Central gameshow host, and ex-presidential speechwriter Ben Stein really wouldn’t hack me off, what, a couple times every five-six years or so? If he just wasn’t a pious hypocritical ivory tower word-weaseling douche canoe.
It isn’t the highest standard in the world. Many people have avoided being a hypocritical ivory tower word-weaseling douche canoe. He just isn’t living up to that standard, and I despair of his regular attempts at self-sabotage.
So, I point to an interview, which kind of turns on a thin dime so subtly that you might have to think a minute to realize that Stein is weaseling.
“Yes, the government designates many tens of millions as poor, but they almost always have indoor plumbing (which my mother did not have in her small town in the Catskills) and they are super nourished as opposed to mal-nourished,” he said. “They get food stamps. They get free medical care. They get vouchers for many of the needs of life.”
While he pities their plight, Stein pointed out that poverty was greatly reduced in scope and severity in the past century.
“In olden times, poverty was the common human condition,” Stein said. “In the USA, as recently as the Great Depression, poverty was commonplace. FDR might have exaggerated when he described one-third of the nation as ‘ill housed, ill fed and ill clad…’ But surely he was not far off.”
And his mother would be how old? I bet nobody had color tv’s in her day either. And his solution is?
“Maybe, just maybe, if we let God back into the public forum it would help. I have seen spiritual solutions work miracles.”
And in his mother’s day, way back when, when the poor folks were really poor, and not the kind of fake-ass poor we have today—is he saying things were less religious then? Because, unless I’m really mistaken, most conservatives envision the past as being a little less secularized and hippieficated , and way more squared-away, God-fearing, and role-knowing. And yet the really poor folks were back in the day, he says. And his momma did not have indoor plumbing, he also adds.
Thinking about that: Are you saying your momma was godless and self-sabotaging, then, Ben? Because I do not think that proves your point, and you shouldn’t even be talking that smack about your momma. That isn’t decent.
(X-Posted at Strangely Blogged.)
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 04/09/14 at 11:27 PM
Friday, March 28, 2014
YA Romantic Fiction
Via Roy’s place, we have an account of Libertarian Fonzie (catchphrase “Ayyyyy is Ayyyyy!”) pinning his hopes for a Rand Paul presidency on a popular Young Adult fiction series and its movie adaptation. After typical “don’t call me a Republican hack, A POX ON BOTH HOUSES!” Libertarian boilerplate, Gillespie gushes about his dreamy Randian protagonist:
Whether or not the Kentucky Republican actually wins the Republican nomination, much less the White House, is besides the point. The question is whether the politics of the future will be the same as the politics of the present. “I don’t want to be just one thing,” explains one of the protagonists in Divergent. “I can’t be. I want to be brave, and I want to be selfless, intelligent, and honest and kind.” If anything explains Rand Paul’s rising profile, it’s precisely his ability to be more than just one thing—a social conservative, a civil libertarian, a budget cutter, a decentralizer, and more. There’s no reason to fear— and every reason to promote—such divergence in our elected representatives.
Rand Paul is a decentralizer? I must have missed all the antitrust legislation that he introduced since attaining his senate position. Oh, well, I’m sure that young female voters will eventually see that Rand Paul and his political supporters have plans for their demographic.
Back on Planet Earth, I have to note that Mr Gillespie is headed for a heartbreak if he believes that the popularity of a Young Adult fiction series will have any bearing when it comes to wooing millennials in the 2016 election… Even though the “Twilight” books were wildly popular, young voters didn’t throw their support behind a sparkly Mormon vampire in 2012.
This post is expanded from a comment I left at Roy’s place. In response, commenter mds wrote:
Maybe if there had been some actual sparkle.
The vampirism sure as hell was real, though.
Cross-posted at my eponymous blog.
Posted by Big Bad Bald Bastard on 03/28/14 at 09:51 PM
Monday, March 24, 2014
Enjoying My Hobby in Your Lobby
It’s some kind of crying shame that I haven’t addressed the Hobby Lobby case when I am supposed to be a pro-reproductive rights feminist over here. I don’t know where my head is at. But when I was buying yarn to crochet a cozy for a diapraghm case, I had a kind of epiphany that really only comes when you’ve been sniffing the Modge-Podge for a while—
Look. I think we can agree that an employment contract is not a one-way street. It never was meant to be. So, if Hobby Lobby believes it is totally in the right to make decisions regarding the reproductive health and maintenance of it’s employees, in other words, making those employees’ private business their store business, then it’s only fair that the employees should be able to bring their private business right into the public business.
That’s right, Hobby Lobby. If you all think you have a right to dictate the methods your employees use for their bedroom or kitchen floor or whatever activities, those employees should feel comfortable enjoying those activities in your store. I don’t mean on the clock. Off-the clock, of course, since your company has decided to also be the boss of all off-the-clock funtimes. But let’s get this clear—you wanna make the rules?
You should get to make the rules about stuff happening on the premises of your store. Sexy funtimes don’t happen in your store. Until you made it about you. Now I think employees should get to use the break room, or even the return desk, to do what they like—because you guys decided their business was your business. So why shouldn’t your business be where they can do their business?
Of course—no one would probably want to actually screw in your store. Not because pony beads and potholder looms aren’t fucking erotic as hell, but because that is not what your store is for. Your store is for serving your customers, who for the most part don’t give a good goddamn what your employees do so long as they don’t screw up an order and give them exact change. Why don’t you try and be at least as tolerant as your customers? And recognize that your employees are human beings with bodies, and that the female bodies deserve to be treated by the people who have to live in them—and that isn’t you, Hobby Lobby execs.
(X-Posted at Strangely Blogged.)
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 03/24/14 at 11:14 PM
Friday, March 21, 2014
Pajama Boy Goes Galt
In a comment on Bette Noir’s great Rumproast post on GOP voter outreach, reader SoVeryConfused had a request:
Request commentary on the GOP outreach to Millennials, recently performed by the hipster dude in the tortoise-shell glasses and striped shirt, last seen putting 87 octane gas into a Audi A4.
Not to step on Bette’s toes, but I think I can field this one…
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Posted by Big Bad Bald Bastard on 03/21/14 at 03:11 AM
Thursday, February 27, 2014
Not the Least, and Not the Last
Yesterday marked some new changes in the battle of LGBT equality, with AZ Gov.Jan Brewer vetoing Senate bill 1062, finding that there was no evidence that people of faith were being unduly burdened and that allowing this bill to become law would have unintended consequences, and with a federal judge ruling the Texas gay marriage ban unconstitutional.
It’s not unalloyed good news, because although I am optimistic (just see my last blog entry) I was not found in a cabbage patch nor was I raised on sunshine and good vibes. The response of some social conservatives definitely reminds me that nothing is over—if anything, the desire of a handful of retrograde culture warriors to wrap themselves in the mantle of faith and claim special privilege as a marginalized group seems to have grown. It’s what you might call a smaller, but more motivated group. Look at it this way, if it’s right that the SCOTUS Windsor ruling has literally made all further argument on gay marriage moot, what the hell is Brian Brown gonna do now? Get a real job? Even Fox News might stop inviting Tony Perkins on, and everyone knows Bryan Fischer is worried that if folks are freely getting gay-married…well, he’s on his own thing and I think he’s more scared of turning into a vulva than turning gay, but my point is, that rear-guard money is catch as catch can and they gotta hustle now. So they will hustle.
The thing with prejudice is, the people with it like to feel justified. Of course they are fine upstanding better people. They wouldn’t even have the prejudices they do if they weren’t! This “religious freedom” gambit seemed like a nice way to co-opt the language of the persecuted to sound like maybe they were the ones all victimized and wronged by liberal fascism. Which is the very worst kind of fascism because of the PBS programming and organic produce, not to mention the whole meaningful chats about “tone”. But the problem is political correctness, don’t you know.
Conservatism won at least one argument with me. I hate political correctness. I will call these professional victims and family values pimps what they are. And for what it’s worth, if they want to talk about respecting religion, I have some reservations about your garden-variety haters deciding it’s totally okay to rip out pages of Leviticus and use them as a fig leaf to cover up their rage-boners over any class of people…being treated totally the same as anyone else.
But here is something to ponder that I don’t think conservatives are taking into account:
This kissing of theocratic ass is costing them—let’s talk about CPAC.
I love CPAC. I pretend I’m appalled because I’m a proper liberal with all the right credentials but as theater? I was a choir geek in high school—I love theater! And who doesn’t like to watch a hot mess of theater sometimes? But anyway, CPAC has engendered drama because they could never let GOProud in the fold. They were out, and never in. The sucking up around the edges to try and pacify the theocrat powers that be apparently cheesed Chris Barron off enough to quit them, hard enough. Is he not a conservative and a brother?
Nope. Moving on, CPAC isn’t having any with atheists either. Wow. If “none of the above” is a big religious choice of the millennial generation, aren’t they making a big mistake right here? Especially given that 1/3 of millennials left religion specifically over how gay people are treated by their faith?
This wedge issue that used to be good for the GOP circa 2004, is not a great issue about now. But if they think they look spiffy in albatross, who am I to try and stop them? You go, GOP-ers! Wrap yourself in the flag and the Bible and take all of your guns at once and….
I dunno. Write a very serious letter to editor of the Washington Times. If they have one. I guess.
(X-Posted at Strangely Blogged)
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 02/27/14 at 11:51 PM
Friday, January 10, 2014
Some bloggers of note have been commenting on the intelligence of one S.E. Cupp. I have not gone to the Cupp… er… well in quite some time.
I don’t think that S.E. Cupp is the dumbest pundit working, even though she has produced some of the stupidest punditry to assault the airwaves and t00bz. Cupp is actually pretty canny, having crafted a pretty sophisticated media image. Cupp’s M.O. largely consists of titillation, her “naughty librarian” image, much like that of Sarah Palin, appeals to a conservative male fan base… she’s basically a pinup for pinheads. I guess you can’t spell fanservice without “S.E.”
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Posted by Big Bad Bald Bastard on 01/10/14 at 09:07 PM
Thursday, November 14, 2013
Here There Be Trolls
Congressional Republicans—they are different, you know? Going back to the Truman Administration at least (no, actually, longer than that), pols have thought it might be kind of nice for Americans to have some kind of affordable access to medical coverage so they didn’t die of easily treatable maladies. It was just this thing, you know? We thought our fellow citizens were worthwhile human beings and that maybe they shouldn’t be bankrupted in the pursuit of bodily well-being and not being dead.
Maybe not everyone got the message that our fellow citizens are worthwhile human beings who shouldn’t be bankrupted in the pursuit of bodily well-being. What strikes me as exceptionally tasteless, though, are the folks who have decided that the decades-long work to cover most Americans’ health care was a source of amusement. Like the goofy galoot pictured above, who himself follows in the vein of Asclepius.
Well, sort of. He was a doctor, but somewhere along the way, he decided that science was Satan, and I guess the whole “taking care of the sick and suffering” thing became hilarious. You know he doesn’t really care because this is how he talks about Obamacare during an EPA hearing (I know, right? Like is global warming even a thing? So boring!):
read the whole post »
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 11/14/13 at 08:14 PM
Sunday, November 10, 2013
The Fever Swamp’s Not So Deep Anymore
The news that Rand Paul got a gig with Breitbart’s organization after the Moony Times cast him loose because of repeated instances of plagiarism made me nostalgic for some of the hilarious conspiracy-theorizing that the right-wing engaged in when Carroll O’Connor’s evil doppelgänger kicked the bucket. The sheer lunacy of those paranoid comments inspired me to check out Free Republic, one of the worst fever-swamps of the American right.
I was a bit taken aback when I checked out the site, which often featured thousand-post comment threads. The most recent threads didn’t break double digits, and many of them had less than ten comments. Apparently, the moderators at the site conduct purges (recounted more fully at this right-wing site). The purging of insufficiently right-wing members of the commentariat was common enough so that the community had it’s own term for a banning. A look at the site’s web traffic revealed a precipitous drop in late 2012 (I wonder why?) and in early 2013… it seems to be clawing its way back up to a decent traffic level, but the spirit of the community seems to be diminished.
Happily, I found the site Freeper Madness, so I don’t have to actually check out Free Republic to get a dose of right-wing lunacy. Yeah, I can give my traffic to a great site, not one of the worst sites out there. For added bonus content, I’m including some Freeper comments which perfectly illustrate the combination of paranoia and narcissism that infects even rank-and-file right wingers. Beneath the fold, there’s comedy gold…
read the whole post »
Posted by Big Bad Bald Bastard on 11/10/13 at 06:23 AM
Thursday, October 24, 2013
And things were said and tears were shed, People
The above video is of Rep. Pete Sessions of TX, who was supposedly the person who said he could not stand to look at President Obama at some point in a White House meeting. And I don’t even know if it is true. I won’t pretend I know. Let’s just call him the Schroedinger’s Racist, and posit that unless the White House meeting in question was actually recorded, we simply can not infer from the available data whether he actually expressed the opinion that he could not stand the President and will not know until that event can be observed.
Some people might allege that based upon a priori data, we can reasonably speculate that Pete Sessions is in fact just the sort of person who might have made a disrespectful remark regarding the President. Others might state that the authoritative denial of the White House spokespeople negates the likelihood that he said that thing—but reasonable people might also weigh the possibility that the remark exists as an inadmissible anecdote—not on the record, but having been heard by someone, just not in a fashion readily reproducible.
In other words, he may have said it, and have had it been officially unsaid. In fact, it may have been very necessary to do so, because in order for the aforementioned White House meeting to have been in effect, the actual authority of the holder of the office that the White House represents would have to be validated. The failure to recognize that authority would tend to corrupt the resulting exchange of the conversation.
And we have no particular reason to believe that the conversation was corrupted, do we?
I leave that logical exercise for the reader to determine on his/her/their own.
(X-posted at Strangely Blogged.)
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 10/24/13 at 10:44 PM