Archive for January, 2013

The three Senators not confirming Kerry

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

Looking over the Senate votes on the confirmation of John Kerry as Secretary of State, and more specifically to the “no” votes on a matter that… well… I do see in comments section to news items saying “Of course he’ll be confirmed.  SKULL AND BONES!” — the first time we hear of skull and bones for a while…

Voting no.

Cornyn, Republican of Texas.  Cruz, Republican of Texas.  Inhofe, Republican of Oklahoma.

Explaining this one… Inhofe is against Kerry on Climate Change policy, because he’s… Inhofe.  The two Texans’ no vote appears to be about a fight to stake out the claim of Texas as the most Insane State in the Union.  Cornyn has a primary challenge possibility coming up, and needs to stake out a claim as being next to Cruz.

None of them came out against the Yale Fraternity of Skull and Bones, suggesting that they would have accepted George W Bush for the position.

Finally! Photographic Evidence that Obama is the Anti-Christ!

Sunday, January 27th, 2013

kabuki Hagel confirmation

Sunday, January 27th, 2013

Recall that Eisenhower’s original phrase for “Military Industrial Complex” included the word “Congressional”, and consider this piece of the John Kerry Confirmation hearing — sliding into discussion on the Chuck Hagel confirmation to come:

Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee said Thursday Hagel’s affiliation with an anti-nuclear weapons group called Global Zero is “just concerning.”
But Kerry argued Hagel is “realistic,” and the Global Zero initiative “is not talking about today’s world.”
“It’s a goal. It’s an aspiration. And we should always be aspirational,” he said.

Yeah, well, Tennessee Senator Bob Corker is just protecting his state’s Nuclear Industry and the federal budget thereto

But then Corker got to the meat of the matter, which affects his home state of Tennessee: modernization. In nuclear parlance, the word is a euphemism for the expensive upkeep for America’s aged nuclear warheads, which is carried out at nuclear laboratories, including the Oak Ridge complex in Tennessee. There, scientists make sure the bombs work, without actually exploding them, through expensive computer modeling. The funds pay for the cost of parts and labor to keep the warheads ready for action 24 hours-a-day.
Part of the deal to secure GOP support for New START treaty ratification was the Obama administration’s promise of increased funding for modernization, at roughly $85 billion over 10 years for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).

Chugging off of this realm into the coming Kabuki Theater in Chuck Hagel’s confirmation… the battlelines are drawn… to the right, and to the right pretending to be the left

The most mysterious of the new groups is Use Your Mandate. Portraying itself as a gay rights group, it has sent mailers to voters in seven states — including New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Montana — and run television ads against Mr. Hagel in New York and Washington. It has sent out posts on Twitter questioning his gay rights record and asking, “Is this what we worked so hard for?” Established gay rights activists have expressed skepticism about the group’s authenticity.
It has no Web site and it only lists as its address a post office box in New York. But paperwork filed with the Federal Communications Commission link it back to Tusk Strategies, a bipartisan political group founded by Bradley Tusk, a former strategist for Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York.
In an interview, Mr. Tusk would only identify its financiers as Democratic “gay and L.G.B.T. people who have been active in campaigns around the country.”
Yet federal records show that Use Your Mandate uses Del Cielo Media, an arm of one of the most prominent Republican ad-buying firms in the country, Smart Media, with clients that have included the presidential campaigns of former Gov. Jon M. Huntsman Jr. of Utah and Senator John McCain of Arizona; the 2010 Senate campaign of Christine O’Donnell, who was known for positions against homosexuality, in Delaware; and, as it happens, the Emergency Committee for Israel.

This is always the political fight, the “whatever issue gets you there” — even if the donor pool could care less on this issue.  For some reason they’re skipping past one issue — quite a number of  Democratic base has some squirminess on Hagel due to the tendency of Democratic Presidents to nominate Republican Secretary of Defenses — which, I think started with McNamara.

(I note as an aside that the first comment on the CNN article is completely unrelated to this story — a slam on Hillary Clinton with her Benghazi Hearing, a quote being lobbed a tad out of context.  Such is the nature of the rule of “Never read the bottom half of the Internet.”)

Hillary Clinton v Rand Paul: onward to 2016

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

We’re now back in the dualing Universes things, on the Benghazzi hearings.  Simply put, I think America is willing to accept a certain amount of mistakes and a certain amount of initial ass-coverings in the course of human events.  But partisans are watching, chaffing at the bit on this one, and, from my Internet forum-land I get a comment on the hoped for Impeachment of Obama.

Benghazi. I’m hearing heavy things from my “inside source” guy. It’s a far bigger deal than the media is projecting. The gun thing is mostly a diversion tactic. Lots of Water Gate type scrambling going on. The “White House tapes” may well be in the form of emails this time.

I’ll have to shift through the past to see what other items “Inside source guys” has given out in the past.  I don’t really believe in such a thing as “inside source guy” — Intelligence agencies are full of retired ideolouges.  From a political stand-point, I don’t think a President can be impeached without his  whatever controversy hypothetically taking him down being pulled down into the 30s… and you have to understand that the surest way to ensure a President’s approval ratings stabilize above that is to bring attacks to the level of partisan grand-stander.

Pushing all this aside, my big take-away comes from confrontations with… Rand Paul of Kentucky.  Rand Paul is Ron Paul if we remove the redeeming features.    Special to CNN, the author of a positive biography of Pat Buchanan sells it as a “Clash of the Titans”.

Given that Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida was participating, it felt at moments like an audition for 2016 — and Rubio’s staff put the video of his questions up on his website with remarkable speed.
But the most impressive performance by far was from Rand Paul. He delivered a cool, withering statement that climaxed in this devastating paragraph (and you have to watch it to get the full effect): “I’m glad that you’re accepting responsibility. I think ultimately with your leaving that you accept the culpability for the worst tragedy since 9/11. And I really mean that. Had I been president and found you did not read the cables from Benghazi and from Ambassador (Christopher) Stevens, I would have relieved you of your post. I think it’s inexcusable.”
This performance might be — and should be — remembered well by the Republican base when the primary campaign of 2016 starts. Ever since the last president election, Rand Paul hasn’t set a foot wrong. From his bridge-building visit to Israel to his opposition to the fiscal cliff deal, he seems well placed to become the tea party candidate.

I like the “have to watch it to get the full effect” line.  Yes, I see… a grand-standing clown… angling to win the hearts and fill joy in the likes of the author of a positive biography of Pat Buchanan.  And, for most of the rest, ending up closer to  “it wasn’t intimidating but funny” — better to say, an eye-roll.  But at least the “I would have relieved you of your post” has some logic in it, even if it’s transparent politicking.    But it gets a bit weirder from there… as Rand Paul goes into the conspiratorial tracks of the right and its echo chamber that hasn’t lept into the mainstream.

Paul, a new member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, wasted no time in making a mark on the proceedings. After informing Secretary Clinton that he would have fired her for her role in the response to the attack, Paul came seemingly out of nowhere to ask Clinton about Turkey. “Is the U.S. involved with any procuring of weapons, transfer of weapons, buying, selling, anyhow transferring weapons to Turkey out of Libya?” he asked.
A clearly confused Clinton responded to the best of her ability. […]
 Clinton responded that Paul would have to take up his question with “the agency running the annex,” an oblique reference to the fact that the Central Intelligence Agency was operating out of the building in question. Paul’s inquiry about Turkey seems less odd if you’re familiar with Glenn Beck-inspired conspiracy theories that have been circulating among right-wing websites since the attacks in Libya.

Well… as Reason’s blogger puts it… Rand Paul vs. Hillary Clington — Campaign 2016 Begins?
And indeed, basically every article has to posit the possibility.  Even though… anyone out there really see Rand Paul winning the Republican nomination in 2016?

Actually I guess we can say this as a hypothetical across all the Senators on the committee.  Marco Rubio is the favorite, Rand Paul gets the chalk because he’s Paul, and we throw in Rob Johnson because he’s from Ohio and thus is a permanent vice-presidential candidate.

Here’s a Democratic Partisan’s reaction:  Hillary Clinton 69, Rand Paul 10.  Basically he’s assigning the favorable ratings of the Republicans in Congress and attaching it to Rand Paul.  Not really a decent exercise, but …

Y’know there are other candidates that might dig in on the Democratic nominating fight for 2016.  Take, for instance
Hm.   Why not?  After all, he’ll be the incumbent after this impeachment thing goes through.  Yep!  It’s all settled.  Joseph Biden v Rand Paul — a real corker will that 2016 Presidential race be.

issues confronting the city right now

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

There is evidentally a Root Beer shortage in the downtown area.  I know of two people who went to different stores yesterday looking for root beer, and only finding it at the Safeway out in the Pearl District.  But Rite Aid, downtown Safeway, the Dollar Tree… all out.

This begs the question … there are plenty of times you do understand how some commodity is out — like, bottled water on that day of the microscopic amounts of bacteria that wouldn’t shut down any city’s water supply but Portland’s — or chips and stuff on Superbowl Sunday or a big Ducks game or whatever — but this?  Why was there no root beer of all things on yesterday of all days?

cold war paranoia is bigger in Texas

Sunday, January 20th, 2013

“Ya look like weird foreigners.  Where you freaks from?”  His words slurped from his loose mouth.  “You sure as hell ain’t from Texas.”  He muttered the foulest swear words as he slouched against a wall.  I felt like throwing him out the window, head first.

“Where you headed?” one of the farmers asked politely.  He adjusted his baseball cap.  It was covered with dust from fertilizer.

“We’re just traveling,” I said.

“Hippie, welfare-grubbin’ foreigner, lazy, good-fer-nothing’ …” the puffy-faced slob mumbled.  Everyone heard him.  I glanced over at Barbara to give her the sign that we’d better leave when one of the farmers, who had not said a word, walked over to the man, still swearing under his breath, and grabbed him by the arm.  He half dragged him out of the store.  I heard a pickup truck door open and slam.  The pickup wove down the road.  The silent farmer walked back inside, said, “Sorry about him.”  The farmer looked apologetic as he said, “Ever since ol’ Wilbur’s wife died, he’s been goin’ downhill.  Been drinkin’ from sunrise to sunrise.  They say two fifths a day.  Lost most of his farm and even stopped comin’ to church.  He used to be a deacon in our church.  Sad, ain’t it?”

Everyone agreed; one person nodded.  “Young lady, you people ever been in Texas before?” he asked.  He looked like a Southern Baptist preacher.

“Can’t say we ever have,” Barbara answered.

“Well, let me speak for everyone here and welcome you to the greatest state in the Union.  Ain’t nothing like Texas.”  Everyone agreed.  A bunch of them smiled.  “Fact is, friends, we’re glad you made it through Louisiana.  Now that place don’t even come close to comparin’ with Texas.  Ain’t no place in the world that compares with Texas.  IF you people are lookin’ for somethin’, then you found it.  We got everything there is to want and then some, don’t we, boys?”  He pointing the face into the west and all of Texas.  Any real Texan would have stood to attention.

I walked over to the refrigerator to get another Dr Pepper.  “Did you know Dr Pepper’s from right here in Texas?” the preacher commented.  I said no, I didn’t.

On the side of the refrigerator was a yellowed sheet of paper that had been there for many years.  The title was A Communist Manifesto.  It was a sort of summary of the Marx and Engels theory.  The man who owned the place noticed me reading it and spoke up.

“Now, boy, that’s one document you need to memorize.  You even seen it before?”

“No, I haven’t,” I said.

“Well, if you were a Texan, you’d know what that said.  That’s how the communists plan to take over the country.  Not one shot fired.  They’re doin’ it, just exactly like it says on the sheet today.”  His face was turning red with zeal.

A couple of farmers left.  I watched one drive down he road on a big red and black Massey – Ferguson tractor.

“Those commies know that they can’t take over this country in a fight.  They know that Texans still are ready to fight.  Ain’t we, boys?”  His eyes held a straight-line stare out the dirty window.  “Boy, you read The Communist Manifesto while you’re a’travelin’…. ’cause them people ain’t gonna fire a shot, ok?”

“OK,” I said.

The Walk West; A Walk Across America 2; published 1981; Peter and Barbara Jenkins.  And, of course, here we have shades of Bill Moyers in his 1970 “discovering America on the road” book.


match made in heaven: fox news and dennis kucinich

Friday, January 18th, 2013

What the right wing source “Accuracy in the Media” is saying about Fox News hiring Dennis Kucinich as a political analyst:

Kucinich becomes the latest in a string of liberals at Fox, including former Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana, Bob Beckel, Sally Kohn, Jehmu Greene and Santita Jackson who have joined the network in recent years.
In a statement, Fox News chairman and chief executive Roger Ailes said that he was always impressed with Kucinich’s “fearlessness and thoughtfulness about important issues,” and that he is a “valuable voice in our country’s debate.”
While Kucinich would have been a better fit ideologically at MSNBC, by joining Fox he gets a bigger audience in which to spout his left-wing views. It makes me wonder if Fox isn’t trying to siphon away some of MSNBC’s audience by building a stable of liberal contributors to ensure it remains the king of cable news.

AIM at least doesn’t pretend Fox News isn’t … bending to the right?… in general  Other than that, we can mock calling Evan Bayh “liberal”…

What the Daily Kos has to say:

A Big FU to Dennis.  He gets to play house liberal for $$$ so the conservatives can laugh.

I know where Kucinich fits into a “silliness of liberal” scrabble for Fox News , but he is an interesting one nonetheless — prior to this, his biggest media fix was with a sort of “Pacifica Radio” arena.  If war breaks out, there will be a liberal speaking out against it on Fox News, I suppose… as opposed to Evan Bayh as spokesperson for that… maybe he’d be booted by the time we get to a Republican Administration and leave us with Evan Bayh a-okaying anything for the National Defense?