Tag Archives: Obama

reagandesk

The odious ODS

Obama Derangement Syndrome is real. So is Clinton Derangement Syndrome. Or maybe it’s just Democratic Derangement Syndrome. Or Anything That Scares Us Derangement Syndrome. I don’t know, but it’s real.

Witness one Geoffrey Zakarian, who is some kind of celebrity chef. I quit watching chef shows when they all started blurring together, so I don’t know. Anyway, here’s the story.

obamaovaloffice

White House photographer Pete Souza tweeted out a photo of the president in the Oval Office on Saturday, speaking with Vladimir Putin on the phone. The president was wearing jeans, and his shirt sleeves were rolled up. Cue the outrage. OMG you would have thought Souza had tweeted out a picture of Monica Lewinsky and Bill Clinton in the Oval Office with a cigar.

Storyful retweeted Souza’s image. And Zakarian responded:

Screen Shot 2014-03-03 at 8.43.34 PMTo which Souza responded:

Screen Shot 2014-03-03 at 8.24.48 PM

One would think that would have been enough, but one would have been wrong. Zakarian spoke again:

Screen Shot 2014-03-03 at 8.25.12 PM

Alas, there were many, many responses after that, pointing out that Zakarian was wrong. The Reagan pictures are from the Oval Office, and yes, one would expect Souza to know that. One would be right about that, but if one expected Zakarian to say “Whoops, my bad!” … well, let’s just say the chef has deleted these tweets from his timeline, not realizing, of course, that one may delete a tweet from one’s timeline but it never goes away.

This is far from an isolated event, and Mr Zakarian is not the only one to behave in this matter. It is but a clear and present reminder that there are some who cannot think for themselves, nor do they have an ounce of humility in or on their persons. It is a sad state of affairs.

Obama is certainly not above criticism, nor should he be. He is not a perfect president — if only. But, my god, these whackos just don’t let up. And if they can’t find something real to blame him for, they’ll just make crap up.

And it’s not just conservatives either. There are progressives out there condemning the first lady’s campaign against obesity because she’s not focusing on genetically modified food.

OK, then. Let’s just all take a step back, a deep breath, and watch some cat videos.

Gimme

Dontcha just love it when all the Republicans pile on Mitt Romney over his “gifts” gaffe?

Wait, y’know, I’m sick of this “gaffe” thing. That wasn’t a gaffe, any more than the 47-percent-of-us-are-moochers thing was a gaffe. A gaffe is when you say something utterly stupid that just didn’t come out right. What Mitt Romney said came out just the way he wanted to — and just the way a whole damn bunch of conservatives wanted it to.

So when Bobby Jindal says Mitt’s comments were “absolutely wrong” or when Newt Gingrich says they were “insulting and profoundly wrong” or any number of other GOP notables spouting similar sentiments, they are lying. Just plain lying.

If they weren’t lying, they’d be saying the same thing about Rush Limbaugh (“People are not going to vote against Santa Claus, especially if the alternative is being your own Santa Claus”), Bill O’Reilly (Romney was “right on the money”), Eric Bolling (“people voted to continue to get free stuff”) and the rest of the conservative media elite. But they’re not. Listen. Crickets. That’s all there is. Just crickets. But it’s good to pile on the guy who just got his ass whupped by the black guy.

What’s “wrong” isn’t what Mitt said, but that he said it at all. This batch of Republicans has spent billions selling the ignorant masses on the complete and utter bullshit that they and only they will make sure they get to the top of the heap, leapfrogging over all those heathens who just want a handout.

But those rich assholes running things know full well that the ignorant masses they convince to buy their putrid snake oil are really the ones who get the most handouts. Oh, they’ll say they don’t, but that’s because they don’t count things like student loans or small business loans or mortgage tax credits or, god forbid, Medicare. Handouts only go to the lazy, good-for-nothing poor who won’t do anything to help themselves.

Seriously, people believe this crap. Interestingly, of course, it’s those “red states” that eat up the most federal money. The five or six states with secession petitions got 23 percent of all federal money last year. Amazing, eh?

I won’t even point out … oh, yes I will. The folks who believe the bull are by and large the ignorant white masses, and folks who are the targets of the bull are everybody else. It’s not just about race, of course. It’s also about religion and creed and national origin and sexual orientation and education and whether you listen exclusively to Fox News and the radio repugnants or actually get your information from a variety of sources.

Just so you know, here’s what Mitt told donors after the election:

What the president’s campaign did was focus on certain members of his base coalition, give them extraordinary financial gifts from the government, and then work very aggressively to turn them out to vote, and that strategy worked.

Um, I kinda thought that was the strategy for most elections … promise folks shit and then get them out to vote. But this thing about “extraordinary financial gifts from the government” …

Yeah, the only moochers I know are the rich folk who don’t want to pay their share of taxes and go to extraordinary lengths to avoid it, who lie through their teeth telling us how they are the job creators when the truth is they sock all that cash into off shore bank accounts and cut employees’ salaries when they think they might have to treat them like actual human beings. Those guys are the moochers. As Andy Serwer put it:

Political parties reward their constituencies, and Romney would have pursued goodies for GOP backers had he been elected. Financial institutions would have been very happy with a Romney administration that repealed Dodd-Frank, military contractors would have been delighted with Romney’s plan to raise military spending to astronomical levels, and Romney’s wealthy donors would have been delighted with his tax cuts for high earners. These are all “extraordinary financial gifts,” and unlike student loans or health care coverage, they do nothing to help ensure that being born into a family of modest financial means doesn’t prevent a person from succeeding. Help with student loan debt doesn’t mean you didn’t have to work hard to get good grades. A better example of an unearned “gift” is being born the son of a wealthy, famous politician so that you’ll never have to worry about student loan debt.

Yeah, these folks get rich off everybody else’s backs, and we’re too damn scared to point out that they are the cultural and political descendants of the robber barons and the plantation owners from the 19th and 20th Centuries.

And by we I mean my colleagues in the “mainstream media,” really just the Washington press since media long ago forgot that anything outside the beltway actually exists.

If that weren’t true, we’d all know what these Republicans know: that they prey on gullible people who want desperately to believe that some day they, too, can be rich and powerful, and that for the vast — and I do mean vast — majority, it’ll never happen.

But here’s the real kicker. We don’t have to be rich and powerful to be happy, or even comfortable. There’s more to life than amassing material wealth, and life is much more satisfying when we work to bring us all closer together rather than push us further apart with unrealistic fantasies.

Too many of us have forgotten that the American Dream was never about bank accounts.Wrong

 

We’re sorry, you’ve been disconnected

At least that’s how it feels to me. Everywhere I turn, I’m hearing my colleagues talk about the momentum of Mitt Romney, up until today, that is, when Haley Barbour said that Hurricane Sandy put a stop to it.

My colleagues can’t get enough of it. The polls are getting closer. Romney’s on a roll. The race is a toss-up. Obama’s losing ground.

There’s just one problem.

I don’t see it. Not anywhere.

There’s this one crazy poll that has Romney up six points in Florida, and maybe that one’s right — but it’s the only one.

It’s like the whole “Obama hasn’t created any jobs” thing. Well, presidents don’t actually create jobs, any more than governors do. But the facts get in the way of what they mean when they say that. Somewhere around 750,000 jobs have been added to the rolls so far under Obama, compared to a loss of more than a million in the same time under George W. Bush, whose policies, by the way, Romney wants to bring back, only worse.

I can’t tell you how many conservatives I’ve seen utterly convinced Mitt Romney is gonna win this thing in a landslide, presumably because all the polls are conducted by liberals and biased toward Obama. That the polls may be biased toward Obama could be true, but not because they’re conducted by liberals. It’s all in the samples. It’s just as possible the polls are all biased toward Romney, and it’s Obama who’s gonna win in a landslide.

Frankly, that he isn’t likely to win in a landslide says nothing good about our electorate and probably is as strong an indictment of the criminal neglect given to our education system as is possible, not to mention the perfectly lousy job my colleagues do covering elections of any kind.

And that brings me to Nate Silver. Unless you’re a political junkie, you may not have heard of him. But Nate is a numbers junkie who has concocted a mathematical way of prognosticating the presidential election using all the polls and a few other things. He is a liberal, but that’s the thing about numbers — they’re not particularly political. And unless it really is true that all the polls are hopelessly biased against Romney, Obama is highly likely to win re-election.

Romney has a chance to win. About a 15 percent chance — but that is a chance. It could happen.

Right now, Nate Silver forecasts Obama will win 307 electoral college votes (270 are needed to win), and that number has gone up 11 votes in the past week. Romneymentum? Where?

The popular vote, overall, is still looking pretty close, but it’s not the national popular vote that counts, now is it? No, it’s not. It’s the vote in the states, and which states. And that, my friends, doesn’t look like a toss-up. Here’s what Nate said yesterday, when Obama was leading in 19 of 20 swing state polls and Romney still had a 16 percent chance of winning the electoral college:

My argument, rather, is this: we’ve about reached the point where if Mr. Romney wins, it can only be because the polls have been biased against him. Almost all of the chance that Mr. Romney has in the FiveThirtyEight forecast, about 16 percent to win the Electoral College, reflects this possibility.

Yes, of course: most of the arguments that the polls are necessarily biased against Mr. Romney reflect little more than wishful thinking.

Nevertheless, these arguments are potentially more intellectually coherent than the ones that propose that the leader in the race is “too close to call.” It isn’t. If the state polls are right, then Mr. Obama will win the Electoral College. If you can’t acknowledge that after a day when Mr. Obama leads 19 out of 20 swing-state polls, then you should abandon the pretense that your goal is to inform rather than entertain the public.

But the state polls may not be right. They could be biased. Based on the historical reliability of polls, we put the chance that they will be biased enough to elect Mr. Romney at 16 percent.

That’s 16 percent (now less than 15 percent) likely that the polls being biased toward Obama is little more than “wishful thinking.”

But go ahead and listen to my colleagues, all of whom are pundits at election time. It’s just too close to call.

 

The downgrade

So Standard & Poor’s downgraded the U.S. long-term debt from AAA to AA+ (with a negative outlook). Ouch. Yeah, it’s a bit of a joke. After all, these are the jokers who declared Lehman Brothers AAA a month before they went bankrupt. They rated junk mortgage securities AAA, leading directly to the financial mess we’re in now. And we can argue till the cows come home about whether S&P oughta be in the business of downgrading our credit rating because our political system is so dysfunctional.

Doesn’t matter. What does matter is that they did. They looked at the recently completed debt ceiling debate and determined that although we haven’t defaulted, and probably won’t in the near future, our idiocy is so complete that creditors should think twice or more about extending further credit.

Now, that would probably suit the TeaPublicans just fine. They seem to relish the idea of the United States becoming a backwater country where the majority of its citizens have little to no access to decent health care or education. And why wouldn’t they? Stupid, sick citizens are much easier to bully into submission. And the handful of others who know better? Just throw ‘em in jail, shoot ‘em if you have to. That’s what they do in places like Zimbabwe, Syria, Yemen and Iran. Never let a little inconvenient truth bother you.

And all of this could have been avoided. We’ve had so many chances. After Reagan put us on this wretched road to ruin, Americans wised up after a term of George Bush Sr. and elected Bill Clinton, at the time branded The Most Liberal Man On The Planet although he was a Blue Dog at best. Never mind, though, he was certainly far better than another four years of GHWB, or, god forbid, one of the other whackos who could have been on the Republican ticket. You know, people like Pat Buchanan and David Duke.

The GOP Noise Machine went into high gear of course, lying and stretching the truth at every possible moment to paint Clinton as Evil Incarnate. It worked to some extent, but it didn’t wholly work because Bill possesses one of those thing the Republicans like in their candidates: He’s Affable. You wanna have a beer with him. So what if he had sex with that woman? I mean — and here’s where the Right Wing Crap Machine worked wonders — look at that bitch he’s married to.

But after two terms and a deficit surplus, the Noise Machine had also done a job on the man who should have been Clinton’s successor, the truly more liberal Al Gore. And Gore was hampered by a tendency to appear rather wooden, plus, it appears that an awful lot of Democrats/liberals/progressives at that time had not caught on to the Republican Bullshit Machine strategy: Lie at every opportunity, and make the other guy out to be in league with the worst things you can think of. And if all else fails, ridicule from the lowest common denominator.

Thus, George W. Bush. Of course, the conservatives needed a little boost from the Supreme Court, but honest to god, it never should have been close enough to go there. The Noise Machine works very, very well, indeed. See Kerry, John – Swiftboating.

After eight years of up is down, black is white and Alice doesn’t live here anymore, it’s a wonder any of us could even walk. But walk we could and unbelievably enough of us had seen through the LSD haze to actually not give the presidency to another Republican. But the Noise Machine had a hand in who did select too. See Clinton, Hillary – Clinton Derangement Syndrome.

Again, we selected a very moderate, albeit black, Democrat who was again portrayed as The Most Liberal Man On The Planet despite no evidence to support that contention. But we, suckers that we are, thought we had a chance. My god, a black Democrat in the White House, majorities in the House and Senate — we’re saved!

Except we weren’t. The right started its anti-anything but them campaign with its most ugly component yet: Racism. Well, they actually tried that with Bill Clinton. Who do you think came up with “the nation’s first black president?” Problem of course, was that Clinton clearly isn’t black.

Barack Obama is, and racism is a ready-made weapon so easy to deny. “Tar baby!” “Oh, I’m sorry if anyone was offended. I didn’t mean that as a racist statement.” And, with our well trained stenography pool ready to bring every utterance to the national media, nobody but us crazies ever challenged the clear bullshit. So while the our so-called journalists bring on birthers to talk about whether or not Obama was born in the United States (doesn’t matter, idiots, his MOTHER was), nobody challenges the racism fueling charges that Obama is from Africa, that he’s Muslim, that he’s anything but a good ol’ boy. Seriously, do you honestly think that conversation would be going on if Obama’s father were named Olsen and he was born in Norway?

But the Machine had done well making sure a natural compromiser was elected president. That’s what community organizers do, yknow. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but when one side deviously plots to suppress the other side and uses good intentions to doom the process from the start, well, that’s another matter.

And then there was the Tea Party, rabidly taken up by my colleagues in the stenography as some kind of populist movement despite the clear evidence that it was and is funded by billionaires and political insiders. Follow the money, my friends. Follow the money.

And the politicians, never ones to take any kind of principled stand (with rare exceptions. See Sanders, Bernie – Socialist, Vermont), bent and twisted any which way the wind blew to make sure they stayed in office.  Then came 2010, and the intentionally ill-informed won big in those places where once more moderate conservatives might have flourished. And now, the stage was set.

A barely Democratic president, a Senate with a narrow Democratic majority, a House full of full-on crazies with little to no understanding of anything beyond Well, sheeit, I’m a US Congressman now! and a House constituency of the ignorant masses who don’t realize Medicare is a “socialist” program nor that their champions have every intention of destroying it.

Oh, and the completely out in the open No. 1 goal of the Republican party: Get rid of the black guy in the Oval Office in 2012 if not sooner.

So despite Standard & Poor’s culpability in the our economic morass, somebody there had the sense to realize that the United States was indeed on a slippery slope and it isn’t one to socialism. It’s sliding into what’s much closer to the corporate-run colonies of the British, Portugeuese, Dutch, Spanish and French empires. Seriously — they were all about profits and coopting some local group to give their corporate rulers some legitimacy. And the corporate rulers, of course, answered to the crown back home.

In America, though, we’re dispensing with the crown. The corporate rulers answer to no one.

And that’s very, very dangerous, something even Standard & Poor’s can’t ignore. The debt ceiling fight, then, was our last chance before someone outside started taking action. Obama must have known. That’s where the Grand Bargain came from. It was the only adult proposal made, one that in all likelihood would have satisfied S&P that we were seriously about fixing the economy. Of course, just lifting the fucking debt ceiling and focussing on a jobs plan probably would have worked too, but the TeaPublicans would have none of that and instead pushed for this showdown, a playground battle royale.

So Obama offered the Grand Bargain and the TeaPublicans, so enamored of their rich overlords that they cannot conceive of taxing them one penny more than they already are, poor over-taxed bastards, said no fucking way. And the pitiful “debate” that followed showed S&P, and every other sane person on the planet, that the lunatics indeed have taken over the U.S. government, and no one is safe.

The reasoning, which people who aren’t TeaPublicans actually note contains criticisms of both Republicans and Democrats, is far more damning to the GOP. Here’s the full report, go read it. You can be sure the TeaPublicans won’t. They were satisfied with the press release. But here’s the key passage. S&P says the recently completely debt ceiling deal is a step in the right direction, but is not sufficient to correct the slide. Previously assessments have given the United States the benefit of the doubt, S&P says, assuming that reason will overcome the pitchfork-bearing masses. No more:

Compared with previous projections, our revised base case scenario now assumes that the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, due to expire by the end of 2012, remain in place. We have changed our assumption on this because the majority of Republicans in Congress continue to resist any measure that would raise revenues, a position we believe Congress reinforced by passing the act.

And there you have it. If those tax cuts don’t expire, S&P says, the credit rating will likely slip to AA. Killing those tax cuts off might — might — “stabilize” the rating at AA+.

So what’s it all mean? Basically, we’re screwed. And the Republicans and Democrats are to blame. The Republicans for all their lying and bullshit and the Democrats for showing their bellies every time the GOP or Fox News yells “Boo!” And that dysfunction, which is what S&P is talking about, isn’t likely to change, because our politicians are too addicted to being in Washington to see what’s really going on in the world around them.

Instead, they’ll take what S&P says and make further cuts into “entitlement” programs, along with things like education, public safety, environmental regulation, banking regulation — basically anything that a civilized society needs to thrive — keeping only enough to maintain the military dictatorship the Teahadists so desperately yearn for.  Austerity times 1000. This is how Saddam Hussein ruled Iraq, and we really do have weapons of mass destruction.

I don’t pretend to know why the rich want it this way (even less why the lied-to masses work so hard to make it happen), but I do know this is how they want it. Follow the money. At the end you’ll find people like the Koch Brothers whose only goal, for some unfathomable reason, is to get richer.

I also know it will get better. But not, apparently, before it gets a whole lot worse.

Stuck in the middle

I noticed during my reading this morning that someone else — maybe Andrew Sullivan? — had beaten me to the punch on this one, but I’m gonna say it anyway.

The purpose of the debt debacle is to gather ammunition for an impeachment.

Frankly, I’m surprised the whackadoodle House hasn’t already done that. Guess they’re setting it all up just in case Obama wins a second term and they get their expected majority in the Senate. #seenthismoviebefore

It’s been clear since the Clinton presidency that Republicans, especially the wackier end of their spectrum — which is about all that’s left now — do not see any Democratic president as legitimate. Look at the crap they pull. Lying about Al Gore’s statement about the internet. Swiftboating John Kerry.

They’ve had a hard time with this president. The Kenya thing hasn’t gathered much traction. He’s not getting blow jobs in the Oval Office. What better to do than trash the economy completely and let him take the fall, right out the door.

Isn’t that what they said in the very beginning? That they wanted him to fail? Nothing about wanting the country to succeed, just wanting this particular president to fail.

That’s just the Republicans in Congress, of course. The rank and file have other ulterior motives, most of which are egged on and stirred by the Congresscritters and their bosses in the right-wing hit media. The rank and file, they’re just rabble, y’know, but rabble can serve a good purpose when you get ‘em all stirred up with lies and fearmongering. The not-even-below-the-surface racism is a sure-fire hit.

Add my beloved see-no-evil-hear-no-evil-speak-no-evil colleagues to the mix and you have the most dysfunctional country in the world this side of Somalia. In the civilized world, the main response has been one big “WTF.”

Let’s make one thing perfectly clear. There isn’t a debt crisis. That’s wholly manufactured by the right, spread by the media and bought lock, stock and barrel by Democrats. Making this Custer’s Last Stand is a little like having a huge argument over whether to pay the water bill while the house is burning down.

So while all this political posturing goes on, Americans are still out of work, have no insurance and are sinking in this morass of an economy launched on the downhill fast track by Ronald Reagan.

See, here’s the thing. Government revenues are down because the rich skate and because unemployment is high. Spending is up because we’re fighting three wars (at least) and unemployment is high.

The rabid see the common denominator there — unemployment — and thinks the answer is to cut social services. The rest of us see the common denominator and think, “We need to raise revenues and cut out these bullshit wars.”

Three percentage points. From 35 percent to 38 percent. That’s all letting the Bush tax cuts for the rich would do — raise the rate three points. And that’s not on all the rich’s income. That’s only on income above $250,000. That’s why it’s called “the top rate.” But the Republicans can’t let go of this “raising taxes” meme — because it works on the rabble, who will never hear that the United States has one of the lowest tax rates in the world.

They won’t hear it because they only listen to the echo chamber that echoes their own views uncritically. Easiest way in the world to control a significant number of voters.

Speaking of echo chambers, I don’t think I’ve ever seen it so finely tuned. For days, it’s been harping on Obama — “where’s the plan,” say all the pundits, the presidential cabinets and the rabble that completely lacks any ability to think for itself because, apparently, that’s socialist. Never mind that it’s the job of Congress to come up with the plan.

When the House passed Boehner’s debt bill the other day, my inbox was full of press releases, by Twitter stream full of tweets — all talking about Obama’s supposed “lack of leadership.” I may actually agree on that one, but not for the same reasons. After all, what do they think all those meetings were?

As I’m writing this, the players announce they have a deal. It pretty much sucks, all the way around. Who’s surprised? Rock, meet hard place. It could be a whole lot worse though, and it could be a whole lot better. And, of course, the echo chambers are in full force. The Republicans are declaring victory except where they aren’t, and the progressives are declaring Obama a complete and utter failure worse than George W. Bush and possibly Herbert Hoover.

Just a little note on that and then I’ll get to my real point: The spending cuts don’t go into effect until 2013, the very same day the Bush tax cuts for the rich are set to expire. Let’s see what happens between now and then.

Now, my real point. Progressives, this is something we are just going to have to learn to live with: We will never, ever, ever get legislation we can approve of unconditionally. Ever. Never. Not. Gonna. Happen. Know why?

Ever heard of the bell curve? It looks like this. And in the case of society, the bell curve is constantly in motion. Moving forward. Progressing. Always. At times the people on the curve move backwards, or regress, but the line itself — forward.

So what you have is progressives out on the forward end of the curve. There aren’t very many. As you get closer to the center, there are more people on the line. Then once you pass over the very center, the numbers decline again until you get to the Tea Party, where, again, there are few.

So, you say, shouldn’t progressives and Tea Parties get their way about an equal percent of the time, seeing as how they are roughly in equal numbers?

Well, no. And here’s why:

Remember, the line is moving forward, into the unknown. Progressives are driving that forward move. The Tea Partiers are back there at the end of the line trying to at least hold it still and if possible pull it backwards. They get more of what they want all the time because of a) inertia and b) fear of the unknown, both products of the vast middle. But, because society does march ever onward, progress happens regardless. Just considerably slower than any of us want. It’s the evolution of humanity.

So, anyway, back to my original premise, that this whole mess is about impeachment or some other way to delegitimize the presidency of Barack Obama. It’s what they do. They hate Democrats, liberals, progressives, progress, change, open society, growth and especially people of color and queers. It’s who they are. Obama may not be much of a progressive, or even a liberal sometimes, but he’s a pragmatist about where we are. And here we are, stuck in the middle.

 

 

Tweaking the story

This shit just pisses me off. Really. It does. My colleagues can be such tools sometimes. So I’m working, and alluva sudden I see tweets proclaiming that the Eville president has done dissed his legal advisors who told him he needs Congressional approval under the War Powers Resolution to continue providing military support to NATO’s fight in Libya.

Now, I happen to agree. The fight in Libya is at least for a good reason for a change, but the law requires that Congress grant permission to extend such activity beyond 60 days, which ended on May 20. It’s true that all presidents since the law was established in 1973 have contended that it unconstitutionally infringes on the president’s responsibilities as commander-in-chief. All presidents except Obama, that is. His position is that what we’re doing in Libya doesn’t pass the “hostilities” test because we’re not actually fighting. It’s not our bombers, and there are no troops on the ground. The United States is just providing support, y’see. Nixon, by the way, vetoed the act, but Congress overrode the veto.

Maybe they’re even right about that. But it is the law. And 10 congresscritters have filed suit in federal court against Obama over it.

But anyway, none of that is what irks me so much. What irks me is this. Here’s the New York Times (which broke the news) headline on the story:

2 top lawyers lost to Obama in Libya war policy debate

The story is about disagreement among the president’s legal advisers. Two of them — the Pentagon’s general counsel and the acting head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel — said Congressional approval was needed. Obama’s other lawyers, including both the White House and State Department general counsels, said otherwise. Obama went with the latter.

But that’s not how the story is that spreading through the InterTubz. Instead of being a story about a policy disagreement among the advisers, the story is about how Obama “overruled” his legal advisers, “rejected” their counsel, “dismissed” their views, proceeded with the war “despite” the lawyers’ view and is worse than Hitler. As if they were the only lawyers he consulted.

Even the Times is a little misleading, focusing on the two lawyers who disagreed. Here’s my headline:

Obama’s legal team split on Libya action authority

Now, doesn’t that sound more fair? More accurate? But it wouldn’t be American journalism if it didn’t echo the right wing’s crazinesss. Hell, even John Boehner believes the War Powers Act is unconstitutional, but that hasn’t stopped him from screaming to the high heavens that Obama is violating it.

Journalism isn’t what it’s supposed to be these days. Seeking the truth and telling it isn’t in the job description. Getting ratings is.

But that’s not how I roll. In this case, I completely agree with the Pentagon and DOJ lawyers. But that doesn’t mean I don’t tell the story right.

There is such a thing as journalistic integrity, even if an awful lot of my colleagues have forgotten what it means. Of course, they wouldn’t be acting like they are if the American public wasn’t so hell bent on bullshit and Charlie Sheen. But journalists are supposed to cut through the crap, not repeat it.

At least that’s how it works in my world. Wish it were true across the board.

The way forward

I had every intention of writing a scintillating review of the State of the Union and the dueling GOP responses to it. Really, I did. I had plenty of time to read the president’s speech — the National Journal published a draft copy someone leaked to them, which may or may not have forced the White House to do the unheard of: It released the “as prepared for delivery” text more than an hour before the speech and with no embargo. Last year, we got the “as prepared” text at 8:52 with an embargo for the start of the speech at 9:01:30.

So I read the speech and pronounced it nothing the Republicans could whine about without looking even more idiotic than they usually do, not that that would stop them. I watched the speech, comparing the “as prepared” text with what was actually said so my staff could get the words right (not much difference, in case you’re wondering) and pronounced the speech not very well delivered.

But still, I wanted to write about it here. I wanted to tell you how John “Orangeman” Boehner scowled and didn’t applaud when Obama mentioned things like not being careful, as we cut unnecessary spending, not to do harm to our “most vulnerable.” Guess Boehner doesn’t give a shit about the most vulnerable. He also didn’t seem to care for Obama asking for millionaires to “give back their tax break.” Quelle surprise.

I watched neither the Paul Ryan response nor the Michele Bachmann response because, frankly, there is nothing new they could say. Ryan repeated the same Randian bullshit he usually spews and Bachmann, well, as a friend of mine says, she makes Sarah Palin look like William F. Buckley. And honestly, who has the time to rebut the lies, misinterpretations and just plain ignorance that seems to be her cause celebre.

But alas, when I arrived home last evening, I had no Internet! The horror of it all! And since I was dog tired, I watched an episode of Brad Meltzer’s Decoded (Confederate gold, if you must know) and promptly fell asleep.

And now that my Internet has returned, I find I really don’t care anymore. I glanced through a few blogs to see what my fellow conservatives were saying, and it was mostly “he’s no better than a Republican,” “Obama calls for a return to the glory days of 50 years ago” and my personal favorite “SOTU was the speech of a man who has given up.” That’s my favorite because, ironically, I thought most of these blog posts were the blog posts of poseurs who have given up.

One blogger even said that s/he didn’t like the speech but it will probably be “well-received” by the public.

And that’s a bad thing? It made my head spin, and frankly, I have not had enough coffee yet for head spinning.

Others condemned it as a “motivational speech.” Excuse me, but I think we need one about now. The lunatics have taken over the asylum, and the rest of us are inclined to bury our heads and wait two more years before we come out and see what damage they’ve caused, and that’s the exact opposite of what we need to do.

OK, so I think a 5-year freeze on non-war spending is a stupid idea too, but there are places to cut waste. Let’s start there.

The president spent a lot of time on education and innovation — and believe me, these are the only two things that will save us. In fact, here’s my favorite bit from the entire speech:

And if we truly care about our deficit, we simply can’t afford a permanent extension of tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% of Americans. Before we take money away from our schools, or scholarships away from our students, we should ask millionaires to give up their tax break.

Now, asking is just too nice. We should take it back. They. Do. Not. Need. It and it doesn’t create a single job. Educating our children does. Innovation does. Rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure does. And those are all things the president promised to fund. We must keep our eyes on the prizes and hold his feet to the fire. Even if Republicans continue to obstruct — we must make that obvious and not let them grab the national narrative for their lies and half-truths.

My other favorite lines were these:

We need to teach our kids that it’s not just the winner of the Super Bowl who deserves to be celebrated, but the winner of the science fair. We need to teach them that success is not a function of fame or PR, but of hard work and discipline.

Boy howdy, that’s true. Maybe this year, instead of inviting the Super Bowl winners to the White House, Obama can invite the science fair winners.

In fact, to every young person listening tonight who’s contemplating their career choice: If you want to make a difference in our nation, if you want to make a difference in the life of a child — become a teacher. Your country needs you.

Boy howdy, again. Notice a theme here? Education. Our lousy education system and damage already done to it by conservatives is the major cause of our decline. It has produced large quantities of people whose knowledge base is severely limited in every subject. Only the very motivated student gets past that. And that’s on purpose — believe me, the conservatives would like to stop the motivated students from advancing, but so far they’re doing a good job of getting them labeled as crackpots instead of the congresswomen who think that John Adams ended slavery.

Sure, the president said some things aimed to appease the not-so-crazy Republicans, of which I think there are probably only 2 or 3. But that’s not the point. He wasn’t speaking to you and me, the peeps who know the score and want to get on with it. He was speaking to “the public” that blogger derided.  And I for one hope that public got the message.

If not, we really are doomed.

I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now

Gosh, I’m having a tough day. I’d really like to make fun of the new Miss America, 17-year-old Teresa Scanlan of Nebraska, who plans to go to a Christian law school for home schooled students (wow, can you imagine the intense constitutional knowledge there?) and then become a judge and later a politician, but it just seems so grotesquely unfair, not too mention easy.

I don’t know what else to say about Tucson, except that I’m still laughing over the overeager right’s attack on the closed captions on the McKale Center’s jumbotron. Seems the idiots thought that when the CC said “applause” it was a cue for the people at the center to applaud, rather than a clue to deaf people in attendance what was going on. I mean, it’s not like the University of Arizona put on all its information going out about the memorial that it would have closed captions. Oh wait, the university did do that.

I’m tired of talking about Sarah Palin. Of course, I’ve been tired of talking about Sarah Palin for months. So, why do I do that, you ask? I’m glad you did. It’s because my brain dead colleagues salivate over her every illiterate and asinine remark, as if she actually has something valuable to add to the discourse. This, of course, leads far too many to believe she does, because they don’t yet understand that most of my colleagues are brain dead. And because the political overlords at my place of employment are utterly terrified the Divine Mrs. P (interesting — I was just reminded of an S&M bar that once existed in Atlanta called Mrs. P’s, I have no idea why) might refuse to speak with them ever again (although I don’t think she does now) , I lose every battle I fight about that. Here, then, is where I can tell the truth. And besides, I love a good laugh as much as the next joker.

I’m almost to the point of hoping the pessimistic predictions of the world’s demise in 2012 will be correct. It would only be merciful. But my fondest hope is that a radical change of consciousness is what’s meant by the end of the current long count of the Mayan calendar — and “end of the world as we know it” kind of scenario, rather than and end of the world period thing. But my worst nightmare about it is that nothing at all happens on December 21, 2012, and the Mayan calendar just enters the next b’ak’tun as if it meant nothing at all.

Our political system is hopeless broken, but you know that. Nobody in Washington is willing to do anything about, and my colleagues are completely blind to it. On the other hand, the country has survived other times when the political system appeared on the brink of bringing it down. Maybe it will again. Sadly, there’s no sign of that. If that were going to happen soon, the Republicans would have no longer been a political party after 2008. Instead, the worst excuse for an opposition party, once fully in control, rolled over and died, allowing the most corrupt and uncaring party — the party of wealth and robber barons — to ascend again.

Must.Get.Out.Of.This.Funk.

I am nearly always wrong in my political predictions, mostly because I’m rather pessimistic about it myself, and whenever I think it’s at its worst, this country surprises me. That, of course, makes me more pessimistic about it, because then I’m convinced that it can’t happen again.

But I’m only pessimistic about the short term. The long term, well, that’s already sewn up. Progress happens. The question is just how far down the conservatives will drag us, how low our bottom will be, before we collectively shake off the horrors of this last cycle of sickness and start to drag ourselves out of the mud. We used to be much admired. We’re not now, except in the delusions of the conserverati — you know, the ones who now say that Iraq should be paying us for “liberating” it. Right. That’s why they call them delusions.

I suppose it’s still possible for us to restore ourselves as a great country, an admired country — a trusted country. But that’s not gonna happen as long as we keep trying to bury the embarrassment that was WikiLeaks by refusing to deal with what those cables say about us. Yo, Wolf Blitzer. Brian Williams. All of you — I’m talkin’ to you. Quit pretending it’s some national scandal that the cables were leaked. The national scandal is what an arrogant playground bully we are.

President Obama is gonna deliver the State of the Union soon. He’s probably gonna go all austerity on us. And I thought he was a smart guy. IQ seems to drop dramatically inside the Beltway. Ever notice that?

And that reminds me of another idiocy I heard from the right — somebody noticed that Obama is grayer than he once was, and the right said he was dying his hair gray for some reason. I guess they never noticed Bill Clinton or GW Bush as their hair got grayer. Or maybe they thought that Ronald Reagan’s jet black dye was the real thing.

Hell, my hair gets grayer every day, more on some days than others. I figure it’s just because I’m in a constant state of feeling like I’m on a never-ending roller coaster.

Ah, but it’s really just one of those days. I’ll get past it. I always do.

This way and that

Man, Cosmo Sen. Scott Brown is really dissing his Tea Party backers, the ones who helped him beat Martha Coakley’s really shitty campaign for the “Kennedy Seat” from Massachusetts.

Not only did he vote for the repeal of the military’s odiferous policy banning gay and lesbian service members from serving openly, but now he’s gone and voted for cloture on the ratification of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.

That means that later on today, the U.S. Senate is going to ratify the agreement despite vociferous opposition from the most conservative of Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who announced a couple of months ago that the primary purpose of the GOP for the next two years is to make sure that Barack Obama is not re-elected.

Not to help the American people, or to get the country back on the right track, but to get back in power. Fucktards.

Anyway, joining Scott Brown in voting for cloture were fellow Republican Sens. George Voinovich, Lisa Murkowski, Thad Cochran, Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, Richard Lugar, Lamar Alexander, Robert Bennett, Johnny Isakson and Bob Corker.

Yes, Bob Corker. The very Bob Corker who warned just before the DADT repeal vote that START would be in trouble if DADT is repealed.

That’s gonna be a pretty big loss for McConnell and Jim DeMented, and a pretty big win for Barack Obama. It’s interesting, though. Eleven Republicans broke with the leadership — McConnell, Jon Kyl, John Cornyn and the like. That’s more than the eight who voted to repeal DADT and more than the six who voted for cloture on DADT. Eleven Republicans not only broke with the leadership, but they flipped the TeaPublicans the bird while they were at it.

This lame duck session of Congress has been awfully production — and it’s been productive because of the willingness of some Republicans to break ranks.  Could this be the end of the Party of No?

I won’t be holding my breath on that one. But y’gotta admit, it’s does a heart good to see Republicans voting “yes” on Democratic pieces of legislation.

It all started, of course, with that “tax deal.” The extremists opposed it, but the leadership really didn’t, so it passed pretty handily. The DREAM Act failed, but it was not without GOP support. DADT, history. And now, START.

So guess which Republican senator has voted in favor of all of those? No, not the ladies from Maine.

Lisa Murkowski, the Alaska senator who waged a winning run-off campaign to retain her seat after the Tea Party and Sarah Palin-backed liar Joe Miller beat her in the Republican primary.

Now, Murkowski’s warned not to read too much into these votes, that she’s not gonna be a sure vote for Obama. But I don’t think that’s the signal she wants to send anyway. Her message is for the Republicans. The National Republican Senatorial Committee gave her only tepid support during the primary, and went all out for Miller in the general. Then it asked folks to donate to help Miller challenge Murkowski in court. Nah, Murkowski’s message is this: Fuck you, GOP. I’ll vote the way I damn well please.

Maybe she and Joe Lieberman can form their own party — Senators In The Wrong Party Party.

Murkowski voted against cloture on the 9/11 responders bill, but now she says she’s “leaning toward” voting for it. That is, if Oklahoma’s Tom Coburn doesn’t go through with his threat to block it. Coburn wants to pay for the bill by slashing funding for somebody else. And by the way, he’s a doctor.

It’s a beautiful world we live in.

The morning after the morning after

So you think the election’s all over and you won’t have to hear the bullshit for another two months before the wailing begins for 2012. Nah, you don’t think that. You know that 2012 starts right now. In fact, it already started, back when Mitch McConnell said the Republicans’ primary goal for the next two years was making sure Barack Obama doesn’t get re-elected.

That’s a real “country first” attitude, ain’t it? Of course, it was never about country first. It was about making the other guy — the black guy, and us by extension, look like the enemy.

And hell, let’s get real. 2012 started on November 5, 2008, and the goal then, as it is now, was to do something about the black guy in the White House.

That and make sure their rich benefactors stayed that way. But an election for the real America? Depends on who you think that is.

House Speaker to be John Boehner cried, he was so happy to become the powerful speaker of the House (that is, if his new and nutty Tea Party colleagues don’t figure out he’s part of the DC establishment and run somebody against him. Mmm. I hear Eric “They shot at a building where I have an office where one of my consultants works” Cantor is thinking about tossing his hat in the ring.

But Boehner. He says the message to Obama is clear – “Change course.” True, but the course he needs to change to isn’t the one Boehner wants. Still, Obama will probably take Boehner’s advice. Democrats always do. Boehner, though, he said Tuesday night that “It’s clear tonight who the winners really are … the American people.” I guess that’s right if the American people are all millionaires or their toadies. Otherwise, that’s not us.

And it’s not even the folks who put the crazies into the House. Exit polls showed that Americans believe the top problem the country’s facing is the economy – 62 percent – with 19 percent saying health care. And the top economic problem – unemployment, by far.

America’s voters blame Wall Street for the economic crisis, overwhelmingly. So what do America’s voters do? They return the party that refuses to regulate Wall Street back in the House. Voters had exactly the same unfavorable rating for Dems (53 percent) as Republicans, and favored the Ds 43-41. But they sent the Rs back anyway.

The “American people” — not us, not the tea party, but people like Jamie Dimon and Meg Whitman.

And how did this happen? Senior citizens, who have bought the Republican bullshit about keeping government’s dirty hands off their Medicare, voted in droves. Young folks, feckless cynics that they are, stayed home and got stoned. Hey, that’s not a criticism. I mighta done the same thing if I were 20-something and hadn’t stopped drinking and drugging 30 years ago.

Meanwhile, my beloved colleagues won’t say a thing about any of that. They had their scenario all lined up well before even the early voters started casting their ballots.

Obama and the liberals overreached. The country wants them to return to the center right, where all is good with the world.

Except, as we know, that’s complete bullshit. Obama and the Democratic Congress, with the Republicans blocking their every move, have been pretty damned center right, if not outright right-right. That’s not good enough for the GOP, though, because that group has moved so far right that they’d probably drum Nixon out of the party, if he didn’t leave voluntarily. When they say “center right,” they mean to the right of, say, Charlie Crist, who clearly is too far left for the Florida Republicans. Hugging Barack Obama obviously triggers an automatic suspension of your “I’m a Card Carrying Conservative Bastard” card.

So flip on any cable news show this week and hear this: The voters are angry about Obama’s liberal overreach instead of taking care of the things that are really important, like jobs and health care …

And here’s the part you won’t hear: … like jobs and health care, which the Republican minority and the blue dogs watered down so far that it was barely recognizable just to protect the capitalist interests of the banks and the insurance companies (yeah, I know, and STILL they called it socialism).

And right after that, you won’t hear the discussion progressives have been having for months, if not years – how the fuck is it that the GOP can so completely hornswoggle voters like they do? Are this many Americans really that stupid? Or that glued to the latest episode of Dancing With The Stars?

No, my dear colleagues are already working on the script for 2012. Here’s a hint – they really want Sarah Palin to win. They want America’s first woman president to be somebody they can feel smug over, someone they know isn’t as smart as they are. That’s why they won’t stop paying attention to her even though she has dismal approval numbers across the country and her “endorsements” appear to be as much of a hindrance as a help.

But I’ll make my own prediction on that. It’ll be Mike Huckabee. He’s a cool dude, man. Plays bass guitar. You could have a beer with him, that is if he weren’t a Southern Baptist teetotaler. But he’s the perfect extremist white Christian fundamentalist conservative.

Our own leftist extremists will try to primary Obama, but they will be labeled racist for doing so. Many of them actually will be, but that’s not the real reason behind the move to get a more progressive candidate at the top of the ticket. Getting a more progressive candidate at the top of the ticket is the real reason. It won’t work though, and Obama will be renominated. He’ll keep Joe Biden. He’ll lose, because, golly gee whillickers, Mike Huckabee is just so swell.

And hey, maybe he’ll pick Palin as vice president too, and 10 years from now we’ll have completely forgotten what a creep she actually is, and she’ll win too.

All of that will happen because my colleagues won’t come anywhere near the truth about what happened on Tuesday. They’ll just sit around their tables and laugh at each others jokes and say stupid shit about how “cannibalism” kept not only Christine O’Donnell but also Christian Reconstructionist Sharron Angle from winning their Senate races. They won’t say it was because they are batshit insane, and, thanks to the spotlight that progressives – and in some cases even my dear colleagues – kept on them, the erstwhile voters in their states figured that out before it was too late.

The only place that didn’t really happen was in Kentucky, where apparently the voters are as crazy as the candidates and thought Rand Paul, the George W. Bush of the Paul family, should go to the Senate. Good luck with that, Kentucky. Hide your Social Security checks. He’ll be coming for them.

The Christianists are all whining that the Dems abandoned them this election, saying that led the fickle fundamentalists to go back to the Republicans who are the only ones who really care about them anyway. I say it had more to do with the abandonment of Howard Dean’s 50-state strategy, the kind of strategy the Republicans have been using for decades. The kind of strategy that got Obama elected and turned both chambers of Congress over to Democrats.

At any rate, America, caveat emptor. No returns, no refunds. The Republican-led House will keep its promises – to shut down the federal government, impeach the president, hold dozens of hearings on the first two years of the Obama administration, repeal the Affordable Health Care Act, privatize Social Security, increase defense spending, cut all social programs (eliminating many), extend tax cuts for the rich permanently, pass a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, decimate the First Amendments guarantees of freedom of speech and religion, expand the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and attack Iran. And that’s just for starters. They have a mandate to do all that, John Boehner says, just like George W. had a mandate when the Supreme Court gave him the presidency in 2000.

Oh and, when all that comes to bite Boehner and buds in the ass, they’ll blame the black guy.

And it’ll work too. As long as the Democrats keep up with their spineless response to all the lies and distortions.

But hey, at least half the blue dogs are gone now, replaced by bright red Republicans. That should make it easier for the White House to tell friends from enemies … oh right. Obama stepped in it when he inferred that some of the more wascally Wepublicans were “enemies.” Only Republicans are allowed to call their political opponents “enemies.”

Or “traitors.” That’s what we are to them. Certainly not real Americans. Never real Americans.