Tuesday Open Thread | Midnight Soul

midnight soul1How Can I Ease the Pain” is a song by American singer Lisa Fischer, from her album So Intense. It was produced by Narada Michael Walden and Louis Biancaniello. The hit song spent two weeks at number-one on the U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.[1]

In 1992 the single won a Soul Train Music Award for Best R&B/Soul Single, Female and it also won a 1992 Grammy Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. The song also peaked at number eleven on the pop charts. One of the most popular R&B songs in 1991/1992, this simple but melodic tune boasts Lisa Fischer in a powerful vocal performance, reaching the whistle register in the last minutes of the song. Respectively on both charts, this was Fischer’s biggest and well-known hit.

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A Native Texan who adores baby kittens, loves horses, rodeos, pomegranates, & collect Eagles. Enjoys politics, games shows, & dancing to all types of music. Loves discussing and learning about different cultures. A Phi Theta Kappa lifetime member with a passion for Social & Civil Justice.
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67 Responses to Tuesday Open Thread | Midnight Soul

  1. rikyrah says:

    Log Cabin Republicans Catch Romnesia, and Some Thoughts on the Hagel Nomination

    Tuesday, January 08, 2013 | Posted by Deaniac83 at 2:06 PM

    Yesterday, President Obama nominated former Republican Senator from Nebraska and a Vietnam veteran, Chuck Hagel for the post of Secretary of Defense. The nomination sent the right wing into a frenzy, with the useful idiots at the Log Cabin Republicans catching Romnesia.

    Log Cabin Republicans, a gay group, is running expensive full-page ads in the Washington Post and New York Times opposing Obama’s nomination former Nebraska GOP Sen. Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense to replace Californian Leon Panetta.

    Log Cabin cites a 1998 Hagel statement opposing Clinton-nominated Luxembourg ambassador James Hormel as “openly, aggressively, gay,” Hagel’s vote for the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, his support for Nebraska’s constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, his 1999 opposition to repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and his opposition to a judicial ruling in 2005 that the Nebraska marriage ban was unconstitutional.
    Oh. I see. So what did the Log Cabins think of a politician making these statements?

    NOW: “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell has worked well. We’re in the middle of a conflict…I don’t have a policy posture as to allowing gays in the military to serve there openly.” – 2007.

    [Signing anti-gay pledge] I will:

    One, support sending a federal Constitutional Amendment defining marraige as the union of one man and one woman to the states for ratification.

    … reject the idea that our Founding fathers inserted a right to gay marriage into our Constitueion.

    … defend the federal Defense of Marriage Act vigorously in court. – 2012

    “I don’t see the need for new or special legislation…ENDA would be an overly broad law that would open a litigation floodgate & unfairly penalize employers…” – 2006
    What would the Log Cabins think of such a politician? Why, they endorsed him for president, of course! Mitt Romney may be gone, but Romnesia lives on.

    It’s true that on gay rights, Chuck Hagel has not been on the right side of history for the majority of his career. But that hardly distinguishes him from Washington politicians of the last two decades – including President Clinton, who gave us DADT in the first place, and signed the Defense of Marriage Act into law, in what some say is a betrayal while others term it necessary to stop a Constitutional amendment to ban same sex marriages back then.

    Be that as it may, as a gay American, I would be – and anyone commenting on this would be – remiss not to acknowledge the sea-change in American thinking on the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Just eight years ago, a vulnerable, unpopular conservative president got re-elected largely on the basis of his support for a Constitutional amendment to ban marriage equality, and his party’s successful efforts to enter such discrimination into one state Constitution after another. Today, we have a president who has completed his own journey to end up on the side of marriage equality, and got re-elected while multiple states, by ballot, confirmed the right of equal marriage.

    http://www.thepeoplesview.net/2013/01/log-cabin-republicans-catch-romnesia.html

  2. Ametia says:

    Now 75, Jane Fonda looks back — and ahead

    By Laura Hambleton, Published: January 7

    Jane Fonda has been in the public eye for more than 50 years, as an Oscar-winning actress for the films “Klute” and “Coming Home,” an activist against the war in Vietnam and an exercise guru who has made more than 20 workout videos (now DVDs). Her first video came out in 1982 and helped start the aerobics craze.

    Now 75, Fonda is in the middle of what she calls her third act of life. She has a boyfriend, music producer Richard Perry. She’s still friendly with ex-husband Ted Turner. She had children with ex-husbands Tom Hayden and the late Roger Vadim. A few years ago, she said in a recent telephone interview with The Post, she realized she was happier than she has ever been. “It took me by surprise because I come from a long line of depressives,” she said. “I wasn’t very happy as a younger person, yet I found myself happy.”

    Fonda is working as much as ever, too. She plays Nancy Reagan in an upcoming film about President Ronald Reagan’s butler, and she appears in the television series “The Newsroom.” Her newest book, “Prime Time,” a mix of advice on health, fitness, friendship, sex and other topics, recently came out in paperback. And Fonda just released a new yoga DVD. She says she hopes to write a few more books, one on adolescence.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/now-75-jane-fonda-looks-back–and-ahead/2013/01/07/917f56f8-43d2-11e2-8e70-e1993528222d_print.html

  3. Ametia says:

    Gabrielle Giffords, husband Mark Kelly launch anti-gun violence group
    By Philip Rucker,

    Former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, launched a campaign Tuesday that they said would push for stricter gun laws and counter the political influence of the National Rifle Association.

    On the second anniversary of the attempted assassination of Giffords in a mass shooting in Tucson, the recovering Arizona Democrat is adding her political cache to the emotionally fraught debate over the nation’s gun violence.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/gabrielle-giffords-and-husband-launch-anti-gun-violence-group/2013/01/08/a6f3ffb4-599b-11e2-9fa9-5fbdc9530eb9_story.html?wpisrc=nl_pmpolitics

  4. rikyrah says:

    The Hollywood America Deserves
    By Ta-Nehisi Coates
    Jan 4 2013, 10:54 AM ET

    One of the rather frequent responses I get when posting the stories of people like Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, or Robert Smalls is that their story deserves to be a movie. A biopic is seen by a lot of us as the ultimate testimonial to a person’s life. Moreover, movies have the unique power to reach and influence millions of people. Finally, movies offer the possibility of all the imagery and input we hold when thinking of, say, Harriet Tubman to be made manifest before the world. I think this impulse is basically correct. It is especially correct given that Hollywood doesn’t just ignore slavery and the Civil War but turns out revisionist dreck like Gods and Generals.

    At the same time I think it’s important to not talk as though it were an entity separate from the politics, economics, and history of America. The person who would bankroll a Harriet Tubman biopic would likely be someone who was particularly touched by her story. Such a person would not have to be black, but I don’t know how you separate the paucity of black people with the power to green-light from the paucity of good films concerning black people in American history.

    Moreover, movie-making is risky and expensive. Any discussion of the lack of a Harriet Tubman biopic should begin with the shameful fact that median white wealth in this country stands at $110,000 and median black wealth stands at around $5,000. It would be nice to think that this gap reflected choices cultural and otherwise, instead of the fact that for most this country’s history its governing policy was to produce failure in black communities, and most of its citizens supported such policies. It would be nice if Hollywood were more moral and forward-thinking than its consumer base. But I would not wait around for such a day.

    What I would do is interrogate the basic premise that holds that black lives (or any heroic life) is not truly legend unless a financier decides it should be. Movies are an art form—one that I very much enjoy—but they are one of many. Those of us who are unhappy with Hollywood’s presentation of black life should not restrict themselves to Hollywood. What was the last play we saw by a black writer? What was the last book by a black writer we read? What did we give for Christmas, Kwanzaa or Hanukkah? When was the last time we went to see an exhibit by a black artist?

    Finally, this is a particular moment in Hollywood—one wherein glorious righteous violence and what Alyssa Rosenberg calls “transgressive badassery” reigns supreme. I do wish Hollywood would do other kinds of movies. But a constant view of slavery through lens of badassery somehow feels like more of the same.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2013/01/the-hollywood-america-deserves/266835/

  5. rikyrah says:

    The Long Game, Revisited

    More and more, the second term is coming into focus. The nominations of Kerry, Hagel and Brennan in the national security tent confirms that Obama intends to make his mark more emphatically in his second term than his first (which primarily meant cleaning up the mess from Bush-Cheney). All three are skeptical of too easy a resort to military force; Kerry is a veteran diplomat and decorated veteran; Hagel has two Purple Hearts and is ideally positioned to defend cuts in Pentagon spending. Brennan has the confidence of the CIA, even as he appears to be intent on bringing its often unaccountable actions more firmly into the nexus of law, and checks and balances. Of course, they should all be grilled by the Senate – on Iran, Greater Israel, torture, secrecy and Asia. But they seem like sterling and solid picks to me.

    But it’s Hagel’s potential for cutting the Pentagon – and the credibility he has a Nebraska Republican vet – that really hits home. When you look at the slo-mo fiscal pile-up, you can see Obama’s logic. He has essentially dispensed with Item Number One: raising taxes on the very rich. Next up comes the fight to cut spending or increase revenues by roughly the sequester amount. On the table for cuts, we have Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and the Pentagon, now spending almost twice what it did ten years ago. I defer to David’s core judgment:

    http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2013/01/the-long-game.html

  6. rikyrah says:

    Senator Elizabeth Warren gears up
    Posted by Greg Sargent on January 8, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    As you may have heard, AIG is in the process of deciding whether to join a $25 billion shareholder lawsuit against the federal government, despite the government’s role in bailing out the company, to the tune of $182 billion. The New York Times explains that the lawsuit charges that the government rescue “deprived shareholders of tens of billions of dollars and violated the Fifth Amendment,” which prohibits the taking of private property for “public use, without just compensation.”

    This comes even as AIG is running ads thanking the American people for that initial bailout. As the Times account archly notes, joining the lawsuit “would almost certainly be widely seen as an audacious display of ingratitude. The action would also threaten to inflame tensions in Washington, where the company has become a byword for excessive risk-taking on Wall Street.”

    In response to the news, Senator Elizabeth Warren released a sharply worded statement that’s worth quoting in full:

    “Beginning in 2008, the federal government poured billions of dollars into AIG to save it from bankruptcy. AIG’s reckless bets nearly crashed our entire economy. Taxpayers across this country saved AIG from ruin, and it would be outrageous for this company to turn around and sue the federal government because they think the deal wasn’t generous enough. Even today, the government provides an ongoing, stealth bailout, propping up AIG with special tax breaks — tax breaks that Congress should stop. AIG should thank American taxpayers for their help, not bite the hand that fed them for helping them out in a crisis.

    This is very interesting, and here’s why. Warren didn’t merely castigate the company for ingratitude. She put it in a crucial larger context, specifically noting that Wall Street recklessness was what caused the country’s economic meltdown in the first place. She also used this as an occasion to indict the continued tax breaks that the company continues to enjoy — calling them a “stealth bailout

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2013/01/08/elizabeth-warren-gears-up/

  7. rikyrah says:

    Why Hagel is a smart pick for the Pentagon
    Posted by Jamelle Bouie on January 8, 2013 at 11:17 am

    This morning the Post makes an excellent point about Chuck Hagel’s role in the Obama administration. If confirmed by the Senate, his job will be to shepherd the Pentagon through the “nearly $500 billion in reductions to the defense budget over the next decade,” and likely more, given the current appetite for deficit reduction.

    First, a little context. Over the last decade, the United States defense budget has ballooned to accommodate the war on terror, as well as our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Since the September 11th attacks, Defense Department spending has risen from just under $300 billion in 2001, to $527.5 billion for the current fiscal year. If you include the wars, Pentagon spending rises to $616.5 billion, or nearly 4 percent of GDP. By contrast, at the peak of Cold War spending during the Reagan administration, the Pentagon’s budget topped out at 6 percent of GDP.

    But with the wars winding down, and Washington’s current focus on debt reduction, there have been moves to reduce defense spending from its current highs. The 2011 Budget Control Act, for example, will rein in Pentagon spending on military bases at home and abroad, and the sequester — passed as part of the “fiscal cliff” — contains $1 trillion in defense cuts over the next decade. Even if the sequester is averted, odds are good that lawmakers will find further cuts to make to the Pentagon. And indeed, Hagel’s background — in 2011, he told the Financial Times that the Defense Department was “bloated” — makes him a good choice for implementing this course of action.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2013/01/08/why-hagel-is-a-smart-pick-for-the-pentagon/

  8. rikyrah says:

    The Morning Plum: Job one for the White House — isolate the NRA
    Posted by Greg Sargent on January 8, 2013 at 9:26 am

    Word has it that the White House, Democrats, and gun control advocates are planning to try to “overwhelm” the National Rifle Association when the battle over guns heats up this month. Along these lines, perhaps the most important news of the morning is that Gabrielle Giffords is unveiling a new national effort to push for sensible gun reforms in the wake of the Newtown shooting, with the explicit purpose of counterbalancing the NRA’s influence over Congress:

    Americans for Responsible Solutions, which we are launching today, will invite people from around the country to join a national conversation about gun violence prevention, will raise the funds necessary to balance the influence of the gun lobby, and will line up squarely behind leaders who will stand up for what’s right.

    If the coming gun control push is going to have success, one thing the White House and Giffords’ new effort will have to accomplish is to successfully reveal that the NRA does not speak for anyone but the gun industry and a small minority of Americans. The NRA has high positive ratings in some polls, which suggests gun control advocates have their work cut out for them. But the simple fact is that when it comes to specific gun law reforms, the NRA is far outside the American mainstream. By wide margins, majorities favor the reforms being discussed: A recent CNN poll found that 94 percent of Americans support background checks for gun purchasers, while 61 percent support a ban on semi automatic assault guns and high capacity magazine clips.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2013/01/08/the-morning-plum-job-one-for-the-white-house-isolate-the-nra/

  9. rikyrah says:

    The Balls on the Banksters

    By John Cole January 8th, 2013

    Fresh from paying back a $182 billion bailout, the American International Group Inc. has been running a nationwide advertising campaign with the tagline “Thank you America.”

    Behind the scenes, the restored insurance company is weighing whether to tell the government agencies that rescued it during the financial crisis: thanks, but you cheated our shareholders.

    The board of A.I.G. will meet on Wednesday to consider joining a $25 billion shareholder lawsuit against the government, court records show. The lawsuit does not argue that government help was not needed. It contends that the onerous nature of the rescue — the taking of what became a 92 percent stake in the company, the deal’s high interest rates and the funneling of billions to the insurer’s Wall Street clients — deprived shareholders of tens of billions of dollars and violated the Fifth Amendment, which prohibits the taking of private property for “public use, without just compensation.”

    http://www.balloon-juice.com/2013/01/08/the-balls-on-the-banksters/

  10. rikyrah says:

    Republican wants a little more voting in Florida

    By Laura Conaway
    Tue Jan 8, 2013 1:00 PM EST

    Ahead of last year’s election, Florida Governor Rick Scott cut the days for early voting almost in half, and the state ended up with people waiting eight hours to cast a ballot. Now a Republican state legislature has proposed adding back the Sunday before the election. From the Tampa Bay Times:

    Senator Miguel] de la Portilla’s bill adds one day of early voting and adds two hours of early voting per day at each site to 14 for a general election. The bill requires each of the 67 supervisors of elections to inform the state of their preparations three months before a general election. The report is required to include staffing levels for early voting, Election Day, and after Election Day, as well as a rundown of the equipment used to tabulate votes at each site

    That bill so far is Republicans’ one legislative response to Florida’s election debacle. Florida Democrats, meanwhile, have submitted bills to restore all the lost early voting days, add hours overall, and permit counties to open polling places for early voting in more places. The long lines on Election Day in Florida appear to have caused about 49,000 people to give up, an estimated 30,000 of them Democrats.

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_news/2013/01/08/16414986-republican-wants-a-little-more-voting-in-florida?lite

  11. rikyrah says:

    What happens if the GOP shoots the hostage

    By Steve Benen
    Tue Jan 8, 2013 1:45 PM EST.

    Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R) of Georgia raised an interesting point this morning about the Republican debt-ceiling hostage crisis.

    To translate this a bit, Chambliss is embracing the hostage strategy with both arms. From 1939 to 2010, the debt ceiling was raised without preconditions by both parties 89 times, but in 2013, Chambliss and his cohorts are demanding a ransom: painful-but-unspecified cuts to Social Security and Medicare.

    And if the president refuses to meet the Republicans’ demands, and GOP policymakers follow through on their threats, Chambliss thinks it’s Obama who’ll “suffer the consequences.”

    Except, whether he understands the issue or not, Chambliss is mistaken. If Republicans refuse to allow the nation to pay for the money it’s already spent, and in the process push the nation into default by trashing the full faith and credit of the United States, it’s not the president who’ll “suffer the consequences”; it’s the rest of us.

    Obama will be fine. Chances are, Saxby Chambliss will get by, too. But if Republicans refuse to do their duty, conditions for the national and global economy will get “very bad, very fast,” including “financial-market chaos.”

    ——————————————————————————–

    “Think about what we’re talking about here,” Steve Bell, director of economic policy at the BPC, told Ezra Klein yesterday. “We’re talking about the reserve currency of the world. We’re talking about the deepest and most liquid markets in the world. And we’re sitting here wondering if we’ll cover our obligations?”

    The consequences would be brutal and long-lasting. America’s reputation, global standing, and stability would very likely never — ever — be the same.

    So, Sen. Chambliss should probably take five minutes to understand that the fire he’s playing with is catastrophically dangerous. Because at this point, the Republican senator isn’t just threatening to hurt America on purpose, he’s under the misguided impression that Obama’s the one who’ll suffer.

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_news/2013/01/08/16415628-what-happens-if-the-gop-shoots-the-hostage?lite

  12. rikyrah says:

    Actually Steubenville, You Can Test for Roofies for Up to a Month

    By: Sarah JonesJan. 7th, 2013

    Steubenville Police told the New York Times that too much time had elapsed since the alleged assault to test for drugs, “The police said the case was challenging partly because too much time had passed since the suspected rape. By then, the girl had taken at least one shower and might have washed away evidence, said McCafferty, the police chief. He added that it also was too late for toxicology tests to determine if she had been drugged.”

    It’s true that prosecutors would rather have hard physical evidence like a rape kit done immediately after the assault (though we should pause to wonder why 400,000 rape kits are gathering dust in this country – never tested). And it’s also true that prosecutors prefer to have physical evidence like blood tests that prove positive for the date rape drug.

    However, since rape is one of the most under-reported crimes and in the Steubenville case, the victim did not know she had been raped until her family discovered the pictures and tweets about their daughter, it might behoove prosecutors and police to get a little creative — that is, if they really want to make these charges stick.

    Yes, Police might not have great DNA evidence, but they have witnesses who took pictures of these men sticking parts of their body into this unconscious girl. They have a tape where a member of the rape crew refers to her over and over again as the “dead girl”. Why is he calling her “dead girl”? Anyone? Could it be because her body responded like a dead person’s, or a person who had been deeply sedated, using a drug that originated as anethesia?

    http://www.politicususa.com/tips-woman-steubenville-police-dept.html

  13. rikyrah says:

    The White House Just Set Gun Rights Activists Ablaze
    Evan McMorris-Santoro-January 8, 2013, 6:15 AM

    Over the weekend, the Washington Post reported the gun violence task force led by Vice President Biden is considering gun legislation “far broader and more comprehensive…than simply reinstating an expired ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition.”

    News that the White House is considering significant gun control legislation in the wake of the Newtown, Conn. elementary school shooting is music to the ears of gun control advocates, who have waited decades for a serious conversation about guns. But it’s also being welcomed by gun rights groups, who say leaks from the Biden task force are just the thing to push their flock back into the fight.

    “[The article] was a Molotov cocktail right into the middle of this thing,” Dave Workman, a former board member at the National Rifle Association, told TPM Monday. “That lit the fuse, it really did.”

    Biden has “galvanized the gun community,” Workman said. Though no longer on the NRA board, Workman still spends most of his time advocating for expanded gun rights. He’s an official with the Second Amendment Foundation, communications director for Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, and a prolific writer on the gun rights. Both groups Workman serves on are sponsors of Gun Appreciation Day, a nationwide effort to highlight gun ownership scheduled for the weekend of President Obama’s second inauguration.

    According to the WaPo, the Biden group is considering far-reaching gun control efforts, the mere hint of which has sent a shockwave through the gun rights community. Biden’s task force is mulling “a variety of proposals — from requiring background checks for all gun buyers to creating a new database that would allow the ATF to track all gun sales,” the newspaper reported. (The White House noted to the newspaper that the task force “has made no decisions on its final recommendations.”)

    http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2013/01/white-house-gun-rights-activists.php

  14. rikyrah says:

    Steubenville Rape Crew Are Outraged That Their Character is Being Questioned

    By: Sarah Jones
    Jan. 7th, 2013

    Rape apologists, the rape crew, lawyers for the rape crew and morons (excuse the redundancy) are very upset about their rights being taken away and their character being impugned. That’s the message they’re getting from the outrage over the Steubenville rape case.

    Yes, they’re full of self-pity and how-dare-you question us entitlement. This trickles down into the culture to reflect this sort of obvious fu*kwitedness: On a post meant to encourage Jane Doe:

    “I was at work last year when a coworker was watching the news and said, ‘What’s rape anymore? You can’t stick your finger in someone without it being rape.’”

    That sentiment echoes the current screeching from the rape apologists. It’s all the FemiNazi’s fault, I’ve been warned. Men can’t even ask a girl out anymore, they lament (‘cuz there’s no difference in these cretin’s minds between asking someone out and sticking something in her when she’s passed out). Much moaning from the rape apologists about their rights and the cruelty of social media!

    Yes, you poor things. It’s true. The mean old FemiNazis are taking all your rights away. What next? Will we insist that we get to stick an object up your an*s, after drugging you? I mean, it’s all just fun. Gosh, a girl can’t even say hello, slip a boy a roofie and stick an object anywhere we please without a some guy freaking out about his rights. If you guys are going to insist on having rights, you can forget getting any attention from us! (Note: Always a good way to sort the good ones from the bad ones.)

    http://www.politicususa.com/rape-apologists-upset-stick-fingers.html

  15. rikyrah says:

    The Criminal Mindset Behind the Republican Threats to Shutdown Government

    By: RmuseJan. 8th, 2013

    It would be safe to say that any foreign entity actively subverting the United States government would be considered an enemy of the state by most Americans, and if it was a domestic entity, labeling them as traitors, or domestic terrorists, would certainly be apropos. During the 2012 campaign, Republicans actively campaigned on an anti-government agenda, and despite voter rejection of domestic miscreant’s intent on eradicating government, Republicans are now pursuing various strategies to subvert the will of the people and eliminate the government’s ability to function. As usual, in lieu of a constitutional provision to bring functioning government to a premeditated and premature end, Republicans are resorting to their typical tactic to convince the American people the government must cease to operate by lying to achieve their goal.

    Less than two months ago the American electorate sent a clear message to Republicans that their anti-government, John Birch agenda was unacceptable and it was a defining moment for this nation. After four years of obstruction, a first ever credit default, and perpetual attempts to sabotage the nation’s economy for the second time in 8 years, the people demanded government that worked for the entire population and preserved programs like Social Security and Medicare. What Americans are witnessing right now is the Republican’s 75 year campaign to destroy the New Deal, and since Republicans did not achieve victory at the ballot box, they will take down the government to achieve their goal.

    The calls for a government shutdown and credit default by an increasing number of Republicans unless Social Security and Medicare are incrementally abolished is the latest ploy of John Birch ideologues disguised as fiscally conservative Republicans who cannot accept the results of the recent election. The proposition of closing the government is not exclusive to the extremist wing of the Republican Party as evidenced by mainstream conservatives such as Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) who penned an op/ed claiming “The biggest fiscal problem in Washington is spending and the national debt, and if we don’t reduce excessive spending on Medicare and Social Security – then, we will strangle economic growth, destroy jobs and reduce our standard of living. It may be necessary to shut down the government to secure the long-term fiscal well-being of our country.” The lack of veracity in Cornyn’s assertion typifies GOP rhetoric as well as their inability to accept they lost the election, but disregarding election results is gaining favor among Republicans desperate to impose their vision and end two very popular employee-funded programs.

    http://www.politicususa.com/gop-criminal-mindset-shutdown.html

  16. rikyrah says:

    The Media Gives the Republican Party a Free Pass to Obstruct

    By: Becky Sarwate
    Jan. 8th, 2013

    For all the complaints on the right side of the political spectrum, decrying a “liberal media bias” in favor of President Obama, I sometimes wonder if I am alone in drawing the opposite conclusion. That is to say when it comes to reporting on the increasingly partisan deadlock that has virtually consumed Washington, as well as the nation’s inability to accomplish anything beyond an endless train of disappointing stopgap measures, I wonder if the bulk of the country’s media outlets, concerned with mass appeal and the appearance of a balanced approach, have grown too afraid of identifying the Emperor without his clothes.

    Case in point, this headline today on Yahoo! News via Reuters: Analysis: Obama shows combativeness entering second term but risks await. The writer, Matt Spetalnick is correct in his observation that before the official commencement of his second elected term, we have seen a President more self-assured and emboldened by poll numbers that consistently reflect an electorate exhausted by Congress’ failure to come together on long-term solutions to real problems, including but not limited to: our national debt, the effect of current entitlement spending on future generations, the systematic annihilation of the middle and working classes, the growing income disparities and education costs that are denying millions of Americans a fair shot at pursuing the American Dream.

    However comments like this leave this reader curious as to whether the meaning of “analysis” has been lost on some of those who write about the political machine for a living: “Some critics say Obama now runs the risk of overreaching when he should instead be building Republican bridges to resolve the next looming budget confrontation.”

    I do not have to ask Mr. Spetalnick for a list of his sources to hazard a guess as to who some of those “critics” might be: John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, an assortment of Tea Party crackpots or anyone working for these folks, immediately come to mind. As a long-time journalist, I completely understand the need to represent both sides of the story, but I was also under the impression that one of the driving tenets of journalism is to educate the public, to bring issues to light that might otherwise go unresearched by a general population preoccupied with the business of daily life.

    http://www.politicususa.com/media-republican-party-free-pass-obstruct.html

    • Ametia says:

      Spot on; It’s all in the framing of the media’s message. I’d sweart that Frank Luntz writes their script. These hacks have no intentions of EDUCATING the public.

  17. rikyrah says:

    Palazzo’s Opposition To Sandy Relief Blasted By Hometown Newspaper
    Tom Kludt – 1:02 PM EST, Tuesday January 8, 2013

    Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-MS) is catching heat nationally and at home for his “no” vote on a bill to provide $.97 billion in relief to people whose homes were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Sandy.

    An editorial published Monday by The Sun Herald of Biloxi, Miss., Palazzo’s hometown, argued that the second-term congressman’s opposition to the bill that overwhelmingly passed the House of Representatives last week “misrepresents his district.”

    “Seldom has a single vote in Congress appeared as cold-blooded and hard-headed as one cast by Rep. Steven Palazzo, R-Miss., last week,” the editorial read.

    Palazzo was one of only 67 members, all Republicans, to vote against the measure despite publicly appealing for federal dollars in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 — a point for which he was castigated in the editorial. A spokeswoman for Palazzo provided TPM with a statement following his vote last week in which she said the Gulf Coast lawmaker hopes the debate over Sandy relief will spark a “much-needed national discussion” on disaster relief reform. Palazzo will tour areas devastated by Sandy today.

    More from the editorial:

    No member of Congress should have been more supportive of this measure than Palazzo. As the congressional representative of Hurricane Katrina’s “ground zero,” Palazzo should have had nothing but sympathy and empathy for those in need of this legislation.

    Certainly seven years ago he would have. As the chief financial officer for the Biloxi Public Housing Authority when Hurricane Katrina hit, Palazzo called for immediate federal relief. “Send us money,” he said in 2005, “so we can put our families back together and do our part to rebuild our community.”

    But instead of voting to honor the nation’s obligation to flood insurance policy holders in 2013, Palazzo joined 66 of his Republican colleagues in the House to vote against the bill.

    The urgency he had understood so well after Katrina was gone, replaced by a call for spending reductions to offset the cost and a call for a dialogue on spending and debt.

    Such a dialogue is needed. But the time and place for it is not when Americans are suffering from a natural disaster and in need of assistance only the federal government can provide.

    http://livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/entry/palazzos-opposition-to-sandy-relief-blasted-by-hometown

  18. Ametia says:

    Monday, January 07, 2013
    MSNBC OR BET?
    FIELD NEGRO

    It looks like MSNBC is the new BET. You Negroes are starting to watch MSNBC in droves. (Tamron Hall is on MSNBC, so the field watches as well.) The good news is, of course, that it’s a cable news channel, so maybe you Negroes will stay on top of current events.

    And then there is FOX News; you Negroes sure hate FOX News.

    “In that same time period, CNN grew its black audience by 23.7%(from 131,000 in 2011 to 162,000 in 2012, 23.9% of their total audience) , while Fox News’ declined by 23.7% (38,000 in 2011 to 29,000 in 2012, 1.4% of their total audience), but MSNBC had more black viewers than both of those nets combined (from 177,000 in 2011 to 284,000 in 2012, 31.4% of their total audience). What’s more impressive is that MSNBC attained 60% growth after being number one in that demographic last year, and the year before.”

    http://field-negro.blogspot.com/2013/01/msnbc-or-bet.html

  19. Ametia says:

    JANUARY 07, 2013
    Ten Truths All Progressives Should Understand For 2014 And Beyond

    Albert Einstein once defined “insanity” as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

    He also said, “Man should look for what is, and not for what he thinks should be.”

    Einstein was a really smart guy, and not just about math and physics.

    Progressives have been on the outside of the poltical system looking in for 32 years now. At what point does the most vocal segment of our ideology actually reassess their overall strategy and change it, based on the obvious fact that it’s not working?

    It’s simple, really. We live in a democracy, and we don’t make up a majority on our own. But the only people who get to make policy are those who get elected and hold a majority. So, what do you think we need to do be successful in this democracy?

    Read on: http://pleasecutthecrap.typepad.com/main/

  20. NRA, Joe Biden To Meet As Vice President’s Task Force On Guns Intensifies Efforts

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/08/nra-joe-biden_n_2433090.html#comments

    WASHINGTON — Vice President Joseph Biden will be sending his recommendations for gun policy reform to the president in a matter of weeks, according to administration officials.

    The recommendations are still being crafted. As part of the process, Biden will be speaking with key lawmakers, officials and stakeholders in the debate, including the National Rifle Association, an NRA official confirmed.

    All told, the plan is for the president to introduce a “concrete package of proposals” by the end of January, an administration official told The Huffington Post. President Barack Obama will call for action on his proposal “without delay” shortly after he announces it.

  21. President Obama in the rain

    @LesaPamplin calls it…”Swagging in the rain”.

    _____________

    Bow Chicka Bow Wow!

  22. rikyrah says:

    these are the people that met THE NIGHT OF HIS INAUGURATION to formulate a plan as to how they would make him and one-term PRESIDENT and part of that was deciding to commit ECONOMIC TREASON against this country.

    seriously?

    the President is supposed to waste his time on this back of sociopaths?

    SERIOUSLY?

    I love that the President and the First Lady don’t socialize with these clowns.

    their job is their job and personal is personal.

    and, there’s not one damn thing that ANYONE could point to that would have been agreed to by the GOP if the President had wasted his time on them during the past 4 years.

    not one damn thing.
    ………………………………………………………

    Schmoozing has its limits
    By Steve Benen
    Tue Jan 8, 2013 8:45 AM EST

    Ron Fournier has some advice for President Obama: to have a “great presidency,” he’s going to have to get better at “schmoozing.”

    For Obama, learning how to schmooze could mean the difference between a good and great presidency. Franklin Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton (to name just a few) were masters at building relationships that furthered their political aims. They dined and drank with lawmakers, and they ventured to Capitol Hill out of respect. Johnson was an aggressive phone-caller. Roosevelt mixed cocktails for guests. Clinton flattered House Speaker Newt Gingrich. [...]

    At the start of his second term, one wonders less about Obama’s fitness than his willingness: Why doesn’t he do more to build and maintain the relationships required to govern in era of polarization?

    If this advice sounds familiar, it’s because Fournier is on well-tread ground — Jon Meacham, David Brooks, and Bob Woodward have all urged Obama to celebrate the efficacy of schmoozing. Even New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) has advised, “The president’s got to start inviting people over for dinner. He’s got to play golf with them. He has to pick up the phone and call and say, ‘I know we disagree on this, but I just want to say — I heard it was your wife’s birthday or your kid just got into college.’ He has to go build friendships.”

    What I find troubling about this advice isn’t the repetition, but rather, the partisan realities that make the suggestion useless.

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_news/2013/01/08/16412258-schmoozing-has-its-limits?lite

  23. rikyrah says:

    Did anyone else watch the premiere of Downton Abbey?

    • Ametia says:

      YES! Season 3′s gonna be a real charm. Love Shirley McLaine’s character Martha Levinson, as Cora’s mom. She’s going to bring a real fire to Downton Abbey.

  24. rikyrah says:

    Lindsey Graham isn’t done with Benghazi
    By Steve Benen
    Tue Jan 8, 2013 11:30 AM EST.

    The political controversy surrounding the terrorist attack on Americans in Benghazi has obviously run its course. There was an independent investigation; several top State Department officials lost their jobs; and all of the questions have been answered. There was a tragic and deadly incident, but Republican accusations about a “cover-up” were unfounded.

    And yet, some people are having trouble moving on.

    Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Tuesday released a statement on President Barack Obama’s nomination of John Brennan to serve as the next director of the Central Intelligence Agency, arguing that the administration’s counterterrorism adviser should not be confirmed “until our questions are answered” on the September attack in Benghazi, Libya that killed four Americans.

    “I have not forgotten about the Benghazi debacle and still have many questions about what transpired before, during and after the attack on our consulate,” Graham said in a statement. “In that regard, I do not believe we should confirm anyone as Director of the CIA until our questions are answered — like who changed Ambassador Susan Rice’s talking points and deleted the references to Al-Qaeda?”

    Good lord, the “changed talking points” argument again? Does Graham not realize this was resolved over a month ago?

    ——————————————————————————–

    The Republican senator added, “This ever-changing story should be resolved.”

    And therein lies the point: it has been resolved and the story isn’t changing. Graham can keep pounding on the table, and he can even delay a Senate confirmation vote on the next CIA director, but unless the senator can come up with new questions about Benghazi that haven’t already been answered, his tantrums are hard to take seriously.

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_news/2013/01/08/16414347-lindsey-graham-isnt-done-with-benghazi?lite

  25. rikyrah says:

    GOP opposes its own goals on Medicare
    By Steve Benen
    Tue Jan 8, 2013 9:40 AM EST.

    Imagine a strange conversation in which a Republican leader tells a Democratic leader, “I demand that you do something to rein in Medicare spending.” The Democrat responds, “Sure, we’ll create an Independent Payment Advisory Board which will help reduce costs.” To which the GOP leader responds, “I’m outraged by our efforts to rein in Medicare spending.”

    Now imagine the strange conversation is true.

    House Republicans signaled Thursday they will not follow rules in President Obama’s healthcare law that were designed to speed Medicare cuts through Congress.

    The House is set to vote Thursday afternoon on rules for the 113th Congress. The rules package says the House won’t comply with fast-track procedures for the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) — a controversial cost-cutting board Republicans have long resisted.

    The rules package signals that Republicans might not bring up Medicare cuts recommended by the IPAB — blocking part of a politically controversial law, and resisting Medicare spending cuts.

    So, Republicans desperately want Democrats to accept policies that curtail Medicare costs, except when Democrats actually take steps to curtail Medicare costs? Yep, that’s pretty much what’s happening on Capitol Hill.

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_news/2013/01/08/16412994-gop-opposes-its-own-goals-on-medicare?lite

  26. rikyrah says:

    photo/1

  27. rikyrah says:

    photo/1

  28. rikyrah says:

    Walden pushes remedy to platinum-coin loophole

    Tue Jan 8, 2013 10:54 AM EST.

    We talked last week about efforts to resolve the latest debt-ceiling crisis with a fanciful gimmick: the White House can exploit an obscure law, order the Treasury to mint some $1 trillion platinum coins, and deposit them at the Federal Reserve. Voila, a silly solution to a silly problem with not-at-all silly consequences.

    As the platinum-coin loophole continues to generate chatter on the left — Paul Krugman lent it some credence yesterday — a Republican congressman is concerned enough about this that he’s seeking a legislative remedy to close the loophole (via Matthew O’Brien).

    …………………………..

    Of course, Walden’s proposal comes with an unintended subtext. As Joe Weisenthal explained, “[T]he key thing here is that the idea is now legitimized, as a GOP congressman implicitly acknowledges that the coin is currently legal.”

    In other words, if there was no loophole, there’d be no reason to close it.

    That said, I’m still skeptical about making the transition from “fun little polisci thought experiment” to “something the administration needs to seriously consider in the next few weeks.”

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_news/2013/01/08/16413908-walden-pushes-remedy-to-platinum-coin-loophole?lite

  29. rikyrah says:

    Boehner: debt limit ‘not the ultimate leverage’
    By Steve Benen
    Tue Jan 8, 2013 8:00 AM EST.

    In order for a hostage standoff to work, everyone has to sincerely believe the hostage takers are prepared to follow through on their threats. In the case of the Republicans’ latest debt-ceiling crisis, that means President Obama and congressional Democrats have to be convinced that GOP policymakers will hurt Americans on purpose unless Dem meet Republicans’ demands.

    But if you listen closely, you might notice that the GOP’s resolve is a little shaky. House Speaker John Boehner talked to the Wall Street Journal’s Stephen Moore the other day.

    I ask Mr. Boehner if he will take the debt-ceiling talks to the brink — risking a government shutdown and debt downgrade from the credit agencies — given that it didn’t work in 2011 and President Obama has said he won’t bargain on the matter.

    The debt bill is “one point of leverage,” Mr. Boehner says, but he also hedges, noting that it is “not the ultimate leverage.” He says that Republicans won’t back down from the so-called Boehner rule: that every dollar of raising the debt ceiling will require one dollar of spending cuts over the next 10 years. Rather than forcing a deal, the insistence may result in a series of monthly debt-ceiling increases.

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_news/2013/01/08/16411798-boehner-debt-limit-not-the-ultimate-leverage?lite

  30. Hagel Nomination A Clean Break From Bush Foreign Policy

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/07/chuck-hagel-defense_n_2427786.html#comments

    WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama’s nomination Monday of former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) as secretary of defense reignites an uncomfortable, and potentially combustible, debate over the foreign policy of the George W. Bush presidency.

    The anticipated nomination had been under fire for weeks, as Hagel critics sought to use his positions on Israel and gay rights to fight the appointment. But under the surface, the controversy centers on Hagel’s outspoken criticism of the war in Iraq, and Republican fears that the appointment would represent a clean break for Obama from the policies of the Bush years.

    Hagel, after all, rose to national prominence for his blunt criticism of Bush’s policy in Iraq and his “realist” — even skeptical — outlook on the use of U.S. military force as a tool of international engagement.

  31. Ametia says:

    Loving the Midnight Soul series this week, SG2.

  32. rikyrah says:

    Republicans talk the talk on spending cuts – but won’t walk the walk

    As the debt ceiling looms, a GOP refrain of ‘excessive spending’ is thunderous. Ask what to cut, the silence is deafening

    Mitch McConnell thinks America has a spending problem.

    With the fiscal cliff now in the rearview mirror and the “debtlimitsequestrationsbudgetshowdownclusterfuck” staring America in the face, the nation’s Senate minority leader is making it clear to everybody who will listen that it’s time “to pivot and turn to the real issue” – namely, America’s “spending addiction”. Because, according to McConnell:

    “The biggest problem confronting the country is our excessive spending.”

    Such statements are, of course, practically pro forma in Washington. For decades, Republicans and more than a few Democrats have peddled this nonsense in calling for the government to trim its fiscal profligacy. The problem (besides the fact that it’s not true) has always been that while politicians love to complain about waste, fraud and abuse or “big” government spending, they are far less interested in actually doing anything about it.

    Still, McConnell and his fellow Republicans claim to be so concerned about Washington spending – he used the word “spending” 14 times in his NBC News Meet the Press appearance Sunday and “excessive” as a modifier six times – that they appear willing to risk an economic catastrophe by not extending the nation’s debt limit when it expires in a few months. Yet, even though they are the ones manufacturing the crisis, since extending the debt limit has traditionally been treated as a formality rather than an opportunity for legislative hostage-taking, Republicans believe that it is the president’s job to solve the problem. McConnell again:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jan/07/republicans-talk-spending-cuts

  33. rikyrah says:

    Purity Culture Is Rape Culture

    E.J. Graff

    January 4, 2013

    The shocking assault in India reveals that rape isn’t about sex—it’s about controlling women’s lives.

    Her intestines were removed because the six men used a rusty metal rod during the “rape.”

    That fact—the rusty metal rod—is what’s haunted me about the violent incident that has outraged India and the world. Six men held a 23-year-old woman and her male friend in a private bus for hours while they assaulted her so brutally that, after several surgeries to repair her insides, she died. What happened to this young woman was a gang assault. It can be called a sexual assault because among other things, they brutalized her vagina. Or it can be called a sexual assault because it was driven by rage at the female sex.

    Since Susan Brownmiller first wrote Against Our Will—the landmark feminist reconceptualization of rape—feminists have worked on clarifying the fact that rape is less about sex than it is about rage and power. Too many people still conceive of rape as a man’s overwhelming urge to enjoy the body of a woman who has provoked him by being attractive and within reach. As is true in many “traditional” cultures, much of India still imagines that the violation was one against her chastity, as Aswini Anburajan writes at Buzzfeed. But conceiving it as primarily a sexual violation places the burden on women to protect their bodies’ purity. It means that the question that gets asked is this one: Why was she out so late at night, provoking men into rage by being openly female?

    But seen from a woman’s own point of view, rape is quite different: It’s punishment for daring to exist as an independent being, for one’s own purposes, not for others’ use. Sexual assault is a form of brutalization based, quite simply, on the idea that women have no place in the world except the place that a man assigns them—and that men should be free to patrol women’s lives, threatening them if they dare step into view. It is fully in keeping with bride-burnings, acid attacks, street harassment, and sex-selective abortions that delete women before they are born.

    I’ve now read a number of commentaries exposing India’s, particularly New Delhi’s, culture of street violence against women. The most memorable, by Sonia Faleiro in The New York Times, talks about the fear that was instilled in her during her 24 years living in Delhi:
    As a teenager, I learned to protect myself. I never stood alone if I could help it, and I walked quickly, crossing my arms over my chest, refusing to make eye contact or smile. I cleaved through crowds shoulder-first, and avoided leaving the house after dark except in a private car. …

    Things didn’t change when I became an adult. Pepper spray wasn’t available, and my friends, all of them middle- or upper-middle-class like me, carried safety pins or other makeshift weapons to and from their universities and jobs. One carried a knife, and insisted I do the same. I refused; some days I was so full of anger I would have used it — or, worse, had it used on me.

    The steady thrum of whistles, catcalls, hisses, sexual innuendos and open threats continued. Packs of men dawdled on the street … To make their demands clear, they would thrust their pelvises at female passers-by.

    https://prospect.org/article/purity-culture-rape-culture

  34. rikyrah says:

    Crocodile Tears for the Payroll Tax Cut

    By David Weigel

    |

    Posted Monday, Jan. 7, 2013, at 1:47 PM ET

    Joseph Curl writes an extremely easy column about a meme that took hold of the right this weekend: Foul-mouthed Obama supporters angry that their payroll taxes went up.

    “Really, how am I ever supposed to pay off my student loans if my already small paycheck keeps getting smaller? Help a sister out, Obama,” wrote “Meet Virginia.” “Nancy Thongkham” was much more furious. “F***ing Obama! F*** you! This taking out more taxes s*** better f***ing help me out!! Very upset to see my paycheck less today!”

    And so on. “When you’re shooting the breeze in the lunchroom with your grumbling co-workers on the 16th,” snarks Curl, “just ask them, ‘Who’d you vote for in November?’ When they say Mr. Obama, just tell them: ‘Well, you got what you voted for. You did know he was going to raise taxes, right?’”

    Well, who were they supposed to vote for? Neither Mitt Romney nor Barack Obama said he’d extend the payroll tax holiday past 2012. None of the House Republicans’ “fiscal cliff” offers included an extension in the tax holiday; John Boehner’s office confirmed that he didn’t want to include it.

    Most of the time, when Republicans attack Democrats for raising/wanting to raise taxes, they’re contrasting the Democrats for something Republicans would never do. But to criticize Democrats over the restored payroll tax is to slam them for something Republicans wanted. It’s beautiful, sometimes, the lack of responsibility that comes with diminished powers.

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/weigel/2013/01/07/crocodile_tears_for_the_payroll_tax_cut.html

  35. rikyrah says:

    Why Hagel Matters
    If the former senator is confirmed over Republican objections as Obama’s new secretary of defense, it could signal the beginning of a new era in American foreign policy, says Peter Beinart.
    by Peter Beinart Jan 7, 2013 4:45 AM EST

    If media reports are true, Barack Obama will soon nominate Chuck Hagel to be secretary of defense. If so, it may prove the most consequential foreign-policy appointment of his presidency. Because the struggle over Hagel is a struggle over whether Obama can change the terms of foreign-policy debate.

    Understanding what that means requires understanding the state of foreign-policy discourse in the two parties today. First, the GOP. Had a Martian descended to earth in January 2003, spent a few days listening to Washington Republicans talk foreign policy, and then returned in January 2013, she would likely conclude that the Iraq War had been a fabulous success. She would conclude that because, as far as I can tell, not a single Republican-aligned Beltway foreign-policy politician or pundit enjoys less prominence than he did a decade ago because he supported the Iraq War, and not a single one enjoys more prominence because he opposed it. From Bill Kristol to Charles Krauthammer to John McCain to John Bolton to Dan Senor, the same people who dominated Republican foreign-policy discourse a decade ago still dominate it today, and they espouse exactly the same view of the world. As for those conservatives who opposed Iraq—people at places like the Cato Institute and The National Interest who believe that there are clear limits to American military power—our Fox News–watching, Wall Street Journal–reading Martian would have been largely unaware of their existence in 2003 and would remain largely unaware today. Our Martian friend might know somewhat more about Ron Paul than she would have a decade ago. But that familiarity would consist largely of the knowledge that respectable Republicans consider Paul a nut.

    ……………………………………………………..

    What makes Hagel so important, and so threatening to the Republican foreign-policy elite, is that he is one of the few prominent Republican-aligned politicians and commentators (George Will and Francis Fukuyama are others, but such voices are rare) who was intellectually changed by Iraq. And Hagel was changed, in large measure, because he bore within him intellectual (and physical) scar tissue from Vietnam. As my former colleague John Judis captured brilliantly in a 2007 New Republic profile, the Iraq War sparked something visceral in Hagel, as the former Vietnam rifleman realized that, once again, detached and self-interested elites were sending working-class kids like himself to die in a war they couldn’t honestly defend. It is certainly true that some politicians who served in Vietnam—for instance, John McCain—did not react to Iraq that way. But it is also true that the fact that so few American politicians and pundits lived the kind of wartime hell Hagel endured made it easier for them to pass through the Iraq years unscathed. It’s no coincidence that the other senator most deeply enraged by Iraq was ex-Marine James Webb, another former hawkish Republican who saw the war through his own personal Vietnam prism.

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/01/07/why-hagel-matters.html

  36. rikyrah says:

    Why Hagel Matters, Ctd

    “If the Republicans are going to look at Chuck Hagel, a decorated war hero and Republican who served two terms in the Senate, and vote no because he bucked the party line on Iraq, then they are so far in the wilderness that they’ll never get out,” – an Obama administration official to Rosie Gray.

    One reason I’m so happy that this nomination will go ahead is precisely because we’ll have the debate in the Senate. We can debate who was right about the Iraq War. We can debate why the Pentagon should be protected from any serious cuts, while seniors get their healthcare cut, everyone gets a payroll tax increase, and the US spends more on defense than the next ten countries combined, many of whom are allies.

    Another debate we will have is exactly how brilliant that “surge” was in Iraq – a surge Hagel and the Dish opposed. Here’s Fred Kaplan on the matter:

    It only bought time for the Iraqi political factions to settle their differences. (That’s all that Gen. David Petraeus, the strategy’s architect, ever claimed it could do.) And now it’s clear that the factions didn’t want to settle their differences, and so ethnic clashes have persisted, and the issues that divide the factions are no closer to settlement. Therefore, was Hagel so wrong

    I wouldn’t be so positive about the “surge”. It bought time for a quick US exit, under the pretense that some viable multi-sectarian democracy was sustainable. We know now how big an illusion that was – but the master of DC public relations, David Petraeus, told us all to believe it – and who didn’t want to believe it? What a Hagel nomination provides is a re-examination of this myth as well – as well as showing the country that being a Republican and a conservative does not mean being a risky interventionist, a pro-torture anti-American, or a pro-West-Bank-settlement fanatic. That’s an incredible gift to the GOP, a way out of their neocon dead-end, if they could only see it.

    Meep meep.

    http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2013/01/why-hagel-matters-ctd.html

  37. rikyrah says:

    Debt ceiling hostage taking is far more absurd — and destructive — than “mint the coin” is

    Posted by Greg Sargent on January 7, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    I doubt we’ll ever find out whether “mint the coin” will pass muster with the courts, because I don’t believe Obama will avail himself of this option. Putting this aside, though, what’s deeply puzzling is the seemingly ubiquitous argument that the “mint the coin” idea is somehow so absurd and juvenile as to be beneath even thinking about.

    Of course “mint the coin” is absurd. It’s a response to a situation which is itself already absurd. Indeed, the GOP’s debt ceiling hostage taking is far more ridiculous — and destructive — than “mint the coin” musings are. By far.

    Paul Krugman and Josh Barro both lay out the substantive cases for “mint the coin,” while both allowing that it’s basically a gimmick. Yes, it is — because the entire debt ceiling crisis is itself a gimmick.

    This shouldn’t need to be stated, but the GOP’s threat not to raise the debt ceiling is creating an entirely manufactured crisis, one that has been concocted for the sole purpose of creating the appearance of Republican leverage in service of getting the spending cuts Republicans want. It is not a real threat. Republican leaders don’t actually see going into default as a viable option. John Boehner is on record in 2011 allowing that letting the country go into default will cause “financial disaster.” Boehner today again confirmed the essential gimmickry of the GOP’s debt ceiling posture, claiming that Republicans may allow the debt ceiling to go up monthly. Translation: We know we have to hike the debt ceiling, so we’ll drag our feet — and pretend to resist — while allowing the inevitable to happen.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2013/01/07/debt-ceiling-hostage-taking-is-far-more-absurd-and-destructive-than-mint-the-coin-is/

  38. rikyrah says:

    Republicans getting weak-kneed about debt ceiling fight

    Posted by Greg Sargent on January 7, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    House Speaker John Boehner spoke at length with the Wall Street Journal’s Stephen Moore about the coming confrontation over the debt ceiling, the sequester, and the spending cuts Republicans will try to achieve. Buried in the interview is a highly newsworthy nugget, in which Boehner implicitly admitted that the debt limit does not give Republicans the leverage they’ve suggested it does.

    Indeed, it’s hard to read this exchange as anything other than a sign that Republicans may be backing off the fight over the debt ceiling:

    I ask Mr. Boehner if he will take the debt-ceiling talks to the brink — risking a government shutdown and debt downgrade from the credit agencies — given that it didn’t work in 2011 and President Obama has said he won’t bargain on the matter.

    The debt bill is “one point of leverage,” Mr. Boehner says, but he also hedges, noting that it is “not the ultimate leverage.” He says that Republicans won’t back down from the so-called Boehner rule: that every dollar of raising the debt ceiling will require one dollar of spending cuts over the next 10 years. Rather than forcing a deal, the insistence may result in a series of monthly debt-ceiling increases.

    The Republicans’ stronger card, Mr. Boehner believes, will be the automatic spending sequester trigger that trims all discretionary programs — defense and domestic. It now appears that the president made a severe political miscalculation when he came up with the sequester idea in 2011.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2013/01/07/republicans-getting-weak-kneed-about-debt-ceiling-fight/

  39. rikyrah says:

    Charles Pierce: …. Ever since that thoroughgoing, bean-counting, soulless bastard Robert McNamara was in charge of it, the Defense Department steadily has moved away from the notion that its primary constituency is the men and women in uniform. Certainly, to name one recent example, Donald Rumsfeld proved to be far more in love with his own brilliant theories on defense policies than he cared about the fact that we weren’t sending enough poor sods in inadequate body-armor to carry them out. This is a problem that Chuck Hagel never will have.

    …. There are good, solid, deeper political reasons to approve of his nomination. But this is the best one. Chuck Hagel knows what the basic job of soldiering really is and, therefore, I think, he knows what the basic job of being Secretary Of Defense is. It’s to fight for people, and not for weapons systems. It’s to care for the human beings in your charge more than the fanciful bloodless academic exercises held at a distance…..

    ….In a season when Lincoln’s Second Inaugural is the big finish of a box-office bonanza, Hagel has lived the peroration as well as anyone has.

    http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/chuck-hagel-defense-secretary-nomination-010713

  40. Ametia says:

    Carl Bernstein on Moaning Joke, called out hagel critics and defended Hagel’s stance on Israel. Says Netanyahu is not Israel. He can say this, because, he’s Jewish.

    Looking for video

  41. Ametia says:

    Medgar Evers’s widow to deliver invocation at Obama inauguration

    President Obama picks the widow of slain civil rights icon, the first time for a woman and non-clergy member.

    ( by Michelle Boorstein , The Washington Post)

    President Obama has picked Myrlie Evers-Williams, widow of slain civil rights icon Medgar Evers, to deliver the invocation at his public swearing-in later this month. It is believed to be the first time a woman, and a layperson rather than a clergy member, has been chosen to deliver what may be America’s most prominent public prayer.

    The inaugural committee Tuesday plans to announce that the benediction will be given by conservative evangelical pastor Louie Giglio, founder of the student-focused Passion Conferences, which draw tens of thousands of people to events around the world.

    …. In a statement released by the inaugural committee, the president said the careers of Evers-Williams and Giglio “reflect the ideals that the Vice President and I continue to pursue for all Americans – justice, equality and opportunity.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/inauguration/medgar-evers-widow-to-deliver-invocation-at-obama-inauguration/2013/01/07/293904e2-592e-11e2-88d0-c4cf65c3ad15_story.html

  42. Ametia says:

    Godd Morning, Everyone! :-)

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