Eric Stern has a great article where he easily demolishes the lates round of bullshit from Sean Hannity on Faux News (what Jon Stewart refers to as bullshit mountain). Starting with the small business owners whose blame Obamacare for “increased costs” even though their 4 person business is not subject to any Obamacare coverage rules to the others who are likely to get better policies for less if they got off their rumps and shopped at the exchanges, the article demonstrates why so many people are clueless about the law.
The Obama administration’s messaging has been outright awful. However, they have also been dealing with an alleged news corporation spreading outright falsehoods and lazy establishment stenographers who cheerfully parrot the misleading statements issued by Republican politicians about the law.
This however is par for the course for Sean Hannity and his network, who were outraged when the President called them out on it a few weeks ago.
The video below is truly breathtaking. Hat tip to all-that-is-interesting.com. In 1996 scientists pointed the Hubble Space Telescope into a dark patch in the sky and discovered it was not so dark after all. It is humbling to realize that our self-important species is a insignificant speck of the universe. Enjoy:
Also worth seeing are these images captured by Hubble. Truly spectacular.
The video below pretty much sums up the negotiating strategy of the Tea Party dominated Republican party. Compromise has been redefined to capitulation of the other side. A reasonable centrist proposal is met by shifting goal posts. The establishment stenographers desperate to appear as if they are not taking sides have enabled this behavior. Another example is when a Republican flibustered bill is presented as being “defeated” Senate, rather than being blocked by a nihilist minority. Hat tip for the video to Andrew Sullivan. Enjoy….
After two weeks of grandstanding, it ended with a whimper. To the rising outrage of Americans not in thrall to the right-wing media bubble and the bewildered consternation of the rest of the world, tea party extremists shut down the government and threatened to blow up the world economy by triggering the first US debt default since the War of 1812 (not including a short technical default in the 1970s).
Their quixotic goal was an attempt to defund Obamacare – on the delusion that a recently re-elected President Obama and Democratic Senate would give up their biggest domestic policy win in the last 4 years. After years of infuriating his base by being overeager to deal with Republican extremists, the President finally channeled his inner Michael Corleone (video below) and told the teabaggers to go jump in the Potomac.
The Democrats remained united in their opposition to repeated one sided Republican ransom notes that the weeping orange occupying the Speaker’s chair delivered at the behest of the extremist loons and their puppet handler – first term Senator Ted Cruz. The last few days the oligarchs who fund these nuts looked on in alarm as tea party nutjobs engaged in default denialism – that a default would not harm the economy. Ted Cruz bloviated about the American people supporting his cause, even as opinion polls showed the Republican brand taking a beating and conservative hacks like Jennifer Rubin started questioning the worthiness of Republicans holding on to the House.
What exactly is the argument for keeping the House GOP majority?
— Jennifer Rubin (@JRubinBlogger) October 15, 2013
As usual sections of the establishment stenographers made fools of themselves by being unwilling to call a ransom a ransom. Michael Kinsley published possibly the stupidest thing written in the last two weeks (and there were many worthy contenders) by asking the President to surrender to terrorists.
Meanwhile, the tea party was horrified to discover that a shut down meant that national parks would shut down. One buffoon congressman went on to berate a hapless (unpaid) park ranger about the World War II memorial being closed. I had a Republican friend earnestly try to argue that not all Republicans were tea party whack jobs. Yet these so called moderate/reasonable/intelligent Republicans (other than a handful like Rep. Peter King) saved their grumbling for the shadows as the tea party hijacked control of the House. Two days ago it was clear that Speaker Boehner had lost control of his caucus and the adults in the Senate started a compromise. A modified ransom note masquerading as a compromise from Senator Collins was shot down and Senators Reid and McConnell (who is facing a tea party extremist in a primary) worked out a deal. Yesterday the brakes were hit again as Speaker Boehner wanted one last ransom note. Yet his deranged caucus could not muster up the votes for even that. Finally today the avoidable crisis ended. At the cost of about 24 billion to the economy and a decline in job growth, the Republicans got what they deserved – NOTHING!.
The can has been kicked down the road where flim-flam man Paul Ryan will try to get his pixie dust budget through and Republicans are still dead set against any new revenues. But one hopes that the Republican leadership and the cowardly moderates will not have the appetite for another struggle.
The irony in all this is that the Democrats had already conceded the point of funding the government at Republican levels. A sane political party would treat that as a victory, particularly since the deficits have been declining dramatically. But today’s Republican Party does not reside in our space-time continuum.
Here’s hoping the Republican Party goes the way of the Whigs so that the sane party of Lincoln can re-emerge.
They are baack. With the debt ceiling hike due in a matter of weeks, the Republican caucus is not firmly in the sway of the most batshit crazy component of their base. With Obamacare exchanges going to go online next week, they have been desperately trying to defund the law. Of course, other than high risk pools (which are chronically underfunded and have proved meaningless so far) and (you guessed) tax cuts it the Republicans have not yet delivered any meaningful healthcare plan.
Now with the Obamacare strategy in tatters, the weeping orange sitting in the Speaker’s chair has capitulated to his base to prepare a ransom note in exchange for not destroying the economy. Steve Benen diagrams just how insane it is:
Basically the Republicans want President Obama to implement the economic plan of Mitt Romney, the man he beat handily last November in an election that saw the Democrats hold on to the Senate and win the popular vote in elections to the House of Representatives.
This of course is in the backdrop of a reality where the deficit has significantly dropped and where the country needs to get unemployment lower instead of triggering another recession.
The biggest mistake President Obama made was negotiating with these fanatics in 2011 to begin with. Back then he was delusionally pursuing his asinine grand bargain with a party whose idea of compromise is for the other party to capitulate.
Alex Seitz-Wald on twitter came up with the ideal Democratic counter-proposal for this lunacy. See below:
My modest proposal for how Dems should respond to GOP's debt ceiling bill. Demand: pic.twitter.com/D3NK4T3PB7
— Alex Seitz-Wald (@aseitzwald) September 26, 2013
Of course if the Democrats do this they would be rightly pilloried as insane. Yet establishment hacks like Candy Crowley still wonder why the Democrats will not negotiate with terrorists.
The debt ceiling does not increase spending. It is a mechanism to pay for bills already incurred. If push comes to shove, I hope the President declares that the 14th amendment gives him the authority to prevent a default of the national debt or just mints a trillion dollar platinum coin giving these wingnuts the middle finger. The Republican party is playing Russian Roulette with the economy. When will they finally be held accountable for their reckless insanity?
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 18:32
Final takeaway from the game…Saban has still not figured out how to stop the hurry up Offense. Ole Piss, Aubie take heart. A&M had 630 yards of offense, 464 thru the air. And this offense is still not playing all the blue chips heading into College Station.
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 18:23
Two big differences from last year. First, last year A&M had veterans Spencer Nealy, DeMontre Moore and Sean Porter and they did very well against the Bama run game. Also last year A&M had no turnovers and won the turnover battle. Here they had two costly ones. One in the red zone and one returned for a TD. Bama is too good a team to lose the turnover battle against. That was basically the ball game. Bama leaves College Station with a 49-42 win.
I can live with a close loss…A blowout would have been costly. But A&M’s offense cannot be counted out as Ole Miss found out last year. Still 9 more games to go…and this Bama team has shown some vulnerabilities. Oregon is likely looking forward to a chance at Bama. Oregon fans were calling for Bama when they blew out Tennessee earlier today.
All for today…signing out.
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 18:18
42 points allowed the most allowed by a Saban Alabama team.
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 18:17
Bama recovers the onside kick…that will be the ball game.
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 18:15
That is 3 TDs for Kennedy.
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 18:14
TD Aggies..onside kick coming up
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 18:13
Wow…Manziel avoids a sack for a deep ball down inside the five. 22 seconds left.
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 18:13
A&M dinking and dunking down the field but game is essentially over.
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 18:04
Oh well TD Bama….should be the ball game
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 18:01
Bama at the 10 under 3 minutes..clock a factor
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 17:58
Crap…deep pass over the middle. Bama in scoring position.
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 17:56
Bama trying to pound the ball…A&M defense needs to show up.
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 17:53
Pleas just give Mike Evans the Biletnikoff Award
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 17:51
We may lose today, but this game may get Johnny Manziel the heisman again.
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 17:50
Manziel to Evans for a 95 yard TD 7 point game
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 17:45
WOW!!! Yeldon fumbled the ball AGAIN this year. Do I dare believe…A&M forces a turnover on the goal line
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 17:42
Bama gets a free 15 yards from a bull shit rule about a defensive player having to stop after losing his helmet.
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 17:40
Dammit A&M…if you crowd the line you have to stop the run. Yeldon runs for a 1st down.
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 17:39
Bama driving again…looking for the TD
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 17:34
TD A&M…not going away just yet
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 17:31
A&M starts on offense…and a horsecollar by Bama gives them free 15 yards.
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 17:29
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 17:15
And TD Bama…the wretched crew of the last few years is back in full force
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 17:09
Could the commentators please stop calling a QB who plays A&M defense “clutch”
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 17:04
TD A&M Manziel to Kennedy..35-21. Defense still has to show up.
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 17:04
Well…A&M is back in the redzone…lets see f they capitalize. They seem to have remembered they have running backs.
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 16:50
Now should I be a masochist and continue blogging or say f*** it?
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 16:48
Double crap…tipped ball returned for a TD. Game over
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 16:46
A&M offense back on the field…has to score.
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 16:46
Maybe not…McCarron misses an open WR and three and out.
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 16:44
Third and long coming up…Bama has A&M right where it wants it.
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 16:44
Bama back on offense..another TD drive coming up.
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 16:37
That game started perfectly…but A&M has not come close to stopping the Bammers since the first drive. Now the floodgates are open and my worst fears are opening up. Could be a long half.
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 16:20
Should be 35-14 Bammers soon unless A&M locates a defense at half time. Brenham is only 30 minutes away…surely Blinn’s defense will not be this bad.
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 16:12
The questionable Bama OL is dominating the A&M DL..Bama gets the ball back after the half so this could be a 3 TD hole before A&M gets on the field on offense. TD Bama
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 16:09
And there it is.
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 16:09
Third down coming up..not that it has mattered since the first drive.
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 16:05
Bama now running the ball down the throat…Snyder needs to adjust.
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 16:02
Bama has started to close off the A&M passing game…have a chance to flip the script and go two TDs up.
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 15:58
Targeting call overturned, but A&M still gets a free 15 yards.
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 15:56
Wow…another bullshit targeting call for they year. Even if it is on a bammer, that should not be targeting. The defender was going for the ball rather than the targeting.
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 15:52
BAS (Battered Aggie Syndrome) kicking in
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 15:50
Honeycutt continues his season of sucking misses a tackle and A&M is torched fore a long TD 21-14 Bama
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 15:44
Crap…that was an awful throw…INT in endzone
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 15:43
A&M in red zone..need a TD
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 15:40
Oh my goodness what the frack was that…Wow!! Manziel gets away from a sure sack…then gets a jumpball down the field for a 45 yard pass to get a 12 yard gain
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 15:35
Aggies need to answer. Start with a run to Malena and a pass to former walk-on Labhart…flag on Bama should get another first down.
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 15:31
DeShazor Everett is being torched by Bama this game
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 15:30
The A&M blitz packages are simply not working. A&M gets torched on a flea flicker 14-14 Bammers.
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 15:25
End of first quarter
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 15:23
Wide open..and you guessed it on the right..First down
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 15:22
Two bad passes by McCarron, though A&M has no pressure on him so far.
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 15:20
First A&M punt of the game from midfield…Bammers start at the 20.
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 15:19
Damn..3rd and 31….false start
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 15:19
A pass interference call on Evans has A&M backed up at 3rd and 26..
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 15:14
Great play by Evans to come back on 3rd and 2 big play by A&M to get to mid field
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 15:12
Gah..Brandon Williams bobbles it out at the two on the kickoff. Manziel starts backed up.
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 15:10
Bama had some thing going on the right side of the field…Will be interesting to see if A&M adjusts
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 15:08
TD Bama..14-7 on the right sideline…Satan back in business
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 15:07
Bammers have something going here…4 straight first downs…in FG range
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 15:07
Gah…gashing 16 yard run
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 15:06
Bama slowly passing the ball down the sidelines…trying to calm the offense down
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 15:03
So far there has been no Ricky Seal Jones in the game..that will be a deadly mismatch
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 15:03
Bama was oddly conservative in the last drive…I expect they will throw downfield more this time. Last year they had an INT on the second drive.
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 15:01
Malena for a TD Aggies strike again…WHOOOP!!!! Bertolet gets another XP 14-0 Aggies
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 14:59
A&M starts with good field position.two quick runs by Johnny and another quick pass to Evans…A&M at the goal line
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 14:54
Bama goes 3 and out like last year…very oddly conservative set of playcalls
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 14:53
The Bama OL with two false starts in a row…Kyle Field is rocking
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 14:51
Now moment of truth for the Aggie defense. Good special teams tackle to bring down Christian Jones.
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 14:48
A&M starts with a Johnny run and a deep pass to Evans…..and back with another jumball to Evans..Aggies exploiting height advantage…and Johnny with a TD to Cam Clear in the first Aggie reception for the Juco TE…WHOOOOPPPPP!!! Aggies 7-0
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 14:43
And we are off…Johnny Football on the field.
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 14:39
A&M wins the toss….and to receive…butterflys rising fast.
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 14:36
Aha…a live feed on the internet. We may be in business.
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 14:35
Dammit…CBS in Baltimore still showing Pitt-NMSU….Grrrrr….
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 14:27
The A&M-Bama rematch is finally here…nervous butterflies are setting in. Nick Satan has an impressive record in revenge matches. Texas A&M in the last 20 years has a painful record of wilting in the spotlight. Time will tell whether Coach Sumlin and Johnny Football have changed the legacy of underachievement in College Station. A&M’s defense is finally at full strength with all the suspended players back. Bama’s offense was lousy against Virginia Tech’s stout defense.
CBS is still showing the Pitt blowout, hopefully they will move the game over when it is time.
Time for some football.
Jon Stewart returned from his sabbatical and gave his unique take on Syria. Helps that I agree with him, but his take on the discredited neo-con warmongerers starting around 4:20 was hilarious. Enjoy the clip below:
Barack Obama surprised observers yesterday by electing to get Congressional approval for Syria. He also appeared to go out of his way to assure the American people that this would not be an open ended military involvement. The climbdown was clearly in response to the growing opposition to war in yet another Middle East quagmire, punctuated by the shocking rebuff to British Prime Minister David Cameron by the House of Commons this week.
Fans of constitutional governance should rejoice. The decision also forces Congress to declare where they stand on the issue, instead of waiting to see what they could criticize the President for. Of cours fans of the imperial Presidency are not delighted at the decision. Warmongerers are unhappy that Obama is not going all in on regime change – still no suggestions from them on what the new regime would look like.
Senator Grumpy lashed out at the thought of the limited war. His war loving amigo Senator Lumpy agreed. Former Senator (and still war loving mega douche) Droopy was horrified that the President thought he had to go to Congress before bombing someone in the Middle East.
Left unsaid in all of this is what happens if the initial bombing does not change Assad’s behavior (which is likely). What happens then?
Barack Obama backed himself into this conflict by drawing his imaginary red lines. He has wisely toned down the rhetoric after gauging the opposition, but this was a stupid red line that should never have been drawn. Once again I cannot help but wonder what happens when these lines are crossed by the other Middle East country Grumpy, Lumpy and Droopy want to bomb – Iran.
Saw this in my twitter feed earlier today and could not resist a chuckle when I read it. Enjoy…
The last few years have seen a more muscular French foreign policy with interventions in its former colonies Ivory Coast and Mali. France was also the loudest proponent of taking down Gaddafi (probably to overcompensate for its support of the Tunisian dictator and Pharaoh Mubarak at the start of the Arab Spring).
Of course having advocated war in Libya, France (and Britain) ran out of missiles when faced only with Gaddafi’s puny military.
President Hollande has toned down his bellicosity a bit in the aftermath of the vote in the house of Commons. However, its appears that a handful of French missiles may join the American barrage against Syria. Quite a turn of events from a decade ago when the Neocons were renaming French fries and referring to “Old Europe.”
Meanwhile in Britain recriminations abound. Having miscalculated the level of opposition to the war Cameron’s toadies are attacking Labour for endangering the special subservient relationship.
However, for now little has changed. Even without Britain, Barack Obama’s rush to a half baked war continues. Looks like the Gallic Rooster will join the American Rooster in its Syrian war.
Maybe it is time to call them Freedom Muffins. The haggis eating warm beer swillers in the House of Commons delivered a resounding slap to
head poodle Prime Minster David Cameron today by rejecting military intervention in Syria. Even though the vote was not binding, Cameron acknowledged the sentiment in the country and Parliament tersely noting:
It is clear to me that the British Parliament, reflecting the views of the British people, does not want to see British military action. I get that, and the government will act accordingly.”
So much for the special relationship..it cannot work when Britain does not recognize its role as lapdog. In the United States President
George W. Bush Barack Obama remained unbowed and indicated that the United States was ready to act alone. Our Congress only wants to be consulted but does not want the responsibility of authorizing the war. The British parliament has learned the lessons of Iraq. Our Washington bubble has not, even though the proposed intervention is extremely unpopular. So, for now the administration is unlikely to suffer the humiliation of David Cameron.
Fareed Zakaria dumbly and stubbornly supported the Iraq war but in the video below cogently sets forth the quagmire and bloodbath facing us (whether or not we interfere).
The do-gooders are united in the need to send Assad a message. Yet apart from a belief in magically identifying in the good guys of the opposition, none of them has identified what the end game is and how we prevent an ethnic bloodbath and install a stable government in Syria. The mistaken urge to maintain credibility is driving us to a war in Syria…and it will do so again in Iran.
With Secretary Kerry’s speech Monday American military intervention into the Syrian quagmire seems inevitable. Last year Barack Obama allowed himself to be backed into a corner by saying that the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government constituted a red line. Last week that line appeared to be crossed as horrific images of casualties from a nerve gas attack near Damascus emerged.
So like Libya, a human rights calamity is driving the United States to war. The Syrian government and their Russian patron have of course denied that they used chemical weapons. With the military balance slowly tilting in its favor the use of chemical weapons at this juncture is puzzling. However the United States enters into a quagmire that it will be hard to extricate itself from.
Stupid comparisons to the Kosovo intervention have started. The virtues of air power are once again being touted. Yet in Kosovo the Yugoslav government only capitulated when the exasperated American government intimated that boots on the ground were on their way. Here boots on the ground have been ruled out. After the example of Libya the Russians are adamantly against any regime change.
American airstrikes by themselves are unlikely to solve this conflict. Unlike Gaddafi, the Baath regime is backed by communities like the Alawites who have every reason to fear a massacre. The Syrian opposition itself is now dominated by radical jihadists so the merits of them replacing the brutal Baathist regime can be debated.
But after a year, the warmongerers have their wish. America is about to militarily intervene in an ethnic conflict where it has absolutely no idea as to the end result it wants or can achieve. The suffering of the Syrian people is appalling. However, the explanations as to why an exhausted America must be the gendarme of the world are not compelling.
It does not bode well for the prospects of war with another country in the region where Barack Obama against his better judgment was compelled by the outcry from the media, the right-wing and the Israeli government to draw a line in the sand – Iran.
The Egyptian military appears to have crossed its Rubicon and decided to crush the Muslim Brotherhood. By arresting the Muslim Brotherhood leadership it will probably cripple the hierarchical organization in the short run. However, it makes the chance of an Islamist insurgency all that much more likely. Perceiving themselves cheated of a democratic mandate some Islamists will likely turn to violence. History never repeats itself exactly, but the Egyptian army appears to have gambled that they will have the staying power to crush an insurgency like Algeria did. It is a dangerous gamble that will likely have bloody repercussions. Egypt is much larger than Algeria and at the heart of the Arab world, not a country out in the fringes of the Sahara.
The Egyptian military bears much of the blame for the potency of the brotherhood. Under the corrupt dictatorship of Mubarak, the secular opposition was crushed. The Brotherhood was allowed a measure of action and allowed to organize. This allowed the Pharaoh to point to the emerging Islamist threat for Western aid. Now the army is out to crush an entity it allowed to develop strong roots during Mubarak’s inefficient and corrupt misrule.
This leaves America in a horrible situation. On the one hand it tosses half-hearted denunciations of the brutal Baath regime in Syria – the Islamist opposition there not helping matters. At the same time it will turn a blind eye as its (still) official ally slaughters its opponents. Even though he knows better this places Barack Obama back with the much maligned American hypocrisy during the cold war. So far American attempts to mildly criticize both sides have drawn the ire of both sides. What happens if the Egyptian public turns on the army if there is a repeat of the corrupt authoritarian rule from the Mubarak years (a likely option) is anybody’s guess.
In the short run the public violence in Egypt will likely die down. In the long run it appears we will see Algeria on the Nile.
Back in 2009 Senator Jim DeMint encouraged opposition to the passage of Obamacare by stating its defeat would be “Obama’s Waterloo.” The bill passed and was upheld by the Supreme Court. Obama was reelected.
Now out of the Senate and heading the Heritage Foundation into hackish irrelevance DeMint has been urging the pointless attempts to defund Obamacare by holding the economy hostage.
A couple of weeks back Heritage pushed a poll purportedly showing wide support to repealing Obamacare that was so bad that even partisan hacks like Jennifer Rubin mocked it. Today DeMint suggested that Obama would plausibly sign a bill defunding his greatest domestic policy victory.
The belief in the utter stupidity of his supporters that this would happen is breathtakingly cynical. Maybe he is counting on the geniuses who wanted to “keep government out of their Medicare” to fall for this fund raising con job. It is a sad commentary on the degeneration of the intellectual right.
The birther rage against Barack Obama was stupid. Even more so because even if Obama was born in Kenya, he was still a natural born citizen automatically acquiring citizenship thru his American mother.
Now comes along the demagogic wannabe McCarthy Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas). It has been common knowledge that Cruz was born in Canada to an American mother. Cruz confirmed that yesterday by releasing his Canadian birth certificate.
Of course this also means Cruz was a Canadian citizen at birth and since he never took the requisite steps to abandon said Citizenship is still a dual citizen. After denying the obvious Cruz grudgingly said he would take the steps to surrender Canadian citizenship.
Gets even better. Thru his Cuban father Cruz may also be a natural born citizen of Cuba. Such a provision likely ensnares the American born Senator Marco Rubio too.
Birthers let your heads explode.
Note: Cuba does not have dual citizenship so the natural born citizenship clause probably does not apply….but the humor is too good to pass up….particularly given the asshole involved.
Seems appropriate to note the (briefly) Swiss Frau who ran for president last year.
The right-wing was outraged a few years back when Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos penned a book referring to them as the American Taliban. Since then the tea party seems commited to proving him right. Reality does not intrude into their fantasies and the last few years their definition of compromise has been for the other side to accept their policies without any compromises on their part. The result has been a legislative logjam and veteran Republicans (Bob Bennett, Dick Lugar etc.) who had the temerity to work with Democrats were primaried out of office.
Now to be fair and balanced, there are many on the left unhappy with the tendencies of certain centrist democrats. The key difference has been a lot of the ire against the Max Baucuses and Blanche Lincolns was for sabotaging their own party prior to negotiating with Republicans as opposed to the concept of compromise. In the tea party world any compromise or legislative deal making is a sin.
Witness the gem included in letter sent to Senator Lamar Alexander this week urging him to retire:
Unfortunately, our great nation can no longer afford compromise and bipartisanship, two traits for which you have become famous. America faces serious challenges and needs policymakers who will defend conservative values, not work with those who are actively undermining those values.
How exactly do these nihilists expect any legislation to be passed without compromise and bi-partisanship when the Democrats control the Senate and the Presidency leaving the Republicans with only the House (and the Supreme Court)? At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the Republican Party at present does not appear interested in governing. The House Republicans made fools of themselves two weeks ago when they discovered that Paul Ryan’s budget fantasy left it to them to identify budget cuts – and there are cuts unpalatable to even Republicans (particularly when the Military-Industrial Complex is untouchable). And now for the third time in as many years the tea party and conservative nut jobs are threatening a default on American debt if they don’t get what they want (the target right now is Obamacare – an originally conservative proposal that has somehow morphed into a socialistic attack on our freedoms).
The tendency of the establishment stenographers to lump both parties together and blame President Obama for not having a magic wand to overcome Republican obstruction has allowed the American Taliban to avoid the consequences of their irresponsibility. This does not bode well for the fall.
The video below explains why. Enjoy:
Last year I commented that the Egyptian alliance appeared to have run its course. Mohammed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood have since been toppled in the coup that we dare not call a coup, but the same sentiment holds true. Once again in the Middle East we are faced with the ugly reality that elections do not constitute democracy.
Morsi was popularly elected and the Muslim Brotherhood in large part because of Pharoah Mubarak’s policies was the largest political grouping in Egypt. But he was a thin skinned leader who was intolerant of dissent and like other majoritarian ballot box despots like Hugo Chavez had little regard for the minority groupings. Worse he mismanaged Egypt’s economy (though conspiracy theories about the role of Mubarak supporters abound). By the time he was toppled the public mood had changed.
Yet the coup in all but its name left America in a precarious situation. Having belatedly supported the Democratic transition from Mubarak, the Obama administration twisted itself in loops trying to support an elected if authoritarian and incompetent government but trying not to trigger the ban on American aid required by law after a coup. The result satisfied nobody on the Egyptian street. The anti-Brotherhood supporters were outraged that Obama appeared to support Morsi. The Brotherhood who did not believe in democracy to begin with was outraged that the rules of electoral legitimacy don’t apply to them and took to the street.
The result has been violence and distressing signs of early 1990s Algeria (where the army voided an Islamist election victory resulting in years of turmoil and violence). The Egyptian army which never cared for the Brotherhood to begin with has been extremely hamfisted and brutal in clearing the street. Hundreds were killed in yesterday’s assault on the protestors camps. Nobel Laureate and Vice President Mohamed ElBaradei resigned in protest after the crackdown.
The army’s actions highlight once again just how little leverage the United States has in the region and how absurd it is for the United States to twist itself into knots over trying to preserve an aid package it appears the Egyptian establishment does not care about. Trying to have it both ways once again leaves America exposed to charges of hypocrisy – i.e. we don’t care about bloodshed as long as it is our guys doing the shooting.
At this point it is time to stop the ridiculous tap dance about the coup and acknowledge it as such. Egypt’s army may have a point that the Brotherhood is not willing for talks, but that is no justification for the bloodbath it unleashed. The Arab Spring continues its bloody turn and once again highlights the importance in institutions and respect for the rule of law (even by the rulers) in keeping a democracy functional. Just as important is time and patience to get these established. On all these points, Egypt has failed. And so Egypt bleeds.
Titled “Share… Care… Joy…” this is a a beautiful video put out by the Naik Foundation. No Hindi skills required to get the message. Enjoy…..
A year after his emotional runners up speech at Wimbledon, Andy Murray finally did it. He is a Scot not English, but why quibble. He is the first British player to win Wimbledon since Fred Perry in 1936. Murray has played very well since his Wimbledon loss – winning the Olympic Gold (at Wimbledon), the US Open and being the runner up to Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open. It was a gutty win with Murry coming back from 4-1 in the second set and 4-2 in the third. Then up 40-0 in the third set and with three championship points nerves caught up with him and Djokovic got to deuce and had multiple chances to break. But Murray ultimately prevailed on his fourth championship point closing out the straight set win 6-4, 7-5, 6-4.
With Roger Federer clearly in decline and Rafael Nadal continuing to battle injuries, Murray-Djokovic may be the tennis rivalry of the next few years.
Another highlight of the Murray win was the wild excitement shown by his coach Ivan Lendl. Lendl a two time Wimbledon runner-up once famously quipped “grass is for the cows” when skipping Wimbledon in 1982 to go holidaying. Lendl may be the greatest grass court player to never win Wimbledon (other than the junior title in 1978). His measured applause and hit of a smile was a rare display of emotion from the 8 time grandslam winner (clip below):
Congratulations Andy Murray. Now let the US Open circuit begin. For the second year in a row there is a possibility of a different champion at each of the grandslam events.
A year after the fall of Pharaoh Mubarak, the mobs are back on the street in Egypt in what appears greater numbers. The target is Mubarak’s successor and Egypt’s first freely elected President Mohammed Morsi.
The Muslim Brotherhood joined the anti-Mubarak protests late. While they were suppressed by his regime, they were allowed greater freedom of action than his secular rivals. The intent was to highlight the Islamist threat and keep the aid dollars flowing. The perverse effect of this strategy was to leave the Muslim Brotherhood as the best organized opposition movement in Egypt, allowing its member Mohammed Morsi to win the Presidency and the Brotherhood to dominate parliamentary elections.
Unfortunately, once in power Morsi has done his best to confirm the fears that he would be a sectional leader. A controversial constitution was rammed through. Journalists, bloggers and comedians have been persecuted for lese majeste. The government has looked the other way as minorities have been attacked. The economy has been mismanaged. Most recently Morsi appointed a member of a former terrorist group (that killed 58 tourists in 1997) as governor of Luxor province – which relies on tourism.
So when the mobs emerged on the street in the last few days the scale of the protests caught everyone (including Morsi) by surprised. Egypt’s police are in open mutiny and stood by as the Muslim Brotherhood headquarters in Cairo were torched. And now the army, for some reason respected by the protesters, seems to be peddling a soft coup by giving Morsi a 48 hour ultimatum.
I have no sympathy for Morsi. Given the opportunity to be a statesman he chose to be a leader of narrow vision like Nouri al-Maliki in Iraq. Unlike the Islamists in Turkey who provided a decade of good governance before gradually commencing dropping the veil, the Egyptian Brotherhood was too impatient.
Yet, I cannot but help feel that the path Egypt is heading down is extremely dangerous. The army, which has conducted its share of abuses in the past year is walking out of this scot free. A elected even if flawed President is being toppled a year into his term by extra constitutional means. Egypt’s civil society is showing a dangerous lack of communication among its stake holders. There remains the risk that the Brotherhood will feel cheated of power like the Algerian Islamists in the early 1990s setting off a cycle of instability. Egypt’s secular opposition is largely united by its dislike of Morsi and the Brotherhood. Yet unless they agree on a political and economic program they face another defeat in the ballot box. Worse, a blue print is now being set on how to topple an elected regime…create a ruckus and beg the army to intervene.
It is hard to see how Morsi survives the current crisis. It is also hard to see anything but turmoil in Egypt for the foreseeable future.
This blog has railed against the crude religious stereotyping that Faux News and certain Republican politicians have engaged in this country since 9/11. The problem with that bile is that they liberally apply it to every single Muslim in this country, even though American Muslims are generally well integrated (though losers like the Tsarnaevs do exist) into this country – inspite of the efforts by Islamists and nativist xenophobes to change that.
It has been a different story in Europe. Europe is not an immigrant society and historically has not gone out of its way to assimilate immigrants. Immigrants in Europe complain of open discrimination in housing and employment that essentially forces them into ghettos and unemployment. But it is increasingly clear that the blame cannot be solely on the host country.
If a country accepting immigrants has an obligation to alleviate discrimination and help integrate immigrants into society, immigrants have an obligation too. This cautionary tale from Antwerp shows how hard it can be for liberal societies to protect their liberal values and the rights of less liberal minorities. You cannot expect to move abroad and expect that your hosts will start living life as you want it to be in some idealized dream of your home country. Immigrants also have an obligation to respect the law of the nation they move to.
The United Kingdom has long been a breeding ground for Islamic extremism stemming from the latter two points. For the last 30 years and more it has welcomed Muslim immigrants from Pakistan who stubbornly refuse to integrate. Worse time and again many of these jihadist preachers demand that Britain adopt sharia law to satisfy them. The caricatures that Faux News and the Pamela Gellers rely on are very evident there.
The video below from a young British woman who visited her hometown on hearing it had become a hotbed for Islamic radicalism is really something.
At about 3:19 in the video is a truly amazing exchange. The jihadist rally protested the temerity of the British police in arresting a Muslim woman. So the woman raises the obvious point that nobody should be above the law. Pat comes this amazing response:
If the law of the land is Islamic, we will respect the law of the land….If [the law] is not Islamic, then those that make it can go to hell.
Now it is not clear the speaker is an immigrant, but immigrants who believe this need their ass shipped out so they can rot in their old country.