Posted on 18-10-2013
Filed Under (Politics) by Rashtrakut

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.

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Posted on 17-10-2013
Filed Under (Science) by Rashtrakut

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.

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Posted on 17-10-2013
Filed Under (Politics) by Rashtrakut

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….

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Posted on 16-10-2013
Filed Under (Politics) by Rashtrakut

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.

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.

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