Category Archives: Government

Nothing says seventh grade like . . .

From friend Ed this morning. Khpbmezsb0zfi4ks4bhw
How about these?

Jackie Battley’s ex-husband, and Marianne Ginther’s former lover and ex-husband, Callista Bisek’s former lover and current husband for President! Go Newt!

Regina Peruggi’s ex-husband, and Donna Hanover’s former lover and ex-husband, Judith Nathan’s former lover and current husband for President! Go 9/11 Rudy!

Wheee, this is fun!

Every July 4 . . .

. . .  we celebrate our independence. Because 238 years ago a brave group of revolutionaries threw off a colonial power. That’s something that has happened around the world many times – both before and since. But . . .

. . . I think our greater achievement is this: for 225 years we have maintained a continuity of government (even in war), peacefully transferring power (that one’s just since Washington to Adams, so 214 years) over and over . That’s a testament to the brilliance of our constitution and our continuing respect for it. Good for us!

Bad. More bad.

So SCOTUS has decided:  protections accorded human beings by the Bill of Rights are extended, yet again, to Corporations.

  • Since corporations are persons and speech is money, political donations are from them are unrestricted. It’s Free Speech, protected by the First Amendment.
  • And now, some for-profit corporations have been granted Freedom of Religion and the attendant protections to exercised those ‘freedoms’ even when in opposition to the civil laws of the land.

Heed Thomas Jefferson:

“The end of democracy and the defeat of the American Revolution will occur when government falls into the hands of lending institutions and moneyed incorporations.”

Say no more.

Politifact needs to learn arithmetic

Last week Bill Maher said: “There are 278 Republicans in Congress. (With Eric Cantor’s defeat), they are now all Christian and all white except for one black senator, who was appointed.”

With tortured twisted reasoning, Politifact rates that Half True. First they describe the Dems:

The 2012 elections ushered in the first Buddhist in the Senate (Hawaii’s Mazie Hirono, a Democrat), the first Hindu in either chamber (Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a Democrat), and the first Congress member to list her religious affiliation as “none” (Arizona Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, a Democrat) . . . They joined two Muslims (Democrats) and a Unitarian Universalist (a Democrat).

They don’t offer a total of non-Christian Dems in Congress. It’s 37. Now here’s what they say of Congressional Republicans:

When it comes to Republicans,192 of 278 GOP members identify with a Protestant denomination (Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, etc.), 70 identify as Catholic, three are Orthodox Christian, and 12 are Mormon (more on that in a moment). Cantor, a Republican from Virginia, is Jewish and makes No. 278, but Brat, the Republican who could succeed him after the November election, is Catholic.

So until the next Congress is sworn in in January, we can count 277 Christian and one Jew. Politifact notes that some people don’t consider Mormons Christian. Which matters not at all because that’s how Mormons identify.

So that’s  37 non-Christian Dems and one (ONE) non-Christian Republican. Yup, that’s half alright.

Are Republicans all white?  Politifact says half-true because there are seven Hispanics. For some reason they felt compelled to mention that there are also three  GOP Senators .

To say the other Republicans in Congress are all white depends on your definition of “all white,” which isn’t always so easy to define.

There are no other African-American Republicans in Congress (there are 43 black Democrats). There also are no Asian or Pacific Islander Republicans in Congress (there are 13 Democrats).

But there are three Hispanic Republican senators and seven Hispanic Republicans in the House. Those Hispanics?

So there you go – the Dems have 56 and the GOP has seven. Definitely half.

 

 

Who lost Iraq?

Who lost Iraq? Two views:

Fareed Zacharia says that first, above all, Nouri Al-Maliki lost it.

The prime minister and his ruling party have behaved like thugs, excluding the Sunnis from power, using the army, police forces and militias to terrorize their opponents. The insurgency the Maliki government faces today was utterly predictable because, in fact, it happened before. From 2003 onward, Iraq faced a Sunni insurgency that was finally tamped down by Gen. David Petraeus, who said explicitly at the time that the core element of his strategy was political, bringing Sunni tribes and militias into the fold. The surge’s success, he often noted, bought time for a real power-sharing deal in Iraq that would bring the Sunnis into the structure of the government. . .

But how did Maliki come to be prime minister of Iraq? He was the product of a series of momentous decisions made by the Bush administration. Having invaded Iraq with a small force — what the expert Tom Ricks called “the worst war plan in American history” — the administration needed to find local allies. It quickly decided to destroy Iraq’s Sunni ruling establishment and empower the hard-line Shiite religious parties that had opposed Saddam Hussein. This meant that a structure of Sunni power that had been in the area for centuries collapsed. These moves — to disband the army, dismantle the bureaucracy [Moe: thank you Paul Bremmer you creep] and purge Sunnis in general — might have been more consequential than the invasion itself.

Dexter Filkins, noting among other things that the border between Iraq and Syria has been erased, names three causes: 1) the Syrian war, and 2)  Al-Maliki, whose thuggery since the US withdrawal (which itself was necessitated in part by his absolute refusal to sign the usual Status of Forces Agreement to provide legal protections to remaining US Troops), and 3) . . .

Which brings us to the third reason. When the Americans invaded, in March, 2003, they destroyed the Iraqi state—its military, its bureaucracy, its police force, and most everything else that might hold a country together. They spent the next nine years trying to build a state to replace the one they crushed. By 2011, by any reasonable measure, the Americans had made a lot of headway but were not finished with the job . . .

Today, many Iraqis, including some close to Maliki, say that a small force of American soldiers—working in non-combat roles—would have provided a crucial stabilizing factor that is now missing from Iraq.

So Bush broke it and Obama left before it was finished (I’m surprised that Filkins beleives we could ever actually ‘finish’ it). By the way, Filkins is a war correspondent of the ‘old school’ and spent years in Iraq during the war and his book about that time, The Forever War, is just stunning.

 

Ornstein says ‘nihilists’ and he always knows what he’s talking about

Norm Ornstein chimed in this morning on the near future of the GOP. He views Cantor’s loss less as the beginning of a populist trend and more a preview of intracine battles yet to come in the party. It’s here.

He sets it up with pitch perfect – and delightful – disdain for our fickle media narrative:

The new dominant narrative, of course, is that the Tea Party rose up, struck back, showed its muscle and has the party establishment on its heels. That replaces the previous narrative, that the establishment rose up, struck back, and has the Tea Party on its heels.

And wraps with this:

American political parties always face a tension between their establishment and ideological wings. On the Republican side, going back more than a hundred years to the Teddy Roosevelt era, that was a struggle between moderate progressives and conservatives.

Now it is different. There are no moderates or progressives in today’s GOP; the fight is between hard-line conservatives who believe in smaller government and radical nihilists who want to blow up the whole thing, who have as much disdain for Republican traditional conservatives as they do for liberals.

Always worth a look is old Norm.

Executive Orders – a journey through time

Here are totals by President for all Executive Orders (numbers from The American Presidency Project, a fascinating data-loaded site).

The WW presidents – Wilson, FDR, Truman show big numbers which is logical. Hoover was the Depression. TR and Taft: that was the trust-busting era so maybe that explains their big numbers. But mostly, there’s not much of a story to be told here – they go up and they go down. Regularly.

At five years in, Obama looks like he could fall behind every president but two since WWII.

George Washington 8
John Adams 1
Thomas Jefferson 4
James Madison 1
James Monroe 1
John Quincy Adams 3
Andrew Jackson 12
Martin van Buren 10
William Henry Harrison 0
John Tyler 17
James K. Polk 18
Zachary Taylor 5
Millard Fillmore 12
Franklin Pierce 35
James Buchanan 16
Abraham Lincoln 48
Andrew Johnson 79
Ulysses S. Grant 217
Rutherford B. Hayes 92
James Garfield 6
Chester Arthur 96
Grover Cleveland (I) – 113
Benjamin Harrison 143
Grover Cleveland (II) – 140
William McKinley 185
Theodore Roosevelt 1,081
William Howard Taft 724
Woodrow Wilson 1,803
Warren G. Harding 522
Calvin Coolidge 1,203
Herbert Hoover 968
Franklin D. Roosevelt 3,522
Harry S. Truman 907
Dwight D. Eisenhower 484
John F. Kennedy 214
Lyndon B. Johnson 325
Richard Nixon 346
Gerald R. Ford 169
Jimmy Carter 320
Ronald Reagan 381
George Bush 166
William J. Clinton 364
George W. Bush 291
Barack Obama 168

What if it was Bush? How would I feel?

ccccccccccccccccccThe 2014 World Press Freedom Index is out. Nasty news – again – for the old U-S-of-A where we’ve been sliding into the badlands ever since 9/11. And where my President and his Attorney General have some ‘splainin’ to do. Which will not happen with this President or any future President unless we get really really lucky.

Countries that pride themselves on being democracies and respecting the rule of law have not set an example . . . Freedom of information is too often sacrificed to an overly broad and abusive interpretation of national security needs, marking a disturbing retreat from democratic practices.

This has been the case in the United States (46th), which fell 13 places, one of the most significant declines, amid increased efforts to track down whistleblowers and the sources of leaks. The trial and conviction of Private Bradley Manning and the pursuit of NSA analyst Edward Snowden were warnings to all those thinking of assisting in the disclosure of sensitive information that would clearly be in the public interest.

US journalists were stunned by the Department of Justice’s seizure of Associated Press phone records without warning in order to identify the source of a CIA leak. It served as a reminder of the urgent need for a “shield law” to protect the confidentiality of journalists’ sources at the federal level. The revival of the legislative process is little consolation for James Risen of The New York Times, who is subject to a court order to testify against a former CIA employee accused of leaking classified information. And less still for Barrett Brown, a young freelance journalist facing 105 years in prison in connection with the posting of information that hackers obtained from Statfor, a private intelligence company with close ties to the federal government.

The United Kingdom (33rd, -3) distinguished itself in the war on terror by the disgraceful pressure it put on The Guardian newspaper and by its detention of David Miranda, journalist Glenn Greenwald’s partner and assistant, for nine hours. Both the US and UK authorities seem obsessed with hunting down whistleblowers instead of adopting legislation to rein in abusive surveillance practices that negate privacy, a democratic value cherished in both countries.

At least the UK was spared the shame of our double-digit decline in press freedom. USA!

In so many ways . . .

. . . we are really two different countries and the similarities to Civil War era America abound.

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

And there’s this too  – the ten poorest States. I got it from a 2011 story at Glenn Beck’s The Blaze where commenters were not surprised, reasoning that that’s what Obama had done to us in just 20 months. The man worked fast!

  1. Mississippi
  2. Arkansas
  3. Tennessee
  4. West Virginia
  5. Louisiana
  6. Montana
  7. South CArolina
  8. Kentucky
  9. Alabama
  10. North Carolina

How about teen pregnancies? Below the mid point and dominating the list for ‘least teen pregnancies’, all of New England and most of the NorthEast. And what region dominates the list for ‘most teen pregnancies’? Lookee here:

STATES WITH MOST TEEN PREGNANCIES:
New Mexico – 93/1,000
Mississippi – 90/1,000
Texas – 85/1,000
Nevada – 84/1,000
Arkansas – 82/1,000
Arizona – 82/1,000
Delaware – 81/1,000
Louisiana – 80/1,000
Oklahoma – 80/1,000
Georgia – 78/1,000

STATES WITH FEWEST TEEN PREGNANCIES:
Iowa – 51/1,000
Nebraska – 50/1,000
Utah – 48/1,000
Wisconsin – 45/1,000
Maine – 43/1,000
Massachusetts – 42/1,000
North Dakota – 42/1,000
Minnesota – 42/1,000
Vermont – 38/1,000
New Hampshire – 33/1,000

How about high school dropouts by State? A pattern emerges.

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Even I didn’t know it was this bad

From a column in The Hill today:

Even by the standards of a divided Congress . . . there has never been such an unproductive session of Congress.

NBC’s “First Read” recently published a chart comparing the productivity of today’s divided Congress (57 laws passed) to the work undertaken by a divided Congress during President Reagan’s terms – when Republicans controlled the Senate and Democrats controlled the House. The 97th, 98th and 99th Congresses respectively passed 473 laws, 623 laws, and 663 laws.

The article concluded: “It’s not even a close call. That [Democratic] House got a lot more done with its GOP rivals than this GOP House has with its [Democratic] counterparts.”

Absolutely not interested in being Governor of all of Florida

Gov. Scott has not publicly stated his reasons for the rejections.

Only Governor of half the people.

How much respect does the indicted-insurance-fraud (who invoked the Fifth Amendment 75 times) hold for half the people of this state? Zero. Zilch.

From today’s Tampa Bay Times:

TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott, seeking to bring the court system more in line with his conservative outlook, has repeatedly rejected lists recommended to him by the Florida Bar of lawyers seeking to screen candidates for judgeships.

Scott has rejected dozens of attorneys the Bar has nominated to serve on judicial nominating commissions, created decades ago to professionalize the bench and make merit and qualifications at least as important as political connections.

“He wants people with humility,” says Scott’s chief counsel, Pete Antonacci, “and he wants judges who will follow the law and not make it up as they go along.”

The Bar said Scott’s two predecessors, Charlie Crist and Jeb Bush, never rejected any of its nominees. The governor has rejected the lists 16 times and has never publicly given a reason and is not required to do so.

Scott has sent back so many Bar-recommended names that the group keeps a five-page spreadsheet to track them.

Pure ideology.

Why Medicare works and Obamacare might not

Picked this up at Andrew Sullivan’s site. More at the link.

Mike Konczal blames Obamacare’s technical problems on the law’s design. He contrasts Obamacare’s form of social insurance, which he labels “Category A,” with previous forms of social insurance, such as Medicare and Social Security, which he labels “Category B”

http://sullydish.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/social_insurance_category.png

He doens’t look so dead to me.

Aha. Jim Inhofe is 78 years old and has been on Medicare, a truly socialized medical insurance plan, for 13 years. inhofe

Did we take a giant step forward, and then two . . . (you know the rest)

The whole story of the ACA roll out is yet to be reported in depth, but this morning in his Wonkbook email, Ezra Klein provides a credible – and disturbing – overview of what led up to the massive failure of the web portal. There’s a lot more at his Wonkblog at the Washington Post.

The best news for Obamacare is that almost everyone — including the Obama administration — realizes the crucial online portal is currently a disaster. . . Actually, that’s been the problem: President Obama didn’t know that. Nor did White House chief of staff Denis McDonough. Nor did Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who will be testifying to that fact next week.

It would be one thing if Obamacare’s problems had been unknowable. But they weren’t. Staff at HHS and CMS saw this coming for months. Insurance companies began predicting a mess long ago. But the bad news was shaded and spun as it made its way up the chain of command. The alarming failures seen in the (inadequate) load tests were written off as bugs that would soon be fixed.

As Lena Sun and Scott Wilson reported, “Days before the launch of President Obama’s online health insurance marketplace, government officials and contractors tested a key part of the Web site to see whether it could handle tens of thousands of consumers at the same time. It crashed after a simulation in which just a few hundred people tried to log on simultaneously.”But staff was terrified to speak on the record, or even on background. Some of the concerns slipped out, like in this Wall Street Journal story. . . . As Jonathan Cohn writes, “the management failures here were real and took place on multiple levels.”

Obamacare has a chance because those management failures are over. The White House now has a brutal clarity about the depth and extent of the system’s problems.

. . . Managers up and down the chain realize their careers are in jeopardy if they deliver sunny reports that prove false.. .For all that, no one actually knows whether the system will be fixed in the next few weeks — the crucial window, experts think, before the problems begin to degrade the risk pool and raise premiums.

So far, there’s been huge improvements in the number of Americans able to get into the site and create accounts, but insurers aren’t reporting much improvement . . .

The White House is optimistic that the problems will be solved in time. . .  If there’s a reason to believe them, it’s that they’ve learned how dangerous unfounded optimism is.

Did Obama really hand this off and assume it would be okay? Or did he ride HHS for progress updates but never insist on hearing the downside reports? Did Sebelius do the same thing?

Will the very same Administration that succeeded in taking took us a step closer to the century long  battle for universal health care also be the Administration responsible for its failure?

I think it’s a fair question.

Oh please, don’t wake me up . . .

Bet you didn’t know this. Neither did I, but it’s right there on Glenn Beck’s own site, The Blaze, the place for dystopian paranoia and apocalyptic terror – plus there are many wonderful things available for purchase!

Glenn Beck on Monday began what he said is “just the beginning” of his work to reveal the background and motivations of Grover Norquist, the founder and president of Americans for Tax Reform.

Beck began by playing recent clips of Norquist calling out Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) for his efforts to derail Obamacare, noting that while he used to joke about the left’s portrayal of Norquist as a “big power player,” he’s since revised his dismissive opinion in light of the warnings that you “don’t ever take this guy on unless you’re prepared.”

Beck’s show Monday primarily concentrated on Norquist’s alleged connections to Islamists. He invited Frank Gaffney, the president of the Center for Security Policy, and Daniel Greenfield of the David Horowitz Freedom Center, to weigh in.

There’s a David Horowitz Freedom Center? Seriously?

Priorities people, priorities!

According to The Wall Street Journal, developing the health insurance exchange site so far . . .

. . .  has cost at least $360 million, and possibly as much as $600 million.

Then there’s the F-22. Developing that baby cost a mere $42 billion and while the planes themselves are a steal at only $150 million per, it was nine years before a single production model was delivered to the Air Force.  Wikipedia:

During the development process the aircraft continued to gain weight at the cost of range and aerodynamic performance, even as capabilities were deleted or delayed in the name of affordability

F-22 production was split up over many subcontractors across 46 states, in a strategy to increase Congressional support for the program.[29][30] However the production split, along with the implementation of several new technologies were likely responsible for increased costs and delays.[31] Many capabilities were deferred to post-service upgrades, reducing the initial cost but increasing total project cost.[32]Each aircraft required “1,000 subcontractors and suppliers and 95,000 workers” to build.[33] The F-22 was in production for 15 years, at a rate of roughly two per month.[34]

Now that’s some bureaucracy there! It’s really a marvel the thing flies.

Sorry Kathleen, your day must come to an end

https://i2.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5c/Kathleen_Sebelius_official_portrait.jpgShe really needs to step down. Soon.

Someone must pay the political price; it’s the distasteful way of the world.

So just get it over with.

Anxiously awaiting an explanation . . .

. . . for that ACA website clusterf*ck. Official statements aren’t of much use yet, although I expect there will be hearings down the road.

I’m deeply curious about what went into the thinking, and then what went on behind the scenes with the legions of technocrats who built the site. They’re the ones who usually get it right and this time they got it so so wrong.

Most puzzling and bizarre – why does the site block users from browsing unless they register an account? Have the designers never visited a retail website? Shopping comes first, establish an account comes second, sign up (or add to your cart as we know it) is penultimate and finally it’s time to pay up and the transaction is done.

A puzzlement. Soon there will be some in-depth investigative reporting in reputable media outlets on how it went wrong. I look forward to reading those stories.

The very first rule of reporting: tell the reader ‘who, what, when, where, why’. So where’s the ‘why’?

https://i0.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1f/James_Abram_Garfield,_photo_portrait_seated.jpg

Okay, it’s true. I did it..

Here’s a bit of  incomplete reporting on a recent “outrage-of-the-day” claimed to  result from that damn Obama government shutdown – this is from National Review; for hyperbolic end-of-the-Republic rhetoric, visit less reliable outlets elsewhere where the sputtering abounds:

“With the government shutdown, many GS [government services] and contract priests who minister to Catholics on military bases worldwide are not permitted to work – not even to volunteer,” Schlageter wrote. “During the shutdown, it is illegal for them to minister on base and they risk being arrested if they attempt to do so.”

Why would that be? Surely there’s a reason but perhaps National Review simply ran out of space.

Let us board the way-back-machine and visit, for example, the Gingrich shutdown of 1995. Hundreds of thousands of Federal employees were furloughed. Many of them tried to get around the rules and work anyway; turns out they found themselves in a spot of trouble. Why was that?

It was pretty much for the same reason they would be in trouble now – subject to disciplinary action, criminal charges even, if they violate the rules*.

Allow me to quote an email from a family friend in DC who is a long-time Federal employee; he’s been locked out of his office since Tuesday:

 . . . the General Counsel listed what would happen to us if we did any work during the shutdown, including up to two years of prison. . . I cannot find out what is happening with the grass roots grantees I work with in Latin America – much less process their next disbursement.  I can’t even volunteer my time.

Ah, just like those Catholic priests! And here’s why – our friend goes on:

This is thanks to the Anti-Deficiency Act* which prohibits the government to spend money which hasn’t been appropriated and puts the fear of God into government supervisors.

The Anti-Deficiency Act was initially enacted – wait for it – in 1884. James Garfield was President. Major amendments occurred in 1950 and 1982. Any employee or supervisor who “knowingly and willfully” violates any of the law’s provisions can face punishments of up to $5,000 in fines and two years in prison, according to the GAO.

I don’t see any mention of the Anti-Deficiency Act in The National Review story but I’m confident it’ll be included in all those FOX News stories to follow.

They didn’t hire themselves you know

Dear Stuart Varney: You are an idiot and that’s probably why you’re a star at the Fox Business channel (the one no one watches). Asked if Federal workers are deserving of back pay when this is over, Varney said:

That is a loaded question isn’t it? You want my opinion? . . .  No, I don’t think they should get their back pay, frankly, I really don’t. I’m sick and tired of a massive, bloated federal bureaucracy living on our backs, and taking money out of us, a lot more money than most of us earn in the private sector, then getting a furlough, and then getting their money back at the end of it. Sorry, I’m not for that. I want to punish these people. Sorry to say that, but that’s what I want to do.

(Why is he sorry to say that?) Stuart, the people you want to punish aren’t the ones who created the agencies, funded them, or made the rules. They are people, plain people who work in payroll or data processing. Maybe they’re engineers or safety inspectors or mathematicians or nurses. Perhaps they clean the offices. How about the folks who answer phones at IRS, CDC, Defense . . . they don’t carry weapons so they’re probably non-essential. I’m guessing that most departments have IT people – let’s hope nobody needs critical help on their computers or – Elvis forbid – servers.

As for those who are essential … they’re required to stay on the job (see Washington DC, Thursday, Capitol Police) but won’t see paychecks for the duration. And today is Friday – for most people, that’s payday.

And you want to punish them. Delightful.

 

So much for polls

Offered without comment:

While the House burns like Atlanta . . .

UPDATED BELOW: From Forbes magazine this morning:

But a new survey of 1,976 registered voters finds that only 33 percent believe that the health law should be repealed, delayed, or defunded. 29 percent believe that “Congress should make changes to improve the law,” 26 percent believe that “Congress should let the law take effect” and see what happens, and 12 percent believe that the law should be expanded. The bottom line? Voters are skeptical that Obamacare will live up to Democrats’ hype. But they also believe that it should be given a chance to succeed.

Universal health care (which Obamacare is most assuredly not – at least not yet) has been a political objective, indeed a platform goal, of the Democratic Party  since Truman (Teddy Roosevelt and Nixon liked it too). So it has been a stated goal of at least half this nation for decades. It is now the law, as passed by the Congress, signed by the President, upheld by the US Supreme Court, and reaffirmed by the American people when they re-elected the President who sponsored it. That’s exactly the way our Federal government was designed to work.

The House GOP is not pursuing the will of the American people, they are pursuing a Party objective. They forget that they are only one of three branches of government (and only half of that branch!). 

Our Founders knew well to build in protections against a tyranny of the minority. UPDATE: commenter Alan Scott points out – correctly – that I am wrong here. Our Founders built in protections against a Tyranny of MAJORITY. My bad.

The minority half of one branch of our government is on the wrong side of this.

Filllibuster!!! Popcorn please!

ringmasterLadies and gentlemen! Citizens of television land! I call you to gather at the CSpan for the Greatest Show on Earth!! Ted Cruz has taken the floor.

This is the third real filibuster in the last few years and that should be a good thing. I much prefer it to the invisible procedural nonsense of  placing holds.  Last year, Bernie Sanders (D-VT) did eight hours and last winter Rand Paul did thirteen hours. I don’t think either changed any minds, but they were presented honestly and honorably.

But this one? After hours of Ted Cruz sends the whole populace rushing for the showers, other Congress Critters might decide that doing business in the shadows was the better idea after all.

Good old Ike – he didn’t think anyone would take these guys seriously. He was wrong.

http://i.ebayimg.com/00/s/MjAwWDIwMA==/z/PVMAAMXQ0pNRpPzs/$T2eC16R,!y0E9s2S6cbQBRpPzsNBgg~~60_35.JPG?set_id=8800004005As we approach the start of the GOP’s Annual Hunting Season To Capture and Kill Legislation (Social Security from the 1930’s, Medicare from the 1960’s, and those 21st Century obscenities, Bush’s Medicare Part D Rx plan, and Obama’s nose under the door of universal health care), I like to remember this guy. Here’s then-former President Dwight D. Eisenhower in a 1954 letter to his brother.

Now it is true that I believe this country is following a dangerous trend when it permits too great a degree of centralization of governmental functions. I oppose this–in some instances the fight is a rather desperate one. But to attain any success it is quite clear that the Federal government cannot avoid or escape responsibilities which the mass of the people firmly believe should be undertaken by it. The political processes of our country are such that if a rule of reason is not applied in this effort, we will lose everything–even to a possible and drastic change in the Constitution. This is what I mean by my constant insistence upon “moderation” in government. Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are H. L. Hunt (you possibly know his background), a few other Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas.Their number is negligible and they are stupid.

 

Whoops

Thank The Dear Elvis this guy didn’t shoot Antoinette – she was needed elsewhere.

A Republican state senator from Arkansas who is leading a legislative committee on the subject of giving guns to school teachers accidentally shot a teacher during an “active shooter” drill earlier this year, the local paper of record has uncovered.

State Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson put forward a proposal in the wake of last December’s mass shooting event at Sandy Hook Elementary School that would allow law enforcement officials to deputize teachers and other staff members, effectively putting them in charge of school safety.

There must be almost a hundred people there – why is no one objecting?

In Alabama, at a hearing on a public power utility hearing:

Perhaps they’re really praying for lightning; they may think that’s where their ‘lectricity comes from?

Yet another bit of logic we must ignore if we want to stay F-R-E-E-E

This thing is kind of like health care. In spite of abundant evidence that Glass-Steagall worked (no bank failures for 50 years – approximately  ’33 to ’83), those enjoying the fruits of today’s perverse versions of capitalism and finance, who are dedicated to making money with money (making things is so yesterday), will not tolerate anything resembling a reinstatement of that law. And they will win.

Here’s a People’s Warrior on CNBC facing the conventional opposition, laced with a bit of hostile mockery. This video was viral a few days ago, until it briefly disappeared because CNBC filed a copyright claim against, I believe, the Senator. Ahem?

That is what brought this video to the attention of the fine folks at Upworthy. They note that “It gets amazing at 2:08. At 3:42, she uses their words against them. And at 4:39 [it really rocks].”

Listen to her ‘splain it all – clearly, simply and confidently.

It’s this way because we want it this way

universalhealthcare_posterFrom Bloombery News, this is something that’s been screamingly obvious, and widely known. It has, however, been barred from any examination of American health care reforms. Because Denial isn’t just a streetcar, it is a national state of mind.

Americans are dying sooner and living with more illnesses than residents of Slovenia and other less prosperous countries . . . the U.S. is getting a poor return on money it spends on health care.

. . . lose more years of life to heart disease, lung cancer, preterm birth complications, diabetes and more . . . than most of 34 other developed countries from 1990 to 2010..

The study comes from the famously socialist Journal of the American Medical Association.

The U.S. failed to keep up with other nations in improvements in health care despite spending most per capita . . . U.S. death rate fell to 27th place in 2010 from 18th place in 1990.

Anything here you didn’t already know about?

When a President travels: it’s embarrassing

Every now and again, a tired and predictable outrage erupts over the cost of Bush’s! Obama’s! or (fill in the blank) _____’s travel. We heard one a few weeks ago when the President went! to! Africa!

The rants are usually accompanied by charges that the President is getting all tyrannical and acting like a king plus no other President has been so respectful of hard-working tax-paying Americans, so extravagant (especially if the President being so characterized is of anther political party).

And they’re right. President protection has reached preposterous levels. As for the effectiveness of the web of security we’ve constructed, look  no further than Reagan –  shot from just a few yards away while surrounded by Secret Service.

From the time of the Kennedy assassination, the retinue – from the epic productions that are foreign travel, to the limo known as “The Beast” and the ambulances that accompany every POTUS motorcade – has grown like a cancer.

In a post called When Presidents Travel, james at PoliticalDog101 tells us in detail how costs reach absurd levels when a POTUS and/or a FLOTUS go a’callin’ – pretty much anywhere.

Here’s The Dog (he does not even try to list the number of people who travel with the President – staff aides, cooks, stewards, pilots, government functionaries):

Aircraft for the President:

  • Air Force One of course
  • a second B-747-200 back up plane in case the one the President is traveling on has trouble.

Helicopters when needed:

  • Marine One Helicopter – for POTUS
  • For security details and press, another 4-5 choppers

The helicopters are airlifted by Air Force C-17 Cargo planes to EACH stop on the trip

The vehicles:

  • Presidential Limo’s – two limos for EACH stop
  • Secret Service ‘Back-Up’ Vehicles to transport the President’s Security Detail
  • White House Communications Vehicle – This SUV will be in the motorcade to help keep up contact with the US from anywhere on the planet
  • Secret Service Counter Assault Team SUV – Heavily armed firepower to protect POTUS (in addition to the Security Detail)
  • Hazmat Vehicle – A Marine detail in case of a chemical assault on the POTUS group
  • White House Medical Team Vehicle – Usually a US Doctor from the WH Staff plus a paramedic or military medic with their equipment

All of the vehicles (about 8 to 10 ) are airlifted by Air Force C-17 Cargo planes to EACH stop

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Oh joy! Today is an excuse to post these

James Cagney was the ultimate song and dance man. I’m pretty sure Michael Jackson watched these moves over and over . . .

and how about this for pure grace . . .

and you can’t beat this for pure wonderful schmaltz . . .