War is Hell

Obama’s in Afghanistan

Lunchtime landscape: something to gaze at while you eat at your desk

westeastsouthnorth: Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka

Source: flickr.com

Occupy May Day

motherjones: Want to know what’s going on—and where—on Occupy May Day? Check out our interactive map.

Don’t bother the owl

via: afternoonsnoozebutton

Op-ed of the day — Let’s just say it: The Republicans are the problem

Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein wrote an op-ed that FINALLY says something constructive called: Let’s just say it: The Republicans are the problem. Here’s a snip:

We have been studying Washington politics and Congress for more than 40 years, and never have we seen them this dysfunctional. In our past writings, we have criticized both parties when we believed it was warranted. Today, however, we have no choice but to acknowledge that the core of the problem lies with the Republican Party.

The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.

When one party moves this far from the mainstream, it makes it nearly impossible for the political system to deal constructively with the country’s challenges.

[...] What happened? Of course, there were larger forces at work beyond the realignment of the South. They included the mobilization of social conservatives after the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, the anti-tax movement launched in 1978 by California’s Proposition 13, the rise of conservative talk radio after a congressional pay raise in 1989, and the emergence of Fox News and right-wing blogs. But the real move to the bedrock right starts with two names: Newt Gingrich and Grover Norquist.

[...] This attitude filters down far deeper than the party leadership. Rank-and-file GOP voters endorse the strategy that the party’s elites have adopted, eschewing compromise to solve problems and insisting on principle, even if it leads to gridlock. Democratic voters, by contrast, along with self-identified independents, are more likely to favor deal-making over deadlock.

Read all: Let’s just say it: The Republicans are the problem

Paul Waldman remarks,

Mann and Ornstein end with a plea to the media to start reporting more honestly on what’s going on in Washington in general and in Congress in particular—to dispense with the false equivalence that treats both parties as equally guilty of whatever bad behavior anyone is demonstrating, to stop treating the abuse of filibusters an anonymous holds in the Senate as if that’s just how the system works, and so on. Good advice, without question. And I’m quite sure that many if not most journalists in Washington have understood all the points Mann and Ornstein make for some time. Maybe they’ll start to feel like they have permission to say it, and let their reporting better reflect reality.

I don’t know. I’m afraid it’s overly optimistic to think that most journalists were just waiting for permission to report “reality” as it stands, or that they were caught in some net of false equivalency from which they were unable to extract themselves individually. There is no liberal media, as the rightwing suggests. There is only corporate-owned media with profit as the bottom line: annual profits for shareholders, large bonuses for the CEOs, and reporting that doesn’t potentially enrage the loudest and least-informed (or the wealthiest) members of its audience — or cause any Malkin-type boycotts of its advertisers.

The ‘both sides do it’ meme of journalism is a marketing tool and is probably a requirement, a feature not a bug. It’s the only way to soften one side’s insanity (GOP) against the other side. Without the daily exercise of creating false equivalency in the news between those who are mental and those who aren’t, straight reporting would automatically enrage and alienate about 20-25% of any given audience. Because the fact of the matter is: some people can’t handle the truth.

It seems there’s no way a media corp would give up that much potential profit for something as unmarketable as straight reality.  Look what they did with the build up to the Iraq War.

Austerity on steroids: the Ryan / Romney / Republican economic ‘method’

Big spending cuts to social programs +
Tax increases on lower-income people +
A reduction in the size of the federal workforce
= Immediate job growth and a more robust recovery?


Jamelle Bouie outlines what’s wrong with the current Republican economic policy (emphasis mine):

The problem, of course, is that all available evidence points to the opposite. In Europe, austerity has renewed the economic crisis—the United Kingdom, for example, is growing at a rate slower than it saw during the Great Depression. At home, austerity at the state and local level—by way of balanced budget requirements—has led to the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs, and a significantly weaker economy.

[...] The least you can say is that this was disasterous; if states and localities had the funds to keep all, or most, of the jobs they’ve shed over the last three years, the economy would be in much better shape, and the recovery would be on a stronger path. But this is one of those areas where the administration didn’t have much control; given the extent to which Republicans have rejected friendly compromises over the last year, there was no chance that they would accept tens of billions in new relief for states.

Mass layoffs for teachers, police officers, and other public servants—this is the inevitable consequence of GOP budget cutting, should Mitt Romney win the election. Someone should ask the former Massachusetts governor how he intends to “fix the economy” with his coked-out version of European austerity.

What Ryan, Romney and the Republicans won’t do is entertain a tax increase on the wealthy, or a reduction of subsidies / loopholes for profitable corporations (corporate welfare), or go through with a formerly agreed upon reduction in defense spending. Isn’t that what ending wars should automatically do — put money back into our own country?

Nine years ago today: Never Forget — May 1, 2003

Worst president ever.

On this date in 2003, Bush declared “mission accomplished.” (via)

File:Bush mission accomplished.jpg

On May 1, 2003, Bush became the first sitting President to make an arrested landing in a fixed-wing aircraft on an aircraft carrier[2][3] when he arrived at the USS Abraham Lincoln in a Lockheed S-3 Viking, dubbed Navy One, as the carrier returned from combat operations in the Persian Gulf. He posed for photographs with pilots and members of the ship’s crew while wearing a flight suit. A few hours later, he gave a speech announcing the end of major combat operations in the Iraq War. Far above him was the warship’s banner stating “Mission Accomplished.”

Bush was criticized for the historic jet landing on the carrier as an overly theatrical and expensive stunt. For instance, they pointed to the fact that the carrier was well within range of Bush’s helicopter, and that a jet landing was not needed.[4] Originally the White House had stated that the carrier was too far off the California coast for a helicopter landing and a jet would be needed to reach it. On the day of the speech, the Lincoln was only 30 miles (48 km) from shore but the administration still decided to go ahead with the jet landing. White House spokesman Ari Fleischer admitted that Bush “could have helicoptered, but the plan was already in place. Plus, he wanted to see a landing the way aviators see a landing.”[5] The Lincoln made a scheduled stop in Pearl Harbor shortly before the speech, docked in San Diego after the speech, and returned to her home port in Everett, Washington on May 6, 2003.

Continue: 2003 Mission Accomplished speech – Wikipedia

And the Republicans want President Obama to quit talking about giving the order to take out Osama bin Laden on his watch? Speaks for itself.

File:George W Bush on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln.jpg

“Somehow, firing people with jobs became the Republican strategy for job creation…”

“Somehow, firing people with jobs became the Republican strategy for job creation. People who taught our children; policed our streets; picked up our garbage; put out our fires; built and maintained our parks, libraries, and roads for a living wage became the scapegoat for the impoverishment the private sector imposed on workers. Instead of organizing to win back their own living wages and lost benefits, people were convinced that taking away those of government workers would somehow make them better off. Divide and conquer politics. The politics of fear, hate, greed, envy and spite. The race to the bottom. Orchestrated by plutocrats, executed by conservatives, allowed by Democrats.” — John Atcheson

via: christopherstreet

Morning Bunker Report: Tuesday 5.1.2012


ALWAYS CHOOSE wealthy parents — If you don’t come from a wealthy family with tens of thousands of disposable income, well, that’s a shame — no small business for you. Romney wants young people to “take a shot,” “go for it,” “take a risk,” “get the education,” and “start a business,” but only if the federal government has no role in creating those opportunities. In the 2012 campaign context, the point isn’t to mock Romney for being very wealthy or for having very wealthy parents. Rather, what matters here is that he’s opposed to using public institutions to help level the playing field for everyone else. — Steve Benen

MITT ROMNEY thinks you should read W. Cleon Skousen: conspiracy theorist, slavery apologist, tea party icon. – “Skousen quotes from an essay which argues that “one of the blessings of slavery” was that slaves’ marriages were fleeting, and suggests that being bought at auction improved slaves’ self worth. The real victims of slavery, he suggested, were the white owners. The book also referred to black children as “pickaninnies”—which prompted lawmakers in California to block the text from being used in classrooms. In Skousen’s book, the model Supreme Court decision was Dred Scott, which correctly demarcated the limits of federal power; Roger B. Taney, who wrote the majority opinion in that case, was the model Supreme Court justice.” — Mother Jones

GOOD NEWS, Arizona lawmakers are on the verge of doing what no one else could — defeat the secret United Nations plot to lower poverty, eliminate radioactive waste, and improve the public health. Obvious, glaring threats to our way of life. Arizona lawmakers appear close to sending to Gov. Jan Brewer a tea party-backed bill that proponents say would stop a United Nations takeover conspiracy but that critics claim could end state and cities’ pollution-fighting efforts and even dismantle the state unemployment office. A final legislative vote is expected Monday on a bill that would outlaw government support of any of the 27 principles contained in the 1992 United Nations Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, also sometimes referred to as Agenda 21. — What’s Wrong With Arizona?

“REPRESENTATIVE PAUL D. RYAN strolls the halls of Capitol Hill with the anarchist band Rage Against the Machine pounding through his earbuds. At 6:30 every morning, he leads an adoring cast of young, conservative members of Congress through exercise sessions in front of a televised trainer barking out orders. For fun, Mr. Ryan noodles catfish, catching them barehanded with a fist down their throats. He may be, as a friend described him, “a hunting-obsessed gym rat,” but Mr. Ryan, 42, of Wisconsin, has become perhaps the most influential policy maker in the Republican Party, its de facto head of economic policy, intent on a fundamental transformation of the federal government.” — Wow. Half-Wonk, Half-Jock. Half-Objectivist, Half-Catholic. Half-Punk, Half-Wall Street. Paul Ryan is like a projected fantasy of what every high school Young Republican wants to be when he grows up. No wonder GOPers and reporters alike are writing his name all over their notebooks. — The Man, the Legend, the Catfish Noodler

STEPHEN FINCHER (R-TN), ANOTHER TEA PARTY FRESHMAN barfed into Congress on a wave of anger over government-funded bailouts of banks, is accepting cash from bailed-out bankers. Now those incumbents are collecting thousands of dollars for re-election campaigns from the same Wall Street firms whose excesses they criticized. They have taken no significant steps to curb them or prevent future taxpayer-financed rescues. Republican freshmen have made clear their disdain for expanding government, and openly opposed a financial regulatory overhaul enacted by Democrats in 2010 before the newcomers arrived in Washington. [...] “I haven’t seen any of them putting forth legislation on breaking up the big banks or on other things that would genuinely prevent a bailout next time,” said Marcus Stanley, policy director of Americans for Financial Reform, a Washington- based umbrella group of organizations that supported the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act and other financial regulations. — Bloomberg

PRESIDENT OBAMA / DEMOCRATS————————————————————

Former President Clinton: Obama ‘Deserves to Be Re-Elected’ – “He’s got an opponent who basically wants to do what they did before, on steroids, which will get you the same consequences you got before, on steroids,” Clinton said at a campaign event this weekend.

“I WOULD SUPPORT the president’s version of the DREAM Act…I think that Senator Rubio’s version of the DREAM Act would create a second class status for folks. And I understand that Speaker Boehner has said that he doesn’t expect that that issue will be addressed in this Congress…He said the DREAM Act would be a handout and has campaigned with Kris Kobach, who authored the Arizona and the Alabama laws…” — Los Angeles’ Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, chair of the Democratic convention later this year, criticized Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-FL) work-in-progress version of the DREAM Act. — CBS NEWS | Video

WHILE OBAMA SAID it’s “entirely appropriate” to “remember what we as a country accomplished” in getting bin Laden, the President advised that people look at what Romney said in 2007 and ask him why he now says something different: OBAMA: As far as my personal role and what other folks would do, I just recommend that everybody take a look at people’s previous statements in terms of whether they thought it was appropriate to go into Pakistan and take out bin Laden. I assumed that people meant what they said when they said it, that’s been at least my practice. I said that we’d go after bin Laden if we had a clear shot at him and I did. If there are others who have said one thing and now suggested they’d do something else, then I’d go ahead and let them explain it. — Obama: ‘I Assumed’ He Meant It When He Said He Wouldn’t Get Bin Laden

THE REASON for all the dust that’s being thrown up is that, every time he talks about foreign policy, Romney is a blindfolded man in a yard full of rakes.  Is anyone taking seriously the complaints now coming about how the president’s re-election campaign is using the decision to kill Osama bin Laden to its own advantage? I think the killing of the author of the 9/11 atrocities, and a considerable international murderer even beyond that particular crime, is something that a president who wants to be president again is within his rights to use. However, Willard Romney is all a’flutter. (“My dear young chap, that simply is not done.”) There apparently were no clouds in the sky at which John McCain could yell, so he weighed in on the dreadful inappropriateness of it all. [...] In the present case, the president actually gave the order. Osama bin Laden is actually dead. And, having done what he did, the president is well within his rights to wonder out loud if Willard Romney would have made the same call, given what Romney said back in 2007, when he was just starting to run for president. And it’s no more or less “fair” on the merits than is Romney’s constant refrain that the president “doesn’t understand how the economy works” because he’s never been a vulture capitalist. (Today in New Hampshire, while travelling around with Senator Kelly Ayotte, his latest vice-presidential beard, and demonstrating the pure class and raw political courage that has marked his entire political career by throwing a cheap shot at someone who wasn’t in the room, Romney said that, “Even Jimmy Carter would have given that order.” This from a man whose toughest decision in his life has been which house to sleep in.) — Charles P. Pierce

“I’VE KNOWN RICH PEOPLE, and why not, since I’m one of them? The majority would rather douse their dicks with lighter fluid, strike a match, and dance around singing “Disco Inferno” than pay one more cent in taxes to Uncle Sugar.” — Stephen King, “Tax Me, for F@%&’s Sake!”

DID PRESIDENT OBAMA’S re-election campaign take its new slogan from MSNBC? The campaign unveiled a new video with a new tagline on Monday morning. The slogan? “Forward.” The “Morning Joe” crew were among the many to notice that the slogan bears more than a passing resemblance to MSNBC’s nearly two-year-old branding line, “Lean Forward.” — Joe Scarborough: Obama’s New Slogan Taken From MSNBC

FACTOID: “BACKWARDS” has already been trademarked by the Republican Party.

Tuesday morning penguin commute

via: bunnyfood