Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Something to Know - The Eve's Kennel




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****
Juan
 
A face only a Rottweiler could love.
-- Lassie

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Something to Know - 30 December

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1.  Timothy Egan, as many pundits do at this time of year, has picked a topic to reflect upon.  His is actually quite funny and entertaining.   Like it is literally humorous,.....whatever:
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/29/opinion/egan-words-for-the-dumpster.html?emc=eta1&_r=0

2.  Ross Douthat comes in with the same them as Egan did.  However, his is self-criticism about some of his own pontification gone awry:

3.  Robert Reich, turns rock star, to tell us about his opinion of the current Congress:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0K7hBTFML5g


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****
Juan
 
Never get a mime talking. He won't stop.
-- Marcel Marceau

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Something to Know - 24 December

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1.  The GeeOpie is fragmented, splintered, and in disarray.   Karl Rove's grip on being the Wizard behind the curtain is slipping.  The cats are running around free in the house, and herding them is going to be a spectator sport:

2.  David Brooks has his assessment of the progress of the ACA.  Take it in with all the others that have been cast:

3.  For your holiday enjoyment:
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/24/opinion/a-christmas-manners-quiz.html?emc=eta1

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****
Juan
 
Pessimism is only the name that men of weak nerves give to wisdom.
-- Bernard DeVoto

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Something to Know - 22 December

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1.  Most of the readers of this ...(whatever this is), are people who are around my age, and somewhat removed from the development of new words that enter social conversations.   Most of them are developed by younger people who are adventurous with the English language and who prefer to invent new ways to name something that we really do not understand.  To that end, enjoy this:

2.  Catching up on some of the stuff I missed while I was cruising, I came across this piece in the Business section of the LA Times this morning.   If you have not yet seen "Inequality for All", by Robert Reich, you can start by reading this by Michael Hiltziik, and then catch the movie on Netflix:
http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-hiltzik-20131222,0,1294414.column#axzz2oF5c8p7W

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****
Juan
 
Never get a mime talking. He won't stop.
-- Marcel Marceau

Friday, December 20, 2013

Something to Know - 20 December


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1.  Jenny Beth Martin, with whom I had some email jousts several years ago, is the darling founder of the Tea Party Patriots from Woodstock. Georgia.  In this piece from the NY Times, she is offering up some sour taste from her skirmishes with the GeeOpie.   She offers up a bunch of ideology, but runs nothing about the very negative actions of her extreme zealots whose mission is to shut the government down.   It is ironic that she ends her column by quoting Kurt Vonnegut, who really had no bond with these folks:

2.  In keeping with the theme developed above, the Palin wing of the GeeOpie finds no shame in their climb to get aboard the Duck Dynasty Train.  If this is the substantive strength of a political campaign, they are doomed.  Perhaps the real muscle behind A&E's action is based on the opinions of the advertisers, with some deference to not supporting homophobia by the producers.  It makes great theater:

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Andy Borowitz

The Borowitz Report

DECEMBER 19, 2013

SCALIA CALLS "DUCK DYNASTY" DECISION UNCONSTITUTIONAL

POSTED BY 

robertson-580.jpg.jpeg

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia lashed out at the cable network A&E today, calling its decision to suspend Phil Robertson, the star of the TV series "Duck Dynasty," unconstitutional, and demanding that it be overturned at once.

Speaking at a press conference with fellow Justice Clarence Thomas, a visibly angry Scalia told reporters that Robertson was "exercising his First Amendment right to express an opinion—an opinion, I might add, that many other great Americans agree with."

He warned that the suspension of the "Duck" star would have a "chilling effect" on freedom of speech in America: "If Phil Robertson can be muzzled for expressing this perfectly legitimate view, what's to prevent the same thing from happening to, say, a Justice of the Supreme Court?"

He added that, while he was a huge "Duck Dynasty" fan who never misses an episode, his objection to Mr. Robertson's suspension was "purely on Constitutional grounds."

Declaring that A&E's decision "will not stand," Justice Scalia said he would ask the Supreme Court to meet in an emergency session to overturn it: "This offensive decision by A&E is a clear violation of the Constitution, and I'm not the only one on the Court who feels that way. Right, Clarence?"

Justice Thomas had no comment.



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****
Juan
 
Never get a mime talking. He won't stop.
-- Marcel Marceau

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Something to Know - 18 February

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1.  Steve Lopez goes down to one day in the life of Señora Carmen Mendoza and how she is driven to try and make sure that he family can live the American Dream.  She has not car, so she is driven by the Metro LA bus system.  It is a very difficult life, and is typical of those who have long days in search of a better life:

2.  Where is the Tea Party going?   The old, white, and angry are gathering in groups, as reported in this piece, bolstered by the Koch empire.   How it plays out with the mainstream GOP (which is re-emerging) remains to be seen:

3.  This, from the New Yorker, offers a closer look at the ruling by Judge Richard Leon, who has put forward his action that has stopped the movement by two presidents and the NSA to snoop on ALL of our electronic messaging because it goes against the rights set forth in our Constitution:

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Something to Know - 17 December

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My thanks to those who wondered about my health of late.  No, I was away on a cruise, and am too cheap to pay exorbitantly sky-high charges to get internet service on the high seas.

1.  In trying to spool up to matters (local and otherwise), the only really interesting discussion is about the difference in importance between Snowden and the Pope.  Then we have the Keystone GeeOpie and their internal jousting on policy and mission matters and leaving the Tea Baggers holding a bag of ashes.  With all that in mind, please settle for this piece from David Brooks, which probably makes more sense than all of the other stuff around:

2.  The New Yorker magazine has a swell way of letting us know just how wonderful things can be.   Look at it this way - Isn't it wonderful that a product exists that eliminates the odor from the baby's diaper?:
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****
Juan
 
Never get a mime talking. He won't stop.
-- Marcel Marceau

Friday, December 13, 2013

Fwd: John Boehner has declared war on you

Couldn't happen to better crowd.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Tea Party Patriots
Date: Friday, December 13, 2013
Subject: John Boehner has declared war on you
To: juanma2t@gmail.com


You are receiving this email on behalf of Tea Party Patriots. 100% Grassroots, 100% of the Time.
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View it in your browser.

Dear Patriot,

Yesterday, House Speaker John Boehner declared all-out war on the Tea Party. 

In an angry rant he railed against "outside groups" like Tea Party Patriots saying "they're using our members and they're using the American people for their own goals."  

The last time we checked, we are the American people. Tea Party Patriots – like you – all across this country are the last hope for reining in this out-of-control government and protecting our Constitution.

Donate Now!

We must fight back, and we must fight to win!

Please, make the most generous contribution of $10, $15, $25, or whatever you can afford to Tea Party Patriots immediately so that we can continue to fight the establishment elites in Washington.

The Speaker of the House has drawn a line in the sand.

We must build up our momentum so that we can educate more Americans about the ruling elite. 

Ruling class politicians like John Boehner trumpet conservative principles when it's convenient, but when you look at their policies they are nothing but a bunch of tax-and-spend liberals.

Just last night after his smug and pretentious rant, Boehner passed his so called "bi-partisan," back-room budget deal which increases discretionary spending, does nothing to reform entitlements, and fully funds Obamacare.

It is an out and out betrayal of the American people. 

Since the Tea Party handed the House of Representatives to a Republican majority in 2010, Boehner has done nothing but break promise after promise when it comes to cutting spending. 

Speaker Boehner wants you to believe that the Congress in power 10 years from now will actually keep today's promise to cut spending. But he can't even keep the cuts he promised from his beloved sequester!

Please make the very best contribution you can right away to help us ramp up the pressure on the Washington "ruling class." Help us reach our goal of $10,000 today.

We can't win this war without your generous support. Please help by making the very best contribution you possibly can today!

Thank you in advance for all your help!

Donate Now!

For Liberty,
 

Tea Party Patriots National Support Team

Tea Party Patriots, Inc. operates as a social welfare organization organized under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code. Contributions to Tea Party Patriots, Inc. are not deductible as charitable contributions for income tax purposes.

Paid for by Tea Party Patriots, Inc., Debbie Dooley (Treasurer)
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Copyright © Tea Party Patriots, Inc. 2013
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Support: 404-593-0877
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--
****
Juan
 
How old would you be if you didn't know how old you are?
-- Satchel Paige

Monday, December 2, 2013

Something to Know - 2 December

Rush Limbaugh has a peculiar way of passing on Merry Christmas to Pope Francis.   

RSS
Rush Limbaugh: Pope is preaching 'pure Marxism'
Rush Limbaugh calls the Pope's latest statement "pure Marxism."
December 2nd, 2013
11:29 AM ET

Rush Limbaugh: Pope is preaching 'pure Marxism'

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) – Pope Francis:  Successor to St. Peter ... the people's pontiff ... Marxist?

That's what conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh suggests, calling the Pope's latest document "pure Marxism."

Limbaugh blasted the pontiff on Wednesday, a day after Francis released "Evangelii Gaudium" (The Joy of the Gospel), a 50,000-word statement that calls for church reform and castigates elements of modern capitalism.

Limbaugh's segment, now online and entitled "It's Sad How Wrong Pope Francis Is (Unless It's a Deliberate Mistranslation By Leftists)," takes direct aim at the pope's economic views, calling them "dramatically, embarrassingly, puzzlingly wrong."

The Vatican issued the English translation of "Evangelii," which is known officially as an apostolic exhortation and unofficially as a pep talk to the worlds 1.5 billion Catholics.

Francis  the first pope ever to hail from Latin America, where he worked on behalf of the poor in his native Argentina – warned in "Evangelii" that the "idolatry of money" would lead to a "new tyranny."

The Pope also blasted "trickle-down economics," saying the theory "expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power."

READ MORE: Pope Francis: No more business as usual

The Pope's critique of capitalism thrilled many liberal Catholics, who have long called on church leaders to spend more time and energy on protecting the poor from economic inequalities.

But Limbaugh, whose program is estimated to reach 15 million listeners, called the Pope's comments "sad" and "unbelievable."

"It's sad because this pope makes it very clear he doesn't know what he's talking about when it comes to capitalism and socialism and so forth."

In fact, Argentina was a battlefield between leftist socialists and right-wing security forces during much of Francis' early career in the country, where he was a Jesuit priest and later archbishop of Buenos Aires.

Limbaugh, who is not Catholic, said he admires the faith "profoundly."  He admired Pope Francis as well, "up until this," Limbaugh said.

The talk show host also said that he has made numerous visits to the Vatican, which he said "wouldn't exist without tons of money."

"But regardless, what this is, somebody has either written this for him or gotten to him," Limbaugh added. "This is just pure Marxism coming out of the mouth of the Pope."

Limbaugh took particular issue with the Pope's criticism of the "culture of prosperity," which the pontiff called a "mere spectacle" for the many people who can't afford to participate.

"This is almost a statement about who should control financial markets," Limbaugh said. "He says that the global economy needs government control."

"I'm not Catholic, but I know enough to know that this would have been unthinkable for a pope to believe or say just a few years ago," Limbaugh continued.

In fact, Francis' predecessor, Benedict XVI, now pope emeritus, could be just as strong a critic of capitalism.

In 2009, Benedict, in an official church document called an encyclical, said there was an urgent need for "a political, juridical and economic order" that would "manage the global economy."

As Limbaugh notes, Benedict's predecessor, the late Pope John Paul II, was a noted foe of communism, after living under its oppressions in his native Poland. But evenJohn Paul thought that unregulated capitalism could have negative consequences.

In "Evangelii," Francis called for more of a spiritual and ethical revolution than a regulatory one.

"I encourage financial experts and political leaders to ponder the words of one of the sages of antiquity: `Not to share one's wealth with the poor is to steal from them and to take away their livelihood. It is not our own goods which we hold, but theirs,'" said Francis, quoting the fifth-century St. John Chrysostom.

Liberal Catholics defended Pope Francis on Monday, calling on Limbaugh to apologize and retract his remarks.

"To call the Holy Father a proponent 'pure Marxism' is both mean-spirited and naive," said Christopher Hale of the Washington-based Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good. "Francis's critique of unrestrained capitalism is in line with the Church's social teaching."

Limbaugh is not the only conservative commentator to take issue with the Pope's views on capitalism.

READ MORE: Sarah Palin 'taken aback' by Pope Francis's 'liberal' statements

"I go to church to save my soul," said Fox News' Stuart Varney, who is an Episcopalian. "It's got nothing to do with my vote. Pope Francis has linked the two. He has offered direct criticism of a specific political system. He has characterized negatively that system. I think he wants to influence my politics."

It doesn't sound like the criticism is slowing Francis down, however. He's started ending a Vatican contingent, including the Papal Swiss Guards, into Rome to deliver food and charity.


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****
Juan
 
How old would you be if you didn't know how old you are?
-- Satchel Paige

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Andy Borowitz


 

The Borowitz Report

  • DECEMBER 1, 2013

G.O.P.: HEALTHCARE.GOV TOO FAST NOW

POSTED BY 

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WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Republican critics of Obamacare rose up in anger today, claiming that, after two months of fixes, the healthcare.gov Web site is now "unacceptably fast."

Leading the howls of protest was the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who accused President Obama of designing a Web site that operates at a "blistering, breakneck speed."

"With pages loading in milliseconds, this Web site is insuring people before they know what hit them," Rep. Issa charged. "Clearly, this is what the President and his team had in mind."

Additionally, Rep. Issa said, at such high speeds "it is questionable whether this Web site is even safe for consumers to use, particularly the elderly."

The California Republican said he would call for hearings this week to investigate the dangerous new velocity of healthcare.gov, telling reporters, "If anyone can slow this thing down, it's me."


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****
Juan
 
How old would you be if you didn't know how old you are?
-- Satchel Paige

Friday, November 29, 2013

Something to Know - 29 November

Pat Oliphant
1.  The Affordable Care Act, yes has and and does have its problems in the rollout.  However, it is one of the single-most important and effective efforts by government to help solve a problem that the private sector has not been able to find solutions for the last .....well, since this country has had a history.   The right-wing Republicans have no intent in helping out.  In fact, its mantra seems to be Mitch "Turtle" McConnell's mission to see that Obama fails.  To that end, Timothy Egan of the NY Times offers this opinion:

2.  Do  you have any doubts that those gruesome anti-smoking ads, such as the dying patient wheezing away in his wheelchair, have had any impact?   Well, they are doing a better job than expected:
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/29/opinion/the-power-of-cigarette-warning-labels.html?emc=eta1&pagewanted=print

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****
Juan
 
I knew when my career was over. In 1965 my baseball card came out with no picture.
-- Bob Uecker

Something to Know - The Tea Party Christmas Gift Guide

Yes, the Tea Baggers have entered the Black Friday gift-giving mentality.  For a closer look on their limited outlook on stuff, here is an actual email (received this morning) of reading material that would present the Tea Party Patriot Christmas spirit for your friends:

Tea Party Patriots Gift Guide


Patriots,

Over the last several years we have read several great books that sum up our core values, define the philosophies that we believe in, and lay out paths to fixing the problems that face our nation. We wanted to share some of those with you as we are approaching the holidays in an effort to give you some ideas on what to buy your loved ones and friends for this very special time of year.

We have divided the list below into different sections.

In the Limited Government section you'll find books by Peter Schweizer that highlight what we're up against, Tea Party Patriots: The Second America Revolution which is a perfect gift for your friends and family who may not understand what the Tea Party movement is all about, and Mark Levin's new book about the need to re-balance the power between the states and the federal government.

If you want books to give you a better understanding of the Constitution, check out the Constitution section. If you or someone in your family is interested in learning more about Free Markets and the ideas of natural law and self-government then check out the Economics and Philosophysections. Common Sense Economics is great book to teach someone the basics of economics in an easy to understand way and Ameritopia is perfect if someone is really interested in getting into deep philosophy of different forms of government.

For children, check out the Just for Kids section. And finally, we wanted to give you some ideas that were entertaining and informational and you will find those in the FictionGreat Presidents, and Video sections. Tea Party Patriots co-founder Jenny Beth Martin highly recommends The Hunger Gamesseries for ages that range from her 5th grade twins all the way to grandparents. It's a great illustration of what happens when too much power is concentrated in one part of the country while being disconnected from the rest of the nation. The parallels to our current situation are alarming!

And finally, we'd like to recommend that you consider shopping at Hobby Lobby for things such as Christmas trees, decorations, lights, supplies, crafts, and gifts. They are continuing the fight against Obamacare and standing up for the First Amendment and for that we commend them. 

As always, we want to thank you for being such an important part of the movement. We hope that you and yours have a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Together we are going to restore a fiscally responsible, constitutionally limited government so that free markets can thrive. 

Limited Government 
The Liberty Amendments by Mark Levin
Tea Party Patriots by Mark Meckler, Jenny Beth Martin
Extortion by Peter Schweizer
Throw Them All Out by Peter Schweizer

Constitution 
Federalist Papers by Hamilton, Madison, Jay, Rossiter
The Heritage Guide to the Constitution by Edwin Meese, Matthew Spalding
5000 Year Leap W. Cleon Skousen
Miracle of America Brian P. Trotter
Federalist Papers in Modern Language Indexed for Today's Political Issues Mary E. Webster

Economics 
How Capitalism Will Save Us: Why Free People and Free Markets are the Best Answer in Today's Economy by Steve Forbes, Elizabeth Ames
Free to Choose: A Personal Statement by Milton & Rose Friedman
Common Sense Economics: What Everyone Should Know About Wealth and Prosperity by James D. Gwartney et al
Basic Economics by Thomas Sowell
Applied Economics by Thomas Sowell

Philosophy 
Road to Serfdom by F.A. Hayek
The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Eliot by Russell Kirk
Ameritopia by Mark Levin
Liberty and Tyranny by Mark Levin
Property and Freedom by Richard Pipes
A Conflict of Visions by Thomas Sowell

Fiction
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
The Hunger Games Box Set by Suzanne Collins
Empire of Lies by Andrew Klavan
We the Living by Ayn Rand
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
Hidden Order by Brad Thor

Great Presidents 
Coolidge by Amity Schlaes
Rendezvous with Destiny by Craig Shirley

Just for Kids 
George Washington: The Crossing by Jack Levin
Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims: Time-Travel Adventures with Exceptional Americans by Rush Limbaugh
Tea Party Coloring Book

Videos 
John Adams HBO Mini-Series
The Hunger Games Movie
Catching Fire Movie Tickets
Liberty Kids

Sweet Treats
The Confectional Cheesecakes
Janie's Cakes - Pound Cakes

 

In liberty,
Tea Party Patriots National Support Team



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Juan
 
Satire is tragedy plus time. You give it enough time, the public, the reviewers will allow you to satirize it. Which is rather ridiculous, when you think about it.
-- Lenny Bruce

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Something to Know - 20 November

Jen Sorensen

Is it raining out?  Gloomy and cool?   Want to kill some time reading about the plight of the American Work Force in the last 40 years?   Take this on for a long read:
http://prospect.org/article/40-year-slump

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****
Juan
 
Satire is tragedy plus time. You give it enough time, the public, the reviewers will allow you to satirize it. Which is rather ridiculous, when you think about it.
-- Lenny Bruce

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Something to Know - 19 November

Mike Luckovich
1.  Do you wanna change from tired old news about Obamacare website problems, and the attendant snarky comments?   Here's a different opinion on the latest news that there are about 40 Billion (or so) Earth-like planets out there in space.   Not that we are going to settle on any specifics, but you might want a change of pace.  If you really want to get into it, come up with a way to provide universal single-payer health coverage for all those aliens out there:

2.  Mexico has its problems. Deep poverty in many areas, and a failure of totally integrating its indigenous native Indians into society.  The drug cartel violence has ruled in many of its states, and has corrupted the justice system.   Perhaps if the United States were to de-criminalize many of the drugs and legalize marijuana, the money made from Prohibition would put an end to most of the criminal careers and activities on both sides of the U.S./Mexican border.  In one sense, the Mexican State of Guanajuato highlights the promise of building on education and jobs to reverse a dismal past and point the way to better governance:

3.  The NY Times editorial board is not on board with the GeeOpie's behavior on assigning total incompetence one Administration to all others.   The GOP noise wants to drown out any and all efforts by the Obama people without any Republican effort to do anything themselves to improve anything.   Okay, forget the other planets:

4.  The system of justice in the State of Alabama is as peculiar as some other historical and events in the past.  A trial by jury and the verdict by the jury in this state is subject to the perception of how the judge feels about his reputation and electability.   This is totally wrong, and immoral to our system:


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****
Juan
 
Satire is tragedy plus time. You give it enough time, the public, the reviewers will allow you to satirize it. Which is rather ridiculous, when you think about it.
-- Lenny Bruce

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Andy Borowitz

The Borowitz Report

NOVEMBER 16, 2013

OBAMA SAYS AMERICANS CAN KEEP THEIR DAMN INSURANCE

POSTED BY 

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WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Faced with a barrage of new questions about the Affordable Care Act, President Obama cut short a White House press conference today, telling the stunned press corps, "You know what? Everybody can keep their damn insurance."

Glaring at the reporters, the President continued, "You heard me. If your insurance is crappy, then you just go ahead and keep it—the crappier, the better. Let's pretend this whole thing never happened."

A vein in his forehead visibly throbbing, the President added, "You know, I really wish I hadn't spent the last three years of my life on this thing. I should've just gone around invading countries for no reason. That would've made everybody happy. Well, live and learn."

As the reporters averted their eyes from the President, many of them looking awkwardly at their shoes, he concluded his remarks: "All those people out there who want to repeal Obamacare? Well, guess what: I'll make their day and repeal it myself. Really, it's my pleasure. But I swear that this is the last time I try to do something nice for anybody."


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****
Juan
 
We have, I fear, confused power with greatness.
-- Stewart Udall

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Andy Borowitz

The Borowitz Report

  • NOVEMBER 14, 2013

REPUBLICANS BLAST OBAMA'S SUPPORT OF THEIR IDEA

POSTED BY 

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WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report) — Moments after President Obama said he would allow insurers to continue health plans that were to be cancelled under the Affordable Care Act, leading Republicans blasted the President for agreeing with an idea that they had supported.

"It's true that we've been strongly in favor of Americans being allowed to keep their existing plans," said House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). "But now that the President is for it, we're convinced that it's a horrible idea."

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Virginia) went further in ripping the President, calling Mr. Obama's tactic of adopting ideas proposed by him and fellow Republicans "beneath contempt."

"The President should be aware that any future agreeing with us will be seen for what it is: a hostile act," he said.

Minutes later, White House spokesman Jay Carney helmed a hastily called press conference, hoping to stem the quickly escalating coöperation scandal.

"The President understands that he has offended some Republicans in Congress by agreeing with them," Mr. Carney said. "He wants to apologize for that."

But far from putting an end to the controversy, the President's apology drew a swift rebuke from another congressional Republican, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who called it a "blatant provocation."

"If the President is going to continue agreeing with us and apologizing to us, he is playing with fire," he warned.



--
****
Juan
 
We have, I fear, confused power with greatness.
-- Stewart Udall

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Something to Know - 13 November


 If you watched 60 Minutes for the last two weeks, you saw an account of "Benghazi", and then a retraction the following week.  Sloppy and very questionable journalism was displayed by CBS News, and a real black eye for the program and an even worse problem for Laura Logan.  This is a good account of what happened:

lara-logan-60-minutes-580.jpeg

"I didn't even have to go into the room to see who it was," a man calling himself Morgan Jones told Lara Logan, of "60 Minutes," on October 27th, remembering how he had glimpsed a body through the glass in a door. It was September 11, 2012, the night four American diplomats were killed in Benghazi.

JONES: I knew who it was immediately.
LOGAN: Who was it?
JONES: It was the Ambassador, dead. Yeah, shocking.

Logan looks shocked. And then, a few minutes later, when Jones—"a pseudonym he's using for his own safety," Logan says—reminisces about scaling a twelve-foot wall in a compound being overrun by members of Al Qaeda, she looks impressed. He encountered a terrorist, but, he says, "As I got closer, I just hit him with the butt of the rifle in the face."

JONES: Oh, he went down, yeah.
LOGAN: He dropped?
JONES: Yeah, like … like a stone.
LOGAN: With his face smashed in?
JONES: Yeah.
LOGAN: And no one saw you do it?
JONES: No.

Morgan Jones, the man who doesn't need to go into a room to know what he'll see, and is, somehow, seen by no one when he does what he has to do. Watching the exchange now, it seems almost doomed to lead where it has.

"We end our broadcast tonight with a correction," Logan said this Sunday. She used Jones's real name, Dylan Davies. After the broadcast, she said, "questions arose about whether his account was true when an incident report surfaced. It told a different story about what he did the night of the attack." Davies, she said, "insisted the story he told us was not only accurate, it was the same story he told the F.B.I. when they interviewed him." When "60 Minutes" learned on Thursday that, in fact, the F.B.I. report "was different from what he told us, we realized we had been misled, and it was a mistake to include him in our report. For that we are very sorry. The most important thing to every person at '60 Minutes' is the truth. And the truth is, we made a mistake."

This is an odd statement and an understatement. To say that the incident report "surfaced" and told "a different story" isn't quite adequate: Karen DeYoung, of the Washington Post, obtained it, and it was apparently already among the papers turned over to Congress. The discrepancies extended to Davies's location that night: he was not in the compound at all but, rather, in his "beach side villa." ("We could not get anywhere near," the report read.)

Skepticism might have set in around the point when Logan recited how Jones, alone and unseen, "scaled the twelve-foot wall of the compound," and not later. On Monday night, Stephen Colbert produced a parody about a thirty-foot wall in the CBS newsroom beset by Hillary Clinton, swinging dangerous weapons—but self-parody is already in the "60 Minutes" segment, and has certainly been present in the Congressional response to the deaths in Benghazi. When Logan's report aired, Senator Lindsey Graham, who has been fixated on the idea of a conspiratorial coverup, saw it as more dark proof. If we hadn't heard about Jones, and the warnings he said he passed on, what else didn't we know? Graham cited "60 Minutes" as a reason for holding up the nominations of various ambassadors, an odd penalty, given that the incident involved a diplomatic outpost that could have used some help. After the report's integrity disintegrated, he said that he wouldn't give up.

"Correction," the word "60 Minutes" used, is a tricky one in this context. The program did not correct its report, in the sense of putting out an accurate version. The entire segment was pulled from its Web site. If the mistake was putting Davies on air, one might, in theory, imagine a correct version in which his interview is simply excised; that's impossible here, though. There is no report without Davies. He is either speaking or providing the point of view for more than eight of its fifteen and a half minutes; we rely on him not only for the sight of Ambassador Chris Stevens's body but for a phone conversation the two supposedly had a few hours before Stevens died—a particularly low form of fabrication, if that's what it is—as well as calls he says he had with Sean Smith, another diplomat who was killed; Libyan guards; and another unnamed American at the compound. ("I said, 'Well, just keep fighting. I'm on my way.' ") And he provides Logan with her guiding logic: "The events of that night have been overshadowed by misinformation, confusion, and intense partisanship," Logan says,

But for those who lived through it, there's nothing confusing about what happened, and they share a sense of profound frustration because they say they saw it coming.

Then we're introduced to Jones, the man with the gun who had it all figured out, and whom no one seemed to hear.

There are really two charges against CBS: that they were duped, and that the segment itself was an example, to borrow Logan's terms, of misinformation, confusion, and intense partisanship. Journalists make mistakes; sources lie. DeYoung's story ran in the Post on October 31st, and was followed up with passion elsewhere. (Dave Weigel has written aboutMedia Matters's role.) CBS lost some sympathy by apparently accepting, for a number of days, Davies's explanation that the incident report, which was in his voice but didn't have his signature, was the byproduct of lies he told a supervisor out of his immense respect for the man whose orders he hadn't followed. Perhaps Logan thought that tracked; her apology-preview appearance on CBS's "This Morning" only partly clarified the thinking. She was still defending Davies days after DeYoung's report, telling the Times that the criticism was political. "We worked on this for a year. We killed ourselves not to allow politics into this report." Then came the F.B.I. report, and there went the clarity Logan claims to have finally found in Davies's story.

It's a sad aspect of this story that Logan claims the segment was more than a year in the making. Where did the time go? In the fairly long piece, Logan fails to offer any real statement about the Administration's perspective. Only two other people are interviewed on camera. One is a military man who doesn't understand why the diplomats didn't get out of Benghazi months earlier. Another is a diplomat who doesn't understand why, at the critical moment, significant military forces didn't move into Benghazi from across the border. Davies, who is somehow supposed to tie these threads together, doesn't understand why, on the first day he first arrived in the city, he found Libyan guards "inside, drinking tea, laughing and joking" rather than looking sharp, and why everyone didn't heed a private contractor, like him. Not that Davies is identified as such: he's a "security officer," Logan says. "A former British soldier, he's been helping to keep U.S. diplomats and military leaders safe for the last decade." (Nor does she mention that his book, promoted in the segment, was published by Simon & Schuster, a unit of CBS, something she has admitted was a mistake.) But who knows what Davies said before or during the attack. His account is about as good as a spilled cup of tea, making the rest unreadable.

Those military and diplomatic questions deserve better answers, ones about policy choices rather than half-discerned conspiracies. You wouldn't know from Logan's report that the United States was engaged at the time in a historic and violent transition in Libya, in which the Qaddafi regime was overthrown with the help of our forces, or about that revolution's disordered denouement, or about the Obama Administration's decision to ignore the War Powers Act. Libya is presented as nothing but a place with a diplomatic mission and Al Qaeda's black flags in the street. Brave men swinging rifle butts are thwarted by craven ones in Washington who won't move their "military assets" into the country.

This is Benghazi, the story that burns all sides, those who use it as a weapon as well as their targets. (It seems to hurt less if one has no shame or a serious primary challenger, as is the case with Lindsey Graham.) That is largely because of how they pick their battles: Sunday-morning talking points; what word the President used; demands for more documents without, it would seem, the willingness to actually read what they say. The image of a rampaging Hillary Clinton is not far from the actual rhetoric around the story, which will only be revved up if she runs in 2016. She has, in some impatient, tone-deaf testimony, already provided some footage for commercials. It is strange to remember, given what a drag it's been on Obama's agenda, but Romney was the one most hurt by Benghazi in the debates, when Candy Crowley, the moderator, said that he was wrong about the President not saying "terror" in the Rose Garden immediately after the attack. Benghazi the scandal is full of absurdities. Libya, the real country, is the scene of its own national tragedy, and an American one, the walls of which have barely been scaled.



--
****
Juan
 
We have, I fear, confused power with greatness.
-- Stewart Udall