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DemocratsForProgress

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Member since: Mon May 28, 2012, 12:11 AM
Number of posts: 529

Journal Archives

Stormy Monday, 1/26/15

Jeff Rosenzweig: Stormy Monday, 1/26/15



The President wants to extend wilderness designation and concomitant environmental protections to millions more acres of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a move opposed by Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski and other Republicans, who would prefer to drill the crap out of ANWR. Showcasing her famed policy chops and keen intellect, Murkowski commented, “I cannot understand why this administration is willing to negotiate with Iran, but not Alaska.”

Speaking of negotiations with Iran, Republicans are hell-bent on screwing those up too. Tuesday, the House Foreign Affairs Committee will conduct what it risibly describes as a “hearing” on the status of the negotiations. As Congress lurches toward additional sanctions, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif warned the other day that such a move would “kill the joint plan of action that we adopted last year in Geneva.” In another odd development, Zarif has been summoned to explain to his nation’s parliament why he went for a “15-minute walk” with John Kerry in Geneva on January 14. Uh-oh…

“Winter Storm Juno” is bearing down on the Northeast, with blizzard conditions expected to affect up to 28 million people. Juno’s worst impact will last from Monday evening into Tuesday, with snowfall rates of two to four inches an hour and total accumulations of two feet or more forecast for some areas of New England. The suspiciously enthusiastic Henry Margusity, an Accuweather meteorologist, took to Twitter to announce, “It will be like a tidal wave of snow into New England tonight into Tuesday.”

Tuesday, the President will pass up a planned trip to the Taj Mahal and cut short his stay in India to head for Saudi Arabia for a meeting with its new king, Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, our latest staunch ally and wonderful, not at all duplicitous partner in the Middle East. Salman succeeds his recently deceased brother Adbullah, our previous staunch ally and wonderful, not at all duplicitous partner in the Middle East...


More at: http://www.democratsforprogress.com/2015/01/26/stormy-monday-12615/
Posted by DemocratsForProgress | Mon Jan 26, 2015, 02:36 PM (1 replies)

Soak the Rich?

Grumpy and Ms. Mouse: Soak the Rich?



Mouse: What is that all about? How is simply asking the extremely wealthy to pay their fair share of taxes soaking them? How is asking those who have benefited the most from the past 30 years of economic policy to pay up soaking them?

Doesn’t the middle class deserve a break? A chance to share in the wealth of the country they help make great? And what about the poor? Don’t they deserve a break and a chance too?

How ridiculous did the Republicans look sitting there like statues during President Obama’s SOTU speech? They refused to applaud anything that would help the average American. I’m sure that was on orders from the Koch brothers.

Grumpy: Oh, don’t get me started on the Koch brothers. We’ll be here for a month before I finish my rant. You are absolutely right about tax fairness. The conservative side likes to point out that the wealthy pay the majority of the taxes, but they never talk about whether those at the top are paying proportionally the same as the average middle-income workers pay. In some cases under today’s tax system, many of the wealthiest (I’m looking at you, Mitt) pay less than the doorman at their fancy Park Avenue digs or the mechanics that install their car elevators...


More at: http://www.democratsforprogress.com/2015/01/24/soak-the-rich/
Posted by DemocratsForProgress | Sat Jan 24, 2015, 05:41 PM (1 replies)

Prate of the Union

Jeff Rosenzweig: Prate of the Union



A typical State of the Union Address tells us less about a presidency than the other party’s official response to it does. This has been especially true during the Obama years. More crucially, though, it’s an opportunity for the opposition party to try to tell viewers about itself, to trot out one of its best and brightest young up-and-comers to dazzle the camera with a mouthful of startlingly white teeth, to pluck the heartstrings of Ma and Pa Viewer, and to remind us all of that mythical time when the backbone of the economy was 5-cent lemonade stands and the nation’s greatness was embodied by Juicy Fruit and the Marshall Plan. And to try and make the case, with occasional faint praise, that the President is an America-hating disaster.

Bobby Jindal was the first such nine-day wonder thrown into the breach, although he was actually responding to a non-SOTU address before a joint session of Congress, delivered barely a month into Barack Obama’s first term. In and of itself, the choice of Jindal to deliver the response seemed to reflect the flimsy state of GOP political strategizing at the time: Youthful mixed-race President? No problem! We got a young Indian feller right here, and – bonus! – he talks like Forrest Gump. Multi-cultural or what?

Jindal’s uncannily awful performance was so widely panned even by Republicans that, six years on, he has yet to regain “rising star” status in a party still desperately searching for one. Which goes some way toward explaining the GOP’s choice to respond to the first official Obama SOTU the following year, Smilin’ Bob McDonnell. Governor McDonnell was just 11 days into his term and was a Republican matinee idol, reassuringly white, Southern but not too Southern, telegenic in a megachurch preacher kind of way, and articulate without being wonkish. Back in 2010, some in his party envisioned the Oval Office in his future; he was most recently in the headlines a couple of weeks ago after receiving an outrageously lenient prison sentence on 11 counts of corruption.

Things got a little more interesting in 2011, when not one but three Republicans were tapped to try and rebut the SOTU. There was Paul Ryan, an intellectual bantamweight with a fondness for moth-eaten Randian ideas (in other words, the sort of Republican other Republicans actually consider a serious policy guy). There was Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, an archconservative Florida Congresswoman and cable news darling, summoned to speak to Hispanics after it finally occurred to the RNC that Hispanics don’t much care for Republicans. And then there was Michele Bachmann. Her “official” response on behalf of the Tea Party Express is the only one anybody remembers, less for its predictable teabagger platitudes than for the fact that she appeared to spend six minutes and 36 seconds speaking to someone standing unseen a couple of feet to the left of the camera...


More at: http://www.democratsforprogress.com/2015/01/20/prate-of-the-union/
Posted by DemocratsForProgress | Tue Jan 20, 2015, 04:01 PM (0 replies)

Stormy Monday, 1/12/15

Jeff Rosenzweig: Stormy Monday, 1/12/15



New Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell – man, it makes me queasy to type that – will try to move authorization of the Keystone XL pipeline forward today after last week’s House vote to approve it.

Tuesday, Chris Christie takes a time-out from mourning his beloved Dallas Cowboys to deliver his State of the State address. Spoiler alert: the state of the state is rife with corruption, with the worst of it centered around 354 Stockton Street in Princeton. Governor Christie will likely avoid that topic, though, to concentrate on lying and blustering, the two things he does best.

Senate Democrats will be in Baltimore Wednesday and Thursday for their annual policy retreat (and no, I will not go for a cheap laugh here). They’ll be doing so without Minority Leader Harry Reid, who’s still recovering from his recent injuries and remains in Washington on doctors’ orders. House and Senate Republicans, meanwhile, will gather in Hershey, Pennsylvania for a joint two-day retreat, presumably to synch up their respective ideas for destroying the country as efficiently as possible.

Wednesday at noon, the Londonderry Fish and Game Club in Litchfield, New Hampshire hosts a one-hour “conversation” on the Second Amendment with crackpot Senator Rand Paul, followed by a Q&A session where it’s pretty much guaranteed Senator Paul will not be asked pertinent questions like “Why the hell do you think you’re qualified to be President?” and “Where’d you get that hair?”


More at: http://www.democratsforprogress.com/2015/01/12/stormy-monday-11215/
Posted by DemocratsForProgress | Mon Jan 12, 2015, 03:24 PM (0 replies)

Race and the New Year

Walter Rhett: Race and the New Year



Let us not forget: the year will end with the Republican Speaker of the House giving his full support to a closet racist in the House leadership, who will hold the number three position, as Majority Whip. The Speaker issued a preemptive statement, intended to tamp down the growing furor over a speech the yet-to-be sworn Whip made ten years ago to a white supremacist organization’s convention, the group founded by his buddy and fellow politician, the former KKK Grand Wizard from Louisiana, David Duke.

Now, one speech doesn’t make you a racist. But one lie will. The new Whip has exceeded his quota. His lying about his ties to Duke and his speech make him a repeat offender. His lies include pretending not to know what the organization stood for. Does any politician at any level accept an invitation to speak without reviewing the goals, mission and agenda of the group before which he will appear? But more, Duke says the man soon to be the third highest ranking member of the House leadership knew exactly what the group stood for and knew of his own ties to its founding. So who is lying? The former Grand Wizard or the soon-to-be sworn Majority Whip?

Having renounced ten years late the goals and mission of the organization he voluntarily appeared before, the incoming Whip claimed higher ground, as a father, Catholic and leader. Then he supports voting rights, equal pay, Obamacare and raising the minimum wage? Well, no—but as a good Louisiana politician from a small, solid red district, not for racial reasons, but to preserve cost benefits for businesses, public fiscal integrity and personal liberty.

It’s hard to see the defense of liberty as offensive, or to abhor fiscal integrity and concern for small business. Surely, these positive goals are common to the American Promise and have little to do with race or racism, the ugliness of denying equal opportunity, restricting persons by color and ethnicity, and using the law for the economic advantage of a specific group...


More at: http://www.democratsforprogress.com/2014/12/31/race-and-the-new-year/
Posted by DemocratsForProgress | Wed Dec 31, 2014, 07:29 PM (0 replies)

Stormy Monday, 12/29/14

Jeff Rosenzweig: Stormy Monday, 12/29/14



If you blinked and missed the announcement, US combat operations in Afghanistan officially ended yesterday, which won’t be much comfort to the next casualties among the 10,800 troops remaining there into the new year. Despite the President’s pro forma assertion that Afghanistan is “not going to be a source of terrorist attacks again,” it will probably be exactly that, in no small part due to six years of escalated American military presence there on his watch.

Former President George “Not the Really, Really Bad One” Bush remains at Houston Methodist Hospital, where he has been under observation since Tuesday night for shortness of breath. Fans of mediocre ex-Presidents can breathe a sigh of relief; he’s expected to be discharged soon.

After being suspended due to inclement weather, the search for AirAsia Flight 8501 resumes Monday morning. The plane disappeared from radar screens Sunday morning, roughly halfway between its departure point, Surabaya, Indonesia, and its intended destination, Singapore. It was carrying 162 people. Expect a surfeit of fanciful speculation about the plane’s disappearance, but none will be as doltish as that of Fox News’ Anna Kooiman, who mused on air yesterday that the metric system might be at fault. Co-host Charles Payne came close, however, noting that foreign pilots, such as those on Flight 8501, lack an American-style “cowboy attitude.”

Bad weather has also impacted rescue efforts in the Adriatic, where the ferry Norman Atlantic continues to burn. 150 people had been removed from the ship by nightfall Sunday, leaving almost 330 still awaiting rescue by Greek and Italian teams. One death has been reported...


More at: http://www.democratsforprogress.com/2014/12/28/stormy-monday-122914/
Posted by DemocratsForProgress | Sun Dec 28, 2014, 08:27 PM (0 replies)

Jumping the Thin Blue Line: Police, Death and Justice

Walter Rhett: Jumping the Thin Blue Line: Police, Death and Justice



Ow—Rep. Charlie Rangel makes very good sense! The fault for the shooting of two New York City police officers lies with one person. A nut with a gun. Often, mentally ill people who engage in shootings have issues with family, intimate relationships or authority, and make them targets.

Rather making making the police targets, the demonstrations and protests have focused on the absence of justice and accountability. In Gabby Giffords’ case, a rush of politicians and spokespeople vehemently denied any connection between speech about violent revolution, images with target bullseyes superimposed on the faces of elected officials, rallies attended by people openly carrying a variety of guns. Many of those who denied a connection, calling the instance “isolated,” draw a line of cause and effect between protest and violence.

Protests aside, it is clear many New York City police have no respect for law and resist civilian control as they violate administrative rules and criminal codes at will. By abundant evidence: recall the $1,300 an officer in Brooklyn took in October from the shirt pocket of a person not in custody who was pepper-sprayed in the face. The person, in a park with several friends who are heard on camera demanding the police return the money, withdrew the money from his bank to celebrate his wife’s birthday later that evening. None of the other officers at the scene attempted to stop the illegal act, which was a deliberate theft (in New York, larceny). One pepper-sprayed his sister for protesting.

The same officer had been previously sued the year before for the use of excessive force. The suit claimed the officer beat a citizen and, after kicking him in the throat, fractured his larynx. The city settled the case for $25,000. With no evidence of accountability, the police department claimed the money taken (also improper as no arrests were made!) was properly vouched as $62...


More at: http://www.democratsforprogress.com/2014/12/24/jumping-the-thin-blue-line-police-death-and-justice/
Posted by DemocratsForProgress | Wed Dec 24, 2014, 04:44 PM (0 replies)

Stormy Monday, 12/22/14

Jeff Rosenzweig: Stormy Monday, 12/22/14



Funeral services for Lowell Steward, a Tuskegee Airman, will be held Monday morning in Los Angeles. Steward earned the Distinguished Flying Cross for his service in Italy in 1944. He died of pneumonia last Wednesday, aged 95.

The World Health Organization reported last week that western Africa’s death toll from Ebola is approaching 7,400. Nearly half the deaths have occurred in Sierra Leone, where there are an estimated 8,800 active cases (6,900 confirmed). As an anti-contagion measure, Sierra Leone and Guinea have imposed bans on New Year’s Eve celebrations. In related medical news, those politicians who went into a frothing-at-the-mouth frenzy over the supposed threat of Ebola to Fortress America have apparently all been struck miraculously mute, though, sadly, only on this particular topic.

Friday, the Obama family arrived in Hawaii for a winter vacation, or, as the President characterized it, a “quiet time-out” before the fourth quarter of his tenure in office. The President is scheduled to return to Washington on January 4, two short days before Republican Congressional majorities start trying to legislate and deregulate the nation back to the 19th century.

Vacation notwithstanding, the President is expected to announce tomorrow that Sally Yates, US Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, is his pick for next Deputy Attorney General, replacing James Cole...


More at: http://www.democratsforprogress.com/2014/12/21/stormy-monday-122214/
Posted by DemocratsForProgress | Sun Dec 21, 2014, 10:38 PM (0 replies)

Murder and Theft

Walter Rhett: Murder and Theft



Witness Thoreau’s idea of civil disobedience at its unimagined worst: a Congress in rebellion against itself and its oath, whose continual looting has brought inattention and cynicism to the treasures carefully hidden and being lifted out of its ruins. The powerful have long been known for the benefits that can be reclaimed from the trough of moral morass. Pull out freedom; its leverage becomes an element of theft.

Before any great political theft, the ground must be made ready. Money must be put in in order for money to be taken out. Politics must reach beyond logic and ignore facts and details to ignite passion, a passion tied to fear and prejudice that becomes push-pull factors that block and bend the attractions of voters and drive their preferences. A push-pull factor that combines fear and prejudice into a powerful package is death.

Death is a common bedfellow of politics. Death is the political spear of politicians. Its push-pull offers the satisfactions of blood lust to followers and offers a palate of fear that dismantles opponents. Other than martyrs, death defines losers.

Socrates’ sentence of suicide is a part of the politics of the ancient Greeks. Crowds in the 1800s gathered in festive moods outside of London’s Newgate Prison for hangings as vendors set up shop for food and sold relics of the hangman’s ropes. In Charleston, during this period, the heads of convicted slaves were mounted on wood columns at the foot of the city’s entry bridges as a warning and assurance to all who passed. These few examples are among the many ways civilizations dealt death as punishment and tried to prime the social environment for political theft...


More at: http://www.democratsforprogress.com/2014/12/17/murder-and-theft/
Posted by DemocratsForProgress | Wed Dec 17, 2014, 03:13 PM (0 replies)

Who’s Grumpy? Not Me!

Grumpy and Ms. Mouse: Who’s Grumpy? Not Me!



Grumpy: Mouse, I am trying so hard to be myself (you know, grumpy) these last weeks but the season keeps intruding. I’m sure that come January when the bills arrive and a new Congress takes over I’ll be back to my old self again, but for now my grump seems to have abandoned me!

Mouse: It’s impossible for me not to enjoy this time of year. How could you have the holiday without the mouse in the poem that doesn’t stir on Christmas Eve? Ya wanna know why it’s not stirring? ‘Cause it’s beat from running up and down the tree putting decorations on it and then wetting its whistle with some nice Cognac. Oh yeah… I looove this time of year!

Grumpy: Not the least of my less than grumpy mood comes from Congress going away for the rest of the year. Somehow I think, however, that their foolish ideas like a fake war on Christmas are sure to try to intrude on what should be a season of good wishes and joy to all.

Mouse: For a group that is supposed to admire Jesus, the man who preached peace, Republicans sure love war… any and all war, even if they have to make one up. It’s terribly sad...


More at: http://www.democratsforprogress.com/2014/12/16/whos-grumpy-not-me/
Posted by DemocratsForProgress | Tue Dec 16, 2014, 05:42 PM (0 replies)
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