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Gender: Male
Hometown: Maryland
Member since: Sun Aug 17, 2003, 11:39 PM
Number of posts: 50,919

Journal Archives

President Obama has my full support for his diplomacy with Iran - I didn't give him credit for Syria


. . . because he and SoS Kerry mouthed so much of the rhetoric that the previous administration used to justify their own autocratic approval of the use of military force abroad.

President Obama has proven to me, with Syria, that he's willing and capable of following through on his diplomatic initiatives and isn't using the State dept. as a mere PR tool to initiate military action.

It would be easy to be cynical about this tenuous 'deal' that's looming with Iran. It could be understandable to doubt that Iran has any intention of following through on promises to bring their nuclear ambitions in line with 'international norms' - making whatever they agree to just a welcome invitation for hawks to point to this deal as a last straw in diplomacy with them. Indeed, if Iran doesn't follow through, this agreement could become a pretext for some to proceed to war with Iran.

However, I think President Obama deserves the benefit of our acknowledging his current success (so far) in persuading Syria to reveal and destroy their chemical weapons arsenals. That efforts stands, without a doubt, alongside not more than a handful of diplomatic initiatives which our country has managed to a successful and peaceful end.

Again, it still remains to be seen whether the Syrian initiative is completed to our government's satisfaction, but it's a rare example of a presidential conviction to exhaust all peaceful means to a confrontation or conflict with other nations. That's not an easy or assured course to choose and adhere to for a U.S. president- at least, we don't have a great many examples in our recent history; including this president's.

For that, President Obama gets my support for his Iran initiative . . . he can rest easy now.

Newsweek ‏@Newsweek 23m
WhiteHouse releases pics of Oval Office mtgs leading up to nuclear deal with Iran (via http://www.flickr.com/photos/whitehouse …) pic.twitter.com/xE7qBJWe60

The 5% of Americans affected by Obamacare fix don't square with reports declaring demise of the ACA


While the issue over companies cancelling or changing health insurance plans using Obamacare as an excuse is certainly important to some folks, the hyped reports of a revolt against the health act and it's impact on the presidency are simply opportunistic lies from individuals and groups who've been working to overturn the law from the beginning.

More than that, the immediate criticisms of the President's plan to 'fix' the objectionable loophole betray a long-simmering hatred of the man. The narrative from opponents today is that President Obama has been 'dishonest' about the ACA.

That's a ridiculous reach, considering that his reaction yesterday was, like, 'Go ahead and keep your crappy plans, but, you should at least know that Obamacare provides for better alternatives.'

Despite the President's gracious apology, it's clear that he's not invested in sticking Americans with health care options they don't want - but, he's also determined to make available workable, affordable, and viable health insurance options. It's that simple. End of scandal.

Yet, just like the continuing lies and blackmail from republicans over 'Benghazi', any dispute over provisions or implementation of Obamacare is exploited by these demagogues to try and discredit this man.

"See, I told you he was a liar! I told you he intends to hurt Americans . . ." On and on.

I got that reaction from one fellow at work yesterday who couldn't wait to tell me ho Democrats were running away from Obamacare. He got all of that from nothing more than the reports over this tiff from 5% of Americans who insist they want to keep their crappy health plans.

Democrats supported a 'fix' and the President relented. End of story. But, that's enough room for these juvenile expressions of hatred to draw an analogy between these petty (yet, addressed) objections and whatever else they're using to convince us that President Obama is some bad man.

That's what's playing today behind all of the breathless talk about political damage to the President and falling polls, and the like. They can't disagree with President Obama without calling him a liar, a traitor, a foreigner, or some other vile expression of their own paranoid and disturbed psyche. It would make their day if they could convince someone else to adopt their desperate hatred.

Republicans and their supporters have woven complete fantasies out of explainable and manageable events and have convinced themselves that they must be true. That's basically their political platform. How easy it would be for them to sidle up to the president's centrism and find agreement; but, they're content and intent on defining themselves as far away from reality as their conservatism can take them - all out of their juvenile hatred of this man, and the political advantages they've taken in convincing their constituents to adopt that same hatred.

It just creeps me out. They need mental help. They certainly shouldn't be in charge of anything that affects our lives out here.

I would TOTALLY have Elizabeth Warren's baby

from TBogg at Raw Story:

What if Elizabeth Warren went back in time and smothered Baby Hitler in his crib?

____ If you have been perambulating about the internet these past few days, the above is exactly the kind of linkbait bullshit narratives that are being peddled by people who have wearied talking about President of New Jerseymerica Chris Christie or whether Rand Paul was the real life inspiration for the J.L. Borges short story, Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote. It seems that frustrated writers lacking hobbies have turned their lonely eyes to the Democratic side of the 2016 presidential election which is just around the corner, if by corner, you mean: three years from now. But with Hilary “Killary” Clinton pretty much chillaxing with the nomination ripe for the taking (providing she doesn’t rehire Mark Penn, aka The Man Who Could Fuck Up A Baked Potato) there isn’t a whole lot of tension the likes of which you can find on a daily basis on the Republican Wingnut Flavor of the Week side . . .

I love Elizabeth Warren. I would totally have her baby if she would have me. You love Elizabeth Warren. We all love Elizabeth Warren. Someday Elizabeth Warren t-shirts may very well become as ubiquitous as Che T’s. But, outside of the hazy crazy patchouli-scented fever palaces that are the comment sections of the manic progressive websites, nobody really thinks that Warren could, would, or should run an insurgent primary campaign against Clinton. And, to be quite frank, those who think Warren should run to in order to “start a conversation” are the kind of people who have attempted this kind of thing in the past and , as my grandmother used to put it, “don’t have dick to show for it”.

I can’t say whether Scheiber really thinks this Warren for POTUS groundswell is a ‘thing’ (of course we have yet to hear from Lady Lynne Forester Sniffnose Wobblebottom LaDeeDah de Rothschild lately, and Jeebus knows that where the trade winds have taken her these past few months) or if he’s just trying to jack up page views for TNR owner Chris Hughes. But the whole piece reeks of inside-baseball I-used-to-play-Risk chin-stroking navel-gazing hey-look-what I just-pulled-out-of-ass,-you-guys bullshit. And I mean that with great respect . . .

But, you know, Warren totally could run because, as Cokie Roberts might put it: it’s out there now, which is almost as good as a fact when you’re working the Villager cocktail weenie circuit where everything is a horse-race for their amusement and they create the reality in which we are supposed to live…

read: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/11/12/what-if-elizabeth-warren-went-back-in-time-and-smothered-baby-hitler-in-his-crib/

Boo, DU!

The republican party dividing into two factions isn't as revolutionary as some suppose

Sure, there's a group of republican legislators giving props to the 'tea party' and doing everything they can to further their anarchist agenda. They've come to Washington with a handful of crazy and foolish schemes to put a stick in the spokes of our national legislative process.

Then there's the veteran republican crowd who've already filled almost every worthwhile space left in the legislative wheel with their own sticks forced into the spokes of our democratic system of government.

The only thing that had distinguished the tea republicans from the veterans was the anarchist thing; they were more willing and determined to throw the entire process in the toilet, just for whatever value they saw in just shutting it all down.

Now there is really no significant division at all in the republican ranks. Both sides of their party have shown America their willingness to spend incalculable sums of our money just to rattle our cages; to have us give full attention and fealty to their authority over our money; their lording over our hard-earned tributes to the government they oversee.

Today's republican party is little more than a souped-up version of it's pre-tea, obstructive, self-serving self. Boehner and the rest of the republican leadership welcomed these anarchists into their fold with open arms and agreed to personally drive their party (and the country) to the edge of our economic cliff.

If Boehner hadn't ultimately relied on a unified Democratic membership to pull us back from the brink of economic catastrophe, he'd go down as just another anarchist. Funny that there's even a question in the media today about how the republican leader fared in the end. He's an obvious casualty now of his own diminution of government.

Boehner no longer has a deliverable republican majority for doing anything more than countering or obstructing what our responsive president has already delivered on. Now that his anarchist teaps have forced him to play the most devastating card in his hand - and was forced to fold - he's nothing but a tool of the malcontents whose thuggery gives his republican majority its only relevance.

. . . for my hard night of work

I gotta say, I imagine I'm like a lot of folks here who put their workday aside and try and find some connection here between our politics and the things we hope/need to accomplish in our own lives.

It's never been easy for me, economically. It's paycheck to paycheck, and if I stretched out my budget and matched it to my income, I'd fall way short. It's more like gambling against the future, and my work hours are far from guaranteed. As arbitrary as they are to the economy and budget of my workplace, they are even more vulnerable to a poor, uncertain, and threatened economy.

Lots of federal workers where I live and most of the rest of us are in service industries and other businesses which support that federal workforce. Needless to say, we took a big hit over this manufactured economic crisis; still are.

I don't have anything real in my life that I can actually hang on this 'victory' for Democrats against republicans and find solace enough to celebrate. I'm a bit shellshocked right now and I'm just wondering where we go next to stop this republican assault on our economy and where we go next to get us to the point where we're actually doing something politically which will translate into economic stability for my community and for the nation.

I imagine that's what this assault was all about; just to rattle our cages out here and remind us that we're always going to be in a different class of folks; always going to be beholden to someone out there for just keeping our heads above water, no matter how hard we work.

And, you get folks who must be just fine and dandy in their own economic experiences who see fit to ridicule you when you can't find much to 'celebrate' out of barely holding onto this status quo; this economic siege meant to keep the majority of us in the work market grateful for whatever splatters of meal we can scrounge from the edges and outside of the pig's trough.

It's all just a fucking game, and I'm certainly a loser. There'll be no celebrating here tonight. Just hanging on, trying to keep myself healthy enough to keep laboring for whatever hours they see fit to throw my way.

I understand the disconnect some folks have from the point I'm trying to make here. These days I'm thinking it's always going to be like this for my family. Goodness knows, we're trying as hard as we're able to make a living and survive. Just one trumped-up crisis after another, though. What the fuck is next?

Angry yet?


THIS minority group of republicans in Congress' refusal to act to fund our government is just short of treason.Their protest is threatening and disrupting almost every instigation of government aid, assistance, and support for average Americans. The majority elected their representatives and Senators to continue to uphold, preserve, and defend those essential functions of government.

The refusal to proceed to vote on those things Congress has already agreed to provide is an outright betrayal of trust from the handful of republicans in the House leadership, and, a direct assault on the vast number of our American citizens who depend on the government they've elected to carry through on the obligations they've voted on and already advanced into law.

This morning we're told that it was the republican speaker, Boehner's, own decision to declare that Congress' exclusive gyms were deemed essential enough to continue operating, while his government shutdown halts death benefits to families of fallen soldiers; just one of a myriad of examples of the arrogant elitism practiced behind this cynical and self-aggrandizing politics.

While these congressmen and women in the national legislature, who are holding up the obligations to fund their own appropriations - working to squeeze and ransom Americans into accepting their unpopular and defeated demands - are certainly acting within the law, they are, nonetheless, acting far outside of the compact Americans made with the votes they provided to advance them to office and keep them in power and authority over their hard-earned contributions to government.

It's imperative to our democracy that we not allow this minority of legislators to default on their own obligations to Americans; not allow them to continue to hold hostage our full faith and credit to keep up the aid, assistance, and support that folks out here without the benefit of these legislators' personal (taxpayer-initiated) wealth rely on to survive and thrive.

Annoyance over the republican leadership's refusal to act has turned from bemusement; to dismay; to anger (I would think, at this point). Either by recall; or dismissal; or replacement at election time; these obstructors of the public will and law should be expelled from the offices and practices of the government they so callously refuse to maintain and fund for the folks out here who elected them.

Summer's Lingering Into Fall

I KNOW it's only been Fall here for a handful of days, but it's absolutely gorgeous outside. It's normally the time of year where you look around your yard and garden and almost wish for all of the eaten and declining perennials to slip into sleep for the winter, to emerge renewed for the next summer's pageant of new leaf and blossom.

This is the season where the dying leaves and other foliage reduce our outdoor palette to essential colors of the earth; the yellows and reds stark against the sharp blue sky, merging together to produce orange and golden hues to highlight the lingering and evergreen trees, bushes, and grasses laden with seeds and berries.

This year, we've barely gone below 70 degrees during the day and above 50 degrees at night. Most of the green is still evident all around, with an occasional dogwood already cutting through the defiant stands of emerald with their leaves dominating their space with a fiery amber that heralds the inevitable hibernation of their reluctant neighbors.

There are still phlox in bloom, accented by a sprinkle of miniature goldenrod and scattered reddened flower heads of autumn sedum and lantana against the paisley colors of the coleus; made bolder and more vivid by the rays of the autumn sun and the chilly nights which crisps everything and hardens it against the decline of this year's abundant growing season.

Soon the oak leaf hydrangeas, Japanese maples, hazelnuts, and other autumn performers will vie for attention with their own scarlet resignations to the winter cold. Yet, for now, most everything looks unusually content in playing Summer as they take advantage of the relaxing, stress-free, temperate air and reflect on their longevity; imagining that they could go on like this forever, like the plants that I bring inside every Winter to both selfishly and obligingly keep them safe and preserve them for yet another season out in the garden.

Now that the mosquitoes are gone I've taken to sitting every morning for about an hour or so in the one spot that the sun manages to shine through the thick canopy and light up a secluded spot on the front steps, tucked in there away from prying eyes that might frown on the occasional pungent smoke that escapes my efforts to hold it all in between sips of my piping hot coffee.

It's not long before I'm joined by my catbird friend who has put aside his melodious mimicries and adopted a persistent whine and cry which has broken my solitude each and every time I've sought refuge there. He cries to me in between mouthfuls of beautyberries - maybe not ripe enough for him; they're usually ripened fully by now, but the season's stretch has allowed them a later bloom and fruit - I imagine that he's missing his friends who haven't been around since the first chill winds blew through the town about a month ago.

I tell him, softly, that he needs to get going - maybe he can hook up with the other lone male who grudgingly answers his lonely whine and cry and fly the coop to warmer tundra. More and more of his bird friends have stopped making their yearly journey south; at least not as far down as before; and are wintering over nearby. The cardinals have always been a bit stalwart; and there's the gang of starlings and an assorted sparrow and dove who come in a couple of motley groups to my patio every day all winter on their feeding rounds to advantage themselves of the seed that I sprinkle almost daily everywhere I can find a surface to scatter it .

His buddies, the wrens and the cardinals made a daily habit of coming to my open front and back doors to warn me as excitedly as they were able whenever the fox or one of the neighborhood cats were around, or whenever one of the resident hawk threatened. I'd come out and pretend that I was keeping order with a stern word or two to the open air.

"Whaa, whaa!" he cries to me, though his mouth stuffed with purple fruit.

"Whaa, Whaaa!" I cry back. Give me a moment of solitude. I threw a handful of dirt at the bush yesterday and he flew away. Today, he came back, crying; flew away; and, came back, anyway, to register his anxiety and relate to me his loneliness and apprehension over the changing season and his tardy departure.

I'm sympathetic, but not very welcoming. He might well be the annoying character who showed up early in the Spring and disrupted the neighborhood with his monotonous and piercing whistling for his companion's return.

Also making an appearance in my neighborhood this season are the greying and white-haired ladies, likely from the Friends community nearby, standing on the busy street corner with their signs saying, "War is not the Answer!" and "Stop War!" They've emerged to make their inharmonious display of resistance to match with the predictable and almost perennial calls from our government and military for armed conflict and state-sponsored violence abroad.

Behind me, above the steps where I sit, the faded banner still hangs as a flag on my home; the banner with the painted peace sign of red, yellow, and blue that I held along with many of these same folks, on those same street corners, when Bush was pressing his own case for war and imperialism across sovereign borders.

Small comfort to see this one war's banner fade; just in time to find yet others' hastily, but diligently assembled once more to challenge and influence this government's insistence on flaunting their devastating weapons and other instigations of war against nations which haven't actually threatened us at all.

I read someone the other day who was mocking Code Peace for their belief that their efforts were contributing to the efforts toward peaceful settlement of the conflict our president has chosen to highlight and employ our diplomatic and military resources and manpower. Small comfort to see this perennial pageant of protest perhaps, but definitely a comfort, nonetheless.

The ladies have assembled on the corner of one of the most scenic roads in the area. I remember driving down the dark country road as a youth on the way to one of the concerts at a pavilion nearby. I had the improbable dream of living off of that scenic drive all the way through my impoverished years, and have, amazingly, settled into one of the homes tucked away down one of the mysterious and intriguing streets which branch off into the wooded acreage on both sides of the winding drive.

I wish you could gather up all of the beauty and color of Autumn in our neighborhood and hold it close and dear; eat it up like some hippie candy. I used to drive my Alzheimer-riddled dad up and down that picturesque road in the green Ford truck that now sits as an unmovable part of the landscape of our yard, as slow as I was able to afford him a lingering look at the passing scenery which he looked upon and remarked on as if he was a child reborn; from another country or another world . . .

"Everything's so clean," he would say, as he looked smilingly out of the truck window as Adam Duritz of the 'Counting Crows' (our boy, as he called him) was belting out 'Sullivan Street," or; John Hiatt soulfully counseling that 'my voice would not command'; or, Lyle Lovett covering Townes Van Zandt's 'Step Inside This House, or 'Flying Shoes'. We took our very last drive together down that road as I took him to his first day at the nursing home I'd found to care for him when I was no longer able.

Lyle would be singing . . .

"Day's full of rain
The sky's coming down again
I get so tired
Of these same old blues

Same old song
And baby it won't be long
'Til I'll be tying on
My flyin' shoes . . .

The spring only sighed
The summer had to be satisfied
The fall is a feeling that I
I just can't lose

I'd like to stay
And maybe watch a winter day
And turn the green water
To white and blue"

We'd fly down that country road with it's fall display of color and roll up on our beautiful home of contentment, and of endless days like summer Sundays rolling slowly to church in the quiet early morning.

"Step inside my house Babe
I'll sing for you a song
I'll tell you 'bout where I've been
It shouldn't take too long
I'll show you all the things I own
My treasures you might say
Couldn't be more'n ten dollars worth
But they brighten up my day

Well that's about all I own
And all I care to I guess
Except this pair of boots
And that funny yellow vest
And that leather jacket and leather bag
And hat hangin' on the wall
Just so it's not too much to carry
Could I see you again next Fall . . .?"

Pres. Obama says US can't get attention of UN Security Council w'out acting like swaggering avengers

This statement by Pres. Obama makes absolutely no sense at all, and is actually an insult to the diplomacy practiced by the very body he's appealing to.

Obama at the UN today:

"Now, I know that in the immediate aftermath of the attack there were those who questioned the legitimacy of even a limited strike in the absence of a clear mandate from the Security Council. But without a credible military threat, the Security Council had demonstrated no inclination to act at all."

From what I've seen, so far, it's the U.S. threat of force which is the main obstacle to any Security Council agreement on a response to chemical weapon use in Syria. It's amazing to hear the president cite that US threat of force as the only impetus for the UN to act.

As Abe Lincoln once remarked: "A highwayman holds a pistol to my ear, and mutters through his teeth, "Stand and deliver, or I shall kill you, and then you will be a murderer!"

It's great to see President Obama responding to our activism and advocacy

We've been bombarded by reports that Summers was a lock for the Fed*. The President himself had expressed confidence in Summers for that position. Now, he's withdrawn his name. That's no accident. He might have been a shoo-in if there wasn't resistance.

Likewise, the President has spent a great deal of time trying to convince Americans of his intention to step ahead of Congress and bomb Syria. He relented - decided diplomacy wasn't 'exhausted, after all - and has made moves to avert his own plans to unilaterally initiate war.

It remains to be seen whether the President holds true to his modification of his plans; is actually changing his mind to align himself with the reasoning which goes along with the dissent; whether his backtracking is something more than just a sleight of hand.

The ultimate outcome of these shifts in approach will depend on how much pressure he still feels to move in one direction or the other. We know his initial instincts. We shouldn't be sanguine about what will affect the ultimate outcome of his decision making.

The President needs more than just praise; he needs steadfastness opponents have demonstrated, so far, in vocalizing objections and insisting they be heard to overcome the nudges and cozying-up that comes from those already on the inside of his circle of influence and opinion. Opponents of his instinct away from their line of reasoning need to keep the pressure on.
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