Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Ramadan and Religious Violence, The Man Who Would Be Kingmaker

Paul Krugman
Matthew Yglesias
Timothy Carney
"The original campaign for the Bush tax cuts relied on deception and dishonesty. In fact, my first suspicions that we were being misled into invading Iraq were based on the resemblance between the campaign for war and the campaign for tax cuts the previous year. And sure enough, that same trademark deception and dishonesty is being deployed on behalf of tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans." - Paul Krugman
"Members of congress seem to me to benefit from the soft bigotry of low expectations. Nobody really expects them to do the right thing or to ask smart questions or to listen to experts rather than engage in random acts of political posturing. So when they do bad stuff, we blame the White House for not doing a better job of preventing them from doing bad stuff. And fair enough—dealing with congress is an important part of the job. But you also do need to blame the people who are doing the bad deeds." - Matthew Yglesias
"To tell which kind of Republican a candidate is, see how the Democrats attack him: If
he’s branded a shill for Wall Street, he’s from the K Street wing. If he’s labeled an extremist outside the mainstream, he’s a Tea Partier. More tellingly, study their campaign contributions. K Street Republicans’ coffers are filled by the political action committees of defense contractors, drug companies, lobbying firms, and Wall Street banks. A Tea Party Republican is funded by the Club for Growth or the Senate Conservatives Fund, which is run by the Republican leadership’s least-favorite colleague, Jim DeMint." - Timothy Carney

I watched the Travel Channel's show, No Reservations, with Anthony Bourdain, last night. It was about traveling to Beirut and finishing a show that had been started in 2006, which had to be aborted because of the bombing of the city. I wanted to write about how you can sometimes learn more about a place by watching these cooking shows, that local food, taken from several different cultures and mixed with what is grown in the region, often transcends politics and religious feuds. How he portrayed Beirut as regaining its old reputation as the Paris of the Middle East... And then I opened the newspaper this morning and read about the bloodshed that occurred yesterday in Beirut between Shias and Sunnis. What does it prove other than tempers flare more easily during the hot, summer months, and especially during Ramadan. It was explained on the Rachel Maddow show like this, that during Ramadan the emphasis is on religious observance, and people feel more deeply. Because of this universal observance, it is also when young folks volunteer to be martyrs in their faith as suicide bombers. Mix in the physiological extremes from fasting all day and binge eating at night, and you get some pretty irritating and easily agitated behavior that can last for more than one month. Unless its approached from a conscious intention and balanced attitude, Ramadan can be dangerous to your physical and mental health.

Now that Israel and the Palestinian Authority have agreed to face to face negotiations, the secondary posturing and protesting is beginning to occur, and will happen right up until their first meeting on Sept 2. The US is warning Israel not to jeopardize the talks with more expansion and building in the West Bank, like they did before to screw up previous talks. Hamas has called on Egypt and Jordan not to support the talks because the US is coercing the participants to join. Hamas has vowed to sit out negotiations as long as they are getting most of their operating funds from Iran. They also are making threats to Egypt and Jordan that they will rile up the Palestinian refugees that will threaten the internal security of their countries.

 The moderate political party in Israel will support the negotiations only if the Prime Minister has a plan for the outcome that they can see beforehand, and the more conservative faction in the Foreign Ministry will go on strike, with diplomats boycotting the talks. All this, and just a couple of days after the announcement of the talks! The bullshit can only get deeper and build up to a fever pitch by next Tuesday. If Hillary and Obama can pull this off and actually create a viable Palestinian state that works with Israel as economic partners... already you can see Israeli products on the shelves of stores in Gaza City and less Chinese made crap that used to be smuggled in through the tunnels.

Russia is trying to gain more presence in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran, in many ways it wants to supplant US influence. It got the US to secretly agree to the opening of Iran's first nuclear plant by offering its vote for the UN sanctions on Iran. Recently, the Russian Prime Minister met with Karzai in Kabul, where Karzai stressed the importance that Russia now means to them. Many have argued that with Russia operating the Bushehr nuclear plant, providing fuel for it, and taking care of the spent fuel rods, it has effectively negated whatever value the sanctions had. Right now, the only country expressing anxiety over the nuclear plant is Kuwait, which lies downwind and across the Persian Gulf. If any accidents should happen, or even an air strike or two, the radiocactive gases that would be released will go directly overhead towards Kuwait, who would bear the brunt of devastation.

Today are a whole bunch of primary elections around the country, including the battle in Arizona, which John McCain will probably win against his more conservative opponent. John will win because his opponent, JD Hayworth, is currently a radio show host, and talks like he always on the air, pontificating without ever listening.

The Christian Science Monitor has a piece on the Man Who Would Be Kingmaker, John Boehner. Because the Republicans want the continuation of all of the Bush tax cuts, which expire at the end of this year, they are trying to find enough smoke and mirrors to distract you from investigating for yourself whether it's a good or bad thing. Hence, the big flap-uo about the Ground Zero Mosque, designed to rouse your emotions and dim your intellectual side when you go and vote today. ( I just want to say that anyplace where so many people have died cannot be construed as sacred ground. You can be sensitive enough to pick up on your emotional radar the pain and violence that had so many souls yanked from their bodies, but please don't mistake that as anything holy. Sacred ground is just the opposite, what you often encounter in old churches or shrines where people have consciously prayed and practiced nurturing their spirits and transcending their physical problems. The people who are so emotionally invested in Ground Zero are dealing with their own ambiguous feeling towards death, holding on to their loved ones in a selfish way, and expressing their frustration and anger over the lack of any proper remembrance to their loved ones by the municipality.)

But, I digress. Back to the suntanned one: "House Republican leader John Boehner Tuesday called on President Obama to extend the Bush tax cuts, fire his economic team, and listen to the fears and “entrenched uncertainty” that is stalling job growth on Main Street. In his first economic address of the 2010 campaign season, the man who would be Speaker slammed the president’s top legislative accomplishments – economic stimulus, health-care reform, and financial regulation – as job killers.

Congressman Boehner's speech did not offer any specific alternatives – saying they would be built from the ground up after “listening to the American people.” Democrats say he is merely trying to distort achievements that he could not block. But the speech did offer glimpses of how Boehner might direct the House if Republicans pick up 39 votes in November. “The prospect of higher taxes, stricter rules, and more regulations has employers sitting on their hands,” he told the City Club of Cleveland. “And after the pummeling they’ve taken from Washington over the last 18 months, who can blame them?”

Unfortunately, John likes to blow smoke while letting the condescending tone in his voice make do for any sense of authority. If all of the Bush tax cuts were to expire, $680 billion would go back to the general fund and could be used to pay off our deficit, over a trillion dollars paid off before the end of Obama's term in office expires. Don't let the Democrats spin things to let some of the tax cuts expire and then use that money for their projects, it's a rip-off that we can't afford. The Republicans still want more tax cuts yet have no plan to equally lessen federal spending, so each tax cut makes the deficit grow more and more. John also is still saying that less regulations are better. I do agree that most of our laws need a sunset clause that would make them expire in twenty years, and most of our regulations need to be looked at and streamlined, because there are so many of them. Plus, they all need to be re-written into plain English to remove the ambiguities that allow companies like BP to wriggle around and find loopholes. In most cases we don't need more regulating, just making sure that the ones we have are being properly followed, meaning we need more oversight by honest people.

I'm afraid that yes, there will be more Republicans, and maybe a couple of tea party sympathizers who will get elected. But until the Republican Party actually rebuilds itself like it had promised, we will get more of the same one-trick pony excuses behind any proposed legislation. I doubt if Rand Paul would join Michelle Bachman's tea party caucus, but I've been wrong before. And yes, people have a right to be disappointed by the Democrats, but only because their ideas and attitudes have been all over the place, reminding us that democracy is often messy. But I would rather see some messy progress than a united negative ad and campaign. If I were a newly elected Republican to Congress, one of the first things I would do is remove John Boehner and Mitch McConnel from their posts because their strategies are for losers, and they have done more harm than good.


  1. The moment I navigated to this unbelievable hilarious Yes We Scam! B.S. We Can Believe In! Obama Approval Plummets piece on Hubpages I determined that Notes From A Grumpy Old Man's frequenters really have to express their opinion on this: http://hubpages.com/hub/Yes-We-Scam-BS-We-Can-Believe-In-Obama-Approval-Plummets

  2. I would appreciate a bit more honesty if you want to submit a link to a post you wrote on some other site. All you have to do is ask, and if it's not a scam for advertising, I would have no problem.

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