No Credibility June 16, 2013Posted by gesvol in Current Events, Politics.
Tags: Barack Obama, IRS scandal, National Security Agency, NSA scandal, Obama
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No credibility is what the New York Times declared about President Obama after the revelations regarding NSA’s very expansive and very secret surveillance programs. I couldn’t agree more. Obama says he welcomes a debate about this. But that’s not true. He kept the program secret. He is going after the source of the leak. These are not the actions of a man who is welcoming a debate. And if it wasn’t already clear before, the promise that this administration would be the most transparent in history was also a lie.
You know, I have reached a point where I am not sure I am willing to defend him anymore on anything. For instance, previously I really didn’t think the IRS scandal really had much to do with him. But there does seem to be an arrogance that permeates the administration from top-to-bottom. Trust us, we know best. Let me make a connection here. When asked by Congress before the NSA stuff blew up whether or not the NSA collected any information at all on millions of Americans or hundreds of millions of Americans, Intelligence chief James Trapper said “no sir”. That was a flat-out lie. When asked by Congress before the IRS stuff blew up whether or not the IRS targeted conservative groups, acting (now former) IRS director Steve Miller said no. Now we know that he knew that such targeting had occurred. So another flat-out lie.
Does this mean that Obama personally directed the IRS to target conservative groups? No. But I do see a pattern that reflects a rotten culture inside the administration. We don’t have to tell you what we are doing and why. Just trust us, we know what we are doing. Don’t worry your little heads about it. And if you do ask a question, we’ll just lie. The culture of any organization is set by the leadership. Obama is that leader.
President Obama has not been the catalyst of the change we have been hoping for. He has just been more of the same government as usual (heck, as far as I can tell, even worse, he has been the continuation of the downward spiral of government toward abuse of power with decreased transparency). It’s just so disappointing to see it all come to light, even if I had suspected it for quite sometime.
Tags: humor, Michele Bachmann, reelection
With apologies for stealing a gimmick from List Of X (who does this much better than I) here are the top 10 reasons Michele Bachmann is not seeking another term in office:
1) She wants to spend more time with the voices in her head.
2) She is leaving to become a curator at the John Wayne Gacy museum in Waterloo. She loves that guy’s movies!
3) So that she can change our convention from singing happy birthday on birthdays to singing happy birthday on the anniversaries of deaths!
4) To join forces with Jenny McCarthy to form the dynamic duo of wisdom and finally end those awful vaccines once and for all!
5) To finally make money on that family farm they don’t make a penny on. Except those 25,933,200 pennies received from federal aid. And the between 3,250,000 pennies and 10,500,000 pennies of annual income. But other than that, not a penny made on that family farm.
6) To get into better shape so she can better run from journalists asking her questions.
7) It’s totally not because she wouldn’t win. Because she would so win. Just ask her. That dude she ran against and had to outspend 12 to 1 only to beat him by a few thousand votes? Total fluke! In fact, that’s why she’s not running. It’s simply just too unfair to the competition!
8) She has decided to make running for President a full-time job now she knows how lucrative that can be, especially if you don’t follow election laws.
9) She is slated to become the next horror film slasher for New Line Cinema.
10) Because of the shame brought upon her when World’s (not so) Funniest Blog called her a literal idiot. It was simply too much for her to bear. I am so sorry. (but not literally)
Obama’s Fake Scandals Versus Obama’s Real Scandals May 19, 2013Posted by gesvol in Current Events, Politics.
Tags: Obama administration, scandal
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This week, the Obama administration has seen three “scandals” being pushed: IRS targeting conservative groups, Benghazi, and the DOJ seizure of Associated Press phone records. But as Erza Klein of The Washington Post points out, there doesn’t seem to be much real meat to these “scandals”. Low level staffers are behind the IRS thing (and the real problem is that there is a 501(c)(4) tax exemption in the first place), the Benghazi thing is all about spin, and the AP phone record seizure is probably legal (though I think there is a little more to this one as it relates to an abuse of power). Whether the Obama administration had any direct connection to any of these is really a question.
However, as Conor Friedersdorf from The Atlantic has pointed out, there are real genuine transgressions by the Obama administration that probably should be scandals. Not prosecuting crimes of torture, committing troops to Libya without so much as consulting Congress, order the assassination of an American citizen, gone after whistleblowers like no other administration before it, carried out the awful drone program that has killed hundreds of children, signed into law the power to hold people indefinitely (proving Obama has no idea of why the prison in Guantanamo Bay needs to be closed),…….
It can go on and on. But since Obama is not getting heat for any of that (and frankly, he’s not going to), is it good that he is at least getting grief over something? Anything? At least the media seems to be subjecting the administration to more scrutiny, even if right now they are asking the wrong questions.
I Don’t Get Why…… May 5, 2013Posted by gesvol in Miscellaneous, Politics.
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- I don’t get why people chanted “USA, USA, USA,….” when that Boston Marathon bomber was captured. Ending World War II was reason to celebrate. Landing on the moon was an amazing accomplishment. But capturing a single snot-nosed brat teenager was not a national achievement. In fact, to shut down a whole city as large as Boston to find this kid only for that to NOT work seemed more like a low point to me.
- Speaking of that, I don’t get why people think blowing up innocent people will help them achieve their goal. Of course first and foremost you have the evil of the action. But even putting that aside, it takes absolutely no skill to take unarmed people by surprise and do harm to them. So you are not going to impress anyone. You are just going to make people mad. And mad people don’t change their mind. If anything, they are going to double down. Just so stupid on any and every level.
- I don’t get why we don’t either expand background checks or get rid of them altogether. Why does it make sense to require background checks for some gun sales but not for others? Either these checks are a good idea or they are not. It doesn’t make a bit of sense to require it for just some of the sales.
- I don’t get why some politicians can argue that cutting military spending will cost jobs while they also argue that cutting non-military spending is necessary to save jobs and not realize the contradiction of the two arguments. If jobs can be generated building tanks we don’t need, then certainly they could be generated by spending on things we do need like bridges, health care, etc. In fact, some say such non-military spending generates even more jobs than military spending.
- I don’t get why it is still so darn cold! It’s freakin’ May! I should be able to go for run and be certain I will be wearing shorts now!
- I don’t get why people are so obsessed with Tim Tebow (both those who love and those who hate him). He’s not getting a raw deal. He’s just not a very good professional quarterback. I mean, if nothing else, you would think by now it’s pretty darn clear the NFL doesn’t care about anyone’s values one way or the other if you can play. The fact that the Canadian Football League team that has his rights has said he would be fighting for a backup job if he chooses to sign should tell you everything you need to know about his QB skills at this point.
Can anyone explain this to me?
It’s Clear Whose Opinion Matters More Now April 21, 2013Posted by gesvol in Current Events, Politics.
Tags: Background check, gun control, Gun politics, National Rifle Association, NRA
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Funny, at one point the conventional wisdom was that , after the Newtown shooting, at least some kind of new gun control measure would be pass. I don’t think anyone was sure whether it would be significant or more of a symbolic gesture. But with young children being the victims, Congress would be compelled to take some sort of action. Instead, forty-six Senators decided to stonewall all gun legislation, putting the kibosh on doing anything (and considering things should have been easier to push through the Senate than the House, actual legislation wasn’t even close to passing). What the heck happened?
The one suggested measure that even I was surprised didn’t get anywhere was the measure to extend background checks. Sure, measures like bans on assault weapons and large capacity magazines have majority support. But at least in those cases, the opposition to those measures are a significant 40%+. And if you are a politician and believe those 40%+ are YOUR supporters, then I at least understand why as a political matter you may also want to oppose those measures. However the support for extending background checks is 80%+. That is an unheard level of support for pretty much anything. Heck, you can’t even get 80% of people to agree that Paul McCartney is still alive and not just some look-alike. (Seriously. See question 19.) At that level of support, you have to think statistically speaking that it is almost certain this measure would have majority support from the constituency of any politician.
This is not to say politicians should simply look at polls and vote accordingly. After all, the popular thing is not necessarily the right thing. But how can background checks be a bad idea? We already require them for guns sold at licensed dealerships. All we would be doing is extending required checks to gun sales that occur at gun shows and over the internet. (It doesn’t make sense to have background checks at Wal-Mart but not at a gun show.) Some are saying something to the effect that this would be the first step to a national gun registry (which in turn would be a first step toward taking all our guns away). But I just can’t follow the supposed logic, since it would seem to me that it would be easier to simply pass a law to establish a federal gun registry if that is what the government really wanted to do (and I don’t see where extending background checks would make passing such a law any easier).
One thing is clear, the NRA does oppose the measure. Their opinion obviously counts more than the rest of us because of fear that NRA may try to exert influence through campaign contributions and negative advertising in a race if you dare upset them. The NRA has always made their strategy clear, they will oppose ANY legislation that they think is anti-gun. They are not in the business of judging whether any particular measure is a good idea or not. Now the NRA would say this is because they are really pro-gun rights. Really though, they are pro-gun sales. Even NRA members support expanded background checks. It’s the gun industry that doesn’t because they don’t want anything that could limit sales. (Criminal and mentally-ill money is worth as much as anyone else’s.) That’s who the NRA really represents.
I think the other factor at play here is the continuing GOP strategy of making government as ineffective as possible, particularly while a Democrat is President, so that a party that takes the position of opposing government can come out marginally ahead. Taking the position that government can’t solve problems works out better if you make sure government can’t solve problems. Really it’s easy to see right now, if Obama is for it, the GOP is against it as a matter of strategy.
If you can’t get Congress to act after an elementary school shooting on a measure with 85% public support, then NOTHING is going to get them to act right now. The only course of action is to make it clear that inaction costs people elections by actually voting people out. Unless that happens, we may as well get used to the idea that the current gun laws are what they are and we are going to have to live with them.
North Korea (Kim Jong-un), Chill The F Out! April 7, 2013Posted by gesvol in Current Events.
Tags: Kim Jong-un, North Korea, United States, war
Seriously guys, any time a war starts, it’s for a stupid reason. Don’t be that stupid reason. I get it Kim Jong-un. You want your country to know that daddy’s dead and you are the big man in charge now. And you have to somehow convince your people that spending money on military toys is so much better for them than, you know, food to eat. But I’m telling you, writing checks with your mouth that your military can’t cash is not the way to go about it. Find another way!
Here’s the deal, nobody wants war. We don’t want it, you don’t want it, the South Koreans don’t want it. And you have the good fortune to literally have nothing that we want, which is the only reason we aren’t at war already (because goodness knows you have given us more excuses than we typically need). We know you can’t do anything to us. However, we have this cultural hang-up that we call “looking weak”. It’s a stupid guy thing, but unfortunately, guys are in charge. In fact, that’s really all you are trying to do, to not “look weak”. If you keep making threats, people might decide that we will “look weak” if we don’t do something. Then we do something and you will want to do something back (because you don’t want to “look weak”) and all the sudden we have a war that nobody wants. And it will be bad for everyone, but especially you Jong-un, because in that scenario, you end up dead.
So here’s what you do, Jong-un. Tell everyone you have negotiated a peace agreement and we have agreed to back off. Declare that you have ensured the safety of your people for years to come and throw one of those military parades you all are so fond of. Sure it’s a lie, but we all know you don’t have a problem with that! And we can forget all of this and move on with our lives.
And with that done, maybe we as a country can reconsider our security treaty with South Korea. The Korean War ended over fifty years ago. The Cold War is over. South Korea can certainly defend itself from a poor country like North Korea. And with all the talk about needing to get our budget in order, why would we continue to spend money defending another country which is plenty prosperous enough to do the job with its own resources? The United States has (more than) 99 problems, but North Korea shouldn’t be one.
- 10 Reasons Behind North Korea’s Aggressive Behavior (listofx.wordpress.com)
Michelle Bachmann Is Literally An Actual Congresswoman? March 24, 2013Posted by gesvol in Current Events, Politics.
Tags: Michele Bachmann, Obamacare, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
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Minnesota representative and former GOP presidential candidate Michelle Bachmann made waves this past week on the House floor when she asked for the repeal of “Obamacare” before it “literally kills women, kills children, kills senior citizens.” Wow, how did everyone missed the killing provision in that bill? (They missed it because it’s not there.) Oh yeah. I have entertained the possibility that Bachmann doesn’t know what the word “literally” means and was making what is becoming a common error of using that word when what is really meant is “figuratively”. But upon further reflection, to say that the bill figuratively kills people makes even less sense. So I think she really did mean to say that Obamacare is literally going to strike people down dead.
Pretty absurd. But Bachmann does have a track record of saying absurd things:
- During the Presidential campaign, she decided to get on the ‘vaccines causes retardation’ bandwagon. She based that on what some woman told her after a debate. In other words, science. (That’s not science.) Oh yeah.
- She said that she wanted the media to investigate who in Congress were pro-American and who in Congress were anti-American.
- Once said that there wasn’t one study that showed that carbon dioxide was a harmful gas. Science. (Actually, carbon dioxide at elevated levels can cause sickness and even death. Literally.) Oh yeah.
- She claimed that “hundreds and hundreds of scientists, many of them holding Nobel prizes, who believe in intelligent design”. Science. (Well, hundreds and hundreds of people believe in intelligent design. I suppose even a few might be scientists, though I would point out believing in intelligent design and believing intelligent design is science is two different things. But hundreds and hundreds of scientists don’t believe intelligent design as a valid scientific theory.) Oh yeah.
You know, I once thought that Michelle Bachmann was a smarter (albeit only marginally) version of that one-time governor of Alaska. Now I realize that’s not true at all. The only difference between the two is Bachmann has thicker skin, willing to go to places like MSNBC to spread her lunacy (though I think she would go on Animal Planet if they would give her a forum). At any rate, Bachmann is an idiot. Literally.
- Bachmann Says Obamacare Will Literally Kill You (politicalwire.com)
“Everything Is A Wedge Issue These Days” March 10, 2013Posted by gesvol in Current Events, Politics.
Tags: congress fail, ineffective government, worst Congress ever
That was what I said during a conversation last Friday (mostly in jest) about eliminating Daylight Saving Time and how such a proposal would make it through Congress. I don’t know even know how it would happen and which side folks would take, but if such a proposal was ever seriously considered, somehow it would become wildly controversial along party lines. Then as it so happened, during his “new rules” segment on an airing of “Real Talk”that night, Bill Maher asked ‘why is everything so political?’ (including pointing out that ‘I believe in science’ is now fighting words).
I really do think the situation, at least as it relates to Congress, has deteriorated severely over the last few years. It has gotten to the point, as I understand it, that the two sides don’t even talk to one another anymore (which is kind of a necessity to reach any sort of agreement on anything). I thought it might be fun to review the ridiculous issues that have arisen in recent years because there is no longer any cooperation between the two sides, even on issues that appear should be non-controversial.
- Violence Against Women’s Act - Hmm, I don’t know, what if women deserved to be attacked? This law, which provides funding for the investigation and prosecution against violent acts against women as well as providing a civil course of action should prosecutors decide not to pursue a criminal case, was allowed to expire in 2011. Apparently at issue was whether or not protections should be extended to the LGBT community (or persumely these groups had beatings coming because of their ‘sinful’ ways). Finally the act was reauthorized just a week or so ago, though GOP house leader Boehner leader had to rely on the votes of Democrats and just enough GOP representatives to get it over the goal line.
- The delay of passage of aid for the areas stuck by superstorm Sandy – There was a time that when an area was hit by a natural disaster, the federal government would go ahead and get aid out to these areas as fast as possible. There was no controversy over this. We help you this time, you help us next time. Not anymore. With the attitude that everything is going to break the budget, all of the sudden disaster relief was considered “pork” spending. Help for Katrina victims was passed within 10 days. Help for Sandy victims took months (much to the dismay of politicians representing areas affected by the storm who properly felt that ‘hey, our taxpayers helped them out, why aren’t we getting that favor returned?’)
- The responders on 9/11 were heroes…….what, you want help for 9/11 related illnesses? No you moochers! – Anyone who have seen the scenes from ground zero on 9/11 and the days following it know that the responders to that tragedy had to breath in some nasty stuff. So it’s not really surprising that this has led some of these responders to contract illnesses related to that. Democrats proposed that we might should help pay for the treatment for such illnesses, given they were contracted in service to this country. Republicans somehow decided that this would actually be a fraudulent slush fund. And oh yeah, once again, it would break the budget. Finally the hurdles were cleared and the bill was passed in 2011. However, because of the hoops you have to jump through to receive funds, including deciding whether or not cancer would be covered at all and making sure terrorists weren’t on the victim list, nobody has actually received any money.
- United Nations: “Hey U.S., we think your disability act is kind of awesome and we want to copy that for the world”; U.S.: “Oh yeah, well screw you!” – The United Nations created a treaty based on the United States own Americans With Disabilities Act. They thought it would be nifty if the world would adopt that (though the treaty was non-binding), and wanted to U.S. to sign on as a party to the convention. Somehow enough GOP representatives not wanting to upset the black helicopter conspiracy theorists who think the U.N. is at the verge of worldwide domination decided that this treaty would actually dictate how parents could raise their children (among other things). Even rolling in Bob Dole off his death bed wasn’t enough to overcome this irrational fear, as passage failed to reach the super majority needed.
- Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads…..oh wait, we aren’t going anywhere and we still need roads? – Back in the day, transportation bills passed with no fanfare. That’s because it was generally recognized that supporting the country’s infrastructure was an important role of government, and that voters don’t like driving on roads with potholes. But in 2009, Congress couldn’t agree on what the transportation bill should look like, so instead they had to continually pass stop gap measures just to make sure all funding didn’t stop. Finally in 2012, Congress passed something, though it only last two years instead of the usual four, and it was flawed.
And heck, I didn’t even mention sequesters, debt ceilings, or government shutdowns (i.e. our future). It’s no wonder that the last Congress was less popular than the flu and this one is working on being less popular than cancer. (I would note that when something did happen on the issues above, it was invariably because it had full support from the Democrats, and just enough support from the GOP to get it done. To me, that gives some insight to who deserves more blame, at least in my opinion.)
“Crisis” Fatigue February 24, 2013Posted by gesvol in Current Events, Politics.
Tags: Barack Obama, Justin Amash, sequestration
I guess the next government manufactured crisis is coming up next week with the sequestration. I am just worn down from all the fiscal cliffs and debt ceilings and sequestrations. All I know is it’s no way to govern, and it will not lead to any good outcomes. I can’t even work myself up to writing a particularly long article about it.
But I will say that while President Obama and the Democrats are out casting blame in regards to the sequestration, a Republican representative (Justin Amash) had a “tweet” that rings with truth to me. He said…er, rather “tweeted”, “You don’t sign a bill unless you’re OKAY w/the consequences. It’s Being President 101.” It’s hard to argue with that, and something President Obama needs to take to heart. 95 Democrats in the House voted for it, and 45 Democrats in the Senate voted for it. A Democrat President signed it. Without Democratic support, this fails.
It’s a stupid gimmick and it shouldn’t have been done. But President Obama and the Democrats can’t pretend to have had nothing to do with it.
The State Of The Stupid February 10, 2013Posted by gesvol in Current Events, Politics.
Tags: Barack Obama, State of the Union address
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If you want to get a pretty good idea of why nothing gets done in Washington, watch the State Of The Union address on Tuesday. Watch Congress’s behavior at its most juvenile. It shouldn’t be any wonder that serious problems do not get solved given these are the immature people we send to solve them. Oh how I wished:
- Congresspersons did not feel compelled to “vote” on every single thing the President says by vote of standing applause or lack thereof. I mean, since voting on things is a pretty large part of their normal job, looks like they could give it up for just one night. It may come as a shock, but not everything the President will say Tuesday will be worthy of wild admiration nor hateful scorn. In fact, it’s likely he won’t say anything that’s really worthy of either. Given the number of standing ovation interruptions, I have to assume these folks actually have to stretch before and after the speech given the workout they will have. I wished we could have a polite applause at the beginning, then strap them into their chairs like an amusement park ride so they would be forced to respectfully listen.
- Also I wish we could ban making faces like you smelled a turd.
- Should this be televised? On the one hand, televising the speech promotes transparency, which is great. On the other hand, television also promotes grandstanding and turns this thing into just another political speech. This is suppose to be a report given to Congress regarding to pass along the current state of things and to recommend certain actions to Congress. It’s not really for the public per se (though the public can certainly exert pressure on Congress to take action). The thing is, as a political speech, there is no way you are going to get anything other than an overly rosy picture of the state of the union. It might be nice for Congress to be presented with an honest assessment of the shape we are in. Of course, nothing prevents this from happening at some other time, besides the lack of desire of the two sides to talk to each other at all these days.
I find this event that should be worthwhile comes off as very silly. But that pretty much IS politics these days.