Dec 05 2013
It has been a busy month for me. I just got back from the 4th of 4 trips in a month.
Lots of observations from my trips. More to follow tomorrow.
Dec 05 2013
It has been a busy month for me. I just got back from the 4th of 4 trips in a month.
Lots of observations from my trips. More to follow tomorrow.
Nov 14 2013
Well at least if they are going to fuck me over, they are going to pay for it up front first.
Sitting in the lounge here at Stuttgart airport, enjoy a quiet cup of coffee and preparing to board a flight to Istanbul and then onward to points elsewhere. Great thing about going through Istanbul is the Star Alliance lounge there. I planned a three hour layover so I can stuff my self on their free food and beer. Its an huge spread of kabob, pasta, and soups and salads. And beer. Did I mention beer? After all, if what is left of my so called "career" is going into hibernation, one ought to damn well fatten up for it.
This will be the second of four trips in about as many weeks. My kind of month. Problem is-with the current lunacy that passes for governance these days-its feast or famine, and when I get back the long travel drought will begin. Its even going to be touch and go as to whether I maintain my elite status this year-something that pisses me off to no end.
C'est le guerre.
On the way over to shopping mall, I flew on Lufthansa, which actually was not too bad. If you have to be trapped in economy, its always better to be so on a recognized foreign flag carrier than an American one. As I was nursing my post dinner Warsteiner, I happened to stumble on this movie in the entertainment queue: the English title is Chorus of Angels. Its a recent Japanese movie having come out just last year. The Japanese title is Kita no canaria tachi. ( Canaries of the North). Don't know why they did not translate the title exactly since it is more appropriate to the subject of the film.
The movie is set in a village on an island that is just north of Hokkaido-one of several that are around the Northernmost Island of the Japanese Islands. Its a small village with a small school. The main actress, now living in Tokyo and retired ( I cannot remember her name) is visited by the Tokyo police. The suspect is one of her former students. The boy as a student had been unruly and the teacher had made contact with him through songs-and the group got really good. The teacher revisits the island to find out what has happened to each of her six students from 20 years ago.
The movie's plot is a little off kilter-but it provides an interesting venue for telling the story. Over abut 90 minutes it unfolds the story of each of the students and of the teacher and the events that drove them together and eventually apart. The movie was fascinating for me-and it was a great chance to hear the language I miss so dearly, and I was happy I could understand most of it, without the subtitles to help. The movie is very interesting once you accept the plot improbabilities-but it is also very sad. I found my self tearing up near the end. My next door neighbor in the adjoining seat probably thought I was crazy. But it was a movie that tugged on you heart strings.
Here is a trailer from the movie (sorry about the lack of subtitles):
Its worth the time if you can find it in English-or Japanese for that matter. I liked it.
Time board the plane. Onward!
Nov 07 2013
Personal day today. Taking care of the S.O.'s shopping list-she always has one when I come to the US. Going out to the house and checking on it-especially since I will probably be coming back to it. As a drive around here-I am reminding myself of the fact that every place has good things about it, and I will need to come to terms with that if I do end up moving back here. If I can find a job that will allow me to pay down my bills, and build equity in the house, and give me the benefits I need-then that's a good thing. Life is about compromises.
I've been watching all the political coverage of the last two days. It is kind of scary how Chris Christie is being annointed as the next Ronald Reagan. The guy is a plain speaker and I can see him riding , just like Reagan, on white horse up Pennsylvania Ave. My big fear is that, just like Reagan, Christie will lay the seeds of our own destruction. Its only now in the view of hindsight-we can see what a disaster Reagan's policies were for America. Remember he is the guy who got the GOP to worship at the supply side altar. Go back and carefully read the history of the era-it was not the tax cuts that jump started the economy. It was a technological revolution combined with huge defense spending. But the Reagan era awakened the worst instincts of Americans and 20 years later led to the worthless people who make up teabagger land.
As for the Virginia race, I refer you to Mr. Pierce:
Face facts. In a sane political world. Ken Cuccinelli should have lost by 12 points. Bishop Jackson should have lost by 98. These are two guys who have to dial 1 just to place a call to "extreme." Instead, this morning, Cuccinelli can argue fairly convincingly that he got sold out by his national party, that his ideas were not rejected, and that the destruction of the Affordable Care Act is a winning issue, provided the moneymen get behind it and push. McAuliffe even acknowledged this in his looonnnnnng acceptance speech last night, where he spent a lot of time thanking the Republicans who supported his campaign, as if most of them won't go back to the business of undermining him by, at the latest, Friday afternoon. In all of this, Ken Cuccinelli won.
That it was a close race at all is a testament to the stupidity of both the Virginia voter and the Democratic party. And yes, Virginia, a lot of you are stupid.
And I have been watching the national blame game about the health care law. Just like with the wars-no one ever puts the blame where it belongs. In Iraq the blame lay with the Iraqi people, who proved and continue to prove every stereotype I ever had about Arabs. In the case of the health care law-so many people refuse to blame the people deserve the blame. The insurance companies who created the current mess we have-and by their recent actions-remind us again why they are greedy and way, way, too rich. "You can keep you policy" was based on an expectation that insurance companies would do what the law required, and upgrade the policies to where they should have been. Juan Williams finally had the gumption to point it out:
Time to get moving.
Nov 05 2013
We had a good couple of days of meetings-but here it is 10pm and I am back in my room getting ready for bed. And this with a 1 hour nap I took from 5:30 to 6:30. I am getting old.
I suspect too, being in three cities over the last few days has taken its toll. A lot of traveling this month and I need to conserve my strength for the joys of Tel Aviv.This is shopping mall after all-there is not much to do after 9pm.
Nov 02 2013
I am writing this post from a seat on a crowded ICE train heading northwards to begin the first part of a trip for me. Back to Shopping Mall for a series of meetings and to do some things on the house. I will also do some medical tourism-in the interest of making someone else file an insurance claim for a change.
Think about that. I am writing this post from the inside of a train going 190 km /hr. And this can be done all over Germany-and elsewhere in Europe. In the US? Not so much.
So I am trying to console myself. If you have to be stuck in the middle of a worthless reorganization instituted by a
worthless piece of shit selfish man, at least its nice to have good things to do during one's own time. I guess things could be worse. A lot worse.
Where this is going and how it it is going to play out, I am not sure. I have now been witness to two conversations where leadership is slowly waking up to what a disaster this move is. But will they rise up and speak out against the abomination of personal aggrandizement and empire building? Not a chance.
And that my friends is why American flag officers just suck.
In the meantime-there is the joy of the train.
Oct 07 2013
Of reducing my handicap by 5 strokes this week. I get to go back to work tomorrow! It seems the powers that be finally realized I was right about havng the authority to keep us at work. It just took a week to realize it.
So much for Plan B of becoming a PGA caddie.
You should notice somethng missing from the top of this post. This is due to the promise of being paid-still waiting to see if its actually true, but they claim we will.
Sorry to dissapoint you Curtis.
Sep 29 2013
My paychecks stop on Tuesday.
The House GOP has proven they are among the most evil men in human history.
Sep 28 2013
This is a guest post although the author does not know he is posting here.
I came across this discussion on another board I monitor, but no longer participate in-primarily due to the fact that too many of its participants have descended into that intellectual hell known as "conservative and / or evangelical thinking". Shorter term: F*cked in the head teabaggers.
So its kind of refreshing to see someone have the continued courage to engage with these folks when its quite clear that nothing short of heads hitting concrete will get any opinion through to them. Nonetheless, I offer this to you -especially those who fear the ACA is a harbinger of the coming of the anti-Christ, to sit down and STFU.
Take it away guest poster: Outlandish statements from deranged tea party sympathizer in red.
Let me ask some questions about your statements below, since you did not provide details:
1. "I don't disagree with the concept of everyone having insurance. That is not what Obamacare does."
Really? Seems to me this is exactly what the law is designed to do – and affords those who wish not to purchase insurance the freedom to pay for the privilege of not purchasing insurance while placing everyone else at risk these individuals will get sick and we all have to pay to care for them.
2. "Obamacare is over-reach in government and it is designed to take control of just about every aspect of our lives."
Really? Every aspect of our lives? Perhaps you can explain exactly how does this law control every aspect if my life – your life? it seems to me, unless you are a rich hospital executive making $ Million plus compensation gouging patients for $50 boxes of Kleenex or $500 walkers, its just another payment you make a month – only from now on, you will have more choices.
Really? How? "Free markets" right now allow the food chain of greedy hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, "providers" of just about every item in the hospital to over charge for everything – and you and I have no practical way to stop the escalation of price gouging.
4. "I have laid out many times, a logical means of making sure everyone is covered or is responsible for their own medical costs and it uses economic incentives, not governmental tyranny."
At this point a request was made to expand on exactly what he meant. No rational reply was forthcoming.
In other words, I take your response to mean that having repeated the meaningless rantings heard on cable networks (from the typical gang of hate mongers) when pressed to provide details, you are at a loss to provide even a single supporting fact why the new – yet to be implemented law – is causing the "sky to fall, " why we are losing our freedoms, or other explanation of your rhetoric calling out the dogs of war to oppose this law. OK – but I will wait and see just what happens.
The last question and response is critical. Changing America's health care insurance system is long overdue. The ACA , in my opinion does not go far enough in this regard-but at least it is doing something. To hold the government-and by extension the US and world economy hostage to objections that were settled in the last election, truly makes me ashamed to be an American. In Britain right now they are having many similar discussions. The S.O. and I see them on TV every day. But Parliament has never not passed a budget. Only America. This is not something any American should be proud of…….or advocate. Those who do-are, as I have stated many times, more than a little selfish.
I'll Let Jon Chait explain it for you:
Most of us expected, at some level, that the election would cool the right’s apocalyptic fervor. Instead, the opposite has occurred. Paul Ryan candidly explained the calculation: “The reason this debt limit fight is different is, we don’t have an election around the corner where we feel we are going to win and fix it ourselves. We are stuck with this government another three years.” This is a remarkable confession. Republicans need to compel Obama to accept their agenda, not in spite of the fact that the voters rejected it at the polls but precisely for that reason.
The only proper word for this is disgusting. And if you share Ryan's views, then you too are aiding and abetting the decline of your nation.
Sep 26 2013
A turd is still a turd.
Unless you are McMegan-in which case your whole body of writing consists of polishing turds:
Jon Chait at NYMag finds McArgleBargle’s argument indefensible, because “Subsidizing Farmers But Not the Poor Still Evil“:
House Republicans are fighting to impose a $40 billion cut to the food-stamp program while also fighting to lock farm subsidies in place at a higher level than Democrats want. The combination of positions strikes me as indefensible. After all, farmers earn more than the average American, and there’s no rationale for handing government money to somebody just because they own a farm as opposed to a convenience store or a hot-dog stand.
Megan McArdle stands up to say the Republican position is perfectly defensible. McArdle doesn’t like farm subsidies but is even more outraged at disparagement of Republican fiscal priorities, urging, “It seems worth trying to answer the question, rather than merely marinating in our own moral and logical superiority.” The Republicans have a perfectly defensible basis for cutting benefits for poor people but giving them to farmers, she explains — reciprocity:
Here’s one reason Republicans might support farm subsidies, but not food stamps: the sense that you have to do something to get them… They’re not being given money just for breathing.
Actually, that’s not true. The Department of Agriculture does hand out money to people to do nothing. So, yes, they are being given money just for breathing. In fact, breathing is optional — millions of dollars in farm subsidies go to farmers who are dead. This underscores the fact that farm subsidies are a reward for people who own farmland, which they may well have inherited….
Bill “Always Wrong” Kristol better look to his laurels, because McMegan shows real determination to assume his Wingnut Wurlitzer crown for insistent plausibility at a 180-degree angle from the truth.
Sep 16 2013
The shootings in DC are a senseless tragedy.
Nonetheless, there is pretty much a predictable script of how the reactions will go.
First of course, comes the shock of it all.
Then the fascination with which we all will watch the news. Followed by Tweets, Facebook posts and the like. There will be a demand for "solemnity"-no dry quips about someone going postal allowed. ( Even when there is a 50-50 chance that it might be that). Decorum you know. Someone else's decorum. The victims , many of whom are probably government employees or military personnel will be praised as heroes. ( Which they are).
Then the night will pass and the second day will begin. The questions will start. The dead shooter's name will be released. If its a Muslim name or something foreign-the terrorism speculation will climb and climb. If it is not-then will come the ever familar " Its too soon to speculate about changing gun laws" speech. The slants of news reports will begin-as will the finger pointing back and forth.
On the third day the volume will increase, and it will still be too soon to talk about America's gun laws. If there is even the slighest indication that it was an outside attack-the berating of the country's foreign policy will begin. If its a disgruntled employee, well, it still won't be time to talk about America's gun laws. Or America's economics. Crazy people you know-no lessons for the greater populace.
On the fourth day, it will still be too soon to talk about meaningful gun control in America. ( This will repeat for the next 365 days).
The immediacy will recede-some more details will emerge and the in depth analysis will begin.
Finally, some two weeks later-Congress will refuse to vote to fund those heroic military personnel and government civilians a budget or a pay raise-because we have to worry about the "children" and the crushing debt that will be left to them. It will still be too soon to talk about America's crazy gun laws. Within a few days the finger pointing about security will begin-and it will get even harder to get on a military base. But we "still thank them for their service". We just refuse to reward them for it.
And so on. This is the way it works.
I can't tell you how strange this looks from the other side of the Atlantic. Not the details of the shooting — although those seem strange enough — but the very fact of it. I am sitting right now in a part of Ireland in which the gun played a tragic role in the country's politics all the way up into the 1930's. (The guerrilla fighting during the Irish Civil War was particularly brutal in Kerry.) Nobody here is unfamiliar with firearms. But this kind of thing — an armed madman or, worse, three armed madmen — is so alien that it seems to be taking place in an alternate reality. Other countries simply don't have these things. Or, if they do, they have them so rarely that, when one occurs, as occurred in Australia, the county gets very tough on firearms and changes its laws. The Teachable Moments actually teach something. It is more than odd to be sitting in another country, watching the news scroll by, and to realize that your country, the one that your grandparents braved a leaky boat and the north Atlantic to get to, is a country that has a several of these every couple years, and accepts it as part of the cost of those essential freedoms your grandparents sought. It is very much like being part of another world.
UPDATE! If you have any doubts about what will happen-the Twitter beating David Frum is being subjected to for these tweets should remind you why I am right. BTW I am highly entertained by the all the folks that missed the sarcasm
Rule 4: Any attempt to stop mass casualty shootings is "political." Allowing them to continue is"non-political."
— davidfrum (@davidfrum) September 16, 2013
Rule 1: It is "ghoulish" to suggest in any way that the easy availability of guns might in any way enable gun slaughter.
— davidfrum (@davidfrum) September 16, 2013
Rule 3: All gun owners are to be complimented as responsible and law-abiding until they personally have hurt themselves or somebody else
— davidfrum (@davidfrum) September 16, 2013
Rule 5: Gun ownership is essential to freedom, as in Serbia & Guatemala. Gun restrictions lead to tyranny, as in Australia & Canada.
— davidfrum (@davidfrum) September 16, 2013
Aug 15 2013
I have been busy this week-and it is August 15 2013. Here is a review of Japan Longest Day.
In Japan, August 15 is known as Shusen kinenbi (literally, end of the war memorial day.) This year is the 64th anniversary of the end of taiheiyou dai sensou.The Pacific War). At noon, August 15 1945 Showa (Emperor Hirohito) made the following broadcast:
To our good and loyal subjects: After pondering deeply the general trends of the world and the actual conditions obtaining in our empire today, we have decided to effect a settlement of the present situation by resorting to an extraordinary measure. We have ordered our Government to communicate to the Governments of the United States, Great Britain, China and the Soviet Union that our empire accepts the provisions of their joint declaration. To strive for the common prosperity and happiness of all nations as well as the security and well-being of our subjects is the solemn obligation which has been handed down by our imperial ancestors and which we lay close to the heart. Indeed, we declared war on America and Britain out of our sincere desire to insure Japan's self-preservation and the stabilization of East Asia, it being far from our thought either to infringe upon the sovereignty of other nations or to embark upon territorial aggrandizement. But now the war has lasted for nearly four years. Despite the best that has been done by everyone–the gallant fighting of our military and naval forces, the diligence and assiduity of out servants of the State and the devoted service of our 100,000,000 people–the war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan's advantage, while the general trends of the world have all turned against her interest. Moreover, the enemy has begun to employ a new and most cruel bomb, the power of which to do damage is, indeed, incalculable, taking the toll of many innocent lives. Should we continue to fight, it would not only result in an ultimate collapse and obliteration of the Japanese nation, but also it would lead to the total extinction of human civilization. Such being the case, how are we to save the millions of our subjects, nor to atone ourselves before the hallowed spirits of our imperial ancestors? This is the reason why we have ordered the acceptance of the provisions of the joint declaration of the powers. We cannot but express the deepest sense of regret to our allied nations of East Asia, who have consistently cooperated with the Empire toward the emancipation of East Asia. The thought of those officers and men as well as others who have fallen in the fields of battle, those who died at their posts of duty, or those who met death [otherwise] and all their bereaved families, pains our heart night and day. The welfare of the wounded and the war sufferers and of those who lost their homes and livelihood is the object of our profound solicitude. The hardships and sufferings to which our nation is to be subjected hereafter will be certainly great. We are keenly aware of the inmost feelings of all of you, our subjects. However, it is according to the dictates of time and fate that we have resolved to pave the way for a grand peace for all the generations to come by enduring the [unavoidable] and suffering what is unsufferable. Having been able to save and maintain the structure of the Imperial State, we are always with you, our good and loyal subjects, relying upon your sincerity and integrity. Beware most strictly of any outbursts of emotion that may engender needless complications, of any fraternal contention and strife that may create confusion, lead you astray and cause you to lose the confidence of the world. Let the entire nation continue as one family from generation to generation, ever firm in its faith of the imperishableness of its divine land, and mindful of its heavy burden of responsibilities, and the long road before it. Unite your total strength to be devoted to the construction for the future. Cultivate the ways of rectitude, nobility of spirit, and work with resolution so that you may enhance the innate glory of the Imperial State and keep pace with the progress of the world.
There is an interesting account of Japan's longest day here. I find it interesting that Japan had actually been in surrender negotiations for some time prior to the Hiroshima bombing. However, sadly for Japan, they labored under an illusion that the Soviet Union might bring them some salvation:
Japan was waiting for Russia to respond to their request for negotiations before making any moves. They hoped for a reply around August 6 or 7. Instead, on August 6th an atomic bomb was dropped on the population of Hiroshima. And on the night of August 8th, Russia declared war on Japan (IMTFE, pg. 31,172). During this time (Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal) Kido continued to discuss the need for peace with the emperor and members of the government. On August 12th he steered Prime Minister Suzuki back to favoring surrender when Suzuki wavered (IMTFE, pg. 31,184 – 31,186). Kido's final effort for peace was probably also his most harrowing. On the morning of August 14th he received word that U.S. planes were dropping leaflets on Japan containing the U.S. and Japanese peace proposals. Fearing a backlash by the Japanese military, Kido rushed to advise the emperor, in Kido's words, "to command the government without further loss of time to go through the formalities for terminating the war". The emperor agreed and sent Kido to make arrangements with Suzuki for the government to meet. The government surrendered that day at the emperor's request (IMTFE, pg. 31,189 – 31,190; Statements, Kido, no. 61541; see also Butow, pg. 205-209, Sigal, pg. 267-271).
Click here to see some fascinating correspondence between Japan and the United States regarding the surrender. Still, when the news was announced the reaction of the Japanese people was shock:
It was August 15, 1945, shortly before noon. What followed would never be forgotten.
Aihara Yu was twenty-eight years old then, a farmer's wife in rural Shizuoka prefecture. Through the decades to come, the day would replay itself in her memory like an old filmstrip, a staccato newsreel in black and white.
She was working outdoors when a messenger arrived breathless from the village. It had been announced that the emperor would be making a personal broadcast at noon, he exclaimed before rushing off. Everyone was to come and listen.
The news that America, the land of the enemy, had disappeared into the sea would hardly have been more startling. The emperor was to speak! In the two decades since he had ascended the Chrysanthemum Throne, Emperor Hirohito had never once spoken directly to all his subjects. Until now the sovereign's words had been handed down in the form of imperial rescripts all as printed texts, pronouncements humbly read by others. Half a century later, Aihara could still recall every detail. She rushed to the village, repeating over and over to herself a line from the Imperial Rescript on Education, which everyone knew by heart from daily recitation during their school years. "Should any emergency arise," it went, "offer yourselves courageously to the State." She knew the country's situation was desperate and could only imagine that the emperor was going to exhort every Japanese to make even greater efforts to support the war. A— to be prepared, indeed, to fight to the bitter end.
The villagers had gathered around the single local radio over which the single state-run station was received. Reception was poor. Static crackled around the emperor's words, and the words themselves were difficult to grasp. The emperor's voice was high pitched and his enunciation stilted. He did not speak in colloquial Japanese, but in a highly formal language studded with ornamental classical phrases. Aihara was just exchanging puzzled glances with others in the crowd when a man who had recently arrived from bombed-out Tokyo spoke up almost, she recalled, as if to himself. "This means," he whispered, "that Japan has lost."
Or as Douglas MacArthur said 3 weeks later:
Today the guns are silent. A great tragedy has ended. A great victory has been won…. As I look back upon the long, tortuous trail from those grim days of Bataan and Corregidor, when an entire world lived in fear, when democracy was on the defensive everywhere, when modern civilization trembled in the balance, I thank a merciful God that he has given us the faith, the courage and the power from which to mold victory. We have known the bitterness of defeat and the exultation of triumph, and from both we have learned there can be no turning back. We must go forward to preserve in peace what we won in war. A new era is upon us. Even the lesson of victory itself brings with it profound concern, both for our future security and the survival of civilization. The destructiveness of the war potential, through progressive advances in scientific discovery, has in fact now reached a point which revises the traditional concepts of war. Men since the beginning of time have sought peace…. Military alliances, balances of power, leagues of nations, all in turn failed, leaving the only path to be by way of the crucible of war. We have had our last chance. If we do not now devise some greater and more equitable system, Armageddon will be at our door. The problem basically is theological and involves a spiritual recrudescence and improvement of human character that will synchronize with our almost matchless advances in science, art, literature and all material and cultural development of the past two thousand years. It must be of the spirit if we are to save the flesh.
Jul 03 2013
Heading back home and not a bit too soon. Having spent almost 4 and 1/2 months in the city of Bucharest, I’ve seen what needs to be seen. And like it or not-its a run down city.
It has potential-as does the whole country of Romania, but its not being executed.
Made a foray to the old city last night-was quite happy to see that they had finished the construction on the streets-and put in some new clubs. All of my old haunts still seemed to be there however.
Long weekend for me this weekend-as my government induced furlough kicks in. I have to admit-I was more than a little pissed when I heard Obama’s pledge to give 7 billion to Africa. 7 Billion? But we can’t afford to pay our own employees? Fuck that. Spend 7 billion on Americans and tell the Africans to get off their asses and fix themselves. You wanted independence so damn bad-well now you get to live with the consequences. Most of the “nations” of Africa should still be part of their respective European empires in my humble opinion.
AND ON THAT NOTE-its time to board the plane.
Jun 30 2013
Sitting in the lounge at FRA, drinking beer and eating my “lunch”. Criticize Europe as much as you want, teabag America, at least it has decent train service. Nice ride on the train up here-and wifi on the train worked great.
In an hour or so-I will board a flight and head back to Romania-the place I spent some 4 and 1/2 months in in 2010 and 2011. I am looking forward to seeing my old haunts again-although I am sure they have changed. Wonder if the barmaids at the pool will still be there?
It is just a quick trip-I am covering down on a co-workers portfolio since the Navy has called him back to active duty. I suspect it was a mutually agreeable arrangement given the fact that he would have had to eat the same furlough I am having to eat. A 1 year stint in some hellhole garden spot, at least keeps him earning money. Would that I had such an option, but alas I am long passed the ability to do that.
The weather promises to be warm-which hopefully means that one will see legions of bra-less Romanian women in the subways, as was the case during my last trip there. And in case you have forgotten why this is a plus-here’s a refresher course.
With the holiday weekend-and my impending 20% pay cut-I cannot stay more than a couple of days. However will try to report what I can.
Jun 13 2013
Fun is fun-but I am done. Two weeks is a bit too long, and I definitely ready to go home.
I did want to take the opportunity to comment on the outrage being displayed in the Fox News set about the Tea Party getting extra scrutiny by the IRS. And as for the NSA-my Canadian Counterpart asks the simple question: What else did you expect?
Most of you will remember that I went apeshit when I first heard about the Bush NSA program that was implemented in secret, without congressional authorization, after 9/11. I went on about it for years, actually.
But the people who were fine with it then – and in some cases demanded the prosecution of journalists that reported on it – are out of their tiny pinheads about it now. Of course, these are almost universally the same twats that want a secret war in Syria, so go figure.
However there are a couple of important distinctions.
First, Obama sought a FISA warrant for the records, which Bush never did, and Republicans insisted that he didn't have to under Unitary Executive Theory, the Authorization to Use Military Force Resolution of 2001 and the "Because ….Lincoln!" argument that they deploy whenever it fucking suits them.
Second, the GOP voted to change the law to to allow for exactly what Obama is doing today. Something I would advocate impeaching Obama for, Republicans legitimized way back when.
Obama did not invent this-he just kept on doing what Bush was doing, only complying with the minor details that Bush could not be bothered to do.
Which brings us to the IRS. For sure the optics are quite poor-the big black guy that every teabagger hates picking on the patriotic group of whiners known as the Tea Party. But when they whine-one should remember the stuff they leave out:
The Tea Parties weren't asserting a right, they were seeking a favor from the government in the form of non-profit tax status. And correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm not aware of the right to tax-exempt status for anyone but Indians in the Constitution. Anyone who suggests otherwise is either ignorant of lying………….
President Nixon specifically targeted individuals for IRS harassment, just as Johnson and Kennedy did before him. The difference is that they weren't organized groups seeking deductions in a post-Citizens United world, which begs such scrutiny. Nixon went after individual members of groups, journalists and sundry political enemies, which is a clear abuse of power and something no one has accused Obama of.
Skippy Stalin's concluding line is a classic: "Do you want to pay higher tax rates just because shitty people with dishonest thinking don't want to pay any at all?"
What he said.
Jun 09 2013
Still in my business trip-and have been busy. Did get a chance thought to get up to the Sea of Galilee. Posted below are some pix: