That is the ultimate aim. And they talk about infidels and all this, but the truth is that’s what the game is. So you are dealing with not a religion. You’re dealing with a political system. And I think we should treat it as such and treat its adherences as such as we would members of the Communist Party or members of some fascist group. Well, it’s a tragedy. Our hearts go out to the families who suffered. But those in the Army should be held on account for the fact they let this man loose.Ironically, Robertson just did a smashing job of describing his own cynical, hateful version of "Christianity" rather than the Islam he believes is the Enemy.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
It may be hard to comprehend the twisted logic that led to this tragedy. But this much we do know - no faith justifies these murderous and craven acts; no just and loving God looks upon them with favor. And for what he has done, we know that the killer will be met with justice - in this world, and the next.Jennifer Rubin of course is upset that Obama didn't smear Islam as evil, declare war on all of the Islam world and vow to turn Iran into a molten pile of nuclear slag and takes that as a "very, very bad sign."These are trying times for our country. In Afghanistan and Pakistan, the same extremists who killed nearly 3,000 Americans continue to endanger America, our allies, and innocent Afghans and Pakistanis. In Iraq, we are working to bring a war to a successful end, as there are still those who would deny the Iraqi people the future that Americans and Iraqis have sacrificed so much for.As we face these challenges, the stories of those at Fort Hood reaffirm the core values that we are fighting for, and the strength that we must draw upon. Theirs are tales of American men and women answering an extraordinary call - the call to serve their comrades, their communities, and their country. In an age of selfishness, they embody responsibility. In an era of division, they call upon us to come together. In a time of cynicism, they remind us of who we are as Americans.
[UPDATE 9:50 PM] To their credit, there are those on the Right who found Obama's speech appropriate, timely, and moving. And there are those who did not.
After reading over the text of the speech myself, I am struck the most by how Obama focused on the greatness of America's armed forces, and what they have collectively done for this country so that we could have a nation where an African-American can become President. I've known guys who have come back from the "sandbox" over there, I work with them, had a roommate who was National Guard and who had seen two tours, and they are some of the best people you will ever meet. They've done things I have not, and I respect anyone who has made that choice to join the military to serve their country and its people.
Obama understands that, I think. He understands that the men and women he commands choose to follow him, as they choose to follow any Commander-in-Chief, and that the American military will be here long after any of us are gone. I personally don't agree with the wars these men and women are being commanded to fight, but I respect each and every one of the people who have chosen to join that fight, and they do so knowing that they represent a country where a civilian like myself has the right to disagree with those wars.
You have to step back and appreciate the greatness of these men and women, who are simply doing their job, and yet are doing so much more. Obama knows this, I believe.
Congress will miss President Obama's deadline to enact health care reform by the end of the year, a key Democratic senator said Tuesday.And of course that February deadline after that will be missed too, and then of course it will be too late because of the 2010 election season, and then...
Illinois' Dick Durbin, the second-highest ranking Democrat in the Senate, said he hopes, at best, to pass the Senate's version of a health care bill by that time.
If the Senate manages to pass a bill, a congressional conference committee would need to merge the House and Senate proposals into a consensus version requiring final approval from each chamber before moving to Obama's desk to be signed into law.
Durbin's assessment came as former President Clinton made a rare visit to Capitol Hill to discuss the health care issue with Senate Democrats.
Clinton tried but ultimately failed to pass a health care overhaul in the early 1990s. The failure is considered one of the reasons for the GOP takeover of Congress in the 1994 midterm elections.
And then no health care reform.
And then no Democratic majority. I was really hoping that Big Dog's speech would actually motivate Democrats not to lose in 2010, but considering their first order of business was to have Dick Durbin say "Yeah, we're missing the deadline" I'm guessing they completely ignored him and the lessons of 1994.
A chief spokesman for the pro-life, far-right organization, American Family Association, has called for the purging of Muslim soldiers from military ranks in the wake of the tragic killings at Fort Hood.Because apparently being a Christian is all about forgiveness, unless the other person isn't a Christian, in which case screw 'em.
Bryan Fischer, AFA's Director of Issues Analysis, put up a relatively unnoticed blog post last Friday arguing that U.S. command needed to "stop the practice of allowing Muslims to serve in the U.S. military."
"The reason is simple," Firscher wrote, "the more devout a Muslim is, the more of a threat he is to national security. Devout Muslims, who accept the teachings of the Prophet as divinely inspired, believe it is their duty to kill infidels. Yesterday's massacre is living proof. And yesterday's incident is not the first fragging incident involving a Muslim taking out his fellow U.S. soldiers."
"Of course, most U.S. Muslims don't shoot up their fellow soldiers. Fine. As soon as Muslims give us a foolproof way to identify their jihadis from their moderates, we'll go back to allowing them to serve. You tell us who the ones are that we have to worry about, prove you're right, and Muslims can once again serve. Until that day comes, we simply cannot afford the risk. You invent a jihadi-detector that works every time it's used, and we'll welcome you back with open arms."
So, since we're throwing out all Muslim servicemembers because of Maj. Hasan, can we toss all Christian members of the military out unless they can prove they aren't going to be Timothy McVeigh?
Sen. Jim DeMint's (R-S.C.) amendment would limit House members to three terms and senators to two terms. Every lawmaker then could serve no longer than six years in Congress. DeMint said term limits are a reaction to the influence of special interest groups on Capitol Hill, corruption, high federal deficits, and a Democratic agenda he says will increase the size of government.States imposed Congressional term limits in the early 90's and those were thrown out in 1995 when the Supreme Court said that Congressional term limits imposed by states were unconstitutional, basically meaning that an Constitutional amendment was necessary to do so.
"Americans know real change in Washington will never happen until we end the era of permanent politicians," said DeMint in a statement. "As long as members have the chance to spend their lives in Washington, their interests will always skew toward...amassing their own power."
Two thirds of the House and Senate as well as three quarters of the states would need to vote for DeMint's amendment for it to become a part of the Constitution.Sens. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), and kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) cosponsored the bill. Coburn has long supported term limits. He retired from the House in 2000 after being elected in 1994, pledging only to serve three consecutive terms.
Part of the Contract With America platform in 1995 was a Constitutional amendment to do just that. Republicans completely failed to pass it. They failed in 1995 and again in 1997, and after that just kind of gave up. After all, why slit their own throats?
But hey, now that the Dems are running things, suddenly that Constitution thing matters again. Funny how that works.
Me, I'd love to see a bipartisan effort to impose term limits. Not going to happen, ever.
Not in the Hoffman Era.
If you always walk down the middle of the road, you're eventually going to get run over. It seems our Snowe Queen has managed to piss off not only Maine Republicans, but Democrats as well. That can't bode very well for her in 2012, and she may just get Scozzafavaed right off the ticket in the Pine Tree State.
The numbers: Conservative challenger 59%, Snowe 31%, with a ±4.8% margin of error. It is of course a long way from the idea of a generic conservative challenger to having an actual candidate, but the potential for success by just such an insurgent is certainly there.
Snowe's overall approval is 51%, to 36% disapproval. Democrats approve of her by 60%-29%, Republicans disapprove by 40%-46%, and independents approve by 51%-33%.
The pollster's analysis notes the importance of her vote for a health care bill in the Senate Finance Committee: "Snowe's numbers are steady with independents but down with both Democrats and Republicans compared to three weeks ago, an indication of the perilous political position she finds herself in. Republicans are mad at her for supporting any Democratic bill, while Democrats still are not completely happy with her because of her hesitance to support a public option."
Gosh, that would be a shame.
Rubio's made his bed with the Teabagger crowd now, and the price he's going to have to pay will be steep. While Rubio may be walking a fine line on immigration in a state like Florida, he will be expected to take a much more hard right line denouncing illegal immigrants.
As an underdog U.S. Senate candidate courting the GOP's conservative wing, Marco Rubio takes a hard-line position against illegal immigration: no amnesty.
But as the powerful speaker of the Florida House, presented with a slew of bills aimed at curbing illegal immigration, he didn't put a single proposal up for a vote.
``A lot of us are mad at him because he did block those bills,'' said David Caulkett, a founder of Floridians for Immigration Enforcement. ``Rubio claims to be anti-amnesty, but the question is, `Do we trust him?' .''
Rubio says he hasn't wavered in his opposition to granting citizenship to illegal immigrants but that the issue should be dealt with by the federal government, not the states. The Legislature was focused on tax and insurance reform on his watch, he said.
``We picked one or two key issues,'' Rubio said in a recent interview. ``States can't solve illegal immigration.''
Rubio's record on immigration is under scrutiny now that the issue is on his agenda and his bid against Gov. Charlie Crist for the Republican nomination is gaining ground. Immigration was nowhere to be found in the book of 100 Innovative Ideas for Florida's Future he compiled as House speaker; now it's among nine issues addressed on his campaign website.
The son of Cuban exiles born in Miami says he opposed the proposal spearheaded in 2006 by former Sen. Mel Martinez -- whose early retirement triggered Rubio's 2010 campaign -- that would have allowed illegal immigrants to work toward citizenship. Crist supported the bill.
On the campaign trail, Rubio sometimes refers to ``illegal aliens,'' a term some immigrant advocates find offensive.
``His tone has changed on the subject, and to me it's very obvious that it's for political reasons,'' said state Rep. Juan Zapata of Miami, a Crist supporter and an executive committee member of the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators.
The Teabaggers want Rubio to be their point man on getting rid of illegals in the country. Simply saying "no amnesty" and punting to the Feds on the issue won't be good enough for his new friends. They are going to want him to use the "D" word -- deportation.
In Florida politics, that's suicidal. But hey, Marco Rubio is going to have to do a lot of things he's not going to be fond of for his new best friends. After all, when you make a deal with the Devil, the Devil always gets his due.
But it doesn't matter, because anytime somebody points out Dick Armey's rich friends trashed our economy through the securitization of mortgage loans that were given out through greed and wishful thinking, folks like Armey will turn around and say "Well if the people we gave loans to weren't so goddamn poor and paid us back, you'd have your nice economy. The Dirth F'ckin Hippies made us make those bad loans."
In the midst of a seriously disgusting interview with Dick Armey, the former House majority leader offers his analysis of the financial crisis:There’s a persistent delusion, on the part of many pundits, to the effect that we’re actually having a rational political discussion in this country. But we aren’t. The proposition that the Community Reinvestment Act caused all the bad stuff, because government forced helpless bankers into lending to Those People, has been refuted up, down, and sideways. The vast bulk of subprime lending came from institutions not subject to the CRA. Commercial real estate lending, which was mainly lending to rich white developers, not you-know-who, is in much worse shape than subprime home lending. Etc., etc.
But at what point do we allow the government to order people that you must sell your product to this person or that person, irrespective of any good judgment? We saw what happened in housing when they ordered banks to make loans to people who weren’t qualified. Are we now going to have the same destructive influences in health care because we’re going to order doctors to provide services and so forth?
As I said a year ago:
But gosh, it sure is fun to blame Democrats, poor black folk, and the Community Reinvestment Act for the crisis, and to rewrite history and pretend banksters were all forced to make billions in bad loans to people they knew that were broke instead of admitting a huge pecentage of folks given loans under the CFA -- minorities -- were in fact in much better financial shape than the average subprime borrower.Still doesn't matter to assholes like Dick Armey, however. The "poor minorities broke the global economy" lie will never die as long as people refuse to correct it.
Perhaps most important is what the lack of major legislation is telling markets. They don't so much want presidents of either party to fail, as gridlock in Washington is generally good for stocks. Last spring it was to some degree felt that Obama's rhetorical gifts would allow him to push all manner of anti-growth legislation through Congress. As noted above, none so far has come to pass, which means we're experiencing a relief rally over Obama's legislative skills not living up to their earlier billing.Yep, gridlock where neither side is able or willing to execute oversight on Wall Street certainly makes the stock market feel good, and right now it's betting on the old days of 2005-2006 to be back any time now. And it certainly served the Big Dog well after 1994. He was impeached, after all.
Markets also serve us best for pricing in the future, and with pundits suggesting that Republicans will achieve House and Senate gains in the 2010 elections, stocks are likely pricing in future policy moderation out of Washington thanks to more pushback from an emboldened GOP minority. This served President Clinton well after the heavy losses Democrats experienced in the 1994 elections, and hopefully much of the same will occur during Obama's presidency.
Pretty telling, yes?
Even if the GOP’s goal isn’t to overtly reject women (which it is), by maintaining that any and all concerns out of the arch-conservative purview are heresy punishable through shunning, mockery and ungrammatical posts on Redstate, they’re kind of doing it anyway. The GOP may not be sexist, sure. It’s just doing every single thing a big bunch of sexists would do when they were engaging in big fun sexism for the whole family, which may lead the less savvy among us to suspect sexism might be at play. We need more nuance, people.It's not misogyny if you can get Republican women to go along with it, you see. That makes it okay!
[UPDATE 11:12 AM] RNC Republicans love women...a little too much at times.
But if bubbles are a possibility now, does it look like they are of the dangerous, credit boom variety? At least in the US and Europe, the answer is clearly no. Our problem is not a credit boom, but that the deleveraging process has not fully ended. Credit markets are still tight and are presenting a serious drag on the economy.Needless to say, Yves Smith at nakedcap sticks a fork in that bubble bull.
Tightening monetary policy in the US or Europe to restrain a possible bubble makes no sense at the current juncture. The Fed decision to retain the language that the funds rate will be kept “exceptionally low” for an “extended period” makes sense given the tentativeness of the recovery, the enormous slack in the economy, current low inflation rates and stable inflation expectations. At this critical juncture, the Fed must not take its eye off the ball by focusing on possible asset-price bubbles that are not of the dangerous, credit boom variety.
So now we have former Fed governor Mishkin, curiously stepping up now to defend the officialdom. I was told by a well-connected reader after the bloggerfest at Treasury that Team Obama was in full court press mode, trying to curry goodwill with others to burnish the perception of its financial policies. It isn’t hard to imagine that Mishkin was asked to assist.Seems to me that selling Helicopter Ben and Timmy's plan is the whole point of the Fed these days.
It was Mishkin who in January 2007, argued that:
that this concern about burst bubbles may be overstated. To begin with, the bursting of asset price bubbles often does not lead to financial instability…Japan’s experience is that the serious mistake for a central bank that is confronting a bubble is not failing to stop it but rather failing to respond fast enough after it has burst….
With a track record like that, should anyone take anything he says about bubbles seriously?
Mishkin also argued:
one must assume that a central bank can identify a bubble in progress. I find this assumption highly dubious because it is hard to believe that the central bank has such an informational advantage over private markets…
Yves here. We have the counterexample of Ian MacFarlane, governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia, who set out to combat Australia’s housing bubble. He did so by beating up on the banks, frequently pointing out that housing prices had risen too far, too fast and probably did not represent a great investment, plus a couple of judicious rate hikes. Australia is generally credited with having done a much better job of contending with its housing bubble than any other country in the same fix.
Republicans Monday had new hope that they could influence health care deliberations — influence that's so far eluded them — as the debate moves to the Senate, where the rules and the politics can work to their advantage.Just to recap, Senate Republicans stated publicly on several occasions that they should be in charge of the bill, wanted to make complete reworks of the bill several times to remove many of the key provisions that didn't benefit insurance companies, stormed off like children, proclaimed they couldn't work with the Democratic majority and pronounced the bill dead several times. The Senate Republicans in charge of the negotiations on the Senate Finance Committee said multiple times that the rest of the Senate would never allow them to compromise on their demands, ever. They walked away from the process time and time again when they didn't get what they wanted in the Senate Finance Committee. They accused Democrats of trying to destroy America with this legislation. They vowed never to vote for it and that it would never pass the full Senate, in fact they vowed it would never even get a vote unless the bill contained all the key provisions that the GOP demanded in the bill.
Some Republicans are trying to win Democratic support for more help for small business, different medical malpractice policies and changes in how the health care overhaul would be funded.
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, one of three GOP senators to vote for the Democratic-authored economic stimulus plan earlier this year, said moderates from both parties are discussing potential areas of agreement.
The odds are still long, and probably insurmountable, against the Senate's 40 Republicans having significant input into the biggest decisions, notably mandates on employers and individuals and the plan's funding. They continue to complain that, as Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., put it, the bill "is being drafted behind closed doors."
Democrats control 60 of the 100 Senate seats, but as many as 12 moderate Democrats have expressed serious concerns about the package's cost, now estimated at $829 billion over 10 years, as well as about the government-run insurance plan, or public option.
It takes 60 votes to cut off debate and move to a vote, and Democrats probably will need GOP help on certain parts of the bill. Full Senate consideration could begin later this month.
Collins was optimistic about the GOP role, saying, "I believe we can put together a bipartisan bill that could cover so many areas where there's agreement on what should be done."
Democrats told them to go to hell and passed the bill out of committee anyway. Only one Republican, Olympia Snowe of Maine, voted for it. The other Republicans vowed to fight it.
Now they are saying that they expect to have significant influence over a bipartisan final bill.
That has to be the largest mass delusion in the history of humanity. Republicans are out of their minds, literally. But here's the kind of bipartisanship that the GOP is expecting:
Already, there've been signs of bipartisanship. When a public option plan similar to the one the House passed on Saturday came up in the Senate Finance Committee earlier this year, Democrats joined Republicans to defeat it.Ahh, Senate Republicans and ConservaDems, working together to make the bill as weak and feckless as possible.
To the surprise of Senate Democratic leaders, the committee approved a plan by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, to provide $50 million annually through fiscal 2014 for abstinence education. Two moderate Democrats, Arkansas' Blanche Lincoln and North Dakota's Kent Conrad, voted with all 10 Republicans on the panel to approve the funds.
Once full Senate debate begins, it's expected to last at least a month and feature votes on almost every controversial aspect of the bill.
[UPDATE 10:12 AM] Brian Beutler at TPMDC goes over the key Senate ConservaDems, what they want from Obamacare, and what they will likely get. The bottom line is that there will be no public option, no abortion coverage in exchange eligible health plans, and significant cuts in subsidies for ordinary Americans to help make health care affordable in order to pay for increases in subsidies for medical equipment makers and insurance companies instead.
Who needs Republicans?
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger estimated Monday that California's budget will fall out of balance by $5 billion to $7 billion this fiscal year, on top of a $7.4 billion gap already projected for 2010-11.A good $12-14 billion worth of tough decisions. And of course, what's not on the table is tax hikes.
If true, state leaders would confront at least a $12.4 billion to $14.4 billion problem when Schwarzenegger releases his budget in January. California currently has an $84.6 billion general fund budget.
The Republican governor spoke with The Fresno Bee editorial board Monday after signing a bill placing a water bond on the November 2010 ballot.
He emphasized deep spending cuts as a budget solution but did not mention tax increases. Schwarzenegger and legislators agreed to cuts to education and social services, as well as temporary tax hikes, in two budget deals earlier this year.
"We are not out of the woods yet. ... The key thing is, we have to go and still make cuts and still rein in the spending," Schwarzenegger said. "It will be tougher because I think the low-hanging fruits and the medium-hanging fruits are all gone. I think that now we are going to the high-hanging fruits, and very tough decisions still have to be made."
A solid majority, 65%, opposed plans to place sales tax-like levies on services such as legal advice and car repairs. A proposal to flatten the income tax to make the state less dependent on the wealthy was opposed by 48% of voters and supported by just 33%. The nonpartisan panel had endorsed the argument made by many budget experts that income taxes from wealthy residents make state finances too erratic because they rise and fall dramatically as the stock market moves.Nobody likes taxes. Even fewer like paying more taxes. And the notion in California that the only people that benefit from programs that taxes pay for are all illegal immigrants is stupid.
Another proposal being pushed by budget reformers, although not the commission, would ease the restrictions on property tax increases put in place three decades ago by Proposition 13. That idea was also unpopular. Just 30% of voters support such changes even if they would affect only commercial property and not residences.
"They keep taxing and taxing and taxing," said one of the poll respondents, William Owen, 49, an attorney from Orange County who is registered as unaffiliated. "They can't even control the money they already have. . . . And all we're paying for are things like more and more illegal immigration."
But railing against and voting against one's own self-interest has been the victorious hallmark of the Gingrich/Armey/Dubya era of the last 15 years. We became the nation of "I'm keeping mine, screw you!" It hasn't even occurred to most folks in California that the state does anything other than coddle illegal immigrants and tax people for it.
The $12 billion plus in spending cuts on top of the this year's $15 billion aren't just going to affect "illegals", folks.
This deadly enemy of the West -- the Islamist ideology which holds all Jews, Christians, other non-Muslims, and a considerable number of Muslims, too, to be human filth in need of extermination -- is well infiltrated. Events like that at Fort Hood prove this, and from what I can see, the problem can only grow with the passage of time.Yep, let's just assume that any American Muslim who would be insulted by his or her countrymen assuming they are terrorist sympathizers until proven otherwise is actually guilty of something.
Getting at Islamist cells, to say nothing of lone, self-appointed jihadis within our society, means getting over the false sentimentality that turns a terrorist incident into an "incomprehensible tragedy" when it is not incomprehensible, and not a theatrical event.
It also means ripping through the politically-correct drivel that is put in the way of investigators. They should surely be allowed to assume that every loyal Muslim will be eager to give information to help them identify any potential killers in their midst.
We'd be better off confronting that Islamist enemy, than spraying perfume after each fatal strike.
Why stop there? If they are not eager to point the finger at other jihadists terrorists that they must be aware of, we should separate them from the rest of American society. Now is not the time for pesky Bill of Rights garbage, after all that was assumed to be given up when they became the Muslim Enemy.
We'll have to hold them for a while before we can interrogate all of them, so we must brace for the long haul. So sayeth Our Lady Of Perpetual Internment, so sayeth us all, right?
Snark aside, I love how the people accusing President Obama of being the most vile totalitarian fascist to ever walk the Earth are the same folks who think it's a perfectly acceptable idea to segregate millions of Americans from the general population, assume they are guilty, and question their loyalty because of course the innocent ones have nothing to hide.
Just in case anyone doesn't understand or believe me when I said this is all a matter of making sure the liberals pay for pushing through a public option, David Shuster spells it out:I believe Digby is right, but I also believe that Stupak is the vehicle that was always intended to force liberals to scuttle the entire Obamacare package, rather than making the Sensible Village Centrists being the bad guys.... the thing that Harry Reid has to say to his caucus, he may have to say "look, we may have to follow the House in order to get the centrists on board. We may have to allow this provision that strips federal funding from abortion." That may be the bitter pill that Democrats have to take in order to get the overall bill through. It's part of the whole horse trading that Harry Reid is doing with the centrists.So restricting women's fundamental rights is a horse trade. But why should it be that instead of something else? Are all of these "centrists" anti-choice? (I don't think so.) They could, after all, give them an airport or an aircraft carrier instead. Maybe offer up a little deregulation on some special interest in their district. Why would an issue like this assuage them en masse?
He is saying, ok look, we know that you don't like the public option, but if we give you, for example, new restrictions on abortions, will you then, at least, follow what the House did and allow a straight up or down vote?"
Unless what you really want to do is show everyone that liberals are not in charge and that they have to feel (even more) pain, real pain, before they get their way. There is no reason other than political domination to demand this particular issue as the bargaining chip: it is an object lesson to liberals, particularly women, for getting too uppity.
If Joe F'ckin Lieberman or Blanche Lincoln or Evan F'ckin Bayh or Ben Nelson are the bad guy, well, that would affect their Sensible Village Centrist credentials. Make no mistake, all of them want to scuttle the bill, but they don't want the blood on their hands. Better to make the bill so unpalatable and unacceptable to liberals so that they scrap it, and once again liberals are the bad guys and the Sensible Centrists can say "Well, we were going to vote for this compromise, but the liberals killed it. That's a shame. Maybe next time you'll listen to us instead of listening to them. See what happens when liberals are in charge?"
You see, only liberals want this silly health reform crap. (The truth is a majority of Americans do, but this is the Village. Perception is everything.) If you disabuse them of the notion by making the reform so painful and divisive through something like Stupak, then nobody will want health care reform anymore.
And in the end, that's the goal of Washington: to disabuse the people of the notion that the Federal Government is there to help them. It's there to help the Village, not you.
- Tropical Storm Ida has made landfall along the Mississippi-Alabama state line near Dothan.
- A conservative Christian group is accusing gay activists of committing "organized terrorism" against Christians.
- Accused killer Scott Roeder has confessed to killing abortion provider Dr. George Tiller to a Kansas City newspaper.
- North and South Korean warships exchanged fire over a disputed sea border between the two countries.
- The Mozilla Firefox web browser turns five this week.