Friday, November 26, 2010

Last Call

President Obama now officially has a Big Fat Alan Simpson Needs To Go problem on his hands.

The co-chair of President Barack Obama's bipartisan deficit commission lashed out at seniors Wednesday because they are unhappy with his ideas for reducing the deficit by cutting Social Security benefits while reducing corporate taxes.

"I've never had any nastier mail or [been in a] more difficult position in my life," Simpson told Jeremy Pelzer at the Casper Star-Tribune. "Just vicious. People I've known, relatives [saying], 'You son of a bitch. How could you do this?'"

The draft report released by Simpson along with co-Chair Erskine Bowles proposed raising the retirement age to 69 by 2070. Additionally, 90 percent of Social Security income would be taxable, as opposed to 82.5 percent as is currently projected.

Critics of the proposal have dubbed the group the "catfood commission" because seniors who see their benefits cut would have to reduce their expenses or find additional sources of income.

"We had the greatest generation," Simpson said. "I think this is the greediest generation."

Whether or not he's right is one thing.  Having him say this in earshot of a reporter is quite another.  Oh, but it gets worse.

Referring to MSNBC's Rachel Maddow as "that," the commission co-chair blamed political polarization for the attacks on him.

"You don't want to listen to the right and the left -- the extremes," he said. "You don't want to listen to Keith Olbermann and Rush Babe [Limbaugh] and Rachel Minnow [sic] or whatever that is, and Glenn Beck. They're entertainers. They couldn't govern their way out of a paper sack -- from the right or the left. But they get paid a lot of money from you and advertisers -- thirty, fifty million a year -- to work you over and get you juiced up with emotion, fear, guilt, and racism. Emotion, fear, guilt, and racism."

Awesome.  He's really blaming the press for actually telling people what he recommended in his own publicly released report.   Furthermore, he's actually upset because he doesn't understand why any rational American would be angry about a plan that cuts Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid benefits in order to lower the tax rate for the richest Americans.  That's something in Alan Simpson's worldview that we should be glad to accept, that it's the natural order of things for us peons, and why can't we just acknowledge that?

"Let them eat cake" is one thing.  This is far more sinister in its implications.  And yet Simpson here represents the prevailing Village Serious Centrist viewpoint: Rachel Maddow and Rush Limbaugh are exactly the same (except Maddow is a fish/inanimate object).  They are extremists outside the worldview of Simpson, as is anyone who isn't a Beltway insider.  Only the Serious Village People in the middle can "govern" and by govern that means make the little people suffer, because that's what the powerful are supposed to do to the small.  If you're poor to the point where you actually need Social Security "handouts", then you're "greedy" and that's your damn fault.  What good are you to Simpson?

Spoken like a man who really, really despises your average American like only a rich and powerful former Senator can.

And yet the larger problem is that President Obama is the one who asked Simpson to help craft this plan. He might want to do something about that.

Zandar's Thought Of The Day

Me, this morning:

I don't think Palin is completely unqualified to be President because she makes mistakes.  The last perfect person got nailed to a cross two millenia ago, they tell me.   I think she's completely unqualified to be President because she's the kind of person who takes a day of reflection and gratitude and instead turns it into a national hissy fit like the spoiled brat she is.  This is the kind of behavior you expect from Veruca Salt, not the next President.  It is always, always, always about Sarah Palin.  The country does not revolve around her stupid, petty, paranoid insecurities, but you'd be hard pressed to say so when millions believe the sun emerges from her ass every morning.

Sully, this afternoon:

This may be a smart-ass retort; it may be useful inoculation against a potentially damaging gaffe; it may even be a well-researched blog-post, but what it isn't is anything approaching the kind of character we expect in a president. A simple respect for the office she seeks would not reflect itself in these increasingly callow, sarcastic, cheap jibes at a sitting president. But sadly, like so many now purporting to represent conservatism, there is, behind the faux awe before the constitution, a contempt for the restraint and dignity a polity's institutions require from its leaders.

Glad I wasn't the only one who noticed.  Sarah Palin has no conceivable chance in 2012, nor should she.  She is simply too mean.

Assholes And Elbows, Gentlemen

I remember shooting hoops with my dad and brothers in the driveway after Thanksgiving dinner at Grandma's house most years.  President Obama has a similar tradition, only somebody played for keeps this time out.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said the President received a dozen stitches after getting hit with an errant elbow during a Friday morning basketball game with White House aide Reggie Love and some unidentified family members at the Fort McNair military base in Washington.

A senior administration official said the cut was not caused by Love, a former player for Duke University who serves as the President's personal assistant, but the official was still checking for more details on who caused the accident.

"After being inadvertently hit with an opposing player's elbow in the lip while playing basketball with friends and family, the President received 12 stitches today administered by the White House Medical Unit," said Gibbs. "They were done in the doctor's office located on the ground floor of the White House."

Clinton jogged, Bush biked, Obama plays hoops.  Hope the guy's alright.  Whoever did throw that elbow has to be pretty mortified, at any rate.  Glad the President is alright.

I've seen worse accidents around my family.  Then again, my hoops games never made national news, either.

Carnivale Of Blood

Rio de Janerio is under siege as criminal gangs are running amok in the favelas, and the Brazilian military has been called in the help contain the violence.

At least 25 people have died and 192 have been detained or arrested since the violence broke out Sunday as a response by drug gangs to an increased police presence in the crime-ridden slums, police said. Criminals have burned more than 96 vehicles.

Three police officers have been injured, according state military police.

About 800 soldiers have been dispatched to the city to protect the perimeter of the areas occupied by police, the state-run Agencia Brasil reported. The military will control all entry points into some slums, the news agency said, citing Roberto Sa, a state security official.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva reiterated his support Thursday for state and local officials' efforts, saying he had spoken with the governor of Rio de Janeiro state, Sergio Cabral. The city and the state have the same name.

"I told Sergio Cabral that whatever help he needs from the federal government so people will live in peace in this country, we will give him," Lula said. "Rio de Janeiro can rest assured that we will support the governor and the residents of the state."

Kind of an ugly situation down there.  Hopefully nobody else will get hurt, but I doubt that will be the case.

High Level Interational Diplomacy Is Disturbingly Like Survivor

And WikiLeaks just voted everyone off the island.

The United States has briefed Britain, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Norway and Israel ahead of the expected new release of classified U.S. documents, WikiLeaks said on Thursday, citing local press reports.

The whistle-blowing website said by Twitter that American diplomats briefed government officials of its six allies in advance of the release expected in the next few days.

The next release is expected to include thousands of diplomatic cables reporting corruption allegations against politicians in Russia, Afghanistan and other Central Asian nations, sources familiar with the State Department cables held by WikiLeaks told Reuters on Wednesday.

The allegations are major enough to cause serious embarrassment for foreign governments, the sources said.

Some governments appear to be bracing for the impact of the revelations.

According to the London-based daily al-Hayat, the WikiLeaks release includes documents that show Turkey has helped al-Qaeda in Iraq -- and that the United States has supported the PKK, a Kurdish rebel organization that has been waging a separatist war against Turkey since 1984, the Washington Post reported.

The U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv warned the Israeli foreign ministry that some of the cables could concern U.S.-Israel relations, the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz reported, citing a senior Israeli official.

I'd be laughing my ass off if we weren't about 35 seconds away from Korean War II: Judgment Day. I really hope there's not any terrible stuff about China or either Korea in this pile of bad, or things could get even worse. Also, half of Europe's governments are facing austerity/bailout revolts anyway. This won't help.

The Turkey thing is somewhat problematic, however.

The Moose Who Stole Thanksgiving

Via Rumproast, I see that not even Thanksgiving is safe from Sarah Palin's desperate attempts to win the news cycle at all costs, and that the only thing you need to know is that the media is unremittingly evil should it ever reveal that she is less than a goddess.  She takes to Facebook to perform the Turkey Day political equivalent of your Aunt Edna getting smashed on a box of wine at the family dinner and then declaring that none of you ever really loved her anyway.

If the media had bothered to actually listen to all of my remarks on Glenn Beck’s radio show, they would have noticed that I refer to South Korea as our ally throughout, that I corrected myself seconds after my slip-of-the-tongue, and that I made it abundantly clear that pressure should be put on China to restrict energy exports to the North Korean regime. The media could even have done due diligence and checked my previous statements on the subject, which have always been consistent, and in fact even ahead of the curve. But why let the facts get in the way of a good story? (And for that matter, why not just make up stories out of thin air – like the totally false hard news story which has run for three days now reporting that I lobbied the producers of “Dancing with the Stars” to cast a former Senate candidate on their show. That lie is further clear proof that the media completely makes things up without doing even rudimentary fact-checking.)

And actually the media makes up stuff all the time.  You know, like President Obama is a Kenyan Muslim or he has a secret army of millions or that he's indoctrinating our schoolchildren.  And yet, President Obama finds a way to run the damn country instead of going on Facebook on Thanksgiving and screaming how he's a victim, and that life is unfair, and that the nation's first African-American President is being held to a higher standard and that all you people suck.

Instead, President Obama continues with his job of being President of the United States, which is a much more difficult job than Governor of Alaska (Sarah Palin couldn't handle because it was hard and stuff and book tours are a lot more fun.)

Everybody makes gaffes.  Ask Joe Biden.  It's how you respond to them that counts, and Sarah Palin only seems to be worried about petty recriminations and looking to blame everybody but herself.  Bob Cesca continues to say it best:  Palin is nothing more than a tween girl on the internet who thinks life is a giant high school popularity contest.

I don't think Palin is completely unqualified to be President because she makes mistakes.  The last perfect person got nailed to a cross two millenia ago, they tell me.   I think she's completely unqualified to be President because she's the kind of person who takes a day of reflection and gratitude and instead turns it into a national hissy fit like the spoiled brat she is.  This is the kind of behavior you expect from Veruca Salt, not the next President.  It is always, always, always about Sarah Palin.  The country does not revolve around her stupid, petty, paranoid insecurities, but you'd be hard pressed to say so when millions believe the sun emerges from her ass every morning.

That's the real problem, the adoring throng who enable her by accepting this nonsense as something Presidential, something that our daughters and sisters and mothers should emulate, that we should somehow reward her for dumping gravy on the table because somebody hurt her goddamn feelings.  America deserves far, far better.

So to you, I say this: In your own words, madam...

Man up.

Act like an adult, you blithering twit.  Life is unfair.  We all have problems much larger than yours, with your generous earnings from FOX and The Learning Channel and your book publisher and your speaking tours and your celebrity appearances.  You are blessed with money, popularity, a large and loving family and you have taken the opportunity John McCain gave you and you have turned yourself into a household name with your efforts and seized the advantages you created.  That is the American way.

It is also the American way to show some gratitude on a day where millions of us Americans who don't have any of that are thankful for what little they do have.  Learn to appreciate what you do have in your life now because I assure you that wheel of fate turns in ways we can never predict and you never know for sure where you will be tomorrow, let alone two years from now.  Savor your blessings.

Because hubris is an unholy bitch, and she will take everything from you when you least expect it, so be thankful on Thanksgiving.

Way to completely miss the point of the holiday.  What an excellent example you set for America.

Not.  Presidential my ass.

Call The Village Police, We Have An Actual Discussion On Our Hands

Chris Hayes filled in for Lawrence O'Donnell on the Last Word on Wednesday night, and opened with a panel discussion of Obama's relationship with the business community that completely broke all Village rules:

It had no fake Democrats pretending to be Republicans, no former Clinton White House staffers pushing sixty, and most of all nobody saying Obama hadn't been bipartisan enough.  In fact, what Ari Berman, Roger Hodge, and Adam Greene spent a good 15 minutes on was something I had yet to seen broached on cable news:  what the hell is Obama thinking when America's corporations are raking in record profits and he's still on bended knee while big business is accusing him of killing their bottom line?  Watch:

Hodge is definitely a Firebagger, but he's balanced out by the progressive PCCC activist Greene, and Berman is in the middle.  But all three men made excellent points at times and Chris Hayes asked some very good questions.  More importantly, they had an adult discussion without the name-dropping, chest-beating, and groupthink common to any other panel I've seen this year.

They all mentioned however that Obama had to take a stand on tax cuts for the middle class and to go after John Boehner to force two votes, one on middle class tax cuts, one on tax cuts for the wealthy.  If Obama didn't, he was done in the eyes of all these guys and much of his base.  Hodge replied that he didn't think Obama was going to do it and that he was bereft of hope on the issue.  Even Greene admitted that he thought Obama's obnoxious habit of being bi-partisan all the bloody time was going to get him killed by the GOP.

I'd have to agree.  We'll see what happens next week with tax cuts and unemployment benefits extensions in the lame duck.

StupidiNews, Black Friday Edition!

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