Monday, June 18, 2012

Last Call

And baseball's Rocket Man, pitcher Roger Clemens, has been acquitted of all charges related to his testimony to Congress in 2008.

The case against Clemens involved one count of obstruction of Congress, three counts of making false statements and two counts of perjury. He was not charged with illicit use of performance-enhancing drugs, but his denial of such use was part of the case against him.

A jury found him not guilty on all six counts.

Federal prosecutor Courtney Saleski, in closing arguments, told jurors Clemens "wanted to protect his brand, he wanted to protect his livelihood," in denying the use of steroids during a 2008 investigation by the U.S. House of Representatives into the problem.

The Clemens defense team disputed whether the government had made its case, telling the jury all the evidence came through a former personal trainer, Brian McNamee, who had incentive to lie.

"You saw Brian McNamee, the only witness in the history of the world who says he gave or saw an injection of that man," said defense attorney Michael Attanasio. "One person in the entire world." During closing arguments, the defense cited the lack of corroborating witnesses.

Not that it's hard to find 12 Americans who thought Congress was even less credible than Roger Clemens.  Easiest trial defense ever if you ask me.  Clearly the jury saw it that way.  Looks like Roger is going to skate, steroids or not.

A no-hitter for Clemens in the double header, I'd say.

Through The Wringer

This Sunday, senior White House adviser David Plouffe had a bit of a message for the Pundits Of Perpetual Disappointment and the ex-Clintonite Crew that has never seen fit to support Barack Obama:  Shut it.
But the Obama team isn’t fazed. On “Fox News Sunday,” Plouffe argued that Carville and his chorus of Democrats are wrong.
Those other Democrats are not paying attention to what the president is saying,” Plouffe told host Chris Wallace. “Which is every day, not just in what he says but what he does, he understands our economy is not as strong as it needs to be, that this didn’t happen overnight, it’s going to take us a long time to recover, there’s a lot of people out there hurting. So we are making progress and we need to make a lot more.”
Plouffe’s retort did exactly what the critics warn the campaign not to do: focus on the president’s economic record for his first term, rather than what he would do in a second term.
On “Meet The Press,” Plouffe denied that Democrats were panicking after a few rough weeks and poor economic news. But he called on Democrats to quit the “hand wringing” and focus on winning the election. What Democrats and any other supporters of the president need to do, Plouffe said, “is work like heck to win this election. That’s where we need our energy focused. Not on kind of some of the hand wringing that sometimes occurs in our party.”

Gosh, pretty much everyone here has been making the various cases on that strategy for months now, relentlessly pointing out the differences between the President at Mittens, at nearly every aspect of policy:  women’s rights, civil rights, economic inequality, foreign policy, marriage equality, job creation, the preservation of the safety net, infrastructure repair, food and drug safety, collective bargaining rights, and much, much more.

And at every turn we’ve said “knock off the self-flagellation and get with it.”  Look, effective dissent is not binary by any means.  VOTING FOR PRESIDENT EFFECTIVELY IS.  Your President is either going to be Mitt Romney or Barack Obama.  You get to choose, and it’s clear that for some Democrats, this is a hard choice.  Those of us that keep laying down the evidence here of what Mitt ROmney would do like to note that in every instance of policy that progressives care about, Mitt Romney will make things worse.

He will not magically stand up to the Teabillies.  He will not develop spinal fortitude.  He will not make things better.  Like Bush before him, he will be a nothing more than a puppet of all the awful influences in the country:  obscenly rich mega-billionaires and massive corporate giants who will continue to strip mine the middle class into non-existence.  Unions are all but gone.  The middle class is trapped with no upward mobility.  We’re in the new gilded age, with anything close to centrist policy, let alone progressive, relentlessly blocked by the GOP time and time again.

Barack Obama has done a hell of a lot.  He has not solved these massive structural problems.  For that, we’d have to give him a true progressive majority.  Instead he’s been forced to work within the structure itself, as rotten as it is.  We gave him that structure in 2010, electing 62 more Republican assholes to the House and seven more to the Senate, and then we have folks who wonder why things haven’t improved in the last 18 months, why jobs bills and legislation hasn’t passed, and why President Obama has been forced to turn to less-effective executive branch measures to give only temporary justice to the people, rather than through more permanent legislative means.

And when he did have decent majority power, it was limited by time and Republicans blocking Al Franken’s seat for nearly a year, and then Ted Kennedy’s death brought us Scott Brown.  Our brilliant plan in 2010?  Teach Barack Obama a lesson.  The lesson:  Democrats are afraid of the hard road.  Much easier to abdicate your responsibilities as a voter and not vote, right?  Then you can say “all this isn’t my fault, he wasn’t good enough to earn my vote.”  Then you can remain above the fray and wait for things to get so bad, we have no choice but to join you in your revolution, because you were right all along.

Meanwhile, the massive damage that the rest of us take from GOP policies and the fact you’re okay with the Teabillies controlling everything in the meantime?  That doesn’t matter in the face of your piousness. So sorry.  Plouffe understands, he’s playing to win.  We have to play to win too.  Those of us who say the only path to winning is through total defeat?

Shut it.

Another Milepost On The Road To Oblivion

And the Ni-CLANG! clock moves closer to midnight.  Don Hamel at Addicting Info:

Did you ever wonder what in the Hell Tea Baggers were talking about when they were all shrieking about how they wanted to ‘take our country back?’ After all, our country was never run by illiterates, and the Confederates did lose the Civil War. Well, now we can be reasonably certain that what they wanted was to ‘take the country back’ to a time when no matter how intellectually inferior, or how unfit you were to be among decent people, you could still loudly pretend that you were a person of status, based solely on your pigmentation.

Meet the latest braying right-wing jackass to absolutely prove that sad little pretension wrong, wrong, wrong; Barbara Espinoza, an Arizona radio host who loudly proclaimed on the air, that she refers to Barack Obama as “the first monkey president.” In fact, she was so proud of this inventive piece of witticism, that she loudly interrupted the obviously confused elderly caller, who was either uncertain of the name of the (Arizona Senator) who was the Republican candidate in 2008, or was saying he voted for Herman Cain (who wasn’t on the ballot in the Arizona primaries). He also called Obama “Rabbit Ears,” so you understand, this was some in-depth political conversation.

You can listen to this cankerous sore on the nation’s brain-stem here.

Awesome.  We're not far now from the President being called the n-word on a radio or TV show, and then the floodgates open.  Still 4.5 months to go, too.

But don't you dare call them racist.

To set the record straight I did use the word monkey and Obama in the same sentence. Yes I did say I voted for the white guy. Unless there has been a takeover of America and free speech is no longer allowed and I can be put to death for making a remark, I refuse to take the fifth.

Tens of millions out there feel the same way in Post-Racial America.  They've hated him...and by extension all minorities...for a very long time.  America's history is rife with hatred, death and more hatred.

It's just another sad chapter in our country's awesome (if you're white) history.  Oh, but it gets worse if the Montana GOP convention is any sign.

There was less laughter – although plenty of picture-taking – of an outhouse labeled “Obama Presidential Library” parked outside Missoula’s Hilton Garden Inn, where the convention took place.

Nothing on the outhouse indicated who was responsible for it, although it made an appearance in the Memorial Day parade in Corvallis in Ravalli County.

The outhouse was painted to look as though it had been riddled by bullets.

Inside, a fake birth certificate for Barack Hussein Obama made reference to the disproven controversy over the president’s origins. It was stamped “Bull––.” A graffito advised “For a Good Time call 800-Michelle (crossed out), Hillary (crossed out) and Pelosi (circled in red.)”

State GOP Chairman Will Deschamps of Missoula said he didn’t know who’d brought the outhouse, but dismissed it as “a sideshow.”

“It’s not something I’m going to agonize over,” he said. “Some of that stuff is not real good taste. We do have a president of the United States, and we have to honor that.”

We have to honor it.  We don't have to respect it or like it.  We certainly don't have to put up with one of them as President, right Will?

Won't be long now, folks.

Short And Sweet: Romney's Two Faces Shine

Romney refuses to actually go on record to say he'd overturn Obama's immigration order, but sits in the corner sniping and taking swipes at it.  What bravado!

This man is a coward, a two-faced chickenshit who will say what it takes to satisfy his short-term need. He doesn't give a damn about anything but his legacy, and he's too blind and stupid to see his legacy will be that of a lame duck who was blindsided by his own ignorance.

I'm starting to think he has no convictions.  No principles allow you to sell them out for your own happiness, that's why they are principles.  If you don't honor them when it matters, you're just... well, you're Mitt Romney.  Even Mitt doesn't want to be Mitt.  He wants to be Obama, but without the pesky responsibility of making the hard choices and taking responsibility for them.

Political Cartoon Of The Day

Talk about getting right to the root of the matter.  

Parks And Wreck Creation

Lost in the debate over how deeply California will have to slice its state budget yet again is the Golden State's many parks and nature areas, dozens of which are scheduled to close this year and the land sold off to developers as the state can no longer afford to operate them.  This is what happens when it takes a state referendum to raise a single dime of tax revenues, and supporters like Ernest Chung in Marin County are turning to California's wealthy to save the parks like China Camp Park near San Rafael.

"This is a brave new world," said Chung, standing outside a San Rafael library where he was scheduled to meet with a potential donor.

Supporters have pooled $200,000 to keep China Camp solvent and need $50,000 more. Chung noted that even if they are successful, they will have to start over next year: "If we tell people that we are going to be successful every year, we'd be fooling ourselves, because we haven't done it yet."

China Camp boosters at least have a stable of potential donors in wealthy Marin County. In less fortunate locales, the prospects of quickly raising tens of thousands of dollars is dim.

Officials and supporters in Whittier are struggling to scrape together $80,000 to save the historic home of Pio Pico, California's last Mexican governor - even as the preserved rancho at Los Encinos State Historic Park 35 miles away has been spared from closure thanks to a $150,000 check from a single anonymous donor.

"In some of the richer areas, someone steps forward and writes a check for the full amount," said Whittier Assistant City Manager Nancy Mendez. "That's not the case here. They're getting $5 donations."

Some parks will make it for another year or two.  A lot won't.  Either way, Republicans across the country have assured that government of the people and for the people will fail, and that the rest of us have to beg the job creators and the one percent for scraps just to save state parks.

Much more cost-effective to give a billion to the GOP, right?

Read more here:

Greek Fire, Part 63

Elections yesterday in Greece and France portend serious trouble ahead for the euro.  First in Greece, conservative New Democracy has won the most seats in parliamentary elections, followed by centrist PASOK, and together they could form a government without leftist Syriza.  The problem is that PASOK won't play ball without Syriza in the fold.

...the Greek PASOK party of former PM G-Pap may have thrown a grenade into coalition discussion, following an announcement by Katerina Diamantopoulou that Pasok will not join into a coalition government with ND unless Syriza also joins said coalition. Which Syriza stated moments ago it would not do. The question then comes whether ND can form a government (150+ seats) with any of the other remaining parties (up to and including neo-nazi New Dawn or the communists... why is there no Pirate party in Greece?). The answer is most likely not, but not before some serious horse trading shows that the second Greek elections has achieved nothing, and the world now has to look forward to a 3rd Greek election round, some time in August...

In other words, still no government in Greece, as expected.   PASOK has correctly determined that if New Democracy and PASOK form a government now with Syriza, the two of them will be destroyed in the next elections as they take all the blame.  Syriza would win an outright majority in the following elections (which would be sooner rather than later ar more than 75% of Greece is now against austerity).  No Syriza to take their part of the blame, no government...and we're now stuck in the exact same boat as in May.  Nothing has changed.  There will be no Greek government.

In France, there's the opposite problem:  French parliamentary elections have given an outright majority of Francois Hollande's Socialists.

The Socialist bloc secured between 296 and 320 seats in the parliamentary election runoff, according to reliable projections from a partial vote count, comfortably more than the 289 needed for a majority in the 577-seat National Assembly.

The result means Hollande won't need to rely on the environmentalist Greens, projected to win 20 seats, or the Communist-dominated Left Front, likely to have just 10 deputies, to pass laws. The centre-left already controls the upper house of parliament, the Senate. 

Now things get interesting.  The French have completely rejected the center-right and now the country is dominated by the left.  We'll see what Hollande can do with it...and Germany is going to be pissed.

The Greek Fire continues scorching the world.

[UPDATE]  And I see Spain's interest rates have now breached the 7% danger zone this morning.  Hold on to your crapola, people.


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