Wonky Muse
Wonky Muse

October 30, 2009

Jacked Up On The Positive Sauce

Dubya sure got Stephen Colbert motivated:

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
George W. Bush's Motivational Speech
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorReligion

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October 29, 2009

Grow Up Girlie Man

After Ahnold the Guhvahnator send his sophomoric message on the margin to the California Assembly, the San Francisco Chronicle sends him one.

posted at 10:14 PM by Wonky Muse | +Save/Share | | | Backlink

Honoring Our War Dead


A scene we haven't witnessed for the last eight years: the Commander In Chief paying his respects as the bodies of American soldiers killed in war return home:

It was the president’s first trip to the Delaware air base, the main point of entry for the nation’s war dead to return home. The trip was a symbolic one for Mr. Obama — intended to convey the gravity of his decision as he moves closer to announcing whether he will send more troops to Afghanistan.

The overnight trip was not announced in advance. The president, wearing a dark suit and long overcoat, left the White House at 11:44 p.m. A small contingent of reporters and photographers accompanied Mr. Obama to Dover, where he arrived at 12:34 a.m. aboard Marine One. He returned to the South Lawn of the White House at 4:45 a.m. [...]

As the Commander-in-chief stood on the darkened tarmac and saluted, the flag-draped case was unloaded from the cargo plane in what the military calls a “dignified transfer,” as six soldiers in white gloves and camouflage fatigues carried the remains in precision. Mr. Obama and uniformed officers stood at attention as the case was placed in a white mortuary van parked nearby.

The transfer of the bodies — a solemn, 15-minute proceeding — took place after Mr. Obama spent nearly two hours meeting privately with several family members in the chapel of the Air Force base.
Obama's shrill critics will predictably scream "photo op!", and to them I say it maybe a good idea to pause the histrionics and note that this was all conducted at dawn, with very little advanced notice to the media which was allowed to capture only the last 15 minutes of an event that lasted more than two hours.

Besides, we need to be reminded of the consequences of a war that has dragged on for so long. As Obama comes closer to a decision on Afghanistan, it's important for him and for us to be reminded often that there is a real human toll behind troop surges and military occupation.

I'm glad he's thinking carefully and deliberately about his next step, in stark contrast to Bush/Cheney whose decisions were a foregone conclusion (i.e. more war). As George Will said, "[a] bit of dithering might have been in order before we went into Iraq in pursuit of non-existent weapons of mass destruction... We have much more to fear in this town from hasty than from slow government action."

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October 28, 2009

Senator Aetna

"It's journalistic shorthand to note a politician's party identification and state after his or her name. For example: Jane Doe (D-NY). And so Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman is identified as (I-CT). But the “I” does not stand for "Independent." It stands for "Insurance Industry."
-- Paul Begala regarding Joe Lieberman, who threatens to filibuster the health care reform bill even though he proposed government-run health care as late as 2004.

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October 23, 2009

Public Option: Still On The Table

Reports of the public option's demise may be exaggerated:

Democratic sources tell me that Reid – after a series of meetings with Democratic moderates – has concluded he can pass a bill with a public option.

[...] Reid is now convinced that Democratic critics of the public option will support him when it counts – on the procedural motion, which requires 60 votes, to defeat a certain GOP-led filibuster of the bill. Once the filibuster is beaten, it only takes 51 votes to pass the bill [...]

Another important point: Reid’s version of the public option is different from the more liberal version advocated by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi in two key ways: 1) Reid’s version would allow individual states to opt-out of the program, giving public option critics the chance to say that their states retain the right to scrap the idea; and, 2) Under Reid’s plan, the new government insurance program would have to negotiate payment rates with health care providers. Under Pelosi’s, payment rates would be tied to the lower rates paid by Medicare.
Even though an aide later denied that Reid concluded he has the votes, he confirms that talks are definitely in the direction of including a public option in the final bill.

Meanwhile, ABC's report adds that Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) was apopleptic about this because he courted Sen. Olympia Snowe's (R-ME) for months, to the extent of including her lame ideas to weaken the bill. He even tried to rally the Blue Dogs against it.

As if on cue, Sen. Snowe threatens to withdraw her support and possibly filibuster any bill that contains an immediate public option. She also added that Congress shouldn't rush this, that "Christmas might be too soon" and "we should give it the time it deserves". Funny, considering she never demanded more time when voting yes for the Wall Street bailout, the Patriot Act and the Iraq War.

We all know that the Democrats don't need Snowe's vote to pass this bill. It's just "bipartisan" cover so the Blue Dogs like Nelson, Lincoln and Landrieu can vote for the bill as well without upsetting the conservatives in their districts too much. The reality is, no matter how much they strip the bill bare, conservatives won't like it, and conservatives won't like them.

Hopefully, this sudden surge of courage on Sen. Reid's (D-NV) part means he realizes this, and that pressure from the grassroots convinced him it's more important to please the public -- which is overwhelmingly for the public option, despite what the nutty, screaming fringe in town hall meetings claim -- than Sen. Snowe and AHIP.

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October 22, 2009

Competition: As American As Apple Pie

Who knew the public option is so agile and hot?


Hmm, I wonder whom the GOP would pick to portray the death panel. Ben Stein? Fred Thompson?

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Scavenger

A slimy oil tycoon says Iraq owes us:

T. Boone Pickens told Congress on Wednesday that U.S. energy companies are "entitled" to some of Iraq's crude because of the large number of American troops that lost their lives fighting in the country and the U.S. taxpayer money spent in Iraq.

Boone, speaking to the newly formed Congressional Natural Gas Caucus, complained that the Iraqi government has awarded contracts to foreign companies, particularly Chinese firms, to develop Iraq's vast reserves while American companies have mostly been shut out.

"They're opening them (oil fields) up to other companies all over the world ... We're entitled to it," Pickens said of Iraq's oil. "Heck, we even lost 5,000 of our people, 65,000 injured and a trillion, five hundred billion dollars."
Entitled? U.S. energy companies are entitled?

So Pickens thinks that our young men and women spilled blood in an unjustified war that devastated a country and killed hundreds of thousands more of its people so vultures like him can pick on the remains.

To say that's disgusting isn't disgusting enough.

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Iran Ready to Deal?

Could it be?

The head of the world's atomic energy watchdog said Iran and world powers have until Friday to approve a proposed deal to transfer most of Iran's nuclear material abroad to be reformatted for medical purposes.

International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei disclosed no details about the draft deal, hammered out over 2 1/2 days of talks between Iranian, American, French and Russian diplomats in Vienna.

But he said that it reflected a "balanced approach" that would help Iran fuel a medical research reactor for diagnosing and treating cancer while building confidence to resolve long-standing suspicions about the nature of Tehran's nuclear ambitions [...]

Iran said it would take the proposal back to Tehran for consideration.
You mean negotiation and diplomacy can triumph over militarism and threats? Well, waddaya know.

Michael Adler at the Daily Beast has more on what went down.

As Dylan Matthews at Tapped pointed out, it's not as comprehensive a deal as the one hammered with North Korea and details like who will cover the shipment expenses can be tricky.

However, I agree with Laura Rozen:

If implemented, such a plan would conceivably put several months back on the clock to try to resolve international concerns about Iran's nuclear program. The deal seemingly offers Iran the appearance of de facto international recognition of its enrichment program, if not acceptance. It also gives Iran and world powers a chance to see if the other comes through on their side of the deal.
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October 21, 2009

Full Circle

Remember that Bush shoe thrower?

The Iraqi journalist who hurled his shoes at President George W. Bush leaned back in his chair and soaked in the round of applause.

This was not Baghdad or Damascus or Beirut. This was Geneva, where Muntadhar al-Zeidi was given a hero's welcome Monday far warmer than the subdued reception in his own homeland.

"I am one of the victims of the occupation," al-Zeidi said at a press conference alongside two local politicians, repeating his allegations that he was severely tortured, including with electric shocks, during his nine months of Iraqi detention.
I don't approve of what he did but I sure understand. If some uninvited foreign leader thrashed your country and turned it into one big catastrofrak you'd be hella mad, too.

Al-Zeidi clarified that it was Iraqis, not Americans, who tortured him in detention. He also declined gifts from wealthy Arabs until he's set up a foundation to help his people.

Meanwhile, what's the "throwee" been up to?

Former President George W. Bush has got a whole new gang. Goodbye, Condi, Cheney and Rumsfeld. Hello, Terry Bradshaw, Zig Ziglar and Rudy Giuliani.

Bradshaw, Ziglar and Giuliani are among the other featured speakers at an Oct. 26 "Get Motivated!" business seminar in Fort Worth, TX, where the former president will be the "special guest speaker." That won't be Bush's only Get Motivated appearance. See the full image promoting his Dec. 2 seminar here.

The all-day event next week will be held at the Fort Worth Convention Center Arena. Tickets are apparently $19. That's not per person -- that's per office.
So the former leader of the free world now shills for motivational mega shows. And they're charging $19?! They should pay for wasting people's time. I mean, exactly how is Bush going to motivate people? By talking about how he successfully saddled the country with two wars and a collapsing economy?

Add to that how distasteful it is that the first thing this man did after leaving office was to lend his name and the stature of his position not to any humanitarian or philanthropic cause but to making some easy cash. Wingnuts didn't waste much time criticizing Obama for using his clout in bidding for the Olympics, so what do they have to say about this?

Rachel Maddow is on the case:


Stay the class act that you are, Dubya.

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Toolbag of the Day

Dubya's former Press Secretary Dana Perino, who again proves IOKIYAR.

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Today's GOP: We've Got a Rep For That

Time to clear the cobwebs around here.


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January 31, 2009

"The Bush Diplomatic Hall of Glory"

What "diplomatic glory"?

The smell of fresh paint wafting last week through the hall heading to the State Department cafeteria signaled the demise of the Bush Diplomatic Hall of Glory -- that series of lovely photographs that touted the 43rd president's world leadership and diplomatic victories.

Loop Fans will recall that the exhibit of about 20 large color photos caused a bit of a stir back in 2003 when it replaced the long-standing array of black-and-white shots of historic moments. That included an original political cartoon from the Jefferson era and Woodrow Wilson at Versailles and Roosevelt and Churchill signing the Atlantic Charter and so forth.

The George W. Bush exhibit, the old-timers complained, was hardly more than a family travel album, showing him and Laura Bush traveling about the world, hanging out with foreigners, not exactly making history. There were also a few pics of the secretary of state, first Colin L. Powell and then Condoleezza Rice, usually with the president in the picture.
Word.

But wait a minute, does the photo exhibit include this leadership victory in China?


How about this diplomatic victory in Iraq?


It wasn't a complete "hall of glory" without these moments of victory, no?

Photos: The Sydney Morning Herald, Washington Times

posted at 1:57 AM by Wonky Muse | +Save/Share | | | Backlink

Republican Gregg for Commerce?

The White House remains mum, but if Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH) accepts the nomination for Commerce Secretary, New Hampshire Governor John Lynch could give the Democrats a 60 seat-strong majority in the Senate by appointing a fellow Democrat to replace Gregg.

Gregg will be under pressure from the GOP to say no, although given his age, 16 years in the Senate and a possible tough fight for re-election in 2010, he might say yes. The possibility becomes more likely if we consider that Gregg praised Obama publicly and that among Republicans he was second only to Olympia Snowe in voting with the Obama Administration.

Politico reports the GOP may demand that Governor Lynch appoint another Republican to replace Gregg before they agree to let him go, but that's not their call now, is it? If Gregg thinks his re-election prospects in 2010 are dim or if he's just more interested in serving in Obama's cabinet rather than retaining his Senate seat, then the Democrats don't have to concede a thing to get both him and their filibuster-proof majority.

posted at 12:04 AM by Wonky Muse | +Save/Share | | | Backlink
ABOUT

"Sapere Aude."
(Dare to Know)
-- Epistularum Liber Primus, Horace

Wonk (noun): def. A political nerd. Know spelled backwards.

Wonky Muse is the other Filipino American female political blogger. The sane, liberal one.


RECENT POSTS

  • Jacked Up On The Positive Sauce
  • Grow Up Girlie Man
  • Honoring Our War Dead
  • Senator Aetna
  • Public Option: Still On The Table
  • Competition: As American As Apple Pie
  • Scavenger
  • Iran Ready to Deal?
  • Full Circle
  • Toolbag of the Day

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