Obama’s Nobel: Ignoble?

No one was more surprised than I was when Barack Obama received the Nobel Prize shortly after taking office. After all, he hadn’t had a chance to do much of anything yet and I’m not sure a few months of grappling with the large bag of burning dog poo left on his doorstep qualified him to be the bringer of world peace.

I thought then, as I do now, that Obama got the nod not so much for advancing peace as he did for not being George Bush. An honor for not being someone else isn’t much of a prize. Still, I thought it odd, but not troubling.

Although the Messiah-in-Chief donated the $1.4 million prize to charity, I would have preferred he politely decline it on the grounds he hadn’t done much peacifying yet. I think that would’ve been the classier move, but it was what it was and even John McThuselah supported the award.

Now Bolivian President Evo Morales and the Vice Chairman of Russia’s Duma, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, are agitating to take it away for attacking Libya. Being the great advocates of human rights they are certainly qualifies them to pass judgment – at least they think so.

Indian-giving peace prizes is petty, stupid, and more image destroying than awarding the prize to someone ill deserving it in the first place. That even goes for George McMakepeace Bush even in the highly unlikely event he had won it – or, if Newt Gingrich wins it after President Carebear shuffles off his mortal throne.

If this issue – and I use that term loosely – goes according to the usual form, a thousand nattering nabobs will rise up and feel obliged to make this into a latter-day flag pin drama. The only thing more surprising than Obama winning the award would be if the Republicans didn’t propose a Constitutional amendment disallowing Muslim Kenyans from becoming President. Maybe Sarah Palin will make a stern statement like, “That Russian guy Moldevort, thinks Nobama didn’t deserve it, and he’s a lamestream COMMIE. Didja know I can see Russia from my front porch? (Psst, I’m REALLY running for President. I just make a lot of money giving speeches saying I’m not.) You betcha…wink…wink. I’m a maverick rogue.”

There, I’ve said my peace so go ahead and say yours.

Just do it quickly please. We’re going to hell in a hand basket whether he deserved the award or not.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

Protesters Storm Park to Force Obama Out as Kenyan President

WASHINGTON – In a move shockingly similar to anti-government protests in Tunisia and Egypt, demonstrators have forcibly taken over a telephone booth in Washington’s Lafayette Park to demand Barack Obama step down as President of Kenya.

Early reports indicate the protest turnout swelled a dramatic 33% as Sarah Palin joined fellow protesters Orly Taitz and Michele Bachmann in their crusade. In an effort to clamp down on the protest, the Kenyan Communications Ministry cut service to the phone booth, severing the trio’s access to the outside world. Access to Fox News has also been cutoff within the boundaries of the park and the cell phone batteries of the protest organizers were dead.

Click for Video >>

Left with no other means of communication, protest leader Orly Taitz attempted to hand-deliver a list of demands to the White House. However, she was driven away from the White House gates by the Obama family‘s Portugese Water Dog, Bo.

Chemical Attack Threat
Taitz claimed the dog had launched a chemical attack against her, but laboratory analysis of the liquid that came in contact with Taitz’s leg revealed the “chemical” was nothing more than odoriferous, but harmless, dog urine.

Taitz, Bachmann, and Palin called a news conference to explain their demands shortly after noon.

“We demand Barack Obama step down as President of Kenya,” Taitz said. “It’s clear that not only does Mr. Obama have no valid US birth certificate, he has no Kenyan birth certificate either.”

A pool reporter from Brietbart News asked if the women were aware that Obama is not the current President of Kenya.

“No I didn’t, but that don’t matter because you can betcha he’s not the President of North America either,” Palin said. “Lookit here, I can see Nairobi from my front porch and he’s always in there messin’ around with all the other executive branch activists. Everbody knows this misuncertainism surrounding Obama is nothing more than a lamestream media scam to attract attention away from me.”

“By the way, I’m not saying I’m not running in 2012, but I am…not running, that is. I might even run for President of Kenya too. It can’t be that hard if Nobama can do it,” Palin added.

Bachmann was quietest if the three, offering little directly related to the protest. However, she did seem to have her own agenda.

The ‘Usurper Obama’
“That whole business out in Cairo, Illinois the other day is just symptamatic of the socialist’s hold over our America. With the usurper Obama in power, we know and can prove every right-thinking, God-terrorized person in America will be rounded up and put into a FEMA-run concentration camp,” she explained.

“I had expected to become Speaker of the House when Republicans took power away from the Democrats, but Kenyan agents of the Obama legion messed with my calendar and I missed the voting,” Bachmann screeched. “So now that I don’t have anything to do, I’m going to run for President in 2012 on the Kenyan Tea Party ballot.

The protesters were evasive when asked why they chose Washington as the site for a protest about events in another country.

“It was a small miscalculation on my part,” Palin said. “I thought the whole thing was about Obama being the non-President of the United Skates, so I bought tickets to Washington. Who knew Washington and Kenyan were different countries?

The White House has refused to comment about the protests.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

 

 

 

Citizens United By-Product?

We need to start making things again in this country, and we can do that by reducing the tax and regulatory burdens on job creators. America will have the highest corporate tax rate in the world. Think about that. Look no further to see why jobs are moving overseas.Michelle Bachmann Response

I cannot remember ever having three State of the Union speeches in one year. Normally the party in the White House gives the traditional State of the Union speech followed by the out of office party giving a response. Now thanks to our political system being awash in cash any crank can go on television and get their 15 minutes of fame. My question is who funded this little Bachmann escapade? Michelle Bachmann is supposed to be a money maker and according to reports she is a fund-raising machine, but where does this money come from? No one knows. I would venture to guess that it is the same AstroTurf funders who started the teabagger movement.

I have a hard time believing that it would be difficult to raise money with a platform of tax-cuts for the wealthy, removing regulations on businesses, and repealing health-care reform. I think there are a number of wealthy folks who would contribute to those causes, so the fact that she raises money should not be falsely correlated to her popularity. Cranks like Bachmann will always appeal to 15-20% of the population and while this sells a lot of gold and dog food it doesn’t translate well in national elections. Michelle Bachmann and her ilk are the pit-bulls of the right to make sure any compromise will be their compromise which is no compromise at all. Moving forward the new hostages won’t just be the unemployed, the poor, and the middle-class it will be the full faith and credit of the United States.

The new target will be the infamous entitlements. The line will be that you can’t be serious about deficits if you don’t cut entitlements. This of course will come from the same folks who want to make the Bush tax-cuts for the wealthy permanent. What I fail to understand is that we are having this one sided conversation about cutting the deficit without the other side of the equation which is to increase revenues. The way that Bill Clinton created a surplus was not by cutting Social Security and our safety net; he did it by raising revenues. And guess what the sky didn’t fall and the wealthy and the corporations did not move to Eastern Europe where the rates are much lower. The idea that you are going to cut your way out of this debt is ludicrous.

Is it just me or is it coincidental that following the Citizens United decision we are now being provided with every extremist view on full display. My concern is that we will be bombarded by these fanatical views not because those who espouse them are credible or even electable. The strategy will be to push the center further and further to their extreme view so that views that were once unthinkable are now being debated as mainstream. How many formerly extreme views are now a part of our political discussions? Anyone remember the 14th Amendment and how now it is open for public debate and re-litigation against Latinos? It wasn’t that long ago that this would have been considered an extreme remedy for the immigration crisis. Or how about referring to the unemployed and seniors as lazy and stopping benefits in the middle of an economic downturn like we haven’t seen since the Great Depression? Even the most ardent critics would not have proposed cutting off unemployment benefits in the midst of the "Great Recession".

The upcoming Presidential election is going to be full of cranks and fanatics and their goal will be to distract and confuse the electorate. They will be able to do so with the help of the Citizens United decision and the 501(c)4 organizations flush with cash that it spawned. These unnamed donors will be able to manipulate the issues and steer the debate away from the real issues and towards the dark hordes that are storming our borders or the socialist liberals who have the audacity to ask them to pay their fair share of taxes. Thanks to 24/7 cable news and the Supreme Court the airwaves will be flooded with the likes of Palin, Bachmann, and O’Donnell. The teabagger Barbie’s will be on full display and in rare form providing not only verbal, but visual distractions for the punditry.

We now have Supreme Court Justices hiding income from their spouses and conducting behind the scenes political talks for congressional audiences. My question is what job did Ms. Thomas perform to make $686,589 from the Heritage Foundation? Whether there is criminal intent or conflict of interest is not the issue. The issue is that under this Court more controversial decisions have been made and it doesn’t appear those decisions were based in Constitutional law, but instead on a political agenda. It is odd to me that the citizen’s of this country are overwhelmingly opposed to the Citizens United decision and yet our judiciary blatantly and apologetically displays their partisanship in a way that would have been unheard of just a few years ago.

It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first. - Ronald Reagan

The Disputed Truth

Watch Cheney and Co. Respond to the Ghailani Sentence

In recent months we heard a lot of pundits wax hysterical about the chaos and mayhem the federal court trial of a former Guantanamo detainee would bring to New York.

The folks at Keep America Safe – Liz Cheney, Bill Kristol, and Debra Burlingame – called the trial “dangerous,” “ reckless,” and “embarrassing”. 

But in New York the trial proceeded with no disruptions. No street closures. No increased police presence. And, this week, a federal judge sentenced Ahmed Ghailani to life in jail with no chance of parole.

There's more...

The Politics of Hate--and Hate Speech

           Just about anything that could be said about the murders in Tucson have been said.

            We know that Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) was holding a "Congress on the Corner" meeting outside a Safeway grocery store.

            We know that a 22-year-old named Jared Lee Loughner is in FBI custody, and has been charged with one count of attempted assassination of a member of Congress, two counts of killing an employee of the United States and two counts of intent to kill employees of the United States. We know that six people are dead, that 14 were wounded, several of whom were in grave or critical condition. We know there will be additional state charges filed against Loughner.

            We know that among the dead are John Roll, a Republican and the senior federal judge in Arizona, who had come by the rally to support his friend, the Democratic representative; and Christina-Taylor Green, a nine-year-old who was born on 9/11, and died on another day of violence. We have heard the names of George Morris, one of those shot, who tried to protect his wife, Dorothy, who didn't survive; of Dorwin Stoddard, 76, who was killed while trying to protect his wife, Mary; of Phyllis Schneck, a 79-year-old widow who lived in  Tucson eight months a year to avoid the snows of her native New Jersey; and of Gabe Zimmerman, 30, Giffords' outreach director.

            We know that Loughner was rejected by the Army, withdrew from a community college prior to being suspended, became more abusive the past year, and that many, even before the shootings, have called him mentally unstable.

            We know the shooter used a Glock 19 9-mm. semi-automatic weapon, with a 33-bullet magazine, which he purchased legally. We know that Congress did not renew the assault weapons ban, which allowed civilians to own pistols but with only a 10-bullet magazine capacity. And, we also know that sales of Glock pistols following the murders, in a nation steeped in a gun culture, increased by 60 percent in Arizona and 5 percent nationally.

            We know that Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, a conservative in his 30th year in office, called Arizona a "mecca of prejudice and bigotry," and condemned the "the kind of rhetoric that flows from people like Rush Limbaugh," whom he called "irresponsible" and who bases his talk show upon partial and wrong information to inflame his listeners. Three months earlier, the sheriff, possibly the most respected law enforcement officer in Arizona, said the Tea Party "brings out the worst in America," and implied that the atmosphere of hate was partially responsible for the resulting murders.

            While most Tea Partiers are White, middle-aged or senior citizens who are angry but not violent, whenever there is violence, whenever there is racism, discrimination, or homophobia, there are Tea Party sympathizers present.

            We know that armed citizens, some carrying signs that advocate violence, attend Tea Party rallies, and speak of the overthrow of government, while apparently not understanding that their actions border on sedition.

            We know that numerous members of Congress, including Rep. Giffords, had received death threats after they voted for health care reform. We know that some Tea Party leaders openly urged their followers to throw bricks through the windows of those who supported health care reform, and that several offices were vandalized.

            We know that during the 2010 mid-term elections, Sarah Palin had targeted 20 Democratic representatives, including Rep, Giffords, by placing cross-hairs targets on their districts on a map of the United States. "When people do that," said Giffords at the time, "they have to realize that there are consequences to that action,” We know Palin frequently uses gun analogies and has called for her supporters to "take up arms," exhorting them not to retreat but to rearm. After the murders, Palin claimed the cross-hairs weren't really targets but surveyors' marks.

            We know that Eric Fuller, a 63-year-old disabled veteran who was one of those shot in Tucson, lashed out against hate speech. "If you are going to scream hatred and preach hatred, you're going to sow it after a while if you've got a soap box like they've got," said Fuller.

            We also know there are liberals who have threatened others, and that the rhetoric of the Radicals of the 1960s, with limited media, may have been close to the rhetoric of the Reactionaries of the 21st century. But, the instances of liberal threats pale in comparison to those launched by the extreme right-wing, which is adept at full use of the newer social media, as well as near-monopolies on radio and television talk shows.

            We also know the extreme right-wing, usually without facts or bending facts to their own purposes, fired back at Sheriff Dupnik and others.

            Rush Limbaugh, with absolutely no evidence, not only claimed the sheriff is a "fool," but that the Democratic party "seeks to profit" from the shootings, but that Loughner knows he has "the full support" of the Democrats.

            We know that Glenn Beck, two days after the murders, finally spoke out, extending sympathies—and condemning those who argued that a climate of hate was partially responsible for the tragedy. This is the same Glenn Beck who in June erroneously claimed that the media and those in Washington "believe and have called for a revolution. You’re going to have to shoot them in the head." This is the same Glenn Beck who, on his website, posted a picture of him holding a pistol. And, we also know he defended Sarah Palin, stupidly charging that attacks on her following the tragedy could somehow destroy the republic.

            We know that four days after the murders in Tucson, four volunteer officials of the Arizona Republican party resigned, citing the threat of violence by the Tea Party faction. Anthony Miller, chairman of Legislative District 20, a heavy Republican area near Phoenix, told the Arizona Republic that during his re-election campaign, Tea Party members threatened him, some making hand gestures imitating a gun. Many resorted to racial hatred, calling Miller "McCain's boy." Miller, an Afro-American, was on John McCain's paid campaign staff in 2010. McCain's opponent for Senate was a Tea Party sympathizer, with heavy support of controversial and racist Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Phoenix.

            We know that 27,000 people of almost every American demographic and political belief attended a memorial service at the University of Arizona. We know that President Obama told that audience and the nation that Americans, in honor of those who gave their lives, need to be civil, that we should "use this occasion to expand our moral imaginations, to listen to each other more carefully, to sharpen our instincts for empathy and remind ourselves of all the ways that our hopes and dreams are bound together."

            We know that the day of the memorial service, Palin, on her Facebook page, launched an eight-minute video, defensive and accusatory, in which she claimed she and the extreme right-wing, not the 20 hit by gunfire, were true victims. She refused to acknowledge that a climate of hate could have been a part of what surrounded the killer. In that video, Palin called media criticism of extreme right-wing rhetoric and hate speech "blood libel," a phrase associated with extreme anti-Semitism. The term refers to accusations that Jews use the blood of Christian children in the making of matzos for Passover and other rituals. Giffords is a Jew. Gabriel Zimmerman was a Jew.

            Two days after President Obama's speech and Sarah Palin's whining defense, in a daily newspaper in northeastern Pennsylvania appeared a letter to the editor, written by one of the leaders of an organization allied with the Tea Party movement. In that letter, the writer incredulously, and with no knowledge, blamed the Pima County sheriff for "his official inactions/failures" and college professors. She wrote that Loughner was a "left-wing philosophy professor's PERFECT STUDENT. . . . [who was] subjected to listening to liberal ideology." Although she never attended college, she blamed "the politics of our liberal universities where our young people are being taunted and challenged to be violent in the name of 'social justice.'"

            We know that it isn't liberals, most of whom fully understand not just the words but the meaning of the First Amendment, who are the ones who try to shout down opposing views. And, while incensed at the violence that often comes from hate speech, liberals don't demand that the government shut down free expression, only that persons recognize there may be a correlation.

            Yes, we know a lot. But, one thing we don't know is why these "super patriots" of the Reactionary Right who believe they and no one else has truth or knowledge of how to improve the nation, can advocate violence and, thus, destroy the principles of reasoned discussion advocated by our Founding Fathers.

 

[Dr. Brasch is an award-winning syndicated columnist, and author of 17 books, most of which can be found on amazon.com and other sites.]

 

 

 

 

 

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