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Archive for the ‘Obama’ Category

-Trump Chuckie

On March 4th, The Thing in the White House sent out a bunch of angry tweets blasting the previous President for wiretapping Isengard Trump Tower. “Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my “wires tapped” in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!” Then 30 mins later: “How long has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process? This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!” When asked to clarify this insanity, The Thing’s minions really could do nothing but heee and hawww. The Thing read it somewhere, they said. NY Times! Louise Mensch! BBC! Naturally once reporters dug deeper, they found that NO, none of those reports talked Trump Obamaabout wiretapping. Mensch broke the story on her right-wing blog HeatStreet on November 7th about the FISA warrant, but all she said was that a FISC court granted permission to “examine the activities of ‘U.S. persons’ in Donald Trump’s campaign with ties to Russia.” In question was a mysterious communication between two Russian banks and a server in Trump Tower. (David Corn of Mother Jones broke the story of the two banks and Trump Tower, but all media dismissed it as a bizarre conspiracy theory a couple of weeks earlier.) In the follow-up reports to Mensch’s story, BBC and the failing NY Times confirmed a FISA warrant, but nobody mentioned wiretaps… except Breitbart and then The Thing in its Tweets. Ahhhhh, the plot thickens. Where did Breitbart get the information about wiretaps at Trump Tower and did The Thing just leak top secret information in a series of Tweets? Sure seems that way. Will anybody hold him accountable? LOL.

There are fleeing moments when it feels like Lady Lindsey Graham and Hero John McCain might hold The Thing accountable for the numerous impeachable offenses it has committed. Earlier today Graham tweeted: “An attack on one political party should be considered an attack on all. We must push back on Russian election interference at home & abroad.” That sounds great! However it should also be noted that Graham had lunch with The Thing earlier in the day.

“Great lunch meeting with ‪@POTUS today. President Trump is strongly committed to rebuilding our military which is music to my ears. (1/3)

President Trump is in deal-making mode and I hope Congress is like-minded. (2/3)”

“How good was the meeting with ‪@POTUS?

I gave him my NEW cell phone number.”

Somebody responded: “1-800-DOOR-MAT?” And then “You, sir, are a profile in courage.”

And that, folks, is Lindsey Graham summarized in a handful of tweets. We have to get used to the notion that no, Graham and McCain won’t hold The Thing accountable for anything until they’ve gotten what they want from him: tax cuts for the rich, bigger military, gutting ACA, etc. etc. etc. Then maybe, possibly, once that’s all done, they’ll throw The Thing overboard.

Speaking of handing out cell numbers, can anybody afford a new cell phone after Republicans pass Trumpcare? Jason Chaffetz, the man who investigated Benghazi and Hillary Clinton’s e-mails to death, and who doesn’t think there is any reason to look into Trump’s connections to Russia, went on CNN to start selling Trumpcare to America.

Americans have choices. And they’ve got to make a choice. And so, maybe rather than getting that new iPhone that they just love and they want to go spend hundreds of dollars on, maybe they should invest it in their own health care. They’ve got to make those decisions for themselves.

This is, of course, patently absurd. An iPhone unsubsidized by a phone company might cover one month’s premium for a single person. How many iPhones does Chaffetz think people buy? Of course, Chaffetz himself doesn’t have to buy his own phone. He gets one from work. His cell bill gets covered too. “How much does an iPhone cost” is the new “How much is a gallon of milk?” and Chaffetz doesn’t know  the cost of either.

Medicaire

Overall Trumpcare is going to gut poor people into oblivion. It gives tax breaks to the rich, provides insurance companies with tax deductions on CEO salaries, will raise costs of premium, reinstate caps, gut preexisting conditions. Millions of people will lose their insurance. Many of them were Trump voters. Sadly many of them were not. But they will suffer also.

Why do Republicans hate poor people? It’s a question that has been asked often and there are many answers. As it came up again in the current Trumpcare discussion, I was reminded of a scene in E.M. Forster’s great novel “Howards End.” In the 1910 novel ForsterForster explored 3 groups of people from 3 different classes: the extremely wealthy and conservative Wilcoxes, upper middle class but liberal Schlegels, and poor but aspiring for something bigger Basts. The Schlegel sisters, Margaret and Helen, try to help poor Leonard Bast, but their well-meaning interventions in his life, as well as not-well meaning interventions from the Wilcoxes, prove disastrous. He loses his job as a clerk in an insurance company after following bad advice from patriarch Henry Wilcox. When the impetuous Helen (played by Helena Bonham Carter in the magnificent film, with Emma Thompson as Margaret) tries to make her case for helping the poor to the condescending 1%-er Henry Wilcox (Anthony Hopkins in the film), the following exchange takes place. Written in 1910, “Howards End”is still relevant in 2017.

From Chapter 22

He [Henry Wilcox] raised his finger. “Now, a word of advice.”

“I require no more advice.” [said Helen]

“A word of advice. Don’t take up that sentimental attitude over the poor. See that she doesn’t, Margaret. The poor are poor, and one’s sorry for them, but there it is. As civilisation moves forward, the shoe is bound to pinch in places, and it’s absurd to pretend that any one is responsible personally. Neither you, nor I, nor my informant, nor the man who informed him, nor the directors of the Porphyrion, are to blame for this clerk’s loss of salary. It’s just the shoe pinching–no one can help it; and it might easily have been worse.”

Helen quivered with indignation.

“By all means subscribe to charities–subscribe to them largely– but don’t get carried away by absurd schemes of Social Reform. I see a good deal behind the scenes, and you can take it from me that there is no Social Question–except for a few journalists who try to get a living out of the phrase. There are just rich and poor, as there always have been and always will be. Point me out a time when men have been equal–”

“I didn’t say–”

“Point me out a time when desire for equality has made them happier. No, no. You can’t. There always have been rich and poor. I’m no fatalist. Heaven forbid! But our civilisation is moulded by great impersonal forces” (his voice grew complacent; it always did when he eliminated the personal), “and there always will be rich and poor. You can’t deny it” (and now it was a respectful voice)–“and you can’t deny that, in spite of all, the tendency of civilisation has on the whole been upward.”

“Owing to God, I suppose,” flashed Helen.

He stared at her.

“You grab the dollars. God does the rest.”

It was no good instructing the girl if she was going to talk about God in that neurotic modern way. Fraternal to the last, he left her for the quieter company of Mrs. Munt.

[…]

“Don’t ever discuss political economy with Henry,” advised her sister. “It’ll only end in a cry.”

“But he must be one of those men who have reconciled science with religion,” said Helen slowly. “I don’t like those men. They are scientific themselves, and talk of the survival of the fittest, and cut down the salaries of their clerks, and stunt the independence of all who may menace their comfort, but yet they believe that somehow good–it is always that sloppy ‘somehow’ will be the outcome, and that in some mystical way the Mr. Basts of the future will benefit because the Mr. Brits of today are in pain.”

Howards End

Also, in brief: Richard Steele, the British spy who wrote the infamous “pee pee” dossier, has resurfaced. While American Senators want to hear him testify about what he knows.

WikiLeaks is dumping top secret CIA documents.

And contrary to earlier denials that he’s never met the Russian Ambassador (a man nobody has ever met), a newly unearthed article in the Wall Street Journal from last April says that Trump met with the Russian Ambassador and greeted him warmly.

What’s on your mind Widdershins? This is an open thread.

Good Boxing Day, all. I hope you had a mostly politics-free holiday. We managed to avoid it at the party we go to every year, which was good – I am pretty sure at least one of the attendees voted for Drumpf. (Ugh!!!)

And now, unfortunately, it’s time to return to the ever-scarier world that is being forced down our throats by an antiquated, racist electoral system that disenfranchised millions of voters, and a weak-willed incumbent President who is too afraid of appearing “partisan” to do anything to stop Drumpf’s takeover of our democracy. It’s a disgraceful end to his historic presidency. Tragically, he was even too afraid of seeming “partisan” to stop James Comey’s torpedoing of Hillary Clinton in the final days of the Worst Election Ever. I thought he was playing eleven-dimensional chess on Pluto, brogressives – could he not have foreseen that if Hillary did not win, his entire legacy, and indeed, our entire country as we know it, would not survive?

A slight digression here: I admit, I still don’t get the terror Obama evinces at being called “partisan.” This country has two political parties, the platforms of which are polar opposites to each other. If Americans didn’t want a Democrat in office, they wouldn’t have elected Barack Obama twice. But, instead of labeling all of the good things he did as the direct result of Democratic action and Democratic policies, Obama accrued all the glory to himself and his awesomeness. He never made the argument for Democrats versus Republicans; never made that clear case that Republicans want to trash the middle class, and their policies do so; and Democrats want to build up the middle class, and their policies do so.

Even my stepmother, who worked very hard to swing Virginia to Obama in 2008, is chastened at how empty Obama has left the Democratic bench and how eviscerated Democratic organizations are in the states. In 2012, he spent almost $1 billion of Democratic money to get himself elected, but the Senate and House were left very vulnerable indeed, and due to many factors, including throwing 5-6 million Democratic voters off the rolls, the gutting of the Voting Rights Act and unethical voting practices in states with Republican governors, we are now moving towards a one-party government – and it’s the really, really bad party. May I just pause for a moment and yell:

WE. TOLD. YOU. SO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Pour Chatblu

Good Monday, everyone! Amongst all the American political cray-cray so well-documented by my fellow Widdershins last week, a story came out that made yours truly say, “Ooh la la!” The prime minister of Canada made a strong statement for gender equality last week when he announced that his cabinet would be comprised of 50% women.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made headlines Wednesday when he announced that half of his Cabinet ministers are female, a decision he justified with the simple explanation that “it’s 2015.” The move won him international praise and more than a few swoons.

Canada isn’t the first country to take steps to increase women’s representation in government. The countries with the most female lawmakers have made major strides on issues such as education, labor force participation, and paid leave. Each of the countries below has either a parliament or a ministry that is at least 50% female, while women make up only 19% of the U.S. Congress and only four of Obama’s 15 cabinet members.

“We know that companies with more gender balanced leadership teams significantly outperform companies with only men at the helm,” says Avivah Wittenberg-Cox, CEO of Twenty first, a consulting company that focuses in building gender-balanced businesses. “Why wouldn’t this be even more true at a country level?”…

Sacré bleu! Why indeed?

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How I’m Feeling Today

Good Monday, all! It’s good to be back, albeit with a slower, sadder heart these days. RIP, Alex.

One thing that is pumping some adrenaline into my leaden veins is the thought of Hillary and the Dems together on the debate stage on Tuesday night. I have always thought Hillary is at her best when debating, as her clarity of thought and speech, depth of experience and ability to think on the fly are highlighted in this forum. While you don’t get to showcase these skills much during a campaign, relying more on pre-packaged speeches and personal charisma, you do need them every day when governing.

After all, what is the American presidency? I see it as an exercise in planetary-scale problem-solving. And who do you want in that job? My answer is, someone who thinks and speaks clearly, has the experience and proven ability to solve the problems, and who can adapt to change easily and quickly. This is why my choice in 2008 was Hillary rather than Obama, since he gave a great speech and had loads of charisma (or most people thought so), but showed no signs he had the ability, experience or inclination to solve any problems at all. And so it was…he managed to somehow adapt the Heritage Foundation’s Romneycare to a national level and take some of the worst parts out of it, but despite having a year and a half of a Congressional majority to back up any policy he wanted to push through, failed to take the initiative to address any of the nation’s larger issues. Terrorism is worse; income inequality is far worse; women’s rights to control their own reproductive destinies continue to be successfully eroded; the “jobless recovery” goes on (despite what the massaged unemployment figures state); we continue to have horrible issues with gun violence despite repeated attempts to address it politically; institutionalized racism continues to be as intractable as ever (see the many police murders of black men this year); and as the Pope has been pointing out, Washington fiddles while the planet burns. And some of the measures he favors will actually worsen the issues we’re having, such as the TPP and the Keystone XL Pipeline.

Well, it’s water under the bridge now, and we can only hope that Hillary will have a chance to solve some of these problems starting on January, 2017.  Meanwhile, what will happen in Tuesday night’s debate? Well, all five candidates (did you forget there were five? :-)) are prepping furiously. It truly amazes me that Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley are taking themselves this seriously. But they are, Blanche, they are!

Mr. O’Malley is hoping the chance to sell his executive experience and liberal policy prescriptions, including breaking up commercial and investment banks, to a prime-time audience will give his stalled candidacy some fresh momentum.

For Mr. Sanders, the debate is an opportunity to widen his appeal and persuade skeptical Democrats that he would be a viable nominee. Aides say he needs to flesh out his big policies but also talk about incremental achievements he won during more than two decades in Congress.

“He understands he has to introduce himself to a big audience that doesn’t know about him,” said Tad Davine, Mr. Sanders’s senior strategist. “He needs to demonstrate a capacity to be president.”

To prepare, he has been meeting with policy experts and reading briefing materials, particularly on foreign affairs and military policy, but also the economy, and running through possible questions with advisers.

“I am studying hard,” Mr. Sanders said in an interview last week. “There are hundreds of possible questions that can be asked and we’re trying to figure out what they are, and how you can give a response to an important question in 30 seconds or 60 seconds.”

Yes, Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders are going to have some tough going against Hillary. They are weak in all the areas she is strong in…and they aren’t Barack Obama, so they won’t be given a pass by the Democratic Party when they whiff on important questions.

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Happy Monday, all. What with all the triumphalist rhetoric Fox News is spewing about how the Democrats are panicking and tanking, it can be very difficult to keep our heads on straight with regard to Hillary’s chances in 2016. OMG her poll numbers are slipping! OMG what if Biden runs?! OMG Jeb Bush is beating her!!! OMG Bernie’s going to win Iowa! These are all the memes I’m hearing.

I’d like us all to take a pause, though, and consider when the first primary vote will be cast.

Feb 1, 2016.

That’s right, folks – people are hyperventilating and freaking out over a contest that is still 6 months away from starting. I submit that there’s absolutely no reason to worry. Why? Because the Democratic Party is backing Hillary.

Hillary Clinton delivered a show of force on Friday meant to make one thing abundantly clear to Democratic leaders, Bernie Sanders, and Joe Biden: She is the boss.

Coming off two weeks of breathless speculation about the vice president’s ambitions, Clinton now looks like she’s nearly locked up the support of party elites, something she critically failed to accomplish in 2008.

(snip)

In a leak coinciding neatly with Clinton’s appearance in Minneapolis, Brooklyn told Bloomberg it has already secured commitments from more than 60 percent of the party’s superdelegates — those officials and leaders whose support is not tied to primary or caucus tallies. The campaign also says it is briefing the unpledged delegates to firm up support.

It’s not a field-clearing advantage; superdelegates can change allegiances and Clinton was ahead in the delegate count early in the 2008 race too. But it’s significant if it holds.

I know we’re all shocked, shocked that the Democratic Party still works like this. (insert eyeroll) Didn’t we think Barack Obama was going to Change(TM) all that? Wait, that’s right…he was the one who benefited from it in 2008. Without the superdelegates, rigging the vote count and overweighting caucuses, he would never have been the candidate in the first place. Cheating was his MO. It’s the Chicago Way, after all.

As much as I would have loved the DNC to somehow automagically become more fair and less elitist, I didn’t expect it to do so. The Party bigwigs were rewarded for their skulduggery in 2008 with 8 years of a President who raised hundreds of millions of dollars to fill their coffers.  They’re going to want to keep the flow going, and if they look at the field of potential non-Clinton candidates, it’s not exactly impressive. For example, Biden. Here’s my take on ol’ Joe: He won’t run, because to the DNC, what is his advantage over Hillary? The Democratic Party already has an experienced white candidate who is seen as centrist enough to win the general election. Biden would be as superfluous as a hairpiece on Trump’s empty noggin.

There are some choice quotes from DNC delegates about Biden in the article, too:

And it’s not just a question of electoral math for some Democrats, who bristle at the idea that the vice president could reshape the race the second he chose to get in.

“[Biden] doesn’t reach out to me for seven f—ing years and then he wants me to help him out? I don’t think so,” said Florida committeeman and Clinton backer Jon M. Ausman, lamenting the vice president’s lack of party activity compared to Bill Clinton, who invited him to the Lincoln Bedroom as president. “I don’t really give a shit. I don’t care if he gets into the race or not.”

That’s not to mention that the second Joe started campaigning, his numbers would tank due to his chronic foot-in-mouth disease.

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aptopix-dem-2016-clinton

Hillary on Roosevelt Island, 06-13-15, courtesy of the New York Daily News

Good Monday, all! This Saturday, as most of us are aware, Hillary Clinton gave her first major speech of the campaign in New York, and by my lights, it was a smashing success. She hit all the right notes, from her shout-outs to FDR (the location of her speech and the four pillars of her platform, mirroring FDR’s Four Freedoms), to her positions on income inequality, taking action on climate change and creating jobs, voting rights for all, equal pay for equal work,  the overturning of Citizens United, freedom from discrimination for LGBT, and pretty much everything a good FDR Democrat’s heart would desire. Everything, that is, except her stand on the TPP.

Welp…wonder no more about that.

Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton on Sunday urged President Barack Obama to work with congressional Democrats who rejected his trade agenda last week, and to seek tougher labor protections in a proposed Pacific trade deal.

Clinton had until now declined to take a stand on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, but her comments amounted to an implicit rebuke of Obama and a nod toward liberal critics of the deal.

At a campaign stop in Iowa, Clinton said Obama should work with opponents like House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, who engineered the defeat of a related trade package last week.

“I am willing to try now to see whether you can push to get rid of the objectionable parts, to drive a harder bargain on some of the other parts,” Clinton said.

If Obama does not get the best deal possible, “there should be no deal,” said Clinton, who is the front-runner among candidates to be the Democratic Party nominee for the November 2016 election.

With her landmark speech, her new campaign video, “Fighter,” and her first public foray into taking on Obama directly on domestic issues, I feel like for the first time since 2007, we are seeing the real Hillary Clinton.

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It’s Memorial Day, Widdershins, and my thoughts are turning to those who have fought, suffered, and died for our country’s many military endeavors. The last “good” one, by most lights, was World War Two. Since then we have intervened in many a country’s affairs, including Korea, Vietnam, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, and others we don’t even “officially” acknowledge. None of these interventions have gone well for us, and I expect that the current efforts against ISIS will be similarly ineffective. Let’s face it – non-state actors, nuclear and chemical weapons have made traditional war obsolete. But our society, globally speaking, is too addicted to war and violence to think of any other way to run things. And I think there’s only one way to change the way things are, and have been for thousands of years.

It’s the only thing we haven’t tried…putting more women in charge. And who better to start this trend, than Hillary Clinton?

But but but, Hillary voted for the WAR! I hear the “progressives” moan. Oh yes, she voted for the AUMF…but if she were President, does anyone think she would have invaded Iraq after 9/11? Would she really have believed an intelligence agent nicknamed “Curve Ball” and a pathetic story about yellowcake uranium? Are people so blinded by that vote that they think she is as bloodthirsty as Bush? Or even, as bloodthirsty as Barack Obama, the Nobel Peace Prize winner who has made death by drones infamous?

The wars men wage are, basically, over resources and religious fanaticism; sometimes both. I would argue that one causes the other, or at least influences it. The vicious cycle of neo-conservative, Project for the New American Century “American Exceptionalism” will continue until we change our modus operandi. And to change the way we work, we need to change the way we think. It has been proven that women think differently and lead differently, and I think we need that difference in order to break that cycle.

The opposite behaviors that stem from the different wiring of men and women can be seen in the way they lead. One style of leadership is not better than, or more correct than the other – they are just different. Although their styles differ, they are complementary and valuable at work. The table below shows the leadership styles generally attributed to men and women.

Leadership Table

I truly believe the world is out of balance. We need women to join male leaders in equal partnership, to become a powerful force for peace. What else is all this really about? The stunning impact of Sheryl Sandberg’s “Lean In;” the ever-increasing pressure on corporations and governments to have at least 30% female representation on boards and in governing bodies; the UN’s “He for She” movement…it’s about global, transformational change. And believe me when I say, as a woman who has read hundreds of articles on this topic, the need for women leaders is a wave saturating the collective consciousness of powerful nations and corporations everywhere.

The Bible says, “And they shall beat their swords into plowshares…neither shall they learn war any more.” I hope we live to see it happen, with the help of our sisters and brothers everywhere…starting with Hillary Clinton as President in 2016.

This is an open thread.


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Busted: Glass ceiling

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She’s thinking “Less than 2 weeks I have to keep seeing that face”

Yeah I can make it

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