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    • The End of the Rebels in the Ukraine and the Ukraine’s Future
      We’re down to street fighting in Donetsk.  The Russian leaders resigned in the last two weeks.  The rebels appear to be done, at least in terms of their conventional military phase (of course, I could be wrong depending on how much stomach Ukrainian troops have for house to house fighting).  It seems like that would [...]
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Wednesday News

Good Morning Conflucians!!

Obviously the news is still mostly about the Arizona tragedy and all the political and social issues being talked about. Let’s take a look at a few articles on the subject to see what’s new there. First as was mentioned yesterday, those crazy Westboro Baptist Church religious nut cases plan to protest the little girls funeral. Just when you thought those people couldn’t be more sick and evil. But heartening is the reaction and the people that plan on protected the family and funeral:

Arizona lawmakers moved quickly Tuesday to try to block protesters from the funeral of 9-year-old shooting victim Christina Green, passing an emergency measure prohibiting protests within 300 feet of any funeral services.

[...]

The actions were prompted by the Westboro Baptist Church, a publicity-seeking Kansas congregation known for demonstrating at the funerals of U.S. soldiers, arguing that their deaths are retribution by God for America’s acceptance of homosexuality. The church announced it would protest Green’s funeral, scheduled for Thursday, because the family is Catholic.

The protest drew instant and unanimous condemnation from Arizonans.

“Protesting or picketing outside the funeral of an innocent victim is despicable,” said House Speaker Kirk Adams. “It’s time to bring Arizona in line with the many other states that protect the sensitivities of victims against groups that use fear and hate to denigrate the lives of Americans.”

Adams sponsored the emergency measure that prohibits people from picketing or protesting within 300 feet of any residence, cemetery, funeral home, church, synagogue or other establishment during or within one hour of a funeral service or burial service.

The House and Senate passed the bill unanimously Tuesday. Gov. Jan Brewer signed the measure Tuesday evening.

If that’s the face of not accepting homosexuality in America, no wonder many in the GOP have been moving in the direction of repealing DADT and being open to gay marriage. Something to think about and understand when it comes to changing the tone and framing of a political/social topic.

Politico has a piece talking about three of the GOP potential campaign frontrunners for 2012 and how they’re fairing through this tragedy. I’ll save you the trouble, Pawlenty wins the day. That is, he comes out more moderate and unscathed. Palin of course is the target of many. And Newt seems to be playing the roll of Rush/Beck trying to drum up the base.

In an interesting op-ed at WaPo, Krauthammer (heads up, warning, winger alert) in addition to the some winger stuff (step carefully), has a few observations about language and symbols in politics:

Finally, the charge that the metaphors used by Palin and others were inciting violence is ridiculous. Everyone uses warlike metaphors in describing politics. When Barack Obama said at a 2008 fundraiser in Philadelphia, “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun,” he was hardly inciting violence.

Why? Because fighting and warfare are the most routine of political metaphors. And for obvious reasons. Historically speaking, all democratic politics is a sublimation of the ancient route to power – military conquest. That’s why the language persists. That’s why we say without any self-consciousness such things as “battleground states” or “targeting” opponents. Indeed, the very word for an electoral contest – “campaign” – is an appropriation from warfare.

I think the best stab at the politics of this may be Jon Stewart’s clip posted in last nights post. Take a look again if you missed it.

Let’s look at a few other things going on. In news of the doublespeak delicately placed on a dungheap, it appears Obama and the Chamber of Commerce are getting cozy and mending all those faux rifts:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce signaled Tuesday that its rift with the administration is beginning to ease, just three months after bitterly sparring with the White House during midterm campaigns.

In a speech at the Chamber’s headquarters, directly across the street from the White House, Tom Donohue, the group’s president, said disagreements with the administration have “never been personal.”

He noted “a new tone” at the White House and praised President Obama’s selection of William Daley as his new chief of staff, calling him “a real pro.”

Donohue nonetheless struck a combative note as he vowed to fight for the Chamber’s policy goals this year, which include expanding trade, lowering the federal deficit and curbing regulations it thinks are excessive.

“We will not allow the business community to be intimidated, and we will use every tool at our disposal to challenge those who try to silence our voice,” said Donohue, referring to Democrats’ attempts to force the Chamber, one of the most powerful lobbying groups in Washington, to reveal its donors.

Such kabuki theater. Aren’t you so happy they’re getting along now? Yea.

Meanwhile in real leadership news, SoS Hillary Clinton is the first SoS to go to Yemen in over 20 years:

Hillary Clinton made the first trip by a U.S. Secretary of State to Yemen in 20 years on Tuesday to underline to the Sanaa government the urgency and importance of fighting al Qaeda at its grassroots.

Washington is anxious for Yemen, next door to the world’s top oil exporter, to step up its fight against an al Qaeda wing based in the Arabian peninsula state where militants have attempted ambitious attacks against U.S. and Western targets.

“It’s not enough to have military-to-military relations,” Clinton said before her plane touched down in Yemen’s capital Sanaa, where she was due for talks with President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

“We need to try to broaden the dialogue. We need to have this dialogue with the government,” she added.

This is all part of the massive new workload Hillary has had to take on to repair the damages from the leaked State Department cables. At least we have Hillary doing this work and repairing those relations. I’d hate to think how this work would happen if Joe Biden had the position as he claimed he was offered.

In Illinois news, they are eliminating the death penalty:

After more than a decade of debate over whether the state’s system of capital punishment could ever be fair, state lawmakers voted on Tuesday to end the death penalty in Illinois.

The move, which came only hours before a new group of lawmakers takes office in Springfield on Wednesday, leaves the future of capital punishment to the Democratic governor, Patrick J. Quinn, who has not indicated whether he will sign the legislation. If Mr. Quinn agrees to the ban, Illinois will join 15 other states without capital punishment.

There’s some great news at least. We could use some.

In international monetary news, China is going to open the Yuan for US trade:

State-owned Bank of China Ltd has offered yuan trading to U.S. customers, a sign that Beijing this year may increasingly promote the use of the Chinese currency in major financial centers.

The change at Bank of China announced in a posting dated Dec. 2010 means that customers can trade in yuan in the United States for the first time rather than having to do so in Hong Kong.

The New York branch of China’s fourth-largest bank said it now lets companies and individuals buy and sell the yuan via accounts with its U.S. branches, although U.S. businesses and individuals can also trade the currency through Western banks.

“The authorities are promoting the use of the yuan in international trade and this is another step in that direction and this means we should see the growth of yuan trading in other regional centers across the world,” said Robert Minikin, senior currency strategist at Standard Chartered Bank in Hong Kong.

The move is seen as another small step to redenominate trade in yuan after persuading mainland importers and exporters to reduce settling trade in the U.S. dollar and striking trade settlement agreements with Russia, Brazil and other countries.

Part of the reason behind this is China’s too high exchange reservers. Here’s more on what’s happening:

The thorniest problem in economic relations between the United States and China is getting worse, just as the world’s two biggest economies prepare for a summit next week in Washington.

At issue is the imbalance in their financial relationship. China’s central bank said Tuesday that Beijing’s holdings of foreign cash and securities amount to $2.85 trillion – a jump of 20 percent over the year before – despite Chinese promises to try to balance its trade and investment relations with the United States and other countries.

[...]

Foreign exchange holdings are a broad measure of a nation’s economic links with other countries, reflecting exports and imports, investment and the flow of speculative “hot money” into local markets. Some reserves are helpful, and Asian nations in particular, stung by their financial crises in the 1990s, seek to keep a war chest for times of trouble.

But with China’s foreign currency holdings far exceeding those of any other country, it has been urged by the United States, International Monetary Fund and others to import more, allow its exchange rate to rise in value, and use some of the reserves, for example, to boost the purchasing power of Chinese citizens. Although some recent statistics have shown a move in that direction – the country’s trade surplus has narrowed for the past two years, as China’s imports grew faster than exports – the surge in reserves is a pointed reminder of the difficult questions that still face Hu and Obama.

[...]

The renminbi, also known as the yuan, is considered by a wide range of economists to be undervalued in relation to the dollar, and China keeps tight control of the exchange rate, in part to protect its powerful export industries.

[...]

An administration official, who spoke anonymously because of the sensitivity of discussions between the countries, said that it is an ideal time for China to let its currency float more freely. The lack of progress shows that the country’s export lobby still has the upper hand, the official said.

On the one hand we want China to let the value of the Yuan to float freely and find it’s proper value. On the other hand China wants to keep tight control and wants to start using that tightly controlled money it trade with others instead of the US Dollar. But China has to worry about its US holdings at the same time. And as long as they keep such tight control, it’s less usable as a trade currency. We’re in a strange dance together. But China plays rough. Let’s hope we and other parts of the world are up to the challenge.

In sad news, David Nelson of Ozzie and Harriet fame died. In other sad news, exactly one year ago today the Haiti 7.0 earthquake hit, and they’re still not much better off. But back with a bit of good news, mentioned yesterday, Tom DeLay got sentenced with 3 years of jail time.

That’s a bit of the news. Chime in with what you’re reading.

Say it isn’t so!


Clinton to leave politics?

Hillary Rodham Clinton says her work as U.S. secretary of state will be her final public position.

She told an interviewer in the Persian Gulf nation of Bahrain that she does not plan to run for president. And she appeared to rule out taking any other public role, saying that instead she expects to return to private life as an advocate for women and children around the globe.

She said she had enjoyed an interesting and rewarding public career and will be ready to get back to the advocacy work she did as a young lawyer.

HuffPoop:

“I think I’ll serve as secretary of state as my last public position and then probably go back to advocacy work, particularly on behalf of women and children, and particularly around the world because if you look at what is still happening to women in many parts of the world it is tragic and terrible,” she told a reporter at a town hall in Bahrain, after rejecting a now seemingly obligatory question about her 2012 presidential aspirations.

If it’s true, can you blame her? But thankfully if there is one thing a politician says that can’t be trusted, it’s that they aren’t planning on ever running again.

Let’s keep our fingers crossed.



Toe-Sucker Morris weighs in (Barf-bag warning)

This is what a Dick looks like


She fired his ass and he’s still pissed:

Hillary Is Up to Her Old Tricks

The Wikileaks documents show that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has, as Voltaire said about the Bourbon kings of France, learned nothing and forgotten nothing.

Her request that American diplomats at foreign postings and the United Nations gather personal data about their foreign counterparts is eerily reminiscent of her use of private detectives to unearth negative information on those who were politically inconvenient during the husband’s campaigns for president and his White House tenure.

At the time, I called these operatives the “secret police.” Now, apparently, we call them the “diplomatic corps.”

The Wikileaks documents show that you cannot only not teach an old dog new tricks, but you can’t stop her from doing the ones she has always done.

[...]

Seems like old times. In the 1992 presidential campaign, the Clintons retained private detectives to learn negative information about the women who were accusing Bill of improper conduct so as to provide blackmail material to cow them into silence. During his White House tenure, FBI files on prominent Republicans somehow ended up on the desk of an operative who was hired pursuant to Hillary’s recommendation after a career as a bar bouncer.

Linda Tripp, whose efforts led to the denouement of the president’s affair with Monica Lewinsky, found the details of her personnel file splashed all over the newspapers. A subsequent federal lawsuit found that her file information had been released improperly, and a U.S. district court judge levied a heavy fine on the government for the violation.

The fact that this current State Department covert operation was initiated under Rice does not lessen Hillary’s guilt for having pursued it. Clinton, not Rice, has run for president and is presumed to continue to be interested in the job. Her addiction to spies, dumpster divers, sleuths and negative research operatives has always been a cause for concern.

The jury has been out on how well Hillary is performing as secretary of state. I have always been critical of her riding on her husband’s name to achieve fame and power. But when she was appointed secretary of state, clearly despite her husband rather than because of him, I felt it prudent to withhold judgment. This is, after all, the first real job she has ever gotten on her own.

If you need someone to talk trash about the Clintons Dick(head) Morris is the guy. Like Levi Johnston he’s made a career out of biting the hand that once fed him.

He *knows* all this stuff even though he wasn’t there when it allegedly happened and he took no part in any of it.

I’d call him a sleaze bag but that would be an insult to sleaze bags.



Monday Morning Palinpalooza

I am almost as sick of hearing about and seeing Sarah Palin as I am hearing about and seeing Barack Obama, but the news is awful, the weather is boo boo, and as a liberal fem I am apparently supposed to go into a screaming emotional PMS induced rant every time her name is even brought up. Why fight it?

I don’t plan on reading or buying her new book. Do any of you? I didn’t think so. But Historiann has the scoop.

Don’t miss Michelle Goldberg’s analysis of the feminist history in Sarah Palin’s new bookAmerica by Heart: Reflections on Family, Faith and Flag. Apparently, it gets worse after the diabetes-inducing title.  I agree with Goldberg that “[i]n some ways, it’s a good thing that Sarah Palin calls herself a feminist. It means that, even among conservatives, women’s equality has become a normative position, the starting point for debate. It means that feminism has gone from something that the right wants to destroy to something it wants to appropriate. That’s progress, of a sort.”  This is indeed a new development–Phyllis Schlafly’s days are over, for now, and it would be even too intellectually dishonest for Palin to pretend that feminism had nothing to do with shaping the possibilities of her political career.

As an optimist I am also pleased that a woman politician at least has to call herself a feminist to get anywhere, much less conservative woman. But this step forward is not to Bible Spice’s credit. A woman in politics has to call herself a feminist now because of the treatment a certain plucky Secretary of State received not just in 2008 but throughout her entire life in public service. Just sayin’. Let’s continue.

However, Palin is all wet when it comes to American history in general, and as Goldberg explains, feminist history in particular:  she claims Elizabeth Cady Stanton as a devout Christian–a woman who once said that “[y]ou may go over the world and you will find that every form of religion which has breathed upon this earth has degraded women,” and who wrote her own version of the Bible.  (Truly, this is more laughable than the people who try to re-claim Thomas Jefferson as a godbag.)  Palin repeats the flimsy lie that Susan B. Anthony was anti-abortion, and she repeats the distortions of Margaret Sanger’s work and career by claiming that she advocated “Nazi-style eugenics.”  (She cites the esteemed historian Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism on Sanger.)

Elizabeth Cady Stanton and another fun fem, Amelia Earheart, also rejected the usefulness of remaining faithful to their husbands. Amelia even passed a petition about it around. Hillary wasn’t the first classy lady to question standing by her man. So far that’s Hillary: 2 Sarah: 0.

Sarah Palin is a huge disappointment.  She could have countered her detractors the right way and continued working for the people of her beloved Alaska, but instead she has allowed herself and her family to be turned into celebrity jokes. Marketing yourself as a pundit on Fox News and giving yourself a reality show on TLC is not the way to prove you’re Presidential material. So much for all that maverick talk about Middle America. She should have taken a leaf out of that crazy bra burning feminist Hillary Clinton’s book instead of Barack Obama’s. Now she and him are like the American Idol clones of Presidential Politics. If they are both running in 2012 we won’t even be able to take a break and watch an episode of House or Dexter without one of them guest starring. They and their brands will be EVERYWHERE. God help us all!

I still don’t believe you have to be liberal or pro choice to be a feminist, but Caribou Barbie stopped caring about standing up to the good old boys a long time ago. It was probably some time in between the grand finale of Dancing with the Stars or a deep philosophical connection with Dick Morris while he was ghostwriting her new book. At least now she is caught up to the President and has managed to write two autobiographies without actually accomplishing much of anything.

Either way, from now on she’s on her own.

Ask not what Obama can do for you, ask what you can do for Obama

"O-bama O-bama O-bama"


Inside the mind of a rabid Obot (no link, biohazard):

And it’s why I smile when I read people shrieking and rending their garments for him to do this or say that as if he were their servant.

Obama IS our servant you moron. Haven’t you ever heard the term “public servant?”

We don’t work for him, he works for us.

This fundamental misunderstanding of the relationship between Obama and the rest of the country explains a lot about Obots. It explains a few things about Obama too.

Anglachel:

Both of these actions are part and parcel of the movement style campaign politics Obama favors and which is so beloved of the righteous Stevensonians. It is narcissistic and a-historical (We are the one’s we have been waiting for), refuses to acknowledge politics as they are, and antithetical to mundane, interest-based transactional governance. It doesn’t want responsibility, only obedience and adulation, and so refuses to take it when things go belly up.

Barack Obama ran for office because he wanted to BE President of the United States. He wanted the perks and privileges of power, he was on the ultimate ego trip.

Hillary Clinton wanted to be president because she wanted to USE the power of the office to do things for our country, to make our nation a better place. She could care less about the trappings of power.

Both Hillary and Bill Clinton have made public service their life’s work. And not just our nation, they have served the world. There is no higher calling than that.

Barack Obama came into office presumptuously comparing himself to Abraham Lincoln. Today is the anniversary of Lincoln’s most famous speech:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

I’m gonna make a prediction – 100 years from now schools and banks will be open on Barack Obama’s birthday.




The Smartest President Ever? NOT!


I missed this part of Obama’s 60 Minutes interview on Sunday:

In an interview airing Sunday night on CBS’ “60 Minutes,” Obama said the health care system itself is huge and complicated and that changing it eluded previous presidents because it was so difficult.

“I made the decision to go ahead and do it, and it proved as costly politically as we expected — probably actually a little more costly than we expected, politically,” he said.

Obama said he thought that he would find common ground with Republicans by advancing health care proposals that had been introduced by Republican administrations as well as potential presidential candidate Mitt Romney when he was governor of Massachusetts.


What the fuck? That dumbass must be drinking his own Kool-aid.

So we get a Republican health care plan and the Democrats get blamed for it. Nice.

Continue reading

“If she applies for legal asylum to this country we should snap her up”


Australian Broadcasting Corporation:

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has brought wonderful and woefully-needed leadership administrative competence to the US State Department.

The same skills that she employs in managing her bureaucracy served her well in her Asian excursion. Her ability to use diplomatic tools, as opposed to the US navy, as a mechanism to further American policy is easy to recognise but difficult to describe.

Her techniques represent a welcome departure from the style employed in the previous administration. With the exception of the rather eccentric though effective Nixon/Kissinger duet, American foreign policy has invariably been that of a solo player – sometimes looked at as a bully. Hillary Clinton, who has been given a broad charter by US president Obama, clearly recognises the limits of unilateralism and is working to build American foreign policy built on cooperation and consultation. From an Australian perspective, as a regional power, the secretary’s efforts are to be commended.

[...]

Without the ideological fetters of some of her predecessors, Dr Rice immediately comes to mind, secretary Clinton is approaching foreign policy with a very honest and sincere American view that despite the rise of other nations, the US still has a critical role to play in maintaining world stability. However, based on the debacles of the preceding Bush administration, secretary Clinton knows that American influence must be based on engagement and discussion rather than impossibly costly military exercises. In a word, she brings both idealism and political realism to foreign policy that has for too long been the domain of academic ideologues.

Hillary Clinton has a secret weapon that she is not afraid to use: despite the rise of China, Brazil, India and Russia as economic powers, none of those nations is very effective on the world stage and, with all its faults, the US is far more pleasant as an international partner than any of the world’s rising economic stars. Because of cultural and linguistic factors, there is simply no real competition for the US, and Clinton has shown herself to be quite adept at using the comfort factor of US culture as a foreign policy tool.

Witness how at ease and nonchalant she is at discussing enhancement of the US military presence in Australia. She raises the point with complete familiarity and matter-of-factness with the knowledge that the US is not viewed as an occupying power and, with some exceptions, is generally viewed as a benign guest. Such conversations would be far more difficult for her predecessors who insisted on putting matters into ideological terms.

To make my point, I will go out on limb and say that secretary Clinton would enjoy the same relationship and effectiveness regardless of who occupies the Lodge. She was here not as a partisan member of the Democratic Party, though she is indeed a very partisan politician, but rather she was here as probably the pre-eminent foreign policy figure in the world.

Viewed in this light, it is really quite wonderful to see how she operates. She has all the ease of a politician working a crowd and is not cowed by academics or experts because she knows that she is every bit as bright as anyone else. In short, she understands people and power even in the elevated world of foreign ministers.

As for results, this trip has already had successes. The secretary is making Americanism an essential aspect or component of foreign policy in every nation she visits. She is capitalising on the familiarity of America and using that familiarity to fill the gaps in other countries’ policies with American policies. She knows that no other nation is in a position to do this and none will be able to for the foreseeable future. Make no mistake about it, she is pushing an American agenda but she achieves it by making American policy Japanese policy or Filipino policy or even Australian policy.

Even at the height of their influence the Soviets could never master this craft and for so many reasons, I believe that the Chinese simply cannot. Watch her closely – it is like watching a grand master playing bridge or chess. The technique is as exciting as the results.

We could have had Hillary, but noooooooo, the CDS infested Democratic leadership and the misogynist frat boiz of Obamanation had to force a Reagan-loving DINOcrat half-wit narcissistic empty-suit down our throats.

Thanks for nothing, guys.

Fu**king f**ksticks!


(h/t to filipino-american4hrc for the links. A transcript of the full Hamish and Andy interview is here)


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