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Sunday News – Pirate Edition

Jolly RogerGood Day Conflucians!! Or should I say Ahoy, matey!!

Let’s get right to it. It’s international talk like a pirate day. I’ll be the first to admit that it’s very silly. So putting the talking bit aside. Let’s look at why pirates are so fascinating. Here’s a bit from a nice Wikipedia article on the golden age of piracy.

First was the Buccaneering period (1650 – 1680):

French buccaneers had established themselves on northern Hispaniola as early as 1625, but lived at first mostly as hunters rather than robbers; their transition to full-time piracy was gradual and motivated in part by Spanish efforts to wipe out both the buccaneers and the prey animals on which they depended. The buccaneers’ migration from Hispaniola’s mainland to the more defensible offshore island of Tortuga limited their resources and accelerated their piratical raids. According to Alexandre Exquemelin, a buccaneer and historian who remains a major source on this period, the Tortuga buccaneer Pierre Le Grand pioneered the settlers’ attacks on galleons making the return voyage to Spain.

The growth of buccaneering on Tortuga was augmented by the English capture of Jamaica from Spain in 1655. The early English governors of Jamaica freely granted letters of marque to Tortuga buccaneers and to their own countrymen, while the growth of Port Royal provided these raiders with a far more profitable and enjoyable place to sell their booty. In the 1660s, the new French governor of Tortuga, Bertrand d’Ogeron, similarly provided privateering commissions both to his own colonists and to English cutthroats from Port Royal. These conditions brought Caribbean buccaneering to its zenith.

Then the Pirate Round (1693 – 1700):

A number of factors caused Anglo-American pirates, some of whom had cut their teeth during the buccaneering period, to look beyond the Caribbean for treasure as the 1690s began. The fall of Britain’s Stuart kings had restored the traditional enmity between Britain and France, thus ending the profitable collaboration between English Jamaica and French Tortuga. The devastation of Port Royal by an earthquake in 1692 further reduced the Caribbean’s attractions by destroying the pirates’ chief market for fenced plunder. Caribbean colonial governors began to discard the traditional policy of “no peace beyond the Line,” under which it was understood that war would continue (and thus letters of marque would be granted) in the Caribbean regardless of peace treaties signed in Europe; henceforth, commissions would be granted only in wartime, and their limitations would be strictly enforced. Furthermore, much of the Spanish Main had simply been exhausted; Maracaibo alone had been sacked three times between 1667 and 1678.

At the same time, England’s less favored colonies, including Bermuda, New York, and Rhode Island, had become cash-starved by the Navigation Acts. Merchants and governors eager for coin were willing to overlook and even underwrite pirate voyages. Although some pirates targeted Spain’s remoter Pacific coast colonies well into the 1690s and beyond, the Indian Ocean was a richer and more tempting target. India’s economic output dwarfed Europe’s during this time, especially in high-value luxury goods like silk and calico which made ideal pirate booty; at the same time, no powerful navies plied the Indian Ocean, leaving both local shipping and the various East India companies’ vessels vulnerable to attack. This set the stage for the famous piracies of Thomas Tew, Henry Avery, Robert Culliford and (although his guilt remains controversial) William Kidd.

And finally the post Spanish Succession period:

Between 1713 and 1714, a succession of peace treaties was signed which ended the War of the Spanish Succession (also called ‘Queen Anne’s War’). With the end of this conflict, thousands of seamen, including Britain’s paramilitary privateers, were relieved of military duty. The result was a large number of trained, idle sailors at a time when the cross-Atlantic colonial shipping trade was beginning to boom. In addition, Europeans who had been pushed by unemployment to become sailors and soldiers involved in slaving were often enthusiastic to abandon that profession and turn to pirating, giving pirate captains for many years a constant pool of trained European recruits to be found in west African waters and coasts.

In 1715, pirates launched a major raid on Spanish divers trying to recover gold from a sunken treasure galleon near Florida. The nucleus of the pirate force was a group of English ex-privateers, all of whom would soon be enshrined in infamy: Henry Jennings, Charles Vane, Samuel Bellamy, and Edward England. The attack was successful, but contrary to their expectations, the governor of Jamaica refused to allow Jennings and their cohorts to spend their loot on his island. With Kingston and the declining Port Royal closed to them, Jennings and his comrades founded a new pirate base at Nassau, on the island of New Providence in the Bahamas, which had been abandoned during the war. Until the arrival of governor Woodes Rogers three years later, Nassau would be home for these pirates and their many recruits.

It’s amazing what people will do when they’re not employed or when governments lose their standing and authority over a region.

The flag above and the one I use as my avatar is from Calico Jack. He was unusual because he let women in his crew and considered it reasonable that they could be pirates too. He’s also the likely model of Captain Jack Sparrow from Disney fame.

My usage is partly for the same reason we all find it fascinating: independence, bucking the system, finding our own path. I worked for a company a couple of decades ago that took it’s own path and bucked the trend and flew the Jolly Roger at its headquarters. Simply put, we changed the world. But I also fly the flag as some do in protest against the whittling  away our rights from the likes of the RIAA and MPAA. The flag is a perfect symbol for the outcast, the thrown under the bus, or more accurately, those that stick to their principles no matter what the group around them is doing.

On that note, let’s look at some news today and see what else is happening.

As noted yesterday, Obama spoke to the congressional black caucus telling them they had a lot of work to do (suckers). OK, he didn’t say the suckers part, but it was implied I think:

President Obama ended last night’s speech to the Congressional Black Caucus by urging members to get their constituents to the polls to defeat the Republicans in the Nov. 2 elections.

“Tell them that the time for action is now,” Obama said at a CBC awards dinner.

Among Obama’s comments:

Each and every time we’ve made epic change — from this country’s founding to emancipation, to women’s suffrage, to workers’ rights — it has not come from a man. It has come from a plan. It has come from a grassroots movement rallying around a cause. That’s what the civil rights movement made possible — foot soldiers like so many of you, sitting down at lunch counters, standing up for freedom; what made it possible for me to be here today — Americans throughout our history making our union more equal, making our union more just, making our union more perfect, one step at a time.

That’s what we need again. I need everybody here to go back to your neighborhoods, to go back to your workplaces, to go to churches and go to the barbershops and got to the beauty shops, and tell them we’ve got more work to do. Tell them we can’t wait to organize. Tell them that the time for action is now, and that if each and every person in this country who knows what is at stake steps up to the plate, if we are willing to rise to this moment like we’ve always done, then together we will write our own destiny once more.

Yep, he’s asking them to go everywhere and work like dogs and, I assume, get in people’s faces. That old chestnut. Something tells me the motivation just isn’t the same.

Al Hunt over at Bloomberg has a good (DC POV) summary of the tax battle:

Democrats have a good hand, politically and substantively, in the big tax-cut fight; they could screw it up.

The two parties have staked out hard positions in a battle that may help define the U.S. elections this autumn. Democrats want to extend the tax cuts for the middle class; Republicans insist that’s not possible unless tax cuts for the highest earners are extended, too.

“Public-opinion polling shows strong support across the electorate for making permanent the middle-class tax cuts that otherwise would expire at the end of this year,” Geoff Garin, a leading Democratic polltaker, advised congressional leaders in a memo last week. Voters, he added, would direct “anger and agitation” against anyone “who stood in the way” of these middle-class cuts.

Moreover, if necessary, Democrats have a viable backup: extend the upper-income tax cuts for one year — countering Republican charges that you can’t raise any taxes with the unemployment rate at 9.6 percent — while making the middle- class tax cuts permanent. Decoupling the tax cuts would ultimately require the upper-income provisions to stand on their own.

Nevertheless, lacking a skilled legislator on this issue or a well-considered White House strategy, the Democrats, who desperately need a legislative victory, may blow it. A number of senators, including Nebraska’s Ben Nelson and Connecticut’s Joseph I. Lieberman, who often side with upper-income taxpayers, have insisted all the tax cuts be extended.

He goes on to cover the political arguments from various quarters and how the Dems should be able to prevail in letting the upper income tax cuts expire. But knowing these new Dems the way we do, will they be tough and do that?

A couple of interesting things happening with China. First is their rebuff of Timmeh:

In a speech in Beijing, Li Daokui said China “will not appreciate the yuan solely because of external pressure”.

His comments follow strong criticism in America that the yuan is significantly undervalued, damaging US exports.

Last week US the Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner, said he was considering ways to press China to let the yuan appreciate.

In June, after months of pressure from the US, China pledged to relax its grip on its currency.

But on Thursday Mr Geithner renewed the criticism, saying that the yuan’s value was “essentially” unchanged because of “very substantial” intervention by authorities.

China denies keeping its currency artificially cheap, and has warned against foreign pressure over what Beijing regards as an internal matter.

Mr Li said: “China as it stands now is not Japan in 1985, it is not a country that completely relies on external demand.”

That was a reference to a 1985 accord where Japan agreed to let its yen currency appreciate against the dollar.

And also we have some issues between China and Japan. Apparently Japan has detained a Chinese fishing boat captain:

China has pledged to take “strong” action to force Japan to release the captain of a fishing boat held since Sept. 7 as state television reported relations between the countries have been “seriously damaged.”

China’s government is demanding that Japan unconditionally release the captain, whose detention was extended to Sept. 29, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on its website today. The remaining 14 members of the boat’s crew were released several days after the Chinese vessel collided with two Japanese Coast Guard ships near a group of disputed islands in the East China Sea.

“China will take strong reactionary measures if necessary and Japan will have to bear all consequences,” Ma Chaoxu, a Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson, said in the statement.

China’s ties with Japan have been “seriously damaged” after Japan’s decision to extend the captain’s detention, state television reported, citing the foreign affairs ministry. The islands, known as Diaoyu in Chinese and Senkaku in Japanese, are claimed by both countries. Sovereignty over the area would give the holder rights to undersea gas and oil reserves.

China has suspended ministerial exchanges with Japan, halted talks on increasing flights and postponed a meeting on coal, state television said.

Some of these stats were covered really well last week, but it’s worth another visit. From the bigthink, we have an article on the American Poor:

Every week, it seems, we get more bad news about the economy. Today the Census Bureau reported that the median household income in the U.S. fell several hundred dollars in 2009. Even worse, the poverty rate increased from 13.2% in 2008 to 14.3% last year. That means that 1 in 7 Americans—some 44 million of us—lived in poverty in 2009.

Living below the poverty line means making less than $10,830 for an individual, and less than $22,050 for a family of four. That’s not a lot of money, no matter what part of the country you live in. It’s the highest poverty rate in fifteen years. Blacks and Hispanics—who have been hit particularly hard by unemployment—make up a disproportionate share of the poor. And according to the report a shocking 20.7% of all children in America lived below the poverty line. Earlier this week The New York Times reported that the number of families with children in homeless shelters climbed from 131,000 to 170,000 between 2007 and 2009—an increase of almost 30%—partly as a result of long-term unemployment.

Read on for more, and for links to related articles.

That’s a few things to add to the mix of discussions today. Please add whatever you’re reading out there.

201 Responses

  1. Last week US the Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner, said he was considering ways to press China to let the yuan appreciate.
    More on currency:

    “Economic crisis threatens to unleash global currency wars”

    “Two events this week have highlighted the growth of global economic tensions and the slide toward international trade and currency wars.

    On Wednesday, Japan unilaterally intervened in currency markets to drive down the exchange rate of its currency by selling an estimated 1 trillion yen (worth some $20 billion). The move, the first such intervention by Japan in more than six years and the country’s biggest ever one-day currency action, breached a tacit agreement among the established industrial powers to avoid unilateral currency moves.”
    The following day, US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner testified in two separate congressional hearings on Chinese currency policy and demanded that Beijing allow its currency to rise faster and more steeply, tacitly threatening retaliatory action if the Chinese regime refused to do so. Congressmen and senators from both parties blamed China for the loss of American jobs and criticized the Obama administration for failing to officially declare China a “currency manipulator” and impose tariffs and other penalties on Chinese exports to the US.
    US Congressman Sander Levin (Democrat from Michigan), who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee, suggested at Thursday’s hearing on Chinese currency policy that Japan’s intervention meant it had a “predatory exchange rate policy.”

    The Japanese move set off warnings of an outbreak of competitive currency devaluations, similar to those that contributed in the 1930s to a collapse in world trade. “It almost gives everyone else the right to intervene unilaterally and trigger a competitive devaluation process,” said Noriko Hama of Japan’s Doshisha University.


    • I’ve been following this closely. The Japanese were okay being #2 to the USA’s #1, but they really don’t like being #3 to China’s #2 (not counting the EU as one entity). I’m not sure the developed nations are going to let the developing world leech their growth any more with stupid ER tricks. This could be just the beginning.

      • This is really scary. The last thing we need is hyperinflation.

      • Sorry Dak-what do you mean by stupid ER tricks???

        • ER= Exchange Rate

          Central banks can manipulate them by buying and selling the stock of foreign currencies and their own on the ForEx market.

          Increased supply of the currencies, means the rates go down. Decreased supply means the rates go up. You’re exports are cheaper to buy when your ER is depressed and you’re populace is more likely to buy home made goods because they’re cheaper than imports.

          Under the Jamaican treaty, this kind of ER manipulation is illegal and you can be fined by WTO and lose your most favored nation (MFN) status around the world.

          • thx Dak.

            They used to do that all the time over here in Italy with the lira-prior to the introduction of the euro…

            Do you approve of Japan’s action?

          • I understand why Japan would want to do it, but I think when you sign on to free trade agreements and say you’re going to let your currency free float, it should free float. What’ll happen eventually is that it will mess up their current accounts. There’s this thing called the impossible trilemma that makes you choose from a plate of policies. Currency pegging does other things to your economy that’s not always so nice. Chinese have inflation right now and they have a lot of illegal capital inflows/outflows because of their pegging.

          • The Chinese are kind of like Pirates, but on a really big scale. At some point it’s all going to catch up with them. The other side of the coin is all the internal stuff going on, not unlike what happened in Russia, with black markets and organized crime. Very fascinating to watch. Kind of like an approaching asteroid would be fascinating to watch.

  2. Happy Pirates Day!

  3. I really enjoyed reading this post. The part about the unemployed soldiers becoming pirates really got me. The flag might be good to represent a new party. It’s also interesting when you think about soldiers that end up becoming mercenary soldiers. Many ex-soldiers have worked in Iraq for corporations, etc. It’s interesting to think about those modern mercenary soldiers as being pirates except that they are working for the corporations.

    This is interesting!
    We’ve come a long way baby!

    • Even in the old pirate days, some of those pirates worked for countries. E.g., England hiring pirates to pillage Spanish ships and ports, etc. The more things change, the more the stay the same. 🙂

    • Would they be called corpirates?

      • That made me laugh!

      • They were called “privateers.”

        England hired them to supposedly fight the real pirates, but kinda “wink-winked” when they attacked the Spanish ships and ports. Actually had a written contract with Parliament.

        (I’m an avid admirer of Elizabeth I; Spain was her diehard enemy during that period. Once England defeated the Spanish Armada, England ruled the oceans.)

  4. The poverty figures are very depressing and it is understandable why we are all hurting during this continued depression.

    2010 CARE National Conference: U.S. Sec. of State Hillary Rodham Clinton (1 of 3)
    U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivers keynote address at CARE’s 2010 National Conference and Celebration. She spoke about food security, maternal health, global poverty, and nutrition. (Part 1 of 3)

  5. Anne Bonny:

    When Bonny was 13, she supposedly stabbed a servant girl in the stomach with a table knife. Bonny was a red-haired beauty and considered a sexy catch.[2} She married a poor sailor and small-time pirate named James Bonny. According to legend, James Bonny hoped to win possession of his wife’s family estate, but she was disowned by her father.

    There is no evidence supporting the story that Anne Bonny started a fire on the plantation in retaliation, but it is known that sometime between 1714 and 1718 she and James Bonny moved to Nassau, on New Providence Island in the Bahamas, which was then a pirate hub and base for many pirate operations. It is also true that after the arrival of Governor Woodes Rogers in the summer of 1718, James Bonny became an informant for the governor.[3]

    While in the Bahamas, Anne Bonny began mingling with pirates at the local drinking establishments, and met the pirate John “Calico Jack” Rackham, with whom she had an affair. They had a child in Cuba, but Anne left it there with a nanny. While Rackham and many other pirates were enjoying the King’s pardon in the New Providence, James dragged Anne before Gov. Rogers to demand she be flogged for adultery and returned to him. There was even an offer for Rackham to buy her in a divorce-by-purchase, but Anne refused to be “bought and sold like cattle.” She was sentenced to the flogging, but later Anne and Rackham escaped to live together as pirates.

  6. DT, coincidentally, I’m working on a navigator/pirate project right now, so am doing TONS of research. Hadn’t gotten up to the golden age yet. Just wondering if you have any favorite sources of info and lore, whether it be books or on the internet. And have you heard of any pirates that were explorers, discovered new lands?

    I’m reading about Libertalia right now and have focused on the idea that you mentioned that pirates were libertarians and espoused the rights of free men vs the servitude and mistreatment sailors endured under corporations and navies. Quite interesting that they were painted merely as criminals and cutthroats when there were ideas of democracy and individual rights.

    So, thanks very much for the post. Most interesting.

    • And have you heard of any pirates that were explorers, discovered new lands?

      Sir Francis Drake?

      By the time of the Caribbean pirates there were no lands left to discover.

      Here’s some good info on the history of pirates:


      During the 1st century BC, there were pirate states along the Anatolian coast, threatening the commerce of the Roman Empire in the eastern Mediterranean. On one voyage across the Aegean Sea in 75 BC,[7] Julius Caesar was kidnapped by Cilician pirates and held prisoner in the Dodecanese islet of Pharmacusa.[8] He maintained an attitude of superiority and good cheer throughout his captivity. When the pirates decided to demand a ransom of twenty talents of gold, Caesar is said to have insisted that he was worth at least fifty, and the pirates indeed raised the ransom to fifty talents. After the ransom was paid and Caesar was released, he raised a fleet, pursued and captured the pirates, and had them put to death.

    • I agree with Myiq. Most land masses were already discovered. Sure there were some small islands, but the real excitement by that time was more inland, which was not their cup of tea.

      But if you stretch things a bit, you could call that rabble in the late 1700’s that broke from England Pirates. Same for the rabble that rebelled in France a bit later. It’s the spirit of the Pirate.

      I don’t have any specific recommendations. I’m not an expert on that period other than like most of us, just amazingly interested and of course can’t help but romanticize.

  7. The Big Dawg:

    Former president Bill Clinton, a champion of healthcare reform, admitted on Sunday that he made the wrong prediction about the popularity of President Obama’s healthcare bill.

    Initially, Clinton had predicted that the polls in favor of Democrats would be boosted as soon as the legislation was signed into law. Instead, Clinton said on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” his prediction was wrong for two reasons.

    “First of all, the benefits of the bill are spread out of three or four years. It takes a long time to implement. And secondly, there has been an enormous and highly effective attack on it,” he said.

    Several leading Republicans have vowed to repeal the healthcare reform bill next year.

    On CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Clinton said Republicans deserve “their fair share of credit” for Obama’s stumbles, including a sinking approval rating.

    “I think he was shocked at the intensity of the Republican opposition,” Clinton said. “But they learned from my first two years that, if you just say no, even though people hate it, you get rewarded for it because it discourages the Democrats and it inflames your base. So they’re doing just what they did in ’93 and ’94. And so far it appears that they’re being rewarded for it.”

    The former president said he thought the current commander in chief got “disoriented” for a while, but “I think he is getting his groove back now.”

    There’s a third reason – Obamacare sucks.

    • Yea, but big dwag, being the loyal Dem, can’t say that.

      It’s a bit of rubbing their noses in it when he says the Repubs are doing just what the did to him in his first two years. Kind of on the one hand saying Obama could have seen that coming and prepared for it, if he were smart. And on the other hand he’s putting the challenge out there, Bill got hit hard by Repubs then and still did great things and came out on top. Can Obama do the same?

      • at the same time he’s equating himself with Obama.

        The Clintons really have to stop defending him.

      • He could have seen it coming if he were smart and if he were at all interested in actually doing the job. He isn’t. He wants the fancy plane and the helicopters and the private chef – but he has no real interest in the hard work of Presidentin’.

      • Yes, and who can’t hear the unspoken, which is: Hillary knew what is would be like and was more than prepared to deal with it. Hillary is no neophyte and she pounds the pavement and the opposition until the job is done. Hillary would never be taken by surprise, and oh, yeah, she is ready for the 3 a.m. call.

        Every time Bill opines on how it’s going with Dems and Obumbles, it’s like the aura of Hillary gains energy. Something metaphysical is going on, and I hope it culminates in Hillary 2012.

  8. Terrific post.
    His comments follow strong criticism in America that the yuan is significantly undervalued, damaging US exports.

    I’m assuming he means exports like wheat and old growth lumber…I mean what else is there?

    pirates are great, if you aren’t the one being murdered ,pillaged and raped. They ain’t cuddly scallywags. …..just saying

  9. Rush Limbaugh On Ines Sainz Ass-ets , She Should Wear A Burka

  10. Well, someone paid attention in 2008, and sees exactly what the GOP establishment is doing now – the same thing the Dems did to Hillary – undermine from the shadows.


    As this nation heads towards November, a crucial turning point in American history, Palin’s foes are making hay. Political strategists the likes of Karl Rove and Charles Krauthammer have emerged from the old boys’ network closet. The most infamous, nepotistically-influenced, former Palin competitor Lisa Murkowski has announced she will run again this November—as a write in. In these days, it is wise to recall the actions of Harry Reid in 2006 when he summoned then-Senator Obama, instructing Barack it was the Party’s intentions to have him run for the Presidency (even though it would not be until the summer of 2008 that Reid would publicly endorse the Senator from Illinois).

    The Democrats (led by Reid) would have done anything to defeat Hillary—and they did it stealthily. The GOP is taking a page from that book. There is an all-too-familiar episode re-playing itself for voters to witness this season. The GOP loathes Sarah Palin. And the Party is now setting about to deeply unsettle those successful candidates she has promoted. The evidence is glaringly obvious. Murkowski has been unleashed; Rove and Krauthammer are doing their bidding. The events unfolding are towards one goal: the destruction of Palin’s bid for the Presidency.


    Standard disclaimer: No, I do not support Palin’s views. No, I do not think that she is at all like Hillary as far as policy goes. I’m pointing out a comparison of the type of political maneuvering and kneecapping being done against 2 women who are widely supported by the actual voters of their own party. It is not a comparison of the 2 women themselves. It is a commentary on the actions of an establishment who want to retain power regardless of what their own party rank and file think.

    • exactly.

    • Nice find. And great disclaimer paragraph. Couldn’t have said it better.

      • You know, I think there were a lot of bad reasons that the Dem poobahs kneecapped Hillary long before she even ran (much less during). But one of those reasons may have been, for some, an honest belief that she couldn’t win. I think they were wrong, but that part may have been “honest” motivation. That still doesn’t give them the right to do what they did. The party doesn’t belong to them. It belongs to the Dem voters. THEY get to decide who is “electable”, in something called a “primary”. The leaders, whatever their motivation, don’t get to substitute their own judgement for the voters.

        The same is true for the R party, and in that very narrow sense I DO support the teapartiers. They have every right to pick their candidates without the establishment trying to kneecap and cheat, and wheedle losers into “independent” runs behind the scenes, and undercut the voters beforehand. I don’t care if Karl Rove thinks Palin or ODonnell can’t win. That’s not his fucking decision to make.

        Process matters. And if this kind of thing is applauded just because the other side is the one doing it, it comes back to bite us all on the ass, eventually. Because that becomes the accepted standard of behavior for the political elites of either side. It needs to be denounced, loudly.

        • Sadly both parties are private clubs and can choose their candidates any way they want. The primaries and final convention are just for show. They can change the rules or do anything they want.

          Which of course begs the question, why on earth would anyone be a member of either club or give them money?

        • It’s not up to Obama whether Arlen Specter gets primaried or not either.

          • Damn straight. I’m not saying that party leaders can’t have an opinion, or prefer one candidate to another. But this bullying, and machinations behind the scenes to game the process itself, needs to be stopped. On both sides.

        • I wholeheartedly agree with your comments. This morning I was listening to news regarding O’Donnell in Delaware and how the RSCC is now saying they will support her, after denouncing her following the primary election. There are some striking similarities about how she’s being treated and how the DNC dealt with Hillary.

          Anyway, O’Donnell was saying that voters, even Dems, were coming up to her and saying they were going to vote for her because they were pissed about how she was being treated and that attacks against her felt like attacks against them (the voters).

          I think more and more people are seeing how corrupt the parties are and how the bigwigs think they have the right to manipulate and control the outcomes–picking the candidates, and determining our government, really.

          And many of us of all stripes are waking up and getting angry and with our votes are trying to tell them to get their dirty hands off our elections.

        • Honk honk!

    • Indeed. I said this two years ago…the” Sarah is dumb ” rumors started with GOP operatives around McCain . I guess she was asked to be VP in order to be a scape goat and to lash her to a campaign meant to fail. When you derail gravy trains in Alaska,( or any where) there are consequences

      • That and McCain had one of the worst campaign staffs ever. Steve Shmidt and Nicolle Wallace pretty much hated her and didn’t let the fact they were trying to make McCain win stop them from browbeating her daily.

        I’m sure McCain, his top people and his daughter Meghan all wanted Joe Lieberman to be his VP. I can’t even begin to count how many more states Obama would have won running against two Washington insiders.

        • All of them. That would have been the saddest campaign in history. With that team, Obama could have just phoned it in. Kind of like he’s doing now.

        • This Joe Lieberman???

          On June 19, 2010, Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) introduced a bill called “Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act of 2010”,[4] which he co-wrote with Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) and Senator Thomas Carper (D-DE). If signed into law, this controversial bill, which the American media dubbed the Kill switch bill, would grant the President emergency powers over the Internet. Other parts of the bill focus on the establishment of an Office of Cyberspace Policy and on its missions, as well as on the coordination of cyberspace policy at the federal level. Interviewed by Candy Crowley on CNN’s State of the Union, Lieberman claimed that “a cyber attack on America [could] do as much or more damage […] by incapacitating our banks, our communications, our finance, our transportation, as a conventional war attack”.[5] If national security were to be severely threatened by a cyber attack, broadband providers, search engines, software firms and other major players in the Telecommunications/Computer/Internet industry could be required to immediately comply and implement any emergency measure taken;[6] for most of the month of June, media coverage of the bill insisted on this so-called ‘Kill switch’ provision, said to be included in the bill.[7]

          However, after this proposal became controversial, in large part due to concerns that it granted too much power to the President and threatened freedom of speech, all three co-authors of the bill issued a statement claiming that instead, the bill “[narrowed] existing broad Presidential authority to take over telecommunications networks”,[8] and Senator Lieberman contended that the bill did not seek to make a ‘Kill switch’ option available..[5] but instead insisted that serious steps had to be taken in order to counter a potential mass scale cyber attack. “Right now, China, the government, can disconnect parts of its Internet in a case of war. We need to have that here, too,” he said on Candy Crowley’s State of the Union on CNN..[5]

          Section 249 of the bill states that “the President may issue a declaration of a national cyber emergency to covered critical infrastructure,” in which case a response plan is implemented.[4] This plan shall consist of “measures or actions necessary to preserve the reliable operation, and mitigate or remediate the consequences of the potential disruption, of covered critical infrastructure”. Said measures should “represent the least disruptive means feasible to the operations of the covered critical infrastructure” and “shall cease to have effect not later than 30 days after the date on which the President issued the declaration of a national cyber emergency” unless the President seeks to extend them, with the approval of the Director of the Office of Cyberspace Policy established by the bill.[4]

          TYT News Report -Senator Joe Lieberman Internet Kill Switch EXPOSED

  11. Colin “I was just following orders” Powell:

    Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, a Republican who endorsed Democrat Barack Obama for president in 2008, said on Sunday the president needs to “shift” his approach with voters feeling overloaded by a series of new laws that expand the scope of government.

    “The president also has to, I think, shift the way in which he has been doing things,” Powell said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “I think the American people feel that too many programs have come down. There are so many rocks in our knapsack now that we’re having trouble carrying it.”


    Powell declined to say whether he would endorse Obama in 2012, adding that he will evaluate both candidates as the election draws closer.


    People are feeling overwhelmed by the FUBARed economy.

    Powell used to be on my short list of Republicans I would consider voting for. After his UN performance he’s on my NFW list.

  12. Paul Goldman, a former Chairman of Virginia’s Democratic Party, postulates that Palin has saved the GOP by keeping the Tea Party inside the GOP tent.


    “Had she instead encouraged these disillusioned voters to mount third-party challenges across the 2010 general-election ballot, dozens of Democratic incumbents, not to mention challengers, would be smiling like Woodrow Wilson in 1912.”

  13. Colin Powell–I saw him on this morning and once again, not impressed. But, he’s never impressed me. I think he’s been held up by the GOP (prior to his Obama love) to say ‘ see, we have a clean articulate non-white person too.’ And he let himself be used–not to mention, I think (and my memory is vague here) that he wasn’t real fond of Bill.

  14. If the GOP establishment actually does to Palin what the Dems did to Hillary, they can bend over and kiss their ass goodbye. Rank and file republicans, let alone tea partiers, will go into full revolt and the GOP may go the way of the Dodo.

    • both parties need to go the way of the Dodo, so the party elites can bring it on. I’d especially love to watch both parties be taken over by first generation American daughters of immigrants like myself.

    • As much as I’d love to believe that, I thought the same in 2008 and 90% of Hill voters went for O. I can’t see the Tea Party voters protest-voting O, so if it does happen their only options will be sit out or vote for Romney. The party elite can probably afford to gamble that 4 more years of O are a calculated risk, after 8 years they’ll be in the same position as the ’08 Dems and will probably be able to elect any establishment stooge of their choosing.

      • if the party elites stick with Romneys and Obamas, there will be a huge opening for the Nikki Haleys. imho.

        • I hope so, but we don’t seem to have too many Nikki Haleys on our side. It’ll be interesting to see what’s percolating at the lower levels and if any disgruntled liberals are going to be coming forward to challenge the same old Obama types who’ve always had their paths greased.

          • This is true, but sadly I’m about through with caring about “our side” because they don’t give a damn about liberalism or liberal grassroots. We’ve got Howard Deanie Weenie expressing understanding of the populism of the right with not a hitch in his analysis about the liberal grassroots or the deep frustration on the left. They’ve ceded the populism to the right. They are so damn stupid. If the Nikki Haleys out there can give these entrenched assholes on both the left and right a run for their country club money, let the games begin 🙂

          • Can’t argue with that. 🙂

      • In case you haven’t noticed, GOP voters are not quite as cowed as Dem voters. About 11.8 million of them sat out 2008 for a lot less reason. If they were like Dem voters, John McCain would be President now.

        • Uh, yeah, I have noticed that, and now we’re talking about Palin being kneecapped. So whether the GOP Establishment is running scared from one loss or counting on long term circumstances to put them back in the driver’s seat is an open question.

      • I think a significant number of those future Tea Party voters did sit out McCain in 2008. The GOP would do well to suport them as they are less erratic than the “values” voters who sat out 2000 after a last minute drunk driving ticket was revealed.

  15. I think some may see that–note Rove’s back tracking with O’Donnell.

    • Well, he was. Today he came out again demanding that she have to “answer for” and “explain” her offhand comment a decade ago about dabbling in witchcraft in college.

      This is comedy gold. We need a cartoonist to do Rove as the knight: “Is she heavier than a duck?”


    • Christine O’Donnell Circa 1997: AIDS Gets Too Much Gov’t Money

      • Yikes!!!

      • Pathetic. And if you notice these candidates often resort to faulty anecdotes to bolster their arguments. This is the cliche/platitude party.

        I think for all the Tea Party candidates, the questions should be hard hitting, particularly on the economy. Exactly what “do” they support or what would they cut to reduce the deficit boogie man. With specifics.

        Joe Miller [the Alaskan Tea Party darling] stated today that unemployment benefits were unconstitutional. But when asked exactly what he would do about the chronically unemployed [in our jobless recovery] or what he would do about rising poverty, he ducked and dodged. These people [including the rest of the Republicans] have no answers, only same old, same old: cut taxes and let those on the bottom fend for themselves. In terms of social positions, it’s clear now why they don’t want to discuss them because their positions are off the charts.

        Party-wise, I have no hound in this hunt. I’ll be voting like an independent. But for most Americans, the extreme point of view is simply not attractive. And though I’m angry and frustrated, too, you need to offer the public more to govern effectively.

        October should be very interesting.

  16. Dandy, you ROCK. Calico Jack and Anne Bonny and Mary Read are my favorite part of piratical history!

  17. Didn’t know Rove back tracked the back track today. If she really was into witch craft, I might could vote for her. Don’t know what is up with Rove–maybe he got tea partier inside info.

    • Nah, I think he’s just clawing at hanging onto power by his pudgy clammy white fingernails.

      Nothing frightens an asshat like Rove so much as the prospect of irrelevance in his own party.

      • From O-Donnell at an appearance today…

        Delaware Republican Senate nominee Christine O’Donnell responded to old clips that surfaced over the weekend where she said she had once “dabbled in witchcraft,” clarifying at a GOP picnic in Delaware Sunday, “I was in high school, how many of you didn’t hang out with questionable folks in high school? But no, There’s been no witchcraft since, if there was, Karl Rove would be a supporter.”


        • I would have nade Karl into a pathetic troll

          oh, wait.

        • Lol I don’t think Rove expected anyone to push back, he must be boiling. Next he’ll be whining that they’re breaking Reagan’s 11th commandment. 😉

          • comments about Rove and the other establishment figures on the rw blogs are absolutely merciless. does my heart good 😉

          • The conservatives have criticized the RNC and Bush in the past. They agreed with Bush on terrorism and military spending and would circle the wagons, but he got a lot of abuse about NCLB, the Medicare prescription plan and TARP.

          • Meh, Rove and his ilk are like the Dems in that regard. “Fall in line! Support the party! Don’t give the other side a win! 11th commandment!” only applies when the elite’s preferred candidate wins and the grassroots are supposed to stuff it and STFU like good little foot soldiers.

            If an actual grassroots candidate wins (on either side), the elites throw unity and support out the window and go after them viciously, tut-tutting about extremism and irrational mob-rule taking over. “Fall in line for thee, but not for me.”

            Me, I’m enjoying this. And while I do think the O’Donells of the world have crappy solutions, I’m happy to see the little people, even nutty little people, give the big fat finger to the Roves and Newts. Wish we would do the same on our side.

        • OK, despite her evil prognostications about, well, most everything, I’m starting to like her.

    • Yup. Definitely the best thing about her.

  18. He is sorta clammy looking. Wish we could make Obama irrelevant, but maybe he’s doing that for us.

  19. Ballot Box Revolt: It’s the Power the People Have to Use

    From The Optimistic Conservative but I would suggest voters on the liberal side could and should apply the same principles. If we really want government policies of our choosing.

    What Rove and those in the GOP leadership need to understand is that a citizen’s vote is the main tool he has to express himself politically. There comes a time when he has to use it for his own purposes, rather than as someone else’s tactical tire-tool; and 2010 is one of those times.

    I can’t count how often this year I’ve heard the following expressed one way or another: “Things have got to change. I don’t even care if I’m voting for the candidate who supposedly can win. I’ve got to vote for the candidate who’s saying what I believe in, and let the rest take care of itself. We can’t keep voting for the same old people. Maybe it’ll take some time to get some leadership for a new direction, but it will never happen if we keep bringing back all the folks who got us into this mess.”

    The 11th commandment is a goner.

  20. ARRR! :mrgreen:

    • First, Obama is not engaged in his job (figuring out who is going to win the NBA next year). Second, he could not listen to Keynesian economists because they belong to the professional, drug addict, congenitally defective left, who don’t understand what a great job he’s done.

  21. This is rich.

    Geraldo Rivera on Fox News is using the story of Christine O’Donnell dabbling in whichcraft to drag out his “highly rated but critically panned” (his words) Satanism special. Yep, according to the guy who used to drug women for sex, O’Donnell worshipped Satan.

    I’m not sure they can go lower.

    • And that’s Fox. Clearly the GOP is still not on her side. It’s a frick’in zoo.

      • It’s amazing to watch, DT. Yeah, she’s a winger, and a not particularly experienced candidate, but it’s not like that’s anything new in politics.

        But the establishment is losing their freaking minds over this woman.

    • It’s Faux Noise. OF COURSE they can go lower.

      Though also of course, the rest of the Corporate Propaganda Media is only marginally less bad than Faux.

      • Actually, I find the other networks worse, because Fox at least is up front about being a conservative network. You know what you are getting, and can take that into account. The others just lie their asses off, while still laying claim to a sainted sanctity of neutral journalism that they in truth abandoned long ago.

        And I think Greta is one of the last old-school journalists left on TV who does genuinely fair but probing questioning. I think the corporation controls a lot of who she has on, but within those confines she does a very good “just the facts, ma’am” interview.

        • they’re all crap. CNN is an alternative to counting sheep, MSNBC is urban elitism freshly brewed by Starbucks, and Fox is wingnuts R us. Fox’s Bret Baier set is okay…they do the straight journalism component for Fox, which still has a spin in terms of which headlines and soundbytes get pushed, so you have to view with jaundiced take just like you would any other news outlet, but it’s actually less grating than Wolf Blitzer constantly hyping his Happening Now and oversensationalized teasers, or the neverending Rick Sanchez trainwreck (Rick’s Lost ). .

          • baier is decent when he is just covering straight news himself. When he has all those panelists on it becomes blah blah blah bullshit.

            I watch very little tv news anymore, and when I do I flip around to see how different ones are covering it. It’s like I have a little algorithm in my head that calculates, adjusts for bias, and comes up with a composite something approaching “information” that I still take with a grain of salt. Actually, I take it with a whole damn deerlick.

            I do the same thing with online sources. I do not trust ANYONE not to have some bias, conscious or not, not even writers I like.

          • those panels are nauseating on all channels, cable and network both. The biggest problem is who they put on them. Usually beltway creeps.

        • You’ll be pleased to know that the morning Joe/Mika Show talked all about “civility,” urging avoidance of any fringe hatred from either side.

          Yes, they really said that. The “pleased” stuff is snark, cuz right after that, they went right to the “witch” things, with lots of sneering and laughing.

          Jaysus. MSNBC, talking about “civility.” I wonder if Mr. Ed and Olbermann got the memo. Ugh.

          I changed the channel to C-Span.

  22. I like Greta too–maybe partly because I think she was a Hillary fan. I do remember reading that her husband donated to Hillary’s campaign.

    • Greta was a pretty obvious Bill Clinton sympathizer during his presidency. She never said who she was for in 2008, but she was much more respectful of Hillary’s campaign than everyone else in the media, and it was clear she admired Hillary. What there was of the legit Hillary-supporting PUMAs during the election gravitated to Greta and her blog. Greta’s lawyer husband John Coale was a Hillary supporter who switched to McPalin and then later I think was advising Palin after the campaign on setting up her Sarah PAC, etc

  23. Oh–didn’t know he went to Palin. Oh well.

  24. “The girl is a witch.”

    “Yeah, but she’s our witch. So cut her the hell down.”

  25. NYT:

    President Obama’s political advisers, looking for ways to help Democrats and alter the course of the midterm elections in the final weeks, are considering a range of ideas, including national advertisements, to cast the Republican Party as all but taken over by Tea Party extremists, people involved in the discussion said.

    Oh yeah, that’ll work. If they try it, get used to saying “Madame President”

    • More:

      Democrats on Capitol Hill say that Obama aides, including Mr. Axelrod, and Jim Messina, the deputy chief of staff, do not consult with them enough and are more concerned with positioning Mr. Obama for his 2012 reelection race than with re-electing Democrats now.

      It’s all about the O

      • Oh, yeah. He promised to help them if they stood with him, but he’s all about himself and will hang them out to dry other than some obligatory fundraisers.

        Speaking of funds, at the first of this year OFA got 30 million dollars – which was HALF of the entire party’s budget for the year. All for Obama in 2012, not for them. From Time:

        So earlier this year, when the White House gave OFA a whopping $30 million – more than half of the party’s entire budget for 2010 – senior Democrats suspected a hidden agenda. Several tell Time that OFA boss David Plouffe, who ran Obama’s 2008 campaign, is using the cash to rebuild an army for 2012

        Half the party’s budget for ME ME ME ME!!!

      • Are they looking for sympathy, or something? Awwww, poor babies, who knew there’d be consequences to letting the Chicago gang take over the party. Usually they play fair and do right by everyone. Who could have predicted?

        • How will the CDS brigades (who hate Bill Clinton for “losing” congress in 1994) react?


          • Mmm, yeah. Trying to hold the Great Obama to the same standards as all other Presidents is veering into very dangerous territory.

        • Oh, yeah. You’d think that moving the DNC to Chicago, home of the most ethical politics EVAH, before he was even nominated, would have told them something.

          I would say they need to get hit upside the head with a clue bat, but these morons would just look around blankly and say, “WTF was that?! An asteroid or something?”

          They stood by and applauded while my party got all mobbed up. So screw them now that they’ve belatedly figured out they are not the Capo’s favorites.

          • Lol That’s why I’ll always love Howard Dean. It was SUCH FUN standing shoulder to shoulder with Obama throwing everyone within reach under the bus. Everyone else who ever tried to help Obama gets backstabbed. Then his turn comes, and not only is he hurt and wounded, he’s just so confused. What in the world is happening? It’s the oddest sensation, as if he’s hurtling through space. It’s confining, and the view appears to be of some sort of undercarriage. Whatever could be going on?

    • That would be about the stupidest thing they could do. …Which means, they’ll probably do it. Either their completely out of touch idiots, or it’s all part of the plan. I’d say that’s a toss up.

    • They’re drowning, gulping water. When people get like that, they’ll use anybody as rafts and end up drowning everyone around them.

      Angle and Reid campaigns are the epitome of the two parties. It’s like a bad movie with a predictable ending.

    • I’d love to see O and his fraternity lose in 2012 to Nikki Haley. I don’t like all her politics, but damn, I like to see the faces of her detractors as nothing they say about her sticks. The kitchen sink is coming fast and furious right now (some lamebots are even trying to make an issue of some very scandalous pictures of her…wait for it… wait for it… pictures of her wearing bindis!), but she’s going to leave them in the dust.

      Behold the power of my bindi collection as I kick legacy party ass. Lol.

      • You know, I can see H having something to say about these reprehensible tactics if she were President. And irony of ironies, who would have an apoplectic fit over that? Oh, yeah, the great gatekeepers of anti-racism, that’s who! What a world.

  26. Q: What’s creepier than having a blogstalker speculating about your sex life?

    A: When the blogstalker is a drag queen.

    • Oh yeah? Just wait until O does he next rendition of “You put the car in D to go forward and R to go back.”

      • Can we go back to the nineties?

        • Wait until we all realize the Bush years were better. 😦

          • the part that was better was that the lion’s share of the opposition to the corporatist agenda was coming from a liberal perspective.

          • Opposition? I must have missed that. Oh yea, they stopped privatizing SS only to cut it now.

          • well a lot of it was coming in the form of anti-war opposition during the Bush years…then the anti-war left met Obama…who proceeded to escalate the war in Afghanistan… and they crowned him Nobel peace laureate.

          • Wait until we all realize the Bush years were better

            That just ain’t gonna happen.
            The economic troubles we’re facing are the result of the Bush years.
            The wars we’re in are the result of the Bush years.
            Obama’s fault was to not attacked the Bush recession with full force and in the other wars, no Dem POTUS can take us out of a war Reps want to fight, we lost that PR war long ago and we’re afraid to be called “Cut-and-Runner”.

            Btw, I think Hillary would have been far more decisive on the economy but on the war front, she would have acted exactly like Obama is doing.

          • I knew no matter who won between Obama, Hillary, and McCain, we weren’t going to be getting out of Iraq or Afghanistan.

            The difference is Hillary and McCain wouldn’t have gotten a Nobel prize for it, and the anti-war left would have held them much more accountable imho.

          • WTV,

            you’re ABSOLUTELY right on that.

            Hillary would have been pilloried by the Left for the same actions on the war front. I can just imagine all the name she would be called, “war criminal” probably being the nicest.

      • the problem with O’s analogy isn’t that it’s bad, it’s that a significant number of voters in fact would rather go back than drive forward with Democrats who just keep running their tires in the mud and getting the mud on everyone else.

        • And also, that he sounds stupid saying it. 🙂 Mitt used to love to say “You booze, you cruise, you lose.” However, everyone else at every level was too embarassed to appear so undignified, so they had to change it. Lol

          • if something like that would actually get someone to quit driving drunk, I’d tolerate it… but since it will only have the opposite effect, one wonders why Mittens would not know better. Of course understanding the rhetorical choices of a robot who’d bust out with Who Let the Dogs Out is pretty much a lost cause. As for O… his “treat me like a dog” moment actually sounded stupider to me. That came from the bottom of his aloof little heart.

          • Mitt has some weird quirks, man. When they unveiled the slogan he stood there with state troopers, repeating it and giggling while they looked on him with disapproval. 🙂 I agree the dog thing was worse, but he needs to quit while he’s ahead and stop repeating the D R thing.

          • Lol, I didn’t know he was repeating it… I thought it was just that one time in Austin.

            And hey, just imagine Obama and Mittens debating each other in ’12. Obama on the one end: “they talk about me like a dog.” Mittens on the other “Who let the dogs out?”

          • Lol “That’d be the ASPCA, after you imprisoned him on the roof of your moving car!”

          • Oh gawd, the dog on the car story… 2012 is gonna be a mess just like Romney’s car.

    • Ouch. Depression vs. Recovery. That’s just not cricket.

  27. The summer of recovery was a loser (my emphasis)

    WASHINGTON — Americans' long journey to regain the wealth they lost in the recession is stalled.
    Households failed even to run in place during the April-June quarter as sinking stock prices eroded wealth. Stocks have since recovered about two-thirds of those losses. But based on last quarter's data, household net worth would have to surge 23 percent to reach its pre-recession peak.
    <b/Net worth — the value of assets like homes and investments, minus debts like mortgages and credit cards — fell 2.7 percent last quarter, or $1.5 trillion, the Federal Reserve said Friday. It now stands at $53.5 trillion.
    That’s above the bottom hit during the recession, $48.8 trillion in the first quarter of 2009. But it’s far below the pre-recession peak in wealth of $65.8 trillion.
    The drop from April to June was the first quarterly decline in Americans’ wealth since early 2009. Before then, net worth had risen slowly for four straight quarters.
    Economists generally think household wealth has ticked up in the July-to-September quarter so far, because of higher stock prices. Yet given last quarter’s setback and expectations of scant gains ahead, some economists have pushed back their forecast for when Americans will regain all their lost wealth: Not until the middle of this decade.

  28. CNN:

    President Obama publicly attended church Sunday morning for the first time in nearly six months, and shortly after a major survey showed that only a third of Americans can correctly identify Obama’s faith as Christian.

    The first family attended the 9 a.m. service at St. John’s Church Lafayette Square, an Episcopal congregation about a block from the White House.


    The visit, Obama’s first public trip to church since Easter, comes several weeks after a major survey showed that a substantial and growing number of Americans believe that Obama, a self-described Christian, is Muslim.

    I like the implication that he “privately” has been attending church.

    Matt 6:5:

    And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.


    Bush I is Episcopalian

    • I don’t think anyone’s religious attendance is our business, but I do find it funny that he feels to need to use the excuse, “My presence would be disruptive.” I think DC area churches are probably used to Presidential visits.

      • He didn’t have a problem being disruptive when he was campaigning – and he had the Secret Service with him then too.

        • There are so many DC churches that would LOVE to be disrupted like that. It’s like, don’t go, just don’t make up silly excuses that insult people’s intelligence. Please.

          • that’s EXACTLY how I felt about his flag-pin stuff. Wear it, don’t wear it, I really couldn’t care less, just don’t insult my intelligence by first saying you had some principled reason not to wear it because of the war, then you lost it then… then all of a sudden you’re wearing a flag pin with a half a dozen flags draped around your podium? Right.

          • And how many votes did that pick up? “I wasn’t going to, but now that I see he’s wearing the flag pin, we’re cool.” He’s an adult, he doesn’t need an excuse either way. All this pandering does is keep the stupid story going. A good way to change it would be with something real, not more distractions.

          • All this pandering does is keep the stupid story going

            B-i-n-g-o. In the case of the birther story, I think the O camp discovered early on that these suckers could be used to discredit all their detractors by conflating them with birtherism, so it is good to keep the suckers around.

    • I think this is just sad. The POTUS has pretty much been bullied into going to church and being seen doing it.

      Another battle lost because I wish we could get to the stage where it shouldn’t matter whether the POTUS goes to church or not.

      • Obama made a big deal about his religious beliefs – he wanted to win some of the fundie vote.

        Then (just like Reagan) he got to the White House and quit attending church.

        • Myiq,
          you’re forgetting that he as to confront some “suspicions”, and he’s not even done with that.

          Have you read the latest from Newt Gingrich? This “Obama-is-not-your-real-American” stuff is not over and it’s not only among some low level nutballs.

          I saw some idiots actually trying to blame him for his “Moslem” problems and it just reminded me of the 90s when people used to throw feces at the Clintons and blamed for being the type of people you would throw feces at.

          • Oh bullshit.

            He made religion an issue:

            2004 – “We worship an awesome god in the blue states”

            In “The Audacity of Hope” (named for a sermon by Rev. Wright) he talks at length about his religious beliefs.

            2006 he starts courting Rick Warren by attending events at Saddleback

            During the campaign:any mention that he was Muslim was dubbed racist, then after he’s in office he admits his Muslim roots.

            He targeted religious voters and some of his campaign materials show him standing at a pulpit.

            Obama is a liar and a hypocrite.

          • Joke Tapper:

            During a conference call in preparation for President Obama’s trip to Cairo, Egypt, where he will address the Muslim world, deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communications Denis McDonough said “the President himself experienced Islam on three continents before he was able to — or before he’s been able to visit, really, the heart of the Islamic world — you know, growing up in Indonesia, having a Muslim father — obviously Muslim Americans (are) a key part of Illinois and Chicago.”

            Given widespread unease and prejudice against Muslims among Americans, especially in the wake of 9/11, the Obama campaign was perhaps understandably very sensitive during the primaries and general election to downplay the candidate’s Muslim roots.

            The candidate was even offended when referred to by his initials “BHO,” because he considered the use of his middle name, “Hussein,” an attempt to frighten voters.

            With insane rumors suggesting he was some sort of Muslim Manchurian candidate, then-Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and his campaign did everything they could to emphasize his Christianity and de-emphasize the fact that his father, Barack Obama Sr., was born Muslim.

            The candidate’s comment at a Boca Raton, Florida, town hall meeting on May 22, 2008, was typical: “My father was basically agnostic, as far as I can tell, and I didn’t know him,” he said.

            In September 2008, candidate Obama told a Pennsylvania crowd, “I know that I’m not your typical presidential candidate and I just want to be honest with you. I know that the temptation is to say, ‘You know what? The guy hasn’t been there that long in Washington. You know, he’s got a funny name. You know, we’re not sure about him.’ And that’s what the Republicans when they say this isn’t about issues, it’s about personalities, what they’re really saying is, ‘We’re going to try to scare people about Barack. So we’re going to say that, you know, maybe he’s got Muslim connections.’…Just making stuff up.”

            Back then, the campaign’s “Fight the Smears” website addressed the candidate’s faith without mentioning his father’s religion:

            “Barack Obama is a committed Christian. He was sworn into the Senate on his family Bible. He has regularly attended church with his wife and daughters for years. But shameful, shadowy attackers have been lying about Barack’s religion, claiming he is a Muslim instead of a committed Christian. When people fabricate stories about someone’s faith to denigrate them politically, that’s an attack on people of all faiths. Make sure everyone you know is aware of this deception.”

            The website also provided quotes from the Boston Globe and Newsweek mentioning his father’s roots.

            Since the election, however, with the threat of the rumors at least somewhat abated, the White House has been increasingly forthcoming about the president’s roots. Especially when reaching out to the
            Muslim world.

          • What is bullshit?

            I know it’s about Obama who is ALWAYS at fault for everything being done to him, whereas others would benefit a more nuanced approach, if not a vigorous defense.

            After taking a beating in many elections, Dems start thinking about how to co-opt “value voters”, and I mean ALL major Dems, the Clintons included. (Wasn’t Hillary fast to join the Senate prayers club with the wackiest Rightwingers?)

            We may not like it, but Dems no longer thought they could win election being seen as the party of the “Gott-less”.

            Obama is a liar and a hypocrite.

            Which politician isn’t?

          • In the first place, Hillary’s faith or going to church or praying with even “the enemy” was not a political pander. She has always been deeply religious, albeit in a very quiet way. She’s a lay minister in the Methodist church for Pete’s sake.

          • Nick Kristof:

            Mr. Obama recalled the opening lines of the Arabic call to prayer, reciting them with a first-rate accent. In a remark that seemed delightfully uncalculated (it’ll give Alabama voters heart attacks), Mr. Obama described the call to prayer as “one of the prettiest sounds on Earth at sunset.”

            Does he sound worried about “suspicions?”

          • Hillary attended the political wives’ prayer group since she was First Lady in ’93 and then later when she became senator the Senate prayer breakfast, which other Democrats attend.

            That’s really not that surprising given her Methodist faith and background.

          • Do you honestly believe H joining the Senate prayer group was an inside-inside-inside-inside baseball way to distance herself from being seen as godless? Miscalculation, then, as all it did was allow Obots to paint her as unacceptably hyperreligious and a rightwinger.

            Hillary Clinton is *very religious.* Being religious doesn’t make a person insincere. Many religious people belong to faiths or attend services where they don’t agree with everything, to learn, to be social, whatever.

          • There’s no question that Hillary is a genuinely religious person. But, her public display of religiosity became much more public as she began to confront her negative image and as she began to thin about running for national office. Before that, she was much more private about her religious beliefs.

            This is just another battle we lost, just like every Dem running for national office has to be a hawk on “national security issues”.

          • I think Hillary actually became more vocal about her faith after her father died in ’93… after which she was crucified mercilessly.

          • You can interpret it that way if you want, but also consider that for people of faith facing tough times as she was, often a re-connecting with one’s faith, attending church more often, etc is an entirely sincere and natural reaction for a believer.

          • You’d be hardpressed to prove that, she’s been talking about her faith since she appeared on the national scene.

    • I don’t even think it’s to prove he goes to church… it’s just to prove he’s Christian (or maybe…more cynically…it’s to invoke sympathy for his having to deal with the birthers).

      The one time I thought O actually came across somewhat genuine was when he said America wasn’t (just) a Christian nation. So if it’s not, why he has to waste time going to church and all this nonsense? Going back to the Gulf Oil spill situation… a lot of the Obama apologists said O really had a handle on everything and that all the accusations that he had not responded to the crisis or not done enough were just asking him to be fake and put on a show for the masses, which was so beneath President Operfect. So what gives? If taking the effort and time to show us lowly bitter knitters some leadership during an environmental disaster was so beneath him, why is going to church just to appease the “America is a Christian country” choir *not* beneath him?

      I think the MSM honestly cares more about O’s church-going than most Americans do. There is a chunk of the electorate that is hung up on the religious stuff. So what? Honestly, if our political leaders would work on getting them jobs and healthcare and better standards of living, I think they would care a lot less.

      • Many of the people who think he’s a Muslim are his supporters, anyway. They obviously don’t care one way or the other, but of course it’s going to be spun as if he’s being forced to pander. He’s freely choosing to pander because it’s what he does, whether it’s necessary or desirable or not. If he made a strong statement on religious freedom, the media would back him 100%, he wouldn’t lose any votes and most people wouldn’t care one bit.

        • that’s why I suspect this may not be about pandering at all, but about stirring up sympathy and reminding O’s sheep of all the mean people who want to see him fail.

          • Ah, an election season sympathy bid. That would completely fit his MO. It’s so damn frustrating because he’s the one Dem President who can count on an abject media no matter what and he does NOTHING good with it. Even as much of a loss as he is, there are small but important things he could do here or there, but even that’s too much for him.

      • WTV,

        the way things have been going, he HAS TO prove he’s not a “Moslem”.

        Honestly, if our political leaders would work on getting them jobs and healthcare and better standards of living, I think they would care a lot less.

        You’re wayyyy too rational on this. You just forget the relentless and vicious opposition, and these guys win some battle or they get a sizable chunk of the population to follow them on some totally crazy stuff.
        Ask Bill Clinton. He can write a whole library on this.

        • I don’t think it would happen overnight, but I do think in the long run, if like Bill, you work on good policy and good politics, that is what will win most people over.

          All the pandering in the world won’t change people’s fundamental biases toward O at this point.

          • I don’t think it would happen overnight, but I do think in the long run, if like Bill, you work on good policy and good politics, that is what will win most people over.

            Bill really started turning things around after 5-6 yrs. Remember where he was in his 1st 4 yrs. Even he has to pander with this church photo-op.
            Don’t forget that many people still believe the Clintons have a list of people they killed in addition to their “enemy list”.
            The RW war room is much more effective than you think.

          • mablue, I think you may have forgotten my previous postings about the RW machine. I’m not underestimating them at all. I just don’t think the strategy makes much sense here if the goal is to fight the RW machine’s canards about his background and religion. This doesn’t project strength, it projects more weakness. The RW machine will not settle down just because O publicly attends church once. So either there’s some other effect that the O machine wants here–as I suggested, a sympathy ploy–or they are again clueless on how to fight. Bill and Hillary didn’t have to do church photo ops after already making a big scene of saying this isn’t a Christian country. And, they didn’t fight the right by backing down.

            People talk a lot a lot of shit about how O needs to just do X or Y or Z compromise, but Obama’s biggest problem is he compromises everything away. Human nature honestly respects strength more. If O would just stand by religious freedom, it may be a rocky road but it would get him further in the long run. People would know there was something they couldn’t get him to back down on.

          • WTV,

            you’re right about everything you’re saying, in a rational world. We just don’t live in one.

            My whole point here is not even to defend Obama, in fact he makes it hard even for his most fervent supporters, I’m just trying to recognize that HE HAS TO fight these little “side wars” because his detractors are being effective, whether we like it or not. It’s just the world we live in.

            As you’ve noticed, you can say above some things: The number of people who believe Obama is a “Moslem” or “anti-American” is actually growing.

          • The Obama/Muslim poll was a month? 6 weeks? ago and even during the Park 51 hysteria it got no traction except among hardcore elements. Doing this now just brings it up again when no one cared and everyone had forgotten about it anyway. It doesn’t seem to make much sense.

      • I’m in moderation

    • I don’t know why, but I think he went to church for help. He really thinks he’s been successful and doesn’t understand why he’s not getting any credit. He’s drowning and lost as to what to do next. He went with a hope that “a light will shine down from somewhere” and he’d have an epiphany.

  29. Well, it is late and so I bid you all a G’night. 🙂

  30. From a couple of commenters over at hotair, for your pleasure:

    I don’t even think he’ll be the DEM nominee in 2012.

    Oink on September 19, 2010 at 9:42 PM

    Yes and that’s a scary scenario. At this point he’s pretty much unelectable. If someone, especially Hillary challenges him and wins all bets are off. Hillary can win against anyone we field. Not saying she will win just that she has a shot. That’s scary.

    Oldnuke on September 19, 2010 at 10:06 PM

  31. I prefer ninjas. 🙂

    In reality they weren’t like the common stereotypical images- 1) they didn’t wear black- too conspicuous
    But here’s the parts that I think are cool:
    2) they were educated semi-independent armed peasants
    3)They were led by a pretty democratic system of an elected council of the 50 most skilled ninjas who voted on the villages actions
    4) Women had a pretty egalitarian status at a time (14th-17th centuries) when even samurai women had become second class citizens, barred from the battlefield or leadership positions (something they could do up till the 14th century, when a second and stronger wave of Chinese Confucian philosophy reached Japan and began influencing most cultural economic groups- not reaching the peasantry until the 17th century though. )

    The first wave of Confucianism in the 700-800’s crushed the relative gender equality of the upper nobility, (Seven empresses ruled from the 600-700’s, and one other co-ruled with her husband. The last ruling Empress fought back against the Confucian influence, but after her death the male nobles created rules that made female rule nearly impossible- but two other women became ruling Empresses despite that, one in the 1600’s and one in the 1700’s. ) Due to the extreme class snobbishness of the aristocrats though, that had little influence on even the upper levels of the warrior class- a number of elite women samurai fought in the Taira and Minamoto clan war of 1180-1185, and one- Tomoe Gozen, is considered one of the seven greatest warriors of that time. Masako Hojo, in the early 1200’s became Japan’s only female Shogun. The shogun family dynasty took her family name, not her husband’s- Minamoto.

    • As far as I know, Japan is the only place where the Sun is a goddess, not a god.

      Amaterasu (or Amateratsu) is a Shinto Sun goddess; she is the mythical ancestress of the royal family of Japan. Her full name is Amaterasu-o-mi-kami(天照大神) and it means glorious goddess who shines in the heavens.

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