Sunday, April 25, 2010

Gaijin Go Home

The average citizen of Japan certainly does not want our military bases in their country. The average US citizen likely does not want to spend the money to maintain military bases in Japan. Maybe the Tea Partiers do, but they’re below average.

Nearly 100,000 demonstrators attended a rally on Okinawa Sunday to demonstrate against a US air base in a row that is dominating Japan's national politics and souring its ties with Washington.

Okinawan's are at the lowest rung of the ladder in Japan which is why their island has been cursed with the presence of our bases.

"Okinawa has suffered the overwhelmingly heavy burden of US bases since the end of the war" in 1945, he said. "Today, there are few traces of the war in Okinawa. But US bases still remain in front of us. This is so unfair."

Many of the islanders resent the heavy US military presence on Okinawa, a legacy of Japan's defeat in World War II, and complain of noise, pollution and friction with US soldiers.

Chalmers Johnson is required reading on our occupation of Okinawa. The long version is here. And a short version here.

It’s likely that if we don’t change our imperial ways soon the Japanese will be able to foreclose on our bases, at any rate.

The failure to begin to deal with our bloated military establishment and the profligate use of it in missions for which it is hopelessly inappropriate will, sooner rather than later, condemn the United States to a devastating trio of consequences: imperial overstretch, perpetual war, and insolvency, leading to a likely collapse similar to that of the former Soviet Union.

Shout out to the American Empire Project.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Althouse Says No to Piss Off a Muslim Day

It seems that maybe the female contingent are breaking away from the Borg continuum. First it was Debbie Schlussel telling us  all that Great American Sean Hannity screwed the troops over. And yes, I’m grateful for an excuse to remind everyone that Sean Hannity screwed the troops over.

And now Ann Althouse has broken with Reynolds and most of the rest of the right wing blogosphere:

I have endless contempt for the threats/warnings against various cartoonists who draw Muhammad (or a man in a bear suit who might be Muhammad, but is actually Santa Claus). But depictions of Muhammad offend millions of Muslims who are no part of the violent threats. In pushing back some people, you also hurt a lot of people who aren't doing anything (other than protecting their own interests by declining to pressure the extremists who are hurting the reputation of their religion).

Needless to say, most of her commenters are not so sensitive toward the feelings of the followers of any religion other than Christianity (and Judaism when it leads to killing Muslims).

Good on ya, Ann. Stand firm.

One More Conspiracy Theory

I would like to suggest the possibility that the Tea Party loons are really being backed by the White House. Upon reading Ambinder’s piece, which seems to be required posting, this occurred to me.

Can anyone deny that the most trenchant and effective criticism of President Obama today comes not from the right but from the left? Rachel Maddow's grilling of administration economic officials. Keith Olbermann's hectoring of Democratic leaders on the public option. Glenn Greenwald's criticisms of Elena Kagan. Ezra Klein and Jonathan Cohn's keepin'-them-honest perspectives on health care. The civil libertarian left on detainees and Gitmo. The Huffington Post on derivatives.

Can anyone deny that having crazies running around babbling about birth certificates, shouting Socialist at the drop of a hat and repeating whatever Glenn, Rush and Sean tell them isn’t distracting the left from holding Obama’s feet to the fire?

Maybe some of the proposed actions by the president are insane. I don’t know. But when the opposition is led by Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann and Victoria Jackson, who the hell would notice?

Rahm are you running the Tea Party program?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Thank You, Mr. President

The Tea Party folks aren’t going to do it, so I will. Thank you Barack Obama for cutting my taxes. I could afford to pay more, but who really wants to if they don’t have to. The Tea Party folks think they are paying more, but they are quite possibly cretin idiots.

"In all, we passed 25 different tax cuts last year. And one thing we haven't done is raise income taxes on families making less than $250,000 a year -- another promise that we kept," he told supporters at the Arsht Center for the Performing Arts. "So I've been a little amused over the last couple of days where people have been having these rallies about taxes. You would think they would be saying thank you."

The president argued that America is on the road to recovery and headed in the right direction -- something an overwhelming number of Tea Partiers disagree with.

The Tea Partiers don’t want to see us on the road to recovery. Fuck them and their willful ignorance.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Seeking a Fat, Boring, Albino Adulterer

The Republican Party having decided they hate everything about Barack Obama has gone in search of his antithesis.

Southern Republicans wrapped up a three-day meeting in New Orleans on Saturday unified in fervent opposition to President Barack Obama, but wide open at this early stage about whom they want to challenge him in 2012.

They have yet to find a candidate who combines all the qualities they feel will be needed to successfully challenge his Obamaship in 2012.

But they also readily volunteered objections to the same names: Gingrich has personal baggage, Palin's too inexperienced, Romney pushed Obama-like health care while governor of Massachusetts and Pawlenty lacks charisma.

If only they could find someone who combines the serial adultery of Gingrich with the tedium of Pawlenty and the pasty whiteness of Romney along with that deer in the headlights vacuousness of Sarah Palin.

I’m going to go out on a limb and give a big thumb up and Hometown boost to Haley Barbour. He’s white enough, he’s sleazy enough, he’s boring enough and with the endorsement of Gov. Bob McDonnell’s incredibly tone deaf proclamation: he’s proved he’s stupid enough to be the Republican nominee.

This is not Haley Barbour:

berry-halle-photo-halle-berry-6227594 Accept no imitations!


And yes, carrying the concept out, I realize they would be looking for a fat, boring, albino, adulterous, woman since Obama is a man. But, this is not a serious blog. Please see LGM, Balloon Juice, Duck of Minerva or elsewhere for serious discussions. It’s seat of the pants all the way here.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Happy Days Are Here Again…

Well we can hope anyway. And it’s hard to write that as I sit looking at the rain come down. Recessions make us pessimistic and always doubtful that the end will come. And of course are particularly hard on those who are out of work. But, they do end.

The American economy appears to be in a cyclical recovery that is gaining strength. Firms have begun to hire and consumer spending seems to be accelerating.

That is what usually happens after particularly sharp recessions, so it is surprising that many commentators, whether economists or politicians, seem to doubt that such a thing could possibly be happening.

If I had the time to waste I’d go over to AmPow and see how the polymath from Long Beach College is applying his great knowledge of economics to this to determine that it is bad news for Obama.

it is normal for recessions to make people pessimistic. “Go back and read what people were saying in 1982 or 1975,” said Robert Barbera, the chief economist of ITG. “Nobody was saying, ‘Deep recession, big recovery.’ It is quite normal to expect an abnormally weak recovery. It is also normal for that expectation to be wrong.”

I’m perfectly happy to hear the wingers keep saying we’re on the road to ruin. They can keep saying it right through the next few elections and look even more foolish.

In 1982, Democrats scoffed at a surging stock market and thought a severe recession would last for a very long time. They were confident that the economy would doom Ronald Reagan’s re-election campaign in 1984. All they had to do was make clear they offered a stark alternative to the failing policies of the incumbent

Change a few words (Reagan to Obama, Democrats to Republicans, 1984 to 2012) and you have an accurate description of the current political climate. Could the Republicans be as wrong now as the Democrats were then?

That’s the secret, get the recession out of the way early in your presidency. Dubya fucked up. He had one early and one at the end.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

But Can They See Russia From Their Porch?

President Hussein goes with the opinion of a couple of unseasoned rookies over the firsthand experience of a woman who has been on the front lines of the post-Cold War.

President Barack Obama on Thursday made clear he was not going to take advice from Republican Sarah Palin when it comes to decisions about the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

"What I would say to them is, is that if the secretary of defense and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff are comfortable with it, I'm probably going to take my advice from them and not from Sarah Palin."

Mmmm, authentic frontier gibberish!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Grand Old Party’s Over

Chris Currey writes today as another member of the GOP who no longer feels at home there. I’ve said before at this blog that I welcome a Republican Party that comes back to sanity and back to Conservative principles. May they soon shed the Neo-cons and the Cheney-ites and all the other Bush League players.

I know that without a strong opposition party, the Dems will soon become as stupid and venal as the GOP has. No good to try to have a yin without a yang.

I grew up with -– in fact voted for the first time for –- Eisenhower. In 1956, he ran a campaign of dignity. A campaign that acknowledged that there are certain projects better suited to be handled by the government. See, business thinks in the short term, as he said. That’s the imperative of the marketplace. I invest and I expect that in a few quarters, I garner the fruits of my investment. Government, on the other hand, has the luxury to wait a few years, maybe decades, for a return on a given investment. As a former businessman, I know that first hand. Am I a Marxist for thinking that?

Yes, I’m afraid that you are now an official DFH.

I did not like Medicaid and Medicare when they were passed. I was opposed to them. Maybe I was too young, too strong, and too ideologically confined. Yet, over the years, I saw how Medicare helped millions of elderly Americans. I saw how Medicare helped my mom in her final years battling emphysema caused by years of smoking. You have to be blind to oppose those programs. You have to be blind to wish for the suffering of millions of Americans just because you believe in personal responsibility.

This contains much of what I don’t understand about the opposition to, basically, all government by the right wing yahoos today. Are they just so confident that they will never need help? Are they confident that the government will always be there to give them that hand up despite their opposition? Medical bills are a very quick route to bankruptcy. Has there been a call on the right to bring back debtor’s prisons? Only a matter of time.

During the fight over the impeachment of President Clinton, the ugly face of the Republican Party was brought to the surface. Empty rhetoric, ideological intolerance, vengeance, and religious zealotry became the common currency. Suddenly, if you are pro-choice, you could not be a Republican. If you are for smart and sensible taxes to balance out the budget, you could not be a Republican. If you are pro-civil rights, you could not be a Republican.

It started with minorities: they left the party. Then women; they divorced the GOP and sent it to sleep on the couch. Then, the young folks; they left and are leaving the Republican Party in droves. Then, someone stood up and told my niece and my grandchild that they are not fully Americans — just second class Americans because they are homosexual.

Turn out the lights, the Party’s over:

We shrank it by kicking out those who believe that an $11 trillion economy, like ours, needs a strong government, not a government that can be drowned in a bathtub. We shrank it when we sanctified Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Glenn Beck, and canonized Sarah Palin. These are the leaders of my party nowadays. How did we go from William F. Buckley to Glenn Beck? How did we go from Eisenhower and Nixon to Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann? I do not know. What I do know, however, is that these leaders remind of me of the leaders of the Whig Party. And if they continue on their nonsense, they will bring the collapse of the GOP.

Not that he’s going to see it, but I want to wish Mr. Currey the best of luck in any and all efforts to bring sanity back to his party. It needs to be there as a counterbalance, not a laughingstock.