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Week In The News: Budget Deal, Mourning Mandela And An Execution In North Korea

A budget deal, an execution in North Korea and the world mourns Mandela. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., announce a tentative agreement between Republican and Democratic negotiators on a government spending plan, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013. (AP)

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., announce a tentative agreement between Republican and Democratic negotiators on a government spending plan, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013. (AP)

The sound we’ll remember from this week is probably the roar of that huge stadium full of mourners sending off Nelson Mandela.  Or the choir remembering the massacred children of Sandy Hook.  The news that turns our heads this week is sharp.  From North Korea, with an execution at the top.  From Syria, where the West’s non-jihadi opposition is in big trouble.  From Yemen, a wedding party taken out by a US drone.  We’ve got a budget deal in Congress, John Boehner growling at the Tea Party, Pope Francis as Person of the Year. This hour On Point: Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Nancy Cordes, Congressional correspondent for CBS News. (@nancycordes)

Michael Hirsh, chief correspondent for the National Journal. (@michaelphirsh)

Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst.

From Tom’s Reading List

National Journal: Behind the ‘Volcker Rule’: The Mutt-and-Jeff Team That Tackled Wall Street – “The Volcker Rule was, in fact, in grave danger of being loopholed to death right up until its adoption this week. And in the end it was largely one regulator, more than any other, stood firm against those efforts and managed to avert the worst of the watering down: Gary Gensler, the outgoing chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. As diminutive in stature as Volcker is towering, Gensler was the Jeff to Volcker’s Mutt, an essential part of a de facto team.”

Washington Post: Sebelius: Enrollment up with improving HealthCare.gov; review of problems launched — “The administration announced Wednesday that about 365,000 Americans chose health plans during the first two months of the federal and state insurance marketplaces, bringing the total to more than triple the meager enrollment from October. A report accompanying the announcement showed that the number of people who collectively signed up for coverage in the 14 states running their own insurance exchanges continued to outpace the total enrollment from the three dozen states relying on the federal marketplace.”

Reuters: U.S. schools look to guards, technology a year after Sandy Hook — “Schools are aiming to stop gun scares and killings, such as the shooting deaths of three students at an Ohio high school in February 2012, the wounding of two students at a California high school in January 2013 and a potential mass shooting at a Georgia elementary school in August that was averted when a school bookkeeper talked the gunman into laying down his AK-47 assault rifle. The number of school resource officers or law enforcement officers assigned to schools has risen to levels not seen since the aftermath of the 1999 Columbine High School ‘massacre’ in Colorado, in which 13 people were shot to death, said Maurice Canady, executive director of the National Association of School Resource Officers.”

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  • Michael

    It seems that the Ukrainian president does not know what to do with the massive demonstrations. Earlier this week riot police dismantled the barriers around the Maidan in Kyiv and attempted to scatter the protesters. The protesters stood their ground and the riot police eventually retreated.
    He seems more comfortable and successful with small scale raids. Several days ago police attacked the main opposition party’s offices. Men with machine guns broke in with a sledgehammer and took the internet servers of the political party.
    There is a massive pro-Yanukovych rally scheduled for Saturday and Sunday. We’ll see if this is a truly grass roots kind of a rally and if it proves to be a match for protesters on the Maidan.

  • Matt MC

    Thank God for the budget deal. Now, I can tune out the nonsense and elementary school b.s. for a few weeks. Don’t get me wrong, congress will still be acting like children, but since they can’t destroy the country I love with their foolishness, I don’t have to worry so much, and I’m a guy who loves politics. Look what you’ve done to me! I don’t care how many votes I have to throw away come next election, I’m voting third party!

    • Don_B1

      There is both good news and bad news in the “budget deal.”

      1) There won’t be that reason for a shutdown for two years creating the short-term break on the economy and harm to federal employees but the voters will not be graphically reminded of what the continuing budget cuts are doing to the economy, keeping it in a “slow-growth” mode that works to Republican advantage because the public is more easily convinced that the slow growth is the Democrats’ fault, although that is changing somewhat.

      2) The disaster that the cutting of federal employees’ wages for those hired after 1 January 2014, which will make those jobs harder to fill with qualified people, at least once the economy returns to strong growth. That will await Republican power in Congress and the Presidency, when Republicans will finally do exactly what President Obama has been proposing, except for more tax cutting, which will ensure that workers’ wages do not grow anywhere near as fast as the income of the rich. Thus economic inequality will grow even faster than it has been for the last twenty to thirty years.

      Then you have the radical anti-abortion bill just passed in the Michigan legislature under a petition loophole that allows it to become law without the signature of the state governor. The bill basically requires all women of Michigan to buy rape insurance if they think they might want an abortion if they became pregnant from a rape. Note that rape insurance is not even currently available anywhere. Welcome to the new Republican America.

  • Ed75

    The past two weeks Christians have been attacked in Congo like never before, they have fled for protection to the Churches and parishes. This is done by Muslims, throughout northern Africa, but not ordinary, decent Muslims, but the militant extremists. They are killing people in Nigeria, Malawi, Sudan (still), etc. Christians are the most persecuted religion across the world, but what can stop the Islamists?

    • John_in_Amherst

      Persecution of Christians makes the headlines in the US because it fits the narrative of FOX and the paranoid Right. War on Christians and the “war on Christmas” are stroked to death by the likes of Sara Palin and Bill O’Reilly.

      Just for the record, Christians are also staging attacks on Muslim communities in the Central African Republic, recently killing more than 500, and spurring French interdiction to stop the violence. And these attacks seem to be mostly mob violence, NOT the acts of extremists. In Europe, Only Austria, among European nations, registered a DECREASE in attacks on Muslims over the past 2 years. In Chechnya, Russia has been bombing and butchering Muslims by the thousands. In Myanmar, Buddhist monks (!?!) are attacking Muslims. There are similar episodes in Thailand. And least we forget, Hindus and Muslims have been at each others’ throats in India and Pakistan since partition, with tens of thousands dead.
      Religious persecution has little to do with religion and a lot to do with unscrupulous leaders using religion for political ends. Despicable on all sides.

      • Ed75

        There are attacks on both sides, no doubt, and all are bad. For a long time Christians and Muslims got along in Africa, but not now. I wanted to change the impression that Christianity is not a persecuted religion because today there are more martyrs across the world than even in the early centuries.

        • John_in_Amherst

          that’s not the way it sounded. And I reiterate: Religious persecution is a tool used by those seeking to dupe the masses for their own nefarious ends, and Christianity is hardly immune to this perversion.

  • alsordi

    The case of the missing Robert Levinson and the 800 lb GORILLA IN THE ROOM.

    These obligatory news stories that have surfaced on NPR and the the lockstep media about this case are an insult to intelligent people.

    They say that Levinson was rogue and not working for the CIA but on a mission for a GROUP OF FRIENDS who worked on the analyst side of the agency. So a group of friends sent Levinson on a dangerous mission to Iran ???????

    Rather how about this “GROUP OF FRIENDS” including Levinson are a nest of MOSSAD AGENTS (double agents), that has long infiltrated the CIA, NSA and the rest of the US security apparatus.

    Not one mention of Israel or Mossad in any of these news stories from the mainstream media.

    What is crazy here is that the CIA and the US Govt already is well aware of this infiltration and cannot do anything about it because of the coercive hold AIPAC and the other lobbies have on the US Congress, its courts and agencies. They couldnt do anything back in the 60′s when Israel attacked the USS Liberty and killed and wounded hundreds of US sailors.

    Therefore, what we see is Bob Levinson’s family get’s paid $2.5 million dollars for not having Bob for a few Thanksgiving dinners. While thousands of US military families, get a few thousand for loosing their loved one to death and maming while ironically fighting Israel’s wars.

    The USA has big problems… both internal and external.

    • Bill O’Brien

      Can you offer any particular reason for thinking that Levinson and others are Mossad agents? (Something more than his name).

      • alsordi

        Hey Billy, Maybe it wasn’t Israel, but perhaps was Iran’s arch enemy, the Guatemalan Government, that funded Mr. Levinson’s private mission to Iran. I didn’t catch it, but you may want to check for any Spanish surnames in Levinson’s “Group of Friends” for any revealing correlation.

  • OnPointComments

    LIE OF THE YEAR: ‘IF YOU LIKE YOUR HEALTH CARE PLAN, YOU CAN KEEP IT’
    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2013/dec/12/lie-year-if-you-like-your-health-care-plan-keep-it/

    “PolitiFact has named “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it,” the Lie of the Year for 2013. Readers in a separate online poll overwhelmingly agreed with the choice.”

    • Shag_Wevera

      What;s the goal of shouting this over and over? Impeachment? Legacy tarnishing?

    • MrNutso

      SInce all Presidents lie, is this a bigger lie than “I did not have sex with that woman”, or ” “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa”, or the Gulf of Tonkin, or “I am not a crook”, or “Read my lips, no new taxes”, or …..

      • OnPointComments

        The Golden Rationalization, or “Everybody does it”
        http://ethicsalarms.com/rule-book/unethical-rationalizations-and-misconceptions/

        “This rationalization has been used to excuse ethical misconduct since the beginning of civilization. It is based on the flawed assumption that the ethical nature of an act is somehow improved by the number of people who do it, and if “everybody does it,” then it is implicitly all right for you to do it as well…

        “Since most people will admit that principles of right and wrong are not determined by polls, those who try to use this fallacy are really admitting misconduct. The simple answer to them is that even assuming they are correct, when more people engage in an action that is admittedly unethical, more harm results. An individual is still responsible for his or her part of the harm.

        “If someone really is making the argument that an action is no longer unethical because so many people do it, then that person is either in dire need of ethical instruction, or an idiot.”

        • MrNutso

          I’m not rationalizing it. I’m asking which lie is the bigger lie. Which lie had a greater impact on our nation?

          • Enuff_of_this

            I’m torn between “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa” and “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it,” but I am leaning more towards the healthcare lie because it has a bigger personal financial impact on me

          • Don_B1

            Why is that the PPACA has a bigger impact on your life?

            1) Are you not covered by your employer?
            2) Have you not been able to get on the exchange for your state? (Is it state run or the federal substitute?)
            3) Is the best policy available more expensive and by how much (percentage) over your policy this year?

            Do you really have any idea of how big an impact on your life the war with Iraq has had, and will have, on your life?

          • Enuff_of_this

            PPACA is cash money right out of my pocket that I will be unable to save or use for any other purpose that I choose. My so-called “junk policy” took care of everything I needed it to and was affordable. This is being treated as a one size fits all where benefits are concerned. The only thing I know of where one size fits all is the depth of a grave. The iraq war had a much smaller impact on me than the vietnam war did. The PCACA, iraq and vietnam were conceived of, executed by way of and justified with lies. Now, just like back then, people are taking it hook, line and sinker.

          • StilllHere

            Sorry, you’re not smart enough to do anything. Don’t worry, the government is here to help you.

          • Enuff_of_this

            It’s not government’s job to take care of me or anyone else. If you aren’t smart enough to do what’s right for you and be responsible for yourself, then you are owed nothing more than the right to reap what you have sown.

          • Don_B1

            Unless you are a billionaire, there are health problems that even you cannot pay for.

            It is a truth that the radical right does not want to acknowledge, but 80% of the health care costs occur due to problems that about 20% of the citizens incur. There is no way that all the 20% with huge health problems can pay for the required treatment. And it is unknowable to the individual before they occur whether they will occur.

            That is what makes health care a different market than just about all other “goods and services” that individuals “purchase.”

          • Enuff_of_this

            That’s a crock. If I smoke and develop lung cancer it is not governments job to see that i get treatment and recover because I brought it on myself. Cirrhosis, aids, any number of lifestyle based diseases are also rolls of the dice.

          • Don_B1

            Tell the people who develop Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s or Creutzfeld-Jacob Disease that they should just shell out the money they could not possibly have saved or buck up and die an unpleasant death, leaving families indigent and children without the ability to take advantage of the opportunities that you probably were able to make use of.

            Sure there are lifestyle diseases but some are caused by contaminants/pollution that leave the recipient with cancer and other hormone diseases that can be extremely expensive to treat.

            Even many lifestyle diseases are put in motion when the child is too young to understand what a healthy diet is, and/or the parents are too poor to be able to afford better food. Do you really think punishing the child for the “crimes” of the parent are morally just?

            Did you really think that your callous response would pass muster?

          • Don_B1

            Did you ever need to make a claim against it?

            If you are earning enough that you are affected by the “tax on the wealthy” part of the PPACA, then I don’t have much sympathy for your position.

            But otherwise, the PPACA is a better way to fund the care of those who do not earn enough to buy their own policy (at least in the past) and used the Emergency Room for all their healthcare needs. That was funded through Medicare payments to hospitals and through the often outrageous prices that hospitals charged for their “services.”

            And beyond that, as Nelson Mandela is reported to have said “service to others is the price of occupying space on the planet.” I do not claim to have the exact words, but that is close. Ensuring others can have necessary health care on a timely basis should be the price of doing well in this world.

      • John_in_Amherst

        It was especially rich to hear Cheney railing on about how the worst part of Obama’s misstatement was the “they knew they were lying”. Then again, he should know ….

    • AF_Whigs

      Actually, I’d say the “lie of the year” would be all the wasted time and money and the constant negative spin the Right has spent fighting the ACA.

      It’s a law that’s been passed and they should move on. If they had some useful, helpful suggestions to improve things, that would be fine. But the only agenda is to defund it. It’s complete nonsense.

      • Don_B1

        Confirmation of your statement can be found here:

        http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/chart-who-gets-obamacare

        The negative effect that Republican opposition has had on increasing enrollment in PPACA health care insurance is shown with the variation in rates of enrollment between states with Democratic Party governors and states with Republican Party governors.

        The harm the Republican opposition is creating vastly exceeds the harm of the faulty rollout of the Federal website.

        • brettearle

          Don,

          Unfortunately, when you, or I, trot out MSNBC, as a source, the Right tunes it out–just as we do TheBlaze.com or FOX.

          [And....I appreciate your support of my comments.]

          • Don_B1

            I understand that, but the data is directly from the Department of Health and Human Services. I just did not have time to navigate the website for the original data.

            And while I recognize the anathema with which the radical right views MSNABC, I do think that while it does present the liberal/progressive view, it is in no way equivalently willing to make up facts to support their claims. It is that fact that really riles the radical right because they have to make up so much when they feel they have to attack MSNBC for making facts known that harm their fantasy world views.

          • Don_B1

            And I am not convinced that the radical Tea/Republican supporter trolls on this website have any more respect for any other “progressive” source, such as Paul Krugman, an OpEd columnist for The New York Times, or any other source.

            It is the reason the radical right has spent the last 30 or more years repeating claims of “liberal bias” for all the major organs of the Main Stream Media, most of which are far from having or showing a “liberal bias,” in any way except for some points of view expressed on the Opinion Pages, where that belongs and is expected.

          • brettearle

            The thing that gets to me is how NYT, in its reports, are, often critical of the Obama Administration.

            ….not by OpEd, necessarily [although we can see opposing views there, certainly]. But rather by simply doing journalistic work, in articles, that clearly sheds negative light on the Administration and how it has screwed up.

          • brettearle

            Thanks for your explanation.

            I’m glad you told me about Hayes’s fairness. I don’t know Kornachi’s work.

            The problem is that the Right only tunes into the veiled insults or open put-downs–some of which you can hear, sometimes, on Matthews and O’Donnell.

            [Don't know if O'Donnell's still there or not....]

          • Don_B1

            Chris Matthews is certainly overbearing, and more than irritating in the way he repeats his questions just as the guest is beginning an answer. It is incredibly frustrating, though he sometimes makes valid points. But the work to listen and avoid the overblown rhetoric is distasteful.

            Steve Kornacki tends to give interesting background introductions to the issues he is about to discuss with his guests (usually four, at least one conservative for most issues). He is on Saturday and Sunday mornings from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.

            And he has a “quiz show” with guests on various political events of the week, which I am trying to decide if I like, but it only lasts about 15 minutes, so I can put up with it and it is occasionally quite funny.

    • brettearle

      A Lie clearly implies direct and willful Intent.

      For you, or anyone else, to believe that the President would intentionally Lie–over and over again–before the American Public and the World–in a manner so blatant and in a matter so essential to his Presidency–is about as rational as believing that Bin Laden was an American Hero.

      • OnPointComments

        As I said before: Why would they all collectively lie? The 2012 election seems like a good reason to me. Imagine if the President had campaigned saying “Many of you will lose the health plans you have, and also your doctors. The numbers could be in the tens of millions. But it’s all for the greater good.” Imagine the debates, with Mitt Romney saying “If I’m elected, on day one I’ll do away with Obamacare,” and Barack Obama responding “You’ll lose your health plan and your doctor, but more people will have insurance.” Do you think it would have had an effect? I do. The President said “You can keep your health plan, you can keep your doctor” over and over again, and nobody knew differently until the election was over.

        • brettearle

          Conspiracy Theory after Conspiracy Theory.

      • HonestDebate1

        Yes, you are absolutely correct and as I have said if you believe there was no willful intent to deceive then yours is a principled position. I believe he certainly intended to lie which is also a principled position… it just has more evidence to support it.

        And that’s the rub Brettearle, why shouldn’t I call out what I believe to be lies?

        • brettearle

          Of course, you should call it out.

          But it is at your own peril.

          I would argue–and maybe we can look this up–that David Brooks and David Gergen, and maybe even Rich Lowry, do not believe in this emotionally primitive theory.

          Have you checked the WSJ?

          My guess is you HAVE.

          And the reason why you haven’t trotted out the WSJ’s position on this matter is, very likely, that they do not necessarily believe–or at least fully believe–that the President willfully Lied.

          • HonestDebate1

            I have not seen it. If you want to link it I’ll read it and give you the courtesy of a reply. I don’t know what you mean by emotionally primitive theory. Calling out lies?

            But I don’t form my opinions that way. I am well aware some on both sides are saying he did not lie in this specific instance. And there are others like Bill Maher who say he did lie. I’ll side with the despicable Bill Maher on this one.

          • brettearle

            Maher doesn’t always believe what he says.

            Is my own belief about him.

            We WOULD have heard about the WSJ’s belief in the President’s Lies, by now.

            AND WE HAVEN’T.

          • HonestDebate1
          • Don_B1

            From what I can read before the article fades behind the WSJ paywall, when the question arose, the WH advisors felt that the President’s assertion was fair (which I take as reflecting what the law provided). I cannot read enough to see what qualifiers they might or might not have attached to that decision or whether they discussed the decision with the President.

            From that, it is on really flimsy grounds that anyone asserts, as you do, that President Obama knew he was lying.

            And as I posted elsewhere, what the President was promising was that “If you lose your health plan [and that was a common occurrence in the Individual Coverage market] you will be able to get a new one” at an affordable cost.

          • HonestDebate1

            So are you sticking with incompetence and apathy?

          • Don_B1

            It was an embarrassing and highly unfortunate misjudgement, nowhere near incompentance and certainly not apathy.

          • HonestDebate1

            He didn’t meet with Sebelius in 3 years! How is that not apathy?

      • Fiscally_Responsible

        Reports were being issued months before the rollout (and even before the bill was passed) warning the White House that this would occur. It was either incompetence in terms of the message not getting to those who spoke on behalf of the administration (including the POTUS), incompetence on behalf of those in the administration who were overseeing this project, and/or it was a flat out lie. Perhaps we should have a congressional investigation to look into the reports that consultants/IT companies were issuing, what and how got communicated…in other words what did Obama/Sebelius know and when did they know it? That is, if we really want to know the truth rather than simply sweep it under the rug.

        • brettearle

          This point of view, above, I support
          more than the Politically Biased Lie Theory.

          However, what I find (as usual) disheartening about such Right Wing mentality is that we ALWAYS–BUT ALWAYS–have to call for yet ANOTHER Official Investigation….so that we can NAIL the President, no matter what he does or says.

          If the Democrats were to have investigated Bush II for every potential infraction, the 2008 Elections would have been held up on Delay–because there would have been too many civil servants scampering around the halls of the Legislature with paper work and bureaucratic red tape.

          All of you–and including `us Lefties’, sometimes–are victims of 24/7 Media microscopic scrutiny of every thing the Commander-in-Chief does and says.

          I would argue that Presidents have likely been screwing up for centuries.

        • OnPointComments

          As has been said before, it’s pointless to discuss the motivation behind a lie when the administration enthusiastically embraces incompetence and ignorance as its excuse.

    • Don_B1

      The Republican obsession on this issue will redound to their further loss in esteem of the public and not to their benefit:

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/12/07/obamacares-real-promise-if-you-lose-your-health-care-plan-you-can-get-a-new-one/

      • OnPointComments

        In this instance, the Tampa Bay Times, generally described as a liberal newspaper, published its Lie Of The Year yesterday, so I guess it’s liberals who are obsessed.

        • Fiscally_Responsible

          To OnPointComments,

          You are missing the point when liberals lie, they are doing it for what they know to be our greater good and so it is perfectly fine…in fact it is commendable!

          • OnPointComments

            It’s what I dislike most about liberals: their unmitigated, unbridled arrogance and their contempt for the American people. Liberals’ latest continuing example is the ACA: they tell us time and time again that, although they don’t know anything at all about a specific family’s healthcare situation, liberals know best about the coverage each and every family should have. They tell us if a person bought their own health insurance policy, they were just too stupid to realize that it wasn’t the appropriate plan for them. Liberals are certain they know what is best for you, and their certainty is born from hubris.

      • Fiscally_Responsible

        Given the large role that health care plays in our economy and the extensive impact that this bill will have in terms of insurance costs, dropped plans, etc., we should be obsessed with getting it right. The Democrats were obsessed…with simply getting something passed that “we needed to pass so that we would know what was in it”.

        • northeaster17

          “The Democrats were obsessed…with simply getting something passed”…..While the Repubs were obsessed with doing nothing at all to work on the problem that is Americas health care system. It sure is funny that before the ACA the Repub’s offered almost nothing in terms of fixing that system. Until something was passed with little or no constuctive leadership from them. Suddenly they are experts while still offering no solutions. That’s why they lost and will continue to lose..

        • Don_B1

          When an industry that generates about 1/6 of the country’s GDP has a large segment where companies took advantage of insurees to the extent that somewhere between 40% and 50% (and some claim a higher percentage) of bankruptcies were from huge medical debts of patients either without insurance or with insurance for which the coverage was denied.

          This is much more than a problem of a few individuals; it is a problem that costs businesses in selling their goods and services and taxpayers in covering those unpaid bills.

          THAT was the reason that liberals worked long and hard, attempting to gain support from all quarters, for a way to regulate that industry (note the industry is still in the private sector, except for Medicare and Medicaid) to prevent this outrage of insurance companies selling insurance and then working their hardest to deny the coverage that they supposedly sold.

          Anyone who goes back and listens to the whole Q&A with Speaker Pelosi will understand that she was referring to the give-and-take in getting the final provisions of the bill so that enough legislators would vote to pass the bill. It was not about the big provisions but how the details, which can be important in how the law will be applied, would be written, and thus critical to certain aspects of the law and prevented the Speaker from being definitive on some aspects of the law she was being asked about.

  • HonestDebate1
    • JGC

      From which administration? This looks like it got its wheels in the GWBush administration, and the Obama administration is continuing with its postBush clean-up in aisle 3.

      • HonestDebate1

        I am talking about the lie not the espionage. I’m not smart enough to to understand the geo-politics of these things. I just don’t like the lies.

        • Don_B1

          Anything to drag the slime from someone else to President Obama’s door, where it does NOT belong, but where it can serve the radical right’s agenda.

          • HonestDebate1

            Why do you defend Obama so? What has he done?

          • Don_B1

            I would defend anyone being attacked without basis the way you are trying to impugn some offense to President Obama without any basis in fact.

            But that is your main modus operandi here and probably elsewhere.

          • HonestDebate1

            But see Don, that’s not true. I always have a basis in fact and express it. You don’t have to agree. I have no reason to gratuitously attack anyone. It doesn’t make me happy to criticize our President.

          • Don_B1

            You gratuitously attack President Obama in every blog you post on. And you had to stretch beyond any reasonable limit to attack President Obama in the way you did here.

    • Don_B1

      It is clear that the Republican radical right is engaging in a “Gish-Gallop” attack on the President and Democrats by throwing made-up charges at a rate that they cannot be debunked before getting widespread attention among those who have no time or inclination to check them out before accepting them as likely true, when they are not.

      It is a sign of the desperation they are feeling as they try to get out from under all the wreckage their policies since 1980 have caused, in particular the Great Recession of 2007-2009 and the financial crisis of 2008.

  • John_in_Amherst

    Calling all GOP trolls! It’s the weekly bash Obama fest! Submit your comments early and keep the vitriol flowing!

    http://netforbeginners.about.com/od/weirdwebculture/f/what-is-an-internet-troll.htm

  • JGC

    I was in our local WalMart last evening so my son could get a cheap, humorous gift for the family Christmas exchange. I saw towers of stacked white bins in the aisle, streaked with dirt and stamped with this helpful information on the side:

    RETURN WITH PRIDE TO WAL*MART LOGISTICS.
    THIS BOX COST WAL*MART $5.80.
    NOT FOR CONSUMER USE.

    WalMart hits a double here – for the use of public shaming techniques on their understaffed, underpaid employees, while at the same time managing to annoy their clientele with unappealing clutter and the insinuation we covet their damn dirty bins!

    Merry Christmas to you, too, Benton Arkansas WalMart headquarters.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      What’s that sound I hear? The world’s smallest violin playing in the background.

      • JGC

        Thanks for that. By the way, my husband is in the Boston area today at an interview. Any more room for a few more liberals down your way? Howdee, neighbor!

    • keltcrusader

      Just another in the long list of reasons not to shop at that hell hole.

    • hennorama

      JGC — the message on the bins certainly seems directed at WM employees, many of whom are involved in the finances of their local operation via their quarterly bonus calculations.

      The implied message is:

      DO NOT STEAL, DESTROY OR DISCARD THIS BIN.
      IT COSTS WALMART, AND YOU INDIRECTLY, $5.80 TO REPLACE.
      AND DON’T GIVE IT TO CUSTOMERS EITHER.

      Hippo holly daze.

    • TFRX

      Did you at least remember to put a new, unwrapped toy in the bin for a poor child (whose parent works at WalMart)?

      • hennorama

        TFRX — hahahaha and OUCH!

      • OnPointComments

        Can I specify that the toy I put in the bin go to the unpaid interns working for President Obama’s “Organizing for Action” PAC?

        • Don_B1

          I am sure you can, but don’t count on Walmart to deliver it there.

      • JGC

        I am ashamed to say “no” to that. New toys are a luxury. I prefer to follow the example of my “Club for Growth” PA Senator Pat Toomey and only put nutritional sustenance (like PopTarts and Heinz ketchup) in the donor boxes.

    • StilllHere

      Wal-Marts margins are razor-thin, shrinkage cuts into that directly. Shouldn’t you libbies be shopping small. Lead by example.

      • northeaster17

        I feel their pain.

      • keltcrusader

        Are you kidding?? I work for a company that sells to WM. Their profit margin is over 75-80% on the items we sell to them and they have screwed us over plenty of times by ordering stuff and then reneging or reducing their order after the goods are made. Razor-thin my a$$, unless you are talking about the size of your brain? yes??

        • StilllHere

          Wow, that’s a lot of hatred, you should see someone about that you clearly have significant issues. Wal-Mart is a public company and you can review their audited financials and note for yourself how thin their margins are. My guess is your a$$ is far from razor thin, especially with your head so far up it.

          • keltcrusader

            I only have issues with dolts like you who can’t think for themselves and have to be told how and when to think by others. My behind is quite small, as a matter of fact, but unfortunately, your head is much too large for the little amount of matter that is contained within it. So sorry, it must be lonely in there with no friends. Good day to you, stillaloser.

  • Expanded_Consciousness

    Ugh…stop playing the “Are you kidding me?!!” sound meme. You are getting into Rush Limbaugh/Fox News territory. Keep the analysis at a high level. Don’t dumb it down into entertainment.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    Time for baseline budgeting. It should happen at least every 10 years. Otherwise government only grows. Priorities change. And we still have a huge deficit and debt. When does the budget balance? When does the debt start to be paid down?

    • William

      Do you think the Conservative base will come out for 2014 elections?

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        I don’t know. If they don’t then they are stupid.

        While I agree that Boehner’s attacks against the Tea Party were stupid, some of the attacks of the ‘Tea Party’ groups were equally stupid. Did they want a shut down? Did they want another continuing resolution?

        Both sides of the GOP would be better served if they targeted most of their attacks on the group that is blocking reforms and cuts — the Democrats.

        • MrNutso

          No I think you mean they need to looking the mirror to see who is harming americans.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            If you don’t believe the debt is harming the country you are very naive.

          • MrNutso

            I didn’t say that. All you are offering is cuts. Democrats are willing to discuss cuts and revenue increases, Republicans are not.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            I started this post with a suggestion for baseline budgeting. Priorities change. We need reforms. Some programs should go up in spending. Some programs should be eliminated completely.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Also, notice that the sequester wasn’t as painful as predicted. If you have a normal planning cycle then across the board 10% cuts can be used to ferret out waste and bloat. You continue this cutting until the pain is too much and then adjust — otherwise government just grows and grows.

          • John_in_Amherst

            we are 1 year into the sequester, and the worst is yet to come

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            The sequester was just undone with the budget deal.

          • John_in_Amherst

            wrong

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Sorry but the spending over the next two years is $65B more than agreed to by the sequester deal. I am not wrong.

            What is more important in this ‘deal’ — immediate spending or proposed future spending?

            We’ve been to this rodeo before. Future planned spending cuts always evaporate and turn into increases.

          • MrNutso

            As do “temporary” tax cuts.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            I don’t know about that. The SSI temporary cut was temporary. It is usually that tax increases or bridge tolls are ‘temporary’ but then become permanent.

          • John_in_Amherst

            no, you are wrong the budget deal leaves the sequester cuts in place, with all its innate stupidity.

            “While there is a lot that is not in the House-approved budget deal crafted by Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), it does take most of the sting out of “the sequester”
            — the automatic, across-the-board spending cuts aimed at trimming the
            deficit. The second round of those is supposed to kick in next month.”
            see: http://www.marketplace.org/topics/economy/6-degrees-sequestration/budget-deal-doesnt-solve-one-big-thing-sequester

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Seems like you are playing with semantics.

            If pictures help you there is a nice chart that shows the sequester vs. the new budget deal.

            http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/366034/some-thoughts-budget-deal-yuval-levin

        • William

          I would think 10-20 percent will stay home and just say “why bother, I don’t need the IRS in my business and the GOP does not want us”.

      • HonestDebate1

        We have Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and even Chris Matthews praising John Boehner. That’s not really inspiring me to side with the establishment.

        • William

          I would think those 3 people just respect the old way of doing business and endorse people that like those ways.

          • HonestDebate1

            That’s my point. The Conservative base will not come out if Republicans keep going down the same path, the old way… the Pelosi, Reid, Boehner way.

          • William

            Very possible. I think a lot of people will run “gun shy” after Obama used the IRS, against Conservative groups. I can’t blame anyone now for not wanting to get involved with Conservative groups which is a sad state of affairs in our country.

          • jimino

            Yes, the right wing really is made up of a bunch of cowards who tremble at the prospect of actually having to identify themselves when they exercise their 1st Amendment rights.

  • AF_Whigs

    I’ve always felt this way, but what has been reinforced for me in the last 2-3 weeks is that with mass shootings the media needs to STOP publicizing the names of the shooters. Sandy Hook was terrible tragedy, as these shootings all are, but we should be hearing the names of the victims, if anything, not the name of the shooter, because that’s what they want, notoriety.

    The other thing is, I know we search for a motive after these things, we want to make sense of it. But there is no “motive” for a troubled young man to kill children. There is no sense to be made. These are not the actions of a sane person.

    Which leads to point three. As a nation we can’t come together to even intelligently discuss restricting access to guns for those with mental issues, or limiting access to large magazines and other things that so often contribute to these shootings, but otherwise provide little, if any, benefit to society – other than the argument that the gun owners “have the right” to have those things.

    The NRA should be ashamed of itself. No one – NO ONE – is talking about taking guns away. But this country seriously needs some thoughtful discussion on gun control without the nonsense and political vitriol, and without the bullying input of the gun lobby.

    How many more innocents need to die before we grow up and decide that we can at least DISCUSS some of these things?

    • OnPointComments

      Gun-Control Dishonesty
      http://www.nationalreview.com/article/366226/gun-control-dishonesty-charles-c-w-cooke

      Excerpt:
      Earlier in the year, as the gun-control movement tried clumsily to transform an abomination into a cudgel, the Washington Post’s Kathleen Parker distilled its problem into a single sentence. “Nothing proposed in the gun-control debates would have prevented the mass killing of children at Sandy Hook Elementary School,” Parker contended plainly, “and everybody knows it.”

  • Jo Bleaux

    I’ve been struggling for a year to find work for more than a year, after three decades of supporting myself comfortably. In the past couple of months, I’ve finally found freelance work, but I often don’t get enough hours to earn more than my $247/week unemployment award. Now that that’s gone, I’m starting to consider selling my house, even though I have very little equity (at least I’m not underwater!). Mine is just one story — millions of Americans are feeling the pain of the mean-spirited cruelty of conservative policy (In the year since I was laid off, though, the personal value of my former employer went up by $1 BILLION).

    • HonestDebate1

      Your outrage is misplaced. Obama owns this horrible economy and all the pain it is causing. Good luck.

      • John_in_Amherst

        Obama has been in charge of fixing it, and has gotten no help from the GOP on this or any other problem, as the party decided immediately after the election in 2008, it’s future rested on seeing Obama fail. And what better way than to hang a bad economic performance around his neck? Obama saved the auto industry, and just in the past month or so has the housing market worked through the backlog of foreclosures left by the crash of the bubble beginning in 2005. Oh and then there was a couple trillion in war debts, incurred by Bush II’s lies and bungling in Iraq and Afghanistan, which he and the GOP decided to fight off-budget while cutting taxes for the wealthy and telling everyone else to go shopping. And this list could go on and on….

        • HonestDebate1

          And he has not fixed it. It’s not getting better in any significant way and the shoes keep dropping.

          He did not save the auto industry. We lost billions on GM who went bankrupt anyway and now can’t sell the Volt. And their problems have not been fundamentally addressed so they are no better off. There was never any danger of GM closing the doors and millions losing jobs because of it. It was all rhetoric. And to the extent Obama saved GM (if you insist) they closed many plants, moved many plants overseas, laid off thousands and thousands of employees and still went bankrupt. It’s hardly a success story. We would have been much better off by leaving it alone and so would have been GM. They got a government installed CEO, pensions they can’t pay and electric cars nobody wants even after the taxer chips in $7500 for each one sold.

          Do you give GWB credit for saving the entire auto industry? It was his stupid idea.

          In 2007 after 4 years of raging wars and tax cuts the deficit was $151 billion and revenue coming in was at the highest level it’s ever been to this day. The war was paid for. The rich paid more and the poor paid less after the tax cuts.

          Obama inherited a tough economy. There was the banking crisis which was ugly. That debate has become an incoherent blame game too. But it didn’t have to be like this, it should have been a blip. Obama’s own prediction after we gave it to him of the unemployment rate that would result if we didn’t give him his “stimulus” was eclipsed after we gave it to him.

          IMHO to continue making excuses and blaming Bush with the same old tired talking points is becoming a bizarre alternate reality. Obama owns this lock, stock and barrel.

          • John_in_Amherst

            wish I had time to correct all your inaccuracies and down right incorrect assertions. The economy is loking better, much to the GOP’s dismay. Bush did NOT pay for the war. General Motors is now profitable, and the tax payers made out.(http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/news-by-company/corporate-trends/dan-akerson-the-ceo-who-took-gm-from-the-wake-of-bankruptcy-to-profitability/articleshow/27251815.cms) Bush did not pay for the war, and the legacy of debt from it will continue for decades as vets age and need more medical care. etc. etc.

          • HonestDebate1

            You are a very incorrect talking point machine. I stand by everything I wrote. Prove me wrong. Where are my factual errors? Take all the time you need. And that goes for the rest of you too.

          • John_in_Amherst

            I am not. I do, too. You prove me wrong. Life is short and I have better things to do than respond in depth to you and the rest of you too.

          • HonestDebate1

            Alrighty then.

        • Labropotes

          John, I agree completely that there was an absurd debt run-up under Bush, and I believe that most of the debt accumulated under Obama has been the result of unstoppable momentum: entitlements, ongoing wars, a worldwide empire and diplomatic dependents, and an economic collapse signed sealed and delivered by the “go shopping” president and his lackey ignoramus corrupt congress, and us.

          Yet, I expected Obama to shun war and to be a good administrator. He has not and he is not. He’s response to his own failures is to tell us they are not failures.

          During his tenure, the US at every level has continued to run up debt. We have simply papered over the structural problems in the economy. If interest rates go up — and they can’t stay near zero forever — there are going to be bankruptcies of individuals, corporations and governments, including Obama’s and ours. It will be much worse than 2008 because there is much more debt.

          If you are an academic living in Amherst, surrounded by a kind of elite — that’s cool — you may have the impression the economy is on the mend. But, for example, two thirds of S&P 500 earnings growth from 1/1/09 to 7/1/12 was the result of stock buybacks, purchased with money borrowed at close to no interest. The rise in asset prices has accrued to the top 10%, while reducing the value of the savings of those in the lower 90%. Inequality is melting up from already high levels because of the fed.

          The housing recovery is minted by the fed. They are the ones buying the mortgage backed “securities” from the federal mortgage backstop factories. They buy 85 billion in assets every month with money they invoke into existence. The securitized mortgages are not even marked to market — the fed pays whatever the banks models say they are worth, not what they could get on an open market. The fed now owns about a third of all outstanding treasuries. Hmm. Increasing at about 1 percentage point every three weeks, they may soon own them all. This is what is keeping our shrinking productive economy looking like it is not already dead.

          Last, the cost of the ACA may be the proverbial straw. Not that we weren’t already spending as much or more, but it feels so much easier when you can print, borrow, or steal the dollars.

          • John_in_Amherst

            I am not an academic. You are correct that the economy is insulated by the “five colleges” in the area. Housing fell slightly in value, but has rebounded some in the last 2 years. And you have to love a town that went for Obama over McCain 11 to 1.

            I have been disappointed in Obama, as well, but more with regard to his coming to late to the realization that the GOP was never going to compromise on ANYTHING. He should have come out swinging in 2008 instead of trying to be “bipartisan” in his approach. Slow learner. Oh, and then there is the environment, the total lack of reform and prosecutions on Wall Street and in Big Banks, campaign finance reform, and being slow on closing Gitmo and getting out of south Asia. I do give him credit for keeping US troops out of Libya and Syria (so far…) – there is a lot of pressure. He has expanded drone use, throughout Africa and South Asia, and there have been innocents killed as a result, which is deplorable, but the alternatives are not great, and would almost certainly cost more in US dollars and lives on all sides. Fundamentalists who are blowing themselves up for “the cause” are not amenable to persuasion, and there are too many leaders among them who would like nothing more than to bleed us dry literally as well as figuratively.

            The housing market is screwed up, and as housing stock is seen more and more as an investment potential, more and more families will become renters as houses are acquired by corporate landlords. Can prima nocta be far behind?

            I have often thought that if the recession had been just a bit worse, there would have been enough will to enable real political and social change. I am slightly less pessimistic than you about the ultimate outcome of the economy. Especially as regards the roll of the ACA. NOT that that wasn’t a huge cock-up…. I think the ACA will limp along for a few years, until enough people conclude it should be replaced with an expansion of medicare to cover everyone. But People are going to get treated for the serious, expensive stuff regardless of whether they are insured, and if they aren’t insured, they wait until they are in crisis and then haul out to the ER, and/or need more extreme care than if they had been able to go for check-ups and office visits. Hopefully the ACA will force more transparency into the insurance and medical industries, and give the government leverage.

            For more depressing thoughts on our future, check: http://billmoyers.com/segment/mark-leibovich-on-glitz-and-greed-in-washington/ depressed

            The culture of power in DC is horribly corrosive, and it leads to bad behavior regardless of party affiliation. I console myself by thinking how I’d feel with McCain or Romney in charge.

          • Don_B1

            Nothing is more telling of President Obama’s core centrism than his following is self-characterization as “persistent.” [He gave the example of his courtship of Michelle.]

            He did get played by the Generals on the “surge in Afghanistan” when they leaked their views to the press, resulting his “having to agree” to avoid an outright political war near the start of his term.

            His attempts to steer the country away from the over-reliance on military force and bullying diplomacy of the previous Republican administrations have resulted in some awkward negotiations but the results have not been that bad.

            As for the PPACA, the adamant scorched-earth opposition of the Republicans is likely to come back to haunt them when the website imbroglio ends and the voters learn how the Republican efforts to defeat the law has prevented many uninsured from getting insurance that would have made their lives less unbearable.

            The success of the PPACA will likely be dependent on how well the collection of health care data leads to better payment schedules and better delivery of services for less money than today’s projections indicate.

            And there is a path to single payer, through a legislative change allowing public options in each exchange, which if they work as most, particularly the health insurance industry, think, they will become much cheaper that the policies offered by the insurance companies thus becoming, in effect, single payers.

    • StilllHere

      What does conservative policy have to do with an entrepreneur’s stock portfolio?

      I’d suggest avoiding the mental cost of envy and focus on yourself. Good luck!

    • hennorama

      Jo Bleaux – thank you for being unafraid to share your story.

      Similar circumstances presented themselves in my past (although not the painful decision as to whether or not to sell my home due to personal economic circumstances), so I empathize deeply with your plight.

      You have no doubt heard all of the following before, but that doesn’t make it any less relevant:

      Hang in there.

      Do an honest assessment of your finances, and your options.

      Share your story honestly with your family and friends, if you haven’t already. This allows all the parties to adjust their expectations, and clears the air.

      Don’t neglect your health and fitness. You can’t help anyone, especially yourself, if you’re sick.

      As the flight attendants tell us, “put your own mask on first,” financially speaking.

      Keep looking for other outlets for your talents, paid or not.

      Don’t be reluctant to share your experiences with as many people as possible, as you never know how the next opportunity may arise. For example, a significant turning point during my struggles came about from a conversation I had while waiting for a bus on the way to yet another job interview.

      Best regards, and good luck.

    • Enuff_of_this

      “BHO didnt “inherit” the economy. He asked for it,
      campaigned for it, spent millions to acquire it, promised to change it and failed to do so.” -Brianna Greene

      • jimino

        Who is Brianna Greene and why would anyone care what she said?

        • HonestDebate1

          Evidently she is a very astute woman. I care what astute women say, but that’s just me.

          • jimino

            To the extent that whoever she is says that Obama just continued the same policies of his predecessor and failed to live up to his promise to change them, she is correct. I suppose it’s good to see you accept that, but sad it has happened.

          • HonestDebate1

            Not so much. I can’t agree with you that Obama has continued Bush’s economic, energy or social policies at all. I agree with Ms. Greene’s premise that he asked for this and really shouldn’t be making and excuses blaming Bush. That’s what I inferred anyway.

            But I disagree that Obama has failed, this is what he wanted and planned to do. This is his promise to fundamentally transform America. I was hoping and praying he would fail. I did all I could do but Obama is succeeding.

        • Enuff_of_this

          We could pretty much substitute jimino for Brianna Greene and ask the same question.

          • jimino

            One reason is I can engage with and respond to you in a way a made up person can’t. But if you don’t know how to formulate a point or make a statement on your own, it’s probably a useful device for you.

          • Enuff_of_this

            But it doesn’t make you any less of a douche bag. Have a nice weekend

          • jimino

            Based on that example, I wouldn’t speak for myself if I was you either.

        • pete18

          It’s like asking the question, who is it that said “the sky is blue?” Hardly matters who said it, the quote is spot on. Acolytes for the president have this amusing habit of painting Obama as if he was kidnapped at gun point, forced to assume the role of president and didn’t control a house and senate that in fact passed all of his major bills during his first two years in office.

          • brettearle

            WH was forced to dilute ACA–before it was to be passed.

          • HonestDebate1

            That’s an interesting way to look at it. I view the legislative process more as a Constitutional procedure than forcing anything. But you’d have to agree that to the extent he was forced to dilute it was the Democrats who did the forcing. Republicans had nothing to do with this.

          • Don_B1

            The Democrats who forced President Obama to drop the public option were supported, or were empowered in their support of health insurance companies, by Republican Party blanket scorched-earth opposition to anything that President Obama proposed, even when it was closer to enriching Republican causes and not helping Democratic causes, which he all too often did in his efforts to find “common ground” with Republicans in Congress.

            The PPACA was modelled on the results of the Heritage Foundation’s theoretical work to develop a way to use the Market to provide efficacious delivery of health care to those who otherwise could not afford it. That plan was adopted by the Republican Governor and Democratic Legislature of Massachusetts and adjusted to make work in the real world.

            In NO WAY are Republicans not complicit in diluting the efficacy of the PPACA; they stretched out the work of legislative committees to weaken its provisions with the hope of even preventing it from ever being passed. And many of the problems of its implementation, included in an attempt to gain Republican support, are contributing to its implementaation problems.

          • HonestDebate1

            There are no Republican fingerprints on Obamacare, none. The problems with Obamacare are fundamental, implementation is the least of it.

          • Don_B1

            Total BULLPUCKY!

          • HonestDebate1

            Which Republican voted for Obamacare? I’m listening.

          • Don_B1

            If you didn’t feel that you could just pretend not to understand, you would have realized that it was the fact that Republicans dragged out the development of the law with extended committee negotiations, inserting provisions in the law by indicating that they would then be able to vote for the law and then they didn’t.

            As everyone else except the Republican supporter trolls on the site well understands from the above conversation, and they are only pretending, you are only making an “idiot ” of yourself.

          • HonestDebate1

            I am criticizing your position, you are criticizing me. That’s not honest debate.

    • jimino

      Unfortunately, for you and for our country, current legal thinking about how a publicly owned corporation is run makes it against the law for those running that corporation to care about how you or any other employee is harmed by its business decisions.

      And so-called conservative economic philosophy will tell you that all that gain going to the rentier class will be used to invest and create more jobs. Of course, any non-brainwashed person can see that is a lie used to justify even greater inequality in who reaps the benefits of our economy.

      • Jo Bleaux

        Actually, the corporation that severed me is privately owned. The money saved by letting go of many workers went right into the pockets of the owners.

  • MrNutso

    Yeah, nobody saw another paranoid North Korean leader purging high level officials.

  • Coastghost

    Even WBUR’s homepage has picked up the “Obama Lie of the Year Award” story: the story is much more pervasive, it seems, than the past forty minutes would suggest . . . .

    • StilllHere

      The year’s not up, he could still get another one in.

  • hennorama

    The budget deal, while pretty small in terms of the dollars involved, is quite significant. The House approved it overwhelmingly, and as did both party caucuses:

    77.9 percent Overall (332 Y 94 N)

    73.2 percent Republicans (169 Y 62 N)

    83.6 percent Democrats (163 Y 32 N)

    Anyone who is interested in how each Rep. voted should see:

    http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2013/roll640.xml

  • Coastghost

    Mandela’s mantle of leadership now settles fatefully on Obama’s shoulders, correct? Weren’t white doves flying all around Obama as he spoke, or was his sign language interpreter dreaming out loud?

    • northeaster17

      And if he did?

      • Coastghost

        Well, let’s just talk the idea up for the time being and see if he takes to it first . . . d’you think web appeals for Obama to “go Jamaican” could go viral? (I’d like to be able to hold my breath, but prudence will likely dictate that I settle for uninterrupted respiration.)

        • HonestDebate1
          • Coastghost

            I see credibility enhancement already!
            Makes you wonder whether, buried in the ACTA legislation, we won’t discover a new Federal mandate for cannabis therapies galore.

          • brettearle

            Making the President out to look like a Rastafarian is NOT

            what

            I

            would

            call

            HONEST

            DEBATE

            But rather it is in rancid and decaying taste.

            Congratulations on your Integrity.

          • HonestDebate1

            I didn’t take the picture or photoshop it. Lighten up it’s funny. It’s not an honesty issue.

            Here’s a real picture.

            http://usbacklash.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Obama-Smoking-Joint-Could-Be-Felon1.jpg

          • Labropotes

            I know weed and that is not weed. First, it is perfectly rolled. This isn’t proof, but like blood type, it is serious cercumstantial evidence. Second, supposing it is weed, the joint is a third burned and there is zero resin on the paper. QED.

            Dig the OMarley pic, btw.

          • HonestDebate1

            I used to smoke non filters and you hold them like that after the first several puffs. I could almost buy that.

            I once got fined for smoking at an ELP concert. Who knew you couldn’t smoke? I hadn’t been to a concert in a while. I thought the security thought I was smoking a joint because I was holding it like Mr. Choom. He had me follow him so I was able to toss the 2 joints in my pocket. I digress.

            Obama has that “look at me” thing going and his eyebrows seem to say “you can’t touch me” more than they say “I’m cool”. That’s what to looks like to me.

            I lean weed based on the eyebrows.

            Some people can roll perfect joints even with a single wide gumless Club Modiano… whatever that is… so I’ve been told. It can’t be that because of the resin thing but what about an easy-wider with nothing ripped off the end? I mean the whole thing.

            Inconclusive evidence is my call on the rolling technique. I can’t go along with too perfect.

            If the number is rolled 3 or 4 times around the paper is thick. And remember, it’s unlikely he was toking hydroponic skunk back then. There might not have been serious resin to begin with and we don’t know if there is a big ol’ goober at the end.

            I see nothing here to change the equation.

            I will say it does look like a cigarette in so far as just the way it looks. If I had to go on that alone I’d lean cigarette.

            I’m seriously leaning weed.

          • jefe68

            Wow, he’s smoking a cigarette and looking cool. How about we post some GW Bush shots of him snorting coke.

          • Labropotes

            I like to comment on the positive. So I’ll just say that I like the phrase, “rancid and decaying.” And I’ve become hung up trying to figure out if we can capture the 2nd derivative too. Like “rancid and ever more quickly becoming so.” After that, for third and higher derivatives, it becomes more efficient to say,”one must take the derivative of the function describing the rancidness of this taste three times to arrive at a constant, which will be positive with respect to the unfavorable.”

          • brettearle

            Well done…yes, sir…

            Another way to approach it might be to track the final remnants through landfill and transfer waste management filtration process…..

            …..where the rear end-use fertilizer is returned in open-ended trucks and shoveled in front of the Tea Party consortium.

          • StilllHere

            Isn’t this what you do here?

          • brettearle

            Disqus

          • brettearle

            Only if I knew your home addresses and we signed an agreement before delivery.

            Of course, if it were urgent delivery, then we might not have enough time.

          • 1Brett1

            He’ll claim he’s not responsible, as he didn’t create the picture, and that it is just a joke, so it’s okay.

          • brettearle

            He was only taking orders from Higher Up.

          • jefe68

            And the point of this is what? That Obama looks good in dreadlocks.

          • HonestDebate1

            Absolutely.

          • Don_B1

            Troll!

          • Don_B1

            This is probably your most despicable post yet. It is, I hope, the work of a provocateur and not worthy of anyone posting here.

            If the U.S. was as unstable as, say Egypt, where because the “coup” by the military last summer was praised by the leader of the Coptic Church, Islamists there rioted when the military brutally shut down their demonstrations and wrecked Coptic Churches and killed Copts. Your actions here are quite similar to actions of some of the Islamists in spreading misinformation about the Coptic Church, relying on the general Egyptian prejudices and ignorance to grow the hatred that led to the attacks.

            And don’t bother to post your “disclaimers” of ignorance as it does not wear well.

          • HonestDebate1

            It’s just Obama in dreads, lighten up. the Coptics aren’t involved here.

          • Don_B1

            That’s a non sequitur; i never implied they were except by using their problem as an analogy.

  • CeCeBar

    Jack Beatty, thank god for your voice.

    Now if the media concentrated on what’s in this budget bill, and the ISSUES of equality surrounding these budget cuts, then this country would be better informed and may be able to make better voting choices…

    p.s.
    I don’t like it either, but fairly innocent misrepresentation next to the one about WMD in Iraq! Move on already — the intention is to stop the bleeding of the healthcare costs and provide relief for so many families in need. Really, in this country of all countries families can go bankrupt because of serious illnesses?

    Where have those “1000 points of light” been in all these decades? Obviously 1000 isn’t enough – it takes each and everyone pulling together for the health and education of our people.

    What I find interesting is that no one’s questioning the private industry in this ACA roll-out debacle… they still can’t offer affordable coverage despite their billions of profit over the years while the 2008 crash sent many to the unemployment line (and whose been paying for that)?

  • Bruce94

    How curious to see John Boehner’s meltdown when asked to comment on the opposition of right-wing extremist groups like Heritage Action and FreedomWorks to the budget compromise. Could Boehner finally be showing a backbone that has been sorely lacking in his Speakership for the past five years during which he and Cantor have kowtowed to the same Tea Party cretins who gave us the fiscal insanity and rank stupidity of the sequester cuts, our first ever credit downgrade and, of course, the recent govt. shutdown? That shutdown cost the economy 24 billion dollars–interestingly, about the same amount of money that the Congressional Mad Hatters are now hell bent on withholding from recipients of long-term unemployment ins. benefits.

    Perhaps Boehner’s outburst is a beginning step as in Step #1 for a 12-Step Program for the rehabilitation of the GOP that would embrace the following guiding principles:

    #1 Admit that Republicans have been powerless in the throes of an addiction to a Far Right agenda promoting a rapacious form of unregulated capitalism, hyper-individualism and rabid consumerism.

    #2 Come to believe that a power greater than the lobbyists and the Koch Brothers, that is, the will of the people and majority rule (as opposed to the Hastert rule) can restore sanity to our governing bodies.

    #3 Decide to turn your will and the political lives of your cohorts over to a higher spirit with faith in the efficacy of negotiation and compromise.

    #4 Make a fearless inventory of yourselves as not only partisan animals prone to brinkmanship, but also moral actors capable of statesmanship.

    #5 Admit to yourself and at least one of your peers the nature of your wrongdoing as, for example, the countless times you have pandered to those who offer an apocalyptic view of a manufactured debt crisis in order to spread fear and promote self-defeating austerity measures.

    #6 Be open to removing demonstrably flawed theories and magical thinking that laid the foundation for the worst recession since the Great Depression including, but not limited to, the delusion of supply-side economics, the false promise of globalization, and the orgy of deregulation in the face of market failure or abuse.

    #7 Humbly ask your constituents to forgive you and your caucus for sabotaging the economic recovery, blocking bipartisan proposals like the American Jobs Act, Infrastructure Bank, Vets. Job Corp, and Employment Non-Discrimination Act as well as obstructing expansion of health insurance or Medicaid to 40 million previously uninsured Americans without having a credible alternative.

    #8 Make a list of all the people you have harmed by your unprincipled posturing and become willing to make amends as, for example, by bringing bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform up for a vote in the new year, or by rescinding cuts to food stamps, or raising the Fed. min. wage.

    #9 Make direct amends to such people by supporting tax fairness with an end to loopholes and subsidies that confer huge benefits to the wealthy while working, middle-class and poor families continue to languish.

    #10 Continue taking a personal inventory and when wrong promptly admit it as you did yesterday when you declared that the GOP had allowed “outside groups” to manipulate Republicans for their “own goals,” and when even the whiz kid from Wisconsin, Paul Ryan, admitted that “elections have consequences.”

    #11 Seek through prayer and meditation the strength to carry out the will of the people even when their will aligns with the aspirations of your ideological opponent(s) as it did in the last national election.

    #12 Let this be a spiritual awakening for the GOP which needs to reinvigorate itself not only by communicating its vision for the nation more coherently, but also by creating a national vision worth communicating to an increasingly diverse population including ethnic and racial minorities, women and gays in the 21st century.

    • warryer

      So basically make the the right look more left.

      • jimino

        Make the right less wrong is more like it.

        • warryer

          How are you defining right and wrong?

    • William

      A rather odd post but ask yourself, where on the Left are the moderates?

      • Duras

        In Germany I would be a conservative. In 1956, I would have voted for Eisenhower.

        After that nut Ronald Reagan transformed the country (for the worse) I am a libby, lib, lefty.

        • William

          No President is perfect, Reagan never should have sent Marines into Lebanon, but he did get the country back on track and won the Cold War so that’s a pretty good track record.

  • StilllHere

    I don’t like the budget deal, not enough spending cuts.

    I’m hopeful that when the sequester comes back in two years, we’ll just leave it be. By then entitlements will be exacting even more budget pain.

  • HonestDebate1

    “Most people become aware of the hopeless inefficiency of sclerotic government by, oh, age 17 at the department of motor vehicles. Obama’s late discovery is especially remarkable considering that he built his entire political philosophy on the rock of Big Government, on the fervent belief in the state as the very engine of collective action and the ultimate source of national greatness. (Indeed, of individual success as well, as in “If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”)”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/charles-krauthammer-obama-the-oblivious/2013/12/12/67acc91c-6363-11e3-a373-0f9f2d1c2b61_story.htlm

  • Ray in VT

    I don’t know how people can be all over the media when we have TV personalities out there tackling the hard issues, especially during the current season, such as how Santa and Jesus were/are both white.

    • Labropotes

      What you talkin bout, Willis?

      • Ray in VT

        Just something that Megyn Kelly said. Love the Different Strokes quote, by the way. I think that it was on Scrubs that one of the characters wore a shirt that said “I am what Willis was talkin’ ’bout.”

    • hennorama

      Ray in VT — I read your phrase “all over the media” as “critical of the media,” and the connotation of your remark as sarcastic.

      Please correct any misunderstanding.

      Ms. Kelly’s claims were quite silly, and it almost seemed as though she believed her audience was limited to her own three children.

      • Ray in VT

        Yeah, that’s pretty right on regarding my intent.

    • HonestDebate1

      I always thought Jesus was black but it doesn’t matter to me.

      • Ray in VT

        I’ve heard that one as well. It’s probably more likely than him having looked like Max Von Sydow. What I think is the most likely possibility is that he looked most like the people who live in the modern Middle East in terms of shading and such.

      • Labropotes

        Thinking of Yeezus, maybe?

        • Ray in VT

          You mean the one that rides his motorcycle with his fiance?

          • Labropotes

            Yeah. He didn’t even hesitate when his disciples asked him who he was. Told Pilate straight up too.

      • TFRX

        Go tell all your right wing nutjob friends how little it matters and how wrong a Foxblonde bubblehead is to be such an ass about it.

        Hope you got your engine warmed up and “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” cued for the chase that will ensue.

        • HonestDebate1

          I didn’t see what Fox said and I don’t have any right wing nut job friends. But I can do “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” with the best of’m.

  • Duras
    • Fredlinskip

      Reagan’s Secretary of Labor is not the only Republican of note who have recanted their original positions concerning Reaganonomics.

      David Stockman, Reagan’s Director of Office of Management and Budget , who was largely responsible for implementation of Reagan’s budget, has written extensively against Reagan’s policies.

      Yet GOP march blindly forward to the same old tune of economic policy which essentially “feeds the rich”.

      • John Cedar

        No one marched in more perfect time to Reagan’s tune, than W.J. Clinton.

        It is laughable that the left paraded Stockman as evidence that Romney’s prolific fiscal performance was easy to emulate, Without noting that Stockman failed and was indicted when he attempted to emulate it. More interesting than the fluid opinions of Stockman would be to examine someone who is actually held in high regard by the right, such as Milton Friedman, and if he supported any aspect of the New Deal, whether he had any change of opinion in retrospect.

        • Fredlinskip

          How about Greenspan?
          His opinion was once worshiped.
          He has definitely changed “his tune” considerably.

  • Duras

    Anybody notice the right wing obsession with images this week: the commentary on the right about the Nelson Mandela funeral was entirely about the way things looked–nothing about substance and what was said and what was said about democracy.

    Even on this forum today, I scrolled down and saw another righty posting images. It reminds me when republican Gregg posted negative images of black people just before election day.
    It is getting a little transparent.

    • StilllHere

      It wasn’t a funeral or maybe you missed the substance leftwing ideologue.

      • Duras

        Elegy, whatever.

        The point is, republicans are driven by images.

        And nice attempt at a red herring.

        • StilllHere

          Ha, apparently you are as well, you didn’t even know what it was.

          • Duras

            I know what was said about democracy and the urge for racial superiority.

            But keep up the red herring.

            It is further proof of illogic coupled with image obsession.

            Also, you undo yourself just by quibbling about the title of the event, rather than the substance of what was said.

            It is almost like that birther thing when republicans went on nothing but name and complexion.

          • StilllHere

            Sorry, I can’t get past the image of you watching your tv with a tenth of your attention and concluding it was a funeral while criticizing Republicans for missing the substance. Let’s just say you took from it what you wanted.

          • Duras

            Well, I do think it is interesting how Mendela fought against the ideological frame of seeing a natural war against the races by articulating that neither the oppressed or the oppressors are free until a nation achieves democracy.

            I don’t care about titles and images; I look for substance.

          • jefe68

            Ignore the troll.

    • William

      You have to admit Obama acted really “ghetto” with his clowning around taking photos at a very important funeral.

      • hennorama

        William — please define the term you placed in quotation marks.

        • TFRX

          William has this funny-strange habit of saying “you (the literal you) have to admit” or “we all think” when that’s nothing of the sort.

          Daffy Duck called it pronoun trouble.

    • jefe68

      If there were photos of Obama tying his shoes there would be right wingers wringing their hands and fretting.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        I thought he wore loafers?

        Oh wait, they weren’t talking about his attire…

    • HonestDebate1

      That’s sick.

  • OnPointComments

    “I’ve reviewed the Treasury Department watchdog’s report [on the IRS using inappropriate criteria to identify tax-exempt applications for review], and the misconduct that it uncovered is inexcusable. It’s inexcusable, and Americans are right to be angry about it, and I am angry about it. I will not tolerate this kind of behavior in any agency, but especially in the IRS…” –President Obama, 5/14/2013

    I didn’t believe him when he said it last May. Turns out I was right.

    IRS TARGETING: ROUND TWO
    The first time around, targeting conservatives was a secret. Now, not so much.

    http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303932504579254521095034070?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop

    Excerpt:
    President Obama keeps claiming that he had no knowledge of the Internal Revenue Service’s abusive muzzling of conservative groups. That line is hard to swallow given that his Treasury and IRS are back at it—this time in broad daylight.

    That this rule was meant to crack down on the White House’s political opponents was never in doubt.

    What makes this targeting more obvious is that the Obama Treasury rule only applies to 501(c)(4) groups. The ultra-liberal League of Women Voters Education Fund is registered as a 501(c)(3)—one of those “charities” supposedly held to the strictest IRS standards on politicking. Yet it brags on its website that it holds “candidate debates and forums,” and that its “educational activities” include “understanding candidate views and ballot initiatives.”

    The political insult is that President Obama is using his new targeting rule to wiggle out of liability for the last round. The same president who in May was “outraged” by the IRS’s actions now says it was all just some confusion over tax law (which his new rule fixes). He told Chris Matthews last week that the media had hyped what was a few poor IRS souls in Cincinnati who were “trying to streamline what is a difficult law to interpret . . . And they’ve got a list, and suddenly everybody’s outraged.”

    Everybody was outraged to discover the IRS was secretly targeting the president’s political opponents. They might be more outraged that the White House is now using the IRS to do the same thing in the brazen light of day.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    First snow in Egypt in 100 years. Icy road closures in Israel.

    2000 cold and snow records set in the US last week.

    Darn that CO2 global warming.

    http://www.latimes.com/world/worldnow/la-fg-wn-snow-israel-egypt-20131213,0,1691393.story#axzz2nMzV6vMp

    • StilllHere

      Nice try, but global warming is causing global cooling. Back to your thermostat Sherlock.

    • Duras

      http://climate.nasa.gov/
      Quit being stupid.

    • Duras

      http://climate.nasa.gov/

      Yeah, what does a consensus of scientists all over the world know about anything.

      Any Joe Blow can infer from your article that global warming is some commie plot.

    • OnPointComments

      The high temperature last Friday where my sister lives was -11. Just think what it would have been if we didn’t have global warming.

    • hennorama

      WftC — citing weather data for small areas and time periods is interesting but not hugely relevant to climate change.

      Climate change is measured in years and decades, not minutes, hours and days.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        Yup, 17 years with no warming despite a 20% increase in CO2. 20 years if you use the more reliable satellite measurements. Question, how many decades are required to notice the models used by alarmists aren’t accurate? We are up to two decades.

        Meanwhile…… the weather outside is frightful….

        • hennorama

          WftC — TY for your reply.

          While I am not a climate scientist, and do not pretend to fully understand climate dynamics, my brief perusal of the topic finds that the usual time frame used regarding climate change is thirty years, making “Three” the answer to your question.

          Sorry to read about “the weather outside.” Over the years I have learned that discussions of the weather where I reside generally leave others somewhat upset. All I need say is that I would replace the first two letters of your last word with “del.”

          Naturally, this will change, given time.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Well, this ‘peer reviewed’ paper claims that trends > 17 years are required. So I guess we are in the range that scientists find ‘interesting’.

            http://judithcurry.com/2011/09/12/santer-on-timescales-of-temperature-trends/

            Regarding, ‘frightful’ or ‘delightful’ it might depend on how much you enjoy shoveling or if you can afford heating oil to keep you warm.

          • hennorama

            WftC — TY for your agreement.

            Again, if I discussed the weather where I reside, it would be clear that the issues you wrote about are not relevant.

            As an illustration, I am presently outdoors on a patio, wearing flipflops, shorts, and a short-sleeved top, and my dog is lying on his bed, panting.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Don’t rub it in :)

          • hennorama

            WftC — I tried to avoid it, really.

            Just so you know, I have lived in an area that receives about 2.5 m of annual snowfall, so I can relate and commiserate.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Hopefully that went with some good skiing.

          • hennorama

            WftC — not so much. The local ski area was on a hill about 300m high, and it was the highest “peak” in the county. Basically, a glorified toboggan run, with a t-bar lift.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Ouch. Well, there’s always x-country.

          • hennorama

            WftC — the availability of nighttime fun was the biggest upside of that tiny ski area. The hill on our farm, which is the second highest point in the county, was far more convenient and fun during the daylight hours, although the old apple trees scattered about the hillside presented some interesting obstacles to the race to the bottom, and the creek at the base led to various and sundry poorly engineered launching pads for the coasters and toboggans.

            Those were some fun days.

        • nj_v2

          ^ Thinks repeating long-debunked denial nonsense comprises legitimate arguments.

          Sad.

      • brettearle

        “….God willing, we will prevail in Peace and freedom from fear and in true health through the purity and essence of our natural fluids…

        “We’re still trying to figure out the meaning of that last phrase, sir.”

        “There’s nothing to figure out, General Turgidson. This man is obviously a psychotic.”

        “Well, sir, again with all due respects, I’d like to hold off judgment on a thing like that, sir, until all the facts are in.”

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          “Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here! This is the War Room!”

          • brettearle

            “Like chickens in a barnyard…..”

      • OnPointComments

        I like this video about expanding the temperature graphs for longer periods that someone pointed out a while ago .

        Denier land: How deniers view global warming
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uif1NwcUgMU

    • jefe68

      You should send a letter about this to the LA times.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        LOL. That’s a good one.

    • Fredlinskip

      While the vast majority of scientific research has confirmed the existence of “global warming”, to the dismay of those who wish to bury their heads in the sand and pretend this is not a problem, a more politically correct terminology to be used would be “climate change”.
      Bizarre climate effects will become more frequent as will the severity and frequency of various weather events.
      I hope this helps clear up the issue for you.

    • nj_v2

      Thanks for the ongoing confirmation of your utter cluelessness.

      • HonestDebate1

        I know, it snows all the time in Egypt. What is WftC thinking?

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        Reading your snide response the phrase “inconvenient truth” comes to mind.

  • Zenplatypus

    I laughed out loud upon hearing Hirsh’s idiotic assertion that the deteriorating situation in Syria constitutes a vindication of Obama’s policy in the region. Tom’s full-throated incredulity was priceless.

    • hennorama

      Zenplatypus – there are no good options for the US in Syria.

      Mr. Hirsh was specifically discussing the fact that the United States and Britain halted nonlethal aid to Syrian “moderate” forces after the Islamic Front captured territory and a cache of communications gear, medicine, food, and some weapons that had been provided by the US, Britain, and others. If instead this had been lethal aid (read: heavy weapons) and THAT had been captured, imagine the outrage that would have occurred – “Obama’s arming Islamic fundamentalist fighters!, etc.”

      Here’s what Mr. Hirsh said, in part: (Tom Ashbrook leads into the discussion, beginning about 25:20 into the audio at the top of the page)

      “The United States finds itself in the almost impossible position of opposing the Assad regime, and Assad’s continuation in power, and yet increasingly facing up to the likelihood that if he is ousted, Syria will become something of an Islamic state, which we don;t want either. And this does appear to vindicate President Obama’s hesitation over aiding the Syrian rebels over these last two years, which has been somewhat controversial.”

      In other words, Mr. Hirsh concluded that President Obama was prudent in not supplying lethal aid to Syrian opposition forces, lest it had been captured.

      Syria is a mess, with no easy or clear solutions. President Obama has called it “someone else’s war.”

      While this conflict started pretty much the same way the other Arab Spring uprisings did, with citizens from all groups taking to the streets in protest against a dictator, it’s now a religious civil war. When was the last time one of those ended overnight, or well?

      For those who are hoping for a quick resolution, here’s some food for thought:

      “The fact that religion is central to the roots and prosecution of the war is not a novel social science observation. It indicates that the conflict will likely be longer than expected and the resolution more difficult, based on the scholarship about religious and non-religious civil wars provided by Duffy Toft:

      * Religious civil wars last an average of 105 months. Non-religious civil wars last an average of 81 months.

      * Religious civil wars are twice as likely to recur: 26 percent of the time compared to the 12 percent reoccurrence rate of non-religious wars.

      * Religious civil wars are twice as deadly to noncombatants as civil wars in which religion is peripheral. The former averages 31,000 deaths per year, while the latter averages 14,000.

      “Those working to resolve this conflict will have to consider not only the difficult past and how to rebuild a post-war society, but also the wider implications of the involvement of internal and external groups as well as states that have a religious interest in the future of Syria. The stakes are significantly higher now. This is no longer solely a political power battle; for many, this has now taken on a higher religious meaning. As the international community continues to weigh the costs of various intervention options, it must consider not only today’s concerns, but rather the impact of a protracted, multi-stakeholder, religious-infused conflict that could have far greater and long-reaching costs: human, financial, and systemic.

      ”While Syria is a central geopolitical challenge, the lessons learned extend far beyond this conflict.

      “If statistics show us that religious-infused conflicts are deadlier, longer, and reoccur more often, then the international community must pay special attention to areas where religious conflict is likely. Conflicts take on a religious component when injustices are perpetrated along religious lines—as is the case in Syria—and/or where religious persecution pushes religious believers to use violence to oppose such persecution. Religious persecution is therefore central to the international community’s efforts to predict and ultimately prevent conflict. The active promotion of religious freedom will be pivotal to averting deadly religious conflict.

      “In the long run, promoting religious freedom today could save the international community significant costs, and more importantly, a lot of lives.”

      See:
      http://journal.georgetown.edu/2013/06/21/the-religious-component-of-the-syrian-conflict-more-than-perception-by-nicole-bibbins-sedaca/

      • Zenplatypus

        You should have stopped when you were ahead. Yes, there ARE no good options for the U.S. in Syria — present tense. But it wasn’t always thus. Obama’s inexplicable, feckless dithering during the conflict’s earliest phase — when it was decidedly not religious in nature, and Assad teetered on the brink of overthrow — in effect led to the current stalemate, creating the environment for the involvement of jihadis and the perpetuation of an especially brutal regime, which incidentally is a client state of both Iran and Russia. This is a spectacular abnegation of leadership. Obama and his apologists are like a doctor who evinces squeamish reluctance to treat a gangrenes foot wound, only to later bemoan the patient’s inevitably bleak prognosis by way of justifying the earlier inaction. It’s perverse.

        • hennorama

          Zenplatypus — thank you for your response.

          It appears that you believe there WERE good options for the US in Syria. If so, please present your arguments and evidence.

          • Zenplatypus

            Arm the rebels a year and a half ago, as proposed by Petraeus, H. Clinton, and a host of others. Now the very thing Obama sought to avoid, namely weaponry falling into the wrong hands, has occurred, without the Assad regime being significantly degraded. In fact, we’ve even blundered into providing the regime with newfound legitimacy by virtue of Obama’s hairbrained chemical weapons accord with Russia. The mind reels…

          • hennorama

            Zenplatypus – TY again for your response.

            Resolving the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons issue without firing a shot is a clear win, and the agreed-to items have thus far been complied with.

            “Arm the rebels,” was not a good option. The obvious problems of determining exactly who to provide with heavy weapons, and how to subsequently avoid getting drawn into the war if those “rebels” experience battlefield losses and defeats, are but two of the negative aspects of this idea. Add to these the potential of the weapons falling into the wrong hands, and this option was easy to reject.

            As that is the only “good option” you presented, your argument falls rather short.

            There have never been any good options for the US in the Syrian conflict. All of the choices are. and have been. between lesser and greater evils.

            And you’re seriously uninformed if you believe religion was not involved in the Syrian conflict from the get-go. It has been Shia vs. Sunni practically from the jump:

            Assad and his Syrian regime are Alawites (a Shiite sect), as were about one-sixth of the pre-conflict populace.

            About three-fourths of the pre-conflict civilian population were Sunni.

            Most of the opposition groups in Syria are Sunni, including the Islamic Front, the group that recently captured the non-lethal aid caches.

            Then we have the other prominent players:

            Iranian regime – Shiite
            Hezbollah – Shiite

            And don’t forget that al Qaeda is Sunni.

            The US has stumbled badly in conflicts in the Middle East over the past decade-plus, and one perceives no public support for any repetition of those horrific blunders, which will haunt and threaten the US for decades.

          • Zenplatypus

            No. 1: You assume the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons issue has been resolved. We have no way of knowing. But we can say with certainty that the accord has lent legitimacy to a regime that is among the most repugnant in the world.

            No. 2: The entirety of Obama’s national security team advocated arming the opposition. I suppose all these people lack your deep understanding of the region’s religious tumult… Actually, Syria’s religious and sectarian fault lines are familiar to anyone who reads a daily newspaper.

            No. 3: You should acquaint yourself with the conflict’s beginnings. Or are you suggesting that all Arab Spring uprisings are the product of Sunni-Shiite rivalry?

            No. 4: You end with a strawman argument, which is hardly surprising given the prevalence of this tired rhetorical device in the age of Obama. As was obvious to anyone remotely familiar with military operations, arming the rebels a year and a half ago would not have entailed sending in the 101st Airborne. The only people insisting that support of any kind would necessarily result in the insertion of combat troops were antiwar types desperate to discredit the notion of U.S. involvement generally. Unfortunately for the Syrian people, this ridiculous line of argumentation came to resonate with our amateur-in-chief.

          • hennorama

            Zenplatypus – Thanks again for your response.

            One notices that you have yet to explain why you feel that “Arm the rebels a year and a half ago, as proposed by Petraeus, H. Clinton, and a host of others” was supposedly a “good option.”

            Exactly which rebels should have been armed? Who were/are their leaders? Exactly what arms should have been supplied? Would supplying these arms magically guarantee regime change? If regime change did occur, would the resultant political situation be better or worse? If the US supplied weapons, what would prevent these weapons from migrating to other groups? What would happen if the rebels the US provided arms to were defeated? Would the US then need to provide greater support, via air power, personnel, etc? What other countries might be drawn in if the US “arms the rebels” and/or later increases US involvement?

            As to your specific points in your post:

            1. If your argument is that it is necessary to prove a negative, that there are no longer any CW or CW facilities anywhere under Assad’s control, you will be waiting a very long time. Clearly the CW situation is FAR better today, and all agreed-to items have thus far been complied with. Russia’s involvement is a good thing, as Russia essentially guarantees that Assad won’t use CW again.

            2. That some advisors recommended a particular policy, strategy or tactic does not make their recommendation sacrosanct, appropriate, or wise.. One need only look at the Afghanistan and Iraq wars as illustration.

            3. You might wish to focus on the topic at hand – Syria – rather than “ all Arab Spring uprisings.” And one points to your selected timeframe as “a year and a half ago,” which would be mid-2012, a full year after the first armed insurrection. At that time, there was absolutely no unified command structure for the rebel groups, and there is still precious little organization, cooperation, and control of anti-regimes forces today.

            4. Political considerations for public policies, especially involving US military involvement, are not “straw man arguments.”

            Thanks for your attention.

          • brettearle

            He might not respond, unless he sees the following challenge:

            “Henn, he’ not going to respond!”

            But, that having been said, he STILL might not respond.

          • hennorama

            brettearle — maybe yes and maybe no. Either way, we’re left with Ten Lazy Pups.

          • Zenplatypus

            You’re conveniently forgetting that Obama had already called on Assad to step down. In fact, the administration sought his ouster through the freezing of assets and other measures. Here we are, more than two years after Obama declared his policy goals with respect Syria, and Assad is still in power and arguably stronger than at any point since the conflict began. This is a failure. Period. And the idea that I should have to account for every operational detail in defense of a given policy prescription (in this case arming the opposition) is risible. Believe it or not, they pay people to consider such things.

            How do you know the CW situation is far better? Honestly, how do you know? Once again, you have a selective memory. As recently as earlier this year the Assad regime strenuously denied possessing chemical weapons as all. Now, inexplicably, Obama apologists regard the regime as good-faith partners in the eradication of a weapons program the regime concealed and lied about for decades. Russia has a vested interest in Assad remaining in power, and shrewdly used the CW issue to guarantee precisely that outcome. Who could possibly argue that this is a good thing?

            I don’t subscribe to the notion that the Iraq and Afghan wars have been particularly calamitous, though I understand this is conventional wisdom on left. In any case, I mentioned the recommendations of Obama’s national security advisors in the context of your implied claim to unique insight as to the challenges inherent in plotting a sensible course in Syria, given the region’s history, etc. In point of fact, there are a great many people with significant expertise who have reasonably come to a different conclusion in relation to the question of arming Syria’s opposition.

            Yes, the subject at hand is Syria, whose current conflict began as an Arab Spring uprising. This vitiates your earlier claim that the conflict has always been religious in nature. And gain, the idea that we’d have to account for every conceivable eventuality as a necessary precondition to acting is simply ridiculous.

            And my strawman argument critique stands. You equated arming the opposition with the “horrific blunders” of Iraq and Afghanistan. Leaving aside the fact that your characterization of recent U.S. military policy in the region is at best debatable, in point of fact supplying opposition fighters with weapons is a world apart from launching a ground invasion and occupying a country for years on end. Again, no one has advocated the use of U.S. combat troops. You’re in effect arguing against a caricature of the policy I supported.

          • HonestDebate1

            The questions you ask should already have been answered. The Pentagon makes plans for everything… and plan B’s, C’s and D’s. You seem to be saying there was never a good option. Events unfold without us. We should have people on the ground, a propaganda campaign both overt and covert, indigenous allies and project clear red lines not pink fuzzy ones. Would should also be consistent across the region.

            No one fears Obama.

          • brettearle

            Henn–

            Thanks for reading so many of my comments.

            Brett

          • hennorama

            Well … you know we — very little escapes our attention.

          • brettearle

            You know what Twain said about people who refer to themselves as, `We’ (even if it used as a satire of Lieblich Madchen’s theory)?

          • hennorama

            We claim no right to its use; we claim it’s wrong.

          • brettearle

            Shall I take that to mean that you might NOT be Royalty nor with Tape Worm?

          • hennorama

            Sir, meaning has no relevance here, as this is merely the nicing on the cake.

            BTW — might makes right, which remains unclaimed.

        • brettearle

          Obviously, the reluctance of any US Administration to lend military support–or logistical aide or otherwise–in a region quite far away from its own soil, does not have to be traced to the VietNam War.

          But quite a well-respected journalist, Marvin Kalb, did write such a book, recently–so as to explain current reluctance of Intervention, anywhere, based on our venture in VietNam.

          Your appraisal of Dithering might be construed as Hawkish Bias, when any President might be hesitant to go forward, in the early going, or otherwise, of any conflict.–especially, where Al Qaeda might be operating covertly, without us knowing.

          Possible factors governing Administration Reluctance:

          Fear of Escalation

          Fear, as mentioned, of not knowing whether Al Qaeda was involved, early on, in a covert and undetected way.

          Fear of eventual Boots-on-the-Ground

          Fear of other related conflicts, and violence, occurring in Central Asia and other parts of the Middle East

          Concern for not getting Allies aboard (as was borne out with the UK)

          Apprehension over increasing tensions with our political enemies–when we need more cooperation from them, vis a vis, for example, with regard to Iran.

          Worry over our world prestige diminishing yet, again, in the eyes of parts of the world–who see us as Adventurists and Imperialists. Such repercussions can lead to a decrease in cooperation of many kinds, including Trade. But other ramifications can also include potential subterfuge and sabotage.

          All these factors, above, and, likely others that we don’t know about–because we lack the behind-the-scenes knowledge of undisclosed intricacy–could have easily influenced President Obama’s policy in this matter. .

        • FrankensteinDragon

          we dont belong in the middle east. its not our fight. if we pulled out today–half the problems would go away. we can help by aiding poor and conflicted countries with food, water, medicine–possibly UN security forces (backed by America)–but not combat or money. it is not our business to build governments. bring the troops home and close all bases around the world.

    • Fredlinskip

      Correct me if I’m wrong- I thought there was no appetite for our country to possibly become entangled in another conflict, which is what most GOP members in Congress intimated when Obama wished to further arm the “rebels” in the conflict, after a large scale chemical attack killed a lot of innocent people.
      This reaction seems a direct result of the American people’s slow learning curve.
      Americans were gung ho about entering into a War in Iraq because of “Weapons of Mass Destruction” which they didn’t bother to wait to confirm if actually.
      In Syria, where WMD’s were absolutely confirmed to be in use, we developed cold feet with respect to simply helping arm the resistance instead of simply standing around and letting those fighting for democracy die.
      The FEAR (yes I am equating Americans with this trait) was that arming the resistance would escalate into “boots on the ground”.
      Of course other nations around the world would view our general foreign policy as on the lunatic fringe, perhaps confirming the statement:
      “Americans can always be relied upon to do the right thing… after they have exhausted all other possibilities.”

      • HonestDebate1

        I think you are assuming doing nothing is always less dangerous than acting. It has nothing to do with appetites.

        We can make things happen, watch them happen or ask, “what the heck just happened”. Either way the world doesn’t wait for us.

        • Fredlinskip

          “I think you are assuming doing nothing is always less dangerous than acting.”

          No I was not an advocate for “doing nothing” in Syria.
          Nor was I for “doing nothing” following-
          9/11, but certainly occupying a nation that had nothing to do with that tragedy would not have been 1st on my “to do” list

      • FrankensteinDragon

        see what happens when boys cry wolf

  • hypocracy1

    We don’t want to leave our children saddled with this debt.. so let’s pass a budget that cuts spending in education now and worry about entitlements later… because the children are our future.

  • Don_B1
  • pete18

    It’s now official, the Lie of the Year: ‘If you like your health care plan, you can keep it’

    So this fall, as cancellation letters were going out to approximately4 million Americans, the public realized Obama’s breezy assurances were wrong.

    Boiling down the complicated health care law to a soundbite proved treacherous, even for its promoter-in-chief. Obama and his team made matters worse, suggesting they had been misunderstood all along. The stunning political uproar led to this: a rare presidential apology.

    For all of these reasons, PolitiFact has named “If you like your
    health care plan, you can keep it,” the Lie of the Year for 2013.
    Readers in a separate online poll overwhelmingly agreed with the choice. (PolitiFact first announced its selection on CNN’s The Lead with Jake Tapper.) “http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2013/dec/12/lie-year-if-you-like-your-health-care-plan-keep-it/

    This is my favorite quote:

    On Nov. 6, columnist Clarence Page of the Chicago Tribune
    wrote that the public “was entitled to hear the unvarnished truth, not spin, from their president about what they were about to face. I don’t feel good about calling out Obama’s whopper, because I support most of his policies and programs. But in this instance, he would have to be delusional to think he was telling the truth.

    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-11-06/news/ct-oped-1106-page-20131106_1_new-minimum-standards-health-care-plan-president-barack-obama

    • brettearle

      While I like Clarence Page and admire his work, I think that he is reasonably mistaken.

      I think that Page is the one being delusional to think that Obama was willfully lying about an issue, and a policy–so well-exposed, nakedly out there, easily revealed, and fully showcased.

      Obama was horribly sloppy and irresponsible–by erroneously assuming that which was not true.

      And it is even worse when you consider that Sabelius, Pelosi, Plouffe, Jarrett, Axelrod, Rahm Emanuel, et al, did not know the intricacies of ACA, enough, to advise him.

      It is politically biased–utterly so–to believe that all of them engaged in one, big Lie.

      It doesn’t work that way.

      All of these advisors, listed above–before Public scrutiny of millions of people–would never enter into some group effort, or pact, to intentionally conceal the Truth.

      That stretches credulity far over the edge of credibility

      • OnPointComments

        The Obama administration said that a hateful video was at fault in Benghazi.
        The story wasn’t true, but it helped President Obama get re-elected. What a coincidence.

        The IRS targeted conservative groups, suppressing the groups’ involvement in the election.
        President Obama said he didn’t know about the targeting, but it helped him get re-elected. What a coincidence.

        The President told us again and again “You can keep your plan. You can keep your doctor. No matter what.”
        It wasn’t true, but it helped him get re-elected. What a coincidence.

        What a coincidence. Indeed.

        • brettearle

          While I appreciate your abject cynicism, I doubt that we know the entire story to any of these issues.

          If this were Bush, I might be railing about the same thing.

          But I might be wrong.

          Why?

          Because MY cynicism, like YOURS, is without the benefit of Inside Information.

          • OnPointComments

            Look what happened.
            It’s a coincidence.
            Look what happened.
            It’s a coincidence.
            Look what happened.
            It’s a coincidence.

            How many times does something occur before you say it isn’t a coincidence, and more likely cause and effect?

          • Don_B1

            When there are hundreds of events that occur in the limelight every day, it is not that hard to pick three or so events that might appear to support your tenuous case.

          • Don_B1

            But you are willing to recognize the possibility whereas OnPointComments has no willingness to admit error.

          • brettearle

            EXACTLY.

            And THERE lies the pathetic weakness of the Radical Right GOP Mentality.

            Thank You.

      • HonestDebate1

        He lied because he had good reason to lie Brettearle. I don’t think he gave it a second thought. All that mattered is that he got reelected and the Obamacare train kept chugging. Think about it, why did he roll this thing out when he knew it wasn’t ready? Every day Obamacare is one step closer too being entrenched. It didn’t mater if it worked, it mattered that we kept the train moving. He shut down the government rather than accept a delay… they he delayed it any way. Now he’s asking insurance companies to delay. Wouldn’t it have been better to do it through the legislative process than have the President blatantly disregard the law of the land by decree?

        This is nothing knew, he says what ever he has to say to cross the next hurdle. He had to win the Primary by defeating Hillary, it was the first hurdle. So he excoriated her for having a mandate in her plan. Then he had to get it passed so he bribed Mary Landrieu, gave a kickback to Ben Nelson, made a meaningless signing statement for Stupek’s crew and used a budget procedure (reconciliation) to pass it. He had to know that no plan this sweeping and transformative could not survive if passed without anyone reading it on a 100% partisan vote. That’s not the way we do things. It didn’t matter to him. And then he had to get reelected so he lied and lied 37 times.

        He had to know it was naked and transparent; that he would be called on it. It doesn’t matter now, the election is over. Chug chug chug.

        • FrankensteinDragon

          you sound so so ridiculous–give it up. stop. you have no idea what you are talking about. so so childish. You’re a liar–he did it first–liar pants on fire! Do remember the BUsh/cheney lie? millions are dead.

          • HonestDebate1

            You’re entitled to your opinion.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        One problem with your analysis. Multiple outlets reported that Obama’s advisers debated whether to mislead the public. They opted for the simple messaging even though they knew it was a lie. Did the advisers let Obama in on the fact that it was lie? We don’t know. But why hasn’t Obama fired every one of those advisers that gave him bum advice and let him lie to the public?

        Sorry, he doesn’t get a pass. And you can’t simply blame the folks that load up the teleprompter. Since he didn’t fire anyone over this we can only conclude that he was aware.

        • brettearle

          Do you want me to research the multiple outlets–or do you simply want to to list the Right-Wing biased information services, yourself?

          However, I do take your point about firing some people.

          One reason he doesn’t do it is for the same reason Bush II didn’t nail everyone connected to Bad Intelligence and Katrina.

          He didn’t want to deluge his own legacy with manure–anymore than it was already besmirched.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            The first place I saw it was the wsj (news side, not editorial).

            http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303843104579172002892623382

          • brettearle

            Honest Debate gave me this URL. But unless I subscribe, I can’t access this article at the WSJ web site.

            Do you want to give me another information outlet–or will it be too Right Wing?

            I have respect for WSJ. But I can’t read the article, there.

          • OnPointComments
          • HonestDebate1

            It always comes back to Bush. Obama can do no wrong.

          • brettearle

            Please….

            I know for a fact you read my comments.

            I have consistently criticized the President in recent days.

            Don’t play coy and jaded with us Lefties–just because you are coy and jaded.

            That wouldn’t be fair to yourself.

          • HonestDebate1

            No, I didn’t comment on that but Bush has nothing to do with this. Why bring him up? Are you suggesting bad behavior can be justified by citing other bad behavior? Or is your point to imply some kind of alleged hypocrisy which is also completely irrelevant to Obama?

        • FrankensteinDragon

          see comment above–just stop. please get over it. you sound ridiculous.

      • pete18

        Your faith in Obama’s being exposed as a buffer to him lying is amusing. This has never interfered with presidents’ or other politicians blatantly lying before, why would it all of sudden be some sort of firewall? The psychology of rationalization can not be under appreciated in this type of situation.

        • brettearle

          While you might think this to be picky, that is NOT my intention:

          I am unclear about what you mean above…unless you left out the word, `staff’ between the words, `Obama’s’ and the next word, `being’..

          Please advise.

          • pete18

            My point applies to both Obama AND his staff. And if I may get back to an earlier point, we already have an unchallenged fact that Obama lied about his mother in making the case for Obamacare. So his willingness to lie over something that could easily be discredited is already in evidence. Do you not agree that was a lie?

        • FrankensteinDragon

          get over it. you are just wrong and indoctrinated, brainwashed by a distorted world view. And what makes you so silly is you can see that and you rage against your perceived villainous forces. The evil is the system and the talking heads you worship. Just get over it. a mistake is not a lie. Deliberate obstruction on your side of the aisle is not a lie on the other side of the aisle–incompetence and stupidity and undermining forces are at work here. Did you get this hot when Bush and CHeny lied to start a continuous war of the worlds? every single war we are in and have been in was a lie–started by republicans. Millions dead and dying–but you dont get all hot about that. I think your priorities are grossly misalligned. just sick.

          • pete18

            That was a whole lot of babbling without saying anything. Is there an actual counter point that you’d like to offer?

      • Don_B1

        Since it really would not have been disastrous to have put in a more complete explanation, it is hard to agree that the Obama administration deliberately lied; but they were trying to keep the message as simple as possible in the face of Republican efforts to take words out of context to create a small firestorm of distortion.

        I can easily see that they did not see that the website rollout problems would make the cancellations from the insurance companies seem so much worse than their eventual effect will be because those who received cancellations will be highly likely to get another policy as good or better and most for less cost. And that the insurance companies would be so impolitic as to not explain the policies they were offering were not eligible to be grandfathered. And then some of the insurance companies tried their old tricks of pushing the insurees into higher cost policies without indicating how the PPACA provides ways to compare other policy offerings to enable the customer to make good purchase decisions.

        The whole thing has been a confluence of a lot of different things that has temporarily made the law look a lot worse than it is, and the Republicans are not missing the opportunity to make it look even worse.

        • brettearle

          Excellent points.

          Your insight, about how it wouldn’t have been difficult for the Administration to offer an expanded explanation (especially without facing an utter or disastrous loss of cred) is a compelling argument for the fiasco being unintentional.

          But it is also unbelievably lame that no one could have picked up and recognized the barracuda-infested propaganda pool waiting to strike.

          Your other points–to the degree that I might understand the ramifications–are all, it seems to me, to be fairly significant or crucial:

          In the face of broad government reform (especially, at the beginning)–affecting so many people–where can, and should, the government refrain or intercede from prevailing upon insurance companies to be fair, equitable, forthcoming, and consumer friendly?

        • pete18

          “Since it really would not have been disastrous to have put in a more
          complete explanation, it is hard to agree that the Obama administration
          deliberately lied; but they were trying to keep the message as simple as
          possible in the face of Republican efforts to take words out of context
          to create a small firestorm of distortion.”

          So you’re saying it’s alright to lie to the public if your facing a hostile opposition? Without the more “complex” explanation, what they said was false and they knew it was false. Why do Obama supporters continue to make these types of excuses for the president? All presidents have to deal with an opposition party and public opinion to get their polices passed, this isn’t something new, nor is does it give an administration a pass on presenting the public with false information.

          If you lie, exaggerate, withhold information, or shade the truth to sell a product that is considered fraud, particularly when large numbers of people are injured by such an exchange. Why are you not upset that your president has committed fraud in attempt to change such a large and important section of the economy and public policy?

    • FrankensteinDragon

      not a lie. get your head out of boot. its the sytem working very hard against him, especially in red (neck) states.

  • OnPointComments

    The people running Obamacare are so smart.

    https://twitter.com/WhiteHouse/status/411231710227857409/photo/1

  • jefe68

    What’s interesting to me is how the right is getting it’s knickers in a twist over the ACA and comment made by Obama, any comments it would seem. And while liberals and progressives are also fretting over the GOP and the regressive tea party, which seems to be on it’s way out, the Obama administration has been busy with a trade agreement that is NAFTA on steroids.

    This trade deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Would establish a free trade zone that would stretch from Vietnam to Chile, encompassing 800 million people — about a third of world trade and nearly 40 percent of the global economy. While the text of the treaty has been largely negotiated behind closed doors and, until June, kept secret from Congress, more than 600 corporate advisers reportedly have access to the measure, including employees of Halliburton and Monsanto. “This is not mainly about trade,” says Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch. “It is a corporate Trojan horse. The agreement has 29 chapters, and only five of them have to do with trade. The other 24 chapters either handcuff our domestic governments, limiting food safety, environmental standards, financial regulation, energy and climate policy, or establishing new powers for corporations.”

    This should be what the left and the right are pissed off about, not reform of health care. But you right wingers can keep on with socialist memes about Obama and the left wingers can keep on thinking he’s a progressive, the reality is he’s a corporatist wall street Democrat. And this deal, its not good for citizens in this nation or any other for that matter.

    http://www.democracynow.org/2013/10/4/a_corporate_trojan_horse_obama_pushes

    • brettearle

      Why isn’t the Media touting this, currently–Big Time?

      This sounds unbelievable…

  • OnPointComments

    It’s a bit of a stretch to attribute President Obama’s documented narcissism to all Americans, but I get the author’s point. Personally, I also thought laughing and carrying on like it’s a party, and taking selfies, was inappropriate conduct for a memorial service.

    WHAT NELSON MANDELA’S FUNERAL REVEALED ABOUT AMERICAN NARCISSISM
    http://acculturated.com/2013/12/12/what-nelson-mandelas-funeral-revealed-about-american-narcissism-2/

    Excerpt:

    Poor Nelson Mandela.

    The man basically established civil rights for black South Africans and ushered in a new era in his country, but his memorial service was a freak show replete with dictator handshakes and fake sign language interpreters tripping and hallucinating.

    Our contribution was to send our awesome president who became the first in American history to take a funeral selfie at an international event of great historical significance. Actually he was the first president to take a funeral selfie ever. Actually he is the first person I have ever seen taking one, period.

    Good job, America. Way to not reinforce the idea that all we really care about is ourselves.

    • OnPointComments

      At Nelson Mandela’s memorial service, President Obama shook hands with Cuba’s communist leader Raoul Castro. People were like “Why would you want to be seen with that guy?” And then Castro was like “I didn’t, but all of a sudden he was shaking my hand and I didn’t know what to do.” –Jimmy Fallon

    • HonestDebate1

      There were 3 former Presidents there too. I have no idea what they did. They must have behaved, that’s good.

      Do you remember the Paul Wellstone memorial service?

      • OnPointComments

        The Paul Wellstone memorial service is an excellent example of that Democrat mantra to never let a serious crisis go to waste.

    • brettearle

      I don’t know of a Funeral yet–except in the case of an unexpected tragedy–where sanctity is often met with a bit of Levity, here and there.

      Congratulations on your own self-serving, layman’s interpretation of Narcissism, without ever having seen the patient, in private practice.

    • FrankensteinDragon

      i have no idea what u r talking about? insanity–rambling. what is your point? exactly, what is wrong with attending the funeral of a head of state? It seems rather e and normal to me. But nothing you say ever is so…

      • OnPointComments

        The point of the article is that while it is perfectly normal to attend the funeral of a head of state, it is not perfectly normal, and many would not consider it to be proper decorum, to be seen laughing and cavorting with those sitting next to you, and taking pictures of yourself with others, during the service.

  • OnPointComments

    Happy anniversary! Remember, it was only 4 short years ago…

    Al Gore, affectionately nicknamed “The Goracle,” told us on December 14, 2009 that the polar ice cap would be gone by now. He, along with scientists and climatologists told us that the arctic would be “ice-free” by 2013, and that “an ice-free Arctic is definitely coming, and coming sooner than we previously expected.” Professor Peter Wadhams, professor of Ocean Physics, and Head of the Polar Ocean Physics Group in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, University of Cambridge, best known for his work on sea ice, told us “This is not a cycle; not just a fluctuation. In the end, it will all just melt away quite suddenly.” This was settled science, there was consensus, and anyone who disagreed was derisively called a “denier.”

    It was settled science, and they were wrong. By August 2013, more square miles of ocean were covered with ice than at the same time in 2012; in fact, the ice cover had increased by 29 per cent. The NASA-funded National Snow and Ice Data Centre stated on its website that in August 2013 the Arctic ice cover recovered by a record 1.38 million sq km – 533,000 sq miles – from its 2012 low. All the ice isn’t gone.

    But don’t fret. The Goracle and many scientists still got a lot of money from the dire predictions.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MsioIw4bvzI

    • brettearle

      Are you suggesting, for example, that Polar Bears are not losing their natural habitat?

      • HonestDebate1

        They never were. Algore had that heartbreaking animation of a polar bear struggling to climb onto a crumbling chard. But it was a lie. For one thing a polar bear can swim 50 miles or more.

        But as OPC points out, there is more ice not less.

        The real indicator is populations which continue to grow. They’re fine.

        • brettearle

          Can you name one credible Environmental, WildLife, Oceanography, Climatology web site who is in agreement with you?

          It must be that all these credentials, all these research papers, all these in-field studies are simply all politically blind; and that these scientists–who would be staking their carers and reputations on their findings–would be so ignorant as to allow their belief in Liberal Ideals, and their hatred for the capitalistic Furnace of Coal and Fossil Fuels, to becloud their conclusions….

          Could it be that Honest Debate’s own expansive ignorance in this scientific area, eclipses Dr. Kerry Emanuel’s expertise or all the other climatologists who have stayed up until 4 AM, for years, looking at heat trends?

          Dr. Emanuel, from MIT and an internationally renowned climatologist–who is as Republican as they come–believes strongly in the Destruction of Global Warming.

          “They’re Fine”–a recent entry, coming out of the archive of HD’s memorable quotes–is about as bogus as the PR pointman for Saddam, announcing to the world that Elite forces were repelling the Invaders.

      • Labropotes

        Freeman Dyson gave a lecture a few years ago called, I think, “Six Scientific Heresies.” In it, he comments that global warming is happening primarily in the polar regions.

        • HonestDebate1

          But he’s making a theoretical argument. It’s not happening. Temperatures were predicted to be higher than they turned out to be despite the CO2. Historically, temperature rises before CO2 levels rise, not after. And regarding the polar regions, Antarctica was -135.8 F last week.

          http://www.nbcnews.com/science/not-thats-c-c-c-cold-antarctica-sets-record-135-2D11719427

          Not only that, the polar bears are thriving.

          • Labropotes

            Thanks for watching it. But you seem to have watched in order to disagree. First, the facts he states were true in 2006, when he states them.

            http://climate.gi.alaska.edu/ClimTrends/Change/TempChange.html

            Second, he gives several reasons why we should not expect the climate models to be reliable. E.g., science has not quantified global soil carbon storage. He says the models suck.

            Last, the capacity to test the surface temperature of central antarctica is about 10 years old. A new low in a data stream that is younger than my cat is not significant though it is interesting. Also, they are comparing it to a temp taken 1m above the ground. At night, in periods of radiant cooling, the ground is always colder than the air.

          • HonestDebate1

            I didn’t watch it, not the whole thing anyway.

            But that’s my point Labropotes, everybody was wrong in 2006. The IPCC’s 2007 first quarter assessment was horribly off base as well and so much is based on it.

            And the polar bears are fine.

  • FrankensteinDragon

    the look on the democrats face in this pic is as if someone just died–democracy maybe? While Paul Ryan looks triumphant–proud. Once again dems submit to the fascists. And this pic is very deliberate–staged. Will we see this tyrant on the presidential ticket? We are being set up to see him this way. Disgusting.

  • OnPointComments

    WHITE HOUSE DELAYED ENACTING RULES AHEAD OF 2012 ELECTION TO AVOID CONTROVERSY
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/white-house-delayed-enacting-rules-ahead-of-2012-election-to-avoid-controversy/2013/12/14/7885a494-561a-11e3-ba82-16ed03681809_story.html?hpid=z1

    Excerpt:

    The White House systematically delayed enacting a series of rules on the environment, worker safety and health care to prevent them from becoming points of contention before the 2012 election, according to documents and interviews with current and former administration officials.

    …seven current and former administration officials told The Washington Post that the motives behind many of the delays were clearly political, as Obama’s top aides focused on avoiding controversy before his reelection.

    President Obama, 3/26/2012: “This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.” I suspect he meant far more than flexibility on missile defense.

    • Don_B1

      Everyone has the right to “suspect” what they want, but your “suspicions” are barely raw speculation, with nothing to base them on except your desire to cast everything President Obama does in the worst possible light.

      • OnPointComments

        As the article stated, “seven current and former administration officials told The Washington Post that the motives behind many of the delays were clearly political, as Obama’s top aides focused on avoiding controversy before his reelection.” If seven people from the Obama administration say the motives are clearly political, are we to believe them? If seven if not enough, how many do you require? If an administration was bent on delaying rules to avoid the political consequences, is it a far stretch to believe that “You can keep your plan, you can keep your doctor” was said for the same reason? Would this administration say Benghazi was something it wasn’t if it postponed the political consequences until after the election?

        There comes a point where only the most naïve can believe that it’s all coincidence.

      • HonestDebate1

        Why would anyone have a desire to cast Obama in a bad light? Just because?

  • OnPointComments

    There seems to be a fair amount of OWS in the comments on here.

    OBAMA WORSHIP SYNDROME
    http://fairborndailyherald.com/news/opinion_columns/3095970/Obama-worship-syndrome

    “Obama Worship Syndrome.” Primarily affecting low-information voters and members of the mainstream media, Obama Worship Syndrome attributes impossible capabilities to Obama’s political opponents, finds excuses for every Obama failure in everyone around him and praises the president as the finest politician — nay, human being — of our time.

    CNN’s Piers Morgan…“After the perfect Barack Obama — who’s a perfect physical specimen to many people’s eyes — does it matter?”

    MSNBC’s Chris Matthews…“the perfect father, the perfect husband, the perfect American,” explaining that Obama has “never done anything wrong in his life, legally, ethically, whatever…”

    I agree with everyone’s favorite, Ann Coulter, who said that everyone should always vote Republican, because at least when a Republican is elected, we have an adversarial media as a check and balance. For the past 5 years, the media has played the part of the congregation in the temple of Obama worship.

  • pete18

    Completely predictable:

    “More than 2,400 Connecticut customers who bought health plans on Access Health CT were given incorrect information about their insurance plans, in one case underestimating the maximum out-of-pocket by at least $4,000.

    “http://www.courant.com/health/connecticut/hc-access-health-ct-mixup-20131211,0,808386.story

  • J__o__h__n

    I listened to this on the air Friday and WBUR butchered the show so much with pledging.

  • OnPointComments

    • “Record low temperature recorded in Antarctica: scientists” — Chicago Tribune, Dec. 9
    • “National Weather Service says stretch of Arctic temperatures coldest since 1972″ — Minneapolis Star Tribune, Monday
    • “Al Gore wasn’t even warm about the disappearance of Arctic ice” — New Jersey Star-Ledger, Sept. 16
    • “Scientists: Antarctic set record cold temperatures” — examiner.com, Dec. 10
    • “Study: Earth was warmer in Roman, Medieval times” — Daily Caller, Friday
    • “Global warming? Satellite data shows Arctic sea ice coverage up 50 percent!” — Daily Caller, Monday
    • “Cairo Witnesses First Snowfall in 112 Years” — Pakistan Tribune, Sunday
    • “Over half the USA covered in snow, the most in 11 years” — wattsupwiththat.com, Monday
    • “Are tornadoes getting stronger? No” — wattsupwiththat.com, Sunday
    • “Fire And Ice — Volcanoes, Not CO2, Melt West Antarctic” — IBD, Dec. 11

    http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/121713-683293-kerry-obsessed-with-nonexistent-global-warming.htm#ixzz2nmjZEvJO

ONPOINT
TODAY
Apr 23, 2014
In this Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012, file photo, Chet Kanojia, founder and CEO of Aereo, Inc., shows a tablet displaying his company's technology, in New York. Aereo is one of several startups created to deliver traditional media over the Internet without licensing agreements. (AP)

The Supreme Court looks at Aereo, the little startup that could cut your cable cord and up-end TV as we’ve known it. We look at the battle. Plus: a state ban on affirmative action in college admissions is upheld. We’ll examine the implications.

Apr 23, 2014
Attendees of the 2013 Argentina International Coaching Federation meet for networking and coaching training. (ICF)

The booming business of life coaches. Everybody seems to have one these days. Therapists are feeling the pinch. We look at the life coach craze.

RECENT
SHOWS
Apr 22, 2014
This undated handout photo, taken in 2001, provided by the Museum of the Rockies shows a bronze cast of the Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton known as the Wankel T.rex, in front of the Museum of the Rockies at Montana State University in Bozeman, Mont. (AP)

As a new Tyrannosaurus Rex arrives at the Smithsonian, we’ll look at its home – pre-historic Montana – and the age when dinosaurs ruled the Earth.

 
Apr 22, 2014
Security forces inspect the site of a suicide attack in the town of Suwayrah, 25 miles (40 kilometers) south of Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, April 21, 2014. Suicide bombings and other attacks across Iraq killed and wounded dozens on Monday, officials said, the latest in an uptick in violence as the country counts down to crucial parliament elections later this month. (AP)

We look at Iraq now, two years after Americans boots marched out. New elections next week, and the country on the verge of all-out civil war.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
The Week In Seven Soundbites: April 18, 2014
Friday, Apr 18, 2014

Holy week with an unholy shooter. South Koreans scramble to save hundreds. Putin plays to the crowd in questioning. Seven days gave us seven sounds.

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Our Week In The Web: April 18, 2014
Friday, Apr 18, 2014

Space moon oceans, Gabriel García Márquez and the problems with depressing weeks in the news. Also: important / unnecessary infographics that help explain everyone’s favorite 1980′s power ballad.

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Some Tools And Tricks For College Financial Aid
Thursday, Apr 17, 2014

Some helpful links and tools for navigating FAFSA and other college financial aid tools.

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