Monday Reads: Coming apart at the seams

palin-cruz-wwii-march-confed-flagGood Morning!

Every time I see a member of the Tea Party talk about “taking their country back”, I wonder which country they mean?  Yes, nothing says respect our vets like waving confederate flags and telling our President to put down his Q’uran.   Senator Ted Cruz and professional gadfly Sarah Palin have once again proven that their followers are just plain off their proverbial rockers.

“Veterans” – basically Tea Partyers – led by Palin and Cruz, marched today on the World War II memorial in Washington, DC, stole the National Park Service’s protective barriers, and then threw them at the White House.

This was intended to show their ire over the fact that the World War II memorial, along with every other federal land, site, office and program, was closed once the GOP shut down the federal government in the hopes of extorting the President into defunding health care reform, aka Obamacare, aka the Affordable Care Act.

The Tea Party “vets,” led by Palin and Cruz, are apparently so outraged at themselves for shutting down the federal government, that they’re now protesting the President for listening to them.

Tea Party protesters also concerned about Obama being a Muslim

According to CNN, the Tea Party protesters gathered at the White House are also very concerned that President Obama is a Muslim:

One speaker went as far as saying the president was a Muslim and separately urged the crowd of hundreds to initiate a peaceful uprising.

“I call upon all of you to wage a second American nonviolent revolution, to use civil disobedience, and to demand that this president leave town, to get up, to put the Quran down, to get up off his knees, and to figuratively come out with his hands up,” said Larry Klayman of Freedom Watch, a conservative political advocacy group.

Fox’s Brit Hume is quite upset that Politico’s Ben White appears to have a brain

Of course, leave it to Fox News to come to the defense of today’s contradictory Tea Party protest against the very shutdown policy the Tea Party championed.

elGo read the twitter exchange between Hume and White.  It’s worth the look. The rally wasn’t very big but  the radical right  can still grab media attention. That probably explains one of the reasons that Palin showed up given she’s about as relevant as a French Franc these days.

About 200 people, counting among their ranks Republican Senator Mike Lee, Senator Ted Cruz and former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, converged on D.C.’s World War II memorialSunday morning. Slightly overselling themselves as the ”Million Vet March on the Memorials,” they cut through barriers to protest the site’s closing during the shutdown.

“This is the people’s memorial,” Cruz said in a speech. “Let me ask a simple question. Why is the federal government spending money to erect barricades to keep veterans out of this memorial?”

Those present weren’t all agreed upon the specifics of their grievances, according to the Washington Times. As one protestor put it: “There’s a three-part focus: veterans, impeachment and the truckers.”

Other Tea Partiers heckled the police at the White House. 

The fine, upstanding patriots who protesting at Washington, DC memorials ganged up on police at the White House calling them names like “Gestapo,” “Brown Shirts,” and “Stasi.” They also yelled that the security unit “looked like something out of Kenya.” These Tea Partiers have been making public displays about how much they love Americans serving in uniform, but that, apparently, doesn’t extend to police uniforms.

Stay classy my friends!!!

Meanwhile, the relevant people in the government were trying to figure out a way to open the government and avoid defaulting on the national debt.  Reid and McConnell are taking the three day weekend to try to find some common ground.  McConnell appears quite wed to the sequester which is devastating essential government services in an outrageous way. There doesn’t appear to be much movement on any one’s part.

In talks between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the main sticking point is now where to establish funding levels for the federal government and for how long. The Republican offer made on Friday — to set spending at sequestration levels of $988 billion for the next six months -– was rejected by Reid and others on Saturday on the grounds that it was too favorable to the GOP position and discouraged future negotiations.

By Sunday morning, little notable progress toward a resolution had been made. McConnell, according to sources, was adamant that the spending cuts of sequestration be maintained in any final arrangement.

“Sen. McConnell will defend the commitment Congress made on spending reductions; he’ll defend the law that Sen. Reid voted for and the president signed — and subsequently bragged about in his campaign,” said McConnell spokesman Don Stewart. “As I recall, Sen. Reid voted for, and President Obama signed the Budget Control Act [which established sequestration]. They may not like that the supercommittee didn’t act and we’re left with sequester, but under their own rhetoric, it’s ‘the law of the land.'”

Some of McConnell’s top deputies that echoed sentiment on the Sunday talk shows. “The president and leaders of Congress need to take the responsibility of dealing with the underlying problem and keep the budget caps in place,” Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) told “Meet The Press.” “My gosh, we just put them in place two years ago.”

“If you break the spending caps, you’re not going to get any Republicans in the Senate,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, (R-S.C.) said on ABC’s “This Week.”

There doesn’t appear to be any movement really on either side.  As I’ve written about before, nations around the world are not responding well to any of vintage-circus-and-sideshow-posters-2these.  The Chinese are calling for “De-Americization”  saying that Pax America has failed on all fronts.

China’s official news agency has called for the creation of a “de-Americanised world”, saying the destinies of people should not be left in the hands of a hypocritical nation with a dysfunctional government.

Heaping criticism and caustic ridicule on Washington, the Xinhua news agency called the US a civilian slayer, prisoner torturer and meddler in others’ affairs, and said the ‘Pax Americana’ was a failure on all fronts.

The official news agency of China, which is seen as the pretender to the world’s superpower crown, then rubbed in more salt, calling American economic pre-eminence just a seeming dominance.

“As US politicians of both political parties are still shuffling back and forth between the White House and the Capitol Hill without striking a viable deal to bring normality to the body politic they brag about, it is perhaps a good time for the befuddled world to start considering building a de-Americanised world,” the editorial said.

It asks why the self-declared protector of the world is sowing mayhem in thefinancial markets by failing to resolve political differences over key economic policy.

“… the cyclical stagnation in Washington for a viable bipartisan solution over a federal budget and an approval for raising debt ceiling has again left many nations’ tremendous dollar assets in jeopardy and the international community highly agonised,” the agency said.

It is not the first time Chinese leadership and newspapers have criticised Washington over a policy paralysis that threatens to devalue its dollar assets.

According to US Treasury Department data, China is the biggest foreign owner of US Treasuries at $1.28 trillion as of July. Besides, China also holds close to $3.5 trillion of dollar-denominated assets.

A US debt default and consequent credit downgrade would significantly erode the value of China’s holdings.

A U.S.default would put is in the company of some pretty rogue nations including 1933 Germany.

Reneging on its debt obligations would make the U.S. the first major Western government to default since Nazi Germany 80 years ago.

Germany unilaterally ceased payments on long-term borrowings on May 6, 1933, three months after Adolf Hitler was installed as Chancellor. The default helped cement Hitler’s power base following years of political instability as the Weimar Republic struggled with its crushing debts.

“These are generally catastrophic economic events,” said Professor Eugene N. White, an economics historian at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. “There is no happy ending.”

The debt reparations piled onto Germany, which in 1913 was the world’s third-biggest economy, sparked the hyperinflation, borrowings and political deadlock that brought the Nazis to power, and the default. It shows how excessive debt has capricious results, such as the civil war and despotism that ravaged Florence after England’s Edward III refused to pay his obligations from the city-state’s banks in 1339, and the Revolution of 1789 that followed the French Crown’s defaults in 1770 and 1788.

Failure by the world’s biggest economy to pay its debt in an interconnected, globalized world risks an array of devastating consequences that could lay waste to stock markets from Brazil to Zurich and bring the $5 trillion market in Treasury-backed loans to a halt. Borrowing costs would soar, the dollar’s role as the world’s reserve currency would be in doubt and the U.S. and world economies would risk plunging into recession — and potentially depression.

Ever thought about working for Amazon?  Well, Business Week’s look at Jeff Bezos may give you pause. 

The people who do well at Amazon are often those who thrive in an adversarial atmosphere with almost constant friction. Bezos abhors what he calls “social cohesion,” the natural impulse to seek consensus. He’d rather his minions battle it out backed by numbers and passion, and he has codified this approach in one of Amazon’s 14 leadership principles—the company’s highly prized values that are often discussed and inculcated into new hires:

Leaders are obligated to respectfully challenge decisions when they disagree, even when doing so is uncomfortable or exhausting. Leaders have conviction and are tenacious. They do not compromise for the sake of social cohesion. Once a decision is determined, they commit wholly.

Some employees love this confrontational culture and find they can’t work effectively anywhere else. “Everybody knows how hard it is and chooses to be there,” says Faisal Masud, who spent five years in the retail business. “You are learning constantly, and the pace of innovation is thrilling. I filed patents; I innovated. There is a fierce competitiveness in everything you do.” The professional networking site LinkedIn (LNKD) is full of “boomerangs”—Amazon-speak for executives who left the company and then returned. 

But other alumni call Amazon’s internal environment a “gladiator culture” and wouldn’t think of returning. Many last less than two years. “It’s a weird mix of a startup that is trying to be supercorporate and a corporation that is trying hard to still be a startup,” says Jenny Dibble, who was a marketing manager there for five months in 2011. She found her bosses were unreceptive to her ideas about using social media and that the long hours were incompatible with raising a family. “It was not a friendly environment,” she says. Even leaving Amazon can be a combative process—the company is not above sending letters threatening legal action if an employee takes a similar job at a competitor. Masud, who left Amazon for EBay(EBAY) in 2010, received such a threat. (EBay resolved the matter privately.)

vintage_circus_sideshow_fire_eater_posters-ra89fd673f2134c598efee923234cc864_850gq_8byvr_512Gladiator Culture?   Oy!!!

So, today is a holiday and I have to join a lot of people in asking why the heck do we still celebrate Columbus Day?  How do you “discover” something when it’s already been there and you actually were looking for some place else?  Then, you basically turn the place into a living hell for those you “discovered”?  Just don’t get it at all!

I’m still one of those that believes we should honor the first Americans!  That would be the ones who were already here when the Europeans invaded the place.

One issue that came up during our conversation was the fact that Columbus Day really should be renamed to Native American Day, in honor of the millions of people whose heritage has been ridiculed and ruined in mainstream media (when the plight of people living on reservations isn’t being ignored entirely, that is). However, when Brown University exchanged “Columbus Day” language for more neutral “Fall Weekend,” they were met with opposition from their College Republican group, whose leader argued “Columbus should be celebrated for bringing the European political tradition to the New World, which led to the foundation of the United States.”

Oh, dear!  I’m back to xenophobic and racist republicans again.  How did that happen?  Like I said, when they say take ‘our’ country back.  What the hell country and who do they mean?

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

56 Comments on “Monday Reads: Coming apart at the seams”

  1. ANonOMouse says:

    That group of whack-a-nuts, waving their confederate flags, make me cringe. I live right in the middle of that sort of neo-confederate

    And I know which America they want to “take back”. It’s the America of my youth where blacks lived life on the margins of white society and women did what they were told. In that world Sarah Palin would be relegated to a life of housework or secretarial work. She would be tending the children, cleaning house and watching Russia from her front porch.

    The Tea Nuts are basically a bunch of angry, mostly older, white men and the ignorant white women who love them.

    • RalphB says:

      three-part focus: veterans, impeachment and the truckers

      Oh yeah, can’t forget the fucking truckers. What a bunch of bullshit grifters looking for some new suckers,

    • I know Mouse, is scares me living in this area with these nuts surrounding me.

      Hey Ralph, take a look at some of the raw video here: Video: Protesters in Confrontation with Black Man Right in Front of Confederate Flag | Mediaite

      • RalphB says:

        That’s totally grotesque. I’m a veteran and am driven to distraction by the current fetishism about the military. All the Support Our Troops and Respect Our Vets stuff is fine where it’s required but the amount we have now is very unhealthy for our society. I believe it assures more wars in the future.

        • bostonboomer says:

          It is weird. I wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that most Americans don’t even know anyone who has served in the military. It’s not like when we were young and everyone’s Dad had been in WWII and we had a draft. In the ’60s there was fear of getting drafted.

          • RalphB says:

            I don’t know what causes it but I believe it’s very dangerous. Without the decades of largely bloodless, but highly heroic, John Wayne genre of war movies, I don’t believe the war in Vietnam would have lasted nearly as long. From my first row perch, I met a lot of WWII veterans who, while they kept largely silent, didn’t support Vietnam but the non-serving folks were gung-ho for the fight so long as someone else was doing it. After all,.they had seen “Sands of Iwo-Jima” and it didn’t look that bad.

      • bostonboomer says:

        These people look like they stepped out of “Deliverance.”

      • bostonboomer says:

        Wow. They are protesting against smoking bans? There really are two Americas.

      • dakinikat says:

        I feel barricaded into the environs below the 1-12. You can’t go north of the Gulf Coast area without bumping into the KKK and a bunch of angry rednecks. They’ve been spoon feed hell, damnation and Rush Limbaugh for so long they have no idea which way up is any more.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        “I know Mouse, is scares me living in this area with these nuts surrounding me”

        And no matter how long you live around them, it never gets better.

    • Hey, looks like they identified the asshole who brought the confederate flag: Confederate Flag Guy Identified – Little Green Footballs

      Here’s the guy who brought the Confederate flag to the White House yesterday: Michael Ashmore.

      Since he links to “Conservative Preppers” (survivalists) and a group called “Redneckers,” I’m guessing he probably isn’t a liberal, planted to make conservatives look bad.

      (And yes, a lot of right wing blogs are trying to use that hoary old excuse.)


      Yes, you should see some of the rationalizations going on…

  2. RalphB says:

    Politicians at that “rally”, Ted Cruz is on some weird, flaky run for President, Palin is just a grifter so she probably sees money there, but what the hell does Sen Mike Lee from Utah expect to get out of all this crap they have caused? Campaign cash?

  3. Pat Johnson says:

    “Take our country back” for them is states rights where discrimination can be practiced without interference and regulations are abandoned in favor of business interests.

    You can teach Creationism and ignore science. You can deny voters rights to anyone whose skin color does not match yours. You can eliminate marriage between same sex couples because it “says so in the bible” which replaces the U.S. Constitution as the deciding point of law.

    You can openly deny healthcare to anyone living below the poverty level. You can return women to a second rate status with the state making decisions on her behalf. You can openly fly your confederate flag since we are still fighting that war which ended over 150 years ago.

    You can suspend higher education for anyone but those who can pay it out of pocket. You can suspend any form of gun control laws since it is the “right” of every individual to own as many and as deadly a weapon as possible.

    You can force people to accept a “Christian god”. You can eliminate the minimum wage and collective bargaining.

    And you can call this “self government” until the next disaster grabs you by the short hairs.

    • bostonboomer says:


      The only thing I’m thinking about this morning is the amazing day yesterday for Boston sports. I’m still excited!

      • RalphB says:

        Texas beat Oklahoma in our regional football rivalry so I should feel good about that, but that was so Saturday :-:) Congrats the Red Sox had a great ending,

        • bostonboomer says:

          The Patriots too. They scored a touchdown in the last minute against the Saints.

          • Pat Johnson says:

            With a fractured team that is suffering from injuries.

            Brady will go down as one of the best quarterbacks football has ever produced.

      • Pat Johnson says:

        bb, I was so disheartened by the 6th inning that I turned off the t.v. and picked up my book.

        Then I got curious and when I dialed back in they were tied.

        I hate myself for doing that since I am with them from Spring training on and here I was “giving up” in the 6th.

        They have been fantastic all season and no matter the outcome they have given us many, many thrills since April.

        Go Sox!!

        • bostonboomer says:

          Oh no! I almost did that too. I shut off the TV after Ortiz struck out with one on base. But I couldn’t resist listening on the radio. After the grand slam I was so excited I had to stay up.

  4. RalphB says:

    Great article by Hendrik Hertzberg in The New Yorker: Impeach Obama!

    • bostonboomer says:

      John Boehner, the Speaker of the House, suddenly offered last Thursday to postpone the deadline for carrying it out—but with conditions, and for a mere five weeks. The new proposed deadline is November 22nd, the fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

      I didn’t realize that was the proposed deadline. Wow. How ironic. The date of the coup that changed America forever.

    • dakinikat says:

      I said this a few days ago but I am really glad we’re finally seeing the press name these freaks neoconfederates. I’ve seen it for some time but we got so much of that equivocation about it was just ‘conservative’ and an ‘opinion’. It truly is secessionist and borders–if not steps over the border–on treason.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        I totally agree Dak. What we’re seeing is insurrection hiding under the cloak of “ordinary” dissent. There is nothing ordinary about the group that protested in D.C. yesterday.

        I watched some of the videos of yesterdays gathering at the WWII monument and it was total demagoguery. When the march, (where 10’s of 10’s showed up to participate) moved to the gates of the White House they waved their Confederate flag, alongside the U.S. Flag and the Marine Corp Flag and screamed for Obama to lay down the Quran and come out with his hands up. Threatening the POTUS in that way is a dangerous ploy and any politician that encourages that or gives life to that is flirting with “treason”.

        And how dare they wave the Confederate flag alongside the U.S. Flag and the U.S. Marine Corp flag. In one breath they are hating the government and government employees and in the next breath screaming that they want their VA benefits. OMG, do they not see the contradiction of their lunatic behavior? Did they not know that they worked for the U.S. Government when they served in the Armed Forces? Do they not know that it is Federal workers who work in the VA offices that handle their VA claims and make sure their benefits are administered?,Do they not know that VA Docs & Nurses are U.S. Government Employees? Do they not know that the VA Hospitals are run by the Federal Government.?That the World War II monument and all monuments in D.C. are guarded by and maintained by Federal employees? It takes me back to those Red-neck senior members of the Tea Party who protested ObamaCare by screaming “we don’t want our Medicare taken over by the government.” These folks are way beyond stupid!!!!

        • RalphB says:

          They are way beyond stupid and are made stupider every time they listen to a Palin. Cruz, Mike Lee, or Rand Paul feed them some new line of bullshit. Too many of them are ignorant, scared hate filled people who think they have to lash out. Most of the world is moving on and leaving them behind.

  5. RalphB says:

    The Shrill One…

    Krugman: The Dixiecrat Solution

    Despite denials from Republican leaders, everyone I talk to believes that it would be easy to pass both a continuing resolution, reopening the government, and an increase in the debt ceiling, averting default, if only such measures were brought to the House floor. How? The answer is, they would get support from just about all Democrats plus some Republicans, mainly relatively moderate non-Southerners. As I said, Dixiecrats in reverse.

    The problem is that John Boehner, the speaker of the House, won’t allow such votes, because he’s afraid of the backlash from his party’s radicals. Which points to a broader conclusion: The biggest problem we as a nation face right now is not the extremism of Republican radicals, which is a given, but the cowardice of Republican non-extremists (it would be stretching to call them moderates).

    The question for the next few days is whether plunging markets and urgent appeals from big business will stiffen the non-extremists’ spines. For as far as I can tell, the reverse-Dixiecrat solution is the only way out of this mess.

    • bostonboomer says:

      So you have this neighbor who has been making your life hell. First he tied you up with a spurious lawsuit; you’re both suffering from huge legal bills. Then he threatened bodily harm to your family. Now, however, he says he’s willing to compromise: He’ll call off the lawsuit, which is to his advantage as well as yours. But in return you must give him your car. Oh, and he’ll stop threatening your family — but only for a week, after which the threats will resume.

      Not much of an offer, is it? But here’s the kicker: Your neighbor’s relatives, who have been egging him on, are furious that he didn’t also demand that you kill your dog.

      And now you understand the current state of budget negotiations.

  6. Pat Johnson says:

    I just turned on the tv and low and behold the first thing I hear is Sarah Palin screeching at the top of her lungs at a rally supporting Ted Cruz and the other crazies.

    Who in the name of all that is holy insists on bringing this braindead idiot out of storage?

    • RalphB says:

      Grifters gotta grift 🙂

    • dakinikat says:

      She probably enjoys being in a crowd where hers is not the lowest iq in the group.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        You betcha!!!! 🙂

      • ANonOMouse says:

        And in a country with so few women in power, I become very agitated with the idea that Sarah Palin is a reflection of the American woman or speaks for the American woman, especially since she isn’t/doesn’t. I don’t feel an ounce of gender loyalty or any other sort of loyalty or respect for Palin, Bachmann or any woman who works against the best interest of women as a whole. To my mind Palin and Cruz, Paul and Bachmann are the exact same person.

  7. RalphB says:

    The part of Obamacare that I want most to work out well…

    NYT: Obamacare: The Rest of the Story

    What you may not know is that the Affordable Care Act is also beginning, with little fanfare, to accomplish its second great goal: to promote reforms to our overpriced, underperforming health care system. Irony of ironies, the people who ought to be most vigorously applauding this success story are Republicans, because it is being done not by government decree but almost entirely with market incentives.

    Using mainly the marketplace clout of Medicare and some seed money, the new law has spurred innovation and efficiency. And while those new insurance exchanges that are now lurching into business will touch roughly 1 in 10 Americans (the rest of us are already covered by private employer plans or by government programs like Medicare), these systemic reforms potentially touch every patient, every taxpayer.

    “This is the 90 percent of the story that doesn’t make the headlines,” said Sam Glick, who follows health care reform for the Oliver Wyman consulting firm.

  8. RalphB says:

    My cervical collar came off today! Woohoo, maybe I’ll be able to sleep now. Almost all of the symptoms I had; intense nerve pain, inability to walk properly etc, are gone. All I have left is just a bit of numbness in some of my fingertips and that should go away in time, as the nerve bundle fully heals. If it doesn’t, I can live with it anyway.

    Thanks from the bottom of my heart to all of you wonderful people who sent fine thoughts my way. I’m sure everything was easier because of it and I’m deeply touched. Thanks again!

  9. RalphB says:

    Josh Barro: Republicans Aren’t The ‘Daddy Party’ Anymore

    “If Republicans were once the daddy party, now they’re the abusive ex-husband with a substance abuse problem party.”


    • RalphB says:

      Groups like the Chamber of Commerce are expressing irritation with Republicans over the government shutdown and debt ceiling brinksmanship, but they’re not taking the obvious next step and aligning with Democrats.

      Republicans’ role as the “daddy party” and the party of business have always been closely linked: Daddy’s restraint is what stops the government from sinking the economy when it tries to provide nice things to the public. Now that daddy is drunk and beating the children, it’s time for business to throw its support behind mommy.

  10. RalphB says:

    Fuck Yeah!!!!!

    rOGE sIMON: Government shutdown unleashes racism

    Question: If Ted Cruz and John Boehner were both on a sinking ship, who would be saved?

    Answer: America.

    Harsh? Look around you at what is happening to America and you will see harsh. I am not talking about closed parks and monuments. I am talking about the funds cut to nearly 9 million mothers and young children for food, breastfeeding support and infant formula.

    That is harsh. Making a war against babies is harsh. And for what? Because Cruz, Republican senator from Texas, has grown so drunk on the sound of his own voice and so besotted with illusions of his own grandeur that he believes halting government today will propel him into the White House tomorrow? …

  11. Beata says:

    “Sitting in Limbo” – The Neville Brothers