Sarah B.

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  • Sarah B. commented on the blog post SYRIZA Achieves Victory in Greek Elections

    2015-01-27 23:40:50View | Delete

    The victory of Syriza in Greece is bad news for Israel [via European Jewish Press]

    The victory of Syriza is bad news for Israel? Well, that settles it. I’m all in and then some.

    Actually, I’ve been all in with Alexis Tsipras and Syriza from the beginning, but the fact that this huge victory for democracy and fiscal sanity pisses off the Israelis and the ziocons who love them makes the win all the more delicious.

    I really appreciate the link to the JPost piece, because I would probably have missed it without your timely intervention.

    Don’t you just love the way in which the purveyors of “democracy” in “the West” really hate democracy viz. Greece, Ukraine, Crimea, the Donbass, Palestine, Venezuela, and Honduras, to name but a few obvious examples, while taking measures to sabotage genuine democracy and sovereignty and self-determination at every opportunity when it appears to threaten their hegemony?

    The JPost types just call me a self-hating Jew, an epithet which I wear as a badge of honor considering the source — Hasbara Central!

    PS — Thanks again for a great response.

  • Sarah B. commented on the blog post SYRIZA Achieves Victory in Greek Elections

    2015-01-27 11:57:20View | Delete

    Actually, Podemos is all in:

    By Ashifa Kassam in Madrid — 26 January 2015

    Spain’s Podemos inspired by Syriza’s victory in Greek elections
    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jan/26/spain-podemos-syriza-victory-greek-elections

    “Syriza, Podemos – venceremos,” chanted Podemos’s Pablo Iglesias into the microphone on Sunday, his voice rising as he hit the last word: we will win. In the packed bleachers of this rally of the party faithful in Valencia, a Greek flag waved as thousands joined in his chant.

    Few followed the elections in Greece as closely as Spaniards, many of whom saw in the electoral race a preview of looming elections in their country. As news broke on Sunday that Syriza had ousted the establishment to become the first anti-austerity party to gain power in the eurozone the leader of the far-left Podemos party, Pablo Iglesias, revelled in the news. (Emphasis added)

    “I think that the victory of Syriza will provoke something that’s new in the political panorama of Greece – they’re going to have a real Greek president, not a delegate of Angela Merkel whose interests will rank above those of the country and its people,” he told La Sexta news channel on Sunday night.

    Austerity had been dealt a blow by democracy, he said, giving his nascent movement in Spain a foothold that could prove crucial in the coming year as municipal, regional and general elections pit Podemos against the bipartisan political system that has ruled Spain since the death of Franco. (Emphasis added)

    Since its creation one year ago, Podemos has emerged as a top contender, with polls consistently showing it, the People’s party and the Socialists earning 20 – 30% of the vote each. (Emphasis added)

    Perhaps this heralds the beginning of a trend.

  • Sarah B. commented on the blog post SYRIZA Achieves Victory in Greek Elections

    2015-01-27 11:41:38View | Delete

    Update: Good News!

    By Stelios Bouras and Alkman Granitsas — January 27, 2015

    Bailout Critic Yanis Varoufakis Named Greek Finance Minister
    http://www.wsj.com/articles/economist-yanis-varoufakis-says-he-will-be-greek-finance-minister-1422363195

    New Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras Signals a Tough Line in Debt Talks:
    (Emphasis added)

    ATHENS—Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras unveiled a cabinet that includes an outspoken academic and bailout critic as finance minister, in a signal that Greece’s coalition government will take a tough line in upcoming debt negotiations with international creditors. (Emphasis added)

    The new finance minister Yanis Varoufakis is an economist who describes himself as a “libertarian Marxist.” He had been recruited to run for a parliamentary seat by Mr. Tsipras’ leftist Syriza party, which swept into power in elections on a wave of support from austerity-weary voters.

    Mr. Varoufakis is part of a team of prominent critics of Europe’s economic approach appointed with the task of rolling back Greece’s austerity plan and reducing the country’s massive debt load with its international creditors.

    The cabinet presented Tuesday also included several appointments from the right-wing Independent Greeks party, which is the junior partner in the coalition formed Monday. The coveted defense ministry position went to Panos Kammenos, the head of the party. Mr. Kammenos is known for his nationalism and hard-line stance on regional foreign policy.

    With both ministers known for tough views, Mr. Tsipras appears to be coming out swinging. The cabinet’s 40 members were sworn in later Tuesday, and will assume responsibilities immediately, with their first meeting scheduled for Wednesday. (Emphasis added)

    Eurozone politicians have tried to dampen hopes that Greece would get easier bailout terms, worried that the step would encourage other recipients to demand similar deals. Mr. Varoufakis didn’t try to allay that fear. (Emphasis added)

    “What happens here today is the beginning of a new hope for the whole of Europe,” he said following his swearing-in. The euro “was not designed to sustain financial crisis.” (Emphasis added)

    Read on — the piece is worth the effort from start to finish.

    These developments are lovely and long overdue.

    Now, to borrow a baseball metaphor, it’s time for Podemos’s Pablo Iglesias to call the bullpen and tell the party’s best pitchers to start throwing warm-up pitches, because they are going to need to throw hard strikes at Merkel and the Troika (Germany and its Lessers) to return democracy and fiscal sanity to Spain.

    “Syriza, Podemos – venceremos.”

    ~~ Pablo Iglesias, Podemos

    The phrase reflects a rare spark of optimism across the otherwise bleak Spanish landscape. If Spain managed to get rid of Franco and his fascist tyranny, the Spanish electorate can get rid of Merkel and her curiously Russian-named Troika — the Toxic Troika consisting of the EC, ECB, and IMF — and to thwart their cunning plan to spread neoliberal fascism as the governing principle throughout the Eurozone.

  • Sarah B. commented on the blog post SYRIZA Achieves Victory in Greek Elections

    2015-01-26 23:31:22View | Delete

    Do you have personal knowledge or are you inferring from place of birth?

    Both. But not in the bone-literal way in which you seem to have misinterpreted my comment.

    I’m not making a literal inference regarding Alexis Tsipras and his place of birth, which are based on fact. Rather, I am drawing a metaphorical and historical inference from classical antiquity and the fact that Athens was the birthplace of Athenian democracy — in the sense that Athens was the school of Hellas — hence, the quotation from Pericles.

    I thought that those literary and historical allusions would have been obvious from the text and the spirit of my comment, and even more fully from the quotation from Pericles, but apparently not. Perhaps, the blunt application of a two-by-four would have been of greater value.

    I would not presume to second guess Thucydides, but it is not unreasonable to recall that he was acutely aware of political comebacks and to imagine that he might have regarded Alexis Tsipras as a man of the hour — the quintessential Athenian — who has managed against the odds and the forces of opposition to seize the moment and who now possesses the opportunity to move Hellas in a bold new direction.

    But, I also added that we shall see how Tsipras and his governing coalition manage to confront the daunting challenges ahead and the tides of opposition that are already aligned to push back on him and his party in the coming weeks and months ahead as events unfold and problems present themselves to be confronted and negotiated and resolved in keeping with the mandate given to him and his party by the voters.

    Pericles was the quintessential Athenian for his time — when Athens was the unrivaled school of Hellas — and his oratory and rhetoric inspired his fellow Athenians to seize the day. Why not Alexis Tsipras at this time?

    Tsipras may not be Pericles, at least not yet, but he has demonstrated the determination, the savvy, the rhetorical, political, and strategic skills to win a major political victory against enormous odds and fierce opposition from a variety of players with vested interests in preserving the brutal status quo of imposed Austerity, led principally by Frau Merkel and her drooling, tail-wagging, leg-humping cohort in Brussels, Frankfurt, and Berlin, and the Washington consensus, and in the investment banks on Wall Street, whose directors are averse to taking haircuts but always happy to take scalps.

    The question will be the degree to which Tsipras and his coalition can deliver on their promises and their vision of democratic institutions over fascist tyranny and which course(s) they will chart to arrive at their desired destination. Or not, as the case may be.

    Tsipras has turned the page, but now he must write the next chapters and push back hard against the critics and naysayers and saboteurs who seek to derail and defeat him and his party and to eliminate the potential threat they pose for the greater neoliberal-globalist agenda in Europe and beyond.

    I thank Alexis Tsipras for taking the risk at this critical moment in time and wish him and his party all measure of success moving forward.

  • Sarah B. commented on the blog post SYRIZA Achieves Victory in Greek Elections

    2015-01-26 18:30:21View | Delete

    Athens is the School of Hellas.

    At pinnacle of his oration in praise of Athens, Pericles declares:

    In short, I say that as a city we are the school of Hellas; while I doubt if the world can produce a man, who where he has only himself to depend upon, is equal to so many emergencies, and graced by so happy a versatility as the Athenian.

    ~~ Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War, 2.41.1.

    If ever there were a perfect time to infuse new life into those words, this is that time.

    Born in Athens, Alexis Tsipras is the quintessential Athenian. He was written off by the U.S., UK, and the Troika (Germany), and by the U.S. and international media in 2012, when they vociferously sang the praises of Amherst College and Harvard MBA Antonis Samaras, the austerity-obssessed technocrat and Greek version of Mario Monti.

    What a comeback! Tsipras has just pulled of a major upset victory that flies in the face of the best laid plans of the neoliberal elites, and no one is more aware than he that there is no time for post-election hubris. But, we shall see. It’s still very early days.

    Eager to take the Athenian out of Athens and relocate him to Brazil or Venezuela, the Financial Times demonstrates a risible lack of imagination in its efforts:

    Will Syriza’s Tsipras turn out to be a Lula or a Chávez?
    http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/bf1659fe-a32f-11e4-bbef-00144feab7de.html#axzz3Pz2jMzxv

    The radical versus the pragmatist cliché. The financial media are desperately hoping for Lula based on self-serving nostalgia and wishful thinking if nothing else. It has never occurred to them that Tsipras might in fact chart his own course and just might do so in ways that have nothing to do with South America and everything to do with Hellas.

    Perhaps, Hellas can become the school of Portugal, Spain, Italy, and Ireland.

  • Where’s Petraeus’ conviction? The DOJ would first need to move forward with Petraeus’ prosecution.

    But, any significant action on the Petraeus prosecution front has produced the sounds of *crickets* despite the recent warning shot that was fired across the pages of the corporate media that Petraeus could be, or might be, facing prosecution for leaking classified material to his mistress and chosen hagiographer Paula Broadwell.

    Clearly, some lives matter more than others, to wit:

    McDonnell to remain free pending appeal
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/dc-politics/mcdonnell-to-remain-free-pending-appeal/2015/01/26/6838ba5c-a58f-11e4-a7c2-03d37af98440_story.html

    Former Virginia governor Robert F. McDonnell will remain free while his appeal is adjudicated — a significant victory for the onetime Republican rising star and a signal that a higher federal court might see some merits in his arguments. (Emphasis added)

    In a two-page order, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit ruled that McDonnell could remain out of prison on his own recognizance because his appeal was “not for the purpose of delay” and raised “a substantial question of law or fact.” Though it is not clear which of McDonnell’s arguments resonated, experts said the higher court must believe at least one of the questions in his case is worth a second look. (Emphasis added)

    Having friends in high places helps, too:

    The former governor’s request enjoyed a number of independent supporters: Six former Virginia attorneys general, the National Association of Criminal Defense lawyers and two Harvard law instructors, one of them a retired federal judge, filed briefs on McDonnell’s behalf. (Emphasis added)

    This paragon of virtue is not considered a flight risk and will be spending more time with his family. No such judicial courtesy was afforded to John Kiriakou and his family pending appeal, because there is no mercy (or justice) for whistleblowers.

    You may recall that Tom DeLay (R-TX), Republican Party House Majority Leader, had his conviction reversed on appeal, thus acquitting him of all charges by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. It appears that Bob McDonnell could be similarly blessed in due course.

  • Jury Convicts Former CIA Officer Jeffrey Sterling of Leaking to Journalist & Violating Espionage Act

    A profoundly tragic outcome:

    January 26, 2015

    CIA whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling found guilty on all counts
    http://rt.com/news/226455-sterling-cia-iran-guilty/

    A jury found former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling guilty of all charges against him under the Espionage Act. The government accused Sterling of illegally revealing classified information about a mission. (Emphasis added)

    Sterling was charged under the Espionage Act for disclosing classified information about a mission meant to slow Iran’s nuclear program to New York Times reporter James Risen, who then wrote about the CIA’s Iranian plot in his 2006 book, “State of War.” The plan’s goal was to learn more about the country’s controversial nuclear program and impair its progress, and the schematics were reportedly funneled to the Iranians via a Russian scientist with the codename “Merlin.” (Emphasis added)

    Risen was also critical of the plan in his book, saying it could have inadvertently helped Iran if they were able to identify what was wrong with the blueprints. Prosecutor Eric Olshan argued in court that these criticisms matched up with Sterling’s own view of the mission, and portrayed the CIA as unresponsive to potential risks.

    “The only person who comes out smelling like roses in Mr. Risen’s telling is Jeffrey Sterling,” Olshan said.

    We destroyed some folks.

    Specifically, the Obama administration has destroyed the lives of “some folks” who sought to shed light on reckless government malfeasance, criminal activity by CIA operatives, serious violations of domestic and international law, and, of course, gross incompetence.

    Jeffrey Sterling is now the fifth person in US history to be charged with mishandling national defense information under the Espionage Act — charged and now convicted in Mr Sterling’s case.

    In predictable yet reprehensible fashion, the New York Times has characterized Sterling’s conviction as a “significant victory for the Obama administration.” Go figure.

    PS — “Black lives matter.”

    Alas, Obama and Holder ignored that memo in favor of Equal Opportunity Espionage.

  • A profoundly tragic outcome:

    January 26, 2015

    CIA whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling found guilty on all counts
    http://rt.com/news/226455-sterling-cia-iran-guilty/

    A jury found former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling guilty of all charges against him under the Espionage Act. The government accused Sterling of illegally revealing classified information about a mission. (Emphasis added)

    Sterling was charged under the Espionage Act for disclosing classified information about a mission meant to slow Iran’s nuclear program to New York Times reporter James Risen, who then wrote about the CIA’s Iranian plot in his 2006 book, “State of War.” The plan’s goal was to learn more about the country’s controversial nuclear program and impair its progress, and the schematics were reportedly funneled to the Iranians via a Russian scientist with the codename “Merlin.” (Emphasis added)

    Risen was also critical of the plan in his book, saying it could have inadvertently helped Iran if they were able to identify what was wrong with the blueprints. Prosecutor Eric Olshan argued in court that these criticisms matched up with Sterling’s own view of the mission, and portrayed the CIA as unresponsive to potential risks.

    “The only person who comes out smelling like roses in Mr. Risen’s telling is Jeffrey Sterling,” Olshan said.

    We destroyed some folks.

    Specifically, the Obama administration has destroyed the lives of “some folks” who sought shed light on reckless government malfeasance, criminal activity by CIA operatives, serious violations of domestic and international law, and, of course, gross incompetence.

    Jeffrey Sterling is now the fifth person in US history to be charged with mishandling national defense information under the Espionage Act — charged and now convicted in Mr Sterling’s case.

    In predictable yet reprehensible fashion, the New York Times has characterized Sterling’s conviction as a “significant victory for the Obama administration.” Go figure.

    PS — “Black lives matter.”

    Alas, Obama and Holder ignored that memo in favor of Equal Opportunity Espionage.

  • A profoundly tragic outcome:

    January 26, 2015

    CIA whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling found guilty on all counts
    http://rt.com/news/226455-sterling-cia-iran-guilty/

    A jury found former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling guilty of all charges against him under the Espionage Act. The government accused Sterling of illegally revealing classified information about a mission. (Emphasis added)

    Sterling was charged under the Espionage Act for disclosing classified information about a mission meant to slow Iran’s nuclear program to New York Times reporter James Risen, who then wrote about the CIA’s Iranian plot in his 2006 book, “State of War.” The plan’s goal was to learn more about the country’s controversial nuclear program and impair its progress, and the schematics were reportedly funneled to the Iranians via a Russian scientist with the codename “Merlin.”

    Risen was also critical of the plan in his book, saying it could have inadvertently helped Iran if they were able to identify what was wrong with the blueprints. Prosecutor Eric Olshan argued in court that these criticisms matched up with Sterling’s own view of the mission, and portrayed the CIA as unresponsive to potential risks.

    “The only person who comes out smelling like roses in Mr. Risen’ s telling is Jeffrey Sterling,” Olshan said.

    We destroyed the lives of some folks.

    Specifically, the Obama administration has destroyed the lives of some folks who sought to bring to light reckless government malfeasance, criminal activity, serious violations of domestic and international law, and, of course, gross incompetence.

    Jeffrey Sterling is now the fifth person in US history to be charged with mishandling national defense information under the Espionage Act.

    In predictable yet reprehensible fashion, the New York Times has characterized Sterling’s conviction as a “significant victory for the Obama administration.” Go figure.

  • Sarah B. commented on the blog post SYRIZA Achieves Victory in Greek Elections

    2015-01-26 13:07:48View | Delete

    Cheeky bastards.

    Downgrading The US Will Cost S&P $1.5 Billion
    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-01-20/downgrading-us-will-cost-sp-15-billion

    Remember when S&P forgot for a second that it lives in a world of pretend free speech, and where telling the truth would promptly result in a lawsuit by none other than the US government under false pretenses (and from which Buffett darling Moody’s was excluded) after it downgraded the US from AAA to AA+ in the summer of 2011? A downgrade which as Bloomberg previously reported led to this exchange with then Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner: “S&P’s conduct would be looked at very carefully,” Geithner told McGraw according to the filing. “Such behavior would not occur, he said, without a response from the government.”

    Well, S&P will never make the same mistake again, because according to Reuters, it will cost it $1.5 billion to settle with the government and put the whole “downgrade” episode in the past.

    Emphasis not added, because none was necessary.

    But wait! — Quick! — Look over there! — S&P, Fitch, and Moody’s pile on:

    S&P downgrades Russia to speculative grade “BB+” from “BBB-”, outlook negative
    http://itar-tass.com/en/economy/773461

    Fitch cuts rating outlook for Russia’s largest oilfield service company
    http://itar-tass.com/en/economy/772550

    Moody’s downgrades Russia’s govt bond rating to Baa3
    http://itar-tass.com/en/economy/771697

    Not because the elves and gnomes at the ratings agencies are credible, but because they can.

  • Iraqi Vice President Nouri al-Maliki Calls Fall In Oil Prices “Economic War”

    Yeppers, CT.

    Plus, any difference between Maliki and the new-and-improved Maliki — Haider al-Abadi — is largely cosmetic and a distinction with very little difference, even though the new edition is supposed to be less glum and recalcitrant and more business friendly.

    It has been approximately four months since Obama announced that “Maliki must go” and little has changed beyond the slippery slope from bad to worse.

    You have no doubt noticed that the new-and-improved Ali Abdullah Saleh in Yemen — Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi — has been under siege in the past 24 hours by Shiite Houthi rebels who have taken over the presidential palace and are making demands for greater inclusion in decision-making and the completion of a new constitution.

    Hadi and the Houthi rebel leaders have announced late today that they now have reached a deal, but they have had deals in the past that fell apart in further power struggles. So, we shall see. The Houthis now control most if not all of the capital city of Sana’a, and that is a lot of leverage when applied to the fractured U.S. puppet government.

    When Hadi was sworn in and took office last September, Obama touted Yemen as another one of his success stories. But, with successes like these, who needs failures? Stay tuned.

  • The political system in America is “legalized corruption.” It’s not even worth pretending anymore. How far we’ve fallen.

    Actually, “fallen” is not quite accurate — dead cat bounce is more like it — to borrow a cherished Wall Street reference.

    Not unlike “legalized corruption” and the huge fees that Wall Street banksters and hedge fundsters pay to corporate law firms like Covington & Burling LLP, the firm to which Eric Holder will return when he departs the Department of Justice in February, to protect and preserve the system and to maintain the status quo.

    PS — Presidential cuff links on the right French cuffs can work magic.

  • Sarah B. commented on the blog post 2015 State Of The Union Address

    2015-01-21 14:37:38View | Delete

    See Sarah B’s glowing descriptions of her above. To me, Joni Ernst is another creepy pro-Atlantist, military fascist. Time will tell. Not sure why Sarah B., for all her other sentiments, puts herself behind this hell-bent military fascist.

    WTF? This is exactly what I wrote in my first comment on the referenced thread:

    Sarah B. January 19th, 2015 at 1:09 pm #50

    In response to Marion in Savannah @ 34 (show text)
    Joni “Pig Nutter” Ernst’s response ought to be VERY special…

    Yes, the Dembots love to make fun of Joni Ernst — the “Pig Nutter” — damn that’s clever!

    But castrating hogs is actually a useful skill, a fact not lost on Iowa voters when they voted to send Ernst to the Senate over Democrat Bruce Braley — by a margin of 52.2% to 43.7% — thus making her the first woman elected to represent Iowa in either house of Congress.

    Also, too, Ernst is a lieutenant colonel in the logistics branch and currently commands the 185th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion at Camp Dodge, the largest battalion in the Iowa Army National Guard.

    As of 2014, Ernst had served 21 years between the Army Reserve and the National Guard. She spent 14 months in Kuwait in 2003-2004 as a company commander during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

    My message to Senator Ernst (R-IA): Get out your castrating knife and let the squealing begin!

    (h/t Wiki for the bio)

    That comment is not a “glowing description” of Joni Ernst by any stretch of the imagination, but not for your lack of trying to project that falsehood onto me — it is a list of factual statements:

    Fact: Referring to Ernst as “Pig Nutter” and “Nutty Nut Cutter” and that she is “wearing a rug on her head” and that she is a “hell-bent military fascist” are but a few examples of ad hominem attacks, and this thread and others abound with similar examples of commenters making fun of her rural farming background, perceived lack of sophistication, and her physical appearance.

    Fact: Castrating hogs is a useful skill for hog farmers, a fact which appears to have resonated with Iowa voters.

    Fact: Iowa voters did vote for Ernst over Democrat Bruce Braley — by a margin of 52.2% to 43.7% — thus making her the first woman elected to represent Iowa in either house of Congress.

    Fact: Ernst is a lieutenant colonel in the logistics branch and currently commands the 185th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion at Camp Dodge, the largest battalion in the Iowa Army National Guard; she has served 21 years between the Army Reserve and the National Guard, and she served 14 months in Kuwait in 2003-2004 as a company commander during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

    If those factual statements gleaned from Ernst’s bio at Wiki appear to you to constitute a “glowing description” of her, then the “glow” must be in the eye of the beholder and not in the text or the intention of the writer.

    Yet, on the basis of those factual statements, you state that you are not sure why, for all my other sentiments, I would put myself “behind” this “hell-bent military fascist.” That is your projection — it bears no resemblance to what I wrote — and it assumes multiple facts not in evidence.

    I am not sure exactly how you arrived at the blinkered conclusion that I had, in any, way put myself “behind” Joni Ernst — the “hell-bent military fascist” — simply because I called out the hypocrisy of resorting to ad hominem attacks against her for fun and amusement.

    I notice that after urging your fellow commenters to “see” my “glowing descriptions of her above” to illustrate your point, it finally dawned on you that I hadn’t posted a single comment to this thread. So, you helpfully provided a link to the thread on which I did post comments related to her.

    The next comment that I posted regarding Ernst on that thread is as follows:

    Sarah B. January 19th, 2015 at 1:41 pm #70

    In response to Sarah B. @ 50 (show text)
    And one more thing:

    Joni Ernst (R-IA) graduated from Iowa State University and Columbus State University.

    She did not graduate from Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Brown, U Penn, Stanford, or UC Berkeley, or one of Seven Sisters or the Baby Ivies, nor did she attend a posh private boarding school in New England or Virginia (Saint Grottlesex, et al.) — hence, even more reason to recommend her as part of the human race.

    The fact that I disagree with Ernst’s political positions because she is a GOPer is neither here nor there, because I don’t agree with the Democrats, either, and in equal measure, given what negligible difference, if any, exists between the two parties these days. (Emphasis added)

    If the Dembots find Ernst irritating and difficult to listen to, maybe it’s because they haven’t watched or listened to an entire speech by Hillary Clinton in awhile. As CTuttle would say: *Gah!*

    What part of that statement don’t you understand?

    The fact that I disagree with Ernst’s political positions because she is a GOPer is neither here nor there, because I don’t agree with the Democrats, either, and in equal measure, given what negligible difference, if any, exists between the two parties these days. (Emphasis added)

    Or, was it that I pointed out that Ernst graduated from state universities as opposed to one of the elite schools from which so many members of the political class in both parties graduated and to which they send their own children. The fact that she did not graduate from an elite university is not without some appeal, and she is in fact a member of the human race. Will you at least give her that much?

    Further down on that thread, a fellow commenter wondered about who Ernst is, and I provided links to her Wiki bio and the YouTube video of her campaign ad that refers to her experience castrating hogs while growing up on a farm in Iowa, noting that all politics is definitely local in Iowa.

    If those benign comments consisting of largely factual statements constitute “glowing descriptions” of Ernst in your mind — including one in which I state unequivocally that I disagree with Ernst’s political positions because she is a GOPer — then you don’t know the meaning of the phrase “glowing description.”

    I use the term “Dembots” as a political handle to include partisan Democrats, liberals, and progressives who buy into the “war on women” meme and take umbrage when women whom they like and respect are attacked by the GOPers or right-wing talk radio and television hosts, especially, when those attacks are based on trivia regarding nitpicky details from their bios and, especially, when such attacks include physical appearance.

    But someone like Joni Ernst is fair game for all measure of petty ad hominem attacks hurled by Democrats and liberals and progressives because she is a GOPer and a conservative.

    I don’t see attacks on Hillary Clinton or Elizabeth Warren at FDL based on bits and pieces of their respective bios and/or their physical appearance, and I consider that a plus. So, why is Joni Ernst fair game for such attacks? Are they not all women? Or, is the Heathers treatment reserved strictly for the GOPers?

    Finally, if you want a well-documented “hell-bent military fascist” to take on, you can go after Barack Obama and his kill lists and drone wars and targeted assassinations and disastrous military intervention in Libya and covert intervention in Yemen and his arming and training “moderate” rebels in Syria and arming neo-Nazis in Ukraine and his slavishly supporting the genocidal fascist-apartheid regime in Israel and the grotesque monsters who run the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

    PS — If you had such a strong reaction to my comments, why did you not reply or confront me about them directly on the thread in which they were posted? Or, do you prefer the drive-by cheap shot on a thread in which I had not posted a single comment? Just curious.

  • Ted Cruz’s wife works for Goldman Sachs I think.

    You think correctly, wynota skunk, but you jump-started my curiosity.

    So, I looked up Ted Cruz’s wife and discovered that sometimes opposites do indeed attract:

    By Ashley Parker — October 23, 2013

    A Wife Committed to Cruz’s Ideals, but a Study in Contrasts to Him
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/24/us/politics/a-wife-committed-to-cruzs-ideals-but-a-study-in-contrasts-to-him.html?pagewanted=all

    WASHINGTON — At first glance, Senator Ted Cruz’s wife, Heidi Nelson Cruz, seems to be just the sort of person the Tea Party supporters who celebrate her husband’s anti-establishment positions love to hate. (Emphasis added)

    A vegetarian with a Harvard M.B.A., Mrs. Cruz is a managing director at Goldman Sachs, one of the Wall Street firms that helped set off the populist rage that ushered Mr. Cruz into the Senate in 2012. She works for Goldman in Houston, where she lives with the couple’s two young children,
    and as her husband’s fame has increased — depending on the audience, he is among the most pilloried or revered members of the Senate — she has maintained a low profile. (Emphasis added)

    Read on at the above link, if you care to do so.

    In re Obamacare? The money quote (quite literally) from Heidi Nelson Cruz is unambigious:

    “I have to say, honestly, I’m not involved with any of those issues at our firm,” Mrs. Cruz said. And if her husband was evasive about where he got his health coverage, Mrs. Cruz was blunt. (Emphasis added)

    “Ted is on my health care plan,” said Mrs. Cruz, who has worked in Goldman’s investment management division for eight years. (Emphasis added)

    Consequently, the Cruz family healthcare coverage is embedded securely in the private sector at Goldman Sachs and is therefore sanctified if not downright deified — cuz’ it don’t cost the taxpayers nothin’…except, of course, that it does, and we all pick up the tab in one way or the other, but that’s as it should be in a neoliberal trickle-up economy. Right?

    Cadillac healthcare for we (the Cruz family) — and broken-down jalopy healthcare for thee (you and your family) — because markets!

    You get what you can afford to pay for and not a penny more.

  • The 2016 Koch Primary Begins: GOP Candidates Audition In Palm Springs

    Damn! — I misread that lede — at first glance, I thought it said:

    The 2016 Koch Primary Begins: GOP Candidates Auction In Palm Springs

    On second thought, perhaps, I got it right after all.

    The Hillary Clinton auction is already over, and she went to the highest bidder: Goldman Sachs.

    “I’m a Hillary guy!”
    ~~ Lloyd Blankfein

  • Many people in Nebraska and South Dakota claim that Iowa acronym for “Idiots out walking about”.

    Interesting that so many people in Nebraska and South Dakota feel superior to the “Idiots” in Iowa, especially, given the fact that the voters in all three states are now represented by GOPers in the U.S. Senate, and all three states have governors who are GOPers, to wit:

    Senators:

    Nebraska
    Deb Fischer (R-NE)
    Benjamin E. Sasse (R-NE)

    South Dakota
    John Thune (R-SD)
    Mike Rounds (R-SD)

    Iowa
    Chuck Grassley (R-IA)
    Joni Ernst (R-(IA)

    Governors:

    Nebraska:
    Pete Ricketts (R-NE)

    South Dakota:
    Dennis Daugaard (R-SD)

    Iowa:
    Terry Branstad (R-IA)

    They’re genius, I tells ya’, pure genius!

    Or, is it more a case of Pot meet Kettle?

  • Sarah B. commented on the blog post Richest 1% Set To Own Over Half Of World’s Wealth

    2015-01-20 16:39:14View | Delete

    Income and Wealth — a distinction without much difference in real terms.

    Thank you, Alice X — excellent analysis with clear and accessible first-hand examples.

    This recent Pew Research study addresses the difference between income and wealth and examines the ways in which the Great Recession has left the majority of Americans worse off and with little realistic hope of recouping much of what was lost through no fault of their own, thus leaving them financially stuck and with no end in sight:

    America’s wealth gap between middle-income and upper-income families is widest on record
    http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/12/17/wealth-gap-upper-middle-income/

    The wealth gap between America’s high income group and everyone else has reached record high levels since the economic recovery from the Great Recession of 2007-09, with a clear trajectory of increasing wealth for the upper-income families and no wealth growth for the middle- and lower-income families.

    A new Pew Research Center analysis of wealth finds the gap between America’s upper-income and middle-income families has reached its highest level on record. In 2013, the median wealth of the nation’s upper-income families ($639,400) was nearly seven times the median wealth of middle-income families ($96,500), the widest wealth gap seen in 30 years when the Federal Reserve began collecting these data.

    In addition, America’s upper-income families have a median net worth that is nearly 70 times that of the country’s lower-income families, also the widest wealth gap between these families in 30 years. (Emphasis added)

    Wealth is the difference between the value of a family’s assets (such as financial assets as well as home, car and businesses) and debts. It is an important dimension of household well-being because it’s a measure of a family’s “nest egg” and can be used to sustain consumption during emergencies (for example, job layoffs) as well as provide income during retirement. Wealth is different from household income, which measures the annual inflow of wages, interests, profits and other sources of earnings. The data have also shown a growing gap in wealth along racial and ethnic lines since the recession ended. (Emphasis added)

    The money quote:

    The latest data reinforce the larger story of America’s middle class household wealth stagnation over the past three decades. The Great Recession destroyed a significant amount of middle-income and lower-income families’ wealth, and the economic “recovery” has yet to be felt for them. Without any palpable increase in their wealth since 2010, middle- and lower-income families’ wealth levels in 2013 are comparable to where they were in the early 1990s. (Emphasis added)

    When Obama launches into happy-talk mode in his STFU speech tonight — bloviating about the country’s economic progress about how the economy is recovering thanks, of course, to him and his policies — you can almost hear the raucous laughter emanating from households all across America whose beleaguered residents know better.

    While there is a difference between income and wealth in the technical sense given the ways in which each metric is calculated, the notion that income can be surgically separated from wealth and vice versa is laughable and not borne out by the facts.

    The Great Recession did set back the median wealth of upper-income families, but over the past three years those families have recouped some of their losses and enjoy the realistic prospect of continued recovery and the likelihood of replenishing their investment portfolios and real estate holdings as the valuation of their property accelerates along with their earnings and bonuses as they move forward.

    The poor and middle class — a category which includes most Americans — remain financially stuck with little realistic chance of ever recouping their significant losses experienced since the onset of the Great Recession, which often include the loss of a well-paying job, healthcare benefits, savings, and their now foreclosed or underwater home.

    Thanks again for a great comment that actually puts flesh on the bones.

  • In re Wednesday’s recap:

    Natty Rebel

    You have mentioned on other threads that you are a huge fan of Zero Hedge, as I am, and here is one of the best lists I’ve seen thus far on the multiple and serial deficiencies of the Obama years and their impact on the middle class, which was cross-posted at ZH today from Michael Snyder’s The Economic Collapse blog, to wit:

    27 Facts That Show How The Middle Class Has Fared Under 6 Years Of Barack Obama
    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-01-19/27-facts-show-how-middle-class-has-fared-under-6-years-barack-obama

    During his State of the Union speech on Tuesday evening, Barack Obama is going to promise to make life better for middle class families. Of course he has also promised to do this during all of his other State of the Union addresses, but apparently he still believes that there are people out there that are buying what he is selling. Each January, he gets up there and tells us how the economy is “turning around” and to believe that much brighter days are right around the corner. And yet things just continue to get even worse for the middle class.

    The numbers that you are about to see will not be included in Obama’s State of the Union speech. They don’t fit the “narrative” that Obama is trying to sell to the American people. But all of these statistics are accurate. They paint a picture of a middle class that is dying. Yes, the decline of the U.S. middle class is a phenomenon that has been playing out for decades. But without a doubt, our troubles have accelerated during the Obama years. When it comes to economics, he is completely and utterly clueless, and the policies that he has implemented are eating away at the foundations of our economy like a cancer.

    The following are 27 facts that show how the middle class has fared under 6 years of Barack Obama…

    Read on at the above-referenced link — each and every one of the listed 27 facts is well-documented, evidence-based, and difficult for all but the most besotted Obots and Dembots to attempt to deny and refute.

    This grim accounting offers the real and lasting legacy of the Obama presidency, regardless of the fantasies that he and his remaining supporters will continue to manufacture and fabricate until he finally leaves the White House to embrace much greener pastures — book deals and speaking fees and probably a foundation and his library and multiple residences in posh locations near golf courses — exactly like the zombie Clintons, who seem to go on forever, and feast not on brains but on that tasty green stuff also known as cash.

    It’s very good stuff.

  • LibWingofLibWing

    Not to worry. You are more than welcome, and I’m so glad that I was able to help.

    When and if people don’t respond to one of my comments, I always figure that the comment left them feeling indifferent, or that they hated it, or liked it, without feeling any impulse to reply, or that the thread probably closed, which is often the case — because it happens to us all.

  • Now, wynota skunk, I’m not going to argue the basketball connection — that ain’t my game — and you can have it and then some. I hate March Madness, too!

    But baseball is my game, and I know what I’m talking about.

    Not to put too fine a point on it — or belabor it to death — but just Google “baseball no harm, no foul” and you will see the links and references fill the screen.

    Classic example: When a pitcher throws a 98 mph fastball high and inside just missing the batters head, and the pitcher walks to the plate to make sure the batter is okay and to say he’s sorry and to make clear that he didn’t intend to bean the pitcher with the fastball, the batter is likely to say, “Thanks, no harm, no foul.”

    Myriad such examples abound in baseball. Yes, the term “bush-back pitch” refers to the pitch, but “no harm, no foul” refers to the reaction of the batter who is relieved not to have been beaned by the fastball.

    Runners will also say “no harm, no foul” when there is a crash at home plate between runner and catcher, or at second or third base between runner and baseman, and the runner and player both emerge shaken but unscathed from the collision.

    Now, about that mom-avenging nose-punchin’ pope, don’t even get me started. Dayem! — If I’m ever in the market for a good old-fashioned punch-throwing brawl, take me out to the ballgame. Please!

    PS — I will always prefer pitchers over popes by a country mile, but that’s just me.

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