Tag: Joe Biden

Demanding Answers from the Candidates

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

The Romney/Ryan tax plan is not serious. As Matt Taibbi, contributing editor of Rolling Stone, points out, we should all be rolling our eyes and laughing at this farcical plan. He also takes the mainstream media to task for not being offended by the dishonest tactics and lies that the Republican candidates are using to bamboozle the electorate into handing these two frat boys the White House.

I’ve never thought much of Joe Biden. But man, did he get it right in last night’s debate, and not just because he walloped sniveling little Paul Ryan on the facts. What he got absolutely right, despite what you might read this morning (many outlets are criticizing Biden’s dramatic excesses), was his tone. Biden did absolutely roll his eyes, snort, laugh derisively and throw his hands up in the air whenever Ryan trotted out his little beady-eyed BS-isms. [..]

The load of balls that both Romney and Ryan have been pushing out there for this whole election season is simply not intellectually serious. Most of their platform isn’t even a real platform, it’s a fourth-rate parlor trick designed to paper over the real agenda – cutting taxes even more for super-rich dickheads like Mitt Romney, and getting everyone else to pay the bill. [..]

Think about what that means. Mitt Romney is running for president – for president! – promising an across-the-board 20 percent tax cut without offering any details about how that’s going to be paid for. Forget being battered by the press, he and his little sidekick Ryan should both be tossed off the playing field for even trying something like that. This race for the White House, this isn’t some frat prank. This is serious. This is for grownups, for God’s sake. [..]

Sometimes in journalism I think we take the objectivity thing too far. We think being fair means giving equal weight to both sides of every argument. But sometimes in the zeal to be objective, reporters get confused. You can’t report the Obama tax plan and the Romney tax plan in the same way, because only one of them is really a plan, while the other is actually not a plan at all, but an electoral gambit. [..]

The proper way to report such a tactic is to bring to your coverage exactly the feeling that Biden brought to the debate last night: contempt and amazement. We in the press should be offended by what Romney and Ryan are doing – we should take professional offense that any politician would try to whisk such a gigantic lie past us to our audiences, and we should take patriotic offense that anyone is trying to seize the White House using such transparently childish and dishonest tactics.

Like Taibbi, I am no fan of the Obama/Biden administration, but this campaign by the Republican candidates is a bad joke being played out with the blessings of the traditional MSM. It’s time to get answers. This is serious business.

The President Supports Same Sex Marriage But . . .

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Vice President Joe Biden started a storm over marriage equality when he announced on Meet the Press that same sex marriage was OK with him. The press immediately wanted to know if President Obama’s position had “evolved.” The Biden interview was taped on Friday, so the White House was fully aware of what he had said. Finally, after three days of media over kill, the passage of Amendment 1 in North Carolina and the drying up of donations from the LGBT community, Pres. Obama announced that he “personally” supported same sex marriage. But hold your horses, people, this was just his personal opinion, not his political policy. Obama is still refusing to issue an executive order that would ban discrimination of gays, lesbians and transgender workers by federal contractors. From Sam Stein at Huffington Post:

The senior administration officials declined to say whether the president would now push for gay marriage to be part of the Democratic Party’s platform at the convention. They also said they were not changing positions on an Executive Order that would ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation against federal contractors. The president has said he would not sign that order. [..]

There were, however, reasons why even party officials were insisting, not all that long ago, that the president needed to put this off until after the election. There is concern that support for gay marriage will drive away voters in some conservative-leaning swing states. There is even more concern that Republican operatives can and will use the issue to go after the president.

Letting each state decide on the equality of individuals is not the best idea either. How would individuals have voted in states like Mississippi if they had been given the choice about civil rights? Marriage equality is a federal matter since states are required under the Constitution to recognize marriage contracts from other states. Therefore, they should not be permitted to restrict marriage to heterosexual couples.

Does anyone at this point seriously believe that any of the people who voted for NC’S Amendment 1 will ever vote for Obama, no matter what his stand is on marriage equality? Only time will tell if the campaign donation faucet suddenly opens since it had dried up because of the work place discrimination issue. While it is certainly admirable and, in the case of Obama being a sitting president, momentous, for him to have made an official statement, the President still needs to “walk the walk”, back up his words and sign the anti-discrimnation executive order.  

V.P. Biden Supports Gay Marriage, WH Walks It Back

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

This morning on “Meet the Press“, Vice President Joe Biden had heads literally spinning when he gave his unequivocal endorsement for same sex marriage. Within minutes in the White House press room heads exploded and the walk back began.

GREGORY: Have your views evolved?

BIDEN: The good news is that as more and more Americans come to understand what this is all about is a simple proposition. Who do you love? Who do you love and will you be loyal to the person you love? And that’s what people are finding out what all marriages at their root are about. Whether they are marriages of lesbians or gay men or heterosexuals. […]

GREGORY: You’re comfortable with same-sex marriage now?

BIDEN: Look, I am Vice President of the United States of America. The president sets the policy. I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women and heterosexual men marrying women are entitled to the same exact rights. All the civil rights, all the civil liberties. And quite frankly I don’t see much of a distinction beyond that. […] I think Will & Grace probably did more to educate the American public than almost anything anybody has done so far. People fear that is different and now they’re beginning to understand.

h/t Think Progress

Not quite, David. President Obama has yet to say he endorses same sex marriage. Civil Unions, yes; Marriage, no.

What Pam Spaulding said:

Biden’s comments are interesting in that they represent the President’s exact view – that gay and lesbian couples deserve the same civil rights, save the whole bit about the word “marriage.” Talk about threading the political needle.

What John Aravosis said:

Wrong.  Biden talked about the marriages of gays and lesbians being the same as heterosexual marriages.  And Axelrod’s attempt to back away from what the White House apparently sees as the radioactive nature of our civil rights is patently offensive.

Cantor Temper Tantrum: No Taxes, No, No, No (Up Date)

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Up Date below the fold

Call a Wahmbulance for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor as he quits the debt ceiling talks with Vice President Joe Biden:

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Republican of Virginia, said Thursday that he was quitting  the debt ceiling negotiations being led by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. because of an impasse over the role of taxes in any final deal.

“I believe that we have identified trillions in spending cuts, and to date, we have established a blueprint that could institute the fiscal reforms needed to start getting our fiscal house in order,” Mr. Cantor said in a prepared statement.

“That said, each side came into these talks with certain orders, and as it stands the Democrats continue to insist that any deal must include tax increases. There is not support in the House for a tax increase, and I don’t believe now is the time to raise taxes in light of our current economic situation. Regardless of the progress that has been made, the tax issue must be resolved before discussions can continue.”

David Kurtz at Talking Point Memo says this may not be such a big deal:

The read we’re getting is that this could be merely an indication that the emissaries to the talks have gotten as far as they can get and that the remaining heavy lifting is going to have be done by the principals: President Obama and Speaker Boehner.

Meanwhile, Speaker John Boehner doesn’t sound to pleased that he will now have to defend the Republican stand that tax increases are off the table:

“I understand his frustration, I understand why he did what he did, but I think those talks could continue if they’re willing to take the tax hikes off the table,” he said.

One possible interpretation of Cantor’s pullout was that he needed Boehner’s authority to negotiate revenue increases necessary to complete a far-reaching deal with Democrats, but Boehner made repeatedly clear on Thursday that he had not budged at all on the issue.

“Tax hikes are off the table,” he said. “First of all, raising taxes is going to destroy jobs….second, a tax hike cannot pass the US House of Representatives — it’s not just a bad idea, it doesn’t have the votes and it can’t happen. And third, the American people don’t want us to raise taxes. They know we have a spending problem.”

(emphasis mine)

Boehner may be correct on point two but he is so wrong on one and three that is totally laughable and flat out lies that the press refuses to counter. Americans know we have a revenue problem because of the Bush/Obama tax cuts and loop hole in the tax code. Americans overwhelmingly support tax increases on millionaires. I don’t think Boehner is stupid, I think he is a tool of his corporate masters.

My only question now is where the hell is the Democratic leadership to counter this? Why aren’t the Democrats out in front of the cameras pointing out how wrong the Republicans are? The Democrats need to listen to the people, too and take Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid off the table as well.  

Own It, Live With It, Embrace It

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Because we aren’t going to let you get out from under it….

Thus spoke Anthony Weiner on on May 24th, laying out the Republican plan to replace Medicare with an inadequate voucher program:

Today, House Republicans brought another bill (HR 1216) to the House floor that does not address jobs and wastes time in a futile attempt to repeal part of the Affordable Care Act. House Democrats are staging a “mini-filibuster” by “striking the last word” allowing them five minutes of time to discuss their strong opposition to the Republican-passed budget which ends Medicare as we know it and forces seniors to pay over $6,000 more a year.

   Weiner: I move to strike the last word Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, you may recall I was standing here approximately two hours ago waiting to speak with several other members on the efforts of my Republican friends to eliminate Medicare as we know it and for reasons that are known only to the Chair, I was denied the ability to do that. Well, I’m back. And just to review the bidding, here’s where it was before that order was made. We had the Chairman of the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee, a good man, a guy I like, stand down in the well and say, ‘Oh, no’ (and this by the way is someone who is elected by the Republican members to represent them in races all around the country) saying that the Ryan plan wasn’t a plan it was and I’m quoting here, “a construct to develop a plan” and he said the proposal is not a voucher program and then he said it was a one size fits all, that Medicare was draining our economy is what he said.

  Well, ladies and gentlemen, that might be the rationale for our Republican friends wanting to eliminate Medicare, but none of those things are true. It is not a ‘construct to develop a plan’ it is the proposal of the Republican party of the United States of America to eliminate Medicare as a guaranteed entitlement. If you don’t believe me, go get the book that they wrote, go get the budget that they wrote, go get the bill that they wrote.

h/t to Crooks & Liars for the transcript.

The Ryan Budget plan has failed in the Senate with 5 Republicans opposing it, the Republicans are still embracing the proposal to eliminate Medicare. They are in denial about the loss of NY-26, long a Republican stronghold. to Democrat Kathy Hochul. The sadder part is the White House has also missed the message

Joe Biden group to tackle Medicare and Medicaid: aide

Vice President Joe Biden and top lawmakers will examine government-run health plans on Tuesday as they try to work out a deal to raise the United States’ borrowing authority, a congressional aide said.

h/t Marcy Wheeler

It would appear that the White House is willing to sell out future seniors to give political cover for raising the debt ceiling.

The Week in Editorial Cartoons – Comedy Central Presents… Michele Bachmann

Crossposted at Daily Kos and The Stars Hollow Gazette

Clay Bennett

Clay Bennett, Comics.com, see the large number of reader comments in the Chattanooga Times Free Press

:: ::

Trying to watch her taped response is worse than annoying, and the woman makes up her own facts as she goes, which has come to define her.

In short, if this is the best that the Tea Pot party has to offer, then there’s really nothing to see or hear that has not been offered time and again.  I really don’t care for parrots.

Michele Bachmann is also defined by her presumptive beliefs, obtained God only knows where.

 

Egypt, Jordan, and Fear Based US Foreign Policy

So here I sit to face

That same old fire place

Gettin’ ready for the same old explosion

Goin’ through my mind

And soon enough time will tell,

About the circus in the wishing well

And someone who will buy and sell for me

Someone to toll my bell


Jimi Hendrix, Burning of the Midnight Lamp

In 1991 Sheldon L. Richman at The CATO Institute virtually gave away the US Foreign Policy game for anyone who hadn’t already seen through the long years of the “spreading freedom and democracy” smoke and mirror show emanating from every US administration since Eisenhower’s warning about the Military Industrial Complex, in a long and very detailed policy analysis article titled  “Ancient History”: U.S. Conduct in the Middle East Since World War II and the Folly of Intervention:

After 70 years of broken Western promises regarding Arab independence, it should not be surprising that the West is viewed with suspicion and hostility by the populations (as opposed to some of the political regimes) of the Middle East.[3] The United States, as the heir to British imperialism in the region, has been a frequent object of suspicion. Since the end of World War II, the United States, like the European colonial powers before it, has been unable to resist becoming entangled in the region’s political conflicts. Driven by a desire to keep the vast oil reserves in hands friendly to the United States, a wish to keep out potential rivals (such as the Soviet Union), opposition to neutrality in the cold war, and domestic political considerations, the United States has compiled a record of tragedy in the Middle East.

[snip]

If the chief natural resource of the Middle East were bananas, the region would not have attracted the attention of U.S. policymakers as it has for decades. Americans became interested in the oil riches of the region in the 1920s, and two U.S. companies, Standard Oil of California and Texaco, won the first concession to explore for oil in Saudi Arabia in the 1930s. They discovered oil there in 1938, just after Standard Oil of California found it in Bahrain. The same year Gulf Oil (along with its British partner Anglo-Persian Oil) found oil in Kuwait. During and after World War II, the region became a primary object of U.S. foreign policy. It was then that policymakers realized that the Middle East was “a stupendous source of strategic power, and one of the greatest material prizes in world history.“[4]

Subsequently, as a result of cooperation between the U.S. government and several American oil companies, the United States replaced Great Britain as the chief Western power in the region.[5] In Iran and Saudi Arabia, American gains were British (and French) losses.[6] Originally, the dominant American oil interests had had limited access to Iraqi oil only (through the Iraq Petroleum Company, under the 1928 Red Line Agreement). In 1946, however, Standard Oil of New Jersey and Mobil Oil Corp., seeing the irresistible opportunities in Saudi Arabia, had the agreement voided.[7] When the awakening countries of the Middle East asserted control over their oil resources, the United States found ways to protect its access to the oil. Nearly everything the United States has done in the Middle East can be understood as contributing to the protection of its long-term access to Middle Eastern oil and, through that control, Washington’s claim to world leadership. The U.S. build-up of Israel and Iran as powerful gendarmeries beholden to the United States, and U.S. aid given to “moderate,” pro-Western Arab regimes, such as those in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Jordan, were intended to keep the region in friendly hands. That was always the meaning of the term “regional stability.“[8]

Joe Biden Saves Iraq!

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“I saved Iraq!”

Hoping to rebut criticism that it had lost influence in Iraq and was too passive over the eight months since the March election there, or that its efforts were designed to keep Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in power, the administration offered a detailed written account of previously unreported meetings, visits and calls it said Biden and others had made.

Biden, Obama’s point man on Iraq, telephoned Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani, a key figure in the negotiations, as often as several times a week, according to the administration timeline.

“Hello, Massoud? This is Joe Biden!”

“Who?”

“Joe Biden, Vice-President of the United States, and Barack Obama’s point man on Iraq!”

“Okay, if you say so. What have you got for me?”

“Nothing! But me and the President would be really, really happy if you Iraqis could form a government, nine months after the election!”

“Aren’t you the same guy who called yesterday? Give it a rest already!”

Apart from a couple of idiots like Biden and Obama, who the heck would want to claim any influence in Iraq?

Sixteen car bombs and road-side bombs detonated across Baghdad on Tuesday evening, prompting the government to declare a security alert and impose snap bans on vehicles.

More than 70 people were killed and 250 wounded in the blasts on Tuesday. At least 58 people, most of them attending mass, were killed and 75 wounded after a team of gunmen stormed the Catholic church and Iraqi special forces attempted a rescue Sunday.

That’s just in Baghdad, where the so-called “government” has the most control, and elsewhere nobody even counts the bodies.  

The Week in Editorial Cartoons – With Malice Towards All

Crossposted at Daily Kos

THE WEEK IN EDITORIAL CARTOONS

This weekly diary takes a look at the past week’s important news stories from the perspective of our leading editorial cartoonists (including a few foreign ones) with analysis and commentary added in by me.

When evaluating a cartoon, ask yourself these questions:

1. Does a cartoon add to my existing knowledge base and help crystallize my thinking about the issue depicted?

2. Does the cartoonist have any obvious biases that distort reality?

3. Is the cartoonist reflecting prevailing public opinion or trying to shape it?

The answers will help determine the effectiveness of the cartoonist’s message.

:: ::



David Fitzsimmons, Arizona Daily Star, Buy this cartoon

HILARIOUS! Joe Biden PWNS everyone for 13 full minutes!

Crossposted at Daily Kos

   Vice President Joe Biden spoke before the Radio and Television Correspondents Dinner last night. The results were flat out hilarious.

h/t to talkingpointsmemo.com

The best quotes and a little more below the fold.

Friday: Dear Joe- I want my lawn chairs back

So just after 5 pm here on the Left Coast, I get this email:


Subject: We Want Our Money Back

From: “Vice President Joe Biden”

To:  (my name, aka “Sucker”)

Yesterday, President Obama announced our proposed Financial Crisis Responsibility

Fee
on the country’s largest banks:

“My commitment is to recover every single dime the American people are owed. And my

determination to achieve this goal is only heightened when I see reports of massive

profits and obscene bonuses at some of the very firms who owe their continued

existence to the American people…  We want our money back, and we’re going to get

it.”

The fee would recover every penny loaned to Wall Street during the financial crisis

and stop the reckless abuses and excesses that nearly caused the collapse of our

financial system in the first place.

But the banking industry — among the most powerful lobbies in Washington — is

already launching attacks to stop Congress from enacting the proposal.

Barack and I aren’t backing down. But to win, we’ll need the American people to add

their voice right away.

Thankfully, OFA supporters are already signing on to a bold statement of support:

“We want our money back — and we stand with President Obama to make sure we get

it.” You can add your name by clicking here:

http://my.barackobama.com/Banks3

The proposal is expected to recoup billions from the big banks, most of it from the

ten largest. As the President said, “If these companies are in good enough shape to

afford massive bonuses, they are surely in good enough shape to afford paying back

every penny to taxpayers.”

There is much more work to do to reform the financial system and create a new era of

accountability. But the Financial Crisis Responsibility Fee is a crucial step. And

with the banks already working to tear it down, I hope that I can count on you to

speak out to show that Americans stand with us as we take them on.

Click here to add your name to the statement:

http://my.barackobama.com/Banks3

Change isn’t easy, but it’s certainly worth fighting for. I’m glad you’re in this

fight with us.

Thank you for making it possible,

Vice President Joe Biden

Please donate: https://donate.barackobama.com…

Afghanistan and Steady Presidential Nerves

 

Quite possibly the best thing happening with Afghanistan right now is President Obama’s steady nerves and careful deliberation on what is the best and correct course of action for America to take.

Advocates of sending more troops to Afghanistan have been searching for a winning rationale to sell an escalation to the public. Despite public opinion polls saying support for the war is disappearing, more U.S. troops for Afghanistan seemed like a foregone conclusion.

Up until yesterday when five British troops were killed by an Afghan policeman, one of the more persuasive arguments has been that the West needs to train more Afghan soldiers so the Afghans can take charge of their country’s own security.

Now with five soldiers dead, The Guardian reports that commanders in Afghanistan fear Taliban infiltration as troops hunt for the assassin.

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