If You’re a Republican, Politics Trumps America Every Time

McCain caught doing his best Rodney “I don’t get no respect” Dangerfield imitation

There is no doubt the killing of four Americans in Benghazi is a tragedy and there should be the required reviews and assessment of the situation to learn what we can, understand what was not done that maybe should have been and to work to reduce the likelihood this will happen again.  I say reduce as I expect to take any position that implies there is anything we can do that will prevent these sort of incidents in the future would be stupid and illogical – especially given the temperament of the world today.  I would doubt that any ambassador or any staff member in a US embassy in most of the rest of the world recognizes they take the position with some element of risk being evident.   Doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do everything we can to protect them but we are not dealing with people or situations where we can anticipate every move and action.   There are actions to be taken but to turn this political is unacceptable.  This brings me to today’s “Head in the Butt” award.

The Dynamic Duo of 2008 – Two halfwits not adding up to a whole

There was a time where I had a lot of respect and time for John McCain.  He was a man who had served his country and a man who appeared to obviously have some standards for which he stood – and he actually seemed to be a pretty nice guy  – at least from afar.  My naiveté.  As he took the national and global stage in his run for President, it quickly became clear that behind the public persona I had seen was someone who was pretty much a jerk, someone who was pretty angry and basically a man who was pretty much a bastard.  With his pick of Palin for VP he further showed his inability to understand what was important and the degree of his shortsightedness.  To think he could have foisted that half-wit of a governor on this country is unconscionable and the fact he would allow the Republican Party to push that on him puts his leadership ability seriously in question.  His recent attacks on Obama and Susan Rice continue to show this is a man who has an ax to grind and again reminds us of the Peter Principle in practice.  I can only imagine where this country would be four years later and with the challenges we have faced.  But I digress.  These most recent McCain political attacks show that he is no different from the rest of his party and he will put politics before country.   His grandstanding and his obvious lack of civility brings only one good thing to the forefront – we get to see the newly enthused Barack Obama start to show the muscle and attitude many of us have figured was there and were waiting to see.  So on that note, thanks, John.  You’re still an asshole but every cloud has a silver lining.

So today, please take a bow and accept the most recent “Head in the Butt” award.  In reality, I think it is long overdue.

There was a close runner up but not this time Lindsey.   Lindsey Graham, by joining the same chorus with McCain, definitely put himself in contention for the “Head in the Butt” award.  Unfortunately, this time around you weren’t quite up to the same level of cluelessness but I have to give you some slack given your area of study in college – one I expect leaves you entirely out of step with many of us but probably more in line (or at least a little ahead) with many of your Republican peers.  Your B.A. in Pseudoscience actually implies you have some inkling that science might have some bearing in our lives.  I, for one, didn’t know this even existed as a major in any college.  It seems somewhat contrary to most of what I would expect from any college curriculum but that could be my shortcoming.  For others in my same stead, Pseudoscience is often characterized by the use of vague, exaggerated or unprovable claims, an over-reliance on confirmation rather than rigorous attempts at refutation, a lack of openness to evaluation by other experts, and a general absence of systematic processes to rationally develop theories (Wikipedia).  I expect this helps when you want to basically ignore fact and make it up as it meets your need.  So, Lindsey, I’m not of the mindset you should get the “Head up the Butt” award but have no issue giving you a runner up prize of the other award of notice – the “Bag of Shit” award seems appropriate given I can’t expect you to look at anything beyond the use of vague and unprovable claims.

Yes Lindsey, that is pretty rank – on par with your recent attack on Susan Rice.

Romney – World Leader? – not

“Study the past if you would define the future.”   ―    Confucius

“Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”  Sir Winston Churchill

There are a host of reasons to have concerns about a new Republican administration led by Romney and Ryan.  It is obvious to many that neither man has any real depth of understanding or solution to anything going on in the US today or even more so, the world beyond our shores.  To think that Romney will somehow figure it all out and do things differently tomorrow ignores the longstanding view that the past is the best predictor of the future.  In some ways it actually transcends Romney and can be applied to the platform and plans for America set out by the Republican Party.  To think that repeating actions and approaches tried in the past will somehow have a different result in the future is again reflective of the degree of ignorance and denial present in much of the public today.  I wouldn’t apply that same ignorance and denial to the real leaders and key proponents of returning to the policies of the past since they know better than any it is the best way to not only keep their wealth but to enable it’s growth in the future.

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and  expecting different results. – Albert  Einstein

Even ignoring Mitt’s faux pas on his recent world tour where he managed to insult multiple countries without really trying.  Now, after the most recent statements by Romney this past Tuesday as events unfolded in Libya it is time to get even more concerned as we get more insight into his position on Foreign Policy.  First off, I’ll give him credit for recognizing what he doesn’t know and assembling a group of people experienced in foreign policy – He has gathered a group of 24 “advisors (as listed on his website) as well several other individuals whom form an inner circle of advice, a majority serving under previous Republican (Bushx2) adminstrations – the administrations who have taken us to war on several occasions and who have cost our country numerous lives.  I am reminded these wars have also helped set the view the rest of the world has of the US.   So do we really have to wonder what stance or position foreign policy will take in a Romney presidency?  Again, history is the best predictor of the future and this predictor doesn’t take a brain surgeon or rocket scientist to figure out.  This is a direction of shoot first and ask questions later (if indeed questions are ever asked as the answers might not support the direction).   We saw this again this week as the tragedy in Libya played itself out and the violence escalated across other countries.  The decision by Romney to take the opportunity to make it a political attack rather than take the broader and more knowing approach that faster is not always better gives immediate rise to the type of leader Romney will be.  This is made even worse by the fact that Romney seems to have few thoughts and ideas himself and instead draws positions an decisions from those around him or where the immediate political reward is the greatest.  Not sure we have a chess master at work here…maybe chinese checkers or tiddlywinks.

We can also see how connected Romney is to the world and what forces are at work in his statement several weeks back on the position that Russia is America’s “No. 1 geopolitical foe.”  Now while I wouldn’t dismiss Russia as a foe, not sure it has moved back into that cold war status.  But worse yet, again indicating that Romney is either too naive or too stupid to realize consequences of an open mouth policy.  The statements by Vladimir Putin need little explanation as to the potential longer term effect of speaking without thinking or understanding the broader implications.

From ABC News:

MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin said today that Mitt Romney’s characterization of Moscow as the United States’ “number one geopolitical foe” has actually helped Russia.

The Russian leader said Romney’s comments strengthened his resolve to oppose NATO’s plan for a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe, a system Russia believes will degrade its nuclear deterrent. The U.S. insists the system is aimed at Iran, not Russia.

“I’m grateful to him (Romney) for formulating his stance so clearly because he has once again proven the correctness of our approach to missile defense problems,” Putin told reporters, according to the Russian news agency RIA Novosti.

“The most important thing for us is that even if he doesn’t win now, he or a person with similar views may come to power in four years. We must take that into consideration while dealing with security issues for a long perspective,” he said, speaking after a meeting with Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic, according to Interfax news agency.

Might only be my read of it but it doesn’t sound like Mitt’s statement provided much help to an already complex and dangerous situation.  But then again, one has to wonder if this launch of a foreign policy stance by a Republican isn’t as much an attempt to re-kindle the fire that has kept the military industrial machine well oiled and lined the pockets of such luminaries as Dick Cheney and Halliburton.

So here we have a glimpse into Romney’s experience in the area of foreign policy – his only real experience to date being the outsourcing of US jobs to a foreign country or two. In his message, we also get a glimpse of Mitt’s ignorance (or at least ignoring) of foreign influence.  Good to know since to date, most of the focus in the Romney camp has been on the US economy and his sweeping statements (and a dearth of details) of his plans to make things better.  I would submit it is a quite different world than Reagan and even the first Bush had to deal with.  And we see what happened in the 2nd Bush years when the global community had taken a position of greater influence and control and where complexity grew and global economics and forces clashed with the historical Republican answers to everything.

See definition of Insanity ==> above.

Best of the Best and Worst of the Worst

There are very few people I really see as really good people.  I was lucky enough to find one of them who actually agreed to marry me 31 years ago – definitely a crap shoot on her part but no doubt great for me.  I don’t think I’m one of those good people – I’m not a bad person but I come no where close to membership in that group of those who are truly good from the heart.  So when I see one of them (and I think in these times it is relatively rare), I notice and appreciate.  There is one person of whom I consistently see as an appropriate role model as one of those rare people.  I’m never sure what brings someone to be truly good but I have to believe that a part of that is overcoming some adversity (beyond the norm) at some point in their life that opened them to an awareness, empathy and caring most of us will never realize.  Could only be me but just watching what these people do and the ease with which they do it somehow makes me feel better in general and gives me hope in times where I often wonder what happened to us as people.

 

Credit: “Just be Nice” Facebook page

 

So, in following a recent theme of also trying to recognize people in a positive way instead of only focusing on the jerks and low-lifes (no that won’t go away – that’s one of the benefits of not being in the group of good people), I want to add someone to that list of day-to-day heroes.  This person has been someone I have often seen and commented on how nice she is.  I was again reminded this morning as I did my time on the treadmill and wandered around the TV channels and found myself settled on watching the Ellen DeGeneres Show.  This is after watching CNN and MSNBC for awhile amidst the current rising tensions and anger against America on the other side of the world.  Ellen has got to be one of the nicest (and bravest) people out there.  I don’t watch her show often but given the number of times she reaches out to help others in the shows that I see, I can only imagine it happens all the time.  I get no sense of self-aggrandizement (which I see in many other celebrities – I’m always suspect of Oprah ) – more a sense of probably how good it makes her feel that she makes others feel.  Ellen has no doubt gone thru some tough times in her career and the treatment she has often received has been shameful but here she is looking outward and past those who would put her somewhere out of sight, and trying to add positive to the world, one step at a time.

So today, the Hero of the Day award goes to Ellen – thanks for being one of those people who can make us all feel good and set an example the rest of us should strive to match.

Ellen DeGeneres – One of the “Good” ones

 

I would like take a moment and mention the tragic events in Libya yesterday.  I am sure all our thoughts and sympathies go out to the friends and families of Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya and the others (at least one who is American) whose lives were so needlessly taken yesterday.  These are brave people (in each embassy we maintain around the world) who are all too often at risk.  While most of Ambassadors face a good deal of risk, Chris Stevens put himself unselfishly at risk taking on this role in Libya.  He is a hero in his own right.

Given the murder of our citizens in Libya, I have been moved to create a new award I’m putting out there that will sit alongside the current “Head in the Butt” award.  (See, I said I wasn’t going to be going entirely positive.)   The risks our ambassadors and their staffs face just as a normal course of business should not be further increased as a result of actions of people who stay safe back in the US.  To look at this in the broadest sense, any US citizen that leaves the relative safety of our shores is actually put at increased risk as a result of these people who are more focused on personal attention and influence than demonstrating broader concern for others.

While I hate to give this person any more attention than needed (which is really none), in reading thru the news this morning, I picked up on a name I haven’t seen in a few months who has again stepped into the limelight to further his own intentions, again without concern for how others are affected.  Pastor Terry Jones originally gained both national and international attention when he notified the world he would be burning the Quran (or Koran – multiple spellings are out there) on the 10 year anniversary of 9/11.  He initially agreed to not complete that act and managed to wrangle a new car or two out of the deal but then apparently could not do without the attention and went ahead a completed the burning around six months later.  This resulted in the first blood on his hands as there were 12 people killed in the ensuring violence that predictably followed his actions.   This lowlife, who has announced his candidacy for President in the 2012 election, made a very public endorsement of this anti-Muslim film that has led to the increased violence we are now seeing in Libya, Egypt and Yemen.  While maybe not directly attributable to his support and advocacy of this film, I would offer he carries more blood on his hands for these latest killings as it is at a minimum felt that the increased violence was possibly a cover for the attacks on the US Embassy.

I would suggest the actions taken by Jones borders on historical limits to free speech, the classic being you can’t yell fire in a movie theater and maybe it is time we, as a country, look a little more at our assumed freedoms and take these people to task.  As it is, Pastor Jones (there’s that religious connection again), you are lower than whale shit – only matched by the Westboro Baptist Church who I expect will slink from whatever holes in the ground they inhabit to share views similar to Jones at some point.  For today, though, Pastor Jones, you get the honor of being the first recipient of the “Shitbag” award.  This is the only area where I hope my views as an atheist are wrong and you actually get to spend eternity burning in hell.

 

Pastor Terry Jones – Shitbag of the day