What Charlie Said X10

carebear empty suit and words blingee

Brother Pierce nails it:

In merciful brief, the president attempted to explain to the world why the self-destructive and mendacious decision of the United States to engage in aggressive war in Iraq in contravention of god alone knows how many provisions of international law was manifestly different — politically, legally, and morally — from Vladimir Putin’s land grabbing in and around Ukraine. Before anyone gave him a chance to be president, and throughout his unlikely rise to the White House, the president famously called the war in Iraq “the wrong war in the wrong place.” It was the first stark difference between the president and Hillary Clinton in the 2008 Democratic primary campaign and the clearest difference between the president and Senator John McCain in that year’s general election. It represented the cleanest break available to the country from the bloody stupdity of the previous administration. It was the seedbed for all the hope and all the change. The problem arose when the architects of the American fiasco were allowed to escape any real accounting for what they’d done in Iraq and to the United States. There was no public punishment, no public shaming, no indication from the new administration that it was ready to demand penance from the old. And yesterday, the president illustrated quite clearly the size of the corner in which his basic philosophy had painted him.

Go read the whole thing at Esquire.

State of the Union Address

Puppet Show and GOP

I’m not live Tweeting it, or listening to it even. I’ll read the transcript later (if that). I’ve already made plans and I see no reason to change them for The Carbear’s Kabuki Theater.

I’ll check in later, and if you have any insights into the speech, be sure to leave a comment.

If you missed it…

The Carebear surrenders

ABC has the full transcript of the interview with President Carebear from This Week with a Greek Dwarf. The part on Syria is actually pretty fascinating and slaughters the claim that Putin saved his ass:

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: And you’re- and President Putin has become your unlikely partner-

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Yeah.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: -in this. And, you know, even in this op-ed, which has stirred up a lot of controversy here in United States, he said, “There’s every reason to believe that the rebels are the ones who used the chemical weapons.” So does that tell you he’s willing to lie to protect Assad?
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Well, nobody around the world takes seriously the idea that the rebels- were the perpetrators of this—
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: He wrote it in The New York Times.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Well, I understand. What I said is nobody around the world takes seriously the idea that the rebels perpetrated this attack. Now what is true is that there are radical elements in the opposition- including folks who are affiliated with al-Qaeda, who, if they got their hands on chemical weapons, would have no compunction using them in Syria or outside of Syria.
And part of the reason why we’ve been so concerned about this chemical weapons- issue is because we don’t want- those folks gettin’ chemical weapons, anymore than we want Assad to have chemical weapons. And so the best solution is for us to get them out of there.
But- with respect to Mr. Putin- I have said consistently that where the interest of the United States and Russia converge, we need to work together. And I had talked to Mr. Putin a year ago- saying to him- the United States and Russia should work together to deal with these chemical weapons stockpiles, and to work to try to bring about a political transition-

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: But do you trust-

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: -inside of Syria.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: -he has the same goal? Do you really trust that?

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Oh, I don’t think that- Mr. Putin has the same- values that we do. And I think- obviously, by- protecting Mr. Assad- he has a different attitude about- the Assad regime. But what I’ve also said to him directly- is that we both have an interest in preventing chaos, we both have an interest in preventing terrorism, the situation in Syria right now is untenable, as long as Mr. Assad’s in power, there is gonna be some sort of conflict there, and that we should work together to try to find a way in which the interests of all the parties inside of Syria, the Alawites, the Sunnis, the Christians, that everybody is represented and that there is a way of bringing the temperature down so that- that horrible things that are happening inside the country-

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Are you-

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: -are continuing to happen.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Are you -

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: And I think there’s a way for- Mr. Putin, despite- me and him having a whole lot of differences, to play an important role in that. And so I welcome him being involved. I welcome him saying, “I will take responsibility for pushing my client, the Assad regime- to deal with these chemical weapons.”
Because- I think that if, in fact- not only Russia gets involved, but if- potentially Iran gets involved- as well in recognizing that what’s happening there is a train wreck that hurts not just Syrians but destabilizing the entire region-

So… a year ago he was trying to get Putin to do something about Assad’s chemical weapons, he got the Russians to promise compliance with the destruction of their client-state’s stockpile, and maybe more importantly he got the Russians to admit that Syria has a stockpile and acknowledge that the Syrians used them. He got them to admit that they have been lying about Syria. Not bad for a guy whom the Wingnuts claim is out of his depth.

I would call that a pretty big success, and especially if we don’t end up bombing that country back into the stone age. Oh, and Grandpa Walnuts can suck eggs.

Eleventy-seven Dimensional Chess

cowboy-carebear

Well, even I gotta give Preznint Carebear some props for not shooting himself in the other Syrian foot, so to speak:

President Obama announced Saturday that he’s seeking congressional authorization for a limited military strike against Syria over the Bashar Assad regime’s alleged use of chemical weapons against Syrian citizens.

“I will seek authorization for the use of force from the American people’s representatives in Congress,” Obama said in the Rose Garden. “The country will be stronger if we take this course and our actions will be even more effective,” Obama said.

Which of course gave Grandpa Walnuts a sad, and Senatorette Huckleberry Closetcase will need something else to butch herself up with before the electorate of South Carolina throws her out on her well-cosseted bustle.

Anyway, it puts the ball back in the Congress’ court, and buys time for the UN results to be analyzed, and perhaps to actually have some proof about that stupid Bright Red Line of his. It makes him look ridiculous of course, but that’s something you can live with whereas invading a country on bad intelligence stays with you forever.

(The Hill)

Impeachment and the Single Wingnut

Sweet Baby Jeebus with a Subpoena, Wingnuttia is starting earnestly to talk about impeaching The Kenyan Usurper, according to Tiger Beat on the Potomac:

Senator John McCain, who famously defended his then presidential opponent Barack Obama against an islamaphobic supporter during a 2008 campaign rally, defended President Obama once again on ABC’s This Week Sunday, cautioning his Republicans colleagues to cool it with talk of impeaching the President over the Benghazi attacks and its aftermath.

I was around during the Clinton years, when every two-bit grifter with an (R) after his name chased the Clenis around the country. They spoke of impeaching him before there was even a forced crime of low-level perjury, and by any measure of sanity the 1990s-era wingnut was the model of sobriety and good mental health compared to the New Millennium Edition Wingnut with new and improved Teabagging added to seal in the freshness.

Senatorette Miss Lindsey Graham is calling Benghazi! Benghazi! BENGHAZI! Obama’s Watergate (and if that doesn’t take your breath away, I’m not sure what will), and now that the local Cincinnati IRS office has gone rogue and investigating Teabagger money-laundering organizations resulting in headlines of Obama’s IRS…, well you know. The Crazy has become both industrial strength and weaponized.

There are a thousand reasons for us lefties to not like Obama (and I’m sure in the comments we will be told 1,001 reasons, probably from long-time Scissorheads, and you know who you are), but the fact remains that there is no High Crime and Misdemeanor in any of this.

And remember this: I knew Ambassador Chris Stevens; we went to high school together; we hung out with the same friends; he went to a party at my house. None of us from back then (that I know of, and we talked, many of us did talk) are outraged at the Administration. We are–including his family–outraged that the Right is making his tragic death a political witch hunt.

Yes, it is personal. No one should be exploited like this.

Permission Slips

The other day when The Kenyan Usurper said:

“I cannot force Republicans to embrace … common-sense solutions,” Obama said at the press conference, referring specifically to budget gridlock. “I can urge them to. I can put pressure on them. I can rally the American people around those common-sense solutions. But ultimately, they, themselves, are going to have to say, we want to do the right thing. And I think there are members certainly in the Senate right now, and I suspect members in the House as well, who understand that deep down. But they’re worried about their politics. It’s tough. Their base thinks that compromise with me is somehow a betrayal. They’re worried about primaries. And I understand all that. And we’re going to try to do everything we can to create a permission structure for them to be able to do what’s going to be best for the country. But it’s going to take some time.”

…I have to admit I heard Permission Slips instead of Permission Structure, and I did laugh thinking that Obama finally has realized he is dealing with feral children in the GOP. “Good for him,” I thought.

It is really upon reflection of the latest screeds from the likes of known pop-culture fetishist MoDo and Dame Peggington Noonington of the Brooklynshire Nooningtons that I started to understand what he was really getting at, and it was not to get permission slips to take the pinheads bowling (to paraphrase Camper Van Beethoven).

The Republicans have admitted as much this week–as they have in the past–that their sole objective is to make our first black president a failure, and to that end they will oppose anything Anything ANYTHING he wants, whether or not they want it too. Nothing is too great or too small to deny him. Even being seen with him makes the Teabaggers suspect their representatives of collaborating with the enemy. Not to put too fine a spin on it, but it strikes me that their strategy is thinly veiled racism dressed up as nihilism.

I think what Obama’s Permission Structure means is that he will not publicly support or encourage anything (other than process?) so that the “you can’t make me” caucus feels empowered to actually do something.

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Now whether behind the scenes that means he will continue his so-called charm offensive to try to peel-off some of the grownups, I’m not sure. It might be like a marketing-advertising campaign where you get a few celebrity endorsements (to the degree that Wingnut politicians are celebrities, but work with me here) to act as influencers on the rest of the caucus, but Obama himself cannot be seen to be one of the influencers.

Wingnuttia used to accuse him of leading from behind, and this might actually be his strategy now, it’s hard to say. Which of course will make Nooner and MoDo go nonlinear, but that’s kinda fun.

(Correction: An earlier version of this post misdientified Take the Pinheads Bowling as being a Dead Kennedy’s song. We regret the error.)

(Hat tips: TPM, Digby, Ezra Klein)

Even the GOP isn’t buying the GOP’s line

A series of polls released today show that Americans trust The Kenyan more than they trust the Republicans. Take it away, Bloomberg:

Fifty-five percent of Americans approve of Obama’s performance in office, his strongest level of support since September 2009, according to a Bloomberg National poll conducted Feb. 15-18. Only 35 percent of the country has a favorable view of the Republican Party, the lowest rating in a survey that began in September 2009. The party’s brand slipped six percentage points in the last six months, the poll shows.

However, that’s not just the best/worst of it. For that we turn to the USA Today/Pew Research poll:

President Obama starts his second term with a clear upper hand over GOP leaders on issues from guns to immigration that are likely to dominate the year, a USA TODAY/Pew Research Center Poll finds. On the legislation rated most urgent — cutting the budget deficit — even a majority of Republican voters endorse Obama’s approach of seeking tax hikes as well as spending cuts.

There’s also this handy little bit of info: “Now just 22% of Americans, nearly a record low, consider themselves Republicans.”

I don’t know if that reflects the Teabagger exodus, but wow! That’s gotta hurt.

So when you look at the other results for critical issues, from gun control, immigration reform, and climate change, the official GOP position is way outside the mainstream, even their own members are not buying what they are selling.

One could ask if Wingnuttia is deliberately misreading the polls, or perhaps they hired Mitt Romney’s pollsters, but their Fourth and Forty Hail Mary pass to try to blame the upcoming sequester vote on Obama looks like it will fail, decisively.

So much for the claims of Weepy and Wattles McConnell that they know what the American people want.

UPDATE: Greg Sargent at the Plum Line agrees.

“They Deserve a Vote”

I’m only a pajama-clad, Cheeto-stained wretch in Mom’s Basement and not part of the Village. I know my opinion counts less than Harold Ford Jr., and that I will never be on This Week With a Greek Dwarf, Morning Schmoe, or Dancin’ with the Gregory.

All that said, my opinion on SOTU address is that if anything is remembered it will be that a sitting president had to actually remind/cajole/shame the fetus-fondling god-botherers to do their jobs. The call-response chant “They Deserve A Vote” was as much an indictment of Wingnuttian Obstructionism as it was a rallying cry for gun control.

I think this is also one for future historians: it was the moment where Obama officially, publicly gave up on his high-minded we-can-get-it-done-working-together beliefs of his first term. I think he realizes now that HE has to set the agenda, and not Wingnuttia.

Since the mid-term elections, he let the GOP vandals lob cinderblocks from the overpasses. It was a two-year long PSA for Austerity, and in the end, nothing was done. He never got his previous SOTU policy initiatives enacted, and that this fact of American life is like complaining that the sky is blue or John Boehner is orange.

But no more. Last night, with a more than 50% approval rating that towers over the single-digit GOP, Obama lobbed a cinderblock back at them: they must now either act on these popular policy initiatives, or explain why they won’t.

I’m not expecting much, but I’m pleased to see that Obama now seems to understand something we liberals understood going back, well, since forever. Wingnuttia is not your friend, they never will be. Trying to meet them half-way is only the cue for them to move the goalposts further away.

Opaque transparancy

NYTimes:

The White House on Wednesday directed the Justice Department to release to the two Congressional Intelligence Committees classified documents discussing the legal justification for killing, by drone strikes and other means, American citizens abroad who are considered terrorists.

[snip]

…”Today, as part of the president’s ongoing commitment to consult with Congress on national security matters, the president directed the Department of Justice to provide the Congressional Intelligence Committees access to classified Office of Legal Counsel advice related to the subject of the Department of Justice white paper,” said an administration official who requested anonymity to discuss the handling of classified material.

The official said members of the Intelligence Committees would now get “access” to the documents.

Please note that access to the documents means that members of the Intelligence Committees only get to read it, take no notes, no trascripts, and the document goes back to being secret. Oh, and they cannot discuss what they learned about it. And We the People are never to learn about it?

Bitch, please.

That’s not transparancy, that’s making members of the Intelligence Committees co-conspirators.

Wasn’t this the same routine that Chimpy allowed his coterie of toadies and minions to read John Yoo’s justification of the War Crime of torture?

I’m not a policy wonk, and I’m not sure it would matter to me if I was allowed to read it. There is nothing about the Drone Strikes that I like. This is a terrible policy and if it is not illegal it should be made explicitely illegal.

This is as morally repugnant to me as Torture was under Chimpy. I don’t want the President to have an enemies list, let alone justification to kill civillians–including US Citizens–at will, without due process, trial by a jury of his peers, etc. This is not who we are supposed to be.

The always excellent Jon Perr has a piece up at his site that might appeal to the more legal-wonk out there. Worthwhile reading.