Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Archive for July 2014

President Obama to Congress: “Stop being mad all the time!”

From the White House blog, President Obama in Kansas City

In two days, Congress leaves Washington for a month, and the President noted that there is still time to get things done. But rather than voting on bills that would provide resources to fight wildfires in the West, or prevent the Highway Trust Fund from running out of money, the President pointed out that Republicans in Congress are focused on one issue.

“The main vote that they’ve scheduled for today is whether or not they decide to sue me for doing my job.”

And they voted Thursday, 225 to 201, to do just that.

The president to Congress:

“Come on and help out a little bit. Stop being mad all the time. Stop just hating all the time…Let’s get some work done together.”  

Mad, indeed.

An Admonition to Western Media on coverage of the Ebola Outbreak in West Africa

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The following was written by a friend of mine, Peter Andersen, an American currently living in Sierra Leone, who, for his internet-based coverage of Sierra Leone’s civil war, was made a Member of the Order of the Rokel.  The Order of the Rokel, together with the Order of the Republic of Sierra Leone, is Sierra Leone’s highest civilian honor.   The piece is reproduced here with his permission

The media in North America and Western Europe has finally picked up on the Ebola outbreak, but mostly with the idea that it could come “here.” The inflammatory headlines and statements in the first paragraphs are balanced at the bottom, should anyone read that far, by experts who point out that the chance of an outbreak in those regions is vanishingly small.

The comments left after such online articles range from the uninformed to the racist, with the German readers of Focus being especially bad. Yes, people here eat bush meat including monkey and even fruit bat. No, it is not a choice between eating bush meat and starvation. No, it is not only rich people who eat bush meat. No, it is not “superstition” which causes people to catch Ebola, unless by that you mean that people want a decent burial for their loved ones and are uncomfortable with the so-called “medical burial” where the body is zipped into a body bag and tossed without ceremony into an unmarked grave. And no, the cause of Ebola is not overpopulation.

This Ebola crisis is not “about” Europe or America, despite media there trying to find a local angle. They are trying too hard. Suddenly the Liberian official who died in Lagos, Patrick Sawyer, has become “an American of Liberian descent” in the Western press, but he remains a Liberian in the African press. In fact, he lived in Minnesota where his wife and three children reside. He is likely a dual citizen, but that does not make him “an American of Liberian descent” as the BBC would have it. That would imply that he was born in the US of Liberian parents. Ever if that were true (and it isn’t), he would still have qualified for a Liberian passport. I am waiting to hear from the BBC how a Liberian official was traveling on official government business from Monrovia to Calabar, Nigeria to an ECOWAS conference with an American passport.

At present I am not worried about an epidemic, or a pandemic, or a serious outbreak in Europe or America. We have not seen a single case caused by exposure in the West, nor have we seen a single infected person arrive from Africa. This is not even, mostly, about us here in Freetown (for now) although we now have had some cases and some people have been exposed. Most of the victims on this side of the border are in Kailahun and Kenema Districts, and it is with them and their families that our thoughts, our prayers, and our sympathies lie. And most especially with those medical staff who work up to 22 hours a day to save those who have been infected. Media, stop dividing them up into Americans and Africans in order to sell your story to a certain market. Even now we are mourning the loss of Dr. Khan and the three nurses who gave their lives saving others, while the Liberians are mourning their own losses. We only recognize one category and it’s called “hero.”

However Ebola initially started –and fruit bats and bush meat are only an educated guess at this point — after the initial infection, it travels person to person. With the proper isolation facilities (which the Western countries have) and effective communication of information (which they also have), Ebola should not be hard to control in the West.

Cross-posted at Daily Kos

Odds & Ends: News/Humor

I post a weekly diary of historical notes, arts & science items, foreign news (often receiving little notice in the US) and whimsical pieces from the outside world that I often feature in “Cheers & Jeers”.  

OK, you’ve been warned – here is this week’s tomfoolery material that I posted.

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake speaks out on Rand Paul

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I made a response to Rand Paul’s address at the Urban League Convention in Cincinnati, July 23-26, 2014 in which he dubbed himself a “minority”, in “What not to say to black people when you are Rand Paul“. I want to share this opinion piece with you from Stephanie-Rawlings Blake, the mayor (D) of Baltimore MD.

Opinion: Blacks shouldn’t be fooled by Rand Paul

While I applaud anyone’s efforts to reach out to the black community and share ideas that would improve our families’ lives, Paul doesn’t understand a very important piece of the puzzle: earning our trust. For Paul to claim to stand up for our values while opposing policy after policy that advances our community is not the way to do this.

Paul’s long and troubled history with civil rights issues is generally well known around Kentucky and in Washington, D.C., but for many Ohioans, it’s time to take a closer look. Discussing the Civil Rights Act, Paul criticized the law, even emphasizing that he believes private businesses should be able to do whatever they want, including discriminate. He explained his opposition by saying, “I think it’s a bad business decision to exclude anybody from your restaurant, but, at the same time, I do believe in private ownership.”

This view goes against what the Civil Rights Act was put in place to correct, and I thought this law was settled 50 years ago. Apparently, Paul is ready to relitigate our nation’s progress on civil rights. And last year, when the Supreme Court struck down part of the Voting Rights Act, how did Paul respond? He commented, “We have an African-American president.” He also supports voter ID laws that disproportionately impact communities of color and women, saying, “There’s nothing wrong with it. … I don’t really object to having some rules with how we vote.”

She concludes:

So as Paul spends time in Cincinnati today, don’t let him fool you. To see what he really believes on issues critical to the black community, look no further than the actions he’s taken, the agenda he pushes, and the offensive words he used for years before he decided to run for president.

Right on Ms. Mayor!

What not to say to black people when you are Rand Paul

In his relentless southern avenger mode to pursue and persuade black voters to become fans Rand Paul continues to suffer from foot-in-mouth disorder.

At the Urban League, Rand Paul says he’s a minority because of the “shade of his ideology” :

Rand Paul addressed the Urban League this morning in Cincinnati and in a TelePrompTer speech that included a quote from Malcolm X, Kentucky’s junior Senator and famed opponent of the Civil Rights Act declared himself a minority.

Apparently opposing the Civil Rights Act is the same as being Black or Hispanic. And according to Rand Paul, all of his libertarian and Tea Party supporters are just as punished as actual minorities because of the “shade of their ideology.”


Oh well-This proves black folks ain’t buying the crazy (from his home state press coverage):

Sparse crowd hears Rand Paul’s Urban League speech

CINCINNATI – U.S. Sen. Rand Paul isn’t going person to person to try to sell his message of a more inclusive Republican Party to minority groups.

But with only about 60 people gathering to hear Paul’s highly anticipated speech to the National Urban League on Friday morning, it sure felt that way.

From Wonkette:

Rand Paul Is Also A Minority And Will Lead His Libertarian People Out of Bondage

Poor Rand Paul. It’s hard out there for a libertarian, what with The Man always trying to keep him down, pointing out the ridiculousness of his ideology and how it never holds up in real-life scenarios. But what can a man like Rand Paul do except keep fighting the good fight, keep on keeping on to the water’s edge, because Rand Paul has been to the mountaintop, Rand Paul has seen the Promised Land, and he yearns for the day when all little boys and girls, black or white, yellow or red, liberal or conservative or libertarian or communist, will be judged not by the color of their skin or the content of their political ideology, but by whatever’s left. Character? Sure, let’s go with character.

Twitter has taken up the theme at #RandPaulMinority

One of my favorites so far is:

Yo’ Rand.  Perhaps you should know that a lot of us hear “libertarian” as “libert-aryan”

Crossposted from Daily Kos

Weekly Address: President Obama – Closing Corporate Tax Loopholes

The President’s Weekly Address post is also an Open News Thread. Feel free to share other news stories in the comments.


From the White HouseWeekly Address

In this week’s address, the President continued his call for our nation to rally around an economic patriotism that says rather than protecting wasteful tax loopholes for a few at the top, we should be investing in things like education and job training that grow the economy for everybody.

The President highlighted the need to close one of the most unfair tax loopholes that allows companies to avoid paying taxes here at home by shifting their residence for tax purposes out of the country. The President has put forth a budget that does just that, and he has called for business tax reform that makes investment in the United States attractive, and creates incentives for companies to invest and create jobs here at home. And while he will continue to make the case for tax reform, the President is calling on Congress to take action and close this loophole now.

Joe Biden on our country’s infrastructure

From the White House:

Over the past couple years, administration officials have picked up a marker and taken to our “White House white board” to explain how to fix our immigration system, break down how health reform helps your day-to-day life, and outline exactly what our budget’s paying for.

Today, Vice President Joe Biden is taking the pen, and he’s talking about something he knows like the back of his hand:

The current state of our country’s crumbling roads and bridges — and exactly why it’s so important to invest in them right now.

Our roads and bridges do far more than get people and goods from Point A to Point B.

A high-quality transportation system keeps jobs here in America, allows our businesses to grow, and keeps down the prices of household goods.

Our country’s infrastructure crisis isn’t a far-off problem: 65% of our major roads are rated in less than good condition. 25% of our bridges require significant repair or can’t handle today’s traffic.

It looks like Congress is going to act soon to pass a short-term resolution that would continue to fund the projects fixing our roads and bridges — but we need to solve the problem, not just kick the can down the road.

In the News: A Tale of Two Courts

Found on the Internets …

A series of tubes filled with enormous amounts of material


Two Hours After A Court Strikes Down Obamacare Subsidies, Another Appeals Court Upholds Them

A little after 10am Tuesday morning, two Republican judges on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ordered much of the Affordable Care Act defunded. Just two hours later, another federal appeals court, the Fourth Circuit, issued a unanimous opinion upholding the same subsidies that were struck down in the DC Circuit’s order.

As we explained this morning, both cases hinge upon a glorified typo in the Affordable Care Act. Obamacare gives states the option to run a health insurance exchange selling coverage to their residents, or they may elect to have the federal government run this exchange. If read in isolation, one line of the Affordable Care Act suggests that only “an Exchange established by the State” can offer subsidies to help people pay for health insurance in the exchange. The DC Circuit’s opinion relied on that line to conclude that federally-run exchange subsidies must be defunded.

The plaintiff in the DC case is a woman who worked in the Bush Administration in his Office of Faith and Community. Apparently, nothing says “love thy neighbor” like litigating to deny health care to people. The plaintiff in the 4th Circuit case is a man in West Virginia angry that his freedumbs were taken away when he was forced to get health insurance at a cost of $21 per year.  

The entire DC Circuit has been asked to rule on the case and the split on that court is 7-4 Democratic appointees to Republican appointees.


How The White House Could Still Save Obamacare Even If It Loses In Court

The D.C. federal appeals court initially appeared to throw a stunning legal blow to Obamacare with its decision to invalidate financial subsidies offered through The loss of those subsidies could affect 4.7 million people and send premiums skyrocketing. But the ruling was quickly tempered by a separate appeals court ruling that upheld the subsidies in another case.

[Experts told TPM] that the mechanics of how the workaround could be done aren’t completely clear, but the crux would be this: States could continue using but pass a bill or otherwise indicate that the website functions as their state-based insurance exchange.

[Additionally, ] HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell “could make it much easier for a second generation of state exchanges to be established now that the federal government has a viable IT platform for both state and federal exchanges to use.”

Or we could win back Congress and pass a fix to the technical language of the law.

More …

The Reverend William Barber at Netroots Nation: Getting Above the Snake Line (w/Transcript)

From Detroit Michigan:

“He wound into a conclusion by talking about how his son, an environmental geologist, told him about how, if he ever got lost, Barber should climb to the highest ground he could find because, above a certain altitude, snakes cannot survive.

‘They call this The Snake Line,’ Barber said. ‘We have got to get America back above The Snake Line.’

~ Charlie Pierce

“…  if you want to be inspired to build a fusion movement that takes our political discussion above the snake line to the moral high ground, I suggest you find the time [to watch this video]. Lordy…this man is just what our spirits need these days!

~ Smartypants

Link to transcript below the fold.