Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics


But I Still Don’t Get the Giant Puppets

Edited to add:  I didn’t mean to do it!  I didn’t uncheck the box that says put this on the front page and OMG look where it wound up!  Please, someone who can, move it over to the sidebar where it belongs!

Over at Booman Tribune I got linked into this happy story at Huffpo:  

White House Brings Minimum Wage, Overtime Protections To 2 Million Home Care Workers

It’s definitely a BFD for the many hard-working, unappreciated, peon-wages-paid folks who take care of the most vulnerable among us.  As the article says,

In a move that will change working conditions for two million Americans, the Labor Department announced Tuesday the enactment of a new rule that will extend minimum wage and overtime protections to home care workers, one of the fastest-growing occupations in the country.

As of Jan. 1, 2015, the long-awaited change will end a 38-year-old carveout that excluded workers who attend to the elderly and disabled in their homes from the basic labor protections enjoyed by most Americans.

“Now, waitaminnit”, I hear you say, “just where do the giant puppets come into this?”  Thusly:

The Putin Doctrine

A number of attempts have been made to discern and describe a ‘Putin doctrine’ during the years of his influence on Russian and world affairs, including some recently as a consequence of his reaction to the Syria chemical weapons crisis. Most suggest a doctrine of ‘reasserting Russia’s power‘ or ‘building Russia up by tearing the US down,’ an aspiration and strategy which, while arguably correct, seem to miss Putin’s underlying and unmistakeable political philosophy.

Here we propose an argument for a ‘Putin doctrine’ as follows:

No nation, group of nations or international organisation has the right to interfere or intervene without consent in the internal affairs of any sovereign state under any circumstances short of the proven violation of existing conventions governing the use of weapons of mass destruction.

In other words a sovereign state has the right to deal with dissent, insurgency and secession by whatever means it otherwise sees fit. That this might include conventional warfare against civilians, mass arrests and detentions, summary executions, massacres, genocide and authoritarian terrorism is left to the discretion of the state’s leadership. And if the state is an ally, Russia will actively disable the Security Council from taking action against it on behalf of any majority of the larger international community whom might find such activity objectionable. As Russian ‘hard power’ inevitably increases we need to think this through carefully.

Vlad the Implorer

Well, now we’ve seen it all. Vladimir Putin has an op-ed in the 11 September edition of the New York Times imploring Americans to undermine their own security by doubting the motives, credibility and policies of the US government:

The potential strike by the United States against Syria, despite strong opposition from many countries and major political and religious leaders, including the pope, will result in more innocent victims and escalation, potentially spreading the conflict far beyond Syria’s borders.

A strike would increase violence and unleash a new wave of terrorism. It could undermine multilateral efforts to resolve the Iranian nuclear problem and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and further destabilize the Middle East and North Africa. It could throw the entire system of international law and order out of balance.

Vladimir Putin – A Plea for Caution From Russia NYT 11 September 13

There you have it. It’s Obama versus the world and the Pope. With Vladimir Vladimirovich as the humble arbiter of peace and voice of sweet reason. Oh, brother! Pity “those still finding their way to democracy” if they wander into his neighbourhood.

Ironically, the powerful effect of this agitation and propaganda on the weak-minded comes at a time when many in the United States, especially among certain factions of the Left and the Right, are as vulnerable as mice; since domestic spying revelations have undermined the faith of Americans in their own government. You know, that Snowden guy who sought asylum recently in… uh, Russia… Hey, hang on a minute. Vladimir, it seems you are a very naughty boy.

The Lavrov Gambit

Interesting developments overnight have again changed the course of the Syrian chemical weapons crisis:

President Obama on Monday called a Russian proposal for Syria to turn over control of its chemical weapons to international monitors in order to avoid a military strike a “potentially positive development,” that could represent a “significant breakthrough,” but he said he remains skeptical the Syrian government would follow through on its obligations based on its recent track record.

Anne Gearan, Karen DeYoung and and Will Englund – Obama sees potential ‘breakthrough’ in Russia’s Syria proposal Washington Post 10 Sep 13

Clearly a positive development and a significant shift in the Syrian and Russian position. A vindication for Obama’s tough policy on the use of chemical weapons one would suppose? One might think it ridiculous to use this development to justify a vote against authorising Obama’s free hand to apply the military pressure which brought it about in the first instance.  

Be Careful What You Wish For…

About an hour after the vote which defeats the proposed Authorisation for Use of Military Force in response to the chemical weapons attack in Syria we will probably begin to realise that the world as we know it has been irrevocably changed; and probably not for the better.

The inevitable decline of American power precipitated by the disastrous Bush administration will enter its terminal phase as the American public withdraws into an insular shell of isolationism and denial of collective responsibility in spite of having enjoyed for decades the relative security and prosperity that engaged American power has provided.

The performance of the American Left since 21 August has been an utter embarrassment; exposing the vaunted activist Internet as little more than a breeding place for fatuous conspiracy theories, misdirection, unreasonable and stubborn scepticism, selfishness, wilful ignorance and misplaced moral outrage. A complete and utter shambles. Shameful.

Courageous activists and diplomats campaigned for decades to implement the hard-won provisions of an almost unanimous prohibition of chemical weapons only to have it thoughtlessly repudiated with the ridiculous argument that ‘people are just as dead’ by other means. Or compared incessantly, in ignorance of what nerve agents are capable of or intended to do, to the use of white phosphorous at Fallujah. All in support of a knee-jerk response to a proposed military action in the face of a truly inhumane war crime.

The NSA FISA and President Obama Did He Lie to Anyone?

First, in the interest of full disclosure I’m an Obamabot.  Not just an Obamabot I’m the model T-1000 with the liquid skin and frickin lasers for arms.  That’s not the point of this expose, but I don’t mind saying Barack Obama excretes excellence and gets the shit done.  I feel no need to criticize him and would keep it to myself if I did.

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350 Silicon Valley: Obama’s Palo Alto Visit w/ Photos

Thursday June 6th President Obama came to Palo Alto, CA for a fundraiser. 350 Silicon Valley was determined to make sure he heard our opposition to the KXL pipeline.

Thursday was also my nephew’s high school graduation. Our family is very proud of him; school has not been easy for him because of ADHD, he had to work harder than most to achieve this goal. My sister with her famous stubborn determination kept him focused and busy. He has exceeded expectations by excelling at school, dance and sports. After receiving his diploma the crowd chanted for him to do a flip, which he did to cheers. I have complete faith he will continue to impress people with his innocent charm and determination as he heads to college and beyond.

Afterwards I drove with my wife and our 9 year-old to join 350 Silicon Valley. In the back of my mind were the 282 recent graduates, wide-eyed and hopeful, but what is their future? A crappy job market, overbearing student loan debts and severe weather are already stacked up against our new graduates. As a father, uncle and human being I feel the need to work towards improving these conditions. None are more urgent than Climate Change.

State Of The Union Limerick Live-Blog Recap!

I managed to sneak these limericks into the State of the Union liveblogging tsunami of comments over at The Place That Shall Not Be Named. Thought you might enjoy this alternative account of the festivities 😉

Speaker Boehner: hey, what’s up with him?

The orange fellow is looking quite grim

As his caucus rebels

He develops new “tells”

Will he ever prevail? Odds are slim.

All the others seem happy enough

(Then they’re made of less lachrymose stuff)

Boehner always seems blue

And can weep right on cue

I am guessing tonight will be rough.

Poor Paul Ryan; the kid looks upset

Like he just lost a costly bar bet

When your world turns to sh*t

Just call up Uncle Mitt

All your worries he’ll help you forget.

Mitch McConnell stares out into space

With a vacuous look on his face

All expression he lacks

Like a man carved of wax

No museum? He looks out of place.

What’s with Biden? He looks awful pale

Tonight’s make-up was really a “fail”

Let’s just hope he’s alright

And not ailing tonight

‘Cause we need Fightin’ Joe to assail!

This applause for each line’s getting old

Yes, I know, these proposals are bold

But it’s not overreach

To just lay out a speech

Before all these hot ideas grow cold.

Just imagine if Mitt gave this speech

We’d be watching with one painful screech

We’d be screaming in pain

As he sold out to Bain

But tonight he’s on Cayman’s white beach.

Manufacturing! Yesss! Tell us more!

Now Obama’s got programs in store

To bring jobs back again

For our women and men

It’s a message we cannot ignore.

Infrastructure! It’s time to get real!

Crumbling bridges? Let’s move on that deal!

Weatherize every home

Be it bung’low or dome

Help our kids get a good school-day meal!

Education from preschool for all!

What about it? Let’s answer the call!

Our investment return

As our kids really learn

Will have all of our folks standing tall!

Go to college (you won’t be a snob!)

It’s essential for any good job

We’ll help parents to find

Which school won’t be a grind

To help cute little Cindy or Bob

Immigration? More boots on the ground!

We need people – ideas will abound!

Send me up the damn bill

Don’t waste time on the Hill!

And enough with your whimpering sound!

When you live in this challenging age

You can’t get by on minimum wage

In the land of the brave

You’re a lowly wage slave

That is really a dreadful outrage!

Many troops will return from afar

Well, the generals look like they are

Feeling sad to hear that

But peacetime’s where it’s at

I’ll buy them the first round at the bar!

Now it’s freedom, for folks the world o’er

As we travel to each distant shore

As Commander in Chief

It’s Obama’s belief

That although we’ve done much, there’s still more.

Equal treatment for all, straight or gay!

And yet Boehner just sits, ashen gray

As he seethes in his seat

In his squirmy defeat

Face it, orangeman: today’s a new day

Gun control: now it’s time we get real

This is really a simple appeal

Since the Newtown dark day

Many more passed away

Like Hadiya, so folks: here’s the deal

It’s past time for the Congress to act

On the measures that Gabby has backed

For the families who’ve cried

We are here by your side

We must feel your deep pain and react

As the gun carnage stats are rolled out

There is something of which there’s no doubt

Hey: Ted Nugent! You turd

We will not hear one word

Because “hate” is not what we’re about!

Now rebuttals come next, I can’t wait!

First I’ll fix a nice little snack plate

Then I’ll drink to the Prez

And the things that he says

But for GOPers, I won’t stay up late.

More Perfect: A State of the Union Open Thread

Well, President Obama is getting set to present the traditional State of the Union address. The GOP is set to respond out of both sides of their divided mouth.

There is an Executive Order on cybersecurity expected tomorrow. What will the President say about that?

The economy continues a fragile fifth year of recovery, sequestration looms ahead.

As Chris Dorner remains (?) in a burning cabin after killing a police officer today, wounding another, and killing others including a young couple guilty of having a father in the LAPD, the issue of guns is on the table.

What will our President have to say tonight, about the state of our Union?

Consider this a live thread and ongoingly Open Thread (here comes Michelle, and damn she looks sharp!).

The glass is half full and we are moving FORWARD!

If you are old enough, think back to about 1970. If you are not old enough GET OFF MY LAWN! No, no. Come, pull up a chair and let an old guy talk a bit.

In 1970 the life expectancy for a newborn White boy in the USA was 67.94 years; White girl? 75.49 years. NonWhite boy? 65.63 years. NonWhite girl? 69.05 years. In 2011, all those rates were higher, by between 5 and 8 years.

In 1970, in the building where I lived in New York City, my mother had a Black friend visit. The doorman made her ride the service elevator (OH BOY did that doorman hear from my mom!).

In 1970, the Soviet Union still existed. Germany was still two countries. South Africa had apartheid. Today, none of those things is true (and they all happened without a major war).

In 1970, the idea of an openly homosexual person getting elected to Congress would have been strange. Homosexuality was still considered a psychiatric disorder (and listed as such in the DSM).

In 1970, it was illegal (in Chicago) for “deformed” people to show themselves on the streets.

In 1970 the Americans with Disabilities Act had not been passed. Today, many buildings are required to have ramps for wheelchair access and all children are entitled to a “free and appropriate education” in the “least restrictive environment”.

In 1970 Roe v. Wade was still in the future. Today, abortion is legal.

In 1970, “with all deliberate speed” was long on the deliberate and short on the speed. Today, an African-American is in the White House.

In 1970, there was no internet. In 1970, there were no personal computers.

In 1970, Edgar Ray Killen was still a free man. (Don’t know who he is? Go to the library! Oh, it’s 2013. You can Google).

It was in 1970 that the United States got its first female generals. In 2013, women were finally given combat status.

Are we done fighting? NO WAY.

Are things perfect now? YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME

In all of the areas I outlined, there is work to be done. FORWARD!

Have we made progress? YES WE HAVE.

Can we make more? YES WE CAN!