Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Because America Has Suffered Enough...

To spare us the misery of watching Republican candidates all day today, Barack Obama gives a press conference. He's so considerate.

On Iran:

My policy is not containment, my policy is to prevent them getting a nuclear weapon.
That's my track record. Now, what's said on the campaign trail? You know, those folks don't have a lot of responsibilities. They're not Commander in Chief. And when I see the casualness with which some of these folks talk about war, I am reminded of the costs involved in war. I'm reminded of the decision that I have to make in terms of sending our young men and women into battle. And the impact it has on their lives, the impact it has on national security. The impact it has on our economy. This is not a game. There's nothing casual about it. And when I see some of these folks who have a lto of bluster and a lot of big talk. But when you actually ask them specifically what they would do, it turns out they repeat a lot of the things that we've been doing over the last three years.
It indicates to me that that’s more about politics than trying to solve a problem. Now one thing we have not done is we haven’t launched a war. If some of these folks think it’s time to launch a war then they should say so and explain to the American people exactly why they would do that and what the consequences would be. Everything else is just talk.
Take that, warmongers!

On Rush Limbaugh and the Sandra Fluke Controversy:
I don’t know what’s in Rush Limbaugh’s heart, so I’m not going to comment on the sincerity of his apology. What I can comment on is the fact that all decent folks can agree that the remarks that were made don’t have any place in the public discourse. And the reason I called Ms. Flute is because I thought about Malia and Sasha and one of the things I want them to do as they get older is to engage in issues they care about. Even ones I may not agree with them on. I want them to be able to speak their mind in a civil and thoughtful way. And I don’t want them attacked or called horrible names because they’re being good citizens. And I wanted Sandra to know that I thought her parents should be proud of her.
And that we want to send a message to all our young people that being part of a democracy involves arguments and disagreements and debate. And we want you to be engaged. And there’s a way to do it that doesn’t involve you being demeaned and insulted, particularly when you’re a private citizen.
On whether Republicans are waging a "war on women":

Women are going to make up their own mind in this election about who is advancing the issues that they care most deeply about. One of the things I’ve learned being married to Michelle, is I don’t need to tell her what it is that she thinks is important. And there are millions of strong women around the country who are going to make their own determination about a whole range of issue.
It’s not going to be narrowly focused just on contraception. It’s not going to be driven by one statement by one radio announcer. It is going to be driven by their view of what’s most likely to make sure they can help support their families, make their mortgage payments, who’s got a plan to ensure that middle class families are secure over the long term, what’s most likely to result in their kids being able to get the education they need to compete.
And I believe that Democrats have a better story to tell to women about how we’re going to solidify the middle class and grow this economy, make sure everybody has a fair shot, everybody’s doing their fair share, and we got a fair set of rules of the road that everybody has to follow. 
On immigration reform:
Well, first of all just substantively, every American should want immigration reform. We’ve got a system that’s broken. We’ve got a system in which you have millions of families here in this country who are living in the shadows, worried about deportation. You’ve got American workers that are being undercut because those undocumented workers can be hired and the minimum wage laws may not be observed; overtime laws may not be observed.
You’ve got incredibly talented people who want to start businesses in this country or to work in this country. And we should want those folks here in the United States, but right now the legal immigration system is so tangled up that it becomes very difficult for them to put down roots here. So we can be a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants. And it is not just a Hispanic issue. This is an issue for everybody. This is an American issue that we need to fix.
Now, when I came into office, I said, “I am going to push to get this done.” We didn’t get it done. And the reason we haven’t gotten it done is because what used to be a bipartisan agreement that we should fix this ended up becoming a partisan issue. I give a lot of credit to my predecessor, George Bush, and his political advisers who said, you know, “This should not be just something the Democrats support; the Republican Party is invested in this as well.”
Unfortunately, too often Republicans seemt o only be invested in exploiting immigration fears to fire up their base. That's why  polls today show that Latino voters are currently supporting President Obama by an astonishing margin of 70% compared to 13% (!) support for the GOP.

You know, it's refreshing amidst the Republican hullaballoo to take some time and watch a President who is smart, thoughtful, and humane.

Also, I love this:

A Super Tuesday Tale: The Story So Far

Hello boys and girls! In America, it's Super Tuesday today - so primary voters in 10 states are casting their ballots today. This is probably a good time to remind you of the Story So Far in the Republican primary. It's been grippng.

Initially, Mitt Romney looked like a shoo-in candidate, but quickly Republican voters came to realise that he was a poor campaigner, personally unlikeable, prone to embarassing gaffes, and slippery in his beliefs.

So they all decamped to the Great Saviour from Texas - Rick Perry. Who enjoyed a surge until we discovered that he seems not to know anything about anything (for instance, he couldn't remember the names of the 3rd Cabinet agency he wanted to abolish. "Oops!").

Then they all got excited about a Pizza salesman - Herman Cain. Until it turned out that he ALSO didn't know anything - for instance, what might be happening in Libya - and also had some icky affairs and did some sexual harrassing, which at first the Republicans were totally fine with, but then eventually they were like, "You know what? Nah."

So Perry and Cain both dropped out to make way for the new big sensation in the race: New Gingrich. Newt surged to a lead, because Republican voters decided his affairs were a really long time ago, plus he gets angry a lot, which they like, and plus he seems really smart and has BIG IDEAS.

Unfortunately, it turned out that some of his big ideas included stuff like giant mirrors in space to illuminate the highways (no, I'm not kidding). Also, everyone remembered that he's not a very nice person.

So then everybody thought, OK, let's give Romney a chance after all because - you know. All that stuff about him being a weak candidate that no one likes are still true, but what the heck, everyone else also sucks.

But then they thought, NO GOD DAMN IT! They REALLY REALLY DON'T LIKE MITT ROMNEY! And he's a Mormon, which is weird and they have magic underwear and what's that about?

Maybe they'll just go back Newt. He's still angry, which they like.

Argh - but no, he's angry but he's also a jerk and he's promising to build a moon colony and make them into the 51st state (and what is it with this guy and outer space, anyway) so no, not Newt...

Romney, then? Is it really going to be Romney? OK, they start to think maybe it will be Romney after all, but then they suddenly remembered!

"Wait a minute! We hate gay people and we're uncomforable with women. You know who else hates gays and thinks women should shut up and make babies? Rick Santorum! He's, like, famous for it!"

So they think maybe Santorum will save them, because the Google thing is less of a big deal now, and surely hatred and fear of minorities has always been a winning strategy. But then, it turns out that Rick's not actually on the ballot on a lot of states, so it's unclear if he can in theory actually win enough delegates to win.

And then we start having this really icky conversation about birth control with all these women trying to talk about their lady parts and it makes the Republicans really uncomfortable, but it turns out that some of these women have the right to vote (when did that happen anyway) and they seem to be getting really angry, and being angry is bad when other people do it.

So, they're back to Romney. Because they don't like him very much but, really, who else is there?


Happy Super Tuesday everyone.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Rush Limbaugh is Still Calling Sandra Fluke a Slut

Following up from my last post, it's incumbent upon me to report that Rush has issued the following supposed "apology":
“For over 20 years, I have illustrated the absurd with absurdity, three hours a day, five days a week. In this instance, I chose the wrong words in my analogy of the situation. I did not mean a personal attack on Ms. Fluke.
I think it is absolutely absurd that during these very serious political times, we are discussing personal sexual recreational activities before members of Congress. I personally do not agree that American citizens should pay for these social activities. What happened to personal responsibility and accountability? Where do we draw the line? If this is accepted as the norm, what will follow? Will we be debating if taxpayers should pay for new sneakers for all students that are interested in running to keep fit?In my monologue, I posited that it is not our business whatsoever to know what is going on in anyone’s bedroom nor do I think it is a topic that should reach a Presidential level.
My choice of words was not the best, and in the attempt to be humorous, I created a national stir. I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for the insulting word choices."
So, he apologises for the insulting word choice, but he repeats the insult.

Note, please, that he continues to insist that any discussison of birth control can only be about "recreational sexual activity" and that he defines it as by definition something that should not be discussed in Congress. Despite the fact that Congress is actually passing laws to restrict brith control access, it should never be discussed in Congress, by this view.

So the law student that Fluke testified about who lost her ovary and may now be unable to have children because she was denied a medically necessary treatment - he says her story is really about "sexual recreational activity".

The married couple Fluke describes who have had to stop taking birth control because they couldn't afford it in their budget? Any mention of their family planning decision is just a trashy rehashing of their "sexual recreational activity".

And the rape victim who didn't seek help because she believed the university would not offer any assistence to her for her recovery? Rush just accused her of being irresponsible, but anyway we shouldn't talk about it because her rape was recreational.

When I wrote yesterday that this is an attempt to terrorise women into silence, this is EXACTLY what I meant - the implication that anyone who feels it's important to discuss reproductive health is basically trashy is a powerful tool in persuading women to sit down and shut up. We won't.