Open Thread

The State Of The Union, Take #3, Roll ’Em

Hot on the heels of the inability of some of Hollywood’s thin-skinned Wankerati to laugh at themselves (nice one, Ricky), the profundity of American Seriousness will  manifest itself at the annual set-piece SOTU on The Hill this Tuesday. One of the most endearing aspects of the SOTU ritual is its peppering with spontaneous bouts of quick-response standing ovations after Mister President has delivered grateful Americans his best bon mots straight from the heart of his autocue. Applause of the Pop Ups— surely no POTUS could wish for more. Terribly exciting in a pantomimish sort of way, such displays of unrestrained adulation are what modern politicians do when pogo-ing is inappropriate. The gesture of unbridled joy was nailed to perfection by Joey “The Weasel” Lieberman during The Imbecile’s 2006 SOTU performance. Joey, one helluva guy, was a Democratic Senator at the time.   Such twitter-op moments are nowadays pinged around the globe faster than David Helfgott can riff Rachmaninoff .

Despite the US being quagmired in South Asia, the economy still in the hands of the same folks who brayed the nation astray ( “no,no, no, America will never be involved in a GFC”), infrastructure disintegrating, schools strangled for funds many of the population dumbed-down to “rhetoric by slogan”……… during SOTU, Americans are going to be exhorted by their Commander-In-Chief to hang in there for the greatest little nation that ever had the courage to bestow god’s gift of Democracy upon a world of ingrates who happen to be born in locations rich in resources or are of hegemonic significance.

Talking heads will analyse every POTUS utterance with the same breathless anticipation the economic press once paid to each Greenspan sigh. Comparisons will be made with SOTUs past pitched by Mt. Rushmore shortlistees, Kennedy, Clinton, and Reagan. In the land of the diminished attention span, by the weekend very few voters will remember what all the hoopla was about. Unless there is a wardrobe malfunction or some lawmaker cuts a stentorian fart at an inappropriate moment.

When SOTU 2011 is over and done, when all the confetti swept up and when the last legislator has exited The Hill, two unwinnable wars will grind on, 30 million Americans will continue to be spied upon by their govt., the Silent Spring will continue to scream, Gitmo and Abu Grahib and the other non habeas corpus hell-holes will remain open for business, John Boehner will sport a more toned-down tan and a once-great nation will discover that mah-jong can be every bit as fascinating as poker.

1,278 replies on “The State Of The Union, Take #3, Roll ’Em”

1188 paddy “Thank God for the magpies”. Yes paddy. I feel another premiership coming on.

I was very foolish to do it, but i needed to.

I had to do it just in case someone asks me in the future, Have you ever heard the greatest shower of shit ever that has come from a persons mouth?

I can honestly say
Yes, I listened to the reject priest spouting the greatest shower of shit i have ever heard for a budget reply speech in the Australian Federal Parliament.

Your birthday Jen?!!
Another reason to hold you dear in my thoughts! Consider yourself hugged!!

The ‘Diana was murdered’ conspiracy theory is indeed an attack on freedom. Basically, what it is suggesting – without actual evidence – that the head of state conspired with other arms of the British government to murder the mother of the second in line to the throne.

Lies like this serve to increase the public’s lack of trust in institutions. While blindly trusting such institutions is also anathema to freedom, believing that they are populated and led by murderous sociopaths when they are not is just as bad – it means that it becomes very difficult for governments to do anything at all.

This can easily be seen in what has happened in the USA, with conspiracy theory fed lunatics who oppose climate change forcing any Republican who wants to have a chance to be nominated to denounce their previous rationally held position on the issue, effectively making it impossible for the Democratic government to act. And this happened in Australia, too.

The fact that people today seem willing to buy any old conspiracy theory, without evidence – and, in fact, the less evidence for it and the more evidence against it seems to make it more attractive for some reason – means that we are much less free than we used to be.

Freedom stems from knowledge. Ignorance hurts freedom. And conspiracy theories are worse than ignorance, which is simply the absence of knowledge; rather, they are *counterknowledge*, which is the *opposite* of knowledge.

AP/GfK poll: Are the numbers too good to be true?

On Wednesday morning, Democrats were buoyed by the new polling data released by AP (and conducted by their longtime polling partners at GfK). The numbers, to the eyes of Dems, were almost too good to be true: 60% job approval, 53% re-elect, and the best right track/wrong track numbers in years.

More here…

That Clay Bennett “Welcome” toon is a cracker Ecky.
Do you think Julia’s one of his fans? 👿

Herb Kohl Retiring In 2012 (Dem Wisconson).

Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) announced on Friday that he will not seek reelection in the next election cycle.

Earlier this year, speculation began to swirl around the possibility that the Wisconsin Democrat could opt against seeking another term. The senator remained tight-lipped when asked about the matter back in March. His spokeswoman said at the time that he would make a decision on whether or not to run later this year.

Kohl is currently serving his fourth term in the upper congressional chamber.

The AP reports:

With the Democrats super motivated in Wisconson. This should instill some new blood. A strong liberal would be handy.

When Is the Senate Ethics Committee Going to Take Action on Tom Coburn’s Part in the Ensign Cover-Up?

I just have to ask, now that it looks like there’s going to be a criminal investigation against John Ensign after the Senate ethics committee released their findings this week: When is that same panel going to investigate Tom Coburn further and take some action against him and his part in covering up the crimes committed by John Ensign?

Here’s the entire segment from Maddow’s show where she laid out the entire scandal better than I’ve seen anyone else in our corporate media do with all of the ugly details explained fully. If you’ve got almost twenty minutes to spare and want to know what our press has largely been ignoring for the last couple of years that should have had Ensign thrown out of the Senate some time ago IMO, Rachel did a great job of explaining it here.

More here with video’s as well..

Earth to Senator Ensign: “Put your pants on and go home”.

Senate ethics complaints almost never come down to a resignation; it’s a ruler to the wrist and they move on.

It seems that John Ensign is the exception. If what Rachel Maddow says in the following report is true, this is a genuinely horrible human being, a sorry specimen — and not in a good way, since he’s apparently not sorry at all. Be prepared to be appalled.

You have just got to have a look at the Rachel Maddow video on this.

I am not sure how much milage the Democrats will get out of this, although Rachel Maddow is certainly leading the charge. They need to milk it for all its worth and then a bit more. Senator Tom Coburn (Oak) is certainly well implicated. It maybe the longer he stays in the more the Democrats can milk it. C street is also involved. How much can they be made to pay? Gripping stuff.

For those of you who love the Blues and searing, blistering, grabs-you-deep-down-in-your-soul electric guitar, Joe Bonamassa is about to tour Oz this week and next. I’ll be there at the Tivoli in Bris on Saturday night with my son and a really cool hat. Natch.

Ensign Report Shows Sexual Harassment, Cluelessness About the Law.

The John Ensign report from the Senate Ethics Committee is really a sad piece of pulp fiction. You have a US Senator in a strong position of power essentially bullying a female subordinate into an affair, refusing to give up on it after being caught several times, finally trying to cover up the evidence of the affair and pay off the participants, and lying and covering his tracks as the plot slowly unravels. That’s about it in a nutshell.

But the details are even seamier. Ensign started the affair with Cindy Hampton, who worked for his campaign committee and PAC, and was the wife of his best friend and chief of staff, after the Hamptons had a burglary at their house. Like some kind of bad porno, Ensign suggested that the couple move into his house instead. “Well, you guys are going to have to come and stay with me,” Ensign said. And then the predatory behavior began.

More here…

Dear Liberal Party,
Please replace Mr Abbott with Mr Turnbull forthwith, so that when you thump Labor into dust at the next federal poll, I will at least not feel obliged to slash my wrists or plank on the nearest balcony at the thought of Abbott PM.

Kindest regards,

1223 Ferny Grover You give up easy. We still have the great tax give a way to come yet. When people realise the carbon tax will be giving them money and NOT taking away. Abbott will look foolish. Then there is the NBN reality kicking in.

WI-Sen: Who’s who in the zoo.

After Democratic Sen. Herb Kohl announced his retirement last Friday, we saw the usual flood of speculation about who might run — on both sides — to replace him. So far, no one major has actually made the plunge, but here are a few of the people thinking about it (in no particular order):


• Rep. Tammy Baldwin (WI-02):

Sources close to Cong. Tammy Baldwin (D) say she is likely to run.

Baldwin has a strong progressive voting record and would also be the first openly gay member of the Senate.

Tammy gets my vote.

More here..

Good piece here on Mal Turnbull trying to shoot down Mike Quigley in his role as head of the NBN over claims of past corruption.
Turnbull obviously hasn’t learnt anything from his Godwin Gretch episode.
Meanwhile, in a juicy photo op tomorrow, the powerfox, Conroy and Tony Windsor do the big “switch on the NBN” in Armidale. Lucky bastards!! 🙂

I hereby authorize any Mod to rightly change Gaffhook’s moniker to “Gloating Barstad”.

Just got back from the Whirlpool Forum. Sticking it to the Liberals on a couple of threads. Go NBN! Go NBN! Go NBN!

A nation moving at the speed of light: this is the vision behind Australia’s biggest-ever infrastructure project, the National Broadband Network.

To the believers, the NBN is to the 21st century what the national road system and railways were to the previous two centuries – an essential infrastructure that links up the wide, brown land and a backbone for commerce and national development, including applications not yet invented. It’s the digital Field of Dreams theory: build the network and they will come.

More here…

1231 paddy Maybe I will move Newt ahead of Sarah for my favourite to stand against Obama. That would increase the chance for a massive landslide for the Democrats. A few more things going right for them before 2012 would also help. What a turn around since November! Still a long way to go yet.

UNE Chancellor and the PM on uni radio about the NBN, very interesting!! Also the impact of the budget on uni activities, and women’s job and pay equity. A very good interview. I didnt know the NBN and cows will be connected!

Tony Windsor would be rapt in this coverage.

Wow. That interview is already impressing the Yanks. Comments from Facebook.

Wow. I have country envy! I hope it turns out to be as great as my brain says that must be. I also think its good for Australia’s image. At least in the US (As with all countries) the media portrayal is bad, but more so with Australia than most other English speaking countries. The real question is, how will this effect you the consumer. (I am apparently in super nerd mode at the moment.)


Well I think this is the first project of its kind even, so you all are making history. The geotagging thing is also way more humane to the cattle, and often they are healthier. I am really impressed with your government. Trade you?

Stephen and Julia to make big annoucements on the NBN.

THE mainland launch of the national broadband network (NBN) in the New England city of Armidale yesterday by Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Communications Minister Stephen Conroy sets the scene for announcements in the next few weeks that will entrench the project, both commercially and politically.

Negotiations between Telstra and the network’s builder and operator, NBN Co, are now largely complete. Neither board has signed off on the deal that will see Telstra be paid $9 billion to progressively close down its copper-wire network as the NBN fibre network rolls out, and make its copper wire ducts and pipes available for the fibre deployment, but both now have something they can live with. Details will come in a market announcement by Telstra after cabinet has considered and approved the deal. It is expected as early as the end of this month, and no later than the end of June.

The NBN, meanwhile, is now said to be within weeks of sealing the major construction contract for the rollout.

The have NOT waivered from their task. Eyes have been firmly on the ball. A very impressive performance.

Read more:

Looks like big Newt is off to a flyer.

Who is left? Palin?

The US presidential campaign of Republican Newt Gingrich looks to be over only a week after it began.

Mr Gingrich, a former speaker of the house, has been forced to apologise after criticising a key party policy during a television interview.

The trouble began when he called a central Republican budget proposal to overhaul Medicare extreme “right-wing social engineering”.

“I don’t think imposing radical change from the right to the left is a very good way for a free society to operate,” he said.

Democrat wins special election in heavily Republican New Hampshire state legislature district. 3 big Democrats wins in 3 weeks.

In one sense, picking up one seat out of the 400 in New Hampshire’s state House isn’t that significant. But when it’s one of the most Republican district in the state and is a district shared with the far-right Speaker of the House, it starts looking significant.

That’s what happened Tuesday, with former state Rep. (and Blue Hampshire blogger) Jennifer Daler soundly defeating her Republican opponent, Peter Kucmas. She carried all five towns in the district, taking 59% of the vote. This wasn’t a low-turnout special election victory, either: both candidates received more votes than expected. Moreover, last week, WMUR political director James Pindell wrote:

More here..

1248 Wow Gaffy, that’s a peach of a rant by Elder.
Best thing I’ve seen him write for ages.

Uke can say that again, paddy! :mrgreen:

And yes, That Bennet catoon was very Gillardish. Her grasp for the xenophobe vote reminds me of Pericles and that vicious SPQR-plated hatemonger Cato the Elder.

gaffy, Uncle Bob gave Rupe’s lickspittles some lovely serves. They didn’t enjoy it at all. Lackeys!

Now the bite might be in.
Mordors grab at BskyB looks like it is on hold as thousands lodge their interests in a consultative process.
Fuckyu Roo.
What is the equation- for everyone that lodges you equate 1000?

Rupert Murdoch’s controversial buyout of BSkyB has been delayed after the Government received some 40,000 responses to a consultation process on planned purchase.

The Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, said yesterday that the process had “taken longer than expected” and the scale of the public response indicates the widespread concern over the possible impact of the deal.

I’m sharing Ferny’s sentiments. Looks like Labor is stuffed and the prospect of Tony Abbott as PM is real. Laura Tingle writes and damning piece on Hockey in the AFR today, and her last sentence (directed at Hockey) is “oh, and Malcolm is coming for you.” I’m gonna keep everything crossed that Malcolm can rise again. Most people say he made a mistake this week – maybe so – but it does seem like he’s coming out of the blocks again. Go Malcolm!

I will have a new topic for a thread up for discussion shortly. Who do I send it to?

Rick Scott the most unpopular Governor of Florida ever 55% of voters disapprove. Florida and Ohio with 47 electoral votes between them. Both have very unpopular Governors. Yes!

Me thinks there is going to be some new Blue states this time around. Do your worst. 60% dissapproval by November 2012 would be nice.

Governor Andrew Cuomo popularity 73% for closing a $10 million deficit with no trauma. In Maine only 3 out of 10 approve of Le Pages job, which is going to make Olympia Snow’s job of holding the seat very difficult. God this tea party is good. (They run Maine). Which will loosen Susan Collins grip in 2014. But whose looking that far ahead?

A strong progressive has just announced her candidacy foy Hawaii. Colleen Hanabusa in recent polls is crushing any Republican candidate.

Holy Fuck –
we are down to barracking for Malcs as PM cos Labor is totally unelectable, and the Rabbott as PM is just unthinkable…
hope Greg Combet gets out of the starting box soon.

Am off to Hamilton island with kiddies tomorrow for a week –
latest health news is more positive…
all MRI’s clear, but improving function in leg despite nerve conduction tests showing lumbar nerve root denervation (fancy word for nerve death ) so nothing diagnosed but not MND if functional improvement.
So Yay. but still dont know whatTF is going on – then again might never.
Bit like politics 😉

Good on you, Chris. Please post your article in the editorial comments section (alert me here) and I’ll dress it up (know where I can hire a decent frock, mate? 🙂

Then it’ll be posted it immediatly as a new thread.

KL, with all his millions, Malcs sure ain’t hangin’ in for a pension. ALP looks like damaged goods, allright. One does recall however that Beazley was a walk-up–start for the Lodge till Tampa and 9/11 Lararusized the filthy, warmongering rodent.

G’day, Jen. That’s terrific news about your health! Hope the brilliant weather holds for you and and the younguns.

Big smiles all round, mate. 🙂 🙂 🙂

Fuckin good news Jen. 🙂 🙂 🙂
Now you make sure that you and the kids enjoy the rapture.
Just make sure you don’t start kissing stingrays at Hamilton Is. 👿
Bon voyage. xxx

EC I put it in the Editorial Policy section. I hope thats right. I used the same markup as we use here. I have some follow up links to add afterwards.

So pleased to hear better health news for you Jen. Have a wonderful time on holiday. xo

On who will be the next PM, on Insiders, the annoying Nikki Savva said that the next in line for Abbott’s job is Scott Morrison. Oh FFS.

Ticsters, if you’ve got a bit of spare time over lunch or something, I can recommend listening to some talk from the Sydney Writers Festival. I’ve listened to 3 talks that were engrossing and sometimes very moving:

* Fatima Bhutto: Pakistani writer and poet presents a powerful opening address
* I shall not hate: Palestinian doctor Izzeldin Abuelaish with David Leser
* David Hicks: his first public address since the publication of his memoir

You may want to try the new thread.
Don’t know if anyone is listening here anymore.

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