Pope Francis on the Death Merchants

Hippie Pope tells it exactly like it is:

Pope Francis said Monday that “many powerful people don’t want peace because they live off war.” The Argentine pontiff made the hard-hitting comment in response to a question from one of the 7,000 children taking part in an audience held with the Peace Factory organisation. “This is serious,” Francis told the children. “Some powerful people make their living with the production of arms. It’s the industry of death.”

Wow — an actual Christian! How did this guy get through the papal conclave?

[H/T: Valued commenter Rikyrah]

Nadir Of The Nameless One

Reminder: This man is somehow not in prison and is happily giving interviews to WIN THE MORNING.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney says President Barack Obama is the worst commander in chief the United States has ever had, in view of the recent Iranian nuclear agreement.

Asked about the deal by conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt on Tuesday, the former vice president said the Iranian regime is “one of the most radical” in history and that “Obama’s about to give them nuclear weapons.”

I vacillate between the various theories I’ve heard, but you know, if you had somebody as president who wanted to take America down, who wanted to fundamentally weaken our position in the world and reduce our capacity to influence events, turn our back on our allies and encourage our adversaries, it would look exactly like what Barack Obama’s doing,” Cheney said when asked whether he thought the president is naïve or something else.

Funny, I would have made the same argument about Shrub/Penguin.  So would millions of others in the Middle East, except they’re dead as a result of these two meatballs.

Why is Dick Cheney tolerated in polite society and not repeatedly smashed in the balls with a mallet made out of quantum lava bees whenever anyone sees him? The guy who ignored intelligence to get us into one war and falsified intelligence in order to take us into another does not get to make judgments on who is the worst anything of anything.

Put him in stocks, place the stocks in Baghdad’s largest public square, hand out three tons of moldy durians, and play O Fortuna over loudspeakers. The people will figure out what to do from there.

A Serious Budget Proposal

While the clown caucus unveiled their annual fictional budget proposal, an actually serious budget proposal that would work and adds up exists:

Too often neglected in this Beltway brawl is the budget alternative offered by the Congressional Progressive Caucus. The fifth annual CPC alternative — “The People’s Budget: A Raise for America” — is about as close to common sense as Congress gets. And it is honest: Its numbers are carefully laid out and add up. It actually says what it would invest in and how it would pay for it.

On the investment side, the CPC expands investments in areas vital to our future. It would rebuild America, modernizing our outmoded infrastructure. It would invest to lead the green industrial revolution that is already forging markets and creating jobs across the globe.

The CPC understands that we must do the basics in education. It would provide pre-K for every child, the most important single reform we can make in education. It calls for increasing investment in our public schools, helping to mitigate the destructive inequality between rich districts and poor. It would provide students with four years of debt-free college education, and pay for renegotiating existing student loans, relieving the burden now crushing an entire generation.

The CPC recognizes that more seniors are facing a retirement crisis. On budget, it would adopt an inflation measure for Social Security that reflects the rising costs seniors face in areas like health care. Off budget, the CPC calls for expanded Social Security benefits, paid for by lifting the income cap on Social Security payroll contributions. No longer would Donald Trump pay a lower rate in Social Security taxes than the police who guard his palaces.

You can read the entire budget here. It’s rational, thoughtful, accounts for incoming and outgoing dollars, and as such will be completely ignored.

There’s A Mr. Karma Here To See You, Sir

Good to be back among the living after last week’s Klingon Death Flu, and I’m in an even better mood this morning upon seeing that Benjamin Netanyahu has a whole mess of roosting chickens riding boomerangs to deal with back home.

For all the vitriol in the U.S. surrounding Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech last week to Congress, it was nothing compared with what the Israeli prime minister faced upon his homecoming. Israeli politics are generally more vicious than their American parallel, and Netanyahu returned to face what is almost a perfect storm raging around his re-election campaign.

It began with comments by Meir Dagan, a former director of Mossad, who said that the prime minister’s conduct of the conflict with the Palestinians would lead Israel to being either a binational or an apartheid state. Dagan has long been critical of Netanyahu, but former Mossad chiefs have virtual demigod status in Israel, so his accusation (which he repeated in front of an estimated 80,000 peopleat an anti-Netanyahu rally Saturday in Tel Aviv, where he also said that Netanyahu has brought Israel to its worst crisis since its creation) clearly stung.

The Likud itself brought on the second phase of the storm with an undeniably stupid and offensive TV ad that showed people in a self-help group, all there due to Netanyahu’s policies. There was the mobile-phone company executive who can no longer charge customers through the nose, the port worker who can no longer get away with working only three hours a week, and a Hamas terrorist complaining about Netanyahu’s war on terrorism. In a country with deep socialist roots, the nasty portrayal of lazy workers was edgy enough. But depicting a Hamas terrorist in the same group as laborers went way too far. Israelis woke up Monday morning to a YNet headline noting that a Likud candidate, the head of Israel’s Airport Authority, said publicly that his workers are telling him they will not vote Likud because of the ad in which Netanyahu compared them to the enemy. Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, long known as a straight shooter, said Netanyahu didn’t know about the content of the ad. Given that the prime minister was filmed reciting lines clearly meant for the ad, though, people found even Yaalon hard to believe this time.

The third blow was a leaked document allegedly indicating that the prime minister had agreed in principle to return to the 1967 lines in a deal with the Palestinians, something he has said publicly he would never do. Avi Issacharoff, one of Israel’s leading political commentators, wondered whether the leak originated with U.S. President Barack Obama and was payback for the speech to Congress — an indication of how damaging he thought it might prove. On Sunday night, apparently seeking to prove that Netanyahu has not softened, the Likud announced that the prime minister no longer supports the two-state solution. Hours later, Netanyahu denied he ever said that. The Likud is desperate, struggling to keep the ship afloat in a storm that keeps growing stronger.

I’m just so totally torn up to hear that Netanyahu may get stuck with a unity government riding herd on him and his Likud pals, even more torn up to hear how terrible political campaign advisers aren’t just an American affectation.  Not doing anything crazy like counting the guy out, but it’s good to see he may not exactly win in a landslide either.

We’ll see how this shakes out, but the notion that the guy might not win is now starting to pick up steam.

Boots On The Ground, Drums In The Air

A news CBS poll has found that since September, America has definitely changed its mind on sending ground troops in to fight ISIS.  This is not a good thing, in fact it’s terrifying.

Amid more executions by the militant group ISIS, Americans increasingly see the group as a threat to the U.S. Now, 65 percent of Americans view ISIS as a major threat – up from 58 percent in October – while another 18 percent view it as a minor threat. Majorities of Republicans (86 percent), Democrats (61 percent) and independents (57 percent) view ISIS as a major threat.

With concern about ISIS growing, support for the use of U.S. ground troops in the fight against ISIS has risen. For the first time, a majority of Americans (57 percent) favor the U.S. sending ground troops into Iraq and Syria to fight ISIS. In October, Americans were divided (47 percent favored and 46 percent opposed), and in September these numbers were reversed (39 percent favored and 55 percent opposed).

Fucking really, people? 57 percent of us want another goddamn ground war in Iraq and now Syria?   I just…no.  Just no.  Take the short bus to hell.

Support for sending U.S. ground troops to fight ISIS has risen among all partisans, but particularly among Democrats and independents. Back in October, 56 percent of Democrats and 49 percent of independents disapproved of using ground troops – now 50 percent of Democrats approve and 53 percent of independents favor using ground troops.

Super awesome.  We have learned a grand total of absolutely goddamn nothing over the last 13 years, so let’s just have another decade of boots on the ground and see if that fixes things.  I’m sure it will.  The last 13 years?  Didn’t happen.

Good job, America.  Last one left turn off the giant flashing neon “We’re #1!” sign with the naked chick ghost riding the M1A1 Abrams tank on the way out.