Tag Archives: Politics

I thought I retired?

Drowning in deadlines here and headed off to California tomorrow and even though I’m not thrilled that he’s brought us into it again,  I need to say to ‘Hell of speech Barry. Hell of a speech.’

 

Nothing says seventh grade like . . .

From friend Ed this morning. Khpbmezsb0zfi4ks4bhw
How about these?

Jackie Battley’s ex-husband, and Marianne Ginther’s former lover and ex-husband, Callista Bisek’s former lover and current husband for President! Go Newt!

Regina Peruggi’s ex-husband, and Donna Hanover’s former lover and ex-husband, Judith Nathan’s former lover and current husband for President! Go 9/11 Rudy!

Wheee, this is fun!

Bad. More bad.

So SCOTUS has decided:  protections accorded human beings by the Bill of Rights are extended, yet again, to Corporations.

  • Since corporations are persons and speech is money, political donations are from them are unrestricted. It’s Free Speech, protected by the First Amendment.
  • And now, some for-profit corporations have been granted Freedom of Religion and the attendant protections to exercised those ‘freedoms’ even when in opposition to the civil laws of the land.

Heed Thomas Jefferson:

“The end of democracy and the defeat of the American Revolution will occur when government falls into the hands of lending institutions and moneyed incorporations.”

Say no more.

Full blown ‘eating their own’ commences, picks up speed

Limbaugh Attacks Fox’s Brit Hume And “Fox News Leadership” Over Immigration Reform

AND

NRA’s Ted Nugent: Eric Cantor Practices Nazi-Style Politics

Headlines today at Media Matters.

Ornstein says ‘nihilists’ and he always knows what he’s talking about

Norm Ornstein chimed in this morning on the near future of the GOP. He views Cantor’s loss less as the beginning of a populist trend and more a preview of intracine battles yet to come in the party. It’s here.

He sets it up with pitch perfect – and delightful – disdain for our fickle media narrative:

The new dominant narrative, of course, is that the Tea Party rose up, struck back, showed its muscle and has the party establishment on its heels. That replaces the previous narrative, that the establishment rose up, struck back, and has the Tea Party on its heels.

And wraps with this:

American political parties always face a tension between their establishment and ideological wings. On the Republican side, going back more than a hundred years to the Teddy Roosevelt era, that was a struggle between moderate progressives and conservatives.

Now it is different. There are no moderates or progressives in today’s GOP; the fight is between hard-line conservatives who believe in smaller government and radical nihilists who want to blow up the whole thing, who have as much disdain for Republican traditional conservatives as they do for liberals.

Always worth a look is old Norm.

Here’s the best news out of that Virginia primary

Okay, we all know now that a very powerful entrenched leader of the national Republican Party and the US House was tossed out by a previously unknown opponent. That’s the politics.

But for the rest of us, it’s more than politics. It’s hope. Eric Cantor outspent his challenger by 26 to 1 and lost. Cantor campaign spent OVER $5,000,000;  Brat spent $200,000.

Money got a big fat slap upside the face last night. Sleep better tonight – everything looks more possible today.

Executive Orders – a journey through time

Here are totals by President for all Executive Orders (numbers from The American Presidency Project, a fascinating data-loaded site).

The WW presidents – Wilson, FDR, Truman show big numbers which is logical. Hoover was the Depression. TR and Taft: that was the trust-busting era so maybe that explains their big numbers. But mostly, there’s not much of a story to be told here – they go up and they go down. Regularly.

At five years in, Obama looks like he could fall behind every president but two since WWII.

George Washington 8
John Adams 1
Thomas Jefferson 4
James Madison 1
James Monroe 1
John Quincy Adams 3
Andrew Jackson 12
Martin van Buren 10
William Henry Harrison 0
John Tyler 17
James K. Polk 18
Zachary Taylor 5
Millard Fillmore 12
Franklin Pierce 35
James Buchanan 16
Abraham Lincoln 48
Andrew Johnson 79
Ulysses S. Grant 217
Rutherford B. Hayes 92
James Garfield 6
Chester Arthur 96
Grover Cleveland (I) – 113
Benjamin Harrison 143
Grover Cleveland (II) – 140
William McKinley 185
Theodore Roosevelt 1,081
William Howard Taft 724
Woodrow Wilson 1,803
Warren G. Harding 522
Calvin Coolidge 1,203
Herbert Hoover 968
Franklin D. Roosevelt 3,522
Harry S. Truman 907
Dwight D. Eisenhower 484
John F. Kennedy 214
Lyndon B. Johnson 325
Richard Nixon 346
Gerald R. Ford 169
Jimmy Carter 320
Ronald Reagan 381
George Bush 166
William J. Clinton 364
George W. Bush 291
Barack Obama 168

Dragon slayer

What!!?? What??!!!

What!!?? What??!!!

Eric Cantor lost his primary? Pigs are flying. The deed was done by a first time candidate, an economics professor who pretty much ran on immigration (he’s not for it). He had lottsa support from . . . wait for it . . . the Tea Party. (Actually, he may not be ‘of’ them, but was popular with them for what it’s worth.)

An amateur took down the (presumed) next Speaker of the House. Holy hobbyhorselobby!

I agree with every word

Frank Bruni today in the New York Times writes of the vast distance between those in uniform and the celebrity pundits busily passing judgement on a soldier. Pundits, most of whom have never even tried on a uniform. Good column. He also says this:

This has been an emotional, messy and confusing week, which ends with as many questions as answers. One of mine concerns the Obama administration: Is there anyone there doing serious messaging strategy? Anyone stepping back to consider how a story like this one is likely to unfold and how the administration may get tripped up in it?

When Susan Rice (rightly or wrongly) carries around that Benghazi baggage, how do you send her of all emissaries onto TV to talk up the “honor and distinction” of Bergdahl’s military service? This characterization was sure to be disputed; there was countervailing evidence in circulation even as she spoke. How do you fail to realize that this is going to come back to bite you? Incredible.

Doocy knows that blame must be placed – on you-know-who

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaOf course they went there. The very next day.

From the couch of the stupid, Elizabeth Hasselback lamented that ““ you have our soldiers not being able to arm themselves . . . if they do have a weapon, they are to register it within five days of purchase. . .  then that must be stored away in these lockers so that it cannot be carried on their person, therefore leaving them vulnerable.”

Doocy then pointed to the current Democratic president by quoting a conservative blogger: “Gateway Pundit, which is a way right-leaning blog, what they write this morning is, ‘The Obama administration is responsible for this mass shooting. They witnessed this before, they didn’t learn a thing. Gun-free zones are death zones. It is time to stand up to the lunacy.’”

Agreed.

Oh honestly Roger . . .

You’re not even pretending anymore or you’ve run out of graphic magic tricks.

Fox graphics intern was told there'd be no math.

Raises even the barely breathing blogger from wherever barely breathing bloggers hide

Best. Headline. Ever.

Grossman passes kidney stone during gubernatorial debate

from the Boston Globe.

Okay, so you probaly know this already, but

bbbbTea Party hero “Joe the Plumber” (name’s not really Joe and he never was a plumber) has a new job.  At Chrysler. Which could hire him because they didn’t go out of business in 2009 after, you know, that socialist ‘rescue package’ from the Feds saved their baby bottoms. Also, it’s a union shop – Joe is now a member of the UAW.

“In order to work for Chrysler, you are required to join the Union, in this case UAW. There’s no choice – it’s a union shop – the employees voted to have it that way and in America that’s the way it is,” he wrote.

Can’t wait till Neil Cavuto has him back on the program at FOX.

What if it was Bush? How would I feel?

ccccccccccccccccccThe 2014 World Press Freedom Index is out. Nasty news – again – for the old U-S-of-A where we’ve been sliding into the badlands ever since 9/11. And where my President and his Attorney General have some ‘splainin’ to do. Which will not happen with this President or any future President unless we get really really lucky.

Countries that pride themselves on being democracies and respecting the rule of law have not set an example . . . Freedom of information is too often sacrificed to an overly broad and abusive interpretation of national security needs, marking a disturbing retreat from democratic practices.

This has been the case in the United States (46th), which fell 13 places, one of the most significant declines, amid increased efforts to track down whistleblowers and the sources of leaks. The trial and conviction of Private Bradley Manning and the pursuit of NSA analyst Edward Snowden were warnings to all those thinking of assisting in the disclosure of sensitive information that would clearly be in the public interest.

US journalists were stunned by the Department of Justice’s seizure of Associated Press phone records without warning in order to identify the source of a CIA leak. It served as a reminder of the urgent need for a “shield law” to protect the confidentiality of journalists’ sources at the federal level. The revival of the legislative process is little consolation for James Risen of The New York Times, who is subject to a court order to testify against a former CIA employee accused of leaking classified information. And less still for Barrett Brown, a young freelance journalist facing 105 years in prison in connection with the posting of information that hackers obtained from Statfor, a private intelligence company with close ties to the federal government.

The United Kingdom (33rd, -3) distinguished itself in the war on terror by the disgraceful pressure it put on The Guardian newspaper and by its detention of David Miranda, journalist Glenn Greenwald’s partner and assistant, for nine hours. Both the US and UK authorities seem obsessed with hunting down whistleblowers instead of adopting legislation to rein in abusive surveillance practices that negate privacy, a democratic value cherished in both countries.

At least the UK was spared the shame of our double-digit decline in press freedom. USA!

Hands off the Girl Scouts: a jump the shark moment?

It seems the Girl Scouts – in a Tweet – mentioned women of achievement (and linked to a story about Wendy Davis!). Which – as night follows day – means they are in league with Planned Parenthood. Here is ABC valiantly trying to follow the story but don’t bother (you could probably write it yourself – blindfolded).

cccccccccccccc

 

In so many ways . . .

. . . we are really two different countries and the similarities to Civil War era America abound.

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

And there’s this too  – the ten poorest States. I got it from a 2011 story at Glenn Beck’s The Blaze where commenters were not surprised, reasoning that that’s what Obama had done to us in just 20 months. The man worked fast!

  1. Mississippi
  2. Arkansas
  3. Tennessee
  4. West Virginia
  5. Louisiana
  6. Montana
  7. South CArolina
  8. Kentucky
  9. Alabama
  10. North Carolina

How about teen pregnancies? Below the mid point and dominating the list for ‘least teen pregnancies’, all of New England and most of the NorthEast. And what region dominates the list for ‘most teen pregnancies’? Lookee here:

STATES WITH MOST TEEN PREGNANCIES:
New Mexico – 93/1,000
Mississippi – 90/1,000
Texas – 85/1,000
Nevada – 84/1,000
Arkansas – 82/1,000
Arizona – 82/1,000
Delaware – 81/1,000
Louisiana – 80/1,000
Oklahoma – 80/1,000
Georgia – 78/1,000

STATES WITH FEWEST TEEN PREGNANCIES:
Iowa – 51/1,000
Nebraska – 50/1,000
Utah – 48/1,000
Wisconsin – 45/1,000
Maine – 43/1,000
Massachusetts – 42/1,000
North Dakota – 42/1,000
Minnesota – 42/1,000
Vermont – 38/1,000
New Hampshire – 33/1,000

How about high school dropouts by State? A pattern emerges.

bbbbbbbbbbbb

Just sayin’

Rep. Steve King:

“I think it’s a constitutional violation” and “We’ve never had a president with that level of audacity and that level of contempt for his own oath of office.”

House Speaker John Boehner:
“There’s a Constitution that we all take an oath to, including him!”
And then, of course, there’s this:

Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas) said Tuesday night he left President Obama’s State of the Union speech early after “hearing how the president is further abusing his Constitutional powers.”

“I could not bear to watch as he continued to cross the clearly-defined boundaries of the Constitutional separation of powers,” Stockman said in a press release shortly after Obama’s speech ended. “Needless to say, I am deeply disappointed in the tone and content of tonight’s address.”

Stockman said Obama was promising to “break his oath of office and begin enacting his own brand of law through executive decree.”

Very satisfying

I think it’s safe to assume we’ll not be bothered anymore by the odious Liz Cheney. Seems nobody cares what she thinks.

Cheney, like her father, is an unapologetic neoconservative who favors muscular use of American military power overseas, a policy that does not sit well with many grassroots conservatives, particularly in the libertarian-leaning West.

 

Even I didn’t know it was this bad

From a column in The Hill today:

Even by the standards of a divided Congress . . . there has never been such an unproductive session of Congress.

NBC’s “First Read” recently published a chart comparing the productivity of today’s divided Congress (57 laws passed) to the work undertaken by a divided Congress during President Reagan’s terms – when Republicans controlled the Senate and Democrats controlled the House. The 97th, 98th and 99th Congresses respectively passed 473 laws, 623 laws, and 663 laws.

The article concluded: “It’s not even a close call. That [Democratic] House got a lot more done with its GOP rivals than this GOP House has with its [Democratic] counterparts.”

Justice Ginsberg: please resign before the 2014 elections

(PLEASE NOTE: Ginsberg is my favorite Justice – she’s smart and savvy and full of mischief.)

It’s futile to pretend any more that the Supreme Court is non-partisan. Justices are people (the human, not the corporate kind – at least not yet) and don’t have identical values or beliefs. Their perspectives – on law, history, social justice, the U.S. Constitution – are informed by cultural identity, ethnicity, education, religion and probably gender. This has always been true.

Of course a Court is, ideally, charged with rising above the personal and interpreting the law. But we don’t get ideal; we get nine mere mortals who must somehow work it all out and render ‘judgement’ on a legal appeal.  (Note to Scalia: judgement involves judging. All things are not self-evident.)

Today’s Court isn’t doing too well with that ‘rising above’ thing. A lot of decisions are nakedly political and too much of the time we have 5 to 4 votes favoring the Right. Also:

  • The 2014 elections could very well change the majority in the Senate.
  • Justice Ginsberg is the oldest person on the bench and will be 81 in 2014.
  • Justice Ginsberg, while mentally acute (unlike Scalia, the next oldest), is physically unwell and has had cancer more than once. Her health could decline further.
  • A Republican Senate can deny Obama a majority on any Supreme Court  nominee. (UPDATE: James reminds me in comments that confirming a Supreme still requires the ‘super majority’ of 60 votes, but still . . . )
  • If Republicans take the White House and hold the Senate in 2016, that doesn’t bear thinking about.

She and Scalia have for decades enjoyed a close friendship, so perhaps they could make the leap together – before 2014. Solidarity and all. (A bit of trivia – after Reagan nominated Scalia in 1986, he was confirmed by a Senate vote of 98-2.)

So it’s late. . .

. . . and by almost two weeks. I meant to put this up on the 22nd; still, it remains  relevant and reminds us of how twisted our politics can get. The more things change, the more . . . .

He believed in our better natures

“Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”

“A leader. . .is like a shepherd. He stays behind the flock, letting the most nimble Nelson Mandela6a00d83451f25369e200e54f0c830c8833-800winelson_mandela-               go out ahead, whereupon the others follow, not realizing that all along they are being directed from behind.”

“I am not saint, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.”

“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

“Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice”

MANDELA6X432(Sharing the Nobel Peace Prize with his one time jailer, South African President de Klerk.)

Calling Bill O’Reilly and all Christian warriors

Some damn organization calling itself the National Republican Congressional Committee has joined the vile War on Christmas. Suit up Patriots! Let’s get ’em.
Yep, this was inevitable. Also, it's not a video. Stop clicking it.

I remember everything. Every piercing painful moment.

This should qualify as a perfect trifecta for Moe. It all comes together right here in a single number – an oldie, politics, and an anniversary. Plus Frank Sinatra. So why am I so sad?

Texas doesn’t care who you are. Dammit, the law is the law!

Texas’ new voter ID laws are working just fine because they are very good laws and proof is here. They’ve snagged yet another suspicious ‘voter’:

https://maureenholland.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/eaab5-georgehwbushinauguration.jpg

Former House Speaker Jim Wright was denied a voter ID card Saturday at a Texas Department of Public Safety office.

For Speaker Wright, matters were cleared up in a few days. I wonder how it would go without his level of civic savvy. (There he is at some big DC event or other, standing behind the guy with his hand up in the air.)

Means nothing, move along

Our last – and best ever – Mayor is busy on Facebook today and found this. Thanks, Ed!

And that has nothing at all to do with why so many working people in the US get food and health care assistance. Nothing at all.

Absolutely not interested in being Governor of all of Florida

Gov. Scott has not publicly stated his reasons for the rejections.

Only Governor of half the people.

How much respect does the indicted-insurance-fraud (who invoked the Fifth Amendment 75 times) hold for half the people of this state? Zero. Zilch.

From today’s Tampa Bay Times:

TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott, seeking to bring the court system more in line with his conservative outlook, has repeatedly rejected lists recommended to him by the Florida Bar of lawyers seeking to screen candidates for judgeships.

Scott has rejected dozens of attorneys the Bar has nominated to serve on judicial nominating commissions, created decades ago to professionalize the bench and make merit and qualifications at least as important as political connections.

“He wants people with humility,” says Scott’s chief counsel, Pete Antonacci, “and he wants judges who will follow the law and not make it up as they go along.”

The Bar said Scott’s two predecessors, Charlie Crist and Jeb Bush, never rejected any of its nominees. The governor has rejected the lists 16 times and has never publicly given a reason and is not required to do so.

Scott has sent back so many Bar-recommended names that the group keeps a five-page spreadsheet to track them.

Pure ideology.

Why Medicare works and Obamacare might not

Picked this up at Andrew Sullivan’s site. More at the link.

Mike Konczal blames Obamacare’s technical problems on the law’s design. He contrasts Obamacare’s form of social insurance, which he labels “Category A,” with previous forms of social insurance, such as Medicare and Social Security, which he labels “Category B”

http://sullydish.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/social_insurance_category.png

He doens’t look so dead to me.

Aha. Jim Inhofe is 78 years old and has been on Medicare, a truly socialized medical insurance plan, for 13 years. inhofe

Did we take a giant step forward, and then two . . . (you know the rest)

The whole story of the ACA roll out is yet to be reported in depth, but this morning in his Wonkbook email, Ezra Klein provides a credible – and disturbing – overview of what led up to the massive failure of the web portal. There’s a lot more at his Wonkblog at the Washington Post.

The best news for Obamacare is that almost everyone — including the Obama administration — realizes the crucial online portal is currently a disaster. . . Actually, that’s been the problem: President Obama didn’t know that. Nor did White House chief of staff Denis McDonough. Nor did Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who will be testifying to that fact next week.

It would be one thing if Obamacare’s problems had been unknowable. But they weren’t. Staff at HHS and CMS saw this coming for months. Insurance companies began predicting a mess long ago. But the bad news was shaded and spun as it made its way up the chain of command. The alarming failures seen in the (inadequate) load tests were written off as bugs that would soon be fixed.

As Lena Sun and Scott Wilson reported, “Days before the launch of President Obama’s online health insurance marketplace, government officials and contractors tested a key part of the Web site to see whether it could handle tens of thousands of consumers at the same time. It crashed after a simulation in which just a few hundred people tried to log on simultaneously.”But staff was terrified to speak on the record, or even on background. Some of the concerns slipped out, like in this Wall Street Journal story. . . . As Jonathan Cohn writes, “the management failures here were real and took place on multiple levels.”

Obamacare has a chance because those management failures are over. The White House now has a brutal clarity about the depth and extent of the system’s problems.

. . . Managers up and down the chain realize their careers are in jeopardy if they deliver sunny reports that prove false.. .For all that, no one actually knows whether the system will be fixed in the next few weeks — the crucial window, experts think, before the problems begin to degrade the risk pool and raise premiums.

So far, there’s been huge improvements in the number of Americans able to get into the site and create accounts, but insurers aren’t reporting much improvement . . .

The White House is optimistic that the problems will be solved in time. . .  If there’s a reason to believe them, it’s that they’ve learned how dangerous unfounded optimism is.

Did Obama really hand this off and assume it would be okay? Or did he ride HHS for progress updates but never insist on hearing the downside reports? Did Sebelius do the same thing?

Will the very same Administration that succeeded in taking took us a step closer to the century long  battle for universal health care also be the Administration responsible for its failure?

I think it’s a fair question.