Friday, September 26, 2014
Rarely Has A U.S. Veep Been So Wrong About So Much At The Expense Of So Many
I try to ignore the Cheneys—Dick and, now God help us, Mini-Me—as much as possible because, to me, they smell strongly of sociopathy and I try to avoid that sort of thing. I blame the dumbing down of the Republican party for its current abysmal lack of political talent which, in turn, means that we Americans are being subjected to extra innings of their Senior League—looking at you, Dick, Mitt, and is that really you? Tom Tancredo?
Clearly, no one in authority is ever going to prosecute Dick Cheney for the criminal damage he has done to mankind and, since the First Amendment sets no requirements for sanity, civility or integrity tempering one’s public utterances, Cheney is free to spout his neocon chickenhawk ravings for as long as his new heart holds out and Republicans and their proxies are stupid enough to give him airtime.
So. Where is it that washed-up, bitter old Republicans go to vent? Hannity, of course. Because Sean Hannity can be counted on to ask moronic questions like this:
. . . how could Obama have been so wrong on so many issues when it comes to ISIS?
Creating the perfect opening for Cheney to say something Cheney-esque like:
I think it’s deliberate. I think [Obama] has a world view, and increasingly what he’s found is that it isn’t consistent with reality.
Whereupon Mini-Me pipes up with:
The president has laid out a fantasy for the American people, and is trying to disguise it as a strategy, but it’s not going to keep us safe.
Which is the cue for people like me to say: But please, Cheney’s, what WILL make us safe? We are so afraid . . .
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Posted by Bette Noir on 09/26/14 at 07:08 AM
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
National Review Online: Climate Activists Are Hysterical Losers
On Sunday some 400,000 Americans took to the streets of New York City and paraded their concern over global warming. As a result, National Review Online‘s John Fund took to his escritoire to pronounce them hysterical followers of raving Liberals like Al Gore and Mayor DiBlasio “and various Hollywood actors” which we know is conserva-speak for high-profile raving Liberals.
Fund would have us believe that he was “our man in the street” running alongside environmental activists, as they marched, gauging the mood and motivation that brought them there. Whatever . . . he claims to have spoken with “many” and, lo and behold, these are his surprising findings:
. . . they certainly didn’t act like a movement that was winning. There was a tone of fatalism in the comments of many with whom I spoke; they despair that the kind of radical change they advocate probably won’t result from the normal democratic process. It’s no surprise then that the rhetoric of climate-change activists has become increasingly hysterical.
He then goes on to tell us that he is in no way surprised by climate activists’ devolution into hysteria because they’re influenced by people like bestselling author Naomi Klein who recently released a book on climate change called This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate. Fund trashes Klein’s work in a short paragraph of cherry-picked excerpts, devoid of context, more befitting a college newsletter than the pages of National Review.
Mr Fund goes on from there to cite the unsavory impact of Liberal arch-fiend Leonardo DiCaprio, who is releasing a new film [which is DiCaprio’s day job] that Fund just knows he’s going to hate because it contains a Godzilla-like “carbon monster.” Or something.
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Posted by Bette Noir on 09/23/14 at 06:37 AM
Friday, September 19, 2014
One Rather Expected More—Or Not
Josh Marshall says “You kind of have to see this video.” And he’s exactly right. James O’Keefe has, I am afraid to say, completely descended into farce. And there were such hopes for him, too, weren’t there? But anyhow:
You know, when young James took it upon himself to manufacture an essentially fallacious narrative about ACORN that ultimately resulted in the disbanding of the group, I thought he’d got his foot in the door for star treatment on the wingnut welfare circuit but would need to up his game to remain viable for long. His output since has been hit or miss, mostly miss. Probably because he makes things up. And then there are the occasional civil prices paid. He’s a damn liability to any credible journalism outfit, and even conservative media seems a little tired of him. That why I guess he’s on this topical tip—one could hope for his sake he’s trolling to fund some bigger project, but it looks mostly like performance art and bottom-feeding.
So what’s a boy to do?
It would be neat if he applied himself to knowing the details that make foreign ISIL fighters crossing our borders nearly irrelevant, like the way that ISIL uses propaganda to recruit people right here in the west—even the US. O’Keefe must know how dangerous propaganda can be by now, certainly? He could even bother looking into how threats that ISIL makes regarding potential attacks here are aspirational and reflect the mixed messages ISIL keeps trying to make to project strength. Or even ask what kind of wall would have protected Australia (get a map, if you like, Jimmy) from terror plans. Porous border much?
He’s a disappointment. One wants better targets of one’s loathing, don’t you think?
(X-Posted at Strangely Blogged.)
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 09/19/14 at 10:52 PM
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Rep Jeff Duncan Gives Obama Failing Grade
Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) is one of those southern gents who hitched his wagon to the TEA Party Express and woke up one morning a United States Congressman. And his admiration for himself has only grown over the three years that he’s been in office.
At this point, Rep Duncan is so fluffed up that he has no problem calling a spade a spade and disrespecting the office of the Presidency in the grand old tradition of other Palmetto State greats like Rep. Joe “You Lie” Wilson and former Sen Jim DeMint.
Rep Duncan just wants us all to know that when President Obama recently laid out his strategy for combating ISIS, Obama said the “single dumbest thing an American President has ever said” when he said that “the Islamic State is not Islamic.”
Most grown-ups within the sound of Obama’s voice understood what he meant, but, just in case, the president added:
” . . . no religion condones the killing of innocents, and the vast majority of ISIL’s victims have been Muslim.”
Duncan then went on to rate the president’s speech “JV at best.” What a clever fellow . . .
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 09/17/14 at 08:33 AM
Sunday, September 14, 2014
Embrace the Suck: Midterm Edition
Following the fiasco of the Romney/Ryan ticket in the 2012 presidential race, the Republican National Committee decided that the time had come for the GOP to face some hard truths and make some changes. Republican strategists compiled a post-mortem and listed areas in which the GOP needed to improve its strategies and tactics in order to win elections. It was not a short list, but neither was it a surprising list, at least for anyone existing outside of the conservative echo chamber.
Nor is it surprising, today, that Republicans are heading into the 2014 mid-term elections with less of a clue on how to correct their course than they had in 2013. There are all sorts of theories about why that is so, both inside and outside the party. Some blame dark money influence, while others blame ideological rigidity and epistemic closure.
Me? I’ve recently come to my own conclusion and, it pains me very much to say it—but I think I agree with Gov Bobby Jindal that Republicans have simply become the party of Stupid. The people who run the party, the people who vote for the party’s candidates and the candidates themselves are disturbingly un-serious people.
And there is no shortage of concrete evidence that Republican politicians have become frivolous, witless, practitioners of sophistry who appeal to the same kinds of voters . . .
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Posted by Bette Noir on 09/14/14 at 07:37 AM
Thursday, September 11, 2014
Ain’t No Cure For The Xenophobe Blues
Haven’t you always chafed at being one of the unheard herd? Want to live your beliefs and force two huge nations to bend to your will and deliver on your demands? Want to make time stand still and force this big old melting pot to put a lid on it?
Well, then—starch your camos, pack up your prepper-packs, Deep Woods Off, and night vision goggles, and jump in the biggest vehicle you can find because on Saturday, September 20, 2014 an army of patriots are going to SHUT ‘ER DOWN!
That’s right folks, evidently the vigilantes, militias and irregulars who betook themselves to the border aren’t having much of an impact on migration patterns because, well, they’re not really allowed to do anything, outside of dressing up like GI Joe and taking infrared selfies in the dark when they stumble upon coyote trash dumps. One or two have actually come close to being martyred for the cause but, fortunately, the border agent was a rookie and missed.
But now, shrewder strategists seem to be at work and have come up with a real plan . . .
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 09/11/14 at 07:24 AM
Friday, September 05, 2014
Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner, Wyoming?
(Image: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
The Wyoming State Bar is holding its annual Blowhard and Backslapping convention next week and, like any such red state quasi-political jamboree a keynote speaker was in order. In Wyoming, you don’t have to think too hard about keynoter candidates because . . . Dick Cheney!!1! Favorite Son.
It turns out that some lawyers, in Wyoming, see a certain wry irony in that choice and a kerfuffle ensued. The appearance of Mr Cheney’s speaker bio in the convention registration materials did little to damp down the hubbub.
Cheney’s bio, borrowed verbatim from his Alliance For A Stronger America website, included these salient facts excerpted from The Life of Dick:
Shortly thereafter, President Obama began to dismantle the security policies that had kept the nation safe. His policy decisions have led to a reversal of the gains America made in the war on terror in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, and a weakening of America across the globe.
The Executive Director of the Wyoming Bar, Sharon Wilkinson, said that Cheney’s office had submitted the bio and that the bar is not in the habit of editing speaker bios, as a rule.
Probably because they try to invite mostly grown-ups . . . ?
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Posted by Bette Noir on 09/05/14 at 08:52 AM
Thursday, September 04, 2014
Cogito ergo sum Presidential Timber
Good Lord, please spare me from the efforts of “the intellectual leader of the Republican Party” trying to sound presidential.
First it was his fluffer-nutter of a presidential prospect book The Way Forward: Renewing The American Idea, whatever the hell that means. [Tip: reading it doesn’t help with that]
Then yesterday, Rep Paul Ryan (R-WI) took the opportunity to zing President Obama’s foreign policy for creating the “power vacuum” in Iraq and Syria that led directly to the rise of ISIS and, inexorably, the beheading of Steven Sotloff:
Ryan had been taking questions from a panel of reporters during a Milwaukee luncheon when he was asked to respond to a news report that journalist Steven Sotloff had been beheaded. The congressman asked the several hundred people in the audience to observe a moment of silence, and then suggested that the Islamic State’s rise to power coincided with a series of Obama missteps.
“I do think a good deal of this rise stem(s) from bad decisions made by the administration in foreign policy with respect to Syria and Iraq,” Ryan said, adding, “Those decisions created a vacuum which is now being filled by ISIS,” a reference to the Islamic State.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 09/04/14 at 05:52 AM
Monday, September 01, 2014
ISIS: They’re Coming To Take You Away
Well, here we are on the Labor Day weekend with another 9/11 anniversary sneaking up on us, so it is no surprise to find the Wingnut-o-sphere lighting up with madly creative xenophobic expressions. This year’s program includes a particularly timely two-fer that bundles Islamaphobia with Crisis On The Border-itis into an apocalyptic package par excellence.
According to this year’s narrative, America’s new arch-enemy, IS or ISIL or ISIS as you prefer, have recently discovered the tactical value of our famously porous south-west border. They have most likely culled that information from online forums and hashtags frequented by Central American children urging their friends and neighbors to join them in America: Land of Opportunity. Apparently, though, this intel has inspired ISIS’ leaders to open yet another front in the battle for the Worldwide Caliphate by invading Texas via Juarez. Fortunately for America’s intelligence gatherers, ISIS is so new at World Conquest that they haven’t yet learned that “loose lips sink ships” and they are tweeting away 24/7 about their imminent plan to invade Texas.
Word of this troubling development comes to us compliments of Judicial Watch, Fox News and Breitbart.com, to name a few, which seem to be the only media outlets that “anonymous government sources” are willing to speak with, at the moment.
So far, Judicial Watch‘s Investigative Bulletin: Imminent Terrorist Attack Warning By Feds on US Border wins, hands down, in the Official-Sounding Fear Factor category but I have to give Fox News first place for Creative Sourcing.
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Posted by Bette Noir on 09/01/14 at 10:19 AM
Saturday, August 30, 2014
Gov. Scott Walker Making Lemonade From Life’s Lemons
Gov Scott Walker may be up to his neck in the shark tank, these days but that doesn’t mean that he appreciates a well-informed electorate any less. And to that end, during a recent interview on Brian Kilmeade‘s radio program, Walker urged listeners who are interested in facts to get them from Fox News because mainstream media reporters—aside from being “biased, incompetent and lazy”—are picking on him and other Republican governors.
I guess that means that Walker has forgiven Chris Wallace for this:
Not a very presidential performance, at all, which I presume was the point of that particular Sunday morning exercise. On the other hand, prior to Chris Wallace going all responsible journalist, Walker did get a chance to plug his fraudulent jobs record, so the day wasn’t a total loss.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 08/30/14 at 08:18 AM
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Speaker Boehner Bags A Bargain
Well, the suspense is over, fellow Americans. Speaker Boehner has found a lawyer to present his case against President Barack Obama and, you’ll be happy to hear—since we are all footing the bill—he’s found us a great conservative lawyer, writer and all-purpose Republican operative, at a very reasonable cost.
The lawyer is David B Rivkin (not to be confused with David W. Rivkin, a younger more Liberal model). David B is a Russian emigre who earned his JD at Columbia Law School and proceeded to hold a variety of legal and policy positions during the GOP Golden Age of the Reagan and Poppy Bush eras.
Rivkin is a frequent participant in Congressional hearings and spends quite a bit of time enlightening the public about law and government policy via cable TV and conservative radio programs (e.g., CNN, MSNBC, NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX News, NPR, PBS, The Laura Ingraham Show, Al Jazeera, and the BBC, to name a few).
Rivkin also writes frequently, appearing in the Wall Street Journal, the National Review, the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Washington Times, the Heritage Foundation, and the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy.
As a matter of fact, it was an article in Politico Magazine, written by David B Rivkin and Elizabeth Foley, that gave Speaker Boehner the bright idea to sue the President. The article outlined a plan specifically for suing Obama for not rolling out Obamacare quickly enough.
The biggest hurdle, of course, for anyone wishing to sue POTUS (or anyone else, for that matter) is the “standing” doctrine which requires that plaintiffs convincingly demonstrate that they have been injured in some way by the actions of the person they are suing. Rivkin and Foley recognize that could be a hurdle but they think they’ve figured out a way around it.
Unfortunately, as Ian Milhiser pointed out, shortly afterward in Think Progress, Rivkin and Foley’s legal theory of establishing standing depends on “an objectively false reading” of United States v. Windsor which so recently struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
Here’s what Milhiser has to say about that:
Rivkin and Foley claim that, in Windsor, the Supreme Court held that the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG), a five member body of the House of Representatives currently controlled by Republicans, “had standing to defend DOMA for several reasons.” According to Rivkin and Foley, this precedent supports their claim that Boehner’s lawsuit should also be allowed to move forward so long as the BLAG joins the suit as a plaintiff.
But this reading of Windsor is objectively false. Windsor held that “the United States retains a stake sufficient to support Article III jurisdiction on appeal and in proceedings before this Court” — thus it was the Obama Administration, not BLAG, who had standing to seek Supreme Court review of DOMA. Indeed, Windsor explicitly states that “the Court need not decide whether BLAG would have standing to challenge the District Court’s ruling and its affirmance in the Court of Appeals on BLAG’s own authority.” Thus, a major prong of Rivkin and Foley’s legal argument rests on an egregious misreading of a famous Supreme Court case.
On the other hand, Speaker Boehner is getting the services of Rivkin and Foley at a discount—$500/hr as opposed to the $520/hr that Paul Clement was charging House Republicans to defend DOMA after DoJ opted out.
So far, the House has set a cap of $350,000 to secure Rivkin’s services but then Clement’s bill was originally capped at $500,000 and the total payoff was five times larger—coming in at a cool $2.3 million. But hey, who can put a price on the peace of mind it will bring American taxpayers to sue the president?
Whatever Attorney Rivkin is paid for this case he has a snowball’s chance of winning it. Especially if it comes down to “forum shopping” for a judge that is willing to look like a) an easy touch and/or b) willing to perpetuate a pretty egregious misreading of existing law.
But, if any of you have legal problems? you might want to forward the details to Rivkin & Foley. As long as they are on the Peoples’ Payroll . . .
Posted by Bette Noir on 08/27/14 at 01:22 PM
Sunday, August 24, 2014
Republican Action Hero Mitt Romney’s Electoral Advice For The 100%
Yesterday Willard “Mitt” Romney and his former running-mate, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) met up for the first time since their 2012 tilt at the White House. The two got together for a little bromantic back and forth, waxing poetic about each other’s “presidential timber,” and to discuss the Republican Wunderkind’s entry in the 2014 preliminary round of the “Does This Serious Book Make Me Look Presidential” book writing fair.
Ryan’s book, The Way Forward: Renewing the American Idea is, I have to assume, Rep. Ryan’s plan for renewing the “American idea,” whatever that is when it’s at home . . . perhaps he felt that the old standby, “American Dream,” creates overly grand expectations among the 99%?
Brother Romney, an “action man,” himself, had this advice :
If people want to actually see action in this country and dealing with problems from education to health care, immigration to our fiscal needs ... they’re going to have to vote for Republican senators and ... a Republican president, as well.
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Posted by Bette Noir on 08/24/14 at 02:55 PM
Thursday, August 21, 2014
Brevard County Commission Taking Liberties With Liberty
Back in May of this year the US Supreme Court ruled on a gnarly little problem that causes no end of mischief in America: the separation of church and state.
This was not the first time SCOTUS addressed the issue and it’s very unlikely that it will be the last. Nevertheless, this time around the court settled the question [at least for now] of whether or not the Constitution allows for prayer during government meetings. Long story short—the court ruled, in a 5-4 decision, to give brief, ceremonial prayers in civic meetings their juridical blessing.
Hosannas were heard throughout the land because American Christians construed the high court ruling as a victory and, apparently, felt much less persecuted because of it. All things being theoretically equal, a few other spiritual brands felt empowered by the decision as well. One such was the Central Florida Freethought Community which resides in Florida’s Brevard County.
It just so happens that the Brevard County commissioners have a long proud history of indulging in the quaint but questionable practice of invoking supernatural guidance before their meetings. To keep things democratic, commissioners take turns inviting local spiritual leaders to make up those invocations.
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Posted by Bette Noir on 08/21/14 at 08:44 AM
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Paul Ryan Whitesplains How Political Leaders Should Let Ferguson Fix Ferguson
Finally, the moment we’ve all been waiting for! Rep Paul Ryan (R-WI) shares his own Mature
Young Gun take on how best to react to events taking place in Ferguson, MO.
Ryan, looking quite presidential on the set of Fox & Friends, schooled us all on how a “political leader,” like himself, approaches such gnarly issues as racism in “post-racism” America:
The first thing I do is don’t try to capitalize on this tragedy with your own policy initiatives. Don’t try to link some prejudged conclusion on what’s happening on the ground right now.
What I don’t want to do, as a political leader, is try to graft my policy initiatives or my preferences onto this tragedy. I think that would just be disrespectful.
Whereupon, grafting his own policy initiatives onto this tragedy is exactly what our fearless “political leader” proceeded to do:
There is no problem with the federal government having a role but in all of these things, local control, local government, local authorities who have the jurisdiction, who have the expertise, who are actually there are the people who should be in the lead.
I have to assume that either Paul Ryan thinks that most of us are pretty damned dumb or he is, to fail to detect that particular “policy initiative” graft taking place. Ryan is a firm and vocal believer in shrinking the federal government which he and his party demonize daily as the root of all evil in America.
So. Rep. Ryan’s advice, in this situation, is to allow the white local government and white police force to lead black Ferguson out of its racist morass because they have the jurisdiction, expertise and authority to lead.
Well! color me gobsmacked. I could have sworn that they were part of the problem . . .
Posted by Bette Noir on 08/19/14 at 01:40 PM
Monday, August 18, 2014
A Body’s Story and A Burning Town
Just moments after my Twitter feed advised me that the Ferguson PD elected to crack down on the curfewed protesters and journalists about two hours early, I got a good idea about why—
The independent autopsy of Michael Brown’s body had been released (and where is the autopsy from the local ME? one might well ask, as well as ask why another federal one might be requested before this young man’s bones are put to rest). And the wounds tell a story. They can’t not.
“People have been asking: How many times was he shot? This information could have been released on Day 1,” Dr. Baden said in an interview after performing the autopsy. “They don’t do that, even as feelings built up among the citizenry that there was a cover-up. We are hoping to alleviate that.”
Dr. Baden said that while Mr. Brown was shot at least six times, only three bullets were recovered from his body. But he has not yet seen the X-rays showing where the bullets were found, which would clarify the autopsy results. Nor has he had access to witness and police statements.
But the entry wounds to the arms and head of Michael Brown from a distance suggest to me shots not to incapacitate but kill—two to the head? I think he was down and his hands may have been up to shield himself—a totally submissive posture and not out of line with what eyewitnesses have indicated. And I don’t really have time to argue why this is not what anyone does with a suspect picked up for walking in the street who may meet the description of an unarmed person who boosted some ‘rellos from a convenience store.
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Posted by Vixen Strangely on 08/18/14 at 12:12 AM