Monday, August 04, 2014
Spooks Lying? What Next . . .
After five years of investigation, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence is about to release a 6,300 page report that concludes that the CIA misled government officials and the public about its War on Terror interrogation program by downplaying its methods and overstating the value of prisoners and the intelligence gathered from them.
In some cases, the CIA credited “enhanced interrogation” methods for eliciting intelligence that detainees had provided willingly long before they were tortured.
Several officials who have read the document said some of its most troubling sections deal not with detainee abuse but with discrepancies between the statements of senior CIA officials in Washington and the details revealed in the written communications of lower-level employees directly involved.
Officials said millions of records make clear that the CIA’s ability to obtain the most valuable intelligence against al-Qaeda — including tips that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden in 2011 — had little, if anything, to do with “enhanced interrogation techniques.”
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 08/04/14 at 12:29 PM
Saturday, August 02, 2014
Trump Would Leave Americans Behind
For those who can’t see the graphic, Donald Trump (The Donald) tweeted: “The U.S. cannot allow EBOLA infected people back. People that go to far away places to help out are great-but must suffer the consequences!”
What a bloody noble bastard he is, right? No good deed goes unpunished!
He’s speaking, of course, about the decision to have Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol (Americans who heroically risked their lives to assist with the Ebola crisis in West Africa) come back to be treated here in the good old U.S. of A. You know, where we have a funny old ethos about valuing human life and not leaving heroes behind if we can help it. Usually. Unless icky germs and human suffering might be occurring—if you’re a privileged ignoramus like Trump, who has been bloviating about the risks in a nice public snit about how “leaders” are crazy to want to treat sick people.
If there were a global pandemic, it really might behoove us to know something about treating this illness, would it not? That’s not so crazy. From a humanitarian point of view, saving human lives because this disease can be beaten is not crazy, either. And of course, Trump is a public spectacle of walking derp, from his Birther flirting to his weird obsession against windmills, and it’s probably just silly of me to point out that he’s, once again, flagrantly wrong and fact-averse.
Except that people take this guy seriously enough that his name was bruited about for a presidential run once upon a time. So I would very much like to point out that he’s uniquely unqualified, not just because he doesn’t bother to know things, like the state of the art care that a mere two Ebola patients can be given in isolation here as opposed to the over-taxed situation they would have been in if left where they were. And we’ve dealt with this kind of infection before here in the states. It’s not an “end of the world” scenario. It is medical treatment of people in real need that we probably can help—two of them. Two heroic American people.
It’s because he would let them die, because ugh. Diseases are gross. This is the thinking of an immature, selfish person at best. You know who else goes to “far away places to help out”? Like, diplomatic staff at consulates and embassies. Our soldiers. Suffer the consequences? Trump suffers the consequences of being Trump, but maybe he could stand to go off to a faraway place for awhile! In other words—anyone still interested in his political future should take a hard look at…this.
(X-posted at Strangely Blogged.)
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 08/02/14 at 09:40 PM
Friday, August 01, 2014
What Happens To A DREAMER Deterred?
Does he get swept up
like a felon a-roam?
Or hide as if on the lam—
in his home?
Does this bill go down
in a Senate defeat
or should a Presidential veto
stomp it complete?
And what should voters
make of this load—
Could this party implode?
Never mind my doggerel, as I pause to consider that the House leadership handed over the reins to people who say things like “I hang out with border patrol agents clandestinely”, and kids are loaded up with birth control pills before being set out on “rape paths”, and that migrants with “calves like cantaloupes” schlep backpacks with 75 lbs of marijuana over the border. (Which I still say is an amazing weight loss boot camp concept, no? Seriously, I think Rep. Steve King has never watched a Cheech and Chong movie if he thinks this is how “grass” gets up here.) So of course, they voted to end the work permits of over a half-million jobs-having undocumented young people who have basically not known any other country, and are in fact not in any way tied to the current border crisis (leaving them to be potentially deported to countries with which they have no ties), stepped up to pay for National Guard deployments—which is just going to corral, not contain, more young migrant folks who will just be put in the system, and brushed away the compassionate option to detain the youngsters until a hearing could be held to determine a possible refugee or asylum status—which does not at all address the plight these youths are fleeing, and sends them back into possible “rape paths” and into the hands of drug cartels.
So, uh, nice going GOP reps, you have some kind of thing to go back to the constituents that voted you in with? And oh darn, you think you will have Harry Reid to blame for this bill getting shot down once the Senate comes back, and not Ted Cruz?
I don’t think that’s how things really stand, at all. Because in one breath, yesterday, there was a little inhalation of “The President will have to act unilaterally because we can’t get our shit together”. And today, the exhalation is: “The President will still have to act unilaterally, because this is the nonsense we come up with when we do get our shit together”.
Guess what? Both options are not helping. Our tax money is paying for the GOP House to be less than useless, and sue Obama for doing things on his own, and then a taxpayer-funded Representative like Michele Mouth-Breathing Bachmann talks about putting a handcuff on one of his hands. While all this election-year floundering is basically called “leaving it up to the President to fix it and take blame”?
You know, some people might think this is transparently bullshit. But I suspect sadly enough that it still isn’t transparent enough for regular voting people. This was a purely political and useless vote, and it will be loved by somebody(ies), nonetheless.
(X-Posted at Strangely Blogged.)
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 08/01/14 at 10:39 PM
Thursday, July 31, 2014
Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh is one of those very special people in our midst who is a God-mind-reader. Such people are obviously invaluable to the rest of us, who are not similarly gifted, because they are in the unique position of being able to tell us what God wants us to do. God wisely planted Twinkle on the Alabama Public Services Commission so He could guide Alabama’s energy choices.
And, so it is that the president of Alabama’s utility-regulation commission advised citizens to pray for the failure of a proposed EPA crackdown on coal pollution in order to preserve Alabama’s “way of life.”
I will not back down. We will not stand for what they’re trying to do to our way of life. I hope all the citizens of Alabama will be in prayer that the right thing will be done.
Clearly God hates the EPA and love’s Alabama’s coal-burning lifestyle. And, I guess that we should be grateful that Twinkle appears to have gotten over opening PSC meetings with “pray away the gay” sessions.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 07/31/14 at 11:45 AM
Sunday, July 27, 2014
To paraphrase Charlie Crist, running against Rick Scott for governor of Florida, “I’m not a shrink but I can use my brain and talk to one” and mine prescribed a few days of R&R from my peculiar, soul-sucking fixation on American politics.
So it is that I’m unplugging, packing up my lovely bride and striking out for the territories in the All-American pursuit of happiness known as the VACAY!
Mind you, we’re only talking three days here, in which I’ll endeavor to clear my brain and heal my soul with gut-busting quantities of artisanal beer and otherwise forbidden fruit of the deep fried and sugar-laden variety. I’m hoping that a severely time-limited period of indulgence will prevent me from ending up like this:
In the words of Church Lady: Isn’t that special?
Ta, Roasters. Back Thursday—when the House Oversight Committee’s “Senator Joseph R. McCarthy Memorial Truth Pond” should be fully operational. Meanwhile, snark amongst yourselves . . .
Posted by Bette Noir on 07/27/14 at 07:40 AM
Categories: Food • LGBT •
Friday, July 25, 2014
House Republican Caucus: The Gang That Couldn’t Think Straight
Well, Speaker Boehner Sues the President is officially a thing now. The House Rules Committee, the gatekeeper for legislation and resolutions to get to a floor vote, ruled yesterday, along partisan lines, to allow it. Personally, I’m all for it because, lately, the GOP’s flair for far-fetched, stagy political tactics is the “gift that keeps on giving” for Democratic fund-raising.
And House Democrats certainly made the most of the amendment process, yesterday, to press that advantage. Nobody covered that quite as well as Rachel Maddow and David Corn, last night . . .
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 07/25/14 at 12:36 PM
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
GOP Launches Stealth Attack In War On Women: Bachmann For President!
If you think you have it hard, consider what a bad couple of years Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) has had. After that one great day in 2011 when she won the Ames, IA straw poll, poor Michele hasn’t been able to buy a break . . . not that she didn’t try.
If it’s not the FBI, DoJ and Office of Congressional Ethics poking their noses into her business and saying mean things about her leadership skills, it’s the danged homos making the bottom fall out of the Gay Reparative market. Now Marcus is out of a
scam job and it’s all down to Michele, who—Criminy—just retired from the House. Book sales aren’t nearly covering the legal fees so it’s no time to be out of work.
But when the going gets tough, the tough get going . . . so Rep. Michele Bachmann, looking to her strengths, has decided that another run at the Oval Office might be just the thing!
The only thing that the media has speculated on is that it’s going to be various men that are running. They haven’t speculated, for instance, that I’m going to run. What if I decide to run? And there’s a chance I could run.
Like with anything else, practice makes perfect. “And I think if a person has gone through the process—for instance, I had gone through 15 presidential debates—it’s easy to see a person’s improvement going through that.
I haven’t made a decision one way or another if I’m going to run again, but I think the organization is probably the key. To have an organization and people who surround you who are loyal, who are highly competent, who know how to be able to run the ball down the field in state after state—because now I think the primary process will be very different this time. It will tighten up; it will be a much shorter run than it was before.
Translation: that last group of F*k ups threw me under the bus when they weren’t smart enough to cover their tracks.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 07/23/14 at 12:03 PM
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
BAMF Commander Perry Deploys Texas National Guard To Scare Children Away
Texas Governor Rick Perry, feeling especially presidential after a weekend trip to his new favorite destination—Iowa—came out swinging on Monday, determined to show our current lawless, weak tyrant of a president a thing or two about manly decisiveness and leadership.
Perry told Republicans in Iowa . . . “if the federal government won’t secure the border, Texas will.”
Forthwith, Perry ordered the Texas National Guard to round up 1,000 of its scariest troops to go play boogeyman on the border.
Since President Obama, himself, declined to send the troops on such a misguided mission . . .
President Obama maintains that the child-migrant crisis is not a border enforcement issue, hence he has rejected calls from Republicans – and the Texas governor – to send National Guard troops south. Children are turning themselves in to the border patrol, not running away from them, administration officials emphasize, though they allow that the border patrol is working overtime and has its hands full.
. . . Perry took matters into his own hands but warned Obama that he will be sending him the $15 million/month bill.
On the other hand, Perry’s office explained to edgy Texas legislators that, for the time being:
. . . the money will come from “non critical” areas, such as health care or transportation.
Non-critical if you’re not sick, I guess.
Gov Perry seems confident that his bold move to secure Fortress America will be met with nationwide popular support and will definitely polish his presidential timber.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 07/22/14 at 01:22 PM
Sunday, July 20, 2014
The Hack-tacular Dick Morris Makes A Prediction
Dick Morris, for those of you who are blissfully unaware of his existence, is a chronic scab on the scrofulous rump of the American body politic.
Morris got his start in politics, back in the ‘70s working for Bill Clinton’s Arkansas gubernatorial campaign. He continued to work with the Clintons, in various capacities—campaign consultant, political strategist—and, finally, as campaign manager during Clinton’s 1996 presidential campaign.
That job came to an abrupt end in August, 1996 when the Washington Post reported that Morris was involved with a DC prostitute, Sherry Rowlands. Seriously?? So what? But tabloids went further, alleging that Morris was in the habit of impressing Ms Rowlands by allowing her to “listen in” on his conversations with the President. That news hit during the Democratic Convention and Dick Morris resigned forthwith delivering a grandiose resignation speech during which he credited himself with helping Clinton “come back from being buried in a landslide” and ended with Morris comparing himself to Robert Kennedy.
Almost simultaneously, Morris launched his revenge-fueled Clinton-bashing cottage industry. Aided by his publisher wife, Eileen McGann of Harper Collins, Morris has been churning out a steady stream of anti-Clinton yellow journalism for close to 20 years now. He supplements that enterprise by acting as a political consultant to aspiring leaders of banana republics and theatrically delivering political prognostications so absurdly off the mark that his name has become a punchline among the pundit class. Indeed, blogger Andrew Sullivan has named an annual award after Morris, given for “stunningly wrong political, social and cultural predictions.”
Here is just a sampling of his greatest hits:
Romney Will Win By A Very Large Margin—A Landslide If You Will.
Republicans Will Win 10 Seats In The Senate In 2012
It’s Very Possible That Obama Won’t Run For Re-Election Because His Numbers Are So Bad.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 07/20/14 at 11:10 AM
Thursday, July 17, 2014
GOP Rep. Ellmers’ Promises Women Voters Nicer Tone And No More Pie Charts
Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) stepped in it, last Friday and managed to get more on her when she tried to wipe it off. And it just shouldn’t have happened.
It happened at an under-advertised Friday afternoon panel put on by the Republican Study Committee, the House’s conservative caucus. It didn’t even make it to the RSC website.
Only one reporter was in attendance and that was Ashe Schow of the Washington Examiner who was covering a panel discussion on the Republican Party’s outreach effort for women voters. The GOP has entrusted that job to Rep. Renee Ellmers who heads up the Republican Women’s Policy Committee . . . a move that they might want to reconsider.
When Ashe Schow filed her report on Sunday, in an article about why the Republicans’ women’ narrative needs work, she cited, among many other things, Rep. Ellmers’ prescription that Republican men need to bring their policy discussions “down to a woman’s level” to get more female votes.
Whereupon, Rep. Ellmers responded with a statement containing the standard charge that Schow was a “liberal woman reporter” who had taken Rep. Ellmers’ words “completely out of context.”
It is a shame that such an important moment for addressing solutions and empowering women was used to attack the open exchange of ideas. In answering a question regarding how Republicans can improve their messaging, I took the opportunity to note that everyone comes from different backgrounds and experiences - and our messaging should do the same.
If there is a problem, who is perpetuating it? Was it a room full of women laughing, bonding and sharing solutions - or a liberal woman reporter attacking the event and taking it to a dark place that does not exist?
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 07/17/14 at 01:51 PM
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Ron Fournier Surveys Disenchanted Democrats
Ron Fournier knows more disenchanted Democrats than anyone I know. He trips over them in airports, and finds them in malls, ice cream shops and dumpsters, wherever he wanders. He’s like a sniffer dog for Democratic disenchantment. Not to mention that, uncanny as it seems, the ones that he finds? always happen to fluff-up Mr Fournier’s own arguments most eloquently.
His most recent sighting is, of course, no exception. Fournier happened to be vacationing in Michigan where he had the opportunity to observe the Disenchanted Democrat, in it’s natural habitat, just outside Detroit. Fournier came away from that encounter with the profound insight that President Obama is much too self-centered.
An insight that Mr Fournier has shared with the rest of us under the inspired title: Mr. ‘I, Me, My’: Obama Oughta Know He’s Not the Hero. Struggling Americans are the “real” heroes as we learn in the subtitle: A successful White House crafts its narrative around the struggles of Americans, not the president.
I’m not sure what Fournier considers the benchmark for successful White House narratives but, to hear him tell it, I have to assume that Mr Fournier, by his own secret gauge, does not feel that the White House measures up. He’s not alone in that assessment, of course, but I’m not convinced that semantics are at the heart of the matter.
Fournier seems to believe that Americans are pretty miserable in this fifth year of Obama and that they might feel a lot better if the White House sounded more “successful,” instead of:
What do these folks hear from the White House and the rest of Washington? Whining, mostly. Obama and his GOP rivals can’t seem to tell the story of America without casting themselves as the protagonists.
[Fournier is one of the media’s most obsessive and accomplished practitioners of “both sides do it,” usually dressed with a sly dollop of false equivalence. You’ll soon see what I mean . . .]
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 07/16/14 at 03:42 PM
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Coming Soon To A Kingdom Near You
Something truly hinky happened in The Heartland yesterday. Not that we weren’t forewarned . . . there was that little media dust-devil that arose, back in April, when Gov. Terry Branstad (R) released an official gubernatorial proclamation entreating Iowans to pray, fast and repent for the good of Iowa and the nation . . .
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Terry E Branstad, as Governor of the State of Iowa, do hereby invite all Iowans who choose to join in the thoughtful prayer and humble repentance according to II Chronicles 7:14 in favor of our state and nation to come together on July 14, 2014.
[read the whole freaking thing, which sounds David Barton-ish, here].
Well, July 14th arrived and, suddenly, the separation between church and state on the Capitol grounds of the Hawkeye State was only the thickness of a revival tent-flap where hundreds of Children of the Corn gathered for 11 hours of “non-denominational” prayer and repentance of a King James nature—from 7:14 am to 7:14 pm.
You see this was never meant to be your garden-variety non-denominational feel-good praying—it’s specifically prescribed to be according to II Chronicles 7:14, a favorite bible verse of Bob Vander Plaats, who has written a book entitled If 7:14. If the name Vander Plaats sounds vaguely familiar that might be because when Vd-P isn’t writing religious manifestos, he likes to run for governor of Iowa. At least in the Republican primaries for governor, he’s never quite made it beyond there in 2002, 2006 or 2010.
You also might remember Vd-P as the guy with the pitchfork at the head of the mob who successfully ran off the three justices on the Iowa Supreme Court who voted to overturn Iowa’s Defense of Marriage Act in Varnum v. Brien.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 07/15/14 at 02:59 PM
Monday, July 14, 2014
Sen. Rubio’s Ready To Be President, Bless His Heart!
Sen. Marco Rubio has been clamoring for our attention, lately, so I’ve decided to give him some. That shouldn’t take long because the man has only been a senator for two less-than-illustrious years. Prior to that he served in the Florida House of Representatives for eight years, including two as Speaker, but he’d probably just as soon we don’t delve too deeply into that period and the events that very likely rendered him unsuitable for the Romney veep job in 2012.
Nevertheless, TIME magazine went ahead and anointed him The Republican Savior in early 2013, not so much for his leadership skills or actual achievements. Apparently, it was just because they liked the “cut of his jib” i.e., telegenic, young, Christian Latino. Rubio had a bit of a rough year after that, though, when he allowed his heart to rule his GOP lizard brain, and figured out a way to give 12 million immigrants false hope of a bipartisan nature. The House of Representatives cured him of that fever dream.
Young Rubio has recently resurfaced, though, and evidently still believes the Republican Savior hype. As a result he has declared that he’s ready for the Oval Office and is confident he’d eat Hillary Clinton’s lunch . . . if she runs. If he runs . . .
And, in the process, Rubio proves Josh Karp‘s point that:
No one looks less presidential than the guy trying to look presidential.
Karp, is communications director for the Florida Democratic Party.
Al Cardenas, chairman of the American Conservative Union and a former chairman of the Florida Republican Party, said
. . . it is unfair to judge Mr. Rubio’s every move through the prism of presidential politics. Instead of being seen as an effective senator, Mr. Cardenas said, Mr. Rubio is often gauged as whether he can be the “savior of the Republican Party,” as Time magazine dubbed him last year.
It’s not been his performance that we’ve been judging; it’s the impossible set of expectations that were thrust upon him.
So, I guess it’s only fair to take a look at Sen. Rubio’s half-time record in the Senate . . .
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 07/14/14 at 03:04 PM
Friday, July 11, 2014
GOP Case Against Obama: A Few Charges Short Of An Indictment
Late yesterday afternoon House Speaker John Boehner announced to the White House, and any American with an IQ above room temperature, that his lawsuit decrying the lawless “king-like” presidency of Barack Obama is, indeed, a nothingburger. And that’s a nothinburger “hold the bun, cheese and special sauce, please.”
Boehner opened this particular gambit with the rather unorthodox legal maneuver of announcing that he intended to sue the President for numerous constitutional abuses . . . TBD:
. . . [o]n matters ranging from health care and energy to foreign policy and education, President Obama has repeatedly run an end-around on the American people and their elected legislators, straining the boundaries of the solemn oath he took on Inauguration Day.
That’s clear as mud . . . Imagine your co-worker puts a Post-it on your desk that says “Planning to sue you, just not sure what about yet . . . stay tuned.”
Nevertheless, Mr Boehner floated the idea to his caucus in a memo, leaked it to the press, and defended it in a CNN Op-Ed, all within about 2 weeks time which, these days, is warp speed for anything House-related. He’s under time pressure, you see, because he wants to draft a resolution and vote on it before the end of July recess, because . . . the Constitution can’t wait!
After months of feverish Right-eous rhetoric over the tyrannical lawlessness and over-reach of Obama, and days of media speculation over how sweeping the lawsuit might be, we now have a “Draft” resolution.
And, from the looks of it, Republicans were able to boil down the huge laundry list of Obama’s five years of historically egregious assaults on the Constitution to one slightly ink-stained white button-down shirt with French cuffs worn for the signing of the Affordable Care Act.
Something tells me this isn’t going to sit well with the torches and pitchforks set and judging by Boehner’s uncharacteristic tetchiness this week, I suspect he knows that. His mission, since he chose to accept it, was to satisfy the bloodlust of the Crazy Caucus without committing political hara-kiri—a balancing act which is getting nearly impossible to pull off.
And, I don’t suppose that the deliriously good news about Obamacare, breaking at the same time, made Boehner feel particularly confident in his options.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 07/11/14 at 12:07 PM
Wednesday, July 09, 2014
GOP Shooting Blanks In The War On Poverty
Today, Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN) submitted a post to RealClearPolitics.com entitled “Why the War on Poverty Failed & How We Can Win It.” Let me spare you any undue excitement—he never really got around to detailing either.
Evidently. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) has stepped away from his somewhat embarrassing stint as front-man for the GOP’s “50 Years of Fail” concern trolling over the fact that, despite the War On Poverty program there are still poor people. That leaves the position open for some newbie back-benchers to cut their teeth on.
Whatever . . . Rokita has picked up the torch but appears to be having a little trouble keeping it lit. As we know from past encounters, Rep. Rokita is a bit of a wag—you might remember him as the chauvinist swashbuckler who reprimanded CNN journalist Carol Costello about her barbed questions during last Fall’s government shutdown, saying “Carol, you’re beautiful, but you have to be honest as well.”
Or that time, in 2007, when, while encouraging Republicans to appeal to more African-American voters, Rokita cited the statistic that 90% of African-Americans vote Democratic then asked:
How can that be? Ninety to ten. Who’s the master and who’s the slave in that relationship? How can that be healthy?
You get the picture . . . so Todd starts out waggish:
Fine, I admit it, you caught us red-handed—the Republican Party is the party of the “rich.”
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 07/09/14 at 01:48 PM