Sunday, December 29, 2013
Are the Benghazi Talking Points Quite Done, Here?
The use of the deadly attack on the embassy in Benghazi, Libya, that resulted in the deaths of four Americans as a political tool has frankly astonished me since the foreign policy naif Mitt Romney had the bad taste to broach it the very evening that it happened. For that reason, I see a kind of lukewarm vindication of the Obama Administration’s public statements regarding the matter in the NYT’s in-depth study on it, which draws two meaningful conclusions: that al-Qaeda was not involved in the attack and that it did stem in part from the widespread protests over a rather dumb bigoted little video, just as was stated by current NSA Susan Rice.
It has long seemed to me that the Benghazi affair as initiated by the Romney folks was a matter of using President Obama’s perceived strength (as having authorized the successful raid that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden) against him. The failure on the Romney side began with the claim that a statement attempting to ameliorate matters from the Cairo embassy was a sign that the Obama Administration actually sided with radical Islam, but this blew up into a claim that the administration was actually somehow derelict in defending the Libyan embassy from attack from several others on the Republican side, including Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, and House Oversight Committee Chair Darrell Issa. The use of the Benghazi tragedy as an indictment of the Obama Administration spans a number of criticisms that conservatives have had with the Commander-in-Chief—that he is Muslim or more sympathetic to radical Islam, that he isn’t a real leader, or that he wants America to fail.
It’s pretty much always been bullshit. Senators McCain and Graham did the best job of giving the game away when they failed to attend a briefing on the matter, opting instead to hang their faces in front of a camera pointing fingers. Rep. Issa, supposedly a kind of watchdog, has fluffed the matter at intervals, but is mostly of the school of investigation that insists that if he doesn’t hear what he thinks he ought, there is surely a cover-up afoot.
And it appears that, for the time being, he is not apt to drop this very tasty rag while there is yet some flavor in it:
On Sunday, “Meet the Press” host David Gregory asked Issa to respond to The Times story, which was published online Saturday. The story also said the Benghazi attacks were “fueled in large part by anger at an American-made video denigrating Islam.”
“We have seen no evidence that the video was widely seen in Benghazi,” Issa said Sunday. “People from this administration … have said under oath there was no evidence of any reaction to a video.
“What we know, David, is the initial reports did not name this video as the prime cause,” he added.
Is that so? (No, it is not. And being a very concerned person, he might perhaps have looked at more than a few media accounts, no?) He’s also said that if a group alleges it has some connection with al-Qaeda, then that is good enough for him, which must be very validating to jihadi-come-lately groups who can at least claim to know somebody who knows somebody.
I’m afraid until Fox News gives the high sign, the idea that there was something more than usually rotten in Benghazi will be as certain a thing as the unbearable whiteness of Santa Claus in some quarters.
What I do want to point out, though, is that there is a sobering side to this in that the militants who made this attack came from the people the US supported in the overthrow of Qaddafi. I think there is an analogy that could be preemptively applied to involvement in Syria, for example. If anyone has the ear of, say, Sen McCain, they might want to try to explain it to him. I sort of hope President Obama has figured it out, but I’ve no real idea. Something about good intentions.
(X-Posted at Strangely Blogged.)
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 12/29/13 at 11:22 PM
Saturday, December 28, 2013
2014 OH NOES! Parade
Sad news coming to us, today, from the Homo-phobo-sphere, where an outbreak of spontaneously-combusting hair and exploding heads is taking quite a toll. 2013 has been something of an annus horribilis for anti-gay activists who have had their dreams of perpetual hetero-supremacy dashed by Obama’s legions of radical-leftist-activist judges [some of whom were appointed by Dubya and must have “turned”] proclaiming that “equal means equal.”
Up to now, the homophobe reaction has been oddly muted and limited to isolated breath-holding, foot-stomping and refusals to bake cakes or arrange flowers for gay weddings. But now, the march of deviants has gone “a bridge too far” in their attempt to subvert that iconic celebration of American heterodoxy—The Rose Bowl Parade.
The theme of this year’s Rose Bowl Parade is Dreams Come True and, in keeping with that theme, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation has built a wedding cake shaped float atop which a gay couple will solemnize their wedding vows during the parade.
And, suddenly, A BOYCOTT!! is in order and San Diego community organizer, Karen Grube, tells us why:
Now gay activists want to destroy the Rose Parade by performing a Gay Wedding on one of the floats. I guess that’s what they mean by ‘Dreams Come True’ or is it nightmares?
Gay marriage is illegal in over 30 states, why would they promote something that is blatantly illegal? That’s just stupid.
Except, well . . . it’s not illegal in your state—the Rose Bowl Parade state—Karen.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 12/28/13 at 11:28 AM
Friday, December 27, 2013
A Pope And A Republican Walk Into A Bar . . .
I grew up in a blue-collar steel-town in the Rust Belt, schooled by nuns, during the papacy of “The Good Pope” of Vatican II—John XXIII, and the presidency of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the first Catholic President of the United States. It doesn’t get more Catholic than that.
Those were the days, my friend . . . change was in the air. And little Catholic school girls, like myself, were growing into natural liberals. We were the children of American Dreamers and veterans who had fought to make the world safe for Democracy. Nothing would hold us back from making the world a better place for all God’s children to live.
So, imagine my surprise when, as a young adult, it became increasingly clear to me that the Church that had been partially responsible for shaping my political beliefs was becoming more and more conservative—and Republican, as I watched.
As time went by and Americans actually talked about issues like abortion, contraception and same sex-marriage, the clergy, anxious to protect their own social policy agenda from the attack of modernity, found natural allies in the GOP’s growing base on the Religious Right.
It was a marriage made in heaven. Mature, hard-working, mostly white people with conservative social and economic values were welcome under the GOP Big Top.
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Posted by Bette Noir on 12/27/13 at 01:45 PM
Thursday, December 26, 2013
Post-Christmas Open Thread
The dog above had a good time on Christmas — received lots of treats, renewed many friendships and capitalized on numerous spills. But she found the whole thing somewhat exhausting and is glad it’s over.
Posted by Betty Cracker on 12/26/13 at 06:35 AM
Sunday, December 22, 2013
The Burnishing, Part II: In Which Mr Ryan Declares War on the War on Poverty
[Source image by the brilliant Terry Gilliam of Monty Python]
Paul Ryan has some big decisions to make in the near term, one of them being, of course, whether or not he’d like to be the Leader of the Free World. Because he is a Big Ideas man, Ryan has most likely realized that if he wants to go for it, he’ll have to rid himself of the lingering scent of eau de Loser that he picked up on the RomneyBus.
To that end, Rep. Ryan is recasting himself as the Neo Compassionate Conservative and the courtier press is only too happy to polish his nibs. The Washington Post, which appears to be willing to cast its nets further and further offshore, in these post-print days, kicked off #RyanMania with a verbose and glowing fanzine profile of Paul Ryan, Champion of the Poor, last month.
BuzzFeed trumped that with Paul Ryan, Man of God more recently.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 12/22/13 at 10:50 AM
Friday, December 20, 2013
Blow Me Away
Every year, in December, the International Order of Peter Pan awards its annual “I’ll Never Grow Up” award to the adult public figure who, in the society’s opinion, has delivered the most compelling public portrayal of arrested development for the year.
Christmas, of course, is a natural time of year for this particular awards ceremony because . . . well, we all get to be kids again, for a bit.
So, without further ado, the winner of this year’s “I’ll Never Grow Up” award goes to Henry J. Radel, III aka Trey, the Hip-hop Conservative.
Trey has had a “colorful” past, reflected in his resume, that suggests a little Career ADD—in the 13 years since Radel graduated from college he has done stints as: an actor and comedian; journalist, working as both an anchor and as a reporter; TV and radio talk show host; owner of the Naples Journal community newspaper; and Founder of Trey Communications LLC, a conservative media relations firm which also purchased and sold internet domain names.
He was only ten months into his latest gig—U.S. Representative—when he had the misfortune to be caught up in a drug sting for buying some coke to help him with his alcohol addiction . . . ?
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 12/20/13 at 12:24 PM
Thursday, December 19, 2013
The Free Market Giveth, And the Free Market Taketh Away
Thank God it’s Thursday and American Culture has finally spit up a hairball that will effectively distract us all from real problems like expiring unemployment benefits, minimum wage and Republicans newest threat to blow up the global economy if they can’t have their Canadian pipeline.
Evidently the crusty old patriarch of the Duck Dynasty had a few colorful thoughts to share with a GQ interviewer recently (WTFGQ?) on the illogic of being gay and the “good times there are not forgotten” cheerfulness of Louisiana’s black tenant farmers in pre-civil-rights days:
“I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person,” Robertson is quoted in GQ. “Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field…. They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’—not a word!... Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.”
I’m thinking Duck Daddy went to the wrong nightclubs and somehow missed “strange fruit” season on the Bayou.
Anyway, what he had to say about gays was pretty inflammatory, too, with the usual references to sin, hellfire and bestiality.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 12/19/13 at 04:35 PM
Monday, December 16, 2013
The Fool On The Hill
For those of you, like me, who were hornswoggled by the notion that something paranormal had knocked Paul Ryan off his ass on the road to Janesville, last week—my sympathy. I know how stupid you feel.
Just as the third chorus of Kumbaya had faded on the breeze and Patty Murray peeled off to do something better, Paul Ryan betook himself to Mr Chris Wallace’s World of Whimsy on Fox News Sunday for a preview of the GOP’s plan to amp up America’s Post Holiday Blues.
We as a caucus—along with our Senate counterparts—are going to meet and discuss what it is we’re going to want out of the debt limit. We don’t want nothing out of this debt limit. We’re going to decide what it is we’re going to accomplish out of this debt limit fight.
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Posted by Bette Noir on 12/16/13 at 08:35 AM
Friday, December 13, 2013
Who is the Ted Cruz Coloring Book *For*?
I know I’m coming a bit late to the party regarding commenting on the Ted Cruz coloring book, but I think it’s in part because it isn’t really…that weird to me? To explain, when I was six (!), I was a recruit to the Kiss Army, because they were not just a band, but an obviously swag-generating operation. I saw the Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park tv movie, and decided I was going to grow up and marry Ace Frehley. I had the Colorforms. I had some trading cards. What other bands had Colorforms and trading cards? None. So who was the number one favorite of headbanging first-graders? Exactly. You have to give it up for a band that merchandises for the milk and cookie crowd, although, I admit, by Animalize my tastes had just about matured out of them.
So it goes, right?
But that leads me to the question—who is US Senator Ted Cruz to The Future for? I figure the upper age for kids who actually color is what—ten? So the kids coloring Senator Ted today would be more concerned with entering high school than voting booths when 2016 rolls around.
I know. It could just be kind of a hipster-fun thing to have a political coloring book, and I might be overthinking this a little, but I don’t doubt that Cruz probably does have his sights on the White House (probably in 2016,* too) and that although he says he had no involvement with the creation of the coloring book, it definitely has the fingerprints of some “friends of Ted” (note the “Ten Commandments” branch on that tree). Am I being goofy if I think this is aimed at planting a seed with “Generation Joshua” (some of whom are definitely in the process of being softened up for the TX GOP politicians of the future)? That way, if 2016 doesn’t fly, maybe 2020? 2024?
(*I know I have claimed not to be interested in talking about 2016 yet. “Consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds” and all that.)
X-posted at Strangely Blogged.
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 12/13/13 at 08:21 PM
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Paul Ryan: The Burnishing
Mention the name Paul Ryan to many Democrats and you’re likely to get either a chuckle or a snarl. Some will be remembering the 2012 Vice-Presidential debates between Ryan and Joe Biden, a moment of political farce if ever there was one; the others will still be stinging from the Ryan budget plans that earned him the nickname The Zombie-Eyed Granny Starver from Charlie Pierce.
But step across the aisle, this week, and you’ll hear some Ryan acclaim that may startle and amaze, especially since his latest feat is hammering out a bipartisan budget deal that raises spending and taxes [aka “fees”] and forgives and forgets the debt. Paul Ryan, all of a sudden, walks on water.
Literally . . .
“Paul Ryan is the Jesus of our conference. If Paul gives something his blessing, it brings the votes,” a senior Republican leadership aide said of the Wisconsin lawmaker.
Maybe Republicans are suffering from obstruction fatigue and just want to be home for Christmas but, for 24 hours the media has been awash in such over-the-top assessments of Paul Ryan that are all the more outrageous for being so easily refuted.
Ryan has been sitting in the House, theoretically doing the People’s Business, for 14 years now and despite having embarrassingly little to show for that time, in the way of actual legislative product, he is perceived as some sort of legislative genius.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 12/12/13 at 12:26 PM
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Oh, The Places You’ll Go!
So. Here we are, eleven months away from Mid-Term-a-Palooza and the Rebranding of the GOP advances apace. Or not. The Great Rebranding is reminding me a lot of Dr. Seuss, lately [as you can see] because it is such an extraordinary feat of wishful thinking as in Oh the Thinks You Can Think in which “Dr. Seuss explores the imagination and encourages the reader to push their creative mind to limitless heights.”
Back in January, when the Republican National Committee delivered its post-mortem, it was surprisingly on-target in regard to what went wrong in 2012. Those who touted it seemed a little overambitious in believing that all of the necessary changes, or even a few, could be made before the next national election, nevertheless the prescriptions were “directionally-correct,” as they say in PowerPoint.
Unfortunately, by about April, the Ladies and Gentlemen of the Echo Chamber decided that, for the most part, they like their old brand just fine and they’re convinced they can keep on selling it with a little updated PR, a few new faces, perhaps, and some new code words. Maybe just adopt a deliberately retro look . . .
Now, in December, it’s pretty clear that Republicans just can’t/won’t change . . . here are just a few select examples of how the GOP plans to capture the hearts and minds of Americans and impress voters with their leadership skills without twitching a whisker . . .
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 12/10/13 at 01:34 PM
Sunday, December 08, 2013
Rand Paul Channels Jack Kemp
Now that the hubbub over Paul-agiarism has died down, Rand Paul appears to be weighing a presidential run in 2016. If his wife will let him . . .
And, to that end, Paul has been traveling, most recently to Detroit, for try-outs. When politicians with relatively little experience [Paul first took office in 2011] decide to run for president, it is incumbent upon them to prove to the electorate that they have the “right stuff” in a daunting number of categories.
During his trip to Detroit, Paul launched the Detroit branch of a GOP African-American Engagement Office and also visited the Detroit Economic Club to present his proposal for lifting Detroit out of bankruptcy via what he calls “Economic Freedom Zones” - another name for massive tax cuts, specifically income tax, corporate taxes, payroll taxes and the capital gains tax.
As Paul describes his scheme:
What we hope to do is create taxes so low that you essentially are able to bail yourselves out, by having more money accumulate in the area over time.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 12/08/13 at 12:43 PM
Saturday, December 07, 2013
Dreadful Policy, By Any Other Name . . .
Well, it has been an eventful week and suddenly—here we are—less than a year from the 2014 mid-term elections. How time flies . . . and suddenly Republicans appear to be getting all serious about their public image.
On that subject, I tend to agree with Charlie Pierce who says:
This party doesn’t need rebranding. It needs deprogramming.
Whatever. But it’s fun to pull back the curtain and take a peek at how the transformation is going . . .
The most timely and topical event, of course, is the conservative reaction to the news of Nelson Mandela’s death.
Republicans are politicians so their first impulse was to offer up respectful homage to a world leader and, hopefully, do it before and/or better than President Obama. Whereupon they were blinsided by their vituperative post-racism base who were eager to dance on Mandela’s grave and label their pols RINO’s for not joining in the dance.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 12/07/13 at 01:23 PM
Friday, December 06, 2013
GOP’s War On Children
Well, the timing couldn’t have been worse what with the holidays errr . . . Christmas coming, but Eric Cantor, @GOPLeader, as he styles himself on Twitter, was forced to go all full-metal fascist on some schoolchildren who were singing about immigration reform outside his office yesterday. When the kids wouldn’t shut up, Cantor’s office called the Capitol Police to bully them away.
As you can see, some of the kids were pretty scared and had to be comforted by the adults in their group. It’s kind of a shame, too, because the House is in session so seldom that it’s sort of amazing that The Great Oz was actually in. What the kids couldn’t have known was that Cantor was trying to read a very important white paper on How to Talk to Women without Being a Total Dick.
Maybe the group was fooled into thinking that Cantor was “down with kids” because photos, like the one above that heads up his Twitter feed sure looks that way. That’s what political PR folks call a 3-bagger—you’ve got the candidate having a swell time with 1) African-American 2) female 3) kids who are our future. Not bad but he’s not #GOPLeader fer nuthin.
Now others might have handled the situation a little differently. Some might have even poked their heads out the door to talk to the kids and see what was up with them. Still others might have given them a little reassuring fairy tale about doing everything humanly possible to do the right thing around their issue. Not Cantor, though. He’s learned how to expedite matters with a little muscle while he hides behind his richly appointed door.
Someone needs to remind this self-important martinet that he serves in the People’s House, at the People’s Pleasure and a wise politician doesn’t turn the People away or the People are liable to turn him out of office.
Please feel free to share your reactions with @GOPLeader on Facebook, Twitter, or, better yet on his office phone [which probably goes directly to voice mail] because @GOPLeader is a very important, very busy man, little ones.
Posted by Bette Noir on 12/06/13 at 09:30 AM
Thursday, December 05, 2013
When In Doubt, Blow It Up
Duncan Hunter (R-CA) comes from a military/political background.
His father, Duncan Hunter, Sr., was an Army Ranger who served in Vietnam (1970-1971) for which he was awarded a Bronze Star, then went on to serve in the US House of Representatives from 1981-2009 where he chaired the House Armed Services Committee during the 108th and 109th Congress.
In 2008, Hunter, Sr decided to run for President on the Republican ticket but his campaign fizzled out after the Nevada Republican Caucuses.
Hunter the Younger served in the Marine Corps for 2 tours in Iraq, and continues to serve in the Marine Reserves. In 2009 Hunter took over his father’s seat, in the US House of Representatives, where he . . . you guessed it! serves on the House Armed Services Committee.
With that kind of pedigree, it’s reasonable to expect that Young Duncan might avoid some of the sillier pratfalls that befall less well-groomed political rookies. But . . . sadly, no.
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Posted by Bette Noir on 12/05/13 at 01:34 PM