Monday, October 28, 2013
Revenge of the Kludgeocrats
So. It’s been awhile, about 3 years now, so it’s understandable that some of us may have already forgotten our bitter disappointment when the Affordable Care Act morphed, before our eyes, from a brave new universal healthcare plan, that would finally bring the US in line with the rest of the industrialized world, to a neoliberal Frankenstein’s monster designed to lead New Deal liberals and Reagan conservatives to a great post-partisan Kumbaya moment.
As we know, ACA barely made it, thanks only to a Democratic super-majority, without a single Republican vote. And the result is a healthcare law that left liberals and conservatives both holding their noses over a law that hardly anyone approves of in its current form.
By the time, conservative-bait and liberal dreams were all present and accounted for, ACA had turned into a Rube Goldberg model of healthcare policy.
One of the interesting bits of ACA history is that it is based, in large part, on a 1989 Heritage Foundation blueprint of the conservative alternative to single-payer healthcare along the lines of Medicare.
At that time, Republicans were not fond, at all, of the 1986 Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act which requires any hospital participating in Medicare (i.e., most, if not all) to provide emergency care to anyone who needs it, underwritten in large part, by the federal government. Republicans hailed the Heritage Foundation plan, a market-based approach dependent on individual responsibility, much more to their liking.
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Posted by Bette Noir on 10/28/13 at 10:44 AM
Thursday, October 24, 2013
And things were said and tears were shed, People
The above video is of Rep. Pete Sessions of TX, who was supposedly the person who said he could not stand to look at President Obama at some point in a White House meeting. And I don’t even know if it is true. I won’t pretend I know. Let’s just call him the Schroedinger’s Racist, and posit that unless the White House meeting in question was actually recorded, we simply can not infer from the available data whether he actually expressed the opinion that he could not stand the President and will not know until that event can be observed.
Some people might allege that based upon a priori data, we can reasonably speculate that Pete Sessions is in fact just the sort of person who might have made a disrespectful remark regarding the President. Others might state that the authoritative denial of the White House spokespeople negates the likelihood that he said that thing—but reasonable people might also weigh the possibility that the remark exists as an inadmissible anecdote—not on the record, but having been heard by someone, just not in a fashion readily reproducible.
In other words, he may have said it, and have had it been officially unsaid. In fact, it may have been very necessary to do so, because in order for the aforementioned White House meeting to have been in effect, the actual authority of the holder of the office that the White House represents would have to be validated. The failure to recognize that authority would tend to corrupt the resulting exchange of the conversation.
And we have no particular reason to believe that the conversation was corrupted, do we?
I leave that logical exercise for the reader to determine on his/her/their own.
(X-posted at Strangely Blogged.)
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 10/24/13 at 10:44 PM
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Pandering For Dummies
Anyone who thinks that the recent implosion of the Republican party signals a new day of maturity, logic and rationality in matters governmental probably also believed that the results of the 2012 presidential election would finally “break the fever” of hyper-partisanship in Congress.
From where I stand, Shutdown 2013 is looking like a warm-up act for what promises to be a fully-pyrotechnic, Apocalypse Now midterm campaign year with freak flags flying from “sea to shining sea.” I expect that Heritage Action and the Senate Conservative Fund, and their proud sponsor Koch Industries, will be out for blood and handing out torches and pitchforks to every True Patriot.
Now that President Obama has committed the ultimate crime of executive uppityness—standing up to House Republicans and laying bare their utter incompetence and impotence—he must be removed.
At the Philadelphia Convention, Benjamin Franklin noted that, historically, the removal of “obnoxious” chief executives had been accomplished by assassination. Franklin suggested that a proceduralized mechanism for removal — impeachment — would be preferable.
As a result we have Article II, Section 4 of the US Constitution which states:
The President, Vice President, and all civil Officers of the United States shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other High Crimes and Misdemeanors.
That’s pretty straightforward. “High Crimes,” though a little dated and vague, sounds like pretty serious stuff. Nothing there about being apologetic, sex acts [I’m looking at you, Bill] socialism or playing too much golf. Nevertheless, impeachment has become a standard feature of the Republican playbook when a Democrat is in office. But, if it helps them blow off steam in an institutionally acceptable and relatively harmless way, why not.
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Posted by Bette Noir on 10/16/13 at 09:07 AM
Monday, October 14, 2013
Values Voters Nadir
The GOP’s Little Engine That Could, hurtling toward inevitable wreckage, pulled into its final stop yesterday to pick up a few last passengers bound for glory. Turns out there was a sort of Harmonic Convergence of ultra-conservatism shaping up this weekend that brought together the illuminati of the far right. There were truckers and Sarah and veterans—oh my!
The Values Voters were in town to renew their vows to God, Guns and Glory, and to select this year’s homecoming king who turned out to be that paragon of conservative values and Christian soldiery, Ted Cruz. Now it just so happened that “our vets,” as Caribou Barbie calls them, were planning a civil protest to make the point that they should always have access to their memorials.
The veterans laid no blame on political parties involved in the government shutdown, they simply wanted to make the point that they feel that these memorials should never be inaccessible to veterans and the public who wish to honor them.
Unfortunately, the Values Voters, all pumped up on a weekend of conservative purity and American Exceptionalism decided that this was a terrific opportunity to flip Obama the bird and get their pictures in the news being patriots again, just like in the 2009 Glory Days.
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Posted by Bette Noir on 10/14/13 at 09:45 AM
Thursday, October 10, 2013
Time To Reboot, America
This past week has reminded me, often, of the words of the late, great Adlai Stevenson who said:
I have been thinking that I would make a proposition to my Republican friends… that if they will stop telling lies about the Democrats, we will stop telling the truth about them.
Stevenson was referring to the Republicans of his time: McCarthy, Nixon, Goldwater, etc but I’m sure he’d feel the same about the current crop.
Most of us grasp that the current level of governmental dysfunction is both unacceptable and unsustainable. Some of us appreciate the fact that a manufactured crisis has blossomed into a constitutional crisis in which President Obama has no real choice other than to refuse to negotiate on the debt ceiling. To relent would be to gravely damage the office of the presidency.
The 2012 presidential election seriously depleted the leverage of congressional Republicans despite the fact that they read their continuing House majority as some sort of voter mandate that they have become somewhat maniacal about defending.
Unfortunately, maniacs make mistakes and these particular maniacs seem bent on making every mistake in the book.
Republicans, flying blind without a map or a manual, have launched the country into serious turbulence which, as we are all learning, is much easier to do than to un-do.
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Posted by Bette Noir on 10/10/13 at 12:36 PM
Tuesday, October 08, 2013
Today in Obama Betrayals . . .
Wait, what? He did? Yes, he did! Obama nominated Janet Yellen to chair the U.S. Federal Reserve. Going to be a tough job going forward but she is seemingly a tough lady.
And speaking of tough - the Prez trash talked the Rethugs for an hour today in his presser. I’m liking second term Obama more and more.
Posted by marindenver on 10/08/13 at 08:37 PM
Monday, October 07, 2013
Standing in front of the Department of Homeland Security seal, President Obama looks poised to bring the hammer down on the Tea o’ Pee:
President Barack Obama again pressured House Republicans to put a “clean” government spending bill up for a vote Monday, challenging House Speaker John Boehner’s claim that the funding bill lacks sufficient support to pass.
“My very strong suspicion is there are enough votes there” to pass the government funding legislation, he said during an unannounced stop at FEMA National Response Coordination Center in Washington, D.C. “Hold a vote. Call a vote right now. Let’s see what happens.’‘
Bluff = Called.
[X-posted at Balloon Juice]
Posted by Betty Cracker on 10/07/13 at 01:34 PM
Friday, October 04, 2013
Sunt Lacrimae Rerum
Call me the eternal optimist, but there’s a little part of me that thinks we might just get somewhere with this discharge petition thing, largely because I’ve lost the last bit of faith or patience I’ve had for the Squeaker of the House. Yes, there is the possibility that this kind of move will cause him to play “harder ball” over the debt ceiling—
And I find myself fresh out of fucks. He’s at this point promised Christmas to his Tea Party caucus, implied he would not permit a debt default regardless, but still wants to play games with both the normal functioning of the government and debt ceiling talks while bellowing that this is not “some damn game”.
Well, of course it’s not some damn game. So he might as well stop playing, because as Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell have helpfully and inadvertantly informed us, the White House is at least being privately as well as publically consistent in their message. Boehner can’t even keep his public face on straight. If you don’t have the cards, at some point you have to fold or show, to borrow a gaming metaphor. And then everyone will know.
And yes, there is the possibility that Boehner will lose his Speakership over dealing fairly and in a bipartisan way—and once again, I am out of fucks. He can end doing something correct, or he can end looking for “no disrespect” from the disrespectful Tea Party monster that both got him his speakership, but brought him to this ugly impasse. It can be argued that he might be replaced with someone worse—I would respond that once he became so hollow inside that the arm of freshman Senator Ted Cruz conveniently fit inside and made his mouth work, I no longer thought worse was necessarily probable. I think the ad nicely delivers the blame and points in the direction of what is truly embarassing about this situation. It’s either Boehner’s call what he does about it, or he’s about as weak in that position as we already guessed.
(X-posted at Strangely Blogged. )
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 10/04/13 at 04:27 PM
Wednesday, October 02, 2013
House Leadership Suffering From Stockholm Syndrome
We’ve all gotten pretty used to the awkward and adolescent creative flair of Republican attempts at public relations, campaign materials, logos, banners and direct mail. We’ve seen the photo-chops, the noir-ish videos and the just plain lame mailers that just tickle some leftover gene for neanderthal art appreciation that hangs on in the ultra-conservative brain.
The photo above is pretty typical. It features the rather bizarre, recent attachment Republicans exhibit for “empty chair” imagery and the sophomoric poses struck are classic GOP. You can almost hear the “closed door” conversation that resulted in this brain fart:
Ryan: Hey guys, guys—how about I look really po’ed at having to wait.
Cantor: C’mon Libtards, whatcha waiting for? Wilkommen, bienvenu, welcome! Let’s solve some American problems!
Of course this photo should be captioned “We refused to do this 18 times since April because LEVERAGE!”
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Posted by Bette Noir on 10/02/13 at 09:41 AM
Monday, September 30, 2013
A Piece of Unsolicited Advice from the Constituency
Meet Rep. John Abney Culberson (R-Loon Star State) who is so tickled over the prospects of his beloved TEA Party Caucus shutting down the government that he allowed the testosterone to totally go to his head and uttered these ill-chosen words as he exited Saturday’s GOP House caucus meeting:
It’s like 9/11. Let’s roll!
It’s not a thing, it’s NOTHING like 9/11, you ignorant chucklehead.
Now, in deference to my fellow bloggers here at RumpRoast, I won’t take up the space here that it would take to describe my feelings of abject disgust over the sheer dick-headed crass, crapitude that is embodied in that unfortunate false equivalence of real heroes with the whiny losers [both literal and figurative] throwing a prolonged tantrum in our nation’s capitol. The only thing they might have in common with those 9/11 heroes is that they already know they are dead so they might as well destroy the whole shebang as they go down.
Suffice it to say I think Culberson is a hare-brained cracker who could only get elected in Texas.
Which brings me to my second point: Republican sane people—WAKE UP! These asshats are about to torpedo your party once and for all. They represent 13% of the American electorate, the certifiable portion, but they are convinced that they represent a huge majority and they are going to take you down.
Meathead Culberson will survive, though, because he hails from a firmly gerry-rigged district. But that is certainly not the case for all of you, as reported so well in Down With Tyranny today:
There are at least 32 Republicans who, unlike Culberson, can’t win reelection without independent voters. And, unlike Republicans, independent voters do not back this government shut down.
You folks are on that plane with Culberson. You know who you are. You still have time to keep him away from the cockpit and put him in a straightjacket.
Oh, and Speaker Boehner? you might consider manning up at the eleventh hour and putting a clean CR to a vote. If you do, it will pass. The nut-jobs in your party will not be pleased, They might even take away your gavel. But, at least you’ll be able to look the man in the mirror in the eye, tomorrow.
Posted by Bette Noir on 09/30/13 at 09:41 AM
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Cast Your Vote for Worst Hyperbolic Comparison Right Here at RUMPROAST!
In the last few days some absurdly over the top and hilarious (or disgusting depending on your point of view) comparisons have been made. Here’s a straw poll to decide which one is the most craptastic:
1. Aptly named Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) compares efforts by himself and other Republican Congresspeeps to defund Obamacare to the actions of Rosa Parks, Lech Walesa and Martin Luther King. Because fighting to deny affordable health care for people is exactly the same as fighting to secure civil rights and freedom for other people.
2. Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) compares the Obamacare defunders to Revolutionary War soldiers. He admits that he’s fighting a losing battle on the defunding front but manages to massage his comparison so that a small heroic group of Revolutionaries rallied the masses who apparently were just fine with British oppression up to then. Bonus points for re-writing history!
3. And last but by no means least, Robert Benmosche, CEO of AIG goes all the way there and compares public anger at the large AIG bonuses paid out after the company crashed itself and most of the economy to lynchings of black people in the South. Yes. Actual quote: “The uproar over bonuses “was intended to stir public anger, to get everybody out there with their pitch forks and their hangman nooses, and all that–sort of like what we did in the Deep South [decades ago]. And I think it was just as bad and just as wrong.” I can’t even . . . well, ‘nuff said.
Cast your votes in comments but myself, I gotta go with door #3.
Posted by marindenver on 09/24/13 at 12:20 PM
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Do Republicans Still Really Get to Comment On What Constitutes An Embarrassment to America?
Reince Priebus might look like just another derpy little buttoned-down Republican guy, on the outside, but obviously the man has gigundo big brass ones to stand in front of a microphone and utter these words:
The administration’s handling of the U.S. response to Syria has been so haphazard it’s disappointed even the president’s most ardent supporters. This rudderless diplomacy has embarrassed America on the world stage. For a president who campaigned on building American credibility abroad, the lack of leadership coming from the Oval Office is astounding.
Since I am left speechless, I’m reduced to reacting pictorially:
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Posted by Bette Noir on 09/11/13 at 08:08 AM
Wednesday, September 04, 2013
Up On a Tightrope
A lot of folks, on both sides of the political spectrum, have expressed some amount of surprise that House Republican leaders have come out so unequivocally and forcefully in support of President Obama’s plan to carry out a military strike against the Syrian regime for its use of chemical weapons on its own population.
I, myself, would like to go on record as not the least little bit surprised by that development. Let’s face it, it sucks to be a Republican in Obama’s second term. It’s one thing to keep a straight face for four years of birthers, conspiracy theories, socialism, creeping sharia and Agenda 21 if it’ll get you the cracker factory vote. But now, given the cyclical nature of government business, it’s time to act the fool all over again for very diminished returns.
For nine long months, Republicans have been biding their time, waiting for another chance to take a whack at the economy. That doesn’t mean they had a clue or anything approaching a consensus on how they would play it, nevertheless they were ready to rumble—nine whole days in September, to threaten a government shutdown. Then, round about the holidays, the BIG EVENT - debt limit, dundundun.
On August 1st, no one would have predicted that a punitive attack on Syria would zip to the top of the agenda. When Republicans went off to their home districts and summer vacations, they were all about defunding Obamacare, shutting down the government, defaulting on their debt and trying to forget their humiliating Farm Bill debacle.
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Posted by Bette Noir on 09/04/13 at 09:19 AM
Tuesday, September 03, 2013
This weekend, President Obama partially convinced John “Bomb-Bomb-Bomb” McCain and his zany sidekick, Lindsey “More Butch than 10,000 Teabaggers” Graham, of the wisdom of his Syria intervention policy. The hotheaded duo imply they were lured onboard by assurances of extra ka-booms, covert operations and other cool war-stuff executed by not-their-kids.
Good for Obama for passing the Syria hot potato to Congress, as is right and proper. But this Obama supporter will be rooting for Congress to say no. Having McCain on the “other side” makes that a little easier.
McCain, who had previously rejected the administration’s Syria intervention proposals because he deemed them too soft, and who surely knows that the public will reject a full-blown war as too hard, requires a war footing that his Goldilocks sense gauges as “just right.” McCain and Graham’s comments after their weekend meeting with the president signaled their tentative willingness to climb into the sack: McCain said a vote against the authorization of force resolution “would be catastrophic” and “undermine the credibility of the United States.”
But as Steve Benen notes, that rationale doesn’t make much sense:
By his reasoning, any time any president prepares to use military force abroad, Congress must agree or risk undermining the credibility of the United States. But what if lawmakers have sincere policy differences with an administration and they’re right to oppose intervention abroad? To hear McCain tell it, that wouldn’t much matter—lawmakers should feel an obligation to approve a resolution anyway.
And, as Benen also noted, McCain and his South Carolina appendage appear poised to withdraw their support if they deem the strike plans insufficiently warlike after the details emerge. Sadly, this pair of Klingon wannabes is what passes for foreign policy “wise men” in the Republican Party.
With Boehner now signaling his willingness to go along, it’s clear that Obama has dialed the correct sleep number into the GOPosturepedic—so far. How far rightward is he willing to be dragged to keep their support, if at all? Launching an attack on another country invites all sorts of unpredictable outcomes, which is one reason it truly should be a last resort. Aligning an agenda with the likes of McCain, Graham, Boehner, etc., also has all kinds of potential for blow-back. Still thinking this is a mistake.
[X-posted at Balloon Juice]
Posted by Betty Cracker on 09/03/13 at 11:04 AM