Sunday, November 09, 2014
Food Fight In The Old Family Dining Room
Anxious to hit the ground running with the newly-elected 114th Congress, President Obama invited leaders from both houses to join him in the White House’ Old Family Dining Room for a post-election lunch of herb-crusted sea bass and endive salad served up on the Truman china.
The idea, I’m sure, was to map out some common ground between the executive and legislative branches, moving into the final two years of Obama’s term, in the hope of getting something—anything, actually—done by 2016.
The gathering opened with some public comments, by Obama, on the importance of cooperation and breaking the partisan gridlock that has effectively hog-tied his administration. The president stated that he would be open to ideas from both sides of the aisle with the caveat that he would judge ideas based on whether they are likely to work or not.
Obama cited three measures—emergency funds to fight Ebola, approval of a federal budget, and appropriations to increase troops in Iraq—that he believes he and Congress could work on, together, before the end of the year.
Once the press was dismissed, however, the tone changed according to the usual anonymous leaks by the usual anonymous aides.
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Posted by Bette Noir on 11/09/14 at 06:59 AM
Friday, November 07, 2014
Republican Victory Anthem: Second Verse? Same As The First.
So. It’s all over but the howling. One-third of America’s registered voters bestirred themselves to get to the polls and offer up a vote of confidence for the worst Congress in US history—approval rating? 14%. Fortunately, for Republicans, that dismal turnout included two of their biggest fans: the Brothers Koch.
House Speaker, John Boehner, of course, sees that as a “mandate.” Not really. He can’t actually be that deluded, but he’ll take it and run with it even though it means his tour in legislative hell has just been extended [unless, of course, the crazy caucus writes in Allen West to replace him].
John Boehner, himself, enjoys only a 20% approval rating among voters in his own state. A majority—59%—disapprove of his work in Congress. Even Republicans are only lukewarm on Boehner: 37% approve, 34% disapprove.
When the 114th Congress is seated, in January 2015, Republicans will choose their House speaker, so times like these inspire Boehner to rear up on his hind legs and let out a Speaker-ish bellow.
He did not disappoint:
I’ve made clear to the President if he acts unilaterally on his own outside of his authority he will poison the well and there will be no chance for immigration reform moving forward in this Congress. It’s as simple as that.
When you play with matches, you take the risk of burning yourself and he’s going to burn himself if he continues to go down that path.
That Obama! just like a naughty child disobeying his betters. Look for the “poisoned well” to become a Republican meme.
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Posted by Bette Noir on 11/07/14 at 10:17 AM
Thursday, October 09, 2014
ISIS Gonna Get You If You Don’t Watch Out
It’s apropos that Rep Duncan Hunter’s (R-Hell, Yeah!) official website banner features a California skyscape dotted with hot air balloons . . . just sayin’.
In case you’re not that familiar with Hunter he’s the son of Duncan L Hunter (R-CA), former US congressman (1981-2009) and Republican presidential hopeful, for about two straw polls, in 2008. Hunter, Sr., a former Army Ranger who served in Vietnam, rose to chairman of the House Armed Services Committee during the 108th and 109th Congress.
Hunter, Jr. slid right into Dad’s seat, in 2009—House Armed Services Committee assignment and all—and has taken up many of Dad’s causes, as well—things like fetal person-hood, walling in the southern border, voting down international trade agreements and keeping the Military-Industrial Complex humming.
Hunter, Jr. has only been in Congress for five years but recognizes the value of the sound byte and appears to be Fox News’ Megyn Kelly’s go-to-guy on things military or national security-ish. Hunter is equally comfortable, though, with others much further to the right like Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council. Hunter has had quite a few chinwags with Perkins over issues homosexual like the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and marriage equality.
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Posted by Bette Noir on 10/09/14 at 04:55 PM
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
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
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.
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Posted by Bette Noir on 09/04/14 at 05:52 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
Friday, August 08, 2014
Rev. Rick Wiles Welcomes Ebola - God’s Gift To America
The deadly outbreak of Ebola virus in west Africa has the world’s attention. The American Center for Disease Control recently declared that the current crisis is “unprecedented,” and, yesterday the World Health Organization (WHO), held an emergency meeting and declared that the Ebola epidemic in West Africa is “an international public health emergency.”
Not too many people on the planet are celebrating the Ebola outbreak . . . but then Reverend Rick Wiles is not like everyone else . . .
From his roost at “Trunews” radio, Wiles foretold:
This Ebola epidemic could become a global pandemic and that’s another name for plague. It may be the great attitude adjustment that I believe is coming. Ebola could solve America’s problems with atheism, homosexuality, sexual promiscuity, pornography, and abortion.
An interesting take, to say the least, on how politically selective viruses can be but then Rev. Wiles tells us just how to protect ourselves and our loved ones:
If Ebola becomes a global plague, you better make sure the blood of Jesus is upon you, you better make sure you have been marked by the angels so that you are protected by God. If not, you may be a candidate to meet the Grim Reaper.
Admittedly, some less extreme variations on that pitch can be found in churches throughout the land, but, Rev. Wiles is a multi-faceted prophet and, like others of his generation of doomsayers, has discovered the utility of enhancing his prophecy with a liberal dollop of partisan politics.
For example, the previous day, he shared these divinely-inspired insights on how President Obama could exploit the Ebola epidemic to grow the government and force Americans to be inoculated with a vaccine:
Obama would claim executive powers to mandate that every human being in the United States be vaccinated. They could use the panic to stampede hundreds of millions of people in this country to be vaccinated, in fact billions worldwide, they could stampede the world to receive to (sic) a vaccine against a deadly virus and nobody knows what is in the vaccine.
Which strikes me as peculiarly similar to the way in which Rev. Wiles “uses the panic” to “mandate that every human being in the United States” “make sure the blood of Jesus is upon you.”
Wiles would be easy to dismiss as just another self-educated End Times prophet with his own media operation. But a look at his guest book is pretty chilling. Evidently, quite a few Republican members, and former members, of Congress find it expedient to visit with Rev. Wiles, from time to time, for a convo on his latest conspiracy theory.
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Posted by Bette Noir on 08/08/14 at 11:16 AM
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
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 . . .
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Posted by Bette Noir on 07/25/14 at 12:36 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.
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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.”
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Posted by Bette Noir on 07/09/14 at 01:48 PM
Monday, July 07, 2014
House of Representatives: Special Victims Unit
What today’s GOP lacks in strategic success it more than makes up for with chutzpah and an apparent imperviousness to embarrassment.
Allow me to explain . . .
Make Obama a one-term president. FAIL
Repeal Obamacare. FAIL
Rehab the GOP for future electoral success. FAIL
Create JOBS!JOBS!JOBS! FAIL
Sabotage economic recovery. FAIL
Maintain Perma-War status. FAIL
Prove that the White House covered up its role in Benghazi. FAIL
Prove that the White House unfairly targeted conservatives via IRS. FAIL
Defend DOMA and prevent Marriage Equality. FAIL
See what I mean? These people are like the Eveready Bunnies of headbanging.
Their latest cry for attention is to sue the president for going about the business of presidenting in the hope that some justice-challenged judge will try to send President Obama to time-out . . . or something.
Right before the July 4th break, Speaker Boehner announced this fiendishly clever plan so that representatives of the fringier fringe could go home without being pelted with rotten tomatoes by the IMPEACH!!!OBUMMER!! faction. You see, unfortunately, far too many clueless “Washington outsiders” were sent to the Capitol, in 2010, based on wild-eyed promises to repeal Obamacare and/or impeach the president for assorted crimes against TEA Party sensibilities.
Now the natives are getting restless and wondering what the hell is taking so loooooong? USA?
So it is that the GOP is feeding this new Impeachment Lite meme to distract the hordes from their now maggoty dead horse issues—OBAMACARE! IRS! BENGHAZI!—which will soon have to be buried for public health reasons.
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Posted by Bette Noir on 07/07/14 at 10:09 AM
Friday, July 04, 2014
Mittmentum or Tilting At Oval Offices
My dream, for this Independence Day 2014, is a dream of sweet freedom from the Republican Party in its current psychopathic incarnation. And, for once, it looks like maybe dreams do come true!
Anyone who doubts that the 21st Century GOP is lumbering inexorably toward the tarpits of history should go, posthaste, to DraftMitt.org and savor the sweet reek of FAIL.
In an era of frantic Republican rejiggering, nothing quite says political desperation like the notion of trotting out Willard M Romney’s empty suit for yet another rackety run at the Oval Office. To me, this move says more about the dearth of talent in the Republican party and its donors’ apparent reluctance to throw good money after bad, than it does about any flimsy case that could be made regarding Mr Romney’s presidential qualifications.
One month after it’s debut, DraftMitt.org has racked up just under 29K supporters—short of a groundswell, as they say in politics. So far, no one is actually taking credit for this swell idea. The website prominently displays a disclaimer that Romney has not bankrolled it—actually it’s such a nondescript little canned site that my paperboy could have funded it. There are no RNC or other traces of GOP branding, just Mitt and Ronnie Reagan playing bookends.
Also, too, there’s the banner link using the 2012 campaign coinage retread “Mittmentum.” Ask Karl Rove about “mittmentum.” At any rate, that link takes us to the now notorious Washington Times poll that proves, at least in the echo chamber, that: “Hands down, Obama is the worst president since WWII” and that most Americans now regret not having voted for Romney in 2012.
Really? who recycles embarrassing reminders of a failed attempt? Even #DraftMitt is a recycled Twitter tag that takes one to a 2013 page tagged with “Because MA needs Mitt Romney in the Senate” with 3 tweets and 10 followers.
I could be wrong but I’m starting to get a sense of Tagg Romney, Campaign Manager, behind the scenes, here.
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Posted by Bette Noir on 07/04/14 at 10:31 AM