Monday, February 23, 2015
Scott Walker and The Litmus Test
Technically, there really ought not be a religious “litmus test” when it comes to achieving any elected office. It honestly should not matter whether our current president, Barack Hussein Obama, is a Christian, as he actually professed publically many times over and witnessed to as a member of Trinity United Church for 20 years, is a practitioner of Islam, having some incidental relationship with that faith having a father and stepfather who were in some respects Muslim, or even as I am, an intellectually inquisitive militant agnostic. The First Amendment technically means that everyone is free to worship as they will, and does not deny anyone their rights because of some heterodoxy. This needs to be understood as part of a long tradition within US history, where Islam was considered among many religions as part of the experiment in allowing such a freedom of thought.
(Contra David Barton, who is an idiot, and is about as much an historian as I am an Olympic Decathlete. Even setting aside Thomas Jefferson’s Koran, or his Iftar Dinner with representatives from Tunis, the reality is that the Islamic nation of Morocco first recognized the US as an independent nation and that the Treaty of Tripoli declared us as “by no means a Christian nation”. Islam was definitely a part of the Founders’ consideration of what religious freedom might mean. For that matter, the willingness to cast the US as having no part in Islam because the Islamists were the people who sold slaves to “us”—quite elides the actual fact that many of those slaves were also of the Muslim faith, and that supposedly “good” Christians willingly bought and held those human beings for generations. In other words, there were many Muslims here denied the right to practice their faith, as they were in every respects also denied their other freedoms, and it was because Christians did not mind any bit of that for a very long time, as their book never gave them a solid reason to. A very bad word I might say to David Barton for trying to erase that very real history. You can not remedy the enormity of slavery by disappearing the history of the people who were actually held in bondage, and you can not defend our founders by denying the shit they actually did. I’m sorry real history is inconvenient to paste-eaters like Barton, but whoop, there it is.)
The reason “liberal” or “mainstream media” ask a drowsy-eyed Koch-whore like Scott Walker a truly philosophical question like whether evolution is real or whether Obama is a Christian, is sort of a litmus test in whether he tracks to reality. Is he so completely a puppet that he can’t answer simple questions without being backstopped by a PR team?
Well, regarding evolution, he punted. When faced with the question regarding the current president’s allegiance, he also sort of punted. He “does not know” because he never read anything regarding the controversy—how Palinesque! I have exactly zero faith in anyone who can claim they do not know why they are being asked either question, and have no response. He doesn’t know if he is required to pander to the tea party assholes or has to be at least somewhat real. He hesitated because of alliances. That is so chickenshit. I neither know nor care what Walker believes, because he doesn’t hisownself. I just don’t think he ever should be president.
(X-Posted at Strangely Blogged.)
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 02/23/15 at 12:14 AM
Comments (3) •
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Bedbugs and Bread Bags
Sometimes I think us East Coasters are a little sort-changed when it comes to the SOTU speech and the rebuttals—it’s late by the time all the coverage is done. I have to get up for my paying gig the next day, and I usually have to get to bed before I’ve been able to properly ruminate on the President’s speech, let alone the rebuttal. Especially not if there are five rebuttals.
What is a blogger to make of five rebuttals from the opposition party? Given that there’s an “official” GOP response, I have to guess that the “takes” from different “rebuttals” have to be taken individually, on their own merits, and not view them cumulatively. I mean—would that be fair—five against one? (Well, yeah. I did think Obama did a heckuva job. Easily worth about five of those other speeches.)
See, I’m not what you’d call a pro, like Ron “No ‘I’ in Leadership, well, except that one” Fournier. And the benefit of blogging for seven years is that my regulars pretty much know where I stand on the major points President Obama brought up (raising the minimum wage—for it, equal pay for women—for it, addressing climate change—for it, land wars in the middle east—against’em), so I just feel like a point by point of the SOTU itself is pointless. In general, he looked more at home giving the speech this year and his zinger about winning two elections himself took some of that expectation that Dems losing the midterms overall would leave him “checked out” and lame-ducking it until January 2017 away. He’s still “all in” as far as I can tell. But that’s just my opinion.
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Posted by Vixen Strangely on 01/21/15 at 09:23 PM
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 23, 2014
Gremlin Fighter Anthony Culler Aims To Put The “Con” In Congress
Texas Tony Culler
SC Candidate TonyCuller
Well, it’s been quite a week for Anthony P Culler. Culler, a Republican, is challenging Rep Jim Clyburn (D-SC) for South Carolina’s District 6 seat . . .
Clyburn, a popular Democrat in a deep blue district has been serving in Congress since 1993, and as the Assistant Democratic Leader since 2011. He was previously House Majority Whip, serving in that post from 2007 to 2011.
Mr Culler has admitted that this is a David and Goliath match-up. He is a white male Republican running in a district that was—
defined, in the early 1990s, in a deal between state Republicans (mostly white) and Democrats (mostly black) in the South Carolina General Assembly to ensure a majority-black population, known as a majority-minority district. The rural counties of the historical black belt in South Carolina make up much of the district, but it sweeps south to include most of the black precincts in Charleston, and west to include most of the black precincts in Columbia.
Despite the odds, though, Mr Culler has figured out an attention-getting angle to try to juice his chances when the district goes to the polls:
“This is our minority majority district,” Culler said. “It’s the black district. That’s what some people call it. … I’ve got another description for this district, it’s a Christian district.”
“We believe in the way that it’s always been,” Culler continued.
Culler urged voters to turn out on election day and vote for him.
“No matter how many Gremlins there are across this country, we here in the sixth district will stand against it,” Culler said.
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Posted by Bette Noir on 10/23/14 at 06:29 AM
Saturday, October 18, 2014
Legislator Proposes Imaginary Solution For Imaginary Problem
Rep Dennis Ross (R-Round the Bend) is a man of action. And he has the toolbox to make things happen. So, the minute this here election is over, he’s returning to Congress with an emergency bill in his briefcase to save Americans from Ebola.
Rep Ross agrees with his colleagues that a travel ban is the way to go (because a big plastic bubble over the country would take too much time to roll out). Doctors, epidemiologists and international experts have traveled to Congress to give their advice—that travel bans won’t help and could make things worse—but, Republicans, being Republicans aren’t buying it because . . . . well, aren’t doctors and experts usually elites trained in liberal universities? and doesn’t Obama hope that we’re all too sick to stop his world conquest?
For whatever reason, Republicans have decided that they know best and should therefore take charge. So, they wrote a letter to the President to apprise him of the fact that they are taking the lead on Ebola—as soon as the election is over. So far, 53 Republicans and six Democrats, who might as well be, have joined up.
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Posted by Bette Noir on 10/18/14 at 07:51 AM
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Stumping Through Arkansas With Tom Terrific
As others before me have noted, Tom Cotton (R-AR) is just about the perfect Republican candidate for the 21st century, which should put us sane people on guard. Cotton’s a telegenic “aw, shucks” Arkansas farmboy, an Iraq-Afghanistan military vet, with a Harvard Law degree on top, who is more than willing to make an utter fool of himself saying any damned ignorant thing that will keep the GOP’s fun-house audience in a state of arousal.
Guys like this (looking at you, Ted Cruz) always fascinate me because they are, by all standards, smart, disciplined and well-educated. So how is it that they can allow themselves to be completely sucked in by crackpot gibberish that wouldn’t fool most twelve year olds? Where is their self-respect, if nothing else, when they stand up and soberly spout completely unfounded gibberish that 80% of the world is tittering over?
So far, during his brief tenure in Congress, Cotton has signed on with the “Hell, No! caucus” and shared these pearls of legislative wisdom:
“I don’t think Arkansas needs to bail out the Northeast,” Cotton once said of his vote against the Hurricane Sandy relief bill.
He has dismissed the potential for default if the debt ceiling was not raised as a desirable “short-term market correction.”
He said food stamps should be cut because too many recipients live high on the hog: “They have steak in their basket, and they have a brand-new iPhone, and they have a brand-new SUV.”
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 10/14/14 at 08:54 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
Monday, September 29, 2014
Values Voter Summit: Annual Gathering Of Tools And Fools
My how time flies! it seems like just yesterday that Values Voter Summit 2013 was underway. For the uninitiated, the Values Voter Summit is a festival of political oratory aimed at Values Voters—aka Social Conservatives—who distinguish themselves from the majority of voters who have no values. Or the wrong values. Or something . . .
VVS is an annual shindig, hosted by the Family Research Council, that started in 2006 around about the time that social conservatives decided that America was “going to hell in a handbasket.” It takes place over a weekend in September-October, in Washington, DC, and is a decidedly hyper-partisan affair featuring far-right pundits and Republican politicians competitively blazing new trails to the rightmost extremities of the political spectrum.
VVS also happens to be Blogger’s Gold for, sane people targeting other sane people, for sheer entertainment value, it never, ever disappoints. I’ve always intended to go and see it for myself but something always comes up. This year, it was cleaning out the garage, so, once again, I’m relying on embedded reporters who, so far, indicate that a blessed time was had by all.
Some highlights . . . below the fold
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Posted by Bette Noir on 09/29/14 at 12:22 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
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Rep Jeff Duncan Gives Obama Failing Grade
Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) is one of those southern gents who hitched his wagon to the TEA Party Express and woke up one morning a United States Congressman. And his admiration for himself has only grown over the three years that he’s been in office.
At this point, Rep Duncan is so fluffed up that he has no problem calling a spade a spade and disrespecting the office of the Presidency in the grand old tradition of other Palmetto State greats like Rep. Joe “You Lie” Wilson and former Sen Jim DeMint.
Rep Duncan just wants us all to know that when President Obama recently laid out his strategy for combating ISIS, Obama said the “single dumbest thing an American President has ever said” when he said that “the Islamic State is not Islamic.”
Most grown-ups within the sound of Obama’s voice understood what he meant, but, just in case, the president added:
” . . . no religion condones the killing of innocents, and the vast majority of ISIL’s victims have been Muslim.”
Duncan then went on to rate the president’s speech “JV at best.” What a clever fellow . . .
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Posted by Bette Noir on 09/17/14 at 08:33 AM
Thursday, September 11, 2014
Ain’t No Cure For The Xenophobe Blues
Haven’t you always chafed at being one of the unheard herd? Want to live your beliefs and force two huge nations to bend to your will and deliver on your demands? Want to make time stand still and force this big old melting pot to put a lid on it?
Well, then—starch your camos, pack up your prepper-packs, Deep Woods Off, and night vision goggles, and jump in the biggest vehicle you can find because on Saturday, September 20, 2014 an army of patriots are going to SHUT ‘ER DOWN!
That’s right folks, evidently the vigilantes, militias and irregulars who betook themselves to the border aren’t having much of an impact on migration patterns because, well, they’re not really allowed to do anything, outside of dressing up like GI Joe and taking infrared selfies in the dark when they stumble upon coyote trash dumps. One or two have actually come close to being martyred for the cause but, fortunately, the border agent was a rookie and missed.
But now, shrewder strategists seem to be at work and have come up with a real plan . . .
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Posted by Bette Noir on 09/11/14 at 07:24 AM
Saturday, August 30, 2014
Gov. Scott Walker Making Lemonade From Life’s Lemons
Gov Scott Walker may be up to his neck in the shark tank, these days but that doesn’t mean that he appreciates a well-informed electorate any less. And to that end, during a recent interview on Brian Kilmeade‘s radio program, Walker urged listeners who are interested in facts to get them from Fox News because mainstream media reporters—aside from being “biased, incompetent and lazy”—are picking on him and other Republican governors.
I guess that means that Walker has forgiven Chris Wallace for this:
Not a very presidential performance, at all, which I presume was the point of that particular Sunday morning exercise. On the other hand, prior to Chris Wallace going all responsible journalist, Walker did get a chance to plug his fraudulent jobs record, so the day wasn’t a total loss.
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Posted by Bette Noir on 08/30/14 at 08:18 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 15, 2014
We Got Trouble, Right Here in Mississippi
Scratch a sore loser and you’ll often find a frustrated bully.
Chris McDaniel is now trying to bully his way into the nomination that he lost to Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) in June; and he will probably lose any hope of salvaging his political career, if he hasn’t already done so. Yesterday was the deadline for McDaniel’s lawyers to file a challenge to his runoff election results and file they did (see the scribd below).
Strictly on the legal merits of his challenge, McDaniel doesn’t have a snowball’s chance . . . Philip Bump of The Washington Post explains why, better than I ever could:
There are two arguments that advocates of Chris McDaniel are using to suggest that the results of Tuesday’s Republican Senate run-off election in Mississippi should be overturned. First, they argue that voters who voted in the Democratic primary and the Republican run-off should be eliminated from the total. And, second, they argue that Mississippi law prevents someone from voting in a party primary who won’t support the general election candidate.
Neither argument will work. In the first case, there are almost certainly not enough Democratic primary/GOP runoff ballots to make up the nearly 7,000-vote gap between McDaniel and incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran. And in the second case, McDaniel backers are chucking very large rocks in very fragile glass houses. You know who may not support the party’s candidate in November? A gentleman named Chris McDaniel.
Let’s dig into each of these issues . . .
The rest of Bump’s article is brief and easy to understand, you won’t regret taking the time to read it.
But, aside from the legalities, McDaniel’s case illustrates how easily our national political discourse can go off the rails.
The Mississippi Republican primary for US Senate nominations has been a clown-show from the get-go. Even Ann Coulter thinks so.
Before the votes were even counted the Cochran-McDaniel race was billed as the nastiest primary in America. From the O’Keefe-ian break-in at Rose Cochran’s nursing home to the overheated language of McDaniel’s legal challenge, this primary race is an instructive example of extremism run amok in our political process.
Things got so bad that Evan Alvarez, chairman of the Mississippi Federation of College Republicans, resigned his post and changed his party affiliation to Democrat.
After the election was decided, things only got worse. McDaniel offered a “bounty” of $1000.00, on his campaign website to anyone who brought forward “evidence leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved in voter fraud . . . ”
That page also afforded all comers the opportunity to donate to McDaniel’s defunct campaign, although, I’m not sure what they can do with those funds, legally? Perhaps McDaniel’s campaign manager can come up with a creative solution like the one she used to explain a missing campaign finance filing: a tornado ate my financial records.
Low and behold, the “bounty” move turned out an army of volunteers determined to turn Mississippi upside down and shake out its pockets, county by county, to find instances of voter fraud. And find them they did—to include hardened vote-fixers Mitch Tyner and his wife. Mitch happens to be McDaniel’s attorney. Maybe he knows something we don’t . . . ?
The whole McDaniel mess is just one of those things that would be hilarious if it weren’t so damn pathetic.
I think Mississippi and the country dodged a bullet with this one, my fellow Americans—think about it, do we really want someone who counts Charles C. Johnson among his operatives sitting in our Senate making our laws?
McDaniel Primary Challenge 14-0814
Posted by Bette Noir on 08/15/14 at 09:28 AM
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
And So You’re Back, From Outer Space . . .
(photo: Hunter Freeman wordlesstech.com)
Jason Zengerle of New Republic recently published an excellent, timely article entitled The New Racism which focuses on the political career of Hank Sanders, who took his diploma from Harvard Law back to his home in Alabama to make it a better place for African Americans to live and learn and work . . .
Hank Sanders was one of 13 children who grew up during the 1950’s in a 3 room shack, sans electricity and running water, built by their father in rural Alabama. By the early ‘60s Sanders worked his way through Talladega College, a black school in central Alabama, became active in the Civil Rights movement and literally risked his life to register black voters in what was known, locally, as Bloody Lowndes County. In 1967, Sanders left Alabama to attend Harvard Law but as soon as he graduated he returned to Selma, AL. In the meantime, Hank Sanders married another Harvard Law alum and the two of them went to work . . .
. . . filing the lawsuits necessary for blacks in rural Alabama to become sheriffs, school board members, and city councilmen—translating the right to vote into actual political power. In 1983, Sanders ran for office himself in a newly created black-majority Senate district.
And for the next thirty years, Sanders kept at it, rising through the ranks in the Alabama state house and, according to Jason Zengerle:
Sanders tried to exercise his power to represent people who were unaccustomed to having a voice in Montgomery—namely poor, black Alabamans. He helped bring more money to their schools and their hospitals, better infrastructure to their neighborhoods, and greater fairness to their tax bills. Thanks to Sanders and a growing caucus of African American legislators, many of whom also chaired crucial committees, it was a period during which black people in Alabama enjoyed their most substantive political representation since Reconstruction.
But then, in 2010, the TEA Party wave turned Alabama red and all of that changed very quickly . . .
Sanders told me the story of his remarkable rise to power earlier this year, but his tone was more wistful than triumphant. For so long, his life had been an uplifting tale of slow but seemingly inexorable progress—not just for himself, but for African Americans throughout the South. In recent years, however, the trajectory of Sanders’s story has been abruptly—and just as inexorably—reversed. In 2010, Republicans took over the Alabama Senate and Sanders lost his chairmanship; in the four years since, he’s watched as the new GOP majority has systematically dismantled much of his life’s work.
I won’t paraphrase any more of Jason Zengerle’s article which is well-worth the investment of time to read. My point, in bringing it up, is that it is a cautionary tale of great relevance to the majority of Americans who only care to vote for presidents.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 08/12/14 at 09:31 AM