Ted Cruz appears to have found a home base in the Heritage Foundation. On July 30th, Cruz spoke at Heritage’s Bloggers Briefing about why a complete defunding of Obamacare is crucial and why he’s putting pressure on Congress to make sure it happens. And why they should, too.
Then there was Heritage Action’s #DefundObamacare bus tour of August Town Halls which landed in Big D-little a-double-l-a-s on August 20th, starring Cruz & Son (Papa Rafael and Ted).
Then yesterday there was a Heritage foreign policy event, part of something Heritage likes to call the Jesse Helms Lecture Series. And of course, Ted Cruz was invited to speak because of his vast foreign policy expertise (just like Jesse).
Since this was, after all, the Jesse Helms Lecture Series it is sort of natural that Cruz would say something nice about the dear, departed ultraconservative Senator from North Carolina, but vowing that “we need 100 more like Jesse Helms in the U.S. Senate” is just a touch OTT even for a dramaphiliac like Cruz.
As we all now know, George Zimmerman was questioned by police for allegedly assaulting his estranged wife’s father and threatening the father and soon-to-be-ex with a gun. But he wasn’t arrested, and the gun wasn’t confiscated:
Zimmerman [the wife] told officers who responded to her call that she never saw a weapon, police Chief Steve Bracknell said. Zimmerman and her father, David Dean, decided not to press charges, Bracknell said.
“We have no victim, no crime,” Bracknell said.
So, just a misunderstanding between responsible gun owners. Mrs. Zimmerman’s brother had an interesting comment though:
George Zimmerman has changed a great deal since he killed Trayvon, his brother-in-law said.
“Before the incident, he was probably the nicest person I ever met,” DJ Dean said. “I think the guilt and self-hatred got to him.”
I’ve been skeptical of the assumption that Zimmerman has a soul to corrode ever since his post-acquittal victory lap at the gun manufacturer’s. Still, I wouldn’t want to deal with the demons shooting an unarmed kid must raise.
Speaking of hell-spawn, Governor He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named and his photogenic wingnut AG delayed an execution because of a fundraising event scheduling conflict. No, really:
Attorney General Pam Bondi persuaded Gov. Rick Scott to postpone an execution scheduled for tonight because it conflicted with her re-election kick-off reception.
When questioned about it, Scott pretended not to know why Bondi’s office requested the delay, which is absurd. Bondi at least apologized for it, not that any expression of regret could possibly mitigate the breathtaking arrogance she and Scott displayed in this matter.
So an inmate who raped and strangled two women gets another 21 days on the planet. I’m opposed to the death penalty in all cases, so I’m not complaining about taxpayer dollars going toward his three hots and a cot for the next three weeks.
But here’s hoping Bondi and Scott come in for some righteous blowback from the addled tea party loons who swept them to power. They couldn’t have demonstrated more clearly that they don’t give a rat’s ass about so-called justice for victim’s families or anything else besides money and power.
In their never-ending quest for a heart, a brain and courage, America’s zaniest Congresspersons took their act on the road to school the Egyptian people in a little homespun 9/11 revisionist history. Michelle “Ma Belle” Bachmann, Louie Gohmert and Steve King clicked their heels three times and woke up in Cairo where they met with Egyptian coup-leader General Abdel Fatah el-Sissi in whom they see a latent George Washington.
Rep. Gohmert explains:
We met with (sic) for a long meeting General el-Sissi and many of the military leaders, and my friend Steve King mentioned again about our heritage in America. George Washington, doing what no one had ever done before him, led a military in revolution, won the revolution, and then resigned and went home.
And we met, in General el-Sissi, a man who is leader of the military, who might have a shot at being elected president, but is more concerned about giving his life to help his country, Egypt.
Meanwhile, Bachmann, referring to her own private 9/11 theory [that the Muslim Brotherhood, rather than Osama bin Laden, mounted the attack] explained to the General that we Americans have had our own problems with the Muslim Brotherhood, yessirree—and that she’ll personally make sure that the F-16s and Apache missiles keep coming to help el-Sissi fight the good fight [at least until her term is up and she retires to her gay conversion clinic].
These are your tax dollars at work, people . . . and also, too, the reason we’ll never, ever be able to have nice things again.
Picture this: you are the widely derided Senate Minority Leader, Sen. Filibuster T. McGridlock, himself. Your big, bold promise to God and country was to limit the current President to one-term, at which you have failed spectacularly. On policy issues, you talk big but cave easily—by proxy, when possible. You have scored one of the all time lowest approval ratings (36%) for a Senator from your own Kentucky constituency. You are being primaried by your own party of whom many consider you a flip-flopper and RINO of the first order. Your own campaign manager has admitted that he has to “hold his nose” to do his job of promoting your candidacy. Not to mention that a high-profile, Democratic woman [of all things] is running even with or slightly ahead of you in early polling.
And now you have to persuade voters that you are a swell fellow, full of integrity, dignity and decorum who has nothing but the good of the country—and, especially, it’s lovely women at heart—uniquely qualified to be a leader of national government.
You’re going to have to lie some, amirite? especially if you want to persuade the wimmenfolk to vote for you.
So it is that Team Mitch officially launched its outreach to women voters in Kentucky by claiming that Sen. Mitch McConnell co-sponsored the original Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Which is true . . . at least of the 1991 version which didn’t make much of a splash and died in committee. By 1993, when VAWA was revived, but no longer all that useful to Mitch, he pulled his sponsorship and voted against it, which didn’t prevent it from becoming law in 1994.
. . . according to the non-partisan Congressional Research Service, (it) could strip Americans of their constitutional rights.” According to their web site, the Congressional Research Service objection is that it gives Indian tribal courts the ability to prosecute non-Indians who abuse a partner on tribal lands.
The same reporters added that:
Some members of congress have responded by modifying the VAWA in a way that would prevent that constitutional violation. I would like to know why McConnell did not join that effort instead of rejecting the bill outright.
No answer to that one . . . but, how do you spell “bipartisan”?
So, regarding the ACA, we all know the Republicans are mostly agin’ it. They whooped. They hollered. They spread disinfo. They tried to repeal it something like 40 times, now. And you know what? They’re still losing. But it doesn’t stop them trying. Just recently, FreedomWorks, one of the big mahoff Tea Party groups, decided it would be brilliant to encourage young people to just abstain from getting any health insurance, in defiance of the mandate, on the grounds that the premiums would be more onerous than any penalties (you know, except for the whole being uninsured and needing healthcare thing, which is pretty pricey). And Heritage’s very own Jim DeMint was just saying how emergency rooms were fine and dandy health care, never you mind how the whole idea of “emergency care” is that it’s the kind of care you get when something very wrong is happening to you. Oh, and it’s the most expensive kind, and if patients can’t pay, the costs are, well, socialized.
Human beings will just have to adjust to not getting health care, sometimes. Oh, they might need it. They might have been told it was noble to forgo health insurance by one set of jackasses, and then told there’s always emergency rooms by another set of jackasses. But did they ever suspect that behind hospital curtain number three was a grinning clown offering a faceful of cold seltzer asking them to “adjust”?
Well. It’s now almost a year since the GOP continued its losing streak of four out of the last six presidential elections, not including the Supreme Court intervention in 2000 that accounted for one of the two wins.
Despite the brief euphoria of the 2010 House invasion, the Republican party is bitterly staggering its way through the Five Stages of Grief only to arrive at the looming death star called Hillary. Having spent quite a lot of time in the Denial Stage and then basking in the energizing glow of the Anger Stage, punch-drunk Republicans arrived at the Bargaining Stage just in time for the long Dog Days Recess.
Unfortunately, this “stage” is not following the script, and feckless legislators are not even safe in their own Town Hall meetings which are being disrupted by hecklers from the Left and the Right. Several Republicans have been caught flat-footed by constituents who want to know “what’s so bad about Obamacare?” on one side alongside rabble-rousers who want their representatives to “shut down the government like a man!”
It’s a minefield out there . . . of their own making.
So it is that recently some creative party geniuses have revived that old crowd-pleasing favorite “Impeachment” from the GOP playbook. I guess because it’s always worked so well for them . . . ?
Since Obamacare has gotten to be pretty moldy “red meat,” impeachment serves as a tasty, home-cooked comfort food for the disgruntled base. Plus, it covers a multitude of grievances: hate Obama’s policies—foreign and domestic—impeach him! hate that Obama is an uppity foreign, socialist, gay-loving, culture war-instigating oligarch? impeach him! hate Obama for having the temerity to be a black man in the White House? impeach him! hate Obama’s wife, his kids, his vacation plans? impeach his ass!!1!!
See how that works? Don’t tamp down the anger and hate—redirect it.
Well, summer is drawing to an end and, with it, the funding to keep The Greatest Show On Earth running . . . the moment the GOP has been waiting for, lo these many months, to prove that they still have some political potency despite the fact that they don’t seem to be able to pass their own bills, let alone force demands on anyone else’s.
The hostage of choice, for the next manufactured crisis - funding the continuing operations of the US government - appears to be Obamacare, that socialist hobgoblin threatening to destroy America by making health insurance more accessible and affordable.
Since putting the law to a vote and numerous legal challenges, including a Supreme Court case, did not kill the dreaded Obamacare, the GOP game plan for Fall 2013 is to force the President and the Democratic Senate majority to admit the error of their ways and the superior policy wisdom of conservatives by scrapping the law to prevent the nuttier splinters of the Republican Caucus from threatening to shut down the government.
You know who I’ve been seeing everywhere on the liberal blogs, lately? Markwayne Mullin. Now that the congress critters have returned to their districts, it’s always National Geographic-style fun to see them operating in their own habitats, but M-Squared is really giving great value for the attention. So far, he’s done climate science denial:
(May I direct Rep. Mullin to Ken Burn’s rather good take on the Dust Bowl—entirely worth anyone’s time, not least of all that of a representative from the great state of Oklahoma, where the wind does indeed come sweeping down the plains, all right.)
An unforeseen, unheralded benefit of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act might be the undoing of Mitch McConnell in the 2014 mid-term elections. Interested? here’s how that could work . . .
No one in the US Congress has been more outspoken, or more blunt about his desire to derail the Obama presidency than Mitch McConnell (R-Kentuckah). At times, McConnell’s obsession with ousting Obama has bordered on maniacal—that is, except when he was doing back-room deals with the administration, sometimes by proxy, to save his conservative cred while trying to forestall the GOP’s lumbering progress toward the tar pits of political history.
Furthermore, McConnell is that rare political enigma—the hugely unpopular wielder of immense party power. Kentucky has been sending Mr McConnell to Washington for decades, now, but if job approval polls are worth anything, the love affair may be over at the same time that opposing forces are mounting credible threats.
When Michele Bachmann’s 2012 presidential campaign started to take a massive dump, I was kind of sympathetic but concerned. To my jaded eye, Michele Bachmann’s campaign always looked like a form of trolling rather than a serious effort, and deep in my guts, I always thought Ron Paul, as a kind of rear-guard Goldwater winger, was also doing his part to run a presidential campaign to score points and #profit. Which is why the problems with the Bachmann campaign starting with Sorenson struck me as weird. I was interested with the allegations that Kent Sorenson was “bought” by the Bachmann campaign. But the evidence and the Bachmann campaign’s own allegations suggested the obvious reason he didn’t “stay bought”. Iowa did not know they had a pimp.
He got a better offer. My immediate response was that the Paul campaign looked more viable, at the time—but the current story is that maybe there were reasons.
This whole affair is making me somewhat re-evaluate my estimation of both the Bachmann and Paul campaigns’ seriousness. Were these really a “straight shoot” and not “work” to make shit interesting for “Inevitable Mitt”? Did either of these candidates really think it was worth it to score points so much that they were violating campaign law in Iowa—up in the corn, feeling their oats? This makes me pre-emptively re-evaluate my estimation of Rand Paul’s obvious 2016 trolling. He could be for reals.
I don’t know if that scares me enough. I guess I won’t know until 2016. If anyone ever wonders where I go when I am not posting, I am recalibrating my cynicism, because sometimes I believe it must be broken.
Well, as I mentioned yesterday, it’s Silly Season which means lots of open-mic time for politicians aiming to make an impression on the American electorate. So it is that Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Planet Xanax) subbed for Sean Hannity on his newly-divorced-from-Cumulus radio program, yesterday.
Gohmert opened with a shout out to the blogging community:
All of you on the left coast, the left bloggers that … you couldn’t find your rear-end with both hands, well listen: I know you monitor every word I say,” he said. “Well, grab some popcorn, we’re going to have a fun three hours.
Well, the wheels came off the Ryan Budget bus yesterday, but, mostly, the traffic just whizzed on by. Most congressional deliberations over budgets and appropriations don’t capture the public’s fleeting attention. This is dry, esoteric, wonky stuff. Did I mention it’s boring?
Yesterday’s #GOPfail came when debate on the House Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations, affectionately known as THUD, devolved into Republican opposition to their own godawful budget.
THUD was the first House appropriations bill to come up that contained some real-world extreme hacking and slashing and moderate Republicans, Republican governors and mayors are suddenly realizing how frightening the Ryan budget is.
Now if Republicans cross their fingers, close their eyes and hold their breath they might postpone, at least for a month, the American electorate discovering what a colossal failure of conservative ideology just occurred in the House. But, in order to solve that problem permanently, they’ll have to throw out that Republican budget, or throw out the sequester, or both . . . or let the Senate do the heavy lifting. But I’m sure most of them realize that something has to give. Chances are that realization won’t be voiced during the hometown events scheduled for the recess, though.
Ever since rookie Texas senator, Ted Cruz swaggered onto Capitol Hill, I have been asking myself why? why would an apparently intelligent, accomplished man willingly play the fool 24/7? At first, I was pretty much dumbfounded but, having watched and listened and examined the evidence for over six months now, I think I’m beginning to discern a sort of cynical method to Cruz’s madness.
At this point in time, I’m pretty well convinced that Ted Cruz truly believes that he is smarter than 99% of humankind. And, who knows, if I had graduated from Harvard Law, argued before the Supreme Court and then immersed myself in Texans, I might think the same.
Being full of oneself, especially in America, is no crime. God help us if it were. But there’s an extra, dark dimension to Cruz, something Machiavellian that lurks just below the surface.
Take his latest hobbyhorse—shutting down the government to defund Obamacare. The most solidly bipartisan effort in six years of US federal politics, it turns out, has been the effort on both sides of the aisle to tell Senators Lee, Cruz and Rubio to STFU! and sit down.
You know, I am not surprised that Iowa Rep. Steve King is hanging in regarding the jackass comments he made regarding drug mule immigrants with calves like cantaloupes from schlepping as much as 75 lbs of reefer (on foot!) across the desert. This is who he is. This is what he says all the time. He’s been a US Representative since 2003 with these very views. He’s been a birther. He gets on tv. John Boehner can comment on King’s actions, but you know what? He doesn’t penalize him by taking away his position on any committees. He doesn’t call for a censure.
And Steve King isn’t alone. Take Louie Gohmert. He recently went out of his way to compare the civil rights of minorities to that of “snail darters” and other assorted wildlife. This is a guy who rambled on about “terror babies” He’s been a US Representative since 2005. He says crazy shit all the time. Doesn’t hurt him any. If anything, he grows stronger in the Derp side of the Force every day.
People can talk about there being lines you can’t cross in our political discourse, and maybe to an extent, they might try and classify racism as being a certain line—but that line isn’t in the same place in every region of the country. And these guys kind of show that even if there is a line you don’t cross—as such, it can be politically profitable (to them, anyway) to come up to that line, sometimes, and just kick the bejesus out of it.
And I tend to believe that the kind of person who would return a Steve King or a Louie Gohmert to Congress for term after term? Probably is not susceptible to shame over their shenanigans either. I have wondered if these folks are like villagers who just send their idiot to Washington so that they can have a vacation from him, but no. I think they are more like people who have mistakenly become pursuaded that political contests are not about establishing who is a more competent office-holder, but a bid for who might be a more attention-getting mascot.
This is sad, and I am not sure what the corrective would be.
Zimmerman trial juror B29 is muddying the waters for those who claimed the proceedings should have never happened in the first place since Zimmerman was clearly justified in shooting Trayvon Martin. B29’s comments reveal her own conflicts about the case, but more importantly, they make plain the fundamental flaw with Florida’s version of “Stand Your Ground”—that it shifts the burden of proof from the living to the dead and leaves jurors who clearly perceive an injustice no remedy under the law to address it.
Via valued commenter Rikyrah, here’s a link to a piece published this week by Joy-Ann Reid, current MSNBC analyst and former Miami Herald reporter, about why she’s avoiding Florida because of the “Stand Your Ground” law. The whole thing is worth reading, but here are a few excerpts:
But right now, I’m giving Florida a rest. I’m not joining a mass boycott, just a personal one. And it’s not because I simply don’t like the outcome of a particular second-degree murder trial… I’m quitting Florida tourism for now, because my conscience won’t let me travel to a state that I love, but where it’s not safe for my sons to walk the streets…
In Florida, and 22 other states with similar laws, but particularly in Florida because of how Stand Your Ground was written, anyone who finds you threatening has a license to shoot you, based solely on the perception in their mind that you were threatening to hurt them. You don’t even have to actually hurt them. As long as a jury of as few as six people believe it was reasonable for them to fear you, they will walk…
Since the law passed, the number of “justifiable homicides” in Florida has tripled, and the number of concealed-carry permits has ballooned to 1.5 million people. That’s one in 17 adults. Police organizations vociferously opposed the law, but their voices were nothing compared with Pistol-Packing Marion [Hammer, NRA lobbyist] and her bottomless pocket full of ideas for laws that make carrying guns less legally risky for gun owners, and more risky for anyone unfortunate enough to freak them out…
That last line demonstrates how a stupid law like SYG cheapens and degrades the quality of life in a very real way. Zimmerman has already rearmed himself, and the state is crawling with paranoid gun-toters who now have even less incentive to allow the cops to handle “suspicious” persons or avoid or deescalate confrontations.
But nothing will change. As Reid notes, the politicians down here are too cowardly to stand up to the NRA, which makes them a lot like the US Congress. The crooked greed-head who purchased the Florida governorship for $77 million in 2010 has refused to call a special session of the wingnut-majority legislature to review SYG, and even if they did, they’d reaffirm it.
It is delivering on its original objective, after all: It is generating profits for gun manufacturers.