A few days ago, in Anne Laurie’s thread about Rand Paul’s tenuous belief in democracy, the topic turned to speculation about Baby Doc’s presidential aspirations. I said:
I have a hard time believing Baby Doc could get elected to any office that required appealing to voters who are not hardcore wingnuts and Papa Doc fans. It’s not that the electorate is particularly discerning. It’s just that Baby Doc comes across as such an arrogant, smarmy prick.
I was right about Paul being an arrogant, smarmy prick, but upon further reflection, I should have known better than to think that’s a disqualifying factor in a general election. An example is right under my nose here in Florida, where Rick Scott—a Voldemort lookalike and known crook who displays all the personal warmth and charm of an anaconda—was elected governor in 2010.
True, Scott won with less than 50% of the vote, and he needed $77 million of his personal fortune, a wind at his back gusted up by the rebranded Bush dead-ender “Tea Party” plus the apathy of Democrats dispirited by a real and perceived lack of pony production on the part of President Obama and the Democratic Congress. All of this broke Scott’s way.
Some might dismiss Scott’s election as just another example of Florida insanity, like face-eating zombies, airborne fish attacks and fatal roach-eating contests. Maybe, but I think Florida is a better microcosm for America than is generally acknowledged.
Florida has left-of-center coastal enclaves, heavily armed yahoos and religious fanatics in the interior, a growing immigrant population, simmering racial tensions, a politically powerful “Screw you, Jack, I’ve got mine!” elderly population and disaffected, jobless young folks who have been robbed of their future and birthright by nature-despoiling greed-heads.
Is this not America?
As for the future, Scott’s approval ratings have consistently been among the lowest of any governor in the US, and I used to believe that all the Democrats had to do to beat him handily next year was nominate someone capable of fogging a mirror. But the Florida Democratic Party (of which I am a proud member) is a hot mess, and fault lines are emerging that could result in yet another epic fail.
Those fault lines are reflected on this blog (stupid fucking firebagger! drone-loving obot!), and you’ll see them deepen nationally as 2016 approaches. Love him or not, President Obama is a gifted politician, but he’s won his last election.
Can anyone else bring our fractured coalition together—if only for one fucking day? We better hope so. Unless the rest of you want to live in a Hiaasen novel too.
Sen. Mike Lee, like many of his Senate colleagues, has a law degree. His is from Brigham Young and, apparently, Lee fancies himself to be something of a constitutional scholar. I say that because Mike Lee likes to pronounce things unconstitutional. Especially things like Obamacare.
Lee also appears to be quite the over-achiever. For example, whilst serving as the brand new senator from Utah, Lee has somehow managed to find the time to write two books (not one—count ‘em, two books) while also trying to learn the ropes of senator-ing.
If John McCain is any judge of the latter, Lee probably ought to stick to book-writing:
Don’t worry . . . this doctor is not a real representative, he just plays one at tea parties. Meet Dr. Michael Burgess, OB/Gyn, author* and US Representative (R-TX) from the Loon Star State. Dr Burgess has served in the House since 2002, chairing the Congressional Health Care caucus, of which he is the only official member, and serving in the House TEA Party Caucus.
Recently, Dr Burgess has grabbed our attention during the House Republicans’ most recent sortie in its War on Women, with his rather prurient, if unscientific, theory that male fetuses spend a good bit of time “spanking the monkey” while in the womb.
[*Burgess, Michael (2011). Doctor in the House: A Physician-Turned-Congressman Offers His Prescription for Scrapping Obamacare – and Saving America’s Medical System. Midpoint Trade Books. ISBN 978-1-936488-25-4. Retrieved 2011-11-16.]
Dr Burgess presented his theory during a House Rules committee debate on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would ban abortions nationwide after 20 weeks of pregnancy:
“This is a subject that I do know something about,” Burgess said, citing his experience as an OB/GYN. “There is no question in my mind that a baby at 20-weeks after conception can feel pain. The fact of the matter is, I argue with the chairman because I thought the date was far too late. We should be setting this at 15-weeks, 16-weeks.”
“Watch a sonogram of a 15-week baby, and they have movements that are purposeful,” he continued. “They stroke their face. If they’re a male baby, they may have their hand between their legs. If they feel pleasure, why is it so hard to think that they could feel pain?”
Apparently, some of the “values” of the Party of Family Values need a little re-tooling. How else to interpret the fact that, in one week, two separate spawn of the GOP—Tanner Flake (aka N1ggerKiller), son of Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Joey Heck, son of Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV)—are outed as social-media-opaths? Two All-American white, Christian paragons (ok, ok one’s Mormon), sons of All-American white, Christian paragon fathers, spend their leisure time just frothing, fuming and twittering hate at anyone who isn’t an All-American white, Christian paragon i.e., faggots, niggas, women, Jews, Obama, Messicans, Obama, Indians, Obama, Muslims, etc. [in their words]. These kids, if nothing else, are equal opportunity bigots, they pretty much hate every one who isn’t a white male.
Ever since Battlin’ Jan Brewer refused to sign any more legislation until Arizona passed the Obamacare Medicaid Expansion, Arizona Teapublicans feel like they’ve been punched in the gut! More like jabbed in the ribs by a governor who knows how to read financial reports, which, like reality, tend to have an anti-Tea bias. Welcome to the RINOdome, Governor! It’s beginning to look like at at least some Red State executive branches aren’t entirely drowning in tea.
This should be an interesting week, on the GOP Brand Repair front, given that the Senate will be taking up the illustrious Gang of 8’s compendious immigration reform bill—S 744 [this bad boy is an epic pork roll weighing in at 209,000 words, which will never be read before the voting commences].
But wait, according to Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) there are still a few more things to add, like his own “my way or the highway” RESULTS Amendment . . . which Harry Reid has already rejected.
I will not accept any poison pills. I mean, we have a senator from Texas, Senator Cornyn, who wants to change border security, a trigger, saying that it has to be a 100 percent border security, or they’ll be no bill. That’s a poison pill. If people have suggestions like they did in the Judiciary Committee to change the bill a little bit, I’ll be happy to take a look at that. But we’re not going to have big changes in this legislation.
“Poison pill” is an understatement. RESULTS: The Amendment, forbids undocumented immigrants from obtaining permanent residency until four criteria are met:
- 100 percent surveillance of the southern border
- a minimum 90 percent apprehension rate for illegal border crossings
- an operational biometric ID system at air and sea ports
- and implementation of E-Verify nationally.
Sweet. Republicans earn political capital for immigration reform that will take 99 years to implement while simultaneously funneling billions in contracts to their defense contractor buddies who are rapidly retooling for “border defense” in the wake of the sequester backfire and a nationwide shortage of wars.
The choice for Senate Democrats when I offer my amendment is very simple: if they are sincere about securing the border, here is their chance. If they oppose my plan, their claims of securing the border are nothing but lip service designed to manipulate the American people into supporting this flawed bill.
Trouble is, Cornyn has more to worry about than Harry Reid. His conservative Texan constituents are not exactly down with the bill with, or without, Cornyn’s amendment.
Meanwhile, Sen Marco Rubio, capo of the Republican “Gang” members is busying himself proving that he has the cajones to be President when he grows up. Which is getting harder to do, on this project, with senior senators like Cornyn horning in to beef up the bill with last minute amendments.
But, Rubio now has the IRS “scandal” to conjure up to push his bill, as well as a Republican hidden agenda to wrest some of the control of the plan from the Department of Homeland Security and give it to Congress:
The lack of trust in the federal government — by the way, not made any better by the events of the last few days, things we’ve learned the federal government has done in other realms, whether it’s the IRS or other things. “The lack of trust in the federal government, and in particular, in this administration, makes it even harder to convince people that coming up with a plan like this on its own is good enough. So maybe the solution is to have Congress actually write that plan for them.
Seriously, Senator Rubio??? Seriously? you think that the American public doesn’t trust the government to do this — but somehow you think that they trust Congress more?? Congress with it’s minimal expertise on just about every issue under the sun, and it’s new all-time low approval rating in the single digits?
Sheeeeesh. It’s true what they say . . . the stupid really DOES burn.
Remember last December? when Republicans were trying desperately to absorb the bad news that their despised nemesis, Barack Hussein Obama, trounced their Romney-bot and coasted to an unimaginable second term? or that their dream of retaking the Senate had gone up in a puff of smoke? and then, remember when they turned their guns on each other? [arguably the best part, at least the most entertaining].
One of the GOP fever dreams that surfaced, during those depressing days, was to mutiny against Republican House leadership and force Speaker Boehner to walk the plank. Boehner’s reign as Speaker has been plagued throughout by the backwash of the 2010 TEA Party wave that he surfed in on. You see, Republican leadership, in the House, come mostly from blue states making it expedient for them to be somewhat moderate and establishment-oriented. The congressional newcomers, conversely, were elected for their extreme political positions and their outside-the-beltway bona fides.
Boehner came down hard on some of the most unruly members, stripping them of their committee assignments, thereby robbing them of re-election appeal. These same members, predictably, care not a whit for congressional etiquette, tradition, seniority or parliamentary procedure. Historically, both parties are able to handle such schisms internally, and with civility, while the country continues on, blissfully unaware. Under normal circumstances the majority party’s vote for Speaker is a pro forma affair.
But this was different, and, at one point it seemed that a cabal of disgruntled freshmen might actually unseat the Speaker. Approaching the date of the vote, about 17 defectors were needed to deny Boehner an outright majority. If those 17 or so could block the speaker on the first ballot, they could convene a conference and persuade someone else — maybe Cantor, Paul Ryan or Jeb Hensarling to challenge Boehner. Even if none of the party lieutenants agreed to go up against Boehner, winning on a second ballot would be humiliating enough.
So what do conservatives do when beset with such a thorny dilemma? Well, a lot of them fall on their knees and ask God what to do; and so it was that God saved Speaker Boehner’s hash.
Rep. Steve Southerland II (R-FL), is a 47-year-old funeral home operator, elected in 2010, who hosted regular meetings for mutinous legislators at his DC townhouse. Southerland recently explained for a Washington Post piece just exactly how God intervened in the matter. The night before the vote, Southerland read the story of Saul and David, and about how the king of Israel tried to kill the future king. David wins and, with a chance to kill the king, decides to spare Saul.
Southerland reports that he woke up convinced that Boehner should be spared. Others, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said they, too, prayed before siding with Boehner.
“He’s not a God of chaos, he’s a God of order,” Southerland said.
Shortly after that, Republicans convened a “retreat” where they arrived at an internal peace treaty called “the Williamsburg Accord,” which:
. . . restored enough unity to permit the House to dodge a government shutdown, badger the Senate into passing its first budget in four years and open investigations of the Obama White House.
And nothing more.
Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ), who was purged from the Financial Services Committee in November, had this to say, recently:
the thing you have to analyze is: Have we had a pretty good quarter because we stuck to the formula of Williamsburg? Or is it because we avoided the tough issues?
Maybe, next, someone should ask God how to make Republicans a little more productive?
A Congressional delegation that included wingnuts Dana Rohrabacher, Steve King and Michele Bachmann visited Russian security officials and lawmakers last week to discuss dealing with terrorist threats and investigate the Boston bombings. Straight-to-video action movie actor Steven Seagal was credited with setting up the meetings:
[Rohrabacher] repeatedly thanked Seagal, who took credit for arranging the congressmen’s meeting at the FSB, and said it helped avoid the experience of past foreign trips when all of the meetings had been arranged by the U.S. Embassy.
“You know what we got? We got the State Department controlling all the information that we heard,” Rohrabacher said. “You think that’s good for democracy? No way!”
Seagal has special expertise in Russian foreign policy in general and relevance to the Boston bombings investigation in particular, having once played a former Russian mobster named “Ruslan” in the 2009 thriller “Driven to Kill.” Alert readers will recall that the Tsarnaev brothers’ outspoken uncle is also named “Ruslan,” making Seagal’s involvement a no-brainer for the US congressional delegation.
Sans the nanny squad from State, Rohrabacher found he likes the cut of Putin’s jib (perhaps peering into his soul as George W. Bush once did) and feels that Putin-backed Chechnyan strongman Ramzan Kadyrov has been unfairly criticized for torture, kidnapping and murder by namby-pamby human rights groups who don’t understand the nature of the enemy:
“Radical Islam is at our throat in the United States, and is at the throat of the Russian people…
“If you are in the middle of an insurrection with Chechnya, and hundreds of people are being killed and there are terrorist actions taking place and kids are being blown up in schools, yeah, guess what, there are people who overstep the bounds of legality.
“We shouldn’t be describing people who are under this type of threat, we shouldn’t be describing them as if they are Adolf Hitler or they’re back to the old Communism days.”
Seagal, who received “a lavish welcome in Kadyrov’s palace,” noted that the strongman has not been indicted.
Rohrabacher & Co. aren’t the first wingnuts to tap Seagal’s cinematic crime and terrorism-fighting expertise to address real-life issues: A couple of years ago, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio enlisted Seagal’s aid in an operation that successfully slew dozens of menacing chickens and a puppy at an alleged cockfighting ring.
I have to admit that I didn’t see this coming but, thanks to Texan politico Cathie Adams, all of the frightening pieces are suddenly falling into place. Speaking at a recent event hosted by the Far North Dallas Tea Party, Adams shared her concern that America is currently in thrall to secret Muslim infiltrators carrying out a stealth jihad. Some of the high-profile jihadis that Ms Adams has exposed are: Grover Norquist, Karl Rove and possibly the current head of the CIA, John Brennan.
The evidence? Mr Norquist has a beard and is married to a Muslim woman. Karl Rove is his BFF. The investigation of Brennan is ongoing so Ms Adams couldn’t share much about him but one sinister thing that we do know is that Brennan speaks Arabic fluently. But then he’s CIA so he would be too smart for facial hair or a Muslim wife. And, of course, the Muslim-in-Chief needs no introduction—case closed. That’s why we find ourselves, today, crawling with stealth jihadis and Ms Adams wants to know: “Where is the outcry!!?!” The one American that Ms Adams is sure is not a stealth jihadi is Sen. Ted Cruz for whom she gave thanks to God, on this particular occasion.
Now, you may remember that it was Cruz who warned us about the 70% - 80% infiltration of Communists in Congress, which would only leave about 20% left for stealth jihadis, but maybe he was confused. Cruz was a newbie to the Senate, at that time, and perhaps he mistaked Communists for Muslims? maybe they were the Baltic-Chechen-crossover-type Muslims easily mistaken for Communists? At any rate, I’m sure Cathie Adams will be briefing him on that.
For a “post-racist” society, America certainly has a lot of overt and covert racial stuff on its mind, lately. Personally, I think that the rumors of American Racism’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. One black man taking up residence in the Oval Office may feel like an apocalyptic event to some but most evidence indicates that we’re not really any closer to a true “Kumbaya moment” than we we were in, say, 2007.
Actually, the idea of “Post-racist America” is as screwy a fairy tale as “American Exceptionalism” or “America’s Christian Founding Fathers.” And history provides plenty of examples of countries that embrace screwy fairy tales in their national mythos behaving very oddly before they go completely off the rails. In most cases, screwy national fairy tales often arise as a moral justification for bad behavior and are designed to comfort the perpetrators and assuage their guilt.
For example: of course it’s OK for Americans to kidnap people off foreign streets, ship them to other countries for imprisonment, torture them, deny them due process and keep them imprisoned for indefinite periods of time. And the reason that it’s OK is because America has been designated by God [the Christian one] to lead the world’s people and keep them honest and pure and protected from evil.
We are the Lancelot of Nations and things that are crimes if other mere mortals commit them are sanctioned and, indeed, sanctified by the God that chose us to run his planet. We Americans are Exceptional! And we know we are exceptional because we have more and better stuff than any other people. We have nothing to learn or earn from the rest of the world and, whatever they have, they got it from us, one way or another
Is it worth 8 minutes of your time to hear Michele Bachmann announce that she’s quitting her House seat? Probably not, but here it is anyway.
Nope, this is nothing to do with the multiple investigations into her and hubbie’s alleged grifting, including misusing congressional campaign funds for her spectacular 2012 run for president, nor the fact that she only squeaked back into her seat last year and the polls aren’t looking at all good for her at the moment. She’s just past her sell-by date:
The law limits anyone from serving as president of the United States for more than eight years, and in my opinion—well, eight years is also long enough for an individual to serve as a representative for a specific Congressional district.
This will no doubt lead to widespread redundancies among the media’s factcheckers. Unless ...
There is no future option or opportunity, be it directly in the political arena or otherwise, that I won’t be giving serious consideration if it can help save and protect our great nation.
How is this being greeted among the wingnutry? Well, there’s some speculation from the RW blogs that (assuming she’s not in pokey by then) Bachmann might run against Al Franken for his Senate seat, which would certainly be a battle worth breaking out the popcorn for.
Actually, it might be a stretch to call this a retirement. Rep. Michele Bachmann announced last night that she would not seek a fifth term in the House from Minnesota’s 6th Congressional district in this nearly nine-minute valediction. As The Week notes, however, Bachmann doesn’t say she’s retiring from politics or even electoral politics, which means she may have something else in mind already ...
Indeed. If not a run against Franken, there seem to be indications that she hopes to don the mantle of Palin II:
... she promises not to fade away, continuing “to work vehemently and robustly to fight back against what most in the other party want to do to transform our country into becoming, which would be a nation that our founders would hardly even recognize today.”
The announcement that Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) will not run for re-election in 2014 means that the Tea Party will lose one of its most outspoken—and controversial—congressional leaders, just as the movement is gaining new momentum from public discontent with big government and the revelations in the IRS scandal. At the same time, the Tea Party will benefit from the emergence of new, and perhaps more effective, voices.
William Teach at RightWingNews, on the other hand, is in full-on denial and seeking to anoint her with the precious Oil of Victimhood:
NBC Makes Up Quote For Michele Bachmann: “I’m quitting my House seat in 2014″
Nowhere in the story is that headline verified. Nor, if one listens to the 8+ minute video from Bachmann will you hear that phrase. A bit of bias, eh?
For Max Baucus NBC had the headline Max Baucus heeds the call of Nature. And Harkin won’t seek 6th Senate term (for Tom Harkin-D). And Senate banking chair Johnson to announce retirement (Tim Johnson-D). Even most other Republicans were treated decently. Seems that NBC News has a bit of a War On Women going on in regards to Bachmann.
The reception for this news in the comments sections is pretty subdued and mostly philosophical.
Is there enough room for two Divas of Daft on Twitter and Facebook (there does seem to be a vacancy for vacancy on Fox, of course)? Will this spark an entertaining rivalry—Griftzilla versus Michegriftzilla? I guess we’ll have to stay tuned ....
As any oppressed minority will tell you, winning civil rights that put one on a more even footing with the rest of society usually comes at a pretty hefty price—and the bills keep coming in long after the celebrations and victory parties are over. It’s no surprise, at least to the gay community, that more legalized gay weddings are triggering more gay bashing backlash around the world.
We LGBT people are used to this. In my lifetime [which includes pre-Stonewall days], we have gone from literally cowering in the closet to marching in Pride parades down the streets of our home towns. That’s quite a leap, in under a century, but each step of the way has been hard-fought and exacted huge costs in terms of career options, family life and isolation. Favorable public opinion and community support are only very recent boons to my community.
Given all of that, I hope that at least some of you will forgive my cynicism regarding the recent spate of “mystery posters” (see below) appearing on the streets of at least two cities in the state of Washington which also, just happens to be a state that recently legalized gay marriage.
So far, no one has actually taken credit for anything other than the photo of the “Annies that got their gun.” That photo, by “Oleg Volk: An American”, is in the public domain, sans text, and his reaction on learning of the posters using his photo was:
The photo poster is my design, the line drawing isn’t. I encourage re-posting of my graphics, so I approve of the use in general. The specific use wasn’t coordinated with me but that’s just fine, pre-approval is not necessary.
I have no idea who posted them but they acted as my allies in the cause. I want everyone -— especially people who have been traditionally facing discrimination and danger — to be more secure and independent. Minorities of all kinds are in that exact predicament.
The QR code links to Volk’s pro-gun website a-human-right.com. The funny little flag next to the QR code is known as The Doug Flag [for Douglas Fir] and is the official flag of Cascadia, a secessionist notion whereby parts of Canada and the Pacific Northwest become an independent country—a sort of eco-topian pipe dream that’s been kicking around for over a hundred years and just adds that little soupçon of crazy to the whole thing.
The line drawing of the male guntoters is signed by a “Nale Dixon” who is off the GoogleGrid.
These posters, as amateurish and lacking in 21st century realSHOCK!!1! value as they are, have set off quite a flurry of political debate having mostly to do with the rightful “ownership” of American political ideologies.
what does seem somewhat novel—to me, at least—is the brazen callousness in today’s breed of Republicans
Meanwhile in the annals of brazen callousness, Sen. Coburn’s fellow coprolite OK Sen. James Inhofe has tried to get around their stonewalling aid for Eastern states by calling the Sandy aid bill a “slush fund:”
“they were getting things … in the Virgin Islands, fixing roads there, and putting roofs on houses in Washington, D.C.”
Evidently the good senators are unaware that both Washington and the Virgin Islands are U.S. territories. But what does that matter? It’s not like they have senators to deny aid to anybody.
Just to amplify an issue related to Mistermix’s post at Balloon Juice about austerity peacock Tom Coburn’s announcement that he would seek to offset federal disaster relief funds to Oklahoma with budget cuts elsewhere (Pentagon exempted, naturally). Let’s pause to consider what it means that Coburn issued this statement while bodies were still being pulled from the rubble in his home state, an activity that is ongoing.
A spokesman for the senator claimed that Coburn was merely being consistent about his position on federal disaster aid. That’s a lie: Mrs. Polly provides links to accounts of Coburn questioning and delaying disaster relief to other states while accepting funds for Oklahoma below. It’s no surprise that Coburn is a liar and a hypocrite: That’s what we expect from politicians. It’s what our grandparents expected, and their grandparents too.
But what does seem somewhat novel—to me, at least—is the brazen callousness in today’s breed of Republicans, a rigid orthodoxy combined with a rich man’s insulation from trouble that renders them utterly indifferent to the fate of others, even those who look like them and share their origins and cultural pretensions.
Coburn is retiring after his current term: Maybe he’d be less quick to rush before the cameras to display his austerity plumage if he had to stand for another election. But I don’t think that’s necessarily true anymore. His real political masters, Koch Industries, et al, will applaud his haste to emphasize what’s really important in the face of a natural disaster, which is to keep corporate tax rates low and gut regulations on industries that contribute to extreme climate events.
And even if voters remember some other austerity peacock’s callous disregard for an unfolding disaster in some future election (doubtful thanks to the flood of corporate money that swings most elections), the heartless pricks who are voted out of office can transition seamlessly into cushy private sector influence-peddling gigs.
There’s really nothing new to see here, I suppose, but I can’t help but feel that something has been lost nonetheless: basic human decency, fundamental accountability—or at least the need to pretend that these quaint notions are relevant.
What a week! And, I have to agree with Jay Carney, it’s actually been a good week, if for no other reason than its entertainment value. Scandalpalooza has downtrodden Republicans floating in a purple haze of political fairy dust and, history teaches us that when the GOP has magic on its mind it becomes rather spectacularly self-destructive.
By the end of a week of Republican non-stop merrymaking, Prince Rebus and “You’re a Mean One, Mr Gingrich” are the sole, sober voices of reason. Say what you will about Newt, but he does have decades worth of first-hand knowledge of the inner workings, serial miscalculations, over-reach and bumbling blunders that have carried the GOP to its present-day level of uselessness.
So it is that Prince and Newt are the grownups desperately calling cabs for the less inhibited partygoers before they start spewing a skinful of Impeachment Punch all over the rotunda.
In one of those cabs, we find Peggy Noonan belting out “those were the days, my friend” spliced with “we are in the middle of the worst Washington scandal since Watergate” and “the South shall rise again.” [I added that last part; it seemed to fit]
Admittedly, it’s been a while since Peggy Noonan made any sense to me. At first, I thought she was cleverly speaking in tongues. But Peggy’s Catholic and they generally frown on that kind of melodrama.