Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

I honestly don’t know how the fuck you can have a functional democracy when so many of the voting citizens are totally clueless.  I can understand why they wouldn’t want to pay attention to politics – it’s an endless exercise in frustration, and the stupidity ratio is far higher than any thinking human being should be forced to endure – but people need to at least pay enough attention to realize that while Senate Dems are, by and large, spineless cowards, the Cons are cons.  Let’s just consider something:

The Senate voted yesterday on Craig Becker’s nomination to serve on the National Labor Relations Board. There was no doubt about his qualifications, but conservatives don’t like unions, and Becker has spent his adult life working to protect the interests of America’s workers. As a result, Republicans did what they always do — they launched a filibuster.
Yesterday afternoon, the Senate voted to end debate and make a decision on the nomination. A total of 52 senators supported Becker, while 33 were opposed (several senators missed the vote due to a blizzard). 
Because madness has begun overcoming our political system, when the vote is 52 to 33, the 33 votes win.
Knowing that a recess appointment is a distinct possibility, Republicans immediately began calling on the White House to resist the temptation. One senator was especially amusing.

Republicans immediately called on Mr. Obama not to place Mr. Becker on the board in that fashion.

“I sincerely hope the White House does not circumvent the will of the Senate by appointing him when the Senate is out of session,” Senator Orrin Hatch, Republican of Utah, said.

Think about that. Hatch wants the president to respect the “will of the Senate” — which means listening to the 33-vote minority and ignoring the 52-vote majority.

The Constitution, for those who still care about that document, doesn’t require the Senate to pull together 60 votes on ever single fucking issue.  It doesn’t consider 33 Senators to constitute a “majority.”  And 33 fucking assclowns do no a “will of the Senate” make.  Except that Harry Reid is too fucking limp to require these dumbshits to actually filibuster, and somehow the Cons are good enough con artists that they’ve made the fucking country forget that, in fact, a majority used to constitute “the will of the Senate.”  Why, just a few short years ago, 52 Senators voting in lock-step would’ve meant legislation passing, appointees appointed, and things moving right along.

Time to remember that again.

Another thing to remember is that Cons are complete fucking retards when it comes to national security.  Let’s run down today’s list, shall we?

Cons are upset over being called out on their lies, so more and more of them are calling for John Brennan’s head:

Republicans have responded to Brennan’s pushback with incredulity. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, citing former Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen’s misunderstanding of the facts, called Brennan “troubling” on Fox News yesterday. Rep. Peter King (R-NY) called Brennan an “egomaniac.” Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO) declared Brennan “needs to go,” and is no longer “credible.” On Fox News today, Hoekstra, who repeatedly referred to Brennan as a “White House staffer” as opposed to an intelligence “professional,” said Obama should “fire” him.
[snip]
Unintentionally, Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade summed up the situation perfectly this morning when he said that Bond and Hoekstra had told him on the radio yesterday that “they’re just astounded and befuddled that” Brennan “continues to dig like this and act so political in condemning everybody else for acting political.”

So.  They’re calling for the ouster of a 25-year vet of the CIA, a man eminently qualified for the job he’s in, because he’s not afraid to tell the truth.  That’s so fucking pathetic it’s indescribable.  And as for making Cons the world’s experts on national security, well.  I think it points up just how serious they are.

But wait!  There’s more!

Yesterday, asked by Jon Stewart why it was okay to Mirandize Richard Reid but not the Christmas Day plotter, Gingrich replied: “Richard Reid was an American citizen.” Called out on his mistake, Gingrich Tweeted this afternoon:

On daily show was wrong re: ShoeBomber citizenship, was thinking of Padilla. Treating terrorists like criminals wrong no matter who is Pres.

If it’s true that Gingrich confused Reid and Padilla, that’s a pretty colossal blunder. The shoe bomber was Mirandized within the first five minutes of his detention. Padilla, by contrast, was held as an enemy combattant for three and a half years before being convicted in civilian courts.
What’s more, Gingrich’s explanation doesn’t make much sense on its face. Yesterday, he suggested it was okay to Mirandize a terror suspect provided he were an American citizen. Today, he seemed to transfer that opinion onto Padilla in his Tweet — but then in the very next sentence added that treating any and all terrorists like criminals is wrong in all cases, no matter who is president.
So either Gingrich is conceding it was wrong to try Padilla in civilian court — which would appear to be a concession that Bush did this too. Or he’s saying it was okay to do so because Padilla is an American citizen — even as he’s simultaneously claiming it’s always wrong to treat terrorists as criminals. Or maybe Gingrich doesn’t think Padilla is a terrorist?

Or maybe Newtie’s just a big fat fucking hypocrite who doesn’t give two tugs on a dead dog’s dick about national security.  I’ll leave it to your imaginations.

But that’s not all!

On close scrutiny, this week’s intense debate over Miranda rights for Umar Abdulmutallab — culminating in GOP calls for a top Obama aide to resign — largely falls apart.
The key point of dispute — whether four Republican leaders should have assumed that the Christmas bombing suspect had been Mirandized after a phone call from Obama aide John Brennan, in which the GOPers were told that Abdulmutallab was in FBI custody — is moot in light of the facts of the case.
That call occurred sometime in the evening of Christmas Day after the incident in the skies above Detroit. The Republicans maintained this week, in sniping eagerly picked up by the media, that the phone calls from Brennan were brief and informal, and they had no way of knowing that the suspect was read his rights.
What’s been lost in the debate is that on the afternoon of the very next day, Dec. 26, the Justice Department announced Abdulmutallab had been criminally charged in federal court. At that point, less than 24 hours after the Brennan phone calls, there could be no doubt not only that the suspect was being handled by the criminal justice system, but also that he had been read his rights. 
But none of the four Republicans made an issue out of it until at least several days after criminal charges were brought, according to our search of news archives.

What this basically means is that until they saw a chance for a political attack on the President and Dems, they didn’t give a shit whether the Crotchfire Bomber was read his rights or not, or charged in civilian courts or not.  This shit was totally normal under Bush, so it didn’t occur to them to start screaming right away.  Which means, my dear friends, that the only reason for the squalling now is because they have this knee-jerk reaction to anything Obama does, and don’t give a rat’s ass about actual national security.

But I’m still not done!  Today, we have a special gift with your order for stupid fucking Cons – Bond.  Dumb Bond:

Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.) has been one of the leading GOP attack dogs against the Obama administration when it comes to national security policy. He’s not doing the Republican Party any favors — the poor guy has no idea what he’s talking about.

Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.) struggled on Wednesday to distinguish between the Obama Administration’s handling of Christmas bombing suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab and Bush’s similar handling of shoe-bomber Richard Reid in an appearance on MSNBC’s “Daily Rundown.”

It was a rather humiliating display. Bond suggested Deputy National Security Adviser John Brennan was responsible for the FBI reading Abdulmutallab his rights, a claim that doesn’t make any sense. When the hosts noted that Bond was silent when Bush/Cheney handled the Richard Reid and Zacarias Moussaoui cases the same way Obama is handling the Abdulmutallab case now, Bond said, “It’s a lot different time,” as if the American system of justice changed was overhauled after 2006 (it wasn’t).
The conservative senator argued, “We now have military commissions.” When reminded that we had military commissions then, too, Bond ignored the correction and stuck to his error. He added that it was a “bad idea” to try Reid and Moussaoui in federal courts, but couldn’t explain why.
Before anyone feels sorry for this clown, and thinks it’s unfair to criticize the doddering senator for being so hopelessly confused, remember that Kit Bond is currently the ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee. It’s his job to be informed, coherent, and aware of current events. He’s failing in those responsibilities miserably.

If that sounds familiar, it’s because Cons fail in all their responsibilities miserably.

For those of you who want the deluxe package of Con stupidity today, I’ve got Rep. Steve King, who must be quoted to be believed:

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) has been busy promoting the “Declaration of Health Care Independence,” which he helped formulate with Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN). And King says there are some clear physical similarities between this document and its namesake, the original Declaration of Independence.
“It’s actually set up on parchment paper in Old-English longhand writing script,” King told Radio Iowa. “It actually looks like the Declaration (of Independence) and it says a lot of things like the Declaration.”

Wow.  I never knew that’s all it takes to make something go from total dumbfuckery to genius document.  Why, that’s almost as genius as Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget antics:

House GOP’s top budget guy Paul Ryan (R-WI) claims that his tax-cutting, Medicare and Social Security slashing fiscal roadmap would restore the federal budget to balance over a number of decades…and the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has his back. But on close inspection, it turns out that CBO took much of its analytical lead from Ryan himself, dramatically skewing the numbers. 
For their analysis Ryan provided CBO with a remarkable assumption: he asked CBO actuaries to assume that the major tax cuts he calls for won’t create any change in federal revenue over the next two decades–at all. 
Here’s how they put it, in budget-ese: “As specified by your staff, for this analysis total federal tax revenues are assumed to equal those under [current fiscal policy],” the analysis reads.
There are just a couple major problems with that. According to Jim Horney, a tax expert at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, it doesn’t account for the tremendous loss in revenues the government would experience if, as Ryan’s plan calls for, the Bush tax cuts were extended and the Alternative Minimum Tax and estate tax were repealed.

Why, it would seem that Cons are all about the sizzle and never deliver the fucking steak, wouldn’t it?  They’re nothing but snake oil salesman, quacks of the highest caliber.  They’ve got nothing to offer except bullshit in Old English font on pretty parchment paper, budgets scored with the stipulation that reality be ignored, and positions on national security that would be laughable if they weren’t so disgusting and dangerous.

So, dear uninformed voters, I do indeed understand why you aren’t paying close attention to politics.  Life is short, and it’s a depressing subject.  But remember this one thing: only one party is currently somewhat sane.  Only one party is trying to bring you a real steak dinner, even if we end up having to content ourselves with chuck rather than ribeye, while the other party wants to serve you nothing more than mesquite-flavored cardboard chunks and call it gourmet.

Please wise the fuck up and don’t fall for the fucktards.

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Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

I don’t know what it is, but lately, the right-wing noise machine just seems like one droning whine.  Ah, right, that’s because it is.  They never say anything new, they throw the same fits in endless minor variation, and aside from Palin’s Telepalmer (thank you, Think Progress!), it’s been endlessly dull.

But I have to admit, it’s always nice to see a Con blink.  And while Sen. Shelby’s trying to pretend otherwise, he most certainly blinked:

It was one of the more audacious gambits of the 111th Congress — Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) placed a blanket hold on several dozen administration nominees, holding them hostage until the senator was paid off in earmarked pork.
Yesterday, Shelby backed off — for the most part.

Senator Richard Shelby, the Republican from Alabama, today lifted many of his holds on nominations to administration posts by President Obama that require Senate confirmation.
The move may temper a threat by Democratic leaders in the Senate — and even the White House — that the administration would make recess appointments during next week’s Presidents’ Day break, bucking any notion of senators’ approval.

Or it may not. Shelby released his blanket hold on all pending nominees, but he’s still blocking President Obama’s choices for the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force; Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics; and Under Secretary of the Air Force.
The Pentagon needs those offices filled, and can’t wait for a far-right senator — who claims to want less government spending — to get paid off in pork. 

I do believe he realized that the optics of this situation were truly awful.  I’m disappointed, myself.  He was such fun to kick around while he lasted.

Ah, well, we’ll always have Sarah.  Yes, she embarrassed herself againAnd again.  So much for motivational speaking, then, not to mention basic reading comprehension.  Good thing she uses a Telepalmer instead of a Teleprompter, eh?

Speaking of blinking, Cantor and Boehner decided they’d hold the health care reform meeting hostage to right-wing demands.  The White House looked at the list of “give up all your progress and principles and then maybe we’ll talk” demands and said, “No.”  Which, of course, is what they should’ve been saying from the beginning.  So, will the Cons then ditch the meeting?  Well, after getting called “silly” by none other than Bill Kristol, and advised that the optics of claiming to want to work on solutions whilst steadfastly refusing to actually work on solutions are a bit damaging, and seeing as how news broke of a five year-old denied life-saving cancer treatment on the grounds it’s experimental only to be approved for a separate, cheaper treatment that’s – gasp – also experimental, it appears Cantor and Boehner’ll be going, after all.  Imagine that.  And the Administration didn’t even have to give in to all their demands!

Let this be an important lesson.

Meanwhile, Michele Bachmann’s been bringing on the crazy.  She sez we’ll be cursed – cursed, I tell you! – if we don’t support Israel.  Oh, and she wants to wean everybody off Social Security.  Because nothing sez freedom like old ladies reduced to living in boxes and eating out of the trash!

I can’t believe this batshit insane freak is actually a legislator.

So what happens when Cons get called out in clear and simple terms for being baldfaced fucking liars?  Why, they demand the resignation of the man audacious enough to correct them!

Observe.  Here’s John Brennan beating their talking points bloody:

John Brennan, President Obama’s senior counterterrorism adviser, has, as Adam Serwer noted this morning, “become the point man for the administration’s pushback against GOP criticism on national security. ” That appears to be a good move — Brennan does not suffer fools gladly.
The former CIA official was forceful and persuasive on the Sunday shows over the weekend, and has a brief-but-compelling op-ed in USA Today. It’s not quite 400 words, but Brennan’s piece identifies the main Republican complaints of late, and then explains how wrong they are.

And Cons screaming and sniveling:

It must be a day that ends in “y” — a clownish far-right lawmaker is calling for another administration official to resign.

Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.) called on Deputy National Security Advisor John Brennan’s resignation on Tuesday.

Bond said Brennan, with whom he’s tangled publicly over the Obama administration’s handling of the attempted bombing of a flight on Christmas, to resign.

Brennan “needs to go,” Bond said in an interview with National Review Online, a stance that was confirmed later by a spokeswoman.

I can appreciate why Bond is annoyed. The Republican senator has been blatantly lying about most aspects of national security policy quite a bit lately, and Brennan has had the audacity to explain reality to the public. Imagine that.
But when Republicans wonder why it’s impossible to take them seriously on matters of public policy, they should remember that the ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee has called on the president’s senior counterterrorism adviser to resign for having committed the awful crime of being correct.

Well, geez, y’know, we can’t have that.  Otherwise, people might realize that Cons are a bunch of lying, conniving fuckwits, and might get disgusted with them, and then voters might actually elect people who will do right by the country rather than try to destroy the entire fucking thing so that their super-rich buddies can feed off the carcass, and, well, that would just be awful.

And, finally, it’s taken them awhile, but the Cons have finally come up with a retort to Obama’s demonstrable effectiveness at hunting down terrorists:

I suppose it was only a matter of time before far-right voices started criticizing President Obama for having too much success killing terrorists. Here’s former Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen, writing, “Dead Terrorists Tell No Tales.”

The CIA reportedly succeeded in killing the head of the Pakistani Taliban — the most recent in a flurry of drone attacks the agency has launched in South Asia and the Middle East. Another strike in Pakistan reportedly took out one of the FBI’s most wanted terrorists; another in Pakistan took out a master bomb-maker for the al Qaeda affiliate in the Philippines, Abu Sayyaf; and a strike in Yemen targeted a senior military leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the group behind the Christmas Day attack (his fate has yet to be determined).

President Barack Obama’s escalation of drone strikes is one area in the counterterrorism fight where he has earned plaudits from even his most vocal critics on the right. Hold the applause. Obama’s escalation of the “Predator War” comes at the very same time he has eliminated the CIA’s capability to capture senior terrorist leaders alive and interrogate them for information on new attacks.

I see. The conservative line for the better part of a year is that President Obama isn’t doing enough to go after terrorists. Reality shows the exact opposite is true, but for the right, this is an inconvenient detail best ignored.
If Thiessen’s piece is any indication, however, the argument is now shifting. President Obama is doing too much to go after terrorists, and is taking out too many bad guys before they can be captured and tortured.
I can see the campaign slogans now: “Vote GOP: Obama kills too many terrorists.”

I think I’m going to put that on my bumper this year.  Anyone have any other “Vote GOP” stickers that spring to mind?  I’ll take a look at them after I’m done slamming my head into my desk.

Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

Ye gods.  Too much prime stupidity today – however shall I choose?

Let’s start with Cons’ credibility with women.  As in, they still have none.  Not with this tone:

To help address this, Republican National Committee co-chair Jan Larimer is committed to recruiting more women candidates to run under the party’s banner. It seems, however, that Larimer is running into a little trouble.

Women sometimes need a little more handholding, or they need their friends to help them make a decision. And by our going in and talking to them and recruiting and educating and training them to either get involved in a campaign or become a candidate, we’re giving them the tools so that they can do that on their own,” Larimer added [emphasis added].

How perfectly condescending.  I don’t know if this dumbshit is married, or if he is how he managed to find the perfect doormat, but women with the cojones to run for public office generally aren’t going to respond well to Larimer’s hand-holding.  The ones who do aren’t fit for public office in the first place.  And self-respecting women aren’t going to flock to a party that treats women like people who can’t make a decision without “a little more handholding.”

Rush Limbaugh isn’t exactly helping the GOP polish a women-friendly image:

Last week, hate radio host Rush Limbaugh judged the Miss America pageant. Today he went on Fox and Friends and spoke to host — and former Miss America winner — Gretchen Carlson to respond to the criticism he has been receiving. He insisted that he isn’t anti-women. But in the few sentences he used to make his case, he still managed to make a sexist joke:

CARLSON: So for those who were critics of you in judging this pageant, and saying that you haven’t been a supporter of women in the past —

LIMBAUGH: Oh, I’m a huge supporter of women. What I’m not a supporter of is liberalism. Feminism is what I oppose, and feminism has led women astray. I love women. I don’t know where all this got started. I love the women’s movement — especially when walking behind it. This idea that I don’t like women is absurd. This is Miss America. And if there’s a Mr. America out there, it’s me.

Yup, that’ll sure get the ladies flocking to the GOP standard.  It’s every woman’s dream to be ogled by Mr. America, I’m sure.

Excuse me.  I need to go bleach my brain.  Back in a mo’.

Right, then, where were we?  Oh, right, the endless stupidity.

Following up on an item on Mitch McConnell, great defender of foreign cash in our elections, we now have a sense of why he’s so eager to defend corporate “free speech” rights.  Hint: it has something to do with money.

Which leads me to the most disturbing moment of today, in which I found myself nodding in agreement with Teabaggers.  They’re actually sensible on one subject (although we’re approaching it from slightly different angles).  Whodathunkit?

Speaking of Teabaggers, I don’t think Palin’s going to be their darling much longer.  Not when she’s thick-as-thieves with the thieving bunch of opportunists who are busy profiteering off the movement.  I almost feel sorry for the more grassroots Teabaggers, who just wanted a nice, populist movement that screams “Socialist!” every time Obama opens his mouth, and ended up getting hijacked by GOP operatives who see this as a prime opportunity to fill their vaults with cash.

Almost.

Moving on to other subjects, here’s quite a sight: crazy little Cons attacking the military:

It was quite a sight yesterday when Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen, the nation’s highest-ranking military officer, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that it’s time to let gay servicemen and women serve openly in the U.S. military.
What I didn’t realize was the extent of the pushback they received from conservative Republican senators. Dana Milbank had a good report on this.

On the dais, Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), the Republican Party’s 2008 presidential standard-bearer, accused Mullen and the other witness, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, of trying to repeal the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law “by fiat.” Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) accused the admiral of obeying “directives” from President Obama. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) accused Mullen of “undue command influence.”

As the challenges to his integrity continued, Mullen pursed his lips, then put his forearms on the table, displaying the admiral stripes on his sleeves. After Sessions’s provocation, the Joint Chiefs chairman glared at the diminutive Alabamian. “This is not about command influence,” Mullen said. “This is about leadership, and I take that very seriously.”

[snip]
But now that the military establishment agrees with President Obama — on everything from civilian trials to Gitmo to torture to service qualifications — the GOP has no qualms about questioning not only the brass’ judgment, but also its honesty.

I leave it to the readers’ imaginations to determine what sort of uproar we might have heard had the Dems pulled shit like this.

Oh, and remember how McCain once said he was “especially guided” by the views of the top military commanders?  Chalk up yet another flip-flop. Apparently, Sen. John “Plane Crasher” McCain knows better than top military officials these days what should be done with those icky gays in uniform.

Don’t miss Susan Collins’ self-immolation.  Talk about your basic burning stupid.

And, finally, don’t tell anyone, but I’m actually siding with a Con against some Dems:

Speaking to Senate Democrats this morning, President Obama singled out the tri-partisan energy bill being crafted by Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.). He praised them for “coming together to try to find a workable, bipartisan structure” for reforming the status quo.
“Don’t give up on that,” Obama urged senators. “I don’t want us to just say the easy way out is for us to just give a bunch of tax credits to clean energy companies. The market works best when it responds to price. And if they start seeing that, you know what, dirty energy is a little pricier, clean energy is a little cheaper, they will innovate, and they will think things through in all kinds of innovative ways.”
The opposition, however, remains diverse, and approving anything will be more difficult thanks to Massachusetts’ recent lapse in judgment. There’s growing talk among center-right Democrats that they kill the tri-partisan energy bill and replace it with a thinner, less meaningful package that ignores caps on greenhouse gas emissions.
It’s hard to believe, but Lindsey Graham’s take on this, criticizing the half-measure, has real merit.

“It’s the ‘kick the can down the road’ approach,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. “It’s putting off to another Congress what really needs to be done comprehensively. I don’t think you’ll ever have energy independence the way I want until you start dealing with carbon pollution and pricing carbon. The two are interconnected.” […]

“If the approach is to try to pass some half-assed energy bill and say that’s moving the ball down the road, forget it with me,” Graham said, adding that the energy-only proposal does not do enough to promote nuclear power and it ignores revenue sharing for states that agree to offshore oil and gas exploration. […]

“We’ve done things on the energy side, we’ve got some buy-in from people on the left and the middle that I never dreamed of,” he said. “I just hope we don’t blow it. And from a Republican point of view, you’ve got the best chance you’ll ever have to get meaningful energy independence. From the Democratic left point of view, you’ve got the best chance you’ll ever have to have carbon pollution controls. Don’t let [the opportunity] pass.”

How does a Dem know when they’ve gotten too conservative?  When Lindsey Fucking Graham is to your left.

So, there’s two sensible moments from the rabid right in a sea of frothing stupidity.  I wish I could believe it’s not a fluke.  Alas, it’s probably just one of those one-in-a-billion chance events, and tomorrow we shall be back to the never-ending dumbfuckery.

Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

Hey, look, kids!  More fresh ideas from the Party of [failed] Ideas!  Yesterday, Privatizing Social Security!  Today, the Bush Energy Policy becomes the Con Energy PolicyViva la difference!

And here are more New Ideas!

Neoconservative scholar-activist Daniel Pipes has a new article on the leading conservative website National Review Online, in which he suggests that President Obama can “save” his presidency…by bombing Iran.

Writing that “Obama’s attempts to ‘reset’ his presidency will likely fail if he focuses on economics, where he is just one of many players,” Pipes claims that the president “needs a dramatic gesture to change the public perception of him… preferably in an arena where the stakes are high, where he can take charge, and where he can trump expectations”:

Such an opportunity does exist: Obama can give orders for the U.S. military to destroy the Iranian nuclear weapon capacity. […]

Just as 9/11 caused voters to forget George W. Bush’s meandering early months, a strike on Iranian facilities would dispatch Obama’s feckless first year down the memory hole and transform the domestic political scene. It would sideline health care, prompt Republicans to work with Democrats, make netroots squeal, independents reconsider, and conservatives swoon.

I think I know what the Neocon slogan is: “There’s a Bomb for That!”  How he thinks yet another war will get Cons on board with the Obama Agenda and make “conservatives swoon” is beyond me.  We could suffer a nuclear attack, and the Cons would still be obstructing utterly everything while Teabaggers howl.  The Yellowstone supervolcano could erupt, destroying 1/3 of the country, and Cons would be trampling each other on the way to proclaiming Dems responsible for the disaster – even if the disaster relief response was picture-perfect.  A little thing like bombing Iran isn’t going to make any Con swoon, no matter what John McCain likes to sing.

Moving on to other Con stupidity… I hate to admit it, but Cons and I are outraged over the same thing: Crotchfire Bomber Abdulmutallab’s Miranda Rights Fiasco.  It’s rare I throw a fit on the same subject as Cons, but here were are.  Only, I’m pissed off because investigators didn’t read the poor penis-igniting dumbfuck his rights before questioning him.  Cons, however, are outraged he got his rights read to him at all.  One problem with that:

And the closer we look at the similarities, the dumber Republican talking points appear.

Republicans may have a hard time keeping up their talking point about how reading Miranda rights to the Christmas Day bomber represented a dangerous new direction under President Barack Obama.

It turns out that that back in December 2001, Richard Reid — the “shoe bomber” — was read or reminded of his Miranda rights four times in two days, beginning five minutes after being taken into custody.

Furthermore, the Bush administration specifically rejected the idea of a military tribunal.

Just six weeks ago, law enforcement officials informed Abdulmutallab of his rights “only after … Abdulmutallab had stopped talking to authorities.” This, according to Republican attack dogs, is outrageous — he shouldn’t have been read his rights at all. The Obama administration, they argue, is treating Abdulmutallab like the criminal he is, rather than the Super Threat that Republicans prefer him to be.
But in 2001, law enforcement officials informed Reid of his rights five minutes after he was taken into custody. And then again two hours later. And then again three hour later.
I know this reality is all terribly inconvenient for Republicans. Facts just keep getting in the way of a perfectly misleading narrative.

And facts get in the way of their pants-pissing terror, but they piss their pants anyway:

But the bed-wetting Richard Cohen takes it to higher levels than almost anyone else:

There is almost nothing the Obama administration does regarding terrorism that makes me feel safer.

Because it’s all about you, isn’t it, Richard?

Whether it is guaranteeing captured terrorists that they will not be waterboarded, reciting terrorists their rights, or the legally meandering and confusing rule that some terrorists will be tried in military tribunals and some in civilian courts, what is missing is a firm recognition that what comes first is not the message sent to America’s critics but the message sent to Americans themselves. When, oh when, will this administration wake up?

What, you mean the concept that we all have equal rights under the law? Yes, I can see where that idea might cause some problems.

Indeed.  And I’m sure that if Obama caved to their pressure and bombed Iran, we’d hear all about how he didn’t bomb it hard enough.

After all, we’re talking about the same group of idiots who think foreigners should be kept out of America – unless we’re talking corporations, in which case they’re great!

You’d think that if there were one Democratic initiative that Republicans in Congress might be bashful about opposing — especially given the current anti-corporate climate in the country — it would be a bid to stop foreign corporations from pouring money into our elections. 
You’d be wrong. In fact, they’re willing to stand up in support of those foreign corporations’ right to do so.

So.  No amnesty for illegals.  No European-style health care.  No international law considered in Supreme Court decisions.  All of those things would destroy America with it’s horrible foreign influence.  But foreign corporations influencing American elections is fine by them.

These idiots never fail to fascinate me.

Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

Hmm.  I step away for a few days, and it seems the stupidity has continued on just fine in my absence.  And nothing will demonstrate just how stupid the Con base has become better than this poll:

A new Daily Kos/Research 2000 poll, conducted among 2,000 self-identified Republican respondents nationwide, gives an interesting peek into the psyche of the minority party’s base.
Kos has not yet released the full numbers, but here’s some early info on the poll that he has posted on his Twitter account:
• 39% of Republicans want President Obama to be impeached.
• 63% think Obama is a socialist.
• Only 42% believe Obama was born in the United States.
[snip]
• 53% think Sarah Palin is more qualified than Obama to be president.
• 23% want to secede from the United States.

And on and on with just the kind of mouth-breathing stupidity we’ve come to expect from the Faux-News watching, Teabagging right-wing masses.  No wonder the people they elect are such dumbshits.

And yes, they really are extraordinary dumbshits:

Last week Mike Pence, the third-ranking Republican in the House, was asked what compromise he would agree to on health care. His answer, word for word, was

Well, look, you know, I was, uh, yeah, yeah, look, uh.

Today Tim Pawlenty has an article in Politico, which is a bit more articulate than that — but as Bruce Bartlett says,

he rants about the deficit without proposing any spending cuts and insisting on still more tax cuts.

Well, look, you know, he was, uh, yeah.
The moral here is that right now the GOP literally has no ideas about how the nation should actually be governed.

Well, actually, Rep. Paul Ryan has ideas.  They’re really bad ideas, destructive ideas, but they’re ideas:

The White House’s 2011 budget is only the second-most interesting budget proposal released recently. First prize goes to Congressman Paul Ryan, the ranking Republican on the House Budget Committee, who’s released a budget proposal that actually erases the massive long-term deficit.
[snip]
As you all know by now, the long-term budget deficit is largely driven by health-care costs. To move us to surpluses, Ryan’s budget proposes reforms that are nothing short of violent. Medicare is privatized. Seniors get a voucher to buy private insurance, and the voucher’s growth is far slower than the expected growth of health-care costs. Medicaid is also privatized. The employer tax exclusion is fully eliminated, replaced by a tax credit that grows more slowly than medical costs. And beyond health care, Social Security moves to a system of private accounts that CBO says will actually cost more than the present arrangement, further underscoring how ancillary the program is to our budget problem.

An important note to understanding how Ryan’s budget saves money: It’s not through privatization, though everything does get privatized. It’s through firm, federal cost controls. The privatization itself actually costs money.

[snip]
The proposal would shift risk from the federal government to seniors themselves. The money seniors would get to buy their own policies would grow more slowly than their health-care costs, and more slowly than their expected Medicare benefits, which means that they’d need to either cut back on how comprehensive their insurance is or how much health-care they purchase. Exacerbating the situation — and this is important — Medicare currently pays providers less and works more efficiently than private insurers, so seniors trying to purchase a plan equivalent to Medicare would pay more for it on the private market. It’s hard, given the constraints of our current debate, to call something “rationing” without being accused of slurring it. But this is rationing, and that’s not a slur. This is the government capping its payments and moderating their growth in such a way that many seniors will not get the care they need. 

This is what they propose when they actually propose specifics: fuck the seniors.  Fuck the poor.  Fuck everyone, in fact, aside from the rich and powerful.

As Ezra goes on to point out, this slash-and-burn proposal is coming from the same gang of fucktards that screamed over minimal cuts to inefficient bits of Medicare in the Dems’ reform bills.  Will Dems be smart enough to pounce on the hypocrisy?  Alas, I cannot hold my breath on that point.  But it needs to be hammered home to the country that the minority party would finish taking their battering ram to everything that makes this country somewhat livable if they get their hands on the reins of power again.

Let’s discuss more Con hypocrisy the Dems should shine a spotlight on, shall we?

For much of the Bush-Cheney era, Republican leaders characterized themselves as more than just allies of the military establishment, but also deferential to the military’s judgment on national security matters. “Listen to the commanders on the ground” became a common adage in GOP circles.
But over the last year or so, it’s become increasingly apparent that it’s President Obama and his team that are aligned with the military establishment, leaving Republicans at odds with the brass they used to revere.
CNN’s John King asked Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) an interesting question yesterday about trying terrorist suspects in criminal courts, as has long been in the norm.

KING: If you ask the White House about this, it highlights — they say it’s not just the president, it’s not just Attorney General Holder, that General David Petraeus says he believes a public trial at a federal courthouse is the best way to do it so that it’s not an al Qaeda recruiting tool.

That Secretary Gates, a holdover from the Bush administration at the Defense Department, also they believes a trial in the federal court system is preferable to a closed trial in the military commission. And that the CIA operatives leading the fight against these guys in Yemen, in Somalia, in Afghanistan and elsewhere, also believe that if you did it in a closed setting in a military commission it would be a powerful recruiting tool.

If General Petraeus, Secretary Gates, and the intelligence leaders say, do it in court, why do you say that’s a bad idea?

MCCONNELL: I simply disagree and so do the American people.

Keep in mind, it wasn’t too terribly long ago that Democratic politicians simply weren’t supposed to say that Petraeus, Gates, and intelligence leaders were wrong about national security matters. Indeed, for Dems to say that they knew better than Petraeus, Gates, and intelligence leaders — that their judgment was superior to military leaders’ — was grounds for mockery, if not condemnation.
And yet, Obama has spent a year following the guidance of military leaders, and Republicans have spent a year breaking with the judgment of the military establishment.
It’s a fascinating dynamic. On everything from civilian trials to Gitmo to torture, we have two distinct groups — GOP leaders, the Cheneys, Limbaugh, and conservative activists on one side; President Obama, Gen. Petraeus, Secretary Gates, Colin Powell, Adm. Mullen, Adm. Blair, and Gen. Jones on the other.

Dems apparently don’t have the stomach for political hardball, which is why Cons get away with this shit, but they have a beautiful opportunity here.  All they need to do is turn GOP tactics against the GOP.  If we’re supposed to listen to the commanders and meekly accede to their every wish on everything else, then we should be meekly acceding to their wishes on DADT, public trials of terrorists, and so much more.  Anything else is treason, cuz the GOP sez so!  Wait – they’re no longer saying that?  Then they’re a lousy lying bunch of motherfucking hypocrites, and don’t deserve another moment’s consideration.  That point needs to be hammered home again and again and again if Dems ever hope to break this cycle.

They also need to point out that Mark Pence is lying his fool head off about supporting the troops.

We also need to realize that when Cons talk about workers’ rights and how unions destroy businesses, what they really mean is that the workers should have the inalienable right to be fucked up the arse by their employers:

House Republicans held a forum last month to slam the Obama administration’s alliance with organized labor, charging, among other things, that government favoritism toward the labor movement was unfairly preventing non-union companies from getting contracts. But GOP lawmakers declined to mention that a key witness at the event, the CEO of a Pennsylvania construction firm, had in fact agreed to be temporarily barred from receiving government contracts after being found to have violated state wage laws by underpaying workers.

Gee, color me surprised.  A Con businessman breaking wage laws and treating his employees like trash?  Whoever could’ve seen that one coming?

Moving on to health care for a moment.  If you’re a gentleman with a good health insurance plan in need of an attractive wife, a woman with a pre-existing condition would like your phone number.  It’s the only way she’s ever going to get insurance if the Dems don’t get off their fucking cowardly asses.

And someone might want to inform the gentleman from Virginia that, while the health care reform bill under consideration isn’t ideal, it certainly has no provisions for the taking of souls.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I’m going to go back to burying myself in my work.  Or possibly watching more chick flicks.  They’re a fuck of a lot less stupid than the Cons in this country.

Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

Time flies when you’re obsessing over a map.  Just ask Efrique how addictive it is.  So do forgive me for making this as short and sharp as possible.

All is not well in the state of Dumbfuckistan.  In fact, there seems to be a revolution brewing, courtesy of Teabagger fave Bachmann and her sidekick King:

The Sioux City Journal reports that Reps. Steve King (R-IA) and Michele Bachmann (R-MN) are teaming up to introduce a “Declaration of Health Care Independence.” “We demand Constitutional protection of the right to make our own health decisions and our own health care choices free of government denials, bureaucratic red tape and greater intergenerational debt,” reads the declaration’s “Preamble.” When Bachmann first floated the idea a couple of weeks ago, King said it “lit up for me.” Bachmann, too, is quite fond of King, floating him as a potential presidential candidate last year. The Hill explains that Bachmann, King, and a few other right-wing congressmen have been meeting privately to collaborate on a plan to revolt against their Party leaders:

Conservative lawmakers, including Reps. Steve King (Iowa), Michele Bachmann (Minn.), Louie Gohmert (Texas) and John Shadegg (Ariz.), have been meeting privately to “foment revolution,” according to a source involved in the discussions. […]

King said the group’s effort is aimed at getting “aggressive” on pushing conservative policy alternatives. […]

One Republican member seeking anonymity explained that the group of rabble-rousers is frustrated not only with the conference leaders but also with the leadership of Republican Study Committee (RSC) Chairman Tom Price (Ga.).

And here is my hope for the future of my country: that the insanity of the Con party rips it apart before they can do any more damage to us.  I feel a wee bit o’ optimism today.

Bonus King idiocy: trying to defend the indefensible.

Meanwhile, governing in a bipartisan fashion is still impossible with this bunch of nitwits.  Case in point:

The Senate voted yesterday on a proposal to create a bipartisan commission on deficit reduction. The effort failed — “only” a 53-member majority supported the idea.
Reasonable people can disagree on whether the commission was a worthwhile idea, but if we put merit aside for a moment, it’s worth noting what yesterday’s vote tells us about Senate Republican attitudes right now.
 
Six GOP senators co-sponsored the legislation to create the commission, and then voted against their own idea. Asked for an explanation, the Republicans said the commission — which was intended to push policymakers to make uncomfortable decisions — might have told them what they didn’t want to hear, and should therefore not exist.

Read the whole thing. It’s an object lesson in the kind of fucktarded thinking that passes for policy positions with these morons.

In dumbfuck Dem news, it turns out Ben Nelson had a knife in hand, ready to plunge into the backs of his caucus:

For any legislator who wants to learn how to drive a bargain, check out this stunning interview Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) conducted with Life Site News.
Now that the Democrats have only 59 votes–insufficient to overcome a filibuster–Nelson is providing an inside look at his legislative strategy. And it’s…remarkable. Nelson famously insisted that, to get his vote, Senate health care legislation would have to include restrictions on abortion financing. Now, however, he says his plan all along was to pull a bait and switch: Wait until the House and Senate met to merge their two bills and then push for yet tougher language.
“[O]nce it went to conference, as part of the conference, there was still another 60 vote threshold, and that is when I would have insisted… for my last 60th vote, it has to have [Stupak-like language],” Nelson said.

Raise your hand if you’re surprised.

Steve Benen thinks he’s full of shit and just trying to polish his Con cred for the conservative voters he hopes to woo.  This is one of those rare times I disagree: I think Nelson absolutely planned to do this, even though he’d lose.  He’s proven time and again just how willing he is to betray his own.  But I have to admit one thing: the Dems really need to sit down with this asshole and learn how negotiation is done.

Moving on to things that aren’t actually stupid or outrageous… I just want to point out something that gets lost in all the GOP noise: Dems aren’t actually losing all their battles:

For instance, in this year of alleged Republican insurgency, the Democrats have actually won three congressional seats. Did you know that? I doubt that most people do.

That’s one message.  Here’s another:

It’s understandable that policymakers would look to statewide elections to get a sense of the public’s mood. Last week, a narrow majority of Massachusetts voters chose a conservative senator, and the political establishment took that to mean the electorate is shifting to the right.
But if those results offered broader lessons about voters’ attitudes, maybe this week’s results in Oregon do, too.

Facing a budget crunch that threatened to close schools early, lay off teachers and slash healthcare benefits, Oregon voters ended two decades of tax scrimping Tuesday by approving higher taxes on corporations and wealthy families.

The two ballot measures passed handily in a referendum watched closely around the country as a signal of whether voters are ready to approve targeted tax hikes to bail out cash-starved state treasuries.

[snip]
One can only assume that Republicans will see these results, notice that usually-tax-averse voters just endorsed tax increases, and interpret Oregon’s vote as “sending a signal” about the kind of economic policies Americans want to see right now.
Or maybe not.

Considering it crimps their narrative, I’m plumping for not.  But it’s a fact we should be shouting far, wide and loud.  Americans may not be thrilled with Dems just now, but that doesn’t mean they’ve suddenly all turned Teabagger.  Important thing to remember.

And, finally, a link from Ezra Klein I found fascinating: “A lot of liberals in Congress seem to have bought into the odd premise that the benefits that they receive would somehow be a step down for the rest of the country.”

It’s just too damned bad we didn’t tie health care reform to Congress’ own health care plans.  If they’d been forced to switch to what they give us, and if their failure meant they’d lose their own insurance, we’d probably be on single payer right at this minute.

Something to keep in mind next time we’re looking to improve our standard of living.

Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

Someone opened the floodgates of stupidity today.  And it looks like the reservoir was full.  Hope everybody has flood insurance.

We begin with intrepid faux-investigator and sometime fake pimp James O’Keefe, who’s decided that hidden camera operations aren’t half as fun as trying to tap Congresspersons’ telephones:

James O’Keefe, the young conservative filmmaker who was behind the undercover operations that led to the ACORN scandal last year, was arrested with three others for allegedly trying to bug the New Orleans office of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) yesterday.
The FBI announced today the foursome have been charged with entering federal property under false pretenses for the purpose of committing a felony.
The affidavit alleges that the botched phone bugging began with two of the four men — Joseph Basel and Robert Flanagan, both 24 — entering Landrieu’s office in downtown New Orleans in Village People-style construction worker garb, claiming they were telephone repairmen.

I hope they enjoy those federal felony charges, there.  At least they’ve got Faux News coming to their defense. There truly aren’t any depths of stupidity that Faux News won’t dive in to, are there?

Speaking of Faux News and depths, there’s no limit to how low they will go:

Well, you’d think Bill O’Reilly would at least be a little embarrassed that Fox News Channel was the only news entity on cable TV not to broadcast last week’s “Hope for Haiti” concert.
But no. Instead of apologizing or even mentioning some kind of lame excuse why Fox didn’t air it, on his show last night O’Reilly actually went on the warpath against the benefit and its organizers, demanding “transparency” and a full accounting of where all the money’s going.
What really got his dander up? The benefit’s organizers “wouldn’t or couldn’t” provide a spokesman to come on his show and explain himself.

Awww, poor Billy.  He got his widdle feelings hurt by people who had better fucking things to do than stroke his ego.  Things like, y’know, concentrate on the folks who need help, and the folks who are willing to help them.

In upcoming election stupidity, McCain challenger J.D. Hayworth butters up the birthers by pretending the President never presented a certified birth certificate.  I particularly like his shout-out to sports fans, there, saying that football players have to pony up, so why not the Prez?  Alas for that argument, I’m relatively positive that high schools, colleges, and the NFL consider Hawaii’s official short form certificate adequate proof of birth.  And Hayworth might possibly be bright enough to realize this, but he’s got to play to the frothing inane portion of the Con base, and so we get even abjecter stupidity than we usually hear from this dumbshit.

Bonus fuckwittery in the AZ election: Teabaggers are furious at their darling Sarah Palin for supporting McCain.  Somebody pop us some popcorn – this is bound to be entertaining.

Turning now to Indiana, Sen. Evan Bayh’s challenger had some fascinating fanaticism on display:

Richard Behney, an Indiana Tea Party activist and candidate for the Republican nomination for Senate against Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh, made a striking pronouncement at a meeting late last year of the “Evansville 2nd Amendment Patriots”: That if new people don’t get elected to Congress in 2010, he’ll be getting out his guns to face down the American government.
“That’s the beauty of this, folks. We can do it before it gets to guns,” said Behney, in praise of the electoral process. “All right, our founders brought out the guns. When they showed up at Lexington and Concord, regular folks, farm boys, doctors, merchant men, and they said you ain’t taking our stuff. They stood up to the most powerful army in the world, and they bought our freedom, literally with their blood. And we don’t have to do that yet.
“I believe personally, we’re at a crossroads. We have one last opportunity. And I believe 2010 is it. All right? And we can do it with our vote. And we can get new faces in, whether it’s my face or not, I pray to God that I see new faces. And if we don’t see new faces, I’m cleaning my guns and getting ready for the big show. And I’m serious about that, and I bet you are, too. But I know none of us want to go that far yet, and we can do it with our vote.”

Shorter Behney: “Elect me or I’ll shoot.”  There’s a bumper sticker slogan for ye.  All I can say is, if this freak gets enough freaks and fucktards to the polls to elect him, I’m fetching my mother from Indiana and installing her here.  She deserves better representation than this violent little fuck.  And I never thought I’d say this, but: “Mom, if it comes down to a choice between Bayh and this asshat, vote for Bayh.”

Crikey.

I wonder if he passes the GOP’s proposed purity test?  One thing’s for sure: as nuts as Scott Brown is, he isn’t quite nuts enough.

And, in health care stupidity, the House Dems are ready to make a move as soon as the Senate assures them the most fucked-up bits of the Senate bill will be fixed via reconciliation.  The former kings and queens of the Senate are screaming bloody murder, but as Greg Sargent points out, “Because it only needs a majority, what those three have to say about it doesn’t really matter!”  This gave me one of the warmest, fuzziest feelings I’ve had in a long time.

Of course, Cons have already declared open war:

The GOP Senate leadership has privately settled on a strategy to derail health reform if Dems try to pass the Senate bill with a fix through reconciliation, aides say: Unleash an endless stream of amendments designed to stall for time and to force Dems to take untenable votes.

The aide described the planned GOP strategy as a “free for all of amendments,” vowing Dems would face “a mountain of amendments so politically toxic they’ll make the first health debate look like a post office naming.”

To which a former Senate parliamentarian sez their strategy is “patently absurd:”

But at least one former Senate parliamentarian is calling the strategy “patently absurd.” According to Robert Dove, who served as Senate parliamentarian until 2001, “In the Senate, the motion to go to that [reconciliation] bill is not debatable, and the bill itself is only debatable for 20 hours. All amendments must be germane.” “If there are differences between the two houses in their reconciliation bills, then you would either work out those differences through a conference, or through amendments as they bounce back and forth,” Dove told Lester Feder, who has been covering health care policy for The Nation and the O’Neill institute’s health law blog.
Dove also revealed that Vice President Joe Biden, not the Senate parliamentarian, is “the ultimate decider” of “what can stay in under the rules“:

But no vice president has tried to play that role in reconciliation. We haven’t had vice presidents that have tried to play important procedural roles for a very long time. The last one was Nelson Rockefeller, in 1975, and before him Hubert Humphrey, in the 1960’s. But no vice president has ever tried to play a role in reconciliation. Basically, since Walter Mondale was vice president, they have kind of been co-opted by the president and given an office down in the West Wing. Their interest in playing Senate politics has become attenuated. That has left the Senate parliamentarian in an extremely powerful position.

In this case, at least, as long as the Dems don’t snatch defeat from the jaws of victory once again, it looks like the Cons can huff and puff all they want, but only until they take a punch to the solar plexus from ye olde rules.

And Tom Udall has joined the anti-filibuster crusade.  Even if it goes nowhere, it still shines a spotlight on some rather unprecedented abuse by Senate Cons, and might make a few otherwise clueless voters realize why we used to hear of legislation passing with less than 60 votes.

Looks like pollyticks is getting fun again, my darlings.  Stay tuned.