Does Olympia Snowe really want to be the target of waves of anonymous attack ads in support of some conservative primary challenger? Wouldn’t a retiring George Voinovich prefer to leave some shards of our democracy off-limits to being sold to the highest bidder? Could John McCain remember why McCain-Feingold was once of his proudest legacies and acknowledge how profoundly the Supreme Court’s Citizen’s United decision damaged everything he was trying to do to safeguard American democracy?
Tag: Tea Party
Nov 19 2010
I posted the following in an open thread, over at KOS, last night, it’s a local report about another hypocritical grifter trying, apparently, to get on that gravy train of the rush, beck, palin types. He’s either not succeeding or he’s lyin, which would be typical and going along with the grifter con, hitting the easy marks and reaping that wealth.
I’ll add a few more lines to what I posted, why?, well it’s still getting local play, caught it this morning, and this guy apparently needs more press exposure. My duty to help him out so he can make more ‘grifting’.
Nov 17 2010
The celebrity gossip website TMZ has published an immature tirade/flame war involving two of Sarah Palin’s daughters, Willow and Bristol. In it, both Palin daughters frequently exchange profanities with other posters and Willow, aged 14, uses a homophobic slur. This exchange, carried on over Facebook, was in response to a poster’s criticism of their mother’s new TLC show. The whole story would be little more than the softest of soft news, unless their mother had not set herself up to be the eventual leader of the party which claims sole rights over morality. There is a certain gotcha, gutter journalism quality to this story, in keeping with many Palin revelations, but it also fits well within the canon of what we already know about their mother.
Nov 12 2010
Happy Friday from the Obama Administration:
The U.S. Supreme Court refused on Friday to pause enforcement of the military’s ban on openly gay and lesbian service members while that policy faces a legal challenge.
The high court sided against the Log Cabin Republicans, a GOP gay rights group, that had asked that discharges of gay and lesbian members of the armed forces under military’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy be suspended.
The Supreme Court of the United States sided with Eric Holder’s Department of Justice and the Obama White House, and against the Log Cabin Republicans, letting the military’s unpopular and discriminatory Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy stay in place while it is undergoing a legal challenge that is trundling through the Federal appeals process, after Judge Virgina A. Phillips of the Central District of CA ruled that DADT was unconstitutional on September 9, 2010.
On October 12th, Judge Phillips issued an injunction to suspend DADT and
(3) Orders Defendants United States of America and the Secretary of Defense immediately to suspend and discontinue any investigation, or discharge, separation, or other proceeding, that may have commenced under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Act, or pursuant to 10 U.S.C. 654 or its implementing regulations, on or prior to the date of this judgement.
That is where and when the Obama administration could have let the thing die, but, oh no, they have to go on appealing and defending it. On October 14, the DOJ under Eric Holder appealed with a request for an emergency stay on Judge Phillip’s injunction, and on November 1 the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals stayed it, pending appeal to the Supreme Court.
The policy change is currently stuck in the Fiscal Year 2011 Defense spending appropriations bill, and Senator John McCain of Arizona successfully filibustered it on September 21st. His wife Cindy McCain, and her daughter Meghan, are doing their usual good- cop Republican routine and calling for the policy to end. His 2008 Vice Presidential running mate is busy planning a book tour and promoting her new reality TV show on her twitter account. The first stop on the book tour is in …. Phoenix, AZ. A leaked draft of Gate’s review of DADT has shown that the report says repeal would not be detrimental to the military.
Some 70% of troops surveyed said the effects of repealing the ban would be positive, mixed or nonexistent, the paper said, citing a Pentagon report.
According to the newspaper, (the WAPO) which spoke to people who had read the unreleased 370-page study, the survey results have led the report’s authors to conclude that objections to openly gay colleagues would drop once troops were able to live and serve alongside them.
However, a significant minority opposes serving alongside openly gay troops, with opposition apparently strongest in the Marine Corps.
Currently the Marines have fewer active personnel (14%) than any other branch of the military except for the Coast Guard.
Nicholson’s response from Servicemembers United
“These results confirm what those of us who actually know the modern military, especially the rank and file troops, have said all along. The men and women of America’s armed forces are professionals who are capable of handling this policy change,” said Alexander Nicholson, Executive Director of Servicemembers United and a former U.S. Army Human Intelligence Collector who was discharged under the law in 2002. “In light of these findings, as well as the Secretary of Defense’s recent call for Senate action on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ during the lame duck session, there is no longer any excuse for failing to bring the defense authorization bill back up during the first week of the post-election legislative session.”
Since the Democratic Party took the House of Representatives in 2006, there have been over 2,000 discharges of servicemembers under the discriminatory DADT policy. Since the Clinton administration, there have been over 13,000. The Democrats now have a short window of time in a lame duck session to accomplish anything, before they can kiss their supermajorities goodbye. One of the political fatalities of the last election was Representative Patrick Murphy of PA, who introduced the amendment repealing DADT into the bill. In an interview, the President asked for assistance from the Log Cabin Republicans to get more Republican votes to get the bill changing the policy through the Senate (before the Nov 2, 2010 election). Secretary of Defense Robert Gate’s military review report on DADT is “due” out officially now on December 1st. The lame duck session will begin next week.
Apparently there is an (unspoken) assumption being made, that if a conservative, Republican dominated Senate passes something the Supreme Court will not rule to over turn the law or declare it unconstitutional later.
Nov 10 2010
I think a defining moment of the Tea Party movement happened when Glen Beck decided to take on Teddy Roosevelt. The quote that Beck focused on for his wrath was this: “We grudge no man a fortune in civil life if it is honorably obtained and well used.”
In Beck’s eyes, and in the eyes of the Tea Party followers, T.R. was speaking about some sort of “socialist utopia”. Apparently real men defend wealth that is dishonorably obtained and then wasted. It’s sort of like defending the right to commit evil. It’s really a hard sell for anyone outside of the cult.
I don’t use the term cult lightly. The demonization of the word “socialism” (plus the obvious lack of understanding of what the word actually means) and the strict adherence to all things “free market”, not to mention the hyper-patriotic war-mongering, is a throw-back to the Cult of Reagan.
These people are still fighting the Cold War. This also explains the average age of Tea Party members.
Nov 08 2010
In recent days, I have recognized yet again that some people crave surety and certainty. They believe in, and seem to need a definite answer phrased in absolute terms. Beyond the biological and even theological implications of this system is the reality. Rational sense alone has frequently been disregarded for stubborn need. Thought it may not be our role to pass judgment, lest we be judged in kind, we eagerly take it in any case. When we are not the best stewards of our own perspective, the nastiness of our ideological allegiance reinforces our separation.
Nov 01 2010
2010 has been granted the dubious honor as the year of the angry voter. Unfortunately, far too much of that anger has been bolstered by means of a religious appeal. Tea Party members, for example, have been quick to justify what they believe by using pseudo-intellectual, reductionist conceptions of Christianity. A quick survey of signs held aloft at rallies will find many who display pure hatred, then cite a verse of Scripture at the bottom. One sees this also at anti-abortion rallies or those challenging same-sex marriage rights. A God which always agrees with us no matter what the issue or the circumstance is not God at all. Christianity may find more of an audience among conservatives, but the gross distortions of many continue to damage its reputation.
Oct 30 2010
This comment by Angle, caught it last night on CBS and my head nearly exploded, shows Exactly what she thinks? about the Soldiers we’re sending into these occupations and their families at home waiting, which in turn shows what she, and (R)’s, especially this phony TEA party, think? about us Veterans, All Veterans, as well as National Security!!!!!
Oct 28 2010
“Obama conducts first sit down with “progressive” bloggers ”
The invitees fall more under the rubric of ideological or issue-oriented activists as opposed to online reporters, though the names are familiar to most political junkies. An administration official confirmed that Joe Subday of AMERICABlog; Duncan Black (“Atrios”), who runs the site Eschaton; Barbara Morrill, who writes for the DailyKos; Jon Amato, who edits Crooks and Liars; and Oliver Willis, who runs an eponymous site, spoke with the president on Wednesday.
Calling the mistress of the ugog MF banhammer trolls who routinely rid the site of anything not uber right wing a ‘progressive blogger’ is like calling a shark a vegan guppie kitten kisser.
Of her last eight diaries, 7 were about the Rand Paul headstomping incident and one about the latest Jerry Brown ad. Before that set, ones on AZ sherrif tweets about Sarah Palin, and Juan Williams getting fired and going to Fox. DADT. One on Joe Miller. Joe Miller. Joe Miller. Joe Miller. Sharron Angle. Christine O Donnell. Tea Party. Christine O Donnell.
At least 16 Tea Party Is Bad diaries in the last 22 days (others were open threads and news roundups)
Joe Miller, Christine O’Donnell, Sharron Angle are all being financially supported by the same King Media/Russo Marsh Rogers/Move America Forward/Our Country Deserves Better/Tea Party Express PAC and Republican PR firm (that is also registered as a foreign lobby for Northern Iraq, and that also has done extensive Pentagon media work during the Iraq War) that supported Sarah Palin and Tom McClintock (R, chickenhawk) in 2008 and John Doolittle (R, Abramoff Scandal) in 2006. This PAC has changed their name and filing techniques, so the swiftboating expenditures they did before Oct 2008 on behalf of McClintock and Doolittle do NOT show up under their current FEC name but were made as general payments to Russo Marsh. Here’s their first 2008 filing under the new name, which has a payment to Bryan Barton who made the anti Democratic candidate videos for Tom McClintock http://query.nictusa.com/cgi-b…
I just checked their independent expenditures and they appear not to be funding the Rand Paul Kentucky thing but certainly Paul associates himself with Tea Party.
So I imagine the “outreach” went something like this. Say, could y’all start ramping it up some more on how bad the Tea Party and the Republicans are ? Big Scary. Other issues way too complex. Don’t mention where money comes from. Do NOT mention Blue Dogs, DOD, or Foreign Interests. Do not mention Wars, Torture, Drones, Pentagon Budget having Domestic Narco Surveillance Money, 50 million Americans without Health insurance, Economy, Energy or Foreign Policy, Foreclosures or the Unemployed and Homeless. Do not mention that Greek woman named Arianna. Do not mention any Senators from Connecticut, ever. Kthnxbai !
Other lead blog stories right now on:
Oliver Willis. Rand Paul headstomper story, calls Ari Fleischer a liar.
Crooks and Liars.(Amato) Rand Paul headstomper story. Teabaggers.
Eschaton. (Black) Said he was optimistic about November on Tuesday. Aie yi yi. Latest post is on walkable neighborhoods.
John Aravosis at Americablog. had a TeaParty Rand headstomper story and Obama meets 5 top progressive bloggers at White House, including Joe Sudbay of AMERICAblog includes photo and write up of meeting.
The invitations were extended late last week, and the meeting was to be a Q&A with the President for 45 minutes, followed by 15 minutes with presidential adviser David Axelrod. No recordings are permitted, but the White House will release a transcript of the discussion after it is finished.
It will also be the first time that President Obama has sat down and taken questions from a member of the gay media, Joe Sudbay, who is representing both AMERICAblog and AMERICAblog Gay.
You know, when I watch somebody like Rachel Maddow, I don’t think of her as the “gay” media but somebody who just brilliant at interviewing, but I don’t in my mind have to make her over into “straight” media, either. She just is what she is.
comment under post at AmericaBlog:
….The administration has spent months trashing progressive bloggers as well as those who read and support them. One afternoon, mere days before the election, smacks of desperation. Like they suddenly realized they did something wrong and have to quickly try to unburn a couple bridges.
Here’s the verbal writeup from Aravosis. Go read. But here’s the summary.
Finally, Joe asked the President if he has a strategy for passing the DADT compromise legislation during the lame duck session in Congress. The President did make some news here, by telling Joe that he asked the Log Cabin Republicans in a meeting at the White House yesterday to get him 2 to 5 votes. The President seemed to think that Joe could help persuade Log Cabin to help. Joe told the President that he didn’t have sway with those people.
“Those” people ?
Well, hell, they are Republicans. Try the Bipartisanshipthingee.
“once like a movie write your own ending keep believing keep pretending we done just what we set out to do….”
Thurs am update: Full transcript of this “outreach” can be found here . It is not possible to tell easily who was asking what question on all of them
Summary. The guy still thinks he needs 60 votes to do anything.
I don’t think that this person in the WH Oval Office really has a core commitment to anything other than saving his own hide for the next 2 years, and he’s already been practicing mouthing Republican catch phrases for months in preparation. I think at this point it is time to stop calling him the “leader” of the Democratic Party. Somebody else needs to act as a spokesperson when they have a top elected official sabotaging the ticket that much and trying to get more of the other party elected. Apparently he also wants the supposedly left blogs (hah ) to acknowledge their lack of actual relevance, and diss him to give him credibility with the MSM. If anyone would want to accuse me of hyperpartisanship I would be more than willing to debate several of the Republican talking points he used in this interview, and tell the country that we do not need any more excuses from either the WH or the Senate as to why this country MUST constantly seek to appease privatization extremists and Corporations in the MIC who do NOT want things to become better.
Fri Afternoon 10/29/10 update
The “progressive” blogger whom I characterized as a shark masquerading as a guppie kitten kisser has not posted anything on her homebase website since the White House experience other than the WH transcript of the meeting, and a few comments on it. She has since stated in a comment that the questions she asked were on raising the retirement age and the one which started “I want to go back with working with Republicans…. ”
This would be these questions, which were actually very good:
Q – I want to go back to the idea of working with Republicans. And given the comments from McConnell and — well, all of them — I think that what a lot of people find frustrating is that our side compromises and continues to compromise just to get that one Republican on. We’re going to get one of the Maine twins — whatever. And it doesn’t happen, and then by the time health care or whatever goes through we’ve compromised; we still don’t get any Republicans.
I don’t anticipate this changing in the next two years. I think it’s going to get worse. How are you going to get Democrats to understand that compromise means the other side has to give something sometimes, one day?
THE PRESIDENT: Look, obviously I share your frustrations. I’ve got to deal with this every day.
Q Well, I don’t expect you to talk like a blogger. (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: But I guess I’d make two points. The first is, I’m President and not king. And so I’ve got to get a majority in the House and I’ve got to get 60 votes in the Senate to move any legislative initiative forward.
Now, during the course — the 21 months of my presidency so far, I think we had 60 votes in the Senate for seven months, six? I mean, it was after Franken finally got seated and Arlen had flipped, but before Scott Brown won in Massachusetts. So that’s a fairly narrow window. So we’re right at the number, and that presumes that there is uniformity within the Democratic caucus in the Senate — which, Barbara, you’ve been around a while. You know that not every Democrat in the Democratic caucus agrees with me or agrees with each other in terms of complicated issues like health care.
So it is important for me, then, to work every angle I can to get as much done as I can. If we had a parliamentary system, then this critique would make sense to me because you do as much as you can to negotiate with the other side, but at a certain point you’ve got your platform and you move it forward and your party votes for it.
But that’s not the system of government we have. We’ve got a different system. I will say that the damage that the filibuster I think has done to the workings of our democracy are at this point pretty profound. The rate at which it’s used just to delay and obstruct is unprecedented. But that’s the reality right now.
So I guess my answer is that there has not been, I think, any issue that we’ve worked in which I have been willing to sign on to a compromise that I didn’t feel was a strong improvement over the status quo and was not the best that we could do, given the political alignments that we’ve got.
And, yes, it leaves some folks dissatisfied. I understand that. But let’s take the health care bill. As frustrated and angry and dispirited as the base might have been — we didn’t have a public option, and it just dragged on for such a long time, and you’re having conversations with Grassley, even though it turns out Grassley has no interest in actually getting something done — all the complaints which I was obviously very familiar with, the fact of the matter is, is that we got a piece of legislation through that we’ve been waiting a hundred years to get through; that in the aggregate sets up a system in which 30 million people are going to get health insurance; in which we’ve got an exchange that forces insurance companies to compete with a pool of millions and will be policed so that they can’t jack up prices; that pool has purchasing power that they’ve never had before; that you’ve got a patient’s bill of rights that was the hallmark, sort of the high-water mark of what progressives thought we could do in the health care field — we got that whole thing basically just as part of the bill.
You’ve got investments in community health centers and preventive medicine and research that’s going to help improve our health care delivery systems as a whole. And we can build on that.
And I know this analogy has been used before, but when Social Security was passed, it was for widows and orphans. And a whole bunch of folks were not included in it. But that building block, the foundation stone, ended up creating one of the most important safety nets that we have. And I think the same thing is going to happen with health care.
…… (the answer continues to ramble on to include financial reform and finally the stimulus. note this: )
And I’ll give you one last example because I know this is a famous example in the blogosphere, is the stimulus. I mean, if folks think that we could have gotten Ben Nelson, Arlen Specter and Susan Collins to vote for additional stimulus beyond the $700 billion that we got, then I would just suggest you weren’t in the meetings.
This notion that somehow I could have gone and made the case around the country for a far bigger stimulus because of the magnitude of the crisis, well, we understood the magnitude of the crisis. We didn’t actually, I think, do what Franklin Delano Roosevelt did, which was basically wait for six months until the thing had gotten so bad that it became an easier sell politically because we thought that was irresponsible. We had to act quickly.
They never filibustered. They merely threatened to, and the Democrats folded meekly.
Here is the sorry spectacle of the President trying to set the conditions of what reality he can operate under, the Majority Party Caucus declaring that they need a supermajority of 60 to pass any legislation. the 3/5’s rule, we should start to call it, and then saying he cannot depend on his own caucus so he has to go to the other side. But he did have that 60 vote majority for half a year. We already know that the President decided to have secret meetings with lobbyists like Billy Tauzin at the WH right at the very beginning of his Presidency, and that is when the Public Option was secretly ditched. We know the House under Speaker Pelosi passed their version of the Bill on time and with a Public Option. We know the President let the Senate dither away stalling for months all summer. And he finally got the health care bill he wanted – one with no Public Option.
Said bill which much of the general public hates, because most of it isn’t implemented yet, did not change a single thing for them, and let private contractors, aka private insurance, get the promise of being able to feed off of more Medicaid in the future, but it let the insurers continue to jack rates up. It will, by the numbers, barely cover half the uninsured someday in the future if the Republicans don’t destroy it, the rest have still been thrown to the wolves. The reality is embarrassing.
If Ben Nelson is such an incredible impediment to ever getting any sort of legislation passed in the Senate, there is a simple solution – throw his sorry butt out. Nebraska is low in population. There is no reason I can see to let people who are never going to vote with the party on major issues continue to caucus with said party. They’ve already tried this with Sen. Lieberman and it never works- it backfires. Notice how he never mentions Lieberman and his wife who sits on so many boards who pay her a nice fee. He never mentions Blanche Lincoln, whom he endorsed and campaigned for after she went on point against that Public Option. Nor Kent Conrad, another in what Glenn Greenwald aptly named the Village Villain Rotation.
Regarding the stimulus bill, look who he tries to blame again – Ben “Mutual of Omaha” Nelson, Arlen Specter who has changed parties again, another Republican, Susan Collins, plus Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s irresponsibility.
How does a person who has relied on charisma to get elected, now criticize populism and direct appeals for public pressure with a straight face ?
They can’t. It’s an excuse, again. He got what he wanted.
The other question, and look at the ridiculous answer:
Q Mine is an easy question. Will you rule out raising the retirement age to 70?
THE PRESIDENT: We are awaiting a report from the deficit commission, or deficit reduction commission, so I have been adamant about not prejudging their work until we get it.
But I think you can look at the statements that I’ve made in the past, including when I was campaigning for the presidency, that Social Security is something that can be fixed with some modest modifications that don’t impose hardships on beneficiaries who are counting on it.
And so the example that I used during the campaign was an increase in the payroll tax, not an increase — let me scratch that. Not an increase in the payroll tax but an increase in the income level at which it is excluded.
And so what I’ve been clear about is, is that I’ve got a set of preferences, but I want the commission to go ahead and do its work. When it issues its report, I’m not automatically going to assume that it’s the right way to do things. I’ll study it and examine it and see what makes sense.
But I’ve said in the past, I’ll say here now, it doesn’t strike me that a steep hike in the retirement age is in fact the best way to fix Social Security.
No, we cannot look at statements you made in the past, unless you wish us to presume that you are going to ignore them now that you are elected, that you were lying, or at least you were persuadable to being lobbyied, and that you now have all the possible scenarios on the table. Because that is the historical precedent we have seen so far with many campaign promises the President made — they were just that, words. And the President has a set of preferences, but he certainly isn’t going to share them with anybody.
A “Steep hike” may not be striking him as the best way, but a less steep hike in the retirement age is implied to be on his table.
Currently the retirement age in the US is 62/66 for reduced to full Social Security benefits.
He could have just said “no,” and have been done with it.
I don’t believe that one could write up such an experience with those sorts of answers with the timing being right before the election and not have rather the opposite impact of what you intended, if you were intending to want to motivate voters to actually vote for the incumbent Party in office.
Changing the filibuster rules to give themselves a smaller, simpler Senate majority, would mean the responsibility for passing lousy legislation or not bothering to pass it at all, would fall squarely on the shoulders of the Democratic Party with that majority in this instance. With a much tighter Senate coming up, and a possible loss in the House looming, the President in the next term will now have his perfect, built in excuse.
No wonder the front pagers at that blog all switched over to writing Get Out The Vote pieces afterwards.
Oct 22 2010
As long as we don’t take it too seriously ranting may be all we have left as a productive political activity. Sure, organizing and all that is a good thing–but on what basis? On the left, where most of us here live, there is no solid intellectual framework for us to rest. In America Marxism never took hold though it provides us with an excellent frame of analysis of our current system but it isn’t the only one. I prefer our native pragmatism which can step outside of systems and allow the “data” to guide us to see patterns. Marxism is useful to orient us but I don’t think it offers, as a general intellectual framework, a system that works for the current environment. Still, I consider Marxists the most valuable contributors to the project of the left. Certainly the time for liberalism is over because reform, in all foreseeable political arrangements is now impossible.
On this the day of the full-moon I urge that we howl at the Moon and rant. Ranting is a way to find out what we really think un-censored from the super-ego which in this country is fraying anyway and won’t last too much longer. We need to touch the truth and to touch it we need to find an authentic place in each of us. We need a new dispensation and that will only be made clear by a process of de-programming ourselves from the current discourse.
Let me be provocative here. I think the time to say “it isn’t fair” is over. It’s time to stop with careful analysis of the political situation when we lack a strong framework. The criticism from the American left always comes down to some moral complaint–that the rulers are, in some way, immoral. Really? I think that’s a pointless and bootless complaint. The problem is in the system that has emerged, not in the people that run it. The system has been constructed to meet a need on the part of the oligarchs to bring stability to their power-positions (not only them personally but their families as well) on the one hand–and on the other hand the need of the vast majority of the American people to take away their responsibilities as citizens because to try and understand the world around them without a solid framework of certainties is simply too painful–thus they want to be assured that they are indeed brave and virtuous when really they are, increasingly (by historical standards) quite the opposite because their focus in life is to have their job and their cable-TV where they can live in fantasies. Most people want to live in fantasies because reality is, to most of us (myself included), almost incomprehensible. This is enforced by a system of laws, cultural practices, structures like “security” (which reflect a profound collective cowardice) which gradually are eliminating any semblance of freedom as envisaged by the Founders. In short, to put it bluntly, we have to face the fact that the majority of the American people (in my view) consciously or unconsciously want to be in chains–it is the only conclusion that I can reached based on the data in front of me.
The only answer I have is to rant.
Oct 17 2010
Raese says Minimum Wage is Unconstitutional
by Alison Knezevich, The Charleston Gazette — Oct 14, 2010
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Republican candidate for U.S. Senate John Raese doesn’t just want to abolish the minimum wage. He also calls it possibly unconstitutional.
Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin’s campaign seized on Raese’s remarks as a sign that Raese, a multimillionaire, is out of touch with West Virginians.
West Virginia is one of the nation’s poorest and oldest states. Nearly 18 percent of West Virginians live in poverty, compared to 14 percent of Americans, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Rachel Maddow has some sage advice, on how to turn “out of touch” rhetoric like this, into Electoral Gold …