McConnell Is Baaaaack… And It’s Your Fault.

Mitch McConnell’s strategy of blaming everything that’s wrong in the world on Barack Obama has been wildly effective.

Now That’s Leadership

It’s as if GOP icon Ronald Reagan had, after firing the air traffic controllers, replaced them with the inmates of Ken Kesey’s Cuckoo’s Nest and Christopher Lloyd’s Dream Team.

A House Built On Sandy

breezy-pointBreezy Point, Queens, after Superstorm Sandy blew through.

With urgently needed relief for the victims of Superstorm Sandy ignored for over two months by the Rethug led 112th House of Representatives , the 113th sworn in this week managed to pass just $9.7 billion of the $60 billion the Democrat led Senate had already approved, with 67 Rethugs voting no.

In contrast, $62 billion worth of relief for Hurricane Katrina was signed into law within 4 days from the time it first made landfall. Even so, it took a firestorm of protest from such conservative stalwarts as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Rep. Steve King (R-NY)  to force a vote. King went so far as to threaten switching parties if Speaker John Boehner didn’t immediately put it on the floor. Da Boner has promised to schedule a supplemental authorization  by Jan 15.

So, what’s been the holdup? A combination of resistance from the likes of David Koch‘s American For Progress, who object to the whole notion of the social compact and the costs of being our brother’s keeper when the need arises;  and a hypocritical regional, red state  prejudice against the liberal Northeast. Lee Fang from The Nation explains the Koch connection:

Billionaire David Koch’s prime political organization, Americans for Prosperity (AFP), having failed in its $125 million quest to oust President Barack Obama, is now aiming at a slightly less sophisticated political target: victims of Hurricane Sandy. Hurricane Sandy was the second most costly in American history, leaving 100 lives lost, over $50 billion in devastation and tens of thousands of damaged or destroyed homes. Legislative efforts to help those who survived Hurricane Sandy’s wrath will reach a major stumbling block.

Earlier this week, AFP, which is chaired by Koch and believed to be financed by several other plutocrats from the New York City region, released a letter warning members of Congress not to vote for the proposed federal aid package for victims of the storm that swept New Jersey, New York City and much of the surrounding area in October. An announcement on the group’s website says that the vote next week for the Sandy aid package will be a “key vote”—meaning senators who support sending money for reconstruction could face an avalanche of attack ads in their next election. Already, opposition to the bill is growing, although it passed one procedural hurdle last night. There is some legitimate criticism with aspects of the legislation, including the fact that some of the money will go to non-Sandy related reconstruction efforts in disaster areas.

For AFP, however, the whole bill must die and victims of the storm deserve no help from the government. Koch’s top deputy in New Jersey, a surly gentleman named Steve Lonegan, who heads the local AFP state chapter, called the aid package a “disgrace.” “This is not a federal government responsibility,” Lonegan told reporters. “We need to suck it up and be responsible for taking care of ourselves.”

Easy to say when the guy who signs your paycheck is worth over $30 billion. Crooks and Liars addresses the redneck issue:

Rep. Rush Holt came to the floor and said what many are thinking: They dropped the ball because the disaster happened in a blue state. He’s not the only one to think so:

Jamil Smith@JamilSmith Wonder if the House would adjourn without even voting on Hurricane #Sandy relief if it had hit red states the hardest. Having my doubts.

This could possibly be the most despicable non-act of Congress ever. Howie Klein has more on one of the tea party idiots in New Jersey who is probably dancing a jig right now:

Among the Koch whores in the House GOP threatening to disrupt the aid are right-wing hacks in New York (like Staten Island’s corrupt Mafia-related Michael “Mikey Suits” Grimm) and New Jersey’s worst extremist ideologue Scott Garrett. Long Island Congressman Peter King, chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, which has been handling the bill, is worried that if the money doesn’t get approved while he’s still chair, Texas hate-monger Michael McCaul— the richest member of the House and an anti-tax fanatic— will kill it. Many Republicans still fighting the Civil War look at this as an opportunity to deal a painful blow to the hated Northerners.

Which would be a fitting postscript to the movie Lincoln. And tying the two objections together, Fang continues:

It seems particularly cruel that the Koch political machine would use its vast network of paid activists and professional operatives to kill this bill. For one thing, this is David Koch’s community. From his Upper East Side apartment, Koch lives only a subway ride away from the devastation in Red Hook. Notably, Koch’s group gave away free gasoline during the election in a wide-scale anti-Obama stunt, yet  had nothing to give to the victims of the storm. Now, Koch, one of the richest men in the world, is actually trying to take something away from them.


The other tragedy of Koch’s decision to target Sandy aid is that his company is one reason we will increasingly face extreme weather events like hurricanes, flash floods, droughts and fierce storms. The Koch brothers, David and Charles, sit atop one of the world’s largest privately held conglomerates. Koch Industries is a sprawling company with interests in commodity speculation, timber, oil refining, ethanol production, chemicals, pipelines, consumer products, and fertilizer, among others. The Koch empire, by one estimate, has an annual carbon footprint of 100 million tons. Not only does Koch’s business contribute to climate change through massive carbon emissions, as Greenpeace reported, Koch is the largest financier of climate denial political organizations and media groups. (As an aside, unlike AFP, Greenpeace ignored partisan politics and sent many of its workers to Queens to assist with relief efforts.)

And lest we forget, during the primary debates Willard called for the elimination and privitization of FEMA:

In sum, Willard argues it’s immoral to saddle our children with the bill for restoring the infrastructure that they will have to depend on. Better to leave them with this.

sandy subway


O, The Boner, & FDR

TehBoner2 againPlan B Boner has a sad

The only thing preventing President Obama from once again becoming a pariah among progressives is the Teabagger python that squeezes the GOP harder every time it even contemplates the word “compromise.”

In the latest round of budget negotiations, Obama has broken his campaign promises to:

1. Exempt the first $250k of everyone’s income a slight rise in taxes, back tothe rates that prevailed during the go-go years of the Clinton Administration. Instead, he raised the threshold to $400k, reducing government revenues by $300 billion in the process.

2. Hold discretionary budget cuts to $1 trillion. Instead, he added another $300 billion in order to pay for the loss of revenues above.

3. Keep Social Security off the table. Agreeing to cut cost of living increases by adopting a “chained CPI” accounting formula. As Jane Hamsher at The Lake explains, no one should be surprised by Obama’s willingness to “adjust” SS benefits, despite what he said during the campaign, given his track record on the subject.

Add to that the additional $1.5 trillions of cuts Obama agreed to in 2011, and Obama has offered to cut the budget a whopping $2.8 trillion. You’d think that the Rethugs would have jumped at the chance to reduce the size of government by the largest amount in history. Then again, they and their billionaire sponsors are far more interested in individual tax cuts than reducing the debt, as the last 20 years of Republican administrations have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Which brings us to the latest riot in the asylum known as the House of Representatives. Unable to muster any support whatsoever for Obama’s latest capitulation negotiation, Speaker of the House John Boehner instead hatched his own plan he named “Plan B.” (Plan Boner? Plan Bourbon? Plan Bust?) The Boner Plan did finally accept an increase in income taxes, but only on the uber rich, i.e. the top .2%. Blowing past the 250k and 450k thresholds, he raised it to $1 million, starving the government of revenues even more, without even mentioning off-setting budget cuts, let alone specifying which ones. [Edit/Update: ThinkProgress has a side by side comparison here.]

Boehner was under no illusion that it would ever pass the Senate, let alone survive a veto by the president. Thus it was a strictly political maneuver, probably meant to signal that he could deliver his caucus despite the caterwauling from his wingnut right. He went before the cameras, speaking confidently that he had enough votes for passage. He could thus leave town for the holidays, the ball in the president’s court.

Unfortunately for The Orange Man, he can’t count, can’t count on his own party to back his play. (Why he thought the no-tax-at-any-cost-crowd would all fall on their swords in a futile gesture is beyond me.) At the last minute, he pulled the bill from the floor, admitting that he didn’t have the votes. Hand that man an exploding ceegar…

How Washington has become so utterly paralyzed is detailed by Robert Ornstein (American Enterprise Institute) and Thomas Mann (Brookings Institute) in their book “It’s Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism.”  They continue their analysis in a recent WAPO op-ed “Let’s just say it: The Republicans are the problem“:

We have been studying Washington politics and Congress for more than 40 years, and never have we seen them this dysfunctional. In our past writings, we have criticized both parties when we believed it was warranted. Today, however, we have no choice but to acknowledge that the core of the problem lies with the Republican Party.

The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.
When one party moves this far from the mainstream, it makes it nearly impossible for the political system to deal constructively with the country’s challenges.

Something that’s been obvious to progressives for decades seems to be finally seeping into the sclerotic brains of The Beltway Village People. Here’s what Ornstein and Mann say about the enabling contributions of The Fourth Estate, who have fully internalized the fallacy of false equivalency:

“Both sides do it” or “There is plenty of blame to go around” are the traditional refuges for an American news media intent on proving its lack of bias, while political scientists prefer generality and neutrality when discussing partisan polarization. Many self-styled bipartisan groups, in their search for common ground, propose solutions that move both sides to the center, a strategy that is simply untenable when one side is so far out of reach.

Conservative ideology itself plays a substantial role in the dysfunctionality that has turned the US government into a chaotic three ring circus that has the rest of the civilized world shaking their heads in disbelief:MORE. . .“O, The Boner, & FDR”

Romney’s Parallel Universe Machine (Update)

For the man who has everything (except the presidency) , this handy device takes less energy than an Etch-a-Sketch to alter reality

The fallout from Mitt Romney‘s lies about President Obama shipping U.S. jobs to China continued yesterday as General Motors spokesman Greg Martin told The Detroit Free Press:

We’ve clearly entered some parallel universe during these last few days. No amount of campaign politics at its cynical worst will diminish our record of creating jobs in the U.S. and repatriating profits back to this country.”

Huffpo describes  it thus:

Mitt Romney’s round of highly dubious television and radio ads suggesting that Chrysler and GM are shipping American jobs to China has managed to offend both car companies….

The day before, meanwhile, Chrysler Group LLC CEO Sergio Marchionne penned a letter to the Detroit News insisting that there was no validity to the idea that the company was shipping Jeep production overseas. Instead, he noted, the company was looking to open new factories in China to meet increasing demand there.

Used to be that when a political campaign got caught with its pants down, it would mumble an apology or at least have the good sense to STFU.  Not this generation of Rethugs. Instead, they double down, drop their undies and moon  the world.:

The Romney campaign has showed no willingness to back off the suggestion that American Jeep workers may end up losing their jobs. In fact, the campaign has released a radio ad in Ohio to complement the one it has on television there that repeats the insinuation.

Which of course is entirely consistent with their adoption of the Big Lie strategy that Goebbels found so effective. What really makes it work though is constant repetition, made possible by Citizens United and the unlimited amounts money provided by plutocrat billionaires like the Koch Brothers and Sheldon Adelson who think so much of themselves that they’re intent in re-making the US in their own distorted image.

At the close of Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787, Benjamin Franklin was asked:

“Well, Doctor, what have we got—a Republic or a Monarchy?”

  “A Republic, if you can keep it.”

What we are witnessing this election is no less than a battle for the very soul of the country.  We are right at that tipping point Franklin referred to.  Will we continue to be an admittedly flawed  representative government, where the democratic principle of one person, one vote prevails, and the belief that free speech is not measured in personal and corporate wealth?  Or will be become just another oligarchy run by greedy and power-hungry billionaires who have more in common with Ayn Rand than the Founders, who promised “to promote the general welfare” at home and maintain “a decent respect to the opinions of mankind” abroad.

The prospect of four more years of The Black Man in The White House is enough to send the Rethugs over the edge, despite record corporate profits and huge increases in the personal wealth of the top 1%.

The Koch Brothers spent $25 million between 2005-2008 alone, fighting every attempt to regulate climate-changing green house gases, the byproduct of their energy extraction companies.  The results are super-storms like Sandy that just killed some 74 people (and counting), traumatized millions more, and wreaked $50 billion (and counting) in property damage.

And now they’re on the cusp of getting one of their own into, arguably, the most powerful office in the world.  A say-anything politician and his Darwinian running mate that want to privatize FEMA disaster relief by further cutting the social safety net to pay for it.  How’s that for Bizarro World logic?

Somehow I think that when these traitors to the planet are called to account for their crimes they will have so deluded themselves about their assumed natural superiority and moral rightness that they will find no contrition in their hearts, and thus no need for mercy from the real Powers That Be.

 But when mercy is exhausted, when the “memory” thereof testifies to its depletion, then does justice prevail and righteousness decree. For mercy is not to be thrust upon those who despise it; mercy is not a gift to be trampled under foot by the persistent rebels of time.

The Urantia Book

I want to be around for that.  Meanwhile, a little justice and righteousness would be a good thing right now.

[Image found here.]

UPDATE: (11/1 @ 1:25 pm) Exxon and Shell just announced they made $16 billion in profits during the last quarter alone.

And here’s a reminder of what a dick Romney is on the issue of climate change.


Placating The Religious Right (Update)

When mere pandering won’t do

Red RoveR, Red RoveR, Send More Money Right Over

Surprisingly, War criminal and death row inmate, Karl “Turd Blossom” Rove looks good in prison jumpsuit orange.