GOP Declares Emergency Session!

 Posted by on March 17, 2011 at 2:16 PM
Mar 172011
 

Anthony Weiner takes it to the House

Forget record foreclosures, near depression levels of unemployment, 50 million medically uninsured, and the prospect of draconian social cuts in the face of record deficits at home.

Forget the devastation of a 9.0 earthquake, 30′ tsunami waves, and radiological contamination from failed nuclear reactors in Japan.

Forget the two unsustainable wars we’re already waging against Arabs in Iraq and Afghanistan, even as we contemplate a third against Qadaffi in Libya.

Forget our deteriorating public schools, public infrastructure, and Teabagger governors intent on destroying public sector unions and imposing economic martial law.

What the Rethugs really fear, to the point of calling a special emergency session in Congress this week, is the Tappet Brothers and their enablers, NPR.

Good to know.

Feb 152011
 

The White House released its proposed budget yesterday, packaged as “shared sacrifice.” Deep cuts to social programs sit at one end of the budgetary teeter totter; and a rise in income taxes for those earning over $250,000 at the other. One can be forgiven for asking: If President Obama, despite clear campaign promises to the contrary, couldn’t get a Democratic Congress to let the ruinous Bush tax cuts expire last year, how in hell can we expect that he can do it now that the Rethugs control the House?

As The Nation‘s Ari Berman points out in his article The Obama Budget: Challenging or Appeasing the GOP?:

The cuts the president has outlined barely offset the tab of temporarily extending the Bush tax cuts, which added $858 billion to the deficit over two years, including $125 billion for Americans making over $250,000 and slashing the estate tax. If Obama ends up once again extending the Bush tax cuts in 2012, the savings he envisions in the current budget will be completely nullified.

Taking tax increases off the teeter totter effectively turns into a catapult, hurling poor students, working mothers, the chronically unemployed, and shivering poor families into the abyss.

Meanwhile, his unwillingness to play hardball with the GOP last year will result in increased hardship in real time for millions of Americans who are struggling to survive this recession. We’re living in odd times when a Democratic president is okay spending billions of dollars on an unpopular and seemingly unwinnable war in Afghanistan but has no problem cutting heating aid for poor Americans in the midst of the coldest winter in memory.

Indeed. Let’s dispense with the illusion that President Obama’s budget is anything but DOA on The Hill and look at it through the political lens of the 2012 presidential election, which is obviously the White House’s top priority.

The budget proposal is as much about politics as policy. This plan will have to pass a divided Congress and marks the first step in a long game of political jujitsu with the GOP. “The White House is trying to reframe the debate as the GOP’s ‘cut and grow’ versus Obama’s ‘cut and invest,’ ” argues Washington Post blogger Greg Sargent.

Yet the president is playing on the GOP’s turf. The debate is over cuts vs. cuts. At a time of 9 percent unemployment, neither party is laying out a roadmap for how to put people back to work and lift the country out of its economic morass.

Pointing out the sucky grasp of narrative that the White House continues to exhibit, Ari quotes himself from an article he wrote last month titled Obama: Triangulation 2.0? :

The president’s relentless attachment to “pragmatism,” which has become an ideology unto itself, has allowed the GOP’s dominant narrative about the economic crisis—that big government, once again, is to blame—to go unchallenged, especially when Obama sides with Republicans thematically on issues like deficit reduction and freezes on discretionary spending and federal pay. “In the absence of an alternative narrative the Republican story is the only one the public hears,” Robert Reich, Clinton’s labor secretary and a onetime Obama economic adviser, noted on his blog. Hence the rise of the Tea Party and the potency of antigovernment right-wing populism nowadays.

Natures abhors a vacuum. The White House best get its story straight, or watch the life get sucked right out of it.

UPDATE: David Cay Johnson fleshes out the issue in his article titled Obama and the GOP: United Against the Working Poor, which begins thusly:

Who says bipartisanship is dead?

On Capitol Hill, the Democrats and Republicans may no longer play cards and drink together, but that does not seem to stop them from working together to shift tax burdens down the income ladder even when it violates their promises on the campaign trail.

Grover Norquist calls bipartisanship the political equivalent of date rape. But there is one group that President Obama, many congressional Democrats, and all congressional Republicans ganged up on in December — the working poor.

Rethugs Redefine Rape

 Posted by on February 3, 2011 at 8:51 PM
Feb 032011
 
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The Rethugs’ proposed “No Taxpayer Funding For Abortions Act”

Kristen Schaal (I love this woman!)  explains money rape, rape with benefits, rapemare and other Rethuglican fantasies.

Arlen Specter’s Farewell

 Posted by on December 24, 2010 at 1:01 AM
Dec 242010
 

As the author of the Warren Commission‘s magical single bullet theory, used to whitewash JFK‘s assassination to make it appear that only a single shooter was involved (subsequently rejected by the US House of Representatives), I had early developed a disdain for retiring Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter. He always struck me as the consummate Beltway insider and opportunist. His last hurrah was his deathbed conversion to the Democratic Party when it was obvious that we was going to get his ass kicked in the 2010 Rethug senate primary.

Credit where credit is do, however. His final speech in the well of the Senate is worthy of notice, not only for his excoriating criticism of the Rethugs, but for his remonstration of what a travesty the US Senate has become.   Here’s how Huffpo covers it in an article titled “Arlen Specter’s Farewell Speech Slams GOP ‘Cannibalism‘:

Departing Republican-turned-Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter on Tuesday said conservative Republicans who backed tea party challengers against establishment candidates in the recent elections engaged in political cannibalism.

In his final floor speech, Specter complained there’s scant room for centrists like himself in a polarized Senate where civility is in short supply.

“In some quarters, compromise has become a dirty word,” said Pennsylvania’s longest-serving senator, who lost his re-election bid after three decades in the Senate.

Specter complained that some GOP senators had helped tea party challengers beat incumbent Republicans like Utah Sen. Bob Bennett and Rep. Mike Castle in his Delaware Senate primary.

“Eating or defeating your own is a form of sophisticated cannibalism,” he said.

Looks like Specter has become the embodiment of the old joke about:

Q. What happened to the cannibal with the bad table manners?

[Drum roll, please]

A. He was given the cold shoulder.

By Rethugs and Dems alike.

Go in peace, Arlen. But do go. And don’t let the door hit ya where the Good Lord split ya.

Terrorists And Hostage Takers: Part Three

 Posted by on December 17, 2010 at 9:04 AM
Dec 172010
 
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“An outrageous abdication of our responsibility to those who were most heroic on 9/11″

In Terrorists And Hostage Takers: The Sequel, I posted a clip by Jon Stewart that he titled Lame As F@#k Congress in which he excoriates the Rethugs for their hypocrisy in filibustering health care and other compensation for 9/11 first responders after nine years of exploiting them for their own political gain.

But as he noted last night, none of the three broadcast networks, CBS, NBC, or ABC has even bothered to mention the issue over the last two and a half months. In fact, Juan Cole reports that the only broadcast network to give the story a decent amount of coverage was Aljazeera.

Stewart also points out how Fux News, “the nation’s leading source of 9/11 based outrage”– witness its incendiary coverage of the proposed Cordoba House Muslim community center two blocks away from the WTC site– had only one brief segment on the Rethugs’ filibuster. And even then, failed to disclose that its affiliate, the GOP, were the ones doing the filibustering.

Fux couldn’t seem to find a single 9/11 responder to interview, though it did feature a guy who nearly teared up displaying the burnt remains of some money he had deposited at a bank destroyed at the WTC, prompting Stewart to observe: “Yeah, we lost a lot of good cash today.

Meanwhile, back at The Dome:

GOP Senator Calls Cops on 9/11 Responders:

Republican senators were so worried about meeting with 9/11 responders who came to Washington today [Thursday] that at least one called the cops on them, the Daily News has learned.

Even before the nine responders had a chance to start visiting senators’ offices – where they intended to stay until meeting with legislators – they were greeted by Capitol Police, who had been called by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine).

Collins apparently reacted to a story in the today’s News, which quoted a letter to senators from 9/11 advocate John Feal, warning that he and others planned to sit in offices until they got meetings – or the police made them leave…

The advocates – who all served at Ground Zero – are growing desperate with time running out in the Senate. The Zadroga Act either needs to be attached to other legislation or passed on its own before the year ends, and the calendar is crowded with other measures….

Lame As Fuck Congress: meet Lame As Fuck Media. A marriage made in hell.

Terrorists And Hostage Takers: The Sequel

 Posted by on December 14, 2010 at 9:10 AM
Dec 142010
 
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“What can’t we do until Uncle Sam promises not to hurt Daddy Warbucks?”

In this sequel to Terrorists and Hostage Takers, Jon Stewart issues a new rule to the Rethugs:

By holding up the vote on compensation for injured 9/11 first responders until you get your fucking tax cuts, you have forever forfeited your claim to being the party of 9/11.

That means: Stop the self-serving campaign ads that use images of heroes to stoke voters’ emotions to vote for your sorry asses.  Or, as in the case of Mr. 9/11 himself, Rudy Guliani, ask for campaign donations in the amount of $9.11.

Over the years we have watched various Rethug senators solemnly take to the senate floor to praise the sacrifices of firefighters, policemen, and ordinary citizens. But when it came time yesterday to provide them with desperately needed support, not only did the Rethugs vote against The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010, but proved themselves to be the wormy cowards they are by not even bothering to show up to explain why.

Lame As Fuck Congress,  indeed.

Presidents Who Love Too Much

 Posted by on December 8, 2010 at 8:34 AM
Dec 082010
 
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A prez with benefits smothered in a fuck you sauce…

Watching President Obama try to explain his capitulation to  the Rethugs over taxes and unemployment insurance reminded me of a book I read about a decade ago called  Women Who Love Too Much. I was intrigued by the book’s premise: that even the smartest, most successful, and attractive women would, after a difficult and painful breakup with a guy who turned out to be an abusive schmuck, find themselves in subsequent degrading relationships because they were, in effect, addicted to love.  Even if it were unrequited love.

Stephen Colbert finds a political analogue to this disturbing dynamic in Unrequited Gov. During the health insurance reform debate, Obama wooed Senators Grassley and  Snowe for months. But for all their early promises of support, they left him standing at the altar, delaying the vote through a long hot summer of town hall protests that brought the Teabaggers to prominence. Not a single Retug ended up voting for the bill.

In his column Sunday titled All the President’s Captors, Frank Rich compares Obama’s relationship with the Rethugs to Stockholm Syndrome. Citing the  F.B.I.’s  Law Enforcement Bulletin:

It explains that hostage takers are most successful at winning a victim’s loyalty if they temper their brutality with a bogus show of kindness. Soon enough, the hostage will start concentrating on his captors’ “good side” and develop psychological characteristics to please them — “dependency; lack of initiative; and an inability to act, decide or think.”

This dynamic was acted out — yet again — in President Obama’s latest and perhaps most humiliating attempt to placate his Republican captors in Washington. No sooner did he invite the G.O.P.’s Congressional leaders to a post-election White House summit meeting than they countered his hospitality with a slap — postponing the date for two weeks because of “scheduling conflicts.” But they were kind enough to reschedule, and that was enough to get Obama to concentrate once more on his captors’ “good side.”

And so, as the big bipartisan event finally arrived last week, he handed them an unexpected gift, a freeze on federal salaries. Then he made a hostage video hailing the White House meeting as “a sincere effort on the part of everybody involved to actually commit to work together.” Hardly had this staged effusion of happy talk been disseminated than we learned of Mitch McConnell’s letter vowing to hold not just the president but the entire government hostage by blocking all legislation until the Bush-era tax cuts were extended for the top 2 percent of American households.

Take Stephen’s observation to heart, Mr. President:

“They’re just not that into you.”