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Friday :: Feb 27, 2015

Boehner Loses the Caucus


by Deacon Blues

In a major blow to Speaker John Boehner, the House GOP leadership lost a vote late today to fund the Department of Homeland Security for only three weeks with no strings attached. In a 203-224 vote, 50 House Republicans refused to vote for the 3-week extension because it didn't deal with Obama's immigration executive order, and now Boehner has nowhere to go without great risk.

It's unclear what House Speaker John Boehner will do next. If the House does not act by midnight, the Department of Homeland Security will run out of funding, triggering a shutdown of the agency.
Fifty Republicans broke with their leadership to oppose the temporary funding measure. Conservatives said the stopgap bill represented a cave to the White House by failing to curtail the president's executive orders regarding immigration.
[snip]
Republican House leaders could try to pass another short-term budget extension or call a vote on the Senate bill. But that would anger conservatives so much that Boehner could face a challenge to his Speakership.

It couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

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Thursday :: Feb 26, 2015

Television Has Improved


by paradox

In our political cycles this is the time of year I pity professional political writers, for “February is pitiless, and it is boring. That parade of red numerals on its page adds up to zero.” Being an off-election year just makes it worse, only a minor action of a possible HMS shutdown garnering negligible interest for a new Republican low of stupid.

In this black void of nothing to write about attention will be briefly turned to television, an enormously powerful force in all our lives I regard with the highest suspicion and alarm. That infernal box has enormous potential for harm, it can deaden and fool the brain in incredibly subtle ways, the bodily flabbily regressing along in inert sloth, yet in my time with our Earth I’m very surprised to see real signs of improvement and progression with television.

Continue reading "Television Has Improved"
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Wednesday :: Feb 25, 2015

Boehner's 15 Minutes Are About Up


by Deacon Blues

With the Senate poised to send the House a clean DHS funding bill in the next day or so, John Boehner's worst days are ahead of him. As the Washington Post's Dana Milbank noted late this afternoon, Boehner faces the prospect of cobbling together a voting majority (including Democrats) to push through a funding bill to avoid a shutdown, or standing tough with his extremist base and having the department shut down, something 60% of America opposes.

If Boehner does the former, and cobbles together a deal, it could cost him his Speakership only weeks after gaining the benefit of a totally GOP-led Congress. If he sticks with the Tea Party crazies that now run the House GOP, who actually talk publicly about immigrants being a national security threat to the United States, then DHS will run out of money over the weekend, which will only shine a brighter light on the crazies Boehner has empowered. Those crazies will get more and more headlines for the pathetic drivel they spew about immigrants, thereby sinking the GOP's chances next year of winning a national election, and Boehner for his part will be guilty by association, making him part of the problem rather than the solution. Once that happens, he might as well resign, because he will cease to be a national figure with any influence.

It couldn't happen to a nicer guy, and he has no one to blame but himself.

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Tuesday :: Feb 24, 2015

Heading Over a Cliff, Part Two


by Deacon Blues
Image courtesy of PollingReport.com

We’re headed for a shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security, because of the bad decisions by two men: President Obama and John Boehner. Obama for his part never should have poked the House GOP in the eye right after the 2014 elections by going ahead with his Executive Order, setting the relationship with the congressional GOP on a needlessly hostile course. Even then, if he had stopped at prosecutorial discretion to relax deportations and not gone further with granting benefits to those affected, he would have a stronger case. Instead, the White House went too far and despite what Democrats feel about the Texas federal judge’s preliminary injunction, there is more to the legal challenge that should trouble the president’s defenders.

Boehner has shown his own hostility and outright hatred for the president since the new session started, demonstrating once again his own moral defects and a penchant for overplaying his hand. His combative tone to appease his far right base has only eliminated his options, meaning that no matter what Mitch McConnell and Joe Manchin think they can accomplish with splitting the votes into separate measures on the DHS funding and the president’s immigration actions, the House GOP won’t allow them to go forward, ensuring that there will be a DHS funding shutdown this weekend.

Democrats and the White House are ready for this, armed with the knowledge that the public disagrees with the House GOP effort to tie DHS funding to the debate on immigration, with 60% of the public against what Boehner is doing. Yet McConnell and the other adults in the Senate GOP know that the train wreck is coming for the Republicans anyway, because while the party itself will suffer nationally for what is about to happen, the individual House Republicans, tucked safely in their gerrymandered districts will not pay a price. And President Obama and Nancy Pelosi are only too happy to let it play out for several weeks or a month while Boehner and his caucus make one damaging statement after another towards Latino voters in 2016, allowing Democrats to recover from their recent problems.

Update, Wednesday 2/25 AM: As expected, the House GOP is going crazy at the talk about any splitting of the DHS funding bill from their effort to roll back Obama's executive order. For his part, Boehner admitted this morning that he hasn't spoken to McConnell in two weeks, so the benefits of total GOP control of Congress are now well apparent.

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Friday :: Feb 20, 2015

Giuliani's Jump the Shark Week


by Deacon Blues

You've read the pathetic things Rudy Giuliani said earlier this week at a Scott Walker fundraiser in New York with GOP elites. Now, in his desperate attempts to wash the stain of racism from his skin, Rudy tells us what he said about Obama wasn't racism because Obama's mother was white.

Seriously.

Rudy, you weren't talking about his mom, were you? You were talking about him. And more tellingly, if Obama were white, would you be saying anything at all about him? Of course not. Instead, when caught, the best you can do is spew "socialism" or "anti-colonialism", which are the words GOP elites have been trained to say to make racist attacks and get a pass from Fox News, or when simply smearing him as "anti-American" isn't enough red meat.

(By the way Rudy, you doddering old fart, Washington and Jefferson were anti-colonialists.)

And in truth Rudy, you really are looking more and more like a publicity-starved has-been who never was, but with an ugly racial stink to you. Which means you fit right in on Fox News, where you will always be right at home.

By the way Governor Walker, good luck with your campaign. We haven't even gotten around to nailing you for your own actions. But why bother when your friends are sucking up all the oxygen?

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Wednesday :: Feb 18, 2015

Jeb is Bush/Cheney II


by Deacon Blues

Jeb Bush rolled out a trial balloon today at Chicago, field-testing his foreign policy message for 2016. The speech succeeded in that the media reliably has overplayed the tag line "I'm my own man" (a typical Rovian maneuver), but failed to show exactly how he is different from his brother.

Continue reading "Jeb is Bush/Cheney II"
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The Creep is Upon Us


by paradox

A question of perpetual fascination for sociologists and political scientists is the transformation of Germany in the 1930’s into a foaming, unstable violent Republic of unchecked militarism. How could industrialized Germany, soaked in modern science with such a glorified history of intellectualism and the arts, turn its people into such killing monsters?

A double shock of wartime loss and the Depression, leading to mass rejection of conventional norms and adoption of a brutally effective authoritarian regime that accomplished goals and fed resentments. Coupled with a dismaying human tendency to not recognize gradual distortion, little steps of creep mounted and mounted on the Germans until they became unrecognizable killing freaks, Mozart and Wagner always on the radio in the long September evenings.

Continue reading "The Creep is Upon Us"
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Wednesday :: Feb 11, 2015

Wednesday Grab Bag


by Deacon Blues

Media
Do we really have to go through a presidential election cycle, one that will include a Bush and a Clinton, without having either Jon Stewart or David Letterman?

Dodging His First Bullet
Scott Walker dodged an evolution question today in London. Excellent. Now they need to ask him “Was the earth created in seven days?”

Boots on the Ground
Are you really surprised that Obama went ahead and forced Congress to live up to its rhetoric by asking for authority for ground troops to fight ISIS?

Get Off Your Ass, John
Coming from a man who has spent the last four years running the laziest House of Representatives in history, it’s still a wonder to see John Boehner tell Democrats to get off their butts to do what he wants on the Department of Homeland Security authorization measure. Boehner has had those four years to pass an immigration reform measure, and couldn’t get off his ass to do so.

Keystone Veto Imminent
The House passed the Keystone XL pipeline bill today, setting up the eventual veto by Obama. I continue to hope that the White House makes the most of the veto ceremony.

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Tuesday :: Feb 10, 2015

Vlad and Bibi's Excellent Adventure


by Deacon Blues

Several thoughts on some of the issues of the day:

Ukraine
Howard Dean and others correctly noted last night on MSNBC that President Obama must identify what comes after his next move in response to Vladimir Putin’s Ukrainian gambit. Today's news that there is a tentative agreement on a cease-fire may evaporate in the coming days, and it's doubtful that Putin will be deterred from additional direct involvement in toppling Ukraine and returning the country to client-state status. Unlike John McCain and little Lindsay Graham, who both have the luxury of mouthing off without being asked “what’s next?” the Commander in Chief needs to have a plan. For Obama, he must straddle the European reticence on military action while holding the stick that has any hope of eventually changing Putin’s end-game moves. That means saying he’s hopeful for a diplomatic solution, like he did today in his conversation with Putin while also threatening worse things to come.

It means should Putin weasel his way out of the cease fire, Obama must publicly have ready 1) the most punitive economic sanctions yet to be employed; 2) the provision of defensive military aid to counter Russia’s offensive weaponry when Putin breaks the cease fire, despite the obligatory Russian threats; and 3) the convening of a public presentation by the United States of our evidence of Russian direct involvement in the aggression against Kiev. None of this will change Putin’s path, and Obama needs to account for this now. But he also needs to be ready with the next step, when Russia gets more involved militarily to topple Kiev, which is to publicly call out Russia as an outlaw regime and a failed state, and to announce the reestablishment of the United States Navy’s Twelfth Fleet in the eastern Mediterranean.

Sure, many will say that this will jeopardize any future collaboration with Russia on common interests like Iran’s nuclear program and resolving the ISIS/Syrian problem, but the truth is that those endeavors are going nowhere anyway, and Russia is using the false hope of their help in resolving them as cover for sticking it to the United States. The sooner Obama makes it clear that Putin’s behavior leads us to the conclusion that Russia is only interested in destabilization for its own gain, the sooner the world can view Russia through that lens.

Netanyahu’s Visit
Yes, of course the Democrats in Congress should publicly boycott John Boehner’s attempt to seize foreign policy from the executive branch. Too bad Johnny Suntan didn’t show the same inclination to seize foreign policy during the last decade when the executive branch was directly responsible for thousands of American and Iraqi deaths arising from impeachable offenses.

Netanyahu has fully revealed himself as an extension of the GOP, and like them only interested in war with Iran, but someone without Ariel Sharon’s life experience and wisdom about war and peace issues. So be it. Israeli voters must deal with him, and they should know that their leader has bumbled his way into creating a divide between Israel and its closest ally in the world, at a time when that same leader assumes America will maintain lock-step support for Israel’s foreign policy.

Guess again.

Jeb's Privacy Breach
The Jeb Bush campaign has had a bad couple of days. First, their newly-announced IT director turned out to be a sexist cretin, routinely calling women "sluts". Then today, in trying to show he has nothing to hide, he ended up violating the privacy of those who wrote him while he was governor by revealing their Social Security numbers.

Great job Jeb. When do we get to talk about your responsibility for the "Stand Your Ground" law?

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Monday :: Feb 9, 2015

One Thing for the Little People


by paradox

With a mounting sense of dismay I see from Bob Johnson and BrooklynBadBoy on the rec list at Daily Kos that the Hillary Intelligentsia is apparently meeting right now in DC to decide the political agenda for the 2016 Presidential campaign. Many elements of this evolution do not bode well for the little people.

Without a primary or statement to the press or even a message to the base Hillary Clinton is now the Democratic Party nominee for 2016. Without even a whiff of democratic process—for many legitimate political reasons of history and timing—Hillary is our Lady, wrung and weaned out of a total 2016 DC insider environment, at this moment elitist cretins like Larry Summers whispering furtive fears of little people populism and domestic spending.

Continue reading "One Thing for the Little People"
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