Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Today's Dispatches From The Stupid Party - Distaff Edition, Cont.

Sorry to pick on the ladies again, but when you're in the Republican/ New Confederate/ Stupid party, it comes with the territory.

We'll start in Mississippi, where the finance director for the late, unlamented campaign of failed Senate candidate Chris McDaniel has updated "the- dog- ate- my- homework" excuse for today's market:
Chris McDaniel's campaign manager, state Sen. Melanie Sojourner (R), is blaming an EF-2 tornado for why she had not filed a campaign finance report before a Jan. 31 deadline. 
"I lost the overwhelming majority of my paperwork, bank statements, records, you name it," Sojourner said in reference to a tornado that touched down in the Kingston, Mississippi region, according to the Natchez Democrat. "I even filed for an extension on my taxes for the first time ever, because I just don't have a lot of that information." 
Sojourner said her home office was damaged because of the tornado and that she told the Mississippi secretary of State's office some of that.  (our emphasis)
A tornado, huh?  How conveeeenient!  She might want to check to see if any of her stuff landed on the Wicked Witch of the East.

In Louisiana, Republican Gov. Bobby "Kenneth" Jindal  (progenitor of "Stupid Party") is proposing to end the State's participation in the Common Core educational standards;  they wouldn't have helped this lady out anyway:
 A Republican congressional candidate fled her interview with a major election-forecasting group after being asked why she believed global warming was a hoax and whether President Barack Obama was born in the United States, according to a new report in The Washington Post. 
In the Post, David Wasserman, the House editor at the Cook Political Report, detailed his strange encounter with the "frightening" and "fact-averse" Louisiana State Rep. Lenar Whitney.
Maybe she heard a tornado approaching.

The only people more stupid than these are the ones who elect them.

EU and U.S. Impose New Sanctions on Russia

In the wake of the shoot down of Malaysian flight 17 by Russian-backed separatists, the European Union and the U.S. announced stronger sanctions against the Russian Federation for their continuing support of the insurgency in Ukraine.  The sanctions include limits on Russian access to European capital, embargoes on technology used in deep sea drilling and shale oil development, and a halt in weapons sales.

Given the shaky state of the Russian economy (economic growth is roughly zero), these sanctions should shake up not just the oligarchs atop the Russian Federation, but average Russian citizens.  Whether it's enough to curb their taste for interfering in Ukraine's internal affairs remains to be seen.  Russian autocrat Vladimir "The Invader" Putin has his credibility and political career wrapped up in his pipe dreams of "Great Rossiya," which would assimilate by force if necessary some of the bordering former Soviet republics, with Ukraine being the biggest prize.

UPDATE:  In a barbaric twist to the MH 17 disaster, Russian-backed separatists have reportedly placed land mines at the crash site to prevent investigators from the Netherlands and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe from gaining full access.  It's becoming clearer every day that the people responsible for this atrocity are nothing more than thugs and criminals.

Grifting the Grifter

As we noted Monday in "At The Intersection of Parody and Reality," snowbilly grifter Sarah "Winky" Palin has come up with a new way of fleecing her gullible followers:  the Sarah Palin Channel.  The wonderful Stephen Colbert couldn't let that one pass in his show last night, and it's a howler.  Find out at the end of the clip how he manages to "punk" Winky but good.

Mid-Week Maps Song

Over the past decade, Maroon 5 seems to have found the formula for pop rock hits, as evidenced their collection of multi-Grammy, Billboard, and American Music awards.  Their latest hit single is "Maps."

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Bad Guy With A Gun

A crime story from 51 years ago:
Shortly before dark on the evening of April 17, 1963, Robert J. Dowlut went looking for a gun inside the city cemetery in South Bend, Indiana. Making his way through the headstones, he stopped in front of the abandoned Studebaker family mausoleum. He knelt by the front right corner of the blocky gray monument and lifted a stone from the damp ground. Then, as one of the two police detectives accompanying him later testified, the 17-year-old "used his hands and did some digging." He unearthed a revolver and ammunition. As Dowlut would later tell a judge, the detectives then took the gun, "jammed it in my hand," and photographed him. "They were real happy."
Two days earlier, a woman named Anna Marie Yocum had been murdered in her South Bend home. An autopsy determined she had been shot three times, once through the chest and twice in the back, likely at close range as she'd either fled or fallen down the stairs from her apartment. Two .45-caliber bullets had pierced her heart.
Less than an hour after her body was found, two police officers had gone to Dowlut's home and asked him to help locate Yocum's 16-year-old daughter, whom he'd dated. After a short, fruitless search, the officers took him to police headquarters. Though Dowlut was booked as a material witness, investigators soon came to suspect that the tall, polite Army private, home on a two-week leave, had killed Yocum. After a day of intense questioning, Dowlut allegedly broke down and confessed in detail to the murder as well as to a botched robbery attempt earlier the same night in which the owner of a pawnshop was seriously wounded.  (our emphasis)
And who and where might this Dowlut fellow be today?  Why he's the general counsel of the National Gun Manufacturers Rifle Association.  Funny how socio/ psychopaths tend to cluster together.

Great reporting by Dave Gilson at Mother Jones.

ReaganBook: How It Works

News Item:  A doofus at the Ohio Liberty Coalition, Beatrice Janet Porter, has launched something called "ReaganBook," a conservative version of Facebook (with 31 whole members!). For Patriots! Because Liberty!

We've already seen the ReaganBook launch, and here it is:

(No endorsement of Esurance express or implied.)

More Obstruction on Climate Change

Oklahoma's Rethuglican Sen. and holy roller climate change denier James "Head-In-Hole" Inhofe (R - Oil Patch) not only doesn't think man's activities have been a primary source of climate change, he doesn't believe there's a problem at all because the Bible says so.  This lunatic has succeeded in blocking a Senate resolution, which has no binding effect, that simply acknowledges that climate change is occurring.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D - RI) noted that Head-In-Hole is living in an "alternate reality" if he even denies the reality of climate change.  It's an alternate reality that's well-compensated by the fossil fuel industry, which has an enormous financial stake in burning dirty fossil fuels.  It's also an alternate reality that ultimately will degrade the planet for many generations to come, if not checked in time.

Rethug Rebranding: Nullification Edition

During the years leading up to the Civil War, southern slave states pushed the notion that they could "nullify" Federal laws that impinged on their system of slavery.  That notion ended with their defeat in the Civil War….or so we thought, until recent babblings by members of the Rethuglican / New Confederate Party surfaced.

Case in point:  Rethuglican candidate for Senate in Iowa and castration enthusiast Joni "The Castrator" Ernst, who was recorded in 2013 advocating the "nullification" of Federal laws
"You know we have talked about this at the state legislature before, nullification. But, bottom line is, as U.S. Senator, why should we pass laws that the states are considering nullifying?"
The idea that states can pick and choose what Federal laws to obey or not is the root of secessionism, and has no basis in the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution that these idiots often claim.  The political irony, of course, is that this is what the first Republican President Abraham Lincoln fought against, and gave his life for.  His latter-day party, festooned with Confederate symbols and talk of secession, would be unrecognizable to him.

UPDATE:  Then there's this Rethug secessionist clown who thinks that the national anthem is "Dixie."

UPDATE II:  Steve M. at No More Mister Nice Blog has the list of some pretty significant laws that were passed that wouldn't have if The Castrator's "ground rules" had been in play.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Today's Tomorrow Cartoon

(click to enlarge)

There's no question unindicted war criminal Dick "The Dick" Cheney will keep popping up, like a turd in a punch bowl, to spin his deceitful version of history to his liking.  But when the likes of Fux's Megyn Kelly have tuned you out as she did last month, it's not even working with the right.

(cartoon:  Tom Tomorrow, via Daily Kos)

More On The "Inversion" Perversion

A few weeks ago, we posted on an article in the once great Washington Post Bezos Bugle by Allan Sloan, blasting the corporate trend know as "inversion," which is a fancy term for "corporate tax dodging."  Recently, it's become the topic du jour among policy makers and economists alike.

Paul Krugman explains the notion and why Congress needs to act:
The most important thing to understand about inversion is that it does not in any meaningful sense involve American business “moving overseas.” Consider the case of Walgreen, the giant drugstore chain that, according to multiple reports, is on the verge of making itself legally Swiss. If the plan goes through, nothing about the business will change; your local pharmacy won’t close and reopen in Zurich. It will be a purely paper transaction — but it will deprive the U.S. government of several billion dollars in revenue that you, the taxpayer, will have to make up one way or another. [snip]
And Congress could crack down on this tax dodge — it’s already illegal for a company to claim that its legal domicile is someplace where it has little real business, and tightening the criteria for declaring a company non-American could block many of the inversions now taking place. So is there any reason not to stop this gratuitous loss of revenue? No. 
Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew describes the President's proposal to plug the inversion loophole:
The president’s proposal applies a common-sense approach to determine whether a corporation has truly switched its base of operations to another country — a company would not be able to move outside the United States for tax purposes if it is still managed and controlled in the United States, does a significant amount of its business here and does not do a significant amount of its business in the country it claims as its new home. 
The president’s plan also would eliminate the incentives a U.S. corporation has to acquire a foreign company and use its foreign address to claim tax status beyond our borders. To make sure the merged company is not merely masquerading as a non-U.S. company, shareholders of the foreign company would have to own at least 50 percent of the newly merged company — the current legal standard requires only 20 percent.
While the Senate is holding hearings on the subject, there's no consensus on how to proceed.  Inverters want to slow-walk this past the November elections when they hope there will be a more favorable (=cough= Rethuglican =cough=) climate in the Senate.  Frankly, there appears to be even less appetite in the monkey house House of Representatives for plugging the loophole.  But at least the debate is out in the open now.

At The Intersection Of Parody And Reality

This has the ring of truth, but it's parody.

This has the ring of parody, but it's true.

Tip:  When parody and reality intersect, you're probably dealing with right-wing Republicans.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

A President Deserving Impeachment

Before the current impeachment howling of frothing nitwits (=cough= Sarah Palin =cough=), and before the prurient Republican prosecutors of Bill Clinton's penis in the 1990's, there was a time when an American President richly deserved impeachment.  That was 40 years ago today.

On July 27, 1974, the House Judiciary Committee recommended the impeachment and removal from office of Republican Richard M. Nixon.  The Committee passed three articles of impeachment based on Nixon's high crimes and misdemeanors committed as a result of the Watergate break-in and cover-up.  On August 8, 1974, rather than face a trial in the Senate, Nixon resigned the office of President.

For those of us who lived through that period, the current "impeach the tyrant!" manifestation of Obama Derangement Syndrome is particularly maddening on several counts:  first and foremost, sorry but there's no "there" there;  and second, in recent decades it's only been deployed flippantly by desperate Republicans whenever Democrats are winning both policy debates and national elections, as a means of de-legitimatizing Democrats and to get their knuckle-dragging Republican base excited enough to drive their Medicare-subsidized mobility scooters to the polls.

The high crimes and misdemeanors of Richard Nixon struck at the heart of American democracy, as does the idle threat of impeachment by his smarmy Republican descendants.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Voter Fraud, As Raw As It Gets!

Yoo-hoo!  Hey!  We got some real voter fraud over here!  Naked lawbreaking!  Someone notify the Republicans... er, wait... this guy is a Republican:
According to the Greenfield Reporter, [Washington] state Rep. Mike Hope (R) — a former b-movie actor who bills himself as “Representative Beefcake” because of his ripped physique — stepped down after it was revealed that he was registered to vote in both Ohio and Washington.
(h/t Raw Story -  yes, that's what we said)

(Photo:  State Rep. Mike "No" Hope, a.k.a. "Representative Beefcake," in the raw - - "violation is a crime"??  Is this a still from a gay porn movie?  Not that there's anything wrong with that.)

Paul Ryan, Anti-Poverty Warrior

Ayn Rand devotee and what passes for a right-wing "policy wonk," Rep. Paul "Lyin'" Ryan (Galt-WI) has a shiny new plan to combat poverty in America, if by "policy wonk" you mean "con man" and if by "combat poverty" you mean stick it to the poor.  Everyone's been all over it since Ryan released the plan on Thursday.  Here are a few sample takes:

Laura Clawson decodes Ryan's plan:
Ryan wants to consolidate as many as 11 anti-poverty programs into one block of funding that states could do with as they wished, provided they instituted work requirements, limited the duration of benefits, and provided what Ryan refers to as accountability. Ryan insists that this isn't about cutting benefits but about using them differently, but here's a clue to what he's envisioning: elderly and disabled people, as "two especially vulnerable groups" which "need specific kinds of care," would get a host of special protections. In other words, the people Ryan classifies as deserving poor would be protected from what he plans to do do all the other poor people.  (our emphasis)
Charles P. Pierce takes a long look back at the historical roots of the plan and Ryan's track record, then concludes:
One must never forget when discussing anything Paul Ryan says about economics that he fundamentally does not believe that the care of the poor and the sick is a legitimate function of government. This belief is theological. It is the basis for his entire political career. And it has not changed. This is a philosophy he developed while going to high school and college on my dime and yours through Social Security survivor benefits, and you're welcome again, dickhead. Anybody who thinks Paul Ryan has "changed" in any substantive way should not be allowed out in public without a minder. In this recent scam, the tells are scattered everywhere, and they are obvious, and you don't even have to know that the more "compassionate" of his proposals don't have fk all chance of getting through the monkeyhouse Congress in which he is a leader. He knows that, too.  (our emphasis)
Paul Krugman piles on more reasons not to trust what Ryan is selling (unlike certain credulous bloggers who should know better =cough= Ezra Klein =cough=):
In case you want the longer answer, however, there are multiple reasons to distrust Ryan. It’s not just that this plan is completely inconsistent with his budget proposals, and that he has given no indication of how he would resolve this inconsistency. It’s not just that the methods he proposes, especially block-granting, have in the past simply been back-door ways to slash aid to the poor — which is what his budgets involve, after all. And it’s not just that everything he has said about the causes of and cures for poverty is all wrong. 
You have to read each of the posts to get the full flavor of Ryan's mendacity (as well as links to other critiques).  The Beltway kool kids don't seem to be over their crush on this con man, so expect this stinking mess to be mulled over by people who, as Charles Pierce says, "should not be allowed out in public without a minder."

(Image:  Would you buy an anti-poverty plan from this dudebro'?)

"You Indians Speakie English?"

Rethuglican Party voters in Florida's 19th Congressional district keep sending real gems to Washington.  In 2012, they sent former Rep. Trey "Snow Nose" Radel, who had a recurring problem with cocaine that ended his brief career as a teabagger know-nothing.  Replacing the resigned Radel last month was newly-elected Rethug teabagger Rep. Curt "Namaste" Clawson, whose main work experience appears to have been heading an auto parts company.

Flash forward to Thursday's hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee's Asian and Pacific subcommittee.   Testifying before the subcommittee were Assistant Secretary of State Nisha Biswal and Assistant Secretary of Commerce Arun Kumar, whom Namaste assumed were representing the government of India, but who are both senior U.S. officials.  Namaste launched into a goofy recitation of how much he liked India and Bollywood movies, and how he hoped relations could be improved upon, addressing the stunned witnesses as if they just got off the plane from New Delhi.  Embarrassed silence ensued.  This, despite the fact that witness lists are routinely provided by staff to Congressmen so that they know the names and titles of those who are testifying.

Namaste later apologized for the gaffe.  Well done, voters of Florida's 19th district.  Check out the bemused look on Assistant Secretary Kumar's face at about 33 seconds into this video: