Thursday, July 31, 2014

Corporate Inversion Perversion, Cont.


Corporate inversion and "fidouchebags."  Love it.

Today's Cartoons - Impeachment Twofer


(click to enlarge)


(Jim Morin, The Miami Herald)


(Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

"Lust For Impeachment"


E.J. Dionne, Jr., writes today that, given the madness gripping the Republican/ New Confederate/ Stupid Party, talk of President Obama's impeachment cannot be taken lightly:
Yes, Democrats are happy to use the danger that the House will go there, by way of dramatizing the GOP’s refusal to work with Obama on issue after issue and the right wing’s open hatred for a president they cast simultaneously as a power-hungry lawbreaker and a weak steward of the nation’s interests. But the underlying cause is a breakdown among conservatives of the norms and habits that governing requires in a system of separated powers 
The last time the country reelected a Democratic president, House Republicans impeached him despite strong public opposition. With many in the ranks already clamoring for a replay of those glory days, it’s fair to wonder if Boehner will hold fast and resist the impeachment crowd this time. His record in facing down his right wing is not encouraging.  (our emphasis)
Between their utter ignorance of Constitutional law and the din from their lizard-brained, tea bagger base, Republicans have already demonstrated the capacity for making the most outrageous threats and taking the most extreme actions when it comes to this President, as Dionne demonstrates in his op/ed (including their lawsuit stunt, see posting below).

Salon's Kim Messick does a good job of analyzing the forces that have led the Republican/ New Confederate/ Stupid Party, and especially its most rabid purists, to this point:
Because the Tea Party — really just the most feverish and obdurate part of the Republican “base” — has decided that there are worse things than losing elections. Having been told for years that its resentments are righteous and that the righteous must give no quarter to the wicked — no compromises! no negotiations! — it has quite reasonably opted to stand on “principle” ( as Ted Cruz puts it) even if this means coming up short at the ballot box. To put this point just a bit differently, it no longer thinks of governing as its primary purpose. It would like to govern, of course; it has an agenda, one it longs to enact; but its principal concern is to preserve its identity as the last redoubt of “pure” Americanism.
Messick notes the forces at play:
The party is now riven into three parts: a donor class that, like the rank-and-file, mainly wants to win elections and to govern the country in a (relatively) responsibly conservative way; a ferocious cell of right-wing fabulists that prefers defeat to the slightest modulation in its hatred of the modern world; and a network of entertainers and “journalists” with an entrepreneurial investment in promoting the second group at the expense of the first. 
That's why Dionne and many of us remain dubious that this impeachment contagion can be isolated; there are just too many carriers, too many interested in keeping the rhetoric amped up for these yahoos to be satisfied with a lawsuit that's not likely to do any damage to the President.

Great Moments in Political Stunts


The Rethuglican-led House of Representatives voted yesterday to sue President Obama for delaying the execution of part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), specifically delaying enforcement of the employer mandate -- a provision in the law that the Rethugs themselves opposed.  The partisan 225 - 201 vote means that Weeper of the House John "Mr. Tangerine Man" Boehner may file a petition in Federal court to "seek appropriate relief" regarding the Executive Branch's implementation of the ACA.  Most believe that the courts will decline to act on what is clearly a frivolous suit.

This charade was intended to cool the rage on the far right after the President won a second term in office, and when the ACA was proving to be popular.   Rethugs, with an eye on the mid-term elections, are trying to tamp down talk of impeachment by pursuing this suit.  They are walking a tightrope trying to mollify their rabid, Obama-hating base, while not driving independent voters away with their extremism.

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:

Friday, July 25, 2014

Weekend Song


Aztec Two-Step is a folk-rock duo that formed in the early 1970's and is still performing today.  This is "Rabbit in the Moon" from their 1989 album "See It Was Like This."  Enjoy your weekend.

Ripped From The Headlines


The New Yorker's Borowitz Report has the scoop:

Rick Perry Orders Dallas Cowboys to Mexican Border


If that doesn't work, the Cowboys Cheerleaders are next.

The Sky Didn't Fall Quote of the Day

"Tax increases aren’t economic suicide; sometimes they’re a useful way to pay for things we need. Government programs, like Obamacare, can work if the people running them want them to work, and if they aren’t sabotaged from the right. In other words, California’s success is a demonstration that the extremist ideology still dominating much of American politics is nonsense." (emphasis added) -- Paul Krugman, writing in the New York Times, on the erroneous, dire predictions of right-wingers that California would implode after Gov. Jerry Brown raised taxes, invested in infrastructure, and raised the minimum wage.  What actually happened was increased employment, budget surpluses, and successful implementation of the state health insurance exchange under the Affordable Care Act.

This Takes The Cake


The Oregon bakery that refused to bake cakes for same sex marriages closed its doors last year, but they're still at it.  Now, they're selling "ex-gay" cakes on line and a so-called "reparative ministry" that believes that gays and lesbians can be "cured" ordered some for a recent conference.  Talk about half-baked.

We're guessing that walnut cakes are their biggest seller, because they're so nutty.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Colorado G.O.P, R.I.P.


As it appeared in Colorado's Aurora Sentinel, courtesy of America's Voice:


It's survived (hopefully not for long) by 49 siblings.  It won't be missed.

Department of Psychological Projection


Sadly, Arizona Sen. and bitter old dude John "McNasty" McCain can't help himself.  His barely concealed fury over losing the Presidential race in 2008 to President Obama is clearly gnawing at his shriveled soul.  No doubt that after being skunked by Dumbya in the 2000 Rethuglican primaries, McNasty felt it was his turn to be President the next go 'round, dammit.

Now, McNasty's kvetching that the President is full of "self-pity" and won't invite him and his band of vandals to the White House so that they can demean him meet over tea and crumpets.  From the moment he was defeated, McNasty decided to undermine the man that kicked his ass in the election. (See, America?  You could have elected me!) Whether appearing on Sunday gabfests countless times, or in front of microphones he eagerly seeks out, McNasty has rarely if ever uttered a word of support for any action or policy advanced by Obama, even if it was something he previously supported.

McNasty's projecting his own self-pity on the President over his defeat five-and-a-half years ago, and every day he looks more and more like the sore loser that he is.

Another Ugly Execution By Lethal Injection


We've seen several reports of yesterday's grisly, botched execution of convicted murderer Joseph R. Wood III in Arizona, in which it took nearly two hours to execute him through lethal injection.  The case against using lethal injection as a means of execution is growing with each attempt in states like Oklahoma, Ohio, and Arizona that use lethal injections.  Arizona's Governor has ordered an investigation into the execution, and the State Supreme Court has directed State prison officials and the coroner to preserve the body and any of the remaining chemicals used in the execution.

Thirty-five states use lethal injection as their method of execution in capital crime cases.  If this latest, ugly mishap in Arizona doesn't cause them to re-examine their protocols, perhaps the courts will.

Blowing It, Cable News Edition


Yesterday's cable news freakout over the negative decision on the Affordable Care Act by a three-judge panel of the Circuit Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit was captured by the inimitable Jon Stewart.  For several hours, the intrepid reporters -- who undoubtedly have good health insurance -- all but declared the ACA as dead, until the  Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an opposite ruling the same day.  Watch Stewart deservedly mock them.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Unhealthy Quote of the Day

"If they succeed, their dismantling of the ACA will dwarf everything else that has happened in our era. The GOP will be known for years to come as the party that literally ripped security out of the hands of millions of people who so briefly and tenuously had it. They call themselves the 'party of life.' And as with most of what they say, the opposite is the truth." (emphasis added) -- Michael Tomasky, referring to the Rethuglican efforts to torpedo affordable health care for millions of Americans, and their latest judicial effort to nit pick the law to death.

Mid-Week (Singer Not The) Song


From the Rolling Stones' 1965 "December's Children (And Everybody's)" album (and the UK B-side to "Get Off My Cloud"), this is a Jagger/Richards composition that further demonstrated the duo's songwriting talent, notwithstanding that the song is (wink-wink) "The Singer Not The Song."  Enjoy.

The "Plane" Truth Cartoon of the Day

(click to enlarge)


Today's news that two Ukranian fighter planes were shot down over separatist-held eastern Ukraine -- 16 miles from the MH 17 crash site -- indicates that the Russian-backed separatists and their Russian "technical advisors" are not chastened by growing world condemnation of their complicity in downing the Malaysian commercial jet.  If anything, they may believe that, since they're facing harsh criticism now, they might as well go for broke and push aggressively against Ukraine.

(cartoon: Stuart Carlson, via Gocomics.com)

In Today's Political Comedy...



We had a feeling that when Rep. Michele "Crazy Eyes" Bachmann announced that she would not run again for her seat in Congress, it wouldn't be the last we'd see of her.  Now the master conspiracy theorist and downright loon is tossing out hints that she might run again for President. (Pause...  Bwhahaha).   Because the last time she rolled out of the Rethuglican clown car, it went so well.

Most sane people -- even those remaining in the Rethuglican / New Confederate Party -- know that Crazy Eyes has as much chance of becoming President as the ebola virus.  Although it would be a satirist's dream to see her run, her nonsensical grasp of history (no, the shot heard 'round the world wasn't fired in New Hampshire, Crazy Eyes;  no, the Founding Fathers didn't work on freeing the slaves, Crazy Eyes) and her extreme right-wing positions are toxic to most Americans.   But don't tell her that.

BONUS:  Someone who makes Bachmann look like Madame Curie just got caught speedin'.  Guess who?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

"Health Care Chickenhawks"


Opposite rulings today from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals on health insurance exchanges and subsidies under Obamacare.  The D.C. court ruled 2-to-1 (two Republican skunks judges pretzeling their opinion to suit their politics) that Congress had not authorized the Federal Government to set up health insurance exchanges in those States that had not set up one of their own, relying on a drafting error in the Affordable Care Act on which to hitch their reactionary wagon.  The 4th Circuit ruled unanimously in the opposite, i.e., that it was the clear intent of the Congress that those non-State-run exchanges (and subsidies that flow from them) were authorized by the plain intent of the law.  It's expected that the full D.C. court, ruling en banc, will overturn the decision of the two Republican skunks judges.

We always have to wonder what motivates people on the right to fight the implementation of this law - which benefits so many - so doggedly.  (For that matter, they're still fighting rear guard actions on Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid 80 years and 50 years later, respectively.)  Why they seem to delight in causing harm to the most vulnerable among us.  Here's Charles P. Pierce talking about the rulings and the "health care chickenhawks:"
Simply put, there is almost an entire half of our political system that believes that a great number of Americans simply do not matter enough to make it economically feasible to help them stay healthy. They do not count. It does not matter how many of them die preventable deaths. It is better for the country, this half of the political system believes, that they grow sick and bankrupt themselves. In his famous outburst on the House floor, Alan Grayson was low-balling it. This half of the system includes prospective presidents, members of Congress, think-tank geniuses, pundits, and a lot of other people who generally have one thing in common -- most of them have wonderful health care coverage either because they have really good jobs, or they're wealthy enough to afford it, or both. These are the health care chickenhawks. And we held them to a split decision today, and maybe that's enough for the moment.
It's also worth contemplating how we as a nation came to this level of selfishness and lack of concern for the humanity of others (think also of the virulent hostility to the immigrant children who've crossed the southern border).  We have to remind ourselves, when we're repelled by the casual brutality of others in the world, that we have our own shame right here on our shores.

Report: Right-Wing Militia Threat Grows


The standoff last spring at the Nevada ranch of deadbeat wingnut Cliven "Hoof" Bundy and his small but heavily armed brigade of right-wing, anti-Government militia wasn't a spontaneous, organic rallying of like-minded radicals.  According to a new report by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the anti-Government standoff was well-coordinated and executed by a network of right-wing militia groups in the western U.S.  These groups have a noticeable presence of former military and police veterans, who apply the tactics they learned in service to opposing Federal agents enforcing the law.

The report counts 17 instances of shootings involving violent, right-wing anti-Government types and law enforcement in the past four years, the most recent stemming directly from the stand-off at the Bundy ranch involving the fatal shooting in Las Vegas of two police officers and another person by a deranged wingnut couple who had been at the Bundy ranch earlier.

As the report notes, however, the mainstream media hasn't delved into the growing threat of heavily armed, anti-Government organizations, whether out of fear, cynicism, or just plain laziness.  The next time such a confrontation occurs, they'll likely treat it as an isolated incident -- another "shiny object" that they've just noticed -- without the context of the "much larger and more dangerous movement" that grows daily.

(photo:  KLAS-TV, Las Vegas.  Militia loons gather at Bundy Ranch)

Is That A Gun In Your Pants, Or Are You Just Happy To See Me?

 We just noticed this story about a man in Orange, Texas who accidentally shot himself when the gun that he had tucked in his pants discharged when he pulled up his shorts.  Jason "Missed It By That Much" Bryant was strolling into a convenience store when he hiked up his shorts, yanked the trigger, and wounded himself (fortunately for him) in the leg.

As Orange's chief of police wisely observed, “It’s dangerous to stick a gun in your pants.”  Even in Texas.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Rethug Rebranding, Hispanic Outreach Edition


Texas Governor and future reverse mortgage spokesman Rick "Hair" Perry has decided the best way to the 2016 Rethuglican Presidential nomination is to wear glasses to make himself look smart get some teabagger cred by sending 1,000 Texas National Guard troops to the Rio Grande valley.  The intellectually-challenged Governor, who makes Dumbya look like Stephen Hawking, apparently thinks images of National Guard troops confronting Latino women and children at border crossings will go down well with not only the teabaggers but also the public at large.  He's still smarting from being booed during the 2012 Rethug primaries for saying "I don't think you have a heart" to the nativist right who bitterly opposed educating children of illegal immigrants.

We await the photo opportunities of Commander Hair and his deputy commander and winner of the Yellow Heart with chicken feather cluster, Sean "Heil" Hannity, firing rounds over the heads of the women and children at the border.    Hopefully, they won't hit either them or the National Guard troops they're using as props in their political theatre.

UPDATE I:  Businesses in south Texas are opposing Commander Hair's deployment of National Guard troops.  The Rio South Texas Economic Council wants Hair to reconsider the move, saying it would "only create an inaccurate image that our safe and viable border region in the Rio Grande Valley is dangerous, and that the problem is not presently being managed, which is not the case." (emphasis added).  Hat tip to P.E.C. for spotting the story.

UPDATE II:  It looks like sheriffs in counties along the border aren't crazy about Commander Hair's plan either.  Support your local sheriff.

(photo:  Hair 'n' Heil pose for the camera)

James Garner, 1928-2014



Screen and tv actor James Garner died July 19 at the age of 86.  Garner is perhaps best known for his iconic starring roles in tv's "Maverick" and "The Rockford Files" series.  He also had a successful film career, starring or appearing in "The Great Escape," "The Americanization of Emily," "Victor/Victoria," "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood," "Space Cowboys," and more than 50 other movies.  Here's a slideshow covering some of his career highlights and personal moments (with apologies for the embedded ads).

Garner's acting style is generally described as embodying an "amiable masculinity." In both his Bret Maverick and Jim Rockford roles, Garner played anti-heroes, characters with human flaws who were reluctant to "get involved."  In reality, Garner was a decorated Korean War Army veteran as well as a progressive activist (he's pictured here with actress Diahann Carroll at 1963's March on Washington), who was encouraged (but declined) to run for Governor of California in 1990 as a Democrat.

He's survived by his wife of 58 years, Lois, and two children.  Rest in peace.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sunday Sermon



Here's a verse for those folks to digest: "“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.'” -- Matthew 18:10.

And another:  "‘Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.’” -- Mark 9:36-37.

Amen.  Amanda Marcotte has the goods on the "Christian" hypocrites.

Hotheads, Foreign and Domestic


We have two op/eds in the once great Washington Post Bezos Bugle, each addressing extremists willing to threaten and use violence to achieve their objectives.  First, Anne Applebaum on the Russian-sponsored separatists in Ukraine:
Before there is any further discussion of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, it’s important that one point be made absolutely clear: This plane crash is a result of the Russian invasion of eastern Ukraine, an operation deliberately designed to create legal, political and military chaos. Without this chaos, a surface-to-air missile would not have been fired at a passenger plane.  [snip]  
... So far there is no sign of shock or shame in Russia. But in truth, this tragedy offers Vladimir Putin an opportunity to get out of the messy disaster he created in eastern Ukraine. He has the perfect excuse to denounce the separatist movement and to cut its supplies. If he refuses, then we know that he remains profoundly dedicated to the chaos and nihilism he created in Donetsk. We can assume he intends to perpetuate it elsewhere. And if we are not prepared to fight it, we should be braced for it to spread.
We're also waiting for signs that the Russian people, who so far have shown overwhelming support for Putin's adventurism, are sick of what's been allowed to happen in Ukraine in their name.  Since they're only getting the official Russian government version of events in Ukraine, that won't happen easily.

But, of course, we have our own variety of cosplay toughs in this country.  Fortunately, they don't have access to surface-to-air missiles (that we know of).   Rep. Steven Horsford (D-NV) represents the part of Nevada where Cliven "Hoof" Bundy and his merry gang of gun-fondling "militia" and sovereign citizens are keeping justice at bay.  He writes that the extremists were fueled by the demagoguery of right-wing media and politicians:
In the frenzy to pillory the government that ensued, almost no viewpoint seemed too extreme to voice. Emboldened by attention from such high-profile conservative media figures as Sean Hannity, armed militia members set up checkpoints, stopped traffic and occupied roads. At one point, local police had to physically place themselves between the militia and agents from the Bureau of Land Management, fearing for their lives while trying to prevent a bloodbath. [snip] 
My plea to my fellow public servants and the media is this: Please, recognize that evocations of tyranny and oppression, counterbalanced by patriotic sacrifice and love of country, are powerful motivators. I watched as a small community was transformed into a hotbed for extremism. That did not happen organically but in an environment created by nonstop attention and demagoguery from media and politicians alike.
Without drawing any further analogies between the thugs in Ukraine and our own crackpot citizenry, it's clear that a "hotbed for extremism" can be fostered just as effectively by government action as by the actions of media and politicians with a political agenda.  It's gotten way out of hand in Ukraine.  We need to see to it that, in this country, fuel isn't continually being added to the fire of our own hotheads.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Malaysian Flight 17: From Fantasy To Reckless Aggression


Amid reports that Ukrainian separatists (in collusion with their Russian patrons) are destroying evidence from the Malaysian Flight 17 debris field,  Josh Marshall notes a striking similarity between separatist leader (who at first claimed credit for the shoot down) Igor Strelkov and fantasists in another part of the world.  Marshall first quotes from a Dave Remnick New Yorker blog posting, then adds his commentary:
“Strelkov is well known for leading historical reĆ«nactments of Russian military battles, like you have in the States with the Civil War reĆ«nactors,” Pavlovsky said. “It used to be a fantasy world for people like him, but now they have a realm for their imaginations.”
So that's who you're dealing with: some mix of civil war reenactor or Tea Partier decked out in revolutionary garb, with a mix of reckless aggression and comical incompetence. Here we have them break into nursing homes to photographs senator's comatose wives*; there Putin gives them heavy armaments designed for full scale land war in Europe.
The comparison can't be dismissed off-hand.  Remember the tea-bagging right-wingers in this country who compared Putin favorably to President Obama?  We do.

UPDATE:  Igor's floating a ghoulish theory that only a madman or moron would believe:
According to the Associated Press, rebel commander Igor Girkin [a.k.a. Strelkov] said on the Russkaya Vesna website that witnesses to the crash have informed him that “a significant number of the bodies weren’t fresh” when they fell from the sky. He also claimed that many of them had been drained of blood and stank of decomposition because they had been dead for days.

* Bonus points for the Chris McDaniel reference!

Ohhh, That Smarts


In his ongoing attempt to smear the Obama Administration, Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and honors graduate of the Inspector Clouseau Detective School Darrell "Grand Theft Auto" Issa frequently shoots himself in his family jewels.  Latest example:  Issa's committee has been trying to have IRS official Lois Lerner prosecuted for contempt of Congress concerning the screwed up attempts by the IRS to block clearly political groups from claiming tax-exempt status.  Issa & Co. were aggravated when the U.S. Attorney's office had yet to prosecute the case, and wondered why. As it turns out -- hilariously -- Inspector Clouseau Issa has been foiled by a legal opinion rendered by (wait for it) the Reagan Administration.   The opinion stated that it was within the U.S. Attorney's discretion whether to prosecute, and not automatic just because Congress issued the order.

Pure comedy gold.

If Only We Had A Time Machine


Alexandra Petri tells us "when you should live, based on your ideology:"
What you believe:
“I don’t believe in vaccinating my kids!” 
When you should live:
1794, right before Edward Jenner made his breakthrough! 
You have every right to think this, but please don’t jeopardize everyone else’s herd immunity! And have fun treating your other medical ailments with leeches! 
What you believe:
“If the earth is getting warmer, it is not because of anything that humans are doing!” 
When you should live:
Approximately 8000 B.C., at the end of the last ice age, a time when we could say that with certainty! 
Hey, maybe the science isn’t settled. Just in case, settle in a time before scientists. You want to feel absolutely positive? That comes with a price. 
What you believe:
“I don’t believe women should have access to birth control.” 
When you should live:
3,000,000 B.C., when you can feel confident that no women have access to birth control because homo sapiens have not evolved yet. 
If you don’t believe in evolution, Oct. 26, 4004 B.C. should work just fine — one day before God built the Earth, by Bishop Usher’s calculation, anyway. Definitely no birth control then.
Ahh, if only we could "deport" the tea baggers and other reactionary cranks and dimbulbs back in time to when they should have lived.  ("Look, it's Jesus riding a dinosaur!")  We'd all be so much happier.

Friday, July 18, 2014

From The Dark Corners of The Right


It's known that the downed Malaysian Airlines plane was carrying roughly 100 researchers that were studying HIV and planning to attend an international conference in Australia.  One of the researchers, Dr. Joep Lange, was a very prominent researcher who had devoted his life to finding a cure for HIV/AIDS.  It drove the right wing crazy when the President made note of the researchers' deaths in his remarks this morning.  Some of the most despicable, callous comments came from the usual suspects on the right, and Salon's captured them so we don't have to.  Here's one of the most despicable ones from someone who portrays himself as a "Christian," but is anything but:


Two hundred ninety-eight innocent people died, and this wretched excuse for a human being makes it about his gayphobia.  What a dirtbag. We'll say it again, what a dirtbag.

Weekend Song

Longtime star of stage, screen and television, Emmy and Tony award winner Elaine Stritch passed away yesterday at the age of 89.  Stritch has been an actress and singer for over 70 years, with appearances in such Broadway classics as "Bus Stop" (1955) and "Company" (1970).  She's perhaps best known to younger audiences for her role as Alec Baldwin's mother in NBC's "30 Rock."  In our weekend song, she's performing in 2010's "A Broadway Celebration: In Performance at the White House."  A tip of the Hackwhackers hat to blog BFF P.E.C. for the suggestion!

"Bad Impeacher" Video of the Day


Last night, Jon Stewart ridiculed the "impeach Obama" nonsense that's coming from the far-right fringe of wingnuttia, most noticeably from former half-term Governor and full time grifter Sarah "Winky" Palin and some Congressional nincompoops.  Having lost two Presidential elections to President Obama by a good margin, these defenders of the Constitution feel that impeachment is the only means to get their way, elections be damned.  We hope they draw more and more public attention to this nonsense as the 2014 mid-term elections approach:  the general public will punish them at the ballot box, as they did with the Clinton impeachment circus in 1998.

"It Was Horrible"


Yesterday's downing of a Malaysian Airlines plane over eastern Ukraine by a Russian-made Buk surface-to-air missile killed 298 people.  Among the dead were dozens of women and children, and approximately 100 HIV experts on their way to a conference in Australia.  The nightmarish scene of the debris field has been captured in countless videos, and was chillingly described in the New York Times:
"Pieces of the plane were scattered across the road and field: a seat back with its television display cracked; a giant white piece of the tail with the plane’s insignia emblazoned on it, and a jagged edge where it tore off from the plane. One televised image showed a travel guide for Bali, almost untouched."
Right on cue, Russian autocrat Vladimir "Vlad the Invader" Putin blamed the Ukrainian government, which has no control over the area from which the missile was fired.  Several of the plane's flight recorders have apparently been recovered, according to Russian-backed separatist officials, who have promised to turn them over to international officials.  Whether this tragedy causes Putin to reevaluate the level of support for the ethnic Russian separatists remains to be seen.  Certainly, the European community will have to re-examine the future of their relations with a nation that supports a lawless and violent movement within a bordering, sovereign nation.

UPDATE:  U.S. officials are now indicating Russian-backed separatists were likely responsible, adding that they may have had assistance in operating the mobile missile launcher from Russian military advisors.  Obama to speak shortly.  (Here's a report with the video).

UPDATE II:  In an editorial this morning, the once great Washington Post Bezos Bugle indicates a direct link to the separatists:
Predictably, the Ukrainian rebels were doing their best Thursday to cover up what occurred. They denied shooting down the plane, though the wreckage landed in territory they control near the Russian border. Their commander, a Russian citizen and former military officer named Igor Strelkov, claimed in a blog post published Thursday to have shot down a Ukrainian military transport plane, then removed the message.  (our emphasis)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Teabagger Values Cartoon of the Day

(click to enlarge)


We've seen the images of angry, vengeful teabaggers from California to Texas who have tried to block buses carrying unaccompanied children from Central America, with some inevitable cases of mistaken identity (see post below).  We'd bet that these teabaggers would be the first to proclaim, loudly and insistently, that they are devoted, Bible-as-literal-truth Christians.  They're just hypocrites, of course, who cherry pick their "principles" when it suits their political/social prejudices.

BONUS:  Here's just one example of how wingnut prejudices and stupidity have sabotaged a humane effort to help some of these children, with special kudos to jackass extraordinaire and Stupidest Man on the Internet Jim Hoft and "guest blogger" Kristinn "But Definitely Not Christian" Taylor.

(cartoon: Jeff Danziger, via Gocomics.com)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

And The Award Goes To….


In a crowded field of Rethugs, Arizona Congressional candidate Adam "The Brain" Kwasman wins a Dumbass award for mistaking a busload of YMCA kids for a group of unaccompanied immigrant children in Oracle, AZ yesterday.  Obviously trying to get points with the teatard demographic that he hopes will elect him to the 1st Congressional district seat, The Brain dove deeply into derpitude waving his arms before realizing his mistake.  He tried to take back his comments on his Twitter account and engaged in some mumblespeak with reporters covering The Brain's backfiring publicity stunt.  Even the YMCA kids on the bus were seen laughing at and taking pictures of The Brain and the yahoos that were assembled to stop the alien invasion.  Not surprising that they have better sense than these "adults."

No Sale, Matey


There are troubling reports that right-wing media mogul and desiccated Aussie Rupert "Aargh" Murdoch has been eyeing media giant Time Warner as a property to acquire.  Aargh's 21st Century Fox Corp. reportedly bid $80 billion to buy the giant Time Warner, but was rejected.  Part of Aargh's proposal would be to spin off Time Warner-owned CNN to avoid regulatory problems vis-a-vis his Fux Channel.

After the News of the World newspaper phone hacking scandal blew up in his wrinkled mug, Aargh tried to keep a low profile, even as his wife Wendy Deng served him with divorce papers.  It appears that Aargh is emerging from the shadows to try to gobble up more media/entertainment turf to push his right-wing agenda.  Apple's late founder Steve Jobs once told Aargh to his face that, "Fox has become an incredibly destructive force in our society."  Imagine that destructive force amplified if he succeeds in buying his mega-competitor.

Mid-Week Sleep Song


Back by popular demand, the Scottish indie rock group Belle and Sebastian, singing "Sleep the Clock Around."  Enjoy.
Now the trouble is over, everybody got paid
Everybody is happy, they are glad that they came
Then you go to the place where you've finally found
You can look at yourself sleep the clock around


(h/t to Silver Spring Bureau Chief)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Republican War On Women - Distaff Edition


Did you know the Republican War on Women is a sham?  Neither did we.  But that doesn't mean the Republican/ New Confederate/ Stupid Party doesn't want to re-edumacate the wimmenfolk out there in the next two election cycles.  And they're planning to use a secret weapon: wimmen!

Kaili Joy Gray over at Wonkette has a wonderful piece (worth reading in its entirety) on the efforts of Quislings wimmen in the Republican ranks who want you to know that all that Republican War on Women stuff is just something the Demoncrats have cooked up.  Rep. Cathy McMorris "Mrs." Rodgers (Tool-WA) is one of those leading the charge. Tally-ho!
“We are starting to hear this drumbeat again from the Democrats suggesting that the Republicans are waging a war on women,” Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) said in a speech Friday afternoon to the Republican National Committee “Taking Back the Future” [Ed. note:  shouldn't that be "Taking Us Back in the Future"?] conference at a Washington, D.C. hotel. “As you all know, there’s no truth to it.”
You can take that to the bank, mister!  Kaili Joy responds:
It’s sort of impressive how much wrong Cathy can squeeze into one sentence, which is probably why she’s done so well for herself in her party, but A) women do not actually need the Democratic Party to suggest to them that there is a Republican war on women because, despite being women with little itty bitty ladybrains, WE ALREADY FIGURED THAT ONE OUT ALL ON OUR OWN BEFORE THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY CAUGHT ON, JESUS CHRIST!, and B) there is SO much goddamned truth to it, Cathy, that if you piled up all the truth, it would wrap around the Earth 2,152 times, and if we could harness the power of all the truth to it, we’d solve all of our energy problems forever, JESUS CHRIST AGAIN SOME MORE!
Also coming in for the treatment is former failed CEO and Republican Senate candidate Carly "Golden Parachute" Fiorina, who is also going to re-edumacate those stoopid wimmen who are voting Demoncrat:
Carly’s plan is to recruit a whole bunch of women — with technology! — to tell other women that they are SOOOO stupid if they think there is a war on women, because there is no war on women, DUH, and if women really cared about the things Carly thinks women should really care about, they would vote Republican, OBVIOUSLY, so they too can can drive a major corporation like Hewlett Packard practically into the ground but walk away with a mighty fine golden parachute and then get her ass kicked backwards and sideways in a Senate race in which she humiliated herself more than is even scientifically possible by saying any number of stupid things and also releasing her infamous Demon Sheep ad. Isn’t that every woman’s dream?
However, Republicans should be careful in unleashing their new weapons, because some of them are loose cannons:
“Men do tend to talk about things on a much higher level,” [North Carolina Republican Rep. Renee] Ellmers said. “Many of my male colleagues, when they go to the House floor, you know, they’ve got some pie chart or graph behind them and they’re talking about trillions of dollars and how, you know, the debt is awful and, you know, we all agree with that.” 
We need our male colleagues to understand that if you can bring it down to a woman’s level and what everything that she is balancing in her life — that’s the way to go,” she said.  (our emphasis)
Pie charts and graphs and trillions of dollars, oh my!

D'Oh Photo of the Day

(click to enlarge)

"Illeagles."  Some pathetic "moran" spray painted this on the side of an Army Reserve facility in Westminster, MD over the weekend to protest using the facility as a temporary shelter for the unaccompanied children coming across the border from Central America.

It should be "illeagle" to sell spray paint to idjuts that vandalize property.

(Photo:  Jenna Johnson/ WaPo)

In Sagebrush Moocher News….


We're reading where the son of freeloading rancher and right-wing ammosexual magnet Cliven "Hoof" Bundy has a warrant out for his arrest after missing a hearing before a judge in Clark County, NV.  Lance "Little Hoof" Bundy was convicted last year on a burglary and weapons charge, and has failed to appear in court several times for probation hearings stemming from his conviction, which allowed him 5 years' probation.  He ducked this latest warrant, claiming that he had outpatient surgery the day it was issued.  The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

If found in violation of the probation, he could face two to eight years in state prison.  Hoping he's sent to the slammer, we'll send some lilac-scented soap to Little Hoof for those awkward prison showers.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Teabagger Godfather Smacked



Within a month after President Obama was inaugurated, the far right mounted an assault on his Presidency with the phony "grass roots" Tea Party movement, ostensibly based on out-of-control Federal spending and other things #cough# first black President #cough#.  One of the instigators of the teabagger movement was CNBC angry loudmouth Rick "Call Me A Dick" Santelli, who called for a "tea party" in his home base of Chicago in February 2009 to protest spending.

Today, he got some comeuppance when he appeared on CNBC and loudly tried to claim he was right all along about monetary issues.  CNBC's panel was having none of Santelli's nonsense, including Steve Liesman who tore into him:
"Every single bit of advice you gave would have lost people money, Rick… There is no piece of advice that you’ve given that’s worked, Rick. Not a single one… The higher interest rates never came. The inability of the U.S. to sell bonds never happened. The dollar never crashed, Rick. There isn’t a single one that’s worked for you." (emphasis added)
So often, as in the case of neocons and the disastrous Iraq war, right wingers aren't held to public account for their screw ups.  It's nice to see a thoroughly nasty winger confronted with his incompetence.

Tweet of the Day



"Zombie Lies:" Republican Lies That Refuse To Die


Bill Maher on Republican lies that refuse to die ("like a plastic bag in a tree"):



Perry vs. Paul, Round Two


Prospective Republican presidential candidates (must control glee) Gov. Rick "Oops" Perry (Secessionist-TX) and Sen. "Ayn" Rand Paul (Galt-TN) are engaging in a nasty back- and- forth (froth?) over a topic neither of them knows squat about: foreign policy.  After Oops' aide wrote an op/ed for him in the once great Washington Post Bezos Bugle the other day, we were all waiting for Ayn to, um, parry.  Well, wait no longer!
There are many things I like about Texas Gov. Rick Perry, including his stance on the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution. ["Powers retained by the states and the people"-  segregation states rights!]  But apparently his new glasses haven’t altered his perception of the world, or allowed him to see it any more clearly. 
There are obviously many important events going on in the world right now, but with 60,000 foreign children streaming across the Texas border, I am surprised Governor Perry has apparently still found time to mischaracterize and attack my foreign policy. 
Governor Perry writes a fictionalized account of my foreign policy so mischaracterizing my views that I wonder if he’s even really read any of my policy papers.
Nice zingers, Ayn (or whoever wrote your response for you)!

The schism between the isolationist/Fortress America wing of the party (Paul) and the neo-conservative /Dick Cheney wing (Perry) is only one of the fracture lines in the Republican/ New Confederate/ Stupid Party;  burn it down teabaggers (see post below) vs. country club establishment being another easily identifiable one.  Right-wingers would not hesitate for an instant to exploit differences in the Democratic Party, and Democrats should not shy away from returning the favor for Republicans.  It's not hard ball, it's smart ball.  Let's see if we can play it.

BONUS:  Gov. Oops did make that all-important photo op visit to the border (along with Fux News meathead Sean "Heil" Hannity).  Headline at Borowitz Report:   SIGHT OF RICK PERRY AT BORDER CONVINCES IMMIGRANTS THAT ANYONE CAN SUCCEED IN AMERICA.

(Image:  Paul and Perry - they pledge allegiance to the flag...)

The Church of Teabaggery


Since the rise of the evangelical right in the '70s and '80s, with charlatans like Jerrry Falwell and Ralph Reed leading the pack, Rethuglican politics has had a tent revival feel to it.  Moralizing on issues like contraception, prayer in schools, etc., became part of the Rethuglican act, as they drove evangelicals to the polls to support Rethug policies.

Flash forward to 2014, and the same thing is going on with the Tea Party radicals.  As Jack Schwartz writes, these radicals have created, initially within the base of the Rethuglican / New Confederate Party, a political religion from which no deviation from "principles" can be tolerated:
"While a traditional political party may have a line that it won’t cross, the Tea Party has a stone-engraved set of principles, all of which are sacrosanct. This is not a political platform to be negotiated but a catechism with only a single answer. It is now a commonplace for Tea Party candidates to vow they won’t sacrifice an iota of their principles. In this light, shutting down the Government rather than bending on legislation becomes a moral imperative."
 It gets worse.  Every religion needs a demon, and the teabaggers have one, of course, in President Obama and Dems in general.  That's apparently why no negotiation, no dialogue, no recognition of the others' position is acceptable to these radicals.  To them, it's more than a policy difference, it's a black and white, good vs. evil choice.  And therein lies the seeds of totalitarianism if they ever achieve their goals.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Quote of the Day - Constitushunal Expert Sarah Palin Edition



"She wasn't a particularly good vice presidential candidate.  She's an even worse judge of who ought to be impeached and why."  -  Attorney General Eric Holder today on snowbilly grifter and word- salad- shooter Sarah Palin's recent assertion that President Obama should be impeached.

UPDATE:  Delusional winger Sean "Heil" Hannity agrees with fellow Constitushunal expert Palin.  Surprised?

(GIF via Mock Paper Scissors)

Sunday Reading - Corporate Tax Dodging


In this morning's once great Washington Post Bezos Bugle, Allan Sloan has an informative column about a growing number of tax-dodging American corporations reincorporating overseas where the corporate tax rate is lower, a process known as "inversion."  Here's Sloan:
A company does this by reincorporating in a place such as Ireland, where the corporate tax rate is 12.5 percent, compared with 35 percent in the United States. Inversion also makes it easier to divert what would normally be U.S. earnings to foreign, lower-tax locales. But being legal isn’t the same as being right. If a few companies invert, it’s irritating but no big deal for our society. But mass inversion is a whole other thing, and that’s where we’re heading.  [snip] 
Inverters don’t hesitate to take advantage of the great things that make America America: our deep financial markets, our democracy and rule of law, our military might, our intellectual and physical infrastructure, our national research programs, all the terrific places our country offers for employees and their families to live. But inverters do hesitate — totally — when it’s time to ante up their fair share of financial support of our system.
Sloan names some of the "deserters:"
Companies that have gone the inversion or never-here route but that act American include household names such as Garmin, Michael Kors, Carnival and Nielsen. Pfizer, the giant pharmaceutical company, tried to invert this spring, but the deal fell through. Medtronic, the big medical-device company, is trying to invert, of which more later. Walgreens is talking about inverting, too — it’s easier to boost earnings by playing tax games than by fixing the way you run your stores.  [Ed. note:  Snap, zing!]
As promised, he goes into great detail about the proposed Medtronic inversion.  Here's the scheme they're considering:
The current poster child for inversion outrage is Medtronic, the multinational Minnesota medical-device company that once exuded a cleaner-than-clean image but now proposes to move its nominal headquarters to Ireland by paying a fat premium price to buy Covidien, itself a faux-Irish firm that is run from Massachusetts except for income-tax-paying purposes. For that, it is based in Dublin. That’s where the new Medtronic PLC would be based, while its real headquarters would remain on Medtronic Parkway in Minneapolis. Of course, the company is unlikely to return any of the $484 million worth of contracts the federal government says it has awarded Medtronic over the past five years.
Unless you suffer from high blood pressure, read the column to see what goodies Medtronics is giving its top executives and board members to grease the inversion skids.

Sloan also offers some ideas to fix the problem in the short term (tighten inversion rules in the tax code, as proposed by Sen. Carl Levin and his brother, Rep. Sander Levin - both Michigan Democrats), while we await (and await and await?) corporate tax reform.  Another short term fix Sloan proposes is disclosure - requiring American corporations and their subsidiaries to report on "their U.S. taxable income for a given year and how much income tax they owed."   If more of these companies can be publicly shamed by their tax-dodging, it might help stem the growing culture in which "inversion" (or, as we would call it "corporate mooching") is accepted as normal business practice (as Sloan points out, it worked with Starbucks).  

In the end, though, public shaming is not a substitute for better public policy.  If these tax-dodging corporations have no sense of what it means to be a responsible corporate citizen, and we think most of them don't, then it's government's obligation to act in the interests of all the American people to shut down this shell game.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Oops, He's Running Again!



Step 1.   Wear glasses to give the impression you've got a brain;

Step 2.    Play to the base and pout when you're face-to-face with the President;  and (because we can keep three points in our head at one time)

Step 3.   Have someone pen an op/ed for you to run in the once great Washington Post Bezos Bugle (which will publish anything), attacking a potential rival for the Rethuglican/ New Confederate/ Stupid Party nomination for not wanting to go back into Iraq with guns blazin'.

Yep.  Future Lenscrafters and hair products spokesperson Gov. Rick "Oops" Perry (Secessionist-TX) is running for preznit!  More popcorn over here!

(Image:  Sans glasses.  Given his vision problems, he'll eventually end up shooting himself in the foot.)