Saturday, February 28, 2015

At CPAC, Badlands Barbie Disses Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren

Here's "rising star" and Republican idea of someone who can "speak millennial," 22- year- old South Dakota broadcaster Tomi Lahren (a.k.a. Badlands Barbie) at CPAC today:
 I want to remind you, let’s look at the top three Democrats for 2016. You’ve got Hillary, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden? Old, rich, white, and if the pantsuit fits, male too?
Yeah, that'll go down well with everyone that's not at CPAC.


CPAC Cosplay Crackpots

The crackpots are all out at the Clown Conservative Political Action Conference in the Washington, D.C., area which wraps up today. One of the more Needy Nuts is one William Temple, who is second to none in his love of the camera (if you've been even vaguely aware of the Tea Party bowel "movement," no doubt you've seen this crank posing in one of his Revolutionary War get-ups with the Gadsden Flag a-flyin').  Here's the preening, puffy-shirted loon before and after walking out in protest during John Ellis "J.E.B." Bush's speech the other day:

Must protest Jebbie!  Let's all go to the lobby where even more cameras can take my picture, and I can be interviewed like I'm a Serious Person by the thundering media herd:

Given his ultra-conservatism, we would be willing to bet that had this frilly fop been alive during the Revolutionary War period, he would have been a Loyalist/ Tory.

General Stupidity, Meet Major Irony

Looks like a dose of reality has hit "constitutional sheriff" and  Oathkeeper Richard Mack and his wife:
Former Arizona county sheriff Richard Mack, a fierce opponent of Obamacare and a leader in the "constitutional sheriff" movement, is struggling to pay his medical bills after he and his wife each faced serious illnesses. The former sheriff and his wife do not have health insurance and started a GoFundMe campaign to solicit donations from family and friends to cover the costs of their medical care. 
"Because they are self-employed, they have no medical insurance and are in desperate need of our assistance," reads a note on Mack's personal website. (our emphasis)
So, he'd rather he and his wife go begging than submit to the gummint tyranny of Obamacare! Because Patriot! Also Freedumb!

Will the next right-wing replacement plan for Obamacare be, should the Republicans on the Supreme Court cavalierly gut it, for all the millions of people losing subsidies to start GoFundMe campaigns?

(Photo:  Sheriff Richard Mack, not the brightest star in law enforcement.)

House Rethugs In Disarray Over DHS Funding

Yesterday's last minute vote to fund the Department of Homeland Security for a week shows the weakness of Weeper of the House John "Mr. Tangerine Man" Boehner in controlling the rabidly anti-Government tide within his party caucus.  Instead of adopting the Senate's clean funding bill that separated out the DHS' funding from the right-wing's latest great cause, blocking humane immigration actions by the President, the wingers held firm and only allowed one week of funding.  This will insure the clown show's continuation into March, while more Americans see how reckless the radical Rethuglicans are in dealing with homeland safety and security.

(photo:  "My own caucus gave me a boo-boo")

Friday, February 27, 2015

Russian Opposition Leader Shot Dead In Moscow

The autocratic dictatorship of Russian President Vladimir Putin has one fewer opponent today:
Boris Nemtsov, a charismatic former deputy prime minister turned Russian opposition leader, was shot and killed in Moscow Saturday, officials said. 
Nemtsov's death comes just a day before a planned protest against President Vladimir Putin's rule. The Kremlin said that Putin will personally oversee the investigation. 
Nemtsov, who was 55, was a sharp critic of Putin, assailing the government's inefficiency, rampant corruption and the Kremlin's policy on Ukraine, which has strained Russia-West ties to a degree unseen since Cold War times.
"... Putin will personally oversee the investigation."  We're confident he'll round up the usual suspects.

As it descends further into darkness, we fear for Russia and its people.

"Father Ted", RIP

Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, who served as President of the University of Notre Dame for 35 years, and was a preeminent educator and social activist, died yesterday at the age of 97.  Known on campus and beyond as "Father Ted," Hesburgh received the Congressional Gold Medal and the Medal of Freedom for his significant contributions to education and human rights.  He was one of the founders of the progressive People for the American Way, and was a key figure in anti-war and anti-nuclear activities from the 1960s on.  His activism in the civil rights movement earned him the respect of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and many others.  These and other efforts earned him the disdain of right-wing "Catholics", most recently in 2009 when they criticized Hesburgh for warmly welcoming President Obama to Notre Dame for the commencement address.

(photo:  Father Hesburgh with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.)

Weekend Song - No Letdown Here

This is a recent release by Brooklyn (via New Jersey) singer/ songwriter Sharon Van Etten. It's languid, it's dreamy, and it reminds us of someone we can't quite put our finger on*.  It's called "I Don't Want To Let You Down."  Enjoy it and your weekend.

*Got it: k.d. lang on "Constant Craving."

Was Suicide Of Missouri Republican Official Triggered By Anti-Semitic Rumors?

Via TPM:
St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial page editor Tony Messenger wrote in a column Thursday that he decided to share his off-the-record conversations with Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich, who authorities said appeared to have committed suicide earlier in the day.

What is clear from the Post-Dispatch's own reporting is that Schweich went to Messenger on Tuesday to allege that the state GOP chairman, Tony Hancock, had been off-handedly telling people that Schweich was Jewish. While Schweich told Messenger his grandfather was Jewish, the auditor himself was an Episcopalian. 
Messenger also wrote in his column that Schweich's political consultants advised him against making his allegations against Hancock public. 
Schweich called him Thursday morning to arrange an interview with a Post-Dispatch reporter so that he could do just that; Messenger wrote that he ignored the call and let it go to voicemail. 
"In the end, he called me, perhaps because he didn’t have anybody else," Messenger wrote. "Nobody in his party wanted him to hold a news conference suggesting that there were anti-Semites in the Republican Party. 'I won’t back down,' he told me. I believed him." 
Messenger also invoked Missouri's history of anti-Semitism in the column. 
"Missouri is the state that gave us Frazier Glenn Miller, the raging racist who last year killed three people at a Jewish community center in Kansas City," he wrote. "It’s the state in which on the day before Schweich died, the Anti-Defamation League reported on a rise of white supremacist prison gangs in the state." 
"Division over race and creed is real in Missouri Republican politics, particularly in some rural areas," he wrote. "Schweich knew it. It’s why all week long his anger burned."  (our emphasis)
Shocking but somehow not surprising.

Scott Walker Thinks Fighting ISIS Is Like Fighting Labor Unions

Koch brothers employee of the year and Wisconsin Gov. Scott "Kochhead" Walker (R-Kochland) is demonstrating once again why he isn't (and really never will be) ready for Prime Time.  At the Circus Conservative Political Action Conference yesterday, the man whose bald spot has its own Facebook page was asked how he would deal with ISIS.  After summoning his mental Rolodex to remember his talking points, he said this:
“We need have someone who leads and ultimately will send a message that not only will we protect American soil, but…freedom-loving people anywhere else in the world. We need that confidence,” he said. “If I can take on a hundred thousand protesters, I can do the same across the world.(our emphasis)
Well, even some conservatives thought Walker might have gone a bit far in likening his union-busting in Wisconsin to fighting a terrorist organization.  So, let his hemming- and- hawing commence:
"Let me be perfectly clear, I’m just pointing out the closest thing I have to handling this difficult situation is the 100,000 protesters I had to deal with," Walker said. [...] 
"You all will misconstrue things the way you see fit," he said. "That’s the closest thing I have in terms of handling a difficult situation, not that there’s any parallel between the two."
Still not good enough?  Maybe you should let one of the spinmeisters the Koch brothers you paid for try to straighten things out for you:
"Governor Walker believes our fight against ISIS is one of the most important issues our country faces. He was in no way comparing any American citizen to ISIS. What the governor was saying was when faced with adversity he chooses strength and leadership. Those are the qualities we need to fix the leadership void this White House has created." 
"Governor Walker" doesn't have the slightest clue about ISIS or any other foreign policy issue.  He's a small bore functionary in the Koch brothers operation aiming to turn America into a plutocrat's Utopia.  Of course he intended to compare labor unions with ISIS.  Union-busting is what made his career (besides campaign fraud and irregularities, that is).

The dishonest little weasel has made enough unforced errors in recent weeks to fill up an entire campaign season.  There was the evolution question.  Then there was the "Is Obama a Christian" question. Then there was the "Do you think Obama loves America" question.  Then there was the clumsy attempt to slash funding from the University of Wisconsin (and trying to change its mission) while funding a plutocrat's new sports arena.  And his eagerness to sign a "right to work" law that he claimed while campaigning he wasn't all that interested in? And his proposal to slash public education funding in the State?  Oh, did we mention he wants to skip a State debt payment because his tax cuts for the rich haven't panned out so well?

Of course, this recitation of stupidity and shilling for the plutocrat class endears him to the mouth-breathers on the right.  It may not go down so well with the general electorate if he ever gets that far (current polls notwithstanding, he won't).

BONUS:  Be sure to read Mr. Pierce's takedown of Walker the Warrior.

(h/t to Wisconsin cousin Nancy)

LieWitness Cartoon of the Day

(click to enlarge)

Intrepid war zone reporter and Fux's resident rageaholic Bill "O'Lielly" O'Reilly keeps getting accused of imaginary exploits by his former colleagues.  Now, it's about the 1992 Los Angeles riots, where O'Lielly says that bricks and rocks were raining down on him.  Not so, say several people who were there with him.

We're certain that the drip, drip, drip of O'Lielly being caught fabricating things will continue.  We're also certain that O'Lielly's job at Fux is not in danger, since all he has to do is deny, deny, deny in a loud, belligerent voice to his septuagenarian viewers, who believe this is all a Commie/Muslim/Tyrant Obama plot to destroy the "No Spin Zone's" spinner extraordinaire. (In fact, his ratings are soaring, proving the old saying "Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.")

(cartoon:  Drew Sheneman, via

"Or You Can Believe The Senator With The Snowball"

Yesterday, Oklahoma's official State Idiot, Sen. James "Inbred" Inhofe (R- Oil Patch) tried to capture everyone's attention by bringing a snowball to the Senate floor and claiming it was somehow evidence that climate change was a hoax.  This is the same clown whose family built an "igloo" near the Capitol during 2010's "snowmageddon" to jab at Al Gore, apparently clueless that climate change is evidenced by long-term weather extremes like record droughts, snowfalls, and category 5 hurricanes.

Not one to suffer fools gladly, Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse took to the floor to demolish Inbred's climate change denial nonsense.  A sampling:
"Every major American scientific society has put itself on record -- many of them a decade ago -- that climate change is deadly real….And the fundamental principle is that it is derived from carbon pollution, which comes from burning fossil fuels, are beyond legitimate dispute to the point where every leading scientific organization on the planet calls them unequivocal. So, you can believe every major American scientific society, or you can believe the Senator With The Snowball." (emphasis added)
Example by example, Whitehouse asks whether his colleagues are going to believe the judgment of NASA, the U.S. military, major corporations, and even religious organizations or that of "the Senator with the snowball."  It's at the same time hilarious and sad that this discussion has to occur with people that are either paid by the fossil industry to shill for them, or are just too ignorant and distrustful of climate science to understand where we're heading.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Gov. Krispykreme Wants You To Know He's The Victim

The ongoing CPAC hatefest not only includes cardboard figures of Sen. "Ayn" Rand Paul, as we note in the post below, but a large, bilious bag of anger and corruption in the person of New Jersey Republican capo di tutti capi and man who will never be President, Gov. Chris "Krispykreme" Christie.  Still trying to establish his far-right cred, Krispykreme launched into an unhinged, self-pitying tirade against anyone who has questioned his greatness, mainly the newly-skeptical press.  As the linked article notes, there is a strong resemblance between Krispykreme's rhetoric and the late, unlamented President Dick "Tricky Dick" Nixon (who was in fact a crook). Krispykreme's latest foray into illegal activities was his illegal cutting of pension payments, as ruled by a New Jersey judge.  He's also under Federal investigation for political extortion/ pay-to-play that was first hinted at during the Bridgegate scandal.

Krispykreme's flailing, now that his poll numbers have him in Rick "Frothy Mix" Santorum territory, and his popularity in New Jersey is hovering just above the freezing mark.  Watching him thrash around at CPAC -- not a friendly venue for him in good times -- is fun to watch.

The Circus Is In Town - CPAC 2015

(click on image to enlarge)

The Conservative Political Action Conference 1815 2015 is back in town! That cardboard cutout guy, Sen. "Ayn" Rand Paul (Dudebro-Galt's Gulch), has won the CPAC straw poll two years running. Let's see if he makes it a three-peat.

(Image: via

Calling Out Bibi Quote of the Day

"The prime minister [Netanyahu] was profoundly forward-leaning and outspoken about the importance of invading Iraq under George W. Bush.  We all know what happened with that decision." -- Secretary of State John Kerry, speaking today to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, making it clear that Bibi Bomb Bomb's judgement on wars in the Middle East is less than stellar.  It's good to see the Administration push back on the Likudnik / Rethuglican neocon desire to launch another war in the region before diplomatic negotiations are completed.

Not-Even-Close-To-Heaven West Virginia

Republican legislators in the West Virginia  Virginny House of Delegates want you to know they ain't gonna allow no one to give Obamacare to no one:
In another salvo against the federal Affordable Care Act, some Republicans in West Virginia’s House of Delegates want to make it a crime for state and federal officials to enforce the health-care law. 
Under the GOP-backed bill (HB2509), federal employees would face felony charges, while state workers would be arrested for a misdemeanor offense, if they try to administer any federal regulations under the Affordable Care Act. The legislation also declares the federal health-care law “invalid” in West Virginia. [snip]
Six House Republicans are sponsoring the bill: Delegates Larry Faircloth, Pat McGeehan, Michel Moffatt, Kayla Kessinger, Michael Ihle and Josh Nelson. Most belong to the House’s tea party faction. 
But aren't you slack-jawed knuckledraggers folks forgetting something?
The House Health and Human Resources Committee took up the bill Tuesday afternoon. In response to questions by House Democrats, the committee’s lawyer acknowledged it would be difficult — and possibly unconstitutional — to prosecute state and federal workers who administered ACA regulations. The attorney also agreed that the legislation could jeopardize health insurance for thousands of West Virginians. (our emphasis)
Yeah, that's it -  The Constitution.  Also, see "War, Civil."

Not surprisingly, West Virginny ranks Number 8 among States in its dependence on the Federal Government.  These moochers folks get 35.5 percent of their revenue from the Federal Government. But, of course, that's revenue that's been earned by hard-working (white) West Virginnians, unlike the Obamacare assistance provided by the black Kenyan usurper President Obama, right?

BONUS:  Charles P. Pierce has the full panoply of Republican nuttery going on in West Virginny here. (Hint: West Virginny might be hazardous to your health.)

(Image:  Unidentified West Virginny Republican Delegate)

Jon Stewart On Right-Wing Media: "How Do You Poison A Cyanide Factory?"

After announcing his departure later this year from "The Daily Show," Jon Stewart received some not- so- fond going away thoughts from the usual clowns on the right.  Here's his response (via Crooks and Liars):

BONUS: Here's the link he mentions in his "lie off" challenge to the Fuxers.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Today's Dispatches From The Stupid Party: Don't Know Much About Science Books

The latest evidence that morons are well represented in our legislatures comes from Nevada Republican (what else?) Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, opining about legislation she's proposing in that State to make cancer treatment more "inexpensive, cost-effective:"
Here's what she said on her radio show this weekend: "I call it my terminally ill bill," she said of new legislation she has proposed (no language yet), "basically changing some provisions of our health care system." 
Fiore, who operates a home health care business that sometimes passes payroll taxes onto the IRS, said she knew of friends who left the country to find end-of-life treatments that are not FDA-approved. And then the payoff:
"If you have cancer, which I believe is a fungus," she began, citing a widely debunked theory that the American Cancer Society warns about, "and we can put a pic line into your body and we're flushing with, say, salt water, sodium cardonate (I think she means bicarbonate), through that line and flushing out the fungus. These are some procedures that are not FDA-approved in America that are very inexpensive, cost-effective."
There's a fungus among us, and it's not cancer.

(h/t Steve Benen, Maddow Blog)

Mid-Week Liar Liar Song

While we're on the subject of lies, the Minneapolis garage band The Castaways had their one and only hit record in the summer of 1965 with "Liar Liar."  Since then, the song has been covered by the likes of The Pretenders and Debbie Harry of Blondie, and has popped up on the sound tracks of such movies as "Good Morning, Vietnam," and "Animal House."

LieWitness News

This fits a pattern, doesn't it?
"Bill O'Reilly has repeatedly claimed he personally 'heard' a shotgun blast that killed a figure in the investigation into President John F. Kennedy's assassination while reporting for a Dallas television station in 1977. O'Reilly's claim is implausible and contradicted by his former newsroom colleagues who denied the tale in interviews with Media Matters. A police report, contemporaneous reporting, and a congressional investigator who was probing Kennedy's death further undermine O'Reilly's story."
Meanwhile, after threatening a New York Times reporter who was preparing a story on his Argentina "war zone" tall tale, Bill "O'Lielly" O'Reilly is probably wondering when the many stories he's told in the past that aren't true will bite him in the tuchas.  While his Fux perch is almost certainly secure (after all, "We fabricate, you comply"), watching this bullying hack get his public comeuppance is sweet.

BONUS:  Tom Toles (via says it all:

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Irrefutable Proof That Most Republicans Are Bible-Banging Idiots

A new poll by PPP explores the primordial ooze that substitutes for gray matter in most Republican skulls (h/t Wonkette):

As if we didn't already know what was holding America back, here are the numbers. (The same poll, by the way, has Gov. Scott "Kochhead" Walker (R-I Don't Know) and Ben "On Meds?" Carson running 1-2.  That fits.)

Sic transit gloria, America.

Let The Caving Begin!

Must. Stop. Schadenfreude.  No use... bwahahahaha.
The plan that [Senate Majority Leader Mitch "Missy"] McConnell announced yesterday evening is more or less the same one that had been floated to The Hill: He will decouple the the riders undoing President Obama’s executive actions on deportation from the DHS appropriations bill. There will now, presumably, be two votes: one stand-alone bill eliminating Obama’s 2014 executive actions on immigrations — the provision against the 2012 program, DACA, will be dropped altogether, since they’ve finally discovered that being mean to children is a bad look — and then a “clean” bill on DHS funding. The timetable for getting on that “clean” bill is still unclear and may require a brief extension, since there are only four days of funding left and it takes the Senate forever to get a bill to the floor.
We’d keep our mouths shut about how this is a total cave-in from McConnell, but it’s obvious enough, and conservatives are already plenty aware. McConnell is ceding the GOP’s leverage. It’s the only move he’s got, since the Democrats’ leverage — that Republicans will be blamed for a shutdown — is considerably stronger. (our emphasis)
Of course, the Crazy Caucus (i.e., House Republicans) can always find a way to not love America (see how we did that?), but we still think it's not too soon to break out the musical accompaniment for the latest McConnell/ Boehner self-inflicted catastrophe.

More Schock-ing Disclosures

Teabagger favorite and man with a Fabulous! office, Rep. Aaron "Schlock" Schock (R-Downton Abbey) may want to start trimming his extravagant lifestyle sails.  The Associated Press has reported that the Schlockster has been spending taxpayer funds and campaign cash that he separated from his flock of sheeple on everything from private planes and concerts to… ahem... massage parlors.  It's not chump change either:  $40,000 for private planes,  nearly $2,000 on a Katy Perry concert with his interns, and almost $1,500 on a "fundraiser event" to a massage parlor.  That last ticket item will definitely go down well with his Peoria, IL holy roller constituents.

We say, "go for the swag, Schlock!" As Rethug Gov. Chris "Krispykreme" Christie said in defending his taste for the perks of office, "squeeze all the juice out of the orange" while you can, and certainly before your low-information supporters catch on.

BONUS:  FOTB and Land of Lincoln blogger Gene has more on Schlock here.

UPDATE:  Schlock has now lawyered up (Dewey, Cheatem & Howe?).

(photo:  The massage is the message!)

The Republican War On Women - Bad Biology Edition

This entry could actually be seen as a hybrid of the on-going Republican War on Women and the Republican War on Science.  It comes from the land of potatoes - Idaho - where apparently one was elected to the legislature:
An Idaho lawmaker received a brief lesson on female anatomy after asking if a woman can swallow a small camera for doctors to conduct a remote gynecological exam. 
The question Monday from Republican state Rep. Vito Barbieri came as the House State Affairs Committee heard nearly three hours of testimony on a bill that would ban doctors from prescribing abortion-inducing medication through telemedicine. 
Barbieri later said that the question was rhetorical and intended to make a point. [Ed. note: we think the point it made was not what Barbieri intended.] 
Dr. Julie Madsen, a physician who said she has provided various telemedicine services in Idaho, was testifying in opposition to the bill. She said some colonoscopy patients may swallow a small device to give doctors a closer look at parts of their colon. 
"Can this same procedure then be done in a pregnancy? Swallowing a camera and helping the doctor determine what the situation is?" Barbieri asked. 
Madsen replied that would be impossible because swallowed pills do not end up in the vagina. 
"Fascinating. That makes sense," Barbieri said, amid the crowd's laughter. [our emphasis]
First, let us say we sympathize deeply with Mrs. Barbieri (her name is Joy);  we're thinking their love life might not be very Joy-ful ("No, no, Vito.  I keep telling you that's not where it goes.").

This ignorant dullard is also a supporter of the "Oathkeepers," the gun fondlers seditionist group, and A.L.E.C., the ultra-right plutocrats' legislative cut- and- paste operation.  Surprise.

(h/t No More Mr. Nice Blog)

Clip of the Day

Watch Jon Stewart as he takes the despicable, trash-talking hack Rudy "Noun, Verb, 9-11" Giuliani out for a good thrashing over his "Obama doesn't love America" slur.

BONUS: Eugene Robinson adds his perspective:
"Giuliani’s burst of nonsense is important because it speaks to the Republican Party’s mind-set. If the party is going to contend for the White House, it first has to fully acknowledge and accept that it lost the last two presidential elections. The nation voted twice for Obama and his policies. Deal with it."

Monday, February 23, 2015

Bibi Bomb Bomb's Been Bad

Leaked documents from Israel's highly-regarded intelligence service, Mossad, indicates that Israel's Likudnik Prime Minister Bibi "Bomb Bomb" Netanyahu misrepresented Iran's readiness to produce a nuclear weapon when he gave his widely-mocked "cartoon bomb" presentation at the U.N. in 2012.  Claiming that Iran was no more than a year away from a nuclear weapon, Bibi Bomb Bomb displayed an illustration reminiscent of the Wile E. Coyote/Road Runner cartoons that showed Iran was on the threshold of manufacturing nuclear bombs. Shades of the Dumbya/The Dick's manipulation of "intelligence" on Saddam Hussein's WMD program.

Bibi Bomb Bomb is headed to Washington, D.C. in a couple of weeks to join with his neocon Republican allies in the U.S. who are seeking to undermine negotiations with Iran and to shift the dynamic to a war footing.  The leaked documents indicate that the Israeli organization charged with gathering critical information on Israel's adversaries think Bibi Bomb Bomb has been playing fast and loose with the truth.  They may also see Bibi Bomb Bomb's headlong rush to armed conflict with Iran as even more a danger to Israel than a conjured-up weapon that Iran might never possess.

Bill O'Reilly: Armchair Warrior, Cont'd.

The Fux Channel's rageaholic buffoon Bill "O'Lielly" O'Reilly is facing accusations from former colleagues at CBS that he lied about his experience in Argentina during the Falklands War.  Former CBS correspondents Eric Engberg and Charles Krause are saying that O'Lielly lied when he said he was in a "war zone" while covering the war, rather spending his time in Buenos Aires a thousand miles from the conflict.  As Krause said to Media Matters: 
"I don't recall him doing any major story that anybody remembers and he was there a very short time, then he was recalled, I don't know why.  He wasn't a team player and people thought he was grandstanding, basically."
Grandstanding?  O'Lielly?  Could have knocked us over with a loofah feather.  Apparently, there's more to come, as several other CBS reporters and staffers are refuting O'Lielly's puffery.  Time to take him down.

UPDATE:  Now Bully Boy Bill is threatening a female reporter. Someone please clean his clock.

(photo:  O'Lielly feels pain from his "war wounds.")

Scott Walker: Union-Buster And Polarizer

Koch brothers cipher and coward Gov. Scott "Kochhead" Walker (the twit whose bald spot has it's own Facebook page) is succeeding in advancing the plutocrats' agenda: bust the public sector unions, then go after all unions by making Wisconsin a "right to work" State:
The anti-union law passed here four years ago, which made Gov. Scott Walker a national Republican star and a possible presidential candidate, has turned out to be even more transformative than many had predicted. 
Walker had vowed that union power would shrink, workers would be judged on their merits, and local governments would save money. Unions had warned that workers would lose benefits and be forced to take on second jobs or find new careers. 
Many of those changes came to pass, but the once-thriving ­public-sector unions were not just shrunken — they were crippled.
Not only has Walker succeeded in crippling the public sector labor unions (teachers, professors, police, fire,  trash collection, etc.), he's also managed to polarize the public into a bitter "us versus them" frame of mind toward public sector employees:
While some union members have been energized by the fight, they say they notice a new, more vocal animosity toward them. It has been particularly pronounced in rural areas, where public-sector jobs were some of the most prized gigs in town. 
In King, population 1,700, [union member and nursing assistant Terry] Magnant said she couldn’t change a sign at the union hall without someone giving her the finger. Farther west, in Stanley, prison workers said they ditched their favorite pizza pub because the owner stood by while other customers called them “leeches."
No wonder this tool guy is a favorite of the far right.  Walker's managing to make life poorer and meaner for these union members while at the same time getting middle class Wisconsinites to feel resentful against their middle class neighbors.  Meanwhile, Walker and his like accuse Democrats of "dividing America," when their strategy all along has been "divide and conquer."

Walker's really earning his keep as the Koch brothers' employee of the year, and he wants to do for America what he's done for Wisconsin.

BONUS:  Unless you're thoroughly sick of the twit by now, here's some additional Walker reading, courtesy of Charles P. Pierce.

(Image:  via Mock Paper Scissors)

Today's Cartoon - Republican Extremists

(click on image to enlarge)

(Brian McFadden, via

Quotes Of The Day

-- Former President Bill Clinton was asked about comments by Sen. Lindsey "Hush My Huckleberries" Graham (R-Secessionland) saying Republicans would make Hillary Clinton "own Obamacare" if she's elected President.  Having been served up this fat one by Huckleberries, President Clinton swung for the fences:
“This bill [Obamacare] has already produced a lot of good results,” Clinton explained. “Look, they are desperate for this bill to fail. Because, if it’s not a failure, everything they’ve been telling us since 1980, ‘big government’s bad,’ is wrong.” 
He continued, “They so badly want it to fail. Can you remember a time in your lifetime when a major political party was sitting around just begging for America to fail? I don’t know what’s going to happen. I would be shocked if it fails. I just think when all these dire predictions don’t come out, if they don’t, I believe that pretty soon, within the next several years, it will be like Medicare and Medicaid. It will be a normal part of our lives and people will be glad it’s there.”
(Reports are that Huckleberries is still icing his "berries," kept in a secret location known only to Sen. John "Walnuts" McCain.)

-- Actress Patricia Arquette made an impassioned plea for equal pay and equal rights for women in her speech accepting the Best Supporting Actress Oscar last night:
“To every woman who gave birth, to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation. We have fought for everybody else’s equal rights. It’s our time to have wage equality once for all. And equal rights for women in the United States of America.”
-- Also at the Oscars, singer/songwriter John Legend addressed the struggle that didn't end with Selma in his speech accepting the Best Original Song award:
“We know that the Voting Rights Act that they fought for 50 years ago is being compromised right now in this country today. We know that right now, the struggle for freedom and justice is real. We live in the most incarcerated country in the world. There are more black men under correctional control today then were under slavery in 1850. We are with you, we see you, we love you and march on,” he concluded.
-- Finally, Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone on Rudy "Noun, Verb, 9/11" Giuliani and love for America:
I feel sorry for Rudy that he can't love this country the way it is. I love America even with assholes like him living in it. In fact, I'm immensely proud of our assholes; I think America has the best assholes in the world. I defy the Belgians or the Japanese to produce something like a Donald Trump. If that makes me an exceptionalist, I plead guilty.
Love it all.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

"Greece Did OK"

Paul Krugman writes about last week's last-minute deal to avert a calamity in the Greek debt crisis:
Now that the dust has settled a bit, we can look calmly at the deal — if it really is a deal that survives through tomorrow, which some people doubt. And it’s increasingly clear that Greece came out in significantly better shape, at least for now. 
The main action, always, involves the Greek primary surplus — how much more will they need to raise in revenue than they can spend on things other than interest? The question these past few days would be whether the Greeks would be forced into agreeing to aim for very high primary surpluses under the threat of being pushed into immediate crisis. And they weren’t.
He further points out that, contrary to the environment several years ago when the austerians =cough= mostly Frau Merkel's Germany =cough= were in the ascendance, the Greeks were given some breathing room -- for at least 4 months -- and avoided a credit cutoff.

Sunday Cartoons - "I'm My Own Man"

John Ellis "J.E.B." Bush's recent declaration that "I'm my own man" (contrary to observable reality) may be the 2016 campaign's equivalent to "Corporations are people, too, my friend" (also contrary to observable reality), Millionaire Mitt Romney's absurd declaration in 2012.  It was hard to find a cartoonist not snarking at the line, but we settled for these two as representative (click on image to enlarge):

(Gary Markstein, via

(Matt Davies, Newsday)

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Towering Inferno - Apartment Tower On Fire In Dubai

A massive fire broke out at the 79-story Marina Torch (yes, that's it's name) apartment tower in Dubai yesterday.  Here's the CNN video report:

Giuliani And Walker: Crank And Coward

Here are a few of the more biting editorial takes on the Rudy "Noun, Verb, 9/11" Giuliani/ Scott "Kochhead" Walker "Obama doesn't love America" debacle:

The once great Washington Post Bezos Bugle
Mr. Giuliani has dived off the deep end before, so there was nothing all that surprising in his latest poison. But as Post columnist Dana Milbank points out, his remarks presented an early test of character for Mr. Walker, and Mr. Walker failed spectacularly. At the dinner, the governor said nothing. Even the next morning, having had a night to ponder, Mr. Walker chose not to lift himself out of the Giuliani sewer. “The mayor can speak for himself. I’m not going to comment on what the president thinks or not. He can speak for himself as well,” Mr. Walker said on CNBC. “I’ll tell you, I love America, and I think there are plenty of people — Democrat, Republican, independent, everyone in between — who love this country.” 
Mr. Walker likes to present himself as a man of courage, based on his record in Wisconsin, but maybe facing down public-sector unions doesn’t tell you all that much about the bravery of a Republican governor. On two occasions in recent days, he has proved himself incapable of saying basic truths that might offend some of his potential voters: First, that evolution is real, and second, that an honorable politician criticizes his opponent’s policies, not his patriotism. 
The N.Y Daily News
Rudy, Rudy, Rudy. What the hell’s gotten into you? Something awful. 
Odiously, New York’s former mayor declared on Wednesday evening that Barack Obama is a President who loves neither the U.S. nor many of its people. 
“I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the President loves America,” Giuliani told a dinner featuring Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a potential Republican presidential contender. 
Having descended into that deep, dark hole, where dismal people live, Giuliani continued: “He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country.” 
It is impossible to say which is more appalling: 
Giuliani’s willful ignorance of Obama’s heritage (his grandfather served in World War II while his grandmother worked on a B-29 assembly line); Giuliani’s division of the country into right-thinking Americans (Republicans) and unworthy others; or Giuliani’s sense that he had hit on a winning political tactic in poking the hornet’s nest of haters. 
Rudy Giuliani loves America. But apparently he hates Barack Obama even more. 
If any more proof were needed, this episode forever marks "Noun, Verb, 9/11" Giuliani as a desperate, attention-seeking crank, and "Kochhead" Walker as a cipher and a coward.

BONUS:  After having expressed little interest in an anti-union "right to work" law during his recent campaign, courageous Man of the Plutocrats "Kochhead" Walker now plans to sign just such a law being fast-tracked by the Republican legislature in Wisconsin Kochland.

BONUS II:  Wait, there's more "Kochhead" Walker "doesn't know":  whether President Obama's a Christian.  What a chickenshit.  In less than a week, this plutocrat cipher has disqualified himself from serious presidential consideration, even by the low standards of his party.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Bamboozling Quote of the Day

“I just want everybody to remember that at every step as we made these policies, as we made this progress, we were told by our good friends the Republicans that our actions would crush jobs, and explode deficits and destroy the country…..Their predictions of doom and gloom and death panels and Armageddon haven’t come true.  Sky hasn’t fallen. Chicken Little’s quiet.” -- (emphasis added) President Obama speaking to the Democratic National Committee's Winter Meeting today.  He also noted that the latest Rethuglican tactic is to appropriate Democratic themes like addressing "income inequality."  He called attempts by the Rethugs to claim to be the party of the middle class "bamboozling."  We would use a less polite word also beginning in "b."

BONUS BAMBOOZLING QUOTE:  Referring to the asinine claim from Senate Majority Leader Mitch "Missy" McConnell after the election last November:
"As he [McConnell] was coming in, after having tried to block every single thing that we had done to strengthen the economy, starts looking at the jobs numbers and says, 'You know, it's getting better because we just got elected and people are feeling more optimistic.' I didn't know that's how the economy worked."

Frozen Photo of the Day

A frozen American Falls at Niagara Falls this week, as Arctic air descended into the middle Atlantic and New England states.

(photo:  Lindsay Dedario/Reuters)

The Rock Thrower's Glass House

Yesterday, we noted the Fux Network's Crusader-in-Chief Bill "O'Lielly" O'Reilly's foray into religious warfare nuttery, and how it would damage the prospects of defeating ISIS by adding fuel to the fire they've started.  O'Lielly's also been on a self-righteous tear regarding NBC News anchor Brian Williams' tall tales about his experiences in Iraq and elsewhere, criticizing "liberal media" deceptions over the years. After a couple of days of smug buffoonery, O'Lielly was nailed for telling his own tall tales told about his experiences during the Falklands War and Northern Ireland, among other places.  The Mother Jones article cites numerous examples of O'Lielly puffing up his "wartime" experience.  Prior to publication, Fux and O'Lielly were asked to comment, but declined.  True to form, O'Lielly now is resorting to nasty name calling.  Perhaps if he hadn't been so eager to throw rocks, he wouldn't be dealing with a lot of broken glass.

Weekend Music

The Spanish classical guitarist Andres Segovia was born 122 years ago tomorrow.  We're certainly fortunate to have lived in his age and to have the technology to enjoy his genius over and over again. This is one of his more famous transcriptions, "Asturias" by Isaac Albeniz.  Listen and watch and you'll understand why Segovia is considered by many to be the greatest guitarist of all time. Enjoy your weekend.

Today's Reading - Of Cranks, Charlatans, Deadbeats And The Stupid

Today, we're starting off with Paul Krugman's discussion of deadbeat Gov. Scott "Kochhead" Walker's  (R-Kochland) pandering to the Republican Party's economic charlatans and cranks:
Scott Walker, the governor of Wisconsin, is said to be a rising contender for the Republican presidential nomination. So, on Wednesday, he did what, these days, any ambitious Republican must, and pledged allegiance to charlatans and cranks. [snip] 
But, on Wednesday, Mr. Walker, in what was clearly a rite of passage into serious candidacy, spoke at a dinner at Manhattan’s “21” Club hosted by the three most prominent supply-siders: Art Laffer (he of the curve); Larry Kudlow of CNBC; and Stephen Moore, chief economist of the Heritage Foundation. Politico pointed out that Rick Perry, the former governor of Texas, attended a similar event last month. Clearly, to be a Republican contender you have to court the powerful charlatan caucus. (our emphasis)
By the way, that would be the same gathering of charlatans and cranks that were treated to has-been demagogue and philanderer Rudy "Noun, Verb, 9/11" Giuliani's characteristically despicable remarks about President Obama not "loving America."

Why did we call Scott "Kochhead" Walker a "deadbeat"?  Let Beth Ethier explain:
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker touts the generous tax cuts he's pushed through since 2010 to bolster his image as one of the 2016 GOP presidential field’s most high-profile fiscal conservatives. (One economically conservative activist told Slate's Betsy Woodruff that Walker's 2014 gubernatorial election was more important to him than every other election in the country combined.) But those tax cuts have not created the hoped-for economic growth, and even after big reductions in public spending, Wisconsin is in the midst of a budget crisis: Bloomberg reported Wednesday that the Walker administration will skip a debt payment of $108 million that is due in May.
That would be the same "Kochhead" Walker who wants to give the owner of the Milwaukee Bucks basketball team $200 million for a new arena Walker.

As for The Republican Stupid, readers of this blog should be well versed in The Republican Stupid, given our long-running, on-going feature "Today's Dispatches From The Stupid Party."  Damon Linker (a great name for an aggregating blogger, by the way), opines that even more outrageous than the Republican pandering to the economic charlatans and cranks is their pandering to another of the party's "demographics":
And really, isn't that what's most outrageous about the contemporary Republican Party — how ready and even eager it is to go slumming for support in the fever swamps of white cultural resentment? [snip] 
Far greater civic damage is done by the GOP pandering to (and flattering the prejudices of) right-wing cultural populists. [snip] 
That's what's inspired such sparkling policy gems as Mitt Romney's proposal that undocumented workers "self-deport" and Herman Cain's 9-9-9 tax cut gimmick. It's also given us Sen. Ted Cruz — a politician whose every word and action seems driven by the singular desire to transform himself into an archetype of the median Fox News viewer.   
And then there's Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who's already in the lead to win this election cycle's award for Achievements in Pandering.
Linker then discusses "Kochhead" Walker's adventures in edumacational gutting "reform" at the University of Wisconsin and his pandering on whether or not he believes in evolution.

So, there you have it:  a party that's of the worst, by the worst and for the worst.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Depends On Who Said It Cartoon

(click to enlarge)

Their hypocrisy knows no bounds.

(cartoon:  Nick Anderson, Houston Chronicle, via

Germany: Putin, Ja! Greece, Nein!

The uber-austerians in Berlin are tough.  They won't let up until Greece - the birthplace of democracy - is buried:
Germany quickly rejected a conciliatory bailout proposal by Greece on Thursday, dampening hopes that emergency talks might break a deadlock threatening the country with default and an exit from the euro.
But Putin, well that's another bowl of borscht:
France and Germany, which oversaw marathon peace talks between the Ukrainian and Russian leaders last week in Minsk, Belarus, both signaled Thursday that they’re determined to salvage the cease-fire deal and keep the two sides talking. 
The German government said the four leaders had agreed “to stick to the Minsk agreements despite the serious breach of the cease-fire in Debaltseve.” It said “immediate concrete steps” were necessary to ensure that the cease-fire is fully implemented and heavy weapons are withdrawn.  (our emphasis)
Unlike Russia, Greece doesn't have a natural gas pipeline going up Frau Merkel's heinie.

Scheisse kopfe!

Unemployment Claims Down

Jobless claims dropped last week by 21,000 to 283,000, signaling an increasingly healthy jobs market, according to the Labor Department.  The economy has added more than a million jobs in the past three months, the best job growth in 18 years.

It's all Obama's fault.

BREAKING: Rudy Giuliani Still An A-hole

Has-been former New York Mayor Rudy "Noun, Verb, 9/11" Giuliani yields to no one in his willingness to say the most vile things in his never-ending quest for attention:
“I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America,” Giuliani said during the dinner at the 21 Club, a former Prohibition-era speakeasy in midtown Manhattan. “He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country.”
Koch brothers employee of the year Gov. Scott "Kochhead" Walker (R-Kochland) was the featured guest at the dinner attended by approximately 60 Republican plutocrats and media types. Walker just sat there like the cipher he is when Noun, Verb, 9/11 Giuliani slurred the President. (Walker still won't contradict Noun, Verb, 9/11 Giuliani.  What a coward.)

Apparently, efforts by right-wingers to de-legitimatize the President, to make him the foreign Kenyan usurper of their wet dreams, refuse to die despite two electoral landslides confirming his legitimacy and authority.  (If they want a real case study in political illegitimacy, they need look no farther than the 2000 election decided by the Supreme Court, in which Al Gore beat Dumbya by over 500,000 votes.) Sometimes, it's the dog whistle that's intended just for the racist dolts in the Republican base; sometimes, it's a more direct slur like Noun, Verb, 9/11 Giuliani's.  But it arises from the same animus that a Democrat -- a Democrat of color, no less -- has out-smarted and beaten them time and again.

Steve Benen makes another good point about Noun, Verb, 9/11 Giuliani:
... [I]n 2015, the cheap, toxic rhetoric lingers. Unwilling or unable to engage the president on matters of policy, too many Republicans find it easier to attack the president personally, based on imaginary slights against the country.  
Dear Rudy, at the height of U.S./Russian tensions, you went on national television to declare Vladimir Putin a great leader. Maybe the president isn’t the one whose patriotism needs questioning.
Unfortunately, the more attention that's paid to outlandish comments like these by this pipsqueak philanderer, the more airtime he gets and the more the cycle is perpetuated. Let's just all agree he's an irredeemable a-hole and leave it at that.

UPDATE:  The New York Daily News' Wayne Barrett has this devastating, epic takedown of Noun, Verb, 9/11's vile attack on Obama.  A must read.

Bill O'Reilly: Armchair Warrior

Fux Network blowhard and man-prone-to-obscene-outbursts Bill "O'Liely" O'Reilly has decided "the holy war begins…the holy war is here" when it comes to combatting the ISIS terrorists.  As a practical matter, O'Liely is actually endorsing ISIS' recruitment message, giving their theocratic paranoia credence by claiming non-Muslims need to engage Muslims in this bogus "war".   Well done, pinhead.

As is true with most right-wing chicken hawks, O'Liely's career kept him out of uniform and far from the horrors of war.  We can expect in any future war -- holy or mundane -- we'll find O'Liely comfortably ensconced in front of Rupert "Aargh" Murdoch's microphone urging others into battles that he won't fight himself.

UPDATE:  Chris Hayes sums it up best:
"Can you imagine anything ISIS wants more than a Christian-identified army lining up from Christendom against them? It only feeds their claim that they represent Islam and a holy war against the rest, a narrative that helps recruitment and radicalization, and gives oxygen to the very fire we are trying to snuff out."

Morning Reads - Hack and Bush

Paul Krugman on Heritage Foundation hack Stephen Moore's problem with facts, most recently Moore's ridiculous Wall Street Journal op/ed on the Affordable Care Act:
[T]his is a guy who has a troubled relationship with facts. I don’t mean that he’s a slick dissembler; I mean that he seems more or less unable to publish an article without filling it with howlers — true, all erring in the direction he wants — in a way that ends up doing his cause a disservice. For example, his attempt to refute something I wrote about Kansas ended up being mainly a story about why Stephen can’t count, which presumably wasn’t his intention. 
But here’s the mystery: evidently Moore has had a successful career. Why? 
Think about Heritage: It’s immensely wealthy, and could surely afford to hire a technically competent right-wing hack. The Wall Street Journal, similarly, could have attracted someone much less likely to trip over his own intellectual shoelaces. Again, the problem isn’t even that Moore got the macroeconomics of recent years all wrong, although he did; it’s the inability to write without making embarrassing mistakes.
Moore and all the other hacks on wingnut welfare aren't particularly concerned with the facts because they know their audience isn't going to research what they wrote.  They get paid, handsomely, to feed b.s. to the angry and perpetually misinformed (more about the overall scam here).

Dana Milbank on "own man" John Ellis "J.E.B." Bush's carrying on the Bush family traditions:
When he addressed the Chicago Council on Global Affairs luncheon at the Fairmont, he combined his father’s awkward oratory with his brother’s mangled syntax and malapropisms. Like his brother, he said “nucular” instead of “nuclear,” and he hunched over the lectern with both hands on it — but instead of exuding folksiness, as his brother does, he oozed discomfort. 
A top priority, he explained, is “reforming a broken immigration system and turning it into an economic — a catalytic converter for sustained economic growth.” 
Presumably he was reaching for “catalyst” but instead came up with an automotive emissions-control device. 
There's lots, lots more where that came from, all in one speech.  And, remember:  he's supposed to be the "smart Bush."

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Mid-Week Wallflower Songs

Best-selling jazz pianist and singer Diana Krall's newest album features a cover of Bob Dylan's 1971 tune,"Wallflower."   It's maybe no coincidence that Dylan's son, Jakob, fronts the rock band The Wallflowers, who perform our second tune, the Grammy-winning "One Headlight."  Enjoy.

"J.E.B." Bush Is His Own Man; Just Ask His Brother's Advisers

As we've noted, John Ellis "J.E.B." Bush is busy trying to distance himself from the catastrophic administration of his brother Dumbya, starting with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  He says, "I am my own man — and my views are shaped by my own thinking and own experiences."

How's that playing out in reality?
In light of that claim, it's interesting to consider the foreign policy advisers with whom Jeb Bush has, as his own man, chosen to surround himself. Like Tom Ridge and Michael Chertoff, George W.'s two homeland security secretaries. And Porter Goss and Michael Hayden, two of George W.'s CIA directors. And Iraq War architects Paul Wolfowitz, Stephen Hadley, and Meghan O'Sullivan. The list goes on.
Essentially, the neo-con Republican establishment.  He just needs former President Vice President Dick "The Dick" Cheney to complete the rogues gallery and he'll be all set.

And he's supposed to be the "smart Bush."

BONUS:  Or, as the always-amusing Andy Borowitz says, "Bush Says He Will Harm Nation Differently Than His Brother".

Shearing The Sheep: The Republican "Circle of Scam"

Paul Waldman discusses a recent report by John Hawkins of Right Wing News on the money-raising scams being run by various right-wing groups, notably "tea party" organizations.  The monies were being raised supposedly to elect right-wing Republicans, but in effect ended up lining the pockets of grifters (as an example the "Tea Party Express" spent only 5 percent of the funds it raised on the candidates it was supporting).  Waldman describes the "circle of scam:"
... Organizations like the Heritage Foundation and FreedomWorks pay radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity big money to offer on-air endorsements that are the radio equivalent of “native advertising.” Future presidential candidate Mike Huckabee sells his email list on “miracle cancer cures” hidden in the Bible. Conservative media figures like Dick Morris solicit contributions that somehow are never turned to the political ends they claim. Nobody wants to upend the system, because too many people are getting a taste. 
The common thread can be found in the marks: the little old lady in Tupelo who sends in $50 thinking that she’s striking a blow against Barack Obama, the couple in Topeka who hopes Mike Huckabee’s biblical cancer cure can save their daughter’s life, the man in Toledo who thinks that the group with “Tea Party” in its name is going to have an impact on his state’s races. What none of them know is that their money is just going to make somebody who’s already rich a little bit richer.
Beyond financing the lifestyle of countless right-wing pundits, consultants and snake-oil salesmen, what's that "little old lady in Tupelo" going to get for her $50?
... There’s a line that runs from those donors to the biggest players in conservative politics and the politicians they support. When thousands of volunteers set out to knock doors on behalf of Americans for Prosperity, what are they seeking? A better America, more freedom, a return to the simpler time they remember from their youth? All that and more. But what are they actually going to get? They’ve been set to work by AFP’s prime donors, Charles and David Koch (whose combined net worth may exceed $100 billion), to elect candidates who will work tirelessly to lower investment taxes, destroy the right of workers to bargain collectively, and lessen the terrible burden of environmental, consumer protection, and worker safety regulations that so oppress the likes of the Kochs. 
One wonders if the sheep being sheared will ever realize their hard-earned dollars are not so much going to defeat the Kenyan tyrant Obama and his Demon-crat party, but rather to fund efforts to make their own lives less safe, prosperous and secure.  We're not counting on it.

(Big h/t to P.E.C.)

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Americans Don't Like The Bibi And Boehner Show

In addition to the unpopularity of his Department of Homeland Security shutdown gambit, Weeper of the House John "Mr. Tangerine Man" Boehner's invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Bibi "Bibi Bomb Bomb" Netanyahu to address Congress without consulting with the White House has shaped up to be another FAIL with the American public:
A large majority of Americans believe that Republican congressional leaders should not have invited Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to Congress without consulting the White House, according to a new CNN/ORC survey. 
The nationwide poll, released Tuesday, shows 63% of Americans say it was a bad move for congressional leadership to extend the invitation without giving President Barack Obama a heads up that it was coming. Only 33% say it was the right thing to do. (our emphasis)
Again, the roughly 30% thinking it was "the right thing to do?"  The Republican base. (It was the right-wing thing to do, apparently.)

(Accompanying musical coda.)

(Photo:  "Alphonse" and "Gaston".)

Republican Judge Halts Obama's Immigration Reform -- For Now

It's not just the Republican House of Representatives pulling out all the stops to sabotage President Obama's immigration reform executive action (see post below).  Yesterday, a Republican judge in (where else?) Texas, responding to a suit by 26 Republican State attorneys general, put his head up his ass and came out with this:
Judge Andrew S. Hansen [Hanen] of Federal District Court in Brownsville, an appointee of President George W. Bush, issued an order prohibiting the administration from carrying out its deportation relief programs, for which applications were to begin Wednesday. In November, the president announced that his administration would exercise prosecutorial discretion by extending deportation reprieves to immigrants who met certain requirements, had family ties in the U.S., and did not have criminal records.
The Administration has said it will appeal the judge's order to the 5th Circuit Court (where, most legal experts believe the order will be overturned), and issued this statement:
The Supreme Court and Congress have made clear that the federal government can set priorities in enforcing our immigration laws — which is exactly what the President did when he announced commonsense policies to help fix our broken immigration system. Those policies are consistent with the laws passed by Congress and decisions of the Supreme Court, as well as five decades of precedent by presidents of both parties who have used their authority to set priorities in enforcing our immigration laws.
As with the 5 Republican "justices" on the Supreme Court, the Federal judiciary (not to mention State courts =cough= Alabama = cough=) is sprinkled with far-right ideologues who are all- too- willing to ignore law and precedent in their losing, rear-guard action to damage the President and protect the powerful and the privileged.  This has nothing to do with the merits (just as the King v. Burwell attack on the Affordable Care Act has nothing to do with the merits).  It's all about delay, sabotage and obstruction, and it's the only thing the Republican/ New Confederate/ Stupid Party seems to be good at.

BONUS:  Regarding "merit," here's Charlie Pierce on the Administration's claim of prosecutorial discretion in providing relief in deportations:
That Hanen is as full of shit as the Christmas goose should go without saying, but we'll say it, anyway. The discretion of both prosecutors and of the executive branch in deciding the merits and ultimate value of what cases they choose to pursue is well established in law, especially in U.S. v. Armstrong, a decision handed down by that hippie chief justice, the late William Rehnquist.  
That's all the analysis we need.

Boehner And The Looming Republican Shutdown

Lots today about the potential shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security, starting with this poll showing who the American public would blame:
Republicans in Congress would shoulder the blame for a shutdown at the Department of Homeland Security if they are unable to enact a new spending bill to keep the agency running, according to a new CNN/ORC poll. The survey finds 53% of Americans would blame the Republicans in Congress if the department must shut down, while 30% would blame President Barack Obama. Another 13% say both deserve the blame. 
If a spending bill is not passed by Feb. 28, the agency's funding will run out. (our emphasis)
The 30% who would blame Obama?  That's the reality-averse Republican base.

Here's a sampling of the analysis from pundits and editorial boards that underline where the problem lies:

Eugene Robinson
The House of Representatives seems to be trying mightily to make itself irrelevant, with Speaker John Boehner leading the effort. I can’t help but think of the old proverb: “The dogs bark, but the caravan moves on.” 
The caravan, in this case, consists of President Obama, the Senate and the American people. It’s still early, but one has to wonder whether anything but yipping and yapping will emerge from the House before the next election. Prospects, thus far, are not promising. 
Under Boehner’s leadership, House Republicans are holding the Department of Homeland Security hostage in an attempt to force Obama to undo his executive actions on immigration. (our emphasis)
The Miami Herald
Congressional Republicans bungled just about every chance to take action on immigration reform. President Obama, eventually, took action on immigration reform. So the GOP doesn’t want to fund the Department of Homeland Security. 
Makes sense, no? Only in that parallel universe called “Inside the Beltway.” 
DHS, is set to run out of money on Feb. 27, less than two weeks from now. For all its faults, DHS should not be the political football with which the Republican-controlled Congress attempts to score a touchdown against President Obama. (our emphasis)
The once great Washington Post Bezos Bugle
“The House has done its job,” Mr. Boehner (R-Ohio) said, imperiously. 
By Washington’s cynical standards, Mr. Boehner may have a point. The Republican-controlled House indeed did do a job — a job on the American people. It passed a funding bill for DHS — with poison-pill riders attached to defund President Obama’s immigration policy — that it fully knew had no chance of passing the Senate or being signed into law. 
Mr. Boehner’s implicit argument is that the obligation of lawmakers begins and ends with posturing. Not compromising. Not moving the ball forward. And not accepting political reality and doing the responsible thing, which in this case is to maintain funding and operations at a department with 240,000 employees that oversees border and airport security, the Secret Service and dozens of other critical government functions. 
The bill passed by House Republicans would defund Mr. Obama’s executive order to shield several million illegal immigrants from deportation. In the kabuki theater of Congress, the bill has followed a predictable course. It has been taken up three times in the Senate, where it lacks the 60 votes needed to clear procedural hurdles, and three times it has been filibustered by Democrats, just as Mr. Boehner and every other member of Congress knew it would be.  (our emphasis)
Only a fool or a shameless right-wing partisan (same diff?) would lay the blame for this destined- to- fail "strategery" at the Democrats' doorstep.  No, it's the same old government-hating cranks and crackpots that have taken over the Republican/ New Confederate/ Stupid Party back to playing their old games.  Anyone who seriously thought this bunch was ready for "governing" needs to take a remedial class in recent American history.  Their aim has been, is and always will be to undermine, discredit and stymie government in order for their klepto-plutocrat sponsors to ultimately run amok. If, in the process, they can demonstrate to their racist, nativist base that they want to stick it to the children of Hispanic immigrants, so much the better.