Trump’s National Security Nominee Quits Before She Starts Amid Plagiarism Scandal

Donald Trump has been populating his cabinet with decidedly unsavory figures bent on destroying the agencies they will lead. And while appointing arsonists to run the Fire Departments, he has failed to properly vet his nominees. Case in point is Monica Crowley, tapped as strategic communications director of the National Security Council.

Monica Crowley

Crowley, formerly of Fox News, was discovered to have plagiarized portions of her 2012 book, “What The (Bleep) Just Happened.” CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski documented more than fifty instances of text that was taken from other sources without attribution. In addition, Politico reported that Crowley also allegedly plagiarized portions of her doctoral dissertation from Columbia University.

The Trump transition team initially dismissed these reports as politically motivated attacks. However, the budding scandal heated up when her publisher, HarperCollins, pulled the book off the market. It would be difficult for the Trump camp to accuse HarperCollins of partisanship given that it’s owned by the same corporate parent as Fox News.

Monday morning Crowley spoke with the Washington Times and revealed she would not be joining the Trump administration after all. As reported by TVNewser, she said that:

“After much reflection I have decided to remain in New York to pursue other opportunities and will not be taking a position in the incoming administration,” Crowley said in a statement, to the Washington Times. “I greatly appreciate being asked to be part of President-elect Trump’s team and I will continue to enthusiastically support him and his agenda for American renewal.”

Trump’s nominee for National Security Adviser, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, expressed regrets that Crowley had bowed out. He wished her well saying “The NSC will miss the opportunity to have Monica Crowley as part of our team.” No mention of the plagiarism charges was made by either Crowley or Trump’s people. However, this embarrassing episode could have been avoided with competent vetting. Crowley’s sticky fingers have been part of the public record since at least 1999. At that time the Wall Street Journal caught her plagiarizing an article from Commentary Magazine for a Journal feature.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Perhaps this is why Congress is so anxious to barrel through the confirmation hearings before the ethics reviews have been completed. Their unprecedented rush violates the standards that Senate Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had demanded for President Obama’s nominees. Unfortunately, their haste and incompetence could have grave consequences for the country. The Crowley affair is just the tip of the iceberg. We can expect further scandals and untold harm as a result of staffing the government with crooks and amateurs.

GOP Hypocrites Abandon Criteria For Cabinet Nominees That They Demanded From Obama

As Inauguration Day draws closer, Donald Trump’s transition continues to break with ethical standards that have had bipartisan approval for decades. Now his cabinet nominees are scheduled to have hearings in a slap-dash, marathon day of Senate gabfests. This is designed deliberately to make it impossible for senators and citizens to fully consider the nominees.

Mitch McConnell

The Office of Government Ethics (OGE) is expressed its misgivings with the Republican scheduling. The OGE director warned that the plan to hold confirmation hearings before the completion of ethics reviews is “of great concern.” In a letter to the Senate he said:

“As OGE’s director, the announced hearing schedule for several nominees who have not completed the ethics review process is of great concern to me. […] I am not aware of any occasion in the four decades since OGE was established when the Senate held a confirmation hearing before the nominee had completed the ethics review process.”

Also expressing concern was the Democratic National Committee. They called for the hearings to be delayed until the ethics office had sufficient time to complete the reviews. Absent that, DNC spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said that “the only reasonable conclusion to be drawn is that they are concerned about what will be exposed.”

Among the reviews still being conducted are FBI background checks, OGE investigations into conflicts of interest, and financial disclosures. And what makes this all the more interesting is that Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell had the very same concerns. Not now, but back in 2009 when it was Obama’s nominees being considered. McConnell wrote to then-Majority Leader Harry Reid to insist that all these reviews must be completed and returned in enough time to review prior to the hearings.

Joining the call for adhering to ethical precedents was Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who tweeted:

Not surprisingly, Reince Priebus, Trump’s Chief of Staff, is comfortable with jettisoning ethics reviews. On Fox News Sunday he said that “there’s no reason … they have all the information that they need. It’s no different from any other new administration coming in.” However, McConnell’s letter proves that it’s entirely different.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

The standards that Republicans impose on Democrats is a much higher one than that to which they hold themselves. That’s why their nominees have been criticized for their blatant conflicts and unsavory behavior. And it’s why Republicans are so anxious to shove these cretins through the confirmation process before everyone finds out about them.

CONFIRMED: Russia WAS Helping Donald Trump To Win The Election After All

Charges that Russia played a role in tampering with the just concluded U.S. election have been floating around for months. Insiders have revealed some of the covert actions with disturbing specificity. However, official government channels have been reluctant to make these charges formal. Until now.

Donald Trump Vladimir Putin

The Washington Post just published an article that blows the roof off of this story. The article states that:

“The CIA has concluded in a secret assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump win the presidency, rather than just to undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral system, according to officials briefed on the matter.”

That’s a shocking statement from ordinarily tight-lipped agencies to make. The ramifications of this disclosure are profound and can lead to prosecutions and alter the outcome of the election. Making matters worse, this was known long before Election Day by both the CIA and Congress.

The leaders of both houses of Congress, and the chairmen of the intelligence committees, were informed of this in September. Democrats sought to form a bipartisan agreement to make this critical information available to the public. That ought to have been the only responsible course of action given the circumstances. However, Republicans balked and acted to suppress the CIA’s findings and keep the American people in the dark.

Despite the obvious importance to voters, GOP leader Mitch McConnell dismissed the consensus view of the intelligence professionals. He said that he would publicly oppose the release of the non-partisan info as being politically motivated. Never mind that he had no evidence to suspect any bias on the part of the CIA. Trump’s team made a statement Friday that also cast doubt on the intelligence community. That should make it hard for them to work together if he becomes their boss in a few weeks. His statement said:

“These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. The election ended a long time ago in one of the biggest Electoral College victories in history. It’s now time to move on and ‘Make America Great Again.'”

Actually, that isn’t true. The allegations about WMDs were orchestrated from the White House of George W. Bush and dictated to intelligence officials, not the other way around. Plus, the CIA isn’t made of the same people after sixteen years anyway. As for the Electoral College, Trump’s victory isn’t even in the top ten going back sixty years.

The revelations in this report are all the more troubling when you factor in Trump’s unsavory relationships with Russia. He has repeatedly praised Vladimir Putin and defended him against previous charges of hacking. As recently as last week he told Time Magazine that “I don’t believe they interfered.” He also went further than that in a campaign speech when he actually asked Russia to hack into Hillary Clinton’s email. What’s more, many of Trump’s aides and early cabinet picks are also affiliated with Russia.

President Obama has ordered a “full review” of Russian hacking during the election campaign. He asked for that review to be completed prior to January 20, 2017, when he will leave office. That’s important in order to prevent Trump from “round-filing” it after inauguration. However, if justice is to be served, whatever is known currently should be made public now. The Electoral College should have this information before voting on December 19.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Even with what is only known now, any member of the Electoral College that votes for Trump is potentially complicit in treason. At the very least it would be irresponsible to allow Trump to take residency in the White House with this cloud hanging over him. This is precisely the sort of event that the Electoral College was designed to deal with by the Founders. And the evidence is damning enough to take the extraordinary action of denying Trump the presidency for the sake of national security.

The Death Of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia Is Instantly Politicized By Callous Republicans

The sudden and unexpected death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has produced a flurry of reactions from across the political spectrum. Everyone offering a comment has begun with praise for his public service and intellect, and expressions of condolences for his family.

Antonin Scalia

Unfortunately, Republicans have wasted no time in turning this personal tragedy into a political opportunity. GOP presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio (also members of the Senate) added to their sympathies a demand that President Obama refrain from nominating a replacement and leave that to whoever is president in January of 2017. Others, including Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who holds the power to vote or not, have made similar demands. After offering her condolences, Hillary Clinton responded to the GOP by saying that their intention to leave the seat vacant dishonors our Constitution.

There are several problems with the Republican’s overt obstructionism, starting with the fact that it is the constitutional duty of the President to nominate a replacement when there is a vacancy. It would be wholly inappropriate for him to simply ignore that obligation for political purposes. The Senate could refuse to confirm the nominee, or even allow it to come up for a vote. Of course, that would be an abdication of their constitutional duty, but they could do it. The President, however, should not be complicit with that negligence. The Founders intended the Supreme Court to reflect the mood of the nation as represented by the chief executive — not the mood of the nation as represented by the chief executive unless he’s in the last year of his administration.

Another reason that the President should nominate a replacement as soon as possible, and the Senate should confirm, is that this year the Supreme Court has a particularly heavy calendar. There are many cases waiting to be heard, and some are critical issues that will have far reaching effect. The litigants ought not to be penalized by self-serving politicians. And there has never been a vacancy on the Supreme Court for a year, which is what the GOP obstructionists are proposing. Some of the decisions to be made by the court this term could…

  • Limit the ability of unions to collectively bargain (Friedrichs).
  • Further restrict the use of race in college admissions (Fisher).
  • Drastically limit the ability of people to band together in class actions to stop corporate wrongdoing (Spokeo, Campbell-Ewald, Tyson Foods).
  • Dismantle environmental regulations (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission).
  • Expand the scope of forced arbitration (DIRECTV and Zaborowski).
  • Further undermine the voting rights of communities of color in urban areas (Evenwel).
  • Sanction far-right efforts to radically restrict women’s abortion rights and ability to obtain contraceptive medical coverage (Whole Woman’s Health and Zubik).

If a new justice is not confirmed, the pending cases would be heard by a short-handed court. And since this court has been divided ideologically with a five to four conservative advantage, there is a great possibility of frequent ties should this vacancy remain. In the event of a 4/4 tie, the ruling of the lower court would stand. From the Republican perspective, this might not be to their advantage. After eight years of the Obama presidency the district courts currently have a majority of Democratic nominated judges. Consequently, those lower court rulings may be more to the liking of liberals. So any effort by the GOP to obstruct the confirmation of a new nominee by Obama may have the opposite effect of what they intend. Senate Republicans also risk the possibility that they will not be in the majority next year and the next president, if Democratic, would have far more leeway in who they nominate.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

The bottom line is that our government is supposed to work on behalf of the people, not at the whim of the politicians. By obstructing Obama’s constitutional mandate, Republicans would only further cement the impression of them as fomenting division and gridlock. In an election year where the public is fed up with political game-playing, that will likely hurt Republicans at the polls. On the plus side, it might finally elevate the appointment of Supreme Court justices as an election issue. That would be a good thing that should have happened long ago.

Update: President Obama offered his condolences. He also responded to the GOP’s irresponsible and callous politicization of Scalia’s passing, saying in part that…

“Today is a time to remember Justice Scalia’s legacy. I plan to fulfill my constitutional responsibilities to nominate a successor in due time. And there will be plenty of time for me to so and for the Senate to fulfill its responsibility and to give that person a fair hearing and a timely vote. These are responsibilities that I take seriously, as should everyone. They are bigger than any one party. They are about our democracy.”

Not The Onion: GOP Congressman Already Floating Impeachment For Hillary Clinton

The Huffington Post is reporting that Alabama’s Mo Brooks isn’t taking any chances when it comes to hounding Hillary Clinton out of an office that she hasn’t even won yet:

“Hillary Clinton isn’t president yet. She hasn’t even won the Democratic nomination. But a Republican congressman is already getting ready for the opportunity to impeach her — on the first day of her hypothetical presidency.”

[Brooks said that] “In my judgement, with respect to Hillary Clinton, she will be a unique president if she is elected by the public next November, because the day she’s sworn in is the day that she’s subject to impeachment because she has committed high crimes and misdemeanors.”

Where do Republicans find these weasels? What’s especially funny to me about this is that two years ago I wrote a satirical article that proposed this very same idea – except I was joking. This seems like a good time to re-post it here in full:


May 12, 2013
Vowing to get an early start on efforts to remove Hillary Clinton from the White House, Republican leaders in congress have announced their intention to hold hearings on what they claim are the high crimes and misdemeanors that Hillary Clinton will commit once she assumes the presidency in January of 2017.

Hillary Clinton

Although she has not yet been sworn in to office (or elected, or announced her candidacy) Republicans are determined not waste any time in initiating her impeachment. House Speaker John Boehner told reporters that…

“We do not want to repeat the mistakes we made in the previous [i.e. current] administration where we waited too long to get the ball rolling. After all, President Obama was in office for nearly a month before we took meaningful action to remove him.”

Some members of the GOP attribute the failure to impeach Obama on the late start they got on manufacturing allegations of malfeasance and ginning up outrage over imaginary scandals. Consequently, they chased after flimsy accusations of foreign birth and socialist aspirations that never caught on with the public. That left them facing a reelection campaign dominated by impotent sound bites of whether or not small businesses “built that” and desperate rejections of real data including poll results and unemployment numbers. Republican strategist Karl Rove Rove addressed these shortcomings saying…

“We are proud of the fallacies we created and promoted. No one worked harder to invent phony issues than we did. Could we have done better? Should we have connected Obama to Hitler more often, or the spread of the Bubonic Plague? Sure, but it’s always easier to criticize with hindsight.”

This is not to say that there weren’t zealous attempts to plunder the Obama presidency. Republican politicians, with the help of Fox News and the Koch brothers, worked feverishly to construct controversies designed to hobble the administration. They labored over “Fast and Furious,” Solyndra, Bill Ayres, and ObamaCare, which they unsuccessfully took all the way to the Supreme Court. Each of these affairs, and several more, were alleged to be Obama’s Watergate,” but none of them gained any traction with a populace that proved to be smarter than the Tea Party – admittedly, not a very high bar.

The latest episode for which conservative muckrakers are crying wolf (or Watergate, as the case may be) is the tragedy that took the lives of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya. However, even with the help of near blanket broadcasting of Benghazi hysteria by Fox News, the utter lack of any compelling evidence of wrongdoing has turned the whole affair into a mushy smear campaign notable only for the tacky theatrics of the accusers. Even the specter of a cover-up fell flat when the proponents of that theory could not explain what exactly was being covered-up. “We forgot that little detail,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz (Tea Party-UT).

Rather than risk a similar fate in the event that Clinton runs for and wins the presidency in 2016, Republicans are casting their lots now. Since it doesn’t matter whether the object of their scorn has actually done anything unlawful, why wait until the former senator and Secretary of State is in office to try her for the crimes they are planning to pin on her no matter what reality ultimately serves up. It’s a strategy that they believe conserves a great deal of political energy that would otherwise be wasted on honest politicking and the responsible stewardship of government.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Senator Mitch McConnell, who declared shortly after Obama’s first election victory that his primary legislative goal was to “make him a one-term president,” is devoting the same measure of commitment to the effort to pre-impeach Clinton. In remarks to the GOP caucus last week he reminded his fellow Republicans that their priorities ought not to change just because the complexion and gender of the person in the White House does.

“We have spent five years obstructing everything this president has attempted to do, from passing bills, to appointing judges and cabinet officials. This is not the time to let our guard down and be distracted by the burdens of actually governing or helping the nation recover from adversity.”

Asked for a comment when Clinton was told of the Republican campaign to impeach her, she said incredulously “What the fuck?” And walked away laughing uncontrollably. Her office later followed up with this statement:

“We have always known that these clowns were certifiable, and now we are seeing some of the best evidence of that. The Secretary has not yet made a decision as to whether or not she will run for president, but if she does she expects to campaign vigorously and appeal to the hearts and minds of the American people.

She also expects to face dipshits in the Republican Party who, with their pals at Fox News, will manufacture insane theories and conspiracies, and she plans to wipe up the pavement with their lame asses.”


Like it was yesterday. And once again, reality trumps satire. But don’t get me started on Trump.

Hillary Clinton Launches 2016 Presidential Campaign And The GOP Goes (Even More) Nuts

Here it is. To absolutely no one’s surprise, Hillary Clinton announced that she is running for President of the United States of America with a video (below) that features a cross section of Americans engaged in readying themselves for a variety of life’s challenges.

The launching of the campaign comes after weeks of the sort of teasing that every candidate does prior to making their candidacy official. It also comes after weeks (years) of vitriol from Republican pundits and politicians determined to turn Clinton into a comic book villain who aspires to thrust the world into darkness. That isn’t hyperbole. Just yesterday at the NRA’s annual conference, Wayne LaPierre literally made that charge saying that “Hillary Rodham Clinton will bring a permanent darkness of deceit and despair forced upon the American people to endure.”

Recalling all of the predictions of doom and gloom spewed by Republicans alleging that President Obama was the harbinger of the Apocalypse, it hardly seems newsworthy to note that they are just as adamant, and delusional, about Clinton’s alleged desire for the decline of western civilization. You can almost hear Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell paraphrasing himself with regard to making Obama a one-term president.”

McConnell/Clinton One-Term

That legislative strategy did not work out very well for the Republican Party. Nor did the relentless fear mongering about how Obama’s policies would kill jobs, tank the economy, abolish liberty, increase domestic terrorism, and generally destroy America. Those thunderous accusations landed with a resounding squeak that culminated with former Vice-President Dick Cheney declaring that Obama was “the worst president in my lifetime without question.” He obviously forget his former boss, as well as all of the facts.

Republicans aren’t wasting any time tarring Clinton with the same brush. This is a trend that started long ago. In fact, two years ago News Corpse reported that the GOP had already begun their campaign to “Impeach Hillary” way before the election, or even any campaigning. Republicans are so terrified of Hillary Clinton that they are promoting Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.

As for Clinton, she appears to be taking a more populist tone than last time around. Her focus on middle class citizens working hard to manage the important things in life – family, career, community, security – will put her in good standing with average Americans. She emphasized that her campaign would be about people, not herself. That was the overarching theme of the video in which she doesn’t even appear until two-thirds of the way through. And when she does appear she advances that theme saying that…

“Americans have fought their way back from tough economic times, but the deck is still stacked in favor of those at the top. Everyday Americans need a champion, and I want to be that champion.”

In order for her to follow through on that, she will have put some distance between herself and the big money interests with which she has long been associated. She will have to work for stricter banking regulations that prohibit them from ever again becoming “too big to fail.” She will have to pursue policies that correct the imbalances that have produced the worst economic inequality in history. She will have to support efforts to get money out politics. In short, she will have to appeal to the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party. We’ll see how that plays out.

In the meantime Rand Paul, Rick Santorum, Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, and the Republican National Committee, have already released rebuttal videos making predictably venomous criticisms of Clinton. Paul may have won the Dipshit Award for Political Hackery with his laughably lame anti-Hillary store on his website. Don’t miss the limited edition, non-functional, Hillary Clinton hard drive he is selling to his idiot supporters for $100.00. Did I mention that it is non-functional? That’s the Republican Party for you, and it’s emblematic of their economic doctrine: Shell out lots of money for shit that don’t work. This is gonna be a fun campaign.

News Corpse Presents: The ALL NEW 2nd volume of
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

KNEE-JERKS: The Predictable Ass-Holiness Of Fox News And The GOP Post-SOTU

In a development that will surprise only a few mentally deficient cave dwellers, President Obama’s State of the Union speech was greeted by Republican politicians and conservative pundits with barefaced disdain. Naturally, Fox News took the lead in developing a hostile rapid response in order to provide the President’s foes with an easily referenced collection of attack themes. In fact, Fox was so diligent that their oppositional strategy was actually launched before the speech even began.

To set the scene, Obama presented a rosy picture of the nation after six years of his presidency. He spoke of the economic renewal that has created more than 11 million new jobs, reduced the deficit by two-thirds, and produced unprecedented private sector growth. He addressed many of the issues that have long been a part of the Democratic agenda including tax reform that eliminates loopholes for the rich and benefits the middle-class, enhancing opportunities for education, reducing our dependency on foreign oil and advancing the development and use of alternative fuels, Climate Change, equal pay for women, raising the minimum wage, Net Neutrality, and access to affordable and effective health care. And he noted that the successes of the last six years were achieved despite the fact that “At every step, we were told our goals were misguided or too ambitious; that we would crush jobs and explode deficits.”

So how did the right respond to these facts? By denying them, of course. And they topped that off with some distractions and ad hominem insults. The apparent primary line of attack from the right is to accuse Obama of not having heard the message sent by voters last November. However, if there was any message at all it was delivered so faintly that the President could be excused for not hearing it. It was the lowest voter turnout in 70 years. Sixty-two percent of Americans didn’t vote at all, and the Republican victories were achieved with about 20% of eligible voters. That’s not exactly a mandate.

The GOP complained that the American people want him to work with Congress. But their definition of that is to abandon his principles and capitulate to Republicans. Obama tried to work with the GOP for six years and was rebuffed at every turn. It’s ironic that Republicans demand that Obama pay heed to the election results when they so flagrantly ignored them in 2008 and 2012, even plotting to oppose everything he did from day one of his administration. Where were the Republicans insisting on respect for the decision of the voters when Mitch McConnell declared, on inauguration day, that his first priority was making Obama a one term president? And it should be noted that Obama enjoyed landslide victories with much larger voter participation.

It didn’t take long for one of the points Obama made in his speech to get rolled over by the Fox News editorial positioning. The President sought to inspire a more substantive relationship between the White House and Congress saying…

“There are a lot of good people here, on both sides of the aisle. And many of you have told me that this isn’t what you signed up for?-?arguing past each other on cable shows, the constant fundraising, always looking over your shoulder at how the base will react to every decision. […] A better politics is one where we debate without demonizing each other; where we talk issues, and values, and principles, and facts, rather than ‘gotcha’ moments, or trivial gaffes, or fake controversies that have nothing to do with people’s daily lives.”

The response to this by Fox anchors and guests was to embrace trivialization and fake controversies. Within seconds of the end of the speech, Bret Baier complained that Obama had not said the name “Al Qaeda” during the address. Of course, Obama did speak at length about terrorism and his administration’s commitment to “degrade and ultimately destroy” the enemy. The problem is that if you don’t specifically say “Al Qaeda” you are criticized for it. If you do say it you are criticized for not saying “jihad.” If you do say that you are criticized for not saying “Islamist.” If you do say that you are criticized for not saying ….. Well, you get the idea. Obama would have to make a list of every word the right obsesses over and make sure to stuff them all into every one of his speeches.

News Corpse Presents: The ALL NEW 2nd volume of
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

The Fox News collective, and the Republican Party they serve (or is it the other way around) suffers from Oppositional Defiant Disorder: a persistent pattern of tantrums, arguing, and angry or disruptive behavior, generally associated with children. A perfect illustration of this is the way the Fox Nation website characterized a post-SOTU article by the Associated Press. Their headline was “AP Fact Check Obliterates Obama’s SOTU.”

Fox Nation SOTU

To be sure, the AP took a decidedly biased and negative tone, as the so-called liberal media usually does, but even so, they could not find substantive fault with Obama’s speech, much less obliteration. Here are the “facts” they allegedly checked:

  • Obama: At this moment – with a growing economy, shrinking deficits, bustling industry and booming energy production – We have risen from recession freer to write our own future than any other nation on Earth.
    — The AP’s analysis essentially concurred saying that “Job growth has been healthy. […] Inflation-adjusted median household income…is about 4 percent higher than when it bottomed out in 2011. […] Booming energy production is indeed a reality.”
  • Obama: I am sending this Congress a bold new plan to lower the cost of community college to zero.
    — This, of course, is not a refutable fact and the AP didn’t bother to refute it. They simply argued that Republicans in Congress will not be receptive to the plan. But that knee-jerk obstructionism has been the GOP stance ever since Obama became President.
  • Obama: We’ve set aside more public lands and waters than any administration in history.
    — The AP acknowledged that this is true saying that “Expansion of the massive Pacific islands monument puts Obama on top.”
  • Obama: Thanks to a growing economy, the recovery is touching more and more lives. Wages are finally starting to rise again. We know that more small-business owners plan to raise their employees’ pay than at any time since 2007.
    — Yes, said the AP: “A survey of small businesses by the National Federation of Independent Business does show that a rising proportion plans to raise wages.”

It appears that Fox News is confusing the concept of “obliteration” with the diametrically opposed concept of “nearly complete concurrence.” That degree of cognitive failure explains the antsy grumbling of FoxPods and the GOP who are distressed that Obama has not concluded that the last two years of his presidency are irrelevant and that he should work on his presidential library and let Republicans in Congress govern the country. And it also explains how they can insist that his speech was defiant and combative despite these closing remarks:

“If you share the broad vision I outlined tonight, join me in the work at hand. If you disagree with parts of it, I hope you’ll at least work with me where you do agree. And I commit to every Republican here tonight that I will not only seek out your ideas, I will seek to work with you to make this country stronger.”

It would be naive not to recognize that this sort of rhetorical communion is common in political discourse and is often insincere. But it was nevertheless an outstretched hand and the GOP ought to at least try to grasp it before they swat it down. But that would be totally out of character for a party that has made rancid animosity the hallmark of their tenure.

On Immigration: Republicans Have No Clue What The American People Want

Last week President Obama defied the wild-eyed yammering of Republicans who claimed that any executive action addressing immigration reform would be be unconstitutional and mark him as a lawless tyrant who is thwarting the will of the American people. The President ignored their rancorous grumbling and announced a reasonable plan of prosecutorial discretion that has been invoked by every president for the past fifty years, and which 135 experts agree is legal. Not to mention, it is in keeping with our nation’s longstanding values of inclusion and opportunity.

Obama: We Were Once Strangers Too

Notwithstanding these facts, the GOP is so fixated on opposing anything that this president does, they took their positions to the media and brazenly lied. With characteristic lock-step unity, they insisted that they knew what Americans want and that Obama was flouting their clearly expressed wishes. Here is a sampling of their interpretation of the public mood:

  • Sen. Ted Cruz: This last election was a referendum on amnesty. And the American people overwhelmingly rose up and said, no, we don’t want lawless amnesty.
  • John Boehner: By ignoring the will of the American people, President Obama has cemented his legacy of lawlessness and squandered what little credibility he had left.
  • Mitch McConnell: If President Obama acts in defiance of the people and imposes his will on the country, Congress will act.
  • Sarah Palin: [Obama is] betraying our trust [by going] against the wishes of the American people.
  • Sen. Jeff Sessions: The American people rebelled against the President’s executive amnesty.
  • Rick Santorum: This unilateral action sends a message that the President believes his opinion should supersede the will of the American people and democratic process.

These statements could not be more definitive in their estimation of what the American people think about Obama’s executive action on immigration. They could also not be more wrong. Where these wingnuts got these ideas is a complete mystery. It certainly doesn’t reflect either the exit polling following the election earlier this month. Nor does it reflect the more recent polling that spelled out the precise conditions of the policy. Hart Research found that…

“…voters overwhelmingly backed President Obama’s move: 67 percent viewed it favorably, while just 28 percent viewed it unfavorably. The support was fairly bipartisan, with 91 percent of Democrats, 67 percent of Independents, and 41 percent of Republicans viewing the executive action favorably. Among Tea Party Republicans, however, 64 percent opposed the policy while just 30 percent viewed it favorably.”

Setting aside the Tea Party (always a good idea), it is clear that Obama’s views are more aligned to those of the American people than with the bombastic and presumptive Republicans. And not only do people support the President’s action, they agree that he is acting within law by 51% to 41%.

What is most curious about this whole debate is that the GOP has such hatred for the executive action Obama took, but they refuse to do the simplest, quickest thing to nullify it. All they have to do is pass a law. They don’t even have to write one. It already exists and was passed by a bipartisan majority in the Senate. If John Boehner would allow it to be voted on in the House it would pass tomorrow, be signed by the President and – poof – no executive action.

Instead the GOP talk of blocking every bill and presidential nominee that comes before them. They threaten to file lawsuits that would take years to wind their way through the courts and would be moot by the time they were heard. And they even raise the specter of impeachment, another ultra-drastic response that would take months and accomplish nothing but making Joe Biden the next president.

In conclusion, Obama is not acting like a tyrant and Americans don’t buy the criticism of him as one. However, Americans do favor his approach to immigration reform by wide margins despite the protestations from the GOP. The only thing that Republicans have to gain from their current strategy is a generous pension after they are retired from public service in 2016. We wish them luck.

Democrats And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (For Republicans)

Let’s get this out of the way right up front: Election day 2014 sucked elephant balls. It is saddling America with a Republican senate that is notable for being unproductive and adversarial. It’s new leader is a hyper-partisan, Washington fossil whose only agenda is obstructionism. One of its new members is an Agenda 21 conspiracy nut who carries a gun to defend herself from the government she now represents. Florida and Kansas returned to office the two least popular governors in the country. And the right-wing noise machine is going to be gloating feverishly for weeks.

But the real story underlying this election is one that the media will almost certainly fail to address. Despite the election returns, America hates the Republican Party and its policies. The turnout is estimated to be about 38%. That means that the GOP victory was achieved with a majority of a little more than one-third of the electorate, or about 20%. That is not exactly a ringing endorsement of the Republican agenda.

Election Turnout 2014

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The demographic makeup of the voters this year was decidedly older and whiter. It was also more concentrated in the South which accounted for 34% of all votes. The rest of the country came in a substantial nine to twelve points lower.

Just two years ago President Obama was resoundingly reelected along with increasing the number of Democrats in both houses of Congress. The turnout then was 58%, or 53% higher than 2014. Exit polls show that both parties are underwater in voter approval, but Democrats are still favored over Republicans 44% to 40%. Exit polling also gives Obama a 41% approval rating, compared to just 13% for Congress.

On the basis of this fractured and biased sliver of the electorate, Chris Wallace of Fox News declared this morning that “The Democratic Party brand is damaged.” But further examination of the exit polls says that isn’t true. On virtually every policy question, voters sided with the Democrats. That includes ObamaCare, immigration reform, increasing the minimum wage, same-sex marriage, legalizing marijuana, abortion, and climate change. And when asked about preferences for president in 2016, Hillary Clinton is leading every GOP opponent (Clinton 42%, Jeb Bush 29%, Rand Paul 26%, Chris Christie 24%, and Rick Perry 24%).

2016 holds more bad news for Republicans and their new senate majority. The GOP will be defending 24 seats, as compared to only 10 for the Democrats. Nine of the those GOP seats are in states won by Obama in 2012. So are all of the Democratic seats. With a larger and more representative electorate it is almost a certainty that the senate will flip back to the Democrats. And with a popular and history-making candidate like Clinton that outcome is even more likely.

In the meantime, we can expect some epic battles to ensue. Although Mitch McConnell made some perfunctory remarks signalling bipartisan cooperation, his resume suggests a different course entirely. He told supporters last night that “Just because we have a two-party system doesn’t mean we have to be in perpetual conflict.” That coming from the man who presided over more filibusters than any senate in history.

But the battles will not be limited to those between the two parties. McConnell is going to experience some of the misery of John Boehner as he tries to herd the Tea Party contingent of his own party into some semblance of unity. Don’t expect Ted Cruz or Rand Paul or Mike Lee or Joni Ernst to fall obediently in line. In fact, Cruz is already announcing his intention to prosecute the President for many of the phony scandals for which the GOP-run House failed to find any wrongdoing. He told Fox News last night that…

“I hope we begin serious, systematic, sober hearings, examining executive abuse, regulatory abuse, lawlessness, abuse of power. Whether it is IRS wrongly targeting citizens or the debacle of Benghazi and four Americans who lost their lives and why more was not done to save them, or whether it’s the lawlessness that pervaded Obamacare as the president and executive branch has tried to pick and choose which laws to follow. I hope we see serious oversight on those fronts.”

That’s a path that leads to increased animosity and the “perpetual conflict” that McConnell says he hopes to avoid. But with Cruz and Paul and Rubio amongst those in his caucus who are contemplating a presidential run, can McConnell prevent them from hijacking the senate for their own purposes? And will their purposes include attempts to impeach Obama as some Republicans and conservative pundits have already advocated?

The next two years are going to be a bumpy ride for both parties and, unfortunately, the American people. There is much that we cannot anticipate at this time. What we can safely assume is that the extremist, Tea Party wing of the GOP will deliver some histrionics and hilarity. And Fox News will cover all of it as if it were sober statesmanship. So buckle up, folks. And be glad that the ride is over in only two years.

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What’s Wrong With America? Why Is Anyone Voting Republican?

A new poll from Fox News affirms what virtually every other poll has found when people are asked to name the most important problem facing the country. And as James Carville noted long ago, “It’s the economy, stupid.”

Economic Poll

The Fox poll had an overwhelming 43% of registered voters citing the economy as the most important issue. That was two and a half times more than the next three issues, immigration, healthcare, and foreign policy.

Nearly every economic indicator shows that the economy has been booming in recent years. The Obama administration has presided over the biggest and most enduring advance in fifty years. The Dow reached another all-time high today. Unemployment is 5.7%, nearly half of what Obama inherited from George W. Bush. GDP growth increased at an annual rate of 3.5% in the third quarter of 2014. Housing is up, interest rates are down, inflation is imperceptible, and consumer confidence rose in October to its highest level since 2007.

The only significant low points are average wages and public sector employment. In both of those matters it has been the Republican Party that has thrown obstacles into the path of progress. Democrats are universally in support of a minimum wage increase that economists agree would produce higher demand for goods and services, thus stimulating job growth. And Obama has been trying to drag the GOP along to allocate funds for infrastructure development which would not only create jobs, but improve the environment for businesses to succeed. Yet conservative naysayers continue to stifle these measures for no reason other than to hurt the President and his party.

Given the success on so many levels of the President’s economic record, and the fact that the economy is the number one issue on the minds of voters, the obvious question is: Why on Earth are Democrats struggling to hold their position in Congress? The American people ought to be rewarding success and punishing the obstacles to it. With a more cooperative legislative branch, Obama could achieve a great deal more in the last two years of his presidency.

And therein lies the answer to the question. The last thing the GOP wants is for Obama to be successful. It’s what they pledged on the eve of his first inauguration when Mitch McConnell declared that his top priority was to make Obama a one-term president. It’s what their de facto leader, Rush Limbaugh, pronounced when he said that he wants Obama to fail. It’s why they orchestrated a shutdown last year that achieved nothing but cost $24 billion. And it’s why they have a kneejerk opposition to anything that Obama proposes, even if it was originally proposed by a Republican.

Also notable is that the other issues cited as important to voters also have seen measurable improvement during the Obama years. Illegal immigration is way down, while simultaneously domestic responses to the plight of undocumented residents have become much more compassionate and rational. As for health care, more Americans are covered by insurance than ever, and at less cost. And their coverage is more comprehensive and cannot be denied due to preexisting conditions.

Nevertheless, midterm polling is inexplicably showing tight senate races in several battleground states. With all of the good news, Democrats should be running away with this. But Republicans have expertly managed a campaign of dishonest negativity that has distorted the debate and damaged the perception of Democratic candidates. They have also had the benefit of bottomless barrels of cash from billionaires like the Koch brothers with vested interests that do not align with those of ordinary Americans.

Still, in most of these states the Democrats would be leading comfortably if the poll queried the entire electorate. But when constraining the poll to “likely” voters, the numbers fall decidedly against the Democrats. That’s because many of the traditionally Democratic constituents tend to sit out midterm elections.

If Democrats can reverse that trend through voter education, and a strong ground game getting out the vote on election day, the pollsters and the Republicans and the media will be shocked by the results. But it will take money and hard work to do it. Any encouragement you can give to people you know to insure that they vote will pay off in dividends. Especially in races that are so close. And here are a couple of other ways you can help:

Contribute to or volunteer with…
MoveOn.org or Democracy for America

You’ll be glad you did. The work, calling other Democrats like yourself, is fun and rewarding. And any funds can help to expand the outreach. The alternative is to wake up Wednesday morning with the prospect of a senate run by Mitch McConnell where every committee chair is a Republican who wishes harm on this President and his agenda. Victory is not out of reach, but it will require some determination and commitment. So please consider everything that you can do to be a part of a major electoral upset that will put the Tea Party on its knees.