(CR)ISIS Strategy: President Obama vs. Republicans And Fox News Pundits

Much is being made of an off-hand sentence fragment taken from President Obama’s press conference yesterday. In response to a question from Chuck Todd about whether he needed Congress’s approval to go into Syria, Obama said

“I don’t want to put the cart before the horse. We don’t have a strategy yet. I think what I’ve seen in some of the news reports suggests that folks are getting a little further ahead of where we’re at than we currently are. And I think that’s not just my assessment, but the assessment of our military as well. We need to make sure that we’ve got clear plans, that we’re developing them. At that point, I will consult with Congress and make sure that their voices are heard.”

Clearly the President was trying to temper speculation in the media that has been rampant with predictions of a U.S. military assault on Syria. That is not the sort of thing that commanders want to be circulating prior to the launch of a mission. So Obama prudently dismissed the gossip and focused on presenting a united front that included the White House, the Pentagon, and Congress. However, conservative politicians and pundits have a different theory that has two primary principles:

  1. Giving away our tactics
  2. Disparaging our Commander-in-Chief.

ISIS Strategy

While the President is working to keep from showing our hand, those on the right are clamoring for him to spill every secret plot that is currently under consideration. They are outraged that Obama has not told the world, and ISIS, what our strategy is for dealing with ISIS in Syria. Certainly ISIS would like to know what we are planning, and Republicans are helping them in that effort.

An example this morning on the Fox News program Outnumbered had guest co-host Pete Hegseth, head of the Koch brothers front group Concerned Veterans for America, saying that “The number one rule in war is that if there is no strategy, don’t tell the enemy that.” Hegseth never mentioned what boneheaded rule book he was referring to, but it is one that contradicts the long-respected wisdom of Sun Tzu whose “The Art of War” advises to “Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak.” In other words, it is strategically advantageous to fool your enemies into thinking that you have no strategy. To announce your strategy would only allow them to reinforce their defenses against it.

After advocating divulging our plans, the right goes on to tell our enemies that they have little to worry about because our leadership is incompetent and may even be on their side. For some reason they think that it’s helpful to let ISIS know that some of Obama’s own countrymen have no confidence in him. Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle fantasized about having Vladimir Putin as president for forty-eight hours instead of Obama because, I guess, brutal dictators are always preferable in the eyes of the right. Perhaps they are preparing for 2016:

Putin/Palin 2016

GOP representative Louie Gohmert made an ass of himself (again) by likening Obama to Barney Fife, the bumbling deputy on the old Andy Griffith Show. The problem with that analogy is that Gohmert and the right are more like Fife than Obama. Remember that Fife was the hothead who was constantly itching for a fight and the opportunity to put his one bullet in his pistol. He couldn’t wait to confront the bad guys with deadly force whether or not a real threat existed. Doesn’t that sound like Bush’s adventures in Iraq, and what conservatives are doing right now? Certainly the right wouldn’t approve of Andy Griffith’s Sheriff Taylor, who was well known for being deliberative and resolving problems with diplomacy and intellect. Kind of like President Obama. In fact, Sheriff Taylor was so notorious for his resistance to unnecessary conflict that one episode featured a story line where Mayberry’s Sheriff was wooed by producers from Hollywood to make a movie titled “Sheriff Without A Gun.”

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But the problem that the wingnuts are causing is far more serious than asinine analogies. Their criticisms have the dual risk of pressuring the President to divulge sensitive military plans, and emboldening the enemy by creating a false and dangerous impression of Obama as a weakling that they can easily overcome. How is that an expression of patriotism? Let’s face it, the right is more concerned with demonizing the President than they are with defeating ISIS, or with the welfare of our troops, or with national security in general. They are even more concerned with the color of his suit or whether he wears a tie. Gawd bless Amurca.

BUSTED: Mitch McConnell Secretly Recorded At The Koch Brothers Donor Summit

Every year the Koch brothers hold one or more conclaves of their conservative millionaire and billionaire pals to discuss future strategies and collect donations for candidates and causes that will benefit their parochial interests. These affairs are put on under the tightest security so as to protect the elite attendees from being identified or from having to encounter the riff raff (i.e. ordinary American citizens) they hope to oppress.

Earlier this year, an event in the California beach resort at Dana Point, the Lear Jet Set gathered as usual, but they had a mole in their midst. A recording was just published by The Nation that includes some frank talk by participants including GOP senate candidates Tom Cotton (AR), Joni Ernst (IA), and Senate Republican Leader, Mitch McConnell. McConnell kicked things off by expressing his gratitude to his wealthy benefactors, Charles and David Koch saying that…

“I want to start by thanking you, Charles and David for the important work you’re doing. I don’t know where we’d be without you.”

Mitch McConnell / Koch Brothers

McConnell’s smarmy sycophancy extended to some blatantly miscast interpretations of the onerous Citizen’s United decision by the Supreme Court. McConnell said…

“What did the case decide? Well as you all know, corporations that own a newspaper or a television station (inaudible), they’re free to say whatever they want to say about anybody at any time. But if you were a corporation that didn’t own a newspaper or didn’t own a television station, you couldn’t. So all Citizens United did was to level the playing field for corporate speech. In other words, no longer did corporations have to own a newspaper or a television station in order to say whatever they wanted. It simply leveled the playing field.”

That is a deliberate bastardization of the decision and McConnell, a lawyer by profession, knows it. Corporations have always been able to say whatever they wanted at any time. They have the money to run ads in those corporate newspapers and television networks. They can fund any number of public relations campaigns to disseminate whatever message they please. And they can hire lobbyists to promote their interests to politicians and the media. They have always had these avenues of communication.

What Citizen’s United gave them was a veil behind which they could covertly mold the political landscape to their liking. They can now contribute unlimited sums to Super PACS without disclosing where the money came from. It wasn’t speech they were angling for, it was anonymity. They needed to disguise their participation in campaigns because American’s know that these upper-crusters don’t have the people’s interests at heart.

It was that secrecy that Citizen’s United provided. It was never about “leveling the playing field.” The field was already slanted severely toward the rich, and this just made things worse. It made it more difficult than ever for the voices of average citizens to compete with the wealthy captains of industry who could shout everyone else down.

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With the publication of this recording we are afforded a view into the luxury suites of the plutocrats who seek to dominate our society. We have always known their self-serving intentions, but it is chilling to hear it from their own lips when they think no one is listening.

Is This Ad For A GOP Senate Candidate The Worst Political Ad This Year?

The 2014 election cycle has produced some pretty horrific advertisements including Iowa Republican Joni Ernst’s tales of castrating hogs, the Club for Growth’s anti-Pryor (D-AR) ad featuring a pooping parrot, and even a Republican primary opponent of John Boehenr who crafted an “electile dysfunction” themed ad that said “If you have a Boehner lasting more than 21 years, seek immediate medical attention.” That one was actually pretty funny.

Now we have New Mexico Republican Allen Weh’s ad against incumbent Democratic senator Tom Udall (video below). Weh, the former chairman of the New Mexico Republican Party, has the distinction of being the first candidate grotesque enough to feature the ISIS executioner of American journalist Jim Foley in a campaign ad. However, sitting through the whole ad will reveal that Weh also includes a second shot of another execution before arriving at what must be his campaign theme: associating Sen. Udall himself with ISIS.

Allen Weh / Tom Udall

The visual message of compositing Udall’s face with an ISIS flag is a not-so-subtle implication that Udall is aligned with America’s enemies. And this is no accident. These ads are edited second-by-second to pack the entirety of the message into short clips. Weh’s operatives knew exactly what they were doing.

The audio on the ad is comprised almost entirely of a snippet from an Obama interview conducted before he was a candidate for president, and another repeated snippet of Udall saying “I know, as far as I feel, this diplomatic path that we’re on right now is a good one.” Udall’s comment was not sourced, but it turns it that it came from an interview on September 11, 2013 on CNN’s The Lead with Jake Tapper. It was also not place in context.

Weh’s ad sought to associate Udall with both ISIS and Obama, creating an ancillary connection between ISIS and Obama as well. However, Udall was responding to Tapper’s question about the speech Obama gave on September 10, 2013 regarding Syria’s chemical weapons. The President spoke about his determination to force Syria to abandon their chemical arsenal, his initial intention to seek authorization from Congress, and his ultimate decision to let the diplomatic efforts run their course.

“Over the last few days, we’ve seen some encouraging signs. In part because of the credible threat of U.S. military action, as well as constructive talks that I had with President Putin, the Russian government has indicated a willingness to join with the international community in pushing Assad to give up his chemical weapons. The Assad regime has now admitted that it has these weapons, and even said they’d join the Chemical Weapons Convention, which prohibits their use.

“It’s too early to tell whether this offer will succeed, and any agreement must verify that the Assad regime keeps its commitments. But this initiative has the potential to remove the threat of chemical weapons without the use of force, particularly because Russia is one of Assad’s strongest allies. I have, therefore, asked the leaders of Congress to postpone a vote to authorize the use of force while we pursue this diplomatic path.”

In context, Udall’s comments were in support of a process that eventually succeeded in collecting and neutralizing Syria’s chemical warfare capability that was already responsible for killing thousands of Syrians, including hundreds of children.

So Weh’s ad completely misrepresented Udall’s words, but the worst part was its blatant and nauseating exploitation of Foley, a victim of terrorist brutality less than a week ago. And compounding that repulsiveness, Weh plastered the flag of Foley’s murderers on Udall’s face. If there is an award for reprehensible defamation in political advertising, Weh is currently the runaway winner this year – so far.

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Operation No Name – Or Whatever Obama Does Is Wrong: The ISIS Edition

Conservative critics of President Obama wasted no time in complaining about what they said was his failure to respond to the humanitarian crisis in Iraq where thousands of refugees are trapped on a mountain by ISIS militants. Never mind that only a few days had transpired since learning of the impending tragedy, the armchair generals in Congress and on Fox News had fully assessed the situation and were ready to fly off the handle.

The Senate’s preeminent news video hog, John McCain, blasted the administration for taking “no discernible action.” GOP Rep. Chris Smith said that “The president’s indifference is both numbing and enabling.” His colleague Frank Wolf joined in saying that “The administration has done nothing.” It was a steady chorus of complaints from the Republican caucus. That is, until Obama took decisive action within a few hours of the GOP outcry. From that point on the wingnuts criticized the President for doing something.

Among the complaints by the perennial war hawks are that Obama screwed up by removing American troops from Iraq in 2011 (which was actually Bush’s timetable); that Obama failed to secure a “status of forces” agreement (which actually Bush failed to secure); that Obama didn’t immediately strike ISIS when it first began its campaign, and generally that Obama has been detached, distracted, and even hostile to American interests. In short, the right blames Obama for everything that can possibily go wrong. They blame him for the acts of terrorists (rather than, you know, the terrorists). They blame him for doing what the American people want (which is to keep American ground troops out of Iraq). They blame him for Al Qaeda, for ebola, and for ants at picnics.

And the latest crackpot criticism of Obama is that his Defense Department has not assigned a name to the mission currently in progress. Seriously. There is no name. IMPEACH!

Fox News

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What could the President be thinking by failing to execute this critical function of his role as Commander-in-Chief? It is an insult to the soldiers risking their lives in defense of the American Dream that they don’t have a title to which they can refer. How can they be expected to fulfill their mission if they don’t know what to call it? If the President doesn’t correct this atrocious oversight expeditiously he will go down in history as a traitor to his nation.

There is another possibility that may have escaped the notice of the brilliant war strategists on the right. Perhaps Obama has named the mission “No Name.” This would be an ingenious tactic to confuse the enemy. They would never be able to respond to a ghostly maneuver that they couldn’t identify with a label. Operation No Name may be the shrewdest military gambit in modern times. And it may have been inspired by a uniquely patriotic piece of our cultural history:

I’ve Been Through The Desert On A Horse/Mission With No Name – by America!

It would nice if once – just once – Republicans and Fox News could find something positive in something President Obama does. Their unbroken record of outrage, whatever the issue, only marks them as tunnel-blind extremists who lack the ability to independently assess anything. And if nothing else it proves that their opinions are wholly unworthy of serious consideration.

War On Whites? What This Has In Common With All The Other Fox News “Wars”

Yesterday Mo Brooks, an Alabama Tea Party Republican congressman, caused a stir with his remarks to conservative radio host and Fox News contributor Laura Ingraham. Brooks was in a frenzy over a statement made by the National Journal’s Ron Fournier on Fox News Sunday. Fournier made this utterly uncontroversial observation about political demographics:

“The fastest growing bloc in this country thinks the Republican Party hates them. This party, your party, cannot be the party of the future beyond November, if you’re seen as the party of white people.”

That opinion was such an accepted part of reality that it was even validated last year by Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, in his infamous “autopsy” of the GOP’s humiliating defeat in the 2012 elections. Priebus wrote…

“The Republican Party must focus its efforts to earn new supporters and voters in the following demographic communities: Hispanic, Asian and Pacific Islanders, African Americans, Indian Americans, Native Americans, women, and youth. This priority needs to be a continual effort that affects every facet of our Party’s activities, including our messaging, strategy, outreach, and budget. Unless the RNC gets serious about tackling this problem, we will lose future elections; the data demonstrates this.”

Nevertheless, Brooks took umbrage in a way that further illustrates how out-of-touch the Republican regulars are on matters of race. His commentary on the Ingraham broadcast was both ignorant and offensive:

“This is a part of the war on whites that’s being launched by the Democratic Party. And the way in which they’re launching this war is by claiming that whites hate everybody else. It’s a part of the strategy that Barack Obama implemented in 2008, continued in 2012, where he divides us all on race, on sex, greed, envy, class warfare, all those kinds of things.”

That’s right. Brooks believes that Democrats are waging a war on whites. There is so much wrong with that statement that it’s hard to know where to begin. Let’s start with the fact that it is a common refrain of the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist organizations. Brooks should be aware that aligning himself with that sort of philosophy has consequences.

Mo Brooks

On a more substantive level, Brooks is demonstrating that he doesn’t understand the issue in the slightest. Democrats have never claimed that “whites hate everybody else.” What some have claimed is that white Republicans pursue an agenda that is overtly hostile to the interests of minorities, women, youth, the poor, and other disenfranchised citizens. And his statement of solidarity with the imaginary oppressed white folk is further evidence of that. But that didn’t stop him from holding steadfastly to his insulting and idiotic remarks the next day:

“Certainly if you were to flip the coin and a white person were to say vote for me because I’m white, it would be an uproar and deservedly so. So why do we allow blacks to say vote for me because I’m black or Hispanics vote for me because I’m Hispanic?”

One question for Mr. Brooks: Can you cite any black or Hispanic candidate who ever said “vote for me because” I’m black or Hispanic? If not, your argument is a blatant misrepresentation of the minority electorate, which is just another kind of racism. It was your intent to pejoratively characterize minorities as being mindless sheep who are incapable of analytical thought and will, thus, base their decisions solely on skin color.

It is notable that all of the trumped up “wars” that Fox News features so often, have something very similar that connects them. Fox has hyped the “War on Christmas,” the “War on Oil/Coal,” the “War on Business,” the “War on Marriage,” the “War on Men,” and the ever-present “Class War.” [Jon Stewart cataloged another dozen or so Fox News wars] In every case the beleaguered victims of the battle are those who are distinctly at the top of the social order. They are either the majority, or the wealthy, or the powerful, or some combination of two or more of these privileged classes.

Fox News is predictably hostile to society’s underdogs, and just as predictably roots for the “over” dogs who don’t need any help. But that has been the mission of Fox News since its inception. And it is intertwined inseparably with the mission of the Republican Party. Which is why Brooks gets away with undisguised bigotry without either his party or Fox News taking him to task.

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IT’S OFFICIAL! The GOP Has Lost What’s Left Of Its Twisted Mind

Strolling through the muddy swamps of right-wing media often results in stumbling upon absurd allegations by disturbed wingnuts whose hatred for President Obama and liberal politics overcomes their grasp of reality. But this may be one of the best examples of outright delusion on the part of conservatives whose sanity has never been particularly stable.

Fox Nation

The Fox News community website, Fox Nation (whose rap sheet of brazen lies is a mile long) posted an article they regurgitated from the ultra-rightist, “Moonie” Washington Times. The headline is a mind-bogglingly ludicrous declaration that accuses Obama of being preoccupied with lawsuits: “The Obama Way: Litigation Not Leadership.”

SERIOUSLY? This is coming from one of the most prominent media mouthpieces for the Republican Party which, as we all know, just approved a resolution to sue the President – a lawsuit challenging his delay of an ObamaCare component that the GOP actually wants to delay. Talk about your frivolous lawsuits.

The article was written for the Washington Times by Thomas DelBeccaro, former chairman of the California Republican Party. It is a jumble of incoherence that never bothers to validate its premise. There is not a single example of Obama engaging in litigation that he or his administration initiated. Instead, DelBeccaro bleats interminably about how Obama has had to govern without the “benefit” of consensus with the unreasonable right.

DelBeccaro lists a number of examples of legislative division that range from the budget, to ObamaCare, to the environment, to trials of terrorists. But in every example the only thing that DelBeccaro succeeds in proving is that Republicans have been marching in lock-step to obstruct anything this administration has sought to accomplish. DelBeccaro wrote that…

“In fact, since becoming President, Mr. Obama has not undertaken a single effort at building consensus. Not one. For all the claims of partisanship made about President George W. Bush, Mr. Obama’s immediate predecessor, for better or for worse, Mr. Bush had bipartisan support in several key legislative victories. Mr. Bush had Senator Edward Kennedy support one of his bills, The No Child Left Behind Act, and Senator Bernie Sanders support another, Medicare Part D.”

Can DelBeccaro be so obtuse that he doesn’t even realize that he is making a case against his own party’s willingness to compromise? Indeed, Bush had Kennedy and Sanders (two of the Senate’s most liberal members) and numerous other Democrats who respected their roles as representatives of the people and were determined to work on their behalf, even in difficult circumstances. Who does Obama have? Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Mitch McConnell, Darrell Issa, Michele Bachmann, and a party that is dead set on impeaching him, despite the absence of any legal grounds for doing so.

As for Obama undertaking efforts at building consensus, how could he have been more of a consensus builder than by having adopted long-held Republican policies on the most prominent items in his agenda? DelBeccaro mentions ObamaCare, which was taken nearly in total from the GOP/Heritage Foundation insurance reform that Mitt Romney implemented in Massachusetts. He also mentions the Environmental Protection Agency, whose efforts to put in place the Republican-created Cap and Trade plan was derailed by Republicans. On the budget Obama wanted to allow the Bush tax cuts for the rich to sunset (as Bush’s bill originally mandated), but in a concession to the GOP he agreed to a compromise that drew a line at those with income over $400,000.

The evidence is clear that, contrary to DelBeccaro’s ignorant assertion that “Obama has not undertaken a single effort at building consensus,” the only thing Obama has done is compromise. That has resulted in half-way measures on a variety of issues that might have produced even better results, but for the GOP obstructionism. For instance, we might have a more robust economy, and lower unemployment, with federal dollars financing the rebuilding our nation’s crumbling roads and bridges. We might have a higher minimum wage that would lift millions out of poverty and shrink the expenditures on welfare programs. We might be more energy independent with greater access to renewable sources of energy that don’t destroy the environment – which creates massive, avoidable costs as well.

Nevertheless, DelBeccaro’s column accuses Obama of being overly litigious, without offering a single example of it. And they seem oblivious to the fact that it is the right that has been suing at every opportunity over ObamaCare, or marriage equality, or voter suppression, and culminating with their unprecedented lawsuit by the GOP-run House of Representatives.

So of course the Fox Nationalists post this hopelessly confused diatribe at the very top of their page as if it were worthy of prideful recognition. They seriously seem to have abandoned all reason in favor of projecting their own psychoses unto their ideological foes. Just as they ranted about impeachment for years and then flipped to accuse Democrats of inventing the issue, they have also obstructed the workings of government for years, even suing their opponents, and now they are claiming that Obama is the litigious one.

Is anyone buying this idiocy? Well, anyone other than Fox News viewers, Sarah Palin groupies, and the frightened cave-dwellers hugging their guns and gold and praying for the Apocalypse?

How Inept Is This Republican Congress? More Inept Than You Ever Imagined

If it seems to you that that President Obama has been under an investigative microscope since the moment he took office, it’s only because that’s pretty much true. Republicans were determined to foil anything positive that this president placed on his agenda, and their primary method of achieving that end has been perpetual investigations of trumped up scandals.

Benghazi

But even with their single-minded devotion to destroying this presidency, the House GOP has not produce any evidence of wrongdoing that implicated the White House. Of course, if their purpose was merely to keep the nation from enjoying the benefits of a productive government, Republicans can claim some success. They have certainly obstructed the creation of millions of jobs; progress on environmental protection; reforms of health care and immigration and tax policies; and numerous other initiatives that might have advanced the country’s well being. But any actual manifestations of scandal have been nonexistent.

To illustrate the level of incompetence attributable to these Tea Party hacks, it is useful to put their job performance into historical perspective. One way to do this is to compare their progress with that of prior congressional sessions working on similarly lofty projects. And since there has been so much talk of impeachment of late, it seemed like that would make a good model for comparison.

So get this: From the date that the U.S. Senate voted to establish a select committee to investigate Watergate, until the resignation of President Nixon, it took about 15 months. To reiterate, that’s from the date that the committee was approved, through the maze of contested hearings, the presentation of evidence, the White House defense, and all the way through the conclusion with a disgraced (and obviously guilty) president stepping down, only a little more than a year transpired.

Compare that the the current House Committee on Oversight’s investigation of whether the IRS discriminated against conservative organizations. Those hearings began 16 months ago. So they have already exceeded the time allotted to impeaching Nixon. However, there has not been a single shred of incriminating evidence uncovered. Plus, if you count from the time the Ways and Means Committee began their inquiries, it has been over 38 months. And these hearings are still continuing.

Let’s also compare the House hearings on Fast and Furious, the botched gun trafficking sting that actually began in the Bush Administration. But limiting this to just the Obama era, Congress has been investigating this since June 2011 – 38 months and counting. And nothing of substance has come from it.

The granddaddy of the Obama era pseudo-scandals has to be Benghazi. Over at Fox News they are suffering from a rare form of Benghazi Tourettes, spitting out the word every few seconds for no apparent reason other than to stir up their dimwitted viewers. So far, the congressional investigations into this have been ongoing for 23 months, with nothing to show for it. And on this issue they have been the most insistent that there is a correlation to Watergate. In fact, the Watergate angle has been an obsession that they tie to their wet dreams of impeachment.

Even the impeach-happy congress of the Clinton era took far less time to conduct hearings and actually try the President for high crimes and misdemeanors, than it has taken for any of the current Congress to even find a crumb of presidential misbehavior. From the inception of the House proceedings to impeach Clinton, until his acquittal in the Senate, it took all of four and a half months. If you count from the date that the Drudge Report posted its tabloid article identifying the Monica Lewinsky affair, it was still only 13 months.

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To sum up, every one of the current phony scandals, that are wastefully consuming time and taxpayer dollars, are exceeding that spent on the Nixon and Clinton impeachments. And none of these scandals have produced any hint of wrongdoing. That’s fairly conclusive proof that the Republicans serving in Congress now are profoundly incompetent. There are really only three possible explanations for this. Either 1) There is no evidence and they are wasting everyone’s time, or 2) There is evidence, but these blockheads are too stupid to stumble over it, or 3) They don’t give a damn about evidence, they are only trying to smear the President.

Either way, they need to be relieved of their duties at the earliest opportunity, which would be this November. That makes it the responsibility of American voters to step up and do their duty. All you have to do is vote. And rest assured, if you do not, this GOP idiocy will continue for the next two years and will likely be escalated into a full-blown impeachment of Obama. For God’s sake, don’t let that happen.

So F**king What? Former IRS Official Says That GOP Crazies Are…CRAZY!

Republicans and their friends at Fox News have mastered the art of building mountains of bullshit from the lowliest troll-hills. It’s one of their favorite tactics to malign Democrats. Just grab a sentence fragment from a long speech and pretend that it is the whole of the comment from which it was extracted. Then feign outrage that such an awful remark could have been uttered.

GOP Crazy

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The latest example of this rhetorical deceit was demonstrated when the GOP chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, Dave Camp, unscrupulously and selectively released some emails purported to be from Lois Lerner, the former IRS official who has been hounded by malevolent cretins like Rep. Darrell Issa in an attempt to fabricate ammunition to use against President Obama. Despite hundreds of wasted hours (costing millions of taxpayer dollars) engaged in hyper-partisan investigations, the Republican Inquisition has produced nothing implicating the President in any untoward activity.

The emails that Camp is now crowing about are just as meaningless as all of the other bogus “smoking guns” that these wingnuts have claimed would topple the administration. The headline that Camp has wrenched from the documents is that Lerner may have referred to certain individuals as “crazies” or “a-holes.” And, of course, this would only be an atrocity if those individuals were Republicans. Suffice to say that Camp wouldn’t give a Fig Newton if they were Democrats.

As Camp characterized this affair, Lerner was allegedly caught red-handed expressing her disgust for Republicans. And as the person at the center of the controversy over whether the IRS improperly subjected Tea Party groups to extra scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status, Camp believes that these emails prove that she was biased. Consequently, Camp regards the emails as justification for appointing a special prosecutor and escalating the legal assault on Lerner and, ultimately, the White House.

There’s just one problem. The emails don’t don’t say what Camp alleges they say. And even if they did it wouldn’t mean anything. Most people in government have personal opinions and allegiances. There isn’t anything wrong with that, so long as it doesn’t interfere with the fair execution of their duties. And the evidence shows that Lerner’s department scrutinized applications of all political persuasions. The only organization that was denied tax-exempt status during the time in question was a liberal group.

As for the emails, Camp’s assertion that Lerner had expressed a general bias against Republicans is false. And by focusing narrowly on the use of specific pejorative language he is being deliberately dishonest. She did say that there are crazies and a-holes, but she was clearly referring to a far-right fringe, not the rank and file GOP. The person with whom she was corresponding was not identified. [Update: The person has now been identified as Lerner's husband. This makes the whole thing even less controversial] Here is a transcript (complete with typos) of the email exchange beginning with Lerner describing a conversation she overheard of women in England where she was visiting.

Lerner: Overheard some ladies talking about American today. According to them we’ve bankrupted ourselves and at through. We’ll never be able to pay off our debt and are going down the tubes. They don’t seem to see that they can’t afford to keep up their welfare state either.
Unknown: Well, you should hear the whacko wing of the GOP. The US is through; too many foreigners sucking the teat; time to hunker down, buy ammo and food, and prepare for the end. The right wing radio shows are scary to listen to.
Lerner: Great. Maybe we are through if there are that many a-holes.
Unknown: And I’m talking about the hosts of the shows. The callers are rabid.
Lerner: So we don’t need to worry about alien teRrorists. It’s our own crazies that will take us down.

So we start off with Lerner actually defending America and taking a rather conservative view of the national debt, while noting the hypocrisy of the English women who were criticizing the U.S., but ignoring similar issues with their own economy. Then the other person brought up the matter of the “whacko wing of the GOP,” who hold apocalyptic views of America’s imminent demise. It is those nut cases that Lerner referred to as a-holes and crazies. And that is, quite clearly, what they are.

In the end, Camp and his …er… camp, are really complaining that Lerner called crazy people crazy. But when put in context, she absolutely did not direct those remarks to Republicans at large. It is Camp who is extrapolating the whackoness to include all Republicans. And if that’s his view of his party, well, that’s his problem.

WTF? GOP Balks At Honoring Pope Francis Because He “Sound[s] Like Obama”

The Centers for Disease Control may want to get involved soon because the epidemic of Obama Derangement Syndrome is spreading unchecked in the halls of Congress. A draft resolution to honor Pope Francis, authored by Republican Peter King and Democrat John Larson, has been stalled by an acutely myopic band of GOP obstructionists.

Pope Francis

H.Res.440 seeks to recognize Pope Francis for “his humility, his commitment to economic justice and improving the lives of the poor, and his outreach to individuals from all walks of life.” Those surprisingly non-controversial reasons for honoring the new Pontiff has the Tea Party Republican caucus steeping in anger and refusing to join the tribute. According to a GOP source who spoke to The Hill, the alleged reason for their disrespectful non-participation is that…

“Some Republicans believe the pope is ‘sounding like [President] Obama. [The pope] talks about equality — he actually used the term ‘trickle-down economics,’ which is politically charged,’ the GOP official said.”

OMG! The head of the Catholic church has debased Christianity by daring to discuss equality and empathy for the poor. Certainly Jesus would never have done anything like that. And to the extent that President Obama has articulated the same philosophy, the Pope is obviously aligned with his Marxist agenda.

That’s why, of the 221 co-sponsors of the bill (more than enough to insure passage), only 19 are Republicans. But at this point, GOP Speaker John Boehner has refused to bring it up for a vote. The Hill’s source also complained that Francis is “too liberal,” as demonstrated by his distaste for the harmful effects of unbound free markets and his tolerance for civil unions.

To be sure, Pope Francis has shown himself to be a devoted advocate for the disadvantaged of the world. He has made headlines for his willingness to humble himself before those he serves in profound ceremonial gestures like washing the feet of the poor, including women, and embracing the sick. In an official Vatican “Evangelii Gaudium” (The Joy of the Gospel), The Pope went into stark detail about the greater harm of the greed and power associated with world markets and unfettered capitalism. Some of the more illuminating excerpts include…

“Just as the commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’ sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say ‘thou shalt not’ to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills.”

“In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting.”

“In this system, which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market.”

“As long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation and by attacking the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world’s problems or, for that matter, to any problems. Inequality is the root of social ills.”

No wonder the Republicans view this Pope as the reincarnation of Karl Marx. And this isn’t the first time that Francis has been disparaged with an association to our president. Last December News Corpse reported on a story on Fox News that declared that “Pope Francis is the Catholic Church’s Obama – God help us.” The story warned that the popular new Pope is already headed in the wrong direction and that “just as President Obama has been a disappointment for America, Pope Francis will prove a disaster for the Catholic Church.” That was a rather remarkable insult coming from a network whose roster is heavily dominated by Roman-Catholics.

And that’s not all. Rush Limbaugh said that “If it weren’t for capitalism, I don’t know where the Catholic church would be. This is just pure Marxism coming out of the mouth of the Pope.” Sarah Palin complained about his “liberal statements.” Glenn Beck, although not referring directly to the Pope, begged his disciples to “run as fast as you can” from any church that uses the words “social justice,” which, of course, are the very words the Pope used.

However, no one should be surprised by the overt hypocrisy that runs rampant through the ranks of America’s right-wing. They have never been particularly pious except when it justifies their political bias. To them Catholic teachings are only meant to be followed so long as they are in harmony with Republican doctrine. And often, they are not. But Pope Francis had something to say about this as well:

“Politics, though often denigrated, remains a lofty vocation and one of the highest forms of charity, inasmuch as it seeks the common good. [...] I beg the Lord to grant us more politicians who are genuinely disturbed by the state of society, the people, the lives of the poor!. It is vital that government leaders and financial leaders take heed and broaden their horizons, working to ensure that all citizens have dignified work, education and healthcare.”

As far as Republicans are concerned, that was a campaign ad for the Democratic Party.

Amid Reckless Talk Of Impeachment, Fox News Questions President Obama’s Loyalty

It’s taken four years, but the least productive Congress in recent history has finally found something they consider worthy of their time: Impeachment. The Tea Party Republicans running the House of Representatives have managed to avoid or deliberately obstruct everything from tax reform to job creation to immigration to climate change, and much more. In place of doing their actual jobs they have repeatedly attempted to cripple or repeal the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare), deny women access to reproductive care, legislate their conservative flavor of religion, and conduct endless and unwarranted investigations into a slew of phony scandals.

The GOP has had help in their avoidance of their responsibilities. Fox News has been right beside them in diverting attention and tax dollars from useful services to wasteful partisan exercises. Specifically with regard to the Impeachment issue, it was a Fox News regular, Sarah Palin, who fired the most recent volleys.

Now Fox is setting its sights on bolstering the impeachment argument by orchestrating a campaign of propaganda to characterize President Obama as disloyal to the country. And they aren’t mincing words about it.

Fox News

On their lie-riddled community website, Fox Nation, there are currently two articles that raise questions with regard to Obama’s patriotism. They overtly suggest that the President may be rooting for our enemies, including violent terrorists.

One article, with a headline that asserts that “Obama Needs to Choose Sides – Israel or Hamas,” blatantly accuses Obama of potentially being on the side of Hamas terrorists. It’s author, Todd Starnes of Fox News, responds to the FAA’s temporary ban on flights to Israel (which has already been lifted) by accusing Obama of implementing an economic boycott against Israel. Starnes says that “There have been no such flight bans over other war-torn nations. So why Israel?” However, in addition to defaming Obama, Starnes is demonstrating his ignorance of world affairs because there are other flight bans, including two hot spots in the news recently, Ukraine and Mali.

The second article’s headline asks “Whose Side is the President Really on?” Again, the Fox Nationalists are implying that Obama is not on the side of the nation he leads. This article concerns the immigration crisis on the southwestern border, and its right-wing author, Ed Rogers of the Washington Post, writes that “It is not hard to believe the president has a bias on the side of the foreigners.” Although it may not be hard for Rogers to believe it, he offers little of substance to support his theory. It appears to based solely on the administrations efforts to resolve the unfolding humanitarian crisis.

Ironically, it is over the immigration issue that the GOP Speaker of the House, John Boehner, has chosen to respond to a White House comment regarding the GOP impeachment fixation. Senior White House adviser Dan Pfeiffer is properly concerned that the extremists in the GOP are serious about trying to remove Obama from office. He told reporters that Republican talk of impeachment should not be summarily dismissed:

“I think a lot of people in this town laugh that off. I would not discount that possibility. I think that Speaker Boehner, by going down this path of this lawsuit, has opened the door to Republicans possibly considering impeachment at some point in the future.”

Boehner’s office responded in a painfully twisted manner that criticized Pfeiffer for reacting to the impeachment talk that Republicans began. Boehner’s spokesman lamented that the White House “is focused on political games, rather than helping these kids and securing the border.” That comment begs the question: Has Boehner lost touch with reality? It is the administration that is trying to resolve the border crisis but, as usual, Boehner’s comrades in Congress are refusing to cooperate on passing the necessary legislation.

What’s more, it is Boehner himself who is playing political games with his ludicrous lawsuit against the President. Remember, this is a lawsuit by a party with a long history of opposing frivolous lawsuits. They are also known for opposing regulations that burden small business. So, of course, they are now filing a frivolous suit against the President for easing regulations on small business. And then Boehner complains about political game-playing.

Pfeiffer, the White House adviser, is quite correct to worry about impeachment. The Republican Party is so thoroughly demented and/or corrupt that they may just be crazy enough to try it. For that reason, it is critical that Democrats wake up and make a commitment to vote in November. Democrats have been notoriously absent during midterm elections. But this time they must recognize that the President is on the ballot just as surely as he was in 2008 and 2012.

If anyone should be impeached it’s Fox News. They spend 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, disparaging America and its elected representatives. They tear the country down and call it weak and its people stupid. They practically invite enemies to attack us. What’s more disloyal than that? And if their disinformation helps Republicans seize control of the Senate it will empower the House GOP to draft Articles of Impeachment. And while they will still undoubtedly fail in the end, they will detour the nation from doing any of the important work that needs to be done to revive the nation’s economy, create jobs, and restore our reputation throughout the world.

Stupid GOP Tricks: Slash The IRS Budget As Revenge For Phony Tea Party Scandal

Anyone looking for idiotic ideas from the Tea Party Republican Congress wouldn’t have far to travel before stumbling over a mountain of them. Some of the more obvious examples include denying reproductive health care, cutting taxes for the rich, suppressing the vote, shutting down the government, and promoting creationism. But wait, there’s more.

Ayn Rand Wet Dream Act

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Since the do-nothing GOP-run House isn’t doing anything else, they have had plenty of time to come up with ever more asinine initiatives in a committed effort to advance the cause of stupidity. The latest step forward in that regard is their bill to cut the budget of the IRS by 25 percent:

“The GOP-controlled House has voted to slash the budget for the Internal Revenue Service’s tax enforcement division by $1.2 billion, a 25 percent cut that would mean fewer audits of taxpayers and make it more likely that people who cheat on their taxes will get away with it.”

Brilliant! This is a win-win for Tea-publicans who hate government in general and the IRS in particular. This bill would make it harder for the IRS to carry out its responsibility for collecting revenue that the nation needs in order to function. Thus, it would open up the agency to criticism for inefficiency that was created by this budget cut. It would also create inefficiencies in every other branch of government that is starved for revenue by the reduced tax receipts which, in turn, would make them subject to criticism. It would increase the federal deficit by leaving untold billions of legitimately owed taxes uncollected. This, of course, would incite additional fury by the pseudo-deficit hawks of the GOP who would ignore the fact that they created this problem in the first place.

At the same time, a crippled IRS would be unable to audit the corporations and millionaires who routinely practice – shall we say “creative” accounting. Consequently, these folks, who are the benefactors of the Republican Party, would have free rein to rob the American people of billions of dollars necessary to run critical federal programs including Social Security, the military, public safety (food, water, consumer products, etc.), transportation and infrastructure, medical research, criminal prosecution and prevention, and so much more.

The severity of these cuts will disrupt detection and prevention of criminal activity such as fraud and identity theft, leaving average Americans more vulnerable to victimization. They would also hamper the agency’s ability to provide service to every taxpayer seeking assistance with common filing questions.

So these cuts would have the triple purpose of weakening vital services upon which every American relies, granting amnesty to tax cheats everywhere, and artificially creating excuses to lash out at Big Government. They should call it the Ayn Rand Wet Dream Enhancement Act of 2014.

For the record, these Wet Dreamers are proposing cuts that have a demonstrably negative impact on the nation’s finances. And they come on top of previous cuts that have already impeded the IRS from performing its duties. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) in a detailed and enlightening analysis

“[P]olicymakers should not ignore the damaging effects of the significant cuts that have occurred in IRS funding, which remains well below its 2010 level even before adjusting for inflation. The cuts have led the IRS to reduce its workforce, severely scale back employee training, and delay much-needed upgrades to information technology systems. These steps, in turn, have weakened the IRS’s ability to enforce the nation’s tax laws and serve taxpayers efficiently”

Even worse is the impact on the federal deficit caused by an understaffed, underfunded IRS. The CBPP report also reveals that…

“…from a fiscal perspective, starving the IRS makes no sense, as the return on the investment is high. Each additional $1 spent on IRS enforcement yields $6 of additional revenue from collecting taxes owed.”

Where else in the federal government can the allocation of funds generate that kind of return on investment? It is an act of profound folly to kill such a productive and beneficial pathway to economic sustainability that doesn’t rely on new taxes or program cuts. So what would inspire House Republicans to behave so foolishly?

“The cuts reflect GOP outrage over the agency’s scrutiny of tea party groups seeking tax-exempt status and frustration over the agency’s failure to produce thousands of emails by Lois Lerner, the official formerly in charge of the IRS division that processes applications for tax-exempt status.”

That’s right. A trumped up scandal that has elicited nothing but partisan animus and lie-riddled accusations is the impetus for choking off funds that would protect and benefit every citizen. It is the height of petty politicking that comes at the expense of the nation’s economic viability. It is transparent pandering to wealthy special interests.

In the end, it is law abiding Americans who will have to shoulder the burden for these deadbeats. So the question is: Are the GOP really stupid, or they shrewdly executing their mission to starve the government, crush the middle-class, and enrich their benefactors?

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A Dose Of Reality: Children In Texas Are Less Likely To Be Immunized Than Immigrant Kids

The saga of minors from south of the border migrating to the United States in large numbers to escape poverty and violence in their home countries is one of the most heartbreaking stories to emerge in years. These children are often alone and frightened and disoriented in their new surroundings.

Inflaming the tragedy further is the response from soulless right-wing hate squads that have protested these kids as they arrive at detention facilities for processing. Among the dehumanizing taunts that are cast at these innocents by protesters, as well as Fox News anchors and guests, is that the kids are dangerous agents of drug traffickers, terrorists, and gangs. They are described in terms that deprive them of their humanity, like invaders and tsunamis. This allows the haters to ignore that they are just children and transform them into forces of nature that bring nothing chaos and destruction.

Immigrant Kids

One of the most scurrilous accusations being hurled around is that the immigrant children are menacing disease carriers who will infect our precious homegrown little ones and poison the purity of our Euro-American gene pool. They are threatening an epidemic of infectious maladies long thought to have been eradicated in civilized society. However, an article in the Texas Observer addresses this subject with the sort of facts and informed research from which conservatives recoil as if from the plague (irony intended).

The principle discovery in the Observer reveals that the occurrence of illness in the immigrant children is “wildly overstated.” In fact, if one were inclined to be nervous about the infectious status of a child, they would be better off shunning Perry’s Kids – aka the unvaccinated children suffering under the current GOP regime in Texas.

“Before demonizing undocumented children, we should look at the facts: The vast majority of Central Americans are vaccinated against all these [mumps, measles, rubella, polio, tetanus, diphtheria] diseases. Governments concerned about health, and good parents investing in their kids, have made Central American kids better-vaccinated than Texan kids. We fear them not because they are actually sick, but because of powerful anti-immigration narratives that link foreigners to disease.”

The article goes on to note that many Central American governments cover the cost of vaccinations at 100%. Compare that to the U.S. where there are many states, including Texas, where routine health care is unavailable due to the political piggishness of Tea Party Republicans. The article states that “one in six kids in Texas is uninsured, and even insured families often must pay for vaccination.” By refusing to expand Medicaid programs, GOP governors like Rick Perry are tangibly lowering the quality and availability of health care and putting lives at risk. There’s your real death panel.

In addition, the tin-foil hatted movement to persuade people that immunizations are actually government sponsored plots to enrich pharmaceutical companies by mandating vaccinations that will cause autism or other debilitating illnesses, has found fertile ground in places like Texas. Consequently, many deluded parents deliberately refuse to have their kids vaccinated. This is making more of a health crisis in the state than anything that might be attributed to immigrants.

The Observer article is goes into much greater detail and is well worth reading in full. It includes examples of media disinformation about both disease and immigrants (particularly exposing the lies broadcast on Fox News). It explores the historical attacks on immigrants as disease-carriers going back 200 years, when the targets of the allegations were often the Irish or Jews.

This story raises questions about the effectiveness and integrity of the media. While the Texas Observer deserves credit for doing their job, the rest of the mainstream press has been shamefully delinquent. They haven’t bothered to do the research necessary to serve their audience by keeping them informed. But they have pumped up the tabloid exploitation of phony protesters and pundits with obvious political biases. It will be interesting to see if the Observer’s article gets any national attention.

In the end, it is clear that what is motivating the falsehoods about immigrant children is nothing more than pure racism, fear, ignorance, partisanship, and even greed. This is a humanitarian crisis, not an immigration debate. If Teabagging bigots want to push their fixation with border fences and nativist outrage, let them do it after these kids are taken care of and the imminent risks to their well-being are settled.

The ObamaCare Success Story: Even Republican Enrollees Are Overwhelmingly Satisfied (InfoGraphic)

It has been four months since the open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare) closed, and the most reliable numbers to date are being released. A new survey by The Commonwealth Fund (pdf) reveals that the program has surpassed all estimates of success and is broadly viewed favorably by the American people. Here are some of the highlights of the survey (InfoGraphic below):

  • With 9.5 million fewer uninsured adults, the uninsured rate for those 19-64 decline from 20% to 15%.
  • The uninsured rate for young adults 19 to 34 declined from 28% to 18%, more than any other age group.
  • In the 25 states (and D.C.) that expanded their Medicaid programs, the uninsured rate for low-income adults declined from 28% to 17% (Texas and Florida – neither of which expanded Medicaid – have the highest uninsured rates).
  • More than half of adults with new coverage said their plan included all or some of the doctors they wanted.
  • More than three of five adults who selected a private plan or enrolled in medicaid were uninsured prior to gaining coverage.
  • Two-thirds of those who found a primary care doctor got an appointment within two weeks.
  • More than three-quarters of adults with new coverage said they were very or somewhat satisfied with it (Including 74% of Republicans, 82% of Independents, and 84% of Democrats.

The fact that so many Americans have benefited from this health insurance initiative is in itself good news. But what should make this front page news is that Republicans enrolled in ObamaCare are just as happy with it as independents and Democrats. This illustrates how far afield the Tea Party Republican political miscreants in Washington have strayed from their own alleged constituents. They are impostors holding the reins of power thanks to a minority of extremists in the party who bother to vote. And if rank and file Republicans ever get motivated to show up at the polls, people like Ted Cruz and Michele Bachmann will be lucky to get speaking engagements at trailer-park bible study meetings.

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After enduring the GOP spending four years throwing every mud-soaked brick they could find at ObamaCare, the people have risen above the scare tactics and lies. They rejected the talk of death panels and socialism and economic catastrophe. They saw through the dozens of attempts to repeal the law or challenge it in the courts. And now that they have had a chance to assess it personally, they find that it satisfactorily meets their needs, particularly those who couldn’t get coverage before due to preexisting conditions or financial hardship.

Don’t expect any of this to be reported on Fox News or by any other right-wing media garbage spewer. These are credible results from a respected foundation. They deal with facts and a devotion to representing reality (which, as we know, has a well-known liberal bias). Those are principles that conservative media tries desperately to avoid. If information cannot be used by the right to tarnish the President or progressive causes, it is either ignored or disparaged.

But despite the herculean effort put forth by Fox News, the Koch brothers, and the GOP establishment, the people have made up their own minds. Now if we can just get them to show up at the polls in November and vote for their own best interests, we may be able to roll back the tide of Dark Agist theocons who have infiltrated the halls of our democracy.

ObamaCare Success

Impeachment Fever: America Rejected Sarah Palin, Now She Rejects America

The “Quitta From Wasilla” is making headlines again by displaying symptoms of acute Obama Derangement Syndrome. Sarah Palin, the 2008 GOP nominee for Vice-President, who was soundly rejected by American voters, is now calling for the impeachment of President Obama (again), who was elected twice with significant majorities.

Sarah Palin

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Palin’s panicky challenge to the Psycho Chicken Littles she commands from the parapets of her Facebook page cites the standard menu of wingnut atrocities that Tea Party dimwits cling to so fiercely (i.e. fundamental transformation, American exceptionalism, etc.). What her unhinged freak-out failed to provide were any actual legal justifications for impeachment. You know…high crimes, misdemeanors, jaywalking, anything remotely deserving of removal from office. With a completely empty basket of goodies, Palin launched her tirade saying that …

“Enough is enough of the years of abuse from this president. His unsecured border crisis is the last straw that makes the battered wife say, ‘no mas.’”

That’s a nice touch. In that one opening sentence Palin likened President Obama to a wife beater with America as his victim; she pandered to the Latino immigrants she so often disparages by demonstrating her trifling command of the Spanish language, which she and her disciples insist must never be spoken within U.S. borders; and she lied about the President’s record on immigration, which has reduced unlawful entries and increased deportations.

From there Palin portrays the perilous journey of immigrants as a leisure trip wherein the brown hordes will “kick off their shoes and come on in.” It’s just like a big pool party in her view. But even worse, she completely fails to grasp the needs and desires of the American people by misrepresenting their priorities and the consequent duties of the President.

“There is no end in sight as our president prioritizes parties over doing the job he was hired by voters to do. Securing our borders is obviously fundamental here [...] communities become unrecognizable and bankrupted due to Obama’s flood of illegal immigration.”

There is a bountiful cache of supid in that paragraph. First of all, what she calls “Obama’s flood of illegal immigration” was put in motion by George W. Bush’s signature on an anti-child trafficking bill in 2008, that requires the government to provide minor immigrants with legal representation and safe and secure housing while awaiting resolution of their status. And Palin did not, and can not, cite an example of a community that is unrecognizable, save for the one she can see from her house in Alaska.

More to the point, Palin’s assertion that immigration is job one for the President ignores the fact that most polls on the priorities of the American people actually put jobs as job one (20%). Immigration, while a serious matter that needs to be addressed, is not particularly high on the list of things Americans want their government to work on. In fact it is often near the bottom of that list (3%).

It is pathetic that people like Palin are making monsters out of children who find themselves in an untenable position. They are alone and frightened by the prospect of being returned to countries where they live in danger and poverty. And now they are further terrorized by insensitive Americans who scream at them and threaten them and put up barricades to prevent them from reaching safe harbor. It’s atrocious behavior that is embarrassing to the majority of Americans who reject such hatefulness.

Immigrant Kids

Palin concludes her rant with a generalized lashing out that offers no substance or reason – just hostility and spittle-inflected animus toward the man that America elected twice and summarily threw her in the political gutter.

“It’s time to impeach; and on behalf of American workers and legal immigrants of all backgrounds, we should vehemently oppose any politician on the left or right who would hesitate in voting for articles of impeachment. The many impeachable offenses of Barack Obama can no longer be ignored. If after all this he’s not impeachable, then no one is.”

Palin, like many of her comrades on the irrational right, have no idea what impeachment means or how it is invoked. She failed to provide even a single example of a valid impeachable offense, even though she says that there are many of them. And her hysterical overreach is in harmony with the conservative pseudo-patriots who are salivating at the prospect of winning a majority in the Senate this November so they can pursue their anti-democratic agenda and oust the man that they pledged, from the moment he was inaugurated, to destroy.

For this reason it is imperative that Democrats break out of their traditional mid-term complacency and actually get out and vote this year. If they don’t, they can expect with near certainty that Republicans will try to impeachment Obama. And with that will come all the attendant political soap operas and antagonisms that the nation really doesn’t need as there are numerous other issues to address without having to poison the atmosphere with a politically driven show trial. If after all this Democrats don’t vote in record numbers, they will wake up the day after the election with two year long migraine.

Sunday Morning Republicans Gone Wild: Boehner, Issa, Krauthammer, And Gohmert

This week has been a festival of Republican derangement on a scale that is impressive for its magnitude and breadth. A party that is notorious for inane policies and political stunts has really knuckled down and exceeded its previous masterworks of idiocy. And it starts at the top with GOP House Speaker John Boehner.

Obama Mic Drop

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This week John Boehner leaped to the front of the pack by announcing the Tea Party’s wet dream of a lawsuit against President Obama for abuse of power and political overreach. However, when asked precisely what actions by the President were going to be the basis for the litigation, Boehner responded “When I make that decision, I’ll let you know.”

Brilliant! Boehner has invented the “Mad-Libs” lawsuit. Just fill in the blanks as you go along. For instance: Whereas the President has violated the ________ Act by issuing an order to _________ citizens, he is guilty of _________ing the _________. Case closed.

Next up we have Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Phony Scandals Committee. This week he appeared on Megyn Kelly’s Fox News program to discuss the IRS and said of Lois Lerner, without qualification, that “Of course she broke laws and of course she broke regulations and we need to hold her accountable.”

That is a remarkably irresponsible position to take for someone who is ostensibly undertaking an investigation with the pretense of relying solely on the facts. But when Issa was challenged Sunday by CNN’s Candy Crowley as to whether he had any proof of wrongdoing by Lerner, the IRS, or the White House, Darrell Issa said “I don’t play the game of ‘no evidence.’” Just let that one sink in for a while.

Enter Fox News super-pundit Charles Krauthammer. Old Chuckie Sleaze visited with his Fox colleague Greta Van Susteren this week to pontificate over the Supreme Court decision on presidential recess appointments. Krauthammer opined that the court’s rebuke was proof that Obama is a lawless tyrant who rules by fiat. And then he introduced the “I” word saying that “If this were a Republican president, he’d be impeached now over all of these abuses.”

The problem with Krauthammer’s analysis is that Republican presidents have been far more generous with their recess appointments than Obama. Since 1981, Ronald Reagan led the field with 232. He was followed by Bush, Jr (171), Clinton (139), Bush, Sr. (78), and then Obama trailing with a mere 32 recess appointments. So Krauthammer’s speculation about what would happen to a Republican couldn’t be more wrong.

And saving the best for last, GOP Reps. Bill Flores and Louis Gohmert (aka Flo-Mert) have drafted legislation that would pay a million dollars to anyone who can provide the emails that were allegedly lost by Lois Lerner. Setting aside the fact that there may not be any lost emails at all because they may have been retrieved from servers or files residing with the recipients, Flo-Mert’s bill is epically idiotic.

First of all, they are essentially outsourcing their duties to unknown persons who they are enticing, via greed, to produce evidence of crime. That can result in unscrupulous individuals manufacturing evidence or breaking the law to acquire it. Secondly, they are proposing to spend taxpayer money on a purely partisan activity. Thirdly, they are conceding that they are too incompetent to do their own jobs. Fourthly, they are implying that there is a conspiracy to conceal the emails that can only be broken by cold, hard cash. And lastly, they included a provision in the bill to cut the salaries of all IRS employees by 20% until the possibly non-existent emails are turned over to Congress. That would punish people who have nothing to do with the matter, not to mention everyone in perpetuity if, in fact, there are no lost emails to recover.

This brief collection of Republican stupidity demonstrates how seriously devolved the GOP (Greedy One Percent) have become. They appear to have entirely stopped trying to be a reputable political enterprise and are competing to see who can be the imbecile of the week (although it will be hard to beat the inimitable Fox News “Psycho” analyst, Keith Ablow). But stay tuned as the contest continues and new aspirants arise to challenge the old hands. This is entertainment at its best.

Crybaby McDaniel Caught Lying About Black Votes

Last week’s Republican primary in Mississippi has stirred a frenzied response from Tea Party wackos who are convinced that the nomination was stolen by brigades of law-breaking African-Americans (is there any other kind to the right?). Loser Chris McDaniel has still refused to concede the race to incumbent Thad Cochran.

cochran-mcdaniel-2

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McDaniel appeared on Fox News last night with ardent support Sean Hannity. He told Hannity of his suspicions of massive electoral foul play, although he offered no evidence. McDaniel said that…

“We’re looking into the issue of whether or not people who participated in the June the 3rd Democratic primary crossed over into the Republican primary this Tuesday night. And we’ve already found more than a thousand examples of that in one county alone.”

This morning Pete Perry, the Republican Party Chairman of Hinds County, to which McDaniel was referring, issued a statement refuting the unfounded charges. In the statement Perry included an example of just how far removed McDaniel is from reality.

“As a committee, we are still in the process of going through the election results before they can be certified, but this morning we can discuss some of the specific examples that were raised yesterday.

“As an example in Precinct 14, the Fondren Presbyterian Church precinct, the numbers cited by the McDaniel campaign yesterday included 192 ‘illegal votes’ – people that they claimed had voted in the Democrat primary on June 3rd but then voted in the Republican run-off. That is impossible. According to the certified results of the June 3rd Democrat primary, there were only 37 total Democrat primary voters at that particular precinct.”

So McDaniel claimed that there were 192 illegal Democratic votes in a precinct that had only 37 Democratic votes total. That’s a pretty good indication that McDaniel’s complaints are pile of certified rubbish. He is just an egomaniacal sore loser who is certain that a secret cabal of Republicans and Democrats are conspiring against his holy Teabagger crusade. When all that actually happened is that voters acted lawfully to choose a candidate that is not McDaniel, and Cochran was smart enough to employ all legal measures to achieve his victory.

Oddly enough, I agree with McDaniel’s opposition to Democrats selecting Republican candidates, and vice versa. This is only possible due to the enactment of open primaries where people from any party are permitted to vote regardless of their registration. This was never a good idea because political party candidates should only be selected by members of their own parties. Why on earth should a Democrat get to choose who the GOP puts up for office? However, the open primary movement was a creation of right-wingers who saw it as a method of unseating entrenched Democratic incumbents. For instance, in California in 2010, open primaries were enacted via an initiative that was put on the ballot by a Republican state senator and supported by GOP governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Now that this hare-brained concept has come back to bite them in the ass, the Tea Party is furious at what a perversion of democracy their idea actually is. So what do they do in response? Do they retract their support for open primaries and commence a campaign to end them? Of course not. They claim that black criminals have perverted the electoral process and steps must be taken to invalidate their votes. That should help the GOP’s outreach to minority constituents as much as flying a Confederate flag at their campaign rallies will.

The upside of this affair is that the Democratic senate candidate in Mississippi, Travis Childers, just saw his chances of winning in a deep red state increase substantially. McDaniel’s delusional supporters are so upset at Cochran that many of them are already declaring that they will not vote for him in November. Some are even talking about a write-in candidacy for McDaniel, or launching a third Party campaign, which Sarah Palin has been hinting at. When this is all over, the Democrats may have to send McDaniel a thank you card.

GOP vs. Tea: Snookered By Neocon Zealots On Talk Radio, Fox News, And Elsewhere

The primary race for the Republican senate nomination in Mississippi has taken some sharp turns on the road to Crazy Town. This is a race that has seen a blogger associated with one candidate, Chris McDaniel, sneak into a nursing home to surreptitiously take photos of the ailing wife of his opponent, Thad Cochran. Some other McDaniel operatives managed to get themselves locked inside a courtroom on election night with that precinct’s ballots. As for Cochran, he told an amused audience that he grew up in Mississippi having fun doing “all kinds of indecent things with animals.”

Republican Tea Party

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So who would have thought that on the eve of the election runoff, one of the most coherent analyses of modern politics would emerge from the daughter of one these candidates? Kate Cochran posted her impressions of the race on her Facebook page a couple of days ago, and if more Republicans had the insight that she demonstrates here in support of her father’s struggling campaign, democracy would take a huge leap forward. Here are some excerpts beginning with the an apt appraisal of the media.

“I think that Mississippians are being snookered by neocon zealots on talk radio, Fox News, and elsewhere.”

Clearly Kate is paying attention. Fox News, and a confederacy of wingnut pundits, have led the Tea Party parade to replace “establishment” Republicans with ignoramuses who robotically spout pre-chewed Teabaggerisms. It is something for which the GOP should feel profoundly embarrassed. She goes on…

“The New Right values extremism, obstructionism, partisanship, and–frankly–ignorance. I am disappointed to realize that the New Right seems to want to walk hand-in-hand with the horrible strain of anti-intellectualism that sees universities as vocational schools and vilifies anyone expert in a field as somehow not living in the ‘real world’ or representative of ‘real people.’”

Anti-intellectualism is a hallmark of the New Right. They ridicule graduates of Harvard and Yale as being unable to relate to “regular” folk. But the whole notion of wanting someone “regular” to assume the responsibilities of shaping the future of our nation is unfathomably idiotic. Would these dimwits also want a yokel to perform their heart surgery? The point of electing a representative is to have the best possible person in a position to make the hard decisions. Kate gets this right when she notes that McDaniel’s supporters value him for his lack.

“Lack of experience (he is not a ‘career politician.’) Lack of wisdom (he relies solely on Jesus, the Constitution, and ‘common’ sense–combined in the veneer of ‘goodness’). Lack of judgment (he vows to refuse federal monies and to try to impede legislation). [...] I see these ‘qualities’ as a disingenuous pose, engineered to appeal to the very worst in our electorate.”

Indeed. If all voters are looking for is affirmation of their biblical fears and shallow interpretations of constitutional principles that border on another form of worship, then the Tea Party is their ideal political savior. But like religion, the Tea Party is focused mostly on imminent disaster and destruction. The economy is collapsing; morality and family are under attack; freedom is slipping away; and the devil is ushering in a communist/Muslim millennium of torment. They have no solutions, only harbingers of doom. Kate closes with this personal perspective:

“I find his campaign appalling on intellectual, moral, and idealist levels. The fact that Mississippi voters are even considering his candidacy saddens me more than I can say. Mississippi used to be recognized as the most backward, prejudiced, ignorant holdback in our nation, hands down. This sea change makes me very afraid that we might deserve that mantle.”

What’s really sad is that it takes this sort of political smack in the head for many Republicans to grasp just how dangerous and ignorant the Tea Party and its disciples are. It’s encouraging that Kate has come around, and her articulate passion is moving and profound. But the sort of experience that inspired it is not likely to be shared by many others. Consequently, America will continue to be saddled with this mindless cult of stooges who unknowingly help cloistered billionaires to shape a world that keeps them oppressed. At least for a while.

The New GOP Majority Whip Is A Climate Change Denying Koch Brothers Flunkey

When Eric Cantor lost his primary bid to run for reelection to his Virginia congressional seat, he set off a game of musical chairs within the Republican leadership ranks in the House. Today the GOP caucus chose Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy to replace Cantor as Majority Leader. Subsequently, they needed to fill the new vacancy in the Whip’s post. for that role they chose Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise.

Rep. Steve Scalise

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Scalise is regarded as a far-right conservative aligned with the Tea Party. He is currently the chair of the Republican Study Committee, an offshoot of the GOP caucus with an avowed ultra-rightist slant. Wikipedia notes that…

“The organization has long had ties to outside groups closely allied with the most conservative elements of the Republican Party, such as the National Rifle Association, The Heritage Foundation, Focus on the Family, Concerned Women for America and the conservative magazine National Review, as well as the libertarian Cato Institute.”

Last year Scalise authored a resolution that falsely asserted that “a carbon tax would be detrimental to the United States economy” and “to American families and businesses,” and that it would “fall hardest on the poor, the elderly, and those on fixed incomes.” The bill was backed by the Koch brothers who spent heavily on lobbyists to insure its passage.

But for a real taste of the idiocy that is being incorporated into the highest ranks of the GOP elite, you need look no further than Scalise’s speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) last year where he had this to say about Climate Change (video below):

“He [President Obama] talked about global warming at his inauguration, I found it ironic that the President was wearing a trench coat it was so cold, but he’s talking about global warming.”

So Scalise is one of those anti-science dimwits who doesn’t know the difference between weather and climate. He believes that the 97% of the scientists who affirm that climate change is real and man-made are perpetrating a hoax. He is an advocate for Big Oil, going so far as to defend BP after the disastrous 2010 calamity in the Gulf of Mexico, saying that “This job killing ban on drilling is causing more problems right now than” the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

And now he is the Republican Majority Whip and the third highest ranking Republican in the House of Representatives. Well, at least for the next few months, when there will be another vote. If Democrats will get off their duffs and vote in November, we may not need to worry about him or the rest of the Republican Dark Agists.

GOPee Yew: What The Media Isn’t Telling You About Obama’s Poll Numbers

A new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll (pdf) has some decidedly bad news for President Obama. The American people, according to this survey, are losing patience with the President and expressing it with low opinions of his job performance, foreign policy, and leadership. It is a distinct concern for him as his administration heads into its final two years.

That said, the news isn’t all bad. But far be it for the media to put the results in context so that people get a balanced perspective of the nation’s mood. In addition to the floundering numbers, there are some areas that ought to produce some optimism for the President and those aligned with his policies. First among them is the fact that, while Obama’s numbers are nothing to write home about, his political rivals are doing so much worse that may want to run away from home.

NBC/Wall Street Journal Poll

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Both the President and his party are putting the Republicans to shame. He is 30% more popular than the Republican Party, and nearly 50% more popular than the laughably inane Tea Party. If his presidency is over, as some right-wing pundits are gleefully claiming, what does that mean for conservatives?

And that’s not all. When asked which party they prefer to control Congress, respondents chose Democrats over Republicans by 45% to 43%. The poll also reports that progressive positions on prominent issues are far more popular than those of conservatives. For instance, respondents support the Common Core education initiative 59/31. They believe that immigration helps rather than hurts the nation 47/42. They advocate action on climate change 61/37. They approve of Obama’s recent move to set strict carbon dioxide emission limits 67/29.

Clearly the electorate is in a bad mood, and they are taking it out, with justification, on their representatives. But when directly asked about solutions to the problems that affect them most, they consistently respond with agreement for the liberal agenda.

So why doesn’t the press report that? This is the so-called “liberal” media we’re talking about. Apparently they are not as driven by partisanship as right-wingers would have you believe with all of their childish carping. More likely the media is driven by ratings and revenue. In that regard, conflict and drama have always been a bigger draw than harmony. It’s the same reason that local news features murders and car chases, rather than more uplifting stories.

Obama has some work to do to counteract the effect of the relentlessly negative coverage he receives. Even the arrest of a suspect in the Benghazi attack drew absurd criticisms from Fox News and other wingnut media. But in the interim, it is important to look below the surface to see the whole story. And what this survey is telling us is that if Democrats run on progressive policies they are more likely to achieve success at the polls later this year and in 2016.

Fox News Is STILL Killing The Republican Party

Once again, an academic study of the American electorate has found that “Fox News Republicans are the most uninformed.” This new survey was conducted by the The Brookings Institution along with the Public Religion Research Institute. What’s different about this study is that it does not merely pit Republicans against Democrats and Independents. It distinguishes between Republicans who regularly watch Fox News and those who don’t. And the conclusions reveal that Fox News Republicans are even more uninformed and extreme in their views than their non-fox viewing comrades in the same party.

Go Fox Yourself

What this tells us is that Fox News is polluting the Republicans who tune in to the network with reporting and commentary that is biased, misleading, and downright false. The ideological corruption is evident in some basic political differences between the Foxies and the Foxless. For instance, the DREAM Act was drafted to permit undocumented residents who came to the U.S. as children, and either completed college or served in the military, to obtain temporary residency status and eventually apply for citizenship. This bill is supported by a 62% majority of Foxless Republicans, but only 42% of GOP Foxies. Likewise, the campaign to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour is supported by a majority of 56% of the Foxless, but only 33% of the Foxies. In both cases the Foxless Republicans are more closely aligned with the electorate at large. It is the Foxies who hold the extremist position on the fringes of the far right.

The study asks the question: Does Fox News cause ignorance, or do ignorant viewers prefer Fox News? The answer is not particularly clear cut and is likely a combination of the two. However, the real problems for the GOP come into the equation when the party tries to evaluate the opinions of their constituents as represented by the folks at Fox News. It’s clear that the Fox version of Republican views are far removed from reality. The study notes that party strategists may think that the Foxy…

“…represents the center of the GOP. Under that mindset, presidential candidates should adopt a policy platform that appeals to the average Fox News viewer. But that’s a mistake when the average Fox News member is an extreme conservative. [...] This makes the Fox News echo chamber a hazard for the party. It creates extreme candidates under the guise that they are electable.”

The notion that Fox News is demonstrably harmful to the Republican Party is one that News Corpse examined five years ago in an article titled “Fox News Is Killing The Republican Party.” Some excerpts show that the results of the new Brookings/PRRI study somewhat belatedly affirm my own conclusions:

There is a case to be made that Fox News is demonstrably harmful to the Republican Party. In fact, it may be the worst thing to happen to Republicans in decades. That may seem counter-intuitive when discussing Fox News, the acknowledged public relations division of the Republican Party. Fox has populated its air with right-wing mouthpieces and brazenly partisan advocates for a conservative Republican agenda. They read GOP press releases on the air verbatim as if they were the product of original research. They provide a forum where Republican politicians and pundits can peddle their views unchallenged. So how is this harmful to Republicans?

Fox has corralled a stable of the most disreputable, unqualified, extremist, lunatics ever assembled, and is presenting them as experts, analysts, and leaders. These third-rate icons of idiocy are marketed by Fox like any other gag gift (i.e. pet rocks, plastic vomit, Sarah Palin, etc.). [...] The problem is that by elevating bona fide nutcases, they are debasing honest and informed discourse. The mental cases are crowding out any reasonable voices that might exist amongst the more moderate Republicans (if there are any left). Fox appears to have made a tactical decision to permit the inmates full run of the asylum.

By doubling down on crazy, Fox is driving the center of the Republican Party further down the rabid hole. They are reshaping the party into a more radicalized community of conspiracy nuts. So even as this helps Rupert Murdoch’s bottom line, it is making celebrities of political bottom-feeders. That can’t be good for the long-term prospects of the Republican Party.

The more the population at large associates Republican ideology with the agenda of Fox News, and the fringe operators residing there, the more the party will be perceived as out of touch, or even out of their minds.

Recent events have borne out the worst of these considerations. Shortly after Fox News heralded the Deadbeat Rancher, Cliven Bundy, as a hero for confronting law enforcement officers with armed militia, three people, including two police officers, were murdered in Las Vegas, by a pair of Tea Party Terrorists. The perpetrators were the spitting image of the Fox News profile for conservative activists who virulently opposed what Fox told them was a rogue government that was devolving into a godless abyss of socialist deception and tyranny.

In addition, Fox News has stridently pursued a political agenda that seems to be intent on alienating the most critical voter demographic groups, including African-Americans, Latinos, women, and youth. And lately they even added their most loyal viewers to that list. The median age of the Fox News audience is 69 years old. That’s six years older than the median for their competition at CNN and MSNBC. And yet, Fox is embarking on an anti-Hillary Clinton crusade that is largely based on her age. That surely won’t go over well with the seniors tuning in to Fox.

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So with Fox continuing to feature the fringiest characters they can find, and academic studies certifying the damage that this strategy will cause to their purported allies in the GOP, the closing paragraph of my 2009 article is as relevant today as it was then:

The mission of Fox News from its inception was to be more than just a voice of opposition to Democrats. It was to utterly crush the left end of the political spectrum leaving only a teetering right wing with no counter balance. Yet, despite the torrid embrace between Republicans and Fox News, it is apparent that Fox is the source of a sort of friendly fire that is decimating the GOP by exalting its most outlandish and unpopular players. And since Republicans have not been particularly popular anyway lately, the anchor being thrown to them by Fox can’t be all that helpful – – – Except to Democrats.