GOP Senators that Denied Aid For Prior Hurricane Victims Are Now Begging Trump For Relief

The residents of Texas’ Gulf Coast are bracing for what is predicted to be the most catastrophic natural disaster to hit the United States in twelve years. Hurricane Harvey has been officially designated a Category Three hurricane and it is still picking up speed. Evacuation orders have been issued to the affected areas, but time is running out.

Ted Cruz

Across the nation, citizens are praying for the safety of those in the path of Harvey. And the Federal government is gearing up to respond as needed. That effort may be hampered by Donald Trump’s failure to fully staff the agencies responsible for emergency operations. Time will tell if they are adequately prepared for what’s coming.

The aftermath of these disasters is generally attended to by a united nation caring for their fellow citizens. In times of need, Americans are admirably empathetic and generous. Among the first steps taken following a crisis like this is the declaration of a national emergency. That makes both funding and other resources available to the communities that require them.

Texas has two Republican senators who are already reaching out to the federal government for assistance. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn have written to Trump urging him to grant a request for the disaster declaration. They said in part:

“Given the potential catastrophic impact that the Hurricane may have on Texas communities, we strongly support this request and urge you to provide any and all emergency protective measures available by a major disaster declaration.”

That all sounds well and good. And it is precisely what is needed to protect the welfare of the people of Texas. However, it points out an especially heinous brand of hypocrisy exhibited by both men. In 2013 both senators voted against disaster relief for the victims of Hurricane Sandy. One hundred and fifty-seven people in nine states died directly or indirectly due to Sandy. It produced a total of seventy-one billion dollars in damage. That makes it second only to Katrina in devastation.

The people of Texas should not be punished for the heartless insensitivity of their representatives. They will require substantial assistance and, as Americans, they deserve it. But they should also remember this at election time. Cruz and Cornyn lack the compassion for their fellow citizens that they seek now for themselves. It’s typical of Republican selfishness and tendency to politicize even national tragedies. That’s something Trump has done repeatedly, even with respect to previous hurricanes:

Does that mean that Trump will not be handing out billions in aid for the victims of Harvey? Unlikely. But it is confirmation that he will use the tragedy for his own benefit and brag about it afterwards. Even if his administration fouls it up. Hopefully his narcissism won’t get in the way of the help that the good people of Texas really need.

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The Most Hilariously Delusional Response To The Iran Nuclear Arms Negotiations

In the early hours of Tuesday, July 14, 2015, an announcement was made that Iran had agreed to a deal with the United States (and England, France, Germany, Russia, and China) restricting their ability to advance any weapons related nuclear programs. The deal required significant concessions from Iran with regard to research, production, storage, etc., of fissile materials, and set stiff obligations for verification and inspection. It further held that existing sanctions would remain in place until it is certified that Iran is complying with the conditions of the agreement.

This announcement predictably triggered a tempest of antipathy from the usual quarters of the Obama Hate Squad (aka the Republican Party). They immediately jerked their auto-tuned knees to complain that President Obama had just surrendered America to its enemies and offered to build Iran as many nuclear warheads as they want and help to aim them at Israel. This went on all day at Fox News with each anchor and pundit taking turns to find the most scurrilous attack on what they regard as a traitorous president.

Among the critics of the new deal was Senate Republican Whip John Cornyn of Texas. He stood shoulder to shoulder with his GOP leadership colleagues (Senators McConnell, Barrasso, and Corker) to denounce Obama’s appeasement of Iran, the next perpetrators of a holocaust. Cornyn said that the deal allows Iran “a clear path to develop nuclear weapons.” (Which it does not).

John Cornyn

But apparently the risk of global conflagration grew considerably since a previous statement Cornyn made about the arms deal. Back in 2013 he took note of Obama’s nascent efforts at bringing Iran to the table and could not contain himself. He feverishly tweeted…

“Amazing what WH will do to distract attention from O’Care.”

So Cornyn originally believed that Obama’s initiative to constrain Iran’s nuclear ambitions was merely an attempt to keep everyone from paying attention to the fact that he had made health insurance available to more Americans than ever before. How insidious. This is truly a crafty president who, for some reason, didn’t want anyone to know that he was expanding access to healthcare, so he contrived a historic deal to remove Iran’s potential for nuclear warfare as a diversion.

With today’s announcement of a successful agreement, we learn that Obama’s attempted diversion has actually born fruit. The five other negotiating partners, as well as the United Nations, all approved of the deal and celebrated it as an unprecedented achievement. And through it all the Affordable Care Act continued to roll out and is now responsible for producing the highest rate of coverage ever for the American people.

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I suppose you could therefore call the Iranian arms deal distraction an unqualified success. It enabled ObamaCare to become ingrained in American society while no one was looking, and it also put the screws to Iran’s devious weapons plans. How ever did Cornyn figure all of that out two years ago? He must be some kind of genius, or prophet.

Obama Derangement Syndrome: Sen. Cornyn Responds To News Of A Nuclear Deal With Iran

I was gonna write up something funny about Republicans saying that the nuclear deal with Iran was an attempt by Obama to distract from health care. But reality beat me to the punchline – again.

John Cornyn

Why is it always someone from Texas? So John Cornyn, the number two Republican in the senate, thinks that this deal, that has been in the works for months, was concocted as a scheme to divert attention from a bad news cycle about the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare). And furthermore, Cornyn is seriously asserting that President Obama somehow got Iran, Germany, France, England, Russia, and China to participate in the deception. If Obama could pull that off he would deserve to go down in history for that alone.

The agreement put together by Secretary of State John Kerry is a hardball deal that requires Iran to neutralize existing stockpiles of highly enriched uranium, abandon high-tech centrifuges, cease construction and operations at their plutonium reactor, and consent to intrusive inspections. Plus, it leaves most sanctions in place until Iran demonstrates that it is in compliance. It’s everything on our wishlist, yet this goofball thinks the whole thing is an elaborate distraction from a glitchy website.

I swear, it just doesn’t pay to try to do satire anymore.

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Serial Liar, James O’Keefe, Releases Another Deceitfully Edited Video: ObamaCare Edition

Some people are just gluttons for punishment. Take James O’Keefe for instance. The petulant, wannabe ambush journalist has already been exposed as a purveyor of dishonest videos that are deceptively edited in order to slander his victims. He was caught trying to execute a perverse scheme to seduce a CNN reporter. He had to pay a $100,000 to settle a defamation suit brought by a former ACORN staffer. And he was convicted of criminal behavior in a stunt he tried to pull in Louisiana.

James O'KeefeSince then his projects have been few and even many of his former allies declined to promote them. But now he has a new video that purports to expose some malfeasance on the part of some ObamaCare “navigators” who are helping people to acquire health insurance. As I’ve noted before, O’Keefe’s inner sadist assures that his projects are almost always aimed at attacking people and programs that serve the less fortunate. That’s true in this case as well.

The ObamaCare association seems to have loosened up those who abandoned him in the past, including Bill O’Reilly of Fox News. However, his reputation for producing video fiction is fully intact. In the new video he sends in a shill to pretend to inquire about enrolling in a health care plan. In the process, the shill attempts to trick his unsuspecting victims into giving bad advice. However, we can’t know for sure whether they did that because the videos are so heavily edited that there is no way to discern the actual context. Also, the people O’Keefe’s shill spoke with weren’t certified navigators, but were in fact trainees. So the prospect of them making a few mistakes shouldn’t shock anyone.

In one case, though, it is apparent that the navigators did not do what O’Keefe accused them of doing. O’Keefe alleged that the navigators advised the shill to misrepresent his income. In reality, they simply told him to report on the ObamaCare website the same amounts he reported to the IRS. It’s his responsibility to file his income taxes honestly. But the conclusions drawn in the video conceal that. That’s just one example of how creative editing can distort the true picture of what occurred.

Given that Fox News is immersed in an obsessive campaign to cripple ObamaCare, they must have given the green light to O’Reilly to readmit O’Keefe into their good graces – sort of. O’Reilly devoted most of his opening segment to O’Keefe’s video, but without ever mentioning his name. That may have been wise considering the disrepute associated with O’Keefe and his band of dissemblers. O’Reilly only identified the video as the work of Project Veritas, which he helpfully explained to his viewers means “truth,” something with which O’Reilly and O’Keefe have limited experience.

Even Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze couldn’t post O’Keefe’s video without disclaiming that “It should be noted that the video is heavily edited and employs deceptive tactics in order to catch the navigators offering the shocking advice.” When Beck’s crew is disturbed by deceptive tactics, you know you’ve crossed a line that most charlatans never see in their whole lives.

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What’s worse, a United States senator, John Cornyn, Republican of Texas (where else?), also cited the O’Keefe video as evidence that ObamaCare needs to be stopped immediately. Cornyn said that “This behavior is unacceptable, and is yet another broken piece of a deeply flawed system. The Obama administration should stop this program immediately.” Obviously – if a trainee tells a dishonest, partisan shill something that isn’t quite accurate, in a video produced by a known liar and criminal, then an entire government program that was set up to help 48 million previously uninsured Americans get access to health care should be thrown out.

That’s the quality of the logic in use by Republican and Tea Party opponents of ObamaCare. And, as such, is more than ample justification for ignoring them completely. It also explains how the pathetically amateurish video fabrications of James O’Keefe get taken seriously by idiots in politics and the press.

[Update 11/14/2013] Another Fox News program is hyping the O’Keefe lies. Sean Hannity did a segment during which he also referred to Project Veritas as the video’s producer and never mentioned O’Keefe’s name. He also spewed other lies about the cost of the website, the navigators not getting background checks, and the scope of the people whose current plans will be terminated by insurance companies.

Fishy Right-Wingers Accuse Obama Of Recruiting Nazi Snitches

With the Congress in recess, Republicans and their rightist allies have taken to the streets to attack President Obama’s agenda, particularly with regard to healthcare. It has already been well documented that much of the protest has been orchestrated by lobbyists and partisan political groups. Their efforts have also been aided by the rightist media including Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, talk radio, etc. The Fox Nation is so heavily involved that it featured eight separate stories on its web site yesterday on the phony town hall disturbances (and four more today).

After observing this all-out campaign by insurance industry-backed rightist mobs to disrupt public discourse in town halls and other public events, the Obama administration responded by having White House Communications Director Linda Douglass set the record straight. The video in which she appears is posted on the White House web site along with an invitation for citizens to help debunk the rapidly spreading disinformation:

There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care.  These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation.  Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to flag@whitehouse.gov.

Naturally, the right wing lie machine immediately seized on this as an outrageous invasion of privacy and an abuse of executive power. They are casting it as a Big Brother style operation to pit neighbor against neighbor. One Tea Partier said that Obama wants to “turn everyone into a Nazi snitch.” The only problem is that nowhere in the appeal is there anything remotely suggesting that people turn in other people. Furthermore, there is no threat associated with the disclosure of the rumors that the White House is seeking to be apprised of. The only thing they are interested in is the substance of the attacks on their proposals so that they can rebut them.

But that hasn’t stopped the allegations of intimidation from erupting out of the depths of the Tea Bagging brigades. Shock and outrage is being expressed from every direction. The National Review, the Washington Times, Hot Air, and of course, Fox News. Fox News has also aired a segment on this in which they revealed that Rush Limbaugh has joining this parade of paranoia. What’s more, both CQPolitics and the Washington Independent have uncovered plots to commit virtual disruptions by spamming the White House’s email inbox.

Even Texas GOP Senator John Cornyn is getting into the act with a letter to the President in which he alleges that this is a Nixonesque enemies list:

“By requesting that citizens send ‘fishy’ emails to the White House, it is inevitable that the names, email addresses, IP addresses, and private speech of U.S. citizens will be reported to the White House. You should not be surprised that these actions taken by your White House staff raise the specter of a data collection program. As Congress debates health care reform and other critical policy matters, citizen engagement must not be chilled by fear of government monitoring the exercise of free speech rights.”

To reiterate, the White House is NOT asking for anyone’s name, email address, IP address, or any other data connected to one’s identity. They are asking only to be informed of arguments against their health care proposals so that they can respond with the facts. Cornyn is reaching new heights of hypocrisy by feigning concern for chilling the exercise of free speech rights when he supports the Tea Baggers who are preventing such speech in local town hall meetings. He further embarrasses himself by saying that he would have also condemned the Bush White House should they have engaged in a similar invasion of privacy. Except that he did no such thing when he voted for warrantless wiretapping.

As it turns out, it is a good thing that the White House now has a facility for reporting the fishy assertions of fatuous fringe dwellers who have trouble with facts. Perhaps we should start by reporting the idiotic claim that the President is recruiting Nazi snitches.