Friday, September 4, 2015

Thursday, September 3, 2015

First Things First

Matt Bevin is running for governor of Kentucky.  You might remember him as the guy who tried to primary Mitch McConnell a couple of years ago and lost badly.  So if he’s whacky enough to lose to him, you know he’s not what you’d call mainstream.

Now of course he has an opinion on the trials of the Kentucky county clerk who won’t issue marriage licenses to anybody because Jesus and icky gays.

“I absolutely support her willingness to stand on her First Amendment rights,” he said. “Without any question I support her.”

How noble, except there is no First Amendment right to defy the Supreme Court’s rulings.  Your rights end where the other person’s begin, and the couples — straight or gay — in Rowan County have a right to get a marriage license issued by the county.

So do the people of Kentucky really want a governor who seems to have slept through Grade 10 government class?

Whose Side Are You On?

That’s the question for Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR).

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday, part of his weeklong trip to Israel.

[…]

“Today’s meeting only reaffirms my opposition to this deal,” Cotton said in a statement after the meeting. “I will stand with Prime Minister Netanyahu and Israel and work with my colleagues in Congress to stop this deal and to ensure that Israel has the means to defend itself against Iran and its terrorist surrogates.”

I’m just imagining the shitstorm that would have come raining down if a Democratic senator had gone to France in 2002 and pronounced that he stood with the opponents of invading Iraq.  The Republicans would have tried to arrest him for treason.  This guy gets a selfie with Bibi.

The Last Straw

This may be the thing that brings down the Trump campaign:  According to the Washington Post, Donald Trump cheats at golf.

“Golf is like bicycle shorts: It can reveal a lot about a guy,” said Rick Reilly, the sportswriter who hit the links with Trump for his 2004 book “Who’s Your Caddy?” in which he lugged clubs for several of the world’s best golfers and VIP amateurs.

As for Trump? “When it comes to cheating, he’s an 11 on a scale of one to 10,” Reilly said.

Actually, it’d be news if he didn’t.

Thanks, Dick

There are now enough votes in the Senate to sustain any veto of the Iran nuclear deal rejection by Senate Republicans.

I think we have Dick Cheney to thank for this.  If he hadn’t reminded us just what a colossal warmonger he was and how wrong he and his minions were about the Middle East, some Democrats might have listened to his warnings.  But since it was really hard for him to hide his apparent glee — or in his case, his maniacal snarl — at the prospect of nuclear war, they decided to err on the side of sanity.

Short Takes

Officials in Budapest block refugees from getting on trains to Germany.

President Obama will push for helping Arctic communities stave off rising oceans.

The Army opens Ranger school to all comers.

Baltimore judge refuses to drop charges against cops charged in Freddie Gray’s death.

R.I.P. Dean Jones, 84, star of many Disney films.

Tropical Update: Fred stays put.

The Tigers got walloped 12-1 by the Royals.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Mind Your Own Business

I tweeted this yesterday:

Quaker County Clerk Tweet 09-02-15The answer is No.  When you have a job that is based on serving the public, you serve the public regardless of your personal beliefs.  So you either do the job or you find something else to do.

This should not be a question that causes headlines.  People face these choices every day without getting face time on cable TV.  People make accommodations in their sincerely-held religious beliefs without incurring the wrath of their particular object of adoration, and people who have no particular religious following are required to adapt to the greater good and do things that they may find personally repellent.  They are mature enough in their understanding of how things work in a society made up of many different beliefs or peccadilloes that they don’t get to impose their own on anyone else to the point that it disrupts the lives of the people they were elected to serve.

Short Takes

The stock markets tanked again yesterday.

President Obama proposes expanding the U.S. arctic icebreaker fleet.

A manhunt is underway near Chicago for three suspects who killed a police officer.

Support grows in the House and Senate for the Iran nuclear deal.

Tropical Update: TS Fred is fizzling out.

The Tigers beat the Royals 6-5.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Jeb! Becomes Jeb…

Aside from the scary-stupid stuff in the PPP Poll below, Monmouth is out with new numbers for the rest of the field.

When Iowa Republicans are asked who they would support in their local caucus, Ben Carson (23%) and Donald Trump (23%) tie for the top spot. The next tier of candidates includes Carly Fiorina (10%) and Ted Cruz (9%), followed by Scott Walker (7%), Jeb Bush (5%), John Kasich (4%), Marco Rubio (4%), and Rand Paul (3%). The last two Iowa caucus victors, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum, each garner 2% of the vote. None of the other six candidates included in the poll register more than 1% support.

Given that we are still five months away from the first vote being cast and that the only people who are really paying a whole lot of attention to polls are freaked-out campaign managers and bloggers with their favorite baseball team in the cellar, we shouldn’t put a lot of stock in these numbers quite yet.  But, as Booman notes, what they tell us about Jeb Bush is rather surprising.

Jeb Bush is supposed to be a colossus. With the amount of money he raised and his family’s deep connections in the Media Establishment and throughout the Republican Party all the way down to the precinct level, Jeb Bush is supposed to be intimidating. If you cross this family, you should expect to pay a heavy price. From Grandma Barbara on down, this group doesn’t even let the dish grow cold before they start exacting revenge. As for Dubya, he cut his teeth as the Sonny Corleone of the family, cutting people off, delivering the death stares, calling people on the carpet and even taking care of the most unpleasant firings. If Poppy was genteel and civilized, his boy-consigliere was a head-cracker. And when it came time for Dubya to become a politician in his own right, he brought on guys like Karl Rove and eventually Dick Cheney to show you how a ratfucking is properly applied.

Yet here he is coming in after Ben Carson, Donald Trump, and Carly Fiorina, three people who have never served a day in elective office and basically sneer at those who have, say what you will about the job they did when they were in office.

But it’s not just Iowa. Bush can’t crack ten percent in New Hampshire or South Carolina or even in the RealClearPolitics average of national polls.

When Eric Cantor came out and endorsed Jeb, Trump mocked Cantor and called him a loser. When key members of Jeb’s finance team resigned this week, Trump reveled in the unseemliness of it all and said they were fleeing a sinking ship. Trump even used Jeb’s own mother in an advertisement against him.

This all might seem like playground stuff, but Jeb doesn’t compensate by going out and clearing brush on his ranch. He doesn’t even obsessively work out or go bicycling every damn where. He’s soft and doughy and low energy and non-threatening, and he just looks like a guy who wants to run the Pentagon but has been stripped of every last shred of toughness and masculinity.

It’s true that nine out of every ten things that Trump says are either untrue or insane, but when he goes after the Bush family what he says is generally accurate.

Notwithstanding what CLW wrote yesterday, there is a method to Mr. Trump’s madness.  He knows he has to take down Jeb Bush because of all the other candidates in the race, he is the one who has the deepest background and potential staying power through all the polls that show him sucking wind at 5%.  Mr. Trump knows that Jeb Bush will not drop out of the race based solely on them; he has to knock him out of the race.  Hence the vicious Willie Horton-eque Instagram ad posted by the Trump campaign against Mr. Bush’s immigration policy (no link on purpose; JFGI).  Hence his long and detailed attacks on the Bushes going back two generations.

The one thing that Mr. Trump is probably worried about is that when candidates like Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal, and George Pataki drop out and the rest of the field has been winnowed down to five or six by next spring, the Republican voters — the ones outside of the know-nothing race-baiting base — will have become weary or bored of Mr. Trump’s antics and tackiness and want a candidate who isn’t a beta test for adult-onset infantile outrage, and they will settle for the bland over the ballistic.  That seems to be the plan for the Jeb… campaign.

These People Vote

Rachel Maddow got hold of some new polling for the GOP primary.

While the findings at the top of the poll are what we’ve come to expect from the Republican field – Donald Trump and Ben Carson securing the top spots – what is more surprising is to find Beltway-favored candidates Chris Christie and Rand Paul floundering at the bottom with barely any support.

The poll also shows the tea party character of the Republican Party, with strong birther views and a dubious grasp of some key facts about President Obama and Senator Ted Cruz.

For instance, when asked if they believe President Obama is a Christian, a Muslim, or “not sure,” Republicans answered 54% Muslim, 14% Christian, 32% Not Sure.  (Spoiler alert: the president is a Christian.)

When asked if President Obama was born in the United States, 29% said he was.  When asked the same about Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), 40% said yes, Sen. Cruz was born in the United States.  In fact, President Obama was born in the United States.  Sen. Cruz was born in Canada.

The question for the candidates then becomes: Why would you want anyone that stupid voting for you?

Marry The Men Today Update

Via TPM:

The Supreme Court on Monday denied Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis’ request for a stay while she pursues an appeal.

In the two months since the court legalized gay marriage, Davis has refused to issue any marriage licenses. Four couples sued her and the Supreme Court’s rejection marks the end of her legal options to refuse.

It’s not clear exactly what she will do when her office opens Tuesday. Her attorney has said she will pray about it overnight.

Here’s what’s going to happen:  She’s going to tearfully quit her job, start a GoFundMe campaign, and buy a rhinestone-encrusted crown of thorns with her grift.  Yeah, pray for that.

Update:  She’s still refusing to obey the law of the land.  She’s perfectly within her personal rights to do this…

Aw fuck it.  I tried to be reasonable, but she’s nothing more than a sniveling bigot hiding behind her religion.  Sue the hell out of her.