Friday, March 30, 2012

Friday, June 24, 2011

Irony of the Day

John Yoo, the lawyer who came up with the legal memos that justified the use of torture by the Bush administration, is pounding on President Obama for his interpretation of the War Powers Act.

Just as the administration brushed aside the Constitution’s limits on the federal government’s powers over the domestic economy, so too it is ignoring a national security law it believes to be constitutional simply because it stands in the way of Democratic Party goals. […]

Obama’s indefensible interpretation of the WPR is transparently driven by politics. … These decisions show an administration that treats the law cynically and manipulatively, to achieve purely political ends.

That last paragraph is pure comedy gold.

Friday, June 17, 2011

GAO On ACORN: A Big Nothing

Hey, remember ACORN, the community group dedicated to helping the poor and marginalized people that was basically driven out of existence by Congress on trumped-up and false evidence by right-wing hatchet men and enabling Democrats? Well, guess what.

A report issued today by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) finds little to support the charges that led to the demise of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), a grassroots consumer advocacy organization driven out of existence by Congressional critics.

The GAO found that monitoring of awards to ACORN by government agencies generally consisted of reviewing progress reports and making site visits. Of 22 investigations of alleged election and voter registration fraud, most were closed without prosecution, the report found.

One of eight investigations of alleged voter registration fraud resulted in guilty pleas and seven were closed without action due to lack of evidence.

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) reported five closed matters – one resolved, one dismissed and the others dropped after FEC “found no reason to believe the violations occurred.”

At its peak, ACORN was a collection of 1,200 community-based organizations in 100 U.S. cities that advocated for low- and moderate-income families.

In 2009, conservative activists released selectively edited videos claiming to show ACORN employees giving advice on hiding prostitution activities and avoiding taxes.

And yet James O’Keefe and Andrew Breibart are still in business and still the darlings of the so-called liberal media.

Yet again this proves the axiom of modern politics: the charge doesn’t have to be true to be believed. In fact, the more outrageous, the more believable it is. And as the Anthony Weiner story proved, it doesn’t matter how, um, big a deal it is; it just can’t be embarrassing for the Democrats. If it is, you’re on your own.

That’s not a problem for the GOP. They have proved time and again that they are beyond embarrassment.

HT to LGF.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Your Standard Double Standards

I’ll give Reince Priebus, the chairman of the GOP, credit for doing this with a straight face.

The Republican Party chairman said Tuesday that Rep. Anthony Weiner should resign after admitting to sexually charged online relationships with several women and lying about his misdeeds.

The New York congressman seemed increasingly isolated from even his fellow Democrats Tuesday, as House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi formally requested a House ethics probe and the Senate’s top Democrat declined to publicly defend him.

Reince Priebus said in a statement that either Pelosi and Democratic chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz believe that members of Congress are held to a different standard, or they believe the congressman’s actions demand his departure from the House.

This from the party that gave us South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford “hiking the Appalachian Trail,” Sen. John Ensign paying off his mistress’s family, and of course the ever-lovin’ Sen. David Vitter, who enjoyed the company of prostitutes to the point that he was making appointments with them while on the floor of the House of Representatives.

I think the word you’re looking for is “chutzpah.”

Rachel Maddow puts it in perspective.

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Former RNC Chairman Michael Steele used the tired old argument that “both sides do it.” Yeah, bullshit. The GOP is the party that sells themselves as the arbiters of moral values, and this false equivalency is a pathetic attempt to divert the attention away from their rampant hypocrisy.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Over The Border

President Obama got into a lot of trouble with Republicans, including Karl Rove, last week when he said:

There should be an end to the occupation that began in 1967. The agreement must establish a Palestine as a homeland for the Palestinian people just as Israel is a homeland for the Jewish people.

What a terrible way to throw Israel and Prime Minister Netanyahu under the bus. The president must truly be a secret Muslim to promote such a radical idea.

Yeah, except that quote wasn’t from Mr. Obama. It was President Bush in 2008.

Just another example of GOP knee-jerk anti-Obama reactions to something they supported. It joins cap-and-trade, individual mandates, and going into Pakistan to get Osama bin Laden in the pile.

HT to Steve Benen.

Friday, May 20, 2011

That Was Then – Again

The Senate Republicans successfully filibustered the appointment of Goodwin Liu to a seat on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

It’s not the specific appointment that is interesting, although Mr. Liu would be the first Asian-American appointed to a court that serves a large population of Asian-Americans. But it does point out — yet again — that the Republicans are the masters of situational ethics: they’re staunchly against filibustering judicial nominees unless they have been appointed by a Democrat. Via Think Progress:

Just six short years ago, Republicans sang a very different tune when it came to judicial filibusters. Senate Republicans almost unanimously declared filibusters of judicial nominees to be a horrific betrayal of their constitutional role. Many Republicans outright declared judicial filibusters to be unconstitutional. Here is a representative sample of how current GOP senators felt about such filibusters when a Republican was in the White House:

Lamar Alexander (R-TN): “I would never filibuster any President’s judicial nominee, period. I might vote against them, but I will always see they came to a vote.”

Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA): “Every judge nominated by this president or any president deserves an up-or-down vote. It’s the responsibility of the Senate. The Constitution requires it.”

Tom Coburn (R-OK): “If you look at the Constitution, it says the president is to nominate these people, and the Senate is to advise and consent. That means you got to have a vote if they come out of committee. And that happened for 200 years.”

John Cornyn (R-TX): “We have a Democratic leader defeated, in part, as I said, because I believe he was identified with this obstructionist practice, this unconstitutional use of the filibuster to deny the president his judicial nominations.

Mike Crapo (R-ID): “Until this Congress, not one of the President’s nominees has been successfully filibustered in the Senate of the United States because of the understanding of the fact that the Constitution gives the President the right to a vote.”

Chuck Grassley (R-IA): “It would be a real constitutional crisis if we up the confirmation of judges from 51 to 60, and that’s essentially what we’d be doing if the Democrats were going to filibuster.”

Mitch McConnell (R-KY): “The Constitution of the United States is at stake. Article II, Section 2 clearly provides that the President, and the President alone, nominates judges. The Senate is empowered to give advice and consent. But my Democratic colleagues want to change the rules. They want to reinterpret the Constitution to require a supermajority for confirmation.”

I don’t have to tell you that each of these Senators voted to block Mr. Liu’s nomination from reaching the floor.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Get Yours Now While Quantities Last

Digby catches the Village People bemoaning the way the media is scrutinizing the private lives of Republican candidates, and tops it off with Newt Gingrich telling Sean Hannity that he’ll never get an even break from the elite media because of his three marriages and impeaching a president while he was committing adultery in his car.

It sounds like somebody got a great deal on hypocrisy meters.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Never On Sunday

Rachel Maddow looks at the Sunday morning chat show line-up last week and wonders why the retirees from the Bush administration get the top spots.

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This is why I have stopped watching these shows in favor of going to Quaker meeting. I figure that sitting in silent contemplation for an hour is better than yelling at the TV.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Random Irony

Andrew Card, the former Chief of Staff for President Bush, thinks President Obama is being prideful over the killing of Osama bin Laden.

In an interview with German newspaper Der Spiegel, Card said that Obama has “pounded his chest” too much over the death of Osama bin Laden, particularly by going to Ground Zero earlier this week, the site of the 9/11 attacks.

“I think he has pounded his chest a little too much,” Card said. “He can take pride in it, but he does not need to show it so much.”

Card, of course, was a top official in an administration noted for its theatrical press events, most notably the decision to have President Bush land a fighter jet on board an aircraft carrier before delivering his famous speech celebrating the invasion of Iraq in front of a giant “Mission: Accomplished” banner.

I can never tell when these people are being serious or not.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Monday, March 28, 2011

Still Waiting

Ross Douthat says that President Obama won’t call the Libyan situation a “war” and then asks him four important questions: what are our objectives, who are the rebels we’re helping, who gets it next, and why is Libya so important anyway?

Those are all valid questions, but I might not feel like Mr. Douthat and the rest of the conservative surrender monkeys weren’t being such concern trolls if they had had the temerity to ask the same questions about Iraq to President Bush and demanded the answers so impatiently.

Cartoon by Rob Rogers of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Quote of the Day

Newt Gingrich to Chris Wallace on why he’s not a hypocrite for impeaching Bill Clinton for lying about an affair while he, Mr. Gingrich, was having an affair and how screwing around on his wife made him the ideal person to impeach the president:

WALLACE: I’ll ask you man-to-man. did you think to yourself I’m living in a really glass house? Maybe I shouldn’t be throwing stones?

GINGRICH: No. I thought to myself if I cannot do what I have to do as a public leader, I would have resigned.

I’d call Mr. Gingrich a douchebag, but that would be an insult to all the other hygiene products in the world.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Free Ride

Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ) is very proud of the fact that he didn’t sign up for the government-run healthcare benefits available to him as a Member of Congress. In fact, he even got a liberal group’s ad yanked from a radio station that said he did. He doesn’t need the evil socialized medicine because he gets his healthcare for free through the state retirement plan he gets as a former official in New Jersey.

Lance receives family health coverage that is free except for co-pays, the state Department of Treasury confirmed Friday. The former state senator, assemblyman and Kean administration official qualified for retirement in 2006, his 25th year of service. He retired in January 2009, when he moved on to Washington, and enrolled in the state’s free health plan for retirees.

Remember, it’s only evil socialized medicine when someone else gets it.

HT to TPM.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Sounds Like a Plan

Yesterday was a good day for freshman Congress people: their government-subsidized healthcare benefits kicked in. That includes people who ran against the healthcare bill and who voted to repeal it last month.

Most lawmakers accept this insurance — the same perk afforded to some 8 million federal employees and their families.

But Democrats are crying hypocrisy, saying Republicans who want to repeal the health care law for Americans should not accept similar benefits for themselves.

“It’s hypocritical when they all voted to undo the bill we did, to repeal the bill that we enacted — that the president signed into law — to provide for the first time for many Americans in 2014 access to what we as members of Congress have,” employer-provided health care, Representative Joseph Crowley, D-New York, told CNN in an interview in his Capitol office.

Sixteen freshman are opting out; some because they’re actually standing on principle, but many of them because they either already have it from another source such as a spouse or a retirement plan from a previous job. But the rest of them are perfectly happy to sign up for a socialized job-killing Armageddon-summoning healthcare plan.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Double Standards

Rush Limbaugh and the right wingers are all over Sheriff Clarence Dupnik for having the temerity to express an opinion about the causes of the shootings in Tucson last weekend.

Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik thrust himself into the spotlight in the aftermath of the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) and 19 other people in Arizona on Saturday, decrying the heated political atmosphere and calling for more civility.

“It’s not unusual for all public officials to get threats constantly, myself included,” he said on Saturday. “That’s the sad thing about what’s going on in America: pretty soon we’re not going to be able to find reasonable, decent people willing to subject themselves to serve in public office.”

Dupnik immediately angered some on the right, who took his words to be directed at the tea party and conservatives, as well as Arizonans who took offense to his depiction of Arizona as “a mecca for prejudice and bigotry.”

Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) said he didn’t think the sheriff’s words “had any part in a law enforcement briefing.” Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) said he was “disappointed” in the sheriff. Conservative talk show host Neal Boortz said Dupnik was looking for political gain, and Fox News anchor — in an interview with the sheriff — wondered aloud why he would “inject political speculation” into the story.

Sheriff Dupnik seems unimpressed by the wingers’ whining, as well he should be. And as John Cole points out, the right-wingers don’t get upset when Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio injects himself into the political debate.

[W]hen liberals get up in arms about Arpaio, it is because they are disagreeing with him. Conservatives disagree with the Dupnik non-partisan remarks, obviously, but what is different is that they don’t think he should even be allowed to make them.

Of course not. That would violate the rules of conduct for public officials: you can say anything as long as it is right-wing approved: IOKIYAR. If not, all bets are off.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Monday, December 6, 2010

Such A Deal

So it looks like the White House and the Republicans are close to a deal to maintain the Bush tax cuts and extend jobless benefits.

White House officials and Congressional Republicans said Sunday they were closing in on a deal to temporarily continue the Bush-era tax cuts at all income levels, while bitterly frustrated Democratic Congressional leaders began exploring whether they would have the votes for such a package.

A day after the Senate rejected President Obama’s preferred tax plan, officials said the broad contours of a compromise were in focus.

Rather than extending the tax rates only on income described by Democrats as middle class — up to $250,000 a year for couples and $200,000 for individuals — the deal would also keep the rates for higher earners, probably for two years. In return, Republicans said they would probably agree to extend jobless aid for the long-term unemployed.

Senior Democrats on Sunday said that they were resigned to defeat in the highly charged tax debate, and they voiced dismay.

This is supposed to clear the way for the tax issue to be resolved so the Congress can deal with things like the New Start treaty and the Defense bill, which includes the repeal of DADT.

This has trouble written all over it. The Republicans have not been honest brokers in any of the negotiations they’ve undertaken; after all, the Democrats and the White House are dealing with people who have a stated goal of doing anything they can to defeat you. What will most likely happen is that as soon as the tax cut/jobless deal is sealed, they will come up with some bogus excuse to delay the rest of the agenda: sorry, we’re not going to be able to deal with the New Start treaty until we get assurances from Russia that they’re not going to invade Czechoslovakia, and we’re not going to repeal DADT until we get assurances that the USO won’t hire Lady Gaga to tour for them. And if the tax cuts are extended for two years, that’s just in time to campaign on them in 2012 and once more use it as a reason to blame the deficit — engorged by the tax cuts for the rich — on the Democrats.

How can they pass up such a great deal?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Cue the Fainting Couch

Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) doesn’t mince words.

Following several hours of floor speeches hammering the GOP, a handful of Democrats including Sens. Bob Menendez (N.J.), Charles Schumer (N.Y.), Debbie Stabenow (Mich.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Jack Reed (R.I.) and Jeff Merkley (Ore.) attacked Republicans in a press conference, repeatedly using the word “hostage” to characterize the status of middle-class tax cuts.

“Do you allow yourself to be held hostage and get something done for the sake of getting something done, when in fact it might be perverse in its ultimate results? It’s almost like the question of do you negotiate with terrorists,” Menendez said when asked whether he and other Democrats would accept a compromise with Republicans.

Mercy, Maude! Fetch the smelling salts and bring on the fainting couch; the GOP will now go into complete vapours mode at being compared to terrorists! How rude! How hateful! And where does he come off stealing our shtick?

The Sunday talk shows will have the conservative pundits shaking their jowls and wagging their fingers, saying there’s no use talking with people who are so hateful. Irony meters all over the country will void their warranties, and David Gregory will then nod and move on to Bristol Palin’s brave defense of her virtue after been teased by Keith Olbermann.

HT to Steve Benen.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Today’s Adventures in Pot & Kettle

If you’re going to get your tail all puffed up about a negative ad pointing out what a jerk you were in college in the 1980’s, you had better be sure that you haven’t used the same tactic yourself. Via TPM:

Turns out that Rand Paul — who has been incensed over Jack Conway’s suggestion that Paul’s college hijinks are relevant to the Kentucky Senate race — was very recently the candidate making attack ads aimed at the decisions another man made in his college years.

Back in the hotly contested Republican primary, which pitted Paul against establishment pick Trey Grayson, Paul had a field day making an issue out of Grayson’s college-age support for Bill Clinton. Grayson, the current Kentucky Secretary of State, told a group of students in 2008 that when he cast his first presidential ballot in 1992, at age 20, he cast it for Bill Clinton. Most other Kentuckians did, too — Clinton won the state that year, and did it again four years later.

Grayson said he became a Republican later, “when he realized he agreed more often with the GOP on issues.”

But wait, it gets better. One of Mr. Paul’s staunch defenders is Mike Huckabee, who is recording ads and robocalls for him and demanding that Mr. Conway “repent” for his “classless” attack. Well, look what Digby found; it turns out that Mr. Huckabee himself went after his political opponents based on their faith.

Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee said he considers his rival Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith a religion, not a cult, but questioned whether Mormons believe “Jesus and the devil are brothers.”

Huckabee raised the question on his own in an interview to appear in The New York Times magazine on Sunday, and ignited a new flap in the up-for-grabs race to be the Republican Party’s nominee in the November 2008 presidential election.

The Conway ad must be working; if not, the Paulbots wouldn’t be bringing in Mr. Huckabee.