Tag Archives: politics

Elections 4 $ale

I’m trying not to be too upset about SCOTUS’ ruling lifting the cap on individual campaign contributions. I mean, think about it: if money alone could decide an election, we’d have President Gingrich and Vice President Adelson today.

Trust me, I’m not thinking this is a good thing by any means. But let’s be real, the rich are not our betters, nor are they necessarily any smarter than anyone else. I just trotted over to OpenSecrets.org and got a look at Lee and Kelly Beaman’s latest campaign contributions. Here I found they both donated generously to Liz Cheney’s aborted senate campaign — not exactly a smart investment, since any idiot knew she wasn’t going to go the distance — as well as the notorious Palin grift vehicle known as SarahPAC. Now that we know they can just keep on giving, maybe these folks will all be bankrupt before too long. Fools and their money, after all.

The place this is really going to hurt, I think, is on things like ballot initiatives and local elections. Because even though this ruling only applied to federal elections, I have to wonder if states aren’t going to do away with their own restrictions now. Seems like a few have already tried.

But you know, here’s the thing: Congress could pass a law. They could say that corporations aren’t people and money isn’t speech and all of that other stuff. They could pass a law saying all federal elections have to be publicly financed. They won’t, but they could, if we elect the right people. So elections do matter.

Also, you know who the big beneficiary of this is, right? The corporate media. All of those campaign contributions run straight into their coffers, most of them at least. That explains a helluva lot, don’t it?

Gotta think the Founding Fathers are rolling over in their graves right now, though. If money is speech, the poor are voiceless. Is that your vision of America? Shameful.

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Filed under campaign finance, Media, Supreme Court

Kewl Republican Kids On Twitter

Best parody account EVER:

TweetMovies

TweetParents

TweetFLUKE

GOP50s

OK maybe not best ever, but I’m dying to know who’s behind this parody account. It seems to have sprung up out of nowhere.

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Filed under politics, twitter

D’Nesh D’Souza’s Very Bad No Good Year

God I almost feel sorry for the guy except, y’know, he’s a pseudo-intellectual dick, so I don’t:

Conservative commentator, author Dinesh D’Souza indicted

(CNN) – Conservative commentator and author Dinesh D’Souza has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of making illegal contributions to a U.S. Senate campaign.

D’Souza allegedly made and arranged $20,000 in campaign donations to an unnamed campaign in 2012 and then reimbursed those who were directed to make contributions, according to the charges handed up in New York City.

Oh, woopsies. The New York Times report indicates the candidate in question was Wendy Long, New York’s Republican candidate for U.S. Senate who lost to Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand. Apparently D’Souza and Long went to Dartmouth together.

Not too long ago D’Souza was a very prominent conservative columnist and author, affiliated with such notable right-wing outfits as the American Enterprise Institute, the Hoover Institute, and National Review Online. He authored numerous books with juicy titles: stuff like The Roots of Obama’s Rage, Obama’s America: Unmaking the American Dream, The Enemy At Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11, Ronald Reagan: How An Ordinary Man Became an Extraordinary Leader and The Virtue of Prosperity (those five titles alone summarize the entirety of conservative thought, don’t you think?). He was also the guy who brought us that anti-Obama “documentary” “2016: Obama’s America,” which peddled conspiracy BS right before the election.

D’Souza was also an outspoken cultural and religious conservative, and president of King’s College, a private Christian college in New York City. A little over a year ago he got busted traveling with a woman who was not his wife — to be fair, D’Souza and his wife were divorcing and the other woman was his fiancee. But Christian colleges frown on such shenanigans and he got axed.

That was October 2012. Things just haven’t gone his way since.

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Filed under conservatives

Remind Me Again How “Liberal” Chris Christie Is?

He’s a bully:

chris-christie-finger-wagging

But here’s what I saw. After the rally, Christie made his way back to his campaign bus, flanked by low-key security guards. Tomlinson, who had been carrying a sign and handing out fliers from her Badass Teachers Association, asked Christie why he’d called New Jersey schools “failure factories.” Christie rounded on her, blurting out that he was sick of “you people.”

And check out the smug grin on his wife’s face. Of that, Weigel writes:

Mary Pat Christie smiled through the entire talk-off. Why? Because a local NBC News camera was facing her, capturing the scene. Two days later, I don’t see any trace of the video online. Is that a statement on how ordinary the confrontation was? Possibly.

Honestly, “you people”? Really? Let’s remember, this isn’t the first time Christie has blown his stack when confronted by citizens who oppose his anti-teacher agenda.

I don’t get these people who keep telling me that Christie is “really” a Democrat. No, he’s not. He’s another anti-choice, anti-union, privatize-everything asshole. And he’s a bully and a blowhard.

We’ve talked a lot about how right-wingers like a “tough guy.” I’ve mentioned before my Wingnut Friend™ who bemoaned before the 2008 presidential primaries that he “just wanted someone who can kick some ass!” That’s of course all they want: someone filled with a lot of hot air and bluster, who can give voice to their inchoate rage and dissatisfaction. Christie fits that bill nicely, which is why the murmurs of disappointment over Christie’s dropping his anti-gay lawsuit and making nice time with President Obama after Hurricane Sandy won’t amount to squat. As long as someone reflects the right’s anger, it doesn’t matter.

But for God’s sake, liberals. Stop giving Christie a pass. Christie, as Salon has pointed out, is playing on the oligarch’s team. It amazes me how readily people will label someone a “populist” just because they talk like one.

I don’t see anything “populist” in wagging your finger in a public school teacher’s face and yelling, “I’m sick of you people.”

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Filed under Chris Christie, education

Controlling The Beast

Interesting:

In a warning shot to outside conservative groups, the National Republican Senatorial Committee this week informed a prominent Republican advertising firm that it would not receive any contracts with the campaign committee because of its work with a group that targets incumbent Senate Republicans.

Even more striking, a senior official at the committee called individual Republican Senate campaigns and other party organizations this week and urged them not to hire the firm, Jamestown Associates, in an effort to punish them for working for the Senate Conservatives Fund, a group founded by Jim DeMint, then a South Carolina senator, that is trying to unseat Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, and some other incumbents up for re-election next year whom it finds insufficiently conservative.

Thus the civil war inside the Republican Party has spread into the politico-industrial complex. I’m trying to think how blacklisting contractors who work for Tea Party candidates will do anything constructive. Aside from inflaming the base, isn’t that kinda going after low-hanging fruit?

What about the sugar daddies financing these folks? It’s fine to go after an ad agency, but what about the people paying the bills? What about the Koch Brothers or people like Nashville’s own Lee Beaman, a generous contributor to affiliated groups like the Club For Growth (a major backer of Ted Cruz) and Americans For Prosperity. Wonder if any of these people will get their hands slapped? It doesn’t sound like it.

The problem with the Republican Party, as I’ve written a gazillion times, is that the moderates are already extinct from a functional perspective. Even the most reasonable Republican imaginable, once elected, ends up playing on the same team as the knuckle-dragging Neanderthals who remain stubbornly committed to failed policies and ignorant ideas like “defaulting on our debt is just a pin-prick.” Time and time again we see the so-called “moderates” kow-tow to the mouthbreathers; this is how we ended up with a shuttered government for two weeks, folks. Even our spineless governor, Bill Haslam, is too weak-kneed to take on the fringe.

I’m reminded of a quote from a book I read years and years ago — I think it was Asne Seierstad’s The Bookseller Of Kabul — where a Pakistani man says he doesn’t support the brutal tactics of the Taliban in nearby Afghanistan, but he thinks Pakistan could benefit from “just a little bit of the Taliban.”

But there is no “little bit.” It’s all or nothing. And it’s the same with today’s Republicans. There’s no “little bit of the Tea Party,” it’s the whole thing. They just shut down the entire government because the moderates are extinct as a party force. That should tell you something right there.

The fact that party leadership still thinks they can control this beast they created without going after the Hydra’s head — the Koch billions — is just pathetic.

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Filed under politics, Republican Party, Tea Party

Twitter Feed Of The Day

Tom Matzzie, former D.C. head of MoveOn.org, just live-tweeted former NSA and CIA head Michael Hayden’s “deep background” interview on NSA spying, which he gave while on the Acela. The irony here just overwhelms: the former NSA chief and CIA director giving “deep background” interviews bashing the administration on NSA spying, doing it in a public place, and getting eavesdropped on in the process. This is all waaaay too meta for me.

You can read the feed here, or, read the screen shots. I tried to put it in chronological order, and ended up messing it up:

Matzzie 4

Matzzie2

Matzzie

Matzzie3

Mwah. So much for “deep background.”

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Filed under NSA, politics

Vets Tell Palin, Cruz To STFU

Well, they told someone to STFU. The Million Vet March on the Memorials didn’t quite draw a million veterans — more like 500, according to someone who was there (she even posed for a picture with Ted Cruz, imagine that!) — but the vets who organized the event are none too happy about the Confederates and Oath Keepers and other weirdos who “hijacked” their event and made them look like a bunch of racist loons. Seriously, smokers against Obamacare? That’s got Darwin Award written all over it. (Photos here, for a laugh.)

Anyway, if you go to the Vets’ website, you’ll see this:

vets rally

Good luck stuffing that toothpaste back in the tube, fellas. You know the old saying about lying down with dogs? Yeah, that.

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Filed under politics, protests

Denial Is A Habit They Just Can’t Quit

The awesome Juanita Jean caught this quote from Texas Republican Congressvarmint Michael Burgess. Appearing on CNN, Burgess reflected that the overwhelming, server-crashing response to the opening day of Obamacare sign-ups was really no big deal:

“I think if you subtract out members of Congress and their staff and reporters who called in those first 48 hours the numbers will be considerably lower,” Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX), who is also a medical doctor, told CNN. “We will have an opportunity to dissect these numbers in our subcommittee of oversight investigations later this month or next month.”

Um, yeah. I’m sure members of Congress and their staff, up to their eyeballs in government shutdown drama, were just spending all of their time trying to check the Obamacare website ad nauseum all day long.

All of which illustrates how the Republican Party is still deeply wracked by the same denial which cost them the 2012 election.

Paul Krugman made an interesting observation about the long-term damage the GOP has done to itself:

It goes back to something Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo used to say — that Washington is, in effect, wired for Republicans. Ever since Reagan, the Beltway has treated Republicans as the natural party of government. Sunday talk shows would feature a preponderance of Republicans even if Democrats held the White House and one or both houses of Congress. John McCain was featured on those shows so often you would think he won in 2008.

And there was a general presumption of Republican competence. It’s hard to believe now, but Bush was treated as a highly effective leader who knew what he was doing right up to Katrina, while Clinton — now viewed with such respect — was treated as a bungling interloper for much of his presidency. Even in the last few years there was a rush to canonize Paul Ryan as a superwonk, when it was quite obvious if you looked that politics aside, he was just incompetent at number-crunching.

But I think the last two years have finally killed that presumption. It wasn’t just that Romney lost — his shock, the obvious degree to which his campaign was deluded, was an eye-opener. And now the antics of the Boehner bumblers.

Suddenly the old Will Rogers line — I’m not a member of any organized political party,I’m a Democrat — has lost its sting; the upper hand is on the other foot. And that’s going to color narratives and shape campaigns for a long time.

When Republican members of Congress grandstand about closed World War II memorials and shuttered national parks when they’re the ones responsible for closing the government in the first place, they look ridiculous. These PR stunts play well to the Fox News/right-wing rantosphere, but out here in the real world where we breathe oxygen not right-wing cray-cray, the sane people wonder if they’ll ever reattach themselves to reality.

And folks like Michael Burgess claiming the millions trying to access the Obamacare website were just members of Congress and the news media? Not helping, dude.

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Filed under politics, Republican Party

Republicans! What Do They Want?

Even they don’t know:

“We’re not going to be disrespected,” Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-IN) told the Washington Examiner. “We have to get something out of this. And I don’t know what that even is.”

Sounds perfectly reasonable to me! Lollipops? Ponies? How about a Home Depot gift card, do you want that? No?

If only Barry Obummer would throw them a face-saving lifeline to help them out of the corner they’ve backed themselves into. Betcha that’s something they’d all love to have.

Adding ….

Democrats compromised by ditching single payer, we compromised with the Hyde Amendment, we compromised by ditching the public option and going with the exchanges instead, and Republicans still shut down the government because they want something else, they just aren’t sure what.

There will not be a political solution to a psychological problem, folks.

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Filed under Congress, politics, Republican Party

Where There’s Shit There’s Always Flies

A government shutdown looms and the stock market is tanking, which makes this the perfect opportunity to fundraise, naturally:

AtlasBarfed

Ah yes. Where there’s shit there’s always flies.

And no, the Democrats don’t get a pass, either. I’ve received emails from Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Harry Reid and this one from MoveOn.org:

MoveOn

Yes, both sides do it.

Here’s my tip to both sides: exploiting government dysfunction with fundraising appeals is really bad optics. It sort of reaffirms for the rest of us what we’ve always suspected: that our current state of polarization and the resulting incompetence is by design. That we don’t actually have government dysfunction but rather a system which functions really well for certain groups — mainly the K Streeters and insiders who run things.

The rest of us depend on a functioning government for things like getting passports and FEMA aid and paychecks and food stamps and grants and highway repairs and a million other things. And this is very serious business for us.

So knock it off.

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Filed under Congress, fundraising