Category Archives: politics

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

Not Governing As A Political Strategy

Shocker! Meet the new obstruction, same as the old obstruction:

In a letter to members of Congress, which was obtained by NBC News, Heritage Action for America, the lobbying arm of the Heritage Foundation (which recently found itself in hot water over the racial IQ theories of the co-author of their widely panned immigration reform study, Jason Richwine, who resigned from the think tank last Friday), urged Republicans on Capitol Hill not to govern, and instead, to focus on the would-be “scandals” plaguing the Obama administration.

The letter, which is addressed to House Speaker John Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, trumpets the negative media buzz surrounding the White House, saying that, “for the first time, the activities of the Obama administration are receiving a sustained public vetting. Americans’ outrage over Benghazi is amplified by the Internal Revenue Service’s intimidation of conservative grassroots organizations and a cascade of negative headlines. There is the real sense the Obama administration has been less than forthright with the American people, the press and lawmakers.”

Unfortunately for conservatives, who are still hermetically sealed inside their conservative information bubble, “Americans’ outrage over Benghazi” is completely non-existent, and the IRS scandal is still so new that most Americans aren’t entirely sure what it’s about. This hasn’t stopped Tea Party groups from trying to fire an IRS official who had nothing to do with the scrutiny of 501(c)4s, though. Why? Because she’s in charge of enforcing Obaamcare.

But I digress. Back to our letter:

In light of the white hot media spotlight on the administration, and to deflect attention from the many policy areas where Republicans don’t quite get along, the letter urges: “it is incumbent upon the House of Representatives to conduct oversight hearings on those actions, but it would be imprudent to do anything that shifts the focus from the Obama administration to the ideological differences within the House Republican Conference.”

“To that end, we urge you to avoid bringing any legislation to the House Floor that could expose or highlight major schisms within the conference. Legislation such as the Internet sales tax or the FARRM Act which contains nearly $800 billion in food stamp spending, would give the press a reason to shift their attention away from the failures of the Obama administration to write another ‘circular firing squad’ article.”

It’s always all about the obstruction with these people. God forbid anyone should do their jobs. Nope, political games take priority with conservatives. And hey, that’s no surprise: conservatives don’t know how to govern — and how could they? They don’t believe in it! So when they get in power they use their position to line the pockets of their fat cat friends and play political games. When they’re out of power, they use every trick in the book to keep anyone else from governing.

Republicans are truly horrible people.

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Filed under obstructionism, politics, Republican Party

Focus Factor

This week I was talking to someone who had been involved in organizing on the gun violence issue. I’d heard there’s supposed to be a day of action on gun violence next week but didn’t know the specifics, but my friend had switched to working on healthcare because Gov. Haslam is getting squishy about expanding Medicaid in Tennessee. And then someone else who had been working on gun stuff is now getting involved in a different state issue, as well.

I’m thinking this is a problem for progressives. It’s not just that organizers are switching focus — all of these issues are really important. But I think ultimately hopping from issue to issue keeps us from ever really accomplishing anything on any one issue. And sometimes I wonder if that’s not the point, if Republicans aren’t intentionally deluging the left with crisis after crisis so we can’t effectively tackle any one thing.

I know back in my organizing days I felt constantly pulled in a dozen different directions as this or that issue suddenly demanded attention. And I know my e-mail box is constantly deluged with demands for attention to write a letter on this or sign a petition on that or show up at this rally or that fundraiser. It’s all over the map. I just wish we could focus on one damn thing for a while until we make some solid strides before we’re all asked to move on to the next one. And yes, I know how whiney that sounds. I don’t mean it that way … or hell, maybe I do.

With all of the good news about same-sex marriage barriers falling lately, lots of people are asking “how the gays did it.” It occurs to me that a big thing in their favor was they pretty much had that one issue to focus on. I’m not saying that GLBT people don’t also care about the environment or immigration or worker’s rights, but there’s an organizational structure in place via groups like the Human Rights Campaign and GLAAD which is able to advocate for equality without getting scattered into that other stuff. They really organized around pushing for marriage equality and have stuck with it. And actually now that I think about it, immigration seems to have the same kind of organizational infrastructure.

It also feels like activist groups such as Credo, MoveOn and OFA are such big umbrellas, it’s easy for those using these organizational tools to feel scattered. I might get two or three e-mails a day from MoveOn about different issues. I wish these groups would just pick ONE, already.

I dunno, I’m just sort of think-blogging (thlonking? blinking?) out loud. Maybe this is just me. Maybe I’m just feeling like there’s too much work and not enough workers. I mean, does anyone else think this is a feature, not a bug? That Republicans intentionally throw so much crap at us at once because they know we can’t take it all on? That they know the best way to discourage activists is to give them the feeling of futility that comes when you’re hit on all sides?

Maybe we need a new strategy. Or maybe I just need a nap.

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Filed under politics

IOKIYAR, Nudie Pitchers Edition

Since we’re picking on The Daily Failure today, I’ve just got this one extra thing to add:

It's Okay If You're A Republican!

It’s Okay If You’re A Republican!

Yes, Tucker Carlson, do tell me how Ashley Judd’s film nudity disqualifies her from the U.S. Senate. I’m all ears.

I really hope she runs, I do. The way Republicans are going apeshit over even the suggestion tells me she scares the bejeezus out of them.

My in-laws all live in Kentucky and I asked my mother-in-law if she thought Judd had a chance. She said yes, because Judd is more associated with Kentucky Wildcats basketball than Hollywood. And people in Kentucky take their college basketball very, very seriously. I’m not sure how you can go from years of cheering your team’s most renowned superfan to seeing her as the devil incarnate without something else to bridge the gap. And “Hollywood” ain’t gonna cut it, not when Republicans have lionized Ronald Reagan, Clint Eastwood, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Hell, they even sent Gopher from the Love Boat to Congress. If Republicans can make the leap from the screen to Washington, D.C., so can Democrats.

How Kentuckians Know Ashley Judd

How Kentuckians Know Ashley Judd

Suckit, Republicans. Ashley Judd is smart, articulate, educated, and she scares the shit out of you. Bwaahaaa.

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Filed under politics, politics and film, pop culture

Rep. Jimmy Duncan Hates Democrats More Than He Loves Tax Cuts

Hey good middle class people of Lebanon Knoxville, Tennessee (sorry my research said this guy was from Lebanon which is outside of Nashville, but I was kind of in a hurry): your Congress Critter Rep. Jimmy Duncan voted to raise your taxes! (Or to be clear: didn’t vote to lower them. The tax increase happens automatically.) Why? Why would Jimmy Duncan do such a thing! He’s a Republican and Republicans hate taxes! Hate ’em! Hate ’em more than a rattlesnake in a sleeping bag. Hate ’em more than a greenback backed by a promise and a puff of air.

So why would Jimmy Duncan do this to the God fearin’ people of Lebanon Knoxville, Tennessee, who just returned him to office for two more years? Apparently there’s one thing Duncan hates more than taxes: Democrats.

Watch it:

Thank you, Jimmy Duncan! Because hating Democrats is always more important than serving your constituents. You have earned your place at this year’s inauguration night “how can we obstruct the Democrats” dinner.

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Filed under Congress, politics, Republican Party, taxes, Tennessee

The Politico-Industrial Complex

Don’t know if anyone saw Stephen Colbert (the satirist not the character) talk to David Gregory this weekend but it’s a must-see (sorry, but WordPress won’t let me embed the video for some reason … you’ll have to click on the link).

What’s I most appreciated was hearing him talk about what he calls the “Politico-Industrial Complex.” He says:

The Super Pac was an act of discovery because I didn’t intend to have a Super Pac […] What I found out is that there’s an entire industry in politics — which I didn’t know, I suspected — but there’s an entire industry, there’s a “politico-industrial complex” that is not just raising money, but is built around making money off of the fact that there is so much money in politics. And there are almost no rules.

Yes, yes, yes. An entire industry built around making money off of money in politics. Where there’s shit there’s always flies.

If there’s an untold story of American politics, and this election in particular, it is this. Michael Moore has touched on this a little bit in some of his films, and documentaries like “Casino Jack” have touched on it as well. But I think the real scope of this, the idea there is a “Politico-Industrial Complex” influencing and corrupting our system of governance, is still a foreign idea to most American voters. And I also think that’s by design because I remain convinced that the media is complicit in this — after all, most of the hundreds of millions of dollars raised by these campaigns ends up on their balance sheet in the form of TV advertising. So the media comprises a substantial portion of the “Politico-Industrial Complex.”

How this changes I have no clue, but it’s a natural law that the larger something gets, the more unstable it gets. I’d say the next few years will see the collapse of a lot of this stuff — headlines like this one are a big reason why.

Hope it’s not just wishful thinking on my part.

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Filed under campaign finance, Media, politics, pop culture, Stephen Colbert

Scott DesJarlais Has A Bridge To Sell You

Oh, puh-leeze:

NASHVILLE — U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn., a physician, said Friday he was convinced a woman he had sex with a dozen years ago wasn’t actually pregnant despite her claims he was responsible for impregnating her.

“There was no pregnancy and there was no abortion,” the 4th District representative told the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

A freshman lawmaker from Jasper, Tenn., who touts his opposition to abortion rights, the lawmaker is battling a controversy stemming from a recorded 2000 conversation in which he presses the unnamed woman to get an abortion.

“I was attempting to use strong language to get her to tell me the truth,” said DesJarlais, who added that he didn’t record the conversation and was unaware it was being recorded.

Give me a fucking break. You think anyone buys that nonsense? Read the transcript of the entire recording. The only “question” in DesJarlais’ mind is weather the kid is his or not. And I love how he’s all put out that the woman can’t meet him for half an hour because she’s got to deal with her children and school, but his friend’s birthday party and attending a football game are sacrosanct activities that simply cannot be budged.

What an ass.

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Filed under politics, Tennessee