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Thursday, June 05, 2014

Stories to Watch: 6/5/14

The latest example of Republicans being for freeing Bowe Bergdahl before they were against itRep. Duncan D. Hunter.

MSNBC's token asshole Joe Scarborough attacks Bowe Bergdahl's father for being a bad parent. This too much for Chuck Todd, who objected. Of course, this caused Scarborough to dig in and insist it's the rightest right thing any right person has ever gotten right. He then took to Twitter after the show to explain the subtle nuances of his rightness -- assumedly because he was hit by an avalanche of hate mail pretty much immediately. Morning Joe would be the stupidest morning "news" program on TV, if it weren't for Fox & Friends. But clearly the bar set by the morning foxbot circus really isn't much of an accomplishment. You'd get better political insight from The Weather Channel.

Hey look! There's finally a mass shooting outside the US. Expect the gun freaks to talk about it endlessly, as if one incident proves that everyone under the sun needs to put a gun to everyone else's head -- AKA, the cowardly "more guns, less gun violence" hypothesis favored by the NRA and other gun humpers. Because, you know, that's obviously the only way anyone will ever be safe.

Texas Republicans unveils a new party platform that endorses the thoroughly discredited "ex-gay therapy" snake oil. The problem with this stuff is that it's meant to turn gay people straight, but it seems to succeed only in turning gay people suicidal. I suppose for the bigots that make up the Lone Star GOP, a dead gay is just one less gay -- which is close enough.

Vice magazine cofounder Gavin McInnes tells Fox News that the only reason that liberals listen to Neil deGrasse Tyson is because he's black. "I hate this guy," McInnes said. "I remember hearing Chris Hardwick on a podcast talk about Neil deGrasse Tyson and he was just salivating. White liberal nerds love this guy so much, he could defecate on them like Martin Bashir’s fantasies and they would dance in the streets." Conservatives keep complaining that people call them racists, but the truth is that everything is about race to these kooks. According to them, if a black person has any success at all, it's because of Affirmative Action and white liberal guilt -- unless said black person is conservative. Doubt me? Two words: Maya Angelou.

In "hell freezes over" news: we got a brand new spanking Health and Human Services Secretary today. Sylvia Burwell sailed through confirmation to replace outgoing Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Want proof that all the REPEAL OBAMACARE!! talk is just election year hot air? There it is.

Finally, a Nevada homeowner shoots a man in the chest for knocking on his door in the middle of the night, looking for a birthday party at the wrong address. Amazingly, there have been no arrests because this is 'murica, where you can shoot anyone you damned well please for any stupid-assed reason that pops into your empty fucking skull. Why call 911 when someone's banging on your door at 2 a.m.? Just start blasting like an idiot and a coward, because liberty.

[cartoon via Truthdig]

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Stories to Watch: 6/3/14

A former Bush official takes on the GOP freak out over the prisoner exchange that freed Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl from Taliban custody. Former adviser John Bellinger says GWB would've done the same thing. Of course, the problem here is that there's no shortage of Republicans who deny backing Bush, despite his having pretty much universal GOP support during his two terms. "I didn't support Bush" is the Republican equivalent of "I didn't live in Germany at the time." So they can pretty much write Bellinger off like they've written off Dubya.

Fred Kaplan has a good explainer on the Bergdahl story over at Slate. Definitely worth the time.

This whole thing Bergdahl has really gone full BENGHAZI!! quickly. Already, Republicans' wingnut base is blathering on about impeachment. I actually don't think the hysteria on the right is actually about Bergdahl or the prisoners exchanged for him. It's about all of their "scandals" constantly falling apart and being sick of not having good reason to hope for impeachment. They're demanding reality provide them with a reason to overturn the last two presidential elections. I doubt reality will comply.

And of course, conservatives were for liberating Bergdahl before they were against it.

Anyone have any evidence at all that voter ID has stopped an illegal voter? Anyone? Just one case. Just one arrest. Meanwhile, it's doing a good job of stopping legal voters. Anyone who thinks this is about fighting voter fraud is either dumber than a sack of hammers or so partisan that they've come to actually despise democracy. The enemies of democracy are the enemies of freedom; I don't care how many flags they use to wrap themselves up the pretense of "liberty."

Fox News accuses Hillary Clinton of politicizing BENGHAZI!! Just let that one sink in a bit.

The NRA gets dragged into its own version of the GOP Civil War, with (rhetorical) shots being fired between the crazy-assed gun organization and those who are even crazy-asseder. The whole thing is really kind of inevitable, given the amazingly irresponsible messaging from head gunhappy moron Wayne LaPierre. This has driven some Texan gun nuts so far around the bend that they feel they have to show up at family restaurants with assault rifles or FREEDOM IS DEAD! Needless to say, this is doing more to convince people that "gun rights advocates" are actually dangerous lunatics than anything else. The politics here are obviously terrible. So now the NRA is trying to get the gullible yokels to settle the fuck down after driving them into a panic with talk about tyranny and dictatorships and Hitler. They've lost control of their own messaging and I couldn't be happier. In the words of Nelson Muntz, "Ha ha!" Also, "Why you hittin' yourself? Why you hittin' yourself?"

Finally, Kevin Drum takes the VA scandal and turns it into a VA "scandal." The fact is that this has been going on for a very long time -- calling it an "Obama scandal" is a joke -- and on average, VA wait times are much, much better than the private sector. Again, Congress could fix this by opening more clinics where most of the veterans are, but they'd rather sit on their cushy behinds and point at Obama.

[cartoon via McClatchy Newspapers]

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Stories to Watch: 5/29/14

The Washington Redskins launched a Twitter campaign to defend their team name from  charges of racism. How did that go? What do you think? These things often go off the rails immediately. When you ask the internet to do something, the internet -- with all it's chaos, snark, and creativity -- is going to show up.

Speaking of things that are obviously possible PR disasters: The Republican Leadership Conference has invited noted homophobe, racist, and Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson to speak at their confab. What could possibly go wrong?

There's a very good case to be made that firing Gen. Eric Shinseki won't do anything to fix problems at the VA and might even make things worse.

Earlier, John Boehner said he wasn't qualified to talk about climate change, as a way to duck questions about climate change. Scientists are calling him out on it.

The reaction of the right to the death of Maya Angelou has been pure, undisguised hatred. It'd be a lot easier to believe conservatives weren't racist if they'd just stop themselves for a moment from being so damned racist.

Ever the brainless reactionary, Glenn Beck reacts to the sudden surge in awareness of the culture of abuse toward women by promising to launch a campaign of rape denial. What a worthless, useless man this guy is.

Finally, it looks like Pres. Obama is going to use his executive authority to cut carbon emissions from the nation's coal-fired power plants by 20%. Conservatives will go apeshit, but screw 'em.

[meme via Jacqueline Keeler]

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Stories to Watch: 5/28/14

Conservatives continue to be absolutely clueless about the nature and purpose of the #YesAllWomen hashtag that's become a Twitter phenomenon. The thing is, it's not anything close to a mystery. If you go and actually read the tweets, it's completely obvious what's happening. But, conservatives being the pigheaded, closed minded zombies that they are, have decided it's all about hating men and that means they'll ignore even the plain truth that's staring them straight in the face. It's what they do with everything.

News that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker -- whose recall campaign is currently the target of a stalled corruption probe -- may be cutting a deal with prosecutors has his rightwing admirers in a panic. If he doesn't cut a deal, it seems likely that we'll see criminal charges -- during a reelection campaign. If he does, the wingnut base will drop him like a RiNO for throwing his co-conspirators under the bus. Unless the report that started this all turns out to be false, Scott Walker may be done.

Mitch McConnell's attempt to straddling the Obamacare fence and be for Kentucky's Obamacare exchange and against Obamcare itself has really gotten clownish. His attempt to spin his position has been so transparently dishonest and so disastrously clownish that it's actually turned into something of a scandal for him.

Politico performs a rare (for them) public service by setting the historical record straight and showing that the religious right's founding was rooted in racism, not some vague notion of "family values."

In case you needed reminding, Glenn Beck is scum.

A new poll shows that Karl Rove totally blew it by suggested that Hillary Clinton has brain damage. He can't even get a majority of Republicans to back him in the smear.

Finally, neocon moron Charles Krauthammer isn't happy with the president's plan to finally end the war in Afghanistan -- the longest war in American history. I would remind you that Krauthammer, along with other chickenhawk geniuses like William Kristol, was instrumental in starting the Iraq War. So there are foreign policy experts, there are foreign policy bonehead, their are slime molds, and then -- all the way at the bottom -- there is Charles Krauthammer. If he thinks it's a bad idea, that's all the proof you need that it's the smartest idea any one's ever had in the entire history of people having ideas about things.

[cartoon via Truthdig]

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Stories to Watch: 5/21/14

I have two observations regarding Nancy Pelosi's announcement of Democratic reps to sit on the BENGHAZI!!! committee. The first is the most obvious: that the Democratic boycott of the committee isn't going to happen. Second is that Alan Grayson isn't on the roster, which is sure to disappoint more than a few rank and file dems who were pushing for him to be included. The feeling I'm getting is that dems are going to take this thing seriously and with dignity, while feeding the Republican clown show all the rope they want.

Pope Francis says that Christians in particular have responsibility to combat climate change: "Creation is not a property, which we can rule over at will; or, even less, is the property of only a few: Creation is a gift, it is a wonderful gift that God has given us, so that we care for it and we use it for the benefit of all, always with great respect and gratitude."

This could turn out to be a bad idea: the US is sending 80 troops to Chad to help in the search and recovery of the Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram. Everyone involved needs to keep two words very much in the forefront of their minds: "mission creep."

The nuts aren't taking the fact that they got guns kicked out of Chipotle very well. It's their own damned fault, but these are conservatives we're talking about here -- personal responsibility is something everyone but them are expected to practice.

In "busting the myth that gun ownership prevents crime" news, North Carolina recently made it legal to bring guns to schools, provided those guns are locked in your car. Likewise, business owners can bar people from carrying firearms in their establishments, meaning that guns are locked in cars in these cases as well. So an enterprising group of thieves in Charlotte have taken to breaking into cars with pro-gun bumperstickers, on the rationale that they're much more likely to contain a free gun. "They're really advertising to criminals they may have a gun in their car so it may not be the best place to make those statements on the bumper of your car," says one gun shop owner. Oops.

Finally, Scott Walker has lost his slim lead over Mary Burke in the race for Wisconsin governor. A new poll from Marquette University finds that the race has gone from 48%-41% in Walker's favor to 46%-46%. Respondents told researchers that they prefer someone with business experience over someone with political experience -- Walker's a career politician, while Burke is a former exec with bicycle manufacturer Trek. But worse news for the incumbent is that the more voters know Burke, the less they like Walker. Finally, it may turn out that Wisconsin will buck the national trend and turn back toward blue this cycle. "Burke’s jump in the poll may also reflect a general shift in public opinion in favor of Democrats," The Capital Times reports. "Contrary to expectations that Democrats will suffer losses in November, as the president’s party typically does in midterm elections, 47 percent of respondents said they hope to see Congress controlled by Democrats compared to only 40 percent who want to see Republicans in control." 44% of respondents said they identify with Democrats, while only 35% said the same about Republicans.

[cartoon via McClatchy Newspapers]

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Stories to Watch: 5/20/14

Score one for poetic justice. After gun nuts swarm a Chipotle to rub people's faces in their guns demonstrate their Second Amendment right to arm themselves against the threat of guacamole, the restaurant chain decides they've had enough of that and bans firearms from their stores. The firearms fetishists did the same thing at Starbucks -- showed up armed to troll people who dare to not get woodies when they think about guns -- and wound up making guns unwelcome there, too. Clearly nothing at all was learned from that experience. If they keep being such assholes about everything, they'll wind up getting guns banned everywhere themselves.

Sean Hannity brings some clown on to decry the "myth" of racism. You know, because Cliven Bundy and Donald Sterling and Robert Copeland are all figments of our imaginations. It's amazing what these people think they can get away with.

Related: a National Review writer denies there's a problem with rape on college campuses and that drunk college students are just making stuff up. Why would anyone write something so stupid and awful? Because Barack Obama said rape on college campuses is a problem and, for conservatives who think largely with their jerking knees, Pres. Obama is always wrong. If Obama said the sun comes up in the morning, there'd be a sunrise truther movement in a heartbeat.

Louie Gohmert said something stupid again.

The US Forest is preparing for "what is shaping up to be a catastrophic fire season." Because global warming is a massive conspiracy and all...

Dick Cheney seems to believe he lives in a separate reality from the rest of us.

Finally, Greg Sargent reports that Sherrod Brown has a plan to poach voters from the GOP over the summer. Republicans have requested hearings into Social Security Disability Insurance, which wingnut media has painted as wasteful and riddled with fraud -- which is, of course, total bullshit. The thing is, the GOP relies on older voters and those older voters wouldn't be happy to see disability cut. "So what if Dems campaigned on expanding Social Security, rather than allowing themselves to get drawn into another debate over how much to cut the program?" Sargent asks. Expanding the program would not only be the right thing to do, but it would appeal to a lot of seniors' inner big gummint commie.

[cartoon via Cagle Post]

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Stories to watch: 5/15/14

Latest wingnut conspiracy theory: the Boko Haram Nigerian kidnapping story is only propaganda the Obama administration is using to distract us all from BENGHAZI!! But you saw that coming from a mile away, didn't you? When they aren't arguing that Obama's a weak and ineffectual leader, they're often arguing that he's an all-powerful wizard who can manipulate the very fabric of reality, like Sauron. The rest of the time, he's Hitler.

Harry Reid backs a constitutional amendment to reverse the Citizens United ruling that trashed the very concept of campaign finance law and allowed limitless campaign funding from shadowy, secret donors. "It was as if I had jumped into the sewer," he said of running for reelection after the ruling came down. Are dems finally realizing that combating SCOTUS' string of pro-corruption rulings is a political winner? You sure hope so.

Marco Rubio pushes back against charges that he's a scientific illiterate by arguing that he knows stuff about the science of abortion -- then proceeds to prove the opposite.

Looks like there could be another Scott Walker document dump on the way. This Judge Randa guys seems pretty goofy and inconsistent. First he orders that all evidence in the case be destroyed and, when that bit of anti-justice is struck down by a higher court, says that nearly all of this evidence should be made public.

Steve Benen on today's most hilariously biased poll: "I hold a special place in my heart for Fox News polling, because unlike independent polls commission by major journalistic institutions, Fox News’ surveys tend to be... special."

Former Bush speech writer and occasional Unlikely Voice of Reason David Frum points out that the GOP advantage with older voters can't last forever. The problem is that people are living longer, which means Medicare and Social Security benefits are being stretched thinner, which means a whole bunch of older people will find themselves suddenly big gummint commies. Riding out with Paul Ryan under the "SLASH ENTITLEMENTS" plan isn't exactly helping the4m position themselves to make anything but enemies of these voters.

Finally, gun freaks -- i.e., the Second Amendment Heroes who worship the NRA and are so cowardly that the thought of being unarmed for a moment makes them crap themselves -- have a real bad habit of threatening, stalking, and generally abusing women. I guess the guy who feels the need to be protected by deadly force 24/7 feels that way because he's a complete asshole. He could stop being an asshole, so people would stop hating him, or he can carry a gun to protect himself from the victims of his assholery. And almost all choose the same option. Because they're worthless punks.

[cartoon via Truthdig]

GOP will TOTALLY pass immigration reform if they win the Senate -- cross their hearrts

The HillSenate Republicans say they'll try to pass immigration reform legislation in the next two years if they take back the Senate in November.  
The Republicans say winning back the Senate will allow them to pass a series of bills on their own terms that have a better chance of winning approval in the House.  
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a central member of the coalition that passed a comprehensive reform bill in the Senate last year, said he would craft a better legislative approach if Republicans control the upper chamber in 2015. 
That would give his party a chance to pass immigration legislation before the presidential election, when Hispanic voters will be crucial to winning the White House.
There's an obvious aspect of good cop/bad cop in this, with Senate Republicans using House Republicans as bad cops. But there's actually something much more familiar going on here; Republicans are returning to tried and true strategy. The problem is, they're trying to apply it to an entirely different group of voters and it's probably not going to work.

For years, Republicans have used bait and switch politics to trick voters into electing them. They promise they'll amend the Constitution to ban gay marriage and get a Balanced Budget Amendment. They promise they'll chase all those lazy "inner city" people off welfare. They're going to get you prayer in schools and make it a crime to burn the flag. They're going to turn the United States into Reagantopia.

But then they get elected and suddenly they're all about something else entirely. My favorite example is Bush getting reelected on the issue of gay marriage and then immediately getting to work on privatizing Medicare -- something he'd barely mentioned during the campaign. Republicans promise everything talk radio gets the chumps riled up about, then they pass laws that only really help the rich. Sure, they'll throw an abortion bone to the dopes occasionally, but for the most part its promise to fight the Homosexual Menace, then deliver a million dollar tax credit on private jet wax.

It works for the base because they're endlessly gullible and never remember how they got screwed over the last time. But it's also why Republicans can't expand their voter block -- people that credulous and dumb are thankfully a commodity in limited supply. This stuff works on pretty much all of the of people it's ever going to work on. It's not going to gain them immigration reform supporters now.

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