Aux Armes, Citoyenes!

It’s just being reported that the GOP caucus in the US Senate has decided that Presidenting while Democrat and/or Black is not to be allowed to happen.

That is — the majority party in The World’s Greatest Deliberative Body™ has decided that it will not entertain any piece of President Obama’s nomination for the still dead Scalia’s Supreme Court seat.  Zip, zero, nada, nothing:  no hearing, no vote, no respect for whatever jurist Obama chooses; for Obama himself, obviously; for the office of the President, clearly; and ultimately for the Constitution so many of those prating thugs assert they hold above all else.

To which my response is:

Thanks

Thank you.

You couldn’t have done a greater service to the Democratic Party’s hopes in November, and thus to the country.

It’s hard usually, as readers of this blog know, to cut through the noise of political blather and the insistent demands of daily life.  But this is one of those moments when stakes and character become clear — enough, I deeply hope, to move the dial in November. Most simply, if there were any enthusiasm gap between the parties, it’s going, going, gone now.

We have two jobs:  for one, elect the Democrat, whoever that may be, to the Presidency.  I’m more a Hillary person than a Bernie one, but I’ll pound the hills of New Hampshire for either one this coming fall, every damn chance I get.

The other:  these embarrassments as Senators must go:  Kirk, Johnson, Toomey, Portman, Ayotte.  The Florida open seat, and as distant hopes, McCain and Burr too.  I’ll be up in New Hampshire (as I may have mentioned a sentence or two ago), pounding the hills for Governor Hassan, every damn chance I get.  If you can get to a race that’s in the balance, do so.  If you can’t, do whatever else you can.

One last thought: I didn’t think that anything the GOP could do — especially an act as predictable as this — would do more than deepen my weary sense of “they are who we thought they were.” But this feels like a last straw. I’m just done with allowing any framing of this as “just politics” or what have you. I and a majority of my fellow citizens voted President Obama into office twice. The disrespect to him is something he can handle (better than I ever would). But it’s the delegitimizing of my vote, my choice, my place in American democracy that has just gotta stop. The current Republican Party has to be destroyed, root and branch. They are blight on policy, and a boil on the body politic. Time for them to go.



Open Thread: Snapshots from the Great SC Dumpster Fire

Yeah, I know it’s getting ragged, but for a lifelong connoisseur of self-destructive infighting, last night’s GOP debate was a non-stop banquet of gaffes, spite, own goals, stupidity & cupidity. Keep in mind that some of the snarkiest comments below are from Republican supporters and sympathizers…


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Open Thread: “The Common Clay of the New West…”

“…. you know — morons!”

Adam, bless the man, is doing serious, constructive updates on the Great Malheur Bird Sanctuary Loon Invasion. Which leaves me free to do what I’m best at — aggregating the bathos, cheap shots and snark. Has anyone else made note that “Malheur” is French for “misfortune”?…

Amanda Peacher’s a local reporter:

The prospect of hundreds of out-of-towners who openly carry firearms concerns some residents in Burns.

Fliers with the message “Militia go home” hang on signposts downtown.

Harney County Sheriff Dave Ward said he received death threat emails from people in other states after he told militia organizers he would not create a safe haven for the Hammonds to stay in Harney County.

“I haven’t slept a full night in close to two months now. I have a lot of anxiety,” he said. But Sheriff Ward wants to protect his county.

“What we’ve been threatened with here is civil unrest and the insinuations of armed rebellion,” said Sheriff Ward…

Even Bundy is unsure whether the protest is a good idea, and whether it’s proper for his family’s supporters to get involved. “I don’t quite understand how much they’re going to accomplish,” Bundy said. “I think of it this way: what business does the Bundy family have in Harney County, Oregon?”…

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GOP Elite delegitamization; Obamacare Edition

This is a good example of the process of how the Republican base has come to like Trump so much. Their elites either don’t know what they are talking about or are lying to them, repeatedly.

Scott Gottlieb is supposed to be a medium size deal in the conservative health wonk community. He was one of the ten “wonks” who came up with the most recent Republican repeal and maybe replace plan.   He has the sinecures and the titles to be a valued source of trusted information to conservatives.  However, either he does not understand what he is talking about or he is actively misleading his audience. He started this string with the following tweet:

That is a very strong claim that is diametrically opposed to reality. The risk pool is getting younger. We can’t say for sure that a younger risk pool is a healthier/cheaper risk pool, but it is extraordinarily likely that this is the case.

Local conservative opinion leaders will get a false signal from Gottlieb that the Exchanges are death spiraling.  They have been getting those signals from conservative “wonks” and “policy” opinion leaders for five years now.  Sooner or later dreaded Obamacare will collapse under its own weight and 10 million people (as you know those Chicago crooks are cooking the books, so it can’t be 17 million people) will have the freedom to choose health savings accounts or freedom.

And next year, when Obamacare does not collapse in on itself like a neutron star of fail, the same opinion leaders and expert validaters will trot out the same story.

The Republican base has been promised a lot and their party can’t deliver on those goals.  The elites don’t have legitimacy because their bullshit has been marked to market so new entries with new, creatively destructive forms of bullshit have a niches that they can fill and a willing mass audience that wants to believe that this time the new guy can deliver on their promises while ignoring the elites who have no credibility.



Sow The Trump, Reap The Whirltrump

The Trump campaign, not racist or anything, just number one with white supremacists as Team WIN THE MORNING accidentally commits journalism to tell us.

The Ku Klux Klan is using Donald Trump as a talking point in its outreach efforts. Stormfront, the most prominent American white supremacist website, is upgrading its servers in part to cope with a Trump traffic spike. And former Louisiana Rep. David Duke reports that the businessman has given more Americans cover to speak out loud about white nationalism than at any time since his own political campaigns in the 1990s.

As hate group monitors at the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League warn that Trump’s rhetoric is conducive to anti-Muslim violence, white nationalist leaders are capitalizing on his candidacy to invigorate and expand their movement.

“Demoralization has been the biggest enemy and Trump is changing all that,” said Stormfront founder Don Black, who reports additional listeners and call volume to his phone-in radio show, in addition to the site’s traffic bump. Black predicts that the white nationalist forces set in motion by Trump will be a legacy that outlives the businessman’s political career. “He’s certainly creating a movement that will continue independently of him even if he does fold at some point.”

Yes, that movement is called “The Republican Party” as Bloomberg News reminds us.

Almost two-thirds of likely 2016 Republican primary voters favor Donald Trump’s call to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the U.S., while more than a third say it makes them more likely to vote for him.

Those are some of the findings from a Bloomberg Politics/Purple Strategies PulsePoll, an online survey conducted Tuesday, that shows support at 37 percent among all likely general-election voters for the controversial proposal put forward by the Republican front-runner.

“We believe these numbers are made up of some people who are truly expressing religious bigotry and others who are fearful about terrorism and are willing to do anything they think might make us safer,” Doug Usher, who runs polling for Washington-based Purple Strategies, said in his analysis of the findings. “This indicates that, despite some conventional wisdom expressed in the last 48 hours, this is unlikely to hurt Trump at least in the primary campaign.”

Why would it, when the entire party is currently running a dozen nativist assholes for President and has been as loudly and as boldly racist as possible for a long time and virulently so since Barack Obama came on the national scene?  Why would it when a bunch of Republican governors are trying to kick brown people out of their states? Why would it when you have a racist asshole base that finds Trump’s nuclear-powered foghorn hate speech towards anyone darker than a paper bag a refreshing reason to vote for the guy?

Trump is not the cause, he is the inevitable result of today’s GOP, and much like herpes the body politic breaks out in overt racism and produces pustules like The Donald time and time again in American history, it’s just a matter of how big they get and how sick we get before they are lanced.  The names are different, the disease remains the same, and America has been infected with it since the start, kids.

The fact is if he was the GOP nominee, he’d get 45% of the popular vote minimum. Maybe he’d lose 55-45 to Clinton or Sanders, but maybe not. And if anything, Trump is heavy cover for the kinder, gentler racist fascism of Cruz, Rubio, Carson, and the rest of the GOP. The country club section of the party on their fainting couches saying that Trump doesn’t represent them were very happy to support calls to limit Middle Eastern immigration to Christians.

Trump is just the latest face on this evil Mr. Potato Head of nativist hatred, the problem is with all the Republicans who like the cut of his jib…and oh yeah, the Democrats looking the other way and/or still playing the “not a dime’s worth of difference” game.

We’re just going to have to weed out the garden again, and that’s going to take work.  It’s what we do, but damn it would be nice if we just got a backhoe and dug up the whole place one of these decades, huh.



Pussyfooting Around

The Powerthirst Party has to get its two-minute hate on, and nobody does it better than Stu Varney’s bad cop/insane cop routine on FOX.

STUART VARNEY (HOST): Let’s get right to the president’s speech last night on terrorism, and bring in Lt. Col. Ralph Peters. Alright, Ralph, I have a question for you. I know you watched last night. I want to know, what were you saying to the TV as the president was speaking? What was your commentary as the president’s speech unfolded?

RALPH PETERS: Well, first of all he keeps speaking about “we can’t give in to our fears.” You know, “don’t be afraid.” Look, Mr. President we’re not afraid we’re angry, we’re pissed off, we’re furious. We want you to react, we want you to do something. You’re afraid. I mean this guy is such a total pussy, its stunning. And, you know, we want — we the people, the American people, whom he does not know in any intimate sort of manner, we want action. We want action against Islamic State and then — then, when the president is telling us he is going to destroy ISIS. This is a president who has done more harm to American police departments than he has done to Islamic State. This is a president who restrains our military. He uses it not to defeat ISIS, but for political purposes for political cover. This is a president who doesn’t want to hurt our enemies. This is a president who cares more about thugs in Guantanamo, or thugs in Ferguson, Missouri, than he does about law-abiding American citizens and their right to live in safety and peace.

VARNEY: I can tell you are super angry, and I asked you what your reaction was, but I have got to call you — you can’t use language like that on the program, OK? I’m sorry.

PETERS: I’m sorry.

VARNEY: OK, accept that. Now, moving on…

Varney of course waits for Peters to get done with his rant before scolding him, because he’s polite, you see.  Not that he was going to correct Peters’s content that Obama “cares more about thugs” in Gitmo or Ferguson, just that unfortunate language was the only problem.

By the way, if “I can tell that you’re super angry” isn’t the motto of FOX, it needs to be.



If The Phone Don’t Ring…

Hey everyone!

I’ve got a message for you:

Pick up the damn phone.

The backstory:  I heard last night from a valued reader with connections to the Hill reminded me that there is more this crowd can do than point, sigh, and mock the GOP pants-wetters (abetted by an increasing number of feckless Dems) who so fear the widows and orphans from the latest spasm of our long decade of war in the Middle East.*

Rembrandt_Harmensz._van_Rijn_052

What to do about the attempt to make fear the ground state of American policy?  What to do about the spreading political meme that the proper exercise of US state power is to bar the door to Syrian refugees? How should we stand with President Obama when he says of the fear mongers “that’s not who we are”?

Pick up the damn telephone.

Call your Congressional representatives in the House and the Senate.

You know the drill:  Speak your mind, politely, respectfully, but firmly to whoever you get on the phone.

My reader emphasized, and my own distant memory of an internship on the Hill concurs, that these calls really matter.  House and Senate staffs keep notes and logs.  There are regular reports of how many calls came in, on what side, and with what passion or urgency.  \

Paradoxically, because of the ubiquity of social media, an actual human voice that has taken the trouble to pick up a phone carries a great deal of weight.  So call.

The numbers:

The Senate.

The House.

If you’re feeling extra virtuous — your governor and state legislature representatives would also be worth a call.

We can water the tree of liberty not with blood, but words.

Pick up the damn phone.

*Yes, I do know that the conflict there — and “Great” Power strategerizing through its misery — extends well before 2003.  But the Syrian Civil War of the last few years is (at least to me) both a conflict with deep roots and a proximate consequence of Bush the Lesser’s attempt to remake the Middle East into an model US client region.

Image: attr. to Rembrandt van Rijn, The Flight Into Egypt 1627