Anything, Anything

by matttbastard

As extremism’s transition from vice to virtue seemingly reaches its apotheosis, Republican Sen. Jim DeMint upped the ante yesterday in the GOP Tourette’s strategy to fight Democratic health reform legislation:

DEMINT: The problem is, the war in Afghanistan and our economy are our two biggest issues. But he’s working on other issues such as health care and he’s putting off the decision on Afghanistan which I think puts our troops at risk. So he needs to focus on priorities right now and not try to ram so many things down our throat here in Congress. He needs to address the issue of Afghanistan quickly.

Easily distracted House Minority Whip Eric Cantor also picked up the new talking point:

“With Afghanistan now becoming such a very troublesome issue, we should be making progress on health care so it doesn’t get in the way of a very, very important national security issue… . Central Asia is the Persian Gulf of the 21st century. We are foolish to be ignoring that threat right now.

“Health care in this building has made it so that it seems we can’t get anything else done. We have burning issues out there is this country… .”

Yeah, um, so, exactly what vital legislation sitting on the back burner has the GOP proposed this session, besides endless birther amendments? Anyone? Bueller?

Besides, as Steve Benen charitably notes:

All available evidence suggests Afghanistan is a major topic of discussion in the West Wing, and Obama is overseeing a deliberate, thorough review of the future of U.S. policy. If there was no debate over health care reform, the exact same thing would be happening.

Jim DeMint thinks deliberation “puts our troops at risk.” Jim DeMint isn’t very bright.

Perhaps not, but DeMint’s dimbulb assertion is not offered without purpose. Mike Stickings bluntly cuts through the bullshit:

Obviously, DeMint is trying to score political points by pitting Obama against the troops (i.e., by making shit up) — a lame but typically Republican smear — but he’s also trying to derail health-care reform by putting up any and all obstructions he can find, however ridiculous.

“[P]utting up any and all obstructions he can find, however ridiculous” — an apt summation of the GOP’s overall legislative agenda since the inauguration. Yes, kids, these are indeed the wingnut discourse-vandals with whom the USian ‘left’ is expected to chart common ground, else the Villagers collectively weep, gnash teeth, clutch pearls, demonstratively collapse upon fainting couches, etc. Now, call me a raging partisan, but isn’t it kinda sorta hard for progressives to converge with a catch-as-catch-can right-wing ideological perspective that appears to have been warped by too many tuna fish bag lunch policy seminars at the American Enterprise Institute (or from a lifetime spent huffing airplane glue — thin line, natch)?

Let’s be honest: the only ‘burning issue’ on the Republican boiler plate is causing President Obama and Democrats in Congress to fail in the effort to reform health insurance, no matter what is proposed.

It seems all-too-apparent that GOP partisans will say and do anything in their crusade to “break” the Democratic Party prior to 2010.

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Bachmann: Obama’s policies ‘fitting’ future generations with ‘shackles and chains.’

by matttbastard

Get it? Nudge nudge, wink wink?

Oh teh irony, indeed, Michele (also, FAIL.)

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Specter to American Workers: “Drop Dead!”

by matttbastard

Well, so much for Arlen Specter’s emancipated testicles:

In June 2007, the vote on the Employee Free Choice Act was virtually monolithic: 50 Senators, Democrats, voted for cloture and 48 Republicans against.  I was the only Republican to vote for cloture.  The prospects for the next cloture vote are virtually the same.  No Democratic Senator has spoken out against cloture.  Republican Senators are outspoken in favor of a filibuster.  With the prospects of a Democratic win in Minnesota, yet uncertain, it appears that 59 Democrats will vote to proceed with 40 Republicans in opposition.  If so, the decisive vote would be mine.  In a highly polarized Senate, many decisive votes are left to a small group who are willing to listen, reject ideological dogmatism, disagree with the party line and make an independent judgment. It is an anguishing position, but we play the cards we are dealt.

[…]

The problems of the recession make this a particularly bad time to enact Employees Free Choice legislation. Employers understandably complain that adding a burden would result in further job losses.   If efforts are unsuccessful to give Labor sufficient bargaining power through amendments to the NLRA, then I would be willing to reconsider Employees’ Free Choice legislation when the economy returns to normalcy.

I am announcing my decision now because I have consulted with a very large number of interested parties on both sides and I have made up my mind.  Knowing that I will not support cloture on this bill, Senators may choose to move on and amend the NRLA as I have suggested or otherwise. This announcement should end the rumor mill that I have made some deal for my political advantage.  I have not traded my vote in the past and I would not do so now.

Fucking  hell — yet AGAIN Specter yanks progressive chains before finally–and after MUCH agony–deciding to vote the fucking GOP party line. Um, yeah.  The worst economic downturn since the motherfucking Great Depression is, like, totally the wrong time to do something that might benefit, um, American workers.

Yeah.

AFL-CIO President John Sweeney isn’t swallowing Specter’s bullshit sammich:

Today’s announcement by Sen. Specter — a sponsor of the original Employee Free Choice Act who voted for cloture in 2007 — is frankly a disappointment and a rebuke to working people, to his own constituents in Pennsylvania and working families around the country.

Or, as Sarah puts it (via tweet):

[T]he problem with the economy is a crisis of demand. You create demand by paying workers well. [emph. mine]”

Take action: Contact Arlen Specter (snail-mail, phone and fax here; email form here) and (politely but firmly) let the good Senator from PA know how you feel about his “agonizing” decision to give the finger to working families by rolling over on EFCA.

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The problems of the modern GOP, encapsulated in two paragraphs.

by matttbastard

From yesterday’s WaPo:

“If you get the principles right in the first place . . . the politics will take care of itself,” said Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Tex.), a leader of the new conservative vanguard. “It comes down to basic principles — who’s better at preserving jobs, small business or the government? If you think it’s small business, look to the Republicans.”

Curly Haugland, a Republican National Committee member from North Dakota, said there is little need for ideas when the main task for the GOP will be fighting back Democratic ones. “We’re going to have plenty to do just playing defense,” he said. “These people [the Democrats] are going to be aggressively on the march.”

Not to get all Eastern Elitist on y’all, but when you have a Taliban Wing “conservative vanguard” led by people named ‘Jeb’ and ‘Curly’ determining policy strategy, well, congratulations — you’re no longer a viable national party.

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If Tennessee is the Buckle of the Bible Belt Then Utah is the Backside

by matttbastard

Well, isn’t this lovely:

The Utah House of Representatives will hear a controversial proposal that could hold physicians responsible for homicide if they perform abortions deemed illegal by the state.

Under current state law, abortion is allowed only in cases of rape or incest, if the fetus cannot survive outside the womb or is unlikely to survive, or to save the mother’s life or preserve her health.

Abortions that don’t meet any of those standards can result in third-degree felony charges.

Under House Bill 90, sponsored by Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clinton, physicians who perform illegal abortions could be charged with second-degree felony criminal homicide.

“In my opinion, illegal abortion is the same as murder,” Ray said. “This is the right step for Utah to take to protect the lives of unborn children, because they don’t have a voice.”

Note how it’s  the doctors who performed the “illegal” abortions potentially facing charges under this proposed new law, not the women who ‘contracted’ the “killing”. In a (perverse) sense, it’s almost gratifying to see the fetus fetishists explicitly affirm their belief that women are merely empty vessels that bear teh innocent baybees over to this mortal coil–boxes on a biological assembly line, if you will.

Which perhaps answers the question posed via IM by Sylvia/M (h/t):

“Will women be accomplices, then? Or scenes of the crime?”

Take action:

If you live in Utah or you want to send some strongly-worded letters to the Democrats in their House of Representatives about this bill, here’s the UT House websiteTell these representatives that doctors protecting women’s health is not an air quotation myth.

Update: Jill Miller Zimon  has compiled a plethora of info on this proposed anti-woman legislation. Go.

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About That Latest McCain Campaign Flail

by matttbastard

Re: the (illegally) manufactured half-assed October November Surprise currently popping a slow news day, Marc Ambinder (!) breaks it down:

Republicans think anti-immigrant forces are going to be rallied by attacking a middle aged woman in her fifties? This is what’s going to swing independents back to McCain? Reminding people (a) of an actual human face on the receiving end of anti-immigration policies and (b) that the Democratic candidate is personally affected by a complicated issue facing many American families?

Actually, I don’t think the McCain campaign, which, thus far, has been taking a hands-off approach to the smear, believes this blip will be an eleventh hour game changer.  As I said before, issue #1 is still the economy, stupid.  Sure, they might swing a few soft votes in OH, PA and FL.  But I believe the primary motive behind this and other recent over the top accusations against the Obama campaign is to stir up the GOP base in anticipation of making a comeback in 2012.

The notion that this last-minute flail will have a significant effect on the polls is, as Ambinder notes, ludicrous.  Instead, it is merely the latest addition to the increasingly unhinged narrative of fraud, radicals, and socialism to justify losing: not because of Obama’s superior ground game, nor the fact that McCain has run what has been possibly the worst presidential campaign since, um, Kerry ’04.  Rather, all the weeping and gnashing of teeth seems purposefully designed to stir up resentment and class-based grievance, once again positioning the white working class electorate against the darkies, illegals and the poor (to say nothing of the liberal elite boogeyman), with the first black president (who, if you hadn’t noticed, has a scary foreign-sounding name) serving as the ultimate living, breathing wedge issue.

The right is trying to start the culture war all over again, utilizing, as Henry Farrell put it, the mechanisms of Nixonland in the hope they can salvage the flagging fortunes of the current GOP power structure.

Buckle up kids–the next four years are going to be a wild fucking ride.

Related: In response to a passage in Nedra Pickler’s AP report indicating that the information on the immigration status of Obama’s paternal aunt had been leaked to AP by federal officials, Rep. John Conyers, Jr. has penned the following letter to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff (h/t Taylor Marsh):

Dear Mr. Chertoff:

I was startled to read in today’s Associated Press that a “federal law enforcement official” has leaked information about an immigration case involving a relative of Senator Obama. Even more troubling, the AP reports that it “could not establish whether anyone at a political level in the Bush administration or in the McCain campaign had been involved,” a very disturbing suggesting indeed. This leak is deplorable and I urge you to take immediate action to investigate and discipline those responsible.

I note that this is not the first leak of law enforcement information apparently designed to influence the coming Presidential election — in recent weeks law enforcement sources leaked information about an alleged investigation of a community services organization, a leak that the Department of Justice informs me has been referred to the Department’s Office of the Inspector General and Professional Responsibility.

Such leaks are deeply harmful to the political process, and the American people expect and deserve better from their government and its law enforcement agencies.

Sincerely,
John Conyers, Jr.

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Strange Days (I give ’em a ‘B’ for ‘buh?!’)

by matttbastard

Michelle Malkin responds to the news that PA McCain volunteer (and College Republican) Ashley Todd, who claimed on Thursday to have been attacked by a big scary black Obama supporter, made the whole damn thing up (ZOMGWTFBBQ NO WAIS!):

Final lesson: Trust your instincts. Use your brains. Stop jumping every time Drudge hypes something in Armageddon-sized font.

You know there’s something really, really wrong with everything when Michelle freakin’ Malkin (who, it should be noted, was instantly skeptical of Todd’s dubious tale) calls bullshit on a right-wing smear, assumes the voice of reason and makes sense.

Insert preferred cliche re: blind squirrels and stopped clocks here.

Related: More from Jay Bookman, Pam Spaulding, and Renee Martin, who addresses the alltoofamiliar ugly racial subtext behind Todd’s fallacious claim.

Sez Martin:

The black man is the convenient scapegoat, because he has been constructed as a violent savage by society. As the mother of two black sons, the degree to which this social construction has been used to uphold the purity of white women, while resulting in the death of black men, enrages me.

Some will say that we should not judge Todd too harshly and that perhaps she is suffering from a mental disability, but the fact remains that what she did was purposeful and it was racist. Disability aside, her choice in creating a tale of a vicious black male attacker was not accidental.

[…]

The black male rapist is exactly what society expects, and the idea that a black man is not born naturally desiring to possess the white female is viewed as fantastical by some. The fact that Todd thought that adding sexual assault to her complaint would increase her believability proves the degree to which this construction has been accepted.

[…]

Whatever mental health issues Todd may or may not have, she was successful in initially being believed because of the social expectations that have been attached to both…white women and black men.

Also check out Keith Olbermann, who explores the role played by local McCain campaign officials in hyping the story to local media outlets (h/t Pam):

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