Archive for September, 2013

small slivers of bi-partisan voting

Friday, September 20th, 2013

Looking down this House vote for — erm — “Making continuing appropriations for fiscal year 2014, and for other purposes“, the other purposes being to “defund Obamacare”.

2 Democrats voted aye; 1 Republican voted nay.  Your Jim Matheson of Utah and Mike McIntyre of North Carolina.

Your Democrats voting nay.  It is interesting to note their reasoning, beyond the real reasoning of being the two most vulnerable Incumbent Democrats up for re-election in heavily Republican districts.  

McIntyre ends up being to the right of Matheson.  Kind of.

The Republican aye voter’s (Scott Rigell) reasoning is … about where the Chamber of Commerce’s worries of where this “continuing resolution” train is getting us.    I see that Americans for Tax Reform is playing the game of policing this.  The Red State blog, in its question of “What’s up with him?” immediately tacks up the “Does he want a Primary fight?” — and the first question asked by the free republic.

And I suppose if we get this “primary” thing, we have an “Obama hugging” in there

Just after President Barack Obama won re-election, the Richmond Times-Dispatch noted how the president carried strong support in Rigell’s district, holding a net advantage of 101,000 votes in the Hampton Roads section of Virginia. The duo also gathered on Air Force One in February, discussing the impacts of sequestration before the March 1 deadline broke. Politico noted at the time that Rigell was the first Republican to travel on Air Force One since at least the formal start of Obama’s run for a second term.

The story of the Democrats get the quick comment of “Now it’s bi-partisan.  Why won’t the MSM mention it’s bi-partisan?”

Which, I suppose if it did we’d have to shell out the bi-partisan nature of the original “Obamacare” Act, due to its lone Republican aye.  And they can lose the angle of it being passed right over the heads of the Republicans — so why should they feel obliged to aid its enactment on the state level, and “boo” to your talk of petty partisan “Sabotage”.

Enter Ted Cruz.

“Today, the House of Representatives did what Washington pundits only a few weeks ago said was impossible: a strong bipartisan majority voted to defund Obamacare. This is a victory for House conservatives, and it is a victory for Speaker Boehner and Republican leadership.

Yeah.  Well.  Start putting out the ads.  One last opportunity to defeat the spectre of this:

creepyunclesamCould be worse.


Cue Bill Maher commentary.

Though, this one’s interesting.  Because… aren’t they the ones running around in Uncle Sam costumes?



…  As for the other bill that passed the House — food stamps begone — hm.

How to save our Democracy: either a Coup or secession

Friday, September 20th, 2013

Many ways to skin a cat.

A piece by Klayman published Monday in Renew America serves as a gold mine of conservative fringe fantasies.
Citing “Benghazi-gate” and “Fast and Furious-gate,” Klayman lamented that Congress is unlikely to “to remove the mullah-in-chief from office.” And with the courts taking a pass on Obama’s “phony birth certificate,” that leaves only one option, according to Klayman.
“I therefore call upon all American patriots, once we obtain this conviction, which we will shortly, to converge on Washington,” Klayman wrote. “Millions should stand in front of the White House and other national treasures and demand that Barack Hussein Obama leave. If the Egyptians can do this with regard to another radical Muslim, former president Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, then can’t we Americans do it with Obama?”
He added: “And, when we do converge on and ‘Occupy Washington’ in the millions on a date to be announced for the week before Thanksgiving, the people may think about chanting: ‘Mr. President (to use the term loosely), put the Quran down, get up off your knees and come out with your hands up!'”

Actually this reminds me of how war protesters converged to levitate the Pentagon to, you know, Stop the Vietnam War.  And while I suppose if we go with stereotypes, some  were on drugs and might have half or three quarters believed they were doing so, I do believe most thought this a symbolic exercise.Notably Noam Chomsky was in the convergence.

This goes back to a 2009 Newsmax article suggesting a coup might be in the offing.  Here we just need to work out the details.

(It’s interesting to look back in these archives.  Lamar Alexander’s rhetorical slinging has not discounted him from getting a primary fight.  Today’s goofy Republican rhetorical bombast has the Party as “winning” like “Charlie Sheen“… ’tis Rand Paul… and this makes for an interesting matrix of Alex Jones guests.)

Well, it’ll be interesting to see how many protesters Klayman can smash together.  Over / under if he actually announces date and time… erm… 50?

March off from this possible solution to the problem that the nation elected Obama a couple of times, and into the weeds of “Secession Mania”…

Freaking Maryland.
A snarky snipe at Obama’s mis-speaks.  (Not quite accurate: the 57 state gaffe was done a remark of where he had campaigned before being a president.)  A belittling of the one statehood campaign that actually has some legitimacy.   (District of Columbia: Taxation without Representation!)   They bristle largely at the current not terribly interesting technocratic governor… and…

You know… the Colorado secessionists?  I would like to think the recent Recall (whatever I may think of it — I’m not big on recalls) would “chill” them out — like, a law you don’t like passes in this democratic republic… you have republican and democratic recourses to pursue.

And the Northern Californians have to sit by while the current governor — Jerry Brown — is hailed as the Greatest Governor Evah.  Whether they like it or not.

Eventually this “final straw” boiling over will dissolve and find its outlets.  Maybe they can run of these guys for their governors or presidents?

risking everything on everything

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

Lunatics on Parade.

Cruz, a tea party favorite, is one of the most vocal proponents of defunding the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s health care reform law. He’s spent months championing the cause. But on Wednesday, as House Republican leaders unveiled their latest plan for sinking Obamacare — tying a measure to defund the law to a must-pass resolution that keeps the government running — Cruz thanked House Republicans for their fight, and said they’re on their own.
“[Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid will no doubt try to strip the defund language from the continuing resolution, and right now he likely has the votes to do so,” Cruz said in a statement. “At that point, House Republicans must stand firm, hold their ground, and continue to listen to the American people.”
Aides to top Republicans in the House, where GOP leadership has already been struggling to keep the party together on the measure, were beside themselves. And once granted anonymity, they didn’t mince their words.
“We haven’t even taken up the bill and Ted Cruz is admitting defeat?” fumed one senior GOP aide. “Some people came here to govern and make things better for their constituents. Ted Cruz came here to throw bombs and fundraise off of attacks on fellow Republicans. He’s a joke, plain and simple.”
Another aide said Cruz’s comment “exposes how [Senate conservatives] have deliberately misled their constituents and the grassroots for eight weeks. This isn’t leadership, it’s hypocrisy.”

The basic problem is two fold.  One: the electorate in mid term election years is different from the electorate in presidential election years.  If the 2008 electorate had shown up in 2010, the Democrats would have surely lost the House, and had a good wipe-out state-side, particularly in the South, but it would be more manageable, and not quite as dramatic an effect in redistricting — the other problem: I don’t much care that one election brings in the crazy, because there’s another election coming up — the problem with the 2010 election is that it happened in 2010, whereby redistricting would cement a lagging House Republican majority and a whole slew of state-houses no matter how things move in 2012 and beyond.

I like the idea that there are now Republicans criticizing Ted Cruz from the right as “a joke”.  But they may have a point.  He hyped up a futile and nihilistic procedure for political and fundraising purposes, and now that its come to some fruition …

Meanwhile… in North Carolina.

Jim Duncan, the chairman of the Chatham County Republican Party, said Wednesday that he is beginning an exploratory effort to challenge 2nd District Republican Renee Ellmers in a primary next year.
Duncan, a retired computer industry leasing executive, didn’t offer any direct criticism of Ellmers, but he said there was “a craving for leadership.”

This is your Elizabeth Cheney motivation to run against Mike Enzi in Wyoming.  Except at least Cheney has a generational change-over argument.

Duncan, 65, is the son of a New York police detective who was born in South Carolina. He has become heavily involved in Republican politics, helping rebuild the Chatham County GOP in recent years. He is also a co-founder of the Coalition for American Principles, a nonpartisan group active in 2010 to help elect conservatives in Chatham, Orange and Wake counties.

Sure.  Democrats of the old “John Calhoun” variety.

And cue this Slade Gorton quote.  Interesting in Ellmers’s case, and probably the latest round of Republicans getting in with a “tea party”, it’s less about “appealing to a broader constituency” than simply the act of actually “Governing”.

Which begs the question… will Ted Cruz now get a Republican Primary opponent?

And now we can get your kind of three parts of the Republican Party… the ones who know and won’t want to talk about a government shutdown and default and defund Obamacare, the ones who do but know that they need to back away from it, and those that want to go full speed ahead…

House Republican leaders didn’t want a confrontation over Obamacare but were coerced into it by conservative lawmakers who refused to support their original stopgap measure to lock in low spending levels without the threat of a shutdown. Other Senate Republicans expressed similar concerns about risking a shutdown.

And we can, I suppose, partial apart the various Conservative Money bags backing which and which… what are the Koch Brothers funding moving to — group 2 or group 3?

The big question… does this mean Ted Cruz will end up with a Primary opponent?

how syrian opposition held together

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

The question of how Congressional opposition to military strikes in Syria held together is something worth a meandering look.  I mean — Speaker Boehner came out for it, and even in his weakened state this — with a Pelosi whipping Democratic loyalists in shape — would’ve been enough.  Note that Rand Paul, in Senate testimony, had said that “You probably have the votes”.  No, as it turned out, they didn’t.

But, starting with the broad opposition from public opinion…

There is, I guess, a renewed isolationist or non interventionist bloc in the Republican Party.  We will see how it holds under a Republican Presidency, and it’s curious as my guise of the local “Tea Party” gatherings in 2010 was that this was the same crowd backed by the same figureheads as the “Support Our Troops” counter-war protester protests of 2002.  It is possible that conglomerating alongside that sort of Ron Paul contingency to shake up some of this worldview.  We’ll see how much of this holds in a Republican Administration.
Next we have an implacable instant opposition to President Barack Obama as a matter of course.  It is a little weird to me that Health Care has become the party and movement conservative’s “red line” and point of permanent battle — “all traces of this must be eradicated” — but as the party gears up to do more on this score, we have an attempt to cement a prophesy into fulfillment — “Syria has weakened Obama”.  Whatever hurts Obama!
Which probably leaves Republican supporters room to wiggle, to refine to one of opposition because it’s too limited.  So we have the waffling of John McCain.  Curiously enough, we now have that odd spot where Rand Paul has quite literally come out in support of Assad, and your McCain and Lindsey Graham for the rebels (which we’re openly secretly clandestinely supporting)– an interesting split in the Republican Party I don’t think exists in the Democratic Party, which holds along the lines of “Er… no and no.”

On the Democratic side… there is a bit of a curious commentary I spotted, and wish I had clipped, had it that Democratic opposition held tightly due to redistricting following the manner the 2010 election cut off all the party’s “marginal” purple and red district held seats, bringing the party caucus down to its liberal anti-war core.  Maybe.  But maybe the added seats around suburbia and rural America would also want to find another point of departure to argue that they’re not Obama’s lackeys, and popular opposition to war in Syria works.

As everything has gone down… the question of “Who Won?” with its stated answer “Putin and Russia’s prestige is shown and US power is shown to be shaky” — becomes a bit of a  “Who Cares?”     If we go ahead and take Obama’s objectives at face value, we got what we wanted… limited though it may be.  And John Kerry — well, looking at his approval rating — Hey!  There’s still time to run for President again.  (And I guess we assume that the Kerry “thinking out loud” was purely accidental — and I personally wouldn’t be surprised if it weren’t retractable if needed signals being thrown out from prior discussions with Russia — which is not to say “Obama pre-gamed this shit” but … it’s the way of International Politics… but even assuming that gets him to new heights, he’d be caught up in a misfired “Troops are Stupid” joke before long to upend the bid.)

Mike Gravel’s legacy lives

Monday, September 16th, 2013

An interesting question with some interesting answers.  How the Hell did Mike Gravel get elected twice in Alaska?

Your recurring joke:  Somebody has to represent the interests of gravel and other small pieces of rock in the legislature.

AND:  Also, throwing a rock in a pond.

This is almost true:  Gravel was reflecting his constituency’s wishes and his personal feelings about the war. He didn’t get loony until later years.

This is your “But Montana” example debunked… ie:  he don’t look like a Red State Democrat:  But Schweitzer and Tester provide plenty of photo ops of them hunting and fishing and generally seeming “rough hewn”, unlike Gravel.

AND:  interesting points. But maybe the real question is what was wrong with the Republican Rasmuson that he couldn’t beat a divided Democratic field of Gravel and the incumbent Dem Gruening, who nabbed 18% of the vote?

Back to the “But Montana; he don’t look like a Red State Democrat”:  Looking more at Gravel’s bio, he was an Ivy Leaguer who was born and raised in Massachusetts, to French-Canadian parents. Say what?!? Seems like exactly the wrong sort for the Alaska electorate as I understand it.

And Back to the recurring joke:  “We just thought it would be funny to vote for gravel.”

A good explanation, partially:  You have to understand that the pool of capable politicians is small in Alaska and since the 70s the oil companies have backed those that are sympathetic to them. Even today, with the population of Alaska much larger than in 1967, it’s still difficult for either party to field a candidate that doesn’t make you hold your nose while voting for him. The really good people never seem to make it past city government positions, since they’re usually labelled as ‘liberals’.

It doesn’t matter, the joke is still funny:  By the way, people, it’s pronounced gruh-VELL and not like the small rocks.

The answer… he lied in his 1968 bid against Gruening, and ran as a hawk against the dove Gruening.  He got lucky in 1974, and got in the anti-Nixon Watergate fervor.  Also his opponent was a weird John Bircher.  (Note that years later, Joe Miller is the one Republican who probably wouldn’t beat the current Democrat Incumbent, and lost a write-in bid to a Republican Incumbent.)  And got ground ashunder in 1980 by Gruening’s son en route to the Reagan Republican Triumph.

The reason Mike Gravel is in the news, kind of, — after a bit of a blip news blurb for his “gone loony in recent years” (He was always eccentric in the Senate, but maybe that matches the constituency in Alaska) for heading a mock hearing committee of ex-Congress critters on disclosing extraterrestrial beings — his rock throwing ad is living on in memory, and is being compared to…

Jeffrey Alan Wagner’s Minneapolis Mayor ad.  And your typical wonkette commentary.

We live in the age of goofy political youtube ads.  Everyone gets their 15 minutes of fame.

Note the best two comments are the first ones.

At least Mike Gravel had the decency to remain quiet and simply throw a rock.
Putin fan.

Syria: who wins, who loses, whose commentary makes a lick of sense.

Saturday, September 14th, 2013


But then along came the Russians to open an escape route. Acting in response to another unscripted remark, from Secretary of State John Kerry, they proposed to place Syria’s chemical gas arsenal under international control. The Syrians responded by not only admitting that they had such weapons, but offering to surrender them.
The proposal sounded implausible and impractical, but it had too many things going for it to be passed up. Most importantly, it serves the interests of every important party. It spares the Syrian regime a damaging attack by the United States. It spares the rebels being gassed again. It validates the great power status of Russia — and might even win Vladimir Putin a Nobel Peace Prize.
Not least, it saves Obama from looking like an appeaser, a warmonger or an incompetent. It even allows Kerry to portray the administration as unsurpassed in its diplomatic brilliance.

Or maybe.

Can we please get over the silliness I’m hearing from a few quarters that President Obama had gamed out the whole Syria affair before it even happened? It’s embarrassing. […]
There’s really no reason to go down this path anyway. If you want to give Obama credit, give him credit for something he deserves: being willing to recognize an opportunity when he sees it. I can guarantee you that George W. Bush wouldn’t have done the same.  […]
In the meantime, it’s rock solid certain that Assad isn’t going to launch another gas attack anytime soon, which means that, by hook or by crook, Obama has achieved his goal for now. 

I note something here…

It’s an uncannily fortunate turn of events for Obama, but this is the guy who won his 2004 Senate race after his chief Democratic opponent, and then the Republican nominee, fell victim to lurid scandals.
This is the guy who got Osama bin Laden after his own experts said there was only a 40 percent chance the al-Qaida leader was in the targeted building. This is the guy who got to run against John McCain and Mitt Romney, both masters of self-destruction.

(1) It was somewhat risky to take the plunge in 2004 in the first place, but he put himself out there.  Note that four years previously, he tried for a Congressional seat and got knocked down.  (2)  McCain and Romney were the best bets the Republican Party had.  This path of his history goes back to “recognizing the opportunities”.   Or…

And then into the partisan critics

Pat Buchanan called Putin’s op-ed in the New York Times “outstanding.”
Yeah, well, Buchanan has already come out in support of Putin — for re-orienting his country away from its Communist past and toward its Religious past… visa vie their anti-gay laws.  A real bull-wark against the corrupting West.  (as opposed to bringing us back to Kruschev?)
Rush Limbaugh believes Putin gets “American exceptionalism” better than Obama.
It’s easy when you’re writing from a position of mockery.
And The Donald thinks Putin’s “Amazingly well-written op-ed” makes Obama look like a “schoolchild.”


Then there’s…

Obama leadership? No, just being a politician going with the prevailing wind.
As far as doubt of another gas attack: if you are among the few who actually believe Assad was behind it, probably not more. If you are with many foreign intelligences that believe they are at the hands of one of the rebel factions, the Saudis, or CIA false flag, stand by for another one.

The few who believe Assad was behind it? As in 80% of the American public? The CIA conducted a false flag operation to send chemical rockets from Assad territory into rebel held neighborhoods? Exactly how did they pull that off?

Shill for MSM and MIC

Actually I think “Big Mama” is a gate-keeper, bringing this tract up to hide from the real secret.

Krauthammer and O’Reilly…  And into another funny bit of comments land which… goes nowhere real.

Well, if Obama’s getting played by Putin here (for being in part hum-strung in any hawkish move by American public opinion), at least we have McCain… McCain’s going to meet Putin tit for tat and write an op-ed for Pravda.  That’ll show Putin!

Bill Maher’s point is conflicted — it would make more sense if he dragged the concerns over chemical weapon use below “solving our own problems”…  But never mind.

Your other weird question that I can answer… “Where is the anti-war left?” — ie: no mass protests in the streets…  (answered by some Ron Paul enthusiasts with some “Turned to the anti-war libertarians now that the old communist vanguard is dying off” — no, that was actually in an article about this question) … yes, part of it was partisan (Obama, Bush) … and as we see Ed Asner battle the question about on Russian TV… you’re reminded that part of the real purpose of “marching” at the dawn of the Iraq War was the question “Have Americans gone insane?”, that the polls showing mass support are pretty much true… in the case of Syria.  — what’s the point?  (Besides which, you’re always a little squemish that you’re marching with and merging your politics with such conspiracy theorists as Ed Asner.  I suppose if the anti-war left is getting by passed, as Justin Raimando insists, by his brand of libertarians — we’ll be stuck at the same point under the coming Jeb Bush Administration…)

In other analysis…

Fringe conservative radio host Alex Jones said this week that an effort to avert a U.S. attack on Syria with diplomacy was actually a United Nations plot for the extinction of the human race, which would be replaced by “globalists” like President Barack Obama who would become cyborgs by using “life-extension technologies.”

Makes as much sense as anyone else.