Thursday, July 24, 2014

They Shoot Healthcare, Don't They?


Conservatives Find Typo in Obamacare, Try to Kill People With It

Tuesday’s heartless Halbig decision, in which two judges decided that a typo strikes down a key piece of the ACA, ignores both common sense and the millions of Americans who depend on affordable health care.

It’s truly extraordinary, the lengths modern conservatism will go to to ensure that more members of what Dickens called “the surplus population” will die. First, refuse to set up state-run exchanges, so that the poor and working-class people of your state who are desperate to buy subsidized health insurance have to go to the federal exchange. Next, after your own decision not to set up an exchange has made the existence of the federal exchange necessary, you scour the Affordable Care Act and find one sentence that left out one or two words that could enable you to discredit the federal exchange.

Then you sue, claiming that the federally facilitated exchange, which exists because legislators had to plan around what they knew would be your own inaction and hostility, is illegal! Then, you get a couple of aggressively activist judges to agree with you. All that’s needed now is for John Roberts to get back on the team, and the deed will be done: Millions of people will be at risk of losing their no-longer-subsidized insurance, or see their rates shoot up to levels they simply can’t afford. And some, or many, will surely die sooner than they would have. What a legacy.
...
Any day the Right can hand Barack Obama a loss, is a good day for Conservatism. But if they can do it while ramming a hot poker through a Liberal's bleeding heart?  And immiserating millions of poor, desperate people in the process?

Well that's not just a good day.

Yowza, Yowza...that's fucking Christmas.

Hell, that's the full wingnut TurDuckEn: A War on Christmas, stuffed inside Nathan Bedford Forrest's birthday, stuffed inside Reagan Ascending Bodily to Heaven Day!

A great fucking day for American Conservatism.

The only times I remember them being this giddy was when they cheered and danced in the streets and mocked the dirty Liberal anti-war protesters after they re-elected George W. Bush in 2004...and then again in 2010 when, in full teabagger regalia and swearing they'd never even heard of George W. Bush, they cheered and danced in the streets and mocked the dirty Liberal clean up crew who were trying to clear the rubble and put out the fires that George W. Bush had left in his wake.

Oh, and there was also that 90 second interval when they creamed their collective breeches at the thought that the US Supreme Court had stripped millions of American of any hope of ever getting heath insurance:



But it was not a day of celebration here at the New Castle Driftglass.  It was not a good day at all.  My incredibly strong, smart and compassionate wife was in tears for much of the morning, for two reasons. First because we are among those millions of Americans who (as Brother Charles Pierce writes):
...have spent the last several months with a great weight lifted from their shoulders. Every ache and sudden twinge no longer felt like it could be the first step toward personal ruin. They have been able to look at their sleeping children without a familiar knot in their guts. They have been able to pursue happiness, like all of us have a right to do so, without feeling like they're running in leg shackles.

All of these people have been tossed into uncertainty -- again -- because their government has been rendered dysfunctional by a political philosophy of nihilistic vandalism, which is being judged now by a judiciary fully politicized through a long game that has extended over decades.

Or, to put it in medical terms, two months ago kindly Ol' Doc ACA metaphorically told us both that were gonna be OK.  Finally, OK.  That our labs had come back negative and that our family was no longer completely vulnerable to a quirk of fate or age or genetics which can destroy us.

We sighed, we laughed, we cried with relief, we popped a cork and got on with our lives.

And then yesterday kindly Ol' Doc ACA called us again -- out of the blue -- to tell us that he was very sorry but, someone at the lab screwed up our blood tests and...uh...we might actually be doomed after all.  

So we're frankly terrified, because this is where the metaphor breaks down.  A lab glitch would be a case of human error with a bad result: what's happening with the ACA is that a typo is being exploited by awful, awful in order to further terrorize millions of people who are barely holding it together as is.

My fierce and compassionate wife also shed tears because we both happen to be supremely well equipped to patiently navigate the Kafkaesque Rube Goldberg machine that is the ACA in our home state.  We have enough patience and education and technical savvy to thread our way through the pitch-dark rejection maze that dispenses chances to buy affordable health insurance but only after scaling one mountain range after another of bureaucratic fuck ups, repeated and arbitrary denials by temp workers who have no idea what they are doing based on bad information which we never gave them, maddeningly conflicting and contradictory instructions from everyone involved and a general sense that everyone at every stage -- including janitors and interns -- have been randomly handed enormous authority to affect our lives in the most intimate ways imaginable, but that ultimately no one is in charge of anything.

We are emotionally and educationally equipped to slog though this shit all over again if we have to, but what about the millions of people who are not?   

What about people who quit after they leave their eighth unanswered message to a rejection letter because they don't know you have to call back ten times if you want to talk to a human?  Who don't know that even after they have refiled their paperwork again, its six-to-five that some temp in a hurry will round-file it because it's 4:59 and they've got someplace to be? Who are unaware that they will have to personally follow up over and over again to make sure their forms are hopping successfully across the Catch-22-strewn Frogger course on their way to Approval Land, and that each of those follow ups means making ten calls?

And it didn't have to be this way.  Even if a simple, national single-payer system is something I will not live to see, as goofy as the ACA is, it never needed to come to this.  Just like we never needed to default on our national debt obligations or let our infrastructure rot.  Just like we never had to let every madman have as many guns as he wishes or shut the government down in a fit of pique.

The father of these preventable disasters is not "our partisan system" or "these extremes on both sides".

It's the Republican Party.

Period. 

And until the Republican Party is ripped out root and branch, their battle to take away your Mom's mammograms and your Dad's cancer meds will never end. 

And once they have that, they're coming for grandma's Medicare, and Uncle Pete's Social Security. If not this year, then the next. If not this decade, then the one after that. 

Evil is very patient capital, and they have shown they are willing to shrug off failure and defeat -- shrug off iron-clad evidence of their own insanity and incompetence and fraud -- and Just. Keep. Coming. 

And until they are reduced in fact to the beset, besieged, despised and powerless minority they consonantly fantasize they are, this is going to go on and on. Their political rockets will continue to rain down pell mell on anything they can hit, because breaking the system is the agenda and chaos is the goal.

There is no point debating these people anymore because facts do not move them. 

There is no point engaging with them as rational actors or competent citizens, because they are neither.

As I have said before, this nation cannot endure permanently half-Fox and half-free. Like it or not, we will become all one thing, or all the other.

And the grim outlines of that struggle have never been clearer than they were this week as the Right once again danced and sang in delight at the thought of inflicting petty political damage on Barack Obama and making Liberals cry by screwing millions of their fellow Americans in the most calculatedly vicious way imaginable.  

Yowza, Yowza.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

NBC Contemplates Swapping Dick Sargent



For Dick York


From Page Six:
David Gregory’s time on ‘Meet the Press’ is almost up
By Emily SmithJuly 23, 2014 | 1:08am

David Gregory’s time is nearly up at “Meet the Press,” sources told Page Six, and he could be replaced as moderator of the nation’s longest-running TV show soon after the November midterm elections.

While NBC News President Deborah Turness has publicly supported the embattled Gregory, there are serious concerns about the losing battle to turn around the show’s sinking ratings.

Viewership is down a whopping 43 percent compared to when Gregory ascended to the moderator’s chair in December 2008, after the death of Tim Russert. The show finished in third place behind CBS’s “Face the Nation” and ABC’s “This Week” in the second quarter of 2014. An NBC source said, “The discussion is whether to make a change before or after the midterm elections. Just after the midterms would give the new moderator time to settle in.”

According to insiders, NBC political director and chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd is the rightful heir to Gregory, but he has not been officially offered the job.
...
The problem, as usual, is that trading one dick for another doesn't change a thing.

I would suggest that if they want to goose up those ratings Bewitched-style, maybe they should try adding add a destructive old monster who pops in at will and screws everything up, a bitchy closeted gay uncle or a dangerously befuddled aunt.  But of course they already have.

Daddy Spank

This by Chris Hayes is making the rounds. (h/t Crooks and Liars):
“Let me take you behind the curtain of cable news business for a moment,” Hayes told his viewers. “If you appear on a cable news network, you trash that network and one of its hosts by name, on any issue — Gaza, infrastructure spending, sports coverage, funny internet cat videos — the folks at the network will not take kindly to it.”
It should not come as a surprise to learn that this is how the sausage gets made: anyone with a lick of deductive sense sussed this out long, long ago.

No, what intrigues me are how the exceptions to Mr. Hayes'  Golden Rule of Cable Teevee play themselves out.

For example, if you are Rula Jebreal and you talk a little smack about MSNBC, once, then MSNBC cancels your contract and disinvites you.
Jebreal is the author of Miral, a memoir about her coming of age in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Her former partner, Jewish-American filmmaker and artist Julian Schnabel, adapted the book into full length film. A widely published journalist and former news presenter in Italy, Jebreal was a vocal supporter of the now-extinct peace process and a harsh critic of Islamist groups including Hamas. Her termination leaves NBC without any Palestinian contributors.
According to the NBC producer, MSNBC show teams were livid that they had been forced by management to cancel Jebreal as punishment for her act of dissent...
That's the rule.  And rules are rules.

OK, but then what rule applies to Glenn Greenwald?

Mr. Greenwald, as you might recall, has spent the last year alternating between smiling his way through softball, "Golly, Glenn, tell us more about your intrepid adventure!" interviews on MSNBC...


...and using seemingly every media platform to which he has access -- cable (including MSNBC), print, blogs, Twitter -- to denounce MSNBC over and over again as a vipers nest of hacks, drooling Obots and  jackbooted servants of fascism.
So, Chris, explain to me please what rule applies

to your friend Glenn?

And while you're explaining to us rubes how Mommy and Daddy make grownup decision behind the cable teevee curtain, maybe you can also clarify which rule applies to Joe Scarborough, who Rula Jebreal herself noted devotes a slice of the three hours a day which MSNBC wildly overpays him to squat on to trashing the rest of the network as Commie Symp pointy-headed Libruls.
In fact, MSNBC Morning Joe co-host Joe Scarborough has publicly attacked fellow MSNBC hosts and slammed the network for its support for the Democratic Party.

“I did not think that i was stepping in a hornet’s nest,” Jebreal told me. “I saw Joe Scarborough criticizing the network. I thought we were liberal enough to stand self criticism.”
So, Chris, to quote Lucius Fox:
Mister Wayne, if you don't want to tell me exactly what you're doing, when I'm asked, I don't have to lie.  But don't think of me as an idiot.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Silly Shit Andrew Sullivan Says, Ctd.

Vanity_Fair

Andrew Sullivan pauses between tuck-pointing the brickwork on the battlements of his True Conservatism castle in the air and painting its walls a vivid Reformocon Vermilion just long enough to mock the Crazy Left for thinking Elizabeth Warren could ever be president:
The Left’s Elizabeth Warren Fantasy
JUL 22 2014 @ 5:14PM
Warren’s speech last week at Netroots Nation gave it new life. Her fans even created this cringe-inducing hathetic theme song...
I am a staunch Warren admirer and I have no illusions that the Professor is ever going to be President of this country.  In fact, I much prefer the idea of her staying in the Senate for a long, long time, becoming a Kennedyesque Lion of that institution, acting as its conscience and a beacon of sanity to the weary world for decades to come.

That said, however starry-eyed her die-hardest believers may be, they are as coldly pragmatic as Niccolo Machiavelli and as numerous and disciplined as the legions of Scipio Africanus when compared with the remaindered job lot of charlatans, deluded exiles, disgruntled former wingnut think tank employees and dime-store-demagogues-in-search-of-a-balcony who make up the vanguard of Mr. Sullivan's "Reform Conservatism".



The Incredible Shrinking Columnist



In actuality, I'm 99% sure there is no deeper meaning to be found here.  I'm 99% sure this is just a New York Times software glitch, which someone down in the web development department is even now unhurriedly working to rectify.

Nonetheless there is something inherently amusing about the fact that while he has been away on vacation again, the NYT has somehow managed to decapitate David Brooks' archive -- and only Mr. Brooks' archives -- and has, for the moment, lost the last five months of flapdoodle by one of Conservatism's most celebrated revisionists:


And there is something downright hilarious about the fact that no one but me seems to have noticed.

What Andrew Sullivan Is Trying To Say Is...



After noting that the radical tax cut experiment in Kansas is in the process of ruining the state, while tax increases in California has been accompanied by job growth that is outpacing the national average, Mr. Sullivan concludes:
Obviously, there are other factors involved in both cases, and you should read the links to see the qualifications. But they are qualifications. We’ve know for a long time that cutting taxes does not help the government’s bottom line and has very limited potential for job growth given the historically low rates of tax in the US right now. But we didn’t know that tax increases could coexist with quite robust job growth and fiscal health. Count this as one more piece of evidence that re-thinking Republican economics on reformocon lines is a necessary but not sufficient initiative to alter GOP dogma.
Obviously no one could possibly have realized that higher taxes or tax increases could co-exist with job growth and fiscal health, unless, of course, they had ever read anything whatsoever about, say, the 1950 or, say, the 1960s or, y'know, the entire Clinton Administration. 

I believe what Mr. Sullivan is trying to say is that those fucking Liberal were right all along.

Again.

But not to worry: I'm suregMr. Sullivan will continue his proud tradition of ignoring Liberals (almost) altogether and focusing on trying to sail his little, paper reformocon boats the painted lake of True Conservatism for years and years to come.  

Why The Freak Show Never Ends



I don't know if you're aware, but as part of its heroic attempt to accelerate its death-spiral, Meet The Press has thoroughly trashed their own website (to destroy the evidence?) by stuffing it with all those great bells and whistles that NBC content visioneers believe the kids on their Instachats and Tumblrs are crying out for these days.

Why NBC content visioneers think that kids are clamoring for more archival footage of Bob Dole, more stale summaries of Chris Christie press conferences and more of David Gregory kickin' it on the Twitter with burned out Republican flacks --
David tweets with GOP strategist Mike Murphy to go inside the GOP's playbook after a narrow victory in Mississippi
-- I do not know, but clearly they do, and so what you get is a shambling stack of short videos, modeled (and I'm just guessing here) on the what a grab-bag of fever dreams at the ass-end of a David Gregory absinthe jag might look like.

Anyway, one of the small and comically bizarre juxtapositions that routinely transpires under the capacious wings of the NBC peacock happens when someone on The MSNBC reports something which lays waste to the credibility of the same person who, three floors away, is being feted as Credible and Serious at by some establishmentarian testicle cozy at The NBC.

Of course the most famous examples of corporate media cogitative dissonance come every year when the Neocons are in bloom and one, teeny tiny division of the NBC corporation takes it upon itself to flay unindicted war criminals and bloodthirsty lunatics like, say, Paul Wolfowtiz, while other divisions of the same corporation dutifully fellate them, but it happens all the time.

Like, for example, the case of Avik Roy.

Mounted handsomely in the rolling disaster that is the Meet the Press video cavalcade, we find Mr. Roy being given a MTP Credibility Tuck-and-Roll: reputations reupholstered while you wait, in this case by pairing him off with actual heath care expert, Howard Dean, and calling the exchange a "debate" under the imprimatur of "NBC News".





The problem?

Avik Roy is notorious for just making shit up to score political points.

And how do we know this?

Well it was kinda all over the internet, and most of the links and analysis were collated and reported by Steve Benen at MSNBC back in 2013:
Avik Roy and the wonk gap

By Steve Benen

Among conservatives who care about substance and policy detail – not just everyday pundits and columnists, but genuine, grade-A wonks – Avik Roy has a reputation for being a pretty serious guy. He advised Mitt Romney on health care policy, for example, and has written extensively on the subject for a conservative think tank.

With this in mind, note that Roy was on “All In with Chris Hayes” last week, and as Kevin Drum noted, Roy “offered up a criticism of Social Security’s disability program that was so misleading that Michael Astrue, a former commissioner of the Social Security Administration appointed by George Bush, nearly had a heart attack on the air.”

Shortly thereafter, Roy weighed in on the latest report on California’s exchanges under the Affordable Care Act. While most of us saw the news from the Golden State as excellent news and proof that “Obamacare” implementation is proceeding apace, Roy published a remarkably dishonest piece arguing the opposite, deliberately omitting relevant details.
The always-mild-mannered Jonathan Cohn explained in detail why Roy is plainly, demonstrably wrong, but added an important point about the larger issue.
If you want to know why we can’t have an honest debate about Obamacare, all you have to do is pay attention to some recent news from California – and the way a highly distorted version of it, by one irresponsible writer, has rippled through the conservative press.
Right. JonKrugman, and Ezra, among others, have detailed reports explaining why Avik Roy’s analysis simply doesn’t make sense – I won’t recreate the wheel here – and I hope folks will follow the links to understand the underlying policy dispute. It’s not just of a gray area; Roy is simply wrong.

But it’s the point about “why we can’t have an honest debate” that resonates with me.
Indeed, it reinforces the “wonk gap” thesis I’ve been kicking around for a while.

Remember, Avik Roy isn’t just some guy who shows up on Fox to rant and rave about “death panels”; Roy is one of the conservatives who hopes to prove that serious policy scholarship still exists on the right. He publishes content with a credible tone; he doesn’t fly off the rhetorical rails; and he genuinely understands the policy details.

But when it comes to advancing a partisan/ideological agenda, Roy is nevertheless willing to publish “Obamacare” criticisms that are transparently ridiculous.

I believe this is yet another data point that highlights the wonk gap. As Republicans become a post-policy party, even their wonks – their sharpest and most knowledgeable minds – are producing shoddy work that crumbles quickly under mild scrutiny...
Mr. Benen concludes that "[c]redible policy debates are rendered impossible, not because of the chasm between the two sides, but because only one side places a value on facts, evidence, and reason."

I would only add that credible policy debates will remain impossible as long as the credibility of people like Mr. Roy continue to be propped up by Mr. Benen's parent company.

Monday, July 21, 2014

The View From Outside



If we coulda swung it, I'm sure my wife and I would have enjoyed attending Netroot Nation this year, if only to swap hugs and handshakes and conversation with all the terrific fellow travelers with whom we interact online but rarely have a chance to meet IRL.

However, as Brother Charles Pierce points out, lately when the Liberals tribes gather we find new and exciting ways to carve each other up in public, whereas when the objectively insane Conservative tribes get together, they find a way to fucking well make it rain.  Their antics dominate the news cycle and echo onward for weeks, and no Republican of the First Water would dare not make the wingnut hajj to kiss the crazy ring:
Again, having attended both CPAC and Netroots this year, the difference between the power of the two gatherings over the respective political parties to which they generally gravitate was more startling this year than ever before. Certainly, there was loud rumbling of internal discontent at CPAC, too, but there wasn't a prominent Republican in the country that dared not show up. (And there were several panels about the severe mistreatment of the Keystone pipeline by environmental extremists, wah-dee-doo-dah.) CPAC was loud and noisy and fun. Netroots was simply dead-assed. One convention felt like a movement. The other felt like a trade show.
When I attended Netroots in 2007, it felt like a movement. There were hundreds of credentialed journalists from all over the world.  Every Democratic candidate running for president (save one) -- and plenty who weren't -- showed up, even at the risk of getting booed (for the record, I in attendance at the Obama breakout session seen in the video above.)  And Subcommander Markos swung enough cod to get a place at the table on Meet the Press:



Seven years later, so far as I can tell, the entire net media result of Netroots has been to give Steve Kornacki another reason to talk even more about whether Progressives like "Hillary 2016!", or like-like her on his "Good Morning, New Jersey!" MSNBC teevee show --



-- and a single Politico story about Netroots and..."Hillary 2016!":
...
There is hope for Hillary Clinton …

Netroots attendees hail from the most liberal corners of the Democratic Party. To them Clinton is simply too conservative on fiscal and foreign policy matters. They see the former New York senator as tight with Wall Street, and she doesn’t strike them as willing to fight for working people the way Warren does.

Yet interviews with several attendees suggest it’s not a lost cause for Clinton. If she distances herself from big business, highlights her support for labor — a point that came up several times here, given the big union representation at the conference — and demonstrates she cares about the struggles of ordinary Americans, she could go a long way with this group...
This is all well above my pay grade and in the nearly 10 years I have been blogging, nobody at Liberal CentCom has ever asked my opinion about anything (although the fundraising emails come in every hour on the hour like clockwork), but it gets a little harder every year to rally people to the Cause, when the Cause can't seem to get its shit together enough to not shoot itself gratuitously in the foot. 

Not impossible, but every year a little harder than it needs to be.

So even though Mr. Pierce has already used the reference, offhand I can't think of one that is more appropriate:

Sunday Morning Comin' Down


I am gross and perverted


I'm obsessed and deranged


I have existed for years


But very little has changed



More on this same old story -- this fight for love and glory -- here.

Because sometimes my left brain just refuses process the billion dollar glop oozing out of my teevee that passes for serious adult analysis of actual life-and-death events.




Saturday, July 19, 2014

In Case You Were Worried



That Liberal Central Command would run out of things over which to further subdivide itself:
Netroots Nation is going to Arizona, Daily Kos is not
by kos

SAT JUL 19, 2014 AT 12:54 AM PDT 
Netroots Nation announced two days ago that Phoenix, Arizona would host its 2015 conference. I wish the conference the best, but it will unfortunately take place without Daily Kos' attendance or assistance.

I made very clear in the wake of Arizona's passage of SB 1070 that I would not be setting foot in the state, nor spending a dime in it until the law was revoked. The law, however gutted by the courts, remains on the books, as does systemic harassment of Latinos, so my pledge still stands...
Every now and then I am reminded how very far I am from anywhere near the center of anything.

Make Sure No One Tells David Brooks


...about the existence of Fox News, Hate Radio, the Republican Party or the American Conservative Movement:  
DAVID BROOKS: ... It’s Putin’s strategy is incitement and sort of messianic fantasy nationalism which both rhetorically has whipped up this messianic nationalist fervor, and then physically armed these people...

DAVID BROOKS: Well, I don’t think you have to be a super historian to look at times in the past when people have whipped up fervor and then lost control.
'Cause it would break his widdle heart:



UPDATE:  Josh Marshall thinks along the same lines:
So that's who you're dealing with: some mix of civil war reenactor or Tea Partier decked out in revolutionary garb, with a mix of reckless aggression and comical incompetence. Here we have them break into nursing homes to photographs senator's comatose wives; there Putin gives them heavy armaments designed for full scale land war in Europe.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Professional Left Podcast #241

ProfessionalLeft

"Hey 'Gerry', here's my question: 'How the hell could you pardon Nixon?'"

-- Red Forman, That 70s Show





Links:


Da' money goes here:




Zero Days Between Lies



We have reached the moment where the predictable lies of the Right now come so fast and reflexively that they form a single, continuous, uninterrupted, steaming log of mendacity:
Republicans Respond to the Ukraine Crash by…Blaming President Obama

By ANDREW ROSENTHAL JULY 18, 2014 11:29 AM

The Gaza Strip is in flames, Israeli troops and tanks rolling in for what is certain to be a bloody military operation in which the region’s battered civilians will once again absorb most of the pain. Meanwhile governments around the world are scrambling to find out who shot down a Malaysian airliner in eastern Ukraine (probably Kremlin-backed secessionists) and why (probably by accident). There are thousands of questions to answer about this nightmare, which is a direct result of the fact that there are gangs of armed men fighting with powerful and dangerous weapons in one of the most volatile places in the world, where Russia bumps up against Western Europe.

So how do Senator John McCain, the self-styled expert on all things military, and Representative Peter King, the equally self-styled expert on national security, respond? By attacking President Obama.
...
Because they are now in so deep and are so utterly dependent on bullshit to save them from the righteous judgement of history, Conservatives can no longer afford to be honest with each other or with the outside world for even a moment.

And because of this, we are never going to bring down the Fox News/Hate Radio machine because no matter how hard we shell it with Reality because there are simply too many people in this country who would rather perish in hand-to-hand combat fighting over Climate Change or the IRS or Bill Ayers in the corridors of the Wingnutbunker than live in a world without Sean Hannity purring in their ear, telling them that their bigotry and paranoia are really godly and patriotic.

No this equation only changes by crippling the transmission belt that continues deliver Conservative lies to the general public, either straight up, in a clean suit of respectability, or gift-wrapped in thin veneer of "Both Sides Do It".

Until then we will remain marginalized shouters into a hostile abyss.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Retroactive Purge



There were a lot of detours and hair-pins on the long, troll-infested road to the GOP becoming the openly unhinged cult of lunatics, imbeciles, demagogues and bigots that they are today.  But one of the last barriers to their full-throated, baying at the moon insanity was lifted by Nancy Pelosi back in 2006:
Pelosi: Bush Impeachment `Off the Table’

By Susan Ferrechio
Published: November 8, 2006

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi promised Wednesday that when her party takes over, the new majority will not attempt to remove President Bush from office, despite earlier pledges to the contrary from others in the caucus.

“I have said it before and I will say it again: Impeachment is off the table,” Pelosi, D-Calif., said during a news conference.

Pelosi also said Democrats, despite complaining about years of unfair treatment by the majority GOP, “are not about getting even” with Republicans.

She said the GOP, which frequently excluded Democrats from conference committee hearings and often blocked attempts to introduce amendments, would not suffer similar treatment.

“Democrats pledge civility and bipartisanship in the conduct of the work here and we pledge partnerships with Congress and the Republicans in Congress, and the president — not partisanship.”

She also extended an olive branch to Bush on the war in Iraq, saying she plans to work with him on a new plan but will not support the current strategy and supports beginning redeployment of troops by the end of the year.

Pelosi also said she supports the idea of a bipartisan summit on the war.

“We know, ‘stay the course,’ is not the way,” Pelosi said.
...
Anyone who made it through the Clinton years has no excuse for not knowing to a moral certainty that the GOP had finally abandoned any pretense of caring about governance, and had let the raving, bigoted Limbaugh/Gingrich/Falwell Id of the Party of Lincoln completely off the leash once and for all.

And yet, when the moment arrived when history demanded a level of seriousness and accountability concomitant with the actual high crimes the Bush Administration has committed,  then-Speaker Pelosi failed her office, her constituent and her country.

And the GOP had made it so fucking easy!  By spending six years on well-publicized witch-hunts that came to nothing and then rolling out the entire impeachment apparatus in order to depose Clinton over trivia, they had already gone on the record as being enthusiastically in favor of launching full-bore congressional hearings replete with Special Prosecutors over little more than rumors planted by crackpot right-wing billionaires in the wingnut press:



From Brother Charles Pierce:
Not to disagree with Jay Bookman too strenuously, but the Republicans "legitimized impeachment" as a tool of partisan politics in 1998. People talked about impeaching Bill Clinton for years; aides to Tom Delay were openly telling reporters in Washington, after the Republican sweep in the 1994 midterms, that they could impeach Clinton any time they wanted. Ann Coulter wrote a book arguing that impeachment was essentially a political act that a congressional majority could undertake just because they had the votes to do so. Bob Barr wrote a book advocating Clinton's impeachment long before anyone ever had heard of Monica Lewinsky. The fact is that impeachment -- or to be more precise, the threat of impeachment -- was a political tactic already at hand to the Republicans any time they wanted to use it. Criminalizing the simple election of a Democratic president was a club that already was in the bag.
All Nancy Pelosi had to do was copy the Republican script, white-out the word "blowjob", write in "war crimes" and 80% of the paperwork would be done.  But she decided not to do that, and the day she chose to sacrifice her Constitutional responsibility to the God of Bipartisanship, was the day the immortality of the Neocons was assured:
Dick Cheney’s Awfulness Is Here to Stay

Why does the former veep keep saying unhinged things—as he did Monday about Iraq? Because he believes them. And Rand Paul notwithstanding, most GOP insiders believe them, too.

People seem mystified by Dick Cheney. What on earth is he doing, popping up with such regularity defending a wholly discredited position, as he did again Monday at a Politico forum? Why would he continue to say things like invading Iraq was “absolutely the right thing to do”? The track record of utterances he compiled as vice president—all of them collected on video for our present-day delectation, like his famous “weeks rather than months” prediction to CBS’ Bob Schieffer right before we started the Iraq war—would have a person of decency and modesty hiding in self-imposed exile in the Pampean Andes.

I contend that there’s nothing mysterious about him at all. Incredible as it may seem, he does still think he was right. The tactical mistakes, if there were any, were mere details. But the invasion of Iraq was the right thing to do, he still undoubtedly believes. And it’s important that we understand the real reason he thinks it was the right thing to do, because Iraq failure or no Iraq failure, Rand Paul or no Rand Paul, Cheney’s view will always be dominant in the Republican Party’s higher echelons.
...
The day she told Republicans that no one would ever hold them accountable for their Big, Bloody Lies was the day the leadership of the Democratic Party made "The Tea Party" -- that hilarious Republican re-branding scheme based on Gish Galloping the media with one crazy lie after another -- inevitable.

There was a moment when we had a chance to bring actual elected traitors and war criminals to book for their crimes.  There was a moment when we had a chance to force the media to do its fucking job by turning the Iraq clusterfuck into a year-long public civics lesson which they would have had no choice but report. 

But the leaders of the Democratic Party did not do any of that.  Instead they declared a Retroactive Purge and announced to the world that for the duration of the Bush Regime, all Republican crime was legal.  The leaders of the Democratic Party chose to let inmates of America's political Arkham Asylum -- the criminals and lunatics and evil men of the Republican Party -- get away with exploiting a stolen election and the worst terrorist attack in American history to ram through budget decimating tax-cuts, establish a torture regime run out of the White House and lie us into the wrong war.

The world we now live in is the one which those madmen have made:



Boehner’s ‘political stunt’ will lead to Obama’s impeachment
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Let’s say by some miracle the case actually gets a hearing. When Obama’s detractors realize, as RedState’s Erickson pointed out, that their target of ire “will be out of office before such a suit is finally resolved,” they will demand he be punished “Now!” Impeachment will be their ticket because it is easier to accomplish than winning a lawsuit. All that’s needed is a simple majority of the House of Representatives to impeach a president and put an asterisk next to his name in the history books.

The one thing some Republicans have cited as their excuse for not doing so sooner is that the Democrats control the Senate. See, impeachment is a two-step process. The House impeaches, but the Senate convicts with a two-thirds majority or 67 votes. President Andrew Johnson (1868) and President Bill Clinton (1998) were impeached. Neither was convicted. Folks forget that part, if they knew it at all.

Last summer, Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Tex.) told a constituent demanding Obama’s impeachment that “you could probably get the votes in the House of Representatives to do it” before adding, “But it would go to the Senate and he wouldn’t be convicted …” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) made a similar assertion then, too. And just today, according to a tweet from Chad Pergram, who covers Congress for Fox News, “Rep Joe Barton (R-TX) on Obama: I think he’s impeachable..But its not practical…it won’t get two thirds in the Senate.”

If Democratic control of the Senate is the only thing holding them back, imagine the pressure on Boehner to impeach Obama if the GOP retakes the Senate in the November midterm elections. Because the speaker repeatedly has shown an inability to bring the tea party faction of his caucus to heel, I fully expect Boehner to buckle.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

An Enemy of The People

UNITY

I would be easy to say that Phil Gingrey's plague-mongering is a new low in depravity for the Party of Jefferson Davis, but really, the hash marks were worn off those calipers years ago. From MSNBC:
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Leading the charge is Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.), who recently told the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention there have been “reports of illegal immigrants carrying deadly diseases,” including the Ebola virus. The right-wing congressman also complained that many of the children “lack basic vaccinations.”

Let’s pause to note a few pertinent details that Gingrey, himself a physician by trade, might have missed.

For example, the children are fleeing Central American countries where Ebola doesn’t exist. Maybe Gingrey should have looked this one up before warning the CDC.

What’s more, according to the World Bank, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Mexico each have a higher vaccination rate than the United States, making Gingrey’s CDC letter, among other things, ironic.
“There is a long, sad, and shameful tradition in the United States in using fear of disease, contagion and contamination to stigmatize immigrants and foreigners,” Arthur Caplan, director of the Division of Medical Ethics at New York University’s Langone Medical Center told NBC. “Sadly, this letter which rests firmly on innuendo and fear-mongering proudly continues this unethical tradition.”
So while Brother Charles Pierce marks this development as "nearly beyond belief" and a "comical disgrace" --
...This is why what Gingrey said was so dangerous, not to mention indecent. Would anyone like to guess the reaction of the people to whom Gingrey is pitching this nonsense if it ever took hold in what passes for their minds? (Here's NewsBusters, the wingnut-welfare rest home for aging tropes, passing along Gingrey's bullshit, ably assisted by Larry Klayman's terrarium for paranoids, Judicial Watch.) Hell, these are people who were ready to rumble merely at the sight of a schoolbus carrying immigrant children.

Would anyone like to guess at the reaction of the anti-science faction of Wingnuttia if this nonsense ever took hold and doctors tried to tell people what hooey it actually was? Remember the scene in Jaws when the mayor says, "You say barracuda, and people say, 'What?' You say 'shark,' and we've got a panic on our hands on the Fourth Of July." That's what we have here. You say "dengue fever," and people say, "What?" You say, "Ebola," and the hysteria goes red-zone. Which far too many of our politicians find advantageous.

The idea that an elected official even would consider ginning up that kind of thing by appealing to the nativist ignorance of his audience is nearly beyond belief. That said elected official is a physician is an almost comical disgrace. That anyone anywhere would do it while people are dying unremarked in an authentically terrifying medical catastrophe, simply because his primary audience is made up of people who simply hate the undifferentiated brown people with whom they have to share the planet, makes Phil Gingrey an object of justified contempt.
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-- I would disagree.

Once our Beltway media and the leaders of the Democratic Party decided to sacrifice accountability to the Gods of Bipartisanship -- once the Party of Bigots and Lunatics were be allowed to skip out on paying any long-term price whatsoever for their treasons and disasters by scampering through the Bush Off Machine over and over again -- the  rise of political foot fungus like Gingrey to positions of prominence became inevitable.

Hell, If he could get away with it without being sued by HBO and AMC, I have no doubt that Gingrey would swear on the Republican Bible that these kids are vampires and zombies.

Because like every other critical issues bearing down on us today, this was never about the facts.

And as long as the GOP is permitted to exist unashamed and unrepentant, it never will be.