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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Republicans praise truth one night, bury it the next

"We're not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers," Romney pollster Neil Newhouse, to an ABC breakfast panel, ahead of GOP vice presidential nominee, Rep. Paul Ryan's acceptance speech, Wednesday.
It is kind of appropriate that Aeschylus' famous, fifth century, B.C., quote, "In war, truth is the first casualty," was popularized by a World War I era, American politician. Who knows better than someone who has had to fold falsehoods into the fight for votes in this diverse country, what a nuisance the truth can be?
Last night, at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, commentators and rebutting Democrats pointed out lies in many of the speeches, but it was with the faux earnestness of the words presented by the featured speaker, GOP vice presidential nominee, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI),  that most took exception.
Paul Ryan, Member of the U.S. House o...
Paul Ryan, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
You have probably read, or heard, by now, how Ryan told the exuberant crowd that President Obama was responsible for the closing of a GM plant in Janesville, Wisconsin, where, Ryan said, "[a] lot of guys I went to high school with worked... It is locked up and empty to this day. And that's how it is in so many towns today, where the recovery that was promised is nowhere in sight." But Ryan buried the fact that the plant closed in December, 2008, when George W. Bush was still in the White House.
Other obfuscations in Ryan's speech...

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Akin Republicans move Heaven to stop Romney

"Heaven sent a hurricane to hold off Gov. Romney's coronation."
-  Troy Newman, president of the anti-abortion activists group, Operation Rescue, in a statement, Monday, August 27, 2012

Having to push the actual vote to nominate Mitt Romney from Monday night to Tuesday because of Tropical Storm Isaac is a gift from heaven, according to strident anti-abortion activists and delegates gathering at the Republican National Convention, in Tampa this week. Newman, and others, believe that Heaven itself has intervened to give them a chance to circle their wagons in support of the embattled U.S. Senate candidate from Missouri, Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO), and urge the rest of the GOP to put its money where its platform is.

"We're urging pro-life GOP delegates to abstain from any voting on Romney's nomination until all GOP financial support for Todd Akin is reinstated," Newman declared. He also is urging a vote holdout until "details of Romney's income tax returns in connection with Bain's Stericycle investment have been made public," according to reports.
Stericycle medical waste bin
(Photo credit: DaveBleasdale)

The Stericycle story, reported earlier this summer by Mother Jones magazine, as well as the Boston Globe, said that Romney signed Security and Exchange Commission documents on behalf of Bain Capital, long after he supposedly left, in connection with the firm's $75 million investment in the medical waste disposal company, which also destroyed aborted fetuses.

Neither the party's abandonment of the staunchly anti-choice Akin, nor its cognitive dissonance when it comes to Stericycle and the nominee, is making social conservatives very happy.

"To Gov. Romney we say... let's not kill an innocent child or cut off good men like Todd Akin," said Steve Baldwin, a former member of the California Assembly, and form director of the Council for National Policy. "I'd sooner take him or Paul Ryan as our party's Presidential nominee than Gov. Romney."

Baldwin is part of a group of dissatisfied Republicans who feel the nominating process has been hijacked by the Romney team, and the party establishment that has rallied behind the former Massachusetts governor. They think the Republican presidential nomination is still up for grabs, based on the delegate rules.

As for Akin, and his relationship to conservative convention delegates, Politico reported yesterday:
"At a breakfast meeting of Missouri delegates here in Tampa, a number were sporting 'Akin for Senate' stickers and stood strongly behind the six-term congressman’s decision to stay in the race.

"'The party should not throw him under the bus simply because he made a misstatement,' said Mitch Hubbard of Fulton, Mo."

But Heaven hasn't merely intervened on behalf of fetuses, apparently. Republican hatchet man and chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), thanked Isaac for keeping Vice President Joe Biden from doing his counter-event to the RNC, scheduled for Monday, in Tampa. "I would say from a standpoint of coverage, the hurricane already eliminated one blowhard," he said.


UPDATE: America Right to Life has launched a website,, with a series of Bible banging, highlighted lines, like: "If you fear Obama, you'll vote for Romney. If you fear God, you won't."

Among the litany of reasons listed by the RTL for why they do not trust Romney, is a bullet item tracking his changing stance on abortion:
"pro-choice in '94; pro-life in '01; choice '02; pro-life '04; choice '05; life in '06; then funded abortion in '06."

"Romney has already implemented what Obama and Clinton only dreamed of: homosexual marriage, tax funded abortion by health care reform with the individual mandate, robbing religious freedom by forcing pro-life hospitals to administer abortion pills, etc.," the website asserts, "Obama is the lesser of two evils."

Monday, August 20, 2012

Filibuster castrates majority rule, violates Constitution

"It's not a rule of debate. It's a rule of silence, a rule of censorship." - Emmet J. Bondurant, lead attorney in the lawsuit against the United States Senate, calling the filibuster rules unconstitutional
Sometimes it seems like the filibuster holds up every bill, motion and nomination that comes to the floor of the U.S. Senate. Last week, though, President Obama signed into law a bipartisan bill that bypasses the Senate for nearly 170 executive nominees and 3,000 Officer Corps positions. But that does little to raise the hope that Congress' "legislative inertia," which Justice Antonin Scalia joked about during oral arguments on the Affordable Care Act, is going to budge in any significant way.
The abuse of the filibuster, and its affect on the dysfunction of our legislative branch, is the number one reason that Congress is regarded with such low esteem by the American public.
Atlanta attorney Emmet Bondurant made some news last spring, when he filed a lawsuit, in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., on behalf of Common Cause, members of Congress, and others, seeking to throw out the filibuster rule in the Senate on Constitutional grounds. Speaking to a group from the Georgia Lawyers chapter of the American Constitution Society, in his hometown, last Wednesday, Bondurant laid out his case for the better part of an hour, like an attorney making a presentation in a federal courtroom, except with PowerPoint slides, and without interruptions from the bench.
Bondurant acknowledged that the U.S. Constitution allows the Senate to set its own rules for debate, but, he insisted, the filibuster rule, as it has evolved, does not promote debate. "The filibuster promotes obstruction," he said. "It promotes hypocrisy."

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Republican bridge too far takes a political toll

"I am disappointed that I won’t be able to continue my investigations of the Obama administration such as the risky loan guarantee to Solyndra and holding Planned Parenthood accountable to the taxpayers."
- 12 term incumbent, Rep.Cliff Stearns (R-FL), in a written statement, after his narrow defeat to unknown Tea Party favorite Ted Yoho, Tuesday

Cliff Stearns regrets not being able to embarrass the Obama administration, and not being able to attack the nation's most accessible provider of women's health. Despite being supported by presumptive GOP veep nominee, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), and having name recognition and money behind him, Stearns today finds himself a lame duck. Now, Yoho is certainly no great shakes as far as political progressives are concerned, but he unseats someone who was more interested in partisanship than policy, and that is worth celebrating.

Planned Parenthood called Stearns' investigation "nothing more than politically motivated intimidation," after he launched it last year. In a petition letter attacking the Congressman's probe, the women's health group wrote:
"Your effort to discredit, damage, and weaken Planned Parenthood will only harm the women and families who rely on Planned Parenthood health centers for essential preventive health care. Focusing on attacking Planned Parenthood when millions of women lack access to basic, affordable health care just shows how far out of touch Congress is with Americans' priorities."

But the Republican War on Caterpillars, er, I mean War on Women, has resulted in push back at the polls, this primary season, not only at the Congressional level, but also in state races and in the race for the White House.


Thursday, August 09, 2012

This week we're all Sikhs, but after soul searching we're still gun loving Americans

"These kinds of terrible, tragic events are happening with too much regularity for us not to do some soul searching..." - President Barack Obama, in response to the mass shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, Sunday, August 5, 2012
Thank you, President Obvious.

You know, I'm not clear on this. In the lexicon of political double-speak, is "soul searching" what happens after lip service, or before? Mass shootings, or their euphemistic cousin, domestic terrorism, should not be the opening to conversations about gun control. Common sense, and the fact that, according to the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, someone in America dies from a firearm every 17 minutes, should rule policy.

Instead, the administration's response to the Aurora and Oak Creek shootings has been to call for cultural introspection, and to restate their support for the assault weapons ban, also known as the Brady Bill, that expired in 2004.

"He'll continue to instruct his administration to take action towards common-sense measures that protect the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens," presidential spokesman, Jay Carney, told reporters, in an election year type of response, at Monday's press briefing. Not wanting to piss off the dwindling number of "undecideds" Obama might need for reelection, Carney laid the blame for gun violence on Congress.

"There is no question that there has been a reluctance to act in Congress on these issues," he said. But what about the administration's milquetoast, politically safe reaction? Isn't that also a "reluctance to act?"