John Boehner obviously has to try to keep his Tea Party Far-Right members happy. Semi-literates like Doug Lamborn, dullards like Louie Gohmert, McCarthyites like Ted "Calgary" Cruz are in a constant state of agitation against the good operations of government and the faith and loyalty of those who serve our society in almost every capacity.
They hold themselves in such high regard that the rest of us barely rate a thoughts.
John Boehner On Debt Ceiling: Let's Pay China First, Then U.S. Troops
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Tuesday essentially agreed with Democrats' arguments that a Republican bill to prioritize debt payments would put China before U.S. troops -- except he suggested that would be a good thing.
During an interview with Bloomberg TV, Boehner was asked about this week's vote on the Full Faith and Credit Act, which, in the event that the U.S hits its debt ceiling, would direct the treasury secretary to pay only the principal and interest owed to bondholders before making any other payments. Money for other payments, such as those for veterans, Medicare and national security, would have to be divvied up from what remained of the scarce federal funds.
Republican supporters of the bill maintain that the most important thing is that the nation won't default on its credit as as long as those interest payments are made on time.
"Our goal here is to get ourselves on a sustainable path from a fiscal standpoint," Boehner said. "I think doing a debt prioritization bill makes it clear to our bondholders that we're going to meet our obligations."
When show host Peter Cook asked if Boehner's comments mean that, as Democrats have suggested, Republicans are basically choosing to pay China before paying U.S. troops, Boehner didn't disagree.
That's your ideal, responsible, support the troops, economically conservative, modern-day Republican - An Unrepentant Asshole to the end (that's just my stupid blogger self, saying what oh-so-reasonable Op-Editors can't or won't -z), who, in order to pay down our nation's debt, mostly generated under Republican rule, would pay off Chinese bondholders before our Brave and Loyal Troops.
Former President George W. Bush isn't quite a George Washington or an Abraham Lincoln, his former campaign strategist Karl Rove admitted to ABC News on Thursday, but according to Rove, he's not too far off.
"The greats, you can't touch: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan, FDR," Rove said in Dallas at the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Center. "But yeah, I'd put him up there."
The House Republicans release a scathing report blaming Hillary Clinton for something-something-Benghazi, because something-something-Benghazi is the newest Fox News conspiracy theory and there's really just nothing, and I mean nothing, that the Congress of the United States of America needs to spend their time on more than Fox News conspiracy theories. That's a given.
Darrell Issa exists to investigate those theories.
The entire House Oversight Committee has been turned into an episode of Scooby Doo where Obama or Hillary Clinton are behind literally every bad thing that happens in America, from solar companies going bust to children getting cavities.
The smoking gun in the new Republican report? That Hillary Clinton "signed" memos rejecting stepped-up security at the compound, thus proving that everything was all her fault, period, exclamation point, Ronald Reagan smiley face. There's only one little problem with that: Clinton did not "sign" the letter.
Darrell Issa and the rest of the Crack House Investigative Team of Superheroes got confused on a basic fact of how the State Department works, and not one of them bothered to actually freaking check, just once, with the State Department as to their top-notch theory of things:
[By tradition], every cable from an embassy bears the "signature" of the ambassador - and every cable from Washington bears the "signature" of the secretary of state. The protocol is explained in the State Department's Foreign Affairs Manual.
Maybe Doug Lamborn could've done a quick scan of the manual for his brethren.
"This administration has so many Muslim Brotherhood members that have influence that they just are making wrong decisions for America."
Louie Gohmert is a moron, and a perfect symbol of today's Republican party: its gaping ignorance, its barely hidden racism, and its complete disdain for common sense. Gohmert is the perfect representative of the absolutely clueless, racist, and monumentally ignorant voters who put him in office.
And these are the people we are supposed to be bipartisan with!
Just to remind ppl, especially the most powerful among us (who can be the most forgetful) that our last Democratic president ran budget surpluses the last few years of his presidency.
America was on track to pay the Debt down to $0.00.
Then Republicans got into office and suddenly the Fed Chairman, Republican Alan Greenspan, became worried about the negative effects of paying the debt down to zero. Other Republicans like Dick Cheney said "deficits didn't matter."
So, we did not pay the debt down, and that Republican administration commenced to running it up again and gave us most of our current debt during their time in office.
On April 10, 2004, the Bush White House declassified that daily brief - and only that daily brief - in response to pressure from the 9/11 Commission, which was investigating the events leading to the attack. Administration officials dismissed the document's significance, saying that, despite the jaw-dropping headline, it was only an assessment of Al Qaeda's history, not a warning of the impending attack. While some critics considered that claim absurd, a close reading of the brief showed that the argument had some validity.
That is, unless it was read in conjunction with the daily briefs preceding Aug. 6, the ones the Bush administration would not release. While those documents are still not public, I have read excerpts from many of them, along with other recently declassified records, and come to an inescapable conclusion: the administration's reaction to what Mr. Bush was told in the weeks before that infamous briefing reflected significantly more negligence than has been disclosed. In other words, the Aug. 6 document, for all of the controversy it provoked, is not nearly as shocking as the briefs that came before it.
The direct warnings to Mr. Bush about the possibility of a Qaeda attack began in the spring of 2001. By May 1, the Central Intelligence Agency told the White House of a report that "a group presently in the United States" was planning a terrorist operation. Weeks later, on June 22, the daily brief reported that Qaeda strikes could be "imminent," although intelligence suggested the time frame was flexible.
But some in the administration considered the warning to be just bluster. An intelligence official and a member of the Bush administration both told me in interviews that the neoconservative leaders who had recently assumed power at the Pentagon were warning the White House that the C.I.A. had been fooled; according to this theory, Bin Laden was merely pretending to be planning an attack to distract the administration from Saddam Hussein, whom the neoconservatives saw as a greater threat. Intelligence officials, these sources said, protested that the idea of Bin Laden, an Islamic fundamentalist, conspiring with Mr. Hussein, an Iraqi secularist, was ridiculous, but the neoconservatives' suspicions were nevertheless carrying the day.
In response, the C.I.A. prepared an analysis that all but pleaded with the White House to accept that the danger from Bin Laden was real.
"The U.S. is not the target of a disinformation campaign by Usama Bin Laden," the daily brief of June 29 read, using the government's transliteration of Bin Laden's first name. Going on for more than a page, the document recited much of the evidence, including an interview that month with a Middle Eastern journalist in which Bin Laden aides warned of a coming attack, as well as competitive pressures that the terrorist leader was feeling, given the number of Islamists being recruited for the separatist Russian region of Chechnya.
And the C.I.A. repeated the warnings in the briefs that followed. Operatives connected to Bin Laden, one reported on June 29, expected the planned near-term attacks to have "dramatic consequences," including major casualties. On July 1, the brief stated that the operation had been delayed, but "will occur soon." Some of the briefs again reminded Mr. Bush that the attack timing was flexible, and that, despite any perceived delay, the planned assault was on track.
Yet, the White House failed to take significant action.
The attacks of 9/11 were a tremendous failure of the Bush Administration and his National Security team, including and especially Dick Cheney (lying again here today) and other key figures like Condi Rice and Donald Rumsfeld.
And never forget Karl Rove was there behind the scenes the whole time as well.
They in turn politicized the terror threat and sent us down the rabbit hole of legalized torture, non-stop spying, ridiculous airport security checks and ever-diminishing rights.
Many will say we shouldn't politicize this, but I, for one, will never forget the truth about what happened on 9/11.
Thankfully, the former president gets right to the point in defining a key part of the Republican health care plan. At (00:35): "Americans have access to health care. After all, just go to the emergency room."
It's an 8-minute video. Watch if you can. If your pain-meds have run out, or you are uninsured, don't. This may be the vid where the President is speaking out against new funding for S-CHIP (the State-Children's Health Insurance Program). I can't stand to watch the guy, no matter how dutifully he defines "health care" from the perspective of today's Republican Party.
Within hours of Obama's comments, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said it will begin airing 30-second ads in about 20 states Wednesday criticizing the Democratic proposal to offer optional government health coverage. The multimillion-dollar ad buy would be one of the largest so far critical of Obama's effort.
This, from House Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson is decent, but rare:
"The American people get it. They are weary of the theater and the political drama because they understand that it is their pensions, their savings, their mortgages and their 401Ks that the Republicans are playing with. This shouldn't be about who's going to be the next President or who's going to control Congress, it should be about who's going to protect their savings, their mortgages and their 401Ks in this crisis. Republicans continue to hold in disregard Americans true needs: jobs and financial security.
"For the sake of the nation, it's time to forget the politics and vote a clean debt ceiling increase, as was done seven times for President Bush."
The sheer incompetence of our employees on our side is staggering. It adds insult to injury, and I hope it leads to a massive refudiation of the Democratic Party Establishment, because they are failing massively before our very eyes.
Republicans never have a failure they can't rationalize or try to blame on someone else. That's why they call(ed) themselves the party of "personal responsibility", eh? And a two-bit partisan like Michael "Heckuvajob" Brownie, who was a key player in one of the saddest failures of our government and leaders (right after that 9/11 thing) would never miss a chance to try to make people forget his miserable tenure at FEMA and try to drag President Obama down to the Bush League:
[Former FEMA Director Michael] Brown evidently thinks he has the moral authority to condemn Obama's handling of the tornado disaster. In an interview with Fox New's Neil Cavuto, Brownie, you're doing a heckuva job" Brown blasted Obama for "playing ping-pong" while people died and "being more concerned with toasting the Queen" than taking care of tornado victims:
BROWN: In this situation, they're almost tone-deaf. I mean, you stop and think about it, your press office should be recognizing that the visuals that Americans are seeing is of this devastation. Don't put a visual of the president up playing ping-pong. It's awful.
Talk about tone deaf. And talk about visuals, here's one of Bush as New Orleans was being inundated. But the immediate response was the lesser evil in Bush's reaction to Katrina. When you listen to his voice in the Brownie clip you can hear the fear and pleading in Bush's voice. His half-assed concern and lack of interest in the mechanics of government and executive powers are what led to a greater disaster in NOLA than had to be. No amount of Brown-washing can change that.
Just as the 9/11 attacks might have been prevented with the proper focus of the incoming government, Katrina's damage could have been lessened by a president who gave a shit and a FEMA Administrator who had the skills to handle the job. We had neither during Katrina or 9/11.
Michael Brown is doing his best to rewrite history and take Obama down a notch to the level of failed bureaucrat, and it's typical Republican attack-mode BS. We'll probably have to keep reminding everyone, until he kicks the bucket or gets off our airwaves, of how bad Brownie screwed up as FEMA Director and how the failures of the Bush administration are being met with mostly successes from President Obama.
I know others will, I can as well, do a heckuva job highlighting the massive failures that occurred during the Bush Administration. The usual suspects - with guilty consciences and easy access to a mic, are now trying to hide their failures with attacks on President Obama. I won't let them do it without a friendly reminder of their past.
You think that just because President Obama is afraid of the consequences of investigating the criminal Bush administrations State Sponsored Torture program that the former President and his henchmen are off the hook? Well think again. And this is not just on theoretically either. I'll have a lot more detail on this on Monday, but here is what I got from a friend of mine at the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR)
President Bush was supposed to be in Geneva on Monday. He was going to address a group at the Hotel President Wilson. It was to be one of those big dollar events where the Ex-President speaks to a rah-rah crowd for a big passel of cash. That is now canceled, and just canceled this evening. Why is that?
Well you see the CCR and its allies in Europe had been preparing a bit of a surprise for the 43 President of the United States and unindicted torturer. They had been working for months to bring two complaints against George W. Bush under the International Conventions Against Torture. One in the name of Al Jazeera reporter Sami el-Hajj and a current CIA detainee Majid Khan, who is to this day held at Guantanamo Bay without charge.
CCR and the European Center of Constitutional and Human Rights have put together a 2.500 page case against the criminal President Bush and had intended to file it Monday when Bush was in Geneva. They had been keeping the a pretty tight lid on this, talking to reporters under a news embargo and preparing a press conference. Some how it seems that it has leaked and lo and behold, W suddenly can't attend and the event is being canceled.
Of course this swill be spun by the organizers and the handlers for the former President, but I agree with Jen Nessel of the CCR when she says:
Whatever Bush or his hosts say, we have no doubt he cancelled his trip to avoid our case.
You may be able to play the law in one country. Your allies might be able to make the cost of following the rule of law so high that the administration following you finds their hands tied, but that does not make you safe from international law. It really doesn't make you safe from domestic law, it just might buy you enough time to age and die without being indicted for your war crimes.
It has been said before and it bears saying again, if you are a torturer you had better not make any plans to travel outside the United States. You might think you can brag about ordering torture and swagger around. Keep thinking that, because the wheels of justice grind slow but they grind exceedingly fine!
I can't tell you how happy it makes me to be able to talk about the real possibility of the members of Bush Administration facing a court for their war crimes. The only thing that would have made it better is if it was a U.S. Court. But justice is justice and I'll take any step towards it that I can get.
What's on your minds tonight Firedogs? The floor is yours.
Everyone has an opinion about what the future of Egypt will be, and to some degree or another everyone is likely to be wrong. Oh sure there will be some who have the outlines correct but it is all but impossible to predict the something a inherently chaotic as a popular uprising in a long time dictatorship. This, however, does not stop a couple of Washington Post columnists from trying to use the time to prop up the discredited and slap-dash Bush administration "freedom agenda"
I know I sound like a broken record (am I dating myself by using that phrase?) , but it is the main trick of the modern conservative movement and the Republican Party to spin all of its initiatives in Orwellian names and half truths, and the freedom agenda is just one more example. The idea was that we'd go and invade a couple or a handful of Middle Eastern countries, whip a little democracy on them and we would have nice democratic Islamic allies like Turkey. A really nifty idea that would rid us of a lot of problems and secure the supply of Middle Eastern oil for us and our allies.
America can increase its standing in the world immeasurably by how we react to the democratic uprising in Egypt. As President Barack Obama just said the other day to Hosni Mubarak, who promised change and a hint of democracy in Egypt:
I told him he has a responsibility to give meaning to those words, to take concrete steps and actions that deliver on that promise.
"If you want a serious interrogation, you send a prisoner to Jordan. If you want them to be tortured, you send them to Syria. If you want someone to disappear - never to see them again - you send them to Egypt."
It is a bit of a philosophical conundrum if one can actually do good through bad methods. Of course you have to define good and bad, which are always value judgments. Let's make this a little more concrete; one of the Presidents unfulfilled promises is to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay. It is a national shame that a prison was built specifically to try to avoid the legal system of the United States. There have been credible allegations of torture there, as well as statements by Bush era officials that the totality of treatment there also rises to the level of torture.
Colorado has a decision to make this year for the State Treasurer's race.
Do we stay with the current Treasurer, Cary Kennedy,
do we elect political newcomer Walker Stapleton?
Let's take a look at the two candidates.
Cary Kennedy has a track record of helping the State of Colorado navigate Colorado through the difficult budget crises and working with across the aisle to solve problems with our budget.
She helped author parts of Referendum C in 2005 - which was supported by Republican Governor Bill Owens as a way to keep the state budget solvent.
Since becoming Treasurer in 2007, she has made the sound investments that have kept Colorado's Budget growing at a moderate 3% annually, at a time when other states are defaulting on their loans.
What kind of leadership does Walker Stapleton have to offer?
There is something about Washington and taxes that seems to destroy the ability of law makers to do simple math. This seems to afflict Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats the worst. The Washington Post is reporting about the roll out of the Republicans Orwellianly named tax plan, the Tax Hike Prevention Act. Sen. Mitch McConnell (the man voted most likely to turn into a snapping turtle in our lifetimes) has put the idea on the table permanently extend all of the Bush era tax cuts, including the ones for the ultra wealthy, that top 2% of all earners.
From the WaPo :
"We have a spending problem. We spend too much. We don't have a taxing problem. We don't tax too little," McConnell told reporters Tuesday. "And if we want to begin to get ourselves out of this economic trough that we're in, the only way to do that is to grow the private sector."
Blackwater has been THE mercenary outfit of choice by the Bush - Cheney Whitehouse to conduct operations in the Global War on Terror.
Recently the Justice department and FBI discovered Blackwater had committed unjustified homicides or perhaps outright assassinations in conjunction with the CIA under Dick Cheney's orders.
Furthermore, Blackwater paid millions in bribes to local officials to remain silent after a bloody massacre of civilians in Iraq.
Now, Erik Prince is moving to United Arab Emirates, a country with no extradition policy with the U.S. coming on the heels of further investigations.
You'd think this company would never get another dime from the State Department.
You'd be wrong.
There is nothing about torture that is good or positive. The act itself is one of the most brutal and heinous that humans have ever committed. The affect on a society that condones torture is one of rising fear and brutality. The information (if it can be called that) gained under torture is so suspect as to be worthless. Perhaps the worst aspect is that torture, once accepted is used not only on enemies or bad people, but innocent victims as well.
On Monday the United States Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal of one such innocent victim of torture, Mr. Maher Arar, a Syrian born Canadian citizen. In 2002 he was returning to Canada from a trip abroad. At a stop over at JFK Airport he was detained by the US Government and held in solitary confinement for two weeks without access to an attorney. Mr. Arar was then deported, not to his nation of citizenship, Canada but, to Syria and put in the hands of the Syrian intelligence services, who are well known for their torture activities.
The normalization of torture continued apace yesterday as the criminal President Bush said in a speech in Grand Rapids, MI that if he had it all to do over again he would still order the waterboarding of Khalid Sheik Mohammed. That's right this unindicted war criminal still thinks that ordering this crime, which produced no actionable intelligence was not only the legal thing to do but the right thing.
Lest we let time wash away our memories KSM was waterboarded 183 times in the course of one month. That is an average of five times a day that they tortured this man and exactly nothing came of it. Sure we got some BS that banks and malls might be attacked, but there were not operations to do that, just the desire on the part of the tortured to say anything, everything to make it stop.
I have few absolutes in my life. This is by design, the fewer things that you have no bending on the greater the chance that you can find common ground and get progress on issues or even have a happy life. The two I'll talk about today are torture and political violence.
We have seen a disturbing trend in the last few months of violence based on political views. The man who flew his plane into the IRS, the assassination of Dr. Tiller for performing legal reproductive services, the killing of police officers for the supposed plan by the Obama administration to seize the guns of private citizens, the brick throwing at Democratic political offices and the cutting of gas lines at the family home of the brother of a U.S Representative whose address was posted on the internet by mistake.