Monday, February 22, 2010

Last Call

El Rushbo!  Still a douchebag.

Now a douchebag overtly playing the "health care bill as gubmint giveaway to swarthy people" race card.  It's out in the open now.  They are goddamn scared that this will pass, and now they are going for absolute broke to stop it.

Of course, they could always just delay the plan enough for the Dems to inevitably screw it up.
Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.) threw a wrench into Democratic efforts to get a public option passed through reconciliation, saying that he thought the maneuver was overly partisan and that he was inclined to oppose it.

"I don't think the timing of it is very good," the West Virginia Democrat said on Monday. "I'm probably not going to vote for that, although I'm strongly for the public option, because I think it creates, at a time when we really need as much bipartisan[ship] ... as possible. "

Rockefeller added: "I don't think you [pursue] something like the public option, which cannot pass, will not pass. And if we get the Senate bill--both through the medical loss ratio and the national plans, which have in that, every one of them has to have one not-for-profit plan, which is sort of like a public option."
Sigh.  Defeat from the jaws of victory...the Democratic party way...

The Other Side

Over on the Other Side, looks like somebody just added "Scott F'ckin Brown" to his list of tags.
Well, look. Obviously he needs to signal the left-leaning indies back home who voted for him that he’ll break their way sometimes. Even armed with a huge war chest for 2012, he ain’t getting reelected as a party-line Republican. In which case, two reasons why this might not be a bad time to throw a vote to the Dems. One: The bill might not pass, even with Brown’s vote. Because of Frank Lautenberg’s illness, Reid only has 59 at the moment with the roll coming up later tonight. If Brown can prove his “bipartisanship” on a bill that’s going down in flames anyway, sweet. Two: Even if it does pass, Reid already had to pare the bill all the way down from $85 billion to just $15 billion to keep the heat from fiscal conservatives off of his caucus ahead of November. What’s left won’t do much to create jobs, but then, that’s not really the point; the point is to give Dems some sort of cosmetic measure to point to in the run-up to the midterms so that they can say, “See, we’re trying to create jobs!” Brown’s strategy, essentially, is to use that logic against them by throwing them a vote he can use to try to keep the seat red in two years.
Yeah, you keep telling yourself that, AP.   Enjoy your New England Moderate.  May you have as much fun with him as we do with ours.

Here In My Truck, I Feel Safest Of All

Multiple folks reporting at this hour that Scott "Cosmo TruckNutz" Brown* will be one Republican that does plan to go around the GOP filibuster on the jobs bill.  However, with NJ Dem Frank Lautenberg still in the hospital receiving chemo, the Dems will need another Republican to cross over for the jobs bill to make it tonight.

* "Cosmo TruckNutz" is just the best name for this clown ever.  Thanks, Rumpies.  This vote's going to cost him some of his CPAC cred, I'm thinking.

[UPDATE 5:55 PM] Sen. Brown has indeed voted for cloture to prevent a GOP filibuster. I giggled.

[UPDATE 6:35 PM] Jobs Bill defeats filibuster 62-30 as Voinovich, Snowe, Collins, and...Kit Bond?!?!...join Scott Brown to allow tomorrow final vote to go ahead.

[UPDATE 6:45 PM] Ben Nelson voted against cloture.  Scott Brown.  Already a better Dem than Ben Nelson.  I love it.

In Which I Help Out Charlie Cook

Political prognosticating pundit Charlie Cook is decidedly down on the Dems according to Chris Cillizza.
Political handicapper Charlie Cook said that it was "very hard to come up with a scenario where Democrats don't lose the House" in an interview with National Journal late last week.

Cook, who, in the interest of full disclosure, gave the Fix our first job in political Washington, went on to note that while House Republicans have their fair share of problems but "you could triple the Republican Party's problems and I'd still rather have their problems than the problems facing Democrats."

Cook has, of late, been extremely down on Democrats' chances -- an attitude born, he argued in the interview, of "fundamental, total miscalculations from the very, very beginning" by the White House about the direction to take the country. Cook added that the White House's miscalculations in terms of their agenda were "of proportions comparable to President George W. Bush's decision to go into Iraq."
Hmm.  A scenario where the Democrats keep the House.  Cillizza doesn't have an answer either.

Allow me to assist you fine gentelemen.  Ahem.


You're welcome.

As If Millions Of Voices Cried Out And Were Suddenly Silenced By Huge Subwoofers

As Digby notes, Newsweek has to keep up that GOP Populist Outsider street cred.
Newsweek has published a fascinating article about how the world would look in an alternate universe:
How the GOP Sees It

What Republicans would do if given carte blanche to run the country.
You may be a bit confused by this, thinking that the period between 2000 and 2006 was a real life demonstration of just that. But that never happened. The world was born in November of 2008 and the Democrats have been in charge of everything for as long as anyone can remember and all the problems have today happened under their watch. Isn't it time to give the other guys a chance for once?
On the contrary, that strange feeling you have is that the natural order of the universe has been disturbed by President Hussein Shabazz True Dat Don Malcolm The Entertainer and his Nubian Stormtroopers.  If only America could go back to a simpler time before the Great Darkening...

Seriously, folks.  You want to know what'll happen if the GOP gets carte blanche to run the country again?  The same thing that happened the last time:  1% of us get shiny new chainsaws in gift-wrapped boxes, and the other 99% of us get shiny new chainsaw implanted in our assholes.

That Obama guy, he deprived millions of Americans of the right never to have a black President.

In Which Zandar Answers Your Burning Questions

Cookie Jill over at skippy's place asks:
fellow republicans want to rip the financial rug from under american children with down's syndrome and other disabilities? republicans want to end social security....well, social security aids in keeping many americans with mental disabilities alive.

where is sarah palin's outrage that there are republicans want to be death panels for those like her son, trig?
Kind of a valid point there.  Social Security and Medicaid pay for the kinds of disabilities that Trig Palin has in order that they can live more normal lives.  Republicans want to deeply slash these programs.  And actually, they want to privatize them so that the companies running them can introduce profit motive into things like Social Security and Medicaid.  That makes it much easier to death panel people, yes?

How ironic.  It's almost like Sarah Palin is a complete hypocrite.

You Boys Better CPAC It In

The Huckster is upset with CPAC.  How do you deal with the massive snub that the biggest event on the GOP calendar in any election year provided you?

You question its relevancy, of course.
Following his disappointing sixth place finish in this weekend's Conservative Political Action Conference presidential straw poll, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee criticized the conference as increasingly irrelevant to the conservative movement and accused its organizers of conducting a "pay for play" event.

Texas Rep. Ron Paul, a libertarian icon, won Saturday's straw poll with 31 percent of the vote. Huckabee and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich each took in 4 percent, earning them a tie for sixth.

Huckabee, who has never fared well in the poll, said the results did not surprise him. "CPAC has has become increasingly libertarian and less Republican over the last years, one of the reasons I didn't go this year," he said Saturday on Fox News, where he is a paid contributor.

The 2008 GOP presidential candidate said the "truly grassroots" energy on the right lies in the Tea Party movement.

"Where CPAC was historically the event, the Tea Parties now are having their own events all over the country and a lot more truly grassroots people are getting involved because of the Tea Parties," Huckabee argued.

He added: "Because of the way that [CPAC] solicits sponsors it has almost become a pay-for-play. It's almost like, who will pay money to be able to be a sponsor and get time on the program. It's one of the things that has hurt it's credibility in recent years."
Gosh, look at all the folks lining up for prostration at the altar of the Teabagger Express.  Looks like Moose Lady was right.

Zandar's Thought Of The Day

To recap, Toyota made faulty products.  The problems with these products were reported as early as 2004.  The Bushies ignored those problems.  Toyota ignored those problems.  Obama was elected President.  Obama's people investigated those problems.  Toyota continued to ignore the problems in order to save money.  Toyota then got caught and had to deal with those problems.

So, the practical upshot of all this is if you're Toyota, instead of owning up to your problems, you of course say that the Democrats are trying to put you out of business because they bailed out Detroit and are going after you unfairly.

In the end, the answer is always Obama Derangement Syndrome.

Hardball, Obama Style

On the other hand, the President is dead serious about reconciliation when the GOP does filibuster any changes in the health care bill.
In the course of unveiling Obama’s new health reform proposal on a conference call with reporters this morning, White House advisers made it clearer than ever before: If the GOP filibusters health reform, Dems will move forward on their own and pass it via reconciliation.

The assertion, which is likely to spark an angry response from GOP leaders, ups the stakes in advance of the summit by essentially daring Republicans to try to block reform.

“The President expects and believes the American people deserve an up or down vote on health reform,” White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer said on the call.

Pfeiffer said no decision had been made how to proceed, pending the outcome of the summit. But he added that Obama’s proposal is designed to have “maximum flexibility to ensure that we can get an up or down vote if the opposition decides to take the extraordinary step of filibustering health reform.”

Translation: If the GOP doesn’t cooperate with us in any meaningful sense, we’re moving forward on our own.
Like I said above, what's this "if" crap?  Like I said, "when".  Count on it.  The real battle is over the public option here.

FOX Epically Fails At Keeping Secrets

Fox chyron labeling J.D. Hayworth a

To be fair, "J.D." is technically gender neutral.

To be not fair, EPIC FAIL.

The New Starting Point Looks Suspiciously Like The Last End Point

When it comes to Obama's new health care proposal.

 Like the Senate version, Mr. Obama’s bill does not include a so-called public option, a government-backed insurance plan to compete with the private sector.

And the bill offers the Senate’s less restrictive language on abortion; it does not include the so-called “Stupak amendment,” which would bar insurers from offering abortion coverage to anyone buying a policy with a federal subsidy. The absence of the Stupak provision, named for Representative Bart Stupak, the conservative Michigan Democrat, could complicate matters for Mr. Obama in the House, where conservatives, led by Mr. Stupak, are adamant that the provision be included.

Mr. Obama largely adopted the Senate’s approach to paying for the legislation, including a proposed increase in the Medicare payroll tax for individuals earning more than $200,000 a year and for couples earning more than $250,000.

He opted for the Senate’s proposal to create state-based insurance exchanges, or marketplaces, rather than a single national exchange as proposed by the House. Many House Democrats worry that state exchanges would create uneven results by allowing states with lax insurance regulations to continue a hands-off approach.

And Mr. Obama adopted the Senate’s proposal to set a uniform eligibility threshold for Medicaid at 133 percent of the federal poverty level. The House had proposed setting eligibility at 150 percent of the poverty level. 
So if I'm reading this right, the Obama plan is the Senate plan minus the Cornhusker Kickback plus the excise tax exemption for everyone and not just unions, but also minus the Stupak Amendment.

Igor Volsky over at the Wonk Room charts the three versions.  The Obama plan does take some of the better parts of the House bill (closes the donut hole in Medicare) but improves on the Senate bill provisions.  It really is a compromise between the two versions with the addition of what Obama wanted to see done.

Still, it's a starting point.  It really is an improvement over the Senate bill, too.  We'll see.

Why Zandar Is Still Annoyed With Politico

People have asked me when I'm changing the site name back and getting off's case.

It's gonna be a while, people.  Jameson Foser:
Politico's John Harris has a weird navel-gazing article about Jonathan Allen's return to journalism -- and Politico -- after a brief stint working for Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Actually, it's about Politico struggling to decide whether it should take Allen back -- not because of doubts about his skills as a journalist, but because they feared a month working for a politician would irrevocably taint him.
OK, that I can understand.  There's enough Village hackery and revolving door garbage going on in the media, so if Politico really was taking a stand against that, that would be one thing.  But here's the problem:
Huh. Seems like a good time for Harris to mention that Politico reporter Jonathan Martin previously worked for a Republican Virginia gubernatorial candidate, two Republican congressional campaigns, and a Republican congressman, for whom he worked for more than three years.

But Harris never mentioned Martin.  Weird.
Yeah, funny how that works.  So yes, still giving Politico a hard time.

Where Do Yoo Get Off

The WSJ is crowing about the "vindication" of torture memo author John Yoo, ripping into the Holder DoJ's "witch hunt" and declaring justice to be done.
So after five years of investigation, partisan accusations and unethical media leaks, the Justice Department's senior ethicist has concluded that Bush Administration lawyers John Yoo and Jay Bybee committed no professional misconduct. The issue now is whether the protégés of Attorney General Eric Holder who led this exercise at Justice's Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) should themselves be in the dock.

That's our reading of the analysis by Associate Deputy Attorney General David Margolis, a career official who reviewed both the Bush-era legal memos on interrogating terror suspects and their review by the lawyers at OPR. Remarkably, his report is far more scathing about OPR than it is about Messrs. Yoo and Bybee, who he says made legal errors but did so in good faith, out of honest legal analysis, and in the ethical service of their clients in the executive branch at a time of war.
And just like that, torture has now become standar operating procedure in the US.  We torture people.  John Yoo got a note from his lawyer saying it was OK for him to write a note to the Bushies saying torture was perfectly fine during a "time of war".   The only crime here, the WSJ editorial board assures us, was committed by those of you who dare to disagree with Mr. Yoo and questioned these patriotic practices.  Indeed, the WSJ is calling for the removal of everyone involved in trying to smear Yoo at the Justice Department's OPR:
Readers can review the documents for themselves, but two OPR judgments deserve particular scorn. The first is the claim that Messrs. Yoo and Bybee were so close to their client, i.e., the White House, that they knew what the President and CIA wanted to hear. But it is perfectly appropriate for a lawyer to know what his client wants, and, by OPR's standard, 99% of professional lawyers could be considered guilty of misconduct.

The ethicists at OPR also claim the Bush attorneys were wrong to stick to a legal analysis of interrogation practices and should have also considered their moral and policy implications. But the duty of the Office of Legal Counsel is precisely to offer legal advice, not to render policy judgments. Interrogation policy was determined by the CIA and the White House, as it should have been. The last thing the country needs is for lawyers to tell the CIA how to get actionable intelligence from enemy combatants.

What's more, as Mr. Mukasey's memo makes clear, the legal canons of Washington, D.C. and many states expressly prohibit lawyers from offering such policy advice to sophisticated clients such as the U.S. government. This is precisely so lawyers don't muddy their legal counsel with policy bias.

The rotten quality of the OPR efforts—and Mr. Margolis's repudiation of them—raises real questions about the lawyers who produced this work. H. Marshall Jarrett, who supervised the first OPR draft, is a protégé of Mr. Holder who managed not to produce his draft report until the Bush Administration was preparing to leave office. After Mr. Mukasey "memorialized" his concerns, as his letter put it, the Jarrett draft was leaked without the Mukasey response. Mr. Holder reassigned Mr. Jarrett in April 2009 to lead the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys, an arguably more powerful post. His OPR effort makes him unfit for such a job.
Silly civilians.  Lawyers serve but one purpose:  to do the President's bidding.  if the President wants a plenary executive, then the DoJ is there to make sure he gets it.  H. Marshall Jarrett can't even handle that much, and therefore has too much honor to serve in government.  The WSj concludes thusly:
The larger story here is the vindication of Mr. Yoo and the other Bush attorneys, who were pilloried unfairly over ethics in what was really a policy dispute in the war on terror. Democrats wanted to appease the anti-antiterror left, and they fixed on punishing mid-level officials as prominent enough to get public attention but not so prominent as to seem like a banana republic seeking revenge against a former President or Vice President. Their campaign has now been exposed as a partisan, and unethical, smear.
Yes, the real banana republic was apparently not the people who waterboarded terror suspects to make them talk using a form of outlawed interrogation revived expressly for the purpose of "seeking revenge" for 9/11, but those who dared stand up to it.

The real lesson is that American torture is fine because David Margolis says John Yoo and Jay Bybee could say it was fine.

And thus, it enters our standard operating procedure.  It will be used again.  And each time it is, we lose a little bit more of what made America great once.

The Tip Of The Tea Party's Spear

I've talked about the Oath Keepers before, a network of former military and police here in the states, formed after the election of Obama, that are convinced that the government will declare martial law.  These folks are already planning the armed resistance to what they see as inevitable.  With the movement now only approaching its first year, a number of active-duty military are taking notice of the Oath Keeper's call to resist what they say would be unconstitutional orders to impose martial law, and there are some in our military who are ready to answer that call, as MoJo's Justine Sharrock military like "Lee" Pray.
THE .50 CALIBER Bushmaster bolt action rifle is a serious weapon. The model that Pvt. 1st Class Lee Pray is saving up for has a 2,500-yard range and comes with a Mark IV scope and an easy-load magazine. When the 25-year-old drove me to a mall in Watertown, New York, near the Fort Drum Army base, he brought me to see it in its glass case—he visits it periodically, like a kid coveting something at the toy store. It'll take plenty of military paychecks to cover the $5,600 price tag, but he considers the Bushmaster essential in his preparations to take on the US government when it declares martial law.

His belief that that day is imminent has led Pray to a group called Oath Keepers [1], one of the fastest-growing "patriot" organizations on the right. Founded last April by Yale-educated lawyer and ex-Ron Paul aide Stewart Rhodes, the group has established itself as a hub in the sprawling anti-Obama movement that includes Tea Partiers, Birthers, and 912ers. Glenn Beck, Lou Dobbs, and Pat Buchanan have all sung its praises, and in December, a grassroots summit [2] it helped organize drew such prominent guests as representatives Phil Gingrey [3] and Paul Broun [4], both Georgia Republicans.

There are scores of patriot groups, but what makes Oath Keepers unique is that its core membership consists of men and women in uniform, including soldiers, police, and veterans. At regular ceremonies in every state, members reaffirm their official oaths of service, pledging to protect the Constitution—but then they go a step further, vowing to disobey "unconstitutional" orders from what they view as an increasingly tyrannical government.
(More after the jump...)


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