Sunday, December 18, 2011

Last Call

Looks like the two-month payroll tax extension hashed out in the Senate on Friday was never going to pass the House in the first place as Orange Julius completely changes his tune.

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said today that House Republicans oppose the Senate bill to extend for two months the payroll tax holiday and other measures, setting up a major legislative clash a week before Christmas.

A day after the Senate approved a hard-fought compromise and then adjourned for the year, the Speaker made clear in an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that House Republicans will put forward their own bill instead. The House is set to reconvene Monday and could vote on the Senate bill and a House counterproposal by Tuesday.

“It’s pretty clear that I and our Members oppose the Senate bill,” Boehner said. “How can you do tax policy for two months? We believe it’s time for the Senate to work with the House to complete our business for the year.”

Boehner suggested the House and Senate could resolve their differences in a Conference Committee if the Senate declines to support the path forward favored by House Republicans. The legislation involves an extension of the payroll tax holiday, set to expire Dec. 31; continuing unemployment insurance for the long-term jobless; and stopping a scheduled pay cut to doctors who treat Medicare patients.

Translation:  Oh no you don't, we're going to get everything we want now or else the Middle Class gets it.  That's why it was vitally important to have the deal worked out in the Senate first, a deal that passed overwhelmingly. 89-10.  On Saturday, Boehner called the Senate plan a "good deal" and a "victory" 24 hours later, he opposes it and promises it will get voted down.

The Tea Party nutjobs in the House will burn 160 million Americans to get what the 1% want.

Re-Birther Of The Uncool, Part 2

The Birthers are at it again, and they will never, ever stop. This time Georgia Republicans are trying to get President Obama removed from the ballot there because TEH BERF CERTIFICUT IS A FAAAAAAAKE!!one!11!

Georgia State Representative J. Mark Hatfield (R-Waycross) will plead the case before the Office of State Administrative Hearings on behalf of Mr. Kevin R. Powell of Duluth, Georgia, who filed the suit on the grounds that “Obama does not satisfy the ‘natural born Citizen’ requirement of Article II, Section I, Clause 5 of the United States Constitution. Obama’s father, Barack Obama, Sr., was a native of Kenya and a British subject who never became a United States citizen.”

Presumably the lawsuit does not address the question of the nationality of President Obama’s mother, whose status as a U.S. citizen would confer citizenship upon her son, no matter the nationality of his father.

The challenge, which Georgia Politico reports is styled “Kevin Richard Powell v. Barack Obama,” was submitted to Secretary Kemp’s office on November 28, and has been referred to the State Office of Administrative Hearings for further action.

And this nonsense will continue in state after state, continuing to eat away at the President's credibility and his authority, all because millions of "patriotic Americans" will never accept we have a black President.  Ever.  It simply doesn't apply to "him".

How does any GOP candidate win the nomination without bowing down to this idiocy?  Several of them already have, and you're crazy if you think Romney can win without doing so.

Will The Last Soldiers Out Please Turn Off The Lights?

Meanwhile, another President Obama promise kept as our last convoy of 4,500 combat troops are leaving Iraq today, and course President Obama's role in that is all but ignored.

The final column of around 100 mostly U.S. military MRAP armored vehicles carrying 500 U.S. troops trundled across the southern Iraq desert from their last base through the night and daybreak along an empty highway to the Kuwaiti border.

Honking their horns, the last batch of around 25 American military trucks and tractor trailers carrying Bradley fighting vehicles crossed the border early Sunday morning, their crews waving at fellow troops along the route.

"I just can't wait to call my wife and kids and let them know I am safe," Sgt. First Class Rodolfo Ruiz said as the border came into sight. Soon afterwards, he told his men the mission was over, "Hey guys, you made it."

For U.S. President Barack Obama, the military pullout is the fulfillment of an election promise to bring troops home from a conflict inherited from his predecessor, the most unpopular war since Vietnam and one that tainted America's standing worldwide.

For Iraqis, though, the U.S. departure brings a sense of sovereignty tempered by nagging fears their country may slide once again into the kind of sectarian violence that killed many thousands of people at its peak in 2006-2007.

And no, violence in Iraq will not vanish overnight.  But we're finally coming home and letting Iraq run itself, which is something that Bush couldn't or didn't do.  The only credit he deserves is the foolish decision to start the Iraq War in the first place.

A Ray Of Common Sense Shines Again

I'm starting to get all giddy, there have been two really good articles written that eloquently capture what I've been trying to say (but lacked the perfect words).  Now we have the talented Aaron Anson with a thoughtful and completely correct assessment of our ego and hypocrisy as a people.  He nails the root cause of why some people try to force their moral code on others.  He reminds us that our country has begrudgingly given rights to people but that in the beginning only rich white men could vote.

Our short-term failures jeopardize our long-term successes in improving our country. Please click here to read the whole article.  Below is my favorite section.

These learned behaviors and beliefs, arbitrary but strong, make us contradict our own natural impulses. We can desire peace, but easily be provoked to fight; we can say that we love, but then justify our hate and hostility. We encourage fidelity and honesty in others, but fornicate and cheat on our taxes. We deny marriage rights to all, yet abuse that right if we're entitled. Sadly, hypocrites often speak for government and religion today. Most disturbing, is our continuing to accept both as the supreme authority to direct our own moral compass. The allowable hypocrisy permeates the laws adjudicating marriage, abortion, the environment, deportation, stem cell research and so on.

Oops! Scared Of The Dark Edition

This poor kid.  I had something similar happen, and the worst thing of all is that time stops and you forget a new day will eventually come.  I bet he felt like he lived and died a thousand lifetimes in the hours he was locked in.

PHILADELPHIA -- A 13-year-old boy says he spent more than nine cold, hungry and lonely hours trapped in a stairwell at a Philadelphia school.

Seventh-grader David Fields says he was looking for a new way out of Roosevelt Middle School on Thursday afternoon but ended up locked inside an emergency exit tower when a door closed behind him.

Janitorial staff apparently didn't hear his cries for help. His mother, Angela Johnson, says workers wouldn't allow family members to look for him after he didn't come home.

Shortly after midnight they changed their minds and overheard him shouting for help.  He was out within 20 minutes, and his folks were greatly relieved.  With all the violent crime in this world, they had to have been terrified.  There should be an inspection done before locking up, so somebody has some explaining to do.  Still we'll call this a win because we have a happy ending.

Reagan Wouldn't Even Get A Full Percentage Point In 2012

Steve Benen quietly flags two important items on America's Israel policy, first, President Obama's speech speech in Maryland on Friday to the 71st General Assembly of the Union for Reform Judaism:

“We’re going to keep standing with our Israeli friends and allies, just as we’ve been doing when they’ve needed us most. In September, when a mob threatened the Israeli embassy in Cairo, we worked to ensure that the men and women working there were able to get out safely. Last year, when raging fires threatened Haifa, we dispatched fire-fighting planes to help put out the blaze.

“On my watch, the United States of America has led the way, from Durban to the United Nations, against attempts to use international forums to delegitimize Israel. And we will continue to do so. That’s what friends and allies do for each other. So don’t let anybody else tell a different story. We have been there, and we will continue to be there. Those are the facts.”

But he also flagged down this Ben Smith piece on another President's relationship with Israel, specifically the man who said this:

“The immediate adoption of a settlement freeze by Israel, more than any other action, could create the confidence needed for wider participation in these talks.”

Ronald Reagan said that.  He would probably be where Jon Huntsman is in the polls if he ran for office today, if not further down in the proceedings.  He also said this in 1987:

He said the effect of the occupation [of Gaza and the West Bank] ‘also damages the self-respect and world opinion of the Israeli people.’

And yes, for that statement alone, Ronald Reagan would have been called and anti-Semite and a terrorist sympathizer by today's Republican party. My mother voted for Reagan in 80 and again in 84.  Somehow I don't see her voting for the Republican in 2012.

Hyper-Hypocrisy Time

OK, self-hating "family values" Republicans are really starting to piss me off.

A Republican mayor in Mississippi admitted this week that he was gay after an audit revealed that he spent taxpayer money at a gay adult store in Canada.

Greg Davis was elected as the mayor of Southaven in 1997 on a platform of conservative “family values,” but he says he recently realized that he was gay.

“At this point in my life and in my career, while I have tried to maintain separation between my personal and public life, it is obvious that this can no longer remain the case,” the mayor, now in his third term, told The Commercial Appeal.

“While I have performed my job as mayor, in my opinion, as a very conservative, progressive individual — and still continue to be a very conservative individual — I think that it is important that I discuss the struggles I have had over the last few years when I came to the realization that I am gay,” he added.

Davis claimed that he has already paid $96,000 of the of more than $170,000 in expenses that state officials allege he improperly billed the city for.

Thousands of dollars were spent on lavish meals and liquor, but it’s a $67 charge that Davis made to Priape, “Canada’s premiere gay lifestyle store and sex shop,” while on a recruiting trip that has gotten the most attention.

The mayor said that he didn’t remember what he bought while at the shop.

A $67 ticket out of the Mayor's office, apparently.  Oh, and it's not the $170,000 he basically stole from the taxpayers of Mississippi that will cost him his career, it's being gay that will.

Republicans are just sad.
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