Category Archives: Politics

Who Buys The Republican Line in Congress?

Seems like a good time to offer some brainy quotes from the people who pretend to have the country in mind.

And the winners are… the Republican leaders of the Senate and House who appear to be held hostage by the wing-nut fringe of their party — assuming they are not themselves converts to the cause.

John Boehner, for having washed his hands of the matter, waiting for something to happen. Could it be that he wants to hold onto the speakership, no matter what happens to the country?

Mitch McConnell, who vowed with fellow Republicans on inauguration night 2009 that he would block everything President Obama tried–and to make him a one-term president. On the brink or wrecking the economy by refusing to be a statesman, he blames President Obama and the Democrats as usual.

Boehner

“I did my part; they’ve done nothing. I’m convinced that the president is unwilling to stand up to his own party.”

mitch mcconnell“They’ve been playing Lucy and the football with the American people for months. They’ve said no to every single proposal that’s been offered to avoid this tax hike—including their own. They’re running out the clock. Moving the goal posts. Sitting on their hands. They aren’t doing anything.”

Who buys this stuff?

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Gun Homicide Rate U.S. versus Britain: 100 TIMES GREATER CHANCE OF BEING SHOT IN U.S.

I was having dinner at an outdoor café one afternoon in London when suddenly I saw a scene that could have been from a movie. First a man holding a package ran past us as fast as he could run, followed by a man dressed as a chef waving a meat cleaver in pursuit, shouting “stop thief!” Both in turn followed by whistle-blowing Bobbies. The cops caught up with their man and paraded by in the opposite direction.

Something evidently was missing from the picture: no f-ing guns.

We are all at a loss for what to say about guns after the Connecticut massacre. How many more times before leaders will stand up?

Listen to Europeans this evening or read their newspapers tomorrow. Another mass killing across the water, they will say — “the Wild West,” using those very words in Spain, Italy many other countries in the original, not bothering to translate. There will be sympathy in Europe, but there will be sneers.

Britain, where bad guys have to run for and their pursuers carry sticks, has one of the toughest gun control laws in the world.

The intentional homicide rate in Britain is 0.03 per 100,000 people, ranked just under Japan at 0.02 per hundred thousand. Among other European countries, the rate in France is 0.06; Spain, 0.63; Germany, 1.10; Italy, 1.28.

The rate of intentional homicides in the United States is 2.98, 100 TIMES HIGHER than the rate in Britain.

No gun control advocate in Britain — where people with a license have no problem to go hunting and shoot squirrels and foxes with shotguns – right-wing or not could ever use guns a campaign issue.

The gun lobby in the United States is wrong and has to be stopped. No one will lose his or her right to go hunting. Everyone must lose the right to carry concealed or automatic weapons to kill.

What country is this and what century is this?

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McCain and Graham: Hypocrisy Over Benghazi and Susan Rice

Humor always wins out over outrage. Case in point is the blatantly political, obnoxious campaign by Republicans to blame Susan Rice for screw-ups in Benghazi. To understand the context, once and for all, turn to Jon Stewart who makes concise points about senators McCain and Graham, along with another politician named Rice — Condoleezza Rice. More than concise, he demolishes them. (Watch Episode Here)

–In 2002, Condoleezza Rice declared that Iraq is importing aluminum tubes “that can only be used” for enriching uranium and making a bomb.

–Unlike Susan Rice, Condoleezza Rice knew that she was lying about Iraq, and like other members of the Bush administration blames bad information from the CIA. That excuse is exactly what senators McCain and Graham are using to criticize Susan Rice, who is in a far less authoritative position than Condoleezza Rice was 10 years ago.

–Jon Stewart also plays clips of McCain and Graham defending Condoleezza.

The report is so clear and crisp as to melt McCain and Graham in their own hypocrisy.

Meanwhile, let’s be serious, the wing-nut Republicans are just trying to force the president to choose Senator John Kerry as secretary of state, thereby opening a senate seat they believe that defeated senator Scott Brown might reclaim in a special election. Nobody says it as clearly or as concisely as the humorist main man, Mr. Stewart.

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Filed under Bush, Condi Rice, Journalism, Obama, Politics, Politics

Romney the Elder Statesman? Not

Romney’s legacy and the debacle that could have been is still in the rearview mirror. (As the mirror warns, objects are closer than they really appear). Just as we thought the image was gone, he came back with nonsense about entitlements and President Obama buying the election with giveaways. Talk about graceless defeat.

Let’s make sure that we’re overtaking the inertial mass we’ve just passed and get moving back into our lane. It ain’t easy, what with wingnuts writing petitions to secede, morons who are saying that the UN has a secret plan to herd suburbanites into cities, and bloviating radio mouths spouting any other insanity that can be belched into semi-intelligible sounds.

As we digest what we can, here’s a great summary from Garry Wills in the NY Review of Books:

“What happens to those who lose a presidential campaign? Some can do it with heads rightly held high, and go on to give valuable service to the nation….

“What public service do we expect from Mitt Romney? He will no doubt return to augmenting his vast and hidden wealth, with no more pesky questions about where around the world it is stashed, or what taxes (if any) he paid, carefully sheltered from the rules his fellow citizens follow.

“What vestige of a backbone is Romney left with? Things he was once proud of —health-care guarantees, opposition to noxious emissions, support of gay rights and women’s rights, he had the shamelessness to treat as matters of shame all through his years-long crawl to the Republican nomination.”

Seriously, friends and relatives who voted for Romney, can you not see that this would have been a road-wreck with all of us tied to the roof?

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Filed under Elections, Obama, Politics, Politics, Republicans

Latino Power: Even George W. Bush Heard About It

Perhaps because his little brother Jeb warned him, former President George W. Bush and aides knew well that the changing ethnic mix in the United States would cause problems for the Republican Party.

In the waning days of his presidency in 2009, Bush said that the Republican Party:

“should be open-minded about big issues like immigration reform, because if we’re viewed as anti-somebody—in other words, if the party is viewed as anti-immigrant—then another fellow may say, well, if they’re against the immigrant, they may be against me.” [Fox News Sunday, Interview with Brit Hume, January 11, 2009]

It was a warning not heeded. Republicans opposed the Dream Act and efforts toward immigration reform. They took insignificant steps–like parading out conservative Latinos at the Republican National Convention, such as Florida U.S. Senator Marco Antonio Rubio, “the crown prince of the Tea Party Movement,” and the now elected U.S. Senator from Texas, Rafael Edward “Ted” Cruz.

One other attempt to identify with Latinos was characteristic of the deceitful Republican presidential campaign. On the stump and with the right audience, of course, Mitt Romney played up his tenuous Mexican ties, not mentioning the connection was based on the fact that his great-grandfather fled to Mexico to continue practicing polygamy.

Now the Republicans appear to be getting the message: Latinos voted 75 percent to 23 percent for President Obama. TalkingPointsMemo.com reported:

“For the first time in US history, the Latino vote can plausibly claim to be nationally decisive,” Stanford University university professor Gary Segura, who conducted the study, told reporters.
According to Segura, the Latino vote provided Obama with 5.4 percent of his margin over Romney, well more than his overall lead in the popular vote. Had Romney managed even 35 percent of the Latino vote, he said, the results may have flipped nationally.

Latino Power is real. Beyond their strong influence on the presidential race, Congress and governorships, hundreds of Latinos serve in state legislatures; thousands serve in local government.

I’ll bet that Republicans in the new Congress will be more willing to work with Democrats on comprehensive immigration reform. They make other concessions as well. But they will also figure, wrongly, that Latinos will accept their intrusive social agenda — anti-abortion, privatization of Medicare and Social Security and the crazy pledge to never raise taxes.

My guess is that the Republicans are going to get it wrong. Interest groups are not monoliths and people aren’t stupid. A profile of Latinos, as with the changing demographics of the United States, will show that they are increasingly young, progressive and interested in Democratic values. Latinos are no more fooled by Rubio and company than African Americans are fooled by U.S. Rep. Allen Bernard West in Florida or the handful of other blacks tied to the Republican Party.

Latinos will not be snowed by extremism and lies.

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Filed under 1, Elections, Latin America, Obama, Politics, Republicans

Obama’s Victory In International Headlines: “The Best is Still To Come.”

A Reminder that the Whole world is watching and waiting:

Obama tras su reelección: “Para EE UU, lo mejor está por venir” El Pais, Madrid

(Obama after his re-election For the US, The Best is Yet to Come)

“Nate Silver, La Revanche du Geek” Le Monde, Paris
(Nate Silver, the Revenge of the Geek)

Obama wins four more years as Romney challenge is crushed The Independent, London

War-weary Afghans shrug off Obama re-election, http://dawn.com/2012/11/07/obama-says-best-is-yet-to-come-in-victory-speech/, Islamabad.

Iran to take center stage again on new-old President Obama’s agenda Haaretz, Jerusalem

US Daily: Iran’s Tourism Industry Prospering Despite Sanction Fars News Agency, Tehran, which announced Obama’s victory earlier.

Later additions:

Mediocre Mitt Crashes Out, Sydney Morning Herald.

Obama to continue his China policy, <em>China (English) Daily USA</em>

Thai-American elected to US Congress, The Nation, Bangkok

The U.S. Should Learn From Venezuela How to Hold Elections, The Daily Journal, Caracas

Sin los latinos, republicanos ven díficil regresar a la Casa Blanca, El Tiempo, Bogota
(WIthout Latinos, Republicans find it difficult to return to the White House)

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A Vote Against Cynicism, despite Rove, Scott and Husted

I suspect that I am not alone among voters in the United States who tear up a bit (President Obama also was emotional at his final rally in Des Moines, Iowa on Monday night) waiting in line to vote for the President of the United States.

Voting for president is a rare memorable privilege. I have a friend in New York City whose name is Alex Imich. Alex is 109 years old. Even though Alex first voted probably in the 1960s, he has still voted for president more times than I have.

He came to the United States after World War II, having survived the Nazis and the Gulag. He voted proudly in 2008 for Barack Obama. I haven’t spoken to him for a year, but if he’s able I have no doubt that he will do the same this year.

There are people in this land who disdain the system that makes me proud.

Three, for example:
–Karl Christian Rove, friend of a former president named George Walker Bush and the handler of millions of dollars in the name of voter manipulation;

–Richard Lynn “Rick” Scott, the governor of Florida, coincidentally also friend and former business partner of same said George Walker Bush. Scott has done everything possible to block Floridians from voting in a reliable way. Once again, voting in Florida, my former home state, exists somewhere between an embarrassment and a sick laughing stock;

–Jon A. Husted (somebody help me on his middle name), the secretary of state of the State of Ohio, who appears to travel in the same circles. Husted, operating on Rove-ian principles, has fought the rights of people in Ohio to vote quickly and easily.

I have no idea what moves these men as they willfully and cynically do everything possible to manipulate, suppress and block people from voting?

Theories ? They might say that the system is flawed and they have to represent the interests they believe in; or they might say that everybody does it, and why shouldn’t they? But to me, they come across as sad miserable wretches.

I’m going out to vote.

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Filed under 1, Bush, Elections, Obama, Politics

The Election Horse Race Won’t Be a Photo Finish

A favorable jobs report four days before the election is good news for President Obama. Unemployment remains under eight percent.

Even before that, Nate Silver of the 538 blog, the guru of poll analysis, showed the president has more than an 80 percent chance of winning the election.

The news of the day—and watching the campaign swings these days–adds fuel to my argument that the president has never been in as much trouble as most news outlets have been telling us. My guess is that even after his poor performance in the first debate, President Obama has been in pretty good shape for re-election.

Political reporting focuses on the horse race, rarely on issues. The race narrative gets boring unless you sell the idea of a close finish.

The story about Romney and momentum is mostly a narrative created by Romney’s handlers then swallowed up by the news, then regurgitated by the campaign once more. If nothing else, the closed circuit narrative makes it easier for Romney to hop on and off his plane every day with a dream of winning.

Romney’s key attribute—“I’m not Obama”—plays to his constituency but isn’t enough to win. I think a majority of the electorate—in terms of popular vote and certainly in terms of electoral vote–sees through Romney’s shape-shifting candidacy.

One part of the final sprint will be dirty tricks, anything Karl Rove and company have left in their bag.

Voter suppression, voter turnout, intimidation. Still, likely the tricks won’t be enough to propel Romney to victory.

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We have witnessed the October surprise: right-wing extremism is on the way out.

We have witnessed the October surprise. Right-wing extremism is on the way out.

The surprise came in two forms – most visibly when the governor of New Jersey turned to the president of the United States and began working with him to rebuild the ruined New Jersey coast.

Chris Christie told Republican ideologue television anchors at Fox that he didn’t give a damn about politics – he cared about saving his state.

“I’ve got a job to do here in New Jersey that’s much bigger than presidential politics, and I could care less about any of that stuff. I have a job to do. I’ve got 2.4 million people out of power. I’ve got devastation on the Shore. I’ve got floods in the northern part of my state. If you think right now I give a damn about presidential politics, then you don’t know me.”

In an October flash, the extremist Republican rhetoric about less government washed away in the reality of the storm called Sandy.

The other October surprise came earlier in response to John Sununu, Mitt Romney’s water bearer and a worthy Halloween ghoul. Sununu brought racism to the fore by saying that former Secretary of State Colin Powell supported President Barack Obama because of their skin color.

Lawrence Wilkerson, Powell’s former chief of staff, responded angrily. Wilkerson, a university professor and retired army colonel, who by the way is not African-American but is a registered Republican, said this on national television:

Let me just be candid: My party is full of racists, and the real reason a considerable portion of my party wants President Obama out of the White House has nothing to do with the content of his character, nothing to do with his competence as commander-in-chief and president, and everything to do with the color of his skin, and that’s despicable.

The presidential election on Tuesday has to do with a return to sanity. The victory of President Obama and the sign of a new pragmatic wave – personified by the likes of Christie and Wilkerson – shows that progress can be made.

Christie found a mission – statesmanship over ideology. Wilkerson dared to voice an uncomfortable truth.

The election next week could restore balance. A victory for President Obama is now linked to new moderation in the Republican Party and a return to two-party politics that works. A vote for the president helps to sweep away the dogged ignorance that has captured the conservative spectrum in this country.

Much is at stake on Tuesday. Vote.

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Filed under #Sandy, 1, Elections, Journalism, Obama, Politics

Fox Trims Cuomo on New York, #Sandy and Global Warming

FOX Business Network was one of the few national outlets to carry New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s extensive comments on damage and recovery in the New York City area. But when Governor Cuomo began discussing global warming, Fox cut the feed.

The governor’s detailed report on status, first response and rescue, priorities for New York City included his contacts with President Obama, FEMA’s role, and the arrival of a U.S. Army water mitigation team to work on pumping away water.

Governor Cuomo next began speaking about the need to not only rebuild – as a long-term project—but that “we need to rebuild in a more intelligent way.” He then said that whatever some might say — adding “this is not a political statement” – weather patterns make it clear that something has changed in climatic conditions and that the city must be prepared for that. Those who deny weather changes, he said, are wrong.

“There’s no such thing as a 100-year flood,” he said. “These are extreme weather patterns. The frequency has been increasing.”

Cuomo is probably the first major politician during this disaster to discuss that element of the problem. But within seconds and a sentence or two, Fox swiftly cut off the governor’s remarks. A director somewhere realized what Cuomo was saying and didn’t want to continue to broadcast what he had to say. Fox could probably say they needed to break in after the long remarks, but it didn’t seem that way.

Anyone surprised?

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