Saturday, June 04, 2011

Saturday Mashup (6/4/11) (updates)

  • In response to this (and more here)…

    …allow me to present once more the following message from the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee…

  • Also, I apologize for wasting everyone’s time once more with the Anthony Weiner stuff, but I thought this was hilarious from Florida U.S. House Repug Cliff Stearns, who considered “Weiner-Gate” (yep, I guess it was inevitable), a “threat to national security” (once more, the takedown is here).

    Stearns is the guy, by the way, who added an amendment to the Zadroga Bill (the one that offered much, MUCH needed medical aid to the 9/11 first responders) to the effect that said first responders wouldn’t receive benefits unless they were first crossed off a terror watch list (typically good video response by Jon Stewart here).

    So basically, Stearns should do the following when it comes to Weiner or any other topic, really; sit down and STFU.

    And for something truly absurd, Roger Stone, of all people, weighed in on the Weiner mess here at The Daily Tucker, immediately trying to create a false equivalency between Weiner and Chris Lee, the disgraced Repug U.S. House rep who advertised himself shirtless on Craigslist for a date, which was a bit of a “sticky wicket” seeing as how he was married and all like that (typical for a dirty trickster like Stone).

    Stone is a legendary bottom-feeder (as noted here - second item), having visited X-rated sex clubs with his wife in Florida and “plac(ing) ads and pictures in racy publications and a website seeking sexual partners for himself and his second wife…he (also enjoyed) frequenting ‘Miami Velvet’ a swingers club in Miami.” Stone denied the report (of course).

    Stone also denied having anything to do with the Willie Horton ad that Lee Atwater ran against Michael Dukakis on behalf of Poppy Bush in 1988, and Stone also denied having anything whatsoever to do with the infamous “Brooks Brothers Riot” that halted the Miami Dade vote recount in Florida in November 2000 (I guess this is typical for a guy who says, “Admit nothing, deny everything, launch counterattack”).

    Also, Stone chaired a 1995 presidential bid by Sen. Arlen Specter (then a Repug, of course – he admitted that much anyway), and in 2004, Stone was responsible for distributing “Kerry/Specter” signs in a successful effort to defeat Dem Joe Hoeffel, who was challenging Specter for his Senate seat at the time (interesting company Arlen keeps, isn’t it?).

    Oh, and remember the godawful Citizens United ruling? Well, Stone originally founded the group in 2008 under the name “Citizens United Not Timid” against Hillary Clinton (I’ll let you, dear reader, determine the meaning of the acronym).

    And to conclude the “Weiner wrapup,” I give you this from a blogger named Tommy Christopher at Mediaite who is having a tizzy with Markos Moulitsas at Daily Kos over the identities of two women who may or may not have been involved with some sort of related correspondence with Weiner (“Betty” and “Veronica”); Christopher is alleging that Moulitsas is “outing” the two anonymous sources.

    Well, as you can read from the Mediaite post, Moulitsas very wisely I think chose not to talk about the matter on the phone with Christopher, but chose to communicate via Email, thus creating a written record that is a lot less subject to interpretation than a phone conversation (Christopher said that “greatly hampered the amount of detail I could give (Moulitsas),” which to me is the first indication that something is fishy here). Moulitsas also emphasized that he saw nothing illegal going on in the post in question, which was written by a diarist and not a member of the site’s editorial staff (Markos also asks Christopher, “If (Betty and Veronica) are so afraid, why are they talking to you?,” which is another good question).

    And as for the supposedly innocent “Betty and Veronica,” this Daily Tucker post that links to Mediaite tells us that “Betty’s friend Veronica then approached Christopher with a made-up story about Weiner sending her lewd pictures on Twitter.” And that is supposed to somehow make us feel sorry for “Veronica”?

    Yes, I know this is penny-ante crap compared to real issues like the wars, jobs and the economy, the environment, the struggle for human rights around the world (including the full-pitched battle of working men and women and families in this country against the “pay no price, bear no burden” bunch that should have been a foreseeable consequence from the 2010 elections). But I just made the call for better or worse to defend a Democrat who has done the right thing many, many times in the past. If that ended up sucking away needed oxygen, as it were, from more important stuff…well, so be it (and for good measure, I give you what Thers at Eschaton sez here).

  • Update 6/6/11: Even though this is just piddly crap as I said, God almighty, somebody remind me again why I support these clowns (here...and I'm sure Clarence and Ginny Thomas are laughing their asses off, since this totally evaporates the legitimate issue Weiner fought for of the $$ Ginny made from Silent Clarence and his Citizens United ruling, which C. Thomas supported of course).

    Worse, this lends even the smallest degree of legitimacy to Breitbart, though it's pretty sad that his "get," at long last, is a picture of a guy's underwear with an erect member.

  • Next, I give you last Sunday’s Area Vote in Congress (here)…

    2012 military budget. Voting 322-96, the House authorized a $690 billion military budget for fiscal 2012, up $10 billion, or nearly 2 percent, from the comparable 2011 figure. The bill (HR 1540) sets a 1.6 percent military pay raise while authorizing $119 billion for war in Iraq and Afghanistan and $52.5 billion for the military's TRICARE health program.

    A yes vote was to pass the bill.

    Voting yes: Robert E. Andrews (D., N.J.), Robert A. Brady (D., Pa.), John Carney (D., Del.), Charles W. Dent (R., Pa.), Michael Fitzpatrick (R., Pa.), Jim Gerlach (R., Pa.), Tim Holden (D., Pa.), Frank A. LoBiondo (R., N.J.), Pat Meehan (R., Pa.), Joseph R. Pitts (R., Pa.), Jon Runyan (R., N.J.), Allyson Y. Schwartz (D., Pa.), and Christopher H. Smith (R., N.J.).

    Voting no: Chaka Fattah (D., Pa.).
    To his credit, Fattah’s politics are pretty progressive, but no matter how you cut it, this vote looks like he’s defunding health care for the military. I know that’s not his intention, but that’s how he’s going to get attacked for it.
    Afghanistan withdrawal. Voting 204-215, the House defeated an amendment to HR 1540 (above) setting a quicker pace for President Obama to draw down the 100,000 U.S. troops now in Afghanistan. This was the first congressional vote on Afghanistan since the death of Osama bin Laden. The amendment gave Obama 60 days to improve upon his existing plan, under which he is to start removing troops in July with no projected completion date. The amendment would require the president to set a date for ending the withdrawal and report to Congress every 90 days on his progress toward that goal.

    A yes vote backed the amendment.

    Voting yes: Andrews, Brady, Carney, Fattah, Holden, Schwartz, and Smith.

    Voting no: Dent, Fitzpatrick, Gerlach, LoBiondo, Meehan, Pitts, and Runyan.
    I know Chris Smith only voted for this to try and paint himself as a moderate (nice try) and attack Obama at the same time (and yes, I still think this bill should have passed even though a Democrat is in the White House…comforting somewhat to know it almost made it to the Senate).
    Combat-pay increase. Voting 185-233, the House defeated a bid by Democrats to increase the existing pay bonus for U.S. troops "under hostile fire" or "in imminent danger" from $225 to $325 per month. That was to be in addition to the 1.6 percent pay raise already in the bill for uniformed personnel. The vote occurred during debate on HR 1540 (above).

    A yes vote backed higher combat pay.

    Voting yes: Andrews, Brady, Carney, Fattah, Holden, and Schwartz.

    Voting no: Dent, Fitzpatrick, Gerlach, LoBiondo, Meehan, Pitts, Runyan, and Smith.
    This is another vote to remember if you see Mikey The Beloved and his fellow Repug playmates wrapping themselves in the flag and waving to the crowd at a 4th of July parade (or Veterans Day, or the just-passed Memorial Day…).

    Oh, and speaking of our PA-08 U.S. House rep, I would ask that you keep this in mind when the news breaks that our U.S. congressional district will be redrawn to make every effort to ensure that we are saddled with Saint Mikey forever and ever (ugh).
    USA Patriot Act. Voting 250-153, the House sent President Obama a bill (S 990) to extend until June 2015 the three sections of the USA Patriot Act that are not permanent law. One section authorizes roving wiretaps on the communications gear used by terrorist suspects. Another permits surveillance of noncitizen "lone-wolf" suspects not linked to terrorist organizations. Under the third, Section 215, investigators can obtain warrants for searching businesses and other entities without having to show probable cause. The USA Patriot Act was enacted in response to the 9/11 attacks.

    A yes vote was to pass the bill.

    Voting yes: Andrews, Carney, Dent, Gerlach, Holden, LoBiondo, Meehan, Pitts, Runyan, Schwartz, and Smith.

    Voting no: Brady, Fattah, and Fitzpatrick.
    This is another “safe” vote trying to paint Mikey as a moderate knowing it would pass anyway (as much as I hate to do it, I have to give him credit for doing the right thing here anyway).
    Primary-care physicians, dentists. Voting 234-185, the House passed a Republican bill (HR 1216) to scale back a program in the 2010 health law designed to train thousands of primary-care physicians and dentists for work in underserved communities. The Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education Program is now being funded by $230 million over five years in mandatory spending.

    A yes vote was to pass the bill.

    Voting yes: Dent, Fitzpatrick, Gerlach, LoBiondo, Pitts, Runyan, and Smith.

    Voting no: Andrews, Brady, Carney, Fattah, Holden, Meehan, and Schwartz.
    I thought Congressman John Dingell wrote a great response to this awful development here – please read every word.

    USA Patriot Act. Voting 72-23, the Senate sent the House a bill (S 990, above) renewing three sections of the USA Patriot Act until June 2015. The sections permit roving wiretaps on noncitizen terrorist suspects on American soil, authorize surveillance of "lone-wolf" suspects not linked to terrorist organizations, and allow government access to business records and other files without having to show probable cause.

    A yes vote was to pass the bill.

    Voting yes: Thomas Carper (D., Del.), Bob Casey (D., Pa.), and Pat Toomey (R., Pa.).

    Voting no: Chris Coons (D., Del.) and Frank Lautenberg (D., N.J.).

    Not voting: Robert Menendez (D., N.J.).
    This is about what I would expect from Toomey (as noted here, he voted for the original Patriot Act in 2001 when he was in the House), and Carper also to tell you the truth, but Bob Casey should know better (kudos to Coons and Lautenberg).
    Suspicious banking activity. Voting 91-4, the Senate tabled (killed) a bid to soften the requirement in the USA Patriot Act (S 990, above) that banks notify the Department of the Treasury of any suspicious activity in their accounts. Under the amendment, banks would submit what are known as suspicious activity reports only when asked to do so by law enforcement.

    A yes vote was to kill the amendment.

    Voting yes: Carper, Casey, Coons, Lautenberg, and Toomey.

    Not voting: Menendez.

    Paul Ryan's budget. Voting 40-57, the Senate defeated a Republican budget (H Con Res 34) for 2012 and later years that was identical to one passed in April by the House. Written by Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wis.), the budget would, over time, privatize Medicare, raise the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67, convert Medicaid to a block-grant program run by the states, permanently extend Bush-era tax cuts, reduce discretionary spending for domestic programs by more than 20 percent, increase the basic defense budget by 15 percent, and keep Social Security as it is, among other provisions.

    A yes vote backed the Ryan budget.

    Voting yes: Toomey.

    Voting no: Carper, Casey, Coons, Lautenberg, and Menendez.
    I give you yet another awful vote by Toomey (just remember that, if the Repugs controlled both houses of Congress and the White House, “Ryan Care” would be the law by now).
    President Obama's budget. By a vote of 0-97, the Senate unanimously defeated President Obama's proposed budget for fiscal 2012 and later years, a document (S Con Res 18) that proposes no structural reforms of Medicare, Social Security, or other entitlement programs. For 2012, the president calls for overall spending of $3.73 trillion, a deficit of $1.3 trillion, a slight drop in military spending, and major spending increases for education, energy efficiency, biomedical research and high-speed rail.

    Voting no: Carper, Casey, Coons, Lautenberg, Menendez, and Toomey.
    I haven’t been this disgusted over a vote in a long, long time. This to me is the utterly sickening triumph of our media/political/industrial complex manufacturing the almost hallucinogenic narratives of debt vigilantes who must be heeded to ensure the arrival of magical unicorns who will lead us back to prosperity. And that’s barely more stupid than the “conventional wisdom” that rules the day on this subject.

    And given that this budget was bound to go down in flames, I honestly can’t imagine why Harry Reid even scheduled it for a vote.

    After this, those chuckleheads running the House decided to vote on raising the national-debt ceiling, and the Senate was in Memorial Day recess. The House took its Memorial Day break last week.

  • Finally, I give you the following…

    And I’ll bet he kicks his dog too – please.

    Even though John Ensign was covered a lot when the tale of his shenanigans broke, he still didn’t get this type of wall-to-wall coverage (to say nothing of Anthony Weiner, for something of which he may be completely innocent…a likely possibility given Breitbart’s sordid track record). Also related to Ensign, his former Repug senate playmate Crazy Tom Coburn has received a total pass from our corporate media for his own role.

    Not for a second will I defend Edwards’ conduct, but if he is acquitted of all charges, whoever made the decision at the DOJ to prosecute this case should be fired.

  • Update 6/6/11: And speaking of Edwards, get a load of this steaming pile of dookey from Katharine Q. Seelye yesterday (here is a follow up)…
    But after all the sordid lies, a “not guilty” verdict could be a rather hollow victory. Here may be a case where the law is inadequate. After all, can a jury render the final verdict on a betrayal so vast?
    Oh, shut up.

    This is from a newspaper that virtually ignored Edwards when he ran for the Democratic nomination in 2008, as evidenced by this notorious 1,250-word column about Democrats and Latinos in which Edwards isn’t even mentioned once. And now The Old Gray Lady is tripping over itself to cover him now that Edwards is in big-time legal trouble?

    Spare me.

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