Saturday, December 25, 2010


And to to my friends at MSNBC, a big hug and thanks for keeping the faith ... Chris, Dylan and Larry, you'll have to try a little harder. (Note: Click on image to see larger and read funny captions!)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Too Bad They Didn't Tar-And-Feather This Clown With The Lenin Goatee

Tom Coburn of Oklahoma. Are you as sick and tired of this bastard as I am?

The 9-11 First responders storm his office to demand he cease his obstruction of the 9-11 healthcare bill. And he did. MEMO to WINGNUTS AND RIGHT WING HAYSEEDS EVERYWHERE: DON'T EVEN TRY MESSING WITH NEW YORKERS. YOU'LL GET YOUR ASSES HANDED BACK TO YOU IN A NEW YORK SECOND.

Unfortunately, we'll be seeing a whole lot more of this DOCTOR!? scumbag's obstruction next year when the crazies take over:

Twelve Republican Hostages Released, Vote to Pass START

Not ALL Republicans are INSANE. The INSANITY BEGINS NEXT YEAR. Look for the President to capitulate on Social Security, Medicare, a potential trojan horse to dismantle the New Deal, as he joins with Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan to embrace their Reaganite privatizing agenda. But today at least, the President scored a major victory (which should have been a no-brainer except for the INSANITY of Republicans) with passage of START, 71-26.

Here’s the list of Republican senators held HOSTAGE by Mitch McConnell, who were finally released from TEA PARTY KNOW-NOTHING INSANITY to vote their INTELLECT AND CONSCIENCE:

Lamar Alexander, Robert F. Bennett (defeated by Teabaggers), Scott Brown (2012 reelection, MA), Thad Cochran, Susan Collins, George Voinovich (retiring), Olympia Snowe, Richard Lugar, Lisa Murkowski (pissed off), Mike Johanns, Johnny Isakson, Judd Gregg (retiring).

President Obama’s Risk-Averse Leadership By Study/Commission Gets a Win

Hooray! It was a good day for President Obama. More importantly, it was a great day for the LGBT community, that deserves the lion’s share of credit for repeal of DADT despite Rachel’s amusing speech last night.

Question: Who deserves more credit for repeal of DADT — the Log Cabin Republicans or President Obama? Discuss.

In the twisty-curvy two-year timeline culminating in final repeal of DADT, events and circumstances did not always point to its inevitable repeal. Quite the contrary. Rachel, despite her best ‘aw shucks I’se wrong’ efforts, is no dope. She had a finger on this thing’s pulse and she was skeptical of its passage. Was she wrong to be skeptical?


From the outside looking in, it’s amusing to see how a presidential win gets spun in the best possible light and those aspects of the triumphalist narrative are shunted to the side in favor of the celebratory. All’s well that ends well, and the President deserves credit for having been nominally supportive of repealing DADT all along.

Obama historian Jonathan Alter gave the President backhanded credit — what I had written on this blog as Obama’s “tepid” support — for ending DADT in a recent Newsweek column:
Give some credit to the Obama White House, which angered many gay-rights activists by putting the issue on the back burner last year. As I try to explain in The Promise, Obama and chief of staff Rahm Emanuel applied a policy of "no distractions" in 2009 amid the debate over health-care reform. They also didn't want to roil relations with the Pentagon while policy toward Afghanistan was under review.

Remembering how the debate over gays in the military consumed valuable time and political capital at the beginning of the Clinton administration in 1993, the White House tried to stay focused on what was front and center.”
Hardly a ringing endorsement. I wonder how the ultra-condescending Obama-Emanuel policy of  “no distractions” in 2009 sits with DADT repeal advocates — notice that Alter, who is an Obama booster, refers to proponents of repeal as “activists.” I much prefer Jonathan as FDR historian, but highly recommend his book The Promise as essential reading for anyone trying to understand the often inscrutable Obama presidency. Jon’s bias is easily discerned while his access and inside accounts of policy formulations are invaluable.

Alter knows the President better than most of his colleagues; and his conclusion sounds about right. Indeed, the Obama White House deserves “some credit” for repeal of DADT. The festive Left’s effusive huzzahs to the Prez notwithstanding; fuzzy memory celebrating the downfall of  yet another human rights barrier is totally understandable. Even the usually shrewd Chris Hayes of the Nation suspended analytical skepticism. I’ll bet his boss Katrina didn’t, though.

One LGBT blog was underwhelmed by the President’s efforts:
There are, of course, those who should be ashamed right now. Topping the list is President Barack Obama who did as little as he could to really get this passed, and seemed reluctant to really fight for LGBT rights, but there are those who are worse.
President Obama gave a stirring speech at the repeal signing ceremony. The way he personalized the struggle and silent contributions of gays in the military through history. One couldn’t help but be moved by the President’s vivid description of a gay soldier’s act of selfless bravery during the Battle of the Bulge, saving his buddy’s life. President Obama looked like Reagan.

Curiously, though, in describing this moment the media and assorted observers lost sight of some important, even critical, context to its coming to pass. Take the Log Cabin Republicans. It was this organization of conservative Republicans who were responsible for bringing the lawsuit that resulted in a California judge declaring DADT unconstitutional. This decision came down almost exactly two months ago.

Imagine what the political landscape would have looked like absent the court striking down DADT as unconstitutional. This, despite the Obama Justice Department request that the judge stay the ruling. Her ruling stood and then was appealed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which granted the administration’s representations for a stay. That’s the legal background. This administration, lionized today for its checkered role in repeal of DADT, was furiously engaged in retaining the status quo.

But the handwriting was on the wall. The Pentagon and the Obama administration could no longer rely on the courts to uphold the constitutionality of  DADT. Secretary Robert Gates, a lifetime Republican government technocrat got a nice, and deserved, round of applause for his steadfast insistence and lobbying of Congress to repeal DADT. Reports of Gates fretting about Congressional foot-dragging on this issue before the new reactionary Congress takes over had a certain dissonance. Had Bob Gates suddenly become a committed progressive?

Not really. Secretary Gates was echoing deep, institutional Pentagon concerns that control of this process would be wrested away from them by the courts and by a do-nothing homophobic Congress. What most alarmed Pentagon brass and Secretary Gates was that they’d find themselves compelled by court order to implement repeal immediately. The disorderly disruption in the ranks caused by a court repeal order scared the shit out of them.

It should be noted that Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the JCS, is a genuine hero in ending DADT. When Admiral Mullen chastised Senators Graham and McCain, telling them his commitment to DADT had nothing to do with any presidential directive, the deer-in-the-headlights reaction from McCain in particular, accustomed as he was to suck-up military brass — it was a singular moment. It was an epic Gary Cooper High Noon slam by Admiral Mullen, which had progressives thinking, “gee, if only the President…”

President Obama, in his inimitable risk-averse, delegating style started the ball rolling on a two-year strategy of repealing DADT. The first year, as we have learned, would countenance no “distractions” of the cultural kind. The distractions would come instead from back-room dealmaking with corporate special interests and largely thankless legislative heavy lifting by Pelosi and Reid, as many of the President’s health care supporters walked the plank with little presidential leadership.

The President determined in meetings with the Pentagon brass what they were comfortable with, and set the schedule accordingly. Let’s do a study, they said — the ultimate bureaucrat’s answer to change and action — dragging our feet for one year. Gibby would handle the thorny questions from real journalists (as opposed to ass-kissers) like adorably cheeky Ana Marie Cox:

Naturally, the President was well aware of that lawyer’s axiom, ‘never ask a question for which you don’t know the answer’. So it was pretty well established that the study would come back with the rank-and-file saying, by wide margins, they were OK with repeal. Admiral Mullen and Gates knew this to be the case, so the President says, ‘make it happen.’

That’s pretty much it. Scheduling this thing for the end of the legislative session was a political necessity.  The President correctly calculated that nothing could be done before the midterms. Nor would he expend any political capital, for DADT or actually leading his party to repeal tax cuts for the rich. That would be too, well … Trumanesque.

Finally, like Reagan, President Obama got lucky. The court ruling was a major blow to opponents of repeal. Nor could he have omnisciently divined Traitor Joe Lieberman reinventing himself as a gay rights champion. But he was there in the end to sign repeal and take more of his share of the credit than he deserves.

PS — Rachel, Rachel … interesting how Rachel dedicated little more than a sentence or two to the Republican’s defunding of  everything passed the last two years — health care, financial reform, the Consumer Protection Agency, and on and on. She mused whimsically that now the President and Democrats must defend and protect their accomplishments. Yeah, right.

Guess what, Rachel. No funding, no NADA. Remember when you asked rhetorically, ‘who put Alan Simpson in charge of the commission looking into Social Security and other entitlements!?’ And I replied: THE PRESIDENT!

What’s next? Our “progressive” President will use his reactionary-conservative commission’s findings as political cover in the State of the Union to propose massive cuts to Social Security and other entitlement programs as his best buddies Mitch and Paul chortle away while Democrats look on in horror. Just you watch.

Hope I’m wrong. But I don’t think so.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Unknown NY Giants Coach Explains Most Calamitous, Catastrophic, Cataclysmic, Disastrous ...

... Defeat in The Team’s Past And Future History.

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, And The TV Machine

The Good — This week the Senate got off its collective dysfunctional obstructionist ass to pass historic legislation: The repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. For anyone who’s been living in a cave for the last 15 years, DADT was the military doctrine enacted in another time in another craven “compromise” by President Obama’s “transactional” hero — not FDR, not Lincoln — Bill Clinton, in lieu of ending military discrimination against gays in the military. Clinton could have spared thousands of ruined military careers and the Mephistophelean choice of silence about themselves left to the gay men and women who chose a military career in times of war and peace so that we may be safe.

Bill Clinton could have ended discrimination against gays in the military with the stroke of a pen. He could have followed Harry Truman’s example, the Democratic Party’s profile in courage, when Truman signed an executive order ending institutional racism in the U.S. military, integrating the armed forces. In sealing their new alliance with a Clinton White House show of support for the latest broken campaign pledge by a Democratic president, the ironies abound for President Obama.

Certainly not Clinton nor, it would seem, President Obama are made of the stuff of Truman. Balls, backbone, and courage are not in their presidential vernacular. In fact, the “new normal” for this White House is “triangulation,” worshipfully uttered by Andrea Mitchell, a term championed by Fox “News” resident creep (consider his company) Dick Morris, Bill Clinton’s toe-sucking triangulation Svengali in all matters political and otherwise. Speaking of Andrea, the next time she calls on Rachel to decode the exotic breed known as “liberal” Rachel should say, “Sure Andrea, if you can explain to me your husband's rationale for contributing to the economic catastrophe that got us into this mess. Blame it on Ayn?”

And yet, although tepid in its support (as is their MO) for repeal of DADT, the White House and the President stand ready to reap credit for it on the basis that 90 percent of life is showing up, i.e. it happened on the President’s “watch.” Ironic, yes, considering the President walked a Clintonian tightrope on this issue (as is his MO), that he favors civil unions and opposes gay marriage. [Parenthetically, Mr. President, the wingnuts still think you’re a Muslim, and the rest of those GOP scoundrels who vowed to destroy you politically will continue to stoke the culture fear wars.]

President Obama — “I get along just fine with ‘Mitch’ and ‘John’”— has made all the right noises re: repeal of DADT to the right audiences, then left it up to Robert Gibbs to sort it out with the intrepid WH Press Corps. “Look” says Gibby, as if lecturing nine-year-olds, the President is 1,000 percent behind repeal  but there’s a “process” that must be followed.

Whatever that means.

It could mean Gramps McCain venting his homophobic spleen while giving fellow GOP homophobes political cover. It’s not as if the President is willing to take names as Truman and LBJ did. Needless to say, the Beltway Idiot Punditocracy is hailing this as a great victory for the President. Given the 24-hour news cycle attention span of its audience, whether they’re right “over the long haul” or keep that “North Star” in sight is not the important thing. They’re all good craftspeople, good nuts-and-bolts types, who know how to spin and establish the credible 24- to 48-hour “narrative.” Hey, it’s a two-percentile living. Long live the narcissistic personality. Not to mention the Beltway zombies.

Tonight, Rachel Maddow will host a special on the repeal of DADT. Watch it. If ever there was an unsung hero (among many, I know, but she deserves special mention) in this struggle for basic human rights, Rachel is it. Being who she is, a “great American” rightly said one of her guests, Rachel’s focus on this issue day after day, how she kept it on the front burner with her show as the catalyst to change an unjust policy, had a decisive impact on educating the public and prodding, cajoling, compelling the people’s representatives finally to do the right thing.

Rachel, we tease you because we love you.

New York Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer, visibly upset after the
GOP defeated the 9-11 healthcare bill; for those who think all senators are like Republicans.

Another small miracle is about to take place in the Senate when it reverses itself and votes before this Christmas session ends to provide life-saving healthcare to the 9-11 first responders. Jon Stewart dedicated an entire show to shaming the Republicans into passing the law. And it seems to have worked. Those of us who watched Jon Stewart’s evasions and dissembling on Rachel’s show — some bullshit about being a “sidelines” jock … recalling Jets strength and conditioning coach Sal Alosi — perhaps Rachel succeeded in shaming Stewart into action as well.

Bad Stewart: Narcissistic Washington rally leads to forming of  “No Labels” movement led by well-heeled conservative Republicans and Democrats; should anyone named “Kiki” McLean be taken seriously? Or Rachel’s delusional friend, Mark McKinnon? Then again, they may have a powerful ally in President Obama.

Good Stewart (as long as his vacation doesn't get in the way): Taking a page from Rachel’s constructive activism and standing up for healthcare for the 9-11 heroes. Regarding the great ‘unmentionable’ for obvious Pandora’s Box reasons in Rachel’s interview of Stewart, sidekick Stephen Colbert — he can take his selfish nihilistic libertarianism and put it where the sun don’t shine.