Archive | Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

Dept. of Empty Threats

Damn, they’re so good at the cognitive dissonance, they can’t even tell when they sound like clowns. Gee, I wonder what a Congress where they were less cooperative would look like – Dresden?

At the same time, passing it has its risks too. While a bill-signing ceremony in the Rose Garden would provide at least a short-term boost to a beleaguered president, Republicans have made clear that the legislative procedure Democrats are using to avoid another filibuster would so anger them that they would not cooperate on other major initiatives this year.

“If they jam through health care,” said Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, then Democrats will have “poisoned the well” on other issues. He was interviewed Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”

An immigration proposal he has been working on with Senator Charles Schumer, Democrat of New York, would likely fall victim to the worsened environment, he said.

Let’s Get Him

Oh please, please give me Ralph Reed for Congress. I would be so happy to remind everyone of the details of this dirtbag’s transactions with Jack Ambramoff (my friend MB is probably the world’s expert on that tangled little web):

Reed, the 49-year-old former executive director of the Christian coalition, saw his meteoric rise take an even harder fall in 2006 after the extent of his ties to convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff were revealed. He saw sizable, early leads in the polls disintegrate in his bid for Georgia lieutenant governor, and he wound up losing in the GOP primary.

But in a changed environment, the first one favoring Republicans since 2006, Reed is plotting a bid for Congress. The Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody reports Reed will declare his candidacy tomorrow morning for retiring Georgia Congressman John Linder’s seat. (Linder announced his retirement on Feb. 27. The seventh congressional district is a solidly Republican one. McCain won it with 60% of the vote; Bush did so with 70%.)

“The environment is so good for Republicans right now, any conservative who ever considered running for anything, this is the year to do it,” one Republican strategist told First Read. Of Reed’s ties to Abramoff, the strategist said, “It doesn’t worry me too much. If he can get himself elected, then voters will have given him a clean bill of health, and he’ll no doubt hold himself to a high standard in Congress. This strikes me as the sort of inside-the-beltway hand-wringing that’s largely irrelevant in a country with unemployment hovering around 10 percent.”

You see how “strategists” think? “Oh, the voters have short memories!” Except when the Republicans want to smear someone, of course. Let’s give them a taste of their own medicine and make sure no one ever puts this corrupt hypocrite in public office.

A Case Study in Liberal Media

It got a brief mention on some of the cable channels, but the only major TV network that carried live coverage of this healthcare reform rally in D.C. yesterday was Fox – and then, only to ridicule it:

The reason? AHIP, the health insurance lobbying organization, was meeting in (where else?) the Ritz-Carlton. A coalition of groups led by unions including SEIU, AFSCME, UFCW and Health Care for American Now declared the meeting site a “corporate crime scene” and attempted to make a citizens’ arrest:

In a reverse twist on the old protestors’ tactic of getting arrested to make a point, union leaders and other backers of President Obama’s healthcare plan issued “citizen’s arrest” warrants for health insurance executives Tuesday – accusing them of exploiting consumers.

The “warrants,” delivered to police during a demonstration outside an insurance industry meeting at a Washington hotel, were an attempt to dramatize protestors’ call for insurance reform – and to build public support for the Democrats’ healthcare legislation.

The demonstration, which drew several thousand protestors from as far away as Illinois and California, was organized by groups that for more than a year have pushed Congress to create a government-run insurance plan to compete with private insurers as part of national healthcare overhaul.

While that policy objective, known as the public option, is not part of the healthcare legislation pending in Congress, the groups are nonetheless mounting a multi-million dollar campaign to promote the bill. The effort will continue in coming weeks, with more demonstrations, paid advertising and other events, including a hearing to take place Wednesday on Capitol Hill.

Boy, there was a time when you couldn’t turn on the TV without seeing someone about Tea Party rallies. I guess the only way you can get on TV these days is to be on the side of the insurance companies.

The Corporate Agenda

Well, I don’t know that it should be a shock to anyone that Obama intends to “reform” Social Security – and by that, I mean gut it. Either through benefit cuts or partial privatization, Obama will do the bankers’ bidding:

In Conclusion, I submit to you that after this long litany of Obama’s own words and actions, there can no longer any doubt that Candidate Obama’s soothing words were a ruse, but that President Obama is relentlessly pushing forward what he said all along he would do: create a commission to examine changes in Social Security, and then enact them. It is not on process but on substance that Candidate Obama lied. Oh, sure, payroll tax increases might “also” be considered — tax increases that surely he will ‘push forward’ with all of the vigor he ‘pushed forward’ critical elements of Health Care Reform.

No real Democrat is “agnostic” about Social Security. As Obama himself solemnly swore, “On issues as fundamental as how to protect Social Security, a candidate for president” does indeed “owe it to the American people to tell us where they stand,” and on the ultimate substance of his stand Candidate Obama lied. So nobody should be surprised if millions of democratic voters become “agnostic” about the re-election of faux “democrats” who do what no Republican has been able to do — to wantonly gut the program which Candidate Obama rightly called “the cornerstone of the social compact in this country.”
(New Deal sent me some updates which I attempted to get inserted correctly. But I’ll just put this in as his alternative conclusion)
That controversy erupted here as well, prompting me to write a diary explainingThe Truth about Social Security, in which I pointed out that Social Security is not in “crisis”, and is not a “real problem,” manageable or not, needs no “fix,” nor any intermeddling “Commission.” As stated by the official projections by the Social Security trustees at that time, the program will be solvent without so much as lifting a little finger for decades to come. At worst, even after the “Great Recession”, the problem is several decades away and is hardly an urgent priority. Even then, the core retirement program is not the issue; rather the deficits come from other programs such as Social Security disability.
Two final notes:
(1) Remember how Candidate Obama constantly proclaimed that an increase in the ceiling for payment of payroll taxes was the only change that Social Security needed? I searched and searched for any statement by President Barack Obama that that was still his position. After December 2008 there are no such statements to be found anywhere.
(2) Even if Obama’s assumptions are correct and his plan restores “solvency” to Social Security, the GOP will not cease their campaign to destroy it. They will loot it again the next time they are in power. And Barack Obama will have set the precedent for the “solution” of further benefit cuts.

Can we admit yet that Barack Obama is a DINO?

Throwing Stones at Charlie Rangel

Silly Joe Conason! Doesn’t he know it’s okay if you’re a Republican?

The rule that Rangel violated when he took those now-infamous Caribbean trips was instituted by the Democratic majority as part of its ethics reorganization. This was a rules change that Boehner vocally opposed — and it is a rule that Boehner would have violated more than once had it been in effect a year or two earlier. Back in July 2006, the New York Times reported on one of Boehner’s many subsidized vacations:

“Mr. Boehner flew to a golf resort in Boca Raton, Fla., in March for a convention of commodities traders, who have contributed more than $100,000 to his campaigns and are lobbying against a proposed federal tax on futures transactions. During the trip, Mr. Boehner assured his hosts that Congress would most likely not approve a tax they opposed. His leadership committee, the Freedom Project, which in recent months has enlisted the use of corporate planes from Federal Express, Aflac and the Florida Power and Light Company, later reimbursed the Chicago Mercantile Exchange for the cost of the Boca Raton trip.”

Naturally Boehner’s leadership PAC is funded heavily by corporate interests – so he was “reimbursing” one corporation with money donated to him by others. Boehner has always been known as an obsequious servant of business lobbyists, dating back to the moment in 1995 when he was observed handing out checks from the Brown & Williamson tobacco company political action committee on the House floor. (Confronted by a few naive GOP freshmen, he conceded that such brazen grifting “didn’t look good” and was sorry that he had been caught.)

At this point it is clear that Rangel is guilty of hubris and sloppiness, and perhaps worse. It isn’t easy to understand why he should be branded irredeemably “corrupt,” however, while someone like Boehner is considered an honorable public servant. The notion that he and his cronies would restore ethical standards if they regain the majority must be a joke.

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