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The Senate's redoubtable Dr. No, aka Tom Coburn (R-Planet Xanax), took himself off to USA Today's Capitol Download to warn his fellow Americans that President Obama's planned executive action on immigration will not only set Republican hair afire but could very well bring down the Republic, to boot:  
The country's going to go nuts, because they're going to see it as a move outside the authority of the president, and it's going to be a very serious situation. You're going to see — hopefully not — but you could see instances of anarchy. ... You could see violence.
And none of us really want that, do we?

Coburn accuses Obama of acting like "an autocratic leader that's going to disregard what the Constitution says and make law anyway." He says changes in immigration policy require passage by Congress, not just the president's signature.  

Well, not really, but nobody seriously expects a US senator to know all of the ins and outs of our legal system, do we?

"Instead of having the rule of law handling in our country today, now we're starting to have the rule of rulers, and that's the total antithesis of what this country was founded on," Cassius Coburn says. "Here's how people think: Well, if the law doesn't apply to the president ... then why should it apply to me?"
Evidently Coburn anticipates citizen activists teaching a lawless president a lesson by acting out lawlessly . . . ??  Stranger yet, he seems to think that it's entirely plausible that a population made up almost exclusively of immigrants or immigrants' offspring will move to violently overthrow the government and force it to deport more immigrants??

Of course, Coburn's prediction is solidly rooted in historical precedent . . . the memories of blood in the streets, rioting and insurrection following President Reagan's imperious executive over-reach on immigration, as well as the constitutional crisis precipitated by George W Bush's immigration-reform-by-fiat are still fresh in the wounded psyche of liberty-loving Americans.

As Coburn seems to know, nothing else-- not poverty, injustice, inequality -- sets off American civic indignation like perceived encroachment on the legislative branch by the executive.  God knows Congress has done everything in its considerable power to advance immigration reform via standard practice.  Testimony to that are the stacks of comprehensive immigration reform bills brought by Congress to the president's desk, over the last few years, only to be subjected to the "terrible, swift sword" of Obama's veto pen.

I know that Republicans really, really hate being outsmarted by this uppity, un-American president that was somehow elected, then inexplicably re-elected despite all of the built-in societal safeguards to prevent such an unlikely event but, seriously, folks? you're needlessly embarrassing yourselves before you even get a crack at demonstrating your mad governance skills.

Maybe you all ought to contemplate Dr Coburn's "if I ruled the world" advice to the President and, if the shoe fits . . .

If I were in his office, I'd say, if you want to have a successful second term, dig down, swallow your pride, get what you can get, compromise on everything you can for the best interests of the country. Bring us back together.
Meanwhile, my plan for weathering the dark and stormy aftermath of executive apocalypse? I think, I'll let a smile be my umbrella and trust to the paralyzing indifference that the vast majority of Americans feel toward the cacophonous background noise of American political theater.

That, and college football, should effectively stem the revolution.


Speaking of college football, who do you like for the Heisman this year?

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Thu Nov 13, 2014 at 12:54 PM PST

A Pipeline Too Far

by BetteNoir

Well. our old friend Keystone Pipeline XL is back in the news lately because both Republicans and Democrats need a legislative low hurdle to make it look like they know what they're doing.  Both parties seem to have agreed in a back room, somewhere, that Keystone XL might fill that bill nicely and they are now fighting over bragging rights for its long-awaited passage.

As usual, Republicans are touting the pipeline as the 'key to America's energy independence' and monster job creator; Democrats are hoping to use it to help Sen Mary Landrieu limp across the finish line in Louisiana.  Sen Landrieu (D-LA) is heading toward a runoff election, next month, against Rep Bill Cassidy (R-LA).  

Both have sponsored separate bills to pass the Keystone Pipeline. Landrieu announced today that she'll be seeking congressional approval for her bill in the near future.  Shortly after her announcement House Republican leaders scheduled a vote on Cassidy's bill for tomorrow.  

And Sen Mitch McConnell (R-KY) sweetened the pot for Cassidy by adding that:

I'm excited to announce that when elected, Dr. Cassidy will be a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.  I'm confident Cassidy will use this position to succeed where Sen. Landrieu failed.
More below the thingy . . .
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Anxious to hit the ground running with the newly-elected 114th Congress, President Obama invited leaders from both houses to join him in the White House' Old Family Dining Room for a post-election lunch of herb-crusted sea bass and endive salad served up on the Truman china.  

The idea, I'm sure, was to map out some common ground between the executive and legislative branches, moving into the final two years of Obama's term, in the hope of getting something -- anything, actually -- done by 2016.

The gathering opened with some public comments, by Obama, on the importance of cooperation and breaking the partisan gridlock that has effectively hog-tied his administration.  The president stated that he would be open to ideas from both sides of the aisle with the caveat that he would judge ideas based on whether they are likely to work or not.

Obama cited three measures -- emergency funds to fight Ebola, approval of a federal budget, and appropriations to increase troops in Iraq -- that he believes he and Congress could work on, together, before the end of the year.

Once the press was dismissed, however, the tone changed according to the usual anonymous leaks by the usual anonymous aides.

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So.  It's all over but the howling.  One-third of America's registered voters bestirred themselves to get to the polls and offer up a vote of confidence for the worst Congress in US history -- approval rating? 14%.  Fortunately, for Republicans, that dismal turnout included two of their biggest fans: the Brothers Koch.

House Speaker, John Boehner, of course, sees that as a "mandate."  Not really.  He can't actually be that deluded, but he'll take it and run with it even though it means his tour in legislative hell has just been extended [unless, of course, the crazy caucus writes in Allen West to replace him].

John Boehner, himself, enjoys only a 20% approval ratingamong voters in his own state.  A majority -- 59% -- disapprove of his work in Congress.  Even Republicans are only lukewarm on Boehner: 37% approve, 34% disapprove.

When the 114th Congress is seated, in January 2015, Republicans will choose their House speaker, so times like these inspire Boehner to rear up on his hind legs and let out a Speaker-ish bellow.

He did not disappoint:

I've made clear to the President if he acts unilaterally on his own outside of his authority he will poison the well and there will be no chance for immigration reform moving forward in this Congress. It's as simple as that.

When you play with matches, you take the risk of burning yourself and he's going to burn himself if he continues to go down that path.

That Obama! just like a naughty child disobeying his betters.  Look for the "poisoned well" to become a Republican meme.

What will Republicans top priority be when the 114th Congress takes over?

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Sat Nov 01, 2014 at 01:38 PM PDT

Sharyl Atkisson's Epic Marketing Fail

by BetteNoir

Well, it looks like Sharyl Atkisson has gone full metal nutjob. Perhaps it's the company she keeps, these days?  Heeding the Marketing 101 rule "know your audience," Atkisson is busy hyping her book -- Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama’s Washington” [catchy title]-- to talk-radio conspiracy fans.

On Thursday, Atkisson sat down with Rick Wiles of Trunews which bills itself as "the only nightly newscast reporting the countdown to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ."

Atkisson and Wiles are a perfect fit. Atkisson's tale of persecution at the hands of the tyrannical Obama administration dovetails nicely with Wiles stated belief that Barack Obama is the "Antichrist" and a "stealth jihadist" who is planning a 9/11 terrorist style attack on American schools.

Furthermore, Atkisson agrees with Wiles [rather inarticulately for a major league news figure, I might add] that America is trending toward a "full-blown totalitarian dictatorship."

More below . . .

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Outgoing Rep. Paul Broun (R-Not Soon Enough), got his name in the paper today for saying something ignorant and outlandish on the Rick Wiles radio program.  Rick Wiles is a conservative wingnut welfare recipient who has dedicated his life and career to goading reality-challenged conservatives to spout extremist idiocy on air.  Rep Broun is a regular there.

This time, Rep Broun, himself a physician, held forth on his evolving views on the Ebola "crisis" in America:

Barack Obama’s using the military to actually expose them which could expose further people across this country.

The military should have told Obama, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and all the military leaders should have said, ‘Mr. President, this is not a military function, do not do this, we’re not going to send our troops into harm’s way,’ because they have a responsibility to the troops and they could have told the president, ‘no, we’re not going to do this,’ and they should have.

Gee, I wonder why that never occurred to the Joint Chiefs? maybe it had to do with the military's actual mission?
The U.S. military has already committed to building a 25-bed portable hospital in Liberia, but Obama is expected to announce the construction of 17 Ebola treatment centers in the region, with some 1,700 treatment beds. Along with building facilities to quarantine and treat Ebola patients, the U.S. military will train up to 500 local health workers a week to handle the disease and the crisis.
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PeeDee Tony
Texas Tony
Well, it's been quite a week for Anthony P Culler.  Culler, a Republican, is challenging Rep Jim Clyburn (D-SC) for South Carolina's District 6 seat . . .
Clyburn, a popular Democrat in a deep blue district has been serving in Congress since 1993, and as the Assistant Democratic Leader since 2011. He was previously House Majority Whip, serving in that post from 2007 to 2011.
Mr Culler has admitted that this is a David and Goliath match-up.  He is a white male Republican running in a district that was --
defined, in the early 1990s, in a deal between state Republicans (mostly white) and Democrats (mostly black) in the South Carolina General Assembly to ensure a majority-black population, known as a majority-minority district. The rural counties of the historical black belt in South Carolina make up much of the district, but it sweeps south to include most of the black precincts in Charleston, and west to include most of the black precincts in Columbia.
Despite the odds, though, Mr Culler has figured out an attention-getting angle to try to juice his chances when the district goes to the polls:
"This is our minority majority district," Culler said. "It's the black district. That's what some people call it. … I've got another description for this district, it's a Christian district."

"We believe in the way that it's always been," Culler continued.

Culler urged voters to turn out on election day and vote for him.

"No matter how many Gremlins there are across this country, we here in the sixth district will stand against it," Culler said.

More after the orange mobius . . .
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Well, I must admit that this is an audacious new offensive in the War On Women that the American Enterprise Institute has launched just in time for mid-term elections.  Leading the charge is one Caroline Kitchens, conservatives' stand-in for a hip young thing, urging her millennial sisters to throw caution to the wind and have a good old time on their girls' night out because there's no such thing as date rape -- it's simply the Liberal Feminists newest invention to rob America of its all-American-ness.

AEI bills Ms Kitchens as a "senior research associate" which sounds scientific and Think-Tanky. What it really means is that young Caroline graduated from Duke, two years ago with a BA in Poli-Sci and got herself an internship at AEI.  Following graduation, AEI hired Kitchens on as a Research Assistant and in the astonishingly short period of two years, the precocious Ms Kitchens has blasted through AEI's glass ceiling, rising from fetching Jonah Goldberg's lattes to Senior Research something-or-other advising the young flowers of conservative womanhood in the ways of the world.

And she should be ashamed of herself.

I hate to come across as mean to the poor thing but these pathological social conservatives simply must be stopped and blunt force is the only thing the left hasn't tried enough of.

This is groundless, unscientific damaging hokum coming from the lowest, most cynical depths of political propaganda and feeding young, impressionable women this ideological pablum should be criminal.  Ms Kitchens, you are young and might not be fully aware of it but your handlers are putting you on camera to say really idiotic stuff that most of us are sane and intelligent enough to recognize as idiotic stuff.  We're not stupid and, presumably, neither are you.  You are blaming the victims of violent crimes and diminishing their experiences and their humanity, while simultaneously letting the perpetrators feel justified in their crime.

But, if you're bent on pursuing this sad little career of yours, take a tip from Grandma, dear, and lose the Ideal Conservative Woman look.  You're just not going to win over that many coeds looking like something out of a Desperate Housewives audition.

Sheeeesh.  These people are nuts . . .

Update for sfinx below the squiggle:

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Rep Dennis Ross (R-Round the Bend) is a man of action.  And he has the toolbox to make things happen.  So, the minute this here election is over, he's returning to Congress with an emergency bill in his briefcase to save Americans from Ebola.

Rep Ross agrees with his colleagues that a travel ban is the way to go (because a big plastic bubble over the country would take too much time to roll out).  Doctors, epidemiologists and international experts have traveled to Congress to give their advice -- that travel bans won't help and could make things worse -- but, Republicans, being Republicans aren't buying it because . . . . well, aren't doctors and experts usually elites trained in liberal universities? and doesn't Obama hope that we're all too sick to stop his world conquest?

For whatever reason, Republicans have decided that they know best and should therefore take charge.  So, they wrote a letter to the President to apprise him of the fact that they are taking the lead on Ebola -- as soon as the election is over.  So far, 53 Republicans and six Democrats, who might as well be, have joined up.

More below the squiggle . . .


What is the biggest threat to Americans' quality of life in 2014?

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Heads are exploding all over the Conserva-sphere, today.  Mostly because the owners of those heads don't read very carefully.  

CJ Chivers broke a story, in The New York Times, exposing a Bush administration and Pentagon coverup of the fact that US military troops were, with some frequency, stumbling upon, and in some cases being wounded by, chemical agents while deployed in Iraq.

Just the media source and a little bit of introductory information were enough to get the Right cackling with glee and spewing out delirious Bush Vindication blurbs.  They were not all that troubled by the fact that some US soldiers have been damaged for life by their exposure to chemicals, or that those soldiers were sent into harm's way without adequate training and protection against what the military knew was there.  They were just so danged delighted to be able to say "See! Libtards, this is your own lamestream media spilling the story that our princeling was right all along.  So bite me!"

more below

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As others before me have noted, Tom Cotton (R-AR) is just about the perfect Republican candidate for the 21st century, which should put us sane people on guard.  Cotton's a telegenic "aw, shucks" Arkansas farmboy, an Iraq-Afghanistan military vet, with a Harvard Law degree on top, who is more than willing to make an utter fool of himself saying any damned ignorant thing that will keep the GOP's fun-house audience in a state of arousal.

Guys like this (looking at you, Ted Cruz) always fascinate me because they are, by all standards, smart, disciplined and well-educated.  So how is it that they can allow themselves to be completely sucked in by crackpot gibberish that wouldn't fool most twelve year olds?  Where is their self-respect, if nothing else, when they stand up and soberly spout completely unfounded gibberish that 80% of the world is tittering over?

So far, during his brief tenure in Congress, Cotton has signed on with the "Hell, No! caucus" and shared these pearls of legislative wisdom:

"I don’t think Arkansas needs to bail out the Northeast,” Cotton once said of his vote against the Hurricane Sandy relief bill.

He has dismissed the potential for default if the debt ceiling was not raised as a desirable “short-term market correction.”

He said food stamps should be cut because too many recipients live high on the hog: “They have steak in their basket, and they have a brand-new iPhone, and they have a brand-new SUV.”

Plenty more below . . .
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Life in 21st century America is a hectic, demanding business and keeping up with current events can be like trying to drink from a water cannon.  By cosmic standards, humans have developed mad communication skills virtually overnight.  We have evolved from grunters to spinmeisters who communicate incessantly with each other.  And, today, we are inundated, 24/7, with information from global events to what the kids would like for supper.  Human brains could conceivably be short-circuited by this torrent of data but, happily, we are equipped with filters.

Linguists study some of those filters in a discipline they call semiotics -- the study of signs and symbols.  And one way that we sort through the daily barrage of "signs and symbols" linguists refer to as salience, which simply means ranking communications by their relative importance to a particular audience.  

Salience plays a critical role in interpersonal communication, politics, propaganda and mass media and has a huge impact on human psychology and sociology.  It is a factor in how and why humans form groups and get things done and, more recently, why things "go viral" and rise to the top of the news cycle, sometimes inexplicably.

I have studied such things and ultimately made a successful career from that study because people who understand such weird science, and how to put it into play, are scarce but valuable commodity to American government and corporations.

If I'm close to losing you, hang in there.  I'm done with linguistics.  This is merely my prelude -- albeit relevant, as I'll eventually show -- to another topic with more general appeal which lies below the orange calligraphic.

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