Archive for category Conservative Sell-Outs

The War Power, The Sergeant, the Senator: Treason or Heroism

The Sergeant who some years ago left his post in that unnecessary and unwinnable war in
Afghanistan is either a hero, a traitor, or just a terribly young man in the wrong war at the wrong time. He spent terrible years of torture and probably said things he didn’t really mean.

Some years ago in Vietnam, Senator McCain was shot down over Vietnam, another unconstitutional war, and equally unwinnable war, confessed repeatedly to things he later recanted, once safely in the United States, and is, quite rightly regarded, despite his confessions to American war crimes, a hero. The two cases are not quite completely on all fours, as we say in the law. But the similarity is sufficient to compare with each other and with the undergirding of law.

Presidents, from George Washington to Barack Obama, who are visited by war, either their own or, like Obama, inherited from another (in Obama’s case two other) fools who preceded them, have always had this power. While not yet president, and without this act may well not have become president, Ronald Reagan communicated with Iran, telling them, in effect, just to refuse to deal with Carter on releasing our citizens from the U. S. Embassy in Iran, and await his presidency. Their deal (which killed Jimmie Carter’s hope for a second term and by the way was treason, meriting a firing squad.)

The 30, 60, 90 day notification of Congress is also unconstitutional, but not for the reasons the Republicans and Democrats alike, trumpet. Saint Paul, as I recall, said “this trumpet has an uncertain sound.” And I know he said that some leaders have “zeal without knowledge.” This is Republican and Democratic leaders on steroids, just like my former wife.

The reason the War Powers Act is unconstitutional is not what is now said by either Republicans or Democrats, as I told Joe Biden when he was both Minority Senior member of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Senate and when he was chair. I testified before his committee a few times, and he called me at the law school sometimes to chat about this. The reason is simple. Due to both a few but very senior Democrats and almost all Republicans, Congress forced the Demo’s to give the president 30, 60, or 90 days to play with Congress’ army while he picked his nose. War has not been officially declared since FDR did it in WW2. George Bush (the first) and Colin Powell, in my opinion, got it right, constitutionally, by voting 50-50 in the Senate, and then the Dark Lord, Vice President Cheney, broke the tie and we went to war in Iraq the right way by law; and they had the smarts to stop when their limited mission was accomplished. And until this time, the President, as Commander in Chief, has no constitutional power to use the United States armed forces, save self-defense.

In the Framers’ mind that means only when the United States of America, not our allies, are attacked. For Utahns, the reason J. Reuben Clark, my hero and a great patriot, a rock-ribbed Republican who served under many Republican presidents, served variously as chief legal adviser to the Department of State (then, as an deputy Attorney General on loan from Justice to State,,,,,,now called Legal Adviser to the State Department; and Vice Secretary of State, and Ambassador to Mexico; and advised many presidents between world wars one and two, on all arms control treaties between those to dreadful wars) opposed NATO was because it delegated the war power to a generation not yet born and for the defense of people, and nations, not yet born. Neither the United Nations (Korean War) nor NATO (Ukraine?) can declare war for the United States of America. This is the statement of law, the War Clause, that makes this beyond debate. Remember, that it is also the sole right of Congress: not the President of the United States, nor NATO, nor the United Nations, that decides what constitutes International law, as well. So, both Constitutional Law and International Law, save an attack on the United States, inform us that Congress, not the president or these international bodies, who determines for war or peace.

So screw the people and the Congress and president now living. When the president, any president, has this army to use, that army will never return to Congress’ care. This is unconstitutional because it is an illegal attempt to delegate to the President a plenary power, given exclusively, textually, to the Congress. Like the power over interstate commerce (the road by which most civil rights legislation is constitutional), along with the equal protection and due process of law clauses of the 5th and 14th amendments. It’s as if Congress were to say to Obama, “Say, friend, we’re so damned tired of life in Washington, despite the cherry blossoms, we will do what the Supreme Court does, and reconvene when good weather returns. We’re going to go to Balboa Island, California, where it’s nice and sunny, in ocean or on the beach, and pick our nose and scratch our butts. And better yet, we have one in eight chances not to pick both with the same finger. Even though we’ve proven, time out of mind, that we in Congress cannot chew gum and pick our nose, simultaneously (a great blessing). So, pres., you now have the taxing and the spending power, and we’ll sweeten the loaf by throwing into the pot, since you do have to stick around in this shitty weather, and give you the power also to fund and provide for the Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Navy. And don’t sweat it about financing things by the provision in the Constitution that spending bills begin in the House. Since you already have the taxing and spending power, do all this in the White House. P.S. please instruct the Treasury Department to deliver our checks, our salaries, and all the REALLY big bucks from the armaments industry and all those other lobbyists. We really have earned this right by selling our souls to the devil. Have a good life.

I say that both Senator and Soldier are bona fide heroes. Ed Firmage xoxox


Mike Lee Storms The Beaches of South Jordan

Mike Lee, sophomore senator from the embarrassed state of Utah, gets a full, ten minute standing ovation with chants of “we like Mike”, “we like Mike!

With children and mothers all around, this man, who stood up against labor laws which have prevented children from child labor got a longer standing ovation then president Eisenhower probably ever got at a speech.

Watch as much as you can stand:

The YouTube videos of Sir. Lee saying that anti child labor laws are unconstitutional no longer exist, but there are at least two websites that are trying to provide them:

Thinkprogress and Huffington Post.

I was present at a “tea party” “event” at the State Capitol, took pictures, and gave this account on this blog. Mike Lee was there, running for office. There was so much wind blowing and the dust was so thick that all of us almost choked and an American flag hit me so hard, I almost got knocked out.


But there is a better account of the scope of the deceit. I only observed three buses, but the original Tea Party, which was a TRUE grass roots movement, got the story right:

We should band together!

Update: The Deseret News had this story: Hundreds rally for Sen. Mike Lee despite low approval numbers
From the article:

“I do not approve of him and I do not think he is fulfilling the best interests of his constituents,” said Mel Walker, who held a sign that, at one point, was ripped from her hands by Lee supporters.

Sounds about right. I lost numerous “IMPEACH BUSH” signs in that manner.


The Age of Disruption: Impact on the Military Industrial Complex

Watching conservatives oppose military intervention in Syria has been entertaining to say the least.  We all know that if the occupants of the White Hosue were a Republican, they’d be cheerleading for the most ruinous attack possible, telling us that Assad is the moral equal of Pol Pot, Hitler, Mussolini and Jeffrey Dahmer all rolled into one.  Not so long ago, however, most of Washington DC would have joined in supporting an attack.  A few years ago, an attack on Syria would have been a foregone conclusion, there would have been sporadic opposition but it would have happened, and at least inside the “establishment” would have been regarded as necessary and possibly even good.  A great many Democrats supported action against Iraq in 2002 and 2003 (despite their doubts of its success) because the necessity of military action was accepted, common wisdom even if their instincts told them it was a disaster waiting to happen.

The disasters of Iraq and Afghanistan were/are simply to big to be ignored, even by hawkish political insiders.  When someone as reliably dim and possessed of the conventional wisdom as George Will doesn’t favor a military strike, you know something has shifted. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Mother of Awkward Moments

And I’ve had some BIG ones, but this is precious.

Meatloaf tortures Romney, LIVE, on stage.

Lee Greenwood called in sick.

Rosanne Barr’s plane got delayed.

I haven’t even looked to see if Romney was wearing his flag lapel pin, and I don’t care. We all know he was wrapped in the flag.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


Strom Thurmond Was A Malevolent Forrest Gump

So says Michael O’Donnell in a review of Strom Thurmond’s America by Joseph Crespino at the Washington Monthly.  Thurmond was the exemplar of an unfortunately common Southerner of his time.  O’Donnell’s summary of Thurmond:

Like many artists and most bigots, Strom Thurmond was highly productive early in life. By the age of fifty-five, the humorless South Carolina reactionary had run for president as a Dixiecrat, secured election to the U.S. Senate, penned the neo-confederate “Southern Manifesto” denouncing Brown v. Board of Education, and performed the longest one-man filibuster in the Senate’s history: a ghastly King Lear with pitchfork and noose, in which Thurmond denounced the 1957 Civil Rights Act as the death of liberty. (It ended when he grew hoarse and sat down.) When Lyndon Johnson pushed the much toothier Civil Rights Act of 1964 through Congress, he again did it over Thurmond’s filibuster. The following year, Thurmond fought the Voting Rights Act. His political idols were John C. Calhoun, Robert E. Lee, and Spiro Agnew. In his most famous speech, Thurmond pledged in 1948 that there were not enough troops in the Army to force “the southern people” to “admit the nigger race into our theaters, into our swimming pools, into our homes, and into our churches.” But apparently they were allowed into “our” beds: in 1925 the twenty-two-year-old Thurmond sired a child with a sixteen-year-old African American family maid. His illegitimate daughter remained anonymous until her father’s death in 2003.

What makes Crespino’s book noteworthy is that he is able to move is focus past Thurmond’s racism and observe:

. . .  it is precisely Thurmond’s loathsomeness on racial issues that obscures his larger role in American politics. Like some malevolent Forrest Gump, Thurmond was there at all the major choke points of modern conservative history: the 1948 breakaway from the Democrats of the short-lived States’ Rights Democratic (or Dixiecrat) Party, Barry Goldwater’s 1964 presidential campaign, Richard Nixon’s southern strategy in 1968, and Ronald Reagan’s ascendance in 1980. A Democrat until 1964, Thurmond was the fulcrum on which the parties traded places on race issues. His trademark use of nasty populism dressed up in constitutional principle has echoes today on the far right — the territory of Rush Limbaugh and the shrillest of the Tea Partiers. Yet he also helped cement the association between conservatives on the one hand and big business, the Christian right, and anticommunism on the other.

O’Donnell’s review is worth the read – and it sounds as if Crespino’s book is as well.

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Paul Ryan – Right Wing Hothouse Flower

Andrew Sullivan is on vacation so the Dishterns are doing the writing.  It’s been way less wankerific, witness today’s post:

One can call it courage or arrested development. But he is, in some ways, a pellucidly bright plant bred in the conservative movement’s hydroponic greenhouse. Barely exposed to natural light, these young fertile saplings are fed with a constant drip of Koch money, sprayed with anti-liberal pesticides and brought eventually into the political marketplace with joyful children, a lovely wife and a set of abs Aaron Schock would die for (and probably has). He has no life or experience outside the greenhouse – which is why he glows with its certainties. Most important, he has that quintessential characteristic of the modern conservative – total denial of the recent past. Ryan was instrumental and supportive of the most fiscally reckless administration in modern times. He gave us a massive new unfunded entitlement, two off-budget wars and was key to ensuring that the Bowles-Simpson plan was dead-on-arrival. This alleged fire-fighter – whose credentials are perceived as impeccable in Washington – just quit being an arsonist.

Shorter version:  he’s a self-serving tool who helped create the mess, pretends it didn’t happen and proposes we do the same thing again.

On the Republican side, we now have a debt-reduction plan that actually cuts tax rates for the very rich along with everyone else, vastly increases defense spending, and “balances” the entire thing on gutting care for the old, the poor and the sick (the Medicaid proposal is truly Darwinian) and ending loopholes (which Ryan refuses to specify). I’m all for ending loopholes but even then, we wouldn’t get a balanced budget for three decades because of all the defense spending and tax cutting.

This isn’t conservatism. It’s rightist theology. In a fiscal emergency, the Republicans are proposing not clear remedies but ideological fantasies that were already disproven in 1990. They have learned nothing. And the immense damage they inflicted on this country’s fiscal health in the last decade would be nothing compared to what would come under a Ryan-Romney administration.

Because it compounds the errors that came before it.

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Mitt’s Big Budget Speech – Not So Much Factual as Fact Challenged

Tuesday, Mittens delivered a rip roaring budget speech that the AP described as less the entirely factual.  The real analysis however comes from Jonathan Chait:

Mitt Romney delivered a speech today about the budget deficit. It’s hard to wrap your arms around Romney’s argument, because it’s an amalgamation of free-floating conservative rage and anxiety, completely untethered to any facts, as agreed upon by the relevant experts.

That’s the nicest thing he says about Romney’s speech.

Not only does Romney elide vast swaths of established facts about the deficit, it’s fairly clear that he does not operate within the mainstream understanding of the term “deficit” at all. As Jonathan Bernstein has repeatedly explained, modern Republican behavior and even language in relation to the deficit is completely nonsensical if you understand “the deficit” to mean the gap between revenue and outlays. Republican use of the term only makes sense if you define “the deficit” to mean “spending Republicans don’t like.” That’s why Republicansconsider it impossible to believe that one could simultaneously extend health insurance to the uninsured while reducing the deficit.

The final is the most damning:

 It’s [the speech] an expression of conservative moral beliefs about the role of government. While loosely couched in budgetary terms, Romney is expressing an analysis that resides outside of, and completely at odds with, mainstream macroeconomic forecasting and scoring assumptions.

It occurs to me that what’s happened is incredibly simple.  For today’s Republican base, caught up in the fundamentalist fervor of a war between good and evil, there is no solution that isn’t a moral solution.  Those sluts who have sex outside of marriage are bad people, irresponsible people, and giving them health insurance that covers contraception is immoral.  Those gays who want to get married are bad, irresponsible people and letting them marry is immoral.  And so on and so on.  The job of government is to enforce their morals until such time as paradise ensues.


Bishop Wester is Wrong: Religious Freedom is Not Under Attack

Yesterday, the Salt Lake Tribune published an op-ed from Bishop John C. Wester of the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City in which the Bishop claims:

More and more, I get the distinct impression that the voice of religion is not welcome in the public square. Even more troubling, it seems to me that the bedrock of religious freedom is being limited as our government wades into the dangerous waters of defining what is or is not a church.

The HHS definition of a church essentially creates a two-tiered structure — protecting the sanctuary while relegating works of charity to an inferior, unprotected status. For the Catholic Church, the works of charity we perform through our social service agencies, schools, and hospitals are deeply rooted in the beliefs we express in the sanctuary. To define us in any other way is to violate our right to practice what we preach.

With all due respect to Wester, he’s either being deliberately dishonest or disingenuous.  I’ll let you take a few moments and enjoy Stephen Colbert’s take down of the church’s position.  And interesting take on the contretemps at Andrew Sullivan’s blog reads, in part:

Birth control is for 98% of women the principal means of protecting a right central to their own liberty – the right to choose when to create a family. Chances are most women employed by Catholic universities and hospitals are part of the 98%. For these women, not having access to birth control renders a crucially important right meaningless.

Full insurance coverage is a critical part of the picture. Birth control is an expensive product – $81 a month is considered a steal with no contribution from your insurance, but that number still prices out many women. Even insurance plans that have copayscan be prohibitively pricey. Cheaper alternatives like condoms have significant failure rates. Insurance, overwhelmingly provided by employers in the American system, that covers birth control with no copays is a woman’s best bet.

Women’s freedom to control their reproductive lives should be, in my mind, a central value of a modern society.  It also touches on what John McGowan talked about in his book American Liberalism when he discussed effective freedom.  Denying access to or making access to contraception so complex and expensive as to effectively prohibit it is an attack on women’s effective freedom, on the ability of women to self realize their goals for themselves.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Rick Santorum Calls For Regulating the Internet and Believes Freedom Should be Limited

GOP Presidential candidate Rick Santorum has a freedom problem. He says there is too much freedom on the Internet and it should be regulated. He was the only candidate that did not take a strong stand against SOPA and PIPA and called for regulating the Internet and said freedom should be limited. He called those that want limited government “radical individualism”. Rick Santorum is no conservative. Don’t be fooled by this authoritarian masquerading as a conservative.

“They have this idea that people should be left alone, be able to do whatever they want to do, government should keep our taxes down and keep our regulations low, that we shouldn’t get involved in the bedroom, we shouldn’t get involved in cultural issues.

That is not how traditional conservatives view the world. There is no such society that I’m aware of, where we’ve had radical individualism and that it succeeds as a culture.”

– Rick Santorum

See also Rick Santorum is tired of you people wanting the government to leave you alone on Hot Air.

Freedom is limited and Internet should be regulated

Santorum defends SOPA

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Knowing where Republicans bread is buttered

Just remember, if you allow a temporary tax cut to expire, that is class warfare. Unless the the tax cut is on low and middle incomes. Then it is just Republican BAU.

Senate repubs blocked the dems plan to actually help the economy because it included a tax on income over $1 million. There is just no reason to pick on people making more than a million a year. That is just mean. They have enough trouble as it is. Do you have any idea how much caviar prices have gone up lately? The republican measure extends the same payroll tax cut by freezing federal pay. I see nothing wrong with that. Why those greedy federal employees, most of whom make enough to actually buy food (the bastards) think they should not have to tighten their belts in these tough times is beyond me. I mean have you seen the jobless rate! And that is despite the private sector adding millions of jobs! Which means all the job losses are in government jobs… It is almost like the repubs are destroying the economy on purpose or something.

At any rate, this means that the repubs can get another card on the table, as Boehner will be able to wheel his pathetic orange carcass into the next meeting to try and tie the oil pipeline to middle class tax relief.

Republicans, turns out the aren’t anti-tax, just anti-tax for millionaires. And if you can shit on the planet while you do it, even better!


Holly Richardson: Dog Whistling Water Girl or Democrat Trapped in Mamma Grizzly Bear?

Holly Tree Richardson - Killer smile!


Even for a liberal, it’s hard not to fall in love with new Utah state rep, Holly Richardson.* She has a killer smile. She’s a political activist, Orrin Hatch hater, blogger, mid-wife and she’s adopted a gaggle of foster kids as diverse as the United Nations. Simply put, Holly Mama ROCKS!

What’s not to love?

In the normal course of flirting with Holly on Facebook, I implied possibly having given a sleeping bag to one of her kids down at Occupy Salt Lake City.  Well didn’t I get slapped right back with a feistiness that would make Coulter/Bachmann/Palin proud. It still gives me tingles:

“Nah, my kids actually have a work ethic and don’t believe they are entitled to a job, to a college education or that pooping on people’s porches is appropriate behavior.”

Holly Richardson's mean reference to Occupy Wall Street Occupiers

OWS People's porch poopers

I LOVE THAT! But Holly, Holly Help me Here! Didn’t we as a nation decide our kids should be entitled to a college education AND a job?  Can we not promise that?

Because the alternative IS pooping on peoples’ porches.”

In my heart of hearts I think Holly surprised even herself and on her excellent blog, cleverly disguised her apology in a nod to the 4th Amendment.

…the casual use of pepper spray for students who posed no physical threat to police is frankly an embarrassment and an affront to our nation’s belief in free speech. I don’t agree with the Occupy protestorsbut […here comes the apology], I support their right to express their point of view.

Personal Note to Holly Richardson: (all others may stop reading now):

Holly, Everyone is saying you used the UC Davis pepper spray incident as an opportunity to associate yourself with the big banks, Freedom Works and the Koch brothers at the expense of the Patriotic Pepper-sprayed, Porch-Poopers.

Tell me it ain’t so.

Think for a moment Holly: Conservatives have been on the wrong side of every major, popular movement in world history until they supported them, INCLUDING the American revolution. Do YOU want to be on the wrong side of history?  Life is long.

I remind m’ Lady, the Tories may have secretly liked the idea of independence, but they were scared wig-less about the messy way it was going down. And they got mean about it too. You should’ve heard what they said about the Boston tea partiers (the real ones).  You’d have had to cover your ears. No, Hopeful Holly, the Conservatives of those times made life hell for George Washington and the porch-poopingpatriots” who decided to occupy their colonies.

In your defense, people say ya’ll Conservatives are afraid of change. That is absurd.**  Ya’ll seem to LOVE change — just decades later.  American Conservatives are really just afraid of  the specter of mobs.

I have good news, the OWS “porch poopers” are doctors, engineers, students, Land Rover-driving soccer Moms, librarians and Minsters and we love you! We are you.

Holly, they say you’ve capitulated to the GOP instinct that says ring shout.  Tell me it ain’t so.

Be on the right side of history. Holly, Hear me Holler! The Occupy Movement is ALREADY on the right side of history.  Things happen a lot faster today than they did when that smelly Paul Revere-hippie went bell-tower spamming on horseback.

Join us Holly! Tell that Obama bastardo to call off the DHS! I promise you’ll get just as much mileage and spare having to explain yourself to your kids someday in the future when they are able to think for themselves.



*Note: In January of this year, Holly Richardson was selected/elected/appointed to the Utah State House of Representatives to replace Craig Frank, District 57.

**Note: Every conservative I know loves light-rail and rock concerts at Red Butte once they try them

Editors Note: Personally, I think Mika Brzenzki’s response to this terribly unfortunate rhetoric reflects the kind of graceful passion I like in my ladies.



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Updated: Wall Street Protest Live!

Tell anyone you know within range of New York City to GET DOWN THERE!

Live Stream: Protesters Occupy Wall Street

Over a thousand protesters began occupying Wall Street on Saturday in response to what they call “the economic occupation” of big banks and moneyed interests. The protesters, part of the Occupy Wall Street movement, plan to engage in a long-term civil disobedience.

Funny.  I dont see any Tea Baggers.  I guess the Koch Bros aren’t paying for this excursion.

Update 5pm, 9.19.2011 – CBS is the first of the MSM to report on this.

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