Archive for category Tea Party

Here We Go Again

Shutdown 8 days

The question is, with Republican control of both houses of Congress, is our government becoming more dysfunctional or less dysfunctional? During his re-election campaign, incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell threatened a string of government shutdowns. Right-wing Republican House members think they have 30 to 40 “no” votes on a government funding bill proposed by Speaker John Boehner, which is enough to shut down the government again.

The government will run out of spending authority on December 11 unless Congress passes a continuing resolution.

Lots of observers are saying, “Last year’s government shutdown was politically disastrous for Republicans.” But was it really? It cost us $24 billion in lost economic activity, but what did the Tea-GOP lose? Economic sabotage has been a winning strategy for them.

UPDATE:
December 11, 9:30 am — A little over 12 hours to go until government shutdown. The $1.014 trillion Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act (HR 83) has been dubbed “CRomnibus” as it is a combined continuing resolution (CR) and omnibus spending bill. There are so many controversial measures tucked into this legislation that it’s hard to list them all. The main point of contention is the de-regulation of Wall Street investment banks, allowing them to trade in risky derivatives using taxpayer-guaranteed deposits (what could possibly go wrong?). Page 1,599 of the bill effectively kills what’s left of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform. There’s much, much more — bad for the average American, bad for the environment, and great for the 1 Percent. Remember everything in this legislation is a surprise because none of it was debated openly and no hearings have been held.

House Dems are being told that they have to vote for this stinker, otherwise the Tea-GOP will come up with something worse after they take over the Senate next year. Some, for example Senator Elizabeth Warren, say the CRomnibus ought to be replaced by a stopgap spending bill. IMHO even a government shutdown at midnight would be preferable to passing this bill.

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Erick Erickson to Tea-GOP: ‘Shut. It. Down.’

Via Media Matters.

Faux News Channel political analyst Erick Erickson, an influential voice among Tea Party Republicans, is calling on the new GOP Congress to push for a government shutdown. In a November 18 post to his RedState.com website headlined “Shut. It. Down.”, Erickson says that the 2013 shutdown provides an excellent model for Republicans to follow now that they control both houses of Congress.

He thinks that President Obama will get the blame for another Tea-GOP government shutdown.

Block Obama. Let him show himself again to be the petulant man-child Americans have started recognizing. And this time, when he shuts down the government, keep it shut till you have your way and then hold public hearings to show how Obama selectively shut things down to hurt the voters intentionally.

Bring. It. On.

UPDATE:
Erickson To GOP: Shut Government Down — There Are No Consequences!

“[T]he voters did not elect the GOP to do any part of their own agenda,” he wrote. “The GOP did absolutely nothing but run on ‘we are not Obama.’ If that is the image they rebuilt, then they need to not be Obama and need to not fund Obama’s agenda.”

UPDATE:
Heritage vetoes Republican ‘rescission’ plan

Republican leaders on the Hill may be looking for a way out of the hole they dug for themselves, but finding a solution that the right considers acceptable will probably be even more difficult than it was the last time the GOP shut down the federal government.

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Surprise! Federal Charges Brought Against Illegal ATV Ride

Venomous
Salt Lake Tribune photo

Did anybody actually think that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) was serious about enforcing the non-motorized trail restrictions in Recapture Canyon? It took four months, but yesterday acting U.S. Attorney Carlie Christensen brought charges against the five organizers of last May’s illegal ATV ride.

These guys are innocent until proven guilty, and even if found guilty the penalty will probably be a small fine. However it’s nice to see the rule of law kick in once in a while.

The BLM closed the canyon to motorized vehicles in 2007 after some locals constructed an illegal ATV trail, damaging several archaeological sites. The closure has been a sore point with the southeastern Utah off-road crowd.

Note: I know one of the accused, and he’s a great guy. If he did break the law it would have been intended as a sincere act of civil disobedience, and I respect that even if I don’t agree with all his opinions about public lands.

34 Comments

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

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SUV’s, Pink Slime and the Conservative resistance

Back in 2008, there were very high gas prices. They skyrocketed during the Bush years and as gas prices went up, I saw fewer SUV’s and the sky was much less polluted. Utahns have responded to a problem and acted properly. Logically if gas prices go up, then you should use less. It only makes sense. Now in 2014, Gas prices are even higher. What do I see? There are even more trucks and they are larger. What happened in 5 years? Why is it that in 2014, when gas prices are higher while there is a greater inequality of wealth do we see more gas-guzzling vehicles? This scenario reminds me of a controversy back in 2012 where several republican governors went and defended Pink Slime. They defended this product which is the remaining scraps of beef ground into a fine paste and laced with ammonia. When the Obama Administration condemned that practice, several republicans ate the pink slime raw. In terms of gas prices and driving a big-ass truck, when the left keeps talking about the environment and how we have to lessen our impact, the right does the opposite. This is a backwards thinking and this is by far the scariest thing I have seen in this country. This goes beyond hurting others and goes straight into the realm of hurting themselves. All for political regression.

I get that the right does not like Obama or anyone from the [snickers] “left”, but just because you feel that they are the enemy does not mean that you do the exact opposite of what they do. Sure, there are people who are afraid of communism and socialism, but even then when Russia became the first nation to reach space, the US didn’t start digging holes to reach the mantle as a protest. Instead they got into space to better them. It’s not even a thing that the left does. I may think that Bush is the worst president we have ever had, but when he signed a bill to illegalize telemarketing, I didn’t all of a sudden support telemarketers and buy into their scams.

We are in a very interesting fork in the road. We have issues with war, issues with the environment, issues with our education, with our economy, with our GDP and we can go either two ways. The first one is that we do what Utahns back in 2008 did. We identify the problems and correct them. Or we could say that logic and reason is the devil/communism/unamerican/whatever and end up ruining our society permanently. This isn’t even a joke. Last year, the world was on the brink of total economic collapse all because they wanted to repeal Obamacare. Something that was a republican idea to begin with. We are in the 21st century. We need to act like it’s the 21’s century or we will end up in the 5th century.

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Boehner: Just Call Us The Tea-GOP

Mad Hatters Tea Party

Via Sahil Kapur, Talking Points Memo:

The Republican party and the tea party are one and the same.

That’s according to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), who was asked Thursday at his weekly press conference if the string of victories for establishment-preferred candidates in the GOP primaries this week amount to a victory against the tea party.

“We had a lot of good candidates running across the country,” he said. “I thought the election went well. We had good candidates on the ballot.”

“I’m not going to get into this distinction between the tea party and Republicans,” Boehner added. “It’s a distinction you’re going to have a hard time finding.”

It’s Tea-GOP from now on. A convenient way to avoid the redundant phrase “right-wing Republicans.”

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Bill Maher To Democrats: Stand Your Ground, Stop Being Wimps And Embrace Jimmy Carter

Via HuffPo:

Bill Maher points out the obvious- Democrats are mostly political invertebrates, and they are headed for a disaster this November if they don’t find some courage.

“When a Tea Partyer says Obamacare is a government takeover, say ‘I wish!’ Because that would mean Medicare for All. And you know, Medicare is hugely popular in America. So let’s see — getting behind something that’s hugely popular, for all… No, too hard a sell.”

Also, Jimmy Carter was right about energy and so much else. Why are Dems ashamed of him?

UPDATE:
Let’s recall that President Obama dragged his feet for more than four years before putting solar panels back on the White House — because he didn’t want Faux News Channel to compare him to President Carter.

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Best Political Cartoon of the Last Forty or Fifty Years

Modern “conservatives” pull over “the thinker”.

thinker

Says it all, don’t ya think?

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A Case for The Elimination of Food Stamps. Charities Can Feed The Poor Without Government Help.

Children are starving in the U.S.As funny as it is informative.

Forbes Magazine guy makes the case that charities can feed the poor without gov’t help.

This is just another Christian – Tea Party – Libertarian meme of course.

But I’ve never heard it expresses with such certainty and seriousness. Forbes has finally jumped the shark with this clown.

 

 

 

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Everything Old Is New Again – Southern States Resisting Integration Again

Apparently, Southern Republicans governors have no shame.

John at Americablog has been following the story.

When the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act was struck down on June 26, 2013, the Pentagon ordered same-sex spouses to be treated the same as the spouses of heterosexual US service members.  The National Guards in the states mentioned above refused to issue ID cards to the spouses of gay service members, arguing that anti-”gay marriage” laws in the states forbade them from doing so.

These National Guard units are directly defying orders from the Secretary of Defense.  But it gets more interesting:

You see, there’s a little known fact that the National Guard, while split in its administration between the states and the federal government, tends to get the lion’s share of its funding from the feds.

Take Mississippi (please).  The Mississippi National Guard annual report for fiscal year 2011 shows that the state of Mississippi appropriated almost $7.8 million for the state National Guard.  In that same year, the federal government gave the Mississippi National Guard $679 million. In 2012, the figures were similar: $685 million from the feds, $7.2 million from the state of Mississippi.

In other words, Mississippi gets nearly 99% of the budget of its state National Guard from Secretary Hagel, the guy they’re now saying they don’t need.

The folks in South Carolina, who have never been on the right side of any civil issue in American history decided:

 . . . by telling the feds, in essence, that if they want blacks swimming in South Carolina pools, South Carolina will simply shut down the pools altogether, so no one can swim in them. South Carolina is now refusing to issue an ID to anyone, requiring all National Guard families, straight and gay, to go to federal facilities, which are not always nearby.  No word yet on whether South Carolina is going to balk at providing federal marriage benefits to gay couples.

The governor Oklahoma liked that approach so much, she took it a step further:

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) announced earlier this month that state-owned National Guard facilities will no longer allow any married couples to apply for spousal benefits, regardless of whether they are same-sex or opposite-sex. The Supreme Court’s decision overturning the Defense of Marriage Act means that servicemembers with same-sex spouses are now eligible for federal benefits. Fallin’s unusual tactic is designed to avoid having to recognize those couples, which she asserts would violate Oklahoma’s constitutional amendment limiting marriage to one man and one woman . . .

Oklahoma is not alone in defying Hagel’s orders. The Texas Military Force acknowledged this week that it will not allow same-sex couples to apply for a housing allowance at state-run National Guard facilities, having already turned away at least one couple. Mississippi, Louisiana, and Georgia have also refused to comply, but some states that previously had balked have begun complying, like West Virginia. A total of 29 states have constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage, but most are complying with the federal recognition for purposes of the National Guard.

It’s pretty simple.  The Secretary of Defense has authority over the National Guard.  The Federal Governments funds the national guard.  The actions of these states is nothing more than hostility to gay and lesbian folk.

1 Comment

Caucus or Primary? Count My Vote, Utah Elections and Political Parties

If you’ve been following the news lately, you will know that  Count My Vote is attempting to be a citizens initiative to change Utah’s caucus system to a primary system.   At a minimum, it’s gotten Utahns talking about how we select our candidates for public office which is good.  I’m not convinced Count My Vote’s solution solves the problem they claim to want to solve.  Will switching from the current caucus system improve voter engagement and turnout?  That depends on whether it addresses the reasons people don’t vote.

Do we know why Utah has low voter turnout in primary and general elections?  Why don’t eligible voters actually get out and vote? Read the rest of this entry »

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Does Senator Rafael (‘Ted’) Cruz Have His Own Health Care Plan?

Green eggs and ham

Senator Rafael (“Ted”) Cruz (R-TX), yesterday:

“Obamacare is reducing health care options, increasing costs and hurting jobs. It has no place in Texas and must be repealed so we can empower Americans and their families by offering real health care choices rather than a government-written menu of plans they don’t want and can’t afford.

President Obama should take his broken promises tour elsewhere so Texans can continue focusing on the solutions that have allowed our state to become and remain the nation’s economic and job creation powerhouse.”

Texas needs health care reform more than any other state. In addition to having the highest rate of people without health insurance in the nation, Texas also has the largest number of children without health insurance and the highest rate of poor adults without health insurance.

Therefore, it’s fair to ask if Senator Cruz has his own health care plan that’s better than the ACA. Actually, he does! Through his wife’s employer, Goldman Sachs, he’s enrolled in a fabulous health insurance policy worth at least $20,000 per year, including an $8,500/year federal subsidy.

Oh, you wanted to know if Senator Cruz has come up with a better health care plan for ordinary Americans? No, nothing.

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