Archive for appointments

Christie's Either Naive Or A Liar. Neither Makes Him Presidential

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Chris Christie bridge

Political payback? A scandal. A Conspiracy?

Well, it all depends on who you ask. But GW Bridgegate has become open field for speculation. And depending on who you ask, some office deputy in Chris Christie's Trenton office staff concocted this plan to shut a number of lanes to the world's busiest bridge, or maybe it's all been made up... it was just the fallout of a traffic study.

It's interesting to hear the many spins on this from both sides of the political aisle. But one that stands out is actually a denial of a conspiracy theory that Rachel Maddow put forth last night. She acknowledges that it's speculation at this point - but all conspiracy theories start out that way until they're debunked or proven right. Take Watergate. The My Lai massacre. The WMD's that we went to the Iraq War over. The Reagan Iran Contra Hearings. The fake Benghazi claims. The bogus IRS targeted scandal. Face it. There are things that are kismet, some even proved wrong, and others that are planned.

But who turns out to be the Governor of New Jersey's biggest apologist? The current New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney. A Democrat. Well, in name only when it comes to being under the thumbnail of Chris Christie. During the last gubernatorial election where Christie faced off against Barbara Buono, (the Democratic candidate and former New Jersey Senate President), the current office holder Sweeney refused to back his own party's candidate and a predecessor to his office. Was this a bullying tactic or fear tactic by Christie. Sweeney refuses to comment but when he found out about Rachel Maddow's supposition that there's another alternative reason that Christie had the bridge lanes closes, he didn't bother to go watch it. He chose instead to poo-poo this idea. He said that would be a conspiracy. And that just couldn't happen in his state.

You listen to the argument and decide for yourself whether a turncoat democrat like Sweeney is in any position to comment or whether Rachel Maddow makes some very logical sense. Pay attention to her dates and times in her proposition here. DINO and party turncoat Sweeney might be right. But I'd put my money on Maddow.

Added by Laffy:

Lawrence O'Donnell also had a thing or two to add regarding the Christie scandal. He was splendid:

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Sen. Grinch McConnell Spreads War On Christmas

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Grinch McConnell

Mitch McConnell isn't making any friends on either side of the aisle lately. By definition of his obstructionist policies, the Democrats don't like the minority leader's determined actions to hold up nominees and bills facing full floor votes in the senate. It's that obstructionism that led Harry Reid to invoke the nuclear option  And plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is.

Someone please explain to the minority leader how things work. We elect a President and he gets to make certain appointments. Then it's up to the Senate to decide if there's valid reason to not allow the chief executive to have his people. It's not for the opposing party (the losers) to deny the selections without a valid reason. Just not liking the President isn't one of those.

So now Obama's picks are sailing through the Senate. In the last ten days, more nominations have been approved than in the first 11 months of the session. The reason is simple. It's not the quality of the nominees. It's the lack of necessary votes by the minority to stop the elected President from doing his job and doing it the way he wants.

Now Mitch McConnell doesn't like Obama's selection of John Koskinen as IRS commissioner,. Notice I didn't say he objected to the nominee's qualifications, just this man's personality. Thus, we have a limited filibuster on the floor. This isn't going down well with Democrats who want to vote and go home, but it's also making the Republicans angry. Senators like Jim Inhofe.

THE HILL:

Sen. Jim Inhofe (Okla.), the ranking Republican on the Armed Services Committee, went so far s to display an enlarged picture of his family on the Senate floor and plead with colleagues to let him get out of town in time to celebrate his 54th wedding anniversary.

“I would sure like those 20 kids and grand kids [who] are waiting for me for a big dinner on our 54th wedding anniversary tomorrow night,” he said motioning to the photo of his family behind me.

“So have mercy, give us a break and let’s try to get this thing voted on and go home,” he added, referring to the Defense authorization bill, which has been held up as part of the year-end gridlock.

So Mitch has his hands full, even with his own people. But interestingly, look at the self-serving reasons Inhofe gives in wanting to go home. He wants to party with his family. He wants to celebrate his anniversary. He wants mercy -- a break -- so he can just get things going and go home.

Where was that kind of thinking when it came to shutting down the government? How about voting on the unemployment insurance extension? Wouldn't those effected people like to get going with their lives, too? Where was your compassion then?

It's easy to put the blame on Mitch. He deserves it. But there's enough to spread around. I hope Harry keeps the GOP obstructionists as long as it takes to do what the President was elected to do -- run a government with the people he wants doing it. News flash to Republicans, Obama won. It's over a year now and you're still making believe it didn't happen. Well that'll give you something to talk about when you're still in session over the weekend instead of sipping your toddies and singing carols with the family. Obstructionism's a bitch, or should I say, a Grinch.

UPDATE:

McConnell, threatened with desertions from his GOP cohorts and Reid got together and with both sides wanting to go home for the holidays (how trite) an agreement was reached. The Republicans dropped their demand to use all of their allowed time to hold up votes and by mid-day today, all of the nominations and official business will be concluded. The last vote is scheduled for 1 PM EST.

The only casualty of this rush to the exits is the vote on the nomination of Janet Yellen to be the next chair of the Federal Reserve Board. A final vote on her confirmation is now planned for January 6, instead of this Saturday evening.

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Obama Exiles Opponent With Ambassadorship

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Mr. Magoo

The political game of chess continues and the bishop to King's pawn move is on the clock.

One of the most vocal opponents of the Affordable Care Act comes from the Democratic side. It's often loud-mouthed, twisted logic Montana's very own Mr. MaGoo, Senator Max Baucus. If only Jim Backus was still alive, he could play him in the Baucus Raucus Caucus Lampoon movie. Slappy Maxie is kind of the Senate's version of Leslie Nielson -- from Police Squad. You never know what's going on in his head.

Now following in his earlier steps to remove a political adversary by making him the ambassador to China (John Huntsman), Obama is returning to his playbook. He's nominating Max B to the ambassadorship of China -- a place where he can do little harm and be as far away from the furthering battles over the Affordable Care Act which Baucas opposes.

There's also a little bit more to this game plan. Obama knows that the current governor of Montana, Governor Steve Bullock will most likely appoint Lt. Gov. John Walsh to replace Baucus in the Senate. Walsh is already an announced candidate to fill the Baucus seat and his presumed opponent is Rep. Steve Daines. Leading into this recent move, this contest was considered to be one of the most competitive Senate races in the country.

This move with Walsh will give him added bona fides in his race as he will run as a sitting senator. It's a small thing, but it's certainly a great opportunity to increase his name value and recognition both statewide and nationally.

The chess game continues. This is one move that I can't find any shortcomings in. Democrats need to keep control of the senate, and this is going to help. It's no guarantee, but I like the chances of holding this seat democratic.

You can follow me on twitter: @linzack

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What Did Elizabeth Warren Do To Put The Smile On Lawrence O'Donnell's Face

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O'Donnell and Warren

Lawrence O'Donnell is known to glow, rant and rave. He loves, hates and skewers with the best of them. So it takes little to get him going, but it takes a lot to make him glow. If the lights went out on his set last night, you'd never know because his internal incandescence was burning bright.

Why? Because once again, Elizabeth Warren showed why she's quickly becoming the darling of her party. She's also staying under the radar of the GOP front runners for 2016 POTUS campaign. And if she keeps it up, even Hillary might stand aside and let EW carry the banner.

There's not a public voice that speaks more eloquently and pointedly toward the constitution and our rights. She's a champion of the little guy/girl and protective of the larger.

If Time Magazine thought Christie was the elephant in the room, Elizabeth Warren is the Kick Ass in the country. Here's why:

Don't forget to follow me on Twitter: @Linzack

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What Was Obama Thinking?

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choices

With Obama's election, there was great hope that he would indeed make some changes. And overall, he's tried. His judgement is different than his predecessor's and after 8 years of disaster under Bush, both in foreign matters (war) and the economy (the bust) almost anything that was a change would be better than what we had.

Recently two issues have surfaced, and I'm thrilled with the ultimate results, but I'm left with some challenges about the President's judgement. Don't get me wrong, I'm a supporter of the President, but confused by his lack of resolute conviction.

The first issue is Syria. The tragedy of the Syrian use of chemical gas put him in a pickle. If he does nothing he's a coward. If he does something he's a hawk. There wasn't much wiggle room there. He then decided to stand up for the downtrodden and the mass-murdered. The doves went in for the attack. Then he decided to open the discussion to the Congress. That was a huge mistake because the governing bodies are so dysfunctional that's like asking a coke whore to make and serve lines of the powder for the guests. It just ain't gonna work.

Then Obama is torn between giving diplomacy a shot or giving the missiles a go. The people say no to military intervention on any level while the warmongering machine says yes. It takes an act of God, an off-the-cuff remark and some luck to turn things around. Diplomacy from our part time ally, Russia,  intervenes for everyone's benefit. So for the time being we're off the hook. It's  not peacefully dumped into the UN's hands.

But the President's reputation has taken a hit because he couldn't make up his mind. Indecision is the plaything of -- no, not the devil -- but the GOP. It's the Republican's tool to continue to gum up the works for another two years.

Now we have the issue of the Fed Chairman. Obama wanted Larry Summers. The president's party didn't like him. The opposing party wanted him even less. Yet Obama still floated his name and gave all indications that Summers was his guy. Why? What did he see in Summers that the rest of congress didn't? Here's Chris Hayes weighing in.

Once again, I'm drawn to wondering why the president is making some of his choices -- or hesitating on these choices. With Syria you could make the argument that there was an urgency. And lives were in immediate peril. With the Fed, the urgency wasn't as immediate yet the president dragged his feet. Fortunately Summers is no longer an issue.

Now my personal belief is that poll-testing a candidate has its merits. Based on the bombastic results, I don't believe Larry Summers withdrew his name -- but rather was told by Obama that he couldn't get Summers nomination passed. To save face, he asked Larry to publicly withdraw.  The former Harvard President did as he was asked.

Larry Summers

But if my supposition is correct, why was Summers ever considered, after all the bungles and gaffs attributed to him, summarized nicely in Chris Hayes' piece above? When you have someone like Janet Yellen in the wings, someone who almost everyone thinks is a better choice, I have to start questioning judgement once again by the president. Even beyond Yellen, there are other choices, perhaps even a fresh face, not a Clinton administration retread.

I voted for this man because I wanted him making the hard decisions, not McCain nor Romney. Now I'd like to see Obama make the changes, and not waffle. I may not like the ultimate choice, but I'm looking for decisiveness. I hope this current wavering and indecision isn't a sign of things to come. I hope it's just his carefully considering all angles before he signs on the dotted line. But one thing's for sure -- he can do a better job at publicly conveying his decision making.

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Cartoons of the Day- Chuck Hagel for Defense

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hagel

hagel1

hagel2

Via.

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Video- David Axelrod on recess appointments

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