Archive for Boehner

News, Views & Muse

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I was a bit worried that there might not be enough news to talk about with Congress going on a 5 1/2 week recess but, then again, it's not like they do anything when they're in session.

But the drama that unfolded yesterday as they all attempted to leave DC was the perfect snapshot to illustrate the comedy of errors that the 113th Congress is. Adding to the absurdity of it all was Boehner's contention that President Obama, against whom the Speaker is filing a lawsuit over his use of executive orders, should use his executive powers to do something to fix the "crisis" at the border that the House is too gridlocked to do itself!

As Steve Benen explains,

The new House Republican leadership team held a brief press conference yesterday following a closed-door caucus meeting, fielding a few questions, all of which related to the humanitarian crisis at the U.S./Mexico border. One exchange between a reporter and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) stood out for me.

QUESTION: Just a follow up on that: are you still committed to having a vote before you leave? And, given the concerns within your own conference about the costs of this border bill, can you pass something?

BOEHNER: Listen, I, I’d like to act. We’ve got a humanitarian crisis on the border, and that has to be dealt with. But the president clearly isn’t going to deal with it on his own, even though he has the authority to deal with it on his own.

Wait a second. Hold on. Boehner has spent months shouting, sometimes literally, about President Obama’s out-of-control power grabs. As the Speaker and his caucus see it, Obama no longer gives a darn about separation of powers, and he’s embraced a tyrannical model in which the president is king. Boehner is so outraged by Obama’s willingness to act unilaterally that the Speaker is literally going to take the White House to court.

Hypocrisy is the definition of today's Republican Party!

Liar is the word that comes to mind when I think of CIA director John Brennan. Back in March when Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein took to the floor to declare that the CIA had hacked into computers used by committee staffers, Brennan denied it vehemently, saying

"As far as the allegations of the CIA hacking into Senate computers, nothing could be further from the truth. We wouldn't do that. I mean, that's that's that's just beyond the, the uh, the scope of reason."

Liar! Cue the New York Times.

An internal investigation by the Central Intelligence Agency has found that its officers improperly penetrated a computer network used by the Senate Intelligence Committee to prepare its damning report on the C.I.A.'s detention and interrogation program.

The report by the agency’s inspector general found that C.I.A. officers created a fake online identity to gain access on more than one occasion to computers used by members of the committee staff, and tried to cover their movements as they rooted around the system, according to an official with knowledge of the investigation’s findings.

A statement issued Thursday morning by a C.I.A. spokesman said that John O. Brennan, the agency’s director, had apologized to the two senior members of the intelligence committee and would set up an internal accountability board to review the issue. The statement said that the board, which will be led by former Senator Evan Bayh, an Indiana Democrat, could recommend “potential disciplinary measures” and “steps to address systemic issues.”

Brennan apologized. How nice! A resignation would be better.

But the saddest news of the day comes from the Middle East where Israel and Hamas are battling it out, and the Palestinians trapped in the Gaza strip are paying dearly with their lives. A 72-hour cease fire was agreed on yesterday, and the peace held for a couple of hours before rockets began flying again. Both sides blame the other.

Maysoon Zayid is a Palestinian American, a comedian and my friend, and she joined me on the show this morning to talk about the mess. Although we agreed that the horrific pictures emerging from the burned out buildings in Gaza are turning hearts and minds against the Israeli tactics, Maysoon suggested checking out Humanize Palestine instead, as every one of those approximately 1500 Gaza civilians who've been killed in recent days was a living, breathing person with families and friends who loved them. They're not just numbers, they're human beings. And the killing has got to stop.

Maysoon is doing a show Thursday, August 7 at the Comic Strip in NY, with the proceeds from this show being donated to the Palestinian Children's Relief Fund .

It's the Big Brown Comedy Hour is back featuring NYC's top Arab, Indian, Iranian, Pakistani and other "Brown" comedians. This is a VERY special spot! I will be filming my spot for a huge TV special AND *The proceeds from this show will be donated to the PCRF - Palestine Children's Relief Fund

This show features Dean Obeidallah, Maysoon Zayid, Ramy Youssef , Sabrina Jalees, Eman Morgan, Nader Uthman, Manvir Singh, Atheer Yacoub, Ashwin Bhandari, Feraz Shere, Tony Dabas and more.
All the Big Brown Comedy Hour's have sold out in the past, so don't wait to purchase your tickets! It will be a great night of Brown comedy.
Thursday, August 7, 8:00 PM at The Comic Strip Comedy Club
1568 2nd Ave at 82nd Street
New York, NY 10028
Tickets: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/761447 or call 800-838-3006

 

After all the talk of war and bombs, I needed some music to soothe the savage beast. Good thing it's Friday, as we wrap up each week with a blast from the past for Flashback Friday! Today, we had a double-header.

I'd already planned on playing back the January 1997 interview I did with Patty Griffin. It was her first LA radio appearance, as she had just released her debut album, Living With Ghosts. The radio station was KSCA fm 101.9 in Los Angeles, and it would be on the air for only about a month longer, as Gene Autry was getting ready to sell it. I wanted to get Patty on the air before then, so she came in for an interview and performance while in LA to film a music video. What a treat that was!

Nicole Sandler and daughter Alison with Patty Griffin in 2008

Nicole Sandler and daughter Alison with Patty Griffin in 2008

Earlier this morning, I saw a piece on MSNBC about a developer's purchase of the Nashville building that houses the legendary recording RCA Studio A, and their plans to tear it down to build condos. I learned that Ben Folds has held the lease on the studio for about a decade, and thought today would be good time to also play Ben Folds Five's first Los Angeles radio appearance - at that same station with me in late 1995, just after the release of their self-titled debut album.

Ben Folds Five with Nicole Sandler at KSCA/Los Angeles c. 1996

Ben Folds Five with Nicole Sandler at KSCA/Los Angeles c. 1996

Here's the segment about the studio. I hope he's able to keep it open.

So, it was a double header for Flashback Friday today. That's ok, as there are lots of savage beasts to soothe these days. Hopefully, that'll hold us over for the weekend.

I'll be back to take on a new week on Monday, radio or not...

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Big Morning Boehner

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We haven't whipped out a Morning Boehner in a while, but there was a big one waiting for us today. Speaker Boehner yesterday led his crazy caucus on a Quixotic mission to sue the president to “to seek appropriate relief” for Obama’s failure to enforce a provision of the Affordable Care Act that would penalize businesses that do not offer basic health insurance to their employees.

Neither Boehner, nor anyone else in House leadership would say that this lawsuit is not a step towards impeachment. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi went there during her time on the floor before the vote.

When I became speaker and people clamored for the impeachment of the president, I said what I advise the speaker to say right now, "Impeachment is off the table." If this isn't about impeachment, that simple sentence will be a clear one. Impeachment is off the table. Why hasn't the speaker said that? If we just want to talk about the lawsuit, it behooves the Speaker to say "Impeachment is off the table." I hope we can hear that soon, and then we'll see what the merits of this case are. They have no standing. It has no merits. It has a political basis. And let the American people judge it for what it is. If you don't want to hear people use the word impeachment, as your people have done, then tell them impeachment is off the table.

As for Nancy Pelosi, herself, declaring impeachment "off the table" for Bush and his minions, that's always been a problem for me. Last year, at Netroots Nation in San Jose, I asked Christine Pelosi about that decision. (The pertinent segment comes in at the 1:21:00 mark).

The fact is that this lawsuit is just another prop in the political theater comedy of the absurd that is today's Republican party. The gallows humor comes from the fact that the Republicans are bringing this suit over President Obama's executive order delaying the employer mandate provision in the Affordable Care Act, something the GOP has been fighting, albeit unsuccessfully, since the law's passage!

The suit itself is rooted in the Obama administration's decision to delay the Affordable Care Act's employer mandate. Although it may seem bizarre for John Boehner to push a lawsuit because of a delay in Obamacare, House Republicans are using this as an example of executive overreach. As they see it, Obama overstepped his authority by delaying the mandate without turning to Congress, and as such is not faithfully executing the law.

Yes, it's all just another example of life in Opposite World!®

I discussed another point of contention in connection with Stephen Goldstein on the show today regarding this ridiculous lawsuit during our weekly "No More Bullshit Minute". Goldstein is the author of The Dictionary of American Political Bullshit and, although we had already discussed the pure bullshit term "Signing Statement," it certainly fit today's news.

When it comes to "Executive Orders," a quick wikipedia search shows that President Obama has used them less that any other president in recent years. As for the unconstitutional "signing statement," George W. Bush wins the prize. (Tell me again why he wasn't impeached?)

On today's show, we also looked at the global overpopulation plaguing the planet. July 11 was World Population Day and the day I was originally to have spoken with Stephanie Feldstein, population and sustainability director of the Center for Biological Diversity.

My travel for AFT and Netroots Nation gatherings forced us to delay our conversation about the fact that there are over 7.2 billion people on the planet. They initiated a #crowdedplanet hashtag and encouraged people to post photos illustrating the problem.

While you're looking at that info and trying to figure out how to save the world, check out Endangered Species Condoms. But don't try to put one on a Polar Bear!

Tomorrow, we'll wrap up the week with the awesome Maysoon Zayid who, in addition to being a very funny woman is a Palestinian-American with some thoughts on what's happening between Israel and Gaza.

And for Flashback Friday, we'll listen to my 1996 interview with Patty Griffin upon the release of her first album, Living with Ghosts. I promise, it'll be a good way to end the week... radio or not!

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Saturday Links

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Boehner Issa

Darrell Issa Declares War on John Boehner as Benghazi Investigation Turns Into a Circus

Desperate Liar Mitch McConnell Gets Caught In His Own Obamacare Trap

Virginia county board says no followers of ‘pre-Christian deities’ allowed to deliver prayers

California drive-by gunman kills six in Santa Barbara

US 'losing patience' with Venezuela - John Kerry

Militants attack Somali parliament

Vladimir Putin condemns Prince Charles's 'Nazi' remarks

Images: Texas Open Carry group does it again, pour into another restaurant carrying weapons

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Afternoon-Evening Links

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links Albatross

Introducing A Divorce Rate For Birds, And Guess Which Bird Never, Ever Divorces?

Wondering what a word really means? Try the Etymology Online Page.

Syria Conflict: Deadly Air Strike on Aleppo Market

John Kerry Warns of South Sudan Genocide

From Boehner to Rush: Republicans Are Crushed as Obamacare Enrollment Hits 17.8 Million

Elizabeth Warren Joins Call to Save the Internet

Overland from Europe to China and Beyond

Reject and Protect (#NoKXL): Strength in Community on the National Mall, Sat 4/26/14 (photos!)

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Mid-Day Links

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Lebanon

Dancing at the Abyss: What Beirut's Debutante Ball Says about Lebanon

Republican Tennessee Governor Haslam Rescinded $300 Million Deal with Volkswagen (VW) over United Auto Workers (UAW).

Democrats Who Move Right Lose Elections – There Is No “Center”

The Piketty Panic: Capital in the Twenty-First Century - Op/Ed by Paul Krugman

F.C.C. On Track To Ruin Last Truly Democratic Institution: The Internet

Rand Paul Reacts To Cliven Bundy’s Racism By Admitting That Voter Fraud Doesn’t Exist

Sean Hannity Denounces Cliven Bundy's Racism, Then Stands By Him

Speaker John Boehner Slams Fellow House Republicans On Immigration Reform Obstructionism

Mississippi Business Owners Push Back on 'Religious Freedom' Law

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Wednesday Links

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Photo: Eileen Blass, USAToday

              Photo: Eileen Blass, USAToday

Blocking the vote: Florida County eliminates minority-heavy polling places

Rain and Sleet Move into Metro Atlanta Area

Be sure to read the explanation of why the first recipe is called
The Sure Thing.
Red Red Gingerbread (Karen Noel Hearn's Food Blog

What John Mackey sees as fascism, I see as, finally, a health care law which lets millions of people get health care who would have been turned down before the Affordable Care Act.
Whole Foods Founder John Mackey On Fascism And 'Conscious Capitalism'

Why Boehner Gave Up on the Debt Ceiling

MSNBC confirms NJ Senator Gordon says no members of Christie's office will appear before committee

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Budget War or Civil War -- A GOP Confederate Ruse

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GettysburgThere's a growing, no, make that a festering train of thought chugging down the rails in this cynic's mind. It's called distraction and Reconstruction. It has to do with this funding battle raging in Washington. Is this all really a distraction -- something to erase our recent memories of the Republican party's attacks on our domestic rights? Things like immigration, the EPA, voter's rights, women's rights, fracking, big Wall Street regulations, Food Stamps, and subsidies to GOP's favorite charity, oil.

Referring to a recent article on The Hill:

Six months after the Republican National Committee (RNC) issued a post-election blueprint for rebooting the party and reaching new voters, top Republicans are worried their party is failing to meet its goals.

Party strategists and a number of Republican lawmakers are concerned about fallout from the GOP’s handling of the government shutdown, public infighting between lawmakers, attempts to reach out to female and minority voters and an overall lack of a positive vision for the country.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) warned that the GOP was “taking our eye off the ball” by failing to focus on boosting appeal with Hispanics, young voters and women — groups that voted strongly Democratic in 2012.

When your post-national election report card says you're failing in so many areas, how do you start things over, level the playing field and even force an advantage? You start a war. A form of distraction which unites the people and if you win, you gain more control. If you lose, people are so busy talking about the fight and battle that they forget all of the other issues that were derisive before the war. And then you can start Reconstruction.

Reconstruction

But starting a war is risky. A recent Talking Points Meme by Tom Kludt put it rather illustratively:

A Republican congressman drew parallels between the government shutdown and one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War, saying Thursday that the GOP has "found itself embroiled in battle on a battlefield it didn't intend to be on."

"I would liken this a little bit to Gettysburg, where a Confederate unit went looking for shoes and stumbled into Union cavalry, and all of a sudden found itself embroiled in battle on a battlefield it didn't intend to be on, and everybody just kept feeding troops into it," the congressman said. "That's basically what's happening now in a political sense. This isn't exactly the fight I think Republicans wanted to have, certainly that the leadership wanted to have, but it's the fight that's here."

In this parallel, change shoes to Obamacare and the battle to the government shutdown. All that's left is the surrender at Appomattox which will be the debt ceiling. Then General Robert E. Cruz will be lost to the ages along with his deputy, Colonel Beauregard Boehner and Reconstruction under Abraham Obama will begin.

Reconstruction 2 rebuilding

At least that's the projection as the story is going along so far. Not exactly Tom Clancy or Bruce Catton, but it's pretty close.

It's an interesting ruse these Republicans are running. And we're seeing signs of it already. Who's talking about civil rights? Who's talking about women's issues. Who's talking about gun control or voter rights? Who's talking about clean air and water? Who's talking about immigration? Or fracking, for "fracking" sake?

This war is about distraction from those issues and consolidation into one battle -- one the Tea Party wing of the GOP has produced.

Fortunately, it didn't work for the Confederate South at Gettysburg. What we have to hope is now is that, 150 or so years later, the South doesn't rise again -- God help all of us all if it does.

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