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Will Durst: The Slacker Congress

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US Congress ORIG

Today’s guest post by the one, the only, Will Durst:

THE SLACKER CONGRESS

More fun than fourteen barrels of flunkies watching our elected officials exit Washington like scared rats streaming out of a sewer to escape Godzilla. And really, who can blame them. Anybody who’s ever spent a summer in DC can tell you the climate is real similar to Hell. With humidity. Then again, not sure even Hell has winged insects the size of footstools. It’s not called Foggy Bottom because that’s the first thing that springs to mind when Diane Feinstein walks away, you know.

Funny thing is, this is the same Congress that lies on the verge of breaking all previous records for complete and utter futility. The Zero Zip Zilch Crew. Who have ridden lethargy into the ground and taken loitering to bold new heights. Or is it depths? Folks who would need hydraulic mechanical assists to raise their attitudes from stuporous to torpid. From the lair of the drugged slugs. Debi Does Drowsy.

In essence, they’re taking a vacation from nothing. Which is a lot like waking up to take a nap. Topping breakfast off with a sleeping pill. Floating off to a loafing, lay- about layoff. Playing hide and seek with the mirror. And losing.

The 113th Congress is destined to go down in history as the most Do- Nothingest Congress of all time. Accomplishing less than all the other Do- Nothing Congresses combined. Which is saying something, because there were plenty.

“Proud to Put the Nothing in the Do- Nothing Congress.” Enshrined as the undisputed heavyweight champion of Indolence. The Friends of Inertia. Slouching towards SlouchVille. The Slacker Congress.

What we the public fail to understand is that nothing can be downright tiring. Yes, there’s the failure to pass a highway bill or any hint of immigration reform, but let’s focus on the positive. During the past 19 months, the Republican- controlled House has shut down the government and voted to defund or repeal Obama Care about a gazillion times and don’t forget the 2 dozen or so Benghazi hearings. They have definitely earned that approval rating lower than thumbtacks in your underwear while riding a motorcycle. Over railroad tracks.

And now these hordes of professional indolents have slipped the surly bonds of sloth and been released into their home districts to freely roam amongst we innocents as a 5 week recess begins. One question: how do you relax after suffering through the arduous routine of nothing? Slip into a coma? Binge watch The Leftovers? Will sunstroke play an integral part? And not just any vacation: a five- week paid vacation. Who told our esteemed representatives we were Europe?

The odd part is… they have to. It’s the law. The Legislative Reorganization Act of 1970 requires Congress to take off the entire month of August. Not sure, but perhaps it was in response to members of Congress wandering aimlessly en masse in our nation’s capital during peak tourist season; frightening small children and prompting plaintive cries from local merchants.

All we can do is hope our pooped populist politicos finally get some quality downtime, in order to come back tan and rested and ready for the tough task of remaining inactive and unable to pass any sort of worthwhile legislation when they return after Labor Day. Pretty obvious, that holiday sure weren’t named after these guys.

Copyright ©2014, Will Durst. Will Durst is an award- winning, nationally acclaimed political comic. Go to willdurst.com to find about more about the new documentary film “3 Still Standing,” and a calendar guide to personal appearances including his new one- man show “BoomeRaging: From LSD to OMG.”

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Torture & Lies

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President Obama admitted the US tortured "some folks" following the 9-11 attacks.

Obama has used the word "torture" before to describe the harsh interrogation tactics used at CIA-run secret prisons during the Bush administration. But his words at a White House news conference were notably more direct than previous statements.

The comments reflect the line the president is preparing to walk as he gets ready for the release of a Senate committee report on the Bush-era rendition, detention and interrogation program.

According to the president, torture is not OK - but lying about torture is acceptable, as long as you apologize for it. Why do I feel like he learned this strategy by parenting pre-schoolers?

Marcy Wheeler joined in for the last segment of today's show, and she hit the nail on the head with her aptly-titled post, "But Brennan Didn’t Fuck His Biographer!"

Amidst calls for Brennan’s firing, Obama basically responded, “Sure, we tortured some folks, but I still have confidence in the guy who found the waterboard and black sites at which to torture.”

But I’m not sure why folks are so surprised by Obama’s reluctance to criticize Brennan for lying about hacking the SSCI. Aside from the mutual complicity — Brennan was personal witness to each and every drone strike Obama approved that violated international law, after all — CIA Directors don’t get fired for lying.

They get fired for fucking their biographer.

In the first hour of the show, Howie Klein was on for our weekly "Steve Israel Hour." We touched on the torture and lies problem, and both admitted to having the same scary thought: that once a president is sworn in and sits at the Oval Office desk for the first time to read the letter left by his or her predecessor, they find out just how limited their power really is, and that the CIA and NSA are the ones calling the shots.

Howie wrote "If You Let Criminals Off Lightly, You Guarantee One Thing: More Crime" about the problem with Obama's thinking in excusing Brennan's role in all of this.

We also talked about some important Senate races (Tom Udall who was the first to call for Brennan's ouster after his "apology" and is facing a very tough re-election. Plus Shenna Bellows, Jeff Merkely, Brian Schatz and a few others.) Blue America has a Senate page for donations here.

We also talked about some gubernatorial races up for grabs, including a tough re-election campaign for Illinois' Pat Quinn and his "sleazy billionaire sociopath" challenger. They also have a gubernatorial page here... 

And we called out another World's Biggest Asshole today, Iowa Congressman Steve King who we remember as the one who claimed that for every valedictorian among the Dreamers, there are 100 who have calves the size of cantaloupes from smuggling marijuana across the border. Yeah, that guy. He's back...

During a conference call last month with the National Emergency Coalition, Rep. Steve King said that the U.S. needs to crack down on immigration because our nation’s borders were established by God. Disrespecting the borders, the congressman suggested, is disrespecting God’s will.

He also blamed the child migrant crisis not on drug-war-related violence in Central America but on President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, or as he calls it, “deferred action for criminal aliens.”

- via

As if that wasn't enough, he went of Fox "news" Sunday to threaten impeachment if President Obama dares to issue another Executive Order dealing with the issue of immigration:

How we've managed to survive this long is beyond me!

A big show is on tap for tomorrow, with Congressman Alan Grayson joining in at the beginning of the show (so get here at 10ET sharp!), and @GottaLaff in hour two.. Radio or Not!

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Speaker of the House Boehner Calling It Quits

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I quit

Faced with an imminent crushing and humiliating defeat by his own caucus, Speaker of the House Boehner unexpectedly quit today. No, he didn't give up his Speakership -- only his obligations to run the House.  He's decided to throw in the towel, do nothing (something he excels at), and hang out a sign on Congress's door saying, "Gone Fishing. Be back in 5 weeks."

With no significant immigration bill to assuage the border fears he and his fellow Republicans fueled, he looks like he's a loser who's no longer got the control over his own people. Stick a fork in the old fool. He's done.

He can take solace in the fact that his leadership isn't the only one to take an embarrassing wallop by pulling his weak and ineffective immigration bill. The troika of House GOP leaders all were crushed. Washington Post reports:

The pulling of the bill marked an embarrassing failure in the first real test of the new leadership team that takes office Thursday following Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor’s resignation as majority leader.

Exiting a closed-door morning huddle at the Republican National Committee, senior Republicans had expressed confidence that the Boehner proposal would pass.

As recently as Thursday morning, hours before the scheduled summer break, Boehner had signaled he wanted a bill passed so the Democrats couldn't use the August break to pound away at the Xenophobic GOP. To ensure he could get conservative Republicans on his side, he was even ready to do away with the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals program (DACA) -- surely something that would would get the Tea Party right wing immigration haters on board. It was all but assured -- and then the collapse. Newly elected GOP House Majority Whip Steve Scalise dashed Boehner's hopes with the news that he couldn't drum up the votes. Out the window went the bill as well as any possibility of getting Latino or Asian votes in the fall.

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So now Boehner and his two cohorts have five weeks to hide their faces before they're called back to spend three more weeks doing nothing and then going on their next scheduled break. The national budget, transportation, immigration, embassy appointments, education reform, long term unemployment -- all of these are now going unattended.

Well, Boehner's done. And truthfully so is the GOP as they used to be known. There are three parties now in the US running our government -- Democrats, the remnant Republicans, and the Tea Party.

Are you an unhappy Republican? If so, blame John Boehner -- but do it quick. He might retire before returning. His orange face is obviously not wanted in Washington D.C. anymore, unless it's on a Wanted poster for obstruction of justice and dereliction of Duty.

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GOP Women Are Re-branding Their Message And Asking All Women To Vote Democratic

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re-brand

It's no secret that the Republican party is having a hard time connecting with women -- actually they're having a hard time connecting with women, college-educated men, immigrants, people of color, the poor, the unemployed, non-evangelicals, pro-lifers, the uninsured, and non-racist white folks. Bottom line-- they got troubles in more than just River City. But have no fear. They plan to do something about it.

According to HuffPo:

WASHINGTON -- A group of GOP Congress members led by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) on Wednesday unveiled a package of bills aimed at improving women's economic situations and attracting women voters.

They call it their "War For Women." Yes, that's the ticket, Ms. Rogers. A "war for women." That sounds so cool. Don't hold back. What is it? Do tell.

The proposals include tax credits for childcare, a bill that prevents retaliation against employees who ask about equal pay and a bill that allows employees to trade overtime pay for paid family leave and sick leave. Some of the bills are ones that have already passed the House, while others are new proposals.

Wait a minute. Why do those proposals sound so familiar? Oh, that's because those are the Democratic proposals that the Republican-led House has voted down.

The GOP's new women's economic agenda comes more than a year after the House Democrats unveiled their own agenda -- called "When Women Succeed, America Succeeds" -- which Republicans have consistently opposed. Republicans blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act earlier this year, which would have banned employers from retaliating against women who talked about their salaries with their coworkers and would have allowed women a longer window to sue their employers for pay discrimination based on gender.

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What does all this mean? It's simple. Republicans are asking women to stand up for what's right, just and fair. The women of the GOP are asking women across the nation to cast off their "second class shackles" of Republicanism and vote Democratic. Yup, very simply that's what their plan is. And I like it.

Finally something that makes sense from the mouths of the "challenged" women of the Republican party. After all of these years of being led around by the nose rings of the old white men who run the GOP, the lemming females of the red party have finally seen the light. Hallelujah.

The Republican party, or what's left of it, now has a vision. And it's a solid one. If you're female and you want to vote your own best self-interest, vote Democratic this fall.

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President Obama Stumping For the Middle Class in Kansas City #StopHatin

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oz we're not in kansas any more
So what has the GOP done for you lately? Obama himself pointed out that the only thing Congress seems to be producing right now is rancor and obstructionism.

President Obama hit it out of the hypothetical park in Kansas City, calling for the GOP to do Something. Anything. "Work with me!"

And that this lawsuit business is but a "political stunt'.

Something about Kansas (the BBQ?) had really relaxed the under-siege, in the crosshairs of the current Congressional litigious 'acting out' … liturgy after liturgy after bloody liturgy.

IQ

President Obama had some quips that will stay with you.

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"I know they're not that happy that I'm president, but that's OK," he said. "Come on. I've only got a couple of years left. Come on, let's get some work done. Then you can be mad at the next president."

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E.J. Dionne explained today that issue goes beyond "the open demands for throwing Obama out from Sarah Palin, Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Tex.) and many others on the right wing. The deeper problem lies in the proliferation of loose impeachment talk linked with one overheated anti-Obama charge after another."

Jonathan Capehart expressed the absurdity with such aplomb and wit it's worth the whole read.

The plan all along has been to crash the Obama agenda and then climb on top of the wreckage and seize power. Not only are Republicans complicit in the “failures” they rail against, but they are also the reason the president has had to resort to executive action to get some things done. Even Will agrees Obama is within his authority to do this. He just doesn’t like the degree to which he has done it. Poor dear.

President Obama did a memorable job of telling us precisely what he thought of the Regressive Right's foaming at the mouth and ability to simply make shite up.

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Stop Hatin'. Finally, President Obama said what he truly thought of the post-Tea Party idiocy, with just the proper soupçon of sarcastic … was pretty damned proud we elected this guy, twice.

Time for the Tea Party to pack up and ride on home.

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Does Speaker Boehner Really Hate The Pope?

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Pope Francis

C'mon, you must be thinking, John Boehner's a Catholic. How could he hate Pope Francis? Even agnostic Bill Maher applauds the Pontiff from time to time. If you want to make of list of popular popes, you'd have to put Francis up there near or at the top.

So why then is Christian Republican Speaker John Boehner taking a stand against the pope? Why is he persecuting the Holy See?

There's a piece of legislation stuck in the House, bi-partisan in its origin, that simply congratulates Pope Francis on his March 2013 election and recognizes “his inspirational statements and actions.” There shouldn't really be any hesitation in passing this, should there? According to The Hill, all that's holding it up for the past 15 months is the "white smoke" of agreement by Speaker Boehner. He's not giving it.

Hmm. Something wrong with the leader of the Catholic church, Mr. Boehner?

The answer to that should be read as "yes." But to the Speaker's defense, he's not alone. It seems the entire Republican party, yes the GOP has a cross up their collective white asses when it comes to Pope Francis. You see, the Pope's teachings and the GOP's are diametrically opposed. In short, the Republicans are heathens.

Only 19 of the 221 co-sponsors are Republicans. The dearth of GOP members on the measure could be attributable to assertions that the pope is “too liberal,” according to a Republican backer of the legislation.

On the issue of the Pope being too liberal, the Vatican leader speaking from the teaching of the New and Old Testament, has come out in favor of redistribution of wealth, he's against "trickle down economics," for compassionate handling of the child refugees at our borders, aid to the poor, health care for all, and he's indicated an openness to civil unions.

Sorry GOP. Those stands aren't being liberal. They're being "Christian." And take that from a Jew. Oh, not me or Francis, I'm talking Christ.

Keep in mind, the GOP is the party of no Jews in the House -- with Cantor being voted out. Is that a coincidence, or has the party shown it's tendencies to be exclusive -- or should I say, anti-Semitic.

God will forgive Boehner, I'm sure. But He'll also expect some changes in order to allow Johnny-Boy through the Pearly White Gates. The first of those is contrition, followed closely by some bi-partisan legislating. There's still a chance for the Ohio congressman. I'm not so sure though for the Republican Party. Their destruction of the  ticking time bomb of the Tea Party may be too late to reverse.

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Elizabeth Warren: "And We Will Fight For It!"

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Just give Elizabeth Warren 3 1/2 minutes and you'll see why America needs her leadership. What she lays out in her plan for the U.S. is exactly the blueprint Democrats MUST use as they run in 2014. She's precise, clear and distinct. Hillary, are you listening?

If Democrats get people to the polls this fall, they will not only retain the senate, they can retake the House. Hard to believe? Watch this:

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