Archive for nominees

Push The Nuclear Button, Harry.

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nuclear explosion

Harry Reid is laconic at best. Comatose for most of the remainder of time. Fortunately, he's on the cusp of joining "the better late than never" school on the filibuster rules --  or so it seems. From HuffPo:

WASHINGTON -- It's looking more and more likely that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) isn't just ready for filibuster reform, but he's ready to do it this week.

A senior Democratic aide told The Huffington Post on Wednesday that there's "a greater possibility" that Reid will hold a vote this week instead of waiting until after the Senate comes back from recess in December. The proposal that Reid is planning to put on the floor would strip the minority of its ability to filibuster executive and judicial nominees, but wouldn't apply to Supreme Court nominees.

Filling vacancies on that court is a huge priority for the president. It's also his responsibility. It's the Senate's obligation of advise and consent. Instead, the Republicans have chosen to make it pure obstructionism. And that's been going of for five years. If Obama is to rule as the constitution has outlined, we can't have these 60 vote thresholds on every nomination.

Justice is being withheld from functioning as it's supposed to. There are vacancies on judgeships and without them being filled, we're letting innocent people sit in jail and letting guilty people go unpunished. This isn't a philosophical argument. It's one or rights and wrongs. And as long as there's a backlog because of a vacancy, those causing the opennings are contributing to injustice. They are complicit. Is that the law and order GOP thinks is right. If so, they need to go.

Here's the startling facts about the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit,

The court has 11 seats, of which four are filled by GOP-appointed nominees and four are filled by Democrat-appointed nominees. President George W. Bush had five nominees confirmed to the panel during his tenure. By contrast, Obama has only had one.

It's not as if Harry Reid and the Senate Democrats haven't been patient. It's the the Republicans have been irresponsible. If they want to complain, let them. They brought this on themselves, led by Mitch McConnell who pushed off Reid's calling for the Nuclear Option last year with a promise to work with the other side on nominees. He lied, and they haven't.

Push that button, Harry. We've waited long enough.

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Cartoons of the Day- Possible GOP 2016 Frontrunners?

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2016gop2

Mike Luckovich

2016gop

Matt Wuerker

Hamburger

Rob Rogers

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Cartoons of the Day- Rising GOP 2016 Stars?

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gopallstar

Jimmy Margulies

gopallstar1

Joel Pett

gopallstar2

John Branch

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Harry Reid hints at filibuster "nuclear option"... again. Try using it this time, Harry.

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peanuts lucy charlie brown football

Harry Reid reminds me of those ineffectual, weary parents who you see in a public place repeatedly scolding his annoyingly obstinate, uncontrollable toddler, saying things like, "If you keep that up, you'll get punished." Then, "Just keep pushing, young man, and there will be no McFlurry dessert for you." Followed by, "I'm warning you."

And then does nothing.

And the kid keeps misbehaving.

In that scenario, Daddy Dearest was about as effective as Gene Wilder intended (not) to be as Willy Wonka:

Which brings us to the unprecedented use of the filibuster by the GOP, their favorite weapon, the one they've used to obstruct just about every proposal by President Obama and the Democrats... including judicial nominations.

Over the years, we've witnessed the Reagan/Bush conservative judicial trajectory and subsequent decline (see: Scalia, Antonin et al) of our judiciary, and as a result, our democracy, civil rights, and legal system. And since Obama took office, his judicial nominations have been moving at a glacial pace.

He did manage to nominate the first openly gay black man to sit on a federal district court, the first Asian American lesbian, and the first South Asian. But at least 35 nominees are waiting for the Senate to vote, and there are still 50 more vacancies. That's called GOP "payback."

So Dick Durbin said, “We need to revisit” the filibuster rules and Senate Dems thought Harry Reid should revisit filibuster reform.

All that because Harry Reid insisted on that "gentleman’s agreement" with Mitch McConnell, the ridiculous handshake deal he made, saying he was "satisfied" with the Republicans just "agreeing" to be more reasonable.  Remember that?

As you may recall, Jeff Merkley’s plan for reform would not have ended the filibuster, and the Dems would still be able to use the option to filibuster when they are the minority party. It would have taken more effort and transparency to voice opposition, but the filibuster would have remained intact.

But Harry shook hands instead, although he has threatened to revisit filibuster reform from time to time, getting Democratic hopes up, like Lucy pulling the football away from Charlie Brown. We'll believe it when we see it.

Roll Call:

The Nevada Democrat said that while he was “happy” with the modest rules changes adopted in January on a bipartisan basis, the number of pending judicial nominations led him to warn his colleagues of the potential for the chamber’s rules to be modified at any point in the year, not just at the opening of a new Congress.

“All within the sound of my voice, including my Democratic senators and the Republican senators who I serve with, should understand that we as a body have the power on any given day to change the rules with a simple majority, and I will do that if necessary,” Reid said on Nevada Public Radio.

Of course you will, dear.

peanuts lucy charlie brown football 2

Harry:

"We made changes, but the time will tell whether they’re big enough. I’m going to wait and build a case. If the Republicans in the Senate don’t start approving some judges and don’t start helping get some of these nominations done, then we’re going to have to take more action.”

"Just keep pushing, young man, and there will be no McFlurry dessert for you."

But it does get more promising (I will NOT get my hopes up, I will NOT get my hopes up...). Reid said it's not only about judges, but also the nomination of Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

"Now, we have the Republican-dominated D.C. Court of Appeals who have said, look, the president can’t even do recess appointments now,” Reid said. “So, we’re left with few alternatives, and we’re going to have to move forward and do something to change that.

Yes, we're going to have to do something. We've had to do something for years now.

"If you keep that up, you'll get punished."

That would be novel. Just do it already.

mitch mcconnell filibuster cartoon get rid of Obama

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Pres. Obama pushing to diversify federal judiciary despite GOP obstruction

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blocked i can haz unblock

Earlier I posted that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is sticking around. One of the reasons so many of us were biting our nails over who would win the presidency was our fear that another Republican president would continue the Reagan/Bush conservative judicial trajectory and subsequent decline (see: Scalia, Antonin et al) of our judiciary, and as a result, our democracy, civil rights, and legal system.

But even with an Obama win, judicial nominations have been moving at a snail's pace, and of course, Republicans have blocked the president every step of the way.

Let's hope that will finally begin to change. WaPo:

Reelected with strong support from women, ethnic minorities and gays, Obama is moving quickly to change the face of the federal judiciary by the end of his second term, setting the stage for another series of drawn-out confrontations with Republicans in Congress.

The president has named three dozen judicial candidates since January and is expected to nominate scores more over the next few months, aides said. The push marks a significant departure from the sluggish pace of appointments throughout much of his first term, when both Republicans and some Democrats complained that Obama had not tried hard enough to fill vacancies on federal courts.

The new wave of nominations is part of an effort by Obama to cement a legacy that long outlives his presidency and makes the court system more closely resemble the changing society it governs, administration officials said. [...]

Obama has already broken more barriers with his judicial appointments than any other president, aides said. At the circuit court level, four states now have their first female justices, five have their first black justices and two have their first Hispanics. Sonia Sotomayor also became the first Hispanic to serve on the Supreme Court.

Not to mention, President Obama has nominated the first openly gay black man to sit on a federal district court, the first Asian American lesbian, and the first South Asian.

As we speak, 35 nominees are waiting for the Senate to vote, and there are still 50 more vacancies.

It would be novel if the GOP would consider doing their jobs and allow the president to do his instead of repeatedly putting these up:

roadblock brick wall

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“Is it any wonder that the American people have such a low regard for members of Congress?”: Special Comment by my 72-year-old friend

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filibuster gop filibastards

My impassioned 72-year-old  friend (who is now 75, but who’s counting?), who goes by the Twitter name @42bkdodgr, would like to share his feelings about Congressional Republican buffoons and their penchant for obstructionism. I am more than happy to oblige.

But first, a personal note from 42bkdodgr:

Many of you may wonder why I chose to use the “72 year old friend” as the introduction to my Special Comments. I selected the moniker so readers could see that from my age and life experiences I give a different perspective to the issues of today.

Now for his Special Comment:

Dysfunctional Government, Continued

Last month I wrote a special comment about our dysfunctional Congress. When I thought things couldn't get any worse, they did.

In the last few days the Republicans have completely gone off the rails without caring about the impact of their actions. Their bitterness and hatred for President Obama was clear not only our nation to see, but for the rest of the world.

On Tuesday night President Obama, gave a brilliant State of the Union (SOTU) speech, in which he laid out a plan to move our country forward and getting our economy really moving again.  He was asking Congress, and especially the Republicans, to join him in moving our country into the 21st century.

President Obama offered them ideas and plans on education, energy, climate change, health care, infrastructure, job creation, eliminating tax loopholes; and as expected the Republicans gave it lip service and a cold shoulder.

What really set me off was what happened on Valentine's Day. I know Valentine's Day is about showing love for a person very dear to you, family, and friends,  but the Republicans ruined the day for me by their actions and unconcern for the needs of our country

Now don't get me wrong, I did not take my anger and frustration out on my wife, who I gave a loving Valentine's Day card, flowers and took her out to dinner at nice restaurant.

My anger and frustration was about two items that followed the SOTU.

             * The first one being the sequester. - For months, Congress has known the sequester deadline for reaching a deal, that President Obama would sign would have to be done before March 1, 2013.

Members of Congress  know, if no deal is reached, $500 billion must be cut from defense programs and $500 billion must be cut from non-defense programs, over a 10 year period.  Economists have stated such cuts would slow our economy and put a million jobs at risk.

The Democrats have presented bills to avoid the sequester that is based on budget cuts and revenue increases. The Republicans are against any bill that has revenue increase in it to avoid the sequester. So instead of trying to address the issue and come to an agreement, the House goes on a planned recess until Feb. 25th.

So I ask, if Republicans were really interested in avoiding a sequester, why are they going into recess? I believe the Republicans have decided to let the sequester happen on March 1, and let the chips fall as they may.

Republican policies have ruined our economy twice and now they are willing to do it again over a balanced approach to lower our deficit.

This is exactly what President Obama was talking about in the SOTU speech: why does every important issue that affects all Americans have to go to the stroke of midnight? The answer for me is, the Republicans are so bitter at losing the presidential election, they will do anything to make President Obama's life miserable, even of it affects our nation.

            * The second one being  - the filibustering of Chuck Hagel's nomination to be Secretary of Defense. What we are seeing here is nothing but theatre, but it's hurting our reputation around the world.

For John McCain to admit all this has to with a grudge that member(s) of the Senate hold against Hagel, for remarks he made about President George W. Bush, is truly sad. McCain indicates that Hagel will probably be approved after the recess, showing what a farce this whole thing is.

For a person (s) to hold a personal grudge against an individual and use it against the nominee, although it has nothing to do with the nominee's qualifications on national security, is just childish.

Sen. Reid believes that Republican senators who are up for re-election in 2014 voted no so they can now show Tea Party members in their state that they stood up to President Obama's choice for SOD, to avoid a primary challenge.  Is this anyway to run a country?

Is it any wonder that the American people have such a low regard for members of Congress?

These last few days only  re-enforced my belief that we truly have a dysfunctional government, and it will not change until members of Congress are willing to compromise or are replaced by members who believe in such a thing.

We are in for a long two years.

Many thanks again for another thorough, relevant piece, @42bkdodgr. You often say what many of us are thinking and feeling, and we thank you for your unique perspective.

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"We have a totally dysfunctional Congress": Special Comment by my 72-year-old friend

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dysfunctional

My impassioned 72-year-old  friend (who is now 75, but who’s counting?), who goes by the Twitter name @42bkdodgr, would like to share his feelings about Congressional Republican buffoons and their penchant for obstructionism. I am more than happy to oblige.

But first, a personal note from 42bkdodgr:

Many of you may wonder why I chose to use the “72 year old friend” as the introduction to my Special Comments. I selected the moniker so readers could see that from my age and life experiences I give a different perspective to the issues of today.

Dysfunctional

In the last few years,  I have written several Special Comments hoping the Republican moderates would regain control of the  Party and move it back to the middle. But alas, my hopes haven't come true. In fact the Republican Party has moved further to the right.

In today's Congress there are very few moderates, if any. They have either decided to leave Congress on their own, or lost a primary race to a teabagger candidate or to a more conservative candidate. So now we have Republicans in Congress who have more allegiance to an individual than to the oath they took when sworn into office.

During the two years the Republicans controlled the house, we saw them bring bills to the floor that covered abortions, religion, marriage, guns; but zero JOBS bills.  It seems a jobs bill is the least important item on their agenda, unless it's their own.

President Obama and Democrats in Congress, are dealing with a group of people who believe the word "compromise" is a dirty word. As one teabagger congressman said,  "Compromise is when they come over to our side".

I was hoping that after President Obama's decisive victory in November things would change, but I was wrong again.

The first bill entered in the House by the 113th Congress came from Michele Bachmann, for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), followed shortly by a  fetal personhood  bill cosponsored by Paul Ryan.

Both individuals have to know these bills will never be passed. The personhood bill has many legal issues that have to be addressed before it even can be brought to the floor for discussion.

So it appears it's the same old thing with this new congress, everything related to religion and Women Rights, but for a JOBS bill, as they say in Brooklyn, "fugetboutit". I also expect obstructionism will continue in the Senate for the next two years.

In addition, Republicans in the House also seem totally insensitive to the needs of the people. It took a public outcry from members of their own party to even pass a $9 billion assistance bill passed in the opening days of the 113th Congress, to help Americans suffering from Sandy Hurricane flood damage. This amount is only a portion of a $60 billion bill approved by the Senate for Sandy Relief funds.

The reason, given by the Republican leaders  of the House for not passing the full Relief Bill during the 112th Congress was that it wasn't fully paid for. One has to wonder where these Republicans were when they passed unfunded bills for the Bush tax cuts, two wars, and a Medicare drug bill. The effect of those bills help create the debt level that Republicans suddenly seem so concerned about.

Now the Republicans are using a new tactic on President Obama: objecting to any name they hear who may be considered for a Cabinet position, before it's even announced. This type of tactic has never been used in the past. It's another type of obstructionism to prevent the Obama administration from functioning.

Now we await the fight over raising the debt ceiling to pay for the costs Congress already approved, while they try to hold the country hostage over how to cut spending.

The Republicans seem intent in driving their already poor approval rating down to zero. The Republican actions  have already and will only continue to create further divisions between the parties, while also creating a further  divide in the our nation.

We have a totally dysfunctional  Congress and I begin to wonder if these divides can ever be completely healed.

We need a Congress that works together, to settle their differences, regardless of who is president, or we will continue in our dysfunctional manner for many more years to come.

Many thanks again for another thorough, relevant piece, @42bkdodgr. You often say what many of us are thinking and feeling, and we thank you for your unique perspective.

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