Archive for partisanship

Partisanship

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Partisanship is alive and well these days. Did I say "these days"? I meant to say "these years." Did I say "these years"? I meant to say "these decades." But ever since President Obama was sworn in-- literally-- the bitter divide has gotten bitterer and dividier. By the way, commentators, it's not "Congress" that's the problem, it's the GOP.

Lately on the Tee Vee Machine, Republican talking heads have been reveling in the president's sagging poll numbers, and have demanded-- demanded!-- that he stop blaming George Bush for the nation's problems. That's been part of their prebuttal for tomorrow's State of the Union address, because that's what they do. How typically unoriginal, flawed, and redundant.

Actually, BushCo is to blame for much of the country's woes, because we are still trying to recover from the Bush Recession. The one Bush's policies brought on. The one that lost us hundreds of thousands of jobs every month. The one that President Obama is pulling us out of.

And one of the main reasons we aren't recovering quickly enough is because the GOP doesn't want us to. They have obstructed just about anything that has even a faint whiff of Eau d'Obama. That way, when the economy remains weak, when immigration reform stalls, when income inequality persists, when the number of massacres at the point of a gun increases, when more children starve, when more Americans are denied the assistance they need to sign up for health care, they can point fingers at the person who they themselves obstructed. And many Americans are buying into their b.s.

Good plan, guys. Or should I say, white guys?

So what's President Obama's response? To soften the language he's going to use in the SOTU, per reports. Yes indeed, according to MSNBC, he will replace them fightin' words "income inequality" with them weaker words "equal opportunity for all," which, by the way, they say, is Republican language. Instead of coming out punching, the president will soften his approach. Because this is an election year. Heavy sigh.

How's that reaching out and trying to compromise with Republicans workin' for ya, Mr. President? The same way all that GOP "outreach" is working for them? Heavier sigh.

Meanwhile, on the Chris Christie front, if those on the right side of the aisle who sit on the big new joint investigative committee decide that they're underrepresented (there are 8 Democrats and 4 Republicans, which is proportional to their numbers in both state chambers), they may pull a fast one. They may very well swivel from their so-far "let's work together to get to the bottom of all this scandalous Christie mess" to gumming up the works and claiming that it's all one big partisan witch hunt by Dems who don't like big bad GOP Governor "Heartbroken." To hell with digging for truth, justice, and the American Way and finally challenging corruption in a state known for corruption.

All of this paints the usual "politicians are more interested in their own careers and their pursuit of special interest money and influence" than they are in protecting the people who voted for them, who provided them with their damned jobs. Finding out who decided (and why) to put lives in danger by closing off access to the busiest bridge in the world is less of a priority than playing politics. Uncovering the truth about whether Chris Christie denied Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer Sandy relief funds doesn't matter as much as playing the blame game.

So there you have it. Instead of coming together to find solutions to truly pressing issues, we the frustrated spectators pay tax money admission to watch two parties needlessly butt heads and self-destruct, crushing all of us in their idiotic wake.

Partisanship: America's Scripted Reality Show.

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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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Quickie- Partisan Divide Even In The Superbowl?

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superbowl

Weird. I don't like football but if I had a preference I would probably say Ravens just because Baltimore would seem to me to benefit from a win more, and Baltimore feels like an underdog city compared to S.F.

(CNN) - Do you plan to watch the Superbowl with Democrats or Republicans?

A new poll found a partisan divide among fans of the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens.

The survey from Clarus Research group found Republicans are partial to the 49ers, 43% to 26%, while Democrats leaned towards the Ravens 39% to 33%.

(snip)

Independents were truly divided: 29% said they would support San Francisco and 28% indicated they'd back Baltimore.

The poll also indicated a predictable regional division - those in the Northeast generally favored the Ravens and those in West were fans of San Francisco.

Overall, 35% of adults in the U.S preferred the 49ers and 31% backed the Ravens.

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Republican Federal Judge: How the GOP Has Packed the Courts With Partisan Hacks

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scales of injustice

Your Daily Dose of BuzzFlash at Truthout, via my pal Mark Karlin:

The hijacking of the federal judiciary by the Republican Party – through the appointment of aggressive partisan judges combined with preventing votes on nominations by Democratic presidents – is the hidden cancer on US government.  The sudden nixing of recess appointments last week by a DC appellate court panel of three Republican-appointed judges (in this case Obama filling empty National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) seats and appointing Richard Cordray to chair the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) during a recess to circumvent endless Republican sabotage in the Senate) is symbolic of the macro-subversion of justice through manipulation of the federal bench, including, of course the Supreme Court. [...]

Enter David Sentelle, Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.  Not only is the DC appellate court the most powerful in the land, it is essentially the pre-trial hearing ground for government cases before they reach the Supreme Court (if the Supreme Court chooses to hear an appeal).

Last week, Sentelle headed the three-judge panel that voided the NLRB and CFPB appointments.  As we know, unlike elected officials, federal judges are appointed for life (unless they are impeached by Congress, resign or die).  [...]

But to revisit just a few of Sentelle's GOP water carrying rulings, we can start with his leading the overturning of the convictions of Oliver North and John Poindexter as obtained by Lawrence Walsh, independent prosecutor for the Iran-Contra scandal.  

Sentelle changed the course of US history when he appointed Ken Starr to oversee the so-called Whitewater investigation of the Clintons.  [...]

Who then supervised Ken Starr?, Why a federal DC appellate court special division headed by Sentelle – which allowed Starr to proceed on an investigation that had morphed into what Joe Conason and Gene Lyons called in a must-read book: "The Hunting of the President: The Ten-Year Campaign to Destroy Bill and Hillary Clinton."  Clinton would have never been impeached if it were not for Sentelle carrying out the political dirty work of Helms and Faircloth on behalf of the Republicans on Capitol Hill. [...]

The calamitous impact of the strategic long-range control of the top levels of the federal bench by Republicans continues unabated.

A Januray 5 Los Angeles Times article, "Obama struggles to nominate, confirm federal judges," notes...

[Obama] has had fewer judges confirmed than any first-term president in a quarter of a century, and he is the first chief executive unable to appoint anyone to the powerful D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, which decides challenges to federal regulations.

This is also true of appointments to regulatory agencies such as the National Labor Relations Board and the head of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. [...]

Given Harry Reid's cave on filibuster reform, relief does not appear to be on the way -- for either judiciary or regulatory appointments.

Please read the rest here.

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Quickie- Whiny GOP senators won’t confirm Kerry until Clinton testifies on Benghazi

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grahammccainayotte

How may times can they resuscitate the horse? We all know who "multiple Republican senators" are. After thinking on this for a bit, it seems like the Unholy Trinity are just making a kerfluffle to keep the bullshit up. Hillary's people already said she was going to testify, so this is just grandstanding for no reason.

Republican senators will refuse to confirm Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., as Secretary of State until the nation’s current top diplomat, Hillary Clinton, testifies about her handling of the Benghazi terrorist attack.

“The Senate is expected to take up Kerry’s nomination in early January, but multiple Republican senators have already said they won’t agree to a vote on Kerry’s nomination until Clinton testifies about the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi,” The Cable’s Josh Rogin notes.

Clinton backed out of testifying at a congressional hearing last week after fainting and suffering a concussion. She was the first cabinet-level official to acknowledge that terrorists played a role in the assault on the U.S. mission in Benghazi.

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GOP Senate aide: "Opposing Susan Rice is a way to score points, even though it's a sideshow."

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the truth comes out

Doyle McManus has an op-ed in today's L.A. Times about Susan Rice being targeted by Republicans until she felt she was becoming a distraction and withdrew her name from consideration to be the next Secretary of State. She didn't want time and energy to be spent on a bitter confirmation battle at the expense of other priorities on the president's agenda, like immigration reform.

He goes on in some detail about John McCain's role, the Benghazi excuse, and more, but this is the part that caught my eye:

A Republican Senate aide spelled out the situation for me more clearly, on condition he not be identified. "Voting for higher taxes is a tough vote," he said. "Opposing Susan Rice is a way to score points, even though it's a sideshow."

And there you have it. A moment of truth and repugnance all rolled into one big,  shameless, politicizing, obstructionist Ball of GOP.

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Susan Rice withdraws name for consideration as Secretary of State

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NBC's Brian Williams is reporting that Susan Rice wrote a letter to the president asking that her name be withdrawn and is saddened by the politicization of her possible nomination as Secretary of State.

President Obama said he would have withdrawn her name sooner, but did not want to back down in the face of all the political attacks. (If I heard that correctly, please let me know if not)

UPDATE: (more at the link)

“If nominated, I am now convinced that the confirmation process would be lengthy, disruptive and costly – to you and to our most pressing national and international priorities,” Rice wrote in a letter to President Obama, saying she’s saddened by the partisan politics surrounding her prospects.

“That trade-off is simply not worth it to our country...Therefore, I respectfully request that you no longer consider my candidacy at this time,” she wrote in the letter obtained by NBC News. [...]

“The position of secretary of state should never be politicized,” she wrote, adding, “I’m saddened that we have reached this point, even before you have decided whom to nominate. We cannot afford such an irresponsible distraction from the most pressing issues facing the American people.”

Brian Williams will have an exclusive interview with Rice on tonight’s “Rock Center With Brian Williams” at 10p/9c.

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