Archive for partisanship

Darkhorse Candidate Soars Into Lead In Kentucky Senate Race

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Gil FulbrightPhoto courtesy of Represent.Us

It's that time of year when campaign ads are starting to infiltrate and pollute our radio and TV viewing. Candidates sling accusations and innuendos causing more irritable bowel syndrome than the hash at the local greasy spoon. Isn't it time to take a serious look at how these campaign ads are put together and what they really say?

The people over at Represent.Us have done just that. They've chosen a candidate who's so real, so sure to garner a huge amount of votes with his write-in candidacy, that it could just spell disaster for Mitch McConnell.  This man, Gil Fulbright is so honest and sincere you just can't turn away. You will want to watch more than once. So go ahead -- check out Gil Fulbright (not affiliated with the similarly named scholarship), Phil Gulbright, or Phillip Mamouf-Wifarts. No matter what you call him, "Funny" is his middle name.

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Former Reagan advisor: Tea partiers are "morons, stupid, ignoramuses, bigots, dying off."

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former reagan advisor Bruce Bartlett on Ed Show Bergdahl

Republicans eating their own smaller

On "The Ed Show," Ed Schultz interviewed former Reagan advisor- slash- Bush 41 policy advisor Bruce Bartlett about the tea party as well as your favorite hypocrite and mine, Sen. John McCain. See: "Secret decoder ring decrypts behavior" of GOP v. Obama! Hint: Blatant hypocrisy #Bergdahlzi.

Let me put it this way: Bartlett didn't mince words. Or to put it another way, he showered us Dems with gifts. Bartlett blasted the hell out of "other Republicans," tea party "morons," and had a few words to say about Weather Vain (Added note: "Vain" is a pun, intended, hence the misspelling) McCain.

It was as if the heavens opened and dropped bundles of unadulterated vindication upon our aching Lefty Lib heads.

I may invite him to become a regular contributor to TPC. Oh, but I kid the rational Republican.

Ed and Former Reagan Advisor Bruce discussed how the GOP supported the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl earlier this year, yet changed their tune to adhere to conservative talking points once he was released. McCain has been the poster boy for this political exercise, as you can see by the Rachel Maddow video at the link above.

Bartlett also stood by President Obama's decisions on the prisoner of war exchange, loud and clear.

And with that, here is another episode of Republicans Eating Their Own. The good part starts at about 2:27. A-a-and, we're off!

Bruce Bartlett:

[McCain] probably has his finger up in the air, looking around to see which way the tea party is blowing.

After the Vietnam experience, we all agreed that we must do more and do everything humanly possible to get all of our soldiers home who are captured, and we didn't ask questions about whether they were deserving or not. They're prisoners of war, they're American soldiers, they deserve to be brought home...

It's all been turned around now, because of the tea party. The Republicans in Washington constantly have their finger on the pulse of the grassroots, trying to figure out what they want, and how to pander to them.

But unfortunately, these people in the tea party are morons! I mean, they really are. They're stupid, they're ignoramuses, they have no idea what they're talking about, they're extremists, they're bigots.

Senator Thad Cochran... may very well lose his primary to some crackpot moron tea party person.

[Conservative Republicans] keep moving further and further to the right...

Fox-- which is essentially the Republican Party network, simply panders to the Republican Party line-- has an age 72 average viewing age. And so those people who make up the tea party are basically dying off.

bingo2

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Only 1 of 5 Taliban swapped for Bergdahl has hardcore past, per experts #Bergdahlzi

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maddow taliban who changed talking points impeach

Here it comes... wait for it... Another talking point debunked. The GOP attempt to smear President Obama with #Bergdahlzi!!!! just took a hit. This time it pertains to the Taliban who were traded for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in order to save his, you know, American life. But that's not good enough for all those Republicans who cheered for Bowe and wept with joy... until they didn't.

There have been a lot of hypocritical GOP deletions bouncing around the Twitter Machine. Read about it here: "Secret decoder ring decrypts behavior" of GOP v. Obama! Hint: Blatant hypocrisy and more about the hypocrisy here: Hagel unaware of any "soldiers dying as a result of efforts to find, rescue Sgt. Bergdahl."

Suddenly Bergdahl's life wasn't worth a damn to them, because if he mattered and the president saved his valuable life, then something Obama accomplished might actually, possibly, maybe *gasp* appeal to potential voters. And the GOP could never have that, now could they?

So of course, they're Swiftboating Bergdahl and calling the president a terrorist appeaser, or a U.S.-put-er-in-danger-er, or a reckless lawbreaker or something-er. Impeachazi!!!!

According to everyone in the whole wide media world, especially the on-air Republican bleating heads, the Taliban who were freed were the worst of the worst! The awfulest of the awful! The hardcorest of the hardcore! Why, before you know it, they'll be right back to their old dirtiest of dirty tricks terrorizing every man, woman, and child in America and we'll all die!!! DIE!!!

Never mind that they'll be stuck in Qatar for at least a year, and after that, they'll be under the same over-watchful eye of the Big U.S. Spy Machine that everyone has been kvetching about.

And oh yeah... never mind this from the Los Angeles Times:

A closer look at the former prisoners, however, indicates that not all were hard-core militants. Three held political positions in the Taliban government that ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001 and were considered relative moderates. A fourth was a mid-level police official, experts say. [...]

The backgrounds of the prisoners, who are confined to the Persian Gulf nation of Qatar for one year under the terms of the exchange, indicate that they would have little utility on the battlefield after more than a decade in prison. They range in age from 43 to 47.

The article then goes on to describe the more benign prisoners. One was a civilian official-turned-governor who never held a military post. His job "was to ensure the government operated as usual and to resolve tribal complaints."

The description of another "is sharply at odds with that of journalists and analysts who met him in the late 1990s. [He] assiduously reached out to local clerics, including minority Shiite Muslims, to address their opposition to the Taliban."

Then there was the guy who, "after the U.S.-led invasion... offered his help to U.S. forces in locating the Taliban supreme leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar, but was arrested instead."

Analysts believe that the ex-prisoners, if they rejoined the Taliban, would serve at most in advisory roles, saying they are too far removed from a movement that has lost many of its top leaders to U.S.-led coalition operations.

"They are not aware of what has been going on for the past 13 years," said Waheed Muzhda, a political analyst in Kabul who served in the Taliban's Foreign Ministry.

Not that these men were the types we'd want to hang out with at Starbucks, but most of the Taliban who we released were not the big, bad, worst of the worst boogeymen that we were led to believe. Please follow the link for more details.

And with that, here are today's L.A. Times letters to the editor, because our voices matter:

The rescue of our only prisoner of war should have been a source of pride for America and validation of the fact that we do not leave behind those who serve in our military.

Before this young man returns home from five years of Taliban captivity — which essentially may have been torture — the Republicans are setting him up for condemnation because it was President Obama's efforts that returned him to us.

Waiting for facts has never been a Republican goal, which is why we are in this war in the first place.

Claire Zimmer

Palm Springs

***

Charles Manson was presumed innocent until proven guilty. So were killers Jeffrey Dahmer, Sirhan Sirhan and so on.

So why not Bergdahl? Why the rush to judgment by some conservative politicians and pundits?

Of course, the reason is political; you knew that, and my question is rhetorical.

The real question is: When will voters start choosing representatives who will identify and deal with real issues of public concern, instead of ideologues and party hacks?

Fredric Dunn

San Diego

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"Secret decoder ring decrypts behavior" of GOP v. Obama! Hint: Blatant hypocrisy #Bergdahlzi

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secret decoder ring

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Last night Rachel Maddow kicked some serious GOP hypocrisy ass. Please watch the video above as she reveals her "secret decoder ring" that "decrypts the behavior" of Republicans and their Obama Derangement Syndrome. Maddow systematically documented the blatant hypocrisy of GOP public officials, starting with John McCain. She ticked off tweet after tweet and video clip after video clip of Republicans supporting the president's policies only to do a 180 once President Obama did exactly what they suggested.

Her decoder ring wasn't all that secret, but Rachel did manage to condense their two-face-itude down to chewable bites that even a Republican could digest... and then spit out, as they are wont to do.

bergdahl tweets gop hypocrisy

bergdahl tweets gop hypocrisy 2

bergdahl tweets gop hypocrisy 3

Which brings me to this morning's MSNBC broadcast of Andrea Mitchell Reports with Kristen Welker subbing as host. She forgot to wear her secret decoder ring, but the relentless GOP hypocrisy was still revealed, loud and clear.

Two examples stood out to me, examples that somebody on air should spotlight. But we all know that won't happen. So allow me:

1.  Republicans are swarming all over President Obama's recent remarks that he "makes no apologies" for the way he handled Bowe Bergdahl's release after being held prisoner for five years by the Taliban:

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Again, "pro-life" Republicans are indignant and shocked! shocked! about that. How dare the President of the United States refuse to apologize for an "illegal" act such as saving an American soldier's life?!

shocked shockingIn that case, maybe they should address this:

Via a 2013 article in the Dallas News:

Near the Iraq war’s 10th anniversary — as many stepped forward to revisit their criticism of the conflict — Bush made no mention of weapons of mass destruction, “enhanced interrogation techniques” or other controversies.

But he reflected on the “realities of the situation 10 years ago”: that the Iraq invasion had bipartisan support and that seeking regime change in Iraq had also been the policy under Clinton.

“It’s easy to forget what life was like when the decision was made,” Bush said.

Since he left office, Bush has been a punching bag for Obama, Democrats and even some Republicans. But while he said “nobody likes to be criticized all the time,” he brushed aside the constant pummeling.

“I’m comfortable with what I did,” he said. “I’m comfortable with who I am.”

He made no apology for his fraudulent war and the thousands of military and civilian deaths, the torture, the lies.

2. Kristen Welker interviewed Peter King:

On Thursday, June 5, Kristen Welker, NBC's White House Correspondent, asked Congressman Peter King (R-NY) as she filled-in for Andrea Mitchell on Andrea Mitchell Reports: "Are Republicans trying to swiftboat Bowe Bergdahl?"

Congressman King shot back: "To compare what was apparently done to John Kerry or allegedly done to John Kerry to this, every allegation that's being made by these troops are the people in the field with him. They are the ones we should listen to. These are men who served with him, who felt betrayed by him. No one has a better knowledge than they would have."

So this is not Swiftboat the Sequel because the Swiftboaters say they served with Bergdahl.

This part must have slipped what's left of King's mind:

Several members of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (SBVT) served in the same unit as Kerry and one, Stephen Gardner, served as a crewmember on Kerry's boat. A number of Kerry's SBVT critics were present on accompanying Swift Boats at one of the combat events for which Kerry was decorated with the Bronze Star Medal and a third Purple Heart. Another SBVT member, Dr. Louis Letson, was the physician who claims to have treated Kerry for his first Purple Heart wound. Larry Clayton Lee was the sole SBVT member to participate in the event for which Kerry was awarded the Silver Star. No SBVT member participated in events related to the award of Kerry's second Purple Heart.

In addition to questioning the merit of many of Kerry's service awards, SBVT decried his post-Vietnam anti-war activity and disputed the truthfulness of his subsequent testimony about the conduct of the American military as demonstrated in that war. Many political observers saw this as reflecting the "true reason behind the Swift Boat campaign." All of the allegations referencing Kerry's Vietnam service and awards were made during Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign while Kerry's post-Vietnam anti-war activity had long been a subject of controversy.

Defenders of John Kerry's service record, including nearly all of his former crewmates, have stated that SBVT's allegations are false.

The Swiftboaters claimed to have been "in the field with [Kerry], served with him, felt betrayed by him." The parallel is clear, the comparison Welker drew is valid. But all of that is irrelevant, because his previous (alleged) behavior is separate and apart from the obligation to rescue one of our own.

The only difference is that this time, the Swiftboaters are using Bergdahl as an excuse to go after a sitting president, because they couldn't defeat him during the two presidential campaigns. Both of them. The ones from which Obama emerged victorious. Both times. Twice.

Berghazi Bergdahlzi BergdahlThis just in via The New York Times:

A classified military report detailing the Army’s investigation into the disappearance of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in June 2009 says that he had wandered away from assigned areas before — both at a training range in California and at his remote outpost in Afghanistan — and then returned, according to people briefed on it.

The roughly 35-page report, completed two months after Sergeant Bergdahl left his unit, concludes that he most likely walked away of his own free will from his outpost in the darkness of night, and it criticized lax security practices and poor discipline within his unit. But it stops short of concluding that there is solid evidence that Sergeant Bergdahl intended to permanently desert.

Again, this will all be sorted out, and more facts will emerge that can and will be dealt with once Bergdahl recovers. Then we can all stop speculating and get to the truth.

Meantime, rescuing an American soldier should be seen as a good thing. More about that here: Hagel unaware of any "soldiers dying as a result of efforts to find, rescue Sgt. Bergdahl." In that post is a video from The Rachel Maddow Show that addresses the question, "Do we leave no soldier behind in captivity? Is that an American value, an American military principle? Or, do we leave some of them behind, because some of them frankly aren't worth it, according to the Fox News channel?"

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Hagel unaware of any "soldiers dying as a result of efforts to find, rescue Sgt. Bergdahl"

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Berghazi Bergdahlzi Bergdahl Hagel

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Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will get another earful from the GOP, because Bergdahlzi!!! Yes, #Bergdahlzi!!!! is the new #Benghazi!!!!  I, for one, am as "flummoxed" as Rachel Maddow was in the video segment above. And by "flummoxed," I mean disgusted. Sickened. Outraged. It's hard to remember the last time Rachel was this aghast, and she's aghast on a regular basis:

"As the country celebrated the return of America's only prisoner of war from the war in Afghanistan, the right decided to condemn the president for getting the soldier freed, and then to condemn the soldier himself, and now, in a special show of klass with a K, they've moved on to attacking the soldier's family.

"Should we subject... prisoners and their *worthiness* for rescue to some sort of test about how they got captured, and whether they were 'negiligent' or they left their post or they were 'incompetent' somehow, or maybe they made a dumb wrong turn [a la Jessica Lynch... see first part of video], or maybe they went down fighting but maybe their dad has too long a beard?

"Do we leave no soldier behind in captivity? Is that an American value, an American military principle? Or, do we leave some of them behind, because some of them frankly aren't worth it, according to the Fox News channel?

"[A former GW Bush/Romney political strategist/spokesman] has been organizing media strategy... to try to stoke criticism of this soldier, who has just spent five years in enemy hands and is now on his way home. It's an organized effort now, to try to organize opposition and condemnation of this man who's getting out after five years of captivity.

"Before this happened, you could not invent a hypothetical scenario in which this is the way it would play out. Before this happened, you would have laughed out of the room a would-be screenwriter who tried to sell you a plot about the freeing of an American prisoner of war being treated as bad news in the United States of America. But incredibly, that really is where we are now."

It is appalling that those on the right are suggesting that a man who was held prisoner for five agonizing years should be left in Taliban hands to die because they've already convicted him (without knowing the facts) of desertion. Or for any reason, for that matter. He's an American, a member of the armed forces, and we don't do that, GOP. Remember?

I suggest they (and you) read Brian Beutler's article, "Conservative Critics of the Bergdahl-Taliban Swap Have Some Explaining to Do." Then I suggest they (not you) STFU.

This is really about going after President Obama and about a fresh round of fundraising emails. Their irrational, sick obsession is out of control.

So of course, they'll attack Hagel for the following quote in The Hill:

I do not know of specific circumstances or details of U.S. soldiers dying as a result of efforts to find and rescue Sgt. Bergdahl," Hagel said at a press conference in Brussels, Belgium, where he met with NATO defense ministers, Reuters reported.

Damned if that doesn't totally screw with the Republican talking points.

Then that wild-eyed radical Hagel went all irrational on us. And by irrational, I mean way too reasonable for members of his own party:

Hagel urged critics not to rush to judgment, saying they should wait for the facts.

Until we get the facts, until we have ... a review of all the circumstances, it is not in the interest of anyone and certainly I think a bit unfair to Sgt. Bergdahl’s family and to him to presume anything," he said.

What a maverick.

A-a-and cue the rabid Republicans and their flying flood of pundit spittle in 5...4...3...2...1...

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Republican Cry Babies Wanted Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl Left Behind

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cry baby

America prides itself on many things, but at the vanguard is its pledge to the military, "No soldier left behind."

Presidents are called upon to make tough decisions -- life or death in many cases. And when it comes to public safety, military engagements and leadership, we give those reins to our elected chief executive. We even give the President something called 'executive powers' which allow him or (someday) her to make split second decisions on our national best interests. It could be war, it could be a national disaster or it could be something else. Sometimes there just isn't time to sit back and cogitate.

Friday was one of those rare, but important moments. Our one remaining prisoner of war in Afghanistan, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, 28, of Hailey, Idaho, was handed over to U.S. special operations forces by the Taliban. This didn't come without a concession on our side. We had to release five prisoners we were holding in Guantanamo Bay Prison.

Time was of importance according to the White House. The window to take advantage of this opportunity was closing fast. Our commander-in-chief, duly elected to make these decisions, decisively acted. And today Sgt. Bergdahl is a free man.

So why are the Republicans so angry with our president? According to them, he broke the law to free this prisoner. And you know what, they're partially right. U.S. law requires the president to notify Congress 30 days before any terrorists are transferred from the U.S. facility. But what if the window of opportunity didn't allow for 30 days to make this move? Should we have just left one of our own brave soldiers behind to face torture or death? A few Republicans are saying so.

What was the real cost here? Millions of dollars for one. And that cost was to the American taxpayer, but no more. According to Reuters:

(Reuters) - Democratic lawmakers pushing to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay said on Wednesday that its cost has skyrocketed to $2.7 million per inmate this year and argued it is too expensive to keep open while the country is fighting budget deficits.

So we let five prisoners go. None of them were posing a threat to us. And probably none will pose a threat to us in the future.  We saved $13.5 million dollars, found a country to take these prisoners off of our hands (Qatar) and we're that much closer to closing down Gitmo at 454 million taxpayer dollars a year and rising.

How dare Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon of California and Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma, who should know better, publicly shun the return of one of our soldiers? McKeon is chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. Inhofe is the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

These two buffoons, masquerading as our representatives, have the gall to criticize this presidential action. It would be cowardly not to have taken advantage of the opportunity to peacefully and safely manipulate the return of a captured hero.

When will the Republicans learn and accept that their candidate lost the election and Obama won? And with that comes the responsibilities of executive decision making. Yes, there is a law that says there should be a 30 day period before this action takes place. But there's also a law that grants presidents executive orders. And Obama did what the weak-kneed GOP can't stand. Obama saw an opportunity to do what's right and he seized it.

Now all the whining Republicans have for bluster is a technicality. Certainly that's not going to go too far. Just ask America whether they want a freed American prisoner brought home, or an opportunity lost because the Republican cry babies didn't get a chance to weigh in.

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Partisanship

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partisanshipVia

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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