Archive for senators

Senator Tim Scott Plays The GOP's Stepin Fetchit at National Winter Meeting

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SteppinFetchitw348h244

This week the Republican National Committee had their annual Winter meeting. Much was made of the libido remarks by former Governor Mike Huckabee, but he wasn't all the news from the confab. During this gathering attended by the mucky-mucks of the right wing party, the leaders revealed their new plan to retake the Senate and retain the House. They're going to become a party of the people. Yup, that's right. They're going to become you and me.

What I find interesting is their choice of spokesperson for this movement. A Black Republican senator from South Carolina. On the surface that sounds like an effort to be inclusive. To put a different face forward. And this senator, Senator Tim Scott must be considered somewhat of an expert in electioneering -- after all, he's a Black US senator from a red, southern state.

So how did he do it? How did he unlock the mysteries of a minority making it to the upper house in the US Congress? How did he woo the voters of his state? If he could make his miracle happen, maybe sharing this secret of success winning over those the GOP has generally left behind or ignored -- women, young people, minorities, immigrants, the unemployed -- the Grand Old Party might become Grand once again.

What's Senator Scott's winning strategy for the GOP in the 2014 elections and beyond?

According to The Hill:

“For us, for we the Republican Party, the great opportunity party, for us to see our greatest success in 2014 we are going to have to embrace people in a way that they deserve to be embraced. And I will tell you that as we embrace people in a new and fantastic way, we will encourage them to find the potential within themselves to maximize their potential,” Scott said.

Here's the video:
Note: Please go to this link if the video will not play.

In this video Senator Scott talks about his volunteering for jobs to get the feel for what regular people are going through. What did he pick for maximizing our potential? A stint as a janitor. A waiter. A grocery bag packer Somehow that hardly seems like maximizing one's potential.

Oh, and one thing Scott forgot to mention. He was never elected to his office. He got in by a gubernatorial appointment to fill out former Sen. Jim DeMint’s (R-S.C.) term, in 2012. So somehow his appointment makes him the guru to others seeking election to office? Hmm.

So it seems Senator Scott, who's up for reelection this fall in a real election, has never won the office that he's running for. Why not make him the "face" of for the GOP?  But it does make you wonder, couldn't the GOP find someone who has a winning election formula and has a track record to prove it? Oh, that's right, they would be old, white and male. This is the new GOP and they're looking to show outreach and diversity, not chalky colored grey haired, gray- complected out of touch old white men.

The idea to "walk a mile in my shoes" to get the feel for one's constituency is a good one. But what Scott didn't tell you is that he wasn't living off of the wages those jobs pay. He wasn't trying to survive, pay for rent, provide heat, food, clothes, transportation, medical care, or any other of life's expenses with the money from those jobs. He was living off of his senate salary ($193,400/year) during that time. He was taking these jobs for the publicity, not survival. When yours and your family's lives depend on your earnings, then and only then have you walked that mile.

Oh, and how interesting the choice of jobs this Black man took to get a feel for what life's really like - working jobs where he claims his friends and neighbors worked. Really? Sweeping floors at a burrito joint, waiting tables and bagging groceries? Those are the jobs his friends and neighbors have? Though he's from the Charleston area, he lives in Washington most of the year and I don't think Mitch McConnell, John McCain, Lindsay Graham or Ted Cruz -- his friends and neighbors -- are tackling too many of those jobs.

So the Republican fraud machine of trying to convince America that their elitist party is really one of the people couldn't be more lampooned with Scott's appearance than if it was a Saturday Night Live sketch. And sadly, what clown do the white extremists get to carry their water, Black Senator Tim Scott. No, he's not played by Jay Pharoah, he's just a fool who doesn't mind playing a role even Stepin Fetchit might have turned down in the '30s and '40s.

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Christie's Either Naive Or A Liar. Neither Makes Him Presidential

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Chris Christie bridge

Political payback? A scandal. A Conspiracy?

Well, it all depends on who you ask. But GW Bridgegate has become open field for speculation. And depending on who you ask, some office deputy in Chris Christie's Trenton office staff concocted this plan to shut a number of lanes to the world's busiest bridge, or maybe it's all been made up... it was just the fallout of a traffic study.

It's interesting to hear the many spins on this from both sides of the political aisle. But one that stands out is actually a denial of a conspiracy theory that Rachel Maddow put forth last night. She acknowledges that it's speculation at this point - but all conspiracy theories start out that way until they're debunked or proven right. Take Watergate. The My Lai massacre. The WMD's that we went to the Iraq War over. The Reagan Iran Contra Hearings. The fake Benghazi claims. The bogus IRS targeted scandal. Face it. There are things that are kismet, some even proved wrong, and others that are planned.

But who turns out to be the Governor of New Jersey's biggest apologist? The current New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney. A Democrat. Well, in name only when it comes to being under the thumbnail of Chris Christie. During the last gubernatorial election where Christie faced off against Barbara Buono, (the Democratic candidate and former New Jersey Senate President), the current office holder Sweeney refused to back his own party's candidate and a predecessor to his office. Was this a bullying tactic or fear tactic by Christie. Sweeney refuses to comment but when he found out about Rachel Maddow's supposition that there's another alternative reason that Christie had the bridge lanes closes, he didn't bother to go watch it. He chose instead to poo-poo this idea. He said that would be a conspiracy. And that just couldn't happen in his state.

You listen to the argument and decide for yourself whether a turncoat democrat like Sweeney is in any position to comment or whether Rachel Maddow makes some very logical sense. Pay attention to her dates and times in her proposition here. DINO and party turncoat Sweeney might be right. But I'd put my money on Maddow.

Added by Laffy:

Lawrence O'Donnell also had a thing or two to add regarding the Christie scandal. He was splendid:

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Luckily For Peace, Our Congress Is Inept

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nuclear explosion

If it weren't for the inability of either chamber of Congress to get their acts together and actually do something, we might be heading for war. Yup, war.

Just after Obama chose to involve Congress in a decision to take action against Syria for the use of chemical weapons, the elected officials went nutso. Everyone including the shoe-shine guy in the rotunda had an opinion and most were not leaning toward the elected official whose call it really was - President Obama's. The Republicans are a war machine and they wanted to start bombing. The Democrats were timid and were afraid they'd get nailed to the tree like they did when they went along with the phony war in Iraq. So they ran around like the beheaded chickens we've heard so much about.

Finally, in steps a possible diplomatic solution. You'd think everyone in Congress would breath a sigh of relief, even if only temporarily while the plan had a chance to be ironed out. But no, the Republicans were insisting on war. The only thing that kept us from spilling blood, lost lives both American and Syrian was that Congress can't agree on anything.

You'd think that's a bad thing. But there's a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel here. Even that blind squirrel finds a nut sometimes.

The good fortune in this picture is that we have a diplomatic chance to shut down, possibly even remove totally any threat of nuclear armament in Iran. Yes, that country who for over 30 years we had no official contact with. On the cusp of their going nuclear, a possible treaty is in the works. The only thing that could gum it up would be Congress. A warmongering Republican run House of Representatives. All it would take to tip the fragile preliminary diplomacy would be the House and Senate coming up with new economic sanctions against Iran. And the GOP were pushing as hard as they could. If they succeeded, the talks would be called off and probably immediate escalations would have taken place as a possible nuclear flash point could have been reached.

The Republicans in Congress didn't care if this would lead to nuclear war. The simple fact that Obama might go down in history for two huge diplomatic solutions to potential wars, on top of his successes with finishing up Iran's conflict and potentially running down the war in Afghanistan was just too much. How could a Black president be allowed a place like that in history?

So fortunately, the dis-functionality of Congress worked in the American people's favor this time.  Watch Rachel Maddow as she lays it out clearly, precisely and accurately for us. We owe our Congresspeople a collective acknowledgement that their inability to work is going to perhaps save our lives.

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GOP Drawing Plans For The Future

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Mechanical drawing

When I was in high school I took a class in mechanical drawing. It actually was a pretty cool course as it taught me a lot about measurements, dimensions, perspective and engineering. But one lesson I remember most from that class, showing the builder what is there, not what isn't. And I've found that applicable to all work that I've done, writing, producing, political punditry. You need to focus on what's there, not what's missing.

My first mechanical drawing project was to blueprint a rectangular "frame" that was 8x6. The center hole was 4x4. I rendered the plans indicating the outside dimensions of the top (8) and the side (4) and I also gave the dimensions of the hole, 4 inches square. Easy.

When I turned it in, I was extremely pleased. But when the grade came back, I only got a "D".

I asked the teacher why, and he taught me a valuable lesson that the GOP needs to learn.""You don't give the dimensions of what's not there," the teacher told me. "You show the builder what is." We deal in a results based world.

He corrected my drawing by indicating the widths of the top and side rails, not the hole in the middle.

The same foundational thinking is necessary as the 2014 midterm election approach. For the GOP, it's not what they didn't do that we will vote for/against; its what they did do. (Which is very little, even less that the Harry Truman dubbed, 'Do Nothing' Congress)

Sadly, our current spate of GOP law makers don't have a lot to show for their time in the Majority.

The 213th Congress can focus on 42 attempts to derail the Affordable Care Act. That's a positive action. Not a popular one but it's something they did do. They voted to cut the deficit as well as food stamps, but that only happened by way of the sequester, and sadly both parties are responsible for that. And finally, the majority in the House shut the government down. That certainly isn't going to win them too many votes. You need to look hard and finely to register any other legislative wins.

That fact is this country has more registered Democrats than Republicans. And the big races and certainly the Presidency will require Independents and cross over Democrats for the Republicans to win nationally-- even with gerrymandering. How are you going to make a dent in those numbers running strictly on what's not there? Under Reince Priebus they've become preoccupied with stressing the dimensions of the square donut hole void in the middle, and not the support rails that do exist. They're running on what's not there, not what is.

By 2014, Obamacare will be up and working. It's a sleeping giant that's already stretching, yawning and wiping away the morning gunk from it's eyes. Perhaps the GOP should think about sewing some suitable clothes for the waking giant rather than wishing it away. It's not going away, so find a way to become it's friend. An ally monster is far better than an angry one.

So the Republicans, if they're smart (no guarantee there), through all their bluster, need to stop giving us the dimensions of  the hole -- their lack of legislation. Their failure to govern. They wallow in what they haven't done (the void). They've stifled health care, immigration, education, science, climate control, adequate food assistance, a viable jobs program, fixing the infrastructure and meaningful finance reform. Boasting how you prevented these programs from existing isn't anything more that your continued describing the hole they've dug.

Perhaps the biggest accomplishment this past year is their majority led vote to shorten the number of working days from 141 to 127 and then complaining they don't  have enough time, now that we're mid-way through November, to pass any legislation. Don't look for voter sympathy on that one.

If you want to do something, quickly bring the Senate immigration bill up for a vote  in the House. At least end the year on a high note. Have something positive to stand for, not just the giant hole you've dug for yourself so far.

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Proof Senators Listen -- If You Have Money

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money talks

With the numerous polls out there on the media today, you can get a pulse of what people are thinking on almost every subject. How accurate they are depends on so many things -- especially the honesty of the people answering the survey. I'm sure the pollsters figure in the goofy answers, a percentage for lying, something else for people giving emotional answers or wanting to seem more tolerant than they really are. There's faked indignation, righteous and moral outrage and just simply stupid people who don't even understand the question.

So what are we to make of pundits and news readers when they say someone's popularity is at it's lowest or that the public favors a certain bill or law?

A lot has to do with where it comes from. Nate Silver was very accurate in the last presidential election predictions. I think he batted a thousand -- for non-sports lovers, that means he got 'em all right. All is a lot. That's like -- everything.

How many other places, organizations or polls have that kind of clairvoyance? Well, really not many, if any. Luck has a lot to do with it. But if you take luck out of the equation, and use proven fact, what you get are graphs and charts. They're far more reliable than polls because they measure what's really happened. It's after the fact number crunching.

Cenk Uygur broadcast a report on The Young Turks showing statistically how senators voted in the recent sessions of the 107th through the 111th (we're in the 113th currently) congress voted. Then those votes are compared those with wishes of their constituents during that time. Kind of a facts meets the polls hybrid kind of research.

The results are quite interesting. For instance, how often do the senators really listen to their constituents? Always? Sometimes? Never?

Well, now there's some proof and it might come as a shocking. What if I told you senators during these five sessions voted 100%* of the time with their constituents wishes?  You'd be right. See, I said you'd be shocked.

Oh, if you were wondering about that little asterisk next to the 100%. That asterisks means, if you were wealthy. The  numbers vary if you weren't in the upper 2%. The rich as we like to call them. Middle class people fared less positively, and it ranges down to 0% if you were poor. No asterisk needed for that. Pure zero.

Take a look and it'll all become much clearer. But what it boils down to is this-- if you have money, you got your desired vote. If you were poor, fuggedaboudit. You got bubkis.

Maybe this behavior explains why 60% of polling respondents to NBC News want to fire the entire Congress and start anew. But, taking into considering of the facts in the video above, that would mean that nobody would lose their seat as the rich are getting exactly what they want. They'll just buy the elections is necessary -- are you listening Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson?

Next election, think about it. Maybe a clean sweep wouldn't be so bad. A "Dump the Chump" vote might just be the cure for what ails ya! All of ya!

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You Might Be A Political Extremist If...

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you  might be a redneck

I always got a lot of laughs while watching Jeff Foxworthy with his routine, "You Might Be A Redneck." You've all heard some of his "You might be a redneck:"

  • If you mow your lawn and discover a car.
  • If your dad walks you to school because you're both in the same grade.
  • If someone asks to see your ID and you show them your beltbuckle.
  • If someone comes to your door every day thinking you might be having a yard sale.
  • If you ever made change in the 'offering' plate.
  • If you go to a family reunion to meet women.

You get the idea, I'm sure.

Well, Veracity Stew has printed out a "You might be..." of it's own. Only this one is the "You might be an extremist" test. Here's a sampling:

Until nothing remains

YOU  MIGHT BE A POLITICAL EXTREMIST IF:

  • If you think an Assault Weapons Ban “gives jackbooted Government thugs more power to take away our constitutional rights, break in our doors, seize our guns, destroy our property and even injure and kill us”…
  • If you try to control what other people do with their stinky parts…
  • If you display any Confederate flag in any way….
  • If you think there is a spy drone in the sky watching you in your backyard….
  • If you think the federal government feels constrained in any way by the fact that Skeeter in Southswamp, Georgia, owns an AR-15
  • If you think paying taxes is the same thing as slavery….
  • If you still think there is any doubt that the globe is heating up or that human activity is a driver….
  • If you resent it when government or business communicates with people in a language other than English….
  • If you think that the president is a socialist, fascist, communist or any twisted combination thereof….
  • If you question the president’s birthplace and citizenship….
  • If you think Obama is intending to create a “new” military, as strong as the U.S. military, answerable only to him….
  • If you think you, as en employer, have the “right” to impose your morals on your employees….
  • If you think the government is secretly plotting to take away all guns….
  • If you support giving full legal and constitutional rights to fertilized eggs….
  • If you think that people standing in a group and singing songs is a reason to tackle, handcuff, arrest, jail, and fine the singers….
  • If you think it’s a good day when children living in poverty cannot get government nutritional assistance….
  • If only 23% of Americans believe your party is “in touch with the concerns of most people in the United States today,” and 70% believe that it is “out of touch”….
  • If you’re calling for assassination, secession or insurrection….
  • If you have to gerrymander voting districts and disenfranchise millions of voters to win elections….
  • If you think it’s OK for an armed, full-grown man to pursue and kill an unarmed boy….
  • If you’re willing to shut down the government over women’s access to contraception….

Do you see yourself in any of the above? If you wish to find more, check out the full list here: The Extremest ID Test For All Political Factions

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How Sleazy Can Congress Be? A Dirty Deeds Chart

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hypocrite

Hypocrite Watch via Huffpo:

Here are some of the sleaziest things members of Congress have done since the shutdown:

Grandstand at the World War II Memorial

Members of congress, reacting to their shutdown of government and national parks, chose not to vote to open the government but rather turn their denial of a veterans group visit to the WW II monument into a photo op. The closure that they caused.

Berate a Park Ranger for the effects of the shutdown.

Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas) found a Park Ranger doing her job --  including controlling the crowd at a closed memorial -- then the congressman blamed her for the closure he had voted for, finally telling her she should be ashamed of herself.

Put on lab coats and chastise Democrats for not funding cancer research.

Some House Republicans went to the National Institutes of Health, where they threw on lab coats and pleaded with Democrats to undo the damage the shutdown had done to services for children with cancer. This, after these very same House Republicans voted against funding the NIH.

Fund raise off the whole debacle.

Feeling no pain or remorse over their decision to shut down the government and furlough without pay nearly a million workers, a number of Republicans held fundraisers -- not for the out of work people -- for themselves.

Send soldiers off to war and then refuse to pay to bury them.

No explanation necessary. This is what the shutdown did and caused and uproar.

Tell furloughed employees they shouldn't get back pay while they're prohibited by law from working.

Despite voting for a measure to compensate government workers for the time they spent furloughed, Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) then went on to tell a caller to his town hall meeting, "Well, when we voted on that, they [the furloughed workers] were supposed to come back to work as part of that deal. I agree 100 percent with you. If they're not working, they shouldn't get paid."

And finally,

Giving out asinine financial advice showing how ignorant of the situation they really are:

STEVE-PEARCE-570
Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.)

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