Saturday, February 28, 2015

Wingnut Week in Review: O'Reilly proves himself the ultimate hypocrite

Wingnut Week In Review: Papa Bear Roars:
Terrance Heath

Papa Bear Roars

Anyone with a YouTube account knows by now that Fox News Host Bill O’Reilly has a bit of a temper.

When NBC news anchor Brian Williams falsely claimed that his helicopter was nearly shot down, as he covered the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, O’Reilly unleashed a fusillade of righteous anger against a national media that he said, “isn’t half as responsible as the men who forged the nation.” Lamenting the “culture of deception” in the “liberal media,” O’Reilly said the Williams affair should prompt questioning of other media “deceptions.”

It did, but not in the way O’Reilly probably imagined. Late last week, Mother Jones’ David Corn and Daniel Schulman reported that “for years, O’Reilly has recounted dramatic stories about his own war reporting that don’t withstand scrutiny.” Here are a few:

Meanwhile, O’Reilly claimed that criticism of his record is based on “professional jealousy,” because “We are putting tremendous pressure on the Obama administration to fight the terror savages.”

The Fox Network, which has stood by O’Reilly thus far, fell strangely quiet after the JFK revelation. O’Reilly has taken to threatening reporters. In response to the Mother Jones article, O’Reilly said, “I expect David Corn to be in the kill zone. Where he deserves to be.” 

O’Reilly also threatened a New York Times reporter, because he didn’t like a Times article detailing Fox’s defense of O’Reilly, while he lied to the public for years. “I am coming after you with everything I have,” O’Reilly said. “You can take it as a threat.”

O’Reilly’s been in the media long enough that surely he knows this is not the way to kill a story. (The most effective method would have been to ignore it.) Maybe he just can’t help himself. He has a long history of attacking reporters.How much trouble is O’Reilly in? Things have gotten so desperate that O’Reilly is now defending President Obama. Days after lashing out at the liberal media for smearing him, in the guise of advising would-be GOP presidential candidates, O’Reilly told his audience that the president’s policies may be “controversial,” but there’s a line that shouldn’t be crossed.

CPAC 2015

It’s that time of year again. The Conservative Political Action Conference is in town. Things went awry before the conference even started, when CPAC organizers decided to open the virtual floor to questions from Twitter, via the #CPACQ hash tag.
It didn’t take liberals long to start having some fun with it.
And if that’s not bad enough, CPAC’s official mobile app can’t tell the difference between presidential hopeful Ben Carson and North Carolina Sen. Tim Scott.
At first, styling CPAC 2015 after “The Avengers” seemed like an odd choice.
But the speeches so far show that the right-wingers at CPAC thing we are all in danger, and they’re going to save us, by leading us in to a with ISIS.

Looney Tunes Legislators

In what may become a regular part of “Wingnut Week In Review,” here are the week’s nuttiest laws and lawmakers:

Here’s the best of the worst in wingnuttia this week:

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Essential Uselessness of John Boehner

House Speaker John Boehner. (photo: AP)
House Speaker John Boehner. (photo: AP)

By Charles Pierce, Esquire

27 February 15
t has long been the opinion of the management of this shebeen that obvious anagram Reince Priebus is the emptiest suit in American politics. I see no reason to change that now. However, as this ongoing brawl between the Republican majorities in the two houses of the national legislature makes painfully clear, Speaker of the House John Boehner is making a strong bid to overtake Priebus, even though their problems are quite nearly the same. Priebus's suit is empty because being the chairman of the Republican National Committee doesn't mean a whole helluva lot when you've got a flock of gozillionnaires willing to finance the campaigns of people that the RNC would rather not see traipsing around the landscape with their underwear on their heads. What power does Priebus have over Sheldon Adelson? Or the Kochs? Or any of the other panjandrums who can construct entire presidential candidacies from deep in their vaults? Similarly, Boehner has no apparent control of his majority because so many of them are from safe Republican districts and can find electoral sustenance from the same new universe of sources on which the presidential candidates can call. It is unimaginable that Boehner would threaten a recalcitrant conservative House member with a primary. He'd get laughed at. The fact is that almost every former source of political power in the Republican party has been rendered largely a figurehead.

Thus does he find himself being outmaneuvered in the ongoing cockfight over tying the funding for the Department of Homeland Security to the president's executive orders on immigration. Thus do we find Boehner looking for a way out and flopping around like a trout in the canoe.

And on Wednesday morning, Mr. Boehner and House Republicans emerged from their private meeting saying they had no plans to act until the Senate actually sent them a bill. "I don't know what the Senate's capable of passing, and until I see what they're going to pass, no decisions have been made on the House side," Mr. Boehner said. "The House has done its job to fund the Department of Homeland Security and to stop the president's overreach on immigration, and we're waiting for the Senate to do their job."

That dog, he declines to hunt. Boehner knows that he's already got Representative Steve King going after Mitch McConnell's head because the Senate Majority Leader has proposed to decouple the passge of DHS funding from the attempt to defund the president's entirely lawful actions on immigration, because McConnell knows the political stakes of being hung with a shutdown over such a transparently fraudulent equivalence. Boehner knows he can no more control King and the rest of the xenophobe caucus any more than he can make it stop snowing. So he has no choice but to blame the Senate, which must endear him to McConnell.

Several options that members have suggested, said someone with knowledge of the discussions, include a short-term funding measure until the House and the Senate can meet in a joint committee to resolve the differences between their plans; a short-term funding measure until the Senate passes Ms. Collins's proposal; or adding back in language to repeal Mr. Obama's 2014 executive actions, but leaving untouched his 2012 protections for the young immigrants known as "Dreamers." Another possibility is passing a bill to fund the department - but with the condition that the financing would end if a recent ruling by a federal judge to halt the president from implementing his immigration executive actions is overturned. "There wasn't really a clear message of where we're going," said Representative Raúl R. Labrador, Republican of Idaho.

This would not be a problem for an actual Speaker of the House. Do you think that Sam Rayburn would take on an issue of this magnitude without having "a clear message" of where his majority was going? Tip O'Neill? Hell, Newt Gingrich? The fact is that Boehner has a majority that is far beyond his control because a) he's not a deft enough politician even to try, and b) he has nothing with which to knuckle his people into line. To wit,

If Mr. Boehner and his leadership team do ultimately try to pass a "clean" funding bill that has no immigration-related amendments, probably with the support of Democratic members, the Republican base "would be extremely angry," said Representative John Fleming, Republican of Louisiana. "So this is very, very delicate territory for our leadership."

There is no Republican party any more. There is only a universe of competing power centers, some more influential than others, but all of them operating on their own agendas and by their own standards and for their own purposes. This apparently unwieldy system can exist -- and even, for the moment, prosper -- because of how the Supreme Court has changed the nature of politics in this country. But the natural forces in this new universe are inescapably centrifugal. They pull the politics away from formal central authority. It is going to take politicians raised entirely within this new universe to set the lines of authority within it, and that is most assuredly not John Boehner. Until then, sooner or later, everything is bound occasionally to fly apart.
+12 # bmiluski 2015-02-27 11:11
Pierce asks:.....Do you think that Sam Rayburn would take on an issue of this magnitude without having "a clear message" of where his majority was going? Tip O'Neill? Hell, Newt Gingrich?
and then answers it with:..........
There is no Republican party any more. There is only a universe of competing power centers, some more influential than others, but all of them operating on their own agendas and by their own standards and for their own purposes.

And we can thank good old Newt Gingrich for this.
+6 # politicfix 2015-02-27 12:26
Ahh! Relevancy! This piece of Trash thinks he's relevant. He committed treason by inviting Netanyahu, from a foreign country to lecture our Congress without any discussion with our President because his view differed from the Presidents. The President, who deems himself irrelevant, does nothing. Why? Because he's controlled by the financiers. The Congress takes the job of handling the Trash. They decide not to take it out but to censure it and it's allowed to stay in Congress. They can do this because they believe they're relevant. They are so relevant that they govern themselves and aren't subject to the same laws as the people are. Even if Boehner were sent to the Supreme Court, who believe they are relevant, and can never be touched no matter what they do. That's the one part of the Constitution they love and won't let go of. Oh so relevant! They allowed Justice Thomas, who committed crimes, to be given a bye because they can. No one in government is taking out the trash. It stinks to high heaven and now there's plenty of it in Washington to go around. The people believe they have no choice, and that they're irrelevant. Now what? Enter Bernie Sanders. The only one who is screaming and willing to take out the Trash. People are so scared and beaten down that they don't see a good thing when it's right in front of them. How many chances do you get in life? The country is running out of chances. Forget Democrat and Republican labels. We need a leader to take out the Trash!
0 # HowardMH 2015-02-27 13:19
So True and it is a real shame that Bernie doesn't have a $Billion to get him started on a real campaign. Yes that is Billion with a "B" because Wall Street will go after him with everything they got to stop him.

+6 # Citizen Mike 2015-02-27 11:26
The DHS borders on becoming an American Gestapo, so anything which limits its scope of operations is most welcome. The combination of withdrawing its funding and enhancing the fair treatment of immigrants is a most welcome development.

The conservatives wind up advancing a progressive agenda, restricting a huge, dangerous and un-American agency which has been impinging on our civil liberties and enhancing fair immigration policies. I am amused to observe this.

+8 # nickyused1 2015-02-27 11:31
Repugs are beyond help. As a bunch they couldn't get out of a phone booth themselves. Maybe they're looking for phone booths.
0 # bmiluski 2015-02-27 13:42
Maybe they're looking to the koch bros. to buying them that phone booth.

+11 # davidr 2015-02-27 11:38
"There is no Republican party any more."

That's the kernel. So what will be the strategy of "[Republican] politicians raised entirely within this new universe to set the lines of authority within it"? What can be the strategy for organizing a party that is hostile to all the forms & practices of government? a party that basically rejects organization by consent of the organized?

New leadership that may emerge within such context will, of course, be seen as an enemy to the rest of the party. That's the situation that Boehner finds himself in. It would be his situation even if he were the smartest guy in DC. It will be the situation of his successor.

The erstwhile Republican Party, as Pierce notes, is now in possession of a few rich men and various corporate interests. Its loyalty is to them; its enemy is government. It is becoming what was called in pre-War Italy a Fascist Party. The lines of authority in a Fascist party derive from a strongman and will entail, above all, threats & violence.

The politician raised within this new universe and creating its lines of authority will be wearing a black shirt. Force will constitute authority among a party that opposes, on principle, the civic basis of government.

+12 # Buddha 2015-02-27 11:54
To be honest, I wish us Progressives had this much power over the Center-Right pro-Wall St pro-TPP Corporatist Wing of the Democratic Party. We just get at best lip service, more usually just ignored.
-8 # Shades of gray matter 2015-02-27 12:16
The essential uselessness of this article!!!!

+2 # hkatzman 2015-02-27 12:54
When you start with the premise that "government is the problem," as Reagan did in his first inaugural address, where do you go next? What is the motivation for running for office, if not public service? What is the resulting form of government?

The result is anarchy. I believe government is where "we, the people" work together to better our society and our lives. I believe in activist government. But when our united power is dismissed as the problem, then there is no check on the consolidated power of a few wealthy individuals. Do we want a "dollarocracy" where those few with the most money rule the rest of us, or a democracy where we work together in self-rule?

There is an interesting comparison with the Weimar Republic, Germany between the wars, where the society was continuously demeaning its form of democracy and fondly remembering the strong-arm autocratic rule of Bismarck. The result was the unmourned collapse of democracy and the rise of the Nazi party.

Where do we go when we so despise our own self-rule?

+1 # RMF 2015-02-27 13:02
Great article, very informative. And Pierce accurately states the conundrum the GOP (and the country) now face...can we say hoisted on their (our) own petard.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

GOP thinks pills migrate to vagina

Women's bodies are a mystery to the GOP. (image: Sebastian Kaulitzki/Alamy)
Women's bodies are a mystery to the GOP. (image: Sebastian Kaulitzki/Alamy)

Women's Bodies Can't Perform Magic. Someone Please Tell Republicans

By Jessica Valenti, The Guardian UK
o Republican men think women are mythical creatures, like unicorns or fairies? It’s the only explanation I can come up with to make sense of the party’s continued insistence that women’s bodies can perform feats of absolute magic.

On Monday, during testimony on a state bill that would ban doctors from using telemedicine to prescribe abortion pills, Idaho Republican Rep Vito Barbieri asked a testifying physician if pregnant women could swallow small cameras so that doctors could “determine what the situation is”.

Dr Julie Madsen – who I imagine must have been suppressing the eyeroll of a lifetime – responded that it couldn’t be done because “when you swallow a pill it would not end up in the vagina.”

Barbieri now says the question was a rhetorical one (that’s the ticket!) but his gaffe reminds us all about just how little Republicans understand about women’s bodies.

Though, again, I’m honored that they think we hold such awesome abilities. After all, who could forget then-Rep Todd Akin’s assertion that women who were “legitimately” raped would not get pregnant because “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” Like a superpower! Or Rush Limbaugh’s belief that women’s bodies are so all-powerful that we actually require a birth control pill every time we have sex to keep from getting pregnant. But it doesn’t stop there.

Conservatives apparently also think that women are so magic as to almost be immortal - you see, they don’t believe that abortion are ever necessary to save a woman’s life or protect her health. They’re so sure of this, in fact, that they’ve been willing to bet our lives on it. It was just four years ago that House Republicans proposed to pass a bill that would have made it legal for hospitals to deny life-saving abortions to women who needed them and even deny them transfer to another hospital willing to perform the procedure. Maybe they just think we have nine lives? 

Republicans must think we’re magic – how else do they think we can possibly have all these kids (since we’re not supposed to need or want or get abortions) with no paid maternity leave, no subsidized child care, no livable minimum wage and a culture that thinks we’re supposed to grin and bear it?

Shockingly, all the fairy tale tales conservatives have told themselves about women’s bodies and abilities hasn’t done the Republicans any favors around election time.

And despite trainings for Republican candidates to learn how to talk about gender without saying something idiotic about rape or vaginas, Republican men continue to think stupid things about women and women continue to not vote for them.

So please, keep it up, guys. Talk more about what our vaginas can do, or how getting pregnant after rape is a “gift from god”. The more we watch as men who lack basic knowledge of biology and the human reproductive system make laws about what we can do with our own bodies, the more I believe that maybe women really are magic. We take care of our families as Republicans insist we’re “strong” enough to do with less. We battle back against archaic laws and dinosaur politicians. We do things a lot more impressive than swallowing a pill and having it migrate to our vaginas. That’s just weird. 

+15 # CAMUS1111 2015-02-25 17:18
People generally are f'ing stupid; gop'ers are even more stupid than the average; gop'er males are the stupidest because their females allow them to be or because they are even stupider...let' s not go there. Abort all gop'ers? Hmmm???
+11 # nancyw 2015-02-26 00:59
Camus111- are you saying stupid men are stupid because their women let them be stupid? So it's not once again ever the man's responsibility to become smart? Please. Men need to be responsible for their own stupidity. Victims again having be responsible for the perpetrator.'s education. Geez. C'mon ...
+2 # bmiluski 2015-02-26 10:11
Nancycyw, I agree with you. Men DO have to take responsibility for their actions. However, women MUST stop enabling them and allow them to grow-up.
+23 # Archie1954 2015-02-25 23:27
"Know nothing about women's bodies"? That because no decent, intelligent woman would let any Republican near her body
+13 # jsluka 2015-02-25 23:50
Actually, and quite surprisingly, millions of American women continue to vote for these Rethuglican mysoginyst idiots. If women did not support them, it would tip the balance to the Dumbocrats.
+2 # deadhead 2015-02-26 07:54
This phenomena is directly related to the effect of religion and, by extension, the long term success of Republican candidates and their supporting machinary in using social issues to win all these local and congressional elections. When we saw the Republican office holders ignore the socially divisive stances once in office, we started to believe that those issues were "manufactured" cynically just to win elections.and they were. For a time. But now so much of the electorate is so enamored of these 'social truths" that they fully expect their newly elected public servants to pursue those social agendas, just as promised. It's no shock to me that these "public servants" reflect their supporters. Women included, who for some unfathomable reason, other than their devout fundamentalist, male dominated "religion", happily and in your face, vote against their own best intetests. The real shock to me is the appalling drop off of progressive, thinking voters in these "off year" elections. The country is far more progressive than the current face of congress represents, but due to jerrymandering and our indifference to it (based on voter turnout), resulting in more of the same election after election. The intensity and tolerance of cuckoo science amounts to nothing more a type of sharia law, Christian style.
+12 # itchyvet 2015-02-26 00:42
Quote, " Idaho Republican Rep Vito Barbieri asked a testifying physician if pregnant women could swallow small cameras so that doctors could “determine what the situation is'. Unquote.
Surely this is meant to be IRONY ?
If not, Americans should be terrified, that folks with such an understanding of sexual reproduction are actually in a position of power within U.S. Government.
+5 # ptalady 2015-02-26 03:08
As much as I resonate with the disdain expressed in this article, the thing is...I would think it would not be to the vagina that the swallowed camera would have to migrate -- it would be more into the fallopian tubes or uterus. The abortion pill is designed for use within 5 weeks after conception. I don't think much change would be visible in the vagina at that point.
+2 # bmiluski 2015-02-26 10:14
ptalady.....I don't think Barbieri would have understood the words fallopian tubes or uterus.
+1 # bmiluski 2015-02-26 10:13
Itchyvet.....We ARE terrified that is why we vote against them. However, there are those who believe that supporting them will somehow allow them into their club.
+3 # AUCHMANNOCH 2015-02-26 05:32
Any camera you swallow will go nowhere near fallopian tubes uterus or vagina of course and therefore it would simply end up excreted. Maybe Republicans should enter into exploratory and meaningful discussions with the Old Lady that swallowed a fly? Their mental development is about at the nursery rhyme level.
+1 # cymricmorty 2015-02-26 09:20
That imbecile (Barbieri) must have still believed babies grow in their mothers' stomachs.
-3 # 2015-02-26 05:53
Of the 20 medical doctors in the 113th Congress, 16 are Republicans.

Lee Nason
New Bedford, Massachusetts
+6 # nogardflow 2015-02-26 07:35
Not sure what your point is. Is it that even though they are doctors, they still don't know how the female body works, or is it that they are too lazy to inform their colleagues about how it works, or is it that they're just being a**holes?
+3 # cymricmorty 2015-02-26 09:10
On the subject of women's bodies and repub physicians in congress, Phil Gingrey, a former OB/GYN, said Todd Akin was "partly right" about women's bodies "shutting that thing down" after rape. Science seems to have utterly failed him. Good thing he's no longer in practice.

Scott DesJarlais: Anti-abortion, yet his wife had 2 and his mistress famously had 1 at his behest.

Rand Paul: Ophthalmologist who couldn't pass board certification exam, so made up his own, and lo!

And how could we forget: Tom Coburn's last act in office was to block a Senate vote on veterans' suicide prevention.

That's off the top of my head. There's probably more...much, much more.
+1 # bmiluski 2015-02-26 10:15
What is your point Lee?
+2 # pagrad 2015-02-26 07:27
It’s not funny, -unfortunately!
The Republican political party philosophy has been a failure for the last 100 years!
Google it. Any high school student with a credible education knows that it wouldn’t work. Unfortunately, many American voters haven’t had a good education, either, so they can’t distinguish it.
+2 # bmiluski 2015-02-26 10:17
I wouldn't say last 100 years. I thought Eisenhower was a very good president. After that though.........