Reince Priebus’ Letter To Mr. And Mrs. Bergdahl

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Bergdahl,

Hello. You probably don’t know me, but my name is Reince Priebus. I am head of the Republican Party, when Rush Limbaugh is off the air or under the influence of narcotics. I am the guy who, along with Mitt Romney, began exploiting the Benghazi tragedy before we even knew what happened or how many had been killed. I told the world how pathetic it was that President Obama “sympathizes with attackers.” Heck, I said that before I knew any of the facts. That’s how propagandistically efficient I am, when it comes to The Scary Negro.

Now, it has probably come to your attention that my party is pedal-to-the-metal exploiting the release from captivity of your son, Bowe. I heard a Fox host say this morning, with jubilation in his voice, that “This story is just getting rolling, really.” Isn’t it nice to have friends? And it isn’t just Fox. Today on MSNBC—Allah love ‘em!—the talk has been about how questionable it was for the President to do what he did to get your son back. You know, “Was it too much of a price to pay?” Or “Did Obama negotiate with terrorists?” and all that stuff. It’s a beautiful thing, ain’t it? We have spent years criticizing Obama for not calling this the War on Terror and when he obviously treats it like a real war, with POW swaps and everything, we get to criticize him for that, too! Awesome!

In any case, I wanted you to know why my party has no shame in using the occasion of your son’s release to slam him and the President, even if, like with Benghazi, we don’t have all the facts. Indeed, we have gone to a lot of trouble to provide the media with plenty of soldiers who knew your son and who say they are angry he was swapped out for five Taliban prisoners in Gitmo. And we are generating a lot of rumors and half- and quarter-truths surrounding the disappearance of your boy and the subsequent search for him. It doesn’t really matter what the facts are at this point, what matters is that we smear President Obama. And if that means ripping apart your son, so be it. I hope you know what I mean.

Look, we’re desperate. We’ve been out of power now for a long time. We have only received the majority of the popular vote in a presidential election once in our last six tries. And that year we only got 50.7% of the vote. So, perhaps you can see why we find it necessary to do anything we can to get back in power, including trashing your son and the President who secured his release. Yes, we know that normally we are rah-rah guys when it comes to the military. Normally we would cheer at the keeping of a long military tradition of not leaving any soldier, no matter the circumstances of his disappearance, in enemy hands.

But you have to understand that these aren’t normal times. And President Obama is not a normal president. He is a weak leader—we claim. We have to keep telling people how weak he is because if they ever stopped and thought about it, if they ever checked into it, they would begin to see that the President has been pretty damned tough on the international scene, especially when it comes to hunting down and snuffing out terrorists. Since he took office, he has killed all kinds of al Qaeda leaders. And I’m not just talking about Osama bin Laden. He has killed top al Qaeda leaders in Pakistan, Somalia, Iraq, Kenya, and elsewhere. At one point they were dropping like drone-dead flies. He’s been so good at it that left-wingers have compared him to Dick Cheney, for God’s sake!

And besides all that, there is a possible long-term upside to negotiating, directly or indirectly, with the Taliban. Maybe it will prove to be a useful thing in the future, as we pull most of our troops out of Afghanistan. Maybe it will prove to be a brilliant strategy that will help save lives over there and help us better manage the transition, even possibly reduce the intensity of the conflict. If that’s the case, it is even more imperative that we Republicans poison the well right now. Before Americans start thinking about the good that might—I said might—come.

Thus, you can see, I hope, that it was necessary to use the tragedy in Benghazi—oh, yes, we are still using it—to put doubts in the minds of the American people about this president’s leadership and that of his obvious successor, Mrs. Clinton. And, unfortunately for you and your soldier son, the release of Bowe Bergdahl is another opportunity that we simply couldn’t pass up. And this one is even better than Benghazi! Some journalists are already starting to talk about impeachment! That’s efficiency, I tell ya!

I do want to warn you about something, something kind of delicate. In the course of our campaign to exploit this incident, it will sound like we think President Obama should have let your son, the last POW from those interminable Bush-authored wars, rot in the custody of the Taliban. It will sound like we think the Commander in Chief should have said to hell with the long and nearly sacred tradition of “no soldier left behind” and let your son die in captivity. Well, not only does it sound like that, that is what our position entails.

You see, we can’t be happy that your son is back at home, no matter what he did or didn’t do. That would mean that we are happy that President Obama did what he did. And admitting that, Mr. and Mrs. Bergdahl, will never happen. It just isn’t possible. It is not in my or the GOP’s DNA to give President Obama a jot or tittle of credit, no matter what he does. We can’t even credit him for good intentions. Hell, he’s in Europe right now, and if he decided to execute a flying forearm smash in the face of Vladimir Putin and take back Crimea single-handedly, you know what we’d do? We would have a segment on Fox five minutes later questioning whether flying forearm smashes erode the dignity of the office! More propagandistic efficiency!

Finally, I wanted you to know that there is a way of handling all this that might be good for everyone, depending on your politics. Your son, by some accounts (that we provided, of course!), was kind of, uh, different. He didn’t want to “drink beer or eat barbecue and hang out with the other 20-year-olds.” Apparently he spent a lot of time in his bunk reading books and “learning Dari and Arabic and Pashto.” Someone said he “wrote Jason Bourne-type novels,” casting himself in the leading role. We know that you, as devout Calvinists, home-schooled your son and taught him “ethics and morality.” You said, “Bowe was definitely instilled with truth.” And that leads me to a little scheme I’ve been thinking about.

When your son finally comes home, maybe you can instill in him a new truth. One that would make your entire family heroes to all those who are bashing you guys now. It is simple really: Convince Bowe to say that, yes, he walked off his base. Yes, he was uncomfortable with the war effort. But the real reason he was uncomfortable with it, the real reason he left his fellow soldiers that day, was because he did not respect President Obama’s leadership. All he has to say is that the President was so weak as a Commander in Chief that he, Bowe Bergdahl, couldn’t take it anymore. He had to get away, even if it meant capture by the enemy.

If he says that, I guarantee you that I and Rush Limbaugh and other leaders of the Republican Party will forgive him—forgive you!—and welcome all of you back as patriotic Americans on a special one-hour Sean Hannity program. It is that easy. I promise.

Sincerely,

Reince Priebus

[Photo of Bowe Bergdahl provided by Bergdhal family, via Rolling Stone]

Newest Edward Snowden Bombshell: Secret Limbaugh Republican Debate Questions Revealed!

Republican leader Reince Priebus, when he is not threatening CNN and NBC to stop their proposed Hillary presentations, has made it clear that he is not comfortable with allowing Republican presidential contenders to engage in endless debates with each other, which exposes the ignorance, extremism, and utter unsuitability of any one of those candidates to become the leader of the free world.

Priebus has, though, declared himself open to the possibility that rabid right-wing radio jocks like Andrea Tantaros and Mark Levin and, God willing, Sean Hannity could host a debate between Republican candidates.

It’s even been suggested that Rush Limbaugh join in. Yippee!

As a former dittohead, as a former Limbaugh listener for nearly 20 years, I have an inside track on just what questions he is prepared to ask at such a debate. Don’t bother to ask me how I got a copy of the questions and commentary below (have you seen Edward Snowden lately?), just sit back and hope that Reince Preibus allows such a possibility to become reality:

LIMBAUGH: Senator Cruz, do you think that women who use contraceptives are, as I have suggested, “sluts”? If not, why not?

LIMBAUGH: Senator Paul, if you ever got a call from Barack Hussein Obama, would you say, as I once said to a black caller, “take that bone out of your nose and all me back”?

LIMBAUGH: Senator Rubio, a caller on my radio show once suggested that you were duped by liberals into supporting amnesty for illegal immigrants. Are you that stupid? And speaking of stupid, I had a caller tell me that Republicans should allow you to go on with your amnesty bill because it would appeal to stupid voters? Is that what this party has been reduced to? Appealing to the stupid? Are we the champions of stupid? Wait, don’t answer that. I have another question.

Senator Rubio, I have said that it is just “a matter of mathematics to me,” in terms of your proposal to give amnesty to illegals. These illegals will mostly vote for Democrats and the math works against us Republicans. Why would we want to legalize all those brown people when they are just going to turn around and vote for Democrats? Huh? Is there something wrong with your math skills? Was the Heritage Foundation’s Jason Richwine right about Hispanics like you? 

LIMBAUGH: Governor Christie, why did you swap spit with President Obama, especially just before the presidential election? I said at the time that you were the servant and he was the master. That’s not the way God intended things. You had it backwards. And you tried to make Republicans like me look like fools. Don’t you know that God sent that pre-election hurricane your way in order to alert the rest of the country that liberalism and Obama were bad for the country? And there you were holding hands and cuddling up to him. You’re a disgrace to God and to the Republican Party! What the hell are you doing on this stage?

In fact, what am I doing on this stage? I’m too damned famous to moderate these debates.

limbaugh and debates

Remarks And Asides, Republican “Reform” Edition

“It’s not morally right to starve children,” says Tim Straus, a Springfield, Mo., businessman who is critical of Ozark Billy Long’s vote to cut $20 billion out of the food stamp program.

Now, If you have to tell Republican legislators that they shouldn’t be starving children, I submit the GOP, in its tenth month of reform agony, is irreparable.

______________________________

Speaking of trying to repair the Republican Party, Newt Gingrich, who is responsible for much of the brokenness of the party that needs fixing, has offered some more advice—will the advice ever end on how to rehabilitate Republicans?—on just what it is that the party should do: come up with something to replace the Affordable Care Act:

I would bet for most of you, you go home in the next two weeks while your members of Congress are home and you look at them in the eye and you say, ‘What is your positive replacement for ObamaCare?’ and they will have zero answer…

Oh, but they do have an answer, Newt. It is found in Billy Long’s vote to cut food stamps and in the newest Republican effort in the House to cut food stamps even more. If you starve the children, then they won’t grow up to need health care at all! Voilà!

______________________________

Someone should tell the Tea Party in Tennessee that Republicans need to do more than, as Newt put it, be “negative” and “vicious” and “tear down” their opponents.

Tea Party zealots have asked Senator Lamar Alexander to retire “with dignity” before they expose him to Tennessee voters as the champion of “compromise and bipartisanship.” Yep, a man who has a 72% rating from the reactionary American Conservative Union and a 90% rating from the equally reactionary Americans for Tax Reform is not fit to be a Republican anymore because of all that compromisin’!

I don’t think these fanatics are listening to you, Newt!

_______________________________

And speaking of fanatics, no party that has as its head a man like Reince Priebus is either capable of reforming itself or worth reforming. I remind you that when Republicans were going through all this “reform” talk in January of this year, I wrote a piece appropriately titled, “To Hell With The Republican Party.”  In that piece I said my piece about Reince Priebus, which because I find him so appalling, I want to say it again:

Someone explain to me why a political party that supposedly wants to reform itself would put one of its most disgusting leaders of all time back on top. Oh, let me remind you of what this slimy bastard said while the tragedy in Benghazi was still warm:

reince priebus

If there were a God who gave a damn about this world, Reince Priebus would be putting out fires in hell about now. But instead, the creep has been put back in charge of the Republican Party, which may amount to the same job.

There, now I feel better.

_________________________________

And again speaking of Republican fanatics, yet another congressman is calling for a shutdown of the government in order to defund ObamaCare. This comes as a conservative polling outfit—a brother of The Heritage Foundation—defund obamacareis urging Republicans to shut ‘er down because the public would not necessarily put all the blame on the GOP:

This poll demonstrates that the Left cannot win the argument on either the policy front or the political front.  Americans – including 57 percent of independents in ten critical congressional districts – favor defunding Obamacare.  House Republicans should be much more concerned with the fallout of failing to defund Obamacare than with the imaginary fallout of doing so.

The country is waiting to see whether the extremist Tea Party clowns are running the GOP rodeo, or whether the GOP rodeo has become nothing but clown acts.

____________________________

Finally, speaking of clown acts:

GOP lawmaker invites rodeo clown who mocked Obama to Texas

Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas) invited the rodeo clown who sparked controversy by donning a mask of President Obama at the Missouri State Fair to preform in Texas, his office said Wednesday.

Stockman, one of the most clownish members of Congress himself, said,

I’m sure any rodeo in Texas would be proud to have [the] performers.

That just about says it all about Congressman Stockman, Texas, and the unreformable Republican Party.

In Defense Of Lois Lerner

You’d think she killed somebody.

Lois Lerner, who on Wednesday invoked her right against self-incrimination, is being attacked, by nearly everyone in the country who knows who she is, for her role in the IRS v. Tea Party “scandal,” which, of course, isn’t quite a scandal yet, but Republicans keep trying. Some of the most vicious attacks are coming from Constitution-loving right-wingers, who can’t believe Lerner would actually use something other than the Second Amendment to protect herself.I Have Not Done Anything Wrong: IRS Official Lois Lerner Invokes 5th Amendment Right

MSNBC’s conservative gabber, S.E. Cupp, who provides a damn good reason not to watch that network’s afternoon show “The Cycle,” took to tweetin’ yesterday to say,

So, Lois Lerner is either a coward or a criminal, right? Tell me where I’m wrong.

Apparently, S.E. Cupp studied the Constitution at the Rush Limbaugh School of Law, which ought to be enough right there to tell her where she’s wrong.

And speaking of Professor Limbaugh, he said about Ms. Lerner:

Okay, let me tell you what happened today at the IRS hearings. Lois Lerner, who ran the whole kit and caboodle and was… By the way, this was the first time I had a close-up look at her. This is an angry woman. You have to be very careful in making judgments about people based on physical appearance, although I’ve gotten really good at it. I can spot people out there and I can tell you who the libs are pretty much by just what I see. But, in this case, I already know that she is.

I already know that she’s a liberal, I know that she is in the same mode as Barack Obama, and now I know this is a woman who’s angry…This is a woman obsessed with the Christian right, Lois Lerner. This is a woman obsessed with religious people.

Okay. So, from two popular conservative commentators (there are a thousand more to choose from) we know that Lerner, by refusing to testify, is an angry, Jesus-hating woman who is either a criminal or a coward. All because she dared to avail herself of a constitutional right. Hmm.

The honcho of the Republican National Committee, the insufferable Reince Priebus, himself issued a Tweet regarding his discussion with Sean Hannity about this mess:

…it’s lawlessness and guerrilla warfare and Obama is in the middle of it.

Yikes! Obama is a gorilla, uh, guerrilla!

In any case, Priebus, appearing on Morning Joe today, commented on Lois Lerner’s right-invoking committee appearance:

You don’t need to plead the Fifth if you have done nothing wrong…

Obviously, Priebus also attended Rush Limbaugh’s law school. Even though he was aggressively challenged by Morning Joe regular John Heilemann, Priebus didn’t back down. In Priebus’ strange and disordered mind, pleading the Fifth is tantamount to an admission of guilt, don’t you know. Damn those Founders!

But right-wingers aren’t the only ones saying such stupid things. This morning on Morning Joe, which prejudicially carried a graphic characterizing Lerner’s brief statement as “defiant,” I heard Andy Serwer, managing editor of Fortune magazine, for God’s sake, say this:

What an unsympathetic position. We just saw her pleading the Fifth. This is something that mafia chieftains do in front of Congress, not public officials, not someone from the IRS. Obviously everyone just wants to know the real story, we want her to come clean. How bad could it be? I’m sorry, “You need to tell what’s going on here,”  and, you know, to just do otherwise is just ridiculous, and the IRS is just going to continue to be a piñata. And obviously is not’s just right-wing groups who are upset with this, but every American citizen should be upset with this.

Mafia chieftain? Wow. So much for presumed innocence. I remind you that the man who said that is a, gulp, journalist.

Well, I may be the only one in the world who has sympathy for this woman, but I can’t help it. I still happen to believe in the noble and once-American concept of innocent-until-proven-guilty. And I really do believe in the Constitution, which also includes the Fifth Amendment’s right to remain silent should someone try to compel any person “to be a witness against himself.”

Republican legislators, who, like all Tea Party-drunk conservatives, claim to love, cherish, and lustily sleep with the Constitution, were upset on Wednesday when Ms. Lerner invokedLois Lerner her Fifth Amendment right just after she made a plea of innocence and after Darrell Issa, headhunting chairman of the House’s Oversight and Government Reform Committee, talked her into authenticating a document.

I watched as Trey Gowdy, a former federal prosecutor who now represents right-wing folks in South Carolina’s 4th congressional district, forgot that he was not in a federal courtroom but at a congressional hearing and insisted that Lerner “ought to stand here and answer our questions.” Uh, she was actually sitting at the time, but then, hey, maybe being a former prosecutor and current zealot entitles one to demand that witnesses stand during the inquisition. Heck, why not go the whole way and roll out the rack? Bones cracking would make good TV.

But that’s beside the point. Gowdy said of Lerner,

You don’t get to tell your side of the story and not be subject to cross-examination.

Whoa, cowboy. Settle down there. (Some folks in the gallery were applauding at Gowdy’s prosecutorial grandstanding, and Issa did nothing to stop them, by the way.) Lerner didn’t actually tell her side of the story. There’s a lot of story to tell, if she ever tells it, and she didn’t even come close with these words:

I have not done anything wrong. I have not broken any laws. I have not violated any IRS rules or regulations, and I have not provided false information to this or any other congressional committee. And while I would very much like to answer the committee’s questions today, I’ve been advised by my counsel to assert my constitutional right not to testify or answer questions related to the subject matter of this hearing. 

After very careful consideration, I’ve decided to follow my counsel’s advice and not testify or answer any of the questions today. Because I’m asserting my right not to testify, I know that some people will assume that I’ve done something wrong. I have not. One of the basic functions of the Fifth Amendment is to protect innocent individuals, and that is the protection I’m invoking today.

After initially and correctly telling everyone that they should respect Lerner’s Fifth Amendment right without prejudging her, Issa later put on his big-boy Tea Party pants and now agrees with Gowdy and others who believe she lost her constitutional right not to incriminate herself. He’s going to call her back to appear again. Whoopee! More good cable TV to come!  Maybe next time they really will crack her bones!

As with so many things in this litigious world of ours, there are at least two sides of this Fifth Amendment “controversy.” There are those lawyers who think she did not waive her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination by offering a brief statement of her innocence. Of course, those lawyers did not attend the Rush Limbaugh School of Law, so what do they know?

And, of course, as Reince Priebus indicated, this all comes back to President Obama. Conservative Republican Joe Scarborough said on MSNBC this morning,

Why is the president allowing this to go on? This IRS story is another great example of just sheer incompetence at the White House to get their story out in a clean, effective way…

Yes, the Prez should simply strip Ms. Lerner of her constitutional rights, force her to tell Darrell Issa what he wants to hear, and then impeach himself after it’s all done. That, and only that, will satisfy the mob.

Finally, the truth in all this just may be found in a little article on The Daily Beast published today. The story quotes a man who used to hold the same position Lois Lerner now holds:

“It was inevitable something was going to happen,” said Marcus Owens, who served as director of the IRS Exempt Organizations Division from 1990 until he retired in 2000. That was the same year that the 1998 IRS Restructuring and Reform Act was implemented, ushering in, he said, a culture of disorganization and miscommunication.

“Virtually all IRS executive positions were re-aligned and re-evaluated and a lot of field offices positions were eliminated. The channels of communication between field offices and the Washington headquarters were muddied,” Owens said. “Instead of having clear, hierarchical oversight, Cincinnati was given the responsibility to handle things that would normally be handled by the better-equipped Washington office.”

He went on to say,

“This is a case of funding problems and management problems. Everyone is thinking that the IRS was hunting down conservative organizations with bloodhounds or something when what they were really doing was opening the morning’s mail… The IRS is really a collection agency for the government. Tax returns that generate revenue must be accurate, but those that don’t generate revenue receive less attention,” he said. “That’s just the way it is.”

I doubt very much if we hear a lot from Marcus Owens or hear a lot about the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998. But we should. (By the way, only two U.S. Senators voted against that bill, including that great progressive, the late Paul Wellstone, so that ought to tell us something.) The likelihood that we won’t hear much about Owens or that 1998 law tells us something very important about the state of journalism these days, perhaps something more important than a prominent journalist going on TV and comparing a Fifth Amendment-invoking IRS employee to a “mafia chieftain.”

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[photo credit: Getty Images (top) and AP (bottom)]

To Hell With The Republican Party

GOP dying? Good!”

Glenn Beck

Okay. I’m warning all of you who don’t like profanity to click away.

On Tuesday I heard yet another segment on television—perhaps the millionth by now— about what Republicans need to do to reform themselves.

Finally, I am here to say: Who gives a damn? Who cares what Republicans need to do to reform themselves? I used to. I used to care. Now I don’t. You know why? Because the party is beyond reform, that’s why.

As we get some bad economic news today—the economy didn’t grow last quarter—just think about why that is. The Republican Party has done its best to sabotage the economic recovery, mostly just because it hates Barack Obama and loves political power.

And think about this: My own senator, Roy Blunt, practically begged for funds for his constituents in Joplin, after a tornado ripped through our town in 2011. But then, when a super storm named Sandy ripped through the northeast, blunt2where all those goddamned liberals live, he said to hell with the goddamned liberals. He, and thirty-five other Republicans—most of whom have taken federal funds for disasters in their own states—voted “no” on Sandy relief.

Well, to hell with him, to hell with them, and to hell with the Republican Party.

I don’t like the GOP. I hate what it stands for. I want it to die and go away. I don’t want to waste time worrying if it can reform itself because those who mean to reform it sometimes sound as ridiculous as those who want it to remain the way it is, or, God forbid, make it worse.

Example: David Brooks is by all accounts one of the most reasonable Republicans on the planet and one who liberals love to cite. But when he can say that there ought to be a “second G.O.P.” and that this new G.O.P. would “be filled with people who recoiled at President Obama’s second Inaugural Address because of its excessive faith in centralized power,” there is no real hope for the party.

Did Brooks even watch that inaugural speech before he wrote that “excessive faith in centralized power” phrase? Are you kidding me? President Obama, in that speech, said this:

Through it all, we have never relinquished our skepticism of central authority, nor have we succumbed to the fiction that all society’s ills can be cured through government alone.  Our celebration of initiative and enterprise, our insistence on hard work and personal responsibility, these are constants in our character.

Can David Brooks hear? Can he read? Is he having a love affair with Rush Limbaugh’s brain? Brooks said the new reformed group of Republicans would be one that “recoiled” at the “excessive faith in centralized power” that Obama expressed in his speech. Except that Obama expressed no such a thing.

What the President did do was explicitly acknowledge our national “skepticism of central authority” and called government-only solutions a “fiction,” and celebrated “initiative and David Brooks, serious typist for the Timesenterprise” and “hard work and personal responsibility,” which he called “constants in our character.”

Maybe David Brooks thinks only Republicans can seriously use language like that, I don’t know. But I do know there is something seriously wrong with a political party when a moderate member, one who gets accolades from Democrats like me for not being a crazy conservative, can grossly mischaracterize a Democratic speech and remain a respected “moderate.”

Okay, I admit I could tolerate a party full of David Brooks types, even if they say stupid things like “excessive faith in centralized power” when there was no excessive faith in centralized power.

But I can’t tolerate a party that would put a man like Reince Priebus back in charge. Priebus has been reelected as Republican National Committee chairman. He’s once again the official spokesman for the party.

Someone explain to me why a political party that supposedly wants to reform itself would put one of its most disgusting leaders of all time back on top. Oh, let me remind you of what this slimy bastard said while the tragedy in Benghazi was still warm:

reince priebus

If there were a God who gave a damn about this world, Reince Priebus would be putting out fires in hell about now. But instead, the creep has been put back in charge of the Republican Party, which may amount to the same job.

Not only is Priebus the leader of the Republicans’ War on Decency, he recently was auditioning for a part in the GOP’s War on Democracy. He favors Republican-controlled states “looking at” an outrageous scheme to thwart the will of the people by changing the way those states allocate Electoral College votes.

As if the Electoral College isn’t stupid enough without the Republican Party devising a way to make a future 47%-of-the-vote-getting presidential candidate the winner. Does anyone think a party that would even contemplate such a thing is redeemable? Huh?

Want more? I finally heard about remarks made last Saturday by newly elected Tea Party Senator Ted Cruz. The remarks were about two of President Obama’s picks for cabinet members, Democrat John Kerry—who has three Purple Hearts and a Silver Star and a Bronze Star from his service in Vietnam—and Republican Chuck Hagel—who has two Purple Hearts and flesh-wrapped shrapnel from his time in Vietnam.

Here’s how HuffPo reported the remarks Cruz made on Saturday: 

“Okay, we’ve got two pending nominations, John Kerry and Chuck Hagel,” he said in responding to a question at the National Review Institute summit in Washington. “Both of whom are very prominently — “

Cruz took a pregnant pause. “Anti-us?” said a moderator.

“Less than ardent fans of the U.S. military,” he continued.

Can you believe that? Can you believe a man would first tolerate the moderator’s disgusting “anti-us” remark and then say that combat veterans and war heroes were not fans of the military? I can. That’s what this goddamned party has come to.

You can Google “Ted Cruz military service” and you will find that the arrogant SOB never served a day in the military, let alone won any medals, as did Kerry and Hagel. Cruz was, however, a champion debater at, uh, Princeton. Good for him, the brave asshole.

Lest you forget, Ted Cruz is one of the bright lights in the Republican Party. Political strategist Mark McKinnon, who like David Brooks gets credit for being a “moderate” Republican, called Cruz, “the Republican Barack Obama.”

That, my friends, is from the lips of a moderate Republican. There’s no hope for the party, is all one can conclude.

And there is no hope for a party that encourages law enforcement officials, in this case sheriffs, to disobey the law. All over the country these “lawmen” are saying they will not obey any of Obama’s executive orders related to guns. Here in Missouri, the Republican-drunk legislature may soon entertain a bill introduced by a gun-slinging legislator,

making it a felony to enforce any executive order or federal law that bans the possession of a semiautomatic firearm, among other provisions.

You tell me if such lawlessness by a political party can be fixed.

Finally, I will end this tirade with more on the gun issue and with what happened to Neil Heslin, whose six-year-old boy was killed at Sandy Hook. Heslin was testifying emotionally during a public hearing in Hartford, Connecticut. He was in favor of doing something positive, like changing our insane gun laws, sort of as a way to memorialize the dead.

Initial reports on Tuesday were that Heslin was “heckled by gun nuts” in the audience. That heckling meme made it all around the country in no time. Then what followed the heckling meme was another meme pushed by right-wingers:

No, a Sandy Hook parent did not get “heckled by gun nuts”

Well, I have seen the video. I watched Neil Heslin’s face. I heard his tortured words. I felt his pain. He was obviously still stunned by the death of his little boy. He was understandably full of emotion.  ‘THAT WAS THE LAST I SAW OF HIM’: Neil Heslin dropped off Jesse yesterday morning and planned to go back in the afternoon to help him make gingerbread houses.He was trying to find something good from the tragedy. He asked a rhetorical question,

Why anybody in this room needs to have one of these assault style weapons or military weapons or high capacity clips?

Greeted with appropriate silence, Heslin then said,

And not one person can answer that question or give me an answer.

At that point, more than one person mouthed out ridiculous statements like “Second Amendment shall not be infringed” and “you will not infringe our rights.” Real classy folks.

Now, I don’t give a damn what you call this, whether you call it “heckling” or whether you call it something else. What I call it is indecent. And it is the Republican Party that has made the world safe for extremist gun freaks who don’t have the decency to respect a still-grieving father in a moment like that.

And it is the Republican Party that not only enables such indecency, but also enables those gun freaks who demand that they have the right to play with military-ish guns and fantasize about how they need those big-ass guns and clips to combat a tyrannical government. The Republican Party makes that possible.

Add all this up and more—I didn’t even mention the party’s still hot War on Women or that Marco Rubio had to kiss Rush Limbaugh’s ass and get his blessing on immigration reform—and, as far as I’m concerned, the once-great party of Lincoln is irredeemable, hopeless. And I don’t want to hear any more bullshit about its agonizing efforts to reform itself.

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To sort of follow up on my outburst, I present below a stunning “Rewrite” segment from Lawrence O’Donnell’s Tuesday evening show. It’s about what happened to Neil Heslin:

“The Beginning Of The Battle To Take Over The Republican Party”

I just noticed, via C-SPAN, that a bunch of bitter extremist conservative leaders got together after the election last week and told reporters at the National Press Club that what’s wrong with the Republican Party is that there aren’t enough bitter extremist conservatives in it.

The press event was led by Richard Viguerie, an influential conservative who has tried to help right-wing nuts take over the Republican Party for more than 50 years. To people like Viguerie, the GOP is merely “the most convenient vehicle through which to seek elective office.”

To give you an idea of what strange ideas whiz around in the noggin’ of Richard Viguerie, he thought that Rick Santorum was “the most electable conservative seeking the Republican nomination for President.” Yes, he really thought that.

Viguerie said last week:

The battle to take over the Republican Party begins today and the failed Republican leadership should resign. Out of last night’s disaster comes some good news, however. Conservatives are saying, “Never again are we going to nominate a big-government establishment Republican for president.”

As if he were reading from a script written by liberal Democrats who want the GOP to continue on its path toward national irrelevance, Viguerie elaborated:

Republicans never, ever win the presidency unless they nationalize the election around conservative principles and a conservative agenda…In choosing to ignore the conservative agenda, Romney chose not to follow the path that led to Republicans winning the White House seven out of the last eleven elections…

Now don’t get caught up on how delusional Viguerie is to think that Mittens actually ignoredthe conservative agenda,” an agenda he embraced so effectively that it helped bring him down (“self deportation,” anyone?). Viguerie said something more important, in terms of the internecine struggle that has begun over the future of the Republican Party: “The battle to take over the Republican Party begins today.”

The old conservative went on to demand the heads of Reince Priebus, John Cornyn, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, and “other Republican leaders behind the epic election failure of 2012.” He then tossed Karl Rove out with the other consultant trash he considered unworthy of advising the Republican Party, saying “no one should give a dime to their ineffective super PACs such as American Crossroads.”

Despite all that, the real problem for Republican leaders, who can see that their party is becoming nationally unattractive, is related to the following Viguerie remarks, in which he reiterated what is at stake for movement conservatives:

The disaster of 2012 signals the beginning of the battle to take over the Republican Party, and the opportunity to establish the GOP as the party of small government, constitutional conservatism.

Viguerie, you see, doesn’t just want to share the Republican Party with other Republicans. He and other like-minded zealots want to take it over and completely remake it in the image of the Tea Party. That’s what “small government, constitutional conservatism” translates to.

In the mean time, some of the more establishment righties, like columnist and Foxer Michael Barone, said the Tea Party “brings some talented people into politics…but it also brings some wackos and weirdos and witches, and we put too many of them on the ticket.

As a Democrat, I am more than happy to stand back and watch Republicans figure out just who are the “talented people” and who are the “wackos and weirdos and witches.” It will be amusing to see Republicans turn on one another, attack one another, injure one another. They deserve the tumult they are going through, given how many of them tried to destroy President Obama by waging a war of slander against him and by slowing down the economic recovery so he couldn’t win a second term.

While those disgraceful actions didn’t stop Obama’s reelection, they did hurt the country, and given the confusion they created around next year’s fiscal policies, Republicans are still hurting the country.

These people have sown division and uncertainty, and, by God, they are, as a political party, reaping what they sowed.

Reince Priebus Down For The Count

 

Rarely, if ever, has a Repubican bigwig like Reince Priebus, the nasty Chairman of the Republican National Committee who daily slanders President Obama on TV, faced what he faced this morning on Morning Joe, as Chris Matthews executed a tilt-a-whirl mat slam on his lying ass, then when Priebus tried to get up, Matthews finished him off with a perfect spinning headlock elbow drop.

This is damned good television:

 

A Window

A window is a transparent or translucent opening in a wall or door that allows the passage of light…

—from Wikipedia

s that festival of falsehoods, that carnival of calumny, that pageant of prevarication known as the Republican National Convention is about to begin, I want to note all the attempts over the weekend to alchemize Mitt Romney, to shake that famous Etch-A-Sketch and draw him anew.

All three cable channels, MSNBC, CNN, and Fox “News,” presented some form of “get to know the Romneys better” piece, with CNN and Fox, of course, doing the most to turn the Romney we have come to know—as Fox’s Chris Wallace reminded us in his fluffy “Costco” piece, Mittens has been running for president eight years—into something more palatable, more marketable to that thin slice of the electorate who is still open to persuasion.

And by the way, one has to wonder, at this point, why there are any folks left—among those who will bother to vote—who haven’t made up their minds. Obviously, some haven’t been paying close attention, since politics for them is, like the recent Olympics, an every-four-year event.

Others, let’s face it, aren’t really willing or capable of making a rational choice, particularly one that might actually help serve their own economic interests. This micro niche of people will, almost literally, wait until the last minute and essentially hang their vote on some scrap of information—true or false—that will give them peace with their “choice.”

That having been said, all the attempts to refurbish Romney don’t really matter. It’s not important for people, who are still evaluating him, to conclude that Romney is a bad man or a good man or to figure out “who he is, what makes him tick,” as a Republican spokesman said this morning.

Because ultimately what should matter to everyone is exactly what President Obama told the Associated Press:

I can’t speak to Gov. Romney’s motivations. What I can say is that he has signed up for positions, extreme positions, that are very consistent with positions that a number of House Republicans have taken. And whether he actually believes in those or not, I have no doubt that he would carry forward some of the things that he’s talked about.

That is what matters. What will a President Romney actually do? Has he embraced all those “extreme positions” just for show, just to appease the extremists who hold them? In order to believe that one would have to believe Mitt Romney is an abject liar and then vote for that abject liar. Or one can believe that Romney means what he says and he will govern, as much as Democrats permit him, with those extreme positions as his guide.

Listen to RNC chairman Reince Priebus, who when he wasn’t dodging rhetorical bullets from Chris Matthews on Morning Joe this morning, uttered this syntactically challenged but revealing sentence:

What more specific can he get than picking Paul Ryan as his Vice President?

That statement, fresh from the lips of the GOP chairman, is ten-months pregnant with the truth about Mitt Romney. He chose Paul Ryan—who undoubtedly is a hero to extremist conservatives everywhere—precisely because it best demonstrates how he will govern. Ryan has spent his entire adult life—all of it!—in Washington, D.C., and if anyone knows how the place works, he does. And if anyone can lead Romney to that Randian promised land, he can.

Priebus told us this morning that Ryan and his House GOP budget are “a window into the types of things we need to do…

A window,” he said. If people will only open their eyes and see.

Hate, Taught And Learned In Joplin And Elsewhere

As I watched CNN’s coverage on Sunday of yet another mass killing, it was easy to notice the immediate on-air confusion, as expressed by HuffPo:

The complications of covering a relatively small religious group (there are between 25 and 30 million Sikhs in the world) were clear on Sunday. Outlets like BuzzFeed and writers like Sunny Hundal compiled several examples of reporters struggling with the facts of the religion: a Fox News analyst asking if there had been any “anti-Semitic acts” in the past against Sikhs; CNN’s Don Lemon wondering if Sikhs have “traditional enemies,” or if the shooter had “beef with the Sikhs”; a local Wisconsin station saying that the religion is “based in northern Italy.”

I have noticed the coverage today is turning toward developing an understanding of the Sikh religion, which is often confused with that religion Americans are supposed to alternately fear and hate, Islam. Here in Joplin we likely have at least one person who acted on his fear and/or hate of Islam early this morning:

A mosque in southwest Missouri burned to the ground early Monday in the second fire to hit the Islamic center in little more than a month, officials said.

Let’s face it. The reason the now-dead thug in Wisconsin targeted a Sikh temple, and the reason someone may have burned a Joplin mosque to the grown, has little to do with religious distinctions, fine or otherwise. It has to do with cultural angst over foreignness and pigmentation, the same kind of angst exploited for political gain by Obama-haters on the right.

We don’t know who set fire to the Joplin mosque—though the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR, the group that figures prominently in Glenn Beck’s conspiratorial fantasies) is offering a $10,000 reward for help in finding and convicting the guilty party—but we do know who killed the Sikhs in Wisconsin. The Southern Poverty Law Center specializes in following American hate groups and it reported today that the killer was,

a frustrated neo-Nazi who had been the leader of a racist white-power band.

Now, before I get hammered by right-wingers playing the-left-always-blames-this-stuff-on-conservatives game, obviously the bastard that killed those folks in Wisconsin is not on a par with, say, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, who last month said about the upcoming election:

The fact that it’s not a question of whether can Mitt Romney win. The question is — the statement is, Mitt Romney has to win for the sake of the very idea of America. Mitt Romney has to win for liberty and freedom and we have to put an end to this Barack Obama presidency before it puts an end to our way of life in America.

No, issuing that kind of rhetoric, coupled with four years of right-wing suggestions and statements that Mr. Obama is not one of “us,” is not the same as gunning down innocent Sikhs or burning down Islamic centers. No one is suggesting that.

But Priebus’ appeal, as well as similar appeals by conservatives, is to the same paranoid part of the right-wing brain that, when operating at full tilt, does engineer the kind of acts we saw over this weekend, as unhinged people do terrible things to those they have learned to hate.

The History of Romney’s Tax Return Game

Since Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid hurled his you-didn’t-pay-any-taxes-for-ten-years charge at Mitt Romney, Republicans have been circling the wagons around Mittens in hopes they can just shout away the controversy over his tax returns.

Over the weekend, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, a right-wing zealot named Reince Priebus, had no problem calling Reid a “dirty liar,” and Senator Lindsey Graham also claimed Reid was “lying” and “making things up.”

Well, thankfully Rachel Maddow did two segments last Friday evening that deftly pointed out the games Romney has played with tax returns, his and others’, as well as exposing just who started all this lying bidness about what’s in Romney’s own tax returns—spoiler alert: it was Mittens himself ten years ago!

If you didn’t see the segments, you need to, as you will clearly see Romney’s hypocrisy on this issue, including his telling a rather large whopper about his filing status as a Massachusetts resident when he was running for governor. Below is the first segment and the second one can be seen here:

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