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Well it’s been another stellar week for the Grand Ol(d) Party. The one thing they’ve mastered………..lying, hypocrisy, manipulation and obstruction all in fine form over the last several days. When they aren’t running from studio to studio spreading lies over the television airways they’re behind closed doors organizing their strategy of NO.
So let’s see what did they grace us with this week……………………………………..
The veil has been lifted off of the public veneer of Republican fundraising strategies, with Politico’s expose yesterday of a 72-page PowerPoint document which details plans to stoke “fear” of President Obama and pledges to “save the country from trending toward socialism.” The document also contains an offensive slide, entitled “The Evil Empire,” which contains a crude caricature depicting Obama as the Joker from Batman labeled Socialism; an image frequently seen at tea party protests. When news that the controversial document was published, reached the Republican National Committee, staffers moved quickly to try and distance Chairman Michael Steele from its contents, claiming he wasn’t aware of it. But this particular horse has already left the barn, as it were, and despite all of the backtracking in the world, it’s been obvious for quite some time that the Party of no ideas will sink to despicable levels of fear and hate-mongering to reclaim power.
According to the report in Politico, the document not only spells out in graphic terms, the Republican strategy of capitalizing on voter’s fears and prejudices, but also considers its donors to be idiots:
“The Republican National Committee plans to raise money this election cycle through an aggressive campaign capitalizing on “fear” of President Barack Obama and a promise to “save the country from trending toward socialism.” The strategy was detailed in a confidential party fundraising presentation, obtained by POLITICO, which also outlines how “ego-driven” wealthy donors can be tapped with offers of access and “tchochkes.” The presentation was delivered by RNC Finance Director Rob Bickhart to top donors and fundraisers at a party retreat in Boca Grande, Florida on February 18, a source at the gathering said.”
A hard copy of the PowerPoint document was left at the Gasparilla Inn & Club hosting the $2,500-a-head retreat, and was retrieved by a Democrat and given to Politico.
Besides the offensive cartoonish depiction of President Obama as a Socialist Joker, “The Evil Empire” slide also depicts House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (NV), as Cruella de Vil and Scooby-Doo, respectively.
Another slide asks: “What can you sell when you do not have the White House, the House, or the Senate…?” The answer: “Save the country from trending toward Socialism!”
The marketing section continues with a slide that divides potential donor groups into direct marketing and major donors, with the smaller direct marketing donors under the heading “Visceral Giving” and the major donors tagged with the heading, “Calculated Giving.”
The motivations of the smaller tea party dupes, include “Fear,” “Extreme negative feelings toward existing administration” and “Reactionary.”
And the motivations of the major donors, include “Networking Opportunities,” “Access,” “Wall of Fame” and “Ego-Driven.”
RNC Fallout: ‘Ashamed’ donor closes checkbook:
A prominent Evangelical figure and Republican donor says he will end his contributions to the organized Republican Party in reaction to the leaked fundraising presentation that advised using “fear” to solicit contributions and displayed an image of President Obama as the Joker from Batman.
Mark DeMoss, who heads a major Christian public relations firm in Atlanta and served as a liaison to the Evangelical community for Mitt Romney in 2008, wrote Chairman Michael Steele yesterday that he was “ashamed” of the presentation, calling depictions of Obama, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Majority Leader Harry Reid “shameful, immature and uncivil, at best.” More at Politico
Then we have Mr. Jim Bunning (R-KY)who went out of his way to hold up any progress in Washington over the past week. Never mind that also meant holding up unemployment benefits for millions, held up state contracts, suspended the National Flood Insurance program and many other important stimuli needed but also felt that the unemployed need to get used to. I think his exact words were ‘tough shit’.
WASHINGTON — There was one thing Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ky., did this week that only seemed crazy. Trying to flee reporters on Monday, Bunning ducked into an elevator in the Hart Senate Office Building and insisted they stay out. “Excuse me, this is a senator-only elevator,” Bunning growled repeatedly (before flipping off the reporters who were trying to talk to him).
That may have sounded nuts, but actually, the Capitol and its surrounding office buildings are filled with elevators that only elected members of Congress are allowed to use. By insisting on his right to ride up and down in peace, Bunning did a useful service and brought more widespread attention to one of the weirder perks lawmakers get.
As far as how he spent the rest of his time recently, though, Bunning easily qualified for “This Week in Crazy” honors. For five days, the former Major League Baseball pitcher held federal unemployment benefits hostage while he ranted about the need to find a way to pay for them. The bill that Bunning blocked also provided federal highway projects that employed 2,000 people, increased Medicare reimbursement rates for doctors, and allowed satellite TV operators to carry local channels in some rural areas.
And yes, it was expensive — about $10 billion. But blocking it over the price tag would be less crazy if Bunning hadn’t joined every Republican and voted against a measure to require federal spending to be paid for. (Democrats classified the bill Bunning blocked as emergency spending, because it was temporary, which meant it wasn’t subject to the new pay-as-you-go rules that Bunning had opposed.)
Behind the scenes, though, the situation was even stranger. Democratic aides tried for several days to persuade Bunning to drop his objection by agreeing to a vote on an amendment that would have paid for the extension. They say he refused until they could guarantee he’d win the vote. (In the end, he didn’t come close, getting the support of only 43 senators, mostly from the GOP.) Even Republicans were blindsided by Bunning’s stunt — he loathes his fellow Kentuckian, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and around Capitol Hill, a lot of people wondered whether Bunning’s real goal was just to make McConnell suffer. Bunning’s little game handed Democrats fresh ammo in their rhetorical war with Republicans over Senate rules; the sight of one angry old man bringing the chamber to a complete halt for the better part of a week probably didn’t convince many voters that things like the filibuster aren’t being abused.
And we have Mr. Roy Ashburn (R-CA) leading anti-gay rights opponent in his home state California out cruising the streets drunk with the man he met at a GAY BAR! Yes folks Mr. Anti-Gay seems to be a frequent visitor of his states many gay bars. Maybe he’s just doing research.
Sources told the CBS affiliate KOVR in Sacramento Ashburn was seen leaving Faces, a gay nightclub in midtown Sacramento.
Sgt. Rick Campbell of the CHP in Sacramento said he pulled over Ashburn at 2:00 a.m. Wednesday after Campbell noticed a black Chevy Tahoe weaving in his lane at 13th and L Streets.
He had bloodshot, watery eyes and smelled of alcohol and completed a field sobriety test at the scene, Campbell said. He said Ashburn was determined to be under the influence of alcohol and arrested on misdemeanor charges at about 2:10 a.m. “He was extremely cooperative throughout the entire process,” Campbell said.
When the officer stopped the state-issued vehicle, the driver identified himself as Senator Ashburn. He was arrested without incident and charged with two misdemeanors: driving under the influence and driving with a blood alcohol level higher than .08 percent or higher.
A male passenger, who was not identified as a lawmaker, was also in the car but was not detained.
Ashburn was booked into the Sacramento County Jail, where he remained for eight hours before being released on a $1,400 bond. The vehicle Ashburn was driving has been impounded at the Capitol for 30 days.
Ashburn served six years as a state Assemblyman before being elected to the State Senate.
According to Project Vote Smart, Ashburn’s voting record shows he has voted against every gay rights measure in the State Senate since taking office including Recognizing Out-Of-State Same-Sex Marriages, Harvey Milk Day and Expanding Anti-Discrimination Laws.
“We can’t expect our politicians to be saints, but we can expect them to follow the law,” said Steve Maviglio, a Sacramento-based Democrat strategist.
Ashburn represents the 18th Senate District, encompassing Kern, Tulare, Inyo, and San Bernardino Counties.
To see Ashburn’s charging documents, navigate to the following link: http://www.kvsun.com/pdf/ashburn.pdf
Liz Cheney still out trying to make the world forget her father was a criminal and deserves to be behind bars. Of course she’s also trying to get people familiar with her face and name so she can swoop in and fill the void that will be left once Sarah Palin’s star finally burns out and fades away. Sarah seems to be on a faster track to burn out than maybe Liz expected so she’s amping up the ol GOP fear card (see above). Liz is amping up the same ol tired argument that we’ve only been safe in this country for 8 short years. Otherwise we’ve always been at risk and unsafe but not when her Daddy was there. Nope. Her Daddy was taking care of us and we should be really, really scared of the other guy in office as he probably has no desire to keep us safe. Hmmmmmmmmmm now if Liz could just get those guys that used to work for her Dear Ol’ Daddy to agree with her and all would be right in the world.
Dick Cheney’s daughter Liz has become a political lightning rod. Now she’s going after Justice Department lawyers who represented terrorist suspects. Not all conservatives are happy with that.
Like her father before her, Liz Cheney has become a political lightning rod. No surprise, perhaps, but now the sparks are coming from the right as well as the left.
On her “Keep America Safe” website and through conservative media, the former vice president’s daughter most recently has been hammering away at Justice Department lawyers who previously represented Guantánamo detainees.
The “Al Qaeda Seven,” she calls them, portrayed in silhouettes alongside a photo of Osama Bin Laden and with creepy background music. (More Monitor reporting on the Cheneys’ attacks on Obama here.)
Shades of ‘Tail-Gunner Joe’
This has brought pushback from the left, naturally, generally boiling down to charges of “McCarthyism.”
Writing at Salon, Glenn Greenwald calls the “Al Qaeda Seven” video by Cheney’s group “certainly one of the more repugnant political ads of the last decade, if not the most repugnant.”
“Joseph McCarthy himself couldn’t have done a better job of using fear and insinuations to smear his political enemies,” said People For the American Way president Michael Keegan. “Most Americans understand that McCarthyism was a shameful chapter in American history, but the Cheney wing of the Republican Party seems to have embraced Senator McCarthy’s utter lack of shame.”
But the ad is being criticized from the right as well, including those who have served in Republican administrations. (The Monitor’s Linda Feldmann explored whether Dick Cheney is helping or hurting the GOP. Click here.)
One of these is Peter D. Keisler, assistant attorney general in the Bush administration, who argued in court against lawsuits filed by Guantánamo detainees.
“There is a longstanding and very honorable tradition of lawyers representing unpopular or controversial clients,” Mr. Keisler told the New York Times. “The fact that someone has acted within that tradition, as many lawyers, civilian and military, have done with respect to people who are accused of terrorism – that should never be a basis for suggesting that they are unfit in any way to serve in the Department of Justice.”
Rachel Maddow’s excellent take on Liz Cheney’s “Al Qaeda Seven”:
Then we have Mr. John McCain, still hard at work earning his way back into the party after he let ‘That One’ beat him at the game. John’s sole and primary mission and function in the Republican Party is now nothing more than a daily reminder of how far he’s fallen.
He’s been forced to turn on every single belief or ideal he ever held sacred in order to stand in the way of his former opponent regardless of the damage to his reputation or those Americans he once wanted to do sooooooooooooooo much for.
Report Discredits Letter Waved About By McCain As Evidence Of Military Opposition To DADT Repeal
Although respected military figures such as Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen and Gen. Colin Powell have spoken out in favor of repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT), opponents are still insisting that most military commanders believe that gay men and women serving openly in the military would have disastrous consequences.
One of the reports these opponents hide behind is by “Flag and General Officers for the Military.” It’s a letter signed by 1,000 “distinguished retired military leaders” who all say they oppose DADT repeal: “Our past experience as military leaders leads us to be greatly concerned about the impact of repeal [of the law] on morale, discipline, unit cohesion, and overall military readiness.” On Feb. 2, for example, a “cranky” Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) told Mullen and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, “Well, I hope you’ll pay attention to the views of over a thousand retired and flag general officers” when considering whether to repeal DADT. Frank Gaffney, president of conservative Center for Security Policy, cited the letter in a Washington Times op-ed that same day.
However, a new Servicemembers United report obtained in advance by DC Agenda severely undermines the legitimacy of this letter. Some of the problems:
– The average age of the officers is 74. The “oldest living signer is 98, and several signers died in the time since the document was published.” Servicemembers United Executive Director Alex Nicholson added that only “a small fraction of these officers have even served in the military during the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ period, much less in the 21st century military,” so it’s hard to believe that they “know how accepting and tolerant 18- and 21-year-olds are today.”
– “At least one signer, Gen. Louis Menetrey, was deceased when the letter was published and didn’t sign the document himself. According to a footnote on the letter, his wife signed the document for him after his death using power of attorney — six years after Alzheimer’s disease robbed him of the ability to communicate.”
– One signatory said that they “no longer want to be a part of the letter, writing to the organization, ‘I do not wish to be on any list regarding this issue.‘”
– Multiple generals said they “never agreed” to sign the letter in the first place, writing “I never agreed. To represent either side of this issue” and “I do not remember being asked about this issue.”
– At least seven officers “were involved in scandals tarnishing their careers.” Gen. Carl Mundy, for instance, gained negative publicity when he told CBS’s 60 Minutes that “minority officers do not shoot as well as the non-minorities.”
In June 2009, a PBS’s Ray Suarez also did a report on the letter, reporting, “The NewsHour contacted a number of four-star officers requesting an interview for this story. However, none agreed to speak to us on camera. One general expressed surprise his name was even on the list, since he says he had never agreed to sign the letter, and at least three officers listed as signatories are dead.”
And they’re still running the Never have we voted using reconciliation for something so important meme because they have nothing else. No good ideas, no compromises, no proposals, no cost cutting measures, nope……nothing…….nada.
So as all good Republicans do………………they just repeat the same old lies and talking points over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and hopefully one of them sticks.
Just watch this short video of each Republican that attended the recent Health Care Summit. You hear any new ideas, any individual thought, any concern for Americans, any facts, any points, any anything? All I hear is there must have been a Powerpoint presentation on the stupidity of Health Care with all these folks in attendance before the summit. Seems they’ve all memorized the same 2 to 4 sentences. I mean this is all seriousness……………….are you flipping kidding me? This is what you brought to the summit?
Media have not challenged GOP criticisms of reconciliation process. Media Matters for America has documented a pattern of journalists uncritically quoting Republican senators criticizing the decision to use reconciliation, without noting that those same senators — including Alexander, McConnell and Sens. Judd Gregg (R-NH), Charles Grassley (R-IA), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) — voted to allow the use of the budget reconciliation process to pass legislation during the Bush administration, including tax cuts.
Congress previously used reconciliation to pass major changes to health care law.
Reconciliation has repeatedly been used to reform health care. On February 24, NPR noted that many “major changes to health care laws” passed via reconciliation. Additionally, during a February 24 broadcast of NPR’s Morning Edition, correspondent Julie Rovner quoted George Washington University health policy professor Sara Rosenbaum saying: “In fact, the way in which virtually all of health reform, with very, very limited exceptions, has happened over the past 30 years has been the reconciliation process.”
Congress used reconciliation to pass Medicare Advantage. As part of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, enacted through the reconciliation process, Congress — which was controlled by the Republicans at the time — created the “Medicare+Choice Program,” currently known as Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part C. The program allows seniors to enroll in HMO-type plans rather than the traditional Medicare fee-for-service plan.
Congress used reconciliation to pass COBRA. As stated on the Department of Labor website, as part of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985, Congress gave “workers and their families who lose their health benefits the right to choose to continue group health benefits provided by their group health plan for limited periods of time under certain circumstances.”
Congress used reconciliation to pass Patient Self-Determination Act. As part of the Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 1990, Congress passed the Patient Self-Determination Act, which requires hospitals, nursing homes, HMOs, and other organizations that participate in Medicare or Medicaid to provide information about advance directives and patients’ decision-making rights.
Republicans repeatedly attempted to use reconciliation to pass increase in Medicare eligibility age. The version of the Balanced Budget Act of 1995 introduced by then-Senate Budget Committee Chairman Pete Domenici (R-NM) using the reconciliation procedure contained a section providing for raising the Medicare eligibility age. As the CRS reported, the provision was stricken from the bill during floor consideration on the basis of a point of order that the provision was “extraneous” to matters appropriate to reconciliation.
The Balanced Budget Act of 1997 — also introduced through the reconciliation procedure — also included a provision to raise the eligibility age. Fifty Republicans voted in favor of waiving a point of order against the provision that it was extraneous, allowing the provision to remain in the bill. The final version of the bill signed by Clinton did not contain this provision.
GOP used reconciliation to pass Bush tax cuts, welfare reform
GOP used reconciliation to pass Bush’s tax cuts. Republicans used the reconciliation process to pass Bush’s 2001 tax cut, the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001; Bush’s 2003 tax cuts, the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003; and Bush’s 2005 tax cuts, the Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the 2001 tax cuts would “reduce projected total surpluses by approximately $1.35 trillion over the 2001-2011 period”; that the 2003 tax cuts would “reduce projected total surpluses by approximately $1.35 trillion over the 2001-2011 period”; and that the 2005 tax cuts would “reduce federal revenues … by $69.1 billion over the 2006-2015 period.”
Republicans repeatedly voted to use reconciliation to pass components of welfare reform. Congress employed the reconciliation process to pass welfare reform in 1996 as part of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996. Senate Republicans previously included welfare reform provisions in the Balanced Budget Act of 1995, which Clinton vetoed. As CRS reports, 46 provisions of the bill were deemed extraneous by the Senate’s presiding officer. Fifty-three Republicans voted in favor of a motion to waive the point of order, but the motion — which requires 60 votes — failed on a 53-46 vote.
Barbara Boxer Calls Out Republicans on their continued hypocrisy:
So yesterday we get the news that the Senate has agreed upon a health care plan that includes the public option but gives individual states the ability to ‘opt-out’ if so desired.
Today we hear good old faithful Joe Lieberman is once again joining the Republicans to keep us down and make sure we have less opportunities than the very jokers making all the decisions for us. These same jokers who rest easy every night knowing that thanks to taxpayers they not only are overpaid but fully insured with nice big pensions and retirement funds waiting for them when they decide they’ve grifted in DC long enough. And as long as they keep working against Americans and instead on behalf of big business they will always have someone to ‘scratch their backs’ and big business will shovel money their way next time they’re up for re-election.
They have nothing to worry about. They sleep well every night while Americans continue to struggle. So if you could write a letter to Joe or your Senator, do you know exactly what you would want to say?
I have compiled my letter than I will send to Joe and every other member voting against us in the health care fight every single day asking them the following questions. Hell, I might be tempted to send it to them every day for the rest of my life or their careers, whichever comes first. Feel free to copy my letter, edit it, add your own and send it to your Senator. Hand write it and make 1000 copies if you need to. Call and leave questions on their voice mail every day. If your Senator refuses to stand up for you then spend your time working to vote them out of office.
You can find the address, phone number and e-mail address of your Senators HERE.
My Letter to Joe:
Dear Mr. Lieberman,
Do you sleep well while so many Americans struggle to bear the pain and anguish they are experiencing today?
Do you sleep well while somewhere in America a hard working student finds out there is no means, no money, no way to college?
Do you sleep well while somewhere in America a mother and father are struggling to provide the bare necessities for their disabled child?
Do you sleep well while somewhere in America an elderly man who fought for his country eats a can of beans for dinner and must dress in several layers of clothing because he can not afford a decent meal or to heat his meager home?
Do you sleep well while somewhere in America a Mother over-medicates her baby with tylenol for his earache because she can not take him to the urgent care or doctor for treatment?
Do you sleep well while somewhere in America a family will huddle in the cold behind a dumpster to block the wind because they have nowhere else to go?
Do you sleep well while somewhere in America a husband and wife lie in bed discussing how to break it to their children that they will soon lose their home and have to move?
Do you sleep well while somewhere in American a couple that saved thousands for a home they will now lose when the bank takes it away?
Do you sleep well while somewhere in America a father tells his family he has lost his job and they can no longer count on him to take care of them?
Do you sleep well while somewhere in America a husband tells his wife he’s been out of work so long his unemployment benefits have run out and he still can’t find a job?
Do you sleep well while somewhere in America a mother tells her children there isn’t anything left in the house to eat?
Do you sleep well while somewhere in American another father wonders how many more days, weeks, months before he will work again and worries how they’ll make it until then?
Do you sleep well while somewhere in American someone has determined it is easier and cheaper for their family if they end their life rather than run up large amounts of medical bills their family can’t pay?
Do you sleep well while somewhere in America a couple decides which bills to pay and which bills to put aside because there just isn’t enough to pay them all?
Do you sleep well while somewhere in America a parent is trying to decide whether to pay the heat bill or buy food for their children?
Do you sleep well while somewhere in America a Mother rocks her child attempting to ease the raging pain of hunger that keeps the child from sleeping?
Do you sleep well while somewhere in America a young widow lies awake grieving the husband that could be lying beside her if only they could have afforded health insurance?
Do you sleep well while somewhere in America someone is deciding to commit a crime because they so desperately need money for rent, heat, medicine or food?
Do you sleep well while somewhere in America at least one person will die today from the lack of basic health care coverage?
Do you sleep well while somewhere in America a person is denied basic health care coverage because a for profit company decides they have a pre-existing condition?
Do you sleep well while somewhere in America a mother will lose her temper and harm her child because she just can’t bear the difficulties any longer?
Do you sleep well while somewhere in America a husband will beat his wife in his frustration over losing his job and not being able to find another?
Do you sleep well while somewhere in America someone is dying from a disease or condition because they were denied treatment because they have no health insurance?
Do you sleep well while somewhere in America a couple is filing bankruptcy because the health care insurance they paid so much money for wouldn’t cover the health care costs?
Do you sleep well while somewhere in America someone has decided to take their own life rather than bear the pain of not being able to provide basic needs for their family?
Do you sleep well while somewhere in America, millions of ordinary Americans are coming together to not only demand health care coverage for all are also the same Americans who will work diligently to remove you from your ‘esteemed’ position in Washington?
What would you ask?