Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for the ‘111th Congress’ Category

GOP Under Attack for Attacking Medicare, Seniors

Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 27, 2011

Just as Scott Walker and his fellow Wisconsin Republicans triggered a backlash when they attacked Wisconsin public and private-sector workers, unionized or not, the Republicans in Congress just tripped over a hornet’s nest when they let the masks slip a bit too soon on their anti-people agenda:

Representative Paul D. Ryan [R-WI], the architect of the Republican budget proposal, faced a packed town meeting, occasional boos and a skeptical audience as he tried to lay out his party’s rationale for overhauling the health insurance program for retirees.

In a church theater [in Fort Lauderdale, Florida] on Tuesday evening, a meeting between Representative Allen B. West and some of his constituents began on a chaotic note, with audience members quickly on their feet, some heckling him and others loudly defending him. “You’re not going to intimidate me,” Mr. West said. 

After 10 days of trying to sell constituents on their plan to overhaul Medicare, House Republicans in multiple districts appear to be increasingly on the defensive, facing worried and angry questions from voters and a barrage of new attacks from Democrats and their allies.

The proposed new approach to Medicare — a centerpiece of a budget that Republican leaders have hailed as a courageous effort to address the nation’s long-term fiscal problems — has been a constant topic at town-hall-style sessions and other public gatherings during a two-week Congressional recess that provided the first chance for lawmakers to gauge reaction to the plan.

An example of the response came Tuesday as Representative Daniel Webster, a freshman Republican from Florida, faced an unruly crowd at a packed town meeting in Orlando, where some people, apparently organized or encouraged by liberal groups, brandished signs saying “Hands Off Medicare” and demanded that he instead “tax the rich.”

Republicans are trying to hit back with a series of ads and robocalls — but curiously enough, the ads and robocalls don’t mention Paul Ryan’s granny-kicking, Medicare-killing budget. They’re also desperately trying to screen their town halls to keep out anyone who might give them anywhere near as hard a time as the orchestrated conservatives and Republicans who disrupted town halls last year and in 2009 gave Democratic congresscritters.

Posted in (Rich) Taxpayers League, 111th Congress | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off

GOPers Confuse Civil And Criminal Law, Make Asses Of Selves In Public

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 3, 2011

You can tell that Firedoglake is scaring the living daylights out of the conservatives tasked with defending Scott Walker and the other Koch Republicans in elective office in Wisconsin. A whole passel of them — or one determined fellow with a “persona management” account — has decided to invade this comments thread for this post at FDL concerning the highly unconstitutional (not to mention illegal) effort to pretend that the fourteen Democratic state senators in exile have broken a law and therefore are subject to arrest, even though the state constitution expressly exempts them from arrest for all civil complaints and in fact everything but “treason, felony and breach of peace”.

One of the trollies thinks he/she/it has a winning rebuttal with this citation:

Article IV, §15 – ANNOT.

The members of the Wisconsin Constitutional Convention did not intend to create a legislative privilege from criminal arrest and prosecution when they included article IV, section 15 in the Wisconsin Constitution. The phrase “treason, felony and breach of the peace” in that section was intended to mean all crimes. State v. Burke, 2002 WI App 291, 258 Wis. 2d 832, 653 N.W.2d 922, 02-2161.

http://legis.wisconsin.gov/statutes/wisconst.pdf

Of course, said trollie is either really dumb and just copying what he/she/it saw cited by fellow trolls, or is an enormous, mendacious, disembodied anus. Because guess what? The Burke case is about criminal, not civil complaints — and a full reading of the paragraph so carefully and deceptively edited by the trollie or the person from whom the troll lifted the trope shows this clearly:

We conclude that the members of the Wisconsin Constitutional
Convention did not intend to create a legislative privilege from criminal arrest and
prosecution when they included article IV, section 15 in the Wisconsin
Constitution. The phrase “treason, felony and breach of the peace” in that section
was intended to mean “all crimes.” We therefore agree with the trial court that
Burke is not privileged from criminal prosecution.

Of course, the reason the Koch Republicans are so determined to try and criminalize time-honored and accepted political procedure is because they are about to lose their Senate majority to recall elections: “The Republicans are engaging in b.s. strong-arming because they know it’s their only chance to finish off the assault on public employee rights before their asses get kicked to the curb.”

(Crossposted to Renaissance Post.)

Posted in (Rich) Taxpayers League, 111th Congress, abuse of power | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

What Digby Said, Pete Peterson Edition

Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 29, 2010

This entire Salon piece by Digby is worth reading, and so you should click on the link and do so.

But if you need one single juicy passage to sum it all up, you’d be hard pressed to beat this one:

These rich bastards are telling people who work hard their whole lives that they have to “sacrifice” their meager public pension to refill the Treasury that these same rich bastards have looted — and which they continue to refuse to help replenish, despite the fact they are still swallowing fire hoses full of money. This, after the middle class in this country just suffered the biggest loss of wealth since the Great Depression as a result of these riverboat gamblers playing with the economy like it was their favorite Baccarat table in Monte Carlo. Chutzpah doesn’t even begin to describe it. Sociopathy is more like it.

If they can’t do the right thing, the least they could do is slither off into the darkness to count their winnings. Instead, these arrogant jerks are out there lecturing everyone about “sacrifice” while they buy off every government official in town to make sure they aren’t among those who have to heed that call.

It’s sick.

Indeed. Jane Hamsher has more.

Posted in 111th Congress, Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

Okay, Help Me Out Here

Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 20, 2010

So far, we’ve been told by the Serious People that:

Reconciliation is bad when it’s used to pass HCR with a public option

Reconciliation is bad when it’s used to pass budgets, which is what it was expressly designed to do

– Reconciliation is GOOD when it’s used to ram through an HCR bill without a public option but with goodies for the health and insurance industries that are so rich that it’s causing them to continue their recently-enacted policy of giving far more to Democrats than to their historical allies in the GOP.

Have I got that right?

Just checking.

UPDATE: Well, that was a fast turnaround. Looks like reconciliation will be used after all.

Posted in 111th Congress, 2010, big money, budget, Congress, health care | Comments Off

The Pelosi-Graham Twofer

Posted by Phoenix Woman on May 14, 2009

As Marcy “Emptywheel” Wheeler mentions this morning, former Senator Bob Graham was on WNYC’s “In The Know” show to state, among other things, that the CIA made up two “briefing sessions” that never happened.

And now Nancy Pelosi is also pushing back against CIA attempts to poison-pill and investigations into their roles as torturers by claiming that she was in on it:

In a just-completed Capitol Hill press conference, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said without equivocation that the CIA is lying when it implies that she was briefed in on the waterboarding of Abu Zubaydah. Pelosi stated that the CIA told her, in September 2002, that waterboarding was not among the “enhanced interrogation techniques” used on high value detainees. Reporting by Marcy—among others—now shows that the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah started at least a month earlier.

“They misled us every step of the way,” she said.

More to come on this. It’s already been demonstrated by Wheeler and TPM’s Greg Sargent that the CIA timelines are worthless. Maybe this might get the Traditional Media to stop uncritically accepting whatever comes out of the bowels of Bushie dead-enders at Langley?

Posted in 111th Congress, anti-truth, CIA, Pelosi, torture | Comments Off

This Is Interesting

Posted by Phoenix Woman on May 4, 2009

Drive-time AM radio this morning has been pushing a variant of this Matt Apuzzo AP story from last Wednesday questioning the job creation effect of the stimulus package.

Meanwhile, a similar version of this theme seems to have made its way from the Indian press to The Raw Story and was picked up by Avedon Carol at The Sideshow — the key change being to state — or at heavily imply — that Obama’s policies were sending green jobs overseas (especially to India) instead of creating them here at home.

So what’s this all about? Well, I suspect that some US-based multinational corporations (such as, perhaps, Microsoft?) don’t like the fact that banks and other entities taking TARP bailout money can’t keep importing and using dirt-cheap H-1B workers instead of American workers, and so they’re doing some pushback.

Another angle is that Obama also wants to crack down on offshore tax havens — something else that his critics (particularly those on the right) say is impossible and which can lead to undesirable effects, even though a new study, which you almost certainly won’t hear as much about on the evening TV news or drive-time radio as you will the other news stories I’ve mentioned, shows how Bush policies that enabled tax-haven junkie corporations to continue their tax-dodging ways wound up costing America tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of jobs since 2004. (h/t to Scholars and Rogues for this.)

If the people who want to preserve the tax-haven option can get the masses to seriously doubt the efficacy of the stimulus plan, then they can stop the plan to shut down the tax-haven option. And if they can use a story from the Indian press (which has a big ol’ dog in this fight) about green jobs allegedly fleeing the country under Obama to smother a much better sourced and detailed story about how Bush tax-haven-enabling policies touted as job-savers actually cost tens of thousands of jobs, that’s also something that helps the protectors of the tax havens.

Now, granted, many of these stories I’ve mentioned may well have groundings in reality. But the timing is, as I say, interesting.

Posted in 'starving the beast', (Rich) Taxpayers League, 111th Congress, 2008, 2012, big money, media, our tax dollars at work, outsourcing, President Obama | 1 Comment »

Sunday Morning News Roundup

Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 26, 2009

cat-herding.jpg

Windows 7 will have an XP emulator mode so you can run all the programs that don’t work in Vista.

Ben Nelson just got put in his place over the giveaway to the banks known as “the student loan program”.

– Speaking of putting people in their place, Obama has told Congressional Republicans that he has had enough of their garbage:

If you’ve ever been in a no-limit high stakes poker game and found yourself with a short stack of chips, you know what it’s like to play with a major disadvantage. It’s not enough to have a good hand. At any time, another player can force you to make the decision between folding and going all-in with the remainder of your chips. Any hand you choose to play could spell your elimination. Under those circumstances, you have to wait until you have a great hand. Bluffing becomes a suicide mission. And, yet, if you just keep folding as you wait for a great hand, your pile will be slowly bled dry by the antes. You must gamble. Analogous decisions have faced the Republicans since the beginning of this Congress.

Barack Obama has watched how the Republicans play their game, and he appears to have come to the conclusion that they like to overplay their hands.

 

In a meeting with House Republicans at the White House Thursday, President Obama reminded the minority that the last time he reached out to them, they reacted with zero votes — twice — for his stimulus package. And then he reminded them again. And again. And again.A GOP source familiar with the meeting said that the president was extremely sensitive — even “thin-skinned” — to the fact that the stimulus bill received no GOP votes in the House. He continually brought it up throughout the meeting.

You can call him ‘thin-skinned’ if you want, but he’s really just being realistic. He made concessions to the House GOP during the stimulus debate and he got absolutely nothing in return. In essence, he folded a good hand and lost a pot that rightfully belonged to him. The Republicans had been bluffing about bipartisanship. He’s not about to trust them again over the signature domestic issue of his campaign: health care reform.

It’s a bit byzantine and I’m not going to get into full details here, but the Democrats have decided to use the budget ‘reconciliation’ process to push through health care. It’s a procedure that limits debate, which therefore eliminates the GOP’s ability to filibuster. The point is that health care can pass with 50 votes (plus Joe Biden’s tiebreaker) instead of the 60 normally needed to cut off debate. If Congress does not pass a health care bill by October 15th, it will be passed under reconciliation.

More like this, please.

Posted in 111th Congress, computers and software, Congress, President Obama, Republicans, Republicans acting badly | Tagged: | 3 Comments »

In Which Secretary Clinton Bests Several Republican Clowns Without Getting Her Hair Mussed

Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 22, 2009

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee and ably dispatched the best — or rather, worst — the Republicans could throw at her:

I am watching SOS Hillary Clinton’s testimony to the House Foreign Affairs committee on CNN.com whereupon some Republican congressman (Dana Rohrabacher) asked about the wisdom in releasing the torture memos, and went on to quote Dick Cheney’s statement to Fox News that torture works to keep us safe. He continued with Cheney’s claim that there are memos that show that torture techniques work. Hillary abruptly cut the congressman saying acerbically:

“It won’t surprise you that I don’t consider him (Dick Cheney) a particularly reliable source of information … I believe we ought to get to the bottom of this”

It gets even better from there.

Posted in 111th Congress, Bush Family Evil Empire, BushCo malfeasance, Busheviks, Dick Cheney, Hillary Clinton, Obama Administration, Republicans, Republicans acting badly, Republicans as cancer, rightwing moral cripples, torture, transparency | 1 Comment »

Tuesday Morning News Roundup

Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 7, 2009

cat-herding.jpg

Well, well: “U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt and his wife are reviewing records to see if they mistakenly received tax breaks on a Washington, D.C., property. Records show the Republican from Springfield, who is running for U.S. Senate, may have erroneously received a homestead exemption for a $1.6 million residence in Georgetown.” Of course, this won’t get splashed all over the evening news the way Hilda Solis’ hubby’s tax woes were.

– Why did New York magazine’s oh-so-flattering puff piece on right-wing hatemonger Glenn Beck fail to quote his more famous comments? Because then it wouldn’t be a puff piece any more, silly.

– The final votes in the 2008 Senatorial election featuring Norm Coleman, Al Franken and Dean Barkley are going to be counted today. At the end of the count, Al Franken will still be ahead, and be declared the winner of the election, at which point Coleman will ready an appeal for the Minnesota Supreme Court. (Actually, Team Coleman readied their appeal months ago — but they’ll still take their sweet time before they officially file it; they’re allowed ten days to do so, and they will use most if not all of them in order to continue their portion of Operation Stonewall.)

Posted in 111th Congress, Al Franken, fascism, IOKIYAR, Minnesota, Norm Coleman, Republicans, Republicans acting badly, Republicans as cancer, rightwing moral cripples, taxes | 2 Comments »

Republicans Trying To Hide Bush Torture Crimes By Blocking Key Obama Appointments

Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 6, 2009

Wonder why the Republicans are indulging in yet another bout of nonsensical-seeming hissy kabuki over Obama’s nominations of Dawn Johnsen and Harold Koh? Wonder no more — it’s all about the GOP’s desire to keep Bush and his buddies from being sent to the Hague:

Senate Republicans are now privately threatening to derail the confirmation of key Obama administration nominees for top legal positions by linking the votes to suppressing critical torture memos from the Bush era. A reliable Justice Department source advises me that Senate Republicans are planning to “go nuclear” over the nominations of Dawn Johnsen as chief of the Office of Legal Counsel in the Department of Justice and Yale Law School Dean Harold Koh as State Department legal counsel if the torture documents are made public. The source says these threats are the principal reason for the Obama administration’s abrupt pullback last week from a commitment to release some of the documents. A Republican Senate source confirms the strategy. It now appears that Republicans are seeking an Obama commitment to safeguard the Bush administration’s darkest secrets in exchange for letting these nominations go forward.

Time to melt down some Capitol Hill phones, folks. And some media phones as well. The whole reason this story got leaked to the outside world is twofold: Some Republicans have consciences, and the Democrats want there to be a big public outcry against the GOP’s stonewalling so that it can’t be easily framed as mere “politics” and thus blown off by the press.

Oh, and here’s a sample (h/t DougJ) of the right-wing pushback against Eric Holder for daring to want to release the torture memos. Edward Whelan wants to keep his own butt away from The Hague as well.

Posted in 111th Congress, abuse of power, obstruction of justice, President Obama, Republicans, Republicans acting badly, Republicans as cancer, rightwing moral cripples, torture, transparency | 6 Comments »

 
%d bloggers like this: