The Terminal Stage of Obama Derangement Syndrome

“Here’s your new office, Mr. President. Sen. McConnell picked it out just for you.”

There’s a vacancy on the Supreme Court.    It’s President Obama’s job to send up a nominee to the U.S. Senate to fill it.   Mitch McConnell and his gang of thugs  say, “Hell no, they can’t go!”

The Republicans have made it clear they do not want a moderate, a middle-of-the-roader, a safe choice, or an acceptable alternative. They want Rush Limbaugh or someone further to the Right of him and nothing less than this is acceptable and even that might not be enough. What if Clinton or Sanders wins the presidency? Is McConnell and crew going to say, “Okay, we’ve got a new president. Send over a nominee.

The Republicans have the House and the Senate and hope to sweep the trifecta with taking the White House back too. Their reasons for keeping Scalia’s seat vacant are twofold: they don’t want to foreclose the possibility of a Republican president picking the next nominee or deny themselves the pleasure of sticking it to Obama one more time.

Why would Obama not make a nomination? The President is a scholar of Constitutional law. He knows what his responsibilities are. McConnell knows what his responsibilities are too, but only one player in this game is trying to change the rules.

If Scalia has died in October or November, McConnell might have a point. There are eight months until Election Day and the Senate Republicans can’t claim they’re too overworked to fit in a confirmation hearing. They just don’t want to allow this president to select the next Supreme Court justice.

“Y’know, you’re even uglier in person, Mitch.” “Thanks, Barack and I just farted.”

That, Mr. and Mrs. America, is obstructionism. No finessing or tap-dancing around it and anyone who thinks GOP opposition to replacing Scalia will magically melt away on January 20, 2017 if President Hillary Clinton or President Bernie Sanders takes the Oath of Office is on crack.

Since Republicans don’t understand the Constitution, what else do they want Obama to punt until the next president arrives? If a shooting war breaks out imperiling American interests, does McConnell want Obama to stand down until a Republican replaces him? If the economy starts to crater, should Obama go golfing and leave the mess for the next guy or gal to clean up?

The president may be in the last year of his presidency, but despite the inability of Republicans to read the Constitution or a calendar, he’s still the only president they got.

McConnell is still trying to undo the results of the 2012 election and this is his last chance to do so. He’s misreading the situation. The GOP has more Senate seats to defend in blue states than do the Democrats. Lose control of the Senate as well as the White House going to Clinton or Sanders, and a nominee further to the Left than what Obama might offer up becomes a near-certainty. Say “good-bye” to overturning Roe v. Wade and say “hello” to the end of Citizens United–especially if Hillary Clinton gets the nod.

The stance taken by the Republicans is historical. We’ve never seen anything like it in American politics. Contentious arguments over Supreme Court nominees is nothing new. Refusing to even consider a nominee no matter how qualified they may be out of malice and spite is.   McConnell and his mob really do not seem to grasp we already have a President of the United States and they have NO valid excuse which passes legal, political, or Constitutional muster to deny giving Obama’s nominee a hearing. It’s simply a naked power grab, plain and simple.

I DEMAND you stop the Black guy from replacing me!”

Let’s be honest here: The Republicans don’t want to see their most-favorite Supreme Court justice’s replacement chosen by their least-favorite Chief Executive. This is all about jamming up Barack Obama and denying his legitimacy as the president one more time.

In our hyper-partisan age, it’s no mystery why the Republicans are doing what they are doing. I don’t even really care if they use their numerical superiority in the Senate to vote down Obama’s nominee. That would be fair and every Democrat and/or liberal would have to recognize when you lose an election it has consequences and this is one of them.

But when the Republicans lost the 2008 and 2012 elections that has its consequences too, and one of them it is Barack Obama–not his successor–who has both the duty and Constitutional right to choose a nominee to replace Antonin Scalia and all the rest of this is just noise obscuring the signal

The hatred and disrespect of this president by the Republicans has reached a new low in Obama Derangement Syndrome and it should cost them dearly.

Help Wanted at The Supreme Court

Gone, gone, gone. Done moved on.

It’s an election year and everything that comes out of Washington has political calculation written all over it. Hell, Antonin Scalia wasn’t dead a day before Mitch McConnell proclaimed no nominee of the president would be confirmed no matter how qualified. they may be.

McConnell said, “The American people‎ should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new President.”

The distinguished senior senator from Kentucky is totally full of shit.

The American people expressed their voice in the selection of the next Supreme Court Justice in 2012 when they reelected Barack Hussein Obama as President. We already have a President in place. We don’t have to wait until January 20, 2017 to fill the vacancy left by Antonin Scalia’s demise.

The Senate has no reason not to fill the vacancy expect for political ones.    You know, like the one where the Republicans hate Obama’s guts?

The President should place before the U.S. Senate a nominee on Monday–President’s Day–and DEMAND they give his nominee a hearing and a up-or-down vote by the Senate.

Oh, I know McConnell won’t give a Obama nominee that vote and Obama knows it too. The president can’t make the Senate do anything. But he can make them sweat bullets for stonewalling his nominee. Nothing will prove to the American people how obstructionist the Republicans are than denying President Obama the right to exercise the Constitutional authority that is his and his alone.

Obama should call bullshit on McConnell, roll up his sleeves and go hard for his replacement for Scalia.   In the last months of his presidency pretty much the only thing Obama can do besides the daily ceremonial stuff is unleash hell on a “do-nothing Senate” that is stonewalling a qualified nominee.   This would be an excellent time for Obama to nominate a  Black or Latino jurist with exemplary credentials and dare the GOP to deny them Scalia’s empty seat.

Thus, with Scalia’s death, the vital importance of who gets to choose who sits on the nation’s federal and the Supreme Court, is refocused with laser-beam intensity. Now more than ever “who chooses?” will be a critical consideration for the American voters in November.

"Tony, in about 30 years you'll be dead and a Black guy in this office will pick your replacement."

“Tony, in about 30 years you’ll be dead and a Black guy in this office will pick your replacement.”

If McConnell wants to give Obama and the Democrats the rope to which to hang Kelly Ayotte, Mark Kirk, Rob Portman, and other GOP incumbents facing tough reelections in the fall, they’ll happily accept that gift. It will make sure McConnell’s one term-and-done as the Majority Leader, and passing the gavel over to Chuck Schumer so he can stonewall a President Rubio or Trump’s nominee. We could be looking at a long wait until there are nine Justices on the Supreme Court.

I know he won’t but I wish Obama would nominate a committed, unapologetic, true progressive to replace Scalia.    The question is would Bernie Sanders take the job?

I know he won’t but I wish Obama would nominate a committed, unapologetic, true progressive to replace Scalia. The question is would Bernie Sanders take the job?

Fact is, since there’s nobody Obama can nominate the Senate Republicans won’t block, why half-step with a “confirmable centrist?” There has to be a liberal jurist with impeccable legal credentials, pedigree and accomplishments under their belt, so why not? Send them a nominee who deserves a hearing and when McConnell and company throw up their mealy-mouthed bullshit excuses about “letting the American people have their say” pointedly remind them they had their say in 2012 when Obama won the election despite McConnell’s declaration nothing was more important than making sure Obama was a one-term president.

scalia_racist_credo_lp
There’s nothing much dramatic President Obama can do in these last months of his presidency beyond his daily ceremonial duties. Filling a Supreme Court vacancy is one of the most important jobs any president has and since this one in now in official legacy mode, he should fight like hell and go ballistic on the Republican Senate. Obama can lose and probably will lose this fight, but it’s a fight well worth the waging. Nothing less than the balance of power of the High Court hinges on it.

Passivity and retreat are not an option. President Obama should send a Supreme Court nominee to the Senate and then scorch the earth to fight for their confirmation.

I’m sending this quote to the President from a great progressive, the late Sen. Paul Wellstone, “If we don’t fight hard enough for the things we stand for, at some point we have to recognize that we don’t really stand for them.

I don’t want another squishy centrist or mushy moderate. I want President Obama to nominate someone like Leah Ward Sears, the former Chief Justice of Georgia and the first African-American Chief Justice in the United States. Let him nominate someone like Sears and dare the Republicans to deny her a confirmation vote.

As for the late Antonin Scalia himself, it has been said if you can’t say anything good then say nothing at all and I got nothing to say.

What? Too soon?

What? Too soon?

The Liberation of Loretta Lynch

Loretta Lynch and some guy hanging out.

After being held hostage by a ruthless Republican majority for an absurd 164 days,  Loretta Lynch,  President Obama’s choice to replace Eric Holder at the Justice Department was easily confirmed by the Senate by a margin of 56-43 with ten Republicans voting for the first African-American woman to serve as Attorney General of the United States.

And it’s about damn time.  Lynch’s wait was longer than the last seven Attorney Generals combined.   Normally, I despise The Huffington Post, but give the devil his due; they were right on point with how ridiculously excessive the delay was for Lynch.

Look at Lynch’s predecessors. John Ashcroft waited 42 days to get confirmed as President George W. Bush’s attorney general. Janet Reno waited just 29 days to be confirmed as President Bill Clinton’s attorney general. If you add up the number of days the previous seven U.S. attorneys general waited to be confirmed, and combine them, that’s still less than 163 days.

“Gazillions of mosquitoes were born, lived to be old in mosquito years and died in less time than Lynch has been waiting. Kim Kardashian, Britney Spears and Dennis Rodman all got married and filed for divorce in less time — combined! For the love of God, Earth was created in less time.

There was NO justification for the Senate holding Loretta Lynch’s nomination to be Attorney General hostage. Absolutely none. Lynch waited 10 times longer than the average attorney general nominee and had waited longer than the first 54 a.g. nominees combined from the presidencies of George Washington to Woodrow Wilson.

Both sides of the Senate share the blame for the historical delay. Harry Reid could have pushed for Lynch’s hearings and floor vote to be conducted while Democrats still controlled the Senate, but he punted to Mitch McConnell, who proceeded to put the nomination in the deep freeze while Republicans squabbled with Democrats over the unrelated sex-trafficking bill.

Lynch’s nomination was supported by wild-eyed liberals like Jeb Bush, Rudy Giuliani, former FBI director Louie Freeh and former Bush Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. This was a moderate and mainstream career prosecutor President Obama selected, but from the shabby way the McConnell Senate treated her you would have thought she was the second coming of William Kunstler.

Finally on the job.

Obama did not choose Lynch to provoke the Republicans.  Anyone he nominated would do that.   It doesn’t take much to set off nuts like Ted Cruz.   Never one to pass on an opportunity to throw bloody chunks of red meat to his brain-dead devotees, he denounced Lynch as “lawless” and then was the only senator to skip the vote.   What an asshole.

It was not about partisanship, but pragmatism that led Obama to tap Lynch to be Holder’s successor.   She is not a committed Leftist, progressive or liberal. She’s a career prosecutor with impeccable legal credentials. Not being an ideological purist made her confirmable and even then she faced an unprecedented degree of stonewalling and footdragging from the obstructionist Republican-led Senate and all this for a job she won’t even have in two years.

Lynch will likely be a less controversial A.G. than Holder who never backed away from a fight with Republicans on the Hill whom  are probably toasting his departure.   Will Lynch handle the harassment from Congressional Republicans as well?   She’ll likely get her as the GOP have plenty of investigations planned for the last two years of the Obama Administration.

I’m past the point where putting a person of color or woman in a place formerly occupied exclusively by straight, Christian White males is a reason to raise my glass.   Under Holder and Obama, the Justice Department has declined to indict anyone for violating the civil rights of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner and Michael Brown.   Will Lynch be any different in the cases of Tamir Rice or Walter Scott?  I’m keeping an open mind, but my expectations are low.

I take pride in Loretta Lynch becoming the nation’s first female African American Attorney General, but when I disagree with her decisions, it will be no different than when I disagree with the first African American President.

The Last Democrat Standing

Down? Yep. Out? Nope.

 

Hey, Democrats! Let this be a lesson to you. If you run like a coward don’t cry when you get shot in the back. Run away from Barack Obama. Refuse to say whether you even voted for him like Alison Lundgren Grimes before Mitch McConnell turned her into so much yard waste. Deny, dodge, and fake it all the way to Election Day, but it won’t save an extraordinary putrid crop of nominal Democratic candidates from humiliation. The waxing the Democrats received from the Republicans was the voters saying, “We see through your act.”

Grimes lost to McConnell which is fine by me.  Better a committed enemy like McConnell in your face than a sometime ally like Grimes quivering behind your back.

It’s hard to see it now crawling from the wreckage, but this doesn’t have to be a bad thing for the Dems. This should be a teachable moment. Whatever your strategy was, whatever the consultants and the pollsters and the experts told you would work but clearly didn’t, whatever delusion you labored under telling a dude who won two presidential elections to stay the hell away from you because he’s suddenly a loser, it’s over now.

Say what you want about the Republicans. Say they hate science and reason and logic and plain ol’ common sense. Say what they’re for anyone with an I.Q. higher than a cold glass of water should be able to see is nothing but rank bullshit designed with only helping the wealthy and corporations. Say they deep french kiss extremists, racists, homophobes, rape advocates, environmental terrorists, war monger, dictators, arms merchants, tax cheats, vigilantes, xenophobes, gun nuts, and religious fanatics.

Say whatever you want but don’t say the Republicans don’t stand for something even if that something is horrible.

I hate your guts and you hate mine but we both hate Obama.

Mr. Cruz and Mr. McCain don’t like each other, but both despise Obama.

 

What do the Democrats believe in? Besides believing they just got their asses kicked?   Act like swine and you get butchered with the hogs.

At some point after another of these Democratic debacles, liberals and progressives (no, they are not the same) are going to wise up to what conservatives already know: political parties are a vehicle and it’s not the masses but the ideologues who offer the direction it goes in. If you want some real Left-wing politicians whom really believe in liberal politics, then you’re going to have to fight your way in, kick the party bosses and detached from reality dinosaurs out and stop being afraid of calling yourself an upper-case “L” for “Liberal” because its going to piss off talk radio and Fox News.

As long as your enemy defines you and you don’t define yourself, you’re playing their game and its a game that can’t be won. They hold all the cards and all the Democrats are doing is gasping for air like a beached whale.

Ma Pelosi and Pa Reid have got to go!

 

Now the Republicans are the dominant force in American politics, I’d like to take this opportunity to both extend both a “congratulations” as well as “welcome back.” Welcome back to the role of participating in the political process, a role the GOP abdicated on January 20, 2009 when Barack Hussein Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States.

The Republicans opted out of their historic role as the opposition party and instead opted in for aggressive open hostility toward the newly elected president as they denied him both respect and cooperation as they ignored Obama’s initiatives, blocked his nominees, sniped, sneered and took every cheap shot they could at every turn.

The lesson for the Republicans is to hide how far to the Right you really are. Talk about how much you love your family while soft music plays real pretty in the background and how you’re committed to building strong communities, safe schools, being a watchdog for the middle class and their money while hiding you’re a sock puppet for money and power and just how deeply up your ass the hand of the Koch Brothers goes. And it works! Being bastards pays off.
But that’s politics. Don’t play if you can’t stand losing. The GOP has had six years of sitting on the sidelines, but that doesn’t mean they’ve done nothing. They laid back in the cut hatching schemes and making plans. There’s a reason the stock market soared today. For Big Business happy days are here again, Whatever nominal resistance Obama and the Democrats offered to their plans has been brushed aside.

The Republicans have a window of opportunity and it will only be open for a short time before the 2016 presidential elections. With a solid grip on the House (because gerrymandering works too!) and the Democrats in the Senate reduced to trying the same foot-dragging cockblocking tactics Mitch McConnell and company pulled off so successfully, they are going to ram so much legislation thru and on President Obama’s desk he’s going to be swamped under a series of bad bills he won’t possibly be able to veto them all.

Oh, for sure, Obama’s going to need a shitload of Bics to put his “HELL TO THE NAW!” on the trash McConnell and John “Agent Orange” Boehner are going to send up 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but he’s got no allies, no good will build up and no help coming.

McConnell meeting with President Barack Obama.

“Nothing personal Mr. President, but I’m going to make your life hell for the next two years.”

Obama is The Last Democrat Standing. He’s marginalized, surrounded by enemies and all empty on friends. Now might be a good time to start working on his post-presidency memoirs and he might want to skip the State of the Union address for the next two years. It’s not as though he’s gonna get anything done.

Still, there’s no reason for Obama to act as though the GOP has a national mandate.   As the president pointed out  in his post-election press conference only two-thirds of voters bothered going to the polls.   Obama’s refusal to bow down to the Republicans was pounced upon by the pundits as proof that the president still wasn’t getting how discontented the American people are with him.   Despite the overwhelming losses, the side effect of Republicans taking control of Congress may free Obama to be more bold and less passive as his presidency winds down.

Going forward, the Democratic brain trust (is there such a thing?) will try to shake off the shellacking they took and try in 2016 to rally around a presidential candidate not named Obama. Good luck with that. While Hillary Clinton is the preemptive front-runner because neither Elizabeth Warren (too green) or Joe Biden (too goofy) can win, the evil mind of Karl Rove and other Republican mad geniuses are already preparing traps for her even Jigsaw from the Saw movies couldn’t dream up.

I want the Republicans to do well.  Not because they’re going to do anything for me, but if  they enjoy some success, maybe that would frighten the Democrats to rebuilds, reinvents, reinvigorate and revitalizes itself  and finds a way to winning  in non -presidential years

One more thing: Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi should both be voted out of their leadership roles by their shriveled caucuses and immediately resign from Congress They’re old, obsolete and in the way.   For the Dems to move into the future they need to shake off the dead hand of the past.

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The Supremes Swing to the Right

We’re The Supremes!

The Supreme Court handed down their last decisions dealing crippling blows to the reproductive rights of women and labor unions. Liberals are taking some small comfort in a blistering 35-page dissent by Justice Ginsburg’s but the reasoning of the losing minority of a Supreme Court decision matters only for a day or so and then it belongs to the legal scholars and history books.

The Hobby Lobby case got all the ink and headlines because it’s a horrible slap at women and their reproductive rights, but the conservative majority stuck it to labor unions too. If these two traditionally Democratic voting blocs still want to sit on their hands (and wallets) after the gut punches Roberts and company handed them, they deserve whatever dark plans the Republicans have in store in for both of them should they retake the Senate and hold the House.

While today’s pair of horrible decisions might seem like distinct issues, in fact they are both part of a larger war on women and workers.

The absurdity of the Hobby Lobby decision (only contraceptives are exempted for religious beliefs because of sluts) is obviously part of the Republican war on women, but it is also very much a war on the poor. An IUD costs about a month’s worth of wages at the minimum wage. If an executive can’t get birth control because her employer gets too hot and bothered thinking of her having sexy time, she can afford it on her own. A Hobby Lobby floor worker? Probably not. For women workers at closely held corporations, this decision will be devastating.

The Harris case is specifically about home care workers in Illinois. Who are home care workers? Women. Poor women. Lots of African-Americans, lots of Latinos, lots of undocumented workers. Home care workers are a major emphasis for SEIU right now; a close friend of mine has spent over a decade on a campaign to organize them in one city alone. Harris threatens all of this. But moreover, it shows how little Alito and the boys care about rights for women wherever they are. It’s hardly coincidental that this case comes down the same day as the contraception mandate. The Court evidently believes that the home is not a workplace, but of course it is a workplace, especially if someone is getting paid to do work. That it is women working in the home, as it has always been, just makes it easier for conservatives to devalue that work.

Of course, it’s about more than just working women and it opens the door for Alito and Roberts’ continued desire to mandate the New Gilded Age, so no doubt we will see new challenges to public sector unionism that will probably reach the Court in 2016 or maybe 2017 at the latest. I am not a legal expert, but my guess as to why Abood wasn’t overturned entirely is that there wasn’t 5 votes for it yet.

Regardless, both of today’s decisions are very much about keeping working women without power both on the job and at home.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, U.S. Supreme Court justice.

“What? Me Retire?” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Also, when we hear in 2016 that both parties are the same because of [insert pet issue here] and therefore vote for vanity third party candidate, let us remember this day and these decisions. If you think Strip Search Sammy Alito and Ruth Bader Ginsburg are the same, you might want to rethink your positions.

Indeed.

What matters most and in fact the only thing that matters to those disappointed, dismayed and disgusted with how the Court came down in these cases is Justice William Brennan‘s Rule of Five where Brennan would hold up five fingers to his clerks and say, ”Five votes can do anything around here.”

Brennan was a prophet and the Roberts Court is the proof of it.

From 1801 to 1940, less than 2 percent of the Supreme Court’s total rulings were resolved by 5-to-4 decisions. Since then, more than 16 percent of the Court’s rulings have been decided by “minimum-winning coalitions.” In the two most recent Courts, more than a fifth of all rulings were decided by 5-to-4 votes.

Scholars consider these narrow decisions the most political. Research indicates that 5-to-4 rulings are the most likely to be overturned by later Courts. They carry the same legal authority as more unanimous opinions — but not the same moral authority. In this vein, the one branch of government designed to be above partisanship echoes the rise in hyperpartisanship seen throughout Washington.

The Roberts Court has decided more cases by a 5-to-4 ruling (about 21.5 percent) than any Court before it, though only by a narrow margin. The previous Court, led by William Rehnquist, decided 20.5 percent of its cases by this minimum coalition. That rate, however, represents roughly twice the share of 5-to-4 rulings in the Stone Court, during World War II. And the Stone Court had more than three times the rate of 5-to-4 decisions of any Court prior.

Roberts noticed the trend early in his term. “I do think the rule of law is threatened by a steady term after term after term focus on 5-4 decisions,” Roberts told The New Republic’s Jeffrey Rosen in 2006. “I think the Court is ripe for a similar refocus on functioning as an institution, because if it doesn’t, it’s going to lose its credibility and legitimacy as an institution.”

Justice Ginsburg is 81. Stephen Breyer is 75. With the Court’s term over, the speculation will begin again will either one retire while President Obama and a Democratic majority are still in power? It’s doubtful for multiple reasons.

Neither Ginsburg or Breyer’s departure tips the Court’s ideological balance. But what if Antonin Scalia (78) or Clarence Thomas (66) were to get a sudden itch to go fishing’ or spend more time with their families? Or just leave the Supreme Court to try out for The View?

Okay. It’s not gonna happen. Scalia and Thomas will announce they’re secret lovers before ever they allow Obama to appoint their replacements.

But even if one of the Justices were to suffer an untimely demise, there’s no way a Republican-controlled Senate would allow Obama to tip the axis of power of the Court to the liberal minority.

This is the current membership of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Do you think there is anyone Obama could nominate Al Franken and Ted Cruz would both vote for?

As far as Brennan’s Rule of Five goes this is a battle the Left lost years ago and it may take many years before they begin to win any.

But the last people I want to hear from are the smug elitists and professional cynics who say “there’s no difference between the Democrats and Republicans.” Yeah, sure. Look at how the justices selected by Democratic and Republican presidents voted and tell me that one again.

Don’t tell me you’re appalled (or even surprised) by the Supreme Court’s conservative majority deciding corporations have more rights than women. Tell me what you’re going to DO about it. The first thing is to vote and keep the Senate in Democratic control. That is, unless you want Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell telling President Obama whom he will allow to sit on the Supreme Court when a vacancy opens up.

"Me?  And justice?  Now THAT'S funny!'

“Me? And justice? Now THAT’S funny!’

Mississippi, Hot Damn!

Bad guy versus Worse Guy

There is a runoff election tonight in Mississippi in the race between incumbent Republican Thad Cochran and Chris McDaniel, who is backed by the Tea Party and other right-wing activists.  Cochran has the support of the GOP establishment who prefer his bland predictability and being a good soldier to McDaniel’s radicalism which would make him a potential wild card and threat to Mitch McConnell’s plans if the Republicans take control of the Senate.

Nobody paid much attention to the race until McDaniel forced Cochran into a run-off in the primary.   Cochran is expected to go down in flames to the hard-charging McDaniel.   In an act of desperation, Cochran is pleading for Mississippi Democrats, especially Blacks to save his seat.  Republican are sending poll watchers to “observe” Democratic voters.

The only reason the Republicans are sending “poll watchers” is not to protect the integrity of the vote but to intimidate Black voters. On the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer where Andrew Goodman, James Chaney and Michael Schwerner lost their lives buried in the Mississippi mud, this is a repulsive act of Good Ol’ Fashioned Southern Racism.

Mississippi Goddam, anyone?

As regards Sen. Thad Cochran, if he isn’t isn’t cut from the same dirty cloth as James Eastland, John Stennis, Theodore Bilbo, Trent Lott and the other undistinguished gang of losers, idiots and bigots Mississippi keeps sending to the upper chamber in Washington, he’s only a more genteel and low profile version.

Thad Cochran, member of the United States Sena...

Thad Cochran, member of the United States Senate from Mississippi. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

He’s been there a long time (36 years), is a committed supporter of pork barrel politics and has accumulated a horrid record on social issues.

Cochran is received an 11% rating from the NAACP, indicating an anti-affirmative-action stance, but that’s positively sparkling compared to his 0% rating by the ACLU, indicating an anti-civil rights voting record and 0% by the Human Rights Campaign, indicating an anti-gay-rights stance.

Not that the challenger (and almost certainly the next U.S. Senator from Mississippi) is any sort of prize. In fact, McDaniel is even less appealing than Cochran.

McDaniel, who surprisingly led Cochran by 1,400 votes in the June 3 primary, has been able to mask how far right he really is. Investigative magazine Mother Jones in 2013 reported that McDaniel was featured speaker for a neo-confederate, pro-secessionist conference in Jones County where many attendees wore Confederate uniforms.

Last Saturday, The New York Times, which has sent two reporters to cover the runoff, interviewed Carl Ford, a 77-year-old lawyer in McDaniel’s hometown of Ellisville. A staunch McDaniel backer, Ford admitted being active in the county’s Sons of Confederate Veterans.

What The Times didn’t know is that Ford had been a Klan lawyer who in 1998 served as a defense attorney for the late Sam Bowers of Laurel. Bowers was Imperial Wizard of the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan during the civil rights era. The White Knights was a Mississippi-born group which the FBI charged with plotting several brutal murders.

Bowers was three times prosecuted as the mastermind for violent racial crimes. A state jury in 1967 deadlocked by one vote on convicting Bowers for the firebomb slaying of respected Hattiesburg grocer Vernon Dahmer, an NAACP voting rights leader. Retried in 1998, with Ford on the defense team, Bowers was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for the Dahmer murder. Bowers died in prison in 2006.

I have no doubt a Tea Party prick like McDaniel will do his best to get that NAACP rating down to zero and make the dead and damned souls Stennis, Eastland and Bilbo smile on whatever rock in hell they’re squatting on.

If there were a way for both Thad Cochran and Chris McDaniel to lose, the U.S. Senate would be better for it. It’s equal parts laughable and contemptible that Cochran is looking to Black Democrats to save his worthless old ass.

This is some real “the devil you know” shit.

If I were a voter in Mississippi tonight, I’d hold my nose, pull the lever for Cochran and tell any “poll watcher” to bacdafucup off me.

No matter who wins nothing good is coming the way for Black Mississippians from either of these two good old boys.

"Do I whistle 'Dixie?'  Why yes, I do.  Why? (photo: Angry Black Lady Chronicles)

“Do I whistle ‘Dixie?’ Why yes, I do. Why? (photo: Angry Black Lady Chronicles)

Harry Blows Up the Senate to Save the Senate

Hey Republicans, don’t be mad you didn’t do it first.

Imagine you’re a member of the U.S. Senate and you’re part of the Democratic majority, but you’re a moderate, firmly in the mainstream and the farthest thing from a bomb-throwing ideologue.   You don’t dislike all of your Republican colleagues on the other side of the aisle.  Hell, you might even like some of them more than the feckless Harry Reid or the smug Charles Schumer.

You came to Washington for a reason and it sure wasn’t to sit there on your hands because there is no legislation that can pass and no presidential nominee that can be confirmed because a simple majority isn’t enough to do it.  It requires a super-majority of 60 votes to get anything done and what it takes to get those 60 votes is sometimes a price too high to pay.

Take a real good look at Mitch McConnell, folks.  This is nobody’s romantic daydream.  How many times would you want to have to kiss that ass?

The president’s nominees to fill three vacancies on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals were blocked from an up-or-down vote by the GOP’s refusal to allow one. The Ninth Circuit is second only to the Supreme Court in the importance of the cases it hears. The president’s ability to appoint judges to the federal judiciary is perhaps his most lasting legacy and the Ninth Circuit is where many future Supreme Court nominees come from. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) led the charge to keep Obama’s nominees off the Ninth Circuit saying they weren’t really needed (as if Grassley would be saying the same thing had Mitt Romney won) and he in effect dared Harry Reid to go nuclear.

The reason the GOP opposes everything.

Reid called Grassley’s bluff and by a 52-48 vote (with three Democrats defecting and joining the Republicans)  modified the rules to allow a simple majority to approve presidential nominees and appointments,  but permit the filibuster for legislation and  Supreme Court nominations (which means Ruth Bader Ginsburg had better stay healthy).    Now the president’s nominees will get the vote and presumably the confirmation they should be considered for. It wasn’t a matter of whether they were qualified. It was a matter of the Republican strategy to oppose the nominees because Obama picked them.

The late liberal Senator Paul Wellstone said, “If we don’t fight hard enough for the things we stand for, at some point we have to recognize that we don’t really stand for them.” Republicans have fought very hard to stand in the way of President Obama’s nominees regardless of their qualifications and finally the Democrats grew a collective spine and chose to fight back for what they stand for.

Republicans will fume and fuss and threaten dire consequences for the Democrats when they are in the minority. The Democrats will shrug and say, “Bring it.” It’s not as if there’s much left in the way of bipartisan legislation coming out of the upper chamber before Reid and the Dems dropped the bomb.

The Senate Democrats finally woke up to a fact the Senate Republicans had been hip to for years: the “rules” had ALREADY been changed. The 60-vote super majority worked only so long as senators were willing to compromise. The Republicans don’t do that anymore and have used a rule the Senate made to govern itself to make the Senate ungovernable. What happens next? The Republicans will vote for or against the President’s nominees–as they are Constitutionally bound to do.   The worst part about revoking the ability of the minority to foil the will of the majority is it makes the Senate Republicans do their freaking jobs.

It had to end someday. Sometimes you have to be willing to fight for a short-term gain even if you lose in the long run.

When your computer won’t boot up correctly, videos won’t stream, pages won’t load and the damn thing just sits like a big useless lump that doesn’t work, you can always sit there wishing and hoping and praying it will start working. Maybe if you talk sweetly to the computer and promise how good it is going to be if it just starts working right. Maybe you’ll get lucky and it will start working.

Or you can just reboot the sucker and reset it and see if that gets it to working.

Last November, the Democrats won the presidency and increased the number of Democrats in the Senate. By playing “Let’s Make A Lousy Deal” with McConnell, the Dems permitted the Republicans to grind the Senate to a halt as if they had won.

That was foolish of the Democrats and all it did was embolden the Republicans to oppose ANY nominee no matter how qualified they were.  Reid got tired of playing Robin to McConnell’s Batman. It was time for the Democrats to remember they won the last election and start acting like it.

Mission Obstruct Obama has been a major success.

Mission Obstruct Obama has been a major success.

Of course the strategy has long-term implications, but so what? You don’t think Reid and the Democrats aren’t aware of the blowback from this change if or when the Republicans take control? It was a calculated risk based upon the possible gains versus the probable losses, but the Republican intransigence had reached new levels and there was NO hope they might negotiate on allowing the president’s nominees to receive a floor vote.

The GOP does not want to let President Obama’s judicial nominees to tip the ideological balance of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. They would not have a similar problem if it were Mitt Romney submitting a future Antonin Scalia. This is pure political gamesmanship by Senate Republicans who refuse to acknowledge they lost the last presidential election, so than accept the judgment of the American voters they hide behind a procedural trick to foil their will.

Harry Reid rebooted the Senate. I didn’t think he had the gonads to do it, but I’m glad he did.

Go “Nuclear” Democrats or Go Home

Dear Lord, please let me grow a spine.

While our lamestream media (thanks, Sarah Palin!) has short-stroked over the botched roll-out of Obamacare, they have largely ignored the latest chapter in the Republican plan to obstruct President Obama at every turn.

Returning to their evil ways, Senate Republicans on Thursday blocked motions to end debate on confirming Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C.) as director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency and Patricia Millett to join the D.C. Circuit Court.   Why?  Because that’s what Senate Republicans do.

The Republicans have called Harry Reid‘s bluff. Reid has talked thunder and threatened lightning as Mitch McConnell and company have yawned with indifference.

You’ll never do it, Harry. You don’t have the balls to do it. One day we’ll be running the Senate and what you do to us we’re going to do it double to you when we take over. Tom Coburn may have apologized for calling you an “absolute asshole” but he only said out loud what the rest of us all believe: you are an asshole Harry and your impotent threats are full of shit.

The Dems are fuming and talking smack about how mad they are and this time they’re really gonna do it. They’re gonna pull the switch and go nuclear! Ooh, they are SO mad. Cover your ears ’cause there’s gonna be a big boom!

The Republicans just laugh and say, “Sit your punk asses down. Y’all ain’t gonna do nothing because you never do nothing. Just bitch, whine, moan and then bitch, whine and moan so more.”

The Dems should either roll the dice and use the nuclear option or don’t and shut the hell up with the empty threats. Their constant yapping about it reminds me of an over excited toy dog that makes a lot of noise, but if you raise your voice it scurries away in a panic. But still yapping even as it does.

Reid is the Senate Majority Leader but he’s like a guard in a prison. He doesn’t run things, but the ones that do run things allow him to have that illusion.

Reid has about as much power as expired Viagra.

A word that is often invoked in the Senate is “comity.”  It means mutual courtesy and respect.    In this case though it also means fear.   Fear is why the Democrats can’t to pull the trigger on the nuclear option.   When–not if–the Republicans are back in the majority and running the Senate and its Reid and the Dems in the minority

Back in June, Reid and McConnell avoided going nuclear with a deal allowing the president’s nominees for the National Labor Relations Board and two Cabinet vacancies to receive floor votes.   At the time Reid was positively bubbly.

“We have a new start for this body. And I feel very comfortable about it. I don’t know how I could be happier.”

Steady there, hoss.  Don’t start tweaking your nipples just yet.

“It’s a step in the right direction that the majority has chosen not to exercise the nuclear option. We feel good about that, I think they feel good about it, so I think that crisis has been averted,” McConnell said

But has it?

Reid won’t invoke the nuclear option out of fear when he’s not the Majority Leader and McConnell is, the Democratic minority will not have the 60-vote super majority and filibuster options available to them as it is for the Republicans.   Which means Reid doesn’t want to piss off McConnell now in case McConnell is in charge later.

There’s one thing wrong in Reid’s reasoning.  What if the Republicans take control of the Senate next year and McConnell says the hell with comity?  I’m gonna screw the Democrats and use the power of being in the majority to end the 60 vote rule and the filibuster.

Reid may have to blow up the Senate to save it.

What would Harry Reid do then?  Besides his head popping right off his shoulders over McConnell screwing him after he passed up screwing him first.

Here’s the thing about power: if you don’t use it, you should because once you don’t have it you might wish you had.  Being nice to the enemy in hopes they will be nice to you is frankly all kinds of stupid.  Harry Reid is a weakling who constantly is stymied and outfoxed by McConnell who makes promises he know he won’t keep and deals he intends to ignore.

Yet Reid comes back time and again like the spouse in an abusive relationship  who rationalizes, “It’s not so bad.”

Figure it out, Harry.  It IS that bad.  McConnell and the Republican minority will use and abuse the rules to stop the Democrats from getting their way until they are in the majority and once they are they will press their advantage to get their way.

Some Dems get that and they don’t want to wait for it to happen.  Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) has argued for the nuclear option and after the latest in Republican obstructionism he said,  “What happened today was really an attack on the other branches of government.  In January, Mitch McConnell made a commitment to return to the norms and traditions of the U.S. Senate. On nominations, the norms and traditions are up and down votes and we did not get that today. That is something that cannot stand as it is.”

It shouldn’t stand, but until Reid’s balls drop stand it will.

Mel Watt: good enough for Obama, but not the Republicans.

Mel Watt was good enough for Obama, but not the Republicans.