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Harry Reid – The Riverboat Gambler UPDATE:

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UPDATE: They did it! They repealed DADT! This post is harsh on Reid, but he did the right thing and didn’t let political showmanship get in the way. I express my gratitude to Ried doing the right thing.


Reid is a gambling man. As many of you know, he and the congress chose not to pass a legislative budget this year for political purposes. You see, the budget would have been massive, and by not allocating money for the next year before the elections, a very unusual move, he was able to deny the Republican yet another example to show just how out of control spending is with the Democrats in charge. The trade off was that, if the Dems did poorly in the elections, they would have a harder time funding their top priorities and pet projects.

Reid took the gamble… and he lost.

The budget he tried to pass this week, at 1.3 trillion, was indeed a monstrosity. He not only got clobbered by the size of it, but his failure to get it through made the Democrats look like losers (yet again). By taking this gamble and postponing the budget until after the elections, he and the current congress, who would have been the arbiters of where the spending priorities went and who got the goodies, surrendered the whole shebang to next years Republican congress, and also left the government on the verge of yet another shut-down, for which the Democrat party and politicians in charge will get the blame. Hope you’re happy.

At the same time, Reid has been playing procedural games with the repeal of DADT, for which he has been rightly criticized. Well, it looks like we’re about to see at least one more act of gamesmanship from Reid before he’s through. There are two vote scheduled for a vote in the Senate on Saturday. One one vote, the repeal of DADT, it certainly looks like there are enough Republican crossover votes for that outdated and useless military ordinance to finally get throw into the dustbin of history where it belongs. We are just learning another vote is schedule to occur tomorrow – a vote on the Dream Act. There is no Republican support for that at all. Twenty to one Reid will tie the vote for the two together, which will all but guarantee that repeal of DADT fails and that onerous policy stays in place. Why would Reid do this? Simply to be able to exclaim that it’s the Republicans fault that DADT was not repealed. Yes, he’s just that partisan.

I hope I’m wrong on this one, but given the pattern of manipulation by Reid in the past, i would be surprised if he didn’t take this route.

Please Senator Reid. Prove me wrong.

PS. My take on the DREAM ACT? DREAM, if I understand it correctly, is an attempt to come to grips with the problem of kids who were brought to this country illegally when they were very young. I have great sympathy for these kids. They didn’t willingly come here of their own free will, but were brought here by their parents, and thus can hardly be held responsible for their illegal status. So many have lived here in the United States almost all their lives and know no other home than this country, They have no connection to Mexico what-so-ever, yet some monsters want to deport them anyway (Tom Tancrado, I’m looking your way). That said, I don’t support the DREAM ACT. Why? Because I don’t like the stipulation that would require these kids either obtain a college degree, or serve in the military as a requirement to get amnesty and become a legal citizen of the Unites States. Why should they have to fulfill either of these options, when other immigrants who actually choose to come here don’t? Plus, as it stands now, assuming that Harry Reid will find a way to screw things up, any of these kids who are gay don’t have the option of serving in the military anyway.

Stupid Politics – Why (unfortunately) Harry Reid Will Win…

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Because, at least in this interview.  his competitor seems to have a messianic complex five times greater than Obama’s! Here is some of the answers given by Angle from a recent interview Reid challenger Sharron Angle did on CBN. Now, I don’t have a problem with a candidate having strong religious beliefs, and I recognize she is playing to the Christian audience that watches that network. What I DO have a problem with, is that candidate believing that God sent her to do this, and she is on par with those like Moses and Jesus. Note there is also video so you can get a feeling of the person that is Sharron Angle.

David Brody: Let me ask you a little bit about why a happily married wife, 10 grandchildren, living in a beautiful place like Reno would want to get into beltway politics and go to DC. This is an uprooting of your life if it indeed happens:

Sharron Angle: “Well certainly my husband is retired. We have that choice now to do pretty much whatever we’d like to and I think the reason is a calling. It’s interesting how when you have God in your life that he directs your path and this is a time in our nation’s history when Nevada gets to be the state that really can make a difference in a nation and it’s purely because the most powerful man in the U.S. Senate resides in, well, he resides in the penthouse suite in Washington DC in the Ritz-Carlton but his residency is here in Nevada. He’s supposed to be representing us and he’s not representing us.”

Now, in a real interview, my very next question would have been “How is he not representing us?’ or “Describe what you, if elected would do differently”. But that’s not important.

David Brody: You mentioned that this was a “calling”. I think that was the word you used. When you got into this race back in the primary take us through that spiritually. You mentioned the word “calling” and in Evangelical terms we think of a “calling” as something that God has really put on your heart to do. Did you get that sense?

Sharron Angle: “Well I did but it’s been a real preparatory thing. When God calls you he also equips you and He doesn’t just say well today you’re going to run against Harry Reid. There is a preparation. Everyone in the Bible when you read the Bible you can see that preparatory time. Moses has his preparatory time. Paul had his preparatory time. Even Jesus had his preparatory time and so my preparation began on a school board” (Angle goes on to list all of the qualifications that prepared her for this Senate run)

This is hilarious. She lists all these great Biblical characters (herself included) making note that they all had to prepare for the trials of life that God had laid before them. When it’s time to actually list what her prep to be in the Senate is, well, they don’t bother to tell you what they are. The details, apparently, are not of great import. Just know and have faith that she’s done stuff, has run the gauntlet, and is prepared to be Senator because it’s what God wants her to do.

In the whole interview, she comes off as having delusions of grandeur; she is The Chosen One! I was tempted to change her name from “Angle” to “Angel”. It’s just that rife with religious pathos.

NOTE: Angle does have experience, and some of what I’m reading about her I do like. But, if her campaign doesn’t do better than this at marketing the politician that is Sharron Angle, and stop portraying her as the new patron saint of Nevada, she’ll probably lose.

Harry Reid – Corrupt F**ker!!!!

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He blocks ACORN probe! And yess, I’ve had too much wine!@ I feel like Christoopher Hitchens right now, except without the brilliance. Steven Green, unlike you, I’m really drunk….. Pretender!!!!!!!!!! 🙂

More Iraq War Revisonist History… From A Historian Complaining About Revisionist History.

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Victor Davis Hanson has a piece out with the headline “Revisionist History Prevails on Iraq Invasion“.

Yes. It does. But it’s who is doing it that is the problem.

VDH writes:

“Do we remember that Bill Clinton signed into law the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 that supported regime change in Iraq? He gave an eloquent speech on the dangers of Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction. “


Thing is, Bill Clinton and the Dems didn’t act on it. It’s one thing to authorize something in Congress, which was meant as a threat. But everyone knew it was an empty threat. It’s one thing to support regime change, as we also do in regard to the Cuban government, and quite another to actively do so with out military. We were NOT going to go back into Iraq as things stood in 1998. And the intelligence was not that detailed, not nearly as specific as the evidence Bush laid out in as the rational to invade.

“In 2002, both houses of Congress voted overwhelmingly to pass a resolution authorizing the removal of Saddam Hussein by force. Senators such as Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry and Harry Reid offered moving arguments on the Senate floor why we should depose Saddam in a post-9/11 climate.

Democratic stalwarts such as Sen. Jay Rockefeller and Rep. Nancy Pelosi lectured us about the dangers of Saddam’s stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction. They drew on the same classified domestic and foreign intelligence reports that had led Bush to call for Saddam’s forcible removal.”

They voted yes due, in part, on the faulty and manipulated intel presented by the Bush administration. See more below.

“Legally, the U.S. went to war against Saddam because he had done things such as commit genocide against the Kurds, Shiites and the Marsh Arabs, and attacked four of his neighbors. He had tried to arrange the assassination of a former U.S. president, George H.W. Bush. He had paid bounties for suicide bombers on the West Bank and was harboring the worst of global terrorists. Saddam also offered refuge to at least one of the architects of the first World Trade Center Bombing in 1993, and violated U.N.-authorized no-fly zones.”

Legally… Yes. But the argument that Saddam was building a stockpile of WMD’s was the linchpin to getting approval to go to war. Minus the WMD factor, we never went to war in any of the African countries doing the exact same things… Or worse.

Genocide… Attacking neighbors. Those were all things done in the 80’s and 90’s by all sorts of countries around the world. That’s never been justification in our modern history for us putting an invading army on the ground to overthrow a government. Paying suicide bombers? That was more recent. But we were not going to war over that either. Saddam certainly was not the only one doing that. Members of the Saudi Royal family were providing funds. Iran was much more active than those two in that regard.

None of this was ever enough to committing our ground troops to war. Fear of chemical and nuclear weapons was, and we know that most of that intel was wrong at best, manufactured and not vetted at worst.

Hanson goes on:

“The Bush administration, like members of Congress, underestimated the costs of the war and erred in focusing almost exclusively on Saddam’s supposed stockpiles of weapons.”

Yeah they did. And concerning Congress…. Where did they get the monetary and time-line estimates from???? Last time I checked, those are provided by the Executive branch. Congress, based on information provided by that branch, either provides the funding, or tightens the purse strings.

“But otherwise, the war was legally authorized on 23 writs. Most of them had nothing to do with weapons of mass destruction and were unaffected by the later mysterious absence of such weapons…”

Mysterious absence… Really?????

The absence of such weapons is not a mystery… They didn’t exist in the first place. In all the TONS of both official  AND private documents recovered from the ouster of Saddam and his government, there is NO EVIDENCE that Saddam had any newer WMD’s from his supposed “reconstituted programs”. The only thing that was ever found in country were useless and degraded scraps of WMD’s left over from the 80’s and 90’s.

“…which is all the more mysterious given that troves of WMD have turned up in nearby Syria and more recently in Iraqi bunkers overrun by Islamic militants.

Has anyone seen any, you know,  actual evidence that Syria’s chemical weapons came from Iraq? Juan Cole lays out a pretty compelling case that most of the Syrian stockpiles came from Russia and some Western European companies, complete with links that back his assertion.

“A Special National Intelligence Estimate dated Sept. 15, 1983, lists Syria as a “major recipient of Soviet CW [Chemical Weapons] assistance.” Both “Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union provided the chemical agents, delivery systems, and training that flowed to Syria.”…

Last week, German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung reported that intelligence sources in the country are convinced blueprints for four of the five Syrian poison gas plants came from Moscow….

…Syria received precursor chemicals from the West until well into the last decade. Last week, the German government acknowledged that between 2002 and 2006, it had approved the export to Syria of more than 100 tons of so-called dual-use chemicals. Among the substances were hydrogen fluoride, which can be used to make Teflon, and also sarin. The exports were allowed under the condition that Syria would only use them for civilian purposes. The British government also recently acknowledged exports of dual-use chemicals to Syria.”

What evidence does Hanson bring to the table to support his claim that Syria’s WMD’s came from Iraq???? About the same amount of evidence that currently supports the claim that Saddam was rebuilding his WMD stockpiles… None.

More Hanson:

“What changed public opinion and caused radical about-faces among the war’s most ardent supporters were the subsequent postwar violence and insurgency between 2004 and 2007, and the concurrent domestic elections and rising antiwar movement. Thousands of American troops were killed or wounded in mostly failed efforts to stem the Sunni-Shiite savagery.”

Interesting that Hanson leaves out a vital factor that weighed on the American public at the same time and help fuel the rise in anti-war sentiment… The realization that the administration was DEAD WRONG on the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Had we found them, or even any proof that Saddam was reconstituting his programs, as the administration had asserted with steely-eyed certainty, we would have almost certainly sent more troops in at the beginning of the invasion, and kept more there to find and destroy those weapons. From the beginning of the campaign to include Iraq as a front in the Global War On Terror, the Bush administration made that the centerpiece on which to justify the action. The failure to mention the growing concern about the total absence of proof for a WMD program at all is a lie by omission on Hanson’s part. Talk about revisionist history!!!!
He mentions the freedom the Kurds now enjoy. Yes, they are better off than they were under Saddam’s rule. But that was not the compelling reason we went to war there. And, it’s not as if they were liberated by our invasion. Their fate was already improving as a result of the no-fly zones we set up in the 90’s to protect them. From our own Stars and Stripes:

“The Other Iraq,” as residents like to call it, has enjoyed peace, stability and an improving economy for more than 20 years, since the U.S. instituted a no-fly zone over the region following the first Gulf War in 1991. Protected from Saddam Hussein by the no-fly zone, Iraqi Kurds developed a modern infrastructure and a rare secular, pro-Western, democratic regime.

“It led to huge progress for our economy,” said Dara Jalil-Khayat, president of the Irbil Chamber of Commerce.”

Continuing with Hanson:

“A Saddam-led Iraq over the last decade would not have been a peaceable place.”

No kidding! But was it a peaceable place in 2009, not even four months after  Bush signed the agreement with Maliki that solidified the withdrawal time line? Yes, less Americans were getting killed at the time. But Iraq was hardly a Nirvana of peace and prosperity where everyone was singing kumbaya.

Here is how peaceful it was right after we signed the agreement, and our boot were still very much on the ground:

  • “June 20, 2009 – A suicide bomber detonates a truck filled with explosives as crowds of worshipers leave the Shi’ite al-Rasul mosque in Taza, near Kirkuk. At least 73 people are killed and more than 250 wounded.
  • June 24 – A bomb kills 72 people at a busy market in eastern Baghdad’s Sadr City. At least 127 people are wounded.
  • August 19 – At least six blasts strike near government ministries and other targets in Baghdad, killing 95 people and wounding 536.
  • October 25 – Twin car bombs target the Justice Ministry and the Baghdad provincial government building, killing at least 155 people and wounding more than 500 in central Baghdad.
  • December 8 – At least four car bombs explode in Iraq’s capital, near a courthouse, a judges’ training center, a Finance Ministry building and a police checkpoint in a district of southern Baghdad. At least 112 people are killed and hundreds wounded”

Even todays stories still reference the sectarian violence that occurred even as the surge was under way between 2006 and 2008:

“Sectarian violence in Iraq continues to worsen as clashes erupt between Sunni and Shia groups. According to the United Nations, more than eight thousand people were killed in 2013—the highest number of fatalities since the upsurge in civil violence between 2006 and 2008.”

Our troops, sent in under the surge, were not just fighting against al-Qaeda in Iraq, but against the sectarian Mehdi Army and missioned to clamp down on sectarian violence. In fact, google “Iraq al-Qaeda 2006” and the thing the are most noted for is bombing a Shiite mosque, which brought the sectarian violence to a head. Note that al-Queda’s favorite method of attacks is not on the battle field, but the classic terrorist M.O…. Blowing things up in civilian centers. Here is a list of pre-2010 activity:

  • June 20, 2009: Truck bombing of a Shi’i mosque near Kirkuk blamed on Al Qaeda in Iraq: at least 75 killed, 163 wounded.
  • August 14, 2007: Multiple truck bombings of two Yazidi villages near Sinjar in northern Iraq: at least 500 killed, approximately 1,500 wounded.
  • March 6, 2007: Two car bombings at a Shi’i shrine in Hilla: 106 killed.
  • November 23, 2006: Series of car bombings and mortar attacks in the Shi’i Sadr City: at least 202 killed, approximately 250 injured.
  • February 22, 2006: Bombing of the Shi’i Al Askari Mosque in Samarra, which sparked a “civil war” between Sunnis and Shi’as in Iraq.
  • July 16, 2005: Suicide car bomb struck a fuel tanker truck in Musayyib: at least 98 killed, 82 wounded.
  • February 28, 2005: Suicide car bombing in Hilla: at least 125 killed, 170 wounded.
  • October 24, 2004: Coordinated vehicle bombings outside Baghdad’s Sheraton and Palestine hotels, which were frequented by members of the Western press: at least 20 killed.
  • May 17, 2004: Suicide car bombing killed Governing Council President Izzedin Salim.
  • October 27, 2003: Multiple car bombings at police stations and Red Cross Headquarters in Baghdad: 35 killed, 220 wounded.
  • August 19, 2003: Truck bombing at U.N. headquarters in Baghdad: 23 killed, including Sergio Vieira de Mello, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The same article notes:

“The threat of AQI has weakened in recent years due to a backlash from local Sunnis and the surge of American troops in Iraq in 2007. Local Sunni populations increasingly separated themselves from AQI and its affiliate groups because they used intimidation tactics to enforce allegiance and impose strict Islamic codes. AQI has subsequently focused its efforts against the U.S. in Afghanistan, and, according to congressional reports, some AQI leaders have joined Al Qaeda in the remote tribal areas near Afghanistan’s border with Pakistan.

We may have flushed some of al Qaeda out of Iraq, but they weren’t “defeated”, as Hanson and others love to portray. The bombings in Iraq from 2009 to 2011 show otherwise. We didn’t “decimate” them into non-existence, but suppressed them at best. They just moved to another, more favorable, battlefield. They adjusted their tactics, and we falsely and foolishly painted it as some sort of defeat.

Back to the weapons of mass destruction issue one more time. Bush, in this and many other interviews, said this and things similar to this:

“I also saw a threat in Iraq. I was hoping to solve this problem diplomatically. That’s why I went to the [United Nations] Security Council; that’s why it was important to pass [Resolution] 1441, which was unanimously passed. And the world said, disarm, disclose, or face serious consequences — and therefore, we worked with the world, we worked to make sure that Saddam Hussein heard the message of the world. And when he chose to deny inspectors, when he chose not to disclose [emphasis added], then I had the difficult decision to make to remove him. And we did, and the world is safer for it.”

And then there is this from Bush, again justifying the invasion and overthrow of Saddam Hussein. Form an article coincidentally titled “Look who’s rewriting history now” discussing the false claim made by Bush that Saddam did not let inspectors in to look for WMD’s:

The fundamental question is, did Saddam Hussein have a weapons program? And the answer is, absolutely. And we gave him a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn’t let them in. And therefore, after a reasonable request, we decided to remove him from power, along with other nations, so as to make sure he was not a threat to the United States and our friends and allies in the region.”

Hanson noted the 23 legal writs that were used to support going to war with Iraq. In how many interviews and speeches did Bush say to the world “If Saddam doesn’t stop killing the Kurds, then he will face the consequences and be removed from power!”. Or substitute killing the Kurds with any of the other 23 legal writs. Sorry. It ain’t there. Without the addition and continued assertions that Saddam had rebuilt his stockpiles of WMD’s, we would not be looking at the situation in Iraq as it stands. It would still almost certainly be crappy, but our hands would not be dirty, at least, not as dirty as they are now.

When the topic is ancient history, Victor Davis Hanson is a fine historian. But when it comes to modern politics, he’s as blind as they come.

Early in the piece, Hanson writes:

“One can blame almost anyone, but one must not invent facts to support an argument. “

No. All one has to do is ignore them, which is why we’re in this mess in the first place.

SIDE NOTE:  In mid 2006, one pol from Harris showed that 50% of the country still believed that Saddam DID have WMD’s. But that number was almost certainly the result of a report put out by Senator Rick Santorum and Representative Peter Hoekstra that showed that we had found lots of WMD’s in Iraq.


Here is the Headline from FOX News:

Report: Hundreds of WMDs Found in Iraq

Here is how Santorum framed his report in a write-up in the Washington Times:

“We have found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq,” Mr. Santorum said in a press conference yesterday afternoon. “This is an incredibly … significant finding. The idea that, as my colleagues have repeatedly said in this debate on the other side of the aisle, that there are no weapons of mass destruction, is in fact false.”

Here is what Santorum and the Conservative outlets didn’t care to reveal. From a Washington Post article:

But the Pentagon and outside experts stressed that these abandoned shells, many found in ones and twos, were 15 years old or more, their chemical contents were degraded, and they were unusable as artillery ordnance. Since the 1990s, such “orphan” munitions, from among 160,000 made by Iraq and destroyed, have turned up on old battlefields and elsewhere in Iraq, ex-inspectors say. In other words, this was no surprise.

“These are not stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction,” said Scott Ritter, the ex-Marine who was a U.N. inspector in the 1990s. “They weren’t deliberately withheld from inspectors by the Iraqis.”

Once again, another lie by omission from Conservative media and their pundits. I was still a registered Republican at this time. And I still believed that we surly MUST find something. And when the news broke that this Samtorum / Hoekstra report blew the lid off the “liberal media lies” or what not, I was thrilled. At least we have this.

But when this was revealed to have been another in a long list of distorted truths, I stopped trusting them. That doesn’t mean that Conservative media is always wrong. No. But I don’t buy what they sell unless it’s confirmed by independent sources. Same rule goes for “liberal” media too.

Things That Make You Go…. “Huh?” (the games people play) UPDATE X 2: So Much Dishonesty On Both Sides. This Stuff Is Just Pissing Me Off

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Republican House Leader John Boehner is complaining that the Obama administration is committing an “extraordinary and entirely unprecedented power grab,” for making a recess appointment. “The precedent that would be set by this cavalier action would have a devastating effect on the checks and balances that are enshrined in our constitution,” Boehner said.

Checks and Balances.


The Legislative branch IS in recess… Well, except for the ploy by Republicans to try and keep the Senate and House from being “officially” on recess for more than three days, a trick used during the past Memorial Day non-recess recess with the explicit intent to prevent the President from making a recess appointment to the same position being filled today.

Somehow, that isn’t a bit of an abuse of power?

But the irony is the fact that this latest complaint of a “power grab” is coming from a man who just voted to give the executive branch the unbridled and unchecked power to detain any American citizen he or she chooses, simply by accusing that person of being involve in terrorist activities, without trial, without the protection of Constitutional rights.


All these people need to go!

UPDATE: Well, how the worm turns! The liberal press is leaving out a specific detail that make this even worse for Democrats! Turns out the “Pro Forma” strategy was pioneered by Senate Democrats to try and block Bush appointees!

UPDATE 2: Oh look…. When the Democrats did this to Bush, his White House team of lawyers recommended that he ignore the Senate / Harry Reid ploy, and make the appointments anyway! Bush declined to do so (but he’s stupid, don’t you know). Haven’t found a link to confirm it yet, but my bet is, that the Republicans at the time thought this was, to steal a line from ex-Senator Tom Daschle, “OUTRAGEOUS!”

Let it be noted too that the 10 day standard is nowhere to be found in the Constitution; that Theodore Roosevelt President Theodore Roosevelt once made recess appointments during an intra-session recess of less than one day, and that the 10 day standard has been a courtesy of restraint employed by the Presidency for only the last twenty years or so.

Here is the Bush White House lawyer’s take on the use of this tactic.

Democrats are as big a bunch of liars as Republicans! There. I said it! I am SOOOOO sick of this crap!!!! God I really despise these people!

Progress On The Solo Album

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Uhm… There hasn’t been any. 🙁

But I have good reason. Work has kept me fairly busy.

I had recorded bits and pieces of a few songs, but realized I was still a little lost on the new digital recording software I’m now using, Presonus’s Studio One. It’s not that different from the old tried and true Adode Audition 1.5 I’ve been using for the last, oh eight years, but it has a ton of features that weren’t even invented yet when AA 1.5 was new.

I have to change the crank shaft seal on one of the cars today. But after that, I think I’ve got enough of a handle on the new software to start recording.

PS. The Presonus FireStudio Project (or “precious” as the Sonic-Mate calls it given the way I fawn over it) is an awesome interface! Audio signal is vrey clean! Can’t recommend it enough!!!


Will The Most Famous “Man Crush” Ever Die???? A Challenge To Andrew Sullivan.

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Jennifer Ruben writes:

A Republican aide e-mails me: “The Speaker, Sen. Reid and Sen. McConnell all agreed on the general framework of a two-part plan. A short-term increase (with cuts greater than the increase), combined with a committee to find long-term savings before the rest of the increase would be considered. Sen. Reid took the bipartisan plan to the White House and the President said no.”

If this is accurate the president is playing with fire. By halting a bipartisan deal he imperils the country’s finances and can rightly be accused of putting partisanship above all else. The ONLY reason to reject a short-term, two-step deal embraced by both the House and Senate is to avoid another approval-killing face-off for President Obama before the election. Next to pulling troops out of Afghanistan to fit the election calendar, this is the most irresponsible and shameful move of his presidency.

If this is true, I dare Sullivan to declare this is one of those “Meep Meep” moment, where this President has outwitted the Republicans much like the iconic Roadrunner vs the Coyote. But, I suspect he will anyway. The “Man Crush” is just that strong with this one!!!!

PS. When news came around yesterday that there was a Democrat penned / Obama approved deal in the works for $2.7 billion in cut, and no tax increases, I was set to write that, since that seems like a reasonable deal yet the Republicans had brushed it aside, the Dems had indeed scored a MAJOR public relations coo and had made the Republicans look like idiots. But the story has changed radically and the original MSNBC article has seemed to have gone down the memory whole… Well… Now we are here.

Why The Budget Is So Screwed Up?

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The details of the “draconian” budget cuts have been released. Folks, this is fraud to call this budget cuts! Here is how they got $5 billion of the $39 billion dollars worth of cuts in the Federal budget this last week-end.

…the cuts that actually will make it into law are far tamer, including cuts to earmarks, unspent census money, leftover federal construction funding, and $2.5 billion from the most recent renewal of highway programs that can’t be spent because of restrictions set by other legislation. Another $3.5 billion comes from unused spending authority from a program providing health care to children of lower-income families….

OK. there’s five billion that wasn’t going to be spent anyway, though congress would have grabbed the money and spent it on something else… So…. That’s progress… Sort of…

Then it gets much, much worse.

About $10 billion of the cuts comes from targeting appropriations accounts previously used by lawmakers for so-called earmarks, those pet projects like highways, water projects, community development grants and new equipment for police and fire departments. Republicans had already engineered a ban on earmarks when taking back the House this year.

So that portion was already cut before Boehner, Reid, and Obama walked into the room. The Republicans have crowed about those cuts in a previous budget statement. So they get to count that cut twice?

Republicans also claimed $5 billion in savings by capping payments from a fund awarding compensation to crime victims. Under an arcane bookkeeping rule – used for years by appropriators – placing a cap on spending from the Justice Department crime victims fund allows lawmakers to claim the entire contents of the fund as budget savings. The savings are awarded year after year.


Those of you who live in California recognize these cuts as what they are – Accounting Gimmicks!!!!  We recognize them because it’s exact same way that CA has been faking a balanced budget year after year in the once golden state for the last five years. About the only thing the Republicans / Tea Party crowd got out of this was some winning press from the media.

Let the revolt begin!!!!


A Presidential Pirouette.

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So… After fighting challenges in court for two years, suddenly DOMA is now unconstitutional!!!!

So, why was it “constitutional” prior to today?????

Bruce at Gay Patriot asked in jest if President Obama could be impeached:

Should a President who both knowingly signs a law that is unconstitutional (Obamacare) AND who refuses to defend a law (DOMA) passed by Congress and signed by a President that he deems to be unconstitutional be charged with impeachment?

No. There is no sense that they (Obama, Pelosi, or Reid) thought Obamacare would possibly lose in the courts – they thought it was perfectly fine. One the second point – setting aside the proclamation that suddenly they’ve seen the light and now recognize DOMA as unconstitutional, there are examples of laws on the books that the DOJ has in the past simply chosen not to defend. Here is Law Prof Marty Lederman defending then DOJ attorney John Roberts (hmmm… why does that name sound familiar???) concerning a brief explaining why the DOJ will not defend a law:

As a general matter, the Department has traditionally adhered to a policy of defending the constitutionality of federal enactments whenever “reasonable” arguments can be made in support of such statutes — i.e., whenever the constitutionality of the law is not fairly precluded by clear constitutional language or governing Supreme Court case law. This practice has been predicated on the notion that because the political branches — the Congress that voted for the law and the President who signed it — have already concluded that the statute was constitutional, it would be inappropriate for DOJ lawyers to take it upon themselves to reject the constitutional judgment shared by the President and the legislature.

There are, however, historical exceptions to this general practice. Almost all of the exceptions fall into one of three categories. The first category is cases in which intervening Supreme Court decisions have rendered the defense of the statute untenable. This category isn’t really an “exception” to the “rule” as much as it is an illustration of how the rule operates in practice: The newly governing Supreme Court decision eliminates any reasonable argument that might have been made in the statute’s defense, other than asking the Court to overrule its governing precedent (a tactic that the SG very rarely employs, but that is not unheard of, as in the second flag-burning case (Eichman), and in Agostini v. Felton). The second category involves statutes that in DOJ’s view infringe the constitutional powers of the President himself (e.g., Chadha; Bowsher v. Synar). The third, and smallest, category involves statutes that the President has publicly condemned as unconstitutional. The most famous such case was probably U.S. v. Lovett, in 1946. More recently, after the first President Bush vetoed the “must-carry” provisions of a cable television bill on constitutional grounds and Congress overrode the veto, the Bush (41) Administration declined to defend the constitutionality of the must-carry provisions. (The Clinton Administration reversed this decision and subsequently prevailed in its defense of the law in the Supreme Court in the Turner Broadcasting litigation.)

Interestingly enough, the blog that I got that from was written in 2009, concerning the Obama administrations decision to defend DOMA in the courts. The bigger and more interesting question is – Why has he suddenly seen the light? What changed from yesterday to today to cause this judicial pirouette? Could it be the result of more than a little support drift from the usually reliable gay contingent, who are being courted by the younger / less religiously motivated Conservative crowd with some success?

New Meme For 2011 – Act Like Grown-Ups!

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“You childish Republicans… why can’t you act like the more mature Democrats!”…

Because “We need to pass the bill so you can see what’s in it” was SOOOO adult!

Johnathan Cohn isn’t the first to use the “grown-up” meme, but he’s happily amplifying it and passing it along!  He writes:

For a while now, Tea Party Republicans like Senator Mike Lee, who unseated the insufficiently conservative Robert Bennett in Utah, have been threatening to vote against the debt ceiling increase unless they win substantial reductions in government spending. Idle threats about refusing to raise the debt ceiling are nothing new, but the Tea Party crowd seems quite serious about it–in part because they’ve promised their base they’re going to do it.

seems quite serious about it“…. Well Duh!!! If you’re going to make a threat, it probably works better if you seem serious, don’t you think? Because, in Cohn’s world, it’s only OK to make noise about something as long as you’re not serious…. Like the Senate Democrats, including Harry Reid, who voted “NO” on raising the debt ceiling in 2006:

The increase in the debt limit brought the total increase during the Bush administration to $3 trillion. Democrats said the rising debt was the consequence of what they described as a reckless Republican fiscal policy centered on tax cuts for the affluent.

Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic leader, said Thursday that given Mr. Bush’s record, “I really do believe this man will go down as the worst president this country has ever had.”

Few Republicans took the floor to defend the debt limit request, and three — Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Conrad Burns of Montana and John Ensign of Nevada — joined all Democrats in opposing the increase.

Oops! But, since they were the minority party at the time, it was a safe, meaningless, non-serious vote. So it was OK I guess.

As many others have noted, the demand of going back to 2008 spending levels is radical and, not coincidentally, highly unrealistic…

So, cutting government spend to a level seen a mere three years ago is “radical and, not coincidentally, highly unrealistic“, but cutting CO2 emission to 1990 levels, or better yet, by 80% is perfectly acceptable, and completely realistic. It seems as long as government spending is concerned, something they’re intimately familiar with, Democrats understand the consequences of putting a cap on it, but when it comes to destroying economic growth via a cap in CO2 emissions….

PS. Because I know someone will come back and ask “Where were the Conservatives when Bush was accumulating all his debt?”. Here’s a reminder – It was there. It’s just know one listened.

Hat Tip: Dr. Dan @ Gay Patriot