Category Archives: Politics

How’s that Tea Party-changey thing working out for ya?

It’s like watching a train wreck in slow motion. First, we have a like mother, like daughter story. During her improbable run on Dancing With The Stars, Bristol Palin said, “Winning this would mean a lot – it would be like a big middle finger to all the people out there that hate my mom and hate me.”

Next, we have Republican DWTS alum, Tom “The Hammer” DeLay.

A jury just convicted him on money laundering, and conspiracy to commit money laundering charges. From the Associated Press:

Prosecutors said DeLay conspired with two associates, John Colyandro and Jim Ellis, to use his Texas-based PAC to send $190,000 in corporate money to an arm of the Washington-based Republican National Committee, or RNC. The RNC then sent the same amount to seven Texas House candidates. Under Texas law, corporate money can’t go directly to political campaigns.

Prosecutors claim the money helped Republicans take control of the Texas House. That enabled the GOP majority to push through a Delay-engineered congressional redistricting plan that sent more Texas Republicans to Congress in 2004 — and strengthened DeLay’s political power.

But here’s the most significant story. Remember the debate between President Obama and conservative European leaders over their austerity measures nearly a year ago? Remember the Tea Party complaining that Obama should follow suit? That he was wrong and they were right? Well, things aren’t going so well over there these days. Again, from the Associated Press:

Anger and fear about Europe’s seemingly unstoppable debt crisis coursed through the continent Wednesday. Striking workers shut down much of Portugal, Ireland proposed its deepest budget cuts in history and seething Italian and British students clashed with police over education cuts.

Amid it all, analysts were deeply skeptical about the future — saying even the desperate efforts of governments, the European Union and the International Monetary might not be enough to prevent countries from defaulting or banks from going under.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy are now rethinking their slash-and-burn cost cutting actions. And please understand; what’s going on over there will inevitably be going on over here if the Tea Party gets their way.



Let’s see, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry, Sen. Richard Lugar and former Sen. Sam Nunn, plus former secretaries of state Madeleine Albright, James Baker and Henry Kissinger, along with former defense secretaries William Cohen and William Perry and former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft and Vice President Biden. That enough headliners for ya?

Apparently not for Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl, who still won’t throw his considerable support behind the New START Treaty. This, even after the White House promised him $4.1 billion for “maintaining and modernizing” our arsenal. 67 votes are needed to ratify the treaty, and without Kyl’s backing, the deal is dead in the water. There probably wouldn’t be enough Republican votes to go along with the President during the lame duck session, and when the Tea Party takes over, fugetaboutit…

From the Associated Press:

The treaty would reduce U.S. and Russian strategic warheads to 1,550 for each country from the current ceiling of 2,200. It also would set up new procedures to allow both countries to inspect each other’s arsenals to verify compliance.

It’s not so much the cuts that are as important as the verification process. Since the last treaty expired a year ago, we’ve had no way to know what the hell is going on a stone’s throw from Sarah Palin’s house.

Country First?

Twenty years to life.

Ahmed Ghailani, the first Guantanamo detainee to face a civilian trial, was acquitted Wednesday of all but one of the hundreds of charges that he helped unleash death and destruction on two U.S. embassies in 1998 – a mixed result for what’s been viewed as a “terror test-case”. He was acquitted on more than 280 counts, including one murder count for each of the 224 people killed in the embassy bombings. The anonymous jurors deliberated over seven days. What exactly did this guy do? From the Associated Press:

Prosecutors had alleged Ghailani helped an al-Qaida cell buy a truck and components for explosives used in a suicide bombing in his native Tanzania on Aug. 7, 1998. The attack in Dar es Salaam and a nearly simultaneous bombing in Nairobi, Kenya, killed 12 Americans.

It’s no surprise that Right-Wingers are calling this a miscarriage of justice. That Barack Obama and Eric Holder are treasonous Muslim terrorists bent on America’s destruction. I guess if you’re a Tea Partier you could say that. The rest of us would just say the guy got what he deserved…

Republicans accede to Obama’s wishes.

In a stunning reversal, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky just announced his support for a moratorium on earmarks – something President Obama has pushed hard for. To be fair, Tea Party supporters had fallen in line with Obama on this issue, even to the point they co-opted it during the last campaign. But mainstream Republicans had previously balked at the idea. From the Associated Press:

McConnell, a 26-year veteran of the Senate and longtime member of the Appropriations Committee, had argued in the past that banning earmarks would shift too much power to President Barack Obama and wouldn’t save taxpayers any money.

“I know the good that has come from the projects I have helped support throughout my state. I don’t apologize for them,” he said. “But there is simply no doubt that the abuse of this practice has caused Americans to view it as a symbol of the waste and the out-of-control spending that every Republican in Washington is determined to fight.”

Obama, who endorsed a crackdown on earmarks on Saturday, praised McConnell’s move.

“We can’t stop with earmarks as they represent only part of the problem,” Obama said in a statement. “I look forward to working with Democrats and Republicans to not only end earmark spending, but to find other ways to bring down our deficits for our children.”

So it seems the President and the American people might actually get what they want – for once. And that certainly would be change we can believe in…

Red-tape making more people see red.

There’s been an 18 percent increase in the number of threats against judges who hear Social Security disability cases this past year; at least 80 threats to kill or harm administrative law judges or staff. Those are startling statistics. The question is: Why? And there doesn’t seem to be an easy answer.

Things are getting rough out there. From the Associated Press:

One claimant in Albuquerque, N.M., called his congressman’s office to say he was going to “take his guns and shoot employees” in the Social Security hearing office. In Eugene, Ore., a man who was denied benefits said he is “ready to join the Taliban and hurt some people.” Another claimant denied benefits told a judge in Greenville, S.C., that he was a sniper in the military and “would go take care of the problem.”

“I’m not sure the number is as significant as the kind of threats being made,” said Randall Frye, a judge based in Charlotte, N.C., and the president of the judges’ union. “There seem to be more threats of serious bodily harm, not only to the judge but to the judge’s family.”

Of course, those on both sides of the political spectrum are blaming each other, but I don’t know about this one.