Rep. Steve Stockman (R – Texas) has announced that President Obama’s actions are unconstitutional and impeachable a full day before Obama announced any of his actions. Later Stockman compared Obama to Iraqi dictator Sadaam Hussein in a bid to continue his calm and reasoned response to new gun control measures. Even Fox News harridan Greta Van Susteren called the comparison “a stretch” – and if you’re making Greta look smart, you know you’re hitting the ball out of the moron stadium.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has been a friend of the gun lobby for years – but it appears that even he is getting the message about our need to do something about easy access to weapons.
The Senate and the House of Representatives have passed a landmark plan to avoid the dreaded “fiscal cliff” that loomed up with the new year. Brokered in the 11th hour by Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the deal allows Bush-era tax cuts on those earning over $450k to expire, while putting-off spending cuts until later in 2013. The deal is widely seen as a huge win for President Barack Obama.
When it became apparent that any deal would involve raising taxes House Speaker John Boehner stepped back as if he were facing a snake and insisted that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid would have to take-up the negotiations. When it became apparent that any deal would include spending cuts Reid ran and hid like a frightened child.
That left McConnell, who is being sacrificed to the wrath of conservatives, and Biden, who really has nothing to lose at this point.
“My career is essentially over anyway” McConnell said. “After something like twenty terms in the Senate I was going to retire after this one, anyway – so I might as well take it in the neck so that chicken-shit Boehner can say he had nothing to do with this.”
House Speaker John Boehner’s “Plan B” proposal to avoid automatic spending cuts and tax increases failed to get enough support from Republicans in the U.S. House Of Representatives to even be brought to a vote. The plan would have cut spending on government programs while raising taxes on those with income exceeding $1 million. In other words it was Boehner’s “Plan A” with the letter “B” instead of the letter “A”.
Senator Saxby Chambliss (R – Georgia) is the latest high-ranking Republican in Congress to indicate a willingness to compromise with President Barack Obama and allow tax cuts for the rich to lapse.
Chambliss told a Georgia television station he no longer feels bound by his pledge to anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist, saying “I care more about my country than I do about a 20-year-old pledge.” The two-term Senator then added “It’s kind of like one of Newt Gingrich’s marriages: you stick with it until something better comes along.”
Chambliss admitted he is risking Norquist’s opposition when he runs for re-election. “But I don’t worry about that because I care too much about my country. I care a lot more about it than I do Grover Norquist,” he said, adding “we had a good thing for a while, but we’ve grown apart. Also Obama won the election and that’s a real warning sign for anyone who is coming-up for re-election to get our thumbs out of our asses and do something or the American people are going to show us the door – and on the other side of that door there are no lobbyists, perks, or secret bank accounts stuffed full of bribe money. So Grover can stuff it.”
In 1972 the Vietnam War was in high-gear and the nation was divided in a way it hadn’t been since perhaps the days before the Civil War. Anti-war protests turned to riots as police battled protesters in the streets. And Richard Nixon, the polarizing figure at the center of it all was running for a second term as President of The United States.
The man who ran against him on the Democratic ticket was George McGovern. There were high hopes among those who actively sought an end to the War. But McGovern was essentially trounced by Nixon in one of the dirtiest campaigns ever fought. Mis-steps by McGovern compounded the loss. He garnered only 17 electoral votes, and Nixon went on to a second, truncated term that ended when he resigned the office in disgrace.
McGovern served as a B-24 bomber pilot in Europe during World War II. After that war he returned to his native South Dakota and became a professor of history and political science. In 1956 he ran for the U.S. Congress, where he served two terms. In 1962, after a stint as a special assistant to President John F. Kennedy, McGovern was elected to the Senate, and won reelection in 1968 and in 1974. McGovern returned to teaching in the 1980s and also served in various capacities in government and the United Nations through the first decade of the 21st century.
A group of U.S. congressmen who went for a nighttime swim in the Sea of Galilee – one reportedly nude – may have been drinking beforehand according to a report on Politico.com. In particular, Rep. Kevin Yoder (R – KS) is said to have stripped naked before plunging into the sea where Jesus is said to have walked on water. The Politico article did not say if alcohol was a factor in that earlier incident.
Under the provisions of the 12th and 20th amendments to the Constitution, it is possible that Hillary Clinton could become President of the United States (acting) in 2012. The process would start with an electoral college vote tie between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. It is also possible that monkeys might fly out of my butt, and have even smaller monkeys flying out of theirs. Because the idea that John Boehner wouldn’t resign as Speaker of the House to become President, even temporarily, is pretty far-fetched.
Representative Darrell Issa (R – Lake Elsinore CA) has proposed renaming the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone, which extends from 3 miles offshore to 200 miles offshore, the Ronald Reagan Exclusive Economic Zone. Democrats have introduced similar legislation that would change Issa’s name to “Snot Vampire” – although GraceLessLand was unable to ascertain what the new name was in reference to.
A report issued by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee reveals that Countrywide Financial used special loan practices to bribe members of Congress and other government officials. The Committee started its investigation in 2009, and revealed that “sweetheart” loans were extended to thousands of people, including lawmakers and former executive branch officials. thousands of Countrywide employees, as well as employees of Congress, the White House, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and other government entities.
For the first time in the history the United States House of Representatives has voted to hold a sitting Attorney General in contempt of congress, finding Eric Holder “guilty” of withholding documents pertinent to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee investigation into the “Fast and Furious” gun-running fiasco.
Holder now joins the more than 80% of Americans who hold Congress in contempt.
Seventeen Democrats joined 238 Republicans to vote in favor of House Resolution 711, for a final vote tally of 255-to-67 in favor of finding the Attorney General in contempt – even though President Barack Obama invoked his “executive privilege” to shield Holder and the documents. It was the first time Obama has used executive privilege. Almost every U.S. president has used executive privilege to deny Congress access to information – George Washington was the first in 1796 when he denied the House access to documents relating to the treaty John Jay negotiated with Great Britain. Ronald Reagan used the privilege three times. Bill Clinton used it a whopping 14 times. George W. Bush invoked the rule six times.
Rep. Darrell Issa (R – Lake Elsinore CA), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, spearheaded the effort to find Holder in contempt. Issa contends that Holder not only withheld subpoenaed documents, but also lied to Congress about his involvement in the gun-running scheme that ended with a border patrol agent being murdered with a weapon the government supplied to Mexican drug lords. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms is also suspected of lying to Congress in a letter claiming they had no involvement in the “Fast and Furious” operation.
The contempt vote is unprecedented, and seen by many as a political tactic to attempt to overshadow administration victories in the courts on immigration and health care issues – in particular the recent Supreme Court decisions on Arizona’s immigration law and the Affordable Care Act of 2010. Some have suggested there may be racist overtones, as Holder is black and has been a particular target of Obama’s opposition throughout his first term.
Whatever the motivation, the contempt vote is unlikely to have any actual consequences for Holder, and merely sets the stage for a showdown in the courts to attempt to enforce the House subpoenas for documents. In 1974 the Supreme Court denied a claim of Executive Privilege by then-President Richard Nixon, although in that decision it upheld the general validity of the Executive Privilege power of the presidency.
Building 18, the Biosafety Level 3 lab at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta is the subject of a congressional investigation after a potentially dangerous airflow leak. The incident occurred on February 16, when air flowed the wrong way out of a germ lab into a clean-air corridor, rather than through the powerful HEPA filter that cleans the air, congressional sources and CDC officials said.
“At the time work was being done on the ultra-toxic X-1 virus” an anonymous source at the CDC said. “This is the most feared virus in existence because it engenders a sense of integrity and responsibility in the victim – essentially it makes them concerned with the welfare of others and makes them want to do things that basic intelligence and common sense would indicate are desirable for the progress of society and civilization. So it’s instant death to politicians, bureaucrats, and cable news people.”
After years of trying to get legislation passed that would gut guarantees to due process of law, Senator John McCain finally won one today when the Senate passed a new Defense Bill that includes McCain’s new military detainee policy.
The new policy allows the military to detain anyone suspected of being an al Qaeda operative for an indefinite period of time without recourse to the courts. This policy affects both non-citizens and citizens alike.
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D – California) said “I object to holding American citizens without trial. I do not believe that makes us more safe.”
Senator Lindsay Graham (R – South Carolina) said “You have people on the left who hate saying ‘the war on terror’. They would never ever use the military and always insist the law enforcement be used because they don’t buy into the idea that we’re at war. They want to criminalize the war.” Graham went on to say “These are precisely the kind of al Qaeda agents this bill will allow us to round up and make disappear – starting with that wrinkly old bitch Feinstein!”
President Barack Obama has indicated he will veto the budget bill, although that seems unlikely since such a veto would take resolve, aggressiveness, and balls – none of which the President possesses.
Conservative anti-tax guru Grover Norquist says he’s not responsible for the Congressional Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction’s failure to reach a debt-reduction deal. As president of Americans for Tax Reform, Norquist encouraged Republican members of the “super committee” to sign a pledge that binds them to resist raising taxes. In an appearance on CNN Norquist claimed the pledge was between the country and its congressmen.
“I’m just the mid-wife, so-to-speak, who guides resistance to tax increases from the birth canal of fiscal conservatism, through the vagina of Republican political philosophy, and out into the world of fiscal legislation where I slap it on the butt to make it vomit forth the after-birth of freedom!”
Disgusted CNN viewers switched to reruns of “Gilligan’s Island”.
Members of the Congressional Super Committee charged with forging a bipartisan debt reduction agreement have been making the rounds of political chat shows, and are signaling they are no closer to agreement than they ever have been. There is one sign of movement: Republicans on the committee are saying the words “tax revenue” without the strained look of constipation they have shown in the past.
Republican mathematical theory is no better than ever though, as they insist they will increase tax revenue by lowering tax rates, keeping the Bush tax cuts for the rich, and gutting programs for the poor, elderly, and disabled such as Medicare – or “Communist Wealth Redistribution”, as they like to call it.
Democrats insist the Bush tax cuts must end, and that increased taxes on the wealthiest Americans, and moderate cuts to programs will ensure debt is brought under control without casting the low-income segment of the population to the wolves (i.e. Republicans).
Except for these differences they are in complete agreement as to how debt reduction can be accomplished. And if they don’t come to an agreement by November 23, and if Congress doesn’t pass legislation based on an agreement by December 23, draconian spending cuts will automatically be enacted, not only cutting entitlement programs but the Republican sacred-cow, the defense budget.
The smart money in Vegas is on Draco.