Friday, September 25, 2015

Rush Limbaugh Doesn't Know Where In The Constitution It Says There's No Religious Test To Become President

So top tier Republican candidate, Ben Carson, got a wee bit of trouble the other day when he said he wouldn't support the idea of a Muslim becoming the president of the United States (insert "too late" joke here). As you would expect, a lot of people disagreed with that position, including,other Republican candidates such as Carly Fiorina. Here's what she said on Jimmy Fallon's show the other day:

FIORINA:  I think that's wrong.  You know, it says in our Constitution that religion cannot be a test for office.  I actually believe that people of faith make better leaders, whether they're Christians, whether it's a person of Christian faith or Jewish faith or Muslim faith or other faiths.  I think faith gives us humility and empathy and optimism and I think those are important things.

FALLON:  So you would be fine with that.

FIORINA:  Yes, I would be fine with that.

But as usual, there would be one person who would always be more than happy to support any extremist position a Republican can suggest. Enter prominent constitutional scholar, Rush Limbaugh:

RUSH:  Yeah, I don't know where it says in the Constitution that religion cannot be a test.  I don't know, I've not seen that.  I know she's talking about separation of church and state, but it seems to me that Ben Carson's right on this.  Hey, look, if you have a religious belief that makes the Constitution secondary or even third-rate status to your religious beliefs, sorry, bud, you're not wanted.  The oath of office is to defend and protect the Constitution, not to subordinate it.

So Rush cannot find where in the constitution it mentions this whole "no religious test" business. Allow me to offer my assistance. It's in this little area called Article VI, paragraph 3:

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.
Looks pretty clear to me. But I can see how such a minor detail escaped Rush. This is the same guy who got the constitution confused with the Declaration of Independence, after all.

Constitutional conservatives!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Stupidest And Most Offensive Line From The Second Repulican Debate

So the second official Republican presidential debate/chicken head biting contest happened this week. As you would expect from one of these events, there was a deluge of idiocy, but for me, one moment in particular really stood head and shoulders above the others. That was when Jeb Bush, in a pitiful attempt to defend his brother's disastrous reign as president, made this stunning comment:

"As it relates to my brother, there's one thing I know for sure: He kept us safe."

Like many people who are sophisticated enough to know how to read a calendar, I was left speechless by this remark. After all, there was at least once instance during Dubya's presidency where I can recall certain bad apples escaping our heroic leader's all seeing eyes:

This, more than any other inane sound bite at the debate, really irked me. not least of which being that it was such a comically offensive and easily disprovable lie. Not one single candidate on stage, including Trump, bothered to offer a rebuttal (which I guess isn't really surprising, honestly).  Nor did any of the amazingly useless moderators. In fact, Bush was met with thunderous applause, proving yet again how Republicans voters (and their politicians) reside in their own alternate plane of existence. 
Jeb not only didn't back away from that comment the next day, he was so proud of himself that he in fact, decided to double down, and posted this tweet on his twitter page:

This deserves some award for lack of self awareness. Good gravy... 

Look, I'm not even trying to rag on ole' W much when it comes to 9/11. Sure, we all know by now that he repeated multiple warnings about the attack, but even if he did treat the threat seriously, he (or any other president for that matter) might still not have been able to prevent it. So honestly, I can cut him a tiny bit of slack here.

HOWEVER, what I can't tolerate is how, despite the horrific failure on 9/11, Bush 43, his seemingly equally idiotic brother, and their cretinous conservative comrades, consistently brag about how great the Republican Party is at protecting the country. In fact, bizarrely enough, terrorists successfully attacking us on a Republican president's watch somehow proves that terrorists wouldn't dare attack us on a Republican president's watch! It's absolutely maddening.
So far there hasn't been much of a backlash besides the usual lefty blogs and such. As far as I know, no major mainstream news outlet offered much criticism or grilled Jeb about it. In fact, as I was flipping through the channels the day after the debates, some program on CNN that doesn't have Anderson Cooper or Don Lemon as the host played that clip of Jeb, and commented on how the crowd seemed to like that answer and just moved on. 

Once again, ladies and gentlemen. Your liberal media.

Friday, September 11, 2015

National Review Writer Accidentally Gives The Game Away On Voter Suppression

Great news, people. Republican senator, Lisa Murkowski just came out in favor of restoring the Voting Rights Act. That brings the total number of congressional Republicans who support restoring the VRA

But hey, progress is progress right? And it's better than nothing, right? Wrong.

At least according to Roger Clegg of the National Review. Seems Clegg thinks that even one Republican expressing support for fixing the civil rights legislation that was gutted by the Supreme Court two years ago, is a bridge too far (I for one am shocked, SHOCKED, that the National Review would be opposed to such a thing!).

But there was line in particular that stood out to me from Clegg's piece:

What’s more, the bills that have been drafted are bad legislation. For example, they contain much that has nothing to do with the Supreme Court’s decision, and they themselves violate the Constitution by prohibiting practices that are not actually racially discriminatory but only have racially disproportionate effects.
Oh, so these practices aren't racially discriminatory, they just happen to have the effect of being racially disproportionate. Good to know.

Seems conservatives are getting sloppier nowadays. The correct response would be to not acknowledge any racial discrepancies occur to begin with, and if they do (which they don't), then Black people should suck it up and stop being lazy and just do all the things conservatives are requiring them to do.

It's clearly what Martin Luther King Jr. would have wanted.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

John McCain Sees Nothing Wrong With Highly Edited Planned Parenthood Videos

Senator John McCain participated in a town hall meeting in Arizona recently, and a reporter asked him about the doctored Planned Parenthood videos released by the right-wing  Center For Medical Progress. His response was....interesting:

During Monday's meeting, McCain was asked specifically about a report produced by an independent forensic video team concluding that even the full-length, supposedly unedited videos were, in fact, edited and that given the doctoring of the film, a judge might be reluctant to accept the tapes as legitimate evidence should the matter go to court.

The 10-page report, sent to Senate and House leadership last week, highlighted that of the five videos analyzed, there are “at least 42 splices where content is cut and edited together to create the appearance of seamless conversations . . . In some cases, these splices completely change the meaning of statements.”

“Listen, I don't know who did this report, but I saw the video with my own two eyes,” he said, cracking a little smile. “No matter how they're edited, they're still disgusting in my view.”
He dismissed the reporter who had asked the question with a wink.

This is quite an answer. You would think that grossly manipulating video footage to have Planned Parenthood employees say things that they clearly weren't saying, things that led to this inane "controversy" to begin with, would be an important and relevant detail. But not if you're John McCain, apparently.

Also, if the videos were "disgusting"" regardless of how they were edited, why did the CMP edit them to begin with then?

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Jobs Still Ain't Trickling Down After Tax Cuts In Kansas

It's been a while since I wrote about the state of Kansas' economy under the illustrious leadership of Governor Sam Brownback. So I decided to browse the pages of the Kansas City Star, and got an answer:

This has been a bad week for Gov. Sam Brownback and others who believe his massive income tax cuts are going to dramatically boost employment in the state.

▪ A new report Friday showed that Kansas had lost a whopping 4,300 jobs in July from a month earlier.

The unemployment rate climbed for the fourth straight month, up to 4.6 percent, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

And look at this disastrous note: The Sunflower State now has 1,700 fewer jobs than it did at the start of 2015.

One more fact from the latest report shows that Kansas has added a puny 5,600 total jobs in the last year — from July 2014 to July 2015.

Ouch. Those numbers are brutal. Who would have thought providing the job creators with massive tax cuts meant that they wouldn't necessarily use that extra money to hire people that they didn't really need to begin with?

Also, one thing I really love about this particular failed experiment in supply-side economics is that unlike in say, Texas, Kansas doesn't have the fortuitousness of being located right above massive petroleum deposits (or at least, deposits that aren't as big as Texas'), to fall back on. Conservatives love to pont to the Lone Star State as the quintessential example of SSE supposedly working in real life. But any economic success Texas has, is more than likely due to to the plethora of oil beneath them rather than any inane tax cut. Without any artificial factors like that propping up Kansas, we see the true effects of conservative economic theory.

But hey, I'm sure all that wealth will eventually trickle down. Some day.

more here:

Monday, August 10, 2015

Carly Fiorina Takes A Page From The Herman Cain Playbook on Taxes

Earlier today, Carly Fiorina, former failed CEO of Hewlett-Packard, and perceived champion of the second tier train wreck that was the first Republican primary debate, sat down for an interview with Fox News' Chris Wallace.

During the interview, the Fox News host played a clip of DNC chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz criticizing Fiorina for her disastrous tenure at HP.  Fiorina defended herself by prattling on the same inane and mundane talking points that she's been saying for months every time this subject came up:

Yes. And you know, I'm flattered that the head of DNC would come after me. I guess that means we're gaining traction here.

But here's the facts: I led Hewlett-Packard through a very difficult time, the dotcom bust post-9/11, the worst technology recession in 25 years. I would remind Debbie Wasserman Schultz that it has taken the NASDAQ 15 years to recover.

Sometimes in tough times, tough calls are necessary. However, we also took a company from $44 billion to almost $90 million. We quadrupled its growth rate, quadrupled its cash flow, tripled its innovation to 11 patents a day, and went from lagging behind to leading in every product category in every market segment.
Okay, I'm tired of hearing Fiorina spew the same misleading figures over and over again, so let's set the record straight.

Did HP nearly double its revenue while Fiorina was in charge? Yes, but it's missing some very important context. As Andy Serwer and Tae Kim point out at Yahoo! Finance:

Yes, Fiorina did double HP’s revenues by buying Compaq, but at what cost? Let’s take a look at the numbers. In 1999 when she arrived at the company, HP had $42 billion in sales and $3.1 billion in net earnings. When she left in 2005, HP had $87 billion in sales but only $2.4 billion in earnings. 
So although revenues doubled (mainly due to adding Compaq's revenues), net earnings (i.e. profits) went down. Why did that happen?

In subsequent years HP would become more profitable—to a large degree due to cost cutting by her successor as CEO, Mark Hurd—but the company would never become the moneymaking juggernaut Fiorina promised. Why is that? To a large degree it’s because HP basically traded a slice of its high-margin printer business for a larger share of the lower-margin PC business. For example, in 2004, after the merger and before Fiorina left the company, HP’s printer business produced $24 billion in sales and $3.8 billion in profits, while PCs produced $25 billion in sales, but only $210 million in profits.

Boy that sure is some savvy business acumen! And if that's not amusing enough, as Matt Krantz from USA Today points out, Fiorina financed the acquisition of Compaq by piling on massive amounts of debt:

That’s right. She created a larger company — with more debt. Wonder how that would work in government?

For the rest of Fiorina's dubious statistics, you can check out Glenn Kessler's and's posts on the subject here and here.

But there was one line Fiorina said during the interview that I really wanted to highlight. Wallace asked her about her tax policy and if she would cut rates for the wealthy. This was her response:

Yes. So, we have a 75,000-page tax code today. And that complexity favors the wealthy and the big and the well-connected because they can hire the accountants and the lawyers and the lobbyists to figure out how to make all that complexly work for them. We've got to get it down to three.
Some of you may find this proposal sounding familiar. That's because this ingenious idea was first advocated by a previous Republican frontrunner (and this blog's favorite Republican candidate from the last election), Herman Cain:

Engage the people. Don’t try to pass a 2,700 page bill — and even they didn’t read it! You and I didn’t have time to read it. We’re too busy trying to live — send our kids to school. That’s why I am only going to allow small bills — three pages. You’ll have time to read that one over the dinner table.
I don't know about you guys, but I for one am quite impressed that the tax policy from a former CEO of a major tech company has an equal level of sophistication as one that came from the brilliant mind of the Cain Train.

The primaries are off to a fantastic start.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Thoughts On The First Republican Debate/Train Wreck

So here are my (very belated) thoughts and opinions on the first of hopefully many Republican primary debates.

 Donald Trump:

The Donald was definitely the winner of the night. He did what was about expected, came on stage, acted like a douchebag, provided the base with a lot of red meat, etc. I've read some people say that he might have some trouble getting Republicans to trust him due to his previous support for Democratic positions, but I don't think that really matters much. Republicans don't give a shit whether someone might have been a Democrat at one point as long as they demonstrate themselves to be 1) totally and utterly repentant for their past crimes and 2) promise to do anything and everything in their power to fuck up Democrat supported initiatives.

Trump can say that he was young and naive (5 years ago) and that he's grown up/seen the light, and the teatards will eat it all up. Evangelicals in particular, love the idea of people seeking forgiveness for past transgressions (with the caveat that you vow to join the right team, of course). And as Trump himself pointed out, the greatest Republican of all time, St. Ronnie himself used to be a Democrat, so why would it be such a stretch to think someone like Trump couldn't make a similar conversion?

But there is one thing that Trump said that makes me think he may have pissed off a few loyal Republicans that night. And no, it's not his misogynistic attacks on Megyn Kelly.

Nay, rather it dealt with one of the most talked about exchanges of the night, when Chris Wallace asked everyone on stage whether they would run as a third party candidate if they didn't get the nomination. Trump was the only one to raise his hand, after which, he was immediately booed by the audience. The teabaggers might not be smart enough to realize that medicare is a government program, but they're just smart enough to realize that a third party run would split Republican votes and gift wrap the presidency for Hillary. For as much as the tea folk despise the idea of RINOs and "squishes", they despise any democrat (especially a Clinton) infinitely more. Trump should tread carefully.

Jeb Bush:

Jeb was pretty boring overall, but there was one moment where I feel he seemed to screw himself up pretty badly, I thought. When he was asked about his past comments about treating undocumented immigrants as actual humans, he had the gall to defend himself! He didn't back down and said he still stands by those remarks. Jeb was already in hot water on this issue before the debate, and considering the Republican base won't tolerate anything short of shooting the illegals out of a canon back into Mexico, Jeb really didn't do himself any favors that night. I figure he'll pull a Mitt Romney and go hard right on immigration at some point in the next few debates. Should be fun to watch.

Marco Rubio:

Aside from the hilarious jab at Hillary with his "resume" remarks, Rubio was doing decent, if a bit boring for the most part. At least until he made certain that he would never win the general with his insane stance on abortion. Yes, the water boy made it clear that he would oppose abortion in all cases, including rape and incest. And he even doubled down on that position since! Furthermore, because Rubio said this, it means that the other candidates would have to veer just as far on this issue. Only the first debate so far and it already feels like Christmas.

I have to make an abrupt stop here for reasons. I'll finish up this post soon.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Allen West Politely Suggests Government May Have to Be Overthrown If Obama Attempts More Gun Control

About a week ago, President Obama gave an interview with the BBC, and was asked what the biggest regret of his presidency was:

“The issue of guns, that is an area where if you ask me where has been the one area where I feel that I’ve been most frustrated and most stymied it is the fact that the United States of America is the one advanced nation on Earth in which we do not have sufficient common-sense, gun-safety laws.”

As you would probably expect, like with everything else Obama says, conservatives were none too pleased. Among those who voiced their displeasure at the President's comments, was former congressman, and current war criminal, Allen West. 

In a not-at-all-ominous-sounding article titled "Obama needs to remember what happens when you push law-abiding people TOO FAR", West offers Obama a friendly warning if he attempts to somehow pursue any further gun control policies:

President Obama and the liberal progressive left must never forget the reason why Americans stood at Lexington Green and Concord Bridge. A tyrant wanted gun control – the answer was the “shot heard ‘round the world.”

I'm pretty sure that the folks who "stood at Lexington Green and Concord Bridge" had other motivations to do so, but whatever.

But it's nice that West wrote an article whining about how gun control isn't necessary, because the people committing most of the gun violence aren't patriotic conservatives like West, which is why if Obama pursues more gun control, said patriotic people like West will have no choice but to commit lots of gun violence themselves. Nothing unreasonable about that at all.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Huckabee Reveals His Alternative To The Iran Deal

Mike Huckabee was on Fox News' Outnumbered yesterday and laid out his own plan to deal with Iran that's way better than the one we currently got from Adolf Chamberlain Obama:

The third option is to develop U.S. energy so that we become the exporter of energy to Europe, Africa and Asia. We take the Russians and the Saudis out of the energy export business. We bankrupt the Iranians. If they don't have any money it's hard for them to build a bomb.
 I have to say, this is definitely a new one. The typical Republican alternative to Obama's Iran deal so far has been to increase the number of instances of stink eye when dealing with Iranian officials. But Huckster seems to have a pretty interesting take.

And by "interesting" I mean "completely nonsensical". What on Earth does he mean "take the Russians and the Saudis out of the energy export business"? Those are the the top oil exporting countries in the world, with the U.S. being pretty far down the list. How exactly are we going to do that?

I think Huckabee should probably stick to needlessly invoking Godwin's Law.

Well, That Was Fun

Well, I got my surgery done last week and thankfully it appeared to go without a hitch. I'm in quite a bit of discomfort sadly, as I've barely eaten anything since last Friday because it's really difficult to do so. Still, I'm glad this is done and over with and hopefully this takes care of my decades long gum issue once and for all. Fingers crossed.