Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Republican Halloween!

GOP Candidates Want Less Debate, More Propaganda

Republican candidates, following the lead of standard bearer RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, have been busy since Wednesday night's debate whining about the questions asked by CNBC's debate moderators.  They say the debate was heavy on  "gotcha" and weak on substance.  

what eye thynk:  I agree with them to some extent--last week's debate was advertised as a forum on economic policy, but specific questions on economic issues seemed to be given afterthought status by CNBC's panel.    Of course, there were moments when candidates chose to whine about previous questions while refusing to answer the type of question they were whining about being AWOL.  Ted Cruz' rant is a prime example.

By Thursday, the candidates, led by the organizations behind Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Bobby Jindal, and Lindsey Graham decided that the real problem was the RNC itself and the way it had structured the debates and vetted the moderators. Campaign representatives for Mike Huckabee, Carly Fiorina, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, and Rick Santorum now plan to join the Trump-Carson-Jindal-Graham cabal on Sunday evening to discuss unequal talking time (Rand Paul and Jeb if his campaign attends), the criteria used to choose those who get invited to the grown-up table (Jindal and Graham) and how the next debates should be structured.  No one from the RNC has been invited.

But here's the thing:  If the candidates are successful in forcing the RNC into allowing them to choose their own formatting and moderators--in essence making it less a debate and more a two-hour conservative propaganda expo--expect them to select moderators from the far-right and subject matter that highlights the candidates conservative bona fides.  And that would be a huge mistake.

Once far-right pundits are given free rein to question the candidates on their ideological purity, there is no turning back.  The picture of GOP candidates trying to out "far-right" each other may bring accolades from the evangelical, anti-abortion, anti-gay, anti-minority crowds; but it will also expose how out of touch they are with mainstream American voters--the voters who will actually count in 2016.

Allowing the candidates to dictate what they are asked and by whom, will also leave them woefully unprepared for the time when their anointed candidate faces their Democratic opponent and the type of tough questions they can't control.

In short, the candidates, in an effort to ease their own debate anxieties and soothe their sensitive egos, seem to be pushing their party toward a guaranteed GOP disaster in 2016.  That works for me.

Major Republican Donor Turns His Back on Jeb

"One of the wealthiest and most influential Republican donors in the country is throwing his support to Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, a decision that could swing millions of dollars in contributions behind Mr. Rubio at a critical point in the Republican nominating battle...

...It comes as a major blow to Mr. Bush, who is seeing his once vigorous campaign imperiled by doubts among supporters, and whose early dominance of the race was driven by his financial muscle...

...(The donor, Paul Singer) is known for his caution and careful vetting of candidates and, while passionately pro-Israel and a supporter of same-sex marriage, he is generally viewed as a donor who does not believe in litmus tests."

eye'm thynkin':  Good news:  Buh bye, Jeb. 

Not so good news: Rubio scares me.  He has the ability to (obviously) corral the Hispanic vote; and, despite his Tea Party credentials, he manages to sound sensible at times.  His youth and his good looks don't hurt either. Yeah, Rubio scares me.

Read more at CNBC

Addendum:  Somehow I forgot to mention that Paul Singer was the money-man behind the Swiftboat attack campaign against John Kerry.  Dirty politics is his game and he has the money to be really, really dirty.

Friday, October 30, 2015

So much for that "dynasty" thing.

Fact Checking the GOP: Trump is Self-Funding--Sort Of

The Statement:

Back in June when Donald Trump announced his candidacy, he said, "I don't need anybody's money.  I'm using my own money... I'm not using donors.  I don't care.  I'm really rich."  His self-funding claim has become part of his campaign schtick:  No one tells The Donald what to do because The Donald doesn't need their money.  Just last week in Las Vegas: "I'm self-funding my own campaign...I don't think I get enough credit for self-funding."

The Facts:

what eye thynk:  Campaign financial reports filed with the Federal Election Commission would seem to indicate a typical case of Trum-perbole in his self-funding claim.

The first report, filed earlier this year, showed Trump had $1.9 million in his war chest--nearly all of that was money he had LOANED to his campaign.  Campaign law allows candidates to pay themselves back with raised funds at anytime.  That $1.9 million could be seen as 100 percent self-funding--or not.

The latest campaign financial filing, this one dated October 15, indicates that Mr. Combover is, in fact, playing a bit loose with the truth.  According to the report, the Trump campaign has raised $3.7 million from 73,942 "unsolicited donations."  During this reporting period, Trump himself has made $100,000 in-kind contributions to fund his campaign--hardly an open and shut case for self-funding.

At the same time, Mr. Trump is working campaign laws to keep his campaign expenses flowing back into Trump business accounts.  According to the October report, Trump Tower Commercial LLC, Trump Restaurants LLC, and the Trump Corp. have all received what Politico calls "significant" payments from Mr. Trump's campaign.

Moving money from one pocket to the other, loaning money that he can reclaim at any time--you can't help but admire his business chutzpah.   His honesty is another matter.  He has given (or loaned) large amounts to his campaign--but those amounts are still less than the amounts coming from donors--those would be the donors he claimed he was "not using."

M'eye Verdict:

Without evidence that he intends to reclaim his original $1.9 million loan, I can't call him a complete sleaze-bag; but the obvious drop-off in personal contributions in the most recent quarter, his funneling of donor funds back into his own pocket, and his continuing claim of 100 percent self-funding still earn Mr. Trump 3 out of 5 Gops.

Gun Nuts Afraid to Enter Halloween Park Unarmed

"There is nothing armed-Americans enjoy more than showing off their guns in public.  Open carry rules!...

... So when the owner of a popular Delaware haunted house was quite adamant that nobody--including off-duty cops--pack heat while visiting his attraction, gun nuts reacted as if the amusement park operator dug up Zombie Reagan and dressed him up in a Mao jacket and let people throw poop at him as part of the Halloween hi-jinks..

...Despite the fact that Frightland has for years donated a portion of all tickets sold and 100 percent of the parking fees to the Leukemia Research Foundation of Delaware, gun nuts were outraged...and went on Frightland's Facebook page and ranted about boycotting the park--cancer contributions be damned."

eye'm thynkin':  You never know when you might need to shoot a zombie, or an innocent kid who is just in the park to have a good time.  My gun is more important than your kid's leukemia!  That's what America is all about!  Good grief. 

Read more at Raw Story

Thursday, October 29, 2015

From 1996...


Debate Moderators Send Cruz to School

One of my favorite moments in last night's debate had nothing to do with policy and everything to do with showing up a show-off.

Carl Quintanilla:  Senator Cruz. Congressional Republicans, Democrats and the White House are about to strike a compromise that would raise the debt limit, prevent a government shutdown and calm financial markets that fear of--another Washington-created crisis is on the way.  Does your opposition to it show that you're not the kind of problem-solver American voters want?

Ted Cruz:  You know, let me say something at the outset.  The questions that have been asked so far in this debate illustrate why the American people don't trust the media...How about talking about the substantive issues the people care about?

After going on to complain about questions he didn't like, (OMG, that whiny voice!), Mr. Quintanilla attempted to get the Senator back on track.  Mr. Cruz was not to be denied his time on his soap box.

Cruz:  And Carl--Carl, I'm not finished yet...

After wasting a few more seconds not answering a question directly related to "the substantive issues the people care about", Mr. Quintanilla again attempted to get the Senator back on subject.

Quintanilla:  So, this is a question about (inaudible), which you have 30 seconds left to answer, should you choose to do so.

Mr. Cruz, still confused over who was in charge, remained undeterred.

Cruz:  Let me be clear.  The men and women on this stage have more ideas, more experience, more common sense than every participant in the Democratic debate...

Though, obviously, Mr. Cruz wants to keep his ideas, particularly on the debt limit deal currently working its way through Congress, a secret.

Qunitanilla:  Okay, (inaudible) I asked you about the debt limit and I got no answer.

Cruz:  You want me to answer that question?  I'm happy to answer the question...


Cruz:  Let me tell you how that question...

John Harwood:  Senator Paul, I've got a question for you on the same subject.

Cruz: So you don't actually want to hear the answer, John?

Harwood:  Senator Paul?

Cruz:  You don't want to hear the answer.  You just want to...

Harwood:  You used your time on something else.

I'll admit to smiling a little..okay, a lot...when Ted Cruz was cut off.  Any time someone knocks that know-it-all down to size, I just can't stop myself from demonstrating happiness.  It's a character flaw.  I've learned to live with it.

Fact Checking the GOP: Carson on His "Involvement" With Mannatech

The Denial:

During last night's Republican presidential debate, moderator Carl Quintanilla asked Ben Carson about his association with the nutritional supplement company Mannatech.

Quintanilla:  "There is a company called Mannatech, a maker of nutritional supplements, with which you had a 10-year relationship.  They offered claims that they could cure autism, cancer.  They paid $7 million to settle a deceptive marketing lawsuit in Texas.  And yet your involvement continued. Why?"

Carson: "Well, that's easy to answer.  I didn't have an involvement with them.  That is total propaganda. And that is what happens in our society.  Total propaganda."

what eye thynk:  Benefit of the doubt and all, I'm still thinking so far, so good at this point.

Carson continued:  "I did a couple of speeches for them, I do speeches for other people, they were paid speeches.  It is absolutely absurd to say that I had any kind of relationship with them.  Do I take the product?  Yes, I think it's a good product."

He began losing me here.  Doing "a couple of speeches for them" sounds like he had at least some kind of relationship--it wasn't a one-shot and out deal.  At the very least, it made me curious.  So...

The Truth:

The obvious next step was to see if those "paid speeches" were recorded anywhere and what they said: Voila!

I found a one minute video, (well someone else found it--I just found what they found.  Ain't the Internet great?) that seems to put "lie" to Mr. Carson's claim of innocent non-involvement.

For those who can't watch video, it says:

First screen, text:  "Presidential candidate Ben Carson's campaign said he was a paid speaker for Mannatech, a company that makes nutritional supplements.  The campaign said he was not a paid endorser of the company, which faced legal problems over claims that its supplements cure cancer and other diseases."

Next screen, text:  "But in another potential lie, highlighted in this excerpt from a 2011 speech at a Mannatech event, Mr. Carson says the company helped fund an endowed position honoring him at Johns Hopkins Medicine."

This is followed by video of Mr. Carson with a microphone in hand.  His words:
"It's been a few years since I was here before, and you, uh, may remember that, uh, I said, you know, of all the various honors and accolades that I've gotten, almost all of them--but the one thing I didn't have was an endowed chair.  Well, three years ago, I had an endowed chair bestowed upon me and, uh, it requires $2.5 million to do an endowed chair.  And I'm proud to say that part of that $2.5 million came from Mannatech."

Final screen, text: "Carson's campaign and Mannatech say there was no contribution.  Johns Hopkins Medicine says its policy is not to comment on donors."

You can watch the video here

The speech is dated 2011. Mr. Carson says his endowed chair was created three years earlier which would put it in 2008, right in the middle of the state of Texas' lawsuit against Mannatech.  As reported by The Wall Street Journal, then State Attorney General Greg Abbott "claimed the company made or allowed associates to make 'illegal' market claims that its products could cure or treat cancer, autism, Down Syndrome, cystic fibrosis, and many other serious ills."

Remember, Ben Carson is a doctor with an actual M.D. behind his name.  And he admits to ingesting the product: "Yes, I think it's a good product," which makes me wonder which disease he believes he is treating himself for.  Cancer?  Cystic fibrosis? Down Syndrome?

Mr. Carson comes across as a mild-mannered, polite man; but there is a homeopathic philosophy that it's the quiet ones you really need to be on guard against.  Or, as Thomas Clay of AmericanNewsX wrote, "Tell me with whom you walk and I will tell you who you are."

M'eye Verdict: 

The real question is, which Ben Carson statement is the lie?  Either he and his campaign are lying that he had no relatioship with Mannatech or Mr. Carson was lying during his recorded speech that the nutritional supplement company had at least partially funding an endowed chair in his name.  Was there involvement or no?  Did money exchange hands for an endowed chair or no?  They can't both be true.   

I may not be able to identify the lie, but there obviously is a lie.  For that, Ben Carson earns 4 Gops.  I was going to give him a fifth one simply for being stupid enough to actually ingest this c**p.  But then, given his record on the issue, that might be a lie too...or maybe it's the truth...or...  

Which is the best explanation I can come up with for deciding that Mr. Carson deserves 4 1/2  out of 5 Gops.

A Word for Word Record of the Third Republican Presidential Primary Debate

Thank you! to The Washington Post for uploading the entire transcript of last night's Republican Presidential Primary Debate.

You can read it here

October 29 - More Stories You'll Find at Political Pollution

1 - Toddler Dead After Responsible Gun Owner Leaves Loaded Rifle in Daycare
m'eye thoughts: "...a shotgun was on the table in the home and she had not realized it was loaded."  Why in the hell would anyone leave a gun--loaded or unloaded--on the table in a daycare?  Why?! 
2 - Federal Judge Blocks Alabama From Defunding Planned Parenthood
You can't defund PP just because you want to.  Judge says you need an actual, legitimate reason. (Phony videos don't count.)   Louisiana was first, now Alabama.  Next up, Texas?
Go to Political Pollution 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Donald Trump Whined, So Tonight's Republican Debate Will be Capped at 2 Hours

Caving to Mr. Combover.  That'll tame his ego and bring some sanity to the Republican campaign.

Florida Sun-Sentinel Calls for Rubio to Resign

Photo credit: Rick Bowmer (AP)
"... Rubio has missed more votes than any other senator this year.  His seat is regularly empty for floor votes, committee meetings and intelligence briefings. He says he's MIA from his J-O-B because he finds it frustrating and wants to be president, instead...

Sorry, senator, but Floridians sent you to Washington to do a job.  We've got serious problems with clogged highways, eroding beaches, flat Social Security checks and people who want to shut down the government.

If you hate your job, senator, follow the honorable lead of House Speaker John Boehner and resign it.

Let us elect someone who wants to be there and earn an honest dollar for an honest day's work...

...Two other candidates--Sens. Rand Paul and Bernie Sanders--have missed only 10 Senate votes during their campaigns for the White House.  You, on the other hand, have missed 59... 

...And it is unconscionable that when it comes to intelligence matters, including briefings on the Iran nuclear deal, you said, 'we have a staffer that's assigned to intelligence who gets constant briefings.

And you want us to take you seriously as a presidential candidate?... 

...Your job is to represent Floridians in the Senate.

Either do your job, Sen. Rubio, or resign it."

eye'm thynkin':  Ouch.

Read more at Daily Kos and Sun-Sentinel

Ben Carson-isms, Just In Time for Halloween

what eye thynk:  In case you are thinking Ben Carson is a step up from Donald Trump, consider these "Ben Carson-isms."

1 - "Women who get abortions are like slaveholders.
2 - Obamacare is the worst thing since slavery.
3 - 'Hitler' could happen in the U.S. today.
4 - Jews could have prevented the Holocaust if they had guns.
5 - College campuses should be monitored for liberal political speech.
6 - Muslims should be disqualified from the presidency.
7 - There's a war on 'what's inside of women.'
8 - Being gay is a choice because prison turns people gay.
9 - There is no such thing as a war crime.
10 - Obama is depressing the economy to keep people on welfare.
11 - Obama signed immigration reform to bring in government-dependent voters.
12 - Congress should be able to remove judges for voting for marriage equality.
13 - Anarchy could cancel the 2016 election."

And if those aren't enough:

1 -"Evolution and the Big Bang theory are the work of the devil.
2 - Asked why victims of mass shootings don't just attack the gunman.
3 - Thinks that atheism is a religion.
4 - Says it's unconstitutional for courts to rule on the constitutionality of laws.
5 - Referred to President Obama as a psychopath because he looks great "like most psychopaths."

This is what happens when politicians try to out do each other for an evening news sound byte and nobody asks questions. Anything can be stated as true because someone, somewhere, will believe it--the more ridiculous the better.  Nothing is sacred.    

Read more at Think Progress and News Corpse

Update: The GOP Make-a-Scandal Committee Locates Its Next Victim

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen
On Sunday I shared a story on Facebook under my Political Pollution banner about the GOP clearing IRS' Lois Lerner of the accusation that she targeted conservative non-profits.


The Republican led investigative committee is not, however, willing to concede defeat. (Surprise!) 

Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) held a press conference on Monday to announce that his committee has filed four articles of impeachment against IRS Commissioner John Koskinen and has asked President Obama to remove him from office.  Mr. Chaffetz claims that the commissioner "failed to testify truthfully.  The statements that he made to Congress were false... (He failed) to preserve and produce up to 24,000 emails relevant to the investigation."

what eye thynk:  #1 - Oh, great, another e-mail "scandal."  That worked so well last time.  

#2 - After enduring the Benghazi Select Committee debacle, one can't help but wonder if "failed to testify truthfully" is simply Republican-speak for "He didn't say what we wanted him to say."  

#3 -  This is my favorite:  John Koskinen didn't become Commissioner until after the so-called IRS "scandal" occurred.  That would be after the period that Mr. Chaffetz' committee just finished investigating--the same period for which they raked Lois Lerner over the GOP coals but could find no wrong-doing.  

But, hey, they couldn't hang Ms. Lerner, so it makes perfect sense to go after the guy who wasn't even around when this terrible thing they can't find happened. 

Good governing, Republican style.

October 29 - More Stories You'll Find at Political Pollution

1 - GOP-Led Science Committee Subpoenas Climate Researchers
m'eye thoughts: Scientists being interrogated by non-scientists because the scientists won't write reports that support what the non-scientists' corporate handlers tell them to believe.  Your tax dollars at work.
Go to Political Pollution

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Sometimes I just want to kiss a political cartoonist...


Eye Recommend --- Free Mitt Romney

FREE MITT ROMNEY, by Paul Krugman --
what eye thynk:  It seems that Mr. Romney just isn't strong enough to pull himself free from the conservative All-For-Me-and-None-For-You magnetic field--not even to take credit for the one good public policy for which he is responsible and for which he should be deservedly proud.
Sometimes I find myself feeling sorry for Mitt Romney.  No, seriously.  In another time and place, he might have been respected as an effective technocrat--a smart guy valued (although probably not loved) for his ability to get things done.  In fact, that's kind of how it worked when he was governor of Massachusetts, a decade ago.

But not it's 2015 in America, and Mr. Romney's party doesn't want people who get things done. On the contrary, it actively hates government programs that improve American lives, especially if they help Those People.  And this means that Mr. Romney can't celebrate his signature achievement in public life, the Massachusetts health reform that served as a template for Obamacare.

This has to hurt.  Indeed, a few days ago Mr. Romney couldn't help himself: he boasted to the Boston Globe that "Without Romneycare, we wouldn't have had Obamacare" and that as a result "a lot of people wouldn't have health insurance."  And it's true!

But such truths aren't welcome in the G.O.P.  Ben Carson, who is leading the latest polls of Iowa Republicans, has declared that Obamacare is the worst thing to happen to America since slavery: 81 percent of likely Republican caucus-goers say that this statement makes him more attractive as a candidate.

Not surprisingly, then, Mr. Romney quickly tried to talk his comments back, claiming that Obamacare is very different from Romneycare, which it isn't and that it has failed...
Which is hasn't; but saying so would be admitting that, for the past five years and seven months, the GOP has been lying to the people they have sworn to serve.
... On the contrary, the Affordable Care Act has been a remarkable success, especially considering the scorched-earth opposition it has faced...

...The great majority of Republican-controlled states have turned down free money, refusing to let the federal government expand Medicaid (and in so doing pump money into their economies).

The point is that from the point of view of the Republican base, covering the uninsured, or helping the unlucky in general, isn't a feature, it's a bug.  It's not about how much it costs in taxpayer funds or economic impact: the base is actually willing to lose money in order to perpetuate suffering...

...Maybe Mr. Romney...just can't bring himself to admit that he picked the wrong group of people to hang out with... One hopes for his sake that he eventually gives up his illusions.  Trust me, Mitt:  It will be a liberating experience.

Update: Ben Carson Explains How He Would Monitor Political Speech

Last Friday I wrote about Ben Carson essentially calling for the end of Freedom of Speech on campuses that receive federal funds. At the time, his thinking on how this would work was a little sketchy. A few days later, he cleared that up.


On Sunday, Mr. Carson appeared on Meet the Press with Chuck Todd who asked him if he really believed monitoring campus speech was a good idea and how he planned to make it work.

Ben Carson explained that he was "not just spouting off; I've thought about this...  The way that works is you invite students at the universities to send in their complaints, and then you investigate... It's not a violation of the First Amendment, because all I'm saying is taxpayer funding should not be used for propaganda.  It shouldn't be."

When Mr. Todd questioned how Mr. Carson's investigators would differentiate between propaganda and free speech, Mr. Carson said, "Well, that's why I said we're going to have the students send in.  And we will investigate."

what eye thynk:  Gee, thanks for clearing that up.

Ben Carson is known for playing loose and easy with Nazi metaphors. Amazingly, Mr. Carson seems to be totally unaware that asking students to turn in professors with whom they disagree is not unlike the Hitler Youth being expected to turn in their parents, their neighbors, or their friends for disagreeing with the Nazi mantra.  

Someone should really do a study of this man's brain.  The area that controls common sense seems to be malfunctioning.

Republicans Say the Darndest Things: Trump--I Had It Tough, Started With Only $1M, Had to Pay INTEREST

  Carnival Barker  
Republican Presidential Candidate
Donald Trump

At a town meeting in New Hampshire on Monday, Donald Trump was asked "With the exception of your family, have you ever been told no?"

His response:
"My whole life really has been a 'no' and I fought through it.  It has not been easy for me, it has not been easy for me.  And you know I started off in Brooklyn, my father gave me a small loan of a million dollars.  I came to Manhattan and I had to pay him back.  I had to pay him back with interest."
what eye thynk:  Gee, just a single million to bankroll your first dive into entrepreneurship?  And you had to pay Daddy interest too?  Wow. What an awe inspiring story.  

This just proves that all those Americans trying to survive on $7.25/hour really deserve to be scratched off the "I Care" list. If only they'd thought of asking Mommy and Daddy to fork over even a couple hundred thousand to get them started, think how different their lives would be today.  Stupid losers.

October 28 - More Stories You'll Find at Political Pollution

1 -  Trump Calls Media 'Scum'
m'eye thoughts: I'm #1 and you s**k -- There's a message that ought to guarantee some interesting media coverage.
Read more at Political Pollution

Monday, October 26, 2015

October 26 - More Stories You'll Find at Political Pollution

1 - Despite What Donald Trump Tweeted, Ford is Still Building a Massive Plant in Mexico
m'eye thoughts: Mr. Combover is starting to believe his own lies.  Trump via Twitter "...because of my constant badgering at packed events, (Ford) is going to cancel their deal to go to Mexico..."
Go to  Political Pollution

Republicans are lining up behind a carnival barker...

...Trey Gowdy failed in his mission to bring down Hillary, Jeb is cutting staff and looking for money... 

More butter, please!

Marco Rubio: Voting in the Senate is Highly Overrated

Marco Rubio in Salt Lake City, Utah on October 19, 2015
(working hard for the people of Florida)
"Someone needs to tell Marco Rubio that when you're in a hole, quit digging...

...When pressed during a CNN interview about why he thinks federal workers should be fired for not doing their jobs while he has missed the most votes in the Senate, Sen. Marco Rubio put his foot in his mouth and said that voting in the Senate is not important for a Senator...

...Caught in his hypocrisy, Rubio tried to dig his way out... 'Voting is not the most important part of the job.  The most important thing that a Senator does is constituent services.'"

eye'm thynkin':  The people in Florida are undoubtedly grateful for all the good services Mr. Rubio is providing for them in New Hampshire and Iowa and Utah and...

Read more at Crooks and Liars

Quote for Monday, October 26

This week's quote speaks to everything that is wrong with the conservative movements--both political and religious--in this country.  Their refusal to listen to anyone who doesn't hold the same opinions as they do has resulted in a self-imposed state of isolationism that leaves them stagnating within the echo chamber of their common belief in their own superiority and unwilling to educate themselves beyond what is already "known."

And yet, they insist on standing on the ramparts of their cloistered demesne, day in and day out, to shout their message over the hum of a world that is moving on.

The question I would most like to ask a conservative: Why should we hear you when you refuse to hear us? 

monday quote:
"It's an universal law--intolerance is the first sign of an inadequate education.  An ill-educated person behaves with arrogant impatience, whereas truly profound education breeds humility."
(Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, novelist, historian, critic of USSR, 1918-2008) 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

While America Burns...

...instead of grabbing a fire extingusher, the GOP continues to feed the conservative bonfire.

Mormon Church Leadership: It's Civil Law Over Religious Doctrine on Same-Sex Marriage

Dallin Oaks, Elder in
the Mormon Church
"Despite its deep opposition to same-sex marriage, the Mormon Church is setting itself apart from religious conservatives who rallied behind a Kentucky county clerk, Kim Davis, who cited her religious beliefs as justification for refusing to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples...

...'Office holders remain free to draw upon their personal beliefs and motivations and advocate their positions in the public square,' Elder Oaks said. 'But when acting as public officials, they are not free to apply personal convictions, religious or other, in place of the defined responsibilities of their public offices.  All government officers should exercise their civil authority according to the principles and within the limits of civil government...A county clerk's recent invoking of religious reasons to justify refusal by her office and staff to issue marriage license to same-gender couples violates this principle.'

Jonathan Rauch, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, called the speech a 'pretty big deal' that embraced compromise over conflict."

eye'm thynkin':  When the Mormon Church sounds like the voice of reason on the issue of marriage equality, I would call that testament to the Christian right's having gone completely off the cliff.

And compromise over conflict is not an idea embraced by anyone on the conservative spectrum.

Read more at The New York Times

Tony Blair Apologizes for Iraq War. Don't Expect the Same from Anyone on This Side of the Pond

Getty Images
"Tony Blair has finally apologized for the Iraq War.  The former Prime Minister said he accepts that the conflict has been a factor in the rise of (ISIS).  Blair made the startling confession during a TV interview in which he acknowledged the 'hell' that had resulted from his and George Bush's decision in 2003, to oust Saddam Hussein from power.

In the interview by US political broadcaster Fareed Zakaria, Blair is asked point-blank: 'Was the Iraq War a mistake?"  He replies matter of factly: 'I apologize for the fact that the intelligence we received was wrong.  I also apologize for the some of the mistakes in planning and, certainly, our mistake in our understanding of what would happen once you removed the regime."...

...When asked if the Iraq War was 'the principal cause' of the rise of (ISIS), he said: 'I think there are elements of truth in that.  Of course you can't say those of us who removed Saddam in 2003 bear no responsibility for the situation in 2015."

eye'm thynkin':  I guess Tony can forget about an invite to the next Bush BBQ.

Read more at Yahoo News

October 25 - More Stories You'll Find at Political Pollution

1 - Former IRS Official Cleared of Charge She Targeted Conservative Non-Profits
m'eye thoughts: And another Republican fueled, tax-payer funded, conspiracy investigation finds nothing.
2 - When Dead Children Became an Acceptable Price to "Preserve" the Second Amendment... (graphic)
No one's child should be viewed as collateral damage to YOUR rights.
Go to Political Pollution

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Stop Me If You've Heard This Before

(Any underlines are mine.)

"House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) announced Friday the (creation of) the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Select Investigative Panel focused on 'big abortion providers'--namely Planned Parenthood...

...From the Speaker's Friday news release:

"Recent videos exposing the abortion-for-baby parts business have shocked the nation, and demanded action.  At my request, three House committees have been investigating the abortion business, but we still don't have the full truth..."  

eye'm thynkin':  Haven't we heard this before? 

I expect that sometime in 2017, Cecile Richards will sit in the seat recently occupied by Hillary Clinton and will, once again, make Republicans look petty, ill-informed, and foolish.  But not before American taxpayers spend millions of dollars so that GOP candidates can continue to feed their conservative voter base the "facts" they want to hear.

Read more at Talking Points Memo

Scott Walker Signs Law That Protects Dirty Politicians

"Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker on Friday signed a bill into law that prohibits prosecutors from using the state's secret investigation law to probe political crimes--a measure used to convict four of his aides and investigate his campaign...

...Under the legislation Walker signed, prosecutors can no longer use the law to investigate cases of bribery or political misconduct...

...The Republican-led state Senate and Assembly approved the measure along party lines during the last several days."

eye'm thynkin':  Because who needs to waste time prosecuting dirty politicians, right?  Really, when was the last time a politician was convicted, or even charged, with any unlawful shenanigans?   Oh, yeah...hmmmm.

Well, at least Mr. Walker saved his own butt in the future.  Too bad about those aides of his though.

Read more at Yahoo News

Correcting the dialogue:


Friday, October 23, 2015

October 23 - More Stories You'll Find at Political Pollution

1 - Price-Gouging Pharma CEO Fuming as Rival Creates $1 Alternative AIDS Drug
m'eye thoughts: I am enjoying this way too much.  
2 - Trey Gowdy Can't Think of One New Thing They Learned During the Hearings
"As insult to injury, a new poll shows that 72 percent of Americans believe this is a political effort and hasn't got anything to do with  the truth."
3 - Donald Trump Says He Would be Open to Closing U.S. Mosques to Fight ISIS
Well, there goes another voting block.
Go to Political Pollution

Ben Carson: Freedom of Speech Should Be a Two-Tier Right

what eye thynk:  Ben Carson seems to be having a little trouble understanding the First Amendment.  It appears he believes it is there to protect his right to say anything he wants, and that includes stopping the rest of us from disagreeing with him.  

The chronology of his statements on freedom of speech and political correctness make for interesting reading.

2012, during an interview at Patrick Henry College: "(People) need to rise up, they need to say to political correctness: 'Take a hike.  This is who we are, this is what we believe in..."

2013, in an interview with Star Parker, founder of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education:  "(One) thing we have to realize is we're being crucified by political correctness--because you're not supposed to say anything to that young woman who's having a baby out of wedlock, because 'that lifestyle is equivalent to any other lifestyle.'"

2014, speaking at CPAC: "It's time for people to stand up and proclaim for what they believe and stop being bullied...(Common sense has) been beaten into submission (by the) PC police."

2014, during an interview on BreitbartTV, after being criticized for comparing the U.S. to Nazi Germany:  "We now live in a society where people are afraid to say what they actually believe.  And it's because of the PC police, it's because of politicians, it's because of news.  All of these things are combining to stifle people's conversation.  The reason that is so horrible is because the only way you have harmony and reach a consensus is by talking."

February 2015, talking to Bill O'Reilly:  "We need to be in a place where people feel free to express themselves and not to be intimidated by political correctness.  It's destroying our nation, and there is a reason that our founders, one of the very first amendments, freedom of speech, freedom of expression."

September 2015, speaking on a Michigan university campus:  "Political correctness is imposed by the secular progressives and those who wish to fundamentally change our society.  Therefore, they make things off limits to talk about..."

October 2015, talking to Glen Beck who asked whether Mr. Carson would eliminate the Department of Education as other GOP candidates have proposed:  "I actually have something I would use the Department of Education to do.  It would be to monitor our institutions of higher education for extreme political bias and deny federal funding if it exists.

It is interesting that he made so many of his calls for an end to bullying opposing views into silence through political correctness at schools and universities or while discussing issues of education, but then says he'd use the Department of Education to silence political discourse in places where education is supported by federal funds.

So, is he trying to say that, if you attend a publicly funded school or university you will be expected to give up your First Amendment rights?  Is he proposing an America where only those affluent enough to afford a private school education would be permitted the right to an opinion of our political system?

During a town hall meeting in Des Moines, a student asked President Obama about candidate Carson's plan for the U.S. Department of Education.  The President replied, "I have no idea what that means, and I suspect he doesn't either."

Aaaannnnd mic drop.

The end.

Conservatives Concede: Hillary Ate Trey Gowdy for Lunch

what eye thynk:  Admitting your own party's incompetence is never a harbinger of good things to come, but that's exactly what Trey Gowdy, chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, did as he opened the Committee's long anticipated session with Hillary Clinton.  Using his opening statement to defend the reason for this, the eighth GOP panel's existence, he said,  "Those previous investigations were not thorough"

Well, that's good to know.

The downward spiral continued for 11 more hours.  When Fox "News" abandoned live coverage of the Select Committee on Benghazi's interrogation of Hillary Clinton more than three hours before the hearing actually ended, you could bet on your grandma that the Republicans were not having a good day.  When Fox turned to broadcasting subject matter not even remotely related to the on-going hearing, in fact acting like they were totally unaware of the goings on in Washington at that moment, you could safely add your wife, your first born, his favorite blanket, your dog, the neighbor's cat, and a weekend with the in-laws into the wager and still be sure of coming out ahead.

It didn't take long for conservatives to recognize they were witnessing a disaster-in-the-making in Washington.

Disappointed conservatives weigh in:

Midway through the day, Matt Lewis of the Daily Caller wrote: "Unless something happens, it's starting to look like Hillary Clinton won't merely survive this hearing--she will have come out on top."

Jazz Shaw of Hot Air: "This hearing is turning into a disaster on wheels.  Jesus, I spend half my day criticizing Hillary Clinton and even I find this set of questions embarrassing."

Byron York of The Washington Examiner offered the opinion that the hearing was "very, very good news for Hillary Clinton."

Erick Erickson, conservative radio host and former editor-in-chief of said the hearing was proving to be a "waste of time."

John Podhoretz, conservative writer and former Republican speechwriter, commenting on Representative Mike Pompeo's (R-Kansas) attempts to badger Clinton into a "gotcha" moment:  "Why doesn't Pompeo just go over and swear her in for president now?  If he goes on like this he'll practically get her elected."

In the end, Trey Gowdy and his Select Committee had to concede that the public grilling of former Secretary of State Clinton was a waste of time and publicity.  "I don't know that she testified much differently today than when she previously testified."

But, I'm sure, his committee's report will be much more thorough.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Christie Thinks WWIII Will Put Him in White House

"Languishing at the bottom in polls of the Republican presidential field, Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey ramped up his tough talk on foreign policy (last week), calling President Obama a 'weakling' and saying that the United States should threaten to shoot down Russian planes conducting airstrikes in Syria.

'My first phone call would be to Vladimir, and I'd say, "Listen, we're enforcing this no-fly zone... And I mean we're enforcing it against anyone, including you.  So don't try me.  Don't try me.  Because I'll do it."'

eye'm thynkin':  Christie is still running?  Really?  Well, then... Yeeehaaaww!  World War III here I come!  That ought to get those poll numbers surging!

Read more at The New York Times

Gun Lobby: 2nd Amendment Gives Every Parent the Right to Allow Their Toddlers to Kill Themselves

From a report published by The Washington Post last week: 

 People are getting shot by toddlers on a weekly basis this year...

...Roughly once a week this year, on average, a small child has found a gun, pointed it at himself or someone else, and pulled the trigger... In 13 of the 43 total incidents, a child's self-inflicted injuries were fatal.  In two other cases, another person died after being shot by a toddler: a father in Alabama, and a 1-year-old in Ohio...

...And there are probably many more cases where a little kid inadvertently shoots a gun and doesn't hit anyone, resulting in little more than a scared kid and (hopefully) chastened parents...

...There are policy and technical responses to preventable childhood gun deaths... State and localities could required guns to be locked up at home, a policy supported by 67 percent of Americans.  Various types of smart gun technology, which prevent anyone other than their owners from firing a given gun, exist as well.  But gun lock requirements and smart guns have been vehemently opposed by the National Rile Association and its allies.

Instead, the NRA continues to promote a response that seeks to solve gun problems with more guns, and aims to broaden the saturation of firearms in nearly every sphere of public and private life, from homes to schools to churches to bars to airports...

what eye thynk:  A toddler a week!  But so totally worth it to protect our Second Amendment rights.  Yay, America!

I would love to hear the gun lobby explain how their "more guns" and "good guy with a gun" ideas are better solutions than locked gun cabinets or smart guns in preventing toddler gun tragedies like these.  I'd also like to hear them explain how the Second Amendment  gives them the right to be judge, jury, and executioner in order to prevent gun shop owners from offering safer firearms to those who want them.

Gun shop owners in Maryland and California who advertised the sale of smart guns stopped selling them after receiving death threats.  According to rabid gun fans, anyone who dares to offer the public the choice to purchase a type of gun they personally dislike should be killed.  And they see this as a rational response!  Not only do they believe that every American should be free to own as many guns as they want, they believe they have the right to tell Americans what TYPE of gun should be in their personal arsenal. Owning an assault rifle is a fine idea!  An automatic pistol with an extended magazine? Excellent choice! Smart gun ownership, however, makes you the enemy and anyone offering such a firearm for sale deserves death.

These crazies will proudly wear their "Good Guy with a Gun" t-shirt to church on Sunday and thank God the NRA is fighting to protect their right to keep a "stupid" gun behind a sofa cushion where their 2-year-old can find it and shoot himself in the head.  Allowing another parent to purchase a gun that all but guarantees his small children will be safe from accidental self-annihilation is un-American!

Carrying their logic to other choices, I wonder how they'd feel if vegetarians began threatening their local A&P managers with death unless they stopped selling meat?  It's the same rationale--I don't like it so you shouldn't be permitted to have it--and in this context demonstrates how stupidly out of control the gun lobby is in this country.

October 22 - More Stories You'll Find at Political Pollution

1 - Norwegians are Using 'Texas' as a Slang for 'Crazy' Now
m'eye thoughts:  Sadly, Texans will probably be bragging about this, completely unaware that Norway is laughing at them. (And not in a good way.)
2 - Bobby Jindal Ponders Skipping Next Debate
Would anyone notice?  Go home, Piyush.
3 - 3-Year-Old Daughter of Sheriff's Deputy Shoots Herself in the Leg in Georgia
So would this be an example of a "good guy" with a gun?
4 - Conservative Radio Host Freaks Out: 'Transgender Crowd' Will Use Magnets to Suck God From Your Brain
Well, I have to give him an "A" for originality.
Go to Political Pollution 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

October 21 - More Stories You'll Find at Political Pollution

1 - Bush Plummets to Single Digits in New Florida Poll
m'eye thoughts: Disliked even in his own state.  Read the country's lips: No More Bushes!
Go to Political Pollution

But the Select Committee is Not Political at All...Really...Honest Injun...Hillary Who?

Why wasn't there more security in Benghazi?

Maybe the GOP should look at their own record on this.

Paul Ryan Demands Paid Family Time--For Himself

"Paul Ryan, Opponent of Paid Family Leave, Demands Congress Respect His Need for Family Time.

Last night, Paul Ryan announced that he'd run for Speaker of the House if his Republican colleagues met a list of demands.  Among them: insisting that time Ryan spends with his family not be sacrificed.

Ryan, whose wife and three young children reside in Janesville, Wisconsin, flies home for a visit every weekend.  That's nice.  If only he believed that other Americans deserved the same...

...Ryan's GOP caucus blocked President Obama's attempt to mandate paid parental leave in both the public and private sectors here in the US.  We're one of only three countries in the world that doesn't guarantee new parents paid time off from work to care for their offspring.

And we certainly don't have any enshrined rules that guarantee fathers time away from work to spend with their 10-, 12-, and 13-year-old children.  Perhaps if Paul Ryan hadn't spent much of his political career fighting laws that promote realistic work-life balance for parents of all socioeconomic levels, asking for family time would make him look more like a hero and less like a hypocrite."

eye'm thynkin':  Couldn't have said it better myself.  Just more Republican IGM-YOYO (I've Got Mine-You're On Your Own.)

Read more at The

RNC Calls Dems Request That GOP Pay for Benghazi Committee "Pathetic"

(Any underlines are mine.)

"In a letter to Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, Senate Democrats this week demanded that the Republican party cover the costs of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, Roll Call reported on Wednesday morning.

'Over the past several weeks, several House Republicans have made clear what many observers have suspected all along:  that the Select Committee has conducted a political inquisition aimed at former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.  Due to the political nature of the committee, we believe it is inappropriate that a reported 4.7 million taxpayer dollars were used to finance its operations and that the RNC subsequently orchestrated numerous fundraising opportunities in its wake,' Democrats wrote in the letter obtained by Roll Call.

The letter sent by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and three members of his leadership team highlights House Majority Leader Keven McCarthy's recent comments about the political goals of the Benghazi committee.  The Democrats also mentioned a fundraising effort from the National Republican Congressional Committee launched in May 2014 that asked donors to help Republicans 'go after Obama & Hillary Clinton,' referencing the committee.

'Harry Reid's pathetic attempt to inject politics into the final, definitive account of the...terrorist attack in Benghazi that killed four Americans dishonors their memory and has no basis in reality,' RNC National Press Secretary Allison Moore said in a statement."

eye'm thynkin':  Note to Ms. Moore and the RNC--When your own members admit the Committee is nothing by a front for a political attack machine, whining about the other party injecting politics into the issue is laughable.  And, really, I think the American people got the "definitive account" of Benghazi seven Republican investigations ago.

Read more at Talking Points Memo