Twelve years ago today, Donald Rumsfeld composed this:
(h/t Rob Golan-Vilella)
As the entire Republican party brays for war in Syria, Iran, Ukraine, wherever next…remember: their reunion tour will make us long for Nickleback.
Bill O’Reilly is the sane one in the room.
Ladles and Jellyspoons, I present you with the comic stylings [via TPM] of self-made son and purveyor of a gospel that is good news only in his fevered brain…
Put your hands together for our own, all American Franklin Graham!
“One of the problems we have in the West is that our governments, especially in Washington, has been infiltrated by Muslims who are advising the White House, who I think are part of the problem,” Graham said. “And we see this also in Western Europe. They have gotten into the halls of power.”
Oh Noes! We’re doomed until a good Christian Soldier may come to save the day!
Uhhh. Wrongo on so many axes-o, Frankie boy. So much so, in fact, that Bill O’Reilly, veteran of so many battles fought within his own mind, could not help but do that Village media rarity, and ask a follow up:
O’Reilly pushed back, asking for Graham to name a Muslim adviser to President Obama.
Franklin replied with equal measures of Joe McCarthy and Mole MacCaroney*:
“I do know that they are there. I’ve been told this by a number of people,” Graham responded. “I’m not saying that they’re sitting next to the President, whispering into his ear. But they are in the halls.”
Channelling my inner Abe: hurts too much to laugh and I’m too big to cry.
BTW: just to point out the obvious, being saner than Franklin Graham does not make Bill Legend In His Own Memoirs O’Reilly actually on the beam. The question that prompted Franklin’s first reply was why the west hadn’t united to defeat ISIS — which is, as we say in the halls of reason, a question marred by assumptions not in evidence.
And with that, my fine feathered friends (and the non-avian amongst us), I give you Modern American Conservatism.
*Not that its all that easy to distinguish between those two, by Walt Kelly’s design, of course.
Drive-by post here, as I grapple with a deadline alas already in my rear view mirror, but I couldn’t resist offering up a taste of David Sirota’s latest for the commentariat’s mastication:
Federal law enforcement officials have launched a criminal investigation of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and members of his administration, pursuing allegations the governor and his staff broke the law when they quashed grand jury indictments against Christie supporters, International Business Times has learned.
Two criminal investigators from the U.S. Department of Justice on Wednesday interviewed the man who leveled those charges, Bennett Barlyn. He was fired from the Hunterdon County prosecutor’s office in August 2010, and subsequently brought a whistleblower lawsuit against the Christie administration, claiming he had been punished for objecting to the dismissal of the indictments of the governor’s supporters for a range of corrupt activities.
…The investigators are examining what state and federal laws may have been broken in the process. Barlyn said the investigators appeared to be at an exploratory stage, with no certainty that criminal charges would ultimately be filed.
Early days, obviously, and nothing yet (publicly) that links Christie himself to the events under scrutiny. Seems unlikely that this could be Bush Crime Family action either. I’d like to think the Bushies are at least smart enough not to get their mitts dirty when they don’t need to.*
So, I guess my take-away is that Christie-gigging has truly bipartisan appeal. Nobody likes the man.
IOW: Moah popcorn, please. (and my deepest sympathy to the citizens of New Jersey for being saddled with this sterling example of a public servant. Except maybe not that deep — y’all elected the guy yourselves, as I recall.)
*Christie in recent days has seemed to be his own circular firing squad. In such moments, it would seem to me to be the wisest course to let your rival keep enjoying the carnal knowledge of his own domesticated flightless fowl.
Images: Jacob Martham after an engraving by Hendrik Goltzius, Beached Whale, 1602.
Ferdinand Richardt, Still Life With Chickens and Fish, before 1895.
Via TPM, this from White House spokesman Josh Earnest:
“Mr. Scalise reportedly described himself as David Duke without the baggage. So it’ll be up to Republicans to decide what that says about their conference.”
There’s an old political story — I’ve heard it told about LBJ — about the candidate who tells his campaign manager to spread a rumor that their opponent enjoys the carnal knowledge of barnyard animals.
“I can’t call him a pig-f**ker!” the staffer replies. “No one will believe it.”
“Sure,” says LBJ (oh heck. Go with it). “But make him deny it.”*
The beauty here is that there is no phantom pig in the room at all. There’s no possible denial, just, at best a bit of weaseling: “I didn’t know; I didn’t mean it; I’m sorry if anyone was offended.”
Republicans are who they are, the people their actions define them to be. The Democrats’ job is to make sure they own it. To that end, Mr Earnest, keep stuff like this coming:
“It is the responsibility of members of the House Republican conference to choose their leaders,” Earnest said. “Who they choose to serve in their leadership says a lot about who they are, what their values are and what the priorities of the conference should be.”
*The line works best when you really bear down on “deeeennnnyyyy”
Image: Charles Darwin, Head of Japan or Masked Pig, Copied from Mr. Bartlett’s paper in Proc. Zoolog. Soc. 1861, p. 263., illustration in The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication, Vol. I, Ch. 3 1868.
Via TPM — Lindsay Graham (R-Who Can We Bomb Today) tells the one true beating heart of the GOP exactly what it wants to hear. Speaking to the all-male, seemingly all-pale Hibernian Society fo Charleston SC, the Senator forgot a fundamental truth of modern politics: there is no such thing as a private speech anymore. Or maybe he just doesn’t care. Whatever, here’s Lindsay, letting his freak flag fly:
“If I get to be president, white men who are in male-only clubs are going to do great in my presidency,” Graham says …as the audience laughs. (h/t Twitteratus @GrooveSDC)
Leave aside the cosmic delusion there — is there any geographical location outside the confines of his head in which any sentient being thinks Graham could be elected president? — the glory and horror of this confirmed-by-audio (head over to TPM for a listen) lies with its utter, transparent, total honesty. Graham speaks the core Republican truth. The people they server are rich white men. Full stop.
Please proceed, senator:
“I’ve tried to help you with your tax status,” the senator says in another recording. “I’m sorry the government’s so f*cked up.”
Because, of course, the only thing that the United States government really exists to do is to make sure rich white guys capture more money.
Friends don’t let friends vote Republican.
Oh — and one more thing: if there is any remaining deluded teahadist out there who thought until now that the movement really had a chance to reclaim the GOP for the values of some mythic better America, you can apologize to the rest of us anytime.
Image: Rembrandt van Rijn, Syndics of the Drapers’ Guild, 1661.
The good news: Obamacare is doing what it set out to do. Kevin Quealy and Margot Sanger-Katz write that
The biggest winners from the law include people between the ages of 18 and 34; blacks; Hispanics; and people who live in rural areas. The areas with the largest increases in the health insurance rate, for example, include rural Arkansas and Nevada; southern Texas; large swaths of New Mexico, Kentucky and West Virginia; and much of inland California and Oregon.
Each of these trends is going in the opposite direction of larger economic patterns. Young people have fared substantially worse in the job market than older people in recent years. Blacks and Hispanics have fared worse than whites and Asians. Rural areas have fallen further behind larger metropolitan areas.
Women are the one modest exception. They have benefited more from Obamacare than men, and they have received larger raises in recent years. But of course women still make considerably less money than men, so an economic benefit for women still pushes against inequality in many ways. [all links in the original]
The bad news: it sucks to be ruled by the Republican cabal. Or rather, it’s great if your state government actually managed to get used to the idea of Free Money! (h/t the indispensable Charles Pierce):
Despite many Republican voters’ disdain for the Affordable Care Act, parts of the country that lean the most heavily Republican (according to 2012 presidential election results) showed significantly more insurance gains than places where voters lean strongly Democratic. That partly reflects underlying rates of insurance. In liberal places, like Massachusetts and Hawaii, previous state policies had made insurance coverage much more widespread, leaving less room for improvement. But the correlation also reflects trends in wealth and poverty. Many of the poorest and most rural states in the country tend to favor Republican politicians. Of course, the fact that Republican areas showed disproportionate insurance gains does not mean that only Republicans signed up; there are many Democrats living in even the most strongly Republican regions of the country.
But for the rest…
There are still a lot of uninsured people remaining, many in the places that had high uninsured rates last year.
Where would those folk be? Check out the last map in the piece. No one here will be surprised.
Image: Rembrandt van Rijn, Christ Preaching (Christ Healing the Sick — the hundred guilder print), 1646-50.
From Forbes (sic!) this analysis of President Obama’s economic record as compared with Saint Ronaldus of Reagan:
Economically, President Obama’s administration has outperformed President Reagan’s in all commonly watched categories.
Simultaneously the current administration has reduced the deficit, which skyrocketed under Reagan. Additionally, Obama has reduced federal employment, which grew under Reagan (especially when including military personnel,) and truly delivered a “smaller government.” Additionally, the current administration has kept inflation low, even during extreme international upheaval, failure of foreign economies (Greece) and a dramatic slowdown in the European economy.
That’s from Forbes contributor Adam Hartung, a business development and consultant kind of guy — i.e., no raging, card-carrying taker. The whole piece is worth a look.
When you’ve lost Forbes…*
*which they haven’t, really — one drive by piece doth not an editorial campaign make.
Preston Dickinson, Factory, c. 1920