Because these people do, without fail:
“My gosh, I’m beginning to think that there’s more freedom in North Korea sometimes than there is in the United States. When I go to the airport, I have to get in the surrender position, people put hands all over me, and I have to provide photo ID and a couple of different forms and prove that I really am not going to terrorize the airplane – but if I want to go vote I don’t need a thing.”
~ Former (and future?) GOP Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee
I just got back from spring break with my family, so I missed quite a bit, including Heartbleed, the Bundy/BLM standoff idiocy and, most recently, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee’s intentionally provocative comments to the New Hampshire Freedom Summit. It’s the latter I’d like to touch on here.
I usually think the best thing to do with intentionally provocative comments from hucksters (or, in this case, Huckster) is to ignore them, on the theory that they’re little more than the grown-up equivalent of a child’s “look at MEEEE!!” exhortation/tantrum. If anything, they’re even more annoying than the average toddler because, as annoying as a child can be with such things, they are mostly innocently in search of attention. When “grownup” (and Here, I use the term loosely) political hacks like Ann Coulter or Rush Limbaugh or Huckabeeexhibit similar behavior, it’s a safe bet they are either peddling books or speaking appearances, or flogging an upcoming candidacy. So, why reward such carefully-calculated attention-seeking behavior, is my usual approach.
You’ll be unsurprised to see the face featured in the video below, but I don’t care. After decades of incrementalism, technocracy, cringing from real or perceived GOP attacks, and corporation worship starting with the DLC and moving on to Third Way (still so maddeningly evident today even at the highest levels), it’s both bracing and probably usefully instructive to get a full-blast reminder of what it used to and still should mean to have a (D) after one’s name. Especially on an issue so vital as minimum wage and economic security. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you what a Democrat sounds like: Elizabeth Warren (actual-D, MA):
Cripes, not this fake ‘voter fraud’ bullshit again.
I’ll say this for the GOP, they’re certainly single-minded. They know what they have to do to maximize their chances of victory (cheat, rig the game), and they pursue it with the unyielding effort of your average zombie pursuing a meal. In this case, it’s the old zombie lie of widespread voter fraud, which the GOP has been flogging for years if not decades as the electorate and voting demographics shift against them, in order to maintain their electoral viability (hint: hey guys, try actually appealing to a greater number of voters, instead of attempting to disenfranchise ones you don’t like).
PJ Media and National Revue and Sideshow lead the baying of the pack (of course). “Massive Voter Fraud Discovered in North Carolina’s 2012 Election” screams PJ Tatler’s headline. NRO’s “The Corner” blog’s headline “N.C. State Board Finds More than 35K Incidents of ‘Double Voting’ in 2012” is only slightly more controlled. FOX News has also been running with it; expect to see multiple segments on the “shocking new revelations” uncovered in North Carolina (if you haven’t seen them already). And the stories themselves are, if anything, even more breathless and apocalyptic. From the Tatler story:
The North Carolina State Board of Elections has found thousands of instances of voter fraud in the state, thanks to a 28-state crosscheck of voter rolls. Initial findings suggest widespread election fraud.
Wow, sounds bad. Only…how ’bout a few facts to go with all that hype?
It’s been a while since I wrote anything about the ongoing troubles surrounding (engulfing?) New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Heck, it’s been a while since I wrote anything at all, for various reasons. That should not be taken to mean, however, that Chris Christie’s troubles have evaporated or even receded significantly. In fact, despite his best efforts, Chris Christie’s entanglement in various scandals continues apace. The end of last week brought two key developments, both of which are significant, but one of which is far more significant than the other.
To begin with, last Thursday brought the final report undertaken at the New Jersey state government’s (i.e., Christie’s) behest into the “Bridgegate” scandal, and – whaddaya know? – Christie’s own lawyer exonerated him of any involvement in the scandal. This immediately engendered a reaction I’m sure Christie and his administration weren’t overly pleased with: a round of forehead-slapping and jokes about letting himself off the hook everywhere from political blogs all the way up to SNL, who ran it as a segment on Weekend Update, suggesting that “you can totally trust the report because it was fact-checked by independent investigator ‘Trish Trishtie’,” accompanied by this photo:
Not exactly the reaction I’m sure Team Christie would’ve preferred, but I have to assume they were probably at least expecting it. The largest part of the reason this investigation’s conclusions were mocked is not just the obvious one (that it cleared the man who commissioned it from any wrongdoing), but rather the knowledge that the real investigations – the ones with potentially fatal consequences for Chris Christie’s political ambitions or even his current career, continue apace, completely separate from any results of Christie’s little sideshow investigation. Those investigations are the one led by New Jersey legislator John Wisniewski, and the federal investigation being conducted by the US Attorney in New Jersey. Both of those investigations continue to steam methodically along, neither concerned with nor bound by the results of “Trish Tristie’s” self-exoneration.
Both those investigations, however, will undoubtedly be quite interested in following up on the ramifications of news announced in what can only be described as yet another instance of spectacularly bad timing for the Christie administration on Friday of last week, one day after Christie’s administration announced the results of its own internal investigation. On Friday, news broke of the resignation of Port Authority head David Samson. Samson is a very influential figure in New Jersey politics, and had until now remained unscathed by the turmoil rocking the Christie administration’s involvement with the bridge scandal despite multiple signs indicating an increasing likelihood that Samson must have been involved with – or at least known of – the plan to harm Fort Lee with a traffic jam. Up to Friday of last week, it appeared that both Samson and the Christie administration were simply going to tough it out, leaving Samson in place and stonewalling investigations into him, in a way they very clearly and very publicly did not with other aides such as Bridget Ann Kelly and David Wildstein.
It’s unclear as of now what shifted in either Samson’s or the Christie administration’s thinking with regard to Samson resigning, but it’s significant that Samson was the last major figure involved in “Bridgegate” who had not already either resigned or been fired. Samson’s resignation completes the list of people who now have no further official ties to Christie or his administration, and who might very well be able to exchange information substantially damaging to the Governor in exchange for immunity for prosecution for potential crimes committed as part of their own roles in various misdeeds.
In fact, “Bridgegate” proper may not be David Samson’s largest worry, nor the reason he resigned. The North Jersey article linked above notes
The Record reported last month that Samson had voted in favor of giving NJ Transit a $1-a-year lease for a North Bergen parking lot it had previously paid more than $900,000 a year for at the same time his law firm was representing the state agency. Samson later said the vote was a clerical error and that he meant to recuse himself.
There may be much more where this came from, as well, but none of it is good news for the Christie administration. They face two ongoing investigations into not just “Bridgegate,” but also what appears to be a host of other potential misdeeds of the cronyism and patronage variety (though of course the US Attorney’s office will be rigorously tight-lipped as they usually are in such cases). In short, “Trish Trishtie’s” splashily-announced exoneration last Thursday was little more than a sideshow to the ongoing investigations which have real teeth and which still pose a significant problem for Christie. My guess is that Christie realized that he cannot control the course or the results of either of those other two real investigations, so he made the calculated decision that returning the results of his whitewash investigation before the other two at least allowed his allies to attempt to claim the other investigations “contradict the facts” and are therefore biased or politically-motivated. If Christie’s internal investigation returned results after either or both of the independent investigations, then it would be seen as even more an abject attempt at damage control and whitewash than it already does. In such a case, it seems clear Team Christie chose the least-bad option, and released their findings when they could still hope to possibly control, or at least alter the course of, the debate. However, with two potent investigations Christie cannot meaningfully influence still steaming along, the results of Christie’s investigation are a mere temporary flash of good news. The resignation of David Samson, on the other hand, indicates the severity and persistence of the problems facing the Christie administration.
The indispensable Charles P. Pierce of Esquire magazine (and Idiot America) fame apparently reads The Weakly Standard (so we don’t have to). Lord knows I wouldn’t otherwise have caught this bit of warmongering slaver from William Kristol (of PNAC and various other war cheerleading efforts) “fame,” because I simply do not read Kristol. There just isn’t any need for a thinking person to do so, Kristol’s position is always: bombs away!
If you’ve somehow managed to live such a charmed life that you’ve never encountered Kristol’s dry-yet-vivid, clenched-jawed, Niedermeyeresque exhortations of the martial virtues and are thus unsure what I’m talking about, go read his mercifully short war-drum banging on Ukraine (one assumes, though Kristol never actually gets around to specifically mentioning the tensions in Crimea, opting instead for a whiny-sounding screed regarding our nation’s general lack of enthusiasm for most war). It will give you a basis upon which to appreciate the consumptive loathing in Pierce’s reply. Here’s just the opening sentence:
Blow me, you monstrous, bloodthirsty fraud, you silly, stupid chickenhawk motherfker who plays army man with the children of people who are so much better than you are, and who would feed innocent civilians in lands you will never visit into your own personal meatgrinder to service your semi-annual martial erection.
As Atrios used to say: heh, indeedy.
Dianne Feinstein (D-NSA) is shocked – SHOCKED! – that
gambling spying is going on!
Feinstein three weeks ago (on the NSA spying on Americans, and Edward Snowden revealing it):
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) offered a full-throated defense of the government’s collection of data on billions of American phone calls, saying Wednesday that the National Security Agency’s practices have safeguarded the nation without trampling on civil liberties.
Feinstein this week (on the CIA spying on her and her staff):
Feinstein, who said she was making her statement “reluctantly”, confirmed recent reports that CIA officials had been accused of monitoring computer networks used by Senate staff investigators. Going further than previously, she referred openly to recent attempts by the CIA to remove documents from the network detailing evidence of torture that would incriminate intelligence officers.
She also alleged that anonymous CIA officials were effectively conducting a smear campaign in the media to discredit and “intimidate” Senate staff by suggesting they had hacked into the agency’s computers to obtain a separate, critical internal report on the detention and interrogation programme.
It hardly needs to be said, but if anyone’s still unclear, this is a particularly vivid example of one of the main things wrong with our political class, Republicans and (unfortunately) Democrats.
TPM has the story: McCain: Obama Is ‘Near Delusional’ In Thinking The Cold War Was Over -
“I think many things and I’ll try to be brief,” McCain told Andrea Mitchell on “MSNBC.” “One is a fundamental understanding of Vladimir Putin. They have been near delusional in thinking the Cold War was over.”
“Maybe the President thinks the Cold War is over,” he added, “but Vladimir Putin doesn’t and that’s what this is all about.”
I feel certain the President will waste no time taking to heart these comments from the least popular Senator in the country.
Via a conservative friend on Twitter, I see ol’ Rupert Murdoch essentially laid down his media empire’s marching orders for the foreseeable future, at least as far as New York City’s new leadership is concerned:
Now that I think about it, perhaps Sean Hannity’s whine earlier in February that he was leaving New York because of all the taxes was the first shot across the bow of the new initiative from the News Corp empire. True or not, watching Murdoch tweet “big mess ahead,” anyone with knowledge of how he operates should automatically append either “…I hope” to Murdoch’s last sentence of that tweet, or prepend it with “I will make it my mission to do what I can to ensure there will be…”
Because anyone who’s been paying attention even a little bit over the decades knows that’s simply how Murdoch operates. This song’s from 1984, for Chrissaskes! “Recession,” by Attila the Stockbroker off the Sawdust and Empire album (listen to the last verse for the Murdoch nod):
Anyway, buckle up, New York. It seems clear “Uncle Rupert” is comin’ for ya, now that the big, bad leftists have taken over.
According to it’s just-published list of featured speakers, only 3 of the 22 featured speakers at this year’s CPAC conference’s are women. Over at HuffPo, Kate Sheppard does the math to conclude that’s a whopping 12%.
Hey, don’t laugh: at least they made it Into double digits…percentage-wise.
The real gem Sheppard uncovered is the panel discussion entitled “Why Conservatism is Right for Women: How Conservatives Should Talk About Life, Prosperity & National Security.”
Good luck with that, fellas.
I actually uncovered some old footage of a similar panel from last year’s CPAC: