disgrace

The Pruitt Watch (#swampstyle)

#DrainTheSwamp | #WhatTheyVotedFor

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt speaks to employees in Washington, D.C., 21 February 2017. (Photo: Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

The lede from Bloomberg ought to be enough—

President Donald Trump called his embattled environmental chief Monday to assure him his job is safe amid mounting scrutiny of Scott Pruitt’s travel, hiring practices and an unorthodox condo rental arrangement last year, according to two administration officials.

—to beg the question: So, the clock is ticking, then, right?

(more…)

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A Note on Family Values in Michigan

Michigan state Reps. Todd Courser (R-82) and Cindy Gamrat (R-80); the two Tea Party, Christian conservative Republicans confessed to an extramarital affair after audio recordings emerged in which Mr. Courser attempted to create a false smear campaign accusing himself of patronizing a gay prostitute in Lansing.

Yeah, that’s going to happen:

Two Michigan lawmakers who were forced from office over an extramarital affair and a convoluted cover-up scheme lost longshot bids Tuesday to win back their seats.

Tea party leaders Todd Courser, who resigned rather than be expelled, and Cindy Gamrat, who was kicked out, sought the Republican nominations in special primary elections, which came less than two months after their Sept. 11 ouster.

(Eggert)

The report from Associated Press also notes the tally; Mr. Courser, who failed to mastermind a scheme to discredit himself with a false story involving a nonexistent gay prostitute and a Lansing nightclub, drew four percent of the vote. That is to say, four hundred fifteen voters in Michigan wanted to send his hypocritical, lying family values back to the legislature. Mrs. Gamrat, by comparison, got nine percent in her district; nine hundred twelve voters want to reward her adulterous family values.

To the other, it’s not a fair indictment of family values in Michigan. Some values voters in those districts got the hint. And, besides, there are plenty of other reasons to indict values voters in Michigan; staining the lot of them with these two disgraces unto God and humanity alike is just piling on.

David Eggert continues his AP report:

“I told the voters they should have the opportunity to decide,” Courser told WWJ-AM. He said he could not overcome the “political headwinds,” which “were unlike anything I’d ever experienced.”

An emotional Gamrat told reporters that regardless of what voters heard or believed, “I worked really hard for them when I was there” in Lansing. “It was a tremendous honor to serve. … My infidelity was wrong, but I don’t think it warranted and merited the maligning of my character that I had on me and my family day after day in the news.”

It really is hard to feel sorry for someone who feels her character is maligned by her own awful hypocrisy. Look, ordinarily adultery is left to the people doing it. I really don’t care if Mr. Courser or Mrs. Gamrat cheat on their spouses. I really don’t care, except perhaps in that abstract way that such things aren’t healthy for the society, if these family-values Christians betray their children.

Except that’s the thing. They are family-values Christians who have denigrated and maligned many along the way in their quest to harm others in Jesus’ name. So, yes, Mrs. Gamrat would wisely better bet her critics are enjoying the hell out of themselves watching her flail cluelessly.

That she and her Mr. Courser are disgraces unto God is between them and God, except for the fact that they made it between them and the rest of Michigan and the nation, as well.

And then they decided to go and give it another try.

Mrs. Gamrat, especially, would be wise to remember that every time she tries to play herself off as some sort of victim someone, somewhere will haul out this pillory. And, really, the adultery wouldn’t matter to some of us at all, except that they asked it should.

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Eggert, David. “2 disgraced Michigan lawmakers lose bids to win old seats”. Daily Camera. 4 November 2015.

A Congressional Fire Drill

Huang reflects on a mission barely accomplished. (Darker Than Black, ep. 14)

Bring your own analysis.

Roll Call has been busy trying to make heads and tails of House Republicans:

John T. Bennett: “Deputy Whip Tom Cole, R-Okla., and House Freedom Caucus founding member Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., did agree on two things. They both see Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., as the leading candidate to take over as speaker. And they believe a government shutdown will be averted by a stopgap spending bill passed within the next few days.”

Emma Dumain: “Sources confirmed to CQ Roll Call Saturday afternoon that in the event Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., makes a play for majority leader, Conference Vice Chairwoman Lynn Jenkins, R-Kan., would look to move up one slot.”

David Eldridge and Matt Fuller“House Speaker John A. Boehner has a word of warning, straight out of the Bible, for fellow Republicans: ‘Beware false prophets’.”

David Hawkings: “The trend of past three decades will surely make California’s Kevin McCarthy, or whoever ascends to the presiding officer’s chair, extremely wary about his career’s trajectory over the long term — even after this fall’s latest internal Republican revolution gets put to rest.”

Catching up with some of the details that might have slipped by unnoticed, we can turn to The Hill:

Jordain Carney: “Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said Friday that Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) was ‘unable to control’ his party and that his resignation could leave Republicans increasingly ‘out of touch.'”

Cristina Marcos: “Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.) announced late Friday he will run for House majority whip, just hours after Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) announced his resignation.”

Mark Meckler: “Ding, dong … John Boehner is gone. Long live the tea party movement.”

Bradford Richardson: “‘Taking care of this leadership issue was a pretty selfless act that Speaker Boehner decided to make a little bit easier for everyone,’ Priebus said told host John Catsimatidis on AM 970 New York on Sunday. ‘I might imagine he would have been able to hang on, but the truth is he’s just not the type of guy to put up with it, so he just said, ‘Forget it, I’ll move on’.'”

And a check of the chatter:

Zoë Carpenter (The Nation): “ Let’s get one thing clear about John Boehner: His problem was not that his position on abortion was too liberal.”

Heather Cox Richardson (Salon): “Movement Conservatives just claimed the head of House Speaker John Boehner. His political death was the price of preventing a catastrophic government shutdown after Movement Conservatives in Congress tied the very survival of the United States government to their determination to defund Planned Parenthood. Movement Conservatives are gunning for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell next. We should be very afraid. Boehner and McConnell are not wild-eyed lefties. They are on the very far right of the American political spectrum: fervently pro-business, antiabortion, opposed to social welfare legislation. But they are old-school politicians who still have faith in the idea of American democracy.”

David Lawder (Reuters): “Thus far, a serious challenger to McCarthy has not emerged, though some Republican aides said that House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling is weighing a run. A Hensarling spokesman could not be reached for comment.”

Michael McAuliff, Laura Barron-Lopez, and Sam Stein (Huffington Post): “House Speaker John Boehner may be able to leave office on a high note after meeting the pope and potentially averting another government shutdown. But his abrupt departure has many on Capitol Hill fearing it will leave Congress an even worse, more gridlocked institution.

So … right. Good luck with all that. What makes the challenge seem so daunting, of course, is that everything will be obsolete by the time you get through it all. And there is a pervading notion of futility much akin to John Boehner’s speakership; that we might know what has happened, as well as what is expected to happen, does not mean it will happen. This is your House GOP. Enjoy the show. You know. As much as you can.

The Tale of Those Who Left

In southern Brazil, there still exists remnants of the American Confederacy. Each April, the Descendants of American Southerners don hoop skirts and the grey uniform to celebrate their shared history. Thousands of Southerners migrated to Central and South America after finding themselves on the losing side of the war and their relatives are called Confederados. (Photo by Paulo Whitaker/Reuters, 2015)

This seems worth mentioning:

Every April, the Fraternidade Descendencia Americana gather in the south of Brazil to celebrate a strange and incongruous shared history. “Stonewall Jackson’s Way” is piped out of speakers, chicken is fried, and girls in hoop skirts dance to old Dixie tunes. Men in Rebel-gray uniforms with yellow trim browse dozens of stands of Confederate memorabilia. The Confederados, as they’re known, are the descendants of Americans who fled after losing the Civil War. Now, 150 years later and 5,000 miles away, they continue to gather under the banner of the Stars and Bars to pay homage to their ancestry.

The setting for this festival is Santa Barbara d’Oeste, which abuts a 200,000-person municipality called Americana. It’s there that a long-forgotten enclave of Confederate descendants rebuilt their lives in the years after the War between the States. At a time when the Confederate flag has sparked tension and protests anew across the United States, this small community in South America still celebrates its controversial history with a fervor.

(Strohlic)

(more…)

Oklahoma Virtue

Detail of 'Lucifer', by Franz von Stuck, 1890.

Oklahoma. Republicans. Of course they did:

The Food Stamp Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is proud to be distributing this year the greatest amount of free Meals and Food Stamps ever, to 46 million people. Meanwhile, the National Park Service, administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior, asks us "Please Do Not Feed the Animals." Their stated reason for the policy is because "The animals will grow dependent on handouts and not learn to take care of themselves." Thus ends today's lesson in irony #OKGOP. (Oklahoma Republican Party, via Facebook, 13 July 2015)The Oklahoma Republican Party is under fire after a controversial Facebook post.

In the post, the Oklahoma GOP compared providing food stamp benefits for Americans in need to feeding animals at national parks.

“The Food Stamp Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is proud to be distributing this year the greatest amount of free Meals and Food Stamps ever, to 46 million people,” the Oklahoma Republican Party said on Facebook. “Meanwhile, the National Park Service, administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior, asks us ‘Please Do Not Feed the Animals.’ Their stated reason for the policy is because ‘The animals will grow dependent on handouts and will not learn to take care of themselves.’ Thus ends today’s lesson in irony #OKGOP.”

(Franklin)

The KFOR report notes the predictable negative reaction, including the obvious question about comparing people to wild animals, an invocation of the words of Jesus Christ, and an identifying conservative denouncing the “counterproductive” “disgrace” and “awful taste” of the post.

Which leaves only the other obvious question: What the hell is wrong with the Oklahoma GOP?

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Image notes: Top ― Detail of Lucifer, by Franz von Stuck, 1890. RightImage of Facebook post by Oklahoma Republican Party, 13 July 2015.

Franklin, Dallas. “Oklahoma Republican Party under fire after controversial Facebook post”. 14 July 2015.

Another O’Reilly Scandal, Can You Imagine?

Bill O'Reilly appeared on 'CBS This Morning' in 2012 to promote his book, 'Killing Kennedy'.  The infamous FOX News host received much criticism in the wake of accusations that he lied about his coverage of the Falkland Islands war.  Now, former colleagues accuse that O'Reilly fabricated an account of his witness to the suicide of Kennedy assassination witness George de Mohrenschildt.  (Image credit: CBS/Media Matters for America)

“Bill O’Reilly’s a phony, there’s no other way to put it.”

Tracy Rowlett

So, you know, like, if I told you Bill O’Reilly has been called out for another famous falsehood in his reportage, would you be all, like, “O … M … G … I mean, really?” or would you be all, like, you know, like, “And?”

Bill O’Reilly has repeatedly claimed he personally “heard” a shotgun blast that killed a figure in the investigation into President John F. Kennedy’s assassination while reporting for a Dallas television station in 1977. O’Reilly’s claim is implausible and contradicted by his former newsroom colleagues who denied the tale in interviews with Media Matters. A police report, contemporaneous reporting, and a congressional investigator who was probing Kennedy’s death further undermine O’Reilly’s story.

(Dimiero, Hananoki and Strupp)

‘Cause, you know, like, what, are we supposed to be freakin’ surprised or something?

Totally.

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Dimiero, Ben, Eric Hananoki and Joe Strupp. “O’Reilly Lied About Suicide Of JFK Assassination Figure, Former Colleagues Say”. Media Matters for America. 24 February 2015.

A Peek Into the Latest Republican Tantrum

Detail of cartoon by Jen Sorensen, 24 February 2015, via Daily Kos Comics.Perhaps the whole brouhaha with Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) seems confusing; we would not blame anyone for wondering whence it comes. But, to the other, it does not arise ex nihilo.

Jen Sorensen offers a peek at the answer, and it really is about as stupid as you might imagine.

Really.

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Sorensen, Jen. “Punditspew, ISIS edition”. Daily Kos Comics. 24 February 2015.

Milbank, Dana. “Scott Walker’s cowardice should disqualify him”. The Washington Post. 20 February 2015.

A Nation in Shame

The vote sidetracking the bill was 56-41, with supporters falling four votes short of the 60 they needed to prevail. Sens. Jerry Moran of Kansas and Dean Heller of Nevada were the only Republicans voting to keep the legislation alive and the only lawmakers crossing party lines on the vote.

Associated Press

Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT, stands in defeat after a divided Senate derailed Democratic legislation providing $21 billion for medical, education and job-training benefits for the nation's veterans, as the bill fell victim to election-year disputes over spending and whether to slap sanctions on Iran, Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014, on Capitol Hill in Washington.  (J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press)