wingnut

A Fifth of Flynn

#PutiTrump | #WhatTheyVotedFor

Retired Gen. Michael Flynn, President-elect Donald Trump's incoming National Security Adviser, listens during the presidential inaugural Chairman's Global Dinner, Tuesday, 17 January 2017, in Washington, D.C. (AP Photo)

How many nuts could a wingnut lug if a wingnut could lug nuts? Or, the lede from Chad Day and Stephen Braun of Associated Press:

President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in rebuffing a subpoena Monday in the investigation into Russia’s election meddling. Then a top House Democrat cited new evidence he said appeared to show Flynn lied on a security clearance background check.

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Irrationality

Detail of 'Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal' by Zach Weiner, 28 March 2015.Science and love can be a dangerous mixture. That is to say, to the one we find great value in science, especially in this day when societal footing is delicate owing to the myriad potsherds cast about by pseudoscientists, anti-scientists, and their political organization―the GOP.

To the other, though, we’ve all known someone with an advanced degree who happens to be inept in human relations or some other everyday aspect of living in civilized society.

In this case, a chemist didn’t think it through. Because, you know, human beings are irrational, and science isn’t.

Just sayin’.

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Weiner, Zach. “Carbon Bonding”. Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal. 28 March 2015.

The Ted Cruz Show (April’s Fool)

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) during the Reuters Washington Summit in Washington, October 24, 2013. (Jim Bourg/Reuters)

Because the day ends in -y:

When Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz became the first politician to officially announce his presidential campaign last week, he repeated a familiar mantra to his audience at Virginia’s Liberty University.

“Instead of a federal government that seeks to dictate school curriculum through Common Core, imagine repealing every word of Common Core,” the Texas politician said to roaring applause.

The only problem? The Common Core State Standards are not enshrined in any federal law, and therefore cannot be repealed.

(Klein)

We might pause for a moment to consider the Texas junior in the context of Republicans and government. After all, if the purpose of government in Republican hands is to repeal laws that don’t exist, there might be a reason government in Republican hands just doesn’t work.

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Klein, Rebecca. “Watch Ted Cruz Repeatedly Say He Wants To Repeal Something That’s Not A Federal Law”. The Huffington Post. 1 April 2015.

Prognostication

Detail of 'This Modern World' by Tom Tomorrow, 23 March 2015, via Daily Kos Comics.You know, with all the diversity in the right-wing tinfoil and wingnut sectors, it is sometimes hard to choose. Then again, misogyny tends to stand out. Trump talks to plot a place in politics; Lindsey Graham belabors Benghazi; a sense of inevitability about a Bush-Clinton grudge match has a wearying effect even as the ponies register for the sideshow.

But misogyny perches on a precarious pedestal. The 2012 debacle caught so many off guard, yet the signs were all there. The Tea Party Revolution set out to remake the House in its own image, trying to distinguish between statutory and other forms of rape. Even Ron Paul had his go, waxing furiously about “honest” rape, but perhaps we gave him a pass for being from Texas, or simply for being Ron Paul. Mitt Romney stumbled over Blunt-Rubio, and Republicans dragged birth control back into controversy.

And this year everyone looks to Hillary Clinton, the one person in Washington who should be sick and tired of State of the Union Addresses, having attended some twenty of them as First Lady, United States Senator, and Secretary of State. If men have reason to fret about their penises, they ought not wag them about as the glass ceiling shatters.

Misogyny really could be the show. As Republicans hope to lipstick wage inequality (Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-TN07) and women’s health (Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-NC05), compel rape and trafficking survivors to bear assailants’ children, and, well, run a presidential election against a female candidate, don’t ignore this impish hatred.

No, seriously, at this point, who will be the least bad on women’s rights? Jeb Bush? Perhaps the most alarming aspect of that suggestion is that even having seen just how poorly Mitt Romney’s campaign went over, we might wonder how well Jeb will or won’t handle these issues. Certes he can’t be as bad as Romney was on Blunt-Rubio; then again, after Cory Gardner’s ascension to the Senate, we might have reason to wonder if it really matters one way or another. They are, in the end, Republicans.

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Tomorrow, Tom. “A sneak peek”. This Modern World. Daily Kos. 23 March 2015.

Snow Day Tinfoil

Andrea Tantaros, of FOX News.

One of life’s blessings is that our society includes plenty who watch FOX News so the rest of us don’t have to suffer through it. Meanwhile, of course, tinfoil conspiracy theories are the new black among conservatives, and especially since the House Republican finding that there was no conspiracy theory to hide what happened at Benghazi only serves as proof of how good the conspiracy theory is, well, Republicans are struggling―to put it kindly―for new traction.

Oh, come on. At the intersection of FOX News and tinfoil? You know it’s going to be … amazing.

Fox News host Andrea Tantaros and Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) asserted on Monday that liberals were using snow days as a plot to remove religious holidays from schools ....Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI07)

.... On Monday’s edition of Outnumbered, Fox News host Jedediah Bila argued that schools should start earlier to “avoid angering this religious group or that religious group, and let everyone have their religious holiday.”

But Duffy said that there was something more sinister going on.

“That makes too much sense,” the Wisconsin Republican quipped. “Don’t let any good crisis go to waste, and if you want to take religion out of the public square, look at Boston and look at all the snow and say, ‘What a great reason now, we can take these religious holidays out of our school system.’”

“It’s using the crisis to the liberal benefit,” he added.

(Edwards)

If Mr. Duffy’s name sounds familiar, the Congressman from Wisconsin’s Seventh was last seen dancing with infamy last month, when he sounded off with the losing faction of a Republican rift about vaccination.

Three words: Republican quality standards.

Oh, right, that’s too complicated. One word: Vetting.

As to FOX News, no words will suffice that have not already fallen away from their deaf souls.

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Edwards, David. “Fox News host Andrea Tantaros: Snow days are a liberal plot to strip schools of religious holidays”. The Raw Story. 16 March 2015.

Acevedo, Nicole. “GOP rep: Vaccinating children should be parents’ choice”. msnbc. 3 February 2015.

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The Arkansas Junior

“Cocky, blindly partisan and, by measures I happen to agree with, a ‘complete crackpot,’ Cotton’s ‘open letter to the Islamic Republic of Iran,’ amazingly co-signed by 46 ostensibly older and wiser Senators, managed to further politicize the Middle East peace process and throw President Obama’s diplomatic negotiations with Iran into turmoil.”

John Cole

It’s a one-two punch:

Editorial cartoon by John Cole, The Times-Tribune, 13 March 2015.This apparently is fine and dandy with Cotton. People are talking about him, after all, which in the dysfunctional universe of DC politics counts for more than actual substance or accomplishment. And he’s most certainly keeping his deep-pocketed, pro-war, right-wing supporters in the Israel lobby happy. In fact, I’d go so far as to suggest that Cotton will be a better senator for them than for the people of Arkansas or the United States.

We might sugest filing under, “Ouch”, but the Arkansas junior is so punch-druk that he probably doesn’t feel the blow.

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Cole, John. “Child’s play”. The Times-Tribune. 13 March 2015.

Just Another Day in Conservative Insanity

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) in undated photo by Susan Walsh/AP.

Sigh.

A brief summary, via Steve Benen:

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) looked a little silly when he argued Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) may face criminal charges because he disagrees with the White House on Iranian policy. Yesterday, however, he quickly discovered he had some company among Republicans who were equally eager to appear foolish.

Yesterday morning, for example, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) suggested he’s sympathetic to the conspiracy theory, too ....

.... By yesterday afternoon, Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) went even further ....

.... Conservative media figures from Fox News and the Wall Street Journal are on board, too.

The point-by-point is actually kind of excruciating, but mainly in the context that someone actually needed to say it.

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A Texas Blooper

House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions, R-Texas, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, May 7, 2014.  (J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo)

“Every day, all along border states, maybe other places, there are murders by people who have been arrested coming into this country, who have been released by the Obama administration, I believe in violation of the law, who are murdering Americans all over our cities. We hold the Democrat Party and the president personally accountable for this action”

Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX32)

The phrase is, “Can of corn”.

With a blooper so facially ridiculous that even a newspaper fact checker wants in on the action, Rep. Pete Sessions, hardly a man known for dignity and restraint, aimed for the bleachers.

Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) accused President Barack Obama and Democrats Thursday evening of continually releasing undocumented immigrants who are murdering Americans.

“Every day, all along border states, maybe other places, there are murders by people who have been arrested coming into this country, who have been released by the Obama administration, I believe in violation of the law, who are murdering Americans all over our cities,” the Rules Committee chairman said at a meeting while discussing Obama’s deportation relief policies. “We hold the Democrat Party and the president personally accountable for this action.”

The comment came during a discussion of a funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security, which many Republicans believe needs to include measures to block Obama’s executive actions on immigration. Congress must pass funding for DHS by the end of Friday to avoid a shutdown, and House Republicans are planning to vote on a three-week bill.

(Foley)

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An Interesting Point About King v. Burwell

Ah, Gail Collins:

Here is how great the Affordable Care Act is doing: The Supreme Court is about to hear a challenge to the law, filed on behalf of four Virginia plaintiffs, who claim to have suffered grievous harm by being forced to either buy health coverage or pay a penalty. Lately, reporters have been trying to track down this quartet of pain, and discovered they are:Gail Collins, columnist for the New York Times.

— A 64-year-old limo driver who does not seem to be required to do anything under the Affordable Care Act because the cost of even a very cheap health care plan would be more than 8 percent of his income. (People who have to pay more than 8 percent are allowed to just opt out of the whole program and stay blissfully uninsured.) Also, he’s a Vietnam veteran and thus presumably eligible for free veteran’s health care, making the whole discussion even more irrelevant.

— A 63-year old man in Virginia Beach who would apparently have been eligible for stupendous savings on health insurance under the new law. And who is also a veteran.

— A woman who listed her address as a motel where she hasn’t been staying since late 2013. And wherever she is, she probably wouldn’t have any Obamacare problems because of the 8 percent rule.

— A 64-year-old woman who seemed to have little or no idea what the case was about. “I don’t like the idea of throwing people off their health insurance,” she told Stephanie Mencimer of Mother Jones.The New York Times

That plaintiff, an anti-gay rights activist, also told Mencimer that because of previous health problems, she faced insurance costs of $1,500 a month, a vastly higher premium than she’d pay under Obamacare. Also, The Wall Street Journal determined that her annual rate of pay as a substitute teacher was so low she, too, should be off the hook because of the 8 percent rule. Also, she’s about to qualify for Medicare.

Comments by some of the plaintiffs did suggest that they experienced serious pain over the fact that Barack Obama is president. “… When he was elected, he got his Muslim people to vote for him, that’s how he won,” one told Facebook.

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What Americans Wanted

Rep Trey Gowdy (R-SC04), chair of the House Select Committee on Benghazi Conspiracy Theories.  (Photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP).

Post-something?

The election of President Obama in 2008 was heralded by some as the beginning of a “post-racial” society; then reality set in and Republicans reminded us why that hope had not come to pass.

President Obama himself hoped to be a “post-partisan” president; then reality set in and Republicans reminded us why that could not happen.

Some have gone so far as to speculate that the GOP has become “post-policy”, and there is considerable evidence for that argument.

But on Benghazi, Republicans appear to have set a new standard. Post-reality? It is hard to say.

Speaker John A. Boehner announced Monday he will reappoint Rep. Trey Gowdy as chairman of the Select Committee on the September 11, 2012, terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya in the 114th Congress.

“On September 11, 2012, four Americans were killed in a brutal terrorist attack in Libya. Two years later, the American people still have far too many questions about what happened that night — and why,” Boehner said in a statement. “That’s why I will reappoint Rep. Trey Gowdy and the Republican members of the House Select Committee to investigate the events in Benghazi in the 114th Congress. I look forward to the definitive report Chairman Gowdy and the Select Committee will present to the American people.”

(Eldridge)

Let us consider:

The House Intelligence Committee, the Senate Intelligence Committee, the House Armed Services Committee, and the State Department’s independent Accountability Review Board have all published reports on the 2012 attack, and each found the same thing: none of the conspiracy theories are true.

In addition, the attack has been scrutinized by the Senate Armed Services Committee, the Senate Homeland Security Committee, the House Oversight Committee, and the House Foreign Affairs Committee, each of which has held hearings, and each of which failed to find even a shred of evidence to bolster the conspiracy theorists.

Do Boehner and other Republicans believe their own allies are somehow in on the conspiracy? That GOP lawmakers in the House and Senate have somehow been co-opted into hiding imaginary evidence?

(Benen)

There is no point in complaining. This sort of determined paranoia is exactly what Americans just voted for.

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Eldridge, David. “Boehner Reappoints Gowdy to Head Benghazi Panel”. Roll Call. 24 November 2014.

Benen, Steve. “When even ‘definitive’ isn’t enough for the House GOP”. msnbc. 25 November 2014.