A Few Snarky Snippets

Once again, the urge to be snarky is upon me … well, in truth I can’t remember the last time I didn’t feel the urge to be snarky!  There is just so much wrong these days … it’s either let it out, else it will explode and pieces of me will be scattered for miles!


Persona non grata – even by Republicans!

I hear that Mike Lindell, that infamous pillow dude who was a chief boot-licker of the former guy, isn’t doing so well these days.  First, back in February he was sued by Dominion Voting Systems for $1.3 billion in a defamation suit accusing him of repeatedly and falsely saying that Dominion’s voting machines had stolen the election for Biden.

Then there’s his company, MyPillow, that has got to be suffering, considering that numerous stores have stopped carrying his product as a result of his political views, though most claim it was because of poor sales or a “change in marketing strategy”.  Among those are large retailers such as Kohls, Bed Bath and Beyond, Costco, and QVC.

But the icing on the cake for ol’ Mikey came this week when he flew to Nashville, Tennessee, to attend a 3-day event of the Republican Governor’s Association (RGA) to which he claimed he was invited, only to be denied entrance!  Almost immediately upon arriving at his Nashville hotel, Lindell was told by an event coordinator that he would not be allowed to attend any of the events or meetings.  Lindell tried to join transportation for members only for a dinner at the Tennessee Governor’s Mansion and was denied.

It must have been a bit of a slap-in-the-face, since Lindell has attended previous meetings of the RGA, including the winter 2020 meeting, where a few Republican governors encouraged him to run for governor of Minnesota.  Lindell gave up and flew back home to Minnesota on Tuesday.


Yep, another mass shooting today

This time it was in San Jose, California, at a maintenance and dispatch center for the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority.  Since it’s only been a few hours, details are sketchy but there are, according to the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office, “multiple injuries and multiple fatalities”.  The gunman is reported to be dead.

Interestingly, the shooter’s house was also found to be on fire … not sure what the connection is, but no doubt further details will be forthcoming.  Meanwhile, I’m sure members of Congress are sending their completely useless “thoughts and prayers” while pocketing their latest donations from the NRA.


About damn time!

Yesterday the Senate voted to confirm a Black woman, Kristen Clarke, to lead the Civil Rights Division within the Department of Justice.  About time!  She is the first Black woman to lead the department … a department that specifically deals with issues of racial and gender injustice!

The Republicans in the Senate, naturally, fear her and only one, Susan Collins of Maine, voted to confirm her.  Said the infamous and ignoble Senator Ted Cruz …

“Kristen Clarke is a radical extremist with a laundry list of concerning issues plaguing her nomination that go far beyond her support for defunding the police.”

The reality is that Clarke said during her confirmation hearing that she is opposed to stripping police departments of their budgets. Instead, she lent support to the idea of reallocating money within departments to make sure law enforcement officers can do their jobs more safely.  Really sounds like a ‘radical extremist’, doesn’t she?

Cruz and the other republican naysayers would do well to remember that the Civil Rights Division, created by the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1957, is to …

“… uphold the civil and constitutional rights of all Americans, particularly some of the most vulnerable members of our society. The Division enforces federal statutes prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity), disability, religion, familial status, national origin, and citizenship status.”

The Republicans ‘nay’ votes further confirm my contention that the Republican Party has become very much a racist, misogynist party.  Just what we don’t need.

Congratulations to Ms. Clarke!


A Sensible Republican — Last Of A Dying Breed

The day of the sensible, reasonable, intelligent Republican seems to be long gone.  Way back when, I’ve even voted for Republicans, but I cannot picture ever doing so again, for the party has devolved into something ugly … a bunch who would rather burn down this nation than compromise, than meet Democrats on some middle ground.  John Boehner was one of the last Republicans for whom I had a great deal of respect, though I often disagreed with him.  He has written a book, due out on Tuesday, April 13th, that I have pre-ordered and plan to read.  What follows is an excerpt from that book, and I think you’ll be surprised when you read some of his words.

In the 2010 midterm election, voters from all over the place gave President Obama what he himself called “a shellacking.” And oh boy, was it ever. You could be a total moron and get elected just by having an R next to your name—and that year, by the way, we did pick up a fair number in that category.

Retaking control of the House of Representatives put me in line to be the next Speaker of the House over the largest freshman Republican class in history: 87 newly elected members of the GOP. Since I was presiding over a large group of people who’d never sat in Congress, I felt I owed them a little tutorial on governing. I had to explain how to actually get things done. A lot of that went straight through the ears of most of them, especially the ones who didn’t have brains that got in the way. Incrementalism? Compromise? That wasn’t their thing. A lot of them wanted to blow up Washington. That’s why they thought they were elected.

Some of them, well, you could tell they weren’t paying attention because they were just thinking of how to fundraise off of outrage or how they could get on Hannity that night. Ronald Reagan used to say something to the effect that if I get 80 or 90 percent of what I want, that’s a win. These guys wanted 100 percent every time. In fact, I don’t think that would satisfy them, because they didn’t really want legislative victories. They wanted wedge issues and conspiracies and crusades.

To them, my talk of trying to get anything done made me a sellout, a dupe of the Democrats, and a traitor. Some of them had me in their sights from day one. They saw me as much of an “enemy” as the guy in the White House. Me, a guy who had come to the top of the leadership by exposing corruption and pushing conservative ideas. Now I was a “liberal collaborator.” So that took some getting used to. What I also had not anticipated was the extent to which this new crowd hated—and I mean hated—Barack Obama.

By 2011, the right-wing propaganda nuts had managed to turn Obama into a toxic brand for conservatives. When I was first elected to Congress, we didn’t have any propaganda organization for conservatives, except maybe a magazine or two like National Review. The only people who used the internet were some geeks in Palo Alto. There was no Drudge Report. No Breitbart. No kooks on YouTube spreading dangerous nonsense like they did every day about Obama.

“He’s a secret Muslim!”

“He hates America!”

“He’s a communist!”

And of course the truly nutty business about his birth certificate. People really had been brainwashed into believing Barack Obama was some Manchurian candidate planning to betray America.

Mark Levin was the first to go on the radio and spout off this crazy nonsense. It got him ratings, so eventually he dragged Hannity and Rush to Looneyville along with him. My longtime friend Roger Ailes, the head of Fox News, was not immune to this. He got swept into the conspiracies and the paranoia and became an almost unrecognizable figure.

I’d known Ailes for a long time, since his work with George H.W. Bush in the early 1990s. He’d gone to college in Ohio, and since we had that connection, he sought me out at some event and introduced himself. Years later, in August of 1996, when I was in San Diego for the Republican National Convention, I ended up having dinner with Ailes and a veteran broadcasting executive named Rupert Murdoch. At that dinner they told me all about this new TV network they were starting. I had no idea I was listening to the outline of something that would make my life a living hell down the line. Sure enough, that October, Fox News hit the airwaves.

I kept in touch with Roger and starting in the early 2000s, I’d stop in and see him whenever I was in New York for fundraisers. We’d shoot the breeze and talk politics. We got to know each other pretty well.

Murdoch, on the other hand, was harder to know. Sometimes he’d invite me to watch the Super Bowl in the Fox box, or he’d stop by the office. Wherever he was, you could tell he was the man in charge. He was a businessman, pure and simple. He cared about ratings and the bottom line. He also wanted to make sure he was ahead of any political or policy developments coming down the line. He was always asking who was up, who was down, what bills could pass and what couldn’t. If he entertained any of the kooky conspiracy theories that started to take over his network, he kept it a secret from me. But he clearly didn’t have a problem with them if they helped ratings.

At some point after the 2008 election, something changed with my friend Roger Ailes. I once met him in New York during the Obama years to plead with him to put a leash on some of the crazies he was putting on the air. It was making my job trying to accomplish anything conservative that much harder. I didn’t expect this meeting to change anything, but I still thought it was bullshit, and I wanted Roger to know it.

When I put it to him like that, he didn’t have much to say. But he did go on and on about the terrorist attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, which he thought was part of a grand conspiracy that led back to Hillary Clinton. Then he outlined elaborate plots by which George Soros and the Clintons and Obama (and whoever else came to mind) were trying to destroy him.

“They’re monitoring me,” he assured me about the Obama White House. He told me he had a “safe room” built so he couldn’t be spied on. His mansion was being protected by combat-ready security personnel, he said. There was a lot of conspiratorial talk. It was like he’d been reading whacked-out spy novels all weekend.

And it was clear that he believed all of this crazy stuff. I walked out of that meeting in a daze. I just didn’t believe the entire federal government was so terrified of Roger Ailes that they’d break about a dozen laws to bring him down. I thought I could get him to control the crazies, and instead I found myself talking to the president of the club. One of us was crazy. Maybe it was me.

I have no idea what the relationship between Ailes and Murdoch was like, or if Ailes ever would go off on these paranoid tangents during meetings with his boss. But Murdoch must have thought Ailes was good for business, because he kept him in his job for years.

Places like Fox News were creating the wrong incentives. Sean Hannity was one of the worst. I’d known him for years, and we used to have a good relationship. But then he decided he felt like busting my ass every night on his show. So one day, in January of 2015, I finally called him and asked: “What the hell?” I wanted to know why he kept bashing House Republicans when we were actually trying to stand up to Obama.

“Well, you guys don’t have a plan,” he whined.

“Look,” I told him, “our plan is pretty simple: we’re just going to stand up for what we believe in as Republicans.”

I guess that wasn’t good enough for him. The conversation didn’t progress very far. At some point I called him a nut. Anyway, it’s safe to say our relationship never got any better.

Besides the homegrown “talent” at Fox, with their choice of guests they were making people who used to be fringe characters into powerful media stars. One of the first prototypes out of their laboratory was a woman named Michele Bachmann.

Bachmann, who had represented Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District since 2007 and made a name for herself as a lunatic ever since, came to meet with me in the busy period in late 2010 after the election. She wanted a seat on the Ways and Means Committee, the most powerful committee in the House. There were many members in line ahead of her for a post like this. People who had waited patiently for their turn and who also, by the way, weren’t wild-eyed crazies.

There was no way she was going to get on Ways and Means, the most prestigious committee in Congress, and jump ahead of everyone else in line. Not while I was Speaker. In earlier days, a member of Congress in her position wouldn’t even have dared ask for something like this. Sam Rayburn would have laughed her out of the city.

So I told her no—diplomatically, of course. But as she kept on talking, it dawned on me. This wasn’t a request of the Speaker of the House. This was a demand.

Her response to me was calm and matter-of-fact. “Well, then I’ll just have to go talk to Sean Hannity and everybody at Fox,” she said, “and Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, and everybody else on the radio, and tell them that this is how John Boehner is treating the people who made it possible for the Republicans to take back the House.”

I wasn’t the one with the power, she was saying. I just thought I was. She had the power now.

She was right, of course.

She was a conservative media darling and, by then, the conservative media was already eyeing me skeptically. She had me where it hurt. Even if I wanted to help her, and I sure as hell didn’t, it wasn’t a decision I had the power to make on my own. That power belongs to a little-known but very important group called the Steering Committee.

I knew there was no way the Steering Committee would approve putting Bachmann on Ways and Means. The votes just weren’t there. If I even pushed the issue, they wouldn’t have let me leave the meeting without fastening me into a straitjacket. But then, Bachmann wouldn’t go on TV and the radio to explain the nuances of House Steering Committee procedure. She’d just rip my head off every night, over and over again. That was a headache I frankly didn’t want or need.

I suggested the House Intelligence committee to Bachmann as an alternative, and mercifully, she liked it. It would be a good perch for anyone wanting to build up their foreign policy chops for a run for president, which she was already considering— Lord help us all. None too pleased was the man preparing to take up the gavel as chairman of the Intelligence Committee, Rep. Mike Rogers from Michigan, an army veteran who had also served in the FBI. So I took my lumps from Rogers, and Bachmann took her seat on the committee.

The funny thing is, Michele Bachmann turned out to be a very focused, hardworking member—even though she spent a few months later in 2011 on a short-lived campaign for president. She showed up to the committee, did her homework, and ended up winning over her fellow members with her dedication. Mike Rogers was impressed—and I have to admit, so was I. The whole situation ended up working out well for everyone. As one of those old Boehnerisms goes, “Get the right people on the bus, and help them find the right seat.”

In January 2011, as the new Republican House majority was settling in and I was getting adjusted to the Speakership, I was asked about the birth certificate business by Brian Williams of NBC News. My answer was simple: “The state of Hawaii has said that President Obama was born there. That’s good enough for me.” It was a simple statement of fact. But you would have thought I’d called Ronald Reagan a communist. I got all kinds of shit for it—emails, letters, phone calls. It went on for a couple weeks. I knew we would hear from some of the crazies, but I was surprised at just how many there really were.

All of this crap swirling around was going to make it tough for me to cut any deals with Obama as the new House Speaker. Of course, it has to be said that Obama didn’t help himself much either. He could come off as lecturing and haughty. He still wasn’t making Republican outreach a priority. But on the other hand—how do you find common cause with people who think you are a secret Kenyan Muslim traitor to America?

Under the new rules of Crazytown, I may have been Speaker, but I didn’t hold all the power. By 2013 the chaos caucus in the House had built up their own power base thanks to fawning right-wing media and outrage-driven fundraising cash. And now they had a new head lunatic leading the way, who wasn’t even a House member. There is nothing more dangerous than a reckless asshole who thinks he is smarter than everyone else. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Senator Ted Cruz. He enlisted the crazy caucus of the GOP in what was a truly dumbass idea. Not that anybody asked me.

Being a Jerk now a Prerequisite for Republican Presidential Nomination

Our friend Jeff has written the post I’ve been pondering, and done it far better than I could have. The Republican Party, the GOP who prides themselves on being “The Party of Lincoln” are failing to live up to that grandeur … not only failing, but they have become the Party of Losers and Liars … and whiners. They no longer have a platform or an ideology, just negativity toward anything the Democrats try to accomplish, and toward the people of this country. Good post … thanks Jeff!

On The Fence Voters

Apparently, being a first-class jerk is a prerequisite for being the front-runner in Republican presidential politics. According to many in the media, current Florida Governor Ron DeSantis sits atop the leaderboard. The real question, though, is why would that be?

Why would a guy who constantly criticizes the media, whines about anti-conservative bias, and flaunts a no mask policy in the middle of a pandemic, be a Republican voter’s first choice to run for the most powerful office in the world?

We’re left to conclude that it’s because most Republican voters kind of like their candidate to be an asshole. They want him or her to be mean to the media. They love it when someone talks tough and owns the libs daily. Oh, and if you have spoken openly about the fallacy of wearing a mask or shutting down economies to slow down the spread of the worst pandemic…

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The Media Misses the Former Guy

Ted Cruz (of Cancun fame) referred to President Biden’s first 50 days as ‘boring’. Heck yeah, and I’m loving it! He’s getting things done, quietly and without the hoopla & controversy of the former guy. Just working and getting things done … things that are for the people. Whatever can he be thinking, eh? The former guy liked to hear himself talk, but accomplished exactly nothing positive for We the People. Biden is quiet, but is accomplishing much for us. Jeff has written about how the media is in withdrawal and seeking to stir things up! Thanks, Jeff!

On The Fence Voters

The mainstream media’s bored. I can imagine what it must be like for them. No longer can they start their day’s news cycle by elevating an insulting tweet, an abundance of lies, or some other kind of moral outrage.

I get it. It’s the same for me these days. I wake up now, grab a cup of coffee and see what’s happening in the news. By my second cup, I’m still maintaining my sanity and my blood pressure. How nice it is to have an actual president of the United States after four years of chaos, incompetence, division, and gas-lighting to the millionth degree.

The American people deserve the break. Our collective mental anguish couldn’t take much more. The Former Guy ruled the media universe for nearly five years, and most of us had had enough. The media, however, must have felt like a jilted girlfriend or boyfriend.

What are…

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Where Are We With Biden’s Cabinet Nominees?

Last week I fully intended to write a post about the status of Joe Biden’s cabinet nominees — who has been confirmed, who hasn’t, etc., but as often happens, my best-laid plans go astray.  This morning I logged on and one of the first things I saw was that TokyoSand has done an assessment and also added some enlightening information, so … again, why re-invent the wheel when she’s done such an excellent job of it?  Thank you, TS!

A quick rundown on President Biden’s Cabinet nominees. Who has been confirmed, who has been approved but not yet received a vote, and who is still stuck in committee.

Between a slow transition thanks to the feet dragging of the previous administration, the second impeachment trial, and then the negotiations to get the American Rescue Plan (COVID relief bill) passed — (pausing to celebrate that achievement!!!) — the Senate has gotten fairly behind getting all of President Biden’s Cabinet positions confirmed.

Normally, a month into a President’s first term, the average is to have about 84% of the Cabinet confirmed. (source) But with Biden, we’ve only seen 13 out of the 23 confirmed, which is only 56%. That said, his Cabinet is already shaping up to be the most diverse in our nation’s history.

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The Week’s Best Cartoons 2/27

This week the cartoonists certainly had plenty of material to work with, from Ted Cruz’ trip to Cancún, to the bigotry of Marjorie Greene to states’ renewed attempts at voter suppression to CPAC and more.  They didn’t let us down, and as she does every week, our friend TokyoSand managed to find the best of the lot!  Thanks, TS … you’re the best!

toon-3toon-4toon-6toon-7

See All The ‘Toons!

Lookin’ Good, Merrick Garland!

Merrick-GarlandYesterday was the first of the two-day confirmation hearings for Merrick Garland, President Biden’s choice to head the Department of Justice.  I have felt for weeks that Garland would be confirmed by the Senate, for he is both liked and respected by those on both sides of the aisle.  According to an article in The Washington Post …

“… there was little acrimony and many Democrats and Republicans on the panel appeared to treat his confirmation almost as a foregone conclusion.”

Several Republicans seem certain that Garland will be confirmed …

“I believe so. There were people that weren’t totally satisfied with his answers, but i didn’t hear anybody get really irritated. … For the most part, he answered pretty well.” – Senator Chuck Grassley (republican) from Iowa

“That certainly seems likely. I thought he did fine. It was frustrating in that he answered very few questions. He approached it more like a judicial nominee dodging every question.” – Senator Ted Cruz (republican) from Texas

“Judge Garland is about as sure a bet as you can have in the Congress these days that he will be confirmed. He has navigated these questions with extraordinary adroitness and aplomb.” – Senator Richard Blumenthal (democrat) from Connecticut

To be sure, there were contentious lines of questioning, especially from the likes of Senator John Neeley Kennedy, a republican from Louisiana, and the ignoble Josh Hawley who cheered the attackers on January 6th, and did everything in his power to try to overturn our votes on that day.  But, Garland remained cool and his answers brought no rebuttal.  For example, Hawley arrogantly twirled his pencil while attempting to goad Garland into a conversation on defunding the police, and on what constitutes ‘domestic terrorism’.

Garland, who prosecuted the Oklahoma City bombing perpetrators before becoming a federal judge,  looked Hawley straight in the eye and responded …

“As you no doubt know, President Biden has said he does not support defunding the police, and neither do I. We saw how difficult the lives of police officers were in the body-cam videos we saw when they were defending the Capitol.  The use of violence or threats of violence in an attempt to disrupt democratic processes.  So an attack on a courthouse while in operation trying to prevent judges from deciding cases, that plainly is domestic extremism, domestic terrorism.”

Lindsey Graham, who would not allow Garland’s hearing to take place earlier this month, reared his typically ugly head, quizzed Garland on whether he thought James Comey, who was fired by the former guy early in his administration, was a good FBI Director.  Garland calmly replied that the question was not useful and that he didn’t intend to get into critiquing other directors.  Then Graham responded churlishly with …

“Well, you’ve been very political, and appropriately so, at times. I just find it pretty stunning that you can’t say, in my view, that he was a terrible FBI director.”

However, at the end of the day, Lindsey told Garland, “I think you’re a very good pick for this job.”  Even Senator Kennedy, one of the more obnoxious among republican senators, said “You’ll be a good attorney general.”

Perhaps Garland’s most powerful statement, at least in my eyes, was when he said …

“I am not the president’s lawyer, I am the United States’ lawyer.”

Quite the contrast from previous Attorney General William Barr who saw himself and the entire Department of Justice as tools at the former guy’s disposal.

No doubt there will be some Republicans who will oppose the nomination, likely Tom Cotton, Mike Lee, and Josh Hawley among them, but the general consensus is that Garland will win senate confirmation when the vote is taken on March 1st.  Score one for justice.

Don’t Mess With Texas?

I’ve put off writing about the current situation in Texas, and Ted Cruz’ ignoble trip to Cancun to avoid the cold that his constituents were dying in, but Jeff has done a terrific job of covering the highlights. Thanks, Jeff!

On The Fence Voters

Former Mayor of San Antonio and Barack Obama’s Secretary of HUD Julian Castro put it best on Chris Hayes’ show on MSNBC the other day: “We need to stop electing people who don’t believe in government, to political positions in the government.”

I wonder how the people of Texas are feeling about their elected GOP leaders these days. Millions are freezing their asses off, being told to boil water, standing in line for groceries and propane, and seeing their neighbors dying after being forced into unsafe acts to stay warm. Is this what they signed up for?

One would think that this might be the final straw. After decades of corporate hack GOP leadership and deregulation on steroids, the state now resembles a failed third-world dictatorship. What more will it take for Texas citizens to throw these idiots out of office and try something different?

They had a chance in…

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We Will NOT Forget!

In case you didn’t notice, there is a trial of some importance taking place this week in Washington, D.C.  Now, I used to watch Perry Mason, and a number of other courtroom dramas, the names of which elude me at the moment, so I have an idea how a trial is supposed to be conducted, how lawyers, defendants, and jurors are supposed to act, but this trial is like nothing I have ever seen before.

First, the defendant is nowhere to be seen.  He decided that it was too cold up north to leave his Florida resort, and besides, he had a golf game scheduled for yesterday.  But what really blows my mind is the jurors!  Have you ever seen a trial where the jurors, rather than being bothered with listening to the evidence being presented by the prosecution, got up and walked around, texted on their phones … about breast milk, for some strange reason?

Worse yet, can you imagine a murder trial where three of the jurors have a closed-door session with the defense attorneys???  NO, just NO … this is illegal, immoral, unconscionable, and a number of other adjectives I can think of once the steam stops coming out of my ears!

House impeachment managers, the prosecution, were presenting compelling evidence of the attack on Congress and the Capitol and the defendant’s involvement in said attack on Wednesday afternoon, but Ted Cruz and several other Republican senators were apparently bored watching themselves narrowly escape the violence on January 6th and instead sought other distractions, such as shuffling papers, or playing on their cell phones like Teddy was doing.

Under absolutely no circumstances, in a trial, are the lawyers on either side allowed to meet in private with jurors.  That is called tampering with the jury, it is illegal.  Period.  No ifs, ands, or buts.  Trump’s legal team and the three Republican senators, Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham, and Mike Lee are all in violation of the law for their little tête-à-tête .  They are attempting to turn this trial into a sham, but all they are doing is further destroying their reputations and that of the Republican Party, for they are proving with every passing minute that there is no collective conscience.  The Republican Party has decided that they don’t need to represent the will of the people, but instead will do whatever they damn well please, and force us to continue to pay their salaries.

“We were discussing their legal strategy and sharing our thoughts,” said Cruz.  No, jackass … you are not a member of the legal team … you are the jury!  Your job is to listen to both sides and decide which has merit, not collude with one side against the other.  You are the damn jurors in this case!  In a normal trial, the judge would at this point likely declare a mistrial and schedule a new trial, else dismiss the jurors and call for a new selection.  But this is an impeachment trial and apparently the Republicans in Congress are allowed to make and break the rules with impunity. Imagine if the Democrats tried that!

The public has heard the evidence, and while the corruption is so rampant in the Republican Party that the senators will allow a conman, a man guilty of plotting murder free to incite further violence, to kill again, We the People know that he is guilty.  We weren’t playing on our cell phones while the evidence was being presented, and we did not collude with the lawyers for the defense.  We saw the evidence, we know Donald Trump is guilty, and we will never again trust him or those senators who refused to perform their duty, to uphold their oaths.  We Will Not Forget. Ever.