Rand Paul: Putting Republicans Before Country And The Constitution

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/rand-paul-michael-flynn_us_58a36eeee4b094a129efc452

“I just don’t think it’s useful to be doing investigation after investigation, particularly of your own party,..we’ll never even get started with doing the things we need to do like repealing Obamacare if we’re spending our whole time having Republicans investigate Republicans. I think it makes no sense.”

Rand Paul just outed himself. As a US Senator he puts Republicans before country. To him it makes no sense to investigate the first president who is possibly guilty of treasonous collusion with a foreign leader–Vladimir Putin of Russia–as a presidential candidate and president-elect for personal gain and to avoid being blackmailed. But it makes perfect sense to deprive 20 million Americans–many of them families too poor to afford healthcare and adults with pre-existing conditions which made them lepers to health insurance corporations.

So Paul is on record as being out there. Solely out there in the Senate for his political party and not for his constituents, his country, and the US Constitution. That’s pretty short-sighted for a guy who used to be an ophthalmologist, don’t you think? And the tragic irony in all of this is that Kentucky voters likely to continue to be as self-centered and myopic as Paul when he runs for reelection.

Two Balls On Obama But He’s In Danger Of Striking Out

Obama is again making the same mistake he’s made for almost five years now, and his 42% approval rating shows it. He keeps allowing the GOP frame the debate. Or to use a baseball analogy, the GOP keeps throwing fastballs at him: Obamacare, Benghazi, the VA, Iraq, and he keeps fouling them off or doesn’t even get the bat off his shoulder. He hit a grand slam with the killing of bin Laden but didn’t even hit it out of the infield with the capture of Ahmed Abu Khatallah.

Once again, Obama has got to take the field and start throwing fastballs of his own. Where is the GOP most vulnerable? Where are the jobs? Yes, Obama introduced the American Jobs Act in 2011, which was killed off by both Harry Reid in the Senate and the Republicans in both chambers of Congress. He’s avoided introducing anything of substance because of the advice he continually gets from his brain trust: Don’t introduce anything that the Republicans can embarrass you with by killing it. If Obama doesn’t think the Republicans will go for it, he doesn’t make a move, outside of the occasional executive action which, frankly, doesn’t affect most of us. His brain trust also lives in terror of any bill that just might possibly or very definitely increase the budget deficit, because the voters want the deficit paid down, right? No, the average voter could care less about the deficit because it doesn’t affect them personally in the slightest. The average voter is trying to just make it through the day, hoping to keep their job or to find a new one. They see that government services have been cut back, their kids’ schools are overcrowded and the students underperforming. They’re seeing food and gasoline prices rise while their income remains stuck where it’s been for the past 3 years of so. The last thing they care about is Obama paying down the debt.

So, what should he do? Around the beginning of this year he and Harry Reid were swinging some big balls around but since then there’s been some significant shrinkage and the GOP is keeping a close eye on that shrinkage. Obama needs to regrow a pair and submit a far-reaching, effective, and expensive federal jobs creation plan, and then dare the Republicans–in an election year with an unemployment rate that is still too high and an economy still not improving. Of course, the Republicans are responsible for this, but apparently the voters who respond to those approval polls don’t see it that way. They’re tarring Obama with the same low approval ratings brush that they’re also smearing on Congress in general and on the GOP in particular.

Sure, introducing a jobs bill now would make Obama subject to the same Fox and GOP “trying to change the subject” charges they throw at everything he tries to do. So what? If Obama made this bold move and sold it to the American people like it was part of his 2008 presidential campaign platform, that would be a fastball he could blow by the Republicans. What Obama needs to do is watch two movies: “The American President” and “Dave”. OK, he’s no Michael Douglas or Kevin Kline but the point is with those two characters we WISHED they had both been president. The closest we get in real life is Bill Clinton making a speech.

What do the Republicans excel at? Getting the entire party and their surrogates unified behind the same talking points which they spew 24/7 everywhere their voter base turns, watches, listens, or (in a few cases) reads. One of the Achilles Heels of the Obama administration is that his staff, the Democratic Party, and their surrogates continually let their talking points assault drop. Where is Democratic Senator after Senator or Congressperson after Congressperson giving press conferences and interviews? OK, we know in advance Fox won’t cover any of it but what about CNN, MSNBC, PBS, NPR, the three who-used-to-be major networks? If PBS or NPR news editor refuses to give the same coverage they give the Republicans, the Democrats are also fully capable of voting to pull public broadcasting funding, too. And lastly, why the hell is Obama appointing communications industry lobbyists to the FCC instead of professionals who have the public’s interests and rights at heart? Reinstitute the Fairness Doctrine and that would do much to level the playing field.

I don’t see Obama as a master chess player; I see him as a guy who realized his dream but constantly fears it might be taken away from him, even though it can’t except by impeachment and conviction. I see him hemmed in by advisers who advise him on what he can and can’t do—and better not do if he knows what’s good for him politically. I think the GOP recognized this in him way before I did, and that has been the tale of his presidency. In his first term he chose to bend with the GOP wind (negotiate) and it almost broke him and it seriously wounded the Democratic Party in 2010.

Obama’s got two balls on him. He needs to use those balls to start throwing strikes.

Netflix Is Full Of Mitt

Yesterday I started seeing an online Netflix ad for a Mitt Romney documentary, “MITT”,  that it’s showing exclusively. It’s a chance to get to know the Mittens you never knew.  And boy– are they right! Mitt’s showing us—hey, I’m just like you—with mussed hair above a pair of tired,  faintly hopeful eyes looking at the camera as if saying, “Do you accept me now?”  Mittens allowed tousling of his perfectly coiffed and dyed hair? Wow, it’s the FIRST thing I now know that I never knew!

But once the afterglow of discovery fades away, a gnawing question replaces it: why this documentary showing the “human” side of Romney now? If he possesses any reason—as opposed to intelligence—he’ll never run for president again.  So, what could be behind this? Hmmm…Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick is ending his term this year and has announced he won’t seek reelection.  Is Romney thinking that with the presidency forever out of his reach he just might try to return to the seat of his former glory? That would be very Mittens-like but since he hasn’t announced he’s running or set up an exploratory committee that I know of, it’s just conjecture on my part.

The Utah governor, Gary Herbert, just started his second term, but who wants to be the new governor of a state that officially refuses to recognize gay marriage and deprives little school kids of their unpaid lunches by throwing them in the garbage—right in front of them? That’s not the tousled-haired Mittens I know!

The House of Representatives is too small to hold a man of Romney’s wealth so that leaves the Senate.  No open seats in Utah and I think Massachusetts voters won’t be venturing back into the dark Right side any time soon. So, this leaves the Massachusetts governor’s office as his only possible target.  I mean, there had to be reason why Mitten’s guys paid Netflix all that money to run their vanity project.  And the director of this epic, inside look at the Mittens we preferred to stay far away from as opposed to wanting to get up close and personal? Greg Whiteley, with only two other credits to his name:  “New York Doll” which examined an ex-member of the New York Dolls who renounced his past when he became a Mormon, and “Resolved”, a documentary on high school debates that for some reason puts Koch Bros. employee SCOTUS Justice Sammy Alito front and center.  Either he was one of the high school debaters or that’s how he got his judging experience.

It took six years to make this documentary. Why did it take so long? It probably took that long for Whiteley to film enough footage to make Mitten’s life look interesting enough to fill 90 minutes.

Harry Reid Gives Me Credibility, Which Is More Than I Can Say For Him

I love it when “progressive” Democrats put me down for stating that there’s not much difference between Democrats and Republicans because then Harry Reid goes and proves me right.  Actually, Reid also proves the BIG difference between Democrats and Republicans: with the Republicans, you know what you’ve got. They are overtly destructive to the middle class and you can see through their every lie.  The Harry Reid Democrat talks about introducing liberal legislation but that’s as far as he goes—just talk.  Dianne Feinstein got the assault weapons bill out of committee with great fanfare.  The majority of Americans are on record as supporting a total ban on assault weapons. So what does Reid do? He refuses to bring the bill up for a vote in the Senate. Why? Because he claims he only has 40 votes and not the 60 required to end a filibuster.  And why is there still a filibuster in the Senate?  Because Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, left it in place despite all the calls from liberal Senators to have it eliminated.

Oh sure, Reid may introduce the assault weapons ban as an amendment to another bill the Senate Republicans may be forced to vote for, but he knows any gun control legislation is DOA in the House, so once again he looks like a good guy instead of the weasely wimp that he is.

Why would he do this? Because Harry Reid is a lousy and incompetent Majority Leader.  In the House, Speaker John Boehner typifies how the GOP frames itself.  He’s just as incompetent as Reid, but he projects the image visually and aurally of a politician at the peak of his power, which in a way is true because the Tea Party still controls the House as it gives him his marching orders.  In fact, the Republicans ALWAYS act as if they’re in power.  With Reid, he always acts—or refuses to act—as if he’s AFRAID of losing power.  It’s his timidity that is projected loud and clear visually and aurally. But in his case, he may be the Senate Majority Leader but it is clearly the coalition of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and the fake Democrats who control the Senate.

Reid has FIFTY-THREE Democrats in his Senate, and he can only convince FORTY of them to vote for the assault weapons ban.  Fake Democrats like Heidi Heitkamp , Max Baucus and Mark Pryor may be proud of their pro-gun stance and their Republican-friendly stance on other major issues, but some other stealth fake Democrats get just plain worried about having their names linked to a “No” vote on banning assault weapons, especially with 2014 looming ever closer.  If Reid keeps the filibuster in place, these phonies are spared the embarrassment of revealing their right wing natures to their possibly more liberal constituents since the vote will be blocked by the Republican filibuster.  A real majority leader would tell the fake Democrats to either toe the party line or get used to not getting any prestigious committee assignments or pork for their home states.  The only choice left to those phony Democrats would be to switch parties and take their chances with the voters in the next election. But Harry Reid isn’t a real majority leader.

Another handy use of the filibuster is that enables Reid the opportunity to position himself as a Democrat, to excoriate the Republicans for acting like Republicans,  and to otherwise do absolutely NOTHING in the way of bringing Democratic legislation to the floor of the Senate.  It’s all for show and—that’s all, folks!

Reid is too much of a chicken heart to employ the tactic of introducing the assault weapons ban to the Senate and then sitting back and allowing the Republicans to preen and filibuster it until it is dead.  Let the Republicans take the hit come 2014 for their blocking of stricter gun ownership laws and their focus on pushing anti-abortion ones.

Trouble is, there are fellow Democrats who might be forced to publicly take sides during the filibuster, and we wouldn’t want to embarrass our fellow Democrats by having them unmask themselves to the national electorate as the gun nuts their constituents already know they are, would we?  Hence, the safe protection of the filibuster which also enables Harry Reid to do absolutely nothing and get plenty well for not doing it.  Lyndon B. Johnson may have been a scoundrel, but he knew how to get Democrats to be DEMOCRATS and pass laws that would benefit the country as a whole.  With a Democratic majority in the Senate, no Democrat crossed him and no Republican caused much trouble if they knew what was good for them, professionally and personally.  If Reid had been Senate Majority Leader in the sixties, we wouldn’t have to worry about cuts to Medicare and Medicaid because neither program would exist.  I’d hate to think what other programs—Social Security—would also not be around had Reid been head of the Senate in 1935.

At least with Republicans you know what you’ve got: they intend to cut all social programs out of existence.  With Reid, he talks about protecting social programs and then agrees to start implementing these same cuts behind closed doors.

Everything The So-Called Tea Party Thinks It Knows Is Wrong

The so-called tea partiers love to say Obama is a failed president, using the one mind and one voice they all share. They claim he doesn’t know anything about how our country works or how our economy works, but they never really say specifically what proof they have that he doesn’t know how either works.

Being a Constitutional scholar and editor of the Harvard Law Review and all, I’d say Obama knows more about our country than all these so-called tea partiers with their one mind and voice—put together.  So that lays that assertion to rest.

But what about the economy? A trickier issue to address—but let’s go ahead anyway.  Yes, unemployment at a fictional 8.3% is high, but Obama for the most part has no control over it.  You see, over a year ago he sent a comprehensive jobs bill to John Boehner, the Speaker of the House.  And what action has Boehner taken on it in over a year? Nothing. Zilch.  Or he might have taken the action of stuffing it in a lower desk drawer and locking it up, or he may have round filed it.  Accidents sometimes happen.  Boehner preferred the Republican jobs plan to Obama which is…well, we don’t really know what it is because it’s never been put down in writing.  It’s more of an oral tradition type of thing, where the lore of this Republican jobs bill is handed down from the elders to the so-called tea party Congress members who refuse to consider it anyway. So it’s more of an idea than an actual bill.  But based on the research by independent economists, the Republicans’ job idea would do little, if nothing, to create any jobs.  As for the jobs plan of their supposed presidential nominee Mitt Romney, well, we don’t know? He’s all about creating jobs but has yet to specify how he would do it. For a possible clue, see the Republican economic idea a few paragraphs below.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/24/republican-jobs-bills_n_1687647.html

But since this is a story reported by that lefty digital rag The Huffington Post, so-called tea partiers will poo poo it as partisan, even though non-partisan economists all agreed on the results.  The Obama plan could put a million unemployed people back to work, which isn’t nearly enough, but it’s more than the Republicans would do.

As for the economy, the Dow closed at 13,168.60 today.  The NASDAQ closed at 3015.86, and the S&P closed at 1401.35. On January 20, 2009, the day Obama was sworn into office, the Dow closed at 7949.09; the NASDAQ at 1440.86, and the S&P at 805.23—all three indexes had fallen sharply from the day before. So, looking at today’s numbers, for those in the so-called tea party who are math-challenged, the higher numbers indicate that the stock market averages are almost twice as high (more than twice with the NASDAQ).  This would indicate a far stronger stock market than the day Obama took office, which means the money guys who decide and control these things think that Obama’s doing a pretty good job, considering that he’s doing it all alone and despite the obstruction of the Congressional Republicans.

As far as the Republican economic idea? Again—nothing in writing. And again, their supposed presidential nominee Romney has not detailed any specifics for his economic ideas.  But give it to the Republicans and their oral tradition where they have to keep concepts simple to avoid a game of Telephone when handing their lore down from one generation to another.

The Republican economic/jobs creation idea has two simple components:  1. No taxes on the rich and corporations.  2. No regulations on business.

That’s it. Simple to remember and to pass on to the young so-called tea partiers. Except how do no taxes on the rich and corporations and no regulations on business create jobs? The Republicans and Mitt Romney will get back to us on that one AFTER the presidential election—trust them.

So, we’ve got a sitting president who’s a constitutional scholar AND has a jobs plan and a fairly good economy seeing as how he’s done it all himself.  Not saying I agree with all of Obama’s economic policies, but they’re nothing that another massive stimulus and jobs plan wouldn’t fix.

When you look logically at the Republicans’ economic/jobs idea logic doesn’t look back at you in return. If you lower or eliminate taxes on the rich and corporations, how do you replace all that lost revenue? You can’t because the middle class only have so much they can give from their mainly minimum wage jobs and unemployment benefits.  George W. Bush lowered taxes and by the time he left office the economy was bleeding 700,000 jobs a month. And I already told you where the stock market was.  That bleeding has stopped and has even been reversed under Obama, but any president can only do so much with the entire Republican-controlled Congress against him.  And make no mistake—the Republicans control both chambers by a majority in the House and by filibuster in the Senate.  John Boehner, his boss Eric Cantor, and Mitch McConnell are the three men responsible for the 8.3% fictional unemployment rate while the stock market thrives in spite of their best efforts to drown it in a bathtub along with the federal government.

Of course the so-called tea party will believe nor accept none of this—but there is one way both could be achieved.  How do I get this blog post on Fox?

Fiddler On The White House Roof

Did President Obama just play the Republicans like a honky tonk fiddle?  According to Lawrence O’Donnell on his MSNBC show “The Last Word”, Obama is the best budget negotiating president in history.  He allowed John Boehner and Eric Cantor to come up with the monumentally stupid concept of the Super Committee, made up of 3 House Republicans, 3 House Democrats, 3 Senate Republicans, 3 Senate Democrats, and co-chaired by a Republican and a Democrat.  Everyone but the Republicans could see the train wreck deadlock coming: 12 committee members divided equally be political party. 2 equal and opposing teams mandated to cut the budget deficit by $1.5 trillion.  Where was the tie-breaking vote? Because it was obvious there would be a 6-6 deadlock, well maybe not if pseudo Senate Democrat Max Baucus defected to the other side like he was wont to do (which in this case he didn’t). The President wasn’t allowed to sit on the committee nor Vice-President Joe Biden, as he would serve as the tie breaker in his capacity as President of the US Senate. And it could have been Cantor (Boehner was definitely not the brains of the House outfit) or Reid who came up with the poison pill section triggering a $900 billion down payment January 2013 (safely after the 2012 elections) should the committee stalemate on its November 23, 2011 deadline with an additional $1.2 trillion in budget cuts to follow that.

So, while all of us liberals were wringing our hands and cursing Obama’s name for agreeing to this budget compromise in return for the Republicans voting to lift the debt ceiling last August, we missed the secret smile on his face as he signed the bill into law saying, “Bring it” and then sat back and played the waiting game.  And the committee did not disappoint him. It crashed and burned.  Half of the $1.2 trillion in the budget deficit reduction would come from defense spending cuts. Republicans despise defense spending cuts as much as they despise tax increases. So, the Republicans immediately started making noises of rescinding some of the automatic cuts.  Obama’s response was firm and swift: “My message to them is simple: No. There will be no easy offramps on this one.”  I was surprised he was able to stifle the giggle and maintain his stoneface.  Obama said he will veto all bills that would reverse the cuts. And then, he plays his hole card: he’s going to give Congress another chance to pass his American Jobs Act. This after Boehner has gone public with barely discernible grunts about possibly maybe seeing the necessity to increase tax revenues somehow. The AJA just happens to include modest tax increases on the wealthy.

So despite the attempted spin by Fox and Congressional Republicans to blame it all on Obama and the Democrats, America can plainly see that once again it was the Republicans who dragged their feet and brought the merry-go-round to a stop by refusing to raise taxes on their 2% masters. American liberals will remember through clenched teeth that Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid program cuts were on the table—but perhaps unclench them upon learning that the automatic trigger and the AJA spare those programs.

So, chalk up another victory for Obama, to stand beside the killings of Osama bin Laden, Anwar al-Awlaki, and the liberation of Libya from Muammar Gaddafi. But no time to take a victory lap because next month both the payroll tax cuts and extended unemployment benefits expire and opposing their extensions if the Bush tax cuts aren’t also extended will be the next line in the sand the Republicans draw. So, Obama will be returning to the poker table, and we’ll see if he still knows how to hold ‘em or if he’ll fold ‘em.