Stormy Monday, 12/22/14

StormyMondayFuneral services for Lowell Steward, a Tuskegee Airman, will be held Monday morning in Los Angeles. Steward earned the Distinguished Flying Cross for his service in Italy in 1944. He died of pneumonia last Wednesday, aged 95.

The World Health Organization reported last week that western Africa’s death toll from Ebola is approaching 7,400. Nearly half the deaths have occurred in Sierra Leone, where there are an estimated 8,800 active cases (6,900 confirmed). As an anti-contagion measure, Sierra Leone and Guinea have imposed bans on New Year’s Eve celebrations. In related medical news, those politicians who went into a frothing-at-the-mouth frenzy over the supposed threat of Ebola to Fortress America have apparently all been struck miraculously mute, though, sadly, only on this particular topic.

Friday, the Obama family arrived in Hawaii for a winter vacation, or, as the President characterized it, a “quiet time-out” before the fourth quarter of his tenure in office. The President is scheduled to return to Washington on January 4, two short days before Republican Congressional majorities start trying to legislate and deregulate the nation back to the 19th century.

Vacation notwithstanding, the President is expected to announce tomorrow that Sally Yates, US Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, is his pick for next Deputy Attorney General, replacing James Cole.

The Satanic Temple’s “Snaketivity” holiday display went up yesterday outside the Michigan Capitol in Lansing, two days after state Senator Rick Jones erected a traditional nativity scene at the same venue. Jones boldly declared, “I’m not afraid of the snake people. I’m sure that Jesus Christ is not afraid.” Both displays have to be dismantled every night. Continue reading Stormy Monday, 12/22/14

My 2014 'McLaughlin Awards' [Part 1]

FTP3Welcome everyone to our year-end awards columns!

As we do every year, we are pre-empting our “Friday Talking Points” columns for the next two weeks, to bring you our best and worst of 2014. And, yes, we are going to continue our supercilious and no-doubt-annoying habit of using the editorial “we” throughout these two columns, so thanks for asking! Heh.

As always, we are using a slightly-modified version of a category list created by the The McLaughlin Group for their own year-end shows, as an homage (which sounds ever so much better than saying we’re just ripping off McLaughlin’s categories… ahem).

This will be a very long column (just to warn everyone) with lots of short little awards explanations, so let’s get right to it. Feel free to disagree with any or all of these picks in the comments, as usual, and propose your own winners for everyone’s consideration. I will admit that there is a sort of running theme to this year’s awards, due to one issue that remained in the background for most Americans but on which such significant political progress was made this year that it deserved multiple awards. Enough of a teaser for you to read all the way through to Person Of The Year? We certainly hope so.


   Biggest Winner Of 2014

Loath as we are to admit it, there was no single Biggest Winner Of 2014, because the award must be handed, collectively, to the Republican Party. A case could be made for Mitch McConnell, since he will win the biggest prize of any Republican next year: control of the United States Senate. But this would leave out other Republican victories, such as holding more House of Representative seats than at any time since Herbert Hoover was president, or their increase in control of governors’ offices and state legislatures.

The GOP won big this November. Really big. So big that this award was one of the easiest to call. The Biggest Winner Of 2014 was the entire Republican Party.


   Biggest Loser Of 2014

Hmm… let’s see… Scottish independence?

Kidding aside, you’d think this would also be an easy one to pick. The converse award should go to the Democratic Party, for their ineffectual campaign about nothing. Or perhaps Harry Reid, for losing the Senate.

But we’re going to tack in a different direction, and give the Biggest Loser award to the Tea Party, for the second year running. The Tea Party lost almost every important primary challenge (with the notable exception of Eric Cantor’s takedown), and they lost a huge amount of power within the corridors of Capitol Hill as well. Oh, sure, folks like Ted Cruz still get lots of camera time bloviating about this or that, but when the votes are counted, the Tea Party has lost significant support from within the Republican ranks. For instance, although there was a raise in the debt ceiling and extensions of the federal budget this year, there was no government shutdown. That right there is a measure of their waning support within Congress.

There was even a period this year, during primary season, when the conventional Washington wisdom (an oxymoron if ever there was one) was that the Tea Party was over and done with. This was nonsense, of course. The Tea Party will be around in some form or another for years to come, but it is impossible to ignore how much real power they lost this year. Making them the Biggest Losers Of 2014. The Tea Party’s highest point will likely be measured as the shutdown last October — since then, it’s all been downhill.


   Best Politician

Again, it brings us no personal pleasure, but we have to give Best Politician to Mitch McConnell. Mitch was in big trouble heading into this election. His approval ratings were in the toilet in Kentucky, and he faced a Tea Party primary challenge and then a formidable Democrat in the general. He did what politicians often do in such situations — he raised a mountain of cash. He used this war chest to win the nomination handily, and then chalk up a comfortable margin in the general election. Continue reading My 2014 ‘McLaughlin Awards’ [Part 1]

Murder and Theft

DDWitness Thoreau’s idea of civil disobedience at its unimagined worst: a Congress in rebellion against itself and its oath, whose continual looting has brought inattention and cynicism to the treasures carefully hidden and being lifted out of its ruins. The powerful have long been known for the benefits that can be reclaimed from the trough of moral morass. Pull out freedom; its leverage becomes an element of theft.

Before any great political theft, the ground must be made ready. Money must be put in in order for money to be taken out. Politics must reach beyond logic and ignore facts and details to ignite passion, a passion tied to fear and prejudice that becomes push-pull factors that block and bend the attractions of voters and drive their preferences. A push-pull factor that combines fear and prejudice into a powerful package is death.

Death is a common bedfellow of politics. Death is the political spear of politicians. Its push-pull offers the satisfactions of blood lust to followers and offers a palate of fear that dismantles opponents. Other than martyrs, death defines losers.

Socrates’ sentence of suicide is a part of the politics of the ancient Greeks. Crowds in the 1800s gathered in festive moods outside of London’s Newgate Prison for hangings as vendors set up shop for food and sold relics of the hangman’s ropes. In Charleston, during this period, the heads of convicted slaves were mounted on wood columns at the foot of the city’s entry bridges as a warning and assurance to all who passed. These few examples are among the many ways civilizations dealt death as punishment and tried to prime the social environment for political theft.

The use of African-American deaths in politics begins with the journey of the Middle Passage from Africa to America; bodies were jettisoned during the Atlantic crossings, and these deaths incited rebellion and despair—and a raft of insurance claims. Later, the enslaved were hunted and murdered at night by special horseback patrols. The Civil War brought the Fort Pillow massacre; the blood spilled by black Union troops turned the Mississippi red. At Ebenezer Creek, in December 1864, 30 miles from Savannah, the bodies from a refugee train killed by Wheeler’s Cavalry dammed the creek.

After the Civil War came the organized, methodical killing of KKK units across the South; then came the mob violence of lynchings in which bodies were hanged and burned. The violence caused black schoolteacher and former Civil War nurse Susan King Taylor to write in her reminiscences:

In this “land of the free” we are burned, tortured, and denied a fair trial, murdered for any imaginary wrong conceived in the brain of the negro-hating white man. There is no redress for us from a government which promised to protect all under its flag. It seems a mystery to me. They say, “One flag, one nation, one country indivisible.” Is this true? Can we say this truthfully, when one race is allowed to burn, hang, and inflict the most horrible torture weekly, monthly, on another? No, we cannot sing “My country, ’tis of thee, Sweet land of Liberty”! It is hollow mockery. The Southland laws are all on the side of the white, and they do just as they like to the negro, whether in the right or not.

In 1923, a riot resulted in six blacks and two whites killed and destroyed the self-sufficient black town of Rosewood, Florida.

And then the Civil Rights movement came. It brought a new wave of white violence that targeted blacks: the deaths mounted, from the violent beating with a cotton weight that bashed in the skull and tore out the eye of visiting teenager Emmett Till, to the shooting on his porch of Mississippi NAACP President Medgar Evers, to the explosion that killed Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson and Cynthia Wesley, four young girls attending Sunday school in a Birmingham Baptist church on September 15, 1963, to the three civil rights workers, James Earl Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Henry Schwerner, killed less than a year later in June 1964, to three college students in South Carolina, killed on campus by state police at South Carolina State in February 1968. The name of the college’s basketball arena memorializes Samuel Ephesians Hammond Jr., Delano Herman Middleton and Henry Ezekial Smith.

From 1882 to 1968, over 3,400 blacks were lynched, killed in anger and hate, without due process, murdered by mobs and individuals that got away scot-free. And last week, in a rally across from the White House, caught on an open microphone, the cry to hang Obama was seconded by a voice that said, “He wouldn’t be the first.”

Death and theft are not separate in politics, but in America, death has been the throwaway; it launches a political payload and drops away. Texas executions, school massacre (there has been a school shooting every five day, on average, since Newton), street violence; in recent days, the misuse of police authority has brought hundreds of thousands to the streets from New York and Chicago to Berkeley and San Francisco to the stadiums of pro sports, where outraged police officials have demanded apologies but have sent none of their own to the families grieving from police killings. Not a single card of sorrow for their loss, not an expression (except for Ferguson and New York) of compassion or sympathy.

Death is a muscle memory in black communities. Every local town has an incident etched in memory.

Yet the effect of the grief and the lost of the dead themselves are denied. The dead are blamed for being killed while unarmed, blamed for being choked to death, shot to death, lied about, blamed for disobedience, until the primal taste of the lynch mob fills the mouths of those who cannot find a way to say, “I’m sorry.”

What guides the killings, expanded now to a global stage (this week: Pakistan, Australia), is a culture that revels in its hidden impulses. This era has seen the world’s largest sustained impulse for wealth. The heads of state of African countries (Angola, Nigeria) are billionaires. Fines for illegal conduct by big banks in the US run into the billions. Russia, once the world’s great communist regime, has billionaires sitting in its parliament. China, a socialist nation, has the world’s second largest number of billionaires, after the US. The world’s richest person is a Mexican business mogul who controls much of Latin America’s telecommunications and cell phone business. The sovereignty of Argentina is being threatened by US Federal Court judgments made on behalf of hedge funds that own large bundles of Argentina’s defaulted debt; the country’s President flies commercial when she leaves the country; an Argentine navy ship was seized but returned when it docked in Africa.

Within the global culture that desires and celebrates wealth is an out-of-control ideal expressed as greed. Greed argues for shortcuts to wealth: not work hard and climb the ladder, but kill and steal. Greed flourishes where there is destabilization. Killing weakens the bonds of the society’s structure. Insurgencies are getting rich. ISIL is the creation of this paradox.

Faith lost, and greed spreads. More die. It repeats again. Ancillary breakdowns of society occur. The irrational widespread fear of Ebola, and crowds of adults blocking buses of immigrant children who had reached our borders to stop their entry into facilities in their communities foretell a loss of inner strength and inner truth.

Through seemingly unconnected, death is one of the elements that sets the ground for greed and leads to theft. The connection is the way their interior values attract and repeal, push and pull.

The worst form of civil disobedience is robbery, the taking of what belongs to others by law or natural right. The law is broken when Congress or the crowd goes against government measures and protections and when the law itself becomes a tool to steal and rob, as it supposedly comforts our loss. Murder can occur only once in a life, but robbery can be repeated. When done under law, it is protected by force, and justified as stopping intrusion.

For example, out goes the cry: the Affordable Care Act robs us of the right of choice. But those insured clients dropped after the purchase of insurance were robbed of the right of choice in a time of need; at precisely the point where insurance took on greater importance and would provide security against health catastrophes and the cost of catastrophic illness, it vanished, without appeal or recourse.

The point here is political theft is often committed in the name of freedom, and this flag-wrapped theft often stands on bloody ground. But rarely are these connections direct. In modern cultures, blood money will have two phases, seemingly unconnected. The first destabilizes, the second resets the rules.

Witness the budget bill swiftly approved by the two chambers of Congress last week. After six years of destabilization, its resets included riders on potatoes, whole grains and salt in school lunches, on clean water, on truck drivers’ working hours, on farmers with livestock killed by wolves, and on campaign gifts, all passed without debate, swept forward, tucked in neatly with the $1.1 billion in spending that in some places was as much vendetta as budget.

Despite its size, the central issue of this mundane list of special interest riders is an overarching fact: its business-as-usual is destroying democracy. It places special interests beyond the reach of public accountability. It replaces Congress’ fear of discovery with the cold glare of indifference, and while it claims to condemn government as the enemy of business, it deliberately hides the use of government for gifts to business friends. The doors of democracy are unlocked to the rich. Those same doors are closed and sealed shut to the poor.

If government is the enemy, look again to find out who its friends are. Too often, it is those who criticize it as being the enemy. This blame and embrace is an old favorite of corruption. Cast the blame elsewhere; haul in the spoils. Continue reading Murder and Theft

Who's Grumpy? Not Me!

Grumpy2Grumpy: Mouse, I am trying so hard to be myself (you know, grumpy) these last weeks but the season keeps intruding. I’m sure that come January when the bills arrive and a new Congress takes over I’ll be back to my old self again, but for now my grump seems to have abandoned me!

Mouse: It’s impossible for me not to enjoy this time of year. How could you have the holiday without the mouse in the poem that doesn’t stir on Christmas Eve? Ya wanna know why it’s not stirring? ‘Cause it’s beat from running up and down the tree putting decorations on it and then wetting its whistle with some nice Cognac. Oh yeah… I looove this time of year!

Grumpy: Not the least of my less than grumpy mood comes from Congress going away for the rest of the year. Somehow I think, however, that their foolish ideas like a fake war on Christmas are sure to try to intrude on what should be a season of good wishes and joy to all.

Mouse: For a group that is supposed to admire Jesus, the man who preached peace, Republicans sure love war… any and all war, even if they have to make one up. It’s terribly sad.

Grumpy: Speaking of Congress going away, some of our favorites will thankfully not be returning. But, oh, how we will miss the comic antics of some, like the ever-humorous Michelle Bachmann. Now in the “end times” of her Congressional career she doesn’t even fail us. This is what she claims to have said to the President at this year’s White House Christmas party:

“I turned to the president and I said, something to the effect of, ‘Mr. President, you need to bomb the Iranian nuclear facilities, because if you don’t, Iran will have a nuclear weapon on your watch and the course of world history will change.”

Mouse: I pity Stephanie Miller. She won’t have the good times of poking fun of Bachmann any more on her show, and we won’t have the laughter of it all. But what’s that you’re saying? We’ll have other Republicans for comic relief?

Grumpy: As the old saying goes, “when one door closes another opens” and so it is here. We seem to have a more than adequate replacement in Senator-elect Joni Ernst. Fresh off the campaign trail, here are a few gems from the soon-to-be Senator: Continue reading Who’s Grumpy? Not Me!

Sunday Talks, 12/14/14

On ABC’s This Week, former CIA Director Gen. Michael Hayden will discuss the report on torture that was just released. Army veteran Eric Fair will discuss his experience as a contract interrogator in Iraq. New . . . → Read More: Sunday Talks, 12/14/14

Friday Talking Points [330] -- How Bad Laws Get Made

FTP3Before we begin, a quick program note is necessary. This column will go on hiatus for the next two weeks, as we bring you instead our traditional year-end “best of/worst of” columns. So join us back here in the new year, after the holidays, when Friday Talking Points resumes on the second of January.

There were two big things going on in the political world this week: the release of the Senate torture report, and the cromnibus bill which kept the government open. For the most part, we’re going to cover the torture report at the end, in a very unusual talking points section.

Which leaves us with the subject of how bad laws get made. How do bad laws get made? Quickly, for the most part.

No, that’s not a joke. The worst laws nearly all have one thing in common: they are rushed through very quickly, usually because Congress is facing some self-imposed deadline (which is being generous, because what that last bit really should read is: “because Congress wants to scarper off to enjoy yet another multi-week vacation.”

This week is no different. Congress wants to leave for the rest of the year. Unfortunately for them, they have something like an entire year’s worth of business to take care of, that they’ve been studiously avoiding, all year long. So in one week, a political debate that should have been spread out over months was squeezed in.

What this means — what it almost always means — is that some very bad laws will be enacted under the guise of the must-pass budget bill. There are a whole lot of stinky riders on this cromnibus, to put it in more urban terms. Many of these bad ideas won’t fully see the light of day for awhile. This is by design. Remember when Republicans got so upset because a Democratic bill was “too long” and they weren’t given enough time to read it to figure out everything that was in it? Well, they seem to have gotten over such whiny behavior, because that’s exactly what the House did this week. They produced a monster bill, with many unrelated gifts in it for people with effective lobbyists. They hustled it through because they knew that Democrats wouldn’t likely shut the government down over each little odious addition to the main bill. They were right, too.

Of course, Democrats aren’t a whole lot better. Harry Reid could have passed all the regular budget bills in the Senate — or, at the very least, put them up for a vote and forced Republicans to filibuster them. He had all year to do so, and he didn’t. He didn’t because he didn’t want any “contentious votes” in an election year. This is nothing short of political cowardice. If Democrats truly do believe they are acting in good faith for the people of America, then they should be proud to toss their markers on the table before an election, to show the differences between the parties’ priorities. They did not do so, and Harry Reid hasn’t done so for many years. So there’s plenty of blame to go around.

The stinkiest of the cromnibus riders — the two issues some Democrats did actually mount a defense against — are a big giveaway to Wall Street, and a provision that essentially guts one of the few remaining limits on campaign contributions. These were the high-profile items, but there are plenty of other bad ideas which will now become law contained within the monster bill. Cutting funding for women, infants, and children, for instance. We’ll all be learning about the full breadth of the bad new laws in the coming days and weeks, no doubt. The answer to the future question: “How the heck did that become law?” will be: “It snuck on the cromnibus.”

One particular rider worth mentioning is a blatant effort to overturn the will of the voters. D.C. voters, in particular, who just voted to the tune of 7-in-10 in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana. That’s a pretty hefty margin of support, wouldn’t you say? But Republicans — even those who normally rant and rave about “states’ rights” — decided that the federal government needed to step in and ban this new law from taking effect. Continue reading Friday Talking Points [330] — How Bad Laws Get Made

8 Steps to End Police Brutality in America: Stop the Epidemic, by Fianna McClain

A guest post, reproduced by kind permission of the author.

It is with great sadness in my heart that I write this blog post. There is an epidemic happening right in your backyard; police brutality. Police are continuing to shoot first and ask questions later, and it is tearing this country apart. Beyond taking lives, they are not being held responsible for their heinous crimes. Something must be done. Here are 8 steps that the United States can take to bring police brutality to an end.

First, here is a video of the last words of 11 people that were killed by police. It will shock you.

1) Investigations Led by Independent Prosecutors.

Incidences of accused police brutality, not only resulting in death or injury to suspects, should be investigated by an independent prosecutor, because district attorneys rely on the police department in their districts every day for information, evidence and testimony. The police department and the district attorney have to have trust and cooperation between each other. Some district attorneys may not prosecute to their full potential because they are afraid to alienate the police. If an independent prosecutor investigated crimes internal to the police department, then there would be an unbiased investigation that would result in more incidences of charges of police brutality being brought to trial.

2) Defunding of Police Departments by the Federal Government.

The Federal Government could defund police departments that are in violation of good practices. This would not completely take away the funding for the police department, as they receive funding from other places. This would not be a permanent solution; it would be temporary until they complied with fair practice. There needs to be a consequence for departments that do not follow the rules and incentives, other than just being humane, to be a fair police department.

3) End to the “Broken Window” Policy.

Localized only to New York City, there should be an end to the “Broken Window” policy. This is a policy that states that every small crime is treated as an entry level crime to bigger crime. This means that anyone doing something as petty as jumping the subway turnstile can then be arrested for a misdemeanor crime as if they were committing a more serious crime. Strictly enforcing minor violations does not deter more serious crime but simply harasses and antagonizes residents of high-crime neighborhoods.

4) End to the “Stop and Frisk” Policy.

End the “Stop and Frisk” policy in New York City. This policy allows the police to stop and frisk anybody in New York City that they feel should be stopped, not because they are breaking the law. The “Stop and Frisk” policy creates racial profiling, suspicion, resentment, a sense of unfairness and stereotyping.

5) End to the “Blue Wall of Silence.”

Put an end to the “Blue Wall of Silence.” This is the thin blue line. Cops do not inform or testify against fellow police officers because there is a culture of sticking together no matter what. Cops feel like they will be violating or turning against their “brothers” if they speak up against injustices. Also, a lot of cops do not speak up against their fellow officers when they see an instance of police brutality on the job. They do not question each other’s actions to put on a united front.

6) Cut off Supply of Surplus Military Gear to Police Departments.

End the supply of surplus military gear to police departments across the United States. If the government creates a war zone, it will be a war zone. It is using unnecessary force on society for police to advance on protestors as if they were a bunch of terrorists. The people are not the enemy; we are society and the goal of police should be to protect citizens, not suppress them into submission. This only increases the mentality of brutality. Continue reading 8 Steps to End Police Brutality in America: Stop the Epidemic, by Fianna McClain

Stormy Monday, 12/8/14

StormyMondayThe 113th Congress, having covered itself with neither dust nor glory, holds its last session Friday. Members have a whopping five days to try and figure out how to keep the government funded, along with all sorts of other pending measures that – darn the luck! – they were just too busy to get to sooner. Ironically, the only thing that might keep the 113th out of the history books as a singular national disgrace is the incoming 114th; with Republicans running the show in both chambers, nothing good can possibly come out of it.

MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, who recently made controversial remarks about the crafting of the Affordable Care Act (a process in which he participated as a consultant) will sit down with Darrell Issa and the rest of the House Oversight Committee on Tuesday. Committee Republicans are desperate to leverage Gruber’s remarks to prove that the White House used deception to win passage of the bill. And if that effort fails, they can just go back to squawking about Benghazi. To that end, the Select Committee on Benghazi holds its second hearing on Wednesday. Beats working, I guess.

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf will testify Wednesday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on efforts to halt the Ebola epidemic. Just in time, too. Come January when Republicans become the majority in the chamber, the loftiest discussion will probably be restricted to topics like whether to reintroduce Freedom Fries in the Capitol cafeterias.

Rain in New York City over the weekend temporarily quieted ongoing protests over police violence in the aftermath of a grand jury failing to indict police officer Daniel Pantaleo for killing Eric Garner. In contrast, weekend demonstrations in Berkeley and Seattle, goaded by the response of law enforcement officers, turned violently confrontational.

Kings County DA Kenneth Thompson has started the process of impaneling a grand jury to weigh charges against rookie NYPD officer Peter Liang, who killed Akai Gurley, another unarmed African-American man, on November 20. Continue reading Stormy Monday, 12/8/14

Sunday Talks, 12/7/14

On ABC’s This Week, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio will talk about reaction to the grand jury’s decision not to file a “true bill” (indictment) against the NY police officer who killed Eric . . . → Read More: Sunday Talks, 12/7/14

Time Mismanagement

freehandRepublicans, unconcerned with progress or sensible public policy, have plenty of free time to devote to other pursuits. Like feigning outrage. For that, and only for that, Barack Obama has been their ideal President. The apparent unflappability, exotic background, swift rise from obscurity, technocratic approach to governance and pigmentary uniqueness among Chief Executives are all ideally pitched to prompt sputtering Republican ire. It doesn’t even matter that it’s mostly as forced and insincere as a junior high production of a fifth-rate operetta; the GOP’s stenographic corps in the mainstream media reliably take it at face value.

Autobiographical revelations of madrassa attendance and youthful drug use, cherry-picked Jeremiah Wright sermons, the mythical “Whitey” tape, the remarks about “clinging to guns and religion,” the “57 states” gaffe, the “terrorist fist jab” with wife Michelle, the Middle Eastern and European “Apology Tour” and those faux-classical columns at the convention provided all the warm-up necessary.

Once the President took office, Republicans went on to being incensed by the Beer Summit (racism!), the auto bailout (socialism!), the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (big socialism!), Cash for Clunkers (socialism, sorta!), Obamacare and its attendant “death panels” (huge socialism!), vacations in Hawaii and Martha’s Vineyard (elitism!), withdrawal from Iraq (cowardice!), new CAFE standards (tyranny, tree-hugging!), IRS-gate (abuse of power!), Benghazi (treason, cowardice and abuse of power!), golfing (shiftlessness!), tan suits (um… gauche!) coffee cup salutes (arrogance, shiftlessness, with a soupçon of elitism!), and a host of other non-scandals so contrived and picayune most Republicans don’t even remember them.

Each of these tantrum-ticklers, it turns out, was mere prelude to Republican reaction to the President’s recent executive actions on immigration. Note to aspiring conservative naysayers out there: churlish and peevish are passé; this season, nothing but full-on hysteria will do.

Felon-in-waiting Michele Bachmann believes the immigration measures are a ploy to produce an army of illegal but dependable Democratic voters:

“The social cost will be profound on the U.S. taxpayer — millions of unskilled, illiterate, foreign nationals coming into the United States who can’t speak the English language… Even though the president says they won’t be able to vote, we all know that many, in all likelihood, will vote.”

Rabies-afflicted Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who also discussed with a caller to his radio show the idea that Hispanics could undertake “ethnic cleansing” in America, had his own variation on this theme, with bonus points for working in the S-word:

“There is still a decided bias in favor of bigger government not smaller government. So maybe this strategy of replacing American voters with newly legalized aliens, if you look at it through an ethnic lens… you’ve got a locked in vote for socialism.”

Tom Coburn, that poster child for gravitas, warned of civil unrest:

“The country’s going to go nuts, because they’re going to see it as a move outside the authority of the president, and it’s going to be a very serious situation… You’re going to see — hopefully not — but you could see instances of anarchy… You could see violence.”

Rick Santorum’s evident distress stemmed from his deep concern for minorities and the working poor. Or so he wants everyone, including himself, to believe:

“You know who gets hurt the most by this? Hispanics in America. Lower-income workers in America. You’re adding 5 million mostly unskilled workers into a labor pool where wages are declining, when median income in America is declining… We’re going to flood the labor market and we’re going to hurt Hispanics, we’re going to blacks and lower-income whites, and he does this out of compassion? He’s doing this as a slap-in-the-face to every working American.”

Hugh Hewitt’s plaint was similar:

“The people in the country illegally will know shortly that this stunt… does not help them and may in fact hurt them – badly… The president’s lawless act will have the apparently contradictory impact of both making life harder for ‘those in the shadows’ by increasing the reluctance of employers to hire the obviously illegal, while at the same time attracting millions more north across the fenceless border.”

Though Hewitt too rushed to the defense of the document his beloved GW Bush once described as “a goddamn piece of paper”:

“… a disfigurement of the Constitution which will lead to future disfigurements. Wait until the environmentalists learn that a GOP president can suspend enforcement of their beloved if crazy Endangered Species Act.  Wait until all sorts of special interests realize that their special interest legislation can be suspended at a stroke of a pen.”

Mike Kelly, an obscure Republican Congressman from Pennsylvania, believes the President’s actions are unprecedented:

“The country is witnessing something right now that I don’t think in our entire history we’ve ever looked at, a constitutional crisis…”

Or perhaps precedented. It’s a little hard to tell:

“Right now in the history of our country we have never had such an internal crisis as we’ve had, not since the mid-1800s, of what we’re going through right now. Why would this president choose this issue and cause a constitutional crisis?”

Peter Wehner, who worked in the White House under Reagan, Bush and Bush the Lesser and has thus seen, up close, more constitutional violations than almost anyone alive, took a similar tack: Continue reading Time Mismanagement