The Watering Hole, Saturday, November 22, 2014: This Week in Paranoia: Facts vs. Freakery on Obama’s Immigration Reforms

President Barack Obama announced earlier in the week that he would later be announcing several reforms to the immigration system, largely because Republicans have been reluctant to pass anything in the House to address the issue. So, as he has said many times before in an ultimately failed effort to spur the House to pass the bill the Senate sent them, the president said that if Congress failed to act, he would. They didn’t, so he did, and now they’re totally freaking out. They’re claiming they now have grounds for impeachment (actually, some of them said this before he made the official announcement, based on nothing more than their own imagination about what the president would actually say) because the president is trying to ignite a civil war, and that citizens must resist “by any means necessary” any attempt to grant amnesty to illegal immigrants, and that it’s all part of a plot to not only guarantee millions of future Democratic voters, but to turn the United States into a Third World country and because now there will be all kinds of voter fraud (you just know it.) None of these fears are reality-based.

The calls for impeachment really crack me up because they were coming before the president’s announcement, and many were citing the president’s proposed amnesty for illegal immigrants as the primary charge against him. Former Florida Congressman (and current “Where Are They Now File” resident) Allen West told Newsmax, “It will be the president saying, ‘You know, I want to violate the Constitution and grant amnesty to people who are here illegally.'” Family Research Council President and Anal Sex Expert Tony Perkins said, in his very roundabout way, “What the president is about to do on amnesty is essentially tell, using his authority as the chief executive, the president, to the executive branch, Homeland Security, immigration, not to enforce the law, which is a violation of his oath to uphold the law.” Eagle Forum founder and former female Phyllis Schlafly thinks that amnesty by executive action constitutes a high crime or misdemeanor.

There are at least three things obviously wrong with these allegations. First, at the time each of these people made these remarks, the president had not actually announced his plan, and when he did, it didn’t include amnesty. The right wing is really afraid of that word – “amnesty.” They talk about it all the time as if granting it to millions of people whose only crime was in the way they entered the country would bring about the end of the United States of America. They talk about it it as if it’s the worst abuse of power a president could commit (including, apparently, lying us into a costly, unnecessary war). They talk about it as if it’s the most un-American thing a president could do. So their fears about amnesty are unfounded because the president wasn’t proposing any. Second, it is actually totally within the president’s constitutional authority to grant amnesty to millions of people who entered the country illegally. The president can grant amnesty to anyone he or she desires. The president can also selectively enforce the law and decide which laws won’t be as aggressively prosecuted as others, since there isn’t enough funding to enforce all the laws anyway. It doesn’t mean a succeeding president can’t prosecute if the statute of limitations hasn’t expired, so it isn’t the same as amnesty, which would deny prosecution later. By the way, the president’s oath says he will faithfully execute the office of president, not “uphold the law.” Executing the duties of the president sometimes involves deciding when to prosecute someone and when not to. Former President George Herbert Walker Bush granted amnesty to former Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger for his criminal role in the previous administration’s plan to sell arms to terrorists in exchange for hostages. (A plan which, for the record, Bush later wrote in his memoirs that he was the only one who knew everything that was going on with the arms-for-hostages deal to raise money to illegally give to rebel fighters in Central America.) And third (speaking of Reagan), former President Ronald Reagan granted amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants. Care to comment on that example of un-American activity by a president, Right Wing? If you like some facts to chew on, check out this great post at PoliticusUsa.

That’s just the crazy people talking about impeaching the president for executing a constitutional authority he actually has but didn’t actually use. Check out the link to see who thinks we’re headed for civil war, how the vote is getting rigged while simultaneously increasing voter fraud. And the good people at Think Progress (with whom I’ve had many exchanges over the years) have found other people going similarly crazy over Obama’s use of executive authority (which he is constitutionally required to do.) There’s a lot of sadly misinformed people out there, and some of them are members of the Legislative Branch in our Federal Government. I think you should be very concerned about that. You can start by looking at your own state legislatures, where many of these people got their start. To undo Republican gerrymandering, we have to take back the state legislatures by 2020, so we can control the drawing of Congressional District maps, which is the only way we’ll ever take back the House of Representatives. And we have to get rid of electronic voting, which can easily be rigged and manipulated, and very likely has in some key races in recent years. It is not secure, and it can easily change election results to anyone in power who wants to stay there. Paper ballots are the best way. They don’t take that long to count, and the results can easily be verified and re-counted as needed. Only then can we restore Democracy to America.

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss crazy paranoid right wingers serving in our government, or any other topic you wish to discuss.

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Watering Hole: Monday, December 31, 2012 – Hillary Clinton Hospitalized Sunday with Blood Clot

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Many news organizations, including Reuters, have reported that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been admitted to a hospital following the discovery of a small blood clot stemming from the concussion she suffered earlier this month.

Many in the right wing media have been trying to say, sometimes in a roundabout way and sometimes directly, that she was faking her concussion to get out of testifying about what happened in the Sept 11 attack on the Benghazi Consulate. Of course, there is no basis whatsoever for these accusations, but when did the truth ever stop the right wing from saying anything? Fox News hasn’t been shy about questioning the veracity of Secretary Clinton’s claims or the seriousness of her injury. While she was following doctor’s orders and getting bed rest (a smart thing to do after a concussion, especially when you were sick when you got it), some Fox News people have wondered aloud (and on camera) why she still couldn’t testify as scheduled on Benghazi. (I’m no doctor, but I’m guessing the brain damage prevalent at Fox News was not the result of concussions, but simply a prerequisite for being hired to work there as an on-air “talent.”)

Bill O’Reilly dismissively said, “If She Was In The NFL I Wouldn’t Let Her Play, But I Think She Can Make A Phone Call.” And former unconfirmed G. W. Bush UN Ambassador John “I Am The Walrus Mustache” Bolton even pushed a story about how diplomats lie to get out of meetings they don’t wish to attend.

Fox News contributor John Bolton told host Greta van Susteren that when foreign service officers “don’t want to go to a meeting or conference or event,” they have “a diplomatic illness. And this is a diplomatic illness to beat the band.”

And Fox’s Laura Ingraham mocked Sec. Clinton’s condition saying, “We Are Now Calling This The Immaculate Concussion.” It’s actually pretty ignorant of them to say, “No one knows where she is.” Of course people knew – she was at home, as previously reported, where her doctor’s told her to stay. O’Reilly even said where she was later in the segment.

It’s time for Fox News to start apologizing for accusing the Secretary of State of faking her concussion so she wouldn’t have to testify regarding the Benghazi attack. And they’re not the only ones. Soon-to-be former Congressman Allen West said that she was trying to get out of testifying with a bout of the “Benghazi Flu.” To her credit, Fox’s Greta van Susteren has pushed back on these accusations saying, “I don’t agree with any of my (Fox News) colleagues or anyone else who is a tad bit sarcastic on our air about Secretary Clinton’s health.”

Given his well-documented obsession with Hillary Clinton, we can only imagine what Rush Limbaugh has said on the subject. We have to because none of us here can stomach listening to that blowhard.

Surely their apologies are imminent. Yeah, just as surely as I’ll be sworn in next month to replace Secretary Clinton.

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss Hillary’s concussion, Rush’s obsessions, O’Reilly’s brain damage, or any other topic you wish. And from all of us at The Zoo, please enjoy your New Year’s Eve celebrations safely and responsibly.

Sunday Roast: The ghost of teabaggery past

This video is from earlier this year, when Allen West made his stunningly idiotic remark, “I believe there’s about 78 to 81 members of the Democrat Party who are members of the Communist Party. It’s called the Congressional Progressive Caucus.”

Aside from the hair-raising bad grammar, having publicly made such a statement is rather incredible — and just goes to show how out of hand our public discourse has become.  The new normal?  West’s remarks were generally reported in the media as just another crazy remark made by a crazy guy — if they were reported at all, outside the liberal blogosphere.

While Allen West’s grotesque remarks reminded Bill Moyers of the horrible Joe McCarthy, when his ghost “slithered into the room,” this video made me think of the more recent, and equally contemptible, behavior of Darrell Issa and his completely bogus witch hunt against Attorney General Eric Holder.

Who is today’s Joseph N. Welch?  Is there anyone on Capital Hill with the courage and integrity to say words to the effect of…

You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?

I know we’ve been screaming it all along, but we’re just bloggers, you know.  The media doesn’t like to admit or acknowledge that bloggers now do their jobs, while they rake in the big bucks to say, “We’ll just have to leave it there.”

Bill Moyers ends his comments with this:

So beware, Congressman West, beware: In the flammable pool of toxic paranoia that passes these days as patriotism in America, a single careless match can light an inferno. You would serve your country well to withdraw your remarks and apologize for them. But if not, perhaps there are members of your own party, as possessed of conscience and as courageous as that handful of Republicans who took on Joseph McCarthy, who will now abandon fear and throw cold water on your incendiary remarks.

No, I don’t think there are any members of the Republican party who will stop the likes of Allen West, Steve King, Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, etc.  As terrible as those times were in the McCarthy era, I believe they are worse now.  The Republicans have shown time after time that they are perfectly happy with the birtherism, tentherism, and racism of its more vocal extremists.  They will not shut the extremists down, nor will they ever disavow them in any convincing manner.  John Boehner and Mitch McConnell can barely conceal their glee and their “wink and a nod” toward the teabagger crowd.

And today’s media?  The band played on…

This is our daily open thread — Speak up!

The Watering Hole, Saturday, April 14th, 2012: The GOP Fab Five?

Today’s thread didn’t start with Newsmax.com – in fact, I don’t actually remember where it started, but my nosing around quickly led me there.

Now that Rick Santorum has officially dropped out of the Presidential race, and with Newt Gingrich not even visible in the rearview mirrors of Mitt Romney’s Mustangs, I took a respite from Presidential politics. An article at Newsmax reminded me that November will bring other contests, one of them being my own Congressional Representative, Nan Hayworth (R-NY.) The article, “Five GOP Freshmen: Here’s What We’ve Learned”, references the original, complete piece at Politico, giving brief blurbs about New York Representative Michael Grimm (R-NY-13th), North Carolina Representative Renee Ellmers (R-NC-2nd), New York Representative Nan Hayworth (R-NY-19th), Florida Representative Allen West (R-FL-22nd), and Arizona Representative David Schweikert (R-AZ-5th.)

About Michael Grimm, Politico mentions:

A former FBI agent and Marine, Grimm credits the skills he learned in those positions with his ability to take on Washington and be a successful politician, and he says it gives him motivation to keep going. “Having served overseas, having served in combat, I’ve seen some of the darkest places in the world, and I’ve seen the look in people’s eyes when there is no humanity, when there is no hope, when there is no liberty. … What we have is fragile; our liberty, our freedom is taken for granted everyday.”

Huh? Has he seen the look in his constituents’ eyes lately?

Next, Renee Ellmers: from Politico,

…one issue she has no problem speaking out on is health care. The issue is near and dear to her heart as Ellmers is a former nurse, and her husband is a surgeon. Like many of her freshman colleagues, she came into office running on anti-“Obamacare” sentiment and still lists repeal of the health care law has her top priority.

“I’m a member of the [Republican] Doctors Caucus, and we’re very active in putting together different pieces to put into place … a free-market patient-centered program,” she said.

If healthcare is “near and dear to her heart”, how could she possibly believe that the “free market” would make healthcare better or more affordable?

Rep. Hayworth‘s blurb says, in part, “While she has moderate views about climate change and abortion, New York tea party Republicans have backed her.” Hmm…those “moderate views” include pushing for more off-shore oil drilling, and although she says that she is pro-choice, Hayworth believes that the issue of abortion should be left up to the States. Which leads me to wonder how she views what the Republican Governors are doing to abortion rights.

I love how the bit on Allen West begins: “This feisty freshman has earned a lot of attention for his strong, forthright rhetoric.” Sounds like West is being introduced on some nightmarish version of The Dating Game. “Feisty”? “Feisty on steroids”, possibly. That the delusional and psychopathic West ever got elected to public office in the first place is frightening enough, but that he’s considered to be one of the bright stars of the Republican Party is mind-boggling.

David Schweikert of Arizona blames the Senate for the gridlock in Congress. Enough said.

These five freshman representatives are just a sampling of the Republicans who will be defending their seats in November. Oh, joy, I can’t wait to go over the rest of the field. Sigh…

This is our daily open thread — What’s on your mind today?