Our Common Good


President Obama has yet to nominate anyone to succeed Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, but Republicans are already lining up in opposition to potential replacement U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, citing her complicity in the administration’s alleged failures in responding to the attacks in Benghazi, Libya. On Wednesday, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) promised to filibuster Rice’s nomination and “do whatever to block the nomination that is within our power.” “She’s not qualified,” McCain explained, arguing that she misled the public by initially attributing the September 11 Benghazi attack to protests over an anti-Islam video. He claimed that at a minimum, Rice is guilty of “not being very bright, because it was obvious that this was not a ‘flash mob’ and there was additional information by the time she went on every news show…in America.” But interestingly, McCain took a far different approach to another Rice in 2005. When President George W. Bush nominated National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice to the post, McCain defended the nomination, despite Rice’s central role in spreading the false intelligence that Saddam Hussein was developing weapons of mass destruction. The Democrats held hours of hearing and ultimately confirmed Rice, but not before McCain accused the opposition of using politics to delay her confirmation and challenging her “integrity” … .

There you have it: Sen. John McCain — A Profile Not in Courage But in Hypocrisy.

But the last-minute nature of the call for donations left some in the campaign concerned that they would end up with an empty truck. So the night before the event, campaign aides went to a local Wal Mart and spent $5,000 on granola bars, canned food, and diapers to put on display while they waited for donations to come in, according to one staffer. (The campaign confirmed that it “did donate supplies to the relief effort,” but would not specify how much it spent.)

Empty-handed supporters pled for entrance, with one woman asking, “What if we dropped off our donations up front?”The volunteer gestured toward a pile of groceries conveniently stacked near the candidate. “Just grab something,” he said.

Two teenage boys retrieved a jar of peanut butter each, and got in line. When it was their turn, they handed their “donations” to Romney. He took them, smiled, and offered an earnest “Thank you.”


Let’s call this Conservative Chaos Theory. Without hypocrisy, the conservative mind would explode from the sheer force of its eternal contradictions.

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MSNBC’s Chris Hayes has unearthed a straight-up gem of a video from February 14, 2002, wherein Representative Paul Ryan gives a full-throated defense of stimulus to get the country out of recession.

Business Insider

Game. Set. Match.

Republicans in the U.S. Senate voted unanimously Monday and again on Tuesday to block adoption of the Disclose Act, Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse’s legislation to require disclosure of political donations of more than $10,000 within 24 hours of the money being spent. The votes were no less remarkable for having been predictable.

For years, congressional Republicans had vowed that disclosure of donations and spending was the one sure route to an honest campaign-finance system…..


Hypocrisy is a bipartisan affliction. But congressional Republicans have escaped the outer orbit of expediency with this week’s votes. Perhaps once you decide it’s acceptable to label the health-care policies you previously supported — individual mandate, health-care exchanges, etc. — as the trappings of dictatorship, your inhibitions disappear.

Although McConnell’s full reversal on disclosure is well known, he has lots of company, including the three top leaders in the House of Representatives. What follows is a sampling of words, compiled with help from the pro-disclosure Campaign Legal Center.

Speaker of the House John Boehner: “I think what we ought to do is we ought to have full disclosure, full disclosure of all of the money that we raise and how it is spent. And I think that sunlight is the best disinfectant.” (NBC, “Meet the Press” transcript, Feb. 11, 2007)

Majority Leader Eric Cantor: “Anything that moves us back towards that notion of transparency and real-time reporting of donations and contributions I think would be a helpful move towards restoring confidence of voters.” (Newsweek, “SCOTUS Ruling Spells Disaster for Political Transparency,” Jan. 21, 2010)

House Whip Kevin McCarthy: “I think people should disclose. I have no problem with disclosing information. And it should be that way.” (National Public Radio, Sept. 23, 2010)

Senate Minority Leader McConnell: “Republicans are in favor of disclosure. There’s a serious constitutional question, whether you can require people engaged in what’s called issue advocacy to disclose. But if you’re going to do that, and the Senate voted to do that, and I’m prepared to go down that road, then it needs to be meaningful disclosure, Tim. 527s are just a handful of groups. We need to have real disclosure. And so what we ought to do is broaden the disclosure to include at least labor unions and tax-exempt business associations and trial lawyers so that you include the major political players in America. Why would a little disclosure be better than a lot of disclosure?” (“Meet the Press,” June 18, 2000)

Senator Lamar Alexander: “I support campaign finance reform, but to me that means individual contributions, free speech and full disclosure. In other words, any individual can give whatever they want as long as it is disclosed every day on the Internet. Otherwise, you restrict free speech and favor super-rich candidates — candidates with famous names, the media and special interest groups, all of whom can spend unlimited money. (Washington Post, May 19, 1999)

Senator Jeff Sessions: “I don’t like it when a large source of money is out there funding ads and is unaccountable. To the extent we can, I tend to favor disclosure.” (The Hill, “Campaign finance bill has GOP wary,” April 22, 2010)

Senator John Cornyn: “I think the system needs more transparency, so people can more easily reach their own conclusions.” (McClatchy Newspapers, “What do both parties have in common? Wall Street donations,” April 25, 2010)

A charitable interpretation of these statements is that the words have no meaning. A less charitable interpretation is that they convey something important about the speakers.


Rick Warren was on ABC’s This Week yesterday, and Jake Tapper asked him what he thought about President Obama’s suggestion that God tells us to care for those less fortunate than ourselves.

“I do not believe in wealth redistribution, I believe in wealth creation.” -…


Right-wing talk radio union bashers Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity actually themselves belong to a union: AFTRA, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, which is affiliated with AFL-CIO.

Each host has used airtime on their programs in the past year to attack union workers in the state of Wisconsin.


House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Republican, Virginia), on #OccupyWallStreet

“…If you read the newspapers  today, I,  for one, am increasingly concerned about the growing mobs  occupying Wall  Street and the other cities across the country. And  believe it or not,  some in this town, have actually condoned the  pitting of Americans  against Americans….

Eric Cantor on the Tea Party:

“[they are] fighting on the fighting lines of what we know is a battle  for our democracy…People are beginning to wake up and see a country they don’t really recognize…”

more, plus video, here.
art: photo by Lee Ranaldo, at #occupywallstreet


House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Republican, Virginia), on #OccupyWallStreet

“…If you read the newspapers today, I, for one, am increasingly concerned about the growing mobs occupying Wall Street and the other cities across the country. And believe it or not, some in this town, have actually condoned the pitting of Americans against Americans….

Eric Cantor on the Tea Party:

“[they are] fighting on the fighting lines of what we know is a battle for our democracy…People are beginning to wake up and see a country they don’t really recognize…”

more, plus video, here.


art: photo by Lee Ranaldo, at #occupywallstreet

On Fox News, Alan Colmes Calls Out Fox News’ “Double Standard” On Tea Party And Wall Street Protests (via Media Matters for America)


Remember kids: “Obamacare,” before it was “Romneycare,” was known as the “Health Equity and Access Reform Today Act of 1993” and was written by the Republican Party. Republicans were for the individual mandate before they were against it.

I am more often angry with Senator Landrieu than pleased with her actions, but she deserves applause for this:

House Oversight Committee chair Rep. Darrell Issa’s (R-CA) investigation of clean energy loan programs was undercut this week by a revelation, first reported by Bloomberg, that he had also requested money from the same program for companies in his district. A follow-up story by ThinkProgress found that an investor to the firm Issa had asked to subsidize had donated several times to Issa, including a check just shortly before Issa sent his letter to Secretary Chu.

Today on the Senate floor, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) mocked Issa’s hypocrisy. She carried with her copies of the letters signed by Issa, as well as other letters by Republicans asking for money for the clean energy program they had just voted to cut, and read them into the Congressional Record


With the House prepared to vote on a bill to keep the government running past Sept. 30, when current funding expires, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said the upper chamber would send the bill back if House Republicans did not increase money for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)…

The House bill is a stopgap spending measure, known as a continuing resolution, that would fund the government through Nov. 18. It contains $3.65 billion for FEMA to respond to the natural disasters — Hurricane Irene, the East Coast earthquake, the Texas wildfires and the tornado that devastated Joplin, Mo. — that have hit the country in recent months. The funding is partially offset by a $1.5 billion cut to a Department of Energy loan program for manufacturers of fuel-efficient cars…

“While the government has a responsibility to fund disaster response in places that were devastated by Hurricane Irene or other natural disasters, it is unconscionable to use funds designed to create jobs in manufacturing states to pay for it,” wrote the lawmakers, who were led by Reps. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) and Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.). “Many of the states that stand to benefit the most from this program are still suffering from higher-than-average unemployment rates and are badly in need of the kind of good-paying manufacturing jobs these loans will create.”

So we have a GOP bill in the house that takes away $1.5 Billion from the Department of Energy and gives $3.65 Billion for disaster relief. Compare/contrast this to the Democratic bill, which contains a full $6.9 Billion for relief, and adds in no unrelated offsets. Eric Cantor is accusing Harry Reid of “playing politics” with disaster relief- a clever accusation, as it deflects the exact criticism anyone with a brain would have for Cantor.

The Department of Energy has nothing to do with FEMA or disaster relief. The GOP is essentially saying, “Cut the Department of Energy, or you won’t get disaster relief”. How can anyone argue that it’s Reid and not Cantor that’s playing politics with disaster aid? It’s completely unrelated to the Department of Energy, but unless it gets cut, FEMA won’t have the funds it needs (although even with the cuts to the Department of Energy, it won’t be enough money to help all the victims).


Apparently, Rick Perry is having difficulty with running for president and running Texas. I’m guessing it’s poor form to miss a press conference about the wildfires in a town where nearly 1,400 homes have been destroyed by said wildfires. 

Of course, he might face embarrassing questions about his slashing 75 percent of the volunteer fire department budget. In Texas, 80 percent of firefighting in wildlands is done by volunteer firefighters.

Perhaps he might also face questions about these cuts coming after Perry began asking for federal funds to combat fires in April. Whether it was a scheduling issue or him just dodging and weaving, as my friend Bob is fond of saying, that’s rather “unsportsmanlike” behavior.