It’s Essential That Immoral Hacks are Not Let off the Hook

Jon Stewart can be proud of the roasting he gave Judith Miller last night. Unlike others on her rehabilitation tour, he did not let her try to polish the turd that is her reputation as one of the key hacks that enabled the Bush administration to spread their cherry picked intelligence.

You could see the bulldog determination in his demeanor that he was not going to let his legacy down by letting Miller have a venue to bullshit anybody.

Also today, the NYT (formerly Judith Miller’s playground) has an important article on how the American Psychiatric Association helped the Bushies bolster the legal and ethical justifications for the torture program.

“The A.P.A. secretly coordinated with officials from the C.I.A., White House and the Department of Defense to create an A.P.A. ethics policy on national security interrogations which comported with then-classified legal guidance authorizing the C.I.A. torture program,” the report’s authors conclude.

That’s burn in hell territory as far as I’m concerned.

Asshole of the Week – Tammy Bruce

This one was easy – Fox contributor Tammy Bruce. Bruce, who claims to be a lesbian, feminist and pro-choice, but is actually a conservative Republican operative who once argued that even gay people believe that marriage should only be available for straight people. She was president of the Los Angeles chapter of NOW in the 90s who was censured for making racially insensitive remarks.

She then went on to write three books railing against the left and started a career as a right wing radio personality. She is constantly showing up to argue against gay rights, from the perspective as a gay person, so it’s okay you see.

It’s not as confusing as it seems because Bruce is just a phony.

This week she responded to a school trying to sensitize students and their parents to transgender students. The idiotic Elizabeth Hasselbeck asked if this was “some sort of plan of indoctrination to get kids first?” Because any sensitivity is always a plan to indoctrinate the children.

Bruce’s brilliantly constructed response was that of course it’s indoctrination (and I can say that because I’m a gay person)

“This is about conditioning,” she replied, “and not just of the children, but the parents as well. You can be the moral arbiter of your child — that doesn’t make you a bigot.”

And further she dismissed the entire idea of a transgender child by saying.

“When I was a child, I thought I was a cocker spaniel”

Now that’s a first class asshole.

I have a young relative who is a lovely young lady who is about to enter high school and is very interested in theater. She was born a boy, but knew that was not right for her. My cousin, her step mother, who is an educator, reading specialist and child advocate worked with the girl’s father (against the wishes of the girl’s mother) to get the girl the help she needed to be whole and happy. Tammy Bruce is either a complete phony and ideological mercenary or a disgusting traitor to herself. I feel sorry for her.

Obamacare Above Water with Public; and Who Hates it Should STFU

More Americans say they like Obamacare than dislike it for the first time since 2012 by a 43-42 count, according to a new Kaiser Health Tracking Poll released Tuesday. 29% in that poll said to completely repeal it, which makes it a political loser for the GOP to persist with, but there they go again.


But this story in the New Republic looks at the numbers of repeal-heads in a Bloomberg poll that got 35% for complete repeal. But of those hardcore APA haters the majority of that 35% as identified already have healthcare, usually medicare.

But even the 35 percent support figure for repeal overstates the scope of the law’s unpopularity. Or, more accurately, we should ignore a sizable chunk of Americans who want to repeal Obamacare. Repeal is a fringe position, in that Americans oppose it overwhelmingly. But it’s also fringe in that those who do support it reside disproportionately on the periphery of the law itself. Their opinions matter insofar as they’re eligible to vote, but for heuristic purposes we should ignore them.

Among those whose opinions we should generally ignore on this issue—old people—it’s a bloodbath. Only 36 percent view the law favorably, while 46 percent view it unfavorably.

There’s no reason to pay attention to these people on this issue. But they’re the GOP base and core Fox viewer, so…

Jeb Trying to Bend PAC Rules Into Flaming Pretzel of Fail

I don’t expect the media to pay much attention to this, except maybe Maddow and Hayes, because if Hillary Clinton gets bucks for a charity it’s huge, but how candidates raise money for their campaigns and how they use them, well, that’s just getting into the weeds. Right? The last thing the GOP really wants is more publicity for how, and from whom, they raise actual campaign cash from, but fine, be that way.

This story about how Jeb Bush is planning to use his Right to Rise PAC, with which he cannot legally coordinate his campaign with in any way, is really interesting. The entire mishegas of these super PACs is a joke effort to walk a wire. The candidate raises unlimited money from anonymous donors for said PAC, which it can spend practically any way it chooses, but it cannot coordinate its efforts with the actual campaign or any party campaign. So the super PAC hires cronies of the candidate who can completely work for his benefit, (wink, wink) intuiting knowing what the campaign and the candidate want and need (wink, wink).

Jeb Bush plans to openly push the envelope on all the winking and nodding and dance on that wire like nobody’s watching. (Is anybody watching?)

“Nothing like this has been done before,” said David Keating, president of the Center for Competitive Politics, which opposes limits on campaign finance donations. “It will take a high level of discipline to do it.”

“In our view, we are headed for an epic national scandal,” said Fred Wertheimer, president of the pro-regulation group Democracy 21. “We intend to carefully and closely monitor all the candidates and their super PACs, because they will eventually provide numerous examples of violations.”

But the agency that should be monitoring this has been in limbo for some time.

Critics also believe that coordination can take place surreptitiously, and such illegal activity isn’t punished by an FEC comprised of three Democratic and three Republican members unable to agree on almost anything. Last year, the FEC found only 16 violations of campaign finance law and leveled just $200,000 in fines — a record low for recent years.

“It’s up to only the Justice Department, because the FEC for all practical purposes … will not enforce the law,” Wertheimer said.

When You Lay Down With Fox News…

A Hoover Institution fellow is writing a book about the foreign donations the Clinton Foundation has taken. Just a reminder that Hoover was the fellow who was president when the economy fell completely apart leading to 25% unemployment and something called “Hoovervilles” when homeless people squatted in empty lots around trash can fires for warmth. The Herbert Hoover who one month after the stock market crash said:

“Any lack of confidence in the economic future or the basic strength of business in the United States is foolish.”

Now that’s somebody to name a think tank after. Hoover and his Treasury Secretary millionaire industrialist Andrew Mellon both thought the best thing to fix the economy as the soup lines formed was nothing. Anybody who works for such a think tank you know is working on intellectual fumes for the red team. But I digress.

The story isn’t another right wing hit piece on the Clintons, those are a dime a dozen. The story is who is touting this one.

But “Clinton Cash” is potentially more unsettling, both because of its focused reporting and because major news organizations including The Times, The Washington Post and Fox News have exclusive agreements with the author to pursue the story lines found in the book.

So the great Satans of the liberal media, the NY Times and WaPo, are in bed with Roger Ailes and Fox News in order to get the dirt on Hillary Clinton. The same liberal media that ate up every poorly sourced piece of fever dream speculation against the Clintons in the 90s and then decided that George Bush was the guy America wanted a beer with while Al Gore was too dull and dishonest to be president.

As Eric Alterman famously asked “What Liberal Media?”

Maddow does the whole enchilada:

More Fun with Polling – Abortion Edition

The headline in Think Progress says it all: Polls Have Been Misleading You on What Americans Actually Believe About Abortion.

Pollster Tresa Undem has been thinking about how people think about abortion and decided pollsters have been asking the wrong questions. The “pro-life” and “pro-choice” labels are fixated upon to the detriment of everybody.

That’s one of the areas that Undem experimented with in the poll she recently conducted for Vox. She asked respondents a series of questions about what they believed a woman’s abortion experience should look like. If a woman wanted to have an abortion, would they want her experience to be “comfortable,” “supportive,” “without pressure,” “non-judgmental,” “affordable,” “informed by medically-accurate information,” or “without added burdens”?

A large majority of respondents — at least 69 percent — said “yes” for each of those descriptors, suggesting there’s consensus about how Americans want women to be treated after they choose to seek an abortion. This aspect of Undem’s polling is “really groundbreaking,” according to Stewart.

Smarter polls have indicated for awhile that way more people want abortion to be legal to some extent than those that want it to be illegal to any extent. But this polling really measures whether people are sympathetic to the experience of a woman who has to deal with an unintended pregnancy.

Well worth a full read.

Damaged Goods Christie Damaged

New Quinnipiac Poll has him at the lowest approval rating of ANY governor this year. 38% approval to 56% disapproval.

New Jersey voters disapprove 56 – 38 percent of the job Christie is doing as governor, his lowest approval rating ever and the lowest approval rating for any governor this year in the nine states surveyed by Quinnipiac University.

Lower than Rick Scott, even?

Yes! Lower than Rick Scott.

His disapproval jumped 8 points and 65% in New Jersey say he’d make a bad president

New Jersey voters say 65 – 29 percent that Gov. Christie would not make a good president, and voters say 64 – 33 percent that he should not run for president.

But they didn’t poll on whether they’d like to see him on Fox News yelling at people after O’Reilly. The entire GOP clown car will be competing for jobs like that because Hillary is a cruisin’

54 – 34 percent over Paul;
56 – 30 percent over former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee;
53 – 33 percent over Bush;
54 – 34 percent over U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida;
54 – 32 percent over Walker;
58 – 30 percent over U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas

U.S. History Files – When They Tossed Out the Rascals

Our beloved Congress has a 10% approval rating and a 95% reelection rate. Everybody thinks Congress is fucked up but their Congressman is okey dokey. It doesn’t make any sense at all, of course. And funny business at the state level with gerrymandering districts to a ridiculous level makes a bad situation impossible. But that wasn’t always the case.

Two thirds of the 14th Congress (1815-1817) was either defeated for reelection or decided not to run. TWO FUCKING THIRDS.

How the hell did that happen?

The 14th Congress was considered remarkably productive. They passed a protective tariff that was very popular, they authorized the Second Bank of the United States which was fairly controversial at the time, but since President Madison had come over to Alexander Hamilton’s belief that we needed such a thing, after having been against it for decades, most of his party went along.

Where they went unforgivably off the track, for the public of the day, was when they voted themselves a pay raise. They had been receiving $6 a day and they voted for themselves a salary of $1500 a year. It wasn’t unreasonable. 28 civil servants earned more. The president got $25,000 a year, but had to run the White House with that money. From Daniel Howe’s Pulitzer Prize winning “What Hath God Wrought – The Transformation of America, 1815-1848”:

Given the nationalist agenda, it made perfect sense to strengthen the national legislature by making service in it more attractive to talent. The electorate, however, would have none of it: Their wrath fell on Federalist and Republican (Democrats) alike. All told, of the 81 members who voted for the bill, only 15 won reelection. Even some who voted against it were punished with defeat, on the grounds that they should not have accepted the money.

The biggest problem the 14th Congress had was that they voted the increases in pay for themselves, not just for their successors. The public in Nov. 1816 found that an unpardonable sin.

Imagine what they would have thought of NAFTA.