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Not So Much With The Nuclear

So the headline today is that the senate “invoked the nuclear option” and made a rules change that would limit the endless filibustering.

Not so fast. Using the term “nuclear” makes it sound ginormous, when it’s really not. To be clear, what the senate did today was to ensure that a majority vote on executive branch and non-Supreme Court judicial nominations. That’s it. They eliminated the “super majority” nonsense only on executive branch nominees. Nothing else. The minority in the senate can still filibuster everything else. So we’re still stuck in super majority hell for any other bill.

Why such a limited “nuclear” strike, when they could have effectively eviscerated the filibuster? The standard argument is that democrats understand that they will one day be in the minority, and are therefore not interested in neutering minority rights. Nonsense. The senate changed the rules today. They can change the rules tomorrow, and every day after that. And if democrats in the senate don’t think that republicans won’t go ahead and eviscerate the rights of the minority if they ever take over, they haven’t been paying attention to GOP tactics. Republicans went “nuclear” when they launched an unprecedented number of filibusters on the duly elected majority. I’m not buying the “looking ahead at future ramifications” horseshit argument.

No, I think that democrats limited the radius of the nuclear strike because they want the cover that having recalcitrant republicans give them. The blue dogs and the corporatists like being able to avoid taking votes on many of the issues that republicans filibuster. Not voting on those issues allows them to keep both their “blue dog” and their “democrat” cred. This enables certain democrats (like Dianne Feinstein, for example) to not cast votes that may jeopardize their seats. I mention Dianne Feinstein specifically, because I really believe she would be in trouble in California if she had to let her blue dog freak flag fly. Most of the blue dog senators would probably be safe because they legitimately represent states whose views are blue doggedy. But the corporatists would be in trouble.

This “nuclear” vote wasn’t about making government run much more smoothly. It was limited for a reason. I suspect that Harry Reid was worried about protecting “democratic” seats. I think he’s mostly wrong. I think that if a corporatist democrat gets ousted for being too corporatist, they’re more likely going to be replaced by a more democraty candidate, than they are by a republican. Limiting the “simple majority” to executive branch nominees isn’t going to have much impact on elections, since most people don’t pay much attention to judicial nominees.

While it may seem like Harry Reid took a giant step forward to restore democracy, it’s really just a tiny little baby step. Don’t everyone get too excited over this.

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Your Work Is Not Done Part I

Now that the distraction of the election is over, it’s time to get to work. I know that you thought that you were done after you voted, but you’re not. Don’t worry conservatives, this series of posts won’t all be about pushing a liberal agenda so bear with me through this post. I promise they won’t all annoy you.

So liberals, I’m speaking to you right now. There’s something you need to do immediately, and repeatedly over the course of the next eight weeks, in order to get congress moving along again. Basically nothing changed last night, in terms of the balance of power. Congress is still held by a GOP majority, the senate is still democratically controlled (albeit by a slightly larger margin), and democrats still have the white house. This means that the do nothing gridlock that we’ve been treated to for the past four years may continue.

I say may, because we can put pressure on Harry Reid to stop it. We need to send Harry Reid a torrent of letters and faxes demanding that he change the filibuster rules. The majority leader can change senate rules with a simple majority at the beginning  of each session. A new session begins when the new senators are sworn in, in January. We need to send letters and faxes to Harry Reid immediately and frequently. Additionally, you need to send one letter or fax to your democratic senator asking them to vote for a rule change. I want you to send letters and faxes as opposed to emails because they’re more impactful. They create a physical presence and a physical mass. It’s harder to gauge the volume of emails than it is to look at a stack of physical paper and get a sense of the volume.

This will take maybe fifteen minutes of your time, so it’s not a huge undertaking. You spent more time voting, even if everything went smoothly. Not it’s time to make that vote mean something. We need to stop the minority from hijacking the government at every turn. Ignore the bullshit about how changing the rules will eventually hurt “your team” when they’re in the minority. The majority leader, any majority leader can always change the rules at the start of a new session. I promise you that republicans will change the rules if they ever regain control.

This rule change will empower the president you voted for to move his agenda forward. And if he doesn’t, you will all know that he, and not congress is the problem. I’m tired of hearing this crap about how powerless Obama is, in order to defend him. I’ve never believed that he’s as powerless as some people maintain. Regardless, let’s find out. If we discover that he’s the problem, we can focus our pressure on him. Here is the contact information for Harry Reid’s Washington office; 

          522 Hart Senate Office Building 

          Washington, DC 20510

          Fax: 202-224-7327

Click on this link to get the mailing and fax information for your senator.

You have to do this in order to make last night’s vote count! Please, I’m begging you! Don’t make me get bitchier!

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Did You Fall For It, Gays?

Are you pissed at Obama for failing to repeal DADT? Maybe you blame Harry Reid? If you answered “yes” to either of those questions, you got played.

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know that I’m not a Harry Reid fan. You also know that I’m not an Obama apologist. After reading some of the reactions to the travesty yesterday, I felt compelled to go through how this happened.

Let me first start by saying that I viscerally wish that President Obama would come out of the closet already, and enthusiastically support gay rights in a demonstrable way. But intellectually, I feel that he would be hurting the gay cause if he did. As it was, this vote happened fairly quietly. Fox news and right wing radio weren’t hammering away at the issue. They were focused in rehabbing the nutbaggery that is Christine O’Donnell. Does anyone think they would have largely ignored DADT if Obama were out there audibly supporting its repeal? Let’s be honest here, anything that Obama comes out for becomes the epicenter of hate and controversy. I’m not saying that Obama shouldn’t take a stand on anything, for fear that he will start a political firestorm. I’m saying that given Obama’s pervasive and persistent weakness over the past twenty-one months, he made the right calculation in laying low on this one. In doing so, he increased Harry Reid’s (admittedly low) odds of making something good happen in the senate.

Here’s what went down yesterday; all forty republicans joined hands and created a filibuster. Two democrats joined them, but they were irrelevant since all forty republicans were united. As an aside, one of those two irrelevant democrats is going to get voted out of office in November. I say fuck you and good riddance, Blanche Lincoln. No one is going to remember you ten minutes after you’re gone. Anyway, back to yesterday’s vote. Republicans, and republicans alone blocked the repeal. Period. Every single one of them united to block the vote from taking place. Harry Reid (uncharacteristically) didn’t do anything wrong.

Actually, politically speaking he did make one mistake. He rolled the DREAM Act into the DADT bill. The DREAM Act creates a path to citizenship for certain illegal immigrants. Specifically, to illegal immigrants who have served in the US military for two years and minors who have been in the country for five years prior to the bills’ passage, and are obtaining high school and college diplomas. The DREAM Act is a bill written by Dick Durbin a year and a half ago, and it’s good for all of us. It’s good for all of us because it will help military recruitment and it will chip away at the skilled labor shortage in the US. Even in this crap ass economy, we don’t have the labor pool to match the jobs that are available. Our college graduation rate is going down, and we don’t have the skilled computer professionals that we need. As a recruiter, I do my best to hire a US citizen whenever I can. That hasn’t been as possible as one might think (even in the past year). I’m still having to process H1B visas for foreign workers. We need all the college grads we can get if we expect to hold our position in the world.

The DREAM Act is obviously a popular bill within the Latino community. I think that if Reid was good at playing politics, he would have called a vote on DREAM as a stand alone bill. This would force republicans to either filibuster it, thereby guaranteeing that the GOP wouldn’t receive a single Latino vote in the November elections, or passing it thereby undermining their SB 1070 rhetoric.

But he sucks at politics, so he combined them. This left Mitch McConnell with the opening to comically say that he would allow a vote on DADT if DREAM was removed from the bill. Oh, and he was going to buy every US citizen a  pony. Make no mistake, Mitch McConnell was never going to allow this vote to take place. Democrats in the senate acquiesced to republicans 170 times on the health reform bill, only to receive zero republican votes. In fact, I can count the number of affirmative republican votes over the past twenty-one months on my hands! Mitch McConnell is Lucy with her football from the Peanuts cartoons. It’s a fucking joke anytime he says he will work with democrats “if”. So he wanted Harry Reid to throw one group under the bus in order to give another group rights they should have had all along? That’s a bullshit choice, and I’m glad that Reid didn’t cave into that crap.

To summarize, Harry Reid didn’t make any mistakes that would have changed the outcome yesterday. Don’t let Mitch McConnell tell you otherwise. This vote (as with every other vote) was, for Mitch McConnell, about making people hate Obama. Did you fall for it, gays?

There will theoretically be another attempt at a vote on this issue after the election, during the lame duck session. I suggest focusing your Obama/Reid ire on a target that deserves it; Scott Brown. Why do I single him out? Because he represents the bluest of states, where gay marriage is legal. He did not represent his constituents yesterday. We need to put a world of hurt and pressure on Scott Brown. And you should start putting pressure on the ladies of Maine, since they’re low hanging fruit.

My guess is that if we can peel off one single republican, Reid will get all of the democrats in line since Obama explicitly stated that he would repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell this year. Once republicans united, the two democrats that joined them were irrelevant so I’m guessing that Reid didn’t fight as hard for them as he would if he had a republican. We won’t know for sure, until we get a republican.

So you can misplace your anger with Obama, or you can do something constructive with that anger. Call everyone you know in Maine and Massachusetts. Start Facebook pages pledging to vote against Brown, Collins, and Snowe. Organize rallies and money bombs to raise money to run commercials in those states.

Don’t fall for the “hate Obama” ploy. Let’s work together to get er done!

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We Suck Less!

In two short years, “Yes we can!” has devolved into “We suck less!”. The democratic party and liberal pundits seem to be overjoyed by this sorry state of affairs.


In case you hadn’t noticed, a whole slew of nutjob teabaggers won primaries on Tuesday, which means that everybody lost. Republicans lost because teabaggers can’t win general elections. Democrats lost because their only shot at avoiding an avalanche of lost congressional and senatorial seats, was to run against future occupants of Belleview. Americans lost because our options are between sucky and crazy. And most of all, Sharon Angle lost because she is no longer the biggest whackadoo running in the general election.

Everybody is talking about the Christine O’Donnell win in Delaware. In case you’re not up to speed on Christine O’Donnell, she’s running on an anti-masturbation platform. Yes, she believes that self-love is a sin of lust. And the most effective way for Christine O’Donnell to stop masturbation all across the country, is to make sure that we’re all within earshot of her voice at all times. Who can possibly feel lust through that kind of experience? Just to summarize; O’Donnell vehemently supports your right to pump a few rounds into someone for trying to steal your jacket, but pumping a load into a sock is crossing the line into immorality.

Democrats are beside themselves with joy over this “victory”. Victory? Really? This is a seat that Joe Biden held for thirty years, and the only thing that ensures that democrats won’t lose it, is running against a woman who is obsessed with America’s masturbatory habits? Wow, that is something to celebrate!

Personally, I would put down the champagne and begin an assessment of how this happened because not doing so has proven to be very dangerous in the past.

This is the road that republicans took. When you keep setting the bar lower and lower, you eventually find yourself defending your village idiot of a president as he’s taking your fundamental rights by seizing the power to warrantlessly wiretap anyone he wants. It doesn’t start off that grand. It starts slowly, by rejoicing a presidential victory while pretending that you didn’t just put a complete moron in the position of vice president. Then, your fervor for your party, combined with your plummeting expectations move you to elect a bigger idiot to the top job, despite the fact that he’s incapable of naming any world leaders. Never mind the fact that he’d failed at every business venture he ever engaged in. He’s leading your party, and you have low standards! By this point, you’ve supported two dumbfucks, given up your rights to privacy, support rendition of American citizens, revoked the fundamental right of habeas corpus, and are geared up to take away miranda rights. But you’re somehow still a believer in small government. The pump is now primed for you to vote for a 72 year old man with a history of cancer, whose running mate isn’t a fluent English speaker, despite the fact that she’d never set foot outside of the United States.

Oh yes, settling for something that merely sucks less has already proven to be a very bad choice. But it’s one that despite historical outcome, registered democrats are now happy to make. Keep celebrating that Harry Reid sucks less than Sharon Angle, and that whoever the fucking democratic senatorial candidate in Delaware is, he sucks less than Christine O’Donnell. See where that gets you. By the next election, democrats will only have a shot at winning if they’re running against anti-prenatal care candidates.

I’m going to hold my nose and vote in November, and I can explain why in two words:

Speaker Boehner.

Yes democrats, you suck less. Congrats on this honorable achievement.


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Banking On Dumber

That’s what leaders in both the republican and democratic parties are counting on. They’re counting on the other party being even dumber than they are, in order to pick up some seats.

Republicans spent the better part of last year touting the virtues of the tea party, only to discover that they’re a giant liability to republicans. Republican leaders didn’t have to foresight to realize that aligning themselves with extremist whack-a-doos was eventually going to bite them in the ass. Good luck turning Sharon Angle into something palatable to the general public, Mitch McConnel! Thanks to your shortsightedness, you lost the unlose-able seat. And thanks to your stupidity, I’m stuck with six more years of Harry Reid in the role of majority leader (because you’re not taking back the senate this time around). Thanks a lot, dumbasses! I was perfectly willing to lose that seat to get a real leader in the senate.

And speaking of dumbasses, there is no shortage of them in the Obama administration. Let’s review;

  • Robert Gibbs (white house press secretary) went off on “the professional left” (of which I’m not a member because you people are too damned cheap to donate!), stating that they wouldn’t be happy until “…we have Canadian healthcare and we’ve eliminated the pentagon”.
  • After the Arkansas primary when Blanche Lincoln (the corporatist incumbent) barely squeezed out a victory against her more liberal, union backed opponent (Bill Halter), an unnamed (it was obviously Rahm) white house source said, “Organized labor just flushed $10M down the toilet”.
  • Earlier this year, Rahm Emanuel referred to liberal activists as “fucking retarded”.

I think we’re all pretty clear on how this administration feels about liberals. Personally, I would like to let the geniuses at the white house know that crapping on your base is no way to win a midterm election. In fact, it’s a great way to ensure that your candidate is going to have to whore himself out to corporate America with the enthusiasm of a rent boy, to make up for the money that your base won’t be contributing to him in the next presidential election. Here’s a news flash for the brilliant Rahm Emanuel; nothing slams my wallet shut tighter than being referred to as a retard.

Rahm and Gibbsy are counting on the notion that liberals have nowhere to go, so we have to show up for them. They think that republicans are so distasteful to us, that we’re just going to suck it up and support any trash they serve up. Wow, your parents must be so proud of you, what with you sucking less than the other guy. Way to lead democrats, way to lead!

Guess what? I’m not going to show up for you. I’m not going to donate to any DNC candidates, and I’m not going to vote for any DNC candidates. And if that means ceding seats to republicans, then sobeit. If losing control to republicans again is what needs to happen in order for democrats to reassess their policy positions, then that’s what’s going to happen. I have no emotional attachment to the democratic party, so I have absolutely no preference for democrats fucking me over republicans fucking me. If your platform doesn’t line up with mine, then I’m outta here! Republicans allowed their party to turn into a giant crapfest because they chose to stand by their man like battered wives, taking back their abusive husbands in perpetuity. I’m not planning on making that same mistake. I refuse to aid and abet the devolution of my party by buying into the false narrative that I have no other choice.

I can choose to sit back and let you get your asses handed to you. And I will, because that’s preferable to letting democrats hand my ass to me with my vote and with my money.

So congrats to democrats on saving the Harry Reid seat that should have been lost to a republican. And by “saving”, I mean sitting back while dipshit republicans let an unelectable whack job like Sharon Angle win the primary.

And congrats to republicans for winning the senatorial seat in Arkansas. And by “winning” I mean, sitting back while dumbass democrats poured a shitload of money to ensure that Blanche Lincoln (who no progressive will come out to vote for) won the primary.

I have to hand it to the “strategists” for both the democratic and republican re-election committees. Waiting for your opponent to be dumber than you are is a most innovative strategy that I could never conceived of.

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