Bushie Kyle Sampson Claims Ignorance of the Law

It wasn’™t just Monica Goodling who broke the law in the DOJ and appointed career attorneys based on political criteria. Kyle Sampson also broke the law, though in his case he’™s making the usual whiney excuses, such as the notion that he, a member of the Justice Department, didn’™t KNOW the law he was sworn to uphold.

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

Our own Daniel DiRito has an excellent article about the lawbreaking of Bush Justice official Monica Goodling, a marginal lawyer, at best, who was empowered to make huge decisions in the Bush Justice Department under Albert Gonzales. This case will be part of the Bush legacy of both incompetence and politicization of our government’™s functions, a shameful legacy indeed, for surely the Justice Department is designed to serve all Americans, and not just Republicans. But it is the incompetence I write about today, and not Monica Goodling. In separate stories in the Washington Post and the New York Times, Kyle Sampson’™s lawyer, Bradford Berenson, gives a couple whiney excuses for Sampson’™s behavior, excuses that show Sampson himself was incompetent to fill his role in the Bush Justice Department. First, in the Washington Post

Friday, August 5th, 2011 by Richard Blair |

Bush Ducks Shoes, Norm Coleman Ducks Eggs

Norm Coleman is imitating George Bush up there in Minneapolis. He’s keeping his head up, when he’s not ducking while avoiding impromptu political commentary. Oh, er, ah. . . this blog does not condone vandalism. But we can laugh about Norm Coleman a little.


Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

No, Norm Coleman did not clear brush in his imitation of George Bush, nor did he insist we did not torture, even though his fingerprints are all over his Administration’s regime of torture. No, Norm did not win elections, as did George Bush. He ducked. From FOX 9 in Minneapolis/St. Paul:

Norm Coleman says he was the victim of a ride-by egging, telling the St. Paul Pioneer Press a young man on a bicycle threw eggs at his St. Paul house.

The alleged vandalism came one day after a three-judge panel ruled Democrat Al Franken won last year’s Senate race.

Coleman, a Republican, told police he heard thumping Tuesday night and when he went outside, a man launched another egg – and obscenities.

Coleman told the Pioneer Press he ducked in a “George Bush move,” referring to how Bush dodged shoes thrown at him by an Iraqi man. Coleman said he chased the man, but didn’t catch him.

OK, this is a week old or so, but still funny. Can’t you just see Coleman making this a case to send to the Minnesota Supreme Court? Funnier than “Get OFF My Lawn!”

Friday, April 24th, 2009 by Steven Reynolds |

Seat Senator Franken, Minnesotans Say

Al Franken has won the Senate race in Minnesota, but for Norm Coleman spending Republican money to appeal. Now a poll shows that Minnesotans want the race over and a Senator representing them now. Senator Franken. Pawlenty is running more of a political risk here than he thinks.


Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

The poll is from Public Policy Polling and shows overwhelming support by Minnesotans for Norm Coleman conceding the election and for Governor Tim Pawlenty certifying Al Franken as winner of the Senate race. Here’s a bit about the poll from Public Policy Polling’s web site:

63% of voters in the state think that Coleman should just concede the race himself. That
includes almost all of Franken and Dean Barkley’s supporters, as well as a third of
respondents who voted for Coleman last fall.

59% express support both for Pawlenty certifying Franken as the winner and for Franken
being seated immediately.

While Democrats and Republicans predictably have different views about the various
issues related to resolving the election, it’s notable that independent voters fall on
Franken’s side with 61% thinking Coleman should concede and 54% saying Franken
should be certified and seated.

“With the ruling of the three judge panel it appears that most Minnesota voters are now
ready for this election be over,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling.
“Folks seem to think that Franken is the rightful winner and that he should be allowed to
take his seat instead of the process being dragged out further.”

Yes, there will be risks for both Coleman and Pawlenty if they keep the appeals going. Pawlenty, of course, could certify the results while allowing Norm Coleman to keep his farce going, but I expect Pawlenty to keep supporting Coleman so he can appeal to the GOP base in three years. Sure, it might actually help Pawlenty win the Republican nomination for President, but it might also cost him the vote from Minnesota. What chance would he have in 2012 if he couldn’t carry his home state?

As to the poll, it is also interesting that there’s little difference in opinion along racial or gender lines. This might be partisan, but it isn’[t breaking divisively in other ways.

Thursday, April 16th, 2009 by Steven Reynolds |

Preemptive Republican Whining

The GOP filed a challenge to yesterday’s Congressional election in New York before the election was even finished, much less the votes counted. They will be appealing the 2012 Presidential election tommorrow.


Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

Here’s the story from Firedoglake concerning the special Congressional election in New York state:

The Dutchess County Clerk’s Office has confirmed to FDL that Tedisco’s people have filed an ex parte motion in order, the effect of which would be to investigate and overturn today’s election results, should the outcome not be to Republicans’ liking.

What you don’t see here is that this piece was filed at 12:26 pm on election day. Yes, the Republicans challenged the election before it was over.

I’m thinking the next step for Republicans is simply to challenge elections in general in court. That way they won’t have to repeatedly file their whining lawsuits. It isn’t like elections are constitutional, after all.

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009 by Steven Reynolds |

Labor Pains: The Media, the Administration, and the Economy

This year, I’m writing a Labor Day column. With all the layoffs and unemployment, with the blatant anti-labor biases of the current administration and the decisions by the pro-corporate National Labor Relations Board that will linger long into the next administration, next year there may not be much American labor to write about.


Commentary By: Walter Brasch

Once a year, I and a few dozen other reporters and columnists write a Labor Day story. And, like most Americans we don’t remember our history.

We don’t remember that the Knights of Labor created the first Labor Day in 1882 and that Congress made it a national holiday in 1894.

Almost none of us will write about the personalities of the labor movement. About Mother Jones (1830-1930), the militant “angel of the coal fields” for more than six decades. About “Big Bill” Haywood (1869-1928) who organized the Industrial Workers of the World, a universal coalition to fight for the rights of all labor. About cigar-chomping Samuel Gompers (1850-1924), the first president of the American Federation of Labor, a job he held for 38 years.

We won’t be seeing any stories about Sidney Hillman (1887-1946) who led strikes in 1916 to reduce the work week to 48 hours, from the standard 54–60 hours, and then helped create the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) before becoming a major political force for workers during the labor-friendly Roosevelt administration. Missing will be remembrances of Saul Alinsky (1909-1972), known as the “father of grassroots political campaigns” who worked alongside Cesar Chavez (1927-1993) who used Alinsky’s tactics to organize the United Farm Workers.

Hardly any of us remember Heywood Broun (1888-1939), one of the nation’s best-paid columnists who risked his own financial stability to create The Newspaper Guild in 1935 to help those reporters making one-hundredth of his salary. Most reporters never heard about him or the history of the Guild. After all, we may believe that unions are acceptable for factory line workers, but we’re “professionals,” and mistakenly believe we don’t need unions; we’ll just continue to get assigned unpaid overtime and split shifts, while working for low wages, minimal benefits, and without a minimally-accept

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009 by Walter Brasch |

Pete Sessions (R-TX) Learns from the Taliban

Pete Sessions compares the Republican obstructionist position concerning the stimulus bill to the insurgency of the Taliban in Afghanistan. Really, he did! Well, we successfully pinned the “culture of corruption” tag on the GOP a few years ago, and Sessions opens us up to coining another tag. How about “The American Talibanskis?”


Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

Pete Sessions is a a Representative from Texas. Waco. Maybe that explains it. He’s also Chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee. The other day he likened the House resistance to the stimulus plan to Taliban insurgency. I’m thinking there are no lessons one wants to learn from the Taliban, but Sessions went there, really he did. From Hotline:

Frustrated by a lack of bipartisan outreach from House Democratic leaders, Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, said House Republicans – who voted unanimously last week against the economic plan pushed by President Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi – will pitch a “positive, loyal opposition” to the proposal. The group, he added, should also “understand insurgency” in implementing efforts to offer alternatives.

“Insurgency, we understand perhaps a little bit more because of the Taliban,” Sessions said during a meeting yesterday with Hotline editors. “And that is that they went about systematically understanding how to disrupt and change a person’s entire processes. And these Taliban – I’m not trying to say the Republican Party is the Taliban. No, that’s not what we’re saying. I’m saying an example of how you go about [sic] is to change a person from their messaging to their operations to their frontline message. And we need to understand that insurgency may be required when the other side, the House leadership, does not follow the same commands, which we entered the game with.”

What this is is a pouty Republican whine gone wrong. No, I don’t think Sessions means that the Republican Party is just like the Taliban, but it is clear he has learned the lessons of the Taliban, lessons the Bush Administration did not learn, thus failing to wipe them out. Maybe Sessions sees himself as a glorious freedom fighter who when he takes charge will force women into bhurkas. Heck, I don’t know. The guy really pulled a stupid one here.

But this really is just a whine. His poor party was not invited to control the legislation. Barack Obama invited all sorts of Republican leaders to the White House, travelled to and made unprecedented trips to the House and Senate to consult with Republicans, and Sessions is whining that he and his fellow insurgents couldn’t control the election. Hey, maybe if they hadn’t supported Bush as he trashed the constitution, ran up record budget deficits, ruined the economy (I could go on), then Sessions and his cohorts wouldn’t have lost so many seats in the House and Senate. After all, that’s the real reason they aren’t controlling the legislative agenda. That’s how it works in our democracy, after all, the ones who got the votes run things. Hey, Pete – tough!

But let’s be clear. Sessions’ statements about running his Party as if it were the Afghanistan-based Taliban insurgency is in fact the new core value of the Republican Party. Obstruction is the word of the day, and has become the core ethic for the GOP. As Eric Cantor describes it, it is the political strategy of “Just say NO!” Here it is from the Washington Post:

Three months after their Election Day drubbing, Republican leaders see glimmers of rebirth in the party’s liberation from an unpopular president, its selection of its first African American chairman and, most of all, its stand against a stimulus package that they are increasingly confident will provide little economic jolt but will pay off politically for those who oppose it.

After giving the package zero votes in the House, and 0with their counterparts in the Senate likely to provide in a crucial procedural vote today only the handful of votes needed to avoid a filibuster, Republicans are relishing the opportunity to make a big statement. Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Tex.) suggested last week that the party is learning from the disruptive tactics of the Taliban, and the GOP these days does have the bravado of an insurgent band that has pulled together after a big defeat to carry off a quick, if not particularly damaging, raid on the powers that be.

“We’re so far ahead of where we thought we’d be at this time,” said Rep. Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), one of several younger congressmen seeking to lead the party’s renewal. “It’s not a sign that we’re back to where we need to be, but it’s a sign that we’re beginning to find our voice. We’re standing on our core principles, and the core principle that suffered the most in recent years was fiscal conservatism and economic liberty. That was the tallest pole in our tent, and we took an ax to it, but now we’re building it back.”

The second-ranking House Republican, Rep. Eric Cantor (Va.), put it more bluntly. “What transpired . . . and will give us a shot in the arm going forward is that we are standing up on principle and just saying no,” he said.

We succeeded in the last several years in attaching the phrase “culture of corruption” to the GOP brand. Now it is time to find a new phrase. The “Architects of Obstruction?” There’s a good one. But I’m thinking you all can do better. Think of it as thinking up a band name for a punk rock group. It has to be offensive and descriptive at the same time. “The American Talibanskis” might be a good name. But I’m never any good at this. You all feel free to come up with some suggestions, willya?

Monday, February 9th, 2009 by Steven Reynolds |

Mitch McConnell Gets Bush Monkey Off His Back

Mitch McConnell has blamed Bush recently for the dismal shape the GOP is in, perhaps forgetting that he supported Bush’s disastrous policies every step of the way over the last eight years. That makes Mitch McConnell today’s poster boy for rampant irresponsibility.


Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

I’m thinking monkeys are a theme lately, at least in my life, so I’ll stick to it. Two friends have given my son Jack monkey themed little blankets. Actually, sort of a cross between a blanket and a stuffed animal. Maybe this is a stylish “blankie” or something. Anyway, since the boy is African American, the thought did cross my mind that giving him a monkey may be a tad bit inappropriate, but what the heck.

Mitch McCaonnell has gotten the Bush monkey off his back, though, and he’s quoted by Politico as being relieved, feeling that losing the Bush monkey will help the GOP recover electorally. Here’s Politico:

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Tuesday that he believes the Republican Party is poised for a comeback now that it is free of the “political burden” of an unpopular president.

“I was a strong supporter of the president, but presidential unpopularity is bad for the president’s party,” McConnell said on NBC’s “Today Show.”

“We suffered losses in –06 and –08,” he added. “We wish the president, President Bush well, but, frankly, we will not have to be carrying that sort of political burden that we carried the last two elections.”

Let’s call this for what it is. Over the last eight years President Bush has made some of the most serious missteps in US history, and he was backed by Mitch McConnell every single step of the way. As such, Mitch McConnell blaming Bush for Republican electoral losses is an act of shrugging off personal responsibility. There’s the real problem with the Republican Party, not one of its members will take responsibility for the mess they left our country in.

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009 by Steven Reynolds |

Hillary Clinton Loses Her Title as Most Hated By GOP

Hillary Clinton has held the title of Democrat Republicans love most to hate for nearly 20 years, but she gives up that title to Al Franken as she leaves the Senate to the Secretary of State’s Office. This time Rush Limbaugh has a real vendetta, and doesn’t have to make up one while high on oxycontin, and he will go anti-Franken 24/7.


Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

Everyone knows Hillary Clinton was the most hated politician of the last 20 years, on either side of the aisle, at least most hated by the GOP. Just the mad and insane rumormongering about Hillary Clinton is enough to amaze. They said she killed Vince Foster because of an affair, for God’s sake, while at the same time maintaining that Hillary had lesbian lovers. Those rumors have become such a staple. . . well, here’s MadKane on the subject. Oh, there’s no doubt Hillary Clinton is the one Republicans love to hate, but she’s losing her crown. The new “Most Hated Democrat” is Senator Al Franken. From Politico:

“I don’t know if we’ve ever had an opponent who is so disliked by Republicans as Al Franken,” said Minnesota Republican Party Chair Ron Carey, who cautioned that Coleman’s election challenge could still turn the results back his way. “It’s one thing to lose to an honorable opponent, but Al Franken is not considered an honorable opponent by Minnesota Republicans.”

Marty Seifert, the Republican leader in the Minnesota House of Representatives, said Franken’s long record of antagonizing conservatives would make it difficult for him to connect with voters who supported Coleman.

“It’s going to be hard for Franken to be very effective with any Republicans, in terms of having any credibility with us, just because he’s been so nasty in the past,” Seifert said. “He certainly has callous and very partisan behavior in the past that is beyond the pale.”

According to Carleton College political scientist Steven Schier, Franken’s record as a “flamboyant and aggressive partisan” would make him ripe for criticism back home.

“I think it’s impossible to overstate the hostility Minnesota Republicans feel toward Al Franken,” Schier said. “He will be a very useful fundraising tool.”

Republicans outside Minnesota are equally apoplectic when it comes to Franken. Prominent conservative Rush Limbaugh, who Franken mocked in the title of one of his books, has already jabbed Franken on his radio show, telling listeners in December that Franken “won’t quit [the Senate race] because he doesn’t know how to get a real job…He’s a pathetic figure.”

Sure, it isn’t surprising that Franken is hated by Republicans, but these guys at Politico are a bit disingenuous using Rush Limbaugh as an example of just how hated Franken is by Republicans. First, while it is true that Rush Limbaugh is an expert at hate, he’s not someone appropriate to use as an example concerning either the subject of partisan hatred or Al Franken. First, Limbaugh is the undisputed king of hate, and despite his coming off of his illegal drug addiction it is not clear Rush has mellowed these last couple of years. Zecond, Rush and Franken have had a thing going over the last several years at least since the publication of Franken’s “Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot,” perhaps the most insightful story of psychopathic personalities since Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi. OF COURSE Rush hates Franken. Why, though, should other Republicans hate Franken?

Well, the other vaunted Franken book is a study of psychopathic tendencies among large groups of people. If there was a Nobel Prize for psychology, or even for humor, I’m sure Franken would have won the award for “Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right,” truly a trip into the dark side of the mind of a Republican. The facts here are that Republicans hate Franken for telling the truth, and also for showing that people don’t like the ugliness and dirty politics the Republicans have been feeding America for nearly 30 years. Let’s face it, Franken is about as big an underdog as you’ll see in an election. His background is as a comedian, for God’s sake, and he beat Norm Coleman, a Senator who was far from controversial, indeed, far from having a personality. Franken STILL WON!

There’s why Republicans hate Franken – they’ve buried their own party in ineptitude, hate, incompetence, runaway spending and corruption that even a comedian who starred in some of the most stupid movies of all time can beat one of the most innocuous Republicans in the country. That’s the measure of how woefully crippled the Republican party is, and that’s why Al Franken is now the man Republicans like to hate most. Step aside, Hillary, because you’re not the most hated anymore. Make way for Al Franken.

Saturday, January 10th, 2009 by Steven Reynolds |

The Purple People Eater Will Decide Franken/Coleman

The Minnesota Chief Justice has recused himself in regard to the disputes about the Senatorial election between Al Franken and Norm Coleman. He’s given responsibility to Alan Page, an Associate Justice there. Alan Page is a former Purple People Eater. Wahoo!


Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

The presiding judge who will seat the panel to decide the disputes in the Al Franken Norm Coleman election tangle has recused himself, giving over the decision to Alan Page, Associate Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court. Of course, those of us with some history know Justice Page as a Purple People Eater. Here’s the relevant text from CNN:

Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Eric Magnuson has recused himself from appointing the panel of three judges who will preside over the post-election proceedings resulting from the lawsuit filed Tuesday by former U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman.

Magnuson was one of four judges chosen by Secretary of State Mark Ritchie to join him at the helm of the recount on the state’s canvassing board.

Kyle Christopherson, a spokesman for the Minnesota state courts, said in a Wednesday statement that “the next senior justice, Associate Justice Alan Page, will decide how to fill the panel. He added that there was no information available about when that will happen.

I’m pleased to see Justice Page in charge. He was one of my favorite players back in the day. I trust him mightily.

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009 by Steven Reynolds |

Republican to Whine From Remote Locations Jan. 20th

Republicans are whining nonstop, and according to Paul Krugman they will never return to power unless they recognize the failures of their policies, especially their embrace of racial politics. Sounds about right. Will they so recognize? No, they are all fleeing Washington, to Vegas or Switzerland, for the Barack Obama inaugural. Cowards.


Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

Remote undisclosed locations, we wonder?

OK, the Republicans have cerainly been whining since the election. It isn’t just Alberto Gonzales whining over not having a job, or Pat Toomey of the Club for Growth whining about unions (you must need viagra to join, I understand), or Rick Santorum whining about a moderate Republican supporting unions. Heck, we could sit here for days cataloguing the whines, but it is more fun looking at the list of right wing blogger fantasies (read: desperate lies), I suppose.

Still, I’m not the only one noticing the Republican whines. Here’s a bit from Paul Krugman, who notes the Republican whining, but also notes that they should be whining about their decisions over the last 40 years. From the New York Times:

But most of the whining takes the form of claims that the Bush administration’s failure was simply a matter of bad luck – either the bad luck of President Bush himself, who just happened to have disasters happen on his watch, or the bad luck of the G.O.P., which just happened to send the wrong man to the White House.

The fault, however, lies not in Republicans’ stars but in themselves. Forty years ago the G.O.P. decided, in effect, to make itself the party of racial backlash. And everything that has happened in recent years, from the choice of Mr. Bush as the party’s champion, to the Bush administration’s pervasive incompetence, to the party’s shrinking base, is a consequence of that decision.

If the Bush administration became a byword for policy bungles, for government by the unqualified, well, it was just following the advice of leading conservative think tanks: after the 2000 election the Heritage Foundation specifically urged the new team to “make appointments based on loyalty first and expertise second.”

Contempt for expertise, in turn, rested on contempt for government in general. “Government is not the solution to our problem,” declared Ronald Reagan. “Government is the problem.” So why worry about governing well?

. . .

Will the Republicans eventually stage a comeback? Yes, of course. But barring some huge missteps by Mr. Obama, that will not happen until they stop whining and look at what really went wrong. And when they do, they will discover that they need to get in touch with the real “real America,” a country that is more diverse, more tolerant, and more demanding of effective government than is dreamt of in their political philosophy.

That about pegs it. The Republicans took up the banner of the south in the 60′s and have kept blinders on ever since, not recognizing that America is getting more and more diverse, and more and more embracing of that diversity. Until Republicans realize that, they will be wandering in the wilderness, and a few are doing just that on the day of Barack Obama’s inauguration, turning their backs on reality and running for some vacation resort. According to Politico, Republicans will be flying to Vegas and Switzerland and further in order to escape the reality of their loss of power that day. That’s it as I see it, whining and heads in the sand. No, they will not recognize their failed policies for a long, long time.

Friday, January 2nd, 2009 by Steven Reynolds |
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