America’s Owners accelerate ownership of Congress.

WaPo reports on the uptick in wealthy donor contributions to candidates and PACs since the Supreme Court Injustices did away with individual limits in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission:

Together, 310 donors gave a combined $11.6 million more by this summer than would have been allowed before the ruling. Their contributions favored Republican candidates and committees over Democratic ones by 2 to 1.

Uh-oh! You know what that means: we “leftee” gazillionairez can haz moar konservativ demacratz nao plz.

“I would think everybody would be for more money in politics like I am, because we’re just spreading speech” -Shaun McCutcheon, the chief executive of an Alabama electrical engineering firm who brought the Supreme Court case.

Sure! Everybody! Well, except perhaps the vast majority of Americans who have no fucking money to buy congresscritters—and who, by Mr. McCutcheon’s and the Supreme Court’s “money is speech” decree, are for all intents and purposes silenced.

wealthdistributionpiechart14Have a nice day.


With Dems like these, Part 9,427,303.


Running as a Dem, sounding like a Republican

It’s one thing for Democrats running in red parts of the country to sound like Republicans on the campaign trail. It’s another when Democrats running in purple or even blue territory try to do so.

Yet that’s what’s happening in race after race this season.

Democrats are trotting out campaign ads that call for balanced budgets, tax cuts and other more traditionally GOP positions. Some of them are running in congressional districts that just two years ago broke sharply for President Barack Obama.

Whether the Democrats running in those districts can survive what party strategists acknowledge is a deteriorating national political environment will largely hinge on how well they can appeal to more conservative voters.

Colorado Democrat Andrew Romanoff, who’s running in a district that Obama won in 2012 and 2008, has started airing a commercial that strikes a tea party theme.

New Hampshire Rep. Ann McLane Kuster, whose district broke for Obama by a yawning 11-percentage-point margin in 2012, is running an ad that touts her support for small-business tax cuts while showing her touring a local microbrewery. Separately, former Iowa state Sen. Staci Appel, in a district Obama won by 4 percentage points two years ago, underscores her record of fighting overspending in state government, a populist theme often heard from tea party-aligned conservatives.

Democratic Rep. Ron Barber, in a swing southern Arizona district that is slightly more conservative than the others, uses his first TV spot to highlight his support for increasing border security funds. The ad — complete with the image of a border patrol car — doesn’t mention elements of immigration reform that are typically more popular among Democratic voters.

Like the commercials aired by Romanoff, Kuster and Appel, Barber’s doesn’t mention his Democratic Party affiliation.

That’s right, people: Democrats are apparently attempting to win elections even in districts that went for Obama by appealing to conservative and Tea Party voters. This effort is doomed for a number of reasons, not least of which is that given a choice between a Conservadem and an actual Republican—no matter how crackpot or corrupt—conservative voters will pick the Republican every time. These are people who think Obama is a socialist, FFS. And meanwhile, given a choice between a Conservadem and a Republican, alienated liberal voters will stay home.

Now this strategy may seem spectacularly stupid to you (for good reason), but that can be true only if you think the leadership of the Democratic party actually wants to elect progressive Democrats to congress, or indeed win a Democratic majority at all. Since the Politico article excerpted above quotes anonymous “party strategists” as sources, I think it’s worth reviewing the Palace archives for what we know about some of these fine people.

Steve Israel, Chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) since January 2011 (hand-picked by Nancy Pelosi); co-chair and founder of the Center Aisle Caucus since 2005.

Along with his BFF Illinois Republican congresscritter Tim Johnson, Steve Israel co-founded the Center Aisle Caucus (or “caca,” as I call it). Caca claims roughly sixty members, although the number is impossible to verify because membership is sooper seekrit. Caca members fancy themselves “defiant centrists” (or “conservatives,” as I call them). This would be terrible enough considering how far to the right the so-called “center” has drifted. But it’s really much worse than that: caca members observe an unwritten bylaw to never engage in political campaigns against other caca members. If sixty members is about right, that takes roughly thirty congressional races right off the table for the Dems, courtesy of… the chair of the DCCC.

Neither the DCCC nor its PAC spent a single dollar on Democrat Jim Graves’ campaign against Michele Bachmann, Tea Queen of Right-Wing Kookville, in a winnable race. Michele Fucking Bachmann. Instead, they poured an average of $1,710,159 into each campaign of a slate of conservative Democrats (“Blue Dogs” and “New Dems”) running against Republican backbenchers and nobodies. Likewise, neither the DCCC nor its PAC gave a single cent to Rob Zerban, the progressive Democrat running against Paul Ryan—Paul Ryan!—(a.k.a. Satan) in yet another winnable race.

“As Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, it’s my job to support the strongest Democratic challengers running for Congress.”
-DCCC Chairweasel Steve Israel in a fundraising email to Iris Vander Pluym, July 28, 2014.

Hahaha. Sure it is, d00d.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC); Florida congresswoman.

A few years ago Wasserman Schultz was chosen to head the DCCC’s “Red to Blue” program, a job that consists entirely of targeting Republican-held districts across the country that are potentially within reach for Democrats. What did she do? She protected three right-wing Florida Republicans, and publicly sabotaged the campaigns of the three Democrats running against them. The donor backlash was so fierce that after a lot of hemming and hawing, the DCCC finally had to cut her loose from the Red to Blue program. So the party leadership gave her a promotion: that’s how she came to head the DNC.

I wrote about one of her brilliant leadership initiatives here, wherein she urged supporters to vote on one of three awe-inspiring designs for car magnets:

DNCdesigns“Not a Republican.” Jeezus.

Is the Democratic leadership incompetent? Again, perhaps you can make that case, but only if you think the power center of the Democratic party actually wants to elect progressive Democrats, or even win an electoral majority at all.

Occam’s Razor suggests an entirely different view. Three actually, although they are interrelated. First, up until Michele Bachmann announced her retirement, I’d bet that she was the single largest cash generator for the Democratic Party in history. Nearly every Dem campaign email had her name in it; she was the gift that kept on giving to the coffers of the DCCC every time she opened her mouth (“Did you hear X outrageous thing Bachmann said now?! OMG send money!”). In the runup to the 2012 presidential election, the role of Bachmann the Bogeyman was played by Satan Paul Ryan, who is once again the star of the Democratic shit show. Here’s a recent popup ad on The Nation site:

paulryanDCCCA second benefit for the DCCC in keeping these shitweasels in power is that they are so far off the right-wing rails they make these craven, corporatist, conservatives that Steve Israel and Debbie Wasserman Schultz are determined to shoehorn into the House Democratic caucus look like flaming Marxists by comparison. It’s a losing strategy, especially in midterm elections, and everyone knows it.

Which brings me to my third observation, and underlies the first two: I think the parties agree on more than they say they do. A lot more. As I said before:

In the case of Paul Ryan, however, they want him in Congress for reasons that go well beyond scaring the Democrats on their email lists into forking over a few bucks, and even beyond making their awful budget priorities appear liberal by comparison to Ryan’s. In a rare slipup in which we rubes got a little peek behind the curtain, New York Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-Wall $treet) received a rather telling tweet from his spokeperson, Brian Fallon:

fallonschumertweetBrain Fallon: “.@ChuckSchumer: It’s nice to see Paul Ryan back on Capitol Hill. It’ll be even nicer to see him back in House full-time after the election”

At the time, digby noted: “I’m sure Schumer really does want Ryan back in congress. They have so many ‘interests’ in common.” Indeed they do. Schumer’s Wall $treet benefactors are as eager to get their hands on the Social Security trust fund purely for profit reasons as Paul Ryan is eager to give it to them for ideological ones.

morpheusDespite having caused the financial crisis, the same financial firms “are still the most powerful lobby on Capitol Hill. And they, frankly, own the place.”
-Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL), 2009 radio interview.

Dear Governor Cuomo.

Can you imagine hundreds of earthquakes in and around New York City? It already lies on unstable faults. It’s bad enough my once-lovely home state of Pennsylvania is a fracked-up nightmare, and borders New York. I know the pressure on you to allow fracking must be enormously intense. But as more and more data pile up of the horrors associated with the industry, it won’t be long until even conservatives will understand the dangers. Please be on the right side of history and keep New York State frack-free.

Report: Sharp increase in central Oklahoma seismicity since 2008 induced by massive wastewater injection. Keranen et al., Science, DOI: 10.1126/science.1255802 (Jul. 2014).

Mattel finally comes through for American girls with new Abortion Barbie.

[CONTENT NOTE: misogyny, racism, hostility to agency and bodily autonomy, anatomical misinformation, grotesque shitweaselry, lethal levels of sarcasm.]

Wendy Davis, as Loyal Readers™ may recall, is a Texas state senator who famously filibustered a draconian anti-abortion bill for 11 hours. The recipient of the highly coveted Perry Street Palace Major Award™ for Filibuster of the Day, she is currently running for governor of the Lone Star State. Yesterday, she attended a big ticket fundraiser held by supporters in Los Angeles, where she was greeted with a massive poster campaign by conservative activist Kathryn Stuard Mattel announcing their new Abortion Barbie, created and named in her honor!

abortionbarbieIt appears that conservative Republican street artist Sabo Mattel may have rushed production of the new line of Barbie dolls in order to make this fundraiser deadline. I say this because unlike all the other Barbies Mattel has ever produced, this one comes topless, wearing only a purple bikini bottom. In addition, the inclusion of a pair of scissors is puzzling; I assume Mattel just couldn’t get the traditional coat hanger accessory manufactured in time. It’s a real shame they missed the boat on that one, because this would have been a fantastic opportunity for little girls to get an authentic sense of what it’s like to experience an unwanted pregnancy in parts of Texas, Missouri, Kansas, and many other Southern and Midwestern states. Hopefully Mattel will update the accessories on the next production run.

Abortion Barbie comes with not one but two full-term sized fetuses. A white one is visible in her open body cavity, but located where her stomach would be even during pregnancy. Of course, Barbie has been under withering criticism for decades now because of her bizarre anatomical proportions and the resulting body image distortions impacting young girls, so I guess this is really not all that surprising. Still, promoting this kind of misinformation about the location of women’s reproductive organs is not helpful, Mattel. There is also a black full-term fetus that Abortion Barbie is holding so its head lines up perfectly between the open blades of the scissor, which is more than a little disturbing if not downright Gosnellesque. (I’m sure it would have been a much better placement with the coat hanger, which unfortunately did not arrive in time for the big product launch yesterday.) It is not clear whether the white and black full-term fetuses can be swapped out before little girls help Abortion Barbie terminate her unwanted pregnancies, but I sure hope so!

Finally—and this is really a nitpick—terminating a near-full-term pregnancy means giving birth, either by Cesarian section or vaginal delivery. Late-term procedures are virtually always performed due to a serious threat to the health of the mother or the fetus (or both), yet Abortion Barbie and her fetuses all appear to be in excellent health. Still, you really have to hand it to Mattel for making such a bold pro-choice statement and honoring Wendy Davis with Abortion Barbie, just in time for her big L.A. fundraiser. Kudos!


For my more literal minded readers: OF COURSE MATTEL DID NOT RELEASE AN ABORTION BARBIE. One can only hope they sue the shit out of conservative activist Kathryn Stuard and Republican street artist Sabo.

Thursday funnies.

Voter ID Supporter Asa Hutchison Forgets To Bring His ID To The Polls – See more at:

Who needs comedians when you can just read headlines?

Voter ID Supporter Asa Hutchison Forgets To Bring His ID To The Polls – See more at:

Voter ID Supporter Asa Hutchison Forgets To Bring His ID To The Polls.

But it was all good, see, because he sent a staffer to go get his ID so he could vote. You know, like everyone can. It’s really nothing more than a minor inconvenience, people: you just send your staff to go pick up your ID! Duh. And as we all know, voter ID laws are absolutely necessary to address the huge problem of voter fraud that is ruining our great democracy.

The House Science Committee Has Held More Hearings on Aliens Than on Climate Change.

Those would be space aliens.

China sees US hypocrisy in snooping on foreign firms:
NSA admits that local laws are no obstacle.

Here is Attorney General Eric Holder announcing the U.S. indictments of Chinese officials on espionage charges:

“Success in the global marketplace should be based solely on a company’s ability to innovate and compete, not on a sponsor government’s ability to spy and steal business secrets,” [Attorney General Eric] Holder said, emphasizing that U.S. surveillance and spying is not used for commercial purposes.

Hahaha. Sure.

China’s State Internet Information Office likened the U.S. actions to “a thief yelling ‘Catch the thief.’”

Hugh Jackman dressed as Wolverine for Halloween, and nobody noticed.

Mr. Jackman lives in my neighborhood. I sometimes run into him at brunch. He is warm and polite in person, and will totally move his stuff off that bar stool next to him and let me sit there if I ask him. If I saw someone dressed as Wolverine in my neighborhood, I would naturally assume it was indeed Hugh Jackman, approach him, and then say something to embarrass myself like “OMG! Remember me from that time I asked if you needed that bar stool and you said no and totally moved your stuff?”

Louie Gohmert (R-TX): 3-year-old immigrants don’t deserve legal status if they can’t pay taxes.


Goat in a wheelchair: Frostie the snow goat walking thanks to Edgar’s Mission.

Now there’s something you don’t see every day. [WARNING: lethal levels of cute.]

Bacteria live even in healthy placentas, says study.

Good to know. [WARNING: picture of a placenta.]

Jennifer Lawrence: Miley Cyrus told me to ‘get it together’ after I vomited in front of her at Oscars after-party

Oh man, I hate when that shit happens. I’m always like, Miley, mind your own fucking business, okay? I’m trying to puke in peace on Madonna’s porch.

Superbug threat as grave as climate change, say scientists.
Superbugs resistant to drugs pose a serious worldwide threat and demand a response on the same scale as efforts to combat climate change, infectious disease specialists said on Thursday

A response on the same scale as efforts to combat climate change, huh? So… basically, not taking any meaningful action whatsoever? Well that seems eminently doable.

Wait, I take it back. Here’s a comedian as good as these headlines. Enjoy.

Nick Ruiz: still an epic doucheweasel.

Our old friend Nicholas Ruiz III has been spamming the Palace inbox lately with increasingly grandiose emails, promoting himself in his primary campaign against Rep. Alan Grayson of Florida. Grayson, as Loyal Readers™ will recall, is one of the most progressive, aggressive and effective Democrats in congress. Ruiz first came to our attention as an unknown upstart running against incumbent Republican congresscritter John Mica. Blue America plugged Ruiz, he sounded genuinely progressive, and his messaging seemed smart. We figured what the hell, and kicked in a couple bucks to his campaign.

Loyal Readers™ will also recall that after an initially pleasant email exchange with Mr. Ruiz in which Your Humble Monarch™ patiently and repeatedly explained her objection to a sexist trope he used to criticize Nancy Pelosi and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (there are countless non-sexist ways to skewer Pelosi and Wasserman-Schultz), Nick went full pompous @$$hole on us. Then in January, Nick decided that instead of using the money raised for his campaign against Republican John Mica, he would instead use it to run against Alan Grayson.

Blue America immediately dumped him, and asked for their PAC money and individual contributions back; as of this writing he has not returned it. He also managed to piss off nearly everyone in the Daily Kos community. The Palace, of course, swiftly issued a press release officially downgrading Ruiz from “not awesome” to “epic doucheweasel.” Since then we’ve been keeping a bemused eye on him, and, in news that will surprise absolutely no one, we can report that Nick Ruiz is still, in fact, an epic doucheweasel. What is news are the mounting revelations shedding considerable light on the subspecies of epic doucheweasel Nick Ruiz is.

First came his mid-April email, after the first quarter FEC deadline:

ruiz&wifeJust a quick note to thank everyone for their help.
A lot of very nice and conscientious people have given their time, energy and money
to this campaign because they believe I can make a difference in DC.
We’re going to win this seat.

I wondered exactly how much money these very nice and conscientious people had given to Ruiz since he switched districts to run against Grayson. According to the FEC’s required filing for the 1st quarter 2014, Ruiz raised $1,995.80. I suppose one could say that’s “a lot” of very nice and conscientious people, if they all gave him $1. By contrast, Grayson raised $413,952 in the first quarter. I mention this mainly because it is relevant to Ruiz’s subsequent messaging, as we shall see.

Nick’s campaign expenditures for the same period total $5,125.05—all of which I’m guessing he blew entirely on this photo shoot:

nickruizbroodingNicholas Ruiz III. Oooooh. Brooding.

nickruizbrooding2^Who does that?
A serious doucheweasel, that’s who.

So we learned that Nicholas Ruiz III is very, very serious—or at least that he likes to pose for pictures making faces straight out of Zoolander.

Another missive arrived about a week ago:

I hope all is well for you and your family.
As you know, I’m running in FL-9 and have an excellent chance to win the seat.

Please help to keep our ad on the air:

Oh dear lard. I’ve seen politicians awkwardly exploit babies as props before, but never so ridiculously as Nick Ruiz does here. The infant’s either hanging from his arms the entire time he’s blabbering or someone’s crouched offscreen below him to pop the baby up and down; either way the poor kid gets jerked into and out of the frame in less than two seconds. After that, all I can think of is OMG where’s the baby? Is the baby okay? What happened to the baby???

Jeezus. I could make a better campaign ad with my drunk friends on my iPhone.

Neither one of those emails, by the way, contains a single mention of Alan Grayson.

Curious to see what angle he’s working now that he’s running against Grayson instead of a typical Republican shitweasel, I poked around Nick’s website.

This got my attention:

After multiple attempts to reach Rep. Grayson and his staff, no response to date has been received to the debate invitation sent by the Ruiz campaign. The Grayson campaign has been unresponsive.

Good—Grayson’s campaign is ignoring him, much as one might an annoying insect. But the next part gets interesting:

Dr. Ruiz said: “Rep. Grayson may find such a ruse amusing, but the people of the district find it inconsiderate. Everyone expects and deserves communicative reciprocity from an elected representative. Unsurprisingly, many expect he will hunker down behind a large pile of money, essentially hiding from the Democratic Primary challenge I bring from the people of FL-9. Alas, there will be no hiding on primary election day, August 26, 2014.”

So it’s Dr. Ruiz now, is it? Fair enough: d00d’s got Ph.D in Humanities from Florida State. (It’s also a pretty good giveaway that DOCTOR Nicholas Ruiz III is writing about himself in the third person on his own website while pretending not to. What a fucking bozo.) But one really has to marvel at Nick’s pretension to speak on behalf of “the people of the district.” Would those be the “people of the district who elected Alan Grayson in an unprecedented landslide“? You see, this Democratic primary challenge comes not from Nick’s humble self—perish the thought!—but from the people of Florida’s 9th district (or at least from those 1,995 friends and family members who all gave him a dollar).

But the quip about Grayson hunkering down and hiding behind “a large pile of money” is really telling. For one thing, can anyone envision Alan Grayson hiding from anyone? Ever? His fearlessness has made Grayson rather infamous—for better and for worse—and it is precisely that “large pile of money” that enables this. Further, unlike virtually everyone else in congress, the majority of Grayson’s campaign contributions come from small individual donors, not corporate PACS (or gawdferbid, the DCCC). He is freer than most not to give a flying fuck about the beltway cognoscenti. Ruiz appears to be under the impression that’s a weakness and not a strength, and won’t let it go for one minute:

Ruiz also said: “Rep. Grayson’s attitude displays the sort of megalomania we’ve all come to despise from too many of the 535 members of this Congress; and especially Alan Grayson himself, the 21st richest member of Congress.

Grayson’s megalomania? Bwahahaha! Projection, hello? Note, too, that “we’ve all” come to despise Alan Grayson’s attitude. I guess that explains why he’s so heavily funded by small individual donations, huh? (Well, not by Nick’s 1,995 one-dollar donors of course.) So Dr. Ruiz, who has no experience in public service, and hasn’t returned the PAC money or individual contributions given to him last year on the pretext that he was running against Republican John Mica, is clearly the better candidate because…Alan Grayson is a very successful businessman. And, well, nobody likes rich people, amirite?

Unsurprisingly, Nick harps on and on about debating Grayson. What else has he got?

Didn’t he express his concerns when Dan Webster refused a debate conversation with him in the 2010 election? The voters have a right to such a debate forum in every election, though Rep. Grayson here denies them that right.

Dan Webster is a Republican. Gee, do you think there might be just a teeny-tiny difference in their positions, such that a public debate might actually be, you know, informative? As far as I can tell Ruiz has taken no position on any issue that would differ from Grayson’s. In fact Ruiz has taken no concrete position on anything. His messaging consists entirely of vague platitudes and pretentious posturing.

A primary debate could only raise Ruiz’s profile in FL-9, so Grayson is wise to avoid it. But admit it: wouldn’t it be wildly entertaining to watch Grayson squash Ruiz like a bug? I mean, listen to this:

“His colleagues, and the nation find his conduct to be a habitual disappointment, and I would have to agree.”

LMAO! Wait! Wait! So now, Ruiz speaks not only on behalf of Grayson’s congressional colleagues who are nearly universally despised—including, allegedly, by Ruiz himself—but for the nation. Could he possibly get any more grandiose?

Why yes. Yes he can. In his most recent email, the doctor wrote:

Dear America:

Dear America. Dear Lard.

We’re not in need of carnival barkers like Allen West, or Alan Grayson.

Allen West is a right-wing Republican. That’s the “carnival barker” he compares to Alan Grayson.

We’re not in need of frenetic ideologists like Sarah Palin, or Michele Bachmann.

What. Does he think he’s in a Republican primary?

What we’re in need of is a conscientious advocate,
who understands the necessity of resolving differing points of view.

Riiiiight. How’d that work out for Nick on my blog?

I come to the table with a valuable background and perspective,
with regard to the value and mutual benefits of dialogue, debate
and most importantly, fair and equitable resolution.

We can do better than this Congress has done,
and bring about a Congress worthy of its name and responsibilities.

Please help me to bring this much needed perspective to Washington, DC.

I literally have no idea what the fuck he’s saying here.

Perhaps a clue can be found in this addendum to Nick’s every email and splashed all over his website:

Florida District 9 was created after the 2012 redistricting process and includes Osceola, South Orange and Northeastern Polk counties. It is a diverse district, where Hispanics comprise 41.4% of the voting age population, and African-Americans comprise 12.4% of the voting age population. Subsequently, FL-9 is considered a majority-minority district, with a 53.8% minority voting age population.

Nick Ruiz saw an opening for Grayson’s seat solely because he’s Hispanic, revealing him to be a boringly typical, opportunistic narcissist who stands for absolutely nothing, except the glorification of Nicholas Ruiz III. I trust the very nice and conscientious people of FL-9 will see right through it.

The Florida primary is August 26, so we can look forward to a summer chock full of hilarity courtesy of the Ruiz campaign. Unless…wait. I get it! Nick Ruiz isn’t running for office at all! Nick Ruiz is a comedy genius—he’s just trolling us. Hahaha. Awesome.

BREAKING: Alan Grayson HEARTS Iris Vander Pluym, is still awesome.

graysonstickerYour Humble Monarch™ was cordially invited to a reception (read: fundraiser) Friday night for Congressman Alan Grayson of Florida. Held at the home of Bob Fertik and Antonia Stolper near Union Square, the event promised to be packed with other Democratic congresscritters: Yvette Clarke, Hakeem Jeffries, Nita Lowey, Carolyn Maloney, Grace Meng, Jerry Nadler, Charlie Rangel, José Serrano, Nydia Velasquez and—last, but not least!—Steve Israel, chairweasel of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), and perpetual target of Palace loathing and scorn.

Because I am an intrepid world famous political journalist (or at least I sometimes play one on my blog!), I found this invitation far too intriguing to decline. Sure, meeting Grayson sounded fun; I have long been a fan and supporter. But the chance to encounter Steve Israel really got my beanie spinning. And so on Friday evening I disguised myself as Gender Conforming Democrat Barbie™—pearls, heels, makeup, nail polish, black slacks, classy blouse, badass jacket—and schlepped on over to Union Square.

I had of course compiled Top Secret dossiers on the expected politicos, and crafted trenchant and insightful questions for each of them in case the opportunity for an interview should arise. You know, questions like: “What the fuck is Steve Israel doing here, do ya think?” and “Can I have a hug?”

The Israel Dossier

Much of the material on Steve Israel comes straight out of the Palace archives.

steveisraelCongressman Steve Israel (NY-3).

NY-3: most of the North Shore of Long Island, parts of Northeastern Queens. The district went for Bush/Cheney in ’04 and McCain/Palin in ’08; Obama barely squeaked by (50%-49%) in 2012.

Professional Background: PR, marketing.

Committees: Appropriations, various subcommittees thereof.

Caucus: Co-chair and founder of the Center Aisle Caucus.

Party Leadership: Chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) since January 2011.

It is these last two resumé items with which the Palace most concerns itself.

First the caucus. Back in 2005, Steve Israel and his BFF, Illinois Republican Tim Johnson, co-founded the Center Aisle Caucus—or “CACA,” as I like to call it. Although the actual number is impossible to verify since CACA membership is Sooper Seekrit, the caucus has roughly sixty members, split evenly between Democrats and Republicans. The CACAs fancy themselves “defiant centrists”—or conservatives, as I like to call them. This would be terrible enough considering how far to the right the “center” has drifted, but it’s actually much worse than that: CACAs observe an unwritten rule never to engage in political campaigns against other CACAs. If the membership estimate is roughly accurate, this takes about thirty House congressional races right off the table for Democrats—courtesy of the chairman of the DCCC, Steve Israel.

The DCCC is extremely powerful within the party: it holds the purse strings to vast sums of campaign cash that it divvies out as it sees fit to both incumbents and new recruits. How the DCCC wields this power is quite telling.

In the last election cycle, the DCCC refused to fund Jim Graves. I bet right about now you’re asking yourself who the fuck is Jim Graves? The reason you don’t know the answer to that question is because neither the DCCC nor its PAC spent one single dollar to help Democrat Jim Graves beat Republican Michele Bachmann in a winnable race. Yes, you read that right: the DCCC would rather have Michele Bachmann in the House than a Democrat in her seat.

michelebachmannYou’ve heard of her, now, haven’t you? Tea Queen of Kookville Minnesota ring any bells? If so, perhaps that’s because she was regularly cited by name in a relentless barrage of fundraising messages from the DCCC and its House Majority PAC. Rather than support Jim Graves, the DCCC poured an average of $1,710,159 each into the campaigns of a slate of conservative Democrats (“Blue Dogs” and “New Dems”). Howie Klein of Down With Tyranny noted:

In the 10th closest race, in Minnesota’s 6th CD, first-time candidate Jim Graves came within 4,197 votes of longtime incumbent and right-wing icon, Michele Bachmann… and it is the only [close] race the DCCC refused to spend any money on. Graves is a very indepedent-minded Democrat and, unlike almost all the other candidates the DCCC spent big on, he refused to join the reactionary and corrupt New Dems that Steve Israel and Steny Hoyer are determined to flood the House Democratic caucus with– even to the point of losing races.

Not counting outside money, Bachmann spent $11,946,232 on her reelection campaign, an incredible $66.65 for every vote. Graves spent $2,279,384 or $13.03 per vote. Just as an exercise, had the DCCC spent on Graves the average of what they spent on these close races, it seems inconceivable that he wouldn’t have won by a very substantial margin. Just sayin’.

I have a theory about this perfidy—two, actually. First is that up until she announced her retirement, Michele Bachmann was the single largest cash generator for the Democratic Party in history. But there is also another benefit to name-dropping Bachmann at every turn: she is so far off the right-wing rails she makes the craven, corporatist, conservative Democrats running the party look like flaming Marxists by comparison.

In the runup to the 2012 presidential election, the role of Bachmann the Bogeyman was played by right-wing sociopath Paul Ryan, a.k.a. Satan. Neither the DCCC nor its PAC gave one red cent to Rob Zerban, the Democrat running against Ryan in yet another winnable race. Nowadays, Ryan’s once again the star of Democratic fundraiser messaging.

Paul Ryan, a.k.a. Satan.  Unretouched photo of Congressman Paul Ryan, a.k.a. Satan.
Dick Cheney said: “I worship the ground that Paul Ryan walks on”—thereby confirming beyond any reasonable doubt that Paul Ryan is, in fact, Satan.

Let’s just let that sink in for a minute: the DCCC under Steve Israel’s leadership would rather have Paul Ryan in that seat than a liberal Democrat.

Questions for Steve Israel

  • Considering your party’s fundraising emails over the last few years, I have to ask: is Michele Bachmann the single largest cash generator for the Democratic Party in history, or does that distinction belong to Paul Ryan?
  • Is that why neither the DCCC nor its PAC spent a single dollar to beat Bachmann or Ryan in winnable races, or is it because Jim Graves and Rob Zerban are not corrupt conservatives like you?
  • What the fuck are you doing here? This is an Alan Grayson reception.
  • Have you met Rob Zerban? Hey Rob! Over here! I want you to come meet Steve Israel! Yeah, the doucheweasel who wouldn’t support your campaign against Paul Ryan!

As you can see, I am a total pro: I was nothing if not prepared.


And I was nothing if not late, either. But I wasn’t the only one: Congressman Grayson arrived right behind me. As we crammed into the tiny elevator together, he introduced his companion as his girlfriend. “She’s a doctor,” he said, “So if you need her to take a look at a sore throat or anything…”

“It’s great to meet you both,” I said, “but no, I don’t think that’ll be necessary.”

As the doors closed he chirped “What floor?”

“Sixth floor, Grayson reception,” I deadpanned.

“Second floor, lingerie!” he shot back, cracking himself up as the elevator ascended.

I whipped out the daisy sticker he had sent to contributors (pictured above), and flashed it at him. “Before you leave, I’d like to get your autograph on this.” He smiled. “Wow, I feel like a fangirl in the presence of a lefty rock star,” I gushed, “just like I did that one time back in the 80s when I met Robert Plant!” His girlfriend laughed at that.

“Rock star, huh?” Grayson was laughing too.

To my great relief the elevator doors opened on 6 before I could say anything else to irredeemably embarrass myself.

The loft apartment was spacious and gorgeously appointed, and elegant hors d’ oeuvres drifted around the room on silver platters. As I made a beeline to the bar I scanned the crowd. These must be those librul eeleetz I’ve heard so much about! I spotted Rob Zerban, waved hello, and asked him how his race against Satan was going. He gave me a hug and a kiss, without my even asking.

People were happily mingling and introducing themselves when I suddenly remembered that I hate people. I found myself in a corner with some staffers from who claimed to be Occupy Wall Streeters, yet were inexplicably shocked and mystified to learn that the DCCC would not finance the Democratic opponents of Paul Ryan or Michele Bachmann. Fucking people, I swear. I’d been there less than ten minutes and I already needed another drink.

The crowd swelled, and the Big Willies had apparently reached the necessary critical mass. Cameras began rolling and a parade of esteemed congresspersons made their way to the front to deliver impassioned encomiums to Alan Grayson. More than one of his colleagues mentioned that he is fun to work with—an exceedingly rare quality in Congress. All of the speeches were mercifully brief. (Unlike, say, this blog post.)

Grayson took the floor to rousing applause, thanked everybody, and proceeded to rile up the room with his trademarked firebrand quips. Did you know that more money was spent by the opposition—$5 million—during his last race than was spent in a House race against any candidate, ever? And that $4 million of it came from the Koch Brothers? Well actually yes, I did know that. But that is not the point! The point is that Grayson comes off just as sharp, funny and genuine in person as he does in his campaign messaging and media appearances. His audience ate it up, clapping and cheering as if to punctuate zinger after zinger.

Meanwhile, I took a lot of pictures that all came out more or less like this:

graysonpicblurryAt some point Congressman Eliot Engel arrived, and made his way to the front. Look! Here’s a picture!

eliotengelblurryWait, did Engel just crash this party? He was not on the honorary host list, and I had prepared no dossier on him. Grayson noticed him immediately, interrupted his spiel to acknowledge him, graciously thanked him for coming, and announced with great enthusiasm that there is “no greater friend to Israel in Congress than Eliot Engel!”


The room that a few seconds ago had been buzzing right along with Grayson’s every utterance fell strangely quiet. It took every bit of willpower I could muster, but somehow I resisted the urge to yell “OMIGOD AWKWARD!

Grayson soon wrapped up, and opened to floor to Q & A. After a few d00ds took their turns, I asked, “What would it take for the Democratic party power center and leadership to shift to the ranks of the Progressive Caucus from, say, the Center Aisle Caucus?”

Grayson replied that we could all learn a lot from the Tea Party—not from their ideology of course, but from their tactics. For example, they run their candidates in primary campaigns against Republicans they feel aren’t conservative enough.

Whoa. For years I have been writing screed after screed urging that liberals deploy exactly this tactic, yet up until that moment I had never heard a politician express anything even close to it. Wait. OMFG! Alan Grayson has been reading my blog! Obviously!

We had a nice exchange, wherein I pointed out that Tea Partiers are willing to run a primary candidate even with no hope of winning the general election against a Democrat: unlike the lefties, they’re actually willing to lose an election rather than have a Republican candidate they don’t approve of win. He said that’s not their intention, but yes, the tactic sometimes has that effect.

I would have argued that in order for that tactic to work it has to have that effect, at least potentially, but he had already moved on to the next questioner. (Clearly Alan Grayson needs to study my blog more closely.)

After the Q&A broke up, I obnoxiously insinuated myself right up next to Grayson and demanded he pose with me for a selfie—a request he happily obliged.

I whipped out my daisy sticker once again, and a blue Sharpie. “Can you please sign this for me?”

“Sign it? Sure!” Grayson wandered over to a quiet windowsill and sat down. He looked thoughtful for a moment, and began to write.

“Make it good!” I said. “I’m gonna frame this!”

He took his time, and when he was done handed it back. “Thank you,” I said, “It’s really been a pleasure and an honor to meet you.”

“Oh, it was great meeting you, Iris! I hope I see you again!”

“Well I hope I see you again—in Congress.” We shook hands, and I took my leave.

Then I annoyed everyone taking selfies with them on my way out the door. (Charlie Rangel! Yvette Clarke! Howie Klein!)

Guess who was a no-show? Steve. Fucking. Israel.


I took the elevator down with Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney. “So what brings you here?” she asked.

“I’m a blogger, and a big fan of Alan Grayson.”

“What’s your blog about?”

“Politics, sex, religion,” I said. “You know, all the things we’re not supposed to talk about.”

“I like it already. Got a card? If you give me your card, I’ll send you some links.”

“You might not like my blog. I go after conservative Democrats.”

“You should go after the Republicans,” she replied.

“Why? There’s no hope for them.”

(You know something? I really don’t like people telling me what I should or shouldn’t write about…)

I handed her my card, and she looked at it before stashing it away.

“This is your blog?”

“Yeah,” I said. “Pretty sure you won’t like it.”

“Well,” she said, “I like you.”

We had reached the street. “Ciao, Congresswoman—nice to meet you.”

She waved as she turned right, heading East on 17th Street.

And I, of course, went left.


I was so wrong about capitalism vs. healthcare!

[TRIGGER WARNING: several f-bombs, one m-f bomb, graphic depictions of opulence.]

Longtime Loyal Readers™ may recall the long and sordid tale of how the entire lower West side of Manhattan ended up without a single hospital bed (see e.g. here, here, here, here and here). I often write about the deadly cruelty, inefficiency, cost and jaw-dropping stupidity of our for-profit health care system here in the U.S. of A., and I won’t repeat that here. Suffice it to say that St. Vincent’s, our neighborhood hospital, was just one more predictable casualty. At least ten New York City hospitals have closed since 2006; others remain on life support.

The fact is that wealthy real estate developers pretty much run this town, and the politicians they own are more than happy to help. The closing of St. Vincent’s was eagerly aided and abetted by a raft of corrupt, neoliberal shitweasels in every branch of state and city government—for example, the hospital emerged from bankruptcy court with its impossible debt obligations 100% intact—whereupon the well-connected Rudin family immediately picked up the property for a song. Perhaps no one was more helpful to this process than former city council speaker and mayoral candidate Christine Quinn, the Robin to Michael Bloomberg’s Batman—except that this metaphor really should be about some kind of Bizarro World Robin Hood. How else to describe Quinn proudly taking credit for the destruction of a 161-year old charity hospital with a Level I trauma center smack in the middle of her own district—the primary admitting hospital for victims of the 9-11 World Trade Center attacks in 2001 and survivors of the Titanic in 1912—in favor of a billion dollar luxury condo development?

I’d like to think it cost Quinn the mayor’s race. During the campaign, she stupidly showed up at a health care rally on the site of the former St. Vincent’s, and was loudly booed. Putting aside for a moment the public health aspects of closing a full-service hospital, many local businesses that catered to the daily influx of visitors and staff (e.g. florists, restaurants, pharmacies, coffee shops) swiftly went under—and that’s to say nothing of job losses at the hospital itself in a rapidly consolidating health care market. A particularly rich moment occurred in July when Quinn was speaking at a campaign event: one of her staffers passed out, and it took more than 30 minutes for an ambulance to arrive on the scene. She was flabbergasted and appalled, complaining bitterly the whole time. What a joke. Except it’s not fucking funny.

Here is a map that shows the hospitals closest to where I am presently sitting, as well as the site of the former St. Vincents:



Construction at former St. Vincent’s.

If those distances seem negligible to you, you have never been in New York City during morning or evening rush hours, when the UN is in session, or when our neoliberal shitweasel president is in town back-slapping the banksters on a job well done and/or undermining our liberal congresscritters. Meanwhile, city and fire department officials are busy ensuring that no EMS transit times are made public, as they once routinely were. There can be only one reason for that: those numbers are not good. At this link (@ 1:06) you can see a Beth Israel Hospital ambulance stuck in traffic on 7th Avenue, directly in front of the former entrance to St. Vincent’s emergency room.

But never mind all of that, people, because today I bring you absolutely fantastic news. After walking by the construction site, I actually remembered when I got home to go online and look at the Rudin development’s website! And I am here to tell you: I was so, so wrong about all of this. My silly protest signs, speeches at zoning meetings, signatures on petitions, emails and phone calls to politicians and my impassioned screeds on the subject now just make me look foolish.

My sign.Iris’s dumbass protest sign.
Occupy St. Vincent’s, Oct. 27, 2011.
(Jeezus. How embarrassing.)

For as it turns out, hundreds of thousands of residents going without a single nearby hospital bed, trauma unit, emergency room or surgery facility is but a pittance to pay in exchange for something so…so… magnificent. Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you: The Greenwich Lane,”a collection of five unique addresses and five townhouses nestled together in the West Village.”

greenwichlanerenderingAs you can see from this gorgeous rendering, the gleaming towers of floor-to-ceiling glass will provide a stunning visual counterpoint to the surrounding low-rise buildings emblematic of this historic neighborhood. But that’s not even the best part. Nope: the best part is the enormous private garden, billed as “the heart of the community”—although technically speaking, the actual community will have no access to it whatsoever. But never mind that. Just look at it!


A formal garden with a reflecting pool passes into a birch allée with limestone benches, followed by a more sheltered area with a contemplative, trellised pavilion. The garden offers not only the pleasures of a natural landscape; but also, with all of its plantings, it fulfills an important role in creating a healthier microclimate for the buildings, filtering the air and beneficially restoring more trees to the neighborhood.

And just maybe, if some of these trees eventually grow tall enough, people in the neighborhood might be able to see the very tops of them! OMFG swoon!

But I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s the “principal amenities” surrounding the garden that really put the place over the top:

  • A dedicated fitness floor with state-of-the-art training, yoga, golf, and wellness rooms, as well as a 25-meter pool.
  • A suite of social and entertaining rooms overlooking the central garden, including a private lounge, a dramatic dining room, and a fully outfitted guest chef’s kitchen.
  • A separate catering kitchen for larger events.
  • A private screening room seating 22 with a private wet bar.
  • A light-filled and sheltered children’s playroom with views of the garden.
  • 24-hour attended lobbies, with services including storage for grocery, wine, and flower deliveries, on-site resident managers, complete porter staff, and handymen.
  • An underground private parking garage.

I know what you’re thinking and yes, before you ask, I believe it’s safe to assume there are oversized parking spaces large enough to accommodate the vintage Rolls.

greenwichlanepoolThe envisioned 25 meter pool + gym on the dedicated fitness floor.

This probably goes without saying, but: “As designed by Thomas O’Brien, these handsome spaces bring to mind the cachet of an Old World private club.” Including, probably, the parking garage. Here you can see a little movie wherein this very same Thomas O’Brien d00d ‘splains his unique vision, which looks an awful lot like last year’s Restoration Hardware catalog, but what do I know? (Wait, I know last year’s Restoration Hardware catalog, cover to cover. Hmmm.) Anyway:

It’s also this incredibly unique thing that rises above—in a very nice way—and you look downtown, South and West, over all of this protected, wonderful architecture that is the West Village.

Indeed! Why on earth would anyone want to live in all of this protected, wonderful architecture when instead one can peer down upon it—preferably, I assume, through a $3000 faux-vintage 19th century telescope from Restoration Hardware?

RHtelescope$3000 faux-vintage 19th century telescope from Restoration Hardware.
(On sale now for only $2395, because last year’s catalog hello?)

Also, Thomas O’Brien apparently forgot to mention it, but the views to the south also take in the Freedom Tower Penis, on the very site of the former World Trade Center.

penistowerView down 7th Avenue of the Freedom Penis.
Ejaculating FREEDOM, motherfuckers.

The bad news is that there are only a very limited number of units still available at these low pre-construction prices:








Floor Plan

140 W. 12th St. M-1 2 2 / 1 2408 $5,550,000 VIEW
302 4 4 / 1 3088 $8,610,000 VIEW
150 W. 12th St. 3 E. 5 5 / 1 4187 732 $12,450,000 VIEW
4 W. 1 1 / 1 1465 255 $3,850,000 VIEW
7 W. 2 2 / 1 2079 $6,100,000 VIEW
160 W. 12th St. 36 2 2 / - 1583 $4,195,000 VIEW
45 1 1 / - 892 $2,170,000 VIEW
47 2 2 / 1 1737 $4,380,000 VIEW
58 3 3 / 1 2450 $6,900,000 VIEW
64 4 4 / 1 2818 153 $8,570,000 VIEW
72 2 2 / 1 2040 $5,740,000 VIEW
85 1 1 / 1 1166 $3,450,000 VIEW
86 3 3 / 1 2524 $7,350,000 VIEW
108 3 3 / 1 2455 $7,950,000 VIEW
155 W. 11th St. 4L 1 1 / - 758 $2,050,000 VIEW
4C 2 2 / 1 1934 $5,620,000 VIEW
4B 2 2 / 1 1670 68 $5,050,000 VIEW
6D 2 2 / - 1515 $5,275,000 VIEW
7A 4 4 / 1 3687 44 $14,500,000 VIEW
8B 3 3 / 1 2383 153 $7,650,000 VIEW
10C 2 2 / 1 1938 $6,710,000 VIEW
11A 4 4 / 1 3951 44 $17,525,000 VIEW
145 W. 11th St. 7 5 4 / 1 4537 83 $18,250,000 VIEW

The Palace, naturally, will be putting in a generous offer at once, so as not to lose out on this amazing opportunity. OMG I CANNOT PICK MY FAVORITE!!!11!!! (LOL #firstworldproblems, I know right?)

Now I ask you: Could there be anything our neighborhood needs more urgently than this fine establishment in our midst, and the several menial jobs that will be created in order to maintain it? And the fine upstanding citizens dwelling here at least part of the year will contribute literally oodles of tip money to the local delivery people. We can only hope that neither our new neighbors nor their (no doubt charming and adorable!) children ever suffer any ill health or injury on the premises. Because if that should happen, they’re just as fucked as the rest of us.

When mockery fails us: the case of professional liberals.

Lately we’ve seen a good deal of mockery emanating from various Democratic pundits over the “success” of Obamacare. Over 7 million people signed up! Hahaha, Republicans! YOU LOSE!


Did everyone suddenly forget that the ACA is a terrible, fundamentally conservative paradigm, with deep Republican roots in both Romneycare and The Heritage Foundation? Sure, Republican efforts to block and repeal their own policies make them look like petty buffoons. What else is new? But gloating Democrats are arguably worse: we are witnessing the entrenchment of for-profit healthcare perniciously framed as a successful, liberal model. FAIL.

But okay, let’s assume I’m just some lefty kook (moi?) who is wrong about the delicious awesomesauce that is Obamacare. The U.S. population is about 308,745,538. A new Gallup poll pegs the rate of uninsured Americans at 15.6%, or 48,164,303. Yes, 7 million people signing up is still 7 million people. Yay for 7 million people with access to “affordable” healthcare! But with nearly 50 million people left uninsured and most of the rest tethered to bloodletting insurers, by what metric, exactly, is Obamacare a great success story worth crowing over?

And yet we have Joan McCarter at DailyKos taunting Republicans over the aforementioned Gallup poll under the headline “The uninsured rate is lowest since 2008.” That’s right: pre-Obamacare, before America’s Owners crashed the global economy, the uninsured rate was lower. McCarter even posted this helpful graph from Gallup:

gallupcoverageWell, she sure showed them, amirite? A whole 2.5% drop from its peak, and almost as low as 2008, before Obama was elected! VICTORY!

Then we’ve got Andy Borowitz, beloved lefty satirist, relentlessly mocking Republicans over the ACA in The New Yorker:

Boehner: “I Don’t Want to Live in a World Where Seven Million People Get Affordable Health Care”

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—A riveting scene unfolded in Congress today as a tearful Speaker John Boehner took to the floor of the House to tell his colleagues, “I don’t want to live in a world where seven million people get affordable health care.”

Tears streaming down his cheeks, Rep. Boehner appeared unable to maintain his composure as he delivered a speech interrupted by blubbering and sharp intakes of breath.

“What kind of a world is it where anyone can go on the Internet and get health care they can afford?” he said. “Not a world I’d care to live in, or leave to my children.”

As we Professional Mockers™ all know, mocking John Boehner is easier than shooting fish in a barrel. No, really: you can just quote practically anything he says, and your work is done. What’s troubling here is not Andy Borowitz phoning it in, but the underlying assumption that we can declare success with nearly 50 million Americans remaining uninsured and most of the rest beholden to for-profit insurers. (Note, too, the none-too-subtle classism. No Andy, we do not in fact live in a country where “anyone can go on the Internet” to get health care they can afford.)

A few days before that, Borowitz took a shot at another easy target:

Issa Subpoenas Seven Million Americans Who Signed Up for Obamacare

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Accusing them of involvement in “a widespread conspiracy to save President Obama’s failed health-care program,” Rep. Darrell Issa (R-California) today subpoenaed the approximately seven million Americans who have signed up for Obamacare so far.

Arguing that the impressive enrollment numbers “don’t pass the smell test,” the House Oversight Committee chairman told reporters, “Any rational person would come to the same conclusion that I have: namely, that this is a well-orchestrated conspiracy of seven million people trying to make Obamacare look good.”

In case you missed it, the message is “the impressive enrollment numbers.” The joke doesn’t work without it. Perhaps instead, we might have had Issa subpoena the millions who are still uninsured? After all, Republicans are cynical enough to pull a stunt like that, notwithstanding that if they had their way the numbers would be even worse. But that wouldn’t be carrying water for the Grand Lefty Triumph that is the ACA, now would it?

As if we were not dazzled enough by his incisive political wit, Borowitz also went after the easiest target of all time:

President’s Announcement of Health-Care Numbers Angers Opponents of Math

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Tuesday’s announcement by President Obama that 7.1 million people have signed up for Obamacare set off a firestorm of controversy among opponents of math in the U.S. Congress.

Representative Michele Bachmann, a leading member of the anti-math caucus, told reporters, “Throughout the debate on Obamacare, there has been a tacit agreement to leave math out of it. Today, President Obama broke that agreement.”

Hahaha, Michele Bachmann, anti-math caucus, geddit? Hilarious—except for the tiny problem that the math does not make the case for Obamacare.

But the worst by far is Paul Krugman, esteemed liberal economist. Writing in the pages of the venerable New York Times this week, he continues to peddle the same bald-faced lie he has long been repeating: namely, that the president and Democrats had only two choices, Obamacare or immediate single-payer (i.e. nothing).

If it had been politically possible, extending Medicare to everyone would have been technically easy.

But it wasn’t politically possible, for a couple of reasons. One was the power of the insurance industry, which couldn’t be cut out of the loop if you wanted health reform this decade. Another was the fact that the 170 million Americans receiving health insurance through employers are generally satisfied with their coverage, and any plan replacing that coverage with something new and unknown was a nonstarter.

So health reform had to be run largely through private insurers, and be an add-on to the existing system rather than a complete replacement.

Remember, kids: since we can’t have Medicare for everyone right now, we must therefore entrench the insurance companies that provide absolutely nothing that the U.S. government cannot provide cheaper and more efficiently. Q.E.D. And we shall call this “reform!” And while we’re at it, let’s also block drug reimportation from countries where they’re cheaper (which is all of them), and prohibit the government from using its enormous purchasing power to negotiate better prices. What are you, a communist?

Of course Krugman is right that an immediate leap to single-payer was not politically feasible—but no one ever said it was. However, a public option/Medicare buy-in most certainly was. The idea was popular with the public, Nancy Pelosi delivered a House bill with a public option intact, and the entire Medicare infrastructure already exists. Unlike the ACA, it would have created a genuine path to single-payer, and put some real pressure on the Free Market™ to deliver better health care at lower prices. And this discussion occurred in the wake of the bank bailouts, when it would have been trivially easy for Democrats to frame a health care “reform” bill without a public option as the corporate giveaway that it is. But Krugman never mentions any of that. At the time, he was writing inexcusable broadsides entitled “Pass The Bill”, wherein the fact that the president had already secretly sold out the public option while disingenuously pretending otherwise merited no mention. To this day, Paul Krugman continues to whitewash history in favor of this blatantly false narrative.

He helpfully adds:

So my advice to reform supporters is, go ahead and celebrate. Oh, and feel free to ridicule right-wingers who confidently predicted doom.

Thanks, Paul.

I have nothing but bottomless contempt for these professional “liberals.” They do far more harm than good by selectively weaving threads of history into pretty lies, and worst of all, spewing imitation-lefty-flavored sauce all over rotten right-wing policies.

Behold: your liberal media.

Beware mockery deployed in the service of the status quo, my friends. It’s a powerful tool, and in the wrong hands it can be downright insidious. I don’t know how many times I have to say this: we must only use our mockery superpowers for good.

When panty sniffers get sniffed.

Via WaPo this morning comes a hilarious story, headlined Feinstein: CIA searched Intelligence Committee computers.

Dianne Feinstein (D-epraved), is the head of the Senate Intelligence [sic] Committee, and one of the fiercest defenders of our bloated defense budget, lawless imperialist wars, and our sprawling and unaccountable surveillance state. The reason for such depravity on the Senator’s part is hardly a secret. Longtime Loyal Readers™ may recall that Feinstein is married to one Richard C. Blum, a fabulously wealthy investment banker with substantial stakes in companies that do business with the U.S. government. For example, consider URS Corp, which in 2002 bought EG&G, a “leading provider of technical services and management to the U.S. military.” After Mr. Blum’s company took over EG&G, it subsequently won a $600 million defense contract. You see, it is not illegal for congresscritters to self-deal or trade on inside information, like it is for nearly everyone else. I’m sure you get the picture—and it ain’t pretty.


The head of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday publicly accused the CIA of secretly removing documents from computers used by her panel to investigate the agency’s controversial interrogation program, saying that the action represented the kind of interference lawmakers had long sought to avoid.

So the CIA (or NSA, or FBI, or DHS, or some other agency no one’s even heard of—take your pick) hacked into the computers of the congressional committee specifically charged with that agency’s oversight, and removed documents therefrom.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said during a Senate floor speech that she was speaking out “reluctantly” and only after trying to resolve news of the improper search of committee computers “in a discreet and respectful way.”

Translation: “I have endorsed U.S. government lawlessness for decades and let you fuckers do anything and everything you wanted created a monster, and now it gets turned on me? Me? I AM SO SHOCKED WHO COULD HAVE SEEN THIS COMING OMG.”

The action apparently marks the first time a U.S. intelligence agency has accessed congressional computers and would seem to be a violation of the constitutional principle of separation of powers.

Well, why not? Both political parties have eagerly violated nearly every other constitutional principle. Why stop at the Fourth Amendment? And I would bet the entire Palace treasury that it is most certainly not the first time a U.S. intelligence agency has accessed congressional computers. Please.

Feinstein said she wanted to speak in order to clarify the situation.

Right, because we can always count on powerful politicians like Dianne Feinstein to “clarify” things for us. LOL.

Sez one commenter at WaPo: “Brownshirts are complaining about the SS they created.”


Another commenter, however, is badly misinformed: “The CIA / executive branch removing files from the Senate / legislative branch is the definition of treason. The US is 1 inch away from a palace guards coup. it may have already occured.”

That is just an irresponsible claim. The Fierce Palace Guard™ has not engaged in any coup, nor does she show any interest whatsoever in even entertaining such a notion.

palaceguardFierce Palace Guard™, on duty.

I will of course keep a very close eye on her, and promptly report any hint of treasonous activity to…well, to my Many Tens of Loyal Readers™, I guess. For all practical purposes it’s the same as reporting it to congress, federal law enforcement or the CIA. Hell, they’ll probably know it before I will.

Is this a great country or what.