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Monday, January 26, 2015

Boehner's Treason?

US Speaker of the House John Boehner listens as US President Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union address. (photo: Mandel Ngan/Bloomberg)
Speaker of the House John Boehner listens as President Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union address. (photo: Mandel Ngan/Bloomberg)

By William Boardman, Reader Supported News

25 January 15

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court....
– United States Constitution, Article III, section 3

nviting a hostile head of state to challenge the U.S. president from the shelter of the U.S. Congress may not rise to the level of “levying war” in the literal sense. But it is surely an act of virtual war that recklessly raises the stakes of drawing the U.S. into more actual wars from Gaza to Iran.

Lacking any lawful authority to conduct foreign policy, Congressman John Boehner has invited Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to Congress in direct opposition to the American president. This kind of vigilante foreign policy is tantamount to a declaration of war on the constitutional authority of the executive branch. It is also a deliberate effort to destroy the possibility of peaceful relations with Iran, in the midst of serious negotiation headed toward normalization. Defending the U.S. against the threat of peace is a traditionally mindless Republican stance. It becomes an obscenity when it is rooted in nothing more substantial than Israeli intransigence.

Here’s the way Boehner failed to explain his interference in the president’s constitutional authority to conduct foreign affairs:

I did not consult with the White House. The Congress can make this decision on its own. I don’t believe I’m poking anyone in the eye. There is a serious threat that exists in the world, and the president, last night [in the State of the Union], kind of papered over it. And the fact is, is that there needs to be a more serious conversation in America about how serious the threat is from radical Islamic jihadists and the threat posed by Iran.

First he admits he’s a partisan lone wolf. Then he lies about Congress making a decision, when he made the decision on his own without bringing it close to a vote; he also falsifies Congressional authority in foreign policy. He then either lies about poking anyone in the eye, or admits he’s in denial. Then he jumps to fearmongering, ignoring the reality that Iran has been engaged in multi-state negotiations for months now. Then he pretends to want a more serious conversation, when he and his colleagues have been crying wolf about the “Iranian bomb” for more than two decades. Then he compounds his lies and fearmongering by conflating Iran with “radical Islamic jihadists” of the sort Saudi Arabia has been cultivating for more than 40 years. Nice piece of work for a presumed “patriot.” 

Is Boehner “adhering to the enemies” of the United States? 

Since the Speaker of the House is unlikely to confess to any sort of treason in open court, as he should, the charge of treason against this Ohio Republican and his co-conspirators will be constitutionally tricky to make. But it needs to be made, no matter how belatedly.

Sacrificing our Constitution in an effort to turn American troops into Israel’s proxy army looks very much like the moral equivalent of treason.

The case of Republican treason needs to be made now, and should have been made long since, against the party that has waged metaphorical war against the United States at least since 2009. Granted, the Republican war has not resorted to the kind of military violence meant by “war” in orthodox constitutional construction. But GOP behavior has been war all the same, unrelenting and destructive, against both the president and the very purpose of the Constitution as expressed in its preamble. The only “general welfare” consistently supported by Republicans is military. The rest of their agenda is determined by sectarian spite and corruption.

While not literally “levying war,” Boehner and his party come much closer to actually adhering to the enemies of the United States. But wait, does that mean Israel is an “enemy” of the United States? Good question. We hear over and over about the United States being a friend to Israel, but how is that friendship reciprocated? Enemies of the United States have again and again enticed the United States to embrace the tar baby of endless war in the Middle East, with decades of success to show for it. Israel now entices the U.S. again toward war with Iran. When Israel wants what our enemies want, what does that make Israel? Not much of a friend.

Let’s put it another way: what other head of state from anywhere in the world would be invited to come before Congress to promote intransigence and bellicosity, in direct opposition to the White House’s policy? Boehner may not be adhering to our enemies, but he’s certainly adhering to an extreme and dangerous foreign policy that many of our enemies would enjoy watching us suffer. 

Is Boehner “giving aid and comfort” to our enemies? 

Boehner-Netanyahu hardline policies may give pause to an Iranian government, but not in a way useful to the rest of the world. Boehner-Netanyahu policies are designed to kill negotiation, kill accommodation, and if need be kill peace. There is no greater good at the end of the Boehner-Netanyahu just-say-no road. What Boehner-Netanyahu-ism wants, at a minimum, is permanent, unremediated hostility punctuated by bursts of bloodshed.

Other nations who wish the United States no good can watch the “indispensible nation” dispense itself in further futility while they enjoy their schadenfreude from a safe, noncombatant distance. Watching the United States bleed in another misbegotten crusade will almost surely give our enemies, if not aid, then considerable comfort at least.

Boehner’s traitorous embrace of Netanyahu’s assault on American governance is a betrayal of trust, whether they realize it or not, against all Americans. Boehner has launched another Republican attack on a fundamental constitutional principle – but we can count on Democrats to be brightly up in arms about it, right? No, the silence is deafening, the defense of the Constitution nil.

Referring to Netanyahu’s appearance before Congress, the most that Rep. Nancy Pelosi had to say was: “I just don’t think it’s appropriate and helpful.” Others in her party are saying less or nothing.

Why is the U.S. Congress failing to defend a basic principle of the U.S. Constitution? The key, perhaps, lies in what Pelosi said in 2010, when she was still speaker of the House:

We in Congress stand by Israel, something we have a joint bipartisan commitment. No separation between us on this subject. In Congress we speak with one voice on the subject of Israel. Together we remain committed to advancing the peace process, preserving Israel’s security, responsible sanctions against Iran, working to finalize Iran sanctions bill right now.

So the Constitution is wrong about our bi-cameral system. We don’t have a Congress comprising the Senate and the House, we have some other country’s Knesset.

It’s not enough to suggest that the Boehner-Netanyahu challenge to U.S. sovereignty is inappropriate or unhelpful. Someone should be saying it’s provocative, outrageous, dishonest, and warmongering. Anyone?

William M. Boardman has over 40 years of experience in theatre, radio, TV, print journalism, and non-fiction, including 20 years in the Vermont judiciary. He has received honors from Writers Guild of America, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Vermont Life magazine, and an Emmy Award nomination from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.



+83 # babalu 2015-01-25 19:03
Thank you for your well reasoned article. The Republicans once again dip their toes in Unconstitutiona l, anti-American waters! They need to be called out on it every time - Israeli or no Israeli! McCain is another one - palling around with people in Libya and Syria and then pulling a shrub-like - I looked into their eyes and I believe them when they say they are for Democracy.
+24 # ritawalpoleague 2015-01-26 05:26
In reply to babalu, thank you too, and thanks also to Wm. M. Boardman for his "...well reasoned article."

In response to Boardman's last line request, yes, I do agree that it's "... provocative, ooutrageous, and warmongering." And, also, yet more karlroving dirty trickery.

It doesn't take a prophet to predict what Zionist Netanyahu is going to ploy we the dumbed down sheeple with: need for U.S. to continue giving billions each year (war machinery galore, to the joy of the MIC) to him and his 'let's destroy Gaza' country. And, glorify 'more war against terrorists' the greedy plus and need for power over all Netanyahu will.

McCain, a puppet for the 1%ers just as is Netanyahu, will love all the $$$$$ he gets, for what the endless warmongers so need - endless war for $$$ and oil, oil,

Bushwhacked, Kochsucked, and AIPAC'd we are. Damn.
-26 # tpmco 2015-01-26 05:37
Well, doesn't democracy produce wealth? Does history have to hit you over the head with a sledge hammer?

I do take issue, however, with this notion that somehow Mr. Boner has acted against the Constitution. I see it as opening a whole new avenue into dealing with these pricky foreign policy issues. I think you can chalk one up for Obama on this trap, when it's all said and done.

Sometimes, ya' just gotta love this guy.
+4 # reiverpacific 2015-01-26 11:21
Quoting tpmco:
Well, doesn't democracy produce wealth? Does history have to hit you over the head with a sledge hammer?

I do take issue, however, with this notion that somehow Mr. Boner has acted against the Constitution. I see it as opening a whole new avenue into dealing with these pricky foreign policy issues. I think you can chalk one up for Obama on this trap, when it's all said and done.

Sometimes, ya' just gotta love this guy.

So are you one of the millions of deluded somnambulists who have been conned into thinking that "Capitalism=Freedom=Democracy?
If so, the implications of "Boner's" gesture of typical reactionary TeaThuglican reckless hubris will completely evade you!
+59 # indian weaver 2015-01-25 20:47
If this weren't my country, I'd be laughing at this wild theater. As an American, I think this is the beginning of the most significant dialogue our government has had in awhile, because the 2 major players now really hate each other (even more, to put it nicely). And these 2 players are supposed to "run America the Country"? Yikes. Gulp. Give it time ... a long fuse on this one, many fuses. We're all going to get fat eating popcorn. The damage is done. "Le Denouement" - now playing. The Congressional Republicans vs. The Executive Branch? What happened to the Democrats? Aren't they involved at all? How weird.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Truth About Joni Ernst

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa. (photo: AP)
U.S. Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa. (photo: AP)

By Charles Pierce, Esquire

24 January 15
ell, this was predictable.

The truth about her family's farm roots and living within one's means, however, is more complex. Relatives of Ernst (née: Culver), based in Red Oak, Iowa (population: 5,568) have received over $460,000 in farm subsidies between 1995 and 2009. Ernst's father, Richard Culver, was given $14,705 in conservation payments and $23,690 in commodity subsidies by the federal government-with all but twelve dollars allocated for corn support. Richard's brother, Dallas Culver, benefited from $367,141 in federal agricultural aid, with over $250,000 geared toward corn subsidies. And the brothers' late grandfather Harold Culver received $57,479 from Washington-again, mostly corn subsidies-between 1995 and 2001. He passed away in January 2003. The Sentinel cross-referenced the Environmental Working Group farm subsidy database with open source information to verify the Culvers' interest in the Department of Agriculture's crop support program.

Somebody should have gotten to my new friend Senator Joni and hipped her to this kind of thing. First of all, the SOTU response is inevitably a disaster, no matter who gives it. Second, if you're going to go heavy on the Little House on the Prairie stuff, it's best that the country already know, at least in part, that your family needed Uncle Sugar to stop on by and help with the bills. And, third, damn, $450G's buys a lot of Wonder Bread. She wasn't bad the other night. She was just silly.


+70 # WBoardman 2015-01-24 15:28
No, she was bad.

Maudlin, phony, dishonest, empty of content,
full of platitudes (meaning nothing).

+40 # PeacefulGarden 2015-01-24 18:38
Oh, snap, snap, snappity, snap, snap! Tis' the bread bag lady!

+4 # Barbara K 2015-01-25 10:18
Geez, another republican making tracks to the trough at our expense. They cut food stamps and unemployment for the poor, trying to cut Social Security for the seniors, etc., but they can dish it out to themselves by the big pig trough.


+36 # cymricmorty 2015-01-24 18:54
She's the GOP's denatured version of Moonbeam McSwine.

+27 # T4D 2015-01-24 20:00
Iowa also has a 1st Dist. Congressperson who was raised in a house with chickens in the attic, and dirt floors. Being first in the Nation with this kind of stuff is not fun!

-9 # rradiof 2015-01-24 23:02
Call Joe Genereus, and the Grinnell crew: Barry Zigas, John Chambers, Henry Cornell, Kenneth Adelman, Tom Cole (the only Indian), look it up motherfuckers, OMG, I went to Grinnell with all the aforementioned. Good night.

-14 # BobboMax 2015-01-24 23:10
Sorry- While I think Ms. Ernst is a simple-minded, two-faced, lying hypocritical Republican, I think this is a non-issue.

$460,000 over something like 15 years is a little over $30K a year, divided among any number of shirt-tail relatives. Any farmer who can't pull down $30K a year in federal subsidies is too dumb to be in the business. Non-issue.

+64 # speedboy 2015-01-24 23:17
We finally got rid of Palin---we're getting rid of Bachman---and along comes this pain in the ass! Where do they keep finding these unrelated women with the same DNA?

+32 # Billy Bob 2015-01-25 00:00
Believe me, there's an endless supply.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

GOP's votes on abortion are nothing but BS

According to USA Today, Gallup has asked Americans almost 30 times since 2000 whether abortion should be legal.  The percentage of Americans saying abortion should be illegal in all circumstances has never been more than 23 percent.

Why, then, does the Republican party continue to waste time taking votes to ban abortion?  The only answer: To cater to its miniscule extremist base. 

It's a monumental waste of time that could be spent on real problems - or at least on issues that a majority of the American people support.

If you consider yourself a Republican, why?  How can you justify such idiocy?  How long are you going to be part of this travesty by voting for these clowns?  Unless you're very rich or very Tea Party, Republicans are not your friends.

Is it Too Late to Save the Planet?

Talking Points

A NationofChange Exclusive Column


Our planet's ecosystem is under duress and human activity and human behavior as the main culprits. It's time our species stops contributing to the problem and starts becoming the solution.

  1. Physics – a thermodynamic quantity representing the unavailability of a system’s thermal energy for conversion into mechanical work, often interpreted as the degree of disorder or randomness in the system.
  1. lack of order or predictability; gradual decline into disorder.
Having fun in the sun last summer was no sweat for people living on the East Coast – literally. As the rest of the country sweltered, Easterners were experiencing cooler-than-normal temperatures last summer. It was a gift to any climate-denying member of Congress who happened to be living in Northern Virginia, for example. “Proof” that global warming is a hoax.

Westerners weren’t so fortunate.  The weirdly cool weather on the East Coast was matched by weirdly warm and dry weather on the West Coast.  Specifically in South California.  Each is an example of what climate scientists call an anomaly. Like a Republican or Democrat in Congress who cares more about serving the people than getting re-elected – anomalies happen in all times and places.

Hence the question Amy Davidson posed in a recent article in the New Yorker (“Our Hottest Year, Our Cold Indifference”):  Will indifference to climate science one day be an anomaly?

We know that the planet’s ecosystem is under duress. We know that everything from biodiversity to ocean chemistry is being degraded, that entropy due to global population growth and human activity is a major cause.  We know that climate change is not some sci-fi fantasy anymore. It is happening, the signs are abundant, and, as Davidson rightly points out, too many of our leaders – and I dare say, too many voters – are indifferent. “The planet is changing, and we are close to the time when trying to check climate change will be like trying to redirect El Niño with canoe paddles.”

She’s right, of course.  But two things often missing in cautionary tales about our beleaguered planet are 1) a policy prescription for the government and 2) an action  program for the rest of us. Specifically, there’s rarely any mention of conservation as a kind of categorical public-policy imperative.

It isn’t enough to decry lower oil prices as a disincentive to dependence on fossil fuel. Global population stands at a staggering 7.3 billion and will continue to rise for the next few decades if not longer. Nobody wants to talk about population in part because most everything that can be done about that issue has already been or is being done. Yet the numbers are still rising, will continue to rise, and cannot be reversed without some catastrophic event — a pandemic, major asteroid impact, or nuclear holocaust. No one wants that, it probably won’t happen, and no one wants to hear, read, or think about it.

So there’s nothing we can do, right?  Wrong.

The science is clear – human activity and human behavior are changing the planet, and not in a good way.  Astrophysicist Adam Frank put this point into sharper focus: “The defining feature of a technological civilization is the capacity to intensively ‘harvest’ energy. But the basic physics of energy, heat and work known as thermodynamics tell us that waste, or what we physicists call entropy, must be generated and dumped back into the environment in the process.” Globally, we generate around 100 billion megawatt hours of energy every year and dump 36 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the earth’s atmosphere and oceans, not to mention rivers, coal slurry impoundments (“sludge ponds”), aquifers, and underground “sequestration”, all of which goes a very long way to explaining the  overheating planet and acidifying oceans.

We’re in control and reckless which is why the planet is out of control and threatened.  As a species, we will either modify our behavior or perish, but not before we drive many other species into distinction (a process well underway).

Still, we’re not doomed.  Not yet, anyway. Maybe we can change.  Maybe out indifference will give way to our instinct for survival in time.  Maybe we will come to understand that we have to conserve in order to survive, reorganize our cities and societies, depend less on long-distance transport and travel, and do more on a local level. We have to drive fewer cars fewer miles, build mass transit systems, and subsidize riders for being good citizens. We have to consume less and conserve more of everything — from water and fossil fuel to wildlife and rain forests. We have to do a much better job of protecting the atmosphere, oceans, topsoil. 

Our species has caused this problem and there will be a lot more of us either contributing to the problem or becoming the solution in the future. We have to learn to do more with less. A lot less. It probably won’t happen any time soon on the scale that’s needed, but it will happen sooner or later because it has to.  Let’s hope it won’t be too late.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Yes, Obama “Won Twice” – as a Progressive. Deal With It, Everybody.

Richard Eskow
Today’s American right is burdened with a highly specialized and hyper-amplified sense of outrage. That outrage was triggered during this week’s State of the Union speech, especially by the president’s off-the-cuff response to a group of Republicans who sarcastically applauded the line, “I have no more campaigns to run.” 

“I know,” the President replied, “because I won both of them.”

Cue the indignation. A conservative named Ben Shapiro, whose tweet was reproduced in Heritage’s Daily Signal, offered a typically huffy reaction. “What a classy guy,” snipped Shapiro (who presumably feels that interrupting the President of the United States with sarcastic applause is “classy”).

President Obama gave a stirring speech, although at times he still seems like a reluctant populist warrior. The ideas in his talk that roused populist emotion can’t possibly pass this Congress, while the only one that could pass – the “TPP” trade agreement – would be disastrous.

Rhetorically, “middle-class economics” is neither a rousing phrase nor an inspirational theme. It rings of accountancy. It lacks a deeper moral resonance, a call to justice or to our greater selves.

But Obama is once again talking more or less like the kind of president his critics on the left have always wanted him to be – one who focuses less on process (does the public really care how nicely legislators get along?) and more on offering a clear alternative to the failed policies of the center-right.

That’s the attitude that gave the president those two victories in the first place. Republicans need to deal with that fact. So do the president and his party, come to think of it.

Factually Accurate
Not that the Republicans feel that way, of course. “Probably not helpful when you rub the other guy’s nose in the dirt a little bit,” said Republican Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma, who has apparently never been exposed to the concept of “asking for it.”

“If the president sticks to the tone that he chose tonight – if he sticks to anger and defiance toward the American voters, then perhaps he will veto bill after bill after bill,” said Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, adding without apparent irony: “But if he chooses to embrace and reveling in gridlock and obstructionism, that will be an unfortunate choice …”

GOP chief deputy whip Rep. Patrick McHenry of North Carolina had the most sensible response of any Republican. It was delivered, according to Talking Points Memo, as he was “actively avoiding reporters.” When asked for his response to Obama’s remark he replied: “It’s, uh – it’s factually accurate.”

Yes, it is.

The Message
The fact is, President Obama won two elections against the Republicans. He should, in the parlance of the day, “own it” more often. When he does, however, the right usually tends to get very agitated, and this week was no different. A top Republican aide complained about the speech to Slate. “It was long. Defiant. Untethered from reality,” the aide said.

Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa delivered the GOP response to the State of the Union with an animatronic style and very little substance. But she did say this: “We heard the message you sent in November—loud and clear. And now we’re getting to work to change the direction Washington has been taking our country.”

That’s a claim the far-right Republicans will be repeating over and over in the coming months and years: America has given us a mandate. Voters sent a “message,” and that’s the new political “reality.” This claim will become their mantra.

Unfortunately for them, it’s nonsense.

Winning from the Left
The numbers tell the real story. Barack Obama won the presidency twice, with a clear majority each time. He’s the first Democrat to do that since FDR. How did he do it? In 2008, Barack Obama presented himself as the candidate of progressive change. He defeated Hillary Clinton in the primaries and John McCain in the general election by promising to break away from the policies of the past.

Candidate Obama, contrary to the recollections of some, was not just a progressive in style. He also embraced many progressive policies. He initially rejected the idea, brewed up in a conservative think tank, of an “individual mandate” on health care (a proposal he later embraced). He opposed a tax on high-cost health plans (which he also later embraced) and backed a public option. He presented himself as the candidate who would rein in Wall Street and restore economic justice.

President Obama tilted considerably further to the right of Candidate Obama, as we now know. He embraced the austerity psychology of deficits and reversed many of his domestic (and foreign policy) positions.

Two years later he found himself foundering in the polls and confronted by the populist upsurge of the Occupy movement. Obama tacked leftward again in 2012, emphasizing more stimulus spending on jobs and growth. That led to a rise in the poll numbers, and his second electoral victory.

Outperforming the Republicans by a Long Shot
Let’s put Obama’s victories, and those of his congressional opponents, in perspective. The big news in 2014’s election – the “message” Joni Ernst says “we heard” – was the Republicans winning back the Senate. But Democrats won 103 million votes in that election, to the Republicans’ 98 million. That’s five million more votes for the “losers.”

What’s the message there?

With 61.6 percent of the electorate showing up to vote, Barack Obama won 52.9 percent of the popular vote in 2008. He won 51.1 percent of the vote in 2012, with 58.2 percent voting. 

Turnout in the 2014 election was only 36.3 percent. That was the lowest in 72 years, since the election of 1942 – at a time when millions of Americans were on active military duty in World War II. Thanks to gerrymandering and other factors, Republicans in the House won 57 percent of the seats but only 51 percent of the relatively few votes that were cast.

How could the voters have sent Joni Ernst and her colleagues a message that they “heard loud and clear”? Their victories, such as they were, were ambiguous at best.

And with turnout that low, democracy barely spoke above a whisper.

“Left” Ideas Win
GOP operative Brad Dayspring, who was an aide for former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, tweeted that “if Democrats would have run (sic) on the tax hikes, regulations, et al Obama proposed in SOTU, they’d have lost even more Senate seats.”

Actually, that’s exactly what Obama did run on – and he won by far bigger margins than the Republicans did last year. If more Democrats had run on that platform in 2014, they might not have fared so poorly.

Approval ratings tell the rest of the story. The president’s numbers have risen in recent weeks, as the economy improves – and as he continues to embrace more populist rhetoric and proposals, including his new tax proposals and his executive actions on the minimum wage.

The CBS News/Washington Post poll showed Obama with a 50 percent approval rating this week, while Gallup had him at 46 percent. While not extraordinary, that’s statistically identical to Ronald Reagan’s popularity at the same point in his presidency.

Republicans in Congress, on the other hand, are pretty much despised. The latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, conducted last week, showed congressional Republicans with an approval rating of only 23 percent.

There’s quite a “message” in those numbers, Sen. Ernst, but it’s not one you’re going to like.

Movements Win
The nation was hungry for change in 2008, and Obama rode that trend to victory. The Occupy movement pushed him to the left, at least rhetorically, and helped him craft a winning message for 2012. And now, faced by pressure from “inside” progressives like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and a range of “outside” progressive groups, he’s finding a winning message again.

Not that messaging is enough. There will need to be more concrete action, including more executive orders, along with proposals that reflect a broader and bolder vision. He’ll have to stop undercutting his own proposals by pushing for job-killing trade agreements and using his senior aides to promote corporate tax cut deals with far-right conservatives like Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).

There is an opportunity to reshape the electorate by bringing disenfranchised voters back to the polls – but that won’t be accomplished by tinkering at the margins, or with words and actions that don’t match up.

“People Deserve a Choice.”
On one point, at least, I find myself in complete agreement with Paul Ryan. In his reaction to the State of the Union, Ryan vowed that House Republicans would send a number of bills to the president’s desk.

“Some of these bills he will maybe sign,” said Ryan, “a lot of them he probably won’t. But nevertheless, people deserve a choice and they want to see options. But we as Republicans are going to show people who we are, what we believe in, and how we want to get this country forward (sic).

People do deserve a choice – between two very different visions of the nation’s future. The public doesn’t agree with Republicans on most economic issues, and a series of bills from the House could help voters see those differences more clearly. For their part, Democrats must provide bolder and stronger alternatives to the “bipartisan” consensus that has led this country rightward and has accelerated wealth inequality for decades.

The president and his party should own their victories, along with the ideas – and the movement – that made them possible. If they do, they’re likely to see more victories in the years to come. And Republicans will just have to deal with it.

Bozo Joni latest Republican in the clown car

Senator Joni Ernst in a campaign ad. (photo: YouTube)
Senator Joni Ernst in a campaign ad. (photo: YouTube)

Joni Ernst Says She Used to Wear Bucket on Head for No Apparent Reason

By Andy Borowitz, The New Yorker

22 January 15
enator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) shared more folksy stories of her childhood on Wednesday, telling reporters that she used to wear a bucket on her head for no apparent reason.

“I’d be walking outside our house and see a bucket lying there, and I’d say to myself, ‘That’s a perfectly good bucket, I think I’ll put it on my head,’ ” she said. “It wasn’t because I needed a hat or anything. I must have had, oh gosh, a half-dozen hats or so. I just wanted to wear a bucket.”

Ernst said that during her youth, she was known for poking a hole in a large piece of corrugated cardboard and wearing it as a poncho.

“I can’t for the life of me tell you why I did that,” she said. “I just liked the look of it, I guess. Nobody paid much attention to it. People sure don’t notice your cardboard poncho when you’re wearing a bucket on your head.”

When asked why she was sharing these stories, Sen. Ernst considered her answer carefully. “I think people like to get to know their representatives in Washington as people,” she said. “And it helps to know that one of them used to wear buckets on her head, corrugated cardboard ponchos, and scuba flippers instead of gloves. Did I tell you I used to wear scuba flippers instead of gloves? To this day I’ll be darned if I know why I did that.”


+47 # politicfix 2015-01-22 15:40
I'd say that qualifies her as a Radcon and for the job she has of making an ass out of herself and women in general. Kind of a two for one. Maybe she can castrate a few hogs in Washington while she's there.
+13 # wrknight 2015-01-23 09:50
It's too late. Most of them were castrated long ago. We have over half a House full of eunuchs.
+43 # angelfish 2015-01-22 23:56
I LOVE Andy Borowitz and I realize this is Satire, but, in Joni Ernst's case it just seems SO real! I can't for the life of me figure out WHY the ReTHUGlicans want Fools in Congress. I realize that the Koch brothers and their ilk need and want willing morons to do their bidding but the damage they inflict in the process is hard to justify. It's very hard not becoming discouraged at the thought of having these "Newbie" Congressmen and women slash and burn their way through their, is it SIX year tenure? I have hope that the next two years will awaken those who sat at home on Election Day, to be spurred into action in 2016. Thanks for ALL you do, Andy.!
+58 # NOMINAE 2015-01-22 23:59
Exit Michelle Bachmann, Enter Joni Ernst...

....."and the beat goes on, the beat goes on"..
+32 # dyannne 2015-01-23 00:07
...wore plastic bread wrappers over her shoes....I wonder, was it Wonder bread wrappers or Webers or Sunshine Bakery? I think that line will live for a 100 years. I know I'll never forget it.
+9 # AndreM5 2015-01-23 10:13
The "bread" itself lives for a hundred years.
+55 # m... 2015-01-23 01:04
64 years… and an avid reader of history, including our history, American History throughout my adult life…
For the life of me… I cannot fathom the reasoning in the minds of the millions of voters who have been walking into a voting booth and pulling the lever for the kinds of people filling up the ranks of 'elected' representatives from what is still known as the Republican Party.
Its very embarrassing when traveling overseas. People out in the world ask about it… Its always posed as a simple yet polite question that sounds more or less like--- WTF ARE YOU PEOPLE THINKING...?
+25 # phrixus 2015-01-23 07:55
Exactly. I cannot recall the exact number of times a European has commented on how crazy our politics are. The US has become a laughingstock in so many countries of the world that I've become embarrassed for my home country.
+15 # bmiluski 2015-01-23 10:38
That's the problem m.... They are NOT pulling a lever. They are pushing a button on a machine that was made by a company owned by a neo-con.
+5 # m... 2015-01-23 11:45
I almost wish it was the machines built by the 'neocons' as you say… But much more sadly.., it is not… Its the mindset of MILLIONS of American Voters that put these people in power…
+34 # cymricmorty 2015-01-23 01:11
I was laughing helplessly for about 5 minutes while reading this.

If Joni Ernst cheerily wore bread bags over her shoes, and all the other little Iowans on the schoolbus, too, then by god, all those seniors and disabled fakers getting a free ride should be able to get by on cat food, right? (And the cheap kind at that.) The miserly, mean-spirited Paul Ryan doesn't need any encouragement with this kind of folksy babbling.
+26 # NOMINAE 2015-01-23 01:35
Quoting cymricmorty:
I was laughing helplessly for about 5 minutes while reading this.

If Joni Ernst cheerily wore bread bags over her shoes, and all the other little Iowans on the schoolbus, too, then by god, all those seniors and disabled fakers getting a free ride should be able to get by on cat food, right? (And the cheap kind at that.) The miserly, mean-spirited Paul Ryan doesn't need any encouragement with this kind of folksy babbling.

Dang TOOTIN', Sasparilla ! Joni Ernst used to walk five miles to school..... in six feet of snow.... BAREFOOT ! Take *that* you sniveling whiners !
+35 # Bookworm 2015-01-23 01:17
You mean she's REAL?

I thought it was an animated Barbie that I saw on TV commenting on the State of the Union.
+15 # speedboy 2015-01-23 02:53
She sounded like my kindergarten teacher telling us to wear our own hats because some of us have lice---don't we?
+23 # James Klimaski 2015-01-23 04:00
When Sen Ernst commented on her footwear I concentrated on looking at her feet. I couldn't see them. Found out the next day the reason I couldn't see them was that she was wearing camouflage shoes. WOW.
Now if we can get the rest of her in camouflage maybe she will disappear.