Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The GOP Thinks You're Stupid, Con't.

Today's first contestant on The GOP Thinks You're Stupid(tm) is Mississippi GOP Gov. Phil Bryant, who after blocking Medicaid expansion for tens of thousands of uninsured in the Magnolia State, is now complaining that Obamacare hasn't lowered the state's uninsured as much as it could have, and of course it's all President Obama's fault.

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) blamed President Barack Obama for a reported increase in uninsured Mississipians. The problem is, Bryant didn't acknowledge that he's been a staunch opponent of expanding Medicaid under Obamacare and refused to encourage enrolling in private coverage through Healthcare.gov.

Bryant directed his blame at Obama in response to a question about a WalletHub study that showed an increase in the percentage of uninsured Mississippians. The study found that the uninsured rate increased by 3.34 percentage points to 21.46 percent of Mississippi's population, according to the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal
"If statistics show that the ill-conceived and so-called Affordable Care Act is resulting in higher rates of uninsured people in Mississippi, I'd say that's yet another example of a broken promise from Barack Obama," Bryant said. 
An estimated 137,800 people in Mississippi were left uncovered by health insurance because the state did not expand Medicaid.

You see, He Thinks You're Stupid(tm).  He believes that he won't pay any price for refusing federal dollars in order to help insure tens of thousands of people in Mississippi, and that'll you'll just blame Obama.

And hey, it might even work this election cycle.  But eventually voters are going to figure this out, and when they do, it's not going to be pretty for the GOP.

That brings us to our second contestant, GOP Iowa Senate candidate Joni Ernst, who it turns out Thinks You're Stupid(tm) because of nullification nonsense.

Joni Ernst, the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Iowa, appears to believe states can nullify federal laws. In a video obtained by The Daily Beast, Ernst said on September 13, 2013 at a form held by the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition that Congress should not pass any laws “that the states would consider nullifying.”

You know we have talked about this at the state legislature before, nullification. But, bottom line is, as U.S. Senator why should we be passing laws that the states are considering nullifying? Bottom line: our legislators at the federal level should not be passing those laws. We’re right…we’ve gone 200-plus years of federal legislators going against the Tenth Amendment’s states’ rights. We are way overstepping bounds as federal legislators. So, bottom line, no we should not be passing laws as federal legislators—as senators or congressman—that the states would even consider nullifying. Bottom line.” 

That statement alone should disqualify her from office.  The last time states decided they no longer wanted to be under federal jurisdiction was about, oh, 150 years ago, turned into the Civil War, and ended with the assassination of a president.

We settled this long ago, but apparently She Thinks You're Stupid(tm), Iowa voters.

These clowns will never learn.

Nunn, Your Business

So it seems somebody got a hold of Democrat Michelle Nunn's strategy documents for her Georgia Senate run from back in December, and have waited until now to feed them to National Review.

Advisers for Democratic Senate Candidate Michelle Nunn (GA) warned that she might come off as "too liberal" and "not a real Georgian" and also laid out exactly how Nunn needed to approach key demographic groups to win the Senate race.

The documents, which seemed to be posted in December for a brief period of time, were reported by National Review on Monday. 
One of the memos said that there is a "tremendous financial opportunity" to draw from in the Jewish community among fundraisers. But, the memo warned, "Michelle's position on Israel will largely determine the level of support here." 
The documents also said that Asian Americans would need to be key fundraisers. The Asian American community was described as "very tight" and that people in that community strive "become citizens quickly."

It's very blunt and calculated advice for Nunn, you know, the kind of frank, high-level analysis you'd expect for a political consultant.  National Review is of course screaming bloody murder.  And if you want to know why this waited until now to drop, the answer is pretty simple:

The section on research into Nunn's background shows some initial concerns that her tenure as head of the Points of Light, a nonprofit that encourages volunteerism, could be used against her. Nunn has touted her background there as a positive attribute in the campaign, as also recommended in the document.

The document identifies several areas of concern related to Points of Light including: "grants to problematic entities," "layoffs," and "service awards to inmates, terrorists."

The National Review story reports that according to an IRS document, Points of Light awarded a more than $33,000 grant to Islamic Relief USA, a charity with ties to Islamic Relief Worldwide, which has ties to Hamas.

The Nunn campaign noted to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Points of Light did not give money but rather validated Islamic Relief USA as a legitimate charity.

The "service awards to inmates, terrorists" reference is apparently, according to National Review, to Nunn and an entity under the Points of Light umbrella praising Shareef Cousin, a former death-row inmate whose murder conviction was overturned but who later pleaded guilty to other crimes.

So boom, Michelle Nunn is now a "terrorist sympathizer".  It's complete nonsense, of course, but apparently somebody thinks Nunn is enough of a threat that this turd had to land square in the punchbowl.  You'd better believe the super-PAC ads attacking Nunn over this are on the way.  This all stinks to high heaven, but that's how the GOP rolls.  The story was apparently broken by NRO's Eliana Johnson, daughter of Power Line clown Scott Johnson, so that's everything you need to know about that.

The GOP knows that they need to run to table in order to get control of the Senate, and they'll do whatever they need to do in order to go after Democrats.

StupidiNews!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Last Call For Another Brick In The Bigotry Wall Falling

Today a three-judge panel on the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Virginia's same-sex marriage ban as unconstitutional in a 2-1 ruling.

"We recognize that same-sex marriage makes some people deeply uncomfortable," the majority said. "However, inertia and apprehension are not legitimate bases for denying same-sex couples due process and equal protection of the laws." 
The circuit court has jurisdiction over Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. The panel's decision can be appealed to the full court or to the Supreme Court. 
Like the first appeals court panel to rule on the issue this year in Utah and Oklahoma, the three-judge panel was deeply divided, but the swing judge -- in this case Henry Floyd, who was named to the bench by George W. Bush and elevated to the circuit court by President Obama in 2011 -- came down on the side of same-sex marriage. 
Judge Roger Gregory, originally appointed by Bill Clinton in 2000, joined Floyd in the majority. Presiding Judge Paul Niemeyer, a George H.W. Bush nominee, dissented. 
"I do strongly disagree with the assertion that same-sex marriage is subject to the same constitutional protections as the traditional right to marry," Neimeyer said. "I would reverse the district court's judgment and defer to Virginia's political choice in defining marriage as only between one man and one woman." 
The Virginia case, which involves two couples seeking to marry in the state and two couples seeking to have their marriages from other states recognized, now gives the Supreme Court a choice. It can hear the Utah or Oklahoma cases from the 10th Circuit, wait for Virginia's to be appealed, or wait even longer for other gay marriage cases scheduled for appellate hearings in August, September and beyond. 
One way or another, legal experts agree the high court likely will accept a case for its 2014 term beginning in October or the 2015 term that follows. Niemeyer joked about that during oral arguments in May, calling his courtroom a "way-station" en route to Washington.

Which means technically, unless a stay is issued, same-sex marriage is now legal in Virginia, West Virginia, North and South Carolina (already legal in Maryland as of Jan 1.)  Things just got real interesting, as that's the second Circuit Court to toss same-sex marriage, and the first in the South.

Again, all indications are this is headed for the Supreme Court.  The only question is whether it will be 5-4 in favor of same-sex marriage or against it.

Bibi's Just Out Of Damns To Give

Our good, good, good friends in Israel have apparently decided to deviate from the script on ground invasions, which usually goes like this:

1) Hamas gets caught doing something involving rockets or tunnels.
2) This becomes an excuse for craptons of Israeli airstrikes and lots of casualties.
3) Hamas says "Bring it, bro!" on social media.
4) Israel invades Gaza with tanks and brings it, bro, with even more craptons of casualties.
5) US steps in and says "Okay, break it up, here's some shiny new toys to use next time."
6) Israelis high-five each other, declare victory and have a beer.
7) Gaza remains a bombed out, hopeless open-air prison of a hellhole, inevitably leading back to step 1.

The problem this time around is with Step 5 there, the part where the US steps in and gives Israel something shiny like Iron Dome or new bunker busters or new jets or something in exchange for Israel not rearranging the rubble in Gaza (and the people living there) into new and exciting patterns.  Apparently, Israel doesn't want to put up with this part of the chain anymore and wants to prolong Step 4 (the Bringing It, Bro step) for the foreseeable future.

In fact, they are so gung-ho about the whole Bringing It, Bro process that they're basically telling the United States to go intercourse themselves vigorously.

In a briefing late Sunday, a senior American official told Israeli journalists that the document conveyed by Kerry to the Israeli leadership on Friday was not a ceasefire proposal but rather “a draft… that emerged from discussions between a number of parties.” The official, who asked not be named, added that the document “was provided for comment and input, not for rejection or acceptance,” that it was “fully consistent with the Egyptian proposal,” and that it did not aim to satisfy Hamas demands. The official also castigated parts of the Israeli media for misreporting Kerry’s work, mischaracterizing his strategy and motivations, and launching gratuitous attacks on him, including accusations of betrayal. 
Sources thoroughly familiar with what went on at Friday’s security cabinet meeting told The Times of Israel on Monday, however, that the document conveyed by Kerry was presented to the ministers as a ceasefire proposal, and that they were asked to vote on whether to accept or reject it. The vote was by a formal show of hands, and the result was a unanimous rejection of the proposal
Furthermore, the sources said, it was clear to the ministers that the document undermined the Egyptian ceasefire proposal that Israel had previously accepted and Hamas had rejected, and that it reflected the input of Turkey and Qatar to the clear benefit of Hamas. The wording marked an upgrading of Hamas’s standing, to an entity on an equivalent level with Israel, the sources said. And it provided specific gains for Hamas while including only amorphous language regarding Israel’s security needs, they said. 
It was rejected wall to wall, the sources said, eight to zero.

It's not helping that basically 5 out of 6 Jewish Israelis are backing Operation Bringing It Bro, either.  Bibi and friends have clearly decided that they can keep up this whole urban renewal process for as long as they want to.  It's also pretty clear that they believe President Obama isn't going to be able to pick a fight with Bibi this time around, because of midterm elections.  They're betting heavily that the GOP will retake the Senate, and that they can wait Obama out, with talk of the GOP suing him and throwing around impeachment.

So, yeah.  Republicans at this point are figuring backing Israel is more important than backing an American president, which tells you everything you need to know.

The Manifesto Of Moose-olini

To recap, a failed vice-presidential candidate and former governor who quit her position to become a national reality TV punchline has declared herself the final arbiter of who has credibility and DEMANDS!!!11!! that the Washington Post impeach President Obama or else.

Or else what?  Nobody seems to be real sure.

The list of Obama abuses and impeachable offenses is long. I challenge you to lift a finger and help protect democracy, allow justice for all, and ensure domestic tranquility by doing your job reporting current corrupt events fairly. If not, you prove yourselves incompetent and in bed with Obama, not caring one iota about media integrity.

Those running the Washington Post’s show now, compared to those during the Nixon era, are too afraid of being uninvited to the permanent political class’ cocktail parties and petty gossip fests, making you all a bunch of wusses. I challenge you to get to work.

The words "I challenge you to get to work" coming from a woman who quit her job as Governor of Alaska are so absurd that it shatters the border into absolute farce.  If the Washington Post doesn't call for President Obama's impeachment, they are "wusses"?  This is how American democracy is supposed to work, egged on by schoolyard taunts?

Go back to your latest scheme to fleece people of their hard earned cash, Sarah Palin.  The adults are busy trying to run the country, and in no way shape or form have you ever shown that you deserve to be a part of that particular conversation.

Meanwhile, this happened.




Plenty more at that hashtag.

StupidiNews!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Last Call For Blaming The Victim

Republicans are getting cute now over impeachment.  They realize the Tea Party demands it and will turn on them like a rabid animal if they don't...but the country as a whole is very much against impeachment and they know it.  So how long will the Village let them play both sides?

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) on Sunday did not rule out impeaching President Obama after he was asked three times by "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace.

When first asked whether he would consider impeaching Obama, Scalise dove into a response pinning impeachment talk on the White House.

“This might be the first White House in history that’s trying to start the narrative of impeaching their own president. Ultimately, what we want to do is see the President follow his own laws,” Scalise said. "The Supreme Court unanimously said 12 times the President overreached and did things he doesn’t have the authority to do."

Scalise gave a similar response the second time Wallace asked if impeachment was on the table.

"Well, the White House wants to talk about impeachment and they’re trying to fundraise off that, too," he said.

"I’m asking you, sir," Wallace quickly responded.

Scalise dodge the question for a third time. 
"The White House will do anything they can to change the topic away from the President’s failed agenda," he said. "The president isn’t solving the problems. We’re going to try to solve problems for everyday people. I would like to see the President engaged in that, too, that’s his job, but he wants to change the topic, talk about things like this."

Blaming the White House for impeachment talk.  Pretty much like blaming the victim in, oh, anything requiring abuse of power, persecution, and whatnot.  Get a pair, Scalise.  You don't get to blame the White House for impeachment talk, when Sarah Palin is making an ass of herself demanding you do it.

The GOP's own impeachment talk is now a distraction from the real issues?  I'm glad Scalise agrees with the fact he has a party full of morons.

Burrito-nomics

Seems the Millennials (and bordering Gen Xers like me) are willing to pay more for a good "fast casual" meal at a place like Chipotle, even if the prices have gone up in the last couple of years.

Chipotle is prospering even as it raises prices on burritos that are already expensive – about twice as much as those sold by Taco Bell (YUM.N). Besides its naturally-raised meats and organic ingredients such as beans and avocados, the company occupies the center of fast-casual dining - the booming "sweet spot of the restaurant industry," according to Hottovy - in which customers order at a counter but eat quality products inside a hip space. 
And Chipotle is still growing. The chain runs about 1,700 restaurants in the U.S., and analyst Stephen Anderson at Miller Tabak estimates that it could grow to 3,100, expanding in less populated areas beyond its urban strongholds. 
Chipotle hadn't raised menu prices for three years, but the higher cost of ingredients compelled it to roll out up to a 6.5 percent average increase in the second quarter. 
To be sure, the hike did not go unnoticed: some customers said goodbye to steak burritos because their price jumped on average 4 percentage points more than Chipotle's chicken-based dishes, the company said. 
Other fast food chains haven't fared as well. Dunkin' Brands Group Inc cut its outlook for the year on Thursday, while quarterly profit fell more than expected at McDonald's Corp.
The world's largest hamburger seller and other fast food chains have become "hooked" on discounting, Anderson said. While they built their reputations by delivering quick bites, new menu additions have often slowed their service, frustrating customers.

"What [McDonald's needs] to do is further simplify the menu. It is too operationally complex, and I think that leaves a lot of potential for errors," Anderson said.

There are times where a dollar burger will do, but the reason I keep going back to Chipotle and other fast casual places like Noodles & Co and Five Guys is the quality and consistency of the food.  Sure, you could get half a dozen Taco Bell tacos for the price of one Chipotle burrito, but they're nowhere near as good and who the hell knows what's in Taco Bell's "taco meat" anyway?

Quality does matter, and people will pay for it.  This is apparently "news".

Ryan Plan 3.0 Versus Reality

Mother Jones reporter Stephanie Mencimer calls out Rep. Paul Ryan's poverty plan for what it is: a massive scam that's impossible and prohibitively expensive to implement.

Consider, as a hypothetical, the food stamp program, which Ryan thinks should require people to work as a condition of receiving the benefit (ignoring, for the moment, that nearly 60 percent of working-age adults getting food stamps already work). More than 40 million Americans get food stamps. Providing all them with a hand-holding caseworker with whom, under Ryan's plan, they'd draft long-term plans and contracts outlining their responsibilities and goals before they'd be allowed to eat, would require a fleet of roughly more than 700,000 social workers, assuming a reasonable caseload of about 55 clients per caseworker. Social workers don't make much money, with a median salary of about $44,000 a year. Even so, 700,000 of them would cost more than $30 billion a year, not including benefits. That's nearly 40 percent of what the country currently spends on food stamps and nearly twice the entire federal welfare budget. By comparison, the current food stamp program delivers 92 percent of its funding directly to people in need; only 5 percent goes to administrative costs.

Somehow, I'm doubting that conservatives are going to be super excited to pay for 700,000 new government employees.  But wait, what if these are all private sector or non-profit organization hires? Surely somebody has tried the Ryan Plan 3.0 before, right?

Turns out the state of Nebraska did just that.

Here are some numbers that aren't hypothetical: As part of its welfare reform overhaul, the state of Nebraska for several years attempted to do what Ryan seems to be proposing. Masters degree-level social workers, with tiny caseloads, delivered intensive personalized services, including home visits, to a group of welfare recipients, including a batch of extremely hard to employ single mothers. They attempted to get the women into the workforce and self-sufficient for the long haul. 
The program produced better results than any such program ever had. Almost half of the study participants went to work for at least a year, double the rate of the group without the individualized attention, and their earnings increased significantly. The clients who got the individual casework were less depressed, less likely to lose custody of a child, and more likely to receive child support. But they still faced food and housing hardship; they were still poor, if working poor. And again, only half the study participants went to work. 

So the program was a success.  But how much did it cost for all this specialized, attentive service?

Providing all those individualized services cost the state $8,300 per client—so much that researchers who evaluated the program concluded that the "benefits to society did not outweigh its costs during the study." The researchers speculated that if the successful program participants stayed employed for another two years, the effort might pay off, but individually helping these folks cost about $5,000 more than what those clients earned by entering the workforce.

The families might have been ended up in a slightly better place, at least for a while, but the state of Nebraska would have been better off writing them a $5,000 check and calling it a day.

So again, we come down to investing more money in the safety net instead of what Ryan wants to do: somehow getting states to give all these tailored, direct services by hiring private sector contractors, but to do all this with less money in a block grant.  It's impossible, and to do it right would be more expensive than it is now.

Which is precisely why the safety net today really doesn't deliver the kind of customized service that Ryan thinks it should. It's just too expensive, too hard to provide on a large scale, and in the end, not all that more effective than simply giving people money they need to keep the lights on until they can get back on their feet on their own. Is Ryan, whose budgets have proposed deep cuts to the food stamp and other poverty programs, really going to advocate spending billions to help all the nation's low-income people identify their "opportunities for growth" and craft long-term goals as a condition of getting federal aid? It seems unlikely.

Which is the point.  Ryan knows his plan is impossible to implement correctly.  When it doesn't work, the problem will be that government isn't capable of helping anyone, and that we'll of course need to make cuts to eliminate the waste.

When you design a government program to fail, it fails.  Ryan's trick is that he's programming in a catastrophic failure while making it look like it's a good idea.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Last Call For Working Class Blues

Molly Ball at The Atlantic wades through election data and comes up with the fact that Democrats have recently done very well when they win the working class vote big.  When they win it by a smaller margin, Republicans are able to make up the difference with wealthier voters.

Republicans consistently win voters making $50,000 or more, approximately the U.S. median income. The margin doesn't vary too much: In 2012, Mitt Romney got 53 percent of this group's vote; in 2010, Republican House candidates got 55 percent. And Democrats consistently win voters making less than the median—but the margin varies widely. In fact, whether Democrats win these voters by a 10-point or a 20-point margin tells you who won every national election for the past decade.

In 2004, Democrats won the working-class vote by 11 points; George W. Bush was reelected. In 2006, Democrats won the working-class vote by 22 points and took the House and Senate. In 2008, Democrats won by 22 points again, and President Obama was elected. In 2010, the margin narrowed to 11 points, and Republicans took the House back. In 2012, Obama was reelected—on the strength of another 22-point margin among voters making under $50,000.

So what does 2014 portend under this theory?  Not good news.

The Pew report didn't include a breakdown based on the $50,000 threshold, so I asked Pew to crunch the numbers for me. The result: 51 percent of voters making less than $50,000 plan to vote for Democrats, while 40 percent plan to vote Republican. (The rest are undecided, and the GOP wins the more-than-$50,000 vote 49-44.) That's exactly the same 11-point margin that has meant Democratic doom in every election since 2004.

If we stay home again like in 2004 and 2010, the Republicans will win.  If we vote like we did in 2006, 2008, and 2012, we'll win.

Really is that simple.

One Wonderful Nut At The Movies

Republicans.  Law that mandates you buy health insurance, worth burning the country down over.  Law mandating students watch a documentary on how evil liberalism and Barack Obama are, 100% small government freedom of speech approved.

Conservative filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza may be getting an influx of new viewers of his documentary film ‘America’ after a Republican state senator from Florida said he plans on introducing a bill to make the movie mandatory in public schools
Republican Alan Hays, inspired after seeing the movie in theaters, said he now plans on introducing a one-page bill in November which would require all 1,700 Florida high schools and middle schools to show the movie to their students, unless their parents choose to opt them out. The documentary film is a conservative-spin on American history focusing on elevating the “essential goodness of America” while discrediting criticisms about American’s checkered history with civil rights and social justice. It’s not completely inconceivable for the bill to pass the Republican-controlled Florida legislature and be signed into law by Republican Gov. Rick Scott.

“I saw the movie and walked out of the theater and said, ‘Wow, our students need to see this.’ And it’s my plan to show it to my colleagues in the legislature, too, before they’re asked to vote on the bill,” Hays said.

To recap, teaching kids about climate change is "liberal political indoctrination" and we can't have that. Teaching kids about having safe sex, also "liberal political indoctrination.".  Teaching kids about evolution, insidious "liberal political indoctrination."

Actual political indoctrination through a law whose sole purpose is to expose kids to a specific political viewpoint favoring one political party?  Now that's completely legal and awesome, because FREEDOM and EAGLE and stuff.

This is what abusing the power of the government actually looks like, people.

More GOP Minority Outreach, Rand Paul Edition

This weekend is the National Urban League's annual conference here in Cincinnati, and of course this close to Kentucky, GOP Sen. Rand Paul just couldn't resist showing up to Randsplain to us black folk why Republicans are the bomb diggety.  Or something.  Very few people wanted to hear what he had to say.

So when Republicans ask blacks to give their party a second look, they have a hard time finding an audience. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky confronted this on Friday when he appeared at a highly publicized speech to the National Urban League Conference to see row after row of empty chairs. The space did not look much fuller after one of the organizers urged people seated near the back to fill in the front rows.
He pushed forward, quoting Malcolm X: “Nobody can give you equality or justice. If you’re a man, you take it.” And he sounded empathetic as he described the arrests of three young black men as they waited for a bus. Their apparent crime, he said, was “waiting while black.” And he delicately acknowledged what was perhaps the biggest cloud hanging over his visit: hiscomments in 2010 in which he suggested that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 encroached on individual liberties. He told the crowd he supported the law unequivocally.

The speech in Cincinnati was his latest before a mostly black crowd, and it was a demonstration of how Mr. Paul — however improbably — has become the only major figure in his party who seems eager to keep going back to African-Americans to appeal for support even if his approach unsettles some fellow Republicans.

That Malcom X quote rings pretty hollow when Paul has attacked President Obama and Attorney General Holder for "overstepping their Constitutional authority".  It rings even more hollow given the fact that Paul has voted against Democratic jobs bills, immigration bills, climate change legislation, the Paycheck Fairness Act and efforts to increase the minimum wage, all things that would help African-Americans...and all Americans for that matter.  It's great that he wants to do something about sentencing laws for drugs, but even if he actually had a change of heart on the Civil Rights Act, he's still publicly come out against the Voting Rights Act.

He wants to court the black vote.  He just doesn't want too many of us to be able to vote.

Rand Paul isn't interested in justice or equality.  Rand Paul is interested in Rand Paul.

So no, I have zero interest in what he wants to say or do.  I don't trust him, and as my senator, he's never given me reason to trust him, and I will work to see he is no longer my senator in 2016.

Take your Rand Paul "well actually" baloney elsewhere.  I'm the one who has to live with him representing me, and he most certainly does not.  He's still a conservative Republican, end of story.


StupidiNews, Weekend Edition!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Last Call For Our Brand New Idiot

Remember Trey Radel, the former Florida Tea Party darling of a congressman who was such a moron that he demanded SNAP recipients get drug tested before they could get food stamps, and was himself busted for cocaine and resigned in disgrace in January?

Meet Radel's equally stupid replacement, GOP Rep. Curt Clawson.

Rookie Florida Rep. Curt Clawson appears to have made a major faux pas at a Foreign Affairs hearing, mistaking two U.S. government officials for Indian government representatives.

Foreign Policy called it "intensely awkward." From the FP blog:

The two officials, Nisha Biswal and Arun Kumar, are Americans who hold senior positions at the State Department and Commerce Department, respectively. Although both Biswal and Kumar were introduced as U.S. officials by the chairman of the Asia and Pacific subcommittee, Clawson repeatedly asked them questions about "your country" and "your government," in reference to the state of India.

"I'm familiar with your country; I love your country," the Florida Republican said. "Anything I can do to make the relationship with India better, I'm willing and enthusiastic about doing so."
Apparently confused by their Indian surnames and skin color, Clawson also asked if "their" government could loosen restrictions on U.S. capital investments in India.

He thought they were officials from India.  Because of course, they couldn't possibly be Americans.  Nor would Rep. Clawson give enough of a damn about his job to know who he was actually dealing with, because after all, he's a Congressman, dammit.

This, by the way, is what a real "out-of-touch politician", "arrogant princeling", and "empty suit neophyte" looks like.  Notice his name is not Barack Obama.
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