Revulters and Kool-Tea Drinkers or The Right’s Glaring Hypocrisy and Cruelty

Kool-Tea drinkers

Everywhere I look, these days, Republicans are revolting

* Michelle Malkin: Maligned American victims of subprime mortgage scams as “predatory borrowers”

Yep.  It has been a week of revolting Republicans, alright.  And things are getting revoltinger and revoltinger with each passing day.

This leads me to wonder: Why would anyone support Republicans who revolt against government spending on tax relief for the middle class, but not against no-bid contracts for Iraq?

Why would anyone support Republicans who revolt against deficit spending the moment the country elects a Democratic President, but not during the last 8 years when a Republican was in the White House?

Why would anyone support Republicans who cannot break the habit of telling racist jokes whenever a black, brown or otherwise non-white person takes the national political stage?

Why would anyone support Republicans who use their huge media platforms to hurl 2nd-grade schoolyard insults at non-Republicans, instead of offering pragmatic solutions to America’s economic problems?

Malkin and some other Republican bloggers, including Glenn Reynolds (who used to claim to be an independent) are swearing there is a new Revultion sweeping the country. Strange that none of these people were to be found when Bush was prez and wasn’t asking, but demanding the TARP bail-out and Conservative god of economics Alan Greenspan was semi-apologizing for letting speculation in sub-prime securities by millionaires like new Populists Republican spokesman Rick Santelli,

But subprime mortgages pooled and sold as securities became subject to explosive demand from investors around the world. These mortgage backed securities being “subprime” were originally offered at what appeared to be exceptionally high risk-adjusted market interest rates. But with U.S. home prices still rising, delinquency and foreclosure rates were deceptively modest. Losses were minimal. To the most sophisticated investors in the world, they were wrongly viewed as a “steal.”

The consequent surge in global demand for U.S. subprime securities by banks, hedge, and pension funds supported by unrealistically positive rating designations by credit agencies was, in my judgment, the core of the problem. Demand became so aggressive that too many securitizers and lenders believed they were able to create and sell mortgage backed securities so quickly that they never put their shareholders’ capital at risk and hence did not have the incentive to evaluate the credit quality of what they were selling. Pressures on lenders to supply more “paper” collapsed subprime underwriting standards from 2005 forward. Uncritical acceptance of credit ratings by purchasers of these toxic assets has led to huge losses.

In short Wall St was betting that home prices would never adjust downward. The averages Joes and Janes were hardly to blame for looking around and thinking this was a good time to buy a home – or rather an investment they could live in. The Kool-Tea drinkers believe and are trying to convince America that its all the fault of a hand full of borrowers that exaggerated their income to buy a house they couldn’t afford. That is 99% pure scapegoating. Sure there were some people that bought into the American dream that should have paid rent instead, but for the most part it was security traders and credit rating agencies that dropped the ball. Now that the recession seems to be in full swing the 600,000 people that lost their jobs, in January alone, Malkin and Reynolds would have us all believe, were nothing but dead beats who deserve to lose their homes. Just culling news reports for the last 24 hours produced these results,

Latham & Watkins LLP laid off 190 attorneys, about 8 percent, in a sign that even the wealthiest law firms cannot avoid the recession’s wrath., Worth magazine lays off most of NY staff,, Trane Co. lays off 45 Clarksville employees, Standard Solar lays off nine people, Allison Transmission lays off 43, Univision lays off 300 workers, Carrier lays off 300 at local plant, Coshocton Ethanol lays off about 30 employees, Cirrus Design lays off 52 workers, Unemployment rises in 46 states, The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits topped 5 million for the first time since record-keeping began in 1967.

The Kool-Tea drinkers are revulting (not a typo) against these people getting any help. They lost their jobs, if they lose their homes, there are bridges to sleep under and tent cities to join. That attitude is hardly one that should be associated with the American War of Independence. Malkin and Reynolds are peddling fast to sell the idea that the Revultion is spreading. Probably more hot air then anything else, Sad, Irrelevant People: “Tea Parties” Fizzle

Well, those were on for today.  The protests received the assistance of numerous conservative organizations and their email lists, from The Heartland Institute to Americans for Tax Reform to the American Spectator, and were all scheduled to happen today, the 27th of February.

The results?  Not so impressive.

Let’s see…The Pittsburgh party was canceled due to rain.  A whopping 79 people showed up today in Jacksonville, FL.  Looks like maybe over a dozen showed up in Asheville, NC.  Almost 10 people made it to the Buffalo, NY, protest.  About 100 people throughout all of Los Angeles came out to Santa Monica Pier.  All of about 300 people made it out throughout the entirety of Atlanta.  250 made it out to Dallas for the tea party there.  150 in Lansing.  Looks like about 100 went to watch the Joe the Plumber and Michelle Malkin teabag fest in D.C. (if you had to retch, it’s not my fault, just your dirty, dirty mind…)

The very best numbers these jokers managed to pull was 1,500 people in St. Louis (UPDATE: St. Louis wasn’t anywhere close to 1,500; it was more like 400 if that–delusional, pathetic FAIL), and somewhere between 500-1,000 in Chicago–if reports from the organizers are to be believed.

Perhaps most hilarious is the 250-person turnout in Houston which was said to be

pretty good turn-out considering the livestock show barbeque cook-off in Reliant Park was a competitor.

Because an all-or-nothing, bare-fisted fight against a Commie takeover of the United States just can’t compete with the lure of livestock barbeque, not even for a few hours.  That’s patriotism for ya!  The new Republican motto might be: “Give me liberty, or give me short ribs!  Aw, hell, just gimme the ribs already.”

The saddest part is that conservatives like Instapundit think that managing a couple hundred people in major cities to protest the biggest spending bill in American history is somehow a success.

The best turn out seems to be posibily in the 1,500 range. A friend of mine who runs a family style restaurant – one suffering from a down turn in business – served that many discount platters in the last three days. The Revulters are less popular then discount platters. So pardon the reality based community if we’re unimpressed. They’re complaining they’re not receiving news coverage, but a quick Google search shows they have been covered plenty by the media – there was a report on my local stations and in the paper. From the Christian Science Monitor in an otherwise uncritical report, one snip from a doubter,

How grassroots the movement really is, is debatable, says Ms. Deerman at Eastern Illinois University. “I’m suspicious only because … the conservative movement has repeatedly used this tactic of creating an appearance of grassroots activism when they’re actually very well orchestrated,” she says. “It allows them to mask this ongoing ideological battle that’s super-invested in small government, low taxes, and a free market.”

For a movement to capitalize on popular sentiment, even from the vapid Right, there has to be some substance. The Recovery Act is almost a third tax cuts aimed at households that are in the majority, those making less then $200k a year. The housing assistance helps everyone even if you’ve got a job – if too many of your neighbors are foreclosed you can kiss the value of your home goodbye. No American homeowner lives in a vacuum – unless you’re a Revulter.

Its interesting to note in that CSM article and elsewhere, Republicans distancing themselves from Republicans and from that Republican guy, what was his name, that was president for eight years, CPAC Organizer David Keene Claims Conservatives Were Fed Up With Bush ‘For Some Time’

David Keene, the chairman of the CPAC-organizing American Conservative Union and a former aide to Bob Dole, who suggested that conservatives have been frustrated with Bush for years. He said criticism of Bush was “consistent with the belief we’ve had for some time.”

[  ]…Last year, he expressed his “delight” that Bush would be attending the 2008 conference, calling it “a great opportunity for thousands of conservatives” to “evaluate the accomplishments of his administration.” As for the conservative community, when Bush stood up to speak, the entire audience rapturously chanted, “Four more years!”

Even the far Right Heritage Foundation found that Bush and a genuflecting Republican Congress played fast and lose with “shrinking” government – no faux outrage from the Right, no “tea” parties during the Bush years,

“We are now seeing the biggest expansion in government since Lyndon Johnson was in the White House,” Mr. Moore said. “It is pretty much an across-the-board mushrooming of government. We have the biggest education, foreign aid and agriculture bills in history, and bigger expansions are on the agenda.”

Mr. Mitchell called the growth of government under Mr. Bush “very troubling for conservatives.” He calculates that domestic spending is up about one percentage point of gross domestic product. “That is quite discouraging,” he said, “particularly since we made so much progress under Clinton in reducing the size of government.”

The Right thinks that by doing nothing some mystical gods of econoimic and social justice will be appeased. If nothing is done more jobs will be shed, consumer confidence will sink even lower, credit – essential for small or large businesses will tighten even more – producing more job losses – more foreclosures on those scapegoated lazy scoundrels. An odd, if not immoral scenario that reeks of the social-darwinism that was a hallmark of the old Right. Where were the people that Malkin says are “a fledgling grassroots movement … a ragtag bunch of homeschooling moms and little bloggers and a lot of people who are really deciding to get into grassroots activism for the first time” in Bush’s first term when he increased the federal budget -with the approval of a Republican controlled Congress -$345 billion. Is there an example of another president that increased federal outlays that much in such a short time? Yes, Bush in his second term – maybe all the Revulters want to claim they voted for Senator Kerry in 2004.

The Tiresome Inanity of Nuke Everybody Republicans

The Benefits of Nuking Chicago

John Bolton at CPAC: The Benefits of Nuking Chicago

“The fact is on foreign policy I don’t think President Obama thinks it’s a priority,” said Bolton. “He said during the campaign he thought Iran was a tiny threat. Tiny, tiny depending on how many nuclear weapons they are ultimately able to deliver on target. Its, uh, its tiny compared to the Soviet Union, but is the loss of one American city” – here Bolton shrugged his shoulders impishly – “pick one at random – Chicago – is that a tiny threat?”

Bolton wasn’t the only one who thought this was funny. The room erupted in laughter and applause. Was this conservative catharsis, with rightwingers delightfully imagining the destruction of a city that represents Obama? Or perhaps they were venting vengeance with their laughter.

I like to think i appreciate dark rumor as much as the next guy, but Bolton’s wet dream about about Chicago – just coincidence of course that it is president Obama’s adopted hometown – reminds me of Bill O’Reilly wishing that Al Qaeda  would blow up San Francisco. It used to be the “eastern elite” that the Right hated. In their frustration at being ousted by the American people, who for the most part are tired of buying the bull they’re selling, the Right’s geographic hatred seems to be spreading. As Jonathan Stein notes Republican Congressman Paul Ryan, at the same Punks and Clowns meeting  pushed for a revival of supply side “voodoo” economics. Ryan thinks that America is having so much fun at the moment suffering the accumulative effects of voodoo economics we all just want it to happen over and over again. If this CPAC exercise in paranoia and the championing of so obviously failed economic policies is any indication, Republicans will end up proving once and for all they never had any ideas. They just had bizarre notions and dark visions shrouded in faux patriotism and greed. More at the Wonkroom – Bolton: I Fear That Obama Would Not Come To Israel’s Aid

As should be obvious, the scenario presented is ridiculous. There is no analyst on the right or the left who seriously thinks that the Arab states are preparing to attack Israel. (Right now these states are much more concerned about Iran, and the extent to which Iranian power and influence in the region was greatly increased as a result of the Iraq war, which Bolton still insists was awesome.)

Israel is the single largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid and as far as we know that will continue to be the case into the near future. Israel also has one of the world’s finest arsenals of weapons courtesy the U.S. and have proved themselves perfectly capable of defending themselves. It was in fact Bush, Bolton and the neocons that assured Iran’s increased influence in the region when they kicked out weapons inspectors and decided to replace Saddam with a hundred mini-Saddams in Iraq. Sure Bolton thinks where they went wrong is not nuking Iran. So typical, some on the Right talk about using nuclear weapons the same casual way some people discuss the weather – Nukes: the answer to every problem.

Charles Lemos ( The Return of Fairness in America) at MyDD has good take on this piece from the NYT – A Bold Plan Sweeps Away Reagan Ideas,

Just how far have we fallen during that three-decade era of economic policy dominated by the ideas of Ronald Reagan and his supporters? Well, a UN report last year on urban poverty found that out of the world’s 120 major cities New York was found to be the ninth most unequal in the world and Atlanta, New Orleans, Washington, and Miami had similar inequality levels to those of Nairobi, Kenya and Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. In western New York state nearly 40% of the black, Hispanic and mixed-race households earned less than $15,000 compared with 15% of white households. The life expectancy of African-Americans in the US is about the same as that of people living in China and some states of India, despite the fact that the US is far richer than the other two countries. Is this right? Is this America? It is the America that Reagan has wrought and that President Obama seeks to undo. Undoing Reagan, how sweet the sound.

A spreading meme on the Right is that Democrats are going to Europeanize the American economy. If that is the case it will obviously be a step up for many Americans. You know the ones that didn’t get their share of the trickle down from the billionaires that Bush called his base. People aren’t automatically bad for being billionaires, much of the time its inherited wealth that just keeps snowballing ( unearned wealth), but to call that tiny sliver of people your base was and appears to be CPAC’s morally questionable guiding principles.

Pelosi Disagrees With Immunity Proposal for ‘Truth Commission’ Witnesses

In one week, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy says he will begin establishing a “commission of inquiry” to investigate the Bush administration’s use of torture and other abuses of power, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is objecting to his plan of granting immunity to some witnesses.

In an interview with Rachel Maddow on her MSNBC program Wednesday, Pelosi called Leahy’s investigative plan “a good idea,” but objected to immunity that could prevent prosecutors from holding Bush administration officials accountable for crimes in a court of law.

One of the people that they call to testify has to be John Bolton. Even if he doesn’t end up in jail it’ll be fun to know to he’ll live forever on video squirming his way through some tough Q&A under oath.

The Party Made of Straw Goes Strawman Hunting

St Louis with Arch Night Skyline wallpaper

Black and White Skyline wallpaper,St Louis Missouri.

Lawyers, Guns and Money on Bobby Jindal and volcanoes,

As the governor of a geologically-vulnerable state, you’d think Jindal would have a bit more sense than that, but I’m thoroughly enjoying the new GOP — now with 50 percent more crazy — this past year has given us

50 percent is generous. I think they’re doubling down on the crazy. A sitting Republican Senator from the great state of Alabama expressed doubts about President Obama’s citizenship and a guy whose family was once on public assitance and went on to be an uncertified plumber was invited to address the far-right Americans for Tax Reform. To their credit the bloggers at the Conservative The Next Right laments the Joe-the-Plumberization of the GOP. So one might get the impression that this blogger understands that Republicans, the party that became more beholden to a laundry list of wacky beliefs rather then the Conservatism of Lincoln, but no,

Put another way, Republicans thrive as the party of normal Americans — the people in the middle culturally and economically. This is true of our leadership as well — we have a history of nominating figures who came first from outside politics. Our base is the common-sense voter in the middle who bought a house she could afford and didn’t lavishly overspend in good times and who is now subsidizing the person who didn’t.

Jindal, Shelby, Bush, Limbaugh, etc are normal? A party that is defined by its clowns and public disdain for science and rationalism will have a hard time convincing anyone that they should be the final arbiters of normal. Then is a deep gulp of irony, without missing a beat claims that every single house foreclosure is that of a Democrat or Independent. Every single Republican in the U.S. is a brilliant upstanding citizen who in every instance always conducts their affairs in the most ethical and financially responsible manner  – amidst the various collapses, housing and financial – Republicans are pure as the driven snow bystanders. Sounds more like a 18th century fairy tale then the facts – from October 2008

FSA had plenty of company. It’s now been conclusively established [4] that there were “serious deficiencies” in how the SEC regulated Bear Stearns. An inspector general’s report found that the SEC was aware of “numerous potential red flags prior to Bear Stearns’ collapse, regarding its concentration of mortgage securities, high leverage, shortcomings of risk management in mortgage-backed securities and lack of compliance with the spirit of certain [international reporting] standards, but did not take actions to limit these risk factors.”

Yet SEC Chairman Christopher Cox still has his job and has yet to acknowledge that his agency did anything wrong—or, indeed, to say anything germane about how the crisis came about, aside from blaming short-sellers. (He did issue a statement [5] saying that voluntary regulation doesn’t work, skipping conveniently over the fact that the Bush administration pushed through the very voluntary program he cited.) Would acting on these red flags have prevented the collapse of Bear Stearns and shone a critical light on similar flaws elsewhere? There’s no way to know. Would apologizing bring it back? Of course not. But it shouldn’t be this hard for the officials, public and private, involved in the destruction of hundreds of billions of dollars of wealth to admit that something went wrong and promise to better in the future. It’s ironic that with the scope of the crisis so vast, we get less in the form of accountability than we’d expect from a minor felon in a sentencing hearing or even a celebrity going into rehab.

Its standard operating procedure with Conservatives – never apologize and never admit fault. Since human beings are by nature fallible and as far as we know Republicans are flesh and blood, something is severely wrong with a political movement that either cannot or will not admit its humanity. Its a twisted kind of nihilism – Republicans are trapped in the black hole of their own self delusions. Who better to prove that point then the Conservative Zeus, Karl Rove – Obama’s Straw Men, Why does he routinely ascribe to opponents views they don’t espouse?

President Barack Obama reveres Abraham Lincoln. But among the glaring differences between the two men is that Lincoln offered careful, rigorous, sustained arguments to advance his aims and, when disagreeing with political opponents, rarely relied on the lazy rhetorical device of “straw men.” Mr. Obama, on the other hand, routinely ascribes to others views they don’t espouse and says opposition to his policies is grounded in views no one really advocates.

The party that thinks itself almost divine in its perfection and is self-righteous in it’s denial of the most blatant and obvious immorality – that ranges from merely incompetent to arrogant and cruel, must logically have the biggest arsenal of strawmen. Country in financial straights – not their fault – it is the fault of the nebulous other. Not as simple as two plus two, but close. Karl Rove: Self-deluded or consciously dishonest?

The President And The Straw Man

‘Some Say’ But Bush Won’t Say Who When Arguing Policy Points

When the president starts a sentence with “some say” or offers up what “some in Washington” believe, as he is doing more often these days, a rhetorical retort almost assuredly follows.

The device usually is code for Democrats or other White House opponents. In describing what they advocate, Mr. Bush often omits an important nuance or substitutes an extreme stance that bears little resemblance to their actual position.

He typically then says he “strongly disagrees,” conveniently knocking down a straw man of his own making. . . .

A specialist in presidential rhetoric, Wayne Fields of Washington University in St. Louis, views it as “a bizarre kind of double talk” that abuses the rules of legitimate discussion.

“It’s such a phenomenal hole in the national debate that you can have arguments with nonexistent people,” Fields said. “All politicians try to get away with this to a certain extent. What’s striking here is how much this administration rests on a foundation of this kind of stuff” . . . .

Mr. Bush has caricatured the other side for years, trying to tilt legislative debates in his favor or score election-season points with voters. . . .

Campaigning for Republican candidates in the 2002 midterm elections, the president sought to use the congressional debate over a new Homeland Security Department against Democrats.

He told at least two audiences that some senators opposing him were “not interested in the security of the American people.” In reality, Democrats balked not at creating the department, which Mr. Bush himself first opposed, but at letting agency workers go without the usual civil service protections. . . .

Straw men have made more frequent appearances in recent months, often on national security, once Mr. Bush’s strong suit with the public but at the center of some of his difficulties today. . . .

Recently defending his decision to allow the National Security Agency to monitor without subpoenas [sic] the international communications of Americans suspected of terrorist ties, Mr. Bush has suggested that those who question the program underestimate the terrorist threat.

There’s some in America who say, ‘Well, this can’t be true there are still people willing to attack,”‘ Mr. Bush said during a January visit to the NSA.

The president has relied on straw men, too, on the topics of taxes and trade, issues he hopes will work against Democrats in this fall’s congressional elections. . . .

Some people believe the answer to this problem is to wall off our economy from the world,” he said this month in India, talking about the migration of U.S. jobs overseas. “I strongly disagree

Another time he said, “Some say that if you’re Muslim you can’t be free.”

“There are some really decent people,” the president said earlier this year, “who believe that the federal government ought to be the decider of health care … for all people.”

Of course, hardly anyone in mainstream political debate has made such assertions.

Glenn notes one of Bush’s most infamous strawman speech’s, the contents of which have been repeated ad neaseum by the Right,“We believe our nation has the right to defend itself — even if sometimes others disagree.” Yes, if we searched hard enough we could probably find an old John Bircher right-winger, or extreme libertarian or leftists who could care less about defending America and wears their tin foil to bed, but there is no one in any practical sense that is against defending America. Bush used that Rovian tactic to deflect from criticism of his claim to have super unitary authority to break laws and side step the Constitution as he saw fit. We’ve come to call this Rovian, but the Right’s movement has been based on strawman arguments for decades.

If Conservatives Cannot Define Pork How Can They Be Against Pork

Vector Blue rain drops wallpaper

Black and White Redwood Forest wallpaper

Arizona Antique Landscape wallpaper. The photo is only a few years old, it is the processing that adds the antique look.

Hopeful Blue Skies wallpaper

The Modesto Bee had a story up on a omnibus spending bill pending in Congress, but the link has gone down.

During the 2008 presidential campaign, candidates Barack Obama and John McCain fought vigorously over who would be toughest on congressional earmarks.

“We need earmark reform,” Obama said in September during a presidential debate in Oxford, Miss. “And when I’m president, I will go line by line to make sure that we are not spending money unwisely.”

President Barack Obama should prepare to carve out a lot of free time and keep the coffee hot this week as Congress prepares to unveil a $410 billion omnibus spending bill that’s riddled with thousands of earmarks, despite his calls for restraint and efforts on Capitol Hill to curtail the practice.

The link to the pdf of the 345 page bill. Michele Malkin and the tea party set are outraged citing some examples – with no explanation as to why we should be outraged: 9,000 earmarks in the $410 billion omnibus spending bill: Gang tattoo removal, Maine lobster, La Raza & more

* $200,000 for “Tattoo Removal Violence Prevention Outreach Program,” pg. 283;

*Maine lobster earmark in the omnibus, pg. 173;

*$5.8 million earmark for the “Ted Kennedy Institute for the Senate…for the planning and design of a building & an endowment,” pg. 232;

I have day dreams about Americans actually downloading pdfs of spending bills, doing a little research and forming an opinion on the pros and cons of each spending item. It will probably never be more then the number of people that watch C-Span. Back four years ago, a Republican Congress with Blue Dog Democrats plus an MBA president named George passed 2,208 earmarks into law an increase over 2002 earmarks of 56%. Not all earmarks are automatically pork – aid to Israel is done through earmarks. Now what I just wrote has little chance of penetrating the ring of hardened kool-aid that encases the average Conservatives brain. Malkin can’t post subtleties like that because it distracts from the kind of misleading sound-bite quasi-journalism she practices. Subsidizing lobster fishermen may seem like pork to a school principle in New Mexico that needs more desks, but considering the dreadful state of the lobster fishery, residents in Maine might have a legitimate disagreement. National Journal took an in depth look at earmarks from 2004. The list included,

Alaska InvestNet/Technology Venture Center and Tech Ranch in Montana     $1,590,000
Bioinformatics Institute for Model Plant Species for agriculture genome bioinformatics     540,000
Business incubator at Western Kentucky University     100,000
Center for crop-based health genomics (NY)     3,870,000
Center for Women and Enterprise for infrastructure development (RI)     1,000,000
Computer networking capabilities (MD)     225,000
Cooperative agreement with the University of Wisconsin for conservation tech transfer     300,000
Database of North Carolina’s agricultural industry for rapid response to terrorism     300,000

Economic Growth Connection for a paperless procurement program (PA) 200,000

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to archive aviation materials (AZ)     1,000,000

Mildly interesting that one earmark is from the home state of the presidential candidate that Malkin supported and another is for the state of the VP candidate that Malkin supported. Earmarks certainly, but whether they were pork then or now is debatable. I could have pulled a Malkin and just noted that McCain and Palin’s states received earmarks – yelled hypocrisy and left it at that. Earmarks are a questionable practice – they have some value in moving things forward in a Congress that would otherwise be bogged down in debate about every dollar spent. On the other hand maybe we have needed more careful deliberation for years. On page 3 of the current spending bill which so rankles the Right,

The bill includes $83,676,000 for the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), ‘which is $500,000 above the budget request. Ofthe amount provided, $14,767,000 is for inspections and other activities related to national security, and $2,385,000 is for program enhanc~ments and new initiatives that will advance BIS’ export control and enforcement activities.

Three months ago it would been a safe bet that any Democrat opposed to such national security spending would have been labeled an anti-American terrorist sympathizer. Now that the tables have turned can we start questioning the Right’s patriotism when Democrats try to keep America safe.

Remember the media is librul – CBS News Pick Claimed Democrats are Bad People

Palin: Media sought to seek, destroy

“Obviously something big took place in the media,” she added. It is “very frightening, I think, what the media was able to get away with, this go around.”

Palin suggested that unbalanced media coverage posed a threat to democracy.

There was battle of ideas and yes, images. Palin and McCin lost both battles. They had no ideas and their own behavior lost them the image battle, Palin: Obama “palling around with terrorists”

“Our opponent … is someone who sees America it seems as being so imperfect that he’s palling around with terrorists who would target their own country,” she said,

She tried to win an election for a post for which she was clearly unqualified by destroying the reputation of Barack Obama. To date Palin has not produced one verifiable example in which the “media” “attacked” her and she is on record attacking a decent man and his family with the lowest of smears. When the going gets tough you can always count on Cons to play the poor beleaguered victim.

Blue Jazz wallpaper III, Earth and Glass Moons wallpaper

Blue Singer Jazz wallpaper III

Earth and Glass Moons wallpaper

A few days old, but worth a read if you missed it, It’s Time to Treat America’s Homeowners as Well as We’ve Been Treating Wall Street’s Bankers

But we are facing nothing less than a national emergency, with 10,000 Americans going into foreclosure every day and 2.3 million homeowners having faced foreclosure proceedings in 2008.

[   ]…Despite being treated like an afterthought, foreclosures are actually a gateway calamity: every foreclosure is a crisis that begets a whole other set of crises.

Someone loses his or her home. It sits vacant. Surrounding home values drop. Others move out. Squatters move in. Crime goes up. Tax revenues plummet, taking school budgets down with them.

Arianna links to this old fashioned investigative journalism piece by George Packer ( Yes there are a few good journalists out there), George Packer, A Reporter at Large, “The Ponzi State,”

In another community, Hamilton Park, the writer interviews a woman named Lee Gaither, whose only income came from Disability payments. She was facing eviction and planned to sell many of her possessions on eBay. Florida is one of the places where the financial crisis began. Gary Mormino, a professor at the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg, tells the writer that, “Florida, in some ways, resembles a modern Ponzi scheme. Everything is fine for me if a thousand newcomers come tomorrow.”

When the Malkinites and Limbaugh Republicans talk in abstract terms about not having to pay to bail out homeowners – all of whom according to the Right are in a situation of their own making – it is people like M’s Gaither they are talking about. Those ten thousand people that are going into foreclosure everyday – we’re to believe – are lazy schemers who are getting what they deserve. So much for Republican style populism – it is just like the old Republican populism, spending an extraordinary amount of effort finding scapegoats. Notice they are always the good decent folk who never do nut’n corrupt or mismanage the economy.

America’s Most Desperate: Why 35.5 Million People Are Going Hungry

What makes the demand so striking is not only the suddenness but also the demographic that is seeking help. For instance, most of the newcomers that show up at Feeding America’s centers have been employed and have managed to survive dips in the job market. Many of them are couples and single parents who had managed without handouts.

Hunger is a significant problem, according to annual reports issued by the United States Department of Agriculture. Around 11 per cent of people live in households where they may not have enough money to put adequate food on the table – that’s 35.5 million Americans.

Among them are 11 million who say their situation is so grim they sometimes don’t eat for an entire day because they can’t afford to. Worse, hunger is an everyday reality for 12 million American children.

The Right has been telling America for years that those in such dire circumstances deserve to be. While simultaneously defending the right of Wall St to rake in unearned wealth – wealth that is built on the backs of American workers. Economics is a dry subject and gets arcane fairly quickly, but one thing never changes. The basic fact that you can start a business, have the next great idea, but unless its something you can do all by your lonesome, you will not build any wealth without good workers – why this simple admission – this simple humble acknowledgement of the way our economy works, escapes Conservatives remains a mystery.

FOX News Suggests America is Doomed, Civil War May Be Justified

Worst-Case Scenario 3 was “anger and discontent at home.” What they meant was gangs and civil war.

The tax rate would be “80, 90, perhaps even 95%… just to pay for what we’ve already spent money on,” said Moore. Celente predicted violent tax revolts. “The cities are gonna look like Dodge City. They’re gonna be uncontrollable. You’re gonna have gangs in control, motorcycle maurauders… just like Mexico.”

Note the lack of the word “may” or “might” or “possibly.”

The result, according to the experts, would be a rise of “bubba” militias. CSM Tim Strong (ret) predicted that the government would start arresting the good guys who were trying to protect their property. He said (using words of certainty), “The problem you have, Glenn, is you’ve got people that are gonna do the right thing, that truly protect the interests of the United States, to include their own, but they’re the ones that are gonna be apprehended for it because they did something to somebody that was not in compliance with what the US government – ’cause it’s easy to arrest a guy who’s gonna be orderly and conduct himself accordingly because that’s what our society breeds.” He predicted that “bubbas” would hunker down and start being anti-government as a result.

Beck dropped his “just wild and crazy brainstorming” pretense. With his trademark “golly gee” astonishment, he said average people “feel that the government – or they will in this scenario, and I think we’re on this road (my emphasis) – the government has betrayed the Constitution and so they will see themselves as people who are standing up for the Constitution… How long do we have before this becomes a crazy real scenario? …This is a scenario that would tear this country apart and, and, and, and spiral us into something that maybe we have never even seen before, including the Civil War.”

Retired CIA analyst Michael Scheuer even suggested that he approved of any ensuing Civil War. “I don’t think the founders ever considered that there would be a tyranny of incompetence but I think that’s what we’re facing. And ultimately, that’s the right of the American.”

80 or 90% tax rate? Who would bother to work eight hours a day at that rate. Never mind, common sense has never been prized by the Glenn Beck crowd. Its as though Strong, Beck and Scheuer have been trapped in a glacial cave the last eight years, Fox News “War Games” the Coming Civil War

What was most remarkable about this allegedly “anti-government” movement was that — with some isolated and principled exceptions — it completely vanished upon the election of Republican George Bush, and it stayed invisible even as Bush presided over the most extreme and invasive expansion of federal government power in memory.  Even as Bush seized and used all of the powers which that movement claimed in the 1990s to find so tyrannical and unconstitutional — limitless, unchecked surveillance activities, detention powers with no oversight, expanding federal police powers, secret prison camps, even massively exploding and debt-financed domestic spending — they meekly submitted to all of it, even enthusiastically cheered it all on.

They’re the same people who embraced and justified full-scale, impenetrable federal government secrecy and comprehensive domestic spying databases conducted in the dark and against the law when perpetrated by a Republican President — but have spent the last week flamboyantly pretending to be scandalized and outraged by the snooping which Bill Moyers did 45 years ago (literally) as part of a Democratic administration.  They’re the people who relentlessly opposed and impugned Clinton’s military deployments and then turned around and insisted that only those who are anti-American would question or oppose Bush’s decision to start wars.

They’re the same people who believed that Bill Clinton’s use of the FISA court to obtain warrants to eavesdrop on Americans was a grave threat to liberty, but believed that George Bush’s warrantless eavesdropping on Americans in violation of the law was a profound defense of freedom. In sum, they dressed up in warrior clothing to fight against Bill Clinton’s supposed tyranny, and then underwent a major costume change on January 20, 2001, thereafter dressing up in cheerleader costumes to glorify George Bush’s far more extreme acquisitions of federal power.

In doing so, they revealed themselves as motivated by no ideological principles or political values of any kind.  It was a purely tribalistic movement motivated by fear of losing its cultural and demographic supremacy. In that sense — the only sense that mattered — George Bush was one of them, even though, with his actions, he did everything they long claimed to fear and despise. Nonetheless, his mere occupancy of the White House was sufficient to pacify them and convert them almost overnight from limited-government militants into foot soldiers supporting the endless expansion of federal government power. (emphasis mine).

When Bush told Congress that he needed $700 billion dollars in bail-out money for TARP, there was a little grumble from a few odd characters on the Right, but the majority of Republicans in both Houses voted for it, no Right-wing Tea Parties. Bush and Republicans ran up the largest debt in our history – no dire warnings about Civil Wars. As The Big Dog recently said, they’re on automatic – if Democrats are for it, the Right is against it, no thinking required. With very few exceptions the Right simply has no real guiding principles. They’re on record, they hope the economy gets worse, they hope President Obama fails and they’ve got a little sparkle in their eye at the idea of a Civil War.

Conservatives Start Counter Revolution Aimed at Creating New Suburban Slums

The Conservative De-evolution

Jesse Taylor at pandagon covers the Right’s “Tea party” or revolution over something – the Malkinites only seem to know they resent President Obama for increasing the Conservative legacy debt of $10 trillion dollars by $800 billion.

Rick Santelli, CNBC personality (the term being used broadly), broke into a rant on the trading floor on Thursday about how the mortgage plan is completely and totally unfair and is stealing the hard-earned money that Republicans made sure he and the people cheering him on paid minimal taxes on.  As Ezra points out, the clip is utterly bizarre – a guy in an $800 suit ranting at people in the very industry that got us in this mess about how they shouldn’t be responsible for helping ensure the economy on which they depend doesn’t go to hell.  And, of course, his populist outrage is met with hoots and hollers, because the guy’s on the trading floor of the stock exchange.

Malkin and her ilk have decided that since some guy said something they liked in a room full of people predisposed to like it, the same axiom should apply at any place and any time.  Hence, “Tea Parties”.

In general, the goal of a successful protest should be to capture the particular mood and emotions of a substantial number of people, and to turn that zeitgeist into popular action.  This explains why the crux of the “Tea Party” movement has been bright signs making fun of something a black lady said.  Apparently, renters of the world should unite as well, taking poorly lettered signs to the nearest gathering of Democrats until hatin’-ass mortgage holders back up off this hot shit.

Somewhere in this faux populist uprising is some resentment that the Recovery Act will help some homeowners that do not deserve help – the ever scary poor people that really run the world and which Malkin and Rick Santelli want to make sure remain marginalized. That doesn’t make sense, but that seems to wrap up the general contradictory tone of things. Investors Business Daily – a right-wing site that tries to pass itself off as a news source takes note of this new uprising against elements of the stimulus directed at homeowners,

*Holding signs reading “Stimulate Business, Not Government,” “Families Against Porkulus” and “Say No To Generational Theft,”

* Amanda Grosserode, calls herself a home-schooling mom who is “fed up” with the spending in Washington. She has been a member of Fair Tax Kansas City since last fall. ( she does realize two important things – Bush and a Republican Congress ran up the largest debt in our history and the stimulus contains one of the biggest tax cuts?)

*”I think the taxpayer revolt is the new counterculture,” said Malkin ( people in every nation on eart from the dawn of civilization have disliked taxes. The problem is you can’t have a civilization without them. The new counter-culture? Who knew Malkin was a comdeian)

* “I couldn’t believe something this gigantic was getting slammed through Congress,” (Keli) Carender said of the stimulus. “I figured I could sit around and be depressed, or start a protest.” ( There was plenty of debate. There was a vote. Carender’s side lost. That happens in a democracy. Agains where was she the last eight years when Republicans were spending her money while simutaneously driving the economy into a ditch)

Firing Back on the “Fiscal Responsibility” Lobby – Our Future has tried to counter the Right’s increasingly shrill and substance-less urban myths about the Recover Act,

1. Conservatives are “fiscally responsible.” Progressives just want to spend, spend, spend.

The comeback to the first assertion is easy: Just point and laugh. Any party that thought giving cost-plus, no-bid contracts to Halliburton was fiscally responsible (and let’s not even get started on handing Hank Paulson $700 billion, no questions asked) deserves to be made fun of for using words that are simply beyond its limited comprehension.

And a quick look back at actual history makes them into even bigger fools. For decades now, liberal presidents have been far and away more restrained in their spending, and more likely to turn in balanced budgets. Part of this is that they’ve got a good grasp of Keynes, and know that the best way out of bad financial times is to make some up-front investments in the American people—investments which have almost always, in the end, returned far more than we put in.

Its not that Malkin and her misguided followers are ignoring the last eight years, the are pretending as though the fiscal record of Conservatives for the last 80 years never happened.

4. Whatever. It’s still irresponsible to take on that much debt.

Even John McCain’s economic adviser thinks this one’s wrong. Here’s what Mark Zandi said about the U.S. national debt on the February 1 edition of Meet The Press:

It’s 40 percent of GDP now. If the projections are right, we get to 60, maybe 70 percent of GDP, which is high, but it’s manageable in our historic—in our history we’ve been higher, as you pointed out. And moreover, it’s very consistent with other countries and their debt loads. And more—just as important, investors understand this. They know this and they’re still buying our debt and interest rates are still very, very low. So we need to take this opportunity and be very aggressive and use the resources that we have at our disposal.

There are actual Conservative economists out there, as compared to hucksters like Rick Santelli who may differ on a particular item here or there, but generally think we’re headed in the right direction with the stimulus bill.

The meme stated last year with Bush’s $700 billion Wall St bail-out – its irresponsible homeowners that got us into this mess and its the honest hard working Americans that are bailing everyone else out. It wasn’t true then and not true now. The new plan, not a continuation of Bush’s plan is a carrots and sticks approach for homeowners who have lost jobs or taken a hit in income due to the recession, The administration’s housing plan seems well thought out

The loan modification part is aimed at borrowers who are at imminent risk of default, and is modeled on the scheme that the FDIC has been testing and advocating for some months. An explicit public subsidy is involved–to the tune of $75 billion–which in effect will be split between lenders/servicers and qualifying distressed borrowers. Lenders and servicers get cleverly structured incentives to reduce monthly repayments to 31 percent of gross income. (Note that modifications up to now have been few and far between, and have often left repayments unchanged or higher than before, once penalties and arrears have been added back.) Lower repayments obviously lessen the risk of default.

The administration says that its scheme does not reward people who recklessly borrowed too much. This is untrue: the plan will certainly help some people who borrowed more than they should have. No doubt, it would be fairer to help only borrowers whose standard repayments (after teaser rates expired) were no more than say 30 percent of gross income to begin with, and/or who borrowed less than 80% of their property’s initial value–in other words, to help only borrowers who behaved prudently, and who are now in trouble because their income has fallen. But of course this would have meant many more defaults. Because foreclosures also hurt innocent bystanders, there is a public interest in limiting them. The second part of the plan, I think, is indeed unfair and does raise moral hazard concerns–but I’d say that is a price worth paying if it stems the tide of foreclosures.

Probably quite a few anecdotes out there about shifty lazy people and taking out irresponsible loans. Anecdotes are never sufficient reason to punish the vast majority of homeowners that acted honorably and have fallen on tough times because of economic conditions that are beyond their control. One can look at it selfishly. Some areas of the country are suffering very high foreclosure rates. Say maybe four out of six homeowners are in good shape and don’t need assistance, that still leaves fifteen to twenty percent of your neighborhood’s houses empty. Who thinks that helps your property values or the stability of your neighborhood. Malkin, Santelli, Investors Business Daily and a host of other right-wing extremists are selling themselves as populists who care about average people – it seems that the new definition of average means passing some litmus test that the Right can’t even define.

Antique Globe wallpaper, Jesus and the Recovery Act

Antique Globe wallpaper. Actually one of those globes made to look like an antique since most of us couldn’t afford a real antique.

Jesus and the Stimulus? American Issues Project Slams Stimulus Bill As Large

When the economy enters a recession, you lower interest rates. When monetary policy’s gone as low as it can, you try fiscal expansion. That means you need a deficit that’s large relative to the size of your economy. The US economy is about $13 trillion a year. Which is a very big number. Which means that to be a sizeable fraction of that number, you need another big number. Enter the American Issues Project to try to slam the stimulus as big:

After watching liberal allies of President Barack Obama flood the airwaves in support of the stimulus bill, a conservative third-party group is countering with a provocative new commercial using Jesus Christ to emphasize the scale of the $787 billion package.

The American Issues Project, which briefly aired a TV spot in last year’s presidential race, will go up on Friday with a TV spot that marks the dollars spent with the passage of time.

“Suppose you spent $1 million every single day starting from the day Jesus was born — and kept spending through today,” says the announcer as an image of the three wise men flashes on the screen. “A million dollars a day for more than 2,000 years. You would still have spent less money than Congress just did.”

Trying to check the math, 2,000 years times 365 days in a year = 730,000 days times $1 million a day equals $730,000,000,000. That is, indeed, a smaller number than the $787 billion size of the stimulus plan. Of course the actual spending in the package is worth hundreds of billions of dollars less than that since about a third of the total package is tax cuts. It’s been strange to see the GOP rail against the need for fiscal stimulus amidst an economic emergency, but their newfound habit of deciding that tax cuts are the same as new spending is genuinely weird. But be that as it may, Steve Benen observes that costing a lot is the purpose of the stimulus so it’s not clear what kind of sense this makes.

As matthew rightly points out, the neocons thought that by investing $1 trillion dollars on the invasion of Iraq, we would all this this huge benefit in something, national security they claimed. Now the U.S. economy poses a real threat to many Americans, a less then $1 trillion dollar ( including a huge tax cut) investment in our nation’s future is a poor investment. To paraphrase Hemingway, none of us are an island. We all rely on each other to work, make and spend money. If too many of us start not to be able to do that because business is cutting back to the bone we’ll never get out of this sink hole we’re all in together.

Why are extreme Right conservatives like the American Issues Project ignoring the tax cuts portion of the stimulus. Maybe its because unlike Bush’s cuts, most of it doesn’t go to the top %10 of the wealth pyramid that AIP worships.

Republicans suddenly think that archiving e-mails is very important, Rep. Darrell Issa (R–Lemmingstan)

Issa, easily a #2 seed on my bracket for Most Ridiculous Member of Congress competition, also asked the White House to respond to a series of additional questions about the administration’s email archiving. He said the answers are due in two weeks.

The irony, of course, is that Issa couldn’t care less about an actual scandal regarding White House emailing archiving. Bushies lost untold thousands of emails, with no archive or backups. Indeed, the former president’s team deliberately created a “primitive” email system that created a high risk that data would be lost — there was “no automatic system to ensure that e-mails were archived and preserved.”

Steve supplys this link, White House E-Mail Battle Heats Up – March 18, 2008

Already, e-mails between March and October 2003 appear to have been lost, Judge John M. Facciola noted, because they were improperly archived and no backup copies exist. That period includes the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

E-mails by White House staff are considered part of the nation’s historical record, and federal law requires they be preserved. The White House has admitted that potentially millions of e-mails from the past eight years have been erased, although it has provided conflicting accounts on how many may still exist on backup tapes, though it has since said it believes “all or substantially all” e-mails are available on backup tapes.

The order, issued Tuesday morning by a federal magistrate judge in Washington, D.C., comes in a case brought against the Bush administration by the National Security Archive, a nonpartisan group affiliated with George Washington University.

The group filed suit in September 2007, seeking to force the White House to restore missing e-mails and institute an adequate archiving system.

That would be the same e-mail system that worked fine during the Clinton years.

War Criminals, Including Their Lawyers, Must Be Prosecuted

The smoking gun that may incriminate George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, et al., is the email traffic that passed between the lawyers and the White House. Isikoff revealed the existence of these emails on The Rachel Maddow Show. Some maintain that Bush officials are innocent because they relied in good faith on legal advice from their lawyers. But if the president and vice president told the lawyers to manipulate the law to allow them to commit torture, then that defense won’t fly.

A bipartisan report of the Senate Armed Services Committee found that “senior officials in the United States government solicited information on how to use aggressive techniques, redefined the law to create the appearance of their legality, and authorized their use against detainees.”

President Obama is off to a promising start. It would be a shame is he ends up using lots of time and resources of the DOJ to defend the Bush administration from prosecution purely for the sake of letting by- gones be by-gones.