House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Gets a Little Vindication and The Right Remains Unhinged

Being a grandmother  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s(D-Ca) vindication probably did not result in a night of tequila shots to celebrate, but there were probably a few Cheshire cat grins around the office, Panetta Admits CIA Misled Congress on “Significant Actions”

CIA Director Leon Panetta told the House Intelligence Committee that the agency had misled and “concealed significant actions from all members of Congress” dating back to 2001 and continuing until late June, according to a letter from seven Democrats on the panel.

[  ]…House Democrats have put a provision in the bill which would eliminate the executive branch’s right to decide when to brief the full Intelligence panels, rather than just the top committee and congressional leaders, known as the “Gang of Eight,” on the most sensitive intelligence activities. Congress would set the ground rules for the “Gang of Eight” briefings instead. The White House has threatened to veto the bill if it includes the provision.

The issue is politically sensitive because House Speaker Nancy Pelosi , D-Calif., found herself at the center of a firestorm in May when she accused the CIA of misleading Congress over the use of harsh interrogation methods during the Bush administration.

Its still a good news/bad news story since the Obama administration opposes yet another attempt to live up to its campaign promises of more transparency. An administration spokesman issued some rusty boilerplate nonsense about eroding the powers of the executive. If the CIA informs the full intelligence committees, the greater the chance that a few of them will be fully awake and paying attention. You know, the kind of attention that might prevent another foreign occupation quagmire.

It may take a year or longer, but the current Iranian leadership might want to start siphoning some money into their Cayman Island accounts. The masses and religious leadership, not counting the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Ahmadinejad, want change. Thursday Protests Called in Iran, State Threatens Crackdown

The opposition in Iran has called for further public nationwide demonstrations on Monday, urging protesters to use the techniques of nonviolent noncooperation. Those who are afraid to risk beatings in the streets at the hands of state security organizations are urged to drive around and honk their horns. Thursday commemorates the anniversary of 1999 student demonstrations that were violently repressed by the regime.

The foaming at the mouth Right recently raised the fickle finger of treason in Obama’s attempt to renew START and nuclear arms reduction with Russia. The agreed upon reductions were very modest. We will have enough warheads and launchers to destroy the world for years to come, U.S.-Russia nuclear deal: spin or deep cut?

But the cuts announced on Monday only take the United States and Russia 25 operationally deployed warheads below a range of 1,700-2,200, which both sides had already committed to reach by 2012 under the 2002 Moscow Treaty.

After the cuts — which have to be made within seven years of a new treaty taking force — the United States and Russia will still have enough firepower to destroy the world several times over.

I’m trying to be patient with Obama. His state and federal senate career has been marked by his tendency to make political moves with careful deliberation. That said the most cogent criticisms of his policies continue to come from the liberal political sphere as Republicans keep to crawling in the gutter with the birther movement and shrill cries of socialism occasionally interrupted by shrill cries of fascism. Let’s say that like a blind squirrel, the rabid Right accidentally finds a nut; they spent eight years telling us their management of the economy was peaches, Iraq was the golden path through which eternal peace and democracy for the Middle-East lay (cost? Trillions and counting), running up a deficit and letting China float our debt was cooler then cherry jello. In other words they’ve spent any credibility they had. Their road back to power rests almost entirely on Obama’s potential failure to get a few good curves on the economic charts by 2012. Little wonder they’re doing everything they can to obstruct progress and pretend the last eight years never happened.

OK, Republicans do not have a clear shot if Obama fails miserably. Con baggage includes, among other things, not being able to keep that pure white foot out of their mouths, Fox’s Brian Kilmeade Would Like Species and ‘Ethnics’ to Remain Pure and Steve King: I Opposed “Yet Another Bill” To Commemorate Slavery, In Order To Protect Judeo-Christian Heritage. King was the only Republican to oppose the bill. High school U.S. history continues to be watered down and sanitized least kids get the impression that the U.S. did not spring fully formed and perfect. King can relax, the tradition of teaching a romanticized version of our history is likely to continue. In college it gets a little better, but only about 16% of Americans graduate with a college undergrad degree.

Taps Mori Dinauer on the Jeb Bush interview in Esquire,

Until today, I had no opinion on Jeb Bush. But after reading this Esquire interview with him, I think it’s safe to say he’s completely internalized GOP denial about the political landscape, doesn’t have any sound policy ideas, can’t stand the fact that Barack Obama is popular whereas his brother is loathed, and believes climate change science is “politicized.” In other words, he’s the perfect Republican presidential candidate.

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Chris Hitchens and The Weekly Standard Celebrate Everything They Do Not Know About Iran

Grand Teton National Park wallpaper

Christopher Hitchens writes in Did the Toppling of Saddam Hussein Lead to Recent Events in Iran?

Which brings me to a question that I think deserves to be asked: Did the overthrow of the Saddam Hussein regime, and the subsequent holding of competitive elections in which many rival Iraqi Shiite parties took part, have any germinal influence on the astonishing events in Iran? Certainly when I interviewed Sayeed Khomeini in Qum some years ago, where he spoke openly about “the liberation of Iraq,” he seemed to hope and believe that the example would spread. One swallow does not make a summer. But consider this: Many Iranians go as religious pilgrims to the holy sites of Najaf and Kerbala in southern Iraq. They have seen the way in which national and local elections have been held, more or less fairly and openly, with different Iraqi Shiite parties having to bid for votes (and with those parties aligned with Iran’s regime doing less and less well).

Hitchens is proof that one can have a lot of knowledge about something, yet practically no insight. Win Sayeed Khomeini was talking about the “liberation” of Iraq he meant freed from a despot who while a Muslim was a secularist in comparison to both Iran’s hardliners (“Supreme Leader” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Ahmadinejad) and to Sayeed Khomeini. Thus they would have an Iraq that more closely followed Islamic traditions of governance. Hitchens and the Republican blogs that have linked to him would have us believe that Sayeed Khomeini and the moderates in Iran lead by Mousavi, are a few degrees away from being a liberal Republican from the 60s. Matt Duss goes deeper in to the events in Iran that seem to be so perplexing to Hitchens and The Weakly Standard, The Growing Iranian Clerical Critique Mousavi

As other have noted, Friday’s news that the Association of Researchers and Teachers of Qom, a prominent Iranian clerical group, have declared Iran’s recent elections illegitimate is pretty significant, though by no means decisive. Even though Khamenei has spent the last years cultivating a stronger and deeper relationship with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), maintaining a genuine sense of religious legitimacy is obviously important for a regime that bills itself as “Islamic,” and the clerics’ statement took a big whack at that already battered legitimacy.

[   ]….It goes without saying, though, that whatever criticisms Qom’s clerics may have of Khamenei, they are not secular democrats seeking to join with the West. Nor have we seen any evidence that Iran’s demonstrators are seeking to eject religion from their political life.

The dynamic in Iran is not all that complicated for anyone that is up to a half hour of reading something other then drivel from the Weakly. Remember Bush did not know the difference between Sunni and Shiite before he decided to occupy Iraq – a glaring lack of knowledge that is responsible for quite a few America deaths – would there have been quite as much sectarian violence if the neocons had understood anything about about the religious and tribal divisions within Iraq. These are the same people who how want our national security policy and diplomatic tact to fellow their lead.

Minority Leader Baby John Boehner

Genuine populism just keeps tripping up Republicans, Wallace let John Boehner falsely claim no stimulus contracts awarded in Ohio

…host Chris Wallace let stand House Minority Leader John Boehner’s false claim that “[i]n Ohio, the infrastructure dollars that were sent there months ago,” as part of the economic recovery package, “there hasn’t been a contract let, to my knowledge. And the fact is is that I don’t believe it will create jobs.” In fact, in a June 15 update on the state’s stimulus spending, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) stated, “Combined with the contracts awarded so far using funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, ODOT has awarded more than $83.9 million in contracts for work on 52 projects — a combination of interstate, local roadway and bridge modernization projects.”

Let’s go with the assumption that House Minority Leader John Boehner is not as dumb as a doorknob. Though dumbness, as an excuse would make him look better then either adding another chapter to his infamous trail of deceptions or he really thinks it is beneath him to keep track of the number of jobs created or lost in his home state.

U.S. News and World Report Models Cap and Trade Opinion Column on Pravda

Peter Roff at U.S. News had been studying his old Soviet issues of Pravda thus the genuinely clever Democrats Admit That Their Cap and Trade Bill Is a Job Killer. Democrats who often times embrace reality, at least more often the the party for who Roff is happy to genuflect, know that economic seismic shifts in economic transitions require new skill sets and have planned accordingly. Roff would like his readers to believe that such virtues and foresight are bad things. How 2003/Bush/neocons of him. One thing you have to believe, and this is not the first time, is that unions want to destroy jobs. You have to believe that hundreds of thousands of Americans enjoy being unemployed, if not Roff and his many echoes come up grasping at straws. Unions have largely supported cap and trade. One of the reasons is they think, and it is their future at stake, that the future is green, Cap and trade will clean and fuel our economy, too (written by Fred Krupp and Andrew Liveris – Krupp is president of the Environmental Defense Fund. Liveris is president, chief executive officer and chairman of board of the Dow Chemical Co.)

The new technologies that the cap-and-trade approach will create will also create new jobs for America. A single wind turbine, for example, contains 250 tons of steel and 8,000 parts, from ball bearings and electronic controls to gearboxes. Jobs manufacturing those parts can be created right here in America, especially in our manufacturing heartland, the Midwest. Ohio has lost more than 213,000 manufacturing jobs since 2000. For Michigan, the figure is almost 497,000 jobs lost. One way to jump-start our economy is with a cap-and-trade bill.

Roff conveniently forgets to mention the half a million good paying jobs lost since 2000 when there was no cap and trade.Cap-and-trade bill creates green jobs

The Michigan congressional delegation has been working hard to protect and promote the auto industry, including garnering $50 billion in low-interest loans for automakers to retool their production facilities. U.S. Rep. John Dingell, D-Dearborn, deserves credit for leading the fight to secure 3 percent of the revenue from the auctioning of carbon emission permits, worth an estimated $10 billion to $20 billion over the next 20 years, for the auto industry to develop advanced technology vehicles.

Two labor-environmental groups, the Blue Green Alliance and Apollo Alliance, support this legislation.

[  ]…Green jobs also pay well; 13 of the top 15 sectors of green employment have weekly wages above the overall private sector weekly average. The Steel Workers union reminds us that each wind turbine built contain 250 tons of steel and thousands of machined parts.

Roff’s propaganda is so easy to shoot down its serves as one of the lesser examples of winger welfare – minimal effort exerted to pick up excessive pay. He couldn’t be bothered to work hard enough to make even a remotely plausible argument. Though as usual the rightie sheeple in the comments cannot praise him high enough. Some people just have low standards for proof and logic.

Obama Might Pull a Bush-Lite on START, Righties Go Ballistic

Thank goodness for Jake Tapper for implying that there are new precedents and earth shattering consequences if President Obama temporarily bypasses new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty(START)  treaty confirmation by the Senate, US-Russian Arms Negotiators “Under the Gun,” Might Temporarily Bypass Senate Ratification

With the clock running out on a new US-Russian arms treaty before the previous Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or START, expires on December 5, a senior White House official said Sunday said that the difficulty of the task might mean temporarily bypassing the Senate’s constitutional role in ratifying treaties by enforcing certain aspects of a new deal on an executive levels and a “provisional basis” until the Senate ratifies the treaty.

Bush pushed through an agreement with Russia on reduction of civilian nuclear power with the assertion that such a deal was already covered by section 123 of the U.S. Atomic Energy Act and would become law unless Congress specially passed legislation to block the new agreement. It a post typical of the substance of the far Right’s reaction to the Obama’s administration efforts to firm up START agreement before the old one expires The Astute Bloggers, writes The Kenyan in Moscow

As part and parcel of his Gramscian leftist agenda, the Obamessiah is preparing to surrender to the rump of the Soviet Union. He is hell bent on weakening America, knowing that when the bastion of freedom falters, leftist tyranny can spread unchecked throughout the world.

…Tell me why a President who wants to give up America’s military superiority over a dangerous, adventurous tyrant is not guilty of treason.

He knows it is treason.

And that is why, as usual, he is relying on extra-Constitutional actions and his personal authority as glamour boy of the media in order to do it.

It is high time that the CIA reveal the documentary proof that he was, as his relatives insisted all along, born in Kenya and hence ineligible for the Presidency.

I searched for the post in which this expert on arms control, birth certificates and executive powers in regards to Bush ramming through his civilian nuclear power reduction agreement or Bush’s claiming that his Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with Iraq – a treaty by any name – did not require Congressional approval (see U.S. Constitution Article II, section 2). The Obama administration’s claim that it can have an executive agreement with the Russian government to extend the original START until an almost guaranteed Senate approval seems like yet another gray area then Bush’s clearly unconstitutional SOFA agreement. Who was or who were those raging liberals that pledged to reduce the number of deployed nuclear warheads to between 1,700 and 2,200 by 2012. That was George W. Bush. That would be “to give up America’s military superiority” and thus “treason” by the Right’s definition. While Bush did begin to renegotiate a new START, like the economy and a few other pressing problems that required something resembling genuine leadership, the Bushies ended up dumping that problem in the new president’s lap.

Despite differences with the Russians on the scope of a START follow-up, there is no difference of opinion on the objective, Rood(undersecretary of state for arms control and international security for the Bush administration) said: “Both sides were very clear that we want to reach an agreement on a successor . . . before the expiration of the START treaty.” He added that he expects to have additional talks before the Bush administration departs “so that we hand this off to the next administration in hopefully the best shape that we can.”

Another legacy of the Bush administration who for eight years acted like a group of rabid juvenile bulls in china shop, leaving their mess for the adults to clean up. The basic START was not a problem for Bush or Obama, not surprisingly considering Obama’s centrist tendencies verification, mounting non-nuclear warheads on intercontinental missiles and at US plans for a missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic continues to be sticking points.

Who was that treasonous librul that rammed through a special NATO status for Russia as the NATO-Russia Council – President Dubya speech,

THE PRESIDENT: Secretary General, thank you for your leadership. Mr. Prime Minister, thank you for your grand hospitality. You’ve been a great host. And I want to welcome our friend, President Vladimir Putin, to this table, and all my NATO colleagues.
Today marks an historic achievement for a great alliance and a great European nation. Two former foes are now joined as partners, overcoming 50 years of division and a decade of uncertainty. And this partnership takes us closer to an even larger goal: a Europe that is whole, free and at peace for the first time in history.

NATO was born over a half a century ago as an alliance committed to defending democracy and advancing freedom. Today, we renew our commitment to these important goals. And as we reach out to a new Russia, that is building freedom in its own land and is already joining us in defending freedom against a common enemy, we do so in the spirit of peace and friendship.

While the U.S. and Russia went through a cooling of relations after the Russia-Georgia-South Ossetia incident, Obama, like Bush is hoping to continue Russian cooperation on terror issues emanating from Afghanistan. One of the things Obama has already accomplished is using a supply route for lethal weaponry through Russia for U.S. forces in Afghanistan. That does not quite line up with the looney narrative being written at the rightie blogs or the comments section at Jake Tapper’s story, but why let the truth get in the way of rightwing spin. At the very worse, the only valid criticism of Obama’s negotiation’s with Russia and the possibility of stretching executive powers, is that he is acting too much like that object of so much Republican idolatry, G.W. Bush.

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Palin and her sycophant defender’s insistence that the broadcast and big print media are her mortal enemies seems overwrought and too sweeping at best. Palin’s Parting Shot

But perhaps the explanation for this lies in the final part of one of Palin’s statements: that “Washington and the media” cannot understand her decision because “it’s about country.” In other words, for the past nine months, Palin has avoided difficult questions, preferring Runner’s World to another Katie Couric interview; she has dragged her family into the spotlight when it suited her (baby Trig was in Runner’s World, too) and grown angry when the spotlight became too strong; she has eschewed reason and logic (not to mention spelling and grammar), yet reacted in horror when her critics were unreasonable and illogical in response. Then, after all that, she smugly asserts the right to decide who is a patriot and who is not. It’s not about “country,” in other words, it’s about hypocrisy. And Sarah Palin is full of it.

Applebaum takes up for Palin for what she sees as some cheap shots by a few bloggers. There are only a handful of A-list bloggers and while the snark has run fast and deep, what does it say about Palin’s character that she cannot take a little snark from a hand full of bloggers, especially in light of Palins’ criticism of then Senator Clinton, 2008 clip of Sarah Palin saying that Hillary Clinton shouldn’t complain about media coverage


Stone Path and Forest wallpaper, Iran Uses the Bush-Rove Playbook, Franken Wins and Rush Limbaugh is still a big fat idiot

Stone Path and Forest wallpaper

Top Reformers Admitted Plot, Iran Declares

Iranian leaders say they have obtained confessions from top reformist officials that they plotted to bring down the government with a “velvet” revolution. Such confessions, almost always extracted under duress, are part of an effort to recast the civil unrest set off by Iran’s disputed presidential election as a conspiracy orchestrated by foreign nations, human rights groups say.

One of the reasons President Obama was correct to make measured public statements that condemned the violence against and suppression of dissenting points of view.

In 2007, Iran produced a pseudo-documentary called “In the Name of Democracy,” which served as a vehicle to highlight what it called confessions of three academic researchers charged with trying to overthrow the state. “They don’t like new ideas to get to Iran,” said a researcher once investigated about his work, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal. “They don’t like social and cultural figures in Iranian society to become very popular.”

Amazing how much the Iranian hardliner propaganda sounds something out of the Bush-Rove playbook.

In the continuing saga of the Big Librul media myth, the NYT in that very good story about the retaliation against Iranian moderates, does not hesitate to use the word torture to describe Iranian government behavior, but hesitates to do so when describing  the same behavior of the Bush administration.

Secrets of the WSJ

This morning’s Wall Street Journal opinion section contains a lot of what one expects to see. There’s an opinion piece making a big fuss over the fake scandal at the EPA. There’s an editorial claiming that the latest job figures prove the failure of Obama’s economic plan — something I dealt with in the Times. All of this follows on yesterday’s editorial asserting that the Minnesota senatorial election was stolen.

All of this is par for the course; the WSJ editorial page has been like this for 35 years. Nonetheless, it got me wondering: what do these people really believe?

I mean, they’re not stupid — life would be a lot easier if they were. So they know they’re not telling the truth.

There is a lot of interesting speculation, ranging from good snark to the more thoughtful, here. There are probably multiple answers to the question of what is it exactly the constant stream of lies is about and what that says about modern conservatism’s belief system, but one attitude that seems ubiquitous is summed up by the character Rankin Fitch in John Grisham’s Runaway Jury, “Gentlemen, trials are too important to be left up to juries.” Juries, ideally are supposed to be in objective mode, listening to and carefully weighing the evidence. One aspect of a healthy democracy is listening to the evidence about the issues – global warming, health-care, national security, quality education, etc and making the best judgment. What are all the right-wing radio hate mongers, Fox, the editorial page of the WSJ, the Heritage Foundation and far right organizations like the Family Research Council about. Manipulating the jury: they believe America and its institutions are too important to be trusted to genuine democracy. Presenting evidence made out of hot air by the noise machine ( when they’re not hiding evidence) because they’re afraid that given the truth and facts, then trusting the jury, the jury will find against the Right.

Franken Wins and Rush Limbaugh is still a big fat idiot

Calmer but no less nasty was the assessment of the Wall Street Journal editorial page, which insisted that the Democrat had somehow hijacked the Senate seat from the rightful Republican victor. “Mr. Franken now goes to the Senate having effectively stolen an election,” said the editorial, without deigning to mention that Republicans in Minnesota, including the governor, had effectively vetted the recount and canvassing from Election Day forward, up to the final Supreme Court decision.

[  ]…In fact, Franken is considerably brighter and far more stable than his enemies, a group whose public behavior and personal conduct are replete with embarrassment, not to mention disgrace. Unlike many of them, he has a solid marriage and raised two outstanding children who adore him — a personal accomplishment that belies the ugly nonsense about his “anger” and “bitterness.” It is the Fox loudmouths who are bitter, no doubt remembering the day their company’s stupid lawsuit against Franken was laughed out of court…

The deeply bizarre notion that Franken somehow stole the election is like the Right’s obsession over Obama’s birth certificate. Its a way for them to rationalize away the fact that more people liked the moderate candidate over  the erratic behavior and empty suit syndrome of their guy. Reality continues to be a sore point for many Republicans.

Seven Days in Honduras?, Palin’s Politics are Abhorrent – Deal With It

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If one stays away from the sweeping condemnations on far Right blogs directed at the Obama administration, what happened in Honduras is what it looks like to many people. Slightly complicated and some seemingly small details make a big difference. It is one of those situations which lend itself to lesser and greater evils then moral absolutes. I admit to a cultural and political bias having grown up in a country, that while it has its problems with a political party that cannot differentiate between patriotism and ultra-nationalism, there is a general consensus in the U.S. that a military take over of the government is a nightmare, an assault on democracy, regardless of  intentions – rent the DVD of John Frankenheimer’s classic  Seven Days in May(1964). A ‘coup’ in Honduras? Nonsense. – Don’t believe the myth. The arrest of President Zelaya represents the triumph of the rule of law.

It also includes seven articles that cannot be repealed or amended because they address issues that are critical for us. Those unchangeable articles include the form of government; the extent of our borders; the number of years of the presidential term; two prohibitions – one with respect to reelection of presidents, the other concerning eligibility for the presidency; and one article that penalizes the abrogation of the Constitution. (Octavio Sánchez on the Honduras constitution)

[   ]…Our Constitution takes such intent seriously. According to Article 239: “No citizen who has already served as head of the Executive Branch can be President or Vice-President. Whoever violates this law or proposes its reform [emphasis added], as well as those that support such violation directly or indirectly, will immediately cease in their functions and will be unable to hold any public office for a period of 10 years.”

Notice that the article speaks about intent and that it also says “immediately” – as in “instant,” as in “no trial required,” as in “no impeachment needed.”

[   ]…The Supreme Court and the attorney general ordered Zelaya’s arrest for disobeying several court orders compelling him to obey the Constitution.

I’m somewhat repeating what I wrote in a previous post when I say that Obama seems to be looking at the situation in Honduras through the lens of American culture and history – something the Right in its criticism fails to even notice, much less acknowledge. That same culture does not apply perfectly to Honduras. In a situation where there were not a lot of options lift for the Honduras Congress, courts and the military the results seem to have not just been convenient, but legally justifiable. The U.S. should be happy that Honduras has sent a signal and set an example for Latin America, the law was more important then one president who seemed to have put his ego before his country.

The National Review’s Jim Geraghty has pulled at that battered violin that Republicans have worn out in raging fits of hypocrisy to point out the reasons liberals purportedly hate some Republican – in this case,  poor Sarah Palin, OH CRAP, NOT THIS ARGUMENT AGAIN

Yeah, right. We liberals hate people in long-term, happy traditional marriages who have kids. That’s why we utterly despise Barack and Michelle Obama. That’s why we worship the likes of Ann Coulter (unmarried, childless), Rush Limbaugh (thrice divorced, childless), Rudy Giuliani (thrice married, barely speaking to his son), and Mark Foley (pedophile sexual harasser) — these people have non-traditional lifestyles and we adore them for it. We can’t say enough good things about them!

One can only guess that when Palin was criss crossing the coutry implying that Senator Obama was a terrorist and cheered on by crowds, that was not hate, but some warped form of civil debate and mutual respect. Non-Palin worshipers, unlike Geraghty and Bill Kristol do not seem to understand, or more likely its inconvenient for them to acknowledge,  there are some honest political differences between Palin and mainstream America. Her politics are abhorrent, she’s less corrupt then some other Republicans in Alaska’s long history of corrupt conservatives, but she is corrupt, politically and morally. She has a history of petty vindictiveness and crony patronage that reflects a mind and character ill suited to be a governor, much less presidential material. The National Review and her other defenders do not want to deal with those serious issues head on, instead they would very much like the debate about Palin to remain at the grade school playground level where its all about the cult of personalty.

Independence Day wallpaper and other news

Independence Day wallpaper 2009

Grassroots activism is an American tradition as old as insulting presidents, but astroturfing such as the lobbyist financed and Fox news promoted tea baggers is the far Right version of a Potemkin village. No doubt there are some genuine feelings involved, but even outrage and opinion should be backed up by facts. Times Square Tea Party Denounces Obama, Media, Imaginary Tax Rates, Etc.

Though the organizers claimed it was a non-partisan event, many of the signs and t-shirts were anti-Obama (“Don’t Blame Me I Voted for the Old White Guy,” Calvin peeing on the Obama logo, etc). Others celebrated the 2nd Amendment and denounced the Federal Reserve. The major theme, reflected in the paper signs handed out by sponsoring group TeaParty365 to protesters, was “Taxed Enough Already.”

[   ]…”Reckless spending, unread legislative bills, and runaway government — I’m sick of it,” said Organizer Kellen Giuda. He was also sick of being ignored. “Fox is here… where’s the rest of the media?

These are the same people waiting on the platform for the 8AM Express at 9AM. They work themselves into outrages over deficits, spending and general fiscal criminal negligence that started eight years before President Obama took office. America’s Sea of Red Ink Was Years in the Making

There are two basic truths about the enormous deficits that the federal government will run in the coming years.

The first is that President Obama’s agenda, ambitious as it may be, is responsible for only a sliver of the deficits, despite what many of his Republican critics are saying.

[   ]…The story of today’s deficits starts in January 2001, as President Bill Clinton was leaving office. The Congressional Budget Office estimated then that the government would run an average annual surplus of more than $800 billion a year from 2009 to 2012. Today, the government is expected to run a $1.2 trillion annual deficit in those years.

You can think of that roughly $2 trillion swing as coming from four broad categories: the business cycle, President George W. Bush’s policies, policies from the Bush years that are scheduled to expire but that Mr. Obama has chosen to extend, and new policies proposed by Mr. Obama.

The first category — the business cycle — accounts for 37 percent of the $2 trillion swing. It’s a reflection of the fact that both the 2001 recession and the current one reduced tax revenue, required more spending on safety-net programs and changed economists’ assumptions about how much in taxes the government would collect in future years.

About 33 percent of the swing stems from new legislation signed by Mr. Bush. That legislation, like his tax cuts and the Medicare prescription drug benefit, not only continue to cost the government but have also increased interest payments on the national debt.

Bush and Republicans gave America largest portion of deficit(chart)

Mr. Leonhardt is mostly correct when he says that Obama does not have a plan to really deal with the deficit, but two things have changed that changes that projection, at least in theory. If Obama lets Bush’s tax cuts expire that will help reduce some of the deficit. Returning some rates back to what they were under Reagan and he has asked Congress to return to PAYGO guidelines. The Obama administration may be overly optimistic about how much health-care reform will help the economy, but many think health-care reform and climate control legislation will help the economy in the long term. During his campaign Obama said he wanted to rescind those upper income tax cuts,

– The top two income-tax brackets would return to their 1990s levels of 36% and 39.6% (including the exemption and deduction phase-outs). All other brackets would remain as they are today.

– The top capital-gains rate for families making more than $250,000 would return to 20% — the lowest rate that existed in the 1990s and the rate President Bush proposed in his 2001 tax cut. A 20% rate is almost a third lower than the rate President Reagan set in 1986.

– The tax rate on dividends would also be 20% for families making more than $250,000, rather than returning to the ordinary income rate. This rate would be 39% lower than the rate President Bush proposed in his 2001 tax cut and would be lower than all but five of the last 92 years we have been taxing dividends.

Obama has yet to undue Bush’s cuts, but has given working class families, those making under 60K a tax cut. So the “psychiatrist” that claimed with absolute certainty that Obama is taxing him into the poor house is either in need of therapy himself or just enjoys telling a tall tale. These folks would have voted for the “Old White Guy”(their words not mine. Well the old white guy and his party do not have a real deficit reduction plan – they do have a plan to make $23 billion in spending cuts – more on the Republican plan here Republican Budget Plan: ‘Undo’ The Stimulus, Cut Taxes For The Rich – the amount that we spend on Iraq about every three months. A certain person from a certain political party once said, “Deficits are Worrisome, but Not as Worrisome as an Economy that is Not Growing and is Rapidly Shedding Jobs”

The Administration (Bush) would prefer not to have deficits, but deficit reduction is only one of many goals. … Deficits are worrisome, but not as worrisome as an economy that is not growing and is rapidly shedding jobs. …

The most important fiscal challenge facing the United States is not the current short-term deficits,… but instead the looming long-term deficits associated with the rise in entitlement spending …

We do not yet have all the answers to the problems posed by entitlement costs, but we are hard at work. … These longer-term issues, however, should not blind us to the immediate needs of the economy. The President came into office inheriting an economy …[in] a recession. He has responded vigorously to the challenges and, as a result, the current outlook for the U.S. economy is bright…

That was Greg Mankiw, on September 15, 2003 in a speech to the NABE. [Note: verb tense changed from past to present in a few places, ‘chairman’ was changed to ‘chair,’ and he is, of course, mainly promoting tax cuts, not government spending.]

Another grassroots astroturfer Herb London, president of the right-wing Hudson Institute paraded his ignorance as though it were a Merit badge, “I fell asleep in 1965 and woke up in 2009,” he said, presumably speaking figuratively”. While Herb was sleeping this is what Republicans did for working Americans, Average Income in 2006 up $60,000 for Top 1 Percent of Households, Just $430 for Bottom 90 Percent: Income Concentration at Highest Level Since 1928, New Analysis Shows. That 1% would be those people at various financial institutions that we hear about getting those million dollar plus bonuses. The bonuses that conservative tea bagging supporters like Michelle Malkin and Glenn Beck have defended.

* 2006 marked the fourth straight year in which income gains at the top outpaced those among the rest of the population. Since 2002, the average inflation-adjusted income of the top 1 percent of households has risen 42 percent, whereas the average inflation-adjusted income of the bottom 90 percent of households has risen about 4.7 percent. (See Table 1.)

* As a result, the share of the nation’s income flowing to the top 1 percent has increased sharply, rising from 15.8 percent in 2002 to 20.0 percent in 2006. Not since 1928, just before the GreatDepression, has the top 1 percent held such a large share of the nation’s income.

Here it is 2009 and Republican plans and solutions amount to whining, calling Obama names and proposing even more tax cuts for the richest Americans. These solutions will not cut the deficit, will not get health-care costs under control, will not position America to make the transition to a greener sustainable economy and as usual will do nothing for the working class Americans creating the wealth for that wealthy 1%.

Republican policies in red, gold and blue
Republican policies in red, gold and blue

Where has President Obama gone wrong. One major disappointment has been the reluctance to do away with Bush’s tax cuts for those Americans making over 250k, that despite the recession are still doing very well. Half of all American households make less then 53k per year.

Questioning Palin’s Credentials is Not an Attack, Honduran democracy, Wal-Mart’s Newest Con-game

Sunset Sailing wallpaper

This is what William “always wrong” Kristol has to say about the current feature article Vanity Fair is running on Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, Kristol: Liberal Media and GOP Hacks vs. Palin

Lefty journalist Todd Purdum has a hit piece in the new Vanity Fair on Sarah Palin. You don’t have to be a big Palin fan to recognize the article is full of dubious claims, and is dependent on self-serving stories provided on background by some of the people who ran the McCain campaign into the ground.(emphasis mine)

If we include the series of posts at  running posts that ran at The Mudflats and a dozen other articles  such as Sarah Palin’s powerful “First Dude” and The Sarah Palin Digest at ThinkProgress the only marginally new information in the VF piece is not from a straw man liberal that informs Bill Kristol’s every thought about Democrats, but from McCain’s own campaign staff. Its a common conservative pundit tactic to describe anything of a negative nature directed of one of the Right’s elite to deflect blame by calling the writer a liberal, the piece is an attack (in the winger mind any and all exposes that fracture their reality is a hit piece) feature negativity from Republicans against Republicans – all Republicans that cooperated get the rhetorical Stalin treatment – purged from the ranks of true pure conservationism, such as Krsitol. If only we could get that dang librul press to write stuff like this about a Democrat once in a while, It Came from Wasilla

Perhaps most painful, how could John McCain, one of the cagiest survivors in contemporary politics—with a fine appreciation of life’s injustices and absurdities, a love for the sweep of history, and an overdeveloped sense of his own integrity and honor—ever have picked a person whose utter shortage of qualification for her proposed job all but disqualified him for his?(emphsis mine)

VF author Todd S. Purdum drools all over John McCain whose reputation as an honorable maverick has been one of the most calculated and exaggerated in American politics. McCain who couldn’t dump the first wife fast enough to marry into money and power to advance his political career. McCain managed to sell this facade to the public with the complicity of the media ( just a partial list) who were all too happy to echo McCain’s egocentric talking points.  McCain is more likable, for lack of a better term then the seeming semi-conscious James Imhofe (R-OK) and Mitch McConnell(R-KY) or perennial king of hypocrisy House Minority Leader John Boehner(R-OH) . While most liberals were quick to defend McCain against the attacks of Karl Rove and the freeper types that labeled him a RINO. McCain’s record was as rabid right as most of his colleagues. As was said at the time he picked Palin as his running mate, Palin was McCain’s first presidential level decision. While many of us are disappointed in some of President Obama’s decisions thus far, an easy way to console oneself is to imagine that empty suit, that legend in his own mind John Mccain as president and either Palin or Mitt Romney as VP. Where do the zingers in Pudum’s piece originate. From other Republicans,

But just months into its existence the pac’s chief fund-raiser, Becki Donatelli, a veteran of Republican campaigns, suddenly quit. One person familiar with the situation told me that Donatelli could not stand dealing with Palin’s political spokeswoman in Alaska, Meghan Stapleton, who has drawn withering fire from Palin friends and critics alike for being an ineffective adviser.

[   ]…Walter Hickel, 89, a former two-term governor and interior secretary, and the grand old man of Alaska politics, who was co-chair of Palin’s winning gubernatorial campaign, in 2006, now washes his hands of her. He told me simply, “I don’t give a damn what she does.”

[  ]…The top McCain aides who had tried hard to work with Palin—Steve Schmidt, the chief strategist; Nicolle Wallace, the communications ace; and Tucker Eskew, her traveling counselor—were barely on speaking terms with her, and news organizations were reporting that anonymous McCain aides saw Palin as a “diva” and a “whack job.”

Kristol knows as well as the rest of us that pieces like the current one in VF will only serve to up Palin’s martyr status among her cultish followers and for everyone else her status remains unchanged. As conservative columnist Kathleen Parker observed during the election Palin was and still is “Clearly Out Of Her League”. Palin- Romney 2012 is currently a popular ticket choice. And yes you read that correctly, Palin at the top of the ticket. As someone once said, bring it on.

10 non-sexual acts for Gov. Sanford’s favorite ladies

Dear Gov. Sanford,

Your latest confession has a lot of people wondering how exactly you had affairs with multiple women without actually having sex with any of them.

Adult oriented satire, proceed at your own risk. If I was one of Sanford’s friends I’d body block him from getting anywhere near a microphone for at least a month.

I can understand President Obama’s response to the events in Honduras. His take, if I understand it correctly is that a democracy takes careful measured steps to change leadership, rather then the military grabbing the president and forcing him out of the country. If our military had done that to Bush, as much as he conducted a despot-lite presidency, I would have defended Bush. The military is not a democratic instrument, while elections and votes are. That said President Manuel Zelaya is has not been poster boy for the way Honduran democracy is supposed to work, Nothing so shocking about this coup

For weeks, Zelaya — an erratic leftist who styles himself after his good pal Hugo Chávez of Venezuela — has been engaged in a naked and illegal power grab, trying to rewrite the Honduran constitution to allow him to run for reelection in November.

First Zelaya scheduled a national vote on a constitutional convention. After the Honduran supreme court ruled that only the country’s congress could call such an election, Zelaya ordered the army to help him stage it anyway. (It would be ”non-binding,” he said.) When the head of the armed forces, acting on orders from the supreme court, refused, Zelaya fired him, then led a mob to break into a military base where the ballots were stored.

His actions have been repudiated by the country’s supreme court, its congress, its attorney-general, its chief human-rights advocate, all its major churches, its main business association, his own political party (which recently began debating an inquiry into Zelaya’s sanity) and most Hondurans: Recent polls have shown his approval rating down below 30 percent.

Matthew Yglesias is a terrific defender of progressive policy. Someone who I agree with more often then not, but he might be behind the curve on applauding Wal-Mart’s sudden embrace of an employer mandate to provide health insurance, CAP, Wal-Mart, SEIU Join Forces in Support of Employer Mandate. Here’s why, Wal-Mart Supports Health Plan That Will Destroy Small Businesses

Sorry Matt! We hate to bust your bubble, but you and your employer are being used for Wal-Mart’s agenda, which is as greedy and selfish as ever. Actually, it’s worse.

This is all about introducing a bill that will harm its competitors, particularly businesses of a slightly lower size that can’t buy health insurance on the same scale. The company already has a major price and sourcing edge over its competitors, and this law would allow it to exploit that even more.

[  ]…Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest private employer, also said separately that the mandate should cover as many businesses as possible, and cover part-time and full-time employees.

Read that? They say “broad” and “as many businesses as possible.”

The other problem: Employer-based health insurance sucks! It’s terrible for worker mobility, creating economic stagnation by locking employees into their jobs, while discouraging workers from startups and other small businesses that don’t have the scale to buy healthcare in the beginning. Even Obama’s said he doesn’t think the scheme — which was developed as a way to get around WWII price controls — makes a lot of sense.

If anything Wal-Mart and other big retailers are a good case for the public option. If someone wants to take a chance on leaving their current situation to say, join a small alternative start-up that competes with Wal-Mart with their energy saving light bulbs and recycled products, they can take their public health plan with them and which to their new employers coverage once they get some revenue flowing in. Wal-Mart is doing what it almost always does, make a cynical calculated move that looks cuddly and cute from a distance, but is all about killing  off small competitors.