ACORN Pales in Comparison to Conservative Scandals, Support Grows for Health-care Reform

Conservatives Draw Blood From Acorn, Favored Foe

In a statement over the weekend, Bertha Lewis, the chief organizer for Acorn, said the bogus prostitute and pimp had spent months visiting numerous Acorn offices, including those in San Diego, Los Angeles, Miami and Philadelphia, before getting the responses they were looking for.

“I cannot and I will not defend the actions of the workers depicted in the video, who have since been terminated,” Ms. Lewis wrote. But she defended the group’s overall record and said it had become “the boogeyman for the right wing and its echo chambers.”

Robert L. Borosage, co-director of the liberal Campaign for America’s Future, called the tactics used to go after Mr. Jones and Acorn “McCarthyite,” and said the critics were harping on minor failings and distorting records that over all were admirable. “This is dangerous stuff,” Mr. Borosage said. “I don’t think progressives will sit back and let this gain momentum.”

ACORN is also claiming that employees thought the right-wing actors were so otrageous they simply played along. UPDATE: ACORN organizer rips video

“In this video, there are two actors who come into our office and who were messing with us. And our employee was messing with them,” Schur said.

She said that the complete and unedited video needs to be released to the public.

Schur said that in a moment not shown on the edited video, Kaelke asked the undercover “pimp” if he was joking and then proceeded to play along with the joke.

But the ACORM employees were fired. That is standard operating procedure to try and head off a scandal. It does seem pretty bizarre that someone would take the right-wing operatives seriously. The facts do not seem to be all in. Whatever happens with ACORN those that have engaged in illegal or unethical behavior should be dealt with accordingly. In  The Right can whoop it up on ACORN hate and rely on the general public’s propensity to have a memory that lasts about two weeks. They’ll need to rely on that phenomenon since moderate to liberal groups have a long way to go to catch up with Republican scandals.  The Conservative Movement and Bush brought us, The Walter Reed hospital scandal, North Korea’s development of a nuclear weapon capability, the quagmire of Iraq, losing Osama Bin Laden at Tora Bora, squandering victory in Afghanistan, The Great Recession, torture prisons and extraordinary rendition, the U.S. Attorney scandal, the largest deficit in America’s history, exposing the identity of a CIA agent and the collateral damage that went with that, “Dusty” Foggo and the CIA scandal, the failure to respond to Katrina, tax cuts that went mainly to America’s wealthiest, The Medicare part D plan – a form of corporate welfare for pill companies, Alberto Gonzales – the worse Attorney General ever, Dick Cheney’s claim that he was a 4th branch of government, treating every single American as a terror suspect and spying on accordingly, tried to privatize Social Security, Don Rumsfeld – worse Secretary of Defense, health-care costs that increased six fold, new highs for children living in poverty, Tom Delay and K-Street, ignoring Presidential Daily Brief 8/01: Bin Laden determined to attack in US, defunding overseas AIDS condom programs, covering up the true story of Pat Tillman’s death, the media and the military analyst scandal.

Lies – by Hendrik Hertzberg

The town-meeting shouters may be the organism’s hands and feet, but its heart—also, Heaven help us, its brain—is a “conservative” media alliance built around talk radio and cable television, especially Fox News. The protesters do not look to politicians for leadership. They look to niche media figures like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Michael Savage, and their scores of clones behind local and national microphones. Because these figures have no responsibilities, they cannot disappoint. Their sneers may be false and hateful—they all routinely liken the President and the “Democrat Party” to murderous totalitarians—but they are employed by large, nominally respectable corporations and supported by national advertisers, lending them a considerable measure of institutional prestige. The dominant wing of the Republican Party is increasingly an appendage of the organism—the tail, you might say, though it seems to wag more often from fear than from happiness. Many Republican officeholders, even some reputed moderates like Senator Chuck Grassley, of Iowa, have obediently echoed the foul nonsense.

No one should ever take any moral finger pointing seriously from people like Beck and Limbaugh, or so-called moderates like Chuck Grassley for that matter. The tea smokers claim to be the populist voice of the people as they righteously defend corporate interests, The Waiting Room

President Obama gave a speech today in support of health care reform at a General Motors plant in Lordstown, Ohio, in which he offered the autoworkers a novel argument for reform — as Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele might put it: “Mo’ money!” That’s an angle that could resonate with Americans — Ezra Klein cites new numbers from the Kaiser Family Foundation showing that over the past 10 years, the cost of a health care policy for a family of four has risen three times faster than wages.

Poll Finds Most Doctors Support Public Option

When polled, “nearly three-quarters of physicians supported some form of a public option, either alone or in combination with private insurance options,” says Dr. Salomeh Keyhani. She and Dr. Alex Federman, both internists and researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, conducted a random survey, by mail and by phone, of 2,130 doctors. They surveyed them from June right up to early September.

Joe Wilson Lied, Pete Stark Told the Truth. Rabid Right Calls Hypocrisy Where There is None

Rep. Joe Wilson’s (R-SC) fifteen minutes of notoriety should be up soon. In the mean time the rabid Right Gateway pundit is complaining about the “hypocrisy” of the House voting to disapprove of  Wilson shouting out “liar” during President Obama’s speech: Hypocrisy Alert: Dem Rep. Pete Stark Called Bush Liar On House Floor… Twice (Video)

But, of course, democrats didn’t bat an eye when Rep. Pete Stark called President Bush a liar on the House floor… Twice… In the same speech.

Reality has always been a tough call for Righties. Stark made the fellowing remarks during a speech on the House floor during a debate over funding for low income children’s health insurance,

The Republicans are worried that we can’t pay for insuring an additional 10 million children. They sure don’t care about finding $200 billion to fight the illegal war in Iraq. Where you going to get that money. You gonna tell us lies like you’re telling us today? Is that how you’re going to fund the war. You don’t have enough money to fund the war or children. But you’re going to spend it to blow up innocent people if we can get enough kids to grow old enough for you to send to Iraq to get their heads blown off for the President’s amusement…

…But the President Bush’s statements about children’s health shouldn’t be taken any more seriously than his lies about the war in Iraq. The truth is that Bush just likes to blow things up in Iraq, in the United States, and in Congress.

What Stark said was true and said during a debate. What Wilson said was a lie and said during a president’s speech to Congress. The House is, as one should expect in a democracy, pretty open about free speech by its members. They’ve been insulting each other and getting generally hyperbolic for its entire history. Shouting down presidents is another matter. While many of us wished he had not done so, Stark did apologize. Why should Stark have to apologize for daring to utter the truth,

His suggestion, however, that Bush is indifferent to the tragic toll on US troops and their families, not to mention the human catastrophe being inflicted on the Iraqi people, is entirely justified. This is man who has exhibited a sadistic streak throughout his political career—presiding over the execution of 152 people during his six years as governor of Texas, and, as president, launching aggressive wars that have killed hundreds of thousands and authorizing such atrocities as torture, abductions and indefinite imprisonment without legal counsel or trial.

Stark’s remarks prompted a cascade of denunciations from Republicans, who immediately demanded a public apology. Utilizing the standard smear that any criticism of the “commander in chief” is an attack on the troops, Republican House Minority Leader John Boehner declared, “His remarks dishonored our soldiers, their families and our commander in chief. I don’t think the House can afford to let these kinds of remarks go unanswered.”

Predictably, the congressional Democratic leadership and the major Democratic presidential candidates immediately and demonstrably distanced themselves from Stark, in some cases joining in the attack on his remarks.

Stark initially refused to apologize, issuing a statement on October 18 saying he supported the troops, but adding, “I respect neither the commander in chief who keeps them in harm’s way nor the chicken hawks in Congress who vote to deny children health care.”

This was too much for the Democratic speaker of the house, Nancy Pelosi, who publicly denounced Stark on October 19, declaring that his comments were “inappropriate and distracted from the seriousness of the subject at hand.”

Republican attacks on Stark were absurd and delusional, but that did not stop them from equating the draft avoider Bush, sitting in the White House in his two thousand dollar cowboy boots with troops under fire in Iraq. Under fire because Bush used a combination of falsehoods and exploited patriotism and God to put those troops in harms way.

Tea Party Commemorative wallpaper

Tea Party Commemorative wallpaper

Some pictures and commentary here – Signs of the Times: Scenes from the 912 March. Many of them do look a little over wrought. Note the child used as a walking billboard. Didn’t Malkin and O’Reilly say that kids should be off limits in political debates. I guess its all relative.

Beck fan and 9/12 protest attendee explains why Obama will oppress ‘white America.’ and call for attacks on America. Domestic terrorism is the conservative movement’s favorite form of civil debate.

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tx) has no clue who is who in the Obama administration, including officials she voted to confirm. Apparently she had a mind meld with Eric Cantor (R-VA).

Bush’s Economic Legacy: A Final Tally

During Bush’s eight years in office, real GDP grew by 2.0% per year. Over Clinton’s eight years, it grew 75% faster, 3.5% per year. The difference is so great that Clinton actually added more to the GDP in his eight years than Bush did in his, despite having started from a much lower number. Clinton 1: Bush 0.

[   ]…As with real GDP growth, the numbers differ greatly. Bush grew real disposable personal income by 19.6 % over his term. Clinton grew it more than 40% faster, by 28%. And this comparison is understated because the vast bulk of income growth under Bush went to the very wealthiest of income earners. Between 2000 and 2007 two thirds of all the growth in the entire economy went to the top 1%. If average incomes were considered, the difference in performance would be far more stark. Clinton 2: Bush 0.

[    ]…Bush’s record on employment was equally legendary, but for the opposite reason. Despite inheriting an economy that was one third larger than the one Clinton inherited, Bush created a mere 5 million new jobs, one fifth the number created by Clinton. It is the lowest percentage level of job growth ever recorded for any eight year period outside of the Great Depression. Clinton 3: Bush 0.

[   ]…When George Bush took office, he inherited Clinton’s unemployment number, 4%. When he left office, in January 2009, the unemployment rate stood at 7.2% and was skyrocketing. The economy was hemorrhaging 600,000 jobs per month. Today, unofficial unemployment stands at 9.7%, the second highest rate since the Great Depression. Clinton 4: Bush 0.

Among many Americans calling someone the Anti-Christ is the worse epitaph that one could possibly use. If Obama is the Anti-Christ based on eight months of struggling with the Bush legacy, then what does that make Bush. In a related post from the Atlantic, Closing The Book On The Bush Legacy

The Census’ final report card on Bush’s record presents an intriguing backdrop to today’s economic debate. Bush built his economic strategy around tax cuts, passing large reductions both in 2001 and 2003. Congressional Republicans are insisting that a similar agenda focused on tax cuts offers better prospects of reviving the economy than President Obama’s combination of some tax cuts with heavy government spending. But the bleak economic results from Bush’s two terms, tarnish, to put it mildly, the idea that tax cuts represent an economic silver bullet.

[  ]…The trends look the same when examining shares of the population that are poor or uninsured, rather than the absolute numbers in those groups. When Clinton left office in 2000 13.7 per cent of Americans were uninsured; when Bush left that number stood at 15.4 per cent. (Under Bush, the share of Americans who received health insurance through their employer declined every year of his presidency-from 64.2 per cent in 2000 to 58.5 per cent in 2008.)

When Clinton left the number of Americans in poverty stood at 11.3 per cent; when Bush left that had increased to 13.2 per cent. The poverty rate for children jumped from 16.2 per cent when Clinton left office to 19 per cent when Bush stepped down.

Conservative is Just Another Word For Layered Nut Cake

Blue Modern Architecture wallpaper

There have been a couple tragic accidents involving conservative aristocrats of spin. Glenn Beck for the third time in less then a year accidentally super-glued his mouth to the exhaust pipe of his Mercedes. Subsequently babbling some theory about Hurricane Katrina and former Obama administration green jobs advisor Van Jones, On 9/11, Beck tries out new conspiracy theory: ACORN, Van Jones to blame for Katrina?

On Sept. 11, 2009, he produced what may be his most confusing, conjecture-filled tirade yet. This time, he has somehow “connected” the dots, tying community organization ACORN, an international employees union, the City of New Orleans and former Obama green jobs director Van Jones into the Hurricane Katrina disaster.

One could even infer from Beck’s trailing, incoherent suggestions that he wants listeners to think ACORN and elements of the Obama administration are responsible for the complete lack of federal aide immediately after the storm: A scandal which will forever rest at the feet of the Bush administration.

No one knows for sure, but Mr. Beck’s craving for tail pipe fumes may be a genetic disorder. Fortunately for Beck lunacy pays well and he is reported to have round the clock nursing care.

Meanwhile former drug addict and for all intents and purposes, the head of the Republican Partay, Rush Limbaugh tripped over his tongue. When he fail one of his Cuban cigars jammed into Limbaugh’s brain and he began an incoherent rant,

Rush then moved back to politics. He said the manner in which Obama chose to remember 9-11 today “is an outrage” and an “insult” to the memory of the Americans who died eight years ago, and an insult to the passengers on Flight 93. Rush was appalled by the way Obama was commemorating 9-11: “This could be the most outrageous moment yet of the Obama presidency,” said Rush. “Twisting 9-11 into a nationalist day of service to the state.”

Every American not suffering from Limbaughary knows the idea of commemorating 9-11 as a day of service was the result of the work of a group of people that included everyone on the political spectrum. I finally understand what it really means when people say “no good deed goes unpunished.”

About seven years ago, the 9/11 community came together to support the wonderful idea that the anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks on America ought to become a federally-observed, national day of service and remembrance, rather than become just another day on the calendar. Most would say it was a no-brainer.

I guess not.

This past August, a few months after the 9/11 community finally secured passage of bipartisan legislation that established 9/11 as a National Day of Service and Remembrance, a writer for the American Spectator published an article entitled “Obama’s Plan to Desecrate 9/11.”

The opening sentence read this way:

The Obama White House is behind a cynical, coldly calculated political effort to erase the meaning of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks from the American psyche and convert Sept. 11 into a day of leftist celebration and statist idolatry.

An awful lot of people who read that article concluded that the 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance was hatched by President Obama, not the 9/11 families at all, and furthermore, that our group, MyGoodDeed, was a front for “pinko commies.” In an instant, what we had spent years building from scratch with the help of conservatives and liberals alike, not to mention very senior members of the Bush Administration, was transformed into a leftist political conspiracy to trick Americans into supporting President Obama’s socialist agenda. Holy crap!

Not being one that reads the political media all that much — I prefer the sports pages — I had no idea what was about to happen next. First, a bunch of other blogs picked it up. And then Fox News got ahold of it. I’m sitting at home with a pizza watching TV one night, and all of a sudden there’s Laura Ingraham blasting us for cavorting with guys like Van Jones and some other “commie” guy I never met or talked to in my life. What the heck?

Then our website, meant to be a peaceful place for well-meaning people to post their good deeds for the day and other service projects in tribute to the 9/11 victims, starts getting hammered with pretty scary comments from more than a few angry conservatives… things like:

“You BASTARDS. How Dare You!”

“This is so disrespectful to the thousands of people who died on September 11th. How dare you try to co-op 9/11 from a National Day of Mourning to some cheesy Obamabot service day.”

Up until that point, most of the posts were things like, “The Boys & Girls Clubs of Augusta will make cards of appreciation for the local veterans and distribute them on September 11th,” and “I will be displaying two flags containing the names of the civilians that died on 911 along with the names of the firefighters and rescue workers…” Wow!

Now everyone is entitled to their opinion — this is a free country. And we don’t mind it if some people think that establishing 9/11 as a day of service and remembrance is the worst idea in the world. Although our view is that the 9/11 families themselves ought to be able to decide what the observance should be, people certainly can disagree. That’s what makes America great.

But more was going on here than that. The real problem was that 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance had become somebody’s political ammo, in this case aimed at the Obama Administration. I felt a little like I’d walked into convenience store in the middle of a freakin’ hold-up.

Apparently, we were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I talked to the writer later and he explained what he was trying to do — bring to light information that he said indicated that the president was orchestrating a plan to manipulate 9/11 for political gain. (We’ve been there before, BTW.) Later, in a subsequent post, he clarified his position and provided excellent and accurate information on our group and the 9/11 family origins of the observance, which thankfully stopped some of the more vociferous attacks.

But I sure learned that it’s not a good thing to get into anyone’s political cross-hairs these days.

Which is exactly why this observance is so important and right.

The whole idea is to encourage all of America to remember the way we were immediately after the attacks — we weren’t red states or blue states. We were Americans, and we were powerful. Because we were unified. Today, we are anything but. Ordinary citizens who might find themselves sharing coleslaw at a weekend BBQ are throwing punches at one another in the middle of town hall meetings on health care reform. Geez!

I’m not saying there aren’t serious issues at hand. And people are going to disagree. But if 9/11 taught us anything, it was that we need to remember that we have so much more in common as human beings than we have differences. We have to find ways to debate our views, and solve our problems with the 9/11 spirit of unity in mind.

For the record, the 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance is widely backed by the Left, Middle and Right and is not, in any way, a government led or funded initiative created by President Obama or any government agency. It was started by the 9/11 community eager to leave a lasting and positive legacy honoring their lost loved ones, and is supported by respected nonprofits such as the Points of Light Institute, founded with the help of former President George Bush Sr., AARP, America’s Promise Alliance, City Year, ServiceNation, and many other wonderful and nonpartisan groups listed on our Web site at

Mr. Paine must not be very political because if he had be keeping up he would know that Republicans think they own 9-11. That the tragic events of that day happened to Republicans, not the United States. 9-11 has become a Conservative trade mark like the golden arches. You have to check with them first before you’re allowed to pray about 9-11, much less speak about it in public. To designate it as a day of doing what ever service individual Americans might feels honors those that died or the memories of the survivors that has not been checked and thoroughly vetted with Limbaugh, the American Spectator and the rest of America’s right-wing extremists is the new heresy.

Ex-Powell chief on Cheney: ‘The man is now just crazy’

Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, the former chief of staff to Bush Secretary of State Colin Powell, said in response to an interviewer’s question Thursday that he believes Cheney has gone a bit farther than too far.

“I’ve come to the conclusion that the man truly is — whether he was that way when I knew him before, when he was Secretary of Defense, I don’t know, that’s not at issue with me any more — the man now is just crazy,” Wilkerson said.

With all genuine respects to Col. Wilkerson, Cheney is probably wrapped tighter then a mummy. That narrative is at the same time a little too convenient for letting George “The Decider” Bush off the hook. Remember Bush governed under the concept of the unitary executive. His powers basically ended where he decided they should end.

Chuck Hagel, Republican senator from Nebraska, says:

There’s a very clear pattern of aggressively asserting executive power, and the Congress has essentially been complicit in letting him do it. The key is that Bush has a Republican Congress; of course if it was a Clinton presidency we’d be holding hearings.

Cheney’s campaign to paint himself as the malicious villain does two things. It perpetuates a role that Cheney has always enjoyed playing and it makes George look better for sake of history. How could Bush 43 end up not being one of the worse, if not the worse president in our history. Up until Bush 43, Ronald Reagan was considered one of the worse, yet conservative revisionists have managed to to give Reagan’s abysmal record something of a facelift.

Hits the Replay Button to Revisit the Real Reagan Legacy. Americans, It’s Time to Give Up the Celluloid Version

Reagan’s Liberal Legacy – What the new literature on the Gipper won’t tell you.

Happy Birthday, Reagan’s Iran-Contra! An anniversary the press ignored.

Reagan and the current economic crisis

Stones wallpaper

Stones wallpaper

Anti health-care reform nut Betsy McCaughey is like a bad case of house mold. No matter how many times her wild and irresponsible claims are knocked down she just makes up some more. Most every conservative publication, pundit and web site seems all too happy to simply echo what she says, claim victory in the health-care debate. All without doing the slightest bit of fact checking. After a certain number of lies and distortions you’re not a garden variety partisan hack anymore, people such as McCaughey have clearly crossed over into the batsh*t insane zone, The claim that the House health care bill pushes suicide is nonsense.

On former Sen. Fred Thompson’s radio show, former lieutenant governor of New York Betsy McCaughey said that the House’s proposed health care bill contained a provision that would institute mandatory counseling sessions telling seniors how “to do what’s in society’s best interest … and cut your life short.” House Minority Leader John Boehner made a slightly more measured statement, warning that the same provision “may start us down a treacherous path toward government-encouraged euthanasia if enacted into law.”

In truth, that section of the bill would require Medicare to pay for voluntary counseling sessions helping seniors to plan for end-of-life medical care, including designating a health care proxy, choosing a hospice and making decisions about life-sustaining treatment. It would not require doctors to counsel that their patients refuse medical intervention.

Another case of Republican bizarre second chances and rewarding deviant behavior, Mark Foley(former Republican Congressman from Florida. Foley was one of those conservatives that was such an embarrassment to Republicans that Fox tried to pass him off as a Democrat when they reported the story)Mark Foley To Host Public Affairs Radio Show: “Inside The Mind of Mark Foley”

“Well Mark Foley’s a local, his district was here locally in West Palm Beach,” Seaview operations manager Joe Raineri told me, “So Mark Foley, he’s a regular about town and he was no stranger certainly to us at the radio station, and he’s quite well received here in West Palm Beach. So we thought with what’s going on in the world today it would be great to hear from a former Washington insider.”

I asked Raineri the obvious question: Wouldn’t some people object to Foley, in light of what happened in with the pages?

“You know to tell you the truth, we feel that the problems that are happening today, by him coming on the air, I think it gives a completely different perspective,” said Raineri. “And what’s the past is the past, and we’re certainly looking to the future and to help people get a better understanding of what’s going on. who better than someone who was there and lived it and understands how the wheels are turning.”

For a Republican Congressman that stalks teenage Congressional pages the past is the past, but for green jobs and technology expert Van Jones, who recently resigned the past never ends.

Black and White Clouds City wallpaper

Black and White Clouds and City wallpaper

10 of the Most Obscenely Stupid Right-Wing Conspiracy Theories and Attacks Against President Obama’s Administration

The Advent of Socialism/Fascism

Most historians would agree that fascism and socialism represent vastly different ideologies and historical phenomena. But not the historians at Fox News! Since Obama took office, right-wing pundits have lobbed these smears interchangeably, not quite clarifying whether Obama is leading the proletariat to a glorious utopian future or trying to bring the master race to world dominion.

Obama’s Nefarious Plan for the Nation’s Genitals

When news leaked of a CDC report recommending that boys be circumcised as a preventative measure against HIV infection, right-winger conspiracy theorists began to fret that the federal government would mandate circumcision.

Since Patrick Henry isn’t around, it was up to Rush Limbaugh to sound the rallying cry against tyranny: “Leave our penises alone, too, Obama!” roared Limbaugh in a July 24 radio broadcast.

The next day, while discussing an unrelated dispute with Jay-Z, the talk show host said, “I would remind the rapper Jay Z; Mr. Z, it is President Obama who wants mandated circumcision. We had that yesterday. That means if we need to save our penises from anybody, it’s Obama.”

Needless to say, Obama had nothing to do with the CDC report, and doesn’t appear to have ever publicly uttered the word “circumcision.” Nor did he recommend the CDC promote circumcision.

None of this, of course, discouraged Limbaugh from running with the best metaphor for white male anxiety about a loss of power and masculinity in the age of Obama, ever.

There have been many brands of socialism, but true adherents to any of them probably find president Obama a huge disappointment. During the Savings and Loan crisis of the 80s Ronald Reagan seized some of the worse S&Ls. A step that many progressives thought would save tax payers billions, but Obama and Larry Summers (White House’s National Economic Council) decided not to. That somehow it would be better to be part owners, keeping in tact the status quo of the last thirty years. The title of this essay by Tana Ganeva is off base by labeling all the conservatives who perpetuate these inanities as “stupid”. Many of them are bright enough to know that Obama and Democrats are not determined to force anyone to have a circumcision ( or has plans for internment camps, or to ration health-care, etc), I don’t think that even Limpie Limbaugh believes it. It serves their purpose to lie. If lying gets them their way, conservatives consider the lie necessary and even noble. Sure integrity gets thrown under the bus, but in their view that is a tiny sacrifice if it discredits Democrats.

The Republican ( far Right) battle to privatize everything is a form of collectivism. Remember that Republicans are not just for privatizing everything from the military to Medicare to covert intelligence, they can always be counted on to defend monopolies and oligopolies(the insurance industry) and be against worker’s rights. Massive corporation will own the means of production and being too big too fail, the American work force will be mere wage slaves. Republicans have absolutely so interest in competitive markets. President Obama by not dividing up companies like Goldman-Sachs and Bank of America has demonstrated that as far as economics go he’s another Republican-lite president like Bill Clinton. Sure the President and Secretary Geithner are planning more regulation, but that regulation is required to keep playing the same game, keep the top 10%  wealthy beyond any work they have done to earn multi-million dollar salaries and bonuses.

H/T to Newshoggers for this story, “Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement that Shattered the Party”

JUAN GONZALEZ: You have a whole chapter on James Dobson, and calling him perhaps the most influential and respected member of the radical Christian right in America today. Talk about Dobson’s influence, his—how he was shaped by some of these other figures you’ve talked about, and his relationship to Sarah Palin.

MAX BLUMENTHAL: Right. And Dobson was, you know, a key acolyte of Francis Schaeffer. But Dobson’s a central figure in my book. And, you know, a lot of commentators now—Frank Rich, for example—say that Dobson’s influence is on the wane. But I credit Dobson, who has the third largest radio show in America, whose organization Focus on the Family has $150 million in its coffers and thirty-six policy councils in the States and is widely credited for electing George W. Bush and the Republican Congress in 2004, with cultivating the sensibility of the movement that I’m writing about in my book, Republican Gomorrah, that controls the Republican Party.

Dobson is a fascinating figure, because although he’s leading what is widely considered a religious movement, he’s not a religious leader. He has no theological credentials. He’s not a preacher. What is he? He’s a child psychologist. And the way that he’s won so many followers is by, you know, doing radio shows about common, mundane problems, like bedwetting, for example, or dealing with a child that has, you know, issues with their sexuality, something like that. And he has a correspondence department in Focus on the Family that’s so large it occupies an entire zip code in Colorado Springs. People write in with their personal problems. He sends them—his workers send them Dobson-approved advice. After they get into the database that Dobson maintains, he bombards them with political mailings and slowly cultivates them into Republican shock troops. So Dobson has, you know, turned personal crisis into political resentment.

Where did Dobson’s fortune come from? How did he erect this empire? It came mainly from one book, which I quote from extensively in my book, Republican Gomorrah—Dare to Discipline, which is essentially a manual for corporal punishment, for beating your child. In this book, he says pain is a marvelous purifier that a child should be—that pain goes a long way with a child, that pain should be dispensed sufficiently enough to make a child cry, but then the child will crumple to your breast, and you should welcome the child with warm, open arms. This is a recipe for sadomasochism.

Democrats and independents ask themselves why don’t Republicans see how broken and frequently cruel  our current corporate profit worshiping health-care system is. Why are they unmoved by 180 million uninsured Americans. Americans forced into bankruptcy by insurance rescission. Why do at least some of them know health-care costs have doubled over the last ten years and will likely double in the next ten. The majority of conservatives lack the kind of compassion a mentally healthy person would have. They also tend to believe any hardship any American is enduring is hardship they deserve. Those that complain about fairness and compassion are seen as weak. A real man, a real American would find a solution on their own. There’s an old political joke that a Democrat is a Republican that has been through some hard times. Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) is a great recent example of the Republican Party’s inability to even acknowledge there is a health-care crisis in America, Kingston Claims Health System Worked ‘Very Well’ For Bankrupt Cancer Survivor Without Insurance

At a recent town hall held by Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA), an elderly gentleman named Jim Parker stood up and told the congressman that he was recently treated for colon cancer. “I did not have insurance,” he said, because “things didn’t quite work out” after he started his own business. Parker informed Kingston that “a friend of mine was in the same position, and we buried him last January.”

Kingston responded by telling the man that “you did do very well” because he was able to get treated when he arrived at the hospital. Parker responded, “I am functionally bankrupt!” Kingston cut him off and reiterated his point:

But you did get coverage. You didn’t get the insurance, but they won’t turn you down at the door. And we do need to focus on people like you. However, here’s the problem: among other things, in countries that have socialized medicine, you have longer waiting lines, you have bureaucracy…it does lead to rationing.

Kingston’s argument is a familiar conservative trope. In July 2007, President Bush claimed that “people have access to health care in America. After all, you just go to an emergency room.”

Of course, just going “to an emergency room” is what drives up health care costs for all Americans. “Access to emergency room care is not the same as access to comprehensive, coordinated, and timely health care services—the kind of care that coverage facilitates.” And as the town hall attendee noted, without insurance, a hospital visit commonly leaves Americans bankrupt.

Kingston has been telling the media that the August town halls have helped to defeat Obama’s health care plan. And he recently told Politico that the GOP is “going to keep the nightmare going through the fall.” A nightmare all too real for people like Jim Parker.

Kingston is either lying about rationing health-care under health-care reform or like many conservatives does not the slightest idea of what he’s talking about. We already ration health-care here and here. Emergency rooms are not health-care. Because people like Kingston and the tea smokers have been using guilt to embarrass people with the nonsense that their inability to get adequate insurance at all times is their fault; thus we see about 18,000 adult deaths per year because people do not want to burden others with their medical problems.

Conservatives Remain Confused and Obsessed

Republicans seem to remain confessed as to whether torture is moral or not. Lucky for the rest of us U.S. law enforcement officials are not confused, Mentally ill and elderly people held in sqalid chicken coops, authorities say

San Bernardino authorities arrested a woman Friday who they say boarded 22 mentally ill, elderly and other people in  prison-like conditions, housing some in converted chicken coops behind razor wire fences.

Ashcroft can be sued over jailing ‘witnesses’

The government lacks “the power to arrest and detain or restrict American citizens for months on end … merely because the government wishes to investigate them for possible wrongdoing,” Judge Milan Smith, an appointee of former President George W. Bush, said in the majority opinion.

“We find this to be repugnant to the Constitution, and a painful reminder of some of the most ignominious chapters of our national history,” Smith wrote.

The ruling is a result of a case that involved Abdullah al-Kidd. With a name like that he had to be guilty of something, right. He was a  football star at the University of Idaho and a U.S. citizen. He was held for two weeks and then placed under continuous surveillance for 15 months. Because of Ashcroft’s paranoia and stellar judgment al-Kidd is something of an outcast. He cannot find a job and he is separated from his wife.

Its near impossible to understand much of anything fringe right conservatives do. One would think they would celebrate the fact that one of President Obama’s advisors ( not a czar, sorry) Van Jones turned his life around and became a full blown capitalist. A guy that preaches doing good, embracing new clean technology and making money.  Its more then hypocrtical for the foaming at the mouth Right that supported the Bush administration who hired convicted felon Admiral Poindexter. Bush had several advisors or czars in his administration that were felons or investigated for committing federal crimes including Eliot Abrams, Douglas Feith, Michael Ledeen and Richard Perle. None of these guys turned their lives around, they remain unrepentant far Right radicals. Republicans do believe in second chances, even third and forth chances. For Republicans anyway. Some Democrat jaywalks twenty years ago, pays a fine, and dedicates their lives to traffic safety and it doesn’t matter; they are tainted for life. Some not safe for work satire on the Right’s attempt to demonize Jones here and as The Mahablog notes around the time Jones was associating with the so-called truther movement a few issues were on the front burner – Bush was blocking the creation of a 9-11 investigative panel and families of 9-11 victims were upset and suspicious.

The DNC is pointing out an inconvenient truth about Republican leaders from Newt Gingrich to House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio and House Minority Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia. They have all fought against Medicare and seniors.

Since Glenn Beck and Michelle Malkin appear to have derived zero benefit from having an education they see no irony in encouraging children to skip school.

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Conservatives Hear Voices and See Guillotines

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Conservatives Ranting about “Socialized Medicine” Go To Govt. Hospital For Surgeries

Republicans in Congress have raised the specter of a bloated, “socialized,” bureaucrat-run nightmare of a health care system as a means of undermining the White House’s effort at a systematic overhaul. And yet, as Democratic sources are now pointing out, when medical crisis hit close to home, many of these same officials turned to a government-run hospital for their own intensive care and difficult surgeries.

Take, for instance, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who warned that “a government takeover of health care” would “take away the care that people already have [and] are perfectly satisfied with.” In its place, the senator said, would be “a system in which care and treatment will be either delayed or denied.”

That was July 2009. In February 2003, McConnell actually went to one of those government-run institutions (where treatment is, apparently, “either delayed or denied”) for a procedure of his own. The Kentucky Republican traveled to the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, to have an elective coronary artery bypass surgery after it had been revealed that he had arterial blockages.

Some other conservative enthusiasts of “socialized medicine” include Senator Kit Bond (R-Mo.), Senator George Voinovich, (R-Ohio), Rep. Roy Blunt, (R-Mo. (two procedures) and Senator John McCain, (R-Ariz.). McCain the “maverick” has enjoyed “socialized medicine” for most of his life. First as a military dependent, then as a pilot and now as a senator, despite being married to a multi-millionaire heiress.

More conservative health-care astroturf, The GOP’s Fake Doctor Council – How Obamacare opponents scam physicians and the public

Joe Klien is not one of my favorite journalist, but at least even he knows crazy when he sees it, It Gets Worse

I was at a Blanche Lincoln town hall meeting in Russellville, Arkansas, yesterday–and the number of people who believe that the President has larded the government with communists (!) was astonishing. One woman said there were four known communists in the government and that she’d researched it on the internet. When I asked her afterwards, she said environmental adviser Van Jones, legal advisor Cass Sunstein (who was last spotted being excoriated by the left for supporting the FISA revisions), someone named Lloyd and she didn’t remember the fourth. And wasn’t it suspicious that Obama had all these czars working for him–that was a Russkie commie term, wasn’t it? When I asked, the woman admitted that, among other things, she occasionally listened to William Bennett’s conservative radio show. I pointed out that Bennett had once been the Drug Czar, appointed by Ronald Reagan. Life sure can be complicated sometimes.

Joe might be behind the curve on conservative reinventing the Red Scare, but its not his fault. The Right seems to have discovered a special fertilizer that makes batsh*t insane grow faster and bigger then ever, Secret camps and guillotines? Groups make birthers look sane

However, the accusations are out there, a series of fantastic claims fed by paranoia about the government. They’re spread and sometimes cross-pollinated via the Internet. They feed a fringe subset of the anger at the government percolating through the country, one that ignites passion, but also helps Obama’s allies to discount broader anger at the president’s agenda.

In one, retired FBI agent Ted Gunderson says the government has prepared 1,000 camps for its own citizens. He also says the government has stored 30,000 guillotines to murder its critics, and has stashed 500,000 caskets in Georgia and Montana for the remains.

Why guillotines? “Because,” he wrote in a report obtained by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, “beheading is the most efficient means of harvesting body parts.”

In a second warning, the Web site says that the government is considering Nazi-like concentration camps for dissidents.

Jerome Corsi, the author of “The Obama Nation,” an anti-Obama book, says that a proposal in Congress “appears designed to create the type of detention center that those concerned about use of the military in domestic affairs fear could be used as concentration camps for political dissidents, such as occurred in Nazi Germany.”

Another Web site,, says the proposal “would create a Guantanamo-style setting after martial law is declared.”(emphasis mine)

Let’s try and do the math on that very last bit about martial law. Less then a year ago if you as much said you saw a soldier leave litter on a curb the Right would accuse you of being an anti-military commie terrorist sympathizer. Now the Right thinks the military is going to heard everyone into internment camps. How quickly the blush fades from right-wing roses. Are their darker deeper gutters which the Right has not visited. At this point, from birthers to deathers to guillotiners to deadly shooting sprees, they pretty much have insanity covered. Kos catches the hypocrisy about Presidents addressing school kids. 1992 presidential campaign — October 1, 1991, to be exact — President George H. W. Bush pitched his education plan in a speech broadcast live to school classrooms nationwide.

Some other takes on the Right’s sick attempt to portray President Obama’s school address as somehow dangerous, The far right says Obama is bad for our kids, we’re accumulating more and more stories based in anti-Obama hysteria and IT’S COME TO THIS…. In 1988, then-President Reagan spoke to students nationwide via C-SPAN telecast.

But that’s not what this is about. The administration not only edited the supplementary materials, but has offered to make the text of the address available in advance, just so everyone can see how innocuous it is. It’s made no difference. Conservatives don’t want school kids to hear a message from their president. Those who claim superiority on American patriotism have decided to throw yet another tantrum over the idea that the president of the United States might encourage young people to do well in schools.

Its time, way past actually for Broder to retire, Why David Broder Is Wrong

Mr. Broder argues that the Attorney General should have weighed the various political and practical consequences of an investigation against the abstract principle of accountability and decided to stand down. I reject this idea completely.

I understand the Washington habit of reducing all difficult questions to political calculations — I am a politician myself, after all. But the decision whether to investigate possible crimes connected to our interrogation programs is simply not a political one.

Our nation is obligated by treaty to investigate credible allegations of torture and similar breaches of law. The materials available to the Attorney General manifestly state such credible allegations of such violations — he really had no choice to go forward, unless we were to breach our legal commitments. Does Mr. Broder have so little respect for the rule of law that he cannot simply commend the strength and dignity of a public servant like Mr. Holder carrying out an unpleasant duty?

Beyond that basic point, Mr. Broder’s column remains deeply flawed. As I read the piece, there are two asserted reasons we should shirk our duty to investigate. First, investigations will harm CIA morale, and second, if trials ensue, a “major, bitter partisan battle” would erupt and “the cost to the country would simply be too great.”

On the issue of CIA morale, even the limited public record makes clear that, within the CIA itself, there were individuals who resisted the interrogation program or particular applications of it. So it is simply not fair to ascribe a single view to the vast CIA community that serves our nation so bravely.

Furthermore, if it is correct that CIA morale will be harmed by investigations, we must ask why that is so. In my view, the most likely source of morale problems is the rumored scope of the investigation. The record makes plain that this program was concocted, approved, and directed from the highest levels of our government. If reports that only frontline officers will be investigated are true, I can understand why agency personnel would feel hung out to dry.

Artificially limiting the investigation to interrogators working in extremely difficult circumstances while immunizing the officials who directed and approved these acts could quite reasonably be viewed as unfair and unjust. (I note that such a limitation has been suggested in press reports but never confirmed by the Justice Department, and I urge the Attorney General to simply let the prosecution team investigate the matter and follow the facts where they lead.)

Mr. Broder seems to agree when he argues that “if accountability is the standard, then it should apply to the policymakers and not just to the underlings.” Yet, he rejects the logical implications of his point, asking “do we want to see Cheney, who backed these actions and still does, standing in the dock?”

Without knowing all the facts, that question is impossible to answer. But for Mr. Broder the idea seems to be unthinkable. Why does he believe that? Is it not a basic principle of this country that no person is above the law? I do not know if Mr. Cheney broke the law, but I do know that, in my America, the law applies to him as it does to everyone else.

In The Health-Care Debate Conservatives Have Tossed Integrity Out the Window

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I was reading this post at the Buzzflash blog – GAO Study Confirms the Obvious About Health Insurance: Fixed Markets Claiming to be Free Markets Need Competition ( or competition will help businesses and individuals by putting downward pressure on premiums. One of the reasons UnitedHealth Group has used its employees to supply some astroturf support at the tea smoke-ins) and Buzz pointed to this recent analysis by Factcheck, Twenty-six Lies About H.R. 3200 or as I call it, Twenty-six Conservative Lies About Health-care Reform. Covering the fine points of 26 falsehoods and gross distortions obviously covers a lot of ground so I’ll just hit a few highlights,

* The e-mail claims that page 30 of the bill says that “a government committee will decide what treatments … you get,” but that page refers to a “private-public advisory committee” that would “recommend” what minimum benefits would be included in basic, enhanced and premium insurance plans.
* The e-mail says that “non-US citizens, illegal or not, will be provided with free healthcare services” but points to a provision that prohibits discrimination in health care based on “personal characteristics.” Another provision explicity forbids “federal payment for undocumented aliens.”
* It says “[g]overnment will restrict enrollment of SPECIAL NEEDS individuals.” This provision isn’t about children with learning disabilities; instead, it pertains to restricted enrollment in “special needs” plans, a category of Medicare Advantage plans. Enrollment is already restricted. The bill extends the ability to do that.
* It claims that a section about “Community-based Home Medical Services” means “more payoffs for ACORN.” ACORN does not provide medical home services. The e-mail interprets any reference to the word “community” to be some kind of payoff for ACORN. That’s nonsense.

Even though we keep hearing talking points from the tea baggers that originated with astroturf lobbying groups such as Coalition to Protect Patients’ Rights( run by the DCI Group of professional lobbyists) and Freedomworks ( a front group started by former right-wing conservative Congressman Dick Armey) they keep insisting they’re stand-up citizens simply interested in spreading the truth about the evil of making a non-profit public alternative health-care plan available to working class Americans. Grassroots or plastic roots, some of them are very sincere. Wrong, but sincere. Sincere in their beliefs, and beliefs is the operative word. But beliefs are not the same as knowledge. When fringe Right Conservatives are not being condescending to the concerns of working Americans, they’re threatening “bloody war”. They’re difficult to ignore, but let’s forget for a moment about calls for bloodshed and Republicans demeaning people who have been denied insurance for various questionable reasons by our corporate knights in shining armor. When a political group rests their objections to health-care reform on a foundation of lies, realize a couple things. The Right is weak. A political movement doesn’t have to rely on lies when it is correct about its objections. If you take away the tea bagger’s sordid fabrications, they’ve got nothing. The Right hasn’t just tossed truth out the window, they’ve tossed integrity and honor out along with it. This is not new of course. When they lied about Iraq’s connections to al-Qaeda, integrity did not matter then either. When former security adviser and SOS Condi Rice said Iraq had nuclear capabilities, honor was dispensable. President Obama and progressive Democrats want to give the American people the freedom to form what will basically be a non-profit insurance company, not a super secret conspiracy to kill grand ma. The tea baggers, the corporate health lobbyists and health-care corporations want to deny America that freedom. One shocking truth that never seems to get shouted out out the conservative hate fests or passed around in the viral right-wing e-mails is that those that like their corporate plan or whatever their status quo is, will be free to keep that plan. If the Right is so sure they’re right about health-care reform then why are they so afraid of the truth.

Isn’t it odd the liburl press at NBC’s Today Show will hire a neophyte with a far Right political pedigree to lecture America about education, but cannot devote a few minutes to doing the broadcast equivalent of Factcheck’s feature on health-care reform myths.