Loch Awe wallpaper

Loch Awe wallpaper

Paul Krugman appeals to the conscience of so-called centrists.

Everyone in the political class — by which I mean politicians, people in the news media, and so on, basically whoever is in a position to influence the final stage of this legislative marathon — now has to make a choice. The seemingly impossible dream of fundamental health reform is just a few steps away from becoming reality, and each player has to decide whether he or she is going to help it across the finish line or stand in its way.

….For conservatives, of course, it’s an easy decision: They don’t want Americans to have universal coverage, and they don’t want President Obama to succeed.

….Should progressives get behind this plan? Yes. And they probably will.

The people who really have to make up their minds, then, are those in between, the self-proclaimed centrists….I’d just urge them to take a good hard look in the mirror. If they really want to align themselves with the hard-line conservatives, if they just want to kill health reform, so be it. But they shouldn’t hide behind claims that they really, truly would support health care reform if only it were better designed.

For this is the moment of truth. The political environment is as favorable for reform as it’s likely to get. The legislation on the table isn’t perfect, but it’s as good as anyone could reasonably have expected. History is about to be made — and everyone has to decide which side they’re on.

As Kevin Drums eloquently understates the issue. The public-option along with scores of other measures aimed at efficiency and cost control are “modest”. That Mitch McConnel(R-KY) has taken up once again the health-care reform will kill you meme, a reminder how far off the mental reservation conservatives are. The U.S. health-care system is a rag tag mess of out of control costs in which fewer and fewer people have access. Republicans controlled all three branches of government for six of the Bush years. The let’s help Iraq, but not America party, had six years to do something about health-care and punted. Just like they did on a sane fiscal policy. In a dozen ways conservatives backed the bus over America and lack the sense of shame and humility to admit they really have nothing relevant to contribute to the health-care debate or any other facet of government policy. Judging from their support of a unhinged right-winger in New York the only lesson they learned was they were not further out from the mainstream then they should have been.

Anyway John Dickerson has a run down of the road ahead for Senator Harry Reid and the pursuit of 60 votes. Why 60 Is the New 50. How many votes will it take to pass health care reform in the Senate?

The Senate is the most unrepresentative of the two chambers of Congress. That’s one of the reasons a health-care reform bill with a robust public option would have sailed through the House. Republicans who would rather eat glass then do anything to help working Americans aside, the unrepresentative Senate, with its arcane rules, is why health-care reform is being held hostage by Joe ‘Kamikaze’ Lieberman and a couple contrarian Democrats.

Conservative Orly Taitz, an immigrant, has apparently tried to get witnesses to lie in one of her “birther” lawsuits and without the slightest humility accused just about anyone who does not support her cause as being a traitor. Judge: ‘Birther’ lawyer may have urged witnesses to lie on the stand

A US District Court judge in California has dismissed one of “birther” leader Orly Taitz’s lawsuits challenging President Barack Obama’s right to be president, and expressed “deep concerns” that the lawyer urged witnesses in the case to perjure themselves.

[  ]…As Rachel Slajda noted at TalkingPointsMemo, the judge poured heavy criticism on Taitz’s actions during preliminary court proceedings.

“Plaintiffs have attacked the judiciary, including every prior court that has dismissed their claim, as unpatriotic and even treasonous for refusing to grant their requests and for adhering to the terms of the Constitution which set forth its jurisdiction,” Carter wrote. “Respecting the constitutional role and jurisdiction of this Court is not unpatriotic.”

So a group obsessed with a conspiracy that has possibility been the most thoroughly debunked conspiracy theory in our political history, is herself involded in an actual conspiracy. While she is probably going to eventually find herself in jail for contempt or perjury, I kind of wish Orly luck, its like watching an old episode of the Twilight Zone.

Fox News Viewed as Most Ideological Network

Nearly half of Americans (47%) say they think of Fox News as “mostly conservative,” 14% say it is “mostly liberal,” and 24% say it is “neither in particular.”

Remember the character Frank ( played by Chris Cooper) in the movie American Beauty, the guy that thought battering his son and collecting Nazi memorabilia was all perfectly normal. The Franks of America are that 14% that think Fox is liberal. The rest of the news programs from the networks – CBS, ABC etc are lazy corporate infotainment programs. They only seem liberal to some viewers because Fox in addition to right-wing radio and print has set the bar so low – if you’re not dispensing conservative propaganda then you’re liberal.


Progressives Will Have the Last Word on Health-Care Reform

Winter Blues wallpaper

Like sands through an hour glass or probably more like cold molasses through a small funnel, so is the progress on health-care reform. One of the things that we have to look forward to after the Senate finishes whittling reform down to bare bones is the reconciliation process. Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD), one of our stiff backed non-progressive Democratic leaders gives us a hint at the hurdles ahead. Real reformers want to set the rates at which services are paid just above what Medicare pays. This option has the advantage of truly living up to one of the major purposes of the public-option, driving down costs. The Senate’s version has left the door open for negotiated rates – you know out of concern that doctors might not be able to buy a new Euro sports sedan every year. That scenario maims the savings goals of a real public option. There is a rumored compromise as reported by TPM,

There is a third version of the public option under consideration in the House–one that would use negotiated rates at first, but would allow Medicare rates to kick in unless sufficient savings were realized. Hoyer didn’t address that option. But nonetheless, those are some very candid, on the record suggestions that the House bill is likely to include a less-than-maximal public option.

Can Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid perform miracles. Harry did some boxing in his youth, so just for fun let’s not be too cynical and count him out just yet, Reid hopes to sway enough senators on ‘public option’

Reid needs 60 votes to prevent Republicans from using parliamentary tactics that would keep the bill from coming to the floor — and eventually from being brought to a final vote.

Reid needs all 58 Democrats and the two independents who caucus with the Democrats, or some Republican defectors.
He is gambling that there are enough carrots and sticks lying around Capitol Hill to line up the votes he needs.

A senior Democrat said that there were about 10 Democratic senators whose support had yet to be nailed down.

Among them is Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh, who says he is worried about the bill’s fiscal impact. But Reid has made him more amenable to it by promising to modify a proposed 10-year, $40-billion excise tax on manufacturers of medical devices, a major Indiana industry.

Anyone feigning outrage at offering incentives to Senators like Bayh needs to get up to speed on the reality of Beltway politics regardless of which party is steering the gravy train – see Delay, Tom – Republican Pay for Play extraordinaire. Dems are still lightweights at the game or we’d have passed a public option in September. The sound tap dancing Senators is frequently the kabuki theater that goes along with pay attention to me and give me some’n or I ain’t gonna vote for your stink’n bill. Don’t hate Joe Lieberman, he will not be gone until 2012, but he will be gone. Somebody Buy Joe Lieberman a Puppy

The reason this is a little scary for Democrats is because the usual things that serve to motivate a Congressman don’t seem to motivate Joe Lieberman.

Would voting to filibuster the Democrats’ health care bill (if it contains a decent public option) endear Lieberman to his constituents? No; Connecticutians favor the public option 64-31.

Would it make his path to re-election easier? No, because it would virtually assure that Lieberman faces a vigorous and well-funded challenge from a credible, capital-D Democrat, and polls show him losing such a match-up badly.

Joe is not an really an independent. He belongs to the Party of Lieberman’s Ego. Part of the rituals of that cult of one is the willingness to not just commit political suicide, but to kill a few of his fellow Americans along the way. Not surprsingly Lieberman does have a Conservative bromide to toss to the press. Which they’re happy to simply repeat without question – reform will cost too much. Only that is not true. A final bill will be at least fiscally neutral and may save the federal budget billions in the long run. The last bill on which the CBO ran numbers also agreed, CBO: New Baucus Deficit Neutral Bill Costs $829B, Will Reduce Deficit By $81 Billion Over Next Decade. The Lieberman and right-wing talking point involves some slight of hand. Its consists of pleading with the public and the media to please pay attention to this hand which is spending about $800 billion dollars. Anti-reformers do not want anyone looking at the big picture because that would include the savings. If you spend a dollar to save ten dollars, most families get that – change the oil for 20 bucks so you do not have to buy a rebuilt engine for a thousand. If some kind of genuine reform is not passed the Politico-Fox- WaPo-Sunday talk show cliched Beltway mentality will kick off with oh my, what a tremendous defeat for Democrats. Its going to be painful to watch as millions more Americans become financially crippled by health-care costs or lack of any insurance at all, but what goes around comes around and it bites. In 2012 who is going to get the blame for the health-care equivalent of the Wall St meltdown. Republicans and conservative Democrats. Lieberman, Fox, the tea baggers etc think they have it all figured out. They’re driving another nail into modern conservatism’s casket.

Health-care Reform Sound Bites, Conservatives Object to Being Held to Account

Black and White City Sky reflections wallpaper

Health-care reform news has degenerated into tabloid news bites. That might be a good thing – except for the lies. Some of the most visited WordPress blogs and web sites are about celebrities and gossip. We could called it Raiders of Health-Care the new action adventure film from Steven Spielberg. Then maybe people would look into how much health-care costs families and small businesses. That the current inflation rate of costs means that in the next five years millions more Americans will be crossing their fingers and hoping they stay healthy long enough to reach Medicare eligibility. Yesterday the White House tried to push back against some of the rumors, The Public Option: Rumor Check

In his September 9th address to Congress, President Obama made clear that he supports the public option because it has the potential to play an essential role in holding insurance companies accountable through choice and competition.  That continues to be the President’s position.

The problem with that press release is it did not address the concerns many of us have about including a state opt-out. Today, an unidentified aide has said that Senate Majority Leader Reid(D-NV) will definitely pursue the public option, but with a state opt-out, Aide: Reid likely to include public option in Senate health care bill

Reid is likely to make the move without having firm commitments of support from 60 senators, the number needed to break a filibuster, according to the aide. Describing the move as a “risky strategy,” the aide said Reid believes including the public option is the right approach, and that the senator is “cautiously optimistic he can get the votes necessary.”

So will any Republican support a bill that includes a state opt-out – a tip of the hat to the conservative tendency, suspiciously lacking the last eight years, to mangle the 10th Amendment. As exasperating as it is, President Obama deserves some credit for trying to be bi-partisan – this interview with Cheney demonstrates one of the many reasons America got feed up with Republican arrogance – Obama’s efforts may pay off in the long run. That said, with the possible exception of Senator Snowe it is unlikely health-care reform of any kind will get a Republican vote. Why won’t the highly accommodating public option with an opt-out pass, probably because of Democrats Ben Nelson and Blanche Lincoln. I realize the politics of their prospective states dictates they not be the most liberal Democrats, but their political math might be off. They’re worried they cannot get reelected with moderate independents and conservative Democrats, but if the center-left base stays home because of the senators lack of action on health-care they cut their reelection chances considerably.

Fox News Anchor Yells At Democrat After “Fair & Balanced” Remark (VIDEO). For years the cornerstone of Conservative debate has been to repeat the same lies over and over again. In addition, while they have also had a tendency to think yelling something really loud makes what they say true, Fox makes the tactic official.

Right-wing media claim Obama is criticizing Fox for “tough questions” and “reporting the truth” – Fox, Malkin, Limbaugh and Beck complain that when they smear, lie, distort and go off on shrill tangents its wrong for anyone to fact check them and point out the obvious. When moderate Americans ask “tough” questions of conservatives its portrayed by the Right as an attack. When the Right attacks, they’re just asking tough questions. Orwellian style propaganda seems like the only thing at which most conservatives excel.

Apple Rain Drops wallpaper and some news headlines

Apple Rain Drops wallpaper

Conservatives are easily duped, recently confirmed by being punked by Anita Dunn and Bill Ayers. Now they’re punking each other with fake stories about President Obama’s college thesis, So desperate they’ll believe anything — the fake Obama thesis debunked

Now, you might be thinking: “Wait a minute, I thought conservatives didn’t like Obama’s elusive thesis because it was on nuclear disarmament.” Well, this is a different thesis, it would seem, and blogger Michael Ledeen wrote about it two days ago:

I missed this first time around.  Brian Lancaster at Jumping in Pools reported on Obama’s college thesis, written when he was at Columbia. The paper was called “Aristocracy Reborn,” and in the first ten pages (which were all that reporter Joe Klein — who wrote about it for Time — was permitted to see).

So Ledeen sources this bombshell to another, more obscure conservative blogger, who wrote — back on August 25, mind you — that Time’s Joe Klein had seen Obama’s damning thesis and was going to report on it for “an upcoming special edition about the President.” No indication was given as to how this obscure blogger came to know that one of America’s premiere journalists had obtained this information. There was no indication as to how this blogger was able to quote material only Klein had had access to. Oh, and let’s not forget that this very same blogger was busted by PolitiFact.com for fabricating stories about President Obama.

But hey, why speculate on whether it’s true or not? Let’s go to the source. Mr. Klein? “A report is circulating among the wingnuts that I had a peek at Barack Obama’s senior thesis. It is completely false. I’ve never seen Obama’s thesis. I have no idea where this report comes from — but I can assure you that it’s complete nonsense.”

Some obscure blogger pulls a tangled pile of garbage from his a*s. Story repeated as completely credible by the conservative media, Ledeen being one of the Right’s leading intellectuals. Conservatives could care less about health care and America’s working families, why should they be expected to care about the truth. Ledeen is a big fan of Machiavelli and the WW II era Italian fascism.

Public health care does work. Dick Cheney’s pace maker is still working. Provided with some extra years of life he seems determined to do as much as he can to undermine American values – more war, more torture, less adherance to representative government by and for the people. So in a way anti health-care conservatives might be correct, public health-care will at times be abused, Biden On Cheney Criticism: “Who Cares?”

Cheney said in a speech Wednesday night at the Center for Security Policy that President Obama is “dithering” on Afghanistan “while America’s armed forces are in danger.” He claimed that “signals of indecision out of Washington hurt our allies and embolden our adversaries.”

The vice president did elaborate on one of Cheney’s arguments — that the last administration left Obama with a review of Afghanistan.

“A whole lot has changed in the last year,” he said. “Let’s assume they left us a review that was absolutely correct. Is that review relevant and totally applicable to today in light of the changes that have taken place in the region, in Afghanistan itself? So I think that is sort of irrelevant. Not sort of — I think it’s irrelevant.”

Dick Cheney and George W. Bush will go down in history as the leaders who managed to turn the victory, of Clinton’s lean and mean modern military, in Afghanistan into defeat. While simultaneously letting the guy responsible for 9-11 get away at Tora Bora.

Georgia Republicans Send Political Mailer Disguised As ‘Official’ Census Survey. The new conservatism, as corrupt and nasty as the old conservatism. Or as the right-wing sites Big Government and Big Hollywood would say EXPLOSIVE BREAKING NEWS, REPUBLICANS IN NEFARIOUS PLOT TO GATHER INFO ON AMERICANS JUST LIKE THE COMMUNISTS DID.

U.S. Travel Promotion Map circa 1939, Health-Care News and Not Giving Up

U.S. Travel Promotion Map circa 1939. In the left hand corner one can see the map was commissioned by the WPA _ Works Project Administration.

Just yesterday, Ezra Klein, who usually has the inside track on developments in the health-care circus debate reported Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) seemed to be pushing Senator Schumer’s an opt-out option,

Everyone agrees that they didn’t embrace Reid’s new strategy. Everyone agrees that the White House wants Snowe on the bill, feels the trigger offers a safer endgame, and isn’t convinced by Reid’s math. But whether officials expressed a clear preference for the trigger, or were just worried about the potential for 60 votes, is less clear. One staffer briefed on the conversation says “the White House basically told us, ‘We hope you guys know what you’re doing.'”

Ezra linked to this post by David Kurtz, Death By A Thousand Leaks? In which the bottom line according to one leak seemed to be some kind of “trigger”  point at which some kind of public option health care insurance could kick in. But the White House dismissed that report as premature, a way of leaning on Pelosi to give up any kind of public option. Why do most Democrats and Independents, and a few percent of conservatives prefer a strong public option. The two more obvious benefits to the nation is the downward pressure such an option would have on health-care costs, while the second is getting more Americans insured. Thus the political gamesmanship is unwelcome at best. At a political level the game is dragging down the Republican party, but Democrats failure to show stronger leadership on the health care issue is hardly endearing them to voters either. This report from today’s WaPo has an odd headline under the circumstances,  Prognosis improves for public insurance -OMENTUM SHIFT IS DRAMATIC Top Democrats push option in health-care legislation

Reid’s original inclination was to leave the public option out of a final bill he is writing from measures passed by the finance and health committees. But his liberal colleagues began urging him two weeks ago to reconsider, after insurance industry forecasts that premiums would rise sharply under the Finance Committee bill, which lacked a public option. The report had the effect of prodding Democrats to look for better ways to control costs, and the public option — strongly opposed by the insurance industry — reemerged as a possible solution.

Because a government-run plan would be dedicated to holding down costs and would lack a profit motive, congressional budget analysts predict that it could reduce the cost of expanding coverage to people who don’t have it by as much as $100 billion over the next decade.

In the House, Pelosi was still trying to line up votes for the most cost-effective version of the public plan, one that would pay providers based on Medicare rates. Rank-and-file House Democrats summoned Friday to an early-morning caucus were asked to say publicly whether they would vote for a bill that included such a provision.

Muddying the waters

Senior Democrats said it was still unclear whether that idea would prevail. While support for a “robust” public option is strong, they said, other issues are muddying the waters. For example, as many as 20 votes hinge on resolving a battle over abortion that has pitted an unyielding abortion-rights faction against antiabortion Democrats who want to make sure no federal money is used to pay for the procedure.

House leaders planned to work through the weekend to resolve as many individual concerns as possible, with the goal of producing a bill as soon as next week.

WaPo’s take is that a public option with a state opt-out provision is a long way from the gathering of angry screwballs otherwise known as tea parties. In real world politics where your side seldom gets everything it wants, that glass half full view is true enough. Maybe its too late, maybe not, but it does seem that so many Democrats posting on Democratic blogs or in the comments section have become so disappointed or cynical they have stopped putting pressure directly on Senate Democrats in particular. Cynicism is not going to win this battle. Anyone of any political leaning, regardless of the party of your home state senator should still be sending those e-mails, faxes and post cards pushing for a strong public option. Imagine the effect of say, a million college Democrats, or a million union members, sending a post card and e-mail to their senators this weekend. Combined with media coverage that would create a lot of pressure. Senate Republicans only have two relatively moderate Senators Snowe and Collins. Not often enough, but they will occasionally listen to reason. Snowe gets an earful of pressure from the extreme rightie do-nothing ideologues like  Mitch McConnell (R-KY). How about giving her some thoughtful comments from a million hard working Americans that live in the real world.

Black and White Twisted Tree wallpaper

Black and White Twisted Tree wallpaper

Obama takes on Wall Street at fundraiser

President Barack Obama challenged Wall Street to embrace his proposed financial regulations at a New York City fundraiser Tuesday night.

Obama criticized the “reckless speculation and deceptive practices and short-sightedness and self-interestedness from a few.” The audience included members of the Wall Street community.

Banks and other financial institutions have fought the proposed regulations, including one for a Consumer Protection Financial Agency. Obama has insisted the agency is necessary to prevent another economic collapse.

Its great that President Obama is trying to enact regulation that one hopes will prevent another Great Recession, but for an administration that had such great message discipline during their campaign why the mixed signals its sending the public, see Greenwald’s Another Goldman executive named to key government post as its profits skyrocket. Considering the size of Goldman Sach and its unique position in the financial industry its not unreasonable that the administration should, under the circumstances, have frequent contact with them, but when you add in the the money Goldman spends on lobbying and the extraordinary access they have had to our Treasury Secretary, much of the public is going to have a hard time parsing out giving Obama credit for genuine reform. If Obama is serious about holding Wall St accountable and ramp up public support, he needs to bring back some of that good old days message control. One easy way to do that is not hiring Wall St insiders.

One message in Sun Tzu’s “Art of War” is never underestimate the enemy. If you never watch Faux News you miss a lot. A small sound bite one day turns into next week’s far Right echo. If you just cannot bring yourself to put up with Brit Hume and Bill O’Reilly at least check in at News Hounds once in a while – they watch so you don’t have to. That the White House has pointed out that Fox is simply a propaganda arm of the conservative movement is not earth shattering news. Fox’s feigned hurt and outrage is comical at best. They’ve claimed that President Obama is not differentiating between Fox news segments and the endless stream of opinion programming. There is not enough difference between Fox’s so-called news and its opinion programming to pass a thread through. Not the ultimate throw down of Fox’s poor victim meme, but HuffPo has compiled some “news” clips from Fox in a video, The Ten Most Egregious Fox News Distortions (VIDEO). And related this editorial by Jacob Weisberg, The O’Garbage Factor
Fox News isn’t just bad. It’s un-American.

What’s most distinctive about the American press is not its freedom but its century-old tradition of independence—that it serves the public interest rather than those of parties, persuasions, or pressure groups. Media independence is a 20th-century innovation that has never fully taken root in many other countries that do have a free press. The Australian-British-continental model of politicized media that Murdoch has applied at Fox is un-American, so much so that he has little choice but go on denying what he’s doing as he does it. For Murdoch, Ailes, and company, “fair and balanced” is a necessary lie. To admit that their coverage is slanted by design would violate the American understanding of the media’s role in democracy and our idea of what constitutes fair play. But it’s a demonstrable deceit that no longer deserves equal time.

A few misguided members of the media has defended Fox – the brotherhood of journalist mentality I suppose. A concept I would defend if Fox remotely resembled an actual journalistic endeavor. Also not surprising is some of the brotherhood are saying that Obama pointing out the obvious is unprecedented, The Washington Post’s Ruth Marcus must have been napping during the Bush administration

Marcus must have forgotten, for example, when a top White House advisor to President Bush targeted NBC in May 2008, accusing the network of deceptive editing and blurring the lines between “news” and “opinion.” Officials from the Bush team, around that time, began treating NBC and MSNBC as political opponents.

And let’s not forget that to this day, with the exception of PBS, not one network – ABC, CBS, NBC – has investigated or apologized for presenting highly biased opinions of “military analysts” as news, when all they were doing was helping the Bushies sell the Iraq occupation and the utterly absurd concept that Iraq was the “front” in the “war on terror”.

Conseratives Still Under the Impression Stupidity, Hypocrisy and anti-Americanism Are the Path Back to Power

Tufa Towers Mono Lake wallpaper

Republicans will be easy to spot as you go about your business today. They’ll have read faces dripping with sweat as they try to engage their neurons in the seldom used task of thinking. They’ll try parsing out the the not very fine differences between a political campaign maintaining a tight control over its message and using the entire corporate media as its puppet. The distinction is not that fine, its as big as the Grand Canyon, but that was my best attempt at being generous. Beck, Drudge, WND, Fox Nation falsely accuse Dunn of admitting White House “control” over news media

Dunn was describing the campaign’s direct video method. In her speech, Dunn discussed ways in which the Obama campaign attempted to disseminate its message directly to the media. One of those methods was by recording its own videos and sending them directly to supporters. She said of that strategy:

DUNN: A huge part of our press strategy was focused on making the media cover what Obama was actually saying as opposed to, you know, why the campaign was saying it, what the tactic was, that we — we had a huge premium both on message discipline, on people in the campaign not leaking to reporters and people in the campaign not discussing our strategy, and also on making the press cover what we were saying.

So we, you know, one of the reasons we did so many of the David Plouffe videos was not just for our supporters, but also because it was a way for us to get our message out without having to actually talk to reporters; we just put that out there and make them write what Plouffe had said as opposed to Plouffe doing an interview with a reporter. So it was very much we controlled it, as opposed to the press controlled it.

The mainstream press, generally known to have a contempt for bloggers have and will continue to recent not being the filter through which all news must past. This Dunn-Obama tactic of communicating directly to voters rather then checking with the royal court jesters of Drudge and Fox is pure heresy, the work of mad men. Or maybe some good old fashioned democracy. Much in the vine of the infamous public battles between Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton.

The echo that never dies is the one where the media will not give poor beleaguered conservatives enough print space, radio wavelength or broadcast time to get out their message. Maddow dares Liz Cheney to appear on her show: ‘Be not afraid…I promise I will not bite.’ Betcha Liz would be happy to have yet another nauseating softball interview with Sean Hannity. From what I understand Liz’s fear of the confronting the truth might be helped by therapy.

Glenn Beck acknowledges there is a white power structure – Beck Refuses To Define What He Meant By The Phrase ‘White Culture’: ‘Ummmmm, I Don’t Know’ – which according to the right-wing media watchdog site Newsbusters does not exist.Whatever white culture is Obama is out to destroy it. Maybe that is why the loony right is hesitate to reveal exactly what is is and has contradictory opinions on who’s a member.

Poll: Democrats Lead GOP for 2010

Chris Cillizza delves into the internals of the Washington Post poll that has support for a “public option” in health care ticking back up. It’s lousy for Republicans. Only 19 percent of Americans trust the GOP to make the right decisions, and just 37 percent want Congress to pass a bill with Republican support if it doesn’t include the public option. Just as ominously, it has the Democratic lead in the generic 2010 ballot test at 12 points, illustrated in the graph after the jump.

Congressional Democrats are stalled in the polls because they’re perceived – and rightly so for Senate Democrats and Blue Dogs – as they’re not fighting hard enough for genuine health-care reform. Republicans remain in the basement because the public still sees them as the party of obstructionist anti-Americanism. Clear majority now back public option: poll

Storm Clouds Autumn wallpaper

Storm Clouds Autumn wallpaper

Maddow Calls Out Americans for Prosperity President: ‘Parasite Who Gets Fat On Americans’ Fears’

Maddow extracted confessions from Phillips that he had in fact worked for a Jack Abramoff client to pressure members of Congress to vote against legislation that would have made the U.S. commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands — where Chinese workers were forced into prostitution and mandatory abortions — subject to federal wage and worker safety laws. Even given the deplorable conditions at the sweatshops, Phillips was unrepentant. “I don’t have an issue with it,” said Phillips, adding, “I’m not going to disown it.”

Phillips defended his methods with a curious argument. He disregarded the morals of his tactics, then explained that no matter what his organization says, who funds them, and how they operate, he and his corporate backers have every right to be “involved in the process.” Maddow conceded that point, but asserted that AFP’s fear-mongering and lying is simply bad for the country.

Calling Vietnam vet Max Cleland a terrorist sympathizer, lobbying to deregulate Enron and then protecting workers in the Marianas from progressive labor practices is all deflected by Phillips right be be “involved in the process”. Whether caught on tape, video or a show down of facts by a journalist, right-wing rule number 1, deflect with a non-answer. Mixed with arrogance your average conservative comes up with a cocktail of egregious moral relativity – any thing they do or say is simply OK because they did or said it. The ultimate circle jerk of Republican rationale.

The Right is so very upset, the poor things, that one quote attributed to Limbaugh may not be accurate. These rusty buckets of Republican tears over a rabid shock jock that has made millions as a professional liar, propagandist, one man mob of hate and distortion and his genuflecting minions are upset because, suddenly the truth and nothing but the truth matters. That’s fine, I believe that one quote was a misquote, now they only have to explain dozens of others that are well documented. Let’s not forget who runs the NFL and decides who gets to be an owner – a bunch of conservatives.

Things Wingers Believe: Dunn, Mao, Ayers and Dreams

Things wingers believe

Beck-led Fox News “czar” witch hunt moves to ridiculous smear of Anita Dunn

Beck falsely claimed Dunn “worships” Mao Zedong, “her hero.” Throughout most of his October 15 Fox News program, Beck falsely claimed that Dunn “worships” and “idolizes” “her hero” Mao Zedong. In fact, in the video that Beck aired as evidence to support his claims, Dunn offered no endorsement of Mao’s ideology or atrocities — rather, she commented that Mao and Mother Teresa were two of her “favorite political philosophers,” and based on short quotes from them, she offered the advice that “you don’t have to follow other people’s choices and paths” or “let external definition define how good you are internally.”

In less then three weeks this is the second time conservatives have been punked. The first was when a conservative blogger corned former Weatherman radical Bill Ayers in an airport and he cowled gnarled something about being the real author of Barack Obama’s Dreams of My Father. As sure as Ayers knew hen he said it the usual low spark of burned out neurons such as Free Republic, Hot Air repeated it as vindication of their bizarre theory ( I wrote about their stellar scholarly detective techniques here –  Herman Melville Wrote Dreams of My Father). That right-wing bastion of rightie intellectualism  the National Review also agreed that Ayers was making a simple confession. Having been punked about their own propaganda the Right is not about to give up the myth now, Bill Ayers Explains It All. One of my favorite political philosophers George W. Bush once said “There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — [pauses] – shame on you. Fool me — You can’t get fooled again.” Nashville, Tenn., (September 17, 2002). Fox and assorted conservative pundits might want to read the Great Bush once in a while they might learn something. Maybe they would have understood Dunn’s recent exercise in her sly straight faced jab at conservatives, Obama aide fires back at Beck over Mao remarks

“The Mao quote is one I picked up from the late Republican strategist Lee Atwater from something I read in the late 1980s, so I hope I don’t get my progressive friends mad at me,” Dunn told CNN.

As for Beck’s criticism: “The use of the phrase ‘favorite political philosophers’ was intended as irony, but clearly the effort fell flat — at least with a certain Fox commentator whose sense of irony may be missing.”

What Dunn said in full,

A lot of you have great deal of ability. A lot of you work hard. Put them together and that answers the why not question. There is usually not a good reason. And then the 3rd lesson and tip actually come from two of my favorite political philosophers. Mao Tse-tung and Mother Teresa, not often couple with each other, but the two people that I turn to most to basically deliver a simple point which is you’re going to make choices, you’re going to challenge, you’re going to say why not. You’re going to figure out how to do things that have never been done before. But here’s the deal, these are your choices, they’re no one else’s.

In 1947, when Mao Tse-tung was being challenged within his own party, on his plan to basically take China over, Chiang Kai-shek and the nationalist Chinese held the cities, they had the army, they had the air force, they had everything on their side and people said how can you win, how can you do this, how can you do this against all odds against you, and Mao Tse-tung said “You fight your war and I’ll fight mine.” Think about that for a second, you don’t have to accept the definition of how to do things and you don’t have to follow other people’s choices in the past. Okay. It is about your choices in your path, you fight your own war. You lay out your own path. You figure out what is right for you. You don’t let external definition how good you are internally. You fight your own war. You let them fight their’s. Everybody has their own path.

As subtle as that might be it doesn’t speak well, yet once again, for the sense of humor or knowledge of history of modern conservatives. Shouldn’t a little bell have gone off at designating a mass murdering communist and a self-less humanitarian as your “favorite” political philosophers set off a the irony alert. As Media Matters notes conservatives such as Stephen C. Shadegg, Ralph Reed, Edward H. Crane and John McCain among others have quoted Mao. The phrase that Dunn quotes isn’t or at least should not be attributed to Mao Tse-tung, because Mao Tse-tung plagiarized the concept ( as he did throughout ” The Red Book”) from Sun Tzu’s ‘The Art of War”,

Therefore the clever combatant imposes his will on the enemy, but does not allow the enemy’s will to be imposed on him.

Do not repeat the tactics which have gained you one victory, but let your methods be regulated by the infinite variety of circumstances.

He who can modify his tactics in relation to his opponent and thereby succeed in winning, may be called a heaven-born captain.

update: Forgot to mention that “The Art of War” is taught at West Point.