Black and White Beach Tree wallpaper

Black and White wallpaper

Black and White Beach Tree wallpaper

Newsweek’s take on financial reform – Financial Reform’s Big Unknowns

The legislation also omits the strongest safeguards against financial meltdowns: tougher capital requirements. Capital mainly represents the stake of shareholders in financial institutions; it provides a cushion against losses. Pre-Lehman, banks’ capital represented about 10 percent of their assets. Some experts would raise that as high as 15 percent. But the legislation leaves capital requirements to regulators, led by the Fed and Treasury. They are negotiating with other countries to set global standards. The outcome is unclear, and there’s a dilemma: Overly tough capital rules will discourage lending.

Still, the legislation seems on balance a plus. Though not eliminating the threat of future crises, “it makes them less likely,” says Litan. The “too big to fail” problem has been mitigated, if not entirely solved. During the crisis, the government faced an unsavory choice. Letting huge financial institutions fail threatened a chain reaction by inflicting losses on their trading partners. When Lehman went bankrupt, chaos followed. But rescuing large, ailing institutions could be highly costly for taxpayers, as the AIG bailout showed.

Under the congressional proposals, the government could shut down crucial financial institutions gradually and recoup the costs through taxes on other financial institutions.

I’m not so sure that larger capital requirements would rein in lending. Once everyone – starts to feel the economy is on firm footing and that feeling seems to be growing – banks and other lenders will feel more inclined to lend money. Lending money is after all how they make much of their revenue. Related to this story is a column by Republican’s favorite liemiester Frank Luntz at HuffPo – Why the Dodd Financial Services Bill Is Bad… For Democrats. If every unemployed American had a dime for every time a conservative went concern trolling they’d be a lot of rich unemployed Americans. And isn’t it ironic that a liberal site like HuffPo will give a soapbox to a known propagandist yet you’ll never see The Weakly Standard or the National Disgrace Review give a moderate Democrat a chance to be heard on their sites. Anyway Luntz is back to the same talking points he used when he had his hand up Senator Mitch McConnell’s(R-Ky) back; making large financial institutions pay into a fund will make those institutions just  past those charges on to customers. So the logic goes: do away with air traffic controllers because helping jets avoid crashing into each other is just costing passengers more. Do away with requiring car insurance because without insurance people will drive safer. Or maybe having safe guards in place like air traffic controllers encourages people to feel safe and travel. Requiring insurance makes financial sense just in case a few folks don’t drive all that safe. Or requiring Wall St to bail itself out will protect tax payers and encourage these too big to fail financial institutions to be a little more cautious. Thus preventing yet another melt down. The kind of thinking that anticipates such behavior might be considered too logical or actual conservatism in practice, so will be lost on the Konservative Kool-Kids who call themselves Republicans. Wait Republicans do have their own plan – only, it does not have a rescue provision financed by Wall St. In other words it sucks or reeks of Luntzness, Wall Street Reform: Elizabeth Warren Challenges Republicans To Stand Up For Families

The Republicans’ counter-proposal, released this week, fails all four of Warren’s tests.

It calls for a council led by the heads of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the Federal Reserve. They’d issue rules, supervise “our nation’s largest financial institutions, large non-bank mortgage originators, and other financial services providers who have violated the consumer protection statutes,” and enforce the rules.

Warren isn’t thrilled with the idea of allowing bank regulators — whose top priority is to ensure the profitability of the nation’s banks — to continue to oversee consumer protection, particularly when the OCC is involved.

“The problem with consumer protection is structure. Our current consumer regulatory process is designed to fail, and if we don’t fix it, it will fail again,” she said. “In every major dispute between customers and banks, the OCC entered the fray on the side of the banks. Clearly, banks — not their customers — were the OCC’s primary interest. The idea that the OCC would now be in a position to veto the new consumer agency is shameful.

As of January 2009, on the 15th I believe, Republicans suddenly rediscovered the 10th Amendment and state’s rights. Just as suddenly everything that passed by our elected representatives in the 2008 election cycle was unconstitutional or a commie plot. Now that there are plans to give states back the right to have even tougher banking regulation than the feds, Republicans claim that the states are not equipped to do that and it would be an unfair burden on their buddies at Goldman Sachs, Citibank and AIG. An autopsy of the average conservative will find a limp windsock in the part of the brain which interprets written texts. 2008, those were the days – Republican Legacy Of Squandering Taxpayer Money

I just want to make a confession. Not only is tea party leader Tom Tancredo correct, but the President’s devious plan seems to be working perfectly – Tea Party leader: Obama hides birth cert. to make us ‘nuts’

During an appearance on the radio show of Fox News’ Alan Colmes, prominent tea party leader Tom Tancredo made it clear he believes President Obama may not be an American citizen, Think Progress reported.

[  ]…Later in the interview, Tancredo suggested the Obama administration will not release the president’s birth certificate as a ploy to cast tea partiers in a negative light.

TANCREDO: Now they very well not want to show it because they want to propagate this whole thing that’s going on about birthers. … They may be doing it for that reason; I don’t know why they don’t want anyone to see it. … They want it propagated because you know –

COLMES: It makes your party look nuts!

TANCREDO: Yeah well maybe that’s why they don’t produce document, I don’t know.

Its like crazy Uncle Larry who kept yelling where’s my hat, where’s my hat, than looked in the mirror. That birth certificate may go down in history as one of the most well known documents ever. The certificate and the debunking of the foreign-born myth has been debunked to the point of inanity or nuttiness – as Tom, a descendant of Italian immigrants, proves. Anyone seen Tom’s birth certificate?

Tea party wallpaper

Republican Debt Legacy

U.S. Budget History
Jan’01: Bush Becomes President
$850 billion SURPLUS

Nov’04: Bush Re-Elected
$415 billion DEFICIT

Jan’09: Obama Becomes Pres.
$1.2 trillion DEFICIT

Republican Debt Legacy
Ronald Reagan (1981-1989)
Started: $1.6 trillion debt
Finished: $3.0 trillion debt

George H.W. Bush (1989-1993)
Started: $3.0 trillion debt
Finished: $4.3 trillion debt

George W. Bush (2001-2009)
Started: $5.8 trillion debt
Finished: $10.8 trillion debt

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Blue Water Ripple wallpaper, CNN Botches Report on Economic Stimulus

Blue Water Ripple wallpaper

CNN seems to be helping Fox do the heavy lifting in a bash of the Recovery Act and the Obama administration –  Economists: The stimulus didn’t help

The recovery is picking up steam as employers boost payrolls, but economists think the government’s stimulus package and jobs bill had little to do with the rebound, according to a survey released Monday.

[  ]…NABE conducted the study by polling 68 of its members who work in economic roles at private-sector firms.

What is the NABE and does a survey of economists employed at certain businesses honestly reflect the benefits of the Recovery Act. On their About page NABE lists conservative guru and Ayn Rand acolyte Alan Greenspan as a past president. That is not smoking gun proof that the NABE has an axe to grind, but they do seem to approach economics from a certain perspective. One that had a lot to do with the general economic policies that lost the nation $3 trillion dollars in wealth starting in 2007. The economists in the NABE survey did think the economy was improving, but one prominent factor effecting business in their opinion was the credit crunch – lenders still have a tight-fisted point of view when it comes to lending. That is something the administration has complained about, but despite President Obama’s powers as a tyrannical Marxist-Nazi he cannot seem to get banks to loosen their gripe on lending. The White House does have a horse in this race so sure they might have a bias, but logic is still logic and national numbers are still numbers – The Direct and Indirect Benefits of the Recovery Act

According to NABE:

The vast majority (73%) of respondents “reported the fiscal stimulus in February 2009 has had no impact on employment to date.”

Now we know that that the Recovery Act hasn’t just had an impact on employment so far – it’s had a BIG impact on employment.  From private forecasters like Moody’s Economy.com and IHS Global to public economists like the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, economists across the board have gone on-the-record saying that the Recovery Act is already responsible for millions of jobs nationwide and contributing to the economic growth that is fueling our recovery. Here are just a few of them:

IHS Global Insight chief economist Nariman Behravesh: Without the stimulus, said Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at IHS Global Insight in Lexington, 3 million more Americans would be out of work and the national unemployment rate, just below 10 percent, would be 12 percent – or higher. “There is no doubt that it had an impact,’’ Behravesh said. “When there is a shortfall in private sector demand, there is a role for government to step in and fill the gap.’’ [The Boston Globe, 3/7/2010]
Stuart Hoffman, chief economist at PNC Bank: “The stimulus worked,” said Stuart Hoffman, chief economist at PNC Bank. Without it, “the unemployment rate would probably be closer to 11 percent and the economy might not have grown at all last year.” [ABC News, 2/18/10]
Economist Stephen Herzenberg: “Cut through all the numbers, though, and this is what you find: The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act saved us from plunging into a second Great Depression… The Recovery Act brought the economy back from the brink.  And these figures probably underestimate its impact, because they don’t take market psychology into account. When the legislation passed, the economy was plunging at a pace similar to that of the 1930s. If Congress had sat on its hands, unemployment now could easily be 12 percent to 15 percent – and on its way to 20 percent.”  [Philadelphia Inquirer, 1/17/10]
Mark Zandi of Moody’s Economy.com: “The catalyst for the transition from recession to recovery was the unprecedented monetary and fiscal stimulus provided by government policymakers…The Recovery Act’s expanded unemployment insurance benefits, financial aid to state governments, tax cuts for households and businesses, and tax credits for home purchases all contributed to the turn in the economy. The recovery has gained traction in recent months as the sources of GDP growth have broadened to include consumer spending, business investment and exports. The job market has also stabilized. After declining by some 8.4 million jobs between December 2007 and February 2010, payroll employment expanded by 162,000 in March.” [Testimony before Senate Finance Committee, 4/14/2010]

We do not know where these NABE economist work in the private sector and obviously job creation is not where we would like it to be, but a headline that reads “The stimulus didn’t help” is both deceptive and might remind many readers of the kind of distorted messaging that has made Fox so popular among tea conservatives who seemed to have slept through the Bush-Republican Congress years.

And keep in mind that the Recovery Act hasn’t just created jobs directly by paying salaries for workers.  Recent analysis from the Council of Economic Advisors found that about half of the jobs created by the Recovery Act so far were as a result of tax relief and income supports like unemployment benefits – money that doesn’t go to companies, but to consumers.

Which is why NABE economists and others are saying that it looks as though the economy is on the way to a recovery – though it may take a few years to see unemployment go down to pre-Great Recession levels. Though we’re seeing progress in both hiring and lower job loss rates – Economists say recovery looks stronger than expected

Why the brighter outlook? Consumers are opening their wallets more widely than expected. Retail sales climbed at a 10.1% annualized rate the past three months, highest in four years. Economists cite rising incomes, a stock market rally that makes shoppers feel wealthier and abating fears of layoffs.

Also, manufacturers are feverishly replenishing stocks to meet growing demand. And exports are swelling company earnings.

Wyss, though, cites “big headwinds.” Consumers, he says, are too burdened by high debt to continue their spending sprees. The expiration of a home buyers’ tax credit Friday will dampen housing sales. And the government’s $787 billion economic stimulus package will be gone by late 2010.

Dean Maki, chief U.S. economist of Barclays Capital, is more bullish. He says the stock rally and growing incomes will let consumers pay off debts while increasing spending. And homes are cheap enough to goose sales even after the tax credit expires, he says. He predicts 3.8% growth this year.

One more thing that is strange either about how CNN is twisting the story or NABE’s reporting of its survey is what NABE has said previously –

“Eighty-three percent believe that GDP is currently higher than it would have been without the 2009 stimulus package (ARRA).”
And more than half of the respondents to that survey “view[ed] the 2009 stimulus package as a positive factor for the economy over the longer term.”

That was just this past March 2010. Of course Democrats are going to disagree with the far Right about jobs and the stimulus, but even many Democrats had some good faith disagreements over the Recovery Act in 2009 and how it should be spent. That said even in February of this year it was obvious that the Recovery Act was stopping an economic free-fall and creating jobs – Judging Stimulus by Job Data Reveals Success

Imagine if, one year ago, Congress had passed a stimulus bill that really worked.

Let’s say this bill had started spending money within a matter of weeks and had rapidly helped the economy. Let’s also imagine it was large enough to have had a huge impact on jobs — employing something like two million people who would otherwise be unemployed right now.

If that had happened, what would the economy look like today?

Well, it would look almost exactly as it does now. Because those nice descriptions of the stimulus that I just gave aren’t hypothetical. They are descriptions of the actual bill.

Just look at the outside evaluations of the stimulus. Perhaps the best-known economic research firms are IHS Global Insight, Macroeconomic Advisers and Moody’s Economy.com. They all estimate that the bill has added 1.6 million to 1.8 million jobs so far and that its ultimate impact will be roughly 2.5 million jobs. The Congressional Budget Office, an independent agency, considers these estimates to be conservative.

Leonhardt isn’t a hack he does include criticisms of the stimulus – some which have some validity. On the other hand we have the newly elected himbo Scott Brown(R-Mass) claiming the stimulus did not create one job. Those kinds of mindless hyperbolic statements may have gotten him elected and are coma inducing mind candy for the tea conservatives, but also a pants on fire lie. Let’s pretend for a moment we don’t live in the age of constant political hysteria whipped up by the Right and we have fact based national debates. The stimulus was not all that many of us had hoped, but it has hardly been a failure. Unfortunately what would be need to convince the voices of hysteria is a time machine where we could travel back and let them see the country without the Recovery Act – a collapsed economy – with tea nuts begging on street corners. Even then Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin would probably find some way to deflect blame for the consequences of the policies they preached.

“Remember November”, Immigration idiocy and More Poor Little Conservative Victims

Donklephant’s has some commentary and the video itself from the The Republican Governors Association’s “Remember November” video and the editorial by Michael Scherer at Time – Republican Governors Pay Homage To Guy Fawkes.  Pandagon’s post and the comments gives readers a minute  dissection.

The meaning of Fawkes is, of course, not fixed. The Wachowski brothers’ retelling of the Fawkes’ story was later embraced by libertarian supporters of Ron Paul. During the 2008 campaign, “Remember, Remember The Fifth of November” became a rallying cry for Paul boosters, who shared at least some of the revolutionary fire of both Fawkes and the Wachowskis. On November 5, 2007, Guy Fawkes Day, Paul supporters raised more than $4 million online.

Now, the Fawkes mythology has come full circle. The Republican Governors Association has embraced the symbolism of Fawkes, launching a rather striking website, RememberNovember.com, with a video that showcases far more Hollywood savvy than one can usually expect from Republicans.( Time magazine)

The first two associations that come to mind are the original Guy Fawkes and the movie “V” for Vendetta. The problem is one of creating plausible deniability which, in a fashion, the  RGA has. I checked a few conservative sites and their claim is that Remember rhymes with November ( so does September and December – thus Scherer’s Ron Paul point of association is difficult to ignore). One of Michelle Malkin’s puppets did say if the RGA meant to refer to the treasonous terrorism of Guy Fawkes to push the conservative agenda, it was a very bad political move. This NYT piece on Jon Stewart provides a good example of how that deniability is done and done frequently by the Right when they want to draw direct parallels between some act or historical event, but give the appearance of letting others come to their own conclusions, Jon Stewart’s Punching Bag, Fox News

But there he was, checking in with the White House when Fox didn’t. The inspiration for the “Fox & Friends” segment about the “Islamic image” came from The New York Post, which, like Fox News, is owned by the News Corporation. Mr. Stewart cut up the clips of the co-hosts Brian Kilmeade and Gretchen Carlson reckoning that the flags of Muslim nations look a lot like the summit logo — followed by Ms. Carlson’s saying “you be the judge” — before letting rip.

“Yeah, you be the judge,” Mr. Stewart said, hurling an expletive and continuing, “We’re just curious citizens, wondering if we put that logo up with four Muslim flags, whether you’ll have a visceral reaction that our president is perhaps Muslim.”

He concluded: “Anyway, what do you think? We’re just doing the math and then giving you the answer, and then asking you to check our work.”

So  Remember November as a convenient rhyme is just another way of back pedaling out of yet another situation – like commemorating Confederate treason. Those wicked libruls did their own math and came up with an answer that makes conservatives look like they are promoting treason twice in less than thirty days. So ha, that is not what Republicans meant no matter how logical the conclusion. It is unfortunate and may change over the next week that people are not concentrating on two elements of the video that will be difficult to weasel out of – the Breitbarting of various statements made by Democrats – statements pulled completely out of context and things said in jest, made to look like serious policy statements. The other side to the video is similar to the 2008 election cycle racially tinged video by McCain-Palin which tried to portray presidential nominee Senator Obama as the ominous other. The conservative base ate that video up, but it fell flat with most voters. Will recycling the “Antichrist” hyperbole work this time around.

Conservative Christian author Hal Lindsey declared in an essay on WorldNetDaily,  “Obama is correct in saying that the world is ready for someone like him — a messiah-like figure, charismatic and glib … The Bible calls that leader the Antichrist. And it seems apparent that the world is now ready to make his acquaintance.” The conservative website RedState.com  now sells mugs and T shirts that sport a large “O” with horns and the words “The Anti-Christ” underneath.

Considering the recent celebration of Confederate treason by two Republican governors the opening of the RGA video supplied some sick irony containing this quote from Abraham Lincoln “You may fool all the people some of the time, you can even fool some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all the time.”. Democrats went on to become the party of Lincoln while Republican’s became the far right-wing party of Jefferson Davis.

I’m for the rule of law and getting a handle on illegal immigration. Among many of John McCain’s positions on the issue he actually agreed with me once for about five minutes – Arizona Law Exposes McCain’s Serial Flip-Flops on Immigration. Now Mike Huckabee – who Ann Coulter once called the Republican Jimmy Carter agrees with the ACLU and I (within a few degrees anyway). The law is going to cost the state of Arizona a fortune when there are much more pressing issues facing the general public and it is unconstitutional – Arizona immigration law thread

The law creates new immigration crimes and penalties inconsistent with those in federal law, asserts sweeping authority to detain and transport persons suspected of violating civil immigration laws and prohibits speech and other expressive activity by persons seeking work. The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Arizona strongly condemn the governor’s decision to sign the unconstitutional law and are dismayed by her disregard for the serious damage it could cause to civil liberties and public safety in the state.[…]

The new law, which will not go into effect for more than 90 days, requires police agencies across Arizona to investigate the immigration status of every person they come across whom they have “reasonable suspicion” to believe is in the country unlawfully. To avoid arrest, citizens and immigrants will effectively have to carry their “papers” at all times. The law also makes it a state crime for immigrants to willfully fail to register with the Department of Homeland Security and carry registration documents. It further curtails the free speech rights of day laborers and encourages unchecked information sharing between government agencies.

Papers? Every totalitarian regime of the 20th Century was noted for their obsession for stopping anyone that looked suspicious and asking for their…..papers. There is a viral campaign underway in Arizona that is trying to get everyone to stop carrying ID. Let’s imagine they get 25% of the population to not carry anything – they could keep their driver’s license under the seat – the justice system in that state will grind to a halt. This law does have a good side. There will be time for the entire country to get a look at the extreme actions of mindless zealots and what the consequences look like.

REPORT: Fox Newsers rally for GOP in more than 300 instances and in nearly every state

In recent years, at least twenty Fox News personalities have endorsed, raised money, or campaigned for Republican candidates or causes, or against Democratic candidates or causes, in more than 300 instances and in at least 49 states. Republican parties and officials have routinely touted these personalities’ affiliations with Fox News to sell and promote their events.

I went shopping for one of those special right-wing tin foil helmets that make you believe the media is librul and Faux is fair and balanced and darn if they’re not sold out.

Barack Obama is not The One, it’s actually Stephen Baldwin and how uncouth to expect The One to get work and pay his bills, Christians come to Stephen Baldwin’s aid

A Christian group has come to the aid of bankrupt actor Stephen Baldwin — a website has been set up to allow fans to donate money to restore his wealth.

The born-again Christian filed for bankruptcy last year after he racked up more than $2.3 million worth of debt, stemming from several mortgages, tax bills and credit card accounts.

Maybe insipid and usually unemployed actor Scott Baio is The One. He seems to feel – very deeply at that – that he is supporting the multitudes. This week in crazy: Scott Baio- What’s the one thing the former teen idol hates more than paying taxes? Those mean “lesbians” from Jezebel!

We suspected Scott Baio had the makings of a great Twitter meltdown back in January, when the former teen star and staunch conservative posted an unflattering photo of Michelle Obama along with the comment, “WOW He wakes up to this every morning.” We were impressed when he followed up by posting a photo of himself with an actual black lady to prove he wasn’t racist. And he got our attention when he tweeted, on April 12, “Taxes are done. That should feed, house & provide medical for quite a few lazy non working people at my expense.”

Baio, per the right-wing playbook substitutes the word censor for disagree every time he has an attack of idiocy.

dis·a·gree
1.
to fail to agree; differ: The conclusions disagree with the facts. The theories disagree in their basic premises.
2.
to differ in opinion; dissent: Three of the judges disagreed with the verdict.

In Baio’s world to dare disagree with The One’s opinions are synonymous with censorship. It is simply stretching the truth to the point of absurdity to think he pays enough in federal income taxes to support an entire family. There is no such federal program. Less than 3% of the federal budget goes to the total of all social programs such as Aid to Dependent Children – what most people still call welfare – you have to work 40 hours a week to be eligible and no one may collect it for more than five years during their entire lifetime. The search goes go for a conservative who’s kooky and vitriolic claims of victim-hood are matched by the facts. Oh, I forgot Baio cannot be The One because he belongs to the Screen Actor’s Guild union and Michlle Malkin says that anyone who belongs to a union is a thug.

Curved Modern Skyline wallpaper

Curved Modern Skyline wallpaper

The tea nuts are a tiresome bunch that represents fewer people than they and the media would have us believe. At the end of the day while some casual participants – as compared to the hardcore activists – may really believe they are part of something new and important – the tea bagger phenomenon is largely about an allegedly new and improved conservatism ( Newt Gingrich declares they will be the “militant” wing of the GOP). A way to deflect blame for the 10 years that Republicans ruled one to all three branches of government. As worthy of being completely ignored as they are, to do so would be the same mistake moderate Americans made when they ignored the growth of right-wing radio in the 80s. Rabid zealots like Limbaugh, the late Jerry Falwell and others were too extreme to take seriously or deserve a reply. There are not enough gullible Americans out there to believe the garbage, conspiracy theories, anti-Democracy vitriol and bizarre alternate reality they were selling? It turned out that if nothing else, the constant repetition of their message sunk in with enough of the electorate to get some razor thin victories. Enough to change the political landscape. So if the rebranded conservatives are going to use the same tactic of repeating the message over and over, then they must be answered over and over. The Tea Party’s Toxic Take on History – Ignore it at your peril.

The muddled Tea Party version of history is more than wrong and fraudulent. It’s offensive. Calling Obama a tyrant, a communist, or a fascist is deeply offensive to all the real victims of tyranny, the real victims of communism and fascism. The tens of millions murdered. It trivializes such suffering inexcusably for the T.P.ers to claim that they are suffering from similar oppression because they might have their taxes raised or be subject to demonic “federal regulation.”

Any readers remember 1993 when President Clinton was trying to pass health care reform. The demagoguery might sound familiar:

LIMBAUGH: “Most Canadian physicians who are themselves in need of surgery, for example, scurry across the border to get it done right: the American way. They have found, through experience, that state medical care is too expensive, too slow and inefficient, and, most important, it doesn’t provide adequate care for most people.” (Told You So, p. 153)

REALITY: “Mr. Limbaugh’s claim simply isn’t true,” says Dr. Hugh Scully, chair of the Canadian Medical Association’s Council on Healing and Finance. “The vast majority of Canadians, including physicians, receive their care here in Canada. Those few Canadians who receive health care in the U.S. most often do because they have winter homes in the States–like Arizona and Florida–and have emergent health problems there.” Medical care in Canada is hardly “too expensive”; it’s provided free and covered by taxes.

LIMBAUGH: “If you have any doubts about the status of American health care, just compare it with that in other industrialized nations.” (Told You So, p. 153)

REALITY: The United States ranks 19th in life expectancy and 20th in infant mortality among 23 industrialized nations, according to the CIA’s 1993 World Fact Book. The U.S. also has the lowest health care satisfaction rate (11 percent) of the 10 largest industrialized nations (Health Affairs, vol. 9, no. 2).

Another passage from The Tea Party’s Toxic Take on History,

Consider the role that fraudulent history played in Weimar Germany, where the “stab in the back” myth that the German Army had been cheated of victory in World War I by Jews and Socialists on the home front was used by the Nazis to justify their hatreds.

It’s a historical lie, but it caught on, and Hitler rose to power on it, asking Germans to avenge the (nonexistent) stab in the back! It may be true that the Tea Party will disintegrate before it acquires any real power, as more and more of its leaders are revealed to be fanciers of racist jokes and bestiality videos. But one can’t be assured of it. It’s important to expose the lies for what they are before they further debase the language with their false use of words.

Mr. Rosenbaum is not calling the tea baggers Nazis, but the analogy to the tea baggers/conservatives dangerous attempts to rewrite history could bring us an administration and Congress that is even further to the rabid Right than the Bush years. He cites Jonah Goldberg’s egregious attack on history and political science that is often found in the rants of Glenn Beck where fascism and communism are one and the same. We’re not arguing over who played first base in the World Series in 1959 ,we’re talking about the suffering and deaths of millions of people by butchers like Stalin and Hitler. In addition the soldiers that gave their lives and a large chunk of several nation’s wealth to defeat the very real tyranny of real tyrants. The tea baggers must be able to muster up some awful powers of denial to block out the hundreds of thousands of deaths caused by Bush and the Right’s lies, distortions and hysteria. Something that we continue pay for. There is no logic to the Right’s attacks. These are grown adults that genuinely think passing a law that prevents insurance companies from suddenly canceling a child’s insurance coverage is the same thing as being a mass murdering communist or  fascist. Recent surveys and media reports say the tea nuts are just average folks. That’s defining average way down.

The internet has a lot of crap to sift through, but Hitler and Stalin’s writings and speeches are on-line and neither of them had any love of liberalism:

Today Christians … stand at the head of [this country]… I pledge that I never will tie myself to parties who want to destroy Christianity .. We want to fill our culture again with the Christian spirit … We want to burn out all the recent immoral developments in literature, in the theater, and in the press – in short, we want to burn out the poison of immorality which has entered into our whole life and culture as a result of liberal excess during the past … (few) years.

– Adolf Hitler, quoted in: The Speeches of Adolf Hitler, 1922-1939, Vol. 1 (London, Oxford University Press, 1942), pg. 871-872

the liberal intelligentsia is persistently striving to kill the political independence of the proletariat and to impose its tutelage upon it — at such a time we must be  extremely vigilant and never forget that our Party is  di fortress the gates of which arc opened only to those who have been tested.

from LENINISM – Selected Writings – BY JOSEPH .STALIN

The SEC, Porn and How to be a Conservative Blogger

SEC Porn Problem: Officials Surfing Sites During Financial Crisis, Report Finds

The investigation, which was conducted by the SEC’s internal watchdog at the request of Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, found 31 serious offenders during the past two and a half years. That’s less than 1 percent of the agency’s 3,500 employees but 17 of the alleged offenders were senior SEC officers whose salaries ranged from $100,000 to $222,000 per year.

[  ]…A similar SEC report for October 2008 to March 2009 said that a regional supervisor in Los Angeles accessed and attempted to access pornographic and sexually explicit Web sites up to twice a day from his SEC computer during work hours.

Notes those dates. President Obama, gifted with super powers so awesome to be honored with the title The One by right-wing bloggers, was sworn in as president in January of 2009. How is The One responsible for 17 of 3,500 SEC employees viewing porn rather than doing there jobs when Bush was president and the current Great Recession begin in 2007? The Bush administration significantly weakened the SEC, blocking investigation of even the most blatant signs of wrong doing as in the Bernie Madoff scandal among others – Here’s why SEC failed to investigate Madoff

— Lax oversight, according to the SEC’s inspector general, of the five biggest investment firms – including Bear Stearns, which nearly collapsed into bankruptcy. The voluntary oversight program was so ineffective the agency killed it in September. “We have a good deal of comfort about the capital cushions at these firms at the moment,” SEC Chairman Christopher Cox said in March, a few days before the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department arranged a rescue of Bear Stearns.

— The failure of the SEC’s Miami office to act against Bear Stearns in its pricing of about $63 million in collateralized debt obligations, also cited by the inspector general. CDOs are one of the financial instruments that fueled this year’s global financial meltdown.

— The rebuff of a whistle-blower’s complaints by the agency’s Boston office about mutual fund trading abuses, in a case that led the head of the office to resign in 2003. The whistle-blower, Peter Scannell, got a more sympathetic hearing from Massachusetts regulators, who acted on his disclosures about fund giant Putnam Investments, where he worked. Enforcement actions against the firm eventually were brought by both the state regulators and the SEC.

Let’s acknowledge the ABC report notes some of this porn viewing by a few SEC employees is currently going on. Though obviously the time period in question was largely during the Bush administration under a Bush appointed head of the SEC. If the situation was turned around it would be a bad day for moderate bloggers. Not so for Republican bloggers. The right-wing Townhall reports this story this way – Townhall.com Blog : Carol Platt Liebau : The SEC Porn Mongers

So now it turns out that some of the the financial industry’s cops at the SEC spent hours looking at internet porn rather than doing their jobs.  Note that half of the most egregious offenders were senior officials making in excess of $100,000 per year.

[  ]…And with President Obama knocking himself out to insert more government oversight into every American’s life — whether it’s health care, the financial industry, or even our salt intake — it’s particularly galling to be reminded once again that our government overlords may not be all that their booster in The White House wants us to believe they are.

Liebau gives quite the lesson in right-wing blogging. Leave out inconvenient dates during which most of these events occurred. Complain about government employees not doing their job, but then claim if they had done their job they would just be ratcheting up the tyranny. This is all directly connected to The One because he wants everyone to have health care and for government to be an effective tool to protect consumers from the type of meltdown that started under a Republican administration and a Republican Congress. A meltdown that could have been avoided if conservatives did not have a knee jerk reaction to sensible measures to regulate greedy bastards that could care less if 12% of the population is put out of work. get thy to the polls in 2010 – we gotta get back to the good old days of anti-regulation and porn watching.

On to the next conservative blogger: as·tute, adjective, 1. of keen penetration or discernment; sagacious: an astute analysis. The Astute Bloggers write: ABCNEWS: SEC OFFICIALS SPENT MORE TIME LOOKING AT ONLINE PORN THAN MARKET OVERSIGHT ( all caps from original)

THE ASTUTE BLOGGERS: ABCNEWS: SEC OFFICIALS SPENT MORE TIME …
ABCNEWS: SEC OFFICIALS SPENT MORE TIME LOOKING AT ONLINE PORN THAN MARKET OVERSIGHT. UNREAL. THIS IS PROBABLY GOING ON IN EVERY PART OF THE GOVERNMENT. …

Maybe conservatives just do not get dates or, excuse my cynicism, they find it more convenient to push their meme by leaving them out. “THIS IS PROBABLY GOING ON IN EVERY PART OF THE GOVERNMENT. …” that’s some ace citizen journalism. Not when, where, why and how, but probably. Very astute. We do know that it has gone on in other parts of the dreaded gov’mint –   Homeland Security official arrested in child sex sting (4/04/2006)

A Department of Homeland Security official was arrested Tuesday night on charges of using his computer to seduce a child after he allegedly struck up sexually explicit conversations with a detective posing as a 14-year-old girl, authorities said.

Let’s play right-wing citizen journalist. Was Bush’s Department of Homeland Security full of sexual predators rather than protecting the nation from terrorists? “THIS IS PROBABLY GOING ON IN EVERY PART OF THE GOVERNMENT. …”

One more. Another Black Conservative writes – The Regulators Need Regulating: SEC Execs Surfed For Porn During Economic Collapse

As Obama tries to go after Wall Street “fat cats” by giving the government more regulatory control, the very agencies that should have been minding the store in the first place were busy searching for porn.

[  ]…This story, like so many we have all heard before, is just more proof that the big government socialist model is ineffective. Just think, horny incompetents like the ones at the SEC will soon be involved with your health care.

The hackery of conservative bloggers has an amazing constant – the ability to ignore the most pertinent details. Most of those “horney incompetents” worked there under Bush. As far as what constitutes horney incompetence, conservatives would know since they seem to be the most badly afflicted – Porn in the USA: Conservatives are biggest consumers

Eight of the top 10 pornography consuming states gave their electoral votes to John McCain in last year’s presidential election – Florida and Hawaii were the exceptions. While six out of the lowest 10 favoured Barack Obama.

The Republican Party has been happy to profit from porn – it is a capitalist enterprise and as we all know when it comes to choosing between values and money, conservatives generally go for the cash – a post I did back in 2006 – Porn and The Two Faces of Conservatism, which included this news story,  GOP Corporate Donors Cash In on Smut.

For those that were thinking of starting a Conservative blog – this shows how easy it is. Leave out any data that conflicts with the propaganda you’re pushing. Make tenuous connections in logic – 2+3 somehow equals the square root of 16. Ignore the gross indiscretions of your own political clowns that strongly suggest you’re a raving hypocrite. Top off with some faux outrage.

Farmland Blue Skies Bliss wallpaper, Reforming Wall St and Republican Puppet Master Frank Luntz

Farmland Blue Skies Bliss wallpaper

A couple of links from Salon on Wall St reform and derivatives worth a read. Andrew Leonard’s Credit default swaps: What are they good for?

As Congress prepares to debate the role of derivatives in banking reform, a reader asks a highly pertinent question, “One thing I have no understanding of at all: Why are “naked” credit default swaps even legal?”

There is no quick and easy answer to the question, but let’s give it a stab. A credit default swap is analogous to an insurance policy written against the possibility of some kind of negative “credit event,” such as, for example, an automaker declaring bankruptcy and defaulting on its bond obligations. Let’s say General Motors issues a bond and I purchase it. But I’m worried that General Motors may collapse, so I buy a credit default swap on my bond from A.I.G. In return for regular premium payments, A.I.G. promises to reimburse me in full in the event for the value of my bond in the event of a GM bankruptcy. In the parlance of Wall Street, by purchasing the credit default swap I am “hedging” against the chance that my bond will suddenly become worthless.

It has been a standard talking to point to defend Wall St and the nation’s financial sector in general as modern American heroes. They may not leap tall buildings in a single bound, but they take huge risks. Whether they are a default or “naked” derivative these are in fact insurance against any risks taken. Granted you have to be a player to get in the game, but if one of those mythical risk taking entrepreneurs has millions, for the most part they have to be idiots not to still have their bankroll at the end of the day. Not necessarily a bad thing, but hopefully more Americans are beginning to realize the game Wall St has been playing is rigged. And if there is a big enough payout due to loses – the players do not pay – tax payers do. It seems like we’ll be getting our money back eventually – tax payer bail-out wise, but what about the millions of unemployed and under-employed Americans have become so much road kill in Wall St’s march to riches.

Let’s use the now famous casino analogy – I think Senator Reid(D-NV) was the first to use it during the TARP bail-out debate – and expand it a little. When you place a bet at a casino the house keeps enough capital in reserve to pay off even the largest bet allowed. What Goldman Sachs and others did was allow these bets – credit swaps – without the reserves to pay them off. If Goldman was like a regular bank that probably would not have happened because the FDIC regulars a certain reserve limit. Lead by Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Republicans are saying hands off Wall St. Let them gamble without having the same financial safety measures in place that even a casino has. The guy who told the GOP to brand financial reform a “bailout”? Every word he speaks seems to be a lie by Gabriel Winant

It was Luntz who suggested, in a now-infamous memo, that Republicans mask their assiduous service of Wall Street in the fight over financial reform by accusing the Democrats of assiduously serving Wall Street. The ceaseless claims that the proposed bill would authorize a new “bailout” come directly from Luntz’s playbook. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, for example, warned, “We cannot allow endless taxpayer-funded bailouts for big Wall Street banks.”

Here’s what Luntz advised: “[A] vote in favor of creating a permanent bailout fund of private companies is like committing political hari-kari. Frankly, the single best way to kill any legislation is to link it to the Big Bank Bailout.”

Of course, the proposed bill doesn’t create a permanent bailout. The measure that Republicans have criticized, borrowing language from Luntz, in fact levies a tax on banks, and would use the money to dismantle — not reward — companies under financial duress. But I guess that still fits under Luntz’s rubric of “any legislation.”

That hand up the back of Senator McConnell and the newly elected Republican himbo from Massachusetts Scott Brown – a tea bagger hero – is the puppet master Luntz telling his puppets what to think and what to say. If anything the Wall St reform proposed by Democrats is not enough – A Short Citizen’s Guide to Reforming Wall Street

The Dodd bill now being considered in the Senate is a step in the right direction. Yet despite the hype, it’s a very modest step. It leaves out three of the most important things necessary to prevent a repeat of the Wall Street meltdown:

1. Require that trading of all derivatives be done on open exchanges where parties have to disclose what they’re buying and selling and have enough capital to pay up if their bets go wrong. The exception in the current bill for so-called “unique” derivatives opens up a loophole big enough for bankers to drive their Ferrari’s through.

Former Secretary of Labor Reich is right about the Dodd bill, but this piece from TNR might help explain what is going on. The Dodd bill might be the minimum standard which Democrats will settle for. There are derivatives measures being pushed by  Speaker Pelosi and the House, and Blanche Lincoln in the Senate that have much tougher standards and more openness in all derivatives than the Dodd bill. The inside story of how Goldman and the banks are getting clobbered on financial reform. One last thing that Ezra Klein takes a look at today is the money that has gone from banks and financial companies like G.S. to Democrats and Republicans. Some bloggers have pointed to some campaign contributions from Goldman at Opensecrets.org to Democrats claiming this proves Democrats are tainted with G.S. money. The problem with that narrative is that Democrats are willing to pursue reform despite the influence Goldman hoped to buy with Democrats and Republicans are the ones defending the corrupt and dysfunctional status quo.

The Big Lie: Tea Party Rebranding and Liberal “Infiltrators”

The Right wing media and the Tea Parties are playing chess while the Left and the mainstream media are playing checkers.

While they can be disparaged as being narrow minded ideologues possessed of an authoritarian personality, Conservatives in the U.S.–and the extreme Right wing that has now become the center of the GOP–have long been masters of using emotional and moral appeals to motivate their public. While the Democrats are hamstrung by an issues based approach to politics, Conservatives have mastered the art of creating an alternate world of political facts and reason (enabled by the Right wing media echo chamber) where the reality based community need not tread.

This week the note being struck is that liberal infiltrators (in the guise of “agent provocateurs”) are targeting the Tea Parties in order to smear and discredit them. Without any factual substantiation (and ignoring the racist, bigoted, and violent rhetoric that is common at the Tea Party gatherings) the Right has succeeded in reframing the narrative which surrounds the tea baggers. Now, freed from any responsibility for their own actions, the Tea Parties can point to some imagined villain as being responsible for all things disruptive and violent at their protests.

Also worth a read as the new tea party tactic seems to be blaming any violence, racial slurs, homophobic rhetoric that occurs at tea nut rallies on liberal “infiltrators”. It may seem insane, but Bush and company had plans to create false flag attack  as another bogus excuse to invade Iraq – Bush-Blair Iraq war memo revealed

The US “was thinking of flying U2 reconnaissance aircraft with fighter cover over Iraq, painted in UN colours”, Mr Bush said.

If Saddam fired on them, the Iraqis would be in breach of UN resolutions, he suggested.

And Dick Cheney’s Iran obsession – To Provoke War, Cheney Considered Proposal To Dress Up Navy Seals As Iranians And Shoot At Them

Green Stem and Water Ripple wallpaper, Conservative Tea Nuts Get Freakier

Green Stem and Water Ripple wallpaper

If you ignore the hyperbolic signs and t-shirts the tea nuts look like regular folks. It’s the pure nutty nugget filling in the Mao inspired wrappings that distinguishes them – Right-wing radio host calls tea parties ‘the Sarah Palin movement’

As right-wing radio host Matt Walsh learned recently, if you challenge mob mentality, you get the mob itself. In this case, if you trash Sarah Palin in front of her biggest fans, you might just get called an “infiltrator” and booed off stage.

[  ]…He continued: “Vote for an independent and please, God almighty, do not vote for Sarah Palin. Please dear God do not vote for Sarah Palin. She has not shown us anything. I know everyone’s very excited about her, she’s probably a very nice woman, but she is not the answer.”

That was it: the crowd began to jeer the right-wing host in earnest.

Walsh is the real deal when it comes to fringe right-wing talking points – some available at the site where he is running for mayor up in Delaware. He has nightmares where the gov’mint breaks down his door and forces him to buy health insurance – you know like they force him to pay for roads and air craft carriers and car insurance. The freaky part – well normal in right-wing circles – is that Palin and Walsh are on the same team – SarahPAC — over $2.5 million raised in 2010 election cycle

SarahPAC has contributed to the Republican campaigns of Reps. Michele Bachmann (MN) and Roy Blunt (MO), and to Sens. John McCain (AZ) and Lindsey Graham (SC), among others.

The SarahPAC website states:

SarahPAC believes the Republican Party is at the threshold of an historic renaissance that will build a better future for all. Health care, education, and reform of government are among our key goals.

You’d have to have a special device to measure the amount of political light that separates Walsh from Bachmann and Palin. It is true the tea baggers started in response to the original TARP bail-out that Republicans voted for under Bush – as some will angrily point out. Never the less most tea bag activities are financed by the same deep pockets astroturf that has supported Republican issues and candidates for some time –   Koch Industries denies funding tea parties, but official filings say otherwise

FreedomWorks’ predecessor was Citizens for a Sound Economy Foundation. Of the three major players who donated large sums to Citizens for a Sound Economy, Koch charities were by far and away the largest donors, with nearly $13 million donated between 1985 and 2005. Other large donors include the Olin Foundation, the Coors Family, and the Scaife foundations.

Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE) underwent a transformation in 2004 when it merged with Empower America and was reborn as FreedomWorks. CSEF was renamed, becoming Americans for Prosperity. Just like that, one Koch-Scaife-Coors-Olin venture became two. Twice the voice; twice the reach.

Now, let’s look specifically at Americans for Prosperity, since FreedomWorks is a Dick Armey production at this time with some assistance from related Republican organizations. There is no question — none whatsoever — that Americans for Prosperity was heavily involved in the tea parties this summer and the ongoing tea party meetings, movements, training, and pot-stirring.

Yes, FreedomWorks AND Americans for Prosperity gave their names and their money to events supporting the tea parties.

There might have been a point nearly two years ago which lasted for about ten minutes in which the tea baggers were a mix of libertarian, liberal and conservatives upset over bailing out Wall St, but as far as infiltrators go – Conservatives have infiltrated and now dominate tea party rhetoric and their agenda. Few people “liked” the TARP bail-out. It just happened that to keep the economy from falling apart we had to reward some bad characters along the way. Now we’re getting some of that bail-out repaid and President Obama and Democrats are trying to pass the kind of reform that requires greater regulation of derivatives and set up an industry funded rescue poll so that tax payers will never have to pay for/ or lend money for another bail out – Whose Side Are They On? – That would be the question for Mitch McConnell (r-KY) and John Boehner (R-OH)

The proposal is a very good start, and if strengthened in a few areas, it would be a huge improvement over the status quo. And that is why Republicans are so upset.

Of course, they are not saying that. Instead, they are criticizing the banking committee’s plan for its so-called resolution authority — in which regulators would be able to seize and dismantle too-big-to-fail firms at imminent risk of destabilizing the system. They denounce it as “bailout” authority.

It is not. It is akin to the authority of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to take over failing banks. It would wisely prohibit regulators from providing support to keep failing institutions open, which — if done the right way — should prevent bailouts à la American International Group. This provision, too, needs improvement, but it also would be better than the status quo.

There is still time to make necessary fixes in both committees’ bills. Ms. Lincoln has given Congress a chance to get derivatives regulation right.

The White House and Democratic leaders need to push back hard against Republican posturing, making it clear to Americans that robust reform is the only way to protect the system — and taxpayers — from a repeat catastrophe. When Republicans try to block reform, they are doing nothing more than shilling for the banks.

The right-wing Heritage Foundation – that endorsed Romneycare in Massachusetts ( which is very similar to Obama’s health care reform) is pushing back. Claiming they ain’t never done no such thing, but as Brad Delong shows in the Heritage’s own words – did too, Department of “Huh?!” (Shut Down the Washington Post Today Department) States | The Heritage Foundation