Just Call Tea Baggers the Gullible Angry Old Conservatives They Are

clocks time

Clock Gears wallpaper

I’m not much for bandwagons, but if i was going to hop on one it would have to actually stand for something. So I’ll be skipping the whole anti-tax day for useful idiots – Celebrating the Joys of April 15

Somehow the government tax collectors have let the country get locked into the idea that April 15 is a day of sorrow and misery, the culmination of the dreaded filing of the income tax form.

But, in fact, most people who file get money back. (Cue the horns and balloons.)

And according to one much, much-quoted study by the Tax Policy Center, 47 percent of American households didn’t have to pay one cent of income tax for 2009. (Marching bands, confetti.)

Thanks to the tax credits in President Obama’s stimulus plan and other programs aimed at helping working families, couples with two kids making up to $50,000 were generally off the hook this year.

Naturally, anti-tax groups held rallies to thank the president for doing so much to reduce the burden on the half of the country least able to pay. Not.

Besides the fluoride there seems to be something in the nation’s drinking water that prevents a sizable chuck of the population from comprehending details. Fine details. Forget about it. There is a difference between these things: federal income tax and payroll taxes such as Medicare (which everyone including most conservatives/tea bags support). There is also a difference between federal withholding and state taxes and fees. Ya got a beef with your state’s taxes – well than the U.S. Capitol grounds are not the pace to hold your protest rally. I know that our Marxist Nazi Muslim socialist baby hating puppy kicking president is all powerful, but he cannot make your state lower state taxes or fees. A more thorough explanation of the Obama tax cuts and the middle-class workers they helped – Examining the Making Work Pay tax cut

The way I understand the zeitgeist of populist movements is that there has to be substantive motivations for them to start and for them to continue. They have to stand for something and be distinctive from a movement that already exists. Polling the Tea Party. Let’s forget for a moment the flawed Gallup Poll that found tea baggers about equally devided between collge and non-college educated. The NYT and Gallup do agree that economically the tea bags are doing fairly well. There is a name for people that are getting their share and whine anyway – brats. Though since the tea bags are dominated by older white males they’re just adults with a lot of misdirected anger over issues they are amazingly ignorant about. They agree the tea baggers are very similar to, surprise, the conservative movement. Not quite half want less government. A poll of a room full of liberals would probably say the same thing. The devil is in the details. Heard any tea bags complain about Halliburton or Blackwater(Xe). Anyone remember a tea bag protest against Bush when he passed that giant unfunded welfare program for big pharma called Medicare Part D. Of course there is no consistency here. Conservatives have always supported BIG government when they wrote the checks. As soon as they are on the back bench BIG government is evil. Except when you get to the specifics. Most tea nuts support Medicare and Social Security. No More Mister Nice Blog noted this from the main survey article – THREE ODD STATS FROM THAT TEA PARTY POLL — AND WHAT THEY MEAN FOR 2010

* Tea partiers are surprisingly satisfied with their own members of Congress. Among teabaggers, Congress has a whopping 1% approval rating — but when asked about their own members of Congress, the approval jumps to 40%. So obviously a lot of these people (though not quite a majority) are right-wingers in Republican districts who think their bum doesn’t need to be thrown out with all the others; they like their bum just fine.

This has been a political phenomenon forever. Everyone generally likes their Congressional rep, its the other ones that are evil. Just as people complain about pork. Bridges to nowhere in Alaska were fine with Alaskan politicians, but teachers in North Carolina who want smaller class sizes  see such projects as the political pandering they are. This phenmenom is why its possible all the polls and general hand wringing about Republican gains in the mid-terms will not be the blow out so many seem to think. Congressional reps run their own races directed at their constituents. Democrats can cast and will face the biggest crop ever of extreme far Right opponents as being anti-Medicare, anti-payroll tax reduction, anti-Wall St reform, pro-lobbyists, pro back to doubling down on the polices of Bush 43 and a Republican Congress that pushed us into a war they put on the Chinese credit card and let financial institutions run wild. A good Democratic strategists could produce dozens of damning and true sound bites. The same strategist could point out the multiple surveys that show the tea baggers are guided more by anger and mysterious notions than thoughtful concerns based on facts. The Democrats could point out that as usual the Right has lots of complaints, but no concrete policy prescriptions for solving the nation’s problems. You’ve got the official leader of Senate Republicans fighting tooth and nail for Wall Str interests. You have Republicans/tea baggers being chest thumping proud that they would love to undo do the modest health care reform package and kill 45,000 American men, women and children because….because… well they just don’t like it. If Democrats lose as badly as Nate Silver and others project it will be because of two things: Democrats ran bad campaigns. Republicans and their sugar daddies overwhelmed the public with bullsh*t. More on the Fox-pushed Tea Party Express scam

I noted a few months back TPM Media’s report that the PAC that organized the Tea Party Express, a series of right-wing nationwide bus tours and rallies, had sent nearly two thirds of its spending during a recent reporting period right back to the GOP consulting firm that spawned it. Today, Politico’s Ken Vogel provides more details of the Tea Party Express’ operations, including the original memo from a consultant with the firm, Russo Marsh + Rogers, proposing its creation.

Vogel also reports that a substantial percentage of spending from the PAC, Our Country Deserves Better PAC, continues to flow directly into the coffers of Russo Marsh + Rogers. That appears to have been the intent from the beginning; Vogel reports that the firm’s operative, Joe Wierzbicki, stated in proposing the Express that it could “give a boost to our PAC and position us as a growing force/leading force as the 2010 elections come into focus.”

[    ]…In the memo, which Vogel reports was issued “just days after” last year’s April 15 tea parties, Wierzbicki lays out how the first Tea Party Express bus tour would operate, who would be invited to participate, and how they would build a fundraising campaign behind it. He also drops this little nugget (emphasis added):

The trick here is that once enough people are “buzzing” about this effort (the tour and campaign advertising, etc…) then we should hopefully start to get some mentions and possibly even promotion from conservative/pro- tea party bloggers, talk radio hosts, Fox News commentators, etc.

Republicans cannot win the mid-terms or the 2012 cycle with a plan or set of policies based on real world prescriptions and numbers. They plan to repeat the 2000 – 2004 cycle – win on repeating the same lies, distortions and weirdo conspiracy theories over and over again in an appeal to the same base beliefs that earned Glenn Beck an estimated $32 million dollars last year – the guy that admitted that anyone that listens to him is an idiot. Glenn’s income is proof that it is a mistake to underestimate idiots.

Cancun at Night Skyline wallpaper, It’s OK When Republicans Do It

Cancun at Night Skyline wallpaper

What Sarah Palin forgets (or never knew) about Ronald Reagan

Now, Palin usually sounds bereft of even the most basic knowledge of history, let alone diplomacy, but in this case she had already graduated from college by the time Reagan decided to encourage peaceful change in the Soviet Union and rid the world of nuclear weapons entirely. In other words, she might be expected to remember those events, however vaguely, without reading a book.

Reagan’s utopian aspirations were never achieved, of course, but the elimination of nuclear weapons was certainly what he proposed, more than once, in negotiations with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

My copy of the Right-wing Playbook bursts into flames, but I remember the It’s Ok When Republicans Do It rule. Democrat Eliot Spitzer is involved in a sex scandal. He is summarily hounded out of office.  Sen. David Vitter, R-La visits uses the services of prostitutes and is invited to the recent Southern Republican Leadership Conference. Gov. Mark Sanford (R-SC) betrays his wife ( he also voted to impeach Bill Clinton calling Clinton’s behavior  reprehensible”) during which the travel expenses to see his mistress were paid by South Carolina tax payers and he insists he will not resign. Reagan did supply the Right with a lot of boilerplate saber rattling about the evils of the Soviet Empire, but his presidency had some elements of old fashioned conservative isolationism. Reagan’s motives were far from pure. He was probably sincere about world wide nuclear arms reductions, but he also realized that the reduction of U.S. nuclear armaments meant savings on defense spending which would balance out his initial tax cuts. He later raised taxes, but that is just conservative math at work.

The tea party is mainstream. We know this because they and their suppoters at Fox have told us so. This is the new mainstream – Carl ‘My Emails May Contain Bestiality” Paladino NY Tea Party Candidate. More here – Tea Party NY Gov Candidate’s E-Mails Exposed: Racism, Porn, Bestiality. They cannot hide who they are –

In 2008, he said at a public forum in Buffalo that the only reason Public Schools Superintendent James Williams had been hired was because he is black.

And we recently learned that the long-married, conservative Paladino fathered a child during an extramarital affair in the 90s.

Michelle Malkin from yesterday – Purple People upheaval: What’s behind SEIU thug-in-chief Andy Stern’s resignation?; Update: The shadow of Richard Trumka; SEIU issues statement. Note you will never hear Malkin refer to another conservative – who is an actual thug like Paladino as a thug. Nor will she refer to say the president of Exxon as being a thug – Exxon Mobil Paid No Income Tax in 2009. Nope, if you’re a nurse, fireman, auto worker, plumber or teacher  that belongs to a union you’re a thug and you belong to an organization of thugs. Corporate America is run by angels that ride unicorns and sprinkle rainbows.

Oklahoma conservatives and tea party, lawmakers plot anti-federal militia

Frustrated by recent political setbacks, tea party leaders and some conservative members of the Oklahoma Legislature say they would like to create a new volunteer militia to help defend against what they believe are improper federal infringements on state sovereignty.

Tea party movement leaders say they’ve discussed the idea with several supportive lawmakers and hope to get legislation next year to recognize a new volunteer force. They say the unit would not resemble militia groups that have been raided for allegedly plotting attacks on law enforcement officers.

[  ]…Thus far, the discussions have been exploratory. Even the proponents say they don’t know how an armed force would be organized nor how a state-based militia could block federal mandates. Critics also asserted that the force could inflame extremism, and that the National Guard already provides for the state’s military needs.

There might be a good side to the Right’s crusade against the federal government. We would no longer have to provide billions to Oklahoma’s school system, interstate highway building or maintenance, block grants for police and fire protection, grants to train emergency medical technicians and engineers. Any water rights, mineral or oil rights deputes with neighboring states could be worked out with the occasional states war. Grants to help the poor, elderly, handicapped would come completely from state residents. Grants for prison building and maintenance ditto, the state of Oklahoma could pay for it all. The state itself would set an example of glorious freedom for the rest of the nation: no more testing for driver’s license, no more requirements to but auto insurance or fire insurance for homes. No more traffic light that force people to stop. No more zoning laws – if someone in the neighborhood wants to start a pig farm and butcher business – no problem and no business permits or health inspections. No checking drinking water for toxins – you’re on your free glorious independent own to find safe water for yourself and your kids. Toys made from lead and painted with mercury containing paints – kids will love those as long as they live. These are some of the categories for which the state of Oklahoma currently recives federal grants: Agriculture Grants, Arts Grants, Business and Commerce Grants, Community Development Grants, Consumer Protection Grants, Disaster Prevention and Relief Grants, Education Grants, Employment, Labor and Training Grants, Energy Grants, Environment Grants, Food and Nutrition Grants, Health Grants, Housing Grants, Humanities Grants, Income Security and Social Services Grants, Information and Statistics Grants and Law, Justice and Legal Services Grants. This is not to pick on the fine state of Oklahoma. Those grant categories are typical of every state. If conservatives/tea bags are serious about moving even further Right they have their work cut out for them and as someone once said – be careful what you wish for.

High Speed Train wallpaper, Income Inequality and Like Conservatives Tea Baggers Against Their Own Best Interests

High Speed Train wallpaper

Here’s 15 Mind-Blowing Charts About Wealth And Inequality In America

The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. Cliché, sure, but it’s also more true than at any time since the Gilded Age.

The poor are getting poorer, wages are falling behind inflation, and social mobility is at an all-time low.

If you’re in that top 1%, life is grand.

I can’t grab their nice charts so you’ll have to click over to see the studies. Much of the data is compiled on charts issued by the Labor and Commerce Departments, but its convenient to have it all in one place. It’s nice coincidence that Bill Quigley who is Legal Director at the Center for Constitutional Rights and law professor at Loyola University New Orleans compiled some data on income inequality compared to the OECD – the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. OECD – “These 30 countries include Canada and most comparable European countries but also include some struggling countries like Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Korea, Mexico, Poland, Slovak Republic, and Turkey. See http://www.oecd.org” Nine Myths about Socialism in the US

Myth #1. The US government is involved in class warfare attacking the rich to lift up the poor.

There is a class war going on all right. But it is the rich against the rest of us and the rich are winning. The gap between the rich and everyone else is wider in the US than any of the 30 other countries surveyed. In fact, the top 10% in the US have a higher annual income than any other country. And the poorest 10% in the US are below the average of the other OECD countries. The rich in the U.S. have been rapidly leaving the middle class and poor behind since the 1980s.

Myth #2. The US already has the greatest health care system in the world.

Infant mortality in the US is 4th worst among OECD countries – better only than Mexico, Turkey and the Slovak Republic.

Myth #3. There is less poverty in the US than anywhere.

Child poverty in the US, at over 20% or one out of every five kids, is double the average of the 30 OECD countries.

[   ]…Myth #6. Poor people have more chance of becoming rich in the US than anywhere else.

Social mobility (how children move up or down the economic ladder in comparison with their parents) in earnings, wages and education tends to be easier in Australia, Canada and Nordic countries like Denmark, Norway, and Finland, than in the US. That means more of the rich stay rich and more of the poor stay poor here in the US.

Myth #7. The US spends generously on public education.

In terms of spending for public education, the US is just about average among the 30 countries of the OECD. Educational achievement of US children, however, is 7th worst in the OECD. On public spending for childcare and early education, the US is in the bottom third.

Myth #8. The US government is redistributing income from the rich to the poor.

There is little redistribution of income by government in the U.S. in part because spending on social benefits like unemployment and family benefits is so low. Of the 30 countries in the OECD, only in Korea is the impact of governmental spending lower.

One small beef with Prof. Quigley is the possibility that he is inadvertently implying all the OECD are socialist. Parts of their economy have been dedicated to providing a strong social safety net and in countries such as England, an education all the way through what would be a bachelor’s degree in the U.S. These are not giveaway programs – much like our Medicare and Social Security Insurance the people do pay for them. They are distinctly democratic or the CIA is lying. Many of these countries that the Right insists on calling socialist are also our partners in NATO and in various other defense and economic treaties and agreements. Once in a while I will hear a conservative call for disbanding NATO, but that upper 10% of income and wealth have direct economic connections with these “socialists”. So said socialism must not be that bad or America’s largest corporations and banks would not do business with them, right?

At the Business Insider link are the inevitable clichéd excuses for why income and wealth distribution is the way it is. I’m not going to get into every bizarre rationalization. The one that should be the most self-evident is that one has to believe that the top 10% do almost 90% of the work and add 90% of the value of goods and services. As we learned recently the tea bags are  – contrary to the recent Gallop poll – tea bags represent relatively few people and of those that identity with the tea bags most also identify themselves as Conservative. Remember Thomas Frank’s book What’s the Matter with Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America (2004) in which he tried to discover why conservatives in the median to low-income range support economic policies that are not in their best interests. The same is true of tea bags. Not all, but a simple  majority of them are working class and are at the median income level or below. Watching a few of the videos of the tea bag rallies you might hear a grumble or two about Wall St, but the vast majority of the complaints consists of the completely unfounded belief the government is taking money from hard working Americans in the march toward authoritarian socialism and giving it to lazy people who do not want to work. Estimates vary but it is generally thought the Great Recession was the result of the loss of three trillion dollars in the nation’s wealth. It is beyond absurd to suggest that America’s working poor have that much economic power – and no, low-income housing loans did not cause the Great Recession. The original TARP was all about rescuing Wall St banks and holding companies – $700 billion – a spending bill overwhelmingly supported by Conservative legislators. As I previously stated you can find tea bags grumbling about Wall St, but that is not who the tea bags direct their anger, nor are the excesses of unregulated capitalism their top their priority.

The National Tea Party Federation describes itself “is a broad coalition of national and regional Tea Party groups that have come together to allow for clarity of message” and they stand for “Fiscal Responsibility,  Constitutionally Limited Government and Free Markets”. In those nice safe broad terms I bet most of the readers of this blog believe in those things to. If that list of clichés sounds familiar it is because some of the supporting members of the NTPF include organizations like  Americans for Prosperity, FreedomWorks and 60 Plus – right-wing astroturf groups. For a group of people who are reportedly the alternative to the conservatism that wrecked the country the tea nuts have a lot of the same backers, lobbyists and far Right thinks tanks with the same check books. The recent Gallop poll and to some extent the survey by the Winston Group tried to emphasize one thing above all else – tea bags are mainstream – see there are even some Democrats and some black folks. Why is there an attempt by people who have described themselves as outsiders speaking out against Washington insiders  trying so hard to appear mainstream populist. Looking at the videos at YouTube, they have a way to go to undo the impression that are way outside the mainstream. But they’re outside the mainstream mostly in their cockeyed world view – many of them are on Medicare or collecting unemployment insurance or trying to live off Social Security. If that were not enough by way the cognitive dissonance for which regular old conservatives have become famous – tea nuts think the gov’mint should do more to create jobs – which is what many of the liberal complaints at sites like HuffPo and Alternet say.

Tea baggers also have a race problem. That is not to say that all tea baggers are white hood wearing racists, but they have a problem of perception about who is getting undeserved benefits from the government. This is where their views of race fit in perfectly with their sometimes ignorant and sometimes willful misconceptions about who to blame for the recession – Survey finds that racial attitudes influence the tea party movement in battleground states

A new University of Washington survey found that among whites, southerners are 12 percent more likely to support the tea party than whites in other parts of the U.S….

[  ]…It found that those who are racially resentful, who believe the U.S. government has done too much to support blacks, are 36 percent more likely to support the tea party than those who are not.

[  ]…Whites who disapprove of President Barack Obama, the survey found, are 55 percent more likely to support the tea party than those who say they approve of him.

This survey fits in with Ronald Reagan and the ‘welfare queen” myth as well as the Republican’s southern strategy. For conservatives the face of undeserved government benefits is black or non-white. While America as a whole has made progress towards doing away with those stereotypes, a large segment of tea baggers are still motivated by them.

Tea Party Activist And Senate Candidate: ‘If We Don’t See New Faces, I’m Cleaning My Guns And Getting Ready For The Big Show’ (VIDEO). Yea see, tea bags are perfectly rational.

Cyan Water Drops wallpaper, Conservatives Play America for Cash

Cyan Water Drops wallpaper

Via this post Sure, the public thinks the budget’s too big, but nobody wants us to cut any of its line items By Jonathan Bernstein, Chart of the Day: Cutting the Deficit

Ah, the American public. God love ’em. The Economist asked if they’d rather tackle the federal deficit by cutting spending or raising taxes, and the runaway winner was cutting spending, by a margin of 62% to 5%. So what are we willing to cut? Answer: pretty much nothing.

There is a few things about findings like this that are both frustrating and funny. One is that it shows how much internet bloggers like Drum and Bernstein can indulge in real populism – you know the kind of truth based populism where the tea bags and Washington are smoke and mirrors. It is the kind of information that politicians are loath to use – most of my constituents are at best blissfully ignorant armchair quarterbacks when it comes to spending priorities and public policy. It is also why polls have a way of reflecting the public’s ignorance rather than a revealing snapshot of a grasp of the issues grounded in reality – The National Review and Powerline ( both of the invading Iraq and cutting taxes for fat cat millionaires are inspired ideas school) are all a flutter over these poll results,

Just 41 percent of people had a favorable impression of the Democratic party while 54 percent saw the party in an unfavorable light. The last time Gallup asked the question in early September, Democrats fared far better with a 51 percent favorable score and a 45 percent unfavorable score. The 41 percent who currently rate the Democratic party favorably is four points lower than its previous low ebb, which came in 2005.

[  ]…While the GOP isn’t soaring in terms of overall impressions (42 percent favorable/51 unfavorable), it has — for the first time — pulled even with the Democratic party in terms of overall impressions among the public.

It took the same public almost half way into Bush’s second term to realize he and Dick had trashed the country. It will probably take that long to realize the accomplishments of the current Democrats in Congress. Many us of might not agree on the details in the policies that Democrats used to pull the economy back from the brink or the specifics of and health care reform, but both were part of that effort. Another reason for the chart results at the Kevin Drum link and the Gallup poll results is the enormous amount of daily bull piled on the public by the rabid Right media – Beck admits he doesn’t give ‘a flying crap about the political process. … We’re an entertainment company.’

In February he told USA Weekend that “you’d have to be an idiot” to “not notice the temperature change” caused by global warming, and that he thinks mankind may play a signficant role in the phenomenon. Beck has previously described himself as “a rodeo clown” and conceded, “If you take what I say as gospel, you’re an idiot.

Beck is at the top of the conservative assclown pyramid and like Limbaugh, Hannity, Always Wrong Kristol, Charles Krauthammer, he is easy for many of us to write off. His motivations are questionable as are those of Ann Coulter – Why Coulter is Better Than Malkin. Maybe I’m giving them too much credit, but what they say and what they claim to believe are so ridiculous it is difficult to assume they’re honest and sincere all the time. They are incendiary mercenaries of right-wing news-speak. While they are conservatives their actual views are a mystery. If they believe in anything it’s cold hard cash. If the noise they make misinforms the public and makes even a small contribution to moving America in the wrong direction – they laugh all the way to the bank. In Joe Conason’s Big Lies: The Right-Wing Propaganda Machine and How It Distorts the Truth, he writes a passage about Coulter’s elite South Miami beach lifestyle. She regularly hangs out at high-end clubs drinking the best French champagne. Like Joe I do not especially care, she is certainly free to spend her money and free time as she likes. Yet that money and free time is paid for by the conservatives and tea bags that assume from her books she stands for good old-fashioned Bible Belt values. It seems that as long as what he says pays the mortgage on his McMansion and other aspects of his privileged lifestyle, Beck will also pour gasoline on America’s discontents. Like many fire breathers from America’s past since that terrible tyrant President Obama has not sent the troops to round up dissenters yet, the unhinged Right is free to lay on the lies and BS as thick as they want,but there do seem to be consequences –  their viewers/readers not having a clue about what is best for the country. This poll is funny considering the millions in astrturf money and promotion by Faux News – More Americans have a ‘favorable’ opinion of the IRS than of the Tea Party. The Right relies on astroturf to do two things simultaneously – misinform the public by, if nothing else, distorting issues and making themselves seem more popular than they actually are – Newspaper chain astroturfs its ‘right-wing’ editorials

When you read an editorial in your local newspaper, your natural assumption is that it expresses the views of that paper’s staff and reflects local concerns. This, however, does not appear to be the case with the many small-town papers owned by Ogden Newspapers, Inc.

On March 31, an editorial headed “ACORN can’t distract public from the truth” appeared in the Fairmont Sentinel, published in Fairmont, MN. It was bylined by Gary Andersen and Lee Smith, the paper’s publisher and editor, and it slammed ACORN as a “front for liberal politicians” that has been involved in “illegal actions.”

The exact editorial has ‘mysteriously’ appeared in many newspapers. It has been found that James O’Keefe with the help of Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government conned the American public and most of the media went along, Maddow: Raw footage reveals O’Keefe lied about ACORN tapes

Last week, California Attorney Gerneral Jerry Brown released some of O’Keefe’s raw footage, which he obtained  as part of an agreement not to prosecute O’Keefe for violating state privacy laws. Maddow reviewed several of the most severe distortions revealed by the footage, starting with O’Keefe’s claim that he was wearing his outrageous pimp outfit when he visited the ACORN offices.

That claim, which Brad Friedman at Brad Blog has been debunking for months, was promoted heavily by Fox News and swallowed uncritically by most of the mainstream media.

In honor of that segment of the American public with a tragically short memory who want to return to the good old days of conservative rule of all three branches of government – George W. Bush ‘knew Guantánamo prisoners were innocent’

George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld covered up that hundreds of innocent men were sent to the Guantánamo Bay prison camp because they feared that releasing them would harm the push for war in Iraq and the broader War on Terror, according to a new document obtained by The Times.

The accusations were made by Lawrence Wilkerson, a top aide to Colin Powell, the former Republican Secretary of State, in a signed declaration to support a lawsuit filed by a Guantánamo detainee. It is the first time that such allegations have been made by a senior member of the Bush Administration.

Colonel Wilkerson, who was General Powell’s chief of staff when he ran the State Department, was most critical of Mr Cheney and Mr Rumsfeld. He claimed that the former Vice-President and Defence Secretary knew that the majority of the initial 742 detainees sent to Guantánamo in 2002 were innocent but believed that it was “politically impossible to release them”.

General Powell, who left the Bush Administration in 2005, angry about the misinformation that he unwittingly gave the world when he made the case for the invasion of Iraq at the UN, is understood to have backed Colonel Wilkerson’s declaration.

Blue City wallpaper II and A Reality Based Pep Talk

Blue City wallpaper II

In On meta-left discussions: no substitute for organizing people and marshalling resources – Chris Bowers replies to this article by Kevin Baker – The vanishing liberal

Whatever you perceive to be the shortcomings of the American left in affecting political change in this country, and whatever the actual shortcomings may be, there is no quick fix or gimmicky solution.  Just developing better framing, finding candidates with different demographic backgrounds, yelling louder, or holding firmer to your principles or stated negotiating position isn’t really going to do much in the end.  Fundamentally, it all comes back to persuasion and organizing: using your message and your current resources (volunteers, money, media, technological tools) to marshal as many supporters and new resources as possible.  From that point, you apply that message, those supporters and those resources in an attempt to change the institutions you would like to see changed.

Chris’s complete post is quite a bit longer and worth a read especially if you’re a moderate – Democrats have become America’s Moderate party. When is the last time you heard two cogent cultural or public policy prescriptions from the Right. Moderation is hard to sale in an environment in which the tea nuts, conservatives and right-wing libertarians think their strange cauldron of damn “the public welfare”, conspiracy theories and muleheadedness ( tea bags show up for health care discussion and declare “We didn’t come here to listen to you!” the facts hurt our brains) are a winning direction for the country. Some how we can seat down with our number two pencils and a calculator and find a trillion dollars in wasteful spending on lazy neerdowells liv’n off welfare. It’s an entertaining fairy tale, ripe for a satirical movie. Hard choices with the required tough and adult solutions it is not. We could book the heck out of Iraq – every last American soldier, diplomat and mercenary and save hundreds of billions, but the entire beltway and four red states would than overwhelm the health care system with conservatives having spastic bed wetting attacks. Anyway liberals need to get used to the permanent electioneering mode. No one election or elected official is the rainbow after the storm. Not Obama or whoever in the Senate or your state’s governor down the road. As Chris notes Democrats still do not have the kind of permanent infrastructure that right-wingers have built up over the last fifty years. They have their own TV network and slate of radio programs. We have Rachel Maddow and to some extent Jon Stewart. Liberals are ahead on the net, but direct mail is still very powerful and Republicans use it to rev up the base. They have the billionaires and astro-turf to hammer their message every day on every issue. Republicans see victory even in defeat. Many liberals see President Obama’s continuation of some of Bush’s national security policies as reason to get pissed off and pout. Where Republicans push their leaders to carry out their agenda without giving up support. Too many liberals – though not all certainly – see they cannot get everything they want so they get discouraged. It took Republicans fifty years to drive the country off a cliff and they might actually get a chance to drive the partly repaired bus off the same cliff again. It would seem like an easy choice – rehire the negligent drunk or keep trying to push the new driver to go in a more progressive direction. As Chris also mentions – President Obama is still the man. Obama has managed to surpass even Bill Clinton as both our official spokesman and our most influential leader.

The tea nuts do not remember this because they were asleep the last ten years – America’s Sea of Red Ink Was Years in the Making

Sure Micheal Steele and the stripe club thing was another gotcha glimpse into conservative “values”, but Republicans and some liberal columnists are making too much of it – Michael Steele Ally Offers Frank Appraisal Of Chairman’s Plight. Better they’re watching strippers than throwing bricks and cutting gas lines.

McDonnell’s Confederate History Month proclamation irks civil rights leaders

Gov. Robert F. McDonnell, reviving a controversy that had been dormant for eight years, has declared that April will be Confederate History Month in Virginia, a move that angered civil rights leaders Tuesday but that political observers said would strengthen his position with his conservative base.

The two previous Democratic governors had refused to issue the mostly symbolic proclamation honoring the soldiers who fought for the South in the Civil War.

Mr Serwer at Prospect replies ,

So not only does McDonnell venerate those who took up arms against their own country, he does so without acknowledging that the institution for which they fought was the right to preserve the right to own human beings as slaves. He then papers over the horrors of reconstruction, lynching, and Jim Crow that followed.

Serwer calls on Gov. Bob McDonnell (R-VA) to be honest enough to acknowledge the truth. That is pushing the envelope. Such honesty from a Republican politician would require courage – always in short supply among Republican politicians and nearly non-existent among conservative pundits. They do have plenty of crazy gull as McDonnell demonstrates. Lawyers, Guns and Money nails it, “The conflict between slavery and non-slavery is a conflict between life and death.”

Well, sheeeeeeeeeeyit.  It’s Treason-in-Defense-of-Slavery Heritage Month again, so I suppose we need to remind people like Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell what the “shared history” of Virginia’s Confederate heroes actually entailed. (emphasis mine)

Click over to read the Confederacy’s John Preston’s speech. That part ain’t so funny.

Update: I was reading an interesting post at The Booman Tribune about tyranny which reminded me of some of the whining hypocrites on the rabid right:

Yet we elect populists, like Chairman Obama, whose unaffordable promises and unconstitutional actions, after the manner of Tiberius Gracchus, Caesar, and Octavian, will be recorded in history as the beginning of the end of our republic. We slip further into a “democracy” of dependence on government and control by it. Inevitably, we too will degenerate into despotism and tyranny. – from the American Think blog – August 05, 2009, By Frank S. Rosenbloom, M.D.

And from the right’s unofficial vice-chairman and draft dodging drug addict and serial monogamists Rush Limbaugh, Discussing upcoming “Earth hour,” Limbaugh calls Obama “an extremist tyrannical president”

From the Booman post: What Would Nixon Do

Well Nixon is dead, so we can’t ask him, but we do know what he did do to unarmed antiwar protesters in Washington in 1971. He called in 10,000 military reinforcements, canceled a permit the protesters had been granted to hold a rock concert in Washington Potomac Park and in the early morning of May 2, 1971 had police attack the sleeping protesters by knocking down their tents and firing with tear gas causing most of them to scatter and eventually leave Washington….

[  ]…Of course, this was not as horrific as the events of the May. 1970 Kent State and Jackson State massacres in which unarmed civilians had been gunned down by National Guard units at Kent State and by police at Jackson State.

Has President Obama ordered any right-wing blogs shut down. Ordered any rabid right-wing radio shows hosts be stormed by the National Guard. Has he ordered the police to start knocking skulls at the tea nut events where there have been armed participants. For eight years these are the same people who formed the nationwide chorus of Chicken-Littles that said we were all going to die in our sleep at the hands of burka wearing radicals. They swore Iraq was the front of the “war on terror”. That the economy was great and Bush – our first MBA president – was doing a fine job as he redistributed the nation’s wealth to the wealthiest, laziest and arrogant top 10% of the population. Good to know they have the same keen insights Conservatives have always had.

Warm Jazz wallpaper, Tea Nuts Mostly Angry and Ignorant

Warm Jazz wallpaper

There is a half-baked poll over at CNN that reports there are OMG, some disgruntled Democrats in the tea nut movement. As the The Gun Toting Liberal notes there is a Democrat/Liberal version of the tea party called the Coffee Party -“his new report, courtesy of CNN, showing an incredible increase in the growing ranks of “Dem-Baggers” — now weighing in at a STAGGERING 4% of all Tea Baggers.” What CNN is trying to do and what right-wing conservative bloggers have been trying to do since the release of a survey from the Winston Group ( the pdfs contain a detailed analysis) is  add some legitimacy to the tea nut movement by sighting the participation of a few Democrats. See the tea bags are not crazy because they are 4% Democrat. I’m getting a laugh out of it, but the right-wing bloggers are very serious. No More Mr. Nice Blog examines one “Democrat” and she does not seem to follow politics or public policy very closely, I Must Be Missing Something. Most of us grown-ups realize when we vote we’re not going to get everything we want and we complain – as many liberals have about the lack of a public option in HCR and about some of President Obama’s hold over national security policies from the Bush administration, but none of us think, gee, maybe I should have voted for Palin-McCain. To back up for a moment about that stat which shows 4% of tea bags are Democrats – in a poll taken in December 09 – 33% of Republicans supported a public option in HCR. If HCR reform is the dividing line between far right conservatives and liberals that 33% suggests that there are more moderate conservatives out there not attending rallies and calling Democrats communists and Nazis than there are Democratic tea bags, and of course the moderates do not have Fox and corporate sponsors on their side. There is always a certain mindset in political/cultural movements that finds common cause with the extreme. The Democratic Daily gets into the history of that phenomenon – The Easter Bigots. A recent ratings report showed that CNN is slipping in the ratings. I tend to think it is because they have tried to pander to the Right and fellow the Murdoching of news – where all news becomes a matter of opinion. Bring back straight up reporting and they might see an increase in ratings – CNN pimps Great American Tea Party Express PR and Propaganda Tour

Since the kickoff of the TeaParty Express Tour, CNN has embedded a small press corps in their custom-painted “CNN Express” press bus for the sole purpose of following teabaggers around the country , reporting 3-4 times daily on the activities of the corporate-funded, RNC-connected Tea Party Express.

This clip from Wednesday boggled my mind. You can see how few there are at this rally, but watch as Ali Velshi and Ed Lavandera turn it into a “movement”.

LAVANDERA: But these other rallies that have take been place in St. George, Utah, in Phoenix, and in Salt Lake City, now in Grand Junction, have had — one of the ones we went to had close to 2,000 people. The last couple that we’ve been to have been around 500, a couple hundred people or so. This one’s a little bit smaller.

They are packing up here shortly and headed to Denver tonight, so we’ll see how that works. Some of these other rallies have been held during the days, so obviously people have to work and that sort of thing. But in Denver, it will be an interesting one to check out. It will be after work, and see what kind of turnout that they draw there.

Will we be seeing CNN “reporters” waving pom poms made of tea bags soon. The speech heard and the signage at tea nut rallies is disturbing, but hopefully no one would argue these people do not have a right to exercise their freedom of speech and peaceful protests. Most tea nuts seem to be keeping their activities to just that, hateful ignorant speech and crazy signs. As a percentage of the people who identify themselves as tea bags they have been responsible for a disproportionate amount of violence and vandalism. Hate crimes started spiking in 2008 just with speculation that a very centrist mixed race Democrat might become the next president and Democrats might have a majority in Congress. One of the crazy things about the tea nuts according to the study by the Winston group is that most of them are white male with not more than a high school education and most (some are above) of them report their household incomes right at the national median of $50,000. These are the people who President Obama, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi gave a tax cut as part of the stimulus (Recovery Act) and they are the ones that will benefit most from HCR – What’s the matter with white people? – Too many believe — incorrectly — that health care reform helps “other people,” not themselves. Some other snips from the W.G. survey

Some 56% of Tea Party members are male while 44% are female.

The Tea Party movement is also made up of a slightly older group of voters than the electorate as a whole. Only 14% of Tea Party members identify themselves as age 18-34 compared to 20% of the sample overall. Furthermore, the older age groups – 55-64 and 65+ are more represented in the Tea Party movement than in the electorate overall.

Tea Party members tend to get their news about national issues from Fox News – some 47% of Tea Party members in the December – February surveys list Fox News as one of their top one or two sources of news, compared to 19% of the sample overall.

They also identify a personal consequence: 82% say that when tax provisions
expire next year, taxes on people like them will increase, compared to 62% of overall respondents.

So we have mostly older white males seating around swallowing every last bit of swill that Fox spews. They have done no research on the actual numbers and the sky rocketing costs of health care without reform. They believe, thanks to the 24/7 right-wing noise machine their taxes will go up. Those tea bags making over $250,000 a year are correct as of today; there are plans to let the Bush tax cuts expire for that group and even then tax rates for that group will be no more than they were under Saint Ronnie. These tea bag folks were around for Saint Ronnie’s tax cuts and tax increases and we didn’t see them throwing bricks through any windows than. The total net sum of tea bag thinking is not about sensible well thought out policy prescriptions. It is not about returning to some set of polices that was affective in helping the working poor or the middle-class. The politics of tea nuttiness is all about beliefs. Beliefs that cannot be justified with facts. That is not populism, that’s an unthinking mob.   What The Top U.S. Companies Pay In Taxes – How can it be that you pay more to the IRS than General Electric?

As you work on your taxes this month, here’s something to raise your hackles: Some of the world’s biggest, most profitable corporations enjoy a far lower tax rate than you do–that is, if they pay taxes at all.

The most egregious example is General Electric. Last year the conglomerate generated $10.3 billion in pretax income, but ended up owing nothing to Uncle Sam. In fact, it recorded a tax benefit of $1.1 billion.

Perrspective’s post on the rise of conservative violence and Republican Senators and House Representatives before passage of HCR – From Republican Rhetoric to Right-Wing Terror

The slaughter of three Pittsburgh policemen by an assailant who “didn’t like our [gun] rights being infringed upon” has again highlighted the growing danger from incendiary Republican rhetoric spawning right-wing terror. After all, just days ago, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) announced, “I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous.” Fox News host Glenn Beck warned of a “Constitution under attack” and predicted a coming “civil war” while featuring guests like NRA chief Wayne Lapierre whose group spent millions in 2008 denouncing Barack Obama’s supposed “deep-rooted hatred of firearm freedoms.”

TPM has some – though not all of the major violent incidents involving anti-government zealots, Going To Extremes: The Obama Era’s Top Ten Anti-Government Flare-Ups . That list also includes Norman LeBoon who made threats against Republican Eric Cantor and who right-wing pundits tried to pass off as a liberal, but was in fact an anti-government loon that had also threatened several Democrats.

And some of the incidents that accompanied the passage of HCR. Vandals hit at least five Dem offices nationwide, threaten to ‘assassinate’ children of pro-reform lawmakers. And Right Wing Reacts With Rage: Health Care Will ‘Do More Damage Than 9/11,’ ‘Freedom Has Been Assaulted’. The rabid right’s analogies are so outrageous and hyperbolic they’re both farcical and disturbing. One assumes they really think HCR is worse than 9-11 and the Armageddon of U.S. democracy. So much for having a rational debate, much less a civil one with the far Right or their new brand the tea nuts.

1960s Earth Globe wallpaper, Conservative Health Care Myths Spreading Like a Virus

1960s Earth Globe wallpaper

Be afraid. Be very afraid. An army of IRS agents are coming to your house to beat the daylights out of everyone that does not have health insurance – or probably not. Right-wing /tea bag/conservatives – addicted to the lie and character assassination as a path back to power have decided to use an old reliable monster in the closet to scare everyone – the IRS. IRS Expansion

Q: Will the IRS hire 16,500 new agents to enforce the health care law?

A: No. The law requires the IRS mostly to hand out tax credits, not collect penalties. The claim of 16,500 new agents stems from a partisan analysis based on guesswork and false assumptions, and compounded by outright misrepresentation.

Some other Right-wing-tea bag-conservative myths making being promoted via radio, viral e-mails and Republican pundits include Obama’s nefarious X-Files-like scheme to plant microchips in everyone’s bran, spend $7 billion dollars on jungle gyms, force small businesses to set aside a special room for brest feeding and force everyone to get every vaccination under the sun – Timothy Noah’s The four best lies about the new health care law.

Jungle gyms! Jason Mattera, a 26-year-old who was just named editor of the hard-right magazine Human Events, video-ambushed Al Franken on March 10 with the question, “Which portions of the health care bill will lower costs? Is it the provision giving $7 billion to fund jungle gyms or the provision mandating that employers provide time off for breast-feeding?” Franken asked Mattera to show him where in the bill he found jungle gyms. “Jungle gyms,” Mattera said, “is on 1,184.”

Need I mention that jungle gym is yet another phrase that appears nowhere in the bills (searchable text here)? The page Mattera referred to concerned federal “Community Transformation Grants” to state and local governments and to private nonprofit organizations to promote preventive health. Grants would require approval from the Centers For Disease Control and “may focus on (but not be limited to)” seven specified goals, one of which is “creating healthier school environments, including increasing healthy food options, physical activity opportunities, promotion of healthy lifestyle, emotional wellness, and prevention curricula, and activities to prevent chronic diseases.” The project may entail “a variety of programs, policies, and infrastructure improvements,” which suggests it might possibly involve building something (though given the liability issues, I wouldn’t bet that the result would be a jungle gym). Where Mattera got his $7 billion figure is anybody’s guess.

Some of the vial e-mails and right-wing Republican media news stories mention page numbers and paragraphs. Which OMG must mean they are true. You have to have a serious reading comprehension or cognitive mental issues to read the health care bill as passed to find justification for any of the items Timothy’s covers in his article.

2 Million Eager For Health Care On Parents’ Plans

In about six months, the new law will allow at least 2 million young adults to be covered under their parents’ policies. These are the “millennials,” those who came of age in the new century and now are struggling to get on their feet during the worst slump since the Depression.

Many can’t find jobs, and many who are employed don’t have health coverage from their employers.

John McCain (R-AZ) who has divided his Senate career by being engaged in corruption or spinning around gold courses in his Gucci loafers  is looking for another term so he can make sure those college students and underemployed young adults don’t get no stink’n insurance on their parent’s policy. Now that is some thing to be proud of. If your moral sensibilities are nearly non-existent.

With power, money and freedom comes great responsibility. At least Spiderman would think so. Not so much for conservatives – TIMELINE: From Promoting Acid Rain To Climate Denial, Over 20 Years Of David Koch’s Polluter Front Groups

The founder and chairman of Americans for Prosperity is oil baron David Koch, who is one of the richest men in the world because of his oil, chemicals, and manufacturing conglomerate Koch Industries. Koch Industries is a major polluter with an atrocious record of sloppy operations. According to the EPA, Koch Industries is responsible for over 300 oil spills in the US and has leaked three million gallons of crude oil into fisheries and drinking waters. They were fined a record $35 million dollars and an additional $8 million in Minnesota for discharging into streams. But AFP’s recent crusade against the EPA is just the latest in Koch’s twenty-year campaign to have unrestricted power to pollute. Some highlights of the timeline:

– David Koch pioneered front groups focused on organizing grassroots opposition to environmental regulations, opposition to climate science. Koch’s flagship organization, Citizens for a Sound Economy, now known as Americans for Prosperity, orchestrated everything from anti-tax protests aimed at opposing President Clinton to the current tea party movement aimed at President Obama.

– The same tactics Koch-funded groups are now using against clean energy reform were employed during the 1990’s against (highly successful) acid rain regulations, other EPA rules against pollution. In the field, Koch’s groups would use conspiracy theories to whip up right-wing hysteria against regulations, while other Koch groups would directly lobby, produce academic reports, and pay for advertisements.

It is an expensive and endless undertaking to indoctrinate the American public into right-wing ideology, but credit to Koch for being up to the task and the sheeple that buy into every word.

One take on the new off shore drilling proposals – Offshore oil drilling might make environmental sense

Changes in ship design and safety procedures have made tankers less risky since these disasters, but tankers remain a risk.
access to some 34 billion barrels of offshore oil they have barely begun to develop
From 1971 to 2000, offshore facilities and pipelines were responsible for only 2 percent of the oil in U.S. waters. The bulk of it (63 percent) came from natural seepage, and 22 percent came from municipal and industrial runoff. Worldwide, natural seepage is the largest source (47 percent) of oil in water, followed by spills from ocean transportation (33 percent). In short, the risk of oil spills from platforms is small.

In contrast, there are relatively high environmental costs associated with importing oil as opposed to producing it in the United States. There are three problems with importing oil: First, spills from tankers and barges are the largest human-caused source of oil in the oceans. Oil is more likely to be spilled from a tanker than from a platform, and tankers have the potential to cause catastrophic spills.

One Glenn Beck/tea smoker accomplishment has been to render the word socialism meaningless – they think everything from public water fountains, to vaccines, to our National Forest and Parks are a socialists plot. If the far Right is going to abuse it liberals might as well take the hobby up as well, Tea Party Hypocrites Hate Socialism Except When They Love It

A few weeks ago, NPR did a fawning profile of Keli Carender, aka “Liberty Belle,” one of the founders of the tea party movement. Steve M. over at No More Mister Nice Blog digged into “Liberty Belle’s” background, and came up with some interesting tidbits:

Carender is an actress and improv comic — here she is in the cast of her sixth show for Seattle’s Wing-It Productions. And, gosh, what’s this? Why, it’s a list of arts grants issued by Washington State in 2009 — including $3,750 to Wing-It Productions! In order to fund that, Washington State had to take from some people in order to give to the other people!

But Carender’s never asked about that — or about the National Science Foundation-funded research project she worked on in 2000.

Right-wingers-tea bags-conservative say they believe in a dog eat dog everyone is on their own society, yet they seem to rely an awful lot on billionaire sugar daddies, Medicare, government grants and contracts to get by.