Obama, Daddy Fever and “reckless” Conservatism

Los Angeles Water Front Skyline wallpaper

For going on almost two months most of the usual suspects on the Right have wet their pants in absolute glee over the BP Gulf spill. The spill, according to this cadre of conservative comrades is not the environmental, social and economic disaster that will haunt the United States for decades. No, according to conservatives it is a gift from the political gods to exploit to their political advantage. maybe liberals were feeling left out. It was like a party they saw from a distance and felt the sudden urge to joy in. Ezra Klein at WaPO – Where have we heard this before?

The optimistic take, at least for environmentalists, is that this is the language and approach Obama uses when he really means to legislate. The pessimistic take is that Obama shied away from clearly describing the problem, did not endorse specific legislation, did not set benchmarks, and chose poll-tested language rather than a sharper case that might persuade skeptics.

A couple more liberals, Kevin Drum at MotherJones, Obama’s Oil Spill Speech: Running On Empty

So let’s unpack this a bit. The whole point of a prime time Oval Office speech (transcript here) is that it announces something big. On that score, Obama failed right from the start. He told us that lots of people are already working the cleanup. Yawn. That Ray Mabus is going to develop a long-term Gulf Coast Restoration Plan as soon as possible. A plan! Hurrah! That we’re gonna make BP pay for everything. Roger that. And then this: “I have established a National Commission to understand the causes of this disaster and offer recommendations on what additional safety and environmental standards we need to put in place.” A commission! So much for “going big.”

I somewhat agree with the attitude toward another commission. BP screwed up. The safety guidelines were not enforced as they should have been and years ago the oil lobby convinced Congress during the Bush administration they did not need the kind of back-up shut down valve that is required by some other nations. One more, Joan Walsh writes Just words: Obama’s Oval Office speech fizzles

I’m not sure anyone walked away from the speech clearer on what Obama will do to hasten the clean up and prevent future disasters. And while I was happy he did make a short pitch for “a strong and comprehensive climate and energy bill,” if you blinked, you missed it. He noted that such a bill had been passed by the House, but he didn’t take the opportunity to describe what’s in it and make the case for its most controversial features, particularly a carbon cap. He didn’t note that the bill is stalled, and considered dead, in the Democratic controlled Senate. He didn’t create any sense of urgency to break the political stalemate that is likely to keep the bill locked up there permanently.

As a political wonk I can appreciate the complaint about not being clear about the energy bill and it’s status. And maybe that was a missed political opportunity, but it is debatable whether the public would have appreciated it or understood – a point that Joan misses – that the Senate has a simple Democratic majority, not a filibuster proof one. Joan, Ezra and Kevin all want the president to be a font of inspiration and to be President Wonk at the same time. There is no one on the political scene today in either party capable of pulling off that trick under these circumstances. I’m not mad at these liberals, it just seems they have caught some of that president as Daddy Fever that is going around. Imagine your favorite dream president and this same catastrophe – not to be confused with war – and the speech would have not made anyone happy. That’s because speeches are not magic, they do not make environmental tragedies of this magnitude go away. There is nothing that Obama or anyone else can say that is going to make me feel better and I don’t expect them to. I expect competent management and considering the magnitude of the Gulf spill that is what we’re getting. I’d give the government a A minus and BP a D-. That’s the frustrating part. You could water broad the entire executive management of BP and the spill and the steps taken to get it under control would not change. Some things around the margins like not harassing reporters, BP having a more cooperative relationship with the people of the Gulf coast and a few other things could stand improvement, but those are issues that should not be conflated with the spill itself.

John Assrocket at the award winning right-wing Powerline remains has made being totally irrelevant into an art, but he does make the liberals look razor-sharp – Obama’s Long Nose June 15, 2010  Posted by John at 8:01 PM

As I noted yesterday, BP’s market capitalization has declined by around 50 percent–$100 billion–as a result of the spill. By any rational measure, BP has been harmed more by the spill than anyone else, even Barack Obama. It serves no purpose to launch unsupported accusations of recklessness. One might say, on the contrary, that it is reckless to do so.

That’s the problem with tin foil hats and a mind like a cheese grater, a lot of stuff gets by, E-mail from BP engineer called Deepwater Horizon rig a ‘nightmare well’ six days before explosion

According to an e-mail released by that Committee yesterday, a BP drilling engineer warned that the Deepwater Horizon oil rig was a “nightmare well” that had caused the company problems in the past.

A nightmare not acted on is “recklessness”. Did Assrocket get his law degree by mail. BP rig’s safety valve failed test before oil spill explosion

BP and Transocean, the contractor, blamed one another for “a cascade of failures” that led to the massive oil spill threatening America’s south-eastern coastline. BP continues its efforts to seal the leak, which is gushing 5,000 barrels per day into the ocean.

It emerged yesterday in the testimony of James Dupree, BP’s senior vice president for the Gulf, that tests before the blast showed “discrepancies” in pressure levels. These tests are meant to ensure the integrity of cement poured into the well to keep out natural gas. Another contractor, Halliburton, had just finished cement work hours before the blast.

“There was something happening in the well bore that shouldn’t be happening,” said Steven Newman, Transocean’s chief executive officer.

A Democrat member of the committee, Bart Stupak, reported that the blowout preventer “apparently had a significant leak”. The device had also been modified in “unexpected ways,” he said, and may not have been strong enough to shut the well.

All the parties involved can blame shift, but for the President to point out the obvious is “reckless” and “unsupported”. Do conservatives know there are free dictionaries on-line so they can look up the meaning of words. John and his coven of  Conservatives Concerned About BP’s Capitalization need not worry, the BP Gulf spill is no longer a catastrophe caused by a reckless greedy short-sighted corporate profiteers, its Obama’s political baggage. True to Assrocketology Powerline also includes this gem,

It’s hard to see how an Oval Office Speech could help much, even if it had not been pedestrian. In fact, the speech offered nothing new, and featured the same BP-bashing and pledges to unleash squadrons of lawyers to collect damages that already grate on most Americans. Obama doesn’t seem to understand how hollow, and sometimes petulant, his vows to make BP pay sound.

“Most Americans” is the two other neanderthals from which he got his snapshot of public opinion. The worse case scenario is that BP has no profits for a year. It currently produces profits of $66 million dollars a day. BP is also in business with Iran’s oil industry ( but conservatives are very cautious about criticizing them). And John might have read that BP killed a few people when the rig blew up. Oil Rig Worker Who Died Had Warned His Family That BP Pressured Him To Sacrifice Safety and In 2002, California officials discovered that BP had falsified inspections of fuel tanks at a Los Angeles-area refinery. BP’s thinking about profits and liability are conservative thinking. Save a few dollars in the short run, cross your fingers and hope that major catastrophe does not happen. No it is not logical. That’s the point. The BP Gulf spill, like Bush’s lies about WMD and cutting taxes for millionaires should have been learning moments for conservatives, but no, they just double down and deflect blame. Once again, so much for conservative “values”.

Nevada Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle floated possibility of armed insurrection. Because as we all know, modest, but much needed health care reform is so much worse than lying a nation into a trillion dollar war that has costs over four thousand lives.

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Loopy Sharron Angle candidate for senator from Nevada: I’m Not An Oath Keeper, But I Do Like Keeping Oaths

Nevada Republican Senate nominee Sharron Angle took to the conservative airwaves today to defend herself from Democratic attacks that she’s on the far extreme end of the conservative spectrum. Speaking on The Laura Ingraham Show, Angle said she was not a member of the Oath Keepers, the shadowy government conspiracy-fearing group she professed to being a member of in the past. But she did admit she liked to keep oaths in her free time.

It doesn’t take a lot of deep analysis to the tea nut conservatives run far right-wing during the primaries and than try and seem moderate during the general election. I wonder how the Oath Keepers feel about the flip-flopping.

U.S. Identifies Vast Riches of Minerals in Afghanistan

The United States has discovered nearly $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan, far beyond any previously known reserves and enough to fundamentally alter the Afghan economy and perhaps the Afghan war itself, according to senior American government officials.

[  ]…An internal Pentagon memo, for example, states that Afghanistan could become the “Saudi Arabia of lithium,” a key raw material in the manufacture of batteries for laptops and BlackBerrys.

Not to be flippant, but it has been a long time since the invasion of Afghanistan. We did so in response to 9-11 knowing that Bin Laden and much of the upper command of al-Qaeda was there in 2001. An effort largely supported across the political spectrum. What had been a relatively easy victory, especially in light of the Soviets failure in the 1980s, was allowed to decay into chaos. Essentially another Bush and neoconservative failure, diverting resources away from Afghanistan to the war they were determined to start in Iraq. Having been there nearly a decade, Gen. Stanley McChrystal new strategy was supposed to “win” whatever we were there to win. The General has certainly kicked some ass on the military front, but we’ve made zero political progress – getting a coalition of the different factions to come together to manage the country – rather than revert back to the culture of war lords, opium growing and the thuggish rule of the fundamentalist Taliban. Let’s hope the potential of hundreds of millions in mining profits does not lobby its way into administration delaying an exit. Not likely, but we can hope the people of Afghanistan see the mineral find as a way of the 18th Century mentality that defines much of Afghanistan culture. More here – So How Are Things Going in Afghanistan?

Conservatives are frequently funny, abet usually not intentionally. One thing they do not get is irony. One of conservative blogger the Gateway Pundit latest headlines – Obama Tells Politico the Oil Spill is Like 9-11… Then Goes Golfing for 4 Hours, Posted by Jim Hoft on Sunday, June 13, 2010, 6:13 PM. Jimbo thinks that when President Obama plays golf that means there is no one else to put their finger in the BIG HOLE. Those with short memories might want to compare golf stories – Bush: I Gave Up Golf For The Troops

As violence in Iraq continues — clashes today left 11 dead and 19 injured — President Bush has for the first time revealed the great sacrifice he’s made for the sake of our soldiers: he’s given up golf.

From an interview with Politico and Yahoo News:

“I don’t want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the commander in chief playing golf,” he said. “I feel I owe it to the families to be in solidarity as best as I can with them. And I think playing golf during a war just sends the wrong signal.”

Bush said he made that decision after the August 2003 bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad, which killed Sergio Vieira de Mello, the top U.N. official in Iraq and the organization’s high commissioner for human rights.

[   ]…Actually, it is far more likely that Bush quit playing golf because he was suffering from knee problems throughout the latter half of 2003.

Street then links to a CBS News article published in December 2003:

Bush, 57, will have an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) test on Thursday, Dec. 18. The body-scanning device enables doctors to see internal organs in 3D.

The MRI is being performed on the advice of the President’s regular White House physician. Last summer, Bush suffered a minor muscle tear in his right calf and that injury, along with aching knees, forced him to abandon his running routine. The calf strain healed by August when he had his annual physical, but the president said in September that he suspected he had a meniscus tear.

… Bush actually played his last round of golf on October 13, 2003. This means that the reason he gave for quitting after the August 2003 U.N. bombing is dubious at best…

Obama didn’t make up a lie that was in voraciously poor taste and disrespectful of the troops, Bush did. Obama went and took a few hours off because playing or not playing golf has absolutely nothing to do with stopping the Gulf spill. How many Republicans played golf this weekend when they could have been down in the Gulf coast helping with the clean-up. The Right seems to love to take small things that are completely disconnected and make a big deal out of them. On the other hand that propensity counter balances telling big lies, like about WMD for instance, and claiming it was for the good of the country. Republicans also do not get being able to walk and chew gum at the same time,

Embracing an idea first offered  by CAP, the Obama administration announced yesterday that it will demand BP turn over a “substantial” amount of money in escrow to handle claims from people and businesses harmed by the environmental disaster. BP’s costs for responding to the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico have risen to $1.6 billion.

And now is not the time to be especially tighten the economic belt. Spending makes money in the long run. Republican from 2000 to 2008 spent money like a drunken sailor as the otherwise wishy-washy Gucci loafer wearing Senator from Arizona once said, Does Fiscal Austerity Reassure Markets?

The countries responded differently, however. Ireland quickly embraced harsh austerity; Spain has had to be dragged into austerity, and still faces major political unrest.

So, how’s it going? This article is typical of what you read: it describes the Irish as doing what has to be done, while the Spaniards dither. And it has good things to say about how the Irish response is working:

Much bitterness but also stoicism; markets impressed by Irish resolve to bite the austerity bullet.

Well, I guess that’s right — if by “markets impressed” you mean a CDS spread of 226 basis points, compared with 206 points for Spain; not to mention a 10-year bond rate of 5.11 percent, compared with 4.46 percent for Spain.

So, I’m glad to hear that Ireland’s stoic acceptance of austerity is reassuring markets; it must be true, because that’s what everyone says. Because if I didn’t know that, I might look at the data and conclude that markets actually have less confidence in Ireland than they do in Spain, and that austerity in the face of a deeply depressed economy doesn’t actually reassure markets at all.

But hey, what are you going to believe: what everyone knows, or your own lying eyes?

Also by way of unintended humor that much of the country believes, just as once they believed Iraq had something to do with 9-11, is Republicans don’t think Obama and Democrats are acting fast enough to undo the horrendous damage they did to the economy over eight years. Thanks to our deeply lazy and mediocre media most people know more about Brad and Angelina than they do about the economy and how we got into this mess.

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City League Baseball wallpaper

Except for Bill Clinton’s surplus (which Republicans squandered so they could give millionaires a tax cut) I do not remember a time, nor have I read of a time in which the U.S. did not run some kind of deficit. The deficits we have now would be half what they are, maybe less than half if conservatives really had a pay as you go economic policy. For as long as I have been following politics I have always found it deeply strange that Republicans run as the fiscally conservatives party, but in every modern Republican administration from Nixon to Bush 43, Republicans have maxed out the American’s people’s credit limit. On the other hand Democrats run as fiscally responsible and every modern Democratic president has run a much tighter fiscal ship than Republicans. Why Democrats do not run as better administrator’s of the nation’s balance sheet is a mystery. What’s not mysterious is the ever so grave concerns, the pious hypocritical self-righteousness and generally disgusting hand wringing over deficits expressed by Republicans over deficit spending when they’re on the back bench. Deficits and reckless minorities

That’s true, in a sense: The country largely ignores deficits in boom years and becomes very anxious about them during recessions. The pity, as any economist would tell you, is that we’ve got it backwards. We should be intolerant of deficits in boom years and tolerant during recessions. But to offer just one example, Medicare Part D, which passed in 2003 when (inflation-adjusted) GDP growth was a relatively healthy 2.5 percent, was put on the deficit. Compare that to the way the deficit dominated the conversation over the Affordable Care Act, which passed in 2010. When times are good, people worry less about deficits.

That said, Brooks walks by some of the difficult tradeoffs here without even stopping to look. Small businesspeople might be unnerved by deficits, but they’re also unnerved by GDP contraction. A small coffee shop might not like government spending in the abstract, but they really don’t like closing because there are no more construction workers around to buy coffee, and so they may quite like the effect of deficit-financed tax credits for home buyers. Consumers might not like the idea of deficits, but nor do they like hearing that their kid is in a class that’s twice as large this year, or that the construction on the road they take to work is going to simply stop for a while, while the local government waits out the recession.

The deficits we are looking at now are largely the legacy of conservative economic policy. A legacy that we can spend our way out of or set up an ample number of soup kitchens for the millions that will stay unemployed until some fairy dust rains down and makes it all better again. I tend not to have much faith in fairy dust, unlike David Brooks at the NYT or always wrong right-wing miscreant millionaires such as Bill Kristol. Conservatives claim to be as good at economic policy as they are at national security. These are the people who gave us WMD, imminent threats and the worse deficit in the nation’s history. Forget all that America, it’s not our fault its the socialists-commie-born in Kenya -Republican-lite guy in the White House.

Harry Reid’s(D-NV) opponent for the Senate, Nevada GOP Extremist Angle Tries to Hide ‘Issues’ Page

New GOP Senate candidate from Nevada Sharron Angle is apparently trying to quietly toss the online records of her extreme nativist and John Birch Society-inspired positions down the memory hole.

Sharron Angle—Tea Partier, Oath Keepers supporter, anti-fluoride crusader, and new GOP candidate for Senate from Nevada—is already demonstrating her solidarity with party luminaries like Ted Stevens, George W. Bush, and the entire House Republican caucus by staging an epic Web fail of her own. In a possible bid to play down her more right-leaning, less mainstream views—which are bound to be a liability in a general election fight with Democratic Senate majority leader Harry Reid—Angle’s campaign website has been scrubbed of its spiciest material. Previously, her site featured an “issues” page, where Angle champions nuclear waste while deriding the UN, the Department of Education, “Obamacare,” “illegals,” and “an unscientific hysteria over the man-caused global warming hoax.” That web page is now inaccessible.

A mini drama at best. Angle’s page displaying her loony positions is now up. Among them is her fear of fluoride, connections to Scientology and her desire to kill Social Security. Illegal immigration is a problem, but conservatives do not seem to have any solutions other than spending hundreds of billions of dollars rounding them all up. We could easily rise billions by fining right-wing pundits five dollars for every lie they tell. Some form of compromise, earning a pathway to citizenship is  not a position they have embraced – the right called the Bush-McCain-Democrat compromise Shamnesty or something like that. Some kind of amnesty is certainly a cheaper alternative if, you know, you’re really concerned about spending priorities. I have rather have the money spent on keeping teachers and police employed – spending Republicans are blocking and some Democrats are afraid of.

The Big Dog didn’t finish cleaning up the mess/legacy of the Reagan-Bush 41 presidencys until the last year of his second term. In many ways Clinton’s presidency was as much about making progress as it was about undoing the calamitous damage of his predecessors. So when Republicans incessantly whine about when we’re going to stop blaming Bush 43 and six years of Republicans control of all three branches of government Speaker Pelosi earns a trip to the bonus round with the correct answer,

MSNBC’s First Thoughts quoted from an interview NBC conducted with Nancy Pelosi yesterday in which the Speaker pegged the current financial and environmental crises to the Bush administration’s “lack of supervision, of regulation, of discipline.” Asked how long the Democrats could continue to blame Bush, Pelosi replied, “Well, it burns out when the problems go away.”

In many ways – like the deregulation bandwagon that lead to the Wall St meltdown and the BP Gulf spill – we’re still paying for the Reagan years, so Bush will be taking his lumps for the next fifty years. Except for those that like their history revised and sugar-coated.

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Glenn Beck lashes out at liberals for daring to point out he promoted and is till promoting a book written by a Nazi. Refuses to apologize, of course. Beck: No apologies for promoting an anti-Semite Nazi sympathizer. The Right is still rife with antisemitism, even rewarding those that have tried to rid the government of Jews. Now along comes Helen Thomas who dared to utter these words to : You Got Played

Now that Helen Hitler Thomas has been forcibly retired, more video of the interview miraculously has become available for viewing:

Here’s the “appalling” transcript:

Q: Any advice for these young people over here for starting out in the press corps?

Thomas: Go for it. You’ll never be unhappy. You’ll always keep people informed, you’ll always keep learning. The greatest thing of the profession is you’ll never stop learning.

Q: Today they are covering the Jewish Heritage Month.

Thomas: … and meet the President.

A: Any comments on Israel? We’re asking everyone today, any comments on..

Thomas: Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine.

Q: Oooh. Any better comments?

Thomas: Remember, these people are occupied, and it’s their land. It’s not German and it’s not Poland.

Q: So where should they go, what should they do?

Thomas: They can go home.

Q: Where is home?

Thomas: Poland. Germany.

Q: So you are saying Jews should go back to Poland?

Thomas: And America and everywhere else. Why push people out who have lived their for centuries? See?

Q: Now, are you familiar with the history of that region and what took place?

Thomas: Very much. I’m of Arab background.

{It goes on for a little while with friendly banter about languages they both speak with words I can not even begin to spell.}

Q: Thank you.

Thomas: All the best to you (directed at the Jewish students). Go for it- go for journalism, you’ll never regret it.

Compare that to Beck’s promotion of the Elizabeth Tillman pro-Nazi book. Thomas apologized and probably quit under pressure from Hearst. Beck will probably pull down another $32 million this year and keep his jobs in radio and TV. Pat Buchanan, also a Fox contributor will continue to make regular appearances on Fox,

In another memo from Buchanan to Nixon: “There is a legitimate grievance in my view of white working-class people that every time, on every issue, that the black militants loud-mouth it, we come up with more money…. If we can give 50 Phantoms [jet fighters] to the Jews, and a multi-billion dollar welfare program for the blacks…why not help the Catholics save their collapsing school system.” (Boston Globe, 1/4/92)

In a column sympathetic to ex-Klansman David Duke, Buchanan chided the Republican Party for overreacting to Duke and his Nazi “costume”: “Take a hard look at Duke’s portfolio of winning issues and expropriate those not in conflict with GOP principles, [such as] reverse discrimination against white folks.” (syndicated column, 2/25/89)

Writing of “group fantasies of martyrdom,” Buchanan challenged the historical record that thousands of Jews were gassed to death by diesel exhaust at Treblinka: “Diesel engines do not emit enough carbon monoxide to kill anybody.” (New Republic, 10/22/90) Buchanan’s columns have run in the Liberty Lobby’s Spotlight, the German-American National PAC newsletter and other publications that claim Nazi death camps are a Zionist concoction.

The Buchanan ’96 campaign’s World Wide Web site included an article blaming the death of White House aide Vincent Foster on the Israeli intelligence agency, Mossad — and alleging that Foster and Hillary Clinton were Mossad spies. (The campaign removed the article after its existence was reported by a Jewish on-line news service; Jewish Telegraphic Agency, 2/21/96.)

Despite her Democratic leanings Helen Thomas went after both Democrats and Republicans.

None of these prestigious firsts or awards protected Thomas from the firestorm that followed her remarks. Time columnist Joe Klein wrote that Thomas should be stripped of her privileged seat in the White House briefing room. Her remarks were offensive, but considering her journalistic moxie and courage over many decades — in sharp contrast to the despicable deeds committed by so many littering the Washington political scene — isn’t there room for someone who made a mistake, apologized for it and wants to continue speaking truth to power and asking tough questions?

Unlike Beck, Buchanan, Limbaugh, Coulter and a virtual army of right-wing hyperbolists that seem to make more money by making even more abhorrent remarks about women, Jews, Liberals, college professors, union members, teachers, war heroes and anyone else that veers from their ideological prison camp. Thomas is hounded out by one in-artful remark for which she apologized. Except for that WaPo piece by Katrina vanden Heuvel, I have not read one of the Beltway villagers come to Thomas’s defense. Who can name one denizen of the Beltway in politics or journalism that has lived to be 86 with a record of professionalism free of goofball statements. The same journalists that played along with Bush’s selling of the Iraq invasion are still in D.C. The networks that let “military analysts” provide Bush administration spin as expert commentary have still not apologized.  A. Serwer at Tapped gets to the crux of the moral issues that were at stake,

I’m not going to defend Helen Thomas’ comments. Any American who is going to argue that Israeli Jews should “get out” is going to have to be willing to advocate for the return of all the land west of the Mississippi River to Native Americans, since the provenance of the land on which America stands is far more legally dubious than that of the Jewish state. Thomas is now retiring, but Jon Chait makes a persuasive case for why she probably should have been gone long ago.

That said, it’s worth noting that in American political discourse, as Matt Duss and Gabriel Winant have written, statements of a similar nature are completely appropriate when made about the Palestinians — it’s not, apparently, that bigotry is unacceptable, just the “wrong kind” of bigotry. This is the sort of incident that exposes the more tribal advocates on either side — you cannot argue that there’s something morally wrong about leaving Palestinians stateless and then argue that Israeli Jews should be left that way, just as you cannot argue that it is morally wrong to suggest Jews should “leave Israel” while asserting that Israel has the right to permanently displace the Palestinians. Or at least, you can’t argue either of those points while claiming to adhere to any universal moral principle. Still, it’s clear that one form of inconsistency here is infinitely more acceptable in Washington than the other.

After criticizing Obama for lacking emotion, Conservative media now attacks Obama for seeking “ass to kick” over spill. Conservative journalists have never shown any genuine concern over the spill, they as happy as pigs at the trough that have another event they can blame Obama for.

They don’t mean to, unless you’re really into conspiracy theories and think liberals have infiltrated the Nevada Republican party, but occasionally the Right does moderates a big favor like nominate Sharon Angle as the GOP candidate for Senate, Sharon Angle And Party Suicide

* Inflammatory rhetoric: In an interview last month with the Reno Gazette-Journal, Angle had this to say about gun laws: “What is a little bit disconcerting and concerning is the inability for sporting goods stores to keep ammunition in stock,” she told the newspaper. “That tells me the nation is arming. What are they arming for if it isn’t that they are so distrustful of their government? They’re afraid they’ll have to fight for their liberty in more Second Amendment kinds of ways. That’s why I look at this as almost an imperative. If we don’t win at the ballot box, what will be the next step?”

The Angle campaign signs should be interesting – Vote for me or we’ll have to break out the semi-automatics on your ass. It is not the least bit of an exaggeration to say I could go to any number of stores and come back in an hour with enough guns and ammo for a small army. I already have two and feel that any civil unrest that requires more than that, well a few more guns is not going to make much of a difference. There is a difference between self defense and paranoia. That is the reason the dictionary has a different definition for each. The Angles of the world seem to lack the cognitive skills to differentiate between the two. Reid Opponent Embraces Patriot Group That Warns Of ‘Giant Concentration Camps’

The peculiar ideology of Sharron Angle, the Republican nominee challenging Sen. Harry Reid in Nevada, is perhaps no better illustrated than by her embrace of the patriot group Oath Keepers, whose membership of uniformed soldiers and police take an oath to refuse orders they see as unconstitutional — including enforcement of gun laws, violations of states’ sovereignty, and “any order to blockade American cities, thus turning them into giant concentration camps.”

[   ]…According to the SPLC, Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes, a former staffer for Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) warns his followers against “a coming dictatorship” that will happen if “our brothers in arms go along and comply with unconstitutional, unlawful orders.” An extensive report on the group by Mother Jones in March suggests supporters of the movement believe they’re living through the first steps of the shift away from constitutional freedom. Members of the group — many of them in the armed forces — share the “belief that the government is already turning on its citizens, they are recruiting military buddies, stashing weapons, running drills, and outlining a plan of action [to stop it],” the magazine reported.

In the real world Senator Reid’s middle name is moderate. So much so that liberals regularly whine about him. I tend to think he has more pluses than minuses and he looks even better compared to Chuck Schumer who is the leading Democratic contender for Senate leader should Harry step aside. Though it would be a mistake to underestimate Angle.

Just for fun. Or dark humor anyway. The kool-kids at the konservative PJ Media have the answer to the oil spill, Miles of Oil Containment Boom Sit in Warehouse, Waiting for BP or U.S. to Use

He’s already had a representative from BP visit his factory and inspect his product. The governor of Maine, John Baldacci, visited the facility and made a video plea to no one in particular to close the deal. Maine Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins wrote a letter on May 21 to the secretary of the Interior, the administrator of NOAA, and the commandant of the Coast Guard to alert them to the existence of Packgen, their supply of boom, and their demonstrated capacity to make more. I have no idea if those are the correct persons and agencies to notify about the manufacturing capacity and the availability of boom. One wonders if the senators know.

To sum up. 1. He does not know if two Republicans senators know the correct persons or agencies to contact. 2. He goes on to give a second grader’s idea of what an oil spill and how it is to be handled. Why is he writing a blog post when he should be on a jet insisting on his way to sharing his cool show-and-tell with BP and the Coast Guard. This “boom” meme has become the right’s Guld spill equivalent of those half-submerged buses in New Orleans during Katrina that could have saved everyone if only they had listened to right-wing bloggers. 3. Obama knows about the boom. Knows it is the secret to stopping any more environmental damage, but is keeping it all super secret to serve his super secret agenda. You know, the one that is helped by not letting anyone know about this miracle boom. 4. The same goes for BP. The less boom they lay out the …more money they make? 5. What day was it that konservatives gave a damn about about the environment and any business but the oil and coal industry. They’re Boom Believers, but Global Warming Deniers 6. Konservative komrades always claim they are very concerned about meritocracy. Anything they write about meritocracy only makes sense if you substitute the word mediocrity. Thus in the village of Wingnuttia that post about boom is very popular. 7. Much of their complaint is the gov’mint is not doing enough. They were against the nanny state before they were for it. Why isn’t every whining know-it-all-do-it yourself- self sustaining-don’t need no govmint-konservative down in the Gulf with a bucket and a mop.

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A Conservative is a Person Who Has Made All the Mistakes Which Can be Made, Then Repeats Them

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To revisit some old news for a moment. In their faux outrage that someone should tell a small joke about George W. Bush Matthew Yglesias notes the party that ran the last election cycle distancing themselves from the Bush-Cheney era and which gave us the supposedly new and true conservatism of the tea smokers gave themselves away, McCartney Mocks Bush, Boehner Demands Apology

I think the interesting thing here is that conservatives are frequently pretending to dislike George W Bush and his policies, but at the end of the day they just can’t quit the man or stop defending his honor and his legacy. His economic priorities—help rich people pay less taxes, let business rum amok—are theirs. His religious-inflected strain of violent nationalism is theirs. His love of violence is theirs. If they return to government, they will continue with Bush-style policies and we’ll get Bush-style results.

Boehner(R-OH) has embraced the tea party movement – you know the one that is supposed to be about change. Boehner and the tea bags are the political equivalent of sleazy snake oil salesmen. Having been caught selling a worthless concoction, they’ve just relabeled it.

Liz Cheney Sticks Up For Halliburton: ‘I Don’t Know What Planet You Live On’

Second of all, Halliburton became notorious for its malfeasance in Iraq. It allegedly tried to cover up the gang rape of one of its contractors, knowingly exposed U.S. troops to deadly toxins, and ignored warnings of unsafe electrical wiring that led to the death of U.S. soldiers. In 2007, federal auditors told the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that the government had wasted $10 billion on “overpriced contracts or undocumented costs.” Of that amount, $2.7 billion was charged by Halliburton.

Much like Sarah Palin’s regular eruptions I have the deepest appreciation for Liz Cheney’s. She unabashedly stands up for corporate corruption, crony capitalism, authoritarianism, war crimes and the rule of the elite. Without conservative spokespersons like Liz and Sarah people would not have as clear a picture of what they are voting for.

Glenn Beck Endorses Pro Nazi Book

On his radio show today, Glenn Beck heralded and promoted the work of Nazi sympathizer Elizabeth Dilling, who spoke at rallies hosted by the leading American Nazi group and praised Hitler. Today, Dilling is heralded by White Supremacists and White Aryans who revere her “fearless” work against Jewish people.

[  ]…British Professors Christopher Partridge and Ron Geaves wrote that Dilling was a “pro-Nazi anti-Semite” who disseminated Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion. The ADL describes Protocols as “a classic in paranoid, racist literature. Taken by the gullible as the confidential minutes of a Jewish conclave convened in the last years of the nineteenth century, it has been heralded by anti-Semites as proof that Jews are plotting to take over the world.”

Beck’s severe case of Nazi Tourette’s is part of the Conservative Circus and Clown Show, but he and his writers make the choices of words and imagery for a reason. Like all zealots Beck and his supporters have to give the impression there is an evil out there only they can perceive. An easy way to describe that evil is to invoke already well known historical references for oppression. At the end of the day the Beckians still have to define who they are and what they stand for. While it is not full-bore fascism it is a soft species of fascism whose demons are anything and anyone that they see as a threat and responsible for the homeland not living up to its destiny. Day after day, Beck and other far Right zealots are pushing their generation’s brand of eliminationism.

Dilling called for appeasing Germany; she blamed the war on Jews and Communists and accused the Roosevelt administration of being controlled by Jewish Communists. … After Pearl Harbor, Dilling resisted wartime rationing and denounced the Allies.

The demagoguery Beck uses is similar, Glenn Beck’s express hatred of progressives, embodied in his CPAC speech

To wild applause, he labeled this alleged tumor of “community” the supposedly evil “progressivism” — and he told disciples to “eradicate it” from the nation.

The lesson was eminently clear, coming in no less than the keynote address to one of America’s most important political conventions. Beck taught us that a once-principled conservative movement of reasoned activists has turned into a mob — one that does not engage in civilized battles of ideas. Instead, these torch-carriers, gun-brandishers and tea partiers follow an anti-government terrorist attack by cheering a demagogue’s demand for the physical annihilation of those with whom he disagrees — namely anyone, but particularly progressives, who value “community.”

No doubt, some conservatives will parse, insisting Beck was only endorsing the “eradication” of progressivism but not of progressives. These same willful ignoramuses will also likely say that the Nazis’ beef was with Judaism but not Jews, and that white supremacists dislike African-American culture but have no problem with black people.

Ultimately Beck and the Right’s reinvented fascism-lite is nothing more than the projection of their uber-nationalism and authoritarianism based on fear of the ominous other. While they seem to have some reading material in common Beck is not a Nazi. The Right in the United States is not composed of the smartest kooks, but they are clever enough to know that only a new brand of fascism has a chance of succeeding. Why go through all the trouble of rounding up those dirty progressives, the wide array of secular and religious Americans that believe in social justice,  the intellectual college professors, those dirty Hollywood actors, the union members that include police and nurses, when you can use a combination of corporate money and media power to lead the sheeple to carry out your polices. Some of this goes back to Thomas Frank’s What’s the Matter with Kansas? where ordinary working people vote themselves and their children  into lifelong relatively powerless workers living from hand to mouth, a pay check or two away from disaster in order to fight back the supposedly creeping socialism of corporate regulation that would keep companies from destroying the Gulf of Mexico, Medicare and holding health insurance companies accountable.

Black and White Shore Rocks wallpaper

Black and White Shore Rocks wallpaper

The sad thing about manufactured outrage is there is far more of it in the conservative movement than there is values or genuine love of country, John Boehner (R-OH) Demands That Paul McCartney ‘Apologize’ For His Crack At The Former President. Boehner’s bromance with the guy that lied over four thousand Americans to their deaths, claimed that wars are good for the economy and gets a cheap thrill torturing people is touching. In a sick kind of way. Steve Benen notes,

The same day McCartney told a harmless joke about George W. Bush’s limited intellect, George W. Bush boasted about having ordered torture as president, and insisted he wouldn’t change a thing if he had it to do over again. So, just so we’re clear, a musician telling a Bush-is-dumb joke generates a fair amount of outrage in some conservative circles. A former president admitting to ordering torture — bragging about utilizing a technique that the United States has long considered criminal, and has even prosecuted — is completely fine. One, in Boehner’s mind, requires an apology; the other is a source of partisan pride.

Sarah Palin’s latest wise insights into petroleum geology, government regulation and the BP Gulf oil spill has already made the rounds, but Madison Gray provides some reality based perspective on Palin’s POV, Sarah Palin’s Facebook Blasts Environmentalists for Oil Spill

Palin insists that those those darned hippy environmentalists are the ones influencing public policy enough to keep oil drilling away from “safe” places like the Alaska Natural Wildlife Reserve that would finally break America from its dependence on foreign oil.

Yes, the blame lies solely with the activists who are clearly causing the plumes of oil to gush into the waters of the Gulf, and certainly not the failure of a blowout preventer mechanism that was allegedly shrugged off weeks before the catastrophe by an official from the drilling company, Transocean. It could not have been the decision not to employ or require an acoustic switch as a backup to the blowout preventer’s breakdown. And of course, any alleged negligence on the part of Transocean, BP and the Minerals Management Service, which is responsible for regulating offshore drilling of this type, doesn’t even come into play.

I’ve seen Palin’s propaganda in various forms in news comments on the net so it is becoming an entrenched right-wing meme. It is part of the rabid Right’s termination to use the spill as a gudgeon against the Obama administration rather than BP- Gulf Spill Will Cost Billions in Economic Activity – Conservatives Defend BP

Led by Fox News, right-wing media have attacked Attorney General Eric Holder over his announcement that the Justice Department has begun civil and criminal investigations into the Gulf oil spill. Their attacks echo previous criticism from Fox and right-wing media figures over SEC charges and congressional hearings into Goldman Sachs and hearings into a Toyota vehicle recall.

Fox News, right-wing media attack Holder, administration over investigation into oil spill

Kilmeade suggests criminal inquiry into oil spill “just tank[ed] the market,” asks, “Was that smart?” On the June 2 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade stated, “The Department of Justice is probing for a myriad of reasons, it looks like, into BP and what they’ve done and what they could have violated.” He then suggested that the announcement of the investigations “drop[ped] BP’s stock 15 percent” and “just tank[ed] the market,” and asked, “Was that smart?” Co-host Steve Doocy replied, “Maybe not, because if they’re facing all these lawsuits, suddenly, where’s that money going to come from?”

Johnson Jr.: “This prosecution is becoming a distraction.” Also during the June 2 Fox & Friends, Fox News legal analyst Peter Johnson Jr. stated that the administration’s response was “a little bit delayed” and that “[t]his prosecution is becoming a distraction.”

The Horizon explosion was April 20, 2010. The administration responded immediately. Since the Right thinks President Obama is The One, one assumes he should have seen the explosion in his Stalinist-Satan-Hitler Special Crystal ball and responded the day before the explosion. The Conservative Asshats Crystal Ball, otherwise known as the Presidential Daily Brief was ignored when it said that Bin Laden was planning an attack. We all know the rules, when Republicans show all the responsibility of a mad arsonist it’s OK because they be special. It takes a truly special math to always triangulate events in a way that conservative elected officials and corporations that give handsomely to conservatives are never responsible for anything, but Democrats are responsible for everything that goes wrong.

Prosecuting criminal negligence, according to one of Sarah Palin’s ideological partners in propaganda is a “distraction”. The BP spill is likely to costs the Gulf Coast and the U.S. billions of dollars in economic activity and likely upend the lives of tens of thousands of people whose livelihoods depend directly or indirectly on the Gulf for income. This is the kind of populism Fox, Palin and their sheeple followers believe in. Good to know that once again the wacko ideology of conservatism is put before the common good of the nation.

Why Won’t the GOP Criticize BP?

As for the top Republicans in Washington, they’ve hardly said boo about BP. When it comes to the Gulf tragedy, there’s been a partisan outrage gap.

Let’s look at House minority leader John Boehner. He’s an active tweeter, but how many times has he mentioned BP on his Twitter feed? None. Unless you count a May 12 tweet about a USA Today editorial that urged politicians not to use the spill as an excuse to stop drilling. His congressional website blog has had no postings on BP or the spill. Boehner has called for BP to bear the entire financial burden of clean-up. But he has refrained from criticizing the company.

[  ]…Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the minority whip, has followed his leader’s example. He has not tweeted a negative word about BP.

[   ]…GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell has also refrained from slapping BP. Last month, he appeared on Meet the Press and emphasized the “administration’s involvement in this” more than BP’s role.

A little compare and contrast between Republican and Democrat behavior in a national emergency. As far as economic impact on the country the BP spill will likely costs far more than the 9-11 terror attack. Yet after 9-11 Democrats and independents put aside politics and supported Bush – who history clearly shows was negligent and which even Bush admitted. Here we have another national emergency and Republicans are spinning like little rats on speed trying to shift blame to President Obama and away from BP.

GOP Blocks Oil Spill Liability Bill

Chocolate Swirl wallpaper

liqiud swirl

Chocolate Swirl wallpaper

Thanks to this link for the quotes, Sarah Palin Always In The News

Palin weighed in on her Facebook page. She demanded that Obama  plug the damn hole.’ You first, Sarah.” —Bill Maher

“Sarah Palin has now weighed in on the gulf oil spill. Finally, the voice of reason. She said that President Obama should grasp the complexity of the situation. Sarah Palin giving advice on complexity. What, was Snooki from ‘Jersey Shore’ unavailable?” —Jay Leno

One of the reasons that Palin sticks to Tweeter and FaceBook and stays away from even powder puff interviews with tenacious bull dogs of the press like….Katie Couric? Is that Palin does not have to take questions about what she says. Anyone seen Palin’s schematics that detail her plan to stop the BP Spill? Of course not. It’s much easier for the crony hiring half term governor to lob Tweets from the safety of her peanut gallery than actually engage in serious public policy debates. To be fair Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell is only marginally better and that’s when he is not taking a nap.

Sarah Palin Has Some Tough Words For Amphetamines

If an oil well in ANWR had blown up, the oil would just kind of pool all over the tundra, where it’s really too cold for media people to come up and make a big fuss, and it would be much easier to just nuke it, like the Russians did. Funny how none of that came across in your slogan, which just seemed to imply that we should drill the crap out of everywhere to get oil! It’s almost as if reductionist chants don’t carry nuance, and allow you to claim they mean any convenient bullshit you want when they become inconvenient!

(Palin’s original Tweet: “Extreme Greenies” regarding the Gulf oil spill: “[S]ee now why we push’drill,baby,drill’of known reserves&promising finds in safe onshore places like ANWR? Now do you get it?” (bold mine)

What do they mean by “convenient bullshit”. Now “Drill, Baby, Drill” means not drilling offshore. Only during her VP run it’s meaning was far more inclusive, Sarah Palin lies about “drill, baby, drill”

And here she is the day before in Loveland, Colorado:

PALIN: And whether Joe Biden approves it or not, we will develop clean coal technology and we will safely drill for the billions of barrels of oil that are warehoused underground, including our offshore sources. We will drill here and drill now. (Cheers, applause.) Drill, baby, drill. Drill, baby, drill.

[   ]… (October 21, 2008, campaign event in Reno) And we will develop clean-coal technology. And we will safely drill for the billions of barrels of oil that we have underground, including off-shore.

I’ve heard people wonder about why the media acts as a megaphone for literally every little Tweet and FaceBook post Palin does. Palin is every bit as much a leader of the conservative movement as Newt Gingrich, Glenn Beck or hundreds other conservative politicians, pundits and denizens of right-wing thinktanks. By all appearances she is running for president in 2012. The Tweets and FaceBook posts are documentation of her point of view. That they are lacking in carefully thought out policy prescriptions is also part of who she is and what she represents. I for one am grateful for the insights, or lack there of, she provides into what her and her followers stand for. Is it fair that the conversation Palin is having with the public is lopsided in its deficit of give and take? No, but that to is part of the insight into how she views governance, policy and democracy.

The White House needs to stay out of primaries – Chris Bowers thinks other than us political junkies no one especially cares about an adminstration trying to shape the political makeup of its party.

There are some caveats here.  For one, Romanoff was actively pursuing administration positions during much of 2009, so it is not like this was an entirely unsolicited suggestion from the White House:  Also, Romanoff himself says that he was not actually promised a job by the White House.  Further, the White House says that Democrats in Colorado were actively promoting him for administration positions.

The only problem that really matters is not the appearance of wrong doing – administrations of each party has been doing this since forever – the problem is the base feels they are not being given the opportunity to choose among the best candidates. That does not play well for those that believed in the “hope and change” thing. Even than there are more important public perceptions that play across party lines,

However, I am convinced that this is not helping Obama.  As I noted in the post below this, Obama’s net approval rating dropped 3.5% in May, even though more jobs were created in May than in any month, like ever. It seems possible, even likely, that stories about the White House trying to clear primary fields, and the BP leak, are wiping away any potential political gain for the improving employment situation.

There is  bad kind of short attention span and an understandable kind. The understandable kind is that people grab a few minutes of news in between taking care of the kids or rushing to work or trying to find a job. Unfortunately perceptions and soundbites add up. Because of small beans stories like  Andrew Romanoff, the opportunity to get a little credit for some solid job creation numbers gets squandered in the sound bite game.

This is pathetic – Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) Lies: My Dad Died Fighting The Nazis In Germany (Not Quite)

The Unholy Alliance Continues – The Flotilla, The Right and Israel

It’s an easy choice for me. I’d rather have a tooth pulled without Novocain than write about Israel. There tends to be a public reaction wave to these things and as the weeks go by Israel may not become completely exonerated – that isn’t even the issue in some ways, but ultimately U.S. policy in regards to Gaza and Israel will remain the same. All the noise coming from the Right is a combination of the usual paranoia when everyone does not just shut TheF*ckUp and follow them like good little sheeple and the possibility of pealing off a half percent of the American Jewish vote. Biden solidifies defense of Israel: ‘What’s the big deal here?’

“[The Israelis have] said, ‘Here you go. You’re in the Mediterranean. This ship — if you divert slightly north you can unload it and we’ll get the stuff into Gaza.’ So what’s the big deal here? What’s the big deal of insisting it go straight to Gaza? Well, it’s legitimate for Israel to say, ‘I don’t know what’s on that ship. These guys are dropping eight — 3,000 rockets on my people,'” Biden said.

Biden probably believes what he says. Over the course of his political career he has stood up for working class Americans and sensible foreign policy too many times for me to get mad at him for this bit of tunnel vision. It’s like an old friend with who you have a disagreement. You just agree to disagree over this particular issue. One of the metrication factors is that technically speaking Biden is correct. Though getting aid to Gaza was not the only purpose of the flotilla as M.J. Rosenberg explains, Lying About the Gaza Flotilla Attack

The first thing you need to know about the Gaza flotilla disaster is that the intention of the activists on board the ships was to break the Israeli blockade. Delivering the embargoed goods was incidental.

In other words, the activists were like the civil rights demonstrators who sat down at segregated lunch counters throughout the South and refused to leave until they were served. Their goal was not really to get breakfast. It was to end segregation.

That fact is so obvious that it is hard to believe that the “pro-Israel” lobby is using it as an indictment.

Of course the goal of the flotilla was to break the blockade. Of course Martin Luther King provoked the civil authorities of the South to break segregation. Of course the Solidarity movement used workers’ rights as a pretext to break Soviet-imposed Communism.

There might be some tiny bit of wiggle room for Israel to claim it’s actions were legal, but probably not – Why Is Israel’s Blockade of Gaza Legal? (Updated)

L.C. Green, one of the great IHL scholars, agrees with this analysis.  If this is still the state of the law — and I don’t know whether it is — it would be possible to argue that Israel’s conflict with Hamas is an IAC and Israel is thus entitled to blockade Gaza.

But there’s a catch — and a big one.  If the “cost” of the blockade is formally recognizing Hamas as a belligerent, maintaining the blockade would mean recognizing Hamas fighters as privileged combatants.  (Just as the armed forces of any state are privileged combatants.)  That would be fundamentally unacceptable to Israel, because Hamas fighters would then be entitled to attack Israeli combatants and would have to be treated as POWs upon capture.

Quite a bot of maritime law here. The problem for Israel is that want all the privileges of waging a kind of war against Palestinians without officially declaring war and the responsibilities that entails. Even among the pro-Israel right-wing newspapers I have not read any claiming that Israel is at war with the Gaza stripe. Those that care about the well being of the Israeli people should be wondering why the Israeli government is acting like Republican neocons. Who are actually making Hamas more powerful by its actions.

The Right is till as anti-semantic as ever. The religious right like the late Jerry Falwell thought that Jews are condemned to hell and Evangelicals like Pat Robertson thinks Christian fundamentalists are closer to God, and will have an easier time entering heaven as we near Armageddon than Jews. So why the they can do no wrong attitude toward Israel. It is part of what some have called an unholy alliance between right-wing Israelis, the neocons and America’s far Right fundamentalists, The Jesus Landing Pad

The e-mailed meeting summary reveals NSC Near East and North African Affairs director Elliott Abrams sitting down with the Apostolic Congress and massaging their theological concerns. Claiming to be “the Christian Voice in the Nation’s Capital,” the members vociferously oppose the idea of a Palestinian state. They fear an Israeli withdrawal from Gaza might enable just that, and they object on the grounds that all of Old Testament Israel belongs to the Jews. Until Israel is intact and Solomon’s temple rebuilt, they believe, Christ won’t come back to earth.

[   ]…The Apostolic Congress dates its origins to 1981, when, according to its website, “Brother Stan Wachtstetter was able to open the door to Apostolic Christians into the White House.” Apostolics, a sect of Pentecostals, claim legitimacy as the heirs of the original church because they, as the 12 apostles supposedly did, baptize converts in the name of Jesus, not in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Ronald Reagan bore theological affinities with such Christians because of his belief that the world would end in a fiery Armageddon. Reagan himself referenced this belief explicitly a half-dozen times during his presidency.

While the language of apocalyptic Christianity is absent from George W. Bush’s speeches, he has proven eager to work with apocalyptics—a point of pride for Upton. “We’re in constant contact with the White House,” he boasts. “I’m briefed at least once a week via telephone briefings. . . . I was there about two weeks ago . . . At that time we met with the president.”

Religion has been a powerful force for good – the abolitionists were inspired by the Bible. Many of the first proponents of women’s rights (Mary Wollstonecraft wrote A Vindication of the Rights of Woman in 1792) and later proto-feminists used the Bible as justification for demanding more equality. Contrary to  the Founder’s ideals, America’s fundamentalists have a history of draining every bit of goodness out of religion. On a personal level they have the right to do so. It is when they use their shallow hateful ideology to mettle in and  support a counter productive foreign policy that steers two nations toward the ditch that shows how dangerous and delusional their mingling of religion and politics are.

update: This story ran in the WaPO on June 2, 2010 – New memos detail Republican Frederic Malek’s role in Nixon campaign against Jews

Democrats say that documents recently posted on the National Archives Web site “raise new questions about Mr. Malek’s involvement in targeting and removing Jews from their jobs,” said Jon Vogel, executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “As the chairman of the American Action Network, which has pledged to spend $25 million this year targeting Democratic members of Congress, Mr. Malek needs to answer the disturbing questions about his role and why these documents contradict his previous accounts.” The American Action Network describes itself as a nonprofit group that promotes “center-right policies.”

Malek did not return a phone call seeking comment, but Mark Corallo, a spokesman, said: “As Mr. Malek has said before, he has made mistakes in his life for which he has apologized, atoned and learned from.”

In addition to chairing Republican Sen. John McCain’s campaign finance committee in the 2008 presidential race, Malek is an adviser to former Alaska governor Sarah Palin. Thirteen times in the past decade, he has written checks to Republicans for more than $20,000 apiece, and his total contributions over the past two decades exceed $1.03 million.

The documents about Malek’s work as Nixon’s special assistant are part of formerly restricted material from personal files that the Nixon library made public in January. A note posted on the National Archives Web site mentions Malek’s reputation under Nixon as “the hatchet” because of his tenacity, and says the documents show that Malek “supplied Nixon with a list of thirteen people he thought had Jewish surnames” at the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Antique World Map Circa 1499

Antique World Map Circa 1499

Strike Is Said to Kill a Top Qaeda Leader

The operational leader for Al Qaeda in Afghanistan was killed in an American missile strike in Pakistan’s tribal areas in the last two weeks, according to a statement the group issued late Monday that American officials believe is correct.

The militant leader, Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, an Egyptian, was a top financial chief for Al Qaeda as well as one of the group’s founders, and was considered by American intelligence officials to be the organization’s No. 3 leader, behind Osama bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, another Egyptian.

This must be a mistake since according to that astute vessel of all things pertaining to jihadist radicals, Brian Kilmeade of Fox Propaganda, President Obama is neglecting the fight against terrorists. Among others the Obama administration has also killed Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the No. 2 official of the Afghan Taliban, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi a jihadist operating in Iraq and Abu Ayyub al-Masri, the leader of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia. Former Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen who has a weird infatuation with torture has complained that the Obama administration is killing too many terrorists. When your mom said that there is no pleasing some people, Thiessen is the kind of person she was talking about.

Republicans Criminalizing Politics over Sestak Affair

While Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) has deemed the Sestak no-pay-for-no-play non-scandal an “illegal quid pro quo” and “Obama’s Watergate,” the overwhelming consensus of legal opinion had concluded otherwise. While Bush White House ethics officer Richard Painter told his fellow Republicans to “move on,” Steve Bunnell of the firm O’Melveny & Myers announced, “There is nothing inherently bad about it unless you think politics and democracy are bad.”

Rabid little critters will sometimes grab a dirty little sock and hang onto to it tenaciously without rhyme or reason.

More to social media than your # of Facebook friends

Here’s some of the reasons I think that you can’t take the fact that more Republican politicians have success with social media as evidence that liberals and Democrats aren’t using online organizing and messaging as effectively or even more effectively.

Conservatives are more likely to be sycophants than liberals. For all that conservatives gripe about the cult of Obama, the real truth is that liberals are way more likely to be critical of our politicians and/or likely to view whatever they say as if it’s meaningless political feel-good nonsense.  Liberals are more likely to see politicians as people working for us, and conservatives see their politicians as leaders.  It makes sense—the fundamental struggle between conservatives and liberals is over a hierarchical vs. egalitarian worldview.  Sitting around listening to leaders is less interesting to liberals than to conservatives.  We see social media more as a way for them to listen to us.

There are some other good points and well worth a read. I tended to think that conservatives were drawn to Tweeter because it is simply a digital extension of the bumper sticker mentality. When I was growing up the first bumper stickers i noticed were those expressing a right-wing point of view. They tended to boil down all political issues and general ideology to a few words – DITTO HEAD, VOTE LIBERTY VOTE REPUBLICAN, etc. While I would encourage Democrats to use Tweeter and FaceBook, our on-line presence  runs deeper in content and is popular. According to Technorati Huffington Post is number one. The next most popular political site is the right-wing National Review 8. Malkin’s aptly named Hot Air is 10, but Think Progress is 12, the liberal leaning Daily Beast is 11. While BoingBoing is not a political site, its political POV leans Democrat and they are 7. The right-wing Newsbusters is 23, while Talking Points Memo is 25. If a Democrat has only so much time to spare FaceBook might be worth the effort, but I’d like to see more Democratic bloggers, especially regional. Today’s city council person is tomorrow’s mayor. Today’s mayor is tomorrow’s Congressman, Senator or federal judge. There might be a tendency for Democrats to think because HuffPo, TPM, Daily Kos and a couple other moderate to liberal blogs are so big their little blog can’t generate enough traffic to make a difference. Even if one blog’s visitor count is low they can still help with links – a part of Google’s search algorithms.

Paranoid ‘Hatriot’ Group Attempting Takeover of Local Sheriffs’ Offices

Today, a rather credulous Associated Press article reports on a movement to replace local sheriffs with proponents of a particularly virulent form of “tentherism“:

[  ]…Absent from the article, however, is a discussion of the Oath Keepers’ overactive fantasy life. The Oath Keepers’ website is riddled with paranoid rhetoric about government officials “disarm[ing] the American people,” “confiscat[ing] the property of the American people, including food and other essential supplies,” and “blockad[ing] American cities, thus turning them into giant concentration camps.” In early 2008, the Oath Keepers’ founder warned that a “dominatrix-in-chief” named “Hitlery Clinton” would impose a police state on America and shoot all resisters. After primary voters chose a different candidate, the Oath Keepers simply rewrote their paranoid fantasy to include a taller, African-American lead.

They not only have every right to have their guns, since Obama was elected gun sales have soared. The worrisome aspect is the paranoia coupled with a gun fetish, plus having the same political ideology of the Oklahoma City bombers, Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols. These people are not patriots as much as they are ultra-nationalist.

Israel Attacks Humanitarian Flotilla, Many Dead & Injured (Updated)

One Israeli serviceman was “moderately injured” by a knife wound during the assault, which took place just after dark and after Israel had attacked vessels flagged in America, Europe and Turkey, while they were still in international waters. The passengers included a holocaust survivor, USS Liberty survivors, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, EU MEPs & hundreds of humanitarian workers.

Apparently one Israeli commando was also thrown over broad. One Israeli newspaper is also playing the angle that some of the passengers were members of the Muslim Brotherhood. Which is irreverent. Over the years the U.S. has provided humanitarian aid under every administration to countries whose politics have run the ideological spectrum, many, such as China, not as pure as the driven snow. Israel has to get around the fundamental question of initiating a military assault on ships in international waters (Israel attacked the USS Liberty in international waters in 1967). That the crew seemed to not take kindly to such actions seems appropriate. Ultimately 14 to 16 crew members were killed and no Israeli soldiers. Obsidian Wings is trying to reserve judgment until there are more details, but asks

First, it was yet another deeply stupid move by Netanyahu’s government.  Dropping commandos one-by-one from a helicopter onto the deck of a (large) ship in international waters?  Did no one foresee the possibility that this plan, such as it was, might end badly?  And what was it going to achieve?  What was the best case scenario that would justify the international outrage from a successful raid?

I support the state of Israel in the traditional liberal sense they have a right to exist as a Jewish state and have the right to defend themselves. It appears thus far they have gone far beyond simple self-preservation.

This is not a hatchet job on Lost, but an interesting look at the science behind the show including the last episode, Lost’s Duct Tape Fix Wouldn’t Work