Scottsbluff National Monument wallpaper

Scottsbluff National Monument wallpaper

Another day and another episode of faux outrage from conservatives. Powerline has a video up of retired Marine Major General Charles F. Bolden, Jr. ( currently Administrator of NASA) with  Al Jazeera. Their problem , besides the misleading headline? Obama tasks NASA with building Muslim self-esteem

This is more evidence, if any were needed, of Obama’s lack of interest in American achievement or, indeed, American greatness. He seems to believe we’ve achieved enough (or perhaps too much) and that the trick now is to make nations that have achieved little for centuries feel like we couldn’t have done it without them (in the video, Bolden goes on to talk about how much NASA owes the Russians and the Japanese).

Being the great and perfect Powerline providing some kind of evidence to back up the ludicrous claim  President Obama has a “lack of interest in American achievement” is apparently not required. probably for the best as we’d have a conservative doing research, providing examples etc and reasonable Americans might start to believe that conservatives are not lazy dipsticks. President Obama gave this address just this past weekend,

“This is the day when we celebrate the very essence of America and the spirit that has defined us as a people and as a nation for more than two centuries,” Obama told guests at a South Lawn barbecue honoring service members and their families.

“We celebrate the principles that are timeless, tenets first declared by men of property and wealth but which gave rise to what Lincoln called a new birth of freedom in America — civil rights and voting rights, workers’ rights and women’s rights, and the rights of every American,” he said. “And on this day that is uniquely American we are reminded that our Declaration, our example, made us a beacon to the world.”

As to the general resentment that a member of the Obama administration is reaching out and trying to establish better relations with the world’s one billion Muslims, Bush did it first – PRESIDENTIAL MESSAGE: EID AL-FITR, December 2002

I send greetings to Muslims in the United States and around the world as you celebrate Eid al-Fitr, the Festival of Breaking the Fast.

At the end of Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting, worship, and reflection, Eid celebrates the renewal of faith, hope, and compassion. During this time of great rejoicing, Muslims give thanks for the blessings they have been granted, and demonstrate their commitment to the Qur’an’s teachings by helping those in need. These acts of kindness and generosity strengthen communities worldwide, and as we observe this holiday season, I encourage Americans of all faiths to join in building a culture of service that demonstrates the true character of our Nation.

America treasures the relationship we have with our many Muslim friends, and we respect the vibrant faith of Islam, which inspires countless individuals to lead lives of honesty, integrity, and morality. This year, may Eid also be a time in which we recognize the values of progress, pluralism, and acceptance that bind us together as a Nation and a global community. By working together to advance mutual understanding, we point the way to a brighter future for all.

Laura joins me in sending our best wishes for a joyous Eid, and for health, happiness, and prosperity in the coming year.

It’s OK when a right-wing president talks about “global community”, the kind of one world government language that usually causes the extreme right to have conniptions, but an Obama appointee highlighting the common history of the world’s people. That’s crazy talk. Don’t tell the kids our the concept of the number zero is via the Arabs ( and possibly ancient India). The chemical periodic table the entire world uses was created/discovered by a Russian. The Japanese have made Nobel prize winning contributions to physics and chemistry. Acknowledging these achievements is what used to be considered humility – ultimately they are great human achievements which we can all take pride in and at one time such honorable gestures were an American and Christian ideal. So it is not surprising that a conservative rag such as Powerline, the day after Independence Day, would pause to take a piss on true American values.

While he is more libertarian than conservative, August von Hayek is often praised by the Right as being among the saints of right-wing o’nomics. Are higher taxes and strong social “safety nets” antagonistic to a prosperous market economy? The evidence is now in

One of the great challenges of sustainable development is to combine society’s desires for economic prosperity and social security. For decades economists and politicians have debated how to reconcile the undoubted power of markets with the reassuring protections of social insurance. America’s supply-siders claim that the best way to achieve well-being for America’s poor is by spurring rapid economic growth and that the higher taxes needed to fund high levels of social insurance would cripple prosperity. Austrian-born free-market economist Friedrich August von Hayek suggested that high taxation would be a “road to serfdom,” a threat to freedom itself.*

Most of the debate in the U.S. is clouded by vested interests and by ideology. Yet there is by now a rich empirical rec-ord to judge these issues scientifically. The evidence may be found by comparing a group of relatively free-market economies that have low to moderate rates of taxation and social outlays with a group of social-welfare states that have high rates of taxation and social outlays.

[  ]…The results for the households at the bottom of the income distribution are astoundingly good, especially in contrast to the mean-spirited neglect that now passes for American social policy. The U.S. spends less than almost all rich countries on social services for the poor and disabled, and it gets what it pays for: the highest poverty rate among the rich countries and an exploding prison population. Actually, by shunning public spending on health, the U.S. gets much less than it pays for, because its dependence on private health care has led to a ramshackle system that yields mediocre results at very high costs.

Von Hayek was wrong. In strong and vibrant democracies, a generous social-welfare state is not a road to serfdom but rather to fairness, economic equality and international competitiveness.

Facts and figures are usually either completely lost on conservatives or they revise them to suit ideology. Unfairness, an economy that punishes the working class for the greed and mistakes of the wealthy and the zeal to ship American jobs overseas are the hallmarks of modern conservative economics. Inexplicably that road to serfdom has paid off for the Republican Party. If such strategies work there is no reason for conservatives to stop using them, Punishing the Jobless

Yet the Senate went home for the holiday weekend without extending benefits. How was that possible?

The answer is that we’re facing a coalition of the heartless, the clueless and the confused. Nothing can be done about the first group, and probably not much about the second. But maybe it’s possible to clear up some of the confusion.

By the heartless, I mean Republicans who have made the cynical calculation that blocking anything President Obama tries to do — including, or perhaps especially, anything that might alleviate the nation’s economic pain — improves their chances in the midterm elections. Don’t pretend to be shocked: you know they’re out there, and make up a large share of the G.O.P. caucus.

By the clueless I mean people like Sharron Angle, the Republican candidate for senator from Nevada, who has repeatedly insisted that the unemployed are deliberately choosing to stay jobless, so that they can keep collecting benefits. A sample remark: “You can make more money on unemployment than you can going down and getting one of those jobs that is an honest job but it doesn’t pay as much. We’ve put in so much entitlement into our government that we really have spoiled our citizenry.”

The workers Angle refers to would be the ones that sweep the floors, emptied the bed pans, wired your house, taught your children, managed your super market and wielded America’s bridges and skyscrapers. The ones that provided the labor and services that make wealth possible. The ones that paid into the system trough taxes and fees and are out of work because Republicans confused running the economy for eight years with running a backroom gambling casino.

Wait: there’s more. One main reason there aren’t enough jobs right now is weak consumer demand. Helping the unemployed, by putting money in the pockets of people who badly need it, helps support consumer spending. That’s why the Congressional Budget Office rates aid to the unemployed as a highly cost-effective form of economic stimulus. And unlike, say, large infrastructure projects, aid to the unemployed creates jobs quickly — while allowing that aid to lapse, which is what is happening right now, is a recipe for even weaker job growth, not in the distant future but over the next few months.

Republicans assume, through some bizarre rationale, unemployment benefits disappear down a black hole never to be seen again. In the real world those benefits pay for groceries, rent, toothpaste and shoes for the kids. Some business reaps the benefits. Those businesses in turn spend that money at other businesses. This isn’t economics at a level so complicated that even conservatives don’t understand it. So their motives are not based on principle, but on politics. The only politics conservatives know, the politics of destruction.