Bubbles Blue Water wallpaper

Blue Water Bubbles wallpaper. Link fixed. Apologies to those who have had downloading problems.

Krauthammer Revives Reagan Small Government Myth

In his Friday column, Krauthammer warns Republicans, “Don’t underestimate Barack Obama.” He frets that “the net effect of 18 months of Obamaism will be to undo much of Reaganism.” Because of “the creation of ruinous deficits as far as the eye can see” which “are not easily reversed,” Krauthammer worries that taxes (now at their lowest level since 1950) may have to be increased:

There just isn’t enough to cut elsewhere to prevent national insolvency. That will require massive tax increases — most likely a European-style value-added tax. Just as President Ronald Reagan cut taxes to starve the federal government and prevent massive growth in spending, Obama’s wild spending — and quarantining health-care costs from providing possible relief — will necessitate huge tax increases.

Sadly, Charles Krauthammer must be confusing Ronald Reagan with someone else. Not only did the size of the federal government continue to grow under the Gipper, but the national debt tripled during the fiscal nightmare that was the Reagan presidency. Reagan was, as Timothy Noah wrote in Slate in 2004, “the man who taught Republicans to be irresponsible.”

Chuck is in trouble if they start fact checking his columns before they publish them, but there is probably little chance of that. I would like to thank Chuck for providing another opportunity to show that Saint Ronnie was more myth than fact.

The wing-nuts say jump and WaPo asks how high, Wash Post gives New Black Panther story new life
– Just when the peddlers of the phony “corruption” claim are discredited, the paper restores their credibility

Writing in the National Review, Thernstrom also noted the relative thinness of the case against the NBPP: “The legal standards that must be met to prove voter intimidation — the charge — are very high. In the 45 years since the act was passed, there have been a total of three successful prosecutions. The incident involved only two Panthers at a single majority-black precinct in Philadelphia. So far — after months of hearings, testimony and investigation — no one has produced actual evidence that any voters were too scared to cast their ballots. Too much overheated rhetoric filled with insinuations and unsubstantiated charges has been devoted to this case.”

Thernstrom even took a veiled shot at the Republican activist at the center of the storm, J. Christian Adams. In the Washington Times, Adams accused the Obama administration of “corruption” in reducing the charges against the NBPP, and shrieked: “The dismissal is part of a creeping lawlessness infusing our government institutions. Citizens would be shocked to learn about the open and pervasive hostility within the Justice Department to bringing civil rights cases against nonwhite defendants on behalf of white victims. Equal enforcement of justice is not a priority of this administration. Open contempt is voiced for these types of cases.” Thernstrom notes that Adams provides no evidence of his charges and suggests he and other conservatives should “get a grip.”

I agree with Alexander to a point: I wish the Post had used its considerable resources to do what Media Matters has done, and debunk the phony right-wing charges against the Obama Justice Department on this case.

I agree with Joan that the new Black Panthers – all eight or nine of them – are assclowns, but it is hard to believe they represent some massive effort to intimidate voters. The only people that seem to have been intimidated are the little purple people swimming around inside J. Christian Adams’ pointed little head.

Wallace Presses Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN)On How He Can Call The Stimulus A ‘Failure’ In The Face Of Job Growth

Basically, Pence seems to be saying that because unemployment hasn’t been completely eradicated, the stimulus must be a failure. But it’s important to remember the hole the country had to dig itself out of from the Bush administration, and the fact that unemployment would be even higher without the stimulus:

Many Republicans continue to go around and pretend that the stimulus hasn’t created any new jobs, even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Last week, ThinkProgress attended a job fair hosted by Rep. Eric Cantor where the businesses in attendance had received more than $52 million in federal stimulus funds. Other Republicans who voted against the stimulus have similarly had no problem taking credit for its success.

Just before they make you drink the kool-aid and jab an ice pick in your brain in order to become a wing-nut you have to swear that when the facts get in your way just lie your ass off.

Scott Brown’s Facebook Fans Are FURIOUS At Scott Brown Again. This is the same bonehead who would not vote for FinReg unless they removed the amendment that made the banks pay for their own recovery fund. This is just one comment on little Scottie from FaceBook from conservatives,

* Mr Scott Brown – I want my 50.00 back that I sent you. You lied to us, you are a liar.
Please send me my money back ASAP.
SCOTT BROWN LET LUS DOWN. hE IS A FANATICAL LIB. I COULD REALLY CRY. THIS IS A SAD DAY INDEED FOR THE PEOPLE OF THIS COUNTRY. YOU ARE A TRAITOR.

Which made me think of a terrific business idea. KEYBOARD DROOL CLEANER FOR CONSERVATIVES.

Tea Party The Same as Conservatives. No Surpirse They Have the Same Racism Issues

The tea baggers and Republicans and the conservative movement are all one and the same for the most part – Poll: Tea Party Supporters And Republican Base Are Virtually ‘Indistinguishable,’ Share Similar Ideologies . So the issue is only peripherally about whether some tea baggers are racists. Some clearly are, while some are not. Just like the Republican Party. Conservatives from Sarah Palin to Andrew Breitbart are framing the issue as calling all tea baggers racists. There is a big difference between saying that all tea baggers are racists to saying that racism is part of that subset of Republicans known as the tea party. That straw man argument is accompanied by the even more delusional denial that there is any racism among tea bagger conservatives,

“I am saddened by the NAACP’s claim that patriotic Americans who stand up for the United States of America’s Constitutional rights are somehow ‘racists,'” Palin wrote in a Facebook note.

“I know how Tea Party Americans feel to be falsely accused,” she said.

First let’s get to what Palin says the NAACP said. The NAACP stated,

Today, NAACP delegates passed a resolution to condemn extremist elements within the Tea Party, calling on Tea Party leaders to repudiate those in their ranks who use racist language in their signs and speeches.

Palin, who is always complaining about misinterpreting what she says and taking her statements out of context, twists and spins what the NAACP actually said to portray herself and tea bagger conservatives as poor patriotic victims of a smear. “Falsely accused”? Does Palin wear sound proof headphones to go with her blinders? Is she telling yet another lie? Does she lack the cognitive skills to understand a simple statement? Does she not pay attention to or care what tea bagger conservatives do and say? her tea party conservative have racists in their ranks. This is not surprising since racists have tended to be attracted to the conservative movement since the 1950s and while most Republicans may not be racists, the non-racists and the racists within the Republican Party were happy to use the Southern Strategy to cash in on the racists vote. Conservatism, regardless of any rebrandingg efforts such as tea baggers – primarily used to shirk the responsibility of being associated with the Republican legacy of 2000-2008 – has racism issues: GOP Leaders Embrace Tea Party Bigotry

So while Democrats Tim Ryan (D-OH), Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Barney Frank (D-MA) rushed to denounce the racist and homophobic slurs of Tea Baggers directed at U.S. Congressmen, the GOP has thus far been silent.

VIDEO: Yes, there is racism in the Tea Party movement.

Tea Party NY Gov Candidate’s E-Mails Exposed: Racism, Porn, Bestiality

Rush Limbaugh has applauded the tea baggers conservatives – Video – Limbaugh does some race baiting, calls health care reform a civil rights bill

Tea party rejects racist label, but concerns remain

Obama Care poster handed out by tea party supporters at a local gun show. It shows Obama as a witch doctor and the caption reads “Obama Care. Coming soon to a clinic near you.”

[  ]..Billy Roper is a write-in candidate for governor of Arkansas and an unapologetic white nationalist.

I don’t want non-whites in my country in any form or fashion or any status,” he says.

Roper also is a tea party member who says he has been gathering support for his cause by attending tea party rallies.

[   ]…Is it racism?

For many tea partiers, racism is in the eye of the beholder.

Take Ron Wight, who stood with dozens of tea party activists at the J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain in April, complaining about the Obama administration, its socialist agenda and being called a racist.

Those like him who complain about President Barack Obama are accused of racism, lamented the semi-retired music teacher from Lee’s Summit.

Then he added: “If I was a black man, I’d get down on my knees and thank God for slavery. Otherwise, I could be dying of AIDS now in Africa.”

Wight doesn’t consider that comment to be racist.

[   ]…A photo circulating on the web shows Dale Robertson, founder and president of Houston-based TeaParty.org — also called the 1776 Tea Party — at a 2009 rally carrying a sign that said: “Congress = Slave Owner, Taxpayer = Niggar.”

Robertson said allegations of racism in the tea party are coming from “people who have an agenda, and all they want to do is slander this movement.” ( some tea party members interviewed for that article did denounce Robertson who is still active among tea party conservatives)

Wight brings up another option to explain why some tea baggers adamantly deny they’re racists and tea party leaders who say it is not a problem. They are amazingly lacking in self-awareness and what constitutes racism. And yes Virginia, just as there are black conservatives there are black tea baggers – from the same link,

Lloyd Marcus, a black conservative and musician who has both spoken and entertained at tea party rallies, said he has been to 200 events and never witnessed any racist incidents.

[  ]…The Council of Conservative Citizens, a St. Louis-based group that promotes the preservation of the white race, has sponsored its own tea parties in some Southern states.

The council’s website has referred to blacks as “a retrograde species of humanity” and said non-white immigration would turn the country into a “slimy brown mass of glop.”

Gordon Baum, the group’s founder, told The Star that the council encourages members to participate in tea parties.

He described the tea party rallies as “mainly a white thing, because there’s not a whole lot of blacks that participate, and the ones that do get to be speakers.”

The Council of Conservative Citizens is a descendant organization of White Citizen’s Councils of the 1950s who thought Lincoln committed treason.

Right-wing media attempt to erase “bigoted statements” from the tea party movement -1. RedState on NAACP: “[T]here is emphatically not a racial element behind [the tea party] movement.” 2. Michelle Malkin on NAACP: “When you can’t find evil enough enemies to blame for your problems, manufacture them.” RedState and Malkin have done the same thing Palin has done, issue a blanket denial that any racism exists within tea party conservatism. That is patently false. Malkin’s use of the term ‘manufacture’ is used in the context of fabricating outright falsehoods. As the previous links show Malkin is manufacturing her own guilt free reality. That lie should be offensive enough, but Malkin, who posts frequently on tea party conservatives would like everyone to believe she has had a sudden attack of blissful ignorance.

Wingnut radio host Jim Quinn. President Obama is a “little wuss from Kenya” who Quinn wants to “slap silly.”

Rather than carefully consider the NAACP’s modest admonition to do something about the racist element, which obviously exists within the newest iteration of conservatism known as the tea party, conservatives have decided to go ballistic with false outrage, delusional denial and to double down on the racism.

Orange Blue Splash wallpaper

water splash

Orange Blue Splash wallpaper

It’s Unanimous! GOP Says No To Unemployment Benefits, Yes To Tax Cuts For The Rich

For weeks, Senate Republicans have filibustered an extension of unemployment benefits on the grounds that Democrats aren’t willing to cut spending or raise taxes to pay for them. At the same time, the Bush tax cuts are set to expire, and Republicans want them to be renewed. For two days, Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl has raised eyebrows by insisting that emergency aid to unemployed people — what he called a “necessary evil” — be paid for through either tax hikes or spending cuts, while the tax cuts (which mostly benefit wealthy people) not be offset in any way. Yesterday claimed that this view is shared by “most of the people in my party.”

He was correct.

“That’s been the majority Republican view for some time,” Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told TPMDC this afternoon after the weekly GOP press conference. “That there’s no evidence whatsoever that the Bush tax cuts actually diminished revenue. They increased revenue, because of the vibrancy of these tax cuts in the economy. So I think what Senator Kyl was expressing was the view of virtually every Republican on that subject.”

Do not be fooled by that fact based chart. The Right has some powerful mental capacity to deny any reality that interferes with their fantasy filled world view. WHEN AN ENTIRE POLITICAL PARTY MOVES TO BIZARRO WORLD….

Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), considered by much of the media as a credible voice on budget issues, is singing from the same ludicrous hymnal. “When you’re spending money, you’re spending money that is — it’s not the same thing because it’s growing the government,” he told Brian. “So I tend to think that tax cuts should not have to be offset.”

Honestly, what’s to be done when an entire political party buys a first class ticket to Bizarro World? It’s one thing when right-wing blogs and Fox News hosts spout such nonsense, but how does our political system function when “virtually every Republican” believes reckless tax cuts for the wealthy that created huge deficits actually “increased revenue”? How can we have an intelligent conversation with those who use the word “vibrancy” when describing the economy in the Bush years?

Republicans aren’t just wrong about this; they’re pathologically confused. The evidence isn’t ambiguous –– Bush’s tax cuts led to massive deficits, and if existing policies are left in place, those tax policies will be the single biggest factor in our budget deficits for many years to come. (emphasis mine)

Maybe that vibrancy was the glowing magical aura that surrounded Bush and when he left office. When millions of American suddenly realized Republican policies were a death spiral for the nation’s economic well being. Invincible Ignorance

And who in their right mind would describe the Bush economy as “vibrant”, anyway? Even during the peak of the housing bubble, it never achieved the kind of job growth that was routine in the Clinton years.

Letting Bush tax cuts for the rich expire will simply return us to pretty much the same tax rates of the Clinton – or Reagan years for that matter. Hard to believe for Republicans in denial or readers too young to remember the Clinton years – about eight years of relative peace and prosperity.

Conservatives Don’t Care About the Deficit

1) There have been two presidents who were members of the modern conservative movement, Ronald Reagan and George W Bush, and they both presided over massive increases in both present and projected deficits.

2) The major deficit reduction packages of the modern era, in 1990 and 1993, were both uniformly opposed by the conservative movement.

3) When the deficit was temporarily eliminated in the late-1990s, the mainstream conservative view was that this showed that the deficit was too low and needed to be increased via large tax cuts.

4) Senator Mitch McConnell(R-KY) says it’s a uniform view in his caucus that tax cuts needn’t be offset by other changes in spending.

Much was made of a recent Obama poll. Well Obama is still ahead of Mitch McConnell who is enjoying a whopping 34% in his own state. Matt is understating his case. Given the power conservatives always run deficits, but more than that they act like sugar addicts in a candy store, buying everything in sight. A few years pass, during which they do their usual kabuki dance about deficits and shrinking government. Than get back into power and start the same irresponsible behavior all over again. Some of them are flat out liars, but many of them truly believe they are fiscally responsible. Which just adds to the bizarro quotient.

A Clarification on the NBPP Case.

The original complaint in the NBPP case alleged that the behavior of the men outside the polling station was part of a larger scheme to disenfranchise white voters (“Prior to the election, Defendant New Black Panther Party For Self-Defense made statements and posted notice that over 300 members of the New Black Panther Party For Self-Defense would be deployed at polling locations during voting on November 4th 2008 throughout the United States”). But there’s no evidence that’s the case — no voters in Philadelphia or elsewhere came forward to say they had been intimidated. One of them actually had a poll watching certificate, and the remarks from the NBPP leader state the obvious — that the NBPP thought they were protecting blacks from being disenfranchised by whites. Basically what you have — to the extent that you have anything — is a conspiracy to wear black clothing outside of polling stations as part of a fringe group, which career attorneys at the Department of Justice weren’t comfortable prosecuting as a violation of the Voting Rights Act.

At that time it would have been Bush’s DOJ. Eek! Black Panthers!

DOJ did not pursue allegations that Minutemen intimidated Hispanic voters with a gun in 2006. Perez testified that in 2006, the Justice Department “declined to bring any action for alleged voter intimidation” “when three well-known anti-immigrant advocates affiliated with the Minutemen, one of whom was carrying a gun, allegedly intimidated Latino voters at a polling place by approaching several persons, filming them, and advocating and printing voting materials in Spanish.”

One would think the average person would be more intimidated by a gun than a club. The Right seems to have a very inconsistent threshold on exactly what constitutes intimidation. Media matters profiles the wing-nut conservative that is fueling a lot of this Black Panther paranoia. Three is an awful combination of racism and race baiting in the trumped-up DOJ -Panthers scandal even for the wing-nuts.

Obama is Just Like Hitler and Stalin?

tea party wallpaper

The Iowa Tea Party

North Iowa Tea Party displays billboard comparing Obama to Hitler.

Iowa Tea Party leaders now say they disagree with the use of the pictures, but not the Obama-is-Hitler message. North Iowa Tea Party co-founder Bob Johnson stated that while the “the pictures might be overwhelming,” the sign “highlights” the right message. Iowa state Tea Party coordinator John White agrees that while the “sign goes” where “the Tea Party doesn’t want to be”, “everything Obama has done is ‘lock-step’ with what Hitler did in his day.”

A chronology of the beginnings of the Nazi Party in Germany

The Reichstag Fire. A fire which broke out at the Reichstag building was blamed on the Communist Party (KPD). As a result the KPD, which was the second largest party in Germany, was banned.  The banning of the Communist party gave the Nazis a clear majority in government.
5th March 1933

With the Communist party banned Hitler ordered a new election at which the Nazi party gained 44% of the General election vote.
23rd March 1933

Enabling Act gave Hitler power to make laws without consulting the Reichstag for a period of four years
26th April 1933

The Gestapo, Nazi secret police, were formed
26th April 1933

The Nazis took over local government
2nd May 1933

Trade Unions were banned
10th May 1933

25,000 ‘un-German’ books burned in an “Action against the Un-German Spirit”. The move was encouraged by Joseph Goebbels, Head of Propaganda.
14th July 1933

All political parties except the Nazis were banned

We have had himbo and tea party candidate Scott Brown(R-Mass) elected to the senate. There are several tea nut candidates running for federal and state office. Tea smokers like Sarah Palin are criss crossing the country making millions of dollars campaigning for tea nuts. Why hasn’t Heir Obama kept to the Nazi playbook and banned all political parties. Republicans in the Senate have managed to stop the extension of unemployment benefits despite the fact they are the minority party. They have also stooped many of Obama’s judicial and other appointments. Wouldn’t a Nazi just drag these Republican obstructionists of the minority party off to the death camps. But I’m being reasonable and reality based in trying to refute what the Iowa and other tea parties believe. They are just a branch of the Republican party. It’s increasing most extreme branch. These are the same people who believe in the “death panels”, that President Obama was not born in Hawaii, the government is storing guillotines to behead its political opponents, create detentions centers to imprison conservatives and building indoctrination camps for children. By all means ignore the evidence and do not call the tea smokers racist because it hurts their feelings.

Its Wikipedia so it lacks some details but for a look at what Lenin’s rise to power i.e. the Russian Revolution looked like is here. The communist cam to power via bloody revolution and the over throw of a very repressive monarchy ( Tsar Nicholas II of Russia) and replaced Nicholas with a repressive regime of their own. Lenin would turn out to be the lesser of evils once Stalin came to power.  Stalin would go on to conduct the infamous purges where an estimated 20 million Russians were either murdered outright or were sentenced to labor camps where death was almost certain.

Clock Tower Boston Skyline wallpaper, News: Instead of changing their minds to reflect the correct information they can entrench themselves even deeper

Clock Tower Boston Skyline wallpaper. I took a little license with the name. The tower is the Custom House Tower in McKinley Square. The original construction was authorized by President Andrew Jackson in 1837.

Custom House Clock Tower Boston Skyline wallpaper.

One Big Thing Congress Can Do to Improve the Economy Before Election Day

State and local government is facing the worst fiscal crisis in a generation. The recession slashed revenue, yet the same recession increased the demand for many critical services. As a result there is a very real chance that in the next few months state and local government will lay off between 600,000 and 800,000 people. That result would be catastrophic for the already-weak economic recovery — as well as the political environment for Democrats.

Let’s say that the economy generates a fairly robust 150,000 new private sector jobs each month. That’s a total of 600,000 new jobs between now and November. But that job growth could be entirely wiped out by layoffs from state and local government. If private sector job growth is slower, then these layoffs could move the job figures into negative territory. That could very well pull economic growth into the red as well triggering a double dip recession.

And extending unemployment benefits is equally critical. The Labor Department says more than 1.7 million people have run out of unemployment benefits, and that figure could rise to more than 2.1 million people by the end of this week.

Americans who are out of work are not laggards who want something for nothing. They are — by definition — seeking jobs that the economy does not provide. Does it make any sense that Congress could find the money to bail out Wall Street bankers and their $10 million bonuses and can’t afford to make sure that the victims of Wall Street recklessness have something to keep their families from falling into poverty until they can find work?

This is typical of those darn liberal writers. Combining statistics, facts, appeals to reason and compassion for their fellow citizens. When will they ever learn, Researchers discover a surprising threat to democracy: our brains

It’s one of the great assumptions underlying modern democracy that an informed citizenry is preferable to an uninformed one. “Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government,” Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1789. This notion, carried down through the years, underlies everything from humble political pamphlets to presidential debates to the very notion of a free press. Mankind may be crooked timber, as Kant put it, uniquely susceptible to ignorance and misinformation, but it’s an article of faith that knowledge is the best remedy.

[   ]…In the end, truth will out. Won’t it?

Maybe not. Recently, a few political scientists have begun to discover a human tendency deeply discouraging to anyone with faith in the power of information. It’s this: Facts don’t necessarily have the power to change our minds. In fact, quite the opposite. In a series of studies in 2005 and 2006, researchers at the University of Michigan found that when misinformed people, particularly political partisans, were exposed to corrected facts in news stories, they rarely changed their minds. In fact, they often became even more strongly set in their beliefs. Facts, they found, were not curing misinformation. Like an underpowered antibiotic, facts could actually make misinformation even stronger.

This bodes ill for a democracy, because most voters — the people making decisions about how the country runs — aren’t blank slates. They already have beliefs, and a set of facts lodged in their minds. The problem is that sometimes the things they think they know are objectively, provably false. And in the presence of the correct information, such people react very, very differently than the merely uninformed. Instead of changing their minds to reflect the correct information, they can entrench themselves even deeper.

When conservatives walk around outraged that President Obama cannot fix in two years, the problems they took eight years to create, that outrage is partly due to their brains rejecting the notion they are largely responsible for our current meltdown. As early as 2009 with the very recent Bush – Bernanke TARP recently passed by Republicans and the housing meltdown that was in full swing by 2007, Republicans and their far Right supporters were already in full mental armor denial mode.

Health Warning Republican flu to return

How’s that state sponsored fundamentalist family values conservative religion going, 26 Year Old Woman Raped and Murdered by Basij Members for “Bad Hijab”

According to HRANA, Elnaz Babazadeh, a 26 year old woman was raped and murdered by Basij forces in the city of Tabriz (northwestern Iran) last week. According to the reports, Basij forces stopped Babazadeh in her car for not following the Iranian regime’s dress code. Elnaz resisted the forces and ignored orders given by the Basij forces.

I’d like to think that should conservatives realize their dream of breaking down the wall separating church and state they would not be so draconian. While murdering and raping over dress codes are not on the menu, their dreams of mugging the Founders’ intentions are, IF ONLY THE RIGHT WOULD LEAVE THE CONSTITUTION ALONE….

Indeed, by the mid-point of his presidency, George W. Bush was on record supporting at least six different proposed amendments to the Constitution: (1) prohibiting flag burning; (2) victims’ rights; (3) banning abortion; (4) requiring a balanced budget; (5) prohibiting same-sex marriage; and (6) allowing state-endorsed prayer in public schools. As a wise blogger noted at the time, Bush “really seems to think the Constitution is just a rough draft.”

But that was several years ago, and the right’s approach has shifted. Conservatives no longer prioritize adding new amendments to the Constitution; they now believe it’s time to start repealing some of the old ones.

We talked last month about the growing demands among Tea Partiers to repeal the 17th amendment — the constitutional provision that empowers the electorate to choose their own senators, rather than state legislatures doing it, as the Constitution originally mandated.

The Right is also put the 16th Amendment on its most wanted list. usually I can fellow the Right’s twisted logic, but cannot figure out how they arrive at the idea that state legislator appointments of U.S. senators is somehow more democratic than election by the people. There is the laughable assumption repealing the 17th would lesson the influence of special interests. This of course by conservatives who stop any steps toward campaign finance reform dead in its tracks. The system might be broken by huge sums of campaign money, but repealing the 17th would just mean fewer people to lobby, bribe, and intimidate.

Josh Marshall thinks Louisiana politics are getting a little wilder with a new conservative challenger to the state’s official prostitute inspector Sen. David Vitter (R-LA). I’ don’t know, they’re getting pretty strange down in Florida too, HELL YEAH, HE’S BOMBASTIC

I see that one of the Power Line guys has had to avail himself of the fainting couch:

NAME-CALLING AS JOURNALISM

“Bombastic West rakes In cash” — that’s the title Politico gives to its story about how Republican Allen West, a former Army colonel who is challenging for a congressional seat in Florida, raised a remarkable $1.4 million in the second quarter of 2010.

Politico reporter Alex Isenstadt fails to explain why he considers West bombastic. Instead, he notes that West has been endorsed by Sarah Palin and that a speech he gave at Tea Party event has received two million views on YouTube. Enough said, if you’re a leftist writing for leftists.

No More Mister Nice Blog goes on to print what has become something of the typical Republican speech about President Obama: he’s a radical, the Soviet Union and it’s satellite states would still be with us if Obama was president in the 80s, a danger to the free world, a socialist, an intellectual elite ( the Right really hates smart people) and anyone who disagrees with the cowardly West is a coward. A recounting of why West is a coward here. Much like their cognitive problems with facts conservatives such as West love these speeches which rely on a long list of deranged accusations devoid of substance. The theory behind this is the listener would be carried along, not on the facts, not on reason, not on the ideas, not the democratic ideals enshrined in documents like the Bill of Rights, but rather on pure emotional power. Appeals to base emotions and conspiracy theories. They’re bad stage plays of one person soap opera. You’re supposed to break down, shun all reason and toss aside over 200 years of American ideals and progress to jump on the way-back machine so we can shove American back to the days before the Enlightenment.

Jazz Guitar wallpaper

jazz wallpaper

Jazz Guitar wallpaper

Headless bodies and other immigration tall tales in Arizona

The Arizona governor, seemingly determined to repel every last tourist dollar from her pariah state, has sounded a new alarm about border violence. “Our law enforcement agencies have found bodies in the desert either buried or just lying out there that have been beheaded,” she announced on local television.

Ay, caramba! Those dark-skinned foreigners are now severing the heads of fair-haired Americans? Maybe they’re also scalping them or shrinking them or putting them on a spike.

But those in fear of losing parts north of the neckline can relax. There’s not a follicle of evidence to support Brewer’s claim.

Milbank notes FBI statistics show violent crime in Arizona has  not increased or decreased in ten years. John McCain(R-AZ) and of course Rush Limbaugh seemed obvious to those facts when mentioned by President Obama in a speech. Hey man you’re messing with our wing-nut narrative where headless bodies and shrill demagoguery are much more interesting than the truth. This was to be expected. Conservatives can whip up all the fauz outrage they like about the deficit, but that just reminds everyone that Republicans sucked at running the economy. The old cultural hot button issues do not carry the kind of shock and awe value they once did. Let’s make bizarre xenophobic claims and run on them as a platform. We could have an honest debate about illegal immigration. To be in this country illegally is not a good thing. After everyone agrees that we’re a nation of laws and something should be done we have to get past the lies and talk about the estimated $285 billion dollars it would cost to track down, process and deport all illegal aliens which come from every corner of the world, not just Mexico. Compare that to the extension of unemployment insurance of $38 billion. Which should be the bigger priority at a time of so much economic misery for so many people. Bush 43 tried to reach a consensus and compromise about one issue. Immigration reform. It was perhaps the only time when right-wing pundits and bloggers ganged up against him. If the guy who took right-wing fringe ideology to new heights of extreme can’t get a compromise it is doubtful Obama could propose any solution that would please even half  of the far Right. There is no $285 billion to spend. So maybe we could do the ear plug manufacturers a favor and just buy some American made plugs that would shield us from the never ending shrill.

The newest immigration myth – Fox Minister of Propaganda Steve Doocy still misinformed –and misinforming — about AZ law. The Arizona law is just like an immigration law on the books in Rhode Island, except, there is no law like Arizona’s in Rhode Island. John McCain and Fox hack Steve Doocy aside there are very likely citizens of Arizona who have good intentions. They’re against illegal immigration, jay walking and shop lifting. Just because they have good intentions does not mean they’re correct  on the Constitutional issues in question or the morality of the law – Ariz. immigration law ushers in Jose Crow era

As a result of Jim Crow laws and being born suspects, African-Americans are all too familiar with the consequences of “reasonable suspicion.” My father and those of his generation dealt with the obstinacy of an elected class determined to keep discrimination enshrined in statute. Sadly, with the passage of this anti-Fourth Amendment legislation in Arizona, it appears a similar elected class is determined to pass on that experience to a new generation of Americans. After decades of progress, it is painful to see a state put discrimination back into place with a new twist on old laws — ushering us into the Jose Crow era.

Masquerading as a fix to our broken immigration system, Arizona’s law sacrifices the liberties we have worked so hard to gain and protect. Under Arizona’s stringent anti-immigrant law, a person’s ethnicity and culture makes him or her “reasonably suspicious,” thereby eroding the constitutional rights of certain U.S. citizens and legal residents. Americans whose families have lived in Arizona for generations will have their citizenship questioned based on their “reasonably suspicious” physical appearance.

Why the Obama-is-a-socialist poll isn’t surprising – 55 percent of likely voters in this year’s elections think their president is a socialist

Of course, this only accounts for a few extra points. As the poll shows, even when the pool is broadened, the number of voters who describe their president as a socialist is quite high. But maybe this has always been the case? The right has been screaming about Obama’s “socialism” since the summer of 2008 (at least) — long before he was elected, long before he was sworn in, and long before he signed a single piece of legislation. In other words, the right reached its conclusion before there was any evidence. (This is the “thinking with my gut” mentality that Stephen Colbert likes to mock.)

It seems like they over sampled far right likely voters. The Christan Science Monitor looked into this socialism bunk last week – Is Obama a socialist? What does the evidence say?

What Mr. Johns, Mr. Gingrich, and others brandishing the “socialist” s-word are really complaining of is a return to the policies of John Maynard Keynes, the English economist who advocated vigorous government involvement in the economy, from regulation to pump priming, says labor historian Peter Rachleff of Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn.

Socialism suggests getting rid of capitalism altogether,” says Dr. Rachleff. “Mr. Obama is not within a million miles of an ideology like that.”

For what it’s worth, socialists deny that Obama is one of them – and even seem a bit insulted by the suggestion.

“I have been making a living telling people Obama is not a socialist,” says Frank Llewellyn, national director of the Democratic Socialists of America. “It’s frustrating to see people using our brand to criticize programs that have nothing to do with our brand and are not even working.”

I’ve seen one of the viral e-mails the Right is circulation on another blog(sorry forgot the link). One of the reasons i forgot to keep the link was the e-mail – while from a far right web site – simply echoed the same factless BS passed around by what passes for mainstream GOP politicos like Gingrich. Newt states the easily debunked lie that President Obama sent government agents into AIG’s offices to take it over. AIG was bailed out and taken over during the Bush administration. Newt and others claim the government took over GM. We the tax payers bailed them( a process started by Bush) out and the government thus took part owner ship as collateral against the loan. An ages old practice of capitalism. One assumes Newt would have taken a promissory note from GM and said have a nice day, spend wisely. If the tea nut definition of socialism is that nebulous then the Bush/Republican Medicare Part D drug legislation was a socialistic pact with the pharmaceutical industry as was outsourcing contracts to Blackwater and Halliburton.

The CSM article is unlikely to have much effect. Less than have of Republicans believe president Obama was born in the U.S. In 2006 a Harris poll showed that half the U.S. believed Iraq did have WMD ( never had and never found). In a Time/CNN poll done in 1997, 80% believe that the government is hiding the existence of extraterrestrial life forms. People believe lots of things that are either false or highly unlikely. The Right in particular seems to thrive on beliefs as opposed to knowledge. We’re all human and that trend is not exclusive to conservatives, but as Governor of Arizona Brewer, Rand Paul’s conspiracy theory about the U.S. and European Union, what state Minnesota’ representative Tom Emmer believes or feels he knows about business and senatorial candidate Sharron Angle believes about government forcing rape victims to carry their pregnancies to term all demonstrate is conservatives would be lost without their beliefs. One of the difficulties in running against conservatives for political office or debating them is getting past the pure unadulterated bull they believe in. They tend to govern badly because they want to, but also because they’re generally guided by the delusions which dance in their heads and those of their supporters.

Dominoes Wallpaper

Dominoes Wallpaper

A collection of link highlights today and somewhat a continuation of yesterday’s post.

I appreciate David Leonhardt’s optimism and the substance of his suggestion even if some are bitter pills. The problem, as usual, is thinking Senate Republicans are actually interested in helping the average American worker, 5 Ways Congress Can Bolster Growth

These steps — like preventing layoffs of teachers, police officers and other government workers — are especially important now that the recovery has lost some steam. But we’re going to imagine a world in which the Senate is incapable of distinguishing between the long-run budget deficit (a big problem) and the near-term deficit (quite manageable, according to financial markets). So even modest, short-term spending bills can’t pass.

In that unpleasant world, could Congress still do anything to help the economy?

Yes, it could.

It could clear up some of the uncertainty about future government policy and, in the process, persuade companies to spend some of the $1.8 trillion in cash they have hoarded. Congress could agree to help struggling states if, and only if, they took steps to reduce their own long-term deficits. And Congress could push two opaque bureaucracies on opposite sides of the world — the Federal Reserve and the Chinese Communist Party — to do more for global growth.

Leonhardt pushes a Republican Governor’s trade-off with teacher unions to keep costs down,  paying more for their health-care benefits to prevent layoffs. The magic here is supposed to be that it is a Republican idea. Much of the humble health-care reform passed by Democrats was modeled on a plan that conservatives previously thought was great. Now promising to repeal the self-same conservative health-care reform is how tea nuts show their bona-fides. Trade deals with China and North Korea that increase U.S. exports is doable. Obama is working on a trade deal with North Korea, but expect a lag time of at least a year before Main St gets any real benefit. Though breaking news of such an agreement would likely run up some good numbers on Wall St trading. Pass an energy bill so business can know what to expect and plan ahead. Tax credits for clean energy supposedly has the support of conservatives Hatch and Lugar, but if newer, easier to obtain credits were offered would those two dweebs have the guts to buck the Senate conservative’s determination to keep the economy in the doldrums for the sake of making Republicans seem like a viable alternative in the mid-term elections. All David’s ideas are worth pursuing even if only to pull back the curtain on Republican motivations. If Republicans are determined to sabotage any efforts to help average Americans, Democrats can use that as political jujitsu.

In a post last year as the polls once again focused on backlash against incumbents I mentioned that every Democrat should worry less about the polls and more on running their particular races in their states and districts. Disregard the rabid Right. Their vote is a vote to bring back Bushnomics and nothing a moderate Democrat can say is going to get that vote even if we were all driving Lincolns and eating high off the hog. Only one example, but worth Democratic candidates taking a look. The Tom Frank Candidate

Sowers is running the kind of campaign that Thomas Frank famously urged in his book “What’s The Matter With Kansas?” It’s a genuine populist campaign, combining right-wing social affinity with left-wing anti-corporate economics. I’ve always wondered why more rural Democrats don’t give this a try — whatever the merits of trade deals, they’re hardly popular, especially not in downscale areas. And running against the bailout is kind of an obvious call for any candidate who wasn’t in office in 2008.

Johnathan Chait’s use of the term “trade deal” is inartful (see above). American are certainly not against competing in the world marketplace, but they are against the kind of off-shoring of jobs that have been a major hallmark of conservative economics since Reagan. Sowers also happens to be a Iraq vet which in red to purple district helps a lot.

Dean Baker’s” THE CONSERVATIVE NANNY STATE – How the Wealthy Use the Government to Stay Rich and Get Richer” is available on-line. You can read the entire book in HTML or download the PDF here.

In his new book, economist Dean Baker debunks the myth that conservatives favor the market over government intervention. In fact, conservatives rely on a range of “nanny state” policies that ensure the rich get richer while leaving most Americans worse off. It’s time for the rules to change. Sound economic policy should harness the market in ways that produce desirable social outcomes – decent wages, good jobs and affordable health care.

A timely example of what Baker is talking about – WaPo Whopper on Trumka, Social Security and Taxes

Here’s a great way to save some Social Security money. Let more folks die before they can get a check.  Cold? Maybe. But pretty darn effective according to Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus.

Marcus seems to have taken offense at AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka’s objection to raising the retirement age and his call for the better-off among us to pay the Social Security tax on all their income, just like the rest of us do.

[   ]…Currently all workers pay the Social Security payroll tax on the first $106,000 of their earnings. Earnings above $106,000 are exempt from the Social Security payroll tax. A nice tax cut for those on the top side of $106,000. But that 6.2 percent tax takes a good chunk out of the salary of most workers.

Trumka, and many economists, say that raising or eliminating that cap not only would be more fair, but would also be a hefty boon for the Social Security Trust Fund that deficit hysterics are making such a big fuss over. Marcus however, calls it Trumka’s “one-sided, tax-the-rich reflex” solution to all economic problems.  Let Dean Baker at the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) explain:

Marcus also implies that Trumka believes that the country’s fiscal problems can be solved exclusively by taxing the rich. This is not true. Trumka and the AFL-CIO have consistently been strong proponents of measures that would make the U.S. health care system more efficient, such as a public health insurance option and negotiated prices for prescription drugs.

If per person health care costs in the United States were the same as in any other wealthy country, the United States would be looking at huge long-term budget surpluses rather than deficits.

It is important also to note that measures that reduce the trend toward growing inequality, such as improved corporate governance that reins in CEO pay or a trade policy that is not designed to increase inequality, would also have beneficial budgetary impact. As more income goes to those at the middle and bottom, there would be less need for various government transfer programs. It would be useful if Post columnists would try to directly address the agenda of the unions, rather than caricature it in order to discredit it.

The wealthy do not, as conservatives believe, get wealthy in a vacuum. They need workers with some education, they need infrastructure like roads, utilities like water and power, they need fire and police protection and of course they need average folks to do their labor and buy their products. The wealthy, have greatly benefited from this arrangement. Enough to insist they pay their fair share to continue the life style to which they have grown accustomed.

Mississippi Gov. Barbour Fronts for BP.

Miller is furious that Barbour has continued to play down the disaster at every turn, saying just about “anything” to quell people fears and take the heat off BP.

“Barbour tells us, ‘this oil isn’t anything to worry about, it’s like the sheen coming off the back of a ski boat, you know, you wouldn’t want to wash your face in it, but you don’t mind skiing through it.'”

Where do Republicans get their analogies, the Dummy’s Guide to Inane Comparisons.

Octavia Nasr’s firing and what the Liberal Media allows. I’m not a big fan of Tweeter and the character limitations is one reason. A thought strikes a user, than without thinking  a tweet is sent out into the world without the complete context inside the user’s head. Context which the user probably thinks is implied. That said, once again an example of what conservatives media figures and spokespersons get away with day in and day out and their ability to mount an ideological purge against anyone that deviates from the Right’s political correctness.

Manufactured scandal: Right wing’s phony allegations against the Justice Department

J. Christian Adams’ accusations that President Obama’s Justice Department engaged in racially charged “corruption” in the New Black Panther Party case do not stand up to the evidence. Adams is a right-wing activist tied to the Bush-era politicization of the Justice Department who has admitted he lacks first-hand knowledge of the events he is discussing, and his claims fall apart given the fact that the Obama DOJ obtained judgment against one defendant, while the Bush DOJ declined to pursue similar allegations in 2006.

This story – or manufactured scandal by Fox and the Right – might get some coverage in the print media, but the broadcast media is unlikely to step in and correct Fox. Why? Because Fox is part of the fraternal order of broadcaster colleagues and the media does not fact check and correct their colleagues. Bros over facts. More here – Why Hasn’t Megyn Kelly Done Any Investigation Into Allegations Of Racism And Voter Fraud Enabling At DOJ?

Cold Hearted and Hard Headed – Modern Conservative Economics

The  GOP’S Genetic Link to  BIG OIL

If scientists were to compare the DNA of Republican congress-critters and of oil corporations, I’ll bet they’d find that they match perfectly. After all, the two species have identical political instincts and seem to have a natural affinity for each other — so I’m pretty sure they sprang from the same genetic pool.

How else can you explain the remarkable gusher of compassion that Republican lawmakers are presently directing toward Big Oil in general and BP in particular? For example, only hours after winning his party’s nomination for a Kentucky Senate seat, GOP teabag darling Rand Paul was on national TV decrying Barack Obama as “un-American” for daring to demand that BP be held accountable for its human and ecological destruction in the Gulf of Mexico.

Next came Minnesota’s Lioness of Loopiness, Michelle Bachmann, implying that the hard-hit people of the Gulf are shiftless moochers who’re using the oil disaster to grab corporate cash. Brimming with tears of compassion, the kooky congresswoman wailed that “(BP) shouldn’t have to be fleeced and made chumps to have to pay for perpetual unemployment and all the rest.”

And who can ever forget the astonishing public apology to BP’s CEO by the oil-soaked Texas Republican Joe Barton? After Obama had gotten agreement from BP to set aside $20 billion to cover some of the damages it has caused, Barton called Obama’s actions a presidential “shakedown.” He asserted that it made him “ashamed” to live in America, and he obsequiously begged forgiveness from the reckless CEO whose faulty wells killed 11 American workers and continues to do inestimable economic and ecological harm.

Speaking of ecological harm, nature needs us to focus. All of us who love polar bears, whales, seabirds and other wildlife should put our minds together to send an urgent telepathic message to the animals in the Beaufort Sea north of Alaska. Our message is blunt: Flee! Flee as fast as you can! Flee, because BP is coming!

While our public attention has been riveted on BP’s disastrous blowout in the Gulf, the British oil giant has been quietly and quickly drilling another risky offshore well three miles off Alaska’s north coast.

Dubbed “Liberty,” this project requires a technique called “extended reach,” which is even more prone to explosions than the process used in the Gulf. First, BP is drilling down two miles under the Beaufort Sea, drilling sideways for up to eight miles to tap into one of our national oil reserves.

But wait — didn’t Obama impose a moratorium on such offshore drilling? Yes … but when Liberty was planned in the George W. Bush years, it was magically declared by his Republican devil-may-care regulators to be an “onshore project.” How can that be? Because the rig sits on a tiny artificial island that BP built, so — voila! — it’s “onshore” even though it’s three miles offshore.

Also, just as in the Gulf, industry-cozy regulators let BP write its own environmental impact statements for Liberty. And — guess what? — BP’s 2007 statement said BP would cause no environmental problems. A-OK, said the winking regulators, as they rubber-stamped the project. And what about a disaster response plan, just in case, you know, something bad does happen? Not to worry, BP assured everyone, because the likelihood of a blowout is very remote.

Didn’t we hear that about BP’s Deepwater Horizon well, too?  ( article links and emphasis mine)

So a company that makes $66 million dollars a day in profits – not gross income – has conservative apologists coming out of the woodwork. People that work in other industries and businesses along the Gulf get zero respect from conservatives who claimed the tea parties were a symbol of their populist credentials. Conservatives, who in an eerie echo of George W. Bush’s “compassionate conservatism” claimed they represented and cared about average Americans. Oil spill takes toll

For those who rely on tourism for their livelihoods, the spill couldn’t have come at a worse time. Summer is prime tourist season for communities dotting the Gulf. Louisiana saw $1.36 billion of its more than $8 billion in tourism dollars generated by its Gulf region last year. Alabama’s beaches produced 25% of the $9.2 billion in tourism dollars reaped by the state in 2009. And of the 19 million visitors who flocked to Mississippi July 2008 through June 2009, 5.5 million traveled to the state’s three coastal counties.

In Mississippi, the spill could result in a $120 million loss to non-casino tourism in the state’s coastal areas this summer, according to a study released this month by the University of Southern Mississippi. And the average daily rates for hotels in the Gulf region continue to drop, according to the travel website Travelocity.

These very same Republicans whose policies were largely responsible for the Great Recession and yammer incoherently over Obama’s inability to wave his magic wand and fix the mess they made have no apologies for the Gulf Coast other industries,

The estuarine influence of the Mississippi River makes the northern Gulf of Mexico one of the world’s most productive commercial fisheries. Dockside values in 2008 for the five U.S. states bordering the northern Gulf of Mexico exceeded $661.4 million. More than half of this value is attributable to the shrimp fishery, which accounted for more than $366.5 million in income to harvesters in 2008. Additional fisheries of major economic importance to the region include: oysters ($60.2 million), crabs ($58.5 million) and menhaden ($64.3 million). Dockside fisheries landings and values are provided by state and species in Figure 1.

[  ]…It is important to note that dockside harvest values are only a part of the fisheries-dependent economy. These values must be adjusted to incorporate additional economic activities along the wholesale to retail market-chain continuum. The ultimate assessment of fisheries-related oil spill impacts will require consideration of losses not only to harvesters, but also to seafood dealers, processors, retailers and the tourism sector. Economic multipliers ranging from 1.5X to 3X of dockside value are typically used by university economists to capture the broader suite of related business activities supported by domestic seafood landings.

[  ]…According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, approximately 2.48 million anglers purchased marine fishing licenses in the five U.S. Gulf states in 2006. Many of these anglers rely on fishing guides and charter services to access coastal fisheries. In 2009, the Gulf region had more than 3,300 licensed charter boat captains (Figure 1). Sea Grant is currently conducting an economic survey of the recreational-for-hire sector in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. Results of that survey will be available in late summer 2010 and should prove useful in gauging any losses resulting to this sector as a result of the Horizon oil spill.

The right-wingers silence about the genuine victims of the BP spill speaks volumes about their real concerns. Number one is always to create a mythical narrative in which they have no responsibility for the consequences of their polices – in this case the unholy worship of deregulation. Two, never bad mouth the sugar daddy industries who are the true constituency of the Republican Party.

Like President Obama once said I don’t begrudge people making money. Unlike conservatives and right-wing libertarians I do distinguish between greed and making a fair profit. By encouraging and even apologizing for  unethical behavior conservatives have institutionalized corruption and petty selfishness. Whether it is BP or Wall St it is working class Americans that must pay. Business, no matter how deep the corruption or negligence must not be made to pay their fair share. Republican Tom Emmer who is running for governor of Minnesota typifies the conservative world view – MN GOP Gov. Candidate Tom Emmer’s Idea For Economic Growth: Cut The Minimum Wage Of Bartenders And Waiters

Speaking to reporters yesterday, Emmer proposed cutting the minimum wage for service workers who receive tips, such as bartenders and waiters. In order to justify the cut, Emmer said that some of these employees earn “over $100,000 a year,” and even make more than the people who employ them..

[  ]..In making his case for cutting the minimum wage for service employees, Emmer cites a figure that is wildly misrepresentative. While it may be true that “some” service workers can earn “over $100,000 a year,” most do not. According to the latest data available from the Bureau of Labor Services (BLS), Minnesota food and beverage service workers earned an average of $10.45 an hour in May 2010, a number that includes tips.

That means that the average full-time worker whose salary Emmer wants to cut likely earns less than a third of the dollar figure he cited in pushing for the cuts. Rather than trying to punish working class Minnesotans for the sins of the financial elite that sent the economy into a tailspin, maybe Emmer should be working to stop the massive teacher layoffs and tuition hikes that his Republican colleague Gov. Tim Pawlenty has caused with his stubborn refusal to raise revenues by taxing the super wealthy.

In other words simply returning tax rates for multi-millionaires to what they were during the Saint Ronnie administration or the booming 90s, Emmer and presidential hopeful Pawlenty believes will make businesses tank. In conworld economics looks a lot like a religious cult rather than a social science. They believe things and despite the record, what they believe becomes true by some sort of magic.

An Offer Republicans Can’t Refuse on Jobless Benefits

During the comparatively mild 1991 recession, President George H.W. Bush twice vetoed the extension of unemployment insurance because the $5.3 billion price tag would add to the deficit. After taking a pounding in the polls, he eventually made a deal with Democrats, who funded the program in part through higher taxes on the wealthy. But for Bush’s reelection prospects in 1992, the damage was done, perhaps best captured by his pathetic plea to voters, “Message: I care.”

Now with the Congressional GOP again following Bush the Elder’s formula on the $34 billion extension of jobless benefits, Democrats should make them an offer they can’t refuse. Democrats will pay for the 3 million desperate Americans whose unemployment checks will end this month by reinstating the expired estate tax on the rich. If Republicans still say no, they will be sending an unmistakable message about whose side they are really on.

In calling the Republicans’ bluff on unemployment benefits and the estate tax, the math is straight-forward. As Dean Baker noted:

“[The] argument the Republicans give is that these bills would add to the national debt. For example, the latest extension of unemployment benefits would have added $22 billion to the debt by the end of 2011.”

Conveniently, that’s about how much the estate tax would bring in to the U.S. Treasury. But thanks to the same GOP obstructionism, Republicans so far have chosen a one-year windfall for a handful of billionaires over millions of Americans in the throes of financial crisis.

How many estates would be affected by  reinstating the expired estate tax on the rich? About 30,000. Compared to about 14 million unemployed workers. People whose work made possible the wealth of those 30,000 estates. Let’s assume the best. Those wealthy folks probably didn’t work up much of a sweat, but their specialized skills and investments brought in yearly income than twenty times what the median American household brought in the same year. No matter how skilled those wealthy were, some median income or lower worker made the products or provided the services which made the wealthy wealthier. Who is actually suffering hardship. I saw a millionaire on one of the morning news programs complain they would have to sell their $8 million dollar house and move into a smaller $4 million dollar house. That is the kind of suffering that no one should have much sympathy for. It is the kind of suffering that Republicans are determined that no more millionaires have to withstand.

continued here.

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.