Curved Buildings Blue Skyline wallpaper, Conservatives Stand for Change But Against Reform

city skyline

Curved Buildings Blue Skyline wallpaper

 

There are a few talking points at the crest of the current political cycle. So many of them are worthy of jaw dropping or eye rolling. Christine O’Donnell’s and GOP Senate candidate in Colorado Ken Buck’s ignorance about the 1st amendment and its history of interpretation that goes back to 1801. Wisconsin Republican senatorial candidate Ron Johnson thinks not being familiar with the constitution is grist for comedy, but swears he’ll get the United States of America back on Constitutional track if elected. That ignorance of the legal foundation of our democracy is certainly awful and dangerous, but it rises the kinds of issues which are easy to see and easy to debunk. Maybe because this careless attitude about what the Constitution is so obvious, it has distracted attention away from one of the Right’s worse hypocrisies. Johnson is claiming his business experience gives him the knowledge to create jobs. Mega-Medicare fraudster down in Florida is making the same claim. They and other conservatives are certainly talking about business, TARP and the Recovery Act(the stimulus). Yet they are also in denial about how far in the tank the economy would have been without those programs and that TARP was started at the urging of G.W. Bush and Hank Paulson. Then passed by a pretty much bi-partisan coalition of Republicans and Democrats. The newer than new conservatives are swearing they had nothing to do with the economy crashing. At the same time running yet again on anti-regulation platforms. Like audience members at a magic show we’re all supposed to believe these same conservative office seekers and their supporters have not been voting for anti-regulation far right Republican platforms for as long as they have been eligible to vote. In 2008 there was an earthquake which finally opened the cave door and they enter the political arena without the taint of responsibility for wrecking the economy. Which they now have the secret answers to fix. How are they going to fix the economy and keep the country from having another meltdown? By repealing as much of the modest financial reforms enacted by Obama and Democrats that provide some less than perfect safeguards, but are certainly better than no new protections for consumers, homeowners, small business and investors. In the sense this crop of conservatives cannot see the connections between their policies and those of conservatives in 2000 or 2004, they and voters who support them are not the three-cornered hat revolutionaries they would have us believe. They are more the loyalists who want to return to the glory days of King George.The crony capitalism that runs on bald tires and a promise trust me are the dreams of conservatives, past and future. If we’d all just leave them alone to do their thing  will work out. We tried that. It gave us the Reagan recession and the collapse of the savings and loans and the Bush Recession. Through some awesome powers of denial – worthy of a comic book super villain Captain Denial – we inch ahead a few steps and Republicans regather their super powers of denial and drive us full speed in reverse to try again. Enough of the American people seem to enjoy the pain enough to give conservatives, who either stole or pissed away trillions of the nation’s wealth, a second chance they would not give a guy that once stole a melon from a corner market. It is a spectacle that would be awesome to behold if so many lives were not trashed in the process. Former half term governor Sarah Palin gives the perfect example:

“Obama points backwards and blames everyone else, and yet he has perpetuated the problem in these last two years,” Palin said.

Palin laying out the ground rules for blame, responsibility and looking back as she endorses a John Raese. A guy who once said he earned his money the old fashioned way, he inherit it. The same Palin that used her elected office to carry out a grudge match against a former in-law. Imagine someone stole your car or your identity. Some months go by. Are you now responsible for all the wrecks the car thief got into or all the bills the identity thief rung up. Of course not, and Palin, along with her fellow tea baggers would never make that claim. They are pleased as responsibility avoiding brats to avoid responsibility for their part in enabling of the Bush recession. Obama will never be responsible for the Bush recession. The economy Bush and a Congress completely controlled by Republicans for six years will always be responsible. Just as any thief who stole something from you will always be responsible for that theft. We are living in, paying for and will be paying for the conservative Republican recession for at least a generation. It took until the end of Clinton’s second term to pay for all the bills Ronald Reagan piled up. If Republicans are so great at creating jobs were they holding back or keeping that special knowledge a secret for eight years. Remember they told us the Bush tax cuts would create an economic paradise for generations.

“It’s working! It’s working. The economy is strong and getting stronger,” said Bush on the campaign trail this year, amid chants of “Four more years.” (August 2004)

 

Republcans have worse record of job creation

 

We ‘re not witnessing any rat cages attached to people’s faces but otherwise we are living in the doublespeak world of 1984. The same sound bites are repeating over and over which helps propel the denial that the calamitous approach to governing which we all just experienced a couple of years ago will work with a minor tweak here or there. Just elect a Nevada weirdo who thinks the government should force rape victims to carry pregnancies produced from that rape, just elect one of the biggest thieves in American history for governor of Florida or a Wisconsin business man who will defend known child molesters against victims. What is important is these people are against the financial reform package passed primarily by Democrats.

Most of us are probably looking forward to the end of this election cycle because we’re burned out on the political ads regardless of party. I don’t think my region is the exception in having more political ads than ever. Television advertising is expensive and as bad as most of the ads are – repeated incessantly – they do have an effect. Where is the money coming from. Florida Woman Buying Elections in the Northeast

New York and New Hampshire residents probably think they’ve never heard of Parker Collier, but in reality, they see her almost every time they turn on the TV. An investigation by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has revealed that Ms. Collier (who lives in Naples, Florida) is the primary donor to a group called “Revere America,” which is spending almost $2.3 million on ads in the two states. The group’s chairman is former New York Governor George Pataki, whose former political strategist Art Finkelstein has been deeply involved in the campaigns of candidates supported by the Colliers, including that of former Republican Senate candidate Bill Binnie during the primary this year.

“It’s unlikely residents in either state have any idea a wealthy Florida resident is trying to impact their votes,” said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan. “If Ms. Collier doesn’t like a candidate, let her come out and say it. Creating and hiding behind this shady group is an affront to our democracy, and an insult to voters. Yet thanks to the Supreme Court and the disastrous Citizens United decision, this is the world we live in.

That makes two conservative legacies we’ll be living with – and not for the better – for years, Citizens United and the Republican Recession.

Triumph of the dumb and lazy

Not to be mean, but if Sarah Palin doesn’t represent the triumph of the dumb and lazy, then I don’t know what does. Her latest tweet:

Happy B’Day Ahmadinejad wish sent by US Govt. Mind boggling foreign policy: kowtow & coddle enemies; snub allies. Obama Doctrine is nonsense

The birthday wish to Ahmadinejad that got her angry? These tweets from a State Department spokesperson:

Happy birthday President Ahmadinejad. Celebrate by sending Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer home. What a gift that would be…. Your 54th year was full of lost opportunities. Hope in your 55th year you will open Iran to a different relationship with the world.

She couldn’t even read past the first sentence, providing yet more evidence that Sarah Palin should stick to analyzing the Bush Doctrine.

I disagree with that blogger’s take on Palin. I think she read the entire thing, and based on her best mental efforts at understanding what President Obama said, gave what she really felt was a thoughtful reply. Based on this display of reading comprehension, who wants to give her the authority to launch a nuclear attack.

Glenn Greenwald’s latest, The wretched mind of the American authoritarian

Decadent governments often spawn a decadent citizenry.  A 22-year-old Nebraska resident was arrested yesterday for waterboarding his girlfriend as she was tied to a couch, because he wanted to know if she was cheating on him with another man; I wonder where he learned that?  There are less dramatic though no less nauseating examples of this dynamic.  In The Chicago Tribune today, there is an Op-Ed from Jonah Goldberg — the supreme, living embodiment of a cowardly war cheerleader — headlined:  “Why is Assange still alive?”  It begins this way:

I’d like to ask a simple question: Why isn’t Julian Assange dead? . . . WikiLeaks is easily among the most significant and well-publicized breaches of American national security since the Rosenbergs gave the Soviets the bomb. . . .

So again, I ask: Why wasn’t Assange garroted in his hotel room years ago?

It’s a serious question.

He ultimately concludes that “it wouldn’t do any good to kill him, given the nature of the Web” — whatever that means — and reluctantly acknowledges:  “That’s fine. And it’s the law. I don’t expect the U.S. government to kill Assange, but I do expect them to try to stop him.”  What he wants the Government to do to “stop” Assange is left unsaid — tough-guy neocons love to beat their chest and demand action without having the courage to specify what they mean — but his question (“Why isn’t Julian Assange dead?”) was published in multiple newspapers around the country today.

Joining the hacktacular Goldberg in singing the praises of murder and world dictatorish powers were former Bush speech writer and torture fan Marc Thiessen and former Bush State Department official Christian Whiton. The worse violence any of these right-wing tough guy wannabees have ever faced is a food fight in a high school cafeteria.

First Winter Snow wallpaper

First Winter Snow wallpaper

 

Gawker may have accomplished what no one else could. make people fell sorry for Delaware senatorial candidate Christine O’Donnell. Amanda has it about right in defending O’Donnell against such a blatantly misogynistic smear. And rightly notes this news does not make O’Connell in anyway a hypocrite. What is hypocritical is the Right’s point of view on political smears in general. Michelle Malkin’s headline for her story on Gawker and O’Donnell reads “The Gawker smear machine: A refresher course” which goes on this list what she considers some of the most egregious attacks in our nation’s political history. Who is she kidding. Sure her gullible readers, but that she believes this particular gossip piece rises to the level of the daily smears the right-wing conservative blogs and pundits launch against anyone to the left of Mussolini, is Malkin at her hypocritical heights. Malkin wrote a thin tome of baseless right-wing propaganda called Unhinged: Exposing Liberals Gone Wild in defense of WW II internment camps and interning any Americans the government thought posed a threat. She suggested – without a shred of evidence that Sen. John Kerry a decorated combat veteran, wounded himself.  Throughout the Unhinged book and others she has written it is her modus operandi to leave out parts of conservsations and quotes so as to make her argument. Smear by lie, omission and insinuation is what Malkin does. Pundits from right-wing drug addict Rush Limbaugh to Sean Hannity churn out deranged accuzations of treason toward anyone who disagrees with them as regular political discourse. Conservatives only seem to have concerns with unfair gossip pieces when it is one of them at the receiving end. As a matter of moral substance and personal consistency they obviuosly have no problems with smears as such. Smears are part and parcel of the Republican playbook. Lacking ideas and solutions –  insults, fake history and friegned outrage are not their last resort, but their first and in most cases defines what they stand for.

Ginni Thomas’ Think Tank Allied With Group That Celebrates Spanish Inquisition

In recent days, the media has turned its attention to Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas — not for her troubling ties to right-wing extremist groups, but for her bizarre demand for an apology from the woman who accused her husband of sexual harassment more than a decade ago. Yet Mrs. Thomas’ Tea Party think tank, Liberty Central, promotes the causes of groups that take pride in intolerance, including one right-wing Catholic group, Tradition, Family and Property, whose founder declared the Spanish Inquisition “the most beautiful page in the history of the Church.”

Earlier this year, AlterNet reported on Liberty Central’s embrace of Gun Owners of America, whose president, Larry Pratt — guru to the militia movement — unapologetically addressed a rally of white supremacists in 1992, and more recently told attendees of a gun owners’ rally in Washington, D.C., that they are “at war” with the federal government. We also looked at Liberty Central’s relationship with the Missouri Sovereignty Project, which threatens armed insurrection against the government. Since then, Thomas has added to the “Friends of Liberty Central” page on her think tank’s Web site a plug for Tradition, Family and Property, a virulently anti-gay, anti-woman, anti-democratic Catholic group founded in 1960 in opposition to Brazilian land reform.

A refresher on the Spanish Inquisition and its reign of terror for those that may have forgotten their major events in world history.

Boehner stumps for Nazi-re-enactor

Why is anyone surprised that John Boehner decided to campaign for Ohio congressional candidate Rich Iott, one of the GOP’s assortment of extremist 2010 candidates, which includes a Marine who killed two unarmed Iraqi prisoners, a guy whose security detained reporters at a public school event and one whose volunteers stomped a MoveOn volunteer?

Iott’s in a category by himself, as someone who admits he’s enjoyed attending Nazi history re-enactments dressed up in an SS Waffen uniform.

Fans of the Spanish Inquisition, admirers of the Third Reich, hired thugs chaining up a reporter and two large Rand Paul supporters committing assault and battery on a small woman. In AAs 12 step program one of the first things one has to do on the road to recovery is to admit you have a problem. In every instance Joan Walsh lists there has been nothing but denials, excuses and deflections. The new improved Republicans – the ones that supposedly gained some wisdom from the disastrous Bush years and were going to return to some real values based conservatism. That was all just yammering nonsense. They’ve doubled down on the madness.

And case in point – Sharron Angle’s energy plan: Deregulate the ‘mining industry,’ as well as the ‘oil and petroleum industry’. Angle demonstrates the uncanny ability of right-wing conservatives not to learn from experience – Tests warned of cement problems before well’s blowout. BP and Halliburton were aware of them but used it anyway, an investigative commission reports.

Horse Farm Autumn wallpaper. This Year’s Election is About Nothing

Horse Farm Autumn wallpaper

Just the Story, Ma’am.

Last week I asked why reporters don’t more often ask candidates, “What exactly are you talking about?” when they make sweeping claims about things like our freedoms being taken away. And last night, Rachel Maddow’s program featured her doing just that when talking to some Joe Miller supporters out waving signs on an Alaska street corner. It’s a pretty telling exchange:

Keep in mind that these are folks who are so mad about this particular issue, and so fervent in their defense of their Second Amendment rights, that they’re out on a corner talking to people about it. One supporter says they’re mad at Lisa Murkowski because she voted to confirm Attorney General Eric Holder. Maddow asks why they’re against that, and they all chime in that Holder is “the most anti-gun Attorney General this country has ever had.” Maddow politely asks a simple question: “What’s he done against guns?” And the guy is stumped — he can’t come up with anything. Maddow turns to another sign-waver and ask her the same question. She replies, “I don’t have all the facts but I know that he is anti-gun.” Maddow presses gently to see if there’s anything specific they’re mad about, and then a new Miller supporter steps in to aver that what she’s mad at Holder about is “the voter intimidation with the Black Panthers.”

Now we’re getting somewhere. You might be saying, “Wait – those two crazy guys from the New Black Panther party, who stood outside a polling place in Philadelphia with sticks on an election day in 2006 — they’re going to steal the election in Alaska?” But as Maddow explains, “This is the world that Fox News has created.”

The Right especially right-wing gun shop owners should be grateful to Obama. His mere election has skyrocketed the sales of guns and ammo. The gun issue, like taxes, the phony New Black Morons story, health care reform death panels and the alleged socialists take-over of America are about nothing. There is no there there – the wing-nuts join forces with the doughnut hole. Republican wing-nuts are flocking to the polls to take their country back from threats which do not exist. Such is the history of American politics, but more understandable in 1845 when there was no radio, internet, faxes and investigative journalism, Wikileaks or internet. Technology may have made things worse. The lies, distortions and mad delusions now make their way in the cultural zeitgeist faster than ever. Perhaps because of technology or the determination by some individuals to resist facts and new information, the right-wing mind has developed a kevlar strength resistance to rationalism in general. This phenomenon may have peaked in this cycle, but there has been and it seems likely to continue in some form. Thomas Jefferson having written the following would not see this as a healthy trend for an enlightened democracy,

“The most effectual means of preventing [the perversion of power into tyranny are] to illuminate, as far as practicable, the minds of the people at large, and more especially to give them knowledge of those facts which history exhibits, that possessed thereby of the experience of other ages and countries, they may be enabled to know ambition under all its shapes, and prompt to exert their natural powers to defeat its purposes.” –Thomas Jefferson: Diffusion of Knowledge Bill, 1779. FE 2:221, Papers 2:526

Conservatives, equipped with boatloads of nothingness, seemed determined to act contrary to Jefferson’s warning.

Anti-Veteran Senate Candidate Ron Johnson of Wisconsin Runs His ‘No-Details’ Campaign

Amid sporadic and below-the-political-radar Tea Party threats to privatize the U.S. Dept of Veterans Affairs (DVA), Wisconsin Republican-Tea Party Senate candidate Ron Johnson maintains his secret policy specifics to be revealed should he assume office.

Asked what the Department of Veterans Affairs’ responsibility is to homeless veterans, Johnson recently declared that his election campaign is not “about details” such as the welfare of America’s 107,000 homeless veterans.

There is some glaring and tragic irony in having a Senate candidate like Johnson running on a platform of empty platitudes and a very large bank account hell-bent on protecting the rights of child molesters, but not quite sure about the rights of veterans.

Alaska’s Joe Miller  admits to lies about his actions

“I lied about accessing all of the computers. I then admitted about accessing the computers, but lied about what I was doing. Finally, I admitted what I did,” Miller wrote in a March 17, 2008, e-mail to Fairbanks North Star Borough Attorney Rene Broker.

[   ]…The records also show that Miller left the borough amid a dispute over leave and whether work that he was doing for a private client conflicted with a case the borough wanted him to handle. Broker told the Daily News on Tuesday that Miller requested time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act for an unspecified medical reason.

“Then, whatever that was, was canceled. But he still stayed out on leave. So when we heard it was canceled he was instructed to return for work,” Broker said.

A blogger who I cannot recall at the moment called Miller – a noun, a verb and its Unconstitutional Mill. Conservatives hated the Family and Medical Leave Act (passed during The Big Dog administration) which was also described as being Unconstitutional. Between Joe and his wife they may have taken advantage of more liberal enacted government initiatives than most liberals I know. Like many conservatives Joe seems to think those government initiatives are fine as long as conservatives are the only ones using them. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) who is running as a write in candidate said Miller was caught ….being a liar, oh no. Murkowski has been in the pocket of the oil and gas industry for so long, if she doesn’t get elected she’ll probably find a wing-nut welfare job as an industry lobbyist.

The horror movie so terrifying it will never be made, “Inside the Mind of a Right-wing Conservative”. Lawyers, Guns and Money gives hint to how the script might proceed – Strategies For Brownshirt Apologists in commenting on this news from TPM (Kentucky Stomper Wants An Apology From Woman He Assaulted (VIDEO))

* She had it coming. The most predictable defense, and indeed it is the preferred approach of The Donalde and various other wingers.    Apparently, if you have been accused of a minor criminal offense months ago in another state, then all future vigilante violence against you becomes perfectly acceptable!    Rarely have I found a better illustration of Susan of Texas’s overgeneralized but very applicable to teabaggers dictum that “[c]onservatives are authoritarian followers. Libertarians are authoritarian followers who think they are authoritarian leaders.”

Some more flavors of right-wing denial, deflection and damn straight she got what was com’n to her rationales at the link.

Orange and Blue Digital Globe wallpaper – Republicans Still have a Hypocrisy and Corruption Problem

Orange and Blue Digital Globe wallpaper

 

Companies that received bailout money giving generously to candidates and most of that to Republicans

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) was a fierce critic of the federal bailout of General Motors and Chrysler last year, saying he could not “ask the American taxpayer to subsidize failure.”

But GM doesn’t seem to hold a grudge.

The political action committee formed by the company, which is now largely owned by taxpayers, cut McConnell a $5,000 campaign check in September, a small piece of the $190,000 it donated to campaigns in the past month.

Although GM suspended its contributions while it solicited the government for financial help, it is now back in the game of political giving, increasing donations from its federal PAC steadily over the past few months.

It is not alone: Companies that received federal bailout money, including some that still owe money to the government, are giving to political candidates with vigor. Among companies with PACs, the 23 that received $1 billion or more in federal money through the Troubled Assets Relief Program gave a total of $1.4 million to candidates in September, up from $466,000 the month before.

Most of those donations are going to Republican candidates, although the TARP program was approved primarily with Democratic support. President Obama expanded it to cover GM and other automakers.

Other then the old adage that no good deed goes unpunished, why are most of these companies like GM, the investment fund BlackRock, American Express, Bank of America, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs giving to Republicans. Because President Obama and Democrats passed financial reform which included more transparency and accountability in vetting financial products for consumers. Protect consumers, madness! How dare Democrats and three Republicans look out for everyday working Americans. Surely the devil or Marx has something to do with that kind of thinking. As a seasoned observer of  corporatist shenanigans and the way they think, it surprises me a little that a company such as GM – who would now be selling off assets in one of largest bankruptcies in history if not for Democrats – would be so blatant about their hypocrisy. It’s not that one would expect GM to be grateful in a financial way, but to at least have the humility to sit this election out. Mitch McConnell and Republicans taking money from TARP recipients is not the lest bit shocking, It is part and parcel of the deep structural corruption – moral and financial – of the conservative movement. And Republicans have never paid much mind to being blatant hypocrites. Fox News’ payola problem: Dick Morris pushed GOP group after they paid him

Dick Morris used his position as a Fox News “political analyst” to tout and solicit donations for the Republican-aligned group Americans for New Leadership weeks after they began paying him thousands of dollars. During his appearances, Morris did not disclose that he was receiving money from the group.

To the contrary, Morris appears to have significantly misled Fox News viewers about his financial ties to Republican entities. On Wednesday’s O’Reilly Factor, Morris said he is working hard for the Republican Party and then added, “without compensation.” Morris did not reference ANL or any of the numerous other Republican entities that have been padding his bank account.

I’m not sure it is possible to misle the average Fox viewer. They’re like sheep who tune in to get their daily helping of Fox kool-aid. If ethics come between them and winning, ethics will die a horrible death trampled by their little hoofs.

Is Washington Post conservative George Will America’s Worst Columnist? Alan Grayson(D-Fl) could have used a little better judgment to show how in fact Dan Webster(R-FL) is a member of the American Taliban in terms of ideology. That does not make Greyson historical partners with the likes of George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz or Dick Cheney. Gen. Hugh Shelton: Bush Officials Pushed For Iraq War ‘Almost To The Point Of Insubordination’ (VIDEO)

Former Joint Chiefs chairman Gen. Hugh Shelton says that, during the Bush administration, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, and other Pentagon officials pushed to go to war with Iraq “almost to the point of insubordination.”

“There was a very strong push in those days for us to go into Iraq, and there was absolutely no intelligence, zero, that pointed toward the Iraqis.,” he told Christiane Amanpour on ABC’s ‘This Week’ on Sunday. “It was all Al Qaida, Osama bin Laden. And yet there was an element there that was — that was pushing to go into Iraq at the same time.”

George Bush was focused on Afghanistan and initially resisted the pressure to invade Iraq, Shelton says. But he was eventually convinced.

“Afghanistan, remember, was going very, very well,” Shelton said. “The drumbeat back here in Washington was still pushing, coming out of the Pentagon, let’s go to Iraq, let’s get — take him out. And he finally said, let’s go.”

Gee, how could Bush – the tough guy who thought with his “gut” finally give in to pressure. George Will’s outrage and sense of equivalency, like most conservatives is broken beyond repair. Grayson’s one political ad, in the great scheme of the things, is worthy of the boiling point of outrage? Bush and Company betray the nation and gets a giant shrug.

Millions of Americans are suffering from Bush-era economic policies, the planet is slowly baking, thousands of Americans will be killed this year by auto accidents ( not terrorists) and conservatives want America’s vote because of their boogeyman theories about Islam, immigrants who are picking lettuce and cleaning houses and gays who have some kind of agenda –  Social Conservative Robocall Drops ‘Homosexual’ Reference Ten Times In Attacking Democrat

Over the weekend, Gary Glenn, the chairman of the Campaign for Michigan Families, released a robocall attacking the Democratic candidate in the race, Tony Sessoms, as a stooge for the “homosexual activist agenda.”

Where reasonable people see no big deal, uber conservatives get traction on weird sh*t from their sordid nightmares.

Republican House candidates with the most bizarre, unnerving and downright alarming baggage who just might sneak through next week (Slide show). Jesse Kelly (R-Arizona, 8th District) aligns himself with neo-Nazis, Allen West (R-Florida, 22nd District) who wrote for a misogynistic biker gang, Tom Ganley (R-Ohio, 13th District) under investigation for rape by another conservative, Jeff Perry (R-Massachusetts, 10th District) was involved with the stripe search and humiliation of a minor girl, Brad Zaun (R-Iowa, 3rd District) foul-mouthed stalker, Austin Scott (R-Georgia’s 8th District) thinks everyone should pass a drug test to get unemployment benefits. OK, but only if Republicans can pass a mental health tests before taking public office.

Joshua Trees Nevada wallpaper

Joshua Trees Nevada wallpaper

 

Detainees Fared Worse in Iraqi Hands, Logs Say. One thing I took away from this is that many of the U.S. forces did live up to the honor and tradition of the best of the U.S. military. Going so far as to take tortured Iraqis out of Iraqi police custody. If there were an investigation (highly unlikely) it would be great if those honorable soldiers and marines were singled out for a commendation. As Mahablog notes much of the blame for looking the other way ultimately rests with a command structure that went up to the Bush White House. The Wikileaks documents come at  a time when White House torture enabler John  Yoo has recently crawled out on his lizard belly and declared the 17th Amendment to the Constitution has to go. John Yoo agrees that direct election of senators is bad – The torture memo author says the 17th Amendment is a threat to federalism

Torture memo author John Yoo is a conservative folk hero, purely and solely for authoring the torture memo. Yoo argued that the president can violate the Constitution whenever he feels like it. His legal defense of torture was so awful and flawed that other Bush appointees were horrified enough to rescind it. Because of his instrumental role in violating the principles that make us supposedly morally superior to our many enemies, the editors of the National Review allow him to contribute to their little blog.

Actually more then advocating the U.S. violate well established laws against torture – under which we prosecuted others for doing what Yoo claims is legal – Yoo claimed that during war time the president has unlimited powers. If that is a fundamental constitutional issue which the National Review and other right-wingers is settled law then it applies to anything President Obama does. Which – if conservatives should begin to care about being ideologically consistent, everything Obama does is covered by Yoo and the National Reviews interpretation of the Constitution. Thus according to Yoo and conservatives, Obama can do no wrong. Conservatism rests on rickety ideological foundations that go back to European monarchists – the aristocracy model of a nation. Which is one of the reasons they keep tripping over their own rules.

The clown who makes millions off selling conspiracy theories to people who he thinks are idiots chimes in on Juan Williams – Conspiracy: Conservative media link Beck’s “spooky dude” Soros to Williams firing

The real danger from NPR’s firing of Juan Williams – By Glenn Greenwald

I’m still not quite over the most disgusting part of the Juan Williams spectacle yesterday:  watching the very same people (on the Right and in the media) who remained silent about or vocally cheered on the viewpoint-based firings of Octavia Nasr, Helen Thomas, Rick Sanchez, Eason Jordan, Peter Arnett, Phil Donahue, Ashleigh Banfield, Bill Maher, Ward Churchill, Chas Freeman, Van Jones and so many others, spend all day yesterday wrapping themselves in the flag of “free expression!!!” and screeching about the perils and evils of firing journalists for expressing certain viewpoints.  Even for someone who expects huge doses of principle-free hypocrisy — as I do — that behavior is really something to behold. And anyone doubting that there is a double standard when it comes to anti-Muslim speech should just compare the wailing backlash from most quarters over Williams’ firing to the muted acquiescence or widespread approval of those other firings.

I usually don’t weigh in these types of stories. Glenn is correct about the inconsistencies and most of the arguments quickly get weighed down in appeals to overwrought emotions. It would have been fine with me if Williams had been fired for turning into a mediocre pundit, but he was fired for basically being an assclown. Glenn found this from Juan about Jewish prejudice against African-American customers,

Responding to Cohen’s argument, Williams said:  “In this situation and all others, common sense in my constant guard.  Common sense becomes racism when skin color becomes a formula for figuring out who is a danger to me.”

Williams made a Faustian deal with the devil when he decided to stay on at Fox years ago as one of their pet paper liberals. Gawker of all places puts aside the usual comic cynicism and notes, You’re Making a Bad Mistake, Juan Williams

Because, Juan, we now fear—and we wish we didn’t, but we do—that you have swallowed the Fox News company line. Which is that you are a hero. A heroic martyr, sacrificed upon the altar of NPR’s left-wing liberal correctness. Of course you are smarter than that, Juan, but it’s surely difficult to think very clearly when your brand new friends on the right are rushing to your defense and attacking the mean people who just fired you and dumping $2 million in your lap.

But here is what is much easier to see from the outside than it is for you to see from where you’re sitting, Juan: You are not a hero. You’re a decent guy who said something dumb. Apologize, try to improve, and move on. More importantly, these people, these newfound supporters, Sarah Palin and Bill O’Reilly and Mike Huckabee and Pat Buchanan and Roger Ailes, are not your friends. They are using you, Juan. They are using you because of who you suddenly are: a black, moderate, journalist who was fired from NPR for saying you don’t like Muslims. Those credentials are extremely valuable for Fox News, and for the right wing at large. Because they can be easily presented in a way that bolsters the myth of the “liberal media,” a myth which the right wing has used to shockingly successful effect over the last two decades, to systematically erode the influence of media outlets that they don’t like. Respected, earnest, good media outlets. Like NPR. Now, Juan, you are a convenient tool in their furtherance of this campaign. $2 million is cheap, for them. ( emphasis mine)

Apparently Williams thinks the money makes it worth being  a useful tool. It is tragic, while I frequently disagree with Williams, he is was not exactly a villain and he was capable of good work as Glenn found in the forum in which Williams participated and reflects some of the core ideals that have run through his written work.

Dispute over New Black Panthers case causes deep divisions

On Election Day 2008, Maruse Heath, the leader of Philadelphia’s New Black Panther Party, stood in front of a neighborhood polling place, dressed in a paramilitary uniform.

Within hours, an amateur video showing Heath, slapping a black nightstick and exchanging words with the videographer, had aired on TV and ricocheted across the nation.

Among those who saw the footage was J. Christian Adams, who was in his office in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division in Washington.

“I thought, ‘This is wrong, this is not supposed to happen in this country,’ ” Adams said. “There are armed men in front of a polling place, and I need to find out if they violated the law, because in my mind there’s a good chance that they did.”

The clash between the black nationalist and the white lawyer has mushroomed into a fierce debate over the government’s enforcement of civil rights laws, a dispute that will be aired next week when the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights unveils findings from a year-long investigation.

WaPo dos themselves a terrible disservice with that headline. The article goes on to be rather fair. The only “divisions” within the DOJ seems to be Adams and his obsession with two guys outside a polling place in Philadelphia. Where no actual voters complained about being intimidated. Even those the two idiots should not have been there that does automatically bring the incident up to the level of a federal civil rights violation. Here again is the Right’s inconsistency on display. If there were several complaints or there were people dressed in paramilitary garb outside of several places then there might be cause to bring in the feds. In this case the New Black panthers were more of a nuisance rather than a threat – a situation for local authorities to handle. Once again it is what WaPo left out that could make the story a little more accurate in fully describing Adams and other conservatives at the DOJ were trying to do – GOP vice chair: Conservatives on commission “had this wild notion they could bring Eric Holder down and really damage the president”

A scholar whom President George W. Bush appointed as vice chairwoman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Abigail Thernstrom has a reputation as a tough conservative critic of affirmative action and politically correct positions on race.

But when it comes to the investigation that the Republican-dominated commission is now conducting into the Justice Department’s handling of an alleged incident of voter intimidation involving the New Black Panther Party — a controversy that has consumed conservative media in recent months — Thernstrom has made a dramatic break from her usual allies.

“This doesn’t have to do with the Black Panthers; this has to do with their fantasies about how they could use this issue to topple the [Obama] administration,” said Thernstrom, who said members of the commission voiced their political aims “in the initial discussions” of the Panther case last year.

“My fellow conservatives on the commission had this wild notion they could bring Eric Holder down and really damage the president,” Thernstrom said in an interview with POLITICO.

Booman Tribune’s take – WP Sends Racially-Charged Gift to GOP

Believe it or not, the average Philadelphian isn’t likely to take any special notice of a couple of faux Panthers making racist comments on a street corner, at least, not in the hustle-bustle of Center City. On Election Day, these guys just wanted to be seen. They didn’t have any interest in helping Obama get elected (they reportedly called him a tool of the white man), and any successful intimidation they did that day would have had over an eighty percent chance of costing Obama a vote.

So, without any victims or complainants, the case should have ended with no action. But that didn’t happen because the Republicans saw a golden opportunity to create a false equivalency argument and accuse the Justice Department of disinterest in the civil rights of white people.

Adams supposed obsession with poor voters being chased away is just that. He seems to get angrier and hyperbolic as the months pass and he doesn’t get the political traction he was hoping for.

Black and White Manhattan Pier wallpaper, Water Drops on Green wallpaper II

Black and White Manhattan Pier wallpaper. Another black and white pier here and here.

Water Drops on Green wallpaper II

According to the polls anyway America has or is about to be tricked by one the sloppiest, dumbest and self defeating political tricks of all time. The economy sucks. What is responsible? The the Recovery Act ( known as the stimulus) and  ObamaCare (The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). I could and have, as have thousands of others cited the numbers and it does not seem to matter. That is something of a tradition with Republicans, It was their polices and lack of regulatory enforcement that crashed the economy. Rad back on political history to the Reagan years and there are some things about which we can all rely. The boneheaded refusal of conservatives to be accountable or admit the basic foundations of their crony corrupt brand of capitalism will always lead to the same disastrous results. In the 50s we had the Reagan and Bush 41 recession. The Big Dog cleaned up much of that mess and left Bush 43 with a surplus. Trashing the economy doesn’t matter to Republicans. As a matter of fact history teaches us the more they trash the economy the closer they get to drowning the social safety net, financial regulation and environmental laws. The Recovery Act and PPACA  are an assault on their legacy of sinking the ship of common good. The Recovery Act was only required because like thieves with a credit card they went out on a wild and unpaid for shopping spree. They left the bill plus interests for others to pay for. Mom and pop paid for it by losing their jobs or house or both. Democrats paid for it in political perceptions. The largely astroturf tea baggers suddenly emerged from the sound and reality proof booth in which they lived for eight years and demanded all the problems they and their leaders created be fixed and right now dammit. Probably too late for this election cycle but Democrats are in fact making headway on paying off those wildly irresponsible credit card charges left by the unaccountable thieves conservatives. While there are some murky future events that may affect the final tally Democrats are paying off Bush’s TARP – Wall Street Bailout Returns 8.2% Profit Beating Treasury Bonds

The U.S. government’s bailout of financial firms through the Troubled Asset Relief Program provided taxpayers with higher returns than yields paid on 30- year Treasury bonds — enough money to fund the Securities and Exchange Commission for the next two decades.

The government has earned $25.2 billion on its investment of $309 billion in banks and insurance companies, an 8.2 percent return over two years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That beat U.S. Treasuries, high-yield savings accounts, money- market funds and certificates of deposit.

In between recovering those TARP funds or at least being on the road to recovering them Democrats gave America one of the biggest tax cuts for the middle-class in generations – From Obama, the Tax Cut Nobody Heard Of. Got to love one Republicans deeply cynical response – he did not notice because his state taxes went up. Since he didn’t know he got a federal income tax cut is there any reason to believe he is any more up to date on his actual state taxes. One gets the feeling these Fox watching, right-wing radio listening, Rush Limbaugh lap dogs have never fact checked a single thing conservative gutter snipes have ever told him. Another big disappointment to the media selling the Republican resurgence narrative and the credit abusing tea bagger deficit peacocks – Pop The Cork? The Biggest Deficit Reduction In U.S. History Occurred From 2009 to 2010

In previous years we would have been breaking out the champagne on this news: The monthly budget review released yesterday by the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the federal budget deficit fell by $125 billion from 2009 to 2010.  This by far is the biggest one-year nominal drop in the deficit that has ever occurred.

There were two primary reasons there was no cheering yesterday.

First, it’s not at all clear that reducing the deficit was the correct fiscal policy given the slow growth in the U.S. economy.

Darth Cheney once famously said the deficits don’t matter. Under hsi breath he likely continued – except when there is a Democrat in the Whitehouse. That is a fact of life in the U.S. Republicans can steal and cheat the country out of more money than an army of bank robbers and the most we’ll here from conservatives is some hand wringing about the future. A Democrat inherits those debts plus interests and it’s the end of the world as we know it. Republicans have hit upon the secret no one knows. The country in not really in the dumper because of the Bush era toga party it is in dire straights because of ObamaCare. There is a little problem with that scenario. Without ObamaCare – which parts of kick in every year until 2015 – will actually reduce the long term deficit

$1.2 trillion of $1.4 trillion deficit was already projected before Bush left office. The CBO projected on January 7, 2009, that, including spending authorized under the Bush administration for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and government takeovers of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the deficit that year would total $1.2 trillion. According to the CBO, the actual FY 2009 deficit was $1.4 trillion.

[   ]…CBO has consistently said that health care reform law will reduce deficit by $143 billion over next ten years, and by more in second decade. The CBO determined in March that the two health care bills signed into law that month “would produce a net reduction in federal deficits of $143 billion over the 2010-2019 period.” The CBO estimated a further reduction in the second decade after enactment “with a total effect during that decade in a broad range around one-half percent of GDP.”

Because unemployment remains so high all these achievements become just so much background noise. There is no Democratic Fox news to explain how saving the financial sector, recouping TARP, paying down the deficit and health care reform is setting up the economy for a full recovery down the road. At which time you can fully expect for conservatives to take credit for Democratic achievements.

Wisconsin senatorial candidate Ron Johnson is a perfect example of the current political atmosphere. He has no answers. Any wonks sitting down with this guy to have a solid discussion of public policy as it relates to taxes, economic growth, job creation, education, national security or the environment and green technology would soon be heading to the door over come with toxic fumes of pure mediocrity – Wisconsin Republican Senate hopeful Ron Johnson Freezes When Asked For His Plan To Help Middle Class

Wisconsin Republican Senate hopeful Ron Johnson had a deer-in-headlights moment in a recent interview with the Green Bay Press Gazette.

Asked to explain his jobs plan, Johnson banged away at the GOP mantra: cutting spending, regulation, etc. That didn’t satisfy the editors.

“There’s no real jobs plan?” one interviewer asked.

“I would say bring fiscal discipline to the federal government,” Johnson replied. “We’ve got to curb spending.”

That didn’t satisfy his interviewers.

“So your jobs plan is to control spending. But what about the middle class?” the editor responded. “I mean, I hear you talking a lot about business, businesses. But I mean, what is your plan for the middle class?”

“We have to get the economy moving,” Johnson said, frozen.

“Isn’t that pretty simple though what you’re saying is just, you know, elect me, to go there and cut spending and everything will take care of itself.”

[   ]…the Press-Gazette endorses Feingold, citing Johnson’s “inability” to articulate plan to help the middle class

This election cycle is not much different then most, but it seems to have an edge in the number of conservatives who don’t even pretend to have answers. Congress is not or should not be a kindergarten training center for look at me I wannabe an important Republican and policy maker. You can’t make good policy without substance.

 


Equilibrium Blue Water wallpaper, Today’s Republican Drivel

Equilibrium Blue Water wallpaper

One of the latest headlines at Conservatives4Palin – Boeing Employees Are The Latest Victims of Obamacare – with some nicely picked pieces of news to fit both the conservative agenda and the Palin legacy of lies.  The selected excerpts from Palin ( selective omission is thought of as a sin by some religions such as Catholicism) are from this AP story – Citing health care law, Boeing pares employee plan. Why AP decided to run that heading is anyone’s guess. In the main body of the story –

Aerospace giant Boeing is joining the list of companies that say the new health care law could have a potential downside for their workers.

In a letter mailed to employees late last week, the company cited the overhaul as part of the reason it is asking some 90,000 nonunion workers to pay significantly more for their health plan next year. A copy of the letter was obtained Monday by The Associated Press.

“The newly enacted health care reform legislation, while intended to expand access to care for millions of uninsured Americans, is also adding cost pressure as requirements of the new law are phased in over the next several years,” wrote Rick Stephens, Boeing’s senior vice president for human resources.

Yet Boeing says further on,

The tax on so-called “Cadillac” health plans doesn’t take effect until 2018, but employers are already beginning to assess their exposure because it is hefty: at 40 percent of the value above $10,200 for individual coverage and $27,500 for a family plan.

“We want to manage our costs so this tax doesn’t apply to our plan, but that’s down the road,” said Forte. “If this health care law hadn’t passed, would we be making changes to the health care benefit? Absolutely. For competitive reasons.”

In the letter to Boeing employees, Stephens said out-of-control health care inflation is hampering Boeing’s ability to compete with other manufacturers. Its major civilian aviation competitor, Airbus, is based in Europe, where governments shoulder the burden of health care costs.

Stephens also cited lifestyle issues, such as people who are overweight and do not adequately exercise, as the third major reason for the cost shift. The health care law ranked second among the three, ahead of lifestyle factors.

Boeing said annual deductibles and copayments will increase for all its plans next year.

There are limited options on how one can interpret some things. Clearly Boeing sees government sponsored single-payer plans in other countries as a competitive benefit to other companies in the aircraft industry. If any argument could be made here it is our health care reform should have included a public option or an early op-in to Medicare. Republicans and Democrats keep saying America must compete in a global economy. Tough to do when so many of those competing economies have relived business of much of their health care costs. The Seattle PI also noted Boeing statements on the reasons for making adjustments to the company’s offerings based on taxing “Cadillac” plans in 2018.

“Yes, we are making health care changes. If you would’ve asked me if we would’ve made these changes without the enactment of the law, I would’ve said yes,” company spokeswoman Karen Forte told seattlepi.com Monday evening.

“We’re just out of line with market. We’ve been contemplating what can we do to reduce costs,” Forte said. “It came down to, we’ve got to pass some of these costs down to our employees.”

Forte said Boeing was “keeping an eye” on the new health care law, which in 2018 would impose a significant tax on “Cadillac” health plans in 2018. However she said the federal changes were not the main reasons for Boeing’s move. The AP referenced a letter to employees in which a company official said the new federal health care law was a factor in the insurance changes.

This is either too difficult for conservatives such as Palin to process or they chose not to understand. There will be a short bump in health care costs as major portions of reform kick in – around 2014 – than health care costs will taper off the inflationary spiral they would be on with out reform.

A reminder from Tapped and a new Gallup poll that literally two years and some change ago conservatives thought government intrusions on privacy, slighting of civil liberties protection, unpaid for spending sprees, vote caging and  widespread corruption involving government and business were the best thing since pancake syrup. Then that Democrat was elected and suddenly with almost all the same laws, rules and culture in place we’re going to hades in a hand basket,

Republicans seeing government as a threat only begin with 2008 election

Republicans are the lite green. Notice independents have remained about the same. This means the giant sea change the Village Washington beltway media and even some progressives seem resigned to, has not happened. The rabid Right is obviously pumped up, but they were pumped up when they were calling for impeachments over stained dresses. They were worked up when schools were desegregated and Medicare was passed. The media gives them a forum to spout off their inanity – they own most of the media anyway – and suddenly there is the impression a big wave of change is underway. What we’re witnessing is politics as usual with some Democrats feeling discouraged or disappointed.

Another tea nut millionaire conservative thinks if we just do away with the minimum wage we’ll reach the heights of economic nirvana – West Virginia GOP Senate candidate millionaire John Raese Joins The Tenther Chorus Claiming Minimum Wage Is Unconstitutional

In an interview last week with the right-wing Washington Times, West Virginia GOP Senate candidate John Raese doubled-down on his previously expressed opposition to the minimum wage, falsely claiming that the law is unconstitutional:

Mr. Raese, chief executive officer of Morgantown-based Greer Industries, which runs interests as diverse as mining and broadcasting, has taken fire for saying he would abolish the minimum wage. But he has refused to back down, saying it’s not only bad policy, but it’s not constitutional.

“I don’t think it is. And the reason I don’t think it is, is the same reason the [National Recovery Administration] was not constitutional in 1936,” he said. “It was declared unconstitutional because it was government micromanaging an intervention into the private sector. Well, what are price controls, or what are wage controls? They’re the same thing.”

It’s difficult to count the errors in Raese’s reading of the Constitution. The Constitution gives Congress the power “[t]o regulate commerce…among the several states,” a power which even ultraconservative Justice Antonin Scalia agrees gives Congress broad authority to regulate “economic activity.” And the Supreme Court unanimously upheld the first federal minimum wage law in a 1941 decision called United States v. Darby.

Moreover, the decision striking down the National Recovery Administration (NRA), A. L. A. Schechter Poultry Corp. v. United States, did not ban laws that “micromanage” the private sector, as Raese suggests. The principal reason why the law authorizing the NRA was struck down is because it gave the President nearly limitless power to approve “codes of fair competition” governing businesses without first seeking congressional approval.

Some may remember Rease recently saying he earned his money the old fashioned way he inherited it. Not all millionaires are as out of touch with working class Americans as Rease, but it is libertarian and Republican conservatives like Rease who give millionaires a bad name. Rease is oblivious to history, as are most conservatives. He is echoing the sentiments of the Confederacy and plantation owners who swore they would face economic ruin if they had to start paying their workers wages. Currently the federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. There is an old formula that most people try to live by where one should allot about 25 to 30 percent of their pay for rent. Using Houston as our average American city the rents for apartment average of $970 a month. So a worker who makes $7.25 an hour grosses $1160.00 a month based on a forty hour work week. On that kind of money you’re either getting a dumpy apartment or living with two room mates or maybe both. Rease could not find time in his hectic millionaire running for office schedule to work out some simple arithmetic on the back of a napkin. That is how out of touch most conservatives are with real Americans.

Since I’m short on time thinks to this writer for expressing my thoughts about poor little Rand Paul –

I have a real problem with all the prissy condemnations coming from liberal commentators about Conway’s ad on Rand Paul’s youthful playing with contempt for Christianity. People are acting as if it is some kind of political sin to point out to ordinary Kentucky voters the kind of stuff about Paul’s extremist libertarian views that everyone in the punditry already knows. This does not amount to saying that Christian belief is a “requirement for public office” as one site huffs. It is a matter of letting regular voters who themselves care deeply about Christian belief know that Paul is basically playing them. No different really than letting folks who care about Social Security and Medicare know that Paul is playing them,

One reason that Dems do not seem to be able to play hardball — in a viciously hardball political world — is that Dems often lack conviction or the will to be eloquently honest (for example, on taxes). But an equal problem is that when someone does play hardball, the rest of the prissy liberal Mugwumps tut-tut them about it.

I say, go for it, Jack Conway. Does anyone doubt that Paul and his supporters would have used similar publicly documented material against Conway (or even less material)?

Even in this campaign cycle starting with Paul’s run at the nomination – he has gone from wacky libertarian who had nothing but contempt for Medicare, thought BP was the aggrieved party in the Gulf oil spill and thought civil rights laws were unconstitutional – to being a kind of wishy washy libertarian version of Kentucky’s perennial blight on progress the loathsome Mitch McConnel(R). Paul’s beliefs and behavior is the issue, not someone taking note of Paul’s beliefs and behavior. Don’t want to be held to account for being weird than don’t be weird. Listen to right-wing radio or Fox or read conservative columnists – the daily message is anyone who opposes them is a traitor. Conway has miles to go before he matches the garbage the Rights spews daily.

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