Golden Forest Autumn wallpaper, To Sum Up Where We Are

fall in America

Golden Forest Autumn wallpaper

To sum up a few weeks before the mid-term elections. Republicans are upset about rising taxes on millionaires to about the same rate they were under Saint Ronnie and they’re not going to take it anymore. This election is a referendum on being mean to rich people. All the while complaining about the deficits which are a direct result of eight years of Republican budgets. Concurrently a few of the tea bagger backed candidates – millionaires – have proposed cutting the minimum wages, cutting Social security benefits, cutting Medicare benefits and rising the age of eligibility for Social Security and Medicare. Many of these same conservative candidates have collected government subsidies for their businesses and or government health care or unemployment benefits. This election cycle has also shown us the bizarre remnants of the culture wars. Several conservative candidates want the government to referee the sex lives of Americans. While others think the iron fist of government authority should be used to force rape victims to carry the fetus produced by those rapes even in cases of incest. One candidate from Alaska thinks the office he is running for is unconstitutional because he doesn’t like the Amendment made to the Constitution a hundred years ago. Tea baggers on Medicare attend anti-health care reform rallies yelling keep the government’s hands off my Medicare. Liberal and moderate bloggers, pundits and newspaper columnists write regularly about the facts conservatives cannot seem to get straight. They post statistics and charts showing very clearly conservatives are running on urban myths. When they’re not running on myths they’re running on xenophobia, homophobia and recycled failed policies. All elections have an emotional component, but this one may have reached epic proportions. It may go down in history as the most hysterical elections in U.S. history. One in which some of the shadiest most corrupt people in America bought their way into public office. All this to govern. To run the very institutions which conservatives say has no solutions. Which after years of feeding at the government trough they claim they to have nothing but contempt.

Who started the deficit spiral
Who started the deficit spiral

If president Obama, House Speaker Pelosi and Senate leader Harry Reid are socialists they have to be the worse ever at advancing their agenda – Wall Street to Spend $144 Billion in Pay and Bonuses — Record High

However, while excessive compensation underpinned the “irrational risk” taken by financial employees to “focus on short-term results at the cost of long-term success,” it appears that nothing has changed. According to a new Wall Street Journal survey, Wall Street firms are continuing their rapid return to pre-crisis revenue levels. In celebrating their taxpayer-assisted comeback, firms are on pace to spend $144 billion in compensation this year, setting a new record high in pay for the second consecutive year:

About three dozen of the top publicly held securities and investment-services firms—which include banks, investment banks, hedge funds, money-management firms and securities exchanges—are set to pay $144 billion in compensation and benefits this year, a 4% increase from the $139 billion paid out in 2009, according to the survey. Compensation was expected to rise at 26 of the 35 firms[…]

Overall, Wall Street is expected to pay 32.1% of its revenue to employees, the same as last year, but below the 36% in 2007. Profits, which were depressed by losses in the past two years, have bounced back from the 2008 crisis. But the estimated 2010 profit of $61.3 billion for the firms surveyed still falls about 20% short from the record $82 billion in 2006. Over that same period, compensation across the firms in the survey increased 23%.

It is important to note that the methodology of the survey was not published and this year’s compensation may not constitute a record if you aren’t comparing that sum to total Wall Street pay in 2007. However, the study does highlight that, while Wall Street profits are down 20 percent from pre-crisis levels, firms have actually increased pay by 23 percent.

Difficult to reconcile numbers like these with the Republican meme taxes are too high or taxes are discouraging investment or if taxes for millionaires go up business will not be motivated to hire new employees. Or that regulation and high taxes are choking profits.

It has been said one person one vote is the cornerstone of our democracy. If those votes come via a constant barrage of propaganda by groups who spent extraordinary sums and for which there is no transparency about where the money comes from, that cornerstone of democracy becomes corrupted. A joke in which votes are purchased by consumer loyalty to a brand of hair shampoo. Campaign finance reform: R.I.P?

For four decades, advocates for stricter campaign finance rules have been on a long, slow march to make big money in politics less important and more transparent.

Now, in 2010, they are seeing the results: Never in modern political history has there been so much secret money gushing into an American election.

By Election Day, independent groups will have aired more than $200 million worth of campaign ads using cash that can’t be traced back to its original source, predicts Fred Wertheimer, president of the non-profit group Democracy 21.

“And this is just the beginning,” Wertheimer said. “Unless we get some changes here to mitigate this problem, I would expect we will see $500 million or more in 2012.”

Billionaires give 91 percent of funds for Rove-tied group The latest fundraising numbers from the conservative American Crossroads show the super-rich continue to pony up

New FEC filings show that American Crossroads, the Karl Rove-backed group that is pouring money into attack ads targeting Democrats around the country, continues to be funded virtually entirely by billionaires.

In August, American Crossroads raised $2,639,052. Fully $2.4 million of that — or 91 percent —  came in the form of gifts from just three billionaires.

We’ve previously reported that the group is getting a staggering amount of support from billionaires, several of whom made their fortune in the energy industry and live in Texas. Last month Trevor Rees-Jones, president of Dallas-based Chief Oil and Gas, contributed another $1 million to American Crossroads, on top of the $1 million he gave earlier this year. Fellow billionaire Robert Rowling, CEO of the company TRT Holdings, also gave Crossroads his second $1 million donation in August.

The only new name on the list is American Financial Group, a Cincinnati-based firm owned by nonagenerian Carl Linder. Forbes put Linder’s net worth at $1.7 billion this year, a fortune built up through the growth of United Dairy Farmers. He previously owned Chiquita and currently owns a stake in the Cincinnati Reds. American Financial Group gave American Crossroads $400,000 last month.

The pundits and bloggers that are saying it is a mistake for President Obama to make the unprecedented modern era( as opposed to the days of the Tea Pot Dome scandal of the 1920s) either are not capable of cogent political analysis or have not studied the issue and it’s impact on this and future elections. Democracy has always been undercut by special interests going back to Silas Deane scandal of the late 1700s to Tea Pot Dome to Nixons Watergate and Reagan’s HUD scandal. We have moved to the edge of outright purchase of public office. Incredulously many of these same liberal pundits and bloggers are the same ones who thought Obama did not fight hard enough for the progressive agenda. H/T to Rachel Maddow’s blog for the billionaires link.

For a darkly funny and tragic reminder of how conservatives govern when they’re in power – Neocon Like Me: How I Spent A Year In Iraq Teaching With The Bush-Cheney Crazies

What happens when we live in a Sharron Angle world – Pregnant 13-year-old Peruvian Rape Victim Denied Medical Treatment, Confined to Wheelchair

Something for those alleged un-energized and easily discouraged Democrats to think about – Humpback whale swims a quarter of the world

Black and White Compass Rain Drops wallpaper, Conservatives and The Big Trick

Black and White Compass Rain Drops wallpaper

David Michael Green takes yet another stab at listing the hypocrisies and inconsistency of the tea bagger conservatives. How Do You Take Your Tea? With Heaping Spoonfuls of Irony, Of Course

It’s ironic, to begin with, that the ones who are bitching loudest today are precisely the people who created the mess we’re in.

There have been several profiles of the tea nuts thus far and they all state similar statistics. Mostly while, older, many on or near collecting Social Security and Medicare and despite those early claims last year to be bi-partisan, overwhelmingly conservative. These are not simply the same people who voted for Bush twice and voted for Republicans in every election since 2000, they are the dead enders who think Bush and Cheney were not right-wing enough.

Taxes today are a mere hint of what they used to be, just as the right has insisted must be the case. For the rich especially, top marginal income taxes have come down from 91 percent to 35 percent. But, of course, even that doesn’t include earnings on capital gains, a giant portion of their income, which is now at 15 percent. Nor does it include the estate tax, which has now disappeared entirely. Nor does it include deductions and write-offs. Put this all together and you can see why Warren Buffett, one of the richest people in the country, was moved to reveal that he paid a 17.7 percent tax rate on his $46 million of taxable income in 2006, while his employees paid an average of 32.9 percent, and his receptionist’s tax rate was 30 percent.

All election cycles run to a large degree on perceptions and emotions. Individuals who show an incredible immunity to the facts. rather than backing up and accessing fact based evaluations of where the country is, acts seem to have the opposite affect on the far Right. They dig into their distorted reality even further. A more apt name for the tea nut movement would have been the moles movement or the ostrich movement. From Reagan to Gingrich’s 90s conservative revolution to Bush 43 the story of the economy has largely been a story of conservatism in action. Give The Big Dog credit for slowing the trend and putting some of the nation’s wealth into the pockets of the median income class – those who worked the hardest, but conservatism has eroded a good part of New Deal and Great Society reforms which created and maintained the largest middle-class expansion in history.

Unless, of course, they’re prepared to slash Social Security and Medicare spending. Which they’re not. When the New York Times ran a poll on tea partiers back in April, it found that they tend to favor the generic idea of cutting government programs. Just not the only ones that really matter. Some were unable to reconcile the competing concepts: “‘That’s a conundrum, isn’t it?’ asked Jodine White, 62, of Rocklin, Calif. ‘I don’t know what to say. Maybe I don’t want smaller government. I guess I want smaller government and my Social Security.’ She added, ‘I didn’t look at it from the perspective of losing things I need. I think I’ve changed my mind.'”

Welcome back to sanity, Jodine. But that’s a bit of a problem. A Paul Krugman column recently reported why: “Howard Gleckman of the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center has done the math. As he points out, the only way to balance the budget by 2020, while simultaneously (a) making the Bush tax cuts permanent and (b) protecting all the programs Republicans say they won’t cut, is to completely abolish the rest of the federal government..

I read the same conservative twiddle in every news section report on the economy. Obama and Democrats are to blame. After all look at the debt and the spending. Much of the debt is an inheritance from the Bush era and Republican control of Congress where there was no attempt to rise revenue to match their spending. Obama inherit not just the debt, but the interests payments. Revenues also fell because Obama inherited the worse economic down turn in 75 years. Paul Krugman, Brad Delong and the Keynesians are still right. We have to spend some funds to save jobs – the relief part of the stimulus. And we need to spend money to create jobs. If the private sector can still be making record profits and paying outlandish bonuses than whatever Democrats are doing cannot be bankrupting the country or turning it into a socialist paradise. If Obama and Democrats or Santa Claus does absolutely nothing we’re still going to have rising debt via Bush’s original deficit plus the interests. The stimulus funds – the original TARP – is on it’s way to being recovered by the administration and there are still some stimulus funds left to spend.  ( A suggestion for Democrats and independents who comment on news stories; take five minutes to post the numbers rather than trying to wing it from fragments of memory. Republican doomsayers about TARP and the stimulus or Recovery Act are beginning to look as foolish as Franklin Roosevelt bashers.) Republicans are not in the least bit restrained by conscience or the rules of rational debate when it comes to trying to sway the public – Sorry, Newt: Democrats are the Party of Paychecks

But it was the release of a Census Bureau report in September (“Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2008”) which in 67 pages laid bare the economic devastation and human toll during the Bush presidency. As The Atlantic (“Closing The Book On The Bush Legacy”) rightly noted, “It’s not a record many Republicans are likely to point to with pride”:

On every major measurement, the Census Bureau report shows that the country lost ground during Bush’s two terms. While Bush was in office, the median household income declined, poverty increased, childhood poverty increased even more, and the number of Americans without health insurance spiked. By contrast, the country’s condition improved on each of those measures during Bill Clinton’s two terms, often substantially.

This table (via The Reaction) provides a horrifying snapshot of the scope of the national calamity under George W. Bush…

We know Republicans think most working Americans are “hicks”. They also think those hicks are the ones responsible the the Great Recession – Conservatives Push Absurd Lie that Wall Street Hustlers Were Innocent Victims

The narrative gained steam with an influential op-ed in the Wall Street Journal by Peter Wallison, a fellow with the American Enterprise Institute (who, according to his bio, “had a significant role in the development of the Reagan administration’s proposals for the deregulation of the financial services industry”). Wallison found that “Almost two-thirds of all the bad mortgages in our financial system, many of which are now defaulting at unprecedented rates, were bought by government agencies or required by government regulations.”

The data shows that the principal buyers were insured banks, government sponsored enterprises (GSEs) such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the FHA—all government agencies or private companies forced to comply with government mandates about mortgage lending.

The sleight-of-hand here is pretty straightforward. The U.S. government regulates lenders and provides deposit insurance to banks, which means that a large chunk of all home loans—good, bad, and in between—have some connection to a government program. It’s like saying that the government is responsible for pollution because the EPA regulates industrial emissions.

Yet no bank has ever been “forced to comply with government mandates about mortgage lending.” There are no “government mandates,” and there never were.

As recently as 2005 conservative economic guru Alan Greenspan said, “A bubble in home prices for the nation as a whole does not appear likely.” He added, “Home price declines . . . were they to occur, likely would not have substantial macroeconomic implications,” and explained that “nationwide banking and widespread securitization of mortgages make it less likely that financial intermediation would be impaired.” Alan is a smart guy. Smart enough to talk himself out of believing his lying eyes just as the right-wing editorial page at the Wall Street Journal is smart enough to talk another generation of rubes to believe unregulated trickle down economics is still the answer even though it has had three major failures in the last thirty years.

H/T to this column from Salon – New York Times runs softball profile of Pamela Geller – In the Times’ telling, the bigoted anti-Islam activist is merely a “provocateur” and Washington outsider. The NYT changed one accusation by Gellar and her bed wetting sycophants – that she lacked evidence when asserting Feisal Abdul Rauf and funding for the Park 51 community center were all tied directly to terrorists. Other than that the article served to generate more hits for Gellar’s blog rants and those of a couple other bloggers suffering from the same strain of delusional paranoia. We could probably all get a NYT profile if we meant the Gela Standard – brains made of silly putty and rusty barbed wire: Gellar and the right freak out over soup made for Muslims. Gellar wakes up with night sweats writes post swearing President Obama is the love child of Malcom X – that is not snark. Gellar has also offered a multitude of other fact free assertions that president Obama has taught seminars in Sharia finance, the Park 51 community center was scheduled to open on 9-11, that Obama was taking cues from Hamas in condemning the attack on the aid flotilla, has claimed Gaza is receiving more aid than “any place on earth” ( in reality that would be Israel), claims to know for a fact that liberal Jews are “lost souls” and once wrote “National Socialists [Democrats] Obamacare: Sheeps to ‘Slaughter Solution.’ ” She added, “The buzz on Capitol Hill is that the Democrats are now considering what is being called the ‘Slaughter Solution’ that will allow ObamaCare to be signed into law WITHOUT HOUSE MEMBERS EVEN HAVING TO VOTE.”. While I try to stay informed and read conservative web and news sites – to be fair and balanced and all – I was not aware there was a contest to see how many streams of sleazy falsehoods conservatives could string together. Ronald Reagan once said that facts were stubborn things. Gellar has carried that line of thought to include utter contempt for facts.

conservative wallpaper

Tea Party Magic wallpaper

Country Autumn Sky wallpaper, Neocon Republican Hypocrites Talk Deficit But Won’t Budge on Defense Cuts

North American landscape

Country Autumn Sky wallpaper

Neocon Republicans Talk Deficit But Ignore Where Cuts Can Be Made

This hypocrisy was on full display on Oct. 4, as American Enterprise Institute president Arthur Brooks, Heritage Foundation president Ed Feulner, and Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol penned a joint op-ed  for the right-wing Wall Street Journal editorial page on why the defense budget should be totally off limits to budget cutters.

First, they claim the military is not the “true source of our fiscal woes.” No one is saying the defense budget is the sole source of the deficit, but the fact is that it has risen from 3 percent of the gross domestic product in fiscal year 2001 to 4.7 percent this year. That additional 1.7 percent of GDP amounts to $250 billion in spending — almost 20 percent of this year’s budget deficit. And according to a recent Congressional Research Service report, the cost of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan alone accounted for 23 percent of the combined budget deficits between fiscal years 2003 and 2010.

The neocons think terrorism and piracy represents the same threat level as thousands of Soviet missiles during the Cold War. American Enterprise Institute and Bill Kristol among other far right conservatives have proven themselves utterly incapable of making rational analogies. Lack of health insurance kills 45,00 U.S. citizens a year. Kristol and the neocons dismiss out of hand any deaths do to a lousy social safety net. The math is simple and the neocon logic is backwards – a legacy passed to the tea baggers. The tea bagger neocon conservatives or whatever new brand name they’ve picked this week claims the U.S. needs to stop expecting government to organize programs that protect its citizens on the social public policy level, but government is your daddy when it comes to protecting us against tyranny. The military certainly has a role to play in our security but lack of health care, car accidents and street violence will kill more of us in one year than terrorists have in the last three. Ironically here the right never makes the argument that among our best protections for national security are adherence to the Constitution and reigning in presidential power. That power has been used to have open-ended wars carried on with private contractors who are hampering the mission not helping, and an ever expanding national security apparatus – A hidden world, growing beyond control. Our military budget is easy to find. It serves as a giant national moisture alarm. Every time a rational adult talks about making it leaner and more affective the Right has another tragic bed wetting episode. Part of the current preemptive push back – Obama has increased military spending – is not those terrorist loving liberals but the possible influence of the conservative libertarian tea baggers. Mind you this new source of defense spending paranoia is all because of  one person and a few bits of chatter: Rand Paul and the libertarian tea partiers. It doesn’t take much talk of  defense spending to get the Right to have cold night sweats. As Paul has become more like Mitch McConnell(R-Ky) in his campaign there has been less and less libertarian and more same old G.W. Bush conservative. The WSJ editorial is simply part of the latest round of preemptive attacks on those who would make some reasonable cuts to a bloated budget. China spends half the share of its GDP on defense as the U.S. and the U.S. defense budget is 54 percent of total world military spending. There is no way not to make fear profitable, but it is possible to make defense a less an all you can eat buffet that includes private mercenaries like Blackwater/Xe.

Why is This GOP House Candidate Dressed as a Nazi?

An election year already notable for its menagerie of extreme and unusual candidates can add another one: Rich Iott, the Republican nominee for Congress from Ohio’s 9th District, and a Tea Party favorite, who for years donned a German Waffen SS uniform and participated in Nazi re-enactments.

[   ]…Iott says the group chose the Wiking division in part because it fought on the Eastern Front, mainly against the Russian Army, and not U.S. or British soldiers. The group’s website includes a lengthy history of the Wiking unit, a recruitment video, and footage of goose-stepping German soldiers marching in the Warsaw victory parade after Poland fell in 1939. The website makes scant mention of the atrocities committed by the Waffen SS, and includes only a glancing reference to the “twisted” nature of Nazism. Instead, it emphasizes how the Wiking unit fought Bolshevist Communism:

Nazi Germany had no problem in recruiting the multitudes of volunteers willing to lay down their lives to ensure a “New and Free Europe”, free of the threat of Communism. National Socialism was seen by many in Holland, Denmark, Norway, Finland, and other eastern European and Balkan countries as the protector of personal freedom and their very way of life, despite the true underlying totalitarian (and quite twisted, in most cases) nature of the movement. Regardless, thousands upon thousands of valiant men died defending their respective countries in the name of a better tomorrow. We salute these idealists; no matter how unsavory the Nazi government was, the front-line soldiers of the Waffen-SS (in particular the foreign volunteers) gave their lives for their loved ones and a basic desire to be free.

Wikipedia is not the last word on WW II but its entry on the Eastern Front is pretty good introduction to the bloodiest front of WW II. In no way what so ever was there any Nazis who “gave their lives for their loved ones and a basic desire to be free”. The Soviets did not attack Germany, Hitler invaded Russia in what he hoped would be a quick and decisive victory and domination of the Soviets. This tactic was so he could than focus his attention on western Europe. The Nazis, including the Waffen-SS practiced a “scorched earth” policy of engagement – killing soldiers and civilians, destroying anything that might be useful including farm animals and food storage facilities. Membership in the Waffen- SS was initially limited to Aryans and the Nuremberg Trails condemned the Waffen-SS as a criminal organization – the SS directly participated in the Holocaust. As  the history professors who commented on the Wiking division note, where did these nuts get their perverse revisionism.

So Rich Iott was only reenacting some history. The snip of Wiking glossing over history is a blatant testament to their view of the Waffen-SS as some kind of heroes. There were a few conscripts late in the Waffen-SS history for whom a case might be barely made they did what they had to do under the circumstances, but Wiking and Iott are not reenacting those few conscripts. There is an easy test for Iott and the Wiking reenactments. Where Iott and Wiking says things like the Waffen-SS – “thousands upon thousands of valiant men died defending their respective countries in the name of a better tomorrow. We salute these idealists; no matter how unsavory the Nazi government was, the front-line soldiers of the Waffen-SS (in particular the foreign volunteers) gave their lives for their loved ones and a basic desire to be free.” – where it says Nazi substitute Taliban and ” their basic desire to be free”. I doubt even the rabidly partisan apologists trolls at the link would be taking up for Iott.

Classic Autumn Leaves wallpaper, The Sound of Silence and the Right-wing Chamber of Commerce

fall wallpaper

Classic Autumn Leaves wallpaper

 

Without a benefit of facts and frequently on the basis of no more information than urban myths created in the fetid imaginations of right-wing conservatives attacks were launched on ACORN,  The New Black Panthers ( all three of them) were touted as a threat to open democratic elections in the United States and there was the supposed close ties of Barack Obama with Bill Ayers. The ACORN controversy turned out to be a scam by Andrew Breitbart and James O’Keefe. The New Black Panthers story was about a couple of knuckleheads at one polling station. Obama and Ayers paths crossed as they both lived in Chicago and Obama helped direct funds from the Chicago Annenberg Challenge which came from the Republican created Woods Fund of Chicago. Then and now those controversies were all about the Right’s paranoid delusions and their claim to define what it is to be a true American. These are qualities which somehow only the smiley faced authoritarians, the conservative xenophobes, misogynists, free spending hypocrites, chicken-hawks  of today’s conservative movement get to decide. That in mind it is not hypocritical in the least that the same right-wing media and pundits who have appointed themselves the grand inquisitors of all things pure, wholesome and American are ignoring how the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is raking in foreign corporate cash just as they are spending big bucks on the mid-term elections. It works like this. When Bush and Cheney claimed that anything a president does is legal – well anything a Republican president does – so it goes that any sleazy connections between conservative political interests and foreign countries is ethical –  Inconvenient Facts That The Chamber Hasn’t Refuted

1) The Chamber acknowledges that it receives foreign sources of funding.
2) The foreign funds go directly into the Chamber’s general 501(c)(6) entity.
3) At least $300,000 has been channeled from foreign companies in India and Bahrain to the account.
4) The foreign sources include foreign state-owned companies, including the State Bank of India and the Bahrain Petroleum Company.
5) The Chamber’s 501(c)(6) entity is used to launch an unprecedented $75 million partisan attack ad campaign against Democrats.

Nothing the Chamber has said in response to our story refutes those basic set of facts. The right-wing business group claims that it has a “system” in place to ensure that money is not being used for illegal purposes, namely to influence U.S. elections. But the Chamber refuses to explain how that “system” works, and is instead demanding that the public simply trust-but-not-verify.

Rumors, smears, manufactured evidence is enough to convict anyone or any entity the Right finds “UnAmerican”. Anything the Right cannot answer for is dismissed with a trust us and how dare anyone question a right-wing organization anyway. Chamber Campaign Stash Awash in Foreign Cash

Imagine for a moment if a group like the right-wing reviled though now defunct community group ACORN had been caught receiving money from Middle Eastern corporations in Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Fox News would run the story day and night while tea party heads the nation over exploded.

Heck, if Fox News actually covered this story like it has others, it wouldn’t even be calling these businesses “foreign corporations,” instead they would be called “terror companies” and we would be seeing segments asking why the Chamber has an office just 3.5 miles from ground zero. How insensitive.

Of course, News Corp. — Fox News’ parent company — gave the “U.S.” Chamber of Commerce a $1 million donation recently…

Actors or thespians if you like are nothing new to political commercials. The Republican Party of W.Virginia puts out a casting all for a commercial for millionaire conservative John Raese ( who may or may not have “moved” to West Virginia just to run for that Senate seat). Not being able to find any actual miners or truckers that would support this elitist twit they specify certain requirements so the actors would at least appear like the average folk Raese claims to be so in touch  “We are going for a ‘Hicky’ Blue Collar look”

Below please find booking information for your actor(s) for the Political Spot. Please ask them to read over copy (it is confidential).     Please confirm this email.

Call Time: 2pm
Location: The Oregon Diner
3rd & Oregon Sts
Phila PA 19148

Wardrobe:
– We are going for a ‘Hicky’ Blue Collar look. These characters are from West Virginia so think coal miner/trucker looks

– Each character should bring a several options and stay away from all black or all white or thin stripes (thicker stripes and plaid are good)

– Clothing Suggestions:

Jeans
Work boots
Flannel shirt
Denim shirt
Dickie’s type jacket with t-shirt underneath
Down filled vest
John Deer hats (not brand new, preferably beat up)
Trucker hats (not brand new, preferably beat up)
No Thin Stripes

– As far as the script goes, the dialect should be very plain – no accent, but animated actions. These guys are upset about these politics.

And why only white male “hicks”, why not some grizzly mommas. I guess they couldn’t find any of those either.  While Republicans play acting working folks is pathetic, even sadder part is West Virginia seems to be suffering from the What’s the Matter with Kansas syndrome. Many voters who are actually blue-collar workers willing to vote for the Wall St players like Raese against their own best economic interests.

Tea nut Joe Miller and Todd Palin’s differences over how to reciprocate  back room political favors are only mildly interesting. Joe Jobless Benefits Miller’s idea of what constitutes great accomplishments is at least funny – Miller (Barely) Admits Sarah Palin Qualified For POTUS, While Dogwhistling To Birthers

“Let me make this unequivocal,” Miller said, after jousting with the Fox host for several rounds. “She’s done phenomenal things for this country, there’s no question about that. She’s elevated the debate, critical to our race, and let me tell you also, we know what qualified means, don’t we? We know that we have a constitutional requirement for somebody that’s gonna run for President. Of course she’s qualified.

Palin has a dismal record of accomplishing much of anything even for a Republican. She has parlayed being a politceleb into being a multi-millionaire. Which is like a snake oil salesman bragging about how many rubes he fleeced. It doesn’t count as “phenomenal things”. And calling people names from your FaceBook page is not exactly elevating the debate. Palin, the political monk,  has cut off all but the most regulated contact with the public for the purpose of avoiding any tough scrutiny into her policies and making her justify her answers.

Clouds and Mountain Meadow wallpaper, Justice is itself the great standing policy of civil society

Clouds and Mountain Meadow wallpaper

The Center for Public Integrity notes the stampede of corporate cash influencing this election, courtesy the Chief Justice John Roberts extreme right-wing court and the Citizens United decision, Campaign Cash: The Independent Fundraising Gold Rush Since ‘Citizens United’ Ruling

But as the crew of old GOP friends munched on chicken pot pies, Rove and Gillespie had another, larger agenda: expanding cooperation. And they found an altogether receptive audience. Among those in attendance: Bill Miller, the political director of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce which has announced a record election budget of $75 million; former Sen. Norm Coleman of Minnesota, the CEO of the American Action Network, a fledgling group that’s hoping to spend about $25 million to help Senate and House candidates; Steven Law, a former general counsel at the Chamber and the president of American Crossroads; and Greg Casey, the president of the Business Industry Political Action Committee which aims to spend $6 million this year to boost the pro-business vote. ( Emphasis mine: Pro-business is a conservative code word for crushing as much consumer, investor and employee law they possibly can)

[   ]…Early this summer, the Chamber’s feisty chieftain, silver-haired Tom Donohue, told a gathering of about 100 trade group leaders at a posh resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., that the organization was going to spend $75 million on its election program — more than double the $36 million it spent on the 2008 campaign.

As of mid-September, the Chamber had spent about $20 million on issue ads other political activities including mail and phone with many millions more to come, Miller says. Further, the business lobby group is also planning to pour millions of dollars into online voter mobilization and other activities this year using an assembled list of six million “Friends of the Chamber.”

[   ]…Two companies in which Dallas-based billionaire Harold Simmons boasts major holdings — Southwest Louisiana Land LLC and Dixie Rice Agricultural Corp. — have plowed a total of almost $2 million into the 527. That makes the veteran conservative donors’ firms, one of the three biggest financial angels with Texas ties. Two other Lone Star moguls, Trevor Rees-Jones, who runs Dallas-based Chief Oil and Gas, and Robert Rowling, together with his company TRT Holdings, which owns Omni Hotels and Gold’s Gym, have each given $2 million to the group (and to a recently formed successor PAC).

Paul Singer, the New York-based founder and CEO of the $17 billion hedge fund Elliott Management Corp. has also written a seven-figure check to Crossroads GPS, say sources familiar with the group. Singer has also been a hefty donor and fundraiser for several GOP candidates and campaign committees this election season.

When the Citizens United ruling came down it was thought there might be some balance in that it opened the door for organized labor to do the same thing as large corporations and the billionaires on the far Right. That has not been the case. TCPI estimates these corporations and freshly minted right-wing organizations/trade groups will out spend moderate and liberal organizations by 3 to 2, as high as two to one dollars by the November election.

While we’re on the subject of bad law and twisting the Constitution into an unrecognizable wad of paper, Barry Friedman and Dahlia Lithwick review the history of the SCOTUS under the extreme right-wing arm of Chief Justice Roberts – Watch as We Make This Law Disappear – How the Roberts Court disguises its radical conservatism

Trick 4: The Escape

Think about illusionists, and you almost instantly imagine escape. The greatest can be locked into a straitjacket, immersed in a tank of water, padlocked with metal seals, and still they get out. Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito found themselves in a similar bind. Having both pledged at their confirmation hearings that they would respect precedent, and had “no quarrel” with foundational cases and doctrine, they were locked into a legal universe that for them would quickly become airless. Given their troth, they couldn’t just come on the bench and start overruling old cases—even cases they hated—willy-nilly. So they worked at the illusion of escape: Overrule the old precedent anyway, but claim to be leaving it intact. Where “restoration” involves pretending to put the law back where it originally was, “escape” means running away from existing precedents while denying you are doing so.

Perhaps the best example of The Escape came in a 2007 campaign-finance case. Americans have heard a lot about campaign-finance law this past year, as a result of the court’s dramatic decision last January in Citizens United. That decision overruled prior precedents allowing Congress to restrict corporate money in elections and earned a national shout of disapproval. But what you probably don’t know is that the court had already accomplished virtually the same feat, by the same 5-4 margin, in the 2007 case Federal Election Commission v. Wisconsin Right to Life. Unlike the Citizens United case this year, however, in which the justices announced the change out loud, in Wisconsin Roberts claimed to be following precedent when he was shredding it.

This trick has been used so frequently that conservatives and liberals alike came up with a name for it: “stealth overruling.” In the Wisconsin decision, the chief justice’s usual conservative ally Justice Antonin Scalia accused Roberts of “faux judicial restraint” for implicitly striking down an old case while claiming to do nothing of the sort. Conservative critics from Robert Bork to Richard Posner have been equally derisive.

WV-Sen: Questions arise over Republican senatorial candidate  Raese’s real residence. Raese recently won my admiration for his admission he is a lazy sod who earned his money the old-fashioned way by inheritance. he seems to live in Florida  – you know where his kids go to school and his wife lives – except when he is running for office. Republicans have always had an arrogance problem; is it me or does it seem to be getting much bigger.

Here is the original  story from a local station – Firefighters watch as home burns to the ground. This is the TP link which contains the deranged bleating of some of the nation’s top conservative thinkers on the subject – National Review Writers Defend County Whose Subscription-Only Firefighters Watched Home Burn Down

Dan, you are 100 percent wrong. […] And, for their trouble, the South Fulton fire department is being treated as though it has done something wrong, rather than having gone out of its way to make services available to people who did not have them before. The world is full of jerks, freeloaders, and ingrates — and the problems they create for themselves are their own. These free-riders have no more right to South Fulton’s firefighting services than people in Muleshoe, Texas, have to those of NYPD detectives. (Kevin Williamson )

The fire department may have had a point in so far we measure the incident just in terms of money exchanged for services – explained rather well in this comment by Wendy Thomas – scroll down to read. Williamson could not see the high road much less take it. The issue boils down to “jerks, freeloaders, and ingrates”? It is not possible that the victims of the fire had a choice to make between dental work for the kids or doctor bills or bald tires and paying for a firefighter service. Where is the humanity and morality in letting someone’s house burn down, which in fact started to catch the neighbor’s house on fire. I’ve stopped and helped people and never got a dime. Were all the people I’ve helped jerks and freeloaders. Erase the term good deeds from the national vocabulary and replace with thou shall be a cheap cynic at all times. Furthermore when judging any situation where someone is a victim always assume the victim has the worse character traits.

Here’s the more important part of the story, letting the house burn — while, I admit sad — will probably save more houses over the long haul. I know that if I opted out of the program before, I would be more likely to opt-in now. No solace to the homeowner, but an important lesson for compassionate conservatives like our own Dan Foster (Zing!). As Edmund Burke said, example is the school of mankind and he will learn from no other. (Jonah Goldberg)

Goldberg’s laser like insights remain indispensable. It has happened a time or two in the course of human history that tragedies tend to move people to take action. How astute for him to have noticed. I do it for free and he gets paid. So much for merit in conservative lala-land. Throw is a pretentious reference to Edmund Burke and Jonah manages to create a circle jerk of one. Congratulations. Conservatives like Williamson and Goldberg learned nothing from the failed policies of Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush but they continue to float along comfortably on the wing-nut welfare plan for constipated intellectualism. Burke also said,

Justice is itself the great standing policy of civil society; and any imminent departure from it, under any circumstances, lies under the suspicion of being no policy at all.

and

All government, indeed every human benefit and enjoyment, every virtue, and every prudent act, is founded on compromise and barter.

Were Burke’s pompous ass still parading around he’d slap all the neocons at the National Review for their Iraq cheer leading,

I cannot conceive any existence under heaven (which, in the depths of its wisdom, tolerates all sorts of things), that is more truly odious and disgusting, than an impotent, helpless creature, without civil wisdom or military skill, without a consciousness of any other qualification for power but his servility to it, bloated with pride and arrogance, calling for battles which he is not to fight, contending for a violent dominion which he can never exercise, and satisfied to be himself mean and miserable, in order to render others contemptible and wretched.

Fulton Tennessee is not exactly the perfectude of conservatism. They apply for federal grants once in a while, like this one for $70k. They also recently applied for some Obama stimulus funds to hire another police officer. Also recently in the news from Fulton – Mother, child airlifted to Memphis after crash

Emergency workers flew a local woman and her baby daughter by helicopter to Memphis Friday morning after the woman flipped her SUV on Kentucky Highway 166.

No mention of the emergency workers asking first if the victim and her child were paid up on their emergency medi-vac helicopter coverage. As I said there is room for understanding the city fire chief’s situation about providing service to non-subscribing county residents, but the absence of any moral sensibilities from the tough luck crowd at National Review would be telling if it were not consistent with their usual hypocrisy when it comes to ethics and the social contract.

Black and White River Rocks wallpaper , I hope we shall… crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations

Black and White River Rocks wallpaper

No surprise to find one of conservatism’s biggest hacks Jonah Goldberg writing at Rupert Murdoch’s yellow rag The New York Post. The morally and intellectually lazy tend to like the same squalor. A Supreme fetish

Imagine the Supreme Court was wiped out in an asteroid strike, or maybe ate some re ally bad clams. Whatever. With the court temporarily out of the picture, could Congress and the White House ignore the Constitution, locking up Tea Partiers or ACLU members?

Apparently.

“I have been fascinated by [Delaware Senate candidate] Christine O’Donnell’s constitutional worldview,” Slate magazine’s Dahlia Lithwick confessed. O’Donnell had said, “When I go to Washington, DC, the litmus test by which I cast my vote for every piece of legislation that comes across my desk will be whether or not it is constitutional.”

To which Lithwick, a widely cited expert on the Supreme Court, responded, “How weird is that, I thought. Isn’t it a court’s job to determine whether or not something is, in fact, constitutional? And isn’t that sort of provided for in, well, the Constitution?”

Goldberg acknowledges the SCOTUS being swiped out is a ridiculous scenario but still uses it as the foundation of his premise. Goldberg’s feigned claim to be perplexed as to how such an event would present some serious problems is dishonest and disingenuous. Except of course unless he is an ignorant of U.S. history and the legal precedents set by the Supreme Court. Absent the Court legislators with Christine O’Donnell’s ideological bent could be rusted to only sign legislation into law which is constitutional. You know Goldberg does not believe that. Just substitute any Democrats name where he says Christine O’Donnell. As a matter of fact she would cast a vote against Medicare and unemployment insurance because she believes them to be unconstitutional even though that point of law has been settled. Goldberg also ties his thesis to recent Republican Pledge that states Congressional representatives not sign into law any legislation which is not supported directly by language in the Constitution. In typical Goldbergian manner he cites Marbury v. Madison(1803) and the establishment of judicial review yet shows two examples of presidents not signing two laws before they faced judicial review. Why is that support for his argument. Apparently because much of the time presidents and legislators can simply spot an unconstitutional law before signing. Though from almost the very beginning there were challenges to the constitutionality of law. Since these are the cases which have had such a large effect on how precedents affect law making and succeeding laws are drafted it is reasonable to believe O’Donnell ( who does not believe in separate of church and state) would vote to remove a woman’s right to have autonomy over her own body even though the Court has settled the question. While “originalists” tea nuts Sharron Angle and Joe Miller would do away with  Social Security and Medicare – the constitutionality of these programs also settled law. How would the tea bagger originalists have voted on navigation rights granted by a state. Such rights are not explicit in the Constitution. So rather than the neat examples Goldberg provides us how would O’Donnell or the adherents of the Republican pledge vote on something on which there was no explicit constitutional instructions. In Gibbons v. Ogden (1824) the State of New York granted exclusive navigation rights of their waters to Robert Fulton and Robert Livingston. They in turn gave Aaron Ogden the rights to navigate between New York and the New Jersey shore ( this also brings up interesting issues pertaining to monopolies, capitalism as practiced in the early years of the nation and early influence peddling). Ogden then found he was competing with Thomas Gibbons. Gibbons was operating under a license given to him by the U.S. government. Ogden acquired an injunction against Gibbons. Gibbons appealed that injunction. The SCOTUS ruled Congress’ interstate commerce powers did not just apply to “traffic”, but unless specifically spelled out in the Constitution, the federal government’s power to regulate such commerce was unlimited. Gibbons v. Ogden (1824) established that any time federal law and state law come into conflict over this matter, federal law takes precedence. Is is possible O’Donnell, Angle and Miller would vote state’s right supersede the commerce clause since there was obviously an issue, as far as these rights go, early on in U.S. law and commerce. The full context of Dahlia Lithwick’s remarks were about the role of the judicial and legislative branches of government. To address the proper role of the courts and the constitutionality of any law. A nod to the check and balances the branches have on one another. It is obvious all legislators have to take an oath to uphold the Constitution, but if that were simple there would be no debate and one assumes no meaningless Republican pledge. How  much contradiction can Goldberg pack into three short paragraphs,

The debate over whether the courts are the final word on the Constitution is more than 200 years old. The debate over whether they’re the sole arbiter of constitutionality is extremely recent and extremely silly.

Too many politicians — in both parties — have abdicated their most solemn duty: to support and defend the US Constitution. George W. Bush signed campaign finance reform even though he thought much of it was unconstitutional. Nancy Pelosi thinks the Constitution has as much relevance as a pet rock. Asked if the health-care bill was constitutional, her eyes grew perceptibly wider as she incredulously asked, “Are you serious?” ( being Speaker Pelosi would be familiar with the commerce clause and would be shocked someone asking questions at a press conference would not also be informed on same)

The real issue is quite simple. If more politicians were faithful to the Constitution, the government would be restrained. And restraining government is “weird,” “wacky” and “dangerous” to so many liberals today. ( George W. Bush found the Constitution pretty threatening. At times seeming to declare war on it as though it too was a national security threat)

If a law passed by Congress is challenged and the Supreme Court makes a ruling then most of the time they are in fact the final arbiters. Though we know from day one the Founders had some convenient lapses of equality as to how the Constitution was applied and how freedom should be dispersed. Slavery was tolerated and states were allowed to say a human being was either not a person or only a fraction of a person. Women were not much better than slaves and were denied the vote and equal protection under the law. Goldberg makes the statement about silliness after stating that obviously Marbury v. Madison(1803) is familiar to everyone and of course no one would seek to undermine that ruling. Differences are silly but also engraved in stone? The SCOTUS is the sole arbiter. Though, and this concept is one conservatives should come out of the closet and embrace ( conservatives do believe in this now when convenient, but the concept  is contradictory to the originalist meme nonsense they’re selling like cheap retreads), is the concept of democratic constitutionalism. Whereby the Court(s) reflect changing values of society. Up until 1896 the legislature and the courts recognized separate but equal. In Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) the SCOTUS decided that separate but equal as it pertained to accommodations for black and white was sound law, but in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka(1954) the Court declared in favor of the dissenting opinion of Justice Harlan in Plessy(1896), “The Constitution is color-blind and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens.” Why do conservatives think it is so important to stack the SCOTUS and lower courts with right-wing ideologues ( which would be one of the things Goldberg  also finds silly if he were consistent)? Because they believe many of the major SCOTUS decisions with which they disagree can be reversed given changing times and enough far Right judges.

How would any of the Republicans who adhere to the “pledge’ vote on net neutrality. There is no mention of the internet in the Constitution much less how or if it should be regulated. Will they veto all legislation pertaining to net neutrality since it is not explicitly spelled out in the constitution. In the 1st Amendment one can find implicit reason not to vote for doing away with net neutrality. Corporations will be able to choke off certain web traffic and thus limit free speech, freedom of the press ( some think there will only be digital newspapers in a few years), freedom of religion and freedom to petition. How would or could the tea baggers even vote on legislation pertaining to air traffic control. Airplanes are not mentioned in the constitution. Where are the O’Donnells of Goldberg’s dream team Congress going to find the Constitutional right to regulate air traffic. They’re going to have to do some interpreting of the commerce clause. Many proponents of health care reform think the American people have the right to join together to create an insurance exchange via the private sector insurance industry to buy basic health insurance coverage. Where are the tea nuts going to find an explicit injunction against having the freedom to create such a program. How will tea baggers vote on creating new hearts for transplant patients with heart disease from cloned cells. The Constitution does not have an explicit ban on creating new hearts from cloned cells. Weird and silly is trying to put a straight jacket on the Constitution – a 232 year old framework created at a time where there was no net, no cell phones, no air traffic and not much in the way of health care.

One of the more recent and weird interpretation of the Constitution was Citizens United. That was where, once again, the conservatives on the court found not only did corporations have the same rights as individual citizens. Corporations had special rights by way of their ability to express more free speech because they could buy more of that speech than an actual individual citizen. “Citizens United: The Aftermath,” by Monica Youn

After news of the Citizens United ruling sent shockwaves through political, legal, and news media circles throughout the nation, some commentators took a somewhat jaundiced view, arguing, in essence, that since the political system is already awash in special-interest dollars, this particular decision may have little impact.11 It is undoubtedly true that in the past, corporations have engaged in large-scale spending in federal politics –primarily through political action committees (“PACs”) and through more indirect means, such as lobbying and nonprofit advocacy groups.12 However, the sums spent by corporations in previous elections are miniscule in comparison to the billions of dollars in corporate profits that the Supreme Court has now authorized corporations to spend to influence the outcome of federal elections. The difference, in short, changes the rules of federal politics.
Prior to Citizens United, a corporation that wished to support or oppose a federal candidate had to do so using PAC funds – funds amassed through voluntary contributions from individual employees and shareholders who wished to support the corporation‘s political agenda. Such funds were subject to federal contribution limits and other regulations.13 Now however, the Citizens United decision will allow corporations that wish to directly influence the outcome of federal elections to draw from their general treasury funds, rather than PAC funds, to support or oppose a particular candidate. This difference is significant enough to amount to a difference in kind rather than merely a difference in degree, as demonstrated by the following observations.
In the 2008 election cycle, the nation‘s largest corporation, Exxon-Mobil, formed a PAC that collected approximately $700,000 in individual contributions.14 Thus, Exxon-Mobil was limited to spending this amount on advertisements directly supporting or opposing a federal candidate. During the same 2008 election cycle, Exxon-Mobil‘s corporate profits totaled more than $80 billion. 15 Thus, Citizens United frees this one corporation to increase its direct spending in support or opposition to federal candidates by more than 100,000 fold.
During the 2008 election cycle, all winning congressional candidates spent a total of $861 million on their campaigns – less than one percent of Exxon-Mobil‘s corporate profits over the same period.16

It goes into the legal arguments in the full pdf. In absence of those arguments, which rely on over turning previous SCOTUS rulings, thus legal precedent, how would the tea baggers vote on a piece of legislation which would close some of the gaps in regulation corporate spending which Citizens opened. What explicit part of the Constitution would the tea baggers site to explain their votes for or against allowing more corporate influence on federal elections. They claim to be a populist movement. Would they, as Goldberg suggests, simply intuitively know what was Constitution in regards corporate influence on elections in a high tech media saturated culture.

“I hope we shall… crush in its birth the aristocracy of our
moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our
government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of
our country.” –Thomas Jefferson to George Logan, 1816.

Arizona Autumn wallpaper, TARP and Stimulus On Track to be Repaid

fall wallpaper

Arizona Autumn wallpaper

Another tax break Democrats will not get credit for – A New Tax Break for the Self-Employed

So consider a self-employed taxpayer who earns $100,000 annually and pays $10,000 for her family’s premiums. Last year, she would have owed roughly $15,000 in self-employment taxes. This year, thanks to the new law, she’ll pay about $13,500 — a $1,500 savings.

“It’s almost like you are getting a 15 percent discount on your premiums,” Ms. Erb said, because many self-employed people will save about 15 percent of what they pay for their health insurance.

Democrats also recently passed a round of tax incentives and credits for small business. As partisan as the conservative media is one would think both measures – with huge potential to save money and encourage hiring would have at least been acknowledged. Democrats are faced with their usual problem. They do not have the kind of noise machine the Right has cultivated over the years. A conservative crosses the street without incident and Fox, the Wall St Journal etc are suddenly lauding this great accomplishment. Conservatives are on the Sunday political shows singing the praises and the deeper societal  implications of a Republican taking twenty paces without tripping over his own two feet. Democrats actually accomplish something and it is the echo of a giant yawn.

Report gives stimulus package high marks

By the end of September, the administration had spent 70 percent of the act’s original $787 billion, which met a White House goal of quickly pumping money into the nation’s ravaged economy, the report says. The administration also met nearly a dozen deadlines set by Congress for getting money out the door.

Meanwhile, lower-than-anticipated costs for some projects have permitted the administration to stretch stimulus money further than expected, financing an additional 3,000 projects, according to the report.

Despite the speedy spending, the report says that stimulus contracts and grants have so far been relatively free of the fraud charges that plague more routine government spending programs. Complaints have been filed on less than 2 percent of awards under the program.

“Certainly, the fraud and waste element has been smaller than I think anything anybody anticipated,” said Steve Ellis, vice president of Taxpayers for Common Sense, a nonpartisan watchdog group. “You can certainly challenge some projects as questionable economically. But there haven’t been the examples of outright fraud where the money is essentially lining somebody’s pocket.”

The report was provided by VP Biden’s office. The wing-nuts at Newsbusters have not disputed the numbers, instead opting for the you can’t believe the report because it came from the administration. lacking any concrete evidence it is the best the Right could do. The President of the Professional Services Council said the way oversight worked to decrease waste and fraud should serve as an example of how such programs are implemented. Iraq – the cost of which was administered by Republicans – was riddled with waste, fraud and abuse. Much of that due to two things: private contractors and no real oversight. Out sourcing to private contractors and no oversight are the decoded message when one hears the words free enterprise and liberty from a Republican. Con artists usually sell their snake oil wrapped in coded language. TARP, which started under the Bush administration ( including the GM and Chrysler bail-out) is not looking that bad in retrospect – TARP Bailout to Cost Less Than Once Anticipated

But the once-unthinkable possibility that the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program could end up costing far less, or even nothing, became more likely on Thursday with the news that the government had negotiated a plan with the American International Group to begin repaying taxpayers.

The rescue of the troubled insurer included $70 billion from the bailout program that was enacted two years ago, at the height of the global financial crisis late in the Bush administration, initially to prop up big banks.

At the White House on Thursday, the Treasury secretary, Timothy F. Geithner, briefed President Obama about A.I.G. and about the broader outlook for the expiring rescue program, putting the projected losses at less than $50 billion, at most. Yet neither the White House nor Congressional Democrats are likely to boast much in the month remaining before midterm elections. For most voters, TARP remains a four-letter word.

Brian A. Bethune, the chief financial economist in the United States for IHS/Global Insight, while critical of parts, called the program over all “a tremendous success. Now obviously, they can’t go out on the campaign trail and say that, because certainly, for a lot of voters, it’s just not going to resonate.”

[  ]…“This is the best federal program of any real size to be despised by the public like this,” said Douglas J. Elliott, a former investment banker now associated with the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank.

It was probably the only effective method available to us to keep from having a financial meltdown much worse than we actually had. Had that happened, unemployment would be substantially higher than it is now, the deficit would have gone up even more than it has,” Mr. Elliott added. “But it really cuts against the grain for a public that is so angry at banks to think that something that so plainly helped the banks could also be good for the public.”

The worse scenario is TARP ends up costing  $50 billion. The best case it ends up costing zero. If we split the difference and say $25 billion, that would be less than 6 months of the cost of invading Iraq.

Some liberals, conservatives and libertarians line up in believing it would have been best not to do anything. That sounds like an attractive option because some of the beneficiaries of TARP were and remain such sleazeballs, while there are so many struggling homeowners and unemployed. Think back to the Ethics 101 conundrum. Would you let one person die to save ten thousand. In this case we saved save a few sleazeballs in order to save millions of jobs and even more foreclosures. No one gets out all nice and clean on the political side, but there was a net positive effect.

Senator Robert F. Bennett of Utah was “Bailout Bob” to Republicans who refused to re-nominate him for a fourth term.

“For those who were screaming at me — and screaming was the operative word — ‘You’ve just saddled our children and grandchildren with $700 billion,’ I said, ‘No, I haven’t,” Mr. Bennett said in an interview.

“My career is over,” he added. “But I do hope that we can get the word out that TARP, number one, did save the world from a financial meltdown and, number two, did so in a manner that, I believe, won’t cost the taxpayer anything. And even if it did not all get paid back, it was still the thing to do.

Some of the left of center economic blogs have raised questions about the stock deal with AIG and whether it will ultimately be able to pay back all of it’s TARP funds, but that just remains something to keep an eye on. Certainly there is no political advantage for Democrats to let AIG off the hook.

Free trade can be a net good for the country and a much better way to alive poverty in other nations rather than government aid alone. At least I know where I stand and the particulars when it comes to attaching strings to said trade – worker’s right, environmental guidelines and fair wages. The tea baggers not so much – Most Tea Partiers Think Free Trade Agreements That Tea Party Candidates Support Are Bad For The Country

Interestingly, the poll also found that opposition to free trade agreements is particularly strong among Americans who define themselves as supporters of the Tea Party movement.

[  ]…What’s ironic about most tea partiers opposing free trade is that numerous high-profile tea party-endorsed candidates are ardent backers of the policy. From sitting U.S. senators to relatively unknown individuals who have become serious candidates for higher office, politicians who have co-opted the tea party movement do not share its view on free trade:

Rand Paul: Tea party “darling” Paul’s campaign website boasts that the candidate wants to “engage the world in free trade.” He also bragged that he would “stand up” to unions to get free trade agreements with Peru, Panama, and South Korea passed through Congress.

Joe Miller: “Tea Party favorite” Miller, who ran an insurgent campaign that successfully toppled incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), responded to a candidate survey earlier this month that he was in favor of “the United States’ involvement in free trade agreements.”

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC): DeMint, who “has embraced the tea party movement more enthusiastically than most of his GOP congressional colleagues,” is a strong backer of free trade. He has voted to support every new free trade agreement that has come before the Senate over the past five years, and writes on his website that he sees backing new free trade agreements as the key to a “strong economy.”

Rep. Tom Price (R-GA): Price, who has been a featured speaker at national tea party rallies, is a prominent backer of free trade within the Republican congressional coalition. Price wrote an op-ed in the Washington Times last month saying that opposition to further free trade agreements is doing “real damage to our nation’s future prosperity.”

Marco Rubio: Rubio, whose support from the tea party allowed him to coast to the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate, writes on his campaign website that “we should adopt the free trade agreements that have already been negotiated with Colombia, Panama, South Korea and other nations around the world.”

Mike Lee: Utah tea party-backed GOP Senate candidate Mike Lee told a radio host earlier this year “that one of the best ways we can improve our economy is with free trade.”

Pat Toomey: Toomey, who has praised the tea party in the past as a “constructive force for political change,” supported free trade agreements with Australia, Chile, and Singapore during his time in office as a congressman. He also slammed Democratic presidential primary candidates Hilary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards as “collectivists” for skepticism over a free trade deal with South Korea and a willingness to alter NAFTA.