Western Snow Storm wallpaper

Western Snow Storm wallpaper

Blue Blur High Speed Train wallpaper

Thank goodness Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Rag is doing it’s part to make the U.S. even less well informed. We would not want the average American to get their hands on the truth. Who knows what the consequences might be, Wisconsin 1, Illinois 0 – With Springfield raising taxes amidst its fiscal disaster, the new Republican governor of the Badger State is telling Illinoisans, “Escape to Wisconsin.”

Illinois this week earned the honor of becoming the first state in 2011 to sock it to taxpayers, passing a tax hike the size of Lake Michigan. Citizens cried out, legislators deflected, but the most interesting response came from neighboring Wisconsin, where newly elected GOP Gov. Scott Walker had three words for Illinois businesses: “Escape to Wisconsin.”(emphasis mine)

Note the lack of numbers. Otherwise people might get the crazy idea that Illinois legislators did the responsible thing for the residents of their state. Who realize now is not the time to be laying off more teachers, cutting funds for alternative energy research, laying off firefighters  and police or other public workers – whose wages are spent at businesses Republicans swear they care about. WI Gov. Scott Walker Begs Illinoisans To ‘Escape To Wisconsin’ Where Taxes Are Actually Higher

Conservatives like Walker have insisted on using the figure that Illinois is increasing taxes by a whopping 66 percent. While this is factually accurate, it’s misleading as it makes the tax increase seem much bigger than it actually is. Illinois tax rates will only go from 3 to 5 percent (hence 66 percent increase), representing a total increase in tax rates of just 2 percent. This will allow Illinois to solve a massive $15 billion budget deficit without gutting state programs. But even with this increase, tax rates for individuals will still be lower than in Wisconsin. Wisconsin has different tax brackets; the lowest income rate if you make over $11,000 is 6.15 percent. The highest rate is 7.75 percent. Bloomberg noted this yesterday:

Absent from Walker’s sales pitch was the fact that Wisconsin’s top income tax rates remain higher than Illinois even under the increase … Walker hasn’t yet proposed lowering the state’s income or corporate tax rates.

But this didn’t stop Fox New host Neil Cavuto yesterday from insisting that Illinois is experiencing a “tax storm.”

Neil Cavuto and Fox are to accuracy in reporting what a flim-flam man is to easy riches.

Sarah Palin’s “blood libel” remark filled in a few spaces on the Republican reaction to any tragedy. It painted Republicans as the real victims. It exaggerated any harm done to Palin or conservatives. It exploited a tragedy to paint moderates as evil extremists. It gave Palin yet another opportunity to vent her spiteful petty attitude on the American public. What might have been lost in Palin’s remarks are worth noting. Those who did not, probably now know the history of the term blood libel. Palin’s hijacking the term for political reasons is especially egregious since  Palin once belonged to a church who thought Jews needed to be saved from Judaism,

Palin seems to disdain intellectualism, she’s a vociferous opponent of gun control and she attended a fundamentalist church that hosted Jews for Jesus, which seeks to convert Jews to Christianity. (Palin apparently sat through a speech by a leader of the group in which he said terrorist attacks on Israel were punishment for Israelis’ failure to accept Jesus as the Messiah.)

I’ve lost count of the number of pundits who have made the case that Palin bears no direct blame for the Tucson massacre ( Digby, James Fallows at The Atlantic, Daily Kos and myself to name a few). All premised on the fact the murderer was probably suffering some mental problems and the logical fallacy that a few gun sights on a map do not a murderer make. What does Palin do. She comes along and says we’re wrong. Words can make people murder,

Then she went on to say that “journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn.”

So when Palin said “Remember months ago “bullseye” icon used 2 target the 20 Obamacare-lovin’ incumbent seats? We won 18 out of 20 (90% success rate;T’aint bad)”, in Palin’s very own speech – which she had days and tons of help from her advisers – she claims that words do have a direct cause and effect on violence. Remind me again why anyone should ever bother to defend Palin. In case anyone missed it, Joan Walsh, Sarah Palin will never be president – The stunning narcissism and inability to even fake empathy show why she’ll never lead the nation

The narcissism required, on a day the nation is commemorating the Arizona shooting victims, to put her own sense of victimhood front and center, is stunning. The “blood libel” idiocy may be the worst of it, especially given that Giffords herself is Jewish. But that’s not the only thing wrong with her performance. Hilariously, after all the times she’s mocked President Obama for using a teleprompter, you can see a teleprompter screen reflected in her eyeglasses throughout much of her Facebook chat. Seeing the flickering teleprompter in her eyes is eerie; it’s where some flicker of her soul should be, but you don’t see any. Looking into Palin’s eyes, you see a blazing, self-pitying anger that’s shocking, even for the self-described “pit bull in lipstick.”

Republican Hate Speech Did Not Cause Tucson Massacre But They Still Have Blood on Their Hands

There is no straight line cause and effect link between the Tucson murders and the not too subtle Republican references to shooting people to achieve their political agenda ( second amendment solutions, gun sights on a map). Though I say that with a nod to the Right’s contribution to our paranoid and violent culture. There have been some conservatives, who also likely have some mental issues along with their political bent who – in their own words and that of family been inspired by conservative pundits,

In March, Senator Patty Murray received a death threat after voting to reform our nation’s health care system. The potential assassin said she had a target on her back and it would only take one bullet to accomplish his objective. Charles Wilson was arrested and convicted for repeatedly threatening to kill Murray. During the sentencing phase of his trial, Wilson’s cousin submitted a memo to the court arguing for leniency.

The cousin wrote:

“What happened later with Charlie is something I think I can understand. He became basically housebound due to illness and his small world became even smaller. His brother got him a computer and he was able to stay connected with family. And he watched television and found Glenn Beck…I found Glenn Beck about the same time that Charlie did and I understand how his fears were grown and fostered by Mr. Beck’s persuasive personality…While his actions were undeniably wrong and his choices terrible, in part they were the actions of others played out against a very gullible Charlie. He was under the spell that Glenn Beck cast, aided by the turbulent times in our economy.”

Finally, in a jailhouse interview this summer, California gunman Byron Williams said he was inspired by Beck — whom he called his “schoolteacher on TV” — to try to assassinate the staff of a liberal philanthropic foundation in San Francisco.

As tragic and potentially tragic as these wing-nuts have been, freedom of speech is just that. If conservatives want to abuse that freedom to incite the unhinged that is part of the price we pay for freedom. It is a mistake to focus exclusively on the obvious cases of conservatives calling for violence. Republicans have caused far more death and carnage talking about mushroom clouds, that health care reform is a Marxist plot, treating every American as a potential terrorist, raising the retirement age of Social Security while hiding behind the flag and imagining what some guys who wore wooden dentures would do. Is was only right that we go to Afghanistan is pursuit of those who planned the terror attacks of 9-11-2001. In the name of conservative expertise on all things pertaining to national security, our Republican administration outsourced the capture of Osama Bin laden to Pakistan and he escaped. Who says Republicans are against foreign aid.We’ve been counting bodies ever since. That job botched, conservatives in their infinite wisdom, shifted resources – $700 million dollars – to ramp up for the invasion of Iraq. They used some violent rhetoric than, but mostly they talked about patriotism and ties to Al Qaeda and WMD that didn’t exist. No urgent need to head to the bunker or buy flak vests if conservatives talk about killing judges if they do not get the court decisions they want, but there is a straight line between the four thousand plus American dead, over twenty thousand wounded and tens of thousands of dead, including Iraqi children. When Republicans talk about free market solutions ( Sarah Palin, John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, Fox News) to solve our health care problems ( the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is a free market solution) that is the sound of death. While repeal doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell, such a repeal by Republicans would sentence 45,000 people to death. Just in terms of pure numbers the deaths caused even tangentially by conservative zealots talking trash pale in comparison. When is it time to keep the kids inside. When conservatives start claiming that cutting taxes to the bone will create a heaven on earth,

Instead, to raise cash, the legislature has pursued a series of wild sell-offs and budget cuts. It privatized the capitol building and leased it back from its new owner, an arrangement that brought in substantial revenue but over time will cost Arizona far more. The legislature has sold off numerous other state properties at bargain prices, and has put up future lottery revenues as collateral on a $450 million loan. Meanwhile, Arizona removed more than 300,000 adults from state health coverage and terminated one health-care program for 47,000 poor children. Funding was slashed at the agency that deals with reports of child abuse and neglect, and also at Children’s Rehabilitative Services, so that parents of children with cystic fibrosis, cerebral palsy, and a number of other conditions are now required to pay 100 percent of treatment costs.?

All totaled, the cuts amounted to roughly $1 billion, which came on top of a similar amount that had been slashed the previous year. These cuts, in combination with the sale of state assets (which raised more than $700 million) and the securitization of the lottery, plugged a massive hole in next year’s budget. But the deficit for 2011 is already projected to be at least $1 billion and possibly double that, on a total budget of only $9 billion. The situation will only worsen from there, as federal stimulus money dries up and the state runs out of short-term sources of cash. “Could we cut our way out of it mathematically?” Dennis Hoffman, an economist who has forecast revenue for Arizona governors since 1983, mused when I asked him about the crisis. “Anything is possible on paper, but for practical purposes it can’t be done, unless you want to start releasing prisoners, shutting down universities, and eliminating extracurricular activities in the schools. We’ve already had a $2 billion haircut over the past two years. Try another $2 billion and see what the state looks like.”

How many lives will be in shambles, how much suffering will the poorest the oldest, the most vulnerable endure because Republicans think cutting taxes is always the same thing as patriotism. More than have been cut down by loons with a grudge. What kills more Americans than Glenn Beck’s or Bill Reilly’s rants? The Republican cultivation of ignorance, eliminationism, uber nationalism as patriotism and thinly veiled contempt for that document they claim to revere – the Constitution. Thomas Jefferson warned us, “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, …it expects what never was and never will be.”

Fall Wheat wallpaper

Fall Wheat wallpaper

Tom DeLay, former U.S. House leader, sentenced to 3 years in prison

Priest said he agreed with a jury’s verdict in November that DeLay had committed a felony by conspiring to launder corporate money into the state election, and ordered bailiffs to take DeLay – wearing a navy blue suit and his trademark American-flag lapel pin – to jail immediately. But he was released when DeLay’s attorneys quickly posted a $10,000 bond.

Priest also sentenced DeLay to five years in prison on a separate felony conviction of money laundering, but agreed to let him serve 10 years of community service instead of jail time for that charge. Priest acknowledged that DeLay – who said he had already raised and spent $10 million on his defense – would appeal the verdict to higher courts.

But he rejected DeLay’s contention that the prosecution’s novel use of a money-laundering statute – meant to target bank robbers, drug dealers and criminal fraud – was unjust.

Its use was justified, Priest said, because the crime for which DeLay was convicted was itself novel. DeLay was accused of approving the transfer of $190,000 in corporate funds to the Republican National Committee’s coffers in Washington and a return of the same amount in checks to state candidates.

[   ]…”I can’t be remorseful for something I don’t think I did,” said DeLay, who had been silent in front of the jury even while he insisted on his innocence during numerous press conferences outside the courtroom.

Delay embodies the Right’s delusional conviction that they can do no wrong. Even if laws were broken, money laundered and the republic itself undermined by such behavior – it is all justified under the higher cause and near religion of Conservatism. That kind of arrogance is a flare, a warning that one is dealing with ideological extremists who are neither guided by or influenced by rationalism or decency.

Watchdog fired by Obama loses appeals case

A three-judge panel rejected appeals Tuesday by Gerald Walpin, a former federal watchdog fired by President Obama in 2009, likely ending his attempts to get back his old job.

[   ]…Two of the three federal appeals court judges who rendered Tuesday’s decision are Republican appointees. Karen LeCraft Henderson, who wrote the unanimous decision, was appointed to the court in 1990 by George H. W. Bush; David S. Tatel was appointed by Bill Clinton in 1994; and George W. Bush named Thomas B. Griffith to the appeals court in 2005.

Walpin’s behavior since that incident has been anything but stable. His claim that he loved his job because he thought he was making a contribution to better government is remarkable. Republicans frequently want to have it both ways – to pick up a government paycheck as they use their government posts to spread the gospel of government is always bad in every instance. They seem to take these jobs, then perform poorly to prove they were right about how bad government is.

James Fallows wrote this post on Saturday and it has proved to be some of the most insightful analysis thus far of the Tucson murders, The Cloudy Logic of ‘Political’ Shootings

Shootings of political figures are by definition “political.” That’s how the target came to public notice; it is why we say “assassination” rather than plain murder.

But it is striking how rarely the “politics” of an assassination (or attempt) match up cleanly with the main issues for which a public figure has stood. Some killings reflect “pure” politics: John Wilkes Booth shooting Abraham Lincoln, the German officers who tried to kill Hitler and derail his war plans. We don’t know exactly why James Earl Ray killed Martin Luther King, but it must have had a lot to do with civil rights.

[  ]…- Sirhan Sirhan horribly transformed American politics by killing Robert F. Kennedy in 1968, but Sirhan’s political causes had little or nothing to do with what RFK stood for to most Americans.

– It’s not often remembered now, but Manson family member Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme tried to shoot Gerald Ford, again for reasons that would mean nothing to most Americans of that time.

My impression of Loughner so far is that he is another Sirhan or Squeaky Fromme. There is only some incoherent fragments of ideology that seemed to have informed Loughner’s views. His reading material included a bit of the genuine far left and the extreme Right. Yet because of his apparent inability to write anything coherent I tend to have doubt he read more than a few lines from any book. Like Sihan and Squeaky politics were peripheral to his world view. That seems to be confirmed by this interview a friend of his did with Motherjones – Loughner Friend Explains Alleged Gunman’s Grudge Against Giffords

Tierney, who’s also 22, recalls Loughner complaining about a Giffords event he attended during that period. He’s unsure whether it was the same one mentioned in the charges—Loughner “might have gone to some other rallies,” he says—but Tierney notes it was a significant moment for Loughner: “He told me that she opened up the floor for questions and he asked a question. The question was, ‘What is government if words have no meaning?'”

Giffords’ answer, whatever it was, didn’t satisfy Loughner. “He said, ‘Can you believe it, they wouldn’t answer my question,’ and I told him, ‘Dude, no one’s going to answer that,'” Tierney recalls. “Ever since that, he thought she was fake, he had something against her.”

In the days ahead we’re likely to have more insights into what makes Loughner tick. Until then we’ll be treated to some of the most unhinged and dishonest back peddling and blame shifting I’ve seen by the Right. Some people have dared ask the question if Loughners action may have been influenced by the violent metaphors and rhetorician imagery used by the Right, i.e. gun sights targeting Gifford, talk of “second amendment” solutions if the tea nuts do not get their way. I think it is wrong and difficult to prove that listening to some of the same heated rhetoric the right has been using since the days of Watergate and G. Gordon Liddy has a direct connection, a hidden finger on the trigger if you will, to what one lone loon does. Especially in this case where the perpetrator’s grudge against the victim was based on some internalized litmus test concerning government and whether words have meaning. Though just as the Right is whining about its free speech rights to express violent rhetoric, it is certainly fair game for their opponents to use their free speech rights to wonder if the political and cultural climate created by such words contributes to an atmosphere in which violence is an acceptable solution to ideological conflicts.Micheal Moore makes a good point with this Tweet,

If a Detroit Muslim put a map on the web w/crosshairs on 20 pols, then 1 of them got shot, where would he b sitting right now? Just asking.

If Loughlin was a Muslim, the Right would be on an all out Muslim hatefest. Loughlin would have been symbolically tried and hung already. We’re all supposed to play this tragic incidents game by the Right’s rules. They can build up a cultural lynching party for anything they see as an injustice, but moderates cannot even ask questions or wonder out loud. In that light I’ve never known a little thoughtful self reflection to be harmful. Rather than take a moment and merely entertain the idea that words might beget actions, the Right is trying to do what they accuse more moderate Americans of doing. They are shifting the blame to anyone to the left of Eva Braun. Michelle Malkin has worked up a list of people on the non-right, who have mostly said mean things and a few who have indeed behaved very badly. Some of the examples are absurd. A couple comediennes who make a living performing outrageous humor talking about kicking someone’s ass. Obama once using that hackeyed old expression about bringing a knife to a gun fight – because no right-wingers has ever used that phrase. Talk about apples and oranges comparisons. The media in its attempt to be balanced has once again bent itself into an obscene pretzel to point out the poor behavior of both sides – Loughner, Violent Rhetoric and Media False Balance

Yesterday in the New York Times Paul Krugman (1/10/11) suggests that we not pretend that “both sides” are responsible for toxic political rhetoric:

Where’s that toxic rhetoric coming from? Let’s not make a false pretense of balance: It’s coming, overwhelmingly, from the right. It’s hard to imagine a Democratic member of Congress urging constituents to be “armed and dangerous” without being ostracized; but Rep. Michele Bachmann, who did just that, is a rising star in the GOP.

…Listen to Rachel Maddow or Keith Olbermann, and you’ll hear a lot of caustic remarks and mockery aimed at Republicans. But you won’t hear jokes about shooting government officials or beheading a journalist at the Washington Post. Listen to Glenn Beck or Bill O’Reilly, and you will.

Malkin and the other far Right extremists should have the courage to make it a contest. Who can name the most violent acts on either side of the political spectrum. The liberal side is not unblemished and I for one condemn those acts of violence unequally, but liberals are pikers, pests and amateurs when it comes to acts of violence over the past forty years. Rage on the Right – The Year in Hate and Extremism

Hate groups stayed at record levels — almost 1,000 — despite the total collapse of the second largest neo-Nazi group in America. Furious anti-immigrant vigilante groups soared by nearly 80%, adding some 136 new groups during 2009. And, most remarkably of all, so-called “Patriot” groups — militias and other organizations that see the federal government as part of a plot to impose “one-world government” on liberty-loving Americans — came roaring back after years out of the limelight.

[  ]…The number of hate groups in America has been going up for years, rising 54% between 2000 and 2008 and driven largely by an angry backlash against non-white immigration and, starting in the last year of that period, the economic meltdown and the climb to power of an African American president.

According to the latest annual count by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), these groups rose again slightly in 2009 — from 926 in 2008 to 932 last year — despite the demise of a key neo-Nazi group. The American National Socialist Workers Party, which had 35 chapters in 28 states, imploded shortly after the October 2008 arrest of founder Bill White for making threats against his enemies.

At the same time, the number of what the SPLC designates as “nativist extremist” groups — organizations that go beyond mere advocacy of restrictive immigration policy to actually confront or harass suspected immigrants — jumped from 173 groups in 2008 to 309 last year. Virtually all of these vigilante groups have appeared since the spring of 2005.

In early 2009 the DHS issued two reports on political extremism and hate groups. Who posed the biggest threat?  The Right –  The Circle of Strife: Right-Wing Furious over DHS Terror Warning. Right-wing murders such as Poplawski, Cummings and Adkisson left no doubt as to who influenced them. They cited people like Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly – From Republican Rhetoric to Right-Wing Terror. Hate speech, which mentioned using murder as a way to fight back against “liberal tyranny”, was not just used by a few tea nuts on a corner somewhere but by well known conservative leaders such as Michelle Bachmann(R-MN), John Cornyn (R-TX), Peter King(R-NY) and Tom Delay (R-TX). It is largely right-wing conservatives who are organized into groups who espouse violence as a legitimate political tool.

If all the false equalvalincecies of the Right were not enough, there is the blame shifting. It figures that Jim Holt at gateway Pundit would be leading the charge. Holt is so desperate to make Loughlin into a liberal he is willing to post fake web sites created by other wing-nuts as proof – Shameless: Jim Hoft Falls For Fake Facebook Profile In Attempt To Link Loughner To Obama

In the wake of Saturday’s tragic shooting in Arizona, Gateway Pundit and Breitbart blogger Jim Hoft has been on a one man mission to prove that the deranged shooter was a “typical leftist nut.” This morning, Hoft posted what he seems to think is bulletproof evidence supporting this thesis, but, as is usually the case with him, it is merely evidence that someone as hackishly irresponsible as Hoft should have no role in our national political discourse.

Hoft headlines his latest post “Whoops! This Changes Things- Loughner’s Hero Was Barack Obama,” then proceeds to breathlessly exclaim that “Killer Jared Loughner idolized Barack Obama.”

He sources this scoop to “The Examiner” “via Free Republic” and links to a blog post by Anthony Martin at Examiner.com. In the portion of his post excerpted by Hoft, Martin writes:

Even more curious are Loughner’s ‘heroes.’  He mentions by name Venezuelan Communist Hugo Chavez, Latin American Communist mass-murderer Che Guevara, American Socialist revolutionary Saul Alinsky, and even Barack Obama.

The link takes you to the Free Republic message board, where a commenter by the name of “Scanian” writes:

From facebook for a Jared Laughner from Tuscon, Arizona, the man named as the shooter. People who inspire him include Barack Obama, Saul Alinsky, Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, Huo Chavez, Noam Chomsky, Mao Tse-tung, Joseph Stalin, and Yassir Arafat. He writes “Fight the Right! Obama and the Progressives will overcome the tyrrany of big business and the racist Tea Party.

BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY!

You’ll notice a glaring problem with this assertion: namely, that the shooter’s name was Jared LOughner, not “Laughner.” (The spelling of his name was originally misreported by several media outlets.)

On Saturday, several people created fake profiles for the shooter, including this one, captured by Voices of Central Pennsylvania, a monthly community newspaper. Voices wrote that the Facebook  page for “Jared Laughner” – since taken down – lists “People Who Inspire Jared” as including Obama and added: “With images of President Obama, various noted intellectuals and leftists, a statement indicating homosexuality preferences, and anti Tea Party and revolutionary slogans, it seems possible that it was a deliberate attempt to distribute disinformation.”

That Hoft would reprint the outrageous assertion that Loughner idolized Obama – based on a random commenter on a fringe message board that provided no evidence for his assertion – says a lot about his complete lack of journalistic integrity. It’s also completely in character for him.

Holt has scrubbed the post from his site, but MM has a screenshot. I did not think much about it at the time, but a few months ago right-wing bloggers were having a big circle jerk over a list of a supposed socialist organization with many Democratic members of Congress listed as belonging. This fake web site stuff has apparently become a common tactic among wing-nuts.

Tide Change Sea Shore wallpaper

Tide Change Sea Shore wallpaper

 

Rep. Peter King, R-NY has offered material support to terrorists. Acts would would result in jail for anyone else. But as the Bush era proved Republicans can get way with pretty much anything –  IRA terror victim speaks out against Rep. Peter King, R-NY

Now that Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., has assumed the chairmanship of the House Homeland Security committee and is promoting hearings on Muslim “radicalization,” there’s been a burst of media coverage surrounding his decades-long support for the IRA, the Irish terrorist group, which he broke with only recently, in 2005.

But for Tom Parker, an official at Amnesty International in Washington who hails from Britain, the distaste for King is personal. As Parker notes in a new Op-Ed, and explained further in an interview with Salon Thursday, he survived an IRA terrorist bombing in 1990 when he was 21.

“I have no problem with his support for a unified Ireland. What really bothers me is the hypocrisy of the man,” says Parker, who is now policy director for terrorism, counterterrorism and human rights at Amnesty International USA.

It was King’s designation of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as a terrorist that prompted Parker to go public. Parker himself is critical of Assange, “but to call him a terrorist when you have supported people who actually blow stuff up, it seemed to me that was really beyond the pale,”…

In a recent post I noted the cherry picking conservatives were doing to show red states were setting an example for the rest of the country. Low taxes and minimal regulations were the main reasons for the red state miracles. Those would be the same red states which collect more federal dollars than they contribute. And this is not to pick on red states per se. Lots of descent hard-working Americans are struggling in those states as everywhere else. Which is exactly the point. Those states are, despite claims to the contrary,  not immune from the slow job recovery we seem to be having and the loss of state revenue – The Texas Omen

And that reality has implications for the nation as a whole. For Texas is where the modern conservative theory of budgeting — the belief that you should never raise taxes under any circumstances, that you can always balance the budget by cutting wasteful spending — has been implemented most completely. If the theory can’t make it there, it can’t make it anywhere.

How bad is the Texas deficit? Comparing budget crises among states is tricky, for technical reasons. Still, data from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities suggest that the Texas budget gap is worse than New York’s, about as bad as California’s, but not quite up to New Jersey levels.

The point, however, is that just the other day Texas was being touted as a role model (and still is by commentators who haven’t been keeping up with the news). It was the state the recession supposedly passed by, thanks to its low taxes and business-friendly policies. Its governor boasted that its budget was in good shape thanks to his “tough conservative decisions.”

Oh, and at a time when there’s a full-court press on to demonize public-sector unions as the source of all our woes, Texas is nearly demon-free: less than 20 percent of public-sector workers there are covered by union contracts, compared with almost 75 percent in New York.

A brief review of who the Right thinks the bad guys are. ACORN –  a community organization that promoted a combination of sweat equity and the power of the ballot to empower low-income Americans – to help them fully participate in our country and economy. The Right decided they were evil. George Soros and Tides – a flimsy cobbling together of conspiracy theories that would make even the most imaginative comic book writer blush at the incredulity. Unlike the bed wetting keyboard warriors on the Right, Soros has actually risked his life fighting communism and fascism. They declared war on science and scientists who dared come to scientific conclusions which contradicted the beliefs beamed to the Right via the wing-nut grapevine. In other words anyone or any organization that stands up for the rights of the average American or stands up for reason, surely makes its way onto the Right’s hit list. In the months ahead look for public employees and their unions to be the next target, The Shameful Attack on Public Employees

The final Republican canard is that bargaining rights for public employees have caused state deficits to explode. In fact there’s no relationship between states whose employees have bargaining rights and states with big deficits. Some states that deny their employees bargaining rights – Nevada, North Carolina, and Arizona, for example, are running giant deficits of over 30 percent of spending. Many that give employees bargaining rights — Massachusetts, New Mexico, and Montana — have small deficits of less than 10 percent.

Public employees should have the right to bargain for better wages and working conditions, just like all employees do. They shouldn’t have the right to strike if striking would imperil the public, but they should at least have a voice. They often know more about whether public programs are working, or how to make them work better, than political appointees who hold their offices for only a few years.

Don’t get me wrong. When times are tough, public employees should have to make the same sacrifices as everyone else. And they are right now. Pay has been frozen for federal workers, and for many state workers across the country as well.

What are Republican priorities? Not full employment. Not laying the ground work for an economic recovery through alternative energy and innovative technology. Not looking out the Joe and Jane Average and their rights. Above all else the well off must be protected from any tax increases. No one loves taxes, but at some point fighting small temporary tax increases to save the few at the expense of the many becomes self defeating for everyone.

Republicans Are Lying About The CBO, Health Care Reform and the Deficit

The American Spectator, for those not old enough to remember, was one of the right-wing rags that was part of the vast right-wing conspiracy to go after the Clintons in the 90s with every kind of smear, unfounded gossip and bald-faced lies that could dream up. There is no reason any rational person should believe the rantings of an organization that deals exclusively in character assassination, wild baseless accusations and right-wing spin. They writes about repealing health care reform, BREAKING: CBO Says Repealing ObamaCare Would Reduce Net Spending by $540 Billion ( the link also gives one a look at the genuflecting right-wing bloggers who echo these assertions without doing the slightest bit of fact checking)

The Congressional Budget Office, in an email to Capitol Hill staffers obtained by the Spectator, has said that repealing the national health care law would reduce net spending by $540 billion in the ten year period from 2012 through 2021. That number represents the cost of the new provisions, minus Medicare cuts. Repealing the bill would also eliminate $770 billion in taxes. It’s the tax hikes in the health care law (along with the Medicare cuts) which accounts for the $230 billion in deficit reduction.

Whether the alleged e-mail is real or they have extracted parts of it without some important coveats is up for speculation. The CBO itself says no such thing and the CBO punishes it’s finding to the public on its own blog, Additional Information on CBO’s Preliminary Analysis of H.R. 2

CBO and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) have not yet developed a detailed estimate of the budgetary impact of H.R. 2, the Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act, which would repeal the major health care legislation enacted in March 2010. Yesterday, we released a preliminary analysis of that legislation indicating that, over the 2012-2021 period, the effect of enacting H.R. 2 on the federal budget as a result of changes in direct spending and revenues is likely to be an increase in deficits in the vicinity of $230 billion, plus or minus the effects of forthcoming technical and economic changes to CBO’s and JCT’s projections for that period.

We have been asked to provide the revenue and direct spending components of that total. Extrapolating the estimated budgetary effects of the original health care legislation and accounting for the effects of subsequent legislation, CBO anticipates that enacting H.R. 2 would probably yield, for the 2012-2021 period, a reduction in revenues in the neighborhood of $770 billion and a reduction in outlays in the vicinity of $540 billion, plus or minus the effects of forthcoming technical and economic changes to CBO’s and JCT’s projections.

Republicans are have given their bill to repeal health care reform the inane name Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act. As the CBO reports repeal of health care reform will result in a net increase to the deficit of  $230 billion. Republicans and blog trolls who respond to these numbers are pretty desperate to sound like they know better often citing – without any numbers or evidence, that these numbers are wrong. Without hard facts those claims are baseless lies. The opinions of armchair conservative clowns. The NYT also analyized the  numbers and the CBO report and found that the American Spectator and Boehner(R-OH) are lying. The Job-Killing Health Care Law Act would cost tax payers $145 billion from 2012 to 2019 and by $230 billion between 2012 and 2021. In addition the Republican bill would take away insurance from as many as 54 million American workers. The new Republican House of Representatives have been in power for three days and they are already breaking promises about openness and transparency (from the NYT link) –

At Mr. Boehner’s news conference, reporters peppered him with questions about repealing the law — including the cost analysis and a plan by Republicans not to allow amendments on the repeal measure even though the party had promised to maintain a more open legislative process.

“Well, listen, I promised a more open process,” Mr. Boehner said. “I didn’t promise that every single bill was going to be an open bill.”

Mr. Boehner grew testy when a reporter noted that Democrats who controlled the Senate were unlikely to bring up the repeal measure, let alone support it, and that Mr. Obama could veto it.

“Don’t you think it’s a waste of time?” Mr. Boehner was asked.

“No, I do not,” he said, raising his voice. “I believe it’s our responsibility to do what we said we were going to do. And I think it’s pretty clear to the American people the best health care system in the world is going to go down the drain if we don’t act.”

Boehner and his mindless immoral Republican sycophants are in fact the death panel party. Repealing health care reform will condemn 45,000 Americans to death annually.The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Debunking False Claims About Health Reform, Jobs, and the Deficit

Claims that health reform will destroy jobs by harming the economy are sharply at odds with the findings of leading non-partisan experts. [5]

* House Republicans have charged that the bill will destroy jobs by adding greatly to businesses’ costs.  In fact, health reform is unlikely to raise most businesses’ health insurance premiums.  CBO estimates that it will reduce premiums for employers with more than 50 workers — who account for 70 percent of the total insurance market — by up to 3 percent by 2016.  For small employers, the estimated change in premiums ranges from an increase of 1 percent to a reduction of 2 percent. [6]
* Similarly, Moody’s Analytics says that the Affordable Care Act’s “net long-run impact on the economy will be minor” and that any disincentives from higher Medicare payroll taxes “will hardly make a difference.” [7]  Moody’s also points out that “there is the potential for the new law to reduce ‘job lock,’ when workers stay in a particular job because they are afraid of losing their insurance. . . .  If the bill works as planned, Americans will be more able to switch jobs and open new businesses.”  The result would be a more productive economy.
* The health reform law may also have other positive impacts on the economy.  Expanding health coverage improves health outcomes by helping people obtain preventive and other health services and improving continuity of care. [8]  CBO has suggested that this could enhance the nation’s economic productivity.[9]

 

And a related article – ‘Job-killing’ regulation? ‘Job-killing’ spending? Let’s kill this GOP canard. And here – Harvard Economist Estimates Health Repeal Would Destroy Up To 400,000 Jobs Per Year Over Decade. CBPP also debunks the claims about costs and those baseless accounting gimmicks – ‘

Claim: The law uses a gimmick to make it appear fiscally responsible: its biggest spending increases don’t take effect for four years, so CBO’s cost estimate for the first decade (2010-2019) includes ten years of revenue increases but only six years of significant spending.  The unstated implication of this charge is that in subsequent decades, when ten years of revenue increases are accompanied by ten years of spending increases, the law will greatly increase deficits.

Fact: There is no gimmick here, and this charge is groundless.  CBO estimates that the law will reduce deficits not only over the 2010-2019 decade, but in the second decade and subsequent decades.  In fact, the law will reduce deficits by more in subsequent decades than in the first decade, because its most important cost-saving measures are phased in and produce larger savings over time.

And two separate reports: Health Reform Will Reduce the Deficit Charges of Budgetary Gimmickry Are Unfounded and No Evidence for House Republican Charge that Health Reform Is a “Job-Killer”. Republicans, who as exemplified during the Bush and Reagan years know how to kill jobs better than a an exterminator knows how to kill pests. Taking job creation advice from these guys is like taking nation building advice from Dick Cheney. Perrspectives also has an easy to read run down of the latest round of Pravdaish disinformation disseminated by the Pants on Fire Party, CBO: GOP Health Care Repeal Adds $230 Billion to Deficit. Honor and integrity have never been the Right’s strong suits. Those virtues seem to trip them up at every turn. It has been said we cannot have a strong and enlightened republic with an uniformed citizenry. That seems to be the Right’s major goal.

If Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act) is evil socialism than why do so many Republicans want to participate in the version of Obamacare we have set up for members of Congress – Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) Justifies His Government Health Insurance: ‘I’m Actually Lowering’ The Premiums For Older Congressmen

One of the first orders of business in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives is a move to repeal the landmark health care reform law that was passed last March. However, following Rep. Andy Harris’s (R-MD) infamous rant about the delay in his congressional health care coverage, the media is beginning to question whether the GOP is hypocritical for decrying the specter of “government-run health care,” yet accepting government-sponsored health care plans for themselves.

For instance, yesterday, Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) justified accepting government-subsidized health care for himself because, “God forbid I get into an accident and I can’t afford the operation…That can happen to anyone.” In an interview with ThinkProgress, Rep. Robert Hurt (R-VA) said that he supported congressmen receiving government-sponsored health coverage because “it’s not unreasonable to offer those benefits.” Seven Republican congressmen, however, are trying to remain consistent by opting out of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan.

This week, ThinkProgress caught up with Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) to ask whether he would be joining his colleagues in rejecting government-sponsored health care for himself, given his push to repeal health care reform for the nation. Schock told us the “only” reason he would stay on the congressional health care plan because he was “a 27-year-old single male” who was “actually lowering” the premiums of his older colleagues. He also brushed off the notion that this was hypocritical on his part, calling them “completely separate issues,” despite the numerous similarities including taxpayer subsidies and a highly-regulated exchange:

SCHOCK: It is, yeah. I had Blue Cross Blue Shield when I came here as a 27-year-old single male. I paid about $80 a month. And now, because I’m in a risk pool with a bunch of older seniors, my health care costs me $170 a month now for the same Blue Cross Blue Shield coverage. So I think it’s kind of interesting how people make such a big deal out of the health care coverage we have, which is not bad by any means. But I haven’t given it much thought because quite frankly I think I’m helping out the institution by lowering the risk pool for some of my older guys.

TP: I just know there are a lot of people who have made the hypocrisy charge, that there’s an average of $700 per month in taxpayer subsidies on these employee government health care plans, yet saying that the general public is not getting the same types of subsidies and help in buying health insurance for themselves.

SCHOCK: No, I get that argument. The only thing I would submit is because I’m an outlier in the group, I’m actually lowering the…(crosstalk)…When you’re under 30 in a body of…but, so.

TP2: Sir, you receive taxpayer subsidies even though you do have a lower rate. And you’re within a pool that’s highly regulated, as health reform does for the rest of the nation. Don’t you think it’s fair if you’re going to repeal health reform for everyone else, you should at least reject this subsidized, highly-regulated plan that members of Congress and their staff benefit from?

SCHOCK: No, I really actually think they’re completely separate issues.

TP2: Why’s that?

SCHOCK: Because I don’t think what we do with the health care bill has anything to do with what kind of health insurance programs members of Congress pay for.

TP2: No, it’s quite similar. There’s an exchange, there’s subsidies, just like you benefit from an exchange and subsidies, that are paid for by taxpayers.

SCHOCK: Well, I think the bill we voted on is completely different.

Schock cannot be specific about the differences because there are much in the way of differences. he pays for some of his insurance out-of-pocket and tax payers pick up the tab for the other part. Schock sees government as a way to benefit conservatives just as they see government as a way to fill the pockets of business via crony capitalism. Everyone else can get out their hat and try to catch some of the crumbs as they trickle down. If Schocks twisted pretzel logic was not enough – Some Republicans embrace their federal healthcare plans

At least two new GOP members of Congress said they’ll keep the plans some of their colleagues have shunned.

Rep. Joe Heck’s (R-Nev.) office and Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) said they’ll take advantage of the insurance coverage they’re eligible for through the Federal Employees Health Benefits program — the same health insurance available to other federal employees. The plan is not a single-payer system, but offers different private plans from which federal employees can choose.

“What am I, not supposed to have health care?” Grimm told The New York Daily News. “It’s practicality. I’m not going to become a burden for the state because I don’t have health care, and God forbid I get into an accident and I can’t afford the operation.”

But Grimm and Heck would gladly condemn millions of Americans to the emergency room health care plan. You wait until you are in agonizing pain or at death’s door then go to the ER. Everyone ends up paying those bills – being a burden” to the state.

Water Drops on a Rose wallpaper

Water Drops on a Rose wallpaper

 

Republicans have diaper rash. Republicans have shoes so tight they squeak. Republicans can’t find good domestic help. Republicans’ jellybean jars have too many green ones. It’s all Obama’s fault. I know six olds who are more mature about the concept of responsibility than the average wing-nut –  Conservatives Falsely Blame Obama Drilling Policies For Rise In Oil Prices

Beck: Oil Prices Rising Because “The Administration [Is] Making It Harder To Drill.” From the January 4 edition of Fox News’ Glenn Beck:

BECK: I told you that they have a plan. They have a destination. They have a solution. But they needed to create the problem. Never waste a crisis. You have the solution, never waste the crisis to bring you to that solution. You create the problem so the public will beg for the solution that you have designed. What are the problems they’re creating? Oil going up. Why? The administration making it harder to drill. [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 1/4/11]

[  ]…In Fact, Experts Point To Speculation and Boost In Demand

WSJ: Rise In Oil Prices “Has Been In Anticipation Of Improving Supply And Demand Conditions.” The Wall Street Journal reported on December 30: “The 12% rise in crude oil since mid-November has been in anticipation of improving supply and demand conditions. Demand in China and better-than-expected data on the U.S economy helped push oil to fresh two-year highs this month. Now, investors appear more cautious heading into 2011.” [Wall Street Journal, 12/30/10]

AEI Scholar: “We Probably Couldn’t Produce Enough To Affect The World Price Of Oil.” From a January 1 Greenwire report:

If gas prices keep increasing, Republicans probably will make a push on increased fossil fuel production, said Ken Green, resident scholar with the American Enterprise Institute think tank.

[…]

But experts disagreed about how much impact additional drilling could have. Crude oil is a global commodity, Green said.

“The world price is the world price,” Green said. “Even if we were producing 100 percent of our oil,” he said, if prices increase because of a shortage in China or India, “our price would go up to the same thing.

We probably couldn’t produce enough to affect the world price of oil,” Green added. “People don’t understand that.”

[  ]…Kevin Book, managing director of Clearview Energy Partners, told FoxNews.com that his firm sees oil rising to $107 a barrel in 2013 “if economic growth follows its current trajectory.”

Book explained that his firm’s forecast implies that there is substantial non-OPEC slow downs at the same time as there is significant demand growing in emerging economies in Asia and other places.

“What it does is draw inventory down and lowers capacity in the system,” he said. “It also pulls more OPEC oil into circulation.”

[   ]…CNNMoney.com: Oil Analyst Attributes Some Of Price Increase to Speculation. From a January 1 CNNMoney.com report:

Oil surge: Oil, the main ingredient in gasoline, has also been on a tear, with crude prices topping $90-a-barrel for the first time in more than two years.

Platts senior oil analyst Linda Rafield attributes some of the spike in oil prices to speculation.

“That can push prices to a level that doesn’t reflect supply and demand,” Rafield said. [CNNMoney.com, 1/1/11]

The number one excuse is not the dog ate my homework. Its Obama did something with George Soros that involved Kenyan socialism and moonbeams that caused whatever is wrong with the world. There are probably Republicans who have been known to take responsibility for something or know where to place blame. Now we just need to fund a National Geographic expedition to find them.

GOP-led health repeal would ‘explode the deficit,’ Dems warn

“This repeal of health care reform is political theater,” Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) said at Monday’s press conference. “It’s a kabuki dance… repeal of health care reform is not going to happen.”

Even if House Republicans were able to pass the bill, Democrats could simply refuse to bring it up for a vote in the Senate, where they still have control. If the bill were brought up for a vote in the Senate, Republicans would need 12 Democrats to vote with them to break a filibuster.

Nothing new here and nothing to be especially concerned about. Conservatism has never stood for anything, but fake patriotism and greed. It is the ultimate in substanceless performance art.

Another potential problem for Republicans is that repealing health care would run up the deficit. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has said that health care reform will reduce the deficit by $1.2 trillion.

The CBO has also said (.pdf) that a plan to alter Medicare and Medicaid, proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), would actually increase the deficit.

 

Republicans are against terrorism except when they support terrorism – Peter “Material Support for Terrorism” King(R-NY)

While the NYT points to what I believe to be the appropriate response to King’s fear-mongering, it misses the mark by about a decade or so. They point to King’s involvement in brokering peace in Northern Ireland. But of course the relevant bit is how King, for years, openly supported Irish terrorists.

He forged links with leaders of the IRA and Sinn Fein in Ireland, and in America he hooked up with Irish Northern Aid, known as Noraid, a New York based group that the American, British, and Irish governments often accused of funneling guns and money to the IRA.

But King is a Republican. The rules of American politics clearly state Republicans may engage in the most egregious immoral behavior and get a free pass from the media because conservatism is actually a magic cape that makes the wearer immune to being held accountable.

Leading conservatives openly support a Terrorist group – By Glenn Greenwald

Imagine if a group of leading American liberals met on foreign soil with — and expressed vocal support for — supporters of a terrorist group that had (a) a long history of hateful anti-American rhetoric, (b) an active role in both the takeover of a U.S. embassy and Saddam Hussein’s brutal 1991 repression of Iraqi Shiites, (c) extensive financial and military support from Saddam, (d) multiple acts of violence aimed at civilians, and (e) years of being designated a “Terrorist organization” by the U.S. under Presidents of both parties, a designation which is ongoing? The ensuing uproar and orgies of denunciation would be deafening.

But on December 23, a group of leading conservatives — including Rudy Giuliani and former Bush officials Michael Mukasey, Tom Ridge, and Fran Townsend — did exactly that. In Paris, of all places, they appeared at a forum organized by supporters of the Mujaheddin-e Khalq (MEK) — a group declared by the U.S. since 1997 to be “terrorist organization” — and expressed wholesale support for that group. Worse — on foreign soil — they vehemently criticized their own country’s opposition to these Terrorists and specifically “demanded that Obama instead take the [] group off the U.S. list of foreign terrorist organizations and incorporate it into efforts to overturn the mullah-led government in Tehran.” In other words, they are calling on the U.S. to embrace this Saddam-supported, U.S.-hating Terrorist group and recruit them to help overthrow the government of Iran. To a foreign audience, Mukasey denounced his own country’s opposition to these Terrorists as “nothing less than an embarrassment.”

[  ]…UPDATE II:  In 2008, an Iranian-American woman –Zeinab Taleb-Jedi — was convicted in a federal court of providing “material support for terrorism” based solely on her membership in MEK.  She argued that MEK should not be deemed a Terrorist group and that she has the First Amendment right to belong to it, but the judge rejected both claims.  While she joined the group as opposed to merely advocating for it (the way these conservatives are doing), the Supreme Court in Huminatarian Law made clear that both can be means of providing “material support.”  Why should Taleb-Jedi be prosecuted but not Giuliani, Townsend, Ridge and friends?

Why? Because they all right-wing bags of hammer Republicans. They’re like pasty-faced mini-deities who can do no wrong and do not live by the same rules as flesh and blood average Americans. How is it these sub-gods are not dangerous egotistical jerks will likely be explained away on the opinion page of the WSJ or some other right-wing media soapbox.

City Expressway wallpaper

blue city

City Expressway wallpaper

One of things that former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi(D-CA) did has delivered to some degree on her promise to drain the swamp – Pelosi drains the swamp, as promised. Unfortunately she was somewhat partisan about the whole process. Her targets were largely Democrats. Yet another example of Democrats bending over so far backwards to be fair and non-partisan, they let some Republican crooks off the hook. She didn’t go after Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) – financial shenanigans, Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA) – earmarking for personal gain, as opposed to earmarks for California or his district, Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA) under investigation by the DOJ for uses government resources for his campaign, Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) – his wife just happened to win a no bid contract to provide government services – no wonder government doesn’t work as it should and Rep. Don Young (R-AK) – earmarks to corporations in exchange for campaign contributions. The list goes on. Pelosi could not go after Mitch McConnell(R-KY) because he is in the Senate. Mitch’s sleaze-ball behavior makes Charlie Rangel (D-NY) look like an amateur in terms of corruption. Whether Pelosi went far enough might be up for debate, but one thing she was not guilty of was using her office and power to go on a political vendetta. That does not seem to be the case with Darrell Issa (R-CA)

IS ‘DERANGED’ STILL AN OPTION?…. Just a few month ago, shortly before the midterm elections, Rep. Darrel Issa (R-Calif.) told Rush Limbaugh he considers President Obama “one of the most corrupt presidents in modern times.” Soon after, the Washington Post’s Ruth Marcus noted, “If Issa believes this, he is deranged. If he doesn’t and is saying it anyway, he is dangerous.”

A month later, pressed by ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, Issa walked it back.

Yesterday, Issa returned to his original, deranged point, but broadened the scope.

The incoming House Oversight and Government Reform chairman on Sunday tried to clarify his recent remarks to Rush Limbaugh where he called President Obama “one of the most corrupt presidents in modern times.”

Rep. Darrell Issa said he meant to say the Obama administration instead of the president.

Well, in that case, Issa seems entirely reasonable, right? How silly of me to think the right-wing Californian, perhaps best known as an alleged car thief who lied about his military background, might be less than sensible about his partisan hatred of the president.

To justify his allegations of corruption, Issa told CNN yesterday, “In saying that this is one of the most corrupt administrations, which is what I meant to say there, when you hand out $1 trillion in TARP just before this president came in, most of it unspent, $1 trillion nearly in stimulus that this president asked for, plus this huge expansion in health care and government, it has a corrupting effect.”

The Obama administration is guilty of having too many corporatist Democrats in it, but corruption is not one of its big problems. Whatever progressives may feel about the real, imagined or exaggerated failures of the Obama White House, he has brought back a level of ethics that is head and shoulders above the Bush administration and Tom Delay’s K-Street project: Halliburton’s Corruption, Iraq’s Decline, Abu Ghraib Prison Torture, CIA Pre-9/11 Intelligence Failures, HHS Deceptive Ad Campaign( Bush used government video which promoted a partisan agenda and put it out as a news report), HHS Scully Scandal, Government-wide Accounting Problems, Sex Education Misinformation, CAPPS II Failures, Real Costs of the Iraq War, the Plame scandal, Condigate ( Condi Rice false testimony before Congress) and firing the accountant who said Bush and Republicans Medicare Part D legislation would cost twice as much as they claimed. Issa and conservatism’s favorite drug addict draft dodger Limbaugh feels this is the most corrupt administration ever. Has Limbaugh moved on to taking LSD. Isaa is no choir boy himself: CREW wants House Ethics Committee to clarify rules governing contacts with U.S. Attorneys

The recent controversy surrounding the firing of U.S. Attorneys has exposed several incidents of contact between members of Congress contacting prosecutors.  One member of Congress, Darrell Issa (R-CA), actually put his contact in writing. Rep. Issa sent a letter to San Diego’s U.S. attorney, Carol Lam requesting information regarding the arrest and subsequent release of a man described by Rep. Issa as “an alien smuggler with a long criminal record.” He was very open about that direct contact — as if there was really nothing wrong with interfering with an on-going case.

Rep. Darrell Issa – the Congressman’s investments with Goldman Sachs and how that may have influenced his Congressional duties:

CREW would like Issa to explain some of his investments in Goldman Sachs; by the end of 2009, Issa had between $5.1 million and $15.5 million invested in the embattled financial giant’s High Yield Fund. After the Securities and Exchange Commission filed a fraud lawsuit against Goldman Sachs in April 2010, Issa launched an investigation, alleging that the SEC may have timed the lawsuit to bolster the Democrats’ push for financial reform.

“The Goldman Sachs thing is the most troubling,” CREW’s Melanie Sloan says. “That he recently invested money with Goldman Sachs and then is making statements protective of Goldman Sachs suggests his views may be informed more by his own financial holdings than Goldman Sachs’ actions.”

The Right can yammer all it likes about administration personal who have had ties to Goldman, but that has not stopped them from investigation Goldman-Sachs( one of the reasons so much Wall St money went to right-wing teanuts the last election cycle) – Conservative media baselessly accuse White House of plotting Goldman charges “to bolster support” for financial reform ( the Right seems to want to have it both ways).  San Diego City Beat examines lawsuit involving Rep. Issa’s $3 million discount

Last summer, Issa went on a property-buying spree. In the span of two months, he bought industrial complexes in Oceanside and Carlsbad and a condo overlooking Oceanside Bay. Even his son picked up a home in Vista.

The Carlsbad complex, however, is at the center of a lawsuit playing out in Los Angeles County Superior Court. A bank lender in Ventura County is accusing a bank of selling Issa the building for at least $3 million less than it should have.

The property is a series of five brand-new buildings near McClellan-Palomar Airport in Carlsbad. Currently, all but one unit is empty, but they can be rented through Greene Properties, a company that employ’s Issa’s wife and son. The project was dreamed up by Orange County “new urbanism” developer David Dirienzo, who defaulted on a $36-million construction loan in January 2009.

And by way of the WM link – Issa Snared In ’98 In His Own Military Exaggeration and Look Who’s Talkin’

In 1980, Issa and a brother were indicted in San Jose on charges that they faked a theft of a Mercedes that was sold to a dealer, according to news clips. Prosecutors later dropped the charges.
In 1972, Issa was indicted on grand theft charges for allegedly stealing a red Maserati from a dealership in Cleveland.

Issa must be hoping the entire country is as misinformed on TARP as Fox viewers. A program started under Bush. While Issa did vote against TARP, new House Majority Leader John Boehner(R-OH) did as did Republican wunderkins Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan, Pete Sessions, Fred Upton, Buck McKeon, Spencer Bachus, and David Dreier. What else has Issa voted against in good conscience – Establishment of the Office of Congressional Ethics and Issa voted against the 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. Who is going to investigate Issa and his cronies?

 

Black and White City Bridge wallpaper – Republicans Were Pro Executive Power as Long as They Were the Ones In Charge

city skyline lights

Black and White City Bridge wallpaper

 

Is Charles Krauthammer on LSD or have an undiagnosed mental disorder. I ask because those would be legitimate excuses for the bizarre diatribes he writes at the Washington Post. If he does possess all of his mental capabilities and is not on mind altering substances he is responsible for dispensing garbage that would make communist and fascist propaganda ministers proud – Government by regulation. Shhh.

Well, it’s back – by administrative fiat. A month ago, Medicare issued a regulation providing for end-of-life counseling during annual “wellness” visits. It was all nicely buried amid the simultaneous release of hundreds of new Medicare rules.

[  ]…On Dec. 23, the Interior Department issued Secretarial Order 3310, reversing a 2003 decision and giving itself the authority to designate public lands as “Wild Lands.” A clever twofer: (1) a bureaucratic power grab – for seven years up through Dec. 22, wilderness designation had been the exclusive province of Congress, and (2) a leftward lurch – more land to be “protected” from such nefarious uses as domestic oil exploration in a country disastrously dependent on foreign sources.

The very same day, the Environmental Protection Agency declared that in 2011 it would begin drawing up anti-carbon regulations on oil refineries and power plants, another power grab effectively enacting what Congress had firmly rejected when presented as cap-and-trade legislation.

What we have here in Chucks general unhinged diatribe against executive orders in the ongoing game of It Is Great When Republicans Do It and Is Evil When Democrats Do It. When marketing specialists measure the most popular games of all times they really should include this one. Chuck doesn’t like governing by executive order? Where was this voice of reason from 2000 to 2008 when the president the Supreme Court appointed to office issued an astonishing 291 executive orders. Bush gutted the Presidential Records Act – Bush tried to scrap the whole thing and did succeed in hiding a lot of information from public scrutiny. Bush blocked stem cell research (research  which is proving to be just the great medical advance it’s advocates – which included Nancy Reagan and Krauthammer – said it would be). No vote from Congress on Bush’s unitary decision on setting back life saving therapies by a decade. Bush executive order to, undermine by John Yoo-ish type reasoning, U.S. full compliance with the Geneva Convention. Bush gave 4th branch Cheney and the Vice President’s office unprecedented control over what becomes secret and what does not. Information during the Bush administration became unclassified and then classified, literally according to how politically useful releasing snippets of information was – here and here. By executive order Bush gave private contractors in Iraq broad legal protections for a variety of illegal and unseemly behaviors. In a kind of twofer Bush also signed an order which gave the government a free hand to punish anyone they felt deep in their little hearts was impeding progress in Iraq. The language was so vague and open to interpretation that the government could seize the property of anyone without due process – a violation of the Fifth Amendment. More on Bush’s Stalinesque use of executive orders here . I could offer up an ideological olive branch and say Chuck and I agree that too much power has been invested in the executive branch, but as a leader in the hard-core kool-aid drinkers club of conservatism I know Chuck is being dishonest and disingenuous. Today he is using Obama’s alleged abuse of executive power as a club to bludgeon him with. Chuck is not against what Bush 43 and Dick Cheney worked so hard to enshrine in the executive branch – more on that subject here, Cheney Plotted Bush’s Imperial Presidency ‘Thirty Years Ago’ and here – The Unitary Executive: Is The Doctrine Behind the Bush Presidency Consistent with a Democratic State? The worse an honest opponent of Obama’s views on executive powers can say is that he is simply using a similar view of the presidency of Krauthammer and his conservative comrades.

About those so-called “death panels” – Republicans were for them before they were against them – Oh, Those Death Panels

You would think that if Republicans wanted to totally mischaracterize a health care provision and demagogue it like nobody’s business, they would at least pick something that the vast majority of them hadn’t already voted for just a few years earlier. Because that’s not just shameless, it’s stupid.

Yes, that’s right. Remember the 2003 Medicare prescription drug bill, the one that passed with the votes of 204 GOP House members and 42 GOP Senators? Anyone want to guess what it provided funding for? Did you say counseling for end-of-life issues and care? Ding ding ding!!

The only difference between the Democrat counseling and the right-wing counseling is the latter makes everyone wait until they are at death’s door. The Democratic approach let’s people have voluntary counseling while they are in good health and not under the emotional stress of being terminally ill. Rep. Earl Blumenauer(D-OR) gets into  several myths regarding health care reform in a recent column at HuffPo –  Unhinged!

Rep. Broun from Georgia demanded to see the bill, “Show us the bill”, “don’t hide the bill,” at exactly the same time that his colleagues were waving the bill and misreading what was in it. Rep. Buck McKeon admonished people to read the bill and then specifically cited Section 1233. Actually, I know a little bit about this section because it’s a bill that I wrote which was incorporated into the overall legislation. His statement was a complete fabrication (check out my myth vs. fact sheet pdf). At least he didn’t get to the point that Rep. Virginia Foxx of North Carolina did when she claimed that the Republican approach would be more pro-life because it, “would not put seniors in the position of being put to death by their government!” (emphasis added).

I think it was Vice President Dan Quayle who once said that a mind was a terrible thing to lose. This was certainly two hours that gave me a sense of just how confused and disjointed the Republicans are.

From Rep. Blumenauer’s fact sheet,

Myth: Patients will be forced to have this consultation once every five years.
* Fact: Advance planning consultations are not mandatory; this benefit is completely voluntary. The provision merely provides coverage under Medicare to have a conversation once every five years if – and only if – a patient wants to make his or her wishes known to a doctor. If desired, patients may have consultations more frequently if they are chronically ill or if their health status changes.
Myth: Patients will be forced to sign an advance care directive (or living will).
* Fact: There is no mandate in the bill to complete an advance care directive or living
will. If a patient chooses to complete an advance directive or order for life sustaining
treatment, these documents will help articulate a full range of treatment preferences, from full and aggressive treatment to limited, comfort care only. Patients that choose to have these documents and can customize them so that their wishes are appropriately reflected.
Myth: Patients will have to see a health care professional chosen by the government.
*Fact: There are no government-chosen professionals involved. The legislation simply allows Medicare to pay for a conversation between patient and their doctors if patients wish to talk with their doctor about end of life care preferences.

Conservatives and their oil exploration myths. We’ve had right-wing Republican legislators mind you, not some deranged AM radio pundit, claiming China was drilling off the coast of Florida. Chuck is claiming there is plenty of oil but those mean liberals won’t be giving them access. Oil companies have plenty of leases to land – dry and off the coast – which belongs to the people of the United States. They not using the leases they have – America’s untapped oil, Lawmakers lay into big oil for leaving million of acres untouched while at the same time asking to drill in Alaska and off the coasts. I’m not sure why the ANWR oil myth persists. It does not contain enough oil to solve any long-term energy issues – holding enough oil to supply California for one lousy year. Rahall to Big Oil: Use It or Lose It

In an effort to compel oil and gas companies to produce on the 68 million acres of federal lands, both onshore and offshore, that are leased but sitting idle, House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Nick J. Rahall (D-WV) today introduced legislation that gives Big Oil one option – either “use it or lose it.”

“Big Oil, as many Americans already suspect, are perfectly fine with high gasoline prices at the pump while they hold back domestic production on federal leases and enjoy world record profits. I am calling them on the carpet. I am calling their bluff.  We are not going to continue to allow them to speculate and profiteer with public resources to the detriment of the American people,” Rahall said.

The Responsible Federal Oil and Gas Lease Act of 2008 (H.R. 6251) is a direct response to the facts outlined in the recent House Natural Resources Committee Majority Staff report, “The Truth About America’s Energy: Big Oil Stockpiles Supplies and Pockets Profits”, that illustrate how energy companies are not using the federal lands and waters that are already open to drilling.  The legislation is co-sponsored by Reps. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL), Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), Ed Markey (D-MA), and John Yarmuth (D-KY).

The 68 million acres of leased but inactive federal land have the potential to produce an additional 4.8 million barrels of oil and 44.7 billion cubic feet of natural gas each day.  This would nearly double total U.S. oil production, and increase natural gas production by 75 percent.  It would also cut U.S. oil imports by more than one-third, reducing America’s dependency on foreign oil.

Salaries are difficult to check, but it is rumored Chuck makes a healthy six figure salary for dispensing fact-free tripe and spin. Talk about unearned welfare.