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How can America not know who John McCain is. He is on TV so often it is as though he were the media’s pet gerbil. Why shouldn’t he be the go to guy for his razor sharp foreign policy analysis. Just because he defended Czechoslovakia, A Non-Existent Country — Again or can’t remember how many houses he owns or was against the Bush tax cuts before he thought they were the best thing since Gucci loafers. Than there was the fact that McCain was a vocal part of the chorus of liars who sent the troops to Iraq to die for politics, not principle. In a meritocracy, McCain and his red stapler would have been sent packing years ago. Yet here he is again on a Sunday talk program pontificating more piles of bullshit, John McCain: Putin and Hu Should Watch Out

Arizona Sen. John McCain predicted on Sunday that the recent governmental overthrow in Egypt would likely spur similar movements throughout the world, and warned foreign leaders in countries like China and Russia that they might be “a little less secure” of their power in light of recent events.

“I don’t think this is confined to the Middle East, just as we believe that human rights are universal,” said McCain, in an interview with CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

“These winds of change that are blowing, I think I would be a little less cocky in the Kremlin with my KGB cronies today if I were [Russian Prime Minister] Vladimir Putin,” he warned. “I would be a little less secure in the seaside resort that [Chinese] President Hu and a few men who govern and decide the fate of 1.3 billion people.”

This is Gucci Boy just days ago, McCain Calls Middle East Pro-Democracy Movement A ‘Virus’

McCain suggested he has serious reservations about the larger pro-democracy movement sweeping the Arab World from Tunisia to Jordon. McCain called the populist movement a “virus” that threatens Israel, and warned that we are in “probably the most dangerous period of history” of American involvement in the Middle East…

This is easy to explain. At one or more of his houses, he has a political wind-sock which he checks every morning. Depending on which way those winds are blowing, McCain takes a firm principled and honorable stand, much like Mitch McConnell(R-KY) and John Boehner(R-OH). That smell of burnt rubber in the air is Republicans trying to act like competent leaders.

Eat The Future

Pew also asked people how they would like to see states close their budget deficits. Do they favor cuts in either education or health care, the main expenses states face? No. Do they favor tax increases? No. The only deficit-reduction measure with significant support was cuts in public-employee pensions — and even there the public was evenly divided.

The moral is clear. Republicans don’t have a mandate to cut spending; they have a mandate to repeal the laws of arithmetic.

How can voters be so ill informed? In their defense, bear in mind that they have jobs, children to raise, parents to take care of. They don’t have the time or the incentive to study the federal budget, let alone state budgets (which are by and large incomprehensible). So they rely on what they hear from seemingly authoritative figures.

And what they’ve been hearing ever since Ronald Reagan is that their hard-earned dollars are going to waste, paying for vast armies of useless bureaucrats (payroll is only 5 percent of federal spending) and welfare queens driving Cadillacs. How can we expect voters to appreciate fiscal reality when politicians consistently misrepresent that reality?

Which brings me back to the Republican dilemma. The new House majority promised to deliver $100 billion in spending cuts — and its members face the prospect of Tea Party primary challenges if they fail to deliver big cuts. Yet the public opposes cuts in programs it likes — and it likes almost everything. What’s a politician to do?

The answer, once you think about it, is obvious: sacrifice the future. Focus the cuts on programs whose benefits aren’t immediate; basically, eat America’s seed corn. There will be a huge price to pay, eventually — but for now, you can keep the base happy.

I’ve made a similar observation previously about average Americans and how closely they follow the news. While it does remain as a somewhat legitimate reason, it only goes so far as an excuse. If many Americans think their lives are hurried and pressure filled now, wait for more of the draconian cuts to programs that they like and depend on to keep their heads above water. Wait until they cut even more police and teacher jobs to save money. This is the poll Krugman cites, Rethinking Budget Cutting
Fewer Want Spending to Grow, But Most Cuts Remain Unpopular

The public’s views about federal spending are beginning to change. Across a range of federal programs, Americans are no longer calling for increased spending, as they have for many years. For the most part, however, there is not a great deal of support for cutting spending, though in a few cases support for reductions has grown noticeably. The survey also shows that the public is reluctant to cut spending — or raise taxes — to balance state budgets.

[   ]…In two areas in particular — aid for the unemployed and national defense — the public’s attitudes toward federal spending have changed dramatically. Currently, as many favor decreasing spending as increasing spending for assistance to the unemployed and national defense. In 2009, far more supported funding increases than decreases for these programs.

Despite these changing views, however, majorities or pluralities favor increased spending in five of 18 areas. Fully 62% favor increased funding for education — the highest percentage for any program tested and little changed from 2009 (67%). In all, there is only one area — economic assistance to needy people around the world — for which a plurality favors cutting federal spending.

Poll of spending and cut priorities

Foreign aid of any kind is a tiny part of the budget. Supporting Egypt’s military over the years certainly had its downside in terms of human rights, but it certainly paid off this past week. America wants democracy to spread, but even exercising soft power comes with a price. In a nut shell America wants all those basic services they have depended on for decades, plus still being involved in promoting democracy, but they don’t want to pay for it. Nothing new here. The tea bagger meme is that cutting some waste here and there will bring in the half a trillion dollars we need to maintain those educational priorities, job creation and protect Medicare and dozens of other smaller programs. That is simply an urban myth which the Right has believed for decades. It is ironic that behind the plastic roots of the tea baggers movement there are also real seniors and working class Americans who voted to give themselves the shaft based on the propaganda spread by the Right. Those Main St tea baggers, along with the rest of middle-America are the ones that are going to be sacrificing and paying for the loss of the safety net. The next generation of Americans whose education opportunities are as tight as the job market may also thank them for their near sighted visions for America’s future. It did not have to be this way – the tax cuts the Right insisted on could have been used to pay for the very things they say do not want cut.

Andrew Breitbart sued by Shirley Sherrod over damaging video

Former USDA official Shirley Sherrod has filed a lawsuit against conservative firebrand and web entrepreneur Andrew Breitbart. The suit stems from the notorious video Breitbart posted online last year, showing an out-of-context excerpt from a speech Sherrod gave to the NAACP Freedom Fund in March 2010. The clip suggested she had  used her position at the Department of Agriculture to discriminate against white farmers. The media devoured the Breitbart’s version of story so voraciously that the NAACP denounced Sherrod and the Obama administration fired her. The charge was, in fact, entirely untrue.

Sherrod argues in the lawsuit that the clip “damaged her reputation and prevented her from continuing her work.” Breitbart, meanwhile, denounced the suit, saying he “categorically rejects the transparent effort to chill his constitutionally protected free speech.”

We do have libel and slander laws in the U.S. but the burden of proof that what someone said has damaged someone’s reputation badly enough to severely affect their income in very high. Breitbart is probably well aware of this and thus has shown no remorse over his grossly immoral behavior. On the contrary he has reacted with hubris filled outrage that someone would legally call him out on his falsehoods and smear campaign. Breitbart and his web sites hold concepts of honor and ethics in contempt. Those virtues are road blocks to achieving their ends by any means. His record thus far is one of a miserable ethical failure, a defining feature of  Brietbart’s character: Sherrod Hoax Exposed, but Breitbart’s ACORN Fraud Lives OnBreitbart’s Pigford Report: Distortions And Shady SourcingWill Breitbart, O’Keefe, and Giles come clean about the ACORN pimp hoax?.

Andrew Breitbart