Black and White Watch Gears wallpaper – Today’s Conservative Kool-Aid Report

watchworks, watch gears, craftsmanship

Black and White Watch wallpaper

watch works, watch gears, see through watch

Black, Silver and Gold Watch wallpaper

I couldn’t make up my mind so I put up both versions. At prices that range from $750 to $22,000 I don’t think I’d buy one of these even if I could afford to spend that much on a watch. I do admire the craftsmanship and technology though.

 

Oh well then, everyone will obviously be voting for him now, Ron Paul Downplays Newsletters : Only ‘Eight To Ten Sentences’ Were Offensive

Jamie Kirchick, who compiled the newsletters four years ago, told TPM that the most incendiary parts were hardly stray cases.

“Ron Paul’s characterization of the newsletters as only containing ‘eight to ten sentences’ that can be characterized as ‘offending’ is preposterous,” he said in an e-mail. “As anyone can see from the scans of the newsletters available on the TNR website or posted elsewhere, the documents contain pages upon pages of bigoted statements and outright paranoia.”

On the other hand he’s toast. I mentioned just recently that no one voter gets everything they want from a candidate. I doubt that even the most fervent Paul supporters are wild about everything he says. Sometimes Paul can say something that is amazingly concise and has more truth to it than many other politicians are willing to risk, Ron Paul: Sanctions against Iran are ‘acts of war’

Paul, one of the leading contenders to win next week’s Iowa caucuses, said Iran would be justified in responding to the sanctions by blocking the flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz.  He compared the western sanctions to a hypothetical move by China to block the Gulf of Mexico, which Americans would consider an act of war.

I disagree that sanctions in the case of Iran are “acts of war”, but they might be unnecessarily provocative. Paul even sounds like Glenn Greenwald at times.

Apparently alluding to Israel and its nuclear-weapons arsenal, Paul said that “if I were an Iranian, I’d like to have a nuclear weapon, too, because you gain respect from them.”

To approving applause from a crowd of about 125, the Texas congressman said that “we always seem to have to have a country to bash,” linking the current saber-rattling against Iran to previous hawkish rhetoric that led to conflicts in Iraq, Libya and elsewhere.

The usual suspects – the jackboot polishers at Gateway Pundit , etc – in typical reactionary mode have reflexively accused Paul of being anti-Semitic based on that remark. Never mind how true it is. Once you get nukes the international community does tend to back off. There is no reason to think that Iran has fissionable material ready to make a bomb at the moment. The Right – the very same neocons who lied quite a few Americans to their deaths about the “threat” Iraq posed are using the very same propaganda about Iran, The Chicken-hawks Who Learned Nothing From Iraq. The Right, of which Ron Paul and his daffy son, are paid up members does have a reality attack once in a while. Romney and Gingrich ( as well as the right-wing conservative Heritage Foundation) were both for a health care mandate at one point. Mitt and Newt also professed that the science of global warming was compelling. Newt famously thought that conservative wunderkin Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) plan to gut Medicare was right-wing “social engineering”. Ron Paul has established a pattern. It is one that finds itself firmly planted, up to its neck in far Right crazy – Ron Paul, Conspiracy Theories, and the Right

On the New York Times “Campaign Stops” page, James Kirchick, author of several conversation changing pieces on the Ron Paul newsletters, shifts his attention from their racist and anti-gay content to the candidate himself and his career-long cultivation of support from conspiracy theorists. For example, he’s long associated with the John Birch Society, regularly appears on a Texas radio show hosted by Alex Jones, and once responded to the question, “Why won’t you come out about the truth about 9/11?” by replying, “Because I can’t handle the controversy, I have the I.M.F., the Federal Reserve to deal with, the I.R.S. to deal with — no because I just have more, too many things on my plate.” As it happens, these and other conspiracy theories with which Paul is associated are virtually all of the variety for which I haven’t even a tiny bit of patience.

[  ]…But Rep. Paul’s critics are on questionable ground when they write as if he alone among Republican Party members fails to confront — or even leverages — conspiracies in which his supporters believe, or that he is unique in consorting with conspiracy theorists. Alex Jones broadcasts some indefensible nonsense, from what little I’ve heard of his show. I’ve insufficient basis to compare it to other broadcasters I’ve listened to much more frequently, but I can say this: if Glenn Beck’s show on Fox News was less nutty than the Alex Jones Show, as it may well have been, it nevertheless was rife with nutty conspiracy theories — and lots of prominent conservatives were happy to appear on it. Sarah Palin, for one.

How many election cycles has the conservative movement used the canard that reinstating the Fairness Doctrine was agenda item one for Democrats if they regained control of the government? How many Sean Hannity radio listeners think that Barack Obama is a secret Muslim? Haven’t Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, and Herman Cain all played on conspiratorial fears that we’re on the verge of sharia law being implemented right here in America?

National Review employs as a national-security journalist a man who alleges that President Obama is allied with our Islamist enemies in a “Grand Jihad” against America, and Gingrich dissents from that theory only because he believes the Dinesh D’Souza thesis that it is actually Kenyan anti-colonialism that guides Obama’s behavior.

Gateway Pundit comment

 

Far Right conservatism is far Right conservatism. Paul drinks the green kool-aid, Romney the red and Newt the purple. At the end of the day its all kool-aid. I did go over to a couple right-wing sites that still believe Iraq had something to do with 9-11, Iraq had WMD ,  think Iran is the next Third Reich and we’re all going to be living under Sharia law any moment ( one commenter claims we already are. That American Muslims are going around killing Christians and Jews with impunity -see graphic.) To Paul’s credit he doesn’t seem to buy into the Islamophobia. At the moment such independent thinking in conservative circles is the third rail. Without the neocons who still control the road to the White House, Paul doesn’t have a chance. He will continue to be an interesting trouble maker with a loyal following –  Picture of the Day: Ron Paul Fans Wear It on Their Sleeves

Although few believe the Texas representative is headed to the White House, his support isn’t just another bubble, because his numbers are made up of true believers — the sort of folks willing not only to wear their support on their sleeve (literally), but also to tattoo it on their arms. A Time poll released Wednesday has Paul just three points behind Mitt Romney among likely Iowa caucus-goers.

For the sharp-eyed observer, the photo also shows the darker side of Paul’s base. In addition to a good number of white supremacists, whose views (though not support) he has repudiated, his supporters also include an even greater number of conspiracy theorists. This man’s wristband advertises InfoWars.com, one of the sites maintained by radio host Alex Jones, one of America’s most prominent 9/11 truthers.

 

Romney Compares Obama to Marie Antoinette. How original for the Right to repeat something that has a ring of populism about it yet wrongly attributes it. There is no historical proof that Antoinette ever said Let them Eat Cake.

Former Massachusetts Gov. and Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney recently called President Obama a modern-day Marie Antoinette. She was the queen who was overthrown during the French Revolution.

“When the president’s characterization of our economy was, ‘It could be worse,’ it reminded me of Marie Antoinette: ‘Let them eat cake,’ ” Romney told the Huffington Post.

Maybe some political adviser in the Romney camp thinks the Democrats are all rich elitists who are also in league with the big banks, but are also socialists who will mandate equal economic outcomes for everyone. As a matter of fact that has been one of Romney’s most perverse lies thus far – that President Obama has some kind of black helicopter UN sponsored plan to force everyone to have the exact same economic status. Someone might want to check the Mittster’s hair oil for toxic ingredients. The Right has been recycling some form of that urban myth-plainly contradictory bilge for decades. Some reality based research into the subject of public policy and who gets what they want most often shows that the wealthy – like Mitt – get more of what they want from government than do the middle-class or working poor. Another tack Romney and the Right in general is taking for this election  is that we need a businessman in the White House because only someone who has actually run a business knows how to turn the economy around. Well Romney sucks at that according to his record – Fact Check: Romney’s Real Economic Record In Massachusetts

During Romney’s Tenure as Governor, Massachusetts’ Economic Performance Was “One Of The Worst In The Country” On “All Key Labor Market Measures.” [Boston Globe, 7/29/07]

In Romney’s Four Years As Governor Massachusetts Ranked 47th Out Of 50 In Jobs Growth. [Marketwatch, 2/23/10]

Under Romney The Wages Of The Average Worker In Massachusetts Fell By Nearly 2 Percent. [Boston Globe, 7/29/07]

Factcheck.org: It’s “Correct” That Romney Proposed 8% Higher Spending Per Person In Massachusetts. [Factcheck.org, 10/12/07]

Romney’s Third Round Of Business Tax Hikes Were Cut In Half After Democrats Balked “Amid Protests From Some Of The State’s Leading Business Groups.” [Patriot Ledger, 1/26/08] ( Obama has cut small business taxes 17 times)

Romney can play populist all he likes – remember Bush 43 went to one, just ONE, NASCAR event the Right drooled over their keyboards for a week about how that proved h was an average guy. Maybe Romney sold two of his four mansions to prove what a regular guy he was. Back in 1994 when he lost his Senate bid to Liberal Lion Ted Kennedy, Romney said that Ted should release his tax returns, it was only right. Romney has had 20 years to rethink that – There’s No Mystery to Romney’s Taxes and Tax Plan

Why is Mitt Romney alone among the Republican presidential candidates in refusing to release his tax returns? And why is the former Massachusetts Governor also the only major GOP contender not calling for the complete elimination of the capital gains tax? As it turns out, the answer – horrible political optics – is the same to both questions. Because Romney’s continuing millions in annual income from Bain Capital are taxed at the 15 percent capital gains rate, Mitt already pays a much lower share to Uncle Sam than most middle class families. And if he called for changing the capital gains rate to zero, Mitt Romney would have to explain to voters why the $250 million man should pay virtually no tax bill at all.

Newt rose up like the great white whale of trophy wife collectors, bungled flip-flopper denials and janitorial jobs for every kid in America. Locally, guess where I’m getting fodder for the most effective anti-Gingrich arguments. From a secretive PAC (Restore Our Future?) rumored to be supporters of Romney ( Newt supporters welcome to the world the conservative SCOTUS has brought you via the Citizens United decision). Now that he is swirling around the tank Newt is likely to start acting out again – Newt Gets Wet

Newt does not respond well to nonrecognition of his world-historical destiny. His exit will not be pretty. He may act out. There is a certain wan dignity, though, in the fact that the “baggage” that is proving to be Newt’s undoing is not so much his rabbity love life or his lucrative, un-historian-like subprime lobbying as it is his past forays into unorthodox decency, such as recognizing that mass roundups and deportations of undocumented immigrants and their children is inhumane as well as impractical, acknowledging that global warming is a reality, not just a secular-socialist hoax designed to crush freedom, and (the latest news from five years ago) suggesting that medical care should be available to everybody—all hundred per cent, which necessarily includes even more of the undeserving, the improvident, and the ungodly than does the ninety-nine per cent.

Who knows maybe Newt could leverage his way into a conservative administration as Sec. of Transportation. Where he could avail America of his outside the box transportation ideas, like kids pushing people to work on  roller blades.

 

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Long Exposure Bright City Lights wallpaper – 2012 The Year of The Conservative Clown Posse

city bridge, city skyline

Long Exposure Bright City Lights wallpaper

 

Conservative pundit John “AssRocket” Hinderaker really missed his calling. He should have been a comedy writer. The problem seems to be the disconnect he has when he reads what he writes. His actual writing is a word salad of contradictions, falsehoods, pernicious mixed with feigned innocence; all written from a secret bunker where only bits and pieces of news from the real world are allowed in. He sees his writing as thoughtful and informed in the same detached way Kim Jong saw himself as a great leader. For President in 2012, Mitt Romney 

In electing a president, we are choosing someone to run the Executive Branch. A leader, to be sure, but not a speechmaker, a bomb-thrower, a quipster, a television personality or an exemplar of ideological purity. At this point in our history, the United States desperately needs a leader who understands the economy, the world of business, and, more generally, how the world works. We have had more than enough of a leader who was good at giving speeches and was ideologically pure, but who had no clue how the economy works or how the federal government can be administered without resort to graft and corruption. It is time for a president who knows what he is doing. (emphasis mine)

That a flamethrower like AssRocket suddenly doesn’t require ideological purity is enough to give even casual political observers ideological whiplash.

We have, currently, a president who is not particularly bright, knows little of business, has no idea how to run an organization–never having done so before 2009–and would rather golf than work. Replacing this cipher with Mitt Romney, one of the most capable men of his generation, would be an almost unimaginable improvement.

AssRocket has his brain and lips super-glued to the respective asses of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney for eight years. This person is passing judgement about President Obama’s intelligence. Bush was an MBA president who governed with all three branches of government ruled by conservatives for six years of his presidency. Conservative and their MBA president beat the economy into a bloody pulp and when it came time to try and fix it, AssRocket and his conservative comrades did everything they could to make sure the economy did not recover. These are the conservatives who spent over a trillion dollars to rebuild Iraq and voted against rebuilding America, started TARP for Wall Street( no strings attached) lecturing America about how who is capable and who is not. No one can ever accuse AssRocket of having humility or a clue. Corruption? Maybe we should all listen to conservatives when they talk about corruption they are experts at it – here, here, here.

Oddly a deep red wing-nut makes the exact opposite case of Hinderaker. John Hawkins of the Right Wing News propaganda site writes, 7 Reasons Why Mitt Romney’s Electability Is A Myth

Mitt Romney was a moderate governor in Massachusetts with an unimpressive record of governance. He left office with an approval rating in the thirties and his signature achievement, Romneycare, was a Hurricane Katrina style disaster for the state.

….Let’s be perfectly honest: Mitt Romney excites no one except for Mormons, political consultants, and Jennifer Rubin.

…2) He’s a proven political loser: There’s a reason Mitt Romney has been able to say that he’s “not a career politician.” It’s because he’s not very good at politics. He lost to Ted Kennedy in 1994. Although he did win the governorship of Massachusetts in 2002, he did it without cracking 50% of the vote. Worse yet, he left office as the 48th most popular governor in America and would have lost if he had run again in 2006.

….5) Bain Capital: Mitt Romney became rich working for Bain Capital. This has been a plus for Romney in the Republican primaries where the grassroots tend to be dominated by people who love capitalism and the free market. However, in a year when Obama will be running a populist campaign and Occupy Wall Street is demonizing the “1%,” Mitt Romney will be a TAILOR MADE villain for them. Did you know that Bain Capital gutted companies and made a lot of money, in part, by laying off a lot of poor and middle class Americans? Do you know that Bain Capital got a federal bailout and Mitt Romney made lots of money off of it?

Hawkins actually makes a better case except he is too ready to discount Independents breaking for the Mittster. While together AssRocket and Hawkins make for good satirical fodder political observers of every stripe have to ask if this field of conservatives all have so much baggage, how did they become the field.

Glenn Greenwald: The Real Reason the GOP Primary Is a Pathetic, Incompetent Clown Show

In fairness to the much-maligned GOP field, they face a formidable hurdle: how to credibly attack Obama when he has adopted so many of their party’s defining beliefs. Depicting the other party’s president as a radical menace is one of the chief requirements for a candidate seeking to convince his party to crown him as the chosen challenger. Because Obama has governed as a centrist Republican, these GOP candidates are able to attack him as a leftist radical only by moving so far to the right in their rhetoric and policy prescriptions that they fall over the cliff of mainstream acceptability, or even basic sanity.

Greenwald drags Obama over the coals as well as the Republican candidates. Though he does give Obama the edge on winning. Maybe, but I would never underestimate the ability of the far Right to gain traction with assclown insane. I generally support our immigration laws. Even the most liberal democracies secure their borders against illegal immigration. That said where would I put illegal immigrants on my list of biggest problems facing the nation? Illegal immigration wouldn’t even make the list. Most of them are here picking grapes, washing dishes, doing janitorial work or some other thankless job for low pay. Republicans look around and what do they see with their special night vision goggles – aliens evrywhere. How did this non-issue drive so much of the conservative rhetoric – probably the single issue that sunk Rick Perry – the conservative tendency to gain traction over clown posse controversies. They have consistently displayed an uncanny ability to ignore real problems, create problems that are easily solved – shadow banking, too big to fail, unregulated derivatives trading, fail to learn from their mistakes and genuinely think that hyperbolic attacks on moderate Democrats and American workers are a substitute for good governance.

 

Newt Gingrich on his first wife – “She’s not young enough or pretty enough to be the wife of the President. And besides, she has cancer.”

But did he have to be so mean about it? As reported by L.H. Carter, his campaign treasurer, Newt said of Jacqueline: “She’s not young enough or pretty enough to be the wife of the President. And besides, she has cancer.” Hard to believe, although according to the New Yorker, his wife did tell the congregation of her Baptist church: “The devil has taken his heart.” Maybe she was referring to his being so miserly in the matter of child support and alimony, but as Newt points out, we do have a safety net of private charity, and the congregants chipped in to help pay the utility bills.

The man has chutzpah. In his 1974 campaign, he ran on the slogan, “Newt’s family is like your family.” A sad but perhaps accurate commentary on life in suburban Georgia. In 1978, he ran an ad blasting his opponent, Virginia Shapard, saying, “If elected, Virginia will move to Washington, but her husband and her children will remain in Griffin.” Under Gingrich’s photo, it said: “When elected, Newt will keep his family together.”

Is this particularly shocking. Even though most of the conservatives I know are pleasant enough to be around there is the average mix of divorces, affairs, unintended pregnancies, gay but in the closet, spousal abuse, child abuse, kids that run wild, financial shenanigans, greed, serial liars, nutbag conspiracy theorists  – your all-American nest of deceit, violence and hypocrisy. I would hardly take note except for the half century of conservative politicians, conservative leaders and pundits being self-righteous hypocrites. Ripe off that mask and they don’t quite live up to the label claims.

FACT CHECK: Ron Paul Personally Defended Racist Newsletters. The house of Paul does not hold up well under scrutiny as appealing as he might be on some issues, especially to younger voters. Though I read on one site a couple of weeks ago that some of the Democratic base, upset over SOPA and some other civil liberties issues, were going to register as Republicans as a way to derail Republicans and send a message to Democrats in Congress. That is still not the worse idea I’ve heard despite the ever-expanding nasty history of Ron Paul. He’ll never become the nominee. He does seem to genuinely and consistently reject the neocon foreign policy agenda. I do not know if that Democratic base plan is responsible for Paul’s rise in the polls, but it has some conservatives scared,  Republican Rivals Unleash Broadside on Paul in Iowa

The Republican presidential candidates sharpened their criticism of Representative Ron Paul on Tuesday in an effort to keep his support from growing among voters who are frustrated with government and may be inclined to send a message to the Washington establishment by supporting him in the Iowa caucuses.

Newt Gingrich said Mr. Paul, of Texas, was a “protest” candidate, and that he could not vote for the congressman if he won the party’s nomination. In a television interview, Mr. Gingrich, the former House speaker, declared that Mr. Paul’s “views are totally outside the mainstream of virtually every decent American.”

Would Newt be the first person most Americans would go to for a definition of “decent”.

Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and Mr. Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator, are trying to consolidate the support of social conservatives who have yet to unite behind a single candidate. They each made appeals on Tuesday, with Mrs. Bachmann accusing her rivals of being “confused” about abortion and same-sex marriage.

“Mitt Romney has defended gay marriage and even signed marriage licenses for same-sex couples, and Ron Paul doesn’t believe the government should protect the institution of marriage,” Mrs. Bachmann said during a stop in Council Bluffs. “I have a record of defending life, marriage and the family, and I’ll protect them as president of the United States.”

Bachmann is as confused over what decency means as Gingrich, and add the word protect to her misunderstanding. In order for her to shove her version of protect down everyone’s throat she will have to violate the law, including the Constitution.

Black and White Mountain Stream wallpaper – Another Most Important Election of Our Lifetime

Black and White Mountain Stream wallpaper

 

E.J. Dionne Jr. writing on the most important election of our lifetime, Obama: The conservative in 2012

Mitt Romney was on the same page in a speech in Bedford, N.H. “This is an election not to replace a president but to save a vision of America,” he declared. “It’s a choice between two destinies.” Sounding just like Santorum, he urged voters to ask: “Who are we as Americans, and what kind of America do we want for our children?”

 

One might be tempted to think that listening to Romney or Newt or Ron Paul that conservatives didn’t deliver from 2000 to 2008. That was all a mistake – the mutli-trillion dollar debacle in the Middle-East, turning victory into a protracted stalemate in Afghanistan, crashing the economy, ignoring global warming, 45 million Americans without health care, 98% of whistle-blower complaints about waste and corruption ignored, hundreds of millions of dollars in over charges from government contractor Halliburton, using the Department of Justice as the Revenge Brigade of the Republican Party and staffing it with no nothing ideologically pure appointees, $60 billion in Medicare fraud by people like conservative governor Rick Scott ( his crimes didn’t prevent Republicans from voting for him), heck of a job Michael DeWayne Brown – the incompetent party loyalists appointed to FEMA – and his subsequent bungling of the Katrina response and the failure to get Bin laden. No, forget about that America, this is the new improved conservatism with twice the vitamins and stain fighting power of other brands. This field of Republican presidential candidates, it is my belief anyway, will create a different path, they’ll blow the top off a mountain to create a new path to the same old place – Pottersville. Bad governance is a deeper part of conservative DNA than a prehensile tail is to a opossum.

Obama is defending a tradition that sees government as an essential actor in the nation’s economy, a guarantor of fair rules of competition, a countervailing force against excessive private power, a check on the inequalities that capitalism can produce, and an instrument that can open opportunity for those born without great advantages.

For whatever reasons Obama is a protector of the status quo – though he might be the progressive-lite president he was in 2009 if he had a Democratic majority in the House and a few more seats in the Senate. Without those essentials, with Republican obstructionism in both houses, expect to keep losing ground. With any conservative in the White House expect the race to the bottom for the middle-class to accelerate. If that seems like thin gruel to get out and vote for Obama, think of two things: The incredible damage done by right-wing Republican governors after the 2010 mid-terms and does anyone really want another Antonin Scalia or Clarence Thomas on the SCOTUS.

Obama will thus be the conservative in 2012, in the truest sense of that word. He is the candidate defending the modestly redistributive and regulatory government the country has relied on since the New Deal, and that neither Ronald Reagan nor George W. Bush dismantled. The rhetoric of the 2012 Republicans suggests they want to go far beyond where Reagan or Bush ever went.

The redistributing income game is one moderate sober-minded Americans can win. Unless you’re in your teens you know that markets are neither perfect or rational. Programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are very modest steps the average American takes to protect themselves from market forces and private sector corruption. It’s not radical to fight for that safety net, it is wildly radical to try to dismantle it. As far as America’s total Gross Domestic Product goes, most of that pie is redistributed to the wealthy to reward them for being wealthy. When they are not taking the wealth created by the American worker, the conservative movement and their media puppets are attacking them with propaganda –  The Year Of The Right-Wing Media’s War On The American Worker

And America is still waiting for any actual member of the press to do their job and challenge Romney on his increasing recurring and casually made lies.

Republicans Come Out of the Closet, They Just Don’t Like Anyone Having Sex, Unless its With Them

In 2011 America’s right wing, and especially the Christian right wing, at last let slip what their problem is with contraception and abortion: it’s not squeamishness, morality or a fondness for hanging outside Planned Parenthood clinics toting misspelt placards – they just don’t like women having sex. At all. As Amanda Marcotte wrote this week, in 2011 the anti-choice movement “stopped trying so hard to manage mainstream perceptions of themselves as somehow just great lovers of fetal life, and are coming out with their anti-sex agenda”. This was borne out in their frankly unhinged attacks on Planned Parenthood, the HPV vaccine, insurance coverage of contraception and, as I discussed last week, the puritanical mood they created that encouraged President Obama to restrict access to Plan B, or the morning-after pill, none of which have much to do with abortion and everything to do with women’s temerity to have sex.

I apologize for sounding like a David Brookes column, but conservatives have tapped into a universal human quirk. Most people find everyone’s sex life, but theirs, weird or disgusting. Most of us deal with that by not thinking about it. Conservatives want the government deeply and inextricably involved in your disgusting sex life. The kinky part is they want to collect a government salary, medical benefits and use government issue binoculars while they do.

I named a tree stump after The National Review’s Rich Lowry. This gives you an idea of why he so deserved that honor – “We Don’t Have Our ‘A Team’ on the Field”

Speaking of discontent with the Republican field, I talked the other day to a pretty prominent conservative officeholder who’s constantly been discussing with people around the country the possibility of a new entrant or a push to draft someone. But who? One name he mentioned is Bobby Jindal, who is extremely knowledge, a favorite of conservatives, and has executive experience.

This field of candidates is not their A Team? As a matter of fact this field is the perfect representation of the conservative movement: clueless, greedy, hypocritical, serial liars, white on color racism, color on white racism, right-wing Christianists who pretend that Jesus Beatitudes don’t exist, creepy other women’s womb obsessed zealots, Wall Street sycophants, pinstriped con men, adulterers, insecure twits obsessed with power, people with no ideas and not enough wisdom to hire people who, the disconnected elite, the verbal bombers of progress, manglers of history, snake oil selling grifters and Republi-tarian weirdos. Oh yea, they need Super Jindal to the rescue. The Governor of Louisiana who thinks lower cigarette taxes are more important than lower tuition. Who makes speeches that seem like you’re being lectured to by the forgotten brother of the Three Stooges.

Some other news:

A Dispute Over Who Owns a Twitter Account Goes to Court. If you open any kind of social media account and sometimes use it for work, make sure it is understood by all parties involved who that account belongs to.

Best videos of 2011: 3D-printed plane takes flight. Remarkably good flyer. I went through that phase when I was a kid with my friends about who could make the best paper plane, whose plane could fly furthest and who’s could do the best loops.

Please Don’t Compare Conservatives to Scrooge, They’re Not That Smart or Generous

Holiday sacrifices.

 

Rather than asking if a falling tree in the forest makes a sound if  no one is there to hear it, we ask if two blockheads screw-up big time does it really matter – Gingrich, Perry disqualified from Va. primary ballot

The rejection is a significant setback for the Gingrich campaign since he is leading the polls in Virginia among likely Republican voters and is seen as a strong contender for the nomination.

On the other hand ubder conservatives presidential candidates Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum did not bother submit signatures. Neither did the relatively, among this field anyway, moderate Republican Jon Huntsman. I was going to get into some possible reasons why Huntsman has not caught on with conservatives. He has far less baggage than Romney, Newt, Paul and Perry. For any conservative candidate to win the nomination they’ll need Wall Street. Romney is leading among candidates for Wall Street contributions. Still Romney has supported his own version of ObamaCare and taken so many unprincipled positions based on prevailing political wins, what it is about Romney, or about Huntsman that Wall Street doesn’t like?  Break Up the Banks – It makes no sense to keep bailing out bankers while demanding austerity for everyone else.

Santa Claus came early this year for four former executives of Washington Mutual, which failed in 2008. The executives reached a settlement with the FDIC, which sued them for taking huge financial risks while “knowing that the real estate market was in a ‘bubble.’ ” The FDIC had sought to recover $900 million, but the executives have just settled for $64 million, almost all of which will be paid by their insurers; their out-of-pockets costs are estimated at just $400,000.

To be sure, the executives lost their jobs and now must drop claims for additional compensation. But, according to the FDIC, the four still earned more than $95 million from January 2005 through September 2008. This is what happens when financial executives are compensated for “return on equity” unadjusted for risk. The executives get the upside when things go well; when the downside risks materialize, they lose nothing (or close to it).

At the same time, their actions and similar actions by other bankers are directly responsible for both the run-up in housing prices and the damaging collapse that followed. That collapse has impacted nonbankers negatively in many ways, including the loss of more than 8 million jobs.

That doesn’t sound just like what the OWS movement is saying or econmists like Paul Krugman has been saying for years, it sounds like what you could hear at millions of kitchen table discussions across the country. In other words way too genuinely populist for most of this cycles crop of conservatives, excpet Huntsman,

But capitalism without the prospect of failure is not any kind of market economy. We are running a large-scale, nontransparent, and dangerous government subsidy scheme for the benefit primarily of a very few extremely wealthy people.

Jon Huntsman, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, is addressing this directly—insisting that we should force the largest banks to break up and to become safer.No other candidate is seriously confronting this issue head-on: Just saying “we’ll let them fail” is no kind of answer when the failure of megabanks would cause so much damage.

We should learn from both Washington Mutual and the Occupy movement. In both cases, the lesson is the same: Concentrated financial power is a gift that keeps on giving—but not to you.

 

Why is Huntsman hanging in. he seems to be seriously running, though not for president. Vice-president? Secretary of State? In whoever’s administration.

Booman has Perry and Gingrich pegged – Amateur Hour for GOP Candidates

May I submit that you can’t seriously hope to be the leader of the free world if you can’t even get your crap together to get your name on the ballot? No one should take you seriously in Iowa if we know you’re not even going to be on the ballot in Virginia.

Virginia is not considered the kind of make or break state that states such as Ohio and Pennsylvania are, but it is an important upper mid-tier state. So it doesn’t matter whether it is incompetence or laziness(I’m looking at you Newt) they’ve made the rest of the campaign a very uphill battle.

When is that so-called liberal media going to start holding Mitt Romney accountable for his lies. They not coming fast and furious at this point, lying is all he does. Media continues letting Romney claims skate by unchecked. The beltway media always seems to crumble at the feet of conservatives.Have to keep those cushy six figure jobs with the corporate media or there goes the McMansion in the burbs.

Obama says he’s not bound by Guantanamo, gun-control provisions. The use of presidential signing statements continues to be used in a way that is Constitutionally tenuous.If any president feels they are about to sign legislation into law that is unconstitutional they should not sign it.There is a popular expression that people use after making a clear definitive statement – just say’n. That is what Bush did and Obama is doing. That Obama is only doing it a fraction of the number of times is some, but small consolation. *As usual the right-wing trolls in the comment section totally dismiss Bush’s record breaking use of signing statements. The few that Obama has used make him the usual socialist anti-christ marxist dictator. Which if true, than judging by proportion Bush 43 was Satan incarnate.

 

Justice Dept. rejects South Carolina voter ID law, calling it discriminatory

In its first decision on the laws, Justice’s Civil Rights Division said South Carolina’s statute is discriminatory because its registered minority voters are nearly 20 percent more likely than whites to lack a state-issued photo ID. Under the 1965 Voting Rights Act, South Carolina is one of a number of states that are required to receive federal “pre-clearance” on voting changes to ensure that they don’t hurt minorities’ political power.

“The absolute number of minority citizens whose exercise of the franchise could be adversely affected by the proposed requirements runs into the tens of thousands,” Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez said in a letter to South Carolina officials.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) called the decision “outrageous” and said she plans to seek “every possible option to get this terrible, clearly political decision overturned so we can protect the integrity of our electoral process and our 10th Amendment rights.”

Dear Governor Haley, per your 10th Amendment nonsense see some decent history books on Abe Lincoln, the Civil War and Jim Crow. Like all conservatives Nikki works part-time as a shrill dispenser of false outrage.

Steve Bennen brings up a fair point about the DOJ’s decision – Justice Dept. targets SC voter-ID law

This is also, by the way, another one of those “parties matter” moments, of which there have been many lately. Remember, in 2005, career staffers in the Justice Department’s Voting Section found that Georgia’s voter-ID law was discriminatory and should be rejected — only to see Bush/Cheney officials override their own experts’ judgment and approve the proposal.

If a McCain or Romney administration were in power right now, we’d very likely see something similar.

Voter fraud is in The Big Book of Republican Conspiracy Theories for Dummies.

If lies about Fannie May and Freddie Mac causing the financial collapse were worth cash I would have collected a small fortune by now – The Big Lie

Thus has Peter Wallison, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, and a former member of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, almost single-handedly created the myth that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac caused the financial crisis. His partner in crime is another A.E.I. scholar, Edward Pinto, who a very long time ago was Fannie’s chief credit officer. Pinto claims that as of June 2008, 27 million “risky” mortgages had been issued — “and a lion’s share was on Fannie and Freddie’s books,” as Wallison wrote recently. Never mind that his definition of “risky” is so all-encompassing that it includes mortgages with extremely low default rates as well as those with default rates nearing 30 percent. These latter mortgages were the ones created by the unholy alliance between subprime lenders and Wall Street. Pinto’s numbers are the Big Lie’s primary data point.

[  ]…Central to Wallison’s argument is that the government’s effort to encourage homeownership among low- and moderate-income Americans is what led to the crisis. Fannie and Freddie, which were required by law to meet certain “affordable housing mandates,” were the primary instruments of that government policy; their need to meet those mandates, says Wallison, is what caused them to dive so heavily into those “risky” mortgages. And because they were powerful forces in the housing market, their entry into subprime dragged along the rest of the mortgage industry.

But the S.E.C. complaint makes almost no mention of affordable housing mandates. Instead, it charges that the executives were motivated to begin buying subprime mortgages — belatedly, contrary to the Big Lie — because they were trying to reclaim lost market share, and thus maximize their bonuses.

As Karen Petrou, a well-regarded bank analyst, puts it: “The S.E.C.’s facts paint a picture in which it wasn’t high-minded government mandates that did [Fannie and Freddie] wrong, but rather the monomaniacal focus of top management on market share.” As I wrote on Tuesday, Fannie and Freddie, rather than leading the housing industry astray, got into riskier mortgages only after the horse was out of the barn. They were becoming irrelevant in the most profitable segment of the market — subprime. And that they couldn’t abide.

Mortgages originated for private securitization defaulted at much higher rates than those originated for Fannie and Freddie securitization

The Federal Reserve has also agreed with Joe Nocera about Freddie and Fannie; private banks held the vast majority of sub-prime loans. That would be because such loans did not pass Fannie and Freddie requirements.

Grand Canyon Winter Snow wallpaper – Where Are They, The Principled Stands and Context of Conservatism

winter, American landscape, snow

Grand Canyon Winter Snow wallpaper

 

Commander Flip-flop Mitt Romney Has a Principled Position on Iraq, Choose The One You Like,

Mitt Romney, speaking on Wednesday to NBC News’ Chuck Todd, seemed to shift positions on the Iraq War.

As highlighted by New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait, Romney explained to Todd, “If we knew at the time of our entry into Iraq that there were no weapons of mass destruction, if somehow we had been given that information, obviously we would not have gone in.”

The former Massachusetts governor then gave a more detailed response:

Todd: “You don’t think we would have gone in?”

Romney: “Well of course not. The president went in based upon intelligence that they had weapons of mass destruction. Had he known that was not the case, the U.N. would not have put forward resolutions authorizing this type of action. The president would not have been pursuing that course. But we did not know that. Based upon what we knew at the time, we were very much under the impression as a nation, our president was under the impression, that they had weapons of mass destruction, that Saddam Hussein was intent on potentially using those weapons, and so he took action based upon what he knew. But to go back and say, well knowing what we know now would we have gone in. Well, knowing what we know now, they did not have weapons of mass destruction, there would have been no effort on the part of our president or others to take military action.”

Chait points out that Romney previously took a much different position on the conflict. Per The New York Times, moderator Tim Russert asked Romney during a 2008 presidential debate if the Iraq War was “a good idea worth the cost in blood and treasure we have spent.” Romney answered, “It was the right decision to go into Iraq. I supported it at the time; I support it now.” As Chait explains, Romney’s debate answer came at a time when it was already clear that Iraq possessed no weapons of mass destruction.

I didn’t keep the link, but a very serious conservative recently claimed that Mitt’s reputation as a fountain of flip-flops was undeserved. If political leaders should have new information, they should be justified in shifting course. We can all agree with that as a general principle. In the case of Iraq Mitt had no new information, except perhaps polls showing that running as a kind of anti-war I’m not a Bush Conservative, polled better than thinking invading Iraq was the best thing since whipped cream on a sundae. If Mitt supported the invasion of Iraq that means he supported Bush kicking out weapons inspectors who had searched hundreds of sites and found nothing. It also means that if it was informed on the subject that the administration knew from day one Iraq did not have an active WMD program.

Commander Flip-flop also thought Senator Barack Obama’s idea to chase terrorists into Pakistan was poor judgement. The consequences of course would be that Osama Bin Laden might still be alive. Wait, did the wind direction change? Did Flip-flop Mitt learn something new that made called for a principled reverse – Mitt Romney, Then and Now

Mitt Romney, Then and Now
“I do not concur in the words of Barack Obama in a plan to enter an ally of ours… I don’t think those kinds of comments help in this effort to draw more friends to our effort.”

— Mitt Romney, quoted by Reuters in 2008, on the United States entering Pakistan to kill Osama bin Laden.

I think other presidents and other candidates like myself would do exactly the same thing.”

— Romney, in an interview on MSNBC earlier today, downplaying credit for Obama for ordering the raid in Pakistan that finally killed Osama bin Laden.

Did Romney see one of those political movies about a sleazy unprincipled candidate for office and say to himself, Oh yea I’m going to use him as a role model. Such are the affectations that us peasants must allow American royalty. Though a lowly duke now, Mitt might some day be king if only the other dukes and princesses are allowed to fill his coffers with as much gold as they like – Romney Wants His Billionaire Wall Street Donors To Be Able To Give Him Unlimited Sums Of Money

More importantly, however, Romney’s proposal to allow wealthy donors to give candidates whatever they’d “like to a campaign” is simply an invitation to corruption. Under Romney’s proposed rule, there is nothing preventing a single billionaire from bankrolling a candidate’s entire campaign — and then expecting that candidate to do whatever the wealthy donor wants once the candidate is elected to office. Romney’s unlimited donations proposal would be a bonanza for Romney himself and the army of Wall Street bankers and billionaire donors who support him, but it is very difficult to distinguish it from legalized bribery.

As Romney himself said in 1994, when you allow special interest groups to buy and sell candidates, “that kind of relationship has an influence on the way that [those candidates are] going to vote.” Now that Romney’s running for president on the Wall Street ticket, however, he’s suddenly unconcerned with whether or not his big money donors exert a corrupting influence.

This is a concept which has conservatives rolling on the floor in convulsions, publicly financed and limited campaigns. You get so much money, each gets equal debate time, buys about the same amount of adverting. No mysterious PACs. Campaigns would be forced to rely on the quality of the message rather than being overwhelmed with ads – a campaign season of whose ideas are best. Not to worry, we’ll never see that happen because it would be much closer to the truly democratic republicanism or egalitarian ideals of our founding framework. No one wants that, least of all Mitt and friends.

I’ve never heard of this site before, Humble Libertarian. It is natural for one to defend their side. Though conservatives and many libertarians (The Mises Institute, Lew Rockwell) disagree, I tend to think it is best to keep to the facts. HL writes, Liberal Media Racist Smear Against Ron Paul Rears Its Ugly Head Again (Video)

Ron Paul supporters should brace themselves for a lot more of this (m). Ron Paul is obviously not a racist and doesn’t condone racism and would not implement racist policies as president… so the entire racist newsletter affair is simply a smear and a distraction from the substantive issues that matter to the American people and that Ron Paul has been on the right side of for his entire career, leading to his steady growth and success this election cycle. That said, Ron Paul handled this very well until the end when he got frustrated and walked out on the CNN interview….(emphasis mine)

 

Smeared? A smear is a lie, a distortion or exaggeration used to bash someone. Ron Paul’s own defense of what he has said is either he was taken out of context or in the case of CNN, to storm off. Many liberals and progressives find some of Paul’s stances appealing. Taken in convenient isolation he is solid on some foreign policy and civil libertarian positions ( stances that libertarians took from the liberal playbook around the turn of the 20th century). In real life, sound bites that play well can only be seriously considered within the context of a candidates entire platform. While every voter has to make compromises since no one candidate ever represents the pinnacle of every individual voter’s policy positions, there is only so much give in that compromise. As Michael Brendan Dougherty asks at The Atlantic, in what context could these remarks be explained away as acceptable – The Story Behind Ron Paul’s Racist Newsletters

Some choice quotes:

“Given the inefficiencies of what DC laughingly calls the criminal justice system, I think we can safely assume that 95 percent of the black males in that city are semi-criminal or entirely criminal.”

“We are constantly told that it is evil to be afraid of black men, it is hardly irrational.”

After the Los Angeles riots, one article in a newsletter claimed, “Order was only restored in L.A. when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks.”

One referred to Martin Luther King Jr. as “the world-class philanderer who beat up his paramours” and who “seduced underage girls and boys.”

Another referred to Barbara Jordan, a civil rights activist and congresswoman as “Barbara Morondon,” the “archetypical half-educated victimologist.”

Other newsletters had strange conspiracy theories about homosexuals, the CIA, and AIDS.

[  ]…When the newsletter controversy came up again during the 2008 campaign, Paul explained that he didn’t actually write the newsletters but because they carried his name he was morally responsible for their content. Further, he didn’t know exactly who wrote the offensive things and they didn’t represent his views.

But it is still a serious issue. Jamie Kirchick reported in The New Republic that Paul made nearly one million dollars in just one year from publishing the newsletters. Could Paul really not understand the working of such a profitable operation? Reporters at the libertarian-leaning Reason magazine wrote that the author was likely longtime Paul-friend and combative polemicist Lew Rockwell.

 

Dougherty a little about the history of libertarians such as Rockwell and Murray Rothbard. They have a history of floating around – using various conspiracy theories that sound like they are from the far right and as political winds blow ( like the movement against the Vietnam war) to the left . Paul’s baggage is coming into the spotlight because he might win the Iowa caucus. It is only fair that Paul receive the same kind of scrutiny that Rick Perry and Gingrich have received. That is not a smear. That’s reporting.

But the questions remain. If Ron Paul is so libertarian that he won’t even police people who use his name, if his movement is filled with incompetents and opportunists, then what kind of a president would he make? Would he even check in to see if his ideas are being implemented? Who would he appoint to Cabinet positions?

 

If anyone is in the mood for some anti-Paul polemics just read this attack from the conservative right by wing-nut Dorothy Rabinowitz at the WSJ – What Ron Paul Thinks of America

It seemed improbable that the best-known American propagandist for our enemies could be near the top of the pack in the Iowa contest, but there it is.

[  ]…One who is the best-known of our homegrown propagandists for our chief enemies in the world. One who has made himself a leading spokesman for, and recycler of, the long and familiar litany of charges that point to the United States as a leading agent of evil and injustice, the militarist victimizer of millions who want only to live in peace.

[  ]…The world may not be ready for another American president traversing half the globe to apologize for the misdeeds of the nation he had just been elected to lead. Still, it would be hard to find any public figure in America whose views more closely echo those of President Obama on that tour. ( This is a continuation of a right-wing myth that Obama has been on some world tour apologizing for America. never happened, but when has that ever stopped the Right from repeating something).

 

This is what could be considered a smear, against both Paul and the current super moderate Democrat resident of the White House – the one who has killed so many of those terrorist Rabinowitz battles with blistered fingers on her .38 magnum keyboard. To say that Iraq was a mistake is not an attack on America, it is an attack on neocon foreign policy. Rabinowitz has the typical delusional and grandiose conservative ego, feeling that conservative clusterfu*ks are the same thing as America the country.

Sensenbrenner will apologize to First Lady for ‘large posterior’ remark.

FishbowlDC reports that an aide to Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) has stated that the Congressman will be contacting the office of First Lady Michelle Obama to apologize for a remark he made regarding what he alleged was Obama’s “large posterior.”

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI)

This is just another mini-outrage of the day. It is just another in a long Republican tradition of going for cheap insults based on looks – When Chelsea Clinton was still a child Rush Limbaugh made a revolting joke about her. I don’t understand the whys of conservatives even going there – do conservatives have mirrors? Do they understand that attractiveness does not equal virtue. Trim and fit alone – for which the First Lady would seem to qualify – would disqualify Jimbo and Rush. Credit to Jimbo for apologizing.

Instead of “Working Through The Holidays,” GOP Shuts Down The House, Turns Off The Cameras.

But technically, the House did not adjourn just yet. And this morning, Democrats went to the floor planning to propose a solution: allow the full House to directly vote on the Senate compromise, something which the House Republican leadership has not allowed for fear it would pass.

How did the House leadership respond?

By literally ignoring the Democratic request as it was being shouted on the House floor, slamming down the gavel, adjourning the House for two days, walking off the floor without a word, and pulling the plug on the C-Span cameras.

The blatant disrespect House Republicans have for the working Americans who pay their salaries could not be more stark.

They are not “working through the holidays.”

They are recklessly snubbing the work that other legislators put in to avoid making the middle class take an unnecessary hit while the jobs crisis continues.

One could mark up Republican actions to some clever parliamentary tactics under normal circumstances ( I don’t think this is the first time House leadership has suddenly closed down debate). These are not regular circumstances. Even Senate Republicans and Karl Rove think House Republicans are blowing it over a relatively small thing – a two month extension of unemployment benefits, the Medicare doc fix and a tax cut. Kind of a historic day, Republicans acting like petulant brats over cutting taxes and grandma seeing her doctor.

Black and White Marina and Skyline wallpaper – Crony Conservative Capitalists Have Record of Being Brave With Other People’s Money

Black and White Marina and Skyline wallpaper

 

Jeb Bush wrote an editorial in the WSJ yesterday that was jaw dropping in its audacity. Capitalism and the Right to Rise – In freedom lies the risk of failure. But in statism lies the certainty of stagnation.

Congressman Paul Ryan recently coined a smart phrase to describe the core concept of economic freedom: “The right to rise.”

Think about it. We talk about the right to free speech, the right to bear arms, the right to assembly. The right to rise doesn’t seem like something we should have to protect.

But we do. We have to make it easier for people to do the things that allow them to rise. We have to let them compete. We need to let people fight for business. We need to let people take risks. We need to let people fail. We need to let people suffer the consequences of bad decisions. And we need to let people enjoy the fruits of good decisions, even good luck.

That is what economic freedom looks like. Freedom to succeed as well as to fail, freedom to do something or nothing. People understand this. Freedom of speech, for example, means that we put up with a lot of verbal and visual garbage in order to make sure that individuals have the right to say what needs to be said, even when it is inconvenient or unpopular. We forgive the sacrifices of free speech because we value its blessings. (emphasis mine)

Clean away the hypocrisy, the self-righteous stridency and the pure silliness and there is some things in there the average progressive liberal also believes in. As a matter of fact the ones in the bottom 50% of the media income level live and die by the rules of the market place, even though they have almost nothing to do with pulling the levers that rain down the economic catastrophes they have always paid for and which people like Jeb never do. Jeb helped a conman bilk Medicare out of millions, Jeb and his partner defaulted on a $4.5 million loan from a Florida S&L in 1988. Jeb only paid back ten percent of the loan ( which he technically did not qualify for, but got because of his last name, not because he was a great businessman or had the collateral. Amazingly Jeb got to keep the property and left a collapsed savings and loan in his wake. Jeb’s brother is also another one of those believers in the right to ‘rise’. Neil Bush was a principal in the 1988 collapse of Silverado Banking in Denver, which cost taxpayers $1 billion. Risers, followers of Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Ayn Rand don’t pay for their mistakes, tax payers do. Neil also got a kickback from $132 million dollars he made to some other risers who defaulted on the loan. Tax payers picked up the tab for that as well. Remember George W. Bush, our first MBA president. As director of Harken Energy he drove the company into the ground. Knowing that it was going under he dumped his stock. Another Rethuglican riser wise in the ways of taking responsibility. Dubya managed to run a total of three businesses off the cliff before his daddy (G.H.W. Bush) bought him the governorship of Texas. Dubya would go on accomplish the biggest neatest trick of all, with the help of Paul Ryan and congressional conservatives who believe ” In freedom lies the risk of failure,” to run the entire U.S. economy into a ditch, bail-out the billionaires and give average Americans the bill. The 99% took the grief for the freedom the Right used to take risks with the nation’s wealth. When Jeb and the Bush family talks about statism, it is always shrouded in the self referential and bullet proof layers of naked hypocrisy. The Bush boys were all born with a silver spoon up the wasu, as was their father. They have never achieved anything that was not a legacy of money, power, connections and privilege. Jeb does go on, layering on some sanctimonious bull,

The right to rise does not require a libertarian utopia to exist. Rather, it requires fewer, simpler and more outcome-oriented rules. Rules for which an honest cost-benefit analysis is done before their imposition. Rules that sunset so they can be eliminated or adjusted as conditions change. Rules that have disputes resolved faster and less expensively through arbitration than litigation.

 

Thanks to some recent news we’ve found the perfect place for Jeb, Paul Ryan, the brave crusaders of anti-statism. Its perfect in that it is in the infancy of its free market adventures and they don’t need no stink’n rules, just like the conservative and right-wing libertarian movements – Russia oil spills wreak devastation

On the bright yellow tundra outside this oil town near the Arctic Circle, a pitch-black pool of crude stretches toward the horizon. The source: a decommissioned well whose rusty screws ooze with oil, viscous like jam.

This is the face of Russia’s oil country, a sprawling, inhospitable zone that experts say represents the world’s worst ecological oil catastrophe.

Environmentalists estimate at least 1 percent of Russia’s annual oil production, or 5 million tons, is spilled every year. That is equivalent to one Deepwater Horizon-scale leak about every two months. Crumbling infrastructure and a harsh climate combine to spell disaster in the world’s largest oil producer, responsible for 13 percent of global output.

Oil, stubbornly seeping through rusty pipelines and old wells, contaminates soil, kills all plants that grow on it and destroys habitats for mammals and birds. Half a million tons every year get into rivers that flow into the Arctic Ocean, the government says, upsetting the delicate environmental balance in those waters.

It’s part of a legacy of environmental tragedy that has plagued Russia and the countries of its former Soviet empire for decades, from the nuclear horrors of Chernobyl in Ukraine to lethal chemical waste in the Russian city of Dzerzhinsk and paper mill pollution seeping into Siberia’s Lake Baikal, which holds one-fifth of the world’s supply of fresh water.

19th century newspaper publisher once said in a famous piece of advice regarding western expansion in the U.S., “Go west young man.” To the herd of conservative sheep who relentlessly parrot the nonsense spouted by Jeb Bush, go to Russia. The gov’mint there doesn’t care about regulations or enforcing the ones they have – it’s a Koch brothers-crony capitalism paradise. The Russian government and Russian big business have adopted your laissez faire model – anything goes to make a buck. It’s the amoral utopia Jeb and the rabid right dream of. In Jeb’s fairytale, corruption and creed did not cause the U.S. financial collapse, it was those regulations that protected your family’s air and drinking water. And liberals. And the war on Christmas. And the Freddie Mac and ACORN.

Standoff: A Guide To The Ongoing Fight Over The Payroll Tax Cut

The X-factor here is the White House. What will they do if they sense that the payroll cut, and UI and the doc fix are all about to expire? In the last days of the debt limit fight, the Obama administration faced a similar dilemma. Reid had a plan in the Senate, Boehner had a plan in the House. But just as now, House Republicans rebelled, and left Boehner hanging — seemingly destroying his ability to negotiate. Suddenly Reid had the only viable legislation in the Congress and with the hours ticking down, it looked like Republicans would have to cave and pass it. That’s when the White House stepped in and cut a deal with Republicans, effectively bailing Boehner out. That’s the deal that ultimately passed. If the White House spooks out about the prospect of all these provisions lapsing, administration officials could step in once again.

Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has asked Democrats in the House to vote for the compromise bill should they get another chance. That would be 192 votes ( my math could be off by a couple of votes because of various things like representatives with medical problems). Reid and House Speaker Boehner(R-OH) too for that matter, because he was backing the compromise and it would save his ass yet again, need 218 votes for the two month compromise to pass. That means only around 27 Republicans need to decide to be reasonable adults or just want to get home and have some holiday ham. I’m not crazy about making predictions in cases like this because the White House is a wildcard on caving. Republican House rank and file members seem to be ready to go home to their constituents and take the heat for rising blue-collar and middle-class taxes, millions of Americans losing their unemployment benefits which they will than not be spending on rent or consumer goods and preventing millions of seniors on Medicare from seeing their doctor. OK, conservatives are crazy and cold-hearted enough to go scorched earth. Guess who will not be subject to any hardship caused my Republican intransigence. People like Jeb Bush who are the brave risk takers for whom America should be down on it’s knees thanking for all they’ve done screwed everyone out of.

Why do conservatives continue to admire the governing ideologies of tyrants and despots while claiming to be pro freedom – Newt Gingrich and His ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’ Constitution

On Sunday morning, he told Bob Schieffer of CBS News’ Face The Nation that the Capitol police, or federal marshals, could and should come and arrest those judges if they refuse to respond in person to a subpoena seeking to publicly shame them for making unpopular decisions. He also delivered this shuddering version of the Constitution, an unfamiliar Rock-Paper-Scissors version, in which the promise of separation of powers is akin to a playground game:

Here’s the key — it’s always two out of three. If the president and the congress say the court is wrong, in the end the court would lose. If the congress and the court say the president is wrong, in the end the president would lose. And if the president and the court agreed, the congress loses. The founding fathers designed the constitution very specifically in a Montesquieu spirit of the laws to have a balance of power not to have a  dictatorship by any one of the three branches.

Poof, just like that, the leading candidate’s “key” to nowhere. What Gingrich really is saying, under the guise of blasting “elitist” judges, is that the Bill of Rights would no longer be used to protect individual rights because the judges who help ensure those (often unpopular) rights can be outvoted by the White House and the Congress. In President Gingrich’s world, evidently, the Supreme Court would not have the final say on the law. The majority, as represented by the popularly elected branches, would have the ultimate vote. Not in every case, Gingrich says, just in some. Does that reassure you the way he meant it to?

For centuries  authoritarian regimes would remove or over rule decisions made by judges. Judges were thus under pressure not to make unbiased rulings, but to make decisions which would meet the approval of the powers that be. That Gingrich and so much of the conservative base has shown their true ideological leanings is a good thing. Decade after decade conservative have wrapped up their tyranny, their extremism, their just plain batsh*t insane beliefs in the red, white and blue with a dash of twisted dogma and too many people have bought into it at the expense of the nations’ principles and founding values.

Ray Charles – Winter Wonderland

Happy New Year wallpaper – Romney Picks Up Endorsements and Gets Machiavellian

candles, flame, warm colors

Happy New Year wallpaper

 

I hate politics, but observing all the machinations can be fascinating to watch. The pieces – people, sound bites, policy statements, press releases, where to put resources, shifting priorities – all frequently very Machiavellian in nature, if not as well thought out as Machiavelli would have. Mitt Romney has picked up an endorsement from the Des Moines Register, former senator and Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole, recently former tea bagger darling South Carolina’s corrupt governor Nikki Haley and recently former tea bagger  Delaware Senate nominee Christine O’Donnell. Why do these relatively small endorsements mean so much. They start to add up. What becomes a ripple of support can, though not always, turn into a wave of support. Jonathan Bernstein noted the trend last week with some prescient insight in writing about the O’Donnell endorsement. It’s easy to laugh at the I’m not a witch segment of the conservative movement, if you’re on the outside looking in.

Instead, think about the typical Iowa caucus attendee. She’s fairly attentive to politics, certainly compared to the average general election voter. But she’s also very partisan, and used to living in a world in which conservative Republicans are the good guys and liberal Democrats are the bad guys. In other words, she’s inclined to like all of the GOP candidates. She’s also, most likely, suspicious of RINOs and sell-outs. But how can you tell? Well, endorsements actually help with that. After all, would known Tea Party extremist Christine O’Donnell endorse Romney if he was really a (gulp) moderate?

[  ]…So while one obviously shouldn’t put too much weight on any single endorsement, O’Donnell’s not a bad catch for Romney at all. And the truth is that the more clowns he can have on his side, the better. After all, the very first thing to remember about partisan Republicans is that if they find out that liberals don’t like someone, that’s who they want to support. Anything that the Mittster can do to get mocked by liberals is a real plus for him at this point, and for that, O’Donnell is one of the best.

Coincidence or an ominous trend – for Gingrich anyway – he is starting to slide in the polls. While Romney has ticked up a couple of points. Conservatives, as we know, are big on ideological purity. National polls show that Obama would quash Gingrich. Conservatives may be deciding that a little less purity might be the price they have to pay for having an even money chance at taking the presidency. This is not to say there will not be some kicking and screaming as inter-party politics work themselves out. One of Michelle Malkin’s surrogates writes – Romney: I’m the Ideal Tea Party Candidate

Um, okay. Everybody has a different definition of “ideal,” I suppose.

Romney was probably basing that on having recently received S.C. Governor Nikki Haley’s endorsement, but the Tea Partiers I know are saying that’s not proof that Romney has climbed aboard the Tea Party platform, but rather that Haley has stepped off it.

Public opinion of the tea baggers has been on the decline for some time. That lines up with a recent poll that showed most Americans put the blame for Congressional shenanigans and the unwillingness to make reasonable compromise on conservatives.

Conservatives should love Romney, he lacks the same respect for the truth and integrity as most modern conservatives – Why Does Mitt Romney Hate American Values, Like the Truth

 

Black and White Sea Foam and Pier wallpaper

 

Conservatives are taking the recent two month extension of the payroll tax cut as a victory. Whatever. If they lost their roller skates and clown noses they’d tell everyone they planned it that way. This is from The Hill so some skepticism is reasonable – Democrats: Concession to GOP on Keystone will force Obama to kill pipeline

Senate Democrats say the Obama administration will kill the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline, a controversial issue in the debate to extend the payroll tax holiday.

Senate leaders on Friday agreed to a two-month backstop measure to extend payroll tax relief, which included House-passed language to expedite a decision on the pipeline’s construction. The Senate will vote on the measure Saturday morning.

Republicans hailed inclusion of the pipeline provision as a victory, but Democrats said the practical effect of the language would be to kill the project.

“They’ve just killed the Keystone pipeline. They killed it because they forced the president to make a decision before he can make it so he’s not going to move forward with it,” said Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and an ally of environmental groups.

Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) said he was not concerned about giving in to Republicans on the Keystone provision.

“The president is apparently just going to use the option given to him not to let it go [forward],” said Levin. “There’s a waiver in there which we understand the president is going to exercise.”

President Obama is basically a good human being, even if he sometimes disappointing at the political level. That said he and Democrats are not above playing with sound bites to keep Republicans on the edge. They probably truly believe they snatched victory out of the jaws of something. They’ve only delayed the inevitable hostage crisis redux so they can get back  home for the very appropriate turkey dinner.

There’s No Such Thing as an “Indefinite Detention Bill” and Other Pro Left Lies. This guy probably means well but undermines a couple good points by engaging in some egregious “hippie punching“. Pro Left Lies? Lets get off the DLC train of bent knees for a moment. The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2012 contains some – what seems to some very reasonable people – confusing and contradictory language ( a note that it is not a spending bill. Thus all the stuff about the imminent loss of jobs is a bit overwrought. The problematic parts of the bill can be either rewritten or taken out all together, with no harm no foul). Glenn Greenwald is not the only person who finds the language a little scary – Feinstein Introduces Due Process Guarantee Act

Diane FeinsteinOn December 15, just hours after the Senate had passed the compromise version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), Senator Diane Feinstein (D-Calif., left)) introduced a bill, supported by several of her colleagues from across the aisle, to extract at least one of the sharpest teeth from the freedom-devouring monster created by the NDAA.

The measure, entitled the Due Process Guarantee Act of 2011, is an attempt by Feinstein and her co-sponsors to prevent American citizens detained under applicable provisions of the NDAA from being denied their constitutional right to the due process of law.
The stated purpose of the act is:

To clarify that an authorization to use military force, a declaration of war, or any similar authority shall not authorize the detention without charge or trial of a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States and for other purposes.

As Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Feinstein wields considerable power in the upper chamber of the Congress, but even that influence was incapable of attracting enough support for an amendment to similar effect proposed on behalf of herself and Senator Rand Paul during the Senate’s debate on the original bill.

If approved, this newest measure would amend the Non-Detention Act, originally enacted in 1971. Specifically, the bill would add language to 18 U.S.C. § 4001(b). The proposed revamped paragraph would read:

An authorization to use military force, a declaration of war, or any similar authority shall not authorize the detention without charge or trial of a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States apprehended in the United States, unless an Act of Congress expressly authorizes such detention.

Currently, the affected section reads:

(a) No citizen shall be imprisoned or otherwise detained by the United States except pursuant to an Act of Congress.

(b)(1) The control and management of Federal penal and correctional institutions, except military or naval institutions, shall be vested in the Attorney General, who shall promulgate rules for the government thereof, and appoint all necessary officers and employees in accordance with the civil-service laws, the Classification Act, as amended, and the applicable regulations.

Although certainly not a repeal of the NDAA, by comparing the language in the Feinstein amendment to that in the unaltered law, one discovers that the Due Process Guarantee Act serves at least as a parchment barrier to the abuses of the unconstitutional detention power given the President as authorized by the NDAA.

 

If Senator Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) finds the language too ambiguous that might indicate that arguments can be made in good faith that the bill as worded is less than perfect. Let’s also remember that while President Obama might not abuse any gulfs in the interpretations of the bill, that does not mean its better to pass than not. We are not a nation of men – we’re a nation of laws. Literally relying on the mood or temperament of a person is no way to enact laws. We’re all on the same side. If anyone thinks the professional left hippies are using some bad rolling paper you might find this entry from a contributor at Kos written with more clarity and less bile – The Rest of What Levin Said on NDAA Provisions

So we have Obama on record as opposing the indefinite military detention of American Citizens; he advocated for the removal of that section outright.  He also supported DiFi’s amendment to limit the detention to people apprehended “abroad.”  According to DiFi (Dec 6 or 7 session, I forget), this kerfuffle was partly behind Obama’s veto threat, in response to the Armed Services Committee not adopting his request for the “abroad” language in section 1032.  Which is why she offered her amendment.

That amendment for 1032 failed, so she submitted a new one for section 1031, which passed 99-1:

On page 360, between lines 21 and 22, insert the following:

Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect existing law or authorities relating to the detention of United States citizens or lawful resident aliens of the United States or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States.

I think a clear understanding has been gained of the problems inherent in the original bill. I think Members came to the conclusion that they did not want to change present law and they wanted to extend this preservation of current law not only to citizens but to legal resident aliens as well as any other persons arrested in the United States. That would mean they could not be held without charge and without trial. So the law would remain the same as it is today and has been practiced for the last 10 years.

So, according to DiFi, U.S. citizens and legal residents are already exempted from the provisions of section 1031 of the bill.  Levin, from that floor session November 17th, about three hours before the “proof” snippet (1:30:00 or so), agrees with her…

Some good points have been raised on both sides. The points pro and con, absent the hippie punching, have been made in good faith. It is not necessary or productive to have any fights between ideological brethren when you’re all the same page except for some honest confusion over a few words.