Antique Celestial Chart early 1700s – Perhaps the greatest utopia would be if we could all realize that no utopia is possible

Antique Celestial Chart early 1700s. The illustrations of the constellations are amazing, but the chart is also great piece of science history. Mapping the heavens in a very rational and exacting manner was one of the milestones of science and empirical unbiased observation.

 

Newt Gingrich (Serial Adulterer) Rises as Herman Cain (Alleged Adulterer) Falls. The Cain train served its purpose for a while – some observers believe it allowed conservatives to say, see we’re not racists. While it is true that not all conservatives are racists, because race still looms as a large part of white conservative resentment and imagined unfairness, Cain as a phenomenon was bound to come back to haunt them. Newt and Cain are great examples of the slippery rationalism of which the conservative mind is capable. Those “values” they claim to have. It turns out they are made of play-dough, easily malleable to accommodate whatever twisted reasoning pleases them on any particular day. I’m sure that conservatives are convinced they have values. Just as many wife beaters are convinced they did not hit their wife that hard, even as the prosecutor shows the jury the x-rays of the broken bones.

 

A libertarian economist admits he was wrong – I Was Wrong, and So Are You By Daniel B. Klein

But one year later, in May 2011, Buturovic and I published a new scholarly article reporting on a new survey. It turned out that I needed to retract the conclusions I’d trumpeted in The Wall Street Journal. The new results invalidated our original result: under the right circumstances, conservatives and libertarians were as likely as anyone on the left to give wrong answers to economic questions. The proper inference from our work is not that one group is more enlightened, or less. It’s that “myside bias”—the tendency to judge a statement according to how conveniently it fits with one’s settled position—is pervasive among all of America’s political groups. The bias is seen in the data, and in my actions.

While I’m willing to give Klein some credit for noting his own bias, he still gets it wrong in that his question model has a built in bias. There is also some built in survey begging or question begging, abet far more sneaky than the question begging Rupert Murdoch Fox News does – i.e. Do you believe that Obama is a mild or hard core socialist, their version of the how many times a week do you kick your kids question begging. Klein too briefly notes Jonathan Chait’s objections – Insult Retractions: A (Very) Occasional Feature

The structure of the survey was such that agreement with the neoclassical economic model was deemed “correct,” even on issues (such as the notion that the minimum wage costs jobs) where the evidence is far from clear. Klein announced the findings in a Wall Street Journal op-ed declaring “the left has trouble squaring economic thinking with their political psychology, morals and aesthetics.” Conservatives widely trumpeted the findings. I wrote a fairly nasty blog item about it. (I know! I can’t believe it, either.)

If you did not give the answer Klein thought was correct you were ig-nor-rant. If you think that supply-side economics are the living nightmare of hard working Americans who cannot make any progress because all they’re getting is the crumbs the top 10% let trickle down, you’re an economic moron. If you think that utter laissez faire economics is like trying to have a professional sporting events without referees, than you’re an econmic dounce, not a realist. Let’s say Robert Reich or Paul Krugman designed the test, I’m betting libertarians and conservatives would flunk that reality based test.

Must We Permit the US Military to Detain Americans without Trial? – The National Defense Authorization Act before Congress threatens further erosion of US citizens’ civil liberties

Three years ago, former Guantánamo Bay detainee Mustafa Ait Idr cautiously sat with me in a Sarajevo café, spilling hot coffee as he brought the cup to his lips. Though it was seven months after his release, he was still nursing a broken finger – punishment, he said, for refusing to strip naked in his cell – and was unable to fully grasp the cup due to his loss of dexterity. His face was also partially paralysed from beatings, and he told me how his head was held in a toilet for prolonged periods of time.

Upon his release, he met his youngest son for the first time. Ait Idr was one of “the Algerian Six”, a group of European (mainly Bosnian) citizens unlawfully detained at Guantánamo Bay for seven years. In 2008, a US federal judge ordered the release of five of the six men during the first-ever Guantánamo Bay habeas corpus trial. Just to obtain that trial, the men had to prevail in a 5-4 decision from the US supreme court. No charges were ever filed against them.

If the new National Defence Authorisation Act is enacted into law as it is currently written, many believe that American citizens would be in danger of enduring similar indefinite military detention without cause. Last week, the US Senate passed the NDAA, a massive $662bn defense bill with provisions that would amplify the role of the military in the seizure and detention of terror suspects, including US citizens. The act, a lovechild of Senators Carl Levin (Democrat) and John McCain (Republican), would permit the indefinite military detention of US citizens without charges or a trial. While the confusing bill is still a work in progress (the Senate and the House have yet to settle upon a final bill that will go to the president), it is already drawing fierce controversy across the country.

Most legislation is written in somewhat arcane language, such is the nature of legal nomenclature. This is one of those times where absolute clarity is essential. Too many Americans will look at the Mustafa Ait Idr example and say that can’t happen to me, my last name is Jones or Thomas. Try arguing you’ve made a terrible mistake, can’t you see I’m a good American citizen, when they come for you. For some people that is what it takes. Historically if we are at that point, it is too late. You’ll be crying to your cell mates about the injustice of it all.

I’m still leaning on the unscientific Fox News barometer to see who will win the conservative presidential nomination. As of today the winds have shifted to the Newster –  New York Times Explains How Fox News Has Hijacked The Republican Primary

Stanley suggests that Fox News coverage is at least partly responsible for Newt Gingrich’s surge in the polls and she notes that only 12 percent of Iowa Fox viewers support Mitt Romney. If Gingrich does in fact win Iowa that will certainly help to reinforce such a conclusion. The conservative Daily Caller pointed out five days ago that Gingrich’s “ground game has been non-existent in Iowa until just recently.” On the other hand, Romney, Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul are cited as having the strongest ground organizations there.

I remain a little dubious about Newt’s chances. Romney has not gotten particularly combative yet. He might never, getting surrogates such as Ann Coulter to do the dirty work. Not only does Newt’s baggage have baggage according to the reality based community, but the far Right “intellectuals” at The National Review agree. Last but not least, Newt has very little support from conservatives in Congress – Political winds shift to Democrats

“[Gingrich] says outrageous things that come from nowhere and he has the tendency to say them at the exact time to undermine the conservative agenda,” former Sen. Jim Talent (R-Mo.), who is backing Romney, said in a conference call Thursday. “If the nominee is Newt Gingrich, the election is going to be about the Republican nominee, which is exactly what President Obama and the Democrats want.”

Gingrich’s campaign says the criticism shows that Romney is panicking, and getting desperate.

Romney’s supporters are not the only ones worried about Gingrich. “The people who’ve worked with him the most are the ones who are least likely to support him, and that says something,” said one Republican congressman who has not endorsed a candidate.

Some examples of what the far Right considers one of their great thinkers – Newtisms. A glossary of Newt Gingrich’s historical references and out-of-nowhere terminology.

Lean Six Sigma
“If we were serious,” said Gingrich in the Nov. 23 debate, “we would apply Strong America Now’s model of Lean Six Sigma. We would save $500 billion a year by having an efficient effective federal government.” He’s been saying this for months, ever since he encountered Strong America Now—a “grassroots” group created by Lean Six Sigma designer Michael George—and signed its pledge, promising to implement the business-efficiency program. Lean Six Sigma’s tenets include a reorganization of federal employees, with 1 percent of them becoming “white belts” and 3 percent becoming “green belts.”

Newt’s message: I can save more money in one year than those stupid debt plans would have saved, just by making people wear belts.

Conservatives setting at home collecting their Social Security and Medicare, watching Fox propaganda all day, eat up that government efficiency stuff. They’re positive that just a few cuts here and there and, everyone would have a great job and  the nation would be transported to the magic land of Fiscal Nirvana.

 

“Perhaps the greatest utopia would be if we could all realize that no utopia is possible; no place to run, no place to hide, just take care of business here and now.” – Jack Carroll

Black and Blue Retro Watch wallpaper – “You can fool some of the people all the time, and those are the ones you want to concentrate on.”

retro, vintage, time, tank watch

Black and Blue Retro Watch wallpaper

 

I’ve mentioned previously an interesting attack and disinformation technique used by the Right. An issue or event makes the news. The Right slants it, commits sins of omission concerning all the facts, forgets to mention they did the same thing and more often, they feign outrage over mole-hills and get deeply Orwellian in new definitions for words, like torture for instance. Not necessarily just liberals and progressives, but people for whom facts matter, shoot down the right-wing spin. The Right waits a few weeks, sometimes months. They retell the same lies with a slightly different spin. They get shot down again. One of the best examples of this is the periodic retelling of Cheney’s version of how great torture is and all the useful information they got, and by the way is not illegal. There has never been any evidence that torture worked where traditional proven techniques would not, and its still immoral, against the law and endangers our troops and intelligence assets. The Right is running the same propaganda recycling scheme on Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan and the reasons why she should recuse herself from ruling on the ACA( health care reform or ObamaCare) case coming before the court. From the far Right’s regular dispensary of disinformation, CNS News – Internal DOJ Email: Kagan Was Brought Into Loop on Mark Levin’s Obamacare Complaint

Internal Justice Department email communications made just days before the House of Representatives passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act show that then-Solicitor General Elena Kagan was brought into the loop as DOJ began preparing to respond to an anticipated legal complaint that Mark Levin and the Landmark Legal Foundation were planning to file against the act if the House used a procedural rule to “deem” the bill passed even if members never directly voted on it.

In another internal DOJ email communication that same week, Kagan alerted the chief of DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel to the constitutional argument that a former U.S. Appeals Court judge was making against the use of this rule.

CNS posted that “breaking” news on Dec. 9, 2011. Referring everyone to e-mails that another right-wing site published on November 10, 2011. So this breathless headline making new news that is so shocking is a month old. Those notorious e-mails have been around for a while and spun so many times they’re looking like jeans that have been through the hot dry cycle about a thousand times. Gosh they must be correct because they cite law,

A federal law—28 U.S.C 455—says that a Supreme Court justice must recuse from “any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned” or if he “expressed an opinion concerning the merits of the particular case in controversy” while he “served in governmental employment.”

There is no evidence in those e-mails that Kagan violated that law. As the extreme right-wing George W. Bush former Attorney General Michael Mukasey writes,

  The [law] that potentially relates to Justice Kagan requires disqualification “[w]here [the Justice] has served in governmental employment and in such capacity participated as counsel [or] adviser concerning the proceeding or expressed an opinion concerning the merits of the particular case or controversy.“Proceeding” is defined to include all stages of the relevant litigation.

In order to run afoul of that provision, Justice Kagan herself would have had to participate in her official capacity as counsel or adviser in the case at any stage, or expressed an opinion in her official capacity about the merits. Asked during her confirmation proceedings whether she had done so, she said no. Absent evidence to the contrary, there is no reason not to credit that denial. Statements of opinion to friends or former colleagues do not count here.

Before Kagan was appointed to the SCOTUS she was Solicitor General( she represented the entire federal government in business before the SCOTUS). Why calls for Elena Kagan to recuse herself from the Obamacare case are ridiculous.  

The Drudge Report blared Tuesday (with a baffling green photo of Kagan and Obama apparently taken with the aid of night-vision goggles): “Kagan Cheered Obamacare Passage” and broke the news that Kagan sent an e-mail to then-Justice Department adviser Laurence Tribe on the day the House passed the bill, saying: “I hear they have the votes, Larry!! Simply amazing.” Fox News tried to double down on the pretend outrage over Kagan’s astonishment that a law had passed, but even they couldn’t find an ethics expert who agreed, nor could practically anyone else. The rationale for the call for recusal seems to be that Kagan, who did everything in her power to avoid creating a conflict of interest by delegating everything possible to her deputy Neal Katyal, has somehow shown a conflict of interest.

The fallback argument is that her enthusiasm for the legislation somehow represents an “opinion regarding the underlying legal or constitutional issues related to the health care legislation.” Which is a bit like saying that my enthusiasm for wheat toast reflects a constitutional view on Wickard v. Filburn. Take that, plus a healthy dollop of “we haven’t found anything but we’re still sure it’s there,” and you have the full measure of the new crop of biting recusal claims against her.

 

At no time did Kagan participate in any political strategy or maneuvering in order to get ACA passed. Many of the e-mails CNS and other propagandists have cited as smoking gun evidence are e-mails to and from Deputy Solicitor General Neal Katyal. To whom Kagan refereed much questions about the actual constitutionality of the ACA because she wanted to avoid even the appearance of impropriety.

CNS also pulls a nice little trick in appearances themselves by twisting the constitutionality of the final vote by with Kagan. Surface it to say they are two separate issues. The House did pass the ACA through a process called reconciliation. If reconciliation is unconstitutional, yet once again, conservatives have used the process more than Democrats to pass bills. It is a parliamentary procedure that does not necessitate another roll-call vote on a bill the House has already passed. So if the geniuses at CNS, Judicial Watch, the opinion pages of the WSJ and Fox News get their way, every bill passed b y conservatives using reconciliation will be deemed unconstitutional. As is usually the case CNS and the usual suspects are being both dishonest and disingenuous.

Why isn’t CNS, Drudge and so forth as concerned about the conflicts of interests of Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia,

The outcry over Thomas and Scalia and their attendance at events sponsored or supported by the Koch brothers or partisan political groups is simply not comparable to the claims that Kagan is in looooove with Obamacare. Kagan is being criticized for doing her job before she became a justice. Scalia and Thomas are being faulted for participating in extracurricular activities while they are sitting on the court.

[  ]…My friend Lincoln Caplan made this point when he tried to explain why attendance at the Federalist Society event matters, even when it doesn’t matter: “It does not matter whether the group is conservative, liberal or otherwise. Justices, just like federal judges, are public servants, and should preserve the appearance of impartiality to enhance the public’s confidence in the legal system.”

It is well known that the Federalist Society has more in common with the ideals of Leo Strauss than Thomas Jefferson.

Not everyone is savvy to every bit of technology that is available to us. I’ve read that most iPhone users only know how to use less than half the phone’s functions. Still, when someone tells you to press a button to go into the waiting queue how difficult can that be to comprehend. This one happens to be so simple that my older relatives – who are not fond of automated technology – do it all the time when calling their insurance and other companies. From a conservative called  Datechguy – If you’re a conservative Mitt Romney apparently doesn’t want you / Update Romney Camp cries false

Matt Lewis in the daily caller reports that in an attempt to make the case that Newt Gingrich as unacceptable to conservatives proceeded to insult conservatives by taking no questions from conservatives outlets. Here is the list:

JOHN DICKERSON, CBS NEWS
MARK HALPERIN, TIME
LLOYD GROVE, THE DAILY BEAST
EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, TPM
DAVID CORN, MOTHER JONES
PHIL RUCKER, WASHINGTON POST

Talking points memo, TALKING POINTS MEMO?

Stupid isn’t the word here. You are trying to make the case you are more conservative than Newt Gingrich and you not only exclude Conservatives from questions but you take questions from flipping Mother Jones and Talking Points Memo? This is an insult to every conservative news outlet, new media site and blogger out there.

And people complained about the way Herman Cain treated friends, but perhaps the Romney Campaign doesn’t consider conservatives friends.

(my note:   MARK HALPERIN, TIME is a far right conservative who tries to pass himself off as non-partisan)

As Romney’s reps politely explained, they answered every call in the queue. Why didn’t this conservative or other conservatives get into the queue to ask their question? Because they did not press one when directed to do so.

I have participated on these media calls with the White House, and I can ask a question and get it answered right between a question from bigfoot reporters from the New York Times and the Atlanta Journal Constitution. You know what I do? I press ‘1’ on my keypad when instructed to do so. It’s amazing!!

Having been made to look foolish for complaining about something that was their own damn fault, Romney’s critics scarcely flinched before going back on the offensive. Here’s Datechguy writing an open letter to the Romney campaign.

I do have some questions:

1. Have you requested a corrected from Matt Lewis of the daily caller. (UPDATE..apparently so)

2. Is the campaign planning on arranging for any conference calls with conservative activists and/or bloggers.

3. Given the Romney campaign’s attack on Newt Gingrich as unacceptable to conservatives to what degree outside of conference calls does the Romney Campaign plan to reach out to conservative activists and bloggers to advance that position?

4. Given that the MSM is likely to actively support the democratic nominee in this election as it has in every other what is the logic in accommodating said media in any way?

Thanks

Notice how he didn’t apologize for being a dumbass and making a false allegation against the campaign. He just moves on like it never happened. And then his first question is whether or not Romney’s communications guy has asked for a correction from The Daily Caller or only from his shitty blog. How’s that for an inflated sense of self-importance? His second question is whether the Romney campaign is going to arrange a conference call with conservative activists and bloggers. Never mind that the Romney campaign just got done explaining that they had just done precisely that and no conservatives had asked any questions.

 

Maybe people who are that clueless shouldn’t be allowed to ask questions. Would they be able to understand the answers if they did ask them. Attacks on Newt are unacceptable? Didn’t Romney know you don’t criticize other members of  the Cult of Conservatism.

Elizabeth Warren Slams Karl Rove’s Dishonest Attack Ad As ‘Factually Wrong And Morally Wrong’

Feeling the heat of consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren’s lead over Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA), Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS unleashed an extremely disingenuous political ad that insinuated Warren was responsible for the 2008 bank bailout — a patently absurd claim given that the bailout was a Republican measure and that Warren was later chosen as the head of a panel providing much-needed oversight to the program. In fact, she has been a consistent advocate for greater accountability regarding the bailout funds. Warren blasted Rove for the ad, saying, “I can’t find the right words to describe how wrong that is. Factually wrong and morally wrong.” “Karl rove is not telling the truth,” she added. “I think anyone who is not telling the truth shouldn’t be running ads in this race.”

Rove has no idea what the high road is. He has a sordid history of winning by smears. Since he has no ideas or solutions smears have to be his first and last resort. What kind of evil cretin tries to send an innocent man to jail.

 

“You can fool some of the people all the time, and those are the ones you want to concentrate on.” –  George W. Bush

Philadelphia City Skyline wallpaper – The Plutocracy is Good, Fairness is Evil

USA, cites at night, cityscape

Philadelphia City Skyline wallpaper

 

Barack Obama Just Doesn’t Understand What “Fairness” Means

That President Obama has been making some pretty crazy allegations lately. Just listen to this speech he gave Tuesday, with numbers and all…

“The typical CEO who used to earn about 30 times more than his or her worker now earns 110 times more. And yet, over the last decade, the incomes of most Americans have actually fallen by about 6%.”

I know what you’re thinking. “That doesn’t sound very fair to me,” you’re probably whispering to yourself, clutching your Little Red Book as you mutter the word bourgeoisie over and over, trying to get the pronunciation right.

But there’s good news! You don’t have to worry about that pesky “fairness” stuff anymore. Like our misguided and (let’s face it) big-eared president, you just don’t know what fairness means, says this Investors Business Daily op-ed…

For Obama, fairness obviously means more taxes on the rich, more regulations heaped on private industry, and more government spending to give people “a fair shot.”

If you want to read some crazy-clown inside-out thinking, take a trip deep inside the bizarro-world of conservative economic thinking, there are quite a few places on the net that can fulfill that desire, Investors Business Daily excels at making economic justice sound evil and evil sound like mom’s apple pie.

IBD feels that the top 1 to 10 percent deserves to have 90% of the pie. being a real capitalist that would be fine with me if the top 10% created 90% of the nations’ wealth – let’s say GDP. That is not the case. America does not produce wealth based on what a few guys behind a desk on Wall Street or corporate suites do. The nations’ wealth is produced by the average Joes and Janes who lay the bricks, assemble the circuit broads, mount your tires, do the data entry on your insurance policies, put out your house fire and the millions of other jobs where someone has to actually produce a service or a product for consumption. Together these workers produce the national pie. IBD thinks the kings and queens at the top should take 90% of the pie and all the peasants should be happy as hell they get ten percent to divide up among themselves. Frequently conservatives make the argument that people should not have their money used by the government for the relatively tiny amount we spend on food stamps. Food stamps should be a program based entirely on private contributions. Yet here we are America, the wage slaves are being forced by those at the top to provide them with unearned wealth. The most unjust welfare system we have in America is the one where those at the top of this wealth pyramid scheme leech off America’s workers. Remember Elizabeth Warren’s statement about wealth – I’ll paraphrase;  if you have a business and are raking in lots of profit by all means take a nice chunk for yourself, but remember that this country’s infrastructure from roads to fire departments to public universities make your wealth possible. It is only fair that you give some of that back. That conservative find the deeply American egalitarian concept of fairness a horrifying idea is just a continuation, with small alteration, of the attitude of Antebellum plantation owners.

Corporate Tax Dodging Has Cost States More Than $42 Billion In Revenue Over The Last Three Years – These corporations are the real “takers” and leeches. American workers and consumers make their profits possible and all America gets in return is the shaft of economic injustice.

And speaking of Elizabeth Warren, Poll: Elizabeth Warren soars 7 up over Scott Brown . Warren would probably be even farther ahead if not for the Karl Rove Lie Machine called American Crossroads. The latest fundraising numbers from the conservative American Crossroads show the super-rich continue to pony up

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

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

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

Instead of American Crossroads they should have called it Billionaires Against Uppity American Families Who Want Their fair Share. There are two major fronts in conservative class warfare – one is to attack any Democrat with power who is trying to shift the balance back a little toward the middle-class. The other angle of attack is Americans in general. YOU – yes you all out there – working, frequently at a dead-end job, a low paying job, a job where your boss sucks. Or maybe someone who would put up with a jerk of a boss for a decent paycheck – all of you, conservatives think you’re lazy and shiftless. They say so all the time – Obama Didn’t Call Americans Lazy — But Right-Wing Media Routinely Do

That last hyperlink is to Media Matters, who is a real thorn in the rabid Right’s side. So much so they are this desperate – Eric Boehlert of Media Matters Targeted In Bungled ‘Verizon’ Sting

It was the middle of the day on Friday, and Eric Boehlert heard a knock on the door. A senior fellow at Media Matters, a nonprofit watchdog that challenges conservative news outlets, Boehlert works from his Montclair, N.J., home.

A short, bearded man stood outside, holding a clipboard and wearing a Verizon uniform. He asked Boehlert if he’d be willing to take a customer survey. Verizon had, perhaps coincidentally, been at the house a week earlier to handle a downed wire. Boehlert quickly agreed and noted that a Verizon worker had actually failed to show up when he said he would.

It turns out it was some right-wing James O’Keefe or Andrew Breitbart wannabe.

“So there was this pause, and I said, ‘You work for Verizon?’ And he just sort of looks back at me and [says], ‘Will you answer the question? Will you answer the question?’ And I said, ‘Can I see your Verizon ID?’ And he wouldn’t produce any Verizon ID, and I think he asked me another time to answer the question. And basically I just said, ‘I’m done so you can leave now.'”

The man started to walk off.

Boehlert decided to follow him to obtain his license plate number. By now he had realized that the man was likely pulling a political stunt, and James O’Keefe’s notorious “To Catch a Journalist” project came to mind as a possibility.

“The only sort of comical part was he forget which way he was supposed to run in case I started following. He ended up sort of in the road, and he sort of turned left and then right,” said Boehlert. “The last I saw him he was in a full sprint down my street running away from my house.”

 

If Homeland Security ever comes up with a sleaze scanner, conservatives are in real trouble.

Documents: ATF used “Fast and Furious” to make the case for gun regulations.

The two sides in the gun debate have long clashed over whether gun dealers should have to report multiple rifle sales. On one side, ATF officials argue that a large number of semi-automatic, high-caliber rifles from the U.S. are being used by violent cartels in Mexico. They believe more reporting requirements would help ATF crack down. On the other side, gun rights advocates say that’s unconstitutional, and would not make a difference in Mexican cartel crimes.

Two earlier Demand Letters were initiated in 2000 and affected a relatively small number of gun shops. Demand Letter 3 was to be much more sweeping, affecting 8,500 firearms dealers in four southwest border states: Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas. ATF chose those states because they “have a significant number of crime guns traced back to them from Mexico.” The reporting requirements were to apply if a gun dealer sells two or more long guns to a single person within five business days, and only if the guns are semi-automatic, greater than .22 caliber and can be fitted with a detachable magazine.

 

I would agree with the Right on this one up to a point. For the ATF to impose the requirements of Demand Letter 3 simply as a rule rather than legislation passed by Congress would be wrong. Thus such suggestions in an e-mail are shocking to some degree. On the other hand the requirements, should laws mandating the requirements in Demand Letter 3 ever be passed ( very unlikely) they seem like reasonable gun control measures. If some gun sales meet those criteria in highlights, a gun sellers instincts/experience should set off alarms that something fishy, most likely illegal is going down. If I was going to a gun seller and buying two assault style high-powered semi-automatic rifles every two days, doers that sound like I’m a serious hunter or just maybe seriously out to no good.

Blue Skies Frosted Trees wallpaper – In The Book of Conservatism, Nasty is a Virtue

snow, winter, cold, ice

Blue Skies Frosted Trees wallpaper

 

Conservative columnist David Brooks manages to write a column that has more facts than spin or lies – The Wonky Liberal

Republicans have many strong arguments to make against the Obama administration, but one major criticism doesn’t square with the evidence. This is the charge that President Obama is running a virulently antibusiness administration that spews out a steady flow of job- and economy-crushing regulations.

In the first place, President Obama has certainly not shut corporate-types out of the regulatory process. According to data collected by the Center for Progressive Reforms, 62 percent of the people who met with the White House office in charge of reviewing regulations were representatives of industry, while only 16 percent represented activist groups. At these meetings, business representatives outnumbered activists by more than 4 to 1.

Nor is it true that the administration is blindly doing the bidding of the liberal activist groups. On the contrary, the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs and its administrator, Cass Sunstein, have been the subject of withering attacks from the left. The organization Think Progress says the office is “appalling.” Mother Jones magazine is on the warpath. The Huffington Post published a long article studded with negative comments from unions and environmental activists.

The general trend of conservatism, Brooks just dealing with the one example to day, is to be the movement of Chicken-Littleism. Obama has on every measure been less the regulator than either Bush 43 or Reagan. If conservatives are unhappy with their field of presidential candidates, looking for another Reagan, if they are sincere, they’re looking for more regulation. President Obama has been what the Beltway would describe as remarkably centrist. In the real world at real dinner tables Obama seems, especially after his first 18 months in office to have become a Republican-lite president.  One of the reports that Brooks cites is this scathing report from the liberal Progressive Reform, the title alone says a lot, Behind Closed Doors at
the White House: How Politics Trumps Protection of Public Health, Worker Safety, and the Environment(pdf)
.

There was also this recent article from Bloomberg – Obama Wrote 5% Fewer Rules Than Bush While Costing Business.

The number of significant federal rules, defined as those costing more than $100 million, has gone up under Obama, with 129 approved so far, compared with 90 for Bush, 115 for President Bill Clinton and 127 for the first President Bush over the same period in their first terms. In part that’s because $100 million in past years was worth more than it is now due to inflation, Livermore said.

The same people who believe Obama is on some kind of regulatory rampage are the same people who think Iraq had WMD, the earth is only a couple thousand years old and the Muppets are part of a gay conspiracy.

Even though the Bloomberg article shows the public the truth about the size, scope and cost of regulation. It does so on Conservative terms used to define the argument. It is the kind of thinly veiled conservatism that has creeped into MSM journalism over the past fifty years. Where is the report that asks how much it costs the nation for lack of regulation or lack of enforcement. 29 miners dies due to Massey Energy taking safety shortcuts. How much did that lose of life cost the families and the country. Air pollution from cement plants alone contribute to 2,500 premature deaths per year. So when conservatives and “centrist” Democrats talk about curbing regulation because of costs, often times they are talking about a few dollars less in profits for corporations and shifting financial burden and death to individual Americans. Even conservative god Milton Friedman stipulated that corporations had some moral obligations not to cause harm to people. Like so much of conservative orthodoxy, which some Democrats have bought into, is that conservatives value life. They only value life in the abstract – as long as that life is a few cells. If you’re a real human being trying your best to play by the rules, work hard, have a family….well then too bad if  a corporation disabled you, kills you, or lobbies to weaken laws that protect your family. This is the choice they have shoved down America’s throat for years – you’re either “pro-business” and all the disastrous and even deadly code language that stands for or you are a raving commie anti-Christ. If the best business model someone can come up with regularly kills or severely injures people maybe they lack the basic skills to be in business.

Democrats would like to offset the cost of extending the payroll tax cuts with a microscopically tiny surcharge on millionaires. Conservatives, as though there was anything actually conservative about their POV, would rather increase taxes on working class Americans – How to Avoid Being a Principled Republican on Taxes

Democrats want to pay for this with a temporary – not permanent – surtax on any earnings over $1 million, according to their most recent proposal. The surtax would be 1.9 percent, for ten years. (Democrats would also increase the fees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac charge lenders.)

This means someone who earns $1,000,001 would pay just under two cents extra next year, and 19 cents over ten years.

So Democrats, the mad re-distributors of income they are, would charge millionaires less than they pay a year on golf tees. Conservatives have drawn a line in the sand over this obviously evil plot. Personally I would much rather deal with convincing an actual socialist of the benefits of free markets than try to convince a conservative to act like a decent human being.

Under Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker(R) , Wisconsin is No. 1 job loser – Walker ran as a tea bagger conservative who would create jobs. Even though conservatives say government cannot create jobs. Walker did give corporations in Wisconsin yet another big tax break. Supposedly a big middle finger to those tax raisers in Illinois, so that Illinois companies would stampede over to those great tax rates. Didn’t happen. Just more tax cut fairy dust. If nothing else, if you’re a Illinois businessman/woman, with kids, why would you bring your kids to a state that has gutted public education.

The Nastiness of Newt

In the same week that saw the former Speaker of the House become the most serious challenger to Mitt Romney, the Republican very few Republicans seem to like, Gingrich showed his true colors. As part of the ongoing GOP rant against organized labor, he stepped up with a proposal to fire school janitors and replace them with child laborers. Blaming “the core policies of protecting unionization and bureaucratization” for “crippling” children, Gingrich told a Harvard audience, “It is tragic what we do in the poorest neighborhoods, entrapping children in, first of all, in child laws, which are truly stupid.” Gingrich did not misspeak. He was serious in suggesting that “most of these schools ought to get rid of the unionized janitors, have one master janitor and pay local students to take care of the school.”

Even in a party where shamelessness is now considered a virtue, it’s unsettling that a man who collected $30,000 a month for an hour of counsel to Freddie Mac administrators would attack school janitors, who according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics earn a mean wage of $13.74 an hour, or $28,570 a year. In response to Gingrich, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees said, “The people you want to fire and replace with kids? A lot of them are parents. That job puts a roof over kids’ heads, food on the table, and provides them with healthcare and the chance to get an education. That job is the only thing between a kid and poverty.” But Gingrich has never been bothered by the human costs of right-wing social experimentation.

I went ahead and used the Nation’s header for the story even though it is counter productive. Normal people read those paragraphs and cringe at the vacuum of anything resembling integrity, humanity or patriotism. Conservatives read stuff like that and wet themselves with joy. Newt is nasty gets check mark on the conservative wish list of qualities they are looking for in a president.

States rights is one among many farcical stands conservatives have taken over the years, little events like the Civil War don’t mean a thing. They didn’t learn anything from 2000 to  2008, so no reason to learn anything from 1861. Leading GOP Candidates Don’t Want to Return Power to the States

Gingrich’s* answer ought to chill “Tenthers” in the unseen audience. “The Tenth Amendment actually talks about the states and the citizens,” Gingrich said (check the text, he’s got the wording about right). Thus, the implication is, the federal government can reach over the head of the states and empower boards in cities and towns—presumably made up of appointees by President Gingrich, not Governor Whoever—to carry out important federal programs. I’m about as nationalist as they come, but even I never considered the Tenth Amendment as a source of federal power before.

Rick Santorum, also a Washington creature, want the federal government to exercise pastoral authority over our safety and our sex and family lives.  Asked by Bondi whether any part of the Patriot Act was unconstitutional, he said, “no.”  When asked whether states or the federal government should be defending marriage and the family, he said, “the president can lead a revitalization of marriage.”  Asked whether regulation of abortion might be best left to the states, he said, “I support a constitutional amendment”—which would, of course, federalize the issue;

[   ]…Ron Paul fended off Pruitt, who, as the attorney general of the state where the Oklahoma City bombing occurred, asked for an alternative to the PATRIOT Act.  “There’s nothing in our Constitution that says violent acts should be a prerogative of our Constitution.” P Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security were all unconstitutional, but should be phased out slowly. (This riled Cuccinelli: “Why would you sign a budget that contains something unconstitutional?” Paul answered, in effect, be patient, sonny.) Asked whether he opposed any amendments to the Constitution, he wisely cited the Eighteenth, already repealed.

*Gingrich was asked how he would police illegal immigrants.

Ron Paul, who at least on the internet, has this reputation as being a guru of the Constitution. Wouldn’t a guru know which amendments have been repealed. The 18th is commonly referred to as “Prohibition”. Those who think OWS has been rowdy, wait for the senior citizen riots when President Paul decides to declare Medicare and Social Security unconstitutional.

Blue Jazz wallpaper – The Republican Time Machine Would Turn America Into 16th Century Monarchy

Blue Jazz wallpaper

 

This post reminded me of the strange commitment conservatism has made to the redistribution of income and the core economic values behind that redistribution that helped fuel the Great Recession. Conservatives did not learn anything. Gingrich Proposes Flat Tax Windfall for the Wealthy

Gingrich’s plan resembles Perry’s in many respects. Under Newt’s proposal, taxpayers could choose to pay at an optional 15 percent flat tax rate, compared to Perry’s 20 percent. The corporate tax rate would be slashed from 35 percent to 12.5 percent. Like, Perry, Gingrich would eliminate the capital gains tax altogether. (As the Washington Post recently explained the impact of the already historically low 15% capital gains tax rate, “Over the past 20 years, more than 80 percent of the capital gains income realized in the United States has gone to 5 percent of the people; about half of all the capital gains have gone to the wealthiest 0.1 percent.”)

But as Suzy Khimm documented in the Washington Post, Gingrich’s plan would produce an ever larger payday for the upper class than Rick Perry, while ensuring Treasury hemorrhages even more red ink…

Yep, the biggest problem economic problem facing the United States is the wealthy are not getting their just rewards.

Share of nations income gains going to top 1 percent

 

We have made a tectonic shift from a nation that rewards work to a nation that rewards people with a lot of money to even more money. That extreme wealth does not come from great management skills, an argument often made by defenders of the elite, if that were true one has to explain how such great managers lost trillions of the nation’s wealth, sent millions of families into foreclosure and created a lost generation of income earners. Right-wing conservatives have taken to calling the wealthy elite who drained the economy and borrowed money from the government the producers and people who have low paying jobs or just want a job that pays a living wage the “takers”How Unequal We Are: The Top 5 Facts You Should Know About The Wealthiest One Percent Of Americans 

1. The Top 1 Percent Of Americans Owns 40 Percent Of The Nation’s Wealth: As Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz points out, the richest 1 percent of Americans now own 40 percent of the nation’s wealth. Sociologist William Domhoff illustrates this wealth disparity using 2007 figures where the top 1 percent owned 42 percent of the country’s financial wealth (total net worth minus the value of one’s home). How much does the bottom 80 percent own? Only 7 percent:

As Stiglitz notes, this disparity is much worse than it was in the past, as just 25 years ago the top 1 percent owned 33 percent of national wealth.

2. The Top 1 Percent Of Americans Take Home 24 Percent Of National Income: While the richest 1 percent of Americans take home almost a quarter of national income today, in 1976 they took home just 9 percent — meaning their share of the national income pool has nearly tripled in roughly three decades.

3. The Top 1 Percent Of Americans Own Half Of The Country’s Stocks, Bonds, And Mutual Funds: The Institute for Policy Studies illustrates this massive disparity in financial investment ownership, noting that the bottom 50 percent of Americans own only .5 percent of these investments:

Wealth distribution

 

We bailed out Limbaugh’s heroes at the top and have had to fight tooth and nail to get unemployment benefits for the victims of the national Ponzi scheme rum by the figures of Limbaugh and the Right’s idolatry. The hardest working among the top 1% work real hard in their over stuffed leather club chairs tracking the millions in income they get from creating jobs capital gains. These producers are just 16th century royalty with newer technology. Now as then, the modern feudal serfs do all the actual work which produces the value or capital on which the wealthy derive their money. Voting for Obama may not change the big picture, but voting for Newt or Mitt or any other conservative in the 2012 elections will just see this pattern of income redistribution from the peasants to the royals accelerate.

Herman Cain Suspends His Presidential Campaign

“As of today, with a lot of prayer and soul searching, I am suspending my presidential campaign,” Mr. Cain said. “Because of the continued distractions, the continued hurt caused on me and my family, not because we are not fighters. Not because I’m not a fighter.”

Mr. Cain, with his wife at his side, adamantly professed Saturday that the accusations of sexual harassment and of a long-term affair that have swamped his campaign were not true.

Cain has said that God told him to run for president. He now says people have said mean untruths, which he claims are not true. Though not true they are reason enough to call it a day. You know them by the strength of their backbone. The Right said far worse about Obama – who one assumes would be included in Cain’s previous assertion ( video) that black Americans have been brainwashed – and yet Barack Obama is now the President of the U.S.A. Cain, in a fashion similar to Sarah Palin has confessed that he does not have the moral strength to continue in the face of adversity. Has Cain brainwashed himself. That may seem like snark, but consider that in Cain’s book – which he has spent a good deal of his campaign hawking rather than organizing his support troops in key states – calls himself the CEO of Self. It is Cain’s own view that everyone is utterly and always responsible for themselves. There are no external problems that can account for your lot in life. It does not matter if you’re been unfairly terminated from your job, some Wall Street thieves wreck the economy, someone steals your car, you have a lousy math teacher, your parents beat you to the point of abuse, you were born with a birth defect, had your legs blown off in an unnecessary war – no excuses – you are the CEO of You. No one ever needs any help in Cain world – unless you personally have an affair with Cain then he might send you the occasional check.

But after reading This Is Herman Cain!, I doubt very much that is how he sees things. Cain is so serene, so certain of his superiority to most of those around him, so assured that he is carrying out God’s plan for him and for America…, that he thinks that in fact, it’s everyone else’s candidacy that is a joke or a lark. He writes like a man who is confident that he will wake up on January 20, 2013, ready to take the oath of office. To Cain, this has all been foreordained…. He doesn’t have a ground operation in New Hampshire because true CEOs of Self don’t need things like ground operations. They exert their will and they win.

As the NYT piece notes Cain has blamed his predicament on the press ( a dry rotted standby excuse for every conservative) and a conspiracy by his conservative opponents. Funny how all that personal responsibility stuff gets trashed as soon as a Republican finds themselves in trouble.

 

America Wins War on Terror (9-11-01 to 12-1-11)

What Senators McCain (R, Arizona) and Levin (D, Michigan), and those who voted for the legislation that they sponsored, cleverly realized, however, is that since the terrorists are attacking America for its freedoms and “way of life”, the only sure way to win the war is to eliminate all of those freedoms and way of life so that the terrorists will have no further reason to fight. (This is why the comprehensive laws that already exist in the USA that make the aiding and abetting of any terrorist organization or activity a crime, but leave untouched the inalienable rights of American citizens, simply do not suffice.)

Robin Koerner notes the bill passed (sections 1031 and 1032 being the subject of most concern). While it may not be much consolation that President Obama has promised to veto the NDAA as written, those onerous provisions are not likely to become actual law for now. If you are looking for someone to follow on what’s up with the NDAA,  Adam Serwer is doing a good job, A defense funding bill would mandate military detention of foreign-born terrorism suspects apprehended in the United States.

The bill also authorizes the indefinite military detention of American citizens and permanent residents if they are suspected of links to Al Qaeda, something so controversial that even the Bush administration balked at it, slipping Jose Padilla back into the criminal justice system after years of military detention in order to avoid a confrontation with the Supreme Court. Congress is preparing to overturn a precedent that was followed almost without exception by the Bush administration: Domestic terrorism arrests are the province of law enforcement, not the military. The provision passed out of the Democratic-controlled Senate Armed Services Committee with only a single dissenting vote, from Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.).

As many might remember when Abdulmutallab “the underwear” bomber was taken into custody conservatives wanted him simply disappeared into some military prison without trail. The language in sections of 1031 and 1032 are written in such contradictory and obtuse wording that such whisking off without due process, could happen to any American – say a tea partier or a OWS protester. Abdulmutallab was convicted in a civilian court with legal representation. He’ll die in prison.

 

 

Some documentation of injustice against Americans for exercising their 1st amendment rights, People Locked in Tiny Cages, Crying in Pain: What I Saw and Heard When the LAPD Threw Me in Jail for Exercising My Right to Protest the Oligarchy. When I read what these people went through I could not help but think of the video that much of the national and local media ran of the arrest of Jerry Sandusky. Here’s a monster that has sexually battered ten or more children. He’s in handcuffs, in a nice suit and tie being ever so gently led into court for his formal arraignment. Over the years we’ve all seen serial killers, rapists and other assorted monsters humanely treated as they are arrested and jailed. The OWS protesters have been physically brutalized, arrested, brutalized again and have grossly unfair bonds set. Many have been kept in custody when many others arrested for actual crimes have been let go on their own reconnaissance without even being required to have bail. Here a sheriff’s deputy was arrested for stealing from his own department, no bail required. This Is Definitely Not What Democracy Looks Like

 After a “citizens’ arrest” by a security guard for a building largely owned by Goldman Sachs, police obligingly arrested political activist and Democratic congressional candidate Ray Lutz – in Freedom Plaza, home to Occupy San Diego – for registering voters.

I have mixed feelings about OWS in terms of strategy, long-term plans –  how are they going to get anyone to take action against what they rightly see as economic and social injustice by continuing the camp outs. That said why do I see protesters, who for the most part mean well, but are hardly a threat to anything or anyone, yet so many city governments and police departments see them as such a big threat that the only way to deal with them is through tactics that are not even used on America’s worse monsters. While as usual we came at the events from slightly different perspectives, America’s far Right and moderates  condemned Putin’s crackdown on Russian protesters. Protesters who were protesting the rule of “thieves”. Is it the intention of local mayors and police to be America’s Putin-style enforcers for the powers that be.

Russian protesters arrested

 

USA police arrest protester

 

 

House Lights and Snow wallpaper – The Stench of Conservatism Continues to Thrive In Small Minds

winter snow, holidays

House Lights and Snow wallpaper

Black and White Canyon and Clouds wallpaper

Gingrich: Poor kids have bad work habits ‘unless it’s illegal’

GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said Thursday that “really poor children” have bad work habits and no knowledge of how to make an income “unless it’s illegal.”

Doubling down on his argument that children in poor neighborhoods should be employed as janitors in schools, Gingrich argued that the best way to teach children in poor neighborhoods good working habits is to put them to work as soon as possible.

“Start with the following two facts,” Gingrich said Thursday at a campaign stop in Iowa.

“Really poor children in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works, so they literally have no habit of showing up on Monday,” Gingrich said.

“They have no habit of staying all day. They have no habit of ‘I do this and you give me cash’ unless it’s illegal.”

Gingrich said every successful person he knows started working at an early age in explaining his position that schools should hire poor children in their neighborhoods for part-time jobs as assistant librarians or assistant janitors.

I’m not particularly outraged by this, after all I did blog through most of the Bush 43 administration and the national mental breakdown known as the tea bagger uprising. Some thoughts do come to mind. Newt is an intellectual, he and his supporters will be happy to tell that to anyone who will listen and even those who have better use for their time. What jobs does Newt plan on finding for the janitors and librarians the kids replace. If he is not going to replace, but supplement the janitorial staff, where is the money going to come from to pay them. Janitors and librarians work for schools that are financed by a combination primarily of property taxes and federal grants. Why does an intellectual conservative think the children of America’s poor families have no work ethic, knowledge of where money comes from and poor families are somehow innately lacking in morality. Is that from a study or is that a known certainty which Newt has magically divined from out of the ether. Is it Newt’s contention that wealthy children work their little fingers to the bone for everything they have. Newt was Speaker of the House from 1995 to 1999. In 1996 President Bill Clinton signed welfare reform or Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act into law.

The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA, Pub.L. 104-193, 110 Stat. 2105, enacted August 22, 1996) is a United States federal law considered to be a fundamental shift in both the method and goal of federal cash assistance to the poor. The bill added a workforce development component to welfare legislation, encouraging employment among the poor. The bill was a cornerstone of the Republican Contract With America and was introduced by Rep. E. Clay Shaw, Jr. (R-FL-22) who believed welfare was partly responsible for bringing immigrants to the United States.[1] Bill Clinton signed PRWORA into law on August 22, 1996, fulfilling his 1992 campaign promise to “end welfare as we have come to know it”.[2]

PRWORA instituted Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) which became effective July 1, 1997. TANF replaced Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program which had been in effect since 1935 and also supplanted the Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training (JOBS) program of 1988. The law was heralded as a “reassertion of America’s work ethic” by the US Chamber of Commerce, largely in response to the bill’s workfare component. TANF was reauthorized in the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005.

Newt, the guru of ideas, the wizard of facts, the grand pontificater of all things shiny and true should know – since he was there, that in order to collect TANF – what everyone commonly refers to as welfare – one had to work thirty hours week as TANF was originally passed. Thus the program was not a free ride even then. During the Bush 43 administration the work requirements were increased to forty hours. If you do not have a job you will most likely not be able to federal welfare * see below. If you’re single woman or man without a job, do not bother to apply for TANF, you have a better chance wining the lottery. No one, for any reason, may collect TANF for more than 5 years during their entire lifetime. You’re face down in a gutter, poor and hungry. Too bad if you have no job or you collected TANF for five years. Conservatives have been puling this class warfare stuff against imaginary lazy poor people living high off the hog for decades. I would even agree that the requirements and benefits got a little crazy for a few years back in the 1970s. So hey Newt, the 1970s are calling and they have your moldy old taking points ready.

Highlights of TANF
Work Requirements:

With few exceptions, recipients must work as soon as they are job-ready or no later than two years after coming on assistance.
To count toward a State’s work participation rate, single parents must participate in work activities for an average of 30 hours per week, or an average of 20 hours per week if they have a child under age six.  Two-parent families must participate in work activities for an average of 35 hours a week or, if they receive Federal child care assistance, 55 hours a week.
Failure to participate in work requirements can result in a reduction or termination of a family’s benefits.
States cannot penalize single parents with a child under six for failing to meet work requirements if they cannot find adequate child care.
States must engage a certain percentage of all families and of two-parent families in work activities or face financial penalty.

The fact is  – my facts tend to be based on the realities here on earth rather than the facts Newt has pipped in from another time and dimension – that most poor Americans work and poor teens tend to seek work so that they will have money. Teens, still children, yet old enough to work and nothing prevents them from getting a job if they can find an opening – Poorest teens have hardest time finding summer jobs

Perhaps the Newtster knows why employers tend to prefer to hire white middle-class kids rather than poor minorities. Across the net, conservative radio and other right-leaning media is the constant admonition to the poor to find a job. It turns out they would love to have job if they do not have one, would like full-time work if they can only find part-time and get part-time jobs when possible to help pay living expenses:

Those looking for part-time work has rocketed during the recession. Calculated Risk Blog

Some people see ghost and goblins all around, conservatives see lazy Americans everywhere. Which brings up a rhetorical question – I already know the answer – why do conservatives claim to love the U.S.A. yet constantly claim that Americans are lazy schemers trying to get something for nothing. I think we all know people like that. They come in a variety of religions, colors, economic backgrounds and educational levels. I tend to think lazy scheming is bad regardless of where it originates, while conservatives are only concerned with moral slacking when it comes from the working poor. It was the wealthiest people in the U.S.A. that stole trillions of dollars from the nation. While I know those Wall Street ratbags would claim they work hard, they hardly shingle roofs all day, or take temperatures and urine samples, or lay asphalt in blistering heat or freezing cold. Just a few stats from The Working Poor Families Project  policy brief for the winter of 2010-11(pdf)

* There were more than 10 million low-income working families in the United States, an increase of nearly a quarter million from the previous year.

* Forty-five million people, including 22 million children, lived in low-income working families, an increase of 1.7 million people from 2008.

* Forty-three percent of working families with at least one minority parent were low income, nearly twice the proportion of white working families (22 percent).

* Income inequality continued to grow with the richest 20 percent of working families taking home 47 percent of all income and earning 10 times that of low-income working families.

* More than half of the U.S. labor force (55 percent) has “suffered a spell of unemployment, a cut in pay, a reduction in hours or have become involuntary part-time workers” since the recession began in December 2007.

I’m not picking on this particular commenter at a right-wing conservative site called The Lonely Conservative, he just happens to typify the thinking of the conservative mind – Did Newt Bash Poor Children Before or After Declaring He Will Be the Nominee?

Denny on December 1, 2011 at 10:57 pm

Actually, Newt certainly did not “bash” poor children, but just the OPPOSITE, wanting to better their lives with some ideas that he hopes will end up becoming the solutions that people coalesce around. I worked a paper route when I was about 12 years old.

With so-called “friends” such as mud-throwing, inaccurate, character-assassinating fellow Conservatives helping Obama with their attack ads with scurrilous and misleading headlines, Obama is getting the help he needs to win re-election so that he can seriously and finally solidify his power for good and fundamentally transform the United States from a Constitutional Republic into the Fascist States of America, with him at the helm. Go Newt! 777denny

What’s Denny’s point? I’m a progressive Democrat. I had a paper route. I’ve been in management and had direct P&L responsibility. I’ve worked hard. I know the value of a dollar and how difficult it is to get ahead. Denny must be aware, with his depth of knowledge that the old U.S.S.R was a constitutional republic. The devil is, as they say, in the details. We might be evolving into some fascist-lite state, but that trend was started by a political movement that believed in the unitary executive. If Obama is continuing that trend to some degree, see George or Dick, or movement conservative thinkers such as Newt,  Bill Kristol ( there is a thoughtful evidence based article that puts Kristol and the intellectual foundation of modern conservatism much closer to proto-facism than Obama), John Yoo or anyone at right-wing think-tanks like the Hoover Institute. Two more facts. One is that America’s largest corporations are making record profits under the Obama administration. If that is fascism than America’s power brokers only want more of the same. Most of the legislation passed by Congress is written by American business and special interests. Conservatives and a sizable minority of Democrats have not shown the inclination, desire or backbone to put the power of the legislation process back into the hands of the people. Newt is a long time paid up member of this elite club of policy makers.

Here is a business man who belongs to the reality based community – Raise Taxes on Rich to Reward True Job Creators

It is a tenet of American economic beliefs, and an article of faith for Republicans that is seldom contested by Democrats: If taxes are raised on the rich, job creation will stop.

Trouble is, sometimes the things that we know to be true are dead wrong. For the larger part of human history, for example, people were sure that the sun circles the Earth and that we are at the center of the universe. It doesn’t, and we aren’t. The conventional wisdom that the rich and businesses are our nation’s “job creators” is every bit as false.

I’m a very rich person. As an entrepreneur and venture capitalist, I’ve started or helped get off the ground dozens of companies in industries including manufacturing, retail, medical services, the Internet and software. I founded the Internet media company aQuantive Inc., which was acquired by Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) in 2007 for $6.4 billion. I was also the first non-family investor in Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN)

Even so, I’ve never been a “job creator.” I can start a business based on a great idea, and initially hire dozens or hundreds of people. But if no one can afford to buy what I have to sell, my business will soon fail and all those jobs will evaporate.

That’s why I can say with confidence that rich people don’t create jobs, nor do businesses, large or small. What does lead to more employment is the feedback loop between customers and businesses. And only consumers can set in motion a virtuous cycle that allows companies to survive and thrive and business owners to hire. An ordinary middle-class consumer is far more of a job creator than I ever have been or ever will be.

Mr. Hanauer also has what is sorely lacking among conservatives like Newt or any of the conservative presidential candidates, humility. Robert Reich wrote about this phenomenon recently, Meet the new Social Darwinists – Newt, Mitt and other GOP candidates are peddling policies based on this discredited justification for inequality

They call themselves conservatives but that’s not it, either. They don’t want to conserve what we now have. They’d rather take the country backwards – before the 1960s and 1970s, and the Environmental Protection Act, Medicare, and Medicaid; before the New Deal, and its provision for Social Security, unemployment insurance, the forty-hour workweek, and official recognition of trade unions; even before the Progressive Era, and the first national income tax, antitrust laws, and Federal Reserve.

They’re not conservatives. They’re regressives. And the America they seek is the one we had in the Gilded Age of the late nineteenth century.

It was an era when the nation was mesmerized by the doctrine of free enterprise, but few Americans actually enjoyed much freedom. Robber barons like the financier Jay Gould, the railroad magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt, and the oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller, controlled much of American industry; the gap between rich and poor had turned into a chasm; urban slums festered; women couldn’t vote and black Americans were subject to Jim Crow; and the lackeys of rich literally deposited sacks of money on desks of pliant legislators.

While it would seem that writing a blog is about changing minds I have few goals in that regard especially with conservatives who pass by. They have never been interested in facts, the common good, individual rights ( except maybe the 2nd amendment), economic or social justice. They seem completely motivated largely by money as a route to power. If America becomes a nation of cold dog-eat-eat dog survivalists who will trample over others to get at the crumbs they let trickle down, they’d be perfectly happy with that. It would be an America of sorts, the America of 1860.

Not a great jobs report for this quarter, but not Michele Bachmann’s dream come true either – Jobless Rate Drops to 8.6%, Economy Adds 120,000 Jobs

Ideologically, what group of Americans does this report remind you of,  Saudis fear there will be ‘no more virgins’ and people will turn gay if female drive ban is lifted

Repealing a ban on women drivers in Saudi Arabia would result in ‘no more virgins’, the country’s religious council has warned.

A ‘scientific’ report claims relaxing the ban would also see more Saudis – both men and women – turn to homosexuality and pornography.

The startling conclusions were drawn by Muslim scholars at the Majlis al-Ifta’ al-A’ala, Saudi Arabia’s highest religious council, working in conjunction with Kamal Subhi, a former professor at the King Fahd University.

One does not have to look far in the U.S. to see similar “scientific” studies and claims – Right-wing conservatives at Daily Caller Promotes “Grossly Inadequate” Study Linking Abortion And Breast Cancer.