Black and White Sea Rocks Sunset wallpaper – “A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned to walk forward.”

Black and White Sea Rocks Sunset wallpaper

 

Just in case anyone was down in the cellar stocking up on canned goods and good sense in case of a Santorum dictatorship, this profile of President Obama by James Fallows – Obama, Explained –  is exhaustive or exhausting, I’m still trying to decide. I am sure that not every word is like some writ in granite. When we observe people – listen to them, sum of their actions, we do so through our own personal filters. The best one can do is make objectivity your goal. Thus not everyone will agree with the good or not so good. My biggest take-away was a confirmation of things I observed – and another blogger who I can’t remember, sorry about that. It is that Obama likes consensus not just in terms of it being part of what pundits have described as his political DNA, but also using legislation as a way of branding a national course of events. Over the past sixty years Democrats have relied on the courts to hold back the worse excesses of the far Right – the wired and bite biting world of the tenthers and the Federalist Society, especially in terms of civil liberties and equality under the law. I’ll leave it to others to think up a catchy name for Democrats like Obama who want to shift more of the burden of change to legislation. Many Americans view our country as majority rule democracy. That is not the case, thankfully. If the majority wanted to start throwing gays, unwed mothers, the working poor, the disabled and abortion providers into some kind of barbed wire work camps tomorrow because hand in hand with our respect for the wishes of the majority is a small r republican commitment to individual rights.  The latter is supposed to protect us from prejudices based on race, religion, misogyny, homophobia, myths contrary to reason and science – from, in other words, the mob mentality. If you have discussions, give and take, the pros and cons, the costs and benefits, Obama thinks you come up with something that has more substantial cultural standing than rulings handed down by courts. He is right in his own way. Even though the courts have frequently been right – Brown v Board of Education, Roe v Wade, Dred Scott v. Sandford, Plessy v. Ferguson – to this day, those that keep up with civil liberties issues know that conservatives are committed to either rolling back those decisions completely or breaking them down at the edges. Obama knows that, as most of us do – thus the panic over SOPA and ACTA – that once a law is passed, it is very very difficult to repeal. Bills do not get passed without a majority vote. So those that oppose passed legislation have a very steep uphill battle to undo what has been done – like health care reform i.e. ObamaCare, Medicare, Social Security, workman’s compensation or minimum wage laws. All those acts of legislation enjoy solid majority support from the American people even though they were all subject to the usual demonizing. This emphasis on forming consensus and basing a legacy on legislation made as a result of that in an era when conservatism is so far to the Right, so dominated by scorched earth tactics, is so reliant on the politics of personal destruction makes consensus politics obviously very frustrating to the core Democratic constituency. One of the many strange memes the far Right likes to repeat is that Obama is a rigid Chicago style political bully. If Obama has a second term, which looks very likely at this stage, and has a majority in the House, look for less consensus and more hardball. If conservatives are off the rails now, just wait.

Some of the better links on what is a non-controversy – Most of Obama’s “Controversial” Birth Control Rule Was Law During Bush Years

In December 2000, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled that companies that provided prescription drugs to their employees but didn’t provide birth control were in violation of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prevents discrimination on the basis of sex. That opinion, which the George W. Bush administration did nothing to alter or withdraw when it took office the next month, is still in effect today—and because it relies on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, it applies to all employers with 15 or more employees. Employers that don’t offer prescription coverage or don’t offer insurance at all are exempt, because they treat men and women equally—but under the EEOC’s interpretation of the law, you can’t offer other preventative care coverage without offering birth control coverage, too.

Look at the mainstream media and who says there is a controversy ( VP Biden is not helping by confirming there is one). It is mostly white males over 60. Not to be an ageist, but it also happens that it is mostly of the Right of center pundits who dominate the Beltway noise machine. Rules Requiring Contraceptive Coverage Have Been In Force For Years

In fact, employers have pretty much been required to provide contraceptive coverage as part of their health plans since December 2000. That’s when the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled that failure to provide such coverage violates the 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act. That law is, in turn, an amendment to Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which outlaws, among other things, discrimination based on gender.

Here’s how the EEOC put it at the time: “The Commission concludes that Respondents’ exclusion of prescription contraceptives violates Title VII, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, whether the contraceptives are used for birth control or for other medical purposes.”

But it’s not only the EEOC that has ruled on the issue. More than half the states have similar “contraceptive equity” laws on the books, many with religious exceptions similar or identical to the one included in the administration’s regulation.

That’s no accident. “The HHS rule was modeled on the exceptions in several state laws, including California, New York and Oregon,” says Lipton-Lubet of the ACLU.

And to repeat for the third time – Obama’s Conscience Protection Clause Has Been Upheld In Court

Indeed, the government should not infringe on a house of worship’s religious doctrine, but it should also protect the liberties and rights of employees who work for religiously officiated institutions that serve the public good. Colleges or universities are free to preach about the evils of contraception to their workers. Yet since 58 percent of women use contraception for medical reasons besides, or in addition to, family planning, the decision to swallow the pill should be left to the conscience of every employee and the employer should never be allowed to stand in between a woman and her doctor.

Of course conservatives want to make this – suddenly as we can see – a religious issue, because in reality it is a civil rights issue. These very same plans offer coverage for Viagra, vasectomies and prostate problems. Why would male Catholics have their reproductive related health issues paid for, but not women. If you’re a conservative and you see women as not complete citizens – say three fifths of a real human being – than double talking your way around equivalent coverage for women is easy.

Contrary To “Entitlement Society” Rhetoric, Over Nine-Tenths of Entitlement Benefits Go to Elderly, Disabled, or Working Households

Some conservative critics of federal social programs, including leading presidential candidates, are sounding an alarm that the United States is rapidly becoming an “entitlement society” in which social programs are undermining the work ethic and creating a large class of Americans who prefer to depend on government benefits rather than work.  A new CBPP analysis of budget and Census data, however, shows that more than 90 percent of the benefit dollars that entitlement and other mandatory programs[1] spend go to assist people who are elderly, seriously disabled, or members of working households — not to able-bodied, working-age Americans who choose not to work.  (See Figure 1.)  This figure has changed little in the past few years.

 

In the Book of How to be a Conservative Assclown – the chapter that is drilled into the head of every sycophantic convert is the myth that an able-bodied adult American can seat around eating Cheetos, drinking beer all day in a nice home air-conditioned home and the government pays for it all. When most of someone’s point of view is based on a foundation of lies it is a political movement or a cult.

 

“A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned to walk forward.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt

George Washington and the Paparazzi

Now on display in the Public Vaults of the National Archives in Washington, DC, is an original letter written by President Washington to his friend, Gov. Henry Lee of Virginia, on July 3, 1792. In the letter, Washington turns down the request of the artist William Williams, who asked through Gov. Lee to paint the President’s portrait. As Mount Vernon associate curator Laura Simo explains, Washington was fed up with posing for portraits, a frequent duty when he was President. In the letter, Washington complains that the painters frequently hawk cheap versions of his portrait to the public. National Archives curator Alice Kamps — who chose the letter and curated its exhibit — describes the painters as the 18th-century equivalent of today’s paparazzi. Williams did paint Washington’s portrait, which now hangs in Alexandria-Washington Masonic Lodge 22. Lodge archivist Hans Pawlisch tells the story of how the portrait came to be there. And National Archives paper conservator Yoonjoo Strumfels explains the conservation treatment of the original George Washington document.

Sun Flowers Meadow wallpaper – Conservatism is a Substanceless Obsession, a Political Train Wreck

sunrise, nature, landscape

Sun Flowers Meadow wallpaper

 

Romney Rebuked in ‘Mini-Tuesday’ Republican Primaries

No delegates were directly awarded by Tuesday night’s primary in Missouri (it was non-binding) or caucuses in Colorado and Minnesota (as in Iowa, they were merely precinct-delegate elections accompanied by a presidential poll). But the results — Rick Santorum’s stunning sweep of all three states — were nonetheless a major rebuke to Mitt Romney.

Santorum could not have had a better night. He won Missouri by a stunning 30 points over the second-place Romney. In Minnesota, Romney polled a distant third, with Ron Paul in second place. And in Colorado, where Romney thought he had a safe lead, Santorum staged an upset.

Giving his victory speech in Missouri, Santorum made the most of the opportunity, giving a rallying cry of a speech that emphasized his strengths: authenticity and passion. He mounted a tough-talking attack on President Obama that made him sound like a nominee-in-waiting — “He thinks he knows better. He thinks he’s smarter. He thinks some privileged person should be able to rule over all of you” — while never losing sight of Romney, either. (emphasis mine)

Little Rick Santorum today's wing-nut cock of the walk

Little Rick Santorum today’s wing-nut cock of the walk

I understand the elitist rabid Right using the elitist card, but Santorum used it in an obvious fumble. Why is he or the other candidates running for office, or any right-winger for any office. Because they think they know “better”. If Santorum doesn’t think he is better – a fundamental component of arrogance – than why bother. Read conservative web sites, magazines and blogs, listen to right-wing radio – the daily message is that they are superior and have all the answers. It doesn’t matter how often or deeply they fail at government, they believe in their innate superiority over others. There is some of that arrogance in all politicians. Though  Democrats do see governing as a battle of ideas. They have better ideas about the economy – as their record shows. When the discussion turns to poverty conservatives tout statistics that show the current generation of Americans have things like TVs and wash machines. They just be too clever. What they’re proving with those stats is that programs like Medicaid, Social Security, along with public policy programs like education funding, community colleges and a public university system do lift large numbers of people out of the abject poverty we had in the 1960s and before. Having a minimum wage that automatically increased with the cost of living would also help more.

When conservatives like Santorum, Gingrich and Romney think of the current state of the economy they think they and conservative polcies had nothing to do with it. Some how via magical unicorns the economy just got to where it is. If that rationalization doesn’t work they’ll blame Freddie Mac ( Freddie Mac has had some corrupt executives over the years, but they are not what caused the financial meltdown). Or some how the gov’mint caused it. True the government had a hand it, but not in the way Santorum believes. Bush and a conservative Congress could have done far more to reign in Wall Street excesses and choose not to. All the conservative presidential candidates have a lot in common in their platforms. Among their top priorities? Gutting the modest financial reforms that would better protect consumers and investors. Wall Street is back to trading derivatives they cannot pay off. The same for CDOs. If there is a conservative president and a conservative Congress should Wall Street collapse once again they’ll find some way to deflect blame. Most of us probably have an acquittance or co-worker like that. If they lose at cards or bowling, or their ideas at work always fail, it is never their fault.

If Freddie and Fannie are evil than why, until last night, were the two front runners neck deep in Freddie and fannie money. We all know that Newt took Freddie mac money as an “historical” consultant, but Mitt has some big bucks invested in them – big bucks to me anyway, Romney Pummels, Profits From Fannie, Freddie

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has long been critical of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, blaming the government-backed housing lenders for inducing the home-mortgage crisis and saying they have become too unwieldy.

“I look at Fannie and Freddie and just think that obviously they’ve grown massively beyond the scope that had been envisioned for them originally,” he said two weeks ago at a forum in South Carolina. “The failures of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Barney Frank, Chris Dodd are just so legion that we have to rethink about how we’re going to support a growing housing industry.”

Yet Romney has profited from investments that were made in both government entities, according to his personal finance disclosure forms and documents compiled by American Bridge, one of several Democratic groups in Washington formed to back the election campaigns of Obama and other Democrats.

The issue illustrates the potential perils for a candidate with vast financial holdings whose rhetoric does not necessarily match his investment interests.

“Once again, Mitt Romney has proven his hypocrisy knows no limits,” said Ty Matsdorf, spokesman for American Bridge, which was formed earlier this year and has been going through the records of President Obama’s potential opponents. “To continually attack the housing crisis, yet invest up to a half a million dollars in the major players is absolutely mind boggling. I didn’t know a person could flip flop on themselves, but Romney has proven that wrong.”

[…]

Romney made the investment in a mutual fund called the Government Obligation Fund, managed by Federated Investors Inc. The fund invests in a wide variety of sources, including government agencies and US Treasury notes. But out of a $28.5 billion portfolio, nearly half of the fund was in Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Federal Home Loan Bank notes, according to an SEC filing made in April.

Those Who In Live Glass Houses…Mitt and Fannie

 

I had to read some Wingnuttia analysis of why Romney bombed and Santorum won, so who better than Always Wrong Bill Kristol, Romneycare: Worth Getting Worried About

So Santorum has a chance. He’s run an impressive campaign, but he’d better be wearing armor and kevlar tomorrow morning, when the Romney team unleashes all of its negative artillery against him. But what can Romney dwell on that would damage Santorum as much as Romneycare harms Romney? When Santorum was assailing Romney on health care in Jacksonville, Romney told Santorum, “It’s not worth getting angry about.” Well, the voters in Missouri and Minnesota may not have been angry, but something about Mitt Romney concerned them. I suspect at the heart of their concern was Romneycare. And I suspect it’s worth Mitt Romney getting worried about.

Romneycare and probably reached a peak 22 debates ago. Certainly Democratic pundits and bloggers know that Romney took a lot of pride in signing it into law and the right-wing conservative Heritage Foundation was proud that they thought the plan was the responsible free market solution to getting everyone in Massachusetts insurance. Is it possible that  for tens of thousands of conservatives the light suddenly came on. It’s possible. It could be that some blue collar conservatives are finding out that Romney and Gingrich are so corrupt they put Prohibition era gangsters to shame. It is not that corruption seems to bother the average conservative much – they have been enabling for over half a century. They’ might see Santorum as the least corrupt, so the most electable. I wouldn’t bet on it, but with his rise, Santourm will become the next bull’s eye for Romney’s formidable attack machine. They’ll do to little Ricky what they did to Newt in Florida.

Trump doesn’t  ‘get Rick Santorum;’ talks Romney cabinet position

 Trump says, “Rick Santorum was a sitting senator who in re-election lost by 19 points, to my knowledge the most in the history of this country for a sitting senator to lose by 19 points. It’s unheard of. Then he goes out and says oh ‘okay’ I just lost by the biggest margin in history and now I’m going to run for president. Tell me, how does that work? … That’s like me saying I just failed a test. Now I’m going to apply for admission to the Wharton School of Finance. Okay? He just failed a test…. And now he’s going to run for president. So, I don’t get Rick Santorum. I don’t get that whole thing.”

On a Romney cabinet position, Trump continues, “I don’t know maybe a position where I negotiate against some of these countries. Because they are really taking our lunch.”

Funny that Trump sees Santorum’s failures as reason not to vote for, but does not see conservationism 60 years of failure. Trump must be appealing to the grossly ignorant voter – those who think we give away 25% of the budget in foreign aid – it is actually only 1 percent. The top beneficiary of U.S. aid is and has been for years – Israel. Egypt is second. Reagan and even Bush 43 increased foreign aid, ostensibly to help spread democracy. The media seem to live Trump. he is one of the reasons I keep a finger hovering over the mute button, you never know when he’ll pop up. What exactly does he thinks qualifies him for a Cabinet level position. His massive knowledge of bankruptcy. His long familiarity with young trophy wives. Maybe because his bullsh*t works in the NY and Nevada real estate markets, he can bull his way through talks about nuclear disarmament. Better start digging the bomb shelter.

Good quote from one of Paul Krugman’s blog posts today –  So we’ve created a society in which many young people see no chance of ever achieving middle-class status.

The whole birth control bruhaha. Listening to the Right you get the impression that health insurance coverage for birth control is some secret conspiracy that has just been uncovered by the conservative truth squads. Many Catholic Universities, Hospitals Already Cover Contraception In Their Health Insurance Plans and Majority of Catholics Think Employers Should Be Required to Provide Health Care Plans that Cover Birth Control at No Cost

If conservatives really want to go there and make a big issue out of providing modern 21st century health care to women, Romney and likely quite a few millionaire conservative have some explaining to do – Mitt Romney Is Financially Invested In The Birth Control He Seeks To Restrict

Romney’s Goldman Sachs 2002 Exchange Place Fund, valued at over a million dollars in 2010, brought in nearly $600,000 in gains in 2010 and is invested in:

– Watson Pharmaceuticals: manufacturer of nine forms of emergency contraception (which Romney incorrectly identifies as “abortifacients“).
– Johnson & Johnson: launched the first U.S. prescription birth control product in 1931 and produces various forms of birth control.
– Merck: produces various forms of birth control
– Mylan: produces birth control medication and filed the first application for a generic birth control pill last year.
– Pfizer: a contraception producer that recently had to recall about a million packs of birth-control pills that weren’t packaged correctly.

Romney often disclaims any responsibility for or knowledge of his own investments by claiming that they are held in a private trust. But since filing his legally-required public financial disclosure reports and certifying that the information is “true, complete, and correct” to the best of his knowledge, the trust ceased to be a “blind trust” as he knew what was in it. Romney signed such disclosure forms last August and during his unsuccessful 2008 presidential bid in August 2007.

These companies probably see their products as an answer to market forces – there is clearly a demand and they supply the product. So suddenly the Right wants to Marxist when it comes to women’s health.

There is no such thing as a rational, informed, enlightened political philosophy called conservatism. Conservatism like all political theory should be judged by its actions first. If it constantly eats its own tail, it is not a way of thinking or of governing – unless incompetence is governing. It is not the solution to any problem. It is a giant train wreck.

Black and White Icicles wallpaper – Welcome to Whiplash Season as Conservatives Claim The Economy is Good and it Sucks

Black and White Icicles wallpaper

winter, ice, photography

Icicles wallpaper

 

Over at Rupert Murdoch’s anti-American propaganda channel Fox News Neil Cavuto pretends that Donald Trump is a great example of meritocracy at work. Neil has always been something of a doormat for extreme right-wing views of the economy. He smiles a lot. Like snake-oil salesmen of old he tries to make the public believe that his show is not a parade of falsehoods and distortions. Perhaps some psychologists could explain why he takes such pleasure in screwing over his country and having so much fun while doing so – Cavuto Gushes Over Trump’s Business Record – And Ignores The Four Bankruptcies

Neil Cavuto devoted his “Common Sense” editorial segment Friday (2/3/12) to Donald Trump. As if there weren’t enough Trump trumpeting on Fox already. But in this case, Cavuto – Fox’s senior vice president of Business News – called Trump “a hell of a businessman” yet avoided mentioning the four bankruptcies he or his businesses have filed.

”I admit I am biased here,” Cavuto said about his affection for Trump – as if we would never have noticed! “I like Donald Trump,” Cavuto continued, “…. I like his guts, I like how he’s come back from the brink, I like how he keeps score, and does things big, and never forgets a slight.”

Trump is another nutter born to a wealthy family who sent him to the Wharton School of Business. Trump has taken his daddy’s money, lost it several times, and using bankruptcy ( corporate not personal),  lawsuits and personal contacts always managed to not pay for his failures. If Neil had called Trump a poster boy for conservatism I would agree.

I’m always suspicious of job numbers myself. Once you stop working and stop collecting unemployment you become part of the mass of people estimated to either be out there looking for work and have given up. To speak in those general terms is fine around the kitchen table, but if you have your own radio TV program, or write a conservative blog that is supposed to be compensating for that mythical liberal media, you are – if ethics matter – supposed to produce some actual proof that you know what you’re talking about – Right-Wing Media Rely On Discredited Evidence To Dismiss Positive Jobs Report

Right-wing media are rushing to put a negative spin on newly released jobs numbers showing a drop in the unemployment rate and a net increase in jobs by parroting the discredited claim that government data show that “1.2 million people dropped out of the labor force” last month. In fact, as economic experts have explained, that number reflected an increase in population from 2010 Census figures and is not the result of how many people “dropped out” of the labor force last month.

This is how two kool-aid drinkers with all the integrity of a cockroach reported it,

Rush Limbaugh Cited The 1.2 Million Number To Argue That The Jobs Report Is “Corrupt.” On his radio show, Rush Limbaugh cited Zero Hedge and claimed that “1.2 million people dropped out of the labor force in one month” to argue that the jobs numbers report is as “corrupt as it can be.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 2/3/12]

Sean Hannity Repeated The 1.2 Million Falsehood To Claim Lower Unemployment Rate Is “Phony.”

Drug addict Limbaugh can always claim he was in a drug induced stupor, Hannity will just have to own up to having the brains of a hand full of dirt.

Economic Journalist Barry Ritholtz: “The Fact Is 1 Million People Did Not Drop Out Of The Labor Force In January 2012.” Economic journalist and Washington Post columnist Barry Ritholtz explained that those who are claiming that 1.2 million people dropped out of the labor force in January are misreading the Labor Department’s jobs report:

So today following an otherwise pretty darn good jobs report, we get the usual perma-pessimists at Zero Hedge and Rick Santelli over at CNBC proclaiming that the report showed a drop of over 1 million people from the labor force in one month. Of course, as ususal, both Santelli and Zero Hedge have a real reading comprehension problem and completely missed that this million+ people isn’t some new January phenomenon, but a result of the BLS using the 2010 census data to have more accurate data. In other words, the changes in the Household Survey to the various measures had taken place over the years prior to 2010, but for simplicity’s sake, the BLS incorporates these changes into one month (which they clearly point out).

Most economists agree there was a net increase in employment. That in no way means we’re we would all like to be – except conservatives who would like the economy to stay in the tank as long as possible – Manufacturing jobs start year with strong gains

So far, the nation’s factories are defying the gloomy forecasts, adding 50,000 jobs in January — their strongest showing in a year — on top of 32,000 in December, the Labor Department said Friday. Overall, employers added 243,000 jobs in January, the most in nine months.

Manufacturing was the second-biggest gainer, behind professional and business services.

Economists don’t expect such robust advances to be sustained the entire year, but there are other signs that manufacturing activity could pick up more than many expected.

For example, the Institute for Supply Management said last week that growth in new factory orders rose to a nine-month high in January.

“There’s reason to be optimistic,” says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. Zandi had predicted manufacturing employment would be flat this year, but now estimates payrolls will rise by about 250,000 — the industry’s third-straight annual increase after years of steady declines.

That jobs report – as supposedly as terrible as it is according to the conservative peanut gallery – marked the beginning of Whiplash season – the economy is in bad shape, but no its in good shape and Republicans are taking credit

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell is supposedly near the top of Mitt Romney’s list of poential running-mates, and you can sorta understand why: he’s the reasonably popular governor of a state Barack Obama carried in 2008, and also has deep connections to the Christian Right, which is not exactly Mitt’s base in the GOP.

But if his remarks on CNN yesterday are any indication, McDonnell needs a little remedial education in economics:

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell said Sunday that Republican governors deserve credit for the improving economy.

“I’m glad the economy is starting to recover, but I think it’s because of what Republican governors are doing in their states, not because of the president,” McDonnell said on CNN’s “State of the Union with Candy Crowley.”

McDonnell did not elaborate on what the governors have done.

The quasi-magical belief that governors can have a huge impact on economic developments has always puzzled me, but in McDonnell’s case, it is particularly strange and even ironic, since his state’s relatively robust condition clearly depends on its huge federal government presence …( my note  – D.C. and Texas have the largest number of federal employees in the nation)

So the conservative governor of Virginia is saying things are looking good, which means that Limbaugh and Hannity are wrong or someone is lying. Remember that whole stimulus thing – the one that all conservatives still say did not work, but which Republican governors scrambled to get funds and take credit for work projects. That economic schizophrenia continues in the presidential race – the stimulus did work, it did not, conservatives take credit, Obama had nothing to do with three years of steady growth. Republicans Return to Taking Credit for Improving Economy

Despite a mountain of data and the overwhelming consensus of economists – including John McCain’s 2008 brain trust – that President Obama’s policies saved the American economy from calamity and made recovery possible, Republicans claimed exactly the opposite. As one study after another debunked GOP myths about supposed “job creators”, “uncertainty”, “job-killing regulations” and responsibility for the debt ceiling crisis, the conservative chorus sang as one.

For months, Mitt Romney repeated his long-ago debunked claim that President Obama “did not cause this recession, but he made it worse.” Speaker John Boehner regurgitated that point five times during his State of the Union pre-buttal on Fox News Sunday before concluding afterwards that Obama’s “policies are making our economy worse.” And in his official Republican response, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels declared President Obama “has held back rather than sped economic recovery” and “cannot claim that the last three years have made things anything but worse.”

Then the January 2012 jobs report came out. Once again, the Republicans changed their tune.

February 2012: Republicans Declare “We Can Do Better”

With word that the U.S. economy generated 243,000 new jobs last month, the “Hope America Fails” crowd in the GOP once again updated their talking points. On Friday, GOP presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney offered his latest formulation:

“Unfortunately, these numbers cannot hide the fact that President Obama’s policies have prevented a true economic recovery. We can do better.”

While the hard-core culture warriors on the right are scrambling to make a point – by siding with the corrupt clown Rick Santorum, the election continues to be mostly about the economy. Should the nation go full speed reverse for the Bush-Cheney policies that all the candidates promise to double down on, or should we make progress. This is another issue for the psychologists, I cannot understand why working class Americans, people who collect a paycheck every two weeks with incomes under the national median household income of $50k would vote for a Romney, Gingrich or Santorum who plans to make them pay for the nation’s debt. They seem to believe that raising taxes on top income earners by 4% would somehow mean the collapse of western civilization. They have no rational reason to pay the nation’s bills for millionaires like John McCain who doesn’t even track what a gallon of gas cost. Romney is a vulture capitalist who couldn’t relate to the economic concerns of the middle-class or working poor if one of his mansions depended on it. Gingrich and Santorum are right-wing welfare circuit do-nothings.

 

Water Drops on Gold and Green wallpaper – Like All Propagandists, Conservatives Love to Distract and Confuse

Water Drops on Gold and Green wallpaper

 

Recently speaking during the National Prayer Breakfast, President Obama cited a passage from the Book of Luke as moral justification for the well off to – like himself – to pay a little more in taxes. What kind of tax increase is President Obama talking about. In 1982 the top individual tax rate was 50%. It is now 35%. As we recently learned from Mitt Romney’s tax records he pays an effective rate of about 15%. While I don’t think a top individual rate of 50% is burdensome since we would still have write-offs, deductions and various incentives aimed at things like installing solar panels, many people obviously feel a top rate of 50% even on the richest, is too high. president Obama is speaking to the general neighborhood of the same top rate as we had in 1993 of 39.6% According to the far Right a return to a rate 4.6% higher than now, which would only affect the richest people in the U.S. is the road to serfdom. To add imagined insult to imagined injury, President Obama invoked Jesus – Obama Cites Jesus and the Right Loses Its Mind

And now right-wing leaders and Republicans are outraged, with Sen. Orrin Hatch lashing out about it on the Senate floor and Rep. Phil Gingrey walking out in protest while Ralph Reed, of all people, is saying that Obama went “over the line”:

Ralph Reed of the Faith and Freedom Coalition said that for the president to tie his tax policy to Jesus’s teachings “is theologically threadbare and straining credulity.”

“I felt like it was over the line and not the best use of the forum,” Reed said. “It showed insufficient level of respect for what the office of the president has historically brought to that moment.”

And of course Bryan Fischer, who thinks the Bible ought to be the foundation for all our public policy, including putting animals to death, was incensed that Obama would dare to claim that the teachings of Christ support his agenda when, in fact, his agenda “is in the spirit of Joseph Stalin” and Karl Marx:

As we have said before, it is amazing President Obama even bothers to talk about his Christian faith because nothing he says will ever be acceptable for the “real” Christians in the Religious Right.

I’ve heard far Right culture warriors like Pat Robertson bemoan what he sees as a modern trend to make God into man’s image. Yet here we are with far Right conservatives turning Jesus into a right-wing conservative. Conservatives first instinct is to mace, arrest or throw in jail guys wearing scandals, a beard and hemp clothing. These are just a few passages that if recited by a Democrat would drive the Right crazy,

Blessed is he that considers the poor: Yahweh will deliver him in time of trouble. Yahweh will preserve him, and keep him alive; and he shall be blessed upon the earth: and you will not deliver him to the will of his enemies. – Psalms 41:1-2

Modern conservatives consider the working poor deserving of their plight. You live week to week for a paycheck, barely able to survive, than God must want that for you as punishment for something: Look at Christians like Mitt or the Bush family. They’re wealthy because they are conservatives and  that quality makes them deserving of riches. Be like them and you’ll get rich too.

Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. – 1 Timothy 6:17-19

Distribute? Talk about socialistic propaganda to redistribute income. Do good? Rick Santorum, among millions of conservatives and libertarians believe that your only obligation in this world is to make a profit. Don’t do any of that mentally taxing moral reflection on balancing fair profits with doing good, that is just crazy Marxist talk.

“Give, and it shall be given to you. A good measure, pressed down and shaken together and running over shall be put into your lap. For with the same measure with which you measure, it shall be measured back to you.” – Luke 6:38

MEANWHILE, OVER IN THE PARALLEL UNIVERSE…

I know I care about this a lot more than you do, but I’d like to point out that none of the stories most of us have been paying attention to in recent days — Komen and Planned Parenthood, Romney’s “truly poor” remark, the Trump endorsement, the job numbers — have been a big deal over at Fox Nation. Over there, the only story that matters is Fast and Furious. This is the lead story at Fox Nation now, as it has been for most of the day; prior to that, this was the lead story for most of yesterday.

Good point in regards Fox Nation. They are the Big Conservative Soapbox. Their job includes a lot of the typical Ministry of Propaganda duties, among them directing attention away from real news to the faux outrage of the week. The Right has been paying attention to the other news – The so conservative they haven’t been to the bathroom for years National Review Sees “Gangsterism” Behind Komen’s Planned Parenthood Shift. That is correct. America should know that NR is in the biology business and when they say that every uterus in the USA is conservative, its as though it were written in granite tablets. Rush Limbaugh couldn’t even be bothered to find a new canard, claiming that abortion causes breast cancer. It doesn’t and what that has to do with Komen funding cancer screenings is anyone’s guess. Like every other issue conservatives tend to treat health issues like a connect the dot game where its OK to cheat as long as you win.

A commenter at that link has it right about Fox Nation. Like every, scandal, screw-up, quagmire, stunt, thievery, curb stumping, caught with porn on their computer, suggesting a swinger marriage to wife two and the mistress, every back room K-Street scheme, every hypocrisy – the conservative noise machine is their to misdirect. The Fast and Furious brouhaha is somewhat clever. In this case it might be too clever for even the far Right, outside the subculture of the NRA, to follow or care. Not to mention that it contains the usual amount of right-wing hot air and very little substance to date – No, “Holder’s No. 2” Didn’t Call Gunwalking A “Terrific Idea”

The Daily Caller’s lede:

The head of the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division and Attorney General Eric Holder’s highest-ranking deputy, Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer, called Operation Fast and Furious and gun walking a “terrific idea” in emails to now-former Acting Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Director Ken Melson back in late 2009, according a report released by Republican staff of the House Oversight Committee.

The Daily Caller has become one of big conservative media sites. So we can only assume that in the general tradition of conservatism, they are all about the facts and nothing but the facts. Note the name in bold above:

By the way, “Holder’s No. 2” isn’t Lanny Breuer, it’s Deputy Attorney General James Cole.

Which sums up their whole reportage on Fast and Furious, long on heated innuendo and short on even basic facts. There has been very little push back from more moderate voices about Fast and Furious – a continuation of a program started during the Bush administration. They only facts we have are the ones that come out of the hearings held by one of the most corrupt members of Congress, House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA). Issa say Holder knew about and sanctioned F&F which resulted in the death of an ATF agent ( not to brush over that detail. A genuine tragedy and testimony to how bone headed the program was). Holder says he did not know until after the fact. Issa has never, much less conservative web sites any evidence that Holder is lying. Issa has served up a contract theory over cooked even by wing-nut standards, How Issa’s Paranoid ‘Fast And Furious’ Witchhunt Endangers America’s Law Enforcement System

Yesterday, House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) convened the sixth hearing on one of a series of deeply misguided gun stings that began in 2006 under George W. Bush. Issa, however, has shown little interest in actually getting to the bottom of how these ill-conceived operations, which eventually led to illegal guns being turned against federal agents, came about and what can be done to prevent similar errors from occurring again — he’s refused, for example, to call Bush era Attorney General Michael Mukasey to testify. Instead, he’s relied on a series of increasingly paranoid and ridiculous conspiracy theories to try to lay the blame for these operations at Attorney General Eric Holder’s feet.

Last December, for example, Issa touted the absurd notion that the Obama Administration is somehow using the high-profile gun violence that occurred during this operation as part of an intentional campaign to discredit the Second Amendment. In Issa’s words, “they’ve made a crisis and they’re using this crisis to somehow take away or limit people’s second amendment rights.” Issa, of course, was not able to cite a single example of people’s Second Amendment rights being taken away, because none exist.

[  ]…At yesterday’s hearing, Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI) was left with the unfortunate task of asserting this Fox Mulderesque theory:

This thing has gone wrong, was set up to go wrong, and, frankly, I think was set up to deal with Second Amendment liberties of law abiding citizens and pushing into a perception that it was the problem of the Second Amendment as opposed to law enforcement.

It’s difficult to even get your head around this accusation, which originates from a former militiaman who supports violent resistance to imagined government attempts to seize his guns. The claim appears to be that a series of botched gun stings that begun during the Bush Administration were actually part of a secret Obama plot to release guns to Mexican drug lords, so that those guns could then be used to kill federal agents, which would then cause a national uprising in support of gun control. Maybe when the Obama Administration was done executing this Rube Goldberg plan, they would then sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.

But there’s another, even more disturbing aspect to this hearing, and the five others that have proceeded it. The reason why Attorneys General Mukasey and Holder did not stop these unfortunate operations from occurring is because they cannot reasonably be expected to know about every single operation conducted by every single field operative in every part of the country. The Attorney General supervises nearly 112,000 employees.

If Issa and his ass pimple sidekick get to have their theories I get to have mine. This is all about tying Holder up with testimony and preparing testimony that he cannot do job of enforcing civil rights violations and going after Jim-Crow-Lite voter restrictions enacted by some states.

Speaking of ass pimples –  Orly Taitz loses birther case against President Obama to an empty table

Orly Taitz represented one of four plaintiffs challenging President Obama’s eligibility for placement on the Democratic ballot in Georgia. The President and his counsel were subpoenaed to appear in court to defend against these challenges, but the President’s attorney issued a nice letter to the judge stating that the Court had no business or jurisdiction even hearing the case and therefore the defense would not be in attendance.

So Taitz and her fellow attorneys presented their best arguments without challenge from the defense, and requested a summary judgment on the merits.

And the Court’s judgment: the plaintiffs have no case and no credible evidence, and there is no law to support their claims. Judgment for the defendant, represented only by an empty table, on the merits. Or in this case, utter lack thereof.

I read the occasional conservative news column by a lonely conservative making the case that conservatism needs to rid the movement of the crazies, the loons like Taitz. The problem with that is there would only be a few hundred conservatives left.

One last item. This past week conservatives were complaining about President Obama singling out the Koch brothers in a speech. Claiming that it was exactly like Nixon’s enemies list. Which once again, they make it too easy. They’re finally acknowledging half century old crimes of the far Right and their paranoia. Thanks. WE look forward to the confessions and apologies for the 2000 to present era some time in 2062. The problem with this boohoo crocodile tears for the Koch brothers is that if they have targeted Obama, he has every right to fight back. The Koch brothers and their circle of lazy plutocrat friends are targeting the President – Koch Brothers Convene Billionaires’ Meeting for 2012 Elections

The summit, organized by the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, was cloaked in secrecy. Helicopters, private security and police officers from neighboring cities patrolled the area constantly. In previous years, Supreme Court justices, some of the wealthiest businessmen in the country and Republican politicians like Congressman Paul Ryan have all gathered at these twice-annual events. The Esmerelda Renaissance, the conference venue this year, was guarded carefully with every entrance blocked and the entire 560-room resort rented out. I arrived at the hotel the night before the event, but was followed closely by security and asked to leave the next morning before the Koch meeting guests arrived.

Though the donors will funnel tens of millions of dollars into the election this year, they will not have to disclose a single cent. Using an elaborate array of foundations, nonprofits and other legal entities, the Koch network sponsored bus tours, attack ads, think tanks, and hired Tea Party organizers to shape the midterm elections two years ago. Now, they appear to be expanding their effort.

 

Black and White City Freeway wallpaper – We All Deserve What We Get, Except Republicans Who Deserve More

Black and White City Freeway wallpaper

Romney admitting that he doesn’t care about about the poor is hardly shocking. As noted here – THAT WAS NO GAFFE. THAT WAS A BRAND-NEW TALKING POINT.

UPDATE: Well, maybe it’s not a brand-new talking point — Bill Scher notes that Romney said the same thing in October:

In October, I reported here that Romney made this exact same argument while stumping in Iowa: “In our country, the people who need the help most are not the poor, who have a safety net, not the rich, who are doing just fine, but the middle class.”

That seemingly simple sentence is a dog-whisle lite as NMMNB notes. It plays into the Fox News meme that millionaires such as Romney, Rethuglican Texas businessman Harold Simmons( more on further down), right-wing conservative Las Vegas hotel casino owner Sheldon Adelson and other plutocrats are the producers, while the working poor are the leeches. This goes over really well with the conservative base. They don’t want to hear that when an American worker puts in forty hours a week they should be able to afford a decent life and be able to send their kids to a public university or some specialized training at a community college. To realize that is to realize the system is broken. You can work forty plus hours a week in the U.S. and have to choose between paying your utility bill or buying groceries at the end of the month. Working and Poor in the USA

“Our nation, so richly endowed with natural resources and with a capable and industrious population, should be able to devise ways and means of insuring to all our able-bodied men and women, a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.” Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1937

Millions of people in the US work and are still poor. Here are eight points that show why the US needs to dedicate itself to making work pay.

One. How many people work and are still poor?

In 2011, the US Department of Labor reported at least 10 million people worked and were still below the unrealistic official US poverty line, an increase of 1.5 million more than the last time they checked. The US poverty line is $18,530 for a mom and two kids. Since 2007 the numbers of working poor have been increasing. About 7 percent of all workers and 4 percent of all full-time workers earn wages that leave them below the poverty line.

Two. What kinds of jobs do the working poor have?

One third of the working poor, over 3 million people, work in the service industry. Workers in other occupations are also poor: 16 percent of those in farming; 11 percent in construction; and 11 percent in sales.

Three. Which workers are most likely to be working and still poor?

Women workers are more likely to be poor than men. African American and Hispanic workers are about twice as likely to be poor as whites. College graduates have a 2 percent poverty rate while workers without a high school diploma have a poverty rate 10 times higher at 20 percent.

Four. What about benefits for low wage workers?

Ten percent of US workers earn $8.50 an hour or less according to the US Department of Labor. About 12 percent have health care and about 12 percent have retirement benefits. Nearly one in four get paid sick leave and less than half get paid vacation leave.

It should be disturbing to most Americans that Romney and the conservative base are so out of touch with the challenges faced by millions of Americans. Those people who empty the bed pans, repair your roof, balance your tires, ring up your gas purchase certainly work harder day to day than Mitt, or Newt or the millionaires who contribute to their PACs. Remember the old Eddie Murphy movie Trading Places. It was a comic take on some crafty millionaires who experimented with trading their elitist employee with a con-artist they find on the street. The dirty little secret of the movie and the real life plutocrats like Mitt, is that they can easily be replaced. For every Romney there are hundred of thousands of Americans whose labors create the capital and wealth of the Romneys, the Koch brothers, the Sheldon Adelsons. If they disappeared tomorrow the nation would survive just fine. If American labor disappears tomorrow, we’re all screwed.

Romney says, “I’m not concerned about the very poor.

Romney’s claim not to care is also supposedly mitigated by his assertion that we have a safety net for the poor. The problem with that is Romney as well as all the Rethuglican candidates is that he plans to do as much as possible to dismantle that safety net, CBPP Report – Romney’s own budget proposals would tear gaping holes in the safety net and damage it severely

The Romney budget proposals would make massive cuts in safety-net programs.  For starters, he has embraced the budget that House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan proposed last year, which would make the deepest cuts in assistance for low-income Americans in modern U.S. history.  The Ryan budget would convert Medicaid to a block grant and cut its funding by 49 percent by 2030 below currently scheduled levels, a proposal that Governor Romney has specifically defended.  It would also convert SNAP (formerly known as the Food Stamp Program) to a block grant and cut its funding by $127 billion (or almost 20 percent) over the next decade.  These cuts, combined with deep cuts in Pell Grants, low-income housing assistance, and other programs for low-income people, would total a stunning $2.9 trillion over the next decade.  The Ryan budget would get nearly two-thirds of its savings over the next ten years by cutting programs targeted on people with low or modest incomes, even though those programs account for only about one-fifth of the budget, making it the most regressive budget plan that a chamber of Congress has ever passed.

And the Romney proposals go farther than Rep. Ryan’s — they would lead to even deeper cuts in basic safety-net programs for the poor than the Ryan budget would.  That’s because Governor Romney has proposed to:  1) shrink federal spending to 20 percent of GDP for 2016 and all subsequent years, which is a bit below what federal spending would fall to over the next two decades under Chairman Ryan’s budget; 2) increase defense spending to 4 percent of GDP, a higher level of spending than it would reach under the Ryan budget; 3) permanently extend President Bush’s tax cuts; 4) enact new tax cuts on top of them, which the Urban Institute-Brookings Institution Tax Policy Center estimates would lose an additional $180 billion a year by 2015; and 5) require that the federal budget be balanced.

Governor Romney hasn’t outlined cuts in specific programs.  But if policymakers exempted Social Security, as he has suggested, they would have to cut all other nondefense programs — including safety-net programs for the poor — by an average of 24 percent in 2016 and 35 percent in 2021 just to reach Governor Romney’s first four goals.

This is the Pottersville plan. Keep the poor so poor they have no chance of digging themselves or their children out of poverty. Part of this has to do with the psychology of conservatism. They believe that those who make lots of money are doing so not because of education, specialized training or being born into wealth; they believe that wealth automatically follows virtue. If you’re not wealthy that means you are not virtuous that you deserve your lot in life. This weird world view is directly descended from the Puritans. It forms a viscous loop of justification for regressive economic policies. While used mostly as a racist or ethnocentric dog whistle he works well for white southern males with only a high school level education. In the tradition of What’s the Matter With Kansas, these white males with modest incomes vote for policies that are counter to their rational self-interests because they are obsessed that someone is going to use food stamps to buy a candy bar or Medicaid to have a wart removed. If they never seem to make economic progress in their lives they just blame the fairy tale Marxist Liberal Kenyan elitists, not the actual policies that create the economic conditions that hold them back.

And about those plutocrats. Sure Democrats have a few big donors that is hardly a gotcha when big donors not only dominate the Republican presidential primaries, they will also dominate the general election. As bad as big money has been in past elections – we got a sample of it with the election of corporate cronies like Florida’s Rick Scott and Wisconsin ‘s Scott Walker, 2012 will be the first full tilt plutocratic election, With restrictions gone, ‘1 percenters’ dish millions, alter race for White House

Forget about the poor, the unemployed and the sinking middle class participating in the democratic process.

The race for the presidency is increasingly being bankrolled by “1 percenters” — those among the richest of Americans.

Year-end campaign finance reports show that many of the nation’s wealthiest individuals and their companies have written huge checks to Republican and Democratic “super committees” that are exempt from the usual $5,000 campaign donation limits.

Texas businessman Harold Simmons and his Contran Corp. have donated $7.5 million to two GOP committees. Las Vegas hotel casino owner Sheldon Adelson and his family have poured more than $10 million into a so-called super political action committee backing Newt Gingrich. Filmmaker Steven Spielberg gave $100,000 to one of several committees aiding Obama.

Partly as a result of the Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling that even corporations enjoy the right to free political speech, a 2002 congressional overhaul that was supposed to rid big money from national politics is fast becoming a distant memory. Not only are wealthy Americans serving as financial angels to presidential candidates, but companies also have begun to write multimillion-dollar checks, and some may be doing so secretly.

American Crossroads, a conservative super PAC founded by former Bush White House political guru Karl Rove, has raised $51 million to date, including $33 million garnered by a nonprofit arm that isn’t required to disclose its donors. The groups have set a goal of collecting another $200 million to raise Republican prospects in next year’s presidential and congressional elections.

Democratic Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Al Franken of Minnesota and Chuck Schumer have called on Congress to at least pass legislation requiring better disclosure. because the conservative minority in the Senate can block any legislation they don’t like, this modest attempt at disclosure is going no where. So we can assume the average conservative could care less if foreign millionaires like Rupert Murdoch or a Saudi prince that is part owner of Fox parent company News Corp., or any other foreign interests can legally and secretly funnel money into organizations created overnight, to influence the outcome of U.S. elections. How is it that conservatives can look at themselves in the mirror and say without irony that they are patriots.

Ann Coulter has always wanted to be relevant. Give her credit for continuing to try – It’s only OK if a state does it

No one ever accused Ann Coulter of consistency or intellectual maturity, but even then this is really something:

Ann Coulter offered a surprising defense of Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts health care law — affectionately dubbed ‘Romneycare’ — on Wednesday.

In a blog post featured on her website, entitled “Three Cheers For Romneycare!”, she explains, “If only the Democrats had decided to socialize the food industry or housing, Romneycare would probably still be viewed as a massive triumph for conservative free-market principles — as it was at the time…

In her post, Coulter lays out what she sees as a basic distinction between the Massachusetts law and the federal law. “One difference between the health care bills is that Romneycare is constitutional and Obamacare is not,” writes Coulter.

Coulter does conveniently gloss over the fact that Romneycare was based on a proposal endorsed by the far Right Heritage Foundation that envisioned it as a nationwide goal.

  – Heritage On Romney’s Individual Mandate: “Not an unreasonable position, and one that is clearly consistent with conservative values.” [Heritage, 1/28/06]

– Heritage On President Obama’s Individual Mandate: “Both unprecedented and unconstitutional.” [Heritage, 12/9/09]

– Heritage On Romney’s Insurance Exchange: An “innovative mechanism to promote real consumer choice.” [Heritage, 4/20/06]

– Heritage On President Obama’s Insurance Exchange: Creates a “de facto public option” by “grow[ing]” government control over healthcare.” [Heritage, 3/30/10]

Don’t cry for Ann, she can still afford to hang out at those South Miami Beach nightclubs and drink imported champagne.

Coulter is a tenther – she believes your local and state government can make all the laws in the world to restrict individual liberty or not make laws to protect you, from say corporations dumping cancer causing toxins into your water supply. Its all about some weird worship of geography,

The remarkable thing about tentherism is that while it is clearly driven by wingnuts who don’t want the federal goverment denying them the “right” to work 9-year-olds for $2 an hour while segregating the schools, in theory it is completely devoid of any particular ideology beyond the notion that each State can run its affairs pretty much however it pleases. What Coulter is saying here is that she doesn’t object to the Affordable Care Act in principle, beyond the notion that such things should be enacted solely at a State rather than Federal level. For daring to implement at a national level what Romney did at a State level, President Obama is an overweaning Socialist Dictator.

Most normal people would say that’s crazy. Things like child labor laws and healthcare mandates are either a good idea or they’re not. Some people passionately oppose them, while some passionately support them. Generally speaking, they either work for everyone with minor nuances and exceptions, or they work for almost no one. That’s basic Kantian ethics….

Update: It turns out that in October of 2011 Coulter said that RomneyCare  “shows the failure of even statewide universal care.”