Antique Map of Portugal – Why is Paul Ryan’s(R) Fanaticism Considered Reasonable

A Current and Precise Description of Portugal, Which Was Once Lusitania, by Fernando Alvarez Seco

A Current and Precise Description of Portugal, Which Was Once Lusitania, by Fernando Alvarez Seco.

Seco was a Portuguese mathematician and cartographer. It was known to be first published in Rome in 1561. The very detailed engraving for its day was done by Sebastiano del Re. It was considered such a good map that Abraham Ortelius (1527-98) included it in his Theatrum Orbis Terrarum (Theater of the world). The Theatrum Orbis Terrarum was the first true world atlas and considered indispensable to world leaders and their navies.

For those who try to keep up with Paul Ryan (R-WI), the actual policies and he prescribes and his influence on the conservative movement it might be tempting to dismiss him as a clown. His plan to gut Medicare is not just radical because of the obvious effects it would have on seniors, the disabled and children, but because it accomplished two evils at once. It leaves millions of Americans either without adequate health care or in financial crisis trying to pay for health care. That many people already know. The Ryan plan also cripples Social Security. When  medical vouchers run out, what income are people going to use pay the short fall. Their Social Security. A few might squeak by using their savings or pension plan funds. This has been called social-Darwinism because the Ryan/Conservative movement plan would cause both tremendous financial hardship, but unlike the ACA myths, this plan would actually kill grandma. Since registered Republicans remain about 30 plus percent of the population you have to take this clown seriously. I’ll highlight a few things from Jonathan Chait’s long read The Legendary Paul Ryan, but it contains so much that it is best for everyone to read the whole piece for themselves. Maybe my perception is wrong, but I don’t think of Chait as a typical Beltway insider – he rarely channels David Broder Hack Centrism Disease. Yet Chait writes a perfect example of same,

The Paul Ryan that has been introduced to America is a figure of cinematic rectitude—a Jimmy Stewart character, but brainier. “Through a combination of hard work, good timing, and possibly suicidal guts,” wrote Time last December, “the Wisconsin Republican managed to harness his party to a dramatic plan for dealing with America’s rapidly rising public debt.” He is America’s neighborhood accountant, a man devoted to the task of restoring our fiscal health, whatever slings and arrows may come his way. Last year, a consortium of nonpartisan anti-deficit groups created a “Fiscy Award” (for “promoting fiscal responsibility and government accountability”) and bestowed one upon Ryan—a laying of hands sanctifying his good standing by the good-government, let’s-all-stop-fighting-and-fix-this crowd.

Just because the usual suspects have fixated on the newest conservative wunderkin in order to write the same old garbage about small government – when what they mean is gutting the safety net for millions of the most vulnerable Americans, does not mean anyone should bring out buckets of anointment oil.

I’ve lost count of the number of articles on Ryan that mention how personable he is. We all like ‘nice’ people, that does not automatically translate into good person. A pleasant persona is actually typical of some of histories worse ideologues. Learning this not so secret secret is part of seeing the world through the yes of an adult. Ryan has been successful at convincing a lot of people that deficit reduction in the middle of the worse recession since 1929 is the position of the Serious People. These would be the same people who look at how Japan handled its 1990s crisis and say that wasn’t so bad. They look at how awful the Serious Austerity People in Europe are paving the road for the never ending recession and swearing things are going swimmingly. Democrats have not been especially helpful by offering us austerity lite. Ryan and his strange appendage, otherwise known as Grover Norquist, along with the usual conservative echo have convinced a large part of the country and the Beltway media that we have a deficit problem instead of the real problem, lack of revenue and spending. Ryan’s adherence to long debunked economic dogma is akin to the worse kind of ideological fanaticism. He and the conservative movement are absolutely blind to the cruel consequences of their plans. Which is one reason that Democratic austerity, being the only other choice, doesn’t look that bad right now. Yet regardless of what kind of math one uses, conservatism’s new demi-god’s budgets increase the deficit. If conservatives actually stood for anything, anything resembling the common good, ideological consistency or fidelity to American ideals about fairness and morality, their heads should explode. Yet Ryan is their new king without clothes – Bush with a better haircut. Well OK, that might be, but Ryan is not going to be the conservative nominee for president. Romney likes Ryan’s plans. We will assume – goodness knows why – that Romney has looked at Ryan’s proposals, done the math and likes what he sees. Thus Romney likes the idea of killing the grandparents, having disabled children suffer, larger deficits and spiraling health care costs. All of which is fine with conservatives as long as the goals of their dogma are realized – gutting the safety net. Further on in the piece Chait does call Ryan’s plan what it is,

Whether Ryan’s plan even is a “deficit-reduction plan” is highly debatable. Ryan promises to eliminate trillions of dollars’ worth of tax deductions, but won’t identify which ones. He proposes to sharply reduce government spending that isn’t defense, Medicare (for the next decade, anyway), or Social Security, but much of that reduction is unspecified, and when Obama named some possible casualties, Ryan complained that those hypotheticals weren’t necessarily in his plan. Ryan is specific about two policies: massive cuts to income-tax rates, and very large cuts to government programs that aid the poor and medically vulnerable. You could call all this a “deficit-reduction plan,” but it would be more accurate to call it “a plan to cut tax rates and spending on the poor and sick.” Aside from a handful of exasperated commentators, like Paul Krugman, nobody does.

The persistent belief in the existence of an authentic, deficit hawk Ryan not only sweeps aside the ugly particulars of his agenda, it also ignores, well, pretty much everything he has done in his entire career, and pretty much everything he has said until about two years ago.

In 2005, Ryan spoke at a gathering of Ayn Rand enthusiasts, where he declared, “The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand.”( Krugman linked added)

Just this past week Ryan said he did not adhere to Rand’s philosophy. Could that sudden convenient twist of doublespeak be because Romney will be running on the Ryan budget framework and he can’t be seem running on the platform of a crazy atheist who preached the gospel of greed and selfishness, yet ended up living her final years on Social Security and Medicare.

Conservatives are always trying to pick out and portray a Democrat as a fanatic. They almost always end up distorting what they say or putting words in their mouths. This is from a movement which has no leaders, no pundits who are not fanatics. Their fanaticism so deeply embedded in the conservative psyche that the rank and file, not to mention most of the media, sees it as mainstream. Romney teaming up with a fanatic, big yawn – Mitt Romney’s Nutty Professor. Meet W. Cleon Skousen: conspiracy theorist, slavery apologist, tea party icon. Mitt Romney says you should read him.

In an interview with an Iowa radio station five years ago, the former Massachusetts governor acknowledged the influence of a controversial figure from his own schoolboy past—W. Cleon Skousen, the late Mormon historian and tea party hero [1] who taught Romney at Brigham Young University. A former FBI agent, Salt Lake City police chief, and professional conspiracy theorist, Skousen fashioned a narrative of American history [2] that held a unique appeal to religious conservatives—all based on the notion that the Founding Fathers were members of a lost tribe of Israel.

[ ]…But Romney did recommend a Skousen book later in the discussion, when the subject turned to Mormon eschatology. “Cleon Skousen has a book called The Thousand Years,” Romney told Mickelson.

Romney gets the name of the book wrong, but that reference does mean that he read Skousen and recommends him. It was actually a series of books – The Five Thousand Year Leap, The First Thousand Years etc. Someone recently mentioned to me a phenomenon that seemed obvious yet I had not considered. We’re playing by two sets of rules when it comes to President Obama’s religion and Romneys’. It is mainstream, perfectly acceptable to claim that Obama is a secret Muslim or is not a real Christian. On the other hand – even among most liberal commentators; Romney’s religion is off the table. Any critical inquiry into what Romney believes is off limits.

Skousen has also been a big influence on Glenn Beck – Meet the man who changed Glenn Beck’s life

Some good news; It is  “International Jazz Day”

Why International Jazz Day?

Jazz breaks down barriers and creates opportunities for mutual understanding and tolerance;
Jazz is a vector of freedom of expression;
Jazz is a symbol of unity and peace;
Jazz reduces tensions between individuals, groups, and communities;
Jazz fosters gender equality;
Jazz reinforces the role youth play for social change;
Jazz encourages artistic innovation, improvisation, new forms of expression, and inclusion of traditional music forms into new ones;
Jazz stimulates intercultural dialogue and empowers young people from marginalized societies.

 

Miles Davis –  All Blues

Early Sunflowers wallpaper – A people strong enough and well enough informed to maintain its sovereign control over the government

Early Sunflowers wallpaper

 

Sorry Breitbart, Obama and Fallon Didn’t Violate the Equal-Time Rule

Not only did Breitbart.com call President Obama’s “slow-jam the news” segment with Jimmy Fallon last night “possibly the worst ‘comedy’ segment in the history of mankind,” the site decreed that it violated a campaign-finance law: “Obama should be ashamed of himself (though, of course, he has no capacity for shame).” The FCC’s equal-opportunity rule states that if a broadcaster affords airtime to a candidate, equal time must be granted to “all other such candidates for that office.”

There are, however, exceptions to the rule: “(1) a bona fide newscast, (2) a bona fide news interview, (3) a bona fide news documentary, or (4) on-the-spot coverage of bona fide news events.” In Breitbart’s informed legal opinion, “Only the second provision could be construed as saving NBC from giving Mitt Romney equal time. But this was not a bona fide news interview. In fact, it wasn’t an interview at all — no questions were asked, no answers were given. It was literally Obama reading a campaign speech over a guitar, a horn, a keyboard, and some drums.”

But a recent FCC ruling sets a different precedent that would almost certainly include Late Night: Talk shows — in this case Anderson Cooper’s daytime chatfest, Anderson — qualify as bona fide newscasts. Furthermore, in a precedent set by Entertainment Tonight, the FCC noted that its role “is not to decide, by some qualitative analysis, whether one kind of news story is more bona fide than another.”

Of course, even if Fallon wasn’t protected under the rule, it could always invite Mitt Romney to lead a little slow-jam of his own. And who wouldn’t want to see that?

Breitbart seems to have some index cards on a wall. Each one has contains the kind of  spin they will use that day on any particular story. If they’re going to play media law experts and basically call for reinstatement of the equal time provision, than Obama’s appearance would just be equal time for Michele Bachmann’s appearance. Despite the song the band played which caused yet another round of conservative pundits jumping up and down high fiveing each other at the opportunity to have a round of false outrage. Though the appearance was nothing but a politics, a chance to shore up her then flailing political campaign. If we venture outside examples of the Fallon show one marvels at the number of times CBS’s morning show has had the know-nothing do- nothing Senator McCain(R-AZ) on to babble in what always appears to be fodder for political satire. Besides his three? Four? Mansions, the morning news shows are practically one of McCain’s residences. Breitbarf is not really concerned in any honest or honorable way with fairness or they would write about the shallow crap that passes for political dialogue on the Sunday news shows – which according to FAIR are still dominated by white male conservatives. Digby nails McCain and conservatives for exploiting war, death and misery as standard operating procedure.

 

In case you missed it, Romney’s principled, radical view for America

But Romney, unlike Clinton, is not offering a program through which government would take specific steps to solve the problems he catalogues. Instead, he is calling on voters to share his faith that our difficulties would go away if the state simply got out of the way, allowed the market do its thing and counted on the success of the successful to lift up everyone else.

Romney is right in saying he has “a very different vision” from Obama’s, and this is where the magic comes in. He envisions “an America driven by freedom, where free people, pursuing happiness in their own unique ways, create free enterprises that employ more and more Americans. And because there are so many enterprises that are succeeding, the competition for hardworking, educated, skilled employees is intense, so wages and salaries rise.”

Just like that, all would be well — as if we never needed the trust-busting of the Progressive Era, the social legislation of the New Deal, the health programs of the Great Society and the coordinated action of the world’s governments in 2008 and 2009 to keep the Great Recession from becoming something far worse.

This keeps coming up and obviously is not going away. If president Obama and Democrats are so bad for the economy how come millionaires are still making millions. Is Romney going to make the case that Obama is micro manager letting gov’mint get in the way of a full recovery than how is he doing that while letting Wall Street and America’s biggest corporations make the same profits they were making pre-recession.

If Romney wants to paint Obama as Wall Street’s friend and an enemy of blue collar America, good luck in transforming himself from the crony profiteer of Bain, that made money regardless of how well his leveraged buyouts worked.

CEOs at top companies earned 380 times the average worker’s income in 2011. If Romney wants to come out and say that these lazy crony corporatists could do just fine on 150 times the average worker’s wage and use the savings to hire workers that would make him a progressive, not a conservative. I wish Mittens and his staff good luck in trying to paint the circle in such a way that no one looks beyond the obvious. First Romney staff mission is to destroy Congressional record or start using those millions to lie like there is no tomorrow. As of July, 2011, Republicans voted against 10 job creation bills in Congress. Not happy with preventing the creation of jobs they also voted for bills that would have destroyed  600,000 jobs. Conservatives have been telling us for ten years that low taxes will create millions of new jobs. Lowest taxes in sixty years have not created jobs. Regulations are killing jobs. Regulations have not changed in any substantial way since the Bush years. The biggest reason for a slow economy for Americans in the median income range( total household income of $50k and below) is the lack of demand:

President Obama has even offered to lower the corporate tax rate in exchange for closing some massive loopholes that let huge companies like Exxon and Apple pay very little in taxes. Conservatives will not even sit down for substantive discussions on the issue. Conservatives, including Mitt Romney want nothing to do with progress and fairness, they want to make the USA into Europe.

The absence was jarring, because Romney’s claim that President Obama is dragging the United States toward a loathsome European-style “social welfare” future has been a staple of the former Massachusetts governor’s shtick ever since he started campaigning in earnest.

[  ]…But there is a big problem with Romney’s formulation. For the last year or two, Europe has been implementing, in real time, exactly the policies that Romney and congressional Republicans fervently believe are the best strategy for boosting economic growth. It’s called “austerity,” and it means cutting deficits, slashing spending, and chipping away at all those goodies the social welfare state provides.

For those who like wonky economic stuff Paul Krugman has four charts up today that show European style austerity, tea bagger scorched earth austerity or Romney’s desire to make the USA into 17th century France – whatever you label it, does not work.

Rep. Darrell Issa(R-CA) who used to be a street hoodlum until conservatives promoted him to be a hoodlum in Congress is in charge of investigating any wrong doing in government. There used to be a cartoon about this situation like this with a cat left to guard a pet bird. Conservatives regarded that cartoon as an instruction manual – Get ready for Republicans to hammer on the nonsense idea that the White House is crooked.

Back in 2010, Rep. Darrell Issa called Obama one of the most corrupt presidents in history, and pledged to investigate his administration. After a year’s worth of hearings and investigations, Issa has come out empty-handed. Of course, when has lack of proof stopped anyone from making ridiculous accusations in politics?

Issa is another – there is a nearly endless supply – Koch brothers puppet.

 

The only sure bulwark of continuing liberty is a government strong enough to protect the interests of the people, and a people strong enough and well enough informed to maintain its sovereign control over the government. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Blue Skies Airliner wallpaper – Conservatives Lack The Moral Courage for Honorable Debates

airplanes, clouds

Blue Skies Airliner wallpaper

I am not even sure why this is news except that Politico decided to run it: Obama’s campaign whisperer

Barack Obama’s top advisers are making a mid-“core” correction in their attacks on Mitt Romney — with a little nudge from Bill Clinton, who is finding a niche as an Obama campaign whisperer and fundraiser.

Late last year, as Romney galloped to the right, Obama’s messaging team hit on what it assumed would be a durable bumper-sticker attack: Romney, senior advisers David Plouffe and David Axelrod intoned time and again, was a political shape-shifter who lacked any real moral or political “core.”

The slogan was the Obama talking point for months. But Clinton, echoing survey data presented by Obama’s own pollster Joel Benenson, quietly argued that the empty-core approach failed to capitalize on what they see as Romney’s greatest vulnerability: An embrace of a brand of tea party conservatism that turns off Hispanics, women and moderate independents.

A more effective strategy, Clinton has told anyone who would listen, would be to focus almost exclusively on Romney’s description of himself as a “severe conservative,” to deny him any chance to tack back to the center, according to three Democrats close to the situation.

As much as The Big Dog is a triangulator par excellence, President Obama could do far worse – and has – for  taking advice. President Clinton pulled off an amazing feat in 1992, he unseated an incumbent. And no, it is a myth that Ross Perot siphoned off enough conservatives to push Clinton over the top. Statistically, especially in modern era presidential races( post Eisenhower) it is very difficult to get voters to believe they should switch horses. In 2004 Bush 43 had lied the country into a war that will eventually cost around $3 trillion dollars ( an amount conservatives now count as part of Obama’s debt). Bush had squandered victory in Afghanistan. Conservatives went on the biggest spending spree in U.S. history with Bush’s leadership. Bridges and roads were falling apart. They were doing their best to weaken the U.S. educational system – an ongoing agenda that counts among the few things that conservatives know how to do fairly well. The economy did not ‘officially crash until late 2007, but it was well trashed by 2004. Bush eked out a victory. To be a conservative by definition means living in a bubble of manufactured reality thus the support of Mitt Romney who promises to return us to the slip and slide economic policies that brought us the giant sucking sound known as The Great Recession – Eight of the Top Ten 2012 Super PAC Donors Are Anti-Democracy Conservatives Hell Bent on Bringing Back Bush Policies

Last January, a study found that seventeen of the top twenty political donors are Republicans or conservatives. Last night, USA Today published a similar roundup of Super PAC donors in the 2012 cycle, and they found exactly the same pattern. Eight of the top ten Super PAC donors are Republicans or corporations who donate exclusively to Republicans. One is the Cooperative of American Physicians, a group of physicians focused on mitigating the cost of malpractice liability that supports a single Democrat. The other non-Republican group is a teachers union.

These totals may also understate the total amount of spending by these wealthy right-wing benefactors because donors can keep their identities secret by funneling their money into non-profit arms of political organizations. Sixty-two percent of the $123 million raised by Karl Rove’s “Crossroads” political empire in 2010 and 2011, for example, came from secret donors.

With the exception of the Cooperative of American Physicians, notice anything about this group of people. They do not really produce anything. They own companies, make investments and they sit back and collect the money. Adelson, Perry and Simmons/Contran in particular are not producers, they are not innovators, they collect the capital produced by workers. If they were kidnapped by space aliens tomorrow the economy would churn along as though nothing special had happened. Peter Theil is a right-wing conservative libertarian who thinks it got where he is all on his own ( Theil has never had an idea for anything and refuses to acknowledge the technology that makes his fortune possible was made possible technology invented by the government) and in 2009, Thiel (previously a Ron Paul supporter) wrote that “since 1920… the extension of the [socioeconomic] franchise to women… have rendered the notion of ‘capitalist democracy’ into an oxymoron.” He is the gay Herman Cain, he has more money than some countries yet constantly complains about how oppressed he is.

Mitt Romney is serious and has values. We know this because he hired a guy who is an expert at insulting women and the media on Twitter to be one of his advisers – Richard Grenell, New Mitt Romney Spokesman, Scrubs Online Attacks On Media And Women.Grenell is not even original, he sounds like he has recycled Ann Coulter’s insults and made them even less funny.

Back when Sarah Palin had Paul Revere warning the British, not the Americans during the middle of his famous ride, one of her defenders put up Revere’s written account as proof that she was correct. Never mind that basic reading comprehension had Revere telling the British off after his ride when he was captured.So even given written evidence with the chronological order of events, conservatives till insisted their brand spanking new  interpretation, that turned the timeline sideways, was correct. A very good example of what it is like trying to get conservatives to comprehend basic facts. So it goes with this blogger who is steadfast in his refusal to let facts get in the way of a crazy smear, Obama Selects Woman Who Wanted to Invade Israel As Chair of Genocide Panel

Power’s response seen in the video below is her advice to the President would be

“Alienate” the American Jewish community, and indeed all Americans, such as evangelical Christians, who support the state of Israel, because Israeli leaders are “destroying the lives of their own people.”

Pour billions of dollars of the taxpayers’ money into “the new state of Palestine”

Stage an American ground invasion of Israel and the Palestinian territories — what else can she mean by a “mammoth protection force” and a “military presence” that will be “imposed” by “external intervention”? — Interestingly she considers the exact same thing the height of arrogance and foolishness when it was done in Iraq.

The video is here. She was asked a hypothetical about any genocidal events occurring in the Palestinian-Israel conflict. A stupid question, but certainly well within the bounds of open and free intellectual discussions. She said the U.S. might have to take action that might be unsettling to a part of the American electorate. Most military actions upset Americans one way or the other. That blogger interprets that in his own words as “alienate” Jews and Evangelicals. Israel is the single biggest recipient of U.S. foreign aid and a tremendous amount of U.S. military weapons. What is so radical about entertaining the idea of the U.S. becoming involved in creating a stable and thus less radical Palestinian state. It will never happen, but such is the nature of discussions based on hypotheticals. At no place in the video does she advocate the invasion of Israel. Should a genocidal all out war take place in the region she is referring to the U.S. doing something like establishing a peace keeping force like we did in Kosovo – which worked out very well – Fox war monger Sean Hannity even approved. The reason for the Samantha Power smear campaign by the radical Right – facts be damned – is her recent appointment to the Atrocity Prevention Board. Which was part of an address the President made at United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. This is the press release from the museum, April 23, 2012 – PRESIDENT OBAMA ANNOUNCES GENOCIDE PREVENTION INITIATIVE AT UNITED STATES HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL MUSEUM

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum today welcomed President Barack Obama as part of the nation’s Days of Remembrance activities commemorating the victims of the Holocaust. In addition to touring the Museum and paying special tribute to Holocaust survivors, the president announced the creation of the Atrocities Prevention Board (APB), which will coordinate the US response to threats of genocide and other forms of mass atrocities.

“As a living memorial to the Holocaust, we feel that one of the most meaningful ways the Museum can honor the memory of the victims is to save lives in the future. We are honored that President Obama has chosen the Museum as the place to announce a significant new initiative to bolster the government’s capacity to prevent genocide,” said Museum Chairman Tom Bernstein. “A comprehensive US strategy to fulfill the pledge of ‘Never Again’ is a great step forward.”

“Museum Founding Chairman and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel reminds us that the Holocaust occurred because people stood by and that the greatest danger to humanity is indifference. We are heartened by the Obama administration’s efforts to create new tools and strategies to halt the perpetrators of the world’s worst crimes,” Bernstein added. Wiesel accompanied the president on the tour and then introduced him before he gave his address.

The creation of a coordinating body such as the APB was one of the key recommendations of the 2008 Genocide Prevention Task Force, co-chaired by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former Secretary of Defense William Cohen, who issued a statement commending today’s announcement. The task force was co-sponsored by the Museum, the US Institute of Peace, and The American Academy for Diplomacy.

Michael Chertoff, Chairman of the Committee on Conscience, which directs the Museum’s genocide prevention program, and former Secretary of Homeland Security, said, “The creation of this board represents a positive development in how our government responds to the worst forms of violence against civilians. If this step is coupled with strong political will by this and future administrations, the United States will be positioned as a world leader to act in the face of genocide. But now the work really begins, and the key test will be if this new body is utilized effectively.”

This is not so much as an attack from the liberal side against M’s Power, but certainly liberal slanted pessimism. It does manage to give the big picture of what Power stands for, Obama, Samantha Power, and the ‘problem from hell’

There is an interesting back story to Barack Obama’s call today for stronger action to prevent genocide that directly relates to the subject of this blog. The president’s speech at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum announcing new sanctions against perpetrators of mass atrocities was shaped in large part by senior aides with first-hand experience in places like Bosnia and Rwanda.

The key person here is Samantha Power, now a senior foreign policy advisor to Obama, who was a young reporter in Bosnia in July 1995 at the time of the Srebrenica massacre, seething in frustration at the failure of the international community to take effective action against the likes of Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic. As the author of the Pulitzer prize-winning A Problem from Hell: America in the Age of Genocide, Power provided much of the intellectual heft for a growing genocide prevention movement that has sought to pressure the United States government to live up to the slogan “Never Again.”

In her book, Power states that she returned from Bosnia “haunted by the murder of Srebenica’s Muslim men and boys, my own failure to sound a proper early warning, and the outside world’s refusal to intervene even once the men’s peril had become obvious.” She noted pointedly that the United States “had never in its history intervened to stop genocide and had in fact rarely even made a point of condemning it as it occurred.”

Other Obama foreign policy advisors who cut their teeth on the biggest foreign policy failures of the Clinton administration include United Nations ambassador Susan Rice, who is haunted by her experience on the National Security Council at the time of the Rwanda genocide. Repenting of the government’s inaction over Rwanda, Rice later swore “that if I ever faced such a crisis again, I would come down on the side of dramatic action, going down in flames if that was required.”

Of course, as both Power and Rice have discovered, there is a huge gap between striking a high moral tone as a commentator and the practical constraints of government. While the Obama administration (prodded by Power, Rice, and their allies) played a key role in the overthrow of Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi last year, it has been unable to contribute in any meaningful way to a reduction in violence in Syria. Auschwitz survivor Elie Wiesel drew attention to this contradiction today in introducing Obama to the Holocaust museum audience by noting pointedly that Bashar Assad is “still in power” in Syria alongside “number one Holocaust denier,” Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran.( Isn’t that a sign of good ol centrism when conservatives and liberals do not think you are good enough)

I’m not criticizing Elie Wiesel, that is like, if not worse than criticizing Mother Teresa, but Wiesel has also criticized right-wing Israelis like Benjamin Netanyahu,

On his visit to the museum, Obama was accompanied by the Nobel laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel who, in an interview with the Times of Israel last week, had rebuked Benjamin Netanyahu for repeatedly comparing the alleged threat posed by Iran to Israel with the Holocaust, as the Israeli prime minister did last Thursday at a memorial in Jerusalem in a particularly hawkish speech that drew widespread notice in elite foreign policy circles here.

On the very long list of conservative hypocrisies I always find it amazing that they will go into shrill outrage mode over any foreign input into U.S.A. foreign policy, yet get down on all fours and pull the foreign policy of Israel’s far Right. The conservative mind is simply not capable of appreciating the fact that one can support Israel and find some of the things it does a little bone headed. Thinking that does not make one pro Hamas or antisemitic. That is just a logical fallacy upon which conservatives rest most of their arguments. It is absurd to even entertain the idea of letting any Israeli leader dictate when the U.S.A. should go to war. This is a great example by Glenn Greenwald of the attacks which ensue if you do not take the radical Right’s every position on Israel – The predictable aftermath of the anti-CAP smear. Hard to tell if one only reads conservative blogs, but not all Israeli Jews buy into the perpetual war mongering, Jewish Voice for Peace.

Update: One of America’s most patriotic media watchers, Media Matters posted this just as I was finishing this post – Still Not True: Conservatives Revive Falsehood That Samantha Power Called For Invading Israel

Right-wing media are responding to Obama adviser Samantha Power’s appointment as chair of the newly created Atrocities Prevention Board by reviving the long-debunked smear that Power once advocated for an invasion of Israel.

New Orleans War of 1812 Waterways Map – Conservatism is the Daily Denial of Basic Truths

New Orleans – Mississippi River chart circa 1812

This chart from the NOAA is part of a series of charts they are doing for the bicentennial of the War of 1812. While they are not up yet, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also has plans to put up charts for Boston, New York, Baltimore and Norfolk waterway charts. These were all important sea ports during the war. As avid boaters already know the NOAA is a great source for sea charts and maps. It sounds silly, but there is always that one person, they warn not to use these recreations of old charts for modern navigation. All of those waterways have changed a bit since 1812.

Seminole Josie Billie with Family and Dog.  Small, John Kunkel (1869-1938). By way of the State Library and Archives of Florida. Billie and his family are pictured in Florida’s Big Cypress Swamp in April 1921.  Billie was born 12-12-1887. That Billie and a small number of Seminole managed to stay in their native territory of Florida is remarkable considering the massive military effort that went into forcing the Seminole tribe to move to a reservation in Oklahoma during the Seminole Wars ( mid 19th century). The swamps became their refuge.  Billie was the son of the first Indian to receive a formal education in Florida. A Seminole medicine man and long-time public spokesman for the Florida Seminoles. He also became a Baptist minister. Billie and his family lived through some momentous changes in their own culture and in that of the USA. They lived long enough to become regular attendees of the Florida Folk Festival several times and continued to live on the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation until his death in 1980.

CORONER: No Drugs In Andrew Breitbart’s System, Supporters Double-Down On Claims He Was Murdered By Obama

As I reported here shortly after Breitbart’s shocking death, his backers immediately began claiming that he’d been murdered by agents of President Obama. Yesterday’s coroner’s report seems to have only inflamed these claims. From the comments on the above-linked item:

-There are numerous ways to disguise murder as a heart attack/failure. I find it extremely coincidental that our beloved Andrew died just before he was to begin the vetting of Barack Hussein Obama. If I were Sheriff Joe, I’d watch my back.

…-I find it suspicious that all the famous people dying lately do so mostly in Commiefornia: Dick Clark, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Steve Bridges the comic who made fun of Obama, Andrew Breitbart and even Mike Wallace. And a reminder the Coroner is elected. Wonder what Party holds the office? Read about communists – eliminating icons of society is something they do…they are the new saviors, they want people to forget the past.

There are hundreds of similar comments at Breitbart.com.

Have you all updated your e-mail addresses. I do not seem to be getting those marked for assassination lists. Clark could be a jerk sometimes but he liked rock and R&B so how bad could he be. Not bad enough to kill and why wait until he was 82. It seems like I read some years  back that Mike Wallace was a Republican, but he gave everyone fits over the course of his career, especially the early years of 60 Minutes. Looking back at some of the video he was closer to Bill Moyers or even Glenn Greenwald than even old liberals Republicans like Nelson Rockefeller. Conservatives are not big on rational empirical evidence. They believe something and that makes it a conservative meme. Thus anyone that feds, caters to, exploits and encourages  the fevered conspiracy theories of the far Right is bound to become an object of conservative idolatry – Some Breitbart cultist create some sixties style psychedelic art in his honor. Further insuring the image achieves instant golden glow of conservative mythology CNN’s current hack par excellence Dana Loesch created an Instagram.

Let me back up for moment to the Breitbart post about President Obama sending out assassination squads to kill pop icons plus Breitbart. Someone has to do it even though it ruined by beautiful misty spring morning. I went over to read some of the comments. The comment threads over there ramble on forever. There are several things to take away from what and how conservatives view the world. One constant is their bizarre versions of history. Many of the comments on the Brietbart autopsy thread sound a lot like Glenn Beck (Glenn Beck’s History Lesson: Amnesia and Conformity),  Jonah Goldberg(The Scholarly Flaws of “Liberal Fascism”) and the tea baggers. This is one confused comment from “John”,

I get laughed at when I explain to people that fascism is left wing. They have a confused look on their face, then they laugh. It was created by italian marxists who felt a few minor tweaks were needed to make the ideology ‘perfect’. Et voila (or whatever it is in italian) – fascism. There is a hair’s width between fascism and marxism. Ninety years of left-wing propaganda have resulted in it being painted as ‘right wing’. When the soviets and nazis went to war, it wasn’t two vastly opposing ideologies coming together in a great ‘war-of-the-ages’ scenario, it was two virtually identical ideologies fighting it out for control of the same space, and one had to lose.(all spelling and grammar per the writer)

Mussolini was expelled from the Italian Socialist Party. Mussolini had moved on to subscribe to Nietzsche’s übermensch concept(though most historians think Mussolini misinterpreted Nietzsche), ultra-nationalism and anti-egalitarianism. Both European and American liberalism subscribe to egalitarianism – the concept of equality in terms of human rights and legal justice. Not the forced equal outcomes that conservatism asserts. Just for the record The Italian Liberal Party under the leadership of Paolo Boselli promoted intervention in the war on the side of the Allies.

I’ve mentioned before that I am not a fan of American liberals calling themselves the left even though they mean it as short hand for American liberalism – a tradition that extends back to Jefferson, Madison and Franklin. I’m a liberal or progressive to centrist Democrat, not a leftist in the European tradition of that term. In many European countries the political parties themselves make the distinction – to this day the Liberal party is just that and the Socialist party can be democratic socialists or lean further left. With that in mind it might be more helpful to understand what fascists did not like or stand for. The common thread? They did not stand for, nor could they abide liberalism – which is just another word for a political system that has a democratic republic framework. neither could communists.

“Fascism is definitely and absolutely opposed to the doctrines of liberalism, both in the political and economic sphere.” Benito Mussolini, Fascism: Doctrine and Institutions(p. 32). (emphasis mine)

The years which preceded the march on Rome [1922] were years of great difficulty, during which the necessity for action did not permit of research or any complete elaboration of doctrine The battle had to be fought in the towns and villages There was much discussion, but—what was more important and more sacred—men died. They knew how to die. Doctrine beautifully defined and carefully elucidated, with headlines and paragraphs, might be lacking; but there was to take place something more decisive—Faith! … It was precisely in those years that Fascist thought armed itself, was refined, and began the great task of organization. [It sought to solve] the problem of the relation between the individual citizen and the State, the allied problems of authority and liberty, political and social problems as well as those specifically national…. And all the while, it continued its struggle against Liberalism, Democracy, Socialism and Masonic bodies…. Fascism is now a completely individual thing, not only as a regime but as a doctrine. This means that today, Fascism … forms its own distinct and peculiar point of view … which confronts the world. – Benito Mussolini, Fascism: Doctrine and Institutions, 1935.

American liberalism has nothing to do with the hardcore left of Stalin or Mao. Conservatives can draw those unjustified lines all they like. Just is not so. Again, instead of reading conservative revisionism, read the source:

Liberalism is extreme]y harmful in a revolutionary collective. It is a corrosive which eats away unity, undermines cohesion, causes apathy and creates dissension. It robs the revolutionary ranks of compact organization and strict discipline, prevents policies from being carried through and alienates the Party organizations from the masses which the Party leads. It is an extremely bad tendency. – Mao Tse Tung, Ibid., p. 32. (emphasis mine). Sounds like one of the average conservative bloggers trashing liberalism. Liberalism has historically been a threat to every strain of authoritarianism or totalitarianism on the far Right or the far left. Thus both extremes do have several things in common, and one major trait of both the far Right and Left, is the demonizing of liberalism. Liberalism is freedom and respect for individual rights. It is the principle on which the U.S.A. was founded.

The Washington Free Beacon is a conservative noise outlet that writes its main news articles just like opinion pieces by conservative pundits. As usual this one is full of lies and spin –  New book claims FBI cover up of third gun in murder of border patrol agent

In response to an inquiry from the Free Beacon, a Justice Department spokeswoman said in an email that she “was told to direct your questions to the FBI, and also to provide you with a link to this story: http://mediamatters.org/research/201204190011”

The link was to a story at the George Soros-funded Media Matters for America supposedly refuting many of Pavlich’s claims. Media Matters is a partisan organization whose founder, David Brock, is also running a pro-Obama super PAC.

The far Right’s inquiries into fast and Furious have all the evidence that fuels their inquires into President Obama’s birth certificate. Why shouldn’t the DOJ – if in fact that is all they said – refer them to a web site that refutes all the shameless falsehoods conservatives have spread about Fast and Furious. The Beacon uses Katie Pavlich’s Fast and Furious: Barack Obama’s Bloodiest Scandal and Its Shameless Cover-up as its source of evidence. Pavlich is to Fast and Furious what Orly Taitz is to the birth certificate conspiracy theory crowd. The Beacon and Pylich smear Media Matters solely by accusing them of not be part of the conservative movement. That is a crime is conservative Amerika. If you do not buy into whatever wacko bullsh*t they’ll selling this week, nothing you say about the Theory of Gravity, that four plus one equals five is to be believed because such facts are, like all facts, part of the vast liberal conspiracy. Besides being a darling of the Beacon’s fact challenged editorial staff, where does Paylich find someone to pay for her tripe, the super conservative Town Hall. If you asked anyone at Town Hall what a fact checker was they’d have to check their dictionary. Fast And Fallacious: Pavlich’s Book On ATF Operation Filled With Falsehoods

In her new book, Fast and Furious: Barack Obama’s Bloodiest Scandal and its Shameless Cover-up, Townhall news editor Katie Pavlich offers up a number of false and misleading claims about the ATF’s fatally flawed Operation Fast and Furious. In doing so Pavlich baselessly suggests that high-ranking Justice Department officials were aware of that operation’s use of the tactic of gunwalking, in which agents knowingly allowed guns to be trafficked across the border to Mexico in order to identify other members of a trafficking network.

Pavlich Dubiously Played Up Importance Of Holder’s “Brief[ings]” On Fast And Furious

Pavlich Falsely Claimed AAG Breuer Admitted Knowing Gunwalking Tactics Were Used In Fast And Furious

Pavlich Misleadingly Highlighted Briefings On Operation Received By DOJ’s Grindler

Pavlich’s Citation Disproves Her Claim That AAG Breuer “Carefully Review[ed]” Letter To Grassley

Pavlich Falsely Claimed Former ATF Chief Melson Said A “Smoking Gun” Report Detailed DOJ Leaders Who Approved Fast And Furious Tactics

Pavlich Falsely Claimed ATF Agents Who Headed Fast And Furious Were “Promot[ed]”

Pavlich Falsely Claims “Liberal Media” Called The Fast And Furious Story A “Conspiracy Theor[y]”

Pavlich Falsely Claimed Holder Said School Massacres Proved Second Amendment Should Be Read As Collective Right

Pavlich Falsely Claimed Part Of Wildlife Refuge Was Closed By Obama Administration

Pavlich, the Beacon, Hot Air and assorted propaganda outlets will be apologizing for all the lies they have spread about Fast and Furious ( which was a dumb idea) about the same time they apologize for sending over 4,000 Americans to their deaths based on lies.

I haven’t picked on conservative libertarians lately, Independent and Principled? Behind the Cato Myth

It would all be good for a laugh, if the spin hadn’t succeeded in conning the media and confusing the public, even roping in some well-meaning progressives like Common Cause [3], who defended Cato’s “independence.”

But in order for progressives and others to make an honest and practical assessment about the Cato Institute and its battle with the Kochs, we need to first set the record straight about some of the claims being spun.

Cato Claim #1: The Cato Institute was one of the earliest and most principled critics of the Bush Administration’s wars abroad and attacks on civil liberties at home (here [4] and here [5]).

Fact: The Cato Institute’s actual record during the Bush Administration years was anything but principled and far from heroic.

John Yoo, author of the notorious “torture memo,” [6] served on the Cato Editorial Board [7] for Cato Supreme Court Review during the Bush presidency. At the same time, Yoo was writing the Bush administration’s legal justifications for waterboarding, Guantanamo, warrantless wiretapping and more. Yoo also contributed articles [8] to Cato Supreme Court Review and a chapter to a Cato book titled The Rule of Law in the Wake of Clinton [9] criticizing President Clinton’s “imperial presidency.” [10]

The “Cato Policy Report” attacked progressive critics of Bush’s War on Terror as “Terrorism’s Fellow Travelers [11]” in its November/December 2001 issue. Former Vice President of Research Brink Lindsey wrote, “Most of the America haters flushed out by September 11 are huddled on the left wing of the conventional political spectrum.”

Another Cato executive, Ted Galen Carpenter [12], former VP for Defense and Foreign Policy Studies, enthusiastically supported Bush’s war on terror and called on Bush to invade Pakistan [13].

The Cato Institute advised the 2002-04 Republican-dominated Congress to commence military strikes in Pakistan in its Cato Handbook for Congress [14] arguing, “Ultimately, Afghanistan becomes less important as a place to conduct military operations in the war on terrorism and more important as a place from which to launch military operations. And those operations should be directed across the border into neighboring Pakistan.”

Another Cato Institute executive, Roger Pilon [15], vigorously supported Bush’s attacks on civil liberties. Pilon, Cato’s VP for Legal Affairs and founding director of the Cato Institute’s “Center for Constitutional Studies,” supported expanded FBI wiretapping in 2002 [16] and called on Congress [17] to reauthorize the Patriot Act as late as 2008.

While it’s true that compared to other pro-Republican think-tanks, Cato did have periods when it was critical of Bush’s wars and attacks on civil liberties, those attacks weren’t consistent and showed every sign of being subordinated to the Cato Institute’s political demands.

Conservative libertarians cannot be trusted. Like the conservative movement they do not have much in the way of historically consistent political theory. They have no successes they can point to – and say see this country, conservative and libertarian, look how free and prosperous they are. Their vision for the USA and Europe is something pre Age of Reason – in this case the new age royalty – the Koch brothers, the millionaires associated with CATO will rule without pesky things like labor laws, minimum wage, health care insurance, workman’s compensation, environmental laws against dumping toxins into your drinking water – because all those terrible things do indeed cut into their extraordinary profits.

Black and White Pushpins wallpaper – Romney is Not Running For President He is Running For King

Black and White Pushpins wallpaper

Back in January Mittens said,

Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, repeated today that his view is “government doesn’t create jobs, it’s the private sector that creates jobs.”

Also from Romney just this past March,

Romney says rely on business; not government, to fix economy

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said during an appearance in Cleveland on Friday evening that he would rely on America’s entrepreneurial spirit — not government guidance — to reinvigorate the national economy.

This recent article is about some questionable signage that Romney is using ( but there does not seem to be any proof that it has malicious intent in regards racism) – Mitt Romney’s ‘Obama Isn’t Working’ Banner Evokes Racial Stereotypes

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney rolled out a new accessory at a speech in Ohio today, delivering his remarks in front of a black banner that said “Obama Isn’t Working,” which is also the name of a website his campaign set up several months ago (in case you didn’t get the message from the banner, it was also on the front of Romney’s podium).

[   ]…When I first saw the banner this afternoon, the multiple meanings were clear: President Obama‘s policies aren’t working, the Obama presidency isn’t working, President Obama…isn’t working, as in, doing any work. That’s not a nice thing to say about any president, but like it or not, it becomes a more loaded accusation when leveled at our first black president.

Just to be sure it wasn’t just me, though, I asked several friends about the banner, and four out of four pointed out, unprompted, the stereotype of the “lazy,” “shiftless” black man. One of the people I called was cable news fixture Goldie Taylor, who, upon hearing my description of the banner, said “Are you kidding me? You have got to be kidding me.”

She also noted the multiple meanings, and the unmistakable stereotype it evokes, but didn’t think it was intentional. “That’s what happens when you don’t surround yourself with a diverse array of people,” she said. “Maybe if Mitt Romney’s experience was more diverse, or the people he surrounds himself with, somebody would have looked at that banner and realized how it could be offensive to some people.”

I think that banner is indicative of the detached clueless nature of Mitt Romney and his staff ( it is even a rip off of a Margaret Thatcher banner) more than racism. That said let’s look at Romney and the fairy tale version of reality he is trying to sell voters. Whatever President Obama is doing is working:

 

The economy has grown every year of the Obama administration. If Mittens wants to run the typical conservative Republican campaign of falsehoods, distortions and half-truths he can do that. Though it will be more proof that conservative cannot run for office or govern based on facts and reality. They’re like some old school door to door salesman that has a bottle of magic elixir that will cure-all your ills, only every time America buys a bottle of conservative snake oil we have economic calamity. Nixon gave us the Nixon recession. Reagan gave us the his very own recession. In terms of severity  there is The Great Depression – caused by a conservative, our current Great Recession – caused by an accumulation of four decades of conservative economic policies that deregulated banking and Wall Street, and lastly the 3rd worse, Reagan’s recession – the one where he seized the Savings and Loans. Reagan and the conservative movement learned next to nothing from that experience. They were as determined as ever to deregulate and allow the creation of an oligopoly banking elite that was too big to fail. In he conservative tradition of being political ostriches, the conservative movement and Romney have learned nothing from The Great Recession – because they have decided on the Pravda-like narrative that it was all Freddie Mac and Barney Frank’s fault. That is unless you kept track of the conservative primaries when conservatives went off message and blamed each other – GOP candidates trade blame for housing collapse

Gingrich, a former House speaker, charged Thursday that Romney has been profiting from Florida’s foreclosure rate — which is three times higher than the national average — because the former Massachusetts governor invested in Goldman Sachs, the Wall Street giant that was targeted for misconduct in processing housing foreclosures.

[  ]….”These government-sponsored enemies in the case of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are a large reason our housing crisis has occurred,” Romney told a crowd of Floridians gathered in front of a foreclosed home in Lehigh Acres, Fla. “I am running against a guy in this primary, who was out working for one of these guys, Freddie Mac.”

Romney wants to “reinvigorate’ something or other in the private sector. The private sector is doing very well.  As of March 2012 business profit margins are up to pre recession levels –

Being a conservative Romney comes with one of those strings that when pulled repeats some phrase over and over again – he wants to cut taxes because, ah-ha, it is high taxes that are stopping growth – Taxes on income are the lowest they have been since the 1950s and while the official corporate tax rate is high in comparison to some other countries, most corporations are not paying the same tax rate as a head nurse – Apple And Other Tech Companies Make Billions But Pay Lower Taxes Than Middle Class Families

Romney has never cared about creating jobs. Bain Capital operated according to the crony capitalist conservative playbook. They made profits regardless of whether they drove the companies they bought and gutted – American Parasite: Romney’s Bain Represents Capitalism’s Worst

At the time, Mitt Romney had been running Bain Capital since 1984, minting a reputation as a prince of private investment. A future prospectus by Deutsche Bank would reveal that by the time he left in 1999, Bain had averaged a shimmering 88 percent annual return on investment. Romney would use that success to launch his political career.

His specialty was flipping companies — or what he often calls “creative destruction.” It’s the age-old theory that the new must constantly attack the old to bring efficiency to the economy, even if some are destroyed along the way. In other words, people like Romney are the wolves, culling the herd of the weak and infirm.

His formula was simple: Bain would purchase a firm with little money down, then begin extracting huge management fees and paying Romney and his investors enormous dividends.

The result was that previously profitable companies were now burdened with debt. But much like the Enron boys, Romney’s battery of MBAs fancied themselves the smartest guys in the room. It didn’t matter if a company manufactured bicycles or contact lenses; they were certain they could run it better than anyone else.

Bain would slash costs, jettison workers, reposition product lines and merge its new companies with other firms. With luck, they’d be able to dump the firm in a few years for millions more than they’d paid for it.

But the beauty of Romney’s thesis was that it really didn’t matter if the company succeeded. Since he was yanking out cash early and often, he would profit even if his targets collapsed.

Romney says he had a job. Only in the delusional mind of the entitled conservative could anyone consider what Romney did as a job. He leached off the backs of workers. The workers created the value, the capital that made any of those companies have value. Romney took their work, the value those workers created and through his special financial grinding machine sucked off the profits.

It’s also not like there are not plenty of people making money right now – CEOs at top companies earned 380 times the average worker’s income in 2011

The AFL-CIO has released its CEO Paywatch with 2011 data. So how do CEOs stack up against ordinary workers? Well, the average CEO of a company on the S&P 500 Index earned 380 times the average American worker’s wage, with average CEO pay having increased 13.9 percent in 2011.

The Romney formula for the economy is the Regan formula, the Bush 41 and Bush 43 formula. The same old. The rich get richer because of increasing employee productivity and historically low taxes. How many times does America have to rinse and repeat with the same old voodoo supply side economics to realize the only people who never suffer are people like Romney. The Great Depression happened after years of crony capitalism (The Robber Barons) and deregulation. The formula always ends up giving the same results a median income America that pays for the shenanigans of the wealthy elite. For Two Economists, the Buffett Rule Is Just a Start

Both admire, even adore, the United States, they say, for its entrepreneurial drive, innovative spirit and, not least, its academic excellence: the two met while re-searchers in Cambridge, Mass. But both also express bewilderment over the current conversation about whether the wealthy, who have taken most of America’s income gains over the last 30 years, should be paying higher taxes.

“The United States is getting accustomed to a completely crazy level of inequality,” Mr. Piketty said, with a degree of wonder. “People say that reducing inequality is radical. I think that tolerating the level of inequality the United States tolerates is radical.”

As much as Mr. Piketty’s and Mr. Saez’s work has informed the national debate over earnings and fairness, their proposed corrective remains far outside the bounds of polite political conversation: much, much higher top marginal tax rates on the rich, up to 50 percent, or 70 percent or even 90 percent, from the current top rate of 35 percent.

The two economists argue that even Democrats’ boldest plan to increase taxes on the wealthy — the Buffett Rule, a 30 percent minimum tax on earnings over $1 million — would do little to reverse the rich’s gains. Many of the Republican tax proposals on the table might increase income inequality, at least in the short term, according to William G. Gale of the Tax Policy Center and many other left-leaning and centrist economists.

Conservatives respond that high tax rates would stifle economic growth, at a minimum, and cause some businesses and high-income workers to flee to other countries. When top American tax rates were much higher, from the 1940s through the 1970s, businesses could not relocate as easily as they can now, say critics of Mr. Piketty and Mr. Saez.

“I materially disagree with the idea you can raise a marginal tax rate to 70 percent and not have an impact on economic growth,” said Ike Brannon, an economist at the American Action Forum. “It’s absurd on its face.”

But Mr. Piketty and Mr. Saez argue that history is on their side: Many countries have higher tax rates — and the United States has had higher tax rates — without stifling growth or encouraging the concentration of income in the hands of the very rich.

We’re all living the dream or nightmare of supply side economics. Conservatives like to warn us that any program that helps level the playing field so that more Americans have a shot at a real middle to upper middle-class income makes us more like Europe. The irony is that we’re like 17th century Europe with the kings, Dukes and Duchesses having not just all the fruits of American labor, but all the power as well. Romney would simply be another King like Bush 43.

Mountain Pond Spring wallpaper – Conservatism Means Putting Venality Before Honor Or Love Of Country

landscape, spring, green

Mountain Pond Spring wallpaper

 

Its been about five days since Hilary Rosen remarked that Ann Romney has in fact never worked outside the home. Unlike the vast majority of American working mothers. There was plenty of entertaining false outrage by the Romneys and their supporters. Still, as gaffes go that particular news cycle should have run its course. The Right not only milked it for far more than it merited – with President Obama and many Democrats actually helping the false outrage echo – conservatives tried to tie Rosen to Obama as an active adviser in his campaign. One assumes that sense conservatives cooked up a messy stew of outrage, they figured they might as well throw in some lies wrapped around yet another conspiracy theory. The press did its part and called it a day so they failed to do much coverage of the fact that Mittens and pour little Ann were actually thrilled at Rosen’s comment – At a fundraiser he thought was private, Romney outlines specific cuts and brags about the “gift” of Hilary Rosen. Some people enjoy hearing their tumor was benign or getting a new iPad, conservatives just love getting another opportunity to play victim of the liberal meanies. The Romneys got to play the see Democrats are the real women haters. basking in the glow of the “gift” of Hilary Rosen the Romneys invite Anti-Women Surrogate Little Donnie Trump To Host Birthday Fundraiser For Ann Romney

This afternoon, just five days after the “controversy,” the Romneys will be participating in a special birthday fundraiser at the home of top campaign surrogate Donald Trump, further eroding their credibility in the “war on women.” Trump, after all, has a long history of misogynistic rhetoric and behavior that is far more offensive than even the least generous interpretations of Rosen’s comments. Below are Trump’s most sexist comments:

1. “I think [Attorney] Gloria [Allred] would be very very impressed with [my penis].” [2012]

2. “[Rosie O’Donnell is] not a smart person,” “a stone cold loser,” “a bully” “a slob,” “disgusting,” “an animal” and a “very unattractive woman both inside and out.” [ 2007]

3. “[Angelina Jolie’s] been with so many guys she makes me look like a baby, OK, with the other side. And, I just don’t even find her attractive.” [2006]

4. “You know, it doesn’t really matter what [the media] write as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of [expletive].” [1991]

5. “Well, you know ‘The National Enquirer’ did a story they said, ‘Who’s had more supermodels than any man ever in history?’ ‘Let’s name ‘em, let’s each of us name ‘em’ ‘I’ve had a lot of them, I’ll tell you that.” [2011]

6. “All of the women on ‘The Apprentice’ flirted with me- consciously or unconsciously. That’s to be expected.” [ 2011 ]

7. “I think the only difference between me and the other candidates is that I’m more honest and my women are more beautiful.” [ 2000]

In summary, Hilary Rosen, who apologized, is THE evil symbol of the Democratic policies, yet man-whore and misogynist Donald Trump is the pinnacle of conservative values. Those who want to feel outraged are free to do that, but simple outrage is not the point. The point is the shallow and exploitative attitudes of Romney and his wife. Rosen, the conservative war on women? Just so much road kill they had the chauffeur remove from the limo grill. Just think America, all these years how many of us thought that values were connected to decency, honor and truthfulness. Conservatives are clutching their pearls and keyboards just hoping for more gaffes to exploit. Now along comes a washed up old druggie, alcoholic, draft dodger who has left a trail of fatherless children from his piss off hotel baloney days who  makes the family cat look like Einstein to claim that if President Obama is reelected he is going to murder him or die trying –

Despite a Secret Service investigation, Mitt Romney supporter Ted Nugent said he is not backing down from his perceived threat against President Obama at the National Rifle Association last weekend. “I spoke at the NRA and I will stand by my speech. It was 100 percent positive,” Nugent said on Dana Loesch’s radio show yesterday of what many considered a reference to an assassination attempt.

Nugent cannot be a patriot. That would requite that he have some idea of what country he lives in and know something about U.S. history and the liberal foundation of its founding philosophy. Even if science could reanimate the brain cells Nugent has killed over the course of his life. There is no scientific remedy for signing up to be a venal slug. You cannot even argue with Nugent. He never says what bill that Obama or Democrats have signed into law that he disagrees with and spells out why. he just calls the President or Hillary Clinton names. He supports Romney – who signed Romneycare into law, the health care plan that Obamacare is based on. He has said that Obama has betrayed the constitution. I think Obama has betrayed the Constitution, but in mostly the same way Bush 43 did. While I disagree, the majority of the public supports those draconian interpretations of executive power when it comes to national security. If elected Romney will as well. Unless someone in their teens is reading this it is unlikely those policies will be changed in your lifetime. So when it comes to substance Nugent doesn’t know what he is talking about, otherwise he would be advocating on behalf of the Congressional Progressive caucus, not a conservative.Steve Bennen notes why the Nugent temper tantrums matter,

So, why should anyone care about Nugent’s latest ridiculous tirade? Well, for one thing, a spokesman for the Secret Service confirmed to Dan Amira, “We are aware of it, and we’ll conduct an appropriate follow up.”

For another, if the Romney campaign wants to pretend that Bill Maher and Hilary Rosen count as an extension of the Obama campaign, then Nugent certainly appears to be fair game as a key Romney ally. After all, Romney actively sought, and eventually earned, Nugent’s personal endorsement after a private discussion between the two just last month.

If the president, vice president, and everyone they know are asked to comment on Rosen’s comment last week, it’s hardly unreasonable to think Romney may want to respond to Nugent’s threatening language this week. The ties between the president and Rosen are tenuous at best, but Romney reached out directly to Nugent, hoping to pick up his support.

Romney passed on criticizing Rush Limbaugh after his misogynistic tirade a month ago. It’ll be interesting to see how, and whether, he addresses Nugent’s rhetoric now.

It also matters because one of Romney’s sons, Tagg said, “Ted Nugent endorsed my Dad today,” the younger Romney tweeted. “Ted Nugent? How cool is that?! He joins Kid Rock as great Detroit musicians on team Mitt!”. None of what Nugent said, matters. None of what Tagg said matters. It does not matter that Mittens actively sought Nugent’s endorsement. You know why? Politico decided that Rosen mattered, but everything uttered by proto-fascist conservatives is just insignificant noise,

For all the hand-wringing by the campaigns about the debased nature of the debate, both Democrats and Republicans are as culpable as the press for turning the shouting into the storyline of the spring campaign — by pushing their rivals for new disavowals each day and blasting out the greatest hits from controversial supporters….

“The media think the media is very important,” observed Weekly Standard editor William Kristol….

So have we all got that. Everything said – including deaths threats, made after Rosen are insignificant gaffes, move on nothing to see here. Ignore that Allen West (R-FL) has also decided to double down on his attempt to be the wackiest member of Congress. Again swearing that everyone in the Progressive Caucus is a communist. Still no actual evidence, but conservative don’t need no stink’n evidence, everything that comes out of their pie hole is the holy truth.

Here is that old conservative rag The American Spectator – ye of the old Hillary Clinton had Vince Foster murdered fame, claiming that President Obama must condemn a joke made by Sarah Silverman ( I think she’s great, but she does push things at times. Last I heard professional comedians do that sometimes) Obama Must Denounce, Perhaps Shoot, Sarah Silverman, Who Is a Hoaxtress Painted Whore Baby Burrito BAD LITTLE SLUT EEK ANGER GOES TO ELEVEN. Just as sane reasonable adults who genuinely care about America and its future should never take to heart any self-righteous conservative BS, never let  pay moldy old conservative outrage dictate the moral parameters of any issue. They do not and have never held the moral high ground. If they ever do, that would indeed be a miracle.

Koch brothers Puppet Scott Brown(R-MS) Helps Defeat Buffet Rule Than Calls Elizabeth Warren ‘elitist’. Tis the season of conservatives yelling I’m rubber and you’re glue.

 

Conservatives have been calling anyone who has not fallen for the dystopian right-wing agenda Anti-American for decades. It is part and parcel of the conservative playbook. Like so much of the hate, lies and maliciousness that flows out of the conservative movement. Such accusation are pure projection. Conservatives work 24/7 against the best interests of the USA and that is in fact Anti-American, Right-Wing Media Cover Up Senate Republicans’ Obstructionism

Following the release of a report on the legislative business conducted by the Senate, conservative media have tried to cover up Republican obstructionism in order to label the Democratic-controlled Senate as “lazy” and “do-nothing.” In fact, Senate Republicans have repeatedly used procedural tricks to block measures that would otherwise have passed the Senate.

[  ]…In 2011, Senate Republicans Repeatedly Blocked The Senate From Acting. In 2011, Senate Republicans used procedural tricks, such as filibusters, to require that measures received the support of a supermajority of senators before they moved forward. The following legislation would have passed the Senate and the following nominations would have been confirmed had Senate Republicans not thrown up procedural roadblocks:

Nomination Of Mari Carmen Aponte To Be Ambassador To The Republic Of El Salvador. [Senate vote 227, 12/12/11]
Middle Class Tax Cut Act Of 2011. [Senate vote 224, 12/8/11; Senate vote 219, 12/1/11]
Nomination Of Richard Cordray To Be Director Of The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. [Senate vote 223, 12/8/11]
Nomination Of Caitlin Joan Halligan To Be A United States Circuit Judge. [Senate vote 222, 12/6/11]
Teachers And First Responders Back To Work Act Of 2011. [Senate vote 177, 10/20/11]
American Jobs Act Of 2011. [Senate vote 160, 10/11/11]
Nomination Of James Michael Cole To Be Deputy Attorney General. [Senate vote 67, 5/9/11]
Bill Reauthorizing Government Programs That Aid Small Businesses. [Senate vote 64, 5/4/11]

Senate Republicans’ Obstruction Has Continued In 2012. Senate Republicans have continued their obstructionist tactics in 2012. The following bills would have passed and the following nominations would have been confirmed had Senate Republicans not used procedural devices to require support from a supermajority:

Paying A Fair Share Act Of 2012. [Senate vote 65, 4/16/12]
Repeal Big Oil Tax Subsidies Act. [Senate vote 63, 3/29/12]
Reauthorization Of The Export-Import Bank Of The United States. [Senate vote 52, 3/20/12]
Reopening American Capital Markets To Emerging Growth Companies Act Of 2011. [Senate vote 51, 3/20/12]

Many of the bills that conservatives have stopped were pro-business and would have created more jobs. Why would a group claiming to have the last word on what patriotism is use parliamentary tricks to hurt businesses and families. Just maybe it is because their allegiance is not to the USA, but to the radical Anti-American cause of conservatism.

Today April 18, 1775: Paul Revere begins ride to Lexington warning that the British are coming.

In 1774 and the Spring of 1775 Paul Revere was employed by the Boston Committee of Correspondence and the Massachusetts Committee of Safety as an express rider to carry news, messages, and copies of resolutions as far away as New York and Philadelphia.

On the evening of April 18, 1775, Paul Revere was sent for by Dr. Joseph Warren and instructed to ride to Lexington, Massachusetts, to warn Samuel Adams and John Hancock that British troops were marching to arrest them. After being rowed across the Charles River to Charlestown by two associates, Paul Revere borrowed a horse from his friend Deacon John Larkin. While in Charlestown, he verified that the local “Sons of Liberty” committee had seen his pre-arranged signals. (Two lanterns had been hung briefly in the bell-tower of Christ Church in Boston, indicating that troops would row “by sea” across the Charles River to Cambridge, rather than marching “by land” out Boston Neck. Revere had arranged for these signals the previous weekend, as he was afraid that he might be prevented from leaving Boston).

On the way to Lexington, Revere “alarmed” the country-side, stopping at each house, and arrived in Lexington about midnight. As he approached the house where Adams and Hancock were staying, a sentry asked that he not make so much noise. “Noise!” cried Revere, “You’ll have noise enough before long. The regulars are coming out!” After delivering his message, Revere was joined by a second rider, William Dawes, who had been sent on the same errand by a different route. Deciding on their own to continue on to Concord, Massachusetts, where weapons and supplies were hidden, Revere and Dawes were joined by a third rider, Dr. Samuel Prescott. Soon after, all three were arrested by a British patrol. Prescott escaped almost immediately, and Dawes soon after. Revere was held for some time and then released. Left without a horse, Revere returned to Lexington in time to witness part of the battle on the Lexington Green.

Black and White Shore Rocks wallpaper II – Five Reasons The Wealthy Are Getting a Free Ride Off American Workers

Black and White Shore Rocks wallpaper

Ship in the Storm by Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky. Ivan Aivazovsky(Born July 29, 1817, Died May 5, 1900) was an Armenian born in the Crimea. Considered by art experts was one of the finest seascape painters in history Fully sixty percent of his work was seascapes. If you happen to come across one at a garage sale hang on to it. On June 14, 2007 his painting “American Shipping off the Rock of Gibraltar” sold for 2,710,000 pounds (over $4 million).

I do not have time for a full post today. This is an interesting essay from Paul Buchheit, Five Reasons Why The Very Rich Have NOT Earned Their Money

The wealthiest Americans believe they’ve earned their money through hard work and innovation, and that they’re the most productive members of society. For the most part they’re wrong. As the facts below will show, they’re not nearly as productive as middle-class workers. Yet they’ve taken almost all the new income over the past 30 years.

Any one of these five reasons should reinforce the belief that the rich should be paying a LOT more in taxes.

1. They’ve Taken All the Middle Class Wage Increases

In 1980 the richest 1% of America took one of every fifteen post-tax income dollars. Now, according to IRS figures, they take THREE of every fifteen (doc) post-tax income dollars. They’ve tripled their cut of America’s income pie. That’s a trillion extra dollars a year.

For every dollar the richest 1% earned in 1980, they’ve added three more dollars. The poorest 90% have added ONE CENT.

Yet the average American factory worker, according to Berkeley economist Enrico Moretti, produces $180,000 worth of goods a year, more than three times what he or she produced in 1978, in inflation-adjusted dollars.

So workers have TRIPLED their productivity over 30 years while the richest 1% have TRIPLED their share of income. Worker pay remained flat as the top 10% took almost all the productivity gains since 1980.

2. They’ve Mismanaged Key American Industries

We have the most expensive health care system in the world. Failing banks have survived because of taxpayer bailouts. Management-approved shortcuts have led to workplace deaths and chemical leak disasters. Companies lobby for cap and trade laws so their profits can pay for their pollution.

Over twenty percent of Americans are unemployed or underemployed as big companies hoard $2 trillion in cash. 93% of post-recession income (pdf) is going to the 1% “job-creators” with no appreciable increase in jobs.

Private tuition is skyrocketing, with student loans reaching the $1 trillion mark. Bonuses continue for executives at Ford and Bank of America and Sirius and other companies who have underperformed and/or laid off workers.

No, the captains of industry have not earned their money because of their top-notch management skills.

3. They’ve Benefited from 50 Years of Public Research

The very rich have made their fortunes in good part because of taxpayer-funded research at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (the Internet), the National Institute of Health, the National Science Foundation, and numerous other government agencies.

Consider just a simple communications device. Computer chips and audio/video/voice technologies grew out of decades of funding at the Department of Defense, the Air Force, NASA, and public universities. The pieces of the device were put together by a procession of chemists, physicists, chip designers, programmers, engineers, production-line workers, market analysts, testers, troubleshooters, etc., etc. They, in turn, couldn’t have succeeded without another layer of people providing sustenance and medical support and security and administrative assistance and transportation and office maintenance for the technologists. ALL of them contributed to the final product.

But over the years private businesses have received government contracts to produce and market the results, and “entrepreneurs” have rearranged the pieces into products that seem to appear out of the magical world of a single individual.

4. They’ve Increased Their Incomes By Not Paying Taxes

The richest 10% own 80% of the stock market, providing billions in “unearned income” that is taxed at less than half the rate of income earned through real work.

Hedge fund managers call their income “carried interest” instead of “income” to keep their tax rate at 15%. Even this small amount may not be paid. Hedge fund managers with incomes in the billions can pay ZERO income tax by deferring their profits through their companies indefinitely.

Real tax rates for the richest Americans have gone way down over the last 30 years, from 34% in 1980 to 23% in 2006. Yet the 1% claim they pay most of the taxes. They don’t, if all taxes are considered. Based on recent data from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the total of all state and local taxes, social security taxes, and excise taxes (gasoline, alcohol, tobacco) consumes 22% of the annual incomes of the poorest quintile. For the top 1% of Americans, the same taxes consume less than 10% of their incomes.

In addition, most inherited wealth goes untaxed, with estates valued up to $5 million exempt from federal taxes. The average tax rate on inheritance is less than 3 percent.

It’s no different for corporations. U.S. Office of Management (OMB) figures show a gradual drop over the years in Corporate Income Tax as a Share of GDP, from 4% in the 1960s to 1.3% in 2010. That’s ONE-THIRD of their previous share. From 2008 to 2010, the top 100 U.S. corporations paid only 12.2% of their income in taxes, and thirty of them paid nothing at all (pdf).

The lack of SEC regulation has also allowed corporate America to seek tax dodges beyond our borders. Citizens for Tax Justice reports that the 280 most profitable U.S. corporations sheltered half their profits from taxes – up to $337 billion a year (pdf) – between 2008 and 2010.

Most shocking is the long-term shift in the tax burden from corporations to middle-class workers. For every dollar of workers’ payroll tax paid in the 1950s, corporations paid three dollars. Now it’s 16 cents.

5. They’ve Contributed Little to Society

The richest individuals and corporations have shown little regard for the majority of Americans who depend on sound financial management for their economic security. According to sources such as the New York Times and ProPublica, Wall Street firms including JPMorgan, Citigroup, Bank of America, and Goldman Sachs have been repeatedly charged with fraud only to avoid punishment by paying a fraction of their profits in fines.

Financial insiders have figured out how to cheat other investors by timing the purchase of a stock option to precede good corporate news, timing the sale of a stock option to precede bad corporate news, and changing the purchase date (pdf) on a stock option to a time when the price was lower.

One hedge fund manager, John Paulson, made $4 billion by working with Goldman Sachs to create a financial product that would allow him to bet on the collapse of the housing market. Other financial masterminds packaged toxic derivatives for sale to unknowing pension funds, as ratings agencies were paid to ensure the worthless packages received AAA ratings.

Meanwhile, the banks were roughing up the homeowners. Bank of America foreclosed on tens of thousands of Americans by using unverified evidence called “robo-signing.”

Disdain for average citizens goes way beyond fraud, and well outside our borders, into the areas of environmental and human rights abuses. Computer and phone makers like Apple save money by obtaining their coltan from the Congo, where children dig it out of the mines. The “blood coltan” goes to China, where teenagers stand for 12 hours a day performing repetitive tasks for a few dollars. Monsanto’s herbicides and pesticides cause biological damage, promote the growth of ‘superbugs’ and ‘superweeds,’ and generally don’t outperform organic methods of farming. Exxon is not only the biggest profitmaker and polluter, but the company has conducted a lengthy campaign (pdf) to deceive the public about global warming. Corporate Accountability International named Monsanto, Exxon, Koch Industries, Chevron, Blackwater, and Halliburton to its Corporate Hall of Shame.

And finally, how well is society served when valuable resources are spent on a yacht complete with golf course, submarine, beach, and helicopter, and which qualified for a second-home mortgage deduction? Or on a $250,000 playhouse for the kids?

Studies show that increased wealth is correlated with a lesser degree of empathy for others. Despite their dependency on society for everything else, the super-rich have apparently earned the right to live in their own privileged world.

Paul Buchheit is a college teacher, an active member of US Uncut Chicago, founder and developer of social justice and educational websites (UsAgainstGreed.org, PayUpNow.org, RappingHistory.org), and the editor and main author of “American Wars: Illusions and Realities” (Clarity Press).