Spring Redwoods wallpaper – Worship of The Modern Aristocracy Is a Core Conservative Value

redwoods, park, green, forests, American landscape

Spring Redwoods wallpaper

 

Only Little People Pay TaxesWhy a janitor ends up with a higher tax rate than a millionaire, and seven more charts that show how the richest Americans beat the IRS.

“We don’t pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes,” billionaire hotelier Leona Helmsley famously (and allegedly) [2] sniffed. She wasn’t entirely correct: The superrich do still pay taxes. The wealthiest 1 percent of taxpayers pay 32 percent of all income tax collected by the federal government.

But the superrich don’t pay as much as they used to—and thanks to a combination of tax cuts and preferential tax policies, their tax obligations can be less demanding than the so-called little people’s. In fact, the very wealthiest Americans’ tax burden has been steadily dropping for years, even as they’ve enjoyed astounding income growth [1] not seen by the vast majority of Americans.

Tax rates for the wealthy have fallen substantially since they peaked in the 1940s. During the past 30 years, they have been cut at a much faster rate than middle- and low-income taxpayers’.

There is a point where for all practical purposes and far beyond a person can accumulate so much wealth that their needs have certainly been meet and even the most grandiose desires. We’ve had a multitude of studies lie this new one from Motherjones that show an enormous concentration of wealth in the hands of a very few whose tax burden has gone down even as the backbone of institutions that make a healthy middle-class possible is weakened. Let’s say that when conservatives start calling everyone to the left of Mussolini a socialist, they are genuinely concerned about how the nations’ economy is structured in order that achievement or merit is rewarded. One will be hard pressed to find a study that shows there is not a connection between publicly financed infrastructure – community colleges, public universities, the highway system, semi-public utilities, food safety, environmental protection, basic financial regulation and the growth of a healthy middle-class. Thus these concerned conservatives should want to continue the basic historical guidelines that make it possible to work and make a decent living. Yet conservatives, especially at the legislative level and at their think tanks, work tirelessly to undermine the basic economic wheels and gears that work together to create a wealthy nation. Why would a political movement put so much effort into making the USA a weaker nation to cater to a small percentage of wealthy elite. It is not as though bringing back even a minimum 50% tax bracket for millionaires would see the Koch brothers or Harold Simmons in a bread line. Thus the stakes in the fair share tax game are not just about money. They are about the power that goes hand in hand with money. Simmons is a good example. He has bought an incredible amount of political clout. He has never held elected office yet he owns quite a few Texas legislators. There is a better than even chance he will get his way in regards dumping radioactive waste. In which case he will make millions, if not billions more. The cycle of money, power, more money and more power. America by and for the powerful, mostly old industry conservative interests. This radical conservative model for how a nation should operate is not new. Not much about conservatism is very modern. It is the European model circa the 16th century and before. Wealth .i.e. property concentrated in the hands of royalty. Not because they earned it, but because they took it. Ye old conservatives took their wealth through force and kept it by way of inheritance and more force. Modern conservatism knows that people who like to think they live in a free democratic republic will not tolerant pure unadulterated taking. So they take the pie created by the work of millions and redistribute it to the few via tax policy, oligopolies and spartan financial regulation. If we continued the progressive policy trends started by FDR and The New Deal that would mean less power for the wealthy and more power to the average American. Which is one of the biggest reasons why conservatives cling so tenaciously to their agenda. That agenda requires the right-wing noise machine – Fox News, conservative radio, newspaper columns, direct mail and internet pundits. It takes a lot of noise to bury the truth. There is another element to the conservative agenda that goes all the way back to Protestant Calvinism, the embrace of hardship as a cultural virtue and a kind of awe of wealth accumulation. George Packer gets a little into that in this recent column –  Iceberg to the Right: From the Titanic to Paul Ryan

It does rough justice to a political ideology whose leading advocates take wealth to be a sign of individual and social virtue, believe its concentration in fewer and fewer hands isn’t something for a democratic country to worry about, toy with the idea of getting rid of child-labor laws, regard unemployment and other social insurance as forms of coddling the unworthy poor, and hold health care to be a personal option for which the individual is responsible. As Robert Reich (an economist for whom Obama never had much use) pointed out several months before the President used the phrase last week, the social Darwinism of William Graham Sumner and other late-nineteenth-century thinkers is alive and well in the current Republican Party.

 

I can understand the Romneys, the Simmons, the Bushes, the Coors family, John McCain’s wife or the Kochs all thinking they’re special, they did actual work and deserve their wealth. Such is the bubble of, not all by any means, but many of the wealthy live in. It is difficult to fathom by blue-collar and middle-class conservatives view these people with the kind of awe that old European peasants saw their Kings. It is because these lower-income conservatives see wealth in and of itself as virtue and to some degree religiously predestined wealth. If wealth equals virtue then non-wealth is just punishment. So we cannot get off the merry-go-round of conservative thinking because they want wealth in the hands of people who must be virtuous or else, you know who, would take their wealth away as punishment. Any attempt to cushion the suffering of those at the bottom, who’s odds of even reaching the middle are pretty low, is messing with destiny. As radical and 17th century as that sounds. Conservatives such as Paul Ryan (R-WI) also believe that programs like Medicare and Social Security which provide for a dignified retirement for blue-collar and middle-class workers is also mixing with the ‘natural order’ of things.

If that sounds too harsh, consider what Jason DeParle of the Times reported two days ago. Even as the recession drove millions of Americans deeper into poverty, many of them, mainly single mothers, continue to be dropped from the welfare rolls under the welfare reform laws of the nineteen-nineties. DeParle, the leading journalistic expert on the subject, did not try to hide his indignation: “They have sold food stamps, sold blood, skipped meals, shoplifted, doubled up with friends, scavenged trash bins for bottles and cans and returned to relationships with violent partners—all with children in tow.”

That’s a picture only a social Darwinist could describe as “an unprecedented success”—which is the phrase Congressman Paul Ryan, who authored the Republican budget plan, uses to describe welfare reform. That program was bipartisan, and widely popular. But today only leaders of the Republican Party, like Ryan and Mitt Romney, believe it’s working so well that the model should be extended to other government programs, including food stamps and Medicaid.

In a less widely quoted passage from his speech, Obama called the Republican budget “antithetical to our entire history as a land of opportunity and upward mobility for everybody who’s willing to work for it.” This was less solid than “social Darwinism.” For in truth, there was a time in American history—it lasted roughly from the end of the Civil War to the beginning of the Great Depression—when opportunity and upward mobility were choked off by the concentration of wealth and power in a few hands. Ryan, Romney, and the Republican Party want to return to the age of the Titanic, before child-labor laws and laws protecting the right to join unions and the graduated income tax and social insurance, when those in first class survived at much higher rates than the unfortunate souls down in steerage.

I’ve read  several liberal pundits repeat the general impression that on a personal basis Ryan is pleasant enough in person. That does not surprise me. Most of the conservatives I know have pleasant enough demeanors. That does not mean they are not capable of believing some in some stuff that is wildly malignant and pernicious.

If you can’t win, make up your own math – Koch-Funded GOP Economist Uses New Math To Find That Health Reform Increases The Deficit

What Blahous calls “double counting” is actually the “unified budget process,” an accounting method that considers the spending and revenues of the entire federal budget over a 10 year period and the way Congress keeps track of its dollars. It’s the same math that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) relied on to conclude in 2010 that the law “would produce a net reduction in federal deficits of $143 billion over the 2010–2019 period as result of changes in direct spending and revenues.”

Blahous is just another Scott Walker type Koch puppet. They pull the strings and out comes four plus two equals nine.

This is a bit late, but it fits in with today’s post, Conservative Conman Rick Warren not a fan of this whole Jesus thing

OBAMA: And I believe in God’s command to love thy neighbor as thyself. And when I talk about shared responsibility, it’s because I genuinely believe that in a time when many folks are struggling, at a time when we have enormous deficits, it’s hard for me to ask seniors on a fixed income or young people with student loans or middle-class families who can barely pay the bills, to shoulder the burden alone.”

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: So, is he — is he right?

R. WARREN: Well certainly the Bible says we are to care about the poor. There’s over 2,000 versus in the Bible about the poor. And God says that those who care about the poor, God will care about them and God will bless them. But there’s a fundamental question on the meaning of “fairness.” Does fairness mean everybody makes the same amount of  money? Or does fairness mean everybody gets the opportunity to make the same amount of money? I do not believe in wealth redistribution, I believe in wealth creation.

What is the difference between Warren and the average conservative sycophant that hangs out in the comment section at Breitbart’s Big Continuance Lie sites? Not much. Obama say one thing.  Warren takes it, twists it inside out and regurgitates a response to something not said. The funny thing about the very wealthy Warren is that he does not work for a living. He is a Jesus for profit millionaire. Having grown up in the south these guys and gals are almost a dime a dozen. Most of them never gain the national name recognition, but they all have their talking points memorized. They have all created a Jesus in their likeness. They’re deeply arrogant and stunningly ignorant of U.S. history and economics. It is as though they grew up on a different planet. That’s mostly because they grow up in a bubble where they are taught certain things and those teachings are reinforced. Once they hit the real world where there is variety of Americans with a variety of beliefs they are shocked that not everyone thinks Jesus was a hedge fund manager with a gold Rolex. The blogger further comments on Warren,

The 2,000 verses in the Bible dealing with the poor are, of course, outshadowed by the nearly 10,000 verses outlining how employers shouldn’t have to pay for medical insurance for their employees if that insurance might cover medical needs that those employers have personal moral objections to. But the rest of it is pretty interesting. Apparently we’re supposed to care about the poor, but not care for them—that seems to be the distinction, because as long as their souls get saved, hey, screw ’em. Sorry we’re cutting your food stamps, little Timmy, but if it’s any consolation it looks like you’ll be getting to meet Jesus a lot sooner than the rest of us!

Map of The West Indies 1796 – Economic Myths Form The Foundation of The Cult of Conservatism

antique map west indies

A General Chart of the West Indies: With Additions from the Latest Navigators,  June 4, 1796 CE

This map, with beautiful green oceans and a green U.S., was created by English mariner Captain Joseph Smith Speer(Born? – died 1837). As a member of the Royal Navy he did fight against the Patriots of the American Revolution. If nothing else he displayed a remarkable ability to survive, also serving in the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars. It was during the Napoleonic Wars that Speer was assigned to the West Indies. In 1766 he published The West-India Pilot containing 13 maps, followed by an enlarged edition with 26 maps in 1771.

President Theodore Roosevelt and the Teddy Bear character

President Theodore Roosevelt and the Teddy Bear character. I keep forgetting to post this cartoon. Yep, they’ve been making fun of presidents for a long time. This political cartoon by Clifford Kennedy Berryman (1869-1949) was in good humor as compared to some of the more critical cartoons, even of that era. It shows the historical connection between Theodore and what would become the most popular toy bear in history. Much like we tend to call all tissues Kleenex, we tend to call all toy bears, teddy bears. In November 1902, Roosevelt was part of a bear hunt in Mississippi. During that hunt, Roosevelt came upon a bear that had been badly injured by hunting dogs. At first Roosevelt refused to shoot it, but later ordered that the bear be put down to end its suffering. The Washington Post ran a Berryman cartoon that illustrated the event. Berryman’s picture of a cuddly cub soon became associated with toy bears for children. A Jewish immigrant and shop owner named Morris Michtom was inspired by the event to make a special toy bear. Michtom sent one to Teddy and asked if he could use his name for the bear. Roosevelt agreed. Upon getting the president’s permission Michtom starting mass producing the new Teddy bear for worldwide sale.

“Easter Eggs for Hitler” – “Easter morning, T/5 William E. Thomas…and Pfc. Joseph Jackson…will roll specially prepared eggs on Hitler’s lawn.” March 10, 1945. 1st Lt. John D. Moore. Via The National Archives.  1,200,000 black Americans served in the military in WWII. There were 7 black Medal of Honor recipients. Six received their awards posthumously. 350,000 women served in the U.S. military during WW II, including 4,000 black women.

Over the last 12 years it has been the standard conservative operating procedure to give out bogus economic information, economic statistics that can only be justified using unknown mathematical methods and  economic policies that have had the effect of causing significant damage to the average American family. In every case there were better numbers and better economic prescriptions. The so-called librul media never calls out conservatives on their economic scams. They never called the Bush – Republican budgets of 2001-2009 economic disasters. The media continues that trend with Paul Ryan(R-WI). Ryan, Eric Cantor(R-VA) and Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) have labeled themselves the Young Guns, the future of the conservative movement. The media, always looking for a new angle, has been happy to buy into this re-branding of the same old social-Darwinism, an economy that guts the safety net so that billionaires with historic levels of unearned wealth can not only keep their historically tax rates, but have more tax cuts. Just as the media looked at the policies of the Bush years and took a pass on pointing out that conservatives were putting the economic future of America on a maxed out credit car, they are also taking a pass on calling the Ryan budget a dangerous economic lie – Ryan in Two Numbers or Why Does The Media Take Paul Ryan(R-WI) Seriously

Last year, when Paul Ryan first made a big splash with his budget proposal, many commentators — some of them pretending to be moderates or at any rate only moderate conservatives — lavished praise on its fiscal responsibility. Then people who actually know how to read budget numbers weighed in, revealing it as a piece of mean-spirited junk.

Now, on round two, the nature of the discussion has changed; instead of hearing about how wonderful Ryan is, we’re hearing about what a big meanie Obama is for saying nasty things about Ryan’s plan — a plan that is “imperfect” and maybe cuts a bit, but not really that bad.

Except that it really is that bad.

I could do this in detail, but you can learn everything you need to know by understanding two numbers: $4.6 trillion and 14 million.

Of these, $4.6 trillion is the size of the mystery meat in the budget. Ryan proposes tax cuts that would cost $4.6 trillion over the next decade relative to current policy — that is, relative even to making the Bush tax cuts permanent — but claims that his plan is revenue neutral, because he would make up the revenue loss by closing loopholes. For example, he would … well, actually, he refuses to name a single example of a loophole he wants to close.

So the budget is a fraud. No, it’s not “imperfect”, it’s not a bit shaky on the numbers; it’s completely based on almost $5 trillion dollars of alleged revenue that are pure fabrication.

On the other side, 14 million is the minimum number of people who would lose health insurance due to Medicaid cuts — the Urban Institute, working off the very similar plan Ryan unveiled last year, puts it at between 14 and 27 million people losing Medicaid.

That’s a lot of people — and a lot of suffering. And again, bear in mind that none of this would be done to reduce the deficit — it would be done to make room for those $4.6 trillion in tax cuts, and in particular a tax cut of $240,000 a year to the average member of the one percent..

But Obama is very rude for pointing any of this out.

Krugman obviously gets the numbers, but he gets something else most of the media is afraid to say. That any time you call out conservatives on their economic mysticism, their immoral choices about who should be unjustly rewarded and those who should be unjustly punished for daring to be born into a family with modest income, conservatives deflect. Our numbers are bad? Obama is partisan. Obama is mean. That is not to say conservatives will not put on quite a show. If push comes to shove, Fox, the National Review, The Washington Examiner, assorted conservative outlets and the Sunday political shows will parade a virtual parade of bogus numbers. Just as conservatives have decided that their war on women never happened, the Reagan economy and the Bush 43 era have vanished down the rabbit hole. How these people can say they have morals or a set of humane values is the national joke that too few get. Jonathan Bernstein does not so much disagree, but goes into more detail, In Which I Disagree With Paul Krugman

But as much as liberals want to make the case that House Republicans are interested in shutting down the safety net, I don’t think that’s what’s special about Paul Ryan. Shake a stick and you’re going to find a Republican who wants to kill off spending that benefits Democratic constituencies.

No, what I think is notable about Ryan is how fraudulent his budgets are. And that’s why I’d suggest 3.75 as the second key number. That’s the target as a percentage of GDP, under Ryan, for the entire government other than Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP, by 2050. Since Ryan has separately objected to cuts in the military below 4% of GDP, it means that Ryan would theoretically not be able to meet his own target, even if he shut down student loans, FEMA, NASA and the National Weather Service, the FBI and federal prisons, all immigration enforcement, the FDA and other food safety programs, air traffic control, and more. Including programs for veterans. Veterans!

One of the reasons your conservative neighbor buys into these fraudulent numbers is the way conservatives process information. Ryan likely knows that he is selling the fad diet of budgets. That doesn’t matter. His budget is a myth that conservatives can place their beliefs in. They do know that the Ryan or any conservative budget will be aimed at making life more miserable for 10s of millions of Americans. That’s all they need to know. It dove tails perfectly into the conservatives belief that everyone who wants a great paying job could get one, but the unemployed and under-employed are all lazy leeches who would rather live some mythical life of luxury on some mythical government program than find a job. Ultimately we are not having a debate about economics, but trying to convince a cult that they believe in some batsh*t insane garbage that is not even in the neighborhood of genuine patriotism.

A good point here even if it is closing the barn doors too late, Obamacare Isn’t Radical

Consider that you can deduct the interest on your home mortgage from your federal taxes. Giving people who buy houses a tax break might seem different from penalizing people who don’t buy houses. But giving a tax break to people who have mortgages means relatively higher taxes for people who don’t have mortgages. The economic effect is to redistribute money from people who have outstanding mortgages to people who don’t have them. This effect is exactly the same as fining people who don’t have mortgages. The mortgage tax deduction actually seems a lot more problematic to me than fining people who don’t have health care—why should I pay a penalty for not buying a home? why am I financing homes for people who can’t otherwise afford to buy them? And the mortgage interest deduction is just one of the numerous deductions you can take.

Why didn’t the Solicitor General provide a couple of easy examples like this – you know, so even Justice Scalia and Justice Roberts could understand it.

There is no conservative war on women, there is no conservative war on women – In 2009, Derbyshire Argued Women Shouldn’t Vote: ‘Women Voting Is Bad For Conservatism’.

Black and White Rose Water Drops wallpaper – Conservatives Twilight Zone, They Move On To The War On The War On Women

Black and White Rose Water Drops wallpaper

Black and White Rose Water Drops wallpaper

 

Democratic Blue Rose wallpaper

Democratic Blue Rose Water Drops wallpaper

 

The term culture war goes back to at least 19th century Germany and the Kulturkampf, “cultural struggle” or  literally, “battle of cultures”. Like regular warfare the culture wars have battles and they are waged in phases over the course of weeks, months and sometimes years. One could say that the U.S. has been engaged in one long culture war for our entire existence. Though the one we’re most familiar with is the one that began in the 1960 with Nixon’s “silent majority”. From the very beginning of the modern culture wars the far Right has cloaked their side in victim-hood. While understandability frustrating to non-conservatives, it was all too predictable that with their eyes on the polls, conservatives have been forced to come up with an answer to the war on women.  The ‘war on caterpillars,’ and what Reince Priebus meant

Democrats immediately jumped on Priebus’s comments, accusing him of comparing women to caterpillars.

“Reince Priebus’ comparison of Republican attempts to limit women’s access to mammograms, cervical cancer screenings, and contraception to a ‘war on caterpillars’ shows how little regard leading Republicans, including Mitt Romney, have for women’s health,” said Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter.

That point is debateable. By our watching — and reading — Priebus is picking a fanciful idea (a war on caterpillars) to call into question the idea that Republicans are engaged in a war on women. He’s only comparing caterpillars to women if you accept the first premise — that the GOP is indeed conducting this war.

The larger point here is that Democrats are going great-guns to drive a wedge between Republicans (and specifically former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney) and women, using even the thinnest of threads — and that’s what this seems to be — to build a narrative that the GOP is no friend to females.

That was written by Aaron Blake at the WaPO. Let’s assume for moment that it was not Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus’ intention to compare women, women’s health care concerns and other  concerns to insects. Conservatives are not dumb, remember. They keep saying they’re not. So having almost a month to prepare their counter -offensive after the Rush Limbaugh fiasco and the news of various state legislators controlled by conservative Republicans trying to impose hurdles to health care access, access to the same full benefits of their health care insurance as men seeking Viagra have and actually making it mandatory for doctors to sexually violate women, the best language, the best analogy that the chairman of the RNC could come up with is some imagery involving a caterpillar. Alright then. Having decided to be magnanimous about the whole caterpillar thing how does Preibus and all the genuflecting apologists on the far Right explain how Reince is trying to pretend that the war on women never happened. Does not exists. Conservative have no idea what you’re talking about. Conservatives? War On women? We were washing our socks and dipping our toast points in some old caviar. Couldn’t have been conservatives that declared women were only three fifths a person or that women were “sluts for taking contraception. RNC chairman reflects on women, caterpillars

This is becoming a popular defense — denial. War on women? What war on women? Democrats and the media just made this whole story up. It’s what South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) argued this week, and it’s the line Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), the only woman in the Republican leadership in either chamber, adopted two weeks ago.

It’s also wrong.

As we’ve reported on the show many times, the effort on the part of GOP policymakers at the federal and state level to undermine women’s health care is as severe as anything we’ve seen from a major party in many years. Unlike the war on caterpillars, Republican efforts are real.

I’ll spare you the full list of every bill in every state, but the policy offensive is, well, offensive. Restricting contraception; cutting off Planned Parenthood; state-mandated, medically-unnecessary transvaginal ultrasounds; forcing physicians to lie to patients about abortion and breast cancer; abortion taxes; abortion waiting periods; forcing women to tell their employers why they want birth control, going after prenatal care, possible abortion permission slips … this is no minor policy initiative. (emphasis mine)

That is not about  in-artful caterpillar analogies or faux outrage over same. Those policy prescriptions are real things that happen to real people – our wives, our mothers, our daughters, our friends. If the tables were revered and men were being forced to have their health insurance claims OK’s for meeting moral litmus tests of our boss or some church. Or if men were forced to have something inserted into their genitals to get a legal medical procedure for which the insertion was totally unnecessary. Or if men were singled out to pay a special tax on any male related medical procedure. Or doctors could lie to men about their health status. Or …well, you get the idea. We should all be outraged because these are draconian, bizarre authoritarian intrusions on our rights as individuals, regardless of gender. Today they are going after women. Tomorrow they could be requiring men to get a prescription for condoms or telling them to grab their ankles for the prescription. Phase III of the War on Contraception: Pretend It Was All A Dream

I won’t even bother you with Rush Limbaugh’s victim-posturing, since that’s basically the point of his whole life, much less his whole show. The claim that it’s not fair to criticize conservatives for supporting anti-woman policies because they aren’t the ones who “started” this has reached the mainstream of the Republican Party. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers from Washington trotted out the most recent talking point, arguing that it’s not that there’s a war on women, but Democrats are just making  it all up to “scare” women into voting for them.

Of course, she’s creating a false dichotomy. Are Democrats trying to scare women? Sure. But sometimes scaring someone is what you have to do in order to make them realize they’re in danger. If I see someone about to step in front of a moving vehicle, and I yell, “Watch out! That car is about to hit you!,” you could argue correctly that I’m trying to scare them. But I’m also trying to save them from being hit by a car. When something is scary, you should be scared. And the attacks on women’s rights are scary.

Political culture war on women has real, dire consequences – a report from march that looked at the war on women from Rick perry in Texas, Chris Christie in New Jersey and radical conservatives in the Georgia legislature. In the conservative war on basic human rights – Conservatives in Nebraska War on Women-Forbade Induced Birth, Tortures Entire Family. While I find all the individual reports about the attacks on the very person-hood of women disturbing, that Nebraska video presents the picture of a culture diving head long into some USSR gulag of state intrusion in the very personal medical decisions of a family. Conservatives are not for small government, never have been. That small government garbage is partly a lie, but is mostly a figment of the delusional conservative mindset.Much of the conservative movement’s issues with women have to do with women getting uppity. One element of the war on women that crystallizes that is the conservatives tendency to cast victims  of spousal abuse as whiners, or hey just get over it, and men prosecuted for such abuse are the real victims –   Wisconsin state rep Don Pridemore needs to apologize for smearing spousal abuse victims. There is nothing moral or patriotic about how conservatives view health care issues and spousal abuse.

JB at Balkinization commenting on Attorney General Holder’s reassurances to that federal judge in the Fifth Circuit, Justice Department States Soothing Platitudes to a Deeply Troubled Fifth Circuit Judge

The letter reminds Judge Smith that “The Supreme Court has often acknowledged the appropriateness of reliance on the political branches’ policy choices and judgments” and that “The `Court accords “great weight to the decisions of Congress”‘ in part because `[t]he Congress is a coequal branch of government whose Members take the same oath [judges] do to uphold the Constitution of the United States.'”

[  ]…Our prayers are with Judge Smith in his never-ending fight against anxiety and emotional upheaval. Surely there is no greater hell than that suffered by a person who cannot control his feelings of dread, and who finds himself buffeted about by a secret, gnawing fear that others do not accord him the respect and status that he craves. All of us can sympathize with the plight of Jerry Smith; all of us, in our own ways, have experienced our own dark nights of the soul. Your Honor– and we use that term advisedly–we feel your pain.

It is generally known that regardless of political leanings federal judges generally have outsized egos. Smith may take the cake for most easily frightened by ordinary political speech.

Investors Business Daily is to conservatism what shallow out-house holes are to crap – Is Obama ‘Dangerously Close To Totalitarianism’? Conservatives don’t even try to keep their commentary based in fact with a few lies sprinkled here and there. They are happy to abandon any shred of honor and treat lies like a their best friend. Here we are in Obama’s fourth year as president, the most onerous things he has done are keep 90% of the national security policies that conservatives started and said we had to keep because if we don’t you’re pro-terrorist. They do quote President Obama, cue the scary background music,

“Whenever Congress refuses to act, Joe and I, we’re going to act,” Obama said in February at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, with Vice President Joe Biden off to the side. “In the months to come, wherever we have an opportunity, we’re going to take steps on our own to keep this economy moving.”

Better tell Mittens that should he become president he should not do everything he can to help the economy because that  is the very definition of ‘Dangerously Close To Totalitarianism’. Talk about faux outrage.

 

Cool Green Moss wallpaper – Judging From Their Words, Hypocrisy is Sacred to Conservatives

green, nature, stream

Cool Green Moss wallpaper

 

Lies and hypocrisy are have always been problematic just in terms of what is practical. Even back when carrier pigeons were the height of technology they also had ye good old-fashioned grape-vine. People know they just told a huge whopper – that they just could not resist telling, just as equally find it almost impossible to keep their mouths shut. They have to tell someone. That someone swears not to tell and gosh, what happens, suddenly you’re at war with the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth.  Lies and hypocrisy also took a beating and were given a boost by the telephone. Just as news from Asia could reach Europe and North America in minutes instead of days, so could a new fib get a running start.  Such are the blessings of technology. That lies come faster than ever and seem to be embraced just as quickly is not a flaw of technology as much as the allegiance of the zealot to his cause, to make the truth and consistency servants to his agenda. So it is with modern conservatives. In the age of the internet their statements, word salads, hypocrisy, falsehoods, pomposity and general lack of moral courage are easily checked and just as easily spread. From what I gather from conservative friends and conservative media,  this constant flux of contradiction about facts and the values those facts represent is no big thing. Non-conservatives might find the kind of frenzied mental ping-pong and moral juggling performed by conservatives exhausting just to think about. Sure you’re human and tell your share of little white lies – like every time you laugh at one of the bosses not funny jokes or tell your cousin he looks like he has lost weight, but not big lies that have huge repercussions for an entire nation. Well thoughtful Americans would rather not go there. You have too much on your plate to keep track of the glaring contradictions. Not to mention that having moral boundaries, you find dedicating your life to maintaining a virtual clone machine of untruths, repulsive. Conservatives have no such reservations, Turning On A Dime, Conservative Media Recoil At Obama’s Remarks About “Unelected” Judges

Conservative media are on the attack after President Obama responded to a question about the Supreme Court’s consideration of the Affordable Care Act by pointing out that conservatives criticize “unelected” judges who engage in “judicial activism” to “overturn a duly constituted and passed law.” But Obama is right: for years conservatives have railed against “unelected” judges who overturn laws passed by the people’s representatives.

Obama Reminds Conservatives That They Often Attack “Unelected” Judges Who “Overturn A Duly Constituted And Passed Law.” From President Obama’s April 2 press conference:

OBAMA: Ultimately I’m confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress.  And I’d just remind conservative commentators that for years what we’ve heard is, the biggest problem on the bench was judicial activism or a lack of judicial restraint — that an unelected group of people would somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law. Well, this is a good example. And I’m pretty confident that this Court will recognize that and not take that step. [WhiteHouse.gov, 4/2/12]

A person of average intelligence can tell that the supposedly offensive statement was made within the context of a discussion of the ACA and the imminent ruling of the SCOTUS. Which would also be in context of the high court’s ruling on legislation related to commerce.

…NY Post’s Podhoretz: Obama’s Reference To An “Unelected Group Of People” Was “Unnerving.”

…Tucker Carlson Responds To “Unelected Group Of People”: “This Is What The Supreme Court Does.”

…Fox Nation: “Obama Takes Aim At Supreme Court, Calls Them ‘Unelected Group Of People.’ “

A Democrat criticize the court for possible judicial activism. What conservatives are really pissed about is that President Obama violated the far Right’s copyright over the right to accuse any court of “judicial activism”. You see, conservative own the exclusive rights to complain and the rights to all false outrage when it comes to the nation’s federal courts.

….Romney Criticized Judges Who Struck Down California Same-Sex Marriage Ban As “Unelected Judges” Who “Cast Aside The Will Of The People.” From the Associated Press

…Santorum: “Unelected Judges” Should Not Impose Their Views On Gay Marriage, “The Great Moral Issues Of Our Time,” On Others. From the October 29, 2006, edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.’s Fox News Sunday

….Sen. Cornyn: “Unelected Judges … Have Occasionally Used This Power Conferred Upon Them In The Constitution To Impose Their Own Views.”

Of course President Obama’s observation that it would be strange for the SCOTUS to rule a law passed by Congress concerning regulation of commerce is not an observation. Nor is it even the president engaging in a little bit of calling out the ref before they make a bad call. No, it is an attack. So says the same people who know what and where the WMD are. There are examples of politicians attacking the federal courts, Republicans Threaten Judges. Again.

[   ]…Just weeks after the Tucson slaughter that claimed the life of circuit judge John Roll, Montana Congressman Denny Rehberg(R) responded to a recent ruling by declaring he wanted to “put some of these judicial activists on the Endangered Species list.

[   ]…Back in 2005, Cornyn was one of the GOP standard bearers in the conservative fight against so-called “judicial activism” in the wake of the Republicans’ disastrous intervention in the Terri Schiavo affair. On April 4th, Cornyn took to the Senate floor to issue a not-too-thinly veiled threat to judges opposing his reactionary agenda. Just days after the murders of judge in Atlanta and another’s family members in Chicago, Cornyn offered his endorsement of judicial intimidation:

“I don’t know if there is a cause-and-effect connection, but we have seen some recent episodes of courthouse violence in this country…And I wonder whether there may be some connection between the perception in some quarters, on some occasions, where judges are making political decisions yet are unaccountable to the public, that it builds up and builds up and builds up to the point where some people engage in, engage in violence.”

[   ]….Majority Leader Tom Delay. On March 31st, Delay issued a statement regarding the consistent rulings in favor of Michael Schiavo by all federal and state court judges involved:

“The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior, but not today.”

[   ]…When anthrax spores were mailed to the Supreme Court in 2001, Americans could be forgiven for speculating on the ideological persuasion of the culprit. Aided by best-selling conservative author and media personality Ann Coulter, who joked in January 2006, “We need somebody to put rat poisoning in Justice Stevens’ creme brulee,” the right-wing endorsement of retribution against judges increasingly permeates the culture.

[  ]….But when Dick Cheney’s chief-of-staff Scooter Libby was convicted in his court in 2007, Judge Walton received death threats:

“I received a number of angry, harassing mean-spirited phone calls and letters. Some of those were wishing bad things on me and my family.” ( Conservative freaks didn’t bother to check to see that Walton was a Bush appointee)

What kind of ideological leadership within the radical conservative movement would cultivate this kind of toxic language directed at judges? But Saint Reagan Was the Nicest Man! Not Like That Vicious Thug Obama!

And I say that even though court-stripping is frequently proposed by right-wingers, most recently by presidential candidates Michele Bachmann and Newt Gingrich, and even though one of the principal proponents of court-stripping in the Reagan era was a young government lawyer named John Roberts, now the chief justice of the Supreme Court:

Over two decades ago, a young government lawyer named John Roberts tried—and failed—to convince the Reagan Justice Department to endorse a number of radical legislative proposals that would strip the federal courts of jurisdiction to hear cases concerning such issues as school prayer, school busing, and abortion.

Yes, the Reagan administration refrained from endorsing such bills. But it wanted to make sure everyone knew that it would declare them constitutional if someone else put them forward.

Nope, nothing thuggish about that kind of shot across the federal courts’ bow.

 

With Chief Justice Roberts on the SCOTUS – a position in which he has found no problem with strip searching people stopped for running a red light, holding American citizens in indefinite detention as long as the word terror is included in the suspicion of guilt and who has no problem putting possibly innocent people to death – heck no, President Obama has no reason at all to worry that this court might be ruled more by politics than the law.

Federal Judge Assigns Homework on Judicial Review to Justice Department. This judge is very likely overstepping his authority. The president’s remarks were not made in court or submitted to the court as part of any official statement. Those words were political speech. President Obama did clarify – for conservatives who don’t like to be called dumb, but pretend to be when it suits their agenda – that the remarks were about the commerce clause and Marberry v Madison.

Conservative Steven Hayward writes at the Powerrag blog, Barack Obama, Constitutional Ignoramus. What is the evidence Hayward offers up. That Obama never published any scholarly articles on constitutional law. he did publish one paper in the Harvard Law Review, but lets not let a little fact get in the way of our manufactured outrage. Obama taught constitutional law, but it was only one part of the constitution so that does not count. Hayward makes these deep insights from the perspective of someone who has zero law credentials. Hayward has a tendency to weigh in as an expert on things issues on which he pretends to be an expert, but is not. he seems to think he can make up the difference with spit, paste, omitting inconvenient facts and lying.

Some conservative blog called The Godfather wrote a long post of conspiracy theories regarding Obama threatening the Clintons with terrible consequences if they exposed him as ineligible to run because underneath he is really a lizard person from Planet V.and the Clintons. Sure the incredibly bright conservatives in his comment section ate that stuff up like a starving park duck eats popcorn. One would think a journalist, or someone who wants the world to think of her as a real journalist would not tweet the post to the whole world as meriting genuine thought, Fox News anchor takes heat for tweeting Obama birther conspiracy

The liberal watchdog Media Matters on Tuesday pounced on a tweet sent by Fox News anchor Heather Childers, which linked to an article that claimed Obama’s 2008 campaign staff had threatened to kill Chelsea Clinton.

…“Here’s the thing folks… that ONE topic sure got alot [sic] of you tweeting. Why? I apologize if the article offended anyone. Very interesting,” she tweeted.

Sticking strictly to the Bill Maher Guidelines, I am not outraged. I am thankful that M’s Childer’s family now has time to get her an MRI scan to see if she does not suffer from some kind of brain death.

Federal Income Taxes on Middle-Income Families Remain Near Historic Lows

Federal taxes on middle-income Americans are near historic lows,[1] according to the latest available data.  That’s true both for federal income taxes and total federal taxes.[2]

Income taxes:  A family of four in the exact middle of the income spectrum will pay only 5.6 percent of its 2011 income in federal income taxes, according to a new analysis by the Urban Institute-Brookings Institution Tax Policy Center. [3]  Average income tax rates for these typical families have been lower during the Bush and Obama Administrations than at any time since the 1950s, as Figure 1 shows.  (As discussed below, 2009 and 2010 were particularly low because of the temporary Making Work Pay Tax Credit.)

Overall federal taxes:  Overall federal taxes — which include income as well as payroll and excise taxes — on middle-income households are near their lowest levels in decades, according to the latest data from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

It is time for the elite to start paying for their share of the infrastructure that makes their wealth possible. We do have freeloaders in America, most of them are living in McMansions.

Black and White City Riverbank wallpaper – Abraham Lincoln Respected Labor, Conservatives Worship Aavarice

Black and White City Riverbank wallpaper

 

George Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” and Thomas Jefferson warned, “If once the people become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I, and Congress and Assemblies, Judges and Governors, shall all become wolves. It seems to be the law of our general nature, in spite of individual exceptions.” Jefferson also said something about an informed population being a requirement for a thriving democracy, 49% Trust Republicans on Economy, 38% Trust Democrats More

As they have for nearly three years now, voters trust Republicans more than Democrats when it comes to handling the economy, by far  the top issue on a list of 10 regularly tracked by Rasmussen Reports.  They put slightly more trust in Democrats on health care, the second most important issue.

I get that most Americans would trust Democrats more on health care. Conservatives have tried to dismantle Medicare and Medicaid. Many Americans are still not aware of the benefits they already have because of the Democratic Affordable Care Act. It was largely conservative economic policies that caused the Great Recession. Conservatives have been on a deregulation binge for several decades and largely as a result of that binge – yes, in which many Democrats joined in as part of the old triangulation of the Clinton years – that lead directly to the financial crisis. The general trends in public opinion can be inspiring some days and exasperating the next. Urban myths about Freddie Mac and Barney Frank aside, the facts are clear. It does amaze me that some of these people would never let their teen borrow the new car again if he was in a drunk driving accident. Yet conservatives were the drunk drivers of the economy and many of them according to this poll, are ready to give them another set of keys to a car that is slowly having the old damage repaired.

We all know people whose actual personality and accomplishment do not match the view they have of themselves. They seem to have very little capacity for self-evaluation. A common human flaw that seems to run rampant in the conservative movement.  While small self-delusions can be harmless enough among friends and family. It is jaw dropping in a middle-aged man running for president – Romney: The Economy Equals Business

Mitt Romney has unveiled a new version of his stump speech, mixing odes to free enterprise with feverish hallucinations about President Obama’s imagined hatred and vilification of rich people. This passage leapt out at me, as it embodies both the substantive problem with Romney’s vision and a major potential liability:

Out-of-touch liberals like Barack Obama say they want a strong economy, but they really don’t like businesses very much.  But the economy is simply the product of all the nations’ businesses added together.  So it’s like saying you love omelettes but don’t like eggs.

The key notion here is that the economy is just a sum of businesses in the same way an omelet is simply a bunch of eggs.

[   ]….Romney is contrasting his pro-business standpoint against Obama’s imagined hatred for business. The actual contrast is Romney’s belief that the economy is entirely defined by the success of business, against Obama’s attempts to balance the needs of business with providing for the health, educational opportunity, and general well-being of the workforce. This also seems like a contrast that would be easy for Obama to exploit: Most Americans, I’d guess, see themselves as part of the economy. A conceptualization of the economy that excludes them is not one they would like to embrace.

If conservatives think that everything, every aspect of American life should be filtered through the prism of absolutely pure free market behavior than brace yourself for the worse dystopian nightmare – parents can sell their children( which America did at one time), allow every kind of toxic waste into the water supply to relive business of the costs of sanitation and disposal, deny people emergency room access based on the random whims of administrators, legalize prostitution, sell hard drugs one every street corner, do away with federally insured bank deposits (FDIC). Now obviously most conservatives would say the items I’ve mentioned go too far. Well that does mean that conservatives agree that we need some regulation of commerce and the kinds of commerce we engage in. So have a little moral backbone and say that in all honesty where there is disagree is not anti-capitalists liberals versus holier-then-thou capitalists, but Democrats who see the big picture and conservative who salivate over making the rich ever richer.

I would also suggest that Romney and other conservatives who still, for reasons unknown, like to call themselves the party of Abraham Lincoln, read what Lincoln said, “Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.” Romney, the Koch brothers, the Coors family and Wall Street hedge fund leeches among others, have this psychedelic kook-aid vision of themselves as wealth creators who made capital appear out of the fog. They are so deeply detached and arrogant they cannot bring themselves to acknowledge the vital role of everyday working Americans in creating their wealth.

As may of us know it seems like sites such as Facebook exists partly as social networks and mostly to harvest data for advertisers. It was bound to happen that politicos would also tap into that kind of data, along with TV ratings to massage their messages and find their audience – As Viewing Habits Change, Political Ads Switch Screens

Rather than buying ads on specific Web sites, the Romney campaign sees greater value in buying audiences — which remain anonymous, identifiable only by a numeric code — that are built through careful analysis and predictive behavior modeling.

[  ]…But just as important is knowing where a message is likely to fall on deaf ears. In that case, the campaign has discovered certain traits that tend to be associated with people who do not respond to Mr. Romney’s ads. For example, their online behavior shows they are interested in video and casino games, bowling, martial arts and jazz.

Obviously jazz is among the kinds of music I like so I thought it was interesting that in general, jazz fans do not like Romney. Women do not like Romney or conservatives very much right now – Women Flee the GOP

By contrast, the controversy over contraception has definitely made its way onto the political landscape. At the very least, ordinary Americans know that the Obama administration mandated “free” birth control for women, Republicans spoke out in opposition, and—most important—conservative figures like Rush Limbaugh denounced supporters of the administration as “sluts.” And together with the previous fight over the Komen Foundation’s decision to pull funding from Planned Parenthood, the proposed bill in Virginia that forced transvaginal ultrasounds (read: penetration) on women who received abortions, this knowledge grew into something more dangerous for Republicans—a belief, among many Americans, that the GOP is hostile to women.

You can see how this might be a problem for the Republican Party in the latest Swing States Poll, conducted by USA Today and Gallup.

Between Obama’s increasing support and Romney’s unfavorables, Obama has opened up an 18 point lead among women.

A fun take on Sarah something or other, who ran on a platform of calling Obama and Katie Couric names in 2008, appearing on the Today Show as guest host – SO WHAT IS AMERICA’S OLDEST PRE-ADOLESCENT BRAT UP TO NOW?

And if she does beat Couric in the ratings for one day, every right-wing media outlet will shout SUCK IT LIBRULS!! in one voice.

Another Quarter-Million for Millionaires Under Paul Ryan(R-WI) Tax Plan

Our new report shows that House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s tax plan would provide $265,000-a-year tax cuts to the nation’s highest-income households.

Paul Ryan thinks of the very wealthy and feels their pain. The long days in those ergonomically correct chairs pushing the buttons on their computers and Blackberries. Think of the blisters America.

Ray Brown Trio feat. Regina Carter – Lady Be Good