Twilight Railroad wallpaper – More Padding For Mitt Romney’s Dismal Resume

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Twilight Railroad wallpaper

 

We already knew that Romney’s resume as not stellar. As a crony corporatist he outsourced more jobs than he created. As a he built it all on his own without help conservative Superman, well, he reaped huge profits, but pawned the losses off on employees and the gov’mint. So it is not much of a surprise that he was the same kind of compassionate conservative that George W. Bush was, Governor Mitt Romney’s Dismal Record of Disaster Management

Now that he’s again decided to mention (obliquely) that he was our governor once, and we’re all up here in the Commonwealth (God save it!) being awakened by the sweet sounds of woodchippers in our streets, we should look back at the one natural disaster (locally, anyway, Katrina being a whole ‘nother story) that occurred while Willard Romney was still nominally governor of Massachusetts: the great Mother’s Day floods of 2006.

The entire region was under flood warnings, but the problem was especially acute along the Merrimack River, especially in the city of Lowell, where Romney’s response was considered, well, leaky. The right-leaning Lowell Sun was particularly displeased.

We find it inconceivable that Gov. Mitt Romney claims the state can do nothing to help those residents still struggling to rebuild homes and businesses after the May flood. Massachusetts is sitting on millions in unspent emergency funds from Hurricane Katrina and more than $1 billion in cash reserves, yet Romney has failed to even respond to the Lowell delegation’s requests to discuss additional aid for victims. The governor’s spokesman — since Romney can’t be bothered to comment now that the photo opportunities have dried up even though some residents’ basements haven’t — said the state will not consider spending its own money for flood victims until it’s clear how much cash the federal government will give.

Romney is on record as wanting to abolish FEMA – Hurricane Sandy Exposes Mitt Romney’s Self-Made FEMA Problem. You know because that is what George Washington would have done. Romney, yet another self-sufficient Republican clown also made his fiscal record look a little better by simply refusing to pay the state’s bills. What is it about the word disaster that conservatives do not understand. It is a situation where the average person does all they can to protect themselves and their property, but are not much of a match for floods or storms as big as ten states. The message to America as governor and as candidate, is just do what Ann and Mitt did whenever they have a disaster, tell the help to clean up and call them at their other mansion when things are cleaned up. How do you screw up an easy public relations opportunity like helping aid storm victims? Only Mitt Romney could figure out how to turn goodwill into a cheesy exploitative campaign tactic, Romney Campaign Plays Convention Video At ‘Non-Political’ Storm Relief Event in Ohio. I do want to give credit to Romney supporters did show up at the combo campaign rally/relief effort with donations. Individual Republicans like some of my neighbors and co-workers don’t act like monsters day in and day out, they just vote for monsters and regressive public policy. maybe I’m just lucky, I don’t live next to any Republican Ted Nugents, Wash. Times’ Nugent Closes Romney Campaigning With Attack On Detroit

According to Nugent, President Obama is “doing everything he can to take the whole country down” the same path as Detroit:

It is so very true that my birth city of Detroit was the cleanest, most neighborly, positive-energy, work-ethic epicenter of planet earth when I was born there in 1948, right on through to the 1960s. Enter the liberal death wish of Mayor Coleman Young and a tsunami of negative, anti-productivity policies by liberal Democrats that put a voodoo curse on our beloved Motor City. When you train and reward people to scam, cheat and refuse to be productive, there is only one direction that society can go: straight down the toilet. It is truly a heartbreaker. Some wonderful people are still to be found back home, but they are outnumbered by the pimps, whores and welfare brats that have made bloodsucking a lifestyle. And now we have a president who is doing everything he can to take the whole country down that same path. Truly amazing.

Nugent also claimed that The New Deal and Great Society economic programs “succeeded in brainwashing a segment of our country to believe Fedzilla would provide for anyone who decided, for whatever reason, to not be productive.”

The New Deal was responsible for creating the Social Security Administration, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Housing Administration, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society programs to combat poverty were responsible for the creation of Medicare and Medicaid, and a variety of other anti-poverty programs. These initiatives dramatically reduced the rate of poverty, particularly among the elderly.

If Nugent had any friends in Detroit they must have been very tolerate to put up with a guy with soiled his pants to dodge the draft. Note that Nugent has continued the conservative trend this election year of not even bothering with code words for racism. Goodness forbid that he place some of the blame for Detroit’s problems over the years on a car industry that stood by and let Japanese and German auto makers ( both countries have unions and public health care) eat Detroit’s cake. Nugent displays a pretty good example of the hundreds if not thousands of contradictory and nonsensical myths conservatives have to hold in their head at any one time. Back before the debates Romney started running a false attack ad that accused Obama of gutting the work requirement for people to get Temporary Assistance to Needy Families( this program is aimed at helping children of working poor parents). I remember one of Romney’s pollsters said that the aid was getting a really good response. That might have been the same spokesperson who said they would not let their campaign be dictated by fact checkers. If there is one thing conservatives love it is the myth that the working poor are America’s deepest most consequential problem. The working poor, according to conservatives are guilty of everything from being responsible for the housing bubble to the general decline of western civilization. So why not ride the backs of the working poor to the White House, Mitt Romney Releases Another False Ad, Revives Claim That Obama ‘Gutted’ Welfare Reform.

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Sailing Ships Armada wallpaper – Republican is Just a Synonym For Shameless

Sailing Ships Armada wallpaper

 

I had to do some stuff today that I have been putting off for a while so I don’t have time for a regular post.

A must read story by  Jonathan Cohn, A Desperate, Deceptive Gambit for Romney in Ohio

How desperate is Mitt Romney to win Ohio? Before you answer, pay attention to what he and his campaign have been saying about the auto industry in the last few days.

As you may have heard, Romney on Thursday scared the bejeezus out of Ohio autoworkers when, during a rally, he cited a story claiming that Chrysler was moving Jeep production to China. Thousands of people work at a sprawling Jeep complex in Toledo and a nearby machining plant. Many thousands more work for suppliers or have jobs otherwise dependent on the Jeep factories. It’s fair to say that they owe their jobs to President Obama, who in 2009 rescued Chrysler and General Motors from likely liquidation. If Chrysler moved the plants overseas, most of those people would be out of work.

The story turns out to be wrong. As Chrysler made clear the very next day, in a tartly worded blog post on the company website, officials have discussed opening plants in China in order to meet rising demand for vehicles there. They have no plans to downsize or shutter plants in the U.S. On the contrary, Fiat, the Italian company that acquired Chrysler during the rescue, just spent $1.7 billion to expand Jeep production in the U.S.

Romney’s campaign has struck back, basically claiming yea but Mitt was telling the truth if you look at the story through the the same candy colored kaleidoscope that Mitty used.

Romney on disaster relief: ‘We can’t afford to do those things’

And what would a President Romney be doing in such a situation? If you take him at his word, he would prefer to be doing little or nothing.

Back during the Republican primary season, in the wake of devastating tornadoes that hit Louisiana, Missouri and Tennessee, Mitt Romney strongly endorsed the idea of ending federal disaster-relief programs and devolving that job to the states. As I pointed out in a blogpost at the time, that’s a dangerous proposal, because a state that has just been hit hard by a major natural disaster simply does not have the financial resources necessary to respond on the necessary scale.

You have to go out and tackle life on your own just like Mitt, with financial help from dad and friends, and government subsidies. Treat companies like fruit to be squeezed and employees like so much extra baggage. Mitt’s vision of himself and America. In other words there is nothing there that a patriot would recognize as true American values.

Linda McMahon (CT), Republican Senate Candidate’s Company Collected Millions In State Subsidies While Laying Off Workers. Do Republicans own mirrors? Do they ever have the courage to take an honest look at themselves. Do they know what humility is?

 

From Meteor Blades, If you think Mitt Romney’s lies and secrets are bad now, just wait. Republicans should get up every morning and be thankful that the most arrogant mendacity is not a capital crime or death row would be full.

There is a psychological phenomenon known as the bandwagon effect. Conservatives are well aware of it, thus the flood of stories from the right-wing noise machine about how well Mitt is doing. Nate Silver singlehandedly dismantling the myth of Mitt-mentum

Conservatives Are Still Trying To Exploit Death To Score Political Points

Green Gold Foliage wallpaper

 

Conservatives always have the advantage in any story where there are missing details. Waiting for evidence, waiting for facts, waiting for further investigation is no hurdle for the radical Right. They’re all too happy to fill in any gaps of knowledge with their speculation, accusations that they just know are true because they feel they are true. I wish on these ethically challenged zealots a jury of people with similar mindsets should they ever find themselves facing a criminal trial. It would be more The Oxbow Incident than trial. Panetta Says Risk Impeded Deployment to Benghazi

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said Thursday that he and top military commanders “felt very strongly” that deploying American forces to defend against the fatal attack last month on the United States diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, was too risky because they did not have a clear picture of what was happening on the ground.

“There’s a lot of Monday-morning quarterbacking going on here,” Mr. Panetta told reporters at the Pentagon, adding that “the basic principle is that you don’t deploy forces into harm’s way without knowing what’s going on, without having some real-time information about what’s taking place.”

As a result, Mr. Panetta said, he and two top commanders “felt very strongly that we could not put forces at risk in that situation.” The commanders are Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Gen. Carter F. Ham of Africa Command, which oversees American military operations in Africa, including Libya.

We do know that Bush and Cheney did some micromanaging of troop activity – to the detriment of the American military and innocent Iraqis. While that can happen most day to day decisions about where to deploy regular troops or special forces is done by people like Gen. Carter F. Ham or the CIA. The Benghazi attack took place about 4 PM and lasted for about 2 hours. Not a lot of time to deploy much of a response. Every far Right conservative site seems to be covering this. Much of what has been written is incoherent garbage – with the commenters  foaming at the mouth with crazy accusations and claims of knowledge that defy any attempt to make sense of. This is from The Weekly Standard, generally thought of as one of conservatism’s intellectual flagships, written by editor and publisher William Kristol, Petraeus Throws Obama Under the Bus

Breaking news on Benghazi: the CIA spokesman, presumably at the direction of CIA director David Petraeus, has put out this statement: “No one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need; claims to the contrary are simply inaccurate. ”
Barack Obama

So who in the government did tell “anybody” not to help those in need? Someone decided not to send in military assets to help those Agency operators. Would the secretary of defense make such a decision on his own? No.

It would have been a presidential decision. There was presumably a rationale for such a decision. What was it? When and why—and based on whose counsel obtained in what meetings or conversations—did President Obama decide against sending in military assets to help the Americans in need?

“presumably”? That links leads to a tweet by Jake Trapper at ABC and it is a blind quote from an unidentified spokesperson. Super reliable. Based on that start building the lynching platform. No it would not have automatically been an executive level only decision. Military commanders in the field have some leeway to respond to terrorism committed against Americans. By the time anyone could pin down exactly what was going on, American security personnel on site and Libyan security had already re-secured the compound. That is where the block buster Libya embassy e-mails were supposed to blow this story wide open, only they fizzled, The Shocking, World-Changing New Libya Emails

The next bend in the Libya story—sorry, Libya scandal—began last night, when CBS News and other organizations scooped a series of emails from the State Department on Sept. 11. At 4:05 p.m., State emails that the Benghazi consulate is “under attack.” At 4:54, the “firing has stopped.” At 6:07 p.m., “Ansar al-Sharia [has claimed] responsibility” for the attack.

Allahpundit explains why this is should be so disturbing.

The White House had plenty of reason to suspect more was going on than a protest that got out of hand, even from the very beginning. But that would meddle with one of O’s strongest reelection narratives, i.e. the president who demolished Al Qaeda (read this for a stark illustration of how certain key supporters are helping him out with that), so we didn’t hear about it until Eli Lake and CNN and Reuters all but dragged it out of him.

One problem. In the same story that breaks the news and gives readers the emails, CBS News prints an unaired answer that Obama gave Steve Kroft on Sept. 12. It was his first interview after the attacks.

You’re right that this is not a situation that was—exactly the same as what happened in Egypt and my suspicion is that there are folks involved in this who were looking to target Americans from the start.

The next day, Obama was in Colorado, where he addressed the killings in Libya.

A couple of days ago, for four Americans were killed in an attack on our diplomatic post in Libya. … So what I want all of you to know is that we are going to bring those who killed our fellow Americans to justice. I want people around the world to hear me: To all those who would do us harm, no act of terror will go unpunished.

Obama didn’t pretend that this was merely “a protest that got out of hand.” The trouble, when we look back at the timeline, is that reporters didn’t really glom onto the Libya story for a few days. When they did, by the Sunday shows and Sept. 19, you had administration representatives soft-peddling the “target Americans from the start” story.

Before that, though, if you followed the story, you knew that Ansar al-Sharia took credit for the attacks and that Obama was calling them “acts of terror.” This is the oddity of the story we now call “Benghazigate.” One “scandal,” that Obama pretended the attacks were only spontaneous results of a protest, is baseless. The next scandal, that the administration didn’t beef up security in Benghazi, is just harder to pin on a villain. So we hear more about the “shifting timeline,” even though the president had implied that the attacks were terrorism four times in the 48 hours afterward.

This is a tough situation. A father of one of the SEALs who died believes and has helped fuel some of the growing urban myths about Benghazi, Libya. It is obviously devastating to lose a child to a violent death. As much as we all sympathize, that does not mean that feelings should cloud the facts,

Woods also repeated a version of events that the White House says is not accurate, that “the White House Situation Room was watching our people die in real time, as this was happening.”

White House officials say there was no video stream available. So what kind of real-time information was coming in? State Department official Charlene Lamb testified before Congress that officials in the consulate “were making multiple phone calls and it was very important that they communicate with the annex in Tripoli because this is where additional resources were coming from. So they would hang up on us and then call back.” A Defense Department official confirms that there an unarmed ISR (“intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance”) drone overhead over part of the assault in Benghazi.

Woods also said, “apparently even the State Department had a live stream and was aware of their calls for help. My son wasn’t even there. He was at a safe house about a mile away. He got the distress call; he heard them crying for help; that’s why he and Glen risked their lives to go that extra mile just to take care of the situation. And I’m sure that wasn’t the only one received that distress call—you know, ‘Come save our lives.’”

There was no live fed to the White House. That drone is also part of the Right’s argument – that it was armed and could have been used to help, but Obama personally choose not to use it. That same ABC story quotes a Fox News “reporter” that said her sources on the ground ( again anonymous)” told her “that three urgent requests from the CIA annex for military back-up during the attack on the U.S. Consulate and subsequent attack nearly seven hours later were denied by officials in the CIA chain of command — who also told the CIA operators to ‘stand down’ rather than help the ambassador’s team when shots were heard at approximately 9:40 p.m. in Benghazi on Sept. 11.” If that were true it would have been help after the attacks and subsequent deaths, and after the compound has already been secured. ” Late Friday afternoon, CIA spokesperson Jennifer Youngblood “no one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need; claims to the contrary are simply inaccurate. ” )

Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey said there are reviews under way and it wasn’t helpful to provide “partial answers.”  However, he did say he was confident that  ”our forces were alert and responsive to what was a very fluid situation.”

The rapid conspiracy theorists have to find a way to tell their version of events and leave out the Department of Defense, the chain of command and the CIA. Additionally these partisans have to explain how things would have been different or the response would have been different if they were in the White House. Would they have been where the buck stops with no accountability on the DoD or CIA. They can talk tough, but where is the substance. 9NEWS questions President Obama on Libya attack

KYLE CLARK: Were the Americans under attack at the consulate in Benghazi Libya denied requests for help during that attack? And is it fair to tell Americans that what happened is under investigation and we’ll all find out after the election?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, the election has nothing to do with four brave Americans getting killed and us wanting to find out exactly what happened. These are folks who served under me who I had sent to some very dangerous places. Nobody wants to find out more what happened than I do. But we want to make sure we get it right, particularly because I have made a commitment to the families impacted as well as to the American people, we’re going to bring those folks to justice. So, we’re going to gather all the facts, find out exactly what happened, and make sure that it doesn’t happen again but we’re also going to make sure that we bring to justice those who carried out these attacks.

KYLE CLARK: Were they denied requests for help during the attack?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, we are finding out exactly what happened. I can tell you, as I’ve said over the last couple of months since this happened, the minute I found out what was happening, I gave three very clear directives. Number one, make sure that we are securing our personnel and doing whatever we need to. Number two, we’re going to investigate exactly what happened so that it doesn’t happen again. Number three, find out who did this so we can bring them to justice. And I guarantee you that everyone in the state department, our military, the CIA, you name it, had number one priority making sure that people were safe. These were our folks and we’re going to find out exactly what happened, but what we’re also going to do it make sure that we are identifying those who carried out these terrible attacks.

I linked above to one story that is now a conveniently forgotten shame of the conservative idea of how to carry out national security – Bush’s Bloody Flip-Flop. It is also important to remember two recent scandals that the Right tried to exploit for poltical points. They tried to make Solyndra a big scandal and spent millions to find nothing, Five Things You Should Know About Solyndra During The 2012 Campaign. They went on and on about Fast and Furious to bring down Attorney General Holder. The Inspector General found no link between Holder or the White House with Fast and Furious. Just as President Obama said there is an ongoing investigation and more facts are probably going to come out. That doesn’t mean that everyone the Right points a finger at is guilty until they decide otherwise.

And two helpful links. Much of the conservative noise doesn’t work if you know the timeline and who said what and when they said it, Fox News Rewrites Obama Timeline On Libya Terrorism Comments

What Everyone Should Know About The Benghazi Attack

Romney and Republicans Embrace The Failed European Economic Model For America

Steel Arch Bridge Niagara 1898. The steamboat is the small, but majestic Maid of the Mist. I have no desire to return to those good ol days, but it would seem more like you were going on an actual adventure when stepping on to an old steamboat than piling into to the air-conditioned, DVD player equipped, leather cushioned SUV of today.

Distributing surplus commodities, St. Johns, Ariz. 1940. This is one of Russel Lee’s famous Depression era color photographs. It is interesting to me for a few reasons. One is that there are a lot of radical Right myths about FDR and The Greta depression on the net. One of them is that FDR purposely destroyed tons of edible food in order to prolong the Depression and dependence on government assistance. The two others is that poverty tends to have a black face in modern culture wars and this giving away commodities to poor whites took place in a state now largely run by people who claim they are and have always been utterly self-sufficient. Self sufficiency is a goal that most people strive for, but everyone needs a little help sometime during their lives. There should not be such a stigma attached to that basic fact of life.

Republican and Retired General Colin Powell endorses President Obama

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell on Thursday endorsed President Barack Obama for reelection, arguing the president has improved the poor economy he inherited and sharply criticizing Mitt Romney’s foreign policy’s positions a “moving target.”

“I voted for him in 2008, and I plan to stick with him in 2012,” Powell said of Obama on CBS’s “This Morning.” “I’ll be voting for he and for Vice President Joe Biden next month.”

One of the most coveted endorsements remaining in the 2012 presidential race, Powell said Obama walked into a horrendous economic situation and has begun to turn it around.

“I think, generally, we’ve come out of the dive and we’re starting to gain altitude,” said Powell, who served as George W. Bush’s secretary of state. “It doesn’t mean all our problems are solved.”

While Powell, a Republican, said that he had the “utmost respect” for Romney, he charged that the former Massachusetts governor hasn’t outlined how he would pay for increased defense spending or for his proposed across-the-board tax cut.

Powell had even harsher words for Romney’s foreign policy, questioning his changing stances on withdrawing from Iraq and Afghanistan.

“The governor who was speaking on Monday night at the debate was saying things that were quite different from what he said earlier,” Powell said.

“I’m not quite sure which Governor Romney we would be getting with respect to foreign policy,” he added. “I don’t sense he’s thought through these issues as thoroughly as he should have. He gets advice from his campaign staff that he then has to modify as he goes along.”

While in the Bush administration, Powell regularly clashed with neoconservatives, some of whom are now advising Romney. Powell said he has “trouble with” some of Romney’s “very strong neoconservative views.”

While Powell has endorsed the Democratic presidential candidate in back-to-back elections, he said he remains a Republican.

“I think I’m a Republican of more moderate mold and that’s something of a dying breed, I’m sorry to say,” Powell said.

Powell stills carries a lot of weight with conservative leaning and moderate conservatives. Though his moderate credentials are questionable. He just seems moderate when compared to the extreme far Right positions of a party that jumps when Grover Norquist and the Koch brothers say jump. Most Republicans have become utter sycophants of the smiley faced plutocrats whose visions for America resembles more that of a 17th century monarchy than an enlightened democratic republic. I’m not going into everything that is wrong and boneheaded about conservatism in its modern incarnation today, but the Romney-Ryan agenda exemplifies an aspect of conservatism that is leading to its eventual demise, Conservatives used to care about community. What happened?

To secure his standing as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney has disowned every sliver of moderation in his record. He’s moved to the right on tax cuts and twisted himself into a pretzel over the health-care plan he championed in Massachusetts — because conservatives are no longer allowed to acknowledge that government can improve citizens’ lives.

Romney is simply following the lead of Republicans in Congress who have abandoned American conservatism’s most attractive features: prudence, caution and a sense that change should be gradual. But most important, conservatism used to care passionately about fostering community, and it no longer does. This commitment now lies buried beneath slogans that lift up the heroic and disconnected individual — or the “job creator” — with little concern for the rest.

The Romney’s of America’s business community cannot even lay legitimate claim to being job creators – unless one means creating jobs in China or India. Because of shipping costs they do not even save that much money per unit of whatever. What they accomplish is making wealthy investors even richer and simultaneously dis-empowering labor in the U.S.

True, conservatives continue to preach the importance of the family as a communal unit. But for Nisbet and many other conservatives of his era, the movement was about something larger. It “insisted upon the primacy of society to the individual — historically, logically and ethically.”

Because of the depth of our commitment to individual liberty, Americans never fully adopted this all-encompassing view of community. But we never fully rejected it, either. And therein lies the genius of the American tradition: We were born with a divided political heart. From the beginning, we have been torn by a deep but healthy tension between individualism and community. We are communitarian individualists or individualistic communitarians, but we have rarely been comfortable with being all one or all the other.

The highlighted text is a subtle but important distinction – liberals love individualism, but acknowledged that is a concept that can go a bridge too far. Conservatives do not in fact live in a bubble of self-reliance but they pretend and insist that they do. As another pundit recently wrote conservatives have lost all perspective all the context of the complex ingredients that went into making their wealth, or even just providing them with a pretty job, and the comfortable lifestyle that goes with it. It’s the make-believe theory of economics, they just believe and that makes it so. They may not literally click their ruby slippers together, but they do inside their mental cocoons. Nick Kristof has a preview of a Republican-Romney economy. Having listened to conservatives describe anything European as a model for the road to serfdom for years, these quotes are jaw dropping – Romney’s Economic Model

In the last few years, Germany and Britain, in particular, have implemented precisely the policies that Romney favors, and they have been richly praised by Republicans here as a result. Yet these days those economies seem, to use a German technical term, kaput.

Is Europe a fair comparison? Well, Republicans seem to think so, because they came up with it. In the last few years, they’ve repeatedly cited Republican-style austerity in places like Germany and Britain as a model for America.

Let’s dial back the time machine and listen up:

Europe is already setting an example for the U.S.,” Representative Kenny Marchant, a Texas Republican, said in 2010. (You know things are bad when a Texas Republican is calling for Americans to study at the feet of those socialist Europeans.)

The same year, Karl Rove praised European austerity as a model for America and approvingly quoted the leader of the European Central Bank as saying: “The idea that austerity measures could trigger stagnation is incorrect.”

Representative Steve King of Iowa, another Republican, praised Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany for preaching austerity and said: “It ought to hit home to our president of the United States. It ought to hit all of us here in this country.”

“The president should learn a lesson from the ‘German Miracle,’ ” Representative Joe Wilson of South Carolina, a Republican, urged on the House floor in July 2011.

Also in 2011, Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, denounced Obama’s economic management and said: “We need a budget with a bold vision — like those unveiled in Britain and New Jersey.”

O.K. Let’s see how that’s working out.

New Jersey isn’t overseas, but since Sessions and many other Republicans have hailed it as a shining model of austerity, let’s start there. New Jersey ranked 47th in economic growth last year. When Gov. Chris Christie took office in 2010 and began to impose austerity measures, New Jersey ranked 35th in its unemployment rate; now it ranks 48th.

Senator Sessions, do we really aspire for the same in America as a whole?

Everyone knows that Greece made the grand austerity bargain and who knows when their economy will recover. Spain has had farmers and workers who just months ago were struggling, but getting by, now they’re literally starving. Greece austerity has given rise to radical political movements that is typical historically, getting a foot in the door by blame shifting and massive amounts of xenophobia – remind you of any political movements here in the U.S.

All this is exactly what economic textbooks predicted. Since Keynes, it’s been understood that, in a downturn, governments should go into deficit to stimulate demand; that’s how we got out of the Great Depression. And recent European data and I.M.F. analyses underscore that austerity in the middle of a downturn not only doesn’t help but leads to even higher ratios of debt to economic output.

So, yes, Republicans have a legitimate point about the long-term need to curb deficits and entitlement growth. But, no, it isn’t reasonable for Republicans to advocate austerity in the middle of a downturn. On that, they’re empirically wrong.

I generally don’t like The Economist – they flirt with a disturbing brand of quasi-libertarian-conservative economics, but when they have looked around at the available choices in the past they have picked both Democratic and conservative presidents. As I write this they have not made an endorsement this years, but they’re not crazy about Romney, The Economist Pounds Romney on the Economy

Two weeks ago, The Economist surveyed several hundred academic and business economists as to which White House hopeful would be a better steward of the economy. The results were clear, especially among the professional economists of the National Bureau of Economic Research:

Our main finding should hearten Mr Obama. By a large margin they rate his overall economic plan more highly than Mr Romney’s, credit him with a better grasp of economics, and think him more likely to appoint a good economic team.

That outcome shouldn’t have as a surprise to the editors. Like the Republican leaders who called President Obama’s rescue of the U.S. auto industry “the road to socialism” and “the leading edge of the Obama administration’s war on capitalism,” The Economist opposed the bailout that ultimately saved over a million American jobs. But in April 2010, the magazine acknowledged its error, proclaiming, “An apology is due to Barack Obama: his takeover of GM could have gone horribly wrong, but it has not.” And when candidate Romney earlier this year penned an op-ed echoing his jaw-dropping boast that “I’ll take a lot of credit” for the salvation of Chrysler and GM, The Economist was having none of it…

ConWorld urban conspirators are still tooting their bizarre claims about Libya and a cover-up, About Those Shocking, World-Changing New Libya E-Mails

The next bend in the Libya story — sorry, Libya scandal — began last night, when CBS News and other organizations scooped a series of e-mails from the State Department, on 9/11. At 4:05 p.m., State e-mails that the Benghazi consulate is “under attack.” At 4:54, the “firing has stopped.” At 6:07 p.m., “Ansar al-Sharia [has claimed] responsibility” for the attack.

Allahpundit explains why this is should be so disturbing.

The White House had plenty of reason to suspect more was going on than a protest that got out of hand, even from the very beginning. But that would meddle with one of O’s strongest reelection narratives, i.e. the president who demolished Al Qaeda (read this for a stark illustration of how certain key supporters are helping him out with that), so we didn’t hear about it until Eli Lake and CNN and Reuters all but dragged it out of him.

One problem. In the same story that breaks the news and gives readers the e-mails, CBS News prints an unaired answer that Obama gave Steve Kroft on September 12. It was his first interview after the attacks.

You’re right that this is not a situation that was — exactly the same as what happened in Egypt and my suspicion is that there are folks involved in this who were looking to target Americans from the start.

The next day, Obama was in Colorado, where he addressed the killings in Libya.

A couple of days ago, for four Americans were killed in an attack on our diplomatic post in Libya… So what I want all of you to know is that we are going to bring those who killed our fellow Americans to justice. I want people around the world to hear me: To all those who would do us harm, no act of terror will go unpunished.

Obama didn’t pretend that this was merely “a protest that got out of hand.” The trouble, when we look back at the timeline, is that reporters didn’t really glom onto the Libya story for a few days. When they did, by the Sunday shows and September 19, you had administration spokespeople soft-peddling the “target Americans from the start” story.

Before that, though, if you followed the story, you knew that Ansar al-Sharia took credit for the attacks, and that Obama was calling them “acts of terror.” This is the oddity of the story we now call “Benghazigate.”

The entire “scandal” rests on when President Obama started calling the attack an act of terrorism. He is on tape with CBS calling in a likely act of terror almost immediately. Even if he had waited a few days to get more clarification about minute details, so what. Allahpundit  and other contributors at Malkin’s Hot Air still owe America an apology for all the lies they told their readers about Iraq.

Remember reality TV star Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) who complained about how hard it was to get by on his $175k per year salary. he has not been taking any smart pills since then, Reality TV has-been (and congressman) Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI)  would totally love Planned Parenthood except …

A reminder: What Planned Parenthood actually does
You know how Republicans are always saying things like “Planned Parenthood, we’re going to get rid of that,” mostly because Republicans are deeply stupid and think The Onion is a real news source, and Planned Parenthood really did a build a 900,000-square-foot $8 billion abortionplex with taxpayer money? Come for the abortion, stay for the disco and sushi!

What Planned Parenthood actually does is irrelevant because, as Sen. Jon Kyl taught us, Republican talking points about Planned Parenthood are not intended to be factual statements. They’re more like … oh, what’s the word? … bullshit.

Like, for example, this fecal gem from Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Real World, Season 6), in his debate with Pat Kreitlow:

In regard to Planned Parenthood – ya know, listen – Planned Parenthood offers a lot of checkups and procedures for women. I think a lot of that care is really good, especially for folks who can’t afford it. But the contention that comes around Planned Parenthood is that they are the largest abortion provider in the country, and so they are able to take taxpayer funds to then in essence, use for abortion. And I think this issue could be solved completely if Planned Parenthood would stop doing abortions. There would be no issue with funding on Planned Parenthood. So I think it’s a pretty easy issue to resolve to make sure women get care and coverage for procedures that they need, and I think it’s an important part of our society.

Oh, if only Planned Parenthood would stop doing that thing it doesn’t actually do—using taxpayer dollars for abortion—Duffy and his fellow Republicans would totes love it! And stop trying to defund it every five seconds. Goal Thermometer

But, alas. Since Planned Parenthood doesn’t use taxpayer funds for abortion, on account of how Republicans can’t stop passing bills that say Planned Parenthood isn’t allowed to use taxpayer funds for abortion, Republicans like Duffy have no choice but to pretend Planned Parenthood does that anyway and then be righteously indignant about Planned Parenthood doing that thing it doesn’t actually do.

Conservatives are ridiculous enough when they get around to discussing real issues, they’re even more ridiculous when they start making up issues to have an argument about so they can whip up support to do something about something that is not happening. Like China drilling for oil off the coast of Florida. Sean might want to have his brain checked for bed bugs.

Colbert Deconstructs Fox’s Endless Libya Scandal-Mongering

Fox’s coverage of the September 11 attack on the American consulate in Benghazi has increasingly been prone to extreme paranoia, excluding key evidence, and plain misinformation. Last night on his show, Stephen Colbert examined how Fox has been covering the Benghazi attack and why the network may be covering it that way.

Video at link.

Romney Sincerely Feels His Presidency Would Be Just Like Obama’s, Except It Would Taste Great and Be Less Filling

High Speed Train II  wallpaper

 

Mitt’s entire debate strategy: What he just said, but from a white guy
— Bill Maher (@billmaher)

Essentially, Romney would do no different but thinks the President’s doing a terrible job. #debate — Joshua Lyman (@joshualyman)

That awkward moment when both presidential candidates realize they don’t disagree on foreign policy enough to debate it. — Aaron Levie (@levie)

Is it sad or a welcome relief amid all the hateful and distorted rhetoric that the comedians had the best take on the last of the presidential debates. With just about every question it was Romney saying yea I agree, but I would put more icing on the cupcakes. Yea, President Obama is doing a good job, but I could outsource our national security to China and get everything done cheaper. These are some of the things Romney, not a comedian actually said,

Romney: We have in — in Egypt, a Muslim Brotherhood president. And so what we’re seeing is a pretty dramatic reversal in the kind of hopes we had for that region. Of course the greatest threat of all is Iran, four years closer to a nuclear weapon. And — and we’re going to have to recognize that we have to do as the president has done. I congratulate him on — on taking out Osama bin Laden and going after the leadership in al-Qaeda.

But we can’t kill our way out of this mess. We’re going to have to put in place a very comprehensive and robust strategy to help the — the world of Islam and other parts of the world, reject this radical violent extremism, which is — it’s certainly not on the run.

Up until a year ago that not quite robust enough effort was partly led  by some Republican holdovers from the Bush-era, including SecDef Gates. Funny how better executive leadership from Obama, instead of the inept micromanaging of the George Stooge and Dick Stooge made all the difference. Romney wants to bring back the same brain-trust that brought us the Iraq quagmire. “But we can’t kill our way out of this mess” ” sounds like something Senator Obama said to John McCain in 2008. The Muslim brotherhood in Egypt? The Brotherhood is not a monolithic organization – it has some extremists and some moderates. As Donald Rumsfeld once said democracy is messy and when you let a people who had been ruled for years by an authoritarian military, it is going to vote for some people who might have some extreme views. So welcome to Donny Rumsfeld world. Conservatives, and Romney seems to have a particular talent it, like to switch positions depending on shifts in the wind, and then hope that no one in the media acts like a real journalists and calls them out on it. During the Bush administration the Right was constantly blabbing on about how Bush and neoconservatism was spreading democracy and planting the seeds of democracy. The reality based community pointed out that on the contrary the Bush administration was supporting authoritarian regimes that would not allow democratic elections. The very reason was that is was to conservatives, and some Democrats as well, better the authoritarians you know than those you don’t. Well the tides of change went and shifted despite seeds being spread and all. Now that some nascent democracies have started they are going to have some growing pains. Unless Romney and company plans on putting boots on the ground and shoving his idea of democracy down millions of people’s throats, he’ll have to face the same frustrations any president has to face when trying to control events in other countries. At the end of the day President Obama has done a great job. That some of the people we have helped cannot – for now  – get their act together faster is not his fault as much as the conservative blame shifters would like it to be. As I remember there was once a new struggling democracy that took a hundred years to free the slaves, a few more years than that to recognize women as full citizens who should have the right to vote and  used Jim Crow laws to have a de facto separate nation based on race up until 1964 – now what was the name of that country?

ROMNEY: Well, my strategy is pretty straightforward, which is to go after the bad guys, to make sure we do our very best to interrupt them, to — to kill them, to take them out of the picture.

But my strategy is broader than that. That’s — that’s important, of course. But the key that we’re going to have to pursue is a –– is a pathway to get the Muslim world to be able to reject extremism on its own.

In future videos demonstrating what it is like to swim in gelatin, they’re be playing that clip. Romney has to some degree been able to outrun his idiocy until this debate. He has been running on economic lies and empty feel good slogans – all the hollow crap that has made much of the American public so cynical about politics. Suddenly in the middle of a presidential debate he decides to recite to the public the rough draft of the children’s book he is writing for the United Nations. Jerry Jihadist was walking  home from school one day and saw the outline of a man bathed in luminous golden light – The Mittens – and on that day he and his fellow radicals decided that having seen the vision of The One, The Mittens, they would all start a new life as leveraged buyout specialists, export their neighbor’s jobs to China and live happily ever after. This is Romney doing his 2008 impression of Senator Obama,

We don’t want another Iraq, we don’t want another Afghanistan. That’s not the right course for us. The right course for us is to make sure that we go after the — the people who are leaders of these various anti-American groups and these — these jihadists, but also help the Muslim world.

And how do we do that? A group of Arab scholars came together, organized by the U.N., to look at how we can help the — the world reject these — these terrorists. And the answer they came up with was this:

One, more economic development. We should key our foreign aid, our direct foreign investment, and that of our friends, we should coordinate it to make sure that we — we push back and give them more economic development.

Number two, better education.

Number three, gender equality.

So Romney is going to let the sovereign USA be guided in its national security policy by the UN. Why haven’t I seen a single crazed conservative blogger (CCB) start with some paranoid delusions about Romney promoting one world government, answering terrorism with intellectual flower power and showing weakness to our enemies. Romney lost the debate. That is clear enough. Romney has also managed to twist multiple versions of Mitt into so many knots that the maze of his opinions has turned Romney’s brain into an out of control bumper car ride.

ROMNEY: No. I believe, as the president indicated, and said at the time that I supported his — his action there. I felt that — I wish we’d have had a better vision of the future.

In other words if a white conservative had done exactly the same thing we could call it a VISION. That would make it wholesome and good. So vote for Mitt so we can continue the white conservative version of Obama’s policies.

But for us to be able to promote those principles of peace requires us to be strong. And that begins with a strong economy here at home. Unfortunately, the economy is not stronger. When the — when the president of Iraq — excuse me, of Iran, Ahmadinejad, says that our debt makes us not a great country, that’s a frightening thing.

Vote for Romney because it will make America into a country that Ahmadinejad will like. Why is Mitt apologizing for the USA. Why do conservatives always care so much about what radical Shiite Muslims think. When will Mitt end his constant apologies for America.

One consistent tactic Romney used in every debate was to drag out at least one, frequently more, of the kind of freaky urban myths that is perpetuated by wacky conservative bloggers, Matt Drudge and Glenn Beck. The one that he used last night was the so-called Obama apology tour. Back during the Republican primaries I admit that I gave Romney some credit for not drinking all the kool-aid. As far as wingnuttery goes, the only candidate that outclassed Romney in that regard was John Huntsman. I thought, well maybe, just maybe Romney would be above repeating this cheap trash talk. Nope last night was Romney’s final nail in any doubt that remained, Mitt Romney is a sleazy morally corrupt dipstick just like any other Republican pol.

On the facts. On acting like a gentleman, Obama won the first debate. Since we live in a political climate that rewards flash over substance, the powers that be, including some contrarian liberals gave the win to Romney. Like a good tactician Obama adjusted. He was forceful enough to make Romney overplay the plastic commando act, Obama as Commander-in-Chief, Romney as Banal Bully

I thought the third and last presidential debate was a clear win for the President. He displayed the authority of the nation’s Commander-in-Chief – calm, dignified, and confident. He was assertive without being shrill, clear without being condescending. He explained to a clueless Mitt Romney the way the world actually works.

Romney seemed out of his depth. His arguments were more a series of bromides than positions – “we have to make sure arms don’t get into the wrong hands,” “we want a peaceful planet,” “we need to stand by our principles,” “we need strong allies,” “we need a comprehensive strategy to move the world away from terrorism,” and other banalities.

This has been Romney’s problem all along, of course, but in the first debate he managed to disguise his vacuousness with a surprisingly combative, well-rehearsed performance. By the second debate, the disguise was wearing thin.

In tonight’s debate, Romney seemed to wither — and wander. He often had difficulty distinguishing his approach from the President’s…

Among other things one could chalk the conservative movement up to simple bad melodrama. Though considering their policies actually become injected into real life, with generally disastrous real world consequences, the real believers like Romney always end up champions of banality. It seems that anyone not wearing a tin foil helmet saw much of the same thing, Elitist Airhead For President, Vote Romney

Mitt Romney has nothing really coherent or substantive to say about domestic policy, but at least he can sound energetic and confident about it. On foreign policy, the subject of Monday night’s final presidential debate, he had little coherent to say and often sounded completely lost. That’s because he has no original ideas of substance on most world issues, including Syria, Iran and Afghanistan.

During the debate, on issue after issue, Mr. Romney sounded as if he had read the boldfaced headings in a briefing book — or a freshman global history textbook — and had not gone much further than that. Twice during the first half-hour, he mentioned that Al Qaeda-affiliated groups were active in northern Mali. Was that in the morning’s briefing book?

At other times, he announced that he had a “strategy” for the Middle East, particularly Iran and Syria, and really for the whole world, but gave no clue what it would be — much like his claim that he has a plan to create 12 million jobs and balance the budget while also cutting taxes, but will not say what it is. At his worst, Mr. Romney sounded like a beauty pageant contestant groping for an answer to the final question. “We want a peaceful planet,” he said. “We want people to be able to enjoy their lives and know they’re going to have a bright and prosperous future and not be at war.”

Romney is by most accounts pretty good with a spreadsheet and understanding the dense language of business transactions. Like many conservatives he ha a skill set. One skill set. Unlike most people who understand that being good at one particular skill – buying companies, gutting them and sending jobs to Asia – that does not translate into governing skills. When Mittens left the governorship of Massachusetts he had a 38% approval rating. Looking back over these three debates it is easy to see why.

Why The Charge That Obama Is ‘Anti-Business’ Is Ridiculous, In Three Charts

Republicans, during the current campaign, have continuously labeled the Obama administration as “anti-business.” “The president and his people just don’t understand how the private sector works,” said Mitt Romney. “Too often, you find yourself facing a government that looks at you like you’re the bad guys.” “This is certainly the most anti-business administration since the Carter years,” added Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY). “I think he borders on being hostile to the private sector,” said former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR).

First, as the New York Times noted, since Obama came into office, “the Dow Jones industrial average has gained 67.9 percent. That’s an extremely strong performance — the fifth best for an equivalent period among all American presidents since 1900?:
Next, the S&P 500, measuring the 500 largest publicly traded companies, is up 80 percent
Finally, corporate profits have soared back beyond their pre-recession heights:
Corporations made a record $824 billion last year. The Obama administration has also cut taxes for small businesses several times, and, of course, presided over a rescue of the auto industry that was almost universally opposed by Republicans. If this is anti-business, it seems that the business world could use more of it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

North Carolina Autumn wallpaper – The highest patriotism is not a blind acceptance of official policy, but a love of one’s country deep enough to call her to a higher plain

North Carolina Autumn wallpaper

 

U.S. Officials Say Iran Has Agreed to Nuclear Talks

The United States and Iran have agreed in principle for the first time to one-on-one negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program, according to Obama administration officials, setting the stage for what could be a last-ditch diplomatic effort to avert a military strike on Iran.

Iranian officials have insisted that the talks wait until after the presidential election, a senior administration official said, telling their American counterparts that they want to know with whom they would be negotiating.

News of the agreement — a result of intense, secret exchanges between American and Iranian officials that date almost to the beginning of President Obama’s term — comes at a critical moment in the presidential contest, just two weeks before Election Day and the weekend before the final debate, which is to focus on national security and foreign policy.

It has the potential to help Mr. Obama make the case that he is nearing a diplomatic breakthrough in the decade-long effort by the world’s major powers to curb Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, but it could pose a risk if Iran is seen as using the prospect of the direct talks to buy time.

It is also far from clear that Mr. Obama’s opponent, Mitt Romney, would go through with the negotiation should he win election. Mr. Romney has repeatedly criticized the president as showing weakness on Iran and failing to stand firmly with Israel against the Iranian nuclear threat.

This is bad news for Romney and the radical Right. The Iranians were supposedly intractable and would never agree to any sincere and constructive talks. So they’re wrong again. This not particularly news as talks with Iran have been going on through back diplomatic channels for years so it is the culmination of the Obama administrations stick and carrot approach.’ We don’t even have to dust off the old crystal ball to predict some of the conservative punditsphere’s reaction and spin: If the Obama White House even agrees to talks, that is a sign of weakness, the Iranians should simply cave into all demands before talks even begin, who cares about helping Iranian leaders save face before talks. As one commenter here notes, and some at the NYT article, negotiating is for the weak. A strong and exceptionalist nation – which in conservospeak means bomb first, negotiate later – doesn’t talk, they demand. The general fear among left of center blogs about Romney, considering that his foreign policy team includes Crazy John Bolton and some of the same neocons that guided Bush-era foreign policy is that Romney will start a war with Iran. I think it was a pundit at the New York Magazine (I’m not sure and cannot find the link) that argued that Obama was more likely to go with some kind of bombing or strategic missile strike if Iran did not open up its nuclear energy development for international monitoring. The reasoning goes that America is still feeling burned by the Iraq fiasco. Soldiers and their families are still suffering the consequences with the full range of issues from integrating back into civilian work life to PTSD and physical disabilities. Those families, many of whom lean conservative would absolutely turn on a Romney administration starting another counter productive war. Romney’s poll ratings would drop like lead at any attempts to start a war. The conservatives who hang out at and are mentally submerged in the all war all the time mentality of sites like The Free Republic, Breitbart and Hot Air greatly overestimate the actual troop’s desire to get bogged down in yet another mid-east debacle. American do not want Iran to have nuclear weapons, but they do not want another ground war in the Middle-East, New poll: Majority of Americans oppose military strike on Iran. If it should come down to Israel coming under attack, that changes things, with the majority of Americans supporting intervening to defend Israel. Which is what Obama has pledged he would do. This last bit is how the Right is framing the issue. Everyone with an ounce of common sense knows that an Iranian attack on Israel would be the same as Iran committing national suicide. Conservatives want to appear like the tough guys with the never-ending saber-rattling, but they just end up looking like insecure weenies in light of the overwhelming American superiority in our ability to launch missile and air strikes.

Just a reminder of the last time Republicans broke bad on someone:  Iraq: the rationale for, cost of, and occupation plans following America’s conquest (DOS, DOD, CIA, FBI)

Insufficient terrorism preparedness and prevention, domestic and international, before and after 9/11 (CIA, FBI, DOD, etc.);

Halliburton’s Corruption. In 2004, Pentagon auditors found that Halliburton had not adequately accounted for $1.8 billion of the bill it sent to the United States government for its work in Iraq and Kuwait.

Iraq’s spiral into a near genocidal sectarian war

Abu-Gate is the term occasionally found identifying the allegations of acts of brutality, abuse, and torture at Abu Ghraib Enemy Prisoner of War camp in Iraq.

The Treasonous “Outing” of Valeria Plame. After former Ambassador Joseph Wilson exposed Bush’s Niger uranium claim as a lie, two Bush administration officials sought revenge by exposing his wife, Valerie Plame, as a CIA agent, thus endangering her life and the lives of her network of informants, and committing a most serious crime.

Politically Manipulating Intelligence. America’s $30 billion intelligence agencies are supposed to give strictly accurate information to the President. But when the intelligence agencies could not find evidence of Iraqi WMD’s, Vice President Dick Cheney made several unprecedented visits to the CIA to intimidate intelligence officials into writing deliberately misleading reports.

When testifying before Congress in 2007, L. Paul Bremer, the former head of reconstruction in Iraq, was unable to account for as much as $12 billion—about half of his budget—as the head of the Coalition Provisional Authority between May 2003 and June 2004. According to a report by Rep. Henry Waxman, contractors brought bags to meetings in order to collect shrink-wrapped bundles of money.

Most Americans live in the reality based community. When we screw up or trust people who screw up badly, we learn from the experience. Not so with the average conservative politician. This time when they bang their head into that wall there is going to be a different result. Romney Enlists General Behind Iraq Debacle as Key Military Adviser – General Tommy Franks, USA (Ret.)

Deliberately concealed [4] from the American public how in 2001, at Bush White House’s request, he was planning an Iraq invasion—while we were still trying to topple the Taliban and find  bin Laden in Afghanistan.

Lost track of bin Laden at Tora Bora in late 2001 [5], then claimed he hadn’t [6], then was proven wrong [7].

Perpetuated [8] the bogus “weapons of mass destruction” myth about Iraq.

Ignored warnings from his CENTCOM predecessor [9] that Iraq wouldn’t be a walk in the park, and disregarded an earlier series of US war games [9], titled Desert Crossing, that predicted many of the difficulties of an Iraq occupation.

Completely failed to plan for any post-conflict cleanup [10] after the predicted fall of Saddam Hussein. “You pay attention to the day after,” he reportedly told the administration [11], “I’ll pay attention to the day of.” Here are the briefing slides [12] he showed administration officials in which he described “post-hostilities” operations in Iraq as “unknown,” and here’s where he estimated [13] we’d have a mop-up force of about 5,000 US troops in Iraq by 2006. (Actual US forces in Iraq throughout that year averaged about 141,000 [14].)

Authored one of the most nakedly self-serving, embarrassingly written military memoirs [15] of all time. (“Rumsfeld fixed me in his thoughtful blue gaze.”)

In case anyone has not heard of the phenomenon – Franks is a great example of the Peter Principle – “the effect could be stated as: employees tend to be given more authority until they cannot continue to work competently.” Franks would have been a competent colonel – someone who is good at following instructions. He sucked at strategy and adjusting tactics. Which is kinda the whole point of being a competent general.

 

Darrell Issa’s (R-CA) Benghazi document dump exposes several Libyans working with the U.S.

But Issa didn’t bother to redact the names of Libyan civilians and local leaders mentioned in the cables, and just as with the WikiLeaks dump of State Department cables last year, the administration says that Issa has done damage to U.S. efforts to work with those Libyans and exposed them to physical danger from the very groups that had an interest in attacking the U.S. consulate.

“Much like WikiLeaks, when you dump a bunch of documents into the ether, there are a lot of unintended consequences,” an administration official told The Cable Friday afternoon. “This does damage to the individuals because they are named, danger to security cooperation because these are militias and groups that we work with and that is now well known, and danger to the investigation, because these people could help us down the road.”

One of the cables released by Issa names a woman human rights activist who was leading a campaign against violence and was detained in Benghazi. She expressed fear for her safety to U.S. officials and criticized the Libyan government.

“This woman is trying to raise an anti-violence campaign on her own and came to the United States for help. She isn’t publicly associated with the U.S. in any other way but she’s now named in this cable. It’s a danger to her life,” the administration official said.

Do conservatives watch a lot of Three Stooges movies growing up and consider them instruction videos. An Issa staff stooge has since claimed that hey just because the documents were marked sensitive does not mean we should not let the world know what they said. Imagine for a moment the little gears turning inside Issa’s pointed head: go for some gotcha points against the Obama administration or look out for America’s best interests. The George W. Bush gear screamed release the sensitive documents as soon as possible, damn the consequences.

So long to the great statesman and WW II hero George McGovern, George McGovern: He deserved better
In 1972 the populist war hero was destroyed by Richard Nixon’s dirty tricks and Democrats’ self-destructive fear

The son of a Methodist minister, McGovern grew up in Depression-era Mitchell, South Dakota and never forgot the raw Dustbowl desperation he witnessed there. He volunteered for the Air Force at the start of World War II and won the Distinguished Flying Cross; just as influential in his career was the hunger he saw in Italy as the war came to a close, which led to his lifelong work on hunger relief. He returned home and went to divinity school on the G.I. Bill but switched to history, doing his doctoral dissertation on the 1913 Colorado coal strike, which shaped his lifelong advocacy for labor. He supported Henry Wallace’s Progressive Party presidential bid in 1948, but moved away due to the predominance of what he derided as “fanatics,” Communists and extremists.

Elected to the House of Representatives in 1956 (despite being red-baited for his Wallace association, a sign of things to come), he ran for Senate in 1960, campaigning alongside John F. Kennedy. Kennedy later lamented that he probably cost McGovern his election, given that the Massachusetts Catholic was associated with a toxic East Coast liberalism unpopular in South Dakota. He was right; McGovern lost, but Kennedy made him the first director of his Food for Peace program (he would be President Clinton’s Ambassador to United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture through both Clinton terms.) McGovern won the senate seat in 1962.

 

“The highest patriotism is not a blind acceptance of official policy, but a love of one’s country deep enough to call her to a higher plain.” – George McGovern

Happy Birthday John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie (October 21, 1917 – January 6, 1993)

World Map showing magnetic curves 1850 – Conservatism is The Embrace of Social-Darwinism at The Expense of Enlightened Civilization

World Map showing magnetic curves. c1850. Interesting map in terms of scientific advancement. Magnetic compasses are great, but they do not point to true north. One of the issues that effect that deviation from true north are the earth’s magnetic fields. As the map shows those fields vary according to a ship’s location.

Sloop yacht “Volunteer”. Published by Currier & Ives, c1887. Not all sloops were as upscale as this one. Many were used as small cargo carriers. Not a perfect comparison, but a large frigate of the era would have been like a large tractor-trailer carrier of today, while a slope would have been like a  delivery van. The “Volunteer” was commissioned as a racing yacht built in 1887 to compete in the America’s Cup races. It won the Cup that same year racing against the Scottish sloop Thistle.

There are always conservative memes. They are the frequently utter falsehoods being pushed, sometimes purely emotional appeals that are rooted in fetid imaginations – the kinds of columns Peggy Noonan and Bill O’Reilly write, and most of the editorials on the WSJ opinion page. Fox’s morning program does a weird variation that makes great use of the outrageous push poll – Do You think President Obama kicks kittens one or three times a week – we want to know what you the viewer thinks. They’re still pushing the Libya Embassy lie pretty hard and I’ll get to that, but one of the other major memes is that President Obama is running for a second term without an agenda, without a platform. Republicans frequently run on the barest of platforms, the vast majority consist of the promise to return America back to the golden age of 1850, though certainly some time before FDR and the New Deal. President Obama has plans for a second term. The kind of plans that keep conservatives up at night, concerned that Mitch McConnell (R-KY) might not be able to block them, Right-Wing Media Ignores President Obama’s Plan For Economic Growth

Wall Street Journal: Obama Is “A President Without A Plan.” After the October 16 presidential debate, The Wall Street Journal published an editorial headlined: “A President Without A Plan.” The editorial asked of Obama “What’s his case for four more years?” and opined:

Judging by Tuesday’s debate, the President’s argument for re-election is basically this: He’s not as awful as Mitt Romney. Mr. Obama spent most of his time attacking either Mr. Romney himself (he invests in Chinese companies), his tax plan as a favor for the rich (“that’s been his history”) or this or that statement he has made over the last year (“the 47%,” which Mr. Obama saved for the closing word of the entire debate).

The WSJ’s superiority complex is showing. They are as dismissive of any attempt to help anyone making less than a million dollars a year as Mitt Romney. Conservatives have done their best to keep unemployment as high as possible, because as Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) admitted such tactics increase their electoral chances – Remember it is always the conservative movement first, America last in the conservative mindset.

Economists Say Obama’s Public Sector Investments And Small Business Tax Cuts Would Boost Employment And Grow The Economy

Obama Has Proposed The American Jobs Act, A Package Of Tax Cuts And Investment To Create Jobs. The American Jobs Act, legislation proposed by President Obama, combines investments in infrastructure with targeted tax cuts designed to benefit small businesses and create jobs. [White House, 9/8/11]

Mark Zandi: American Jobs Act Would Add Nearly 2 Million Jobs. Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, estimated that the American Jobs Act would increase employment by nearly two million jobs, cut the unemployment rate by a full point, and increase the size of the economy by 2 percent..

..Macroeconomic Advisers: American Jobs Act Would Be “A Significant Boost To GDP And Employment.” In a post on its blog, Macroeconomic Advisers estimated that the American Jobs Act would be “a significant boost to GDP and employment

[Economic Policy Institute, 9/8/11]

EPI: Public Investments “Are Highly Cost-Effective Ways To Boost Aggregate Demand And Employment.” In an analysis of Obama’s and Romney’s economic plans, the Economic Policy Institute found that policies proposed by Obama are particularly stimulative, while Romney’s plans reduce economic growth.

…President Obama’s FY 2013 Budget proposes a bold plan to renew and expand America’s infrastructure. The plan includes a $50 billion up-front investment connected to a $476 billion six-year reauthorization of the surface transportation program and the creation of a National Infrastructure Bank. In support of this commitment, the Department of the Treasury, with the Council of Economic Advisers, has updated our analysis of the economic effects of infrastructure investment. [Council of Economic Advisers, 3/23/12, via the Treasury Department]

CBO: Spending On Infrastructure Is More Stimulative Than Tax Cuts For Wealthy. The Congressional Budget Office’s report on the estimated impact of the stimulus on the economy found that transferring money to state and local governments for infrastructure spending provided one of the highest returns on investment of various policy proposals for increasing economic growth:

…NY Times: “Income Inequality May Take Toll On Economic Growth.” An October 16 New York Times article reported that income inequality has risen to the highest levels since the Great Depression and that as the top 1 percent of earners makes more in comparison to the rest of the population, economic growth decreases:

…Obama Administration’s National Export Initiative On Track To Double Exports By 2014. After proposing the National Export Initiative in his 2010 State of the Union Address, exports have increased by 16% and the initiative is on track to double exports by the end of 2014. From a White House post by Export-Import Bank Board of Directors member Patricia Loui:

White House Sent “Startup America Legislative Agenda” To Congress To Benefit Startup Businesses. The Obama administration proposed the Startup America Legislative Agenda to benefit startup and small businesses. According to the White House’s fact sheet, the agenda “builds on the President’s record of signing into law 17 tax breaks specifically for small businesses”:

There is more at the link, but everyone gets the drift. Conservatives are supposed to be as legend has it the hardest working people on the planet. yet conservative pundits cannot be bothered to argue facts. They just start typing or dictating their fantasies. Those fantasies become the meme pushed by the Republican noise machine. Every conservative nutbar in America memorizes the soundbites and that becomes the intractable dogma, the inerrant truth of events. They’re too lazy to argue facts. I read a few years ago that O’Reilly pulls down about $3 million a year. Conservatives claim that getting $4 a day in food stamps makes people lazy. Well apparently conservative pundits and politicians making from high six figures to millions see no incentive to start being intellectually honest. On the contrary, conservatism rewards laziness. While that might sound like a quip, it is actually based on reality of the conservative base – many of whom do work, but idolize their pundits and pols like infallible gods. The Mitt Romneys, Koch brothers and blue-collar high school grads of the red states do have some things in common. One is the tendency in live in the nether-lands of denial, Blue States are from Scandinavia, Red States are from Guatemala

We’ve come to think of “blue” and “red” states as political and cultural categories. The rift, though, goes much deeper than partisan differences of opinion. The borders of the United States contain two different forms of government, based on two different visions of the social contract. In blue America, state government costs more—and it spends more to ensure that everybody can pay for basic necessities such as food, housing, and health care. It invests more heavily in the long-term welfare of its population, with better-funded public schools, subsidized day care, and support for people with disabilities. In some cases, in fact, state lawmakers have decided that the social contract provided by the federal government is not generous enough. It was a blue state that first established universal health insurance and, today, it is a handful of blue states that offer paid family and medical leave.

In the red states, government is cheaper, which means the people who live there pay lower taxes. But they also get a lot less in return. The unemployment checks run out more quickly and the schools generally aren’t as good. Assistance with health care, child care, and housing is skimpier, if it exists at all. The result of this divergence is that one half of the country looks more and more like Scandinavia, while the other increasingly resembles a social Darwinist’s paradise.

[  ]…By nearly every measure, people who live in the blue states are healthier, wealthier, and generally better off than people in the red states. It’s impossible to prove that this is the direct result of government spending. But the correlation is hard to dismiss. The four states with the highest poverty rates are all red: Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, and Texas. (The fifth is New Mexico, which has turned blue.) And the five states with the lowest poverty rates are all blue: New Hampshire, New Jersey, Vermont, Minnesota, and Hawaii. The numbers on infant mortality, life expectancy, teen pregnancy, and obesity break down in similar ways. A recent study by researchers at the American Institute for Physics evaluated how well-prepared high schoolers were for careers in math and science. Massachusetts was best, followed closely by Minnesota and New Jersey. Mississippi was worst, along with Louisiana and West Virginia. In fact, it is difficult to find any indicator of well-being in which red states consistently do better than blue states.

There is more, including more stats, history and details at the link. Conservatism is clever. Being clever has never required an Ivy league degree. All one has to do is appeal to some very base instincts of people. It appears to even native southerners like me, that red state conservatives vote against their own rational self interests. Yet this election cycle I have considered another possibility. That conservative red staters have a deep desire and enjoyment of social-Darwinism. They think that making life as difficult for themselves and others is, through some sick logic, virtuous. Because of the built in hardships of life – accidents, illness, old age, death – I tend to think that even if America became a shining example of progressive governance tomorrow, life would still be hard. Add in that progressive-ism does not and should not guarantee outcomes – conservative straw men to the contrary – the pour outcomes; you don’t get the job you want, you do not get the rise you might deserve, bad investments wipe out half your savings, personal bad habits hold one back, etc. life is still hard. Conservatives seem determined to make it sadistic. To perpetuate suffering for the pure sake of suffering, when there is no moral, economic or political reason to push that agenda. They’re obsessed with someone getting a bag of chips with their food assistance allowance, yet think its great that Wells Fargo Bank, among others bilked millions from working class Americans. Conservatives champion the crony capitalism of Mitt Romney and Sheldon Adelson. Conservatives will spend millions on lobbyists to keep from paying the same amount in taxes. They would rather fund the good ol boy network of lazy cronyism than see that a poor family of four gets basic health care. Democratic bloggers can blog all they like, very moderate centrist politicians can run all the ads they like, bright articulate progressive minded newspaper columnists can spill all the ink they like on the positives of having a more progressive nation – and they are just never going to get through the tin foil of the far right. It is not about politics – here is my study, history, data that shows these are the best policies, it is about progress versus deeply held dogma impenetrable to facts or genuine morality.

Immoral Mitt Romney is hoping for another 1979 Iranian Hostage Crisis,…” I will work to take advantage of the opportunity.”

Audience member: If you get the call as president, and you had hostages…Ronald Reagan was able to make a statement, even before he became, was actually sworn in—

Romney: Yeah—

Audience member: the hostages were released—

Romney: on the day of his inauguration, yeah.

Audience member: So my question is, really, how can you sort of duplicate that scenario?

Romney: Ohhhh. [A few chuckles in audience.] I’m gonna ask you, how do I duplicate that scenario.

Audience member: I think that had to do with the fact that the Iranians perceived Reagan would do something to really get them out. In other words [unintelligible]…and that’s why I’m suggesting that something that you say over the next few months gets the Iranians to understand that their pursuit of the bomb is something that you would predict and I think that’s something that could possibly resonate very well with American Republican voters.

Romney: I appreciate the idea. I can’t—one of the other things that’s frustrating to me is that at a typical day like this, when I do three or four events like this, the number of foreign policy questions that I get are between zero and one. And the American people are not concentrated at all on China, on Russia, Iran, Iraq. This president’s failure to put in place a status forces agreement allowing 10-20,000 troops to stay in Iraq? Unthinkable! And yet, in that election, in the Jimmy Carter election, the fact that we have hostages in Iran, I mean, that was all we talked about. And we had the two helicopters crash in the desert, I mean that’s—that was—that was the focus, and so him solving that made all the difference in the world. I’m afraid today if you said, “We got Iran to agree to stand down a nuclear weapon,” they’d go hold on. It’s really a, but…by the way, if something of that nature presents itself, I will work to find a way to take advantage of the opportunity.

This is why Mitt loves the Libyan embassy attacks and the conservative propaganda machine is so busy spinning it. It is the best they can do for a substitute for an Iranian style hostage crisis.