Painted Trumpeter Jazz wallpaper – Republicans Think Reassessment is a Town in France

Painted Trumpeter Jazz wallpaper

One of the hallmarks of proto-fascism or ultra-nationalism is eliminationism. This is where the conservative sees very stark contrasts and draws very sharp lines between them, the true and pure, and the menacing other. This election cycle saw Republicans once again relying on high school educated southern and mid-western white males to carry them to victory. Though Democrats did and will continue to get a good chunk of that vote because many of them do realize that conservatives have literally sold them out. Especially in that range of people Romney called the 47%. These are Americans who work hard, have household incomes at and under the median national income level ( currently about $52k). When they retire or income ill (they’re the ones you saw at tea bagger rallies holding the signs that said keep the government’s hands off my Medicare) that will be part of the red state phenomenon of being more reliant on gov’mint than blue states. At one time or another, with no real end in sight, the conservative movement has declared just about everyone the enemy – women, college educated whites, people of color, Americans who reject their highly politicized version of what constitutes genuine Christianity or values in general, people in cites, people that might be French … and the list goes on and on. It is for better or worse a common reaction to being hated to be disliked in return. We have reached the tipping point for Republican eliminationism. Everyone that conservatives hate combined represent a solid and growing majority. They’ll hold on to some red string holds, but nationally the conservative movement is once and for all on the decline. As I wrote in recent post, pay no attention to the rumors and public hand wringing of a Republican civil war between whatever passes for a moderate and the far Right. Ignore anyone who says this is a pivotal moment in conservatism where their will be clouds parting and great revelations about how Republicans will change and become less relevant and less extreme. With every single election cycle in the last sixty years, with the possible exception of Bush 41 Republicans have moved further to the Right and become more unhinged. G.O.P. Strains to Define How to Close Gap With Voters

“We continually crank out moderate loser after moderate loser,” said Joshua S. Treviño, a speechwriter in George W. Bush’s administration who now works for the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a conservative group. He said Mitt Romney was part of a “pattern” of Republican nominees, preceded by John McCain, Bob Dole and George H. W. Bush, who were rejected by voters because of “perceived inauthenticity.”

This has been written thousands of times before, but we have reached the same crossroads. Conservatives always believe it is the person not the underlying malevolence and repeated failures of conservatism that is to blame. Note that Treviño is not some mindless conservative blogger. He is part of the power structure of the Republican party.

By contrast, Ralph Reed, the longtime Republican strategist and chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, said he would redouble efforts over the next four years to recruit women, Latinos and young people as grass-roots organizers.

“I certainly get the fact that your daddy’s Republican Party cannot win relying singularly on white voters and evangelicals alone — as critical as I believe those voters are to a majority coalition,” Mr. Reed said. “The good news for conservatives is there are many of those who have not always felt welcome in our ranks who share our values.”

“By contrast”? Really. Reed is also doubling down on right-wing dogma, but he is willing to consider letting some of those people, those others, joy if they’ll just anoint themselves of the mindless rhetoric and idolatry of ultra-nationalism. Reed is not just entrenched in The Bubble, he is part of what keeps it full of hot air. I’ve never meet or even heard of a non-conservative, a Democrat, a progressive, a liberal that does not have a set of values that very much resembles the Ten Commandments. We just not puritanical hypocrites about the whole business of morality. I was never sure how conservatives, other than ways which are clearly unconstitutional, if they had massive majorities and total control of the government would force their 19th century fundamentalists views into law and down people’s throats. That is not freedom. The people who voted for Obama did so because they felt he and Democrats best represent American values.

“The question really is how do we set the best tone in delivering our conservative message so that it becomes attractive to more people,” said Gov. Bob McDonnell of Virginia, the association’s chairman. “Looking at how young voters and minority voters are voting, it’s an unsustainable trajectory.”

In addition to losing both the popular and electoral votes for president, the Republicans lost nearly every swing state. Although the race was far closer than in 2008, Mr. Romney won two million fewer votes than Mr. McCain did against Mr. Obama that year.

Democrats, once fearful of losing the Senate, gained one seat there and four in the House. They also added seats in state legislatures.

For those who are not familiar with conservative doublespeak let me translate Bob’s statement: How can conservatives further pervert the English language to Orwellian extremes to disguise our radical agenda that is now and will always be only in the best interests of clueless billionaires, misogynist, racist and social-Darwinist so we can deceive people into voting for us. That is not a revaluation. That is not a heartfelt reassessment, that is a cultist reaffirming fidelity to a cause that is an anathema to a healthy democracy.

The saga of  CIA Director David Petraeus continues. An interesting quote from  Paula Broadwell’s dad, Paul Krantz, Jill Kelley, social liaison to MacDill Air Force Base, is mystery woman Paula Broadwell harassed via email leading to FBI probe

But Broadwell’s father said Sunday his daughter is the victim of character assassination and implied the bombshell story is just a smoke screen for something bigger.

“This is about something else entirely, and the truth will come out,” Broadwell’s dad, Paul Krantz, told the Daily News outside his home in Bismarck, N.D.

“There is a lot more that is going to come out,” said Krantz, claiming he was not allowed to elaborate. “You wait and see. There’s a lot more here than meets the eye.”

He said he supports his daughter “100%.”

It is not my intention to make fun of Broadwell or her dad. Though I wonder how this could all happen. Broadwell, Kelley and David Petraeus. All Republicans are perfect. All Republicans are always right. All Republicans are stellar examples of the kinds of values that we should all have. As Mr. Reed said. “The good news for conservatives is there are many of those who have not always felt welcome in our ranks who share our values.”

Antique map of Europe 1595 – The Old Benghazi Conspiracy Failed So Conservatives Use Petraeus To Start New

Antique map of Europe 1595.

Some major historical events of 1595: Henry IV of France defeats the Spanish, but is nearly killed due to his rashness. Henry had converted from Catholicism to Protestantism, which may have been the reason he was, in comparison to others of the time remarkably tolerant of religious differences. He enacted the Edict of Nantes, in 1598, ending the civil war between Catholics and Protestants. He was assassinated by François Ravaillac, a radical Catholic of the era.

A Spanish expedition led by navigator and explorer Álvaro de Mendaña de Neira (1542 – October 1595) makes the first European landing in Polynesia, on the Marquesas Islands. As students of  history know the era of European explorers would begin some very difficult times for native populations.

1595 was also the year of The Battle of San Juan. The battle was a Spanish victory in the Anglo-Spanish War that spanned the Atlantic, also being fought in Spain’s American colonies.

Physical Map of North America showing sea levels according to The Edinburgh Geographical Institute. This map was made around 1910 by cartographer  John Bartholomew  (1860-1920).

As everyone knows CIA director and former Army General David H. Petraeus resigned. He cited an affair as the reason. Apparently this all came to light after Petraeus contacted the FBI about concerns that someone had obtained access to his G-mail account. I cannot say I’m a big fan of Petraeous for a couple related reasons. he covered Bush and Cheney’s incompetence in their handling of Afghanistan. he talked a lot of smack about Iraq and what became known as the surge. By the time of the surge so much near genocidal violence had occurred there was not much to surge against. That did not stop Petraeous, Bush the conservative echo chamber ( later to include the biographer with which the General had his affair) from calling the surge a great success. That said I’m not sure why having an affair per se should be sufficient cause to hand in a resignation. Though I’m talking about practical reasons. It seems unlikely he could be blackmailed. Though it does appear possible the person who gained access to the e-mail account was Paula Broadwell, the co-author of a biography of Mr. Petraeus. he could have survived the scandal if it all became public. That is not how some conservative observers see it. Mr. Petraeus was to testify in a House inquiry into the Benghazi, Libya terror attacks.

“Petraeus resignation. Timing, everything suspicious,” tweeted Rupert Murdoch, the CEO and founder of News Corp.

“COINCIDENCE?! Petraeus is set to testify NEXT week at a closed door session on Capitol Hill abt Benghazi. Did BHO push him out? This stinks!” tweeted conservative radio host Laura Ingraham

Intelligence Community Points Out Fox Was Kinda Lying About Benghazi This Whole Time. The Conservative Gossip Brigade had run out of conspiracies on Libya. There was an immediate response from the CIA, some military forces were in route – but the whole thing was just over before they could stop the killing of embassy personnel.

Oh, yeah, it’s ONAs you may have noticed, the Wingnut Noise Machine is seriously pushing the notion that President Obama deliberately sat back and did nothing when a Libyan militia attacked the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi on Sept. 11, apparently because he is either incompetent (the “charitable” view) or because he just plain hates America that much (the “reasonable doubt exists” view). It turns out that, according to intelligence officials, CIA agents stationed in Benghazi actually did come to the aid of the Consulate, as did a second CIA team sent from Tripoli, and Libyan military forces helped the surviving Americans get to the airport to escape after the attack. The officials also directly refuted Fox News’ claims that the CIA was ordered to “stand down,” and also dismissed the notion that airstrikes could have helped anyone in the consulate:

“Let’s say we were able to get an aircraft there. Do you go in and start strafing a populated area without knowing where friend or foe is?” a senior Defense official asked. “If you did that, you could kill the very people you are trying to help.”

Of course the Right’s dumbest blogger joined in (The Gateway Pundit). Drudge Sirens: Gen. David Petraeus Resigns CIA Due To Spying … Between The Sheets

Reaction from the wingnut press has been muted so far, although readers of the Stupidest Man On the Internet were quick to speculate that Barack Obama knew of the affair and blackmailed Petraeus to do nothing to save the lives of the Benghazi consulate staff. We await further thoughtful analysis from Pam Geller and Jerome Corsi.

So President Obama conspired ever so conveniently to hand the Swifboaters on 2012 a tragedy they could spin and exploit just before the election. That makes since in the context of having a slice of the moon with your kool-aid. For those not familiar, Mark Halperin is a conservative hit-man (1. Mark Halperin. Congratulations to the world’s laziest dispenser of conventional wisdom). He, with the help of the networks – like the Today Show like to himself as an independent political analysis.

HALPERIN: Whenever there’s tension — behind the scenes for the most part — between the executive branch, the political part of the executive branch, and the CIA and the intelligence community, you see a lot of high-stakes pressure back and forth. Sometimes there are threats. I’m not saying that’s what happened in this case affecting his resignation, but there’s no question that the political pressure on the State Department, on the White House, over the facts and circumstances of the tragedy in Benghazi was creating tension, has created tension, with the intelligence community and the CIA, and so, at a minimum, the context of General Petraeus’s resignation is a time of pretty heightened pressure on him with some very tough political actors who have had the tension over the way Benghazi’s been handled, both before and after the tragedy.

You can picture mark leaning over the shrubs by the fence whispering to the neighbor – I don’t know, but just say’n that there was tension. And you know the timing – Libya and Obama and Libya and Obama – and tensions between tough political actors. Like I don’t know, but maybe, and the timing , the CIA and Libyia… Mark is on every list of worse conservative hacks passing themselves off as unbiased journalists for a reason. Halperin does not make the news like flame throwers such as Limbaugh or Coulter, but in many ways he is worse. When people listen to Limbaugh and clones they know they’re getting manufactured talking points from the Republican Bubble of Reality. Halperin is always presented as an unbiased source of “news”.

This is a good report that shows how the Fox-Drudge pushed Libya conspiracy narrative is falling apart, In Benghazi timeline, CIA errors but no evidence of conspiracy

 

This is from yesterday, but still a good catch from Mike and crew, Le Folies du “Market Liberte”: Officials Want Military to Take Over Power Restoration on Long Island

Pardon my French but this “free market” fandango in the wake of hurricane Sandy continues to expose the failure of past policy.  Now local government officials are finally ready to call the troops in on Long Island.  Story at NBC-NY.

Newsday said a reporter on Thursday visited the Hicksville headquarters of National Grid, which is the company contracted by LIPA to oversee operations, and found engineers tracking outages with highlighters and paper maps.

Here is the wiki page of National Grid, which is headquarted in the UK and listed on the London Stock Exchange and looks like it is another one of these infrastructure “privatization” deals motivated by the desire to “save money that we don’t have” that always ends up taking out too much cash and leaving too little funds left to account for the real maintenance and real upgrades required for the real infrastructure.

Then as usual, some periodic crisis happens to expose the real neglect and the regulatory morons who set the deal up in the first place take no responsibility and try to get the federal government sector to bail them out in the end anyway.

We’ve seen these follies before. ( all emphasis mine)

I work in the corporate free market. It works well enough most of the time. It is never perfect. It is not the holy garden of market efficiency the Right and rightie libertarians portray it as. In the real world things are seldom excellent, much less perfect. I’m not sure why the champions of laissez-faire, let’s privatize everything cult  think they can sell their snake oil to anyone who lives outside the bubble.

 

Bright Lights City wallpaper – Conservatism is Incapable of Epiphanies or Grasping Reality, Thus There’ll Be No Party Civil War

Bright Lights City wallpaper

 

Who would have thought that conservatives trying to explain why they lost and where they should go from here would be both more tiresome and more deranged than the actual campaign. The typical citizen burns their hand on a hot pan. They understand not to do that again. A typical working American screws up at work, they do not get a raise or the promotion they were in line for. They pledge not to screw up again. They work a little harder and smarter. Conservative Republicans do not follow this obvious chain of cause and consequences. The commie anti-Christ burned their hand, not the hot pan. They screwed up at work. That just means their boss and coworkers are part of a liberal plot to destroy them, keep them from going to their mega-million dollar church and put up statues of Lenin in every public square. Conservatives do not stand for anything, they just believe in a brand of nightmarish brand of nationalism. Republicans at the professional politician level are not our loyal adversaries that have an agenda that has some modicum of merit, they are a group of people with a cult-like mentality which is impervious to ideas that work and respect human dignity. There is the slightest chance the coming year or two will prove me wrong, but there is no crisis of conservatism. There is no Republican civil war (Millionaire Conservative Freak Herman Cain calls for third party). There is going to be no genuine reevaluation of conservatism – a movement that has been inherently antithetical to having a democratic republic since Nixon and Goldwater. This post by the UK site The Spectator provides the core conservative feelings about where the Republican party is headed, The View from the Cocoon of Denial and Epistemic Closure ( Note these excepts are all from the conservative flagship The National Review)

Mary Matalin:

What happened? A political narcissistic sociopath leveraged fear and ignorance with a campaign marked by mendacity and malice rather than a mandate for resurgence and reform. Instead of using his high office to articulate a vision for our future, Obama used it as a vehicle for character assassination, replete with unrelenting and destructive distortion, derision, and division. ( all bold is mine)

Project much there poor Mary. One of the many attributes conservatism shares with every anti-democratic movement of the last hundred years is the bubble of narcissism – they love themselves to the exclusion of all else, especially ideals. Obama is not deserving of any halos but he didn’t tell a stunning 533 lies in 30 days. Democracy 101: If what you stand for in the particulars of beliefs and policies is good and wholesome, you do not need to shroud it in a blanket of lies.

Grover Norquist:

Onward.

Grover has hated humanity since he joined the conservative movement and credit to him for not changing just because of one more loss.

Mark Steyn:

New Hampshire is overwhelmingly white — and the GOP still blew it. The fact is a lot of pasty, Caucasian, non-immigrant Americans have also “shifted,” and are very comfortable with Big Government, entitlements, micro-regulation, Obamacare and all the rest — and not much concerned with how or if it’s paid for.

I was tempted to say that Steyn is about as unhinged as conservatives get and than a flood of names came to mind. he belongs at the top of the pyramid of the dog-eat-dog philosophy of government. You’re living in a truly free nation when you let the disabled, the elderly, the sick and the working poor suffer and die in the street. Any safety net – from Medicare to workers’ compensation – is evil. In Steynworld people who get a $400 million bonus package are deserving of every penny. people who clean that millionaire’s floors can either work or die, to rid the nice people of the surplus population. Regulations that make it safe for Americans to use a bridge or eat a package of food, that is for wussies. No crisis of conservatism here, just the same old straw men dripping in bull. The Steyns and Ann Coulters cannot win a debate with a real liberal because they know they’d lose. This is the reason for the conservative echo chamber. If they exit the chamber they have to deal with facts and logic.

Jeffrey Bell:

It would be surprising if the Obama administration did not interpret its victory as a mandate to complete the Europeanizing of American government.

Romney, Ryan and congressional conservatives just ran on the European model of austerity. The philosophical foundation of conservatism is 17th century European authoritarianism – throw in some eliminationism and a lot of misogyny, equals today’s Republican Party and the one we’ll continue to see for quite a while.

Stanley Kurtz:

The college educated professionals at the heart of Obama’s coalition are products of an academic culture that not only leans far-left, but is dedicated to producing precisely the national political outcome that Obama represents. Obama himself was both a product and a member of the elite leftist university faculty.

Romney and Obama both went to Harvard.  Every conservative on the SCOTUS has an Ivy league education. Stanely and conservatives are deeply afraid that knowledge gained through education mostly, though obviously not always, leads to enlightened thinking and conservatives clings to the ideals of base instincts, greed and prejudice.

Peter Kirsanow:

The electorate may well have shifted politically, and perhaps culturally. That will happen when we cede our institutions to the minions of  ”progress,” when our media is biased and political elites cowardly. But human nature has not changed and neither have the principles conservatives — Americans — hold dear.

Obama and the Left will be emboldened. They will continue their effort to “fundamentally transform” America. Indeed, now that Obamacare will go into effect in full, the transformation will take several giant, worrisome steps forward.

That’s why we must fight. Harder, smarter, relentlessly. While we must shrewdly assess what went wrong politically, we don’t have time for finger-pointing and recriminations. Those inclined can do so later.There are too many perils at our doorstep.

Leave it to a conservative to put the word progress in scare quotes. The USA has had a difficult time living up to its ideals from day one. The architect of the U.S. Constitution said he hated slavery but owned slaves. One of the first things the government did was to try and raise revenue to pay for the Revolution and enforce a tax that some self absorbed whiskey makers did not want to pay because their allegiance was to profit, not country. We were supposed to be a model egalitarian society, but would not let poor whites or women vote. The Democratic Party represents the march toward progress, the ideals of which those with a conservative mindset have always fought. Today that conservative mindset is fighting to make America into a land of the lite and those who should not get uppity and expect a fair share of the wealth produced in the context of a complex society that requires modern infrastructure. To paraphrase senator elect Elizabeth Warren, fine you have a business, take a nice chunk of profits, but remember the social contract and the sum of the parts that allowed you to make those profits.

And, saving the best until last, David Gelernter:

We’ve seen an important (though far from decisive) battle in the slow-motion civil war the nation is undergoing: The blue states want to secede not from America but from Americanism. They reject the American republic of God-fearing individuals in favor of the European ideal, which has only been government by aristocracy: either an aristocracy of birth or, nowadays, of ruling know-it-alls — of post-religious, globalist intellectuals (a.k.a. PORGIs). As I’ve said before — many others have too — you can’t graduate class after class after class of left-indoctrinated ignoramuses without paying the price.  Last night was a down payment.

Gelernter seems to be a Zen master of the conservative bubble. Conservatives declared war back in the 1950s on The New Deal and have been trying to return America to the plantation model ever since. he joins the chorus of conservative millionaires and billionaires complaining about how tough they have it. How brazen, arrogant and deranged to claim that God is the personification of Nixon, Limbaugh and Sarah Palin. This God they’ve projected whispers in their ears alone and it says do not regulate the amount of toxins in our drinking water because it would offend my friend Milton Friedman who is sitting right here next to me listening on the extension. Bill Maher: Republicans are screwed up from living in a bubble

Comedian Bill Maher said Wednesday night that Republicans needed to escape the “Republican bubble” if they wanted to win a future presidential election.

“Republicans have to start getting their information from a better source than Fox News,” he told MSNBC host Chris Matthews. “I’m not kidding about this. I think this really screws them up.”

Fox News is evil and part of the problem but it is mostly a projection of what the conservatives next door think. It is part of the bubble, but not the bubble. I can remember before Fox News and getting direct mail newsletters that contained the same urban myths and conspiracy theories. the same historical revisionism. The same voodoo trickle on America economics. Conservatism is zombie-ism. Despite failure after failure it thinks that going mindlessly down the gutter will eventually produce gold and honey. One can understand the Kochs and Romneys thinking that since they profit regardless. Why does the $12 an hour Republican next door think he’ll suddenly get rich if we have fifty years of Republican presidents. They’re mostly the ones who troll the internet blaming the Wall Street meltdown on Fannie May and Barney Frank. Which is like a smoker blaming their lung cancer on peaches. there will be no grand Republican epiphany, no deep soul searching – they’ll just double down on the malevolent crazy ideas they have so deeply invested in.

Call this part of the most equal time. A liberal who sees rays of hope, The Twilight of the GOP Establishment: Who Will Save Republicans, Now? By David Rohde

The time, though, is not for gloating. It is for supporting the Republicans who can rein in their party’s far right and help us all. For me, Fox News, of all places, was a hopeful sign.

While Karl Rove questioned whether Obama had, in fact, won Ohio, Juan Williams and Brit Hume courageously admitted the party had lost touch with a changing nation. They embraced exit polls showing that the surge in Latino, black, female and young voters that aided Obama in 2008 was a permanent demographic change, not a one-time event.

“We’re looking at a new kind of politics,” Williams said.

Hume stood tall as well.

“The demographic factors that Juan referred to are absolutely real,” he said.

And this morning Newt Gingrich, of all people, issued a bold mea culpa.

“We have to recognize that if you’re not going to be competitive with Latinos, with
African-Americans, with Native Americans, with Asian-Americans,” Gingrich said on CBS, “you’re not going to be a successful party.”

All of these officials should be applauded. I disagree with them in many ways politically. I also question whether this is the latest of many political pivots for Gingrich. But I praise and respect them for accepting the basic dynamics of the race. Publicly admitting you were wrong is never easy.

The reaction of far-right Republicans to the results, on the other hand, was astonishing. They argued that the vast swathes of female and minority voters who supported Obama would have supported an arch conservative.

Of course President Obama will make the obligatory attempt to yet once again reach compromise. This time he’ll probably be wise enough to wear a glove.

The Old Orchard wallpaper – until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream

green landscape

The Old Orchard wallpaper

 

Nate Silver still has President Obama up, Late Poll Gains for Obama Leave Romney With Longer Odds. While Gallup is calling it a dead heat. At the same link Pew has Obama up by three points. If Obama loses ( unlikely, though possible)  it will be especially galling since if Democratic voters would simply vote we would not only easily win the presidency, but would take back the House as well. Democrats do seem to have a problem with frustration and letting the desire for perfect progressive change get in the way of making solid if slow and incremental change. Romney lost all three debates on the facts, on a genuine vision for the country and on pure arrogance. Yet Republicans – in any platform they had access to – social media, TV, radio, newspapers and good old direct mail, declared Romney the winner. Perhaps not so much the last two, but after the first debate, Democrats on most of the same media platforms decided that Obama gave a lack luster performance, almost as though the debate was about getting the best actor award instead of being grounded in reality and rallying the nation behind American values. Instead of the values of the elite. It took the conservative movement fifty years to reach the level of organization they have today. After every set back, they got angrier and more determined. A lesson that seems to be lost on some Democrats. We seem to have the votes, the organization is good and getting better, but we’re still letting psychology and/or apathy get in the way – Young Voter Turnout Fell 60% from 2008 to 2010; Dems Won’t Win in 2012 If the Trend Continues

In 2010, polls showed that young people were still supportive of Obama and the Democrats. But only 20.9 percent of them bothered to vote.

CIRCLE director Peter Levine said, “For liberal students, this election felt, at best, as a defensive move, protecting a Congress they don’t like that much.”

That cost Democrats Senate and House seats across the country. And the down-ballot losses were even more significant, as close contests for legislative and local races tipped to the Republicans after young people failed to show.

One can understand being disappointed that as an idealistic voter – student, white male, union worker, mother, environmentalist, or whatever, that one does not get everything on their wish list after the election. In that case one can choose to not vote and make your wish list even more difficult to achieve as happened in 2010 or you look at the choices and decide what action should I take to get even a centimeter closer to my goals. Just one historical example. The 19th Amendment, passed in 1920, which gave women the right to vote was a product of the suffrage movement. You know when the suffrage movement started? In the 1850s. It took them 70 years to achieve this fundamental progress. Let’s say your disappointed with Obama for not closing GITMO. That is a reasonable objection to this administration’s national security policy. There is no reason why most of those prisoners cannot be given trials and the conceited kept in the same maximum security prisons that we keep America’s most dangerous criminals. We might have been able to make that happen if Democrats had kept the House in 2010. Romney will certainly not close GITMO or stop using drones or whatever other issues the center-left has with Obama. That still leaves a dozen hugely important issues on the table along with a few hundred less urgent, but meaningful ones that Democrats could pass in Congress and Obama would gladly sign into law. A Romney presidency, with Democrats holding the Senate would mean that maybe Harry Reid (d_NV) could hold the line of the very worse of the radical Romney agenda, but watch progress – like health care and financial reform be chipped away. While Democrats will likely hold the White House and the Senate we could have won it all. And we didn’t. Not because of the Koch brothers, Sheldon Adelson or Karl Rove and his billionaire PACs, but because we did not vote.

National Anti-Suffrage Association, 1911. The current iteration of the NAA is now commonly known as the Republican Party. Top 6 Lies Romney Has Told Women in an Election Season Full of Whoppers

2. Reproductive Freedom

Mitt’s plans for women at home are as cruel as those for their sisters abroad. Make no mistake: Romney will say whatever it takes to get elected, and then govern exactly as he pleases. In a Republican debate, he boasted of switching positions on a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy once he became governor of Massachusetts. He campaigned as pro-choice to secure votes, and then reversed himself in office to win conservative GOP support. In his own words [4]:

“I changed my mind as the governor. This didn’t just happen the last couple of weeks or the last year. This happened when I was governor the first time a bill came to my desk that related to life. I could not sign a bill that would take away human life. I came down on the side of life every single instance as governor of Massachusetts. I was awarded by the Massachusetts Citizens for Life with their leadership award for my record.”

For a mind-bending trip through Romney’s lies, switches and obfuscations on pregnancy termination, check out a video by Slate’s William Saletan [5].

Mitt has pledged [6]to defund Planned Parenthood, appoint only the most anti-women judges, and reverse Roe v. Wade. He has lately taken to pretending that he cares about contraception, a necessary part of women’s healthcare, and in the second presidential debate, he said he didn’t believe Washington bureaucrats or employers should tell a woman whether to use contraception. Don’t buy it. Mitt backs the Blunt Amendment [7], which would allow employers to refuse to cover things like – contraceptives.

Women have been fighting this battle for over a hundred years. They are not, despite what Rush Limbaugh or Mitt Romney thinks, three-fifths of a person.

Conservatives are already working to de-legtimize an Obama victory, Politico: Only White Voters Give a President a “Mandate”

Political reporters love the concept of political “mandates” even though political scientists are skeptical that mandates even exist. On Sunday, Politico’s Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen penned the latest entry in this genre, arguing that Barack Obama, if he wins, won’t have a mandate because he won’t have won a majority of white voters:

If President Barack Obama wins, he will be the popular choice of Hispanics, African-Americans, single women and highly educated urban whites. That’s what the polling has consistently shown in the final days of the campaign. It looks more likely than not that he will lose independents, and it’s possible he will get a lower percentage of white voters than George W. Bush got of Hispanic voters in 2000.

A broad mandate this is not.

This pseudo-Buchananite argument—that the white vote is important for symbolic and totemic purposes beyond the actual tally—is a favorite of the political press. At best, VandeHei and Allen are regurgitating the Republican argument that there are “real Americans” who vote Republican and then there is everyone else. The converse argument—that the Republican Party’s overwhelming reliance on white votes while the Democrats represent a broader cross-section of the country means that the GOP would lack a mandate—is rarely made. When VandeHei and Allen address the GOP’s growing demographic problem, it’s merely a matter of numbers and winning elections. They do not question whether a party whose supporters are 91 percent white would have a mandate to govern an increasingly diverse nation.

VandeHei and Allen’s delegitimization of nonwhite voters is reprehensible in and of itself, but it’s also historically illiterate. Race may affect perceptions of Barack Obama, but Democrats began having a white voter problem decades ago. In 1964, Johnson carried nonwhites by Barack Obama-like margins because his opponent Barry Goldwater, though not himself a racist, made common cause with white supremacists.

Johnson memorably declared after signing the 1964 Civil Rights Act that “we have lost the South for a generation,” which in hindsight was less prophetic than optimistic. Johnson’s prophecy, however, helps shed light on the details of the Democrats’ “white voter problem,” details that VandeHei and Allen ignore. When you look at the white working-class vote by region, for example, Democrats remain competitive everywhere but in the South, where they get crushed.

As an election year issue it is too late, but it is always interesting, or maybe maddening is the correct word, to contemplate my home, the South. White southerners have no problem at all with receiving government benefits – from new roads to a new fire station to Medicare and civil service pensions, hell red states are the biggest recipients of gov’mint larges. They just resent anyone getting them that does not pass their race and gender litmus test. When southern white folks collect food stamps it is because they really need them. When those ‘others’ collect them, they’re mooching. Democrats cannot crack this cognitive dissonance with charts and statistics because it is a deeply held belief imperious to facts.

Civil Rights Memorial, Montgomery, Alabama –  2010 February 19.The inscription reads, “…until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Fox News Poised To Manufacture Another Bogus New Black Panther Controversy

But Fox appears ready to go through the same cycle again, highlighting a reported member of the New Black Panther Party who reportedly showed up outside the doors of a polling station and was shown on video opening a door for someone going inside. Co-host Steve Doocy stated that “the organization claims they are monitoring the 2012 election, but some critics say that it looks like intimidation like in 2008.”

That intimidation that Doocy is so concerned about was one guy.

Map of Florida and West Indies1796 – Romneyism and The Plutocratic Model For America

Map of Florida and West Indies – 1796

This map was created by English mariner Captain Joseph Smith Speer. Note that U.S. territory is in green and does not include Florida or any territory west of the Mississippi.

Thomas Jefferson Banner 1800

The banner is one of the earliest known and preserved partisan political images. It shows Jefferson’s victory over John Adams in the presidential election of 1800. Flowing out from the eagle is a streamer in its beak that proclaims, “T. Jefferson President of the United States of America / John Adams is no more.”

Robert Reich’s closing argument against Mitt Romney, Romneyism

The ten guiding principles of Romneyism are:

1. Corporations are the basic units of society. Corporations are people, and the overriding purpose of an economy is to maximize corporate profits. When profits are maximized, the economy grows fastest. This growth benefits everyone in the form greater output, better products and services, and higher share prices.

2. Workers are a means to the goal of maximizing corporate profits. If workers do not contribute to that goal, they should be fired. If they cannot then find other work that helps maximize profits in another company, their wages must be too high, and they must therefore accept steadily lower wages until they find a job.

3. All factors of production – capital, physical plant and equipment, workers – are fungible and should be treated the same. Any that fail to deliver high competitive returns should be replaced or discarded. This keeps an economy efficient. Fairness is and should be irrelevant.

4. Pollution, unsafe products, unsafe working conditions, financial fraud, and other negative side effects of the pursuit of profits are the price society pays for profit-driven growth. They should not be used as excuses to constrain the pursuit of profits through regulation.

5. Individual worth depends on net worth — how much money one has made, and the value of the assets that money has been invested in. Any person with enough intelligence and ambition can make a fortune. Failure to do so is sign of moral and intellectual inferiority.

6. People who fail in the economy should not be coddled. They should not receive food stamps, Medicaid, or any other form of social subsidy. Coddling leads to a weaker society and a weaker economy.

I’m not crazy about some of the phrasing, but the major points are still good ones. While political junkies have known this for some time, this election has been notable for Republicans shouting from the roof tops their plantation master view of American workers. Human beings are reduced in the Republican view as mere means to the most profitable ends. Other values are either placed well down on the list, or disregarded almost entirely. There used to be a bumper sticker that was fairly popular back in the 90s that said those who die with the most toys wins. Conservatives took that bumper sticker as some kind of holy writ.

Conservative bureaucrats in Ohio as the energizer bunnies of voting rights infringement, Ohio’s Provisional Ballot Order: The Biggest Legal Story of the Weekend

The motion also is important for what it says these days about Husted and the way he is running the state’s elections. Leaving aside the provisional ballot court fight for a moment, Saturday’s early voting period was hectic, largely because Husted and his fellow Republicans succeeded this cycle in reducing the number of early-voting weekends from five to one. Indeed, they tried to eliminate all such early voting, which traditionally helps wage earners who can’t vote during regular business hours on weekdays, but were rejected in this effort by the federal courts.

This story from the NYT – Petraeus’s Quieter Style at C.I.A. Leaves Void on Libya Furor, is part of the inspiration for this report, News Outlets Held Back Detail Of Benghazi Attack At CIA’s Request

U.S. intelligence officials, speaking on a not-for-attribution basis, provided reporters Thursday with the most detailed explanation yet of the CIA’s presence in Benghazi, Libya, and the agency’s response to the Sept. 11, 2012, attack, while also identifying the two former Navy SEALs killed that night as being employed by the CIA.

But some news organizations, including the Associated Press, The New York Times and The Washington Post, already knew that the two former SEALs — Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty — were working for the CIA and had agreed not to publish the information at the government’s request.

Reports  or rather spin from Fox News and conservative pundits has portrayed the SEALS as just some guys who bravely helped out when President Obama or the military did not respond fast enough. It is an important element of the narrative that these guys were there working for the CIA and responding to such emergencies was part of their job. They’re still heroes, but not the accidental heroes taking up some slack Fox has tried to turn them into.

Noble prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz: “Romney’s Plan is Based on Magic”

What’s at stake in this election for the U.S. economy?

Quite a lot. First, there’s what we call the macro-economy. The budget cuts that Romney/Ryan propose will certainly slow growth. If the European downturn continues that could tip us into a recession. The cuts certainly won’t provide the kind of stimulus that Obama’s jobs bill, for instance, pushes. Romney’s plan is based on magic: Just because he gets elected, the economy is supposed to take off. There is no evidence that anything like that would happen. Quite the contrary — I think the opposite would happen. The business community would see the cutbacks coming and that would itself cause a slowdown in the economy.

So that’s the macroeconomy. Secondly, the Romney/Ryan budget promises to spend more on the military while cutting taxes and cutting the deficit, and that means only one thing. If you look at the arithmetic, it means less investment in infrastructure, R&D, education … it just can’t add up any other way. And that means we’ll be growing more slowly in the future.

The irony is that these two things — lower growth now and lower growth in the future — means that our debt-to-GDP ratio won’t improve, it will get worse. So even if you were foolish enough to think that the debt-to-GDP ratio is the main determinant of future prosperity — which it’s not — the Romney agenda will fail.

And although I don’t like what’s called “presidential economics,” where you look solely at what happens under a particular presidential regime, the fact is that Romney has many of the same economic advisers that Bush did. Those economic advisers essentially doubled the debt in eight years. And that was in a period of relatively high growth. Why would we think that wouldn’t happen again? I don’t see any reason for that. Particularly when the global environment is more adverse.

While most Americans agree with Stiglitz, Romney and conservatives see making America into a plutocracy as a virtuous goal rather than the end of democracy and genuine competitive capitalism.

Spruce Snow wallpaper – Yet Another Report Debunks Republican Tax Myths

Spruce Covered in Winter Snow wallpaper

 

One of conservatism’s most cherished myths is that the lower taxes are on the wealthy the more that trickles down to the middle-class and working poor. So any empirical data that shows Voodoo Economics Chapter 1, Verse 1, is false is offensive to the cult of conservatism. There will be no heresy on the subject. Republicans who have bathed in the waters of Trickle on America economics are not called heretics, though that is what they mean, they call them statists or socialists, or Glenn Beck calls them progressives as he hisses. So no wonder that Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and his senate Politburo tried to censor a report showing that Trickle on America tax policy just made the rich richer. Nonpartisan Tax Report Withdrawn After G.O.P. Protest

The Congressional Research Service has withdrawn an economic report that found no correlation between top tax rates and economic growth, a central tenet of conservative economic theory, after Senate Republicans raised concerns about the paper’s findings and wording. ( link is a pdf of report. It may not last long)

The decision, made in late September against the advice of the agency’s economic team leadership, drew almost no notice at the time. Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, cited the study a week and a half after it was withdrawn in a speech on tax policy at the National Press Club.

But it could actually draw new attention to the report, which questions the premise that lowering the top marginal tax rate stimulates economic growth and job creation.

“This has hues of a banana republic,” Mr. Schumer said. “They didn’t like a report, and instead of rebutting it, they had them take it down.”

Republicans did not say whether they had asked the research service, a nonpartisan arm of the Library of Congress, to take the report out of circulation, but they were clear that they protested its tone and findings.

Mad Dog McConnell, after throwing a temper tantrum has claimed the CRS withdrew the report all on its own. Which is like the sidewalk madman that screams in your face and your walking to the other side of the street was strictly a voluntary act on your part. Why The GOP Muzzled The Library of Congress’s Research Agency

The withdrawal is, nonetheless, outrageous. McConnell spokesman Don Stewart told the Times that the CRS report wasn’t just criticized by Republican senators; it was also criticized by what the Times (in a paraphrase) calls “people outside of Congress.” I wish the Times had taken the opportunity to say who these “people outside of Congress” are. You can probably guess. There’s the conservative Heritage Foundation. And there’s the Tax Foundation, a conservative nonprofit (not to be confused with the Tax Policy Center, which is non-ideological and nonpartisan but has nonetheless been vilified by the right for pointing out that Mitt Romney’s proposed tax cut benefited the rich at the expense of the middle class). The author of the CRS study, Thomas Hungerford, has written many excellent studies on themes directly or indirectly related to income distribution, and that’s made him a conservative target for some time. This past April, Kevin Hassett of the conservative American Enterprise Institute (a prominent income-inequality denialist and Romney adviser doomed never to live down his co-authorship, shortly before the dot-com bust, of a book titled Dow 36,000) testified before Congress’s  Joint Economic Committee that a different Hungerford report was “radically at odds with the literature. I relish academic debate, and think that authors serve a valuable service when they challenge research. But a CRS report that is supposed to inform about the consensus of the literature that veers so far from that activity is a disservice to Congress, and the taxpayers.” When Hassett cites “the literature” he means “the literature acceptable to AEI hacks and their Republican allies in Congress,” or what Jacob Weisberg has felicitously labelled “the Conintern.”

What’s the matter with the CRS report? Well, it calls the Bush tax cuts “the Bush tax cuts,” which is somehow deemed partisan but in fact is merely explanatory. The Bush tax cuts were tax cuts passed when George W. Bush was president. Bush proposed them, pushed them through Congress, and signed them into law. Even Republicans call the Bush tax cuts “the Bush tax cuts.” The CRS report also stands accused of making reference to “tax cuts for the rich.” This is unacceptably hurtful, I suppose, to a group that any sensitive person would know to call the “special-incomed.” As it happens, though, my PDF search of the CRS report reveals that nowhere does the phrase “tax cuts for the rich” appear. The word “rich” does appear here and there, but always in a neutral context, such as, “Under both definitions of the top of the income distribution (i.e., the rich) the income shares were relatively stable until the late 1970s and then started to rise.”

As Timothy Noah notes there is really no shocking news in the report. It is simply another report in a long history of reports that show the top tax rates for the top 1% have steadily declined over the past five decades – under Democrats and conservatives. Despite those ever lower tax rates, there has been no real benefit to the country in terms of improved or better maintained infrastructure, better education, lower post secondary education costs, a bigger space program, or more investment in technology or scientific research – or narrowing the wage inequality gap. In all these areas of public policy, thus national progress, we have fallen behind. Conservatives decided in 2008 that they really really cared about the deficit. If that were true they would have paid for their spending from 2000 to 2008. Currently they would tap into new revenue streams – like having a minimum tax for millionaires and rising the capital gains tax to 30%. Instead they use some math that would shame a 6th grader, propose gutting Medicare and rising the age for Social Security again ( even though the only people living appreciably longer are the wealthy, not the working class Americans who really need those programs they have invested in over the course of their working life). Sites like World Nut Daily and of course Fox News display big headlines about the billions spent on Medicare. Just the sticker shock is supposed to scare people. What should scare people is America’s seniors and disabled living off baloney and Romain noodles, not being able to afford their meds.

Romney’s Tax Secrecy: Did He Get Away With It? The short answer is yes because most of the media gets tried of a story and likes to move on.

3. Did Romney really get away with something? On one level, the answer clearly seems to be yes: Romney has managed to get through an entire campaign for president without having to give up the basic information his predecessors did, information that could have been seriously damaging to his prospects, and now finds himself a lucky break or two from the White House. But the strategists are quick to argue that this elusiveness came at a cost. Romney’s secretiveness about his taxes, they say, was a major element of the unflattering frame the Obama campaign managed to construct around him for most of the campaign, of a self-interested plutocrat who was not to be trusted. “He paid a price,” Jordan said. “When these issues were front and center, as he was becoming known to the American public, this oddness, this secrecy, this penchant did help to shape his image in significant ways….The image of him as being secretive and behaving in sort of unprecedentedly plutocratic ways has sunk in.” Again, Devine agrees. “He’s gotten away with it, but it’s hurt him,” he said. He noted that Obama’s stubborn polling lead in Ohio is almost surely due in part to effective attacks over on the summer on Bain Capital and the few things that have emerged about Romney’s taxes, including his accounts in the Cayman Islands and Switzerland, which were so memorably targeted in this ad. “In terms of getting away with it,” concludes Devine,“it’s only something can get away with if…you’ve won the election.”

Let’s envision this imaginary Democratic candidate: he dodged the draft ( well, got deferments for some thin reasons), used leveraged buyouts to cut American jobs and outsource them, used government tax breaks and loans to make himself wealthy, told everyone he was a self-made entrepreneur, kept money in multiple offshore banks, used some very creative accounting to have an IRA account worth over million, set up his own charity to which he donated and took the tax deductions, told 533 documented lies in 30 days. That Democrat would have been bulldozed and buried by the conservative media a year ago. His decaying corpse would be getting nada in the polls. Yet, here we have a Republican with just that record and he is at least competitive. Romentum seems to be largely a construct of the Romney campaign, echoed by the right-wing noise machine. He is actually trying to buy the election in Pennsylvania with a media blitz. Ditto for Ohio. He has lost ground in Virginia and Florida. The noise machines’ answer to all of this is to try to tie President Obama to some kind of negligence in regards the terrorist attacks in Libya. The picture is messy, but the evidence suggests that is probably largely due to the CIA letting out new information in bits and pieces, C.I.A. Played Major Role Fighting Militants in Libya Attack

Security officers from the C.I.A. played a pivotal role in combating militants who attacked the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, deploying a rescue party from a secret base in the city, sending reinforcements from Tripoli, and organizing an armed Libyan military convoy to escort the surviving Americans to hastily chartered planes that whisked them out of the country, senior intelligence officials said Thursday.

The account given by the senior officials, who did not want to be identified, provided the most detailed description to date of the C.I.A.’s role in Benghazi, a covert presence that appears to have been much more significant than publicly disclosed.

Within 25 minutes of being alerted to the attack against the diplomatic mission, half a dozen C.I.A. officers raced there from their base about a mile away, enlisting the help of a handful of Libyan militia fighters as they went. Arriving at the mission about 25 minutes after that, the C.I.A. officers joined State Department security agents in a futile search through heavy smoke and enemy fire for Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens before evacuating the mission’s personnel to the apparent safety of their base, which American officials have called an annex to the mission. Mr. Stevens was one of four Americans killed in the attack.

The entire episode was over in no more than eight hours. The deaths seemed to have taken place within the first hour- the first wave of the attack. So conservatives who want to drop all of this in Obama’s lap have two expectations of the readers they want to buy into their account: that Obama is Superman and did not use his super powers to squash the attack immediately or he is an incompetent commander-in-chief. This is from the same people who thought that George W. Bush was a great leader when he landed on an aircraft carrier and declared ‘mission accomplished’ after which over 4000 Americans died in a needless war. It is not that conservative propagandists are wrong about Libya – and pumping it into a scandal (Hidden Tapes & Secret Emails: Right Wing Now Throwing Kitchen Sink At Obama On Benghazi, Libya) directly connected to the White House, it is about the credibility of conservative pundits and pols who have a cowardly brazen record of shoving disinformation down America’s throat. Four Star General debunks claims of Obama lies and dereliction in Benghazi-gate

The Benghazi arm chair generals on Fox News like Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly cannot be too happy today with the comments made by retired Four-Star General Jack Keane yesterday regarding “Benghazi-gate” and the laying of blame on President Obama. Being interviewed by Geraldo Rivera of Fox News, General Jack Keane basically debunked the theory that more could have been done to conduct a timely rescue mission at the U.S. consulate in Libya or that the President somehow screwed up or was incompetent. Here are some of the General’s direct quotes:

“The consulate was stormed”.
“There was no gunships in the region”.
“There was nothing that could have prevented it”.
“It was over in about an hour”.
“Forces got there as soon as possible”.
“To politicize this is very hurtful”.

General Keane is already catching a lot of flack and criticism from those on the right and the Romney supporters for his comments. Even for the Obama-haters it is disrespectful and despicable to call an experienced Four Star General a liar who is covering for the White House and the Commander in Chief a liar and a coward. It’s rather ironic for those who would politicize this tragedy to call the President a coward, when it was Mitt Romney who was the draft dodger – ahem! a draft deferment- while his peers were getting shot and killed in Vietnam.

There does seem to be some push back between the Sate Department and the CIA. I’ve ready some theories about this and let’s just say they’re armchair theories for now. Most of us know how Washington works. If you’re completely honest you’ll get buried. If you let out more than one version of a story, varying just a word or two, you’ll be nailed for the biggest cover-up since Watergate. I would like The Daily Beast to survive as a media outlet, but they’re doomed if they think this piece by Eli Lake ( who used to work for the conservative rag The Washington Times) is news, Two U.S. officials tell Eli Lake the State Dept. never requested military backup the night of the attack.

The only security backup that did arrive that evening were former special-operations soldiers under the command of the CIA—one from the nearby annex and another Quick Reaction Force from Tripoli. On Friday, Fox News reported that requests from CIA officers for air support on the evening of the attacks were rejected. (The Daily Beast was not able to confirm that those requests were made, though no U.S. official contacted for this story directly refuted the claim either.)

Lake resorts to the theory or pure conjecture that military assistance would have stopped the last part of the attack – which was the mortar attack that killed a SEAL  ( who might have been there working for the CIA). That sounds like a discussion you could have over beers at the kitchen table and everyone puts in their two cents worth. We’re all entitled to our little theories and what if’s. that is not the same thing as fact based reporting. Think back to the initial breaking of the story. In that flurry of media reports we were all told there was no military response. We were likely told that because the CIA did not want anyone to know they were there. That leaves gaps for the Republican keyboard commandos to drive a truck through.