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:


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.

Black and White Manhattan Pier wallpaper, Water Drops on Green wallpaper II

Black and White Manhattan Pier wallpaper. Another black and white pier here and here.

Water Drops on Green wallpaper II

According to the polls anyway America has or is about to be tricked by one the sloppiest, dumbest and self defeating political tricks of all time. The economy sucks. What is responsible? The the Recovery Act ( known as the stimulus) and  ObamaCare (The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). I could and have, as have thousands of others cited the numbers and it does not seem to matter. That is something of a tradition with Republicans, It was their polices and lack of regulatory enforcement that crashed the economy. Rad back on political history to the Reagan years and there are some things about which we can all rely. The boneheaded refusal of conservatives to be accountable or admit the basic foundations of their crony corrupt brand of capitalism will always lead to the same disastrous results. In the 50s we had the Reagan and Bush 41 recession. The Big Dog cleaned up much of that mess and left Bush 43 with a surplus. Trashing the economy doesn’t matter to Republicans. As a matter of fact history teaches us the more they trash the economy the closer they get to drowning the social safety net, financial regulation and environmental laws. The Recovery Act and PPACA  are an assault on their legacy of sinking the ship of common good. The Recovery Act was only required because like thieves with a credit card they went out on a wild and unpaid for shopping spree. They left the bill plus interests for others to pay for. Mom and pop paid for it by losing their jobs or house or both. Democrats paid for it in political perceptions. The largely astroturf tea baggers suddenly emerged from the sound and reality proof booth in which they lived for eight years and demanded all the problems they and their leaders created be fixed and right now dammit. Probably too late for this election cycle but Democrats are in fact making headway on paying off those wildly irresponsible credit card charges left by the unaccountable thieves conservatives. While there are some murky future events that may affect the final tally Democrats are paying off Bush’s TARP – Wall Street Bailout Returns 8.2% Profit Beating Treasury Bonds

The U.S. government’s bailout of financial firms through the Troubled Asset Relief Program provided taxpayers with higher returns than yields paid on 30- year Treasury bonds — enough money to fund the Securities and Exchange Commission for the next two decades.

The government has earned $25.2 billion on its investment of $309 billion in banks and insurance companies, an 8.2 percent return over two years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That beat U.S. Treasuries, high-yield savings accounts, money- market funds and certificates of deposit.

In between recovering those TARP funds or at least being on the road to recovering them Democrats gave America one of the biggest tax cuts for the middle-class in generations – From Obama, the Tax Cut Nobody Heard Of. Got to love one Republicans deeply cynical response – he did not notice because his state taxes went up. Since he didn’t know he got a federal income tax cut is there any reason to believe he is any more up to date on his actual state taxes. One gets the feeling these Fox watching, right-wing radio listening, Rush Limbaugh lap dogs have never fact checked a single thing conservative gutter snipes have ever told him. Another big disappointment to the media selling the Republican resurgence narrative and the credit abusing tea bagger deficit peacocks – Pop The Cork? The Biggest Deficit Reduction In U.S. History Occurred From 2009 to 2010

In previous years we would have been breaking out the champagne on this news: The monthly budget review released yesterday by the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the federal budget deficit fell by $125 billion from 2009 to 2010.  This by far is the biggest one-year nominal drop in the deficit that has ever occurred.

There were two primary reasons there was no cheering yesterday.

First, it’s not at all clear that reducing the deficit was the correct fiscal policy given the slow growth in the U.S. economy.

Darth Cheney once famously said the deficits don’t matter. Under hsi breath he likely continued – except when there is a Democrat in the Whitehouse. That is a fact of life in the U.S. Republicans can steal and cheat the country out of more money than an army of bank robbers and the most we’ll here from conservatives is some hand wringing about the future. A Democrat inherits those debts plus interests and it’s the end of the world as we know it. Republicans have hit upon the secret no one knows. The country in not really in the dumper because of the Bush era toga party it is in dire straights because of ObamaCare. There is a little problem with that scenario. Without ObamaCare – which parts of kick in every year until 2015 – will actually reduce the long term deficit

$1.2 trillion of $1.4 trillion deficit was already projected before Bush left office. The CBO projected on January 7, 2009, that, including spending authorized under the Bush administration for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and government takeovers of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the deficit that year would total $1.2 trillion. According to the CBO, the actual FY 2009 deficit was $1.4 trillion.

[   ]…CBO has consistently said that health care reform law will reduce deficit by $143 billion over next ten years, and by more in second decade. The CBO determined in March that the two health care bills signed into law that month “would produce a net reduction in federal deficits of $143 billion over the 2010-2019 period.” The CBO estimated a further reduction in the second decade after enactment “with a total effect during that decade in a broad range around one-half percent of GDP.”

Because unemployment remains so high all these achievements become just so much background noise. There is no Democratic Fox news to explain how saving the financial sector, recouping TARP, paying down the deficit and health care reform is setting up the economy for a full recovery down the road. At which time you can fully expect for conservatives to take credit for Democratic achievements.

Wisconsin senatorial candidate Ron Johnson is a perfect example of the current political atmosphere. He has no answers. Any wonks sitting down with this guy to have a solid discussion of public policy as it relates to taxes, economic growth, job creation, education, national security or the environment and green technology would soon be heading to the door over come with toxic fumes of pure mediocrity – Wisconsin Republican Senate hopeful Ron Johnson Freezes When Asked For His Plan To Help Middle Class

Wisconsin Republican Senate hopeful Ron Johnson had a deer-in-headlights moment in a recent interview with the Green Bay Press Gazette.

Asked to explain his jobs plan, Johnson banged away at the GOP mantra: cutting spending, regulation, etc. That didn’t satisfy the editors.

“There’s no real jobs plan?” one interviewer asked.

“I would say bring fiscal discipline to the federal government,” Johnson replied. “We’ve got to curb spending.”

That didn’t satisfy his interviewers.

“So your jobs plan is to control spending. But what about the middle class?” the editor responded. “I mean, I hear you talking a lot about business, businesses. But I mean, what is your plan for the middle class?”

“We have to get the economy moving,” Johnson said, frozen.

“Isn’t that pretty simple though what you’re saying is just, you know, elect me, to go there and cut spending and everything will take care of itself.”

[   ]…the Press-Gazette endorses Feingold, citing Johnson’s “inability” to articulate plan to help the middle class

This election cycle is not much different then most, but it seems to have an edge in the number of conservatives who don’t even pretend to have answers. Congress is not or should not be a kindergarten training center for look at me I wannabe an important Republican and policy maker. You can’t make good policy without substance.


stunning ethical breach that cries out for an immediate investigation

If you don’t let me stay up all night and watch TV I’ll hold my breath until I die. If you don’t let me eat all the cake I want I’ll never clean my room again. If you don’t let me torture when, where and how I see fit you’re all going to die. All equally absurd and childish statements, but that is where we are as a nation. Bush to Veto Bill Banning Waterboarding

The White House says President Bush will veto legislation on Saturday that would have barred the CIA from using waterboarding — a technique that simulates drowning — and other harsh interrogation methods on terror suspects.

Bush has said the bill would harm the government’s ability to prevent future attacks. Supporters of the legislation argue that it preserves the United States’ right to collect critical intelligence while boosting the country’s moral standing abroad.

The Whitehouse reply is like the kid on the verge of a temper tantrum because there is the possibility that someone might put boundaries on their behavior – “”The bill would take away one of the most valuable tools on the war on terror, the CIA program to detain and question key terrorist leaders and operatives,”. It would do no such thing, but when has respect for that long lost quality of character called honesty ever stopped the Bush Whitehouse from babbling lies like there was a shortage and they were doing their best to make up for the lack of lies in our political discourse. What does this bill do, it simply limits the CIA’s interrogation techniques to those spelled out in the Army Field manual; the procedures of which no one has suggested be changed. In other words limits that are good enough for our military, but lack for Bush’s vision of what the CIA should be. A vision that has an eerie similarity to the old Soviet KGB.

We’re not big on history in America, not really. Unka Karl Rove was right about two observations he made ( though he was not the first), the general public has a memory that is about two weeks long and it didn’t happen if it wasn’t on TV. Since the old communist Soviet Union broke up officially in 1991 some may not remember that it was the ultimate surveillance state. Since America’s Conservatives tend to think that the surveillance state is the best answer to keeping America safe one assumes that they look back on the old USSR with some nostalgia. As is usually the case with Conservatives and the remembrance of things past the old USSR was hardly a great place to live, it was not safe as much as it was oppressive. Yet while the USSR was a great example of how not to govern its people the Right is trying its damndest, with little resistance from Democrats to bring Soviet style oppressive surveillance to America,  The Banality of the Surveillance State

As Congress debates new rules for government eavesdropping, a top intelligence official says it is time that people in the United States changed their definition of privacy.
Privacy no longer can mean anonymity, says Donald Kerr, the principal deputy director of national intelligence. Instead, it should mean that government and businesses properly safeguard people’s private communications and financial information. . . .

“Anonymity has been important since the Federalist Papers were written under pseudonyms,” [EFF Senior Staff Lawyer Kurt] Opsahl said. “The government has tremendous power: the police power, the ability to arrest, to detain, to take away rights. Tying together that someone has spoken out on an issue with their identity is a far more dangerous thing if it is the government that is trying to tie it together.”

“There is something fundamentally different from the government having information about you than private parties,” he said. “We shouldn’t have to give people the choice between taking advantage of modern communication tools and sacrificing their privacy. It’s just another ‘trust us, we’re the government,” he said.

The Bush administration announces that we better change our definition of “privacy” — no more anonymity from our own government. That seems like a significant announcement, and it thus received no attention. I wonder if a single television news or cable show mentioned it.

Equally significant: the administration says that we have no chance of keeping information about what we do from the Government, and instead, our only hope is that oversight and safeguards prevent abuse. That’s the same administration which then demands that Congress provide it more and more spying powers without oversight or safeguards, and the Congress continuously complies. By their own premises, there are no safeguards against abuse of the virtually limitless reach of the Surveillance State.

What can I say Glenn, as Unka Karl said it wasn’t on the TeeVee so it don’t count. Even if it was Wolfe Blitzer would probably give twenty minutes to a Whitehouse sycophant to explain that we’d all better start shopping for coffins if we don’t just “trust” the government to do whatever it wants to protect us from a guy that lives in caves and moves like a ghost.

“stunning ethical breach that cries out for an immediate investigation.” ~ Congressman John Conyers on Karl Rove-John Ashcroft conversations about covert CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson

Blue World wallpaper 

Colorado Autumn wallpaper

Colorado Autumn wallpaper 

Congradulations to Senator Dodd, DODD BEATS BACK BUSH SPYING BILL…

After waging an all-out battle against the Bush administration and leaders of his own party, Senator Chris Dodd achieved a legislative victory on Monday, halting President Bush’s attempt to rush a Senate vote on a bill granting retroative amnesty to companies accused of illegally spying on American citizens.

“Today we have scored a victory for American civil liberties and sent a message to President Bush that we will not tolerate his abuse of power and veil of secrecy,” Dodd said in a statement distributed by his presidential campaign. “The President should not be above the rule of law, nor should the telecom companies who supported his quest to spy on American citizens,” he added.

The Nation adds that it was also a victory for the netroots. It is amazing what can be accomplished when our elected officials act in concert with the people that elected them. I hope that Senator Reid and Speaker Pelosi take the next few weeks to think that over. That the people do not want, nor is capitulation to Bush’s policies good for America and the rule of law.

Only by attracting the best people will you accomplish great deeds

First John McCain was tortured while a POW in Vietnam and now Joe Lieberman gives McCain his endorsement. Wacky Joe doesn’t think that McCain has suffered enough,  McCain who has already suffered so much in this life

Does this mean anything? Only if it’s an admission that he sees the writing on the wall of  potential Republican wipe-out in 2008 where Democrats will no longer feel the need to tolerate his presence.

The Carpetbagger reminds everyone that Joe’s word is gospel,

I want Democrats to be back in the majority in Washington and elect a Democratic president in 2008. This man and his supporters will frustrate and defeat our hopes of doing that.” (Joe Lieberman in July of 2007)

It’s filibuster day, A Lonely Filibuster

    The latest word from the Dodd camp regarding what will happen on the FISA bill is that tomorrow, Dodd will take the floor and not yield.

He can take “questions” from other senators during the filibuster, which can be no more than 20 minutes. We understand that Kennedy and Feingold so far have agreed to do this.

Dodd has been forced to take this unusual step because Harry Reid chose to introduce the intelligence Committee version of the bill (which grants retroactive immunity to the telecom companies) instead of the Judiciary Committee version (which doesn’t).

I almost wish I hadn’t gone over to TAL he already wrote my commentary and better then I could express it. Just a few months ago many of us were high on the new Democratic majority in Congress and a technical majority in the Senate, but the reality of  Democratic acquiescence to Bush’s agenda has reared its ugly head one too many times. Sure a weak kneed Democrat is still better for domectic policy then the best Republican, but domestic goals can’t be accomplished when the purse strings and rule of law are so intimately attached to our foreign policy. You can’t fix bridges or build schools and give student loans to our future engineers and scientists if hundreds of billions of dollars are going down the  bottomless pit that is the ill defined war on terror. We can’t have a moral direction as a country if the Senate is willing to let the rule of law be crippled by a president that seems singularly incapable of making decisions that are in the best interests of the republic. I wish Senator Dodd luck, he’ll need it.

Nobel laureate, Joseph E. Stiglitz writing at Vanity Fair, The Economic Consequences of Mr. Bush 

I can hear an irritated counterthrust already. The president has not driven the United States into a recession during his almost seven years in office. Unemployment stands at a respectable 4.6 percent. Well, fine. But the other side of the ledger groans with distress: a tax code that has become hideously biased in favor of the rich; a national debt that will probably have grown 70 percent by the time this president leaves Washington; a swelling cascade of mortgage defaults; a record near-$850 billion trade
deficit; oil prices that are higher than they have ever been; and a dollar so weak that or an American to buy a cup of coffee in London or Paris—or even the Yukon—becomes a venture in high finance.

And it gets worse. After almost seven years of this president, the United States is less prepared than ever to face the future. We have not been educating enough engineers and scientists, people with the skills we will need to compete with China and India. We have not been investing in the kinds of basic research that made us the technological powerhouse of the late 20th century. And although the president now understands—or so he says—that we must begin to wean ourselves from oil and coal, we have on his watch become more deeply dependent on both.

[ ]..The administration crows that the economy grew—by some 16 percent—during its first six years, but the growth helped mainly people who had no need of any help, and failed to help those who need plenty. A rising tide lifted all yachts. Inequality is now widening in America, and at a rate not seen in three-quarters of a century. A young male in his 30s today has an income, adjusted for inflation, that is 12 percent less than what his father was making 30 years ago. Some 5.3 million more Americans are living in poverty now than were living in poverty when Bush became president. America’s class structure may not have arrived there yet, but it’s heading in the direction of Brazil’s and Mexico’s.

The Bankruptcy Boom

In breathtaking disregard for the most basic rules of fiscal propriety, the administration continued to cut taxes even as it undertook expensive new spending programs and embarked in a financially ruinous “war of choice” in Iraq. A budget surplus of 2.4 percent of gross domestic product (G.D.P.), which greeted Bush as he took office, turned into a deficit of 3.6 percent in the space of four years. The United States had not experienced a turnaround of this magnitude since the global crisis of World War II.

Alan Greenspan, hardly a raving liberal partisan thinks we’re headed for a recession.

Republicans keep saying, like parrots actually that we have to compete in a global maket. How are we going to do that without engineers.

If you’re income, the middle and working classes income hasn’t grown in six years then the person and party (Republican) that is directing the economy obviously doesn’t know what they’re doing or they’re snake oil salesmen, or a little of both.

Republicans are for small government and I think I just saw E.T. wiz by. They’ve spent like the bills they were racking up were going to be paid by someone else and they were right. They’re going to be paid by you and your grandchildren. I agree that sometimes Democrats throw money at problems, but thats not a bad thing if you can hit the target; Republicans can only see as far as their rich friends.

“Organization doesn’t really accomplish anything. Plans don’t accomplish anything, either. Theories of management don’t much matter. Endeavors succeed or fail because of the people involved. Only by attracting the best people will you accomplish great deeds.” ~ Colin Powell. If only the general and his party would have lived up to those words.

Attorney General sells out and Bush blocks justice once again

Attorney General Michael Mukasey has decided to make being a doublespeak political appointee a priority over his sworn duty to upheld the law, AG denies details in CIA tapes inquiry

Democratic and Republican lawmakers alike angrily denounced Mukasey’s refusal, which they said blocks congressional oversight of the Justice Department.

Additionally, lawmakers from both parties accused the Justice Department of obstructing a House Intelligence Committee inquiry by advising the CIA against cooperating.

“Earlier today, our staff was notified that the Department of Justice has advised CIA not cooperate with our investigation,” House Intelligence Chairman Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, and the panel’s top Republican, Rep. Pete Hoekstra of Michigan, said in a joint statement Friday.

Congress can in Mukasey’s view have all the oversight committees they like, but they are not to be allowed to do any actual oversight in their capacity as a co-equal branch of government. If we do end up with a Democrat in the Whitehouse in 2008 the question be not be whether these same supporters of extraordinary executive branch powers will do a 180, but how fast.

In a letter Thursday to CIA Director Michael Hayden, the House panel had asked the CIA to hand over by Friday all documents and cables regarding the interrogation tapes and their destruction. Based on the Bush administration’s response Friday, it appeared likely the administration also would block testimony by acting CIA General Counsel John Rizzo and Jose Rodriguez, the former head of the National Clandestine Service. Both have been summoned to testify to the committee on Dec. 18. Rodriguez ordered the tapes destroyed.

What would Bush have to gain and what is he hiding by blocking testimony from one the most compelling witnesses. Dumb rhetorical question, since we all know that you don’t block testimony unless you’re hiding something. Scooter Libby didn’t get up one morning and lie about what he knew about Whitehouse leaks in regard to revealing a NOC agent’s identity. He lied to protect his buddies. Mukasey is playing his end to protect the Whitehouse as the clock ticks away on their term and the Whitehouse is doing their part by claiming to have rights and privledges that they have invented out of thin air.

It pains me to be critical of Senator Harry Reid, but what the hell is he thinking, Notes from the global war on terror 

Senator Harry Reid, the majority leader, seems intent on doing the president’s bidding. He has indicated that instead of the Judiciary Committee’s bill, he may put on the floor a deeply flawed measure from the Senate Intelligence Committee that dangerously expands the government’s powers and gives undeserved amnesty to the telecommunications companies. The White House says amnesty is intended to ensure future cooperation but seems truly aimed at making sure the public never learns the extent of the companies’ involvement in illegal wiretapping.

More here, Stop the FISA sellout 

More to the point, if the Senators don’t know for a fact that your rights have not been violated, then why are they proceeding with this bill? Shouldn’t they wait to act until after they have gotten full information about the nature of the abuses? Why the rush to legalize those abuses?

It is that Beltway mentality at work. That small nugget of truth in the bromide about there not being much difference between Conservatives and Democrats. They get elected, they all become friends, adopt the club’s mentality and look out for each other when one gets in trouble. It is mostly a one way street though with Democrats always so willing to just let things go so we can supposedly move on to more pressing issues. Republicans didn’t think that way about Iran-Contra, going after Bill Clinton like rabid dogs, or lying us into the Iraq tar pit. Senator Reid is goofy if he thinks all this forgiving and forgetting is ever going to be reciprocated.

The RNC’s Spin All Silhouettes and Shadows

Virginia is a state that is moving from purple to blue. It has been a bumpy ride, but that trend shows no sign of slowing up for the foreseeable future. In the world of politics it is an important state for many reasons. For one, many if not most of our federal elected officials, their staff and career bureaucrats live in the home state of our first four presidents. With all respects to Philadelphia, the principles and ideas on which the nation was founded were born in the state of Virginia. The symbolic significance of which is immeasurable. Republicans are rightly upset that they can’t turn that trend around, but lying about their political victories or lack of is hardly a way to win back the confidence of the people, RNC Responds to Elections

Republicans in Virginia retained control of the Virginia House of Delegates despite the best efforts of Governor Tim Kaine and an enormous spending advantage by the state Democrat establishment.

Spin is what Republicans do when the truth isn’t useful on any particular day, Kaine Hails ‘Balance’ in New Political Landscape

RICHMOND, Nov. 7 — A day after the Democrats took control of the Virginia Senate and gained seats in the House, Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) said he now has “some friends” in the General Assembly and has achieved his goal of bringing “more balance” to a political landscape that was dominated by Republicans just six years ago.

The governor said he hoped the change will mean that the parts of his agenda that stalled during his first two years in office might advance in his last two. He listed additional investments in education, mental health and environmental protection as programs that might move forward.

So to translate “Republicans in Virginia retained control of the Virginia House of Delegates” means ignore the fact that Democrats picked up three seats. And Democrats gained control of the Commonwealth’s Senate. If Republicans are going to spin they might want to take some lessons from Sen. John W. Warner (R),

“The Republican Party of Virginia has drifted from the time-honored principle of the big tent,” he said in a statement last night. “In my judgment, yesterday’s election results demonstrate that Virginia voters value greatly political leaders who are willing to reach reasonable solutions and tackle big issues ranging from the budget to immigration to the environment and transportation.”

At least Warner’s statement has some tiny grain of truth in it. The fact is that Virginia Republicans politicians have, whenever given the chance run the state much like Bush has run Iraq. They’ve run the gamut from corrupt to lazy to inept to deeply weird,

…Republican Sen. D. Nick Rerras (R), who was criticized for once tying mental illness to demonic possession.

…Republican Patricia B. “Tricia” Stall, who once advocated for an end to government involvement in education.

Tricia, much like Karl Rove knows that an ignorant population is one that is the easier to manipulate.

Remember when Faux Fox News made the Republican Congressman Mark Foley, who had a penchant for coming on to teenage Congressional pages into a Democrat. Then the Associated Press did it too – First on Fox, Then on AP! Although At Lleast AP Had the Decency to Issue a Correction! . Maybe one’s politics is organic if I had to spin 24/7 I’d be nauseous, but it doesn’t seem to bother the RNC or Fox at all.

Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind

This interview at Science Progress touches on answering critics that fail to see what climate change has to do with the Nobel Prize for Peace, The IPCC and Gore: Another Nobel for Science An Interview With Joseph Romm On the Impact of the Prize

The Vice President and many others have said that climate change is a security issue because it will create millions of environmental refugees and will lead to water scarcity that can cause conflict. Conflicts like those in Darfur have environmental roots and need environmental solutions, along with political and economic solutions.

Gore is trying to prevent a humanitarian crisis; he is trying to prevent regional wars that will be driven by resource scarcity. This isn’t the first time that a major environmental issue has won the peace prize. Winning this Prize proves this isn’t an ordinary environmental issue. It is one of the most important issues of our time.

Even amateurs historians know that many crisises and rebellions have been driven by humanities most basic needs , food and clean water. Lack of those resources drive people to do desperate things and seek desperate solutions. Global warming will precipitate crisis of scarcity and the drastic behavior that follows. Global Warming Expert Fears ‘Refugee Crisis’

Schwartz, who heads the Global Business Network, directed the new study, “Impacts of Climate Change,” commissioned for the U.S. defense and intelligence community.

He explained that some of the worst of upheavals feared from global warming are likely to arrive not in a slow and steady manner, but as sudden emergencies, because the temperatures themselves will not rise steadily.

Instead, the rise will be a series of spikes, and when temperatures spike in regions already stressed, the result will be disaster.

For example, said Schwartz, a record heat wave could hit an area already suffering from long-running drought.

“When you think of places like Bangladesh, Haiti, parts of Central America, where they already have over-stretched societies,” he said, “and they get hit with severe droughts or severe storms, they’re going to experience massive disruptions.”

We can always depend on the Right to be the best if unintentional satirists of their twisted hypocritical behavior, White House Embraces Right-Wing Blog That Called For ‘Destroying’ Graeme Frost (from a poster at RedState)

If federal funds were required [they] could die for all I care. Let the parents get second jobs, let their state foot the bill or let them seek help from private charities. […]

I would hire a team of PIs and find out exactly how much their parents made and where they spent every nickel. Then I’d do everything possible to destroy their lives with that info. (bold mine)

With the Restate rage in mind we go over to one Paul at the infamous Powerline, once Time magazine’s blog of the year – October 12, 2007, “Meanies,” “hypocrites,” and the infantilization of politics

The infantilization of American politics is nearly complete. Exhibit A is the Democrats’ use of a 12 year-old to give the party’s radio address. Exhibt B is much of what E.J. Dionne writes.

It would take folks as emotionally degenerate as Paul and Powerline to recognize infantilization when they see it. Paul isn’t above sticking to a fabrication especially if it makes a point,

The rest of Dionne’s “assault” on conservative bloggers — the part with the obligatory “hypocrisy” riff — is similarly lame. Those who looked into the situation of the Frost family noted that he attends private school, and that his family owned a business and owns a home that’s apparently worth lots of money. Dionne argues that pointing these things out was hypocritical because conservatives favor home ownership, school choice, and the entrepreneurial spirit, yet they “assail[ed]” the Frost families for “doing everything conservatives tell people they should do.”

Powerline ever so conveniently leaves out that Graeme goes to the private school on a scholarship and his medically disabled sister’s privates school is also paid for by the state. The Frost family bought that home when the neighborhood was in bad shape for 55 thousand bucks. Paul and the Right would have them sell their house and somehow find someone to sell them private insurance for pre-existing medical conditions and the entire family live in cardboard boxes in an alley. Powerline and their ideological clones at Redstate should just keep telling themselves that they are not the infantile ones. It is part and parcel of Wingnutville to see no truth, hear no truth and speak no truth. The Carpetbagger notes,

First, yes, many conservatives believe it’s great for public funds to finance private school tuition, but wrong for public funds to finance private healthcare plans. The difference is, these same conservatives don’t like public schools. Helping kids is irrelevant.

A commenter at TCB notes that Republicans are under the delusion that they are in all and every circumstance self sufficient. If they don’t need nutin from no’body why did we have tax cuts that favored the wealthiest Americans instead of people like the Frosts. Why was Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff in the business of pay for play. The only reason that Tom Delay’s K-Street existed was to shuffle more money back and forth between the wealthy and powerful and their Republicans puppets in Washington – one of Bush’s legacies will be the corporate gravy train express he and a Republican controlled Congress created. You don’t need pay for play if you’re a pinnacle of self sufficiency . Why didn’t Redstate think the Culture of Conservative Corruption and Hypocrisy should be “destroyed” rather then a struggling American family with disabled children. Where was Paul’s essay about the infantile hypocrisy of the Republican political machine that finaced both K-Street and the attacks on SCHIP.

Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind. ~ Albert Einstein