Who is to blame for the government shutdown and budget crisis

Some of the conservative movement’s greatest minds on the government shutdown and blame shifting,

Sean Hannity ( Rush Limbaugh Jr.): Calls Shutdown “The Worst Of The Worst” Then Urges GOP Not To Compromise and Asks “Who Wants This?”. Sean’s triple somersault and back-flip answered below.

Jeff Duncan (R), South Carolina: “I believe Obamacare has shut down America, so I’d rather shut down the government than continue doing what we’re doing, which is penalizing businesses and families in this country.” Well the ACA has been initiated in parts over the last four years. The parts the public has seen and used, they like it so far. If Jeff, one of the dumbest to ever serve in Congress, who owes his constituents a refund for the $179k he is getting from tax payers, going to repeal the part that let’s young adults up to age 26 stay on their parents insurance or is he going to repeal the part that says people with preexisting conditions can no longer get insurance. Or maybe it wants the 30 million families now getting a discount to start paying higher premiums.

Marlin Stutzman (R), Indiana: “We aren’t going to be disrespected. We have to get something out of this. And I don’t know what that even is.” Marlin had to hire a personal baby sitter to help him tie his shoes in the morning and clean his knuckles after a hard day of dragging them around. Marlin thinks American values come in a plastic bag in the freezer section at the local discount mart and he only buys them when they’re on sale.

There are plenty more, but we’ll end with Paul Broun(R), Georgia: “[The Democrats] need to look in the mirror, because they’re the ones to blame. They’re the ones that shut the government down.” We’ve all seen the TV shows and the movies where the hostage takers ask for ransom. Paul always blames the families for the death of the hostage because he feels very deeply, with great conviction, that if only the families would cooperate these kinds of tragedies would be averted. Hostage taker ( conservatives) are never to blame in Broun World. The people would voted for Broun subsidize his and his families health insurance, so they deserve to live in their circle of shameless hypocrisy.

Who is to blame? A Federal Budget Crisis Months in the Planning

Shortly after President Obama started his second term, a loose-knit coalition of conservative activists led by former Attorney General Edwin Meese III gathered in the capital to plot strategy. Their push to repeal Mr. Obama’s health care law was going nowhere, and they desperately needed a new plan.

Out of that session, held one morning in a location the members insist on keeping secret, came a little-noticed “blueprint to defunding Obamacare,” signed by Mr. Meese and leaders of more than three dozen conservative groups.

It articulated a take-no-prisoners legislative strategy that had long percolated in conservative circles: that Republicans could derail the health care overhaul if conservative lawmakers were willing to push fellow Republicans — including their cautious leaders — into cutting off financing for the entire federal government.

“We felt very strongly at the start of this year that the House needed to use the power of the purse,” said one coalition member, Michael A. Needham, who runs Heritage Action for America, the political arm of the Heritage Foundation. “At least at Heritage Action, we felt very strongly from the start that this was a fight that we were going to pick.”

Last week the country witnessed the fallout from that strategy: a standoff that has shuttered much of the federal bureaucracy and unsettled the nation.

To many Americans, the shutdown came out of nowhere. But interviews with a wide array of conservatives show that the confrontation that precipitated the crisis was the outgrowth of a long-running effort to undo the law, the Affordable Care Act, since its passage in 2010 — waged by a galaxy of conservative groups with more money, organized tactics and interconnections than is commonly known.

I have heard conservatives try desperately to make the case that this is democracy at work – in between deflecting blame. No, it is not democracy at work, it is the government being hijacked by a radical minority. How have bills been passed and repealed for mos of this nation’s history? You vote them into law and the president signs that bill. Conservatives cannot get a bill passed that repeals or replaces the Affordable Care Act ( Obamacare). Having failed, they are now holding the economy hostage. Conservatives, who tend to live in an echo chamber anyway, say that the majority of the American people are on their side. That is both delusional and a lie. Many Americans are desperate for all the benefits of Obamacare to kick in. And while the exchanges did not get off to a perfect start – you know much like private sector customer service that has driven us all crazy at one time or another, interests in getting insurance is high.

Conservatives have also thrown in the usual shrill panic about the deficit – the deficit that is largely a legacy of conservative economic policy, has been coming down steadily under Obama’s presidency.

American Conservatives Hook Up With Foreigners To Discredit Global Warming

There are a few fundamental bricks in the conservative wall of truth. One is that anything and anyone who is non-white, non-USA in origin is probably evil and part of the One World Gov’mint Conspiracy. Yet News Corp. which has become a cornerstone of the conservative noise machine is owned by two four’ners, Rupert Murdoch and the second largest holder of News Corp. stock Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, a nephew of the Saudi king. There are a few conservatives on the internet claiming that Fox News is not conservative enough because of the Prince bin Talal connection, but certainly not the conservative establishment. Now comes yet another connections between conservatives and non-American influence on public policy and science, Global warming sceptics using media campaign to discredit IPCC.

Lord Lawson’s campaign group for climate change sceptics, the Global Warming Policy Foundation, has been executing a carefully co-ordinated campaign with its media and political allies to discredit and misrepresent the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

On 27 September, the IPCC published the final draft of the Summary for Policymakers from working group I’s contribution on the physical science basis of climate change for its Fifth Assessment Report.

The official launch of the IPCC document was held in Stockholm, but London became the centre of the universe for climate change sceptics as they sought to exploit the UK’s influential media market.

The Heartland Institute, a Chicago-based lobby group for free market fundamentalists, teamed up with a like-minded UK organisation, Civitas, to stage a press conference in London on the same day in an attempt to steal some of the limelight from the IPCC report.

As leaked internal documents revealed last year, Heartland has been paying retired scientists to produce a campaign document for sceptics under the title of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change.

Two of its authors, Fred Singer and Robert Carter, were invited to London for the Civitas press conference and to exploit the practice by some editors to create a “false balance” by putting up a sceptic to counter the view of climate researchers.

The BBC jumped at the chance and Carter and Singer were soon touring the studios at Broadcasting House giving back-to-back interviews. Radio 4’s The World At One even gave Carter more airtime than the IPCC.

BBC editors appeared to be unaware that Carter and Singer are paid by the Heartland Institute, which gained worldwide notoriety last year for a billboard campaign that associated the “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski and Charles Manson with a belief in global warming.

The Heartland Institute itself is part of the enormous and well funded conservative astroturf that puts out highly suspect reports to just plain tales of fantasy. They are in turn a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). ALEC is the modern day version of the smoke filled political backroom – they’re the money people – the ones who can and do fill the coffers of conservatives who carry their water, or in a few instances, punish a Republican who might for instance suggest that climate change was a real possibility. ALEC is not a stand alone entity, but is part of the Koch brothers network of influence – the billionaire brothers who are always complaining about how tough they have it and the USA is going to hell in a hand-basket because politicians don’t just take dictation from them and legislate accordingly. The long history of conservatives believing in nefarious conspiracies and complex entanglements is really just a weird projection of their own corrupt and anti-Democratic agenda.

How The Capital Created By American Families is Redistributed to Plutocratic Corporations

Add It Up: The Average American Family Pays $6,000 a Year in Subsidies to Big Business

That’s over and above our payments to the big companies for energy and food and housing and health care and all our tech devices. It’s $6,000 that no family would have to pay if we truly lived in a competitive but well-regulated free-market economy.

The $6,000 figure is an average, which means that low-income families are paying less. But it also means that families (households) making over $72,000 are paying more than $6,000 to the corporations.

1. $870 for Direct Subsidies and Grants to Companies

The Cato Institute estimates that the U.S. federal government spends $100 billion a year on corporate welfare. That’s an average of $870 for each one of America’s 115 million families. Cato notes that this includes “cash payments to farmers and research funds to high-tech companies, as well as indirect subsidies, such as funding for overseas promotion of specific U.S. products and industries…It does not include tax preferences or trade restrictions.”

It does include payments to 374 individuals on the plush Upper East Side of New York City, and others who own farms, including Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, and Ted Turner. Wealthy heir Mark Rockefeller received $342,000 to NOT farm, to allow his Idaho land to return to its natural state.

It also includes fossil fuel subsidies, which could be anywhere from $10 billion to $41 billion per year for research and development. Yet this may be substantially underestimated. The IMF reports U.S. fossil fuel subsidies of $502 billion, which would be almost $4,400 per U.S. family by taking into account “the effects of energy consumption on global warming [and] on public health through the adverse effects on local pollution.” According to Grist, even this is an underestimate.

2. $696 for Business Incentives at the State, County, and City Levels

The subsidies mentioned above are federal subsidies. A New York Times investigation found that states, counties and cities give up over $80 billion each year to companies, with beneficiaries coming from “virtually every corner of the corporate world, encompassing oil and coal conglomerates, technology and entertainment companies, banks and big-box retail chains.”

$80 billion a year is $696 for every U.S. family. But the Times notes that “The cost of the awards is certainly far higher.”

3. $722 for Interest Rate Subsidies for Banks

According to the Huffington Post, the “U.S. Government Essentially Gives The Banks 3 Cents Of Every Tax Dollar.” They cite research that calculates a nearly 1 percent benefit to banks when they borrow, through bonds and customer deposits and other liabilities. This amounts to a taxpayer subsidy of $83 billion, or about $722 from every American family.

The wealthiest five banks — JPMorgan, Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc., Wells Fargo & Co. and Goldman Sachs — account for three-quarters of the total subsidy. The Huffington Post article notes that without the taxpayer subsidy, those banks would not make a profit. In other words, “the profits they report are essentially transfers from taxpayers to their shareholders.”

4. $350 for Retirement Fund Bank Fees

This was a tough one to calculate. Demos reports that over a lifetime, bank fees can “cost a median-income two-earner family nearly $155,000 and consume nearly one-third of their investment returns.” Fees are well over one percent a year.

However, the Economic Policy Institute notes that the average middle-quintile retirement account is $34,981. A conservative one percent annual management fee translates to about $350 per family. This, again, is an average; many families have no retirement account. But many families pay much more than 1% in annual fees.

5. $1,268 for Overpriced Medications

According to Dean Baker, “government granted patent monopolies raise the price of prescription drugs by close to $270 billion a year compared to the free market price.” This represents an astonishing annual cost of over $2,000 to an average American family.

OECD figures on pharmaceutical expenditures reveal that Americans spend almost twice the OECD average on drugs, an additional $460 per capita. This translates to $1,268 per household.

6. $870 for Corporate Tax Subsidies

We’ve heard a lot about tax avoidance and tax breaks for the super-rich. With regard to corporations alone, the Tax Foundation has concluded that their “special tax provisions” cost taxpayers over $100 billion per year, or $870 per family. Corporate benefits include items such as Graduated Corporate Income, Inventory Property Sales, Research and Experimentation Tax Credit, Accelerated Depreciation, and Deferred taxes.

Once again, it may be even worse. Citizens for Tax Justice cite a Government Accountability Office report that calculated a loss to the Treasury of $181 billion from corporate tax expenditures. That would be almost $1,600 per family.

7. $1,231 for Revenue Losses from Corporate Tax Havens

U.S. PIRG recently reported that the average 2012 taxpayer paid an extra $1,026 in taxes to make up for the revenue lost from offshore tax havens by corporations and wealthy individuals. With 138 million taxpayers (1.2 per household), that comes to $1,231 per household.

Much More Than an Insult

Overall, American families are paying an annual $6,000 subsidy to corporations that have doubled their profits and cut their taxes in half in ten years while cutting 2.9 million jobs in the U.S. and adding almost as many jobs overseas.

This is more than an insult. It’s a devastating attack on the livelihoods of tens of millions of American families. And Congress just lets it happen.

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Paul Buchheit   

Paul is a bright guy and maybe this time they have some solid numbers, but i generally do not trust any statistics from CATO. They are a Right-leaning libertarian think tank.

Conservatives are going to play the coming fight over the debt ceiling a few ways. One is that it is Obama’s fault for not compromising – and we all know that conservatives define compromise as giving them everything they want or they’ll throw another temper tantrumn. One other angle is that they really do not want a shut0-down, but Democrats are giving them no choice, that would also be a lie since the conservative money machine wants a shut-down, The Money Behind the Shutdown Crisis

Good ammunition in those arguments with Obamascare cons who swear the world is about to end, Obamacare explained. With maps! The curve the ACA was designed to bend is already bending

Labor Day, War Powers and Wages

Season Changes wallpaper

Season Changes wallpaper

We all know the rules. Since president Obama was elected for his first term, conservatives in typical knee-jerk reaction hate everything he likes, are against everything he is for. For almost eight years they loved war, they claimed freedom wasn’t free and if they had to lie your son, daughter, spouse to their deaths in some Middle-east sand pile, well it was for the good of the Republican Party and anyone who did not support their less than sane agenda was a terrorist loving hippie. NO, OBAMA ISN’T GOING TO WIN THE HOUSE VOTE

Free Republic directs me to this post by a popular right-wing blogger known as Soopermexican (the post is also at his blog):

Viral Facebook Post: ‘I Didn’t Join The Navy To Fight For Al Qaeda In Syria!’

… this post, reportedly from a U.S. Naval Chief Petty Officer, on Facebook for a conservative talk show has more than 5,000 ‘shares’ even though it’s only been online for four hours.

Us hippies warned everyone that invading Iraq would make Iran’s influence in the region stronger, and we were right. That did not stop  – let’s assume there is a real senior Chief involved – from supporting a war based on lies about WMD. Now he doesn’t support a limited military strike against a sociopath that actually used WMD. So he and this FaceBook posse of Koservative Keyboard Pacifists are on the side of the ACLU, ACLU Urges the President to Obtain Official Congressional Authorization Before Taking Military Action in Syria. I saw a poll from a couple of days ago that showed a majority of Americans do support a limited military strike, like using a cruise missile or perhaps a drone strike on Assad’s military. That is what the president is talking about, not boots on the ground. That is not an unreasonable response to the actions of Assad. If there is no consequence, he may be emboldened to take even more criminal actions. Though I agree with the ACLU, it would be best if we started a tradition of adhering to the Constitution before we started military actions against foreign powers. If Congress wants – with a conservative majority in the House big enough to stop any kind of military action – to give Assad a pass, well, that the way we’ll go. Though a few weeks or months from now when Bashar al-Assad ( Syria’s president, with help from Iran and Russia) launch another chemical attack, we should not hear any arm-chair quarterbacking from conservatives. But you know we will because conservatism is just another name for weasel-brats.

Fox’s Payne Distorts Argument Against Minimum Wage Increase

Neil Cavuto hosted Fox Business contributor Charles Payne on the August 28 edition of Fox News’ Your World with Neil Cavuto to discuss protests planned by fast-food workers, who are demanding higher pay and the right to unionize. Payne claimed during the segment that employers don’t owe a debt to their employees and mischaracterized the minimum wage increase as a sliding scale of pay:

PAYNE: Listen, I don’t begrudge anyone for trying to earn extra money, but what they’re essentially saying is that their salary should be doubled from where they are. It doesn’t match the skill set. Now, if we start to talk about this — and listen, it’s something that’s been echoed all day long with theme of the March on Washington — that somehow corporations owe a debt to people who work for them. So if Susan has two kids, she gets X amount of income, then she has another child, then the corporation should pay more money specifically because they owe her a debt and she had another kid — sort of the responsibility or the welfare state that’s been such a burden on America is now being thrusted, or attempted to be thrusted on the shoulders of corporate America.

This is the real world, not the LSD fueled fantasies of Fox News, Neil Cavuto and Charles Payne. McDonald’s paid CEO Don Thompson a compensation package worth $13.8 million this year. Everything over say $100k is money Thompson stole from the profits produced by the labor of front line employees. In no way, at no time will Thompson ever do anything, or have any ideas worth more than $75k a year. Thompson like the rest of the corporate plutocracy has made employees into serfs and made themselves into feudal lords. Their compensation has become completely unconnected to any value and work they bring to a company. They have the power to redistribute incredible sums of money from the working class to themselves. So they do. Until some of that power is take back by workers the welfare for the arrogant greedy plutocrats will continue.

Shameless Hypocrisy of the Day, The Supernaturally Incompetent Conservative Donald Rumsfeld Criticizes Foreign Policy

Heroes in Ebony

Heroes in Ebony–The captors of the Confederate steamer USS Planter (1862), Robert Small, W. Morrison, A. Gradine and John Small.

At 04:00 on 13 May 1862, while her captain, C. J. Relyea, was absent on shore, Robert Smalls, a slave who was Planter’s pilot, quietly took the ship from the wharf, and with a Confederate flag flying, steamed past the successive Confederate forts. He saluted the installation as usual by blowing the steam whistle. As soon as the steamer was out of range of the last Confederate gun, Smalls hauled down the Confederate flag and hoisted a white one. Then he turned Planter over to the USS Onward of the Union blockading force.

Besides Smalls, Planter carried 15 other slaves to freedom behind Union lines: seven crewmen, five women, and three children. In addition to the cargo of artillery and explosives, Smalls brought Flag officer Samuel Francis Du Pont valuable intelligence, including word that the Confederates had abandoned defensive positions on the Stono River.

While we’re delving into history, some quotes from former conservative Republican Secretary of Defense in the Bush administration, Donald Rumsfeld:

I can’t tell you if the use of force in Iraq today would last five days, or five weeks, or five months, but it certainly isn’t going to last any longer than that. – Interview with Steve Croft, Infinity CBS Radio Connect, November 14, 2002

But no terrorist state poses a greater or more immediate threat to the security of our people and the stability of the world than the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq. – Hearing Before the House Armed Services Committee, September 10, 2002 [9]. Quoted on March 14, 2004. Iraq was not a leading exporter of terrorism against the U.S. then or any other time, and they had no connections to al Qaeda or 9/11.

We know where they [Iraq’s WMD] are. They’re in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south, and north somewhat….I would also add, we saw from the air that there were dozens of trucks that went into that facility after the existence of it became public in the press and they moved things out. They dispersed them and took them away. So there may be nothing left. I don’t know that. But it’s way too soon to know. The exploitation is just starting. – Interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC News This Week, March 30, 2003. This is my favorite quote from Rummy. There was never any WMD, Bush called off the hunt for them several years after he kicked out weapons inspectors and invaded Iraq.

Rumsfeld, like the other neocons never had much humility or honor. That is why he shamelessly weighs in on the current situation in Syria,  Rumsfeld: Obama Administration Hasn’t Made Case for Intervening in Syria

Rumsfeld explained that “there really hasn’t been any indication from the administration as to what our national interest is with respect to this particular situation.” (Yesterday, White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters it is “absolutely in the national-security interests of the United States and the international community” to respond to the use of chemical weapons in Syria.)

In an interview with Neil Cavuto that will air Wednesday night on Fox Business Network, the former Bush secretary of defense blasted the administration as “mindless” for tipping its hand and said he “[couldn’t] imagine what they’re thinking” by giving President Bashar Assad’s regime “crystal clarity, with respect to what they attempt.”

Of course the current administration should listen to the shameless venal rantings of someone who has proven to be singularly incompetent in foreign policy and management of U.S. military forces. Give the country fifty years and scholars will be writing about how the Bush administration, the invasion of Iraq and the management of that invasion was one of the most egregious betrayals of the American people in the nation’s history. The only episode that comes close is Nixon and Kissinger’s malicious prolonging of the Vietnam War for political gain.

Shaking Hands with Saddam Hussein

“Shaking Hands with Saddam Hussein,” Iraqi President Saddam Hussein greets Donald Rumsfeld, then special envoy of President Ronald Reagan, in Baghdad on December 20, 1983. This is after Iraq had used poison gas against Iran and the Kurds.

What Conservatives Believe Versus The Real Economy

Morning Meadow wallpaper

Morning Meadow wallpaper

Even before I started this blog and the Bush-Cheney administration watching conservatives try to be populists was like watching ninety-nine clowns on acid try to fit into a VW Beetle. Something has changed about such mind boggling efforts on the part of the conservative movement. The disconnect between what they say, what they believe and reality has never been greater. Conservatives can try to be on the side of the working class and complain about the pace of job creation under President Obama, even though that goes against the conservative mantra that markets are perfect and will decide how many jobs will be created. Let’s assume that have the trolls on the internet who claim to be conservative small business owners, are actually what they claim. They complain about the lack of growth, or put another way the lack of demand. Yet they shift blame to Obama, not the market, not the salary level of the average worker who cannot afford anything other than the basic necessities. The base, the tea smoking immigrant hating nativists at the bottom seem blind to the fact that hiring is slow, but executive pay and corporate profits at at historic highs. The tea smoker base cannot seem to put two and two together; the corporate elite that crashed the economy with the help of the anti-regulation wave that started under Saint Ronnie Raygun is still stronger than ever because the same tea smoking base don’t want no more stink’n regulations that might help put some of the money the plutocrats are stealing from the economy back in the tea smoker’s pockets: Some Filthy Facts about the Rich

The 400 richest Americans made $200 billion in just one year. That’s equivalent to the combined total of the federal food stamp, education, and housing budgets.First of all, who are they? Mostly the 1%. But the top 2-5% have also done quite well, increasing their inflation-adjusted wealth by 75 percent from 1983 to 2009 while average wealth went down for 80 percent of American households. The rest of the top 20% have been prosperous, realizing a 32 percent gain in inflation-adjusted wealth since 1983. The facts to follow are primarily about the richest 1%, with occasional dips into the groups scrambling to make it to the top.

1. Accumulating almost all the wealth

As evidence of the extremes between the very rich and the rest of us, the average household net worth for the top 1% in 2009 was almost $14 million, while the average household net worth for the bottom 47% was almost ZERO. For nearly half of America, average debt is about the same as average asset ownership.

The extremes are just as filthy at the global level. The richest 300 persons on earth (about a third of them in the U.S.) have more money than the poorest 3 billion people. Out of all developed and undeveloped countries with at least a quarter-million adults, the U.S. has the 4th-highest degree of wealth inequality in the world, trailing only Russia, Ukraine, and Lebanon.

2. Creating their own wealth

In another alarming testament to wealth at the top, the richest 10% own almost 90 percent of stocks excluding pensions. Consider what that means. The stock market has historically risen three times faster than the GDP itself. Since the recession, as the U.S. economy has “recovered,” 62 percent of the gain was due to growth in the stock market, which surged as much in four years as it did during the “greatest bull market in history” from 1996 to 2000.

Many stock owners see a couple thousand dollars added to their fortunes every time they go online.

But that’s not enough for the very rich. Thanks in good part to the derivatives market, the world’s wealth has doubled in ten years, from $113 trillion to $223 trillion, and is expected to reach $330 trillion by 2017. The financial industry has figured out how to double or triple its buying power while most of the world has proportionately less.

3. Taking ALL the income gains

If the richest 1% had taken the same percentage of total U.S. income in 2006 as they did in 1980, they would have taken a trillion dollars less out of the economy. Instead they tripled their share of post-tax income. And then they captured ALL the income gains in the first two years of the post-recession recovery.

4. Donating a smaller share than the poorest Americans

Two dependable sources provide pretty much the same information. Barclays reported that those with earnings in the top 20% donated on average 1.3 percent of their income, whereas those in the bottom 20% donated 3.2 percent. And according to the New York Times, the nonprofit Independent Sector found that households earning less than $25,000 a year gave away an average of 4.2 percent of their incomes, while those with earnings of more than $75,000 gave away 2.7 percent.

5. Making enough to feed 800 million people

India just approved a program to spend $4 billion a year to feed 800 million people. Half of Indian children under 5 are malnourished.

In 2012, three members of the Walton family each made over $4 billion just from stocks and other investments. So did Charles Koch, and David Koch, and Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett, and Larry Ellison, and Michael Bloomberg, and Jeff Bezos.

It’s not the obligation of any one of these individuals to feed the world. The disgrace is in the fact that our unregulated capitalist system allows such outrageous extremes to exist.

Here’s more to provoke outrage. The 400 richest Americans made $200 billion in just one year. That’s equivalent to the combined total of the federal food stamp, education, and housing budgets.

6. Taking two-thirds of a trillion dollars in subsidies

Even all that is not enough for the very rich. About two-thirds of nearly $1 trillion in individual “tax expenditures” (tax subsidies from special deductions, exemptions, exclusions, credits, capital gains, and loopholes) goes to the top quintile of taxpayers. An astounding 75 percent of dividend and capital gain subsidies go to the richest 1%.

And that doesn’t include business subsidies, like the $16.8 billion per year in agricultural benefits paid out to big companies and to wealthy individuals who happen to have farms in their portfolios. The filthiest fact, in terms of detestable extremes, is that much of Congress wants to cut the $4.35 a day food benefit to hungry Americans, almost half of them children, so that money can keep flowing to the top.
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Written by Paul Buchheit.  

New Jersey Republicans For Sale To Highest Bidding Wealthy Freaks

 New York Harbor

 New York Harbor, 1852 by Fitz Henry Lane (1804 – 1865).

Chris Christie Endorses Koch Brothers Operative For Senate

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) endorsed Steve Lonegan (R), the former New Jersey head for the Koch Brothers’ Americans for Prosperity, for U.S. Senate on Tuesday. Though Christie ran in 2009 promising a middle-of-the-road “common-sense approach,” this move puts him squarely behind a far-right Tea Party candidate best known for his attacks on immigration and Spanish-language ads — and his own record of hiring undocumented immigrants.

Lonegan and Christie are trying to get in the good graces of the tea smokers by denying climate science. Lonegan says anyone who acknowledges climate science a has a radical agenda. he and Christie represent the views of people like the Koch brothers and the fossil fuel industry. The Kochs are worth billions yet they whine about how some green radicals. I guess you have to smoke lots of tea to not be able to see the absurdity. BP makes billions of dollars a day in profits. Profits, not gross income. Americans concerned about the future of their children and their country are not powerless in Washington or New Jersey, but they are the Davids fighting well funded megalomaniacs that have too much money to be running around acting like scared little wussies. Lonegan and Christie believe it is best if they are in charge of every woman’s uterus. I’m not sure what credentials they have to qualify them for having the powers of the Spanish Inquisition. Of course they both claim to have values. Of course they have values, They just happen to be the values of a 17th century feudal lord. Which is something the nation’s Founders were adamantly against.

The Great Emo-Prog vs. O-Bot Debate

Atrios today:

I try to avoid the emoprog-obot debates. I don’t really get them really. It’s just posing. I never claim to have the ultimate authority over things but, honestly, I’m really not posing. That I imagine I call-em like I see-em doesn’t mean I think I’m always right, it just mean that I’m mostly not being a hack. Tell me I’m wrong when I am! I listen.

The surveillance state is obviously out of hand, super expensive, and quite likely totally pointless (for its expressed purpose) and incompetent. I don’t even consider this to be a comment on Obama, except to the extent that he is dishonest/supports dishonesty on this issue.

Translation: If you express anything short of absolute condemnation of everything the NSA has done, your Twitter feed quickly fills up with hysterical proclamations from the emo-progs that you’re a right-wing shill, a government lackey, a useful idiot for the slave state, and an obvious fool. Conversely, if you criticize the NSA’s surveillance programs, your Twitter feed quickly fills up with equally hysterical proclamations from the O-Bots that you hate Obama, you’ve always hated Obama, and you’re probably a racist swine who’s been waiting ever since 2009 for a chance to take down the nation’s first black president.

This happens with other subjects too, of course, but the Snowden files have brought it out more than usual. I’ll confess that although the leftier-than-thou types have always been around, I’ve long been skeptical of the idea that Obama has a core group of supporters from 2008 who really do consider him The One, a shining beacon of light who can do no wrong. But I’m the one who was wrong. I don’t know how many there are, but they’re definitely out there.

UPDATE: Atrios adds a bit more here. “It’s not that I think everyone to ‘the left’ of me is a posing emo-prog and everyone to ‘the right’ of me is a posing o-bot. There are people genuinely to the left and to the right of me on policy….But there are also people who seem to enjoy judging your worth by how righteously you dislike or like the Obama administration. It’s annoying.” Yep. We’re talking about two particular subsets of the left here, not everyone who happens to disagree with us.

As briefly as I can: the NSA stuff. Most of it was and is legal. Want it to stop, get out the vote for progressive candidates in the 2014 election, get a Democratic majority in Congress that will rewrite surveillance law. Obama could reign in some of the worse excesses now and everyone has a right to be upset about that. Though as a practical matter, like all politicians he weighs the costs and benefits. He sees another 9-11 around every corner. If he stops the NSA completely and we have such an attack it will be 10 years or more before we even get close to the White House or a Congressional majority. Even though the NSA is not making us safer, it is the public’s opinion – left and right. The powers that be – the people that support the surveillance state and the Twitter folks who go on about having “nothing to hide,” combined, have a lot more power than the progressive base. Want to change things, get active, make a better case without resorting to Obama is as evil as Bush arguments or Obama walks on water arguments.

Drones: Of course we should all be concerned about civilian casualties. During WW II, the Korean War and Vietnam we had carpet bombing. Clinton used cruise missiles which have a fairly large blast radius depending on the size of the charge. The civilian casualties now, compared the past are a vast humanitarian improvement – though certainly imperfect technology – over how we wage war. Want stricter rules about how and when drones are used, vote in a more moderate Congress. Harry Reid (D-NV) and Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) would be happy to write new drone and surveillance laws knowing that John Boehner (R-OH) and Mitch McConnell (R-KY) will not be able to shoot them down before they even got started in committee. And as with so many issues does anyone really think that a Romney presidency would be so much better on the surveillance or drone issues.

Malkin probably wonders why no one takes her seriously but the kool-aid drinkers who visit her web site. This is yet another reason why: Fox’s Malkin Invents Conspiracy Theory That Forever 21 Was Intimidated Into Silence On Obamacare. 

The Twisted Propaganda Machine of the Conservative WSJ, ALEC and Stephen Moore

Tuscan Spring wallpaper

Tuscan Spring wallpaper

If readers tick to the main news articles the Wall Street Journal is not completely submerged in Murdoch’s patented conservative yellow journalism. Though like many newspaper outlets they shape the news by what they report and how they report it. A main news article may be true, but lacks details important to tell the whole story. By covering certain aspects of, say, legislative news, repeatedly, they can project a picture of something as slightly radical – like equal pay for women working the same or similar jobs as men. That’s not radical, that is a mainstream American value concerning fairness and decency. Where Murdoch and the conservative movement really make their mark is on the editorial pages. In Conservoworld  all news is just opinion, but even actual opinions must have some basis in fairness and reality. If it is my opinion the world is flat, I don’t get off the hook for being a crank. Whatever my opinion on the earth’s shape, it is not flat. If someone feels that the HPV vaccine is bad idea, they still need to justify the death and suffering they might cause by perpetuating voodoo medical opinions from a big soapbox. The WSJ and  WSJ conservative Editorial Board Member Stephen Moore feels they can disseminate all the voodoo they like and do so without regard for basic journalistic ethics, The Wall Street Journal’s latest defense of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), penned by WSJ Editorial Board Member Stephen Moore, fails to disclose Moore’s deep ties to ALEC.

Moore’s op-ed attacks U.S. Senator Richard Durbin for scrutinizing ALEC’s role in peddling the Florida “Stand Your Ground” legislation as a model for the nation for more than six years. That law was initially cited to prevent the arrest of George Zimmerman for shooting Florida teenager Trayvon Martin to death, and that law proved to be instrumental in the failure to convict after the jury was instructed that in accordance with that law Zimmerman had a “right to stand his ground” and had “no duty to retreat.”

However, Moore failed to disclose anywhere in that op-ed that he has a long-standing working relationship with ALEC. These close ties include the facts that:Wall Street Journal Ed Board Member Stephen Moore

since at least 2007, Moore has been on ALEC’s “Board of Scholars,” one of five people with that designation; since 2007, Moore has been the co-author of one of ALEC’s main publications, “Rich States, Poor States,” which claims to rank the performance of states in accordance with their adherence to ALEC’s ideal economic policies, reports that have been strongly criticized; since joining WSJ’s editorial board in 2005, Moore has presented on issues such as reducing corporate tax rates at ALEC’s closed door task force meetings, where corporate lobbyists vote as equals with state legislators on “model bills” to be introduced into law in state capitols; and in 2009, ALEC said Moore “represents what we should expect of all journalists,” and gave him its “Warren Brookes Award” for “journalistic excellence”

[  ]…Byline of ALEC’s Rich States, Poor States Similarly, in the WSJ op-ed when he quoted newly-elected Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Moore failed to note that Cruz is one of the featured “plugs” for the 6th edition of this piece of work Moore co-writes that is published by ALEC. Likewise, in the op-ed when Moore quoted an unnamed board member of ALEC, he failed to mention his own long-time post on ALEC’s Board of Scholars.

Ted Cruz (R-TX) is remarkable for his ability to be a particular large freak in a conservative tent brimming over with freaks. ALEC is nothing more than the organized crime wing of the conservative movement. I forget his name, But I’ll never forget the Democratic congressional representative that said he was not so much surprised at the illegal things conservatives do, but the things they get away with that are supposedly legal. It is clever to have so much cash and powerful connections that they can twist arms to get anything they want, but ethical it is not. What remains of the old Pajamas Media – a network of conservative bloggers, gleefully and as often as possible bleep about how this administration has not delivered on all the transparency they promised. They is quite the shameless hypocrisy from people who voted for Bush-Cheney Inc. and support ALEC. ALEC is all about closed doors, deals made and legislation passed in the middle of the night. They’re the real deal, the Darth Vaders you see in political thrillers. No wonder Moore and the WSJ does not want the public to know that when they speak, they’re puppets for their ALEC puppet masters.

Extolling the virtues of stupidity is not an American value, Texas GOP rejects ‘critical thinking’ skills. Really.

Conservative Confederacy Lite,  Modern Vote Suppression Better Than Jim Crow, Still Pretty Bad

Conservative Republican Playbook, page one chapter one: When we can’t win by telling the truth, lie, lie some more and lie to cover up the lies, Bogus Study Tries to Scare “Young Invincibles” Away from Obamacare

Conservatives Crashed The Economy and Still Can’t Do Arithmetic

City Towers wallpaper

City Towers wallpaper

I feel a little bad taking down yet another wacky Rand Paul (R-KY) talking point, I am inadvertently helping the conservative establishment getting either Chris Christie, Paul Ryan, Marko Rubio, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker (R-WI – Walker is the Hosni Mubarak of the mid-west, Michelle Malkin’s crew at Hot Air likes him because of the dirty corrupt way he got the police unions to go ago with busting other public sector workers. Rand Paul Doesn’t Know What He’s Talking About (In Charts)

Yesterday, Bloomberg’s Joshua Green interviewed Paul, and when asked about the significant budget cuts he was proposing, the senator said this: “You know, the thing is, people want to say it’s extreme. But what I would say is extreme is a trillion-dollar deficit every year. I mean, that’s an extremely bad situation. I would say it’s a very reasonable proposition to say that we would only spend what comes in.”

First off, saying “that we would only spend what comes in,” i.e. that the federal government will never run any deficit, is not only not “reasonable,” it’s basically insane if you know the first thing about fiscal policy and its effects on the national welfare. But let’s leave that aside for now. What about these trillion-dollar deficits every year? Actually, according to the latest Congressional Budget Office (CBO) figures, the deficit for 2013 will be $642 billion. That’s a lot of money to you and me, but it isn’t a trillion dollars, and it’s the lowest deficit since 2008. The CBO is also projecting that in 2014 the deficit will fall to $560 billion, and in 2015 it will fall further, to $378 billion.

Those projections will inevitably be revised over time. Maybe the deficit will actually be larger, or maybe it will be smaller. One thing we can say for sure though, is that for the moment at least, there are no more “trillion-dollar deficits,” not every year, and not any year.

And two charts,

Obama and deficits

Rand Paul is a crazy bed bug

Maybe their little toy calculators all broke at once, but conservatives and pretend centrists like Alan Simpson, Erksine Bowles and  hedge fund billionaire Pete Peterson keep running around the country doing their little uncontrollable deceit dance, even though the deficit is shrinking. It is the best it has been since conservative ecknomics crashed the economy, wasted the Clinton surplus they inherited in 2000, lied us into a $3 trillion dollar war and held the country country hostage to keep tax cuts for millionaires. The latter always on the TeeVee complaining about how tough they have it and we need to convert grandpa’s Medicare into vouchers or the country is surely doomed.

 Rush Limbaugh’s looming presidential debate disaster

If some shortsighted conservatives get their way, we may soon be treated to Rush Limbaugh quizzing Republican presidential candidates about which liberal activists should be thought of as sluts. Now that’s the way to appeal to swing voters.

In case you missed it, the Republican Party has pledged to boycott NBC and CNN from their 2016 nomination debate schedule. They are also planning to cut back on the total number of debates. And even if Republicans don’t really decide to spotlight the conservative talk show hosts most likely to remind swing voters about what they don’t like about the GOP, the above is still enough to convince many observers that Republicans have lost all interest in talking to anyone beyond their most dedicated voters.

I watched enough of the 2011 Republican primary debates to lose a few brain cells. i wish them all the best in their version of caged death matches refereed by some freak like Limbaugh, Sean Hannity or Ann Coulter. Freaks shows should be run by and for freaks. That way they cannot complain they are not getting their message across. I’ve noticed that most liberal pundits fell the same way. As this reaction reverberates through the far Right grapevine I would not be surprised if they do not back peddle this idea.