Red Apple Water Drops wallpaper – Republicans Show True Colors, Contempt for Democracy

summer, spring, water drops

Red Apple Water Drops wallpaper


Remember the famous or infamous words of George W. Bush, “Spreading the seeds of democracy”. A phrase employed by Bush administration officials and their conservative Republican surrogates to justify the invasion of Iraq. An after the invasion rationale used because their initial justification – that Iraq has WMD and were an “urgent” threat to the national security of the U.S. fail apart. Juan Cloe, Glenn Greenwald and countless others pointed out the hypocrisy when the U.S. was supporting authoritarian military governments like that in Egypt. That real democracy meant that if given a chance many of those countries in the Middle-East (Libya, Saudi Arabia are two examples) were given the opportunity to participate in a truly democratic election they would in many cases vote in governments of which conservatives would not approve. Iraq was supposedly Bush’s legacy of – the planting of the seed of democracy – given the chance to vote, what did the people of Iraq do – they voted in some radicals – leaders of groups who had been fighting U.S. troops in the streets and with IEDs that killed and maimed U.S. military. Conservatives have been pushing for war with Iran. Iraq’s parliament enjoys fairly close diplomatic ties with Tehran. So democracy or something resembling a nascent democracy has started in Egypt. Who’s complaining that it was better to have a military dictatorship? Conservatives who sold us all that spreading the seeds of democracy garbage:  Whiskey! Democracy!

 This is also wonderful. Power Tools! (Power Tolls is the Republican blog PowerLine)

Let’s hope that the Obama administration doesn’t follow the Jimmy Carter playbook for dealing with revolutions in strategically vital Islamic nations.

Once upon a time, way back ten years ago, we had to invade a strategically vital Islamic nation to Create Democracy. Now we need to maybe consider attacking a strategically vital Islamic nation because of Democracy.


Power Tools explicitly informs us that the best thing we can do for the peoples of Strategically Vital Islamic Nations is to maintain proxy military dictatorships.

Truly, they hate us for Our Freedoms.

Rep. Allen – I see commie everywhere – West (R-FL) joins in the hypocrisy on his FaceBook page. West was stationed in Iraq and helped, as best as an insane ideologue can – to make Iraq a safe place for Islamic radicals to be voted into office and now he’s complaining. Both Power Tools and West don’t know what they’re talking about, but when has that ever stopped a conservative from blindly ranting nonsense. Egypt’s new government is certainly far from my dream of a democratic republic, but it is a step towards a more moderate state. There are some rational players who made it into the new parliament. Mursi and the Brotherhood in a Pluralist Egypt

That is, all the doomsaying about Egypt turning into Iran is to say the least premature, since Mursi at the moment is more Tantawi’s vice president than anything else.

Moreover, despite the Orientalist impulse in Western writing to see everything in the Middle East as black and white, as fundamentalist or libertine, Egypt’s political geography has been revealed by this year’s elections to be diverse. It isn’t just puritans versus belly dancers.

Here are the major factions according to the outcome of the first round of presidential elections, in which there were numerous candidates with strong ideological commitments. I was in Egypt for that election and did a lot of interviewing with Egyptians of all stripes, coming away impressed at how all over the place the electorate was. (Obviously I’m using the candidates below as a sort of political shorthand, and there is more overlap than the categories suggest, but this is ballpark):

1. The Labor Left, led by Hamdeen Sabahi (20.17%)
2. Classic liberals, led by Amr Moussa (11.13%)
3. Authoritarian secularists,led by Ahmad Shafiq (23.66%)
4. Muslim liberals, led by Abdul Moneim Abou’l-Futouh (17.47%)
5. Muslim fundamentalist, led by Muhammad Mursi (24.78%)

The military, headed by Field Marshall Hussein Tantawi, still retains quite a bit of power. President Muhammad Mursi is likely to appoint some less ideologically rigid followers to his government as a reward for backing him in the power struggle. While Egypt has some religious common ground with Iran one should always remember that Iranians are Persians, not Arabs and not Egyptians. Historical tribal loyalties also mean identity. Egypt is not about to give up its identity to the Iranian mullahs. As usual conservatives do not want to deal in very important details. Egypt is moving in the right direction. It may take a generation or more for them to become the Sweden of North Africa, but they’re closer now than they were a couple of years ago. The original ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution, called the Bill of Rights were ratified in 1791. These included basic rights such as freedom of speech, freedom to petition the government, yet with these basic rights as part of our framework it would be almost another hundred years before African-Americans had those rights and it was not until 1920 women in the U.S. had the universal right to vote .

Back during the Bush-era I used to read conservative Kathleen Parker at the WaPo. As far as conservatives pundits go she could be fairly rational once in a while. In the end the kool-aid is just too strong, Kathleen Parker: Ann Romney has a horse. So what?

Thus, Ann Romney, wife of the presumptive Republican nominee, recently became a target of ridicule when it was revealed that she co-owns an Olympian horse that will compete in dressage, a sport she apparently enjoys.

Parker goes on to play the sympathy card, pointing out Ann Romney’s illness – of which we’re all certainly sympathetic, but that is not the point and Parker knows it. It’s Not About the Damn Ponies

It’s true that Romney makes most of his annual income off of dividends and capital gains he earns by investing his fortune. But he made $374,327.62 in 2010 on speaker’s fees alone. That’s a figure, by the way, that Romney characterized as “not very much” money. Kathleen Parker thinks people are just hating on the Romneys’ success out of some kind of pony-envy, but we’re really appalled about something completely different. We’re appalled that he wants to cut way back on programs to help the poor and middle-class survive and advance in our society at the same time that he wants to hand out a $250,000 annual income tax break to millionaires. Over a four-year presidential term, that would be a million dollar tax break to everyone who made a million dollars a year for those four years. You can’t make a proposal like that when you are worth a quarter of a billion dollars and then complain about the budget deficit and call for massive cuts in social spending, and then think you’ll be above criticism.

As for Ann Romney’s horse, Ms. Parker doesn’t get into the specifics for a good reason. Apparently, the Romneys formed a corporation to deal with this horse, and they declared a $77,000 loss in 2010 for that corporation. If the corporation ever makes any money by, for example, breeding this Olympic-performing horse, they can write off those losses. And you thought the Olympics were about amateur sports!

Because of the way tax laws actually pay rich people to buy stuff the government or the people are underwriting Romney’s horses. because of tax laws pertaining to mortgage deductions we’re also helping the Romney’s pay for their mansions. There was a time and place for some of this subsidizing certain economic activity as a way for the government to encourage, in this instance, buying a house. Building houses was one of the things that – having exported so much of our manufacturing – kept the economy going. Young guys that did not go to college stopped going to work at the local mill and got a fair wage framing houses or installing AC. Arguments can be made for and against continuing some of these tax incentives, but let’s not use them to shield very wealthy people from criticism. For taking advantage of those tax breaks in ways that take advantage of the system – and to defend them with tedious false outrage. I’ve had a couple of friends who have had MS, had insurance – while things were rough for a while medically and finacially, luckily they recovered. So it is also tragically ironic that Parker should use Ann Romney’s MS as a shield against criticism of tax breaks when it is possible that this week or next the SCOTUS may strike down the Affordable care Act (Obamacare) – Real People, Real Problems: The Stakes of the Obamacare Lawsuit

Do you care how the Supreme Court rules on health care reform this week? I don’t mean in the political sense. I mean in the personal sense—because the law’s fate is a very personal matter for many millions of Americans.

They’re the Americans who have diabetes and Crohn’s disease, cancer and hay fever. They’re the Americans who don’t have access to health benefits and the Americans who have access to health benefits but can’t afford to pay for them. There are a lot of these people, more perhaps than you realize—at least tens of millions and perhaps more than a hundred million, depending on how you want to define the categories. If by now you’re thinking, gee, maybe I could end up becoming one of those people, you’re right. Death and taxes aren’t the only certain things in life. Accident, illness, and injury are too. They’ve plunged the lives of plenty of Americans, even those who thought they had good insurance, into financial and physical chaos.

There is no opting out of health care in any rational view of being alive. This is what the ever supposedly empathic Parker would like to take away from people who don’t own dressage horses or mansions, and what Ann Romney would take way as well,  10 Things You Would Miss About Obamacare

1) Access to health insurance for 30 million Americans and lower premiums. More than 30 million uninsured Americans will find coverage under the law. Middle-class families who buy health care coverage through the exchanges will be eligible for refundable and advanceable premium credits and cost-sharing subsidies to ensure that the coverage they have is affordable.

2) The ability of businesses and individuals to purchase comprehensive coverage from a regulated marketplace. The law creates new marketplaces for individuals and small businesses to compare and purchase comprehensive coverage. Insurers will have to meet quality measures to ensure that Americans can access comprehensive coverage when they need it.

3) Insurers’ inability to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions. Beginning in 2014, insurers can no longer deny insurance to families or individuals with pre-existing conditions. Insurers are also prohibited from placing lifetime limits on the dollar value of coverage and rescinding insurers except in cases of fraud. Insurers are already prohibited from discriminating against children with pre-existing conditions.

4) Tax credits for small businesses that offer insurance. Small employers that purchase health insurance for employees are already receiving tax credits to encourage them to continue providing coverage.

If after March 23, 2010 someone was denied insurance coverage because they had MS that was a violation of the law. If the SCOTUS strikes down the law and they’re still suffering from MS the insurance company could just cancel their insurance coverage. Though Ann will still have her horse therapy. Other MS victims will either pay out-of-pocket, hope a charity hospital will treat them for free or just suffer. If the Romneys are such good-moral people, why aren’t they outraged at the possibility that many Americans will die because of the lack of health insurance.

Map Delaware Bay and River 1776

Map Delaware Bay and River 1776. Wikipedia has an entry on the Delaware Bay. There is a Delaware Bay ecology focused group on FaceBook called Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve.

Speaking of FaceBook, Twitter and social media, thanks to those who are sharing my posts.

By way of The Sideshow this timely article on how the village nuts argue, The Rules, all of them (so far)

Rule #1: Deny, deny, deny.

Rule #2: Attack, attack, attack.

Rule #3: When facts are undeniable, change the subject. This can be done in various ways, for example:
– Introduce irrelevant details on a tangential point.
– Pluck out from what your opponent said an individual phrase you think you can attack, even if it’s one that was just tossed off quickly, and treat that as if it’s the focus of the entire discussion.
– More subtly, try to tie your opponent up in piles of minutia to the point where everyone, including your opponent, loses track of the thrust of their argument.
– Apply Rule #4.
Whenever possible, insist that your changed subject is the “real” one under discussion.

Rule #4: Issue a lengthy, ranting denunciation of “the left” of the form “What about…,” being sure to include the words “hypocrites” and/or “hypocrisy,” thereby arguing that the left can’t legitimately criticize the right, while by using this tactic insisting that the right can continue to criticize the left. (Note: Where possible, include the phrase “you liberals.”)

There are 13 more and they get better as you go down. The ones above are especially true in regards to Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh. Where would they be in terms of the ongoing debate without their deep convictions that shouting a lie, a distortion or a half-truth over and over again magically makes it the new reality. #5 seems to have had a dog whistle effect – “Make the particular stand for the whole. Find something offensive or silly some liberal or leftist, somewhere, sometime, said or did and label it as identifying the entire left half of the American political spectrum. Demand that your opponent spend their time denouncing that example rather than discussing the original topic.” PowerLine’s Assrocket joins the on the Glenn Beck pile on. This may be news to many liberals but it turns out that when Woodrow Wilson is not shoving America into Stalinism from beyond the grave, an elderly professor named Frances Fox Piven is part of the all powerful cabal of radical leftists who secretly control everyone’s life, up to and including your taste in Popsicles.

Who is The Left?

The Left is someone in charge of how to discuss shootings in Tucson. Also the Left is in charge of where elected officials sit at the State of the Union address. Also the Left mixes metaphors to profit and is in charge of speech shutdowns.

Many in the center to liberal part of the political spectrum has have co-opted the term “left” to apply to liberalism. A political tradition and philosophy grounded in such classic political philosophers as John Locke and Thomas Jefferson. The far Right likes to use it is a wide net to include everyone who works for a living, thought about joining a union, does not want their children to have to drink water with toxic waste it or thinks the police should be held accountable when they shoot an unarmed man. In other words it has never been easier to qualify as a leftist. AssRocket present this video as his smoking gun that Piven is pro violence so any death threats made by the Right must be justified. There are a few problems with that. In the video her frame of reference is the Civil Rights movement in which far more heads were busted by anti-protesters than civil rights activists. In the end Piven asks, in the way professors tend to do, if violence is something you want to be a part of in addressing social issues. AssRocket, a lawyer, seems to have conveniently forgotten what a rhetorical question is. Add this to the list of rules, not just for liberals, but left of center libertarians, independents and assorted unaffiliated Americans. When asked about any violence under any circumstances, you must always condemn it and advocate absolute pacifism. Any other answer will be twisted by the Right to be a gotcha. All that said I’m not particularly a fan of Piven, but she has hardly earned the designation of “Marxist Machiavelli” who hates the U.S. Constitution, Glenn Beck’s Attacks on Frances Fox Piven Trigger Death Threats

In fact, Piven has never encouraged or celebrated violence in any of her writings or speeches. She’s long been a proponent using the combined power of voting and grassroots protest to bring about change. In her writings, she examines the history of protest and documents how tactics such as pickets, rallies, strikes, boycotts, demonstrations, and civil disobedience – the kind of activism that once catapulted a young Baptist minister in Montgomery to the national limelight, an icon whose birthday we just celebrated as a national holiday – often pressure powerful figures in business and government to pay attention to grievances they had previously ignored and level the political playing field.

As Piven explains in her books, articles, and speeches, protest can give powerless people a voice and lead to important reforms, like the eight-hour day, women’s right to vote, desegregation of public schools and universities, and increased funding for social programs like food stamps and welfare.

When protest turns violent, Piven has documented, it is typically because the police, the National Guard, or private militias and goon squads hired by business attack the protestors with billy clubs and guns.

But sometimes angry people do riot. Piven is hardly the first academic to note that when people are frustrated by the slow pace of change, or by an incident of police brutality, they occasionally resort to civil unrest. Langston Hughes, the celebrated African American writer, made the same observation in his famous poem, “Dream Deferred,” written in 1951. “What happens to a dream deferred?” Hughes asked. “Does it dry up, Like a raisin in the sun?…Or does it explode?”

Neither Hughes, nor Piven, nor the hundreds of other social observers who explored why angry people sometimes explode – southern lynch mobs, Old West vigilantes, and the urban poor – were condoning violence. They were simply explaining it as a persistent reality in American history.

But Piven has also been interested in the other side of that question – why, in the face of much suffering and injustice, do so many people, especially the poor, remain passive, as if they accept their lot in life as something immutable, or blame themselves, or “bad luck,” for their misfortune, rather than channel their frustrations and anger in political action, such as voting or participating in protest?

Hotair is the Right’s Daily Kos according to Alexia traffic figures, so not an out on the fringe place to grab quotes from. This is from a March 8, 2009 post by Ed Morrissey bragging about the tea bagger’s right to do what Piven advocates,

KFI’s John and Ken decided to put a little local star power behind the “tea party” tax protest movement in Southern California, and it succeeded beyond all expectations.  As many as 15,000 protesters descended onto sleepy Fullerton to noisily demand an end to tax hikes in California and the nation…

Bloody Arnold Schwarzenegger head on stick at tea bagger protest

Another episode of Conservative Jeopardy. When is it OK for thousands of protesters to “noisily demand” their agenda be fulfilled immediately. When right-wingers do it. What are they protesting? Taxes. Who had just advocated a tax cut for the middle-class ( one of his first of two)? That would be President Obama with the help of Harry Reid (D-NV) and Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). So the Right not only thinks their civil disobedience is OK, they are not required to have protests based on real things to protest about.

Another right-wing rule. When you’ve lost the debate – facts have been presented which render the Conservative side of the argument false and irrelevant – wait a while and pretend like the facts never existed. Thus the meme which lives on like a Republican Zombie. Wing-nut Mike Stopa writing at the Boston Globe ( darn that liberal media) states, The reality of death panels – ObamaCare’s end-of-life planning comes down to economics

In December, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued a regulation, since rescinded by the Obama administration, that would have allowed doctors to be reimbursed for “voluntary advanced care’’ planning. When the regulation was publicized, it resulted in a renewed outcry that such end-of-life planning provisions presage the inevitable death panels of ObamaCare.

Stopa admits such counseling is purely voluntary. His beef seems to be based on making such counseling available in any form. He wants to take away a patients right to voluntarily get end of life counseling. Having openly admitted he is wrong and tacitly admitting he wants to greatly deter the personal freedom of patients, he asserts one of the more bizarre and sick fantasies as fact as I’ve read,

Moreover, the suspicion that such programmed advance planning conceals ulterior motives is exacerbated by the fact that relatively few patients will ultimately benefit from it. It is mainly of value for those who do not die suddenly, who have no trustworthy relations to maintain their power of decision, and who lose their wits a potentially long time before their death.(bold mine)

Where did he get the “programmed advice’ from? As Stopa is basing his entire argument on pure speculation, we have license to speculate Mike pulled that out of some part of his anatomy through which doctors perform prostate examinations. So a few patients voluntarily request end of life counseling and a few patients benefit. What’s his point? Just because it benefits some people we should not make such counseling available under any circumstances. Stopa obviously flunked logic class. Other than finding that out he does not provide much in the way of  insight. Conservatives4palin( isn’t that clever using a 4) thought this essay was the best thing since Cheez Whiz on stale white bread – their intro and part of the excerpt they use, Mike Stopa: The Reality of Death Panels

In a piece at the Boston Globe, Mike Stopa explores Governor Palin’s metaphoric use of the term “death panels” and concludes that she was exactly right, given the rationing required in any socialized health care system. Stopa also describes how the price controls contained in Obamacare will necessarily stifle the innovation required to develop new, life-saving pharmaceuticals. Excerpts follow:

[  ]…To the extent that ObamaCare ultimately succeeds in imposing uniformity on basic health care, it will likely lead to the creation of secondary markets for providing insurance against various health eventualities and access to “heroic’’ procedures to extend life. Water runs downhill and it’s a good thing that it does. First, we need to have people buy the expensive medicines and experimental technologies. Europe has discovered this as its regulated system of medicine has driven its pharmaceutical industry farther and farther behind that of the United States. Capping costs kills innovation.

Lets say for a moment pretend that the Affordable Care Act (health care reform or Obamacare if you like) is a government program. That would kill medical innovation and the development of pharmaceuticals like what? The fifty year old Medicare program or veterans medical benefits guaranteed by the government starting in 1811 should have killed and buried medical innovation a hundred times over by now. If every dime of drug research money comes from drug companies someone needs to get a refund for the American public. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) taxpayer-funded scientists conducted 55 percent of the research projects that led to the discovery and development of the top five selling drugs in 1995. According to another study only 22% of the drugs drug companies brought to market during the 80s and 1990s were innovative drugs that represented important therapeutic gains over existing drugs. And thanks to tax breaks and subsides the drug industry realizes one of the lowest tax rates of any industry. It is no surprise that Palin acolytes would not bother with a little research in order to grab on to anyone willing to defend one of the originators of the death panel myth – voted Politifacts lie of the year in 2009. And a reminder that Republicans were for “death panels” before they were against them,

Yes, that’s right. Remember the 2003 Medicare prescription drug bill, the one that passed with the votes of 204 GOP House members and 42 GOP Senators? Anyone want to guess what it provided funding for? Did you say counseling for end-of-life issues and care? Ding ding ding!!

Let’s go to the bill text, shall we? “The covered services are: evaluating the beneficiary’s need for pain and symptom management, including the individual’s need for hospice care; counseling the beneficiary with respect to end-of-life issues and care options, and advising the beneficiary regarding advanced care planning.”

Where are conservatives getting their advice on what is or is not Constitutional? Everyone knows the best place to start is to base one’s views on the same folks who remain steadfast in their allegiance to the treason of the Confederacy, Idaho Lawmakers Cite Founder Of Neo-Confederate Hate Group To Justify Plan To Nullify Health Reform

One of the worst examples of the right wing’s contempt for the Constitution is the bevy of unconstitutional proposals state lawmakers have introduced attempting to nullify the Affordable Care Act. The Constitution expressly states that Acts of Congress “shall be the supreme law of the land…anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding,” so our founding document specifically denies the states a veto power over federal laws.

Nonetheless, a group of Idaho lawmakers are drawing inspiration for an unconstitutional nullification bill from an unusual source — a co-founder of a neo-Confederate hate group:

Though a 1958 U.S. Supreme Court decision reaffirmed that federal laws “shall be the supreme law of the land,” Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter is promoting the nullification idea, too. In his January 10 State of the State speech, he told Idaho residents “we are actively exploring all our options — including nullification.”

Sen. Monty Pearce, an Idaho GOP lawmaker who plans to introduce a nullification bill early next week, wanted to be the first one to give Otter a recently published book on the subject, “Nullification: How to Resist Federal Tyranny in the 21st Century.”

But Otter beat him to the punch.

“I took that copy and tried to give it to the governor,” he said, pointing to a copy on his desk. “He already had a copy.” . . .

Thomas E. Woods, Jr., author of the 2010 book “Nullification” that Otter and Pearce have in their Idaho Capitol offices, argues states have the final say on issues as grave as when the government forces citizens to spend their hard-earned money.

Woods is, to say the least, a questionable source of counsel for a sitting state governor and state senator. One of the founders of the neo-Confederate League of the South, Woods once published an article declaring the Confederacy to be “Christendom’s Last Stand.” In it, he endorses the view that the Civil War was a battle between “atheists, socialists, communists, red republicans, jacobins on the one side and the friends of order and regulated freedom on the other,” and he concludes that “[t]he real watershed from which we can trace many of the destructive trends that continue to ravage our civilization today, was the defeat of the Confederate States of America in 1865.”

Glenn W. LaFantasie recently wrote about the Right’s love affair with secession, treason and revisionist’s history of the Confederacy and the Civil War, 150 years later, a campaign to deny that the South’s exodus from the union was a revolution is in full force

If by defeating the Confederacy during the Civil War, the Union did not prove conclusively that secession could not be legally sustained, the point was made emphatically clear in the 1869 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Texas v. White. In the majority opinion, written by Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase (a Republican appointed by Lincoln), the court ruled that under the Articles of Confederation, adopted by the states during the American Revolution, “the Union was solemnly declared to ‘be perpetual.’ And when these Articles were found to be inadequate to the exigencies of the country, the Constitution was ordained ‘to form a more perfect Union.’ It is difficult to convey the idea of indissoluble unity more clearly than by these words. What can be indissoluble if a perpetual Union, made more perfect, is not?”