Blue Democratic City wallpaper – “We speak, we write, we advocate – and those in power turn deaf ears and blind eyes to our deepest aspirations.”

blue city skyline, city at night

Blue Democratic City wallpaper

 

I don’t usually bother to comment at news sites. When I have I try to be reasonable and fact based. If I feel like venting I can always do that here.  A couple of stories were so factless at The Hill over the last year I was moved twice to post a comment. Their stories generally have a Right-of-center slant. Their commenters run so far Right and are so angry your facts are going to get lost in the verbal jousting anyway. Both my comments were never posted so going unread became a moot point. So my surprise at this somewhat fair story about Democrats, the Super Committee and the budget talks – Democrats gain upper hand in deficit-reduction negotiations

Reid’s threat is yet another signal that Democrats are preparing for a supercommittee flop, and are largely comfortable with the cuts that would be triggered if there is no bipartisan agreement.

As Republican leaders vow that failure is “not an option,” Reid is growing increasingly pessimistic and already looking ahead to the consequences of missing next week’s Nov. 23 deadline.

That dynamic has Democrats saying they have the upper hand in the negotiations, with some liberals privately rooting for sequestration cuts to be triggered. Unless Republicans cave on tax increases, there is little reason for Democrats to strike a deal because sequestration does not call for structural reforms to Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security.

Automatic cuts to Medicare would be capped at 2 percent and limited to insurance companies and healthcare providers while Social Security and Medicaid would be exempt.

The Defense Department is slated for $500 billion in cuts if the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction does not produce an agreement with at least $1.2 trillion in spending reductions.

 

Unless The Hill is completely wrong – a possibility – Ezra Klein might be a head of himself – The Democrats’ peculiar negotiating strategy. If as Ezra claims Republicans think they can push negotiations to the last-minute and come out with a better deal, Reid seems determined that will not happen. The automatic cuts – not perfect by any means – would be a huge defeat for the hostage takers on the Right. Just looking at the polls most Americans are concerned about jobs than the deficit. They’re more concerned about major cuts to Social Security, medicare and Medicaid than they are a few billion to defense. If conservatives want to push their agenda in defiance of the polls look for historic losses in the House for those newly elected tea smokers.

Gingrich Was Paid ~$1.7M From GSEs

Wait, I thought this was all Barney Frank’s fault?

Newt Gingrich made between $1.6 million and $1.8 million in consulting fees from two contracts with mortgage company Freddie Mac, according to two people familiar with the arrangement.

The total amount is significantly larger than the $300,000 payment from Freddie Mac that Gingrich was asked about during a Republican presidential debate on Nov. 9 sponsored by CNBC, and more than was disclosed in the middle of congressional investigations into the housing industry collapse.

Here is the thing about not caring much about reality: If you are going to create a false narrative about the causes of an event, you must be aware of details, data and facts even if you don’t want to believe in them.

 

Gingrich, Bachmann, Perry, Cain and the rest are all on broad the working poor people, government, brown people and liberals caused the Great Recession train of delusions. Of course they are. They can’t admit that letting Wall Street act like gambling addicts on acid caused the loss of $17 trillion dollars of the nation’s wealth. In ConservoLala Land the private sector are angels incapable of wrong doing. This attitude also happens to be the same as people who belong to cults. Everything they worship must be perfect because to admit fallibility even once means a lot of the economic scripture they worship is a load of leprechaun toe-jam. Barry Ritholtz who wrote the excerpt from that blog post also wrote an article in the WaPo that everyone should print out and give to your wing-nut friends and relatives – What caused the financial crisis? The Big Lie goes viral.

Wall Street has its own version: Its Big Lie is that banks and investment houses are merely victims of the crash. You see, the entire boom and bust was caused by misguided government policies. It was not irresponsible lending or derivative or excess leverage or misguided compensation packages, but rather long-standing housing policies that were at fault.

Indeed, the arguments these folks make fail to withstand even casual scrutiny. But that has not stopped people who should know better from repeating them.

The Big Lie made a surprise appearance Tuesday when New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, responding to a question about Occupy Wall Street, stunned observers by exonerating Wall Street: “It was not the banks that created the mortgage crisis. It was, plain and simple, Congress who forced everybody to go and give mortgages to people who were on the cusp.”

What made his comments so stunning is that he built Bloomberg Data Services on the notion that data are what matter most to investors. The terminals are found on nearly 400,000 trading desks around the world, at a cost of $1,500 a month. (Do the math — that’s over half a billion dollars a month.) Perhaps the fact that Wall Street was the source of his vast wealth biased him. But the key principle of the business that made the mayor a billionaire is that fund managers, economists, researchers and traders should ignore the squishy narrative and, instead, focus on facts. Yet he ignored his own principles to repeat statements he should have known were false.

Why are people trying to rewrite the history of the crisis? Some are simply trying to save face. Interest groups who advocate for deregulation of the finance sector would prefer that deregulation not receive any blame for the crisis.

Some stand to profit from the status quo: Banks present a systemic risk to the economy, and reducing that risk by lowering their leverage and increasing capital requirements also lowers profitability. Others are hired guns, doing the bidding of bosses on Wall Street.

They all suffer cognitive dissonance — the intellectual crisis that occurs when a failed belief system or philosophy is confronted with proof of its implausibility.

And what about those facts? To be clear, no single issue was the cause. Our economy is a complex and intricate system. What caused the crisis? Look:

*Fed Chair Alan Greenspan dropped rates to 1 percent — levels not seen for half a century — and kept them there for an unprecedentedly long period. This caused a spiral in anything priced in dollars (i.e., oil, gold) or credit (i.e., housing) or liquidity driven (i.e., stocks).

*Low rates meant asset managers could no longer get decent yields from municipal bonds or Treasurys. Instead, they turned to high-yield mortgage-backed securities. Nearly all of them failed to do adequate due diligence before buying them, did not understand these instruments or the risk involved. They violated one of the most important rules of investing: Know what you own.

*Fund managers made this error because they relied on the credit ratings agencies — Moody’s, S&P and Fitch. They had placed an AAA rating on these junk securities, claiming they were as safe as U.S. Treasurys.

• Derivatives had become a uniquely unregulated financial instrument. They are exempt from all oversight, counter-party disclosure, exchange listing requirements, state insurance supervision and, most important, reserve requirements. This allowed AIG to write $3 trillion in derivatives while reserving precisely zero dollars against future claims.

• The Securities and Exchange Commission changed the leverage rules for just five Wall Street banks in 2004. The “Bear Stearns exemption” replaced the 1977 net capitalization rule’s 12-to-1 leverage limit. In its place, it allowed unlimited leverage for Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns. These banks ramped leverage to 20-, 30-, even 40-to-1. Extreme leverage leaves very little room for error. ( all emphasis mine).

 

Does anyone even remember what the tea baggers were so upset about. Part of their beef was health care reform. But in the beginning the biggest complaint  had been how reckless Wall Street had been and they shouldn’t have to pay for it. Of course once they were elected to office they did everything they could to be a golden shield for Wall Street. Now they are indistinguishable from the same old crones of far Right conservatism, even claiming that reforms to protect consumers and investors, and maybe prevent another Great Recession are bricks on the road to communism. No wonder they hate the OWS movement. OWS seems to have a lot more courage and deeper convictions even if some of their methods ain’t so great.

Since Newt appears to be gaining traction on Herman Cain’s decline he is getting a little more scrutiny. Newt Gingrich: His baggage has baggage. Ethics charges? Three marriages? Shutting down government? Orphanages for welfare kids?

For instance, he’s the only House speaker in American history to be disciplined by Congress for ethics violations.  In 1998, he paid a $300,000 fine after he was found to have been misusing his tax-exempt foundations for political gain.

OK, those have to be the two worst things, dumping his wife who had cancer for his mistress, and congressional ethics sanctions, right?

 

Whenever I watch political drams on TV or at the movies, as cynical as I might be at times I always have reservations about the petty acts of revenge perpetrated by the characters. In real life Newt’s revenge for President Clinton not letting him sit up front on Air Force One should be what I use as a barometer for what passes the petty vindictive test in drama. Herman Cain doesn’t eat “sissy” pizza. The GOP candidate measures a man in terms of sausage and pepperoni — and with lame, emasculating words

“The more toppings a man has on his pizza, I believe the more manly he is,” he explained. “Because the more manly man is not afraid of abundance. A manly man don’t want it piled high with vegetables! ” …. Cain then explained that a real man would dismiss any pizza contaminated with vegetables as “a sissy pizza.” Because Herman Cain’s penis isn’t having it!

Admit it, if you heard someone on a TV drama say that you’d groan, wondering where Hollywood is getting its script writers. The only reason I include this Hermantor meltdown of sausage laced lunacy is because it is these verbal hair balls are the most likely cause of Herman’s decline in the polls, not the real possibility he committed multiple sexual assaults.

Not word for word but I agree with Matthew Yglesias’s general sentiment – Getting Kicked Out Of Zuccotti Park Is Probably Good For Occupy Wall Street. Bill Moyer makes a good point – PBS host Moyers says government failing Americans

Q: The people behind the Occupy Wall Street protests and the tea party seem to present a similar message, even though they are quite different on a social and personal level. The tea party folks have had some political impact, while the Wall Street protesters have not yet. Do you see their movement ever gaining more traction?

A: I know a lot of tea partiers. I was out listening to them and talking to them. They had a half-truth. Why do I want to put more of my taxes into a government that was serving special interests? They understood that. The other side says we have to have a safety net. The two sides can’t get together. The populist movement (of the tea party) was taken over and co-opted by corporate interests. It’s hard to retain fiery indignation and independence when that happens. I don’t think Occupy Wall Street will have the influence they want unless they do what the tea party did and take over the nominating process. Unless they do, they will never have the satisfaction that they want and that the civil rights movement, say, had back in the 1950s and ’60s. These people are not going to have long-ranging effect unless they have a party to act on their interests. They need to become a political movement instead of a grievance committee.

OWS has thus far declined to identify with a political party. Put aside that small fraction who are anarchists, libertarian crack-pots, the far left and general malcontents – and you have the vast majority of OWS who seem to be progressives. They and conservatives hardly seem like a good match – Karl Rove and his right-wing millionaire posse Crossroads are using OWS to attack Democrats. There is a progressive caucus in the House. Trying to get progressives elected and expanding their power in the House would be the next logical and practical step. Robert Reich notes the irony of using a nationwide militarization of the police to shut-down democracy in action – Occupiers Occupied: The Hijacking of the First Amendment

A funny thing happened to the First Amendment on its way to the public forum. According to the Supreme Court, money is now speech and corporations are now people. But when real people without money assemble to express their dissatisfaction with the political consequences of this, they’re treated as public nuisances and evicted.

To pile on the irony the police are shutting down the best voice in America that represents them.

 

Bill Moyers keynote at Public Citizen’s 40th Anniversary Gala. Kind of long, but worth a listen to, at 77 years old, a veteran of the long war for social and economic justice. The quote used in the post title is from the video.

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Brass Anchor and Old Map wallpaper – Tales of Modern Misanthropes

Brass Anchor and Old Map wallpaper

 

There was no way a sexual harassment scandal involving Herman Cain would benefit liberals. What with their victim-hood complex and that complex goes especially deep in Cain himself. “The Daily Show” takes on Ann Coulter’s race-baiting logic – Video at link.

Most by now are probably familiar with Ann Coulter’s declaration, when discussing the Herman Cain sexual harassment debacle earlier this week, that “our blacks are so much better than their blacks.” Most probably weren’t all that shocked to hear this sort of race-baiting from Coulter, who’s made a lucrative career dispensing right-wing vitriol. Most probably just ignored her uncouth remarks and moved on.

Coulter is like a one woman clown show. She has a terrible allergy to facts. Specializing in middle-school politics of who can think up the the most venal epitaphs to hurl. The most venal wins. Facts are not and never have been part of the equation. Their blacks are better? That is not a fact, but the rabid rantings of someone desperate for attention. Please someone give Coulter her warm bottle of pabulum before she starts choking on her own vitriol. Cain’s popularity and campaign contributions have gone up with the growth of the scandal. Part of that is because some believe Cain is a victim, while others simply believe it is alright to sexually harass women in the work place. So who would stand to benefit from a Cain scandal? Sure the village wing-nuts think Cain would demolish President Obama is a debate. That might be because thus far Cain has been debating the Tapioca Pudding brigade. Let’s back up and ask who originally broke the story of Cain’s background. Politico. A lot of people think Politico is just a political news site. It even publishes a little bit of liberal opinion. This is pretty much SOP for a Right leaning site that wants the appearance of impartiality. Frederick J. Ryan Jr. is CEO and president of Politico. He was formerly Assistant to President Ronald Reagan. James VandeHei is the executive editor and co-founder of Politico. He is married to a former staffer for Tom Delay (R-TX). There was and probably still is some speculation among conservative bloggers that someone in Rick Perry’s camp leaked the sexual harassment info – even Cain is pointing at Perry as the origin of the revelations. Which weakens Coulter and others claim that this is some liberal plot against “their blacks”. In response to the charges against Cain, Michelle Bachmann said – “This is the year when we can’t have any surprises with our candidate.” For whatever weird sociological reasons, as long as the scandal does not involve children ( as in Mark Foley(R-Fl) conservatives seem to actually benefit from sex scandals. When conservative Arnold Schwarzenegger was running for governor of California 16 women came forward with stories or sexual harassment and it did nothing to derail his campaign. Whether they are more important or not might be debatable, but the harassment stories are distracting scrutiny of Cain on other issues – Conservative Group Investigates Top Cain Aide

The conservative Americans for Prosperity is investigating their financial dealings with Prosperity USA, the group run by Cain chief of staff Mark Block that’s been accused of illegally helping get the Cain campaign off the ground, the Center for Public Integrity reports:

Levi Russell, a spokesman for AFP, told iWatch News , that “there were financial dealings with Prosperity USA and/or the Wisconsin Prosperity Network.” The latter group is another charity that Block helped set up in Wisconsin in 2008 to boost conservative causes. It’s not clear why AFP is reviewing the latter group except that Block founded it too.

Russell said AFP was trying to “find out the timing and the nature of the transactions.”

“We want to hold off (saying more) in light of potential legal ramifications,” Russell said. AFP is expected to complete its review late next week.

 

Like Politico, Americans for Prosperity is part of the conservative noise machine infrastructure. It is not like conservatives to make such timely moves that reflect negatively on one of their own, unless they would prefer another candidate.

While one can understand why the conservative corporate welfare club and millionaires would love Cain’s 9-9-9 tax plan. Why would working class conservatives want their taxes to go up – Right-wing Sugar Daddy Rupert Murdoch’s Fox Distorts Impact Of Cain’s 9-9-9 Plan On Low-Income Taxpayers

PolitiFact: “A National Sales Tax” Like Cain’s “Would Raise the Relative Tax Burden On Low- And Middle-Income [Earners].” Sharockman also noted in his article, “Most economists agree that a national sales tax would raise the relative tax burden on low- and middle-income earning taxpayers.” From his PolitiFact article:

Cain’s national sales tax, in effect, would attempt to make up for the reduction of federal revenue by creating the 9 percent income tax. The national sales tax, which would help fund the federal government, would be on top of state and local sales taxes, which fund state and local government. In Florida, that would create a hypothetical tax rate of 15 percent in most parts of the state. In the Wall Street Journal, Cain said the national sales tax would be levied “on all new goods.” (A good question to ask would be whether services are exempted.) Most economists agree that a national sales tax would raise the relative tax burden on low- and middle-income earning taxpayers. “The main reason is that low- and middle-income households consume more of their income than high-income households do,” said William Gale, senior fellow for economic studies at the Brookings Institution. “Another way of saying that is high-income households save more of their income than low-income households do.” [PolitiFact, 9/26/11…

Conservatives who make under $40k per year would see their taxes go up substantially under Cain’s plan ( and Rick Perry’s as well).

Mitt Romney Moves To Embrace Paul Ryan Medicare Plan [UPDATE]. We’ve covered this territory before. The Ryan plan would give Medicare recipients vouchers. Vouchers that would lead to a large increase in out of pocket medical expenses for seniors and the disabled. The only thing Romney is changing – according to a spokesman – is that participating would be voluntary. Medicare would still end up being gutted. Only the wealthy would be able to afford the higher cost necessitated by the inability for Medicare to have the kind of cost control leverage it has now.

Let’s help Elizabeth Warren hold the banks accountable by signing the petition to reinstate Glass Steagall. Bringing back Steagall would be the end of the too big to fail banks. We’d have something closer to actual capitalism with more banks competing against each other for business. This is part of what progressives have been pushing for years. It is something that Sarah Palin does not understand Palin: Protesters want bailouts just like Wall Street fat cats

Failed Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin says protesters in the Occupy movement are looking for a handout just like “Wall Street fat cats.”

“I would like to know that my federal government understands a vision that believes in empowerment versus entitlement,” Palin told an audience the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) Victory Dinner Thursday. “To see this struggle in action, look no further than the Occupy Wall Street movement that is going on.”

A polticeleb who makes millions off selling crap to the rubes getting self-righteous about who deserves what. All during a speech in which she praised the criminal governor of Florida who ripped off the government-tax payers for millions. Palin remains one of the most clueless people in America. She has had years to get up to speed on the most rudimentary facts and still a failure. She better love America, what other country rewards incompetence with millions of dollars. In this post about Elizabeth Warren, Palin could learn some basics about economics and how a complex free market economy works,  Elizabeth Warren really hit a nerve among conservatives with her winning message about the social contract and America’s economy.

Paul Ryan accused Warren of “telling Americans that they’re stuck in their current station in life, that they’re a victim of circumstances beyond their control, and that the government’s role is to help them cope with it.” When in fact Warren clearly explained that the economic crisis didn’t “just happen,” and that Americans aren’t “victims of circumstances beyond their control,” but of a financial sector that “broke the economy,” and politicians who were content to let it happen as long as they got a cut.

Worse yet, Ryan accused Warren of falling victim to the “fatal conceit of liberalism,” only to stumble over what sounds a lot like “the fatal conceit of conservatism.”

“Few tricks of the unsophisticated intellect are more curious than the naïve psychology of the business man, who ascribes his achievements to his own unaided efforts, in bland unconsciousness of a social order without whose continuous support and vigilant protection he would be as a lamb bleating in the desert,” wrote the great economic historian R.H. Tawney in 1926. He added pointedly that the arrogant assumption that marginal people’s “distress is a proof of demerit… has always been popular with the prosperous.”

Apparently that assumption is still popular in Republican debate audiences and among online commenters terrified of losing what little they have and desperately seeking targets that are easier to blame than the powerful interests that are actually taking them down.

For that matter, you’d think they would concur with the “common sense” of Thomas Paine — the patriot the right loves to co-opt.

No Known Restrictions: Thomas Paine by George Romney, 179? (LOC)

Separate an individual from society, and give him an island or a continent to possess, and he cannot acquire personal property. He cannot be rich. So inseparably are the means connected with the end, in all cases, that where the former do not exist the latter cannot be obtained. All accumulation, therefore, of personal property, beyond what a man’s own hands produce, is derived to him by living in society; and he owes on every principle of justice, of gratitude, and of civilization, a part of that accumulation back again to society from whence the whole came.

You might assume that a party that once upon a time called itself “The Party of Lincoln” would as honest as old Abe was about wealth and labor.

 

Republicans, a terribly misleading name for the misanthropes that call themselves Republicans these days, could learn something from Adam Smith, Thomas Paine and Abe Lincoln, but instead they listen to the flies buzzing around in their empty heads and mercenary hearts.

Fly Fishing wallpaper III – Conservatives Are Masters of Twaddle

Fly Fishing wallpaper III

 

There are many warning signs that you are about to read of conservative twaddle when it identifies the author of the article as a pround memebr of the the wing-nut welafer circuit. In this case a visiting scholar at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. The Hoover specializes in publishing verbal manure as though there was a shortage. They push it regularly without shame. Your average ten year old lemonade stand operator knows more about economics, but far less about insidious lies. Which brings us to Professor  Meltzer H. Meltzer writing at the Rupert Murdoch rag the WSJ, Four Reasons Keynesians Keep Getting It Wrong

Those who heaped high praise on Keynesian policies have grown silent as government spending has failed to bring an economic recovery. Except for a few diehards who want still more government spending, and those who make the unverifiable claim that the economy would have collapsed without it, most now recognize that more than a trillion dollars of spending by the Bush and Obama administrations has left the economy in a slump and unemployment hovering above 9%.

Why is the economic response to increased government spending so different from the response predicted by Keynesian models?

First, did this dipstick poser bother to look at any data on the recession. Why bother with facts when you have garbage to write. Democrats saved the economy from tanking even more. And let’s all conveniently forget that it was conservative polices that got us into this mess in the first place. Tax cuts that would pay for themselves? I have a truck load of fairy dust for sale for anyone who stills believes that.  And remember that three trillion dollar war Republicans put on your children’s credit card.

larger.

Meltzer is a Very Serious Person or advocate of austerity or give the middle-class the shaft while we wait for the economy to turn around. Guess what, austerity is not only not working but risks another recession. England has jumped on the Very Serious Person bandwagon and is sinking. Where as New Zealand and Australia have not and while they are not enjoying a new era of economic prosperity, at least they’re not losing ground.  The UK Fundamental Picture Supports a Weaker GBP vs AUD, NZD

The problem with the UK economy is tight fiscal policy as the government continues its austerity drive, along with increasing unemployment, high inflation and low wages, which are squeezing consumers’ purchasing power and weakening domestic demand.

The implication to consider from Mr. Fisher’s comments is that even the extra quantitative easing announced in early October may not be enough to change the momentum of the economy and if economic conditions do not improve more quantitative easing may be necessary. He also did say that if conditions improve the central bank could cut short its bond purchases. The former seems to be more likely than the latter and therefore the prospect of even more money printing by the central bank should weigh on the pound in the coming months.

And more here, The Crumbling Case for Austerity

Austerity doesn’t work:

The Crumbling Case for Cutting Spending to Stimulate the Economy, by Chad Stone, CBPP: Empirical support for the view that sharp, immediate cuts in government spending would be good for the U.S. economy was never strong, and it’s getting weaker.

The Economist is on the case, highlighting two new studies showing that austerity and growth don’t mix in the short term. …

The professor also throws out some of the same uncertainty/regulation drivel that has been pouring from the right-wing meme machine for the last year,

Third, Keynesian models totally ignore the negative effects of the stream of costly new regulations that pour out of the Obama bureaucracy. Who can guess the size of the cost increases required by these programs? ObamaCare is not the only source of this uncertainty, though it makes a large contribution.

Meltzer is one of the best examples around for ending tenure for professors. The only place that would would employ mindless charlatans like him are right-wing think-tanks. Obama Wrote 5% Fewer Rules Than Bush

Obama’s White House has approved fewer regulations than his predecessor George W. Bush at this same point in their tenures, and the estimated costs of those rules haven’t reached the annual peak set in fiscal 1992 under Bush’s father, according to government data reviewed by Bloomberg News.

If you figure in inflation Obama era regulations cost less than those of either Bush 41 or 43. Meltzer probably got his predictions for the cost of health care reform from a fortune teller at one of the conservative debates. The CBO estimates health care reform will save the government over a trillion dollars over the next ten years. And yes it is absolutely safe to completely disregard any statistics that come out of the Hoover Institute. Want to repeal health care reform, that will add about $230 billion to the federal deficit by 2021 and leave 30 million Americans without health insurance. There will be a bump in cost to some small business for about a year. After that small business will save money. Meltzer writes a load of pure crap. The WSJ publishes as an editorial, but even editorials must have some basis in fact. Note the lack of cries for Meltzer to be fired. Note the editor that let that propagandist crap be published still has a job.

In 2010 every tea smoking conservative wacko campaigned on a jobs creation platform. Every Republican congressional representative and every governor. How many jobs have these Super Conservatives created? Zero. Actually less than zero – House GOP’s “Job Creating” Spending Cuts Destroyed 370,000 Jobs. Its like a political cartoon come to life. You have Democrats on one side laying bricks and Republicans on the other side tearing them down – all the while shouting  they love America. You can’t recover from a recession if conservatives are going to do everything they can to make sure we don’t.

I won’t cheat and look up whether Rick perry is pro legalization of marijuana. From the looks of it, he does seem to eat a herbal laced brownie on occasion. Via HuffPo – Rick Perry’s Unusual Speech Performance (VIDEO)

If there is a contest among the conservative presidential candidates to see who can be the biggest buffoon they’re all running neck and neck.

Cain Smears Planned Parenthood: Accuses Group of ‘Genocide,’ Says Its Goal Is To ‘Kill Black Babies’

Today on Face The Nation, GOP presidential hopeful Herman Cain claimed that Planned Parenthood wants to “kill black babies” and is part of an organized effort to commit “genocide” against the black community:

[  ]…Cain’s statement about the location of Planned Parenthood clinics is wildly inaccuate. According to a study by the Guttmacher Institute from January, “Fewer than one in 10 abortion clinics are located in predominantly African-American neighborhoods, or those in which the majority of residents are black.”

Politifact previously evaluated the Cain’s claim that Planned Parenthood was created to “kill black babies” and deemed it “a ridiculous, cynical play of the race card.”

In 2004 and 2006 Cain led a radical group that produced radio advertisements accusing Democrats of wanting to kill “black babies.” Cain himself provided the voiceovers for some of the ads.

 

Cain finally got around to making a definitive statement about women’s health care rights. He is against them. Cain is against a woman being able to make her own decision about what to do in case of being impregnated during a rape, impregnated by her father or other relative or when her life is endangered by carrying a pregnancy any further. Cain is continuing his own much loved plantation theme. Cain believes that women should be treated the way they were before slaves were emancipated and clearly before sufferer. Cain, the plantation master as president. Since conservative keep fighting the Civil War, it would be another victory in pushing the entire union into the dream of being a backwards confederacy.

Roger Simon is a conservative – Roger Simon: Being ‘a little bit racist’ helps in GOP primary

Politico’s Roger Simon says that Republican presidential Rick Perry’s recent embrace of birtherism amounts to a racist “dog whistle.”

“It’s not a ‘fun’ issue to poke somebody on,” Simon told CNN’s Howard Kurtz Sunday. “It is more than a little bit racist. Not everyone who believes it is a racist. It grew out of the belief that a black man could not be legitimately elected to the president of the United States.”

He continued: “Now, why would Perry use that in the primaries instead of saving it for the general when he’s running against President Obama? Well, it’s because being extreme, perhaps, and a little bit racist, perhaps, gives you good bona fides in a Republican primary. It shows them that you are on the same side as they are.”

“So, it’s a bit of a dog whistle?” Kurtz asked.

“Absolutely,” Simon replied.

Mountain Morning Light wallpaper – The Flat Tax Lead Bandwagon and Other News

American landscapes, green, nature

Mountain Morning Light wallpaper

The conservative winds are changing regardless of what the latest straw polls show. Herman Cain has made one too many missteps and the conservative establishment has declared his campaign is just about over. This op-ed is from the web equivalent of Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News, The Daily Caller –  Cain: Rove attacks me to help Romney

Former Godfather’s Pizza CEO says former Bush White House strategist Karl Rove is attacking him in an effort to help former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the Washington Examiner reports.

Cain’s comments came after Rove, considered the principal architect of President George W. Bush’s political career, mapped out a list of recent Cain “gaffes” on a whiteboard during a Fox News Channel appearance Monday morning. “The whole effect of this is to not create an image, I think, of him being a flip-flopper,” said Rove. “I think it’s to create an image of being not up to the task.”

“It’s a good thing the voters are not looking at Karl Rove’s little whiteboard,” Cain told the Examiner’s Byron York Monday afternoon. “I believe it is a deliberate attempt to damage me because I am not — quote, unquote — the establishment choice. But why not go with the choice that the people seem to like?”

Rove and Fox may not be crazy about Romney, but make no mistake this is a shot to the heart of Cain’s momentum. Cain’s much inflated persona as the outsider wears a bit thin when you consider that most of his campaign organization is the Koch brothers. The Right has taken to describing the Koches as liberal’s boogeyman. They are not invisible and they do not hide under beds, the millions of dollars they spend through the Cato Institute, FreedonWorks and American Legislative Exchange Council(ALEC) the Koches are a major force in the Anti-American conservative movement. They were and are major players in dismantling unions and workers rights. Forget about this meme that conservative voters are anti-establishment. That is the same old window dressing they used at the height of the tea nuts movement to shift blame for the economy and bungled foreign policy away from “true” conservationism. This analysis is spot on. If either one of the Koches started a run for president tomorrow it would shake up the race considerably.

Aging culture warriors on the Right love Rick Perry. He thinks all the batsh*t insane stuff Michelle Bachmann thinks, except he’s male. Perry has now jumped on the flat tax bandwagon. It hardly matters to the average conservative whether it is Cain or Perry’s flat tax, they will lower the taxes for millionaires and corporations and rise taxes on those with average incomes and below. Flat tax fits on a bumper sticker. Conservative pols have always preferred simple over smart or fair. Thinking hurts their pointed heads. For GOP Presidential Field, It’s Survival of the Flattest

As Steve Forbes learned in 1996 and 2000 and Herman Cain is learning now, the flat tax is a bad idea whose time never came. After all, the move to a single income tax rate for all earners inevitably shifts the tax burden from the rich to middle and lower income Americans. And if the rate is too low, the result is a hemorrhage of red ink from the U.S Treasury that quickly becomes an ocean of debt.

Nevertheless, in one form or another, the top tier of the 2012 GOP presidential stands poised to embrace this latest wildly regressive Republican windfall for the wealthy. Hoping to benefit from the hype surrounding Cain’s simple 9-9-9 plan, Texas Governor Rick Perry with Steve Forbes’ endorsement will announce his own flat tax proposal on Tuesday. Meanwhile, the resurrected Newt Gingrich has exhumed his own scheme in the guise of an “optional” 15 percent flat tax rate. And to confirm the growing flat tax popularity among his party’s primary voters, frontrunner Mitt Romney in typical fashion may be on the verge of reversing course.

If conservatives want to be the party of the perennially wacky Forbes let’s not try to discourage them. Forbes went down in flames. Perry and Cain will do likewise. Your conservative family making $40k a year and now pays no federal income taxes has no desire to start paying a minimum tax of Cain’s 9% or Perry’s 20%( as reported by the WSJ). Romney has not specified his flat tax rate yet and as the weeks progress and the feedback starts coming in I suspect it will be one of those flip-flop-flips which he backs off. Rick Perry: Standing Tall for the 1%

He’d allow multinationals to return the trillion dollars in profits that they have closeted abroad at a 5% tax rate, a truly shameless corporate giveaway. He’d lower corporate taxes to 20% immediately, while “phasing out” corporate loopholes – good luck with that.

Then he would blow a hole in Social Security, providing young workers with a choice for private accounts. Since under the current plan, young workers pay for the benefits their parents’ generation receives, this would starve Social Security of significant income just when the boomers are retiring. He does not say how he would replace what is likely to be a trillion dollar shortfall over the next thirty years.

But it will have to be by cutting benefits since he would put a lid on federal spending at 18% GDP (We currently spend about 24%, and it is impossible to imagine an effective government sustaining Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security and bare bone essential services at less than 20%).

During the best of the Bush and total control of the federal government by conservatives spending was 20% of GDP. That is without a recession and spending with no compensating cuts ( its the the glorious borrow and spend years). We have trillions to pay in health are for vets of the two wars conservatives bungled. More of the baby boomers will be retiring. We still need infrastructure spending. A Rick Perry presidency looks as bleak as the landscape in The Book of Eli with no green zone left at the end to save us.

An unfortunate trend is to have a reflexive reaction to anything Obama proposes as dead on arrival. It might be cool in some circles, but not very productive – HARP II, Either A Huge Deal Or Not

The FHFA itself is actually not making any particularly grand claims on behalf of this initiative, and other people I’ve heard from in the government are likewise being very restrained and not promising any gigantic macroeconomic benefits.

Sarah Rosen Wartell, who leads the housing work at CAP, put out a statement observing that “some important details are still to come that will determine how much progress will be achieved.” Joe Gagnon goes really big, and says that if this is designed right we could get three to four million jobs out of it which obviously would be a huge effect. By contrast, Felix Salmon says he thinks this will do almost nothing. Personally, I have no idea who’s right about this. It can’t hurt to try, right?

If we split the difference between Joe and Felix that would mean 2 million jobs and quite a few people staying in their homes.

War By Other Means – Why it’s safe to ignore Republican criticism of Obama’s policy in Iraq.

This is getting all too predictable. President Obama announced that all American troops will leave Iraq by the end of the year, in compliance not only with his election pledge but also with the terms of a U.S.-Iraq treaty. In response, the Republicans moaned and hollered that Obama is playing politics with national security, or that he could have negotiated a better outcome, or that he’s surrendering to Iranian domination.

It’s a safe bet that, had Obama announced he was keeping 10,000 troops in Iraq for the indefinite future, most of the same Republicans would have moaned and hollered that he was breaking a promise to the American people, draining the Treasury, and boosting the chance of a terrorist attack by Muslims angered at our continued occupation.
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More than this, their complaints are unfounded, based on either ignorance or deliberate distortion.

First, it is crucial to note that this withdrawal and its timetable were set in a treaty called the Status of Forces Agreement, signed Nov. 17, 2008, not by Obama (who wasn’t president yet) but rather by George W. Bush. SOFAs, as they’re often abbreviated, are treaties—bearing the force of national and international law—that presidents sign with each country that hosts U.S. armed forces. They set the terms and conditions under which those forces can stay.

The SOFA with Iraq states, in Article 24: “All U.S. forces are to withdraw from all Iraqi territory, waters, and airspace no later than the 31st of December of 2011.” That’s as definitive as these things get.

Article 30 does allow for amendments to the treaty, but only in the event of the “formal written approval of both parties and in accordance with the constitutional procedures in both countries.” For the past few months, U.S. officials (including some former Bush officials called back to join the delegation) have tested the waters to see if Iraqi lawmakers would allow—or, more to the point, wanted—an amendment that would permit some of the current 40,000 American troops to stay on. Their conclusion: The Iraqis had no such desire, and not much need.

There is the argument violence will increase on US withdrawal. We’ve been withdrawing troops over the past two years and while there was an uptick for a while violence is down. fewer Iraqis and fewer US military are dying. We’ll still have 40,000 troops on the Kuwaiti border and a Naval carrier group off the coast. Iran talks a lot of smack but they have no desire to have their clock cleaned by US air and naval power.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and some others have suggested that the sticking point was over a clause giving U.S. troops immunity from Iraqi prosecution for alleged crimes. This is a standard feature of such treaties, including of the earlier arrangement with Iraq. It’s true that the Iraqis refused to grant the immunity. But there was no leeway to negotiate an exemption, because the main sticking point was, and is, that the Iraqis simply do not want American troops in their country anymore. One U.S. official in Iraq said in a phone interview, “Even our erstwhile friends [among Iraqi politicians] want us out by the end of the year. None of them lifted a finger to keep us.”

Do Obama’s Republican critics, who have made such a big deal of Iraq’s bourgeoning democracy, really think Obama should (or could) have disregarded the democratically elected parliament of a sovereign nation—a sovereign ally, at that—in order to keep U.S. troops on that nation’s soil, allegedly for its own interest (as defined by us, not by them)? We would then become nothing but an occupying power, sure to trigger an escalation of armed resistance and appear hypocritical in the extreme.

By The Lake Autumn wallpaper – Only The People Should Be Too Big To Fail

fall colors

By The Lake Autumn wallpaper

 

The NYT plays catch-up, Cries of Anti-Semitism, but Not at Zuccotti Park

Among the hodgepodge of signs that have sprouted in Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan, one man in jeans and a baseball cap has been carrying placards that shout their suggestions: “Google: Jewish Billionaires” and “Google: Zionists control Wall St.”

At the same time, among the sea of tarps under which protesters have been sleeping, a sukkah, a makeshift hut, was erected to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Sukkot.

The Occupy Wall Street protests, now in their second month, have increasingly been criticized by a variety of groups, most of them politically conservative, for flashes of anti-Semitism. Among those calling attention to the issue have been the Republican National Committee, Rush Limbaugh and the columnist William Kristol.

But the protests have also, on occasion, had a distinctly Jewish flavor: The encampment has coincided with the busy Jewish holiday season and has witnessed, in its midst or on its edges, a crowded Kol Nidre service on Yom Kippur, festive dancing with a scroll on Simchat Torah on Thursday night, and the sukkah.

The right-wing Wall Street funded Emergency Committee for Israel seems to be hanging its entire case on finding a few nuts and having conservative freaks like Limbaugh supply the echo effect. Hoping yet another baseless meme will catch on.

Anti-illegal immigration bill stokes backlash in Alabama fields

Farmers fearing a labor shortage are protesting recent immigration laws they say are too harsh, forcing undocumented workers to flee to prevent deportation. They say US workers are unwilling to endure the rigorous conditions of farm work and that state legislators need to come up with solutions to prevent local agribusiness from going under.

More than 100 farmers and three state representatives in Alabama responded to the recent enactment of a slate of anti-illegal immigration laws by holding a public hearing this week in Oneonta, about 35 miles northeast of Birmingham. The farmers complained that they were already seeing laborers pack up and leave the state.

The new immigration laws will result in a $40 million hit to the state’s economy, with 10,000 illegal workers, each making about $5,000 a year, set to leave, according to a report released this week by the University of Alabama’s Center for Business and Economic Research.

 

Sorry Alabama farmers conservatives are not doing sane or rational or subtle or compromise at the moment or for the foreseeable future. They have learned nothing from disastrous policies and laws. We could have a nice stream lined process where immigrant workers get a quick seasonable farm work permit and we could all just go about our business. That is just too adult and mature for conservatives. They have a point to make and if it costs you millions, well just suck it up. Funny how the conservative mind works. They have done everything they can to make sure Wall Street can continue to play casino with the nation’s wealth, but won’t let some poor workers make a few dollars. * There has been one conservative in Texas who has proposed a gust worker program, but that seems to be going nowhere.

This graph is ridiculous, but the format is the way it is because Herman Cain’s tax fantasy is so ridiculous, 9-9-9 in One (Really Long) Graph

In my previous post decrying the extreme redistribution of the tax burden from the wealthy to everyone else, I had to use two graphs to tell the story.  I couldn’t fit the increase in tax liabilities for the bottom 80% on the same graph that includes the over $1 million decrease in tax liability for the top 0.1%.

But my CBPP colleague Brian Highsmith could.  So here you have it: the change in tax liabilities, compared to current tax policy, under 9-9-9, for different income groups, in one incredibly unsettling graph.

9-9-9 in One (Really Long) Graph

 

 

The best way to see the full size is to click over to the story link. These long red lines are the tax cuts for the super rich. The blue increases are the tax increases for people with relatively modest incomes. There are a few comments by trolls at the link that display a stunning amount of malicious ignorance about wealth and where it comes from. The belief, akin to how cultists believe in their dogma, that the upper ten percent are the wealth creators and the rest of us should be thankful for their hard work is mind-boggling in its boneheadedness. Every dollar that Wall Street uses for collateral, bets on, uses to buy derivatives and packages CDOs originated with someone who did some labor to create something that created the value in the first place. All capital begins with labor. Everyone else is just hitching a ride. The 1%, but really the upper ten percent, use the capital created by the people who assemble the cars, mine the copper, roof the houses, program the software, collect the trash, empty the bed pans, invent the next drug, do the basic research for the next must have a gadget to accumulate their wealth. Anyone who does actual work for a living should recent the hell out of the kind of financial sector that has evolved over the last forty years.

We the people are the only ones who should be too big to fail

 

The Hermantor has covered every possible position on a woman’s right to have autonomy over her own body – Herman Cain: Another 180 Turn on Abortion. Herman’s latest is a federal ban on a woman’s right to be free. In addition, the desert of sorts is his proposal for a Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. The SCOTUS has already ruled that women, being equal citizens and all, have the right to decide what to do with their uterus. Herman and Rick Perry see every uterus as the property of federal marshals. So a federal ban on women’s autonomy would be a job creator of sorts, we’ll need thousands of new marshals and prison guards to enforce this major expansion of government powers. Trying to pass a new Constitutional amendment on marriage might be a good idea, for moderate Americans anyway. The road to changing the Constitution is a long arduous one. Think of the millions of dollars the Right will waste on trying to get such an amendment ratified. Since the majority of Americans now support same-sex marriage the ratification process will be a black hole for the conservative donations that will not be spent on other issues.

Herman is also a Koch tea bagger – Not an Employee? Herman Cain Had Mailing and Email Addresses at Koch’s Americans For Prosperity HQ

Goodbye National Treasures, Ron Paul Calls For Federal Public Lands To Be ‘Sold Off To Private Owners’

Paul’s remarks fall in line with the attacks on public lands from conservative lawmakers and corporate front groups. For instance, Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) has been waging war on public lands from his helm as chairman of the House Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, while the Koch Brothers have funded pro-oil events across the West.

For more information, read Center for American Progress President John Podesta’s article on defending public lands or a report from CAP’s public lands team on how public land conservation creates jobs.

Most readers may already know this, but for those that don’t, our national parks, forests and marine sanctuaries are already exploited by private interests. The government allows timber companies like the Koch owned Georgia Pacific to cut trees on federal lands for pennies on the dollar of market value. A great if old example of corporate welfare. If we sell off forest to Georgia Pacific they will manage that land as well as they have land in the south – old growth forests are down to a few percent of what they were just fifty years ago. They get great short-term wind fall profits, but your children and grandchildren get the shaft. Libertarian Ron Paul has spent most of his adult life collecting a tax payer salary and benefits. He has amassed a nice fortune without breaking a sweat. In that entire time he has never issued one solid policy study based opinion about anything. He occasionally sounds good on not getting into expensive wars, but other than that he is a wacko. Pauls view of the Constitution would bring back Jim Crow, women’s bodies would be the defacto property of the state, American workers would enjoy the same wage protections as Asian sweat shop workers. Paul was one of the sponsors of the Marriage Protection Act in the House in 2004. Paul, like Cain and Perry are big government mad-hatters. They don’t think the government should protect your family from toxic chemicals but they do think the government should have the last word on your personal life.

 

Classic Jazz wallpaper – Conservatives and The Art of Voting Against Your Rational Self Interests

Classic Jazz wallpaper

 

Workers in the USA who are making less than $12 an hour probably don’t absolutely love their jobs. In cities such as Dallas, New York, San Francisco and Miami they’re just getting by. They are paying their payroll taxes – for their Medicare and Social Security. This is a group that needs those programs more than high income households because even the best savers are not going to have much when they retire. This is deep working class America. They also pay federal taxes when they buy gas and a few other things. They pay local fees ( frequently which are hidden taxes politicians with no guts vote for so they can clam they did not rise taxes). According to Republicans these people – the bottom 50% of all income earners and who frequently work far harder for their money than the Koch brothers or the Coors family ever will – are freeloaders who need to anti-up their share of the federal tax pie. Romney “Wants” Breaks for the Middle Class: Too Bad His Actual Plan Favors the Mega-Rich 

As part of his critique of Herman Cain’s absurd “9-9-9” tax plan, Mitt Romney said in last night’s debate, “I want to reduce taxes on middle-income families.”

It was a throw-away line, mentioned in passing. But it’s important to realize what Romney claims to “want” is not even close to what Romney actually intends to do.

In fact, there’s no real ambiguity here. The apparent Republican frontrunner has already said he wants to see middle-class taxes go up right away, having endorsed an increase in payroll taxes in 2012. Romney has also backed higher federal income taxes on lower- and middle-income earners for the foreseeable future. He’s been surprisingly explicit on this, recently telling voters, “I think it’s a real problem when you have half of Americans, almost half of Americans, that are not paying income tax.”

Of course, those who aren’t paying income taxes include a fairly narrow group of people: lower- and middle-income workers who fall below the tax threshold; the unemployed; students, and retirees. Romney thinks it’s a “real problem” that they’re not paying federal income taxes — and it’s a problem he intends to fix by raising their taxes.

But, the former governor says, that’s only part of the picture. Sure, Romney will raise middle-class income taxes, but he also intends to give the middle class a capital-gains tax break.

Under Romney’s plan, those making less than $200,000 a year would see their capital gains taxes eliminated entirely. And what’s wrong with that? Pat Garofalo explained:

Romney may think he focused his tax cut on the middle-class, but according to a ThinkProgress analysis of Tax Policy Center data, nearly three-fourths of households that make $200,000 or less annually would get literally nothing from Romney’s tax cut, due to the simple fact that most of those households have no capital gains income

To be exact, 73.9 percent of the households upon which Romney “focused” his tax cut will see zero benefit from it. […]

For families making between $40,000 and $50,000 annually, Romney’s tax cut comes out to a whopping $216 per year. Meanwhile, the payroll tax cut enacted by the Obama administration in 2011, which Romney derided as a “temporary little Band-Aid,” gave those same households a tax cut of $800 to $1,000.

Romney also, incidentally, wants massive tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations.

“I want to reduce taxes on middle-income families”? What Romney “wants” is irrelevant.

To be sure, there are some who might argue that middle-class taxes should go up, and it’s a subject worthy of debate. The problem here is that Romney just isn’t telling the truth about his own agenda. If he intends to raise middle-class taxes, and his own plan suggests that he does, Romney should prepared to defend his agenda.

 

If most Americans want Medicare and Social Security to remain solvent it is probably inevitable that we do away with the current payroll tax cuts. In Romney’s formula people who my grandmother used to say lived from hand to mouth, or pay check to pay check, just trying to keep their head above water will have to kick in some minimum federal income tax. All the while the richest Americans get yet another cut on their capital gains. Who are the capital gains people – mostly the 1%. They get a huge amount of their income from capital gains, thus a lower effective tax rate than, you know who, Warren Buffet’s secretary. No matter how badly the tax cut our way to economic nirvana plan fails, conservatives are going to stick with it. There is very obviously no evidence that cutting capital gains to historic lows creates jobs. They do make people with lots of money richer. In America, money is political speech and political power. So Romney’s plan is the continued dis-empowerment of the 99%.

This connection between taxes, political power and dis-empowerment of the non-wealthy is enough to make most Americans pause. If we have a free market merit based economy how come so many Americans are working so hard ( or want to work, but cannot find employment) and we’re not getting ahead. How or why is this unwholesome and un-meritocracy system allowed to continue. As much power as the wealthy and their network of think tanks and lobbyist are they only have so many votes. Except they’re counting on a large minority of voters, working class voters, to vote against their own best interests in some Faustian bargain – How Christian Fundamentalists Disempower Themselves and Help Empower the Top 1% to Exploit the 99%

Evangelical fundamentalism helped empower the top 1 percent. Note I didn’t say religion per se, but religious fundamentalism.

Why? Because without the fundamentalists and their “values” issues, many in the lower 99 percent could not have been convinced to vote against their (our) economic self-interest; in other words, vote for Republicans who only serve billionaires.

Wall Street is a great target for long-overdue protest, but so are the centers of religious power that are the gatekeepers of Republican Party “values” voters that make the continuing economic exploitation possible.

Fundamentalist religion — evangelical and Roman Catholic alike — has delegitimized the US government and thus undercut its ability to tax, spend and regulate.

The fundamentalists have replaced economic and political justice with a bogus (and hate-driven) “morality” litmus tests of spurious red herring “issues” from abortion to school prayer and gay rights. The result has been that the masses of lower middle-class and poor Americans who should be voting for Democrats and thus their own economic interests, have been persuaded to vote against their own class and self interest.

This trick of political sleight of hand has been achieved by this process:

Declare the US government agents of evil because “the government” has allowed legal abortion, gay rights, etc.
Declare that therefore “government is the problem,” not the solution.
The government is the source of all evwww.amazon.com/Sex-Mom-God-Strange-Politics/dp/0306819287/ref=tmm_hrd_title_0il, thus anyone the government wants to regulate is being picked on by satanic forces. The US government is always the bad guy.
Good, God-fearing folks will always vote for less government and less regulation because “the government” is evil.
So unregulated corporations, banks and Wall Street are always right and represent “freedom” while government is always wrong and represents “tyranny.”

All the GOP presidential candidates are exploiting this phenomenon. Herman Cain, a puppet of the Koch brothers said without shame, without having clue from inside his bubble of elitism that the OWS movement should be protesting in front of the White House, not America’s financial centers. Certainly Washington shares some of the blame – if we had not had thirty years of financial deregulation by Washington – the Wall Street meltdown might never have happened. We still might have had a housing bubble but not one so severe – the severity was caused by Wall Street as well – Private Wall Street Companies Caused The Financial Crisis — Not Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Or The Community Reinvestment Act . How do you get people to vote in their own rational best interests. I’ve always wondered about the cultural wing-nuts and abortion. By national budget standards investments in education about both abstinence and birth control, at least a two year degree from a community college and a job that pays a living wage all bring down the abortion rate. Yet the very same culturally conservative vote to increase abortions when they vote to cut programs those programs. Want a lower crime rate, don’t build more prisons, invest in education.

After Confusing Himself, Cain Decides That Rape Victims Should Be Forced To Carry Pregnancies To Term. The conservative tenet that women should be incubators for rapists and child molesters hasn’t quite worn out my outrage quotient. This perverse, immoral unfathomable attitude toward women, toward another human being is something out of some dystopian dictatorship or horror movie.

The Republican Bickersons

That was fun tonight. Attack, defend, attack and attack some more. Texas Gov. Rick Perry had some problems in tonight’s Republican presidential debate, as he’s had before — do we really want to “defund the United Nations”? — but he was a real presence this time, and I thought he put some life back into his campaign.

Former Gov. Mitt Romney found himself on the defensive as he never has been before. His health-care plan in Massachusetts finally got a real going-over, with Sen. Rick Santorum leading the way. Santorum was an important player throughout the discussion, and this has to give him a bump — in attention, if not in the polls.

For the most part, Romney was fluid and fluent, as is his habit. But I thought the particularly bitter exchange he had with Perry, over whether Romney had hired an illegal immigrant, hurt Romney more than Perry. There was petulance and perhaps a trace of arrogance in the way Romney kept badgering Perry. “It’s been a tough couple of debates for Rick” and “You have a problem with letting people finish speaking” are Romney lines that will get played over and over, and I don’t think they came off well. In truth, neither Romney nor Perry looked great when they went into junkyard-dog mode, but it may be a net win for Perry, because he put himself on the same level as Romney. But on the question of Mormonism and the religious faith of politicians, Romney’s answer was very good, while Perry’s response at times came close to incoherence.

 

It’s not difficult to imagine the Perry prep team over the last couple weeks. It’s the political version of Rocky. His team told Perry that it had to land some solid punches or he was down for the count. This is no time to be a gentleman. Romney’s support might not win any prizes for enthusiasm, but his supporters have not been easy to sway either. As feisty as everyone was when you have all those punches being thrown, it tends to distract so much people aren’t sure who won. So they just stay with the leanings they had before the fight started.

Antique World Map c1713 – All progress is precarious, and the solution of one problem brings us face to face with another problem

Antique World Map (copper engraving), Pieter van der Aa, c.1713. The illustrations make the map a work of fine art in addition to being an amazing example of 18th century map making.

All protest movements are vulnerable to being infiltrated, their message co-opted by outside agitators and the small number of weirdos who joy in, used to discredit everyone. The Right – you know those people who manipulated the nation into a three trillion-dollar quagmire in Iraq, all the while hiding behind the flag and nationalism, bankrupting the nation and using government the way organized crime uses goons, are engaging in all three tactics. Wingnuts’ Photo Fail

Wingnuts have been circulating this photo, claiming it’s from Occupy Wall Street. One woman who claims to work/have worked at the New York Stock Exchange posted it on her Facebook page and where it was shared over 1000 times wrote this as the caption:

This is the NO-CLASS Wall Street occupiers. They are rutting in the street. They are defecating in the street. This is what the democratic party is applauding and embracing? America is in trouble; When morality is willingly being usurped by corruption; Freedom sold for limitation and servitude; Honor traded for degradation, a society can not survive.

Fail. It’s from a 2007 Portland, Oregon anti-war demonstration.

The right-wing fraudster thinks freedom is letting Wall Street steal $17 trillion dollars from the American people and pleading with them to continue as usual, please abuse us some more. Masochism has always been a not too subtle feature of the conservative mindset. OWS: The provocateurs have arrived!

Well, we predicted that the provocateurs would hit Occupy Wall Street, and we should have predicted the methodology. In an obvious ploy, the bad guys sent out a few guys with anti-Semitic signs. On cue — with a telling immediacy — Breitbart’s site picked up on this, and charged the whole movement with anti-Semitism. Also see NewsBusters, which is pushing the major media to parrot their line.

A transparent ploy? To you and to me, perhaps. But not to many other Americans.

How can I be certain that the anti-Semitic sign-holders are agents? Well, I can’t be certain about all of them. But…come on. At least one of these clowns is the biggest, most obvious plant I’ve seen outside the Muir Woods. The reliably vile Pam Geller has the story here (quoting CBS News):

“Blame the Jews.”

That’s the message one Wall Street protester was trying to spread in Lower Manhattan to anyone that would listen.

A new video posted to YouTube shows the protester loudly and aggressively proclaiming “the Jews control Wall Street.”

In the nearly 6-minute video, the man is seen standing in Zuccotti Park ranting against Israel and Jews while holding a sign reading “Hitler’s Bankers – Wall St.”

The protestor, who would not give his name to those gathered around him, is also seen arguing with members of the public who took offense to his choice of words.

A number of others also ask the protester if Fox News had paid him to stand and display his sign to which he responded: “[expletive] Fox News, that’s [expletive]. [Expletive] Jew made that up.”

He’s nameless, he’s with no-one, and — like the fool on the hill — nobody seems to like him. He shows up with a cameraman just to get his mug plastered all over YouTube, and of course the resultant video immediately goes viral. Classic provocateur profile. The whole thing is being pushed by an out-of-nowhere Republican front group which calls itself the Emergency Committee for Israel.

The picture of this one guy anti-Semite poster boy is at the link. It came to my attention over the weekend that the American Nazi Party has Tweeted some support for OWC. That too has been taken as PROOF the OWC is antisemitic. Te little problem with that are the anti-Obama tweets from the ANP which associate Obama with said “Jewish bankers”,

  1. ANP14 American Nazi Party
    The Jewish Goldman Sachs is the most politically connected corporation in the world, it was also Obama’s largest campaign donor. #fail
    7 Oct

Anyone who has a Twitter account can search the ANP’s tweets for similar lines of attack.

If the Right is going to try to hijack Martin Luther King Jr. the least they could do is find, I don’t know, some supporting evidence on which to hang their thesis, From Malkin’s Hot Air – Obama: MLK Jr. would have supported Occupy Wall Street

MLK Jr. might at times have used rhetoric later in his life that suggests he would be sympathetic to the OWS protesters’ redistributive aims, but my best guess is he’d also have a few exhortations for them.

It was in poor taste for the president to make a divisive claim in his dedication of a memorial of a man who aimed to unite.

What Malkin stand-in Tina Korbe does is standard operating procedure. For today and at their convenience they take a few excerpts from other conservative wing-nuts, highly interpretative pieces that suit the attack of the day, and presto, they got their average reader rube who has all the historical knowledge of a dung beetle. It just so happens that MLK Jr. lead, not the first OWS protests, but one among many in America’s history in the 1960s – Poor People’s Campaign: A Dream Unfulfilled

In early 1968, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders planned a Poor People’s Campaign in Washington, D.C., for the spring. The group planned to demand that President Lyndon Johnson and Congress help the poor get jobs, health care and decent homes.

Campaign organizers intended the campaign to be a peaceful gathering of poor people from communities across the nation. They would march through the capital and visit various federal agencies in hopes of getting Congress to pass substantial anti-poverty legislation. They planned to stay until some action was taken.

But weeks before the march was to take place, King was assassinated. His widow, Coretta, and a cadre of black ministers, including the Revs. Ralph Abernathy and Jesse Jackson, decided they would pick up where King had left off and that the Poor People’s March on Washington would go forward.

Thousands of people participated in the march on May 12, 1968.

“We come with an appeal to open the doors of America to the almost 50 million Americans who have not been given a fair share of America’s wealth and opportunity, and we will stay until we get it,” Abernathy said as he led the way for demonstrators.

Whiskey Fire also unloads some more much deserved scorn on the zombies at Hot Air –  Look at That Distracting Thing. A reminder that we have been redistributing wealth in America for some time, from the people who work the hardest to the people who work the least:

The conservative wealth distribution plan is going swimmingly

 

Iraq Veteran Questions NYPD Violence Against OWC

On Saturday, Occupy Wall Street demonstrators occupied Times Squares when thousands flooded the iconic location to protest economic inequities. After a number of demonstrators refused to leave the streets there, police responded with heavy-handed tactics to arrest them. Now, video has emerged of an apparent U.S. military veteran speaking out against these police tactics. The man, who identified himself as Sgt. Shamar Thomas, explained that he spent fourteen months in Iraq and that his parents served in the military as well. “This is not a warzone. It doesn’t make you tough to hurt these people!” protested Thomas to police officers. “There is no honor in that.” The crowd gave the man a hearty applause.

I tend to think well of law enforcement in general. I have friends and relatives in law enforcement. perhaps because of that I find some of the incredibly heavy-handed tactics being used by uniformed street officers all that much more frustrating. I’m sure they’ve encountered some jerks among the protesters but for the most part the OWC are looking out for the rights of union workers like the police. America’s ‘Primal Scream’

Three factoids underscore that inequality:

The 400 wealthiest Americans have a greater combined net worth than the bottom 150 million Americans.

The top 1 percent of Americans possess more wealth than the entire bottom 90 percent.

In the Bush expansion from 2002 to 2007, 65 percent of economic gains went to the richest 1 percent.

As my Times colleague Catherine Rampell noted a few days ago, in 1981, the average salary in the securities industry in New York City was twice the average in other private sector jobs. At last count, in 2010, it was 5.5 times as much. (In case you want to gnash your teeth, the average is now $361,330.)

More broadly, there’s a growing sense that lopsided outcomes are a result of tycoons’ manipulating the system, lobbying for loopholes and getting away with murder. Of the 100 highest-paid chief executives in the United States in 2010, 25 took home more pay than their company paid in federal corporate income taxes, according to the Institute for Policy Studies.

What conservatives, tea baggers, the 53 percent or whatever they’re calling themselves this week want everyone to believe, hell their entire knuckle dragging political philosophy depends on it – is to buy into the deeply bizarre possibility that  one to ten percent of Americas are working so darn hard they deserve to own 70% of the wealth. To buy into that you don’t just have to drink the kool-aid, you’re getting it intravenously and in daily supply side kool-aid enemas.

Illegal immigration is just that – rule of law and all. That said tis a wee bit of an overreaction for people, basically coming here to pick lettuce and wash dishes, to be preemptively electrocuted – On Taxes and Fences, Cain Stumbles a Bit

Herman Cain found out how tricky being in the national spotlight is on Sunday as he was pushed to admit that his signature economic plan, 9-9-9, would result in increased taxes for some people.

[  ]…The Republican presidential candidate also sought to back away from fiery comments he had made just hours earlier, saying he was only joking about killing people trying to cross the border from Mexico with an electrified fence. And he said that the American people need to “get a sense of humor.”

Yea America when are you going to start laughing about electrocuting poor Mexicans, what’s wrong with you. Maybe we’ll all get to appreciated the electrocuting poor people jokes right after we start to appreciate right-wing rape jokes – and shame on you Glenn Reynolds, not that Glenn is capable of feeling shame at the appropriate times.

 Why Is Darrell Issa (R-CA) Pretending He Knows Nothing About Bush Era Fast and Furious Gun Walking Program and all the documents he was sent by Attorney General Holder. The Right has been pushing this Fast and Furious crap as a way to bring down Holder and embarrass Obama for months. I hope they keep it up because Issa is going to end up hanging by his own petard. We’ll get to the stage where Issa will have to put up or shut-up. Issa will need a time machine to make the put up part possible.

Tea Party co-founder expresses support for Occupy Wall Street

One of the original founders of the Tea Party movement has told RT.com that he believes Occupy Wall Street is not only comparable to the earliest states of the movement he helped launch but can learn from its mistakes.

“The problem with protests and the political process is that it is very easy, no matter how big the protest is, for the politicians to simply wait until the people go home,” financial blogger Karl Denninger observed. “And then they can ignore you.”

“Well, Occupy Wall Street was a little different,” he continued. “And back in 2008, I wrote that when we will actually see change is when the people come, they set up camp, and they refuse to go home. That appears to be happening now.”

 

 

All progress is precarious, and the solution of one problem brings us face to face with another problem. – Martin Luther King, Jr.