What Is That Called When Conservative Pundits and Billionaires Intentionally Spread False Information

Black and White Harbor wallpaper

Black and White Harbor wallpaper

 

In the spirit of equal time, here is the latest opinion from the defacto head of the Republican Party and conservative movement. He is also a draft dodger( not a conscientious objector, he just did not want to possibly die fighting for his country), anal cyst sufferer, drug addict, man who had his maid doctor shop for illegal drugs and serial monogamists ( currently on wife #4) Mr. Rush Limbaugh, Limbaugh: “For The First Time In My Life I Am Ashamed Of My Country”. Limbaugh Complains Media, Politicians Are Insulting Americans’ Intelligence By Warning About Sequestration. Maybe he has some inside information that Congress, the President and every respectable economist in the country does not have. If so, why not produce some documentation. Limbaugh has made millions pontificating. He has plenty of spare time and resources. He could produce an annotated research paper that will make all the politicians and experts look silly. Though Limbaugh is not in the proof business. He is in the business of hysteria, paranoia, hubris, fetid fantasy, hype, hyperbole, unsubstantiated accusations, revisionist history, class warfare, racial discrimination, gender discrimination, homophobia… he is neck deep in bull, but most of all he is not in the business of honor, truth, facts, basic human decency or using his media influence to bring Americans together. He can be ashamed of America, he can be whatever. Though why should anyone care. 57 Terrible Consequences of the Sequester…1. Air Travel Disruption, 3. Slower Extreme-Weather Forecasts, 5. Pest-Infested Crops, 6. Nationwide Meat and Poultry Shortage, 12. Neglect for Mentally Ill, Homeless, and Substance Addicted, 14. 600,000 Women and Children Thrown Off WIC, 19. No Child Care for 30,000 Kids, No Head Start for 70,000, 24. Higher Risk of Terrorism, 27. Classified Information Vulnerable to Foreign Spies, 32. 1/3 Cutback in Pacific Naval Presence, 35. 46,000 Defense Jobs Could Be Lost, 47. 1,200 Fewer OSHA Inspections, Potential for More Workplace Deaths. Limbaugh is among a few others, including one of the political “analysts” at ABC’s Note Blog that thinks the sequester is not a big deal. Congress or the president could just snap their fingers and magically make the government run as usual. That is not the case. The government operates under a legal framework defined by Congress. This plays out most directly in authorizing payments such as Navy equipment and payroll. It works in somewhat the same way a business operates. It must pay day to day operating expenses or shut down. We also know it is a big deal because conservatives are trying to come up with a plan that makes them look less like the bad guys to the public, Republicans Coalesce Around Clever Plan To Make Looming Spending Cuts Much Less Draconian.

Per the conservative National Review: “In the face of poor alternatives, it is best to accept the new spending levels for 2013, including decreased defense spending, and to focus on ensuring that the slightly smaller pool of money is managed slightly more intelligently — by, for instance, giving agency managers discretion about where the cuts come from in the near term and using the appropriations process to allocate future cuts in the out-years.”

[ ]…The GOP proposal would give the executive branch more discretion over where to make those cuts for the remainder of the current fiscal year, which ends in September. After that date, congressional appropriators would make decisions about where the specific cuts would come from, while still adhering to the sequester’s new lower spending baseline.

The irony is that in the near term, the GOP’s proposed fix would delegate a great deal of authority to the executive branch — and thus to President Obama. And for the GOP that would come with the risk that the administration would target the cuts at GOP constituencies, which would undermine the political rationale for their own plan.

This is so cute. Republicans are going to give the president and the heads of various government agencies and divisions the authority to use their funding in the most efficient way. A power which they already have in some ways – like cutting back personnel or seeking better prices for supplies. Though writing stuff like that makes the NR and Karl Rove look like they’re being very serious; and should the sequester cuts go into effect Republicans can say they came up with this very clever non-plan. The Beltway media will report that the Republicans said they had a plan and then report the Democratic reaction. Just as the same media is loath to call Republicans liars when they lie, they’ll be loathe to call the Republican plan what it is, public relations cosmetics.

When you have millions or billions you can afford a recession, Will Pete Peterson’s Half a Billion Bucks Buy a New Recession?

Pete Peterson’s Mighty Wurlitzer

One major contribution comes from the money and monomania of Pete Peterson, a Wall Street billionaire who has committed about half a billion bucks rousing hysteria about deficits and debt. On Thursday, The Nation magazine and the Center for Media and Democracy are releasing an expose of Peterson and his latest front, the Fix the Debt coalition, with a new resource detailing the background at the center’s SourceWatch.org.

Ironically, Peterson never raised a murmur about the housing bubble or the Wall Street wilding or the global trade imbalances that eventually blew up the economy, led to the Great Recession.

Peterson, Nixon’s former Secretary of Commerce, says that he “has been wailing about this (debt and deficits) since 1980.”

Peterson made his billions on Wall Street, taking the private equity firm Blackstone Group public, after benefiting from the obscene “carried interest tax deduction” that allows hedge fund billionaires to pay lower tax rates than their chauffeurs. (His former partner, Stephen Schwartzman, famously labeled the effort to end this obscenity as a war, the equivalent of “when Hitler invaded Poland.”)

One of, what should be the down sides of living in a castle with a mote, is that people like Peterson start to believe the sound of their own echo. Paul Krugamn has two charts today that show what Peterson’s vision for America looks like. It is surprisingly European for the political movement that loves to hate on Europe, Paul De Grauwe and the Rehn of Terror

Most normal people listen to themselves. Sometimes we say things that are silly or stupid, and we laugh at ourselves and learn from the experience. Scientists might want to look into the possibility that conservatives are psychologically or genetically incapable of hearing the crazy venal stuff that comes out of their mouths, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX): Voters need ‘at least 50 rounds’ in magazines to take out drones

During Thursday interview on Freedom 107 radio, host Jeff Akin asked the Texas Republican how he felt about using unnamed aerial drones for domestic law enforcement.

“It’s pretty offensive to most of us,” Gohmert opined. “Most of us think if you’re going to use a drone and fly over our homes to analyze what’s going on in our backyard — not a lot of talk’s been given — but if you can fly over in the backyard, you can use all kinds of technology to see what’s happening inside the home as well. And I know there’s been a judge, and this former judge sure thinks you ought to have a warrant to do that kind of thing.”

“But I had somebody last week in Washington from either Georgia or Alabama that was saying, ‘Look, this goes back to we have got to have at least 50 rounds in our magazines because on average that’s about how many it takes to bring down a drone.’ I hope he was kidding, I don’t know for sure.”

So this week Gohmert and his conservative friends are on the same page as some other people we’re all familiar with, Al-Qaeda’s 22 tips on avoiding drones: hide under trees and camouflage cars . al-Qaeda has fully automatic weapons and rocket launchers, and they’re giving tips on avoidance. Gohmert voted to renew the most draconian infringement on our civil liberties, the Patriot Act. Renewed without amending the most grievous parts. So it is difficult to tell how much of what he says is just a dog whistle to his wacky supporters and how much is actual cognitive impairment.

The Smithsonian’s American History Museum has a great tribute up to Lena Horn, In tribute to Lena Horne (June 30, 1917–May 9, 2010)

Lena Horne was an American treasure, a cultural icon whose career achievements and social legacy challenged and transformed America’s notions about race and culture. A Renaissance woman, she lived and entertained during an era when women and “Negroes” were constrained by limited social roles, strict conventions, and public policies that separated genders and races.

But Ms. Horne was anything but conventional. She paid dearly for her originality.

They have more pictures and some sound recordings at the link.

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Sunrise Earth wallpaper – Dorner and The Michelle Malkin School of Journalism

Sunrise Earth wallpaper

 

Remember when one of the worse peace time mass murders in history broke in Norway by far Right conservative Anders Behring Breivik. As soon as the at news broke, ace conservative “journalist” Michelle Malkin was tweeting away about how it was the work of Isalmic jihadists. In addition to her shoot first get the facts later brand of reportage – and we’re not talking about facts unfloding and she just reported what a police or offical said as events unfolded – Malkin has a habit of being apologetically sleazy. Much like a middle-school smart ass who never out grew her worse impulses, Malkin has always been happy to make snide smears first, and forget the actual reportage. With the news of the serial murders by former police officer Christopher Dorner and the publication of his supposed manifesto, Malkin continues the conservative standard for fair and balanced, The Blame Righty mob falls silent By Michelle Malkin

Question: What will this rabid Blame Righty mob do now that an alleged triple-murderer has singled out prominent lefties in the media and Hollywood for fawning praise as part of his crazed manifesto advocating cop-killing?

Answer: Evade, deflect, ignore and whitewash.

This week, former Los Angeles Police Department Officer Christopher Dorner allegedly shot and killed three innocent people in cold blood. He was the subject of a massive manhunt as of Thursday afternoon. Dorner posted an 11,000-word manifesto on Facebook that outlined his chilling plans to target police officers.

CNN headlined its story on the rant: “Alleged cop-killer details threats to LAPD and why he was driven to violence.” MSNBC reported: “Manifesto: Alleged Revenge Shooter Named Targets.” KTLA-TV in Los Angeles went with: “Christopher Dorner’s Manifesto (Disturbing Content and Language).”

There was a curious, blaring omission in both the headlines and the stories from these supposedly objective outlets, though. Dorner expressed rather pointed, explicit views of news personalities and celebrities who have influenced, entertained and uplifted him.

Note the bold (mine) in that last paragraph. Malkin links to what Dorner wrote. It is available on-line in several places, which she lists. So if she found it, she linked to it, the manifesto is up for anyone to read , where is the “blaring omission”. Where is the media hiding stuff that Malkin says is a secret. Are they hiding it in plain sight. A modern case of the Purloined Letter? Does Malkin read her rants back to herself and check them for coherence. Let’s pause for a second and discuss that manifesto. BuzzFeed says that the version released has been highly edited.  Malkin has probably not jumped the shark as badly as with Brevik, but is basing her post on a document that may or may not be the complete original. I tend to think that even if only half the stuff in it is true Dorner has some evil impulse issues. If the the parts about police department racism and brutality are true, still not even close to being an excuse for murder. For the time being let’s say the snips she quotes remain in an unedited version, that means some other parts, that distract some Malkin’s spin of Dorner as a crazed “lefty”: Fox News/Hannity Uses Ex-LAPD Cop Killer To Dishonestly Smear Liberals

Oddly enough, Hannity left out Dorner’s support for Republican Chris Christie (“You’re America’s no s*** taking uncle. … Your leadership is greatly needed.”), how Dorner said that the only presidential candidate he supported in 2012 was Republican Jon Huntsman, and how George H.W. Bush was “always one of my favorite presidents.”

It turned into a trifecta of political opportunism for the “fair and balanced” network that allowed Hannity to a) play the media victim because b) the “liberal media” was showing its hypocrisy in c) not reporting the liberal/Democratic affiliations of Dorner the way you know it would have if he were a conservative.

Dorner hearts Bush 43 and Chris Christie, and Malkin thinks the guy is a liberal. Maybe, but he seems to belong to the cult of personalities. He sees and hears public officials, newscasters and celebrities and either falls in love or hate with them. Dorner was a police officer and is ex-military. Maybe he did have legitimate mainstream liberal leanings on some issues – racism as an issue obviously meant a lot to him, but antisemitism and police corruption as well. It is safe to say that he snapped. Liberals don’t stand for gunning down innocent people. That is certainly not something he got listening To Joe Biden, Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton. None of the newscasters or celebrities he admired have advocated murder. So how can one reasonably say that they are to blame. That is where Malkin and the conservative pile-on comes in. They do not have to put together a reasonable case for cause and effect, because they don’t care about the truth.

I cannot vouch for this site, but he claims to have the entire unedited-uncensored version. Here are what “glaring omission” Malkin missed,

Those lesbian officers in supervising positions who go to work, day in day out, with the sole intent of attempting to prove your misandrist authority (not feminism) to degrade male officers. You are a high value target.
Those Asian officers who stand by and observe everything I previously mentioned other officers participate in on a daily basis but you say nothing, stand for nothing and protect nothing. Why? Because of your usual saying, ” I……don’t like conflict”. You are a high value target as well.

….I will utilize OSINT to discover your residences, spouses workplaces, and children’s schools. IMINT to coordinate and plan attacks on your fixed locations. Its amazing whats on NIPR. HUMINT will be utilized to collect personal schedules of targets. I never had the opportunity to have a family of my own, I’m terminating yours. Quan, Anderson, Evans, and BOR members Look your wives/husbands and surviving children directly in the face and tell them the truth as to why your children are dead. ( one of the more disturbing parts)

…Wayne LaPierre, President of the NRA, you’re a vile and inhumane piece of shit. You never even showed 30 seconds of empathy for the children, teachers, and families of Sandy Hook. You deflected any type of blame/responsibility and directed it toward the influence of movies and the media. You are a failure of a human being. May all of your immediate and distant family die horrific deaths in front of you. ( if he would have left off the last sentence he would have nailed it).

…General Colin Powell, your book “My American Journey” solidified my decision to join the military after college. I had always intended to serve, but your book and journey motivated me. You are an inspiration to all Americans and influenced me greatly. ( Powell was and still is a conservative)

….Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five” is the greatest piece of music ever, period. ( if everyone one that thinks this is a violent liberal, than some of the conservatives I know are leading double lives).

…Anthony Bourdain, you’re a modern renaissance man who epitomizes the saying “too cool for school”.
Larry David, Kevin Hart, the late Patrice Oneal, Lisa Lampanelli, Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld, Louis CK, Dave Chapelle, Jon Stewart, Wanda Sykes, Dennis Miller, and Jeff Ross are pure geniuses. ( after 9-11 Dennis Miller turned into a humorless conservative smart-ass, an Ann Coulter with a bad beard).

 

 

Kick That Can

John Boehner, the speaker of the House, claims to be exasperated. “At some point, Washington has to deal with its spending problem,” he said Wednesday. “I’ve watched them kick this can down the road for 22 years since I’ve been here. I’ve had enough of it. It’s time to act.”

Actually, Mr. Boehner needs to refresh his memory. During the first decade of his time in Congress, the U.S. government was doing just fine on the fiscal front. In particular, the ratio of federal debt to G.D.P. was a third lower when Bill Clinton left office than it was when he came in. It was only when George W. Bush arrived and squandered the Clinton surplus on tax cuts and unfunded wars that the budget outlook began deteriorating again.

As bad as their economic lies are, the conservative dedication to being ingenious is even worse.

Black and White Night Bridge wallpaper – A nation or civilization that continues to produce soft-minded men purchases its own spiritual death on the installment plan

Black and White Night Bridge wallpaper

Vintage Night View Bridge wallpaper

 

Romney’s Foreign Adventures: Off to a Smashing Start!

Mitt Romney’s trip abroad appears to be off to a smashing start. As a number of TPM Readers flagged to us last night Romney managed to insult his British hosts, knocking their management of the Summer Olympics in comparison to his run with the Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002.

Talking to Brian Williams last night, Romney opined …

It’s hard to know just how well it will turn out. There are a few things that were disconcerting: the stories about the private security firm not having enough people, supposed strike of the immigration and customs officials, that obviously is not something which is encouraging.

The scream headline in the Telegraph: “Mitt Romney questions whether Britain is ready for Olympic Games”

And who knew the British could be so mean, Romney in Shambles as Britain Proclaims Him Worse than Sarah Palin. Romney is trying to recover. Worse than Palin, that is pretty bad. Though what will never happen to Romney is the U.S. media asking if just maybe Romney is not that bright. Having been in Britain a few more hours, Romney decides, on second thought, they are ready for the Olympic Games. It might be tempting to just mark up Romney’s generally stumbling around was just supposed to be photo ops and smiles, as gaffes. First consider this recent news, Romney Bashes Stimulus, Then Fundraises In Home Of Stimulus Recipient. Like so many conservatives, especially wealthy conservatives, Romney suffers from an incurable case of narcissism. Pretty much his entire adult life has not just been one of privileged, but of people deferring to him because of his money and positions of authority. After living in that bubble, combined with the foil warped nature of the conservative mind – the mind that can never be wrong, admit error or accept new information – he is another Bush. An emperor with no clothes. When Willard Mitt Romney speaks it is not just words, it is writ from up high. Who are those who would criticize or disagree except the lowly peasants. This is a 65-year-old adult who when confronted with his hypocrisy or lies replies like a brat at an elite boarding school, Romney’s Top Six ‘I Know I Am But So Are You’ Moments.  

Romney and conservatives have decided that when President Obama speaks, he said what they say it said. That attitude takes a huge amount of mendacity, It’s a Weekday, So It’s Time for Another Misleading Edit of an Obama Quote. In this new misquote and highly edited speech, President Obama is saying his plan did not work. On reading that I would suggest that Obama or whoever is writing his stump speeches to keep it simple and direct. Now is not the time for rhetorical flourishes. They could have said this, New CBO Report Finds Hundreds of Thousands of People Still Owe Their Jobs to the Recovery Act. If the Bush tax cuts created jobs, they’re hiding some place. The conservative media has also decided that it is now offically part of the Big Conservative Book of Mythology that Obama said business ‘didn’t build that’. Still Pushing Its Discredited Take On Obama And Small Business

After More Than A Week, Fox Tried To Keep The Story Alive By Suggesting Obama Was “Doubling Down” On His “Insulting” Remarks. Fox & Friends used Obama’s comments that “we did not build this country on our own. We built it together” as a pretext to revive the “didn’t build that” smear. [Media Matters, 7/25/12]

[  ]….There’s no question Obama inartfully phrased those two sentences, but it’s clear from the context what the president was talking about. He spoke of government — including government-funded education, infrastructure and research — assisting businesses to make what he called “this unbelievable American system that we have.”

In summary, he said: “The point is … that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.”

I was thinking about doing a graphic that depicted the way Romney The Magnificent and his conservative minions think about business and achievement, it might more effective than text. I work though and time is limited. Part of my work is to make someone else successful. Most Americans work to make someone else successful. What if they came to you and said, I do not need you, your education, training or experience, I can do everything on my own and be just as successful. That would seem surreal. Yet that is a large part of the bizarre debate. Romney is saying that one’s success is totally, utterly, completely disconnected from others. We live in a complex modern society that takes a lot of interconnected pieces to make it work. A recent study showed that for every $1 the federal government invested in research it returned an average of $141. Wall Street brokers have dreams of returns like that. And as Obama has said,sure if you start a business and it becomes successful, you deserve lots of credit for that, but you did it in the environment of a country that provides that infrastructure and institutions that are connected to that success.  Like his remarks in the U.K. Romney does not care whether his business lie is true. His saying it makes it true by the sheer power of his ego. Thus his campaign will hardly blink at this, Romney camp features Tampa contractors whose businesses depend on government

The Romney campaign is using a snippet of the speech to suggest that Obama is instead saying that government is solely responsible for the success of private busines owners. That’s not so. Obama isn’t anywhere close to saying that. But in TV ads, that’s the point Romney is making.

[  ]…One problem with having Ramos and Smith, both registered Republicans, as speakers on this topic: they both said they didn’t see the entire Obama speech that they find so personally insulting. Ramos said he later read the complete trancript, but couldn’t remember from where he got it. Smith acknowledged she saw only news reports of the speech, either on NBC or FoxNews.

But the other, more puzzling problem the two have for this particular Romney message is that rather than wanting to get out of the way of big government, Smith and Ramos have embraced it and benefitted from it greatly. They just won’t admit it.

The A.D. Morgan Corporation employs 50 people and has annual revenues of about $80 million, according to its website. The company lists more than 130 projects and developments. Impressive, no doubt. But the list is nearly all government projects. (One of the few not to be: the Poynter Institute for Media Studies). From the Sumter County jail expansion, Woodlawn Elementary School, the library at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, interior sign at James Haley Veterans Hospital, the Plant City Courthouse, a Florida Department of Transportation weigh station, the projects that have made A.D. Morgan the success it is have been government, big and small, state and local.
Smith didn’t see that as a contradiction to her message that government didn’t help her.

…As for Ramos, his company’s Facebook page describes Value Enterprise Solutions as “providing value added service/education to businesses, local government, federal government, Department of Defense, and industry contract organizations.”

Of course these kool-aid drinkers do not see that government contract provide the bulk of their business. or put another way, they do not see that the tax payers of the U.S. provide them with a living. They might survive as businesses without government contracts, but they would be much, much smaller. No wonder Mitt is their hero, like him, they do not have the human decency, the humility to admit that what Obama said was true. Mel Gibson probably thinks he is a nice reasonable person. Rush Limbaugh probably really thinks people believe he should have been excused from the draft for having an anal cyst. Never underestimate the power of denial, especially in a Republican.

 

Jonathan Bernstein writes up the cycle of conservative destruction in a few short paragraphs, Of Course Romney Would Embrace Budget Deficits

Dana Millbank wasn’t born yesterday, but I have to say that this question is remarkably naive: “[W]hich one will Romney choose: defense spending or tax cuts?”

The obvious answer is: neither. A President Romney, with a Republican Congress, would almost certainly choose very large deficits rather than cut defense spending or raise taxes. After all, that’s been the policy of incoming Republican presidents beginning with Ronald Reagan, hasn’t it been? Eat dessert now in the form of enormous tax cuts and spending on GOP priorities, and then remember the overriding importance of the deficit later on, preferably when the Democrats take over.

That’s what Reagan did. That’s what George W. Bush did. The only exception was George H.W. Bush, who was a real deficit-cutter. And he wound up repudiating it when conservatives revolted.

Until the vast majority of the American public catches on this this con-game, conservatives will continue to abuse the nation. They are never really punished for what they do. They suffer for one election cycle. Start whining about getting back to their roots while engaging in the politics of hysteria and character assassination, and presto, they’re back to start the cycle over.

This is a headline from the far Right Weekly Standard, Romney: ‘Looking Forward to the Bust of Winston Churchill Being in the Oval Office Again‘.

At an event in London, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said, “I’m looking forward to the bust of Winston Churchill being in the Oval Office again.”

Mitt Romney at London fundraiser: “I’m looking forward to the bust of Winston Churchill being in the Oval Office again.”

The bust belonged to the British. Why a bust of a foreign leader was or should be in the Oval Office is a mystery. One with which conservatives are obsessed. They are in denial about Churchill as well. He deserves some credit for his WW II governance, but FDR kept him from being buried in the rabble. The other thing that is perplexing is Churchill brought actual socialized medicine to England. Not the Obama-Democrats health care reform, but real socialized, Marxist style medicine,  Guess who helped launch socialized healthcare in the U.K.? The ultimate conservative icon — and he was proud of it

As a lifelong conservative with a strong dedication to enterprise and merit (and a host of less admirable right-wing prejudices), Churchill would have bristled at anyone who dared to describe him as a socialist. Why then did he promote and protect the NHS? Partly out of political expediency, no doubt, but also because he felt an ethical obligation that seems not to trouble the contemporary conservatives who profess to admire him.

 

“A nation or civilization that continues to produce soft-minded men purchases its own spiritual death on the installment plan.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

When Are Republicans Going To Stop Deceiving Women And Invoking Social-Darwinism As A Virtue

Declaration of Intention for Albert Einstein to become an American citizen.

In 1936, German-born physicist Albert Einstein filed this Declaration of Intention to become an American citizen. Following the Nazi takeover of political power in Germany in 1933 and the onset of persecution of the German Jews, Einstein renounced his German citizenship and immigrated to the United States to take the position of Professor of Theoretical Physics at Princeton. On the basis of this declaration, the man who had first proposed the theory of relativity in 1905 became a U.S. citizen in 1940.

Creator

District Court for the Trenton Division of the District of New Jersey, United States

Date Created

January 15, 1936 CE

The photocopy is by way of the U.S. National Archives. Einstein was born in Switzerland.  Just besides the fact that Einstein was an immigrate, one other interesting factlet about his declaration is that his last foreign residence is listed as Bermuda. Bermuda, a British territory, is only about 300 miles off the coast of North Carolina.

Fokker F27 Friendship. The first Fokker was built in early Mad Men era, with the first prototype flying on November 24, 1955. “Friendship” was not just part of the advertising image, but part of the plane’s name. may Fokkers are still flying. Fedex Express used a late-model one as recently as 2009.

The NYT is the name of fairness frequently and regularly publishes trash by conservatives, for example see NYT’s David Brooks – The moderate conservative columnist hides appalling opinions behind “reasonable” language. Change a couple minor details and it all reads the same. There is software that is almost capable of replacing journalist ( you have probably read articles done by software already, merely touched up by editors). certainly what conservatives regard as journalism could be replaced by programming since it always has the tinny sound of an unthinking machine. Which brings us to Campbell Brown’s – Obama: Stop Condescending to Women

WHEN I listen to President Obama speak to and about women, he sometimes sounds too paternalistic for my taste. In numerous appearances over the years — most recently at the Barnard graduation — he has made reference to how women are smarter than men. It’s all so tired, the kind of fake praise showered upon those one views as easy to impress. As I listen, I am always bracing for the old go-to cliché: “Behind every great man is a great woman.”

Some women are smarter than men and some aren’t. But to suggest to women that they deserve dominance instead of equality is at best a cheap applause line.

I just wrote about conservatives putting words and even thoughts into their opponents mouths and heads respectively, just the other day. The President’s full commencement speech at Barnard is here. Barnard is a women’s college founded in 1889 and is currently affiliated with Columbia University. Thus as one might expect the president’s speech was oriented toward women. I’ve read the speech twice and I will agree that if a partisan hack wanted to interpret a line or two as condescending they could certainly do so. I would expect no less from people who are perennially disingenuous. Obama does have that ‘cool’ aspect of his persona. The Right hates it. Which is like hating someone for having freckles. People cannot really cultivate cool, you either have or you do not. For some reason Campbell left out this self-deprecating part of the speech,

We know these things to be true.  We know that our challenges are eminently solvable.  The question is whether together, we can muster the will — in our own lives, in our common institutions, in our politics — to bring about the changes we need.  And I’m convinced your generation possesses that will.  And I believe that the women of this generation — that all of you will help lead the way.  (Applause.)

Now, I recognize that’s a cheap applause line when you’re giving a commencement at Barnard.  (Laughter.)  It’s the easy thing to say.  But it’s true.  It is — in part, it is simple math.  Today, women are not just half this country; you’re half its workforce.  (Applause.)  More and more women are out-earning their husbands.  You’re more than half of our college graduates, and master’s graduates, and PhDs.  (Applause.)   So you’ve got us outnumbered.  (Laughter.)

After decades of slow, steady, extraordinary progress, you are now poised to make this the century where women shape not only their own destiny but the destiny of this nation and of this world.

But how far your leadership takes this country, how far it takes this world — well, that will be up to you.  You’ve got to want it.  It will not be handed to you.

The President touched on individual responsibility several times in that speech. He spoke about challenges and not expecting things to be served up to you – the graduating class of a very good school – much less women who have not had that opportunity. Campbell will have none of that. her finely tuned right-wing Republican hearing discards, as usual anything Democrats say about individual responsibility, challenges, working hard and being good citizens.It is deeply ingrained to the DNA of conservatives not to hear what liberals say, pay attention to liberal accomplishments and to hear facts, that tend to have a built in liberal bias.

My cousin in Louisiana started a small company with a little savings, renovating houses. A single mom, she saved enough to buy a home and provide child care for her son. When the economy went belly up, so did her company. She was forced to sell her home and move in with her parents. She has found another job, but doesn’t make enough to move out. Family, not government, has been everything to her at this time of crisis. She, and they, wouldn’t have it any other way.

Another member of my family left her job at an adoption agency just before the economy crashed. Also a single mother, she has been looking for a way back to a full-time job ever since. She has been selling things on eBay to make ends meet. Friends and family, not government, have been there at the dire moments when she has asked them to be. Again, she, and they, wouldn’t have it any other way.

This is not to say that government doesn’t play a role in their lives. It does and it should. But it isn’t a dominant one, and certainly not an overwhelming factor in their daily existence.

Campbell’s friends one assumes have taken zero  from the safety net. No unemployment benefits, no Medicaid for their children. No SNAP (food stamps). If that is true how great that these friends happen to have families who can afford to take up the economic slack for those women. What about women that do not have families who can afford to help or can only afford to help a little or have no families. Why don’t these conservative women have husbands. Conservatives are always accusing women without husbands to support them and their children as losers. Where did Obama or any major Democrat ever say that government should play a “dominant” role in a woman’s life or a man’s for that matter. This is Campbell beating the hell out of a straw-man who doesn’t, never has existed. We call what we stand for in terms of assistance – the safety net, because that is what it is. I know its blasphemy to say so but the reality is that free markets are not perfect. In the way the U.S. runs our version of the free market people can work themselves have to death and JP Morgan or Citibank can wipe your savings, your hard work out over night. Campbell does her best impression of Fox disinformation peddling in trying to shift blame for unemployment among women from conservatives to Obama.

But Mitt Romney will never be confused with Rick Santorum on these issues, and many women understand that. (I should disclose here that my husband is an adviser to Mr. Romney; I have no involvement with any campaign, and have been an independent journalist throughout my career.) The struggling women in my life all laughed when I asked them if contraception or abortion rights would be a major factor in their decision about this election. For them, and for most other women, the economy overwhelms everything else.

Change that wording to “my husband is an adviser to Mr. Obama” and imagine the sound of conservative readers laughing so hard they blow milk through their nose. No, her politics and associations with the extreme Right have no bearing on her warped world view at all. In the mist of this overwhelming need to not bother to focus on social issues conservatives have some how found the time and money to spend on those suddenly unimportant little things – Top 10 Shocking Attacks from the GOP’s War on WomenRepublican “War On Women” Is Not A Democratic Invention and The Republican War on Women Is Only Getting Bigger.

Because of the strength of conservative tin-foil, facts and basic moral decency will never get through. Money spent on food assistance and unemployment benefits do not disappear down some vortex never to be seen again – Food Stamps and Unemployment Insurance Create Jobs in a Weak Economy

In a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed, Robert Barro dismisses Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack’s claim that every dollar spent on food stamps generates $1.84 of economic activity.  Barro claims Secretary Vilsack’s “Keynesian” estimate conflicts with “regular” economics, which he says predicts that increasing transfer payments like food stamps and unemployment insurance (UI) would lead to a decline in economic activity and a fall in employment because they would “motivate less work effort by reducing the reward from working.”

Contrary to Barro’s assertion, however, the Secretary is in good company appealing to Keynesian multiplier analysis under current economic conditions, and Barro’s assessment is implausible.  For example, the Congressional Budget Office has estimated that transfer payments to individuals like the increase in food stamp benefits and additional UI compensation of the 2009 Recovery Act generate between 80 cents and $2.10 for each dollar spent when the Federal Reserve holds short-term interest rates as low as possible (see Table 2 here).  Barro says “there is zero evidence” that deficit-financed transfers increase economic activity and boost employment;” CBO explains why, taken as a whole, the evidence says they do.

Circumstances matter.  When the economy is humming along on all cylinders and unemployment is very low – think the late 1990s – deficit-financed increases in food stamps and UI would not increase economic activity or boost employment.  The multiplier would be essentially zero because the Federal Reserve would raise interest rates in response.  Any rise in demand stimulated by the increase in transfers would be offset by the fall in demand due to higher interest rates.  Barro’s concern about work disincentives could come into play if transfers were exceedingly generous.

That’s not where we are now.  Higher interest rates due to Fed tightening will not likely be a concern anytime soon.  Instead, we face a long period of high unemployment and excess productive capacity.  These are just the circumstances in which transfers will most likely be effective in stimulating demand and creating jobs.

Food stamp and UI recipients spend most of any increase in income they get, and they spend it quickly.  That means more spending at local businesses and more orders for those businesses’ suppliers.  The additional spending generates income for local businesses and their suppliers, and the boost to demand multiplies through the economy.  With nine unemployed workers for every two job openings and businesses generally operating well below full capacity, constraints on expanding production and employment to meet the increased demand should be minimal.  Treasury borrowing costs will continue to be low and we will increase the odds that a real economic recovery will take hold.

I’m about to spill the secrets to never having to work again and live off the gov’mint. SNAP ( food stamps) pays on average ( its varies a little by state) a family of 3( the average sized family in the U.S. is about 2.6 individuals) – pays $526 a month. Three people live on about $17.53 per day or each person gets about $5.84 for food. Obviously everyone reading this is going to quite their job tomorrow and really start living high off all that Marxist Kenyan cash. Just in case someone as out of touch with reality as Campbell Brown or Mitt Romney stops by, you’ll be eating a lot of bread, baloney, potatoes and generic corn flakes. Exactly what day was it that it became cool to allow people who have no real power over how the economy is run to starve or live under bridges.

 

Black and White City Downtown wallpaper – If America Judged Conservatives By Their Own Standards There Would Be No Conservatism

Black and White City Downtown wallpaper

 

H/T to here for this story about the recession, women and jobs – Job Growth Isn’t Just a Women’s Issue

Mitt Romney has been saying all along that he wants smaller government. On Tuesday, he added that he was  angry that so many women have lost jobs in the last three years.

But one thing that happens when you shrink government is that women lose jobs.

That’s the fundamental political and economic paradox that Mr. Romney is facing. As my colleague Trip Gabriel reports, Mr. Romney has been pointing to the fact that 92.3 percent of the net total of jobs lost since President Obama took office in January 2009 belonged to women.

The net number of jobs held by women has fallen by 683,000 since Mr. Obama’s inauguration, while those held by men have fallen by 57,000. But the statistic is misleading for several reasons.

First, women have lost a lot of jobs in the last three years, but men lost far more jobs during the recession. For this reason, the great recession has also been nicknamed the “mancession.”

Job changes by Gender. Clearly jobs for both genders are not hemorrhaging now the way they were when conservatives controlled the White House

At the beginning of the Conservative’s Great Recession men took the greatest hit. broken down further minorities were doing worse than average. As the recession wore on, women took a big hit because there are or were so many women working in the public sector – as teachers and office workers. Most state governments, but especially conservative  governors from states like Wisconsin, New Jersey, Florida, Michigan, Georgia and Ohio slash and burn public sector jobs. They could have used federal stimulus funds to keep at least some of those jobs, yet used the money to pay their state deficits down. Whatever that is, good public policy or cutting one’s nose off to spite their face, those jobs are gone. All along conservatives such as Romney have said that government does not create jobs and/ or even though the government does provide jobs, those jobs are best done in the private sector. If that is truly Romney’s political ideology, than to complain about the government cutting jobs – mostly women – is also typically two-faced conservatism trying to score points. Conservatives tell us the private sector should do the work of government employees, yet obviously the private sector is not using its historic profits to hire firefighters, teachers, park rangers or any other workers. Conservatives can try to use the media echo chamber to have it both ways, but the fact remains they either stand for small government and the consequences to women, men, minorities or the upper middle-aged or they do not. In an otherwise good article Rampell ends with this paragraph,

Probably the most effective way to put more men and women back to work, economists say, is to improve training programs and, more importantly, find ways to jump-start demand. So far, none of the presidential contenders (including the incumbent) seem to have found a politically palatable way to do either.

Clearly the Democrat-Obama economic stimulus showed that Democrats and the president still embrace good old-fashioned American Keynesian economics. The president especially had expressed a desire to further boost the economy using presidential powers. He cannot pass another stimulus package because it is a non-starter in the conservative controlled House and Senate conservatives would use a filibuster threat to stop any stimulus there as well. Who actually knows what Etch-a-Stretch Romney would do. The odds say that Romney would not start off his presidency by pissing off his base with even a small government stimulus package. Why NYT reporters insist on throwing in some false equivalency into every political piece continues to amaze.

Romney has some electability issues with women. While one should never underestimate the power of a multimillion dollar political ad campaign – how Romney killed off Newt and Santorum – he has a tough road ahead convincing women voters that he even understands the issues facing women under the ‘new’ economy. He is off to a terrible start – Mitt Romney’s ‘Women for Romney’ surrogate is not for equal pay for women in Wisconsin

A March 29 Wisconsin Women for Romney call with reporters featured Wisconsin state Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) and conservative activist Bay Buchanan. Darling was a cosponsor of legislation repealing her state’s 2009 Equal Pay Enforcement Act, which was designed to deter employers from discriminating against certain groups by granting workers more avenues for pressing charges. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) quietly signed the bill into law last week.

Romney still hasn’t commented on repeal of that Equal Pay Enforcement Act (or if he did, it was even more quietly than Walker signed the bill), but while he’s on the subject of Lilly Ledbetter, and given his glowing descriptions of Scott Walker and his use of Alberta Darling as a campaign surrogate, it’s past time someone asks him directly. Because in addition to being on the wrong side of every issue in the war on women, he’s now touting endorsements from those waging it on the front lines. No wonder Romney’s appeal among women doesn’t appear to extend beyond his immediate family.

There are many reasons to note that the real campaign has started. In daily faux outrage we have Ann Romney asserting how badly her feelings were hurt by someone stating a simple fact, she has never working outside the home. Ann Romney and Working Moms by Hilary Rosen

My Twitter feed was on fire after an appearance last night on CNN’s AC360, where I said that I thought it was wrong for Mitt Romney to be using his wife as his guide to women’s economic struggles when she “had never worked a day in her life.” Oh my, you should read the tweets and the hate mail I got after that. The accusations were flying. I don’t know what it means to be a mom (I have 2 children). I obviously don’t value the work that a mother does and how hard it is (the hardest job I have ever had)

[   ]….I have nothing against Ann Romney. She seems like a nice lady who has raised nice boys, struggled with illness, and handles its long-term effects with grace and dignity. I admire her grit in talking about her illness publicly.

What is more important to me and 57% of current women voters is her husband saying he supports women’s economic issue because they are the only issues that matter to us and then he fails on even those.

Let’s put aside for a moment his views on women’s health issues — such as his pledge to repeal funding for Planned Parenthood or repeal title X — which provides important health services for poor women, and true anecdotes (such as when he was a Bishop in his church, he actually went to a congregant’s hospital room and told a young single mother who had just given birth that she was shaming the church and should give her baby away). Let’s put those issues of respect and health dignity away.

Rosen also clarified on her Twitter fed that she meant Ann Romney has not been both a mom and worked like most American moms. That is a statement of fact. Ann Romney had her hands full with five kids, no doubt about that. She also had the luxury of staying at home in a wealthy household. This is family that never had to make the choice between the deli turkey or the cheap baloney. She was never faced with a choice between going without lunch or getting her kids the braces they needed. Never had to take the bus to save wear on the tires of the ten tear old car. Pleaseee tell me that we are not going to have an election cycle where a family that has more money than 50 median American families complains about how rough they’ve had and they feel your pain. You know who has never done a day’s work, Mittens himself. If his life was one of those movies where the character wakes up to find himself a working class regular Joe, he wouldn’t last a week as a tire changer, a roofer or house framer. Because of the sheer luck of birth he has taken money and used it to make more money – putting some people out of work in the process. Romney just happens to be one of the most visible faces of the kind of vulture crony capitalism that conservatives see as glowing with virtue. because capitalism, at least the way we practice it does not always reward work the way it should, people like Romney, Trump, Gingrich and others benefits disproportionately. That’s fine up to a point. In all always has been laced with social-Darwinism economy there are and always have been Americans who have worked hard and ended up poor or barely getting by. Those people provided the labor and bought the products and services that made a lot of lazy arrogant blowhards wealthy. The least that could be expected of them is to take some of the wealth that was redistributed upward to them, is to toss some pennies back to the country in the form of roads,  health care, infrastructure and education. That is in no way asking for a hand out to average Americans, it is simply asking the very lucky and wealthy to repay some, just some of what they owe society.

The conservative rag The Washington Free Beacon – seriously, another socialized media project financed by conservative sugar daddies, has put out some dubious facts, some lies and quite a bit of spin to portray the Obama White House as populated by female wage slaves.  I did not make up these excerpts. These are what this newspaper published as fact based journalism. Obama White House pays women less than men, records show

Calculating the median salary for each gender required some assumptions to be made based on the employee names. When unclear, every effort was taken to determine the appropriate gender.

They made assumptions and were ever so careful to try to determine which employees were male and female. Off to a golly good start. Obvious they graduated from the O’Reilly-Palin School of Journalistic Integrity.

It is not known whether any female employees at the White House have filed lawsuits under the Ledbetter Act.

So no one has filed any complaints for pay discrimination. That must be because of the Kenyan-marxist-Anti-Christ spell that Obama has cast over the entire White House staff.

According to the 2011 annual report on White House staff, female employees earned a median annual salary of $60,000, which was about 18 percent less than the median salary for male employees ($71,000).

That is darn suspicious and evil, IF, everyone on the staff has the same job and does the same or very similar work. Oh, and has the same responsibilities.

We looked at the annual report and it’s true! It turns out that, for example, Deputy Assistant to the President Jonathan Carson makes $153,500 whereas Special Assistant To The White House Rhonda M. Carter only makes $63,240! Un-fair! Rhonda is a “Special” Assistant which has to be better than a “Deputy” Assistant because “deputy” is like a second in command and “Special” is… ‘special’ or ‘unique’ and therefore rarer, like A Very Special Episode of Blossom. Not equal, or lesser – better!

This is another remember moment. Conservatives are not dumb. They claim that is a fact. Thus any mistakes they make.  Any assumptions they make. Any conclusions they come to, are the result of razor-sharp analytical minds. Or, they have aligned themselves with evil. The deep belief that anything goes in order to get what they want. And the facts tend to have a liberal bias.

Straight from the conservative playbook: If all else fails just start flinging pooh: Allen West Campaign Releases Full Video Of West Calling House Progressives ‘Communist’

Rep. Allen West’s (R-FL) campaign is disputing a media report that he said there were 80 members of the Communist Party among congressional Democrats, without naming any. Indeed, West’s team has given a more complete video clip to the Daily Caller, showing the full context: He did name them.

[  ]…After about 30 seconds, West unfurled his deadpan punchline: “The answer to that: It’s called the Congressional Progressive Caucus.”

The Progressive Caucus is, of course, an internal grouping of the most left-leaning members of House Democrats. Current and past members have included Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (who relinquished her membership after she became House Democrats’ leader in late 2002), Rep. Barney Frank, civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis, and many others.

“One stupid reporter with a local publication misquoted the entire thing, and they all jumped on one press account without verifying,” said West’s campaign manager Tim Edson, referring to the original report in the Palm Beach Post . “It’s all typical West Wing marching orders for their friends in the press.”

Edson continued: “The real point is these people speak for themselves, and if you listen to the words of the Progressive Caucus it’s clear that these people are opponents of capitalism — they oppose free markets, they oppose individual economic freedom — so you can call them whatever you want — whether they’re socialists or Marxists or communists.”

If the Progressive caucus is all commies they are terrible at it. Business profits are back to prerecession levels and corporate taxes are at historic lows. The Progressive Caucus has tried to pass a budget package, that unlike Paul Ryan’s(R-WI) will reduce the deficit while also protecting Medicare and Social Security. I guess communists look out for Americans and that is UnAmerican according to West. West exact quote was, I believe there’s about 78 to 81 members of the Democratic Party that are members of the Communist Party,”. Now The Washington Free Beacon and West have set the standards for what is acceptable discourse. So if someone said they believed West was a Nazi. Or West was a child molester. Or Allen was an anti-American coward. All those accusations could be assumed to be correct, acceptable discourse, and it is incumbent on West to prove otherwise. Thus conservatives have a touted Vice Presidential pick who is a Nazi UnAmerican child molester. These are of course are just things I’ve heard, so that makes it perfectly alright to say them and assume they are true. I don’t make the rules I just follow the ones conservatives with ‘values’ make. There is another possibility. Has anyone ever seen West and Ann Coulter in the same room? West could be Ann Coulter’s alter ego.

Some articles worth a read that came in while I was writing this post – Women’s Job Losses Under Obama Have Been Driven by GOP Obstruction

Not only have these layoffs primarily been implemented at the behest of Republican Party governors and state legislators, but the Obama administration twice—once in the Spring of 2010 and a second time in the fall of 2012—pushed hard for legislation to prevent layoffs of teachers. These efforts were roundly denounced by conservatives as wasteful and costly “bailouts” and so they didn’t happen.

Meet The Romney Campaign’s Anti-Women Surrogates

A conservative corporate socialist, a crook, serial liar and general sleaze bag, has a account at Tiffanys, but I’m not sure if he is a Nazi or communist – Newt Gingrich Campaign Vendors Wonder If They’ll Ever Get Paid

This is from a blogger generally sympathetic to conservatives – Gingrich: Fox News more biased for Romney than CNN. he also makes the point that Santorum also went after Fox’s pro-Romney bias. Newt and Rick have both worked for Fox so they might be burning bridges.

She and her husband just act like a fascists – Michele Bachman Clinic Busted by Second Undercover Sting

Taking a page out of the Truth Wins Out playbook, a documentary filmmaker went undercover at Bachmann & Associates, the Minnesota Christian counseling clinic co-owned by Marcus & Michele Bachmann, and again captured a staffer conducting so-called “reparative therapy,” this time with a hidden pen camera. This is the second time the clinic has been exposed for engaging in these dubious practices.

That clinic takes communist Medicare funds.

Blur of City Traffic wallpaper – Conservatism Has No Remedies, Thus We Have Concern Trolling and Tax Myths

city lights, city at night, urban cityscape

Blur of City Traffic wallpaper

 

While I have seen Democratic bloggers do it, no one has taken to concern trolling like conservatives. For those who may have missed out on this phenomenon on the internet and in newspapers. Concern trolling has taken on several methods of fake concern. One type of trolling is to pretend to be a reasonable moderate or conservative who would just love find some common ground with Democrats if they would just…..basically just adopt every far Right position. Another type of concern trolling is the personal conflated with the political. This is where the troll states that the Democrat is question could be a better person if only they would give up some political point of view or adopt radical conservative positions. I might be giving some of the trolls too much credit in thinking that they are like friends who pull a prank and try to keep a straight face. The concern troll knows they are being pranksters and seem  barely able to hide their snickering. In that regard Karl Rove’s concern trolling for the Wall Street Journal are excellent. I can see a little snide smile creep into his writing, but he generally stays in character – if Democrats would only become proto-fascist like us everything would work out great. Over at one of the Big Conservatives With Keyboards sites Jeffrey Scott Shapiro combines some of the worse trolling with such thinly veiled unhinged hatred that it sets a new low. Or a new high is self delusion, since Jeff seems do proud of himself,  Why Barack Obama Must Overcome His ‘Oppositional Identity’

It’s hard for people to pinpoint exactly what it is they don’t like about President Barack Obama, but I think I can easily sum it up: his thinly veiled contempt for America, and his transparent resentment for the country he was elected to lead.

You’ll often hear people say, “He just hates America.”

But try this on for size: Barack Obama may just be our first “oppositional identity” president. What’s that mean?

I’d never heard the phrase oppositional identity before, because I don’t subscribe to collectivist identity theories. I believe–much like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.–that people should be recognized by their own individual actions, not those of their ancestors.

If finding concern trolling is like finding roadkill, Jeff’s addition of some twisted version of a sociological theory and quasi-intellectualism is like finding two road kills just a few feet apart. They both combine to create the kind of stench, moral emptiness and absence of logic that defines modern conservatism. jeff is hoping you’ll give him a pass on the unproven, unfounded and illogical premise that Obama hates America – he states it in the typical why does Sam beat his dog school of discussion. If you have to start off proving that Sam does indeed beat his dog hat could take up a lot of valuable time he could be using to send off some chain mail to the local paper. Jeffery is continuing the not very original Dinesh D’Souza/Gingrich attacks and the now frayed Kenyan anti-colonialism accusations. I would hope that all our president would be anti-colonialists – you know because of all the near genocide, misery and oppression caused by colonialism. When Democratic bloggers discuss the D’Souza-Gingrich remark we’re kind of assuming they know what colonialism is. Especially since it is closely related to how conservatives see American exceptionalism – the right to invade and impose their will on the native population.  Not the kind of exceptionalism most Americans are prone to, as is every native of every country. You’re born and raised some place and tend to think, even with its faults, that it is a pretty great place. Conservatives, as they tend to do with just about everything, take that native pride to extreme levels. They remind me of a lot of ultra nationalist authoritarian movements of the last hundred years. If the conservative movement decides to show the least interest in honesty and sincerity it should stop saying it is patriotic and use the term nationalist instead. The distinction is important because nationalist do not love democratic republics they love some perverse immoral ideas of what the country would be like if they could burn the Bill of Rights.

Barry Ritholtz on Causes of the Financial Crisis. This is a long read so I’ll just highlight my biggest take away,

Are you saying that just as Ben Bernanke admitted the Federal Reserve had caused the first Great Depression, this crisis can also be blamed on our central bank?

The world isn’t black and white. We can’t just say, “The butler did it.” There were many causes, lots of poor judgements. If you look in the centrefold of my book, Bailout Nation, we try to depict everything in a visual form. It’s a great infographic by Jess Bachman that shows all the different factors that came together to cause a big collapse. The Federal Reserve was a significant element. But if you want to do it chronologically, you may want to go back further into the history. The bailout of Chrysler in 1980 set the stage. The rescue of Long Term Capital Management (LTCM) in 1998 encouraged a lot of moral hazard. Then there was all the radical deregulation, the undoing of some of the post-Depression rules that had operated so successfully for 75 years to prevent a major meltdown. The undoing of Glass-Steagall didn’t cause the crisis, but it made it much worse. Then there was the Commodity Futures Monetization Act (CFMA) of 2000, which completely exempted derivatives from any oversight or regulation and removed all reserve requirements. These all built to set up a situation that was extremely dangerous. So maybe the fumes were already in the warehouse and Greenspan taking rates down to 1% was the spark that ignited the conflagration.

So what are the take-homes? What do we do now?

It’s really simple. Go back through the past 20 years of radical deregulation and overturn all the rules that were changed. You don’t need all this Dodd-Frank legislation. Just reinstate Glass-Steagall, overturn CFMA. Just undo everything that was done in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006, remembering that old expression: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

If we were having some great civil and honest debate about political ideologies, who stands for what and who wants what we’d have to get conservatives to take a long hard look in the mirror. They would have to piece together what they actually stand for. Small government is not one of those things. Just let the economy run itself, stand back, keep your foot off the regulation pedal. Everything will sort itself out. The winners will rise to the top based on the merit of what they do and the losers can eat dirt. Well, if you were part of the blue collar working class or the middle-class you did end up eating dirt. Greenspan, the conservative libertarian, was in no way being hands off when he manipulated interest rates and money supply.

The corporate tax ankle bone is connected to the employment rate knee bone. Thus corporate taxes can never be low enough, right? Reality Check: Effective U.S. Corporate Tax Rate Much Lower Than Most Other Developed Nations

This is constant refrain from Republicans, who then blame the supposedly high U.S. corporate tax rate for discouraging job creation. But as we’ve noted time and time again, while the U.S. has a high statutory corporate tax rate (meaning the rate on paper), U.S. corporations actually pay incredibly low taxes due to the ever-proliferating loopholes, credits, and deductions in the tax code and the use of overseas tax havens.

U.S. corporate taxes that were actually paid (the effective rate) fell to a 40 year low of 12.1 percent in fiscal year 2011, despite corporate profits rebounding to their pre-Great Recession heights. The U.S. both taxes its corporations less and raises less in revenue from corporate taxes than its foreign competitors:

Taxes across the board are lower now then when Bush 43 left office. If low taxes, corporate or otherwise created jobs we’d be at 3% unemployment.

Technology advances. What’s that called when a robot makes calls for another robot, Women hater Rick Santorum Records Robocall Supporting Scott Anti-American Workers Walker In Wisconsin Recall.

Perhaps overly optimistic, but still good news – Ignore GDP: This Is the Obscure Stat That Explains the Hot Recovery

Something odd has happened the past few months. The job numbers tell us the recovery is accelerating. The GDP numbers say it’s not. This discrepancy has confounded expectations because there’s usually a fairly stable relationship between the GDP and employment — economists call it Okun’s Law. The growth-and-jobs gap has since launched a thousand blog posts.

But it turns out there might not be a gap, after all. Today we received news that GDI grew at a gangbusters rate in the fourth quarter of 2011. Bye-bye, growth-and-jobs gap.

 

Since WordPress doesn’t give us stats on which video is played or how many times, so it is difficult to tell if anyone likes these. Gardening Tips at the Smithsonian Butterfly Habitat Garden

Gears and Water Ripple wallpaper – A Major Feature of Conservatism is The Lack of Moral Standards

Gears and Water Ripple wallpaper

Scalia Says Court Can’t Be Bothered To Read Obamacare: ‘You Really Want Us To Go Through These 2,700 Pages?’ Scalia did make the point that the justice’s law clerk’s would have read the whole thing. That is generally how the court works. Though in this case one and other cases where the court might be about to set a precedent, Scalia would have made an exceptions and been less smart-ass about not reading it. One of the stables of the blogs of Wingnuttia and conservatives news outlets is the column which bemoans the lack of proper behavior or decorum by some Democrat. These are always substancless pieces of hackery which are ripe for snark, but lacking in any actual facts. Scalia provides an example of how conservatives might want to take a long look at their behavior and respect for decorum before they spew forth another 500 words of bald-faced hypocrisy. Sclaia and the other conservative justices, with the possible exception of Kennedy, should also have felt some legal and moral obligation to do some rudimentary research on the health insurance industry and how it operates ( I somewhat disagree that Obama’s Solicitor General does not understand. He seems to want to make his well rehearsed argument and is thrown off by the court’s questions.) Misunderstanding insurance risk pooling at the oral argument

At this point, Kennedy, the ostensible swing vote, interrupted to ask about the “heavy burden of justification” when “you are changing the relation of the individual to the government.”  Not a good sign.

A bit later, Scalia mistakes economies of scale for insurance pooling in his “car mandate hypo,” but the SG misses it entirely and mistakenly denies the risk pooling argument:

JUSTICE SCALIA: Mr. Verrilli, you could say that about buying a car. If people don’t buy cars, the price that those who do buy cars pay will have to be higher. So, you could say in order to bring the price down, you’re hurting these other people by not buying a car.

GENERAL VERRILLI: That is not what we’re saying, Justice Scalia.

JUSTICE SCALIA: That’s not — that’s not what you’re saying.

GENERAL VERRILLI: That’s not — not -­

JUSTICE SCALIA: I thought it was. I thought you’re saying other people are going to have to pay more for insurance because you’re not buying it.

GENERAL VERRILLI: No. It’s because you’re going — in the health care market, you’re going into the market without the ability to pay for what you get, getting the health care service anyway as a result of the social norms that allow — that — to which we’ve obligated ourselves so that people get health care.

JUSTICE SCALIA: Well, don’t obligate yourself to that. Why — you know?

Note the “let them die” defense proposed by Scalia. More importantly, the SG failed to point out the key difference between a car mandate and a health insurance mandate:  car mandates and broccoli mandates lower prices through production scale effects, if at all.  Health insurance mandates are not based on scale, but on risk pooling – having healthy people in the pool lowers the average cost. That’s a clear limiting principle.  (See also Austin’s limiting principle for the broccoli mandate).

Sotomayor was the next Democrat trying to help the government. She clearly outlined the arguments for the SG, but he responded only with adverse selection:

JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR: General, I see or have seen three strands of arguments in your briefs, and one of them is echoed today. The first strand that I’ve seen is that Congress can pass any necessary laws to effect those powers within its rights, i.e., because it made a decision that to effect — to effect mandatory issuance of insurance, that it could also obligate the mandatory purchase of it. The second strand I see is self-insurance affects the market; and so, the government can regulate those who self-insure. And the third argument — and I see all of them as different — is that what the government is doing — and I think it’s the argument you’re making today — that what the — what the government is saying is if you pay for — if you use health services, you have to pay with insurance, because only insurance will guarantee that whatever need for health care that you have will be covered, because virtually no one, perhaps with the exception of 1 percent of the population, can afford the massive cost if the unexpected happens. This third argument seems to be saying what we’re regulating is health care, and when you go for health services, you have to pay for insurance, and since insurance won’t issue at the moment that you consume the product, we can reasonably, necessarily tell you to buy it ahead of time, because you can’t buy it at the moment that you need it. Is that — which of these three is your argument? Are all of them your argument? I’m just not sure what the -­

Whatever one may think about the intelligence of conservatives in general, lawyers who become judges who become SCOTUS Justices must have some legal skills. So it is bizarre that Scalia either does not know the difference between economies of scale in regards hard goods and health care insurance risk pools. Either he does not know the difference, unforgivable in a Justice, or he is pretending not to know – also unforgivable.

I didn’t want to get too much into the deliberations, I just find the general behavior and shallow knowledge of the conservative Justices jaw dropping. Scalia believes the “Cornhusker” mandate was in the final bill ( That was where Nebraska’s Medicaid would have been prefunded for decades). For those who are really into the wonky aspects of the current Affordable Care debate and the history of judicial conservatism, this is a good read – Conservative Judicial Activists Run Amok

The only thing Rosen truly failed to anticipate in his piece was how quickly Republican judges would pivot from impassioned defenses of judicial restraint to judicial activism when the opportunity arose to deploy it in their party’s behalf.

There is an interview with George Zimmerman’s father here – EXCLUSIVE: Robert Zimmerman interview. I feel very badly for the man. he is retired, he loves his son. Of course he is going to defend him and believe his son’s version of events. How many times have we had high-profile crimes in which parents plead their children’s innocence or if clearly guilty plead extenuating circumstances. Shame on anyone giving the senior Mr. Zimmerman a hard time.

“It’s my understanding that Trayvon Martin got on top of him and just started beating him,” the 64-year-old Robert Zimmerman said.

[   ]…”He went to the next street, realized where he was and was walking to his vehicle. It’s my understanding, at that point, Trayvon Martin walked up to him and asked him, ‘Do you have a [expletive] problem?’ George said, ‘No, I don’t have a problem,’ and started to reach for his cell phone…  at that point, he (Martin) was punching him in the nose, his nose was broken and he was knocked to the concrete.”

Those two statements seem to be a big part of the problem, especially with the release of video with George arriving at the police station. No blood on his face or clothes, no broken nose and he does not look bruised or even disheveled in any way. Top 10 Holes in Zimmerman’s Account

No blood on his shirt from a shooting that allegedly occurred at close range, while Trayvon Martin was on top of him.
No signs of bruising, abrasions or even redness on his face. No signs of cuts on his head. No wounds on his allegedly broken nose.
No emergency room visit for a broken nose or anything else.
No torn clothes. No disheveled appearance. And possibly no dirt on his light grey shirt or red jacket.
No signs of trauma on Trayvon Martin’s hands.
No signs of agitation or stress after just having engaged in a fight for his life.
No explanation for how a scuffle that he says began beside his parked SUV meandered into the alley and ended with Trayvon dead in less than 1 minute.
No reason for Trayvon to attack him if Trayvon were afraid and had escaped him.
No reconciliation between Zimmerman’s account and the account of Trayvon’s girlfriend, who is now being called DeeDee. She was allegedly on the phone with Trayvon when he and Zimmerman first spoke.
No reason to continue following Trayvon after the 911 operator said “We don’t need you to do that.”

The funeral director has said that he found no bruises on Trayvon’s hands. For their own reasons the Right seems to want to make this  whole incident a trail by public opinion, smearing the name of the deceased in the process. Are there some nuts out there engaging in some reprehensible behavior. Absolutely. Conservative Dan Riehl is not exactly the go-to person to police other people’s behavior – Blame Palin? ‘Kill Zimmerman’ Twitter Account Launched

Now the anger has taken a new twist, breaking out on Twitter with an account named “Kill Zimmerman.” It features an image of Zimmerman in crosshairs.

After the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords, a political ad associated with Palin and featuring a cross-hairs focused on Gifford’s District, the issue of the ad rose to the level of national debate. See ABC for more on that previous news. Perhaps they’ll blame Palin for this latest use of a cross-hairs, as well.

….

As for the Twitter account, the individual behind the account is denouncing protests as coming from racists.

Extreme content warning for language. It appears as though some have been reporting the account for violation of Twitters Terms of Service. For now, the account remains live.

Gee, who would start such an account. It could not be conservatives trying to double up on the smears because conservatives never engage in sleazy behavior. For those who have never been on Twitter, accounts are very easy to set up. One on going battle is real people versus satire accounts. That is in addition to the spam bots and porn bots that follow people. In Dan’s world if a porn bot follows you on Twitter than you must be a porn addict. Conservatives are always complaining about being called stupid, yet you have conservatives like Riehl posting this ‘breaking’ news on Breitbart and at least six other conservative bloggers approvingly linking to him. Another example of the deep moral crisis of conservatism – The Morally Corrupt GOP

This was good news. It might not seem like something of imminent importance, but the long-term implications might make the difference in tipping the balance away from the head long dive into world plutocracy, A World Bank President Who’s Not a Crony or a War Criminal?

Kim has been lower-profile than Farmer. But there are some good signs that he will bring a very different perspective to the job of World Bank president than his predecessors. One is the fact that Kim is now drawing heat from the right for writing in a 2000 book, Dying for Growth, that “the quest for growth in GDP and corporate profits has in fact worsened the lives of millions of women and men.”

Jim Yong Kim might not be a progressive’s dream, but he is certainly an improvement over Bush appointee Paul Wolfowitz. Wolfowitz, as some may remember, was the Deputy Secretary of Defense under Bush and one of the architects of the Iraq invasion. As was the Bush and general conservative tendency, having totally screwed the country over, Wolfowitz was rewarded with a promotion. Wolfowitz went on to create a nice little series of scandals at the World Bank . After which he was shamed into living in exile, or he went on to being rewarded once again with some nice wing-nut welfare at the American Enterprise Institute. I have to admit that being a conservative has its advantages. You literally cannot screw up badly enough to being forced out of the club. No matter how low your character – you can dodge the draft claiming to have an anal cyst. You can be a drug addict that makes your maid go doctor shopping. You can be as low in character and moral courage as the fungus growing on a rat’s ass and you’ll actually be rewarded – Limbaugh sees heat over comments turn down to a simmer. His advertisers are slowly going back to his show.

If you read a little about the history of American art you find that from early on, American artists tried to establish a uniquely American identity. Not just an extension of European tradition. William Michael Harnett (August 10, 1848 – October 29, 1892) was an Irish-American painter who was among the first wave on truly American artists. He was known for his trompe l’oeil ( nearly photographic realism) still lifes of ordinary objects.

William Michael Harnett & Antonio Vivaldi

There is also a good video here from the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. William Michael Harnett’s trompe-l’oeil painting “The Old Violin” 1886