Blue Flame wallpaper – The Republican Agenda Is Not An American Agenda

Blue Flame wallpaper

It is hard to ignore these seemingly daily polls, Economic Fears Hurting Obama, Poll Indicates

The new poll shows that the race remains essentially tied, notwithstanding all of the Washington chatter suggesting that Mr. Romney’s campaign has seemed off-kilter amid attacks on his tenure at Bain Capital and his unwillingness to release more of his tax returns. Forty-five percent say they would vote for Mr. Romney if the election were held now and 43 percent say they would vote for Mr. Obama.

When undecided voters who lean toward a particular candidate are included, Mr. Romney has 47 percent to Mr. Obama’s 46 percent.

Both results are within the poll’s margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.

Instead of trying to ignore them, the media always seems to win this portrayal of elections as horse races narrative, activists should do what they can to sway potential voters. Going by some metrics concerning the issues, President Obama retains a slight lead. The hard-core partisans on both sides made up their minds long ago. It is now a matter of getting the fence sitters  to take an interest and get swing to realize that Romney is Bush 3.0. The last is an ongoing conundrum of politics. Every time Republicans get power – see Wisconsin, Florida, New Jersey governorship taken in 2010 – they go for the most radical goals of the right-wing agenda. Reagan was such an awful president – Iran-Contra, previous record for worse recession, working class Americans lost ground or stayed even, multiple scandals, sending troops to Beirut with no clear mission – yet voters quickly forgot and elected Bush 43, who made Reagan look like a liberal. Romney’s economic plan is the Ryan budget plan. One that continues the conservative movement’s determination to make seniors, the disabled, the working poor and the middle-class pay for the lack of revenue caused by the Bush tax cuts and the recession caused by Wall Street. Obviously Democratic bloggers are well aware of the history and causes of when, how and why we got to where we are. Most voters look at their income and their bills, than wonder who will make things better. Much of the issues bloggers on both sides blog about everyday is just so much noise. There have been some research papers done on that, but for practical purposes let’s just say its a fact of life. That is not to say it is not frustrating since most Americans when polled on individual issues, lean left of center. The far Right noise machine should not be underestimated. Their bile and craziness should be confronted, but that they create so much noise day in and day out is, in a weird way, cause for optimism. If we had those mythical civil discussions about public policy issues – no hyperbole from the fire breathers on the radical Right – the center left would win the war of ideas. Those ideas and ideals frequently get lost in the noise. That is the reason the conservative movement must have its noise machine. If nothing else to get a lot of decent hard-working people to throw up their hands in frustration – the I don’t know who to believe or both sides go too far crowd.

Back during the Clinton era up through the Bush administration, a staple of the noise machine was the conservative cultural critique. Some group – liberals, feminists, gays, Muslims ( after 9-11), Hollywood, Sponge Bob Square Pants ( that’s not a joke, they really thought Sponge Bob was undermining the nation’s values) was going to destroy the USA. Cultures can be undermined by embracing abhorrent values, it just happens that the right’s target for demonization were hardly a threat and more about directing attention away from Republican’s own abhorrent values. One of which is the kind of corrupt business culture of America. Do Business Schools Incubate Criminals? Scandals Reflect Failure of Business Education

The recent scandals at Barclays Plc, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and other banks might give the impression that the financial sector has some serious morality problems. Unfortunately, it’s worse than that: We are dealing with a drop in ethical standards throughout the business world, and our graduate schools are partly to blame.

…Oddly, most economists see their subject as divorced from morality. They liken themselves to physicists, who teach how atoms do behave, not how they should behave. But physicists do not teach to atoms, and atoms do not have free will. If they did, physicists would and should be concerned about how the atoms being instructed could change their behavior and affect the universe. Experimental evidence suggests that the teaching of economics does have an effect on students’ behavior: It makes them more selfish and less concerned about the common good. This is not intentional. Most teachers are not aware of what they are doing.

My colleague Gary Becker pioneered the economic study of crime. Employing a basic utilitarian approach, he compared the benefits of a crime with the expected cost of punishment (that is, the cost of punishment times the probability of receiving that punishment). While very insightful, Becker’s model, which had no intention of telling people how they should behave, had some unintended consequences. A former student of Becker’s told me that he found many of his classmates to be remarkably amoral, a fact he took as a sign that they interpreted Becker’s descriptive model of crime as prescriptive. They perceived any failure to commit a high-benefit crime with a low expected cost as a failure to act rationally, almost a proof of stupidity. The student’s experience is consistent with the experimental findings I mentioned above.

Mitt Romney, the Koch brothers, JP Morgan etc all deeply corrupt – if not legally, certainly morally. When NYT conservative columnist David Brooks recently wrote about Romney that if he can sell America his vision of what capitalism is, he’ll be fine with voters. What is Brooks, Romney and the big banks trying to sell – that exploiting the system is good, rewarding wealth and punishing work is wholesome, that greed is an American value, that turning the entire economy into one big Ponzi scheme where only the top 10% reap the rewards is the new morality. The movement that is under the deep delusion it has corned the market on morality is the same movement that has made America a more corrupt, devious, coarse, dog-eat -dog nation.

I’m just going to post the first one because it is the one that conservatives like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) – a big spender from 2000 to 2008, like to use as a cynical dishonest whip, Four Spending Myths That Could Wreck Our World

Spending Myth 1:  Today’s deficits have taken us to a historically unprecedented, economically catastrophic place.

This myth has had the effect of binding the hands of elected officials and policymakers at every level of government.  It has also emboldened those who claim that we must cut government spending as quickly, as radically, as deeply as possible.

In fact, we’ve been here before.  In 2009, the federal budget deficit was a whopping 10.1% of the American economy and back in 1943, in the midst of World War II, it was three times that — 30.3%. This fiscal year the deficit will total around 7.6%. Yes, that is big. But in the Congressional Budget Office’s grimmest projections, that figure will fall to 6.3% next year, and 5.8% in fiscal 2014. In 1983, under President Reagan, the deficit hit 6% of the economy, and by 1998, that had turned into a surplus. So, while projected deficits remain large, they’re neither historically unprecedented, nor insurmountable.

More important still, the size of the deficit is no sign that lawmakers should make immediate deep cuts in spending. In fact, history tells us that such reductions are guaranteed to harm, if not cripple, an economy still teetering at the edge of recession.

A number of leading economists are now busy explaining why the deficit this year actually ought to be a lot larger, not smaller; why there should be more government spending, including aid to state and local governments, which would create new jobs and prevent layoffs in areas like education and law enforcement. Such efforts, working in tandem with slow but positive job growth in the private sector, might indeed mean genuine recovery. Government budget cuts, on the other hand, offset private-sector gains with the huge and depressing effect of public-sector layoffs, and have damaging ripple effects on the rest of the economy as well.

There are many ways to tell when you’re dealing with mindless zealots and this is one – How Public Sector Layoffs Killed 750,000 Private Sector Jobs. Republicans are guided by two things – their hatred for Obama and loyalty to the conservative agenda over loyalty to the best interests of the country. And just recently, Conservative Republicans Rail Against Administration’s Action on Helping the Unemployed

To help states more effectively provide support to individuals while they seek employment, the Obama administration is allowing state officials to seek waivers of some requirements of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.

But The New York Times reports the administration’s move has stirred consternation among some conservative lawmakers. In a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), complained that Congress did not intend for states to be provided “waivers of TANF work requirements.”

In a July 12 statement, HHS Acting Assistant Secretary George Sheldon says the Social Security Act provides the department the “authority to grant states waivers of certain TANF provisions for the purpose of testing new approaches to meeting the goals of the TANF statute. The Secretary is interested in using her authority to allow states to test alternative and innovative strategies, policies, and procedures that are designed to improve employment outcomes for needy families.”

The Times, however, notes that conservative lobbying groups, which have fought to eliminate a social safety net, primarily by supporting economic policy that starves government of revenue by slashing taxes on the nation’s wealthiest, are decrying the administration’s move as detrimental to a program that has allegedly “lifted millions out of poverty.”

Such a claim is as bizarre as it is laughable.

The number of people now in poverty is larger than at any time since the Great Depression. As many economists have noted the nation’s middle class is shrinking, poverty is growing, and the only people who are faring better are the superrich.

As Columbia Business School Professor Joseph Stiglitz wrote last year, all of the nation’s economic growth “in recent decades – and more – has gone to those at the top. In terms of income equality, America lags behind any country in the old, ossified Europe that President George used to deride Among our closest counterparts are Russia with it oligarchs and Iran.”

Jared Bernstein provides some details about how the TANF changes will help people get jobs and provide businesses incentives for hiring. So no wonder do nothing career Machiavellians like Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) are screaming like someone stole their last can of caviar.

Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) Points To Huma Abedin As Muslim Brotherhood Infiltrator. Bachmann may need an exorcism, she seems possessed by the ghost of Joe McCarthy. Huma Abedin is married to former Congressman, Jew and staunch supporter of Israel, Anthony Weiner. Though the Bachmann apologist brigade has an answer for that as well,

But if you recall, the sharia-paranoiacs have an answer for that, too. (It involves the wild notion that Muslim infiltrators positioned Abedin into her marriage to Weiner, or that Weiner himself is a secret Muslim, depending on the direction the wind is blowing that day.)

At any rate, if the Muslim Brotherhood wanted to infiltrate Congress, why wouldn’t they do it the way everyone else does — cut huge campaign checks and get their lobbyists to offer legislators lavish rewards for writing legislation?

FOX News whose parent company, the Rupert Murdoch controlled News Corporation, has as its second largest shareholder Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal. Yet somehow Bachmann’s freaky fantasies do not lead her to point any fingers at Fox. Funny how that works.

Conservative Republican Journalist and Pervert James O’Keefe Fails To Find A Scandal, Union And Public Works Edition

The raw footage also debunks O’Keefe’s claim that the video shows “the willingness of public officials and lawmakers to secure funding for projects just like [ESR’s].” Actually, the men question aloud how the company has ever managed to receive public funds before. About halfway through the video, Anthony Tocci says: “When you do these grants, the fellows you have writing them up, you know, in the past — like Ronnie said, what do they put in there, outside of this? They must fluff it up, so to speak.”

As the faux-ESR workers press the union men for information on getting public funding, they emphasize that grant projects need to have a purpose; Ron Tocci says that federal support wouldn’t be guaranteed, but would “be based on how good the grant is.”

So, the raw footage of O’Keefe’s supposed shock video shows nothing more than three men kindly trying to explain to two youngsters that they can’t run a business just by digging holes and filling them with dirt, and that the government won’t pay them to do that either. The only thing these men are guilty of, if anything, is being too polite to the O’Keefe actors.

The Breitbarf legacy continues.

Presto! The DISCLOSE Act Disappears

Ask any magician and they’ll tell you that the secret to a successful magic trick is misdirection — distracting the crowd so they don’t realize how they’re being fooled. Get them watching your left hand while your right hand palms the silver dollar: “Now you see it, now you don’t.” The purloined coin now belongs to the magician.

Just like democracy. Once upon a time conservatives supported the full disclosure of campaign contributors. Now they oppose it with their might — and magic, especially when it comes to unlimited cash from corporations. My goodness, they say, with a semantic wave of the wand, what’s the big deal?: nary a single Fortune 500 company had given a dime to the super PACs. (Even that’s not entirely true, by the way.)

Meanwhile the other hand is poking around for loopholes, stuffing millions of secret corporate dollars into non-profit, tax-exempt organizations called 501(c)s that funnel the money into advertising on behalf of candidates or causes. Legally, in part because the Federal Election Commission does not consider them political committees, they can keep it all nice and anonymous, never revealing who’s really behind the donations or the political ads they buy. This is especially handy for corporations — why risk offending customers by revealing your politics or letting them know how much you’re willing to shell out for a permanent piece of an obliging politician?

That’s why passing a piece of legislation called the DISCLOSE Act is so important and that’s why on Monday, Republicans in the Senate killed it. Again.

Why? Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid: “Perhaps Republicans want to shield the handful of billionaires willing to contribute nine figures to sway a close presidential election.” The election, he said, may be bought by “17 angry, old, white men.”

Questioning Palin’s Credentials is Not an Attack, Honduran democracy, Wal-Mart’s Newest Con-game

Sunset Sailing wallpaper

This is what William “always wrong” Kristol has to say about the current feature article Vanity Fair is running on Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, Kristol: Liberal Media and GOP Hacks vs. Palin

Lefty journalist Todd Purdum has a hit piece in the new Vanity Fair on Sarah Palin. You don’t have to be a big Palin fan to recognize the article is full of dubious claims, and is dependent on self-serving stories provided on background by some of the people who ran the McCain campaign into the ground.(emphasis mine)

If we include the series of posts at  running posts that ran at The Mudflats and a dozen other articles  such as Sarah Palin’s powerful “First Dude” and The Sarah Palin Digest at ThinkProgress the only marginally new information in the VF piece is not from a straw man liberal that informs Bill Kristol’s every thought about Democrats, but from McCain’s own campaign staff. Its a common conservative pundit tactic to describe anything of a negative nature directed of one of the Right’s elite to deflect blame by calling the writer a liberal, the piece is an attack (in the winger mind any and all exposes that fracture their reality is a hit piece) feature negativity from Republicans against Republicans – all Republicans that cooperated get the rhetorical Stalin treatment – purged from the ranks of true pure conservationism, such as Krsitol. If only we could get that dang librul press to write stuff like this about a Democrat once in a while, It Came from Wasilla

Perhaps most painful, how could John McCain, one of the cagiest survivors in contemporary politics—with a fine appreciation of life’s injustices and absurdities, a love for the sweep of history, and an overdeveloped sense of his own integrity and honor—ever have picked a person whose utter shortage of qualification for her proposed job all but disqualified him for his?(emphsis mine)

VF author Todd S. Purdum drools all over John McCain whose reputation as an honorable maverick has been one of the most calculated and exaggerated in American politics. McCain who couldn’t dump the first wife fast enough to marry into money and power to advance his political career. McCain managed to sell this facade to the public with the complicity of the media ( just a partial list) who were all too happy to echo McCain’s egocentric talking points.  McCain is more likable, for lack of a better term then the seeming semi-conscious James Imhofe (R-OK) and Mitch McConnell(R-KY) or perennial king of hypocrisy House Minority Leader John Boehner(R-OH) . While most liberals were quick to defend McCain against the attacks of Karl Rove and the freeper types that labeled him a RINO. McCain’s record was as rabid right as most of his colleagues. As was said at the time he picked Palin as his running mate, Palin was McCain’s first presidential level decision. While many of us are disappointed in some of President Obama’s decisions thus far, an easy way to console oneself is to imagine that empty suit, that legend in his own mind John Mccain as president and either Palin or Mitt Romney as VP. Where do the zingers in Pudum’s piece originate. From other Republicans,

But just months into its existence the pac’s chief fund-raiser, Becki Donatelli, a veteran of Republican campaigns, suddenly quit. One person familiar with the situation told me that Donatelli could not stand dealing with Palin’s political spokeswoman in Alaska, Meghan Stapleton, who has drawn withering fire from Palin friends and critics alike for being an ineffective adviser.

[   ]…Walter Hickel, 89, a former two-term governor and interior secretary, and the grand old man of Alaska politics, who was co-chair of Palin’s winning gubernatorial campaign, in 2006, now washes his hands of her. He told me simply, “I don’t give a damn what she does.”

[  ]…The top McCain aides who had tried hard to work with Palin—Steve Schmidt, the chief strategist; Nicolle Wallace, the communications ace; and Tucker Eskew, her traveling counselor—were barely on speaking terms with her, and news organizations were reporting that anonymous McCain aides saw Palin as a “diva” and a “whack job.”

Kristol knows as well as the rest of us that pieces like the current one in VF will only serve to up Palin’s martyr status among her cultish followers and for everyone else her status remains unchanged. As conservative columnist Kathleen Parker observed during the election Palin was and still is “Clearly Out Of Her League”. Palin- Romney 2012 is currently a popular ticket choice. And yes you read that correctly, Palin at the top of the ticket. As someone once said, bring it on.

10 non-sexual acts for Gov. Sanford’s favorite ladies

Dear Gov. Sanford,

Your latest confession has a lot of people wondering how exactly you had affairs with multiple women without actually having sex with any of them.

Adult oriented satire, proceed at your own risk. If I was one of Sanford’s friends I’d body block him from getting anywhere near a microphone for at least a month.

I can understand President Obama’s response to the events in Honduras. His take, if I understand it correctly is that a democracy takes careful measured steps to change leadership, rather then the military grabbing the president and forcing him out of the country. If our military had done that to Bush, as much as he conducted a despot-lite presidency, I would have defended Bush. The military is not a democratic instrument, while elections and votes are. That said President Manuel Zelaya is has not been poster boy for the way Honduran democracy is supposed to work, Nothing so shocking about this coup

For weeks, Zelaya — an erratic leftist who styles himself after his good pal Hugo Chávez of Venezuela — has been engaged in a naked and illegal power grab, trying to rewrite the Honduran constitution to allow him to run for reelection in November.

First Zelaya scheduled a national vote on a constitutional convention. After the Honduran supreme court ruled that only the country’s congress could call such an election, Zelaya ordered the army to help him stage it anyway. (It would be ”non-binding,” he said.) When the head of the armed forces, acting on orders from the supreme court, refused, Zelaya fired him, then led a mob to break into a military base where the ballots were stored.

His actions have been repudiated by the country’s supreme court, its congress, its attorney-general, its chief human-rights advocate, all its major churches, its main business association, his own political party (which recently began debating an inquiry into Zelaya’s sanity) and most Hondurans: Recent polls have shown his approval rating down below 30 percent.

Matthew Yglesias is a terrific defender of progressive policy. Someone who I agree with more often then not, but he might be behind the curve on applauding Wal-Mart’s sudden embrace of an employer mandate to provide health insurance, CAP, Wal-Mart, SEIU Join Forces in Support of Employer Mandate. Here’s why, Wal-Mart Supports Health Plan That Will Destroy Small Businesses

Sorry Matt! We hate to bust your bubble, but you and your employer are being used for Wal-Mart’s agenda, which is as greedy and selfish as ever. Actually, it’s worse.

This is all about introducing a bill that will harm its competitors, particularly businesses of a slightly lower size that can’t buy health insurance on the same scale. The company already has a major price and sourcing edge over its competitors, and this law would allow it to exploit that even more.

[  ]…Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest private employer, also said separately that the mandate should cover as many businesses as possible, and cover part-time and full-time employees.

Read that? They say “broad” and “as many businesses as possible.”

The other problem: Employer-based health insurance sucks! It’s terrible for worker mobility, creating economic stagnation by locking employees into their jobs, while discouraging workers from startups and other small businesses that don’t have the scale to buy healthcare in the beginning. Even Obama’s said he doesn’t think the scheme — which was developed as a way to get around WWII price controls — makes a lot of sense.

If anything Wal-Mart and other big retailers are a good case for the public option. If someone wants to take a chance on leaving their current situation to say, join a small alternative start-up that competes with Wal-Mart with their energy saving light bulbs and recycled products, they can take their public health plan with them and which to their new employers coverage once they get some revenue flowing in. Wal-Mart is doing what it almost always does, make a cynical calculated move that looks cuddly and cute from a distance, but is all about killing  off small competitors.