Black and White Watch Gears wallpaper – Today’s Conservative Kool-Aid Report

watchworks, watch gears, craftsmanship

Black and White Watch wallpaper

watch works, watch gears, see through watch

Black, Silver and Gold Watch wallpaper

I couldn’t make up my mind so I put up both versions. At prices that range from $750 to $22,000 I don’t think I’d buy one of these even if I could afford to spend that much on a watch. I do admire the craftsmanship and technology though.

 

Oh well then, everyone will obviously be voting for him now, Ron Paul Downplays Newsletters : Only ‘Eight To Ten Sentences’ Were Offensive

Jamie Kirchick, who compiled the newsletters four years ago, told TPM that the most incendiary parts were hardly stray cases.

“Ron Paul’s characterization of the newsletters as only containing ‘eight to ten sentences’ that can be characterized as ‘offending’ is preposterous,” he said in an e-mail. “As anyone can see from the scans of the newsletters available on the TNR website or posted elsewhere, the documents contain pages upon pages of bigoted statements and outright paranoia.”

On the other hand he’s toast. I mentioned just recently that no one voter gets everything they want from a candidate. I doubt that even the most fervent Paul supporters are wild about everything he says. Sometimes Paul can say something that is amazingly concise and has more truth to it than many other politicians are willing to risk, Ron Paul: Sanctions against Iran are ‘acts of war’

Paul, one of the leading contenders to win next week’s Iowa caucuses, said Iran would be justified in responding to the sanctions by blocking the flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz.  He compared the western sanctions to a hypothetical move by China to block the Gulf of Mexico, which Americans would consider an act of war.

I disagree that sanctions in the case of Iran are “acts of war”, but they might be unnecessarily provocative. Paul even sounds like Glenn Greenwald at times.

Apparently alluding to Israel and its nuclear-weapons arsenal, Paul said that “if I were an Iranian, I’d like to have a nuclear weapon, too, because you gain respect from them.”

To approving applause from a crowd of about 125, the Texas congressman said that “we always seem to have to have a country to bash,” linking the current saber-rattling against Iran to previous hawkish rhetoric that led to conflicts in Iraq, Libya and elsewhere.

The usual suspects – the jackboot polishers at Gateway Pundit , etc – in typical reactionary mode have reflexively accused Paul of being anti-Semitic based on that remark. Never mind how true it is. Once you get nukes the international community does tend to back off. There is no reason to think that Iran has fissionable material ready to make a bomb at the moment. The Right – the very same neocons who lied quite a few Americans to their deaths about the “threat” Iraq posed are using the very same propaganda about Iran, The Chicken-hawks Who Learned Nothing From Iraq. The Right, of which Ron Paul and his daffy son, are paid up members does have a reality attack once in a while. Romney and Gingrich ( as well as the right-wing conservative Heritage Foundation) were both for a health care mandate at one point. Mitt and Newt also professed that the science of global warming was compelling. Newt famously thought that conservative wunderkin Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) plan to gut Medicare was right-wing “social engineering”. Ron Paul has established a pattern. It is one that finds itself firmly planted, up to its neck in far Right crazy – Ron Paul, Conspiracy Theories, and the Right

On the New York Times “Campaign Stops” page, James Kirchick, author of several conversation changing pieces on the Ron Paul newsletters, shifts his attention from their racist and anti-gay content to the candidate himself and his career-long cultivation of support from conspiracy theorists. For example, he’s long associated with the John Birch Society, regularly appears on a Texas radio show hosted by Alex Jones, and once responded to the question, “Why won’t you come out about the truth about 9/11?” by replying, “Because I can’t handle the controversy, I have the I.M.F., the Federal Reserve to deal with, the I.R.S. to deal with — no because I just have more, too many things on my plate.” As it happens, these and other conspiracy theories with which Paul is associated are virtually all of the variety for which I haven’t even a tiny bit of patience.

[  ]…But Rep. Paul’s critics are on questionable ground when they write as if he alone among Republican Party members fails to confront — or even leverages — conspiracies in which his supporters believe, or that he is unique in consorting with conspiracy theorists. Alex Jones broadcasts some indefensible nonsense, from what little I’ve heard of his show. I’ve insufficient basis to compare it to other broadcasters I’ve listened to much more frequently, but I can say this: if Glenn Beck’s show on Fox News was less nutty than the Alex Jones Show, as it may well have been, it nevertheless was rife with nutty conspiracy theories — and lots of prominent conservatives were happy to appear on it. Sarah Palin, for one.

How many election cycles has the conservative movement used the canard that reinstating the Fairness Doctrine was agenda item one for Democrats if they regained control of the government? How many Sean Hannity radio listeners think that Barack Obama is a secret Muslim? Haven’t Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, and Herman Cain all played on conspiratorial fears that we’re on the verge of sharia law being implemented right here in America?

National Review employs as a national-security journalist a man who alleges that President Obama is allied with our Islamist enemies in a “Grand Jihad” against America, and Gingrich dissents from that theory only because he believes the Dinesh D’Souza thesis that it is actually Kenyan anti-colonialism that guides Obama’s behavior.

Gateway Pundit comment

 

Far Right conservatism is far Right conservatism. Paul drinks the green kool-aid, Romney the red and Newt the purple. At the end of the day its all kool-aid. I did go over to a couple right-wing sites that still believe Iraq had something to do with 9-11, Iraq had WMD ,  think Iran is the next Third Reich and we’re all going to be living under Sharia law any moment ( one commenter claims we already are. That American Muslims are going around killing Christians and Jews with impunity -see graphic.) To Paul’s credit he doesn’t seem to buy into the Islamophobia. At the moment such independent thinking in conservative circles is the third rail. Without the neocons who still control the road to the White House, Paul doesn’t have a chance. He will continue to be an interesting trouble maker with a loyal following –  Picture of the Day: Ron Paul Fans Wear It on Their Sleeves

Although few believe the Texas representative is headed to the White House, his support isn’t just another bubble, because his numbers are made up of true believers — the sort of folks willing not only to wear their support on their sleeve (literally), but also to tattoo it on their arms. A Time poll released Wednesday has Paul just three points behind Mitt Romney among likely Iowa caucus-goers.

For the sharp-eyed observer, the photo also shows the darker side of Paul’s base. In addition to a good number of white supremacists, whose views (though not support) he has repudiated, his supporters also include an even greater number of conspiracy theorists. This man’s wristband advertises InfoWars.com, one of the sites maintained by radio host Alex Jones, one of America’s most prominent 9/11 truthers.

 

Romney Compares Obama to Marie Antoinette. How original for the Right to repeat something that has a ring of populism about it yet wrongly attributes it. There is no historical proof that Antoinette ever said Let them Eat Cake.

Former Massachusetts Gov. and Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney recently called President Obama a modern-day Marie Antoinette. She was the queen who was overthrown during the French Revolution.

“When the president’s characterization of our economy was, ‘It could be worse,’ it reminded me of Marie Antoinette: ‘Let them eat cake,’ ” Romney told the Huffington Post.

Maybe some political adviser in the Romney camp thinks the Democrats are all rich elitists who are also in league with the big banks, but are also socialists who will mandate equal economic outcomes for everyone. As a matter of fact that has been one of Romney’s most perverse lies thus far – that President Obama has some kind of black helicopter UN sponsored plan to force everyone to have the exact same economic status. Someone might want to check the Mittster’s hair oil for toxic ingredients. The Right has been recycling some form of that urban myth-plainly contradictory bilge for decades. Some reality based research into the subject of public policy and who gets what they want most often shows that the wealthy – like Mitt – get more of what they want from government than do the middle-class or working poor. Another tack Romney and the Right in general is taking for this election  is that we need a businessman in the White House because only someone who has actually run a business knows how to turn the economy around. Well Romney sucks at that according to his record – Fact Check: Romney’s Real Economic Record In Massachusetts

During Romney’s Tenure as Governor, Massachusetts’ Economic Performance Was “One Of The Worst In The Country” On “All Key Labor Market Measures.” [Boston Globe, 7/29/07]

In Romney’s Four Years As Governor Massachusetts Ranked 47th Out Of 50 In Jobs Growth. [Marketwatch, 2/23/10]

Under Romney The Wages Of The Average Worker In Massachusetts Fell By Nearly 2 Percent. [Boston Globe, 7/29/07]

Factcheck.org: It’s “Correct” That Romney Proposed 8% Higher Spending Per Person In Massachusetts. [Factcheck.org, 10/12/07]

Romney’s Third Round Of Business Tax Hikes Were Cut In Half After Democrats Balked “Amid Protests From Some Of The State’s Leading Business Groups.” [Patriot Ledger, 1/26/08] ( Obama has cut small business taxes 17 times)

Romney can play populist all he likes – remember Bush 43 went to one, just ONE, NASCAR event the Right drooled over their keyboards for a week about how that proved h was an average guy. Maybe Romney sold two of his four mansions to prove what a regular guy he was. Back in 1994 when he lost his Senate bid to Liberal Lion Ted Kennedy, Romney said that Ted should release his tax returns, it was only right. Romney has had 20 years to rethink that – There’s No Mystery to Romney’s Taxes and Tax Plan

Why is Mitt Romney alone among the Republican presidential candidates in refusing to release his tax returns? And why is the former Massachusetts Governor also the only major GOP contender not calling for the complete elimination of the capital gains tax? As it turns out, the answer – horrible political optics – is the same to both questions. Because Romney’s continuing millions in annual income from Bain Capital are taxed at the 15 percent capital gains rate, Mitt already pays a much lower share to Uncle Sam than most middle class families. And if he called for changing the capital gains rate to zero, Mitt Romney would have to explain to voters why the $250 million man should pay virtually no tax bill at all.

Newt rose up like the great white whale of trophy wife collectors, bungled flip-flopper denials and janitorial jobs for every kid in America. Locally, guess where I’m getting fodder for the most effective anti-Gingrich arguments. From a secretive PAC (Restore Our Future?) rumored to be supporters of Romney ( Newt supporters welcome to the world the conservative SCOTUS has brought you via the Citizens United decision). Now that he is swirling around the tank Newt is likely to start acting out again – Newt Gets Wet

Newt does not respond well to nonrecognition of his world-historical destiny. His exit will not be pretty. He may act out. There is a certain wan dignity, though, in the fact that the “baggage” that is proving to be Newt’s undoing is not so much his rabbity love life or his lucrative, un-historian-like subprime lobbying as it is his past forays into unorthodox decency, such as recognizing that mass roundups and deportations of undocumented immigrants and their children is inhumane as well as impractical, acknowledging that global warming is a reality, not just a secular-socialist hoax designed to crush freedom, and (the latest news from five years ago) suggesting that medical care should be available to everybody—all hundred per cent, which necessarily includes even more of the undeserving, the improvident, and the ungodly than does the ninety-nine per cent.

Who knows maybe Newt could leverage his way into a conservative administration as Sec. of Transportation. Where he could avail America of his outside the box transportation ideas, like kids pushing people to work on  roller blades.

 

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

blue city skyline, city at night

Blue Democratic City wallpaper

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Gingrich Was Paid ~$1.7M From GSEs

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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