Conservativism Is Like An Amusement Ride Without The Fun

Country Highway wallpaper

Country Highway wallpaper

This report is from June of this year, Charles Koch launching Wichita campaign about economic freedom, government overreach. A clueless elitist billionaire sounding off about how rough life is for him and  other crony capitalists who count the money they make off the backs of people who do real work and have real ideas. They call themselves libertarians because they’re not honest or honorable enough to call themselves what they really are, proto-fascists. This is another concrete reason why the Kochs and their acolytes are against regulation, manipulation plus greed pays very well,  How Goldman Made $5 Billion By Manipulating Aluminum Inventories (and Copper is Up Next).

Since there does not seem to be any kind of recording thus far ultra-conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has some wriggle room to back-track his reported assertion, Report: Scalia Approaches Godwin’s Law on Judicial Activism

Scalia opened his talk with a reference to the Holocaust, which happened to occur in a society that was, at the time, “the most advanced country in the world.” One of the many mistakes that Germany made in the 1930s was that judges began to interpret the law in ways that reflected “the spirit of the age.” When judges accept this sort of moral authority, as Scalia claims they’re doing now in the U.S., they get themselves and society into trouble.

Scalia calls himself an “originalist,” which he defined this weekend as believing that “texts should be read to mean what they were understood to mean when they were adopted.” His pretty well-known frozen-in-amber take on constitutional interpretation pits him against anyone, including his fellow Supreme Court justices, who would read the Constitution in the context of changing times and societies.

Scalia ruled that Congress does not have the right to regulate campaign financing in Citizens United, based on the concept that corporations and corporate-like entities such as Karl Rove’s American Crossroads have the same rights as human citizens. That bit of judicial activism cannot be found anywhere in the U.S. Constitution. Just a couple good points here,

One, you profess a belief in originalism and for what is contained within the Constitution.  Judicial review is mentioned nowhere in the Constitution and the concept was alien to the common law concept of parliamentary supremacy.  It was only with the Supreme Court’s ruling in Marbury v. Madison, more than a decade after the ratification of the Constitution that judicial review was established as a power of the courts.  Therefore, on what basis do assert your power of judicial review?
Two, you state that every right that you hold to exist as a matter of law can be found within the words of the Constitution and that judges engage in ‘judicial activism’ when they find rights other than those specifically listed.  How do you reconcile this view with the plain words of the Ninth Amendment, which states:

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

And of course there is the general conservative tendency to bend or rewrite history. The rise of Nazism in Germany has been well documented, its roots in the consequences and reaction to the Treaty of Versailles, a nationalism and nativism making antisemitism a large part of the appeal of Nazism.  Once Hitler became chancellor (prime minister) he and the Nazi party tried to destroy any possible rivals to his position, rearmed Germany, and launched a campaign of violence against the Jews. He became the dictator by burning the Reichstag building and blaming the communists. The general public, or enough of them anyway were worked up into a state of fear and hysteria allowing Hitler to suspend civil rights. No court rulings required. With a Nazi majority in the Reichstag, Hitler was then able to pass The Enabling Act, which gave him complete legislative and executive power for four years. Any regular court rulings Hitler did not like were ignored, not that at the time, there were any. Hitler established his own court so that he could carry out his agenda with the gaze of what appeared to be legal proceedings, The People’s Court,

The People’s Court (German: Volksgerichtshof) was a Sondergericht, a special court, established in 1934 by German Chancellor Adolf Hitler, who had been dissatisfied with the outcome of the Reichstag Fire Trial (all but one of the accused were acquitted). The “People’s Court” was set up outside the operations of the constitutional frame of law. The court had jurisdiction over a rather broad array of “political offenses,” which included crimes like black marketeering, work slowdowns, defeatism and treason against the Third Reich. These crimes were viewed by the court as Wehrkraftzersetzung (“disintegration of defensive capability”) and were accordingly punished severely. The death penalty was meted out in numerous cases in this court.

The Court handed down an enormous number of death sentences under Judge-President Roland Freisler, including those that followed the July 20 Plot to kill Hitler. Many of those found guilty by the Court died in the Plötzensee prison. The proceedings of the court were often even less than show trials in that some cases, such as that of Sophie Scholl and her brother Hans Scholl and fellow White Rose activists concluded in less than an hour, without evidence being presented or arguments made by either side.

Just my take, I would resist the temptation to call Scalia crazy. Since we do not have actual clinical evidence for that. Though we can assume, with what he has reportedly said on this and other occasions, that he is a malevolent zealot who has dishonored the nation’s highest court.

Quite a few years back a formerly Republican judge noted that conservatives had too often decided to take political and constitutional positions and than scurried around trying to find rationale for them. That continues to this day and seems to be getting worse.


Top Republicans Confess They’re Using Deficit As a Hammer

The national capital, Washington, D.C. Sketched from nature by Adolph Sachse, 1883-1884.

The national capital, Washington, D.C.” Sketched from nature by Adolph Sachse, 1883-1884. This is a wonderful color map on its own, but the included commercial ads are a great addition. On the left are some ads that include breweries, a brick maker, an auctioneer, real estate agents, lawyers and insurance agencies. On the right are a ‘Swiss” laundry, a millinery, a soap works, a patent agent, and Uroscopia – a medical office. The last is the “diagnostic examination” of urine. Which qualifies as my something new learned everyday.

I think it was back in 2001 that Eric Alterman made the observation that in addition to some conspiracy theories being true, the conspiracies in which conservatives were involved were relatively easy to see and document. Though in some cases you might have to put the pieces together and ignore the thick layer of  faux patriotic wrapping. And so it is that both those things are true about the deficit and why having a deficit serves the radical conservative agenda,  Republicans: We’ve been lying all along

America owes this debt of gratitude to Boehner after he finally came clean on yesterday’s edition of ABC’s “This Week” and admitted that “we do not have an immediate debt crisis.” (His admission was followed up by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, who quickly echoed much the same sentiment on CBS’ Face the Nation).

In offering up such a stunningly honest admission, the GOP leader has put himself on record as agreeing with President Obama, who has previously acknowledged that demonstrable reality. But the big news here isn’t just about the politics of a Republican House Speaker tacitly admitting they agree with a Democratic president. It is also about a bigger admission revealing the fact that the GOP’s fiscal alarmism is not merely some natural reaction to reality, but a calculated means to other ideological ends.

Before considering those ends, first remember that Boehner (like Obama) is correct on the facts.

As Nobel-winning economist Paul Krugman has pointed out, “Even if we do run deficits, federal debt as a share of GDP will be substantially less than it was at the end of World War II” and “it will also be substantially less than, say, debt in several European countries in the mid to late 1990s.” It is also lower than the 80 percent of GDP level that many economists say starts to put countries in a precarious position. Additionally, citing Congressional Budget Office data, the Center for American Progress notes that the long-term debt outlook is only dire because the projections simply assume without question that “future Congresses will enact huge new deficit-increasing tax cuts and spending hikes.”

Thus programs like Social Security, which as David, Krugman and anyone who can do basic arithmetic can tell you, has nothing to do with the deficit. In reality, if you want to see a one horrendous economic crisis, shut down Social Security tomorrow. In 2009 SocSec paid out about $675.5 billion. The recipients didn’t put that money under their mattress, they paid rent, bought groceries and shoes. Imagine taking $676 billion out of the retail economy. And who are among the endless stream of people claiming that the social safety net – what conservatives like to call the nanny state – people like billionaire Pete Peterson. I’m not sure what Peterson’s problem is. He seems to believe that the safety net is like a rabid dog that is ready to bounce on all his cash – leaving him trying to scrape by on half a billion. Remember in the 2004 election cycle when presidential candidate John McCain’s economic advisory Phil Gramm said that the recession was all a “mental’ thing and we were a nation of “whiners”. There was some truth to that. We have some very wealthy people, corporations and banks complaining about how hard they have it. Now if someone making $9 an hour whines, they must have good reason. When the 10% of the nation who own 74% of the nation’s wealth have nothing to do but cry and whine about how tough things are, that is absurd. Yet for the most part, especially on broadcast and cable news, their voices – through pundit proxies – are the voices America hears. I’m not sure how – maybe the collective noise of bloggers, the few good newspapers that are left and maybe even some Main Str. conservatives see the disconnect when Sarah Palin makes millions as a professional demonizer, yet gets up at CPAC and complains about how tough she has it, the message seems to be getting through, Republicans: People see us as ‘scary,’ ‘narrow minded,’ and ‘out of touch’. Though the strange thing about their own research is that they did not bother with finding out what public policy stances they should change in order to get back in sync with at least some normal Americans.

Note to CNN and other right-of-center news outlets; rape victims do not ruin people’s lives, rapists do that to themselves when they make a decision to act like human scum. Candy Crowley Oozes Sympathy for Steubenville Rapists.


Forensic Specialists Needed to Find McCain Facts

Drilling Down on the Facts in McCain’s Speech in Albuquerque on Monday. Let’s put it this way. It would take a team of forensic specialists to find something that was true in anything McCain said. The Straight Talk Express is nothing but a fleeting advertising gimmick. McCain keeps telling the lie about Senator Obama thinking that sub prime loans were the best thing since sliced white bread, but what Obama said was

“Subprime lending started off as a good idea helping Americans buy homes who couldn’t previously afford to,” Mr. Obama said in a speech to NASDAQ in September 2007. But, he added, “as certain lenders and brokers began to see how much money could be made, they began to lower their standards. Some appraisers began inflating their estimates to get the deals done. Some borrowers started claiming income they didn’t have just to qualify for the loans, and some were engaging in irresponsible speculation. But many borrowers were tricked into glossing over the fine print.”

Inflated home prices, unethical and overly glossy financial deals by housing developers and banks selling loans – all on a housing market they claimed would never bottom out, contributed to the housing and credit. At least some of which could have been averted with better regulation from quarter century veterans of Washington like anti-regulation McCain and his buddy Phil Gramm. McCain and the wing-nut viral e-mail keeps trying to get the public to associate Obama with Freddie Mac, which is audacious if nothing else.  Considering McCain’s is neck deep in Wall St lobbyists and has been for years – his campaign manager Rick Davis did work for Freddie Mac and was recieving compensation through his firm as late as September and a Fannie Mae executive wrote this letter to the NYT,

Yesterday, Senator John McCain released a television commercial attacking Barack Obama for allegedly receiving advice on the economy from former Fannie Mae CEO Franklin Raines. From the stump, he has recently tried tying Senator Obama to Fannie Mae, as if there is some guilt in the association with Fannie Mae’s former executives.

It is an interesting card for Senator McCain to play, given that his campaign manager, Rick Davis, was paid by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac several hundred thousand dollars early in this decade to head up an organization to lobby in their behalf called The Homeownership Alliance. …

I worked in government relations for Fannie Mae for more than 20 years, leading the group for most of those years. When I see photographs of Sen. McCain’s staff, it looks to me like the team of lobbyists who used to report to me. Senator McCain’s attack on Senator Obama is a cheap shot, and hypocritical.

Anywhere on the net where people can post comments the patently false smears against Obama are made and include some arcane detail to lend the attacks credibility. Its rare that responses – Obama supporters and independents ask the trolls to verify the data. Asserting something without evidence, name calling ( saying Obama is not patriotic is just grade school level name calling), typing in caps and getting generally hysterical is no substitute for facts.

Bags of Hammers for Palin and McCain

McCain linked to private group in Iran-Contra case

The U.S. Council for World Freedom was part of an international organization linked to former Nazi collaborators and ultra-right-wing death squads in Central America. The group was dedicated to stamping out communism around the globe.

The council’s founder, retired Army Maj. Gen. John Singlaub, said McCain became associated with the organization in the early 1980s…

[  ]…Covert arms shipments to the rebels called Contras, financed in part by secret arms sales to Iran, became known as the Iran-Contra affair. They proved to be the undoing of Singlaub’s council.

McCain has said previously he resigned from the council in 1984 and asked in 1986 to have his name removed from the group’s letterhead.

“I didn’t know whether (the group’s activity) was legal or illegal, but I didn’t think I wanted to be associated with them,” McCain said in a newspaper interview in 1986.

Singlaub does not recall any McCain resignation in 1984 or May 1986. Nor does Joyce Downey, who oversaw the group’s day-to-day activities.

Funny thing about Iran-Contra; Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Admiral Poindexter and now John McCain didn’t know anything about supporting right-wing death squads that murdered priests, nuns, children and at least one journalist. They didn’t know anything about supplying arms to Iran, wink wink nudge nudge. Robert C. “Bud” McFarlane, who was President Reagan’s national security adviser knew something. Oliver North knew about supporting death squads and selling arms, but as we all know right-wing terrorism and sedition is the new patriotism. That McCain didn’t know whether these activities were “legal or illegal” belongs in some movie dialogue in the back seat of a limo. The Washington insider that claims to be capable of leading the nation signed up without reading the fine print. Fade camera. I wonder why the Obama tam doesn’t point blank in the next debate ask about McCain’s support of terrorism or his comrades support for terroism. Or why McCain thinks its OK to send soldiers off to die for lies.

A List of McCain’s Nastiest Moments. On a personal level I understand that we all have our moments. We all get impatient or angry once in a while. The thing is that like police, military officers and firemen we should expect a higher standard from high ranking government leaders. It is an understatement to say that McCain’s behavior over his lifetime has been volatile and reckless. McCain does have friends, Convicted felon joins McCain in Pennsylvania

If it wasn’t for the irreparable damage he would do to the federal courts I’d almost prefer that Palin-McCain win. Four years of the Two Stooges handling a Depression would be the last nail in Conservatism’s coffin, Poll: 60% say depression ‘likely’

The CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll, which surveyed more than 1,000 Americans over the weekend, cited common measures of the economic pain of the 1930s:

* 25% unemployment rate;
* widespread bank failures; and
* millions of Americans homeless and unable to feed their families.

While Obama has a good lead in the pools it still amazes me that so many people – Palin-McCain suppoters would vote to continue the policies that got us to this point. Why do Conservatives hate America.