Black and White River City Lights wallpaper, Wheels Down Jetliner wallpaper

Black and White wallpaper

Black and White River City Light wallpaper

blue skies, jet, aviation

Wheels Down Jet wallpaper

Conservatives eat their own, Karl Rove launches initiative to keep tea party candidates out of elections

The organizers of American Crossroads hope to bring electoral victory to the Republican Party by defeating unelectable tea party candidates in GOP primary races. The new super PAC, called the Conservative Victory Project, will be run by American Crossroads president Steven Law and is supported by former Bush political adviser Karl Rove.

“There is a broad concern about having blown a significant number of races because the wrong candidates were selected,” Law told the New York Times on Saturday. “We don’t view ourselves as being in the incumbent protection business, but we want to pick the most conservative candidate who can win.”

The Victory Project plans to oppose candidates like Christine O’Donnell, Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock. Though running in places where Republicans were favored, the tea party-backed candidates lost the general election after defeating moderate Republicans in the primary. Many tea party candidates who were victorious in 2010, such as Allen West and Joe Walsh, also ended up being defeated by Democratic challengers in 2012.

One way to see this is as a conservative implosion. The rabid conservatism of the Allen Wests, Ted Nugents and Ann Coulters. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has tenuous control of his caucus at best. This kind of conservative infighting has been going on since the days of Barry Goldwater versus the social conservatives of the religious Right. While they have some entertainment value, this is one aspect of politics that they have in common with most Democrats. I don’t especially like Joe Manchin (D-WV). Though if I lived in West Virginia I would easily vote for him over a deeply corrupt conservative radical like John Raese. In 2014 or 16, when a conservative voter has a choice between a generic Democrat and someone not as radical Right as they’d like, they’re going to hold their nose and vote for the less than ideal righty candidate. Will there be lots of fun infighting between Karl Rove establishment types and the even wackier wing of the Right. Sure, but it would be a huge tactical mistake for any Democratic opponent to think that infighting will win the election for them.

Speaking of fun to watch, Paul Krugman Destroys Republican Liar Carly Fiorina Talking Points on Government Jobs. There can be too many govmint employees, but we’re actually at an historic low in terms of both numbers and percentages. That is one of the things dragging down the economy. Teachers spend their paychecks on cars, refrigerators and groceries. Contrary to the Fiorina mentality, their pay does not disappear down a black hole, it has a multiplier effect, adding jobs to the private sector.

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The Savannah River 1900 – Mitt Romney Has Declared That Sleazy Lies Are a Value

The Savannah River, c1900. While this may look like a painting it is a Photochrom color print. The Savannah River forms most of the border between the states of South Carolina and Georgia. Beautiful picture and from a distance still makes for a beautiful landscape to this day. While it was probably polluted in the early 1900s – dumping raw sewerage in river was pretty common, sadly in 2009 the Savannah River has the fourth-highest toxic discharge in the country.

Cony Island, New York c1910. If one had the free time and a little money this was the place to hang out at the time. I appreciate modern casual attitudes about fashion as much as anyone, but you have to hand it to the era for having a sense of style. Like mall watchers today, one of the biggest reason to be there was to people watch and to be seen.

Hand in hand with the Republican Party and conservative movement to the extreme Right has been its contempt for the truth. Since the conservative mind is perfectly capable of the most bizarre urban myths, from non-existent WMD as a patriotic reason to die, to the UN taking over the country, to believing that real rape does not get women pregnant, no doubt they have little problem rationalizing the increase in lies. Occasionally, so occasionally that it becomes news worthy, one of them will let some truth slip out – Republican Gov. Brownback admits Romney welfare ads are false.  I’m sure that Romney said something during his convention speech that had some truth in it, much like an apple pie has a pinch of cinnamon. That is not the way it is supposed to work. Romney made a pie out of cinnamon with a pinch of apple thrown in. The last I heard truth is a value. Though certainly since Saint Reagan’s welfare queen lie, or Nixon’s I am not a crook assertion, conservatives have been willing to throw most of what Americans consider values under the bus for the cause of the right-wing agenda. I’m going to list the three links and take a lie from each. Some fact checkers found more lis than others and some did a better job of explaining them: WaPO – Fact checking Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech at the GOP convention. ABC News – Fact Check: Mitt Romney’s Speech at RNC and CBS – Fact check: Mitt Romney’s convention speech

“And unlike the president, I have a plan to create 12 million new jobs.” (Romney)

This sounds like a pretty bold statement, especially considering that only two presidents — Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton — created more than 12 million jobs. Romney, in fact, says he can reach this same goal, in just four years, though the policy paper issued by his campaign contains few details. It is mostly a collection of policy assertions, such as reducing debt, overhauling the tax code, fostering free trade and so forth.

But, in fact, the number is even less impressive than it sounds. This pledge amounts to an average of 250,000 jobs a month, a far cry from the 500,000 jobs a month that Romney once claimed would be created in a “normal recovery.” In recent months, the economy has averaged about 150,000 jobs a month.

The Congressional Budget Office is required to consider the effects of the so-called “fiscal cliff” if a year-end budget deal is not reached, which many experts believe would push the country into a recession. But even with that caveat, the nonpartisan agency assumes 9.6 million jobs will be created between 2013 and 2017. (This is a revision downward; CBO had estimated 11 million in January.)

But Moody’s Analytics, in an August forecast, predicts 12 million jobs will be created by 2016, no matter who is president. And Macroeconomic Advisors in April also predicted a gain of 12.3 million jobs.

In other words, this is a fairly safe bet by Romney, even if he has a somewhat fuzzy plan for action. We have often noted that presidents are often at the mercy — or are the beneficiary — of broad economic trends, and Romney’s pledge appears to be an effort to take advantage of that.

As lies and conservative cleverness goes, this was a clever less than truthy statement. If elected president and the economy does not have a mini-recession, he can claim credit for jobs that would have been created if the Obama recovery continues.

‘His $716 billion cut to Medicare to finance Obamacare will both hurt today’s seniors, and depress innovation.’

The now-famous $716 billion is not a “cut” to Medicare, in the sense that it does not take from the “trust fund” or reduce the amount of money available to beneficiaries. Rather, the Obama plan, like Paul Ryan’s, puts caps on the amount the government will pay to health-care providers. And while some of those savings, which were codified in The Affordable Care Act, have been counted by the White House against the new costs incurred by health-care overhaul, there is no real connection; there are no dollar bills once marked “Medicare” that have been scrubbed clean and shifted to cover expenses under the Obama health care law.

This is a threefer lie. It lies about how Romney’s plan would gut Medicare and it lies about the fact that Paul Ryan’s plan to gut Medicare had cuts that Republicans in the House actually passed. The bill had no chance of being passed by the Senate or of President Obama signing it into law, but conservatives are happy to waste tax payer dollars on purely symbolic votes.

“His trillion-dollar cuts to our military will eliminate hundreds of thousands of jobs, and also put our security at greater risk.”

This claim is tied to the fact that the defense budget is facing $500 billion in cuts at the end of the year. As part of an agreement between Congressional Republicans and Democrats, the cuts are set to go into effect (along with roughly equal cuts to domestic programs) in January – unless lawmakers can agree on an alternate way to cut spending. It is not correct to call those “his” cuts, in reference to the president.

This was part of the infamous debt ceiling hostage deal. Republicans really blew that one. They could have gotten another trillion in spending cuts in exchange for raising a little revenue from taxes on millionaires. Republicans decided to look out for millionaires. Now that the conditions of their agreement are coming due, they’re screaming bloody murder that it’s all President Obama’s fault. When I was growing up we considering taking responsibility for our actions a value. Conservatives seemed to have thrown that in the sink and ground it up in the disposal along with a few other old American values.

Paul Krugman dived into Paul Ryan’s Medicare lies again. I think many of us are particularly concerned, angry, disappointed or whatever combination because the social safety net for seniors and the disabled are so important. It is not, for me at least, a way to score easy point, it is about the deep moral betrayal of America’s seniors and those soon to be senior citizens, by the Republican Party, The Medicare Killers

Paul Ryan’s speech Wednesday night may have accomplished one good thing: It finally may have dispelled the myth that he is a Serious, Honest Conservative. Indeed, Mr. Ryan’s brazen dishonesty left even his critics breathless.

Some of his fibs were trivial but telling, like his suggestion that President Obama is responsible for a closed auto plant in his hometown, even though the plant closed before Mr. Obama took office. Others were infuriating, like his sanctimonious declaration that “the truest measure of any society is how it treats those who cannot defend or care for themselves.” This from a man proposing savage cuts in Medicaid, which would cause tens of millions of vulnerable Americans to lose health coverage.

And Mr. Ryan — who has proposed $4.3 trillion in tax cuts over the next decade, versus only about $1.7 trillion in specific spending cuts — is still posing as a deficit hawk.

But Mr. Ryan’s big lie — and, yes, it deserves that designation — was his claim that “a Romney-Ryan administration will protect and strengthen Medicare.” Actually, it would kill the program.

Before I get there, let me just mention that Mr. Ryan has now gone all-in on the party line that the president’s plan to trim Medicare expenses by around $700 billion over the next decade — savings achieved by paying less to insurance companies and hospitals, not by reducing benefits — is a terrible, terrible thing. Yet, just a few days ago, Mr. Ryan was still touting his own budget plan, which included those very same savings.

But back to the big lie. The Republican Party is now firmly committed to replacing Medicare with what we might call Vouchercare. The government would no longer pay your major medical bills; instead, it would give you a voucher that could be applied to the purchase of private insurance. And, if the voucher proved insufficient to buy decent coverage, hey, that would be your problem.

As I mentioned in a post last year, any attacks on Medicare are also a backdoor attack on Social Security. If seniors and the severely disabled must bear a much larger share of their medical expenses they have no new source of income to turn to ( in most cases). So extra expenses will have to be paid out of Social Security. Conservatives have framed this – and it is echoed in every conservative site tha takes comments and by trolls in other places, that we must get Medicare cost under control – and of course the only way to do that is gut it. On the contra, a combination of increased revenue and while I don’t like it, some means testing for high income earners, would put Medicare on track. Medicare is the single greatest downward pressure on health care cost – costing about 14% less than other health care plans. The health care business has very little incentive to save money or offer discounts. Since 2001, employer-sponsored health coverage for family premiums have increased by 113%. The national rate of inflation has been around 1.5 to 2 percent.

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.”

Retro Telephone wallpaper – Neat Trick, Republicans Have Convinced Many Americans To Vote Against Their Own Interests

blue tint

Retro Telephone wallpaper

Green Retro Dial Telephone wallpaper

Crooked Timber notes the significance of Republican Federal Judge Richard Posner, who recently said among other things calls crtics of Chief Justice Roberts “lunatics”. Posner dumps (on) Repubs

Posner is one of a small minority on the intellectual right who have responded to the economic crisis by changing their view of the world, rather than by finding more and more absurd defenses of the indefensible. There must be quite a few others who realise they have backed the wrong  horse, but have chosen to remain quiet rather than making an open break.

Second, the terms of his attack on the US Republican party are scathing by any standards, but particularly for a professor and Federal judge, talking about his own erstwhile allies. His discussion is peppered with terms like “goofy”, “crackpot” and “lunatic”. That’s a pretty fair description of the US right these days, but it’s still not commonly heard on NPR.

The far Right and Democrats both have the occasional internal critic and generally too much is made of it. Oh look one their own says they’re wrong. Certainly to be expected among liberals since they have the larger tent. In the U.S. Senate alone we have super moderates like Harry Reid (D-NV) and progressives like Al Franken(D-Minn), and  an assortment of ideological ranges between them. Posner was one of the ideological leaders. He spoke and conservatives listened. Not like the rank and file that cheer on the Ted Nugent-Sarah Palin just because of some knuckle dragging appeal. Conservatives listened to Posner because he had ideas and some justification for them – at least what passes for ideas in the conservative movement. Regardless of Posner or former Republican presidential candidate John Huntsman who also said he will not be attending the RNC convention or any convention until Republicans start addressing,” problem solving, inclusiveness, and a willingness to address the trust deficit,” there is a deeper issue at stake. While there are not many, there are a sizable minority of Republicans who feel the same way as Posner and Huntsman. Yet they cannot seem to do what would force change in their own party – form alliances with Democrats. It is not because Posner and Huntsman type conservatives cannot find plenty of common ground( Huntsman was an ambassador for the Obama administration) and there is probably little ideological light between say former Obama adviser Larry Summers and Posner. There seems to be some kind of psychological hurdle conservatives – even the few last remaining reasonable ones – that keep them from pushing for, including voting for Democrats and more moderate policies. There is some version of horse track psychology at work. They have always bet on the jockey with the red silks and always will regardless of how much pain they cause themselves. Now Posner and Huntsman are going to be fine in terms of their personal economics regardless, but it is amazing that so many median income conservatives have been convinced that billionaires, big multinational corporations and shadowy PACs have their best interests in mind. The half of the USA at the median income level and below are losing ground – have been for thirty years – even though Clinton slowed down the pace a bit. Some of them watch Fox News and read the right of center media and really believes the birther secret socialist nonsense. Others are willing to shoot themselves in the foot over single issues like abortion – why someone would sabotage their lives and their families by an obsession with what goes on in the uteruses of women they don’t even know has always impressed me as deeply strange. Still others see conservative leaders and pundits wrap insidious public policy in the flag and they actually buy that chicanery as patriotic. No wonder conservatives fight against education and for indoctrination at private “schools”. One of the biggest threats to right-wingerism is an informed and educated public.

Fanaticism is putting the agenda of conservatism before the best interests of the country, 5 Ways Republicans Have Sabotaged Job Growth

1. Filibustering the American Jobs Act. Last October, Senate Republicans killed a jobs bill proposed by President Obama that would have pumped $447 billion into the economy. Multiple economic analysts predicted the bill would add around two million jobs and hailed it as defense against a double-dip recession. The Congressional Budget Office also scored it as a net deficit reducer over ten years, and the American public supported the bill.

2. Stonewalling monetary stimulus. The Federal Reserve can do enormous good for a depressed economy through more aggressive monetary stimulus, and by tolerating a temporarily higher level of inflation. But with everything from Ron Paul’s anti-inflationary crusade to Rick Perry threatening to lynch Chairman Ben Bernanke, Republicans have browbeaten the Fed into not going down this path. Most damagingly, the GOP repeatedly held up President Obama’s nominations to the Federal Reserve Board during the critical months of the recession, leaving the board without the institutional clout it needed to help the economy.

3. Threatening a debt default. Even though the country didn’t actually hit its debt ceiling last summer, the Republican threat to default on the United States’ outstanding obligations was sufficient to spook financial markets and do real damage to the economy.

4. Cutting discretionary spending in the debt ceiling deal. The deal the GOP extracted as the price for avoiding default imposed around $900 billion in cuts over ten years. It included $30.5 billion in discretionary cuts in 2012 alone, costing the country 0.3 percent in economic growth and 323,000 jobs, according to estimates from the Economic Policy Institute. Starting in 2013, the deal will trigger another $1.2 trillion in cuts over ten years.

5. Cutting discretionary spending in the budget deal. While not as cataclysmic as the debt ceiling brinksmanship, Republicans also threatened a shutdown of the government in early 2011 if cuts were not made to that year’s budget. The deal they struck with the White House cut $38 billion from food stamps, health, education, law enforcement, and low-income programs among others, while sparing defense almost entirely.

None of this – NONE – was because of honest concerns about deficit spending. We know that because Republicans voted for the Paul Ryan (R-WI) budget twice and that budget actually increased the deficit.

Via here this is Mittens saying that he inherited a bad economy as governor – from his Republican predecessor by the way, Gov. Romney on Poor Job Growth in Massachusetts: ‘To Suggest That Somehow the Day I Got Elected, Jobs Should Have Immediately Turned Around, Well, That Would Be Silly’

[When] Romney himself was running a government, in his case the state of Massachusetts, he was even more defensive about his lack of control of the employment picture than Obama is today. A new video unearthed by the liberal research group American Bridge shows Romney at a press conference in June 2006 admonishing reporters on disappointing jobs data. “You guys are bright enough to look at the numbers. I came in and the jobs had been just falling right off a cliff, I came in and they kept falling for 11 months,” he explains.

“And if you are going to suggest to me that somehow the day I got elected, somehow jobs should have immediately turned around, well that would be silly. It takes awhile to get things turned around. We were in a recession, we were losing jobs every month,” he added.

Krugman on Romney and the daily delusions of a guy so out of touch he could be calling in his campaign from Mars, Off and Out With Mitt Romney

Consider one of Mr. Romney’s most famous remarks: “Corporations are people, my friend.” When the audience jeered, he elaborated: “Everything corporations earn ultimately goes to people. Where do you think it goes? Whose pockets? Whose pockets? People’s pockets.” This is undoubtedly true, once you take into account the pockets of, say, partners at Bain Capital (who, I hasten to add, are, indeed, people). But one of the main points of outsourcing is to ensure that as little as possible of what corporations earn goes into the pockets of the people who actually work for those corporations.

Why, for example, do many large companies now outsource cleaning and security to outside contractors? Surely the answer is, in large part, that outside contractors can hire cheap labor that isn’t represented by the union and can’t participate in the company health and retirement plans. And, sure enough, recent academic research finds that outsourced janitors and guards receive substantially lower wages and worse benefits than their in-house counterparts.

Just to be clear, outsourcing is only one source of the huge disconnect between a tiny elite and ordinary American workers, a disconnect that has been growing for more than 30 years. And Bain, in turn, was only one player in the growth of outsourcing. So Mitt Romney didn’t personally, single-handedly, destroy the middle-class society we used to have. He was, however, an enthusiastic and very well remunerated participant in the process of destruction; if Bain got involved with your company, one way or another, the odds were pretty good that even if your job survived you ended up with lower pay and diminished benefits.

There are many tools of a healthy economy which have been perverted by conservatism and triangulating Democrats that have gone along. One is the corporation. Say someone invents a machine for removing seeds from cotton. They could make one a month, sell it, than make another one. Or they could sell stock, rise capital, build a factory and make a lot of cotton gins. The inventor makes money, the cotton farmer makes more money, suppliers for bolts and wood make money, employees make money, shareholders make some money on their investment. Now we have corporations that take over other corporations – outsource, lay off people, cut salaries, charge exorbitant consultant fees ( like Bain did) or they just put on a fresh coat of paint, make a few changes that look good and sell off the new stripped down carcass for a profit. Little to no  innovation, morality, ethics or invention is required. It is the exploitation of a system. This is what conservatives think capitalism is. They’re doing more to damage the reputation of capitalism than all the imaginary socialists they see could ever do.

Mitt Romney and jobs

 

Voter fraud rampant? You’re more likely to report a UFO

People are 3,615 times more likely to report a UFO sighting than they are to commit in-person voter impersonation, according to national data.

The striking statistic has surfaced at the same time as the news that a new voter ID law in Pennsylvania could render nearly 10 percent of the state’s residents ineligible to vote in the presidential election this fall.

A quote from the Philly link,

House Republican leader Mike Turzai acknowledged the law’s political implications at a Republican State Committee meeting last month.

Voter ID – which is going to allow Gov. Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania – done,” Turzai told the crowd, which burst into applause, as he listed legislative accomplishments under GOP control.

Like convincing some working class Americans to vote against their own rational self interests based on obsessive cultural issues, voter ID laws are about disempowering average Americans. The more control the financial elite like Romney have, the more America looks like a conservative plutocratic fantasy come true.

 

Antique World Map c1790s – If Conservatives Go Mad How Will We Be Able to Tell

Antique World Map hand-colored engraving with celestial diagrams c1790s

 

President Barack Obama goes to Ohio and uses the Brent Spence Bridge as an example of infrastructure that needs repairs, improvement or expansion. Rabid conservatives such as Andrew Malcolm at the LA Times, Michelle Malkin and the usual assortment of short attention span bloggers, who never ever use over generalizations, are never petty and are always accurate are having a laugh. Why, because there are no plans to repair bridge in question, even though it is carrying 170,000 vehicles a day instead of the 80,000 vehicles  it was designed for. No there are plans to build another bridge to help cut the traffic on the Brent Spencer. Here is the point Obama was trying to make in the larger context,

We used to have the best infrastructure in the world here in America. We’re the country that built the Intercontinental Railroad, the Interstate Highway System. We built the Hoover Dam. We built the Grand Central Station. So how can we now sit back and let China build the best railroads?  And let Europe build the best highways?  And have Singapore build a nicer airport?  At a time when we’ve got millions of unemployed construction workers out there just ready to get on the job, ready to do the work to rebuilding America.

So, Cincinnati, we are better than that. We’re smarter than that. And that’s why I sent Congress the American Jobs Act 10 days ago. This bill is not that complicated. It’s a bill that would put people back to work rebuilding America — repairing our roads, repairing our bridges, repairing our schools. It would lead to jobs for concrete workers like the ones here at Hilltop; jobs for construction workers and masons, carpenters, plumbers, electricians, architects, engineers, ironworkers — put folks back to work.

 

So would the average American understand the fuller implications of Obama’s remarks or would they simply claim they do not support what Obama was saying because it was not very specific about expanding an old bridge or building a new one. As aware as I am of the problem America has with low information Fox News watching-Limbaugh listening voters, I still think most Americans know what he meant. That there are clearly large infrastructure projects that need to be started that would get a couple million Americans jobs. Who has opposed every Democratic measure that would have created jobs? Conservatives. Even after they publicly voiced support for infrastructure spending. They have made their priorities plain, the worse they can make Obama look, the better their electoral prospects. Main St voters of both parties are in much more agreement than the taking heads of conservative leadership – Memo To GOP Candidates: Even Majority Of Republicans Support Obama’s Economic Plan

And while all of the candidates have embraced corporate tax cuts as the key to job creation, it turns out that a majority of the Republican public wants to increase corporate taxes by eliminating tax deductions:

Altogether, 70 percent of the public supports eliminating these tax loopholes and 66 percent support increasing tax rates on individuals earning at least $200,000. As Gallup notes, this is the second survey that shows “the American public broadly support Obama’s jobs plan.” These candidates may win political points by bashing Obama’s economic plans, but they’ll evidently have to adopt much of his vision to win over the public.

Another item that President Obama made clear in his Ohio speech was that he was not rising taxes, but closing some loopholes and write-offs. In wing-nutlish that translates into “job killing” tax increases, which most of the media is glad to report without correction.

The Worst Fox News-Google Debate Moment: Audience Boos a Gay Soldier

In Tampa, Fla., at the CNN-Tea Party Express debate, the audience cheered the idea of letting an uninsured 30-year-old man die (video) without care, greeting the idea with applause and shouts of “Yeah!”

And last night, at the Fox News-Google debate in Orlando, Fla., some audience-members booed a recently-out gay soldier stationed in Iraq who submitted a question through Google’s YouTube video-sharing site. His offense? Asking the candidates if they would circumvent the progress made for gays and lesbians in the military.

To their credit GOPProud has asked that Rick Santorum apologize for saying “Any type of sexual activity has no place in the military,”  Little Ricky and the knuckle draggers who applauded him think way too much about gay sex. That is what they see in the repeal of DADT, military personnel having orgies in the streets. The same rules that govern the good conduct of military personnel still apply. These hateful homophobes need to get their weird fantasies under control. And GOPP’s request still does not excuse the entire conservative field of candidates from standing there and letting Rick and the crowd get away with their cruel and crude insults without a word of objection.

GOP Ups Ante Big Time In Government Shutdown Fight

We should know tonight whether Congress is in genuinely the throes of another government shutdown fight, or whether Democrats and Republicans will figure out a way to avoid their impulses.

Instead of cutting a deal with Democrats to keep the government funded, and re-up FEMA’s disaster aid fund, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) is trying to build support by dangling carrots before reluctant Republicans and whacking Democrats with sticks.

[  ]…According to a senior GOP aide, Republican leaders want to amend the bill by cutting about $100 million from the loan guarantee program that extended funds to Solyndra.

One-hundred million dollars is chump change compared to the $1.043 trillion bill they’re debating. But this particular cut allows Republicans to crow ever louder about Solyndra, and, as an ancillary benefit, attack any Democrat who votes against the CR as voting to protect the Solyndra slush fund (or whatever they’ll call it).

Half a billion in loan guarantees is not chump change. Though if you take the right-wing conservative special inflated shrill microscopic picture of this loan guarantee, sure it looks like cronyism gone wild. OK, if those are the rules – we have to let wingers make the rules, otherwise they’ll start crying  – Speaker Boehner Votes with Big Oil After Taking $437k in Industry Cash

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) voted against a House measure yesterday that would have cut subsidies for the largest oil companies, which would have saved taxpayers an estimated $53 million. The vote came as part of the “continuing resolution” debate aimed at averting a government shutdown as Congress and the White House negotiate the federal budget.

Speaker Boehner drew immediate criticism for his vote from two public interest organizations, Public Campaign Action Fund and the League of Conservation Voters, who noted that Boehner and his leadership PAC have received at least $437,105 in campaign cash from oil and gas industry employees and political action committees during his time in Congress, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

So we’re all clear on the rules – a green energy project goes belly up and its a big deal. Pay offs from the fossil fuels industry in which they be the hand and John Boehner be the puppet is pure as the driven snow during the 1700s.

Rush Limbaugh On Gary Johnson Joke: ‘Guess I’ve Become Show Prep For The GOP Debates’
Gary Johnson

Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson brought down the house at Thursday night’s Fox News/ Google debate when he joked about how his “next-door neighbor’s two dogs have created more shovel-ready jobs than this current administration.”

The joke killed among the GOP faithful. But was Johnson the first to use it?

Just today, talk radio host Rush Limbaugh delivered a similar joke on air.

“My dogs have created more shovel-ready work than Obama has just this week alone,” Limbaugh said. “The new puppy. Honest to God. More shovel-ready work for me this week than Obama has created all two and a half years.”

Lucky for Limbaugh this is not 1692 or he might be getting toasted about now for lying and swearing to God about the honesty of that lie. Since he has made millions off the rubes for being a serial liar there is reason for Limbaugh, or conservatives who worship at the Temple of Stupidity, to change. They’re still lying sacks who cannot win a debate based on facts. The stimulus created and saved a combination of around  million jobs – Can’t Add It Up: Fox Still Misleading On Economy, Debt, Stimulus and if the stimulus was such a failure why have conservatives tripped over their egos to get to a microphone to take credit for this ‘failed’ stimulus – REPORT: After Voting To Kill Recovery, 110 GOP Lawmakers Tout Its Success, Ask For More Money. Limbaugh and Johnson have at least one more thing in common, they think turning a lie into a joke is funny. That says all America needs to know what their level of integrity.

Black and White Gears wallpaper – Republicans Have Oxymoronic Positions on Jobs and Taxes

Black and White Gears wallpaper

Blue Tint Gears wallpaper

 

Did you know that CBS can do a great impression of the way Fox News does its reporting. The thinking seems to be, let’s put up these numbers without any historical background on thew hows and whys – National debt has increased $4 trillion under Obama

The latest posting by the Treasury Department shows the national debt has now increased $4 trillion on President Obama’s watch.

The debt was $10.626 trillion on the day Mr. Obama took office. The latest calculation from Treasury shows the debt has now hit $14.639 trillion.

It’s the most rapid increase in the debt under any U.S. president.

The national debt increased $4.9 trillion during the eight-year presidency of George W. Bush. The debt now is rising at a pace to surpass that amount during Mr. Obama’s four-year term.

Mr. Obama blames policies inherited from his predecessor’s administration for the soaring debt. He singles out:

“two wars we didn’t pay for”
“a prescription drug program for seniors…we didn’t pay for.”
“tax cuts in 2001 and 2003 that were not paid for.”

Mark Knoller does the president says this, but is not courageous enough to state or explain that the road to the national debt was paved by conservative policies and a financial elite that thought they could not fail. When Bush 43 left office the debt was 82.2% of GDP. President Obama inherited that and an economy that was sinking faster than the Titanic. Since the economy is struggling GDP is down and revenues are down because there are fewer people on payrolls. Now is not the time to worry about deficits. Now is the time to create jobs with spending.A chart from the NYT I’ve posted before,

 

Knoll leaves it looking as though the Fox-Bachmann-Perry urban myth about Obama and some wild spending spree is true. The fact remains America is now paying for the new car Republicans bought on credit than drove into a tree.

What digby said about job creation and taxes – Jobs schmobs. Republican have discovered a great new meme, taxes are not high enough. Americans making minimum wage to around $40k a year are not paying their fair share of taxes. Gosh aren’t we all just red-faced embarrassed that people making the lowest incomes in America are only paying payroll taxes, sales taxes, possibly property taxes, possibly state income taxes and all the incidental fees like license renewals and permit fees. Its like this, those raking in the cash should pay in proportion to the tremendous wealth they have. As of 2007  the upper 10% of the wealthy owned 71.5% of the nation’s wealth. The bottom 50% owned 2.5% of the nation’s wealth. In order for that to make sense in terms of merit for work or intangible contributions like patentable ideas etc. we have to believe that 10% of America is doing all the work and half the country are lazy bums.

To add my two cents to what digby said about Obama and a push to create a jobs program ( series of incentives for business really). Republicans have two itched in stone policies about job creation. 1) President Obama does not have a jobs program, shame on him. 2) We oppose any jobs program that President Obama proposes. We know the Konservative Kool-aid Klub is going to hate on Obama no matter what he does. I just wonder if the general public is paying attention to how conservatives have tried to sabotage the recovery and the nihilistic messages they’re sending.

Being a little simple-minded conservatives have taken to jumping on any “incivility” by any Democrat anywhere since Obama mentioned the general lack of civil discourse a few months ago. The commentary usually begins with some variation of – how’s that civility going. Why has the issue of civility become a sore spot. Because Obama hurt their feelings. Right-wing pundits ranging from Limbaugh to Coulter to Pat Robertson to Glenn beck actually make a living off ad hominem attacks on anyone who is to the left of Eva Braun. The conservative brain is still capable of compartmentalizing that reality and thinking of themselves as The Civil voices in discourse. With those psychological proclivities in mind, conservatives are very upset that Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) said – “As far as I’m concerned — the Tea Party can go straight to Hell.” Considering the general tone and tactics of the tea smokers that seems rather tame to me. And leave it to the teahadists to make Waters look like a Sunday school teacher on her best behavior – South Carolina Tea Party Chair Posts Joke About Killing The Obamas On Facebook

Shery Lanford Smith, the chairwoman of Sumter Tea Party in South Carolina is under fire after posting a joke about killing President and First Lady Obama on her Facebook profile last Thursday. In the joke, the Obamas’ helicopter pilot says to his co-pilot, “I could throw both of them out of the window and make 256 million people very happy!” Smith continued, “If you’re one of [the] 256 million, pass it on,” which implies “she herself would be happy to see the Obamas killed.” The joke has been circulating for years in various forms and “have included the names of multiple political figures.” Smith defended the post, “It’s just a joke…I had no idea it would be an issue.”

 

Than Shery Lanford Smith realizes that if someone should say that if some day she should start to feel violently ill stock up on ice, she’s going to need it, that is just a joke.