City Night Skyline wallpaper – Conservatism Before Patriotism

city at night, city by the river

City Night Skyline wallpaper

 

Since it is an unusually slow news day even for a Sunday there is a general news round-up:

As Jobs Act languishes, McConnell says Obama wants gridlock

President Obama’s $447 billion jobs package appears to be headed nowhere fast in Congress, and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell is suggesting that’s exactly what the president wants.

In a statement Tuesday, McConnell said the White House’s “explicit strategy” is to “make people believe that Congress can’t get anything done.”

“The political operators over at the White House seem to believe that they benefit from the appearance of gridlock,” McConnell said. The GOP leader’s statement came after Mr. Obama sent Congress three long-anticipated free trade agreements. McConnell said the administration’s interest in gridlock explains both why it took so long to pass the trade agreements and also the status of the American Jobs Act.

McConnell is a walking PowerPoint presentation of Chapter One in the right-wing conservative play-book: Lie and Lie Big. Repeat lie as often as someone has a microphone in your face. McConnell(R-KY) is one of the conservatives who admitted he and his co-conspirators took the country hostage during the debt ceiling debate – risking another economic crash – and will take the country hostage again if their demands are not met without compromise. One of the reasons President Obama is struggling in the polls is that he has reached out to compromise with Republicans so often. Republicans are not responsible for the poll numbers – they never have approved of Obama even when he has implemented policies which Republicans had previously supported (for example the right-wing Heritage Foundation had supported Romney-care in Massachusetts, the plan that the health care reform bill was modeled on). Steve Bennen has some more examples where the conservative idea of compromising with Obama has been that they get everything they want.McConnell also goes on to claim that there is no use Republicans supporting the Jobs Bill because a couple of Democratic senators don’t support the bill. yea, that’s right McConnell and a dozen other Republicans would vote for the Jobs Bill, but only if it gets every Democratic vote. And the stork delivers babies.

There is always a reason for the Big Lie. McConnell and conservatives are scared that President Obama is gaining traction with the public. Oh and one other thing, the Jobs Bill will create jobs and lower the deficit – CBO: Obama jobs bill reduces budget deficit

The Congressional Budget Office on Friday confirmed that President Obama’s jobs bill would be fully paid for over ten years and also gave its seal of approval to Senate Democrats’ version that includes a surtax on millionaires.

The CBO said that the original Obama stimulus bill would involve $447 billion in tax cuts and new spending—the same estimate given by the administration. It said the bill would raise $450 billion over ten years. The result is a $3 billion decrease in deficits over ten years.

The Senate Democrats’ bill, which replaces Obama’s taxes on the upper middle class with a 5.6 percent surtax on those with annual incomes above $1 million, raises $453 billion over ten years and reduces deficits by $6 billion. The tax kicks in 2013.

 

Once again conservatives show they have no real interests in creating jobs or lowering the deficit. It’s all about making the conservative movement look good. Conservatism before patriotism.

Mitt Romney taps foreign policy, national security advisers

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Thursday announced a team of dozens of foreign policy and national security advisers, tapping an array of Bush administration veterans and former lawmakers to help him shape his defense, intelligence and counterterrorism proposals.

[  ]…“America and our allies are facing a series of complex threats,” Romney said in a statement. “To shape them before they explode into conflict, our foreign policy will have to be guided by a strategy of American strength. I am deeply honored to have the counsel of this extraordinary group of diplomats, experts, and statesmen. Their remarkable experience, wisdom, and depth of knowledge will be critical to ensuring that the 21st century is another American Century.”

This list of advisors is the rise of the zombie neocons. Romneys tea includes torture cheerleader and former CIA director Michael Hayden, Robert Kagan – who has never heard of a war that didn’t sound like a swell idea, former aid to Darth Cheney Eric Edelman, the Heritage Foundation’s Kim Holmes who advocates another preemptive war – this time against Iran and Eliot Cohen who was on the nefarious Defense Policy Advisory Board Member (2001-2009) – so he can be relied on to send your sons and daughters to die for some very serious reasons that only rabid ideologue can truly understand but will be draped in the kind of blood drenched fake patriotism for which the neocons have become famous. So much for Romney being the moderate.

Posters at The Volokh Conspiracy frequently get some things rights especially in regards the 1st and 4th Amendments even if they get there by some convoluted reasoning. This happens to be a rare time which the argument is mostly sound – Secret DOJ Memo re Awlaki Targeting, and NYT Public Editor on Policy-By-Leaks

I’m traveling and can’t stop to comment, but check out Charlie Savage’s New York Times story describing a secret DOJ memo, reportedly principally authored by David Barron and Marty Lederman, that provided the justification for putting Anwar Al-Awlaki on the targeting list in the first place.  Crucial reading on the targeted killing and drone debate.

One thought, however. As Jack Goldsmith and Ben Wittes have argued at Lawfare, and I have argued here and at Opinio Juris, although it is certainly helpful to have a summary in the press about the issues discussed in the secret memo and their resolution, the fact that it is merely leaked, quite apart from not making available the actual text, is a grave part of the problem here.  If it can be shown to press people and written about at length, then it should be made available publicly, as official policy and part of the process of defending the policy.  Leaks de-legitimize policy over the long run, and reforms to the accountability and oversight of “covert” actions that are not truly covert need to provide some mechanism for releasing information on their legal justifications.  It’s good that this information is out there; it is bad that it was put out there through leaks.

I’m not sure it is “bad” that we know because of leaks. It is mostly about appearances. I don’t have some poll numbers to cite, but my general take on reactions to policy regarding Al Aulaqi in particular is that the public wants to know the legal reasoning up front even if their mind is already made up about the legal reasons pro or con. It is not as though letting citizens in on the legal justification for killing an American enemy combatant will compromise national security. Still under debate is the use of drones for what appears to be what some have called targeted “assassinations”. Al Aulaqi death was justified under the circumstances, but that does not mean to me that the policies surrounding his death should be secret.

For Some, Wall Street Is Main Street

Panini and Company Cafe normally sells sandwiches to tourists in Lower Manhattan and the residents nearby, but in recent days its owner, Stacey Tzortzatos, has also become something of a restroom monitor. Protesters from Occupy Wall Street, who are encamped in a nearby park, have been tromping in by the scores, and not because they are hungry.

Ms. Tzortzatos’s tolerance for the newcomers finally vanished when the sink was broken and fell to the floor. She installed a $200 lock on the bathroom to thwart nonpaying customers, angering the protesters.

There is no excuse the  behavior documented in this article. The protesters or some of their sympathizers need to compensate these businesses for any damages and loss of business. It only takes a few bad apples and a few incidents to undermine the message of OWS. It may not be fair that talking about banks cheating people on foreclosures or other abhorrent behavior being over shadowed by abusing a public restroom, but it works like that. Some businesses report brisk sales in coffee, t-shirts and other items. Still we have the businesses that are being abused, nearby residents putting up with the noise and not being able to use the park, and apparently some sanitation issues in the park. OWS should be going out of its way to make sympathizers, not antagonize people.

Palin says it’s time to “reload for America”

“Now isn’t the time to retreat, now is the time to reload with truth so we can fight for this country and reload for America,”

Palin has a pathetic record of telling the truth and differentiating her fevered paranoia from actual reality.

“I’m talking about real hope, not that hopey changey stuff that some politicians try to get you go believe in.”

Palin has cashed in on her own brand of hopey changey stuff to the tune of millions. She made people believe she was going to run for president – took their money – then changed her mind. So if someone’s idea of hope and change involved President Palin they got the shaft in exchange for the donations Palin asked for . *Related to that link to Jon Stewart – Glenn Beck Has ‘Absolutely No Respect’ For ‘Non-Thinking Man’ Jon Stewart. Sort of like not being respected by the world’s biggest idiot. Something to be proud of.

Jon Stewart acts like Glenn Beck on the Daily Show

 

Why Herman Cain Is The Koch Brothers’ Favorite Presidential Candidate

 – Cain traveled to Wisconsin in support of the Koch-funded union-busting bill: During the apex of the fight in Wisconsin over Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) union-busting bill this spring, Cain traveled to the Badger State to support the conservative power-grab, speaking at a rally in February. The Koch brothers were major players in Wisconsin’s anti-union push.

What did great cause did Cain fight for in Wisconsin? Besides fighting to take away rights from average working Americans – the Right usually calls those people thugs – Cain was fighting for tax payers right to buy iPads for Republicans

Despite Insisting State Was ‘Broke,’ Gov. Scott Walker Spent $60,000 On iPads | Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) infamously used his state’s budget gap as pretext to strip collective bargaining rights from public sector workers, insisting that “Wisconsin is broke” and thus extraordinarily measures were required. But the state is apparently not that broke, as the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. just dropped “about $60,000? on brand new iPads for every person on their staff, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. Actually, they bought more than enough, purchasing 73 tablets for only 63 employees (they say the are in the middle of hiring more people). The agency is a public-private hybrid, but a spokesperson said the iPads were purchased with state dollars.

Black and White Busy City wallpaper – Conservatives Spinning Both Ways

Black and White Busy City wallpaper

If Republicans are proud of what they did or what they stand for, how come they’re always spinning what they just did and what they stand for. Republicans said that the debt ceiling was no big deal – On Fox – Hannity, Dobbs, Palin, Carlson, Doocy Napolitano and other pundits say the debt ceiling is unimportant or advocate a default. Now Mitch McConnell(R-KY) who seems to hate America with every breath he takes confesses that he was holding millions of American lives hostage and plans on doing so again – Mitch McConnell takes a permanent hostage: the debt ceiling

“I think some of our members may have thought the default issue was a hostage you might take a chance at shooting. Most of us didn’t think that. What we did learn is this—it’s a hostage that’s worth ransoming. And it focuses the Congress on something that must be done.”

[  ]…“Never again will any president, from either party, be allowed to raise the debt ceiling without being held accountable for it by the American people and without having to engage in the kind of debate we’ve just come through,” Mr. McConnell said moments before the Senate vote on the deal he worked out to raise the debt ceiling by $2.1 trillion.

President Obama had argued repeatedly during the last several weeks that holding up a debt ceiling increase amid partisan political bickering was the equivalent of a hostage-taking, with the global economy at stake.

“The debt ceiling should not be something that is used as a gun against the heads of the American people,” the president said.

The op-ed columnist at the NYT adds why McConnell and conservatives will hold more hostages -“Why? Because in the end, hostage-taking works”. Everyone came out badly bruised from the whole fiasco. Who came out a little better than everyone else, Obama. In a previous post I noted that conservatives are divided into two camps. Ones that are trying to spin the hostage crisis as a win and conservatives who think they got the shaft. This conflict in narratives, which also includes the conservatives who advocated letting the economy crash versus it is a crisis and it is somehow Obama’s fault, is still hanging out there in the public consciousness. Wall Street is well aware that they dodged a bullet. In the long term there is no way that conservatives look like responsible adults who know what they’re doing and are able to put the country before their job killing agenda.

If the government is about being by and for the people,  the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) did not get that memo. Neither did the primarily right-wing conservative legislators who act as their puppets – ALEC’s cheat sheet legislation

The ALEC approach, especially in recent years, has been to expose as much of the country at one time to that social and economic risk as possible:

An exhaustive analysis of thousands of pages of documents obtained through public records requests from six states, as well as tax filings, lobby reports, legislative drafts and court records, reveal that these suddenly popular anti-public employee bills, while taking different forms from state to state, were indeed disseminated as “model legislation” by ALEC.

Not coincidentally, bills similar to those in Florida and Wisconsin have been introduced in Arizona, California, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Vermont.

Again, it’s not an allegation of illegality here, so much as it is the inherent sense of unfairness—that vague suspicion that the state legislators are cheating when it comes to doing the job the voters “hired” them to do—that sneaks up on you when you realize that in many cases, the work they’re handing in is not their own.

After the Norway shootings it was found that Anders Behring Breivik was a “conservative Christian” who thought Christian Europe was under threat. Some of our homegrown “conservative Christians” were quick to claim that Breivik was not a real Christian. That specific debate is interesting and reminded me of the way the Right has twisted Christianity for so many years that barely anyone takes notice that they have been claiming their political beliefs are directly attached to their religious beliefs. To not follow them in their political policy is not to be a real Christian. It seems more than a little arrogant if not culturally tyrannical to claim that you’re the only true Christians and to challenge their politics is to challenge God. Very unhealthy as most conservative tenets are. This opinion piece by a Texas pastor gets into this phenomenon as it regards Gov. Rick Perry(R) – Five Scriptures You Won’t Hear at Rick Perry’s Prayer Event

As a native Texan, I’m used to crazy religion and crazy politics. So, the announcement of Gov. Rick Perry’s plans for “The Response,” a prayer event scheduled for Aug. 6 at Houston’s Reliant Stadium, was not a surprise.

But as a Presbyterian minister and community organizer, it’s part of my job to stand up for my neighbors. The use of the governor’s office to promote one religion in a country with such rich religious diversity is obviously unhealthy politics, but — if one takes the Christian and Jewish scriptures seriously — it is also unhealthy religion. Here are five rather important verses of scripture you aren’t likely to hear at “The Response”:

Don’t make a show of prayer

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray in public places to be seen by others… But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your heavenly parent, who is unseen.” (Matt. 6:5-6)

While Jesus never addressed the issues most important to some of this event’s co-sponsors, such as homosexuality and abortion, he did speak out against public displays of religion. Whatever Jesus meant by the word “prayer,” it seems to have been about the quiet and personal. The disciples had to ask Jesus how to pray, which is a pretty good indication that he wasn’t praying a lot publicly.  What he did say about prayer carried a warning label: “Don’t rub it in other people’s faces.”

God doesn’t withhold rain because we’ve done something wrong

“God causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matt. 5:45)

Perry recently called Texans to pray for rain, which implies that God steers clouds toward the worthy. According to Right Wing Watch, one of the events co-sponsors has said the earthquake in Japan happened because the emperor had sex with the Sun Goddess. It may be a part of our lower nature to blame disasters on people we don’t like or understand, but Jesus taught that God sends rain on the just and unjust.  Furthermore, he said our love should be equally nonselective.

I have chosen Christianity as my life’s religion, but when nonjudgmental love is taken out of its center, it becomes poisonous and predatory. The word “God” can be a helpful symbol for all the transcendentals of life, but the symbol becomes instantly pathological when used as a scientific explanation or political justification.

 

Unfortunately the pastors’ words will fall on deaf ears, an important part of conservative dogma is to live in a bubble that does not let facts in much less appeals to humanitarianism.