Creamsicles Summer wallpaper – Right-Wing Powerline’s Powerlie About the Stimulus

Creamsicles Summer wallpaper

This is deeply strange even for John (Assrocket) at the right-wing Powerline blog, A Verdict on Obama’s “Stimulus” Plan

Economists Timothy Conley and Bill Dupor have studied the effects of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the purported stimulus bill) with great rigor. Earlier this week, they reported their findings in a paper titled “The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act: Public Sector Jobs Saved, Private Sector Jobs Forestalled.” The paper is dense and rather lengthy, and requires considerable study. Here, however, is the bottom line:

Our benchmark results suggest that the ARRA created/saved approximately 450 thousand state and local government jobs and destroyed/forestalled roughly one million private sector jobs. State and local government jobs were saved because ARRA funds were largely used to offset state revenue shortfalls and Medicaid increases rather than boost private sector employment. The majority of destroyed/forestalled jobs were in growth industries including health, education, professional and business services.

So the American people borrowed and spent close to a trillion dollars to destroy a net of more than one-half million jobs. Does President Obama understand this? I very much doubt it. When he expressed puzzlement at the idea that the stimulus money may not have been well-spent, and said that “spending equals stimulus,” he betrayed a shocking level of economic ignorance. (emphasis mine)

Over the years I’ve pointed out this common tactic of right-wing conservative pundits and bloggers. They point to some research, a news story or some statistics hoping no one will actually read and research that little part they snipped out to make their biased point. You could say they treat their readers as though they were idiots who were not interested in the truth. That may be partly true. Their readers do not go to their sites or watch their programs for information. They are looking for some kind, any kind of validation, for beliefs so closely held that facts would not dislodge them anyway. If there is anything here found to be “shocking” it is Assrocket’s public display of the worse kind of imbecility. He either has not read the whole report himself or does not understand it. he mentions that the report is difficult to get through. I agree that it is stepped in dry economic-speak, but much of it is in plain American-English. Assrockets excerpt is even deceptive. It is odd that he could not include a few more sentences from the abstract he quoted ( all the right-wing blogs who linked to him use the same paragraph). He leaves off the following,

State and local government jobs were saved because ARRA funds were largely used to o set state revenue shortfalls and Medicaid increases (Fig. A) rather than boost private sector employment (e.g. Fig. B). The majority of destroyed/forestalled jobs were in growth industries including health, education, professional and business services. Searching across alternative model speci cations, the best-case scenario for an e ectual ARRA has the Act creating/saving a net 659 thousand jobs, mainly in government.

So even by Assrocket’s experts the stimulus did create or save jobs ( not all of the stimulus has been spent yet. Those interested in tracking that information can go to Checking under press releases is probably the easier route.) Note what it says about states using stimulus funds. Many did not use those funds for infrastructure projects or to make loans to businesses that would create jobs. That is one of the issues with the stimulus and what Congress intended – also acknowledged in the paper by Timothy Conley and Bill Duporz at Ohio State. The authors acknowledge that states used the stimulus funds(ARRA) instead of their own funds for some highway and infrastructure projects. In other words states with Republican governors used federal stimulus funds not to create jobs but to pay the state’s bills. That did save some jobs via not making cuts to education they would have made otherwise. Though in many cases – Wisconsin, Michigan, Florida, New Jersey, just to name a few used the federal money and cut teacher and other public jobs anyway. That also gave them, what they believed to be anyway, the political elbow room to cut those jobs while also giving away corporate tax cuts – thus once again making their budget balancing even more precarious than it actually had to be. They claim those corporate tax cuts create jobs, but those states have large corporations sitting on tons of cash and are not hiring. While no reasonable person wants corporate taxes to be too high there is no empirical economic proof that slashing corporate taxes in the current economy will create jobs. Further on in the Ohio Sate study is the authors version of what I just wrote. Assrocket, being brilliant compared to the stupidity of the President must not have understood or just skimmed past since it negates his larger thesis and makes the states with conservative governors look like hypocrites,

Texas provides a case in point. In Texas, ARRA dollars arrived and simultaneously the number of Texas highway, bridge and street construction workers declined. Employment in that sector fell from 34,600 workers in May of 2008 to 28,500 workers in May of 2010. Total capital outlay on highways in Texas (fiscal year ending on August 31) went from $3.38 billion in 2009 to $2.82 billion in 2010. This decrease in state expenditures occurred even though Texas spent $0.70 billion in ARRA highway funds during 2010.16 The Texas government responded to its receipt of ARRA highway dollars by cutting Texas’ own contribution to highway spending, which freed up state dollars to boost suffering state fi nances.

Texas just recently gave yacht owners a special tax break. They have gutted their education spending as well as health care funding for Medicaid ( which will result in thousands of elderly being turned out of nursing homes). Why did Governor Rick Perry (R) not use stimulus funds to simply continue the same average increase in infrastructure spending which would have created jobs. He and and overwhelmingly right-wing legislature decided it best to use the stimulus funds to finance tax breaks for millionaires and wealthy corporations. It that the kind of gotcha Assrocket had in mind when he wonders if the President “understands”.

Michigan provides another example. For the scal year ending on September 30, 2009, Michigan’s revenue from Federal aid had increased by $189.2 million over the previous scal year however, over the same horizon, capital outlays had risen by only $17.4 million. What might ex-plain this gap? Taxes and miscellaneous revenues received by the Department fell by $140.6 million relative to the previous scal year. The US DOT reported that it outlaid $110 million to Michigan through September 2009, $105 million of which was FHA money. As in Texas and New York, ARRA dollars were substituting for Michigan government dollars. Poten and Poten, a private company that collects, analyzes and sells information about the asphalt industry, describes the situation clearly: The lack of demand for asphalt is largely due to constrained public road funding and a weak private and commercial market for the product.

Most state and local governments have major budget problems. Federal funds related to the transportation budget and Stimulus are a critical source of current road funding, but it hardly makes up for the declines from state and local public funding sources

In other words, the analysis is not that difficult. Michigan and these other states used federal money to balance their budgets rather than create jobs. We can get angry at Congress for either not being more specific or not attaching more strings to those funds, but it is ultimately the fault of the governors and legislators if the funds are used to pat state bills rather than spend the money on job creation. Texas remains a great example by not only keeping the federal money and not spending it on infrastructure, but not spending its own money on infrastructure. The Texas economy was once hailed by conservatives as a model for the country, yet it owes its current head slightly above water fiscal circumstances to the ARRA and President Obama. Even that precarious situation may change as the ARRA winds down – which it is doing this year.

While their figures on how states used their ARRA money are reasonably sound it is possible that the Conley and Duporz paper is mistaken in their conclusion. They, like all researchers have to add up the numbers and in their case make some assumptions. Wait, Did the Stimulus Work?

Based on its economic models, the Congressional Budget Office recently estimated that between 1.4 million and 3.4 million workers who have jobs would be unemployed if the stimulus hadn’t been enacted. Three of the best-known private economic research firms — IHS Global Insight, Macroeconomic Advisers and Moody’s — have come up with similar estimates. The average estimated effect on employment is about 2.5 million jobs.

Nariman Behravesh, IHS Global Insight’s chief economist, has a nice way of summarizing what the bill did (and, to some extent, didn’t) do: “It prevented things from getting much worse than they otherwise would have been. I think everyone would have to acknowledge that’s a good thing.”

The  Macroeconomic Advisers is also a slog, but it is here for those interested, MA on fiscal stimulus, the definitive answer: it works.  MA refutes the demagoguery. Like other issues – torture, Iraq’s non-existent WMD, supply-side voodoo, women’s health issues  – the Right has it’s first wave of propaganda. That propaganda is fact checked and refuted. They let some time pass and reinvent the same tired lies and half truths. The Right has been demagoging the ARRA almost since its passage. They were wrong than and they are wrong now, New CBO Report Finds Up to 3.6 Million People Owe Their Jobs to the Recovery Act and Conservatives Continue To Claim The Stimulus ‘Failed,’ After CBO Report Said Otherwise.

One more set of points from the Ohio State paper. It seems as though Assrocket could not get past the first three sentences. Keeping in mind this report is Powerline’s slam-dunk, please, please conservative readers do not read the conclusion that begins on page 28,

The most promising avenue in this regard is to allow for cross-state positive spillovers. This might result in estimates of a large positive jobs effect. Suppose, for example, that Georgia received relatively more ARRA aid, which in turn stimulated that state’s economy. If, as a result, Georgia residents’ vacation spending in Florida increased, then the increased vacationing might generate jobs in Florida. Our methodology cannot pick up this effect.

If this type of spillover from interstate trade is widespread nationally, then the economy-wide jobs effect of the ARRA may be actually larger than what we find. To address this, we are planning to redo our analysis by adding time series variation to the current cross-state variation. Given data collection lags and the fact that ARRA spending did not began in earnest until mid-2009, we did not have a suciently long time series to use this approach in the present paper.

Nothing that I have written here is meant as an attack pe rse on this paper’s authors. For now I’ll assume they are just economist that saw what they perceived to be curious anomalies and wrote up what they think they saw. The above shows that have done taken some aspects of the ARRA and its effects into account. New York for example used some of their ARRA funds for infrastructure and jobs creation, but also used some to pay state bills. And oops another problem for the slam and the dunk,

Next, research on the ARRA, and in particular our empirical ndings, demands greater structural economic modeling. In this study, we deliberately chose the relatively `model-free’ approach for one of the first studies on this new government program and data set. The drawback is that, at this point, we can only conjecture on the underlying, economic mechanisms that give rise to our findings. (emphasis mine)

Even the kool kids will have to drink a lot of the konservative kool-aid to read this and conclude oh yea, we gotcha. If that paragraph is not causing Powerlined heads to explode, it turns out the authors are somewhat sympathetic to the plight of the unemployed and it appears one of the reasons for writing the paper is to point out that indeed, some of the ARRA funds did not go to where they would have been most effective in creating jobs.

Second, as explained in the paper, relatively less educated people faced, and continue to face, a much worse job market than more educated people. The way that state and local governments channeled ARRA funding into different sectors is likely to have consequences for the effects of the Act. For this reason, an accurate model should d eentiate between high and low education workers along with their respective labor markets. Third, we have provided substantial evidence that state and local governments have used part of ARRA aid in a way not explicitly intended by Congress and the President. As such, an accurate modelof this period will include a hierarchal intergovernmental component in the spirit of Bradford and Oates (1971a).

So taking our chain of thought from a pundit from Wingnuttia, So the Right expects people to believe that an economic stimulus, that was required because they drove the economy into the ditch, is not effective, because of a report they did not read, do not understand, has some data that is or should be an embarrassment to Republicans and contains conclusions the authors admit might not be the best is the ultimate refutation of the ARRA. Do wing-nuts have reading comprehension and analysis issues? Maybe, or maybe they are maliciously ignorant on any occasion such ignorance suits their agenda. it is difficult to decide. Are conservatives as shockingly ignorant about the economy as they appear. Well the nation lost about $19 trillion dollars in wealth under their guidance.


Lemon Water wallpaper – Keeping Score and Ending America as We Know It

Lemon Water wallpaper

Richard (RJ) Eskow makes some good points in between in some exasperation and exaggeration, Why Progressives Keep On Losing and the Right Keeps On Winning

Congratulations! The “grand compromise” will cut nearly thirty nine billion dollars in needed government spending, which proves how “serious” everyone is about reducing the deficit. The grand compromisers could have cancelled the next ten years of tax subsidies for oil companies and cut the deficit by forty billion, but apparently that’s not how serious people do things.

Eskow points up another facet to the debate leading up to the budget compromise ( keep in mind the Senate still has to vote on the budget and some of the riders being hailed as a partial victory for cheerleaders of the Scarlet Letter school of cultural values may change). Besides subsides for oil, we have subsides for coal and natural gas. We have subsidies for big agri-corporations (62% of farmers do not receive subsides). While I support aid to Israel, it was established in 1948 and to date has been the single largest beneficiary of US foreign aid. Most of Israels’ current aid in in the form of military aid – the Obama administration has approved about $9.9 billion in aid for FY 2011. American Progress reviewed a report by the non-partisan Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) report on government waste. Note that no where in the report does it say attacking the reproductive health of women or making the nation’s air/water more toxic will be big money savers, Report Identifies $15 Billion to $20 Billion in Government Cost-Saving

*Realign the Defense Department’s military medical command structures: $281 million to $460 million annually
*Eliminate duplicative tax breaks for ethanol production: $5.7 billion annually
*Reduce farm payment programs: $800 million over 10 years; $5 billion annually
*Revise essential air service program: $20 million annually
*Improve management of federal oil and gas resources: $1.75 billion over 10 years
*Dispose of unneeded federal real property: $3 billion by the end of FY 2012
*Increase TSA baggage screening systems: $470 million over five years
*Clarify availability of customs fee collections: One-time savings of $640 million
*Improve Social Security data on pensions from noncovered earnings: $2.4 billion to $2.9 billion over 10 years

One area that is tricky is elimination of  “duplicate services”. What seems like duplicate services from a distance might not be on close examination. Considering the short sightedness or intractibility of the right-wing conservative mindset is not surprise that a Republican rider to eliminate funding for extra IRS agents was part of the budget compromise. One area where we all would have benefitted by making sure taxes were properly collected,

GAO also believes we can save by eliminating duplicative tax breaks and improving the IRS’s ability to collect taxes already owed to the government. Specifically, the report recommends the United States can enhance revenue collections by:

*Improving debt collection. The IRS recovered only $6 billion of $129 billion in tax debts in 2008 using written notices. Tax debts not recovered through inexpensive written notices must be collected through more expensive phone or in-person methods.
*Improving outreach to reduce revenue losses due to overstated real estate tax deduction. Nine million taxpayers overstated their federal deductions for local real estate taxes in 2001 by an average of $85. This resulted in a $2.5 billion loss.
*Improving tax compliance of self-employed owners of unincorporated businesses. The IRS estimates that $68 billion of the $345 billion gross tax gap can be attributed to underreporting by sole proprietors.
*Identifying businesses not filing tax returns. The IRS can save by using third-party data to find businesses not filing required tax returns.
*Improving tax compliance of S corporations. Sixty-eight percent of S corporations misreport net income. The IRS estimates that $85 billion in taxable income is not correctly reported as a result.
*Strengthening enforcement of tax evasion. Creating an agencywide strategy to enforce tax evasion can help close the tax gap.

Between ending unproductive and sometimes egregiously wasteful subsides, and collecting revenue even the compromise was doable without causing any major pain to the middle-class and working poor. here all I am doing is playing by the game Republicans, many Democrats and certainly the vast majority of the media have created – that we do have a monstrous out of control nation destroying debt which leaves us no choice but to make drastic budget cuts.  There is no out of control spending. The Bush and now Obama tax cuts costs $2.5 trillion over the years 2001-2010 – which includes interests on the debt – that is something Republicans, tea smokers and Obama share responsibility for the years 2010 and beyond. So there is no reason to listen to the twisted attempts by the Right to dump the entire debt into Obama’s lap. That is just the Right’s general tendency to not act like responsible grown-ups.

While the multitude of Republican governors and conservative state legislators latest rounds of attacks on the rights of women to have autonomy over their own bodies is would be a higher priority in comparison to defunding subsidies for women’s health care in the DC area, that also, is another grossly out of whack conservative priority and point of hypocrisy on the moral principles, Ignore this Mr. President. You already ignore me.

As for banning the District from using its own tax dollars to help poor people pay for a legal procedure, how is that any different than what the Supreme Court just allowed Arizona to do in allowing tax credits for religious schools?  So in other words, tax expenditures are okay if they fund things the right-wing wants, but somehow all money is tainted if in any way it goes to something rightwingers do not want –  even if a majority of the residents of the jurisdiction support that tax expenditure.

If the Right knows how to manage money, if the Right has its Constitutional ducks in a row, if the Right believes in pure unadulterated meritocracy – then why are the rest of us subsidizing thier private indoctrination centers.

That said, the blogger at that link has most of what happened during the health care debate wrong. We could have a replay where Obama pounds the table and goes medieval on Republicans and there still were not enough votes for a public option or a Medicare buy-in for younger workers.

The more time people have to go over Paul Ryan’s Road map to gutting Medicare and fiscal disaster, the more they find the numbers do not add up, Ryan Budget Plan Produces Far Less Real Deficit Cutting than Reported – Plan’s $4.3 Trillion in Program Cuts, Offset by $4.2 Trillion in Tax Cuts, Yield Just $155 Billion in Deficit Reduction

That means that, despite proposing $4.3 trillion in what would be the most severe and wrenching budget cuts in U.S. history — two-thirds of which would come from programs for people of low or moderate incomes — the plan barely reduces deficits at all over the next decade. That’s because his budget cuts are offset by $4.2 trillion in tax cuts that would go disproportionately to those at the top. In essence, at least for the next decade, this plan is far less a blueprint for addressing deficits and far more a proposal to redistribute large amounts of resources from those at the bottom to those at the top.

Mark Steyn, for those who have probably never heard of, is one of the Right’s biggest flame throwers and a perennial welfare queen. Where most people show humility and regret over their ignorance, Steyn shows his like a monkey at the zoo shows his ass and flings poop at by-passers. Ending America as We Know It. The Democrats’ solution to the problem is to deny there is one.

Ending Medicare as we know it? Say it ain’t so! Medicare, we hardly knew ye! It’s an open question whether Americans will fall for one more chorus of the same old song from Baucus, Harkin, Podesta, and the other members of America’s wrinkliest boy band. But, if this is the level on which the feckless patronizing spendaholics of the permanent governing class want to conduct the debate, bring it on:

Paul Ryan’s plan would “end Medicare as we know it.”

The Democrats’ “plan” — business as usual — will end America as we know it.

Literally, as Representative Wasserman-Schultz would say. One way or another, Medicare as we know it is going to end. So, if you think an unsustainable 1960s welfare program is as permanent a feature as the earth and sky, you’re in for a shock. It’s just a question of whether, after the shock, what’s left looks like Japan or looks like Haiti.

My comrade Jonah Goldberg compares America’s present situation to that of a plane with one engine out belching smoke. But, if anything, he understates the crisis. Air America doesn’t need a busted engine, because it’s pre-programmed to crash. Our biggest problem is Medicare and other “entitlements”: They’re the automatic pilot of Big Government. Whoever’s in the captain’s seat makes no difference: The flight is pre-programmed to hit the iceberg, if you’ll forgive me switching mass-transit metaphors in mid-stream.

Let’s start out on a positive note and acknowledge that he is correct – Jonah Goldberg is his “comrade” in proto-fascist doublespeak. Other than that the typical Bizarro World view embraced by those to whom the word accountability in part of some foreign language cipher which they could not understand if they moved their brain from their sphincter muscle to their fat heads. Medicare and Social Security are insurance programs. We have them because we live in a free market system. That system has some great positive qualities, but it is not perfect. From 1900 to 1927 the USA had 10 recessions. Some mild and some severe. As is usually the case the working and middle-class paid the price. This was before Social Security brought millions of elderly Americans out of poverty. Between 1927 and the present we have had 14 recessions – which includes The Great Depression and the Great Recession. Seeing that the financial powers that be, regardless of how or how much they are regulated always find a way to screw over the average American and Washington’s long history of reacting rather than being proactive in protecting us all from the excesses of the nations; centers of financial power, we as a nation – the adults anyway, decided the least we could do is provide a thin safety net. One of the reasons we have not had the extreme wide-spread hunger and homelessness of th early 20th century or massive street demonstrations is because of that safety net. Part of which is the insurance program Steyn (The National Review) describes as “welfare”. Medicare is a program that working Americans contribute to, exactly like the legendary family rainy day fund. Medicare is not the cause of the federal budget crisis. Lack of revenue (Partly because of the extended tax cuts of the Bush era. Partly because of corporations using loopholes to avoid paying any taxes) , the Great Recession caused by conservative economic policies and lack of regulatory enforcement and high unemployment ( which also means less revenue). Just as President Obama and many progressives are willing to trade a cut in corporate tax rates for closing some of the loopholes and a corporate minimum tax, I would be willing to trade-off some of Medicare if the Right will create the perfect market economy. Everyone who works forty hours a week gets a living wage, a good portable health care plan and a guaranteed retirement fund. Thus far so one seems to be able to do that. We’ve had 24 bad to severe economic down turns in the last 110 years. Every time we fix the system, radical conservatives either tear the regulations down, do not enforce it or water down new regulation with the help of people like the Koch brothers, the ironically named Freedom Works and their myriad astroturf lobbying groups. Steyn, The National Review and the right-wing bloggers who linked approvingly to Steyn’s deluge of misinformation, spin and lies wants everyone to believe that some how the free market system will do a sudden about-face and poor children, the disabled and seniors can rely on their fantasy market perfection to take care of them. Ending Medicare would be a death sentence for millions of Americans. With knowledge of the free market’s system hit and miss record who wants to gamble their and their family’s life on the Right’s fantasy version of  what is really “Ending America as We Know It”.

“Stupidity is the deliberate cultivation of ignorance”  William Gaddis

Blue City Skyline with Clouds wallpaper, Claymation Deathmatch – Kristol versus Beck

Blue City Skyline with Clouds wallpaper

Watching Bill Kristol and Glenn Beck fight is like watching two guys swat each other with kidskin gloves accompanied by shouts of your mamma. Let’s re-roll the tape for Kristol’s criticism of Beck on Egypt- Stand for Freedom,

But hysteria is not a sign of health. When Glenn Beck rants about the caliphate taking over the Middle East from Morocco to the Philippines, and lists (invents?) the connections between caliphate-promoters and the American left, he brings to mind no one so much as Robert Welch and the John Birch Society. He’s marginalizing himself, just as his predecessors did back in the early 1960s.

Nor is it a sign of health when other American conservatives are so fearful of a popular awakening that they side with the dictator against the democrats. Rather, it’s a sign of fearfulness unworthy of Americans, of short-sightedness uncharacteristic of conservatives, of excuse-making for thuggery unworthy of the American conservative tradition.

Glenn Beck, whose lace jockeys ride up at the mere hint that someone somewhere disagrees with him and whose feelings are hurt even more easily than Sarah Palin and has never been one to argue in good faith, replies,

“I don’t even know if you understand what conservatives are anymore, Billy,” Beck said in his extended, sarcastic attack on Kristol. “People like Bill Kristol, I don’t think they stand for anything anymore. All they stand for is power. They’ll do anything to keep their little fiefdom together, and they’ll do anything to keep the Republican power entrenched.”

[  ]…”I think he’s still trying to get Bob Dole elected, i’m not really sure,” said Beck.

Have you done a minute of research Bill?” Beck asked later, promising to expose the ties between the left and Islamic radicals during this week’s television show and advising Kristol, “Just watch the show in the next week.”

Steve Benen at The Washington Monthly sees all this beyatch slapping as a big deal, but maybe in the wrong way.

I especially liked it when Beck asked rhetorically on the air, “Have you done a minute of research, Bill?” It’s amusing to think Beck believes additional scholarly work would prove there’s a global conspiracy to “divvy up” the world between communists and “radical Islamists.” If only Kristol would do more “research,” he’d see how right Beck’s delusions are.

We’ll see if Kristol feels compelled to respond to this, though I rather doubt he’ll bother. The larger point to keep in mind, though, is that the fissures within the right that generally go unnoticed are starting to widen.

Steve is usually a great analysis of political events, but it might be overestimating riffs on the right. Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA), Sarah Palin, former RNC head Micheal Steele, Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA) and South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford all criticized the Duke of Rethugicanism Rush Limbaugh, and all very quickly walked back their statements. The Right generally stays on script and when they go off it is like a stage actor trying to talk past the gaffe. And Whiskey Fire brings up an obvious problem. Bill Kristol slamming someone on his own team for crazy conspiracy theories, Sad Freaks of the Nation

Glenn Beck doesn’t ordinarlily scrawl on his chalkboard anything of any significant order of magnitude nuttier than what William Kristol typically scribbles in the absurd Weekly Standard, and for Kristol to be simpering about the “health” of conservatism as an “intellectual movement” is like one zombie prissily cautioning another to politely request “cerveaux” instead of vulgarly demanding braaaaiiinnnssss.

Betting on which wing-nut wins this pissing contest is time you’ll never get back, but I’ll pick Kristol. He is the establishment and is so for a reason, the establishment wins on setting the agenda. And speaking of wild ass theories about the way the world works, just last month Kristol joined the wacky Right’s gold standard club,

And it’s worth further asking–as more and more people are beginning to ask–whether a modernized international gold standard, which anchors currencies to a standard outside government manipulation, wouldn’t better serve the interests of free and limited government both at home and abroad. After all, it’s the dollar’s status as a reserve currency that has allowed the U.S. government to amass huge debts, debts which the legislatively imposed debt ceiling has been unsuccessful in limiting. Fiat currency seems to be related to bloated and unlimited government, and to speculative bubbles, and to international instability. Do we just to have to live with this, or simply hope for better Fed chairmen?

Kristol hedges his bets by using the term “modernized international gold standard”. I don’t want to verve off into deep economics and the gold standard, so to keep it simple: Kristol and the Right’s favorite past time of the last ten years has been to lie us into wars and propose new ones. How did we finance those wars? By printing money and selling our debt to China. Kristol’s gold standard, and the rest of the Right’s for that matter, would mean Bill is a kind of backdoor isolationist or Quaker peace activist who would prohibit further foreign escapades and nation building by not having the funds to pay for them. Which brings us back to Kristol and Beck and who is the biggest conspiracy nut and who is doing their “research”. If these two did not have so much money and power they’d just be two inmates at the asylum arguing over who is the real messiah. Icing on the conspiracy nut cake, PERRspectives reminds everyone that Mitt Romney was on the caliphate train in 2009, Beck Echoes Romney on Threat of Islamic Caliphate. Reasonable people can agree there are radicals in the world, high on some kind of fundamentalism that would like to see the U.S. and Europe burn to the ground. Many on the Right continue to blow these relatively few radicals into giant all powerful bogeymen.

CCR Announces Bush Indictment for Convention Against Torture Signatory States

“Waterboarding is torture, and Bush has admitted, without any sign of remorse, that he approved its use,” said Katherine Gallagher, Senior Staff Attorney at CCR and Vice President of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH). “The reach of the Convention Against Torture is wide – this case is prepared and will be waiting for him wherever he travels next. Torturers – even if they are former presidents of the United States – must be held to account and prosecuted. Impunity for Bush must end.”

While the U.S. has thus far failed to comply with its obligations under the Convention Against Torture to prosecute and punish those who commit torture, all other signatories, too, are obligated to prosecute or extradite for prosecution anyone present in their territory they have a reasonable basis for believing has committed torture. If the evidence warrants, as the Bush Torture Indictment contends it does, and the U.S. fails to request the extradition of Bush and others to face charges of torture there, CAT signatories must, under law, prosecute them for torture.

Where can we turn to for the sharpest insight into this conundrum? Right-Wing News of course, Unhinged CCR Announces Bush Indictment For Torture

Interesting that the Center For Constitutional Rights, a far left pro-communist and open borders lobby group, has never announced an indictment against people like Osama Bin Laden, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, or any of the other Islamic terrorists on the FBI’s top 10 list. Of course, like so many on the far left, they quietly support the ideals of Islamic terrorists, and Islamists in general, and tend to avoid discussion of things like al Qaeda having an actual torture manual, beheadings, hanging gays and women who have been raped, suicide bombings, and all the other things the hardcores do. No, instead they announce an indictment of President Bush…

The jihadist radicals RRN mentions are terrorists and criminals. By definition they do not adhere to any moral code or international laws. They are also non-state actors. Something the Right should understand after the last ten years. Unlike Bush they are not heads of state. Unlike Bush they did not swear an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution – part of which are the treaties to which the U.S. is a signatory (we all know by now the Right also has a feeble concept of the U.S. Constitution) such as the Convention Against Torture, the War Crimes Act, and the U.S. anti-torture statute. RRN ends their “unhinged” rant by citing ye old ticking time bomb canard. One assumes they’re also guarding their children from whooping cough by burying a potato in the backyard.

Interesting back story, U.S. Has Secret Tools to Force Internet on Dictators

Republicans Are Lying About The CBO, Health Care Reform and the Deficit

The American Spectator, for those not old enough to remember, was one of the right-wing rags that was part of the vast right-wing conspiracy to go after the Clintons in the 90s with every kind of smear, unfounded gossip and bald-faced lies that could dream up. There is no reason any rational person should believe the rantings of an organization that deals exclusively in character assassination, wild baseless accusations and right-wing spin. They writes about repealing health care reform, BREAKING: CBO Says Repealing ObamaCare Would Reduce Net Spending by $540 Billion ( the link also gives one a look at the genuflecting right-wing bloggers who echo these assertions without doing the slightest bit of fact checking)

The Congressional Budget Office, in an email to Capitol Hill staffers obtained by the Spectator, has said that repealing the national health care law would reduce net spending by $540 billion in the ten year period from 2012 through 2021. That number represents the cost of the new provisions, minus Medicare cuts. Repealing the bill would also eliminate $770 billion in taxes. It’s the tax hikes in the health care law (along with the Medicare cuts) which accounts for the $230 billion in deficit reduction.

Whether the alleged e-mail is real or they have extracted parts of it without some important coveats is up for speculation. The CBO itself says no such thing and the CBO punishes it’s finding to the public on its own blog, Additional Information on CBO’s Preliminary Analysis of H.R. 2

CBO and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) have not yet developed a detailed estimate of the budgetary impact of H.R. 2, the Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act, which would repeal the major health care legislation enacted in March 2010. Yesterday, we released a preliminary analysis of that legislation indicating that, over the 2012-2021 period, the effect of enacting H.R. 2 on the federal budget as a result of changes in direct spending and revenues is likely to be an increase in deficits in the vicinity of $230 billion, plus or minus the effects of forthcoming technical and economic changes to CBO’s and JCT’s projections for that period.

We have been asked to provide the revenue and direct spending components of that total. Extrapolating the estimated budgetary effects of the original health care legislation and accounting for the effects of subsequent legislation, CBO anticipates that enacting H.R. 2 would probably yield, for the 2012-2021 period, a reduction in revenues in the neighborhood of $770 billion and a reduction in outlays in the vicinity of $540 billion, plus or minus the effects of forthcoming technical and economic changes to CBO’s and JCT’s projections.

Republicans are have given their bill to repeal health care reform the inane name Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act. As the CBO reports repeal of health care reform will result in a net increase to the deficit of  $230 billion. Republicans and blog trolls who respond to these numbers are pretty desperate to sound like they know better often citing – without any numbers or evidence, that these numbers are wrong. Without hard facts those claims are baseless lies. The opinions of armchair conservative clowns. The NYT also analyized the  numbers and the CBO report and found that the American Spectator and Boehner(R-OH) are lying. The Job-Killing Health Care Law Act would cost tax payers $145 billion from 2012 to 2019 and by $230 billion between 2012 and 2021. In addition the Republican bill would take away insurance from as many as 54 million American workers. The new Republican House of Representatives have been in power for three days and they are already breaking promises about openness and transparency (from the NYT link) –

At Mr. Boehner’s news conference, reporters peppered him with questions about repealing the law — including the cost analysis and a plan by Republicans not to allow amendments on the repeal measure even though the party had promised to maintain a more open legislative process.

“Well, listen, I promised a more open process,” Mr. Boehner said. “I didn’t promise that every single bill was going to be an open bill.”

Mr. Boehner grew testy when a reporter noted that Democrats who controlled the Senate were unlikely to bring up the repeal measure, let alone support it, and that Mr. Obama could veto it.

“Don’t you think it’s a waste of time?” Mr. Boehner was asked.

“No, I do not,” he said, raising his voice. “I believe it’s our responsibility to do what we said we were going to do. And I think it’s pretty clear to the American people the best health care system in the world is going to go down the drain if we don’t act.”

Boehner and his mindless immoral Republican sycophants are in fact the death panel party. Repealing health care reform will condemn 45,000 Americans to death annually.The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Debunking False Claims About Health Reform, Jobs, and the Deficit

Claims that health reform will destroy jobs by harming the economy are sharply at odds with the findings of leading non-partisan experts. [5]

* House Republicans have charged that the bill will destroy jobs by adding greatly to businesses’ costs.  In fact, health reform is unlikely to raise most businesses’ health insurance premiums.  CBO estimates that it will reduce premiums for employers with more than 50 workers — who account for 70 percent of the total insurance market — by up to 3 percent by 2016.  For small employers, the estimated change in premiums ranges from an increase of 1 percent to a reduction of 2 percent. [6]
* Similarly, Moody’s Analytics says that the Affordable Care Act’s “net long-run impact on the economy will be minor” and that any disincentives from higher Medicare payroll taxes “will hardly make a difference.” [7]  Moody’s also points out that “there is the potential for the new law to reduce ‘job lock,’ when workers stay in a particular job because they are afraid of losing their insurance. . . .  If the bill works as planned, Americans will be more able to switch jobs and open new businesses.”  The result would be a more productive economy.
* The health reform law may also have other positive impacts on the economy.  Expanding health coverage improves health outcomes by helping people obtain preventive and other health services and improving continuity of care. [8]  CBO has suggested that this could enhance the nation’s economic productivity.[9]


And a related article – ‘Job-killing’ regulation? ‘Job-killing’ spending? Let’s kill this GOP canard. And here – Harvard Economist Estimates Health Repeal Would Destroy Up To 400,000 Jobs Per Year Over Decade. CBPP also debunks the claims about costs and those baseless accounting gimmicks – ‘

Claim: The law uses a gimmick to make it appear fiscally responsible: its biggest spending increases don’t take effect for four years, so CBO’s cost estimate for the first decade (2010-2019) includes ten years of revenue increases but only six years of significant spending.  The unstated implication of this charge is that in subsequent decades, when ten years of revenue increases are accompanied by ten years of spending increases, the law will greatly increase deficits.

Fact: There is no gimmick here, and this charge is groundless.  CBO estimates that the law will reduce deficits not only over the 2010-2019 decade, but in the second decade and subsequent decades.  In fact, the law will reduce deficits by more in subsequent decades than in the first decade, because its most important cost-saving measures are phased in and produce larger savings over time.

And two separate reports: Health Reform Will Reduce the Deficit Charges of Budgetary Gimmickry Are Unfounded and No Evidence for House Republican Charge that Health Reform Is a “Job-Killer”. Republicans, who as exemplified during the Bush and Reagan years know how to kill jobs better than a an exterminator knows how to kill pests. Taking job creation advice from these guys is like taking nation building advice from Dick Cheney. Perrspectives also has an easy to read run down of the latest round of Pravdaish disinformation disseminated by the Pants on Fire Party, CBO: GOP Health Care Repeal Adds $230 Billion to Deficit. Honor and integrity have never been the Right’s strong suits. Those virtues seem to trip them up at every turn. It has been said we cannot have a strong and enlightened republic with an uniformed citizenry. That seems to be the Right’s major goal.

If Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act) is evil socialism than why do so many Republicans want to participate in the version of Obamacare we have set up for members of Congress – Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) Justifies His Government Health Insurance: ‘I’m Actually Lowering’ The Premiums For Older Congressmen

One of the first orders of business in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives is a move to repeal the landmark health care reform law that was passed last March. However, following Rep. Andy Harris’s (R-MD) infamous rant about the delay in his congressional health care coverage, the media is beginning to question whether the GOP is hypocritical for decrying the specter of “government-run health care,” yet accepting government-sponsored health care plans for themselves.

For instance, yesterday, Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) justified accepting government-subsidized health care for himself because, “God forbid I get into an accident and I can’t afford the operation…That can happen to anyone.” In an interview with ThinkProgress, Rep. Robert Hurt (R-VA) said that he supported congressmen receiving government-sponsored health coverage because “it’s not unreasonable to offer those benefits.” Seven Republican congressmen, however, are trying to remain consistent by opting out of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan.

This week, ThinkProgress caught up with Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) to ask whether he would be joining his colleagues in rejecting government-sponsored health care for himself, given his push to repeal health care reform for the nation. Schock told us the “only” reason he would stay on the congressional health care plan because he was “a 27-year-old single male” who was “actually lowering” the premiums of his older colleagues. He also brushed off the notion that this was hypocritical on his part, calling them “completely separate issues,” despite the numerous similarities including taxpayer subsidies and a highly-regulated exchange:

SCHOCK: It is, yeah. I had Blue Cross Blue Shield when I came here as a 27-year-old single male. I paid about $80 a month. And now, because I’m in a risk pool with a bunch of older seniors, my health care costs me $170 a month now for the same Blue Cross Blue Shield coverage. So I think it’s kind of interesting how people make such a big deal out of the health care coverage we have, which is not bad by any means. But I haven’t given it much thought because quite frankly I think I’m helping out the institution by lowering the risk pool for some of my older guys.

TP: I just know there are a lot of people who have made the hypocrisy charge, that there’s an average of $700 per month in taxpayer subsidies on these employee government health care plans, yet saying that the general public is not getting the same types of subsidies and help in buying health insurance for themselves.

SCHOCK: No, I get that argument. The only thing I would submit is because I’m an outlier in the group, I’m actually lowering the…(crosstalk)…When you’re under 30 in a body of…but, so.

TP2: Sir, you receive taxpayer subsidies even though you do have a lower rate. And you’re within a pool that’s highly regulated, as health reform does for the rest of the nation. Don’t you think it’s fair if you’re going to repeal health reform for everyone else, you should at least reject this subsidized, highly-regulated plan that members of Congress and their staff benefit from?

SCHOCK: No, I really actually think they’re completely separate issues.

TP2: Why’s that?

SCHOCK: Because I don’t think what we do with the health care bill has anything to do with what kind of health insurance programs members of Congress pay for.

TP2: No, it’s quite similar. There’s an exchange, there’s subsidies, just like you benefit from an exchange and subsidies, that are paid for by taxpayers.

SCHOCK: Well, I think the bill we voted on is completely different.

Schock cannot be specific about the differences because there are much in the way of differences. he pays for some of his insurance out-of-pocket and tax payers pick up the tab for the other part. Schock sees government as a way to benefit conservatives just as they see government as a way to fill the pockets of business via crony capitalism. Everyone else can get out their hat and try to catch some of the crumbs as they trickle down. If Schocks twisted pretzel logic was not enough – Some Republicans embrace their federal healthcare plans

At least two new GOP members of Congress said they’ll keep the plans some of their colleagues have shunned.

Rep. Joe Heck’s (R-Nev.) office and Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) said they’ll take advantage of the insurance coverage they’re eligible for through the Federal Employees Health Benefits program — the same health insurance available to other federal employees. The plan is not a single-payer system, but offers different private plans from which federal employees can choose.

“What am I, not supposed to have health care?” Grimm told The New York Daily News. “It’s practicality. I’m not going to become a burden for the state because I don’t have health care, and God forbid I get into an accident and I can’t afford the operation.”

But Grimm and Heck would gladly condemn millions of Americans to the emergency room health care plan. You wait until you are in agonizing pain or at death’s door then go to the ER. Everyone ends up paying those bills – being a burden” to the state.

Black and White City Bridge wallpaper – Republicans Were Pro Executive Power as Long as They Were the Ones In Charge

city skyline lights

Black and White City Bridge wallpaper


Is Charles Krauthammer on LSD or have an undiagnosed mental disorder. I ask because those would be legitimate excuses for the bizarre diatribes he writes at the Washington Post. If he does possess all of his mental capabilities and is not on mind altering substances he is responsible for dispensing garbage that would make communist and fascist propaganda ministers proud – Government by regulation. Shhh.

Well, it’s back – by administrative fiat. A month ago, Medicare issued a regulation providing for end-of-life counseling during annual “wellness” visits. It was all nicely buried amid the simultaneous release of hundreds of new Medicare rules.

[  ]…On Dec. 23, the Interior Department issued Secretarial Order 3310, reversing a 2003 decision and giving itself the authority to designate public lands as “Wild Lands.” A clever twofer: (1) a bureaucratic power grab – for seven years up through Dec. 22, wilderness designation had been the exclusive province of Congress, and (2) a leftward lurch – more land to be “protected” from such nefarious uses as domestic oil exploration in a country disastrously dependent on foreign sources.

The very same day, the Environmental Protection Agency declared that in 2011 it would begin drawing up anti-carbon regulations on oil refineries and power plants, another power grab effectively enacting what Congress had firmly rejected when presented as cap-and-trade legislation.

What we have here in Chucks general unhinged diatribe against executive orders in the ongoing game of It Is Great When Republicans Do It and Is Evil When Democrats Do It. When marketing specialists measure the most popular games of all times they really should include this one. Chuck doesn’t like governing by executive order? Where was this voice of reason from 2000 to 2008 when the president the Supreme Court appointed to office issued an astonishing 291 executive orders. Bush gutted the Presidential Records Act – Bush tried to scrap the whole thing and did succeed in hiding a lot of information from public scrutiny. Bush blocked stem cell research (research  which is proving to be just the great medical advance it’s advocates – which included Nancy Reagan and Krauthammer – said it would be). No vote from Congress on Bush’s unitary decision on setting back life saving therapies by a decade. Bush executive order to, undermine by John Yoo-ish type reasoning, U.S. full compliance with the Geneva Convention. Bush gave 4th branch Cheney and the Vice President’s office unprecedented control over what becomes secret and what does not. Information during the Bush administration became unclassified and then classified, literally according to how politically useful releasing snippets of information was – here and here. By executive order Bush gave private contractors in Iraq broad legal protections for a variety of illegal and unseemly behaviors. In a kind of twofer Bush also signed an order which gave the government a free hand to punish anyone they felt deep in their little hearts was impeding progress in Iraq. The language was so vague and open to interpretation that the government could seize the property of anyone without due process – a violation of the Fifth Amendment. More on Bush’s Stalinesque use of executive orders here . I could offer up an ideological olive branch and say Chuck and I agree that too much power has been invested in the executive branch, but as a leader in the hard-core kool-aid drinkers club of conservatism I know Chuck is being dishonest and disingenuous. Today he is using Obama’s alleged abuse of executive power as a club to bludgeon him with. Chuck is not against what Bush 43 and Dick Cheney worked so hard to enshrine in the executive branch – more on that subject here, Cheney Plotted Bush’s Imperial Presidency ‘Thirty Years Ago’ and here – The Unitary Executive: Is The Doctrine Behind the Bush Presidency Consistent with a Democratic State? The worse an honest opponent of Obama’s views on executive powers can say is that he is simply using a similar view of the presidency of Krauthammer and his conservative comrades.

About those so-called “death panels” – Republicans were for them before they were against them – Oh, Those Death Panels

You would think that if Republicans wanted to totally mischaracterize a health care provision and demagogue it like nobody’s business, they would at least pick something that the vast majority of them hadn’t already voted for just a few years earlier. Because that’s not just shameless, it’s stupid.

Yes, that’s right. Remember the 2003 Medicare prescription drug bill, the one that passed with the votes of 204 GOP House members and 42 GOP Senators? Anyone want to guess what it provided funding for? Did you say counseling for end-of-life issues and care? Ding ding ding!!

The only difference between the Democrat counseling and the right-wing counseling is the latter makes everyone wait until they are at death’s door. The Democratic approach let’s people have voluntary counseling while they are in good health and not under the emotional stress of being terminally ill. Rep. Earl Blumenauer(D-OR) gets into  several myths regarding health care reform in a recent column at HuffPo –  Unhinged!

Rep. Broun from Georgia demanded to see the bill, “Show us the bill”, “don’t hide the bill,” at exactly the same time that his colleagues were waving the bill and misreading what was in it. Rep. Buck McKeon admonished people to read the bill and then specifically cited Section 1233. Actually, I know a little bit about this section because it’s a bill that I wrote which was incorporated into the overall legislation. His statement was a complete fabrication (check out my myth vs. fact sheet pdf). At least he didn’t get to the point that Rep. Virginia Foxx of North Carolina did when she claimed that the Republican approach would be more pro-life because it, “would not put seniors in the position of being put to death by their government!” (emphasis added).

I think it was Vice President Dan Quayle who once said that a mind was a terrible thing to lose. This was certainly two hours that gave me a sense of just how confused and disjointed the Republicans are.

From Rep. Blumenauer’s fact sheet,

Myth: Patients will be forced to have this consultation once every five years.
* Fact: Advance planning consultations are not mandatory; this benefit is completely voluntary. The provision merely provides coverage under Medicare to have a conversation once every five years if – and only if – a patient wants to make his or her wishes known to a doctor. If desired, patients may have consultations more frequently if they are chronically ill or if their health status changes.
Myth: Patients will be forced to sign an advance care directive (or living will).
* Fact: There is no mandate in the bill to complete an advance care directive or living
will. If a patient chooses to complete an advance directive or order for life sustaining
treatment, these documents will help articulate a full range of treatment preferences, from full and aggressive treatment to limited, comfort care only. Patients that choose to have these documents and can customize them so that their wishes are appropriately reflected.
Myth: Patients will have to see a health care professional chosen by the government.
*Fact: There are no government-chosen professionals involved. The legislation simply allows Medicare to pay for a conversation between patient and their doctors if patients wish to talk with their doctor about end of life care preferences.

Conservatives and their oil exploration myths. We’ve had right-wing Republican legislators mind you, not some deranged AM radio pundit, claiming China was drilling off the coast of Florida. Chuck is claiming there is plenty of oil but those mean liberals won’t be giving them access. Oil companies have plenty of leases to land – dry and off the coast – which belongs to the people of the United States. They not using the leases they have – America’s untapped oil, Lawmakers lay into big oil for leaving million of acres untouched while at the same time asking to drill in Alaska and off the coasts. I’m not sure why the ANWR oil myth persists. It does not contain enough oil to solve any long-term energy issues – holding enough oil to supply California for one lousy year. Rahall to Big Oil: Use It or Lose It

In an effort to compel oil and gas companies to produce on the 68 million acres of federal lands, both onshore and offshore, that are leased but sitting idle, House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Nick J. Rahall (D-WV) today introduced legislation that gives Big Oil one option – either “use it or lose it.”

“Big Oil, as many Americans already suspect, are perfectly fine with high gasoline prices at the pump while they hold back domestic production on federal leases and enjoy world record profits. I am calling them on the carpet. I am calling their bluff.  We are not going to continue to allow them to speculate and profiteer with public resources to the detriment of the American people,” Rahall said.

The Responsible Federal Oil and Gas Lease Act of 2008 (H.R. 6251) is a direct response to the facts outlined in the recent House Natural Resources Committee Majority Staff report, “The Truth About America’s Energy: Big Oil Stockpiles Supplies and Pockets Profits”, that illustrate how energy companies are not using the federal lands and waters that are already open to drilling.  The legislation is co-sponsored by Reps. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL), Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), Ed Markey (D-MA), and John Yarmuth (D-KY).

The 68 million acres of leased but inactive federal land have the potential to produce an additional 4.8 million barrels of oil and 44.7 billion cubic feet of natural gas each day.  This would nearly double total U.S. oil production, and increase natural gas production by 75 percent.  It would also cut U.S. oil imports by more than one-third, reducing America’s dependency on foreign oil.

Salaries are difficult to check, but it is rumored Chuck makes a healthy six figure salary for dispensing fact-free tripe and spin. Talk about unearned welfare.

Victor Davis Hanson, The Nurse Ratched of Conservatism, Meet Karl Rove

During the course of the Bush administration I referred to extremist right-wing ideologue and historian Victor Davis Hanson as Pangloss. Like Pangloss, for Hanson everyday presented itself as the best of all possible worlds. Bush was an infallible god-like figure who could do no wrong. Everyone and anyone who disagreed with the neocons – of which Hanson is one – was a decadent terrorist-loving puppy- hating leftist who did not realize that Bush’s presidency was a real life miracle ( Hanson was and is one of the more prominent members of the Cult of Bush). In 2007 when the housing bubble had burst, Bush’s job creation record was the worse since Herbert Hoover, no WMD had been found in Iraq and all the connections between Iraq, al-Qaeda turned out to be figments of Dick Cheney’s sick imagination and Republicans had run up a record deficit rather than rise revenue, Hanson wrote:

So why are we so upset with our political leadership? Despite the housing slump, it is not the worst of times. After all, the economy is still strong, with low inflation, low unemployment, low interest rates and respectable growth.

Bush leaves office and sells the fake ranch, one of Hanson’s handy symbols of Bush’s everyman status, and suddenly Hanson becomes Nurse Ratched. In both the novel and the film One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Nurse Ratchet is the quiet clenched teeth voice of insanity. She, like Hanson, is the ultimate ironic figure, the deeply disturbed and masochistic, swagging their finger at the less worthy, the less powerful. On July 17, 2010, still as astute as ever Hanson writes, Pampered populists

It’s surreal to see President Obama play the class-warfare card against the Republicans while on his way to vacation on the tony Maine coast, and even more interesting to note that now gone are the days when the media used to caricature Bush I (“Poppy”) for boating in the summer off the preppie-sounding Kennebunkport. The truth is that the real big money and the lifestyles that go with it are now firmly liberal Democratic.

I always suspected Nurse Ratched saved the occasional meds for herself. Nurse Ratched Hanson meet Karl Rove and friends, “Grassroots” Rove-linked group funded almost entirely by billionaires

Virtually all of the $4.7 million raised by Karl Rove’s new conservative outfit was contributed by just four billionaires, three of whom are based in Dallas, Texas, and two of whom made their fortune in the oil and gas industry.

[  ]…It’s also important to note that American Crossroads has set up a partner organization called  American Crossroads GPS that, because it has a different tax status, does not have to reveal any donor information and is also more limited in spending its money on campaigns (Politico has more on this). American Crossroads GPS took in over $5 million in June, and we’ll likely never know who is putting up the money.

Everyone knows the first rule in the Conservative rule book: Deny all reality and create your own. Hanson always works this rule into every column he writes. That is not exaggeration. Every column he writes has it’s own fantasy based motif, declarative statements and world view. In the “Pampered” column he also goes by another rule in the playbook. When Conservatives have money it is because America is the land of opportunity and these industrious individuals have clawed their way to the top through hard work. On the other hand, according to Nurse Ratched Hanson, when Democrats have money it is because they are elitists whose money has magically appeared out of the liberal ether. The subset of this Conservative rule is that all working class Democrats – like actual nurses, police and fire fighters, carpenters, middle-managers, store clerks and scientists are terrorist loving Maoists.

General Jerry Boykin, who, in uniform, toured churches across the United States, declaring openly that “George W. Bush was not elected by the majority of the American people; he was appointed by God”

Black and White Lily wallpaper

Black and White Lily wallpaper

Dana Milbank on Kagan and Senate conservatives, Kagan may get confirmed, but Thurgood Marshall can forget it

As confirmation hearings opened Monday afternoon, Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee took the unusual approach of attacking Kagan because she admired the late justice Thurgood Marshall, for whom she clerked more than two decades ago.

“Justice Marshall’s judicial philosophy,” said Sen. Jon Kyl (Ariz.), the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, “is not what I would consider to be mainstream.” Kyl — the lone member of the panel in shirtsleeves for the big event — was ready for a scrap. Marshall “might be the epitome of a results-oriented judge,” he said.

This would be the same Kyl that keeps leaving his truthiness at home. So we’re to put on our dunce caps and sit in the corner for thinking Justice Scalia, Roberts, Alito and Thomas were put on the court despite their extreme right conservative agenda. One which they make no apologies for pursuing.

It was, to say the least, a curious strategy to go after Marshall, the iconic civil rights lawyer who successfully argued Brown vs. Board of Education. Did Republicans think it would help their cause to criticize the first African American on the Supreme Court, a revered figure who has been celebrated with an airport, a postage stamp and a Broadway show? The guy is a saint — literally. Marshall this spring was added to the Episcopal Church’s list of “Holy Women and Holy Men,” which the Episcopal Diocese of New York says “is akin to being granted sainthood.”

With Kagan’s confirmation hearings expected to last most of the week, Republicans may still have time to make cases against Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa and Gandhi.

Myths and falsehoods about Elena Kagan’s Supreme Court nomination. Any time a liberal or progressive feels like they are having a bad day in the message wars take solace in the fact when conservatives resort to lies to make their point it means you’re winning.

Rep. Zach Wamp (R-TN) has been smok’n that tea again – Wamp’s Monthly Stimulus Hypocrisy: Stimulus Both A ‘Flawed Notion’ And Creates ‘Good High-End Jobs’

Earlier this year, ThinkProgress released a report detailing how more than 114 lawmakers who voted to kill the Recovery Act — over half the GOP caucus in Congress — later either took credit for stimulus projects or hailed stimulus-related programs as a success. Rep. Zach Wamp (R-TN), who is mentioned in the report for celebrating a stimulus-funded laboratory after voting against the stimulus, has continued to vigorously attack the stimulus as a failure, while hailing Tennessee stimulus projects as a success.

On Friday, Wamp’s office released a statement praising the construction of a new Alstom steam and gas turbine factory in Chattanooga. Wamp said the $300 million dollar factory, “means good high-end manufacturing jobs for our region’s workers.” Wamp did not mention anywhere in the release that Alstom’s new plant was boosted by $63 million in stimulus funds, and that the Recovery Act Wamp opposed contains various clean energy loan guarantees and tax credits for Alstom’s business.

Scott Brown (R-Mass), who graduated summa-cum laude in dumb things conservatives think and say – has stated the stimulus has not created even one job. Wamp and Brown could never campaign together if they’re not going to get their messages lies straight. Republicans are not accurately portrayed as the party of no. They are the party that is hoping the economy will not recover so the electorate will vote them back to power, Republicans are Undercutting National Economic Recovery

Sad farewells to Senator Byrd – Flashback: Sen. Byrd’s Speech on Eve of Iraq War

Another week another right-wing myth about the BP Gulf spill, Gulf Cleanup, Foreign Assistance, and Jones Act Confusion

A 1920 maritime law is not blocking foreign vessels from helping in the Gulf oil spill cleanup, according to the Coast Guard.

We’ve gotten a few questions from readers about the Jones Act of 1920, which according to some lawmakers, conservative commentators and news reports is a maritime law that has blocked foreign vessels from helping in the Gulf oil spill cleanup.

That’s not true. At least, not so far.

According to Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, 15 foreign vessels are already working on cleanup, and so far waivers haven’t been needed. Here’s what he told reporters on Friday:

If the vessels are operating outside state waters, which is three miles and beyond, they don’t require a waiver.  All that we require is an Affirmation of Reciprocity, so if there ever was a spill in those countries and we want to send skimming equipment, that we would be allowed to do that, as well, and that hasn’t become an issue yet, either.

To the extent that there is a waiver required and they come to us, we’re more than happy to support it in making that request to CBP [Customs and Border Protection].  But to date, since they’re operating outside three miles, no Jones Act waiver has been required.

Steps have already been taken to expedite the waiver process should they actually be needed.

It should also be pointed out that many offers of foreign assistance are actually offers to sell supplies, and consideration of domestic inventory goes into the decision to accept them. Here’s the Associated Press:

“These offers are not typically offers of aid,” said Lt. Erik Halvorson, a Coast Guard spokesman. “Normally, they are offers to sell resources to BP or the U.S. government.”

Only Mexico offered the U.S. anything for free. It said it would give the U.S. government some containment boom. BP separately bought 13,780 feet of boom and two skimmers from Mexico in early May, according to the State Department.

Fox has been among the conservative disinformation distributors for the myth about the Jones Act.

Leave it to Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government to be mistakenly honest about the Dave Weigel WaPo scandal – I Like the Dave Weigel Who Insulted Liberal Pundits a Lot Better

It’s hard to respect a “journalist” who repeatedly insulted and mocked leading conservatives he was assigned cover, and even wished death on some of them, to a secretive email list compromised of liberal media figures around the country.  Whatever this says about Weigel’s political orientation, it speaks loudly and clearly to the fact that he was an unprofessional jerk, and that’s putting it kindly.

The Ministry of Truth has decreed that you may bash Democrats in your private correspondence all you like, but you may not bash conservatives. Using personal correspondence to bash liberals is professional and intellectually consistent. Any future journalists out there might want to write down those rules. Dave used a “secretive” e-mail list? You know like the ones conservatives use which one can find by typing Conservative+e-mail list into Google. The oxygen deprived readers at Big Gov ate that post up like a starving kid in a Dickens novel..

One Water Drop wallpaper

One Water Drop wallpaper

Giant sand berms are the Right’s newest yellow buses. Louisiana Governor Jindal, Michelle Malkin and the right-wing echo chamber have suddenly become engineering wizards ( an expertise probably equaled by their knowledge of those WMD in Iraq), in addition to their sudden and miraculous concern for the environment. The Obama administration has gone along and humored them by granting an emergency request for six sand berms to be built in front of Louisiana’s barrier islands. The whole science of whether such islands will be an effective oil containment technique has been tossed out the window so the mindless mob can get their way. Under Pressure to Block Oil, A Rush To Dubious Projects – These highlights are part of a longer column by a coastal ecologist.

*In response to the widening disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, government officials have approved a plan to intercept the oil by building a 45-mile sand berm. But scientists fear the project is a costly boondoggle that will inflict further environmental damage and do little to keep oil off the coast.

*Given the enormity of this environmental disaster, it is understandable that there is tremendous political and societal pressure to stop the flow and clean up the mess. However, in their rush to react to growing public pressure and do something, federal and state officials are waiving scientific review of emergency measures and embracing dubious solutions.

*While mitigating the environmental damage of this spill is critical, it must be done in a way that wisely utilizes the resources at hand, effectively deals with the problem (e.g., keeping oil out of wetlands), and doesn’t do more harm than good. But the emergency projects currently being proposed by various entities and permitted by the Corps of Engineers — including a plan to build a seawall in front of Dauphin Island, Alabama — have not had sufficient review and design to guarantee that any of the above goals will be met. Indeed, since the Louisiana berm will not be continuous, there is a strong likelihood that oil will flow in through the gaps, then possibly become trapped in wetlands.

*I have yet to speak to a scientist who thinks the project will be effective. The Corps of Engineers gave agencies, such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), less than a day to submit comments on the proposal after it was presented to the agencies during a teleconference on May 17.

Could anyone guess what  lame conservative columnist Thomas Sowell is referring to judging by the title of his latest bit of journalistic hackery – Is U.S. Now On Slippery Slope To Tyranny?. No, not our Kenyan Muslim President with no birth certificate is not shredding the first five amendments in the Bill of Rights.

When Adolf Hitler was building up the Nazi movement in the 1920s, leading up to his taking power in the 1930s, he deliberately sought to activate people who did not normally pay much attention to politics.

[  ]…In our times, American democracy is being dismantled, piece by piece, before our very eyes by the current administration in Washington, and few people seem to be concerned about it.

[  ]…Just where in the Constitution of the United States does it say that a president has the authority to extract vast sums of money from a private enterprise and distribute it as he sees fit to whomever he deems worthy of compensation? Nowhere.

And yet that is precisely what is happening with a $20 billion fund to be provided by BP to compensate people harmed by their oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

What oil company decided to voluntarily set up an escrow fund to compensate the people during the Nazi’s reign. I suppose Sowell’s gross equivalence between the Nazi’s and Obama’s nudge to BP’s purely voluntary action is what passes for journalistic and intellectual integrity in Wingnuttia. Surely the escrow fund is a giant step down the slippery slope to Nazism. Since they keep repeating the same debunked crap over and over the point is not to advance the truth but to create yet another purely manufactured narrative. In A Tale of Two Disasters Paul Rubin at WSJ pulls out the Gulf spill is Obama’s Katrina nonsense. Maybe the Right doesn’t have enough imagination to think of some new bulls*it to shove down the public’s throat. A Republican led Senate committee found Bush screwed up on Katrina. Contrary to Rubin’s selective memory and lazy research. The parallels between Katrina are thin at best. As are all the other absurd parallels the right-media has drawn.

Maybe if the tea nuts get their way and somehow manage to make recall elections of federal representatives standard fare on the political menu it might not be such a bad thing for liberals. For instance we could impeach Sen. Jon Kyl’s (R-AZ) for gross misconduct – Right-wing media push Kyl’s flatly denied claim that Obama said he won’t “secure the border”

Right-wing blogs have seized on Sen. Jon Kyl’s (R-AZ) claim that President Obama is refusing to “secure the border” in order to force the GOP to support comprehensive immigration reform — a claim the White House has since flatly denied. Indeed, the Obama administration has already taken numerous steps to boost border security but argues that “truly securing the border will require a comprehensive solution,” which is a view shared by immigration experts as well as several Republicans.

[  ]….Obama administration has taken measures to increase border security, immigration enforcement

LA Times: Obama admin. “has outdone its predecessor on border enforcement spending and on deportations.” The Los Angeles Times reported on June 16 that Obama “agree[d] to dispatch 1,200 National Guard troops to the border and to seek an extra $500 million for border enforcement. That came after 18 months in which the Obama administration has outdone its predecessor on border enforcement spending and deportations of illegal immigrants, all in an effort to build support for a comprehensive immigration plan.”

Obama admin. has increased the number of Border Patrol agents. PolitiFact has noted that Obama has been “increasing the number of border patrol officers.” The Arizona Republic reported on May 26 that “[t]he Border Patrol today has more than 20,000 agents nationwide, more than 16,000 of whom are assigned to the U.S.-Mexican border”

The way right-wing conservative blogs are supposed to work is one reads them. Sees the real unvarnished truth to which they are privy – they just do, no supporting evidence required – and the reader converts to being a bed wetting conservative. After at least ten years of reading them I remain  assured they will only continue to live up the low standards for accuracy and honor  for which they have become infamous.

According to conservative Andy McCarthy – an “intellectual” from the National Review, President Obama is playing right into al-Qaeda’s trap by killing too many terrorists – Is McCarthy Secretly A Genius?

Jonathan Bernstein looks at Andy McCarthy’s bizarre conspiracy theory that the president is only attacking al-Qaeda to serve the larger cause of Islamic world domination, and senses brilliance:

This isn’t stupid; it’s genius. McCarthy’s plan is foolproof; it covers not only a lucky shot that hits bin Laden, but a complete victory over al-Qaeda. All part of Barack Obama’s treasonous treachery. Notice, by the way, that it’s only a “vibrant debate in Islamist circles.” Nice touch; if by some chance Obama curtails the drone strikes, or is in any way defeated by bin Laden, then that will presumably prove that the “vibrant debate” was decided in favor of al-Qaeda, and Obama acted accordingly.

To assume that this is genius rather than idiocy, you have to assume that McCarthy is proposing this scenario as political strategy and not as, you know, non-fiction. But since McCarthy is the kind of guy who believes Obama might be an Indonesian citizen and draws parallels between Obama and Iranian President Mahmoud Amadinejad because sometimes Obama doesn’t wear a tie (cough), and thinks William Ayers wrote Obama’s autobiography, the more plausible explanation is that he’s a conspiracy theorist laboring to keep pace with the hamster wheel of his own logic.

— Adam Serwer

The actual full quote from McCarthy,

“These days, the vibrant debate in Islamist circles — the circles Obama has courted assiduously — is over whether al-Qaeda has outlived its usefulness, at least when it comes to attacking our homeland. Many Islamist thinkers believe the Islamist movement is making such progress marching through our institutions (and Europe’s) that terrorist attacks at this point are a tactical blunder. They cause a blowback effect that retards the progress of what Robert Spencer aptly calls the “stealth jihad.” “

There is no other way to interpret it. By killing terrorists, McCarthy and his komrade Marc Theissen deeply feel President Obama, Gen. James Jones, Gen. Stanley McChrystal and Defense Secretary Gates are aiding Isalmic jihad. Conservatism’s finest minds at work.

Right-wing Watch and The Joe Barton Chronicles

Right Wing News is currently running this defense of Joe Barton (R-TX), Dems to Run on Joe Barton Campaign Platform

Rep. Joe Barton says what everyone knows is true and his own party threatens to kick him out of his committee seat. We expected cynical political opportunism from Democrats, but not from Republican leaders.

Where are we as a society when the truth is treated as a something that can’t be uttered in public?

Barton, the Texas Republican, apologized to BP CEO Tony Hayward, now relieved of his duties, during Thursday’s House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing for what he characterized as a “shakedown” by the White House in forcing the company to create a $20 billion victims’ compensation fund.

He also declared that he was “ashamed” of the White House’s tactics, and called it “a tragedy of the first proportion that a private corporation can be subjected to what I would characterize as a shakedown.”

“I do not want to live in a country where any time a citizen or a corporation does something that is legitimately wrong is subject to some sort of political pressure that is — again, in my words, amounts to a shakedown,” he said.

Naturally, the Democrats went hard after Barton. And the media were happy to aid the cause. And just as naturally, other comments by Barton have not received as much attention. Without having watched the hearing or read the transcript, how many people know that Barton said:

“There is no question … that BP made decisions that objective people think compromise safety. There is no question that BP is liable for the damages.”

Or that he told Hayward “we want to hold (BP) responsible, do what we can to make the liable parties pay for the damages.”

Just as every lawmaker should, Barton simply wants the government to follow our due process system …

Did anyone else get a little teary eyed at the fate of poor Barton and the holy truth about how The One (President Mighty Obama) has given BP and by some weird triangulation, the entire business community, history’s biggest bitch slap. Joe Conason addressed the absurd notion of a BP “shakedown” a few days ago, Ripping the populist mask off GOPBP

As a GOP representative from Houston, Barton should be expected to act like an oil industry rent-boy. That is his essential identity and purpose in life, and that is why he apologized to BP chairman Tony Hayward for the “shakedown” perpetrated against the company by President Obama. But there was no shakedown nor was there, as some conservatives have suggested, any violation of the corporation’s constitutional rights. The president has no power to prevent BP from defending claims in court, nor can he prevent the Justice Department from indicting BP executives on criminal charges if sufficient evidence exists to do so. The establishment of the escrow fund was entirely voluntary, and indeed many observers believe that the decision to create it was motivated as much by self-interest and public relations as by compassion or guilt.

Due process is not in issue since the fund was set up by BP. That the president’s use of the bully pulpit may have had some measure of influence on BP’s decision should be applauded unless you care more about BP than the residents of the Gulf coast. While the Department of Justice is still not as independent from political pressure as it should be ( at least it is not being used as a political hammer of the Republican party) , the DOJ is empowered and obligated to prosecute criminal negligence. To some observers like myself it does look as though BP and it’s associates acted with criminal neglect in it’s responsibilities to run a safe drilling rig. It also happens that BP’s partner in the Horizon project thinks the same thing. There is also enough evidence to let a couple hundred lawsuits against BP proceed , including ones brought by the families of those killed and the shrimping industry. Right Wing News, what a great name for a place to get stuff that reads like propaganda from Soviet era Pravda.

The right cannot seem to get it’s story straight about the escrow account. Lies are easy, the thinking goes among the kool kids, after all that whole WMD thing worked so well many people still believe it, Rep. Franks Now Says Obama Dishonestly Taking Credit for BP Escrow Fund

Earlier in the week, the Republican Study Committee (the caucus of House conservatives) issued a press release calling BP’s decision to open a $20 billion escrow account to compensate Gulf residents hurt by the BP spill a “Chicago-style political shakedown.”  Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), chairman of RSC, commented, “in an administration that appears not to respect fundamental American principles, it is important to note that there is no legal authority for the President to compel a private company to set up or contribute to an escrow account.”

Now, Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), another member of the RSC, is attacking President Obama from a different angle.  In a press release, Franks does not accuse the White House of a “shakedown,” but rather blasts the president for his supposed dishonesty in taking credit for the creation of the escrow account.

“However, the real story here is that BP had already made the decision to set aside $20 billion to compensate those harmed by this tragic disaster several days prior to the President’s speech. The true outrage is that this was never the President’s idea at all, and he should be ashamed for pretending it was for political purposes.”

Which is it?  Did the president forcefully shakedown BP or is he dishonestly taking credit for something BP had already committed to?  It can’t be both.