There Are No More Moderate Conservatives, Same As It Ever Was

One of those political analysis by a pundit that hits enough of the right notes to sound true, but misses by a few degrees, There’s a New Political Story Line—and it’s Good for Republicans. Better to be two warring tribes than a single reviled one.

Now, let us stipulate that the government shutdown, however long-lived its repercussions turn out to be, was a Republican political failure on a truly grand scale. Moreover, the agents provocateurs were indeed the Tea Party darlings of the House and Senate, all of whom were happy to let the government close shop in their tilt against the Obamacare windmill, and some of whom may well have been willing to risk sovereign default to get their way (but most of whom would certainly have known that the political process was likely to spare them any consequences for their posturing to that effect).

Nevertheless, the new line among Democrats and progressives is actually a net positive for the GOP and the best thing (in fact, the only good thing) that has happened to the party over the past couple weeks. Because the Republican Party truly is divided now—between a majority that is as staunchly conservative as ever and a minority that is not merely staunchly conservative but manifestly radical in its aims and tactics. It does not hurt, but rather has the potential to help Republicans, for their opponents to acknowledge the division within the party and the status of the Tea Party faction as a very vocal minority.

The Tea Party faction is telling its own version of the same story, namely, that it fought the good fight and lost. But that’s another way of saying that the Tea Party does not have the political power within the GOP to prevail.

We fought the good fight is indeed the fable that conservatives are telling themselves. Tod Lindberg is correct, up to a point that there is a divide and the non-tea baggers won. Though what happened was more about who is in charge of the GOP. The shut-down was bad for business. Since forever or since Saint Ronnie you could draw a pie chart with conservatives who could mostly be in the culture war slice and conservatives who mostly fit in the far Right libertarian business slice. The latter is what has and still does have the last say on the conservative agenda. The business slice saw that the shut-down was costing them money. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who is nothing more than a corrupt puppy of the coal industry stepped in and said enough is enough. The business wing of conservatism has always been willing to pander to the culture conservatives because legislation that gives government more control over women does not have much effect on wealthy conservative women, who will get whatever health care they want regardless of what Paul Ryan (R-WI) wants. There is no division between conservatives and the tea baggers that has not always been there. If you think their rhetoric is especially hateful or radical then you need to look back at the Clinton years ( the Hillary and Vince Foster murder conspiracy theory, the Bill Clinton Arkansas mafia that knocked off political enemies conspiracy theory, Bill Clinton was behind the Oklahoma bombing conspiracy theory). Or the George W. Bush years where everyone who disagreed with the invasion of Iraq was a terrorist sympathizers. The tea bags are the same nutbars who have always been in the circle jerk of conservative crazy. The only thing that might have changed is that a few more of them got elected and much of their wackness has become part and parcel of mainstream conservatism. If you’re not out there comparing Obamcare to slavery or Hitler you’re just not a real Republican. Does it benefit the Mitch McConnells and John Boehners (R-OH) to be able to lay off blame to some supposed division in the GOP, to make it seem like there is a somewhat moderate wing of conservatism that will appeal to independent voters in 2014. That is where Lindberg might be on to something. After all conservatives convinced themselves they did not blow up the economy in 2007 and invading Iraq was a great idea.

I have a question for Sarah Palin and other Obamacare haters. It is a rhetorical question, because being in touch with reality and not blinded by the worse kind of venal partisanship, I know the answer. When you use a private insurance web site or talk to customer service over the phone has your experience always been perfect. I know that it has not because i have worked with every kind of insurance company and their data bases and customer service. They have a good sized turn over ate in customer service personnel because of the burn out dealing with frustrated customers. This site has a possible five star rating for health insurance companies – look how many get one star. Palin: Obamacare website glitches are a feature, not a bug, and will push U.S. into socialism. You mean that Congress will pass legislation making Marxist Medicare available to everyone? Oh my, that would be awful. That would be the Medicare that her and Todd will be filing for in a few years. The Palin family collected every public benefit they could get in Alaska, why isn’t it socialism when conservatives do it. That is one of the disturbing things about how tea bagger conservatives see values; giving millions of Americas more access to health care is some how immoral. The Palin families’ corruption is the new patriotism. Weird.

A good unbiased look at the ACA/Obamacare web site glitches, The Truth About the Obamacare Rollout The feds botched the website. But the states are doing much better.

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The Republican Shutdown Only Cost The Country $24 Billion

Early Fall wallpaper

Early Fall wallpaper

Political wonks may wonder what the heck changed for the House especially, and the Senate to reach a deal on the debt ceiling. Jonathan Cohn has the go-to background article, Three Reasons That the Democrats Prevailed

But in a narrower political sense, this was one of those (relatively) rare Washington battles in which one side clearly prevailed. It was the Democrats. When this episode started, they said they were determined not to make major concessions simply because Republicans were threatening shutdown and default. Sure enough, here we are—with a new continuing resolution, a higher debt limit, and no major changes in law. Democrats achieved the policy outcome they had sought, while establishing a precedent for the future: No more negotiating while under such threats.

I don’t know that I would go as far as one analyst in comparing the damage to the tea bagger coalition as a battle where they were defeated and will be too frayed to do much damage in the next battle. It is more straight up and less dramatic. In politics you go into fights with some political capital. In the next fight – coming in January and February, the public knows that the tea bags will be pandering to the crazies – the Glenn Becks and Sarah Palins that live in mostly gerrymandered districts. Most Republicans are not going to let these freaks on the outer fringe of conservatism drag down the party even more than they already have. Unless House Republicans stage a successful mutiny and get rid of Boehner (R-OH) he will strike a deal with more practical minded members of hos party and Democrats.

2. Republican crazy brings people together. The Senate still has some conservative Democrats, of course—Joe Manchin of West Virginia comes quickly to mind. But the agenda has changed a lot since 2009 and 2010: Instead of trying to enact their own policies, in this episode, at least, Democrats were mostly trying to stop Republicans from passing theirs. And that wasn’t so hard, given the nature of Republican tactics. Polls showed repeatedly that, despite the public ambivalence about Obamacare, majorities did not support shutting down the government in order to undermine the law. And as the shutdown wore on, it became clear that Republicans, not Democrats, were taking the blame. It helped, too, that prominent Senate Republicans were openly critical of what Ted Cruz and his House Republican allies were trying to do.

If you go over to the dark side- sites like Hot Air and Breitbart they are certainly tribal minded. The crazy is their rallying flag. But they make the mistake of thinking that only works in one direction. The crazier they get the more Democrats and the endangered moderate Republicans stick together, and sound to the public like the voice of reason. I have no desire to see them tone down their worship of Ted Cruz (R-TX) or Rand Paul (R-KY). They can pack their clown car with all the freaks and conspiracy theories they like. There has never been a point in history in which the clowns have won in the long haul. Call Obamacare – a gift to the health care industry and pharmaceutical companies – the same thing as slavery and you just create more distrust of the tea bagger agenda. Tea Party’s Image Turns More Negative

Unfavorable Views of Tea Party Have Nearly Doubled Since 2010. The Tea Party is less popular than ever, with even many Republicans now viewing the movement negatively. Overall, nearly half of the public (49%) has an unfavorable opinion of the Tea Party, while 30% have a favorable opinion.

One can only wonder what it is like to slowly swirl down the drain of history. The new tea bagger conservatism, being even more far Right than the conservatism of 2000 of 2008 comes with similar financial penalties for the country they claim to care about, S&P: The Shutdown Took $24 Billion Out Of The US Economy

The S&P has cut the annualized U.S. growth view closer to 2% from 3%, Bloomberg is reporting.

The ratings agency — which recognizes the Senate deal will be approved — says that the shutdown has taken $24 billion out of the economy and cut 0.6% off of yearly fourth quarter GDP growth.

In the last 13 years the Conservative Republican agenda has cost us trillions of dollars. Yet they endlessly grumble about poor kids getting food assistance. They must have read about the decadence of the late Roman Empire and seen that as a recipe rather than a warning.

Conservative Tough Guys and Whining Victims

Flowering Summer wallpaper

Flowering Summer wallpaper

   Conservative columnist John Derbyshire: Female soldiers are likely to commit sexual assault ‘hoaxes’

“They are eccentric and prone to behave eccentrically,” Derbyshire wrote. “As a designated victim group, they are especially susceptible to the associated pathologies, e.g., victim hoaxes for attention, spite, or cash reward.”

Derby previously warned everyone to keep their children always from blacks. This new information about women is no doubt from the same highly researched, and peer-reviewed sources. In other words from Derby’s fetid imagination. Perhaps despite living in the age of the scientific method and scholarly publications, Derby like so many conservatives think that if images and words appear in their imagination, that makes them true and logical. Males, civilian and military are also victims of sexual assault. Are those victims also prone to hoaxes for “spite, or cash reward.” Even if that were true isn’t that what investigations, evidence gathering and trials are for. False accusations are a terrible injustice, both to the falsely accused and those who have legitimate complaints. That is probably why they are also against the law, including military law.

The conservative noise machine is operating as loudly as ever. They take a lie, a half truth, they repeat it over and over again. It plays on the well-known psychological phenomenon that once people hear a lie repeated often enough, they start to believe, evidence be damned, that maybe there is some little to truth to it, or why else would my co-workers, neighbors and relatives keep repeating it. CNN Poll: Did White House order IRS targeting?

A growing number of Americans believe that senior White House officials ordered the Internal Revenue Service to target conservative political groups, according to a new national poll.

And a CNN/ORC International survey released Tuesday morning also indicates that a majority of the public says the controversy, which involves increased IRS scrutiny of tea party and other conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, is very important to the nation.

Republicans argue that the Obama administration used the IRS to intimidate and harass political opponents. Democrats say poor management at the tax agency, rather than political bias, is to blame. Congressional sources on both sides say that interviews with IRS workers so far have found no evidence of political dealings by the White House. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, touting an independent IRS inspector general report, has said the scrutiny appears to have originated with “IRS officials in Cincinnati,” where the agency’s tax exempt division is centered.

Here is how CNN or their pollster framed the “questions” – 25. As you may know, the IRS targeted conservative political groups for greater scrutiny of their applications for tax
exempt status. How important an issue do you think this is to the nation very
important, somewhat important, not too important, or not at all important? and 26. Do you think that senior White House officials ordered the IRS to target those political groups for greater scrutiny, or do you think those IRS officials acted on their own without direct orders from the White House? This is what is called push polling. No, we do not know that conservatives were targeted. They used tea party as a filter word, among others like constitution. We know that no conservative group that applied for 501(4) status was denied. We know that Democratic leaning groups came under the same scrutiny ( IRS Sent Same Letter to Democrats That Fed Tea Party Row). That is because the IRS was doing its job protecting tax payers from groups that might not qualify for special tax status. The IRS non-scandal is a great contrast with the Derbyshire column. In the Derby column we have the worn old conservative canards about how conservatives are the manly movement that understands the craven and irresistable impulses of humanity – they just naturally rape and lie. On the other hand the IRS non-scandal is about poor little conservative victims who are always under the thump of those mean and all-powerful liberals. Conservatives – the tough guys who are always wee little victims party? At least get your narratives lined up.

The IRS Scandal That Never Happened

View of the Damage from the Hurricane of 1906

View of the Damage from the Hurricane of 1906. This storm made landfall on September 27, 1906, west of Biloxi, Mississippi, but wreaked its greatest damage from Mobile, Alabama to Pensacola, Florida. The storm caused the deaths of 134 people and millions of dollars in damage in Alabama and Florida. From the cozy perspective of past history it is fascinating to see this boat’s engine, probably coal fired steam, still going as the boat slowly sinks.

“Bang” Gas Station. ca1910. The gas pumps are arranged in an arc – you can see one behind the boys and one behind the woman, and one to the left.

This article includes links to the NYT among other media outlets that have clearly not done their homework on the IRS story, The Truth Comes Out, Conservatives and The Tea Party Were Not Targeted By The IRS

The corporate media is blasting out the story that the IRS “targeted conservative groups.” Some in the media say there was “IRS harassment of conservative groups.” Some of the media are going so far as claiming that conservative groups were “audited.”

This story that is being repeated and treated as “true” is just not what happened at all. It is one more right-wing victimization fable, repeated endlessly until the public has no choice except t believe it.

Conservative Groups Were Not “Targeted,” “Singled Out” Or Anything Else

You are hearing that conservative groups were “targeted.” What you are not hearing is that progressive groups were also “targeted.” So were groups that are not progressive or conservative.

All that happened here is that groups applying to the IRS for special tax status were checked to see if they were engaged in political activity. They were checked, not targeted. Only 1/3 of the groups checked were conservative groups.

Once again: Only 1/3 of the groups checked were conservative groups.

Conservative groups were not “singled out,” were not “targeted” and in the end none were denied special tax status — even though many obviously should have been.

From last week’s House hearings on this:

Rep. Peter Roskam, R-IL: “How come only conservative groups got snagged?”

Outgoing acting IRS commissioner Steve Miller: “They didn’t sir. Organizations of all walks and all persuasions were pulled in. That’s shown by the fact that only 70 of the 300 organizations were tea party organizations, of the ones that were looked at by TIGTA [Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration].”

[   ]…And from Bloomberg reporting: IRS Sent Same Letter to Democrats That Fed Tea Party Row, (emphasis added, for emphasis)

One of those groups, Emerge America, saw its tax-exempt status denied, forcing it to disclose its donors and pay some taxes. None of the Republican groups have said their applications were rejected. Progress Texas … faced the same lines of questioning as the Tea Party groups from the same IRS office that issued letters to the Republican-friendly applicants. A third group, Clean Elections Texas, which supports public funding of campaigns, also received IRS inquiries.

In a statement late yesterday, the tax agency said it had pooled together the politically active nonpartisan applicants — including a “minority” that were identified because of their names. “It is also important to understand that the group of centralized cases included organizations of all political views,” the IRS said in its statement.

Again, for emphasis: “It is also important to understand that the group of centralized cases included organizations of all political views,” the IRS said in its statement.”

Fact: No groups were harmed. There were delays while the groups were checked to see if they should have special tax status. That’s it. But the rules are that they are allowed to operate as if they had that status while they waited for official approval.

Fact: The only groups actually denied special tax status were progressive groups, not conservative groups. In 2011, during the period that “conservative groups were targeted” the NY Times carried the story, 3 Groups Denied Break by I.R.S. Are Named . The three groups? Drum roll … “The I.R.S. denied tax exemption to the groups — Emerge Nevada, Emerge Maine and Emerge Massachusetts — because, the agency wrote in denial letters, they were set up specifically to cultivate Democratic candidates.”

Fact: The IRS commissioner in charge at the IRS at the time this happened was appointed President George W. Bush.

Recently ABC was caught read-handed passing off a fake GOP e-mail as news and have yet to apologize. What are the chances the NYT, WaPo, ABC, NBC, CNN, CBS and AP will do the right thing and make sure they let the public know that they all, at the very least, mangled the IRS story.

Virginia lt. gov. nominee: Not sorry for hate speech ‘because I’m a Christian’

The Republican nominee for lieutenant governor in Virginia says that he is a Christian and has no reason to apologize for his history against of hate speech against LGBT people, liberals and abortion providers.

It was only after African-American minister E.W. Jackson won the nomination at the Virginia Republican Party Convention last week that many became aware of his history of saying gay people were “perverted” and “sick people psychologically.”

“Homosexuality is a horrible sin, it poisons culture, it destroys families, it destroys societies; it brings the judgment of God unlike very few things that we can think of,” he said last year.

He has also called Democrats “slave masters” and compared Planned Parenthood to the Ku Klux Klan.”

“Liberalism and their ideas have done more to kill black folks whom they claim so much to love than the Ku Klux Klan, lynching and slavery and Jim Crow ever did, now that’s a fact,” Jackson said in a 2012 interview.

E.W. Jackson is carrying the tradition of other black conservatives like Herman Cain, echoing the same talking points, using the same inflammatory language. As is usually is is also factually wrong and lacking simple logic. It does not take a Harvard study to know that Christianity is not just one rigid universally accepted set of beliefs. If that were true there would not be Baptists, Methodists, Quakers or Protestants and Catholics. And Catholics would not be divided up into liberal, moderate and conservative in terms of doctrine, Jackson talks about Christianity the way radical Muslim talk about Islam ( Jackson, by implication is saying that Jews have no moral authority in the issue at all). These Con-Christians have and only they have been revealed the one and only truth. That doesn’t quite work in the context of American culture or the Constitution. We’re all free to worship as we see fit. Jackson by implication does not support that right. Thus Jackson does not exactly have a patriotic set political beliefs. Plantation, plantation. Democrats have not killed any black children via abortion. Democrats have promised black women that we will uphold their right to have dominion over their own body and their health care decisions. Plantation owners did not do that. They were conservatives. They made the reproductive decisions for black women. Jackson wants to have the final word on the reproductive decisions of every black woman. That makes him a modern plantation owner in his beliefs. Jackson wants to have total control over his wife’s health, and your wife and every woman on the street where he lives. That is the way authoritarians and dictators think. This is what Jackson’s “Christian” world view looks like –  El Salvador court delays ruling on abortion case while woman’s life hangs in the balance.

After more than a month of delays, El Salvador’s Supreme Court has announced that it will decide whether or not a critically ill woman may receive a lifesaving abortion within the next two weeks. The 22-year-old woman, identified only as Beatriz, pleaded with the justices to spare her life last week, telling the court: “This baby inside me cannot survive. I am ill. I want to live.”

Map Pittsburgh Pennsylvania 1902 – Just Another Day With Radicalized Republicans

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1902

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1902. Even on the larger image it is difficult to see, but the map legend highlights points of interests such as the post office, Fort Pitt blockhouse, the courthouse, and the Frick, Carnegie, and Park buildings and railroad stations. These old street view maps are usable. If you were in Pittsburgh in 1902 you could find your way around well enough to the major points of the city. Though they really shine as artistic renderings of the city.

President Obama is cutting his holiday vacation short to head back to Washington in hopes of working out a budget deal. Though I wish he wouldn’t it is the smart move to make politically. Unless one lives in the reality challenged world of Fox New’s hack Steve Doocy – who claimed that Obama never really cared about making a compromise deal. This attempt at compromise is just a lot of wasted jet fuel. As Steve Benen explains,

As of Friday, it sounded like Obama had all but given up on those ambitions, and is now eyeing a much smaller agreement.

To be sure, I suspect the president would still prefer a larger deal, such as the one Boehner abandoned a week ago, but last week helped reinforce a couple of important realizations. The first is that Boehner is a weak leader of a radicalized, directionless caucus. The second is that Republicans are so loath to compromise, a meaningful, bipartisan agreement with concessions from both sides is clearly impossible.

And with that in mind, Friday’s comments pointed to what might be called Plan C — lower rates on income up to $250,000, extended jobless aid, a cancellation of the sequester (or more likely, a postponement), and some kind of blueprint for additional action sometime in 2013.

It has always been the aim of that deeply radical and contarian caucus to not agree to anything that President Obama might sign. This is the important aspect of these budget talks for the public to keep in mind as many cross their fingers hoping for an agreement. There was never going to be one if conservatives could help it. If President Obama hand even started near what conservatives wanted they would have demanded even bigger tax and spending cuts. They were always Lucy with the football and Democrats were always Charlie Brown.

There is a video of American history expert Sarah Palin gloating at this link. Conservatives are however inadvertently, at least entertaining sometimes, Fox’s Self-Congratulation Over Benghazi Report Undermined By Report Itself

Fox News figures have tried to use an investigative panel’s recent report on the Benghazi attack to congratulate their network on its coverage of the attack. But the report actually debunks several incorrect and misleading narratives Fox pushed about Benghazi.

[  ]…But the report determined there was “no evidence of any undue delays in decision making or denial of support from Washington or from the military combatant commanders,” and continued, “Quite the contrary: the safe evacuation of all U.S. government personnel from Benghazi twelve hours after the initial attack … was the result of exceptional U.S. government coordination and military response and helped save the lives of two severely wounded Americans.”

Fox also hyped its “exclusive” report that requests for military back-up during the attack were twice denied “by the CIA chain of command” — even though the CIA called Fox’s claims “inaccurate” at the time. But as The Huffington Post pointed out, the Benghazi report debunks that claim. Quoting from the report, Huffington Post wrote, “[A] ‘team leader’ at the annex had ‘decided on his own’ to delay leaving the facility briefly to see if local security elements would arrive with reinforcements. After ‘a brief delay,’ and determining that they would not, the team leader made the decision to move some units toward the compound, the report said.”

Should one decide to venture into the freaky world of conservative spin on Fox news or conservative web sites you’ll find that they were correct about Benghazi and about Fast and Furious ( even though they failed to acknowledge that much of that scandal came down to one agent – A Fortune investigation reveals that the ATF never intentionally allowed guns to fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartels.) This two supposed scandals are good reasons on theory own to never sign up for that nebulous land of the sensible centrist preached from the Beltway and NYT neanderthals like Thomas Friedman. You cannot reach compromises with the morbidly unhinged.

Well, that problem is solved, After Newtown, Sales Boom for Kids’ Body Armor

Six months ago, Amendment II introduced a new line of backpacks, built with the company’s signature carbon nanotube armor, designed to keep kids safe in the event of school shootings. Since Friday’s massacre at a Newtown, Connecticut, elementary school, sales have gone through the roof. “I can’t go into exact sales numbers, but basically we tripled our sales volume of backpacks that we typically do in a month—in one week,” Williams says.

One can hardly blame parents for trying to do something. While, who knows they just might save a few lives, one of the guns the Newtown murderer had was a Sig Sauer semi-automatic. Watch this video of rapid fire practice with a Sig. That is putting a lot of faith in backpack to think it will protect someone with a similar gun. And remember Wayne LaPierre and the NRA blaming everything, including video games Newtown, How The Gun Industry Profits From Violent Video Games

In a controversial diatribe on Friday, Wayne LaPierre, CEO of the National Rifle Association, blamed lax security, natural disasters, and, most of all, violent video games for the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT that claimed 27 lives. Despite the NRA’s public condemnation of violent entertainment, the New York Times explains, the gun industry is closely entwined with the gaming industry.

In one recent example of this relationship, the gaming company behind the Medal of Honor series launched a promotional website with links to the catalogs of two major gun manufacturers:

Links on the Medal of Honor site allowed visitors to click through on the Web sites of the game’s partners and peruse their catalogs.

“It was almost like a virtual showroom for guns,” said Ryan Smith, who contributes to the Gameological Society, an online gaming magazine. After Mr. Smith and other gaming enthusiasts criticized the site, Electronic Arts disabled the links, saying it had been unaware of them.

Gun manufacturers also grant video game companies licenses to depict real makes and models of weapons. Though these games are now taking heat from the gun lobby for encouraging violent behavior, they continue to serve as a valuable marketing tool for the industry.

I would still make the distinction that these games encourage people to buy guns – look how much fun it is to blow things away – but they don’t necessarily push people to the point of committing mass murder. According to this site, Medal of Honor has sold 1.2 million copies in North America ( Canada, USA, Mexico). Some studies have shown a link between violent video games and aggressive behavior in teens if played over a long period, but others have shown that the link is not that simple – they can in some circumstances increase cooperation ( which is probably why the military uses them). And there is that Harvard study that shows that the more guns that are around the greater the chances someone will use one to commit a crime.

And finnaly for today, when conservatives bully and eat their own, FreedomWorks tea party group nearly falls apart in fight between old and new guard

The day after Labor Day, just as campaign season was entering its final frenzy, FreedomWorks, the Washington-based tea party organization, went into free fall.

Richard K. Armey, the group’s chairman and a former House majority leader, walked into the group’s Capitol Hill offices with his wife, Susan, and an aide holstering a handgun at his waist. The aim was to seize control of the group and expel Armey’s enemies: The gun-wielding assistant escorted FreedomWorks’ top two employees off the premises, while Armey suspended several others who broke down in sobs at the news.

The coup lasted all of six days. By Sept. 10, Armey was gone — with a promise of $8 million — and the five ousted employees were back. The force behind their return was Richard J. Stephenson, a reclusive Illinois millionaire who has exerted increasing control over one of Washington’s most influential conservative grass-roots organizations.

Kind of obvious but Krugman still beat me to it, Protecting Freedom(Works)

The problem, clearly, is that despite its Tea Party status, FreedomWorks had failed to implement the security measures libertarians have been recommending for schools. If only the staff had been carrying concealed weapons, and those not armed had been trained to launch human wave attacks on gunmen, none of this would have happened, right?

Isn’t that what real Amerikcans do, shoot it out. Last man standing is the winner.

Antique World Map c1713 – All progress is precarious, and the solution of one problem brings us face to face with another problem

Antique World Map (copper engraving), Pieter van der Aa, c.1713. The illustrations make the map a work of fine art in addition to being an amazing example of 18th century map making.

All protest movements are vulnerable to being infiltrated, their message co-opted by outside agitators and the small number of weirdos who joy in, used to discredit everyone. The Right – you know those people who manipulated the nation into a three trillion-dollar quagmire in Iraq, all the while hiding behind the flag and nationalism, bankrupting the nation and using government the way organized crime uses goons, are engaging in all three tactics. Wingnuts’ Photo Fail

Wingnuts have been circulating this photo, claiming it’s from Occupy Wall Street. One woman who claims to work/have worked at the New York Stock Exchange posted it on her Facebook page and where it was shared over 1000 times wrote this as the caption:

This is the NO-CLASS Wall Street occupiers. They are rutting in the street. They are defecating in the street. This is what the democratic party is applauding and embracing? America is in trouble; When morality is willingly being usurped by corruption; Freedom sold for limitation and servitude; Honor traded for degradation, a society can not survive.

Fail. It’s from a 2007 Portland, Oregon anti-war demonstration.

The right-wing fraudster thinks freedom is letting Wall Street steal $17 trillion dollars from the American people and pleading with them to continue as usual, please abuse us some more. Masochism has always been a not too subtle feature of the conservative mindset. OWS: The provocateurs have arrived!

Well, we predicted that the provocateurs would hit Occupy Wall Street, and we should have predicted the methodology. In an obvious ploy, the bad guys sent out a few guys with anti-Semitic signs. On cue — with a telling immediacy — Breitbart’s site picked up on this, and charged the whole movement with anti-Semitism. Also see NewsBusters, which is pushing the major media to parrot their line.

A transparent ploy? To you and to me, perhaps. But not to many other Americans.

How can I be certain that the anti-Semitic sign-holders are agents? Well, I can’t be certain about all of them. But…come on. At least one of these clowns is the biggest, most obvious plant I’ve seen outside the Muir Woods. The reliably vile Pam Geller has the story here (quoting CBS News):

“Blame the Jews.”

That’s the message one Wall Street protester was trying to spread in Lower Manhattan to anyone that would listen.

A new video posted to YouTube shows the protester loudly and aggressively proclaiming “the Jews control Wall Street.”

In the nearly 6-minute video, the man is seen standing in Zuccotti Park ranting against Israel and Jews while holding a sign reading “Hitler’s Bankers – Wall St.”

The protestor, who would not give his name to those gathered around him, is also seen arguing with members of the public who took offense to his choice of words.

A number of others also ask the protester if Fox News had paid him to stand and display his sign to which he responded: “[expletive] Fox News, that’s [expletive]. [Expletive] Jew made that up.”

He’s nameless, he’s with no-one, and — like the fool on the hill — nobody seems to like him. He shows up with a cameraman just to get his mug plastered all over YouTube, and of course the resultant video immediately goes viral. Classic provocateur profile. The whole thing is being pushed by an out-of-nowhere Republican front group which calls itself the Emergency Committee for Israel.

The picture of this one guy anti-Semite poster boy is at the link. It came to my attention over the weekend that the American Nazi Party has Tweeted some support for OWC. That too has been taken as PROOF the OWC is antisemitic. Te little problem with that are the anti-Obama tweets from the ANP which associate Obama with said “Jewish bankers”,

  1. ANP14 American Nazi Party
    The Jewish Goldman Sachs is the most politically connected corporation in the world, it was also Obama’s largest campaign donor. #fail
    7 Oct

Anyone who has a Twitter account can search the ANP’s tweets for similar lines of attack.

If the Right is going to try to hijack Martin Luther King Jr. the least they could do is find, I don’t know, some supporting evidence on which to hang their thesis, From Malkin’s Hot Air – Obama: MLK Jr. would have supported Occupy Wall Street

MLK Jr. might at times have used rhetoric later in his life that suggests he would be sympathetic to the OWS protesters’ redistributive aims, but my best guess is he’d also have a few exhortations for them.

It was in poor taste for the president to make a divisive claim in his dedication of a memorial of a man who aimed to unite.

What Malkin stand-in Tina Korbe does is standard operating procedure. For today and at their convenience they take a few excerpts from other conservative wing-nuts, highly interpretative pieces that suit the attack of the day, and presto, they got their average reader rube who has all the historical knowledge of a dung beetle. It just so happens that MLK Jr. lead, not the first OWS protests, but one among many in America’s history in the 1960s – Poor People’s Campaign: A Dream Unfulfilled

In early 1968, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders planned a Poor People’s Campaign in Washington, D.C., for the spring. The group planned to demand that President Lyndon Johnson and Congress help the poor get jobs, health care and decent homes.

Campaign organizers intended the campaign to be a peaceful gathering of poor people from communities across the nation. They would march through the capital and visit various federal agencies in hopes of getting Congress to pass substantial anti-poverty legislation. They planned to stay until some action was taken.

But weeks before the march was to take place, King was assassinated. His widow, Coretta, and a cadre of black ministers, including the Revs. Ralph Abernathy and Jesse Jackson, decided they would pick up where King had left off and that the Poor People’s March on Washington would go forward.

Thousands of people participated in the march on May 12, 1968.

“We come with an appeal to open the doors of America to the almost 50 million Americans who have not been given a fair share of America’s wealth and opportunity, and we will stay until we get it,” Abernathy said as he led the way for demonstrators.

Whiskey Fire also unloads some more much deserved scorn on the zombies at Hot Air –  Look at That Distracting Thing. A reminder that we have been redistributing wealth in America for some time, from the people who work the hardest to the people who work the least:

The conservative wealth distribution plan is going swimmingly

 

Iraq Veteran Questions NYPD Violence Against OWC

On Saturday, Occupy Wall Street demonstrators occupied Times Squares when thousands flooded the iconic location to protest economic inequities. After a number of demonstrators refused to leave the streets there, police responded with heavy-handed tactics to arrest them. Now, video has emerged of an apparent U.S. military veteran speaking out against these police tactics. The man, who identified himself as Sgt. Shamar Thomas, explained that he spent fourteen months in Iraq and that his parents served in the military as well. “This is not a warzone. It doesn’t make you tough to hurt these people!” protested Thomas to police officers. “There is no honor in that.” The crowd gave the man a hearty applause.

I tend to think well of law enforcement in general. I have friends and relatives in law enforcement. perhaps because of that I find some of the incredibly heavy-handed tactics being used by uniformed street officers all that much more frustrating. I’m sure they’ve encountered some jerks among the protesters but for the most part the OWC are looking out for the rights of union workers like the police. America’s ‘Primal Scream’

Three factoids underscore that inequality:

The 400 wealthiest Americans have a greater combined net worth than the bottom 150 million Americans.

The top 1 percent of Americans possess more wealth than the entire bottom 90 percent.

In the Bush expansion from 2002 to 2007, 65 percent of economic gains went to the richest 1 percent.

As my Times colleague Catherine Rampell noted a few days ago, in 1981, the average salary in the securities industry in New York City was twice the average in other private sector jobs. At last count, in 2010, it was 5.5 times as much. (In case you want to gnash your teeth, the average is now $361,330.)

More broadly, there’s a growing sense that lopsided outcomes are a result of tycoons’ manipulating the system, lobbying for loopholes and getting away with murder. Of the 100 highest-paid chief executives in the United States in 2010, 25 took home more pay than their company paid in federal corporate income taxes, according to the Institute for Policy Studies.

What conservatives, tea baggers, the 53 percent or whatever they’re calling themselves this week want everyone to believe, hell their entire knuckle dragging political philosophy depends on it – is to buy into the deeply bizarre possibility that  one to ten percent of Americas are working so darn hard they deserve to own 70% of the wealth. To buy into that you don’t just have to drink the kool-aid, you’re getting it intravenously and in daily supply side kool-aid enemas.

Illegal immigration is just that – rule of law and all. That said tis a wee bit of an overreaction for people, basically coming here to pick lettuce and wash dishes, to be preemptively electrocuted – On Taxes and Fences, Cain Stumbles a Bit

Herman Cain found out how tricky being in the national spotlight is on Sunday as he was pushed to admit that his signature economic plan, 9-9-9, would result in increased taxes for some people.

[  ]…The Republican presidential candidate also sought to back away from fiery comments he had made just hours earlier, saying he was only joking about killing people trying to cross the border from Mexico with an electrified fence. And he said that the American people need to “get a sense of humor.”

Yea America when are you going to start laughing about electrocuting poor Mexicans, what’s wrong with you. Maybe we’ll all get to appreciated the electrocuting poor people jokes right after we start to appreciate right-wing rape jokes – and shame on you Glenn Reynolds, not that Glenn is capable of feeling shame at the appropriate times.

 Why Is Darrell Issa (R-CA) Pretending He Knows Nothing About Bush Era Fast and Furious Gun Walking Program and all the documents he was sent by Attorney General Holder. The Right has been pushing this Fast and Furious crap as a way to bring down Holder and embarrass Obama for months. I hope they keep it up because Issa is going to end up hanging by his own petard. We’ll get to the stage where Issa will have to put up or shut-up. Issa will need a time machine to make the put up part possible.

Tea Party co-founder expresses support for Occupy Wall Street

One of the original founders of the Tea Party movement has told RT.com that he believes Occupy Wall Street is not only comparable to the earliest states of the movement he helped launch but can learn from its mistakes.

“The problem with protests and the political process is that it is very easy, no matter how big the protest is, for the politicians to simply wait until the people go home,” financial blogger Karl Denninger observed. “And then they can ignore you.”

“Well, Occupy Wall Street was a little different,” he continued. “And back in 2008, I wrote that when we will actually see change is when the people come, they set up camp, and they refuse to go home. That appears to be happening now.”

 

 

All progress is precarious, and the solution of one problem brings us face to face with another problem. – Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

Vineyard Autumn Leaves wallpaper, Tea Party Basics 101

Vineyard Autumn Leaves wallpaper

Matt Taibbi piece in RS on the tea bagger movement almost had me feeling sorry for them. But they are too malicious to have too deep sympathies for. There is that old wisdom that you reap what you sow. How corporate interests and Republican insiders built the Tea Party monster

A hall full of elderly white people in Medicare-paid scooters, railing against government spending and imagining themselves revolutionaries as they cheer on the vice-presidential puppet hand-picked by the GOP establishment. If there exists a better snapshot of everything the Tea Party represents, I can’t imagine it.

After Palin wraps up, I race to the parking lot in search of departing Medicare-motor-scooter conservatives. I come upon an elderly couple, Janice and David Wheelock, who are fairly itching to share their views.

Related Get your dose of political muckraking from Matt Taibbi on the Taibblog.

“I’m anti-spending and anti-government,” crows David, as scooter-bound Janice looks on. “The welfare state is out of control.”

“OK,” I say. “And what do you do for a living?”

“Me?” he says proudly. “Oh, I’m a property appraiser. Have been my whole life.”

I frown. “Are either of you on Medicare?”

Silence: Then Janice, a nice enough woman, it seems, slowly raises her hand, offering a faint smile, as if to say, You got me!

“Let me get this straight,” I say to David. “You’ve been picking up a check from the government for decades, as a tax assessor, and your wife is on Medicare. How can you complain about the welfare state?”

Like this blog’s readers I know people like Janice and David. This is where that small nugget of truth comes in that the tea baggers are just regular folks. They’re sometimes regular folks who do not have a clue. They see no hypocrisy at all in their not just collecting some kind of government aid but being against it for other people – them over there – they’re the ones who shouldn’t be getting government benefits – I being old and white deserve them. Taibbi is not mining any new finds here. Back at the height of the town hall health-care reform shout downs the tea nuts were holding up signs about the government keeping their hands off their Medicare and Medicaid. It is as though many of them think these programs, either they or their relatives depend on to survive, are like dust sprinkled by fairies in the night.

Joining them in the fight was another group, Americans for Prosperity, which was funded in part by the billionaire David Koch, whose Koch Industries is the second-largest privately held company in America. In addition to dealing in plastics, chemicals and petroleum, Koch has direct interests in commodities trading and financial services. He also has a major stake in pushing for deregulation, as his companies have been fined multiple times by the government, including a 1999 case in which Koch Industries was held to have stolen oil from federal lands, lying about oil purchases some 24,000 times.

So how does a group of billionaire businessmen and corporations get a bunch of broke Middle American white people to lobby for lower taxes for the rich and deregulation of Wall Street? That turns out to be easy. Beneath the surface, the Tea Party is little more than a weird and disorderly mob, a federation of distinct and often competing strains of conservatism that have been unable to coalesce around a leader of their own choosing.

Here agin there is a grain of truth in some tea bagger claims they are against corrupt corporate America, but ultimately most of the tea baggers and tea party leadership are just water carriers for the same old corporate interests. Democrats carry their share of water for corporatism too, but at least they made some attempt to reign in the excesses. Tea baggers and Republicans in Congress were perfectly in sync in calling the financial reform that did pass another attack on the perfection that is unregulated capitalism. A capitalism that has never been completely free of regulation and does not work without. The median income tea baggers seem to be the willing tools of FreedomWorks, Metlife, the Koch brothers, Americans for Prosperity and other special interests. Special interests who in no way reciprocate by looking out for the common good of the  tea baggers.

Taibbi’s article reminded me of some of the classic articles done on the tea nut movement. These articles are not the last word on the subject, but a good place to start on understanding the tea nuts: Jacob Weisberg’s The Tea Party movement has two defining traits: status anxiety and anarchism.

Ron Rosenbaum’s The Tea Party’s Toxic Take on History

Ron Chernow’s The Founding Fathers Versus the Tea Party

This is not just about Palin. It includes a lot of the disinformation spread by the tea baggers, Fact check: Palin’s claims in Tea Party speech debunked

Taylor Marsh on Phyllis Schlafly, What the Republican Tea Party Really Thinks About Women

Jon Perr’s  10 Lessons for Tea Baggers. This list includes some of the most basic and easy to verify facts which the tea nuts just can’t seem to wrap their minds around.

The Real Impact of Food Stamp Cuts

Congress is poised to cut food stamps, taking away an extended benefit created by the 2009 stimulus before its original expiry date and setting up an unprecedented “cliff” in food stamps, now known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, benefits. To demonstrate how hurtful this might prove, hunger advocate Joel Berg recently spent a week eating according to the SNAP budget.

“I had done it in 2007, as well,” he said. “This time, it was much harder, because the price of food has increased more than the benefit has increased. Last time, for instance, I ate an apple a day, along with other food. This time, I couldn’t afford a single piece of fruit.”

Berg is the executive director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, which represents New York’s 1,200 nonprofit soup kitchens and food pantries and its 1.4 million residents that cannot afford enough food.

Almost as sure as the Law of Gravity a conservative will chime in on the comments section with an anecdotal story of seeing someone buying champagne, sirloin steak and a bag of candy with their food stamps. And dammit people need to learn to take care of themselves. Remember your spam e-mail after 9-11 ans all those fake charities that tried to scam people. An unfortunate aspect of human nature is anything that a human can exploit or abuse there are always a few people that will. That is not a good excuse for condemning programs that are successful like Supplemental Nutrition Assistance ( food stamps). I could write all day about just the corporate abuses I have seen which have cheated employees of better wages and investors of return on their dollar. Does that mean we should end capitalism? Of course not. Wall St just robbed the United States of $3 trillion dollars in wealth. By the reasoning of the penny pinching conservatives and their guilty by anecdote rule of law, we should shut down Wall St.

Disavowal Movement Resurgent

So, I’m hearing on the internets that liberals had better disavow Grayson’s Taliban ad or risk being seen as hypocrites when we complain about the other side doing it. All I can say is, “Oh dear, not that.” (And I have never been much for the bi-annual “disavowal ritual” in general. You can look it up.)

Ever since Jesse Helms ran this ad and Daddy Bush ran this one I’ve haven’t given the moral dimension of attack ads much thought at all. They are part of American politics and you can rail against them all you want, but they aren’t going anywhere. Fretting about such things is the province of very upright, highly moral liberals who believe that it is better to lose than to run ads which sink to the other side’s level. I guess I just don’t think ads are more important than keeping corporate sponsored theocrats from being in positions of power, so we will have to agree to disagree.

At this point in the United States it is permissible for Republicans to attack Democrats as treasonous, Godless/Muslim socialists and compare them to Hitler and Stalin but Democrats are only allowed to attack Republicans for their differences in policy.

I ditto what Digby said and would add this political attack ad by chicken-hawk scumbag Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) on veteran Max Cleland. Chambliss compared Cleland to Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. After a few million conservatives condemn the thousands of scurrilous attack ads that they have aired against Democrats, I’ll consider getting worked up over Grayson’s attack on Webster, an authoritarian theocrat who has never supported the basic tenets of the Constitution.