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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Tweet Of The Year Nominee

July 31st, 2011

Borowitz pokes some fun... serious fun.

Quote Of The Day

July 31st, 2011

"Grief at the absence of a loved one is happiness compared to life with a person one hates." 
-- Jean de la Bruyere

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Worth 1,000 Words

July 30th, 2011
via

Reid Calls Out The GOP Leadership

July 30th, 2011

"While the Republican leader is holding meaningless press conferences, his members are reaching out to me and other members, as I've just indicated. They're coming forward with thoughtful ideas to try to move the process forward. I welcome their ideas and ask all members to continue these discussions."

Quote Of The Day

July 30th, 2011

"The price of greatness is responsibility." 
-- Winston Churchill

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Problem Is STILL Demand

July 29th, 2011

The abysmal GDP numbers for the the first half of this year are out. One more time, here's why. From the AP:

"High gas prices and scant income gains have forced Americans to pull back sharply on spending. Consumer spending only increased 0.1 percent in the April-June quarter, the smallest gain in two years. Government spending fell for the third straight quarter."


We need solutions that address demand. Of course, the reductions in government spending are placing a terrible drag on this. In the current cup of tea, however, there is no room for more. But make no mistake, pulling hundreds of millions of dollars out of a fragile recovery is something which only makes sense to the senseless.

What might we do? We could extend the payroll tax holiday to everyone on the first $20 thousand in earnings, for a start. Or, as every economist with a clear view of our continued motion towards a full depression is arguing, we could bring back something like the WPA.

But we won't. There will be no solution to any of our economy's difficulties while the modern GOP holds the House and more than 40 seats in the Senate.

Period.

Quote Of The Day - Here and Now Edition

July 29th, 2011

"But making nebulous calls for centrism, like writing news reports that always place equal blame on both parties, is a big cop-out — a cop-out that only encourages more bad behavior. The problem with American politics right now is Republican extremism, and if you’re not willing to say that...

you’re helping make that problem worse."
-- Paul Krugman on the absurdity of calling for compromise with radicals

The Continuing Decline...

July 29th, 2011

In spite of the fact that millions more Americans are now paying attention to GOP's sabotage of our country, the broader public is still just not that into politics. Let's hope, if worst comes to worst and we do default next week, a few more urgent topics start "trending."

All screencaps taken from 4:25PM CST to 4:28PM CST 7/29/2011.
The important topics to Americans on Yahoo
The important topics to Americans on Twitter
The important topics to Americans on Google

The WSJ Pulls A Fast One

July 29th, 2011

That the Wall Street Journal has for years been just to the right of any other "respectable" newspaper in America has long been known. There has never been a Cato or Heritage pronouncement, no matter how absurd or ultimately proved wrong by the uncooperative nature of reality, which was not at first promoted in their editorial pages as very nearly the latest burning bush. As we head toward what looks like the GOP sabotage of America's good credit, former WSJ writer and recovering radical David Frum noted that they published an all time whopper yesterday.

"The strict demands of the paper’s ideology do not always lie smoothly over the rocky outcroppings of reality. It can take considerable skill to match the two together.

In that regard, this morning’s lead editorial about the debt-ceiling crisis is a true masterpiece.

If you were to write a story about government debt, you’d probably be inclined to write about the two sets of government decisions that produce deficits or surpluses: decisions about expenditure and decisions about revenue. You’d want to do that not only as a matter of fairness, but also as a matter of math.

And that’s why, my friend, you would wash out as a WSJ editorialist. They wrote this editorial without any reference to revenues whatsoever. Boom! Gone! Don’t deny reality. Defy reality."


Click HERE to read further as Frum lays out the shockingly dishonest steps the WSJ employed to lay blame for the debt where it doesn't belong.

Best Media Matters Headline EVER

July 29th, 2011

In case you missed the exchange between Bill Nye and Fox Drone Jon Scott that that inspired the following headline, the video is below the screencap. Watch Nye's face in the clip. We can all add this to the growing file of "things we can't make up."


Yup. That actually happened.

Quote Of The Day

July 29th, 2011

"The will of the people is the only legitimate foundation of any government, and to protect its free expression should be our first object." 
-- Thomas Jefferson

Which reminds me... this is will of the people

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Worth 1,000 Words

July 28th, 2011

Says it all.
Copyright ©2011 Bennet Chattanooga Time Free Press

Okay, Look... This Is STILL Wrong

July 28th, 2011

No matter how many nearly unspeakable thoughts I have had about Hugh Hewitt, Pat Caddell belting him in the arm tonight was still wrong. Don't misunderstand me, I have wanted to sock Hewitt on many occasions. That doesn't make it right. Also, Caddell has been an absolute troll since Obama became President. Weird times.

Shameful Spin

July 28th, 2011

A few nights ago, while monitoring the primetime opinion broadcasts, I began to see wave after wave of Republican elected officials marching past the Fox cameras and touting a recent CNN poll which they said showed that "66% of Americans support 'Cut, Cap and Balance.'" I was, needless to say, a little bit curious about this. I went to read the poll in question. A full examination reveals their claims to be the worst sort of spin. Indeed, their exclamations rise to the levels of naked propaganda.

Here is the actual text of the question and the breakdown of the responses.
At first glance, this might seem impressive. But it is not. In fact, it is a testament to the average citizen's total lack of knowledge about what "Cut, Cap and Balance" would actually legislate.

How do we know this? Because CNN continued to ask more questions. They asked the respondents about specific spending cuts and tax increases. Meaning, they actually put quantifiable policy proposals to the test. What this reveals is that roughly two thirds to three quarters of the electorate is opposed to the entire contemporary Republican mission.

Period.

Ridiculous Spin

July 28th, 2011

Yes, Speaker of the House Boehner is twisting in the wind. Yes, it is because of the intransigence of the so-called Tea Party Freshmen. This is the result of two different and very distinct phenomena. First, Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) is very nearly and almost disastrously incompetent. Face it. He is bad at his job. He simply can't lead from his leadership position. Second, it the latest example of a radical minority, one whose views are utterly at odds with three quarters of the population on specific policy matters, preventing the government from functioning.

Enter the delusion that now constitutes the conservative echo chamber. The Drudge headline linking to the article also linked above is as follows.

Drudge Report screenshot taken at 8:45pm CST
In the eyes of the core of what I call the "saboteur right wing," this failure to govern is not only being regarded as a positive... it is affirming their fantasy that they run the show.

Off Limits?

July 28th, 2011

"I'm running for the presidency of the United States. My husband is not running for the presidency. Neither are my children. Neither is our business."

So says Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN). Which is simply amazing on two levels. The first and the most obvious is that she has led nothing less than a campaign of character assassination directed at the current First Lady.

When Michelle Obama voiced her support for an initiative aimed at improving public health, Bachmann did more than screech in contempt. She curried favor with the rabid Tea Party base by conflating the First Lady's position with some secret, extreme conspiracy:

A BIG Shift

July 28th, 2011

Robert Greenstein of the CBPP notes a very radical departure in both the Boehner debt bill and the absurd "Cut, Cap and Balance."

"For 26 years, all budget legislation that would trigger across-the-board cuts if Congress fails to meet a fiscal target has exempted the basic low-income (or “means-tested”) entitlement programs from those cuts. The Gramm-Rudman-Hollings laws of 1985 and 1990, the deficit reduction agreement of 1990, and the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 — all bipartisan pieces of legislation — included that exemption. So did last year’s “pay-as-you-go” law, which requires Congress to offset the cost of new tax cuts or increases in entitlement programs so they don’t increase the deficit. Congress has never enacted a law with an across-the-board cut mechanism that subjects core assistance for the poor to these cuts.

But in the last few weeks, House Republicans have advanced two major pieces of legislation that would do just that. Both the “Cut, Cap, and Balance Act,” which the House passed last week, and the new Boehner debt-ceiling proposal drop all of the low-income exemptions that have been part of every previous across-the-board cut mechanism since 1985.

And, in an exercise in political cynicism, both of these bills add an exemption — for payments to Medicare providers – that was not part of the previous laws. This enables the bill’s authors to claim they are protecting Medicare, even as they subject those living below the poverty line to the risk of automatic cuts that would push them even deeper into poverty. (To be sure, these two measures do not protect Medicare — or Social Security — from being cut by Congress to meet the extremely austere budget targets the bills erect; they only protect those programs from being cut automatically if the targets are not adhered to.)"

They Did What?

July 28th, 2011

We couldn't make this up if we tried.

As anyone who has been within a quarter mile of a television or the internet in the last month by now knows, the whole of American representative governance has ground to a halt over raising the debt ceiling. Today was supposed to the big day for Speaker Boehner's bill. It may be dead on arrival in the Senate, but that's only if it ever gets there. Here's what happened via WaPo:

"The House was nearing the end of its debate on the legislation when Republicans suddenly shifted gears. They instead moved to a bill renaming a post office in Peoria, Ill." EMPHASIS OURS

"GOP leaders have been laboring to line up the 216 votes the debt bill would need to pass the House, and they have encountered opposition from some conservatives. There are 240 Republicans in the House."

Rep. Boehner may well be the most incapable Speaker of the House in generations.

Conservative Victim-Hood

July 28th, 2011

Jon Stewart takes a look at the contemporary conservative obseesion with trying to convince everyone that they are victims.

Government of S&P, By S&P and For S&P

July 28th, 2011

A number of analysts are finally getting around to asking some very sensible questions regarding the power and influence of Moody’s, Fitch, and Standard & Poor’s in the debt limit boondoggle.


Although we probably should have started this conversation months ago, it's better late than never. Robert Reich draws attention to the fact that the "$4 trillion in savings" figure we've been hearing Republicans insist upon day after day is a target specifically set by S&P, an unelected private firm.

Quote Of The Day

July 28th, 2011

"Power does not corrupt men; fools, however, if they get into a position of power, corrupt power."
-- George Bernard Shaw

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I Really Hate To Agree With Sowell, But...

July 27th, 2011

Although I generally find Thomas Sowell to be a backward thinker, however bright he may be, he has added his voice to the growing chorus which is calling for the elimination of the debt ceiling altogether. Welcome to the party Mr. Sowell.

He writes:

"However the current debt-ceiling crisis turns out, the current economic turmoil in financial markets around the world should cause some serious thoughts about the long run, and about the whole idea of a national-debt ceiling.

Some people may have been shocked when the credit-rating firm Moody’s recently suggested that the debt-ceiling law be repealed, in order to avoid fiscal crises which can throw world financial markets into turmoil that can injure countries around the world.

Anyone who wants to show that Moody’s is wrong should be prepared to show the actual benefits of the debt ceiling, not its goals or hopes. That will not be easy, if possible at all."


In spite of the fact that Mr. sowell goes on to take some plainly partisan shots at his usual targets, such as calling the United Nations "dangerous" and ludicrously blaming the current administration for the debt without mentioning certain inconvenient facts about its predecessor, the core of his argument, that proponents of the debt ceiling should be forced to explain just what the heck it's good for, is spot on.

From its inception as a device meant to appease the isolationists seeking to hamstring President Wilson and to limit the entry of the U.S. into World War One, this parliamentary procedure was specifically intended to cause gridlock. Indeed, as Elvin Lim wrote, the ongoing drama in the beltway has exposed the debt limit as a tool which has allowed our nation to become "the only country in the world that that has the luxury of creating an economic crisis when there isn’t one."

We need to abolish it as soon as is possible. Then, we might get back to business of government.

Quote Of The Day

July 27th, 2011

"A reactionary is a somnambulist walking backwards."
-- Franklin D. Roosevelt

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Umm. It Wasn't A Problem Before, ctd...

July 26th, 2011

Really. It wasn't. Here's an easy to read picture thingy. That's Two Hundred and Seventy Five totally, completely, altogether non-controversial votes to increase the debt limit under the Bush 2 regime.

Stewart on "Armadebton"

July 26th, 2011

Spot on as usual. Which is quite unfortunate on this point.

Tweet Of The Year Nominee

July 26th, 2011

The odds on favorite so far. Kudos to Jill Jackson. Still utterly un-refuted by the Boehner camp.

Flashback...

July 26th, 2011

The GOP refusal to even repeat the word compromise (much less engage in it in recent memory) should not be a surprise. Thanks to Teagan Goddard over at Political Wire for this little reminder. BTW, this was the interview where Boehner started the waterworks over the "children" while planning to to do everything in his power to make sure the next generation of children has no teeth, can't read, thinks New Hampshire is the Capital of Kentucky, dinosaurs are Jesus-Lizards and that a living wage is some kind of Communist conspiracy to sap our fluids.

Psst... Republicans... that last sentence is called "political satire," (ie. humorous ideological hyperbolenot libel.

"J. BOEHNER: We have to govern. That's what we were elected to do.

STAHL: But governing means a -- compromising.

J. BOEHNER: It means working together. It means find...

STAHL: It also means compromising.

J. BOEHNER: It means finding common ground.

STAHL: OK, is that compromising?

J. BOEHNER: I made clear I am not going to compromise on -- on my principles, nor am I going to compromise...

STAHL: What are you saying?

J. BOEHNER: ... the will of the American people.

STAHL: And you're saying I want common ground, but I'm not going to compromise. I don't understand that. I really don't.

J. BOEHNER: When you say the -- when you say the word "compromise"...

STAHL: Yeah?

J. BOEHNER: ... a lot of Americans look up and go, "Uh-oh, they're going to sell me out." And so finding common ground I think makes more sense."


Thank you to the Simpsons for illustrating Rep. John Boehner's entire manipulative histrionic meltdown. 


And here you go...

GOP Sabotaging America, Ctd...

July 26th, 2011

You can call Trump a clown all you want. But he's a dangerous clown. Also, he has openly iterated what I think a lot of the "stop-Obama-at-all-costs" crowd is actually thinking. They are more than willing to destroy America in order to "save" it.

From McClatchy:

"Donald Trump has some advice for the Republican Party. The New York real estate tycoon went on "Fox & Friends" Monday morning and told the hosts that if the GOP wants to ensure that President Barack Obama isn't re-elected, all it has to do is not make any deals with Democrats and default on Aug. 2.

Trump seems to think that using the country's sparkling AAA credit rating as a sacrificial lamb and letting the nation default would damage Obama, who has been willing to put everything including entitlements on the table, more than it would hurt Republicans, who have refused to raise revenues on the richest Americans and companies during the debt ceiling negotiations.

"When it comes time to default, they're not going to remember any of the Republicans' names. They are going to remember in history books one name, and that's Obama," Trump said.

The billionaire doesn't seem at all concerned about the damage such an unprecedented U.S. default could do to Wall Street and other financial markets. Trump's casual approach is not shared by financial experts.

Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, said that if Congress can't get it together, the results could be tragic as banks would slow down on lending and investors might pull their money out of the market.

"If we got to a crush point where we couldn't come to a deal, that would wipe out the financial sector," Baker said."

Plutocracy Graphed, ctd...

Jul;y 26th, 2011

HT to Mother Jones via Joshua Holland. How much further do we all have to bend over and grab our ankles before these "job creators" create some damn jobs? It's not an unreasonable question.

Disenfranchised

July 26th, 2011

If you think the wave of new voter restrictions is NOT an attempt to disenfranchise likely liberal voters, than you are not paying attention. HT to AlterNet for this one. A young man of voting age attempts to get a Wisconsin state ID for the purpose of participating in elections. He is first denied because of "inactivity" in his bank account. He is then told that he has to pay $28 for the ID. Bear in mind that the model legislation for all these new state initiatives, crafted right here in my state of Indiana, only passed muster with SCOTUS because there is no charge for the ID itself (peripheral supporting documents required for issuance have costs attached but that is another matter). The young man and and his mother, who accompanied him, are to commended for capturing their experience on video.

"The mother-son hidden camera team manages to satisfy the bank account busting first clerk and eventually makes it to the third clerk where they discover that unless you explicitly specify that you have come to the DMV for a Voter ID, you will be charged $28. The clerk admits that there is no difference between the Voter ID and the non-Voter ID -- they're literally the same physical object -- but that it's the policy of the establishment to leave the honus for making this distinction on the customer: no signs, no warnings, just a box on the form you have to hope you notice and check.

The mother asks for the clerk's superior who is somewhat helpful. She then asks for the superior's superior which we can assume the mother gave hell to when the camera was off.

Watch in awe/disgust below and then read about the closure of DMVs in highly Democratic districts."

First of all, this an obvious violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It's a poll-tax. Plain and simple. Second of all, there is still no evidence of any major voter fraud in the U.S. whatsoever. 

Seriously, Mamet? Seriously?

July 26th, 2011

A little over a month ago, I engaged in the profoundly masochistic act of reading David Mamet's most recent book. As rambling, bumbling, and painfully obtuse a portrait of neo-conservative conversion as it is, I didn't consider the possibility that Mamet would, in short order, embarrass himself further. This appears now to have been a terribly misguided overestimation. Since legitimate political and literary observers of all stripes have savaged its inanity, Mamet hasn't exactly had much of a promotional junket.

But, the 700 Club was more than willing to have him on. It's about what one would expect. There are broad character assassinations of "liberal Jews." Regarding American Jews who voted for Obama, Mamet stipulates they should be asked, "are you crazy?" It is, however, when Robertson poses the question "do you think the Jews are ever going to wake up?" that we discover Mamet has become the kind of man who treats such lines of inquiry as legitimate. There is also Mamet's reinterpretation of the biblical plagues... they "were actually sent on the Jews" and not Pharaoh.

It's enough to make one wonder whether he has a full grasp of the concept of self-loathing.
(via)

In Case You Didn't Know Who Is In Charge...

July 26th, 2011

This ought to dispel any illusions you might have. From The Hill:

"Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) outlined the GOP's debt-ceiling plan to conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh on Monday before showing it to his conference.

On Monday during his radio program, Limbaugh talked about the call he received from Boehner. Limbaugh's support of the plan would be advantageous to Republicans because it might help rally the conservative base."


At what point did it become anything less than a cause for broad public outrage to formally loop in a bomb throwing media personality on actual legislation before the rest of our representative government?

One More Time...

July 26th, 2011

One more time. Higher taxes do not discourage growth. Period.

Quote Of The Day

July 26th, 2011

"To found a great empire for the sole purpose of raising up a people of customers, may at first sight appear a project fit only for a nation of shopkeepers. It is, however, a project altogether unfit for a nation of shopkeepers... 

but extremely fit for a nation that is governed by shopkeepers." 
-- Adam Smith

Monday, July 25, 2011

It Doesn't Pay To Lie To Al Franken...

July 25th, 2011

...but it definitely makes for entertaining viewing

Policy Vs. External Shock

July 25th, 2011

While drawing attention to a very interesting chart (below via), James Fallows makes some strong points about what drives the deficit most:

"...it identifies policy changes, the things over which Congress and Administration have some control, as opposed to largely external shocks -- like the repercussions of the 9/11 attacks or the deep worldwide recession following the 2008 financial crisis. Those external events make a big difference in the deficit, and they are the major reason why deficits have increased faster in absolute terms during Obama's first two years that during the last two under Bush. (In a recession, tax revenues plunge, and government spending goes up - partly because of automatic programs like unemployment insurance, and partly in a deliberate attempt to keep the recession from getting worse.) If you want, you could even put the spending for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in this category: those were policy choices, but right or wrong they came in response to an external shock.

The point is that governments can respond to but not control external shocks. That's why we call them "shocks." Governments can control their policies. And the policy that did the most to magnify future deficits is the Bush-era tax cuts. You could argue that the stimulative effect of those cuts is worth it ("deficits don't matter" etc). But you cannot logically argue that we absolutely must reduce deficits, but that we absolutely must also preserve every penny of those tax cuts. Which I believe precisely describes the House Republican position."


Quote Of The Day

July 25th, 2011

"Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed"
-- Mahatma Gandhi

The Jobless Recovery - A Simple Explanation

July 25th, 2011

The reason job creation has been largely collapsed for the last decade has never been made more clear than this; via PoliticsUSA:

"In a recent report in a JP Morgan memo to their investors from Michael Cembalest, the chief investment officer he says, “US labor compensation is now at a 50-year low relative to both company sales and US GDP.” Cembalest continues to explain why corporate profits are so strong while the rest of the working class are feeling the pinch, “reductions in wages and benefits explain the majority of the net improvement in margins.” 75% of the increase in profit margins directly correlate with the reduction in workers’ wages."

A little over a decade ago, a fundamental redefining of investment concepts took hold throughout America's boardrooms. A policy of depressing wages, off-shoring profits, extending work hours and decreasing benefits was instituted at a vast majority of our corporations at the expense of both development and expansion. One does not need to be a Keynesian to see that this trend, coupled with the massive Bush 2 tax cuts, has ultimately resulted in a net negative effect on domestic demand.

From the JP Morgan Report
The long term non-sustainability of this posture seems not yet to have dawned on the executives or shareholders involved. Nor, it seems, has it occurred to them that refusal to invest in the very country which has made their fortunes possible is very nearly unpatriotic.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Quote Of The Day

July 24th, 2011

"All over the place, from the popular culture to the propaganda system, there is constant pressure to make people feel that they are helpless, that the only role they can have is to ratify decisions and to consume." 
-- Noam Chomsky

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Oops...

July 23rd, 2011
by F. Grey Parker

Well. Yesterday sure was an interesting day. First, we were all subjected to the worst speaker of the U.S. House in living memory refusing to take the President's phone calls. Debt limit crisis? "Phooey," said commander booze-tan. Second, we endured the spectacle of Mr. Waterworks holding a damage control press conference. It was a train wreck in which he utterly failed to explain himself.

What If?

July 23rd, 2011

What if a Republican President was presiding over a stock market rally such as this one? I believe a currency redesign to accommodate his profile might well be underway.

Worth 1,000 Words

July 23rd, 2011

Well. This sums things up.
via

Obama: The Democratic Nixon?

July 23rd, 2011

Yesterday, Bruce Bartlett made the case. Republicans of the Cantor/Boehner variety who pander to the FOX echo-chamber should take note.

"Thus Obama took office under roughly the same political and economic circumstances that Nixon did in 1968 except in a mirror opposite way. Instead of being forced to manage a slew of new liberal spending programs, as Nixon did, Obama had to cope with a revenue structure that had been decimated by Republicans.

Liberals hoped that Obama would overturn conservative policies and launch a new era of government activism. Although Republicans routinely accuse him of being a socialist, an honest examination of his presidency must conclude that he has in fact been moderately conservative to exactly the same degree that Nixon was moderately liberal."

Bartlett, with his focus on economics, argues that Obama is essentially a traditional moderate-conservative (read his bullet points).

As we are seeing with the debt crisis, the principal obstacle to his smooth governance and the implementation of policy is that radicals and anarchists have hijacked the language of conservative tradition. By any previously agreed upon metrics, President Obama is a centrist at the very least. 

And, the President is still "the only adult in the room."

A "Big Storm"

July 23rd, 2011

Somehow, calling the astounding and ongoing atmospheric phenomena on Saturn a "storm" seems dismissive.

From a NASA press release earlier this month:

"On Dec. 5, 2010, Cassini first detected the storm that has been raging ever since. It appears approximately 35 degrees north latitude of Saturn. Pictures from Cassini's imaging cameras show the storm wrapping around the entire planet covering approximately 2 billion square miles (4 billion square kilometers)." EMPHASIS OURS
For more images of this event click HERE


Quote Of The Day

July 23rd, 2011

"The kind of people who always go on about whether a thing is in good taste invariably have very bad taste."
-- Joe Orton

Friday, July 22, 2011

Presses Stopped

July 22nd, 2011

Today, an amazing thing happened. I went to Red State and found no Obama-Derangement Syndrome. There was no lunatic invective supporting a debt default. There were no shrill screeds about evil "socialists" undermining the country. No, they haven't changed their ways. They are just fuck ups.

screenshot at 7:30pm CST

The News Corp Crisis NO ONE Is Talking About

July 22nd, 2011

The hacking story is a big deal. The closing of NOTW is very big deal. The denials by Murdoch and son that they "knew nothing" about multi-million dollar payouts and a potentially international conspiracy to encourage official impropriety are so wildly implausible that only a devoted ideologue could accept them at face value. The death under mysterious circumstances of Sean Hoare, the whistle-blower who first broke the story just prior to Parliamentary hearings on the matter certainly has a greater smell to it than anything the rabid dogs in Murdoch's own little empire had to go on after the Vince Foster suicide.

All in all, this dynamite. It is both an astounding public relations disaster and a sordid criminal affair. And it is far from over. But, in my humble opinion, none of this is as interesting as some very simple and very public information that has gone utterly ignored.

The ratings of News Corp's giant, right-wing American libel machine, Fox News... are in a free fall. Across the first two quarters of 2011, FOX lost nearly 15% of its prime time viewers. Not only are they not the "most trusted name in news," they are no longer even close to being "number 1."

Here's the bottom line from the 2011 Q2 report via Mediabistro:

"CNN reached a cumulative Q2 2011 average monthly audience of 100.4 million, Fox News followed with 83.2 million and MSNBC trailed with 80.3 million."

via

These numbers would spell doom at any other news network. There would be time-slot shuffling, talent firings, producer replacements and major design alterations. However, Fox is not any other network.

Andrew Sullivan put it succinctly a few days ago when he wrote, "I don't put Fox in the category of biased media. it is, rather, propaganda, which is always indifferent to the truth, because its ultimate allegiance is to power."

As an essential tool of the hard, corporatist right wing, Fox isn't going away anytime soon. But the audience is.

Reagan On Default

July 22nd, 2011

If you have not yet heard this Reagan speech from 1987, it's eerily familiar. Of course, as President Obama has made the exact same arguments, members of the so-called "Party of Reagan" have called him a "fear-mongering"  "liar". Go figure.

Quote Of The Day

July 22nd, 2011

"Bad times have a scientific value. These are occasions a good learner would not miss."
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, July 21, 2011

It's NOT Getting Better Everywhere

July 21st, 2011

As the slow but steady progress towards full equality for the LGBT community continues here in our own country, another African nation has increased its open oppression. It is time for all western nations to offer asylum to those whose very lives may in danger due to their orientation.

From The Independent:

"In a new burst of African homophobia, a government minister in Ghana has drawn support after calling on the country's intelligence services to track down and arrest all gays and lesbians.

What Has Government Ever Done For Us?

July 21st, 2011

via
Trickle down economics are back, baby. This is, of course, insane. And yet, the proven failure of the scheme has not stopped the yo-yos who have conquered the Republican Party from doubling or even tripling down on it. Grover Norquist's dream of starving government down to the size where Republicans can "drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub" seems very nearly within reach.

Quote Of The Day

July 21st, 2011

"Trickle-down theory - the less than elegant metaphor that if one feeds the horse enough oats, some will pass through to the road for the sparrows."
-- John Kenneth Galbraith

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Quote Of The Day - Here and Now Edition

July 20th, 2011

Oh.. we will be following up on contemporary GOP critique of this sort of debt limit "rhetoric..."


"The full consequences of a default – or even the serious prospect of default – by the United States are impossible to predict and awesome to contemplate. Denigration of the full faith and credit of the United States would have substantial effects on the domestic financial markets and the value of the dollar."


-- President Ronald Reagan in a once forgotten 1983 letter to Howard Baker

The Ostrich GOP

July 20th, 2011

A recent PEW poll confirms that Republican voters, and Tea Party supporters in particular, genuinely don't think a Default is a big deal. Seriously.

What About Derivatives?

July 20th, 2011
F. Grey Parker

The foggy world of derivatives, the same non-transparent mechanisms that nearly led to a global rollover three years ago, is still fundamentally opaque. They almost drove us into total depression before and that was without the intentional brinkmanship and economic sabotage now being seen from some of our own "conservative" representatives.

Quote Of The Day

July 20th, 2011


"It is inaccurate to say that I hate everything. I am strongly in favor of common sense, common honesty, and common decency. This makes me forever ineligible for public office."
-- H. L. Mencken

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Quote Of The Day

July 19th, 2011

"Evil is the product of the ability of humans to make abstract that which is concrete." 
-- Jean-Paul Sartre

Monday, July 18, 2011

Quote Of The Day

July 18th, 2011

"There is a Providence that protects idiots, drunkards, children and the United States of America." 
-- Otto von Bismarck

Murdoch... Rated R

July 18th, 2011

Were the unfolding NewsCorps hack-tastrophe to be made into a film... I would hope it could look something like this.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Quote Of The Day

July 17th, 2011

"Of equality - As if it harm'd me, giving others the same chances and rights as myself - As if it were not indispensable to my own rights that others possess the same." 
-- Walt Whitman

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Quote Of The Day

July 16th, 2011

Photograph via Newser
"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."
-- Dwight D. Eisenhower