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Monday, July 30, 2012

Quote Of The Day

July 30th, 2012

"I'm afraid, based on my own experience, that fascism will come to America in the name of national security."

-- Jim Garrison

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Quote Of The Day

July 29th, 2012

"We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution."

-- Abraham Lincoln

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Quote Of The Day

July 28th, 2012

"Tact is the knack of making a point without making an enemy." 

-- Sir Isaac Newton

The Force Is With Them

July 28th, 2012

And you thought you were a big fan:
"In 2009, Casey Pugh asked thousands of Internet users to remake "Star Wars: A New Hope" into a fan film, 15 seconds at a time. Contributors were allowed to recreate scenes from Star Wars however they wanted."
The entire film was subsequently remade, shot for shot, using contributions from all over the world. Enjoy.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Headline Of The Year Nominee

July 27th, 2012

It's one way to get out of military service...

Diplomacy 101

July 27th, 2012

"If you ask me if that suit makes you look fat, I’m not going to tell you it does even if it does, Brian."

-- A visibly annoyed Chris Wallace attempting to communicate to Fox & Friends' Brian Kilmeade why Romney deserves every bit of criticism he's received for yesterday's spectacle.

Quote Of The Day - Hilarious Flashback Edition

July 27th, 2012

"The Obama campaign can’t bear the thought that the well-traveled Mitt Romney will make a nice impression on his overseas tour."

-- Washington Post "writer" and Mitt Romney groupie Jennifer Rubin on 7/23/12

Mitt Watch - An Idiot Abroad, cont...

July 27th, 2012


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Mitt Watch - An Idiot Abroad

July 26th, 2012

In the American right's fantasy narrative of the Obama presidency, the most pernicious alternative to reality continues to be their portrayal of him as an inept diplomat. It is on this count that the "anyone but Obama" crowd is today experiencing a rude awakening. Barely out of the country on his first international tour as the GOP nominee, Mitt Romney has managed nothing less than the instigation of a minor diplomatic incident over sport. That's just for starters.

Before the day began, Team Romney was already in defensive mode over the jaw-dropping and racially explosive "Anglo-Saxon heritage" remark attributed to an aide. The irony here is rich. That remark smugly asserted that Romney would somehow naturally, even magically, usher in a closer, smoother period in our "special relationship" with England because of certain racial cultural characteristics.

Today's events do not lend much credibility to the claim.

In a matter of mere hours, Mitt Romney did more to undermine his perceived capabilities as a potential commander in chief than the opposition has accomplished in a year. 

He first insulted the English by insinuating that they weren't adequately prepared to host the Olympics. 

This provoked a rousing public dressing down in front of a crowd of 60,000 from London's mayor and star of their Conservative Party, Boris Johnson. 

It also drew an understandably abrasive response from Prime Minister Cameron which has, in turn, sparked a feud between Salt Lake City mayor Ralph Becker and, well, England. 

In other news, Romney seems to have casually disclosed the rough location of the head of MI6 to the public which is, to say the least, a serious breach in protocol. 

While his gaffes continued to mount, his meeting with the Prime Minister apparently went so poorly that it has resulted in leaks from sources present comparing it to a "car crash" and stating that Romney was "worse than Palin." 

The cherry on the cake was his awkward meeting with Labor Party representative Ed Miliband during which he appears to have forgotten Miliband's name

Oh, and he referred to the United Kingdom by the wrong name.

One really has to hand it to him for uniting the members of Labor and the Conservative Party in mutual disgust.

This was all before dinner.

He managed to pack this much incompetence into a single day.

You can't invent this stuff.

What makes this spectacle all the more amazing is that Romney arrived in England with plenty of baggage. This is a candidate who has a long history of glibly dismissing America's most important military and political partner.

In his book, No Apology, Romney notoriously wrote (H/T):
"England is just a small island. Its roads and houses are small. With few exceptions, it doesn't make things that people in the rest of the world want to buy. And if it hadn't been separated from the continent by water, it almost certainly would have been lost to Hitler's ambitions."
So much for honoring Britain's historic courage.

Ahead of the last presidential contest, Romney singled out England as a nation in decline and called it "second-tier."

In spite of what some folks are saying, this was a pattern and it is a big deal.

Romney had to be perfect today. This trip is his one chance before the election to prove himself as a statesman rather than just another partisan American opportunist. Instead, he has so far rendered himself a laughing stock at best. At worst, he's coming across as so un-skilled at international relations that it presents some serious security concerns.

It will be very interesting to watch the GOP attempt to recover from all this. The relative silence of the right wing's fear factories today gives the impression that they understand how bad this is. It's the smart move not to start the pro-Romney spin in earnest just yet. After all, there's no telling how much damage he can do on day two.

Quote Of The Day

July 26th, 2012

"Dishonesty in government is the business of every citizen. It is not enough to do your own job. There's no particular virtue in that. Democracy isn't a gift. It's a responsibility."
-- Dalton Trumbo

Worth A Thousand Words

July 26th, 2012

Romney shortly after his meeting with British Prime Minister Cameron today. Coming on the heels of his gaffe-a-minute approach to the trip (foreign press coverage HERE, HERE and HERE), I find his expression unsurprising.
Image via

Monday, July 23, 2012

Moyers Takes On The NRA

July 23rd, 2012

He calls the contemporary interpretation of the 2nd Amendment a "license to murder." He's absolutely right.

Quote Of The Day

July 23rd, 2012

"The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."

-- Albert Einstein

The Biggest Tax In History?

July 23rd, 2012

That is how the GOP is portraying the penalty in "Obamacare" (examples HERE, HERE and HERE). How hyperbolic is this?

Via the CBPP

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Mitt's Total Disconnect

July 11th, 2012

While speaking to the NAACP convention today, Mitt got booed severely when he reaffirmed his commitment to the total repeal of "Obamacare." Did he try to recover? Well, yeah. But his pivot was to a "survey of the Chamber of Commerce."

You cannot make this stuff up.

Quote Of The Day

July 11th, 2012

"The community which has neither poverty nor riches will always have the noblest principles."

-- Plato

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Mitt Watch - What If He IS A Sociopath?

July 10th, 2012
by F. Grey Parker

It's time for us all to start admitting that the alarmists may be right. Mitt Romney may actually be a high-functioning sociopath.

I no longer think it's some of sort of exaggeration.

I am not being willfully hyperbolic. 

I mean it.

Mitt Watch: The VP Chatter, cont...

July 10th, 2012

Of all the names that seem to be on the short list for Romney's VP slot, Rep. Paul Ryan's seems to elicit the most excitement from GOP loyalists. They would be wise to examine why he's on the short list of most progressives as well.

Overlooking the obvious baggage on budgets and Medicare in particular (reminders HERE, HERE and HERE), Jeffrey H. Anderson over at NRO indulges in nothing short of delusion as he writes:
"...picking Ryan would clearly connect Romney to the post-Bush era of Republicans. It would be awfully hard to talk constantly about Bush-Cheney when running against Romney-Ryan."
You just read that right. GOP sympathizers are actually of the opinion that Ryan can be used to separate candidate Romney from the disastrous Bush legacy.

Daniel Larison is stunned:
"Bush was in the White House for most of Ryan’s thirteen years in the House. For six of those years, Ryan belonged to a Republican majority that was closely aligned with the Bush administration on both domestic and foreign policy issues, and Bush and Ryan’s careers overlapped for eight years. Ryan voted for every major piece of legislation that the Bush administration favored that came before the House. He voted for the PATRIOT Act, No Child Left Behind, the Iraq war,Medicare Part D, and the TARP. Ryan’s voting record is a perfect example of Republican support for the expansion of the size and role of government when their party is in power. His voting record is typical of a Bush-era Republican. He is a product of the Bush era. Nothing would be easier than to link Ryan to the Bush era, because he actively contributed to all of its greatest mistakes.
Let’s also think a bit more about Ryan’s “widespread appeal.” He is apparently not all that popular statewide in his own state. I have no idea why he would be very popular anywhere else in the Midwest. Portman probably wouldn’t move many votes in Ohio into the Republican column on his own, but he would presumably be more appealing to Ohio voters than a Congressman from Wisconsin. Ryanmaniacs consistently overestimate Ryan’s appeal because they find him extremely appealing. They never attempt to check their assumptions that a nationally obscure wonkish House member with a lot of Bush-era baggage is a major political sensation." EMPHASIS MINE
Please, Mitt. Pick Ryan. We're very eager to see that ticket.

Quote Of The Day

July 10th, 2012

"A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its
old dimensions."

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

The Saga Of Jonathan Krohn

July 10th, 2012

I remember when I first saw footage of then-conservative wunderkind Jonathan Krohn speaking to CPAC in 2009. At the time, as right wing media lionized him and center media puzzled over him, two things seemed clear to me; First, he had rehearsed the standard points of a movement which he found attractive quite well. Second, he was incredibly bright. He had, after all, written a book on the subject which is somewhat more than I had accomplished at that age.

As passionate as I may be about some of my positions today, I remember with a shudder just how strident I was as an early adolescent. I commented at the time that it was perfectly likely he would change his views before long.

Change he did. As anyone of a political timber knows, he spoke to Politico last week and described his transformation:
"I think it was naive. It’s a 13-year-old kid saying stuff that he had heard for a long time.… I live in Georgia. We're inundated with conservative talk in Georgia.… The speech was something that a 13-year-old does. You haven’t formed all your opinions. You’re really defeating yourself if you think you have all of your ideas in your head when you were 12 or 13. It’s impossible. You haven’t done enough."
It took a certain amount of grace for him to publicly revisit his positions in light of how much he had not only embraced but profited from partisan spectacle in the past. It's an interesting story. 

As I read the comments on twitter and in the initial Politico reporting, there was a certain amount of vulgar, right wing indignation. Just as there had been its opposite in 2009, the political public in the internet age do seem to take these things personally. 

The story should have faded. However, the "conservative" media ensured that it didn't. They went way beyond simple reporting and commentary and into the realm of character assassination

This weekend, young Mr. Krohn was compelled to pen a response for Salon:
"I have been treated by the political right with all the maturity of schoolyard bullies. The Daily Caller, for instance, wrote three articles about my shift, topping it off with an opinion piece in which they stated that I deserved criticism because I wear “thick-rimmed glasses” and I like Ludwig Wittgenstein. Why don’t they just call me “four-eyes”? These are not adults leveling serious criticism; these are scorned right-wingers showing all the maturity of a little boy. No wonder I fit in so well when I was 13.
I shouldn't be too surprised. Political divisiveness in America today is a childish thing anyway. The never-ending war between the left and the right seems to me like a couple of drunken college boys fighting over which one of their fraternities is cooler. Think about it: Once you join a side, you have to obey the house rules, go to all the parties, and defend your status as a member of the greatest club on campus. And this is what drove me away from conservatism to my admittedly center-left position of independent mindedness (if that’s a thing)."
I highly recommend the rest of his piece and not for the obvious political reasons. Mr. Krohn is a helluva writer. He's still basically a kid. His views will likely transform any number of times over the next twenty years. That's what happens to people who suffer the curse of critical thinking. But even if I find myself at ideological loggerheads with some future missive, I suspect it will be a good read.

In the meantime, we have seen the full weight and fury of the so-called "conservative" media directed into a campaign of ridicule against an American who is, by every legal definition, still a minor.

That says more about them than it says about him.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Quote Of The Day - Independence Day Edition

July 4th, 2012

"Our country, this great republic, means nothing unless it means the triumph of a real democracy, the triumph of a popular government, and, in the long run, of an economic system under which each man shall be guaranteed the opportunity to show the best that there is in him."

-- Teddy Roosevelt, August 31st, 1910

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The GOP's Real Problem

July 3rd, 2012

You may have heard about New Hampshire state Rep. Bob Kingsbury (R-Laconia) claiming that a primary cause for high crime rates is... kindergarten

You might be thinking its just another crazy Tea Party reactionary making wild pronouncements based on lunatic assumptions. What's the big deal?

From HuffPo's coverage:
"The Republican candidate for governor, Ovide Lamontagne, declined to address Kingsbury's comments during a radio interview last week."
This continues to be the real story. The GOP is incapable of policing their own. They are so afraid of their delusional base that otherwise decent legislators are complicit in the quickening American decline. 

Quote Of The Day

July 3rd, 2012

"When public men indulge themselves in abuse, when they deny others a fair trial, when they resort to innuendo and insinuation, to libel, scandal, and suspicion, then our democratic society is outraged, and democracy is baffled."

-- J. William Fulbright

A Spectacular Falsehood

July 3rd, 2012 7:45am CST
UPDATE July 4th, 2012 8:00am CST: At this time, there is still no correction nor has there been any response to our requests for one. Contact @KarlRove, @AndrewCMcCarthy, @NROCorner or @RichLowry and demand that they explain themselves.

Have you heard the one about the President planning to spend Independence Day at a fundraiser in France? The rumor is all over the fringes of the right. Wedged in between hyperventilations over the President's "Kenyan birthplace" and "Agenda 21," the comments sections of our country's "anyone-but-Obama" blogs are full of it.

The story is, of course, as baseless as it is absurd. It is the kind of nonsense which has become so commonplace in the rumor-sphere that it would ordinarily not merit much discussion.

But this one is different. It's not just the web-rabble and the knuckle-draggers who are pushing it.

Over at the National Review, Andy McCarthy picked it up on Saturday morning. He ran with it. It's still there as I go to post, 72 hours later, without correction.

Even better, good old Karl Rove picked up the McCarthy link and tweeted it a short time later to his 353,000 followers. His post is also still up. He also hasn't issued any correction. In fact, he hasn't tweeted since.
Steve Benen writes:

"The reality is simple: neither the president nor his family are going to Paris for the 4th of July. They will, of course, be in the United States, celebrating the holiday at the White House, hosting an event for military families. Republican media outlets reporting otherwise are lying."

Benen is too kind. After three days, it seems clear that this is not cynical carelessness. This is coordinated propaganda.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Mitt Watch - The Man Without A Plan

July 1st, 2012

While everyone is justifiably preoccupied with the SCOTUS decision regarding the ACA in its potential political impact, it's worth remembering that the upcoming election is meant to select our Commander in Chief. On that count, we are still faced with a choice between Obama's frustrating pragmatism and absolute disaster.

Fred Kaplan writes:
"What is Romney’s position on drone strikes? What’s his position on Afghanistan? During the Republican debates, he once said that his position was not to negotiate with the Taliban but to defeat them. What does that mean? Does he want to keep tens of thousands of U.S. troops there after NATO’s 2014 deadline? To what end? Doing what? He also once said that military spending should consume at least 4 percent of gross domestic product. Obama’s most recent military budget ($525 billion, not counting the cost of the war in Afghanistan) amounts to 3 percent. So Romney intends to raise the budget by one-third, or by about $175 billion a year—by more than $1 trillion in the next six years. Where is he going to get the money? What’s he going to spend it on? No details. None.
Is Romney an extremist? Or, in keeping with the GOP approach to politics in general these days, has he simply calculated that it’s best not to agree with Obama on anything? Either way, one thing is clear: He is not a serious man."
You don't have to support Obama's foreign policy. You just have to be smart enough to reject its opposite. And vote accordingly.