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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Day In "Slut Shaming"

Feb 29th, 2012

It's been a hell of a day in the world of "slut shaming." A hell of a day, indeed. In case you haven't heard yet, Rush Limbaugh savagely attacked Sandra Fluke, the young woman whom House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) refused to allow to testify during his all-male-witness contraception hearing two weeks ago:

"What does it say about the college coed Susan [sic] Fluke, who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex? What does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex.

"She's having so much sex she can't afford the contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex. What does that make us? We're the pimps.

"The johns, that's right. We would be the johns -- no! We're not the johns. Well -- yeah, that's right. Pimp's not the right word.

"OK, so, she's not a slut. She's round-heeled. I take it back." EMPHASIS MINE

via Media Matters

In case you are wondering what set Rush off, Ms. Fluke managed to get her voice heard in a separate hearing held by the The Democratic Steering & Policy Committee. Although House Republicans managed to intentionally prevent her appearance from being broadcast, it wound up being seen by a lot of people anyway. You know how that pesky internet is.

This woman not being effectively silenced altogether was too much for Rush to bear.

Of particular note is his remark today about the quantity of sex a person engages in having anything to do with "contraception."

Beyond a refusal to recognize the fact that a majority of women use "contraception" as an essential component of health-preserving hormone therapies (such as the one related in Ms. Fluke's testimony), this exposes the psyche of the contemporary, self-declared conservative male...
They think this debate is about rubbers and fucking.
Steve Benen raises an eyebrow:

"Behold, the most influential voice in Republican politics.

I'm curious whether GOP officials, including Darrell Issa, are comfortable with the language Limbaugh used today. If recent history is any guide, Republican officeholders are loath to disagree with the radio host publicly, and it'll be interesting to see if GOP lawmakers or candidates make any kind of exception here.

Given that they started this War on Women, it seems unlikely, but here's hoping I'm wrong."

That's a damn good question. And, it should be asked of every single elected Republican in the United States.

Believe it or not, the day got even more depressing.

The National Review published a "hilarious" piece by Charles C. W. Cooke showing just how stupid we liberals are and 'exposing' the fact that access to birth control is a phony issue. His piece, titled "My Contraceptive Haul," (yuk yuk) details how easy it was for him to find condoms simply everywhere in NY City.
"Were one to have listened uncritically to the more hysterical elements in America’s news media over the past month, one would have concluded that contraception is intractably hard to come by in the United States; but a cursory glance at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s well-appointed website gives quite the opposite impression. There, contrarily, visitors are informed that anyone in need of contraception is somewhat spoiled for choice." EMPHASIS MINE
While poking fun at the "NY Condom App" available for a number of smart phones, he says:
"Never has a society been so precisely and easily led to safe sex."
He even describes how his pockets were "bulging" with so many rubbers. Again, it's all about rubbers and fucking.
"Next time someone tells you that, if the federal government does not force all health insurers to cover contraception without raising premiums, the sky is going to fall, why not take him for a walk in a major urban area? You’ll only have to go a couple of blocks." EMPHASIS MINE
You just read that right.
"Take him."
There are so many things wrong with these two men that go beyond their dripping smarm.

They are speaking for millions of Americans who think that women shouldn't be speaking on this subject at all.

Corporations Are People Except When They're Not

Feb 29th, 2012

Corporations are people except when they're not. This is how it will play.

HuffPo reports:

"The Supreme Court on Tuesday morning appeared divided along party lines, with a conservative majority ready to hold that corporations cannot be held accountable in federal courts for international human rights violations.

Fox News - Proud Member Of The RNC

Feb 29th, 2012

It should come as a surprise to no one that Fox News shapes and crafts their programming to fit RNC bullet points. However, it isn't often that one of their personalities actually reads them on the air.

Worth 1,000 Words - Iran War Edition

Feb 29th, 2012

Quote Of The Day - Here and Now Edition

Feb 29th, 2012

"The two presidential candidates battled each other every day for most of the month. And while they beat up on each other plenty, the month may be best remembered for how it turned into a contest of who could punch themselves in the face more often."

-- Jon Ward reflecting on the Santorum/Romney grudge match of the last several weeks

The GOP Primary Catastrophe

Feb 28th, 2012

Mitt Romney may have won yesterday's contests but even one of the victories was something of an embarrassment. Having appealed to the basest anti-immigrant sentiments of the Arizona GOP and with the support of that state's large Mormon community, he won by a comfortable margin. It's the Michigan contest that has Republicans worried. He barely carried his home state.

Brian Montopoli observes:

"Sure, it wasn't exactly a convincing win. And certainly, there will be those who say the fact that he barely won the state where he was born (and where his father was a popular governor) despite significantly outspending his rivals shows that he is the flimsiest of frontrunners.

But so what? Mitt Romney just avoided what would have been a catastrophic defeat, and in doing so set himself on a course to beat back the latest anti-Romney candidate and ultimately secure the Republican nomination for president."

Thank God that we weren't completely humiliated can't exactly be an inspirational analysis for Romney's team.

Obama's "Most Dangerous" GOP Opponent?

Feb 29th, 2012

In light of the news that Israel would "not warn" the U.S. prior to a pre-emptive attack on Iran, Sullivan fumes:

"I don't think you can understand the Republican strategy for this election without factoring in a key GOP player, Benjamin Netanyahu.

He already has core members of the US Congress siding openly with him against the US president and the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman - like McCain, Lieberman and Butters. 

The Snowe Announcement

Feb 29th, 2012

Mittens took Arizona and Michigan's GOP primaries, The President gave his most remarkable speech in a very long time, the DOW closed above 13,000... there's a lot of news to discuss today. However, what has everyone talking is the sudden and surprising retirement announcement by Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME)

Jezebel may have the headline of the year so far above Cassie Murdoch's reaction.

"Snowe may be a Republican, but she was known for being a rational, thinking-person's Republican, a rarity in these sad times. 

What Really Ails Europe?

Feb 29th, 2012

Paul Krugman explodes the popular Republican and German narratives. As they read from eerily similar scripts which blame social safety nets and prescribe more and more "austerity," he explains why the former isn't true and the latter simply isn't working:

"...the creation of the euro fostered a false sense of security among private investors, unleashing huge, unsustainable flows of capital into nations all around Europe’s periphery. As a consequence of these inflows, costs and prices rose, manufacturing became uncompetitive, and nations that had roughly balanced trade in 1999 began running large trade deficits instead. Then the music stopped.

If the peripheral nations still had their own currencies, they could and would use devaluation to quickly restore competitiveness. But they don’t, which means that they are in for a long period of mass unemployment and slow, grinding deflation. Their debt crises are mainly a byproduct of this sad prospect, because depressed economies lead to budget deficits and deflation magnifies the burden of debt.

Now, understanding the nature of Europe’s troubles offers only limited benefits to the Europeans themselves. The afflicted nations, in particular, have nothing but bad choices: either they suffer the pains of deflation or they take the drastic step of leaving the euro, which won’t be politically feasible until or unless all else fails (a point Greece seems to be approaching). Germany could help by reversing its own austerity policies and accepting higher inflation, but it won’t."

Totally Random Let's All Stay Sane Moment

Feb 29th, 2012

Obsessed with "The Artist"? Don't let it get out of hand.

Citizen Vs. Bureucrat

Feb 29th, 2012

Quote Of The Day

Feb 29th, 2012

"If evil be spoken of you and it be true, correct yourself, if it be a lie, laugh at it."

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

How The GOP Got Here

Feb 28th, 2012

A lot of folks are discussing David Brooks' column today and rightly so. He has stepped back and taken stock of the GOP. His take away:

"The wingers call their Republican opponents RINOs, or Republican In Name Only. But that’s an insult to the rhino, which is a tough, noble beast. If RINOs were like rhinos, they’d stand up to those who seek to destroy them. Actually, what the country needs is some real Rhino Republicans. But the professional Republicans never do that. They’re not rhinos. They’re Opossum Republicans. They tremble for a few seconds then slip into an involuntary coma every time they’re challenged aggressively from the right.

Without real opposition, the wingers go from strength to strength. Under their influence, we’ve had a primary campaign that isn’t really an argument about issues. It’s a series of heresy trials in which each of the candidates accuse the others of tribal impurity. Two kinds of candidates emerge from this process: first, those who are forceful but outside the mainstream; second, those who started out mainstream but look weak and unprincipled because they have spent so much time genuflecting before those who despise them."

I think no one can reasonably argue.

Michigan Primary- A Dead Heat

Feb 28th, 2012

Last night, Nate Silver's projections in Michigan had Romney up ten points over Santorum.

Not anymore...

"They Are Running Against A Fictional President"

Feb 28th, 2012

Bill Maher sums up the contemporary GOP:

"This is the bubble they live in. It's hard to get actual facts into this impermeable membrane. They are running against a fictional president. A president who has slashed defense, who has raised taxes, who goes around the world apologizing to different countries, who coddles terrorists, all of which, of course, never happened. But that's who they think the president is."

Santorum - The Gift That Jon Stewart Keeps Receiving

Feb 28th, 2012

Stewart has a field day regarding Santorum's latest Dominionist mischief and blatant anti-intellectualism.

The Real Threat Is Pakistan, cont...

Feb 28th, 2012

I have argued for some time that the already nuclear-armed nation of Pakistan is a far greater threat to our interests and international stability than Iran with a bomb could ever be. Here's more proof via RT:

"Senior officials in Pakistani military intelligence knew of Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts and arrangements for his safe house – that’s the implication of confidential Stratfor files disclosed by WikiLeaks. Pakistan has dismissed the allegations.

The leaked information from the rent-a-spy agency published on the WikiLeaks website on Monday shows that Osama bin Laden was in routine contact with several senior figures from Pakistan's military intelligence agency."

Unfortunately, the GOP seems to have little interest in this "ally." Discussions of foreign policy in that party's presidential "debates" devolved into little more than the candidates, with the exception of Ron Paul, promising to drag us to war in Iran. The few mentions of U.S.-Pakistan relations there have been were ill-informed at best.

It's Not That Simple

Feb 28th, 2012

While highlighting the works of Gordon S. Wood at his "bookclub," David Frum makes a fine point:

"I’ve long chafed at the phrase, “The Founders,” to refer to the revolutionaries and Constitution writers of the 1770s and 1780s.

The phrase seeks to cut the history out of American history. In 1776, the bigger American colonies were societies more than 150 years old. Those societies in turn carried with them the cultural DNA of even older societies, both European and African.

What was founded between 1775 and 1789 was the American Republic, not the American nation. But even for that new polity, there was no “year zero.” The American Republic was built out an inherited past. The process of detachment from that past was long, traumatic, and still incomplete as of 1789."

In my view, it's no more complete as of this writing.

America wasn't immaculately conceived. Neither was it fully formed at conception. The "founders" (a phrase I have been known to use if only to irk the Tea Party set) understood that the nation would evolve constantly even if their idolaters do not.

Quote Of The Day

Feb 28th, 2012

"Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence."
-- John Adams

Iowa For Marriage Equality

Feb 28th, 2012

In Iowa, where the opponents of marriage equality managed to recall three of the state's Supreme Court justices for affirming the right of gays and lesbians to marry in 2010, comes this news:

"A majority of Iowans oppose passage of a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, a new Des Moines Register Iowa Poll shows.

The poll found that 38 percent favor a legislative initiative to pass a constitutional amendment, while 56 percent are against. Six percent aren’t sure."

The numbers show a slight rise in support from a similar poll conducted not long after the successful conservative attack on the judiciary. Again, the importance of center-left voter turnout is demonstrated.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Quote Of The Day - Here and Now Edition

Feb 27th, 2012

"A party of birthers, creationists, theocrats, climate-change deniers, nativists, gay-bashers, antiabortionists, media paranoids, anti-intellectuals and out-of-touch country clubbers cannot govern America."

--Robert Reich

The Final Polls Before Michigan

Feb 27th, 2012

I stand my prediction that Romney will win tomorrow. However, the race with Santorum is very tight.

HuffPo rounds up the final polling:

"Three of the five surveys, by Rasmussen Reports, Public Policy Polling (PPP) and We Ask America, show Romney ahead of Santorum by two to four percentage points. The two others, an automated poll by Mitchell Research and the one live-interviewer survey by the American Research Group (ARG), show Santorum ahead of Romney by one to two percentage points. All five show Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich running far behind. All but the ARG poll were conducted using an automated, recorded voice over the telephone."

As I have previously stated, I just don't think the Michigan base is quite as reactionary as many of the other states. If Santorum does win this thing, though, we can expect a full-on collective panic from the GOP establishment.

Worth 1,000 Words

Feb 27th, 2012


Santorum's "Theology"

Feb 27th, 2012

Daniel Larison is gobsmacked by Santorum's recent theocratic declarations:

"Santorum made a very weird statement when he was trying to defend his “phony theology” remarks:
We’re not here to serve the Earth. The Earth is not the objective. Man is the objective.
Santorum has defended his statement in terms of affirming a Biblical understanding of man’s role as a steward of creation, but if we took this later remark at face value we would have to say that Santorum doesn’t understand the concept of stewardship very well. After all, the purpose of Christian stewardship isn’t simply to serve human needs (much less desires), but to preside over the natural world as God’s viceregents and to rule it in a manner pleasing to God, all of which is directed towards giving God glory and thanksgiving for the blessings He has bestowed upon us. We are to see creation as something entrusted to us by God, and as something that we are responsible for preserving and keeping as part of our obedience to Him. That necessarily involves limiting and restraining our desires so as not to exhaust or waste what has been entrusted to us. Viewed that way, we are here to care for the earth and for one another, and in so doing serve the Creator Who made both."

Of course, this is obvious to many. But to refer to Santorum as a Christian or a Catholic obscures his strict adherence to Dominionist ideology. In his view, "stewardship" and unrestrained exploitation are interchangeable. more frightening, he seem to regard the latter as a requirement of "faith."

About That Romney "Tax Plan", cont...

Feb 27th, 2012

We looked at the numbers yesterday HERE and HERE. It's not just a more radical approach to revenue than even the W tax cuts; One of the component's of his plan is a full scale gutting of the social "safety net" he said he would preserve just weeks ago.

Frum savages Romney's departure from the comparatively rational proposal he released only last September and sums up the weekend's developments as follows:

"Compassionate conservatism has been dead for a long time. Romney's Detroit speech cremated the remains. As a man, Romney remains far and away the most capable of the presidential candidates seeking the Republican nomination. But he has now finally eliminated the policy differences separating him from the radical congressional wing. If Romney should win the Republican nomination, moderate and independent voters nationwide will be forced to decide: If they vote for Romney, who is it they're truly voting for?"

The GOP's Continuing Problem With Facts - Auto Bailout Edition

Feb 26th, 2012

I am going state for the record that I think Romney will squeak through and take tomorrow's Michigan GOP primary. But, he certainly hasn't made his situation any easier.

The NY Times editorial board writes:

"Mitt Romney, along with the other Republican presidential candidates, has spent the days before the Michigan primary denouncing the bailout that has rescued his native state. Mr. Romney has been especially vociferous in his insistence that he would have allowed the carmakers to go bankrupt, and said he believes they could somehow have clawed their way back to profitability without a dollar of federal assistance.

“The president tells us that without his intervention things in Detroit would be worse,” he wrote recently in The Detroit News. “I believe that without his intervention things there would be better.”

This critique is detached from reality."

That's a pretty mild assessment.

Romney's double-down following the electorate having been reminded of his wildly wrong predictions from 2008 represents not 'detachment' from but, rather, contempt for reality.

The facts are available HERE in this brief by the non-partisan Center For Automotive Research. The NY Times (accurately) sums up their data as follows:
"There are 1.45 million people who are working as a direct result of the $80 billion bailout"
The problem is, the GOP literally doesn't care. So what if that's a fact? It's an inconvenient fact for them ideologically.

Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI) has some choice words for Mittens. After all, as he points out, he was there:

"While it is almost shocking that Romney would still cling to the notion that somehow he was right and Presidents Bush and Obama were wrong, by now I think most Americans understand that Mitt Romney is someone who will say anything to win an election.

In a traditional bankruptcy, a company has two options: it can either find an investor willing to loan it the money needed to restructure its debts and reorganize its business so that it can be profitable, or it can liquidate its assets and pay off its creditors. In late 2008 and early 2009 there were quite simply no private sector investors that would be willing to provide billions of dollars of what is known as "debtor in possession" financing to GM and Chrysler. In fact, in early 2009 I met with Bob Nardelli, who was at the time the Chairman and CEO of Chrysler, and he told me that if the government did not act as the "lender of last resort" the company was three weeks away from liquidation. General Motors, which was losing $1 billion per month as car sales plummeted at the height of the recession, ended up needing a $50 billion investment in order to restructure -- an inconceivable amount of money for anyone other than the government at that time. Liquidation of even one of the Big 3 automakers would have begun a chain reaction of job losses that would have put millions out of work."

If it weren't for the relatively less extreme nature of Michigan Republicans compared to their Southern counterparts, Mitt wouldn't stand a chance. As it is, he might still actually lose this thing.

And we know why.

Quote Of The Day

Feb 27th, 2012

"Nobody realizes that some people expend a tremendous amount of energy merely to be normal."
-- Albert Camus

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Quote Of The Day - Here and Now Edition

Feb 26th, 2012

"Republicans being against sex is not good. Sex is popular."

-- GOP strategist Alex Castellanos discussing his party's re-declaration of culture war in America.

Totally Random Let's All Stay Sane Moment

Feb 26th, 2012

There is nothing quite as entertaining as witnessing the marriage of the absurd to the sublime. If I do say so myself, this is such a thing. Meet 17 year old MC Blizzard of Manchester England take as good as he gets in a rap battle from a very straight laced 30 year old teacher and poet named Mark Grist.

via The Sun

Romney Watch - His New "Get Over It" Strategy

Feb 26th, 2012

Something tells me this is not the way for Mitt to handle reaction to his casual statement last week in Michigan that his wife drives "a couple of Cadillacs."

Pema Levy reports:

"When Romney and a surrogate were asked about Ann’s Cadillacs on the Sunday talk shows, their response was not to hide or apologize for Romney’s wealth. Instead, their message boiled down to: Yes he’s rich, get over it.

On Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace played the clip of Romney’s comments and asked Romney if he can see why people may be “put off.” Romney replied indignantly: “If people think there’s something wrong with being successful in America then they better vote for the other guy.”

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a top Romney surrogate, sounded the same note on CBS’ Face the Nation Sunday morning. Asked about the Ann Romney’s Cadillacs, Christie replied:
"So the cat’s out of the bag, Bob, on the fact that Governor Romney’s wealthy. So he has a number of cars. Many people who’ve made a lot of money over time do. I think this is just something where, to be candid, folks are looking for him to make trip-ups."
The ‘get over it’ approach to Romney’s wealth is one some Republican strategists and Romney supporters have been hoping Romney would adopt for a while. After Romney took a beating over comments about firing people, as well as flack over his tax returns, they wished Romney would use a less apologetic approach. As one Republican strategist told TPM’s Benjy Sarlin in January, Romney should channel the man who has since endorsed his candidacy: Donald Trump.

“Trump never goes on defense on his wealth and, if anything, is obnoxiously offensive,” said former George W. Bush adviser Brad Blakeman. “His popularity comes from the fact that he is successful. Romney needs to be positive about his wealth and how he earned it.” Though he did caution that Romney should not replicate Trump’s arrogance."

Too late.

Stephen Kruiser on "Tolerance"

Feb 26th, 2012

When "comedian" Stephen Kruiser isn't bringing his "humor" to outlets like Fox's Red Eye, he tweets funny things like this.

Borowitz Wipes Up Santorum

Feb 26th, 2012

Andy Borowitz latest is, predictably, a hoot:

"THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY (The Borowitz Report) – In an effort to underscore his core beliefs leading up to this Tuesday night’s primary contests, former Sen. Rick Santorum made a campaign swing through the Seventeenth Century today.

At the first stop of his ambitious journey, Mr. Santorum restated his reason for seeking the White House: “I am running for President today because the position of Spanish Inquisitor is no longer available.”

The former Pennsylvania Senator served up red meat to his seventeenth-century supporters, telling them, “Since we all agree that contraception is a bad idea, it’s time to take a harder look at electricity and soap.”

Mr. Santorum, who said that in his first day in office he would repeal the Age of Enlightenment, stressed that he had home-schooled all seven of his children: “That means there are at least eight people in this country who don’t understand evolution.”

In a lighter moment, Sen. Santorum told his audience what he said was his favorite joke: “A Kenyan, a Muslim and a socialist walk into a bar. And then he makes everyone get an abortion.”

Elsewhere on the campaign trail, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich scored points with this comment on education: “We should leave no child behind, only wives."

About That Romney "Tax Plan", cont...

Feb 26th, 2012

Some instructive charts detailing the nonsense.
click images for clearer view

Roughly half of all cuts go to the top 5% with the largest reduction going to the top 0.01%.
Chart via the Tax Policy Center of the Brookings Institution

Totally unrealistic and draconian measures to mitigate the deficit impact are central to the plan.
CBO analysis republished by White House Policy Director, James Kvall

Worth 1,000 Words - Fox News Edition

Feb 26th, 2012

H/T to Raging Teabagger on twitter

About That Romney "Tax Plan"

Feb 26th, 2012

James Kwak calls it a "mathematical disaster:"

"There are several things about this plan that are either loony or deeply misleading. One is the claim that it would "address the debt crisis" because it will be paid for by $500 billion in spending cuts by 2016.

But the only proposals mentioned would (a) repeal the Affordable Care Act (increasing deficits, since the ACA has been scored as deficit-reducing); (b) convert Medicaid to a block grant (no deficit impact); (c) increase government efficiency (yawn); and (d) cut Social Security and Medicare benefits for "younger generations" (no impact until well after 2016). In other words, it's a complete fantasy."

How Andy Argues

Feb 26th, 2012


The GOP War On The Separation Clause, cont...

Feb 26th, 2012

I wrote recently that the Republican party was engaged in nothing less than a full assault on the principle of separation itself. Some of the responses were heated and accused me of hyperbole. With all due respect, Rick Santorum exploded those arguments a short time ago. Appearing on This Week with George Stephanopulous this morning, he doubled down on remarks he made last year that his reaction to JFK's famous address to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association in Septemer of 1960 made him want to vomit.

"I don't believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute," he said. He then actually argued that the church not participating the "operation of the state" is "antithetical" to our founding.

Confederate Ghosts

Feb 26th, 2012

Over at PoliticsUSA, RMuse notes some ugly mischief brewing in the Georgia state legislature:

"The Georgia legislators introduced the nullification bill that is summed up with the words, “In the event the General Assembly votes by a constitutional majority to nullify any federal statute, mandate, or executive order on the grounds of constitutionality, neither the state nor its citizens shall recognize or be obligated to live under such statute, mandate, or executive order.” The similarities to pre-Civil War sensibilities of Southern states is remarkable and reflect opposition to, among other things, the Affordable Care Act and the right of women to choose their own reproductive health. However, the impetus of nullification is rejection of Barack Obama as President of the United States and not any one particular law." EMPHASIS THEIRS

The GOP's attempt to march backwards continues...

The GOP Laws Of Power

Feb 26th, 2012
by Cletis Stump

~ The 1st GOP Law of Power: "The reduction of government services will be met with an equivalent increase of corporate control."

~ The 2nd Law GOP of Power: "Always praise Jesus as your lord and savior when cameras are rolling, otherwise kneel before Mammon."

~ The 3d GOP Law of Power: "When beating the war drum, stress the desire to aid those yearning to be free; never mention their oil."

~ The 4th GOP Law of Power: "Stress patriotism and at all times brand those who oppose our wars of imperialism as socialist agitators"

~ The 5th GOP Law of Power: "Never credit President Obama; deflect the praise when it is brought forth and quickly reference his Muslim father."

~ The 6th GOP Law of Power: "In an election year, back off of any aspect of our agenda the electorate has questioned and change the subject."

~ The 7th GOP Law of Power: "When caught in a lie and all attempts to ignore the public outcry have failed, speak only to Fox News."

~ The 8t GOP Law of Power: "As the economy improves, and unemployment declines, feign outrage over social issues & re engage the culture wars."

~ The 9th GOP Law of Power: "When holding a minority of Senate seats, embrace the filibuster and pass no legislation favorable to the President."

~ The 10th GOP Law of Power: "When President Obama shows grace and courage and refuses to engage in Brinkmanship, double down."

On The Future Of Occupy...

Feb 26th, 2012
by Stephanie Baselice

The notorious armed response to Occupy Chapel Hill
The first I heard of the Occupy Wall Street Movement, I was visiting my Sister, Adele. Adele and her husband,Thomas, are farmers. They live on a cooperative land trust farm in rural France. Romantic, I know.

It really is, too. It was an amazing trip for me—the first one ever away from my kids. Lots of people pitched in to help pay for the tickets for me to go there.

The farm is amazing and beautiful. Adele keeps a herd of goats and runs a creamery, making yogurt and cheese. Thomas is your classic German intellectual....he listens to podcasts of NPR on his headphones while he works in the market garden, taking very fine care of his organic vegetables. Thomas really, really likes tomatoes. Anyway, he is also quite well read, and keeps up with politics. At breakfast he shared his newspaper with me.

Upon seeing an article about OWS, I was immediately intrigued. Camping in the park near Wall Street; now that was an interesting idea. At the time, Thomas was not particularly impressed. But I was. I thought they were on to something.

Quote Of The Day

Feb 26th, 2012

"As Mankind becomes more liberal, they will be more apt to allow that all those who conduct themselves as worthy members of the community are equally entitled to the protections of civil government. I hope ever to see America among the foremost nations of justice and liberality."
-- George Washington

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Obama's Oversight Of Energy

Feb 25th, 2012

Since the election of President Obama, domestic crude production has steadily risen for the first time since 1985 reversing nearly a quarter century of decline.
Image via

Image via

Quote Of The Day

Feb 25th, 2012

"Insanity in individuals is something rare - but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule."
-- Friedrich Nietzsche

Friday, February 24, 2012

Things You Can't Make Up - Obama Eligibility Edition

Feb 24th, 2012

You know how rational people always question the racial motiviations of the self-declared "birther" movement?

You know how "birthers" usually get really bent out of shape about that?

Not this guy --> Meet Gordon Warren Epperly of Juneau, Alaska.

Not content to merely traffic in absurd and uninformed arguments about PDF layering (which he also does), he has filed suit to challenge Barack Hussein Obama's Presidential eligibility on grounds that are far more honest (and likely more representative) for the "birthers."

Here's the crux of Mr. Epperly's argument...

"As stated above, for an Individual to be a candidate for the office of president of the United States, the candidate must meet the qualifications set forth in the United States Constitution and one of those qualifications is that the Candidate shall be a “natural born citizen” of the United States. As Barack Hussein Obama II is of the “mulatto” race, his status of citizenship is founded upon the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Before the [purported] ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment, the race of “Negro” or “mulatto” had no standing to be citizens of the United States under the United States Constitution.

As the fourteenth amendment is only a grant of “civil rights” and not a grant of “political rights” Barack Hussein Obama II does not have and “political rights” under any provision of the United States Constitution to hold any Public Office of the United States government."

Got that? The sitting President is, like, black. According to Mr. Epperly (PO BOX 34358 Juneau, Alaska 99803), that should preclude him from office.

Also, it's worth noting that Mr. Epperly refers to the historically factual ratification of the 14th Amendment as "purported."

After all, it was never shown on Fox! How do we really know it's not another Commie-Progressive-Nazi-Liberal plot?!?!


Just... wow.

One More Time... Gas Prices Edition

Feb 24th, 2012

It's the speculation in commodities markets which is to blame for the recent explosion in gas prices.


While the "conservative" media is blaming the President, the irony here is that the solution is the exact sort of regulation his detractors would scream bloody "Communism" over.

Kevin G. Hall lays out the facts:

"U.S. demand for oil and refined products — including gasoline — is down sharply from last year, so much that United States has actually become a net exporter of gasoline, unable to consume all that it makes.

Yet oil and gasoline prices are surging.

On Tuesday, oil rose past $106 a barrel and gasoline averaged $3.57 a gallon — thanks again in no small part to rampant financial speculation on top of fears of supply disruptions."

Mitt Watch - He REALLY Needs To Fire Somebody

Feb 24th, 2012

It's not often that I feel some real sympathy for Mittens, but this is nuts. The Atlantic reports:

"Question: Who schedules a speech in a 65,000-seat stadium if he only expects 1,200 attendees?

Answer: Mitt Romney.

This image was taken by Washington Examiner columnist Byron York at Ford Field in Detroit, home of the Lions. As the Detroit Free Press reported Friday morning, the former Massachusetts governor's campaign went through several different plans for how to deal with the logistical trick, trying to optimize camera angles and even experimenting with moving the venue -- the back-up was booked. Unfortunately for Romney, the push to make the best of the situation has captivated the political press, seriously undermining the push in the first place (and overshadowing the speech)."

Quote Of The Day

Feb 24th, 2012

"Anyone who conducts an argument by appealing to authority is not using his intelligence; he is just using his memory."
-- Leonardo da Vinci

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Bartlett On The Daily Show

Feb 23rd, 2012

Once again, the strongest allies progressives have against the current GOP are generally real conservatives. Interesting times...

Where Some Fear To Tread...

Feb 23rd, 2012

Dave Weigel spent some of his time covering the Mesa, AZ GOP "debate" asking Santorum supporters about their motivations...

"Three months ago, Public Policy Polling asked Republican primary voters whom they liked. Three percent of them chose Rick Santorum. This week, PPP asked again. Thirty-three percent of Republicans planned on voting for Santorum, putting him one hot breath away from Mitt Romney.

Who are these people, and why did they switch to Rick? I interviewed voters outside a Santorum speech in Tucson to find out."

Our favorite? Meet Ann Doherty, "teacher."

"I started supporting him when he became more electable, honestly, because that’s what conservatives are looking for. They’re not necessarily looking for the right candidate. They’re looking for someone who can beat Obama. If that turned out to be a 7-year-old with an aneurysm, it would be enough."

As Bruce Bartlett snarked earlier, "Remember, their votes count the same as yours."

Quote Of The Day - Here and Now Edition

Feb 23rd, 2012

"Folks, I have often warned you that President Obama is an anti-religious zealot, which is surprising since he is also a devout secret Muslim."

-- Stephen Colbert

Another GOP Debate... Again

Feb 23rd, 2012

I didn't have the stomach to liveblog last night's angry-white-man-distortion-fest. Sullivan, whether to his credit or as a sign that he really is a masochist, did so HERE. His takeaway:

"Maybe I've lost my mind after all these debates, or maybe I secretly want him to win (because he would finally expose all the insanity that has been building in this party and needs venting). But I thought Santorum was on form tonight. My sense is that he will not lose his current momentum after tonight. I didn't feel Newt tonight. Romney doesn't wear well. Paul was great and funny and human.

But there was a winner, it seems to me. He's in the White House."


Quote Of The Day

Feb 23rd, 2012

"Political extremism involves two prime ingredients: an excessively simple diagnosis of the world's ills, and a conviction that there are identifiable villains back of it all."
-- John W. Gardner

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Truth In Cartoon Form

Feb 22nd, 2012
Via Media Matters on Facebook

Romney Watch - Et Tu, Mittens?

Feb 22nd, 2012
by F. Grey Parker

Barry Goldwater once said, 
"Religious factions will go on imposing their will on others unless the decent people connected to them recognize that religion has no place in public policy. They must learn to make their views known without trying to make their views the only alternatives."
My. How things have changed.

There was a time when I had some regard for Mitt Romney. He once seemed contemplative and fair. There is plenty in his record to respect no matter how much he's running from it lately.

But that's just it... he's really running from it. What's more, what he is running to is un-American.

A few months ago, he was not just the GOP elite establishment's choice. He also seemed the smart choice. Not anymore.

I believe that yesterday, Romney not only sealed the fate of his campaign but also that of his party.

Quote Of The Day

Feb 22nd, 2012

"The Government of the United States is not in any sense founded upon the Christian religion."
-- George Washington, 1797

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

How Social Conservatives Are Derailing The GOP, cont...

Feb 21st, 2012

Josh Holland notes that one of the interesting things to come out of the GOP's war on contraception is a fracture in messaging:

"Most progressives have come to hold a grudging admiration for the conservative movement's message discipline. We're often impressed by the way the entire movement repeats and reinforces its preferred narrative on most issues – from the most obscure bloggers in the fever swamps of wingnuttia to the Republican caucus in the senate. There's real power in that discipline."

At first, the arguments against the so-called "contraception mandate" were framed exclusively as an issue of "religious liberty." I thoroughly debunked this nonsense HERE. My expectation was that the establishment would keep order, the wing-nuts would follow and, as usual, I would have to keep making my point in an attempt to expose the underlying hypocrisy.

However, when you use a dog-whistle you can't always control how the hounds respond. From the recent disgusting pronouncements of Dana Loesch to the extreme proposals of Republican Senator Roy Blunt which would expand conservative demands for exceptions beyond the religious and into the "moral," the discipline of GOP propaganda which we once expected is showing signs of collapse.

The real and underlying fear among "conservatives" over changes in women's roles over the last two generations has erupted and is "throwing them off message and making it clear to the public at large that this fight is first and foremost about women's role in society, and not “conscience” or “liberty” or any of the other talking points that might have won the American people over to their side in the debate.

And that clarity will play out in this election cycle. As Greg Sargent notes, over the past three months pollsters have seen a dramatic, 18-point swing from Romney to Obama among unmarried women, and the president now leads the supposedly “moderate” contender by a stunning 65-30 margin among that group. When it comes to this bizarre fight over contraception, social conservatives are proving to be their party's own worst enemies."

And it's still only February.

Santorum Watch - Obama Equals Hitler Edition

Feb 21st, 2012

Way back in 2010, while stumping for Republican candidate Pat Toomey, GOP darling and potential 2012 Presidential nominee compared the sitting President to a schoolyard drug dealer and argued that he posed the same threat to the world as Hitler. I shit you not.

Panicky Gasbag Cries Conspiracy

Feb 21st, 2012

Dick Morris has no legitimate way to counter the recent wave of positive economic data that benefits the President. His solution? Crazy talk.

via Media Matters

Newt Watch - Turning Up The Crazy

Feb 13th, 2012

Image via Salon
It's understandable, I suppose, that Gingrich would be trying to beat Rick "Crazy-Pants" Santorum at his own game. After all, Santorum's star seems to be rising with the GOP base in direct proportion to his widening orbit away from both reality and decency.

But, two of Newt's recent statements are particularly unbelievable:

Defeating President Obama is now "a duty of national security" because "he is incapable of defending the United States."

Uh huh. Tell that to Qaddafi and Bin Laden.

Even more rich is this gem from Raw Story:

"At a campaign event in Suwanee, Georgia, the former House Speaker told supporters that he would bring back cheaper gas because "you can’t put a gun rack on a Volt."

Hee haw.

Institutional Inequity

Feb 21st, 2012

On the heels of the latest Council of Economic Advisers Report to the President, Bruce Bartlett sums up what we already know pretty well today:

"...a tax system that lightly taxes capital and heavily taxes labor is necessarily going to benefit the wealthy. As this chart illustrates, federal tax rates on the wealthy have been falling since 1978, when Congress cut the maximum capital gains rate to 28 percent from 35 percent."

It is notable that Bartlett refers to capital gains in this piece as "unearned" income as opposed to the "earned" income of labor.

The current field of Republican Presidential hopefuls would never use such language. In spite of the fact that the realities of the last ten years have disproved the supposed benefits of so lopsided an approach to federal revenue, their plans, if elected, are to make the disparity more extreme.

Every one of them has proposed lowering taxes on dividends and capital gains further while actually raising them on the lowest quintile's labor.

Bartlett's takeaway:

"...the tax system in the United States violates the fundamental principles of income taxation. Those are "vertical equity," which says that those with upper incomes should pay a higher effective tax rate than those with modest incomes — as far back as Adam Smith, ability to pay has always been a core principle of taxation — and "horizontal equity," which says that those with roughly the same income ought to pay roughly the same taxes." EMPHASIS OURS

Of course, what the heck does Bartlett know? He's merely one of the Reagan Revolution's architects as well as one of the preeminent economists of our age. 

Santorum Watch - Home Schooling Edition

feb 21st, 2012

When I noted yesterday that the least insane of Rick Santorum's statements recently was his assault on public schools, I was unaware of an interesting (and unsurprising) piece of information.

Stephen D. Foster writes:

"Rick Santorum has been very vocal about his preference for home schooling. There’s a reason for this of course. He holds a grudge. Santorum enrolled his children in the Western Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School and stuck the taxpayers for 80% of the costs which were paid through the Penn Hills School District. In November 2004, Penn Hills asked Santorum to repay $67,000 in tuition costs because he and his family were spending most of the year in Virginia and did not meet the qualifications for residency status. So Santorum pulled his kids out of school and has home schooled them ever since. If parents are supposed to be responsible for teaching their own kids, how come Santorum wasn’t home schooling his children before 2004?"

Santorum is a hypocrite of a very rare breed.

Regarding Alice Stewart

Feb 21st, 2012

Of course she didn't mean to call President Obama's positions on environmental issues "radical Islamic" policies.

So fucking what?

That she slipped so casually in her role as Santorum's National Press Secretary speaks volumes regarding what is acceptable when that camp is behind closed doors.

Dominionists On Parade

Feb 21st, 2012

Well, Franklin Graham certainly distinguished himself this morning. Appering on Joe Scarborough's show, he openly questioned the faith of the sitting President and smeared the Mormon faith. Graham said at one point that because Brack Obama's father was a Muslim, "Islam regards him as a son of Islam."  He also makes sure to remind the audience, several times, of Obama's attendance at services in Jeremiah Wright's church.

No dog whistles there.

Coversely, he declared that there is "no question about" whether Rick Santorum is a Christian. What's more, he makes no bones about his trust in Newt (the prevaricating philanderer) Gingrich's faith.

The panel was justifiably shocked. A visibly angry Willie Geist shot back at one point, "So, Newt Gingrich is a Christian, but you’re not sure that President Obama is?"

Totally Random Let's All Stay Sane Moment

Feb 21st, 2012

Life in the age of "Siri"

Monday, February 20, 2012

Quote Of The Day

Feb 21st, 2012

"The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood."

-- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Quote Of The Day - President's Day Edition

Feb 20th, 2012

"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."

-- Abraham Lincoln

Santorum Watch - Just Plain "Wow" Edition

Feb 20th, 2012
by F. Grey Parker

Last week, I had more than a little egg on my face after posting a bit of satire regarding Rick Santorum as if it were factual. When I realized my error, I updated it promptly and left it posted in the interest of disclosure. I do take responsibility for my mistakes.

Was the post I am discussing patently absurd? Yes. But nearly every actual pronouncement from the Santorum campaign has also been absurd. So, yeah, I got fooled. That said... can anyone blame me?

Charting The Political Climate

Feb 20th, 2012

Brian Beutler highlights two sets of indicators that bode very well for Obama over at TPM:

Anything But Exceptional

Feb 20th, 2012

The smart moves to prepare for a sustained industrial future are being being made everywhere but here.

The latest news reflecting our failure to keep up with the rest of the Western world comes via Care2:

"As the sovereign debt crisis unfolds in Europe, onlookers have questioned whether the region will stay committed to renewable energy. The answer so far is “yes.”

Even with a few countries pulling back on government support of the industry because of fiscal troubles, 2011 was still a huge year for deployment — with wind and solar alone representing almost 70% of new capacity.

That’s almost a 10-fold increase over deployment in 2000, when only 3.5 GW of renewable energy projects were installed. Last year, 32 GW of renewables — mostly wind and solar — were deployed across European countries.

The figures come from the European Wind Energy Association, which just released a report on industry growth."

While "conservatives" continue to push for both the subsidy of destructive early 20th Century technologies as well as the demonization of public sector investment in alternatives, they are also guaranteeing that we are being left behind. Alas, the opponents of successfully adapting to the future have reduced the concept of American Exceptionalism to "America, fuck yeah!"

Quote Of The Day

Feb 20th, 2012

"The office of reformer of the superstitions of a nation, is ever more dangerous."
-- Thomas Jefferson

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Quote Of The Day

Feb 18th, 2012

"One of the great attractions of patriotism - it fulfills our worst wishes. In the person of our nation we are able, vicariously, to bully and cheat. Bully and cheat, what's more, with a feeling that we are profoundly virtuous."
-- Aldous Huxley

Friday, February 17, 2012

Maddow On The GOP's Birth Control Insanity

Feb 17th, 2012

The amount of daylight between GOP elites and most ordinary Americans continues to increase.

The GOP War On Women, cont...

Feb 17th, 2012

UPDATE: We may have been taken in by a parody here. If so, we apologize. That said, that we found it plausible in the current climate is worth noting.

If you think there is any way to argue that senior members of the GOP are not actively engaged in a war against women's rights, you are not paying attention. It is being reported that Presidential hopeful Rick Santorum made the following statement recently while speaking before a Nebraska audience:

"It has been my experience that when dealing with females, you need to treat them as though they have a mental disorder… especially those that are constantly seeking equality in the workplace, the military, and in the home. Women need to know their place and need to know when it is okay for them to speak. They were put on this earth for two reasons, and two reasons alone: taking care of their husband, and giving birth to his children… that is all. Any woman who tells you otherwise is obviously touting the liberal agenda of equality, and they need to be told the truth of their purpose. It is a disorder that can be fixed, but not until they go through several years of therapy to understand that they need to be subservient." EMPHASES OURS

This man is now the darling of the GOP base. His vision for a world of barefoot, pregnant, docile and obedient females whose primary destiny lies in their breeding status actually appeals to them.

Quote Of The Day

Feb 16th, 2012

"The most practical kind of politics is the politics of decency."
-- Theodore Roosevelt

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Obama & The GOP War On Birth Control

Feb 16th, 2012

The GOP has terribly misfired. There is little discernible damage to Obama even among American Catholics.

Via Gallup