Archive for the 'Clueless Conservatives' Category

Running for office by running from the past.

Aug 14, 2012 in Clueless Conservatives

So Mitt Romney was vaulted onto the national stage for passing health care reform in Massachusetts…

And Paul Ryan for the Ryan budget…

Each is running from the very thing that led people (well, not me, of course) consider them presidential material in the first place, albeit for very different reasons. Mitt because his accomplishment became anathema to Republicans the second a Democrat, President Obama, imitated it. Ryan because his is true to Republican orthodoxy, but repulsive to the public. Their unifying theme is that it demonstrates each man is a fraud at the most fundamental level, unwilling to stand by their own fundamental rationales for political existence.

To complicate things, Romney has frequently touted Ryan’s budget but is now distancing himself from it, and Ryan once hated on Romneycare two years ago, and now is running with Mitt Romney, who might be embracing Romneycare again (which means embracing Obamacare, but he can’t say that, keep things straight folks), except it pissed off Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter so much that we’re unlikely to hear much more on that front.

Can you keep their stories straight?

Can they?

-hw

Poor Mitt, he’s gotta run against Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.

Aug 06, 2012 in Clueless Conservatives

Mitt campaigns for Obama:

Jonathan Chait says this proves Mitt Romney knows his entire campaign is a lie, but who didn’t know that already?

-hw

Retractions, anybody?

Jul 24, 2012 in Clueless Conservatives, Corporate shenanigans, Environment

Of course, economists have found that Republican “jobs” plans, which I’ve previously scoffed at, would create no jobs in the next five years and would create no more than “marginal” numbers after that. What’s the point? To get things Republican donors already wanted:

Carl Riccadonna, a senior economist at Deutsche Bank, said some of the bills could create jobs, but that they would amount to more of an afterthought in terms of achieving broader policy goals.

“They are very narrowly targeted, and it gives the impression that maybe some of this is special interest really pursuing these, not really taking a macro view but a very, very micro focus in what the impact would be,” Riccadonna said. For most of the bills in the package, “jobs are a second- or third-order effect, not the main priority.”

At the heart of the GOP jobs package is a push for rolling back regulations — and gutting environmental laws that regulate clean air and water — to spur job growth.

It’s rotten enough that we’re asked to trade clean air and water for jobs, but the promised jobs are just that, promises. In the end, the Koch brothers get a little more profit for themselves because they spend less money on protecting the environment, and everybody else gets heavy metals in their drinking water as compensation while they ship the money to an offshore account.

Republicans are against any direct action that would lower unemployment numbers, because high unemployment numbers are their only tool against Obama. They certainly don’t have a worthwhile candidate. So this is win-win for them, as they keep their industrial overlords content while doing nothing for the economy, making things harder for Obama while keeping the campaign cash flowing.

How clean water doesn’t interest them, well, you’ll have to figure that one out.

-hw

Waiting until we hear this statistic from George…

Jul 10, 2012 in Clueless Conservatives, Health Care

In twenty plus years of arguing with rightwingers, it’s become no surprise that basic skills like reading comprehension or rudimentary principles of statistics are immediately thrown out the window when there’s propaganda at stake. If you can put some numbers on paper, it’s good enough for most of them, especially bottom-feeder king Drudge. Thus, the stat that 83 percent of doctors considered quitting over Obamacare ran all day, and was accepted as fact by millions of Republicans today. Fortunately, some light has been shed on the methodology:

The survey was conducted by fax and online from April 18 to May 22, 2012. DPMAF obtained the office fax numbers of 36,000 doctors in active clinical practice, and 16, 227 faxes were successfully delivered… The response rate was 4.3% for a total of 699 completed surveys.

Run with it!

But hey, let’s keep letting morons like that steer our country.

-hw

Watch out, Democrats!

Jun 28, 2012 in Clueless Conservatives, Crazy Tea Party People, Health Care

Republicans are going to run against Obamacare, declaring with fervent religiosity that now that they’ve failed to stop it in Congress, and they’ve failed to stop it in the conservative Supreme Court, they’re…going to take it back to Congress again! Because we can’t have this:

Gosh, that stuff really makes my blood boil.

-hw

Mitt Romney said something and it almost made sense…

Jun 14, 2012 in Clueless Conservatives, Election crap

…and then you thought about it for a few seconds and, oh, crap.

Or maybe not. Mitt Romney is a skilled liar, something which seems to be the primary byproduct, besides his $200+ million fortune, of his years at Bain Capital. He doesn’t walk in the room and sour the deal with inconvenient truths. He sees what the script for the deal is, walks in the room, and says it. When people ask questions, his goal isn’t to educate them. It’s to get the deal done. Period. It’s more complicated than selling Sham-Wow or unnecessary home remodeling, but it’s essentially the same task. I’ve had sales experience and felt forever dirtied by it, because of what I was told, over and over again: If they ask a question, the answer is yes, we can do it. We’ll figure it out later.

And so Mitt Romney will figure out how to be president later. That’s not on his radar yet. His job is to close that deal. The American people are just customers. He doesn’t care if they walk away from one of his speeches more or less informed, enlightened, or edified. He needs them to a) believe a gigantic pile of horseshit about President Obama and b) believe a gigantic pile of horseshit about himself. He piles it on higher and higher, thinking that even if many people distrust him, if they only believe half of what he says it’ll amount to so much horseshit that it’ll tip the scales to the desired 50.1% that he strives for.

And so it’s extremely useful to see this breakdown that makes it a little clearer that believing anything Mitt Romney says is foolish.

I’d cut and paste but each point on the list is accompanied by links, so please click through and soak it up yourself.

-hw

Just in case you ever believed a word Republicans said about Obama’s health care reform law.

Jun 14, 2012 in Clueless Conservatives, Health Care

It was always about team sports, about fearing Obama riding in on a wave of popular support for health care reform and then actually getting it done and getting applauded for it. It amazingly got passed, but the Republicans merely kept running against it, deliberately focusing on the one aspect of it that wasn’t very popular, the individual mandate, and turning it into The End Of Liberty.

And now that we’re days away from the Supreme Court, stacked with Republican hacks, potentially fulfilling that blatantly partisan quest, it’s starting to sink in for Republicans that they’ll, um, probably have to do something about health care reform, especially since it’s finally starting to sink in with voters that losing the mandate means that discriminating against people for pre-existing conditions will remain.

The Republicans’ solution?

The individual mandate.

How can anyone reward Republicans in the voting booth after the way they’ve carried on the past three and a half years? At every juncture, it’s been about nothing but sabotage, sabotage, sabotage. Anything that would help America, they were against if it meant President Obama would get credit for it.

That’s the genial version of what I have to say on this, as I’ve deleted about three different conglomerations of profanity and rage.

-hw

Republicans were always dirty fucking liars about Obamacare.

May 31, 2012 in Clueless Conservatives, Crazy Tea Party People, Health Care

The depths of cynical pandering: After spending three years railing on about the DEATH OF LIBERTY because of the Republican creation, the individual mandate, being the medicine that made all the sugar of the ACA go down, Republicans are starting to worry that voters will notice the sugar going away and, yes, they want to pander some more, sir.

I really don’t know how anybody considers Republicans to be any kind of fiscal conservatives, or responsible in any sense of the word. The mandate is what makes sure we have fewer free riders in the health care system. Republicans want to keep the provisions that protect people with pre-existing conditions? Then people have even more incentive to wait to purchase health insurance until they feel sick. Health insurance does not work when only sick people pay. It works when everybody pays the premiums, and then they get to go to the doctor when they need it.

But what they did was seize on the one aspect of the ACA that didn’t poll so well and make the entire program about that, whitewashing from history the fact that they invented the goddamn thing (and Mitt Romney signed it into law for Massachusetts, of course). As the ACA was designed to slowly roll out, people had little sense of the positive and only heard the negative. And those dumb Team Republican fuckers went all the way to their packed Supreme Court, just for the political victory against the object of their insanely irrational hatred, President Obama.

I swear, are they trying to get it dismantled so they can pass it again with their name on it?

Why do I feel like that’s a dumb question?

-hw

Oh, Olympia Snowe, one of the most reasonable Republicans…

Mar 05, 2012 in Clueless Conservatives

Maybe she’s a nice person, but Olympia Snowe joined Mitch McConnell’s filibuster crusade and blew all records for filibusters out of the water, transforming the Senate by creating a de facto 60 vote requirement. Obama and the Democrats bent over backwards to make Obamacare something she could vote for, and she still wouldn’t abandon the filibuster. As in, she wasn’t just going to vote no on it, she was going to actively prevent a vote on it, because she would lose.

If that’s a reasonable Republican, then the term is useless.

-hw

Fundamentals.

Mar 05, 2012 in Clueless Conservatives, Culture, Women

This post by John Cole is about as good a breakdown of the multiple levels of wrong at play in the Sandra Fluke scandal as I could hope to come up with, so read it first. The factual errors in Rush’s attack are as egregious as the moral ones.

If nothing else, Limbaugh will learn not to call a Georgetown law student a slut. Poor minority women, don’t be looking for any reprieves soon.

-hw

Santorum 2012!

Feb 13, 2012 in Clueless Conservatives, Election crap, Politics

Oh, pretty please! Countdown begins until the first rightwinger writes an article telling Democrats they’re afraid of Santorum.

-hw

UPDATE: GO SANTORUM!

Close to brilliant. Santorum is clueless in so many ways, but this race sure has proven how easy it is to kick Mitt Romney in the balls.

History didn’t begin in the 1950s.

Feb 08, 2012 in Clueless Conservatives, Economy

This deconstruction of Charles Murray by David Frum is masterful. If Republicans talked like David Frum, we’d be getting somewhere.

I tramped through a lot of the same research that Charles Murray presents here when I wrote my history of the 1970s, How We Got Here.

As I looked backward and forward in time, however, I had to face this awkward fact: America became more culturally stable between 1910 and 1960 as it became less economically and socially libertarian. As it became more economically and socially libertarian after 1970, America became culturally less stable:

“The greatest generation was also the statist generation. Like them or loathe them, the middle decades of the twentieth century were an entirely anomalous period in American history. Never had the state been so strong, never had people submitted as uncomplainingly, never had the country been more economically equal, never had it been more ethnically homogeneous, seldom was its political consensus more overpowering.”
Murray nostalgically regrets the lost America of his 1950s Midwestern boyhood. But to describe in any true way how that America was lost would require a reckoning of how that America was made. Unwilling, as he acknowledges, to submit his politics to the check of uncongenial evidence, Murray prefers to avoid encountering the evidence that might shake his politics.

The cognitive dissonance required to be a Republican nowadays qualifies as neurological self-mutilation. Going back to the taxes of the nineties is regarded as Stalinism by Republicans nowadays. Looking back to the story of the “Greatest Generation” and how they built a middle class America reveals that we were apparently a sub-colony of the USSR. Republican presidents Eisenhower, Nixon, Ford, Reagan (yes, I mean that) and George HW Bush were all bleeding pink. As Republicans wrenched us away from the kind of unity we had post-Depression and WWII, the middle class has seen increasingly disproportionate returns, and blue collar workers have ever fewer roads to common prosperity in this service economy. If Republicans intend to explain how they’re going to return us to middle class prosperity with the economic support systems of the 1800s, then they should get started on explaining sooner rather than later.

-hw

Out of touch.

Feb 02, 2012 in Clueless Conservatives, Health Care

In which another Republican politician asserts that a poor person in need is doing just fine:

Yes, drugs researchers need incentives. Let’s take half of our Pentagon budget and turn it towards health research, how about that? His pivot towards, “We either believe in markets or we don’t,” is a massive leap in logic. Better to say, “You either belief in the good health and safety of your citizens or you don’t.” Rick Santorum would gladly plunge this country further into debt and ruin starting a new war with Iran while slashing the taxes of the rich even more.

The answer? It certainly isn’t to tell me an ordinary everyday person like this lady can afford a million dollars a year for prescription medication. Please don’t lie to my face like that. Look for a solution that benefits most Americans, not just the wealthy interests funding your campaigns.

-hw

Somebody’s going to have to explain this one to me.

Jan 19, 2012 in Clueless Conservatives, Election crap, Politics

Santorum wins Iowa by 34 votes and it’s declared a draw?

So somebody neutralized those 34 votes.

Who has that power? I’d like to know, and why. What is the limit?

-hw

Job slaughtering! Job massacring! Job murdering!

Jan 12, 2012 in Clueless Conservatives, Politics

For people who have decided they’re going to repeat the phrase “job killing” as often as possible whenever talking about Democrats (regardless of the facts), Republicans sure have managed to kill a lot of jobs.

-hw

Hate for breakfast.

Dec 15, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives, Islam, Religion, Stupidity

I was always a Home Depot guy anyway. But Lowe’s shying away from controversy is one thing. The people slithering out of their dank neocon caves to support Lowe’s are just straight up hating.

You’ll have to turn to Jon Stewart for the ultimate smackdown though.

-hw

I will bet you ten thousand dollars.

Dec 11, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives, Economy, Politics

Ten grand, I say, that my chicken quiche won’t melt your heart. Let’s put another ten grand on whether or not I can do the Fox Trot! And why not? Let’s bet a fucking yacht that I can bowl over 200. I’m so frivolous I should run for president.

-hw

Santorum needs a hug.

Dec 08, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives, Health Care

Gosh, won’t someone just give him a chance? He’s trying so hard, and he really really super conservative and he’s against anything Obama-ish or Democrat-esque, he is a mighty rightwing warrior waiting to take off! He’s very much against Obamacare, for instance. Check out this withering attack:

If you don’t have to have insurance until you’re sick, why buy insurance? … How much would insurance be if only people who needed insurance bought it? The whole point of insurance is: healthy people buy it, sick people buy it, and those who are healthy support those who are sick…. But if insurance is only sick people buy it, well guess what’s going to be the cost of insurance. That’s why there’s a preexisting-condition clause.

Whoops, Rick Santorum just explained why either one has a mandate or else insurance companies just get to weed out anybody unprofitable. But he doesn’t seem to be aware, much like the other Republican candidates, just what the ACA is or what it’s already done for him.

Recently, Santorum has been openly discussing his three-year-old daughter’s illness, a rare and very serious chromosomal condition called Trisomy 18. “I had insurance under my employer,” Santorum told the students. “And when I decided to run for president, I left my job, I lost my insurance, I had to go out and buy insurance on the open market. We have a child who has a preexisting condition. We went out and we said, we left this plan, and we want to join your plan. Fine, we have to pay more because she has a preexisting condition. We should pay more. She’s going to be very expensive to the insurance company. That cost, while not the whole cost, is passed along to us…. I’m OK with that.”

You know what else the Affordable Care Act does? It bars insurers from denying coverage to children with preexisting conditions. Right now. Before the bill was signed into law last year, a parent in Santorum’s position could find his child denied coverage because of a preexisting condition. Is he OK with that too? Because if the Affordable Care Act is repealed, that’s precisely the situation parents like him — though mostly not former U.S. senators — would find themselves in.

I’m not sure how wealthy Santorum is, so perhaps he could have afforded any level of insurance, but the fact is that for 98% of Americans, having a little girl with Trisomy 18 could mean being denied healthcare under Republican rule.

Nearly everything about the Affordable Care Act is popular among voters, and the one snag that gave Republicans hope, the individual mandate, has steadily increased in popularity as people come to understand what no mandate means.

Weed out the sick, break the insurance companies, or have an individual mandate, what’s your choice? Although breaking the insurance companies could deliver us into the sanctuary of a single payer program, I don’t think many people would agree with such an outright attack on private insurance, so what’ll it be?

For Republicans, the answer is just keep hating Obama, but that won’t heal a sick child, will it?

-hw

Hat tip to Sullivan here.

The Republican trip on the Moebius strip.

Dec 08, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives, Crazy Tea Party People

All the way around to socialism, only redistributing wealth upwards instead of for the general welfare.

The whole “socialism” charge is usually an indication that somebody doesn’t understand what socialism is or that the USA is already a capitalist-socialist hybrid. But they had to think of something to say about Obama, and so policies that should have been largely uncontroversial suddenly became hot-button issues, and now Republicans are so swept up in their cries for unfettered lassez-faire capitalist destruction derby that they’re opposing absolutely anything Obama proposes for the middle class and even coming up with new attacks on social fortifications we thought untouchable (e.g. child labor laws). Their anti-Obama mania has resulted in a group of utterly self-interested Galtians completely useless to anybody else, especially most voters and anybody un- or underemployed.

-hw

Our post-Constitutional era.

Nov 30, 2011 in Abortion, Christian Right, Clueless Conservatives, Constitution, Disappointing Dems, Politics, Religion, Sophistry, Straight-up madness, teh gay, Torture, War on Terra, Where's the outrage?!?!

This is becoming inevitable, as the Republican Party, while ever ready to say the word, “Constitution,” is a complete and udder fraud on the subject, and has categorically dismissed most of the Amendments and the underlying philosophy behind the Constitution’s writing.

Now, I know it is required that I disclose the presence of a certain contingent of chickenshit Democrats who regularly cave whenever Republicans get hot and bothered, but they’re never the driving force, and they’re a minority within the Democrat Party, so there. It’s the wholly unbridled unified army of the Republican Order that drives an agenda that has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the Constitution or the Bill of Rights, except as their protections pertain to white Christian heterosexual males.

1. They’re actively pro-torture, even though they square that by declaring any form of torture they like to not be torture. Simple, right? Not only is the Constitution unambiguously against cruel or unusual punishment, i.e. torture, but the entire history of the country at war has hewn to the same principles. Ronald Reagan was explicit in his condemnation of torture. The Republican Party today is best represented by Rick Santorum telling John McCain that he doesn’t understand torture.

2. They’re consistently against or dismissive of the religious freedom of gays, gay-supporting straights, Wiccans, atheists, Muslims. That the First Amendment ever be read in context with a world of varying beliefs is verboten. It’s about the Christian right to inject Christianity into anything they do, even and especially as a public employee. But when it comes to gays, the Christian right directly posits its beliefs as important enough to cancel out those of gays and to directly affect how gays live their lives by forbidding them marriage. The thought that Jesus might look kindly upon a loving gay couple cannot be entertained.

3. Search and seizure, forget it! Everything is open, up for grabs, ready to be peeped upon by Uncle Sam whenever he wants. The Drug War paved the way, the War on Terror planted the settlement and opened shop. Merely being suspected of having drugs can result in asset forfeiture, meaning your property rights are violated without due process, the police department acting as judge and jury. The burden of proof is often reversed onto suspects in such cases, and property is rarely returned regardless of charges.

Every phone and internet conversation has been opened up, and siphons through the NSA’s data miners.

Binney, for his part, believes that the agency now stores copies of all e-mails transmitted in America, in case the government wants to retrieve the details later. In the past few years, the N.S.A. has built enormous electronic-storage facilities in Texas and Utah. Binney says that an N.S.A. e-mail database can be searched with “dictionary selection,” in the manner of Google. After 9/11, he says, “General Hayden reassured everyone that the N.S.A. didn’t put out dragnets, and that was true. It had no need—it was getting every fish in the sea.”
Binney considers himself a conservative, and, as an opponent of big government, he worries that the N.S.A.’s data-mining program is so extensive that it could help “create an Orwellian state.” Whereas wiretap surveillance requires trained human operators, data mining is automated, meaning that the entire country can be watched. Conceivably, U.S. officials could “monitor the Tea Party, or reporters, whatever group or organization you want to target,” he says. “It’s exactly what the Founding Fathers never wanted.”

Power creeps, as the Founders realized, and always, always had to be balanced.

4. While ever ready to claim that rights not spelled out in the Constitution aren’t really rights, directly contradicting the Ninth Amendment, the Republican Party has declared that money equals speech. Why then should I be punished for bribing a police officer or judge? I’m merely talking to the them.

No, anybody knows exactly what money in politics means, it means buying politicians, period. Money buys politicians, it buys media outlets, it pays people to spout theories that testify to the greatness of the wealthy, and it’s all done for the sake of ever more money. As Danny DeVito said in The Heist, “That’s why they call it money.” It’s not the same as speaking your mind, it’s engaging in a transaction. There’s a reason “money talks” is a cliche. With money, speech isn’t so important anymore. It becomes the pretty envelope on a fat wad of cash.

5. Nor does it say anywhere in the Constitution that corporations constitute distinct immortal citizens with full rights. The very construction of a corporation is a legal designation, a product of government legislation. Who ever talks about it in those terms? Certainly not Republicans. Apparently God made corporations?

Ruling in Citizens United that not only could these corporations donate unlimited funds to candidates, but do so anonymously? Does anybody on this planet think the politicians don’t know exactly who donated? It merely creates a gigantic firewall against the public, keeping them out of the process, refusing to tell them who’s bought their supposed representative.

Jesus declared that the rich would not easily find their way into Heaven. He said no such thing about those with lots of opinions. Yet a party built on Judeo-Christian superiority delivers the sentiment, “money equals speech,” to us with deeply sincere faces, even strident faces. Add to that, “a corporation is a person,” whereas one soulless legal entity is equated to a human being, and the conundrum deepens. How do these people maintain such cognitive dissonance? With great strain.

6. Indefinite detention. Like torture, it is the complete and utter opposite of each and every plank, nail, and window in the Constitution’s house. It is the Gulag. It is the dungeon. It is the concentration camp. And now one of the two major parties has not merely let it fly under their radar, but made it their agenda. Take a few Dem politican scalps if you will, but only lefties and a few libertarians (where are you guys when we need you?) are going to bring this fight at all. Lesson from 2010: Letting more Republicans get into office is not a solution.

7. General Welfare: Abolishing the EPA? YHGTBFKM (You have got to be fucking kidding me). The Koch brothers need to dump more poison in our groundwater, Michele, won’t you help them?

The entire concept of the general welfare of the country has completely evacuated the Republican Party. In their eyes, fuck the general welfare. People get what they deserve, and if your life sucks, blame yourself. Of course, if everybody did a lot more looking in the mirror at themselves, we wouldn’t have many Republicans left. Instead, they survey only the oily shell of the individual, and perceive nothing of the complex lattice-work of society that supports their existence.

If you don’t fund schools, you end up living in a world of noisy uneducated people giving you rotten service, and you can only keep moving to new suburbs so long. If you don’t fund police departments, you end up with high crime rates and decreased property values. If you fund prisons while not funding rehab clinics, your Drug War will result in financial incentives that outweigh regular crime prevention. A Drug War waged primarily on minorities will turn jail into a martyrdom ritual, and your children will revere felons as heroes.

President Obama turned the health care system into a universal program, for which he is reviled by the right (not to ignore the political convenience…had there perhaps been a President Romney in 2008, his Massachusetts plan would be considered to be a rightful and just conservative blueprint to accomplish the goals of liberals through free-market means). The rather explicit permission of the Commerce Clause gives the government more than fair leeway to point out that uninsured people merely transfer the cost of their care to others. A mandate is really little more than a distribution of that cost among all citizens. You might not like it, but who’s going to be there for you if you have a stroke in twenty minutes and spend your remaining decades fully paralyzed?

8. Abortion. The government should enter the womb and put up a sign telling the mother to keep providing the nutrients but she’s not in charge anymore? That assertion of domain over the entirety of her body and its natural processes isn’t listed in the Constitution as a specific right, thus it does not exist?

As I mentioned, this is in direct violation of the Ninth Amendment, which explicitly states that the enumeration of certain rights is not meant to disparage the others. The Constitution is not a finite list of rights, and it says so clearly! And it certainly grants the government no power over a woman’s reproductive process. Anti-abortion sentiments were rare at the time of the writing of the Constitution, unfit for a special extension of government powers. And yet as the subject has become a crusade for religious fundamentalists, attempts to justify its Constitutionality have naturally occurred. Their crowing is as predictable as a rooster.

______

Republicans have in many cases not merely gone passive about certain rights, they’ve turned outright aggressive against them. Such a republic facing this prospect would rightly be deemed to be in or near its death throes, about to face a civil war. No matter how casually Republicans treat the Constitution, they’re emphatic about it, often moreso than Democrats. And that should just never be the case, because the only people I see left standing up for the Constitution anymore are left. And if libertarians were to be believed for half the things they say about liberty, there wouldn’t be Republican majorities anywhere.

-hw

Killing America to save America.

Nov 30, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives, Constitution, Disappointing Dems, National Security, War on Terra, Where's the outrage?!?!

Fortunately, the White House is issuing a pretty stiff veto threat to a law invalidating the US Constitution and pretty much Western Civilization for those accused of terrorism (or supporting terrorists, of course, or possibly knowing something about terrorists…) and locking people up indefinitely, US citizen or otherwise.

Yet, as usual, we have a Republican Party that long ago stopped caring about due process for non-Republicans and enough chickenshit Democrats peeling off at the slightest whiff of being “weak” to get it passed in the Senate. Where’s Newt Gingrich with a history lesson when you need him?

-hw

But you knew this would happen.

Nov 22, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives

The study that shows Fox News viewers know less than people who watch no news at all might have something to do with conversations like this, where Bill O’Reilly and Megyn Kelly go to absurd lengths to prove what authoritarian tools they are.

Kelly called the pepper spray “a food product, essentially,” but both wondered whether the particular mix the campus police used to repeatedly spray student protesters had been diluted. “A lot of experts are looking at that and saying, is this the real deal?” Kelly said, though she added that the spray was “obviously abrasive and intrusive.”

She then said that it was not clear that the police had overstepped their boundaries, since they were trying to disperse a crowd practicing civil disobedience.

“I know that the tape looks bad,” she said. “I agree it looks bad. All I’m saying is from a legal standpoint, I don’t know that the cops did anything wrong.”

O’Reilly was a tad less nuanced in his comments. “I don’t think we have the right to Monday-morning quarterback the police,” he said.

It’s just food, ya know!

As the paper and this Speakeasy Science blog post by Deborah Blum (which cites the paper) point out, pepper spray is far more potent than even the hottest of hot peppers. Blum writes that commercial-grade pepper spray is listed at between 2 million and 5.3 million Scoville units — a measure of “hotness” that hinges on capsaicin content. Compare that to between 200,000 and 350,000 Scoville units for habanero peppers.

The NCMJ paper notes that when the skin is exposed to OC spray, people can experience “tingling, intense burning pain, swelling, redness, and, occasionally, blistering.” If it gets in the eyes, it can cause pain and stinging — and temporary blindness that lasts 30 minutes or so. According to this paper from 2000, published in Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, the “immediate changes in mechanical and chemical sensitivity” can persist for up for a week but that a single exposure doesn’t appear to harm the eye tissues.

Respiratory exposure can be more dangerous, with responses including “burning of the throat, wheezing, dry cough, shortness of breath, gagging, gasping, inability to breathe or speak .. and rarely, cyanosis [blue or purple skin or mucous membranes], apnea and respiratory arrest,” the NCMJ paper says.

Blum writes that the sprays “pose a genuine risk to people with asthma and other respiratory conditions.”

At least one of the protesters went to the hospital with chemical burns. You see, they weren’t Tea Partiers so all’s well.

But the flaming zeppelin of depravity here is, “I don’t think we have the right to Monday-morning quarterback the police,” quoth Bill O’Reilly. We don’t, Bill?

There’s also the fact that the students were passive, just sitting there. So what was the pepper spray, but punishment?

So since when did our justice system devolve to the point where police officers are now dispensers of punishment?

-hw

The demoralization of Dana Pico.

Nov 14, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives, Curiosities, The Internets, We'll post whatever we goddamned want to

Our chief rival blogger, Dana Pico, has called it quits.

While there is always some value to a good rival, the decline of Dana’s site was ultimately an act of justice. By good rival, I mean Dana Pico and his crowd of co-bloggers and regular commenters were always ready to engage and at least present a fairly well-distilled authentic version of the blather that passed for Republican thought. I probably couldn’t last long on Red State without getting axed, but Dana Pico had one conceit that made his blog tragically superior to most rightwing blogs: he wanted an unfettered free speech zone, where liberals and conservatives would match wits without fear of removal.

Now, this is standard practice at Iowa Liberal, but for a rightwing blog that’s quite amazing. Rightwing blogs do no exist to create dialogues or foster advancing thought. They can only exist as echo chambers, and the only liberals who can hope to remain standing in a comments thread are those too weak and easily battered about to pose a real threat. The model is Rush Limbaugh’s show, where an intelligent, articulate liberal who will stand his ground has no chance of making it through the polished screeners or Rush’s mic-cutting button.

Dana bemoans the loss of his regular commenters, and I couldn’t help but feel a little pang of responsibility. As I read the names, Sharon, Eric, DNW, assovertincups, etc., I could almost recall the precise threads that led to their demise. And I was directly involved in each. Yes, I made Dana’s friends go away, but it’s a political blog, not a Facebook page. So screw’em. I didn’t chase them away with cruelty or mocking, I chased them into corners and didn’t let them bullshit their way out. Climbing out the window was their only option. Or stopping the bullshit and being intellectually honest, but apparently that’s a worse option than suicide to such folks. The bullshit is what fuels their existence. Why argue with me and concede anything when they can go listen to Sean Hannity tell them they’re brilliant?

The real sad part of it all is Dana himself, who really did exist in a class above his partners for most of his blog’s existence. Dana could marshall facts together in a manner that demonstrated at least some regard for the value of veracity. His interpretations of a chart might have been skewed, but he was much less likely than other rightwingers to throw complete fiction out there. He might have been veered into racist dogwhistling with his constant invocations of Barack Obama’s middle name, but he somehow managed to convey in his writing a bit of a wink and a nudge: hey, don’t take it too seriously, I’m just razzing.

But ultimately, Dana couldn’t outrun his allegiance to the letter R next to a politician’s name. After eight years of George W. Bush, leaving the country in financial ruin, disrepair, and locked in permanent war, Dana doubled down, declaring Gee Dubya the second best president of his life next to the sainted Ronald Reagan. The hated and reviled Dick Cheney, architect of America’s degradation via torture and surrender to polluters, was Dana’s choice for 2008. Dana dutifully defended Sarah Palin and recently Rick Perry, calling them smart and relying on the defense that people once called Reagan dumb. Personally, I think comparing Palin to Reagan demonstrates more disregard for Reagan than it does credibility for Palin.

The flipside of this is that Dana also tried getting revenge for Dubya by branding President Obama “the worst president” of Dana’s life. The fact that Dana was forced to recognize that Obama prosecuted the “War on Terror” with greater energy and effectiveness than hero Dubya boxed him in further, leaving him with one plank to rest his case on: Suggesting that not only did Obama fail to magically undo the destruction that Republican policies of the past thirty years had wrought on the economy, but that his policies had actually made the economy worse. I pointed out many times that Dana was against TARP, against the stimulus, against saving the auto industry, essentially advocating nothing as a means of fighting the Great Recession, and Dana readily concurred. I asked him, what if Obama had done “nothing,” and we were at 12% unemployment…? Dana said he wouldn’t give Obama the slightest quarter and would bludgeon him with the 12% number anyway, and literally admitted it was because he was a Republican, Obama was a Democrat, and thus he had to “restore fiscal sanity.” Exit integrity.

But Dana still had hopes of using this narrative to win an election. Until the debt ceiling fiasco.

The debt ceiling fiasco, where Republicans held the economy hostage, threatening to sink the whole ship if Democrats tried to combine spending cuts with tax increases to get our deficit problems under control. Obama surrendered, seeing his approval numbers shattered, the avenger of 9/11 bowed before Republican economic terrorism. In the immediate aftermath, the combination of being so close to the brink damaged our credit rating, and the threat of austerity measures dampened the stock market. How did Dana respond to this great Republican success? Yep, he blamed Obama. Integrity stood no chance of return.

Unfortunately for Dana and the Republicans, Obama’s rope-a-dope strategy snared them again. With the debt deal complete and the public soured on the issue, Obama was able to pivot to active job creation measures. It had been proven to the public and the media for anybody to see that the Republicans were utterly intransigent, and would do absolutely anything to block Obama in the hope of drawing blood for 2012. Emboldened, they weren’t about to stop and suddenly cooperate, and thus the Republicans found themselves once again advocating nothing except more passes for the rich, the 1%, to pay fewer taxes, pollute more, and ship more jobs out of the country.

Then Occupy Wall Street happened, and the dynamic of the country shifted. Everything became crystalline, and the real picture of the past thirty years of Reaganomics became clear. The system was rigged for the rich to get richer and everybody else to suck on their fumes. “Trickle down” economics didn’t work. Bush’s tax cuts broke the bank. The “job creators” were moving factories elsewhere and had the Republican Party firmly in pocket re-writing the rules to keep the money moving in one direction- up. They weren’t making jobs, they were inventing piles of money on paper, calling shit loans triple-A, and when they came up short, when reality intervened, the country took the blow and the taxpayers were handed the bill. Right now, millions of homeowners are still underwater, obligated to pay imaginary prices, facing no good options while the bankers responsible got a bailout.

In that aftermath, lodged in this reality, it’s no surprise that the Republican primary process is a circus, that any halfway-decent candidates long ago opted out, and that we get to tune in to buffoons tossing word salads around trying to pretend that somehow, Dana’s alternate world actually exists. That yes, it’s really Obama’s rescue measures that hurt us, not Republican deregulation. That lower taxes for the rich will do us some good. That we should really keep pouring billions into overseas wars that the public wants out of, and maybe start the biggest one of all with Iran. Why the fuck not nominate a pizza salesman who is proudly ignorant? Knowing things hurts the Republican dream, knowing things chases the la-la fantasies away. Why the hell not claim that Rick Perry is smart and that, you know, he couldn’t do worse than Obama!?

This is an utterly horrible time to be a Republican, and an even worse time to be a Republican blogger who doesn’t want to ban opposing voices from his blog. Dana was too dedicated to his flock, yet his flock wanted seclusion and affirmation. Free speech? Dana’s product didn’t sell.

And so he’s now resigned to offering some content to the blog of his craziest collaborator, John Hitchcock, who’s now begging their few readers for handouts because he’s too broke to afford a decent car (I drive a 2007 Honda CR-V, and I don’t exactly make a fortune, so what’s the deal, Hitchcock?).

I turned very bitter on Dana after the debt ceiling disaster, my patience finally snapped. But it was all politics. Personally, I have no trouble understanding that Dana is a genial, nice guy who would probably make a great neighbor. I’d trust him with him son, I’d hand him the keys to my home if he needed to crash. To me, stuff like that really has nothing to do with political arguments. Even most segregationists were lovely people back in the day, if you were white. But if Republicans tried understanding that principle, they’d deflate the core of what drives populist Republicanism, resentment.

I simply say to Dana, either embrace rational thought or go the way of your friends and heroes. The two have become mutually exclusive. Your blog, in that it was an attempt to reconcile the two, was doomed from the start. I believed at one point you were smarter and wiser than your friends, now I think you to be merely a slicker salesman trying to make blatantly unpopular and unsound positions sound like folksy “common sense” that defies any real common sense. Maybe there’s a brighter future for you, but in all likelihood the only chance is to sell out completely and turn those skills into cash money pimping for the Republican Party at a higher level. Revive the blog, make it exclusive, keep the interfering liberals out, and watch your garden thrive. You might even get your Joe the Plumber moment. Won’t do the country any good, but hey, that obviously stopped mattering awhile ago, didn’t it?

-hw

Complete and utter devastation.

Nov 04, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives, Crazy Tea Party People, Economy

A good primer compiling numerous resources on the cause of the 2008 financial collapse. Short version: Just because Republicans decided everything was the fault of blacks and the gubmint doesn’t mean anybody has to take it seriously. Just like invading Iraq after 9/11, they decided that the best thing to do was blame the people they already hated, so they came up with whatever it took to paint that picture, even if it meant leaving out virtually the entire story of what really happened.

Regardless of whether or not Republicans are racists or just generally bullshitters and assholes, the fact is that we as a country really have to stop giving them any credibility until we see real proof. Over and over and over again Republicans make grave pronouncements and intimations of irrefutable fact, and just as often we find out that not only are they wrong, but easily verifiably wrong by the most basic empirical standards. And their mistakes are rarely harmless. We elected them back into office in 2010 without ever holding them accountable for 2008. We didn’t even expect them to know what happened in 2008, instead we listened to their fabulous fibbing yet again. And how successful can a repairman be if he doesn’t understand what’s broken? As could only be expected, they only did further economic damage to the country, directly destroying jobs, damaging our credit rating, and taking us to the bring of economic Armageddon (just to prevent tax increases on the rich, mind you).

No party that cannot come to terms with our predicament and what caused it can be trusted to lead, period.

-hw

How to calmly tear somebody a new asshole.

Oct 25, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives, Occupy Wall Street, Politics

Chris Hedges almost loses his temper here for a second, as his arguments are responded to by A-1 doofus Kevin O’Leary with idiotic jeering, but he chooses systematic destruction via better facts and argumentation:

It’s strange that Occupy Wall Street protesters, who are really important for drawing our attention to the destruction Wall St. and the 1% have wrought upon the country, are continuously expected, by the usual suspects, to have all the solutions. Acknowledging that we have a problem is the first step, perhaps the most important one. Finding solutions can then come out of the dialogue we have as a result, and there needs to be a lot of wide-ranging answers as we’ve nearly been killed by a thousand cuts. Thankfully, Hedges does a good job of having all the answers and proving that O’Leary isn’t even trying to pay attention. More of this!

-hw

VonHoffMania

Oct 20, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives

What Republicans said about Libya in the beginning.

The president’s decision has been roundly criticized by the 2012 candidates for the Republican nomination. In an April post for the National Review, Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney wrote, “It is apparent that our military is engaged in much more than enforcing a no-fly zone. What we are watching in real time is another example of mission creep and mission muddle. In an op-ed in today’s Boston Herald, former U.N. ambassador John Bolton rightly notes that Obama has set himself up for “massive strategic failure” by demanding Qaddafi’s ouster “while restricting military force to the limited objective of protecting civilians.” Military action cannot be under-deliberated and ad hoc. The president owes it to the American people and Congress to immediately explain his new Libya mission and its strategic rationale.”

In a May appearance on Fox News Sunday, Michele Bachmann said, “President Obama’s policy of leading from behind is an outrage and people should be outraged at the foolishness of the President’s decision” and asking “what in the world are we doing in Libya if we don’t know what our military goal is?”

During the Republican Twitter debate Herman Cain wrote, “I’ve said many times before that US intervention in Libya is inappropriate and wrong. The US does not belong in this war…Pres. Obama did not make it clear what our mission was in Libya, what the American interests were or what victory looks like. We cannot risk our treasury or national treasures (brave men & women in uniform) without knowing those answers.”

Were they betting on the rebels failing? Or betting on public amnesia?

-hw

You’re not supposed to say that aloud, Rick Perry!

Oct 19, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives, Election crap

These debates are great, watching every single Republican candidate get mortally wounded, so it’s hard to single out a particular moment. But I thought this summed up an important undercurrent of the debate quality:

“Governor Perry, the 14th Amendment allows anybody — a child of illegal immigrants who is born here is automatically an American citizen,” Cooper said. “Should that change?”

“Well, let me address Herman’s issue that he just talked about,” Perry said. “Actually, I’d rather you answer that question,” Cooper told him. “I understand that. You get to ask the questions, I get to answer like I want to,” Perry said, prompting boos from the audience. “And Herman talked about –”
“That’s actually a response,” Cooper corrected. “That’s not an answer, but go ahead.”

The Republicans have problems because things like reason don’t really fly with the base. And so Republican politicians end up competing to see who can bluster the most, resulting in something more like a poorly scripted WWE Royal Rumble. The press is always suspect, easily dismissed, and so the seat-belt is unbuckled, glory to be found in FREEDOM. If Rick Perry doesn’t like your question, then screw you. If Herman Cain wants to jammer about apples and oranges and the whats-its of Uzbeki-beki-beki-stan-stan, then that’s what he’s going to say. It’s called “word salad,” and it means you string together the soundbites and buzzwords until your time is up.

The audience booed Perry, and they deserve some credit for that. But please, anybody who thought logic was invited to tonight’s debate in the first place is a bit naive at this point in history. They were mad that Perry was giving away the technique.

-hw

Erick Erickson is an ignorant c**t.

Oct 13, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives, Crazy Tea Party People

Just saying.

Really, if there’s one guy who embodies everything whiny, stupid, self-righteous, and willfully-oblivious about the right more than Erickson, I don’t know who it is. He’s not even smart enough to be a Limbaugh or even as charming as Hannity is occasionally capable of being (in between long bouts of logorrheal stupidity). Erickson’s just this ginger blotch on the internet, never an original or insightful thought in his head, just a desperate need to belong to something since all the hipsters won’t talk to him. Well, jackass, I don’t get a lot of hipster-love either, but I didn’t dedicate my life to getting revenge on them with stupid stunts like this 53% non sequiter bullshit.

Really, Erickson, you ignorant idiot, I’d love to see you take the bait and show up here, because “Erickson gets ass handed to him on obscure blog” would be a great headline. Unfortunately, Erickson, like any weak-minded idiot on the right, won’t let himself get caught up in anything resembling a rational debate with anybody who isn’t already a mouthbreathing rightwinger unless he can spout some soundbites and scramble.

It just amazes me that after 30 years of continual pillage by the wealthy, where even the top twenty percent of earners have barely seen gains compared to the top 1%, that when Americans finally get pissed enough to speak up about it he can only think to throw a tantrum that has nothing to do with it, EXCEPT HE HAS A PERCENT TOO!!!

Bring it on, Erickson, you sad sack.

-hw

UPDATE: Terrific tumblr here lampooning the maroons calling themselves 53%-ers. Best one here. So many of them are ranting about how poor they are and how they’ve needed government assistance or employment, yet don’t realize that they aren’t in that 53% that pays income taxes. Btw, who passed a bunch of tax cuts ten years ago excusing so many more people from income taxes?

Endless projection.

Oct 12, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives, Crazy Tea Party People, Election crap

Another comical effort from a GOP candidate to retaliate against brutal remarks from the Obama administration:

““What we’re getting from this administration in response to the tanking economy are deflections and diversions from what really matters, which is President Obama’s failure to create jobs,” said Romney spokesperson Ryan Williams. “President Obama has turned America into an economic disaster zone. The only question is whether we can make it to the election of 2012 before Obama takes us all the way back to 1929.””

So let’s see…:

a. Accusing of “deflections and diversions” while deflecting and diverting from the substance of Axelrod pointing out what everybody knows, that Romney will say absolutely whatever he thinks will get him a vote, regardless of whether he said the opposite yesterday.

b. Making up shit and pretending that the Obama administration actually made the economy worse, actively. Nearly everything Obama’s gotten past Republicans and idiot Blue Dog Democrats (corporatists who check in to see what Republicans think before articulating any positions) has been beneficial, but actively harmful? No, Romney, for that you have to go to the Tea Party House for doing everything it could to destabilize the economy via debt ceiling threat. And the stimulus running out doesn’t count as active harm, but rather proof that Obama’s been doing a lot more for the economy than he gets credit for.

Mitt Romney really does set a new bar for I WILL SAY ANYTHING SIR!-methods of acquiring public office. Taking that as a given, regarding any bit of huffiness from his campaign as anything other than more unintentional comedy is entirely warrantless. Now he is trying to balance Crazy Tea Party people with the general election campaign he wants to run, but that’s just testament to the fact that Romney’s no dummy, and when he tells a lie he quite surely knows he’s lying. He’s just trying to tell the base that he doesn’t want to badmouth them, but that when it comes to the general election, he’ll give Obama the toughest fight.

Except, as we can see already, Mitt Romney is a glass-jawed hair-dye salesman who obviously can’t take a punch from the Obama team without wetting his pants. He should be thankful his Republican opponents are too afraid of him being the general election candidate to truly take him to task, but he’d better be prepared for the big time if he makes it through the gauntlet of “Anybody but Romney!”-Republicans.

-hw

The smug self-satisfaction of False Equivalence Monkeys.

Oct 03, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives, Politics, Science, Sophistry

Fer fuck’s sake:

But as I commented at scienceprogress, the way I see the ledger, the religious Right gets a handful of anti-science points for views on evolution (and related rationalizations about the age of the earth, etc.), and for some dismissal of climate change theory, but the Left gets many more anti-science points for exaggerating the health and ecological risks of POPs; DDT; GMOs; plastics and plasticizers; pesticide residues; conventional agriculture; low-dose EM radiation; high-tension powerlines; climate change; population growth; resource depletion; chemical sweeteners; species extinction rates; biodiversity decline; and I’m sure the list could go on.

Many more anti-science points! Not just a few, they lap the Republicans on anti-science points. Again: Fer. Fuck’s. Sake.

First of all, those stances do a good job of summing up the mush-headed girl I dated before the brilliant Mrs. Whistler, but hardly any other liberals I know or read, and almost no political leaders or other important media figures. Jenny McCarthy, I concede…

And if we get to include New Agers worried about power lines, then we get to include Republicans who think Obama is the Anti-Christ (a quarter…good grief, click the link for the stupid things they think about him, disgusting).

Next, Mr. Green’s logic is deficient. It isn’t so much that liberals believe things that aren’t scientific, but that they “exaggerate the risks” of certain things, which prefaces his entire list. That’s a nice way of sweeping up any liberal who’s concerned about the possible risks of something like climate change that itself is not scientifically questionable. Get your numbers wrong about the rate of ocean level rising and you’re the same as somebody who thinks women were created out of a man’s rib. Or if you’re concerned that humanity is basically engaging in an ongoing experiment with GMOs, chemical exposure, cell phone use, etc. and would like more research done before we plunge ahead with certain ventures, you’re somehow against scientific research? I’ve met some people pretty strict about wanting to eat organic food, but the most I’ve seen them ask for is fair laws on labeling so massive corporations can’t bribe federal agencies into letting just anybody slap “organic” on their food. Doesn’t everybody without a financial stake in the matter want objective and informative labeling of foods?

No, this sophist isn’t about to claim that species extinction isn’t real, or that population growth doesn’t threaten earth’s natural resources. This allows him to not actually go out on any limbs and smear a whole lot of people at the same time, hiding behind the amorphous charge of “exaggeration.” Meanwhile, rightwingers are actually gearing up to go after the EPA. Does Kenneth Green think they’re going to present a lot of good science behind doing so?

This guy auditioning for Beltway attention by proving he can say LIBERALS DO IT TOO no matter what shouldn’t fool anybody, but he surely will.

-hw

Don’t drink water while reading this.

Sep 26, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives

Rick Perry’s campaign tries some fake outrage after Obama zings Perry for his climate-change ignorance.

“I mean, has anybody been watching the debates lately?” the president said while speaking at a Silicon Valley fundraiser on Sunday. “You’ve got a governor whose state is on fire denying climate change.”

Politico reports that Ray Sullivan, a spokesman for Perry, said, “It’s outrageous President Obama would use the burning of 1,500 homes, the worst fires in state history, as a political attack.”

If you read that as anything other than comedy, I don’t know what to say to you.

-hw

This is why there must be no backing down.

Sep 19, 2011 in Barack Obama, Clueless Conservatives, Crazy Tea Party People, Disappointing Dems, Economy

When you have the right ideas and the public has your back, the last thing you need to be afraid of is the crazy Teapublicans throwing a tantrum and yipping CLASS WARFARE CLASS WARFARE over and over again.

…Obama’s new jobs plan, and the provisions within it, have clear public support:

* A slim plurality is very or somewhat confident that the American Jobs Act will improve the economy and create jobs, 48-47.

* A solid majority, 56-30, favors significantly cutting payroll taxes for working Americans.

* A majority, 52-40, favors Federal aid to state governments to avert public employee layoffs.

* A huge majority, 80-16, favors spending money on the nation’s infrastructure in order to try to create jobs.

* A big majority, 71, favors reducing the deficit through a combination of tax increases and spending cuts; a meager 21 percent favors only spending cuts.

* A solid majority, 56-37, favors reducing the deficit with tax hikes on households earning $250,000 a year or more.

* A solid majority, 56-29, thinks creating jobs should be prioritized over cutting spending.

Now, we’re talking about Democrats here, so naturally we have the horrible idiot who bungled Hillary’s campaign, Mark Penn, actually lecturing Obama for choosing class warfare and not going for the “center.” Well, besides the fact that Obama’s policies are actually aimed at benefiting the real center of America, the middle class, they have majority support, but one would be a fool to think this is what guides the chickenshits in the Democrat Party who most love to claim the “centrist” label.

No, “centrist” Democrats are just chickenshits who jump whenever Republicans throw a tantrum. Their overriding commandments are 1. Accept all Republican premises in any argument and 2. Run from any fight with Republicans, no matter how extremist or fringe they are. And yet it’s guided entirely by electoral fear of a group that obeys neither in respect to Democrats.

This next year and the election capping it off really are all about what’s best for America. As president, Obama will take a hit if America isn’t doing better no matter how much people love his policies, no matter how much they would oppose Republican policies, no matter if those policies do actual good. Republicans have realized this calculus and embraced it, engaging in blatant sabotage of the economy to keep things bad as long as Obama is in office (not that this would guarantee things improving under a Republican, but they’ll take their chances…after eight years of defending Bush they’re used to brushing off failure). The incentives are in place…what helps America helps Obama, what hurts America helps Republicans (although Democrats putting up a real fight would alleviate that somewhat). Are Republicans going to take the high road and potentially sacrifice 2012 in order to help get America back on its feet? Don’t hold your breath.

Really, they’re left arguing that President Obama and the Democrats may have these plans to help the country, but they’re only doing so to keep their jobs. In other words, they’re doing the right thing but for the wrong reasons. Now, it’s pretty hard to overstate just how reprehensible and insulting that is to Democrats, but whatever. Republican insults are as cheap and plentiful as oil used to be. And they’re usually based on projection. What would you expect to hear from people who deliberately held the American economy hostage in order to prevent the rich paying a penny more in taxes? Again, do you smell any sense that Republicans are feeling electorally selfless lately? Projection.

But who cares? Politicians who help the country to keep their jobs are what one expects in a democracy. Democrats have only fear of Republicans saying mean things on FOX news as their inhibition, and if that rules their judgment, then they deserve to lose (note: That still doesn’t make voting for a Republican a smart thing to do, they also don’t deserve to win!). If Obama decided he’s going to fight for everyone in America who isn’t uber-wealthy because it’s the right thing to do, great. If he decided that because he knew he’d be a one-termer if he didn’t, great! Any Democrat supports most of these policy prescriptions, and it used to be that Republicans supported them too. Whatever it takes to kick them in the ass is good, and the public being on their side needs to matter this time. If you see a chickenshit Blue Dog kvetching and moaning about the “center,” kick that dog in the ass extra hard.

-hw

Assuming you thought anything you heard was true…

Sep 08, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives

“Republican” and “factual” don’t really go together all that much, but if you want to see a fact check of the bullshit that got flung around last night, here you go. Hint: People who claim Social Security is a Ponzi scheme don’t know much about either Social Security or Ponzi schemes.

-hw

Perry for the LULZ.

Sep 08, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives, Crazy Tea Party People

So it looks like Perry just blew the general election, which will have many Republicans looking at slickster Mitt Romney as the more electable candidate. I know, Republicans, it hurts…Perry reawakens all those tingly parts that went off when Dubya rolled onto the scene, except his sins are twice as bad and his virtues are nowhere to be found. And reminding people of Dubya isn’t going to be a winner in 2012 or hopefully any year ever again. Despite all the hype, Perry has turned out to be a slightly less unhinged Michele Bachman with testicles and a heart that never skipped a beat over the thought of the innocent people he executed.

-which means that he’s got a great chance of snagging that nomination. Cheers!

Not that Romney would be much more trouble for Democrats. Whoops, Republicans just nominated a governor whose main achievement is identical to Obama’s health care reform bill? The freedom-killing government takeover (that isn’t…)?

Some people are having a bit of trouble feeling enthused about Obama after a recent string of concessions to Republicans, but 2012 really seems to come down to something vs. nothing. Republicans, in an effort to sabotage the economy and deny Obama legislative successes, have painted themselves into a corner where doing anything to actively help the economy is somehow bad. Now that will end the moment a Republican holds office again, as it only began the moment a Republican left office, but in between they’re a bit stuck. Obama is proposing a fairly modest $300 billion jobs bill, which is kind of like the stimulus but without so many tax cuts. I haven’t looked at the details much, but neither have Republicans. There’s no need, they already know they’ll reject it. Because it’s doing something. The government should just ride it out!

Or there’s this plan from Romney:

These, along with some other tax changes suggested by Romney (repealing the Affordable Care Act, for example) would result in federal revenue averaging just 16.7 percent of gross domestic product. That’s far below the 20 percent of GDP that Romney says he wants to spend (though, of course, he neglected to lay out what he would cut to get there). It’s even below the levels suggested by House Republican Budget, which abolished Medicare as we know it, slashed Medicaid, and still didn’t balance the budget until 2040.

Taken together, Romney’s fiscal policies would be even worse than the House Budget. His spending levels are the same — though he provides few details as to what he would cut to accomplish this — but his revenue levels are even lower. The result would be continued unsustainable deficits and more debt. In fact, Romney’s plan would yield approximately $6.5 trillion in deficits from 2013 through 2021.

Given these facts, it is odd that Mitt Romney also supports an amendment to the U.S. constitution that would require balanced federal budgets. Romney’s plan doesn’t even come close to balancing the budget, instead resulting in unsustainable deficits and growing debt.

So, how does Romney deal with the fact that his own fiscal plan would be unconstitutional if President Romney got his way? He doesn’t. Either he hasn’t done the math, or he’s hoping you won’t notice his numbers don’t add up. Either way, it doesn’t reflect all that well on him or his economic “plan.”

Well, he’s stuck! He can’t propose anything, but Republicans think tax cuts magically don’t result in deficits. The Bush tax cuts being the biggest contributor to our debt in the past decade hasn’t fazed them. The Republican credo has become this: Nothing but tax cuts is good, tax cuts are always good.

Republicans might as well run Perry, because Perry is who they are. When somebody mentions that 234 people were executed on his watch, Republicans clap and cheer (no, not making that up). Innocents shminnocents! Who’s Cameron Todd Willingham? Who cares?

Can anybody believe we wouldn’t return to using torture under President Perry? To Republicans, that’s a selling point. The rest of us should consider just how lucky we’ve been to have Barack Obama as president, no matter how much better we’d hoped he could be. Maybe that incredible progressive president lies ahead of us, but in the actual United States of America, Obama’s pretty goddamn good as far as presidents go. We’ve got 99 problems, but Obama ain’t one.

-hw

Bizarro world update.

Sep 06, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives, Crazy Tea Party People, Health Care

Andrew’s back:

Perry’s Texas has 27.2 percent of its population without health insurance – the worst record in America. Massachusetts has an uninsured rate of 5.2 percent – the best. And yet Romney is still apologizing for this achievement.

But then he goes and asks a question that he seems to know the answer to:

Tell me: is it actually a Republican goal that people cannot have decent access to healthcare? Do they have any proposals to help? So far, the examples seem to be yes and no.

Now, in 2008 anything less than comprehensive health care reform was unacceptable, so McCain scrambled to pretend he had a universal health care plan just as good as Obama’s. Alas, voters could smell the difference, chose Obama, and Republicans proceeded to flip out because Democrats dared fulfill that campaign pledge. When it comes general election time again, You might see Republicans backslide a bit on that, but there’s no question what the GOP base believes: if you don’t have healthcare, that’s just God separating the producers from the leeches.

-hw

Every once in awhile, they say exactly what they think.

Sep 02, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives, Crazy Tea Party People

Because hey, when the country formed only property owners had real rights. He’s just keeping it real.

“Encouraging those who burden society to participate in elections isn’t about helping the poor,” Vadum writes. “It’s about helping the poor to help themselves to others’ money. It’s about raw so-called social justice. It’s about moving America ever farther away from the small-government ideals of the Founding Fathers.”

Seriously. Go to rightwing blogs, listen to talk radio, this is merely the logical conclusion of what these guys talk about all day. It’s all “Horrible liberal parasites vs. noble rich conservative wealth creators!” All day, every day.

-hw

More studies show the stimulus worked.

Sep 01, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives, Economy

Ezra Klein gives a thorough breakdown of nine major studies that have been done on Obama’s stimulus and how it impacted the economy. Bottom line, most say it significantly benefited, and people who claim it hurt the economy are probably selling you something (hint: A Republican candidate).

It’s always important to remember that the stimulus was smaller than most experts wanted and was one-third tax cuts (something Republicans will never tell you). It obviously didn’t rescue America from all effects of the 2008 crash, but there is a general consensus that it prevented a lot of damage. Now, it’s never easy selling voters on how you saved them from something bad that didn’t happen, but it’s still reality, so it’s worth pointing out.

And what was that Republican plan that would have gotten us through the whole ordeal scott-free?

-hw

So Rick Perry doesn’t just squash investigations into innocent men who were executed, he also tried gambling with the lives of teachers. Well, golly…

Aug 26, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives, Corporate shenanigans

Far out!

According to the notes, which were authenticated by a meeting participant, the Perry administration wanted to help Wall Street investors gamble on how long retired Texas teachers would live. Perry was promising the state big money in exchange for helping Swiss banking giant UBS set up a business of teacher death speculation.

All they had to do was convince retirees to let UBS buy life insurance policies on them. When the retirees died, those policies would pay out benefits to Wall Street speculators, and the state, supposedly, would get paid for arranging the bets. The families of the deceased former teachers would get nothing.

What’s weird is that this is all money that would have to come from life insurance companies…and exactly how much are they willing to bleed before they put a stop to such shenanigans? Sooner or later, either the insurance companies or the state will realize that they are getting the splintered end, and they’ll want out. No? Then someone please explain the math to me, because finance people sure are wonderful at putting numbers on a piece of paper and telling you that’s real money.

I think Obama would have a pretty easy time against Perry. He’s likely to seduce the base by being proudly ignorant and extreme, along with being so very manly and handsome (all the queer gay-hating Republicans get their hearts aflutter, I’m sure), but he’s got an atrocious record and he makes Dubya look like a Mensa member. He’s not going to reassure the country that he’ll be better for them than grown-up actual compromiser (much to the chagrin of people who thought electing a Democratic president with huge majorities in Congress would mean a Democratic agenda would be followed). At least he ought to jerk a few liberals out of their BOTH PARTIES ARE THE SAME stupor that enables their constant susceptibility to getting punked.

So who wants to roll some dice on which teachers die first?

-hw

Somehow, there are people who believe Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh aren’t dirty liars.

Aug 17, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives, Economy

Steve Benen comments on Media Matters catching Limbaugh claiming unemployment was 5.7% when Obama assumed office and Hannity later repeating that as 5.6%, when it was 7.5%.

It was June ’08 the last time we saw numbers comparable to Limbaugh/Hannity’s bullshit claim. Apparently the Great Recession started after Bush left!

Hannity and Limbaugh may have blocked out eight years of spectacular Republican failures, but Obama took office when the nation was in freefall. Arguably no president in American history started his first day with a list like this: the Great Recession, two deadly wars, a jobs crisis, a massive deficit and budget mess, crushing debt, a health care system in shambles, a climate crisis, an ineffective energy policy, an equally ineffective immigration policy, a housing crisis, the U.S. auto industry on the verge of collapse, a mess at Gitmo, a severely tarnished global reputation, an executive branch damaged by corruption, incompetence, and mismanagement, and an angry, deeply divided electorate.

It was, by most measures, the worst national conditions ever faced by a newly-elected president.

Hannity and Limbaugh want their minions to believe Bush bequeathed a healthy, prosperous nation. That’s insane.

That’s money in the bank for those assholes, but what about the idiots who listen to them and believe it?

-hw

Quote of the day.

Aug 03, 2011 in Barack Obama, Clueless Conservatives, Crazy Tea Party People

Somedays you just have to go check the comments section on Michele Malkin’s blog to get a load of the runaway insanity. WTF is up with this?

I PRAY for the day I see (Obama) GO DOWN hard!! I want him in cuffs. I want him in an orange jump suit and living in Sheriff Joe’s tents. I want him to ADMIT he hates this country and has been a traitor all his life. I want to hear that from his lying blue lips. That is my dream. SOME of that will happen. I truly believe that.

I’m looking for a science journal where I can publish my theory that anybody who calls Barack Obama “Barry Soetero” is an asshole. It’s pretty scientific.

-hw

Two charts, same point: When Republicans don’t want to hear the truth, that choice makes them liars.

Aug 01, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives, Crazy Tea Party People

These charts render 90% of Tea Party babble into its original form, pure political horseshit:

Beware following up a Republican who screws everything up for everybody, because if they can do that, you can sure as shit bet they’ll try to pin the blame on you, even if you’re the one trying to fix the problem they created.

-hw

I need one techie and one savvy businessperson to make me a billionaire by fighting this.

Aug 01, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives, Disappointing Dems, The Internets

Free market, here’s your chance to do something good:

It represents “a data bank of every digital act by every American” that would “let us find out where every single American visited Web sites,” said Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California, who led Democratic opposition to the bill.
Lofgren said the data retention requirements are easily avoided because they only apply to “commercial” providers. Criminals would simply go to libraries or Starbucks coffeehouses and use the Web anonymously, she said, while law-abiding Americans would have their activities recorded.
To make it politically difficult to oppose, proponents of the data retention requirements dubbed the bill the Protecting Children From Internet Pornographers Act of 2011, even though the mandatory logs would be accessible to police investigating any crime and perhaps attorneys litigating civil disputes in divorce, insurance fraud, and other cases as well.
“The bill is mislabeled,” said Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, the senior Democrat on the panel. “This is not protecting children from Internet pornography. It’s creating a database for everybody in this country for a lot of other purposes.”

Not just crimes but civil lawsuits? Do you want a divorce lawyer rifling through your web surfing? Subpoenas for web chats?

Supporters of the measure characterized it as something that would aid law enforcement in investigating Internet crimes. Not enacting it “would keep our law enforcement officials in the dark ages,” said its primary sponsor, House Judiciary chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas).

Just think how much escapes them because we don’t have listening devices in our homes. It’s interesting how every technological advance in invading the privacy of citizens must be enacted, lest we be accused of passively letting people do bad things.

Here’s how the free market has been working: Unlimited bribery of public officials is free speech. But your actual private speech on the Internet must be regulated, recorded, and reprimanded.

-hw

Politics is not about your ego.

Jul 27, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives

Well, I kind of feel a bit sorry that we here at Iowa Liberal have chased off most of the Republican commenters over at Dana’s site, but Dana’s real problem is that he has more faith in Republican theory than it deserves. Republican ideas do no thrive and survive in a contentious but honest debate where score is actually kept and commenters are held accountable for their words. They’re about power, not truth. They’re farmed thought, developed in paid think tanks and talk radio diatribes controlled by fat sweaty men locked in their studios with the power to screen calls and cut the mic when things get too hot. They’re sold to the masses with promises that they’ll get rich too, and that if they seek to steer the economy in a way that benefits anybody other than the top 1%, they’re being greedy and they’ll scare away the delicate rich people and then there’ll be no more money.

Dana’s had liberal commentators for some time, sure, but they lacked our killer instinct;) When I debate, it’s towards an end: actually sorting out who’s full of shit and who’s right. There’s a verdict to be had, and there are rules for getting there. If you follow the rules, you’re more likely to not be the one with your pants down at the end of the debate.

Republican blogs and other media formats generally exist to create echo chambers where rightwingers can mutually inflate each other’s egos and reinforce the daily talking points from FOX/Limbaugh/etc. On most Republican blogs, Democrats are squelched quickly and banned unless they’re easy to kick around, but Dana had the idea that his Republican site was going to have free speech. Well, sunshine kills the lies, Dana. And one by one we’ve gone over there and gone head-to-head with the commenters at his site until they’re forced to either concede (almost never happens) or just run away (almost always happens). Brian, Sharon, DNW, Eric, assovertincups, ropelight, Hube, I’ve had knockdown drag-out battles with each of them, and in each case I simply stood my ground and argued my case, making them exhaust all their tricks (a combination of continuous insulting and whining) until they had no choice but to slink off. And standing my ground doesn’t mean just repeating myself it means this: Have I answered all of your questions? Have you answered all of mine? Invariably, I am expected to jump hurdle after hurdle, but most of my questions are dodged. Well, sorry, guys, but why should I run away with my tail between my legs when I can see you dodging my points? It only makes me smell blood.

Of course, they hate posts like this the most, because they can’t stand being held accountable, somebody else saying, “No, you’re wrong, and this is why,” until it can’t be ignored any longer. Their method is always to challenge certainty, to sow doubt, to pretend there’s a valid alternative theory (BUT BTW THE REPUBLICAN ONE IS RIGHT!!!) where there is none. But when I turn around and ask why I shouldn’t say I won an argument, on what grounds should I believe I was actually the person in the wrong, I just get more flailing.

Well, I’m conservative that way. There are standards that should be upheld, even if they interfere with somebody’s agenda. If you don’t serve Truth, you will eventually be lost. And what a better week to illustrate that than this one, where supply-side tax-cutting Republicans look out at a low tax/low demand world they created yet can’t understand because it’s sinking. They are ready to throw the country to the credit wolves to avoid acknowledging how we got here.

We’re done coddling bullshitters. They’ve hurt the country now, and they should be expected to answer for what they’re doing. Sorry about your delicate feelings, guys, but there are more important things in the world.

-hw

We may to be too late to stop the damage Republicans are trying to do to the country.

Jul 27, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives, Crazy Tea Party People, Deficit

America has a AAA credit rating, but because Republicans suddenly decided to play chicken with the useless formality called the debt ceiling, something that was never supposed to happen, US debt is starting to look riskier and riskier. Republicans have kept up their anti-deficit campaign to such a high volume that the world is starting to believe them in a sick self-fulfilling prophecy. Problem? Republicans value tax cuts for the wealthy more than they do fixing the deficit, and they’re dangling our economic future over the fire in order to pursue their real agenda.

Analysts with Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s, the nation’s top two rating agencies, declined to be quoted on the record, indicating that even benign statements about timing and ratings decisions can rattle markets and startle investors. But earlier this month, both agencies placed the U.S. government on notice of a downgrade of at least one notch, if not more, to a AA rating. In a written statement, S&P analysts said they believed “there is an increasing risk of a substantial policy stalemate enduring beyond any near-term agreement to raise the debt ceiling.”

In other words, we aren’t even supposed to be having this conversation. A plan to solve our deficit problems, great. An ultimatum that we do it the Tea Party way or they willingly induce a recession, not so great.

America, do you still feel like these guys are looking out for you?

-hw

The Republican id speaks.

Jul 26, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives, Crazy Tea Party People, Deficit

And there it is, what they’re thinking:

TRUMP: Frankly the Republicans would be crazy unless they get 100% of the deal that they want right now to make any deal…If this happens, for instance if this stuff is going on prior to an election, he can’t get reelected. He possibly can’t get elected anyway…The fact is, unless the Republicans get 100% of what they want, and that may include getting rid of Obamacare, which is a total disaster, then they should not make a deal other than a minor extension which would take you before you the election which would ensure Obama doesn’t get elected, which would be a great thing.
BRIAN KILMEAD: If you look at the average American when they’re polled, it seems the President of the United States gets less of the blame than Republicans do, but you see Republicans with maximum leverage.
TRUMP: Absolutely the Republicans have the leverage. I don’t care about polls. 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. They’re not going to be talking about Boehner or anybody else. [...]

The funny thing is that Kilmeade’s main concern is that the plan might not work, not that it would be nearly treasonous and destructive.

I know I’m supposed to be nice and not toss around the Treason word and Republicans are generally nice people and their feelings are going to be oh so bruised if I point out the obvious, but the question is, is it true or not? And if it isn’t true, I need to hear some real reasons, quickly. When you hold the US economy hostage to prevent the rich from paying more in taxes, even when Democrats are conceding and compromising and bending over backwards to work with you, have you not crossed a line?

I don’t care about bullshit excuses, wayward math, and ideological babble about freedom, you don’t deliberately seek to tank the country just to get your way, especially when you’ve only got the House.

Hat tip to our awesome media for doing such a shitty job of informing the public about what’s happening and still trying to play the “both sides are at fault!” false balance game instead of practicing journalism. Yes, people are blaming Republicans more, but 58% think Obama isn’t compromising enough? As Bill Maher said, what do they want Obama to do, put on a leash too? The compromises Obama and Reid have put forth look like Reagan’s wet dreams, they’d be huge Republican victories if a pre-Tea Party Republican had proposed them.

How’s that Tea Party working out for folks? Maybe electing the people who wanted the economy to fully tank in 2008 wasn’t such a great idea?

-hw

“If Obama is for it, I’m against it,” isn’t a principle.

Jul 22, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives, Deficit, Politics

It seems to me that after foisting one of the worst presidents in U.S. history upon us for eight years, Republicans couldn’t accept what they did emotionally, instead resolving themselves to treat Barack Obama as if he were not just a bad candidate/president, but some kind of arch-evil Manchurian genetic freak mixture of StalinMaoHitler indoctrinated to bring Sharia law to America who had to be stopped at all costs. They’ve acted like depraved lunatics ever since it looked like he was going to win in 2008, and now we’ve gotten to the point where they’re willing to actually, actively harm the United States over the fact that they’ve rendered themselves incapable of working out any deal with him that doesn’t involve his 100% complete submission to them (they won’t fight him on, say, letting Bush tax cuts persist).

Michael Tomasky, who is starting to become my hero:

Now that’s not what Republicans go on cable television and say. But it’s quite obviously been the whole strategy since the stimulus bill: Obama gets nothing from us. And every so often, someone slips, and the truth is revealed. The other day, after the Gang of Six released its new plan, a Senate leadership aide tweeted the following to Politico’s morning Playbook, which gets read by every Washington insider: “Background guidance: The President killed any chance of its success by 1) Embracing it. 2) Hailing the fact that it increases taxes. 3) Saying it mirrors his own plan.”

Obama ran in 2008 as somebody who was basically the Great Liberal Hope, the guy who was going to be the ultimate refutation to the Bush years, and even three decades of Reaganism. Riding a huge Democratic wave in 2008, he was accordingly viewed as a huge threat to Republicans and their past dominance. He was going to bring the nation the healthcare reform it was so hungry for, rescue the cratering economy, and be charming while he did it all.

In the past two and a half years, liberals have been at times rather excessively disappointed in Obama while those on the right (I can’t really call them conservatives anymore, they’re not) have been excessively warlike towards him. In other words, a despirited home team and an utterly maniacal opposition, which gave us the 2010 election and implanted a gang of complete loons/representatives of loons who are now poised to chop the legs out from under the US/global economy because they believe that in a conflict between revenue being low and spending being high, we can only address one of the two, and that no level of compromise is acceptable. After all, would you compromise with Satan?

Liberals, progressives, Democrats, centrists, libertarians, anybody and everybody who isn’t in that 20% Republican-primary voting nutblock, need to realize that we’ve unfortunately gotten the government we deserved, and that Obama alone can’t do much more than try to mitigate the damage Republicans do to the country. Yet fake “balance” has perpetually convinced “serious” people that the loony right isn’t important, doesn’t matter, can’t really affect things, etc. But here we are, where we actually need them to take an affirmative step forward and cooperate with the Senate and the president to rescue the country from disaster, and if the scales haven’t fallen from the eyes of those who must always insist Democrats are just as much to blame, then default, here we come.

I mean, we’ve had a pretty good run at trying to avoid human fallibility, but the fate of the nation rests in a group of spectacularly fallible people. Time for empire-crumbling contingency plans…

-hw

You know, once the plane is pointed straight down it’s kind of hard to get it flying forward again.

Jul 14, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives, Deficit

Detecting a little nervous energy around here? This is why:

Moody’s Investors Service has placed the Aaa bond rating of the government of the United States on review for possible downgrade given the rising possibility that the statutory debt limit will not be raised on a timely basis, leading to a default on US Treasury debt obligations. On June 2, Moody’s had announced that a rating review would be likely in mid July unless there was meaningful progress in negotiations to raise the debt limit.
In conjunction with this action, Moody’s has placed on review for possible downgrade the Aaa ratings of financial institutions directly linked to the US government: Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the Federal Home Loan Banks, and the Federal Farm Credit Banks. We have also placed on review for possible downgrade securities either guaranteed by, backed by collateral securities issued by, or otherwise directly linked to the US government or the affected financial institutions.

Do you know what that sound is? Reality, like a windshield to a bug. Because bugs are pretty speedy thinkers, I’m sure they still get a few bug moments to say to themselves, “Oh, that’s weird, something is moving near me. Oh, there’s nothing there, I can see all the way to the back seat! HEY, WHAT THE F-”

Seriously, the window for action is shrinking quickly. If you have a moment, this insight into the delusional cult thinking on the right, whereas they tell themselves the little sippy cup will transport them to a better place with Nordu, the god of ten thousand living planets in the mysterious eleventh dimension (a deeper layer to our reality, curled up the size of a fingernail).

Then there’s Murray Rothbard, a von Mises acolyte whose intense libertarianism led him toward the posture that taxation is theft. Indeed, his contribution to this literature was to discover that since public debt is repaid at the end of the day by taxes, i.e., by stolen money, making such payments stinks of immorality. Bartlett then cites conservative financial analyst Christopher Whalen, who told The Washington Post in 1992 of default, “If it’s good enough for Mexico and Brazil, why not us?” Now, there’s a slogan one doesn’t hear often enough from conservatives: Let’s be the new Mexico!
In our current times, there is a quote from the Cato Institute’s John Tamny, who wrote in Forbes that for Americans to be concerned about a default is “like the parent of a heroin addict fearing that his dealers will cease feeding his addiction.” And finally, yes, there is a proper evangelical angle on all this too, just in case you thought that base wasn’t covered. Gary North, an “economist” who bases much of his work on his reading of the Pentateuch, especially Deuteronomy, leads the charge here. You can read his four-volume study Inheritance and Dominion: An Economic Commentary on Deuteronomy, which comes in at a bracing 1,700 pages. Or you can digest this more manageable piece, in which he avers that the United States would be a “utopia” if only a “Great Default” came along to wipe out all that debt brought on by old people, sick people, public employees, and foreigners.

If I had a nickel for every “taxation is theft” guy I’ve run into on the internet…

If you want to believe that the public debt is immoral and that taxation is theft, go right ahead and believe those things. But acting on them in a world that does not agree with you is a different matter. I can believe that driving on the left side of the road is a superior method of locomotion, but if I try it on the way in to work in the United States, I’ll be a public menace, endangering myself and my fellow citizens.

And yet here we are. Dozens of members of the United States Congress are driving on the wrong side of the road, forcing the rest of us into the ditch as they trundle on their reckless way. And the Democrats don’t know how to go to the American people and make these folks sound like the sowers of chaos they are? And the conventions of journalism require that they be given “equal weight” in analyses and discussions, and taken as seriously as the other side? We are a society in deep, deep trouble.

I think we’ve reached the point where we’re really talking about a financial 9/11 here. A group of zealots are trying to steer the planes into the frickin’ global economy. The nervous, smart ones are peeling off, but the zealots are still steering. If America can’t right itself within a matter of days, we are talking about September 2008 being a goddamn practice run.

-hw

For the good of the country…

Jul 13, 2011 in Barack Obama, Clueless Conservatives, Deficit

Lordy I hope this is true.

“Talk about arbitrary,” he said of Cantor’s figure, according to a Democratic attendee. “I am totally willing to do the hard stuff to get well above what you need and you won’t do it because you can’t put one penny of revenue on the table.”

“At least Mitch McConnell, to his credit, was willing to work for a solution,” the president added, acknowledging the proposal by the Senate Minority Leader to, essentially, give him the authority to lift the debt ceiling without passing commensurate cuts.

“I have reached the point where I say enough,” Obama concluded, according to Reuters. “Would Ronald Reagan be sitting here? I’ve reached my limit. This may bring my presidency down, but I will not yield on this.”

Please, please, please let it be true. The truth is so simple. Obama has put forth a real compromise, Republicans are demanding complete surrender. There has to be a point where sanity meets spine, and I hope so dearly that I cannot express it Obama has reached that point.

It sounds cheesy as hell to say the country needs Obama right now, but the country needs Obama right now. Hell, don’t ask me, ask the business community, freaking out as Judgment Day approaches. Democrats, Independents, and sane Republicans need to band together on this one and send a clear, explicit message to Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, and Eric Cantor, that the bullshit has to stop.

-hw

Well, fer fuck’s sake.

Jul 07, 2011 in Barack Obama, Clueless Conservatives, Deficit, Disappointing Dems

White House already caving on the Fourteenth Amendment?

When there’s nothing Republicans won’t risk, and nothing Democrats will risk, where the hell do you dipshits think things will end up?

I’m done with it. We’ll see what the deal struck is, but I don’t expect to see any surprises. The Republicans have already gotten almost everything they’ve wanted, and even if they crack a bit and give in on some revenue increases (somebody better tell Mitch McConnell), it’ll still be a pittance. If Obama’s going to get a birdie out of this shit trap, then he has certainly outsmarted me at this point. While he generally tends to come out with a net positive, he has this miserable, shitty habit of giving up too much too damn soon and getting less, while sitting around wishing remorsefully that Republicans would stop being so belligerent and uncooperative.

News flash, Mr. President: They’ve hated you from the beginning, have done everything they can to stop you from having any success, and they don’t give a damn if the country goes to hell because they’re just going to point the finger at you anyway. Flashing a bit of leadership and then hiding isn’t an option right now. You’ve got to be a leader every day now, because now every day matters, more than ever.

-hw

You’ll turn us against our brothers?

Jul 06, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives, Israel

Just how little Republican Zionism has to do with Jews at all:

In any event, Republican Zionism is not aimed at the Upper West Side. Its intention is to solidify and animate the Christian right, attract Reagan Democrats, and appeal to the broad swath of Middle America that instinctively sees Israel as a friend and ally. The Gallup poll found that 60 percent of independents prefer Israel to the Palestinians. Democratic Jews may, too, but they aren’t going anywhere. If and when the Obama administration seriously clashes with Israel—over the “peace process,” recognition of Hamas, Iranian nukes, or outreach to Islamist enemies of Israel like the Muslim Brotherhood—the president will have nothing to fear from his Jewish base. Hell, a lot of them would rather join the Muslim Brotherhood than vote for a Republican.

It can never be stressed enough just how much contempt for Jews lurks on the right. Their fandom for Israel has little substance beyond service to their hatred for Muslims. The enemy of their enemy, etc.

I am somewhat a product of indoctrination by the American Jewish community, what with my skin steeped in Hollywood liberalism and the principles espoused by “elitist” Jews who permeate the highest echelons of intellectual achievement that have so inspired my awe and loyalty. Wherever I point to for leadership, one finds Jews. And so when it comes to Israel, I have always loved everything I see within their borders; as one could always expect, within Israel among Israelis exist the highest of man’s aspirations, and a model for all to follow as Western liberal democracy springs up out of desert soil. If it can happen there, it can happen anywhere.

I never felt an inch of space existed between myself and the Jewish people until I met a Jewish right-winger, who could not hesitate a moment to drive a wedge between us if I advocated the slightest measure of fair play between Jews and Palestinians. And yet, despite the noxious year I spent as a roommate with this individual, he never swayed my faith in the greater wisdom of the wider Jewish community. I recognized that my antagonistic relationship with this person had nothing to do with his Jewishness, and everything to do with his rightwing, black/white absolutist nature that ruled out, as he readily confessed to me, many or most Jews as well.

All you have to do is look at the vehement hatred Republicans will quickly deliver towards Jews they dislike to see the illusion broken. Glenn Beck, with his rabid slobbering over Saul Alinsky, and the visceral hatred he and other members of the GOP elite sputter over George Soros, has made sure this paradigm isn’t going anywhere, as one can hardly visit a thread on a rightwing blog without somebody blathering about Saul Alinsky, whose “Rules for Radicals” is nothing less than the template for the Tea Party.

-hw