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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Atlas Shrugged producer blames critics for flop

John Aglioloro, the Producer and financier of Atlas Shrugged gives up, "Critics, you won." Wring, dipshit. You couldn't even succeed despite the breathless anticipation of the entire Right Wing/Tea Party having multiple orgasms at the thought of seeing Ayn Rand's seminal book that is the exemplar of current right wing idealism in America.

I thought it would pack them in for a while at least with all the Rand fawning going around lately but I guess even the Tea Party faithful have their limits. Agliorolo blames the critics. It's amazing how modern day conservative/Republicans blame everyone and everything else. Look at how Sarah Palin has whined her way to fame and fortune by playing the victim.

The critics aren't to blame. It's not because they are typical Hollywood degenerate liberal elites. It's because the film sucked. It has all the subtleties of Russian 'propaganda' movies of the Stalin era with marginally better production values. The characters have about as much depth as Rambo parts one through infinity, and the dialog is about as innovative as posters at a Tea Party rally.

But according to the producer, the fact that the movie has failed dismally because the critics "won" as though this is a war or something. It sums up the modern conservative/Republican movement. It's a war between 'us' and 'them' with 'us' always being the underdog; the victim constantly fighting the forces of the mainstream media, the cultural elites, liberal education, the Washington establishment etc.

They act as though they little power and no influence and it's the bullies like the Unions, Gays, educators and the media who are constantly out to get them and will stop at nothing, even betraying the country. \

They've occupied the White House twenty of the last 31 years. They dominate cable news ratings with a hyperpartisan 24/7 party mouthpiece and talk radio is their exclusive domain. The Supreme Court, the one branch of government over which the voter has no control is squarely on their side. It's only the waning power of the daily printed media where there is anything approaching balance. The way the right complains, an alien new to earth would think NPR is as powerful as Fox News.

Today's GOP is not the party epitomized by the image of John Wayne and the reality of Ronald Reagan. Instead it's the party of Sarah Palin, a vapid whining countenance utterly incapable of understanding serious policy issues, playing the vulnerable victim. It's the party of the Limbaughs, the Hannitys and the Becks, the shock troops of the right who vent a constant stream of paranoia, conspiracy, veiled racism and outright lies. It's why a majority of the party's supporters still cling to the belief that the duly elected President has no legitimacy because of his birthplace and that his very patriotism is suspect.

Despite all this, they still believe they are the victims. They are the ones under constant attack. It's pathetic when it manifests itself in Palin's whining and in Hannity's careful pruning of quotes to do a show on media bias against Fox News. It's this same sense of victimhood that causes John Aglioloro to claim that the fate of his turgid polemic masquerading as a movie was predetermined by the biased liberal film critics.

It's pathetic.

Friday, April 29, 2011

There is no 12 step program for Birthers

Within hours of the release of President Obama's long form birth certificate the right wing blogosphere was buzzing with a new theory, that the certificate was forged. The proof, offered by an Atlanta based art director was that the image, in PDF (Adobe Photoshop File format) In Photoshop, an image will normally be created in layers so a change in one layer can be made without affecting the other layers. When the image is done, the layers are 'flattened; into one layer.

Nixon argued that the PDF file could be broken down into one layer of the background and another of the text, something that couldn't be done with a document scanned into a PDF format. In reality a file scanned into a PDF format will read text as an image rather than as text. OCR (Optical character recognition) can read the images of the text and will then separate them into a separate 'layer'. This is how one can separate text from images in a PDF file by creating a separate text (word processing) layer.

This didn't seem to deter most birthers. Orly Taizt, the queen of birthers claimed that it must be a forgery because Obama's father was described as 'African' and not 'Negro'. Obama's father was a Kenyan. Africans comr from Africa and Kenya is still in Africa according to mot maps. Taitz was one of the idiots who were suckered into believing a faked Kenyan birth certificate that first appeared on Ebay and hey, if it's on Ebay it has to be true. Taitz seems determined to prove thst every 'blonde' joke is not really a joke but a statement of fact.

Within hours Drudge had the alleged forgery as the main headline. The saner conservative journal NRO (National Review Onine) took a copy of the cover of their latest issue to show how a PDF version could show alleged 'layers' by using OCR software.

Then there is the claim that because Obama's father was not a U.S. citizen he would be ineligible evn if he was born in Hawaii. If that were the case, six previous Presidents including Thomas Jefferson who had at least one non-citizen parent would have also been disqualified.

Others argue that Obama automatically renounced his American citizenship when he lived in Indonesia. That would surprise millions of Americans who currently live outside teh U.S.

Nothing will deter these people. Expect a whole new slew of even nuttier theories. One of the biggest right wing websites, WorldNetDaily cited an extract from the book "The Manchurian President: Barack Obama's Ties to Communists, Socialists and Other Anti-American Extremists," to prove Obama isn't eligible to be President. Enough said on that one.

I'm sure James O'Keefe, famed video splicer (Acorn etc) is no doubt already creating a video to 'prove' an even whacker alternative.

The author of the parody blog, Sarah Proud and Tall has her own she witnessed on a plane out of Nairobi around the time Obama was allegedly born in Hawaii. Spoiler alert: it involves alien lizard like creatures. Odds are some wingnut idiot will present it as evidence before the weekend is done.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Allman Brothers - Whipping Post

Fillmore East - 09/23/1970 - When Duane was still around.

Oklahona GOP Rep: claims 'Blacks' don't work as hard

State Rep. Sally Kern has already made a name for herself in Oklahoma. She introduced the law banning Sharia Law which was such a grave threat to Oklahoma it just had to be done. Never mind that it created a larger problem for Oklahoma for foreign firms doing business in the state. Not because of Sharia Law per se but because the only way the law could be passed was by excluding all 'non-American' law from being considered in a legal dispute. A German company, for example could not rely on German law in a dispute in Oklahoma, right or wrong.

She also sponsored a law allowing a teacher to question evolution, one of the many 'job creating' laws the Republicans vowed to introduce after the 2010 elections. She has also said that gays are infiltrating city councils in Oklahoma and present a greater threat than terrorism or Islam.

The 'Black's don't work hard enough comment came in a debate about a bill to bar any affirmative action in Oklahoma. She probably doesn't have too much of a problem with radical right wing extremists like Timothy McVeigh who have the right colored skin, the right religion and the correct sexual orientation.

Whichever way the wind blows

John Yoo gained fame for his legal justification of executive power to torture when he worked for the Bush administration. There was this classic Q & A:

Q: I guess the question I'm raising is, does this particular law really affect the President's war-making abilities ....

Yoo: Yes, certainly.

Q: What is your authority for that?

Yoo: Because this is an option that the President might use in war.

Q: What about ordering a village of resistants to be massacred? ... Is that a power that the president could legally--

Yoo: Yeah. Although, let me say this. So, certainly, that would fall within the commander-in-chief's power over tactical decisions.

Q: To order a village of civilians to be [exterminated]?

Yoo: Sure.

Now that a Republican isn't in the White House Executive power seems to have suffered from major shrinkage in Yoo's mind. In an editorial in the Wall Street Journal today he suggested that an Executive order signed by President Obama forcing government contractors to disclose political contributions. You would think any rational person would agree that this creates a reasonable degree of transparency that is desirable when Federal contracts are in play.

You would be wrong when it comes to John Yoo. Yoo writes that it's "only purpose is to dangle the specter of retaliation.. and harassment."

As Talking Points Memo writes, "While the editorial says that the order "represents the latest salvo in the Obama administration's war on the First Amendment rights of its political opponents," there's no word from Yoo on whether the President has the executive power to torture executives to force them to disclose their political donations.

Yoo would probably be okay with that.

What the fuck is wrong with Tennessee - just about everything

First they passed a law which will allow Creationism to be taught alongside Evolution. The reality will be that every teacher will be forced to consider creationism because there is no doubt that children of fundamentalist parents will make sure creationism will report any teacher who doesn't include it in the curriculum.

Nest up is a law already passed in committee that will prohibit teachers from grades 8 and lower from mentioning the word 'gay' or any reference to same-sex relationships. Presumably sex with farm animals, as long as they of the opposite sex will still be okay. Having passed the committee votes, it's sure to be passed in the legislature.

Now comes a new law that takes the Supreme Court's Citizen's United law and extends it to where corporations can contribute directly to political candidates, something that Citizen's United forbids. Not that the Supreme Court decision hindered the flow of corporate money into the election cycle in any way. The 2010 election were proof enough where virtually unfettered money endured the Democrats were outspent by a bigger margin that ever in history. The law will pass in Tennessee which will help Corporations going through the inconvenience of having employees themselves contribute to politicians under the old rules.

The people of Tennessee obviously don't realize that by voting these corporate whores into office they are only screwing themselves because the last time a large corporation did somethng selfless like putting citizen's interests ahead of theirs was....

For anyone who thinks that the GOP's assault on Unions, particularly Public Unions has anything to do with saving money you're dreaming. For constitutional reasons the Supreme Court had to give unions the same power to give campaign money. The campaign against them is to limit their ability to raise and use that money.

Lawrence O'Donnell sticks it to Otly Taitz, the queen of the loony birthers.

About time someone shut the idiot up. That's the only way to deal with these pwoplw. For those bitching about Obama either waiting to long or for doing it at all, I think his timing was perfect. Just as people are starting to focus a little more on the 2012 elections this will drive a wedge between the partly sane and the truly insane wings of the GOP.

BTW, the plan to release the long form certificate was in the works for quite a while because there is a lengthy legal process to get the certificate from the state and Obama, like any other citizen has to follow procedure.

I love the new idea that some of the birthers including the shrill harridan dentist/lawyer Taitz claims that it's suspicious because Obama's father is described as 'African' not 'Negro'. He was African for God sake. He was born in Africa, grew up in Africa and is therefore an African. For that matter my parents were born in Africa (South Africa to be exact), I was born in Africa but am now an American citizen. The color of my skin might be lillywhite but technically I am an 'African', not a 'Negro' or a 'European' which is what the old South African Apartheid regime used to euphemistically call white South Africans.

The crazies are already latching on to a whole new slew of conspiracies including his social security number, how he got into Harvard, whether he is an Android controlled by Bill Ayers, his religion and anything else they can dream up.

Meanwhile the Donald who's slipping further and further into pure delusion is questioning his admission to Harvard because graduating summa cum laude and being chosen editor of the Harvard Law Review just isn't good enough. Trump's own son in law got into Harvard thanks to the son in law's daddy donating $2.5 million to Harvard. I'm waiting for someone in the media to nail him on that one but am not holding my breath.

The Moment that the new South Africa became a nation

The film "Invictus" with Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon comes across as almost too good to be true, except that it was. The event was the 1995 Rugby World Cup, one year after Mandela became South Africa's first elected black President where equal rights became a reality rather than a dream.

Rugby was the sport of the hated ruling Afrikaaners. Mandela stood alone among his ruling party in letting the team wear its traditional green and gold colors of the past. He won them over and his appearance at the game wearing the formerly hated jersey as the unfancied South African team beat New Zealand to win the cup is one of the epic stories of sports because it was so much more than that.

Here Francois Pienaar, the captain reminisces about that historic day. To hear a white South African crowd chanting, "Nelson, Nelson" will live forever.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Burning Spear - Free Nelson Mandela

A little late but not in Los Angeles where it is still April 27, Freedom Day in South Africa. One man brought a fractured country together in a way few people imagined. I grew up in a country on segregation on steroids that made the old South in America look look like "Ebony and Ivory". Mandela was big enough and magnanimous enough in victory to win over his sworn enemies to create a new united nation.

Despite some bumps in the road and a society where there is still far too much poverty, corruption and the usual ills that befall most countries, South Africa is, in many ways a model for tolerance and forgiveness.

The war on Easter or if Obama is a secret Muslim so is George W. Bush

Those dastardly pagan, atheist 'social justice' loving hippie/commies are destroying Easter. Not content with destroying Christmas have now destroyed Easter. What's next, Mother's Day, apple pie, baseball. Is nothing sacred anymore. Bill Donohue the head of the Catholic league is once again, leading the charge, abetted by Sean Insanity and the rest of the Fox crew.

Donohue has the evidence and any legal expert who has watched more than a couple of episodes of Law and Order will agree that the evidence is overwhelming.

The Evidence:

Dononue writes, “Adults in Munson Township, Ohio were ordered to call their Easter Egg Hunt the Egg Hunt.” A quick trip to the Munson Township website shows an 'Easter Egg Hunt' There must be more to it than is. Donohue is a obviously much closer to God than most so he obviously has the power to see through this bit of misdirection by Muncson Township, Ohio and its 5,521 residents.

Turns out Munson Township decided to have an Easter Egg Hunt for the first time and one of the towns trustees, a former Sunday school teacher suggested dropping the word 'Easter from the name of the event. This was leaked to the press and all hell broke loose. The teacher was subjectb to 'threats' and 'profanity laced phone calls. Some might call it a 'war on Sunday schoolteachers' but it's obviously a far more sinister plot.   Easter was soon restored to its rightful place. 

Then the real shocker.   3rd graders at a Seattle school were told they had to call 'Easter Eggs' Spring Spheres.  Is nothing scared?  Christians were outraged, O'Reilly was ready to take on the secular army out to destroy Easter and Christianity as we know it.   Then it turned out the story began with a 16 year old names Jessica calling into a right wing radio show that 'someone' ha told her this had happened.  Hordes of well dressed young Christian men investigated but found nothing,  

Donohue was undeterred.  According to Think Progess he listed further evidence.

– A filmmaker who claims to have found the nails used to crucify Jesus
– Time Magazine featuring an evangelical Christian on the cover of a magazine
– An column written by an atheist British comedian (Ricky Gervais)
– A song about Judas by pop provocateur Lady Gaga
Neither Donohue or Hannity the Fox host bothered to explain how all of this constitutes a 'War on Easter' other than to keep referring to it.

Fox wasn't done or deterred.   They set their sights on a higher target, the President himself.   Other than hosting an Easter prayer breakfast, going to church on Sunday morning and holding the traditional Easter Egg Roll (notice the use of the word Easter) on Monday, Fox brought noted flamethrowing pastor Richard Jeffress to claim that this was all for show and that is was really a Jihadi Grenade Roll on the White House lawn.

JEFFRESS: Steve, let’s look at what’s really going on here. On the one hand, we have a president who never met a Muslim holiday he didn’t like, or at least wasn’t willing to issue a proclamation for, and on the other hand, here he is refusing to acknowledge publicly the most important event in Christian faith, the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and yet the White House is wondering why do 20 percent of Americans believe the president is a Muslim? Well as my kids would say, ‘Duh.’ I mean, it’s actions like these that really make people wonder what it is the president really believes.

Truth is neither Bush presidents nor Saint Ronnie ever issued a proclamation recognizing Easter. Neither has he issued a proclamation for any Muslim holiday. Obama did issue statements at the beginning of Ramadan and has hosted dinners honoring Ramadan but then he was only continuing a tradition started by.......George W. Bush who hosted 8 of them.

For those less familiar with American Presidential protocol, statements are regular unofficial announcemnts while Proclamations carry far more heft. I guess this puts George W. Bush on the same plane as Obama if we're to apply Fox's and Jeffress' logic but that would be crediting them with the ability to think logically which is a far bigger stretch than believing that there is a 'War on Easter'.

Poly Styrene of X Ray Spex - RIP

Poly Styrene, lead singer of the punk/new wave band X Ray Spex passed away at age 53 after a long struggle against breath and spine cancer. Saw them back in the day in Los Angeles. Great band. Scary when performers from the punk era, younger than me, are now now longer with us for reasons other than overdoses or other excesses.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Poll on debt ceiling proves just how dumb Americans are

A CBN News Poll on raising the debt ceiling shows a clear majority of Americans oppose raising the debt ceiling. It goes without saying that Republicans are most opposed followed by Independents and then Democrats.

Overall 83% oppose it and only 27% support it. Among Republicans support is only 14% and only 36% among Democrats. Considering the hugely negative consequences such a move would create it shows just how dumb Americans are.

I have a question for any Republicans out there. The Ryan budget, voted for by all but 2 GOP House GOP members estimates the deficit will increase by $6 another trillion by 2020 before the growth of the deficit starts to decline, how is that possible if you can't raise the debt ceiling?

Even worse, 70% of those opposing raising the debt ceiling still oppose even if it means interest rates will increase.

The IMF just came out with a report that suggests China's economy will overtake Americas in 2015. What do these people want, to have that happen next year instead?

Wall Street is terrified of even a fight over the issue knowing that in the end Congress will have no choice but to raise the limit. That should tell you something. I blame the media who are for the most, far more concerned with Obama's birth certificate than the real issues.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Carl Perkins - "Blue Suede Shoes"

Rhode Island GOP Rep - joked about illegal immigrants smoking pot

Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.

Earlier this year, Rhode Island House Minority Leader Robert A. Watson (R) garnered attention when he made insensitive remarks about the General Assembly’s work at a meeting of the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce. Watson stated, “I suppose if you’re a gay man from Guatemala who gambles and smokes pot, you probably think that we’re onto some good ideas here.” He was quickly forced to apologize.

Yet last Friday Watson’s bigoted comment took an ironic twist. The state lawmaker was pulled over at a routine police checkpoint in East Haven, Connecticut. Police quickly arrested him when he appeared to be driving under the influence and possessing marijuana:

He's probably gay as well. Self inflated moralizing asshole.

Haley Barbour - claims everyone in Mississippi has access to healthcare

Anyone can go to the emergency room, ergo, everyone has access to health care. It's a line that Republicans seem to trot out every so often and while it is technically correct, emergency room access is a long way from healthcare. Isn't the object of 'health care' to minimize the risk of having to go to the emergency room where Federal law prohibits a hospital from turning away anyone who needs emergency treatment.

But here’s another truth: emergent care is not the same thing as necessary care. Not even close. An emergent condition is defined by the law to mean a woman in active labor, or a health problem that, if not treated immediately, would lead to death, serious harm to bodily organs, or serious impairment of bodily functions.

The incidental Economist, a blog/website that deals with health care and reform issues points out that Barbour uses one truth to obscure many others. Barbour's argument is that reform isn't really necessary because of emergency room access but that access cannot and does not provide necessary health care.

Over 25 million people in the United States have diabetes, requiring regular access to medication to stay alive. They can’t get insulin in an emergency room. They can’t get needed eye exams or kidney function tests in the emergency room. They can’t get a checkup in the emergency room. But once they go into hypoglycemic shock or once their feet become gangrenous, then they can get examined and treated. Does that sound like access to health care?

About 20 million people in the United States have asthma. They can’t get their prescription refills in an emergency room. They can’t get the equipment then need, like nebulizers or inhalers or spacers in an emergency room. They also can’t get checkups in an emergency room. Once they have an attack so bad that they could die they can get examined and treated, but that’s not access to health care.

Over 200,000 women were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010. Not a single one of them could get a mammogram in an emergency room. Over 140,000 people were diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2010. Not a single one of them could get a colonoscopy in the emergency room.

The callous idiocy of so many politicians on the right is sometimes mind-numbing. For many of them their callousness comes from growing up in affluence or relative affluence and have absolutely no comprehension of the daily rigors of life that so many who aren't born as lucky as they were, have to go through. Then again, it's a given that such people are just shiftless lazy bums, not people caught up in cycle that is hard to break our of.

Their idiocy, brought on by a blind faith in the idea that government can never do any good for anyone, insists on hacking away at programs and ideas that can save money in the long run and more importantly, help people who need an assist. The obvious case this article makes is the cost of emergency room treatment for a health issue that could have been arrested long before. The taxpayer ends up paying for the emergency room treatment anyway.

One of the programs that didn't survive the budget compromise was Head Start. Head Start provides preschool comprehensive child-development services to economically disadvantaged children and families — with a special focus on helping preschoolers — enhance early reading and math skills. It provides a double service, allowing parents to work instead of staying home taking care of their children as well as giving children an early start in a nurturing, structured and educational environment. Research has shown that every dollar spent on Head Start saves $9 in the long run. Head Start graduates are less likely to use drugs or be arrested later in life, they are more likely to graduate high school, go to college and live a productive life. That means less money needed to be spent on prisons, food stamps and welfare, yet the callous idiocy of the Republicans thought funding had to be cut.

More of this please

Put them on the defensive and keep hammering away at it. More than a few Republican Congressmen are already catching hell at town hall meetings during the current recess and their answers aren't very convincing.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Democracy is irrelevant in Michigan: GOP dicatorship reigns supreme

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Watch this excerpt from the Rachel Maddow show. Remember the original Tea Party. The slogan was "no taxation without representation". The new GOP Party doesn't actually believe that. In Michigan its "taxation without representation". I'll be blogging more about this but have a busy day ahead of me.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Michigan GOP Rep: Foster children can only buy second hand clothes

What's next, debtor's prisons?

Under a new budget proposal from State Sen. Bruce Casswell, children in the state’s foster care system would be allowed to purchase clothing only in used clothing stores.

Casswell, a Republican representing Branch, Hillsdale, Lenawee and St. Joseph counties, made the proposal this week, reports Michigan Public Radio.

His explanation?

“I never had anything new,” Caswell says. “I got all the hand-me-downs. And my dad, he did a lot of shopping at the Salvation Army, and his comment was — and quite frankly it’s true — once you’re out of the store and you walk down the street, nobody knows where you bought your clothes.”

Victorian England was pretty cool after all. Charles Dickens made a big deal out of nothing. Foster children tend to be victims of abuse, neglect and or abandonment. They are not always placed in the best living environments. Often foster parents take in a child for the money rather than because they really care. Foster children are generally damaged, have low self esteem. A new pair of sneakers could mean the world for a foster kid, and the piece of vermin Bruce Casswell instead wants to send them a message that you're really just a second class citizen. For what? To save the state a few dollars but God forbid, we should consider taxing millionaires a couple more percent. Can't do that because they create other countries.

My advice to Republicans - more of this. We want more of this sort of crap from you. You're really starting to piss off a lot of people, a lot of people who are still allowed to vote despite your fervent wishes that they aren't.

Foreclosure fraud - it gets worse and worse

60 Minutes highlighted the level of foreclosure fraud a few weeks ago where title documents were forged, illegally signed and people lost their homes and the perpetrators are still raking in millions.

Jackson County in Michigan has a population of only 160,000 and they're at 28 fraudulent foreclosures and counting. Extrapolate that out to the entire country and you get the picture.

The hunt for foreclosure fraud is now underway in Jackson County. We first brought you news of a scam, where dozens of mid-Michigan homes were foreclosed on illegally. After hearing the news, officials in Jackson started looking through their records. It only took 15 minutes to find the same phony signatures that are popping up on documents all over the country.

It all started with a recent 60 Minutes piece that highlighted the scam where some big banks are faking forms to speed up the foreclosure process. One by one officials are finding thee documents in Jackson County. The county register's team is busy searching through thousands of documents to find one simple signature.

Mona Webb, Jackson County Dep. Register: "Linda Green, signing on behalf of a banking organization."

So far the Jackson County Register's Office has found 28 of the documents and counting, all with the same name, but totally different signatures.

Baloji - from the Congo

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Hannity to host show about media bias against Fox News

Considering there is an army of media watchers out there who are quick to report on Fox Media's bias. Media Matters devotes most of its coverage to Fox News with the occasional side trip to Rush Limbaugh land. The liberal blogosphere was all over the admission by Bill Sammon Fox's news editor that he knowingly pushed the 'Obama is a socialist' meme during the election despite not actually believing it was true. It passed into common use on Fox by hosts, including allegedly straight news reporters and became a common talking point among Republicans in general and fox guests on a regular basis.

The mainstream media tepidly reported on it but that was that. Sammon, faced with video proof that he couldn't deny explained it away that while he didn't believe it was true at the time he first pushed the idea, it was a sort of 'pre-truth' because his tenure in office has proved him to be correct.

Obama's choice of Bill Ayers, former terrorist to head his outside council of economic advisers, tasked with seeking ways to stimulate job creation is obviously proof positive. Oops, sorry, he actually appointed Jeff Immelt, former General Electric CEO whose company outsourced 20% of its jobs in the last nine years to the post. Maybe Obama isn't a socialist after all even if he hasn't signed on to the GOP policy of coddling large corporations and millionaires while screwing the rest of the country. Apparently that is the only way to prove one isn't a 'Socialist'.

The fact that most if not all the criticism leveled at Fox is deserved will not be considered by Hannity. Fair and balanced as always.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Trouble brewing for the Republicans because of the Ryan budget

A McClatchey-Marist poll released earlier this week shows 80% of Americans oppose cuts to Medicare and more surprisingly 70% of Tea Party adherents oppose cuts to the program.  More importantly, the question asked wasn't whether Medicare should be privatized, use a voucher system or changed in any way other than having benefits cut.  Even something as minor as cuts received an emphatic thumbs down.

Imagine if the question was 'should Medicare be changed into a voucher system to buy insurance from private health insurance companies?'  The 'No's would be in the mid nineties.  So much for the idiotic signs that appeared during the height of the Tea Party fervor saying 'keep Government's hands off my Medicare."

Just as revealing was a Town Hall meeting held by Ryan himself.

CONSTITUENT: The middle class is disappearing right now. During this time of prosperity, the top 1 percent was taking about 10 percent of the total annual income, but yet today we are fighting to not let the tax breaks for the wealthy expire? And we’re fighting to not raise the Social Security cap from $87,000? I think we’re wrong.

RYAN: A couple things. I don’t disagree with the premise of what you’re saying. The question is what’s the best way to do this. Is it to redistribute… (Crosstalk)

CONSTITUENT: You have to lower spending. But it’s a matter of there’s nothing wrong with taxing the top because it does not trickle down.

RYAN: We do tax the top. (Audience boos). Let’s remember, most of our jobs come from successful small businesses. Two-thirds of our jobs do. You got to remember, businesses pay taxes individually. So when you raise their tax rates to 44.8 percent, which is what the president is proposing, I would just fundamentally disagree. That is going to hurt job creation.

The audience doesn't look as though they're all Democrats who showed up to jeer Ryan. Ryan’s outraged constituents are representative of the country as a whole. A new Washington Post-ABC News poll found that 72 percent of Americans wanted Congress to raise taxes on wealthy Americans making more than $250,000 per year.

These are winning issues. Obama seems to be getting it. They need to pound on it from now till the elections in 2012 and all the Koch money in the world won't be able to save the Republicans.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The problem with taxes; "only little people pay taxes"

Courtesy of Mother Jones here are some graphs that clearly illustrate the problem with the current tax system.

Despite GOP/Tea Party wailing about tax rates and why the wealthy should get more tax cuts, the reality is far different. The right uses statutory tax rates to illustrate their ideas while ignoring effective tax rates, or how much people and corporations actually pay in taxes.

These graphs do not even consider secondary taxes that affect lower and middle income individuals far more than the wealthy, something that the right also refuse to consider in their tax propaganda. Gasoline taxes, alcohol taxes and sales taxes are all taxes that everyone pays directly or indirectly. Someone earning $50,000 a yeaar will probably spend less on gas than someone earning $1 million a year but the millionaire will not be spending 20 times as much on gas. If they spend 3 times as much on gas, they are paying an insignificant percentage of income on those taxes whereas someone earning $50K a year might be paying an additional 1-2% on those taxes. Same story with sales taxes.

Firstly here is an illustration of the income and taxes paid by the richest of the rich, the top 400 earners according to the IRS.

"Atlas Shrugged", critics shrug

A blogger's life is truly wonderful. While people are put there doing things, creating things and working towards the American Dream we're sitting here in the basement in our pajamas, middle of the afternoon eating Cheetos and Chef Boyardee while scouring the Internets looking for something to write about, without having to actually experience it or even adhere to basic journalistic codes of asking questions.

I am therefore perfectly suited to write about the Tea Party's venture into Hollywood, that plastic celebrity world where the liberal agenda reigns supreme. Enter the Tea Party and their venture into the film world with their paean to rugged individualism from their Goddess of everything that is good about America, Ayn Rand and her epic struggle of individualism against the socialist dystopia of Washington in 'Atlas Shrugged, Part I'.

Judging from the reviews and the opening week gross, an anemic $1.7 million the film fails on both levels. By all accounts the dialogue is turgid and the message is about as subtle as a 2x4 to the back of the head. The context of the book is the ultimate Tea Party nightmare, a Washington where social justice is mandated by fat cat politicians who're in the process of passing a law allowing no one to own more than one company while our brave heroes keep slogging on chasing the American Dream by doing it all themselves.

Although the story is set in 2016 the our heroes are building railways and making steel. Steel, like Elvis left the building a long time ago ad now resides in Asia and other parts. Rail isn't exactly cutting edge except maybe for high speed passenger rail which Tea Party adherents have managed to kill wherever they can.

The acting, the characters and the dialogue are so predictably wooden the movie fails at even being mildly entertaining. The message is laid on so thickly it could pass for a Russian propaganda film from the 30's. As one of the old Hollywood tycoons famously said, 'If you want to send a message use Western Union,' or even better become a Fox News commentator.

Will we even be subject to part 2 and 3? Probably; they're hoping that true ideologues will buy the DVD for prosperity. If they really wanted to make a film about the American Dream and the ideals of 'rugged individualism' The Social Network does it infinitely better in the context of the times, not the context of the 1950's

Disclaimer: I haven't seen the movie and have no intention of wasting any money on it but the reviews are all that I need to know what it is. Here is a taste in the trailer.

The Republican 'death tax' 100% for the elderly who aren't wealthy

The Republicans love to call the Estate Tax a 'death tax'. Frank Luntz, the master GOP pollster excels at framing an issue with carefully worded descriptions based on polling. Their opposition to the Estate Tax which only affects the super wealthy resonated far better with the average wingnut when they called it the 'death tax'.

The Ryan budget has created what is truly a 'death tax.' with their transformation destruction of Medicare.  If ever their Medicare plans become reality older Americans who aren't worth a few million will wish their end comes swiftly and suddenly without the need for ongoing treatments, hospitalization or nursing home care because their Medicare vouchers will surely drain them of all their savings before the end.

The Democrats need to start acting more like  Republicans at least in how they play the game.  Ryan's plan has given them the perfect opening.  Call their Medicare plan a 'death tax' because there will be nothing left to leave to one's children after the medical bills have drained everything. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

If only Obama wasn't so 'uppity'

When Obama finally came out swinging last week, sticking to core Democratic principles and calling the GOP on their smoke and mirrors budget that not only demolishes the New Deal safety net but conjures up numbers that defy the simple laws of arithmetic, never mind math, the GOP were mightily offended and said so repeatedly, alternating between mock indignation and hurt feelings.

It's amazing how members of the party of John Wayne can turn into the party of a cloying victim-hood that would embarrass a sensitivity group in less time than it takes Lindsay Lohan to relapse. And so Ryan, Cantor became utterly mortified and offended that Obama suddenly went all 'partisan' on them by accusing them of trying to destroy the social compact that had unified America for the past 70 years or so.

How dare he go partisan on them, especially after Sarah Palin's 'lamestream liberal media' had been fawning over Congressman Ryan's selfless act of bravery in standing up for those defenseless, abused millionaires and going after those out-of-control teachers, cops, and firefighters as well as senior citizens who refuse to pay for all their medical bills out of their own pockets.

Maybe it has something to do with the first line of the GOP budget which reads, “Where the president has failed, House Republicans will lead." That's not partisan according to the GOP. Neither is the perpetual namecalling, birtherism etc partisan but calling the GOP agenda mean, destructive and unfair is a bridge too far.

What we need is more of the 'uppity' Obama. The open mike left on inadvertently should be welcomed by all Democrats. Many progressives who had been doubting Obama saw evidence that he does get it, that if the GOP think he's stupid, they're making a big mistake. The GOP, giddy with power after 2010 have totally misread the mood of the country. The emergence of the Tea Party, the first post Citizen's United election and the state of the economy will prove to be too intoxicating for the Republicans. They have overreached to an absurd level especially in attacking public union workers and medicare.

It is partisan and it is a class war, no matter how loathe we are to admit it. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, Democracy is a terribly unfair system but it is better than all the others. At least in a Democracy citizens generally get to vote and while few if any elections are ever totally clean, most are and the votes do get counted in the end and when it comes down to a situation such as we currently have in America the 'have not's' and the 'have too little' vastly outnumber the 'have too muches'.

As Obama said, "we're not that stupid."

Sunday, April 17, 2011

"I have friends who are black"

That seems to be the universal 'get out of jail free' card for politicians who send out racist e-mails. This time it's Marilyn Davenport, a Southern California Tea Party activist and member of the central committee of the Orange County Republican Party. She's obviously one of Trumps investigators who claims to have stumbled across the reason Obama is not a U.S. citizen.

She was so excited, she e-mailed her proof to a number of fellow Republicans in Orange County. Here's here evidence.

 DAvenport went on to claim that "In no way did I even consider the fact he's half black when I sent out the email. In fact, the thought never entered my mind until one or two other people  tried to make this about race. . . . I received plenty of emails about George Bush that I didn't particularly like yet there was no 'cry' in the media about them."

And it didn't occur to me that you might be a racist asshole before writing this post.

Remember Rich Iott, the Congressional candidate in Ohio who used to dress up in an SS unifrom and play wacky war games on the weekend. Some of his best friends were Jewish, that is until his few Jewish acquaintances ran and hid when the story broke.

But it was The Donald' who walked off with the 'insensitive racist of the week award" when he claimed that he has a great relationship with 'the blacks'. I assume he was referring to Conrad Black and family, the right wing publishing magnate who was convicted of fraud a few weeks ago. Either that, or he was talking about his domestic help. Only racists use the term, 'the blacks' ever since certain words to describe African Americans became a no-no.

It reminds me of the classic Curb Your Enthusiasm line when Larry David, bless his liberal heart arrives at LA Airport to pick up the Katrina refugee family he's offered to take in.

The family introduces themselves, "Hi, we're the Blacks" Larry who displays the sensitivity of a retarded newt or Eush Limbaugh in the show answers while laughing, "ha ha, that's the same as me calling myself Larry Jew."

The Holles - Carrie Anne

Two Americas drifting further and further apart,

The 'Two Americas' meme has become somewhat trite over the past decade or so but as long as the the earnings and wealth of the middle class were growing and job security was more or less a given the idea didn't resonate nearly enough. Since 2000 income for the bottom 90% has stagnated, in reality it has declined slightly, while that of the top 10% has increased at a more rapid pace than virtually any time in American history and even among that 10% most if it has been concentrated in the top quarter of that group. More surprisingly upward social and economic movement, once the bright light of the 'American Dream' but that upward mobility has been surpassed by most of Europe where accent alone and an entrenched class system made it that much harder.

Two articles published in the past week perfectly highlight this schism. The first is by the irrepressible Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone titled "The Real Housewives of Wall Street." It's about the secret bailout fund that was designed to ensure access to credit when even well run companies (mainly smaller ones designated as a company with under 500 employees. All such bailouts after 2008 were cloaked in a veil of absolute secrecy. You will see why, because through an act of Congress sponsored by Bernie Sanders the Fed has been forced to disclose much of the information of these secret bailouts. "Our jaws are literally dropping as we're reading this," says Warren Gunnels, an aide to Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. "Every one of these transactions is outrageous." There are over 21,000 transactions worth trillions, or at least equal to normal Federal budget.

Until a recent act of Congress these loans were cloaked in secrecy and even now, some of the details are kept secret.

The second article, 'Poverty in John Boehner's District' published in The Nation. Over 14% of the people in his district live under the Federal poverty level while the burden of a local foodbank has more than doubled in three years from 7 to 16 million pounds of food in that short time.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Kyl's throws his 'press person' under the bus on 'factual statement' farce

Anything but accepting personal responsibility. That was the old GOP, now it's always someone else's fault. Sen. Kyl blames his press person for the 'not meant to be a factual statement' gaffe. His 'press person' falls on his sword for Kyl by claiming that his statement saying that his response to Kyl's claim that 90% of Planned Parenthood's activities were abortions was not intended to claim what it actually claimed.

So we now have an admission that the statement, "not intended to be factual statement" was itself not intended to be a factual statement. The question is if a statement not intended to be factual is spoken in the middle of a forest where no one can hear it, is it still not intended to be a factual statement. Discuss.

Trump leads new GOP Presidential poll by 9 points

The PPP Poll, released today shows Trump garnering 26% of the vote, followed by Huckabee at 17%, Romney at 15% followed by Gingrich at 11%, Palin t 8% and Ron Paul, Bachmann and Pawlenty picking up the scraps. If anything this illustrates the general weakness of the field. Gingrich is a joke who can never win, the same goes for Palin and Bachmann. Paul is far too libertarian for social conservatives which leaves Huckabee, Romney and Pawlenty along with Trump.

Trump doesn't have a solid social conservative record and comments over a decade ago about an additional tax of 14.25% on the wealth of the rich will be dredged up from his past. He might be crazy enough to run as an Independent but outcrazying all but the most extreme birthers can only get you so far. Romney is the 'serious' candidate with a relatively high visibility and many of the right credentials but the fact that he is languishing in the mid teens says a lot about the problems he'll be facing.

Pawlenty could become a force with his 4% rating an indication that it's far too early to write him off, which leaves Huckabee who has that affable veneer that hides the fact that he's veered much further to the right over the past few years.

It's way too early to draw any conclusions but Trump getting a the support of one out of four Republicans speaks volumes about the state of the party their success in 2010.


Key finding: Just 38% of Republican primary voters say they're willing to support a candidate for President next year who firmly rejects the birther theory. With the other 62% of Republicans -- 23% of whom say they are only willing to vote for a birther and 39% of whom are not sure -- Trump is cleaning up.

Yet another illustration of just how batshit crazy the GOP base has become and that Trump, if nothing else, is the latest in a long line of brilliant American hucksters.

Rick Santorum - Kill granny now, why wait 10 years

Former Senator Rick "Man on dog sex" Santorum, putative Presidential candidate has decided to double down and outflank even Michelle Bachmans of the world.  He's impatient and just can't wait 10 years to stick it to granny.   He believes seniors should be so eager to participate in helping the solvency of America they will be quite happy to start spending their social security checks on their medical needs now instead of in 10 years time.

From the Sean Hannity show:
SANTORUM: My big argument with Paul Ryan is that he doesn’t apply a lot of these programs to the current generation of seniors, or those who are at or near retirement. And I think that presupposes that a lot of those current seniors don’t want to participate in the economic solvency of our country. Don’t want to participate in saving our country. I think that’s wrong. I think most seniors –- certainly those that can afford to –- are more than willing to do their fair share to solve their problem.

Then he'll be able to put Granny in a jar of formaldehyde on the mantlepiece next tov the fetus in a jar he keeps to remind his six (at last count) little Santorums that any one of them could be in that jar but for the fact that Daddy Santorum found God before he started making babies.

The Shadows - FBI from 1961

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Kucinich has a few questions for Gov. Scott Walker

It's not that anyone with a smidgin of intelligence and a bit of empathy didn't understand but it's still feels good to see. Rep. Dennis Kucinich got to ask Walker some questions at a House hearing on State and Municipal Debt. It revealed what we already know; that Walker's attack on public employee unions had nothing to do with balancing the budget and everything to do with a political vendetta.

It didn't go well for Walker.

KUCINICH: Let me ask you about some of the specific provisions in your proposals to strip collective bargaining rights. First, your proposal would require unions to hold annual votes to continue representing their own members. Can you please explain to me and members of this committee how much money this provision saves for your state budget?

WALKER: That and a number of other provisions we put in because if you’re going to ask, if you’re going to put in place a change like that, we wanted to make sure we protected the workers of our state, so they got value out of that. [...]

KUCINICH: Would you answer the question? How much money does it save, Governor?

WALKER: It doesn’t save any. [...]

KUCINICH: I want to ask about another one of your proposals. Under your plan you would prohibit paying union member dues from their paychecks. How much money would this provision save your state budget?

WALKER: It would save employees a thousand dollars a year they could use to pay for their pensions and health care contributions.

KUCINICH: Governor, it wouldn’t save anything. [Goes on to present letter from LRF and is denied unanimous request for it to be placed in the public record by Issa]

Don't fuck with a little pixie like Congressman who has righteousness on his side. They get the coolest women as well.  Witness Kucinich's wife, more than half his age, with a tongue ring and a head taller than he but who doesn't love Dennis Kucinich.

Boehner's got some 'splainin' to do

A CBO analysis of the spending cut compromise Democrats and Republicans reached last week that may have avoided a government shutdown has turned into a public relations nightmare for House Speaker John Boehner.

As advertised, when the House and Senate pass the spending bill this afternoon, domestic discretionary appropriations will fall $38 billion from levels set at the beginning of the year. But because some of the cuts will be realized over years, and because some of the savings are culled from left-over money in existing accounts, the bill will only reduce direct spending by about $350 million.

Oops. Seems like Boehner et al got punked by the Democrats. The budget bill passed earlier today but only with the help of some Democrats. I think it isn't wise to misunderestimate Obama at this point. A variety of recent polls has shown that the Republicans might be keeping their base relatively happy but they are not winning many friends outside their base.

Even more encouraging is polling from some of the states that are dealing with the insanity of newly minted GOP governors. They key states are Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida, all critical swing states in a Presidential election. In each case polls say the the current Governor show at least a 10 point swing against the GOP if the election were held today. All have approval ratings that are tanking to well below 50% in just the first few months of taking office. That is going to be a major problem for the GOP in 2012.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Boehner response to Obama - It's Ryan's plan or nothing

Obama laid down a marker that was a lot better than many progressives feared but then many on the left can ignore political and financial reality at no cost, Obama can't. At least he laid down some clear markets that he will not cross.

Worst of all, this is a vision that says even though America can't afford to invest in education or clean energy; even though we can't afford to care for seniors and poor children, we can somehow afford more than $1 trillion in new tax breaks for the wealthy. Think about it. In the last decade, the average income of the bottom 90% of all working Americans actually declined. The top 1% saw their income rise by an average of more than a quarter of a million dollars each. And that's who needs to pay less taxes? They want to give people like me a two hundred thousand dollar tax cut that's paid for by asking thirty three seniors to each pay six thousand dollars more in health costs? That's not right, and it's not going to happen as long as I'm President.


But let me be absolutely clear: I will preserve these health care programs as a promise we make to each other in this society. I will not allow Medicare to become a voucher program that leaves seniors at the mercy of the insurance industry, with a shrinking benefit to pay for rising costs. I will not tell families with children who have disabilities that they have to fend for themselves. We will reform these programs, but we will not abandon the fundamental commitment this country has kept for generations.


The fourth step in our approach is to reduce spending in the tax code. In December, I agreed to extend the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans because it was the only way I could prevent a tax hike on middle-class Americans. But we cannot afford $1 trillion worth of tax cuts for every millionaire and billionaire in our society. And I refuse to renew them again.

The Republicans have predictably gone into crybaby mode over this claiming the his speech was far too partisan. If anything it was a little too circumspect but then he's a politician and I'm not.

"I missed lunch for this?" complained Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), chair of the House GOP conference, at a Capitol press conference shortly after the address.
Ryan called it a "political broadside from our Campaigner-in-Chief." The serious and brave Ryan showed himself to be nothing more than a political hack.

What the fuck did they expect? That Obama would come out and thank Ryan for saving the future, that he though Ryan's plan was so brilliant, so courageous and the solution to everything that Obama is just going to agree to implement it as it is.

Much of this is obviously political posturing. Obama has set down some reasonable and sane markers that that all but the new batshit insane GOP will agree with. They are out of the mainstream and the more intransigent they appear, the less they will be able maneuver.

Now that we have the details, it turns out the interim budget cut little, saved some valuable programs and in the end has given Obama a quite Clintonian aura about him. The recent budget skirmish was nothing compared to what is to come and the loss of a few programs here and there were in military terms, "acceptable casualties".

In their post speech response, the Republicans have shown themselves to be so inflexible and so dismissive that when the chips are down when it comes to raising the debt ceiling when the stakes are far higher. If the Republicans continue their intransigence they could very well sign their own death warrants. After all 81% of Americans believe that taxes should be raised on millionaires and no 'margin or error' can make that look any better. Equally important, Wall Street knows full well the implications of failing to raise the debt ceiling are. Even taking it to the brink could create more fear in the bond markets than the economy can bear.

If that comes to pass the blame will land four square on their shoulders and they will pay the price.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Gov. Kasich of Ohio in deep trouble over public union busting bill

With a lot less fanfare, Gov. John Kasich of Ohio outdid Scott Walker of Wisconsin in passing a bill stripping collective bargaining right for public unions that included firefighters and police. It was one of the prime reasons the Republicans lost the support of the national police and firefighters unions.

Now one of the key pillars of GOP support, the state Chamber of Commerce is showing cracks.State and local Chambers of Commerce are a lot different than the U.S. Chamber which does little other than carry water for the largest corporations. Local Chambers have a GOP bent but they are far more supportive of small and mid sized businesses. The Kasich election was the first time they had officially endorsed a candidate for governor, having preferred to stay neutral in the past. Ohio, with a large urban population and strong labor tradition has a lot more Democratic support than most other mid-western states.

Like Walker in Wisconsin, Kasich gave no hint during the campaign of animosity towards public unions. The police union's endorsement of the sponsor of the SB 5, the bill in question had a lot to do with the police union's turnaround.

Kasich's approval rating has plunged to the low 30's and a recall petition to allow voters to vote on the bill is well underway. Some business have realized that 'duh', support of the bill might alienate some customers. While the crack is small a number of businesses have quit the Chamber. The union has started a Proud Ohio Workers program encouraging business owners to put a sticker in their window and sign a letter signaling that they're "worker-friendly." Within a couple of weeks over 400 businesses have jumped aboard.

Unions are expected to spend $20 million on the SB 5 recall effort and Kasich will beed similar support from the Chamber. It might not be forthcoming considering the toxic cloud surrounding Kasich and the Republicans in Ohio.

Stunts like this, especially in not revealing their intentions in campaigning has incensed large swaths of the population. An ignored undercurrent in the political story over the past few months has been the dramatic overreach of Republicans. It's galvanized opposition and a just released poll shows that 48% of Americans now believe the GOP house as extremist while only 40$ regard them as 'mainstream'.

All that's needed now is for the White House to embrace this poll and use the bully pulpit to keep hammering away on this issue.

Jon Stewart gets in on the Sen. Kyl planned parenthood circus

A deft execution of a sophisticated political maneuver known as 'lying'.

Skyscrapers of the future

Huffington Post has a collection of futuristic skyscraper designs. Mixing innovative design with sustainability they incorporate green technology and space utilization in an ever more crowded world. What is striking is that not one of the designs is American. Just another sign that we're becoming more retarded and less innovative as a large segment of the population worships some of the more odious things from the past.

This design for Montpelier in France uses solar panels, water harvesting, hanging gardens, and wind turbines.

Fukushima nuclear accident now raised to the maximum level

The maximum level for a nuclear accident is 7 so it's now considered as bad as Chernobyl. Estimates of deaths from Chernobyl range from 10,000 to a few hundred thousand. Hopefully the human toll won't be as because the problem has evolved slowly.

It was previously rated a 5 on the 'glow in the dark' scale. Because this rating system is logarithmic scale as the Richter scale for earthquakes, the change in rating increases the factor of the damage by 100 times.

GOP/Tea Party ideals of less government - not so much

Lucy Walter, a Fort Atkinson Middle School teacher, reiterated Fitzgerald’s earlier comment about the squeaky wheel getting the grease.

“I felt like when we went to Madison we were squeaking really loudly,” she said.

Walter pointed out that many teachers unions, AFSCME and other unions have agreed to the concessions on insurance and retirement.

“That is part of our salary,” Walter said. ” When the squeaky wheel said ‘please don’t take away our union rights,’ why did you do that?”

Fitzgerald very pointedly noted that collective bargaining is “not some type of human right.” He further stated that it was implemented by the state Legislature in 1971.

“Since 1971, it is has been tipped away from the elected officials toward the contract and the unions,” the senator said. “Certainly, what we think we should be able to do is simply claw back on that and give more power to the elected officials.”

 That is state senator, Scott Fitzgerald, one of the three members of the Fitzgerald family, father and two sons who are Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin's trio of consiglieris.    So much for GOP/Tea Party ideals of giving government less power. 

Bill Monroe - Blue Moon of Kentucky

Aliens have invaded Obama's brain

Obama Derangement Syndrome  sufferers have a new conspiracy to keep them busy.  Note the side of Obama's head.  More than likely a bad hair day but not to those afflicted by ODS.  That can only be a scar and seeing there is no record of Obama having suffered a traumatic head/brain injury it can only mean one thing.  Aliens, and not the border crossing kind,  but aliens from another planet called Orbistan with a Jihadist anti-colonial socialist outlook have taken control of Obama's brain. 

Seeing as Obama is the secret love child of Jimi Hendrix, who was no doubt "out there" it all makes sense.  At least to the brain dead retards who suffer from ODS. 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Glenn Beck: while we still can, let's wallow in his insanity

George Will finds the real enemy of America: It's denim

Iranians yearn to be free so they can watch porn, listen to Lady Gaga and buy American denim jeans.  Denim is as American as apple pie, guns and paranoia about the rest of the world.  Not for George Will who sees denim, or 'demon denim' as he calls it striking at the soft underbelly of a nation that has lost its moral compass and it's will to resist all evil plots hatched by the rest of the world.

On any American street, or in any airport or mall, you see the same sad tableau: A 10-year-old boy is walking with his father, whose development was evidently arrested when he was that age, judging by his clothes. Father and son are dressed identically -- running shoes, T-shirts. And jeans, always jeans. If mother is there, she, too, is draped in denim.

Writer Daniel Akst has noticed and has had a constructive conniption. He should be given the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He has earned it by identifying an obnoxious misuse of freedom. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, he has denounced denim, summoning Americans to soul-searching and repentance about the plague of that ubiquitous fabric, which is symptomatic of deep disorders in the national psyche.

Weak minded Americans have been duped by its enemies into what will calls, "lookism" while our enemies make sure they don't fall into the same trap by making their women wear burkas.

Denim is the clerical vestment for the priesthood of all believers in democracy's catechism of leveling -- thou shalt not dress better than society's most slovenly. To do so would be to commit the sin of lookism -- of believing that appearance matters. That heresy leads to denying the universal appropriateness of everything, and then to the elitist assertion that there is good and bad taste.

Those evil believers in democracy socialism believe that we must look alike.  He cites Fred Astaire as the standard by which men should dress.  By this he means only men who have attained the maturity that he and his ilk have maintained.  At the same time women who have attained an equal level of maturity should use Gracy Kelly as their sartorial standard as they wait sweetly at home, martini in hand so that their well dressed man can ease the tension  before a dinner of roast beef and apple pie after a long stressful day trying to ensure that the sartorially qualified can keep the denim clad masses in their place.

Has anyone tested him for dementia lately.  In another time I might believe this is satire, but not in today's utterly humorless world.  You can read the rest of his idiocy here.  It's good for a laugh from a truly pretentious and pompous asshole. 

The Dalai Lama is one perceptive dude

"The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, answered, 'Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived,'"

Donald Trump as a birther - both a liar and an idiot

Trump's new claim is that Obamna's grandparents placed the birth announcement in the Honolulu newspaper to make him eligible for welfare.

Trump as idiot: Obama's mother was an American citizen. An American citizen is eligible for welfare whether he/she was born in Kansas or Arghanistan.

Trump as liar: Obama has spent $2 million covering up the issue. There is no proof of this anywhere other than in wingnutopia world. The Obama campaign listed $2.8 million in legal expenses for the entire campaign. That's not out of the norm by campaign standards.

Trump as idiot/liar: In the CNN interview he keeps talking about not wanting to discuss the birther issue and would like to talk about real issues like China, OPEC etc, yet he keeps going back to the birther issue even when the interviewer doesn't ask him about it.

Bring on the circus aka The GOP 2012 primaries. Please run, Donald, we need a good laugh.

Sen. Jon Kyle on Panned Parenthood - when a lie isn't a lie

Last week Sen. Jon Kyl created a bit of a stir when he claimed that abortions comprise 90% of Planned Parenthood. He was off by a factor of 30. The actual number is 3%. Facts are fungible things to Republicans these days but the response to the resulting shitstorm by Kyl's office hit a new low in political doublespeak.

From Think Progress:

This afternoon, CNN brought on Planned Parenthood's Judy Tabar to discuss his comment. During the interview, CNN anchor Don Lemon relayed a statement from Kyl's office walking back the comment, claiming the statement was not meant to be "factual":

LEMON: We did call his office trying to ask what he was talking about there. And I just want to give it you verbatim here. It says, 'his remark was not intended to be a factual statement, but rather to illustrate that Planned Parenthood, a organization that receives millions of dollars in taxpayer funding, does subsidize abortions.'

Kyl made his statement on the Senate floor so it goes into the Congressional Record nad is also accepted as fact by all the wingnuts out there but it's okay to lie when you're just trying to prove a point. The right accused Clinton o lying about everything all the time. If you apply the same standards it was okay for Clinton to allegedly lie about everything because he was just trying to illustrate a point and there was therefore no obligation for him to be "factual".

It's okay to lie if you're a Republican Senator.

Blind Lemon - Tones of Home

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Matt Taibbi has the last word on the Ryan budget before I bury the turd

Paul Ryan, the Republican Party’s latest entrant in the seemingly endless series of young, prickish, over-coiffed, anal-retentive deficit Robespierres they’ve sent to the political center stage in the last decade or so, has come out with his new budget plan. All of these smug little jerks look alike to me – from Ralph Reed to Eric Cantor to Jeb Hensarling to Rand Paul and now to Ryan, they all look like overgrown kids who got nipple-twisted in the halls in high school, worked as Applebee’s shift managers in college, and are now taking revenge on the world as grownups by defunding hospice care and student loans and Sesame Street. They all look like they sleep with their ties on, and keep their feet in dress socks when doing their bi-monthly duty with their wives.

He goes on to hammer the unctuous David Brooks, one of the more prominent Ryan slobberers.

We are in the middle of a major national disagreement over budget priorities, and that debate is going to turn into a full-scale cultural shooting war once the 2012 presidential election season comes around. It is obvious that we have a debt problem in this country and that something needs to be done about it. But a huge part of the blame for the confusion and the national angst over our budget issues has to be laid at the feet of media assholes like Brooks, who continually misrepresent what is actually happening with national spending.

It's all vague assumptions that have proved wrong in the past and the core GOP constituency, everyone 55 or older now, and the monied classes are either untouched by Ryan's proposal or do even better than they are currently doing. As long as the Koch brothers et al keep pumping unlimited funds into electoral campaigns they don;t have to worry too much about the suckers that are conned into voting for them.

The absurd thing is that Ryan’s act isn’t even politically courageous. It’s canny calculation, but courage it is not. It would be courageous if Ryan were, say, the president of the United States, and leaning on that budget with his full might. But Ryan is proposing a budget he knows would have no chance of passing in the Senate........

No matter what, Ryan’s gambit, ultimately, is all about trying to get middle-class voters to swallow paying for tax cuts for rich people. It takes chutzpah to try such a thing, but having a lot of balls is not the same as having courage.

The full article here.
Personally, I think Ryan is a coward. It's easy to pick on the usual targets.

Krugman makes this point with the Ryan plan

Looking at this massive tax cut — NOT taken account of in the CBO estimates — might almost make you think that (a) the Ryan plan would actually increase the deficit and (b) the whole goal is not to reduce the deficit, but to transfer income upward. In fact, it so happens that the estimated cost of those tax cuts is almost exactly equal to the proposed cuts to Medicaid, food stamps, and other programs helping lower-income Americans.

That sums it all up.

Australia unveils the toughest anti-smoking laws ever

The aim is to deprive tobacco companies of the last remaining means of advertising their products, and to make cigarettes less appealing, particularly to young people. Drab olive-green was chosen because research suggested it was the least attractive colour to smokers. "We want to make sure that the glamour that might have been attached to smoking in the past is dead and gone," the Health Minister, Nicola Roxon, said yesterday. "Cigarette packs will now only show the death and disease that can come from smoking. The new packs have been designed to have the lowest appeal to smokers and to make clear the terrible effects that smoking can have on your health."

Britain, New Zealand, Canada and the European Union are considering similar legislation. A legal battle for the ages will determine the final outcome if the law passes. Full article here.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Marvin Gaye - What's Going On

Ray Charles - What I'd Say - Live 1965

Tennessee teachers can now safely question evolution

The bill I mentioned in a post a few weeks ago is now law in Tennessee. The bill is designed to "promote critical thinking" in science classrooms. It sounds benign but the clear intent is to allow teachers to teach both creationism or intelligent design and evolution and to allow global warming skeptics their side of the argument.

The result could be that teachers may feel impelled to consider creationism because all it will take is one fundamentalist kid to go running home to his/her parents and complain. In fact these children will be encouraged by their parents to challenge evolution in class. In God fearing Tennessee consider this a given and consider it a given that any teacher that shrugs off the discussion will have lots of explaining to do to the local school board.

It passed by a vote of 70-23. The debate in the House created some laughs and backscratching.

Bill supporter Rep. Richard Floyd, R-Chattanooga, said that “since the late ‘50s, early ‘60s when we let the intellectual bullies hijack our education system, we’ve been on a slippery slope.”

Rep. Sheila Butt, R-Columbia, said when she was in high school, “we gave up Aqua Net hair spray” because of fears “it was causing global warming.”

“Since then scientists have said that maybe we shouldn’t have given up that aerosol can because that aerosol can was actually absorbing the Earth’s rays and keeping us from global warming.”

Rep. Frank Niceley came up with an even more creative rationale. He claimed that because Albert Einstein was a Christian, ergo creationism should be taught in schools. Einstein was actually an agnostic Jew who left Germany in 1933 because of his religion These imbeciles are the best argument against evolution. Their is no evidence that their brains are evolving.

What the fuck!. More of the idiocy at the link.

Sidney Lumet - RIP: One of Hollywood's truly great directors

Sidney Lumet, the iconic Hollywood director died today at age 86.  He directed over 50 films, mostly dramas , often with a theme of social justice.   Among his films were 12 Angry Men, Network, Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon and most recently the intense drama, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead in 2007. 

He was known as an 'actor's director' evidenced in his most successful films that were character studies of men in crisis.  14 of his films received 46 Oscar nominations, winning 6 of them.  he was nominated for Best Director 4 times but never rook home the prize.

His films contain some of the most iconic scenes in movie history.  None more so than Peter Finch's 'Mad as Hell' speech from 'Network', even more relevant today than 1976 when it was released.

Better than a shutdown, but only just

If there is any consolation it's that the Tea Party/right wing blogosphere has gone ballistic over the Republican traitors in Washington.  One can hope that enough of them might get discouraged sufficiently to not bother voting in the next election.  One can only hope.

On the downside the narrative has been taken out of the Democrats hands.  The riders were thrown in by the Republicans to take away the heat from the fact that virtually all the cuts hurt the less powerful.   A better strategy may have been to double down on the Republicans and challenged them by proposing an equal amount of cuts to farm subsidies or other programs favored by the right or even some cuts to the military such as new weapons programs to at least bring those issues into the conversation.

Another battle looms with the raising of the debt ceiling.  The Republicans are going to use that ro once again hold the Democrats and government in general hostage.  The issue will be far more obtuse for the average American and this could allow the Democrats to be a lot less flexible.  They could then have an unlikely ally in that battle; Wall Street who are very well aware of the consequences of the debt ceiling not being raised.

Obama had no option on the shutdown that to claim victory and support the cuts that have been passed.  It's time to go on the offensive against the Ryan budget, on corporate tax avoidance and on the growing wealth gap.  The fact is that we don't just have a spending problem, we have a revenue problem.   Revenue is currently under 15% of GDP, far short of even the level proposed in the Ryan budget.    There is only one way to solve the revenue problem and that is to find that revenue where the money is. 

Friday, April 8, 2011

Jon Stewart mourns Glenn Beck's departure from Fox - Epic

Double click to watch the video in full screen.  For some reason, Blogger loses part of the screen.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Birther Photoshop fail - Obama's knee

Jack Cashill, a right wing 'reporter' is running away with the title of 'most insane birther'. His major claim is that Bill Ayers ghost wrote Obama's "Dreams of my Father". He had a major wet dream a couple of weeks ago when Ayers joked about the book with a reporter suggesting he would share the royalties if the reporter could finally prove it. Ayer's laughter while saying that didn't matter. Cashill and at least part of the right wing conspiracyphere were all over it.

Cashill also claims that Jimi Hendrix is Obama's father. If true, he fathered Obama before he even went into the army, before anyone had heard of Hendrix. The Malcolm X fathered Obama birthers are far more plausible on this one.

Cashill has breathlessly announced he has discovered a new piece of evidence. A picture of Obama as a teenager between his grandparents, sitting on a bench is a fake.

Here is the allegedly faked photoshopped picture according to Cashill.

Below is the real picture according to Cashill.  Note the incredibly crappy photoshop work.  Somehow, Obama's left knee stayed behind with his grandparents while the rest of him was off developing his third world radical socialist views.

What a fucking joke.  Pathetic is the word that most comes to mind, but never fear, I'm sure Donald Trump's investigators, currently scouring Hawaii for more evidence that Obama wasn't born in the U.S. will certainly come to light.  If Trump truly believes Obama wasn't born in the U.S., shouldn't he be looking somewhere other than Hawaii?


Sen. Kyl lies about Planned Parenthood: claims all they do is abortions

Kyl of Arizona claimed that 90% of what Planned Parenthood does is abortions. How do you deal with people who just make up shit as they go along considering the gravity of the situation. Answer: you don't. Truth is you can't.

Each year, Planned Parenthood provides more than one million cervical cancer screenings, 830,000 breast exams, and nearly four million exams, treatments, and tests involving sexually transmitted diseases. About 3% of their services relate to abortions.

You cant talk to people like Kyl. You can't negotiate with them either. You have to beat them no matter what it takes. The Republicans have declared war on reason, on sanity and on the working people of America including the middle class.

There appear to be a few Republicans suggesting this isn't exactly a smart strategy on their part. It's like farting in a windstorm. Reason has long been purged from the party.

Krugman weighs in again

Ludicrous and cruel.

A more sober assessment from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office tells a different story. It finds that a large part of the supposed savings from spending cuts would go, not to reduce the deficit, but to pay for tax cuts. In fact, the budget office finds that over the next decade the plan would lead to bigger deficits and more debt than current law.

And about those spending cuts: leave health care on one side for a moment and focus on the rest of the proposal. It turns out that Mr. Ryan and his colleagues are assuming drastic cuts in nonhealth spending without explaining how that is supposed to happen.

How drastic? According to the budget office, which analyzed the plan using assumptions dictated by House Republicans, the proposal calls for spending on items other than Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid — but including defense — to fall from 12 percent of G.D.P. last year to 6 percent of G.D.P. in 2022, and just 3.5 percent of G.D.P. in the long run.

That last number is less than we currently spend on defense alone; it’s not much bigger than federal spending when Calvin Coolidge was president, and the United States, among other things, had only a tiny military establishment. How could such a drastic shrinking of government take place without crippling essential public functions? The plan doesn’t say.

The Ryan plan calls for a discretionary budget which includes defense that is lower than the current defense budget. It's nothing more than a right wing wet dream, devoid of reality and in the end, makes absolutely no attempt to even tackle the deficit. Even, now Republicans are still going the Karl rove/Dick Cheney route that deficits don't matter. It's utterly destructive, illogical on every level and is, despite the fawning praise totally unserious.